Back in 2007, a few years after his Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) hit the New York Times bestseller list, Robert Spencer did a segment on “Blogging the Qur’an” in which Spencer gave his own interpretation of what the Qur’an says and how it relates to jihad today against Israel and the West.
Most of the material in Spencer’s blog is very familiar to me, but there is one thing in the post on Surat-as-Sajda (“Chapter of the Adoration” or “Chapter of the Prostration”) that belies a lack of understanding of modern secularisation:
|It is rather astonishing that someone as learned as Robert Spencer would place a picture – even a mildly satirical one – of AC/DC to head a post about the Qur’an!|
The most important thing is that the rise of AC/DC coincided with the most rapid decline in the influence of Christianity and growth of extramarital sex in the West – a growth dated to around the early 1980s when young people where beginning to listen in millions to Highway to Hell, Back in Black, and For Those About to Rock We Salute You. I have in many previous posts outlined the alarming things condoning violence and forced sex within the AC/DC discography, but it has for some years seemed to me that the loud noise of AC/DC’s music was a uniquely effective tool to turn Westerners away from Christian prayer and the needed quiet therefor, as Rod Dreher, Sara Maitland and many others have noted.
A second thing, particularly notable to my mind, is the similarity in method of composition between the Qur’an and the AC/DC discography – similarities that exceed the support for violence that the two also share in common and distinguish them from the New Testament:
- rather than being historical narratives like the Bible, both the Qur’an and the AC/DC discography are collections of sermons where historical material is never told for its own sake, but is used to illuminate various points pertaining to the worldview of Islam or of AC/DC as a whole
- both the Qur’an and the AC/DC discography say what they say countless times, and rely strongly upon incantatory effects to overcome their repetitive nature and inculcate a particular and complete worldview into the listener
- I can testify that such was occurring when a schoolmate who bullied me simultaneously graffitied my ruler “AC/DC” – if he were listening to what AC/DC were saying he would feel he had a right to bully to prove his strength
If the picture is trying to suggest AC/DC “prostrate” themselves before “rock and roll”, Spencer’s picture remains ludicrous when the whole message of the AC/DC discography is the precise opposite of a message of humility and prostration. Rather, the consistent message of the AC/DC discography is one of absolute personal power and total absence of moral law, whereby good is seen in terms of personal rights to do whatever one wants without the tiniest reference to relationships or even harmony with others. Islam may not emphasise relationships with others as Christianity does – Islam is a “hybrid” vision in emphasising hostility towards unbelievers but strong ties within the community of Muslims – but it is nothing like what AC/DC have been preaching for over four decades.
What the point of a devout Catholic placing a picture of one of the most influential apostles of secularisation on a blog about the Qur’an is remains unknown to me, and is really, really silly – so much so as to create humour!