Our every effort to make Islam more “moderate” only makes it more radical
an axiom of the liberal and center-right American establishment that bringing Muslims into contact with American style democracy and modernity, whether by exporting democracy to the Muslim world or by importing Muslims into the West, will leach the dangerous extremism out of the Muslim community, thereby turning Muslims into peaceful and productive members of modern society. The truth, writes
Raymond Ibrahim, is the exact opposite. In a concise yet panoramic article at Pajamas Media
, he shows how every single American value, when filtered through an Islamic
lens and incarnated in an Islamic
context, encourages and sparks Islamic jihadism, often in new and more threatening forms that didn’t even exist before we began our project of Islamic amelioration.
I made much the same point in 2005 at FrontPage Magazine, that every attempt on our part to cultivate a moderate Islam can only have the effect of empowering Islam, i.e., of empowering Islamic extremism, and of weakening ourselves.
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If memory serve, Sayid Qutb [KUTub] became shocked, outraged, and then radically anti-Western beginning with his attendance at a social dance at a northern Colorado college in the late 1940s. I do not know his biography well enough to say why an Egyptian was in Colorado at all, but it is possible he was there on one of the various cultural exchanges that began in the 1940s.
In any event, the fact that Qutb started on the trajectory that led to becoming a leading thinker of the Moslem Brotherhood by viewing a “sock hop” 60 years ago just punctuates your point. Of course, to understand this issue, one must reject the liberal shibbolith that “all humans are just the same.”
This pernicious myth may be the ultimate undoing of the West.
At Raymond Ibrahim’s website, there is a detailed account of his intellectual career and formation. It includes this:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 03, 2011 08:33 PM | Send
The terrorist strikes of 9/11 played a pivotal role in Mr. Ibrahim’s formative outlook. As he explains in the Chronicle of Higher Education, when the terror attacks occurred in 2001, he was in the midst of doing research for his M.A. thesis, which centered on the role of the jihad in the early Islamic conquests. Immediately after 9/11, Raymond—then a student of history and theology, not politics and current events—began reading up on al-Qaeda and other Islamist organizations; he began watching Al Jazeera.
This, as I have said over and over, is the single most important point that is to be grasped about Islam—the continuity between Islam’s teachings and doctrines on jihad in its 7th through 9th century foundations, and the statements made by Islamic jihadists throughout the centuries up to the present moment. Every time a Muslim declares that infidels are to be killed, or that Jews are pigs and monkeys, or that a non-Islamic society is insulting and conspiring against Muslims, or that Muslims are commanded to wage war on infidels wherever they encounter them, he is not expressing some odd and idiosyncratic opinion of his own; he is piously repeating the divinely authoritative Islamic texts. What this means is that Islam is not merely a collection of individuals, a disproportionate number of whom happen to be violent and radical, as the nihilist obscurantist John Derbyshire asserts. Islam is a coherent, organic whole, and every believing Muslim will, in one form or another, come under the influence of that whole.
He was immediately struck by the continuity evident between the words, deeds, and goals of the 7th century mujahidin (“jihadists”), whom he had been studying for years, and the near verbatim words, deeds, and goals of 21st century jihadists. Since then, he has maintained that to truly understand contemporary Islam(ism), one must first understand Islamic history, doctrine, and epistemology.
I’m being repetitive here, but as I wrote in in 2007:
That is the most fascinating thing about Islam, how Muslims through the ages in pronouncing on jihad and related matters are always just quoting and paraphrasing the Koran and the Hadiths, how Islam is a machine, replicating itself, generation after generation, century after century. That is the unique nature of Islam as an unchangeable divinely authoritative belief system forming the mind and conduct of Muslims over the centuries, unaltered in any essentials from the eighth century up to this moment.
For information on Derbyshire’s nihilism, see the entry, “Derbyshire’s rejection of conceptual thought, cont.,” especially my comment beginning “Derbyshire in his essay ‘Islamophobia’ embraces pure anti-intellectualism.”