Nearly two years ago the Jihadist lobby in the United States made a concerted affort to have my book The Sword of the Prophet banned from National Review Online. Jihadi activists gathered around CAIR claimed the book defamed Islam and its "prophet." When it did not get immediate satisfaction from National Review, CAIR instructed its partisans to pressure the Boeing Corporation to withdraw its advertisements from the magazine. Faced with the loss of revenue National Review briefly took down The Sword, but then quickly reposted it, under pressure from mainly conservative quarters.
It is now, perhaps inevitably, the turn of a phony conservative to join CAIR's ranks. In his latest book, The Enemy At Home, Dinesh D'Souza writes that,
"In order to build alliances with traditional Muslims, the right must take three critical steps. First, stop attacking Islam. Conservatives have to cease blaming Islam for the behavior of the radical Muslims. Recently the right has produced a spate of Islamophobic tracts with titles like Islam Unveiled, Sword of the Prophet, and The Myth of Islamic Tolerance. There is probably no better way to repel traditional Muslims, and push them into the radical camp, than to attack their religion and their prophet."
Two of the titles D'Souza finds so offensive that condemning them tops his list of "critical steps" are by my friend Robert Spencer, and "The Sword" is mine. D'Souza wants us, and presumably other similarly minded authors (Bat Ye'or, Ibn Warraq, Andrew Bostom, Walid Shoebat et al), to shut up.
As my fellow offender Spencer has noted has noted, D'Souza assumes that peaceful Muslims will have a greater sense of solidarity with jihadists than with non-Muslims, which is indeed the case, but it makes hash of his entire thesis—that social conservatives should ally themselves with these "traditional" Muslims:
"For if these peaceful Muslims really abhor jihadism, they should have no reason to object to critical presentations of the elements of Islam that foster jihadism. But if such presentations will just drive them into the arms of the jihadists, then how committed could they really have been to peace and moderation in the first place? If they think "Islamophobic tracts" are more threatening to their religion than acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam, how â€˜traditional' and moderate could they possibly be?"
It is noteworthy that D'Souza is condemning our writings as "Islamophobic" without further elaboration. Like the term "Islamophobia" itself—a classic product of the Hate Crime Industry—his technique is characteristic of the totalitarian Left. I remember reading, as a teenager in Tito's Yugoslavia, similarly worded condemnations of dissident writers and their "tracts" in the communist-controlled press. Once they were defined as "anti- socialist," "reactionary," or "nationalist," no further elaboration was needed and no debate allowed.
Furthermore, D'Souza uses "Islamophobia" with the implicit assumption that the term's meaning is well familiar to his readers. For the uninitiated it is nevertheless necessary to spell out its formal, legally tested definition, however. It is provided by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), a lavishly-funded organ of the European Union. Based in Vienna, this body diligently tracks the instances of "Islamophobia" all over the Old Continent and summarizes them in its reports. The Monitoring Center's definition of Islamophobia includes eight salient features:
1. Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change. 2. Islam is seen as separate and "other." 3. Islam is seen as inferior to the West, barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist. 4. Islam is seen as violent, aggressive, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a clash of civilizations. 5. Islam is seen as a political ideology. 6. Criticisms made of the West by Islam are rejected out of hand. 7. Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society. 8. Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural or normal.
This definition is obviously intended to preclude any possibility of meaningful discussion of Islam. The implication that Islamophobia thus defined demands legal sanction is a regular feature of the Race Relations Industry output. It also routinely refers to "institutional Islamophobia" as an inherent social and cultural sickness of most Western societies that needs to be rooted out by education, re- education, and legislation. In reality, of course, all eight proscribed statements are to some extent true. As I have argued in these pages and elsewhere,
1. That Islam is fundamentally static and unresponsive to change is evident from the absence of an orthodox school of thought capable of reflecting critically upon jihad, Sharia, jizya, etc. and developing new Islamic interpretations that Western liberals (and notably the 9-11 Commission's Final Report) keep hoping for. Attempts to reformulate the doctrine are not new, but they have failed because they opposed centuries of orthodoxy. As Clement Huart pointed out back in 1907, "Until the newer conceptions, as to what the Koran teaches as to the duty of the believer towards non-believers, have spread further and have more generally leavened the mass of Moslem belief and opinion, it is the older and orthodox standpoint on this question which must be regarded by non-Moslems as representing Mohammedan teaching and as guiding Mohammedan action." Huart's near- contemporary Sir William Muir, noted that Â«a reformed faith that should question the divine authority on which the institutions of Islam rest, or attempt by rationalistic selection or abatement to effect a change, would be Islam no longer.Â» A century later the diagnosis still stands: it is not the jihadists who are "distorting" Islam; the would-be reformers are.
2. That Islam is separate from our (Western, Christian, European) culture and civilization, and other than our culture and civilization, is a fact that will not change even if the West (Christendom, Europe) eventually succumb to the ongoing jihadist demographic onslaught.
3. Whether Islam is "inferior to the West" is a matter of opinion. That it cannot create a prosperous, harmonious, stable, creative and attractive polity is not. Whether Islam is "barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist" is at least debatable; but that its fruits are such is beyond reasonable doubt.
4. Islam is seen as "violent, aggressive, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a clash of civilizations" not because of an irrational "phobia" in the feverish mind of the beholder, but because of the clear mandate of its scripture, because of the record of almost 14 centuries of historical practice, and above all because of the timeless example of its founder.
5. "Islam is seen as a political ideology" because its defining characteristic is a highly developed program to improve man and create a new society; to impose complete control over that society; and to train cadres ready, even eager, to spill blood. The doctrine of Jihad makes Islam closer to Bolshevism or National Socialism than to any religion known to man. It breeds a gnostic paradigm within which the standard response to the challenge presented by non-Muslim cultural, technological and economic achievements is hostility and hatred. D'Souza's alleged distinction between Islamic "extremists" and "moderates" is a Western liberal construct, of course. The difference between them may concern the methods to be applied but not the final objective: to turn every last square mile of Dar al-Harb into Dar al-Islam.
6. Criticisms made of the West by Islam should not be rejected out of hand, they should be understood. Islam's chief "criticism" of the West—and each and every other non-Islamic culture, civilization, or tradition—is that it is infidel, and therefore undeserving of existence.
7. A priori hostility towards Islam should not be "used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims." Quite the contrary, a comprehensive education campaign about the teaching and practice of Islam should result in legislative action that would exclude Islam from the societies it is targeting, not because it is an offensive religion but because it is an inherently seditious totalitarian ideology incompatible with the fundamental values of the West—and all other civilized societies, India, China and Japan included.
8. "Anti-Muslim hostility" is not "natural or normal." The infidels' determination to defend their lands, families, cultures and faith against Islamic aggression is both natural and normal, however, and must not be neutralized by the Eurocrats from the left of by D'Souza and his likes on the "right." They will deny that Islam, in Muhammad's revelations, traditions and their codification, threatens the rest of us, that it is the cult of war and intolerance, but the truth will out. Until the petrodollars support a comprehensive and explicit Kuranic revisionism capable of growing popular roots, we should seek ways to defend ourselves by disengaging from the world of Islam, physically and figuratively, by learning to keep our distance from the affairs of the Muslim world and by keeping the Muslim world away from "the world of war" that it seeks to conquer or destroy.
It is entirely possible that Dinesh D'Souza subscribes to some other definition of "Islamophobia" than the one provided above. If he does, he should spell it out so that those he singles out for criticism can defend themselves. Until and unless he does so, we'll have to agree with a recent commentator who concludes that D'Souza wants me and others "to lie about Islam, like himself, or to be silent":
"Now think how amazing this is. Has it ever happened in this country—I'm not talking about some totalitarian country but America—has it ever happened that a prominent "intellectual" called on leading writers on a subject of major importance to stop writing what they're writing, because it would "offend" someone? No, this has never happened before. It has never happened before, because it's only in response to Mohammedanism that Westerners adopt the posture of pre-emptive surrender, which Bat Ye'or calls mental dhimmitude. Of all the social, ethnic, religious, political movements in the world, only Islam has the ability to evoke this eagerly cringing attitude, only Islam has this faculty of inducing people to surrender psychologically to it even before it has any actual power over them."
Dixit. A man is defined, to some extent, by his enemies. Counting D'Souza and his ilk among mine casts an eminently pleasing glow on this drab January morning.
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