Monday, July 25, 2005

The Beast in Front of Us

The wave of Islamist terrorism, no longer confined to the Middle East in which it germinated, but now striking in Europe, where Western universalism and multiculturalist thinking has allowed the growth of large Muslim colonies, raises profound questions for Western policy makers. On TechStationCentral, Paul J. Cella ponders these questions and the hard, but logical, answers the West must confront.

"We don't need to fight. We are taking over!" ["Abdullah," a Muslim watch-mender and evangelist] said. "We are here to bring civilization to the West. England does not belong to the English people, it belongs to God."

The first difficult question is: Is this the authentic voice of Islam? And it is a question that no non-Muslim can presume to properly answer. If I answered, "Emphatically yes, this is the authentic voice of Islam: and it is also the voice of our enemy," men would rise in righteous anger at my presumption. But when our leaders -- non-Muslims to a man -- pronounce in solemn tones, just as confidently, "No; Islam is a religion of peace," there are no charges of presumption.

What we can say confidently, while yet avoiding the presumption, is that those who believe that "civilization" should be "brought" to us by the gruesome massacre of London commuters, or Spanish commuters, or New York office-workers, believe this because, over and above it, they believe the claims of Islam. In short, we non-Muslims (while we are still free to speak our minds) can appropriately say that our enemies strike against us in the name of Islam; they find their inspiration, their motivation, their justification, in the precepts of this great religion which has stood as the adversary of our once-unified civilization for many a long century. It may be that they have perverted the teachings of this religion; it may be that they have misunderstood some of its ambiguous teachings; but it may also be that they are faithfully applying those teachings. Again a non-Muslim is in no position to judge of this.
Recent polls in Britain indicate that at least six percent of British Muslims feel that the recent London bombings were "fully justified" and at least twenty four percent feel some level of sympathy with the bombers. If these results reflect the actual views of British Muslims, then more than 100,000 Muslims living in Britain support terrorist attacks on the nation in which they live and roughly 400,000 sympathize with the terrorists. Given that it only takes a handful of fanatics to kill hundreds of people, these results should truly frighten non-Muslim Britons. So much for British multiculturalism, now clearly unmasked as a lie. But these results - which may understate the problem, since many respondents may have muted their real sympathy for the terrorists - shatter one of the pillars of Western thought, the idea that the West can treat everyone the same way. Islamism may force the West to reconsider the universalist basis of its policies. Mr. Cella observes:
If it is demonstrated, as now seems pretty clear, that the perpetrators of the London bombings were British citizens or legal residents, will there be any reflection on what this means for the neoconservative theory that democracy is the cure for Islamic terrorism? If, in other words, the perpetrators of these bombings were citizens or long-time residents of one of the world's most stable and historic democracies, and thus partakers of all liberty and equality that is offered as the panacea for the troubles of the Muslim world, what does it say for the plausibility of said theory that London's first suicide bombers were reared up in the very cradle of Western liberal democracy?

Just maybe, it says that there is something unique about Islam that confounds our facile universalism, something unique and ancient about Islam that renders nugatory the easy platitudes so dear to us, something unique and ineradicable that reveals (yet again) that there are deeper things to stir the hearts of men than material prosperity and free elections.

But here is the really pulverizing question -- pulverizing not least because it is so muddled by the difficulty of the foregoing two. But being muddled, it is no less important. By now, every free nation in the world still possessed of its senses knows it must face this self-interrogation: Are we or are we not going permit (or perhaps continue to permit) the emergence, within our midst, of totalitarian Islam? Again I deliberately leave open the question of whether "totalitarian Islam" really means "Islam in the modern world" or merely "a perversion of Islam in the modern world." But to repeat: The people of the free nations of the world, the citizens of the West (or her descendents if in fact the West is no more), are now confronted with sufficient evidence that the efforts to call totalitarian Islam into existence in every free nation are well underway; that such efforts will be materially supported from the home bases of totalitarian Islam, and may be spiritually supported by the very nature of Islam as such*; and that those efforts can, at least to some degree, be encouraged or discouraged by the actions of our own governments.

The instinct of most of us is not even to face the question, to decline the self-interrogation altogether, and get on with our barbeques and reality shows; but face it we must, because ultimately the threat it signifies is neither fleeting nor mild, but rather persistent and existential.

The answer we should give is this. We -- whatever other free nations choose to do or not do -- are going to put certain considerable obstacles in the way of totalitarian Islam; we at least are not going to encourage its development on our shores; we at least are going to say, in the manner republics "say" things publicly, such that it is clear to the leaders of this movement, its sympathizers and facilitators, both here and abroad, to the world at large, and most importantly to ourselves, that we will not tolerate totalitarian Islam. Rather, we will place very substantial burdens and abridgements, of varying social, political and legal character, upon those holding the beliefs associated with totalitarian Islam. We will make the price for sympathy with it very high indeed. We will not extend to it our beloved constitutional and civil rights; we will not, to the extent possible, let its sympathizers and facilitators, much less its foot soldiers and officers, into our country, and we will deport with dispatch those already here; we will exclude its representatives from service in our government, status in our society, safety under our laws; we will, in short, prohibit totalitarian Islam, in thought, word and deed.
This may require the West to prohibit Islamist preaching and recruitment, even doing so violates freedom of speech. It certainly requires stopping Muslim immigration to the Western world. It will also require Western leaders to drop the political correctness which has hampered Western efforts to deal with Islamist violence. If the West is to meet the challenge of spreading Islamism, quick, direct and forceful action will be required. Certainly, the first stage of the battle must be to purge Western nations of Islamist cells, excising the contamination from our shores and isolating it in its native soils, where it can only inflict its carnage on the Muslim people themselves, leaving it their responsibility to deal with.


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