by EDWARD CLINE
…Ibrahim writes: “Worse, offensive jihad is part and parcel of Islam; it is no less codified than, say, Islam’s Five Pillars, which no Muslim rejects.” In sum, it is either-or: repudiate Islam entirely, or submit to the whole palimony of irrationalism that is Islam, including the imperative of jihad. The one incontrovertible problem with Islam (aside from the untenable claim of Allah’s existence) is its dependence on violent conquest, or the initiation of force. This renders the creed absolutely inconvertible to a pacific doctrine. That is its unarguable dead-end.
Ibrahim goes to the nub of the conundrum that faces “moderate” critics of Islam:
Worse, offensive jihad is part and parcel of Islam; it is no less codified than, say, Islam’s Five Pillars, which no Muslim rejects. The Encyclopedia of Islam‘s entry for “jihad” states that the “spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general … Jihad must continue to be done until the whole world is under the rule of Islam … Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad can be eliminated.” Scholar Majid Khadurri (1909-2007), after defining jihad as warfare, writes that jihad “is regarded by all jurists, with almost no exception, as a collective obligation of the whole Muslim community.”
Even that chronic complainer Osama bin Laden makes it clear that offensive jihad is the root problem: “Our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately revolve around one issue… Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually? Yes. There are only three choices in Islam… Either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die.”
Or, as Ayn Rand might have put it: “You can’t have your mystic of muscle and deny him, too.” He is either the source of Islam’s potency, or he isn’t. And if he isn’t, whither Islam?
Andrew McCarthy, in his Family Security Matters article, “Obama’s Betrayal of Islamic Democracy” (May 13th) remarks that it is difficult for “moderate” Muslims to “democratize” Islam: “As we have seen time and again, however, this is a very hard thing for moderates to do.” McCarthy sympathizes with them.
It is hard for “moderate” Muslims to do because it would entail repudiating Islam altogether, and then they would no longer be “Muslims,” moderate or otherwise. Islam is already a “democratic” system; once it attains hegemony wherever it reigns, that is pure “democracy” or majority rule in its original, unadulterated, and un-sweetened sense. Because “democracy” means “majority rule,” that democracy would be represented by the Islamic Ummah, or the collective.
Is there such a thing as “moderate” Nazism, or “moderate” Communism? Or “moderate” totalitarianism? The “extremists” of Islam despise “moderate” Muslims because they know that Islam practiced consistently, that is, practiced root and branch, gives them political power. A “moderate” form of Islam, were such a thing possible, would deny them that power. A “moderate” form of Islam would be an emasculated form of it and no longer “Islam.” The “extremists” or “radicals” know this, if the “moderates” don’t.
Walid Shoebat, in his Pajamas Media column of May 18th,”Islam vs. Islamism: A Case for Wishful Thinkers,” tasks Pipes, and, indirectly, McCarthy, as well, on not only the terminology of Islam vs. Islamism, but the core means and ends of Islam, which cannot be conveniently divorced from the ideology. After making hash of Pipes’ statistical argument that not all Muslims condone violent jihad, and after citing Muslim authorities, dead and alive, on the legitimacy of jihad as central to Islam’s existence, he quotes another authority on jihad and the establishment of a global caliphate by violence and stealth:
What about Al-Ghazali, the famous theologian, philosopher, and paragon of mystical Sufism whom the eminent W. M. Watt describes as “acclaimed in both the East and West as the greatest Muslim after Mohammed, and he is by no means unworthy of that dignity”? Scholars like Pipes know the truth, yet completely ignore it. Al-Ghazali said:
One must go on jihad (i.e., warlike razzias or raids) at least once a year… one may use a catapult against them when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them…. If a person of the Ahl al-Kitab [People of The Book-Jews and Christians, typically] is enslaved, his marriage is [automatically] revoked…. One may cut down their trees/…One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide…they may steal as much food as they need.
Shoebat writes that Pipes “even went as low to claim that Muhammad was a ‘Muslim not an Islamist’ and even distinguished him since, ‘Islamism represents the transformation of Islamic faith into a political ideology.’”
By switching Muhammad from “Islamist” to “Muslim, Pipes must then answer a crucial question: Is Islam defined by its founder or by Mr. Pipes? Muhammad defined Islam as “Al-Islamu deen wa dawla” (“Islam is a religion and a state”). Pipes then must remove the “and” to substantiate his false case.
Islam is nothing if not a political ideology. The first time Mohammad raised his sword to forcibly convert men to Islam, and abandoned persuasion, that was the inauguration of political Islam. It has not changed since then. Force, coercion, slavery, death, and submission are the sole hallmarks of Islam.
The problem with Islam is that it is a religion. Religion is a primitive form of philosophy that explains existence and purports to give men a moral guide to living. Qua religion, it depends on faith in the existence of a supernatural being, and a form of altruism and collectivism, an altruism that is extended only to other Muslims and the collectivism of the Ummah. One could also argue that jihad represents a special kind of altruism:Jihadas seen as a vehicle of “salvation,” with suicide bombers and plane hijackers acting as selfless and self-sacrificing drones to spread the word of Allah.
Allow me to pose this question: If one removed altruism and pacifism from Christianity, could one credibly call what was left “Christianity”? One could pose the same question about Judaism or Buddhism. Christianity, as a religion, it should be noted, has never been “moderated”; it has only been barred from acquiring political power. That was another unprecedented accomplishment of our Founders.
Pipes, dividing the discussion about Islam into three groups, writes that he belongs in the third group, which views “Islamism” as a “modern extremist variant of the religion, known as radical Islam or Islamism.” He dismisses anyone who views Islam in its totality as succumbing to a “simplistic and essentialist delusion.” This is an implicit disparagement of such survivors of Islam as Wafa Sultan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and of such champions against Islam as Geert Wilders. Treating Islam in its “totality” is as correct a way of treating it as it was of treating Nazism or Communism in their particular “totalities.”
Those “totalities” are fundamentally, and incontrovertibly, totalitarian. There is no other way of looking at Islam, either.