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Islam: A Blind Spot of the Left

Their moony embrace of multiculturalism has rendered modern liberals unable to connect the dots between beliefs and consequences. Rooted in moral relativism, multiculturalism is the notion that all moral codes are valid within their respective cultures, with no people group privileged to make moral judgments of others.

The person boorish enough to criticize the mores of another culture will quickly find himself banished from polite company for being racist, bigoted, intolerant, or (fill in the blank)-phobic. Just ask Sam Harris and Bill Maher, both establishment liberals, who were excoriated by Ben Affleck on an HBO panel discussion for their illiberalism. Their offense: calling Islam dangerous for the atrocities committed by Islamists.
To remain a member of the left in “good standing,” one can never, but never, attribute evil to the belief system that spawned it, even when the perpetrators themselves do so. One must stick to the liberal script, characterizing the actors as fringe, radical, extremist, misguided, and not representative of the true beliefs of their culture—except, that is, when those actors are Christian.

Double standards

Had the target of Harris’s and Maher’s criticism been Christianity, I doubt it would have elicited so much as a raised eyebrow from Affleck. Indeed, it has become standard practice in liberal circles to blame Christianity for hate crimes against gays and abortion clinic bombings, among other things.

But when the crime in question is a suicide bombing by ISIS, Al Qaeda, or other Islamist group, the well-bred liberal will respond, first, with appropriate outrage, then, with an ever-so-reassuring explanation that such is not the action of Muslims, but of religious fanatics; because Islam, “true” Islam, is a religion of peace and Muslims are a tolerant people.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who sided with Affleck on the HBO panel, commented that ISIS militants who cite Islamic teaching to justify their barbarism “give all Islam a bad name.” Former Muslim Ibn Warraq knows better.

In a statement made shortly after the September 11 attacks, Warraq wrote,

“There may be moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate. There is no difference between Islam and Islamic fundamentalism: at most there is a difference of degree but not of kind. All the tenets of Islamic fundamentalism are derived from the Qur’an, the Sunna, and the Hadith—Islamic fundamentalism is a totalitarian construct derived by Muslim jurists from the fundamental and defining texts of Islam. The fundamentalists, with greater logic and coherence than so-called moderate or liberal Muslims, have made Islam the basis of a radical utopian ideology that aims to replace capitalism and democracy as the reigning world system.”

Ibn Warraq is not alone. In an interview in the New England Review, Mohammed Asghar, another former Muslim, said this about the Fort Hood massacre,

“Major Hasan’s action was in accord with the concept of Jihad, as it has been laid down in the Quran. Though the Jews and Christians are called the People of the Books, even then they are Unbelievers, as they do not believe in the prophethood of Muhammad. For this refusal of theirs, Muslims must kill them ‘for the sake of Allah.’”

False equivalence

What critics like Warraq and Asghar understand is that despite the benign attitudes and behaviors of moderate Muslims, it is the fundamentalists who take Islamic tenets seriously.

Islam teaches that sin is the result of man’s forgetfulness, forgiveness is attained through good works, and paradise is certain only when those works include dying in holy war. The end game is a utopian state where every aspect of political, economic, and social life is governed by Islamic law under a church-state theocracy. To that end, the holy texts of the faith as well as the life of its founder Muhammad teach that the use of forceful means, when called for, is commendable. As Mohammed Asghar explains,

“There are at least 109 verses in the Quran that call Muslims to war, and to kill those who do not believe in both Allah and Muhammad. ‘. . . . Fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them and seize them, beleaguer them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war).’ (The Quran; 9:5).”

It’s a point that Kristof acknowledges—“it is true that the Quran has passages hailing violence”—but not without attempting a moral equivalence, “but so does the Bible, which recounts God ordering genocides, such as the one against the Amalekites.”

Kristof’s effort at equivalence fails because, unlike the Quranic teachings, which apply to all Muslims at all times, the biblical directives alluded to were provincial, teleological, and transient—that is, they were given to a certain people group, for a certain purpose, for a certain time only. None apply today, to anyone, especially Christians who are under the authority of Jesus’s teachings, as summarized in His Sermon on the Mount and exemplified by His life.

The liberal sympathizer who suggests that the Jihadist is no more representative of Muhammad than the Klansman is of Christ, hasn’t made a studied comparison of the two or ignores their differences, starting with how they came unto their own: Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey with a few hundred followers bearing palm branches to be crucified; Muhammad entered Mecca on a stallion with 10,000 warriors bearing swords to be victorious. Whereas Jesus gained followers by overcoming evil with good, Muhammad gained subjects by overcoming cities with the sword.

Although the Islam fundamentalist can rightly claim to follow the teachings of the Quran and the life of Muhammad in using oppressive force to gain converts, the Christian would have to disregard the clear teachings and life of Christ to do so.

Another consequential difference concerns the view of mankind. The Christian teaching of man as Imago Dei (created in God’s image) gave birth to the Western notions of human dignity and the unalienable rights of all persons. With no such view of man promoted by Islam, the ideals of democracy, equality, and individual liberty are non-existent in Islamic states, which explains why they consistently top the lists of bad actors in human rights violations.

Mainline Muslims

Folks like Affleck and Kristof are right to say that religiously motivated violence is prosecuted by a small segment of the Muslim population. What they don’t say, or know, is that it enjoys considerable support in the wider Muslim community.

As reported by the Pew Research Center, Muslims who believe that “suicide bombing and other attacks against civilians” are justified include “26% of Muslims in Bangladesh, 29% in Egypt, 39% in Afghanistan and 40% in the Palestinian territories.” Even in the U.S., only 81% of Muslims say such acts are never justified, which means a fifth of them say they are justifiable—levels of belief exceeding what could be soberly characterized as “fringe.”

What’s more, many “mainline” Muslims who publicly denounce such violence privately support it, knowingly or unknowingly, through the “zakat.” One of the five pillars of Islam, the zakat is a tithe (designated as almsgiving) that functions as an income tax used to fund social services—but also jihad, which, according to classical Islamic jurists, is the duty of faithful Muslims everywhere in the struggle against the enemies of Islam.

Read the rest at http://www.breakpoint.org/features-columns/breakpoint-columns/entry/2/26419

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