Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Ecology of Tolerance

The New York Times look at what it portrays as a humane Sharia regime in Nigeria.

KANO, Nigeria — Just last year, the morality police roamed these streets in dusky blue uniforms and black berets, brandishing cudgels at prayer shirkers and dragging fornicators into Islamic courts to face sentences like death by public stoning.

But these days, the fearsome police officers, known as the Hisbah, are little more than glorified crossing guards. They have largely been confined to their barracks and assigned anodyne tasks like directing traffic and helping fans to their seats at soccer games.

And the reason for this change?



Facing backlash from citizens and criticism from human rights groups at home and abroad, state governments that had swiftly enacted Shariah and embraced its harshest tenets are now shifting the emphasis from the punishments and prohibitions to a softer approach that emphasizes other tenets of Muslim law, like charity, women’s rights and the duty of Muslims to keep their environment clean.

What exactly has this backlash been? News24.com explains:

Sharia courts were active in northern Nigeria for centuries before their power was reduced under British colonial rule. The decision to re-introduce the sharia penal code in 2000 alienated Christian minorities in the 12 states and sparked sporadic rioting that killed thousands.

One of those places was Kaduna.

Theresa Ola, a devout Christian in this majority-Muslim city, walks with me through the rubble of her church.

Only a shell remains of the imposing building. The walls are blackened, the windows smashed and the collapsed roof is open to the sky. Pages of the Bible blow in the wind across the floor. ...

Just as Christian communities have been devastated by the violence, so too have Muslims. Just a few miles away from the church is a feeding centre for many hundreds of Muslims who lost their homes and livelihoods during the riots.

The New York Times describes what it sees as a new Sharia, one open to secular education, the possibility of cleanliness and even environmentalism.

New programs have sprung up to encourage parents to send their daughters to hybrid public elementary schools that offer traditional Islamic education along with math and reading, in keeping with Islamic principles that call for the education of girls. In many of these classrooms, girls outnumber boys, and the United States Agency for International Development is so impressed with the potential of these programs that one third of the schools it supports across Nigeria are integrated Islamic and secular, according to officials at the agency.

State officials are using Islamic exhortations on cleanliness to encourage recycling of the plastic bags that choke landfills and gutters. One governor, citing the Islamic duty to care for the indigent, recently instituted a monthly stipend for disabled beggars.

“Our approach is a humane Shariah, not a punitive Shariah,” said Bala A. Muhammad, director of a state program in Kano called A Daidaita Sahu. The name, a Hausa commandment, means “straighten your rows,” a reference to the razor-sharp lines formed by Muslims as they line up to pray and a metaphor for the orderliness required in everyday life by the Koran.

If a kinder, gentler Sharia is evolving in Nigeria, to which would it primarily be due, "backlash from citizens" or "criticism from human rights groups"? My guess is "backlash from citizens". Whatever changes have been adopted have been probably been because of pressure from the grassroots. Everywhere a local resistance has been been effective against Islamic theocrats it has been forced to become more reasonable. Somalia and most recently Iraq are prime examples of this. An expert on Iran I recently heard speak said it is the only country in the region where crowds spontaneously gather each September 11th to mourn the attack on the World Trade Center. "Ayatollahs have to take off their turbans when they want to take a taxi. If elections were held today not a cleric would be elected for the next generation," he said.

The New York Times article on Sharia touches lightly on some of the reasons it has reformed, but it never goes further.

The shift reflects the fact that religious law did not transform society. Indeed, some of the most ardent Shariah-promoting politicians now find themselves under investigation for embezzling millions of dollars. Many early proponents of Shariah feel duped by politicians who rode its popular wave but failed to live by its tenets, enriching themselves and neglecting to improve the lives of ordinary people.

“Politicians started seeing Shariah as a gateway to political power,” said Abba Adam Koki, a conservative cleric here who has criticized the local government’s application of Shariah. “But they were insincere. We have been disappointed and never got what we had hoped.”

The transformation of hard-line Islamic regimes into softer ones in places as diverse as Anbar province and Nigeria suggests that if the world wants to see a more "moderate" Islam, it is far more effective to support those who take a principled stand against it's excesses than to pander to it's most extremist elements. Ironically, the West's disgusting groveling during the Danish cartoon riots and on many subsequent occasions may have done nothing to attract the "moderates" in Islam. Those moderates would have been far better empowered if Western leaders had told the radical theocrats to shove their demands, lashes, cutting knives and fatwas where the sun don't shine.

The "backlash from citizens" in Anbar Province and Nigeria probably counts for much more than "criticism from human rights groups". It may be possible for the Muslim and non-Muslim world to live in peace; but the odds improve when predators on either side understand that transgressions will not go unnoticed.

33 Comments:

Blogger NahnCee said...

I can remember thinking back in the 60s and 70s when John Lennon was warbling "give peace a chance" and "all you need is love" that never before in the history of humanity had such a simple concept worked - give up your guns and just be nice to each other. I also remember wondering if it would work at that juncture, just poking daisies in everyone's guns and presto-chango, the world would become Edenical, full of enlightened loving citizens.

Didn't work then. We still need the guns to drive back the scimitar-wielding savages. AND I think a lot of the love-speaking philosophers were more in it for the free sex than any hope of creating a better civilization.

But the Nigerians aren't the first ones to be shocked that their SHariah-spouting people in power didn't actually walk the walk.

12/01/2007 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Maybe someone should write a doctoral dissertation on how much of organizational history is driven by the desire to get laid. One of the more interesting groups to come out of the 1960s was the Children of God sect run by a guy called David Berg, AKA Moses David.

A number of persons some of whom became quite prominent were part of, or were raised by the group.

In 1974, it began a method of evangelism called flirty fishing—using sex to show God's love and win converts. It was also a means of raising financial support as many of the women worked as prostitutes. Flirty fishing has been compared to religious prostitution. The practice was discontinued in 1987.

Humanity throughout the ages has been attracted by a remarkably small range of motives.

12/01/2007 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Shropshirelad said...

I think I would have to disagree with Nahncee about the effectiveness of hormones--of Love--as a weapon of war. It all depends on how you deploy it. In Classical Iconography, Venus and Mars were often depicted as lovers. Never underestimate the power of glands to affect History.

The Islamic world is trying to digest a glut of malleable boys with raging hormones. “What do we do with all of these excess young men,” the emir asks, “before they start making eyes at one of my many, many wives?” The destruction of the sex drive was one of the pet projects of Big Brother in 1984, as I recall. How like a Two Minute Hate these Islamist rallies sometimes seem!



I am not an anthropologist, or sociologist, but it seems to me that the mullahs and sheiks take advantage of Purdah, the segregation of the sexes, to consolidate their power among men starting with the boys.

Perhaps if these boys were getting laid more, or at least were able to fraternize more with girls their own age, they would have less time for jihad. It's hard to strap a bomb to anything when you have stars in your eyes, or you are spent.

Every now and then I read stories about the Saudi Authorities cracking down on(or attempting to crack down, since boys with computers are infinitely ingenious) Saudi youths for chatting with girls or exchanging dirty pictures on their cell-phones.

We read a lot more stories about 25 year olds blowing themselves up, of course, since the effects of those events are immediate, vivid, and may involve Americans, and those stories are easier to write. Nobody but the Iranian and the Saudi religious police are really paying attention to what those 15 year old boys and girls secretly arranging dates under the radar. We look at them as romantic curios.



And yet, if I were a military strategist, I would be paying attention to what the Mullahs are worried about. I would be re-reading the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, perhaps, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramus_and_Thisbe).

And I would be wondering about how I could exploit that little chink in the wall…

12/01/2007 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Wretchard,

Berg's group called themselves "The Family of Love" when I got to know them in Newport Beach in Southern California in the late 70's (just before Jonestown). They thought the end times were upon us and almost seem to look forward to it. None of that "rapture" stuff for them. They wanted to be spiritually strong enough to see it through to the bitterest part of the bitter end. And then. of course, meet Jesus.

Berg would send out comic books (he was drawn as a Lion) to keep the flock connected. Before Bin Laden had his videos on the internet Berg had comic books through the mail. Berg was down on the dollar, though his attitude toward mammon in general seemed ambivalent. He thought all of God's children should put their money in Gold and Swiss Francs. Of course, with Jimmy Carter running things that was good advice.

Giving financial advice (with bible quotes instead of stock quotes) may seem strange for a cult leader, but The Family of Love used to convert people and then sell their assets. It was a "from each according to everything they have" kind of deal. Rich or poor didn't matter to them--but if you came with beach front property then so much the better. They were selling a spacious beach house when I met them.

I got to know the den mother for the local group pretty well and she told me about their being "hookers for Jesus." She had joined the group when it was puritanical. But David Berg had a revelation of sorts (There was a long story that went with the change that kinda almost made sense) and told the flock that you can't say you love people spiritually and then deny them the physical manifestations of it--I don't really do the preacher justice here. Still, she flipped the switch and became a loose woman instead of a Jesus Freak prude. She had a couple of kids and was a good mother but, as you might expect, that whole father thing became a rather slippery and flexible concept for the group.

I never got in on the action with any of the flock. If I'm visiting a hooker I'd rather she take my money than my soul (though basically, they wanted both).

They threw good parties. Of course, I had hung with the Jesuits so I could resist the seduction of their group psychosis. But I remember this one surfer dude was at one of their parties and I heard him give out an anguished cry. I thought the guy had maybe eaten rat poison but all the cult members told me he was going to be alright. Depends what you mean by alright. In any case, I saw him a little later and noticed the headlights in his eyes had been switched on. It was a strange effect I'd seen in other members of the group: Like the high beams were on, or something.

After Jonestown David Berg sent out one of his comics (they were actually well drawn) telling all the members to go back to their biological families to show them that they don't do what ever he tells them. I told them they should refuse. But they went. The Den mother's parents had one of the biggest Ford Dealerships in Michigan. She would have made a good CEO for a fortune 500 firm. Who knows, maybe she'd did, once she burned out on "socialism of the spiritual and the material worlds." From David Berg to Madonna.

After 9/11 I thought of these folks. One thing I remembered: they had to keep the "less committed members" isolated. You never saw a novice out on their own. So I figured if you're looking for sleeper cells you might look for that sign: A few strong leaders keeping the others isolated lest interactions outside the cult cause them to loose their commitment.

12/01/2007 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

The alliance between Islam and the Left is predicated on the seeming default mode of human social relationships: polygamy.

Women of course "win" (this explains the feminist love for Islam) by sharing the few high-status, high-power men. A bit of say Bill Clinton's money/power/attention beats all of Joe Averages. And women generally like the reality of Polygamy -- too many men chasing too few women. This explains the solid female support for it's many forms in the Left, in the West, particularly among feminists (like Naomi Wolff and her view of Islam's polygamy as benign).

The whole point of polygamy is to deny family formation and reproduction of the average man. But monogamy (and it's shocking introduction into Western Europe circa say, AD 900 or so) allows every man to have a family and pretty much insures much higher resource mobilization.

Instead of a few Big Men, their harems, and slaves/serfs/eunuchs, the West has historically had that threatening freeholders, on their own account always improving things. Over centuries that mattered. A lot.

Naturally the anti-ordinary-man family elements in the West, religious nutcases of all types (ala Branch Davidians), Muslims, Leftists, particularly feminists (who were encouraged to have serial affairs and abandon any family/progeny they might have) always express solid hate for the big threat:

That an ordinary man might have a family of his own. And the society that depends on that massive resource and all that flows from that. Not the least of which is that ordinary men are chaotic and disruptive of dynasties and sinecures.

The Islamic World's domination by the few Big Men explains most of it's social instability as Shropshire points out. Other societies, such as those of Africa, or Latin America, also have that same instability. China is going to be wracked with trouble. They officially report 18 million young men without wives (bare branches) because of selective sex abortion. Rule of thumb for PRC says multiply by five or so.

When women are a "scarce resource" and in a male-surplus society, paternity is always an issue so you see those social controls. Europe of course was a female-surplus society (until recently) and so paternity was not that large an issue and so you see few social controls. Particularly since women depended on male support in Europe's brutal winters.

Which leads to one unhappy conclusion: Muslim society will remain the same until/unless something happens to drastically change the sex ratio to mostly women with relatively few men, AND enforced monogamy.

We will see Teddy Bears, Cartoons, Piglet, or something equally as innocuous generating frothing riots of rage unless/until there are those major demographic and cultural changes in such massive scope.

12/01/2007 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Muslim society will remain the same until/unless something happens to drastically change the sex ratio to mostly women with relatively few men, AND enforced monogamy.

I wonder what the AIDS rate in Saudi Arabia currently *really* is.

12/01/2007 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Let's see - someone named Lady Influence whose English isn't totally terrific wants to use an unused site with the word "Club" in it to "make money online".

Cool! Wretchard will be sharing a name/URL with a bondage porn site!

12/01/2007 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger ADE said...

W said...

Maybe someone should write a doctoral dissertation on how much of organizational history is driven by the desire to get laid.

I suspect the doctoral dissertation should be on how much organisational history is based on the guilt associated with the desire to get laid.

The first step to control a group is to create a tabu, and then adopt a holier-than-thou attitude.

Manufacture the sin, preach against it, manipulate the guilty.

What better than sex? A bit of a pull under the sheets, a grope in the back of a taxi, and hellfire on Friday from the ayatollah. Jesus Mo, with that level of guilt, of course we're off to the Jihad.

Cool with any form of sex, you're an Anglican? No worries, your guilt trip can be your carbon footprint.

And so the priesthoods die, new priesthoods emerge.

shropshirelad
Never underestimate the power of glands to affect History.

I raised the same sentiment a few posts back when I quoted the last paragraph of Molly Bloom's speech from Ulysses.

Glands will out. But will gland-freedom beat Multicultural/PC/Greenie freedom?

My money is on the glands, until Islam collapses.

ADE

12/01/2007 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

hdgreene,

It looks like you've got a book just waiting to be written in there someplace.

12/02/2007 12:43:00 AM  
Blogger Rich Rostrom said...

I saw a comment from an Egyptian a while back that Islamism would not be repudiated there until after it had triumphed. I also note reports that Al-Qaeda alienated Iraqi Sunnis by imposing sharia. Also, the Taliban made a lot of enemies with its harsh policies.

12/02/2007 03:00:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Human knowledge has always advanced by a trial and error method that starts with the observation of natural phenomenon. An attempt is then made to find the larger patterns within nature which in turn leads to general theories being offered. The key to this evolutionary epistemology is that the subsequent theories must be open to discussion -- they must be challenged by other observations and tested by experimentation to discover the limits of usefulness for these theories. The fittest of the theories survive as additions to our pool of knowledge and the weaker theories fall by the way side like exotic extinct creatures who were never really fit for this world.

The way to gum up the works of this system is to declare favoured theories as dogma -- that is to claim they are absolutely true beyond any rational discussion. Any brave soul who dares challenge a dogma is labelled an heretic. And any contradictory evidence that comes to light must be quickly processed and manipulated so as to render it unthreatening to the established dogma.

So it is with the challenge of militant Islam. The established dogma is that one must act like a jihadi in order to "defeat" a jihadi. Any non-jihadi-like acts are denounced as appeasement and encouragement to the enemy.

But then a case like that presented in the NYT’s article about the kindler-gentler sharia law puts such theories in doubt. The impact of human rights group's tough statements is (rightfully in my opinion) discounted and the fact that the local grassroots became unhappy with the strict sharia is emphasized as the real reason for the change. So far so good. But this analysis does nothing to advance the meme that we must all become jihadis in order to defeat the jihadis. What it really says is that there is a struggle within Islam itself between a radicals Right who want to impose their strict religious interpretations on the masses and more liberal Islamic elements that preach tolerance, poverty reduction, women’s rights and even environmentalism, all within the limits of the general Islamic tradition.

So in desperation, after downplaying the fact that outside influence is not a major factor in the Nigerian case, we are told that moderate Muslim political leaders wish for the West to act like jihadis and to never offer any superficial and meaningless apologies for the crusades or other insults that the radical Muslim Right whip up from time to time. But is this true? It is obviously heretical to even ask if this is true. Do the moderate Nigerian Muslim leaders wish that the West tell their constituents to "shove it" when they are upset over the latest "outrage" whipped up by the Islamic Right? Or do the liberals prefer vapid words of condolence from the West in order to get the latest outrage off the front page so that they can get the people to instead refocus on how oppressive the Islamic Right’s sharia law actually is?

So perhaps the theory that we must act like jihadis to beat the jihadis is correct. Perhaps it is false. The only way towards the truth and an increase in knowledge is to objectively observe the world and honestly evaluate the theory at every chance. Dogmas are like stopped clocks; they may sometimes be correct but that is pure chance. The scientific method of proposing theories and then honestly testing them has proven a far more powerful generator of knowledge throughout human history. So in this case I would like to hear from one of the liberal Muslim politicians in Nigeria as to how the West could best support his cause.

12/02/2007 03:16:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

I saw a comment from an Egyptian a while back that Islamism would not be repudiated there until after it had triumphed.

This was the situation with respect to Communism too. It was an evil which seemed to have irreversibly convinced clerics, writers, artists -- all of them blinded by it's dark stardust -- that it was good. Nobody could see its evil except those who had lived under it. It was proof against verbal argument. Only experience could refute it. The price of admission to enlightenment was the willingness to pass through the Gulag.

And therefore many concluded, from the 1960s to the 1980s, that it was the inevitable wave of the future. All that is, except the men of faith. People like John Paul and Ronald Reagan shamed the intellectuals with their faith. They understood that not only was "the Shadow a passing thing" but that it could not stand up to the light.

When Ronald Reagan said, "tear down that wall" it was the hardest thing in the world to have said at the time. No intellectual could have uttered those words. It was a wholly unreasonable demand. I'm sure Ronald knew that it was unreasonable. But he didn't care; because though unreasonable it was true.

I think the War on Terror will be won by the side which understands that Muslims -- like the Russians -- are men. It will be won by those who know that ignorance, cruelty, obscurantism and death have no appeal to the best of men; that there is forever truth and high beauty beyond the power of evil to mar.

12/02/2007 03:18:00 AM  
Blogger Country Squire said...

Wretchard,

Your excellent comment reminded me of a quote from a former Gulag resident:

"Over the years, I have come to understand a critical difference between the world of fear and the world of freedom. In the former, the primary challenge is finding the inner strength to confront evil. In the latter, the primary challenge is finding the moral clarity to see evil."

- Natan Sharansky

12/02/2007 04:43:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Like I said, dogmatists can sometimes be right, just like a broken clock. So what are we to make of the fact that Ronald Reagan was an anti-communist? And are we really to believe that intellectuals were all communists? Because the implication is that intellectuals got it wrong on communism and dogmatists got it right. So does this mean in the Muslim world they should all follow Osama bin Laden and the House of Saud? Because they too were fervently anti-communist dogmatists.

But maybe this is a falsified dilemma? Perhaps there actually were intellectuals who were anti-communist without actually living through it. Raymond Aron, George Orwell, and Isaiah Berlin are but a few who spring to mind.

But why is all this important? Surely Ronald Reagan is a hero whether his anti-communism sprang from thought or dogma? Where is a problem?

The problem is militant Islam. Honest people can debate whether Reagan should be given the credit for defeating the Soviet Union. But there is less to discuss about the notion that by giving the Saudis carte blanche in the Middle East to spread Wahhabism and through his support of bin Laden’s proto-Al Qaida group, Ronald Reagan is undoubtedly one of the founding fathers of radical Islam. By seeing the world through a dogmatic prism instead of intellect he mistook his anti-communist fellow-traveller in the House of Saud for people worthy of his support. People all over the globe are still paying the price of this catastrophic error in judgement.

12/02/2007 05:07:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

I think the NYT twists the facts. I am more in agreement with whiskey_199 that the alliance between Islam and the Left is predicated on polygamy.

But, as for the NYT I think it is simpler. The NYT can be bought like a commodity. We saw it with Walter Duranty and his propaganda for Stalin. I have already written enough on that subject. Needless to say that I take anything the NYT prints with a grain of salt.

On a humorous note reguarding the Big Mo Teddy Bear ordeal:

TNOYF has a new line of toys for up and coming Mohammedans.

“Mutilation With Mohammed board game”

[Picture of Mohammed operating on genitals]

Does your youngster dream of getting his medical degree, setting up a practice in a Western nation, and then plotting the death of scores of infidels? Does he have a talent for genital mutilation that far outstrips his chronological age? Then Mutilation with Mohammed is the game to help harness his precocious energies!


See: Reaction to Mo teddy bear

12/02/2007 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

NahnCee said...

Muslim society will remain the same until/unless something happens to drastically change the sex ratio to mostly women with relatively few men, AND enforced monogamy.

I wonder what the AIDS rate in Saudi Arabia currently *really* is.
//////////////
The main diseases among the saudis are hereditary. The inbreeding there is pretty profound.

12/02/2007 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

there is a struggle within Islam itself between a radicals Right who want to impose their strict religious interpretations on the masses...

Oh, I think there's a struggle within Islam, alright, but I think the struggle is whether to allow the few top-dog cleris the right to run the asylum with all the perks that entails including the right to free sex, to murder, and to bully.

Muslims talk a lot about Allah but they *really* don't walk the walk that they're preaching.

It seems to me that a lot of the struggle if you're a moderate must be in trying to figure out how to be religious without having your life (and your money and your women) taken over by jihadists and religious cops that you never asked to speak for you in the first place.

That's the nice thing about democracy: if someone reaches a position of Top Dog and starts behaving irresponsibly, we can vote his ass out and he's not in charge any more (or her ass out). I would think that if democracy speaks at all to a bunch of illiterate savages, it should be because they notice that even the most powerful men in the world - the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of UK - can be voted out and they are then officially gone. For an Arab savage what that would mean is a way to get rid of a Wahhabi cleric who is raping your son without having to go to war, to spill blood and chance offending Allah.

12/02/2007 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

The main diseases among the saudis are hereditary. The inbreeding there is pretty profound.

Since they have this first cousins-marrying- first cousins insistance (backed up by interpretations of Shariah law), it would be astonishing if they did NOT suffer high rate of birth defects caused by inbreeding.

I've seen this cousins-marrying thing explained as being a way of trying to stop the inter-familial murders that ARabs are famous for. That if you keep *all* business within the family (including the business of having babies) then that will keep out the "other" who might tip the boat, cause dissension and end up with a murder or three. Doesn't seem to have worked too well.

I made this same observation about birth defects several years ago, and was accused then of racism, and told that there is no proof of any such incidences. I rather think the reason there's no proof is that the Saudi's resolutely refuse to perform any sort of census on their population, so that not only do they not know how many AIDS patients they have, but they don't know how many birth defects nor even how many Saudi's total. The fact that they are now, finally, starting to set up clinics and counseling JUST for treatment of birth defects must mean that there's a fairly high percentage though.

Not doing a census in and of itself makes one wonder if (1) they as a society have the mental and physical ability to *do* a census, and (2) whether they can count that high.

12/02/2007 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

I rather think that the "grassroots movemnet" was more likely a recogniztion by those few with at least two brain cells to rub together that "Sharia Law" equals "basketcase country."

Perhaps the greatest problem the Saudis present is the false example that a country under strict Islamic rule can be anything other than a place of constant starvation, where two D cell batteries represent the electrical power grid, and the greatest hope of parents is that their child will be lucky enough to get a good job as a tailgunner on a bread truck.

Have lots of oil that non-Sharia workers - Americans, Aussies, Filipinos, South Koreans - will develop for you and sell to others and you can display the same good sense as Hollywood stars and religious cult members - and other people will keep you propped up.

No oil - and well, even Musharraf asked at that Islamic Natione Conference a few years back: "Say, did y'all ever notice that Muslim countries are inevitable the poorest and generally the worst around? Why do you suppose that is?"

12/02/2007 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger BrianFH said...

Kevin;
you might be surprised to learn that it was with great difficulty that the US left persuaded Regan to provide Stingers etc. to the mujahadeen over the objections of the anti-communists who feared Russia would reverse-engineer and copy them.

So, who was it that enabled AQ?

You might also be surprised to learn that the AQ, mujahadeen, and Bin Laden were regarded as incompetent military buffoons by the Afghanis, and that they achieved exactly zero wins over the Russians, always arriving late and claiming they'd been there when the fighting occurred. The few times they did attempt to fight the Sovs they got their asses handed to them.
Heh. Funny how leftist and Islamist lies dovetail so neatly.

12/02/2007 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

The theory that Islamist victory provides the seed of its demise is challenged by the history of Saudi Arabia itself. They've been suffering from the religious enforcers since the 18th century with no letup. This guy wrote a lot of posts about the stifling atmosphere and the muttaween, at least until he got nervous and gave it up.

12/02/2007 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

What Kevin of course argues for is appeasement. Muslims rage and threaten violence over Teddy Bears, cartoons, piglet, etc.

Kevin suggests -- roll over and surrender. Muslims object to Christmas? Abolish it! Thanksgiving? Same! This is guaranteed to only encourage more demands for the destruction of Western Culture and Kevin of course knows this. Kevin is most decidedly not stupid.

Kevin's goal, and that of other Leftists, IMHO is nothing less than the destruction of the common culture of the West. Because that common culture allows ordinary people to come together as one and accomplish things in their interests.

Which is a threat. Old-time communists at least embraced the theory of the people, and would have no problem advocating eradicating those who threatened them, particularly Dark Ages savages in thrall to a debased and primitive religion. They certainly would argue that eradicating Islam from the face of the Earth as a violent, dangerous, stupid, and evil religion would be a positive good for all mankind.

What we see instead is a deliberate embrace of the worst of stupidity, violence, superstition, and evil. By the Left. Which is not really "Left" but "Nobility."

Kevin's "real argument" goes like this: the rule of the many by the few is to be preferred. Sharia allows the rule of the many by the few. The people somehow magically make the Tyrant more Platonic and we should as a matter of policy encourage tyranny (Castro, Chavez, Sharia) at every course. Because THE MOST EVIL THING is for ordinary people to live in a civil society, free to act on their own conscience. To act like Americans, in other words.

What the Left really wants is to be the court officials in the new Tyrant's kingdom.

12/02/2007 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

“The New York Times describes what it sees as a new Sharia

The notion of a “kinder-gentler” shari’a is a farce. Shari’a is imposed by force and relies utterly upon violence to retain its stranglehold upon a given culture. All forms of it that become diluted through less harsh penalties or lax enforcement are apostasy by any other name. Like shari’a, Islam too is dependent upon forceful subjugation as there is little of actual appeal about it to anyone living in a less restrictive culture. This is borne out by the fact that Islam means, “submission”.

By and large, any attractiveness of Islam for the Left is based on a mutual hatred of white Christian culture and the false onus they burden it with for supposedly causing all this world’s ills. As to any alliance between Islam and the Left, it is but another hudna. Islam will merely tolerate the Left so long as it serves their own jihadist ends and, just as promptly, begin lopping off liberal heads once the Islamists are in power.

Liberals—in their absolute conviction that they know best what socialist reforms this world requires—can only imagine themselves grasping the reins of control once their pet jihadis have sufficiently disrupted the existing democratic free-market power structure. Far be it from them to realize that the barbarians they have opened the city gates to will brook no such meddling with their own intention of ruling our entire world. Yet another classic example of how one must very careful what to wish for.

Just like fighting fire with fire, and as others have noted, jihadist strategies will most likely be required to fight jihad. Only violence in equal or greater measure will ever wholly dismantle Islam. Its own doctrinal core of extremism and violence eventuates this.

It is why I continue to predict a nuclear holocaust in the MME (Muslim Middle East). Few other measures will deliver the Western world from Islam’s determined and incessant predations. Reform within Islam has already occurred as it migrates towards an even more puritanical and aggressive formulation. The thundering silence of this world’s so-called “moderate” Muslims is—not just a searing indictment of their tacit approval for jihad—but solid evidence that there is little hope for any reconstitution of Islam into a peacefully coexistent creed.

12/02/2007 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

There is some similarity in the recruiting pool for both groups like the Children of God (and Jim Jones,) and the Wahhabis. Berg's "converts " were skimmed off the Jesus Movement which was largely a counterculture phenomena where hippies turned to Christ. Many eventually found their way to traditional churches and were grounded in the faith while charlatans like Berg, ungrounded in Biblical faith, started cults.
Wahhabism seems to appeal to Franz Fanon's "Wretched of the Earth", the dispossessed and hopeless young men of third world failed states.
The best hope of killing that rat is when Akmal Sixpack on the Arab Street realizes supporting the savages is not in his best interests and starts fighting on the side of reason.

12/02/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

"And therefore many concluded, from the 1960s to the 1980s, that it was the inevitable wave of the future. All that is, except the men of faith. People like John Paul and Ronald Reagan shamed the intellectuals with their faith. They understood that not only was "the Shadow a passing thing" but that it could not stand up to the light."

Isn't it Robert Gates who credits President George H.W. Bush with having the patience to allow the Soviet Union to die and the courage to allow the societies that followed from from the ashes to form. What was it the President said, "Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far off tyranny with a local despotism.
They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based on ethnic hatred."


Radical Islam is dying, we need to know how to let it go, and support those who will replace it without insult and without forcing upon them something just as bad..., or worse. Perhaps there is a reason Sec. Gates is the man at DoD, while Sec. Rice plods on at State. It is a time for patience and requires a patient hand.

Just a side note, Polygamy is in no way a favored form marriage for Islamic women, especially if they have to spend any time at all with the rest of the harem.

12/02/2007 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jewish Odysseus said...

This article was priceless--are we sure it isn't from The Onion?

In "Men and Marriage," George Gilder wrote masterfully about the imperative in all societies to control or channel the energies of its aggressive young men--more than 20 years ago. He showed how monogamy was required for a fee economy to work, and how polygamy will inevitably lead to violent, impoverished societies.

Zenster, your insights were right on the $$--I only wish I'd written them myself!!

An historical correction: US support for the Wahhabis was instituted by FDR. Carter and Brzezinski expanded our support for them once the USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979. The Stinger missiles WERE a critical factor in forcing the Reds out of there, from 1988 to 1990. Right up until, there was zero political pressure, in the US or anywhere else, to force Saudia to de-toxify what it was funding in its Madrassas. In the almost entirely pre-Net world, this information was in any event obscure. You can fault Reagan for not being uniquely prescient, but so wasn't everyone else.

12/02/2007 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Jewish Odysseus said...

[oops]

"Right up until 9/11, there was zero political pressure, in the US or anywhere else, to force Saudia to de-toxify what it was funding in its Madrassas. In the almost entirely pre-Net world, this information was in any event obscure. You can fault Reagan for not being uniquely prescient, but so wasn't everyone else.
"

12/02/2007 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

The Left will never forgive Reagan for saying "Tear down this wall". It was like saying their emperor had no clothes.

12/03/2007 04:36:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

It was like saying their emperor had no clothes.

Which is what more and more people are now saying about HIllary and her "inevitability".

12/03/2007 06:08:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus said...

All of the writers above: Great posts! Belmont readers/commenters are remarkably thoughtful.

12/03/2007 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Tear Down This Wall.

Every time Charlie Sykes plays that sound-bite (and when I am listening) I get goose bumps.

We have an old Reader's Digest in our "reading room" up north. Every now and then I pull that one and come across an excerpt (can not recall the book it was pulled from nor the author) written by the guy who wrote that line into the speech. He writes often for National Review.

He noted he took a flight over Berlin and noted the stark difference the wall demarcated. He talked with Berliners who were separated from family. He wrote the speech and the line and the usual suspects were all atwitter about the line and wanted it removed. Fortunately, the line stayed in and RR uttered it.

12/03/2007 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

If you want to see what the problem is with the arab traditions, take a gander at this map of the frequency of consanguineous marriage over the world. Consanguineous marriage is cousin marriage within the clan. The only boys who are allowed to marry a girl are their cousins who could have played with them as kids. Nobody else is even allowed to see those girls, as they are covered in front of everyone else.

Consanguineity explains purdah, veiling, the second-class status of women, genital mutilation, and much of the worst characteristics of Arab (and Muslim = Arabic Imperialist) culture.

12/03/2007 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

I'm obliged to speculate that one day there may be discovered some sort of genetic predisposition for both violence and a susceptablilty to indoctrination. Imagine how much would be explained if the above potential genetic factors were reinforced by consanguineous marriage.

Sadly, it's a bit too facile to argue that simple congenital retardation is responsible for so much of Islam's irrational behavior. Still, a quick review of pangloss's intriguing map shows that many other regions where extensive inbreeding persists exhibit a similar propensity for violence and irrationality.

12/03/2007 02:48:00 PM  

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