Despite my misgivings about the title and initial expectations about the book, Hopkins is not bigoted, racist or patronising. Among many other issues, he appreciates the serious challenges that face apostates from Islam and goes as far as to suggest that the (Western/secular) State provides taxpayer funds to assist them with quite extensive support and rehabilitation programmes.
As an apostate myself, while I don't see this as ever likely to happen, it does highlight (again) the problem of the attitude of Western Kiwis to ex-Muslims. At its very best, when the topic is raised we just get a blank look, no questions, no helpful comments, no direct comments at all; just total indifference... *crickets chirping*... However, the more normal reaction, seems to be hostility and childish ridicule behind your back, yet within earshot. Most sadly this was true even of those I had previously considered to be friends. Personally, to date, I have received absolutely zero moral support. Quite the reverse in fact.
I can only describe this as odd. Kiwis totally failed to live up to my prior, perhaps naive, hopes and expectations of basic decency. Is this ignorance or arrogance on their part? If it is ignorance, it is wilful, since they have had endless opportunities to ask and discuss. Yet it was as if a switch was flicked and like the Borg Collective they simultaneously froze me out and I was treated as some kind of leper. All eye contact was avoided by them and an exclusion zone was imposed. Frankly they just don't give a damn about anyone or anything else outside their own comfortable little world. Given that an apostate cannot talk to Muslim community members or their own family about the topic either, this can be a little unsettling, shall we say. Trying to put an optimistic spin on it, perhaps this may be attributed to a misguided attempt at political correctness - a wish to avoid saying anything that could potentially offend.
However, in the case of my previous Borg 'friends' I don't think an optimistic view is justified. Friendship carries responsibilities with it. They had a choice, they chose poorly.
'Friends' ... who were incapable of responding in any useful manner to a request for help to talk through apostasy issues and impacts. Taking a charitable view perhaps their lack of a recipe response was a problem. But honestly, how hard is it to simply ask questions and have a chat about things? It's just normal civilised behaviour. My expectations were not terribly high, yet they could not even grasp the most elementary level of what is colloquially known as 'common' decency.
This is something where I was so appalled by their behaviour which can only be described as bullying that even years after the events, it stilI has an impact; I still mull it over almost daily and ask myself what could I have done differently? As I see it, there was absolutely no excuse for their behaviour.
Perhaps I just happen to know an unusually high number of zombies. In response, the natural reaction on my part is to say to those people (you know who you are) - well just f**k off then, I'll manage on my own thanks.
So, returning to Mathew Hopkins' Unholy Islamic Mess, I would recommend that all Western Muslims should read it. It will provide valuable insights into how non-Muslims and Westerners see you. It will perhaps help you to see yourselves.
Also a good read for your average Pakeha Kiwi, Zombie or Borg. Definitely food for thought all round.
|The Borg - incapable of independent thought|
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