Middle East Resources

Why Don’t Muslims Apologize?

27 January 2021

Bassam Michael Madany

Hamed Abdel-Samadi , the German-Egyptian writer posted a talk to his YouTube channel Hamed.TV entitled: 

صندوق الإسلام 141: لماذا لا يعتذر المسلمون عن جرائمهم التاريخية؟ - YouTube 

“Why Don’t Muslims  Apologize for Their Historical Crimes?” 
 

This was posted on 3 June 2018 as part of Abdel-Samad’s series entitled, “The Box of Islam.”  

The following paragraphs are excerpts transcribed from the video.  He explains the reason for the absence in Islam of a culture of apology and the ability to critically review the past. 

A mature culture can stand at a distance and reflect on its past. The trouble is that Islam is anchored to a view based on a sacred text, a sacred person, and a sacred history. Everything in Islamic history, including the conquests of vast parts of the world, were accomplished in the Pathway of Allah. So, why confess or apologize? 

The West has a different culture, including the ability to distance itself from its history, reflect on its events, and apologize for the wrongs of the past. For example, the Church has apologized for the Crusades, and for the persecution of the Jews. Look at the Americans, they fought a Civil War to end slavery of Black people. President Lincoln gave his life for that cause. Australia has apologized to the Aboriginals for their mistreatment.  France and Britain apologized to the counties they had colonized, with the French questioning their prior colonizing of Algeria 

It is not only the Europeans who apologized for their historical crimes. The Japanese did so after WWII. They acknowledged their atrocities in China, Korea, the Philippines, and elsewhere in the Pacific region.                                                                                          

In contrast, the Turks have never confessed the Genocide of the Armenians, nor have they apologized to the nations of Eastern Europe and the Balkans for centuries of harsh colonialism and attempts to eradicate their national identities, as well as their mistreatment of the Kurds of eastern Turkey.

Muslims ignore their imperialism that was much worse than what European had done for approximately 150 years. Islamic colonialism included jihads, the eradication of local history and identity. Massacres at a large scale took place in the Indian subcontinent. No one mentions these horrific tragedies. When a civilization fails to reflect on the misdeeds of its own history, it tends to repeat them in the future.

Muslims lack a sense of social consciousness. An example, a young German feels somehow a responsibility to be on alert, so that the mistakes of the past are never repeated in the future. In contrast, Muslims are afflicted with a triple sickness: falsification of the truth, suppression of the truth, or denial of the truth. Their future remains anchored in the past. They never see any blind spots and regard their history as having been immaculate.
 
A study in Germany by psychiatrists treating Muslim migrants showed that their  patients had a great difficulty to describe their problems. Many astonished their doctors by failing to reveal the real issues that brought them to the clinic! Their culture had not taught them the virtue of confession. 

Muslims only empathize with other Muslims. They are quick to manifest solidarity with Bosnian Muslims or Burmese Muslims, even when they have no idea where those countries are located. However, they fail to manifest any sympathy for the Yezidi women who were raped, or the Christians of Mosul when they were attacked and expelled by ISIS!

It is time for Muslims to re-examining their history and renounce their old worldview that kept them from apologizing for their misdeeds. 

Postscript

Hamed Abdel-Samad’s remark on Islam’s suppression of historical facts, has been noted by the British author V. S. Naipaul. 

In his Prologue to his book “Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions among Converted People,” published by Vintage Books in 1998, he wrote: 

“Islam is in its origins an Arab religion. Everyone not an Arab who is a Muslim is a convert. Islam is not simply a matter of conscience or private belief. It makes imperial demands. A convert’s worldview alters. His holy places are in Arab lands; his language is Arabic. His idea of history alters. He rejects his own; he becomes, whether he likes it or not, a part of the Arab story. The convert has to turn away from everything that is his. The disturbance for societies is immense, and even after a thousand years can remain unresolved; the turning away has to be done again and again. People develop fantasies about who and what they are; and in the Islam of the converted countries there is an element of neurosis and nihilism. These countries can be easily set on the boil. P. xi” 

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iHamed Abdel-Samad is a German-Egyptian political scientist and author. He was born in 1972, in Giza, near Cairo, Egypt. He studied at Cairo University. He came to Germany in 1995 at the age of 23. He studied political science in Augsburg. He worked as a scholar in Erfurt and Braunschweig. He taught and conducted research until the end of 2009 at the Institute for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Munich; his dissertation topic was: Bild der Juden in ägyptischen Schulbüchern ("Image of the Jews in Egyptian textbooks”). Subsequently he decided to become a full-time professional writer. In mid-2015, he launched the show Ṣundūq al-Islām ("Box of Islam") on his official YouTube channel, Hamed.TV. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MaWbE6akU4 
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