Sunday, March 30, 2008

Is there a Moderate Islam that can Win the War?

What does it mean when one of the most important Muslim liberal and enlightened voices loses hope in the possibility of an enlightened Islam, and converts to Christianity?

And in a delicious historical irony, what does it mean when this Muslim tells that one of the most important motivations for his becoming a Catholic had to do with his support for the Jewish State? Run that by me again?


Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Too bad he converted under the least enlightened Pope since WWII.

He has left radical, fanatical Islam only to embrace a religion according to which using a condom is a sin. If he had become an atheist I would respect him more.

Anonymous said...

Most Western elites dance around the notion of a clash of civilization between Christendom/Judaism and Islam. It's understandable. There are important commercial considerations that must sustain the illusion that there is no such clash--oil, recycling of petrodollars and contracts. Moreover, a dying European civilization has every incentive to sustain the illusion for no better reason than to keep the next generation or two of pension benefits flowing.

But the truth is otherwise. Most "friendly" regimes---Saudi, Egyptian, etc.--qualify as such simply because the razor-thin veneer of Westernized elites keep assuring their American, European and Asiatic counterparts that (for their own political an economic reasons) the clash is avoidable.

Anyone who has traveled the Arab Middle East understands that beneath that elite veneer is a raging cauldron of unhappiness. Their hate is predisposed by a flawed religion to "otherize" the world. Blame casting is endemic to the region and the faith. Given a genuinely democratic Arab Middle East, some adaptation of the Crusades--either of the Muslim conquests or the Christian response---would be re-enacted within a generation.

This is truth and Yaacov, I would amend the title of this piece from "Is there a Moderate Islam that can Win the War?" to "Is There a Western Leadership that Recognizes the Threat and can Deal with It?"

If there isn't (and there isn't) we have merely kicked the can down the street for our children and grandchildren to deal with.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Sgt.-Maj. Louai Balut, 34, an Israeli Arab soldier from Fassuta in the northern Galilee, was arrested last month on suspicion of selling information to Hizbullah. A former mayor of the village, Gerias Gerias, was sentenced to four years in jail in 2006 for spying on Iran's behalf.

This would confirm that hate is indeed an integral part of Islam, as "courageous truth tellers" like to claim.

But hold on -- it turns out that Fasura is a Catholic village. Their inhabitants don't seem to be very much convinced of the "full equality between Jews and Arabs" in Israel.

The problem may be Israel, not the Islamic faith.

Anonymous said...

Mr. ibn Yusuf: If you intend to wage a battle of the anecdote, you'll lose. While few Muslims would fly airliners into buildings, what concerns me are the near majorities that support them. And if you're point is that some Catholics hate Jews, I say, tu quoque, and try again. The point of discussion is Islam's hatred of the West, of which Israel is merely the closest target.

The question is why? The only rational answer is to take Muslim hatred of the West, as articulated theologically, with the seriousness it deserves. And most of these Muslim rationales for either anti-Western hatred or outright violence are amply sourced in the Koran or the Hadiths. Far be it from me, a non-Muslim, to argue with imams galore as to what their faith really means.

Nor do I favor the Ahab-like search for the Great Moderate Muslim. That is also a matter internal to the Muslim community.

What matters to me and many others is that the charade of moderation be dispensed with, and that western communities begin to take steps necessary for their own defense. In short, we simply need to recognize that any creed that divides the world into spheres of peace and war based on belief, that calls for second class status for others based solely on religious conviction, and that simply cannot rest until those not sharing the creed are either controlled, killed or converted, is a dangerous creed.

And defense has many sides, not simply military. The most important means to reduce the threat of Islam (for the Americas only---Islam is far too advanced in Europe to matter at this point) is an alternative energy policy. Once the oil beneath the sand has been reduced in importance, the region will quickly reassume its relative unimportance in world civilization, at least that to which it became accustomed after Islam's "Golden Age"---and that was quite some time ago.

Islam cannot be a viable minority party anywhere because there is nothing in the creed that permits minority status.

Yaacov said...

Mr. ibn Yussuf,

your second comment really isn't serious, as you well know. Anecdotes can be used to illustrate a point, if they're typical in some way, but this case doesn't reach any minimum standard I can think of.

I know I haven't yet responded to a previous comment you made, I'll get there, by and by.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Mr. Anonymous, at least where I live (Argentina) Muslims are a minority and accept that status. In 1989 a Muslim ran for President and had to convert to Catholicism because according to the Constitution then in place the President had to be a Roman Catholic. And no Muslim in Argentina objected to that.

Yaacov, if the two Christian Israeli Arabs who spied for the enemy are anecdotes, so are the handful of Israeli Arabs who have committed or helped to commit terrorist acts, aren't they? Yet those few are usually cited as proof that the Arabs are a "fifth column," or something like that, in Israel.

Yaacov said...

"Usually cited..."? On the contrary. Most Jewish Israelis most of the time regard most of the Arab Israelis as law-abiding fellow citizens, albeit with some very significant issues. I dare you to prove otherwise - not to bring an anecdote, but rather to demonstrate with a reasonable amount of plausibility.

By the way, without fully knowing the facts, I have reason to suppose that at least one of these suspects is not a Christian at all. Might you care to tell us what your sources are to say otherwise? (Eventually, of course, I could do the fact checking and know for certain, but my issue here isn't the fact, but your sources).

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ibn Yusuf: One can simply infer that the candidate to which you refer was not a religious man, at least as understood by orthodox Islam. The Koran and Hadiths are crystal clear on this point, as was just evidenced by the reaction to Pope Benedict's public conversion of a Muslim to Catholicism: apostates from Islam are to be killed.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

I understand you may believe the soldier was either Druze or Bedouin, but he was Catholic. See here.

As for the Arabs being viewed as a fifth column, just type in "Israeli-Arab fifth column" in your search engine and see the results. Also: "Israeli-Arabs pose a threat to Israel's security, according to 61 percent of
the Jewish population"; "60 percent of respondents said that they were in favor of encouraging Israeli Arabs to leave the country" (source).

May be a few thousand enlightened Jews in Israel see Arabs as law-abiding citizens. But the bulk of Israeli Jews distrust their Arab countrymen, when they don't hate them.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Yusuf: It would be nothing short of a miracle if many Israelis did not feel pervasive and deep seeded hostility against Arabs, either their neighbors or fellow citizens.

But your response is a classic case of bogus equivalence. Comments in the Jerusalem Post do not equal Hamas' use of the Protocols in their founding charter. Nor do they equal Holocaust denial, Hezbollah's frequent embrace of Nazi leaders and their imagery or A'mjad's threats to destroy Israel.

Arab antisemitsm now has no peers worldwide. Its viciousness is admitted even in circles that otherwise despise Israel. And your presumed co-religionists have simply played into Israel's hands---why should the Israelis trust, let alone negotiate, with those whose chief boast is that once the hudna has expired, they will drive the Jews into the sea?

Personally, I believe that Hamas intends to keep its word to the "Jews." Unlike you (although I doubt that you personally doubt Hamas' intentions) I believe that Hamas, given the chance, would kill every man, woman and child in Israel.

Their boasts, like Al Qaeda's, are often sourced in the Koran and the Hadiths.

Far be it from me to tell another man about his religion.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

But your response is a classic case of bogus equivalence. Comments in the Jerusalem Post do not equal Hamas' use of the Protocols in their founding charter.

Hamas uses the Protocols (although I wasn't aware they used them in their founding charter; could you source that?) and denies the Holocaust. But the whole Zionist enterprise was based on a similar lie. "A people without land for a land without people," remember?

As for my allegedly bogus equivalence, you are cherry-picking my example of the Jerusalem Post readers, while ignoring the instances of official anti-Arab hate I mentioned, such as Lieberman or the Moledet Party. There are many other examples (the JNC's founding charter forbidding the leasing of land to non-Jews, the Minister of Finance of Israel calling Israeli Arabs a demographic problem, etc.)