Even for someone who
has experienced – nay, endured the
rigors and brutality of Islamic “culture,” such as Ayaan HIrsi Ali – it may
be difficult for that person to condemn the ideology-cum-religion of Islam and
disown it as thoroughly and finally as one can Nazism or Communism, regardless
of how Islam affected that person’s life, publicly and personally. However, one
can “disown” Islam yet some emotional connection to it may linger, like a virus
that may lay dormant for decades and then begin to affect one’s thinking and
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
That state of
lingering belief is utterly alien to me; I have been a committed, conscious
atheist since my mid-teens. I dismiss all religious systems, dogmas, and tracts.
Having been raised in the Catholic religion, I have never been tempted to find
a replacement or substitute for it. Paraphrasing the American patriot Ethan Allen, reason,
then and now, has been to and for me the only “Oracle of Man,” not Christ or
Moses, and certainly not Mohammad. Allen’s arguments against superstition are
not mine; I rejected God and other ethereal deities, regardless of their names,
for two reasons: their metaphysical impossibility, and for moral reasons of
rejecting the power and influence of a “higher” authority over my existence and
The lingering need
of a person for a “higher” authority will cause him to sooner or later embark
on a project of reclamation of, say, Islam, that will be at dramatic odds with a
past record and stature as a critic of Islam, failing to realize that to
criticize Islam is not enough. It must be repudiated wholesale; as in Nazism
and Communism, there are no “redeeming” features in Islam.
I have said it many
times before, in past columns over the years; Islam must be refuted and
branch, and twig.” There is no middle, reconciliatory ground to be advanced,
argued, and promoted; the whole ideology must be tossed onto an intellectual
bonfire with no regrets or personal recriminations or sense of loss. As an
active “religion,” it must be reduced to ashes.
It doesn’t matter
that, as an ideology, Islam is somewhat schizophrenic, exhibiting on one hand a
“nice,” laid-back, wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly persona
among the rank-and-file, non-jihadist Muslims, and on the other a mean, vile,
vindictive, homicidal, and consistently destructive persona in actions dedicated to conquest and destruction for the
sake of destruction among the “fundamentalists.”
Granted, that religion, as a measure of
moral guidance, has had a grip on man since the dawn of history, and even
before when man first began carving or painting symbols and ideograms on stone
tablets or on cave walls. Religion, as author/philosopher Ayn Rand has put it,
is a primitive form of philosophy. She wrote that religion demands:
“…blind belief, belief unsupported by, or contrary to,
the facts of reality and the conclusions of reason. Faith, as such, is
extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason. But you must
remember that religion is an early form of philosophy, that the first attempts
to explain the universe, to give a coherent frame of reference to man’s life
and a code of moral values, were made by religion, before men graduated or
developed enough to have philosophy.
The contents in the three versions
differ negligibly. The paper is her solution to eventually ending the
“civilizational” conflict between the West and Islam, so that Islam can truly
be a “religion
of peace,” at least as
the West understands the term. The
Muslim Brotherhood would contest Hirsi Ali’s contention that Islam can be a
bonafide “religion of peace.”
of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The
Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in
eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and
’sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers
so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other
Germany, 1928: Mohammed on his flying horse:
an ad for Justus von Liebig’s Extract
of Meat (Spam). From a time when images of
Mohammed were no big deal. Muslims did not
protest or go on killing rampages.
That is, when it has attained “peace.” Islamic
fundamentalists wish to establish the same political power as the Church
enjoyed for centuries in Europe, in the form of a caliphate.
Only twice in any
version of her paper does Hirsi Ali mention the Brotherhood, and never once the
Explanatory Memorandum that details how Islam can conquer the U.S.
Hirsi Ali begins her Hoover paper with:
I argue that
the American public urgently needs to be educated about both the ideology of
political Islam and the organizational infrastructure called dawa that
Islamists use to inspire, indoctrinate, recruit, finance, and mobilize those
Muslims whom they win over to their cause.
There is no
point in denying that this ideology has its foundation in Islamic doctrine.
However, “Islam,” “Islamism,” and “Muslims” are distinct concepts. Not all
Muslims are Islamists, let alone violent, though all Islamists—including those
who use violence—are Muslims. I believe the religion of Islam itself is indeed
capable of reformation, if only to distinguish it more clearly from the
political ideology of Islamism. But that task of reform can only be carried out
by Muslims. Happily, there is a growing number of reformist Muslims. Part of
the Trump administration’s strategy must be to support and empower them.
Not so happily, Trump has selected as his intelligence
advisors some individuals, chiefly Sebastian
General H.R. McMaster, and retired General James
Mattis as Secretary of Defense, who shy away from saying that the U.S. is
at war with Islam. Hirsi Ali continues:
part of the strategy requires confronting dawa,
a term unfamiliar to Americans. Dawa as practiced by radical Islamists employs
a wide range of mechanisms to advance their goal of imposing Islamic law (Sharia)
on society. This includes proselytizing but extends beyond that. In Western
countries, dawa aims both to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and to
instill Islamist views in existing Muslims. The ultimate goal of dawa is to
destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with the
rule of Sharia law.
It cannot be
said often enough that the United States is not at war with Islam or with
Muslims. It is, however, bound to resist the political aspirations of Medina
Muslims where those pose a direct threat to our civil and political liberties.
It is also bound to ensure that Mecca Muslims and reforming Muslims enjoy the
same protections as members of other religious communities who accept the
fundamental principles of a free society. That includes protection from the
tactics of intimidation that are so central to the ideology and practice of
What are Mecca Muslims and Medina Muslims? In the Wall
Street Journal article, and in the other versions of her paper, she makes the
early days of Islam, when Muhammad was going from door to door in Mecca
trying to persuade the polytheists to abandon their idols of worship, he was inviting
them to accept that there was no god but Allah and that he was Allah’s
years of trying this kind of persuasion, however, he and his small band of
believers went to Medina, and from that moment, Muhammad’s mission took on a
political dimension. Unbelievers were still invited to submit to Allah, but
after Medina, they were attacked if they refused. If defeated, they were given
the option to convert or to die. (Jews and Christians could retain their faith
if they submitted to paying a special tax.)
If they weren’t first beheaded and slaughtered, and their
wives and other female relatives taken into sexual slavery.
Her chief argument on how to defeat “political” Islam is to
identify two different manifestations of Islam. Meccan Muslims can be characterized
as peaceful Mormon or Jehovah’s Witnesses doing door-to-door missionary work.
Medina Muslims are the ones who break down the doors.
But Islam is nothing if not “political.” It governs
virtually every facet of an individual Muslim’s life. Islam Today emphasizes
the “peaceful” character of Islam.
So we must ask our question again: What does Allah
want from me as a Muslim in my dealings with others? To answer this question,
we must return to the Qur’an and Sunnah. When we do, we find there can be no
doubt that the texts point us to at least two types of concerns. First, it is
obvious that we are supposed to propagate the faith and convey the message of
Islam to others. There are many verses of the Qur’an and Prophetic hadith that
call us to this duty. However, that is not all. There are also numerous texts
that call upon us to serve humanity. How often are we told to respect, honor,
and assist others? These texts help us to complete the picture of how we are
expected to worship Allah in our daily lives.
dichotomy concocted by AHA demonstrates how far “south” she has gone,
making a completely artificial distinction between “moderate” Muslims and
“radical” or “extremist” Muslims. The “peaceful” Islam is also
altruistic, as altruistic as Christianity:
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
said: “Whoever is engaged in fulfilling his brother’s needs, then Allah will be
fulfilling his needs.” [Sahīh al-Bukhārī]
Likewise, he said: “Allah loves best the one who benefits people the most. The
most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, remove his distress, pay
off his debt, or placate his hunger. For me to go forth in fulfilling my brother’s
need is dearer to me than to observe a retreat in this mosque (in Madinah) for
worship for a month… And whoever goes forth to fulfil his brother’s need
until it is taken care of, then Allah will make his feet tread steadily on that
Day when feet will slip.” [al-Silsilah al-Sahihah]
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is also reported to have said: “Whoever
goes forth to fulfil his brother’s need and makes headway in fulfilling that
need, it is better than observing a retreat in the mosque for ten years.” [al-Tabarānī,
al-Bayhaqī and al-Hākim]
Institute, on the other hand, in June 2013, reported an interesting
observation by an Australian journalist:
Recently, Mark Durie’s article
highlights the efforts of the journalist Paul Sheehan, reflecting on the
Woolwich beheading of Drummer Lee Rigby, and invited consideration of the view
of Muslim violence in authoritative Islamic texts. In the Sydney Morning
Herald of May 27, 2013, Sheehan observed that the Koran and the teachings
of Muhammad seem to be a factor behind Muslim violence, and offered these critical observations:
violent attacks on civilians are done in the name of Islam.
existence of violent Islamic sectarian conflict and the repression of religious
dissent in Muslim nations give the lie to the “absurd claim” that
Islam is “the religion of peace.”
verses in the Koran call for violence against unbelievers, and these are
invoked by Muslims who murder others: “So many Muslims have been
encouraged to murder civilians by such exhortations that the rate of violent
incidents perpetrated in the name of Islam is staggering, a toll that shows no
sign of subsiding.”
rejoinder was published the next day by Associate Professor Mohamad Abdalla,
founding director of the Islamic Research Unit at Griffith University in
Queensland, Australia. Abdalla rejected the proposition that Islam supports
killing innocent people: “A contextual reading of the Koran or Hadith
leads to one conclusion only: there is no justification for killing of innocent
It all depends on “context,”
explains Abdalla. But the context is that of 1400 years ago.
It also needs to be understood that
radical jihadis themselves use a contextual model to interpret the Koran: they
do not simply rely on context-free interpretations or on proof-texts — quotes
taken out of context to support an argument. The Bin Ladins of the world — and
theologians such as Sayyid Qutb who paved the way for them — have been more
than familiar with interpretive tools such as the “context” of
revelation, “abrogation,” or the life of Muhammad. Such subjects are
on the curriculum in the jihad factories.
What is disappointing about
Abdalla’s article is that the very texts he refers to only get worse when their
context is taken into account. For example, he criticizes Sheehan for citing a
passage from the second chapter of the Koran: “And slay them wherever ye
find them …” Abdalla writes:
Let us take a closer look at these six
verses, with the help of a great Muslim scholar, Ibn Kathir,
whose commentary on the Koran has been translated into English, and is widely
respected and read today by Muslims around the world. (The reader can examine
the relevant part of the commentary here.)
First, here are the verses from the
second chapter of the Koran:
190. And fight in the way of Allah
those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the
191. And kill them wherever you find
them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah is
worse than killing. And fight not with them at Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the
sanctuary at Makkah), unless they (first) fight you there. But if they attack
you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.
192. But if they cease, then Allah
is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
193. And fight them until there is
no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and the
religion (all and every kind of worship) is for Allah (Alone). But if they
cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimin (the polytheists
194. The sacred month is for the
sacred month, and for the prohibited things, there is the Law of equality
(Qisas). Then whoever transgresses against you, you transgress likewise against
him. And fear Allah, and know that Allah is with Al-Muttaqin.
195. And spend in the cause of Allah
and do not throw yourselves into destruction, and do good. Truly, Allah loves
Al-Muhsinin (those who do good).[Parentheses in the text.]
What is the context of this passage?
It dates from the early Medinan period, when Allah had given permission to
Muslims to fight against those who fought them: “fight in the way of Allah
those who fight you, but transgress not the limits.” (2:190) Abdalla is
correct when he says that the phrase “slay them wherever you find
them” (2:191) refers to fighting against those who fight Muslims: it is
not a universal command to kill noncombatants or innocent people. Yet there is
more to be said.
Ironically, verse 190 was one of the
passages invoked by Michael Adebolajo, the killer of Drummer Lee Rigby, when he said: “we are forced by the Quran … through many,
many ayah [verses] throughout the Koran that we must fight them as
they fight us.” [Emphasis added.]
So much would need to be gutted from
a “reformed,” rewritten Koran for a
“reformed” Islam that, as a prescription for living the “good life,” it would
be reduced to the level of “Eat your vegetables” and “Wash behind your ears.”
Observing in all three versions that
the jihadists are seeking to impose the 7th Century vision of Islam on the
world, in the Wall Street
Journal version of her paper, Hirsi Ali writes:
Mecca Muslims have a problem: Their religious beliefs exist in an uneasy
tension with modernity—the complex of economic, cultural and political
innovations that not only reshaped the Western world but also dramatically
transformed the developing world as the West exported it. The rational, secular
and individualistic values of modernity are fundamentally corrosive of
traditional societies, especially hierarchies based on gender, age and inherited
between two worlds of belief and experience, these Muslims are engaged in a
daily struggle to adhere to Islam in the context of a society that challenges
their values and beliefs at every turn. Many are able to resolve this tension
only by withdrawing into self-enclosed (and increasingly self-governing)
enclaves. This is called cocooning, a practice whereby Muslim immigrants
attempt to wall off outside influences, permitting only an Islamic education
for their children and disengaging from the wider non-Muslim community.
It is my hope to engage this second
group of Muslims—those closer to Mecca than to Medina—in a dialogue about the
meaning and practice of their faith…..
Hirsi Ali lists the principal
attributes of the Koran that must be
amended or discarded if Islam is to be reformed:
I have identified five precepts
central to Islam that have made it resistant to historical change and
adaptation. Only when the harmfulness of these ideas are recognized and they
are repudiated will a true Muslim Reformation have been achieved. Here are the
five areas that require amendment:
1. Muhammad’s semi-divine status,
along with the literalist reading of the Quran.
Muhammad should not be seen as infallible, let alone as a source of divine
writ. He should be seen as a historical figure who united the Arab tribes in a
premodern context that cannot be replicated in the 21st century. And although
Islam maintains that the Quran is the literal word of Allah, it is, in
historical reality, a book that was shaped by human hands. Large parts of the
Quran simply reflect the tribal values of the 7th-century Arabian context from
which it emerged. The Quran’s eternal spiritual values must be separated from
the cultural accidents of the place and time of its birth.
The supremacy of life after death.
The appeal of martyrdom will fade
only when Muslims assign a greater value to the rewards of this life than to
those promised in the hereafter.
Shariah, the vast body of religious legislation.
Muslims should learn to put the
dynamic, evolving laws made by human beings above those aspects of Shariah that
are violent, intolerant or anachronistic.
The right of individual Muslims to enforce Islamic law.
There is no room in the modern world
for religious police, vigilantes and politically empowered clerics..
The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war.
Islam must become a true religion of
peace, which means rejecting the imposition of religion by the sword.
Hirsi Ali concludes:
know that this argument will make many Muslims uncomfortable. Some are bound to
be offended by my proposed amendments. Others will contend that I am not
qualified to discuss these complex issues of theology and law. I am also
afraid—genuinely afraid—that it will make a few Muslims even more eager to
In conclusion, I frankly do not care
if Muslims can ever establish a “reformed” Islam – which I doubt they will —
no more than I care if a Christian ever experiences “rapture” or divination.
Doubtless, Hirsi Ali will find some reform-minded Muslims who will work with
her to try to strip Islam of its pernicious and aggressive political character.
That would make Islam as anemic and impotent as Scientology.
What I do care about is whether or
not our political leaders can grasp Islam by its fundamentals and understand
that they must fight Islam – to defeat it. To burn it to ashes. Or at least is
forced to retreat permanently into the dank, unhealthy hole from which it has
Before it triumphs by default and defeats the West.