Hugh Fitzgerald: Ed Husain on the British Museum and “The True Face of Islam” (Part One)

Ed Husain, a self-described former Muslim extremist who now heads the Quilliam Foundation, dedicated to turning Muslims away from Jihadist activities, is ecstatic about the exhibit of artifacts of Islamic civilization at the British Museum that opened last November.

In Britain today, Islam in its original essence is not to be found in mosques or Muslim schools, but on the first floor of the British Museum. There, the Albukhary Islamic gallery, newly opened to the public, dazzles visitors and defies every certainty promoted by today’s hardline Muslim activists. This spectacular exhibition of objects from across continents and centuries shows us a history of continuity of civilisations, coexistence of communities. It offers a compelling corrective to current popular notions of Islam as an idea and a civilisation.

What “certainties” are those “promoted by today’s hardline Muslim activists”? That it is the duty of Muslims to follow the commandments, found in 109 verses in the Qur’an, to wage violent Jihad? That it is a Muslim’s duty to “strike terror” in the hearts of the Unbelievers? That Muslims should not take Christians and Jews as friends “for they are friends only with each other”? That non-Muslims are “the most vile of created beings”? How do exhibits of Iznik tiles, Persian miniatures, Qur’anic calligraphy, Islamic coinage, illustrations of epic romances, oriental carpets, astrolabes, do anything to undermine those Qur’anic commands to wage Jihad against Infidels, to strike terror in their hearts, to avoid being friends with Christians and Jews, and to despise the “vile” Unbelievers? None of these Qur’anic verses are the least bit softened by that display of astrolabes, carpets, ceramics, and Arabic calligraphy.

via Hugh Fitzgerald: Ed Husain on the British Museum and “The True Face of Islam” (Part One)

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