Monday, August 28, 2006

Islam's Weakness

Mark Steyn wrote, as always, a fascinating column for today's New York Sun: Achilles' Heel.

As Steyn explains, Christianity spread throughout Europe in an entire different way than Islam spread throughout the Middle-East. Christianity spread through pacifism: Christians lived peacefully, were willing to endure torture and persecutions, but didn't turn to violence themselves. They tried to persuade people to convert by preaches, giving the right example, talking individuals personally, but never using violence.
Islam, as I said, had a slightly different start. Most people didn't convert to Islam because the early Muslims were persuasive with words, they were mostly 'persuasive' with the sword. Convert, (pay taxes) or die. That was the choice 'infidels' that got conquered by Muslim forces had.

Steyn quotes Jesus' final words (on the day of his ascension) to His disciples to Mohammed's last words:

"Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

"Be witness" -> this simply means, spread the Word, spread the Gospel. Nothing violent about it.

Mohammed however:
"I was ordered to fight all men until they say, ‘There is no god but Allah.'"


As he explains:
That's quite a difference. Christ is saying go to the remotest parts of the world and persuade others of what you know to be the truth. Mohammed is saying fight all men until they submit to your truth: It's not a plan for converting an existing empire (as Christianity did) but for establishing a new empire. Islam was born and spread as a warrior's creed and, while that can be sedated, the intensity of anger of today's western Muslims suggests that the Mohammedan fighter endures at the heart of their faith, albeit significantly augmented by greater firepower.

As should be obvious by now, Jihadis are, in a way, simply continuing the fine tradition of conversion by sword. That is also why, as Steyn also writes, we shouldn't expect some kind of 'reform' to take place in Islam. Violence is, sadly, at the very foundation of the birth of this religion.

Steyn concludes:
It's hard to argue direct quotation is a "distortion" of the "religion of peace." The respective statements of Jesus and Mohammed are, to say the least, indicative of disposition. The embrace of Christianity by the state power in Europe was the final stage in a process of pacific conversion. Whereas, at the height of its power in the eighth century, when the "Islamic world" stretched from Spain to India, its population was only minority Muslim, and it suited the Caliphate to keep it that way: fiscally speaking, a subordinate infidel population paying the jizya (the special tax for non-Muslims) was a critical component. Islam was less a proselytizing faith than a rationale for political authority. And today's jihad has far more in common with a conventional imperial regime than with any religious evangelizing.

Which means there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that Islam will soon be able to enforce submission-conversion at the point of a nuke. The good news is that any religion that needs to do that is, by definition, a weak one. More than that, the fierce faith of the 8th century Muslim warrior has been mostly replaced by a lot of hastily cobbled-together flimflam bought wholesale from clapped out European totalitarian pathologies. It would have struck almost any other ruler of Persia as absurd and unworthy to be as pitifully obsessed with Holocaust denial as President Ahmadinejad is: talk about a bad case of Europhile cultural cringe. But in today's mosques and madrassahs there is almost as little contemplation of the divine as there is in the typical Anglican sermon. The great Canadian columnist David Warren argues that Islam is desperately weak, that it has been "idiotized" by these obsolescent imports of mid-20th century Fascism. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but, if Washington had half the psy-ops spooks the movies like to think we have, the spiritual neglect in latter-day Islam is a big Achilles' heel just ripe for exploiting.

Cross posted at Liberty and Justice


Anonymous said...

Unnattractive and illogical though Islam may be, it does have one internal strength which Christianity does not - it is a power structure. And that power structure extends all the way down from Allah the brothel-keeper in the sky, through his Ulema representatives on earth, then the tribal/community elders and village Imams, right down into the marriage bed.

There is the power wielded by the Ulema in pronouncing arbitrary death sentences for people who question their authority.

There is the power of the hate-filled Imams and Mullahs over the raging mobs.

There is the power of any Muslim bully over the despised dhimmis.

And in every household there is the power of man over woman.

Dismantling Islam is not going to be an exercise in spirituality, rationality, ethics or aesthetics. It is going to be an exercise in dismantling power structures.

We can start by resisting our own dhimmification. We can continue by emancipating Muslim women, forcibly if necessary, and we can undermine the clerics by vigorous monitoring of their activities and unceasing ridicule of their beliefs.

But there are a lot of vested interests who are not going to take kindly to this process.

Islam is an oppressive social and political system with a 'religious' justification. It is 'religious' in a very narrow sense - there seems to be little genuine spirituality.

Anonymous said...

And here (according to Gita Mehta) is how Buddhism developed from a small sect to a major religion by conversion of the warrior king Ashoka . It seems to be the diametrical opposite to Mohammedanism.

"Through a series of brilliant and bloodthirsty military campaigns, Ashoka extended an empire stretching from Afghanistan to Nepal into the south of the subcontinent. He finally met his fiercest resistance in the southeastern republic of Kalinga. In that dreadful war, an inscription relates, every able-bodied male in Kalinga fought against Ashoka.

Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, women and children were taken prisoner, and, when the final battle was lost, more than a hundred thousand warriors lay dismembered with their slaughtered horses and elephants next to a river running red with blood.

....the emperor walked the battleground that night, glorying in his massacre. Suddenly a beggar stepped out of the red water of the river carrying a dripping bundle in his arms.

"Mighty king," the beggar said, approaching Ashoka and holding up his bundle. "You are able to take so many thousands of lives. Surely you can give back one life -- to this dead child?"

Some say the beggar was a Buddhist monk. Some say the beggar was the Buddha himself. All that is certain is that Ashoka never raised his sword again. And to this day the river is called Daya -- compassion.

The inability to give a child life taught Ashoka the compassion that would place him among history's most enlightened rulers.

At the very pinnacle of his glory as a conqueror Emperor Ashoka embraced the philosophy of ahimsa, nonviolence, declaring, "Instead of the sound of the war drum, the sound of Dharma will be heard."

Teachings become world religions through the power of those who embrace them. Without the Roman emperor Constantine's conversion, Christianity might have remained a cult; and what Constantine was to the Christian church, the Emperor Ashoka was to the teachings of the Buddha.

...Missionaries were dispatched to distant 'lands. Great universities were founded; ambassadors were sent to the kings of Greece, Syria, and Egypt carrying Ashoka's message of peace, "desiring for all beings ... security, self-control, calm of mind, and gentleness. "

.... in the words of H.G. Wells, "the greatest of kings ... far in advance of his time."

For instance, in ancient India Ashoka was already providing what we would today call free health care to his subjects. Throughout his vast empire he established hospitals and dispensaries as well as hospices for the dying.


ziontruth said...

I have maintained, in my latest post, that "fascistic" is not a modifier for "Islam", but "Islamic" is a modifier for "fascism". That is, there isn't a fascistic branch of Islam (to contrast with some other, progressive, branch), but Islam is a branch of fascism--the religious branch of fascism, as Communism is its economic branch and Nazism its racial branch. Each has a different focus, but all are heads of the same fascist hydra.

Jason Pappas said...

I sometimes worry that Christianity doesn't allow enough "fighting." After all, it was Christians (and Jews) who were Dhimmis for 1400 years. But is was also Christians that fought off Islam in Tours, Vienna, Lepanto, etc. It remains to be seen if the West still has what it takes to do it again. So far we have a problem killing the enemy. In the midst of a war we are obsessed with "winning their hearts and minds." This isn't how we won wars in the past. We're going to have to stap out of it ... soon.