“Allahu Akbar” Means “Allahu Akbar”
The next time an individual wearing a badge and a police uniform shoots an unarmed black man in one of America’s cities, the police chief of that locale might consider finding the nearest microphone and issuing the following statement: We condemn today’s violence in the strongest terms. The Police Department is an agency of peace. Today’s heinous acts have nothing to do with policing. The individual who claimed to be acting in the name of the law has nothing to do with law enforcement.
If the proponents of liberalism were inclined to use the same barometer for judging our nation’s cops that they use for assessing Islam, then surely the above statement would be enough to hold the Reverend Al Sharpton and his breathing-impaired rabble-rousers at bay. We all know that they do not, and it wouldn’t, and it is that blatant hypocrisy which contributes to one of the most pernicious, and utterly vexing, problems currently confronting Western Civilization: a liberal orthodoxy that is eager to shine the light of suspicion indiscriminately in every direction — at cops, at suburban whites, at Christians — suddenly finds its discerning eye when discussing the group whose loudest adherents compose the most virulent opposition to the values that it supposedly holds dear.
The same liberalism that has spent the last month comparing the NYPD, writ large, to the KKK has taken to Twitter in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre to remind us that #NotAllMuslims are terrorists. Shockingly, those are the more reasonable voices, for at least their chosen hashtag implicitly acknowledges that the perpetrators of the murders in France were, in fact, Muslims. Far too common are the claims that these individuals had absolutely nothing to do with Islam. Howard Dean articulated this line of thinking:
I stopped calling these people Muslim terrorists. They’re about as Muslim as I am. I mean, they have no respect for anybody else’s life, that’s not what the Qur’an says. And, you know Europe has an enormous radical problem… I think ISIS is a cult. Not an Islamic cult. I think it’s a cult.
Only a fist pump and an “EEEYAAH!” could have made that statement more ludicrous, but it plays an important role in highlighting the devolution of the thinking on this issue: It is the culmination of a slide in our ability to critically and impartially analyze non-Western cultures. This particular strain of the malignancy known as multiculturalism began shortly after 9/11, when we responded to terrorists baldly declaring to be driven by “Islam” by tacking the adjective “radical” onto their motivation. We’ve compounded that failure by removing the wrong word from that already weak formulation, leaving us to fight an ongoing struggle against these now-undefined “radicals”; “criminals,” “mentally-unstable individuals” and “extremists” seem to suffice when our journalists care to avoid repetition in addition to judgment.
For an ideology so concerned about humility, and about not forcing Western views onto our fellow global citizens, liberals sure seem confident that they know better than everyone else: As terrorist after terrorist screams ‘Allahu Akbar’ while committing unthinkable atrocities, our intellectuals and talking heads calmly assert that such actions aren’t religiously motivated. When men who have spent a lifetime studying the words and deeds of Muhammad (and have the beards to prove it) assert that the violence they have encouraged or participated in is justified by their holy texts, our Qur’anic scholars look up from their copies of The New York Times and assure us that Islam is a “religion of peace.” At some point, it may behoove us to consider that a man who has devoted his entire existence to his religion may have a better grasp of it than we do; or, at the very least, that his interpretation of his faith may hold more authority amongst his compatriots. It may also be in our best interest to listen to the words of the terrorists themselves when trying to ascertain their inspirations. Perhaps it’s time we acknowledge (to paraphrase the womyn of the feminist movement) that “Allahu Akbar” means “Allahu Akbar.”
And yet, there seems to be no end to this absurd charade, as our nation’s leaders, and the liberals who elect them, stumble around like a Sherlock Holmes who has ingested a tad too much opium, searching for clues while the murderer stands before him, screaming out his motive:
“Who could have possibly done this?”
“I killed them in the name of Allah.”
“Perhaps it was someone driven by poverty…”
“I killed them in the name of Allah!”
“Watson, do a search of the local tea party affiliate…”
“I KILLED THEM IN THE NAME OF ALLAH!”
[puffs pipe] “Curiouser and curiouser…”
The problem with failing to identify the Islamic linkage behind these acts of terror — in France, Pakistan, Australia, Canada, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, the United States and in virtually every corner of the globe — is that it never allows us to truly define our present enemy. Think of how successful the American Revolution would have been had the colonists directed their rage at “small groups of radical soldiers” bunking up in their homes or “lone-wolf extremist governors” collecting taxes? What unified our Founders was their anger at a specific foe: the government of Great Britain. British soldiers and British governors appointed by the monarch weren’t just acting independently; they were organized around and set in motion by King George’s attitude towards the colonies; specifically, that he could exert control over them and extract revenue from them without the consent of the American people. So it was with every subsequent conflict into which our nation, and its allies, waded; whether our fight was against Nazis, imperial Japan or communists, we knew who the enemy was and we sought to defeat him. Not so today. Our current posture of waging a war on “extremists,” even a “war on terror,” is futile because it is too broad. It lacks an ultimate goal; it is bereft of a unifying purpose that would enervate the population. When there is nothing for a people to rally around, it leaves room for anger to be misdirected;and when there is no defined external foe, the focus turns within.
There was no need for constant reminders during World War II that “not all Germans were Nazis,” and, thus, enemies of the United States, because its citizenry had faith that their leaders knew the difference. There was a belief that our country was noble and good, and that our reasons for entering the conflict reflected those virtues. We were better than the Nazis, and as such, we would never act as they did, butchering innocents indiscriminately or subjugating the terrified masses in a quest for power. We proved that conclusively after the war, instituting the Marshall Plan to rebuild Germany and help the German people recover from the devastation wrought by Hitler. Today, there are large swaths of the American populace that no longer retain that faith in the goodness of America. The multiculturalist ethos has radically altered their perception of the United States in relation to the rest of the world. Largely in response to the ethnic brutality of Adolf Hitler, its proponents have sought to ensure that non-Western cultures are embraced, showered with tolerance and granted validity. On the surface, such an enterprise is worthwhile. However, its execution has been utterly deleterious: rather than building up the world’s cultures by teaching them Western values of life, liberty, religious freedom and private property, multiculturalism has granted unequivocal approbation, demanding equal respect for every foreign culture, no matter how primitive or intolerant. At the same time, it has sought to level the playing field by tearing down the esteemed perch on which Western Civilization formerly resided, specifically assailing its most prominent representative. Generations have been raised to believe that, not only is America not a defender of that which is right, but it is an exporter of that which is evil; that it is the cause of the world’s miseries, rather than a beacon of hope shining to every dark corner of the globe. While the other former vanguards of the Western world — the United Kingdom, Germany, France – have all received their lashes, the harshest condemnations have been reserved for the United States.
In such an environment, one where the traditional agents of information — the media, the universities and the entertainment industry — are overrun by liberals who have been neutered by multiculturalism, it is utterly impossible for members of a minority group to be the villain. It is, however, quite easy, and, in fact, quite necessary, to attack the West, for multiculturalism is an ongoing process that requires perpetual maintenance. The dirty little secret is that Western Civilization is superior, and if left to its own devices, will always prove its preeminence over non-Western cultures; thus, blame must always be deflected away from “the rest,” so as to raise it up, while the West must constantly be knocked down. We see this on display following every terrorist attack perpetrated by a self-identified Muslim: religious association is downplayed, or denied. The hunt for other motivations, particularly those that can be pinned on the United States and its allies, begins. And always, the biggest fear after each attack becomes the threat of rampant Islamophobia, a plague that never seems to materialize. As they call on the world to have #RespectForMuslims, multiculturalists have no reservations about painting their fellow Westerners with the broad brush of hate. Suffering from the world’s most debilitating case of Stockholm Syndrome, liberal Westerners fall all over themselves to declare the innocence of Islam while Islam continues its slaughter of the West unabated.
Clearly, there is an agenda here. If impartial reason were at work, then the blatant contradictions that pervade the predominant liberal worldview would not exist. All religions would either be celebrated equally, or receive equal scrutiny; they are not, they do not. The multiculturalist pattern is repeated: obfuscate the flaws of “the rest,” tear down the West. Hence, the linkage between Islam and the thousands of terrorist acts committed in its name is decoupled, while the 41 abortion clinic bombings in the U.S. between 1977 and 2009 are magnified into a massive Christian epidemic. As liberal talk show host Bill Maher has repeatedly pointed out, his ideological brethren will aggressively pursue Christians who refuse to bake cakes for gay wedding receptions, but remain silent on the topic of gays being beheaded in Saudi Arabia for their sexual orientation. During a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, he remarked that,
In 10 Muslim countries, you can get the death penalty just for being gay. They chop heads off in the square in Mecca. Well, Mecca is their Vatican City. If they were chopping the heads off of Catholic gay people, wouldn’t there be a bigger outcry among liberals?
Shouldn’t there also be a bigger outcry from liberals over the Islamic treatment of women? Shouldn’t the same people who have enlisted to oppose the “Republican War on Women” emerge from the foxholes of the nation’s Rite Aid pharmacies and Planned Parenthoods and expend a little verbal ammo on the folks conducting clitoridectomies and honor killings? Instead, their vitriol is reserved for women like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim who endured genital mutilation and escaped a forced marriage only by fleeing her native Somalia. As a strong, outspoken black female, who rose from poverty to become a prominent Dutch politician, Hirsi Ali would seem to represent all that modern liberalism claims to promote. Yet, because she has chosen to use her strength, outspokenness, and political clout to speak out against Islam, she is scorned. An honorary degree from Brandeis University was retracted last year after the school’s students demanded it, condemning her as Islamophobic. She, a woman who has endured, and continues to endure, in the form of death threats, immense suffering at the hands of Islam, was being told that she could not speak because she did not understand Islam. How does the multiculturalist liberal arrive at this point? How does a liberalism that claims to be the champion of blacks and women and tolerance come to condemn a black woman prepared to give a speech at a university on the evils of intolerance? A rational mind would not allow such absurdity.
An objective mindset would not permit blanket accusations of “white privilege” and #NotAllMuslims hashtags to reside on the same Twitter feed. An impartial worldview that truly respected diversity would despise the notion of Islamic supremacy, the motivating factor driving the jihadists who commit terrorist attacks, as much as it abhorred American, or Western, exceptionalism. An outlook based in reason would certainly be more intellectually curious about all of these incongruities, and would seek the requisite information needed to resolve them.
But objectivity, impartiality and reason are not the goals of the multiculturalist liberal. He has already made up his mind about the way the world is constructed, and how the world should work, and he will twist, squeeze and contort every aspect of it until it conforms to his own internal logic. There are obvious dangers associated with this willful ignorance: simply because the multiculturalist liberal wishes that things were just so in his utopia, it does not mean that the world’s denizens will play along. One of his biggest mistakes is to assume that the recipients of his affection are happy to coexist —
—with him, or that they share his spirit of tolerance and openness. While he builds mosques all across America, and Europe, no churches or synagogues are being erected in the Kingdom of Saud. In fact, not a single one of the Christian, Jewish or atheist liberals who rallied for a mosque to be built near Ground Zero in 2010 would even be allowed to step foot in Mecca. Likewise, the multiculturalist liberal seems to think that his new friends share his cavalier attitude about religion; it’s a spiritual thing, but it doesn’t define who they are. Surely, some Muslims are secularized, but #NotAllMuslims. And what Mr. Multiculturalism has failed to realize, because he has either averted his eyes or never bothered to learn the truth, is that his new friend’s religion differs from the Western religions he is familiar with in one significant respect: unlike Judaism and Christianity, which offer private, moral guidelines but are almost entirely compatible with secular government, Islam is a comprehensive manual. Its scope is all-encompassing in the life of the conservative believer, with proscriptions on spirituality, politics, adjudication and finance. While many Muslims have happily assimilated into Western life, picking and choosing precepts of their faith to follow in the same manner that Christians and Jews do, there are also many who believe in strict adherence. This is not problematic in Middle Eastern countries, whose law is based around compliance with the Islamic legal code of sharia. However, as more and more Muslims emigrate to Western nations, particularly in Europe, many of them are coming into conflict with the traditions of their new environs. And, rather than quietly integrate into their surroundings, rather than adopting the customs of the countries that have welcomed them, they are demanding that accommodations be made. And Mr. Multiculturalist, in his never-ending crusade to placate his newfound friends, is granting them. In England, in France, in cities across Europe, entire neighborhoods have been ceded to Muslim communities who refuse to live by any law but their own. For Mr. Multiculturalist, it’s not something worth fighting for: he’s already convinced himself that there’s nothing great about his homeland, and that the traditions of other cultures need to be respected, so he’s just going to keep quiet, sticking to his multiculturalist playbook, even as his multiculturalist utopia collapses around him. That is, until some of his fellow Westerners get up the courage to protest the steady erosion of their traditions, as has been happening weekly in the German city of Dresden; then, Mr. (or Ms., as the case may be) Multiculturalist gets very angry indeed.
What’s truly tragic is that there is a beautiful, diverse world to be had — but it is the multiculturalist liberal who undermines it. By holding to his ideology even when confronted by fact, by smearing his opposition rather than honestly responding to his critiques, and by attempting to force and coerce those around him to accept his dogmatic beliefs, the multiculturalist stifles moderation and ensures that only the loudest, angriest voices in the room are heard. In that sense, the tensions within the West, as evidenced by the opposition to the German marches, or the rise of Marine Le Pen’s nationalist party in France, bear similarities to the civil war tearing Islam asunder. What happens to the moderate Muslim who suggests that the more antiquated aspects of his faith should no longer be applied to modern society? Who suggests, perhaps, that gays should be afforded tolerance (and the right to keep their heads firmly affixed to their necks?) Who believes that his co-religionists should be allowed to leave the faith if they choose without fearing for their lives? No matter how compelling his arguments may be, there will be a loud contingent of fundamentalists who reject his notions of reform, and will assert that the books (or, in the terminology of Sunni Islam, “the Gates of Ijtihad”) were long ago closed on such matters. Such an individual is branded an apostate, or a blasphemer: the Qur’an is the direct word of Allah, he is told, spoken through His Prophet; who but a blasphemer would deign himself worthy to revise it? There is no back and forth, no Lincoln-Douglas-style debating on the issue; the moderate is branded with an epithet, one that strips him of any claims to authority and renders him an outcast. That terminology is subsequently employed to anyone who might support this voice of temperance, and threats of violence, in both the vigilante and government-sanctioned varieties, are leveled, and, in some cases, carried out. Usually, that is sufficient to stop all talk of “updating” the faith.
What happens to the Westerner who speaks of the same? Who voices concern about the mistreatment of women and gays within Islam? Who can see with objective reasoning that far more violence is perpetrated in the name of this religion than any other, and wonders if there are aspects inherent to it that motivate such actions? His queries would seem logical, for clearly there must be passages of the Qur’an or Islam’s other traditional texts that, at the very least, suggest violence; a faith whose sacred books simply exhorted its followers to pet kittens and pick dandelions would not become the self-ascribed motivation for thousands of men, women and children to blow themselves up. And yet, no matter how many Qu’ranic surahs the Westerner may cite, backed by no matter how much scholarly research; and no matter how detailed the statistical evidence he may present, showing the proportion of declared, religiously-motivated violence occurring in this religion far exceeds all of the other prominent religions combined; no matter what he puts forth, his understanding will be forcefully rejected by multiculturalism. Islam is a “religion of peace,” thank you very much, says everyone from the college professor to the Hollywood star to the President of the United States. Anyone who deviates is cast aside as “Islamophobic” or “racist” (regardless of the fact that “Muslim” is not a race.) This is usually sufficient to end the conversation, though in many countries, the threat of lawsuits and jail time has been added as further incentive. Our nation isn’t unfamiliar with such tactics; just ask Nakoula Nakoula, still incarcerated for creating 2012’s viral YouTube sensation, “The Innocence of Muslims.”
What the left has done, in its unyielding quest to silence dissent, is to create a strawman army so vast, it has obscured any notion that there can be moderation on this issue. It’s an extreme “either/or”: You are either wholly on board with Islam as a “religion of peace,” one that has absolutely nothing to do with the “extremist violence” taking place around the world, or you are a hateful, Islamophobic, racist. “The Gates of Ijtihad” are closed. And yet, there is a very vast area in the middle, a common ground that could truly unite Westerners and Muslims, and whose success is absolutely essential to lasting peace. What is it that these true moderates in the center are seeking? Well, to start, they would like an objective answer to the following: What is the dominant interpretation of Islam, if there even is such thing, as it is preached and practiced today? How do its leaders teach it? How do the majority of its followers understand it? Are the more “radical” aspects truly confined to a small minority, or is the acceptance of those beliefs far more widespread? These are central questions that we must answer — and posits that we immediately skipped over following 9/11. It is on this topic that multiculturalism becomes most rabid and obstructive to a rational dialogue: any questioning of the core religious tenets of Islam is immediately condemned as an assault on all Muslims. Thus, a few clarifications are in order. First, with regard to Islam’s fundamental teachings: Your Muslim roommate at Harvard, the guy who loved baseball, beer and boobs every bit as much as his non-Muslim counterparts, has absolutely no bearing on this discussion. Nor does the Muslim comic you saw on TV, the cute Muslim co-worker you secretly have a crush on, or the kind Muslim man who helped your Jewish grandmother cross the street. These all sound like swell folks, but they have absolutely no clout when it comes to matters of faith. Just like Sully, your other Harvard roommate and tireless champion of the virtues of unprotected, pre-marital sex, was not a prime example of Catholic doctrine, so your Muslim friends and colleagues may not be representative of the religion as it is preached by Islam’s most devout imams, clerics, scholars, ayatollahs and other religious leaders. When calls are made for “moderate Islam” to step forward, it is this latter group whose presence is ultimately being beseeched. So no, Mr. Multiculturalist: no one is demanding that the average Muslim on the street apologize for terrorist actions committed in the name of his faith; his support in the fight against Islamic violence would certainly be helpful, but an apology is both completely unnecessary and utterly useless. He cannot turn back the tide of fourteen centuries of religious thought; but the imams, clerics, scholars, ayatollahs and other religious leaders can. It is these individuals who hold ultimate sway over the ummah, the Muslim faithful, because they’ve been invested with the requisite titles, prestige and legal authority. They are the only ones who can not only condemn atrocities, but offer correctives to the violent interpretations of the jihadists. What do these individuals have to say on issues such as blasphemy and apostasy? When ISIS, for example, asserts that it can behead blasphemers, what are they relying on to make those claims? Does their view on this position hold weight amongst the people granted the authority to define Islam, or are they truly “extremist?” If you are a liberal, and you believe you know the response to this question, how did you arrive at your answer? Is it the result of rigorous scholarly research, or are you thinking with your heart?
Second, simply questioning Islam should not be seen as a criticism of all, or even the majority, of Muslims. This is where any prolonged conversation on this issue goes to die: the multiculturalist liberal crowd, so on guard against blanket judgments against any minority group, is quick to assume bigotry on the part of the inquisitive (“Did somebody say Inquisition?” said the liberal, suddenly roused from his slumber) conservative Westerner, particularly white Westerners. Do liberals truly believe that innocent Muslims — Muslims who abhor violence, who do not feel it is ever justified, who renounce repression of women and gays, who love living in the West and have embraced the traditions of their home country — are the targets of widespread animus? That there are vast cross-sections of people who hate, or would threaten, such Muslims simply because of their religion, or the color of their skin? Where is the evidence to support such claims? As Brendan O’Neill recounts at National Review,
After the Boston Marathon bombings there were loads of media panic about the“ignorance and prejudice [that arise] in the aftermath of a terrorist attack” and concern that Muslims in America would get it in the neck. But Muslims have not been assaulted en masse by stupid Americans in recent years, including in the wake of 9/11. According to federal crime stats, in 2009 there were 107 anti-Muslim hate crimes; in 2010, there were 160. In a country of 330 million people, this is exceptionally low. After the Lindt café siege in Sydney at the end of last year, there was once again heated fear on the pages of the broadsheets about dumb Aussies going crazy and attacking brown people. Nothing happened. No mob emerged. Muslims were not attacked.
The notion that Westerners have an irrational fear of Muslims, “Islamophobia,” is a myth. They fear the violence perpetrated by self-proclaimed Muslims, which is very real. So if you are a Muslim who would commit violence, would support violence with words, actions or finances, or if you feel that there are cases where violence is justified — such as those who don’t disagree that the editors of Charlie Hebdo should have been punished, in some fashion, for slandering Muhammed — then you can rightly expect to arouse the anger of those around you. Everyone, conservative and liberal, Westerner and non-Westerner, Muslim, Christian, Jew and atheist alike should be angry with those individuals. Likewise, if you believe that women who are raped should be stoned if they cannot produce four male witnesses, or that gays should be beheaded for the crime of loving someone, or that if someone wishes to join another faith, or say the hell with religion altogether, that they should be executed, then people have a right to be angry with you as well. And, if you come to live in a Western country, or you were born in a Western country, and you decide that you hate that country’s traditions and laws, and you demand that that country change its beliefs to accommodate you, then you should be aware that you are moving beyond simple spirituality and stepping into a realm where people can push back against your claims. You are entering the political arena, and you are open to same level of criticism that gets hurled at, say, a former Alaskan governor or a tongue-tied Texan who believes in the power of prayer. All of these instances entail specific points of disagreement with people who hold specific views; opposition to any of these beliefs in no way castigates all Muslims, just those who ascribe to views that are anti-Western.
Likewise, questioning whether those views are based in a version of Islam that is widely accepted and taught, or whether it is truly a radical interpretation held by a small minority, is not Islamophobic. It is simply an effort to seek the truth. In eras past, this would simply have been viewed as common sense: If someone has attacked you, and they, in the most certain of terms, state that they are motivated by x, then it is rational that you should want to know as much about x as possible. Is there truly an inspiration for violence in x, or was this individual just an aberration? Are there others out there with the same interpretation? Instead, immediately following 9/11, assumptions were made: these individuals can’t be ascribing to x, so we’ll call their ideology y. More recently, we seem to be afraid to even call it y, out of y’s mere proximity to x, and have taken to describing it with something more akin to the nameless symbol once employed by Prince. Obviously, some of this is merely tactical: a policy that bluntly associates the faith of 1.6 billion individuals the world over with violence is unnecessarily antagonistic; hence, “radical Islam” as opposed to just “Islam.” What’s problematic is that this doesn’t simply appear to be surface sheen; the actions of both the Bush and Obama administrations suggest that there is no real curiosity behind the scenes either. Anwar al-Awlaki, linked to numerous acts of terrorism before his 2011 death in Yemen, was invited to the Pentagon following 9/11 as part of an outreach to “moderate” Muslims. The Muslim Brotherhood tells their co-religionists “that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands … so that … God’s religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions.” Yet our government offered the Muslim Brotherhood support, both military and financial, following its rise to power in Egypt during the “Arab Spring.” CAIR, the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations, is a go-to authority for the Obama administration with regard to Muslim issues and outreach; yet CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, and was shown to have ties to HAMAS, a terrorist organization also linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Where is the discerning eye? Who is ensuring that we are working with and elevating the true moderates in Islam?
It appears that no such distinctions are being made. Instead, our leaders seem to have embraced the multiculturalist playbook wholeheartedly, and their actions and attitudes have had dangerous consequences. First, by relentlessly criticizing, and apologizing for, the West, they have given validation to the claims made by our enemies, by the very “small group of radicals” they claim to oppose. By obfuscating the positive contributions of America to the Muslim world — removing a dictator in Iraq, attempting to rebuild Afghanistan — and obsessing over America’s faults, both alleged and verified — abu Ghraib, the supposed torture inflicted by the CIA, the prison at Guantanamo — liberals have given “the extremists” all the propaganda they need to swell their ranks. There is a difference between reporting on Abu Ghraib to ensure that such actions do not continue and devoting obscene amounts of coverage to it to embarrass a ideologically-opposed administration. There is a difference between ending interrogation tactics that may have crossed lines and openly broadcasting them to the world, over and over, to the point where it places our military on high alert. Liberalism seems not to recognize these lines.
Second, by taking such a rigidly non-judgmental stance towards Islam, it allows the loudest, most intolerant voices to be the only ones heard in the Muslim community; or, to put it more bluntly: You liberals are not helping the people you think you are helping. Your cute Muslim co-worker and her mini-skirts would fare about as well in France’s “no-go zones” — where sharia, and not the police, reign supreme — as any Westerner. And yet, by taking the extreme “either/or” position, you have stifled the voices of individuals like her: either endorse Islam, and its emigration to the West, in total, or be outcast as an Islamophobe. It is here that the liberal view becomes most nonsensical and frustrating: a left that has spent decades attempting to overturn every Judeo-Christian tradition in the West, eradicating mores on sexuality, the family and religious practice — much to the detriment of society — suddenly becomes camera shy when confronted with Islam. After 60 plus years of preaching an uninhibited doctrine of sex, drugs & rock n’ roll, liberals turn into the bashful wallflowers at the freshman dance when they encounter the ideology that most strongly opposes those values. Liberals could actually do some good here, promoting a sense of modern independence in the face of Islam’s more retrograde tenets. And yet, they do not, because the “macro” fantasy of a multicultural world trumps the details of what that actually entails on a “micro” level.
Here’s the way a rational response to Islamic violence and intolerance should unfold: A serious examination of the predominant teachings and understandings of contemporary Islam should first take place. It should be an unbiased, objective survey, entered into without preconceptions, to the greatest extent possible. The true moderate teachers and leaders — those who reject violence, condemn those who justify violent acts, and preach a spiritual Islam that is wholly compatible with Western law and tradition — should be elevated and given full support. Those who incite or participate in violence, believe in enforcing blasphemy laws and punishments against individuals for their gender or sexuality, or who seek to overturn Western law and tradition — should be exposed and shunned. Only with the united backing of the West will the moderates of Islam find the courage to stand up and fight. Only once Muslims and non-Muslims join together, will true reform in Islam take place. And only then will we truly achieve a world of peace and shared cultures.
Instead, what multiculturalist liberalism has done is to isolate the most extreme element of Islam and dismiss it as a minority: as “lone wolves” or “small groups of radicals.” Only those who commit overtly terrorist acts are deemed the opposition (and, even in that regard, there is a grey area, as groups like HAMAS, which wage war by firing rockets at civilians and hiding weaponry amongst crowds of children, are considered legitimate “freedom fighters” by many on the left.) Everyone else — both the moderates and the more intolerant branches, the insidious supremacists who may not commit or advocate terrorist violence but who reject all aspects of Western life and acceptance of non-Muslims — is lumped together and declared off limits. Any attempts to make any delineations within this group are met with cries of Islamophobia; in the multiculturalist society, you cannot even attempt to separate the harmful elements from the true moderates without being accused of blanket hatred towards all Muslims. This drowns out the Westerners who are attempting rational dialogue and leaves only the ultra-nationalists on the far-right, who are capable of being as loud, and as irrational, as their leftist counterparts. The mixed message from the West that results ensures that no strong, unified show of support is ever presented to the moderate Muslim world.
The problem at the heart of the matter is that the voice of Western Civilization must be heard. Once we have set aside the terrorists, once we have condemned the “extremists” who rightly warrant universal disapprobation, further delineations must be made; the Western world must finally admit that there are bad actors within Islam who eschew violence. Again, there is very little intellectual curiosity on this issue coming from multiculturalist liberalism. Why is it that terrorists commit violence? It’s not simply violence for violence’s sake; it is violence with a purpose, the liberal responds, violence meant to instill “terror.” Surely, but why are these particular terrorists trying to spread fear? What is the agenda that they are attempting to advance? Islamic terrorists, be they members of al Qaeda or ISIS or just your howlin’ lone wolf, seek Islamic supremacy. We know this because they have said so in their own words, words that they have written on social media or words that they have spoken calmly on video as they prepare to behead yet another Westerner. Call it a caliphate, call it an Islamic State, call it what you like, but it is a world where Islam has eliminated or subjugated all opposition. And the terrorists share this vision of the future with contingents of non-violent Muslims, who may not endorse al Qaeda’s tactics or ISIS’s methods, but would certainly approve of the end goal. This latter group knows that there are other ways to achieve victory: by legislating out all criticism of Islam, both on a local and federal level within their home country, and on a global basis through the UN; by setting up enclaves within Western nations, refusing to integrate into society and demanding concessions in the form of sharia compliance; by winning the demographic war against the West, increasing their population through higher birthrates while those of the native-born citizens steadily decline. All of this is going on, particularly in Europe, most alarmingly in France; and if you’re a liberal, and you were either unaware or simply refuse to believe in such things, the time has come to direct your web browser away from The Onion and educate yourself.
The virtues of Western Civilization — which go well beyond free speech, for all of you newly-christened “Charlie”s out there — must be affirmed and promoted. And yet, they rarely are, pre-empted instead by weak-willed messages of multiculturalist mush directed towards the Muslim world. As we say “Islam means peace,” there are men, women and children across the world tossing candy into the air after every terrorist attack, responding, “No, Islam means submission.” And who is it that must submit? The West, yes, but thankfully, Western targets are usually beyond the reach of those who wish to see it brought to its knees. Most often, it is the peaceful Muslims that liberals claim to champion who bear the brunt. These moderate Muslims feel they have no outside support and fear retribution for speaking out. The authorities within Islam, either afraid of advocating reform if moderate or emboldened if less than moderate, have no incentive to change. And, in the end, as the saying goes, the terrorists win.
There are signs of hope, however infrequent. Several weeks ago, the president of Egypt, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, courageously declared to a group of imams that Islam was desperately in need of change:
I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You imams are responsible before Allah. I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move because this [Islamic world] is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost — and it is being lost by our own hands. I am not saying ‘religion’ but ‘thinking’ — that corpus of texts and ideas that we have [enshrined] over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world! I am saying these words here at Al-Azhar, before this assembly of scholars … Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.
It is Al-Azhar University, in Cairo, which is considered the foremost institution of jurisprudence and scholarly weight within Islam. El-Sissi’s bolt from the blue was tantamount to President Obama questioning Catholic doctrine in Vatican City with the Pope in the front row. For moderate Muslims, it represented hope. Finally, someone in a position of power was standing up to those with the authority to enact real change. Finally, someone was speaking up for the voices of true liberalism, speaking up for the bullied and the oppressed within Islam.
And, of course, the Western media ignored the entire episode.
Je suis Charlie, multiculturalists? You may be Charlie (at least for one week) but you are certainly not helping.