“Suspects” are busting out all over

The “Usual Suspects” is VFR’s rueful and ironic term for those very vocal Islam critics who issue an endless stream of articles breathlessly warning readers that the growth of radical Islam threatens the very existence of American and Western society, but who never suggest any measures by which this threat can be averted. Today at FrontPage Magazine, there are not one, but two articles that fit this pattern, one by Joe Kaufman and the other by Stephen Brown. As part of my continuing, and so far utterly futile, attempt to get Suspects to make a whole argument, not just a half, I wrote an e-mail to each of these gentlemen.

Stephen Brown

Dear Mr. Brown:

In your article at FrontPage Magazine, you point out that a third of Muslims in Western countries want the governrnents of those countries replaced by sharia. You predict that by peaceful means over the next forty years Muslims in the West are likely to achieve a large part of this purpose. But you don’t offer any ideas of how this is to be stopped. Other than pointing to the problem, which you call a threat to the existence of Western civilization, do you have any solution? Or is it your intent to inform readers that their civilization is doomed, and that there is nothing that can can done about this?

Lawrence Auster

Joe Kaufman
Americans Against Hate

Dear Mr. Kaufman:

At the end of your article at FrontPage Magazine about the Muslim Brotherhood and its many offshoots in the West, you conclude:

Those adherents of the Muslim Brotherhood that are in America have a religious-based political mission. It is no different than that of Osama bin Laden or his second-in-charge, Brother Ayman al-Zawahiri. Only the tactics have changed. While Al-Qaeda looks to establish Islam in America overnight, those Brothers that live here practice patience. They know that the American public is ignorant to their desires, as they slowly bring themselves to power using our hard-earned dollars that we feed into our gas tanks, using our own Constitution against us. If we don’t wake up soon, their goals will be achieved.

The threat you’re describing is the establishment of Islam in America, brought about by Muslims in America. You say that we must “wake up” if we are to prevent this from happening. But you don’t say what we should do about that threat, after we wake up to it. You offer no solutions at all.

Does it occur to you that people may not want to wake up to a mortal threat to their society, if they are told that there is nothing that they can do about it? People tend to engage with problems only if there is some solution to the problem. As the saying goes, a problem without a solution is not a problem, but a fate to be endured.

So, do you have a solution to the problem you describe in your article? If the answer is yes, what is the solution, and why are you remaining silent about it?

If the answer is no, what is your purpose in writing about the Islamist threat? Is it to tell Americans that their civilization is doomed, and that there is nothing that they can do about this?

Lawrence Auster

- end of initial entry -

Mark E. writes:

In my opinion, you are far more effective and persuasive when you deal with “Usual Suspects” in the calm but insistent manner of these two letters you wrote to Messrs. Brown and Kaufman—let’s call it Socratic—than when you use more, um, severe rhetoric—let’s call it Phillipic.

You should save the Phillipic mode for the real enemies—Islam and the Left.

I have found, in a lifetime of having political discussions/arguments, that there is nothing more powerful, no better way to make a point, than Socratic questioning (as you use in those two letters); and, conversely, that in my full-throated Phillipic mode I have the power to change the minds even of friends who originally were inclined to agree with me. 8>)

LA replies:

Mark E. makes excellent points. But what do we do when all the polite Socratic arguments continue to be ignored, or are replied to evasively and dishonestly?

Alan Roebuck writes:

Inspired by your letters to the “Usual Suspects,” I composed a (short!) form letter to send to any columnist who describes the Islamic threat but does not say what to do. I sent it to Brown and Kaufman, and received a response from Kaufman. He suggested the Government shut down every organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. He also said that we need to some up with a solution that would be accepted by the government. I responded that his suggestion is a good start, but we need to work on getting the public to begin “thinking outside the box,” so that we can take more effective action.

The letter:

Dear (Author)

I have just read your column (insert name of column here), and I am glad that you have enough courage to go against the politically-correct gang that is downplaying the threat from Islam. Islam is obviously radically incompatible with our society, and a threat.

But there is an obvious omission in your article: Given that Islam is a potentially mortal threat, what exactly should we do to protect ourselves? You said nothing that would answer this obvious question, not even in general.

Given that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with our way of life, and there is no chance that it will change at any time in the foreseeable future, and many Muslims (possibly even a majority) worldwide have at least some degree of sympathy with the terrorists, and “moderate” Muslims frequently spontaneously become radical (especially the more wealthy and well-educated), and there is no way to reliably distinguish between radical and non-radical Muslims, to say nothing of distinguishing between Muslims who will forever remain moderate and those who will become radical at some time in the future, there can be only one conclusion:

To avoid perpetual low-level war at home, or, God forbid, becoming Islamic, we will have to begin excluding Muslims from our society.

This is, of course, just about the ultimate in political incorrectness (i.e., anti-liberalism.) But it is obviously what we’ll have to do eventually. We can debate exactly how we will do this, and exactly how strict we will have to be, but there is no doubt that we will have to do it.

Therefore, those of you who are in the public eye need to find ways to begin raising this sensitive issue. You don’t have to come on like gang busters (not yet), but you need to begin educating and leading the public on this issue. I call on you, as a public intellectual, to do your duty to our nation.

LA replies:

This is exactly the kind of thing that’s needed. People are lazy and self-content. The Suspects might ignore one e-mail challenging them to answer the “Therefore, what”? question (“If Islam is, as you say, a mortal threat to our civilization, therefore, what?”), but if they started receiving such letters regularly, they couldn’t keep ignoring it.

Kaufmans’ position

3/2/97. Yesterday Joe Kaufman replied to my question about what he thinks ought to be done about Islam. He also later suggested that I post his answer at the FrontPage Magazine message board. I told him that if he felt his FP article needed to be supplemented by his positive recommendations, he ought to do it himself, but that I would post his reply at my own site.

Joe Kaufman to LA:

Yes, I have a solution, one that I have voiced many times in the past. The solution is (1) to place the Muslim Brotherhood on the U.S. State Department terrorism list and (2) systematically shut down every single organization and institution that has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. There’s the solution. Will we do it? One day, I think yes.

I replied:

Thanks for the reply. A couple of further questions.

Is it only Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations that should be shut down, or all organizations connected with political Islam?

Is it just secular radical organizations that must be shut down, or also all Mosques that advance political Islam?

Further, since the thing that we must oppose is, as you put it, the attempt by Muslims to “establish Islam in America,” doesn’t that mean that any Muslims who believe in sharia are part of the problem? Very large portions of the American and European Muslim communities believe in sharia. What should be done about them?

This leads us to the question of immigration. Shutting down all organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda of political Islam requires that our side have more political strength than the other side. How can our side have more political strength so long as we are admitting large-scale Muslim immigration into this country, which is increasing the numerical and political strength of the Muslims? In a recent article about the Muslim community in Dearborn, Michigan, Muslims said that the main force driving the growth of a sharia-oriented Muslim community in America was the continuing immigration of Muslims into America.

To summarize, here are the questions that a serious approach to the Muslim problem must address, and that I hope you will address:

- Is it only the Muslim Brotherhood-type organizations that are the threat, or all Muslim organizations including mosques and schools that believe in sharia?

- If you answer that it’s only the Muslim Brotherhood-type organizations that are the threat, then you’re only talking about going after the most radical aspects of the U.S. Muslim community, while leaving the “average sharia-supporting Muslims” in place. That does not strike me as a serious solution to what we both agree is a mortal threat to our society.

- If you answer that it’s all sharia-believing Muslim organizations including mosques and schools that are the threat, then how can we get a hold of this problem without stopping further Muslim immigration, and well as removing many sharia-supporting Muslims who are already here?

His substantive reply:

I believe that any organization or institution, where it can be found that there is a direct tie from that organization or institution to the Muslim Brotherhood, should be shut down. Yes, that includes mosques and children’s schools.

However, I couldn’t get Mr. Kaufman to answer my further questions on what we should do about (1) sharia supporters in general as distinct from organizations and people directly linked with the Muslim Brotherhood, and (2) Muslim immigration. . He reiterated his point about targeting the Muslim Brotherhood and suggested I read his articles. Mr. Kaufman is a regular contributor at FrontPage Magazine, and his articles are also accessible at his own website, Americans against Hate. Based on several of his articles, he seems to be chiefly concerned about pro-terrorist and anti-Israel organizations in the U.S. He does not seem to have any analysis of the Islam threat that goes beyond that. This would explain why he limits his positive suggestions to banning organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, which he associates with Al Qaeda and terrorism, and also why he also took exception to my (approving) description of him as an Islam critic.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 01, 2007 11:43 AM | Send

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