Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Myth of Islamic Extremism

The question of Islamic extremism has more relevance to Muslims than to non-Muslims. It's mainly Muslims who are obsessed with Islamic extremism. And with good reason. As they so often point out; they tend to be its leading victims.

It's not that Islamic extremism doesn't exist. Islam, like every ideology, has its gradations. It's that for Muslims, there is a great deal at stake in the battle over Islamic extremism. That battle will determine whether they can listen to music, play chess or watch soccer games. Whether men can shave their beards, women can drive cars, little girls can go to school and little boys can grow up learning anything except Koranic verses.

Non-Muslims however remain unequal no matter which brand of Islamic theocracy is in charge. And either way they remain fair game in their own countries.

Every leading form of Islam agrees that an Islamic society is perfect, that its laws perfect man and that imposing those laws on society is a religious duty. They may differ on whether those laws allow Muslims to vote or fly kites; but that is small consolation to the non-Muslims who lose their civil rights either way.

Islamic extremism is primarily concerned with imposing the extremities of Islamic law on Muslims. As part of its Islamization campaign, it will also kill and subjugate non-Muslims; but in this it is no different than so-called moderate Muslims.

Islamic societies are built around an Islamic law that makes non-Muslims second class citizens. Whether Islamic law is the basis of all legislation, as tends to be written in the constitutions of most "moderate" Muslim countries, or whether it actually is the legislation, makes a great deal of difference to Muslims who fear losing the ability to sing or play chess at the snap of a fatwa; but has less impact on non-Muslims who are still doomed to an unequal status.

What Western secular liberals insist on describing as extremism is really a reform movement seeking to purge innovations from the modern Islamic admixture that date back to the ideas and customs that Islamic empires absorbed from the cultures and peoples they conquered and subjugated.

Reform means major changes for the descendants of the Islamic conquerors who have learned to like the living standards of Islamic empires and don't care for going back to the ways of their many times great-grandfathers who were desert nomads and violently suspicious of anything that resembled civilization.

It doesn't change things nearly as much for the non-Muslim minorities who were conquered by those Islamic empires. Life for them would become worse if the Salafists were to take over. But the difference lies in the degrees of subjugation. There is no Islamic option for equal rights.

The dilution of Islam through secularism made life more livable for the Muslim conquerors who wanted to enjoy life in their new dominions in Egypt, the Persian Empire, Byzantium or India. They were less concerned with the comfort of the conquered; the Christians, Jews, Hindus, Zoroastrians and others groaning under their rule. Their increased freedom is an unanticipated and undesired aspect of the general liberalizing of standards that is the first thing to go when the reaction begins.

Salafis are more likely to engage in acts of terror against Western targets. But they certainly weren't the first Muslims to do so. The leading edge of Muslim terror began with so-called moderates. That is true nearly everywhere. The so-called extremists have come to seem like the definitive terrorists and we now expect them to wear beards and recite Koranic verses in court, but they are only following in the footsteps of Muslim terrorists who were naturally clean shaven and whose Islamic nationalism did not need the rigid propping up of specific Koran verses, but who acted in its name nonetheless.

None of the gradations of Islam are friendly to the idea of non-Muslims ruling themselves. There is no basis in Islam for tolerating such a thing if it is at all possible for the followers of Mohammed to put a stop to it. They may differ over tactics, but even the non-violent immigration and missionary tactics of supposed moderate Islamic majoritarians would still end in a theocracy in which Western Christians and Jews would become slaves in their own countries.

This may perhaps be more merciful than a prolonged campaign of slaughter, but it is still oppression by any other name. (Not to mention conquest and invasion). And there is no such thing as moderate oppression.

The Arab Spring posed the question to middle class Muslims whether a non-violent political conquest by the Muslim Brotherhood was better than an armed conquest by its Islamic Group splinter movement. The answer that came in the Tahrir Square protests was a resounding, "No!"

A political conquest may be less messy for the conquerors and the conquered, but it still takes away the rights and freedoms of the conquered and assigns them to their conquerors. If even the urban Muslims of Egypt didn't want Islamization on that scale, even on peaceful terms, why would any non-Muslim accept an Islamization that would remove far more of his civil rights?

A moderate theocracy is still a theocracy. Moderate inequality is still inequality. A multi-tiered legal system in which religion determines status is oppressive no matter how moderate it may be.

Western liberals associate moderation with secularism. Islam is indeed as moderate as it is secular. Like proofs of alcohol, Islam becomes more toxic and flammable the higher the percentage of "Islamic law" it contains. The purer the Islam, the more violent, oppressive, reactionary and brutal it becomes.

But the point that so many liberals miss is that even its diluted forms are still violent, oppressive and reactionary.

Distinguishing moderate and extreme Muslims is as useful as making distinctions between moderate and extreme Nazis and Communists. These distinctions did and do exist, but they are less relevant in the context of an overall ideology whose goals are war, dominance and subjugation.

A moderate Communist or Nazis was still a pretty terrible person. Likewise, a moderate president of Iran is still a political force in a theocracy that discriminates against non-Muslims, engages in regional religious wars and denies many civil rights to half the population.

Western liberals obscure this basic fact in their obsession with finding moderates to talk to. There is only so much common ground that can be reached with someone whose founding belief is that you are inferior and must be subjugated, whose holy book is a set of stories about its early conquests and whose religion is oriented toward the Jihad of the final conquests of the free world.

Moderate Muslims are still extreme by the standards of freedom in the West. They still support violence; the only difference is that they are more willing to try non-violent methods of conquest first. This doesn't truly make them more peaceful, only more disingenuous. In the long run, how much difference is there between the moderate slave owner who tricks his slaves into putting on their own chains and the extremist slave owner who makes them do it at gunpoint?

The end result is still the same. And that is the problem.

Post 9/11 concerns about extremism were focused on tactics with those who threatened the most immediate violence branded as extremists while everyone else was accepted as allies. This terrorist triage is misleading because while it can help fight the most immediate threats, it is only symptom management.

Islamic terrorism triage turned Saudi Arabia into an ally because its double game of working with us and the terrorists meant that it was more compromised and therefore somehow more moderate than the actual terrorists. The Muslim Brotherhood is likewise considered an ally because it is less overtly violent, at the moment and in our general vicinity, than its Al Qaeda branch.

Focusing only on the most immediate threats is a sensible tactic for law enforcement in an emergency, but is a disastrous strategy for political leaders who cannot afford to become so caught up in trying to stop the next attack that they can only see terrorists instead of mass movements that utilize a variety of strategies and tactics for the same end.

Islamic terrorism is not reducible to Islamic extremism. If it were, we could shut down a few websites, a few hundred mosques and bookstores, and have a nice long talk with the Saudis, Qataris and everyone else seeding Wahhabism around the world about what will happen if they don't stop. We aren't likely to find the courage to do this, but even if we did, we would only be postponing an inevitable conflict.

Terrorism is not the real threat. Islamic law is. Islamic terrorism is just one means of imposing it on us. Immigration is another. Political pressure is a third.

During the Cold War, we understood that Communism was a multifaceted threat. It was not only the soldiers and missiles behind the Iron Curtain; it was also the presence of covert organizations and the subversion of high officials. The Red Army and the Communist organization were just two means of accomplishing the same ultimate ends. Likewise the Megamosque and the plane hijackers are two means of reaching the same goals.

A clash of civilizations is approaching driven by a variety of factors, including the collapse of European, American and Russian world power and the demographic strength of the Muslim world. We could perhaps ignore the implications of Islamic law for our own countries if it were not for this sizable stream of settlers spreading across Europe and speaking openly of the day when they will become a majority and impose majoritarian Islamic theocracy on the native European minority.

It will not matter much if the civilization we know is lost and if the freedoms we are familiar with are taken away by the moderates who play the long political game or the extremists who play the short and violent game. It will make a difference to the great-grandchildren of our conquerors who will be able to play chess or fly kites; but our great-grandchildren will still be as fundamentally unequal as the Copts of Egypt or the Jews of Yemen.

An Islam that allows chess playing, but mandates the inequality of non-Muslims should be viewed as just as extreme as any other kind.


Anonymous said...

Not precisely OT, but wanted to see what the Sultan would say about this, and article in the American Bar Association Journal. It cites and criticizes a 1915 case that classified Arab-Americans as "white" on the basis it now (post-9/11) denies the AA's the special protections they might otherwise get if they were considered "nonwhite." I am not making this up. Jerry

Geoffrey Britain said...

"One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory." Algerian leader Houari Boumedienne speaking at the UN, 1974

"Islam cannot be classified as moderate or not, there is only Islam. It is unacceptable for us to agree with such a definition." Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rejecting attempts to call Turkey the representative of moderate Islam

"Islam is a revolutionary ideology and program which seeks to alter the social order of the whole world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenets and ideals. 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." —Sayyed Abul Ala Maududi, founder of Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami, April, 1939

"Slavery is a part of Islam. Slavery is part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long there is Islam." Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan, prominent Saudi religious authority and author of a religious textbook (At-Tawhid, "Monotheism") widely used to teach Saudi high school students as well as their counterparts abroad studying in Saudi schools (including those in the West) November 7, 2003

"There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun [or] joy in whatever is serious." Ayatollah Khomeini

NormanF said...

We are basically offered a choice between joining the Muslim ruling class or living as their slaves.

Either way, we give up our identity and our freedoms. This is the spirit and the essence of Islam and if we reject it we can expect to be slaughtered.

In a word, oppression has its own logic and it seldom falls. The durability of dictatorships is proof of its grip on mankind and Islam par excellence, is the ultimate dictatorship.

Edward Cline said...

I've been saying this same thing for years: Given the core tenets of Islam, why would anyone think there was a brand of it that non-Muslims could live with within a "multicultural" society? Weimar Germany was "multicultural" or "multi-political," with Communists and Nazis battling for prominence in the Reichstag and in the streets, with the great uncommitted mass of Germans watching from the grandstands. We all know who won that battle. Everyone was obliged to become a Nazi or at least defer to Nazi demands and wishes.

Where were the "moderate" Nazis? Did such a creature exist? No. As Daniel asks above, was there such a thing as a "moderate" Communist? No. To the Nazis, a Communist was a Communist regardless of his activism, and he got sent to the camps just as quickly as was a Jew, atheist, Christian and others. As for Islam, you can't eat your death-worshipping, totalitarian ideology and thrive by it, too. This is a lesson I think Westerners must learn the hard way over and over again until there is nothing but corpses and ashes in their landscape and long lines of chained dhimmi slaves being herded to the salt mines by their Islamic overseers.

Islam is a cancer that cannot tolerate a healthy, freedom-based society. It will destroy it outright, or eat away at freedom and at men's minds, minds that think only a little bit of cancer won’t do any harm.

mindRider said...

The western political elite who, by allowing or rather inviting immigration from muslim countries invoked this creeping conquest cares nothing for the demise of liberty and enlightenment. They shall become muslim and join the ruling mullah class as speedily and as eagerly as nazi officers became commissars under communism in East Germany or modern day Euro-parliamentarian in the present creeping dictatorship of the Eusr.

Anonymous said...

The western liberal elite has made their choice. The totalitarian nature of Islam appeals to their totalitarian nature. It's easier to impose your ideology on the opposition than to convert them.

fsy said...

During the Cold War, we understood that Communism was a multifaceted threat.

That depends on whom you refer to as "we". There were plenty of traitors and useful idiots back then as well, and today they have multiplied tremendously.

Anonymous said...

It all boils down to naming your enemy but in our PC world, in the world of Obama and Progressive domination of our country, that name Islam, cannot be spoken for if it is, the terror of it would have to be addressed and dealt with. Instead, our fearful and incompetent, morally and ethically distanced political class has to pretend it is reasonable and necessary to call our enemy by any other name, allowing it to infest our cities and all of our institutions with its demonic life and liberty destroying ideology while at the same time working together to destroy the very fabric and foundations that allowed America to be born and prosper, leading the world away from the terror and subjugation of millions by other demonic life and destroying ideologies.


Anonymous said...

A extremist muslim wants to kill non-muslims. A moderate muslim wants extremists muslims to kill non-muslims. So I ask are there really any muslims who aren't extremists?

mrs adela bradley said...

"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." (George Orwell)

Anonymous said...

Rather than obsess over muslims of ANY stripe, why don't we 1.) admit they are different and that, generally speaking, they are NOT a group that civilized peoples wish to deal with unless absolutely necessary and 2.) distance ourselves as much as possible from them. The Right wishes to invade and torment them; the Left wants to embrace them.

Can't we just maintain a distance, stop demonizing them and letting them dictate our actions? There's no real threat that some 21st century muslim caliphate will arise-- that's nonsense. Look more closely at muslim demographics-- they're not exactly a baby making machine these days (see David Goldman's analysis on this).

ALSO, If that means Israel has to deal with them solo, that's fine with me.

mattbarrow said...

For way too many, believing such a primitive, barbaric people could exist in our midst is unbelievable, just unbelievable.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Some Muslim demographics are dropping. Some are not. Most are still higher than ours.

If you think that's not a problem, go look at France or Germany... or Russia.

The only way to maintain distance is to end immigration. And even that won't account for the millions already here or across the border in Canada.

Anonymous said...

Well stated Sultan.

I wanted to add that Social Democrats all the way to Communists are all Marxists who agree on the ends, just disagree on the means. Very similar to your astute analysis here of Muslims of various degrees. The Social Democrats are just as dangerous as the Communist Party members. And we have given them free reign to march through our institutions and slowly impose tyranny and oppression upon us....with a smile. Certainly better than the gulags and re-education camps, but the end is the same.


Anonymous said...

Old Arab proverb: "If the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow."
David Mc

Anonymous said...

"There's no real threat that some 21st century muslim caliphate will arise-- that's nonsense."

That is the definition of naivete. In case you haven't noticed extremist muslims are trying to get a nuclear bomb and the means to deliver it to anyplace in the world. They will use it when they get it. Their history, belief system and religion demands it. The only unknowns are: When, Where and how bad. They would like it to be Israel but the Jews are at least on guard to prevent it. Almost any big city in Europe would make the extremist very happy as would any large city in the U.S. Multiple cities would give them orgasms of pleasure. Make no mistake this 12th century mindset is very dangerous and sooner or later it will start a nuclear war. Ignoring them is not a strategy it is ignorance and fear.

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