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The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step

I've often heard said, and repeated, that Islam is an "immature" religion, that it still is in its young, expansionist phase. Judaism and Christianity both went through their militant, conquering stage, but both outgrew them and "matured" as the faiths they are today. Islam, however, has yet to reach that point when they move beyond the "Dar Al-Islam/Dar Al-Harb" ("World of Islam/World of War") stage, the perception that the world is either Islamic, or soon will be after it is conquered and brought to Allah by the sword.

Now, there are a lot of Muslims who don't act this way. But there are enough that are, especially when coupled with the inaction of the rest. Sure, they'll occasionally speak out against acts of terrorism, but the usual mainstream Islamic reaction to Islamic terrorism is the old Three-Step: 1) "It was a terrible thing, but you cannot blame all of us for the actions of a misguided few." 2) "It was terrible, but understandable, when you consider how Muslims are being horribly abused by Israel/the West/the heartbreak of psoriasis." 3) "We fear a terrible backlash against all Muslims for this, and demand protection from the authorities."

Two things have been missing from the protests. The first was a blanket condemnation of the action, without the above weaseling. The second has been action, actual deeds done to confront the radicals in their midst. For decades, perhaps longer, the psychos have enjoyed the tacit endorsement of the mainstream, because without that pond to swim in freely, the fish would have died off long ago.

But for the first time, I'm seeing signs of maturity in large groups of Muslims, In Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world, a group of Muslims have volunteered to guard Christian churches from attack by Muslim extremists this Christmas. That's right -- they're actually standing up to their own alongside the heretics.

Of course, I hope their efforts end up unneeded, and it is a peaceful Chrsitmas for the Christian minority in Indonesia. But there's a part of me that can't help speculating on the strategic benefits of there being actual thwarted attacks, and the world is witness to Muslims taking responsibilty for the vipers in their midst and actively crushing this, as they call it, "perversion of Islam."

As ugly as it may sound, this is something that has to be done, and it's best done by Muslims. They need to draw the line between the mainstream of Islam and the radicals, and build a wall atop that line. They've repeatedly said that they oppose terrorism -- and finally we're seeing deeds put to words.

On the other hand, this could be a hoax and a setup. But I really hope not.

(Thanks to Pickled Politics, via Harry's Place, courtesy the biggest guy in Pajamas who isn't Hugh Hefner)

Comments (19)

By the mere fact that a CHR... (Below threshold)

By the mere fact that a CHRISTIAN CHURCH HAS TO BE GUARDED -- Christmas time or not -- should be a huge emergency signal to any and all.

Guarded by Muslims, whatever. It's the "guarded" aspect that concerns me, that a church would require to be.

Bravo, Jay Tea, for calling the Muslim responses for the weaseling that they are. Most of us have been far tolerant but it's not proving to be productive for the efforts of "peace" much less social order. "Peaceful Muslims" is beginning to read like an oxymoron.

Meanwhile here in the US Ch... (Below threshold)

Meanwhile here in the US Chrurces are closing on Christmans due to "low attendance"

Oh the irony, Did anyone else get their "Happy Holidays" card form the White House?

I've been holding off on th... (Below threshold)

I've been holding off on this one myself... putting my thoughts together on it.

The groups of human shields contain children. Doesn't that strike anyone as a bit... creepy?

Sort of like when the Palestinians intentionally bring children out to rallies to compound any "human rights disaster" should the IDF justifiably strike the terrorists and hit kids in the crossfire.

If the "militant" Muslims are willing to use their children for shuttling ammo and explosives, what will stop them from blowing up someone else's kid in the attempt to kill infidels?

I cannot blame the average ... (Below threshold)

I cannot blame the average Muslim for his/her lack of willingness to "stand up for the heretics". Oppression has been a way of life in these Islamic countries. Minding one's own business versus harassment, maming, torture or death is an easy choice for many of us. We are also told by the intelligensia in this country how much the rest of the world hates us now that we're trying to establish freedom in the ME. Yet our policy has long been to accommodate and appease these repressive regimes. That policy is changed under the Bush administration and if Bush's vision is successful one presumes it will potentially provide freedom of voice and action for the average Muslim. Hence, a way of life to continue to stand up for.

Rick DeMent: I bet CNN dev... (Below threshold)

Rick DeMent: I bet CNN devoted no laborious decision as to including that article in their "news" -- while, have you ever seen/read much of anything on CNN (or most other MSM sources) that reports all the good things, increased membership, and so much more, among Christians?

I was just reading about how some Christian ministers are joining the Catholic Church after the recent decrepitude that has become the American Episcopal 'church' but you'd never read that on CNN, unless they, perhaps, described those ministers applying to the Priesthood as "deserters" or such.

About closures of some churches, there's a trend underway to create "mega sanctuaries" among Catholics...larger congregations as one to include many smaller groups in the areas, resulting in smaller churches "closing" while in fact, the people have not at all abanodoned the church, yet just regrouped in larger, concentrated numbers.

Hmmmm.Mea... (Below threshold)


Meanwhile here in the US Chrurces are closing on Christmans due to "low attendance"

Some *megachurches* are going to close. This leaves out the vast majority of churches that will be open. The ones that will be closed are the ones the size of football stadiums.

Disclaimer: Jay, I a... (Below threshold)

Disclaimer: Jay, I apologize if this is mistakenly directed at you--I realize you presented the statement with which I take issue as what you've heard, not necessarily what you believe, so take this with a grain of salt.

When exactly were the "militant, conquering" phases of Judaism and Christianity?

With Christianity, if you're referring to the Crusades, please look at the facts of history preceding the Holy Wars. Muslims had turned against Christians, killing them and burning their churches. The Crusades were the efforts of Christians to reclaim the Holy Land from the Muslims.

As to the Jews, perhaps you are talking about the wars of the Old Testament. They haven't been exactly a dominant conquering force since, oh, about 70 A.D. Again, the biggest part of "official" Jewish military and paramilitary efforts within the past couple of centuries has been to reclaim their homeland--from the Muslims.

Am I the only one to spot a trend here? Equivocation in this area is shaky at best, dishonest at worst.

Hmmm.On t... (Below threshold)


On the other hand, this could be a hoax and a setup. But I really hope not.

Frankly I'm not going to hold my breath. Some people may buy the whole "immature religion" nonsense but I don't. Islam has been around for 1,300+ years now and it has never acted in any other way.

Rick DeMent-Only s... (Below threshold)

Rick DeMent-

Only some of them are. Lakewood Church in Hosuton will be open and holding services.

I'm very tempted to attend them and liveblog it.

I disagree that Isla... (Below threshold)

I disagree that Islam is the force that causes violence from/in that part of the world. There's as much Muslim-on-Muslim violence by "religious" fanatics as there is violence against infidels. Among religions Islam particularly stands out as one that becomes intertwined with politics and culture. I think that Al Qaeda acts out of self aggrandizement, the Palestinians act out of jealousy, and the Taliban acted out of extremist Pashtun culture. I don't know what the Tamil Tigers' deal is. But all of them use Islam as the face of their movement because that's what every culture veiled in Islam does.

(Of course, I've never been to that part of the world and all of this is just what I read in Esposito's book in a class I took, but I thought I'd throw it out there for what it's worth).

As an analogy, do you suppose maybe the conquistadors of Spain were more interested in gold and used Christianity as a face just to try to justify their atrocities?

BoDidly, Actually ... (Below threshold)


Actually you would need to go over 100 years prior to 70 CE to see a militant Judiasm, that would be during the Maccabean (Hasemonean) Dyansty and periods prior to that time (Conquest of Canaan - through the Divided Kingdom). At that time Judiasm was a theocratic kingdom that at times forced people to convert to Judiasm. The clearest example of this would be during the Hasmonean conquest and conversion of the Idueaman (formely Edomites) and this forced conversion brought Herod Dynasty (Herod the Great and his descendents) into prominence in Judean politics in the 1st Century BCE and CE.

The revolt in 70 CE was nothing more than a movement to reestablish an independent state, not a movement of conquest and conversion.

BoDiddly - exactly. The un... (Below threshold)

BoDiddly - exactly. The underlying story of Islam is of the military hero, Mohammed, bringing the will of God to the unbelievers by force. For Christianity, it is of God sacrificing himself for the common good as an example to humanity to do the same. The idea that you can mix and match the two religeons is understandable from a secular perspective, where one sees these things as nothing but silly superstitions, but is false in practice

No offense taken, Bo -- you... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

No offense taken, Bo -- you presented your concerns politely, and you've built up quite a reservoir of good will with me even if you hadn't.

The expansionist era of Judaism I referred to was the conquest of the Holy Land after the Exodus, and I'd consider Christianity's expansionist eras to be two-fold: first, the Roman conquests and conversions throughout Europe; secondly, the Colonial Era, when Christianity was one of the effects of the colonizing of the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

Yeah, both long in the past, I admit. That was pretty much my point. Islam is still pretty much in that stage, and this is, in my opinion, the first real sign that Islam is maturing. I just hope it isn't the last.


Hmmm.Isla... (Below threshold)


Islam is still pretty much in that stage, and this is, in my opinion, the first real sign that Islam is maturing.

Jay that's absurd. You think Islam is maturing because it is trying to convert the world by the sword?

No, ed, I'm taking the fact... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

No, ed, I'm taking the fact that Muslims are going to defend Christian churches against potential Islamist attacks as a sign that they're growing AWAY from the sword approach.


Hmmmm.Ahh ok that ... (Below threshold)


Ahh ok that makes more sense.

Still I don't think you should extrapolate any sort of trends from such an isolated situation.

Well, Jay, the cup is half ... (Below threshold)

Well, Jay, the cup is half full or it's half empty.

I'm of the mind that by the mere fact that Muslims are making imminent threat upon attacking Christian churches (and already have done so), that the cup is about one-fourth full.

And, more people need to read about the actual person of Mohammed.

While Jesus Christ was God become man who remains alive and in presence to this very day, Mohammed was a human man who, based upon the life he led, is likely not to be spiritually alive today in any way God would allow.

Jay, points well taken...ho... (Below threshold)

Jay, points well taken...however... :)

The conquests of Israel of which you speak were over a particular tract of land, not stemming from a vision of worldwide domination, and (if you give credence to the Biblical accounts) specifically directed by God in both location and method.

The "conquests" of Christianity have amounted to a violent set of Crusades (in response to Muslim violence against Christians) and an evangelization of other areas (hardly a military conquest).

I appreciate your idea--that Islam is growing out of its "violent stage"--but you must remember that Islam is older than Christianity, and nearly as old as Judaism (debatably just as old). The big difference is that the Koran teaches (through the words of the "prophet") that Allah calls for the destruction or forcible conversion of nonbelievers, and promises rewards to those servants who carry out those acts. The other two religions you mention teach that while faith (and/or conversion) is necessary to escape God's condemnation, annihilation of unbelievers is up to God.

That's the biggest reason why one can point to violent points in Judaism or Christianity, but must refer to practically all of Islamic history when discussing that religion's "violent phase."

Bodiddly,Wh... (Below threshold)


What exactly do you mean by saying that Islam is older than Christianity?






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