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 This means that the verses preaching love for all are no longer applicable, except with regard to one’s fellow Muslims.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?
That’s the title of an article written by Michael Brendan Dougherty in The Week.
But Ernesto Galli della Loggia, the lead editorial writer for Corriere Della Sera, offered one provocative suggestion for Europe’s unwillingness to get involved: fear of Islam. In an editorial titled “The Indifference That Kills,” he writes (translated here) that Europe fears what he calls “Arab Islam” and its ability to commit economic blackmail. He writes:
“At the same time, and above all, it fears the ruthless terrorism, the many guerrillas that claim to be inspired by Islam, their cruel barbarity, as well as the movements of revolt that periodically deeply stir the masses of that world, always permeated by a sensibility that is extremely easy to light up and to break loose in violent xenophobia.” [Corriere Della Sera]
There is something to this. Consider: When Pope Benedict XVI, in an academic setting, merely quoted a medieval critique of Islam, the result was riots across the Islamic world, including the murder of Christian nuns. There was similar rioting and threats over satirical cartoons in a Danish newspaper that if made about Christianity would elicit almost no reaction beyond a letter or a few digital comments.
He goes on excruciatingly offering reasons that may have some validity but really don’t hit on the real reason.
The West fears Islam (that’s radical Islam) because it hasn’t the intestinal fortitude to do what is necessary to combat it. If you’ve been watching in horror what ISIS has been doing as it moves through Iraq, or Hamas in Gaza, you understand that with radical Islam, there are not boundaries of decency or humanity that constrain them. They will do whatever it takes to win the day, no matter how many lives it costs on both sides. There is no such thing as an atrocity except the existence of infidels.
The West fears Islam because to do what is necessary to combat and defeat it, the West would have to throw over decades of liberal hogwash about the equality of cultures and how we must respect them. Its a bit like claiming you have to respect and endure a rabid skunk because it is a living being and thus our equal.
Instead of admitting that radical Islam is a rabid skunk that needs to be exterminated, we continue to see the liberal game being played as is. And the results are predictable. Knowing that there’s really no downside to their actions (in their terms not ours – martyrdom is martyrdom regardless of how it is achieved) they continue to push the envelope and receive the equivalent of “red lines” that are never enforced in answer.
The West has become a collective of cowards who will be taken piecemeal by this pernicious and unrelenting force who is focused on conquest by any means necessary. As it single-mindedly pursues that goal, the West dithers, argues, laments, has meetings and generally believes that at some point it will be able to reason with a movement which is as savage as any pack of beasts. It won’t meet that savagery with equal savagery – something necessary to get the attention of this malevolent movement.
Instead the West will continue to insist on “rules” in a game with no rules, morality from a group who has demonstrated none and eventually capitulate when all of this becomes clear too late to survive the stupidity. The West is either going to have to wake up and act in a manner that will ensure its survival or prepare to be overwhelmed and become a part of the Caliphate. And, as ISIS and others have more than amply demonstrated, the takeover will be horrific.
The West has a real reason to fear radical Islam. Most of it has to do with its own spinelessness. I mean, consider this – me saying what I’ve said would be condemned by most of the liberal West in no uncertain terms. Yet it is precisely what needs to be done to excise this threat from the face of the earth and ensure the survival of the very people that would condemn my words.
And, at the moment, rightfully so. That’s not to say theirs is a superior system by any stretch. Theirs just happens to be thriving at this moment in history. But that doesn’t change the correctness of the basic kernel of their assessment:
In extensive talks with a series of Chinese leaders, an oft-cited point of criticism is the gridlock and “dysfunction” they see in Washington. They say fawning by U.S. political leaders seeking re-election has created an “entitlement culture” where the public has grown dependent on government largesse. Now, with the United States facing monumental economic and debt problems, the political system has been unable to curb generous entitlement programs or counter the economic downturn.
I really hate to say “I told you so”, because a) as Megan McArdle said yesterday it is “so … bleeding … obvious” and b) it really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this was going to happen. No, not China mocking us – they have their own economic problems ahead of them so I’m not particularly impressed with their mocking attitude. The idea that running huge deficits, encouraging an entitlement culture, redistributing wealth and running up unpaid future welfare obligations was sustainable.
Heck, people like me and other authors on this blog have been saying that for years – decades even – that it was just a matter of time before it all collapsed like a wet paper box. And we always get the hand wave from the so-called enlightened that we just don’t know what we’re talking about.
To them I say, “welcome to reality”. Like gravity, the laws of economics will finally assert themselves.
And they have.
However, the performance of the Chinese economy in the global recession has had a beneficial effect for them among other nations.
China is now at a pinnacle of global leadership and influence as a result of its emergence as an economic superpower, even as the U.S. and other major industrial powers fell into disrepair as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, said Guo Zhenyuan, an analyst at the institute.
China gained the admiration of developing nations around the world with its ability to weather the crisis emanating from the U.S., even emerging from the downturn as the world’s main engine of growth, while its superior economic performance provoked jealousy in the U.S. and other developed nations, he said.
With that said, here’s what they’re now selling:
Mr. Chan said U.S. political leaders are so focused on short-term gains that they fail to make the painful long-term choices and changes in social programs needed to ensure the solvency of the government and vitality of the economy.
Chinese leaders, by contrast, lay out plans for the long term and systematically achieve them, producing unprecedented gains in living standards and a remarkable two decades of uninterrupted growth at nearly double-digit annual rates.
This proves that the Chinese system is better than the democratic system that the U.S. promotes around the world, Mr. Chan said.
And the dictators and totalitarians around the world take heart.
Only because Western leaders, decades ago, perverted the true meaning of Western democracy and did exactly what the critique above says – began trading goodies for votes and created the social welfare state which was destined for failure.
Whether or not you agree that democracy is the problem is a rather moot point. That’s what China is pitching and apparently there are eager listeners. And we all know there are those out there who think they too can implement the Chinese model. As Dr. Kissinger said they call it, “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”. The rest of us call it totalitarianism, but like I said, in the face of the epic failure of Western Social Democracy and the rise of China, it’s a tough argument to fight at the moment.