Thursday, August 10, 2006

The War with Islamic Fascists

President Bush remarks that we are “at war with Islamic fascists.” The New York Times is shocked, shocked at the language … making this a headline event.
Update1: the Times changed the headline and story of that link.
Update2: The Times finds the word “jihad” too frightening, claiming that the “approach — the language that goes with it — creates a trap for the administration.” Apparently, it won’t be a jihad if we don’t call it one! (Read the link before it changes!)
Update3: Daniel Pipes reviews the reaction to Bush’s rhetoric and suggests they are closer to “Islamic Communists.”. Still, he admits he can’t settle on a single term for the Islamic Revival.
Update4: Bush caves. (Hat tip: AOW)

36 Comments:

Blogger Always On Watch said...

If GWB had said "religion of peace" today, I think I'd have lost it--especially because I saw the move World Trade Center at the early matinee this morning.

8/10/06, 9:42 PM  
Blogger Grant Jones said...

Some people just can't handle the truth.

8/10/06, 9:57 PM  
Blogger Charles N. Steele said...

I don't blame the NYT for being shocked -- I'm shocked too. We certainly are *not* at war with Islamic fascists.

Instead, we are fiddling around with Iraq's civil war (after destabilizing the country), half-heartedly trying to contain the Taliban in Afghanistan, and watching while Israel fails in Lebanon.

The United States have not declared war, nor are we seriously pursuing the militant Islamists.

Maybe it is time we did.

8/10/06, 10:33 PM  
Blogger beakerkin said...

I am sure Ducky will be here with some spin. He will point to the proximity to the defeat of th zionist Lieberman or a need to boost Republicans at the polls.

The AFLACK duck is predictable.

If you ever change your mind about doing an interview on my site let me know.

8/10/06, 10:39 PM  
Blogger Mojoey said...

Political correctness and a desire to offend no one, not even those trying to kill us, is a mainstay at publications like the Times. It is a shame really. It is more important to speak the truth.

8/11/06, 2:11 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

All good points. I couldn't agree more.

8/11/06, 6:28 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

The London terrorist plot raises the question of profiling prospective terrorists, i.e. young Muslims, instead of squandering scarce resources by arbitrary and random spot-checks of grey-haired Mormon grandmothers. Heather McDonald, of the Manhattan Institute, asks the obvious: “If President Bush believes that we are at war with ‘Islamic fascists,’ his security policies should stop treating every American like the enemy.”

I thought that was in interesting thought.

8/11/06, 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the indication, side from ‘Islamic Fascists’ in quotes,that the NYT is "shocked".

Or is that it? The NYT is "shocked" because ‘Islamic Fascists’ is in quotes

Typical right wingnut paranoia, seeing "left wing bias" in everything.

Oh, give me a break.

8/11/06, 4:38 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Jason,
Have you seen CAIR's whine-o-gram? I just posted about it.

8/11/06, 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Amplify said...

Charles N. Steele
I'll beat my old drum: of course there's moderate Islam.

Which only means that I have to point out to you that you are 100 % wrong - moderate Islam does not exist (and actually cannot exist).

I know a number of moderate Muslims.

Which does not back up your erroneous claim one iota, as those moderate Muslims are moderate because of their lack of adherence to Islam, not because they follow a version of Islam that is somehow moderate (as I said, such a version does not exist).

And claims that moderate Islam isn't really Islam are pointless -- religious "truths" are not objective, they are simply matters of interpretation.

Of course interpretation is used even in Islam, but the rules that are allowed for interpretation in Islam are so rigid that no interpretation can ever amount to a moderate version of Islam.

Besides, there is a difference between interpretation (e.g. trying to extract the meaning from a religious text) and what I choose to call circumvention (e.g. trying to superimpose one's own opinion of what a religious text should mean, by trying to find justifications for reading it in that way). If Muslims choose to do the latter, then they do it in spite of Islam, and Islam cannot be given credit for it.

but to claim Islam is inherently extremist or violent or totalitarian is wrong, because Islam, like all religion, is whatever its adherents decide it is.

Please cut the nominalist crap. What makes people "adherents of Islam" (ie. Muslims) is precisely that they decide to adhere to that certain "something" that is Islam - not that they decide to call some arbitrary rules, ways of living, or whatever, "Islam". Islam is not an expression of the will of Muslim, but the will of Allah.

Since we know about the contents of the Quran and Hadith, we know that these works can never form the basis of a moderate "Islam".

One has to be pretty ignorant, or alternatively a very eager Islam apologist, not to realize that the will of Allah as outlined in the Quran cannot be superseded by the will of the ordinary Muslim.

8/11/06, 5:37 PM  
Blogger Cubed © said...

Well, I just heard that a cease-fire has been accepted, and that the Israeli military are beside themselves about it.

I'm with them. "Give War a Chance," I say, and SOMEHOW get Ralph Peters into some policy-making position!

Bush's statement about "Islamic fascists" notwithstanding, I think Bush's mistaken premises (things like "Islam is a religion of peace," and his reliance on the "Just War" theory) has cost all of us, to say nothing of his "legacy" (which is toast) very dearly.

Oh, and there's the small matter of heavy-duty Hezbollah activity down in the tri-borders reagion of South America, the kiss-kiss action between Ahmadinejad and Chucky Chavez, and the open borders.

BTW, Citgo is Chavez' company, just in case you feel and irresistable urge to boycott something.

8/11/06, 10:11 PM  
Blogger Charles N. Steele said...

Thanks for response, Amplify.

To me, the heart of your critique of my position is: "Islam is not an expression of the will of Muslim, but the will of Allah... as outlined in the Quran."

The problem with your argument is that Allah does not exist... he and his supposed will are myths. The Koran is simply the work of humans, not god. It is also, like all religious texts, garbled and confused, and it is indeed the "will of the Muslim" (or more precisely, her/his judgement) that "determines" the alleged meaning.

You also state "moderate Muslims are moderate because of their lack of adherence to Islam, not because they follow a version of Islam that is somehow moderate (as I said, such a version does not exist)."

It seems extremely strange to me that you, a non-Muslim, would take a position in which you could find yourself lecturing to imams and scholars who proclaim themselves to be Muslims that they really are not, because they are moderate.

But regardless, I asked the moderate Muslims about this, and they pointed out that you are mistaken... rather it is the non-moderate militant Muslims who are failing to adhere to Islam.

I'll leave it to Muslims to sort out their theological disputes as to who "really" is a Muslim. It's of no more interest to me than debates among Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox as to who "really" is a Christian. Moderate, militant, or anything between, they are all Muslims.

There's a reason why this issue is important. The idea that moderate Islam is inherently impossible might imply that Muslims should either be killed of forcibly "de-converted." Taken seriously, it could lead the non-Muslim world into exactly the sort of behavior we decry in militant Muslims. And it completely misses debates over these very issues within the Muslim world, and the possibilities for an Islam that accomodates itself to the modern world.

8/12/06, 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Amplify said...

Charles N. Steele:
The problem with your argument is that Allah does not exist... he and his supposed will are myths. The Koran is simply the work of humans, not god.

The point is that being a Muslim means that you have to believe in the existence of Allah, and you have to believe that the Quran contains the eternal, perfect words of Allah as revealed through Mohammed. If you don't believe that, then you're not a Muslim - simple as that. Everything follows from that.

(Whether Allah "really" exists or if the Quran is "really" the works of humans or Allah is therefore beside the point, as belief is about accepting as true something that very well may not actually be true.)

It seems extremely strange to me that you, a non-Muslim, would take a position in which you could find yourself lecturing to imams and scholars who proclaim themselves to be Muslims that they really are not, because they are moderate.

Why should it matter whether or not I am a Muslim?! What does matter is who has the Quran on his side. Those so-called "moderate Muslims" (even if they should claim to be scholars) do not have the Quran on their side, so why should I accept their arguments as long as they contradict the foundation of Islam?

But regardless, I asked the moderate Muslims about this, and they pointed out that you are mistaken... rather it is the non-moderate militant Muslims who are failing to adhere to Islam.

Because? And you know that they were sincere... how, exactly? I assume you didn't just naïvely take their word for it?

I'll leave it to Muslims to sort out their theological disputes as to who "really" is a Muslim.

Believe you me, those "disputes" among Muslims can become really, er, "interesting". I take it you know a bit about Islam and apostasy? One of the wonderful "checks & balances" that have ensured that Islam have always remained such a "bloody great" religion of peace...

It's of no more interest to me than debates among Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox as to who "really" is a Christian. Moderate, militant, or anything between, they are all Muslims.

Actually, this is very important, because when you redefine Islam into "whatever Muslims want it to be", you make it impossible to criticize Islam, because any criticism of Islam thus really becomes criticism of the will of a group of people who have in common only the fact that they choose to use the 6-letter word "Muslim" about themselves - everything else is just arbitrary, and therefore impossible to summarize, let alone criticize.

There's a reason why this issue is important. The idea that moderate Islam is inherently impossible might imply that Muslims should either be killed of forcibly "de-converted."

Or it might not. It is obvious that Islam does not belong in the West, and so we just have to face the consequences of that - sooner rather than later, in my opinion. What we have to do, is to remove Islam from the West. You should read what Lawrence Auster writes about the subject.

Besides, what it might imply is one thing. What should be relevant is whether it is true that moderate Islam is inherently impossible. We should not pick the answer we would like to be true, but rather try to find the answer that is true. And then after we've done this, we can figure out what this implies. And we have to be prepared to accept the implications even if we don't like them.

Taken seriously, it could lead the non-Muslim world into exactly the sort of behavior we decry in militant Muslims. And it completely misses debates over these very issues within the Muslim world, and the possibilities for an Islam that accomodates itself to the modern world.

Seeing as "an Islam that accomodates itself to the modern world" does not and cannot exist, it is foolish to expect such a version to show up, and it is actually dangerous and outright irresponsible to use such naïve hope as the basis for future policies with regards to Islam.

8/12/06, 5:44 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Jason,
And CAIR is whining about GWB's terminology. I posted about that whine-o-gram HERE. If you get a chance to stop by, take a look at the comment by "Islamophobia Inspector"; it's a gem.

8/12/06, 8:52 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

I wonder what Islamic syndicalism looks like.

8/12/06, 9:23 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Amplify does a superb job but let me focus on one issue. It’s the issue of “degree” versus “kind.” I think we all see the vast differences among Muslims but differ on whether we see those who are moderate in the behavior, as differing in degree or differing in kind. I argue that moderates are lax, lapsed, mechanical in the practice, selective in the practice, etc. Thus, they differ in the degree in which the practice the religion. Charles suggests there are many different kinds of Islams. Since we see there are differences it is interesting to explore why we think it matters if we describe it as a difference in degree or kind. You express your worries here:

“There's a reason why this issue is important. The idea that moderate Islam is inherently impossible might imply that Muslims should either be killed of forcibly "de-converted." “

There are far more possibilities: 1) change religion; 2) become lax; 3) maintain beliefs but don’t act on them.

The last is the most likely in the foreseeable future. Most people who want to violate the rights of others, don’t out of fear for the consequences. I believe we can establish and maintain a deterrent. Number two is possible in the medium term, for many; it will be a way of maintaining the nominal label but moving on in fact. I don’t see #1 happening on any large scale.

Numerous scholars note that Islam has not had the internal feuds and wars over interpretation as Christianity has. There is really not much debate about core beliefs, let alone religious wars. The Shia-Sunni dispute is about political succession, not interpretation of doctrine. They also don’t have words for different kinds of Islam like “fundamentalism,” “radical,” or “militant.” We invented these labels. They just refer to what is called an Islamic Revival.

The reason why it is important to notice this is that the revival is going full force. Notice how “our Muslims” in Afghanistan are fundamentalist like the Taliban and would have sentence a Christian convert to death. Notice the acceptance of “fundamentalists” in Gaza, South Lebanon, most of Iraq, etc. In Algeria the military called off an election to avoid a fundamentalist regime. Since Egypt has gotten back the Sinai from Israel, fundamentalism has grown in Egypt and may take over if a fully open election is allowed. In Pakistan, only a military dictator stands in the way of the fundamentalists from getting nukes. The Saudi family (despite their hedonistic ways in the West) rule over a devout population.

I hear from all over the Islamic world how easy fundamentalists gain a following. Even moderate Muslims who argue with me about how there is such a thing, ultimately confess their fears that fundamentalism is taking over the young.

The revival is spreading like wild fire and it isn’t a response to our foreign policy, or India’s foreign policy, or Thailand’s foreign policy, etc. Don’t forget that it is well-educated Muslims in England that accept the fundamentalist line as it is in many places.

I’m more worried about our blindness and how jihadists perceive us as weak rather than an over reaction on our part. A wise policy is based on the truth no matter what it is. We all see differences among Muslims but I don’t think we all see the possibilities for the future in the same way. That is the most important point. We can argue about “degree” vs. “kind” but the real problem is the growing fundamentalist movement. We can’t control that. Naturally, I’d rather we avoid them if possible (by establishing a deterrent) than engage in warfare; and I think it is the hope for the majority of people who read this blog and the others that link here.

8/13/06, 10:09 PM  
Blogger Charles N. Steele said...

I share Jason's worries about fundamentalist revival; so do the Muslims I referenced earlier. There is no doubt that fundamentalist Islam is a dangerous threat.

Jason, I gather, sees that our point of contention is over whether moderate Islam is a different kind of Islam or a different degree of it, with the implication that moderate Muslims are less Muslim. But Muslims such as Dean Ahmad (I referenced him in my posts to Weingarten in the thread on Jason's previous post -- my comments there are germane to this) definitely do not see their version as "less Islamic" but rather more Islamic, better interpretations of what the Koran "really" (in their eyes) says. Ahmad (as well as the Russian Muslim I referenced) have both written such in books and articles addressed to Muslims.

To Amplify: The existence of moderate Muslims is proof that there are alternatives to fundamentalist Islam that do not involve rejecting Islam. I cannot figure out from Amplify's comments why s/he is so adamant that this not be called moderate Islam.

After all, Christians believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. And they have literally hundreds of wildly differing views as to what these inerrant words mean. And every sect I know of conveniently interprets (or otherwise ignores) numerous passages that they find inconvenient.

Similarly, it is simply not humanly possible for Muslims to all have one identical reading of the Koran. Moderate Islam is clearly possible. BOTH fundamentalists and moderates have the Koran on their side, because it, like the Christian Bible, is a garbled book open to interpretation. There is NO single "correct" interpretation.

The reason I said it is strange for a non-Muslim like Amplify to lecture to Muslims that they are not really Muslims, is because the non-Muslim (who presumably doesn't even believe in the Koran) has no objective yardstick to measure the "Muslimness" of the believer. The Koran is no more an objective yardstick with only one interpretation than is the Bible.

I think Amplify entirely misses my point, and sometimes I wonder if perhaps s/he supposes I am saying that Islam actually is a moderate religion, or that if we understand the Koran correctly, we'd see it is moderate. This certainly isn't my point, which instead is, in short, this: some Muslims read the Koran and come away believing in a moderate Islam, or even a libertarian Islam. It makes no sense to deny that these people are Muslims or that their beliefs are Islam.

All religions are fictions that interfere with clear thinking, and I hope for the day when humans reject religious thinking. Since we do not seem to be anywhere near that point at present, in the interrim I hope that religious practitioners will at least develop moderate variants that at at least encourage civilized behavior. And I even support those religious thinkers, Muslim and otherwise who work for this.

Since the semester is about to start here, I'll log off from this discussion for a time. Maybe later will return with the old drum again if I can think of a new way to beat it.

Cheers.

8/14/06, 12:37 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Thanks, Charles, for clearly articulating your point of view. And thanks to Amplify for doing the same in response. I think that helps people understand where our differences lie but also where there is agreement. Enjoy the semester, Charles. Now I have studying to do, too, given the books many suggest I read ….

8/14/06, 6:37 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

THIS ESSAY by Amil Imani is brutally blunt.

8/14/06, 10:23 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Charles N Steele:

There is no doubt that fundamentalist Islam is a dangerous threat.

Please allow me to correct you:

There is no doubt that Islam is a dangerous threat.

We do ourselves no favours at all to try and make distinctions between this form of Islam and that one. All of Islam is anathema to democracy and freedom. Islam is, by its very nature, incompatible with freedom and democracy. Please read my article on this very subject here.

You won't get Muslims making these futile distinctions. All Muslims, even the so-called moderate ones, say that there is but ONE Islam.

It is that ONE Islam which is our enemy.

You might find my comments unfair to many less than fanatical types. But please remember this: The West is at war. Our very survival is at stake. In order to defeat Nazi Germany, we had to go to war with ALL of Germany, even though, indisputably, there were good Germans living in Hitler's Germany. To win that war, we couldn't afford ourselves the luxury of making any such distinction. All Germans had to be tarred with the same brush in the name of the war effort. So it will be with Islam. It has always been the case, both in war and in peace, that the many have to suffer for the heinous crimes of the few. This is the way life is. If we choose not to act in such a manner, don't be surprised if Western civilization goes under!

8/15/06, 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Bilwick said...

The controversy reminds me of the derision directed at regan's use of the term "evil empire" to describe the Soviet Union. To this day, members of what Roger L. Simon has so aptly called the "Zabar's Zeitgeist" will use the phrase "evil empire" sardonically, the way hip people used the term "Commie prevert" from DR. STRANGELOVE back in the Sixties: to show how much more sophisticated they are than people who actually hated and feared Communism and the Soviet military-industrial complex. This, despite the fact that the Soviet Union was clearly (a) an empire (just ask the Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, etc), and (b) evil.

8/15/06, 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Bilwick said...

Did I actually type "regan"? I actually was referring, of course, to President Ronald Reagan, not to one of King Lear's daughters. Of course, if I really wanted to show my sophistication, I could have referred to the author of the phrase "evil empire" as "Ronnie Ray-gun." That's about as hip as speaking of "Commie preverts."

8/15/06, 10:06 AM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Mark responded to Charles Steele's comment "There is no doubt that fundamentalist Islam is a dangerous threat" by "There is no doubt that Islam is a dangerous threat. We do ourselves no favours at all to try and make distinctions between this form of Islam and that one. All of Islam is anathema to democracy and freedom. Islam is, by its very nature, incompatible with freedom and democracy...It is that ONE Islam which is our enemy."

I agree completely, and wish to reprint below part of the comments I made to the previous article "But Before We're Banned ...". I denied the presumption that the people to whom Charles refers demonstrates either moderation, or a departure from "fundamentalist Islam". Similarly, the Islamic 'moderates' who advocate that America maintain her commitment to liberties, are merely furthering the agenda to undermine us. Note that they do not press for such liberties in Islamic states.

Reprint:
As to the ‘moderates’ of whom you speak, you will note that they do not begin with acknowledging the aggression and massacres of the Arabs, as the cause of the conflict with Israel. In contrast with Germans and Russians who decried the horrors brought on by their governments, these moderates find the need for Israel to make concessions (which they view as being fair to both sides). What is striking is not that there are a few Muslims who sound moderate, but that there is a negligible number in comparison with other peoples.

For those who understand the motives of the Arabs and Muslims, it is clear that the ‘moderates’ recommendations (on one nation and economy for Arabs and Israelis) would be suicidal for Israel. The extent to which the non-Jews would be influential, would result in the destruction of Israel, its military, and its economy. To combine the nation of Israel with what now constitutes ‘Palestine’ would be more destructive than combining America with Mexico, or Germany with Czechoslovakia. What is viewed as ‘half way’ would be a boon to the Palestinians, at the expense of Israel. The reality is and has been, that if the Arabs ever wanted peace, they would merely have to stop attacking. They never had any desire for ‘Palestine’ save to destroy it for the Jews.

Of course, it one believes that the problems in Israel do not stem from Arab aggression, but from their legitimate concern for justice, then all that needs to happen is for Israel to acquiesce to their plan.

My final question is would you have directed our efforts during WWII and the Cold War to finding ways to deal with the ‘moderate’ Germans and Russians, both of whom had pacifist supporters in America?

8/15/06, 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Amplify said...

Charles N. Steele:
To Amplify: The existence of moderate Muslims is proof that there are alternatives to fundamentalist Islam that do not involve rejecting Islam.

No, that's wrong, because their moderation is a result of a de facto rejection of (all of or parts of) Islam. One cannot credit Islam for being rejected, so one has to credit the Muslims (hence the saying that "there are moderate Muslims, but not Islam itself is not moderate").

I cannot figure out from Amplify's comments why s/he is so adamant that this not be called moderate Islam.

It shouldn't be called moderate Islam because it isn't moderate Islam. It's simply a matter of Muslims being less Islamic.

After all, Christians believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God.

No, the Bible is not considered the inerrant word of God in Christianity, unlike the Quran in Islam. This is a very significant difference, which affects the possibilities for interpretation in the respective religions.

And every sect I know of conveniently interprets (or otherwise ignores) numerous passages that they find inconvenient.

The fact that adherents to a religion choose to (conveniently) ignore passages of the scriptures that make up the foundation of their religion, should be credited the adherents, not the religion.

Similarly, it is simply not humanly possible for Muslims to all have one identical reading of the Koran.

You seem to be pointing out the obvious for no obvious reason.

Moderate Islam is clearly possible. BOTH fundamentalists and moderates have the Koran on their side, because it, like the Christian Bible, is a garbled book open to interpretation.

Your argument seems to rest on the premise that any kinds of interpretation is possible. It goes without saying that this is not so.

In Islam, not all kinds of interpretations are possible, and the interpretations that are possible cannot form the basis of a moderate and peaceful religion.

There is NO single "correct" interpretation.

Perhaps not, but there are interpretations that can be explained and defended, and there are interpretations that cannot.

The reason I said it is strange for a non-Muslim like Amplify to lecture to Muslims that they are not really Muslims, is because the non-Muslim (who presumably doesn't even believe in the Koran) has no objective yardstick to measure the "Muslimness" of the believer.

Whether or not I am a Muslim is irrelevant. Besides, I am not about to lecture Muslims about their religion, I am only going to point out when they are wrong. This is an issue about what is correct, and not an issue of authority.

The Koran is no more an objective yardstick with only one interpretation than is the Bible.

Where does this "with only one interpretation" point come from?

This certainly isn't my point, which instead is, in short, this: some Muslims read the Koran and come away believing in a moderate Islam, or even a libertarian Islam.

Well, they may become moderate or libertarian "Muslims", but there is nothing in the Quran that they can use as the foundation for a moderate or libertarian Islam. That is, unless they ignore the actual contents of the Quran by pretending it says something it doesn't or by pretending they never read the ugly parts, in which case they do not really use the Quran as the foundation at all.

It makes no sense to deny that these people are Muslims or that their beliefs are Islam.

It makes sense as long as those people aren't Muslims and their beliefs aren't Islam.

8/15/06, 12:09 PM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Amplify writes that Muslim moderation “is a result of a de facto rejection of (all of or parts of) Islam.”

Has he conceded that there are core beliefs that have been rejected (such as that Dar al Islam does not have to defeat Dar al Harb)? If so, I would appreciate a quote where a Muslim has in fact rejected a single essential characteristic. To date, I am unaware of such a case.

8/15/06, 1:26 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Muslims regard the Koran quite differently from the way Christians regard the Bible. The Koran is considered the literal word of Allah, while the Bible is considered the inspired Word of God, thus allowing for interpretation.

When the Koran says, "Kill all infidels" (a bit of a paraphrase on my part), it means "kill" in a literal sense. Symbolism which the West takes for granted in all kinds of literature is lost to Muslim thinking.

Convert, subjugate, or die--as Islam teaches--is very different from the Great Commission of Christianity.

8/15/06, 2:18 PM  
Anonymous zxfww said...

Weingarten:
Amplify writes that Muslim moderation “is a result of a de facto rejection of (all of or parts of) Islam.”

Has he conceded that there are core beliefs that have been rejected (such as that Dar al Islam does not have to defeat Dar al Harb)? If so, I would appreciate a quote where a Muslim has in fact rejected a single essential characteristic. To date, I am unaware of such a case.


To be honest, I know of no such case either...

The point I was trying to make was that moderation among Muslims cannot be caused by Muslims exploiting some potential for moderation inherent in Islam, as no such potential exists. Rather, moderation is a result of Muslims somehow choosing not to deal with the troublesome parts of their religion (which is why I wrote "de facto rejection", although that might be a bit misleading, since the word "rejection" suggests actively taking a stand against something, whereas in many cases the Muslims may simply choose not to deal with the troublesome issues at all).

8/15/06, 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Amplify said...

The post above by "zxfww" is written by me (Amplify). (By accident, I wrote the word verification code in the wrong field.)

8/15/06, 3:42 PM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Amplify writes that "moderation among Muslims cannot be caused by Muslims exploiting some potential for moderation inherent in Islam, as no such potential exists. Rather, moderation is a result of Muslims somehow choosing not to deal with the troublesome parts of their religion..."

My question was how does one know that such moderation exists at all.

8/15/06, 10:26 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Mark is right; Muslims don’t claim that there are different Islams. That’s an important fact.

Bilwick is right; the left uses sarcasm instead of rational argument. There is a book out called “Good Muslims, Bad Muslims” that ridicules the idea that there is an evil Islam. I’ve seen the author on C-Span and every syllable dripped with sarcasm, so much so that Edward Said would be proud. Apparently the author believes Bush invented evil Islam since Muslims don’t see two Islams and it is “bigoted” to say the whole of Islam is evil … which brings us back to Mark’s point about Muslims making distinctions between Islams.

Allen is right that so-called moderates are generally shown to be frauds when the issue of Israel is considered. A litmus test for a moderate Muslim is that they see Israel as an inspiration, not an enemy. Of course, they are moderate despite Islam not because of it (as Amplify notes.) They are extremely few, by the way, and don’t constitute proof of concept.

Amplify makes excellent point and I only wish they weren’t buried in the comments section. It may be worthwhile to create a blog. One of the values of my blog is that I (and a few others) post links to my “classic” posts, which explain a single isolated point. Many people also find these posts from search engines. How did you find me?

8/16/06, 2:10 PM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Charles Steele maintains that there are moderate Muslims, while Amplify and Jason Pappas argue that these people are moderates because of their rejection of (parts of) Muslim. However, they agree upon the existence of these moderates. Yet what is the evidence for their existence? Charles submitted the website of "Free Muslims Against Terrorism". Yet in my view (despite their nice sounding words) these folks merely further the agenda of Islam to defeat the West. So I once again request some data for the existence of moderate Islamists. Perhaps there are those who view Mahmoud Abbas as a moderate, despite his commitment (in Arabic) to the destruction of Israel, and his denial of the Holocaust. If so, please mention him in your list of moderates. For me, the Mutt & Jeff approach of those who directly attack, and those who provide the alternative of surrender at a lesser cost, does not indicate moderation. I require evidence of a movement of moderates, who counter the aggression of the Arab-Muslim bloc (comparable to those who countered the aggression of Hitler and Stalin). Moreover, I would appreciate a statement of a core belief in Islam that has been rejected. It may also be noted (as did Richard Pipes) that in many lands Islamists live in peace with their neighbors, and appear open and moderate. Yet when push comes to shove, out of nowhere arises actions that demand Islamic supremacy. Somehow, when they reach a critical mass, their friendly neighbor becomes an infidel who must be slaughtered.

Now, there are in fact the Sufi Muslims, who some say look to Jesus much more than to Mohammed for inspiration and guidance. To them, Jihad is actually an inner experience, rather than a call to war. Yet the Sufis are mystical and poetic, rather than political and literalist, so their pacifism does not directly relate to worldly matters.

Yet why does it matter? Amplify and Jason acknowledge that there are few moderates, and do not argue that we should meet their requests. What then is lost by being magnanimous, and crediting some Muslims with moderation in the world? I start with the view that *the flaw of the West is Social Democracy (SD) which has as a core belief that people are good, in the sense that aggression should be appeased.* Here, although direct aggression is a threat, a far greater menace is the ideological insurgency of the “moderate Muslims”. Their even-handed approach between liberty and tyranny permits them to use our rights and liberties to undermine us. We are able to fight those who bomb us, but paralyzed when they appeal to liberty to protect the bombers.

I submit that America did fine when in a short time we defeated the Iraqis, with little cost. Then, our allegiance to SD committed us to helping the moderate Muslims, in an enterprise that guaranteed our defeat. Today, if we stay in Iraq, we shall lose, because we cannot govern these ‘moderates’, but find demonstrators shouting “Death to America”. If we leave, the Islamists will properly claim victory in defeating the great Satan. Moreover, the Democrats will claim that they were right in not fighting, while agreeing with the Republicans on their Social Democratic efforts. Yet we cannot admit that our defeat was due to our SD, and learn a lesson, so that we can fight to win in other engagements. Thus the problem is not their homicide, but our suicide.

Similarly, consider the defeat of Israel & America in Lebanon. There is much analysis of the military errors of not fighting from the start to destroy Hezbollah in South Lebanon, and of the faulty approach of having a cease fire, and allowing the victory of our enemies. Yet there is no acknowledgement of the cause of these errors, namely the SD that appeases the aggressors, and then negotiates with them, as though they were moderates who keep their word.

If there is one place in the world where we should not expect moderation, it is in those who do not disavow Islam, for its most essential characteristic is the worship of aggression.

Now I could be, and would prefer to be, mistaken, so that there are moderate Muslims with whom we could join. However, I would want to be shown that they exist, rather than follow the Social Democratic presumption that since all people are good, we can presume they are within the Muslims among us. Right now, given the alcoholic-like addiction to SD, I fear the claim that some of these drinks are good for you.

8/17/06, 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Amplify said...

Weingarten:
My question was how does one know that such moderation exists at all.

You cannot know that, so what you're left with is Muslims who claim to be moderate and/or appear to be moderate. Whether they actually are moderate is difficult to tell, especially because of the concept of taqiyya and the fact that (claims of) moderation can be considered apostasy.

(I have to leave this discussion for now, as I don't have much time to participate at the moment).

8/17/06, 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Amplify said...

Jason:
How did you find me?

I think I first saw your name in one of the comments in the debate between Lawrence Auster and Daniel Pipes. I don't remember how I found this blog, though - I probably searched for your name on Google.

8/17/06, 12:14 PM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Amplify:

Thanks for clarifying the matter of moderation, and I agree with Jason that you should have your own blog.

8/17/06, 3:35 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Jason,
I'm so mad that I'm spitting nails. Have you seen THIS? I found it via Pedestrian Infidel.

8/17/06, 8:43 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Yes, I'm furious (here's another link). Bush is showing the intellectual and moral cowardliness typical of his two terms in office.

He's continually backed down under fire. After announcing the Bush Doctrine in 2001, I had hope for a follow-up. A strong President would have repudiated our past policies. He should have said: “We were wrong to help Arafat, 'the father of modern terrorism,' to escape death when he was cornered in Lebanon by Sharon. We were wrong when we put this vicious depraved terrorist leader in power only to create a terror state where children are indoctrinated in Palestinian schools into a terror cult that glorifies suicide bombings against the citizens of that noble nation, Israel. We totally and unequivocally repudiate that policy.”

What did he say? When asked if Arafat was a terrorist he said (from memory) “he can’t be a terrorist; he is a leader of his people.” In the few days after 9/11, Arafat thought the game was over. He had called off the attacks on Israel, pulled back the Palestinians who were dancing in the street, and rush off to donate blood. But once he saw that he was off the hook, the attacks against Israel resumed. Bush claimed 9/11 was an act of war. The critics, who saw it as a simple criminal act, were told to brace for war. At times Bush wavered and said it was "an evil one" as if it were only a criminal but at other times he talked about an axis. It's is clear that Bush never got it. He still doesn’t get it or doesn’t have the moral backbone act in accord with his knowledge.

We were fooled by his willingness to go into Iraq but let’s remember that Iraq was unfinished business. Clinton flew more sorties over Iraq than Bush ’41. And “regime change” was the Clinton policy. Bush had every reason to expect full support from the Democrats before Howard Dean appeared. Bush knew the public wanted more than our simply chasing bin Laden into Pakistan. Bush’s bold leadership was only a mirage – he was following the polls not leading the nation. He fooled us all (even the critics thought he was a “cowboy.”)

It’s time that worthy Republicans break with the President and give us a real alternative.

8/18/06, 8:11 AM  

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