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.
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.”
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.