Our Islamic Fifth Column

Wednesday, February 26th, 2003

In Our Islamic Fifth Column, Farrukh Dhondy, an Indian-Briton, describes his early experiences with Islam:

I was born a Zoroastrian, in India, a descendant of refugees from the Muslim conquest of Iran by Arab armies in the seventh century. The India of my childhood was full of superstition, of faith in myriad manifestations of the unseen, but even then one knew that Islam and its followers were distinctive. From the Shia mosque in Poona, where I grew up, there emerged every Moharrum night, the end of Ramzaan, a procession of chanting Muslims in black shirts, cutting themselves with chains and little daggers strung together, in frenzied and bloody penance through the night — a demonstration of a belief beyond the threshold of pain. They believed that theirs was the only creed, that their book was dictated by God, that Hindus were idolators and the worshipers of trees and monkeys, that Zoroastrians were fire-worshiping infidels, and that Christians were an ancient military enemy. Their faith seemed to me even at the time to exclude what it had not invented.

Creepy. His take on radical Muslims living in Britain?

If you prostrate yourself to an all-powerful and unfathomable being five times a day, if you are constantly told that you live in the world of Satan, if those around you are ignorant of and impervious to literature, art, historical debate, and all that nurtures the values of Western civilization, your mind becomes susceptible to fanaticism. Your mind rots.

Worse, it can become the instrument of others who send you out on suicidal missions.

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