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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar interviewed by Bari Weiss on antisemitism and racism
Kareem said what? Bari didn't ask what?
In the wake of the current Kanye West and Kyrie Irving remarks about Jews and Judaism, Bari Weiss (at) interviewed .
He expressed very strong opposition to antisemitism and racism.
When asked about his conversion to Islam, Kareem gave two reasons. He wanted to remove his slaveholder surname—Alcindor—and he wanted to connect with his African roots.
I believe he meant—or should have meant—his connection with his COLONIAL African roots. Because Islam and Christianity, the two most prevalent religions in Africa, were BROUGHT there, and to a significant degree were overlaid on top of many much older African spiritual beliefs, systems, and practices.
Islam is not original African religion. It’s not Kareem’s “roots” any more than Christianity is his African “roots.”
(Source, “The spirituality of Africa” — the Harvard Gazette interviews Professor Jacob Olupona)
And interviewer Weiss never raised another key issue: Islam’s view of Jews. Of course, this is a very contentious subject. Very.
Many attempts have been made to obscure it, twist it, and bury it in confused controversy.
Weiss never asked about it. Surely, though, since Kareem has embraced Islam, and is talking about antisemitism, you would think he’d address this issue. But no.
Here is an article titled, “Antisemitism in the Koran” (here). Reading it, you can challenge or accept its many claims. It argues at length for its point of view. It lists a number of purported quotes from the Koran about Jews. I link to it because I want to present an example of just how contentious and detailed the subject is. If I were a scholar in this area, I’d draw my own conclusions. But I’m not.
However, if Islam were my religion, I’d want to be able to deal with these claims, one by one.
It’s rather astonishing that the Weiss interview with Kareem touched on none of this.
As with many sensitive topics, like the Holocaust or 9/11, many people immediately weight in and say a) “All negative claims about Islam are entirely true” or b) “Everybody knows all this is complete hogwash.”
I would recommend against both of these choices.
Weiss might consider doing another interview with Kareem, in which she asks him about his view of Islam and antisemitism. In detail. No generalities.
It would be quite interesting.
Come to think of it, I’ve never read an in-depth no-holds-barred interview with a famous and thoughtful devotee of ANY large organized religion.
If I were interviewing such a person about, say, the Roman Church, I’d want to know his views about the Inquisition, the torturing of dissidents, the burning of so-called heretics and witches, and the rampant pedophilia, for example. I’d want to know if this devotee believes Jesus wanted that sort of Church built in His name. Wouldn’t you want to know?
If I were interviewing a devotee of the Jewish faith, I’d inquire in detail about his view of the Old Testament story of the Hebrew Joseph, who eventually became chief advisor to the Pharaoh of Egypt, and told the Pharaoh that Egyptian citizens should sell themselves to the Pharaoh as slaves, in order to receive enough grain to avoid starvation, during a period of great famine. According to the story, the Pharaoh accepted this grand solution and Joseph put it into effect. And God looked kindly upon Joseph and reunited him with his estranged family.
But I digress.
As we know, all large organized religions are just wonderful. Really. No serious problems. What seem to be problems are our illusions. Our limited minds are incapable of seeing encompassing truths. Right. Uh-huh.
-- Jon Rappoport