Crusaders, terrorists, more Islamist outrage

March 10, 2006

This story about encouraging Australian schoolchildren to equate Christian Crusaders with terrorists has been picked up around the anti-Islamist blogosphere, notably at the indefatigable Dhimmi Watch, but if it’s attracted attention here in the Ozblogosphere, I must have missed it.

For a taste:

“Like the Crusaders … they were told they would go straight to heaven when they died,” the book says. “Those who destroyed the World Trade Center are regarded as terrorists. Might it be fair to say that Crusaders who attacked the Muslim inhabitants of Jerusalem were also terrorists?”

I loved ‘…are regarded as terrorists’, and the gentle, insinuating, ‘Might it be fair to say that…’

More, including some pretty lame justifications, here.

Mary Bluett, union official:

It’s really about teaching young people to analyse the words being said, think about their response and justify their response. It’s a tool for teaching them how to advance an opinion and back it up.

Michael Horsley, education bureaucrat:

It isn’t a matter of what’s written on paper. Any text can be interpreted in many different ways by children – and that’s where the teacher’s knowledge and expertise comes in.

Umm, right.


Meanwhile, another of my favourite writers — this one long dead — has fallen foul of Islamist ire. Last year, the town of Saint-Denis-Pouilly, France, wanted to stage a reading of Voltaire’s Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet. Muslim protests were predictably ignited, but rather than capitulating, the local mayor called in police to protect the theatre and the readers. True to French form, a riot broke out, and cars were torched.

I’ve not read the play in question, but from what I know of Voltaire’s work, I expect his real target, suitably disguised, was not Islam at all, but the Roman Catholic Church. After all, he cheekily dedicated Mahomet to the Pope. And the Church did, indeed, get the message — in August 1742 forcing the withdrawal of the play from the Theatre Francais after only one week of successful performances.

Voltaire was a tireless crusader (yes, one of those) against tyranny, especially the religious kind. It was said that, so powerful was his revulsion at the slaughter of French Huguenots (Protestants) during the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, two hundred years earlier, that he broke out in a fever every year on its anniversary.

The St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre,
August 1572

Radical Islam finds terminal fault with such a man, and such works. Perhaps we should not be surprised.

Update: An editor in Yemen is the latest to face death over the Danish cartoons. Via Pia Causa, who’s doing a great job keeping up with the issue.

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