Saturday, December 31, 2005

Islam In Summary

What is Islam? First we must distinguish between the ideology, Islam (philosophy) and the demographic group, Muslims (sociology.) As an ideology, Islam is understood by studying the ideas and their origin. Islam is an imperialist supremacist political ideology created by a 7th century warrior who conquered and oppressed. Given its time and place of origin, the ideology is underwritten by a supernatural metaphysics and an epistemology of faith and revelation. Formally, this makes it a religion as well as a political creed.

Here, I explain in detail how Islam is an ideology. Here, I explain the sociological fact that there are moderate Muslims, even if Islam itself isn’t moderate. I warn that we have to avoid an equivocation between the demographic group and the ideology, as some try to turn our criticism of ideas into a crude vilification of a nominal demographic group. Attempts to equate criticism of Islam with bigotry, racism, or prejudice are cheap tactics of intimidation. Indeed, in our culture there is a positive prejudice, i.e. a positive predisposition, to pretend that Islam is just another religion.


The ideology of Islam is understood by the texts (the Koran, Hadith, and Sira), which are either by Mohammad or about him. Mohammad exemplifies the religion. Islam is not difficult to understand. In the early part of his religious career, Mohammad preached tolerance as he sought acceptance in Mecca but became a vicious tyrant as he rose to power in Medina. He culminated his career as a warrior: he plundered, slaughtered, terrorized, and conquered until he extended his power through out the Arabian Peninsula. This included the ethnically-cleansing of Jews from Medina. This, then, is Islam in practice. To say that this example is different than that of Jesus is an absurd understatement.

Some imagine that there are significantly different versions of Islam. We are told that the problem is Salafi Islam; but this is just the original Islam of Mohammad and the first four “rightly guided Caliphs.” What other Islam is there? The mythical Moderate Islam is nowhere to be found. Which books or theologian created such a version? After each terror attack, moderate Islam seems more of a dream while the reality of Jihad expands around the globe.

What, then, can we expect from Islam? While Muslims have been moderate under European colonial rule, the Islamic Revival has brought a return of the original Islam. Given its origin, Islam has severe problems that preclude it from being a suitable candidate for modernization and as a basis for a sustained liberal order. Consequently, Islam will continue to be a threat to civilization as long as it exists.

The key to understanding Islam is to realize that it is a supremacist ideology. This explains why, for jihadist Muslims, the atrocity of 9/11, was a religious experience that reaffirmed Allah’s will that Islam is destined to rule this world, vanquish and humiliate the enemy. Such acts have vast support in the Islamic world, as many have noticed. The root cause of Islamic violence is hard to deny. They mean what they say and we have seen the consequence.

The Islam Revival is underwritten by Saudi Arabia and Iran. We continue to support our enemy. Contrary to popular belief, it is feasible to end this relationship now. But our government refuses to acknowledge the role of the House of Saud in the Islamic Revival and Jihadist terror.

Current attempts to change Islamic societies are honorable but fail to take into account the nature of the problem, the difficulty of transforming a culture, and the current stage of the revival of the original practice of Islam. It is hoped that structural changes, such as the adoption of an electoral parliamentary procedure, will inextricably change the hearts and minds of Muslims. Democracy isn’t enough nor can a liberal society be sustained on an Islamic foundation. Human nature may require rights for life to fully flourish, but for rights to flourish there must be an appropriate cultural context.

What should one read to understand Islam? I maintain a webpage with suggestions. Each suggestion is best suited to a different audience. Someone who is not religious may find Ibn Warraq book enlightening or consider Ayaan Hirsi Ali. For those with a Christian background, Robert Spencer’s books, in particular Islam Unveiled describes Islam using the Christian religion as a point of reference. Sadja Trifkovic sucintly describes Islam and its bloody history for those not faint at heart. Bat Ye’or, Daniel Pipes, Bernard Lewis, and others cover various aspects of Islam or write from a limited point of view. As this should not be a partisan issue, let me mention that Benjamin and Simon, two former Clinton advisors, have an excellent understanding of the Islamic Revival, as does the socialist Paul Berman and radical journalist Oriana Fallaci.

My introductory article to the whole subject of Islam summarizes some of the distinctive elements of the religion; but its main purpose is to suggest that we should overcome the positive pre-disposition that exempts Islam from critical analysis. In part II, I’ll summarize our denial and inability to deal with this fatally flawed ideology.

31 Comments:

Blogger Always On Watch said...

Jason,
What an outstanding post! I'm going to save it in one of my special files (See Beak's and Mustang's blogs). I'm also going to recommend your article here to everyone I know.

Happy New Year, Jason! Getting to know you and your blog has been one of the few highlights of 2005, a wretched year for me in most respects.

12/31/05, 10:18 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Jason,
Are you aware of Mark Alexander's book
Dawning of a New Dark Age: A Collection of Essays on Islam
? I confess that I haven't yet read the book, but some friends of mine have. They tell me that Mr. Alexander's book is quite good.

More information about the book is available at TheTruthProject.blogspot.com , where it is reviewed as follows:

The Dawning of a New Dark Age
Author: Mark Alexander
Format: Paperback
ISBN:1-4107-9037-1
Publish Date: 2003
Publisher:
Review: The author demonstrates his deep familiarity with Islam and its goals in this collection of essays on a wide variety of subjects. He exposes both with great clarity, at a level that can be understood by readers from the teen years on up. It can function either as an excellent introductory resource for beginners, or as an equally excellent refresher and "fill-in-the-gaps" resource for those who are already familiar with the basics. He's not afraid to point a finger at the serious problem facing us from the politically correct, including and up to our policy-makers and leaders.

The use of "stand-alone" essays is especially useful for those who don't have the time to digest an entire book at a fell swoop. It should also prove very useful for the parents of somewhat older children who are trying to teach them at home what Islam is all about, since each essay can be used as a single lesson. For this reason, it should be brought to the attention of anyone involved with home-schooling, or perhaps even to some private schools which are seeking sources that don't whitewash Islam.


Please accept this comment in the spirit in which it is offered. (I know you will, friend and fellow infidel)

12/31/05, 12:44 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I forgot to add this...Mark Alexander's web site is
www.librabunda.blogspot.com

12/31/05, 12:46 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Thanks for your comments on the article, especially knowing how much you've read, AOW.

I want to read Mark's book and I have a link to his website on the right. I can't add it to the list until I read it. By the way, I haven't read Prophet of Doom either but I did glance through it in a bookstore. It's very thick for a first time reader so maybe Mark's book is just right for an intro.

I also hope this article is an index to my other articles (and through them links to the works of you and the many people who are doing good writing on the subject.) The other half of the "index" will be on our culture & the denial of the threat.

12/31/05, 1:54 PM  
Blogger beakerkin said...

Okay

Here are the best books on the subject according to the Beak

1 The Great Divide by Alvin Schmidtt. Extreemly good when some left wing clown or Jihadist tries the compare Christianity with Islam game.

2 Indigenous People Under The Rule of Islam by Fred P Isaac

This hidden classic shows a world wide pattern of colonialism and human rights abuses. Not quoted often but brilliant

3 Any Bat Ye'or book but Eurabia is a good start

4 Sword of the Prophet. Trifkovic takes no prisoners.

5 The myth of Islamic Tolerance read the sections by Bat Yeor, Emerson and Phares . The rest is average.

Bear in mind most of the time you will not be arguing with Jihadis.
So prepare to crush Reds, Greens, Browns, Chomskyites and the tinfoil hat brigade.

Jason I will be doing a post on Hillary's Army as a fellow NY you willget it.

12/31/05, 6:41 PM  
Blogger American Crusader said...

I'm glad AOW recomended your post. I've often struggled to define Islam. Religion, Political system, cult? You've covered a lot of ground with a perceptive insight.

12/31/05, 7:49 PM  
Blogger American Crusader said...

Looking for 'moderate' Islam or 'moderate' muslims is like looking for the Lockness Monster or Bigfoot. I keep hearing about sightings but the photographs are always fuzzy.

12/31/05, 8:00 PM  
Blogger American Crusader said...

The Myth of Islamic Tolerance is good but Islam Unvieled and Why I Am Not a Muslim are much betterb reads imo.

12/31/05, 8:04 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Your diagnosis is sound. What is to be done? Modern governments are not to be trusted. They are too busy being politically correct to be any good in this situation. Europe is sinking quickly in a flood of muslim immigrants and their progeny. Once a land is muslim it is always muslim, and all of Europe is now becoming muslim. What is the plan?

12/31/05, 8:24 PM  
Blogger Esther said...

I too was sent by AOW, and I'm really glad. I wish more people were as well versed on the subject as you. Great post!

By the way, moderate muslims are considered apostates by the hardcore ones. I have a friend who calls herself Muslim but she wears tight shirts, reveals her belly button, etc....she never goes to the Mosque. So I guess I can sort of say that I know a moderate muslim? ;)

1/1/06, 1:07 AM  
Blogger weekbyweek said...

Terrific blog.

We too have had a look at the attempts by the Arab League to get the Danish government to have the Jyllands-Posten newspaper remove its cartoons supposedly offending Mohammed.

cheers

1/1/06, 5:21 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Jason,
Of course you cannot recommend a book you haven't read (Duh?).

Sometimes a book with the essay format, such as Mark Alexander's, is a good intro to Islam--as is your blog with its many essays and now this excellent index here.

I visit your blog and Mark's every day, even if I have to skip regular blog rounds.

When I first began my research on 9/12/2001, I felt overwhelmed by all the new information. Trifkovic's book was my big eye-opener (I began with Shorrosh, but his arguments are theological, and such arguments do not speak to all), but Trifkovic's book requires concentration. My cousin stayed up three straight days so as not to lose context. Once she grasped the seriousness of what the West faces, and has been facing for some 1400 years, she couldn't keep her mouth shut. Her copy of Sword is tattered and torn, and circulates throughout the subdivision in which she lives.

Beak is right: Bear in mind most of the time you will not be arguing with Jihadis.
So prepare to crush Reds, Greens, Browns, Chomskyites and the tinfoil hat brigade.

For all their claims to intellectualism, so they have what it takes to undertake real and objective study? I myself--not a Lefty but not a Hard-Righter, either--didn't WANT to believe what I was reading; I found myself gravitating to material less condemnatory. Once I got past the idea that Islam is a faith (As a Christian, I'm a staunch believer in freedom of religion), I was able to recognize the truth. Long before I found your blog, I started calling Islam an ideology. Your terminology, "geopolitical ideology" is more precise and helps one to compare Islam and other totalitarianisms more objectively.

BTW, I sent this particular blog article to one friend who gave your piece the highest kudos. What a service you have done with this article! It should be read by all who aren't afraid to face the truth.

I will post a link to this article in my right sidebar.

1/1/06, 11:01 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

I often say a “moderate Muslims” is one who is lax or lapsed. Sometimes I even use the phrase “Cafeteria Muslim” for those that pick and choose which aspects of Islam to follow. Moderate Muslims don’t practice another version of the ideology … they just slack off in important respects but can’t justify this lack of practice. Robert Spencer, on JihadWatch.Org, keeps asking so-called moderates, how they justify the rejection of the warrior-like supremacist passages. He has yet to get an answer. In other words, they are just lax or slackers or employing taqiyya.

Coming back to the question of book recommendations, I remember Hugh Fitzgerald writing a list for the GI planning to go to Iraq. But his list was more appropriate for someone in graduate school preparing to write a thesis on Islam! I can’t keep up with Spencer or Fitzgerald on the details. As a matter of fact, that’s why I try to introduce an idea but refer the reader to their work for further study. There’s no need to redo what they’ve done so well. And Spencer is a good debater—-he has the details at his finger tips.

I try to keep the big picture in mind, pick a few salient features of Islam, and ask the obvious questions. It’s like my wife said yesterday with respect to communism: didn’t the Berlin Wall tell you more than enough to make a judgment? I like to hammer away on the obvious essentials (hey, I’ve got a day job, too!)

By the way, the New York Public Library had 19 copies of Spencer’s Islam Unveiled (4 are lost.) and 6 copies of Trifkovic. I prefer Spencer because Trifkovic is too much of a shock for many. People wonder why they never heard these facts. Spencer allows the reader to ponder the material and stays with some of the main facts.

But I plan on reading Mark Alexander’s book. I like the idea of topical essays. I noticed some of my brief essays are popular around the Internet. One that’s a hit is root cause. The posts that are popular are the ones with a title that is usually employed by the 5th column Islamist apologists. Also popular is Islam is a Supremacist Ideology. These get used by others on the ‘net to turn the attack around from a focus on us to Islam. We are bigoted? Let’s look at the Islamic world and their founder. We are to blame for their problems? Let’s look at the true root cause of their behavior.

1/1/06, 3:03 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

"What is to be done?"

I think we are still in the education phase. People are waking-up but we have to keep spreading the message.

1/1/06, 3:06 PM  
Blogger Elmer's Brother said...

Jason,

Great post! I've included it in the roundup.

1/1/06, 3:35 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Jason - this really is an excellent index to your previous posts. Maybe you should set it off to the side of your blog somewhere with a big "READ THIS FIRST" or something. Happy New Year! and I look forward to another year of reading your terrific blog!

1/1/06, 5:07 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

How to be a good Muslim.

1/1/06, 8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Yo Friends, NO ISLAM KNOW PEACE! I Spread Lies And Misery = ISLAM

1/2/06, 2:42 PM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Hmmm, nothing on their like Fletchers' "The Cross and the Crescent" or works by moderate muslims such as "The Swallows of Kabul". Approaching the Koran is another good text or Hodgson's "Venture of Islam".

No, none of that is on the list. Instead we get the regulars... Pipes, Friedman and B'at Shit. And they describe Islam in a comprehensive fashion. Your a fool if you believe that Jason.

1/2/06, 3:04 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Fletcher’s book is new (2003) but I’ll check it out. From the few pages on Amazon, I noticed minor inaccuracies but also good insight. For example, he points out how Christianity was a religion that engaged in intense theological debates from the very beginning while Islam lacked such reflective critical self-analysis; Islam was more dogmatic and ideologically monotone.

“Swallows” is a novel and Hodgson has produced a three volume set that is far more appropriate for a scholar than as a book for those looking for an introduction to the ideology. It interests me, but I wouldn’t expect the average person to delve into such a tract. Keep coming with such suggestions.

Ducky, there is really no need for the abuse and insults. This is not one of those venues where we care to bash anyone for their views.

Has anyone read Mark Gabriel?

1/2/06, 6:13 PM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Come on Jason, give me your best game. You are going to present an overview of Islam but you will leave out Hodgson because he's "scholarly". That is simply ridiculous.

You found some errors in Fletchers text? Could be but I would think you'd be a little more circumspect and cautious before questioning the work of a noted historian. What were the errors.

I think you can gain great insight from novels. "Swallows" is outstanding and a fairly quick read.

You don't expect to be ridiculed but you question scholars while presenting your case from Pipes, a man who is batshit crazy and thinks and Israeli military victory is the only "solution". Some stooge who publishes for Regenry and has no credentials and a woman who isn't heard outside the extreme right.

Lewis is certainly worth reading but the rest are lightweights. 3 jews out of 4. Not a deal breaker but a red flag. It really is embarrassing to read you strutting your stuff as an expert.

You are obviously intelligent but you can't cope with complexity and settle for this superficial agitprop.

1/2/06, 9:27 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Ducky, my focus is on the ideology of Islam not the sociology or the complete history of all people called Muslims. Islam, as a religion, is not very difficult and one doesn’t need three volumes to understand the essentials. I focus on the salient features and not esoteric aspects of Sharia law (which can get into detail about the most mundane matters such as which leg to use when stepping into the outhouse.)

To understand the essentials of Christianity, one doesn’t need more than one slim book, either. It’s not controversial to say that Christians believed Christ died for their sins. The statements I make about Islam are or should be non-controversial and easy to verify. I discuss some of the different treatments of Islam and why contemporary treatments often leave out major facts. In this post, I talked about how a typical scholar, 80 years ago, wrote about Mohammad’s ethnical cleansing of the Jews. And I explain why you won't see this today.

Yes, I’ve read Armstrong and Esposito and I’ll read several of your suggestions (so suggest more if you like.) But my article addresses some of the very basic facts about Islam that make it a concern for us.

Why are you so anti-anti-Islam? Why would you want to restrain critical analysis of this religion?

1/2/06, 9:43 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Fletchers’ error was saying that Dar al-Islam means House of Peace. Islam means submission, not peace. Of course, he might have studied at the George W. Bush school of Islamic Studies. Thus, I was surprised, Ducky, that you share the Bush Party line. A closet Bush supporter? Or just a Condi enthusiast?

1/2/06, 9:48 PM  
Blogger leelion said...

Hi Jason, just stumbled onto your blog here, looks good, I hope to be a regular. I've been reading about Islam since 89' when I lived in England (in New Zealand now) during the Salman Rushdie debacle. I wonder if the current Danish newspaper cartoon over-reaction could escalate in a similar fashion. Nothing would surprise me. I read the 2002/03 UN Arab Human Development Reports which made very sober reading as to the massive problems in the Arab/Muslim world yet they choose to focus attention and resources on twelve relatively inoffensive cartoons in a small newspaper in Scandinavia. It's simultaneously laughable, bizzare and frightening. Another red flag. Watchout. Happy New Year. Leelion.

1/2/06, 11:24 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Thanks, leelion. That's an excellent point. With all the problems in Muslim countries and with the difficulties within Muslim communities in Europe, you’d think perceived “insults” to their religion would be at the bottom of the list of concerns.

But self-criticism seems lacking in Muslim countries in lieu of looking for scapegoats. As I remember, that report was an exception: it faced the problems in the Islamic world.

1/2/06, 11:42 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Are you familiar with the Islamic concept of shirk? Shirk is a sin, in fact the most greivous sin one can commit in Islam. It means "associating partners with Allah." Shirk can also encompase any object that a person may hold in regard higher than Allah. It is the most severe of sins and will not be forgiven.

Now look at the Koran, in Sura 33:36 "And it behoves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Apostle have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Apostle, he surely strays off a manifest straying."

Muhammad's commands are the equivalent of Allah's? Or Allah is Muhammad's violently expressed megalomanic ego?

You have to be insane to follow Islam. I think that's the point.

1/3/06, 3:17 AM  
Blogger beakerkin said...

Ducky

Bat Ye'or deals with historical fact and is in no way comprable to a forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. What is your excuse for similar matter printed by Trifkovic and Isaac. Neither of those two are Jewish.

As usual even when the focus of the subject is not Jews you turn around and create a Jewish theme where none exists. The most famous example is your obsessive hatred of Renior turned into a lecture of Jews in art. Renior painted women as the highest form of art so we may infer..... You go figure the rest Duck.

AFLAC what a dunce

1/3/06, 6:59 AM  
Blogger Camerinus said...

Esther said..I have a friend who calls herself Muslim but she wears tight shirts, reveals her belly button, etc....she never goes to the Mosque. So I guess I can sort of say that I know a moderate muslim? ;)

I would consider your friend a lax or lapsed Muslim, not a moderate. Why is it that if "Ducky" assumes that if someone doesn't list a book he has read..it means they haven't read it. Maybe most people saw through the deception that "moderate" Muslims would like us to believe.

1/3/06, 9:17 AM  
Blogger Ouzian said...

I grew up a Muslim......

and have read Koran soo many times....

Hell, I researched much into the subject of islam....

and it does hit you when u discover the religion you considered peaceful was in reality just the opposite..........

2/1/06, 10:43 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Thanks, Ouzian. In your opinion, how many Muslims (those who would label themselves as Muslims) are actually knowledgeable about Islam?

2/1/06, 11:27 AM  
Anonymous USpace said...

Well done! The more people that discuss the truths of Islam and Islamic Jihad, the more the Jihadis
will be put in their place. The rule of law must apply, the US isn't letting Muslim gangs run around raping schoolgirls.

If they ever try that stuff over here, I'm sure the cops will crack down hard.
This is what is happening less and less in Europe. And that is just like spoiling little kids rotten.
If the law continues not to clamp down and enforce law regarding violence it will just get worse and worse.

Wafa Sultan and Robert Spencer are heroes! Islam as practiced by the Islamofascists will never be peace because if
Earth ever became ruled by Sharia Law all the multitudes of Islamic factions that hate each other would keep fighting each other forever.

Educate ourselves and others!

The Religion of Peace

Prophet of Doom

The Brussels Journal

Jihad Watch

Gates of Vienna

Hard To Swallow

absurd thought -
God of the Universe thinks
ALL religions are GREAT

none are better than others
don't believe terrorists' threats


absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
threaten writers of books

telling the painful truths
hateful ideologies


absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
you may not defend yourself

never defend your culture
if it is Western and white


Robert Spencer Gets Peaceful Death Threats

Do American Liberals Want a Taliban Europe?
.

8/29/07, 2:23 AM  

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