November 29, 2001
The deepest motivation of its believers comes less from faith, than from a contempt for all unbelievers that is deeply imbedded in Islam. Islam does not free the believer's soul; it enslaves it, because Islam literally means submission.
Osama bin Laden didn't intend to change Islam. He wanted to extend it to the whole of the world while returning it to some mythical golden age. What he has done, however, is roll a live grenade into every mosque everywhere in the world.
He has revealed that Islam is neither a religion of peace, nor tolerance. The deepest motivation of its believers comes less from faith, than from a contempt for all unbelievers that is deeply imbedded in Islam. Islam does not free the believer's soul; it enslaves it, because Islam literally means submission. For those eager for spiritual certainty, Islam provides it and this may account for its success.
This accounts for the vast silence of Islam following the vicious attack suffered by the United States on September 11, 2001. It is the silence of fear. It is the silence of guilt. It is the silence of resentment. It is the silence of hubris. All the major advances of mankind have come from the West. The daily news releases from the Council on American-Islamic Relations begin "In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful " This is obscene. Their releases obsess about the treatment of a mere handful of Muslims suspected of participating in or planning more evil, many of them here illegally.
The images flooding our television screens show Afghan people mired in a world that existed centuries ago, soldiers in rags and sandals, women freed from the veil who can smile again, but starvation threatens the population. Afghanistan lacks a modern system of roads, hospitals, all the signposts of modernity. For many other Islamic nations, only the weapons of war signal any concession to modern times.
The educated elite of Islamic nations have none of the rights Americans take for granted. No free speech. No free press. No freedom of religion. No human rights. Nothing in Islam has restrained its terrorist fundamentalists from waging war on America and in dozens of other nations around the world. Islam is about jihad, holy war until all submit to this parody of faith, this empty promise of moral superiority.
Few Islamic scholars or clerics have spoken out to condemn Terror Tuesday. One who did, Ahmad al-Baghdadi, a Kuwaiti professor, asked the right questions.
The columnist, Charles Krauthammer, writing in The Washington Post, asked, "Why must we constantly repeat that we are not at war with Islam? We never declared war on Islam. It was Islamic fanatics who, killing 4,000 Americans in the name of God, declared war on us."
In the days immediately following Terror Tuesday, the response from the Middle East was instructive. An Egyptian columnist, Anis Mansour, writing in Al Ahram, said, "It is true that bin Laden is insignificant compared to the US, but he managed to make her miserable, mock her power and undermine absolute confidence in her capabilities." History has already proved him wrong.
In Kuwait, saved from Iraqi enslavement by the United States, an editorial in Al-Seyassah, opined that "It is not in Washington's interest that desperation should rule in the Middle East, home to so many Arabs and Muslims, especially when theirs is a just cause." A just cause? And who or what is truly to blame for the desperation of these Muslims? In Lebanon, Faisal Salman, a columnist for As-Safir, wrote of bin Laden, asking "How can he expect support from Muslims, and what kind of jihad is he calling for?"
Everyone and most certainly every Muslim knew exactly what kind of jihad holy war bin Laden was waging. It was the same jihad of the Ayatollah Komeini when Muslim revolutionaries took over Iran, a hotbed of terrorist support ever since. That revolution began by holding American diplomats hostage for 444 days. Diplomats! Since then, bin Laden plotted the bombing of our embassies in Africa. No international laws have any restraint upon those for whom Islam's victory is the only goal.
In the quest for spiritual and governmental domination of the world, Islam has had its mask ripped away and stands revealed as a warrior cult. Its attacks on those of other faiths, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and the Sikhs, among others, condemn it and mark Muslims as a danger to all around them. This continues a long tradition, going back hundreds of years.
This is unfortunate because there are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims in the world and one can only hope that vast numbers of them want to live in peace with their neighbors. Islam is growing. Its birthrates exceed those of other religions. What is the world to do with so many people, a sixth of the world's population, who would drag the world back to an unimaginable Dark Ages? A Third World War is in progress to determine the answer to that question.
The central problem for Islam is its deeply ingrained hatred of Jews, a people who, in the city of Medina, rejected Muhammad after he deliberately adopted many of Judaism's strictures in order to induce conversion. Today, Muslims do not eat pork because Jews do not eat pork. Today, Muslims fast for the month of Ramadan because Jews fast on Yom Kippur. Today, Muslims bury their dead in 24 hours because the Jews bury their dead in 24 hours. In the early years of Islam, worshippers faced Jerusalem as Jews traditionally do in prayer. In time, they were required to face Mecca, praying with their backs to Jerusalem.
Mohammed's sullen response was to sack Medina's Jewish community, to kill scores of the unbelievers and to sell the rest into slavery. With their stolen gold, he built a greater army and turned his attention to Mecca; Muslims now regard both these Saudi Arabian cities as sacred.
So, Islam began with a legacy of hatred of unbelievers and violence against them, and that was extended to include Christianity as Islam began a rapid expansion into North Africa, into Spain and France, and finally, to the doors of Vienna where the Ottomans suffered a defeat that kept Islam from conquering all of Europe. The legacy of hatred was deepened by the Christian Crusades, seemingly fresh memories for today's Muslims. Islam has become a stagnant pool of recrimination. Only the discovery of oil altered the lives of those living in desert kingdoms. Oil drove Western advances and oil revenue inflamed the minds of Islamic revolutionaries.
The enmity the drives Muslims is best captured in the counsel of the Koran that says, "Oh believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Whoso of you makes them his friends is one of them. God guides not the people of the evildoers."
In nations across the world, from Algeria, from the Philippines to India's Kashmir province, from the Sudan to Somalia, in Nigeria, in Indonesia, in Chechnya, in Argentina, and, of course, in Israel and throughout the Middle Eastern nations, Muslims are in conflict with their neighbors or the governments of these nations, even if those governments are Islamic!
At the very root of Islam is a corrosive hubris, an over-reaching pride and arrogance. It is redolent with the unspoken fear that Islam is invalidated by the faiths from which Mohammed fashioned it Judaism and Christianity. Carefully, Mohammed declared the prophets of the Jews and Jesus to be the messengers that preceded him, but he declared himself the final messenger of God. Bin Laden declared himself the embodiment of Islam, its savior. His savagery tells us everything we need to know of a future under Islamic rule.
If Mohammed's claim is false, than all of Islam is false. This fear lies at the heart of other faiths. In First Corinthians, Chapter 15, Paul says, "But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain." Such doubt is overcome only by faith and it is by faith alone that any and all religions exist.
Only the Jews, with their long history, filled with stories of those who failed the test of faith, with its flawed leaders, acknowledged the uncertainties of man's frail and rocky relationship with God. Judaism alone offers only one certainty; the one God of all mankind, indivisible and, to a significant degree, unknowable.
Unlike both Islam and Christianity, Judaism is astonishingly vague regarding life after death, concentrating its vast body of law and commentary on the moral conduct of one's life on earth. If you want certainty, Judaism offers only God and His commandments. "I am the Lord, and there is none else, beside Me there is no God." One finds in the story of Job, deliberately tested by God, but refusing to abandon his faith in Him, the best understanding of Judaism and its survival to this day.
The return of Jews to their Holy Land, Israel, in the last century is an affront and a threat to Islam at the same time that it is a fulfillment of Jewish faith and the Christian hope for Christ's return. The return of Jews was initiated by the small European movement called Zionism in the late 1800s and exacerbated by the wholesale murder of Jews throughout Europe in the 1900s.
Little wonder the entire world of Islam shifted its gaze to the land of Israel and those it calls its "occupiers." Israel has become the resurrection devoutly prayed for by both Jews and Christians, but in the minds of Muslims, Jews must be driven from Israel to validate an Islam that began in 622 AD, 1380 years ago. The hypocrisy of this effort is seen in the fact that Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran and never regarded, except for political gain, as a holy city by Islam.
Islam is challenged, too, in this modern era by the status it assigns all women. By the dictates of the Koran, male children receive twice the portion of inheritance to that of female children, it takes the testimony of two women to equal that of one man, women have no right to divorce, and the Koran even exempts the rape of slave girls as a sin. Injustice and inequity to women, half the population of the earth, is integral to Islam.
Bin Laden's campaign, the culmination of the ayatollahs' takeover of Iran in the late 1970s by militant Muslims and the spreading of the Wahabbi version of Islam by Saudi Arabia, has forced modern Muslims to take a serious look at their religion. However, if you are looking for or expecting a rationale response, you will not find it. These are people who are capable of believing anything their imams tell them. The Koran is central to their worldview, not the realities of the world. Those are to be overcome by jihad.
Some few Muslims are asking the questions raised by Muqtedar Khan, a political scientist living in Michigan, who posted "A Memo to American Muslims" on his Web site. The Indian-born Muslim said that his fellow Muslims were "practicing hypocrisy on a grand scale" by protesting Israeli treatment of Palestinians, but ignoring far worse human rights abuses by Muslim governments.
"It is our responsibility to prevent people from abusing Islam," said Khan. "We should have made sure that September 11th never happened." Reportedly, by mid-November, he had garnered 230,000 hits on his website. Many rebuked him for "selling out" to America, others said he over-reacted. No, he reacted as any decent, God-fearing human would and should.
Contrast that with the reaction of Howard University graduate student, Altaf Husain, the national president of the Muslim Student Association. "You will not find anybody that agrees with 90 percent of what (Khan) says He's not addressing American Muslims. But Khan is! Their response, in their mosques and in their homes, will determine the future of Islam in America.
Bin Laden has done to Muslims and to Islam what no previous outrage had achieved. Now for all the world to see, bin Laden had shown how utterly ruthless and utterly immoral, and utterly debased Islam has become. To Western eyes, he has shamed all Muslims everywhere. The silence of Muslims before and since Terror Tuesday has purchased a retribution none of them imagined possible.
Bin Laden has destroyed the myth of a "peaceful" Islam forever, but only for the West. In the Allah-besotted Middle East where Sunni Muslims believe everything is predestined, Islam will slip comfortably back into its cesspool of recrimination where it has wallowed for centuries.
Quo vadis, Islam? Whither goest thou? We do not know the answer to the future of Islam, but we do know Islam cannot continue as it has. We know, too, that only Islam can save Islam. It must have its own Reformation, its own Enlightenment, or, failing that, it too shall fail. Not in our lifetimes, but surely before this new millennium ends.
I do not believe we have been witness to the revival and resurgence of Islam. I believe we are witness to its death throes.
|Alan Caruba is the author of "A Pocket Guide to Militant Islam",available from the website of The National Anxiety Center. He writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", also posted on the site. The Center is a clearinghouse for information about scare campaigns designed to influence public opinion and policy.|
|Copyright © Alan Caruba, 2001
First North American Serial Rights only.
Permission to publish is granted.
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30 nov 2001