Foreword of "Negationism" by Koenraad Elst

Voice of India voi at
Mon Mar 27 21:45:14 UTC 1995


	This book is a much-expanded version of an article titled "Het
Islam-negationisme", published in the September 1992 issue of the
Flemish Catholic monthly "Nucleus", combined with a review of Sitaram
Goel's book "Hindu Temples, What happened to them, vol. 2: The Islamic
Evidence". The review was written for "Infoerient", the Dutch language
periodical of the Asian and Islamic Studies department of my Alma
Mater, the Catholic University of Leuven, under the title "Een Heiden
tegen het Negationisme" ( "A Pagan's Stand against Negationism"). 
However, after some dilly-dallying and moving it around like a hot
potato in the mouth, it was decided that publishing this review was
too dangerous: the good relations with the embassies of Islamic
countries might be harmed, aqnd the dominant trend in what is called
public opinion might object to this highlighting of a frank critique
of Islam. 

	This censorship is at once a good illustration of how the
effective prohibition of Islam crticism has fast become a worldwide
phenomenon. When I discovered the Islam problem during my first stay
in India in 19988, and the concomitant pressure against Islam
criticism, it had still seemed a Third World problem, far removed from
post-Enlightenment Europe. Today, after the Rushdie affair, the
threatened or effective murder of Islam critics (like the Egyptian
Farag Foda), and the threats and administrative sanctions against
Islam critics in Europe by non-Muslim authorities (like the sacking of
the French civil servant Jean-Claude Barreau), the taboo on a frank
discussion of Islam has the whole world in its grip. A study of Islam
negationism, i.e., the denial of its historic crimes against humanity,
has become even more necessary.

	This book develops a theme I have touched upon in my earlier
books on India's "communal" problem, "Ram Janambhoomi vs. Babri
Masjid" and "Ayodhya and After", viz. the practice of systematic
distortion out of political motives, especially the destruction
wrought by Islam in its "jihad" against Hinduism.

	In my study of the Ayodhya controversy, I noticed that the
frequent attempts to conceal or deny inconvenient evidence were an
integral part of a larger effort to rewrite India's history and to
whitewash Islam. It struck me that this effort to deny the unpleasant
facts of Islam's destructive role in Indian history is similar to the
attempts by some European writers to deny the Nazi holocaust. Its goal
and methods are similar, even though its social position is very
different: in Europe, Holocaust negationists are a fringe group
shunned by respectable people, but in India, "jihad" negationists are
in control of the academic establishment and of the press.

	I want to dedicate this book to Boutros Ghali, the new
secretary-general of the United Nations Organization. As a Coptic
Christian in Egypt, he has risen to unusually high posts in the
administration of his country, probably higher than young Copts can
today reasonably look forward to. Though he was sidelined in the end
by being "promoted" to the symbolic post of deputy prime minister, he
gave hope and pride to the fellow-members of his community by climbing
as high as possible for a non-Muslim in a nominally secular state. Of
course, in his difficult position he cannot speak out against the
Islamic oppression which his own community has suffered; but in his
own way, he has contributed to alleviating the hold of Islam on his
part of the world. He played a key role in the Camp David peace treaty
between Egypt and Israel, for which Egypt was thrown out of the Arab
League and president Sadat was killed by Islamic fanatics. The Camp
David treaty proved that a nation can put its national interests and
its desire for peaceful co-existence above its commitment to
pan-Islamic brotherhood with its programme of hatred and
destruction. It has reminded us how in the end, reason is bound to
defeat Islam.

			Delhi, Innocents' Day (28 December) 1992


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