The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

The Incontrovertible Dead-End of Islam Revisited

At the moment, I would rather
be writing about the smiley mask that is falling from President Barack Obama
and his tyrannical administration regarding the fabricated Benghazi
“talking points,” the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting
conservative and Tea Party groups for special attention, and the government’s
stealing the Associated Press’s phone records. There is also the matter of the
federal government stealing millions of personal health records in order to screen
who will and will not be beneficiaries of Obamacare.

On top of all that, I learned
that the Obama administration and the Mainstream Media are “like
that.” Imagine my index and second fingers crossed. For example, CNN vice
president and deputy bureau chief Virginia Moseley is married to Hillary
Clinton’s deputy secretary, Tom Nides. CBS president David Rhodes is the
brother of Ben
Rhodes
, master’s degree holder in fiction-writing from NYU, Obama’s
deputy national security advisor, whose editing of the Benghazi “talking
points
” qualifies as fiction-writing. ABC president Ben Sherwood is
the brother of special Obama advisor Elizabeth Sherwood. And, NBC was co-opted
because its parent company is General Electric, which got $150 billion in
stimulus money. What an incestuous extended family!

That leaves Fox News as the
only other major news outlet that hasn’t been co-opted or corrupted by the
government. But there is one place Fox won’t go, either: criticizing the
Saudis. Fox is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Group, which is about 10% owned
by a Saudi
royal prince
.

The New York Times is
completely liberal/left and shows no signs of wanting a reality check, so it
can be written off. The same goes for the Washington Post, whose only saving
grace is Charles Krauthammer’s weekly column. Whether or not he’s a neocon or merely
a straight conservative, I’ve never been able to determine.

So, we don’t need a 50-story
pyramid housing Minitru in the middle of a squalid London in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four to have a compliant
propaganda entity. We have glitzy studio news sets and groomed talking head
fashion plates and razzle-dazzle special effects to accomplish the same end:
falsehoods and news reportage that is so biased it verges on fantasy.

That being said, I move on to
another subject that must be raised, even though it is tangential to the
foregoing vis-à-vis our foreign and domestic policies.  

The following is a revised
and expanded version of “The
Incontrovertible Dead-End of Islam
,” which first appeared on October
30th, 2010. The revision and expansion are prompted by a May 13th,
2013 article by Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, “Islam vs. Islamism,”
which also appeared in the Washington
Times
on May 13th. His article reflects a troubling central
premise of alleging a necessary distinction between Islam and
“Islamists,” that is, between ordinary, non-violent Muslims and their
violent, “extremist” or “radical” brethren.

Pipes
opens with a reference to the Boston Marathon bombings of April 15th
and the foiled attack on the Canadian rail link to the U.S.:

What
motives lay behind last month’s Boston Marathon bombing and the would-be attack
on a VIA Rail Canada train?

Leftists
and establishmentarians variously offer imprecise and tired replies – such as
“violent extremism” or anger at Western imperialism – unworthy of
serious discussion. Conservatives, in contrast, engage in a lively and serious
debate among themselves: some say Islam the religion provides motive, others
say it’s a modern extremist variant of the religion, known as radical Islam or
Islamism.

As a
participant in the latter debate, here’s my argument for focusing on Islamism.

His argument proposes a false
dichotomy between Islam and “Islamists,” that is, between Muslims who
wage violent jihad on the West and
even amongst themselves for sectarian reasons, and those who don’t.

Islam
is the fourteen-century-old faith of a billion-plus believers that includes
everyone from quietist Sufis to violent jihadis. Muslims achieved remarkable
military, economic, and cultural success between roughly 600 and 1200 C.E.
Being a Muslim then meant belonging to a winning team, a fact that broadly
inspired Muslims to associate their faith with mundane success. Those memories
of medieval glory remain not just alive but central to believers’ confidence in
Islam and in themselves as Muslims.

Major
dissonance began around 1800, when Muslims unexpectedly lost wars, markets, and
cultural leadership to Western Europeans. It continues today, as Muslims bunch
toward the bottom of nearly ever index of achievement. This shift has caused
massive confusion and anger. What went wrong, why did God seemingly abandon His
faithful? The unbearable divergence between pre-modern accomplishment and
modern failure brought about trauma.

Muslims
have responded to this crisis in three main ways. Secularists want Muslims to
ditch the Shari’a (Islamic law) and emulate the West. Apologists also emulate
the West but pretend that in doing so they are following the Shari’a. Islamists
reject the West in favor of a retrograde and full application of the Shari’a.

These paragraphs astounded
me. The first one glosses over the conquest of the Middle East and North Africa
which necessitated forced conversion, butchery, and slavery. Remarkable military
successes, indeed. But for their defeat at the Battle of Tours, the
“Islamists” would have carved out a huge empire in Europe. What
economic accomplishments? The period he cites spans the economically stagnant
Dark Ages and early Western Medieval periods. Cultural successes? Other than a
certain architectural style, translating some Aristotle and other ancient
thinkers – whose works Islam subsequently rejected – I can’t recall any great
symphonies, artwork, or literature Islam produced in those six hundred years.

“Major dissonance” within Islam began over who was going to
be Mohammad’s official successor in the 630’s. Thus the interminable conflicts between
Sunnis and Shi’ites and other splintering sects of Islam. Islam never had any
“cultural leadership.”

Secularist Muslims may want Islam
to ditch Sharia law but only at the risk of being deemed apostates and of their
deaths. Apologist Muslims feign a hypothetical reconciliation between Sharia and
Western concepts of freedom, and demand the incorporation of Sharia into
Western law. “Islamists,” however, are consistent with their creed,
know that it is
“retrograde” and primitive, and wage jihad to achieve that end.

Raymond Ibrahim, associate director
of the Middle East Forum, on October 28, 2010, however, published an article, “Offensive Jihad: The One
Incontrovertible Problem with Islam
,” also in the Middle East Form (October
28, 2010), which seems to be at fundamental odds with Pipes’ article. Ibrahim’s
article addresses one of the fundamental problems of and with Islam, one which I
have continually stressed: jihad. Jihad is a core tenet in what is a
codified system of irrationalism that cannot be “reformed” without obliterating
Islam as a distinct religious creed. Remove the belligerent jihadist commands from the Koran and Hadith to wage jihad, for
example, and it would cease to be Islam, not only in Muslim minds but in
non-Muslim, as well.

There would, of course,
remain a host of other irrational assertions and imperatives, such as the
sanctioning of wife-beating and the murder of apostates and the like, which constitute,
after some astounding mental gymnastics by Islamic clerics and scholars, the
byzantine and illogical underpinnings and text of Sharia law. The jihadist elements of Islam, however, are
easily transmutable into a political policy, which is conquest of all
non-Muslim or infidel governments and societies and their submission to Sharia.
That makes it an ideological doctrine. Muslims are either obliged to wage jihad, or they are not. Mohammad and Muslim
scholars say they are. End of argument, so far as Koranic interpretation goes, and that interpretation is biased towards
the literal.

Reading the debates about what
Islam’s mission is and the role of jihad
in it and what they truly “mean,” I am always reminded of H.L. Mencken’s
observation on religious zealotry: “The urge to save humanity is almost
always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.” Islam is a puritanical
creed that makes no allowances for either infidels or apostates or its
adherents. I cannot believe that beneath the pious exterior of any person who
would be seduced by Islam is not a seething, percolating envy of men who are
indeed free, an envy easily and maliciously transfigured into violent jihad.

This policy is operative and
underway today in Western nations with varying degrees of success, and it is
making progress only by default. Islam is strong only because the West’s
defenders are emasculated by multiculturalist premises and a general
disinclination to condemn any religion. Aggravating the problem is an
unadmitted but general fear in tolerance-obsessed pragmatists of “offending”
Muslims, who might start rioting and demonstrating again, claiming
discrimination, defamation, and disrespect, and etc., none of it spontaneous
but clearly organized and orchestrated by so-called “radicals.”

I was initially impressed by Ibrahim’s
quotation from an entry on jihad in
the Encyclopedia of Islam, which is
an admission that “Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad can be eliminated” – until I
realized that it could just as well mean that, after a global caliphate has
been established, there would be no more justification for violent jihad. Every nation would by then be
conquered, recalcitrant infidels slain, enslaved, or reduced to dhimmitude, and Sharia made the law of
every land.  

In short, after all the
killing, enslaving, and oppression, jihad
would be wrong!!

But, if Islam is completely
“made over” in the sense of reforming
it, what would be left of Islam that virtually any other creed could not claim as
its fundamental tenets, as well?  And to
“make over” Islam, its principal font of “kilman” or wisdom, the objectionable
and barbaric Mohammad, would need to be dispensed with. He is a role model for
killers and tyrants and other psychopathic individuals. Remove that one
critical link of the irrational and arbitrary in Islam, and all the other links
fall to the floor or dissolve into nothingness.

What would be substituted for
Mohammad? It would need to be something as enduringly fable-worthy as Mohammad,
but measurably benign. But, Islam has no alternative icons that meet that description.
What then, would be Islam’s driving force, if not jihad as commanded by Allah as told to Mohammad?

Once Mohammad is removed the
text, the next step would be a “blasphemous” exercise and question
the existence and credence of Allah; if he commanded jihad, and if his word is sacred and unalterable, and known only
through Mohammad, then he would need to be subjected to a “make over,” much as
the focus of Christian doctrine was shifted from an Allah-like Jehovah of the
Old Testament to the largely pacific New Testament with Jesus Christ and his
pacifist homilies.

But Christ, to Islam, was
merely an itinerant preacher, not a prophet. If a “reformation” of Islam is
undertaken, who in Islamic lore would take Mohammad’s place? Would it be
Abraham or Moses?  But, in the Old
Testament, neither of them was much better than Mohammad in terms of their
behavior towards men of other faiths; they also advocated the righteous
slaughtering of unbelievers and sinners and distributing slaves, women, and
sheep among their more zealous followers.

From where, then, would any
“sacred word” come? Who would act as the incontestable vehicle of
higher mysteries and moral diktats? On whose divine or temporal authority?

Ibrahim writes: “Worse,
offensive jihad is part and parcel of
Islam; it is no less codified than, say, Islam’s Five Pillars, which no Muslim
rejects.” In sum, it is either-or: repudiate Islam entirely, or submit to the
whole palimony of irrationalism that is Islam, including the imperative of jihad. The one incontrovertible problem
with Islam (aside from the untenable claim of Allah’s existence) is its
dependence on violent conquest, or the initiation of force. This renders the
creed absolutely inconvertible to a
pacific doctrine. That is its unarguable dead-end.

Ibrahim goes to the nub of
the conundrum that faces “moderate” critics of Islam:

Worse,
offensive jihad is part and parcel of Islam; it is no less codified than, say,
Islam’s Five Pillars, which no Muslim rejects. The Encyclopaedia of Islam‘s
entry for “jihad” states that the “spread of Islam by arms is a
religious duty upon Muslims in general … Jihad must continue to be done
until the whole world is under the rule of Islam … Islam must completely be
made over before the doctrine of jihad can be eliminated.” Scholar Majid
Khadurri (1909-2007), after defining jihad as warfare, writes that jihad
“is regarded by all jurists, with almost no exception, as a collective obligation
of the whole Muslim community.”

Even
that chronic complainer Osama
bin Laden
makes it clear that offensive jihad is the root problem:
“Our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately
revolve around one issue… Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power
of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually? Yes.
There are only three choices in Islam… Either submit, or live under the
suzerainty of Islam, or die.”

Or, as Ayn Rand might have
put it: “You can’t have your mystic of muscle and deny him, too.” He is either
the source of Islam’s potency, or he isn’t. And if he isn’t, whither Islam?

Andrew McCarthy, in his
Family Security Matters article, “Obama’s
Betrayal of Islamic Democracy
” (May 13th) remarks that it
is difficult for “moderate” Muslims to “democratize”
Islam:  “As we have seen time and
again, however, this is a very hard thing for moderates to do.” McCarthy
sympathizes with them.

It is hard for “moderate” Muslims to do because it would
entail repudiating Islam altogether, and then they would no longer be
“Muslims,” moderate or otherwise. Islam is already a
“democratic” system; once it attains hegemony wherever it reigns,
that is pure “democracy” or majority rule in its original,
unadulterated, and un-sweetened sense. Because “democracy” means
“majority rule,” that democracy would be represented by the Islamic Ummah, or the collective.

Is there such a thing as
“moderate” Nazism, or “moderate” Communism? Or “moderate”
totalitarianism? The “extremists” of Islam despise
“moderate” Muslims because they know that Islam practiced
consistently, that is, practiced root and branch, gives them political power. A
“moderate” form of Islam, were such a thing possible, would deny them
that power.  A “moderate” form
of Islam would be an emasculated form of it and no longer “Islam.”
The “extremists” or “radicals” know this, if the
“moderates” don’t.

Walid Shoebat, in his Pajamas
Media column of May 18th,”Islam
vs. Islamism: A Case for Wishful Thinkers
,” tasks Pipes, and,
indirectly, McCarthy, as well, on not only the terminology of Islam vs.
Islamism, but the core means and ends of Islam, which cannot be conveniently
divorced from the ideology. After making hash of Pipes’ statistical argument
that not all Muslims condone violent jihad,
and after citing Muslim authorities, dead and alive, on the legitimacy of jihad as central to Islam’s existence, he
quotes another authority on jihad and
the establishment of a global caliphate by violence and stealth:

What
about Al-Ghazali, the famous theologian, philosopher, and paragon of mystical
Sufism whom the eminent W. M. Watt describes as “acclaimed in both the East and
West as the greatest Muslim after Mohammed, and he is by no means unworthy of
that dignity”? Scholars like Pipes know the truth, yet completely ignore it.
Al-Ghazali said:

One must go on jihad (i.e., warlike razzias or raids)
at least once a year… one may use a catapult against them when they are in a
fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them…. If a person of
the Ahl al-Kitab [People of The Book—Jews and Christians, typically] is
enslaved, his marriage is [automatically] revoked.… One may cut down their
trees/…One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty
whatever they decide…they may steal as much food as they need.

Shoebat writes that Pipes “even
went as low to claim that Muhammad was a ‘Muslim not an Islamist’ and even
distinguished him since, ‘Islamism represents the transformation of Islamic faith
into a political ideology.'”

By
switching Muhammad from “Islamist” to “Muslim, Pipes must then answer a crucial
question: Is Islam defined by its founder or by Mr. Pipes? Muhammad defined
Islam as “Al-Islamu deen wa dawla” (“Islam is a religion and a
state”). Pipes then must remove the “and” to substantiate his false case.

Islam is nothing if not a
political ideology. The first time Mohammad raised his sword to forcibly
convert men to Islam, and abandoned persuasion, that was the inauguration of
political Islam. It has not changed since then. Force, coercion, slavery,
death, and submission are the sole hallmarks of Islam.

The problem with Islam is
that it is a religion. Religion is a primitive form of philosophy that explains
existence and purports to give men a moral guide to living. Qua religion, it
depends on faith in the existence of a supernatural being, and a form of
altruism and collectivism, an altruism that is extended only to other Muslims
and the collectivism of the Ummah. One
could also argue that jihad
represents a special kind of altruism: Jihad
as seen as a vehicle of “salvation,” with suicide bombers and plane
hijackers acting as selfless and self-sacrificing drones to spread the word of
Allah.

Allow me to pose this
question: If one removed altruism and pacifism from Christianity, could one
credibly call what was left “Christianity”? One could pose the same
question about Judaism or Buddhism. Christianity, as a religion, it should be
noted, has never been “moderated”; it has only been barred from
acquiring political power. That was another unprecedented accomplishment of our
Founders.

 Pipes, dividing the discussion about Islam
into three groups, writes that he belongs in the third group, which views
“Islamism” as a “modern extremist variant of the religion, known
as radical Islam or Islamism.” He dismisses anyone who views Islam in its
totality as succumbing to a “simplistic and essentialist delusion.” This
is an implicit disparagement of such survivors of Islam as Wafa Sultan and Ayaan
Hirsi Ali, and of such champions against Islam as Geert Wilders. Treating Islam
in its “totality” is as correct a way of treating it as it was of
treating Nazism or Communism in their particular “totalities.”

Those “totalities”
are fundamentally, and incontrovertibly, totalitarian.
There is no other way of looking at Islam, either.

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8 Comments

  1. Doug Mayfield

    Ed Cline nails it. There is no such thing as moderate Islam or Islamics.

    If there were, they would be protesting the rapes, murders, atrocities, that are business as usual on a daily basis in every Islamic country around the world.

    But they don't protest, they don't argue, because they know that they would be immediately slaughtered on behalf of the evil that is Islam.

  2. Anonymous

    Good job again, Ed. I won't hold my breath for Objectivist "leaders" to come to a rational conclusion on the nature of Islam and what to do about it. They rather evade the whole issue.

    Which means ARI, TOS, the Libertarian Party, and mainstream "liberals" have the same problem: How to rationalize away the Boston Marathon bombings (and countless other jihad attacks in the West) in order to justify their continued evasion of the obvious results of massive Moslem immigration into the West, which they all support.

  3. Anonymous

    Doug, they don't protest because they agree on the violent jihadist's ends.

  4. madmax

    Grant and Ed, if you ever want to participate in non-Orthodox-Objectivism discussion, I would suggest going over to Lindsay Perigo's SOLO site. For example, I publicly asked Yaron Brook a series of question related to the Boston bombings here:

    http://www.solopassion.com/node/9660

    Lindsay has informed me that even after being notified by e-mail of my questions, Yaron chose not to reply. Why am I not surprised?

    I may be a hothead. But there are a number of Objectivists and fellow travelers that are coming to the conclusion that organized Objectivism is mired in a host of self-defeating ideas. Its refusal to look at Islam, Muslims, immigration, the question of aggregates and the reality of Leftist evil has shown that the movement suffers from the same weaknesses that libertarianism and mainstream Conservatism suffer from. Better Objectivists will eventually need to distinguish themselves from the rest of the now ossified movement.

  5. Anonymous

    Madmax,

    Brook's and ARI's evasion of the implications of the Boston Marathon attack is disgraceful. But as you said, not surprising. ARI is also just plain snooty. They believe themselves above actually having to defend their positions and strategies. Sad.

    And, thanks for the invite.

  6. Anonymous

    P.S. Madmax,

    Since you've "outed" yourself, you might try signing up on Facebook. There have been some interesting discussions on the Moslem/immigration on that forum also. I think we're winning. The opposition doesn't have a compelling argument. People are figuring out that evasion, banning and blocking are a confession of intellectual impotence.

  7. madmax

    Thanks Grant. Could you point me in a direction.

  8. Anonymous

    Christianity and political power? Wasn't the whole England-France-Germany-Russia-Rome royal squabbles part of what helped to establish the separation between chuch and state in Jefferson's mind? I suspect that few people take their religion seriously enough (if they even know the origins of their traditions and theology) to get involved in extremist activities. However, Muslims blowing up things and people, Buddhist buring up things and themselves, Christians attacking doctors who provide abortion procedures, etc. make for headlines and controversial discussions. Extreme views and actions are more interesting to discuss and debate, than talking about people whose beliefs motivate them to help others, be kind, etc. In the town in which we work, the local churches run a hypothermia shelter during winter months. The local mosque volunteers to run the shelter during the weeks around Christmas to allows the Chrisitans to participate in their tradtions. Not much extremism there.
    Oscar

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