Why “conservatives” are useless when it comes to Islam, and why moderate Muslims are worse than useless

One of the participants in the National Review Online symposium on the Fort Dix terror plot is M. Zuhdi Jasser, a moderate Muslim who is chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Here is his proffered remedy to the jihad threat:

More Muslims, more media, and more government officials should be noting that:

1) While most Muslims have never met militants like those arrested, Muslim organizations should understand that only Muslims hold the keys to the way to overwhelm and counter the ideology which fuels these radicals. Muslim organizations should be clamoring to expose and infiltrate the ideology and sources which drove these traitors to sprout their radical cell. We need an Islamic vaccine (the separation of spiritual Islam from political Islam) to the virus which afflicted these men. Until Muslim anti-Islamists can defeat Islamism (political Islam) as an ideology, we will not make any headway at preventing the germination of the next cell. We will only be left waiting, praying, for the FBI to help us, yet again, dodge the next bullet.

According to Jasser, the solution to radical Islam is the “separation of spiritual Islam from political Islam.” Unfortunately, this solution resides in Cloud Cuckoo Land, since the union of spiritual Islam and political Islam IS Islam. It is the very essence of Islam, and has been since the M man entered Medina and became its political and spiritual ruler in 622. So, by the very nature of Islam, the separation that Jasser hopes for can never come about. Or rather, it can come about only through despotism, such as that of Kemal Ataturk who de-Islamized public life in Turkey (and the moment the despotism lets go its grip, Islam comes rushing back, as we see in today’s Turkey). Do the moderate Muslims look like Ataturk? The question answers itself.

Jasser concludes that until this (utopian and impossible) separation of spiritual from political Islam comes about, “We will only be left waiting, praying, for the FBI to help us, yet again, dodge the next bullet.” Jasser thinks, quite sensibly, that it is folly to do nothing more than pray that we have the good luck to dodge the next bullet. But what is his alternative to the inexcusable folly of depending on good luck? The far worse folly of depending on something that is literally impossible.

In sum, Jasser calls on America to put all its hopes for safety in the prospect that moderate Muslims can reform unreformable Islam, which is impossible, rather than calling on America to defend itself from unreformable Islam, which is possible.

And this is why I say that the moderate Muslims are worse than useless.

* * *

Here is a brief look at the contributions by the other four NRO symposiasts.

1. Mary Habeck makes the useful point that “Muslims around the world” are following the advise of Abu Musab al-Suri that they engage in de-centralized jihad.

2. Victor Hanson mostly says nothing, except to blame the left. But at the end he makes a provocative point. Referring to the fact that the U.S. helped the Muslims in Yugoslavia, he writes: “At some point, we see how insidious are the effect of Middle East [and Balkan] ingratitude, and how the envy and hatred of that region permeates its expatriates, the more so the United States has tried to help them.”

If Hanson stayed with this insight, it would lead him to abandon his idea that exporting tolerance and freedom and other American goodies to the Muslims is the way to pacify them. But Hanson will inevitably revert to form, just as he accuses the left of doing.

3. Robert Spencer approaches the truth when he says that the Fort Dix plot results from America’ support for the “Kosovo jihad,” followed by America’s admission of jihadists into the U.S. “with little or no scrutiny.”

But the lesson Spencer derives from this is “how foolish it is for the U.S. to assume that it can ally with jihadists.” While that is self-evidently true, he doesn’t derive the more important lesson that we should stop or at least drastically reduce Muslim immigration into America.

4. Finally, there is Daniel Pipes, who makes two points. First, he says that we should “grill” immigrants for anti-Western attitudes.

This problem with this is, of course: What would prevent the Muslims from lying? (They are commanded by Islamic law to lie.) Further, even if they told the truth, what would prevent their attitudes from changing once they came here? Further, what would prevent their children who are born here from becoming jihadists? The “Let them fill out a questionaire” approach to national defense is about as useful as calling on starving French peasants to eat cake.

But Pipes has yet another great suggestion. He says that “[t]errorists can be counted on to make dumb mistakes.”

Fantastic. While Jasser tells us to put our hopes of safety in the Cloud Cuckoo Land of a separation of spiritual and political Islam, Pipes tells us to put our hopes of safety in the prospect that terrorists will keep making mistakes.

If there is a definition of intellectual exhaustion, Pipes has just provided it.

Or, to paraphrase Bob Dylan’s “Queen Jane Approximately”:

When you’re tired of yourself and all of your creations,
Won’t you come see me, King Dan?

- end of initial entry -

LA to Jeff in England:

I finally posted a bit of my “Queen Jane” adaptation on Pipes.

Jeff replies:

I’ve been waiting for your Queen Jane to go public.

One of my top ten Dylan songs and I sent you what I felt was a great 1996 mature version of it.

LA replies:

Yes, I know, I listened to it, and you wouldn’t accept the fact that I didn’t like it.

Jeff replies:

It’s your Achilles heel in Dylan listening. You don’t recognise the greatness of the 1994-2007 part of the Never Ending Tour.

You’d rather listen to more immature versions as long as he sounds like the young Dylan. Oh well, you’re a great e-mag editor and a great ex-FrontPage writer!

LA replies:

Ha ha ha. I love being put down by you, with your beatster position that the sound of a dead dog croaking is “profound” and “mature”!

Laura G. writes:

Is there ANYONE else who is willing/capable of stating these thoughts out loud? WHY NOT??? Never mind … I know the answer already, and faintheartedness is just the beginning.

A few weeks ago I wrote a letter to our local newspaper regarding a recent Muslim-committed atrocity in which the reporter refrained from mentioning that the perp was Muslim. Nothing new there. The point of my very short letter was that Muslims murder for Allah, and their Muslim beliefs are central to the blood lust they seem to be pickled in. For that reason, the Muslim connection to a violent crime needs to be made known to the general public. Presbyterians, on the other hand, do not murder for their faith, and consequently knowing the religions of violent criminals other than Muslims does not further the public’s understanding of a crime or the safety of their society. Days passed, and finally the senior editor called to talk over his discomfort with my letter. In the end, he made a very pitiful whine that, if I am right, that would mean that we in the West might be at war with millions of Muslims. I commented that that is likely so, and that it is far, far better to confront them aggressively than to cringe, which is always a further incitement to more violence. That seemed to come as a very scary and novel concept. I also commented that Islam is a cult, since no normal religion murders everyone who tries to leave. That got me a reply of: “…a cult?” I was definitely opening new ground for him. This was the senior editor of the only newspaper in ________, a fairly major city. He may just be too inadequate to breathe, but I doubt that his glaring inadequacies are unique.

By the way, my little letter was finally published, and for my pains I now have a friend who is trying very hard to decide if I am a bigot or not, and whose husband has decided that I am. Both Jews, of course. I am refraining from discussing what they are in the interests of a long friendship and possible future enlightenment. See? I too sometimes live in a world of fantasy.

LA replies:

Your story is great. You actually got down to the real issue with this editor. Basically you got him to rub up against the point that I showed Pipes rubbing up against in my big article on him, where he admits that recognizing the truth about Islam means recognizing that Islam is our eternal adversary, and that is just totally unacceptable him. Now with your newspaper editor, he’s not going to be ready to agree with us, but the point is, the issue has been clarified to him in a way it never was before, namely that he and other Westerners refuse to recognize the truth, not because it’s not true, but because it’s unacceptable to them. How long can they live with the consciousness that they are denying something, something vitally important, that they know is true?

Sage McLaughlin writes:

Question: “How long can they live with the consciousness that they are denying something, something vitally important, they know is true?”

Answer: As long as it takes for their denial to kill them. There are precedents.

In other news at VFR, I found this comment extremely interesting:

“Spencer et al may join the immigration restrictionists while claiming that it’s because the political realities have changed. And they’ll do this without knowing or acknowledging exactly how the political realities were changed.”

My first reaction upon reading this was incorrect, that is to say, my interpretation of it was inaccurate. I thought the commenter meant that when Spencer looks around and finds himself hip-deep in infidel blood, then he’ll realize that the “political realities have changed.” Now I realize that your correspondent meant that when enough people speak the truth aloud, this will of course change the political realities of the time, and Spencer will be left crying “Me too!!”

That I was confused on this point indicates to me that in some very important way we still have a choice. We have the option of speaking the truth of the matter now—as you are doing—or speaking the truth of the matter once it’s become all-too-obvious to ignore—as Spencer is likely to do.

LA replies:

Aah, but from the point of view of the Spencers of the world, it is not a free choice. If one speaks up now, when almost nobody is speaking up, then one is a racist. If one speaks up later, after everybody has started to speak up, then one is not a racist. Since not being a racist is the Prime Ruling Directive of our world, there are absolutely compelling reasons for not speaking up until later.

Laura G. replies:

Thanks, Larry. You know, the fact is that I signed the letter (had to to have it published), but had a tiny attack of wondering if I might possibly be volunteering for danger in doing so. My husband was quite worried after he found out what I had done. So, all in all, a tiny whiff of dhimmification. I was definitely aware that the letter was not simply a statement of my thoughts about a principle of news reporting, and that some people have repercussions from making statements of this, very mild, sort. In areas in which Muslims are on the march, I can easily imagine the temptation to sort of forget to send a letter like mine. I have just discovered, by the way, that ____ is a “sanctuary city,” of all insanities. How I am going to approach that issue is beyond me, but I probably will.

Thanks for publishing the little vignette. Life in the U.S. of A. has certainly changed in the last decade!

A reader writes:

Just out of curiosity, have you reviewed the St. Petersburg Declaration?

LA replies:

I believe this is my only comment on it:

“The same group of Muslim apostates held a Secular Islam summit in St. Petersburg, Florida March 5 and issued this Declaration. There is too much UN-ish, global equal rights talk in it for my taste, but here it is.”
[followed by the text]

Notice my criticism of the UN-ish talk and the leftism. And that’s the issue. I’m all in favor of Muslims in the world of Islam becoming non-Muslims. I am NOT interested in Muslims turning the West into their “experimental laboratory” for secularizing Islam. I have several reasons for this, but the most important is that apostate Muslims are inevitably going to tend to be against religion and on the left. Therefore, in the very process of helping them along to their apostate condition, we must inevitably start seeing “secularism” as a good thing that will save the world.

If Muslims, whether they are in the West or the East, are to leave Islam for a non-believing condition, they must do it on their own. It cannot be with our involvement, support, or cheerleading, for the same reason I gave above.

Any positive change that takes place in Islam, cannot be done or pushed by us. Our job is to defend ourselves from Islam, not to change Islam. If Islam changes on its own, fine. But for us to involve ourselves in that process, well, that way utter self-delusion lies.

At the same time, I think a reasonable case can be made that if we to the maximum degree possible sealed off Islam from the world, as I favor, while also using stern military means to destroy any dangerous Islamic regime, that might trigger helpful changes within Islam. But again, that would only be icing on the cake; it would not be our object.

Russell Wardlow writes:

Sage McLaughlin wrote:

Question: “How long can they live with the consciousness that they are denying something, something vitally important, that they know is true?”

Answer: As long as it takes for their denial to kill them. There are precedents.”

What a lamentable truth. It made me realize that in a sort of sad, sick way, liberalism and Islam are perfectly matched. The Left seeks a kind of self-destruction (or perhaps immolation is more apt) in favor of the Other, and Islam is only too happy to be that Other, with the added plus that the destruction they would like to impose is not figurative, such as with displacement or ascendancy, but literal. They literally want to destroy us. To Leftists, I guess I would only say, “Be careful what you wish for.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 09, 2007 04:10 PM | Send

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