Friday, January 18, 2013


Alongside "Salafism" (the latest fashionable way of denoting that fantasy category, the "extremist" Muslim putatively distinguished from the "moderate" Muslim -- the latter, of course, assumed to represent the vast majority of Muslims), there is the little-known (if I did not coin it myself) term Saladinism.

By this term, I mean this subtle notion many have (particularly scholars steeped in the study of Islam, yet for all their erudition, still infected by varying degrees of PC MC) that certain Muslims are wise, intelligent, merciful, reasonable -- and though they may be fierce opponents in battle, they nevertheless are admirable for their lofty principles, and certainly not "savages".  An almost Oriental quality imbues this type of Muslim, implicitly evoking the Westerner's fascination for, and even attraction to, the "wisdom of the East".

The Muslim leader Saladin, one of the most famous Muslims of the Middle Ages, against whom our Crusaders fought in the 12th century, is the gold standard of this myth.

I've been avoiding really digging into Ibn Warraq's comprehensive study of the Saladin myth posted in drips and drabs on Jihad Watch over the past couple of years.  But I intend to plunge in within the near future, and then see what there is to learn about this important dimension to the West's perspective on Islam -- much of it pre-dating, by Ibn Warraq's sources, what we would think of as PC MC, let alone "Leftism" -- but constituting, perhaps, an important precursor, that helps illuminate why the West in more recent times has succumbed to this most curious myopia on such a massive scale.

As of this week, Ibn Warraq has posted part 43 of his survey and analysis.  Though each part is forgivingly brief, that still adds up to a lot of reading; and much of it is dense, as it often represents lengthy quotes from scholars of yore.  This essay here, then, is just a tentative introduction to what I hope to expatiate upon in the hopefully not too distant future.

I invite the reader to get a head start on me, if they like.

1 comment:

Nobody said...

It's really hard to follow Warraq's essays, even though I've tried, given that it's been split into 40 parts. Warraq should publish it when it's complete, so that one can learn about the myth of Saladin, whom Arabs, Kurds and Turks all like to claim as their own.