The ad, I mean press release, describes the participants as "leading dissidents" and "bold critics of orthodoxy." The chair of the meeting, Ibn Warraq, is praised as a"rationalist critic and acclaimed author." (his latest book is Defending the West against Said's Orientalism). The summit itself is hailed as "unprecedented," its aim (aside from killing me) is to "Launch Movement for Reason, Pluralism, and Freedom of Conscience." Ya. From Florida.
But seriously, the aim of the summit is no less than starting the age of Enlightenment in the Islamic world. I'm dying to go. Why would I want to miss seeing Ibn Warraq standing on top of the summit thundering: "Let there be Light." On his right will be Irshad Manji, shaking her head roboticly and murmuring, "proof positive, proof positive." On his left will be Nonie Darwish (no relation to Mahmoud Darwish) chanting, "I love Israel, and bamout fe Sharon" (she's bilingual, you see, and founder of "Arabs for Israel." Behind them will be Wafa Sultan, the
So much for secularism. They've kidnapped Ibn Rushd, degraded him, and put him in the service of an agenda that doesn't give a hoot about true reform or democracy.
They really are making secularism a dirty word.
Secular men and women who risk their lives and livelihoods standing up against injustice, who have been fighting for democracy in their societies, who have spoken out against the Ben Ladens when some were allying themselves with them--those seculars are ignored, jailed, harassed, assassinated, and called "professors of terror," as the late Edward Said was called. But these bozos are given money to hold summits, to bring more bozos from the Arab world to give them some legitimacy, and are celebrated as "bold" and "courageous."
But you know what. I won't give up on secularism because of a bunch of charlatans, just the way Muslims will not give up on Islam because of a bunch of Ben Ladens.