Monday, March 13, 2006

Robertson: Islamic terrorism is evil.

According to this article on Yahoo! (which Ace, of the Ace of Spades Headquarters, was so kind enough to mention), Pat Robertson made two points: Islam is not a religion of peace, and Islamic terrorist are satanic. (One may make the point that, theologically, Islamic terrorists are Satanic or Satanists, if one believes that Islam was created by Satan, who is the real object of its adherents' devotion. But that may be stretching the point a bit too much.) Yet, this is a point that needs to be made: not that Islam or Islamic terrorism are violent or satanic but that Islamic terrorism (and violence in and by Islam in general) are unacceptable and cannot be condoned or justified. There can be no moral, theoretical, intellectual, or political equivocation on this matter: violence in and by Islam, including all forms of Islamic terrorism, is anathema. All who tolerate it - including those who justify it - anathema sit.

However, this is a significant issue which many societies affected by Islamic violence need to clarify. All too often, the issue is muddied by prevarications, denials, excuses, disclaimers, hedging, and qualifications to what should be a clear issue. This is partly due to ignorance (some people are truly unaware of what role and acceptance violence has (and has had) in Islam) and partly due to fear (some people are afraid such a bold statement would invite the wrath of Muslims, not to mention their attacks). It is somewhat ironic that people proclaim Islam is a religion of peace so as to avoid being attacked.

As Pat Robertson considers himself a man of God, that he should make such a statement is appropriate. First of all, all religions are de facto in competition, particularly in this shrinking world where ideas can be disseminated with unparalleled speed and effectiveness and where globalization threatens traditional structures, beliefs, and traditions. For a Christian, then, to say he/she is perfectly accepting of Islam would be to introduce an element of contradiction. If a Christian is accepting of Islam, why is he/she still a Christian? Belonging to a religious organization is by definition an act that states, tacitly or explicitly, that one certain religion (or religious movement) is most correct. Comparatively, other religions are wrong (or wronger). Those who proclaim they perfectly accept another religion are either hypocrites or they have a lack of suitable understanding what adherence and allegiance to a religion or religious organization entails.

Second of all, it is utterly ridiculous to expect any religious person to shut down the morals, mores, standards, and ethics one's religion teaches. Even people who are not religious are affected, to some degree and in some way, by the religion(s) surrounding them. It is furthermore utterly ridiculous to expect a religion to place blinders around its eyes for the sake of not offending others. Every ethical or moral system judges between good and evil, between right and wrong. It is therefore not only acceptable for a Christian preacher to condemn Islamic terrorism as evil but, indeed, to be expected. We would go so far as to say that those religious leaders who, for whatever reason, cannot bring themselves to condemn Islamic terrorism are betraying a crucial element of their ministry, so to speak, to their people. Just because today's prevailing system is tolerant, multicultural, and diverse does not mean one ought to refuse to call evil that which is evil.

Why is this important? This is important because this issue - whether Islamic terrorism is evil, and whether this ought to be explicitly proclaimed - affects popular perceptions of Islamic terrorism. Those who knowingly and intentionally fail to condemn Islamic terrorism are contributing to the lamentable misrepresentation of Islamic terrorism and are complicit in their people's being misguided.

Popular perception, of course, is important because they determine what actions they and their government will or ought to take with regard to the issue at hand. If enough people are not convinced that Islamic terrorism is an evil threat against which it is worthy to fight and endure, then there will be little support for taking those measures which are necessarily to protect Western society from the onslaught of Islamic terrorism.

This issue is important even though Islamic terrorism will not triumph. It is laughable to even consider the triumph of Islamic terrorism. Time and time again, regimes erected on the foundation of Islamic fundamentalism (which gives license to violence in Islam's name) have demonstrated their utter inability to so structure society and government so as to provide for present and future development and progress. Indeed, such regimes often reveal that such government sets a society back, in terms of development, rather than moving it forward. When Islamic terrorism cannot succeed on its own soil, how can one even consider it could be even remotely successful in the West? This is not to say that Islamic terrorism is not as significant a threat as people are coming aware of now. Indeed, Islamic terrorism's inability to succeed is the very reason why it is such a threat: desperate people resort to desperate measures.

If al-Qaa'idah were successful in Iraq, would they have attacked targets in Jordan? No. Nor would they try to stir up sectarian strife in Iraq. The less successful they turn out to be, the more dangerous become their evil acts.

What makes this even more difficult is that unlike with Communism, whose nature was abundantly clear and which nature could not be denied, Islamic fundamentalism has successfully integrated itself into Muslim identity: one cannot, for example, condemn Islamic fundamentalism without offending non-fundamentalists, even though Islamic fundamentalism is more of a threat to non-fundamentalist Muslims than even to the West.

In stark contrast to the West, Islamic regimes are fundamentally intolerant. The current situation of many competing sects, groups, and organizations is seen by Islamic fundamentalists as a failure of the Muslim community. They intend to erase all differences and divisions, though not by mitigating tensions but rather by uniting the competing factions - by force if necessary - under their "true" interpretation: in other words, they seek to win the competition. One may get a glimpse of this with Afghanistan under the Taliban: the people tolerated the Taliban (as much as they did) because it brought stability, and the Taliban brought stability by basically outlawing all opposition. Divisions, sectarianism, factionalism, schism, etc., were gone. But at what price? The Taliban regime was brutal and inhuman.

We find it quite amusing - in its patheticness, to be frank - how many elements of the tolerant West has been kowtowing to the intolerant Muslims, as if both can be placed at the same level. If people knew just how disparate tolerance in the West was from tolerance under Muslims, they would fight tooth and nail against the enemy. As amusing as it may be to Us, We recognize at the same time that this situation is unacceptable. To Muslims, it suggests that they are right, tha intolerance has trumped tolerance, that the West is wrong and is recognizing it. In their eyes, the West has already lost. But the reality is more subtle: while elements of the West are kowtowing to intolerant Islam, the West as a whole is not. No, deep down the West is just as proud of itself. The Muslim world will find that this kowtowing is marginal and only words at best. Fundamentally, the West refuses and rejects Muslims' claim of superiority.

The West has overcome Communism, it can and will overcome triumphalist Islam. It will not be easy, but seeing the situation clearly will make the fight clearer in perspective, rather than confused and muddied if one knows not the realities of this war. One must never forget that the enemy - radical, militant, fundamentalist, triumphalist, violent, terroristic (and/or whatever adjective one wishes to use) Islam - is evil.

inna naHnu-l-a'lam.


At 6:24 PM, Blogger Christine said...

Very well said. Thank you Muslihoon.

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Major John said...

I sure hope you are right - and I think you are, but it will still be a hard slog.


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