"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Jihad's Fellow Travelers

In any conflict, it is essential to clearly identify the enemy and to strip away all issues that cloud and obfuscate the goals and objectives of the conflict. We Westerners, specifically we non-Muslim Americans, have allowed ourselves to be confused and led in many directions by our elite. It is time that we and they focus on the true enemy. Hint: The enemy is not terrorism.

Members of the West European and North American elite class approach the war on terrorism in a schizophrenic manner. Their world view rejects any possibility that religious faith can be a prime motivating factor in human affairs. Having reduced religion, literature and art to “narratives” and “metaphors” which merely reflect prejudices based on the distribution of power, the elite class treats the jihadist mindset as a pathology that should be treated by treating causes external to Islam itself.

The result is a plethora of proposed “cures” that are as likely to succeed in making us safe from terrorism as snake oil is likely to cure leukemia. Abroad, we are told, we need to address political and economic grievances of the impoverished masses, we need to spread democracy and free markets in the Muslim world, we need to invest more in public diplomacy. At home we need more tolerance, greater inclusiveness, less profiling, and a more determined outreach to the minorities that feel marginalized and threatened by the war on terror. The failure of such “cures” leads to ever more pathological self-examination and morbid self doubt. If the spread of jihad is not due to the ideology of jihad itself, which it cannot be, then it must be our own fault.

Already with the Rushdie affair 17 years ago an ominous pattern was set. It has been replicated on both sides of the Atlantic ever since. It has three key ingredients:

1. The Muslim diaspora in the Western world, while formally denouncing “terrorism,” will accept and condone religious justification for acts that effectively challenge the monopoly on violence of the non-Muslim host-state.

2. The Muslim diaspora will use a highly developed infrastructure of organized religion in the host-state—a network of mosques, Islamic centers and Muslim organizations—and deploy it either as a tool of direct political pressure in support of terrorist goals (e.g., British Muslims vis-à-vis Rushdie), or else as a means of deception and manipulation in order to diminish the ability of the host-society to defend itself (e.g., CAIR vis-à-vis post-9-11 America).

3. The non-Muslim establishment—public figures, politicians, journalists, academic analysts—will seek to appease the Muslim diaspora, or else it will shy away from confronting the problem of the immigrants’ attitudes and impact by pretending that it does not exist.

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