The Left’s Longing for a Moderate Islam

Today’s post is by The 800lb Gorilla, a conservative blogger and acquaintance of mine for some years. The piece is a response to my assertion that many on the left are trying to distance the French terrorists, who executed the staff of “Charlie Hebdo”, from Islam altogether. In fact just today I heard a report that a Frenchman declared “they were not Muslims, they were terrorists”. Well of course, they were Muslims and the degree to which they differ from “the average Muslim” has as much to do with our perceptions as it does any truth, which Gorilla discusses below.

Some quick definitions to help with understanding the piece.

“dar al-Islam vs dar al-Harb”: The notion that the world divides into two parts, the “clean part” which embraces Islam and the “dirty” part which does not, and is destined for chaos and strife.

The Clash of Civilizations“: A work by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington who suggests that in the post cold war era, people will identify and oppose each other more along cultural lines than ideological or nationalistic lines.

“ummah”: Arabic for “community”.

And now, I’ll let Gorilla have the floor.

Liberal assertion: Some of us are trying to separate this tragedy from mainstream Islam.

Statement by Josh Earnest on fighting Islamist extremism.

Why?

There is a difference between radical Islam and “mainstream” Islam, but that difference is not Islam, it is the implementation of Islam. So when a “mainstream” Muslim talks about dar al-Islam vs. dar al-Harb, there is at least the perception and belief (on the part of the non-Muslim) that they are speaking metaphorically. However, when a radical Muslim speaks of dar al-Islam vs. dar al-Harb, there is the absolute assertion that they are speaking literally. The only difference between the “mainstream” and radical view on dar al-Islam vs. dar al-Harb is YOUR perception of the interpretation taken by either the “mainstream” or radical Muslim. The point is, it means the same for both.

I think the comments and actions made by Egyptian President al-Sisi opposing radicals are interesting, and certainly a positive, but I’m cautious in clinging to an iota of hope in a sea of doubt. I personally see a fundamentalist transition to Islam occurring right now. Muslim states are becoming more fundamentalist—not less—and that does not bode well for collaboration, cooperation, and integration with Western Civilization. That should concern us all.

I always found Sam Huntington’s premise on the war of civilizations to be interesting. It concerns me though that buying into his premise could make conflicts between civilizations a self-fulfilling prophecy. All the same, it is hard to watch what is happening in the greater ummah and not be concerned. Whether you believe it or not, Islam puts stock in the literal notion of dar al-Islam vs. dar al-Harb.

Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd noted French Prime Minister François Hollande had declared France is at war with radical Islam and asked Attorney General Eric Holder, “Would you say the United States is at war with radical Islam?”

Holder answered, “I would say that we are at war with terrorists who commit these heinous acts and who use Islam. They use a corrupted version of Islam to justify their actions. We are bound and determined to hold them accountable, to find them wherever they are, and then to try, as you indicated, to come up with ways in which we prevent young people who become attracted to this radical ideology from becoming members of these groups and perpetrating these heinous acts.”

Hamas French Heroes

The left has put a lot of effort—an effort not made by Muslims themselves—into separating Islam from Islamic extremists. The only reason, as far as I can tell, is political correctness and a short-sighted effort to demonstrate that they are more nuanced and understanding than anyone else, apparently to include Muslims. I think this is a mistake. The intent of radical Islam is to push the ummah towards fundamentalist premises within the faith. These aren’t foreign ideas, but rather are strict interpretations of notions ALL Muslims already believe. Absolving Muslims of radical or violent actions made in Islam’s name by other Muslims removes pressure from the Muslim community to self-regulate the actions and rhetoric of their own—and this is a critically important premise that you must understand. What you or I, or any other non-Muslim says, matters not. Islam is a way of life:

Until Islam pressures Islam to cease these types of actions, non-Muslims and Muslims will continue to talk past one another, and at some point, this is going to boil over, proving Huntington correct. Germany, renowned for their cultural and secular tolerance, is seeing more and more agitation towards Islam and Muslims in general. Following the Paris attacks, I’ll not be surprised to see France move in the same direction. The English Defense League (EDL) in Great Britain is another example. Many will call these movements racist, and admittedly I’ve not followed them close enough to really say if they are or aren’t, but I do know that the lack of cultural and national assimilation made by the Muslim community strengthens the argument made by these movements. Dearborn, Michigan is another example.

The notion that free speech applies differently to Muslims and non-Muslims should send shivers up your spine. Muslims are free to criticize and ridicule any other religion they want, but heaven forbid that action is reciprocated because elements within that faith might go bat-shit crazy and kill someone. How long before major areas of the world conclude it is easier to simply remove Muslims than to live with them?

What do you think? The bar is open.

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Charlie Hebdo Mourn Your Dead and Keep Cartooning

I was hoping to start the year with a light hearted post but today’s event in Paris makes that impossible.

Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine has been poking at radical Islam for over a decade. They were once fire bombed for their efforts but they kept on going. After a tweet “offensive” to Islam (oddly not depicting Muhammad, but ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi), about a dozen of their staff were massacred today.

In the 1980’s a photo of questionable taste, Piss Christ, was exhibited in public. The picture portrayed the crucified Christ submerged in urine. While the photographer received death threats, not a drop of blood was spilled. The same cannot be said when the image of Muhammad is “disrespected”.

The difference is, unlike fundamentalist Christians, radical Muslims are psychopaths. Anyone moved to violence by a picture or cartoon is clinically insane. Besides hunting these nutjobs down and killing them before they kill us, there is one other thing we must do …

KEEP ON PUBLISHING! Being offended has become a cottage industry in today’s society. That’s fine and dandy. Be offended and protest. But when protest turns to violence, violence should be met with more cartoons. The more violent the action, the more offensive the cartoons should be. Lunatics don’t get to make the rules.

What do you think? The bar is open for the new year.

Kansas, Mexico and Points Beyond

I could write about how Mitt Romney just revealed that the elderly, the military, the poor and disabled consider themselves victims and don’t want to take care of their own lives but I had a few other random thoughts I wanted to cover. This will be brief.

Kansas

An idiot in Kansas files a petition to have Barack Obama kept off the ballot in November on the grounds he was not born in the United States. Birther nutjob and Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach considers the petition along with the rest of the all-Republican Objections Committee. Of course the fact that Kobach is a self-described “adviser” to Mitt Romney didn’t seem to make him think he should recuse himself from this judgment on Obama. Apparently enough people contacted the original petitioner and called him a moron that he withdrew his petition. Kobach, not wanting to appear the Birther-wuss said more investigation was warranted. Then Monday he finally agreed to have Obama placed on the November ballot. Of course, one of the folks demanding that this birth issue be thoroughly examined was “California lawyer and dentist” Orly Taitz, a lunatic I thought had finally faded from the scene.

There was a time in this country when no decent person would have made such outrageous claims about a sitting President for fear of being roundly rebuked. But then as Bill Clinton reminded Ted Kennedy back in 2008, there was a time in this country when Barack Obama would be doing nothing more than getting Kris Kobach a cup of coffee.

Mexico

I guess I’m ashamed to admit it but the one area in which I identified a bit with conservatives was their attitude toward “illegal aliens”. As someone who has been income-challenged for the past few years, I bought hook, line and sinker the notion that Mexicans were stealing jobs from deserving Americans. Even when I recognized that for the most part they were doing jobs most Americans didn’t want to do, I still resented it.

Watching the Democratic National Convention a few weeks ago gave me a bit of an epiphany. I already agreed that Obama was right to extent flexibility to children of undocumented workers who came here by no choice of their own. But the DNC gave me a new perspective on the parents. For the most part, these “illegals” represent the promise of the American Dream. They are no different from the scores of immigrants who have come to our shores over the past 200+ years. They come here to escape a life of certain poverty. They come here because they believe they will find opportunities not available south of the border. What makes them different is that instead of an ocean, there is only an invisible line in the soil separating them from their dream.

I don’t believe we should have open borders. I know it is not feasible to simply let every Tom, Dick and Harry enter the United States at will.  But the DNC made it clear to me that we need a compassionate immigration policy. Undocumented workers don’t come here to hurt us. They come here to help themselves.

Points Beyond

The Muslim Meltdown

Once again an insult to the Muslim prophet Mohammad is propagated and once again a small contingent of angry Muslims go wild. This time the rage is accelerated by newly elected unstable central governments (Cairo) and opportunistic terrorists (Benghazi, Libya). It was humorously suggested on Comedy Central this week that perhaps Islam’s big problem is immaturity. While at first blush this might seem absurd, Islam is a good 600 years younger than Christianity. Christianity’s record for civil behavior was not peachy keen even within the past 300 years (e.g. Salem Witch Trials). Perhaps a Muslim reformation sometime in the future is not outside the realm of possibility? I believe the only way to get rid of radical Islam is from within.

Israel v Iran

That Israel possesses nuclear weapons is the worst kept secret in foreign affairs. So, as a foreign policy neophyte, I ask my more knowledgeable readers why can’t the Iran/Israel standoff be resolved this way:

Iran simply says to Israel, “We will stop developing nuclear capability when you demonstrate that you have disarmed your nuclear weapons.” Seems simple enough to me. What am I missing?

Respectfully,
Rutherford

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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