Our real mission to the Muslims

Obama told the Muslim world in Cairo in 2009 that “I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

It’s a shame that earlier U.S. political leaders and presidents failed to understand that ending negative stereotypes about Muslims wherever they appear was part of their job.

Consider, for example, the report sent by ambassadors John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to the Congress in 1786 following their meeting in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, Tripoli’s ambassador to Britain. As Joshua London wrote in NRO in 2005:

These future United States presidents questioned the ambassador as to why his government was so hostile to the new American republic even though America had done nothing to provoke any such animosity. Ambassador Adja answered them, as they reported to the Continental Congress, “that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

What a gushing Niagara of negative stereotypes about Islam! And yet it was passed along at the highest level of the U.S. government without, so far as we can tell, anyone’s objecting to it. What a backward country we were then.

Now things are so much better. Even though many Muslims today, like the Tripolitan ambassador in 1786, still tragically subscribe to negative stereotypes about their own religion, and thus mistakenly believe that they are commanded by the Koran to wage war on us wherever we can be found, we are nevertheless commanded by our religion, liberalism, to fight against such negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they can be found. In brief, it is our mission to correct Muslims’ false view of their religion. Which is what Western leaders have been doing since September 11, 2001, starting with President Bush when he repeatedly told Muslims that he knows that their religion is really a religion of peace, and continuing with countless politicians and intellectuals who keep telling the Muslims that they, the Western politicians and intellectuals, know that “moderate Islam” is the real Islam.

- end of initial entry -

N. writes:

When put this way, that it is the responsibility of Western liberals to teach a billion Moslems what their real religion actually is, this “mission” looks rather insane. Isn’t it interesting that hardly anyone chooses to consider the “mission” in this manner, not just on the left, not just in the mainstream media, but on the allegedly conservative right wing as well?

Perhaps we can estimate the degree to which a person subscribes to liberalism, be it left or right, by their reaction to this elegant summary you have written?

LA replies:

It certainly would seem like an interesting approach to take when debating liberals and mainstream conservatives who believe in “moderate Islam” and who oppose “negative stereotypes about Muslims.” First, quote a Muslim—a living, authoritative, non-taqiyyah Muslim (and have the quote ready at hand for when you need it)—who states clearly the jihad nature of Islam, or who, like Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, has flatly rejected the notion of a “moderate Islam.” Then say to your liberal or conservative interlocutor, “Ok, here is a widely respected Muslim who says things about Islam which you consider negative stereotypes. Since you believe it is our urgent task to combat negative stereotypes of Islam, what will you do to stop this deluded person from spreading these negative stereotypes of Islam among millions of his fellow Muslims?”

Ironically, a very similar point was made about Time editor Fareed Zakaria earlier today by Vivek G., who wrote:

“Zakaria [a secular Muslim] was born in India, a non-Muslim nation; migrated to U.S., another non-Muslim nation; married a non-Muslim woman (he must have converted her); and preaches tolerance, secularism, and assimilation to these non-Muslims. Isn’t it ironical? Shouldn’t he rather do this preaching in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and such countries?”

LA continues:

I have a further idea, which may help Geert Wilders in his upcoming trial for hate speech against Islam. Instead of calling for the banning of the Koran because it is a fascist, Mein Kampf-like book filled with hate against non-Muslims, Wilders should call for the banning of the Koran because it spreads negative stereotypes of Islam. If he changes his message in this way, how can he be found guilty of hate-speech against Islam?

Richard W. writes:

You really outdid yourself with “Our real mission to the Muslims.”

One of your best ever. Classic Auster: short, sharp, precise.

Kilroy M. writes:

You wrote: “Wilders should call for the banning of the Koran because it spreads negative stereotypes of Islam. If he changes his message in this way, how can he be found guilty of hate-speech against Islam?”

Ha! Gold! A liberal intelectoid attempting to refute or dismiss such as conundrum would require him/her/it to address Islam as Islam, which is the whole point. If such a question were ever to see the inside of a court (an actual legal one, or the court of public opinion) it would would be win-win: either way, the irrationality of the liberal position would be revealed for what it is.

Daniel S. writes:

It would appear that founder of Islam itself, Muhammad, mistakenly held negative stereotypes about his religion, as he encouraged his followers to violence and brutality. He frequently incited his followers to wage war against infidels and claim their property as war spoils. He told his followers that the path to Heaven lay in the bearing of arms against non-Muslims. If only Barack Obama and the liberals had been around 1,400 years ago to inform Muhammad that he had Islam all wrong. How about the much praised medieval Muslim theologian and mystic Abu Hamid al-Ghazali? He encouraged the Muslims to make yearly jihad raids against the infidels and enslave the non-Muslims taken captive. How could such a scholarly man been so mistaken about his religion? How about the North African philosopher ibn Khaldun? How about the famous Averroes, al-Mawardi, ibn Taymiyya, al-Suyuti, Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawan, and countless other well learned Muslim jurists who stated that Islam required violent jihad against the infidels? If only these men had been made aware that they were taken in by negative stereotypes of Islam, that they had been fooled by the Islamophobes of their respective eras.

September 30

Vivek G. writes:

You wrote: ” … Wilders should call for the banning of the Koran because it spreads negative stereotypes of Islam.”

That is a brilliant idea. In fact we should demand the closure of all mosques as well for the same reason! You could demand even immigration-control, at least of Muslims, for similar reasons! Further, may be we should ask for a complete ban on Islam because it spreads negative stereotypes about Islam!

Sounds strange, but isn’t it to be anticipated? A world-view like Liberalism which is based on false premises must eventually lead to expressions which tie themselves into knots!

I recall a joke that I heard in my childhood. Two barbers are boasting to each other. The first barber says that his father was so highly skilled that he used to shave the king while the king slept and the king could never make out that he was being shaved. The second, trying to outperform the first, replies that his father was so skilled that he used to cut off his own head, perform hair-cutting on the head, and wear the head again! To this, the first retorts that if the head is severed then the eyes are severed along with the head too, so how could the man possibly do such a feat? Thus challenged, the second barber slaps himself gently on his cheek as if to admonish himself, and replies, “Well, that was a small mistake in my narration, however the rest of the story is absolutely true!”.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 29, 2010 01:20 PM | Send

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