POLITICALLY CORRECT ISLAM
By Carl Pearlston
After only three weeks, political correctness has obscured the nature of the terrorist threat we face. First, Reuters has dropped the term "terrorists" in favor of "alleged hijackers" in a overly-fastidious attempt to not prejudge the matter of legal guilt, as though this were a matter of crime, not war. Then, careful to not offend the sensitivities of the 6 million Muslims living in the US, and mindful of our dependence on moderate Moslem nations in building an anti-terrorist coalition, the President has advised that we should avoid describing terrorists as "Islamic", stating "The people who did this act on America, and who may be planning further acts, are evil people. They don't represent an ideology, they don't represent a legitimate political group of people. They're flat evil." Then both the Attorney General and Secretary of Defense solemnly told the public that the attacks had nothing to do with Islam. And when Italian Premier Berlusconi was so insensitive as to state that the values of Western civilization, with its tradition of respect for human political and religious rights, was superior to those of Islamic countries, which lack that respect, his remarks were treated with either shocked silence or righteous indignation and denouncement by his fellow Europeans.
True Islam, we are constantly being told by moderate American Moslems, means submission to God; it is a religion of peace, equality, and tolerance. Typical was Muslim doctor Al-Hazmi, quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying that the 11 September attacks were "insane" crimes which have "nothing to do with any religion and it has nothing to do with Islam. The teaching of Islam is totally against violence" Another Times article informs that "Muslims don't proselytize", and quotes Nasreen Haroon, a Muslim who regularly speaks at churches and schools: "They [the terrorists] are not practicing Islam. ...Islam is a peace-loving religion." We are also informed that the concept of Jihad (struggle or holy war for Allah) is really a personal war for self-mastery, having nothing to do with waging war against others. In sum, we are being told that the "alleged hijackers" were not True Muslims, but deranged and aberrant members of some fringe cult foreign to Islam.
None of these depictions correspond with the facts.
While there is no dispute that these barbarians are evil, they are not insane. They are cunning, implacable, fanatic, and ruthless. They most certainly represent a specific ideology, albeit a minority one, within Islam. It is a view that is shared by some 165 million other Muslims (of 1.2 billion) in an arc running from Lebanon through Gaza, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan to Indonesia, who are busy burning American flags and pronouncing Jihad against us. That ideology is Islamism, a fanatical fundamentalist revivalist movement seeking to establish a theocratic Islamic Nation over all Moslems, one nation at a time. The first was Iran in 1979, when an Islamic fundamentalist religious revolt toppled the pro-western Shah in reaction to his "White Revolution" which allowed women to vote and hold jobs, built large cities, and created a more secular society with Western freedoms, much as Kemal Attaturk had done in Turkey beginning in the 1920's. After the Shah, an Islamic Republic under the Ayatollah was created; he promptly called the US "The Great Satan", and Western-type freedoms disappeared. Shortly thereafter, mobs seized the US embassy and its staff, holding them hostage for two years. In 1996, Afghanistan followed a similar repressive path under the Taliban. The goal is to eventually unite all Muslim states into one Islamic Nation, ruled as an Islamic anti-democratic and totalitarian theocracy. This ideology finds expression through many organizations whose names have become all too familiar -- Islamic Jihad, Al-Quaeda, Hizbollah, Hamas, Moslem Brotherhood, Abu Sayyaf , Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiya -- and a host of others less well known but with similar objectives in every Moslem country. Their enemy is secular society, secular governments, and Western civilization, which they see as corruptive and destructive of Islamic values. They scorn "moderate" or secular Moslem governments such as Turkey and Egypt and even Saudi Arabia; there are active terrorist movements in all such countries seeking overthrow of the governments They are committed Moslems, praised in mosques across the world for their devotion to Islam and to the concept of the Khilafah, a term referring to restoration of the Caliphate abolished by Attaturk in 1924 after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and which has been defined as the total rulership of Muslims all over the world in a centralized unitary state that implements the Islamic Shariah (Koranic law) and carries Islam to all people as a global ideology.
The Islam of history began in violence, was expanded in violence, and even now practices violence. Three of the first four Caliphs or Khalifah(deputy of the Prophet or leader) were murdered. The fourth was Mohammed's son-in-law Ali, whose brief rule was marked by constant civil war. The forced abdication and mysterious death of his son Hasan and the subsequent defeat and massacre of the second son Hosain and his army, led to the great schism between the Sunni traditionalists and the minority Shiites (partisans of Ali) who believe that only the familial line of Mohammed could be the ruler or Caliph. They revere Ali as a saint; the anniversary of Hosain's death is observed as a day of mourning. Politically defeated and and persecuted, the Shiites became an underground movement marked by suffering and protest. They adopted an esoteric interpretation of the Koran, finding a hidden level of meaning beneath the explicit and literal meaning of the Qur'an (Koran) known only to the Imam (religious leader), who can reveal it to chosen followers. Modernly, Shiites are the majority in Iran , with large populations in Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan.
Within 100 years of Mohammed's death in 632 AD, Muslim armies had swept across North Africa, the Middle East, and India, bloodily conquering from the Atlantic almost to the Pacific, and into Spain and France where they were finally stopped at the battle of Poitiers. At that time, the Muslim empire was the largest the world had ever known. They remained in control of Spain until the 15th century, and, under the Ottoman Turks, laid siege to Vienna as late as the 17th century after the fall of Constantinople and occupation of the Balkans in the 15th and 16th centuries. This amazing military conquest arising out of Arabia over centuries was done in the name of religion. As Ibn Khaldun, the great Islamic historian of the 14th century wrote: "In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force".
As for tolerance toward Christians and Jews, known as "the People of the Book", Ibn Khaldun wrote "It is for them to choose between conversion to Islam, payment of the poll tax, or death". And the 14th century Imam and Islamic scholar Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya wrote, "... jihad is obligatory until the word of Allah reigns supreme, and until all are of the religion of Allah, until the religion of Allah triumphs over all religions and until they pay the poll tax while in a state of inferiority." Those in this state of inferiority were called dhimmis (protected minority), and were required to wear a distinctive garb so Muslims would know not to treat them as equals.. As Ibn Qyyim notes " The dhimmis are the most disobedient of His command and contrary to His word; consequently it befits them to be humiliated by distinguishing them from the comportment of the Muslims whom Allah has exalted through their obedience to Him and His Prophet above those that have disobeyed Him. These He has humiliated, belittled, and rendered abominable so that the sign of contempt is manifest upon them, so that they can be distinguished by their appearance." The imprisonment and trial of two American girls among eight Christians charged by the Taliban for speaking of Christianity is typical of Islamic tolerance to other religions.
Nor is the concept of self-martyrdom or suicide killings new to Islam. In the 9th through the 12th centuries, the secret Shiite orders of the Karmathians and Assassins disposed of their enemies by ruthless murder. The Devotees were marked by unquestioning obedience and by a fanatic disregard for their own safety. Self-martyrdom was sought as a guaranteed admittance to Paradise.
Modernly, Islam is at war with Hindus in Kashmir, with Christians and animists in Sudan, with Catholics in the Philippines and Indonesia, with Coptic Christians in Egypt, with Christians in Nigeria, and of course, with Jews in Israel. As the Ayatollah Khomeini stated: "We shall export our revolution, to the whole world. Until the cry 'Allahu Akbar' resounds over the whole world. There will be struggle. There will be Jihad . . . Islam is the religion of militant individuals. . . Islam will be victorious in all the countries of the world, and Islam and the teachings of the Quran will prevail all over the world . . . This is the duty that all Muslims must fulfill. . ."
Now, I assume that Muslim citizens and residents of the United States do not share the foregoing views, and are fully supportive of this nations' traditions of equality and religious and political freedom. Many if not most may have come here specifically for the freedoms that have been denied in the countries from which they fled. No one wishes to denigrate or insult Muslims or their religion. We must practice the tolerance that we preach and respect the rights and persons of Muslims. But so must the Muslims who are telling us how peaceful Islam is and denouncing terrorism as not part of Islam. They should be telling, not the American public, but the Arab, Iranian, Pakistani, Afghanistani, Indonesian public--all the Muslims of the world, all the Moslem countries--that to abandon the Islamic principle of peace is a desecration of their religion. That to endorse self-martyrdom or suicide bombings anywhere is a betrayal of the Koran and a defamation of Islam. American Muslims should be insisting that every Imam in every mosque in the world speak out against terrorism, mass killing, and jihad against our civilization as a perversion of the Islamic ideal of peace and equality. They should insist that Islam abandon its fiery rhetoric which only encourages more terrorism, and that Moslem countries cease their oppression of other religionists. When those messages are resounding around the world, then it will be time to praise Islam as peaceful.