His latest work is entitled "How Islam Made the West Cool." Sound catchy? That was the idea. Sound too good to be true? That's because it is. Diab begins by declaring:
"Those who fear Muslim influence should raise a glass to the Sultan of Style next time they freshen up, don the latest fashions or enjoy a delicious three-course meal."Does that delicious three-course meal include alcohol? And do those latest fashions include high heels? But before we get side tracked, Diab takes us through a brief recap of recent events (and I see no reason to do the same) before we finally get to his point:
"As I've argued before, and despite my concerns over Islamic radicalism and extremism, Islam is not alien to Western civilization but an integral part of it. In fact, Islam and the Muslim influence are deeply woven into the West's social and civilizational fabric....Here, I'd like to explore how Muslims helped make the West "cool," shaped our modern tastes and sensibilities and gave us many things we regard as quintessentially Western, such as the café. In fact, I'd like to introduce just one man, Ziryab (Blackbird), the Sultan of Style, who, given his contribution to European chic, should have statues erected to him in Milan, Paris, London and New York."If you're waiting to see how one person makes Islam a "cool" part of Western civilization, keep on waiting. But hey, maybe we should meet Ziryab and have an interview with him? Oh wait:
"Although you may never have heard of this dandy ninth century Muslim, his genius touches the most private and intimate moments of all our lives -- modern etiquette would be positively vulgar without his tasteful influence. Born Abul Hassan Ali Ibn Nafie in modern-day Iraq in 789 A.D., he joined the court of the legendary Haroun al-Rashid (also of 1,001 Arabian Nights' fame) where he was the student of a gifted musician."Ziryab died more than one thousand years ago. This is the best example Diab can find of a positive Islamic influence on American society. That's assuming that Ziryab did all this because he was a Muslim, rather than just doing his thing while happening to be a Muslim (kind of like how Albert Einstein did his science while happening to be a Jew).
That being said, I'm not going to bash what Ziryab did: he introduced the concept of changing clothes for every season, the idea of serving food in courses, and made changes to music. This somehow negates all of the decidedly negative influence that Islam has had on the planet and on the West in particular. Though I do wonder if we are allowed to say that everything Muslims did back in the 800s was still relevant today, which point of view would come out ahead. Diab concludes:
"Next time you brush your teeth, don the latest fashions, enjoy a delicious three-course meal or raise a glass, don't forget to toast, or at least spare a thought for, old Ziryab, that uncrowned Sultan of Style -- and remember that Muslims have had a cool, and not just a chilling, influence on Western society."I will definitely mention that to all the women being raped in Sweden. An issue, by the way, that will not be seeing prominence in the Huffington Post's "Religion" section.