Arabist Hans Jansen causes irritation among his peers

Islam_Voor_VarkensIn his recent book Islam for pigs, monkeys, donkeys and other animals, Dutch Arabist Hans Jansen has put a cat in among the scientific pigeons. However, it looks like the media are taking him more seriously than his fellow Islam experts are.

Fellow Arabist Professor Martin van Bruinessen from the Institute for Studies in Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) in Leiden expresses the growing irritation with Hans Jansen among his colleagues.

He remembers when in the 1990s, Dr Jansen wrote facetious pieces about Islam. But since the Netherlands became obsessed by fear of Islam after 9/11, the professor from Utrecht has grown into a real phenomenon in the media, in which he presents himself as the only Dutch expert who dares to talk about the inconvenient truth of Islam without political correctness getting in the way.

Dr Jansen’s work is an important source of inspiration for anti-Islamic MP Geert Wilders. In the days after his film Fitna was put on the web, Dr Jansen appeared in several television programmes to explain its content.

In Islam for pigs, he sets out his vision by answering 250 questions about Islam. In the book, Islam is portrayed as a dangerous and violent religion. The Qur’an preaches peace, Dr Jansen admits, but only once everyone has submitted to the religion. Up to that time, evil and unbelievers have to be conquered, using violence if necessary.

The number of Dutch Muslims that reject al-Qaeda’s brand of terrorism could be “lower than we think”, according to the professor. Most Muslims do not see Bin Laden as a madman, but rather as a “super-activist, who is taking the ultimate steps according to Islamic rules in the fight against infidels.”

The title of the book refers to the terms used by the Qur’an for unbelievers and Jews, explains the author in the introduction. Professor Van Bruinessen says: “If you take the time to look at the passages in question – for example on the site, you will see that this is just not true. The Qur’an tells about a people in the past that disobeyed God and was turned into pigs and monkeys as a punishment.”

Professor van Bruinessen thinks this is typical of Mr Jansen’s style. “Since Mr Jansen received the title of professor, but in particular since the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, he has set all scientific scruples aside. He has become an anti-Islam polemist who has no reservations about completely misrepresenting the issues on purpose.”

Radio Netherlands, 24 April 2008