Saturday, January 5, 2013

Is the problem Islam or political Islam?: Geoffff has some words

Geoffff's Joint, Bar and Grill is having a discussion around this topic, one that I had a few words for in Israel Thrives.  I tend to agree with Geoffff's position on this question. - Mike L.

Geoffff writes:

On the question of what is the enemy. "Islam", the religion,  with its genocidal antisemitism and other alarming features such as  homosexual homicide , female subjugation,  infidel beheading, God made law and global imperialism


Political Islam or Islamism, the ideology that captures these features and turn them into a means of oppression, control and violent aggression

I actually have strong views on this.

Definitely Islamism or Political Islam 
pre-Reformation Islam?
pre-Enlightenment Islam ?

It is a great mistake to attack a religion no matter how vile are some of the passages at least in the context of this struggle. We are not theologians. Or at least I'm not.  

Mike is right that there are many Muslims who just want to get on with their lives and practice their religion in peace. In the West there is no reason why that can not be a religion of peace.

In fact we should insist on it. 

Of course the religion is problematic but this depends on how it is taught and presented. In this part of the world there are many Muslims who have no stake in the Middle East . A past President of Indonesia was an eminent Muslim cleric who turned out to be an admirer and friend of Israel.  Israel has friends in the Muslim world and there are Muslim countries that have accepted her. Right now Jordanian and Israeli special forces are carrying out coordinated  secret operations on the Syrian side of the borders against Assad special forces.

How the religion is presented. The prophet mentioned  most after Mohammed in the Koran is Moses. Far more than Jesus. Jesus scores only about 15 mentions while Moses is up around the 100 mark. There is even a passage about Moses leading his people to "their sacred land"

The Koran is not alone in having its bracing parts. The Christian Bible is notorious as we know which means Christians would certainly be a problem if we lost the Enlightenment  This of course is the reason antisemitism is suddenly back in fashion in certain parts of the Protestant clergy and why they have attached themselves so closely to Islamic clerics and the Palestinian cause..

They are hoping for a seat at the top table once the secular state has been swept aside and the boys in the hoods are calling the shots once again. I bet they wank themselves silly over that fantasy. Still . Gives the kids a break I suppose.  

And dare I mention it? There are some pretty torrid pieces in the Hebrew Bible as well. Quite a bit in there that you might find challenging as a modern woman. And as I recall the rules for dealing with a man who lies with a man as a woman do not leave much room  for discussion. God made himself very clear on that one. That hasn't stopped Tel Aviv having Mardi Gras parades and gay bars and Israel being a sanctuary for Palestinian homosexuals. These days the only way a Jewish gay anywhere could get stoned to death is if it was self inflicted.

Right now there are respectable Muslim clergy who do not see their religion the same way as the lunatics in Tehran and Gaza. They are perhaps envisaging a  post-Enlightenment Islam.They should not be discouraged. That is one way out of this mess.


  1. Mike there is a huge difference between the Koran and the Tenach.

    The Tenach is a collection of stories written by various people down through the centuries.

    The Koran is a collection of laws 'invented' by Mohammed himself. Who amongst other things was a war lord, a murderer, a rapist and a paedophile

    The HADITH is also a 'holy' accounts of the prophet.

    One of the most quoted phrases.
    " The last hour will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them, so that Jews will hide behind stones and trees and the Stone and the tree will say, O Muslim, O servant of God! There is a Jew behind me; come and kill him. "

    Read the Hadiths Mike, I gave you a link a few days ago to the Reliance of the Traveller. Which are the 'traditions' Muslims live by.

    (Quran 5:33): The Punishment for those who oppose Allah and his messenger is: Execution or Crucifixion or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides or exile from the land.

    Slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush. (Sura 9:5)

    1. Shirlee,

      I do not disagree with you.

      Further, nothing that you've written above contradicts anything that Geoffff or I have said.

      There is no question but that the religion of Islam is brutal towards Jews.

      Neither one of us deny this.

      The argument is that Islamic brutality toward Jews is containable so long as Sharia does not hold state power.

      That's the point about political Islam and that's the reason that Barack Obama is a menace to the Jewish people.

    2. I don't see it that way.

      This for one "Right now there are respectable Muslim clergy"

      Don't you believe it. If they are clergy they follow the Koran and the Hadith. I rest my case.

      I am now going to have an early night. I don't know why but I haven't slept well for a couple of nights.

  2. The doctrine that shariah law is to be installed over the entire world is mainstream Islam, not an extremist perversion of it.

    There are Muslims that do not take that doctrine seriously. Likewise, in the Christian world you have "cafeteria Catholics," who pick and choose among their doctrines, dropping the stuff they're not comfortable with.

    There may be many Muslims who do not take seriously the doctrine of global shariah implementation. Do we have a reliable means of distinguishing them from their co-religionists who do? And do we have a guarantee that something—like a mid-life crisis—won't ever drive a lax Muslim into religious fervor and, therefore, jihadist activity?

    From my point of view, this is a question of mortal risks and our willingness to take them. If I'm wrong about a Muslim being of hostile intent, then at worst I'd lose face or be called names. But if you're wrong about one of them being peaceful, the consequences could be disastrous.

    From Western Europe to Thailand, the various non-Muslim countries in the world have not been better off for Muslim immigration (actually colonization). This even without a history of visceral hatred. Jews can afford to take this risk the least of all.

    I don't care about being called a bigot for my line of thinking. Valuing my particular life and the general survival of my nation makes such name-calling inconsequential in my eyes. Any moral principles that end up being suicide pacts must be abandoned.

    "Right now there are respectable Muslim clergy who do not see their religion the same way as the lunatics in Tehran and Gaza."

    They're the minority, they're under police protection and they have an uphill task getting their message of peace through when the rank-and-file Muslim can see jihad bring rich dividends in the non-Muslim world's scramble to appease Islamic imperialism and cater to every Islamic whim. I don't set store in those clerics.

  3. We do not want to set ourselves up in conflict with all of Islam.

    It's 1.5 billion people, for chrissake. And the truth of the matter is that the great majority of that 1.5 billion is not actively pushing for Sharia governments or Jewish dhimmitude.

    It is for this reason that I limit my criticisms to political Islam (also known as "radical Islam" or "Islamism").

    The Jewish people cannot in any meaningful or productive way oppose Islam, but we can, and definitely should, oppose political Islam as a matter of the civil rights of the Jewish people, not to mention the civil rights of women, Gays, and all other non-Muslims.

    That's where we can meaningfully draw a line in the sand and that is precisely why the Obama administration is such a disappointment.

    I'm an American who grew up with the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. ringing in my ears.

    Being opposed to the rise of political Islam throughout the Middle East, and being in favor of Israel, is a matter of civil rights and we need to make for people to understand this.

    Free at last!

    Free at last!

    Thank G-d almighty, we are free at last!

    1. "We do not want to set ourselves up in conflict with all of Islam."

      I realize that, but this is not about what we want. However, even if we're in conflict with all of Islam—because they want it—it's not necessary to fight all of them. All that's needed to get Islam's foot-soldiers, the armies of invader-immigrants, off our soil.

      Fact is, the whole Pearl Harbor analogy that was pushed after 9/11 was wrong from the start. The threat isn't primarily about conventional armies as in WWII, but about populations of colonists settling in one's land and making use of our own humanistic laws to fend off the host nation's self-defense.

      I really don't care what the Muslims do in their own countries. If they want to live under shariah law for themselves only, let them. I advocate a man's right to flick his fingers, just up to the tip of my nose. They can have Islamic law for their own states, in exchange for having none of that in my state. Again, it's not about values. Orthodox Judaism and Islam have a lot of similarities in their values, so it's not like a fight could be made on that basis. It's about national survival, which leaves values out of the equation.

      My stance on foreign policy is a simple one: The world doesn't owe the Jewish State a thing, and the Jewish State doesn't owe a thing to the world. I'm not in it for all that Righteous War Of Light Against Darkness shtick. After all our history, the Jews don't have to prove themselves in that department. It's better they concentrate on their interests alone, and maintain contact with non-Jews only as a matter of plain dealing (for instance, buying weapons instead of getting them as a gift that later turns out to have strings attached).

      "...the great majority of that 1.5 billion is not actively pushing for Sharia governments or Jewish dhimmitude."

      I agree. But you said "actively pushing"; "supporting" is a different matter. I believe the active jihadists are a tiny minority, and their supporters a vast majority. I don't hold to the idea that being good is a natural human trait, and in any case the Muslims who support jihad believe they're doing good by that. Beyond the academic debate, the fact remains that we simply can't tell which of them are on which side. Therefore I call for prudence and erring on the side of caution.

  4. Religion of peace. Great idea. And then I look at the news any day of the week. And I laugh nervously at first; then uncontrollably. Religion of peace, indeed. Tell me another one.

  5. I agree with everything Mike is saying here, and I guess one could note that we speak from an American perspective, which, at least speaking for me, is all I know.

    Philadelphia probably has the largest overall Muslim population of any city in the US (Metropolitan Detroit may have a higher population of same, but it's spread over a larger and more sprawling geographic area, taking into account multiple municipalities), by many counts around 250,000 people (about 15% of our total population), though the vast majority of that number is Black (African-American) Muslim. I think it's safe to say that today's epicenter of Black Muslim community and culture in America is right here in North Philadelphia, where I live.

    Here in my neighborhood, the business strips of Front Street and Kensington Ave, and even a bit lower on Girard, have many heavily Muslim commercial pockets. Next door in Nicetown-Tioga, and a bit further west in Germantown, to name just two examples, there are many blocks where one would be in an extreme minority if one were not in Muslim dress.

    There are no stonings or honor killings in Philadelphia, there are no City Commission candidates calling for Sharia to be imposed in the vicinity of Broad & Erie, there is never a moment where I (a very obvious non-Muslim of any sort) am made to feel even the slightly least bit uncomfortable while waiting for a bus, or randomly strolling a neighborhood, taking photos and admiring architecture as I often tend to do, even right in front of a mosque or community center of some kind.

    All of this is to demonstrate the fact that extremely large Muslim populations can peacefully coexist within liberal Western civilization, and, in fact, be hugely positive forces, economic and otherwise, in the neighborhoods and communities which have been forgotten (or, more often, shoved out of sight and out of mind) by the current (secular) political powers-that-be in places like North Philadelphia.

    If there's a problem with this not being the case elsewhere (and I do not dispute that it is or may be), I'd then argue that this may be a local rather than global phenomenon. Which comes right back around to Mike's (and I believe, geoffff's) ultimate point. The problem is with extremist Political Islam, proper, and its relative ability to take hold of power in any given place. If a large Muslim population can not, or will not, successfully integrate in any given Western nation or community, then the problem may be that those countries and / or communities should perhaps consider what other places do differently to that end.

    1. JayinPhiladelphia,

      "If a large Muslim population can not, or will not, successfully integrate in any given Western nation or community, then the problem may be that those countries and / or communities should perhaps consider what other places do differently to that end."

      I think I see where the difference in our thinking lies.

      You're an American. Jewish, pro-Israel, Zionist—I'm not casting any of that into doubt. But American in your outlook. You grew up on the idea of "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," the country predicated on a set of ideas (liberty, the pursuit of happiness &c) and accepting anybody from anywhere in the world who's willing to buy into that set.

      Israel, well... Jewish nationalism doesn't work that way. It has the surface appearance of being "a nation of immigrants" because a very diverse-looking mass of Jews have come to Israel from all over the world. Make no mistake, however: Beyond the surface, the idea of Israel has always been that of the Jewish ethnic homeland ("Jew" is an ethnos, even if it's an unusual ethnos in that it's not based solely on genetic descent). That means the whole idea of having to receive and do our best to integrate an Arab/Muslim minority is fundamentally alien to Israeli Jewish thinking, even though it doesn't look like it from our mainstream media, which is comprised of Citizens Of The World.

      I'm not putting down the American approach, I'm just telling you how it's different from the Israeli one. America is an international sanctuary for anyone who accepts its ideals, while Israel is the Jewish homeland. As an American, it makes sense for you to expend efforts in integrating Muslim immigrants; I don't agree it's in your long-term interests, but logically speaking it follows from the premises of the United States of America. But Israel isn't—has never been about anything but—providing a safe haven for Jewish national existence. If the Muslim minority stirs up troubles in our country, then our founding ideals demand that we simply kick them out, not that we try to appease them with gifts (which they'd regard as "colonial patronization" anyway).

    2. Yeah, I (awkwardly) tried to acknowledge that at the beginning of my comment. My comment was directed toward European countries and the like, not Israel. Fully agreed. Israel can ultimately admit anyone it wants, but in the end it is and needs to remain the Jewish homeland.

    3. "Fully agreed. Israel can ultimately admit anyone it wants, but in the end it is and needs to remain the Jewish homeland."

      Yes, thanks for your understanding. Given the results of nation-mixing experiments like Lebanon, Rwanda and Yugoslavia, I think the insistence on an exclusive nation-state is only moral. And I think all ethnic nation-states have the right to insist on it. (IMO, the European nation-states are more like Israel than America—ethnostates, not proposition nations; but I won't belabor that point, because none of us here is European as far as I know, so it's not something we should care about.)

  6. When the old South African apartheid regime was starting to crumble with a huge surge of violence there was also a surge in migration applications from "White" South Africans seeking to escape the troubles.

    At the time the Australian left demanded to know whether these applicants were being properly vetted for extremists with racist attitudes. Absolutely assured the government. We make sure we do not import the virus of foreign racism with our migrants. We check then out.

    Fair enough I thought at the time. Who wants bunches of brown shirted white supremacists with unpleasant accents camped out in the valleys and hills around here and Byron Bay harassing the local Koori people. The hippies are bad enough.

    As it turned out most of the migrants were Jewish but that's another story.

    A "no hate" test applied on an individual basis to every applicant without fear or favour. Sounds like a good idea to me.

    Why aren't the liberal/left demanding it now.

    1. ecause that would be prosemitic.

      This has been another in the series Simple Answers to Easy Questions.