Pervez Hoodbhoy, MIT-trained professor of nuclear physics at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan, on describing the geophysical forces that caused the 2005 Kashmir earthquake to his students in a graduate-level class (quoted in the September 07 issue of National Geographic):
“When I finished, hands shot up all over the room. [The students said] ‘Professor, you are wrong. That earthquake was the wrath of God.’ It isn’t Islamic to teach that earthquakes are caused by the movement of tectonic plates. Instead, you are supposed to say, by the will of Allah, an earthquake happens.”
A graduate-level class! Doesn’t that little episode just warm the very cockles of your heart. Christopher Hitchens is looking more and more sagacious all the time.
You know, I think the rise of Islamofascism is producing a corollary to Karl Marx’s famous line “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” That quote, in context, characterizes religion as an element of society that sustains a kind of illusory happiness or contentment, a state of mind that mollifies any rising sentiments of economic discontent in the temporal lives of the poor by assuring them happiness and riches in the afterlife. It takes the pain of poverty away, in other words, and reduces the possibility of a violent uprising. If you examine 3 of the most pivotal chapters in the story of radical Islam’s ascendency on the world stage, the 1977 military coup in Pakistan led by muhammad zia-ul-haq (dead in 1988 and presently spit-roasting in hell) which saw general haq institute a severe “Islamization” program, the 1979 Iranian revolution, and the current Iraqi insurgency, you see malevolent, self-appointed “sheiks” and “mullahs” hatefully spitting Koran-inspired vitriol as a way to inspire a violent, barbaric, religiously-directed bloodbath wherever “infidels” may lurk. When you look at image after image of mangled cars, decapitated bodies, buildings reduced to rubble, and read the hyper-aggressive poison vomited from the mouth of al-qaeda and the like, you can’t help but wonder if the opiate of the masses has become an amphetamine.