A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life
May 20th, 2010
I recently exchanged some correspondence with a Columbia classical liberal named Andrew Mellon (pseudonym). The subject was Islamic extremism. I had made a comment on one of his blog posts saying that I believed the majority of Muslims just wanted to go about their daily lives, just like the majority of most humans anywhere, and that while taking our troops out of the Middle East might not solve the problem, it would almost certainly at least reduce the frequency of terrorist attacks and decrease potential terrorists’ motivations to commit those acts. In return, he wrote back (in a private email):
Are all Muslims terrorists? Of course not. But my argument would be, for the large percentage who will not carry out violent acts, what percentage support CAIR and Muslim Student Associations (proxies for the Muslim brotherhood) and other institutions that support the practice of taqiyya and also more violent means of Islam coercion, what percentage donate to mosques with imams that preach violent jihad, what percentage support Sharia law but its implementation through democratic means, what percentage are against assimilation into non-Muslim countries, what percentage want to live side by side in peace with Jews and Christians, and what percentage who are against the tyranny of Islam are willing to stand out and speak up against the religion? All of the apostates for example have fatwas on their heads because the religion commands it.
Well, Mellon was right after all. Mosab Yousef, the son of a high-ranking member of the Palestinian group Hamas who turned spy for the Israeli Shin Bet, called Islam a ladder in his book Son of Hamas:
Islamic life is like a ladder, with prayer and praising Allah as the bottom rung. The higher rungs represent helping the poor and needy, establishing schools, and supporting charities. The highest rung is jihad…. Traditional Muslims stand at the foot of the ladder, living in guilt for not really practicing Islam. At the top are fundamentalists, the ones you see in the news killing women and children for the glory of the god of the Qur’an. Moderates are somewhere in between. A moderate Muslim is actually more dangerous than a fundamentalist, however, because he appears to be harmless, and you can never tell when he has taken that next step toward the top. Most suicide bombers begin as moderates.
Later on he describes his father as an example of such a torn moderate:
…my father lived his life as an example of what a Muslim should be. He reflected the beautiful side of Islam, not the cruel side that required its followers to conquer and enslave the Earth. However, over the ten-year period that followed my imprisonment, I would watch him struggle with an inner, irrational conflict. On the one hand, he didn’t see those Muslims who killed settlers and soldiers and innocent women and children as wrong. He believed that Allah gave them the authority to do that. On the other hand, he personally could not do what they did. Something in his soul rejected it. What he could not justify as right for himself, he rationalized as right for others.
As for the Muslims in the United States, here is your “moderate” American Muslim:
MSA member: Good evening, I just wanted to say thank you for coming to campus tonight and presenting your point of view, its always important to have two sets of, ah, views going on at the same time. Um, very useful. My name is Jumanah Imad Albahri and I’m a student here at UCSD. Ah I was reading your literature, I found that much more interesting than your talk, and I found some interesting things about the MSA, which is an organization that is very active on campus and is hosting our annual “Hitler Youth” week, you should come out to those events. Um, if you could clarify the connection between the MSA and Jihad terrorist networks, because last time I checked, we had to do our own fundraising, and we never get help from anyone. So if you could clarify the connection between UCSD’s MSA or if you don’t have such information, if you could connect other MSA’s on UC’s, because the connection wasn’t to clear in the pamphlet, just if you could clarify.
Horowitz: Okay. Will you condemn Hamas, here and now?
MSA member: I’m sorry, what?
Horowitz: Will you condemn Hamas?
MSA member: Would I condemn Hamas?
Horowitz: As a terrorist organization. Genocidal organization.
MSA member: Are you asking me to put myself on a cross?
Horowitz: So you won’t. I have actually had this experience many times. You didn’t actually read the pamphlet, because the pamphlet is chapter and verse. The main connection is that the MSA is part of the Muslim Brotherhood Network as revealed…
MSA member: I don’t think you understood what I meant by that. I meant if I say something, I am sure that I will be arrested, for reasons of homeland security. So if you could please just answer my question.
Horowitz: If you condemn Hamas, Homeland Security will arrest you?
MSA member: If I support Hamas, because your question forces me to condemn Hamas. If I support Hamas, I look really bad.
Horowitz: If you don’t condemn Hamas, obviously you support it. Case closed. I have had this experience at UC Santa Barbara, where there were 50 members of the Muslim Students Association sitting right in the rows there. And throughout my hour talk I kept asking them, will you condemn Hizbollah and Hamas. And none of them would. And then when the question period came, the president of the Muslim Students Association was the first person to ask a question. And I said, ‘Before you start, will you condemn Hizbollah?’ And he said, ‘Well, that question is too complicated for a yes or no answer.’ So I said, ‘Okay, I’ll put it to you this way. I am a Jew. The head of Hizbollah has said that he hopes that we will gather in Israel so he doesn’t have to hunt us down globally. For or Against it?
MSA member: For it.
Horowitz: Thank you for coming and showing everybody what’s here.
The clip is on YouTube. The scariest part of it is the tone of her voice when she says that she is for the idea of having Jews gather in Israel to make it easier to exterminate them. She comes off as quite reasonable and intellectual — until that last sentence, when the tone of her voice makes it quite clear that her conviction in her genocidal beliefs is absolute.
Of course, this is not the only example of overt racism in the form of anti-Semitism that can be seen today, both on the modern Left and among supposedly moderate Muslims. Evidence for this assertion abounds, for those with the eyes to see:
I had assumed that most people, given a choice, would just want to go on with their lives because it is insane to seek death for any other reason than to defend that which makes life possible. What I forgot was that the ideals which give rise to totalitarianism are not the ideals of life. Only those people who believe in freedom would choose (assuming they are given a choice) to go on with their lives and live in peace with their neighbor. People who believe in totalitarianism, whether Nazi or Islamic, do not just want to get on with their lives. Their ideology will not permit it, because a free and peaceful life is not the goal of their ideology. Just as the Nazis diverted vital wartime resources to exterminating the Jews even as they were losing the war, so the Islamists will divert their very lives to fighting freedom in the name of their ideology despite the fact that there are absolutely no winners in such a game, least of all themselves. And the Left will never acknowledge the truth of what is going on, because the only alternative to believing that they are doing it out of a sense of righteous injustice is to believe that it is either a bizarre homicidal cult, an unjustified act of aggression, or both, just as the Nazis’ irrational wartime behavior was both.
In Reflections on the Revolution In Europe Christopher Caldwell made the observation that Muslims have gotten as far as they have in part by playing on European guilt after the Holocaust and explaining the new rise in anti-semitism there with the sentiment that, “If the Muslims were the new Jews … then the Jews were the new Nazis.” But I never expected to hear anyone say it literally.
The ironic thing is that by Malik Ali’s logic (see link above) of saying that the Jews would never sit down with the Nazis and try to negotiate with them, the Jews in Israel should just say, “screw it,” with regards to negotiating some sort of peace settlement and wipe the Arabs — the people who, as far as I can tell, really are trying to emulate the Nazis — off the map and be done with it. After all, by Malik Ali’s own words, why should Israel just “sit down and have tea and crumpets” with the Arabs when all the indicators are that the Arabs would be quite happy to wipe Israel off the map? For that matter, why should Americans? If Malik Ali’s sentiment is one that we should take to heart, why not just send in our military and crush the Middle East right now? If there is no such thing as a “civilian” Jew as far as Arabs are concerned, why should we act as though there is such a thing as a “moderate” Muslim — especially when large piles of evidence can be found to the contrary?
“Moderate” Muslims should ask themselves what would happen to them if the West ever came to the conclusion that there’s no such thing as a “moderate” Muslim. And if it’s true that terrorists are anomalies who subscribe to a radicalized, non-mainstream form of Islam, then those moderates should start speaking up against those who are supposedly perverting their faith — preferably while the modern West is still around to protect them from potential reprisals from their own supposedly “moderate” compatriots.
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