Thursday, February 24, 2011

Loonwatch vs. Translating Jihad - Part One

A number of years ago reading Foreign Policy Magazine, I came across a scathing review by a Muslim Arabic-speaking professor of a State Department diplomat who had delivered a lecture in Arabic. The criticism was not directed at the ideology of the diplomat, nor the content of his lecture. What aroused the ire of the professor was that the speaker had mispronounced an Arabic word; he had pronounced it with a fatha (the short "a" vowel), when it should have been a kesra (the short "i" vowel). "What could he possibly have to say of value," fulminated the professor, "When he cannot even speak Arabic properly?"

It takes a lot to shock me, but I remember being astounded by the emotional immaturity and intellectual dishonesty of that professor. He was totally unable to grasp the import of the diplomat's lecture because he could not get beyond the fact that he had mispronounced a word in Arabic.

I had forgotten the incident until I noticed today that the website loonwatch did the  same with Translating Jihad, whose author calls himself Al Mutarjim (the translator). When he first began the website, he made the grammatical mistake of calling himself Al Mutarjam (that which is translated). Ironically, he made the same mistake as the diplomat by using a fatha when he should have used a kesra. And just as the professor in his immaturity was unable to see beyond that mistake, loonwatch is the same.

I find it interesting that the mistake Al Mutarjim made is the same one Arabic speakers make all the time. Since words are usually unvowelled in Arabic, the words Al Mutarjim and Al Mutarjam in the Arabic press look exactly the same, AL-MTRJM. I can't tell you how many times I have been listening to an Arabic lecture or interview and heard the speaker self-correct as in, "wal-mutarjam la la, al-mutarjim" - "and the, I meant to say the Mutarjim."

After spending pages attacking Al Mutarjim, loonwatch then mocked the fact that after he recognized his grammatical faux pas he went back and corrected it. Hello? Is anybody home? That is what makes America great. When we make mistakes we correct them.

And that is the very thing Muslims are not allowed to do - recognize mistakes and self-correct. Muslims are the only people in the entire world who live in voluntary enslavement, unable to criticize their Prophet, his book, or their religion. Ask a Saudi archaeologist why the Quran describes the dwellings carved in the rocks at Madayn Salah as houses built by the Thamudians when he knows they were tombs dug out by the Natabeans, and sense his discomfort. Ask an Indonesian embryologist why the Quran describes the fetus as an initial skeleton when her sonogram informs her that is not true, and watch her response. Ask an Islamic scholar why Muhammad promised heavenly rewards to those who killed geckos with one strong blow, and listen to him try to explain. Ask a doctor if it is true that you don't need to worry about insects dropping in your soup, because "one wing carries the illness, but the other carries the cure".

And if you are an intelligent young 17 year old Muslim girl, ask yourself if you could imagine yourself falling in love with the 62 year old man who had exiled your family from their home, beheaded your father and brother on the same day, tortured and beheaded your husband, and then raped you that night? Then ask yourself how you could possibly believe that about Muhammad's wife Safiya.

These are hard questions Muslims don't even allow themselves to think about, much less discuss. It's much easier to just kill the messenger. Or, in this case, attack Al Mutarjim.

1 comment:

observant observer said...

Agree 100%, it's endemic in the Muslim world.

Just last week in my place of work we were discussing a man cheating on his wife and considering to marry his affair for the reason that his wife is currently ill so she cannot serve him his "needs", he was even considering to divorce his wife. My Muslim friend who is a woman was so much against a notion that in Islam, Muhammad had allowed this kind of practice to marry another woman in case the wife cannot perform the "duty" of a wife.
Her reason is obvious that man would not find it fair either if the man was sick, then the wife has the excuse to cheat on her husband and even considering leaving him.

The problem is that this friend of mine still cannot criticize her prophet saying that for the prophet, he "obviously" had such privilege to marry another wife if her wife was sick or couldn't perform her duty and to divorce her. This kind of "privilege" wouldn't ever be discussed, only accepted as "fact".