Multicultural Cemetery

Or an Open letter to an educated liberal.
Here’s a compelling editoriail sent to us via email, by Alexander Maistrovoy, a journalist with the Russian-language Israeli newspaper Novosty nedely:

“And for the first time, with a sudden shiver, came the clear knowledge of what the meat I had seen in the Underworld might be. These careless Eloi were mere fatted cattle, which the ant-like Morlocks preserved and preyed upon”
“The Time Machine” of Herbert George Wells
My dear brainy friend!
The communist slogan in the former Soviet Union was: “We say Lenin, we mean the Party, we say the Party, we mean Lenin”. For you it could sound like this: “We say multiculturalism, we mean Islam, we say Islam, we mean multiculturalism”. The Muslim world is the last and sole barrier on the way to your dream about cultural pluralistic society! “Even Spanish can be French”*. An Arab cannot be. In despair you are ready to fasten on a kaffiyeh on yourself and a yashmak on your wife in order to drag a Muslim into your Cloud Castle.
It is your fixed idea, your choice. I will only remind you, my starry-eyed friend, what a role of a “true believer” is in the multicultural society, when he comes there invited or uninvited. For hundreds of years the Middle East was the embodiment of real multicultural ideal, the thesaurus of spiritual and philosophical knowledge. Antique mystery religions and Zoroastrism; the Ebonites and the first Christian sects; Gnosticism and Kabbalistic teachings; the Neoplatonics and the Manichees, the Arians and the Nestorians: all of them had co-existed in harmony. They conveyed their ideas and viewing of the world from one to another in this gigantic melting-pot of human spirit. Whether you know about it or not, it was from this fathomless source, that European philosophy, theology and learning got strength which paved the way to freedom and liberal values.
One of the first acts of triumphant Islam was the burning of the famous Alexandrine library. But it was only the beginning, because at that time Islam was relatively tolerant and noble. And what is more, it joined this melting-pot (so, my dear friend, don’t blame me of jaundice). Islam showed the world the mysticism of Sufis with their poetry of Life and extenuation of material benefits, expressed in Druze religion. Much later, the most humanistic religion of the present times (the Bahai Faith) arose from Islam. It also gave birth to Ahmadiyya movement, which believed in the improvement of the world through love. Unfortunately, obsession and obscurantism intensified. Sunni in Saudi Arabia found themselves under the dogmatic and obscure Wahhabite (Salafies) rule. Formerly latent Utopias in Shi’a Islam turned into paranoia before our eyes.
Even in the time of medieval inquisition in Europe fresh ideas existed. There were different philosophic schools: from Albert the Great to Thomas Aquinas to Meister Eckhart to Roger Bacon. There was Italian Proto-Renaissance with Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Pisano and Giotto. There was craving for freedom, personified in the Katars, Waldenses, Czech Hussites, and Lollards. And now tell me, my clever friend, what kinds of philosophic, spiritual schools do you know in the modern Islamic world? Enlighten me, I will be happy! There are few courageous people, who denounce dogmatic Wahhabites, like Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi and Dr. Taufik Hamid from Egypt. But they are social outcasts of the Muslim world and they live beyond the bounds of it.
Let me ask you: what has remained from the multicultural world of the Middle East? Do the Zoroastrians and Bahais stay in Iran, their homeland? It will be easer to find them in a cemetery in that country, than living. Those who could escape flew to India and the West. Have the Sufis remained in Saudi Arabia? No, they were annihilated by the regime as the enemies of “true Islam”. Can you find a branch of Ahmadiyya movement at least in one of the countries of the Middle East?
You can do it only in one place: so hated by you Israel (although I make no question of you being a Jew), the “state-of-racism-apartheid-and-coercion”. Their centre is in Haifa . So is the famous Bahai sanctuary. The Sufis are free in Israel, and the Druzes are enjoying full civic rights in Israel.
Not long ago the Arabian East was a palette of ancient and unique Christian sects. Waves of Islamic fanaticism swept away all of them. The Christians of Iraq and the West Bank escaped to the USA and Canada. Copts left Egypt. It may happen to the Maronites in Lebanon: the country is on the verge of the Green revolt. Iraqi Gnostics-Mandaeans are exposed to genocide and on the on the verge of annihilation. Not mentioning about Darfur. And you dont see it! Because the Mandaeans are not the beloved Palestinians, who claim for your special attention! In 20-30 years the Middle East will turn into a multicultural cemetery with an oasis in the form of Israel. If only you, my brainy friend, will not do your best to help the desert to swallow up this oasis. But you will, I have no doubts.
One more step, and instead of the cradle of humanity only a scorched desert of hatred will be left here. And this desert will spread to the North and South, to the East and West. It will enter the open doors of your house; devour you and your family, yours clubs, cafes, libraries, theaters, and galleries. You have got used to freedom; you dont know what the world without freedom is. I know it because I have grown up in communist Moscow . But I also know the Middle East. And believe me, in comparison to the new Caliphate the Soviet empire of the 60ies and 70ies would seem a paradise. The new rulers of the world will not only shut your mouth, but turn your soul inside out.
I pity you. Though, sorry. Not any longer.

*”To be French today means to be not only ethnic French, but Italian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Jew, Arab and even Spanish” (Francois Mitterrand)

6 thoughts on “Multicultural Cemetery”

  1. Ziva, Israel is the only hope left in the Middle East. Only there, can the different religions co-exist in peace and have their rights respected. Many years ago, a co-worker, thinking that she would offend me, called Cubans the Jews of the Caribbean, to which I responded that We were not worthy of such an honor, to her dismay. People need to open up their eyes and realize that Islam, as it is being practiced today, is not a benevolent, peaceful religion. Instead it wants to eliminate anyone who is not one of them. I just hope that people will open up their eyes soon and stop being so “politically correct”.

  2. Interesting views are presented in this editorial. I agree with the part of the thesis about the cultural destruction and backwardness of the beliefs in the middle east. I also agree that Israel is a very progressive society in respect to it’s social policies. However, I fundamentally disagree with two points, Islam today being worse than Europe during the inquisitions, and Islam being the last sole barrier to multiculturalism. Finally, I disagree with a number of smaller points.
    First, points like “One of the first acts of triumphant Islam was the burning of the famous Alexandrine library” are just out right lies. If you look at sites like, (, and ( it is obvious this is not the historical consensus at all. Furthermore, I do not understand the statement “Even Spanish can be French”*. An Arab cannot be”. As far as a I know this article is talking about the state of believing known as being a “Muslim”. Not the ethnic group of Arabs.
    The argument about Islam today being worse than Europeans during the inquisitions is weak at best. Unlike 14th century Europeans, Muslims in the middle east today have places were they can go to be intellectually free. Places like India, Israel, Turkey, Europe and North America all have Muslim minorities that are intellectually free. Muslims in the middle east with intellectual differences often do not need to stay and try to change their societies, like 14th Century Europeans did, they simply go to a place where they can be free of the fear of violence.
    Multiculturalism is for me the answer to many of the problems in the world, however opponents of it lurk in every corner of the world, not just the middle east. They lurk in the form of Christian fanatics in the US. They also lurk in racists which are by no means centered in the Middle East. Enemies of multiculturalism can also be located in societies like Japan who have elected government officials saying that Japan has only “one civilization, one language, one culture and one race”. This statement that Islam is the one true enemy of multiculturalism is a total lie. Any one who follows news in any part of the world would know this.
    In conclusion, this article is a weak argument for some thing I believe in. It uses false facts, and false arguments to set up a conflict. People should be trying to unite people around a common goal of belief reform in the Muslim world.
    Sites that helped:

  3. About the burning of the Royal Library– now I’m not a scholar and don’t pretend to be one, but to state that the accusation that Arabs burned down the library is an outright lie, is itself a lie. There is historical evidence that they did share in the destruction, and many scholars disagree with the current “consensus” among historians.
    Your statement, “Unlike 14th century Europeans, Muslims in the Middle East today have places were they can go to be intellectually free,” misses the point. It is the threat to Judeo-Christian civilization that is the focus of the author, not repression within the Muslim community.
    Christian clergy are not advocating genocide, nor is the government of Japan. Imams are doing exactly that.
    One can come to different conclusions about the fate of the library due to sketchy historical evidence, but we know exactly the intent of the Islamo-facist terrorists because they themselves announce it.

  4. An interesting op-ed piece, if in some places it sacrifices accuracy for romanticism. One thing I did like it was that, unlike most pieces critical of Islam these days, at least it didn’t say basically “Islam is evil, root and branch, end of story”, and did point out some of the more positive things that have come from it, like the Sufi movement, or the Baha’i. Too bad the author neglected to mention the Bektashi, an offshoot of Sufism, considered heretical by many Muslims, both Sunni and Shi’a, and which among other things does not dictate what direction or times of day you should pray, permits the moderate consumption of alcohol, and teaches the full equality of the sexes.

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