Five Cities that Ruled the World – in flames

I am no supporter of Douglas Wilson. His ridiculous ideas on slavery and his conservative theology are unlikely to find much room on my bookshelves. Until, perhaps, now.

Yesterday, Wednesday, saw the chilling spectacle of Indonesia's largest book publisher and book shop, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, piling up Indonesian translations of his book, Five Cities that Ruled the World and torching them in public to the rapturous applause of assorted big hats from the Indonesian Ulema Council. The cause of this conflagration was a complaint by the Indonesian version of the Nazi Storm Troopers – the Front Pembela Islam (Islam Defenders Front) about a paragraph or two on one page of the book which justifiably described Muhammad as a pirate and murderer who carried out raids on caravans. The threat against the publisher was real enough – unless they torched the book their own outlets and staff would be facing a similar fate.

This follows on from the recent violent routing of Irshad Manji from these shores. She told no such home truths – she merely tried to associate the religion of Islam with love and freedom. Her book, clearly deviant to the purity of the message of Islam, was quickly removed from the bookshops. Needless to say, pirate versions are selling like bakso (the meat balls so loved by Indonesians).

My stomach churns whenever I visit a large branch of Gramedia and see display shelves of Mein Kampf and the appalling anti-Semitic books from the 1930s, yet I have never felt that they should be burned. I do not want to see the Quran or Bible burned. All books represent the preservation of human thought. If we were to go about burning what we do not like then we would set back our species possibly a million years.

This does represent a turning point. It is clear that there are no longer any "moderate" Muslim countries. There is no time any longer for appeasement. There can be no intellectual argument with thuggery. This is the time to strengthen the resistance and declare an all-out struggle using all effective means. We need all the resources we can get to translate works into the languages of the "Muslim world" and set up distribution networks using all forms of media. We need to counter the brute force and cowardice of organisations such as the FPI with well trained and disciplined courageous young people who are ready to protect freedom. We need intelligence networks. We need to come out into the streets and prove that we exist and that we are not alone. In countries such as Indonesia we need to build and support resistance organisations – exactly the same as in wartime Europe. There is no room for niceties any more. This is an all-out global struggle.