B Lewis, enraging Islam

Horse’s mouth # 3, a beauty :

The movement nowadays called fundamentalism is not the only Islamic tradition. … and we may hope that these other traditions will in time prevail. But before this issue is decided there will be a hard struggle, in which we of the West can do little or nothing. … And in the meantime we must take great care on all sides to avoid the danger of a new era of religions wars, arising from the exacerbation of differences and the revival of ancient prejudices. (60)

This is B Lewis in peroration to « The Roots of Muslim Rage », 1990, after having organized the discursive setup for exactly this language game : casting the reading of the present situation in terms of a religious war between Islam (actually made indistinguishable from « fundamentalism » in the very  course of the article) and « our Judeo-Christian heritage » (60 – somehow made to equate with securalism and democracy), in terms of war, in terms of exacerbation of difference and in terms of ancient motivations ; motivations welling from ancient = natural essential traits. (Huntington clearer still, coarser, on this particular line.)

The tropology of polemics : how often it is the case that the terms for a deconstruction of the polemist’s own discourse are made readily available in the very terms they use to denounce their target. A miroir miroir et demi.


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