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Oh, Just Grow Up Already!

It's a rare time that I find myself in a dispute with my colleagues here, especially DJ Drummond. But in his article on Islam last week, I have to speak up.

Unsurprisingly, I don't disagree with anything specific that DJ said. It's a thoughtful, scholarly, dispassionate, and accurate representation of the history of Islam's relation with the non-Islamic world and a good summary of how things got to where they are today.

And he's right in his comparison of Islam to the other two major religions extant today. Both Judaism and Christianity had their extremely aggressive phases, conquering lands and converting "infidels" at the point of a sword. So what Islam is doing today really isn't that different than what those faiths did in the past. And yes, a "Reformation" is desperately needed within Islam.

And that brings me to the point where I have to add in my 2.5 cents (adjusted for inflation), where I show why I just don't say "what he said" about DJ's piece. And that is in how we deal with that pressing need.

Judaism's aggressive phase ended when it conquered the Holy Land. The ancient Jews got their promised land and said "OK, we're done." It was about that time that "Jewish Evangelist" became a delightful oxymoron, and they started actively DIScouraging conversion.

That model doesn't hold for Islam. Their "Holy Land" is the entire earth.

Christianity's Reformation was brought about by a confluence of factors. I'm no religious scholar or noted historian, but I know enough that it was brought about by pressures both from within and without. Within the Catholic Church, there were many men (and a few women, I'm sure, but they were pretty well oppressed) who saw the problems of the Church and worked tirelessly and at great peril to fix them. From without, there were the Protestants who presented the Faithful with an alternative while shining lights on the flaws of the Church. And yes, there were the Muslims, with their ever-present threats of conquest, who forced Europe's Christians to realize that as loathsome as they found their fellow Christians, there was a bigger, existential threat out there.

It took all these factors -- and a lot more, such as the explosion in literacy -- that shattered the theological dominance of Europe.

So, Islam needs its Reformation. We've already seen that using the Jewish precedent won't work -- we're not about to let them conquer the world, then work things out for themselves. Then what can we draw from the Christian example?

For starters, we have the modern equivalent of the printing press -- the internet. (Hell, one of the most popular blogging software packages is called "Movable Type.") That is already doing wonders towards bypassing the top-down model where the aristocracy controls the flow of information to the unenlightened masses. Yes, the Islamists are using the internet for their own purposes -- recruiting, spreading propaganda, gathering intelligence, communicating amongst themselves, and whatnot -- but considerably more quietly is the growing anti-Islamist movement among Muslims. They're still hearing the propaganda and proselytizing and whatnot from their leaders, but they're occasionally checking things out for themselves -- and finding out that things aren't quite so simple, so black and white, as they've been told for centuries.

But we should not simply sit back and wait for Islam to pry its own head out of its own ass, come to its senses, and join the civilized world. The "patient" approach comes with a very high price tag.

To paraphrase Veronica Sawyer, "Islam's teen-angst bullshit has a body count."

Militant Islam's response to any challenge -- real or perceived -- is always the same: blood.

Carnage.

Slaughter.

Death.

One fact must remain first and foremost in these discussions: the greatest number of victims from Muslim violence is found among Muslims. For all the Islamists' railing against the Jews and the Zionists and the Infidels and the Crusaders and the Heretics, it is the Apostates (translated as "Muslims who don't believe exactly as I do with precisely as much fervor") who are the most often killed by Islamists.

The mere existence of us non-Muslims is an affront to them. If we confront them openly, then they will fight us. If we show "respect" and back off, stay at home and mind our manners, then they'll gather their strength and come after us. And if we do everything we can to avoid offering them offense, they'll still find ways to be offended -- from cartoonists drawing cartoons of Mohammed to impossible fantasies of a Koran going down a toilet to an ice-cream swirl or a tire tread too closely resembling the Arabic "Allah."

Oh, and such reticence will be seen as weakness, inviting attack. That was the lesson of the Battle of Mogadishu (of "Blackhawk Down" fame.)

Here's a truly terrifying statistic: according to Wikipedia, there are currently six major conflicts in the world. One is the Mexican drug cartel wars. Two more are the struggles in Afghanistan and Iraq. And the other three are Muslim vs. Muslim -- "Green on Green," to coin a phrase.

Five out of six. Islam, indeed, has "bloody borders."

So, will aggressively confronting the Islamists while providing aid and comfort and resources to the masses help to bring about an Islamic reformation?

I dunno.

But just sitting back and waiting (or, if you prefer, "Hoping they'll Change") had a horrific price tag attached to it. A hefty chunk of which was collected on September 11 eight years ago.


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Comments (26)

Mind clarifying your defini... (Below threshold)
James H:

Mind clarifying your definition of "militant," Jay Tea?

Well, James, a willingness ... (Below threshold)

Well, James, a willingness to take up military weapons and use them to push your beliefs would be a good marker...

J.

The Muslims even forced the... (Below threshold)
Stan25:

The Muslims even forced the Christians and Jews to change faiths by the point of the sword, that is why were not any Christians in the Mid-east until the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War 1

James,How about "C... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

James,

How about "Condoning or participating in forced conversion or violence against 'heretics' or 'pagans'" as a start?

Militant Mohammedism is the mortal enemy of civilization.

For starters, we h... (Below threshold)
JSchuler:
For starters, we have the modern equivalent of the printing press -- the internet. (Hell, one of the most popular blogging software packages is called "Movable Type.") That is already doing wonders towards bypassing the top-down model where the aristocracy controls the flow of information to the unenlightened masses. Yes, the Islamists are using the internet for their own purposes -- recruiting, spreading propaganda, gathering intelligence, communicating amongst themselves, and whatnot -- but considerably more quietly is the growing anti-Islamist movement among Muslims. They're still hearing the propaganda and proselytizing and whatnot from their leaders, but they're occasionally checking things out for themselves -- and finding out that things aren't quite so simple, so black and white, as they've been told for centuries.
And here is where it falls apart. The modern Islamist movement is not driven from the top-down. It is very much driven from the bottom-up. Islam is not a hierarchical religion. To be an imam, you don't need an established organization to bestow you with the title, you simply need some people to agree that you are an imam. What you have today are people who have rejected many of the old scholarly interpretations of Islam, and are working straight from the Koran and Hadiths, and interpreting them anew. In other words, what we are seeing in the Islamist movement IS Islam's reformation.

To believe that the same historical patterns that apply to Judaism and Christianity apply to Islam is folly. For one, Christianity and Judaism don't even follow similar patterns. Christianity began as a radically pacifist doctrine which eventually merged with the Roman state due to the high literacy rate among Christians in the Roman empire, and so became enmeshed in the European political climate like all the pagan religions before it. It took the printing press and the Reformation to start breaking that up, and ultimately the rise of liberalism, which was not incompatible with Jesus's teachings, to sever the ties all together.

Judaism, however, grew under the military campaigns of Moses. In this sense, it's not that different from Islam, except, as you noted, Judaism limits itself to a very specific geographical area, and it does not proselytize. TO THIS DAY, Judaism still has a militant streak as seen in Israel, where there is a hard-right element that seeks the whole of the biblical Promised Land to be incorporated in Israel proper.

Islam, however, was founded by a 7th century warlord and bandit. It has no limits in ambition. It was only pacified when it A) conquered enough territory that internal dissent and division became problematic and B) it ran into military forces stronger than it.

The fact is, Islam has the problem it does now because its founder explicitly endorsed violence and deceit as means to spread his religion, and commanded his followers to do so. This is what the Islamists have discovered as they swept thousands of years of intellectual refinement aside. To believe that it can follow the same path as Christianity is to believe that the content of a religion means nothing: all religions are the same, no matter what their scriptures say. This position is absurd.

It's about time that people... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

It's about time that people speak up. Every time one of the PC crowd spout drivel, it should be pointed out to them in no uncertain terms. If it makes them feel "uncomfortable", tough shit.

<a href="http://www.thereli... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:
Well, since the link did no... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

Well, since the link did not work:

14,369 separate Lethal acts of Jihad have been committed since 11 September 2001.

The time for talking is ove... (Below threshold)
ChiefMinion:

The time for talking is over.

Sadly, there is only one thing that garners the respect of the fanatical arm of this religion. This is the lesson I draw from history. The only "point" they get is the point of a sword.

Every act of aggression on their part, every slight, must be met with superior, overwhelming, disproportionate force. (You know, the Chicago way.)

They don't have to like me. They don't have to respect my beliefs. All I require is their fear.

Fanatic One: "Hey, I'm bored. Let's go kill some Americans!"

Fanatic Two: (After slapping Fanatic One upside his head) "Are you nuts?!? They will destroy us all!"

My strategy doesn't require that we start any fights. However, it is high time we start finishing them.

We have a problem, the peop... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

We have a problem, the people we give authority to, and/or heed, are hopelessly in love with their idea that mankind is a tabula rasa:

Good at heart, we've only to raise the masses' consciousness and standard of living to remake the world in our image.

The only way to stop this madness is to take away their office, command, pulpit--whatever, wherever.

Well said and timely. It is... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Well said and timely. It is also important to remember Islam is a religious/political faith. ww

What you have toda... (Below threshold)
James H:
What you have today are people who have rejected many of the old scholarly interpretations of Islam, and are working straight from the Koran and Hadiths, and interpreting them anew. In other words, what we are seeing in the Islamist movement IS Islam's reformation.

This is an incredibly valuable point. A lot of the so-called "reasonable" leaders or "moderate" leaders, especially those ally with the West politically, in the Arab world are also crooks or autocrats. See, for example, the recently deceased Saddam Hussein. Or the deposed Shah of Iran. An odor of corruption continues to hang around Hamid Karzai. Not to mention Pakistani politics. With fine specimens like that in power, a charismatic religious leader who promises to restore morality to government by returning to a closer reading of the Koran is going to be very attractive politically.

And then the political games REALLY start.

Recall that the Christian Reformation was also very bloody, especially once the Protestant vs. Catholic question was mixed with the European political rivalries of the day.

Reformation of what? Christ... (Below threshold)
SmartyMarty:

Reformation of what? Christianity and Judaism may have had their bloody stages but does the Bible(s) mandate deadly violence against the infidel? History illustrates there is only one way for dealing with the islamic threat especially when the so-called moderate muslim is unable to control or purge their radical counterparts. Defeat or be defeated.

Unfortunately, Christianity... (Below threshold)
BChoinski:

Unfortunately, Christianity and Judaism were able to do their growing up in a pre-industrial world, where a culture's force was limited to the damage done by a single man (times their army), with times to reach the enemy measured in months. Islam (may) be going through the process, but now a single man can do the destruction of millions and can reach the enemy in hours or days.

We don't have the luxury of time to allow them to get their shit together like the middle ages had.

Long, long before 9/11, I a... (Below threshold)
mag:

Long, long before 9/11, I always thought the islam was a creepy religion. I try to have respect for all religions, but I just can not feel it for islam.
Have you every been to islamic wedding? My brother and cousin did this past summer. A co-workers daughter. No blacks or hispanics co-workers were allowed to the wedding, just the white folks.

My cousin said they way they treated the bride was so horrenous that she would never go to another one again. The bride was beautiful, the food was good and plentiful. But the bride had to stand in a corner all day with her head down and could not look up, not eat or drink, or speak to anyone. When the bride started to faint, my cousin wanted to give her some water, but they blocked her saying the bride did not need it.
Oh yeah, did I mention there was no groom. In was in another state having his own reception.
Weird as all hell. Then a car came and took the bride away to the groom and then she became his property.
That alone makes me reject islam. And I resent anyone telling me I have to be tolerate

Periodic confrontations wi... (Below threshold)
Will:

Periodic confrontations with Islam helped organized Christianity face its own hypocrisy, shed teachings that condoned slavery, and realize that the power of the Church cannot be physical.
No such luck for unchanging Islam.

Back in 1984, I took a coll... (Below threshold)
Dodo David:

Back in 1984, I took a college course on Islam. My instructor was a Muslim from Saudi Arabia.

During the course, I was taught that Muhammed originally used a non-lethal method to convert Arabs to Islam, but that method had poor results. In fact the inhabitants of Mecca chased Muhammad and his few converts out of town.

Muhammad and his disciples moved to Medina. Once there Muhammad decided to use a different method for making converts. In short, Muhammad formed an army in order to force people to convert. Then he led his army back to Mecca, where he and his followers began conversions at sword-point.

Muslim terrorists know that Muhammad used violence in order to get his way and that Muhammad placed in the Koran orders to kill certain people. Thus, Muslim terrorists are merely following in their prophet's footsteps.

Now, contrast Islam's origin with the origin of Christianity. Jesus didn't kill, and he didn't teach his followers to kill. The New Testament teaches Christians to love non-Christians, not to kill them. So, whenever religious fanatics kill "in the name of Christ", they aren't following in Christ's footsteps.

Dodo David, does that also ... (Below threshold)
JC Hammer:

Dodo David, does that also include some of the religions here in the USA? Just wondering. And I am not including the towel heads here in this country.

Just in case anyone was won... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Just in case anyone was wondering, I think Jay has a fine piece here. I think he missed what I was getting at, which tells me I did a poor job of writing my posts, but no worries, I am not planning on another foray into that subejct just now.

Good job, Jay.

PS - I think Obama might be learning. I didn't hear about any plans to apologize to the Mecca Boyz while he's outta the country this time.

I think You do a great Job ... (Below threshold)
914:

I think You do a great Job too DJ!!

tc.. Jeff

> So, Islam needs its Re... (Below threshold)
Arthur:

> So, Islam needs its Reformation.

I'm worried that it's already had it's reformation and what we're dealing with is post-reformation Islam.

Nationalism is what diluted... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Nationalism is what diluted the influence of religion in Europe. Nationalism in part even drove many of the Protestant splits. Especially after the Islamic threat was dealt with, nations could become a little more self-concerned. They strengthened their sense of unification and people concentrated their support for their nation.

This drained political and military power away from the Church who couldn't object because of if the Church challenged a ruler too strongly, he could just support a Protestant movement grab the power for himself and tell the Church to take a hike.

Jay, a well thought out ess... (Below threshold)

Jay, a well thought out essay and a very good one.

I would offer a single correction, though. Women were not oppressed in the Catholic Church. In fact, the Catholic Church was the first to establish the marriage ceremony where the woman had to say "I do." Before then, as Islam is now, a woman was property and had no say.

In what some call "feminism" and I call "just-another-commie-corruption", women are supposed to be oppressed because they can't murder their unborn children. I reject that argument.

Don't fall into the anti-Catholic (and anti-Christian) liberal mindset. Women aren't oppressed in the church and never have been. The only way to destroy Christianity is to take women away from it and send them to a blood cult where child sacrifice is their sacrament.

I know there's a lot of Catholic bashers out there, and particularly here at Wizbang. I don't want to start another Catholic bashing war, so let me just say, I'm Catholic, I'm happy, I'm proud of my Church, and leave it at that.

Dodo David, the origin s... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Dodo David, the origin story of Christianity is peaceful--hell, it's practically pacifistic, submitting oneself to an unjust execution rather than fighting The Man--but the Church only became the powerful political entity it still is today (albeit fractured into many denominations) through political fiat in Rome. Christians were first tortured and killed because of their faith, but eventually Christians were doing the torturing and killing in the name of Christ.

I do not deny that Jesus Christ was obviously a better person than Mohammed. However, a thousand years after the death of Christ, the leader of the forces of Islam--Saladin--was without a doubt a far superior human being to the leader of the Christian world.

So, hyper, you're willing t... (Below threshold)

So, hyper, you're willing to make judgments of Jesus vs. Mohammed, judgments of Muslims vs. Christians 1,000 years ago...

Take the next step, hyper. Compare today's Christians with today's Muslims.

Be sure to show your work.

J.

"" Both Judaism and Christi... (Below threshold)

"" Both Judaism and Christianity had their extremely aggressive phases, conquering lands and converting "infidels" at the point of a sword. ""

Care to support that allegation with historical reference?

What "extremely aggressive phases?"

Name some of the "conquered lands?"

Describe any of those converted "at the point of a sword?"

I suggest your endeavoring to find moral equivalence -- or even similarity -- between Judeo-Christianity and the manifestation of evil that is the death-cultist ideology its adherents call "Islam" is to compare strawberry jam to pig poop!




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