Sunday, December 07, 2014

ISIS is a teaching moment

One of the good things about ISIS is that it confirms everything the counter-jihadi movement has been saying about Islam. Everything Robert Spencer says about Islamic theology, al-Baghdadi confirms. Everything Pamela Geller plasters on the side of buses about jihad, ISIS follows through with an example. Every warning we posted here at Infidel Bloggers Alliance came true in the Islamic State. ISIS is Islam.
It was only a year or two ago that the news media hysterically condemned Geller's bus ads about the meaning of jihad. Critics right and left blasted Geller's ads against jihad as bigoted statements on Islam. With the rare exception of the New York Post, most media reports brand her as a "Anti-Muslim hate monger" merely for exposing jihad. By early 2013 it became apparent that the public accepts that jihad means war and the campaign to turn the word into "a general striving" was lost in the public discourse. 
Enter ISIS. Virtually every newspaper describes ISIS as jihadists. There is no other word that sums up this group and its activities. It's in lead paragraphs and headlines. The very same newspapers that damned Geller for saying that jihadists are savage now write that jihadists are savage when talking about ISIS. Yes, newspapers continue to push propaganda, such as the document signed by 126 Islamic authorities that condemned ISIS as not being Islamic or engaging in jihad. What they don't report is that this group is basically Sufis who carry no weight with serious Muslims. Still the word jihadist is universally applied to ISIS; even Wikipedia uses it as a defining characteristic in its lead paragraph. 
This brings us to the next lesson. ISIS is a bona fide variant of Islam. Indeed it is the most straight forward read of Islam's core texts. Is the media willing to entertain this idea? In September, Thomas Friedman was willing to explain that ISIS is a branch of Saudi Salafist teaching but not yet willing to call it Islam. It was still insinuated that it is a perverted form of Islam. Today, however, he moves forward.
In an article titled "How ISIS Drives Muslims From Islam" Friedman tells us that ISIS is turning Muslims away from Islam because ISIS is Islam. Some Muslims are only condemning Shariah or Shariah with political backing but others are openly declaring their atheism. Friedman writes:
"Ismail Mohamed, an Egyptian on a mission to create freedom of conscience there, started a program called “Black Ducks” to offer a space where agnostic and atheist Arabs can speak freely about their right to choose what they believe and resist coercion and misogyny from religious authorities. He is part of a growing Arab Atheists Network. For Arab news written by Arabs that gets right in the face of autocrats and religious extremists also check out"
Brother Rachid, a Moroccan convert to Christianity writes an open letter to Obama:
"Dear Mr. President, I must tell you that you are wrong about ISIL. You said ISIL speaks for no religion. I am a former Muslim. My dad is an imam. I have spent more than 20 years studying Islam. ... I can tell you with confidence that ISIL speaks for Islam. ... ISIL’s 10,000 members are all Muslims. ... They come from different countries and have one common denominator: Islam. They are following Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in every detail. ... They have called for a caliphate, which is a central doctrine in Sunni Islam. ... I ask you, Mr. President, to stop being politically correct — to call things by their names. ISIL, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabab in Somalia, the Taliban, and their sister brand names, are all made in Islam."
This in the New York Times! Friedman ends by writing that some Muslims are "fed up with being patronized by politically correct Westerners telling them what Islam is not and with being tyrannized by self-appointed Islamist authoritarians telling them what Islam is." Others are leaving ... perhaps not in droves but it is clear that the ugliness of Islam isn't hidden anymore nor can it be dismissed as a perversion by a few "hijackers" in the hills of Afghanistan. ISIS is Islam. And that's becoming harder to deny. 
They wouldn't listen to us ... but ISIS is loud and clear.


Anonymous said...

ISIS may be loud and clear . . .but only to those willing to listen.


Pastorius said...

Great article, Jason. This PC insistence upon defining Islam for Muslims will not die easily, though I agree it is being defeated slowly but surely BY REALITY.

Take Friedman and his article, for instance.

Friedman will, likely next week, write another article in which he insists that ISIS - or the like - are not the true Islam.

But in this article - which is about the creeping atheism, and/or secular humanism of the Arab world - for Friedman, context is everything.

In other words, because the article is about Arabs who are rejecting Islam for Secular Humanism, Friedman had no choice - within the context - but to set up the dialectic of Islam on one side and Secular Humanism on the other.

This is well and good. If the hero is Secular Humanism, then the enemy can be religion - in this case, Islam.

But that's when Friedman is talking about religion.

When Friedman leaves the world of criticizing religion - again, likely in his very next column - and goes back to his PC-hobby horse of critiquing Western culture, THEN Islamic culture will be, once again, set up as the positive side of the dialectic vs. Western culture.

Or, if Friedman is feeling generous towards the West that day, they will be morally conflated.

It will be years or lifetimes before moral cowards like Thomas Friedman are ever able to admit that their PC-ideology has been thoroughly discredited.

IMO, there exists a real alliance of tolerant religious believers and Secular Humanists who are at the heart of America and the Western Ideal.

We have been relegated to the background, for years, by the Western Media, Academia, and more and more by the Western Judiciary, Legislative and Executive branches.

But when reality intervenes, we will be needed, because ultimately, we're the only people who actually know how to get anything done.

And then, hopefully, we will be as forceful in defeating the enemy of Political Correctness as we will be in defeating the enemy of Islam.

Jason Pappas said...

Yes, you're right, P. I don't expect this to be a real turning point for Friedman. It's a day trip but he'll be back assuring his friends he hasn't gone over to the dark side. Friedman entertains "narratives." But at least he introduces his readers to the possibility that ISIS is indeed Islam and he even quotes an ex-Muslim.

Now we can quote a dozen ex-Muslims who have been saying this all along. I'm sure his "ex-Muslim" will soon be written out of the dialog just as Wafa Sultan was. She made a splash, caught people's attention, but was too close to the truth.

Still, as long as ISIS is here, we have to exploit the horror.

Pastorius said...

Oh yes, let me make it clear. I am not disagreeing with you. ISIS is the clearest indication this side of 9/11 that everything we say is right. And there emergence on the scene has certainly changed the debate for the better.

Always On Watch said...

It will take a cataclysmic event perpetrated by the IS to make a substantial number of Islmophiles to come out of their fog.

Tammy Swofford said...


Good commentary. I have a small area of disagreement. Islamic State is not a variant, rather it is a model of Islam in political ascendancy as practiced in the seventh century. Islam in political ascendancy is dangerous in all of its forms.

AOW - a cataclysmic event alone will not turn this tide. 9/11 merely opened the door to greater possibilities.

Regarding Islam and democracy. They are incompatible. But Islam uses the tools of democracy for political ascendancy. The dynamic of Islam changes when Islam functions as a collective. This dynamic can be seen in the seventh century events.

Reading I.S. populated jihad portals and propaganda shows me an intense interest by the scholars. They want to be sure that they practice their gestalt in the manner in was practiced in the seventh century.

The video below demonstrates the same. What you see, is based on Ahadith and also rulings by 17th century scholars from the Ottoman Sultanate.

Tammy Swofford