Debatten om Ayaan Hirsi Ali handler mye om prestisje. Ingen ønsker å ha sittende på seg at de overkjører henne. Men tyrkiskfødte Necla Kelek vil ikke la Ian Buruma slippe unna.

Debatten i er også en slags offisiell brytekamp. Hvem har vinden i ryggen, de beste argumentene, og publikums sympati? Jeg mener å registrere at det er Ayaan og hennes forsvarere som har styrket sine aksjer. De står sterkere idag enn for bare et år siden. Argumentene er blitt bedre, mer gjennomtrengende.

Når Buruma forsøker seg med at hvordan kan en «bekjennende ateist» lære muslimene noe, får han svar. Hørt om «Guden som sviktet»? Der desillusjonerte kommunister tar et oppgjør med sin «tro»? Hvorfor skulle ikke en frafallen muslim være et like gyldig sannhetsvitne?

Det er hele tiden argumentet mot Ayaan at hun er for ekstrem. Buruma kaller henne Opplysnings-fundamentalist. Han hevder mange av hans venner også er det. Betakke meg for å ha en venn som gir slike karakteristikker!

Garton Ash mener også at Ayaans syn ikke har noen mulighet til å påvirke den vanlige muslim i Europa. Men tror Ayaan det? Jeg er rimelig sikker på at hun kjenner oddsene og vet at det blir en lang fight.

Now every man and woman in Europe must self-evidently be free to advance such atheist or agnostic views, without fear of persecution, intimidation, or censorship. I regard it as a profound shame for Holland and Europe that we Europeans could not keep among us someone like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whose intention was to fight for a better Holland and a better Europe. But I do not believe that she is showing the way forward for most Muslims in Europe, at least not for many years to come. A policy based on the expectation that millions of Muslims will so suddenly abandon the faith of their fathers and mothers is simply not realistic. If the message they hear from us is that the necessary condition for being European is to abandon their religion, then they will choose not to be European. For secular Europeans to demand that Muslims adopt their faith—secular humanism—would be almost as intolerant as the Islamist jihadist demand that we should adopt theirs. But, the Enlightenment fundamentalist will protest, our faith is based on reason! Well, they reply, ours is based on truth!

Jeg har aldri hørt at Ayaan drømmer om at Europas muslimer skal oppgi sin tro. Heller ikke at de skal bli sekulære humanister. Derimot har jeg hørt hun si at religion må bli en privatsak. Det er noe ganske annet.

Her har vi et hovedankepunkt mot både Garton Ash og Buruma: Begge legger mye arbeid i sine artikler. De er uhyre nøye med detaljer. Likevel jukser de med Ayaans intensjoner og oppfatninger.

Kelek tar tyren ved hornene når hun sier: ved å kalle henne en fundamentalist, en som har svingt fra religiøs troende til sekulær troende, reduserer de Ayaans oppfatninger til personlige problemer.

Buruma gjør et stort nummer av den store variasjonen muslimer. Det er med å understreke at Ayaan driver et personlig korstog. Kelek tar ham på ordet.

Islam is a social reality. Despite all differences of detail, in its writings and its philosophy it constitutes a cohesive view of mankind and the world. Let us look at the question of human rights and women’s rights, for example. In those areas, Muslims are very united indeed. On August 5, 1990, 45 foreign ministers of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the highest international secular body in the Muslim world, signed «The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.» In that document, Muslims from around the world expressed their common attitudes towards human rights. It was intended as an appendix to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Cairo Declaration is not binding under international law, but it illuminates the global attitude of Islam with respect to fundamental rights. The fact that it constitutes a minimal consensus, rather than an extreme view, makes it all the more illuminating.

The most important statements of this document are to be found in its two final articles:
Article 24: «All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Sharia.»
Article 25: «The Islamic Sharia is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification [of] any of the articles of this Declaration.»

And in contrast to the UN Declaration, the Cairo Declaration’s preamble states that the members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference reaffirm «the civilizing and historical role of the Islamic Ummah, which God made the best nation that has given mankind a universal and well-balanced civilisation…»

Unlike in democratic constitutions, there is no talk here of the individual, but rather of the Ummah, the Community of the Faithful, the collective. As a logical consequence, the Cairo Declaration acknowledges only those rights specified in the Koran and, in keeping with Sharia, regards only those acts so judged by both the Koran and the Sunnah to be criminal. Article 19 of the Declaration states: «There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Sharia.» Article 2 Paragraph D maintains: «Safety from bodily harm is a guaranteed right. It is the duty of the state to safeguard it, and it is prohibited to breach it without a Sharia-prescribed reason.» That would be the case, for example, according to the Koran’s Sura 17, Verse 33: «And kill no one, for God has forbidden killing, except when you are entitled to do so»! The Koran also says: «When a person is killed unjustly, the nearest relation has authority to take vengeance.» What is that if not a blessing on blood vengeance by Muslim foreign ministers?

Equal rights are not proposed in this Declaration. Rather, in Article 6 it states: «Woman is equal to man in human dignity» – in «dignity» not in rights, since the Koran’s Sura 4, Verse 34 stipulates: «Men are elevated above women, for God has placed them so by nature.» Thus men are given authority to exercise social control over and to denigrate women, as is made clear by Article 22 of the Declaration: «Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Sharia» – that is, the Koran, issued in the seventh century of the Christian calendar and still binding for Muslims today.

And so it continues. Islam is declared the One True Faith, and «no one in principle has the right to suspend … or violate or ignore its commandments, in as much as they are binding divine commandments, which are contained in the Revealed Books of God and were sent through the last of His Prophets… Every person is individually responsible – and the Ummah collectively responsible – for their safeguard.» So states the Cairo Declaration. That statement not only runs contrary to human rights in general, it is an indirect justification of vigilante justice.

Kairo-deklarasjonen er således ikke et kuriosum: det illustrerer at de islamske landenes oppfatning av menneskeretter står over FN-erklæringen. Sharia går foran alt.

Det er denne antagonismen Buruma og Garton Ash ikke ønsker å se.

Kelek reagerer også på Burumas replikk om at det ikke er noe verre med islamske sykehus i Rotterdam enn kosher-restauranter. Det er en utrolig uttalelse fra en professor i demokrati og menneskerettigheter, skriver Kelek. Det handler om å innføre kjønnssegregasjon i Europa!

But Mr Buruma has still more stereotypes up his sleeve. The next one: Islam is a religion like any other, or all religions are equal (or equally awful?). This time it is aimed against his critic, Pascal Bruckner. Mr Buruma writes: «In another typical fit of exaggeration, designed to tar by association, Bruckner mentions the opening of an Islamic hospital in Rotterdam and reserved beaches for Muslim women in Italy. I fail to see why this is so much more terrible than opening kosher restaurants, Catholic hospitals, or reserved beaches for nudists.»

I can tell you, Mr Buruma, why Italian beaches reserved for Muslim women are «so much more terrible.» Unlike kosher dining or a case of the flu requiring hospitalisation, the beach is a Muslim attempt to bring about change. Whether it is headscarves or gender-specific separation of public space, political Islam is trying to establish apartheid of the sexes in free European societies. A Muslim hospital is fundamentally different from a Catholic hospital. In a Muslim hospital, patients are separated according to gender. Men may be treated only by men, women only by women. Muslim female nurses, for example, may not wash male patients, they may not even touch them.

In Germany a growing number of doctors complain of Muslim men trying to prevent their womenfolk from being treated, or even examined, by male physicians in hospitals. I know of Muslim women who are permitted to visit a doctor only when accompanied by their son. In Islamic hospitals the husbands decide whether a caesarian will be carried out, or whether their wives may have themselves sterilised after bearing four children. A recent article (excerpt in English here) in Le Monde gives the startling details. And not long ago the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet carried a news story about a woman radiologist in Istanbul who refused on religious grounds to examine a young man who had been injured in his lower body. That is terrible, Mr Buruma.

Mr Buruma’s stereotypes