Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Islam, Political Islam, and the Diaspora Jewish Divide

One cannot stand up for the Jewish people, today, if one fails to speak out against political Islam.

This assertion represents a significant dividing line among Jewish people, particularly throughout the diaspora.  The Jews of Israel do not need much convincing that political Islam is a threat.  The reason for this is the obvious reason that they live in the Middle East and have a far better understanding of their neighbors - who are doing a terrific job of murdering one another these days - than do either diaspora Jews or the dithering Obama administration.

The so-called "Arab Spring," which was (and is) the rise of political Islam, is not the great up-welling of Arab democracy - as we were so enthusiastically informed by naive western progressives, including many naive western progressive Zionists - but represents a murderous political movement that stones women to death on the grounds of adultery and that is chasing the Christian population out of the Middle East entirely.

The question is, however, just what is the source of the problem?  Is the problem with Muslims, in general?  Is the problem with the religion of Islam?  Or is it, as I maintain, the problem of Islam as a rising political movement throughout the Middle East?

The biggest geo-political problem facing the Jewish people in the world today, particularly Jews in the Middle East, is political Islam.  The problem is not Muslims, in general, nor is it the religion of Islam as it is practiced by many millions of Muslims throughout the world.

As someone who lives in an exceedingly diverse community, I know this first-hand.

Although there is unquestionably elements within the American Muslim community that represent the Jihad, stealth or otherwise, the great majority of American Muslims have no particular interest in harming either their fellow Americans or in any way undermining the well-being of the Jewish people or in introducing al-Sharia into the United States.  This, of course, is a tad different from what we see in Europe and miles apart from what we see in the burning Arab-Muslim Middle East.

It is therefore necessary to consider the nature of Islam as it manifests itself differently in different parts of the world.  Islam in the United States does not express itself in the same way that it does in Europe or the Middle East or India or Australia or elsewhere.

Thus, it has to be understood that Muslims as people are not the problem.

There is nothing in the Muslim people that is essentially, or inherently, hostile to either Americans or Jews.  This should not even need to be said and I absolutely refuse to consider the nice lady across the street to be an enemy to the Jewish people merely because she happens to be Muslim.  There are something like 1.5 billion Muslim people in the world.  To consider each and every one of them an enemy of the United States, and the west, and the Jewish people, not to mention Gay people, if not women, is not helpful, nor is it accurate.

It's also simply not true.

Some would argue, however, that the problem is not with the Muslim people, per se, but with the religion of Islam.   While almost everyone who concerns themselves with such things, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, do not blame the entirety of the Umma for the Jihadi hostilities in recent decades, there is an ongoing conversation around the question of whether the riots and the violence and the murders and the wars and the genocidal chatter against the Jews and hatred towards Gays and oppression of women and the subjugation of Christians is due to Islam, the religion, or because of some radical, extremist interpretation of the religion.

That's the question that counts and the latter has been the stance of consecutive American governments.  George W. Bush called Islam "the religion of peace" and Barack Obama was outspoken in his appreciation of Islam and said the Islamic call to prayer was “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” 

I don't doubt that it is.

Nonetheless, there is also little doubt that the religion of Islam is, today, retrograde when it comes to questions of human rights as it is practiced in the Middle East and much of Europe.  The same, of course, can be said for particular parts of the Jewish community and the Christian community.  The difference is that Islam is very, very big and Judaism is absolutely tiny.  The difference is that Islam controls many countries and Judaism informs only one.  The difference is that while Evangelical Christianity opposes abortion, it controls no central governments, while political Islam hangs Gay people from cranes and controls, or is gaining the control, of a number of important governments throughout the Middle East.

Yet another difference is that the Bible does not call for violence against either Muslims or Christians and the violence in that book is descriptive, not prescriptive.  The Koran and the Hadith, on the other hand, call quite specifically for violence against both Jews and Christians when those Jews and Christians refuse to bow to the rules of dhimmitude.  Islamic jurisprudence holds Jews and Christians as beholden to inferior doctrines and as people who must be held low in submission to the religion that carries that name.

But the primary source documents of any religion are only meaningful to the extent that the followers act upon the essential views.  While it is true that the doctrines of political Islam are not inconsistent with mainstream Islamic doctrine, this is irrelevant if those beliefs are not acted upon by the Muslim people, and the leadership, as they pursue their daily interests.

What this means is that the problem is not Muslim people.  It is not.

Nor is the problem the Islamic faith.

But the movement to politicize that faith, as we have seen in recent years from Morocco to Tunisia to Libya to Egypt to Syria, and to establish al-Sharia as the form of government within either individual countries or through a larger united Muslim caliphate, is the problem.  As people who care about the well-being of Israel, it is that which should represent our primary concerns on this question.

Islam, after all, is far less dangerous if it doesn't wield heavy weaponry, as it does in Iran and did, until very recently, in Egypt.

Thus we should be grateful to the Egyptian military and the Egyptian people for giving the Muslim Brotherhood the boot.

The Obama administration has been reprimanded by the Egyptian people and that's a good thing because no American administration should be in the business of supporting political Islam.

Political Islam in its contemporary form started with Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb in the late 1920s in Cairo, but gained its most impressive victory with the Iranian revolution of 1979.  In recent years the movement's fortunes were bolstered under the misnamed "Arab Spring" and, in part, through the offices of the president of the United States under the Obama administration.

The movement to politicize Islam is the most racist and backward-looking large-scale political movement in the world today.  Throughout the Middle East, and certain parts of Europe, large numbers of Muslims wish to see Islam as the basis of government.  What this means is oppression for Muslim women and all non-Muslims and eternal hostility toward the Jewish people.  And what that means is that political Islam must be opposed and the first way it must be opposed is through speaking out against it and simply not funding it.

The EU and the UN and the US fund various Islamist organizations and that is a terrible mistake because those organizations do not support the civil liberties of anyone who does not support Islamic Supremacist ideology.

It is thus a matter of basic human rights.

Yet the Obama administration is waiving a ban on arming terrorists for the alleged purposes of helping the Islamist authoritarian forces to stand against Assad and the secular authoritarian forces in Syria.

One of the dividing lines within diaspora Jewry - if not the Jewish people as a whole - is between those of us who acknowledge political Islam as a highly significant threat and those of us who prefer to turn our eyes away.  Given the fact that political Islam, as a movement, is now, since the "Arab Spring," taking over entire countries, it would serve the Jewish people well to recognize it and oppose it and and strategize against it.

If those of us who wish to do so are castigated and condemned in malicious terms by our fellow Jews as "racist" then we have far less chance against a rising political movement that is directly in opposition to the well-being of the Jewish people, not only in the Middle East, but throughout the world.


  1. Norman, I have two problems with your viewpoint. One is tactical and the other is conceptual.

    From a tactical standpoint your view pits 13 million Jews to war against 1.5 billion Muslims. There is no possibility of a positive outcome under any such circumstance.

    From a conceptual standpoint, it must be understood that all religions contain vile and violent prescriptions within their primary source documents. But as I wrote above, the primary source documents of any religion are only meaningful to the extent that the followers act upon the essential views.

    Thus,our problem is not with Muslims who do not promote sharia.

    And that's good because it represents good ground to fight upon. When I look upon that battlefield I see grounds upon which we can win. However blinkered the western left may be concerning political Islam and these various terrorist organizations they would at least agree that they do not want to live under sharia and we can show them how sharia is malicious wherever it is practiced.

    Any country that adopts sharia would, by definition, be a country at war with the west which is precisely why Obama is such a terrible president.

    Our goal should be to encourage our politicians to stop funding Islamism and to stop enabling its rise throughout the Middle East.

  2. There is no positive outcome to be expected from people who take their religion as a literal injunction to kill their enemies - moreover, mere numbers has never decided a conflict. We have the duty and the right to resist those who seek to kill us no matter how many of them there are and no matter how hopeless it may seem!

    Let's point out Islam decrees jihad as an obligatory duty on every Muslim. This is a serious enough problem. Other religions do not exhort their believers to kill every one opposed to them and enslave the rest as Islam does. That's why there are Islamic terrorists and no Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or atheist terrorists ravaging the world and disturbing the serenity of mankind.

    They are war with us and I don't see the battle with Islam ending after 1400 years. It would be preferable if it would disappear but until then we must contain it and fight back against it where its necessary! The only alternative is the death of every non-Muslim in the world and I refuse to accept such an outcome at Muslim hands.

  3. I understand, Norman.

    I very much respect you for standing up and say "NO" to dhimmitude.

    We need more people with the clarity of sight and the strength to stand up in a public manner and say that we will not allow al-Sharia to govern anywhere in the world because it is a political-religious system that is malicious to pretty much everyone other than Muslim men.

    But, as a friend and an ally, I want you to consider something with me.

    1.5 billion Muslims versus maybe 14 million Jews.

    If you are telling me that Islam is implacable and that we are in a war to the death with people who outnumber us over 100 to 1, then what you are telling me is that we are doomed.

    If this is your vision, how do you expect it to play out?

    Do you think that G-d will save us?

    Half of my family was slaughtered in the Holocaust long before I was born, so I expect no such thing.

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  5. A rough estimate of numbers killed by political Islam = 270 million.


    1. Are you kidding me?!

      270 million.

      I don't know how accurate that number is, but there is no question that the number is, in the very least, in the tens of millions, if not the hundreds of millions depending on how we count such things.

      Political Islam is a movement that needs to be stopped, just as the Nazis were stopped and the Klan was stopped.

      The Obama administration, through its support for this highly racist and violent movement, betrays the very principles that it claims to embody.

  6. Well, you know what they say about statistics, and the numbers go way back but one thing is sure; open the paper any day of the week and you'll find people getting killed in the name of Islam. Some days it's s few; other days a few hundred but it's consistent and appalling.

  7. Though I'd quibble with you slightly on one point, in that a very bad strain of Christianity does indeed seem to have a similar influence in Uganda currently, and does demonstrate that political Islam is certainly not the only such potential realistic danger within that realm, I'll mostly agree with the rest of your post.

    1. I have to tell you, Jay, this is an exceedingly uncomfortable question to raise... which is why I raise it, natch.

      Some of us don't want to talk about it at all because we think the very question of Islam versus Political Islam and our whole conception of terrorism is racist.

      Others think that Muslims are the enemy or that Islam, in and of itself, is the problem.

      I honestly do not have any hard and fast answers, but I certainly think that we can all agree that the politicalization of Islam, as it is rising throughout the Middle East, represents a genuine threat.

      As Americans we tend to be insular, but look at what is going on just today in Nairobi.

      And, needless to say, the Jewish state is considered Enemy Number One.

      We need to recognize this thing and to speak out against it because it's friggin' dangerous as hell.

  8. I keep thinking of the British garrison at Rork's Drift, South Africa, who held out and defeated a Zulu army that outnumbered them! Mere arithmetic would have told them they no chance. But they chose to fight and ultimately to win!

    I'm aware the Muslims are more numerous than the Jews! Israel has survived certainly not because numbers favored the Jews. They haven't and never will. The Jews fought because they knew the Arabs would have shown them no mercy had they lost!

    I expect us to ultimately win the war with Islam though it will not happen in your lifetime or in mine. Its a death cult and we love life. And I have no doubt in my mind that in the long run those who love life win!

    I lost my family in the Holocaust also so I'm not expecting divine intervention. I do believe though that G-d helps those who help themselves! We are not completely defenseless in the face of savages in this world. And if it should come to the worst, we'll probably destroy the world before we ever agree to become Muslim slaves.

  9. Norman, I disagree.

    "You will find there is not ONE Muslim voice that says the murder of a non-Muslim child is evil!"

    I take this as a voice of a man who feels under siege. Their are at least 100 Muslims in the world for every Jew and the history of the Jewish people under Muslim rule has been generally horrendous. Furthermore, the great majority of Muslims throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East, have little sympathy for the movement for Jewish freedom.

    So, it's not hard to understand why someone whose people come out of a history of abuse would feel this way.

    Nonetheless, such a statement is unfair.

    We cannot base the struggle for Jewish civil liberties upon opposition to either Muslims or Islam. It can be based on the very important struggle against political Islam, however.

    We need to be practical. We need to pick the fights that we can win.

    I see you as an ally, Norman, and we can agree to disagree, but if you want to pick a fight with the entirety of the Muslim world then it will take considerably further discussion to get me on-board.

    In the mean time, I just don't want nations based upon Islamic theology to have heavy weaponry anywhere near the Jews of the Middle East.

    That's the main thing, at least for this moment.

  10. Mike -

    Not really! I don't feel under siege! I feel pretty confident about Israel's future and that of the West at a time when the Muslim World is imploding under the weight of its hate culture. It bears reminding we didn't pick a fight with them; they picked a fight with us. I am not advocating a Crusade, which is not practical and is not going to get them to abandon their death cult. I am on record as saying we have the duty and the right to defend ourselves from Muslim aggression and to maintain our way of life and to preserve our freedoms. I don't care if our enemy slaughters each other like there's no tomorrow; their internecine feuds are none of our business. But Mike - when they attack us, it becomes our business and we have a right to put an end to their jihad against us! I think this strikes a fair balance. We have no wish to convert or to rule them but at the same time they must stay out of our affairs or face the consequences.

  11. I agree.

    It should be clear to all but the most ideologically blinkered by this point that political Islam... or the Jihad... is a genuine problem that people all over the world are suffering as a result.

    We don't need to agree on every jot, but I am with you, my man.

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