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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Hijacked Religion?

One thing I have never been able to stomach is politically correct conventional wisdom. I hate it when people-especially those who should know better-repeat some feel-good phrase which is at odds with reality. ``Winning hearts and minds`` and ``the yearning of the human spirit`` are two examples of this which really bug me, because they are so easily disproven by an analysis of history. No major cultural change has ever been spearheaded via the conqueror winning hearts and minds; the conqueror must first conquer, must prove that resistance is futile for the conquered people. People naturally resent being told they have to change their ways. Did Prince William try to win the hearts and minds of England when his Normans invaded? He changed England because they couldn`t resist him, not because they loved him and his French ways. Did Spain worry about the tender sensibilities of the Aztecs when they conquered Mexico? Did the English Colonists win the hearts and minds of the Iroquois? I suppose the Comanche were won over by the Texas Ranger`s loving kindness? We were kind to Germany and Japan after the Second World War, but we had first completely destroyed Germany and had wiped two Japanese cities from the face of the Earth.

Likewise we keep hearing about the ``yearning of the human spirit`` and are told that all we need do is establish a working democracy somewhere in the Middle-East, and this yearning will blossom into a cultural flowering which will have the terrorists beating their swords into plowshares and move from strapping bombs onto themselves to adorning themselves with daisies and singing folk songs. It might be a nice dream, but t`aint gonna happen, folks! If democracy were such a powerful inducement, the entire world would be under democratic systems. The failure of democracy to take hold worldwide is all the proof we need to deflate this lead balloon.

So too is this argument that the Wahabiists and purveyors of Jihad have somehow ``hijacked`` Islam, and that the true Muslim is a peace-loving person who is embarrassed by his uncouth cousins. I think any serious reading of history would show that we have this 180* out of phase; the peace loving Muslim is the aberration, the Jihadist the norm. Islam, from it`s very inception, was spread by the sword, and the Koran commands the believer to do just that. (It`s interesting to note that, while Christianity has also been spread by the sword on occasion, Christ specifically told his disciples to do no such thing-commanding them to ``shake the dust of the town (which didn`t receive the Gospel) off your feet and move on``.) Military conversion was forbidden to the Christian, commanded of the Muslim. Islam repeatedly attacked neighboring kingdoms who had not molested them in the slightest, and the conquered people were second class citizens (and their women subject to the desires of the Muslim men) who paid heavy taxes and had no say in their own lives. Those who converted often did (much like Jews and Muslims in the newly created Spain would do much later) tried to maintain their faith in secret, or were not zealous in the spread of Islam. These are the peace-loving Muslims, the live-and-let-live types. These are the aberrations. The core of Islam has always been the Jihadist.

Which is why guys like Shawn Hannity aggravate me so much with their ``terrorists have hijacked their religion`` business; it ignores the historical reality of the situation. Today in the American Thinker Andrew Bostom debunks this pc concept.

Far too many people in the public eye mischaracterize the acts of terrorists and other villains as inconsistent with “mainstream” Islam, as a “corruption of the faith.” While this belief is comforting, especially to those who know, work with, or must obtain cooperation from non-violent Muslims, it is historically and theologically ignorant.

An August 12 Washington Times editorial endorsed President Bush’s use of the term “Islamic Fascism” to denote the ideology of the jihad terrorists whose plot to slaughter thousands of airline passengers leaving Britain was thankfully disrupted. The editorialists characterized the jihadists ideology more specifically as

…chauvinistic, regarding non-Muslims as a lesser breed of expendable or contemptible dhimmis and infidels. It favors autocracy and severe social and economic restrictions, as did the Taliban. It demands the total subordination of the individual to the group—sometimes manifesting in murderously suicidal deaths like the fiery destruction Britain’s would-be bombers sought. This is not mainstream Islam, of course. It is a corruption of the faith. [emphasis added]

Ignoring the expected outpouring of complaints from apologists for jihad terror who cynically decried (for example here and here), any“Islamic” references, or other less pressing semantic concerns ( “Islamism” versus “Islamic fascism”), the Washington Times editorial, indirectly, raises this critical question: just what comprises “mainstream” Islam (“of course”), as opposed to “corruption of the faith”?

These pressing corollary questions arise as well: What is the origin of “chauvinistic” concepts such as the treatment of non-Muslims as “contemptible dhimmis and infidels” who are rightfully placed under “severe social and economic restrictions”? Is it accurate to maintain that such discriminatory beliefs and practices merely derive from the very recent Taliban movement in (Pakistan and) Afghanistan, are unrelated to “mainstream” Islam, and further, represent a “corruption” of Islam? Is it really out of bounds to even consider that the heinous practice of suicide-homicide bombings may have profound Islamic religious justification?

This is a powerful essay; don`t miss the rest!

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