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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

"The brutality of hope" by Zev Chafets

from the NY Daily News
The current issue of Newsweek has been banned in Pakistan.

The magazine's offense was publishing a story about a scholar who claims the Koran has been misinterpreted by Islamic clerics. The scholar, writing under the pseudonym Christoph Luxenberg, says the verse offering "dark-eyed virgins" to martyrs actually promises them, in a closer reading, "white raisins."

This will have come, I'm sure, as a disappointment to Uday and Qusay Hussein, recently arrived in paradise. I can picture them staring sadly at their boxes of Sunkist, wondering how the Zionists stole the virgins.

What I call the Anti-World, Chafets calls a "bizarre parallel universe," fueled by "willful stupidity."
I disagree with him about the effects of the fall of Hussein. While I prefer to remain hopeful, Chafets thinks that U.S. actions have strengthened Arab unification ("What most unites them is their commitment to common means of control - delusion and paranoia and xenophobia.") and opposition ("The Islamic establishment from Morocco to Pakistan is intent on defeating Prof. Bush's grand experiment.")

Definitely worth reading.