Monday, December 19, 2005

Bound to Repeat History

Does this sound familiar?
“…that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”
This was how the Tripolitan ambassador explained the attacks of the Barbary Pirates to Jefferson and Adams in 1786. Joshua E. London, on National Review, reminds us that it “took place well before colonialism entered the lands of Islam, before there were any oil interests dragging the U.S. into the fray, and long before the founding of the state of Israel.” Mr. London does a fine job of summarizing the message we’ve longed to see in print at National Review:

“Islam, as a faith, is as essential a feature of the terrorist threat today as it was of the Barbary piracy over two centuries ago. The Barbary pirates were not a ‘radical’ or ‘fundamentalist’ sect that had twisted religious doctrine for power and politics, or that came to recast aspects of their faith out of some form of insanity. They were simply a North African warrior caste involved in an armed jihad — a mainstream Muslim doctrine.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Islam is evil. Most cults are. But then again, when God speaks, it's not always all warm and fuzzy.

Read the Old Testament lately?

12/19/05, 12:11 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Yes, exactly. Islam is an unreformed "Old Testament type" religion. Actually, it is first and foremost a political ideology with a harsh “Old Testament” mentality.

12/19/05, 12:56 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Here's further thoughts on the problem.

12/19/05, 12:58 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

From the mouth of the enemy, no less! And before the oil interests, too.

Several weeks ago, one of my classes was studying a unit which included a blurb on the Barbary pirates. Teenagers they may be, but they "got it" (The recent piracy attempt on that ocean liner in the Gulf region was in the news at the time). Islam's militancy well predates OBL, and the information here debunks the notion that Islam has been hijacked in the 20th Century.

I'll be sure to refer my students to the NRO article.

12/19/05, 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two questions. First, can you point me to a non-RW review of "The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims" by Andrew Bostom, or at least a purely academic one?

Two, given the hypothesis that Islam is irretrievably violent, how has it co-existed in relative peace in the U.S.?

12/19/05, 2:45 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

I’m not sure what you mean by “non-RW.”

The second question is easy: fear. Not everyone who holds a doctrine of violent jihad is willing to implement it in the face of certain failure. Today's main problem stems from decades of appeasement (which continue to this day.) This gives some the impression that we are a paper-tiger that can be easily defeated.

Most Muslims who talk about jihad argue that it isn’t feasible today, isn’t necessary if demographics enable the conquest of Dar al-Harb by the ballot, and counter productive at the present time. Finally, US history is only the last 200 years of the 1400 year history of Islam. European colonialism and Western cultural supremacy help to marginalize Islam during the 19th century leading to the abolition of the Caliphate by the Westward-looking Turkish leader, Ataturk.

What we are witnessing is an Islamic Revival

12/19/05, 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you for your thoughtful response.

What I meant by "non-RW" is someplace other than NRO, FrontPage, etc...When I Google the book title, all I seem to come up with are obviously RW sites.

12/19/05, 3:38 PM  
Blogger Rancher said...

The lack of any kind of authority such as a Pope or an Islamic council means that Islam will never be brought into the 21st century.

12/19/05, 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One other stray thought, if I may. If Islam is irretrievably violent and set upon Jihad, how is giving a country over to Islamists in our best interests?

12/19/05, 3:47 PM  
Blogger Rancher said...

grumpy old fart

In a democracy that allows freedom of religion and free speech secular interests will trump theological interests. Iraq has three major religious blocks and various secular blocks so radical Jihadists will not gain any real control. The recent elections may have favored She’at UIA but the Kurds, Allawi’s, secular party, and the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front will team up to prevent the UIA from running roughshod over Iraq. What will emerge will be an Iraq that while Muslim is not Jihadist.

12/19/05, 4:02 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Exactly! That’s the big question: are these people worthy of our aid, given their current culture and values?

Some might argue that they can marginalize their religion and become “cafeteria Muslims.” It’s not a bet that I would make. But I cheer when it seems that I’m wrong. I’d love to be wrong.

12/19/05, 4:02 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

A practical joker ... no doubt.

12/19/05, 8:42 PM  
Blogger James G. said...

a religion that propagates social decency and caring for the old and poor.

But only if they're Muslim...

12/20/05, 5:58 AM  
Blogger cranky old fart said...

With or without the "violent jihadist muslim" theory presented here, I don't see much hope for a "democratized" Iraq. The Shia are headed eventually for a theocracy under barbaric Shiria law, the Kurds just want their own country, and the Sunni want their power and prestige back.

The only real hope, slim, IMO, is that the taste of westernized culture experienced under Saddam, will cause the majority of the Shia and Sunni to reject fundamentalism and retain a largely secularized society. Iran is an example of this ongoing conflict.

By the way, any response to the non-RW review of that book yet. It does look interesting, but I'd like a more neutral review.

12/20/05, 9:24 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

It’s becoming harder and harder to find critical literature on Islam by left-wing authors. I’ll be talking about that in tomorrow’s essay. However, you’ll find Bostom’s articles on the ISIS website. I don’t know how you define RW (right-wing?) but the ISIS’s founder, Ibn Warraq, is a secular humanist whose book on Islam was inspired by Bertrand Russell’s book on Christianity. The current executive director, Irfan Khawaja, is a classical liberal in the Lockean tradition. These days that is considered conservative by many. Thus, there you have it. Hardcore leftists, with the exception of Paul Berman, are generally soft on Islam. I’ll discuss that tomorrow.

Libertarians (if that’s your position, COF) are generally split if they take a position at all. But there’s often a strong anti-ideological bent that encourages philosophical skepticism beyond the canonical political non-initiation rule.

12/20/05, 10:24 AM  
Blogger cranky old fart said...

Thank you for your response.

I would define right wing any site that moves in lock step with the entire right wing agenda on Iraq, gays, Christianity, environment, evolution, etc., just as left wing sites take the exact opposite positon on all the same issues. Both reacting in knee jerk fashion, without real critical thought.

I fall into the secular humanist, leftist but libertarian leaning, camp. How's that for a mixed bag?

12/20/05, 11:39 AM  

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