America’s three views of Islam: two of them permitted and false, one of them prohibited and true

At Phi Beta Cons, Carol Iannone discusses the thesis of Stephen Coughlin, the Islam analysis recently dismissed from the Pentagon, about three views of Islam. She writes:

Coughlin’s thesis suggests that there are not two schools of thought on Islamic terror, those who think it is simply a criminal problem and those who think it is a war we will be fighting for a long time, but three. First, there is the view that largely comes from the liberal-left, that thinks there really is no Islamic threat, that it’s really America and its actions that have called forth violence from Muslims, that if there is violence, it is from a tiny few and can be managed by the world community like an international criminal problem. Then there is the conservative-right view, that there is indeed a terrible threat, a virtual World War Four, and the threat is from Islamo-Fascism, not from Islam itself, but from the aberrations of radicals who are creating some distorted blending of Islamic beliefs with 20th century fascist concepts. This is only a recent development, according to this view, not centuries old, and therefore we can be very hopeful about stomping it out. About ten percent of the world’s Muslims do believe in Islamo-Fascist jihad, and that is a serious number, but ninety percent of Muslims don’t believe in it and want what we all want, material security and prosperity. In fact, the underlying causes of terrorism arise from the material deprivation and lack of freedom and opportunity in the Muslim world. There is thus no conflict between Islam and liberal democracy and modernity in general, and certainly no clash of civilizations. The Islamic world will not be able to resist the march of liberal democracy and the irresistible call of freedom. This view is largely that of President Bush.

The third view says that there is indeed a problem with Islam itself, that even if only a minority of Muslims will ever take up jihad, most Muslims know that that is mandated by their religion and they do support it in belief and sometimes financially. The term Islamo-Fascism is really a euphemism for those who wish to deny or ignore the violence inherent in Islam. This view sees that jihad has been a feature of Islam from its beginnings and that martyrdom is honored and rewarded in Islam. This view also finds that Islam may well be in conflict with liberal democracy. Muslims are told that they are meant to Islamicize the countries they live in, through “peaceful” means if they can, and violent means when necessary, and we already see signs of this in Europe and America.

So, to return more strictly to Coughlin’s thesis, he says that we are hampered in dealing with the enemy and in producing good intelligence for our strategic plans because instead of listening to what the enemy is saying, we impose our own hopeful, optimistic kind of view on the Islamic world, that everyone is really like us at heart and that we will see this in the end.

I have, of course, been talking about these three views of Islam for several years. I briefly summed up the two false views in a blog article last October entitled “The two available views on Islam in mainstream American politics”:

Let us remember that when it comes to the proper way to think about Islam, mainstream American politics is divided into just two factions. There is the left, which says that everything about Islam is just wonderful and that any tiny little bad parts of Islam have nothing to do with Islam but are symptoms of Western oppression. Then there is the “right,” which says that everything about Islam is just wonderful and that any tiny little bad parts of Islam have nothing to do with Islam but are caused by the modern perversion of Islam by Western totalitarian ideologies. Both left and “right” agree that Islam is just wonderful and must be welcomed en masse into the West and celebrated at the White House. The only thing they disagree about is that tiny little bad part. The left says the tiny little bad part is our fault. The “right” says the tiny little bad part is the fault of false Muslims who have hijacked Islam. But because the “right” blames the tiny little bad part on Muslims (though they are false Muslims) rather than on America, the left hates the “right” and considers it to be bigoted and racist. And because the left considers the “right” to be bigoted and racist, the “right” hates the left.

Now you know everything you need to know about mainstream American politics vis a vis Islam. Obviously, we need something better.

And of course, that something better, that something true, is that the problem is Islam.

(Note: the original blog entry is not opening. You can access the entire entry in the cumulative page for the week of October 14, 2007.)

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 25, 2008 08:42 PM | Send

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