Monday, September 29, 2014

Which Wikipedia d’ya read?

[Expanded with further examples]

In an earlier essay (Shabbos goy), we pointed out the parallel between Schutzverwandte and dhimmis, noting in passing that the English Wikipedia entry for the latter presents a curiously euphemistic portrait of the disabilities of dhimmitude, by contrast with the fully informative German Wiki entry, which documents the vicissitudes of these marginally tolerated non-Muslim minorities throughout history,  not surpressing mention (entirely absent from the lo-cal English version) of the persecutions of Jews and Christians under the Abbassid caliph al-Mutawakkil, their houses marked by black death’s-heads, their persons by a special yellow garment that forshadowed the yellow Judenstern of Nazi notoriety.

And now it appears that there might be a pattern here.
Desiring an elucidation of the phrase “al-Wala’ wa-l-Bara’”, I looked it up in English Wikipedia.  The entry reads, in its entirety:

Al Wala' Wal Bara' is an Arabic phrase. Within the context of Islam, the phrase means, on one hand, drawing near to what is pleasing to Allah and His Messenger and, on the other hand, withdrawing from what is displeasing to Allah and His Messenger.

Almost tautological in its po-faced uninformativeness, that entry also jars by its stilted style, and a certain cognitive naivety it is hard to put your finger on.
[The use of "Allah" instead of "God"  is also a tipoff  that something is amiss.  But I'll let Murphy tell it:   Murphy on the Allah/God question. (In the column to the right.)]

The German entry lets you enter an entirely different world.  Instead of the apple-pie-and-motherhood English Wiki Care Bears formulation, we learn just what these things “displeasing to Allah” are, that Muslims are enjoined to “withdraw” from:

Al-walāʾ wal-barāʾa (arabisch ‏الولاء والبراءة‎) ist ein Rechtsbegriff und muslimischer Grundsatz im Umgang mit den Anhängern anderer Religionen. Übersetzt heißt es etwa „Freundschaft/Unterstützung und Meidung“. Gemeint ist damit der Grundsatz, sich von allen Nichtmuslimen fernzuhalten
Zur Begründung wird häufig folgender Koranvers herangezogen:
    „Ihr Gläubigen! Nehmt euch nicht die Juden und die Christen zu Freunden!"

[Sura 5, verse 51.]  In other words:  Christians and Jews.
(Note, b.t.w., that the German transcription of the Arabic is much superior to the amateurish English one.)

This all is backed by scholarly footnotes, and a contrast between the relatively latitudinarian attitude of the Egyptian TV preacher Yusuf al-Qaradâwi, versus that of the Saudi grand mufti `Abd-al-Azîz bin Bâz: “Per se sei freundschaftlicher Umgang mit Nicht-Muslimen verboten.

In short, the English Wikipedia entries have been neutered by Political Correctness.


By now rather intrigued, I looked up the word jihâd, whose meaning has been the subject of great contortions by the apologists, to blandish the kuffâr.   These are often promulgated in particular by women, who depict jihad as  a purely non-violent, muslimy matter of spiritual growth and Finding the Inner You. 

The German version pulls no punches:

Im Koran und der Sunna bezeichnet dieser Begriff primär militärischen Kampf.

Bingo.   Trust me on this one:  When al-Qaeda and their sympathizers speak of “waging jihad”, they are not referring to singing kumbaya at an interfaith service;  nor, in that milieu (or in virtually any) is the term commonly “applied to the fight for women's liberation”,  in the words of the English Wikipedia.

For a patient take-down of linguistically illiterate P.C. whitewash of the plain (though uncomfortable) meaning of the Koran as regards a certain aspect of marital relations, cf. this:

For another examination of the pressures of Correctness, which yet lead to self-exposure through self-contradiction, cf:


[Update 29 September 2014]
And now khilwah.
Again, the English is po-faced.  Here is the entry in its entirety as of this date.

Khilwa, in Shariah law, is an offense consisting of being caught alone in private with a member of the opposite sex who is not an immediate family member.

Now, back in my day, something similar existed in well-regulated suburban households:  Infringing this prohibition meant you could get grounded.  In the better sort of colleges, a similar rule held:  e.g., No gentlemen up in your rooms at all (Radcliffe);  or, the door must be left ajar.  
(One gathers that, nowadays, colleges have reverted to the law of the jungle.  My aim is merely to point out, as a courtesy to Islam, that a similar notion once held in Christendom.   Back when there was a Christendom.)

The French version is more painfully explicit:

La khilwa est une infraction au droit islamique consistant, pour un homme et une femme n'appartenant pas à la même famille immédiate, à se trouver seuls ensemble en privé. Dans certains pays appliquant la charia (Arabie saoudite, Iran), cette infraction est punie de peines allant de coups de fouet à de l'emprisonnement.

No other language-version of Wiki has an article by this title.   Mum’s the word.


For apostasy, the English article is, by contrast, very full and scholarly indeed, and does not mince words.   It is superscripted, however, by the following warning:

The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page.

The French article is nowhere near as full nor as footnoted, but doesn’t really edulcorate either.   Ditto for the Spanish, which is skimpier still, though still informative.  And likewise the Arabic.

The German article lies midway between those in thoroughness, but curiously finesses the question of the death penalty for apostasy, and does not devote a separate section to the subject.  Indeed, if you string-stearch on straff (‘punish’), all you find is straffrei!

[Update 29 Jan 2015]  The English wiki entry has been gingerly updated as follows:

Al-wala' wa-l-bara' (Arabic: الولاء والبراء‎) is an Arabic term meaning "loyalty and disavowal". Al-wala' wa-l-bara' is generally referred to as the Islamic concept of friendship toward fellow Muslims, and never loving nor praising the Non-Muslim.

[Update 31 March 2015] Issue #8 of Dabiq, just out, calls "wala' and bara' ... a great fundamental of the religion."

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