Hoodbhoy: Islam og videnskaben er gået hver sin vej

Et spændende interview med Pakistans førende videnskabsmand, en af de mest fremtrædende intellektuelle i landet, Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy, som er st...

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Et spændende interview med Pakistans førende videnskabsmand, en af de mest fremtrædende intellektuelle i landet, Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy, som er stærkt kritisk overfor islam-bølgen, der er skyllet over hans eget hjemland og trængt den rationelle tanke og videnskaben i defensiven. Men Hoodbhoy holder fast i, at teologi ikke forklarer mørkets sejr i disse år over intellektets lys:

"Hoodbhoy: This question must be disaggregated and examined at many levels. It cannot be answered simply in terms of mere theology—the Bible contains elements of extreme violence and yet the vast majority of scientists who are believing Christians are also peaceful people. What brought about the global Islamist wave is a much more relevant question. It is, in some ways, the Muslim version of anti-colonialism and a reaction to the excesses of the West, combined with an excessive traditionalism.

MEQ: What role do you think is played by the ulema in blocking new knowledge by imposing the rulings against innovation?

Hoodbhoy: The traditional ulema are indeed a problem, but they are not the biggest one; the biggest problem is Islamism, a radical and often militant interpretation of Islam that spills over from the theological domain into national and international politics. Whenever and wherever religious fundamentalism dominates, blind faith clouds objective and rational thinking. If such forces take hold in a society, they create a mindset unfavorable for critical inquiry, including scientific inquiry, with its need to question received wisdom.

MEQ: Have religious conservatism and anti-science attitudes among Muslims always been as strong as today? Or were Muslims more pro-science, say, a hundred years ago?

Hoodbhoy: In my childhood, the traditional ulema—who are so powerful today—were regarded as rather quaint objects and often ridiculed in private. Centuries ago the greatest poets of Persia, like Hafiz and Rumi, stripped away the mullahs' religious pretensions and exposed their stupidity. Today, however, those same mullahs have taken control of the Iranian republic.

The answer lies just as much in the domain of world politics as in theology. Khomeini developed the doctrine known as "guardianship of the clergy," which gives the mullahs much wider powers than they generally exercised in the past. Instead of being simple religious leaders, they now became political leaders as well. This echoes the broader Islamic fusion of the spiritual and the temporal. [...]"

Man havde gerne set, at Hoodbhoy satte en mere præcis finger på, hvorfra islamismen og traditionalismen udspringer. Iran er langt fra så indflydelsesrig en islamiseringsspiller som Saudiarabien, der bl.a. i Pakistan, men over stort set hele den muslimske verden (og udenfor såmænd også) har spillet den afgørende rolle i Muslimistans generelle omfavnelse af tradition og religion de seneste årtier.