Can Islam be reformed? 8

The term “Islamist” is an invention by non-Muslims who want to differentiate between what they insist is the ”the vast majority of peace-loving law-abiding Muslims” from the “radicals”, or “extremists”, or “Islamofascists” for whom they think “Islamist” is a politer word. Islamists are, in the eyes of the well-meaning tolerant non-Muslims who coined the term, a minority with whom the vast majority of “moderate” Muslims do not agree and of whom they do not approve. Even though few of them actually express disapproval, the well-meaning, respectful, tolerant non-Muslims assume it to be strongly felt, and wish the wider public would believe and appreciate this.

For convenience, let’s call the well-meaning, respectful, tolerant non-Muslims who advance this view the Defense. The Defense hopes to persuade non-Muslim public opinion that the law and values of Islam are compatible with the laws and values of what is generally called the West.

The question then arises, what do “moderate” Muslims believe that is different from what the Islamists believe? For both moderates and Islamists the Koran is the holy word of Allah. The holy word of Allah cannot be changed. So what does the Defense say to that? It is, the Defense argues, a matter of interpretation. (For a thoughtful and wide-ranging discussion of this idea in connection with the Ground Zero mosque dispute, see an article by Ron Radosh at PajamasMedia. We usually find much to agree with in his writing, but in this article we find much to criticize. Rather than do so, because we think a point-by-point exegesis would be boring for us and our readers, we’ve chosen to make our own statement on the issue.)

What interpretation can be put on commandments to beat wives (sura 4.32), amputate limbs (eg sura 5.38), treat women unequally (eg sura 4.11), kill apostates (eg 4.89) – to take just a few instances of Allah’s writ? They are laid down in the Koran, from which Sharia derives. It is hard to read them and think of an interpretation that cancels, contradicts, or even merely softens their meaning. Even by the most liberal definitions imaginable by the most elastic of legal minds – one that could find, for instance, gradations of meaning in the word “is” – the words of the commandments cannot be made to mean their opposites. But some have tried to make them less apodictic, and the Defense depends on the possibility.

The Defense maintains that if the Koran is interpreted as meaning in many essential instances something different from what it says, it can be made compatible with American Constitutional Law. But wouldn’t that require deeply radical change, even complete reversal? And if such a radical change were to be made (by whom?), how, or to what extent, would it still be Sharia? Wouldn’t such a profound alteration mean, in effect, the obliteration of Islam?  And if so, how likely is it that it will be accepted by (at least a large enough part of) Islam?

One point often made by the Defense that needs to be answered: The Bible also orders cruel punishments, including, for instance, stoning adulterers. True, but there is no country on earth that declares Biblical law to be its constitution, or makes the commandments of Jehovah, or God the Father, or Jesus Christ, the law of the land, even though some laws agree with some of the ten commandments. Israel decidedly rejected the idea of basing its state laws on Jewish religious law (though for political expediency governments have made some concessions to the religious political parties, causing more nuisance than oppression – such as that marriage must be by religious rite).

But every state in which Islam is the religion of the majority – even including Iraq when it was ruled by the ostensibly secular socialist Ba’athists – has Sharia as the basis of its law. Turkey was an exception that is now changing under an Islamist government to conform with the rest.

Islam wants the world to be Muslim. It declares that every Muslim must help achieve its goal. It prescribes violence as the chief if not exclusive means. Clearly by this alone Islam has set itself up as the enemy of all non-Muslims. In pursuit of its supreme goal and in obedience to the word of Allah, millions of Muslims, including the 19 who perpetrated the crimes of 9/11 in the name of Islam, have dedicated themselves to waging war on the rest of the world, and more will do so in the years to come.

They need to be stopped; by peaceful means if possible, by force whenever necessary. If “reinterpretation” of Islam’s holy writ is a way that can work peacefully, it should be pursued. But can it be done? Our answer is – almost certainly not.

The climate of unreason 0

We often quote Melanie Phillips, chiefly her columns in the Spectator, because we often think she is right. We also admire and are grateful for her courageous writing against – among other controversial subjects – the Islamic conquest of Europe, most notably in her book Londonistan.

In her new book, The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle Over God, Truth, and Power, she  expresses opinions on religion and science that we  do not agree with, though we find quite a lot of other ideas in it that we like.

She writes of “the climate of unreason”. Unfortunately, with this book she is contributing to it.

Here is what she writes about ‘Islamism’  – a concept invented by non-Muslims to avoid offending Muslims, or their own sense of fairness, or both, when they’re speaking critically of what Muslims do and believe:

I have used the word “Islamist” to denote those who wish to impose Islam upon unbelievers and to extinguish individual freedom and human rights among Muslims. There are, however, scholars who hold that Islam is an inherently coercive ideology and that therefore “Islamist” is a meaningless word that creates a false distinction. It is not my purpose here to enter that particular argument. I use the term “Islamist” not to make a theological point but to allow for the acknowledgment of those Muslims who support freedom and human rights and who threaten no one – and who are themselves principal victims of the jihad. I believe it is very important to acknowledge the existence of such Muslims who have a peaceable interpretation of their religion, just as its is very important not to sanitize and thus misrepresent the doctrines and history of Islam as a religion of conquest.”

While we welcome her plain assertion that Islam is a religion of conquest, we can only wonder who these Muslims can be who embrace the religion but not its ideology of conquest and forced submission, since that is what it is about and all that it is about.

She goes on:

The book explores the remarkable links and correspondences between left-wing “progressives” and Islamists, environmentalists and fascists, militant atheists and fanatical religious believers. All are united by the common desire to bring about through human agency the perfection of the world, an agenda which history teaches us leads invariably – and paradoxically – to tyranny, terror and crimes against humanity.

Again we are largely  in agreement with her, but are surprised by the inclusion of atheists in her list. “Militant” atheists, she says. Perhaps on the model of “Islamists” she could have constructed the word “atheism-ists” to distinguish them from those atheists “who support freedom and human rights and who threaten no one”.

Who are these militant atheists? Where are they placing their bombs? We know that there are atheist progressives, atheist fascists, and atheist environmentalists (just as there are atheist conservatives, atheist libertarians, atheists altruists), but we had not noticed that it is atheism they are trying to impose on the rest of the world. Collectivism, yes. Poverty, yes. World government, yes. But atheism – who says so, when and where, and above all, how? Her book, though it deals with some left-wing atheists whose political views we strongly disagree with, does not tell us.

How to win the war (1) 2

The President told the truth (uncharacteristically) when he conceded, some days after a terrorist tried to blow up a plane over Detroit, that America is at war.

But he did not tell the whole truth when he said who the enemy is. He named al-Qaeda, but that’s like naming one battalion in a conventional engagement. There are many battalions on the enemy’s side in this fight: Hizbullah, Hamas, the Taliban, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and many more.

It is absolutely necessary to say plainly who the enemy is.

To call it ‘terror’ was always a misnomer. Terror is an emotion. Even the more accurately referential ‘terrorism’ would not be right. Terrorism is a method, a tactic, a means, not a movement or a cause.

What else has been tried?

‘Extremists’ and ‘extremism’ ?  Wide of the mark.

‘Islamism’ ? Nearer. But wait – ‘Islamism’ does not exist. There is no ‘Islamist Manifesto’. There is no tradition of ‘Islamism’.  Can it even be defined?  It is an invention of Western pundits who want to avoid offending what is charitably called ‘the vast majority of peace-loving Muslims’.

For years now American politicians have been pretending not to see it, refusing to speak it, but they know very well the name of the enemy. And it brings them up against a peculiar difficulty, because it is the name of a religion, and freedom of religion is a foundation stone of the Union. The United States of America is a conscientiously tolerant nation. Within its boundaries, no religion may be prohibited.

Or is that not entirely true? Would religions that require human sacrifice be tolerated? They still exist in Africa and India. Immigrants have brought them to Europe. A couple of years ago the remains of a child was found in the Thames and  investigators found that he had been ritually sacrificed by an African religious sect.

It may be argued that such tribal cults of ritual magic cannot deserve the same respect as a moral religion that has well over a billion followers worldwide, as is the case with Islam.

And Islam is the name of the enemy. In must be said however shocking it feels to say it: The name of the enemy is Islam.

It certainly has over a billion followers, but is it a moral religion? ‘An immoral religion’ would describe it more accurately.

In view of the difficulty Western civilization has in declaring a religion to be inimical, even when it has declared itself to be so, it’s better to think of Islam as an ideology – which it is. All religions are ideologies, even if all ideologies are not religions.

Islam is the religio-political ideology of an illiterate warlord of the dark ages.

It is a totalitarian ideology.

It is a collectivist ideology, and like all collectivist ideologies, it claims to be the unique repository and disseminator of truth, and demands unquestioning submission to its authority.

It is centered on a dual power, a divinity and a particular man inseparably bound to each other. The man, as the sole conduit of divine truth, dictated a book and a body of sayings that established a code of conduct and set of laws. These can never be altered and must be taken literally. They ordain that to kill and be killed for their deity is the highest duty of the faithful. They declare that females are inferior to males, and imply that females exist solely to serve the physical needs and appetites of males.

It is universalist. It assumes the obligation to bring all mankind into its community, or umma. It holds that everyone is born a member of the umma but many fail to realize this and are drawn away to false beliefs and practices. It is the duty of all the faithful to recover the lost members. It will use persuasion, offering to welcome ‘reverts’, but those who cling obstinately to their false beliefs must be forced to capitulate or die. It is therefore unremittingly at war with the rest of humanity. Peace will only come, it teaches, when the whole world is Muslim. In the meantime Islam will allow certain other religions to continue if they are not overtly polytheistic and if their devotees accept social abasement and legal discrimination, and pay tribute to their Muslim overlords.

That is the nature of the enemy. It has always been in a state of war against the rest of us by the compulsion of its beliefs. From time to time since its inception in the 7th century, it has risen and hurled itself in furious battle against the ramparts of our culture. For the last half-century or so it has been in active conflict with the West in general and the United States of America in particular. From its own point of view it is continuing the war it has always waged to subdue the world in accordance with the will of its god and prophet.

This is the war being waged against us now. We have no choice but to fight it.

The name of the enemy is Islam, and once it is identified the next thing to do is devise ways to vanquish it.

How then? If another country is your country’s enemy, you can invade it, or wait for it to invade you and defend yourself from its attack, or you can do both at the same time.

American armed forces are engaged with this enemy in two of the countries where he predominates and in which he plots against us. We may win those battles, but if we do we’ll not have won the war. Victories on geographical battlefields will not vanquish this enemy. Psychological warfare will achieve much more.

Consider this for an act of psychological warfare: At the heart of the haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are enjoined to make at least once in their lives, is the holy Kaaba, a huge cube of a building covered with black silk in the middle of a mosque. Although it existed before Muhammad was born, it is Islam’s holiest site. All Muslims everywhere turn towards it every time they pray. It shelters the Black Stone, a piece of a meteorite that Islam dates ‘from the time of Adam and Eve’. If the Kaaba were bombed and the Black Stone pulverized, just think how demoralizing that would be for the enemy.

And how else can we defeat a foe who is not only spread over many countries but is also here in our midst, thriving and increasing dangerously amongst us, and striking at us unpredictably and at random?

(More to follow.)

Lessons of the fall 0

Melanie Phillips writes:

Twenty years ago today, supporters of freedom and human rights cheered and wept for joy as the Berlin Wall was torn down by jubilant young Germans.

To so many, that heady day seemed to herald the emergence of a better world. The spectre of communism had finally been laid to rest. Liberty had triumphed over tyranny.

The end of the Cold War even led some to proclaim that this was ‘the end of history’ — which was to say that liberal democracy was now the dominant and unchallengeable force in the world. However, the 9/11 attacks on America tragically proved this to be absurdly over-optimistic. The eruption of radical Islamism revealed that, while the West may have been rid of one enemy in the Soviet Union, another deadly foe had risen to take its place.

So much is, sadly, all too evident. But what is perhaps less obvious is that communism did not just vanish in a puff of historical smoke.

The Soviet Union was defeated and fell apart, for sure. But the communist ideology that fuelled it did not so much disintegrate as reconstitute itself into another, even more deadly form as the active enemy of western freedom.

Soviet Communism was a belief system whose goal was to overturn the structures of society through the control of economic and political life. This mutated into a post-communist ideology of the Left, whose no-less ambitious aim was to overturn western society through a subversive transformation of its culture. …

The collapse of communism was actually a slow-burning process. Its moral and political bankruptcy became obvious decades before that glorious Berlin day in November 1989. … But as communism slowly crumbled, those on the far-Left who remained hostile towards western civilisation found another way to realise their goal of bringing it down. This was what might be called ‘cultural Marxism’. It was based on the understanding that what holds a society together are the pillars of its culture: the structures and institutions of education, family, law, media and religion. Transform the principles that these embody and you can thus destroy the society they have shaped.

This key insight was developed in particular by an Italian Marxist philosopher called Antonio Gramsci. His thinking was taken up by Sixties radicals — who are, of course, the generation that holds power in the West today.

Gramsci understood that the working class would never rise up to seize the levers of ‘production, distribution and exchange’ as communism had prophesied. Economics was not the path to revolution. He believed instead that society could be overthrown if the values underpinning it could be turned into their antithesis: if its core principles were replaced by those of groups who were considered to be outsiders or who actively transgressed the moral codes of that society.

So he advocated a ‘long march through the institutions’ to capture the citadels of the culture and turn them into a collective fifth column, undermining from within and turning all the core values of society upside-down and inside-out. This strategy has been carried out to the letter.

The nuclear family has been widely shattered. Illegitimacy was transformed from a stigma into a ‘right’. The tragic disadvantage of fatherlessness was redefined as a neutrally-viewed ‘lifestyle choice’.

Education was wrecked, with its core tenet of transmitting a culture to successive generations replaced by the idea that what children already knew was of superior value to anything the adult world might foist upon them. The outcome … has been widespread illiteracy and ignorance and an eroded capacity for independent thought.

Law and order were similarly undermined, with criminals deemed to be beyond punishment since they were ‘victims’ of society …

The ‘rights’ agenda — commonly known as ‘political correctness’ — turned morality inside out by excusing any misdeeds by self-designated ‘victim’ groups on the grounds that such ‘victims’ could never be held responsible for what they did. …

This mindset also led to the belief that a sense of nationhood was the cause of all the ills in the world, precisely because western nations embodied western values. So transnational institutions or doctrines such as the EU, UN, international law or human rights law came to trump national laws and values.

But the truth is that to be hostile to the western nation is to be hostile to democracy. And indeed, with the development of the EU superstate we can see that the victory over one anti-democratic regime within Europe — the Soviet Union — has been followed by surrender to another.

For the republic of Euroland puts loyalty to itself higher than that to individual nations and their values. It refused to commit itself in its constitution to uphold Christianity, the foundation of western morality. …

We agree with most of what she says, but not with the value she places on the Christian religion and Christian morality. We do not believe that the greatness of Europe is due to Christianity. We share with Edward Gibbon the opinion that Christianity brought a thousand years of darkness down on Europe. What made Europe great was the Renaissance and the Enlightenment: the rediscovery of Greco-Roman civilization, the displacement of a deocentric by an anthropocentric world-view, the rise of scientific enquiry, the revival of the Socratean questioning of ideas in general, the ideal of personal liberty, the triumph of rationality. In other words, by the loosening and finally the casting off of the shackles of religion, even though Christianity, in proliferating variety, continued to exert a malign influence on Europe’s history for some centuries after Spinoza and Hume crippled it.

The dark ideologies of Leftism and  Islam cannot be overcome by the darkness of another religion, but only by reason. Physical force may be necessary, and should not be shirked when it is. But victory in war – as victory in the Cold War demonstrated – is not sufficient if the ideology lives on, whether openly or incognito under new names. It is the argument that must be won, however hard it is to change by reason a view that has not been arrived at by reason. Reason’s victory is enormously aided by its practical achievements in science and technology. Even the dark-age Muslims extant in our world want vaccinations, organ-transplants, aircraft, telephones, television, computers, the internet, refrigerators  – and also, ever more determinedly and dangerously, nuclear weapons. The West failed to keep those out of the hands of Communist and Muslim states, which is why war may be necessary again quite soon. Our side, the side of reason, demands that our weaponry should always be more advanced than the enemy’s. As long as we can innovate, we can win. Innovation is the child of freedom and rationality.

Hamas fights a bloody battle with the ‘non-existent’ in Gaza 1

From the Telegraph:

Six people were killed and 55 wounded in Gaza fighting on Friday when Hamas police stormed a mosque where radicals had declared an Islamist “emirate” in the Palestinian territory, emergency services said.

Shooting was continuing after dark, witnesses said, after clashes began in the afternoon following weekly prayers in the southern city of Rafah, which straddles the Egyptian border.

Among the dead was Mohammed al-Shamali, head of the Hamas military unit for southern Gaza, emergency services said, adding that bodies of some other victims could not be reached because of the intensity of the fighting…

An Egyptian security official said a three-year-old boy was critically wounded by a bullet from the fighting across the [Egyptian] border.

Witnesses said that following the prayers, a group of Palestinians announced the formation of the Islamist “emirate,” defying the authority of Hamas, which has ruled Gaza’s 1.5 million people for the past two years.

“We are today proclaiming the creation of an Islamist Emirate in the Gaza Strip,” Abdul Latif Musa, a representative of Jund Ansar Allah (Soldiers of the Partisans of God), said at the Bin Taymiyya mosque, the witnesses reported.

Musa was surrounded by armed fighters when he made his statement, according to the witnesses.

Rafah is the Gaza stronghold of the so-called Salafist movement, of which Jund Ansar Allah is said to a part and which is ideologically close to al-Qaeda.

An AFP photographer reported that Hamas police dynamited Musa’s house. It could not be established whether the Islamist was there at the time.

Hamas police blocked all entrances to Rafah, the photographer said.

The Hamas interior ministry warned that those violating the law would be pursued and arrested.

“Everyone outside the law and carrying arms in order to spread chaos will be pursued and arrested,” a ministry statement said.

At the same time, Hamas premier Ismail Haniya denied that the group exists.

“No such groups exist on the ground in Gaza,” he said at prayers in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. He blamed the “Israeli media for spreading this information with a view to turning the world against Gaza.”

Hamas seized power in Gaza in June 2007 after a week of vicious fighting with forces of the secular Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Democrats prop up political Islam 0

 Whether out of ignorance – which is inexcusable – or to serve some alarming purpose, the DNC gave a platform to America’s worst enemy.

Last week’s opening festivities at the Democrat National Convention in Denver began with an interfaith prayer. As the Democrat Party searches for its newfound interest in faith, it quickly called upon one of the lowest hanging fruit in the American Muslim community – the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Ingrid Mattson, the President of ISNA gave a speech along with Adbur-Rahim Ali of the Northeast Denver Islamic Center. Some may dismiss the selection of nine speakers of faith at the political shindig as irrelevant and simply part of the pomp and circumstance of the DNC Convention.
But propping up ISNA in today’s environment is akin to propping up the Legal Guild (a ‘60s Communist front group) to address the convention during the Cold War. Our civil servants will verify that they have prevented over 30 attacks by militant Islamists upon our nation and our citizens since 9/11. The only ideology that unites the groups set upon our destruction is not violence. It is political Islam – their Islamism. Unless we identify both violent and non-violent political Islam as a root cause of terrorism we will never win this conflict. Militant Islamists, much as non-militant Islamists, seek some form of a transnational Muslim, political movement. They both seek various forms of the ascendancy of Islam with respect to other religions culminating in the establishment of Islamic states.
 

Read the whole article by an anti-jihad Muslim here.

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, September 2, 2008

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