About Fitna Movie
By: Ulil Abshar-Abdalla
Islamism may not compatible with the culture of enlightenment. But I don’t think that Islam oppose it although not everything is parallel with each other. I believe that Islam can absorb the values of European enlightenment. We have to remember that the history of European enlightenment is closely correlated with Islam. Several Muslim thinkers had even been the inspirations for the European humanists in 16th and 17th century.
Concerning Geert Wilders and his film Fitna?, we have to realize that this incident does not reflect the position of western society in general. On one hand, we find people such as Wilders who deeply hate Islam. On the other hand, we find Cardinal Rowan William, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who sparked a religious and political storm in the
Suspicion and negative assumption against Islam has been prevailing among western society, just as Muslim society has toward the Christian and the West. However, I observed that the western society has gradually inclined toward the more positive outlook upon diverse cultures. Here, I talked about the general tendency.
Of course, there is also some negative predisposition and there will always be. However, looking back at the history of western society, the indication is very much different as compared to their viewpoint beyond a century ago for instance. Nowadays, western society has begun to abandon their euro-centrism although they sometimes failed in some points. We must remember that the western society has been going through very complicated and difficult roads to reach today’s condition.
I observed that Wilders phenomenon is a reflection of insecure feeling vis-a-vis the new cultural attacks from the outside of
Wilders incident is also reflection of the religious illiteracy among western society. Because of the extensive secularization, western society did not obtain sufficient education and information about the rich tradition of major religions of the world. They immediately amazed to find some of the Holy Book verses that oppose their rationalism. That is why Wilders has issued very harsh statement about Islam. In fact, the Holy Book of every religion contains of problematic statement as compared with the modern sensibility, if they were only literally comprehended.
To me, Wilders stands in the similar position with the fundamentalists everywhere: which is to understand religious text apart from its context, and to ignore the complexity of history of religious text interpretation. The different among both of them is only one: while Wilders cursed those literally comprehended religious texts, the fundamentalists tightly embraced it for 24 hours.