Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The revolt against al-Qaeda

Lawrence Wright, author of the Looming Tower, a best-selling account of the beginnings of al-Qaeda, may now be chronicling its end. In a 14-page article in the New Yorker, Wright describes the revolt of al-Qaeda's theological pillars against its version of the Jihad.

The most prominent Jihadi intellectual to turn against al-Qaeda is Sayyid Imam al-Sharif (AKA Dr. Fadl), an Egyptian surgeon and Islamic scholar, who among other things mentored Ayman al-Zawahiri and was the spiritual mentor of fighters in Afghanistan in the late 1980s. Dr. Fadl's 'Guide' "begins with the premise that jihad is the natural state of Islam. Muslims must always be in conflict with nonbelievers, Fadl asserts, resorting to peace only in moments of abject weakness." Subsequently Fald went on to author a monumental tome, "The Compendium of the Pursuit of Divine Knowledge", in which Dr. Fadl says:

salvation is available only to the perfect Muslim. Even an exemplary believer can wander off the path to Paradise with a single misstep. Fadl contends that the rulers of Egypt and other Arab countries are apostates of Islam. “The infidel’s rule, his prayers, and the prayers of those who pray behind him are invalid,” Fadl decrees. “His blood is legal.” He declares that Muslims have a duty to wage jihad against such leaders; those who submit to an infidel ruler are themselves infidels, and doomed to damnation.” Anyone who believes otherwise is a heretic and deserves to be slaughtered.

Dr. Fadl was as bloodthirsty as they came and could quote from the Sacred Texts to prove it, a fact which recommended him highly to the fighters in the field and made him an authority within the movement. He was so gruesomely brilliant that he threatened to put Zawahiri in the shade, a condition which Zawahiri plotted to reverse by subtly putting Dr. Fadl down and issuing distorted versions of the master's magnum opus. This set the stage for Lawrence Wright's major narrative: the "revisions" of Dr. Fadl, who now asserts that al-Qaeda's brand of bloodshed has no legitimate place in Muslim theology.

Fadl's eventual about-face had several roots. The first was his resentment of Zawahiri. The second was the outrage over al-Qaeda's many murders of Muslims in in different countries. The third, sad to say, was regret over how it had all turned out. The triumphal march Dr. Fadl had envisioned had gone wrong. After 9/11 Dr. Fadl was arrested in Yemen and extradited to Egypt, and may never be released. While in prison, he wrote a series of "revisions" to the Jihadi doctrine. This is the primary intellectual basis for the "revolt against al-Qaeda".

One senior Egyptian cleric regarded as the model of Islamic moderation by Westerners told Wright that he understood Fadl's change of heart because one had to adapt to the times. "We accept the revisions conditionally, not as the true teachings of Islam but with the understanding that this process is like medicine for a particular time". Dr. Fadl located the roots of his newfound pacifism much more directly:

"People hate America, and the Islamist movements feel their hatred and their impotence. Ramming America has become the shortest road to fame and leadership among the Arabs and Muslims. But what good is it if you destroy one of your enemy’s buildings, and he destroys one of your countries? What good is it if you kill one of his people, and he kills a thousand of yours? . . . That, in short, is my evaluation of 9/11."

In short, Dr. Fadl's critique of Bin Laden's leadership and doctrine is driven by two assessments. The first is that it has resulted in provoking an unmanageable response; the second is that Bin Laden has inflicted too much collateral damage on Muslims. But it did not occur from some newly discovered revulsion to taking innocent human life. Regarding terrorism, Fadl writes:

Fadl acknowledges that “terrorizing the enemy is a legitimate duty”; however, he points out, “legitimate terror” has many constraints. Al Qaeda’s terrorist attacks in America, London, and Madrid were wrong, because they were based on nationality, a form of indiscriminate slaughter forbidden by Islam. In his Al Hayat interview, Fadl labels 9/11 “a catastrophe for Muslims,” because Al Qaeda’s actions “caused the death of tens of thousands of Muslims—Arabs, Afghans, Pakistanis and others.”

He laments the fact that, in a globalized world, it is no longer so easy to distinguish between infidel and Muslim, observing that Western converts may look un-Muslim, and thereby killed by mistake; while contract workers in the Middle East are protected from violence by an implied Islamic treaty and may inconveniently get the way. In short, he has no regrets for the Jihad, only reservations about the way things are going within the framework of an unchanged strategic perspective.

But Zawahiri could not of course take Dr. Fadl's denunciations lying down. Al-Qaeda had been called a name, and moreover, a loser, to its face. He responded by casting aspersions on Dr. Fadl, hinting he was being used by Egyptian intelligence. Zawahiri sarcastically wondered how prisoners in Egyptian jails could so easily spread their messages abroad. He tellingly disparaged Dr. Fadl's own competence, comparing the beaten men in jail with the Jihadis on the outside who were shaking the world. And Zawahiri rejected the notion that 9/11 was a gratuitous attack, claiming that it was merely a reprisal for an earlier American outrage. Readers will be surprised to learn what that outrage was.

He compares 9/11 to the 1998 American bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, in retaliation for Al Qaeda’s destruction of two American embassies in East Africa. (The U.S. mistakenly believed that the plant was producing chemical weapons.) “I see no difference between the two operations, except that the money used to build the factory was Muslim money and the workers who died in the factory’s rubble”—actually, a single night watchman—“were Muslims, while the money that was spent on the buildings that those hijackers destroyed was infidel money and the people who died in the explosion were infidels.” ... "The majority of scholars say that it is permissible to strike at infidels, even if Muslims are among them,” Zawahiri contends. He cites a well-known verse in the Koran to support, among other things, the practice of kidnapping: “When the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolators wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush.”

In the words of Frank Sinatra, Zawahiri said, "regrets I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention." Nor did the "fair" treatment enjoyed by Muslims in other countries deserve any reciprocity. Zawahiri wrote sadly about the inconveniences of living in the West:

To dispute Fadl’s assertion that Muslims living in non-Islamic countries are treated fairly, Zawahiri points out that in some Western countries Muslim girls are forbidden to wear hijab to school. Muslim men are prevented from marrying more than one wife, and from beating their wives, as allowed by some interpretations of Sharia.

It makes for depressing reading. The Jihadi revolt against al-Qaeda is predominantly based on the fact that it is losing the military struggle. It is not, insofar as I can glean from Dr. Fadl's writings, the result of some upsurge of pity, some inclination to mercy or anything like a qualm of conscience. The intellectual foundations of the jihad remain undisturbed; as adamant as ever.

At the psychological root of this mental intransigence lie two things. First the conviction that the West is to blame for the backwardness, poverty and violence of Muslim countries; and second, that the West itself is an abomination to Allah. The former perception has been cemented by centuries of resentment; the second springs from the immutable word of Allah. And while al-Qaeda has been kicked to pieces by the US, Wright observes that these psychological foundations remain. Therefore while al-Qaeda itself may be finished or dying, it may regenerate. The King of the Jihad may be wobbling on his throne. But all around him, the pretenders, eager for the scepter, close in from the shadows on every side. Wright concludes:

According to a recent National Intelligence Estimate, Al Qaeda has been regenerating, and remains the greatest terror threat to America. Bruce Hoffman, a professor of security studies at Georgetown University, says that although Fadl’s denunciation has weakened Al Qaeda’s intellectual standing, “from the worm’s-eye view Al Qaeda fighters have on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, things are going more their way than they have in a long time.” He went on, “The Pakistani government is more accommodating. The number of suicide bombers in both countries is way up, which indicates a steady supply of fighters. Even in Iraq, the flow is slower but continues.”

Still, the core of Al Qaeda is much reduced from what it was before 9/11. An Egyptian intelligence official told me that the current membership totals less than two hundred men; American intelligence estimates range from under three hundred to more than five hundred. Meanwhile, new Al Qaeda-inspired groups, which may be only tangentially connected to the leaders, have spread, and older, more established terrorist organizations are now flying the Al Qaeda banner, outside the control of bin Laden and Zawahiri. Hoffman thinks this is the reason that bin Laden and Zawahiri have been emphasizing Israel and Palestine in their latest statements. “I see the pressure building on Al Qaeda to do something enormous this year,” Hoffman said. “The biggest damage that Dr. Fadl has done to Al Qaeda is to bring into question its relevance.”

Yet if all the "revolt against al-Qaeda" achieves is to renew the quest for a more effect way of waging the Jihad then it is hardly a strategic achievement for the West at all. What is required, and what multiculturalism specifically refuses to do, is engage its foundations. The Western world must win the intellectual equivalent of Israel's basic demand: the right to exist. Somehow and in some way, the zero-sum game set up by Mohammed must be replaced by a non-zero sum version in which all humanity can peacefully share the planet.

Nor is the goal as fanciful as it seems. One of the most striking things about Wright's New Yorker article is the importance of doctrine to the Jihad. It is a discourse dominated by bearded academics in Cairo and Muslim intellectuals in London. American JDAMs may strike anywhere in the world, but here, in the intellectual heart of the Jihad the West is only silence.





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91 Comments:

Blogger David said...

W:
Great Post
RE “It is not, insofar as I can glean from Dr. Fadl's writings, the result of some upsurge of pity, some inclination to mercy or anything like a qualm of conscience. The intellectual foundations of the jihad remain undisturbed; as adamant as ever.”

This is not surprising. No “true faith” has ever let something like a short-term (in the span of time of Islam) defeat cloud the “true goal.” Even many diehard unreformed communists have constructed a narrative that salvages communism from the “errors” of Lenin and Stalin. Many Germans who were once Nazis held similar views well into the 1950s and 1960s except it was Hitler’s “excesses” (“if he had only stopped after France,” “he did rebuild the economy and provide jobs….”).

Rather, it is the faith of the True Believer that is hard to change. As Paul Hollander and many others have written, to give up one’s lie belief, especially one that provided such comfort and surety is among the more difficult things in like.

Eric Hoffer, the longshoreman-philosopher and author of the “True Believer,” wrote about this subject as well. The Eric Hoffer Resource website http://www.erichoffer.net/index.html summarizes “The True Believer: The True Believer, though, is not solely concerned with the rise of Nazi Germany, but with the origination of all mass movements, destructive or creative. And more importantly, it is concerned with the main ingredient of such movements, the frustrated individual. The book probes into the psychology of the frustrated and dissatisfied, those who would eagerly sacrifice themselves for any cause that might give their meaningless lives some sense of significance. The alienated seek to lose themselves in these movements by adopting those fanatical attitudes that are, according to Hoffer, fundamentally "a flight from the self."

And that is what we are seeing in the middle east and in the jihadi communities in Western Europe. One other of points Hoffer makes is that these true believers are often those who were once attracted to that which they reject but have often failed (they’re losers) or been shamed by Western culture. For the losers, the flight to fanaticism is clear; for the tempted the desire to destroy the source of the temptation is even stronger: Think Sayyid Qutb and his reaction to time spent in America in Greely, Colorado when he returned to Egypt. Destroy the source of the temptation. Or, Mohamed Atta, the failed architect, unable to be at home in Germany or Egypt, destroyer of the modern tower of Babel, and the phallic symbol of a successful modernity that reminded him of his own impotence.

So, no brush with the reality of some military defeats is going to easily sway such views of wounded men. It is a race to push the pace of the change in the middle east rather to tip the scales away from such losers. Otherwise, the war option, Michael Sheuer’s mass war, Roman solution will be the only way…

5/28/2008 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Wretchard, this in the Asia times might make a good companion read. Actually, I only read the first part "Ducking and diving under B-52s." I generally the AT as being on the other side (with the exception of Spengler). The reporter talks about "low flying B-52s." I would think the B-52 that gets you would do so from 50,000 feet and twenty miles away.

This article is more about the worms eye view -- from the worms mouth, you might say.

Part two, A Fighter and a Financier

Part Three, In the footsteps of Osama ...

5/28/2008 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

I think the word "regard" should be in my last post somewhere. As in: "I regard the AT as being on the other side."

5/28/2008 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger herb said...

I think that this is the fundamental problem we face. Islam is rooted in deadly force. Mesopotamia was predominately Christian when the Mohammedans came out of the desert and offered everybody the Choice: allah or death. Their writings, preachers, sayings and culture are all deadly and death loving.

Further, their revelation is set and unchanging, complete and perfect.I have no hope they will change.

Ann Coulter is a clown but she may have been close to a truth when she said about Afghanistan that we should kill all the men and convert the women and children to Christianity.

Thinking about living with this for a long time is truly depressing.

How can we negotiate with a culture that doesnt want even to live?

How can we negotiate with a culture that has no desire to gain our trust except to kill us?

Oderint dum Metuant

As long as they fear, they'll stay away. When they lose that fear they'll be back.

5/28/2008 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

herb: Ann Coulter is a clown but she may have been close to a truth when she said about Afghanistan that we should kill all the men and convert the women and children to Christianity.

The above comment is an example of why my friends and I are fascinated by the Belmont Club with the fascination of watching a train wreck in slow motion. The comment section fulfills, literally, the stereotype of the Left that all right-wing blogs are unabashedly fascist. Kill millions of innocent male Afghani civilians because nineteen assholes took a cheap shot on 9-11 and sucker punched us. Nuke millions of Iranian civilians because Khameni's puppet president is a big mouth. Round up millions of US citizens, some the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of immigrants who have long assimilated into the American mainstream, and send them to points unknown, outside our borders, because they subscribe to a world monotheistic faith of which a small percentage are violent. You do realize, I hope, that this blog is a zoo for the amusement of far more rational observers.

5/28/2008 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

teresita:

So, does that mean you are also a fan of a certain den of self-proclaimed lizards?

5/28/2008 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Teresita, you are too intelligent to be allowed to get away with such distortions. When someone ventures that a radical solution may turn out to be one of the few options that will prove to work, that does not equate to WANTING it to be so.

5/28/2008 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Pidgas said...

teresita:
a blog != its comments

Judging blogs by their comment sections is like judging books only by their reviews or singers by their accompaniment. It's pretty clear you're not judging the blog.

5/28/2008 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger herb said...

Teresita:

What, pray, are the options?

Please advise of which of them is consistent with the common understanding of allah's requirements of its followers?

Sometimes its necessary for a combatant to permit the enemy to choose how that enemy may cease to be one. (one way or another)

5/28/2008 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

By the Way, Fred, Thanks for the Link to Asia Times Online.

Their viewpoint, while exasperating, is at least undisguised. You can read the articles and arrive at conclusions and understandings, noting certain biases in the writer's presentation.

5/28/2008 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard, I think Lee Harris's critique of what Lawrence and others hold about the importance of Islamic intellectuals holds.

Harris, in Suicide of Reason, points out that in Islamic nations the intellectuals are aligned directly with the people, in backing superstition, hatred, tradition, and a closed tribal mind.

This is completely the opposite of European/Western intellectuals where the intellectual preaches progress and enlightenment and freedom from tradition against the people.

The solution, long term, *IS* akin to what Coulter suggested. Not a mass slaughter, but education of children.

"Give me the child, and I will give you the man" say the Jesuits, and as Harris points out, Condorcet and men like John Dewey and other progressive secular education theorists.

IF (as a "thought experiment") say Iraq was thoroughly occupied, and all children forcibly removed from the home, taught perhaps in English, in the manner of a secular rationalist in America circa 1920-1950, while violence would be horrific (the parents would naturally object to their culture being obliterated), long term the solution would be total. Iraqi children would no longer grow up to be Muslim. The population would be transformed into secularists who would hold all religion in contempt (save perhaps for New Age Gaia worship or whatever passes for "Green" movements). Perhaps they would be Muslims but they would be "fashionable" Muslims the way fashionable Romans clamor to attend a Christmas Eve Papal Mass.

This solution, the sort of cultural obliteration that took place in Australia or America among aboriginal inhabitants, is obviously not possible. There are not enough American resources to make it effective. But long term, only the education of children to obliterate traditional, tribal culture can succeed in destroying Jihad.

If we don't want an eternal War with Muslims, eventually the West must decide on one of two brutal courses: kill most of the Muslim world in survival mode of nuclear exchanges, NYC's loss being matched by that of Pakistan's entire populace, OR a process of "holding the line" while children are taught not to be Muslims.

The way Condorcet wanted to teach children not to be Catholic in France, or Dewey wanted to teach American kids not to be Christian. A look at both nations confirms this route can certainly be successful in the long run.

Teresita's words are typical of most Liberals. She wishes to avoid reality because it is distressing, and hope that the Cold War can magically reappear and "stabilize" the world. That conflict can be magically avoided because tribal people where polygamy, honor killing, raiding, brutality, and violent ruthlessness are a way of life can somehow magically coexist with America.

Only one of these ideas can exist in the global village: "We hold these truths self-evident, all men are created equal" or "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his Prophet."

The best way to avoid a war of the peoples, mass killings on both sides, is for a Dewey-like project to attack the source of the problem, NOT intellectuals in the Muslim World but their people. To transform Muslim tribal children into alienated, consumerist, cynical, materialists who believe in nothing but posturing for status.

5/28/2008 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

How can we negotiate with a culture that doesnt want even to live?

How can we negotiate with a culture that has no desire to gain our trust except to kill us?


We have lived with Islam for a long time. But survival was purchased at the cost of unceasing vigilance. It has been said that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty", but in truth eternal vigilance is the price of everything. Whether we are talking about criminal gangs, infectious diseases, natural catastrophes or business success, the struggle for survival is an ongoing thing.

Like most people I get up each day and work for a living and don't think there is anything particularly remarkable or onerous about that. We are most of us in an eternal struggle against the wolf at the door. Given that Islam is the way it is, there is nothing odd or unusual about saying to ourselves. Right: I can live with this. As long as I keep the watch up and stay strong.

But a prolonged period of safety, prosperity and liberty in the West has convinced many people that all these things are free. No need to work. Just collect welfare. No need for personal responsibility. Just legislate safety. No need to fight for safety. Just legislate political correctness. The wish becomes the substitute for the effort.

The West is living off its inheritance. It is spending the capital in safety, civic society and intellectual vigor that were bequeathed to it by the previous generations. But that inheritance, while vast, will sooner or later be dissipated unless we get out and work.

Survival against Islam; peace with Islam -- in general the process of sharing the earth with sharks, tigers, anacondas and those who disagree with us -- depends on unending vigilance. An illiterate Mangyan in the hills of Mindoro understands this. The wonder is that the flower of the Western intellectual elite does not.

5/28/2008 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I'm not gonna worry too much as long as the bottom line arithmatic is that we can kill them faster than they can birth, brainwash and train them.

(Alexis' comment about the ranks of lizardoids is interesting that I had always assumed that most Belmont posters are lizard observers, if not actual registered participants. You *do* understand, Alexis, that Wretchard and Johnson are co-founders and editors in the Pajama's group?)

5/28/2008 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Score one for Little Terry, She got noticed and got a rise out of a few people. You go girl.

5/28/2008 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Well I wouldn't call myself a "co-founder" of the Pajamas group. I was there at the beginning -- along with about 200 other people, including the late Cathy Seipp. Interestingly enough, many of the original Pajamas crew were ex-liberals or liberals whose motto was that Americans wanted a "moderate" solution to problems. That is, most people wanted common sense, nonextremist solutions. Live and live where you could.

Of course, different people emphasized different things. Charles Johnson has gone on to explore a certain meme; and so for that matter have I.

But there no point at which people agreed to meet as a cabal to push a certain point of view.

My own preferences have been shaped by my past. Violence in this world is omnipresent; and I do not imagine it can always be fended off with words. But I do not imagine that it is pretty either. One of my jobs, long ago, was briefly to check out ceasefire violations in Mindanao. That in practice meant looking at dead people. Guys killed for nothing. Guys killed for five hundred pesos. Towns burned over a political dispute. I think most people will agree that it ain't pretty.

That and other things have ruined any enthusiasm I might have had for the "kill them all" approach. You might have to kill someone; and if you do it make sure you do it right. But it is not glorious. It is no happy thing.

But I also learned along the way that stopping violence from breaking out often meant good fences; clear demarcations; mutual fear. Ceasefires are held together not by the moral uprightness of their participants. You never saw a more scurvy crew. Rather, peace was kept by clear bright lines. Fudge those lines and you bury people. Then I got to visit what remained.

And this is why I am somewhat disappointed in the cavalier attitude of academic intelligensia. When they blur these lines; when they virtually invite agression, then however much they style themselves as advocates for peace they are really advocates for slaughter.

We can live in relative peace. We have done so before. But eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty; it is the duty of humanity.

5/28/2008 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

Well..... except that's not quite what Coulter said.

5/28/2008 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

Wretchard,

Do the "Western intellectual elite" really not understand this, or is it rather that they do but rail against it? A fair amount of what the Left stands for makes more sense when you realize that many of them are holding a big grudge against God (or, perhaps more accurately, against Nobody) for the fact that the world is the way it is.

5/28/2008 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

I think the Belmont Club needs its hot heads. That way I can be a moderate.

And just think, when President Obama negotiates with President Ahmadinejad he can show him some of Habu's old comments and say "here is another one of my spiritual advisors." Mahmoud will read it and quickly curl up in the corner, sucking his thumb while muttering "We thought we are the ones who wipe entire nations off the map!"

Then he'll go home and give up his nukes, lest Habu become the new national security/spiritual advisor of the competing messiah.

5/28/2008 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

If Habu is a "spiritual advisor", can I be Secretary of State and torture the diplomats AND the Arabs?

5/28/2008 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Brock said...

They're making it easy for the West. The physical effort to destroy the Middle Easy has always been easy, but the cost of conscience high. Now, it may be less. We may decide, upon listening to their deliberations, that the War on Terror is an exercise in futility, and retreat from the Third Conjecture to rephrase the Second as "Destroy Islam BEFORE they attain WMDs".

I'm not sure how we'd do that, but if we beat the Nazis and put a man on the Moon ...

5/28/2008 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"Mesopotamia was predominately Christian when the Mohammedans came out of the desert and offered everybody the Choice: allah or death."

What Islam offered was a local alternative to the corruption, humiliation, and savage brutality that was the Roman Empire. Islam was designed from the ground up for that purpose. Where crafty Roman scribes changed the Christ meme to fit their imperial designs, no such possibility was made available to them in the remote reaches of the Arabian desert.

Islam was not meant as an alternative to Christianity or Judaism. That's a falsification of history. Islam was meant as an alternative to Roman imperialism. And that is why it has succeeded as it has, in the places where it has.

5/28/2008 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

I wanna be Secretary of Agriculture.

If you did a calculation of the greatest good(happiness, security, etc) for the greatest number for some of these muslims societies for a period of say, 1000 years into the future, weighing in the balance the debit weight of wiping them out and repopulating, who knows, you might indeed decide it's best to do just that.

5/28/2008 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Terista: when people are about to say "you do realize...," they are more often than not about to state a lie. And you do not disappoint. The true fascists are you liberals stuck in a world view characterized by irrationality and a sincere belief in a narrow point of view. Far from rationalism, you display liberal's irrational delusions in your downplaying of those who seek to kill us. I have no problem being a source of amusement to you and your friends; but please keep your delusions to the Daily Kos.

5/28/2008 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

What Islam offered was a local alternative to the corruption, humiliation, and savage brutality that was the Roman Empire.

Islam also provided a way of rising above mere parochial tribalism. One of the reasons for Islam's survival is that has proved useful; not only in providing people with meaning, but in supplying a framework for survival. What it has not done, perhaps because it wasn't designed to do perform this function, is foster the kind of attitude that generates ideas. Islam is a perfect for war. It's lousy at peace.

And this is why it is important to engage Islam, not simply with kinetic weapons. It is inured to suffering. It glories in mayhem. Hurting Islam is like beating a masochist.

What it may not be able to withstand is the non-conqueror. The power that empowers Muslims to prosper for themselves; to think for themselves; to elect their own leaders. I'll admit that in the beginning they are likely to elect all the wrong people. But if the process goes on long enough the power of people like Osama, Zawahiri or Fadl must decline. These people are addicted to death.

But if all else fails, we should find a way to simply separate ourselves from cultures which like to literally hack at their own heads. We should wean ourselves off oil. Build nuclear power plants. Move to Mars. If Muslims want radical Islam they can have it. But if we need a place to live in peace then we must simply create it.

5/28/2008 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Grey Fox said...

Ann Coulter said "invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert the people to Christianity."

There is a huge difference between "Kill their leaders" and "kill all the men."

5/28/2008 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"What it may not be able to withstand is the non-conqueror."

That's not something that we're in a position to offer. Not if we're honest with ourselves. You just need to look at the sad state of affairs in "our" but uncountable to us MSM, "our" but unaccountable to us federal government(s), "our" but unaccountable to us courts of law, and you can appreciate the smoke and mirror game that being played. That's, if you're honest with yourself.

5/28/2008 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

I am not so pessimistic as some of the others. Dr. Fadl, like many of his compatriots found himself between a rock and a hard place. He has to climb down, and only he can find the way to do that without hurting himself.

We cannot solve the problems of the Muslim world. They have to do it.

The first problem is being able to live in peace in a shrinking world. Dr. Fadl may have found a way. If so, that is good. If not, then catastrophe still looms.

Our contribution must be our steadfast commitment to finish what we have begun. Only the "left" stands in the way. If we can reject them in November, there is some hope.

5/28/2008 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger RDS said...

Well..... except that's not quite what Coulter said.

Indeed. It wasn't "kill them all", but rather "we should invade their countries, kill their LEADERS, and convert them to Christianity."

At some point we may have to find out if that actually works.

In any event, the other fact to keep in mind is that every day, it is alway more people rather than fewer that decide one way or another, by separation, re-education, or extermination, Islam's philosophy is the problem which has to go.

Like a one-way hashing function.

Whether this is "right" or "fair" is immaterial, as Islam's actions and history will keep reinforcing that idea until eventually a tipping point will be reached.

The only element of uncertainty is how many innocents will have to suffer or die in the meantime.

5/28/2008 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

I have a hard time reconciling the assertion that "Islam was built from the ground up as an alternative to the corruption of the Roman Empire."

All the sources I've read seem to describe the Arabian Peninsula as exclusively tribal Arab culture, bounded and isolated from out of the mists of time by the Persian Gulf to the north, the Indian Ocean on the East, and the Red Sea to the South. Syria and the Levant had been administered into the 7th Century by the Byzantine Empire, but I haven't seen any thing indicating that the influence of "Roman Culture" extended into the areas where Mohammed was hangin' wit his homies of the Quraysh tribe by the date palms and fig trees.

5/28/2008 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

The views of people like "Teresita" actually are the dominant ones with respect to how to regard the recrudescence of Islamic jihad. It's too much work for them to read the Islamic scriptures (Qur'an and ahadith that are translated into English)and the Sira. Most won't read these things because religious texts bore them - besides, their enlightened secularity and physicalist reductionism entitle them to believe that they do not have a lot to learn anymore. The religious motives of our enemies utterly bore them to death. So, in order to explain why these people want to kill us or convert us they resort to templates that amount to projecting on to the Muslims motivations that are OUR motivations. Hence, the disconnect from the violent realities that are fourteen centuries of jihad conquest.

Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins. We have more than enough of it to go around in our culture. And my particular sin, in view of the topic, is a profound sense of discouragement at the thought of what is going to have to happen for this civilizational war of fourteen centuries to be resolved. It's the price one has to pay for not imitating the ostrich.

5/28/2008 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Mətušélaḥ said... "That's not something that we're in a position to offer. Not if we're honest with ourselves. "

You're right. That's not something we should be so arrogant as to offer. It maybe beyond our power anyway.

In the end, the only thing we have leave to govern is ourselves. And maybe that's enough. Although it's nice to thing about "bringing democracy to the Middle East" maybe all that can be accomplished is to restore our own confidence and will to self-preservatoin.

5/28/2008 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Fiddler,

Arabia was part of the Aramaic world. The Arabic alphabet is Nabataean Aramaic script. The old Aramaic world included Israel Syria Turkey Iran Iraq Egypt Carthage and the coast of North Africa, and of course, the Arabian desert(s).

5/28/2008 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"bringing democracy to the Middle East"


W,

That's not what this trillion dollar swindle of the American tax payer, some try to pass off as a war, is about.

5/28/2008 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

I don't think it was even two generations before corruption set in and great gulfs began to appear between the muslims ruled and the muslim rulers, thereby joining a steady theme in the history of our species.

5/28/2008 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

One thing I like about the Belmont Club is a relatively high level of maturity among many of its commenters, which is a reflection upon the maturity of Richard Fernandez himself. My comment toward Teresita was subtly mocking, although my humor is apparently so subtle that certain people fail to comprehend it. Despite a few unrepentant lizards that do post at the Belmont Club, lizards clearly don’t represent the majority of the fauna. Lizardland may continue to operate, but it is on the angry fringe. Likewise, although Shepard Fairey is a high profile supporter of Senator Obama’s presidential campaign, the anti-American hatred of Shepard Fairey’s artwork is of a variety that would alienate most sane and normal American voters.

If Pajamas Media seeks to become anything other than a provider for a niche market, it would be wise to emulate the Belmont Club’s maturity and avoid right-wing versions of Shepard Fairey’s diatribes.

5/28/2008 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

...Different types of terror networks -

Iran Gave Hamas Telecommunications Network Similar to that of Hizbullah
- 5/27/08

Hezbollah's Communication Network Confirms Its Terror Goals
- 5/21/08

and emerging capabilities-

these disciplines can generally be defined as efforts to defeat or neutralise hostile military units through the use of the electronic transmissions to distort, degrade or capture the adversary's battlefield knowledge infrastructure
- 3/10/08

Whether the network is wireless or wired doesn't matter anymore, says one expert.
-3/11/08

5/28/2008 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger some said...

Depressing? Even the die-hards have figured out who the strong horse is. It's a step.

5/28/2008 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger j- said...

*Teresita's words are typical of most Liberals. She wishes to avoid reality because it is distressing, and hope that the Cold War can magically reappear and "stabilize" the world.*

The problem with liberals is that not that they want the "Cold War" to return--it is that they think THEIR strategy won the Cold War and that if thusly applied to the Muslim world, it will win the war against them too, namely, do nothing but throw tantrums whenever anyone offers a solution and hope that it all peters out after a century or so, not realizing that it has been ongoing for nearly a 1000 years already.

5/28/2008 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

alexis,

The key to your first post is an understanding of what is meant by "lizards." I admit to being dumb on that count. I can appreciate subtle humor, if I understand the code.

About those of us who gravely evaluate the threat from Islam towards the kafir world... the solutions favored tend to depend upon the level of patience of the person embracing the solution. Lee Harris, a very penetrating mind in these matters, suggests that a ruthless enemy will have to be reckoned with by matching the ruthlessness. Maybe. It all depends upon the context and circumstances and the stage of the conflict.

For me, the value that one must put above all others is the preservation of human life. War is waged to that end, and that is why we Catholics have the "Just War" Doctrine to help guide our thinking and strategizing. You do what is necessary, militarily and in other ways, to deter and defeat the enemy's plans. And it is within te realm of possibility that extreme measures could be required. We pray that things will never come to this, BUT THINGS COULD COME TO THIS IF WE KICK THIS CAN DOWN THE ROAD TOO MANY TIMES. Islam has a long history of aggressive and brutal incursions into the non-Muslim world. Appeasement and weakness only feed this monster's appetite.

We can only come out victorious in this struggle if we overcome the things that Wretchard has made reference to many times: a certain torpor of mind and spirit that feeds into this dynamic. The nearer enemy, for now, is not the Islamic one. The greater enemy is this nearer enemy within our societies. We have to come to grips with ourselves first in order to feel and appreciate the danger outside of the walls.

It's actually not difficult for me to do this. When you are 53 years old you begin to contemplate your own mortality with a focus that just was not there twenty or thirty years ago. You suddenly realize that there are things that are far more important than one's own existence. You think of your children and their progeny. One thinks about what kind of world they will have. What are the things that I can do in order to help make this world better? I have to answer to my Maker some day and give an accounting for my humble stewardship of what was within my control.

The world that Allah demands is a nightmare. This I cannot abide. Besides which, I consider Allah to be not at all like the Father of Jesus or Yahweh, the Lord God Creator. Allah is, to me, more akin to The Beast of The Apocalypse. So, I have a moral duty to resist this Death Cult's incursion into our world. Conservatively estimated, fourteen centuries of Islamic jihad have resulted in the murder of at least 270 million human beings. And counting.

This we cannot abide. And I cannot in good conscience abide the intellectual sloth and fecklessness that gives this Death Machine breathing room within our societies.

5/28/2008 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard said:
--------------------------------
And this is why it is important to engage Islam, not simply with kinetic weapons. It is inured to suffering. It glories in mayhem. Hurting Islam is like beating a masochist.

What it may not be able to withstand is the non-conqueror. The power that empowers Muslims to prosper for themselves; to think for themselves; to elect their own leaders. I'll admit that in the beginning they are likely to elect all the wrong people. But if the process goes on long enough the power of people like Osama, Zawahiri or Fadl must decline. These people are addicted to death.

But if all else fails, we should find a way to simply separate ourselves from cultures which like to literally hack at their own heads. We should wean ourselves off oil. Build nuclear power plants. Move to Mars. If Muslims want radical Islam they can have it. But if we need a place to live in peace then we must simply create it.
---------------------------

Wretchard, if you engage with Islam, you threaten it's ability to keep super-tribal societies alive. You threaten the fundamental aspect of Islamic society. You create war by the very fact of "engaging."

Nor are you IMHO likely to be correct in promoting democracy or the "non-conqueror." Muslims are perfectly capable, and guaranteed in fact to do so, of choosing to remain Muslim. Rather than Westerners. All this course of action is likely to do is enrage Muslims by threatening cultural cohesion by promoting, in fact, thinking for oneself. Individuality. Private Conscience rather than tribal and religious custom.

A more deliberate attempt to create endless war between Muslims and Westerners could not be imagined.

The problem is not Zawahari, or Osama, or Saddam, or Assad. They are merely the symptoms of a people who hate HATE HATE! the idea of cultural death and would rather be poor and violent than rich and non-Muslim. Particularly when they feel they can conquer the decadent, weak, pathetic West without any real "will" to defend itself. The Japanese made much of the loss of the West's "fighting spirit" in the 1930's.

I don't think cultural separation is possible. Too much trade, too much internet, too much satellite TV to turn back to the 1800's. And even the, Barbary Pirates kidnapping US seamen meant war with far-off Muslim peoples.

So, if we are going to be in conflict with Muslims anyway, just by virtue of global trade, why not take steps to ameliorate the problem long term? Promote cultural dissolution of Muslim values, when the next generation of young men are no longer Muslim, far fewer problems.

The history of Muslim reformers wanting western values to make their people more rich and powerful is depressing reading. At every turn the people rejected what would make them richer in favor of Islam.

5/28/2008 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

One of the most striking things about Wright's New Yorker article is the importance of doctrine to the Jihad. It is a discourse dominated by bearded academics in Cairo and Muslim intellectuals in London.

One of the more bizarre things about this article is that the same man in one book argues that Islam is war and in a later book argues that Islam is peace. The main factors affecting his change of heart seeming to be spending some time in an Egyptian prison and watching all his fellow jihadis bite the dust. Saying that the jihadis respect discourse doesn't help much when it really appears that the discourse is mostly self-serving.

It's all reminiscent of the ghost dancers, which is good I suppose, since they marked the end of the Sioux jihad.

A weakness in the article is that it doesn't mention tribalism. Since 9/11 there have been numerous claims from muslims that the actions of AQ were not islamic. In fact it's probably true.

In tribal societies the main rule is there are no rules. Like the man said: "If they send one of yours to the hospital you send one of theirs to the morgue. If they come at you with a knife you come at them with a gun." AQ is based on these kinds of policies. Their islamic gobblydeegook is just a post hoc justification of revenge, kill the other and take their stuff, and use violence and terror to get what you want. Honor-shame in all its primitive glory.

The fact that they respect some jailed terrorist when he says that violence is bad means that they'll respect some other free terrorist who says that violence is good. Of course most of the terrorists in Egypt were in jail so when they agreed that violence was bad and they walked out of prison one can see that they had an ulterior motive. However, the article says that the terrorist organization in Egypt has basically closed up shop so I guess it was a real conversion.

I guess if we get all the AQ terrorists in jail they'll probably convert too.

5/28/2008 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Fred:

People at a certain blog called “Little Green Footballs” call themselves lizards. I have several strong disagreements with Mr. Johnson and the crowd he attracts.

Yet, there is another meaning to my use of the word “lizard”. It refers to primal emotions – reptilian emotions. The kind of primal emotions that led our enemies to give away sweet pastries to celebrate the September 11 attacks and entice future generations of murderers with the possibility of admiration and fame. It also refers to an infantile “inner reptile” that Sigmund Freud called the “id”. Muslim theologians sometimes take the view that all infants start out as Muslim. If that is the case, the rest of us grow up. So, I am also poking fun at how self-described “lizards” proclaim themselves to be infantile and reptilian, just as Muslim theologians sometimes do.

We must oppose the animating spirit behind Islamic restorationism, of which al-Qaeda and velayat-e-faqih are rival factions. My ambivalence about Islam comes not out of any lack of understanding of its history of horror, but out of my understanding that many devout Muslims are truly monotheist and interpret their religion in a manner at odds with the obvious meaning of their scripture. So, while I regard any pretension of Mohammed to be the “seal of the prophets” to be utter nonsense, I refuse to see Islam as entirely evil. The problem, as I see it, is that Islam pretends to be perfect when it is clearly not.

I often wonder if it is the human desire for its own perfection that causes the greatest evil. For example, I will concede that the leadership of the Khmer Rouge may very well have been well meaning. Hitler, in his desire to murder Jews, almost certainly meant well. Stalin, in his starvation of millions of Ukrainian farmers, probably thought he was doing Russia a favor through his collectivization of agriculture. I doubt they woke up one day and decided to become evil; instead, they sought to create a paradise on Earth. They lacked humility. Without humility, any appearance of paradise goes horribly wrong. The Khmer Rouge were different from many other Communists, for they didn’t worship the personality cult. They worshipped the Party, the Machine, the Cause. This was sheer devotion to a plan. The killing fields of Cambodia happen when one’s worship of apparent human perfection overrides one’s basic humanity.

The Khmer Rouge thought it could outlaw money. Yet, ending the apparent existence of money does not put an end to the love of money, any more than veiling a woman will make a man any less lustful. Money can come in many forms. It can be gold. It can be silver. It can be esteem. It can be fame. It can be the souls of others. It can even be the perception of one’s own holiness.

We must oppose the reptilian horrors that have historically emanated from Islam. It is my hope that future generations will not need to fight against the likes of al-Qaeda; any student of Saudi history knows how the Ikhwan of the 1920’s and the Wahhabis who sacked Karbala a century earlier were the al-Qaeda of earlier generations – just as ruthless, just as horrible, and just as evil. To think that civilized humanity must fight this evil every generation, or even every other generation, is saddening, for one would hope that civilization would not need to fight the exact same battle in perpetuity.

To me, the worst horror of the Islamic restorationist menace is that we must fight over the same questions that civilized people had thought were settled over two thousand years ago. Civilized people ought to agree that child sacrifice is just plain wrong. And yet, Islamic restorationists make a fetish out of it as if they were Baal worshippers from ancient times.

Let there be no doubt about the necessity for vigilance. Let there be no doubt about the necessity for doing that which is necessary to achieve victory over those who would plunge humanity into a new age of ignorance and despair. Al-Qaeda and its fellow travelers must be defeated. And yet, much of what is wrong with Middle Eastern society now was also wrong with the Middle East before the birth of Mohammed. It was not Muslims who murdered Hypatia. And even if Mohammed were a worshipper of Satan, it would make Islam less of a cause of evil than a carrier of it. “Honor killings”, arranged marriages, and the cultural impetus for suicide bombings existed under banners other than Islamic green. They could exist under other banners in the future as well.

And what about the Whore of Babylon? Remember fanatical devotion to not only a cause, but The Cause? If a cause were more worthwhile than morality, then temple prostitution would be a worthwhile contribution to that cause. Think about it. In antiquity, a young woman could be told to sacrifice her virginity to her deity. Imagine a self-righteous prostitute who is fully convinced of the righteousness of her sacrifice. Given such a sacrifice, imagine how difficult it would be for such a woman to be humble.

In Christianity, one’s body is one’s temple. That is a profound concept because this also means that one’s soul exists within one’s body and not inside of a stone temple. Imagine a religion where each person thought the true repository of his soul was not his own body at all but instead a stone temple dedicated to his deity. To such a person, an attack upon his body means nothing but an insult against his idol means everything. Imagine if a deity were not the mysterious deity of Judaism and Christianity, but is instead a role model against which one molds one’s personality. In such a polytheistic universe, monotheism isn’t perceived the way Jews and Christians perceive it, but as wishful thinking where one the template for one personality seeks to destroy all other personality templates in existence. Thus, a supposedly monotheistic janjaweed could tell his rape victim, “I have killed your god”.

I think it is precisely this variety of idolatrous paganism masquerading as monotheism that is the true religion of al-Qaeda, one that seeks to destroy all religion because it isn’t “true religion”, one that seeks to destroy every personality that doesn’t conform to the hive mentality of “The Cause”.

Let’s celebrate the mammalian aspect of ourselves. Let’s celebrate that which is human. The inner reptile exists, and there is good reason to stay in touch with one’s primal emotions. And yet we must not let our inner reptile define us. Let’s feel. Let’s comfort others when they are in trouble. Many criminals died on the cross. Many criminals died in horrible pain and agony – alone. But it was Jesus Christ who used his suffering to tell humanity that no more child sacrifice was ever necessary, that there’s something better in life than idolatry.

We should do the best we can to create a better world, and part of that struggle is to make sure we don’t take our cause more seriously than life itself.

5/28/2008 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

The problem, as I see it, is that Islam pretends to be perfect when it is clearly not.

I often wonder if it is the human desire for its own perfection that causes the greatest evil. For example, I will concede that the leadership of the Khmer Rouge may very well have been well meaning. Hitler, in his desire to murder Jews, almost certainly meant well. Stalin, in his starvation of millions of Ukrainian farmers, probably thought he was doing Russia a favor through his collectivization of agriculture. I doubt they woke up one day and decided to become evil; instead, they sought to create a paradise on Earth.


True and true. See my previous for C.S. Lewis' observation that evil reveals itself by standing above man, over man, and instead of man. In his book Perelandra, he sketches out the character of Edward Rolles Weston, a brilliant physicist, who is also possessed by evil.

Weston’s sudden appearance on Perelandra is a great surprise to Ransom, who is, once again, the accidental hero of the piece. However, Weston has undergone some changes since his last appearance. Perhaps the most notable, and certainly the most important, change is that he no longer wants to spread ‘the human race’, but to spread ‘spirituality’. ...

And then there is this observation about what Hell means.

Ransom attacks his opponent bare-handedly, using only physical force. The Tempter, unable to withstand this despite his superior abilities of rhetoric, flees, whereupon Ransom chases him over the ocean, both riding the backs of giant fish. During a fleeting truce, the 'real' Weston momentarily re-inhabits his body, and the conversation between himself and Ransom displays Lewis' horrific vision of what Hell is: the damned soul is not consigned to the pain of flames, but is absorbed and "digested" by the Devil, eventually losing its personality completely.

I don't want to get too into abstraction and theology, but the point is that God the Son is an essential anchor to reaching heaven. It is man in his imperfection, in his unloveliness and in his fallen state that is the vehicle of salvation.

Back in the 1960s, the musical Hair said it all in "Easy to be Hard".

How can people have no feelings
How can they ignore their friends
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no

And especially people
Who care about strangers
Who care about evil
And social injustice
Do you only
Care about the bleeding crowd?
How about a needing friend?
I need a friend


Our road to heaven is not attended by Hollywood winged angels, nor showy trumpets or glorious scenes. It is getting up each day and making you child's breakfast; or taking care of a disabled son, daughter or wife. It is growing some flowers or inventing a better can opener. All the little things are the great things.

Ayman al Zawahiri and Dr. Fadl want to shake the heavens and walk among the angels. Proud supermen who stand beside the Prophet. Nah. They're just a target for a JDAM. And what a JDAM does, operated by remote control by a guy who may have a slice of pizza at his elbow, is isn't so much to kill their bodies but kill their pride.

Being a man is not such a low thing.

5/29/2008 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

Imagine if a deity were not the mysterious deity of Judaism and Christianity, but is instead a role model against which one molds one’s personality.

Well...Jesus.

It's tough being in a relationship with a mysterious deity, cause you never know what ol' mystery will throw at you next. Better he a human face display, in the sunny light of day. A human role model is what we need, just make it a sensible one. A boon bringer of some type, back from the depths, who knows the other as oneself, and is willing to return to the tribe and try to share the good news.

In Christianity, one’s body is one’s temple. That is a profound concept because this also means that one’s soul exists within one’s body

Whoever said we were in the body anyway?

"We are hyperdimensional beings of some sort, and we cast a shadow into materiality, and that shadow is our body" T. McKenna

Wretch is right about the cross we carry today is mostly the cross of everyday life.

5/29/2008 12:57:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

Giants mired in time. Which is the swiftest of all things, and the most merciful.

5/29/2008 01:03:00 AM  
Blogger VinceP1974 said...

Imagine if a deity were not the mysterious deity of Judaism and Christianity, but is instead a role model against which one molds one’s personality

I'm not sure what the hell that means.. but it made me think of this..

I believe Allah is really Satan, and I think this Bible verse hints very strongly at this link:

[Chapter concerns the future destruction of Babylon]
Isaiah 14:12 Look how you have fallen from the sky, O shining one, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the ground,O conqueror of the nations!

The Hebrew for "O shining one, son of the dawn" is Hilel Ben Shackar. Hilel in Arabic is "Crescent".. Crescent and Star.

In Latin and thus KJV, it's Lucifer.

[Note to nitpickers.. I didnt' want to write a thesis on this so I deliberately did not type a long explanation]

5/29/2008 02:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Highly Recommended:

Wolf Howling The Decline Of The Al Qaeda Brand

5/29/2008 04:11:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

When we review the biggest genocides of our age perpetrated by the Nazis, the Stalinists, the Maoists, the Khmer Rouge, the Rwandan Hutus and so on, where is the Muslim-perpetrated mayhem?

Undoubtedly it exists, but on a much smaller scale. The Nazis, if we consider both size and scope, are the reining champs of genocide, and they emerged from a society that was almost purely Christian in it's self-concept. Stalin, the runner-up, also did business in among a people that had for a very long time considered themselves Christian.

Some would argue Mao as the champ or runner-up, but no one would suggest he or anyone near him or his country were Muslim.

Does that not strike the anti-Muslim fetishists here as odd? How is that this ostensibly hyper-hostile, irreconcilable force has passed through our entire age without being involved in any of its major killing sprees?

So if all, not some, ALL, of the major genocides of our age were committed by religions and ideologies other than Islam, does it make any sense at all to assert that Islam has, out of nowhere, become destined to rule the West by cowing its liberals and killing its conservatives?

Al Qaeda, supposedly the biggest and baddest of the entire sorry movement, is down to 500 fighters, not far, I'm guessing from their peak strength in the very low four figures. And the elite fake Islamic protagonists the New Yorker piece and Wretchard discuss are spitting pseudo-intellectual loogies at each other from a jail cell in Cairo and some dim basement in a safehouse in Baluchistan or Iraq or somewhere you can bet doesn't even have cold beer.

The difference between the default conservative estimations of the Islamic extremist threat and mine can be explained as equations.

Conservatives insist on the following equation: U.S. (Powerful country) + 3,000 killed on 9/11 = powerful enemy.

I see the equation as: U.S. (Powerful country) + 3,000 killed = vulnerability to very weak enemies.

Thus the absurd lesson many conservatives attempt to draw from 9/11 is that the attack proves that Islam has grown to a level of military or economic or social or spiritual power that would now allow it to challenge the world's greatest military, economic and political power.

The lesson I drew from the attacks is that the West's persistent economic, technological and social advancement had opened up windows of vulnerability to even the weakest, such as Al Qaeda.

Most importantly, those windows are not a function of American or Western cultural, economic or military weakness, but are a far simpler, more inevitable consequence of technological advance.

Nothing we can do on the military front, no matter how "vigilent'' will do anything to close those windows of vulnerability.

We're into our 7th year without another attack on U.S. soil because we've implemented monumentally stricter airline, border and day-to-day security measures, not because Saddam Hussein is pushing up daisies.

Remember, the 9/11 attacks required SCORES of fighters willing to commit certain suicide. Prior to the invasion of Iraq, there were no suicide bombers in the country. Now they are an almost daily occurence.

Wretchard almost gets it right when he says: ``Hurting Islam is like beating a masochist.''

As much as the phrase captures the futility of fighting fire with gasoline, it makes the classic error of failing to distinguish between the 100s of millions of peaceful Muslims who have no intention of killing anyone and the few thousand fake religious gangsters who are using their tradition and sacred texts to gather power and prestige for themselves without having to earn it constructively.

``Vigilence'' is a superb word to describe what is required to combat the threat of Islamic extremism.

Vigilence for free speech. Vigilence for checks on government power, e.g. banning torture. Vigilence for religious freedom and, most important, vigilence for separation of church and state.

5/29/2008 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

Mətušélaḥ:
Islam was not meant as an alternative to Christianity or Judaism. That's a falsification of history. Islam was meant as an alternative to Roman imperialism. And that is why it has succeeded as it has, in the places where it has.

Very interesting idea. I have no way of presently knowing how accurate this is but it is an interesting idea.

Alexis:
So, while I regard any pretension of Mohammed to be the “seal of the prophets” to be utter nonsense, I refuse to see Islam as entirely evil. The problem, as I see it, is that Islam pretends to be perfect when it is clearly not.

I often wonder if it is the human desire for its own perfection that causes the greatest evil.


Exactly! Beautiful contribution, Alexis.

5/29/2008 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

mcdaddyo, asking that very same question century by century since the advent of Islam might do you a wee bit of good -- don't you think?

A certain consistency might reveal itself to you.

5/29/2008 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger joe buz said...

Some outstanding comments above. You guys rock!
I agree that good healthy boundaries are important whether one is parenting or maintaining a civilization. Our fore fathers put up a fence and called it "Liberty". Many came over to our side of the fence willing to live within the boundary and adhere to the concept. Now a few wolves are sniffing around outside of the fence, they want access to our side but they also want to impose new rules that dont quite mesh with our fence Liberty. Somehow they have little puppies already running around on our side of the fence and some confused folks are feeding and petting them talking about "you do realize" that if we treat them nicely they will grow to be nice wolves.

5/29/2008 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Derek Kite said...

The western intelligentsia has grown up under a nuclear umbrella. That umbrella brought peace, a peace unprecedented in scope and length. It has lasted so long that many people think that peace is the natural state of humanity.

Derek

5/29/2008 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger VinceP1974 said...

Islam is responsible for the slaughter of about 270 Million.

======

FP: Can you touch briefly on the history of political Islam?


Warner: The history of political Islam starts with Mohammed’s immigration to Medina. From that point on, Islam’s appeal to the world has always had the dualistic option of joining a glorious religion or being the subject of political pressure and violence. After the immigration to Medina, Islam became violent when persuasion failed. Jihad entered the world.



After Mohammed’s death, Abu Bakr, the second caliph, settled the theological arguments of those who wished to leave Islam with the political action of death by the sword. The jihad of Umar (the second caliph, a pope-king) exploded into the world of the unbelievers. Jihad destroyed a Christian Middle East and a Christian North Africa. Soon it was the fate of the Persian Zoroastrian and the Hindu to be the victims of jihad. The history of political Islam is the destruction of Christianity in the Middle East, Egypt, Turkey and North Africa. Half of Christianity was lost. Before Islam, North Africa was the southern part of Europe (part of the Roman Empire). Around 60 million Christians were slaughtered during the jihadic conquest.



Half of the glorious Hindu civilization was annihilated and 80 million Hindus killed.



The first Western Buddhists were the Greeks descended from Alexander the Great’s army in what is now Afghanistan. Jihad destroyed all of Buddhism along the silk route. About 10 million Buddhists died. The conquest of Buddhism is the practical result of pacifism.



Zoarasterianism was eliminated from Persia.



The Jews became permanent dhimmis throughout Islam.



In Africa over 120 million Christians and animists have died over the last 1400 years of jihad.



Approximately 270 million nonbelievers died over the last 1400 years for the glory of political Islam. These are the Tears of Jihad which are not taught in any school.

=======

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=%7B6AA49466-2575-491F-B712-CEA90FCCCD0D%7D

5/29/2008 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger VinceP1974 said...

That was in response to :

McDaddyo said...
When we review the biggest genocides of our age perpetrated by the Nazis, the Stalinists, the Maoists, the Khmer Rouge, the Rwandan Hutus and so on, where is the Muslim-perpetrated mayhem?

5/29/2008 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"When we review the biggest genocides of our age perpetrated by the Nazis, the Stalinists, the Maoists, the Khmer Rouge, the Rwandan Hutus and so on, where is the Muslim-perpetrated mayhem?"

Islamers killed more people than the Stalinists Nazis Maoists and Khmer Rouge combined. And it probably leads Catholicism on an absolute number basis and percentage of population basis as the number one killer of human kind.

The Nazi Holocaust and European murder of Jews is well known. Only 10 percent of European Jewry survived the European death camps. And yet, somehow, this 10 percent of European survivors out numbers its Middle East counterpart?

5/29/2008 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Looks like Vince beat me to it. :)

5/29/2008 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

McDaddy,

I'll pass over the fact that calling us "fetishists" is designed to stop the dialog, not further it, and just say: if you want to fight the last war, go ahead--but it's not going to do you a damn bit of good, so don't be surprised of few decide to join you.

Oh, and when you say "100s of millions of peaceful Muslims"? That still adds up to a minority.

5/29/2008 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

It comes back to the Golden Rule. Judaism and Christianity have the Golden Rule as the basis of their morality. Islam has a tribal us-vs them, winner take all, absolute superiority morality at its root.

Obviously Christianity, and even Judaism if you want to cite Joshua, have points in their history where killing the other and taking their stuff was practiced. But this doesn't refute the fact that treating others as you would be treated yourself is the basis of Judeo-Christian morality. Killing the other and taking their stuff, honor-shame, Big Man in charge are the Sine Qua Non of Muslim societies around the world.

5/29/2008 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Kim Lokken said...

A lesser light said, It comes back to the Golden Rule. Judaism and Christianity have the Golden Rule as the basis of their morality. Islam has a tribal us-vs them, winner take all, absolute superiority morality at its root.

On the contrary, it is written in number 13 of Imam Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths, "No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself."

Objection 1: Big Man in charge are the Sine Qua Non of Muslim societies around the world.

The definition of Islam is submission to God, not exaltation of man.

5/29/2008 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

Kim Lokken,

Ok for your brother; now tell us about the kaffir.

And while it's true that "the definition of Islam is submission to God, not exaltation of man", pointing that out does nothing to explain the actual presence of The Big Man in virtually all Muslim societies. And do note that Utopia Parkway made no claim, one way or the other, as to whether or not the Koran mandated this particular political arrangement, but merely stated its near-universality.

5/29/2008 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

KL, We're all lesser lights.

"No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself."

When Zawari talks about 'the brothers' I don't think he's talking about me.

What Islam offers to the non-believers is conversion or death. Not exactly the Golden Rule.

The definition of Islam is submission to God, not exaltation of man.

So does that mean that Saddam Hussein and all the other Arab Big Man dictators weren't Islamic?

What Islam is and what tribalism is are intertwined. Saying that Muslim societies don't submit to their sheiks and other big men is contrary to observed facts.

One other thing: Muslims have a very strong belief that God favors some over others. They believe that this favor is clearly evident in domination over others. The Big Men dictators are accepted because they must be favored by God. If a person or a group is not winning then it's clear that God is against them. It's a winner-take-all mentality and is another part of the reason that Fadl has changed his mind. If you're losing then God is against you.

5/29/2008 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger joe buz said...

Kim, pet the wolf puppy now but be prepared for a potential little red riding burqa scenario later.

5/29/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

I hope all these far more rational observers that seem to be stopping by the zoo lately are hitting the tip jar.

Zoos cost money to run after all, and we don't want the BC to end up like the Cairo zoo now do we?

5/29/2008 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

the perpetrators left behind only the hide and hooves.

That was their mistake, right there, jrod, always eat the whole camel.

5/29/2008 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Jrod,

Good point. In fact, I would urge Richard to enact a tiered membership fee for posting privileges at BC. Say, a $100/year membership buys you posting privileges limited to 3 comments per thread. A $500/year membership buys you posting privileges limited to 5 comments per thread. Buy a $50/year membership, and your limit is 1 comment per thread. Etc.

5/29/2008 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

You're just trying to increase traffic at the Elephant Bar with that, Mat.

5/29/2008 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Bob, given the number staff at EB, my intention is for EB to charge double these rates. :D

5/29/2008 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

..number ^of staff..

5/29/2008 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Methuselah - whereupon the little Kos Kids run right down to their local Soros-11 outlet and get funds enough to sign on and overwhelm BC, thereby drowning out thee and me, and any one who actually thinks that Islam may not - totally - be a Religion of Peace.

5/29/2008 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

NahnCee,

Staff members are required to pay minimal union fees only. :)

5/29/2008 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Kim Lokken said...

A lesser light said, "Muslims have a very strong belief that God favors some over others. They believe that this favor is clearly evident in domination over others. The Big Men dictators are accepted because they must be favored by God."

On the contrary, the Prophet (pbuh) said, "O People! Your God is one; your father is one; no preference of an Arab neither over non-Arab nor of a non-Arab over an Arab or red over black or black over red except for the most righteous. Verily the most honored of you is the most righteous."

I answer that if there exists a moneyed elite in Islam, this is no different from the prosperity gospel taught by such preachers as Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn, with roots in the Calvinist tradition which said that wealth was a sign of election. And there are dictators within "Christian" Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.

Objection 1:What Islam offers to the non-believers is conversion or death. Not exactly the Golden Rule.

On the contrary, men of military age among the People of the Book and other religions pay the jizya in lieu of military service, since it would offend religious freedom to force a man to fight religious wars on behalf of a God he does not worship. This is a third way between conversion and death.

5/29/2008 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I'd hate to see Teresita's membership fees.

5/29/2008 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

"Kim Lokken" (latest Islamist pest),

Believers are not permitted to take kafirs as friends. See the information below from Qur'an and ahadith. Just to let you know that some of us are impervious to your taqiyya.

Question:
Are Muslims allowed to make friends with Christians, Jews or other non-Muslims?


Summary Answer:
Unbelievers are described by Muhammad as "the vilest of animals" and "losers." Christians and Jews are hated by Allah to the extent that they are destined for eternal doom as a result of their beliefs. It would make no sense for Muhammad to then recommend them to be taken in as friends by Muslims. In fact, the Qur'an plainly commands believers not to take unbelievers as friends.


The Qur'an:
Sura (5:51) - "O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people."

Sura (5:80) - "You will see many of them befriending those who disbelieve; certainly evil is that which their souls have sent before for them, that Allah became displeased with them and in chastisement shall they abide." Those Muslims who befriend unbelievers will abide in hell.

Sura (3:28) - "Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah..."

Sura (3:118) - "O you who believe! do not take for intimate friends from among others than your own people, they do not fall short of inflicting loss upon you; they love what distresses you; vehement hatred has already appeared from out of their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater still; indeed, We have made the communications clear to you, if you will understand." This verse not only warns Muslims not to take non-Muslims as friends, but it establishes the deep-seated paranoia that the rest of the world is out to get them.

Sura (9:23) - "O ye who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them for friends, such are wrong-doers" Even family members are not to be taken as friends if they do not accept Islam. (This is the mildest interpretation of this verse from the 9th Sura, which also advocates "slaying the unbeliever wherever ye find them").

Sura (53:29) - "Therefore shun those who turn away from Our Message and desire nothing but the life of this world."

Sura (3:85) - "And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers."

Sura (3:10) - "(As for) those who disbelieve, surely neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them in the least against Allah, and these it is who are the fuel of the fire." Those who do not believe in Muhammad are but fuel for the fire of Hell (also 66:6, 2:24. 21:98).

Sura (7:44) - "The Companions of the Garden will call out to the Companions of the Fire: "We have indeed found the promises of our Lord to us true: Have you also found Your Lord's promises true?" They shall say, "Yes"; but a crier shall proclaim between them: "The curse of Allah is on the wrong-doers" Muslims in heaven will amuse themselves by looking down on non-Muslims in Hell and mocking them while they are being tortured (see 22:19-22.

Sura (1:5-7) - "Show us the straight path, The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray" This is a prayer that Muslims are supposed to repeat each day. "Those who earn Thine anger" specifically refers to Jews and "those who go astray" refers to Christians (see Bukhari (12:749)).


From the Hadith:

Muslim (1:417) - Taken to mean that one's own relatives should not be taken as friends if they are not Muslim.

Abu Dawud (41:4815) - "The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend."

Bukhari (59:572) - "O you who believe! Take not my enemies And your enemies as friends offering them (Your) love even though they have disbelieved in that Truth (i.e. Allah, Prophet Muhammad and this Quran) which has come to you."

Ishaq 262 - "Some Muslims remained friends with the Jews, so Allah sent down a Qur'an forbidding them to take Jews as friends. From their mouths hatred has already shown itself and what they conceal is worse"

Ishaq 252 - The story of a young man who converts to Islam after hearing Muhammad. He then tells his own father that he can no longer have anything to do with him because, "I have become a Muslim and follow the religion of Muhammad." (To maintain a relationship with his son, the father "converts" as well).

NOTE: Ahadith Bukhari and Muslim, of the five ahadith traditions, are considered the least corrupted and closest to the actual words and deeds of the Prophet.

5/29/2008 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

"In the end, the only thing we have leave to govern is ourselves. And maybe that's enough. Although it's nice to thing about "bringing democracy to the Middle East" maybe all that can be accomplished is to restore our own confidence and will to self-preservatoin."

Sigh. Yeah. But you know, an undertaking like this strikes me as a pretty American thing to try. Go to the moon, build the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam, and have a shot at planting democracy in a backward, troublesome are of the world.

Maybe you're right. Maybe in the end, it just can't be done. But it's in keeping with the American temperament to suspect that it can be done and to have a go at doing it. We would have hated ourselves if we hadn't at least tried, I think.

And if we hadn't tried, the same ones who now decry the Iraq war would be pointing to the early 00s as the time when that chimp McHalliBusHitler should have *DONE* something before a mushroom cloud appeared over Tel Aviv or Bombay or New York or Cairo or or or...

But however it comes out, we will have tried harder than any other nation to show people the way.

Oh, and I've been a lizard off and on since early '02. Don't comment there much, but I registered to comment well before Charles started his draconian lizardoid overlord restricted registration stuff. If you skip the comments there it's a whole different blog, and not one whose reasoning can be easily attacked. That's why Leftists usually quote either a comment Charles missed or else something Charles is quoting from somewhere else when they want to twist his tail.

5/29/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

You go, Fred! Beat that little Islamist into submission using quotes form its own infernal book of hatred. I'm *so* glad that people like you are on my side.

And Dan, I'm like you in that I follow LGF religiously, but don't post there a lot any more. When you have 300 or 400 or 500 comments, that's a lot to wade through. Johnson follows stories that I don't see any where else, AND he likes to post factoids and examples to back them up.

Anyone who is snarky about LGF and its lizardoid minions has to be a no-goodnik.

5/29/2008 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Nahncee,

I could not let stand as the final word on the topic what had been posted concerning the relations between Muslims and kafirs. This Imam al-Nawawi is not authoritative in any sense and is not one of the original five ahadith that are considered canonical. And, as I stated, only Bukhari and Muslim are considered by all of their authoritative, traditional schools to be the most rock solid. And even then, because the Qur'an is considered to be the literal, inerrant, eternal, perfect, and uncreated words of Allah what it has to say in this and all matters is the final word.

If the young woman who jumped into this discussion brought such a lame rebuttal, either she is very poorly educated in her religion or is engaging in deliberate dissimulation as her role in the jihad.

These agents of disinformation unfortunately get away with a lot, because most Americans lack any background in the topic and are easy prey to these tactics. And even if they lack background, most are disinclined to go and get the right information. My guess as to why this is: Most do not think we face an existential threat from Islamic jihad. The mainstream media and Leftist academia have worn down people's mindset that they briefly acquired after 9/11. They think people like us are shrill, shrieking, mad Cassandras.

5/29/2008 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

If we concede for the purpose of argument that Islam is
more meaningfully defined by its extremist minority than by its
moderate majority, we could then agree that we're looking at a deeply suicidal culture.

As long as we are vigilant enough and intellectually resourceful suicidal imposter. Far more important than that, we must make sure the gangsters who camouflage their actions in religious garb don't deceive ordinary Muslims into believing the extremists' fake version of Islam is the real one.

Unfortunately, much of this blog comment section is devoted to the
daily support of bin Laden's view of Islam and to shouting down anyone who suggests that the real Islam differs from that of the fake religious gangsters.

As Wretchard and others point out, there are now disputes within the center, or base, of radical Islam.

This should surprise no one as these people are not thinkers, nor are they capable of the kind of rationality it takes to collaborate
intellectually on projects that go beyond accommodating rage, hatred and other inflamed emotional states.

The degree to which the anti-Muslims here fulfill bin Laden's cockeyed vision of both Islam and the West is astonishing in its thoroughness and detail.

Bin Laden says any attempt to negotiate with the West would be futile, as the West seeks nothing but the annihilation of Islam. The "lizards" chant exactly the same thing, begging daily for such an annihilation and heaping juvenile abuse on anyone who suggests a holocaust against Muslims isn't necessary.

Bin Laden says that the real Islam is a death cult that is totally incompatible with the partial modernity and enlightenment the vast majority of
semi-secular Muslims live under from Indonesia to Egypt to Iraq, Syria, India and the West. The ``lizards'' shout "amen": extreme, violent Islam is the ONLY real Islam, and all those hundreds of millions of others are living in denial of what their true scripture and legacy are, say the ``lizards.''

Bin Laden says it is foolish to have moral qualms about slaughtering
your enemies. Any such concerns are a kind of weakness the enemy will not fail to exploit. The enemy is pure evil, therefore no weapon and no tactic can be ruled out in the struggle to eliminate him. The ``lizards,'' excitedly wail, "right on brother, tell it like it is,'' obliterate the enemy, that's the ONLY solution and any quibbles about killing innocents is vile "political correctness.''

The data are in and the conclusion is clear: Bin Laden IS a ``lizard.''

5/29/2008 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Apologies. The second paragraph of my previous post was garbled after I cut and past to accomodate the timed-out "word verification."

It should read:

As long as we are vigilant enough and intellectually resourceful enough in support of separation of church and state, free speech, religious freedom and open-mindedness, we have nothing to fear from a competing ideology that we know to be suicidal.

If, on the other hand, we agree that Islam is not defined by its
extremists, but rather AGAINST it, we face a very different problem.

If Islam itself is struggling to defeat the suicidal extremist
faction within it, then the task is to help Islam rid itself of this abusive suicidal imposter.

Far more important than that, we must make sure the gangsters who camouflage their actions in religious garb don't deceive ordinary Muslims into believing the extremists' fake version of Islam is the real one.

And I will take that rather gross error on my part as a sign I'm posting too much and thereby imposing...

5/29/2008 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


Wolf Howling Nazir Ali - The Collapse Of Chistianity Is Wrecking British Society
& Islam Is Filling The Void

5/29/2008 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Fact: There are fourteen centuries of Islamic scholars and clerics upholding the hermeneutical principle that the Qur'an is a divine dictation. It is the orthodox position. If it is a divine dictation, and the justifications for jihad against the kafir follow Islamic scriptures faithfully, how can Muslims who follow this be considered the extremists? Yes, they are extreme, from our Western understanding of means and our evolved understanding of our own religious texts (Old and New Testament). But, we have to be careful to not impose our evolved hermeneutics of religious texts upon Muslim doctrine. To do so is a fatal error.

"Moderates" in the Muslim world are Muslims who are either ignorant of their own scriptures (for a variety of reasons) or they simply do not want to go the whole distance with Allah's words. In either case, they are considered "bad" Muslims. I welcome all "bad" Muslims. They are our allies and, if sincere in what they believe (remember taqiyya is ever-present as a possibility)they can be a mitigating influence against jihad and other savage, retrograde beliefs. By the standards of traditional Islamic doctrine, they are considered apostates. That is why the jihadists seek to kill them as ardently as they wish to kill us kafirs.

It is the "good" Muslims we need to fear and respect as true enemies. I may hate the totalitarian ideology and cult that Islam is, but those "good" Muslims who openly state who they are have my grudging respect. Their honesty, however, menacing, is refreshing. The ones who I have no respect for are the liars who employ taqiyya and sow confusion, disinformation, and discord among the targeted kafir societies. Of course, the lowest rung is reserved for kafir dhimmis who actively shill for this enemy, who work tirelessly for the destruction and submission of their own people. The gallows would be a merciful end for them.

5/29/2008 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

McDaddyo,

What is it about Islam you feel is genuine Islam, the Kosher food?

5/29/2008 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

McDaddyo -- it's still garbled.

5/29/2008 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Methuselah asks:
``What is it about Islam you feel is genuine Islam, the Kosher food?''

As a rationalist, I conclude there is no "real'' Islam. The Koran and Haditha are broad, self-contradictory, poetic texts that are translated in varying ways, like the Bible, as is inevitable in different languages.
With enough study, I could probably arrive at a rational conclusion about what within Islam was real to me as an individual. But I could never make a factual or logical case about what it must mean for others, as the invitations to varying interpretations in the scripture are too many and too broad.
As Fred points out, Muslims have for centuries sought and received extended explanations and interpretations of the books they have decided are holy. That is very long-lived evidence that the scriptures do not lend themselves to simple interpretation or rational analysis and understanding by individual believers.
The enlightenment emerged from the west centuries after the Crusades and hinged on the idea that the antidote to religious tyranny is respect for variations in individual interpretations of scripture and practice of faith. The competing idea is that scripture and faith or either correct or incorrect and individuals most choose the right one, or suffer consequences.
Four centuries after the enlightenment, that debate is unwon in some circles. And we know that Fred and the ``lizard'' brigade are furiously devoted to bin Laden's side of the question.

5/29/2008 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Kim Lokken, you are clearly "cherry-picking" from someplace isolated lines that by themselves appear to support your assertion, which boils down to "Islam is no different from Christianity or Judaism."

If you wish anyone to take your comments seriously, you need to adjust your medications, and pay more heed to the difference between delusions and historical fact.

I can claim to have studied Islam a great deal in the last twenty years, but I'm just a piker, no scholar.

Whatever the words of the Qur'an may proclaim, we must judge Islam by 1400 years of brutality against its neighbors and its own coreligionists. If there were doubt, it would evaporate in the glare of the last three decades of vicious slaughter done by Muslims around the world for the glory of Allah the Most Merciful.

While many of the translated passages I've found in English language versions of the Qur'an speak of mercy, forgiveness, compassion, etc. as desirable qualities, these seem mainly to be reserved for fellow believers, NOT the infidel.

And the contrast between the life lived by Jesus compared to that lived by Mohammed could not be more stark. During his lifetime, if we are to believe the words of the Qur'an, the ahadith (testimonies of the life companions of Mohammed as to his actions, behavior and instructions), Mohammed himself captained murderous raids on merchant caravans, and military attacks against populations who mocked or denied his claims as the Prophet of Allah. He personally ordered the execution of bound and unarmed captives, and the distribution of widows and daughters of slain adversaries as slaves or concubines to his faithful followers. When critics irked in the communities where he had triumphed, he called for them to be silenced, then rewarded and elevated his followers who slew those critics. He was, after all, the Chosen Prophet of Most Merciful Allah, and not to be dissed.

So while many later governments and rulers who called themselves Christians have done violence to nations of other faiths, as well as to other Christians within and without their societies, these are departures from the foundation Christ laid down.

Islam, in the first few decades after the death of Mohammed, changed leaders several times by murder and assassination. In the first CENTURY after the death of Mohammed, the rule of Islam was imposed by Military Assault on communities and nations ranging outward from the Arabian Peninsula north into Turkey, east into Persia, South into Egypt, across North Africa and the Straights of Gibraltar into Spain. The Islamic Armies were stopped at Poitiers France by Charles Martel and the Franks in 732. As late as 1683, an Islamic army from the Ottoman Turks was stopped in its advance into the heart of Europe in the Siege of Vienna.

Sure, Christian rulers used violence against their opponents. But let's remember that the Inquisition was a response to the threat of Islam, which had occupied Spain for seven centuries before Christian rule was restored. And let's remember that the Crusades were a response to the closing of Jerusalem to Christian Pilgrims by the Islamic rulers who had taken Jerusalem by armed conquest. I do not deny the violence, misrule, and atrocities done by Christian nations.

But call Islam a religion of Peace?

Not when Afghan Talib fighters use their machine guns to murder school girls walking to their classes, just to intimidate the people into keeping women uneducated and subservient.

Not when Chechen Muslims rape and murder over 330 children, teachers, and parents at a school in Beslan in their struggle for independence.

Not when Indonesian Muslim extremists behead three schoolgirls to intimidate the infidels in their communities.

Not when Muslim fanatics blow up and incinerate hundreds of Hindu religious pilgrims on their way to festivals in Gujarat.

Not when Muslim fanatics machine-gun scores of international tourists visiting Egyptian antiquities.

Not when Filipino muslim Abu Sayyaf terrorists kidnap and murder American missionaries and German tourists, behead kidnapped soldiers, and place bombs on public ferries.

Not when muslim extremists are murdering Buddhist monks and schoolteachers in Thailand...

Not when an individual Muslim decides to walk into a Jewish Community Center and begin shooting unarmed women...

Not when a muslim feels justified murdering filmmaker Theo Van Gogh for producing a documentary on the abuse and intimidation of women throughout Islamic nations.

Not when there are scores of "honor killings" every year of muslim women by their brothers, fathers, and cousins as punishment for their supposed sexual independence--- even among muslim immigrants to Western countries.

Not when an individual Muslim decides to use his SUV to run down as many students as he can on the campus of the University he'd been attending for years.

Not when Muslim citizens of the UK begin planting bombs in London's public conveyances, and driving their bomb-filled SUVs through the plate glass of a public airline terminal.

Not when Muslim terrorists strap C-4 onto the torsos of two retarded women, then send them in to a crowd of children and their parents and detonate the explosives remotely.

Excuse me, but the Muslim Arab nations of the Middle East have large standing armies, equipped --- thank you very much --- with very sophisticated fighter jets, bombers, destroyers, frigates, submarines, cruise missiles, helicopters, ballistic missiles, et cetera. You CAN NOT seriously maintain that the Arab community is restricted to terrorist tactics because they are otherwise devoid of military options. This is an absurd lie used by the defenders of Islamic terrorism that has been advanced by the uncritical Western Media.

The terrorism arises because the fanatics of Islam are ungovernable. They accept no authority higher than their favorite Imam, mullah, or cell leader. This appears to be true even in the muslim countries where Sharía is the law of the land.

5/29/2008 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Quick Quiz in Comparitive Public Policy:

Identify the well-known and popular religion the Mullahs and Imams of which rule the Islamic Revolutionary Government of Iran, and favor spectacularly harsh punishment for men and women convicted of homosexual behavior. (Hint: The condemned ones are hanged by the neck and left to dangle as corpses from industrial cranes along the boulevards in Tehran and other Persian cities.)

THAT'S RIGHT: Islam®, the Religion of Peace™!

5/29/2008 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Mad Fiddler writes:
``Excuse me, but the Muslim Arab nations of the Middle East have large standing armies, equipped --- thank you very much --- with very sophisticated fighter jets, bombers, destroyers, frigates, submarines, cruise missiles, helicopters, ballistic missiles, et cetera. You CAN NOT seriously maintain that the Arab community is restricted to terrorist tactics because they are otherwise devoid of military options.''

That's because the jets, helicopters and missiles are deployed AGAINST Islamic extremists, who, as Mad Fiddler points out, are first and foremost the enemies of other Muslims they deem insufficiently radical. Syria, for example, reportedly massacred some 30,000 such extremists in its midst just a decade or two ago, wiping out the Islamic Brotherhood there.

Saddam Hussein rather famously used his helicopters to strafe the very same Islamic extremist militia who are now partially supporting the U.S. occupation of Iraq and partially opposing it, depending on whether they are directly in the pay of the U.S. or Iran. Before that, of course, Saddam had used all manner of U.S. military hardware to wipe out fellow Muslim Iranians of an extremist bent.

Egypt, the birthplace of modern Islamic extremism, has outlawed the Islamic brotherhood and, thereby, uses its weapons and state power to suppress, not support, the violent version of Islam. Algeria used its military hardware to snuff out 100s of thousands of Islamists, many, though not all, extremists, after the aforementioned won an open election.

If Mad Fiddler had thought this through, he'd realize he'd coughed up case-closing evidence for the argument that the biggest, best opponents of radical Islam are the governments of moderate Islam, such as those in Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Indonesia and Iraq.

Why, indeed, if Islamic states have all the jets, missiles and so on, and they are incorrigibly committed to violence, have the used them so infrequently against anyone OTHER than the Islamic extremists in their midst?

Islam cannot be simultaneously aggressive and militant and unwilling to use its vast armaments against non-Muslims. Either it is relatively poorly armed, or relatively unwilling to use the weapons it has. Which do you think it is, Mad Fiddler?

5/30/2008 12:14:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

McDaddyo - the thought ever occur to you to consider who sold that equipment to the Arabs? Who first invented and developed it? Who trained them to use it?

You don't suppose they're getting outdated stuff that the inventors have no need for any more? You don't suppose they were sold equipment with an itsy-bitsy part missing somewhere deep in its little innards that no one in that country would ever find because they're not that well-trained?

I just love you liberals and your pink naivety. You must have such happy home lives stopping to smell the roses every ten minutes in your uneventful days, while the wolf in sheep's clothing that's been trailing you sneaks up ever closer.

But damn! I do NOT want you to be my neighbor!

5/30/2008 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"With enough study, I could probably arrive at a rational conclusion about what within Islam was real to me as an individual. But I could never make a factual or logical case about what it must mean for others, as the invitations to varying interpretations in the scripture are too many and too broad."


So why bother with that stuff?

What is it, you claiming to be a rational person, that so attracts you to this irrational backwards looking supremacist world view which subscribes enmity to non Muslims and which entombs Muslim societies in the ancient past?

Should the ritualism of banging your head against the floor 5x a day in prostration to a set of scribbles some ancient arabs wrote down be considered rational behavior?

Why would a rational person be attracted to this?

5/30/2008 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Kim Lokken"
= Teresita = Catholic Woman =
Lucky Pierre, ad nauseum.

5/30/2008 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/30/2008 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

I am no great Islamic scholar, nor do I wish to be one. I have over the course of time attended to some Islamic scripture, and devoted a very tiny bit of time to exploring the variations within the religion we know as Islam. There are a great deal of them, in fact, I believe due to Islam's structure, the case could easily be made that within every mosque resides a different variation of the theme, and surrounding the preaching of every cleric is another forms sect. The more successful the preaching the more money and followers and power attend that mosque. Most mosques tailor their sermons to the audience, some skillful orators tailor their audience to the sermon.

The most successful of the Peaceful of the religon's sects as, far as I am aware, is the quietist faction of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

It is a secular twist on the separations of Mosque and State theme, and its version of sharia is significantly different than the rest of Shi'ahism, and for sure it is different from Sunni which comprises is the majority of Islam. I don't do well splicing the various denominations and affectations of protestantism, or catholicism or the many blastpheemic/diuretic and/or gestational and pulpetual launches of Unitarianisms ad nauseam, but just planting enough doubt about it via our strong horses in the military should have a very real and long lasting effect on the Socio-spiritual and political climate of the region. I won't happen over night, but the worst of it will be handled withing the system of law and justice we leave in place there for them to figure from. The more it is theirs the better for us and more lasting for them.

I really believe that Economic and Financial reform are more important for installing lasting results than mere political or religious change. But such reforms require a pretty big incentive to get off the ground.

Not becoming Al Queda's, or even the Iranian's little kumquat may be just the incentive. They'll have to figure out the rest themselves but it ought to be done sans the temptation to cut anyone's heads off or dabble in the other peculiarities of the religion that conflict with what we know of human nature and the human condition.

I believe it is working already. I was asked on another thread to name anywhere this plan had ever even once worked. I have to admit, it has not ever worked, it has never been tried. I think it has aquired a nice balance of arrogance and humility and if it can be translated to the local level, stands a better than even chance of success.

Because the memory of Saddam, the smell of AQI and the arrogance of JAM are too recent, too horrible and too vivid for even the stockholm syndrome to allow to be squashed, this experiment should not fail in attaining a new level of humanity that can be admired, looked to for help and emulation.

Where Pakistan failed to achieve the model State hoped for by it founders, Iraq may just replace the model with a better one.

5/30/2008 04:11:00 PM  

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