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Closing of the Muslim Mind

The Closing of the Muslim Mind
(Robert R. Reilly, October 17, 2016)

Transcript available below

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About the speaker

Robert R. Reilly is the Director of the Westminster Institute. In his 25 years of government service, he has taught at National Defense University (2007), and served in the Office of The Secretary of Defense, where he was Senior Advisor for Information Strategy (2002-2006). He participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 as Senior Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of information. Before that, he was director of the Voice of America, where he had worked the prior decade. Mr. Reilly served in the White House as a Special Assistant to the President (1983-1985), and in the U.S. Information Agency both in D.C. and abroad. In the private sector, he spent more than seven years with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, as both national director and then president. He was on active duty as an armored cavalry officer for two years, and attended Georgetown University and the Claremont Graduate University. He has published widely on foreign policy, the “war of ideas”, and classical music.

Reilly spoke at St. Mary’s Lyceum in Alexandria, Virginia on The Closing of The Muslim Mind.

He has also spoken at Westminster on the subjects of:

Not What Went Wrong, but Why it Went Wrong (January 19, 2019)

Deciphering the Middle East: Why the U.S. Usually Gets it Wrong (February 9, 2016)

Information Operations: Successes and Failures (September 6, 2013)

Dangerous Embrace: The United States and the Islamists (May 22, 2012)

The Challenge of Islam to the Catholic Church (February 4, 2010)

Transcript

Introduction

Robert Reilly is the Director of the Westminster Institute. In his 25 years of government service, he has taught at National Defense University, and served in the Office of The Secretary of Defense, where he was Senior Advisor for Information Strategy. He participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 as Senior Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Information. Before that, he was director of the Voice of America, where he had worked the prior decade. Mr. Reilly served in the White House as a Special Assistant to the President, and in the U.S. Information Agency both in D.C. and abroad. In the private sector, he spent more than seven years with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, as both national director and then president. He was on active duty as an armored cavalry officer for two years, and attended Georgetown University and the Claremont Graduate University. He has published widely on foreign policy, the “war of ideas”, and classical music.

Among his many publications are: The Prospects and Perils of Catholic-Muslim Dialogue, Assessing War, “Assessing the War of Ideas during War,” and the topic of tonight’s talk, The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis, so please join me in welcoming Mr. Robert Reilly.

Robert R. Reilly:

Let me read to you this prayer: “Oh God, I ask of you a perfect faith, a sincere assurance, a reverent heart, a remembering tongue, a good conduct of commendation and true repentance, repentance before death, rest at death, and forgiveness and mercy after death, clemency at the reckoning, victory in paradise, and escape from the fire by your mercy, oh might one, forgiver. Lord, increase me in knowledge, enjoin me to the good.”

What do you think of that prayer? Any problem? No, I don’t think so. That’s the prayer Muslims say on the Hajj in Mecca, the seventh time they go around the Kaaba. And the reason I read it is because it gives an insight into Muslims in the way in which they seek to do the will of god and why and many of the Muslims I’ve known are tremendously pious people, prayerful people, observant people, good people.

And I have seen without question, particularly in the lives of those whom I know have gone through horrors that I have not endured, including limb amputation. That’s their faith in god that sustains them. I have absolutely no doubt. The presence of god in their lives.

So, the first thing we remember is they are seeking the will of god in the best way that has been given to them to do, which is always a matter of respect.

The subject of tonight’s talk, The Closing of the Muslim Mind, and the general thesis I lay out in this book generally takes about three hours to cover in the theological, philosophical, epistemological, and moral realms and that’s about how long I have tonight, isn’t it? About three hours?

Well, let’s see if I can sum the whole thing up in one, dense sentence. Islamism is a spiritual pathology based upon a deformed theology that has produced a dysfunctional culture; a spiritual pathology, a deformed theology, that has produced a dysfunctional culture. Well, that’s about it. Any questions? Alright.

See the rest of his talk…

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