Friday, 6 May 2011

My Brother the Islamist

"My Brother the Islamist" is a documentary made by Rob Leech in 2010 about his stepbrother.  His step brother who was called Rich converted to Islam, under the now infamous Anjem Choudary, and took the name Salahuddin.

General opinion of the film:  It is worth watching.  It is thought provoking and entertaining.  Quite funny in parts and quite scary in others.  It's what I call factional fict.  Or was that fictional fact.  It is about factual people who have fictional ideas that they think are factual and fictionalise fact and factualise fiction.

It's a weird film because it is presented by a softly spoken 'normal' English guy and he presents the weirdness and anomalies of his step brother as if this is Islam.  By the end of the film I imagine a lot of people will think that the prejudices that abound about Islam are reasonable.  This is perhaps a little prejudicial itself.  On watching the film and hearing the announcements of Salahuddin my reaction was to do a bit of investigating.  He claims, for example, that "The worst of the Muslims is better than the best of the Kafir (or Kuffar).  That is a fact.  That's why the Kafir will burn in hell for eternity."  Well this sounds a little severe since Kafir is a term which in common usage suggests any non-Muslim.  However it actually refers to any non monotheists.  So Christians and Jews are not Kafir.  It is said to be a non-pejorative word.  In that case, given that we are all at liberty to hold our own beliefs, it seems reasonable that he is expressing the view that, translated into Christian terms, is simply saying that Jesus is the only way to heaven.  if you don't believe in God you can't go to heaven.  As far as I am concerned these things are perfectly fine analogies for discussing one's understanding of the dynamics of life.  But taken literally they are arbitrary nonsense.  There is no God.  There is no heaven.  These are not demonstrable realities they are inventions by humans to try to explain their experience.  The problems only begin to arise when some people not only think they are real but need to get other people to agree with them as if to confirm their belief.  Now taking what Salahuddin actually said it appears to me that he is simply a psychological disaster.  He is insecure and needs to condemn other people to make himself feel okay.  It is clear that whatever "literal" justification or excuses can be made for his remarks that he was actually just being offensive to anyone who doesn't agree with him.  He has sold out because in order to feel secure he has ascribed to someone else's dogma.  Now he goes around like a foot soldier with a sense of identity and a courage born of a perceived higher power than himself.  He's okay.  And all these other Kafir are not.  Personally I wouldn't stop him saying the stuff that he says but I do disagree with him and I think he attempts to foster negative feelings in other people.  My response to him is that he is a poor broken boy who has grown up and got mad.  (I blame the parents.)  He is arrogant, sanctimonious, judgemental and a bit of a control freak.  So what?  You get those types in all religions.  What has that got to do with Islam.  During the violent and tragic troubles in Libya at the moment there are thousands of Libyans escaping to Tunisia.  The Tunisians are taking these people into their houses and looking after them.  These are mostly Muslims.  I doubt you would see this level of personal kindness in many Christian countries.  It is not about the religion it is about people.  I dislike all religions because the proverbial crap floats to the top.  Salahuddin is, in my opinion, a misguided and prejudicial character.  His views are only expressed through his beliefs they are not the defining beliefs of Muslims.  On that basis I think the film is possibly as guilty of propagating prejudice as it tries to suggest Islam is.

My own view, for what it is worth, is that all Abrahamic religions are an abdication of responsibility and result in the very opposite of what they profess to believe in.  I find them appalling aberrations of what could otherwise be sensitive, insightful, powerful, creative and beautiful sentient life in the universe.  They fictionalise goodness and expel it from reality.  They, in words from the Bhagavad Gita, made famous by Oppenheimer, "have become death and the destroyer of worlds".  So don't get me wrong I do not like Islam.  I don't like Christianity and I don't like Judaism.  I am clear about that.  It doesn't mean that a lot of people who in my opinion mistakenly think they believe in these religions aren't very kind, loving people.

This film however is a little insidious in the way it tries to define Islam by looking at the worst of Salahuddin.  It polarises and engenders fear and hatred.  But it does it less openly than its opponent.  Doing the Toxic Drums psychoanalysis and visionary divination to predict the future I will say that you can expect to see a lot more of the tragic case of Salahuddin as he becomes more emboldened and compulsively addicted to his own fame.  He is in effect creating his own glorious end.

I would like to add that I have nothing personal against Salahuddin (cough cough - sorry I have a frog in my throat) but I did find it amusing that he was walking down a street in Weymouth in the summer complaining about random people saying "You see the culture has become even more homosexual ... you see young men dressed like women or whatever nowadays." and he is wearing a dress.  He can't even make his mind up because under his dress he is wearing trousers.  Since we are apparently comfortable stereotyping all and sundry willy-nilly that makes me wonder about him.

Gosh I am outspoken.  Get back in yer box Sam.

1 comment:

  1. Saw it first time around.....Oh my England...what have they let you become?

    'The enemy within' springs to what passes for my mind...