Monday, May 23, 2005

Talking about the Islamic threat

Never, to my knowledge, has a country gone to war while praising the enemy’s ideology. Indeed, in wartime a healthy culture, justifiably proud, takes stock of its greatness in the face of a brutal and barbaric enemy. The Greatest Generation had the moral clarity to face the enemy’s nature without silly bromides like “Shinto is a peaceful religion.” No one felt any compunction about showing disrespect to Nazism or Mein Kampf.

Today, there is a no public debate on the nature of the enemy’s ideology: Islam. None! A few brave souls discuss this matter within a small community of highly literate independent thinkers. Otherwise, there is a wall of silence buttressed on one side by the moral equivalence of multi-cultural dogma and on the other side by the ecumenical all-religions-are-good habitual way of thinking.

The silence is so overbearing, so oppressive, and so dangerous, that you just want to shake people up and say: face the damn facts. However, it’s extremely important that we educate others in an intelligent manner. Our fellow citizens are having trouble dealing with the facts – what we need most is intellectual leadership. If you use attention-getting tactics, like I considered in my last post, you have to be able to adroitly exploit that attention to enhance an intelligent discussion – and that’s far from trivial.

First of all, you have to get to the essence in few words without too many miss-implications. For example: Islam is a supremacist political ideology founded by a man who led military battles of conquest and subjugation. Seventh century political ideologies tended to be religious but that’s secondary.

I stay away from minor details. Mohammad’s marriage to a seven year old doesn’t threaten our country – skip it. Stay focused on the salient features. “Yes, Mohammad did preach tolerance – when he was an outsider trying to get accepted in Mecca – but when Mohammad rose to power in Medina he plundered, slaughtered, terrorized, conquered and oppressed. As for tolerance, he ethnically cleansed Medina of Jews (an agricultural town founded by Jews.)”

Secondly, beware of the bait-and-switch. Focus on the ideology. The first question you’ll be asked is: “Do you think all Muslims behave like that?” This is a cleaver bait-and-switch to get you to change from the ideology of Islam to the nominal demographic group, Muslims. Here’s what I say: “Of course, not. Many Muslims are lax or lapsed in their practice. They are often Muslims in name only. Being a lapsed Muslims is a good thing. However, some Muslims take seriously their duty to wage jihad on the Infidel and they put that into practice. The ideology in practice is the problem; let’s look at that ideology and what it means in practice.”

The bait-and-switch ploy aims at getting you to vilify some poor Muslim candy-store owner who’s damn happy to be in this country. It’s an attempt to make you look foolish and cruel. Sure there are individuals who are engaged in activities against our government – let the authorities handle that and refer the listener to Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, and Steven Emerson – all who write about these matters and have the facts at hand.

During the Cold War, it was the left that demanded that anti-communists name names. Instead of focusing on the ideology first and foremost, the right got suckered into a debate on each and every individual communist. Most, we now know, were communists, but back then it helped to get sympathy for the accused.

Finally, don’t debate the history of Christianity. It’s just too many details. The important point is that Christians have been able to privatize their religion and create tolerant societies where we settle debates with reason and evidence. Our culture shows the influence of Hellenic rationalism and most people take it for granted. I’m not religious, but I have no problem explaining how contemporary Christianity, as widely practiced, is light-years away from Islam. Is anyone flying planes into office buildings yelling Jesus is Lord? It’s easy to see the different examples of Jesus, who never ruled but died on the cross, and Mohammad, who conquered and founded an imperialist supremacist ideology.

Finally, can Islam change and modernize like Christianity? I talk about it here.


Blogger beakerkin said...

A book that discusses the impact of Christianity vs Islam on their respective civilization is the Great Divide by Alvin Scmidt.

We tend to look at the abuses against Jews and Christians. However Yezidi,Baha'i ,Sikhs, Buddists and Hindus all have similar accounts. I was reading
the Zoroastrian account of the genocide on Vohuman . I might have
to post on that as it is neglected.

5/23/05, 10:46 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

As I understand it, moderate Islam is considered apostasy.
I do not believe that Islam has been "hijacked." I believe that Wahhabism is the "real" Islam and that moderation "the hijacking."

I see no way to separate the political ideology and the religion. If I am correct (and I hope that I'm not), then Islam, in all its forms, will remain protected under First Amendment rights--dangerous, very dangerous.

5/23/05, 6:25 PM  

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