Interesting article by a Dutch author that talks about the immigrant problem in Europe. As always, read the whole thing. But I was struck by these two paragraphs:
In December 2013, Professor Ruud Koopmans of the Berlin Social Science Center published a study on “Fundamentalism and out-group hostility,” in which he compared hostility among Muslim immigrants with hostility among Christian natives in Western Europe. He writes: “Almost 60 percent agree that Muslims should return to the roots of Islam, 75 percent think there is only one interpretation of the Quran possible to which every Muslim should stick and 65 percent say that religious rules are more important to them than the laws of the country in which they live.” In regards to Christian citizens he concludes: “Less than 4 percent can be characterized as consistent fundamentalists.”
On hatred of Jews and homosexuals among Europe’s Muslim population, Koopmans finds: “Almost 60 percent reject homosexuals as friends and 45 percent think that Jews cannot be trusted. While about one in five natives can be considered as Islamophobic, the level of phobia against the West among Muslims — for which oddly enough there is no word; one might call it ‘Occidentophobia’ — is much higher still, with 54 percent believing that the West is out to destroy Islam.” Recorded rates of Christian hate toward Muslims hover around 10 percent.
I am enamored of the new term because, more than anything, it is a term that can be thrown back at those who like to trot out “Islamaphobia” each and every time anyone attempts to discuss radical Islam. So what’s the problem with Muslims, aka the “religion of peace”, that so many of them have hatred for the West and Western ways? Doesn’t that qualify for a “phobia” for heaven sake – especially in the era of being tagged as ___aphobic (fill in the blank) of you disagree about anything the left is invested in.
The article says much of the problem in Europe is that Muslims there aren’t assimilated. I can believe that. The question, however, is how much of that is Europe’s fault and how much of that is the immigrant’s fault. For instance, if you’re not willing to subordinate your culture (religious or otherwise) to the dominant culture, you’re not going to be assimilated. If that’s the case, and the numbers are as indicated, aren’t then a majority of immigrant Muslims “phobic” about the West?
So, why are they there?
That’s the salient question, if the data is true, and it is one that EU leaders and those in the US, won’t ask or face.
If not to assimilate, what is the purpose of your immigration?
That question likely will see me labeled as “Islamophobic”. If so, I can live with that.
I’m more than a little bemused by the current self-inflicted problem Europe is experiencing and the US seems more the willing to allow to happen here, given that the current administration pretty much shares the ideals under which Europe is foundering. I certainly understand the wish to aid people displaced by wars. But since when did that mean committing to the mass immigration of a religious culture that has, demonstrably, refused to assimilate into the dominant culture of the countries into which they’re being imported (this isn’t a new phenomenon for Europe … it’s been going on for decades). How does Europe, which has existent large populations of unassimilated migrants of the same religious culture assume this will somehow be different?
Of course, we’re talking about Islam. Well, we’re talking about it. As Andrew McCarthy points out, those in favor of welcoming this mass importation are talking about “fantasy Islam”. This New Year’s Eve, reality slapped fantasy Islam and its adherents in the chops:
Nearly 200 women have filed criminal complaints in Cologne, the vast majority charging all manner of sexual assault. There have been few arrests, though, and nearly none involving sex crimes. The Muslim men used a tactic that has escaped the notice of fantasy Islam devotees but is well known to those of us who’ve followed the scant reports on the rape jihad as it has proceeded from Tahrir Square to Malmö to Rotherham: A group of men encircles the targeted woman or girl, trapping her while walling off police and other would-be rescuers. Knowing they are a protected class, the Muslim men have no fear of the cops — “You can’t do anything to me,” and “Mrs. Merkel invited me here,” are just some of the reported taunts. By the time “help” reaches one victim, the assailants have moved on to the next.
But, but … that’s not supposed to happen. Not in fantasy Islam which is all about peace and coexistence. In fact, those that believe that nonsense are all about naiveté and willful ignorance. And there is a building backlash to this absurd policy:
A poll published by the Sunday edition of the influential tabloid Bild showed 49% of Germans feared a repeat of the Cologne events in their hometowns. Similar New Year’s Eve assaults were reported on a smaller scale in the cities of Hamburg and Stuttgart.
Authorities, who have described the violence in Cologne as unprecedented in the country, have also said that most potential suspects had applied for asylum in Germany or were in the country illegally. Cologne’s police chief was forced out Friday amid criticism over the police’s failure to prevent the attacks and its apparent hesitation to acknowledge that the attackers may have been asylum applicants. The police chief, Wolfgang Albers, denied trying to cover up the backgrounds of suspected attackers.
The attacks have also provoked an emotional debate in Germany on how to deal with sexual violence. Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker drew heavy criticism after saying that women should keep an arm’s length distance from men in situations that could escalate. She later apologized, saying she didn’t mean to set a code of conduct for women and that the attackers were the ones responsible in cases of sexual violence.
Since the New Year’s eve attacks in numerous cities in Europe, the narrative that has been spun by the backers of this mass immigration has been reduced to tatters. There’s even evidence other incidents have been essentially covered up. In Sweden, for example, a major newspaper stands accused of no failing to report such problems, but essentially refusing to do so.
And the media in the US seems just as complicit in trying to deny what happened on NYE was anything to do with refugees or, by inference, Islam:
“It was not clear,” the New York Times opaquely explains, “that any of the men involved were among those who arrived in Germany over the past year from conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.”
While the NYT tacitly agrees that the incidents happened, in this land of #allwomenshouldbebelieved, it apparently has difficulty believing the descriptions of the men those 200 assaulted women identified because of what that would mean in terms of identifying their religion. One thing that seems to be clear, however … it wasn’t a mob of German (or other) European males.
So the fellow travelers invested in fantasy Islam continue to refuse reality and are reduced to shouting “Islamaphobia” at anyone who disagrees.
The situation here isn’t much different. I understand Obama will have a Syrian refugee sitting in the balcony for his (thankfully) last State of the Union speech. It is obviously a symbolic presence meant to assure us that there’s nothing to fear by importing fighting age men from an Islamic country into this nation. Because, you know, government is on the job and has this rigorous vetting process before any refugees are allowed in the country. You have nothing to fear.
Two men born in Iraq who came to the U.S. as refugees had court dates in California and Texas Friday on terror-related charges, as investigators say one of the men wrote that he wanted to travel to Syria because he was “eager to see blood.”
How did that happen? One assumes those two were also a product of that “rigorous vetting process”. How many more like them are still at large?
As for those who might come here from Syria, guess who is handling their screening?
The recent terrorism-related arrests of two refugees from the Middle East again showed the national security risks associated with the present refugee screening process. A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies analyzes this refugee resettlement screening process and the large role played by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the entity entrusted with the entire pre-screening process for Syrian refugees being considered for resettlement in the United States.
The UNHCR screens refugees and then presents the U.S. with potential resettlement cases; 22,427 Syrian refugee cases have been submitted. The selecting, pre-screening, and referring refugees for resettlement, as well as the humanitarian care of the well over four million Syrian refugees, has been accomplished with what amounts to one staff member for 2, 862 refugees. The selection process uses the following guidelines: “The mere absence of information, or one’s inability to find information that supports an applicant’s claim, should not in itself justify a negative eligibility decision.” The only requirement for applicants’ statements is that they “must be coherent and plausible, and must not run counter to generally known facts.”
Yes, friends, that same entity whose “peacekeeping” troops are so well known for rape. I’m sure that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling, no?
So why is it that Europe’s leadership and media continue to invest themselves in fantasy Islam? Here’s one explanation. Remember when the Catholic church’s sex scandal broke? Remember how abysmally the church handled it? Remember how badly it all went for the Church?
Instead like the church for political, economic or cultural reasons the countries of Europe hung back and the communities became isolated and unassimilated. And when the cultural effect went beyond the results have been devastating, In Rotherham, in Birmingham, in Cologne, in Oslo in Paris and in literally thousands of other places the authorities have decided to go all in with a comfortable lie. They have chosen to pretend that millions of unassimilated muslims in the west are not a problem, they have chosen to ignore the no go zones, the violence, the murder of their citizen and even the rape of their women and children for the sake of proclaiming that none of these things have anything to do with Islam, its practice or its culture.
Like the church scandal the driving force here is fear and a desire to put off a confrontation that this big lie is making more a more likely. And like the church scandal the longer the west remains in denial the greater the cost of solving the problem
So again, the questions – reasonable questions – arise concerning these refugees. Why must they come here (why can’t they be resettled in cultures in the area they come from which are compatible with theirs?)? And if they come here, shouldn’t they assimilate instead of segregate and demand their own culture be both tolerated and implemented? How does one implement cultural demands that require their own brand of law be superior to ours? Or that women essentially be treated as chattel? How many stonings, rapes, honor killings and acid attacks would we be willing to endure in the name of tolerance?
Victor Davis Hanson gives us 4 points necessary for successful immigration, the model for the past in the US. They are a key to why, unlike Europe, America has been successful with its immigration over the centuries. While the left scoffs at the idea of a “melting pot” and even warns that using the term is a “micro aggression”, Europe’s “salad bowl” proves their alternative to be … another fantasy. Here’s Hanson:
One, immigrants came legally. Breaking the law was a lousy way to start American residency. How can an immigrant continue to respect and follow his adopted country’s legal system when his first act as an American resident is to mock federal law?
Two, immigration was blind and diverse. It did not favor one particular group over another. The more diverse the immigrant blocs, the less likely they were to form lasting separate communities. There were, of course, mass influxes of immigrants in the past, but they were quite diverse: gobs of Germans, hordes of Irish, masses of Italians and Sicilians, huge influxes of Poles and Jews, lots of Japanese and Chinese, large arrivals of Mexicans. But note how diverse and varied were the immigrants’ places of origin and how destined they were to bump into each other upon arrival. Each group was wary of the other trying to use immigration as a crass tool to boost their own political fortunes by bringing in more kin than their rivals.
Three, immigrants usually arrived in manageable numbers; mass arrivals were usually periodic and episodic, not continuous and institutionalized. Only that way could the melting pot absorb newcomers and avoid the tribalism and factionalism that had always plagued so many prior failed multi-ethnic national experiments abroad. To avoid the fate of Austria-Hungary or Yugoslavia, immigrants—geographically, politically, culturally—by needs were soon intermixed and intermingled.
Four, both hosts and immigrants insisted on rapid Americanization. Immigrants learned English, followed all the laws of their host, and assumed America was good without having to be perfect. Otherwise they would have stayed home.
Fantasy, willful ignorance and an abject refusal to confront evil lead to the mess Europe now finds itself facing. Reality, as usual, doesn’t deal nicely with those who refuse to recognize it. The threat to our country comes from those who believe in a culture and religion that, as they would have it implemented, is incompatible with Western ideals. They have no business here.
Hopefully we won’t duplicate the stupidity with which Europe has so naively committed itself. There is nothing wrong with slowing things down and ensuring we aren’t allowing those who don’t want to or won’t assimilate into our country. We don’t need or want those who are like the two just arrested in California and Texas. And, if that is “Islamaphobia”, then so be it. I’ll live with the tag.
So, what would a ban on all Muslims being allowed into the US do?
Well, I don’t know. I certainly understand why there are those calling for it but there’s a simple point here, as pointed out in San Bernardino:
The attackers who killed 14 people in San Bernardino last week were discussing jihad at least two years before they opened fire in California, the FBI director said Wednesday.
The husband-and-wife duo “were radicalized for quite a long time before their attack,” FBI Director James B. Comey said during an appearance on Capitol Hill. This follows earlier statements by investigators that the shooters had both been adherents to a radical strain of Islam long before the massacre.
And one of them was a US citizen born in the United States.
Certainly, banning all Muslims from entry into the country would probably weed out some potential jihadis. But a committed jihadi isn’t likely to seek permission to enter. Not with the condition of our borders. And, on the other hand, I find it completely contrary to what I believe, even though I certainly have a level of understanding for those calling for it.
More importantly, and right’s questions aside, is the exclusion likely to do to Muslims here exactly what happened to the San Bernardino male half of the killing team. Radicalize them … or some of them. Homegrown jihadis.
All that said, it certainly seems that a devout believer in Islam would have a higher likelihood of embracing radicalism than some other religions. Part of that is because it is so incompatible with Western values and ideals. So, a devout follower is less likely to assimilate than those of other religions. Couple that with the demands of Sharia law and it appears to be totally incompatible with Western values and ideals (to those who become radicalized because of that incompatibility).
What about them? What does a country do with citizens, or non-citizens for that matter, who don’t want to assimilate, don’t want to embrace the country’s ideals and insist, in fact, demand, that the country change to accommodate their beliefs?
Just a bunch of questions that have popped into my mind as I watch all of the politics of the issue flying around the airwaves.
You have to wonder when the real backlash is going to begin … if ever. But until then, these people are going to push the West until finally the West pushes back. For example, a petition is being circulated and the following letter was sent to the City Council of Munich, Germany:
Dear City council of Munich,
I am writing this letter to bring to your attention something that I and many Muslims believe is unfair and requires attention.
I would like to inform you that the Oktoberfest is an Intolerant and Anti-Islamic event. We tried to ignore the event, but there too many Un-Islamic acts done at the Oktoberfest. Such as alcohol consumption, public nudity etc.
We understand that the Oktoberfest is a yearly German tradition, but we, Muslims, can not tolerate this Un-Islamic event, because it offends us and all Muslims on the earth.
We are requesting the immediate cancellation of the upcoming Oktoberfest event.
We also believe that the Oktoberfest might also offend all the Muslim refugees coming from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. The cancellation of the Oktoberfest event will help refugees not to forget their Islamic history. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Now, obviously, a tradition that has been going strong since 1810 isn’t likely to be cancelled anytime soon. What’s interesting about this letter is its effrontery. And note too that it is Saul Alinsky fueled. Focus on the words used – “tolerate”, “offends”, “unfair”. Using the West’s own rhetoric against it. Of course, it seems obvious after you read the letter the irony must be “Un-Islamic” too.
But in the West, most folks would say, “hey, if you don’t like it, don’t attend, don’t drink and don’t get nude”. That’s apparently the Western notion of “tolerance”. But apparently the Muslim notion of tolerance is vastly different. They want the whole affair canceled because it is “Un-Islamic”. And whatever they determine to be “Un-Islamic” can’t coexist with them, it must be banned.
Syrian refugees are flooding Germany as we speak. Already Islam is not only large but real in Germany. At some point, when enough Muslims are of voting age, it will use Germany’s democratic institutions to elect its own to the government.
Given their apparent intolerance, it won’t be pretty if they do.
And, ironically, I think we’ve seen this movie in Germany before.
I’m sure you’ve been at least keeping tabs on the drama in Sidney, Australia (now thankfully concluded). When you watch some of what passes for reporting these days, you sometimes get an indication of how poor the journalism of today is:
Despite the Sydney, Australia hostage-taker displaying a flag reading in Arabic, ”There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God,” despite his being a self-proclaimed sheikh and despite his demand that police give him an ISIS flag, MSNBC “The Rundown” host José Diaz-Balart wondered if Iranian-born Man Haron Monis is motivated by Islam at all. (VIDEO: NBC Journo: Islamic Lone Wolf Terrorism ‘Not A Religious Issue’)
“Could very well be he’s hiding behind the flag of Islam to just deal with his own criminal past,” Diaz-Balart said. “It may have very little to do with it. It’s still too early to tell.”
Yet, when it comes to lynch mobs on little other than here-say evidence, we get the full narrative treatment – take the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, or better yet, Ferguson. In both cases, the media played judge, jury and lynch mob with hysteria driven reports that had no real basis in fact. In fact, precisely what all the talking heads and other experts claimed came to be absolutely false.
Meanwhile, Islam gets the benefit of the doubt even when it appears that perpetrator in this case had a history of religious fueled violence. Like the shootings at Ft. Hood were a simple matter of “workplace violence”, this is just some guy using Islam as front to hide his “criminal past”.
The simple question I wish someone would put to the reporter is “why?” If he’s simply a criminal, why would he care about his past?
Oh, I know – too early to tell.
An interesting article I think you’ll want to read. At least I found it interesting. It discusses the foundations of Islam and why, essentially, it is really not a “religion of peace”. In fact, as the author argues, as much as the West would like the name of the religion, Islam, to mean “peace”, in fact it means “submit”. We’ve talked here before about the need of a reformation in Islam to reorient it away from violent jihad and to a religion that actually preaches and practices “peace”. The outlook isn’t very promising. Here’s one reason:
The Qur’an contains many peaceful and tolerant verses, and these could well be used to create a genuine reformation — something several genuine reformers have tried to do. But there is a catch. All these moderate verses were written in the early phase of Muhammad’s career, when he lived in Mecca and had apparently decided to allure people. When he moved to Medina in 622, everything changed. He was soon a religious, political and military leader. During the next ten years, as his religious overtures were sometimes not welcomed, the peaceful verses gave way to the jihad verses and the intolerant diatribes against Jews, Christians and pagans. Almost all books of tafsir take for granted that the later verses abrogate the early ones. This means that the verses preaching love for all are no longer applicable, except with regard to one’s fellow Muslims. The verses that teach jihad, submission and related doctrines still form the basis for the approach of many Muslims to non-believers.
One problem is that no one can change the Qur’an in any way. If the book contains the direct word of God, then the removal of even a tiny diacritical mark or a dot above or beneath a letter would be blasphemy of the most extreme kind. Any change would suggest that the text on earth did not match the tablet in heaven — the “Mother of the Book,” much as Mary is the Mother of Christ — that is the eternal original of the Qur’an. If one dot could be moved, perhaps others could be moved, and before long words could be substituted for other words. The Qur’an itself condemns Jews and Christians for having tampered with their own holy books, so that neither the Torah nor the Gospels may be regarded as the word of God. The Qur’an traps us by its sheer unchangeability.
And, as he points out, the most “modern” interpretation does anything but put Islam in a “moderate” context:
Regrettably it is impossible to re-interpret the Qur’an in a “moderate” manner. The most famous modern tafsir, or interpretation, of the holy book is a multi-volume work entitled, In the Shade of the Qur’an. It was written by Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue often regarded as the father of modern radicalism. His interpretation leads the reader again and again into political territory, where jihad is at the root of action.
So that seems to be where we stand. Here, however, is the problem that confronts the West:
The besetting sin of modern Western politicians, church leaders, and multiculturalists is their ready acceptance of ignorance and their promotion of their own ignorance to the rank of expertise. Islam is one of the most important topics in human history, but how many schoolchildren are given details such as the ones mentioned above in their history classes? How many textbooks paint an honest picture of how Islam began and how it continued as a background to how it continues today?
Furthermore, how many real experts are denied contact with government and politicians so that lies are not made the basis for governmental decisions in the West? How many times will truth be sacrificed to fable while Muslim extremists bomb and shoot and behead their way to power?
These facts do not come from modern Western accounts; they are there in the founding texts of Islam, in the histories of al-Waqidi and al-Tabari. No-one is making any of this up. Muslims who avoid their own history should be brought face to face with it in all future discussions.
But, of course, that isn’t what is happening is it? We’re told over and over again that Islam is a religion of “peace” by those in the West who would rather believe that than confront the awful fact that its own founding documents portray anything but a peaceful religion — not to mention its history. For instance, were you aware that it is estimated that “between sixty and eighty million Hindus may have been put to death during the centuries of invasions by Muslim armies from 1000 to 1525.” That’s Stalin and Mao territory.
If you can’t or won’t deal truthfully with the problem, how can you ever expect to confront it successfully? When you remain in denial and you let the practitioners of the religion also deny the truth, how does one “reform” anything? And what does the continuous denial portend for the West in the not to distant future?
Large quote from Andy McCarthy. This is an important point that so many in the West simply refuse to acknowledge:
This point has been made so many times it should hardly be necessary to point out that Obama and Kerry, like Kerry’s predecessor Hillary Clinton, and like many Bush-administration officials before them (including President Bush), are dead wrong when they deny the nexus between Islamic doctrine –– the literal scriptures –- and terrorism, decapitations, totalitarian government, repression of women, rabid anti-Semitism, the murder of homosexuals, and so on. Still, it would be a serious error merely to observe that they are wrong, snicker at their fecklessness, and move on.
There is a reason they are taking a position diametrically opposed to reality.
Obama and Kerry, like transnational progressives in both of our major political parties, believe there are “moderate Islamists” who are the key to stability in the Middle East. Now, the term “moderate Islamist” is contradictory: an Islamist wants government by sharia, Islam’s totalitarian societal framework and legal code. There is nothing moderate about sharia. Those who want it implemented are not “moderates” even if they don’t commit mass-murder to get their way. Sharia is also anti-liberty, anti-equality, and anti-Western. Therefore, we should oppose Islamism just as we oppose other freedom-killing ideologies. That doesn’t mean we need to go to war with all Islamists, but we should work to diminish their influence and we should never regard them as a solution to anything.
Notwithstanding their abhorrence of the West, “moderate Islamists” are regarded by Obama and Kerry as potential allies: people, groups, and, in the case of Turkey, for example, countries that we can work with to solve the problems plaguing the Middle East and overcome our own security challenges. It is thus critically important to Obama and Kerry for the public to believe that (a) all Islamists are not basically the same and (b) there is a sharp difference — a day-and-night difference — between “moderate Islamists” and terrorist organizations like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. If, instead, the public becomes convinced that all Islamists, violent or non-violent, adhere to essentially the same ideology, the administration’s goal of working with Islamic supremacists becomes politically untenable.
It is impossible to convince people that non-violent (or, at least, purportedly non-violent) Islamists are not representative of Islam. The administration tried that with its “largely secular” Muslim Brotherhood flyer . . . and has been embarrassed ever since by the howls of laughter. Most significant Islamist groups are rooted in or affiliated with the Brotherhood. Not only do these groups claim the mantle of Islam’s representative; our government concedes that status to them.
Because they refuse to acknowledge this they simply hold out a “solution” that doesn’t exist. So-called “moderate Islam” is only a ratcheted down version of the extremists. Perhaps “moderate Islam” doesn’t want to take part in killing you, but they’re not particularly upset that the extremist version is doing it for them. They may differ in the methods, but they’re not indifferent to the result – i.e. the world converting to Islam and the establishment of Sharia law. That is the ultimate goal of Islam. Weasel wording it doesn’t change that fact.
So how does one go about convincing “moderate Islam” to back off? Well one way to to recognize the threat, and the threat isn’t just limited to “extremists”. However, such recognition is antithetical to the tenets of the left’s multi-culturalism. Every culture is “worthwhile” and has “value”. Even those which justify the murder of non-believers and homosexuals, enslave and mutilate women, and essentially redefine misogyny. The very people who support this sort of “tolerance” would likely be its first victims.
Back to the question – how do we back off “moderate Islam?” Well this is going to sound exceedingly violent, but it is meant to be. You have to ruthlessly and completely wipe out the extremists. But instead, we seem to be contemplating a strategy of “managing” the threat. As Michael Totten notes:
The reason we must reject the tempting tendency to close our eyes and hope this problem goes away is that Allah doesn’t always sort things out according to American interests.
Life is filled with things we don’t want to do but have to do anyway. No one wants radiation or chemotherapy, but if you get cancer, you’re going to have to take it despite the fact that it might not work and that it will certainly feel like it’s killing you.
Let’s not kid ourselves. ISIS — or ISIL as the President calls it — is cancerous. And it is not a benign tumor. It is metastasizing and will not stop growing stronger and deadlier until it is dealt with aggressively and, at the absolute minimum, contained.
And only that sort of treatment will impress “moderate Islam” – period. Of course, that’s only step 1. Step 2 will be even more painful for the Western left. It is all about intolerance. That’s right, it’s about being intolerant of ideas, principles and cultural norms that attack and would eventually destroy Western culture as we know it. Islam is as intolerant of our Western culture is we should be of it’s culture. Just because some group of elitists on the left decided one day that all cultures are equal and valuable has now been shown to be simplistic pap. And unless Western civ is in the mood to commit suicide, it is going to have to make some very hard and intolerant decisions in the near future.
So if the West is to survive, it’s time to take a real “step 1”, not some half-measure that I am pretty sure is being contemplated as we speak.
Many violent jihadists who go on to join al-Qaeda and, now, the Islamic State (an offshoot of al-Qaeda) got their start in the Muslim Brotherhood. They seamlessly graduate from Brotherhood teaching to insatiable jihad because Brotherhood teaching lauds jihad. In fact, the transition happens because many of those who receive Brotherhood instruction become frustrated by the contradiction between the Brotherhood’s aim of a worldwide caliphate and endorsement of jihad to achieve it, on the one hand, and its counsel of patience in pursuing it, on the other.
It is precisely because Islamists share an ideology rooted in Islam, and what they see as a divinely mandated mission of conquest, that a Muslim can so predictably evolve from student to sharia adherent to “moderate Islamist” to not-so-moderate Islamist to terrorist. It happens frequently. And the common ideology rooted in Islam also explains why so many “moderate Islamists” financially and morally support violent jihadist organizations even if they don’t take up arms themselves.
Why? Because, as I said, the “moderates” are not at all indifferent to the outcome brought about by the extremists. And until we wrap our heads around that and do what is necessary to actually and finally address the real threat we face, it’s not going to get any better and could easily get much worse. It isn’t about extremists and moderates, it’s about a toxic culture/religion that was recognized as such by the West centuries ago as a threat. As for the present, there’s very little difference between “moderate” and “extremists” with regard to the final outcome they seek:
The Islamic State has presumed to declare a caliphate. Al-Qaeda franchises think that is hasty — especially since someone else is running the caliphate — and would proceed more gradually, setting up emirates and hoping for more consensus among Islamists. Both organizations want to confront the West only violently; the Muslim Brotherhood, on the contrary, teaches that, while violent jihad has its place (see Hamas), it is valid to negotiate with the West, to infiltrate the West’s institutions, and to achieve whatever conquest can be achieved without violence.
In Lybia, the expected – at least for those who paid attention and had a rudimentary understanding of modern Islam – is beginning to happen:
Throughout this country, Libyans are discovering that their hard fought battle to win freedoms is at risk. Puritanical Muslims known as Salafis are applying a rigid form of Islam in more and more communities. They have clamped down on the sale of alcohol and demolished the tombs of saints where many local people worship.
Throughout Libya, Gaddafi’s fall has emboldened Salafis, who were persecuted and imprisoned under the now deceased leader. They have increased their public presence, taken over mosques, and even hoisted the flag of al-Qaeda over the courthouse in Benghazi where the revolution began eleven months ago. In the capital of Tripoli, Salafis have destroyed more than six shrines. In one incident, dozens swarmed mausoleums belonging to two Muslim mystics and dug up their bodies so that worshippers could no longer visit their tombs. They also burned the relics around the shrines.
The Salafis are the same group that has done well in the Egyptian elections. Speaking of Egypt, Robert R. Reilly makes some important points about that country and Islam in general, taking apart a Matthew Kaminski article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Arab Democracy Is the Best Bet for a Muslim Reformation." He points out the problems associated with the “propensity to project Western conceptions and norms onto the Islamic world, where they are largely irrelevant.” It’s an interesting read.
"The appeal of political Islam… grows when religiosity is repressed." Islamism is a reaction to modernity, not to repression. It would grow regardless. With the shackles off in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, watch it grow even more. To think that it will diminish because it is not repressed is a dangerous fantasy. Thanks to the Arab Spring, it now has the opportunity to seize control, and most likely will do so. Democratic elections have simply revealed the strength of the view that "Islam is the answer."
And Reilly stomps on the notion that “democracy” will provide the necessary reformation of Islam. Instead, he points out, the Islamists are the reformation:
Kaminski calls for a Reformation in Islam, without seeming to realize that Islamism is that Reformation. Be careful of what you wish for. One reason that the Islamic world became calcified is that the "gates of ijtihad" were closed in the Middle Ages. This meant that the authority for making original interpretations of the Koran or the hadith had been withdrawn because the sharia had, by that time, covered every possible situation in human life with a specific ruling. The Islamists today have reclaimed the authority of individual interpretation in order to wipe out the Islamic jurisprudence that stands in their way, most particularly in their use of indiscriminate violence and terrorism.
As for the Muslim Brotherhood:
"Salafists… practice Osama bin Laden’s creed of Islam." No, bin Laden’s creed of Islam is not Salafist, but came directly from the Muslim Brotherhood and is infected with its ideology, which was partially obtained from Western totalitarianism. His teacher in Saudi Arabia was Mohammed al Banna, the brother of the founder of the Muslim brotherhood, Hassan al Banna. Salafism, on the other hand, is an ancient and integral part of Islam.
Reilly points out that “[w]ishful thinking can be dangerous when it distorts reality.” And that’s precisely what many in the West have done – engage in wishful thinking and project “Western conceptions and norms onto the Islamic world” where they simply don’t fit.
Engaging in an honest assessment grounded in at least an understanding of Islam and human nature should have disabused a rational person of such wishful thinking. The information was there, the history was there, and the conclusions weren’t that hard to reach if objectively put together.
Unfortunately our government apparently prefers to engage in wishful thinking along with many others in the West. The outcome in Libya and Egypt, given who was involved and how that has worked in other countries should have been obvious. But instead many in the West, such as Kaminski chose to believe in fictions like the Muslim Brotherhood’s declared “moderation” and their supposed belief in sharing power with secularists. Oh you may see that at least given lip service for a while, at least until they fully consolidate their power, but that’s not their plan.
These two “revolutions” made the Middle East a more dangerous and oppressive place. Our government chose to ignore the reality of the Muslim Brotherhood’s extremism for a more sanitized and moderate model (which it used to justify its support) and aided and abetted the Islamists in Libya – while pretending they didn’t really exist — through direct intervention in a conflict that was simply none of our business.
Now, unfortunately, we have to live with the results.
Somehow both of these will be spun into “foreign policy successes”, just watch.
If your hope for the latest version of “Arab Spring” to be found in Libya was a secular democratic state, you can quickly forget the secular part of the dream.
The leader of the transitional government declared to thousands of revelers in a sunlit square here on Sunday that Libya’s revolution had ended, setting the country on the path to elections, and he vowed that the new government would be based on Islamic tenets.
Indeed, what has immediately happened is the roll back of many of Gadhafi’s decrees that those who’ve now taken over contend violate Sharia law and Islam’s tenets:
Mr Abdul-Jalil went further, specifically lifting immediately, by decree, one law from Col. Gaddafi’s era that he said was in conflict with Sharia – that banning polygamy.
In a blow to those who hoped to see Libya’s economy integrate further into the western world, he announced that in future bank regulations would ban the charging of interest, in line with Sharia. "Interest creates disease and hatred among people," he said.
I’d love to tell you this comes as a complete surprise, but then I’d be acting like some politicians I know.
I’m certainly not going to contend that keeping Gadhafi was the best thing we could do, but let’s be clear, what has happened darn sure doesn’t seem to be an outcome that we’d have hoped to see either. At least as it now seems to be shaking out.
In that area of the world, secular dreams seem to me to be the most foolish. How that particular dream manages to stay alive among the elite of the West is beyond me. It isn’t now nor has it ever been a probable outcome of any of these so-called “Arab Spring” revolutions. The revolutions are steeped in Islam because the governments being replaced were relatively secular for the area and the Islamic groups now rising were the ones being repressed.
How someone could believe that out of that situation, secular democracy would emerge still remains beyond me. No democratic history, no real established democratic institutions and no real democratic experience by the people there. Yet somehow we’ve determined that this bunch is superior to the last bunch.
Based on what I’ve always wondered?
Yet, we continue to hear the hope proclaimed in each upheaval even as reality seems to dismiss the hope at every turn.
Well apparently the Libyan revolution has bagged its bad guy:
Al Jazeera has acquired exclusive footage of the body of Muammar Gaddafi after he was killed in his hometown, Sirte.
Abdul Hakim Belhaj, an NTC military chief, said Gaddafi had died of his wounds after being captured near Sirte on Thursday.
The body of the former Libyan leader was taken to a location which is being kept secret for security reasons, an NTC official said.
"Gaddafi’s body is with our unit in a car and we are taking the body to a secret place for security reasons," Mohamed Abdel Kafi, an NTC official in the city of Misrata, told Reuters.
Earlier, Abdel Majid, another NTC official, said the toppled leader had been wounded in both legs.
A photograph taken on a mobile phone appeared to show Gaddafi heavily bloodied, but it was not possible to confirm the authenticity of the picture.
The news came shortly after the NTC captured Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown, after weeks of fighting.
"Thank God they have caught this person. In one hour, Sirte was liberated," a fighter in the town said.
Now comes the hard part – keeping the “revolution” out of the “Islamic extremist” ditch.
Cue the Muslim Brotherhood …