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What did we expect when we chose to pay for a madrasah?

What did we expect when we chose to pay for a madrasah?

Author: Kevin Myers
Publication: Independent.ie
Date: June 19, 2009
URL: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/what-did-we-expect-when-we-chose-to-pay-for-a-madrasah-1779337.html

Was anyone in the Department of Education even remotely surprised by the virtual failure of the Muslim school in Cabra to achieve even minimal standards of education?

It was effectively established as a madrasah, which would produce good little Muslims. That, I have no doubt, is what it has achieved. To be sure, they might not be well-educated little Muslims, and their career prospects are probably poor. But at least they are Muslims, the production of which was the intended function of the school.

Needless to say, no other country in Europe has allowed the creation of a separate Muslim educational system. That is Ireland's melancholy contribution to the brainless heresy that is multiculturalism.

However, we are not alone in such cultural folly. In his truly wretched speech in Cairo on June 4, Barack Obama created a Muslim world which simply doesn't exist, and never has. He accordingly reimagined history to credit Islam with the invention of the compass, of algebra, of pens and of printing. Sorry, Barack, old fellow, but the Chinese got to most of those first; and the greatest mathematic concept of all -- the notion of zero, with a digit to represent it (a truly staggering intellectual advance), was the creation of Hindu civilisation.

But that's what Western commentators always do when talking about the glories of Islam: they go back a thousand years or more and talk of Alhambra and how Islam cherished the great works of Ancient Greece, while Christian Europe had forgotten them. Blah blah blah. And President Obama indulged in another stereotype when he added western imperialism had denied "rights and opportunities to many Muslims".

Hold on there. The first great truly global empire was the Islamic one, which spread from Arabia into Europe, North Africa and Europe in the century after Mohammed. It conquered by the sword, and ruled by the sword, and the Crusades were merely a logical European response to its ruthless imperial ambitions. And later, what would have happened to western civilisation if Don John had not been victorious at Lepanto? Or if Vienna in 1683 had fallen to the armies of the Caliph?

Islamic imperialism under the Moguls changed India: hence Pakistan today. Islamic slave traders ranged across the world, from west Cork to east Africa. It was Muslims who introduced the great slave bazaars, where western Europeans obtained the poor creatures to work in their Caribbean and American plantations. And the longest-lasting empire of them all in recent centuries was that of the Ottomans, whose writ ran from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. I personally regret the destruction of that empire: I would rather Saudi Arabia were ruled from Istanbul, than by the urbane savages who now govern it. But let us not pretend that the Ottoman Empire was other than an empire, in which Christians were second-class citizens, or that Muslims were always the colonised, rather than what they actually often were: conquerors and empire-makers.

Obama fatuously boasted in Cairo that the US government had gone to court to defend the right of Muslim women to wear the hijab "and to punish those who would deny it" (his words). Well, for a US President to be proud of American legal measures to intensify gender-apartheid tells us how far down the road of cultural-appeasement the West has gone. And believe me, when the legal triumph of the hijab leads to the full facial veil -- as it inevitably will, as part of the great Islamic imperial project -- that legal victory is one that the US government will come to regret, and sooner or later, have to undo.

History aside, what is the Islamic world achieving today? The Islamic School at Cabra might be seen as a template for the triumphs of Greater Arabia. Not one of its universities is in the top 200 universities of the world. It has no great institutions of research. No branch of science or technology prospers in any Muslim country. No electronic or medical discoveries are ever made in a Muslim society. No Islamic country has its own indigenous aircraft factory or computer industry. The combined GDP of all Arab countries, once gas and oil are discounted, is the same as that of Finland.

More foreign-language books are translated into Spanish every year than have been translated into Arabic in the past 300 years. No Muslim country is so successful that immigrants are queuing to get in, which is just as well, because no Muslim country is so tolerant that it welcomes even moderate numbers of non-Muslim immigrants.

These are basic truths, that are so simple and obvious that A) no one ever says them, and B) our vigilante thought-police will probably seek to imprison those who do say them.

But let Cabra, which of course is funded by the taxpayer, speak for itself. Over an hour every day is spent in rote-learning of Arabic and the Koran, and in ritual cleansing. That is perhaps one fifth of the available teaching time, so educational standards are bound to suffer.

But, at least the school is mass producing devout little Muslims, which will be just fine and dandy, if Cabra ever becomes Cabrabia.

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