|Not mincing words in Boris Johnson’s London|
Johnson, Mayor of London, knows how to not talk about Islam.
the sea, Daniel Greenfield, Stephen Coughlin, and a few others not detached
from reality, also know how to not talk about Islam.
Johnson wants to find a new term for linking Islamic terrorism without
mentioning Islam or Muslims. Or even terrorists or terrorism.
Greenfield et al. do not think you
can discuss Islamic terrorism without mentioning Islam. If you talk about
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, you are talking about a cereal, and not about sushi or
hummus. Finding a new term for Islamic terrorism isn’t necessary. The current
term says it all.
Johnson does not believe that Islamic “radicalization” has anything to do with
Islam. “Radicalization” is a very real term to him, yet it has nothing to do
with Islam. By what are British, American, and European Muslims being
“radicalized”? The answer to this question is to Johnson as elusive as Peruvian
guano dung. He tries several explanations but none of them rings true, for they
all avoid “Islam” like the plague. It’s almost funny how finicky he is when
trying to solve a problem by evading the simplest answers.
title of this column lends itself, at Boris Johnson’s expense, to an old Monty
Python skit, “How not to
be seen.” Or, how not to be heard or seen speaking of Islam in any but
praiseworthy and respective language. Language that deprecates or indicts Islam
is out of the question. In Britain, it probably isn’t even legal.
ago, in a June 28th Telegraph article, “Islamic
State? This death cult is not a state and it’s certainly not Islamic,” tackled the conundrum
with a subheading, “We must settle on a
name for our enemies that doesn’t smear all Muslims but does reflect reality.”
To Johnson, ISIS, or ISIL, is merely a “death cult” and has no relation to
Islam. It isn’t fair to Islam or to Muslims, he says, to characterize Islamic
terrorism as something performed exclusively by hooded Muslims who usually
quote Koranic verses while broadcasting their latest beheading, stoning, or
hurling of a gay from a rooftop. Johnson writes:
have to know what to call them. We must at least settle on a name – a
terminology – with which we can all agree. And the trouble with the fight
against Islamic terror is that we are increasingly grappling with language, and
with what it is permissible or sensible to say.
terrorism that is the “enemy.” However, to call it “Islamic terror” is an
unjustified exercise of “profiling.” And in Britain, no longer a bastion of
freedom of speech, profiling Muslims and connecting them with Islamic terrorism
is no longer permissible.
political? Is it a toxic mixture of the two? And what exactly is its
relationship with Islam? Many thoughtful Muslims are now attempting –
understandably – to decouple their religion from any association with violence
of this kind.
incredible mental and linguistic contortions to dissociate or “decouple” Islam
from terrorism. The contortions are but exercises in taqiyya, as detailed in
Stephen Coughlin’s Catastrophic
Failure: The Blindfolding of America in the Face of Jihad. This important work was partly
reviewed in January in “ Interfaith
Bridges to Islam” on Rule of Reason.
running a state, and their gangster organization is not Islamic – it is a
narcissistic death cult….
other homicidal creatures who to a man hope to gain admittance to “Paradise”
and 72 virgins by submitting wholeheartedly to Islam and Allah’s will. Yes,
ISIS is a state. It has a government, of sorts, a currency, of sorts, and it
works ceaselessly to preserve itself as a state. It’s called the Islamic State
of Iraq and Syria. The term “State” is not accidental. It does not call itself
the Islamic Club, the Islamic Fellowship, or even the Islamic Brotherhood. ISIS’s
main goal is to establish a caliphate in as much territory as it can conquer.
that if you call it Islamic State you are playing their game; you are
dignifying their criminal and barbaric behavior; you are giving them a
propaganda boost that they don’t deserve, especially in the eyes of some
impressionable young Muslims. He wants us all to drop the terms, in favor of
more derogatory names such as “Daesh” or “Faesh”, and his point deserves a
are others who would go much further, and strip out any reference to the words
“Muslim” or “Islam” in the discussion of this kind of terrorism – and here I am
afraid I disagree. I can well understand why so many Muslims feel this way.
Whatever we may think of the “truth” of any religion, there are billions of
people for whom faith is a wonderful thing: a consolation, an inspiration –
part of their identity.
|The Islamic Anthill, at the Kaaba, Mecca|
mustn’t leave them in a state of disconsolation. Somehow, calling killers
killers is “playing into their game,” and “dignifying their criminal and
barbaric behavior.” We are, Johnson implies, granting Islamic terrorists some
sort of legitimacy related to their “hijacking” Islam to better satisfy their
homicidal lusts. But Islam is an ideology that sanctions whatever homicidal
lusts may motivate the killers. It is they who are dignifying their crimes. Boris
Johnson then shakes his head in resignation.
association with a violent minority?
such association is inevitable. The first is a simple point of language, and
the need to use terms that everyone can readily grasp. It is very difficult to
bleach out all reference to Islam or Muslim from discussion of this kind of
terror, because we have to pinpoint what we are actually talking about. It
turns out that there is virtually no word to describe an Islamically-inspired
terrorist that is not in some way prejudicial, at least to Muslim ears.
have a name, a term, one which identifies the killers. Unfortunately, the
overwhelming number of killers are Muslims acting in the name of Islam, whether
they’re “soldiers” of Allah in the fields of ISIS or bombing Paris or Brussels
Airport. “A” cannot be “A” because too many people are in the “A” category, and
resent being so labeled. We must somehow render “A” a non-“A.”
then wonders how he can have Aristotle and eat him, too.
specifically religious associations of the problem, then we are not only
ignoring the claims of the terrorists themselves (which might be reasonable),
but the giant fact that there is a struggle going on now for the future of Islam,
and how it can adapt to the 21st century. The terrorism we are seeing across
the Muslim world is partly a function of that struggle, and of the chronic
failure of much Islamic thinking to distinguish between politics and religion.
not, in the end, admit that Islam by its nature does not distinguish between politics
and religion. It does not separate church and state or mosque and state. They are
one and the same. Ask any ISIS killer, or any mild-mannered imam, or any humble
mullah. They will tell you the same thing in so many words.
in his April 20th Sultan Knish column, “The
Fallacy of Focusing on Islamic Radicalization,” is an antidote to Johnson’s
programs, under euphemisms such as CVE or Countering Violent Extremism, assume
that Islamic terrorism can be countered by forming a partnership with Muslim
groups and social services agencies. While the West will ease Muslim
dissatisfaction by providing jobs and boosting their self-esteem to make them
feel like they belong, the Muslim groups will tackle the touchy issue of Islam.
These partnerships achieve nothing because social services don’t prevent
Islamic terrorism; they enable and fund the very no-go zones and dole-seeker
lifestyles that are a gateway to the Jihad. Meanwhile the Muslim partners are
inevitably Islamists looking to pick up potential recruits for their own terror
agendas. Western countries fund terrorism to fight terrorism and then partner
with still more terrorists to train their homegrown terrorists not to be
terrorists, or at least not the wrong kind of terrorists. This is what happens
when the “Islam” part of Islamic terrorism is ignored and outsourced to any
Islamist who can pretend to be moderate in front of a television camera for 5
minutes at a time.
None of this actually stops Islamic terrorism. Instead it empowers and
other language, CVE prefers squaring the root of pi over naming Islam. Pi is Islamic
“radicalization.” It can have an infinite number of explanations for Muslims being
“radicalized” stretching from Earth to the Dark Horse Nebula and beyond. The answers,
however, always without exception default back to Islam.
is a whole number. It can’t be squared. Squaring it only leaves one with “one.”
Put another way, you can treat Islam as a pot of sea water. You can boil the
water away, and leave the salt behind. The violent
verses of the Koran especially are the salt in Islam. It’s the violent
verses of the Koran on which the killers act.
for Johnson, is the key culprit. It must be sanitized somehow to both identify
the Islamic baddies and also to deny they have a lot to do with the Islam that
so many blameless Friday-Go-Mosque Muslims adhere to. Language must conform to
wishful thinking or delusions. It must never, never be anchored to reality. That
would be “radicalization” and we want none of that.
Johnson gives an exquisite demonstration of how
to not talk about Islam, while at the same time talking about it. Quite a feat
of Saussurean semiotics.