Friday, August 27, 2010
The Ground Zero Mosque & The War of Ideas
August 27, 2010 - Frank Salvato
The controversy surrounding the Park 51/Cordoba House project – promoted by the Cordoba Initiative and headed by Feisal Abdul Rauf – is one that illustrates the full range of the ideological clash between the Islamic culture and the culture of the West. Whether Liberals, Progressives and apologists care to admit it or not the fundamentalist Islamist factions of the Arab world are actively attempting to advance their influence on the world; in every nation and every culture. In their attempt at establishing an elevated influence around the world this fundamentalist faction seeks not to be accepted as equals or to assimilate, but to enter into foreign cultures as a privileged and exempt class. The issue of the Park 51 Project – from this point forward referred to by its original label, the Cordoba House – is a perfect example of one particular battle theater in this culture clash: the war of ideas.
The West’s current conflict with expanding fundamentalist Islam is taking place on four different fronts, at least at the hand of the Islamists: militarily, diplomatically, economically and ideologically.
Militarily, the West is fully engaged on the internationally recognized battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan and, to a lesser extent in the undefined battle theaters around the world, and especially throughout the Middle East, the Asian South Pacific, Africa and most recently, South America.
Of course, many experts maintain that the West’s engagement is an effort hamstrung by political correctness, a disingenuous Progressive-minded Western media and leaders who insist on telegraphing our intentions to the enemy in the form of timetables for withdrawal and openly stated standard operating procedures for our armed forces while maintaining unreasonable expectations that the enemy operates with any genuine wont for honest dialogue in the pursuit of conflict resolution.
Diplomatically, the West is again engaged, most notably in the form of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has continued to be a failed effort from the onset and which has witnessed a slow but steady encroachment of fundamentalist Islam onto sovereign Israeli territory.
This effort, along with the misguided efforts suggested by Progressives and anti-war activists that Western powers should enter into negotiations with Taliban and al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, not only ignores the basic Wahabbist tent of al taqiyya, but its allows fundamentalist Islamists to exploit the trust of a fickle Western leadership.
Economically, we are seeing advances into the Western culture by fundamentalist Islamists in the form of a budding effort to establish Sharia compliant financial institutions and instruments. By establishing these ideologically exclusive institutions and instruments fundamentalist Islamists create a self-sufficient entity within the framework of the Western Capitalist system. As the Sharia compliant financial structure grows and consumes, it will begin to sap many opportunities for investment from the Western financial markets, ultimately creating an “us against them” global financial structure. When one takes into account that OPEC could very well decide to exclusively engage a Sharia compliant financial system, the full financial threat to the global economy can be fully realized (I suggest researching the writings of Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld on this matter).
That brings us to the front most applicable to the issue surrounding the Cordoba House, the Cordoba Initiative and Feisal Abdul Rauf: the ideological battle front.
Fundamentalist Islamists are experts at exploiting the multicultural political correctness so prevalent in the West. On the military, diplomatic and economic battlefields they use propaganda, human shields, deception, exclusion and in many cases our own legal systems in their pursuit of attaining their goals, and in particular, the goal of establishing a global Islamic caliphate existing under Sharia law. But they are also exploiting the political correctness component of the Western culture to advance fundamentalist Islam societally, through means other than the legislative or diplomatic processes.
Two examples of just such exploitation of the debilitating multicultural, politically correct mindset of the West can be found in southern Lebanon in the advancement of Hezbollah in that once Christian nation, and in Israel with the ceding of the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinian authority, al Fatah and Hamas.
In southern Lebanon, Hezbollah, an organization created by the Shi’ite mullahs of the Iranian Islamist Revolution of 1979 – the same wonderful people who oppress the native Iranian Persians, who created the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and who routinely call for the extinguishment of Israel as a nation and the Jews as a people – has gained legitimacy by encroaching societally, not unlike how the mobster Al Capone gained popular influence in 1920s Chicago.
With a government financially and logistically unable to meet the needs of the poor, Capone used his access to an obscene wealth of ill-gotten gains to establish soup kitchens and charity initiatives for the poor; those affected by the trying financial times of 1920s America. This endeared him to the citizenry and discouraged elected officials in Chicago from pursuing him for his criminal enterprise enabling him to become one of the wealthiest and influential people in the United States.
Using the same tactic of catering to the downtrodden and disenfranchised, Hezbollah morphed from a bloodthirsty Shi’ite terrorist organization to a politically legitimized faction of government in Lebanon. By using funds supplied by Iran, Syria and non-state entities sympathetic to the fundamentalist Islamist cause, Hezbollah constructed schools and hospitals in southern Lebanon, infused finances into the fragile infrastructure and, essentially, bribed the people of southern Lebanon into voting them into elected office and, thus legitimacy.
Through the advancement of influence via the exploitation of the poor in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah was able to buy political legitimacy on the world stage, even as they continued to exist and operate, simultaneously, as a potent terrorist organization around the world.
With the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the situation is the same only different.
The question must be asked, when did Israel as a government enable the legitimization of the Palestinian Authority? It did so when it first sat down with the PLO and Yassir Arafat to “talk,” or “negotiate.”
In a piece titled, A Brief History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Nancy Salvato writes:
“...Arab states allowed Palestinian resistance groups, organized in l964 by the Arab League into the Palestine Liberation Organization (the PLO), to use their territory to launch raids against Israel. The stated goal of the PLO was to use armed struggle to establish an independent Palestinian state.
“In l973, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, Israelis were caught off guard when Egypt attacked Israeli troops, stationed in the Sinai Peninsula and Syria attacked Israeli forces in the Golan Heights. After heavy casualties, the Israeli army eventually began to win the war. The Soviet Union and United States pressured Israel to accept a UN cease-fire. Henry Kissinger brokered agreements with Israel and Syria and between Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat.
“Ironically, [shortly before his death], Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat rejected an offer of a Palestinian state in the areas of Israeli withdrawal (brokered by the Clinton administration) and proposed by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. [An]... intifada against Israel erupted, and there have been no substantive negotiations since then. Arafat’s...demise offered hope that his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, would be a real negotiating partner for Israel. But he has been unable to control Palestinian militants, and now his party has lost control of the Palestinian parliament to the radical, militant, terrorism-supporting Hamas in the ...Gaza Strip.”
In sitting down at the table with the Palestinians to “engage,” the Israeli government lent them the full force of their credibility and legitimacy in the Western world. From there, the United Nations recognized Israel’s bestowed legitimacy upon the PA, and so did the US, Russia, Europe, and so on and so on...soon, the PLO, al Fatah, Hamas, etc. also became recognized as entities, legitimate or not, as the case may be, but entities that had to be “dealt with” and even “talked to” or engaged, nevertheless.
The result of the initial recognition and the perceived need to “engage on equal ground,” facilitated the legitimization of encroaching fundamentalist and radical Islamist entities complete with a “right” to have their voices heard; as being as potent and legitimate as the elected government of a nation state. It allowed an encroaching fundamentalist Islamist faction to, in the end, demand capitulation to their demands for Gaza and the West Bank, leading to their current demands that they be allowed to annex more Israeli land, that Israel cease the building of settlements on its sovereign soil and even for Israel to reconcile to East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capitol.
It is tantamount to “squatter’s rights” only on an international stage.
With regard to the Cordoba House issue, perhaps it would be legitimate to ask:
Can’t the illegitimate “legitimization” tactic be applied to the fundamentalist and radical Islamist elements – Feisal Abdul Rauf and his cadre of activists and operatives – currently provoking dialogue over the Ground Zero mosque?
Aren’t the Islamist factions promoting the Cordoba House project simply using the same tactics as the Palestinians did against the nation of Israel and Hezbollah did in southern Lebanon to establish the exact precedent of legitimization?
Can this issue of the Cordoba House be accurately depicted and explained as a pro-fundamental Islamist/pro-Sharia “attack,” via the “legitimization” tactic, in the ideological war (or war of ideas) between fundamentalist Islam and the West?
We in the West have to abort the notion that we are dealing with an ingenuous culture in the culture of fundamentalist Islam. These ideologues have proven time and time again that they will use any means necessary – military, economic, diplomatic and ideological – to attain their goal of a Sharia compliant world, ruled under an Islamist caliphate. If we do not resign ourselves to these truths we in the West are doomed to be ruled by the most oppressive, totalitarian and violently brutal ideology to exist in the history of the world.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative.