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May 31st, 2010

Ah! Professor Fred Halliday dies untimely death at 64.

It was only a day or two ago that I learnt of the death in April of a great scholar of Islam and its relations with the West, Fred Halliday, Professor of international relations and Middle East politics at the London School of Economics. He was opposed equally to the critics of Islam in the West, who condemn Islam for preaching intolerance, oppression and violence, and to Islamic fundamentalists who approve of the same image of Islam. He was the voice of reason and true understanding, but was passionate and forthright about his rational views.

As someone writes, one of his books “repudiating the idea of a clash between Western and Islamic civilisations, has provoked hostile reaction from both Muslim and non-Muslims”. I am sure you can guess which type of Muslims and non-Muslims these would be.

See his obituary in The Times, London, here.

There is one in the Daily Telegraph, illustrating more clearly what I mean. The link to it is here but unfortunately the obituary is followed by a comment from a bigoted reader who is suffering from a deep malice against Islam, and indulges in false anti-Islamic propaganda.

At this link is an interview with Prof Halliday, which will give you a good idea about his views. For example:

“The dogmatic image of Islam, which is both projected by the enemies of Islam and enforced by fundamentalists, is false to the great richness of Islamic tradition.”

“The reason in my view why fundamentalism has made such an advance here in Europe is because people [meaning Muslims in Europe] are not educated and literate in their own history and culture.”

“People who don’t like Muslims say ‘Islam can’t be democratic’ and certain Muslim rulers say ‘this is a Western system, we don’t want it’ – but it’s got nothing to do with Islam. … I don’t see democracy or human rights conflicting with Muslim culture.”

I first saw Prof Halliday in a TV panel discussion in the early 1980s. Appearing also was one Kalim Siddiqui, a UK Muslim scholar and fundamentalist supporter. Siddiqui said that things had gone wrong in the West since the age of reason began 500 years ago because people no longer accepted religious teachings obediently without question.

Fred Halliday was enraged by this comment. He replied something like: I am proud of the age of reason, and I know you don’t represent Islam, and I look forward to the day when Muslims, exercising reason, throw mullahs like you out of politics.

Yes, Fred Halliday did not mince his words. He will be missed terribly by all those non-Muslims who don’t demonise Islam and all those Muslims who know that the Mullahs have perverted the teachings of Islam in order to gain power over the Muslim masses.

by Zahid Aziz, admirer of Professor Fred Halliday.

2 Responses to “Ah! Professor Fred Halliday dies untimely death at 64.”

  1. I posted the following comment on the Daily Telegraph website above:

    comment 1 by “reader” where he writes:

    >>”true imperialism of Islam: at least 240 million murdered and/or enslaved from Mahomet onwards.”

    Where he got his 240 million from, whereas he seems to be quite apt at quoting the sources for other allegations? What he forgot to mention was the enslavement, exploitation of land and human resources, and forced conversion to Christianity in North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Pacific by countries that are existent today in European Union. What about WW-I, WW-II, Vietnam, Korea, Middle East Wars, Holocaust? Who sapped the world with the decades long cold war? At least Islam has nothing to do with all this. To find the answers, you have to go to the, “racially speaking,” the white corridors of civilized world, which has yet to furnish an apology to hundreds of millions that it killed and billions that it suppressed and deprived in recent history. Walk any street in the white west; chances are that you will be seeing a black person whose grand parents were slaves and whose ancestors took the “commercial voyage” out of Africa and were sold as “property” in the market place, all protected under the constitutions of modern democracies.

    Admittedly, there are quite a few firecrackers going on in Muslim world against which the first voices to be heard and first blood to be shed is that of Muslims themselves. But magnitude of this nuisance pales to what I mentioned above.

    >>”Islamic countries are failures on every level (social, educational, legal, political and humanitarian) because they are Islamic.”

    By a long stretch, maybe he is right for present times, but only to the extent of some of the “countries” and not the people. I invite him to go to any Islamic country of his liking. I am sure at personal level he will be welcomed and he will enjoy a hospitality that will make him return there again. While he is there, he has to ask this fundamental question, who keeps the dictatorial or quasi-democratic regimes in power (this is where money speaks)? Why the compensation of labor are 50-100 times less in foreign exchange in a developing country as compared to any western country, yet the laborer in both countries pay same amount for an egg or a chicken? Why a laborer in west can afford a vacation yearly, whereas the only equivalent vacation that a laborer in a Muslim country can expect is in the Hereafter?  Why this economic fascism?

    In an ideal world, the west can move to a different planet both economically and racially with no trade or mixing with the old world. But my elementary school history teacher taught me that it is not possible because “it is an age of independence and interdependence.” Like it or not, the Muslims countries are here to stay. Days of colonization are over, now “conquer” them with respect, equality, dignity and opportunity. They have nothing against the west. They offered Algebra and Algorithms (basis of silicon valley) before, now they have potentials to offer “Abdus Salams” (nobel laureates) to the world. Next time you use your iPhone, iPad or any computer or gadget, think and thank Al-Khwarizmi, the father of Algebra and Algorithms, and a staunch follower of “Mohamet.”

  2. Qadianis efforts to supersede Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement content on Wikipedia webpages.  According to co-Chairman of Qadianis organization ‘Majlis Sultan-ul-Qalam’