It’s a rare time that I find myself in a dispute with my colleagues here, especially DJ Drummond. But in his article on Islam last week, I have to speak up.
Unsurprisingly, I don’t disagree with anything specific that DJ said. It’s a thoughtful, scholarly, dispassionate, and accurate representation of the history of Islam’s relation with the non-Islamic world and a good summary of how things got to where they are today.
And he’s right in his comparison of Islam to the other two major religions extant today. Both Judaism and Christianity had their extremely aggressive phases, conquering lands and converting “infidels” at the point of a sword. So what Islam is doing today really isn’t that different than what those faiths did in the past. And yes, a “Reformation” is desperately needed within Islam.
And that brings me to the point where I have to add in my 2.5 cents (adjusted for inflation), where I show why I just don’t say “what he said” about DJ’s piece. And that is in how we deal with that pressing need.
Judaism’s aggressive phase ended when it conquered the Holy Land. The ancient Jews got their promised land and said “OK, we’re done.” It was about that time that “Jewish Evangelist” became a delightful oxymoron, and they started actively DIScouraging conversion.
That model doesn’t hold for Islam. Their “Holy Land” is the entire earth.
Christianity’s Reformation was brought about by a confluence of factors. I’m no religious scholar or noted historian, but I know enough that it was brought about by pressures both from within and without. Within the Catholic Church, there were many men (and a few women, I’m sure, but they were pretty well oppressed) who saw the problems of the Church and worked tirelessly and at great peril to fix them. From without, there were the Protestants who presented the Faithful with an alternative while shining lights on the flaws of the Church. And yes, there were the Muslims, with their ever-present threats of conquest, who forced Europe’s Christians to realize that as loathsome as they found their fellow Christians, there was a bigger, existential threat out there.
It took all these factors — and a lot more, such as the explosion in literacy — that shattered the theological dominance of Europe.
So, Islam needs its Reformation. We’ve already seen that using the Jewish precedent won’t work — we’re not about to let them conquer the world, then work things out for themselves. Then what can we draw from the Christian example?
For starters, we have the modern equivalent of the printing press — the internet. (Hell, one of the most popular blogging software packages is called “Movable Type.”) That is already doing wonders towards bypassing the top-down model where the aristocracy controls the flow of information to the unenlightened masses. Yes, the Islamists are using the internet for their own purposes — recruiting, spreading propaganda, gathering intelligence, communicating amongst themselves, and whatnot — but considerably more quietly is the growing anti-Islamist movement among Muslims. They’re still hearing the propaganda and proselytizing and whatnot from their leaders, but they’re occasionally checking things out for themselves — and finding out that things aren’t quite so simple, so black and white, as they’ve been told for centuries.
But we should not simply sit back and wait for Islam to pry its own head out of its own ass, come to its senses, and join the civilized world. The “patient” approach comes with a very high price tag.
To paraphrase Veronica Sawyer, “Islam’s teen-angst bullshit has a body count.”
Militant Islam’s response to any challenge — real or perceived — is always the same: blood.
One fact must remain first and foremost in these discussions: the greatest number of victims from Muslim violence is found among Muslims. For all the Islamists’ railing against the Jews and the Zionists and the Infidels and the Crusaders and the Heretics, it is the Apostates (translated as “Muslims who don’t believe exactly as I do with precisely as much fervor”) who are the most often killed by Islamists.
The mere existence of us non-Muslims is an affront to them. If we confront them openly, then they will fight us. If we show “respect” and back off, stay at home and mind our manners, then they’ll gather their strength and come after us. And if we do everything we can to avoid offering them offense, they’ll still find ways to be offended — from cartoonists drawing cartoons of Mohammed to impossible fantasies of a Koran going down a toilet to an ice-cream swirl or a tire tread too closely resembling the Arabic “Allah.”
Oh, and such reticence will be seen as weakness, inviting attack. That was the lesson of the Battle of Mogadishu (of “Blackhawk Down” fame.)
Here’s a truly terrifying statistic: according to Wikipedia, there are currently six major conflicts in the world. One is the Mexican drug cartel wars. Two more are the struggles in Afghanistan and Iraq. And the other three are Muslim vs. Muslim — “Green on Green,” to coin a phrase.
Five out of six. Islam, indeed, has “bloody borders.”
So, will aggressively confronting the Islamists while providing aid and comfort and resources to the masses help to bring about an Islamic reformation?
But just sitting back and waiting (or, if you prefer, “Hoping they’ll Change”) had a horrific price tag attached to it. A hefty chunk of which was collected on September 11 eight years ago.