ISLAM WILL NEVER BE A PEACEFUL RELIGION
Violence in Muslim Nations Not About a Video but About Hatred
By Michael Terheyden
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - Although many Muslims do not approve of the violence which has now spread to more than 20 countries since the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya that left four Americans dead, explosive pressures are clearly building in the Muslim world. This dangerous reality compels us to ask, how can we explain such a "spontaneous" eruption of violence against America over an obscure, 14-minute movie trailer?
First of all, the video is said to be critical of Muhammad and Islam; however, it appears highly dubious that this present round of violence is spontaneous or about a video. After all, the violence broke out on the 11th anniversary of 9-11, about six weeks after the video was posted on You Tube. Yet, Muslim leaders around the world are blaming America and the video. Some of the leaders speaking out publicly are Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the governments of Iran and Pakistan.
For the most part, their comments are very similar. For instance, they blame the United States for the violence because the video was made by a small group of American citizens. Muslim leaders say the video is inhuman and abominable and provokes hatred and hurts the feelings of their people. Now, some want the United States to criminalize criticism against Islam.
The Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, which has no regard for people's feelings or rights, says, "This immoral action [the making of the video] represents the highest degree of aggression against the sublime human right of respecting beliefs, sanctities, and feelings."
In addition, Egypt has officially charged seven Americans involved in the video with insulting the Islamic religion; Iran has vowed to track down the Americans responsible for making the video; and the Taliban has called for Muslims to kill Americans.
Interestingly, it is not uncommon in some of these same countries to find hatred toward Christianity, Judaism and America openly expressed in their newspapers, television programming and school books. There is also the government sanctioned discrimination and persecution of non-Muslims; the burning of Christian churches, homes and businesses; the kidnapping of Christian girls; and the killing of Christians for their faith.
Those who are interested in a more detailed account of the responses coming out of the Muslim world might want to read an article by Robert Spencer posted on Jihad Watch, "Muslim Brotherhood: 'Hurting the feelings of one and a half billion Muslims cannot be tolerated, and the people's anger and fury for their faith is invariably predictable, often unstoppable.'"
I do not know if the information in this video is accurate, or if it is a falsified, hateful attack against Islam. I do know that Islam is one of the major religions of the world, but there is clearly some sort of disconnect here, which brings me back to my original question: How can we explain such an eruption of violence in the Muslim world against America over this obscure movie trailer?
While there is no single explanation, Robert R. Reilly's book, The Closing of the Muslim Mind, offers us a likely explanation for this explosion of violence and hypocritical double talk coming out of the Muslim world. In it he analyzes the rejection of reason and truth within the Muslim world and its relationship to violence, which he traces back to early Islam.
Reilly tells us that there were two competing schools of thought in early Islam, Mutazilitism and Ash'aritism. The Mutazilites engaged in philosophical inquiry. In other words, they used reason to understand their faith and relate it to their experience of the world. However, the Ash'arites won out. Apparently their views best served the interests of the caliph, who did not want his authority or his methods questioned. The Ash'arites rejected reason and the use of philosophy.
The main reason for the rejection had to do with their beliefs about God and reality. For instance, the Ash'arites believed that the oneness of God means that only God exists and everything else is an illusion. They also believed that God is absolute and unlimited pure will and power. Thus, they assumed that all events are caused directly by God and that there are no natural or secondary causes. Consequently, Reilly says the idea of "cause and effect" does not exist in the Muslim mind. They do not see an inner logic to things. Everything is uncertain, unknowable and incomprehensible.
It should not surprise us, then, that Muslim scholars lost interest in philosophy, and it died out, as did the Greek influence on their culture. It also became dangerous to do philosophy. Furthermore, critical thinking was not taught, and education was reduced to rote learning. As a result, Reilly says that the Muslim mindset became "insular, regressive and unreceptive to new ideas." Without a foundation of fixed knowledge, he says, there is only opinion and sophistry, which promotes irrational behavior and forces people to live in a world where myth and fantasy seem real.
We can see an indication of such behavior in the way the press operates and reports news. In Muslim countries, Reilly says, news is generally rife with conspiracy theories and fantastic accounts of natural events. It does not mention causal relationships or have continuity, and there is little effort to place events and facts in a meaningful context. Rather, the news tends toward narration and description. It focuses on the partial, successive, isolated, immediate events and facts. Therefore, the news is generally weak in investigation and analysis, often distorted and without depth.
Reilly also explains that Muslims have been known not to purchase car insurance or get polio vaccinations because they believed doing so would amount to acts of presumption against Allah's will. In another example, Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, a Pakistani physicist and university professor, says it is not Islamic to say that combining two hydrogen atoms with one oxygen atom makes water. Proper Islamic phraseology requires that you say water is created by the will of Allah when you bring these elements together. The point is that secondary causes and the principle of causality are not accepted by the Muslim mind.
As you can imagine, science and scholarship have not thrived in this environment. Reilly tells us that there has not been a major discovery in the Muslim world for over seven centuries. On average, there are only 8.5/1000 scientists in Muslim countries. The average is 40.7/1000 in non-Muslim countries. During the past 1000 years, approximately 10,000 books have been translated by the Arab world, while Spain approximates this many translations in only one year. Not surprisingly, the Arab world is near the bottom of the scale in all areas of development such as health, education, GDP, and productivity.
Such thinking also has political ramifications. Reilly says that reason is a prerequisite for democracy, and that constitutional government is based on metaphysical support of the natural law. But according to Muslim belief, there is no free will or freedom of conscience. Only God's will is free. Therefore, people's actions cannot be said to be autonomous or moral. It is not for the people to choose right or wrong, but to obey the will of Allah. As a consequence of these beliefs, the law has no foundation, the idea of individual rights is alien to Islamic reasoning and democracy is seen as an affront to Allah.
Reilly says that one of the greatest affronts or humiliations to Muslims is the decline of their status and power in the world. According to Muslim belief, Allah promised victory, and Muslims are obliged to gain power over other nations. Yet, after they failed to capture Vienna, Austria in the 16th and 17th centuries, halting their expansion into Western Europe, their status and power began to decline. Furthermore, in 1774 the Ottomans were forced to sign a treaty with Russia; there was also Napoleon's victory over the Egyptians in 1798; then there was the collapse of the Caliphate in Turkey in 1924 and the subsequent colonization of the Ottoman Empire by foreign powers.
As a result, some Muslims, like the Nazis before them, looked for an enemy to explain their declining status and power. This drive spurred the growth of radical fundamentalism and violence. Once the will and power gain primacy over reason, Reilly says, violence is the only path left open. So he sees the Islamic upsurge as a force not meant to solve problems but to intoxicate and incite those who can no longer abide by their failure to solve them. But he does not believe that the violence can be fully explained within Islam itself.
For this reason, he distinguishes Islam from "Islamism," which is a particular view of Islam. To comprehend Islamism, he tells us that it needs to be viewed in light of Nietzscheian philosophy and Marxism. Nietzsche believed in the primacy of will, and he said that force was the instrument of the will. Karl Marx said that "In order to change humanity, one must use force." Lenin said, "We must hate. Hatred is the basis of communism."
In conclusion, Reilly believes that Islamism (not Islam) is grounded in a spiritual pathology and has produced a dysfunctional culture. In general, he believes the primary reason Muslim countries are poor is because their culture is dysfunctional. Societies need people who can relate cause and effect. He says Islam needs a view that integrates it with the real world. It needs a philosophy detached from religion, but not in opposition to religion. The Koran has philosophical teaching in it, he says, but Islam needs a Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Based on Reilly's analysis, it would seem that the drive for status and power combined with a fantasy-world view and poisonous 20th century philosophies is the real cause for the violence we are witnessing today, not America or a video. But this statement is not meant to trivialize the problems and frustrations of the Muslim people, which are quite real.
The Muslim people have good reason to be angry, but their anger needs to be directed at the true cause of their suffering: the failure of political and religious leadership and complacency. If Muslims have the will to face the true cause of their problems, I am confident that a better life awaits them. If, on the other hand, they persist in the politics of anger, hatred and anti-reason, I expect it will lead to their ruin.
In the meantime, we need our leaders to do their job. Our federal government is responsible to protect its citizens from foreign enemies, without trampling on our rights in the process. If our current leaders cannot do the job, and do it properly, then Americans need to find leaders who can.
The Concept of Brotherhood in Islam (How Muslims View Each Other and How They View Non-Muslims)
by Harold Rhode November 9, 2011
With the end of the Cold War, a new enemy emerged, Radical Islamic Fundamentalism, made up of Islamic extremists, terrorists and the states that support them. If we are to counter them at all, we must help to understand them as they understand themselves.
In their worldview, they see themselves first as Muslims; as such, they are not loyal to any geographic entity. The world, in their eyes, is roughly divided into two groups: the "Abode of Islam" [Dar al-Islam], and the "Abode of War" [Dar al-Harb] -- or the world which is not yet Muslim but eventually, they believe, should and will be. If they feel any sense of territorial loyalty, it is to the Abode of Islam, the places where Muslims live: "The "Nation of Islam" [Ummah]. In these two worlds, which do not have geographic borders, Islam is not only a religion, but the common political – almost familial -- bond that unites all Muslims.
Historically, the term "Abode of Islam" has meant: Those territories over which Muslims either rule or have ruled; or where Muslims predominate but are wrongly ruled by Non-Muslims. During the past 50 years, however, this definition has been modified to include: a) Those countries whose rulers claim to be Muslims but, in the eyes of the radical Islamists, are apostates;  and b) New territories, such as Europe, to which Muslims have been immigrating since the end of the World War II, and where they now form a significant part of the population. If present demographic trends continue, Europe promises to be significantly, if not predominantly, Muslim by the end of this century, and therefore, rightfully in their eyes, part of the "Abode of Islam."
As there are, from this perspective, only two peoples in the world – Muslims and non-Muslims -- Islam teaches that non-Muslims are also one nation [millah] united against the Muslims. . Muslims, whether observant or secular, not only have a strong affinity toward each other, but assume that non-Muslims have the same strong affinity toward each other as well. Although non-Muslims make distinctions among the many peoples and religions of the non-Muslim world, most Muslims, on a deep level, see non-Muslims as one unified people -- whose long term interests are inimical to those of the Muslims.
Whereas the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC], for instance, cultivates political and religious solidarity among all Muslims, regardless of the countries in which they live, one cannot imagine a similar organization in the West of Christians, most of whom seem divided into different branches of Christianity – from and Roman Catholicism to scores of Protestant offshoots. Moreover, Western Christians seem not to care unduly about the plight of their co-religionists in Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Lebanon, or anywhere else in the Muslim world, including even Bethlehem and Nazareth.
If one compares this view of the world to that of the Jews for their people worldwide, although Jews show a deep concern and sympathy for Jews everywhere, very few, if any, are prepared to overlook or rationalize criminal behavior in other Jews: when Baruch Goldstein, for example, shot and killed almost 30 Muslims praying at the grave of the patriarch Abraham  in 1994, most Jews were ashamed and outraged, and openly condemned Goldstein.
In the Muslim world, however, Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan and other Muslim leaders -- in keeping with what seems to be a cultural inability to admit wrongdoing or apologize for anything -- seem proud to express their solidarity with the Turkish IHH terrorists who were part of the Mavi Marmara Flotilla that tried to break a legal naval blockade; with the Egyptians after the August 2011 attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, or with the terrorist group, Hamas.
No Muslim leader has yet apologized or expressed any remorse for the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001; for the bombing of the Jewish center in Buenos Aires, or for pushing a wheelchair-ridden man into the sea – all non-Israeli and non-military targets. Erdoğan has even said there is no such thing as Islamic terrorism. Does this mean that whatever Muslims do, no matter how awful, cannot be considered terrorism because if Muslims do it in the name of Allah or Islam, that makes it right?
As for non-Muslims living in the Muslim world, they can easily attain equality and acceptance from their fellow Muslims by converting to Islam. As kinship is not based on blood or ethnic ties, as in the West, but above all on religious identity -- irrespective of the level of religious observance -- their earlier, non-Muslim, origins will be quickly forgotten. To be a true Arab, Turk, Iranian, or Kurd, all that is required is to be a Muslim.
This view may account for why Middle Eastern Christians seem to conclude they have no future in the Middle East, and have been emigrating to the West. They apparently see that in the end, the Muslims do not look at them as equals -- as we are currently witnessing in the ongoing massacre of Christians in Egypt, Sudan and Iraq -- and that there exists a huge, permanent glass ceiling that prevents them from advancing in their and their ancestors' countries of birth.
Israel, a small non-Muslim country in the middle of the Muslim world, is in the same situation as the Christians. No matter what it does -- simply because it is not Muslim – Israel will always be regarded as an outsider. If the only way to really belong is to be Muslim, Israel can never be fully accepted by its neighbors in that part of the world. Being Muslim, therefore, is as much a political identity as a religious one.
The same holds true for non-Muslims in the US and the West. Unless the Muslim world undergoes to major revolution in its thinking, we shall always be regarded as outsiders. Although we might have amicable relationships, Muslims will always regard us with suspicion: When the chips are down, they believe, they will be on one side and the non-Muslims on the other – supporting their own, non-Islamic "brothers" just as the Muslims would support theirs.
Muslims understand Western support for Israel, or Western concern for the plight of the Christians in Lebanon or Iraq as a natural and unchangeable form of religious brotherhood -- like theirs. When Westerners try to prove the Muslims mistaken by citing Western support for the Bosnian Muslims, whom Westerners tried to save from being slaughtered by their Christian neighbors, Muslims seem to have great difficulty making sense out of why the Westerners "really" did this. It simply does not conform to their view of Muslim solidarity vs. non-Muslim solidarity. Muslims, therefore, either choose to ignore Western support for their brothers, or dismiss Westerners who have aided Muslims in distress as being part of some deeper plot against the Muslim world.
Any alliance between a Western country and a Muslim one needs to be seen in this context.
No matter how hard non-Muslim powers plead with them to do otherwise, Muslim countries will never see themselves as true friends of the non-Muslim world. Regrettably, the Islamic concept of non-Muslim brotherhood, or millah, means that the Muslims and the West will continue to be at odds with one another, unless the Muslims are forced to re-evaluate their religious sources, most likely as the result of a massive military loss.
In the US, where people of different ethnic and religious groups might feel a lack of solidarity toward others of different backgrounds, all Americans are nevertheless considered equal before the law. For non-Muslims in the Muslim world, unfortunately, this is not what occurs. Non-Muslims are, at best, tolerated, "protected" not-quite-guests, who, under Islamic Shari'a Law, are subject to a different set of regulations and expectations that place severe limitations on their ability rise to the highest political and social levels.
Even though, throughout much of the twentieth century, most of the Muslim world seemed to Westerners to have abandoned its Islamic identity in favor of national identities -- such as Arabic, Turkish, or Iranian -- Islamic identity apparently continued underneath as an essential component of identity. Loyalty, for a large number of Muslims -- and most significantly for the Islamists -- is still owed to the amorphous concept of the Muslim Nation, or Ummah. As the Muslim prophet Muhammad said, "All Muslims belong to one people, the only difference among them is in piety." For Muslims throughout the centuries, this feeling of brotherhood,  of belonging to one people – not only to a religion -- is so deeply engrained that today it even permeates the world view of secular Muslims, as well.
Even though Muslims feel a sense of brotherhood toward each other, it does not mean that all Muslims get along well together. Islamic history is filled with examples of how the Muslims have failed because they refused to recognize each other as brothers and members of the same people. The demand from their prophet -- and, later, political and religious leaders -- again and again that they get along together indicates that they did not. In general Arabs cannot stand Persians, who look down on Turks; Shi'ites fear Sunnis; Sunnis intimidate Shi'ites; most look down on Sufis, and so on.
As in the Iran-Iraq War, or every week on the streets of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, many Muslims have no problem inflicting murder and mayhem upon their Muslim brothers. More Muslims have possibly been killed by their fellow Muslims than by non-Muslims. In the West, however, one is judged by one's actions, not by one's thoughts; but in Islam, if the intent of the killer can be interpreted by Islamic Shari'a Law as furthering the cause of Islam, murdering one's own people – or sometimes even family members -- is not only considered permissible but even at times praiseworthy.
On occasion, Muslims have sided with non-Muslims against their fellow Muslims. A few years ago, for instance, as the situation in southern Iraq deteriorated -- largely because of Iranian-armed-and-backed militias reaping havoc in the area -- the Iraqi Shi'ite Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, sent Iraqi forces to clean it up. By doing so, he signaled that he had chosen to side with the non-Muslim Americans who had liberated his country from tyranny, rather than with his fellow Shi'ite (though non-Arab) Iranians. Despite the animosity and hatred toward each other, however, the reflexive reaction of most Muslims seems to be to side with each other against the non-Muslims -- a proclivity that has major political ramifications for the non-Muslim world.
One way of understanding the Islamic concept of brotherhood operates is to look, as a parallel, at how the American Mafia operates. Each Mafia family is independent, although the various families often engage in internal warfare. To the outside world, it appears that they deeply hate and mistrust each other. But the moment the "Feds" confront them, they cooperate as members of the same family, unite against what they see as the common threat, then resume their internal warfare when the threat disappears.
If our radical Muslim adversaries all view the world as divided into Muslims and non-Muslims, it is crucial that we understand that when we are fighting, we are not fighting against a particular country. International borders are irrelevant. By continuing to respect borders, we cripple our military and prevent it from defeating the enemy, who, as we have seen for years in, say, Pakistan and Afghanistan, or Iraq and Iran, simply keep crossing back and forth across borders as needed. If we are to win the war against the Islamists, we must adjust our military and political strategies accordingly.
The following sections, some based on the experiences of Western travelers throughout the Islamic world, illustrate how deeply the concept of Islamic brotherhood is embedded in the hearts and minds of the Muslims, whether radical or moderate..
1). Who are the Real Egyptians: the Coptic Christians, Descended from the Ancient Egyptians, or Recent Muslim Immigrants to Egypt?
In the West, one's religion is often a component of one's identity; in Islam, it is the basic component. Non-Muslims living in the Arab World are, in essence, eternal outsiders, never able to fully belong. This is true even in places such as Egypt, where the true Egyptians are the Coptic Christians, descendants of the ancient Egyptians. To the Muslims, a Muslim who immigrates to Egypt from Indonesia is, within a generation or two, an Egyptian, even though he has only been in the country for a relatively short time. Not so Egypt's Christian Copts who make up about 10% of Egypt's population, but, who, no matter how many centuries they preceded Egypt's Muslims there, are forever regarded by the Muslims in Egypt as outsiders.
Egypt, especially in Cairo and Alexandria, has long been a great center to which people from all over the Middle East immigrated, and is known to many people in Egypt and the Levant as the "Mother of the World" [Umm al-Dunya]. When Muslims migrated to these cities -- especially to Cairo – they easily intermarried with local Muslims and became "Egyptians." But almost all the non-Muslims who settled in Cairo and Alexandria eventually left. When they stayed, they usually did so because they had married Muslims and converted to Islam.
There have been massacres in Egypt -- as we are now seeing against the Copts -- even before the fall of its President, Hosni Mubarak. Since that time, the massacres have only increased in viciousness, with security forces driving armored vehicles into gatherings of unarmed Christians to mow them down, or else merely looking on.
From a Western point of view, no one could claim to be more Egyptian than these Copts; but most Muslim Egyptians feel a stronger bond with fellow Muslims in Jordan, Syria, Iraq, or even far more distant lands. Many laws in Egypt exist to make it easy for Copts to convert to Islam and become "real Egyptians," alongside other, strict, laws that ban Muslim from converting to Christianity. In Muslim eyes, the only way for a Copt to become a "true Egyptian," is to convert to Islam.
2). Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan's Election Victory Speech
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also seems to view all Muslims as members of the same people, regardless of nationality:
"Believe me," Erdoğan said, after winning another election in June 2011, "Sarajevo won today as much as Istanbul, Beirut won as much as Izmir, Damascus won as much as Ankara, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, the West Bank, Jerusalem won as much as Diyarbakir." Erdoğan also mentioned other predominately Muslim places not in Turkey, such as Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
From a Western point of view, Erdoğan was running for office of Prime Minister of Turkey – not of the entire Sunni world. But most of the places he mentioned – such as Damascus, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Sarajevo -- are not part of Turkey. They were, however, part of the Ottoman Empire; and most were, and still are, populated by large numbers of Sunni Muslims.
Imagine a European Prime Minister or American President making a similar speech with references to places outside their countries; such allusions would certainly elicit accusations of imperialism. Even the thought would be unacceptable. But Erdoğan could deliver such a speech because, in his thinking, the concept of Islamic brotherhood is paramount -- as can also be seen in many comments he has made about Israel. He constantly excuses acts of violence committed by his fellow Muslims, the Palestinians, but condemns the non-Muslim Israelis for defending themselves against Muslim terror attacks directed at Israeli border towns such as in Sderot.
Why is Erdoğan is so pro-Palestinian? Is it because he believes in the right of Palestinians to have their own state as they are his fellow Muslims; or because Israel, being largely the state of the Jews, is non-Muslim? If he believes that, as a people, the Palestinians as a national have the right to a state, then why would he not support the right of the Kurds – an ancient people without their own country -- to have their own state, which would include a large part of eastern Turkey that is historically overwhelmingly ethnically Kurdish? But Erdoğan repeatedly opposes a Kurdish state.
3). Are the Ruling Alawites of Syria Muslims? The Answer Determines Whether, in the Minds of Syrian Muslims, They Have a Right to Rule Syria.
Muslims have long accepted a wide range of diversity in Islam. There are four separate Sunni legal schools, each of which can have widely different views on what is legal and what is not. Shi'ites have their own legal schools, and differ strongly with the Sunnis and among themselves over important aspects of their religion. All these schools of Muslim thought, however, agree on one thing: If, according to the Koran the state exists for the good of, and for the propagation of Islam, only Muslims have the right to rule. Non-Muslims in the Muslim state are allowed to live under Muslim rule, but would never have the right to rule.
The Alawites, whose homeland is the eastern Mediterranean coastal area, are an approximately 800-year-old offshoot of Shi'ite Islam. As they are a secretive sect, it is difficult to know exactly what they believe. What we do know is that, for Alawites, Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, Ali, is a Jesus-like figure, possessing at the same time both human and godlike characteristics. When Alawites greet each other, one says "Ali is God;" the other responds, "The truest God."
To Muslims, however, Allah never had, or ever can have, a human form of any kind. Conversely, Muhammad was human -- a messenger and a prophet -- but with no divine characteristics. To Muslims, therefore, the Alawite deification of Ali is a heresy.
The question then arises as to whether the Alawites are in fact seen by other Muslims as Muslims at all; and, by extension, whether Muslims even consider them as members of the brotherhood of Islam. This is the question that forms the basis of the uneasy relationship in Syria between the ruling Alawites, who seized power there in the early 1970s, and Syria's Sunni majority –- about 70% of the population -- who see themselves as ascendant in alone having the right to rule their country.
The Alawites understand their precarious situation. In 1972, their leaders asked Lebanon's highly respected Shi'ite Grand Ayatollah, Musa Sadr, to issue a religious edict [fatwa], according to which the Alawites would officially be designated a branch of Shi'ite Islam. The ayatollah, for political reasons, obliged -- to bolster Syria's government, which he saw as an ally for beleaguered the Lebanese Shi'ites.
Although this should have helped the Alawites to be accepted as Muslims -- given that most Shi'ites and Sunnis do accept each other as Muslims -- the fatwa was tenuous at best. Nevertheless, the Syrian Sunnis still find it difficult to accept the Alawites as Muslims: if they are not Muslims, they do not have a right to rule the country.
Knowing that the issue of the fatwa is still unresolved for many Sunnis, the Alawites go overboard to demonstrate their "Muslimness" -- while at the same time ruling Syria with an iron fist.
The unsettled nature of their religious legitimacy is also the reason members of the regime cannot -- ever -- sign a peace agreement with Israel. They fear that if they did, the Sunnis would say that such a capitulation proves that the Alawites are not really Muslims. The only people who could possibly sign a peace treaty with Israel and not be labeled "non-Muslims" would be members of the Sunni majority. The Alawites can only forever dangle a peace agreement in front of the Israelis and Americans, negotiating forever, but never signing one.
4). Islamic Brotherhood in the Secular Republic of Turkey
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Ottomans adopted the European system of internal identity cards. If the cardholders were Muslim, under the entry "nationality," they wrote "Muslim, regardless of ethnic or country if origin.
When Turkey and Greece exchanged populations after the Turkish War of Independence in the early 1920s, it was decided that "Greeks" would be sent to Greece, and "Turks" to Turkey. What is distinctive is how the Greek and Turkish governments defined "Greekness" and "Turkishness": Greeks were defined as Orthodox Christians and Turks were defined as Muslims. This meant that Orthodox Christians, who happened to be of ethnic Turkic origin, were "repatriated" to Greece, a "homeland" that historically had never been theirs; and Greeks, who were descended from the ancient Hellenic peoples but who had converted to Islam, were sent to Turkey. Both groups then had to learn their so-called mother tongues, which their ancestors had never spoken.
In the early 1920s, on the embers of the Ottoman Empire, Atatürk and his inner circle founded the secular Turkish Republic. Their new country was to be based on the Western, or geographic, concept of nationality; not on religion. All citizens, regardless of ethnic or religious background, were to be called Turks. All were to be equal before the law and loyal to the republic, the borders of which were inviolate.
Loyalty to a geographic entity was a novel idea in the Muslim world. Before then, the Ottoman Empire had been Muslim and had existed for the good of the Muslims. During the early years of the Turkish Republic, the government made no attempt to differentiate between the different residents, but despite what Ataturk had planned, the concept of Islamic religious brotherhood proved so strong that that Muslims of this newly established polity used the term "Turk" to apply only to Muslims. All others – the non-Muslims -- were called "Türk vatandaşları," or "Turkish citizens," meaning that although they resided in Turkey, it was more as "honored guests" than as equal citizens. Atatürk even tried to create a Turkish Christian patriarchate, but failed.
Even today, more than 85 years after the secular Turkish Republic was founded, Turks sometimes ask foreigners who live in Turkey and who speak Turkish, if they are "Turkish citizens." But if the foreigners are Muslim, they are then asked if they are Turks. To be a "real Turk," one must be a Muslim.
Even before the current Islamic-fundamentalist-oriented AK party took power in Turkey, secular senior officials would often talk about non-Muslim Turkish citizens in ways that implied that these officials did not believe non-Muslims were Turks. During the 1980s, for example, Turkish military and political officials said about the Jews of Istanbul –- most of whose ancestors had lived in what would later become Turkey since the early 1500s if not before –- that, "the Jews here have complete freedom. They are free to travel back and forth to their country [Israel]." During the late 1980s, when an Israeli prime minister visited Turkey and talked about the Jews of Istanbul, many Turkish officials referred to "the visits of their [the Jews'] prime minister" -- as if the Israeli prime minister were the elected leader of the Jews of Istanbul as well.
Among Turks – even the most secular - the idea of Muslim brotherhood is so engrained that it forms the basis of their suspicion of Western policy. Turks tend to see sinister motives, for instance, behind Western questions about the Kurds of Turkey. As Turks and Kurds are both Muslims, when Westerners talk about Kurdish rights in Turkey, Turks fear that by making distinctions between the Muslim citizens of Turkey, the West is trying to divide and conquer them – in the same way Westerners used ethnicity and religion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to divide up the Ottoman Empire. Sadly, most Westerners do not realize that, in spite of their best intentions, Turks believe that Westerners want to "divide up" Turkey into a rump Turkish State and independent Kurdish State. The more non-Muslims talk with Turks about these issues, it becomes clear that the words they use to describe supposed Western intentions are almost the same as those of their Ottoman ancestors when the Ottoman Empire's mission was to protect and advance of the cause of Islam throughout the world.
Even though the Turkish military and separatist Kurds in southeastern Anatolia have from time to time attacked each another -- as many Kurds claim that the Turkish government discriminates against them because they are Kurds and not ethnic Turks -- nevertheless, after subduing the Kurdish terrorists, the Turkish military keeps prodding the civilian authorities to step in and improve the civilian infrastructure for their fellow Muslim "brothers" there. At one point, when the military later saw that the civilian officials were not doing their utmost to improve the living standards of the Kurds, they complained that the civilian authorities were not making the Kurds of that area feel as if they, too, were Turks, and an integral part of the "Turkish" nation. Not only does the Turkish military go out of its way to help the Kurds in the southeast, but until today, for example, the military arranges mass circumcision parties for boys in remote Kurdish-speaking villages where people do not have the money to put on the lavish parties expected of them.
As we in the West expect the Turkish military to be "anti-Kurdish" after being the recipients of terrorist attacks, the above might sound unusual, but from the Turkish military's point of view, all Muslims living in Turkey are Turks.
5). Attempts to Bridge the Political and Social Gaps in the Islamic World between the Non-Muslims and Muslims -- to Negate the Concept of Islamic Solidarity -- Always End in Failure
In the 19th century, Middle Eastern Arabic-speaking Christians invented Arab Nationalism as a way to bridge the gap between themselves and the Arabic-speaking Muslims. These Christians, hoping to attain the equality they could not have under Islam, invented an Arab "national" identity.
These Christian-Arab Nationalists started assigning Arab identities to historic Middle Eastern figures, none of whom was Christian and many of whom were not even ethnically Arab. The nationalists argued that the greatest book ever written in Arabic was the Koran, whose language would form the basis of modern standard Arabic. But for Muslims to say that the Koran was even written is a sacrilege: to them, the Koran is eternal, and existed in Arabic long before it was revealed to Muhammad.
As Arabic-speaking Muslims began to read the writings of the Arab Nationalist Christians, they quickly came to the conclusion that, as Arab culture was overwhelmingly Islamic, the only "true Arab" was still a Muslim. When the concept of national Arab brotherhood proved unable to replace the centuries-old concept of Islamic brotherhood, Middle Eastern Christians again found themselves left unequal to, and outside of, the system. Many Christians then turned to Marxism – probably in an attempt to repudiate all religious identity –- again trying to find an equality that had eluded them under both Arab Nationalism and Islam. Eventually many emigrated to the West to find safety, freedom, and true equality; others converted to Islam; still others remained, especially in Egypt, where they continue, uneasily, to live..
6). Islam Cannot Be Imperialist, Even if Muslims Conquer Non-Muslim Territories and Force the Inhabitants to Become Muslims.
A Westerner teaching a course on the history of Islamic peoples of North Africa at an American university, enrolled around 20 students, mostly secular Muslim Arabs from the Levant, in his class. The lecturer explained how North Africa became Muslim: Arab Muslims had conquered the area in the late 600s, sweeping across the coast and decimating the local cultures, most of which had been were Christian and Berber. Within a century, Christianity had been obliterated and most of the coastal peoples had converted to Islam, but the inhabitants had remained culturally and ethnically Berber.
The lecturer then spoke about the later conquest of the same area by the French in the 1830s; most of the students agreed that the French conquests were imperialist, and consequently decried the French for having seized the land and "imposed" French language and culture on the locals.
When the lecturer then asked what was the difference between the Arab conquests in the late 600s and the French conquests of the 1830s -- both, after all, were foreign cultures that sought to impose their ways on the locals -- the American students concluded that, as both were imperialist, both were bad.
The Arab students, however, emphatically disagreed. Although they all had opposed French imperialism, they either refused to, or could not, fathom the idea that the Arab-Muslim culture could be imperialist. They argued that the Arab Muslims were bringing their superior culture to the locals, who should have been grateful to the Arabs for such a gift.
The Arab reaction provoked outrage among some of the Americans, who then accused the Arabs of being hypocritical. If all imperialism was bad, the Americans argued, the Arab Muslims had been equally wrong to impose their culture on the local non-Muslim North Africans, too.
Neither side could even begin to understand or accept the others' views. To the Arab Muslim students, the Arabs had "liberated" the Berbers from the ignorance they had "suffered" before the Muslims arrived. The Americans could not convince even one Arab that these conquests were the same.
To the Muslims, any conquests launched in the name of Islam against the "The Abode of War" [Dar al-Harb], or the lands ruled by non-Muslims, were acceptable; but wars by non-Muslims against Muslims were, and are, not acceptable.
Today, as Berbers in North Africa and France have been trying to revive their language and culture -- most notably in Morocco, where Berbers constitute the majority of the population -- they have been allowed to do so, but only under strict government supervision. Arab leaders, like their Turkish counterparts, again perceive the differences in the languages and cultures of Muslim minorities as ways that non-Muslims could exploit, divide and conquer their countries.
7). How Muslims View Political Causes of Their Co-Religionists in Distant Regions
As the concept of Islamic brotherhood transcends borders, it is not surprising that Muslims take up the causes of their fellows Muslims in far off lands, such as Arab Muslim fighters joining the Chechens to fight the Russians in the northern Caucasus. This borderless worldview smoothes the way for holy warriors [jihadis] to be lured to training centers and causes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines and beyond, even though these jihadis often look down upon the local Muslims there and their cultures as primitive and backward.
Finally, this view highlights an incident reported in Turkish press concerning a 2008 meeting between US Vice President Cheney and Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan. Erdoğan, according to the report, was sympathetic to Iran's Muslim fundamentalists' developing nuclear weapons. His officials and he argued that the US and other Westerners had a double standard regarding the nuclear issue: the West prohibited Muslims from having nuclear weapons, but Israel – a non-Muslim country – was not prohibited from possibly having nuclear weapons.
Cheney and the other Westerners tried to explain that whether a country was Muslim or non-Muslim was immaterial. The US, he said, took the position it did because Iran had threatened to obliterate Israel, but that Israel had never threatened to obliterate anyone. Cheney's response fell on deaf ears. The Turkish officials either refused to -- or could not -- understand the point the US was making.
8). Religiously Ignorant Members of the Former Ottoman Royal Family and Their Political Affinities
The Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, the forefathers of the former royal Ottoman family, ruled for 653 years, during most of which time the Ottoman Empire was the largest and strongest Sunni Muslim power. During the last 100 years or so of their rule, each Ottoman sultan claimed to be the spiritual and political leader of the entire Muslim world. Moreover, huge numbers of Muslims living outside the Ottoman Empire agreed with him and viewed him as such.
Today, although members of the Ottoman royal family, whose ancestors Atatürk expelled from Turkey in the 1920s, still get together from time to time, they are now frequently secular, and few seem to express more than a rudimentary knowledge of Islam.
One member of the Ottoman royal family who lived in Europe, was, like most of his relatives, secular: he ate pork, enjoyed alcohol, and had even demonstrated "philo-Semitic," pro-Israeli tendencies. He had even asked a non-Muslim friend whether he, a descendent of the Ottomans, was a Sunni or Shi'ite -- an astounding question from a relative of the Ottoman Sultan, his not-so-distant ancestor, who had been the spiritual and the political, leader of the entire Sunni Islamic world
When Israel invaded southern Lebanon in 1982, however, he, who had never displayed the slightest interest in politics and had virtually no knowledge of the people living in southern Lebanon, became enraged at Israel. He said he felt almost personally attacked -- as if Israel had assaulted his people -- even though, ethnically, it was highly unlikely that he shared the slightest blood relationship with anyone in Lebanon. The last Sultan was approximately 1/1258 ethnically Turkish; mothers of the sultans were almost always European, or Caucasian slaves and concubines who were part of the Ottoman harem. We do not know of even a single Arab one.
9) An Iranian Communist Supports His Muslim Brothers, Not the Poor Workers
In Iran, during the time of the Shah, a young Iranian approached an American visiting the Holy Shrine in Qom. The Iranian, saying he felt comfortable speaking about politics there as the Shah's police did not enter the shrine unless there was serious unrest, went on to say that he was a communist because in the Soviet Union people were free, and that he hated the Shah and the US because they supported "fascist" Israel.
The American replied that the Soviet authorities placed serious impediments on people who visited mosques and holy shrines in the Soviet Union; the Iranian said that he knew otherwise.
The American then asked why a communist was even visiting a religious shrine; communists called religion "the opiate of the masses." The Iranian said that he was just waiting for his mother who wanted to pray there; that he himself did not pray.
The American then asked which side the Iranian backed in the Lebanese Civil war, which had been raging for more than two years. The Iranian replied that of course he supported the Muslims: they were poor and exploited by the rich Christians.
The American said that he had seen that too, but that he had also seen rich Muslims exploiting poor Christians. The Iranian then became agitated and said: "But we have to support our Muslim brothers!"
The words "communist" and "fascist" seemed to him to be nothing more than superficial values to be superseded by the loyalty and responsibility with which Muslims defend each other. Newly adopted foreign ideologies could be easily discarded; what remained were the traditional bonds of Muslim brotherhood, regardless of nationality, ethnicity or economic status.
10). A Secular Iraqi and the "Clash of Civilizations"
An Iraqi of mixed ethnic (Kurdish, Arab, and Turkic, and Persian) and religious (Sunni and Shi'ite) origin had been deeply involved in the opposition movement to overthrow Iraq's President, Saddam Hussein. When asked who he was, ethnically and religiously, the Iraqi would reply that neither religion nor ethnicity meant anything to him. What mattered, he said, was democracy: this was the only way all Middle Easterners could be equal. He even refused to refer to himself in religious or ethnic terms: he was, he said, a Baghdadi; that was all he cared about.
As he began, however, to hear more and more anti-Muslim feelings expressed in Europe and the US, he eventually told his Western friends that in a conflict between the democratic West and Islam, he realized he would side with Islam: "In the end," he said, "I am part of them."
11). The Turkish View of Southeastern Europe
Muslims immigrants to Turkey from the Balkan states in southeastern Europe -- ethnically Slavs, with blonde hair and blue eyes -- are easily absorbed into Turkish society, and can quickly become culturally "Turkified." Although some of Turkey's senior military leaders speak Bosnian, Serbo-Croatian and Bulgarian, and are ethnically descended from the same stock as the Christians of southeastern Europe, as they -- and the Indo-European Albanians -- converted to Islam about 500 years ago, Anatolian Muslims see them as Turks. At the same time, of course, they do not view the longtime non-Muslim residents of Anatolia as Turks.
12). Being an Outsider [Khareji] in Iran and Afghanistan
Although the word Khareji means foreigner, or outsider, in Persian and Dari (Afghan Persian), it is hard to tell if it refers to non-Afghans, to non-Iranians visiting these countries, or possibly to any non-Muslim living there, no matter how for long.
In both Afghanistan and Iran, people were asked to describe the concept of Khareji and explain to whom this term applied.
Iranian Shi'ites said about Sunni Turks that although there is little love lost between them, Turks were not kharejis; or outsiders; they were just misguided Muslims, but, because they were Muslims, still brothers.
Iranian Shi'ites said about Iraqi Shi'ites visiting Iran that they were not outsiders. Even though Iran and Iraq look askance at one another, and hold strong prejudices against one another, marriages between them are common.
Iranian Shiites said about Armenians and Jews who had lived in the ancient Iranian city of Isfahan for many centuries -- often much longer than many of the Muslims – that they were kharejis, although a different type of khareji than Europeans or Americans.
13). Israel: Jewish-Muslim Intermarriages, and the Islamic Identity of its Muslims
Under Shari 'a law, marriages between Muslim men and non-Muslim women are permitted, but marriages between Muslim women and non-Muslim men are not, unless the man converts to Islam beforehand.
In the Muslim world, non-Muslims can convert to Islam, but according to Shari'a Law, converting out of Islam is an act of apostasy that requires the apostate to be killed, so virtually no one ever converts from Islam. Those Muslims who leave Islam do so at their peril.
When assimilation occurs, it is usually minorities who assimilate into majority cultures. It is much rarer to find members of majority groups joining minorities.
A Jewish woman who marries a Muslim man almost always converts to Islam. As religious identity in Islam is passed down through the father, any children born in a mixed union – even if by rape in a war -- are automatically Muslim.
In Israel, the children of Jews married to Muslims, members of the minority culture, are almost always raised Muslim, even though, from a Jewish legal view, the religion is passed down through the mother and Jews recognize the children as Jews. There are, however, virtually no instances in which such children identify themselves as Jews. Those few children who might try to escape Islam risk death – a threat that only serves to reinforce the solidarity of Islamic brotherhood.
* * *
What then, is the basic difference between the Western concept of solidarity and the Muslim concept of brotherhood?
In the West, citizenship and loyalty to one's country are looked on as the basic building blocks of political identity. Muslims, however, apparently feel a solidarity with Muslims worldwide even before they know what the circumstances are, in a way totally alien to Christians and others, and one that has that has no parallel in the West. In Egypt, Muslims feel a closer tie with Muslims in Syria or Saudi Arabia, than they do with the Egyptian Christians with whom they have been living for centuries.
Almost universally, the Muslim reaction is to feel an accord with, for instance, the Palestinian cause, even though very few support the Palestinians in any significant material way -- casually leaving that to the US and Europe -- and are content to keep them in squalid living conditions, ostensibly for their own good .
In Turkey, one time, when a secular, pro-Western Turkish official criticized Atatürk, the founder of the secular Republic of Turkey, for not having forced the Turks to adopt Christianity, he was expressing an underlying thought: We Turks will never fully be accepted by the Western world because we are Muslims.
"Islam," he said, "claims that all Muslims are members of the same family. Christians, by this Islamic definition, are members of the non-Muslim family of nations who, in a crisis, will support each other against the Muslims."
Had Atatürk forced the Turks convert to Christianity, he implied, Turkey would then have a chance to be accepted into the European Union, and would not have had to worry about the Western-Christian-Greek lobby. He seems to have thought that only as a Christian country would Turkey have been able to gain full Western acceptance. To him, religious solidarity overrode everything. He probably would not have been able to see the situation any other way.
 Fundamentalists do not agree on which countries this view includes, although most agree that it does include much of the Arab world – especially Egypt, and the pre-AK Party-ruled Turkish Republic. Others include the rulers of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, whom we see as deeply religious, but whom the fundamentalists see as lackeys of the West. As these rulers are therefore to them apostates, they must be punished according to Islamic law – meaning, they must be put to death.
 In Arabic "al-Kufr millatun wahida."
 In the Koran, non-believers are called one nation (In Arabic, al-Kufr millatun wahida.), as can be seen, for example, in a tape from March, 2008, supposedly from Osama bin Laden. Osama ranted and raved against Europe for republishing cartoons which denigrated the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Europe did not republish them. They were reproduced in Denmark, a tiny country in Europe. And Denmark did not publish them either. They were published by one publisher, but Osama failed to make these distinctions because for him, the non-Muslims are all one political entity -- so by extension, the whole region is guilty of publishing the cartoons.
 It is important to note that we are not talking here about the political organization called "The Muslim Brotherhood."
 Examples will be presented in the following pages.
 Ayatollah Khomeini, for example, ruled that the Iranian government could temporarily abrogate verses from the Quran if doing so served Iran's national interests – in this instance, enabling Iran to side with Christian Armenia against Muslim Shi'ite Azerbaijan.
 For example, during the 1980's Iran and Iraq bled each other to death, both countries loosing hundreds of thousands – perhaps more than a million people each -- during the eight year Iran-Iraq war. But when the American-led coalition prepared to take back Kuwait from the Iraqis, Saddam had no qualms about sending 135 airplanes to Iran for safe protection.
 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13744972. To hear the speech in Turkish, click on the YouTube video:
 Lebanon is a special case. In the 1930s, the Christians formed the majority of the population, but all of Lebanon's ethnic and religious groups came to an uneasy agreement regarding power sharing. This agreement subsequently became shaky when the Muslims --the Shi'ites and Sunnis combined – came to form a majority. Nevertheless, the Shi'ites and Sunnis look at each other with suspicion, and often look to the Christians as allies against each other. As Hizbullah does what it is told to do by both Syria and Iran, it is not clear how long this agreement will last.
 A fatwa is a religious ruling. It can address any topic. It is not, as some believe, just a death sentence.
 Historically, Christians and Jews had been allowed to live in the Empire under Islamic rule, but only as long as they accepted their status as being politically and socially inferior, and paid additional taxes [jizya].
 He sent a message to an Anatolian Turkish-speaking Christian prelate living in New Jersey during the 1920s, requesting that he return to Turkey and lead this "Turkish" church. The prelate refused, and with his refusal, died the idea of a Turkish Christian church.
 It is obvious from their names they are not Muslims, so the question then becomes, are they non-Muslims of Turkey?
 This makes sense only when we understand the word "Turk" to mean "Muslim."
 For Sunnis, a Caliph was and still is considered God's representative on earth. In addition to his political role as head of the Ottoman Empire, to his people the Caliph's role as a spiritual leader is roughly equivalent to that of the Pope in the Vatican.
 There are almost never any marriages between Muslim women and Jewish men. In Islam, the children belong to the father's religion; children born of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father are therefore Muslim, irrespective of the fact that Jews claim these children as Jews. In Jewish law (Halakha), religious identity comes from the mother.
 "The Return of Islam," Bernard Lewis, Commentary Magazine, January, 1976,
Muslims and Moral Handicaps
Monday, 04 April 2011 04:54
Right Side News
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants an investigation into Koran burning. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer suggested that this form of free speech could be banned. Senator Lindsey Graham is also looking for ways to limit free speech, saying, "Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war".
Free speech is more than a great idea, it's a fundamental freedom untouchable by legislators. But all it takes is a few Muslim murders-- and Reid, Breyer and Graham eagerly hold up their lighters to the Constitution. Free speech has been curtailed before in the United States during a time of war-- but only free speech sympathetic to the enemy. During WW1 a suspected German propagandist filmmaker was jailed. But could anyone have imagined anti-German propagandists being jailed? The Wilson administration was behaving unconstitutionally, but not insanely.
Today we aren't jailing filmmakers who traffic in anti-American propaganda in wartime. If we did that half of Hollywood would be behind bars. Instead Democratic and Republican Senators are discussing banning speech offensive to the enemy. Because even though they're killing us already-- we had better not provoke them or who knows how much worse it will become.
Traditionally it's the victors who give their laws to the defeated. But massive immigration at home and nation building occupations abroad mean that the defeated of failed states are imposing their Sharia law on us. We're asked to trade in our Constitutional freedoms out of fear of Muslim violence. And so the murderers impose the terms of peace on us. And then don't abide by them.
Violence in the Muslim world is a constant. We have been fighting Muslim violence since George Washington's time. And we have been subject to it even longer. Whether it's Muslims killing Hindus, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians or any and every religion under the sun-- there is a pattern here. It's a story as old as time. And it's not one that we can stop by ladling out honeyed words of appeasement.
Senator Graham warns us to shut up in a time of war-- but is there any foreseeable future in which we won't be fighting in a Muslim country? Democrats elected the most anti-war candidate of the bunch only to see him begin his 2012 reelection campaign by bombing another Muslim country. And what's surprising about that. Most of the trouble spots in the world that directly or indirectly affect us are located in Muslim countries. The major threat to the United States comes from the Muslim world. And that means we're going to be tied up dealing with the Muslim world in one way or another, whether as soldiers, diplomats or aid workers. And even if we weren't-- there are hundreds of thousands of Americans still living and working in Muslim countries. Hostages to the latest Muslim temper tantrum.
As Muslim terror has gotten worse, we have started treating the Muslim world like a ticking bomb-- tiptoeing around them to avoid setting them off. Whatever they don't like about us, we're willing to change. The paradigm of the angry dog or the ticking bomb means that we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Whatever you do, the dog mauls you and the bomb blows up. But by pretending that you control the situation, you can feel better about your role in the outcome.
When a man teases a dog on the other side of a chain link fence-- we blame the man for provoking the dog, not the dog for being provoked. Animals have less of everything that makes for accountability. And so don't hold them accountable. Instead we divide them into categories of dangerous and harmless, and treat them accordingly.
Our response to Muslim violence in Afghanistan, supposedly touched off by a Koran burning in Florida, uses that same canine logic. The Muslims are dangerous and violent, so whoever provokes them is held accountable for what they do. Don't tease a doberman on the other side of a chain link fence and don't tease Muslims on the other side of the border or the world. That's the takeaway from our elected and unelected officials.
But the Muslim rioters are not dogs, they are human beings whose moral responsibility is being denied by treating their violence as a reflexive act. Their violence is not unconscious or instinctual-- it emerges out of a decision making process. There is nothing inevitable about what happened in Afghanistan. If Muslims had some sort of hair trigger, then why was the violent rioting confined to a very specific part of the world. For the same reason that the reaction to the cartoons took so long. And why was it directed at the UN and not the US. The Koran burning was not the cause of Muslim violence-- but a rationalization for existing violence that would have occurred anyway for reasons having nothing to do with Terry Jones. And by treating Muslims like the 'Morally Handicapped' who have no choice but to kill when something offends them, we are not doing any favors for them or us.
It is far more insulting to treat Muslims as if they have no ability to control themselves and have no responsibility for their actions-- than it is to burn their Koran. That is an assessment that even many Muslims would agree with.
To blame Jones for their actions, we must either treat murder as a reasonable response to the burning of a book, or grant that Jones has a higher level of moral responsibility than the rioters do. There are few non-Muslims who could defend the notion that burning the Koran is a provocation that justifies bloodshed. And virtually no liberal would openly concede that he believes Muslims are morally handicapped-- but then why does he treat them that way?
If a Christian had torched a mosque in response to the Muslim arson of churches in Africa-- is there any liberal columnist or pundit who would have directed the lion's share of the blame at the original Muslim arsonists? No. The mosque burning would be treated as an independent act with no linkage to the church arsons. That is the attitude of Western jurisprudence which does not allow one crime to justify another, let alone one provocation to justify a crime. Individuals are treated as responsible moral actors-- not shooting balls in a pinball machine. Why then does this standard fly out the window when it comes to Muslims? Why does the press so easily sink into the rhetoric of 'retaliation and 'provocation', treating Muslim terrorism as a reflex, rather than a chosen act.
Is it not because for all their fanciful prose about the Religion of Peace, they do indeed see Muslims as dogs on the other side of a chain link fence. "Don't tease the dog, son, and it won't hurt you."
Liberalism begins as condescension toward lower class violence and culminates in complicity with it. Class warfare treated the poor as less morally responsible than the rich because of their deprivation and persecution. By treating physical deprivation as equivalent to moral deprivation, they became guilty of a far worse prejudice than those they were combating. They had declared that the poor were subhuman. When class warfare gave way to race warfare, they repeated the same ugly trick, romanticizing the Black Panthers and empowering thugs and rioters who destroyed black and white communities. The discriminated against were not bound by the same moral code as the discriminators. Their violence was 'purer' because it was a reflex against their conditions that they could not control. And so liberals who lectured ceaselessly about racism, were treating minorities as less than human.
Now in the age of Globalism-- Muslims are the new oppressed, exempted from the norms of civilized society. The morally handicapped who cannot be expected to turn the other cheek, the way we're supposed to.
But Muslims are not morally disabled-- they are immorally enabled. Muslim violence is a choice. Their choice. It is not a reflex or a reaction or a pinball bouncing off the cycle of violence. It is not something that we are responsible for. It is something that they and only they are responsible for. By pretending otherwise, we are immorally enabling them. Treating them like mad dogs or ticking time bombs just guarantees that they will play their part and fulfill our expectations by mauling or exploding.
We have never held Muslims morally accountable for anything they do. Not as a religion or as countries or individuals. Instead we pretend that Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi are the problem. A handful of extremists and a few bad leaders somewhere. Not the people themselves. Never them.
Instead we have treated Muslims as the morally handicapped, too morally feeble to understand that violence is not the answer to everything from your daughter sneaking out with a boy to a pastor torching the Koran for a BBQ. And they have reacted exactly as people do when they know they will not be held accountable for their actions.
Treating someone as dangerous gives them power over you. They will test that power and then use it. Allowing yourself to be intimidated is the first step to being defeated. For many it is also the last step. We treated Muslims as dangerous and then we insist loudly that we love them very much and aren't afraid of them at all. Guess who we're fooling? Only ourselves. Every time there's a terror alert or American politicians talk about the wonders of the Koran-- the Muslim world sees it as evidence of their power over us. And when a Koran is burned, that just means we need further intimidating. It's a cycle of violence, but we're not the ones driving it except through our appeasement.
Muslims have stifled their own moral development-- but we haven't helped either. And the only way we can do that is to push them toward a moral reckoning. Instead we have bought into their genocidal narrative, enabled their violence and empowered the murderous aspects of their ideology. It's time that stopped. Lies and flattery will not prevent the violence. Only the confrontation of truth can force a moral reckoning.
Senator Graham wishes there was a way to hold Koran burners accountable for violence carried out by Koran readers, but what we really need is a way to hold Koran believers accountable for their own violence.
From NY to Jerusalem , Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News. Daniel Greenfield is a blogger, author and columnists covering international affairs, the rising threat of terrorism and the growing problems of socialism.
World War IV
07 February 2011
The Moscow Times
By Richard Lourie
The horrendous bombing at Domodedovo Airport was quickly eclipsed by the Egyptian uprising, but both are incidents in the new world war. That war began on Sept. 11, 2001, with an act of violence as specific as the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in August 1914 that started World War I.
World War II also began with specific acts of violence — the invasion of Poland and the bombing of Pearl Harbor — but the Cold War, or “World War III,” did not. The Cold War, anomalous in many respects, was about the containment of violence rather than its use.
This new world war will, at the very least, define the first half of the 21st century (already 20 percent complete), just as the Cold War defined the last half of the 20th century. World War I and II were relatively classical with clearly defined enemies and uniformed troops clashing on battlefields. The Cold War was amorphous and only sporadically violent. The New War is also amorphous but more than just sporadically violent without approaching the levels of World War I or II. But if the war widens to include a nuclear Pakistan and India, it has the potential to dwarf its predecessors.
The West had the dubious distinction of being the main arena of the last three world wars, but this one is centered elsewhere, in the Muslim world, a struggle among a daunting array of opponents — aging tyrants and hi-tech youth, Islamists and democrats, mixed with traditions of religious and ethnic hatred that are impossible to sort out. Though there are real grievances against the West, the conflict is ultimately a civil war within the Muslim world. The violence done to New York skyscrapers, Domodedovo and the Moscow and London subways are almost collateral damage.
The war may be centered in the Muslim world, but it’s a moving center. Tunisia one day, Egypt the next, with tomorrow being anyone’s guess. Some commentators have worried aloud about the Egyptian “contagion” spreading throughout the Arab lands. They’re worrying too small. Central Asia is also ripe for revolts of the Egyptian variety. The two largest Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, are ruled by elderly despots who have been in power since the Soviet days. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been working to be made president for life, a position he is already reconsidering in light of recent events in Egypt and Yemen. Uzbek President Islam Karimov has for the first time mumbled something like an explanation, if not an apology, for the massacre of protestors in the city of Andijan in 2005. In fact, Central Asia already has its own model for toppling tyrants in Kyrgyzstan, which has now become the region’s first parliamentary democracy after it sent its corrupt dictator packing.
Many think that the turmoil in Egypt cannot ultimately be good for the United States, not to mention Israel. Likewise, turmoil in Central Asia cannot be good for Russia. As Washington did, Moscow will no doubt opt to support aging tyrants in order to keep terrorism down and avenues of commerce open. But the day of reckoning will be worse for Moscow because Muslim unrest and violence will not only permeate its borders but arise from with the Islamic segment of Russia’s population. The Kremlin has two essential tasks now: to modernize its economy and society and to get on the right side of history, the winning side in World War IV, while there’s still time. Failure to do either will prove ruinous.
The Muslim Mosque: A State Within A State
from Vijay Kumar
Right Side News
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Islam's political documents and law call for the overthrow of our Constitution and our man-made laws, and therefore for the overthrow of our government, which by definition constitutes sedition and treason.
THE KABAH IN MECCA WAS NOT BUILT AS AN ISLAMIC MOSQUE. It was an ancient temple that had been shared by polytheists, Christians, Jews, and Hindus, honoring 360 different deities. In 630 A.D. the Kabah was captured by Islam in its military invasion and conquest of Mecca.
On the day of its capture, Mohammed delivered an address at the Kabah in military dress and helmet, according to Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani in his book, "The Message":
"Bear in mind that every claim of privilege, whether that of blood or property is abolished . . . I reject all claims relating to life and property and all imaginary honors of the past, and declare them to be baseless . . . A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim and all the Muslims are brothers of one another and constitute one hand as against the non-Muslims. The blood of every one of them is equal to that of others and even the smallest among them can make a promise on behalf of others." -Mohammed
Mohammed's address at the Kabah overthrew the Meccan government and declared all of Islam, anywhere in the world, to be a political and military state against all non-Muslims, regardless of the non-Muslims' political, geographical, or national origins.
"If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him." -Koran 3:85
Although the rightful owners of the Kabah are the many religions that shared it before the Islamic military conquest of Mecca, according to Subhani the Kabah today is under the control of a hereditary regime going back to Mohammed: "currently the 12th Imam from the direct descent of the Prophet of Islam is the real protector, its custodian and guardian."
All Islamic mosques everywhere in the world are required to have a clear visible indication pointing in the direction of Mecca and the Kabah, where the international political and military state of Islam was founded. In most mosques there is a niche in the wall-the mihrab-that points toward the seat of Islamic power. Each mosque, like the Kabah, is governed by an Imam in compliance with the political documents of Islam.
Mosques and the Political Documents of Islam
The Koran is the supreme political document of Islam-its political manifesto and political constitution. It is the only constitution of the nation-state Saudi Arabia, which is the home of Mecca and the Kabah, where all mosques point, and is the birthplace of Islam.
The Koran is a totalitarian constitution. It demands submission by anyone within its jurisdiction. The Koran governs all mosques everywhere in the world.
As a political document, the Koran asserts that everyone in the world is within its jurisdiction. So far, Islam has not been able to enforce that totalitarian claim on the entire world, but has managed to do so through threat, infiltration, violence, terrorism, and coercion on roughly 20% of the world. It is engaged in a 1400-year-long Universal Jihad to dominate the rest of the world. All mosques are its outpost headquarters.
Central to the Koran's political mandates is prohibition of religious freedom and religious tolerance, along with denouncements of religions such as Christianity and Judaism.
"O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them." -Koran 5:51
"Fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)" -Koran 9:5
All mosque leaders must be loyal to and supportive of these political and militaristic mandates.
The Koran as a political document also forbids separation of church and state. That is why every Islamic nation, where Islamic leaders have managed to gain power, is a theocracy, ruled by the Koran and Islamic Sharia law.
The Hadith (reported sayings and acts of Mohammed) and the Sira (the official biographies of Mohammed) are the other political documents that, along with the Koran, constitute the basis for Islam's Sharia law.
"There is only one law which ought to be followed, and that is the Sharia." -Syed Qutb
Sharia law is administered by Islamic Imams who interpret the law and hand down rulings in their sole discretion. Sharia law does not allow trial by jury. Sharia law also mandates a double standard of laws for Muslims (believers) and infidels (non-believers). Sharia law mandates a discriminatory tax, called jizya, on non-Islamic religions and nations:
"Fight those who believe not in Allah...until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." -Koran 9:29
Sharia law also mandates discrimination toward women, and forbids any criticism of Islam or its founder, stifling freedom of speech.
Sharia law also mandates that all men are slaves with no right to freedom of religion:
"Allah's right on His slaves is that they should worship Him (Alone) and should not worship any besides Him." -Mohammed, Sahih Bukhari 4:52:108, Narrated Mu'adh
Sharia law does not allow for separation of church and state. Sharia regards church and state as one inseparable entity governing every aspect of individual and social life, both spiritual and secular. That is why all Islamic nations are theocracies.
In short, Sharia law stands in direct opposition to the American Constitution and Bill of Rights. The implementation of Sharia law demands the overthrow of the American Constitution and our form of government and system of laws. Mosque leaders, in every nation in the world, are loyal to the Koran, the Hadith, the Sira, and consider them divine law, and therefore supreme over all manmade laws.
Other political and military documents of Islam include treaties of Mohammed, which are held in reverence by Islam as models of conduct in relations between nations.
"Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah [Mohammed] a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah." -Koran 33:21
"War is deceit." -Mohammed, Sahih Bukhari 4:52:268, Narrated Abu Hurarira
In one treaty proposal, to Jaifer and Abd, Mohammed wrote:
"If you two accept Islam, your country will, as usual, remain with you. But if you refuse or object, it is a perishable thing." -Mohammed
In another, to the Chiefs of Aqaba, he wrote:
"It is better for you either to accept Islam or agree to pay Jizya and consent to remain obedient to Allah . . . If you do not accept these terms . . . I shall have to wage war (to bring peace and security)." -Mohammed
These same patterns and political mandates have been used over and over by Muslims since 610 A.D. to invade and conquer many civilizations and nations throughout the world, and to eradicate human rights and freedoms in those lands. Iran once was called Persia and was Zorastrian. Egypt was Christian. What was once a Hindu civilization was conquered and made into Pakistan, which is now part of the Axis of Jihad, along with Iran and Saudi Arabia. Afghanistan was Buddhist for thousands of years. Now its chief exports are heroin and Islamic terrorism.
"When We decide to destroy a population, We (first) send a definite order to those among them who are given the good things of this life and yet transgress; so that the word is proved true against them: then (it is) We destroy them utterly." -Koran 17:16
In every instance where Islam has conquered and "destroyed utterly" a nation or civilization, the key to the conquest was the establishment of mosques, which are political and military command and control centers for Islam, and which all point toward the seat of Islamic power: the Kabah.
Mosques and the Fallacy of the "Moderate Muslim"
The majority of Germans during World War II were not active members of the Nazi party, were not waging war, and were not involved in the holocaust. The leaders, though, were active members of the Nazi party, were waging war, and were involved in the holocaust.
The majority of Russians and eastern Europeans under the rule of the U.S.S.R. were not trying to spread Communism throughout the world, and were not threatening and waging war and revolution, but were going about their daily lives trying to survive. The leaders, though, were doing everything they could to spread Communism throughout the world, and were threatening and waging war and revolution.
Throughout history, since 610 A.D., the leaders of Islam have been waging Universal Jihad around the world for the purpose of Islamic totalitarian domination of the world. It has never mattered what percentage of the Muslim population was "peaceful" or "moderate." Peace and moderation are not relevant to the totalitarian mandates of Islam's political documents, and Islam's leaders always follow the totalitarian mandates of Universal Jihad contained in them.
There are post-Nazi democracies. There are post-Communist democracies. There are no post-Islamic democracies. Literal Islam, as contained in its political documents, is the consummate totalitarianism. Neither Nazism or Communism had a metaphysical factor, as does Islam. Islam uses its metaphysics as a wedge to drive in its totalitarian political doctrines.
Once Islam has established itself sufficiently in any nation, it seeks to overthrow any existing regime or constitution or law, and replace it with Islamic theocracy. Even the most "moderate" Muslim is bound to obey Islamic law, and so is bound to fight if ordered to fight:
"When you are called (by the Muslim ruler) for fighting, go forth immediately." -Hadith Sahih Bukhari 4:52:79:Narrated Ibn 'Abbas
All Islamic mosques have Islamic leaders (rulers) who can call Muslims for fighting, and as such are satellite headquarters for spreading Literal Islam's political doctrine of world domination and totalitarianism-no matter how many "moderate Muslims" they serve.
Mosques and the Worldwide Islamic State
Islam is a de facto political state wherever it exists anywhere in the world. The Koran is its constitution. The Kabah is its seat of power, still in the control of the regime that occupied it in 630 A.D. All Muslims in the world, regardless of nationality, are required to travel to the Kabah at least once in their lifetime and pay homage to it.
The fact that nations and international political institutions in the world do not recognize Islam as a de jure state is irrelevant. Mohammed himself declared it as a state, and Islam's own political documents declare it to be a state, and, ipso facto, it always is a state-within-a-state, governed by the Koran and Sharia law internally, anywhere that it has not yet gained full power and control.
"The Believers are but a single brotherhood." -Koran 49:10
"A Muslim has no nationality except his belief." -Syed Qutb
"Islam wishes to destroy all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and program of Islam regardless of the country or the nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a State on the basis of its own ideology and program." - Syed Abul A'ala Maududi
Just as our Constitution of the United States binds and identifies us as a single political and legal union of non-contiguous states, territories, political groups, and people, so the Koran binds and identifies all Islamic nations and all Muslims as a single political and legal union of non-contiguous nations, territories, political groups and people, regardless of geographic boundaries, whose seat of power is the occupied Kabah. All Islamic Imams, in every mosque everywhere in the world, are bound to the Koran as supreme law.
As we have seen, Islamic law gives Islamic Imams the power to order Muslims to fighting. The German Max Weber, who had considerable influence on international law and politics, defined "state" as that entity that has a "monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory."
Islam declares that the Koran and Sharia law are divine, and, as such, are the only "legitimate" law in the world. In that way, Islam "self-legitimizes" its right to use physical force anywhere in the world, and the right of every Imam in every mosque in the world to call for physical force and violence at any time. This makes every Imam in every mosque a military leader.
Islam is a state by every definition and theory, and is a state hostile to and at war with the United States of America and its Constitution.
Mosques and Treason and Sedition Against the U.S.
Islam's political documents and law call for the overthrow of our Constitution and our man-made laws, and therefore for the overthrow of our government, which by definition constitutes sedition and treason. The Islamic documents call for the overthrow of our government-a protector of religious freedom and human rights-through violence:
"I was ordered to fight all men until they say 'there is no god but Allah.'" -Mohammed's farewell address, 632
"I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.'" -Hadith Sahih Bukhari 4:52:196 Narrated Abu Huraira
"He who fights so that Allah's Word (Islam) should be superior, then he fights in Allah's cause." -Hadith Sahih Bukhari 1:3:125 Narrated Abu Musa
"I asked the Prophet [Mohammed], 'What is the best deed?' He replied, 'To believe in Allah and to fight for His Cause.'" -Hadith Sahih Bukhari 3:46:694 Narrated Abu Dhar
"And fight them till there is no more affliction (i.e. no more worshiping of others along with Allah)". -Hadith Sahih Bukhari 6:60:40 Narrated Nafi'
"Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers." -Koran 3.151
"I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them." -Koran 8:12
"Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know." -Koran 8:60
The Koran, as the constitution of Islam and Muslims, is diametrically opposite to the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. According to Islam and Muslims, the Koran is divine law, uncorrupted and incorruptible, whereas the United States Constitution is man-made and is not infallible, and therefore is corrupt. The U.S. Constitution is the antithesis of the Koran; therefore Muslims have no obligation to obey it.
A mosque in the United States is a command and control center of a foreign political and military state that seeks the overthrow of our government, and an Imam in a mosque is a political and military representative of a foreign state that calls for the overthrow of the United States.
The laws of the United States provide specific criminal penalties for sedition and treason. These laws are not only applicable to those advocating and calling for the overthrow of our Constitution and our government; they are applicable to anyone who gives "aid or comfort" to such declared enemies of the United States, or who "organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons" so engaged. The terms "organizes" and "organize" extend to "the recruiting of new members, the forming of new units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes, and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons."
Mosques are just such units.
Vijay Kumar is a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress from Tennessee's 5th District. A native of Hyderabad, India, Mr. Kumar lived in Iran during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when he came to the United States. A naturalized American citizen, Mr. Kumar has lived in Nashville, Tennessee for 24 years. He has been married to his wife, Robin, a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky, for 27 years, and they have three children, two of whom are adopted.
Will Homegrown Terrorists Turn the Big Apple Into 'New Yorkistan'?
By Judith Miller
Published June 11, 2010
They had ambitious dreams, these guys. They would astonish the world, making it big by killing lots of American soldiers overseas in Somalia or at home in America. Worst case: they would die as holy warriors and become, if not rich, famous.
“My soul cannot rest till I shed blood,” Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, the 20-year-old, American-born son of Palestinian parents, told his putative partner in crime, Eduardo Almonte, 24, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal district court this week. Alessa considered fellow Muslim Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the naturalized U.S. Army psychiatrist who gunned down 13 fellow soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood last November, a nut and an amateur. “I’ll do twice what he did,” Alessa vowed. “I wanna, like, be the world’s known terrorist.”
Fortunately, Alessa was plotting not only with Almonte, but also with an undercover officer from the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division, who was recording every word. As a result, the duo were arrested Saturday night as they tried boarding separate Cairo-bound planes on their way to Somalia, where they intended to join an Al Qaeda-affiliated, Somalia-based terrorist group called Al Shabab, or “the guys” in Arabic. On Monday, they were arraigned in federal court in Newark, accused of conspiring to commit murder, kidnapping, maiming, and mayhem in the name of God.
Terror experts from the NYPD and the FBI have just begun analyzing the latest foiled terror plot against America, and they’ve already come to some disturbing preliminary conclusions. First, the plot is further evidence of the NYPD’s once controversial thesis that Americans will increasingly face a challenge from “homegrown” terrorism. The grim statistics can no longer be denied.
In a May meeting, Mitch Silber, the NYPD’s top terrorism analyst, told a gathering of security representatives at police headquarters that the preponderance of major terrorist plots against Americans since 9/11 were “homegrown,” that is, planned by terrorists either born or raised in the United States. In fact, Silber said, quoting his latest report on homegrown terror, 90 percent of the core conspirators of jihadist plots against America and the West throughout the world between 2004 and 2009 were radicalized in the West.
While Al Qaeda remains a serious problem, the NYPD argued in its initial report back in 2007, the terrorism threat now comes mainly from “younger Muslim men between the ages of 15 and 35” who are middle class rather than extremely poor and have no Al Qaeda connection, but have been radicalized by exposure to an “extreme and minority interpretation” of Islam.
Alessa and Almonte fit this bill perfectly. Both are Jersey boys who grew up less than 15 miles apart in commuter towns across the river from New York. Alessa, the key plotter, was the troubled young son of hard-working Palestinian-Americans. He dropped out of high school and attended a local prep school for troubled students before enrolling at Bergen Community College. As a teenager, he had hung out with a gang called the “Arabian Knights,” a moniker that the police eventually adopted for its four-year surveillance of the two potential troublemakers.
Carlos Eduardo Almonte, a naturalized American who came from the Dominican Republic and converted to Islam, highlights another trend among terrorist conspirators that analysts are beginning to study: the disproportionate number, not only of converts to Islam, but converts of Hispanic origin.
Is there something particularly insidious about the combination of Hispanic “macho” culture among males and conversion to Islam that drives such young men toward the most violent, extremist interpretations of the faith? Could this segment of American immigrants feel particularly marginalized and hence, be vulnerable to militant radicalization when they convert? No one seems to know.
But Almonte is hardly the first Hispanic convert to turn to terror. Among the first, and most notorious, was Jose Padilla, a Hispanic-American citizen radicalized in Chicago and arrested in 2002 for plotting to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge.
Another Hispanic convert is New Yorker Bryant Neal Vinas, the son of Peruvian and Argentinean parents who became radicalized in the city before traveling to Pakistan in an attempt to link up with Al Qaeda and engage in violent jihad.
A second aspect of the latest case spurring debate is the alleged culprits’ destination. This is not the first time that young American-based Muslims have been linked to Somalia. Over the last few years, at least 15 young men of Somali descent were radicalized in Minneapolis, which has a large Somali-Muslim community, and left the U.S. to wage jihad there. They, too, joined Al Shabab. Several have died in Somalia, either in “combat” or perhaps at the hands of their recruiters, unwilling to permit them to return home with knowledge of the group’s membership and operational methods.
Are Somalia and other failing African nations becoming terrorism’s new frontier—a wide-open, lawless land of piracy, corruption, warlords, and mayhem? With the crushing of its Islamic militant insurgency, Iraq is no longer a land of opportunity for holy warriors.
Daniel Boyd, the key plotter of the so-called Raleigh Seven (or Raleigh Eight, as it turned out), made the mistake of traveling with his sons through Israel to try to help Palestinians engage in jihad. Though he was skilled in the ways of war, intense surveillance in Israel foiled Boyd’s plans.
Nor is Afghanistan considered welcoming, since American and NATO soldiers are for the moment keeping Al Qaeda out and its Taliban collaborator and sympathizers under pressure.
Saudi Arabia is too expensive for most American jihadi aspirants, and Yemen too dangerous.
Pakistan is being closely watched by American Predator drones and Pakistani security officials, at least some of whom now consider the militant Islamic groups they once helped create and coddle a threat to their own nuclear-armed government.
Judging from the complaint, Alessa and Almonte clearly considered Somalia hospitable.
Counterterrorism officials and terror analysts are now contemplating what, if anything, they can do to make Somalia less inviting to aspiring terrorists and terrorists-in-training, and to monitor more effectively young militants who migrate there.
Further, analysts cannot help but notice that while New York has long been militant Islamist terror’s Number One target, it has also increasingly become the main U.S. source of the challenge—“New Yorkistan,” as one seasoned counterterrorism analyst calls it.
Najibullah Zazi, the Afghan immigrant who allegedly plotted to blow up New York subway trains, may have moved to Denver, but he grew up in New York and had friends in the city.
Bryant Vinas, a former Boy Scout and U.S. army enlistee who discussed a potential attack on the Long Island Railroad with Al Qaeda members in Waziristan, was born in Queens and raised Catholic in a middle-class household in Medford, Long Island.
Faisal Shahzad, who tried earlier this year to blow up his SUV in Times Square, attended the University of Bridgeport and lived in two towns in Connecticut.
Alessa and Almonte, both of whom grew up in New Jersey, bought some of the garb and gear they apparently intended to use for jihad in Somalia at an Army/Navy store in New York City, the complaint alleges. Alessa, seeing a fire hydrant in Jersey City, fantasized about a fire breaking out in the city in which “Allah,” “God willing,” would “rain gasoline down on that fire.” Alessa hated the city and his native country: “God willing, I never come back” to this “crap hole,” the complaint quotes him as saying, visions of body bags for American soldiers dancing in his head.
Finally, the latest foiled plot vindicates the NYPD’s investment in its long-term undercover intelligence program. The first tip about Alessa and Almonte’s dreams of killing fellow Americans came in October 2006 from someone who knew them, an associate who saw something and said something.
For the next four years, police monitored the duo, watching Alessa even as he traveled to Jordan, allegedly to attend school (another failure). When it became clear that the two young men’s trajectory was veering toward violence, the surveillance intensified. The undercover agent won Alessa’s trust. For an entire year, he watched and listened, recording the duo’s every action. The evidence is overwhelming.
The foiling of yet another homegrown plot concocted by young men who were determined and disciplined validates the time and money that the NYPD has invested in collecting human intelligence.
Judith Miller is a writer, Manhattan Institute scholar and Fox News contributor. This essay first appeared in the Manhattan Institute's "City Journal."
U.S. sees homegrown Muslim extremism as rising threat
This may have been the most dangerous year since 9/11, anti-terrorism experts say.
By Sebastian Rotella
Los Angeles Times
December 7, 2009
from Washington - The Obama administration, grappling with a spate of recent
Islamic terrorism cases on U.S. soil, has concluded that the country confronts a
rising threat from homegrown extremism.
Anti-terrorism officials and experts see signs of accelerated radicalization among American Muslims, driven by a wave of English-language online propaganda and reflected in aspiring fighters' trips to hot spots such as Pakistan and Somalia.
Europe had been the front line, the target of successive attacks and major plots, while the U.S. remained relatively calm. But the number, variety and scale of recent U.S. cases suggest 2009 has been the most dangerous year domestically since 2001, anti-terrorism experts said:
* There were major arrests of Americans accused of plotting with Al Qaeda and its allies, including an Afghan American charged in a New York bomb plot described as the most serious threat in this country since the Sept. 11 attacks.
* Authorities tracked other extremism suspects joining foreign networks, including Somali Americans going to the battlegrounds of their ancestral homeland and an Albanian American from Brooklyn who was arrested in Kosovo.
* The FBI rounded up homegrown terrorism suspects in Dallas, Detroit and Raleigh, N.C., saying that it had broken up plots targeting a synagogue, government buildings and military facilities.
Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued her strongest public comments yet on the homegrown threat.
"We've seen an increased number of arrests here in the U.S. of individuals suspected of plotting terrorist attacks, or supporting terror groups abroad such as Al Qaeda," Napolitano said in a speech in New York. "Home-based terrorism is here. And, like violent extremism abroad, it will be part of the threat picture that we must now confront."
Officials acknowledged that her tone had changed, though they said terrorism has been her focus since becoming Homeland Security chief.
In some of the 2009 cases, extremist leanings are suspected but motives are not known.
Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan -- accused of killing 13 people in a Ft. Hood, Texas, shooting rampage last month -- has apparently suffered emotional problems. But in interviews, officials and experts have also raised his Muslim beliefs as an alleged motive.
A previous attack on the U.S. military, a shooting in June by an American convert who killed a soldier and wounded another at an Arkansas recruiting center, was apparently a case of a lone wolf radicalized in Yemen, according to Homeland Security officials.
"You are seeing the full spectrum of the threats you face in terrorism," former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said.
"Radicalization is clearly happening in the U.S.," said Mitchell Silber, director of analysis for the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department. "In years past, you couldn't say that about the U.S. You could say it about Europe."
Europe has suffered a militant onslaught: transport bombings in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005, an assassination in the Netherlands in 2004, and close calls such as the fiery failed attack on the Glasgow airport in 2007.
Hard borders have helped the U.S. ward off the threat. But experts also said that Islamic radicalization is more widespread in Europe. Crime, alienation and extremism roil Muslim immigrant communities in places like tiny Denmark and the vast slums of France.
In contrast, American Muslims are wealthier, better educated and better integrated because the United States does a good job of absorbing immigrants and fostering tolerance, experts said. During the last decade, Americans have been a rare presence in the Al Qaeda-connected camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan that have trained hundreds of Westerners and thousands of recruits from Muslim-majority nations.
Nonetheless, recent investigations have run across Americans suspected of being operatives of Al Qaeda and its allies who were trained overseas and, in several cases, allegedly conspired with top terrorism bosses. They include a convert from Long Island, N.Y, who was captured in Pakistan late last year; a Chicago businessman accused of scouting foreign targets for a Pakistani network; and at least 15 Somali American youths from Minneapolis who returned to fight in their ancestral homeland.
"A larger trend has emerged that is not surprising, but is disturbing," Chertoff said. "You are beginning to see the fruits of the pipeline that Al Qaeda built to train Westerners and send them back to their homelands. . . . This underscores the central significance of disrupting the pipeline at its source."
A campaign of U.S. airstrikes launched last year has pounded Al Qaeda hide-outs in Pakistan. But the flow of trainees gathered momentum in 2007 when Pakistani security forces ceded turf to militant groups, officials said. The suspect in the New York plot, Najibullah Zazi, and the Long Island convert, Bryant Neal Vinas, allegedly met in Pakistan in 2008 and discussed attacks on U.S. targets with Al Qaeda chiefs.
Zazi are the first Americans to be accused of joining Al Qaeda in several years.
Meanwhile, Silber said in recent congressional testimony: "There have been a half-dozen cases of individuals who, instead of traveling abroad to carry out violence, have elected to attempt to do it here. This is substantially greater than what we have seen in the past, and may reflect an emerging pattern."
Some feel radicalization in the United States has been worse than authorities thought for some time.
"People focused on the idea that we're different, we're better at integrating Muslims than Europe is," said Zeyno Baran, a scholar at the Hudson Institute, a think tank in Washington. "But there's radicalization -- especially among converts [and] newcomers, such as the Somali case shows. I think young U.S. Muslims today are as prone to radicalization as Muslims in Europe."
In proportion to population, extremism still appears less intense in the United States. But the Internet functions as the global engine of extremism. Websites expose Americans to a wave of slick, English-language propaganda from ideologues such as Anwar Awlaki, the Yemeni American described as a spiritual guide for the accused Ft. Hood shooter and other Westerners.
And socioeconomic success will not necessarily prevent Americans' radicalization. Studies suggest that a quest for identity and the bonding process among small groups often drive militants more than personal hardship does.
"The profile in Europe is in general quite different [from U.S. extremists]: more working-class or even underclass," said a European intelligence official who requested anonymity for security reasons. "But it's a bit simplistic to make assumptions. We have seen everything in Europe -- educated people, doctors involved in terrorism. The underclass argument is not enough."
The Obama administration began the year with gestures to the Muslim world. President Obama promised to shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and made a historic speech in Cairo.
The Homeland Security Department leads the administration's counter-radicalization effort. The Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, which works with Muslim leaders, held summit meetings with Somali communities this year in Minnesota and Ohio, said David Heyman, assistant Homeland Security secretary for policy.
But that office still lacks a director, critics point out, and the department has yet to fill other key posts as well.
"We don't do enough about fostering a counter-narrative," said Matthew Levitt, a former anti-terrorism official for the Treasury Department now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "Competing for space with the radicalizers and challenging their radical ideologies is the key."
In contrast to the heightened extremist activity in the United States, Europe has remained relatively calm this year. But the West needs to keep up its guard on both sides of the Atlantic, said Farhad Khosrokhavar, an Iranian French scholar who interviewed jailed extremists for his book "Inside Jihadism."
"You can be middle-class and have bright prospects but become a jihadist," he said. "We have to broaden the analysis. This idea of American exceptionalism, the comparison with Europe, should not blind us to the fact that we are going toward a broader participation in jihad."
Ultraconservative Islam on rise in Mideast
By PAUL SCHEMM – Oct 19, 2008
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — The Muslim call to prayer fills the halls of a Cairo computer shopping center, followed immediately by the click of locking doors as the young, bearded tech salesmen close shop and line up in rows to pray.
Business grinding to a halt for daily prayers is not unusual in conservative Saudi Arabia, but until recently it was rare in the Egyptian capital, especially in affluent commercial districts like Mohandiseen, where the mall is located.
But nearly the entire three-story mall is made up of computer stores run by Salafis, an ultraconservative Islamic movement that has grown dramatically across the Middle East in recent years.
"We all pray together," said Yasser Mandi, a salesman at the Nour el-Hoda computer store. "When we know someone who is good and prays, we invite them to open a shop here in this mall." Even the name of Mandi's store is religious, meaning "Light of Guidance."
Critics worry that the rise of Salafists in Egypt, as well as in other Arab countries such as Jordan and Lebanon, will crowd out the more liberal and tolerant version of Islam long practiced there. They also warn that the doctrine is only a few shades away from that of violent groups like al-Qaida — that it effectively preaches "Yes to jihad, just not now."
In the broad spectrum of Islamic thought, Salafism is on the extreme conservative end. Saudi Arabia's puritanical Wahhabi interpretation is considered its forerunner, and Saudi preachers on satellite TV and the Internet have been key to its Salafism's spread.
Salafist groups are gaining in numbers and influence across the Middle East. In Jordan, a Salafist was chosen as head of the old-guard opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood. In Kuwait, Salafists were elected to parliament and are leading the resistance to any change they believe threatens traditional Islamic values.
The gains for Salafists are part of a trend of turning back to conservatism and religion after nationalism and democratic reform failed to fulfill promises to improve people's lives. Egypt has been at the forefront of change in both directions, toward liberalization in the 1950s and '60s and back to conservatism more recently.
The growth of Salafism is visible in dress. In many parts of Cairo women wear the "niqab," a veil which shows at most the eyes rather than the "hijab" scarf that merely covers the hair. The men grow their beards long and often shave off mustaches, a style said to imitate the Prophet Muhammad.
The word "salafi" in Arabic means "ancestor," harking back to a supposedly purer form of Islam said to have been practiced by Muhammad and his companions in the 7th century. Salafism preaches strict segregation of the sexes and resists any innovation in religion or adoption of Western ways seen as immoral.
"When you are filled with stress and uncertainty, black and white is very good, it's very easy to manage," said Selma Cook, an Australian convert to Islam who for more than a decade described herself as a Salafi.
"They want to make sure everything is authentic," said Cook, who has moved away from Salafist thought but still works for Hoda, a Cairo-based Salafi satellite channel.
In most of the region, Salafism has been a purely social movement calling for an ultraconservative lifestyle. Most Salafis shun politics — in fact, many argue that Islamic parties like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinians' Hamas are too willing to compromise their religion for political gain.
Its preachers often glorify martyrdom and jihad — or holy war — but always with the caveat that Muslims should not launch jihad until their leaders call for it. The idea is that the decision to overturn the political order is up to God, not the average citizen.
But critics warn that Salafis could easily slide into violence. In North Africa, some already have — the Algerian Salafi Group for Call and Combat has allied itself with al-Qaida and is blamed for bombings and other attacks. Small pockets of Salafis in northern Lebanon and Gaza have also taken up weapons and formed jihadi-style groups.
"I am afraid that this Salafism may be transferred to be a jihadi Salafism, especially with the current hard socio-economic conditions in Egypt," says Khalil El-Anani, a visiting scholar at Washington's Brookings Institution.
The Salafi way contrasts with the Islam long practiced in Egypt. Here the population is religious but with a relatively liberal slant. Traditionally, Egyptian men and women mix rather freely and Islamic doctrine has been influenced by local, traditional practices and an easygoing attitude to moral foibles.
But Salafism has proved highly adaptable, appealing to Egypt's wealthy businessmen, the middle class and even the urban poor — cutting across class in an otherwise rigidly hierarchical society.
In Cairo's wealthy enclaves of Maadi and Nasr City, robed, upper-class Salafis drive BMWs to their engineering firms, while their wives stay inside large homes surrounded by servants and children.
Sara Soliman and her businessman husband, Ahmed el-Shafei, both received the best education Egypt had to offer, first at a German-run school, then at the elite American University in Cairo. But they have now chosen the Salafi path.
"We were losing our identity. Our identity is Islamic," 27-year-old Soliman said from behind an all-covering black niqab as she sat with her husband in a Maadi restaurant.
"In our (social) class, none of us are brought up to be strongly practicing," added el-Shafei, also 27, in American-accented English, a legacy of a U.S. boyhood. Now, he and his wife said, they live Islam as "a whole way of life," rather than just a set of obligations such as daily prayers and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
A dozen satellite TV channels, most Saudi-funded, are perhaps Salafism's most effective vehicle. They feature conservative preachers, call-in advice shows and discussion programs on proper Islamic behavior.
Cairo's many Salafist mosques are packed on Fridays. Outside Shaeriyah mosque, a bookstall featured dozens of cassettes by Mohammed Hasaan, a prolific conservative preacher who sermonizes on the necessity of jihad and the injustices inflicted on Muslims.
Alongside the cassettes, a book titled "The Sinful Behaviors of Women" displayed lipstick, playing cards, perfumes and cell phones on the cover. Another was titled "The Excesses of American Hubris."
Critics of Salafism say it has spread so quickly in part because the Egyptian and Saudi governments encouraged it as an apolitical, nonviolent alternative to hard-line jihadi groups.
These critics warn that the governments are playing with fire — that Salafism creates an environment that breeds extremism. Al-Qaida continues to try to draw Salafists into jihad, and its No. 2, the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri, praised Salafists in an Internet statement in April, urging them to take up arms.
"The Salafi line is not that jihad is not a good thing, it is just not a good thing right now," said Richard Gauvain, a lecturer in comparative religion at the American University in Cairo.
The Salafis' talk of eventual jihad focuses on fighting Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq, not on overthrowing pro-U.S. Arab governments denounced by al-Qaida. Most Salafi clerics preach loyalty to their countries' rulers and some sharply denounce al-Qaida.
Egypt, with Saudi help, sought to rehabilitate jailed Islamic militants, in part by providing them with Salafi books. Critics say President Hosni Mubarak's government sees the Salafists as a counterweight to the opposition Muslim Brotherhood.
The political quietism of the Salafis and their injunctions to always obey the ruler are too good an opportunity for established Arab rulers to pass up, said novelist Alaa Aswani, one of the most prominent critics of rising conservatism in Egypt.
"That was a kind of Christmas present for the dictators because now they can rule with both the army and the religion," he said.
The new wave of conservatism is not inevitable, Aswani maintains, noting that his books — including his most popular, "The Yacoubian Building" — have risque themes and condemnations of conservatives, and yet are best-sellers in Egypt.
"The battle is not over, because Egypt is too big to be fitting in this very, very little, very small vision of a religion," he said.
Muslims are Civilization Builders
by Mohamed Elmasry
(Saturday July 09 2005)
"Muslims need to develop a strategy of positive communication which presents clear facts to Western civil society. Consistent truth and openness are the best and only effective antidotes to the current vicious campaign of Western disinformation about Islam and Muslims."
Only the Islamic civilization was characterized primarily by a foundational Idea, epitomized by a specific set of principles and a broad worldview containing them.
Critique: The foundational Idea behind Islam is convert or lose something (intolerance).
By contrast, there has been no "Christian civilization" per se, although Christianity was a significant influence on the ancient Roman Empire, post-Roman Europe, and still (though more limited) on today's dominant Western Civilization.
Critique: Christianity is an individualistic personal relationship with God in love.
Every civilization tries to build an empire that reflects its primary values. Thus we have the Chinese Civilization and its Chinese Empire, the Roman Civilization and its Roman Empire, and so on.
Later history has seen the rise of Western Civilization and the British Empire; and now we are witnessing the construction of the American Empire.
The Islamic Empire took less than 100 years to build -- the shortest such emergence in recorded history. It took the ancient Romans about a millennium to accomplish the same feat. But a preferable name for the Islamic Empire would be the Islamic Commonwealth, which describes more accurately how Islamic Civilization developed and grew.
Critique: The Islamic Civilization grew at the edge of a sword with no mercy.
Today there are many temptations leading Muslims to believe that they are living in a postcolonization era. Consequently, they come to consider Western culture as their standard or societal mentor, losing their Islamic identity in the process.
However Muslims today are living amid a new era of recolonization chiefly led by U.S. policies toward the Muslim world. This has resulted in a widespread malaise of defeatism, political fatalism, and the tragic loss of cultural identity.
If Muslims become aware of this reality, they can turn the tide of defeat and become successful civilization-builders, just like their ancestors.
Critique: Muslims want to once again draw the sword and become successful.
(1). What is Civilization?
A distinctive period of human development is often referred to as a "civilization," along with an appropriate referential adjective placing it within the historical or geographical continuum of time and culture.
Hence we speak of Ancient Civilizations, Western Civilization; or in reference to peoples, the Egyptian, Chinese, Roman, or Greek civilizations.
Civilization defined: a relatively high level of cultural and technological development.
Only the Islamic civilization, however, was characterized primarily by a foundational Idea, epitomized by a specific set of principles and a broad worldview containing them.
Critique: Islamic civilization is non-existent as destruction does not bring development.
By contrast, there has been no "Christian civilization" per se, although Christianity was a significant influence on the ancient Roman Empire, post-Roman Europe, and still (though more limited) on today's dominant Western Civilization.
Critique: Christianity is an individualistic personal relationship with God in love.
There is no "Jewish Civilization" either, although the relatively new term, "Judaeo-Christian values" has emerged to indicate that today's Western Civilization owes elements of its character to religious and cultural roots found in both faiths.
Critique: Judaeo-Christian values allows for cultural and technological development.
In fact, the term should be expanded to "Judaeo-Christian-Islamic values" to reflect more accurately the influence of all three monotheistic religions on today's Western Civilization, since we owe so much to the influence of Muslim Spain.
Critique: Spain became a world power after the Muslims were thrown out.
(2). Civilizations and Empires
Every civilization tries to build an empire that reflects its primary values. Thus we have the Chinese Civilization and its Chinese Empire, the Roman Civilization and its Roman Empire, and so on.
Later history has seen the rise of Western Civilization and the British Empire; and now we are witnessing the construction of the American Empire.
It is not widely known that the Islamic Empire took less than 100 years to build -- the shortest such emergence in recorded history. It took the ancient Romans about a millennium to accomplish the same feat. But a preferable name for the Islamic Empire would be the Islamic Commonwealth, which describes more accurately how Islamic Civilization developed and grew.
Empires typically spread by establishing colonies and dominating indigenous peoples so as to exploit their resources for the benefit of the empire's central power base.
Critique: Civilizations continue for long periods of time based on development.
In Africa and Europe, for example, the Romans established colonies whose goods and labour primarily served Rome. During our post-modern era, the American Empire is being built up to serve the rich and powerful in the U.S.
Critique: American values have liberated billions who were enslaved by Communism.
The Romans perfected their celebrated road-building techniques, for example, not only to facilitate regular trade and communication, but also to keep colonies on a tight land-leash and to deploy troops rapidly to quash any regional rebellion.
Roman engineers also designed impressive amphitheatres for live public shows where the chief entertainment attraction was often the spectacle of prisoners fighting to the death, with privileged Roman champions, other prisoners, or wild animals.
Critique: Engineering development in Islamic countries is poor at best.
Special gladiatorial games ("gladi" refers to the sword) were popular family amusements that drew men, women and children alike to watch skilled fighters being slain by more skillful opponents. Tigers, lions, bears and other beasts were set loose in these arenas, to fight one another or to devour slaves, adding more novelty to these bloody public pastimes.
Roman law demanded that every loyal subject should worship the god Jupiter and the god-emperor, Caesar. When Christianity began to spread in Rome and throughout the Empire, Christians were among those who refused to worship the Roman way and were often punished with death.
Critique: Christianity values human life and through conversion blood sports stopped.
By contrast, the Islamic Commonwealth was established from the beginning on twin foundations of equality and justice. Local resources were mainly used by locals for their own benefit. Moreover, marrying from within the local or indigenous population was considered a practical way for differing peoples to become fully and peacefully integrated. Consequently, there was relatively little discrimination between "us" and "them," or between "locals" and "foreigners."
Critique: Decentralization has never helped a civilization endure for a long time.
The principle underlying the benign interrelationship of formerly separate peoples comes from Quranic injunctions pertaining to human rights and universal justice, which were practiced from the earliest years of the Islamic Commonwealth. For example, most local social customs, called "al-orf," were accepted, as were the practices of other religions.
Within the Islamic Commonwealth, freedom of religion, freedom of worship, and the freedom of each community to administer its own religiously based family laws were all practiced in fact (on the ground) and not just in theory.
Critique: In practice every Islamic country discriminates against non-Muslims.
Thus, Islam was not forced on local indigenous populations. In fact, it took Egypt all of 400 years to change from a Muslim minority country to one with a Muslim majority.
Early Muslims understood the Quranic teaching that the Creator will not favour people, any people (including Muslims) unless and until they change themselves; so they worked very hard to improve the environment around them. In today's political and social terminology, these early Muslims were not only the most caring citizens, but were also the most socially and politically proactive.
Critique: Early Muslims robbed caravans, conquered cities, and destroyed civilizations.
Local people were given equal preference for leadership roles and equal citizenship in the Islamic Commonwealth. No wonder Muslims were not regarded as hostile occupiers! Resistance against them, including armed rebellion, was virtually non-existent.
Critique: Islam gives local warlords the right to take away individual freedoms.
To recreate such a scenario today, the occupying Americans in Iraq would have to give all Iraqis automatic American citizenship, accept them in American schools and universities, treat them like any Americans in courts of law, allow inter-marriage, and pull out their 140,000 soldiers.
Critique: Muslims prefer Saddam Hussein over western democracy or freedom.
(3). Western Civilization and World Peace
Western Civilization has almost always used extreme forms of violence and oppression to expand its world dominion, to quash any perceived or real challenges to its power, as well as to settle scores among Western nation states competing for a larger share of the world's finite natural resources.
Critique: Non-Christians like Hitler will always try to dominate through war.
As a result, never in human history have so many people been killed by a single "civilization" -- never.
Critique: All technological development in the modern era has been done by non-Muslims.
The West perfected its military machine not only to kill, to destroy and to spread misery during our present era, but also -- thanks to nuclear weapons -- to threaten many future generations. For the first time in human history, untold millions of the totally innocent and unborn will have to pay the price of their forebears' war-mongering.
Critique: Keeping nuclear weapons out of Muslim hands must be a priority for civilization.
We have seen how Western Civilization planted European colonies in Africa, Asia and in the Americas to serve the rich and powerful elites of London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, et al. Now we are witnessing the frantic and aggressive building of American colonies in the heart of the Muslim world.
Critique: Western Civilization brought peace and education to restless areas of the world.
(4). Muslims and Today’s Western Civilization
Today there are many temptations leading Muslims to believe that they are living in a postcolonization era. Consequently, they come to consider Western culture as their standard or societal mentor, losing their Islamic identity in the process.
Critique: To become civilized a person must lose their Islamic identity.
This is profoundly more dangerous when such loss of identity becomes systematically apparent in whole new generations of Muslims -- especially among the youth of upper middle-class and well-to-do families.
Critique: It is profoundly more dangerous when a person maintains their Islamic identity.
These young people are exposed to formal university education which insinuates Western values into every facet of life, so it no wonder that they are slowly absorbing Western tastes and fashions, simply because these are the styles and tastes that dominate communication and consumption.
Critique: A recent U.N. study concluded that the Muslim world is grossly under-educated.
In the Muslim world today, for example, there are schools and universities run by American, Canadian, British, German and French interests which pay little attention to local language, culture, or even local issues.
Critique: Education will ignore local superstitions and Islamic beliefs.
The Western emphasis on racing to the bottom of the ethical denominator -- via cut-throat competition, and simultaneous maximizing of profits -- has led to a corresponding decline in Muslims' traditional regard for the needs of the extended family, caring for the other, etc.
Critique: Muslim dictatorships have wasted their natural resources through wars.
Muslim marriage now is based principally on mutual attraction, wealth or social status. And some serious cracks are beginning to show in family life, as dysfunction and divorce rates increase. As well, traditional Muslim attitudes toward caring for the frail and elderly are no longer widely accepted.
Critique: Women are being liberated from Muslim men domination and abuse.
Many Muslims today are only too happy to buy into the entire Western cultural package -- not just Western technology, but also the excessive individualism, the extravagant consumerism, the obsession with material wealth, etc. Today, they are all too ready to embrace the narrow Western view of human values, which are based mainly on power and wealth.
Other Muslims reject outright anything that Western Civilization offers, while yet others would like to be able to pick and choose intelligently from among the “goods” sold in their Western environment.
I believe that this third group is on the right track, because anything of real value that the West can offer Muslims today is, in reality, Muslim values repackaged and exported. Thus, Muslims must look beyond the layers of Western packaging and evaluate the real goods in relation to their lives.
Critique: Devout Muslims will generally remain backward while living in the west.
Pragmaticism, activism, rationalism and humanism were all practiced by the early Muslims under different names and must be practiced by today’s Muslims, not because they are Western values but because they are Islamic values.
Critique: Devout Muslims will never be rational human beings.
Muslims must Islamize and moderate the Western values of greater material well-being, democracy, nationalism, commitment to progress, personal accountability and choice, individualism and the right to a private life.
And they must learn also the strategy of communicating to the West what it needs so desperately -- spirituality, universal human equality, etc.
Critique: Western civilization does not need backward Islamic ideas.
(5). China and Japan and Today’s Western Civilization
For more than a century China has been redefining its relationship with the West. But while doing so, the strength of the Chinese family, the main character of the Chinese Civilization, was hardly affected. This is because the pace and methodology of modernization were adjusted to suit local needs and to retain the Chinese people's identity while the nation as a whole grappled with future change.
Critique: China has finally embraced capitalism and Chinese peasants are becoming civilized.
Japan embarked upon such change much sooner than China and has been more obviously transformed as a result. Translations of Western classics such as John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty and Samuel Smiles’ Self-Help were already Japanese bestsellers during the 1870s. Yet Japan also managed to hold onto much of its core identity and its social changes have been consciously regulated.
The speed with which nineteenth-century Japan moved toward modernization helped to lessen the impact of Western colonial bullying, under which China suffered. This was not only because Japan acquired the military and technical power to stand up to the West, but also because modernization robbed Western powers of their moral grounds for interference.
Critique: Japan rejected western civilization values and terrorized the far east.
The British, and later the Americans, found it difficult to deny that in Japan modernization went hand in hand with liberalization. Well before the Capitulations with Turkey, or the treaties imposed on China, their Japanese equivalents had disappeared.
Japan came to espouse key mottos such as "Eastern morality, Western technology’," and "Japanese spirit, Western expertise." As historians can now testify, both China and Japan were able to defend in some measure against the threat of the West by adopting some aspects of Westernization.
Critique: Japan was forced to accept western civilization by the end of World War II
(6). Muslims -- From Colonization to Recolonization:
The breakdown of civilizations, including that of the Islamic Civilization or its Commonwealth, always happens from within. The most that an alien enemy can achieve is to give a dying civilization its coup de grâce.
Critique: The breakdown of civilizations can be attributed to violence and destruction.
An alien or occupying army's encroachment takes the form of violent attack only toward the waning of an era of complete domination, at a time when the life of the attacked people could well be finished, but could be also positively stimulated.
Critique: Western civilization has correctly identified Islam as the new evil in the world.
The Greeks were stimulated by the Persian attack at the beginning of the fifth century B.C. Europe was stimulated by the Norse and Magyar attacks of the ninth century AD, resulting in the founding of England and France as kingdoms and the reconstruction of the Holy Roman Empire by the Saxons.
Critique: Western civilization have prospered when Christians are numerous.
In these cases, the assaulted nation did not lose its identity but instead benefited from a corrective foreign stimulus, supporting the thesis that external pressures are not always destructive to a given culture.
Muslims today are living amid a new era of recolonization chiefly led by U.S. policies toward the Muslim world. This has resulted in a widespread malaise of defeatism, political fatalism, and the tragic loss of cultural identity.
Critique: Western civilization is focused on eliminating Muslim dictatorships.
But that does not have to be the final verdict on today's Muslims. They could in fact become a new force in Western civilization-building, living like equal partners, not as slaves.
Such revitalization, however, can happen only if they first become fully aware that they are living in a recolonization period -- the recolonization of their lands, their resources, their culture, their religion and their identity.
Critique: Muslims must realize that Islam confines and enslaves people.
If they become aware of this reality, they can turn the tide of defeat and become successful civilization-builders, just like their ancestors.
Western bashing of Islam must be totally rejected because it is fuelled not by incontrovertible truths but by religious and political agendas. Today you do not hear much criticism in the West about India's deplorable and still-entrenched caste system, or about female infanticide in China. Chinese official policy restricts families to only one child, preferably male, and plentiful evidence has emerged attesting that female babies are often murdered at birth.
Critique: Accurately reporting the facts should never be stopped due to Muslim protests.
During the past half-century or so, we have heard often that the world is getting smaller and smaller, because people, objects, and information have come to move about more often and more quickly than ever before. Travel and transmission over long distances is increasingly easier and faster. And the electronic information revolution has caused a sudden and unprecedented rise in the volume and speed of data diffusion -- mostly one way, from West to East.
Critique: Western civilization has modernized the world through technology.
Most of the world's Muslims are faced with the immediate challenge of mastering the technology of mass communication -- printing, radio and television, film, video, and especially the internet. There is the potential, being realized even as we speak, for the creation of giant technology-based enterprises throughout the Muslim world, but the key to their success lies first in nourishing local content, local issues and local culture.
Critique: Devout Muslims refuse to modernize as they cling to Islamic ignorance.
On the ground, local culture means replacing the ubiquitous Western designer jeans, T-shirts, athletic shoes, music videos, games, and television programming with substantial local equivalents. At another level, local music, fine arts, and theatre must be promoted and research in science, technology and medicine encouraged.
Critique: Even in tropical areas Muslims will wear robes designed for the desert.
And having any day of rest other than Friday in any Muslim country is another challenge to our identity, a manifestation of entire nations just dying to fit into the Western mould. It is a gross case of self-loss that must be turned around.
Critique: Western employers must realize that devout Muslims will disappear on Fridays.
Fortunately, Muslims are not alone in feeling an urgent imperative to hold the influence of Western culture at bay. Hindus, Chinese, Japanese, and many other distinct peoples from the so-called "developing world" are experiencing growing mental and moral reservations about accepting Western culture.
Critique: Sadly, devout Muslims remain enslaved by Islamic religious ignorance.
(7). A Ten-Step Working Plan For Muslims:
Is there still anything like some preserved seeds of true Muslim civilization, now that the Muslim world has been fragmented into more than 50 countries? Or are even the seeds extinct? Or perhaps, Islamic civilization produced "terminator" seeds, good only for several generations and no more.
Has Islamic civilization been totally absorbed and eradicated by Westernization? Is it clinging to life but terminally ill?
Critique: Islam has destroyed numerous people through the teachings of MO-HAM-MAD.
And the questions do not stop here... What if the seeds of its civilization are contained within Islam itself; can they be revitalized and renourished? Can a new generation be "grown from seed" so to speak, and resist the impact of Western civilization long enough to survive independently?
Critique: The new generation of devout Muslims are suicide bombers and jihadists.
I believe I can answer these last two questions in the affirmative and hereby offer my people a working plan, based on the assertion that Islam is still unmistakably visible in the daily life of Muslims.
From one end of the Muslim world to the other, there are similar beliefs, rituals, morals, family values, etc. There is still more in common among Muslims from Africa, Asia, even Europe and the Americas. From having visited more than 35 Muslim countries, I can personally testify to this fact.
Critique: Muslim terrorists will always be at a Mosque on Fridays.
. From colonization, to destabilization, to recolonization:
It is urgent that Muslims be educated to the reality of living in an era of U.S.-led recolonization, and that they must act accordingly. A key reality is that the heart of the Muslim world was never given a chance to develop after the initial colonization era ended. Instead, the Muslim world moved from colonization to destabilization and now, since 9/11, it lives under the shadow of recolonization era. It is an ugly fact; but it is the reality we must deal with.
Critique: It is imperative that Muslims be taught Christian love instead of Muslim hate.
. Dealing with a bully:
U.S. policies toward the Muslim world are of the bullying type, characterized by the ignorant use of violence. Ignorance, combined with arrogance, leads to the abuse of power at the highest levels. The best strategy to deal with bullying of this magnitude is a simple and direct one -- use the two letter word, “NO.” The more collectively it is said, the more effective it can be.
Critique: Some Muslim countries will be civilized like Japan was in 1945.
. Muslims, unite!
If unity was always an Islamic duty, it is now our very means of survival. At the nation state level, both opposition and governments must work together even in local disagreements, to resolve their diffences without American or European interference.
Critique: Devout Muslims are the enemy as Communism was during the 20th Century.
. Work toward a Muslim Common Market:
A good economy must satisfy local needs first, thus regional economies must be given a higher priority among Muslim countries. Nations should begin now, working together to draw up the blueprint for a Muslim common market that could be phased in and functionally implemented by the year 2020.
Critique: Devout Muslims are against free trade and western civilization ideals.
. Tribalism is obsolete:
The pan-Islamic movement must stop the divisive practice of tribalism, sooner rather than later, if any meaningful unity of purpose and culture are to be achieved.
Critique: Islam is the perfect tribal form of religion and government due to local emphasis.
. Muslim countries must reform:
Corruption and incompetence are not the legacy of Islam; Muslim countries the world over have the ability to reform their political, economic, social and education systems according to their own local and regional agendas. Making excuses does not make progress.
Critique: Islam favors the local warlords that excel in corruption and incompetence.
. Learning positive communication strategies:
Demonization of the “other” seems to go hand-in-hand with ignorance of the “other” -- in fact, they are directly proportional in civil society. Exclusion, enmity and demonization of those who differ from the numerically dominant or most powerful culture are all fed by ignorance and fear.
Muslims need to develop a strategy of positive communication which presents clear facts to Western civil society. Consistent truth and openness are the best and only effective antidotes to the current vicious campaign of Western disinformation about Islam and Muslims.
Critique: Western Civilization does not need Islam’s local tribal ideals.
. U.S. "democracy" propaganda must be exposed and challenged:
When Christian missionaries introduced Christianity to Canada’s First nations, they claimed to be selfless benefactors who offered salvation, a better lifestyle and superior culture. We now know better; they were destroyers of a culture they seldom took the trouble to understand.
Muslims must never forget this lesson and continue to be vigilant and suspicious about lofty claims for the superiority of American-style democracy; it has often proven to be a dangerous oxymoron.
Critique: Christian missionaries helped eliminate tribal cannibalism and wars.
. Discourage Muslims who become U.S. propagandists:
Muslims who uncritically promote U.S. recolonization policies must be challenged and their backers exposed.
Critique: Devout Muslims will murder Muslims who have embraced the western ideals.
. Follow up:
A follow-up team must be established for any Muslim conference, like this one, to produce a progress report on the status of recommendations presented and approved.
Critique: Devout Muslims must be watched closely for terrorist activities and eliminated.
* Paper delivered at the Islamic Conference, Cairo, Egypt, April 2005
North African Muslims helping Iraqi insurgents
As Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco have clamped down on cells, terrorists join larger network, U.S. official says.
By TODD PITMAN
The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
DAKAR, SENEGAL – Up to 20 percent of suicide car bombers in Iraq are from Algeria – a sign of growing cooperation between Islamic extremists in northern Africa and like- minded Iraqis, a senior U.S. military official said Tuesday.
The officer said terror cells in the Middle East and northern Africa were increasingly joining forces as they face crackdowns in their own countries, leading to a greater flow of money and Islamic extremists to Iraq.
Forensic investigations have shown that 20 percent of suicide car bombers in Iraq are Algerian and about 5 percent come from Morocco and Tunisia, according to the officer with responsibilities in Europe and Africa. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity, preferring for reasons of protocol to let U.S. commanders speak on the record.
The majority of foreign bombers in Iraq are believed to come from Persian Gulf countries, mainly Saudi Arabia and Yemen, U.S. officials say.
The officer said the numbers had increased, but gave no specific figures. He said growing efforts by Algerian, Moroccan and Libyan security services to fight terror cells have led extremists to join international operations. But he warned that they would later return home.
The United States has reacted by funneling more money and troops into north and northwest Africa to train and equip armies to combat the growing threat from terror and insurgent groups such as Algeria's Salafist Group for Call and Combat, which is believed to have links with the al-Qaida network.
The Algerian group was accused of involvement in the 2003 kidnapping of 32 European tourists in the Sahara and of a raid into Mauritania this month that left 24 people dead.
The officer said North African Islamic militant groups have provided about $200,000 to the Iraqi insurgency, funneling most of it through Europe to Syria and into Iraq.
Underground European networks were providing more cash, while African networks were providing manpower - mostly unskilled militants used to drive and then detonate car bombs that have killed thousands.
Once in the country, extremists join up with the al-Qaida-linked network of Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Islamic militants are traveling through Turkey, into Iran and crossing into Iraq - many times through unpoliced areas.
Over 170 Muslim
scholars, thinkers and historians agreed Wednesday to forbid "takfeer," or
accusing other Muslims of apostasy, and decided to work out a criteria for
issuing fatwas -- religious edicts -- in an attempt to unify the eight schools
of Islamic thought and put an end to violence done in the name of the religion.
The decision came in an unprecedented fatwa issued by leading clerics from the eight schools of Islamic jurisprudence following three days of deliberations in the Jordanian capital, Amman, where scholars from over 40 countries gathered in the first International Islamic Conference.
Dubbed "True Islam and its role in modern society," the conference was a Jordanian attempt to repair the image of Islam amid growing violence being carried out in the name of the religion and the U.S.-led counterattack in its war against terror -- where Islam and terrorism have almost become synonymous.
While the final communiqué of the conference made no clear reference to violence, it tried to limit the religious approach used by militants to justify their violence through regulating the interpretation of Islam and issuing religious edicts.
The final statement said the "schools of jurisprudence within Islam means adhering to a fundamental methodology in the issuance of fatwas: No one may issue a fatwa without the requisite personal qualifications which each school of jurisprudence defines."
It added that "no one may issue a fatwa without adhering to the methodology of the schools of jurisprudence and no one may claim to do absolute Ijtihad (interpretation) and create a new school of jurisprudence or to issue unacceptable fatwas that take Muslims out of the principles and certainties of Sharia (Islamic law)."
Mainstream clerics have complained about what they call "religious chaos" that has been growing since the late 1980s, in which Salafi militants -- those who have resorted to armed jihad -- have used interpretations and fatwas of clerics aggravated by the continued Israeli occupation of Palestine, the U.S. policies in the region, and more recently, the war on terror and the American occupation of Iraq.
The Islamic conference's final statement made no political references and did not condemn terrorism against civilians, possibly to avoid opening a Pandora's Box and to give credibility to these scholars who are seeking to win over the confidence of those who have resorted to violence and extremism.
Participants at the conference said had the issue of condemning violence by Islamic militants been brought up, then condemning the violence of the U.S. forces in Iraq and the violence of the Israeli forces in Palestine could not be ignored.
However, the statement clearly referred to the "takfeer" approach adopted by militants and their religious guides.
It said that anyone belonging to one of the eight schools of thought in the Sunni and Shiite sects, as well as those who practice "true Sufism" (banned in most Muslim countries) is considered a Muslim and cannot be declared an apostate and therefore "his or her blood, honor and property are sacrosanct."
And what appears to be an attempt to avert the wrath of the Salafi militants and to try to attract them to the teachings of "true Islam," the scholars said it was also "not possible to declare whosoever subscribes to true Salafi thought an apostate."
However, many factors are directly linked with the rise of Islamic militancy, primarily regional political conditions, the lack of freedom and democracy in their respective countries and poverty.
Joseph Lumbard, an American Muslim and special advisor to Jordan's King Abdullah on interfaith affairs, insists that addressing the religious factors is the most important way to uproot violence by simply referring to only one thing: Islam.
"It is clearly unacceptable in Islam's dictates of law to kill non-combatants," he said, adding that the fatwa issued by the scholars in Amman might "put doubt in the minds" of militants that listen to the edicts issued by those going against the dictates of Islamic law.
He told journalists the conference and the final fatwa (statement) was "just a first step...the religious component needs to be addressed on a religious basis, and this is what this conference is doing."
But Lumbard acknowledged that more work and effort needed to be made on all fronts -- political, social and economic -- and to combine all these efforts to address the totality of the problem of violence.
So how much influence will these scholars have on the angry religious zealots who are wreaking havoc, especially that their militancy is being fueled by the U.S.-led war on terror that President Bush launched as a "crusade" in the aftermath of 9/11?
Farouk Jarrar of Aal al-Bayt Foundation, an Islamic think tank that organized the conference, believes they have a lot of influence on the ground.
He said that "some of these people in there have their television shows and their websites, they are highly influential. If they say that killing civilians is against Islam and must stop, it will stop," or at least decline.
But it might not be so simple, considering all the elements involving Islamic militancy.
Lumbard, however, believes that if results of this conference puts one doubt in one militant's mind that he is doing something wrong and it stops one car bombing, "then we have succeeded."
'Barbaric' terror explosions strike London, kill dozens
By Jane Mingay
July 7, 2005
LONDON — Four blasts rocked the London subway and tore open a packed double-decker bus during the morning rush hour Thursday, sending bloodied victims fleeing after what a shaken Prime Minister Tony Blair called "barbaric" terrorist attacks. At least 40 people were killed and more than 350 wounded.
Two U.S. law enforcement officials said at least 40 people were killed. In London, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Piddick said at least 33 people killed in the subway system alone. He confirmed there were other deaths on the bus but gave no figures.
London hospital officials contacted by The Associated Press reported more than 350 wounded.
Blair said the "terrorist attacks" were clearly designed to coincide with the opening of the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. They also came a day after London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics.
The explosions hit three subway stations and a double-decker bus in rapid succession between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. Implementing an emergency plan, authorities immediately shut down the subway and bus lines that log 8.4 million passenger trips every weekday. It brought the city's transportation system to a standstill and left many central London streets deserted. (Map: Locations of blasts)
"It was chaos," said Gary Lewis, 32, who was evacuated from a subway train at King's Cross station. "The one haunting image was someone whose face was totally black and pouring with blood."
Recent mass terror attacks
—March 11, 2004: Simultaneous explosions rock three train stations in Madrid, killing 191 people and wounding more than 1,500 in Spain's worst terrorist attack. Islamic militants claimed responsibility.
—Nov. 15, 2003, and Nov. 20, 2003: Suicide bombings at two synagogues, the British Consulate and London-based HSBC Bank in Istanbul, Turkey, kill 62, including four attackers allegedly belonging to a local al-Qaeda cell.
—Oct. 12, 2002: Bombs kill 202 people in nightclubs on the Indonesian island of Bali. Authorities blame Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian terror group linked to al-Qaeda.
—Sept. 11, 2001: al-Qaeda hijackers slam jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and a fourth hijacked jet crashes in a Pennsylvania field, killing nearly 3,000 people.
—Aug. 7, 1998: Nearly simultaneous al-Qaeda car bombings hit the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, killing 231 people.
A group calling itself "The Secret Organization of al-Qaeda in Europe" has posted a claim of responsibility for the series of blasts in London, saying they were in retaliation for Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The statement was published on a Web site popular with Islamic militants, according to Der Spiegel magazine in Berlin, which republished the text on its own Web site.
The group threatened similar attacks against Italy, Denmark and other "crusader" states with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We are united in our resolve to confront and defeat this terrorism," Blair said at the summit, with leaders including President Bush and French President Jacques Chirac standing at his side. "We will not allow violence to change our societies or our values, nor will we allow it to stop our work at this summit." He returned to London after making the statement.
Bush condemned the attacks. "We will not yield to terrorists. We will find them and bring them to justice," he said. He warned Americans on Thursday to be "extra vigilant" as they head to work. (Video: Bush's remarks | Audio)
The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday said it did not plan to raise the U.S. terrorism alert. "We do not have any intelligence indicating this type of attack is planned in the United States," said department spokeswoman Valerie Smith. But the department asked authorities in major cities for heightened vigilance of transportation systems.
Bloodied and bandaged witnesses reported panicked crowds fleeing the blast sites. A witness at the bus explosion said the entire top deck of the bus was destroyed.
Belinda Seabrook said she was on the bus that exploded. "I was on the bus in front and heard an incredible bang, I turned round and half the double decker bus was in the air," she told Press Association, the British news agency.
"I saw lots of people coming out covered in blood and soot. Black smoke was coming from the station. I saw several people laid out on sheets," office worker Kibir Chibber, 24, said at the Aldgate subway station.
"People were covered in black soot and smoke. People were running everywhere and screaming," said Gary Lewis, 32, who was evacuated from a subway train at the King's Cross station. "The one haunting image was someone whose face was totally black and pouring with blood."
Jay Kumar, a business owner near the site of the bus blast, said he ran out of his shop when he heard a loud explosion. He said the top deck of the bus had collapsed, sending people tumbling to the floor.
Police said incidents were reported at the Aldgate station near the Liverpool Street railway terminal, Edgware Road and King's Cross in north London, Old Street in the financial district and Russell Square, near the British Museum.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone said terrorists could not break the city's spirit."Nothing you do, no matter how many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our cities where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another," Livingstone told reporters in Singapore.
London's cell phone network was working after the explosions but was overloaded and spotty, limiting communication.
Much of Europe also went on alert. Italy's airports raised alert levels to a maximum. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, the Netherlands, France and Spain also were among those announcing beefed-up security at shopping centers, airports, railways and subways.
In Washington, police with machine guns and bomb-sniffing dogs patroled the subway.
Pope Benedict XVI deplored the "terrorist attacks," calling them "barbaric acts against humanity," and said he was praying for the families of the victims.
European stocks dropped sharply after the blasts, with exchanges in London, Paris and Germany all down about 2%. Insurance and travel-related stocks were hit hard, and the British pound also fell. Gold, traditionally seen as a safe haven, rose. The explosions also unnerved traders on Wall Street, sending stocks down sharply in morning trading.
The U.N. Security Council was to meet later Thursday to address the London attacks and was expected to pass a resolution condemning the blasts, an official said.
Muslim leaders denounce some violence
But they aren't clear on the West
July 13, 2005
By JEFFREY WEISS
The Dallas Morning News
Days before the London bombings, many of the Muslim world's top religious leaders declared that much of the violence committed in Islam's name is not spiritually legitimate.
More than 150 Muslim imams and scholars met in Jordan, called by King Abdullah II. The unprecedented statement they released could drain some of the faith-based power behind wars between Muslims in Iraq and elsewhere, some experts say. The impact on attacks like the ones against non-Muslim nations – the U.S., Spain and England, among others – are less obvious. It does not disavow all acts of violence.
The uniqueness of the Jordan announcement lies in the broad base of its support.
Imagine the pope, Billy Graham, the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention, Pat Robertson and 150 other assorted Christian preachers and educators getting together – and then hammering out a communiqué.
The Jordan statement, issued on July 6 with little notice outside the Muslim world, said Muslim religious rulings, called fatwas, have no religious validity unless issued by people who have the appropriate, defined training or authority. And it says that all major branches of Islam – including Sunni, Shiite (also known as Shia) and Sufi – are essentially valid. (Sunni and Shiite Muslims are often violently at odds in the Middle East, and their agreement on the Jordan statement is one of the things that makes it remarkable.)
By implication, both assertions reject the religious justifications often offered by Islamic terrorists, who proclaim fatwas to condemn other Muslims as heretics, or "apostates." Islamic law says that Muslims, as a general rule, should not attack other Muslims. But terrorists say that it's a religious duty to attack apostates.
And to the extent that faith is used to recruit fighters, inspire attacks and raise money, the document strikes directly at that support.
Osama bin Laden declared a fatwa to justify the attacks on Americans, though he doesn't have the religious credentials called for in the Jordan statement. Various groups in Iraq have issued their own fatwas to justify killing Iraqis who cooperate with the American-backed government – fatwas that under the Jordan agreement are clearly invalid. Fear of such declarations from local self-styled imams – and the violence that could follow – stifles some moderate Muslims in many countries, experts say.
Nobody believes that Mr. bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or other Islamist terrorists will read the statement, slap their foreheads and exclaim, "How could I have been so wrong?" And nobody is suggesting that any effect of the document will be quickly apparent.
But some experts say that the statement and the attention it is getting in the Muslim world may deter less hard-line Muslims who are considering joining terrorists – or who stand in quiet sympathy when terrorists strike.
"It is not fully appreciated how vulnerable movements such as al-Qaeda are to criticisms concerning their doctrinal propriety," said Stephen Ulph, the London-based editor of the online journal Terrorism Focus and analyst of Islamic affairs for Jane's Information Group.
Muslim world buzzing
All but ignored so far by Western media, the conference has been discussed on several Arab and Muslim Web sites. Reports about it have appeared on the Kuwait and Jordanian official news services, and several Middle East TV and radio networks, including al-Jazeera.
"It happens one step at a time," said Joseph Lombard, an American-born adviser to King Abdullah, who helped organize the conference. "With this, there will be one person somewhere who will get a doubt in his mind and won't do something he otherwise would have done. Then there will be five people and 100 people and so on."
Supporters of the Jordan conference and statement include:
•Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric in Iraq. Shiite Muslims form the majority in that country and control the U.S.-supported government.
•Grand Imam Sheik Al Azhar Mohamed Sayyed Tantawi and Grand Mufti Ali Jumaa, both highly respected Sunni leaders in Egypt.
•Sheik Yusuf Al Qaradawi, the controversial Egyptian-born cleric who has issued a fatwa declaring the legitimacy of Hamas attacks on Israel.
•The Islamic Fiqh Academy of Saudi Arabia, that nation's highest religious body; and the Grand Council for Religious Affairs of Turkey, that nation's top religious body.
Two Americans participated: Brooklyn-based Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Ingrid Mattson, an Islamic studies professor at Hartford Seminary.
Attacks on Muslims
The conference statement most clearly applies to Muslim-on-Muslim violence. During 14 centuries of Muslim history, dozens of wars and battles have been religiously justified by one side declaring the other excommunicated, or takfir.
But the Jordan document says that those who follow any of eight long-standing schools of Islamic jurisprudence cannot be declared outside the faith.
The communiqué's application to violence committed against non-Muslims is less clear.
The document says that only fatwas that are consistent with the traditions in the eight defined schools are valid. That means only fatwas that are consistent with traditional interpretations of the Quran are acceptable. Critics of Mr. bin Laden and other Muslims who use Quranic "proof texts" to justify attacks on Christians and Jews say that many of those texts are being used in ways that violate the traditional understanding of those passages.
But the communiqué did not outlaw all violence by Muslims, even by implication. Some leaders whose authority is recognized by the Jordan document, such as Sheik Al Qaradawi, have offered religious support for attacks on Israel, which they regard as self-defense.
The document is notable in what it does not say. It doesn't mention Mr. bin Laden or any "fake" fatwa by name. The words "violence" or "terrorism" don't even appear.
The omissions reflect the difficulty of reaching consensus across such a broad spectrum, said Peter Khalil, a consultant for the Eurasia Group who spent nine months in Iraq as the director of national security policy for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran the country until the new U.S.-backed government took over.
"If they did come out and speak against violence and terrorism more directly, there would have been pressure to talk about violence by Americans against Iraqis and Israelis against Palestinians," he said. "No agreement would have been possible."
Some factors limit the impact of the statement.
•Sunni Islam has no official leader – nothing like a "pope" – so even rulings by the most respected Sunni scholars are not necessarily considered binding. Shiite Islam and some branches of Sufism do have a designated religious hierarchy of authority, but no single leader.
•Even some less radical Muslims dismiss many Arab political leaders, such as King Abdullah II, and official government clerics, including some of the key conference participants, as American puppets or apostates.
"Most religious leaders see monarchy as an illegitimate institution," said Ali Akbar Mahdi, a sociology professor at Ohio Wesleyan University.
•In Iraq, faith doesn't really fuel a lot of the war, Mr. Khalil said. Former Baathists, ex-Army officers and other supporters of Saddam Hussein are driven by politics first and faith second, if at all.
"For the majority of insurgents, religion is not an issue," Mr. Khalil said.
But the ruling could reduce the enthusiasm of some of the fervent young men who travel to Iraq from Syria and Egypt, bent on becoming religious martyrs, he said.
Even outside of the Jordan conference, some Muslim leaders seem to be working harder to use the tools of their faith to distance themselves from violence committed in the name of their faith.
In the days after the London bombings, British newspapers reported that some of the top Muslim clerics in that country were preparing their own fatwa. It would declare any Muslims found responsible for the bombings as takfir, or excommunicated.
"It is about time we put clear distance between ourselves and so-called Muslim leaders like Osama bin Laden," Murad Qureshi, the only Muslim member of the Greater London Assembly, told the Guardian. "We're not talking about Muslims here. We're talking about a bunch of nutters."
A GLOSSARY OF MUSLIM TERMS
Sunni: About 85 percent of the world's billion or so Muslims belong to this group. The name means "those who follow the Sunnah," the way of life prescribed by Muhammad. Each mosque and religious leader is independent, though different traditional schools of religious law carry particular authority.
Shiite: About 10 percent of Muslims, but a majority of Iraqis and Iranians, belong to this group. Several religious leaders, or ayatollahs, are considered authorities – though there is no single "pope." Shiites (also known as Shia) originally differed with Sunnis on the question of who should have led Islam after the death of Muhammad in 632. The name means "followers of Ali," indicating support for the belief that Muhammad designated Ali, his cousin and son-in-law, as his rightful successor.
Sufi: About 5 percent of Muslims belong to this group – though some Sufis also consider themselves Sunni or Shiite. This is the Muslim mystical tradition, comparable in some ways to Kabbalah or Gnosticism. Some conservatives among the Sunni majority assert that some Sufi practices – such as veneration of saints and maintaining shrines – are not true Islam.
Quran: The book that Muslims believe was dictated to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel.
Hadith: One of the collected sayings of Muhammad and some of his closest followers, considered sacred text.
Fatwa: A ruling based on Islamic law. These are the practical applications of the Quran and hadiths. In places ruled by Islamic law, these are as binding as secular law in the U.S.
Takfir: Excommunicated. A Muslim who has been excommunicated loses spiritual and social protection offered by membership in the ummah, or community. Over the centuries, Muslims have used a declaration of takfir to justify attacking other Muslims. In Iraq, insurgent clerics have declared Muslims who cooperate with the U.S.-backed government to be takfir.
Muslim nations throttle U.N. terror resolution Criticism of suicide bombers censored by global body's Islamic member states
Posted: July 28, 2005
U.N. Human Rights Commission meeting
Islamic United Nations representatives blocked an attempt to have the world body condemn killing in the name of religion.
The International Humanist and Ethical Union said it submitted the request to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva in response to moves by Islamic clerics to legitimize the current wave of terror attacks.
IHEU representative David Littman tried to deliver a prepared text in the names of three international NGOs – the Association for World Education, the Association of World Citizens and the IHEU – but was blocked by the "heavy-handed intervention" of Islamic representatives of the panel.
Littman said that after repeated interruptions, he was unable to complete his speech.
The Muslims members said they saw the text as an attack on Islam.
The IHEU argued Littman's speech was a report on recent critical comment on Islamist extremism by a number of notable Muslim writers.
The intent was for the U.N. Human Rights Commission "to condemn calls to kill, to terrorize or to use violence in the name of God or any religion."
The text referred to recent decisions by high-ranking Muslim clerics to confirm that those who carry out suicide bombings remain Muslims and cannot be treated as apostates.
A Saudi cleric, for example, issued a fatwa saying that innocent Britons were a legitimate target for terrorist action. Also, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, dean of the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies at Qatar University, who has visited Britain, said terror attacks are permissible.
Roy Brown, president of IHEU, said the censorship is "part and parcel of the refusal by the Islamic representatives at the U.N. to condemn the suicide bombers, or to accept any criticism of those who kill innocent people in the name of God."
Question: The subject of ijtihad (independent reasoning) has been debated in the Muslim world for a long time. Some thought that the door of ijtihad was closed, and of course this caused a stagnation of reasoning. What might be the criteria to use the methodology of ijtihad?
The word “Ijtihad,” independent reasoning, literally means “to use all your power and effort in order to bring some hard and difficult works into existence.” In Islamic terminology, the word means “to use all your power to deduct some hypothetical judicial decisions from the clear sources (adilla-i tafsiliyyah) of Islamic law.” The one who makes this effort is called a “Mujtahid”. The issue in which these efforts are made is called "Mujtahadun fih”.
In principle, there are two conditions for “Ijtihad”. First, one must know the sources of Islamic law related to legal judgments (ahkam). Second, the “Ijtihad” should be done by those who are able to penetrate into the spirit of the sources through their intelligence and the logic of religious law. Any “Ijtihad” that comes from an eligible person and is done within an appropriate case is valid.
Moreover, “Ijdihad” is not limited to analogy (qiyas). It can be done through analogy as well as through the indications, clues, and the hints of the legal texts. It is also possible to deduce legal judgments from the linguistic aspects of the Qur’an and the “Sunnah,” including Arabic rhetoric dealing with metaphorical language and literary figures.
Islam, being the last and universal religion, is the epitome of solutions to the problems of humans for all time and for all locations. These solutions are based on the limited texts of the Qur’an and the “Sunnah,” which address the unlimited problems of humans. This blessed activity started in the era of the Prophet and developed in the third and fourth centuries under the names of “ijtihad,” “ra’y” (subjective legal opinion), “istidlal” (inference), “qiyas” (analogy), and “is†inba”t (deduction). It has remained alive within the practice of the dynamic systems of Islam and has been highly fruitful.
This rich and original legal culture, unique to the Islamic world, has been fading for reasons such as exclusion of the active Islamic system of life from the public sphere, the absence of active minds similar to those of the early period of Islam, the lack of inspired spirits, and deficiency of superior intellects, knowledgeable of the Qur’an and the “Sunnah”. There are some who lack reasoning with insufficient intelligence, and are very behind in their knowledge of the Qur’an and “Sunnah,” and closed to inspiration.
Since these types of people have risen to power in religious circles, the fertile institution of “ijtihad” has been replaced by unquestioning adoption (taqlid), memorization, and copying.
One can see several reasons why the spirit of “ijtihad” was lost and the door was closed. The following are considered some of these reasons: political oppression, inner struggles, the misuse of the institution of “ijtihad,” an extreme trust in the present legal system, the denial of reform, the blindness caused by the dominant monotonous present system of the time. All of these are among the reasons for this loss. Furthermore, the believers who were eligible to perform “ijtihad” based on their intelligence and abilities were at times included mistakenly among the groups of heretics who misused “ijtihad”.
The door, in fact, has never been closed by anyone. However, some “ulama” had the inclination to close the door of “ijtihad” against those who would like to promote their own desires and interpretations as guidance. The door was closed automatically in the face of those who were not eligible to make “ijtihad”. As long as society does not have quality scholars who can perform “ijtihad,” it is not possible to ignore the argument of those who are against “ijtihad”.
Today, people commonly think of the worldly life. The ideas and hearts of today’s people are greatly disparate and the minds are estranged from immaterial things. Religion and religiosity are not the essential issues for people as was the case in the time of the early Muslims.
On the contrary, people are neutral to religiosity or religion; that is to say, being religious or not being religious is the same thing. Many are highly disinterested in matters of faith and many essentials of religion are ignored. The pillars of Islam and the principles of faith are viewed with doubt. Religion for many Muslims has collapsed. Many make no effort to live their lives within the framework of Islam. Under such circumstances, one can hardly see that this dynamic aspect of Islam,” ijtihad,” will be used properly.
Despite all of this mentioned above, there has been a great revival of religion and religiosity in the Islamic world today. I hope — God willing — this development will result in the rise of those who are eligible to open the door of “ijtihad” in the near future.
It is my conviction that when the proper season comes, such gushing spirit and ingenious intellect will create groups comprised of specialists in their fields with an utmost sense of responsibility to undertake “ijtihad”.
Note: Independent reasoning is not compatible with Islamic demand for obedience.
Dennis Prager poses, "Five questions non-Muslims would like answered" in an LAT op-ed this morning:
THE RIOTING IN France by primarily Muslim youths and the hotel bombings in Jordan are the latest events to prompt sincere questions that law-abiding Muslims need to answer for Islam's sake, as well as for the sake of worried non-Muslims.
Here are five of them:
(1) Why are you so quiet? [...]
(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian? [...]
(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country? [...]
(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam? [...]
(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions? [...]
Western ideas of individualism, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, equality, liberty, the rule of law, democracy, free markets, the separation of church and state, often have little resonance in Islamic, Confucian, Japanese, Hindu, Buddhist or Orthodox cultures. Western efforts to propagate each ideas produce instead a reaction against "human rights imperialism" and a reaffirmation of indigenous values, as can be seen in the support for religious fundamentalism by the younger generation in non-Western cultures. The very notion that there could be a "universal civilization" is a Western idea, directly at odds with the particularism of most Asian societies and their emphasis on what distinguishes one people from another.
As the ideological division of Europe has disappeared, the cultural division of Europe between Western Christianity, on the one hand, and Orthodox Christianity and Islam, on the other, has reemerged. The most significant dividing line in Europe, as William Wallace has suggested, may well be the eastern boundary of Western Christianity in the year 1500. This line runs along what are now the boundaries between Finland and Russia and between the Baltic states and Russia, cuts through Belarus and Ukraine separating the more Catholic western Ukraine from Orthodox eastern Ukraine, swings westward separating Transylvania from the rest of Romania, and then goes through Yugoslavia almost exactly along the line now separating Croatia and Slovenia from the rest of Yugoslavia. In the Balkans this line, of course, coincides with the historic boundary between the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires. The peoples to the north and west of this line are Protestant or Catholic; they shared the common experiences of European history -- feudalism, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution; they are generally economically better off than the peoples to the east; and they may now look forward to increasing involvement in a common European economy and to the consolidation of democratic political systems. The peoples to the east and south of this line are Orthodox or Muslim; they historically belonged to the Ottoman or Tsarist empires and were only lightly touched by the shaping events in the rest of Europe; they are generally less advanced economically; they seem much less likely to develop stable democratic political systems. The Velvet Curtain of culture has replaced the Iron Curtain of ideology as the most significant dividing line in Europe. As the events in Yugoslavia show, it is not only a line of difference; it is also at times a line of bloody conflict.
Conflict along the fault line between Western and Islamic civilizations has been going on for 1,300 years. After the founding of Islam, the Arab and Moorish surge west and north only ended at Tours in 732. From the eleventh to the thirteenth century the Crusaders attempted with temporary success to bring Christianity and Christian rule to the Holy Land. From the fourteenth to the seventeenth century, the Ottoman Turks reversed the balance, extended their sway over the Middle East and the Balkans, captured Constantinople, and twice laid siege to Vienna. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries at Ottoman power declined Britain, France, and Italy established Western control over most of North Africa and the Middle East.
This centuries-old military interaction between the West and Islam is unlikely to decline. It could become more virulent. The Gulf War left some Arabs feeling proud that Saddam Hussein had attacked Israel and stood up to the West. It also left many feeling humiliated and resentful of the West's military presence in the Persian Gulf, the West's overwhelming military dominance, and their apparent inability to shape their own destiny. Many Arab countries, in addition to the oil exporters, are reaching levels of economic and social development where autocratic forms of government become inappropriate and efforts to introduce democracy become stronger. Some openings in Arab political systems have already occurred. The principal beneficiaries of these openings have been Islamist movements. In the Arab world, in short, Western democracy strengthens anti-Western political forces. This may be a passing phenomenon, but it surely complicates relations between Islamic countries and the West.
Those relations are also complicated by demography. The spectacular population growth in Arab countries, particularly in North Africa, has led to increased migration to Western Europe. The movement within Western Europe toward minimizing internal boundaries has sharpened political sensitivities with respect to this development. In Italy, France and Germany, racism is increasingly open, and political reactions and violence against Arab and Turkish migrants have become more intense and more widespread since 1990.
Islam on the Couch
By Dr Showan Khurshid
Terrorism and Islam from the
Perspective of an Evolutionary Political Theory
The definition of Terrorism
Based on ‘Knowledge processing, Creativity and Politics’ and ‘How to respond to Islamic Terrorism’, terrorism can be defined as one among other modes of responses, including wars, genocides and totalitarianism, which might be applied jointly or alternately in order to uphold ideological integrity and dominance and thus the political power of a particular ideological group. The importance of this definition is that it locates the root cause of terrorism in the drive to suppress ideational challenges. This definition differs markedly from the currently dominant definition, which highlights terrorism as involving unlawful use or threat of violence to intimidate or coerce into accepting some political change. 
The Shortcomings of the Common Definition
Adopting the latter definition will give the terrorists and their apologists equal footing to accuse governments like that of the UK or USA of terrorism. Indeed, anyone can note that the epithet ‘illegal’ is subjective. They can retort there is a war waged against Islam. Noting the imbalance of military might, they glorify suicide bombing as the deeds of the brave, disadvantaged yet motivated against the powerful and aggressive. Terrorist apologists can even dismiss the unfairness of the claim that terrorists do not discriminate between civilian and military targets by noting something to the effect: “what about the thousands of civilians, women, children and old men who are killed in war?”
The prevalent definition also fails to distinguish between a freedom fighter and a terrorist. It does not accord a special status to an armed group willing to submit to the rules of liberal democracy fighting an undemocratic and atrocious regime. It is because of such a definition that the superficial adage ‘One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’, sounds so apt.
Some Terroristic Entities According to EPT
The definition I suggest focuses on the use of violence to deter ideational challenges. In this light, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Sudan, North Korea, China, Cuba and Zimbabwe, and others, insofar as they oppress intellectual dissent as a means to maintain their ideological dominance, will be seen as possessing, partially or completely, the inclination that sanctions or condones terroristic actions, along with other forms of oppressive actions. This definition will not implicate governments, organisations or individuals who are prepared to renounce violence and resolve differences peacefully – it needs be remembered that liberal democracy will be needed if simple dialogue could not bring about consensus, as argued in ‘Knowledge Processing, Creativity and Politics’.
The Scope of Islamic Terrorism
Regarding Islam, we should expect to find the greatest concentration of oppressive actions – whether they are manifested in the form of terrorism or other kinds of acts which share the same aim – to occur where authorities or organisations claim legitimacy on the basis of Islam. However, considering that terrorism, like other modes of ideological interactions is a means to an end, we might assume that cost-and-benefit analysis would precede commissioning and performing the acts of terrorism, unless, of course, we make an unwarranted assumption that these ideological leaderships are feeble-minded and cannot ponder upon the consequences of their actions. Accordingly, we will need to consider that the concentration of the ideological actions, including terrorism, should be within communities that are perceived as constituting viable bases for building political power.
In fact, the degree of oppression that takes place in Iran and Saudi Arabia is staggering. Oppression, particularly in Saudi Arabia, involves even more than stoning, beheading, and enforcing flagrant discrimination against women and Shiites, (here there is not even a need to mention the term “religious minorities”, as Muslims did not let any indigenous religious minority group survive in the country). As importantly, it is the systematic coercion of young people to prayer and religious schools, and the widespread practice of shepherding adults who happen to be on the streets into Mosques. These practices leave no opportunity for autonomy or free thinking. So the wonder is that some liberals exist at all, rather than the fact that they are weak and few. Perhaps, this leaves no surprises as to why the land of the Saudis is so prolific in producing and exporting terrorists. In effect, Saudi Arabia is an incubator of terrorism. If a greater proportion of the public is not involved in international terrorism, it is only because the utility calculation they perform does not encourage it. As for the government, it is more likely to be due to an awareness of its vulnerability. Throughout its history, and to this day, the Saudi dynasty faced discourses that have been disputing their legitimacy and even rejecting the assignation of the name ‘Saudi’ to the land. No doubt, the West has been an important source of stability for the regime, though more so in the past during the cold war than now, but the regime is still weak and cannot afford to challenge the West overtly. Though, through the campaign of building Madrases (Islamic religious schools), and Mosques, which entrench the fundamentalist teachings of Islam, the regime can rightfully claim that it has been fulfilling its religious duties the best it can.
However, about the interplay of the Saudi regime with the West: their attitude has a spill-over effect. An ideological leadership that is perceived as submissive or even cooperative with forces deemed as potential enemies of the ideology – in effect, all non-adherents of the ideology – would be vulnerable to accusation that it is weak or even unfaithful to the ideology. This is the reason why Bin Laden could acquire so great a following in Saudi Arabia. However, the point to be made here is that the ideological groundwork is not Bin Laden’s, it was already there ready to be used. 
The Intellectual Impasse
This brings us to another point. By failing to identify the root causes of terrorism, the traditional definition of terrorism obstructs liberal democracies from winning the moral argument. In the allegation and the counter-allegation, the most crucial and central element, that Islam prescribes oppressive methods to enforce itself, is lost. The Western governments themselves, before anyone else, are quick to grant that only some fringe Islamic organisations are terroristic, while the rest are made up of peace loving individuals whose culture is just as good as any other culture.
Many Western left or liberal leaning intellectuals volunteer themselves on behalf of Muslims to argue that the verses that advocate violence in Koran are just few and far between. In any case, they usually add, all religious creeds contain similar statements. Yet, not all religions are terroristic. Accordingly, they conclude, we cannot impute terrorism to Islam on basis of these verses. This is of course a generalised argument. The Hindu or the Sikhs have also proved to be capable of establishing violent terroristic movements when they rely on their religious teachings. So did the Christians, not only in the past but also in the form of modern day sects, such as David Koresh’s sect. Moreover, there is no example of a peaceful religious party or movement vying for power that is not terroristic unless it has committed itself to liberal democracy – or in the case of Turkey, cowed and circumscribed by an army that has a record of immense capacity for manipulation and brutality.
The problem is not just with the few Koranic verses, it is the worldview and tradition. In the heartland of Islam, most ordinary Muslim individuals or organisations denounce and declare any person who is refusing Islam’s or Mohammed’s claim of moral superiority as outlaws. In most Islamic countries such a person will not survive and the elimination of such people usually goes unnoticed. Nowadays, such individuals are outlawed and hunted even in the West. Acts of violence can be committed by individuals who may never have had slightest link with terrorist organisations.
Disappointingly, many of the critical voices in the West who escape murder hide away and keep silent. No more than speculation regarding the reasons for the critics’ silence can be offered. Do the Western governments advise such critics to keep silent, perhaps motivated by economic interests or intimidated by the Islamic masses? In any case, not to protect and support the critics, similar to what anti-communists critics were enjoying, is a very short-sighted and wasteful policy.
Currently, the terrorists, in general, do not give the slightest regard to what the non-Muslim world thinks of Islam. They are content, obviously, in the knowledge that the Muslim population is over one billion and there is no intellectual challenge to Islamic beliefs. Indeed, Islamic beliefs sound absolutely triumphant despite the flimsy bases it has. This condition needs be changed. It needs open and candid argumentation. Winning over a substantial proportion of Muslims is not unfeasible considering the shaky epistemology that Islam is based on and the many reprehensible aspects and episodes of the Islamic practices and history. Only a serious image-problem and the risk of loosing their social bases will force the Islamic priesthood and so-called moderate Muslims to try harder to curb the militants among them. No doubt, in the short term, some terrorists will make a greater effort to eliminate their critics, but they, I suspect, would lose their hold if greater numbers of people joined in the intellectual engagement.
What is suggested here will work because it reduces the need for using violence in response to terrorists, and also weakens the motivation for joining terrorist groups. In the long run, this would bring about real and permanent peace, at least, as far as Islamic terrorism is concerned. In the meantime, such a policy would also offer a way out for many Muslims who lack an intellectual lead, to escape the confines of a religion that does not preach peace, and which puts them at odds with the rest of the world, who are nonetheless unhappy over what they perceive as the use of violence by the West against Islamic countries.
Nowadays, most of the critics from the Islamic world and even a great number of Westerners are either intimidated into silence or in hiding and on the run. What is needed is support for such people to establish alternative communities so the apostates will join in.
What underpins the un-peaceful tradition of Islam are not merely a few scripture verses here and there. In ‘Knowledge Processing, Creativity and Politics’, I suggested that religions, as primeval ideologies, evolved because of the failure of humanity to evolve in liberal democracy – perhaps, for understandable reasons, considering human origin – and that ideologies carry out the role of preserving a unified set of moral rules that are necessary to maintain political power. However, unlike liberal democracy, they disallow ideational dissent and dialogue, and this approach impacts profoundly on the structure, culture and history of the ideological systems.
However, this is not how the ideologues and their followers perceive themselves. Early Muslims had the very comfortable thought that they were commanded by Allah to spread the word of Islam, which is the only true religion, all over the world. Those who resisted the call to join Islam and denied seeing the obvious truth that “Mohammed is the messenger of Allah” were condemned as the enemies of Allah and enemies of Muslims, for whom dreadful punishment was apportioned.  It is not certain what proportion of Muslims are still committed to this mission. However, it is more likely that the majority of Muslims realise that implementing the mission is hardly feasible considering the imbalance of power vis-à-vis non-Islamic countries – although, as mentioned above, many an Islamic government, organisation or even an individual does not hesitate in meeting out severe punishment to challengers of the dogmas of Islam, when the actions are convenient.
However, it seems the limited capacity to have power only in certain countries and not being able to spread Islam worldwide is giving Muslims the feeling of helplessness and impotence, or a sense of dereliction of duty, which explains in great part the frustration that is characteristic of Muslims worldwide.
Obviously, in believing that there is an Allah who is the omnipotent creator of everything, and that He is the author of Islam, then Islam cannot be wrong. Thus the blame for whatever goes wrong in the lives of Muslims should be imputed to some other agent or circumstances. Israel comes in handy. According to most Muslims it should never have existed. The fact that it does, reflects a very terrible and profoundly insidious process. Otherwise how could such a small entity challenge the power of so many hundreds of millions of Muslims? Now if Israel’s own power cannot explain that, then the accomplices would be the USA and the UK, and all the “lands of corruption and decadence”, of the West which can be so easily manipulated by the Jews.
So from this point of view one should expect that had Israel and the USA never existed Muslims would have blamed some other source, and, being disadvantaged they may have resorted to terrorism nevertheless. This also implies that had they not been the weaker party they would have overrun the rest of the world – this is still the mission in the Koran. 
The other usual suspect is lack of piety on the part of individuals in general, and particularly the leaders. This mentality may explain why there is a tendency to support those leaders, who the non-Muslims would think of as more militant and uncompromising, but, of course, who would be perceived as pious and true to Islam. The ascendance of the Taliban, Bin laden and also Ahmedinejad can all be seen as cases in point.
The logic of Islamic thinking cannot be simpler: if Islam cannot, by definition, be fallible, since it is from Allah, and if even the pious leaders are not able to bring the changes needed in the Islamic world, then you should search for an external agent as a culprit.
No doubt, with such a worldview no one should have an illusion of having an easy coexistence with an Islamic community leading to a harmonious integration. Integration would be hard to come by unless the Islamic communities accept secularism and liberal democracy.
The Blind Spots
The dominant definition is ignorant of the role of many institutions. Worship places, religious literature and paid or unpaid preachers are all important elements in the mobilisation. But they seem to fall in the blind spot of the conventional definition. To curb terrorism needs, therefore, paying great attention to these institutions. It is true that these institutions have recently come into the focus of attention of many Western governments and media. But the curbing needs greater depth of intervention. The attention misses the most important target: namely, rejecting and refuting the claim of moral superiority which is at the core of Islam and indeed any other ideology. Lacking this focus explains why there is no effort to persuade away Muslims from Islam. The definition based on EPT would recommend setting up counteracting institutions that support alternative views. Setting up, what is hoped to be, European or Western oriented Mosques and religious schools, would appeal only to opportunity seekers and infiltrators with links to militants. EPT suggests that Mosques should be seen as sites of ideological mobilisation and should be treated the same way as had they been pro-Soviet communists’ and Fascist groups’. However, considering that a great many Muslims would not contemplate, at least in the current situation, any acts of terrorism, Mosques can be redefined to be just a place of rituals on condition that the preachers should submit to liberal democracy and give up their claim of superiority on the basis of Islam alone.
Here it might be said that worshiping is something that is categorically different to politicking. There are sermons and rituals that are unique to religions, e.g., prayers, fasting, pilgrimage etc. Elsewhere (in a book length manuscript), I suggested that the reasons and functions of rituals and sermons have to do, firstly, with providing vicarious activities as a compensation for the loss of real participation in political decision. No doubt, it would feel very satisfying to think that one is communicating with the “divine” and participating in a cosmic mission. Secondly, perhaps, it proved effective as a means for congregating the followers for information and instruction. Thirdly, this congregation also provides for another psychological function: namely, that is the sense of security in the company of others who share the same goals and thus care for each other. These activities and their role must have been compensating for the denial, characteristic of religions and other ideologies, of active participation in making moral decisions. 
Fourthly, probably anyone can tell that rituals are a good way of brain-washing and keeping the members of the community under close observation. As such, rituals must always have been a very useful tool in the hand of rulers.
The definition, based on EPT, also draws the attention to probably the gravest aspects of terrorism. Terrorism, in this perspective, is to suppress ideational challenges, and when this task is accomplished we should expect to see that the ideological group will be formidable and unstoppable. Yet, even serious Western intellectuals seem to be completely disengaged. This attitude of the Western intellectual can be attributed to the naïve presupposition that religions are not concerned with political power. Terrorism, within this “politically correct” view, becomes an aberration and attributable either to dismal economic conditions or some historical injustices. In the case of Islam, the background of terrorism is the events and history of Palestine, and the Western colonialism and recent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and also economy.
No doubt, I should exclude the tabloid writers from the above generalisation. Their papers inform the public and uncover information. But they address mainly the Western readership and mainly to effect change of attitude towards asylum or the Islamic communities in general and says very little in the way of inviting intellectual discussion or offering a way out of the religion into alternative communities. This attitude of tabloid newspapers may only increase the sense of siege and alienation on both sides. Consequently, we could say that the silence of serious Western intellectuals make the lives of terrorists much easier.
It is usually said that there was a design to revive Islam in order to halt the unravelling of the moral fabric of Islamic families and communities in the West. It is also said that even the government officials in many Western countries approved of the move as a means to tackle drugs and crimes among the Islamic youths. It is difficult to say how much truth there is in these propositions. However, it is obvious that alcohol and drug misuse, and a host of other related antisocial behaviours are less prevalent among Muslims than among the Western communities.
No doubt, the hostile attitude toward drug abuse is limited to non-Muslims. Drugs are produced openly in many Islamic countries; some of them have been or are under Islamic governments or organisations. One should expect that Muslims are bound to justify such inconsiderate activities for themselves in a way that preserves one’s self-respect. How do Muslims justify that for themselves? One possible line of justification might be to say that drug exportation is a means to undermine the West, the enemy. However, if we were to ignore this lack of consideration towards non-Muslims, then of course the drive against crimes and drug abuse could be seen as a positive achievement. On this basis some commentators would advice caution in criticising Islam.
Another line of approach taken by some Western critics of Islam is to say: “Why shouldn’t Western culture be good enough for an immigrant to the country?” Indeed, the Western governments should feel entitled to demand that immigrants to their countries respect their culture. However, this is not necessarily based upon the notion held by some multiculturalists that any and every culture entitled to equal respect.
The rationale of the entitlement of liberal democracy should be based on the fact that liberal democratic culture is what allowed the development and the wealth the West enjoys, which is also the reason that immigrants were attracted. Moreover, because it is liberal democracy through its belief in human rights that allows the immigrant to come in. (Perhaps, the reason that the West does not make such a demand is that the development and the wealth are attributed to capitalism. Thus Muslims do not waste the opportunity to boast that there is what they call an “Islamic political-economy,” which is even fairer than capitalism, on the account that it takes greater care of the poor but is less amenable to the promiscuity which is associated with communism.)Though, in this context, no mention is made of the fact that slavery within Islam existed for centuries, and might still exist today in some Islamic countries, e.g. Sudan, some Gulf states and Mauritania, and that although writers of the Koran did not consider it important to forbid slavery outright, but eating pork was significant enough for Allah to forbid it clearly and unequivocally.
Definitely, a culture that sanctions forbidding apostasy, outlawing infidels, atheists and flagrant discrimination against women and religious minorities should not be entitled to equal respect at all. Otherwise, why should we have opposed fascism and racism or murderous communists like Stalinism and the Khmer Rouge?
Despite these it cannot be denied that the current liberal democratic philosophy is leaving a moral vacuum with its vision of social life as no more than an aggregation of individuals aiming at their interests, without providing a framework for a sense of belonging or sense of the human collective mission.
Religions, on the contrary, do offer such a framework, which is also the reason that they can curb antisocial behaviour. Religions offer meaning to individual commitment, suffering and sacrifice. That is why Christianity is still making an important contribution to the moral ground of Western societies. This is despite the admission that it is purely a faith, which implies that it cannot withstand rational scrutiny. Of course, Islam could also play a similar role, but not before it submits to liberal democracy and declares the religion is a faith as rather than the literal truth.
The inference of many politicians is that, in the current condition, some kind of religions or belief system is needed. Religions, however, have damaging effects. All religions impair the intellectual capacity of individuals by captivating them within mistaken and primitive worldviews, depriving humanity from great intellectual resources which could serve science, the environment and technology. With Islam, in its present form, the price cannot be graver. It is even threatening the survival of humanity and the earth as we know it. (No doubt, those carried out 9/11 would not have hesitated to inflict bigger carnage if they had had the means.)
Although even if we grant that religions like Christianity and Buddhism do not lend themselves to terrorism, which is not necessarily completely true, all religious thinking undermines efforts to finding proper solutions for political problems.
Had the West been completely free from Christianity, the Western intellectuals and governments might have dissolved Islam by their criticism or perhaps ridicules. No doubt, the failure to identify the elements of a belief system that are responsible for the terroristic nature explains why there is this unconditional concept that belief in religion is one of the basic human rights. Consequently, with this right in place many governments and intellectuals just hold back from participating in any campaign to undermine Islamic beliefs.
Islamic morality is extremely costly for the little benefit it shows. It cares very little about the environment or the explosion of population. Indeed, Islamic clerics encourage rapid Islamic procreation. Mohammed told his followers to reproduce so Allah might boast about them over the nations. It might also be motivated by a will to out-reproduce non-Muslims and establish majorities. Islamic religious authorities remain silent in regard to honour killing and also female genital mutilation whilst these practices are still carried out in Islamic countries. One can hold Islamic authorities responsible for this. Had they been as active in issuing fatwa to combat these practices as they are in their eliminating dissidents, these practices would have become a thing of the past. Muslims have also little regard to the fate of minorities within their folds. Indeed, there is no concept of human rights in Islam even for Muslims. The most valued Muslim is the one who fights for Islam. That is why Islamic authorities and media are not concerned with victimisation of Muslims at the hand of other Muslims. Their outcry happens only when the victimisation is carried out by non-Muslims against Muslims, which is an indication of a cynical manipulation of the current concern with human right values, in the course of struggle for dominance.  In Kurdistan and Darfor the genocide and abuses that were committed by Muslims against other Muslims as well as non-Muslims did not arouse reactions of the Islamic masses and governments. On contrary, Arab and Islamic governments made a concerted effort in sending emissaries to Western capitals to contain the protesting voices here and there and to pre-empt any potential reactions by a Western government.
However, the most serious flaw in Islamic morality is the suppression of ideational challenge. Without this prohibition all other shortcomings might have been put right. What matters in political life is not what an ancient book or a modern political theory says. It is rather how the struggle for power among different individuals within the political system is resolved and how arbitration between different political ideas is carried out. Considering that such struggle is expressed usually through competition of different ideas, then the central issue which defines the political life of a system would be how arbitration among different ideas is conducted. Islam does not only respond with violence and threats of violence against its critics, it also disallows the moral decision making of its followers, as expected from the perspective of EPT. 
The alternative in my opinion is offered by the evolutionary political theory (suggested in ‘Knowledge Processing, Creativity and Politics’ and discussed in more details in my book length manuscript). In short: We all owe a great deal to our own and nature’s creativity that is achieved by natural selection. Human creative capacity remits us from resorting to destructive and deceptive lifestyles. Perhaps, it could be said that the best among us are those who are creative or able to support creativity and suffer the consequences. We can be sure that happiness or pleasure is not what nature has intended for us. If there is a purpose, it is just the meaningless process of the propagation of the Selfish Gene, as Dawkins argues. Only we can give meaning to this process. Considering what has been said in this paragraph, what can have a claim on our gratitude or loyalty more than creativity? We can choose to make producing knowledge and beauty in our behaviour or in the environment our passion in life. At least by subscribing to the cause of creativity we can be sure we are promoting an aspect of our characteristic which brings happiness and prosperity to the greatest number of humans and preserves the environment. All humanity can unite on this goal and once we do we will have the same deep experience of oneness and security. I assume that anyone might know that exploring and reflecting is not devoid of pleasure. Human being have a built in capacity for wondering and being intrigued by beauty and discovering patterns in nature. Moreover, as anyone can tell, if we are able to love other humans it is because of the kindnesses, morality and creativity of some them.
This evolutionary political theory also assumes that liberal democracy is the best political arrangement for humans who would conduct political activity creatively and non-violently. Indeed, it is no surprise that liberal democracy could achieve so greatly. 
The definition suggests that terrorism is one of the methods aimed at establishing ideological dominance and that this dominance is needed to maintain consensus over a set of unified moral rules which is necessary to maintain political power. Looking through the perspective of many Muslims who see the West as a threat to its culture – hence the suppression of the signs of Western culture in most of the Islamic world and also as an obstacle that frustrates any aspiration for dominance of Islam over the world, as the Koran extols Muslims to do, and considering also that the West stands accused of the miseries that Muslims suffer- we may conjecture that a move to eliminate or, at least, subdue the whole of the West under Islam, would be desirable to Muslims. But what could be the point of small scale strikes (eg 9/11 as opposed to taking over a whole continent), that do not bring the ultimate victory any closer? Would it not have been more profitable for the Islamic cause to concentrate its efforts in small scale terrorism, i.e. targeting mainly formerly-Muslims-turned-critics and critical Western intellectuals, and pressing the Western governments gradually for laws to respect Islam?
Moreover, has not the “large scale terrorism”, drawn greater critical and unwanted attention to Islam and precipitated in setting up countermeasures which disrupted crucial processes, like the steady influx of and increase in Islamic population, the steady increase in the number of religious schools and Mosques, the unhindered proselytising campaigns? If the answers are affirmative, then one should assume that “large scale terrorism” must have damaged the Islamic cause. Indeed, many Muslims have expressed such feeling and I believe that there is a genuine anger among some Muslims against the terrorists.
So if concern with the best interest of Islam does not explain the terrorist acts that take place in Western countries, then we will need to think up some other explanations. Perhaps, we should consider a proposition that the interests of the Bin Laden and Al-Qaida do not match the interests of Western based Muslims or Muslims in general. This is quite possible. It is doubtful that the Al-Qaida leadership would trust the Western based Islamic leadership and, no doubt, there is competition among them. So while the Western based Islamic leadership does not opine itself against the verses in Koran that encourage violence against infidels and unbelievers, and in the meantime does not express clear views that contradict the traditional Islamic worldview, outlined above, it favours and sometimes make, what seems to be genuine calls to Western governments to expel or curb the extremist preachers and individuals. This is not unexpected and in this regard they are like the governments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Their attitude here is like saying not to question the book but expel the ones who read certain verses. Understandably, they do not want to break up the pedestal of their power but they do not want to be toppled by outsiders either. However, for non-Muslims there are no guarantees that a time will not come when these docile leaderships will not read the foreboding verses.
Islamic terrorists may also be motivated by a desire to bring a greater mentality of siege to Western Muslims and thus facilitate recruiting them.
They could be spurred on by the hardship they are suffering currently, being chased and forced to go underground everywhere in the world. If so, these terroristic actions, then, are just expressions of pain or diversion to shift the focus of the USA and UK.
In any case, in the light of this definition of terrorism we will need to think of alternative explanations for Western targeted terroristic actions, in terms other than the greater interests of Islam.
The Psychological Barrier
According to the definition of terrorism, any ideological group failing to suppress ideational challenges to its ideology should face difficulties and ultimate disintegration, as criticism would both demoralise the leadership and followers.  This implication would raise a question: Is there such a large-scale oppressive campaign that can explain the resilience of Islam, in the West? Even if we granted that in the Middle East, regimes like Saudi Arabia’s and Iran’s have shielded their population from intellectual influence, such shielding is not available in the West, yet Islam as a practiced religion seems formidable.
Some aspects of the strength of Islam in the West can be explained as following. The presence of thousands of Mosques, many of them funded by Arabic and Islamic states, and absurdly some by Western government perhaps. The existence of the moral vacuum that is left in the wake of traditional liberalism, which seems to have been allowing any and all religious configurations, no matter how absurd and grotesque they may be. Moreover, we should take into account that Western criticism of Islam, is mainly left for those who reject the people through the rejection of the religion. The leftists and liberals (those who subscribe to the way of thinking characteristic of the Liberal Democratic party of Britain) find it still politically incorrect to criticise Islam. In general, and unfortunately for the world, there is a dearth of intellectual debate dealing with the fundamental outlook of religions.
However, I think that Islam has two other mechanisms that lock individual Muslims within its confines and undermine socialising with non-Muslims. One of them is discouraging friendship with non-Muslims. Even though Muslims and Koran agree that Christianity and Judaism are divine religions there is a clear injunction forbids socialising.  In general Muslims regard the non-Muslim as unclean. 
Women in Islam
Another barrier is the attitude towards women in Islam. This intensely emotive issue may, more than any other barrier, be undermining any real chance for integration. The good women in Islamic communities are the ones who avoid mixing with men, devote themselves to family and worshiping and conform to values that also accord men higher status than women. It may be true that some women would enthusiastically conform.  It might also be true that some people may genuinely believe that these characteristics are estimable and thus women should aspire to acquire them anyway. But then some women are compelled. Many women in Iraq – not an exceptional case by any means – are harassed and sometimes have acid thrown in their faces and at their legs, or are made to suffer even worse. In general, in most Islamic homes the pressure on women is a matter of daily routine and some of them are inculcated from very young ages so that by the time they are young adults they lack the capacity to see themselves in any different way. This is no wonder considering what the Koran enjoins. 
It might be thought that this “shortcoming” is of limited importance, since the potential victims are only a few Islamic women here and there. But there are wider ramifications. Men marry within this tradition, and belief in its morality would be likely to reinforce it and thus perpetuate it. They might enlist other young Muslim men to enforce the tradition. This practice would engender a feeling that womenfolk are in the custody of men and those men who fail it fail as men. Within the multicultural area, we can even expect that pressure be put in order to deter young men from other cultures from contacting Muslim females.
The culture of how to treat women has acquired a life of its own. Muslim men, whether pious or not, usually restrict the freedom of their womenfolk. Even the men who would allow themselves out of marriage sexual relations women, Muslims or non-Muslims, would not allow the same freedom to their female relatives. Men are made to feel a great stigma for having strange men “accessing their womenfolk”. This social stigma leads to two outcomes. The first outcome is that the intensity of the social stigma leads many men and even their womenfolk to participate in killing their “renegade” female relatives.
However, I should also mention that this EPT does not assume that the so-called honour killing stems only from the dynamics of preserving male-female relationships within Islamic culture. The culture of violence arises from another source as well. This point is outlined more elaborately in my manuscript; here I will give only a short account. In ideological regimes the violence would be conducted not only against ideological opponents. There are a number of dynamics that give rise to violence within the ideological groups. Violence may be used by the ruler against his rivals for power. Violence may be used against groups and individuals who oppose the concentration of power, which is necessary for the survival of ideological regimes. Violence is also used against the moral dissenters within the ideological group who may oppose the corruption, which is made possible and easy for the ruler and his henchmen because of the enormous concentration of power. Violence may also be used against the different subgroups within the ideology who may feel left out by the rules. Discrimination against subgroups within the ideological groups happens because the concentration of power and the immoral acts that are involved in the process leads to a situation that leaders bring in their relatives and depend on the kin-loyalty or personal relations as a substitute for loyalty based purely on the ideology. This would result eventually in favouring one ethnicity against others, one tribe within other tribes of the favoured ethnicity and one clan within the favoured tribe.
The corruption and violence and the perception of the injustice would leave disillusionment in their wake. One perception would be that might is right: force and terror are what decide everything. This is the intellectual gate for leading double lives. You try to say what is acceptable or pay lip service to the ideology but you should also know that reality is different- as people say, you should not take everything at face value. Behind the scenes of “ideological political correctness” the degradation of women and minorities, and sexual abuses of children goes on – also the less ominous activities, like romances, adultery and homosexuality, which are officially non-extant.
This is a culture which gives a great respect to fearsomeness. And being feared would ease a person’s life enormously. To prove oneself to be someone, a man should have proved that, at least, he is feared by his women relatives and the sign of this is shying away from allowing “other men access to themselves”. In this sense, honour killing becomes a sign of manhood.
The second outcome is this: because illegal sex within this culture with someone’s female relative becomes a source of dishonour; it can be used just to effect that very end. This is the background mentality of the Pakistani village elders who sanctioned rape against the sister of man accused of relations with women of a higher cast. Similarly, Saddam’s regime used it extensively to subdue men or terrorise others away from contemplating dissension. It is also the reason why, in most Islamic countries, males, in the course of trading insults, refer to sex with the enemies’ women relatives.
So within this perspective we will not need to assume that all men who oppress women within the Islamic culture are strictly Islamists in the type of Bin Laden or Abo Bakri.
However, although neither honour killing nor female genital mutilation are provided for theoretically in the Koran, Islamic religious authorities have not outlawed these practices through religious edicts or fatwas. This is consistent with the general moral attitude of the Koran towards women. This morality is not concerned with women equality. Nor it could be said that it is aimed at encouraging sexual abstinence. Sexual restrictions are not imposed on men who are able to afford to marry or afford to capture at war.  Indeed, the fact that polygamy and sex with prisoners of war are allowed can only give the impression that women are regarded as sex objects.  The restriction, it seems, is made to apply to women and those men who cannot afford marriage. Seen from the evolutionary perspective this morality, then, looks like the morality of a Homo Sapiens alpha male, or a warlord doing the bidding of his genes, unaware of the evolutionary theory, not minding using violence to gain dominance, who allies himself with other worriers and in return allows them access to female Homo sapiens captured in war. 
In the West, this morality fits perfectly, those men would not bother to learn the culture of their host countries, nor would their competition for sexual partners depend on distinguishing themselves through arts, literature or science, these men would tune themselves to accumulate wealth and thereby import for themselves wives from their countries of origin. It is also a morality that suits greatly anyone who would take advantage of the host country and culture. In the name of Islam they recruit other young men to police their streets and women for them and in the process sow a seed of future unrest and potential civil war.
What is needed, if integration was desirable, is to focus on preventing all forms of violence and threats of violence against women and also against men from other cultures who may enter into a relation with Muslim women. Preventing the imposition of dress codes. Restricting the right for religion schools or banning them altogether. Strictly prohibiting polygamy and female genital mutilation.
It needs to be realised that all religions and other ideologies, like communism and fascism, are antithetical to liberal democracy. They cannot survive without rejecting it and undermining it. Communists and Christianity, which submitted to liberal democracy ,are undergoing disintegration and fragmentation. Ideologies, like Islam, which have not submitted to liberal democracy yet, are virulent and dangerous. Specifically, because liberal democracy, with the traditional but outdated and inaccurate self-image that it has, is exposed and vulnerable. Liberal democracy, should insist that morality is human artefact and it is needed to protect creative life styles. Having different groups adhering to conflicting sets of moral rules or having groups that deny human authorship of moral values can lead only to conflicts and potentially pending civil and international wars.
Moreover, traditional Liberal democracy is not equipped with the required moral outlook. Consequently, it leaves some ground onto which religions and other ideologies can move and take root without being able to fight them off effectively.
The multi-culturists’ vision of a colourful society where different cultures are expected to enrich and inspire each other, has no theoretical room for a reality posed by Islam. Their vision of social harmony and universal love is just a misguided and inauspicious illusion. Their vision would have been realistic if the differences were just limited to arts, cuisines, dances and music and a few curiosities here and there. When different communities insist on enforcing their own moralities we can only expect tension and insecurity which might lead to open civil wars. Multiculturalism when based on ideologies can coexist insofar as each ideological entity is able to counterbalance the threat of its rivals or insofar as it can entrench itself behind natural or man-made barriers and indeed, without giving the slightest regard to human rights or freedom of thoughts or conscience, when these precepts allowed challenging the system. Even today the homogeneity and vigour of Islam is due to the rejection of human right. So within the current liberal democratic intellectual climate allowing an ideological group is like allowing an extension of a conflicting system into its domains. To have level field, liberal democracies should demand the same access into the conflicting systems.
A world that aspires to live together should have universal moral rules that should be chosen through the liberal democratic procedure because it is the only peaceful procedure.
To survive Islam and suppress terrorism, liberal democracy needs to take the lead and abandon this meek and the supplication to Islam. Islamic terrorists think they occupy the moral high ground and think of what they do as deserving punishing for moral transgression that others commit. This image has to change if we are to dry up the well of terrorism. They should be told the truth: that their morality is primitive and harmful and advised them to give it up. However, as a first step, every Muslim admitted to the West, at least, should acknowledge other peoples’ rights to believe and express themselves regarding Islam or religions without fear.
Most importantly, Muslims should accept that if we are meant to live in one world peacefully we are then answerable to each other. That is why we should be able to express our opinion regarding their beliefs and moralities and they are duty bound to explain themselves and accommodate in accordance with liberal democratic rules. Having moral rules means having ideas and values about the way you treat and deal with other people. That is why morality is not a personal matter or a matter between you and your god. No one is living with a God or Allah in a country or a house. People live with other people and that is why their morality should be agreed upon collectively through liberal democracy.
Muslims should be encouraged to abandon Islam. All atrocities perpetrated in Iran, Iraq, Saudi and Sudan and in hundreds of other areas and countries are the responsibilities of the Islam. Atrocities are to be expected considering that Islam is an ideology and this is the way ideologies behave. Islam cannot be different to fascism, Baathism, communism or racism and it is no wonder that each has a record full of atrocities, although with Islam it is continuing and unfortunately hardly challenged.
Notes: 1. (FBI) describes terrorism as ‘the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives’ (Encyclopaedia Britannica).
2. The possibility of the leadership challenges is inherent within any ideological systems. The systematic use of violence and other means of domination that prevent the emergence of rivalling leadership is what forestall the organisation of massive opposition. For Bin Laden therefore being in Afghanistan was crucial for the emergence of the Al-Qaida movement. In general, such leadership needed a power vacuum to emerge.
3. This formula allowed Muslims to kill what they call the infidels and enemies of Allah, and take their possessions and women. This explains why early Islamic armies had mercenaries from among other religious groups.
4. Marxists and most leftists view world problems usually as a manifestation of economic deprivation. One of their prefabricated explanations of Islamic terrorism is that terrorists come from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, and if the economic situation is improved, terrorism will lose its force. As it could be predicted their inference is that the rich countries of the world should pour their resources onto the poor. The problem of these leftists and liberals is that they fail to recognise that the generation of wealth itself is an outcome of liberalism and not capitalism (for more on this see my book due to be published soon). Ideological systems around the world have proved that they ruin economy, culture and civilisation eventually. The conditions of Muslims are the consequence of Islam. However, if we wanted to speculate regarding what can happen if the balance of power shifts in favour of Muslims, we can take our lead from history. Muslims invaded the world when they had the manpower and organisation fuelled by the pillaging and prospect of pillaging. Nothing in the culture or mentality of Islam has changed to preclude this prospect. Muslims are capable of doing the pillaging, massacring and commit atrocities against each other, as they do in Iran and Sudan and have done in Iran. So these leftist and liberals who advice humility and self-blame on the part of the West are just trying to deceive themselves and the world to the detriment of the world.
5. ‘It is not for true believers—men or women—to order their own affairs if God and His apostle decree otherwise. He that disobeys God and His apostle strays grievously into error’ (The Koran, 33:36)
6. ‘The Believers who stay at home – apart from those that suffer from a grave disability – are not the equals of those who fight for the cause of God with their goods and their persons. God has exalted the men who fight with their goods and their persons above those who stay at home. God has promised all a good reward; but far richer is the recompense of those who fight for Him: ranks of His own bestowal, forgiveness, and mercy. Surely God is forgiving and merciful’ (The Koran, Dawood, 4:91, p. 93).
7. These verses give guidance as to what the relation between Muslims, Christians and Jews should be: ‘Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given as belief in neither God nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and His apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued’ (ibid., 9:29, p. 190)
8. See the above quotation from the Koran, in which Muslims are forbidden from ordering ‘their own affairs’ (The Koran, Dawood, 33:36, p. 422).
9. No doubt, many a Muslim may reply that no matter how Islam is the commitment to it enjoined by God. Now even if we ignore the fact that there is no evidence that God exists, we will still have a difficult task to explain, should a merciful and compassionate God exist, why should He sanction a religion like Islam. Why of all of other methods of communication should he need to send Gabriel to Mohammed and enjoin wars and mayhem. Why should God give a brain and then disallow you to design your own morality. More absurdly, how is it God could not figure out that liberal democracy is the best way to resolve struggle over political power. This should have been important to Him since Mohammed’s companion killed each other over power. And of course, Mohammed did not know of this and thus had to fight and pillage in order to fund and pour fuel to his warring machine.
10. It was such demoralisation that contributed to the demise of communism despite the fact that communism as a theory is still theoretically intractable for traditional liberalism
11. ‘Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends. They are friends with one another. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number God does not guide the wrongdoers’ (Koran, Dawood, 5:51, p. 116).
12. ‘O ye who believe! The idolaters only are unclean. So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship after this their year. If ye fear poverty (from the loss of their merchandise) Allah shall preserve you of His bounty if He will. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise (The Koran, Pickthal, 9:028).
‘It is not for any soul to believe save by the permission of Allah. He hath set uncleanness upon those who have no sense’ (The Koran, Pickthal, 10:100).
However, friendship is not allowed even with one’s own father and brothers if they are not believers in Islam.‘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’ (The Koran, Pickthal, 9:25).
‘Wed not idolatresses till they believe; for lo! a believing bondwoman is better than an idolatress though she please you; and give not your daughters in marriage to idolaters till they believe, for lo! a believing slave is better than an idolater though he please you. These invite unto the Fire, and Allah inviteth unto the Garden, and unto forgiveness by His grace, and expoundeth His revelations to mankind that haply they may remember’ (The Koran, Pickthal 2:221).
13. ‘And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands' fathers, or their sons or their husbands' sons, or their brothers or their brothers' sons or sisters' sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women's nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed’(The Koran, Pickthal, 24:31).
14. ‘Men Have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme’ (The Koran 4:34, p. 83).
15. Mohammed allowed himself even to marry prisoners of war. Likewise, he allowed other Muslim to do so. ‘O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncle on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage - a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers - We are Aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess - that thou mayst be free from blame, for Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful’ ((The Koran, Pickthal, 33:50).
Obviously it is not sex which is disapproved. Otherwise, sex would have been promised in heaven.
‘Lo! for the duteous is achievement - Gardens enclosed and vineyards, And voluptuous women of equal age; And a full cup. There hear they never vain discourse, nor lying (The Koran, Pickthal, 78:31-34).
16. Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will, and send (good deeds) before you for your souls, and fear Allah, and know that ye will (one day) meet Him. Give glad tidings to believers, (O Muhammad)’ (The Koran, Pickthal, 8:11).
17. Perhaps, we call them Homo sapiens ignoramus, be it a bit oxymoronic.
FUTURE JEWISH HOLOCAUST OR GENOCIDE
WORD FAITH INDEX