Monday, November 19, 2007
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 3 Comments
In many of the debates that touch on the threat of Islam, the discussion turns to the legitimacy of Islam and whether Islam is ever compatible with Western Civilization or other cultures. Quotes from the Koran are tossed back and forth.
But the Koran is mostly irrelevant. The problem with Islam isn't its theology but its practice. Oh there's no doubt that the Koran is filled with hate and justifications for massacring the infidels. There's no doubt that Islam began with a warlord ripping off earlier religions and using is to conduct bandit raids and campaigns of conquest. But none of that would matter if Muslims didn't continue acting on it today.
Scripture is socially and political relevant only in practice. In other words your scripture doesn't matter except in how you practice it. If your scripture calls for helping the poor but you don't, then your scripture has no social relevance. If your scripture doesn't call for it but you do it anyway, then it's your practice that has social relevance.
The fundamental problem with Muslims doesn't come from the Koran, but from a widespread refusal to live in peace with non-Muslims. The Koran is just the propaganda used to justify that. It's why reforming Islam won't work until Muslims choose to set that aside.
Focusing on the Koran and Islam creates a misunderstanding among many counter-jihadis that the real problem is Islam. The real problem though is that millions of Muslims in the west choose to embrace this vision of Islam. Saudi money no doubt helps and the import of radical clerics, but in the end people believe what they choose to believe. Time and time again Muslim students enjoy everything the West has to offer and then turn over to becoming Islamic religious fanatics committed to a war on the West. Islam itself is too simple an explanation for that.
Embracing Islamofascism as an identity is driven less by the Koran than by a need for Islamic supremacy. Islamofascism really isn't about the Koran, it's about the need of people with an inferiority complex to become superior and to lash out at the cultures and nations they're so viciously jealous of.
Islamic terrorism is rooted in the sense of humiliation felt by so many in the Middle East and Pakistan in the face of the technological, cultural and economic superiority of the West. A humiliation felt most keenly by the wealthy Saudis who are at the peak of their own region and by Muslim immigrants in the West, who together form the bulk of the active terrorist infrastructure. It's no surprise that most terrorists actually come from the Middle Class or that the most violent Islamic outbursts come in response to a perceived humiliation of their identity whether it's the Mohammed cartoons or the Koran in the toilet or ham sandwiches in the break room.
Islamofascism like German Nazism is not the triumphant clenched fist of a rising civilization, but the furious moan of a failed civilization trying to lash out and gain some measure of victory by embracing a fanatical identity to compensate for its own sense of inferiority. Muslims who have embraced the symbols of Islam, from the Burka to Mohammed to the Koran are obsessed with maintaining their status and driven mad by any sign of humiliation or shame shown to it. Because it's their only bulwark against their own shame and humiliation.
Islamofascism is not really about religion or Allah or anything sacred or divine, it's about a cultural attempt by Muslim men to preserve some shard of the honor so central to their culture by lashing out viciously at superior cultures and shaming them. Whether it was Al Queda flying planes into the World Trade Center or dragging the dismembered corpses of American GI's around in Somalia or the rape Jihad in Europe, Islamofascism is less about a strategic war than it is about a frenzied howl as the humiliated upper class of the Muslim world tries to cope with a universe in which they remain socially inferior.
That doesn't mean that it isn't dangerous or that it should be appeased. Europe reacted to the rise of Nazism by viewing it as German outrage in response to the treatment of Germany after WW1 and did their best to coddle and appease Germany. The result was very nearly the conquest and destruction of Europe. The mistake of Chamberlain and others was to accept the German narrative that laid blame at the feet of England and France, much as liberals today accept the Muslim narrative of their victimization. The problems of a culture arise within that culture.
Islam like Arab Socialism is in the end only a tool by a failed culture to try and salvage its honor. Having been failed by Marxism, Islam is being revived as a fanatical cult of death aimed at the West. Suicide is the fundamental practice of the shamed in many cultures to atone for their shame. It is no coincidence that suicide is the fundamental tool of modern Islamic terrorism, the same terrorism that reacts most angrily to being shamed, whether it is at Abu Ghaib, with the Mohammed cartoons or the Koran in the toilet or the so-called plight of the defeated Palestinian Arabs.
If Islam truly were a religion, it would be government by morality, but instead Muslims continue to exist in an Honor / Shame culture that allows them to create their own truths and imagine themselves as perpetual victims. Yet their own refusal to take responsibility is what creates their victimization and that victimization justifies their violence... in their minds and in the minds of their apologists in the West.