Bernard Lewis

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Bernard Lewis as an Academic Ethnic Activist

In doing some research on Geert Wilders, I came across a recent article by Andrew G. Bostrom favorably describing Bernard Lewis’s views of Islam (“Geert Wilders and the Rise of Islamic Political Correctness,” Dec. 8, 2010). Bernard Lewis is the best known academic expert on the Muslim world, so his views carry quite a bit of weight. Bostrom quotes a 1954 essay of Lewis as follows:

I turn now from the accidental to the essential factors, to those deriving from the very nature of Islamic society, tradition, and thought. The first of these is the authoritarianism, perhaps we may even say the totalitarianism, of the Islamic political tradition… There are no parliaments or representative assemblies of any kind, no councils or communes, no chambers of nobility or estates, no municipalities in the history of Islam; nothing but the sovereign power, to which the subject owed complete and unwavering obedience as a religious duty imposed by the Holy Law…For the last thousand years, the political thinking of Islam has been dominated by such maxims as “tyranny is better than anarchy,” and “whose power is established, obedience to him is incumbent.” Read more