No freedom from childhood brainwashing: Refuting Syed M. Islam


Jamal Hasan

Published on June 13, 2003


Let me admit this unequivocally that Syed M. Islam’s essays do not appeal to me.  Mostly these appear to be writing in a whining mode.  Also, his complaints, grievances and arguments often come across as if he resorts to picking a fight with anybody whom he does not like in person.  I seldom argue with him as I see his inherently contradictory and dichotomous philosophical expressions.  Apparently, he acts to be objective, but in the final analysis, he comes out to be a soft-seller of political Islam.  Only exception to the rule was his two recent essays where he criticized the Bridges TV and the mindset of Muslims in western countries.  This are more like exceptions rather than norm as far as his writings in the Net goes. 

Other than those two rare instances, where we saw some flicker of light, Syed M. Islam is basically a classical Syed M. Islam.  Look what he wrote today (June 13, 2003) in the Readers’ Opinion column of News from Bangladesh.  In a voluminous critique titled “Reflections on Mukto-Mona: An Open Letter to its Founding Moderator” Syed M. Islam did his part scrutinizing Mukto-mona moderator and critics of Islam.     


“ Despite the abuses in the name of Islam since, the Quran arguably offered guidance to a  bunch of nomadic Arabs that used to bury alive female babies, for instance, a tradition that  Muhammad helped stop. You and MM have been myopic in trying to denigrate Muhammad’s person, and you cannot possibly bring yourself up to admit even one good  thing about the man. Calling him ‘all evil’ may not exactly fit any defensible demesne of  rationalism.”


Most invading nations with superior firepower have propensity to rewrite history of the invaded land. That has been the norm of human civilization. The saga of native Indians in American continent is no exception. In North America, the white settlers who arbitrarily changed the fate of the indigenous people of the continent legitimized their colonization policy. The main argument is the savage people living in the region for generation got the light of civilization. The other viable justification in favor of decimating the old civilization is that without the imposition of white settlement in America, this continent would not have been as developed as it is today.  The settlers’ legitimacy favoring colonization is further strengthened demonizing the “uncivilized” and “savage” people of the soil.  History books demean the life of Native Americans.  Of course, there are exceptions, which can be construed as a token gesture of patronizing to the highest degree.


The religion of “peace,” Islam is no exception.  Most Muslims are taught the pagan Arabs were the savage; they buried the female babies alive.  This generalized characterization has a built-in flaw.  If all the female babies were buried alive, then, why did those “savage people” before the light of Islam continue to procreate?  Without female, how could a population grow?  What a fallacy of justifying colonization of the Arabian Peninsula!  Just like the white settlers in North America, the Muslim invaders played the same role in Arab land.  The only significant difference between the two scenarios, the Muslims brought the divine factor in the equation.  Conquering a people’s place of worship and undermining their deity was only possible in the case of Muslim colonialists.  It is quite obvious that the history of Islam being pushed to the throat of billion Muslims is one-sided, biased with a significant slant favoring the invaders.  So, an average Muslim of the world, like an average Anglo-Saxon in North America is groomed with a distorted and non-objective worldview.  It seems as if Syed M. Islam, as agnostic he may be, could not go out of the cocoon of childhood brain washing.  After all, reading the suras from Qaeda, Ampara, etc. at early age, does leave enough residues in Muslim kids’ brain wherefrom a Nirvana is rather difficult.