Saturday, September 11, 2010

Is Islam the enemy?

On this anniversary day we would do well to remember who is our enemy? Who did this and why?

The first plane:

The second plane:

The horror:

Some have said that we are in a clash of civilizations. No. This war - and never forget that it is war - is not a clash between civilizations. It is a war between one civilization, the West, and the barbarism called Islamism. It is impossible meaningfully to call al-Qaedaism or Talibanism "civilization."

The Taliban beat and even shot women who went outside their homes without company of their husbands or a close male relative. They flogged or hanged men whose beards were too short. In Saudi Arabia a few years ago, a girls' school caught fire one night and the decency police (yes, they have them in Saudi Arabia) refused to unlock the exits because the girls were not properly veiled. At least 15 girls burned or suffocated to death.

These kinds of things are not anomalies. They are normative. And they are considered by our enemies to be divinely commanded.

Is Islam the enemy? President Obama, speaking today in Shanksville, Pa. said no. " "As Americans, we will not or ever be at war with Islam."

But before we so quickly and politically-correctly say no, we might consider the words from Mosab Hassan Yousef, "son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founder and leader of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Throughout the last decade, from the second Intifada to the current stalemate, he worked alongside his father in the West Bank. During that time the younger Mr. Yousef also secretly embraced Christianity."
As the son of a Muslim cleric, he says he had reached the conclusion that terrorism can't be defeated without a new understanding of Islam. Here he echoes other defectors from Islam such as the former Dutch parliamentarian and writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Do you consider your father a fanatic? "He's not a fanatic," says Mr. Yousef. "He's a very moderate, logical person. What matters is not whether my father is a fanatic or not, he's doing the will of a fanatic God. It doesn't matter if he's a terrorist or a traditional Muslim. At the end of the day a traditional Muslim is doing the will of a fanatic, fundamentalist, terrorist God. I know this is harsh to say. Most governments avoid this subject. They don't want to admit this is an ideological war.

"The problem is not in Muslims," he continues. "The problem is with their God. They need to be liberated from their God. He is their biggest enemy. It has been 1,400 years they have been lied to."
However, it really does not matter much whether Islam, per se, is the enemy. The fact is that Islam as a whole is not controlled or much influenced by (mythical?) moderate Muslims. The radicals are driving Islam's train and controlling Islam's agenda. To talk about some golden age of Islam, as if there was a caliphate where everything was unicorns and rainbows, is not relevant in the 21st century.

Islam is what Muslims do. And today Muslims are either trying to kills us, Islamize us, supporting those who are trying to or they are acquiescing to it. Professor Bala Ambati, writing in Duke University's "Chronicle" newspaper, in 2003, put it this way:
Religions are defined not only by ideals but by realities, not just by their deepest and most beautiful insights, but by their adherents' behavior. . . . When moderate Muslims state terrorist attacks are disconnected from Islam, they ignore the reality that Islamic fundamentalist imperialists act in the name of Islam and Muslims, claiming "true Islam's" mantle from conspicuously absent moderates. . . . Until the realization that theocracies cannot be democracies dawns throughout the Islamic world, saying terrorism is disconnected from Islam is a smokescreen employed to abdicate responsibility to face reality. ...

Moderate Muslims must choose whether to let megalomaniacs, liars, misogynists and murderers hijack societies and religion and pilot them into destruction's abyss. Sidelines are not moral high ground. Unequivocally repudiating and forswearing terrorist methods and imperialist aims of Islamic fundamentalism by moderate Muslims is overdue.
Note that he said seven years ago that it was "overdue" for moderates Muslims to seize control of the definition of Islam. This moderates have not only failed to do so, they have not even tried to.

It may be that 900 million Muslims around the world want to live entirely in peace with the West and wish al Qaeda et. al. would go away. It does not matter what they want. It only matters what they do. And they are doing nothing. So for all intents and purposes, there are no moderate Muslims.

Islam, whether promulgated by "moderates" or extremists, is inherently supremacist, absolutist and triumphalist. Moderate Muslims desire for Islam, qua Islam, are insignificantly different from extremists' goals, who merely add militarism and imperialism to the modus operandi. Their ideological wellspring is the Muslim Brotherhood and its financial deep pockets are in Saudi Arabia, whose own Wahhabist ideology is not significantly distinguishable from the Muslim Brotherhood's.

So what that only a tiny percentage of Muslims are violent against the US or the West! Even if only one percent of Muslims in the world want personally to carry out violence against the us, that's still 12 million potential jihadists. And if they are supported by merely 10 percent of Muslims, it means 120 million will help them. And the rest will let it happen and occasionally cluck-cluck that, of course, the killers are not practicing "true Islam."

So to say, "We are not at war with Islam" is to utter nothing meaningful. It does not matter whether we think that. For Islam, as it is being defined today, is certainly at war with us.

Update: I see now that Walter Russell Mead and I are on the same sheet of music. And he makes a good point, one that I should have recognized myself: there are moderate Muslims in the world making a difference (though practically none of them are in the West). The moderate Muslims who matter are killing al Qaeda and its ilk in Muslims lands.

Sunni Iraqis took a long hard look at Al-Qaeda. They watched bombs go off in marketplaces and mosques. They watched reprisal killings of respected tribal elders and innocents. They watched undisciplined groups of fighters, freed from all moral and social restraint, innocent for the most part of any serious religious knowledge, imposed narrow and poorly conceived ideas on society by force in the name of an Islam Al-Qaeda neither understood nor respected.

And the Sunni Arabs of Iraq made a choice.

They saw Al-Qaeda at its best — volunteer freedom fighters come from around the world to fight for them — and they saw America at its worst, incompetent, insensitive, vacillating and violent.

And they chose the United States.

They decided that the future of their families, their children and their values was better served by aligning with the United States against the terrorists and against the fanatics. ...

But as we look back on the nine years since 9/11, one thing needs to kept clearly in view. The more the world’s Muslims see of Al-Qaeda and its agenda of indiscriminate murder, the less they like it.

And many of them are doing something about it. But you'd never know it from reading or watching American media.