Muslim woman twists Tolkien into crusade apologist

Muslim woman twists Tolkien into crusade apologist

Talk about your tendentious readings of a book, not even understanding it for what it actually says. The Canadian Council of Muslim Women proposes some “long-term strategies”, presumably for trying to convince the rest of us that christianity and the West are at fault for all the unpleasantness with Muslim terrorists and jihadists. Here’s one of the proposals concerning a particularly well-loved book:

Identify sources, which propagate destructive Messianic ideology and address them, e.g. Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, which can imbue children and teens with the “hate” ethos. For example, in Lord of the Rings, free peoples of the West and North enter an all-out war with the terror-inflicting forces of the South and East, in Middle Earth (Middle East?), for the second time after a thousand-year lapse (crusades?). On the border of the conflict lies the land of Gondor (Palestine?), run by a steward, and awaiting the coming of a king, who is also a healer (Messiah?). Interesting is Saruman (Catholic church?), the leader of a group of priest- or monk-like wizards, who in the previous conflict lead the wizards, but has turned evil, thereby necessitating the new leader, Gandalph (Evangelicals/Masonites/templars/another church?). Also interesting is the steward (Jews?), who fails to accept the new king and dies a pagan death. As we can see, this book promotes a disturbing world-view, made even more disturbing by the fact that it is widely read by teens and young persons.

Say what? Funny that when the book was actually written most of the Middle East was still barely out of the Middle Ages, it bears no resemblance at all to what Tolkien himself said about his book. In fact, he even rejected the most simplistic analogical interpretation of his work, that it was a reference to the then-contemporaneous World War II fight against the Nazis.

And just what was the problem that this “suggested strategy” was supposed to deal with?

The rise of a destructive, war-like, Messianic ethos, with a discourse of “good” and “evil,” and large-scale destructive policies, as manifested in war against Afghans, Iraqis and others.

As Melanie said to me upon reading it: opposed to “the rise of a destructive war-like Muslim ethos with a discourse of jihad and large-scale destructive policies as manifested in the terror attacks on 9/11 and other terrorist actions.”

[Thanks to Kathy Shaidle for the link.]

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  • “The rise of a destructive, war-like, Messianic ethos, with a discourse of “good” and “evil,” and large-scale destructive policies, as manifested in war against Afghans, Iraqis and others.”

    Hmmm… what about the tens and tens of thousands of Muslims murdered in Algeria in the 1990s…murdered by fellow Muslims.

    What about the slavery, oppression and religious persecution against non-Muslims in places like the Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

    What about the violence being committed in the name of Islam in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, India, etc.

  • If you took the time to read the entire piece which was linked to the blog, did anyone else pick up on the obvious and unsupportable contrast in the discussion terms proposed by the author of the Council’s piece for the terms “terrorist” and “zealot”? Or am I reading something into this that isn’t warranted…

    The Canadian Council for Muslin Women says that the term “terrorist” is “not used self-critically by non-Muslims, for example, when analyzing the effect of American carpet-bombers on the Afghan population.  The term seems to be used by those in power to designate the “other,” usually disempowered persons, perhaps to justify atrocities committed against them, e.g. in the Afghan context.” At the same time, the Council suger-coats the violent Muslim terrorists by merely labelling them “zealots,” which it defines as those “associated with excessive zeal.  In connection with Muslims who commit violent activites for ideological reasons, “zealot” is more apt than “terrorist” since it stresses the “zeal” motivation as opposed to the “terror” motivation.

    Hmmm….So, let me get this straight…we are the ones who are the REAL terrorists, while the perpetrators of September 11, various embassy bombings, street violence and the USS Cole bombing are merely “zealots” who have been a tad bit “overenthusiastic” in their zest for their faith.

    The obvious and troubling twisting of the words and meaning of Tolkien’s classic epic (pointed out so well by Domenico) aside, how can anyone doubt that words are the weapons of the “culture war,” and that those who cannot win based on the simplicity and clarity of their ideas must resort to attempting to change the lexicon of discussion in an effort to confuse the public.

  • To be fair, while some of their readings (Saruman as the Catholic Church – don’t they know Tolkien was a Catholic?) are a bit iffy, it is quite possible to read a crusading subtext into LOTR, with Rohan &c as NW Europe, Gondor as Byzantium, and Mordor lying to the east and south-east.  Don’t forget that the Men who side with Sauron are the “Easterlings”.  It is quite legit for a Muslim to point this out – though calling for it to be banned is another thing.
      Similarly, I think the role of the Calormenes in the later Narnia books actually detracts from the story because the focus of evil is moved to an external enemy rather than within; and the idea of Muslims literally worshipping the Devil in the form of the bird-god Tash is a bit questionable.