Author Sebastian Faulks recently made derogatory remarks about the Koran saying that it lacked an “ethical dimension” and that it did not stack up favorably to the Christian tradition (which is his own):
“Jesus, unlike Muhammad, had interesting things to say. Muhammad had nothing to say to the world other than, ‘If you don’t believe in God you will burn for ever’. … It’s a depressing book. It really is. It’s just the rantings of a schizophrenic. It’s very one-dimensional, and people talk about the beauty of the Arabic and so on, but the English translation I read was, from a literary point of view, very disappointing.”
Now, having been warned about the threat of “Muslim fury,” he is profusely retracting, claiming that the context was not adequately presented by the reporter in the interview and, reasonably enough asserting that a powerful ruler such as Muhammad could not have been schizophrenic. That’s all fine by me. But this part of his apology is what I found chilling:
While we Judaeo-Christians can take a lot of verbal rough-and-tumble about our human-written scriptures, I know that to Muslims the Koran is different; it is by definition beyond criticism. And if anything I said or was quoted as saying (not always the same thing) offended any Muslim sensibility, I do apologise – and without reservation.
I mean, seriously, is this how 21st Century Westerners really envision the future of 21st and 22nd and 23rd Century human global affairs—a situation in which a billion people belong to a religion that keeps them intellectually in the 7th Century? I’m REALLY waiting for some Westerners to actually confront the Islamic world with unashamed reason, rather than cowtow to its delusions and treat the delusions rather than the people’s intelligence as deserving of respect.
(via New Humanist Blog)