Ok, we know the truth about Islam—now what?

(Below, we discuss Robert Spencer’s advocacy of U.S. asylum for Muslim women fleeing female genital mutilation.)

Things thought too long can be no longer thought.
—W.B. Yeats, “The Gyres”

In his interview last week with Rush Limbaugh, excerpted by Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch, Andrew McCarthy explains how, as the lead federal prosecutor in the Blind Sheikh terrorism case in the 1990s, he started off thinking that the defendant had perverted Islam, then came to realize that the truth was otherwise:

In fact, the whole experience in watching the dynamic of him and other people in the Muslim community throughout the trial was a real eye-opener for me. I wanted to believe in 1993 the stuff that we were putting out, you know, that he basically perverted what was otherwise a peaceful doctrine. But what I found going through all of his thousands of pages of transcripts and statements, was that when he cited scripture to justify acts of terrorism, to the extent he was quoting scripture or referring to it, he did it accurately, which shouldn’t be a surprise…

And it shouldn’t have been a surprise. I mean, he was a doctor of Islamic jurisprudence, graduated from Al-Azhar University in Egypt. Why in the world I would have thought that I or the Justice Department would know more about Islam than he would is beyond me now that I look back on it, but back then I was pretty confident that we must have been right when we said that he was basically perverting the doctrine….

We’re so intimidated by the idea that there’s a religious label on this and everybody is so afraid of their shadow to talk about it, that whenever you say what is obvious—which is that you can’t take the “Islam” out of Islamic terror and that the main cause of this is not democracy or lack of democracy; or, you know, ancient hatreds or the economy, poverty, or whatever our excuse is this week. This is driven by doctrine. You know, we have poor people all over the world. They’re not all committing terrorism….

It actually brings me to another memory of the dynamic between the Blind Sheik and the community, which was an eye-opener and a frightening one to me. We had very long defense case in the case. It actually went on for about two months; and during the course of it, any number of moderate people came in—and they really were authentic moderate people. There’s no way on God’s green earth they ever would have crossed into terrorism activity. But every now and then when they were on the stand, a question of theology would come up, of doctrine. You know, “What does jihad mean? What does this concept mean?” and at least three different times, they answered, “I wouldn’t be competent to say. You’d have to ask someone like him about that.”…

As recounted in the first paragraph quoted above, McCarthy had the single most important insight that anyone can have about Islam in its relationship with non-Muslims. It is that jihad against non-believers is a 1,400 year old continuum, that Muslim jihadists and terrorists in the late 20th and early 21st century are following the original holy war commands of the Koran, Hadiths, and Islamic law—the same commands that their forebear jihadists were following 300 and 600 and 1,200 years ago. Which means that jihad is not some accidental offshoot or neurotic distortion of “good, peaceful, tolerant” Islam. Jihad is intrinsic to Islam, and will remain so as long as Islam exists. It is remarkable that McCarthy had this insight in the early 1990s, years before the legacy of jihad was a twinkle in Andy Bostom’s eye.

At the same time, despite the validity and importance of McCarthy’s and other Islam critics’ insights, I have to say that I’m so tired of this. I know that Islam is our adversary. I don’t need to read more articles persuading me of that fact. I don’t want to wade through endless further discussions arguing for and against the idea that Islam is a program aimed at our subjugation and destruction. We say we’re in a war, and we keep grandiloquently comparing this war to World War II. After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, after Germany conquered Norway, the Low Countries, and France in May and June of 1940, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, after Germany declared war on the U.S. on December 9, 1941, did it take five, ten, fifteen years of endless chatter by intellectuals for the U.S. to realize that Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were—duh—its enemies? So I’m not interested in more talk making the case that Islam is our enemy. I want us to start defending ourselves from this enemy.

I’m also not interested in reading Robert Spencer say for the ten thousandth time, “I’m still waiting for a moderate Muslim with real authority in the Islamic community to oppose jihadist teachings and thus prove the existence of a genuine moderate Islam, I’m still waiting, still waiting … gosh, they’ve disappointed me again …”

Enough suggesting, hinting, dancing around, even proving the ineluctable centrality of jihad in Islam. Things said too long can be no longer said. It is time for the Islam critics, the Spencers, the Bawers, the Bostoms, the Bill Warners, the Bat Ye’ors, the Phillipses, the McCarthys, to go beyond establishing the fact that Islam is a danger to us, and instead focus their intellectual energies on what we should do about this danger.

- end of initial entry -

RB writes:

I have a great deal of respect for the work Robert Spencer has done. But just when he seems to be coming to his senses regarding immigration he comes up with the following. This refers to a woman student from Mali, who underwent FGM and facing an arranged marriage, is now seeking asylum.

“Alima Traore should be granted asylum at once, and U.S. opposition to this practice—so often justified by reference to Islamic teaching—made clear.”

I responded to his post as follows:

Does this mean that the US should become a dumping ground for potentially millions of women from the Muslim world? It’s even worse than that because with family reunification chain immigration they will end up bringing in the very family members that are inflicting these horrible procedures on them. And ultimately where are American women going to find asylum from our newly Islamized culture?

No, asylum is a very bad idea. It would be far better for her to go back and fight to change that horrible culture from within.

LA replies:

Exactly. Spencer has just enunciated a principle by which every girl and woman in the Islamic world who is facing FGM and doesn’t want it would have a free ticket to the U.S., plus the instant welfare, housing, and everything else that comes with refugee/asylee status, plus the door open to all of her relatives. How many females in the world face FGM? Multiply that times all their relatives, and you have tens of millions of Muslims that Spencer would like to give instant access to the United States. Oh, and what about all the girls and women in the Muslim world facing forced marriages they don’t want? By Spencer’s logic, shouldn’t they be given asylum? And what about all the girls and women in the Muslim world facing honor killing because they attach themselves to a man not acceptable to her family? Given our devotion to the equal dignity of all human beings, an ideal Spencer continually invokes, musn’t we also give them all asylum?

A year ago Spencer said that the U.S. should cease all immigration of Muslims from Muslim countries. Now he wants in effect to let in tens or hundreds of millions of them.

In fact, when Spencer said a year ago that we should cease immigration from Musilm countries, he said it once, in a blog entry, not an article, and never said it again. (Just as Bush on one occasion spoke of a war against “Islamic fascism,” and the neocons went wild, but then Bush never said it again, reverting to “war on terror.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 04, 2008 11:42 PM | Send

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