Thursday, June 26, 2008

McEwan Addresses Recent Statement on Islamism

Certain remarks of mine to an Italian journalist have been widely misrepresented in the UK press, and on various websites. Contrary to reports, my remarks were not about Islam, but about Islamism - perhaps 'extremism' would be a better term. I grew up in a Muslim country - Libya - and have only warm memories of a dignified, tolerant and hospitable Islamic culture. I was referring in my interview to a tiny minority who preach violent jihad, who incite hatred and violence against 'infidels', apostates, Jews and homosexuals; who in their speeches and on their websites speak passionately against free thought, pluralism, democracy, unveiled women; who will tolerate no other interpretation of Islam but their own and have vilified Sufism and other strands of Islam as apostasy; who have murdered, among others, fellow Muslims by the thousands in the market places of Iraq, Algeria and in the Sudan. Countless Islamic writers, journalists and religious authorities have expressed their disgust at this extremist violence. To speak against such things is hardly 'astonishing' on my part (Independent on Sunday) or original, nor is it 'Islamophobic' and 'right wing' as one official of the Muslim Council of Britain insists, and nor is it to endorse the failures and brutalities of US foreign policy. It is merely to invoke a common humanity which I hope would be shared by all religions as well as all non-believers.

Ian McEwan, June 2008


Blogger Silviu Gherman said...

I have read the interview and noticed you paid particular attention to the distinction between "Islam" and "Islamism". However, I feel your argument is incomplete. All Muslim countries all barely functioning, with the exception of (still) secular Turkey, and Islam (be it Wahhabism or a milder form) has surely something to do with it.

June 26, 2008 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger Silviu Gherman said...

EDIT "All Muslim coutries ARE barely functioning". Sorry

June 26, 2008 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Srilamma said...

I wonder why people who criticise Islam get hammered the most. The media in the UK is extremely biased. Their depiction of the recent Mumbai attacks, for instance, had them repeating their shockingly false canard of "India not having enough evidence against Pakistan." Such hypocritical and one-sided journalism is shocking and I wonder where it is coming from. Religion, like everything else in a free society, deserves to be questioned if it is demonising other people's ways of life. I have lost all my respect for the UK papers (especially the Guardian -- how the so-called mighty have fallen) and I am appalled that fine writers like Martin Amis are being attacked so vehemently.

January 6, 2009 at 11:23 AM  
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Blogger krasnimeanzred said...

I offer my best regards!

I wish all people, no matter if atheists, believers or non-believers, were also as conscious and wise as you are, Mr.McEwan.

I came by after I watched Atonement, and was extremely touched by the story; I think now I really have to read your Book-Version also..

January 2, 2012 at 8:53 AM  

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