Those who talk up the root causes of Muslim disaffection are cultural relativists with a difference. For example, they’ll be the first to point to how ignorant we are of the centrality of honor in Arab culture. And they’d be right. “It is better to die with honor than live with humiliation,” goes an Arab saying. To Muslims, there’s no pride in being democratized by the West—only humiliation and shame. Conveniently, however, these Rousseauists ignore the less flattering aspects of a culture and a religion that has yet to undergo an Enlightenment.
Individualism is, at best, negligible. The ummah—the community of believers, or the “Nation of Islam”—is preeminent. Infinitely less eminent is the infidel, whose inherent inferiority, codified in elaborate dhimmi jurisprudence, makes him fair game. Responsibility is always externalized. Muslim savagery toward innocents has been felt from Beslan to Bali; from Kashmir to Casablanca. Yet, they’ll invariably shift the blame (successfully, I might add) to Israel, America, Russia, and other “occupations.”
Helping to make the “Islamikazes'” case are countless liberals and libertarians, as well as elements on the American Right. They lay the blame for the killers’ latest actions exclusively on American and British foreign policy: foreign forays begat the suicide bomber, case closed.
Our adventurous foreign policy might be a necessary precondition for Muslim aggression but it is far from a sufficient one. Muslims today are at the center of practically every conflict in the world. They were slaughtering innocent, pacifist Jews in Israel well before the Jewish state was a figment in the fertile mind of Theodor Herzl (and well before the “occupation” of 1967: in 627, Muhammad decapitated 900 Medina Jews. The women were only raped). Governments, abetted by the Fourth Estate (and a fifth column), have framed strife in Sudan, East Timor, The Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia, Pakistan, Kashmir, the Philippines, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, The Balkans, and Russia as sectarian or regional. The struggle in these spots, however, has more to do with the overriding refusal of the one faction to abide the others (unless they’ve been conquered or preferably killed).
Speaking of the Fourth Estate, Newsweek saw cause to celebrate in the aftermath of the London atrocities. Hard-line, fundamentalist organizations, “with alleged ties to militants in the Middle East” (don’t you love the euphemisms), had condemned the 7/7 mass murder. Better still, Hamas, Hizbullah, and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood echoed these noble (and doubtless sincere) sentiments. Newsweek’s hard-nosed journalists concluded (Oh Buddha!) that, “No one, not even Hamas, can continue to condone or even stay silent about these barbarities.” Alas, no sooner had the “militants of the Middle East” denounced murder than they detonated a suicide bomber, killing three Israelis (in Netanya, my home town). A minor malfeasance, of course.
And there’s the rub: not that our cultural relativists would admit to it, but the concept of truth in Arab culture is extremely elastic. Al-Ghazzali, “the famous eleventh-century Muslim theologian claimed that the lie is not wrong in itself. If the lie is the way to achieve good results, then it is permissible. It is necessary to lie when the truth might lead to unpleasant or undesired results,” writes Dr. David Bukay.” More recently, Arab sociologist Sania Hamady (Katz, 2002) has documented the low value attached to truth in Arab culture. Feelings, flights of fancy, and fabrications are integral to Arab discourse. Lies are also potent political weapons, having successfully achieved the delegitimization of Israel, for instance. Clearly Muslim leaders have learned that Westerners demand nothing more than a denunciation of terrorism. So they denounce—and get on with the business of Jihad (which is, like Shari’a, an essential tenet of true Islam).
Since two-facedness is both a way of life and a political strategy, there’s nothing extraordinary about the countless Muslim leaders who pose as moderates, forswear terrorism, and then do what the Quran commands: “instill terror in the hearts of unbelievers” (8:12). Both Serge Krifkovic (author of The Sword of the Prophet) and Paul Sperry (author of Infiltration) have traced the trajectory of these “moderate” Muslims, as they’ve gone from “the White House to the Big House.” Embraced by American presidents, Sami Al-Arian, Abdurahman M. Alamoudi, and Muzammil H. Siddiqi, to name but a few, represent a sample of the crème de la crème of “moderate” Islam in America. The first now awaits trial for heading the U.S branch of Islamic Jihad. The second “pleaded guilty of plotting terrorist acts with Libya.” The third is a dyed-in-the-wool radical (or simply true to The Faith), advising Muslims to work to establish Shari’a in the U.S.
No doubt, the West has its share of liars and poseurs, the ablest of whom congregate in government. But while institutionalized inveracity is a facet of western governments; it’s not ubiquitous in civil society. Our capitalist culture, after all, turns on a man’s word—commerce depends on the veracity of a contract and would grind to a halt if truth weren’t a cultural cornerstone.
In addition to their cultural relativism, those who excuse “Islamikazes” suffer selective hearing. “Listen to what the terrorists’ communiqués tell us,” they inveigh. “It’s the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, stupid (and Israel’s existence)—occupation causes tender ‘young men’ to kill.”
Not quite: a guilty and evil mind motivates a murderer to murder an innocent non-aggressor. Be that as it may, the c
atalog of Muslim complaints and contrivances is a little longer than the excuse-makers allow. Violence against innocent nonbelievers and the infliction of Shari’a are as integral to Muslim exegetics as are declamations about occupation.
“We are here to bring civilization to the West. England does not belong to the English people, it belongs to God,” a regular Muslim Joe (or Mo) told The Christian Science Monitor, after the 7/7 atrocities. Or how about a sermon delivered at the Grand Mosque in Leeds, whence the British killers came: “Take up positions in the Jihad, don’t give in to sleep, and don’t give in to failure and disgrace.” In safe company, Muslims say they strive to “fly the black flag of Islam over 10 Downing Street,” in the words of Britain’s Omar Baki. Or, to paraphrase one of our own abstemious Islamists, Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR, “I want to see the U.S become an Islamic nation.”
Based on Muslims’ own say-so, then, it’s both disingenuous and stupid of Islam’s champions to claim categorically that Muslim aggression is entirely reactive, a function solely of our misguided foreign policy.
Londoners, at least, have Whitehall’s number crunchers to thank for putting in perspective the niggling—and apparently negligible—matter of a Muslim Fifth Column. A leaked Whitehall dossier has revealed that affluent, middle-class, British-born Muslims are signing up to Al-Qaida in droves. Translated into official speak by Timesonline, only “3,000 British-born or British-based people have passed through Osama Bin Laden’s training camps.” And if that doesn’t allay unwarranted fears, “Intelligence indicates that the number of British Muslims actively engaged in terrorist activity, whether at home or abroad or supporting such activity, is extremely small and estimated at less than 1%.”
Joy! Britons are safe! An inconsequential 16,000 homicidal sleepers are loose in England.
These figures, of course, are statistically significant—stupendously so. Sixteen thousand potential “Islamikazes” denotes more dead innocents in the future, sacrificial lambs on the altar of Islamicly-correct indoctrination.
©2005 By Ilana Mercer