Tuesday, February 26, 2008

They hate us for our immorality, right?

Robert Spencer

In the mainstream media's never-ending quest to ignore or downplay the jihad imperative within Islam, and to attribute the present global jihad to some other factor or factors -- any factor, as long as it's external to Islam -- few farragos have been as ridiculous (or as successful in bamboozling those aching to be bamboozled) as Dinesh D'Souza's contention that they hate us because of the immorality of Western pop culture. A hint of how successful this idea has been is here, in John Stossel's uncritical repetition of it as if it is axiomatically true. On the surface it sounds plausible. Jihadists do rail against American immorality, and proffer Islam as a moral alternative to the out-of-control libertinism, as they see it, of Western culture. The problems with this idea, however, are many. One is that the jihadists were fighting against non-Muslims long before the advent of the Vagina Monologues and Britney Spears. Another is the coercive nature of morality in the Islamic world, which becomes all too often a recipe for hypocrisy and externality -- rendering the jihadist moral critique hollow.

Here is another example of the latter phenomenon, from Indonesia: "2.5mn illegal abortions performed annually," from DPA (thanks to all who sent this in):

JAKARTA: At least 2.5mn abortions are performed annually in Indonesia, although the practice is illegal in the predominantly Muslim country, state-run media reported yesterday.

"The figure does not yet include abortions effected with non-medical assistance," Jurnalis Uddin, a professor at the Jakarta-based YARSI University was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

Uddin claimed that research conducted at medical facilities had led to the conclusion practice of illegal abortions needs to be given serious attention by the government and society.

2.5 million abortions annually. That's more than twice the number of abortions performed annually in the U.S. And Indonesia's population is 234 million, with 300 million in America.

More than twice the number of abortions annually, and they hate us for our immorality? Tell me another, Dinesh.

Of course, jihadists in Indonesia (as well as D'Souza) might say that this is all because of Western influence, and that that is precisely why they are waging jihad against the West. But I think it is just common sense to realize that a coercive external conformity such as is fostered by Islamic culture will only lead to more of this kind of thing, not less.

And so we're right back where we started: maybe they hate us for their own reasons, within their own way of looking at the world.

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