Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fitzgerald: When that old-time religion comes back

When that old-time-religion comes back, and that religion, or rather Total Belief-System, is Islam, that can only mean disruption and danger for Infidels. This holds true whether they are in Muslim-dominated lands (Copts in Egypt, Assyrians and Chaldeans in Iraq) or in non-Muslim lands if Muslims with innate supremacism and a triumphalism gain power and influence. That triumphalism alternates with pessimistic and sullen passivity, when their inculcated impulse to make raids on and overcome non-Muslims must be held, for now, and only temporarily, in check. When Islam was seen as obviously weak relative to the West-- as it was for about a century and a half (roughly, from 1820 to 1970) -- then Muslims were relatively quiet. In fact, they even made moves to placate the West in meaningless ways. For example, both Azzam Pasha, the first Secretary of the Arab League, in 1951 did remember to convey his good wishes to Christians at Christmas time. This was the same Azzam Pasha who promised that the war against the Jews in 1948 would result in a "massacre" the likes of which "had not been seen since the days of the Mongols," the man who is also the great-uncle of Ayman Al-Zawhiri (I am apparently the only one who finds this of note, for I keep mentioning it, and no one picks up on it). And for the same political calculations, when the Ayatollah Khomeini had not yet solidified his power, for one time, and one time only, he similarly wished Christians of the world his best wishes at Christmas time. We know, as the world's Christians did not know then, what Khomeini's real views, what Azzam Pasha's real views, are on what the rights of non-Muslims should be in a well-ordered society, and a well-ordered world. They are the same rights as dhimmis possess under the Shari'a, which means no rights other than those temporarily granted by benevolent Muslims, as long as the conditions of their dhimmi status are never broken, are faithfully and completely kept. And even then, Muslims have over time, whenever they felt like it, managed to find excuses for pogroms and mass forced conversions, or slaughter on the flimsiest of pretexts, whether of Copts in Egypt, or of Jews and Armenians in Tabriz under Shah Abbas II, or in the massacres of every Jew in Granada in 1066.

The Jihad is not "back." It never went away. Jihad, the "struggle" to remove all obstacles to the spread and then the dominance of Islam all over the world has always been, and always will be, central to Islam. What changed over the past fifty years is the perceived strength of Muslims, which is the result not only of the removal of the French from North Africa (and the British bases along the littoral of the Persian Gulf, in what were called the "Trucial States" -- where the Royal Navy kept the truce among states and tribes that would otherwise be in a state of natural, and constant, warfare), but in the main, the result of the happy accident of geology, by which Muslims have received, through no effort on their part, more than eleven trillion dollars since 1973 alone, with more trillions coming along all the time. That has given them power. That has given them reach. That has given them the ability to pay for campaigns of Da'wa, to build mosques and madrasas, and what's more, maintain them, all over the Western world. That is what has enabled the Saudis alone to spend nearly one hundred billion dollars to further the Cause of Islam; the entire budget for Soviet propaganda abroad, over 70 years, was about 7-8 billion. That has given them the ability to buy up, in ways small and big, all kinds of government officials, in office and out of office, including ambassadors to Arab states, journalists, teachers and other specialists in Middle Eastern affairs, businessmen with contracts dangled before them. Colin Powell saw nothing wrong with allowing himself to be befriended by Prince Bandar, making him his steady racquetball and tennis companion. And he saw nothing wrong with pocketing, just a few days after he had resigned, the gift of a Jaguar from Prince Bandar, the representative of one of the most hideous and, to the United States, dangerous and malevolent, regimes on earth. Yet Colin Powell managed, somehow, to retain a quite-unjustified reputation for probity -- so that Senator Stevens of Alaska is relying on the character reference that Colin Powell has supplied, singing the praises of Stevens as having as much probity as...well, impliedly, as Colin Powell himself. And few of us who know about Powell and his resistible, ridiculously inflated rise, and his Prince-Bandar connection, would disagree with that.

The money was necessary, but not sufficient. At the same time, and in each country for slightly different reasons, there has been massive, seemingly unstoppable, Muslim immigration. And then, once in, and on the dole of the Western welfare state, Muslims have steadily outbred their hosts, so that, for example, in The Netherlands, there were 1,500 Muslims in 1960, 15,000 in 1970, 400,000 in 1997, and today there are over a million, with Rotterdam and several other cities soon to have Muslim majorities.

This Muslim immigration was allowed to take place as a result of the same inattention to Islam, to what Islamic texts say, to what Islam teaches, to the likely and predictable effect of Islam on the minds of its adherents. After all, there are 1350 years of history of Muslim behavior, from Spain to the East Indies, that can be studied, examined, learned about, and that might just serve as a guide to Muslim behavior today. But just as the doctrine of Islam -- the texts, the tenets -- were so blithely ignored, so has the actual practice of Muslims over time and across space been ignored. Few have cared to examine and to learn about all that, although it just might have served as a guide to the present-day situation worldwide. Instead, history, like the canonical texts, has been ignored by the political and media elites all over the Western world. And it is the continued ignoring of both the doctrine and the practice of Islam that has caused, and is causing, and will cause, such unnecessary suffering on the part both of the indigenous Infidels, and those non-Muslim immigrants who have arrived in the West, all at the hands of Muslims, and all of it utterly predictable.

Islam is triumphalist. Arab Muslims who have oil declare that it is a gift from Allah to the "best of people" -- though they are careful not to share that gift with other Muslims, even to other Muslim Arabs. But the money, and the abasement of the Western world, reinforces the conviction that comes from Islam, that History Is On Their Side. Any victory, anywhere, for the forces of Islam, encourages Muslim triumphalism.

But then there is another reason for the return to Islam, or to the stricter outward conformity with Islam to be seen in such places as Egypt. The further away Egypt gets from the past, the past of Lord Cromer, the past in which non-Muslims, Copts and Jews, were not subject to daily humiliations and attacks -- because the government, prompted by the British, did not countenance it -- and the more it becomes "Arab" rather than "Egyptian" (the latter identity may be encouraged, the former discouraged, by those who want to weaken the hold of Islam), the more it becomes Islamic. Islam explains to the rich and powerful Arabs their wealth and their power. It justifies their extraordinary behavior, such as the domestic slaves they dare to take with them when they live in London or outside Washington, or when their children attend those Western schools, or they themselves enter those Western hospitals. For the rich Arabs simply could not do without Western education and medical care, just as they need the West for Rest And Recreation, for that funfair-cum-brothel atmosphere that they find here.

And since the world is their oyster, they can get away with all kinds of criminal behavior. See the Saudi bribery scandal in Britain, or the Saudi prince who tried to smuggle 66 suitcases of cocaine into France and claimed, when caught, "diplomatic immunity." See the sex-slave scandals, the strange unexplained disappearances of Western women from Australia, from Spain, from everywhere, many of whom are believed to end up in Middle Eastern harems, disposable as kleenex of course, as all Infidels are ultimately disposable, once they have been made use of by their Arab masters.

Islam is the answer for the rich Muslims. It is the answer, the consolation, for the poor Muslims. Only when Muslims are forced to confront the reality of Islam can things possibly improve. What is it they must confront? They must confront this reality: that the political, economic, social, moral, and intellectual failures of societies and states suffused with Islam are a direct result of Islam itself.

How can they be made to confront this? They can be made to confront this if many Infidels, having studied the matter, will arrive -- some regretfully and surprised, some with a grim air of "I knew it but did not dare say it" -- at that understanding, and able to explain, uninhibitedly, why they think it so. A demonstration project will soon reveal itself in Iraq, if the Americans leave and Islam reverts to its own level. This could also happen in Afghanistan, which is no more the "central front" in the "war on terror" (itself a misnomer) than is Iraq. Both McCain and Obama have things wrong, and both at this point seem incapable of learning enough about Islam to fashion intelligent, and far less costly -- in expenditures of men, materiel, money -- policies. Islam may no longer be viewed through any prism of sentimental messianism (Bush's bringing of "freedom" to "ordinary moms and dads" in the Middle East who will then, presto-chango, become our friends, for our being Infidels doesn't matter in the Bush Administration's mental universe), but there is still a refusal to see what Islam inculcates, and why this cannot change, and why the Infidels of this world are all, in different ways, and at different rates, threatened by Islam. Yet because the texts of Islam are immutable, it is silly to ignore this, and to pretend that Islam will, after 1350 years, somehow "reform" itself or, still more misleading, that the very nice, smiling, plausible Muslims one may meet somehow "represent" Islam, even if one were to believe and trust them (and given the emphasis on deception in Islam, and even the religiously-sanctioned doctrines of Taqiyya and Kitman, it would be foolhardy to do so). It would be foolish to think that policies can be based on the existence of these people who are either sinister, or if not, if they really mean it, ill-informed about Islam, or out of embarrassment deliberately pretending to be so, because if you are a Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only Muslim, you still are afraid to become a defector, in the Ibn Warraq or Wafa Sultan or Ayaan Hirsi Ali manner, are still perhaps feeling a residual filial piety that forces you to defend, or to pretend there is no need to defend (because you feign surprise when aspects of Islamic doctrine are presented to you for your response), Islam.

We in the West must understand that the reasons for the hideous state of the Muslim world all go back to Islamic tenets -- its penchant for despotism, its reliance on Infidel aid or on the manna of oil, both of which reflect inshallah-fatalism, its mistreatment of non-Muslims and of all women, its inhibiting of art and of science and even of music, its stifling of free inquiry, and its suffocating intellectual atmosphere that deems everything outside of Islam essentially unimportant. All of this explains why Pakistan has turned out to be...Pakistan, and not (for all of its difficulties) India, why Malaysia is not Singapore, why the Arab OPEC states, despite being the recipients of the largest transfer of wealth -- and unearned to boot -- in human history, are still completely dependent on foreign wage-slaves, many of them are treated atrociously by these desert Simon-Legrees, all daggers and dishdashas, with their sneers of cold command.

Infidels must learn this first. Infidels who understand this must replace, in the policy-making positions, those who will not or cannot grasp the nature of Islam, its texts, tenets, attitudes, atmospherics. And once Infidels, and their governments, have understood this, it will be hard for many of the world's Muslims to ignore this realization. At the very least, this will demoralize many Muslims, put paid to their triumphalism. At most, it may lead to many non-Arab Muslims, having been made aware of the fact that Islam is a vehicle for Arab supremacism, turning away from Islam. They may even discover their pre-Islamic roots (sometimes those roots are very close to the surface, in a not-too-distant past). When Muslims in India, or in Pakistan, or in Bangladesh, for example, begin to wonder about their Hindu ancestors, and what made them convert to Islam and start imitating little Arabs and claiming an Arab genealogy, then we will be getting somewhere. When black African Muslims begin to find out more about the Arab slave trade, and Arab slavery today, and the theft, by Muslims, of oil wealth that lie under the lands of Christians in the southern Sudan and southern Nigeria, and when they further learn that Islam causes economic stasis because inshallah-fatalism does not promote economic activity, then we will be getting even more to that fabled somewhere.

And so on.

All it takes is a few brains to be well-placed in Washington.

Is that too much to ask?

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