Why can’t we all just get along?
People are quick to blame “Islamophobia” for attacks on the US. If we would just accept that the Islam culture is different, they’d just leave us alone. Somehow, terrorism is the fault of Americans. Religious Americans, of course. (This is, oddly, the approximate position of Ron Paul as well: That American activities are the cause of jihadist attacks, and that they’d leave us alone if we “pulled out of their countries.”) A commenter on Citizen Tom’s fine blog seemed to evince such a belief:
Sure would be nice if all religious leaders met together and came up with a common belief. For example, good will to all rather than my God is better than your God. Religious beliefs originate from the country you were born and taught. The US is a melting pot of cultures because of the US Immigration policies and either we as a nation learn to accept each other’s cultures as brother or sisters or religious intolerance will lead to terrorism as what is happening now in the world.
I didn’t think so, and replied:
We as a nation (the US) accept each others’ cultures; this is woven into our Constitution and is evidenced by our daily practices in the 21st century.
The religious intolerance of jihadism wants to wipe us off the face of the Earth anyway, and they are taking active steps to do so, here and abroad.
What religion is jihadism?
He sounded surprised — offering only this question:
What religion is jihadism?
(My response follows. I’ve expanded it somewhat.)
I do not think that you will be shocked to learn that jihadists are Muslims. The religion is Islam. The particular sect is less crucial, as jihadists are Sunni and Shiite, with a sprinkling of others. One sect in particular, who translate in English to “Qur’an only,” are never jihadists so far as I know. They tend to be good people, in opposition to the jihadists and their apologists. But the Qur’an only folks are generally marginalized, and there is no country where they hold sway.
Who holds sway?
In the “500 Most Influential Muslims” (my copy is from 2009), about two-thirds of the top 50 are jihadists or jihadist apologists and supporters. For example, Qaradawi, the radical with 60 million radio listeners who calls constantly for the destruction of the United States and Israel, is #9:
9. Sheikh Dr Yusuf Qaradawi, Head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars
Like many of the others, Qaradawi is listed as a terrorist by many countries. At the pulpit, holding his AK-47 high, he influences millions of wannabe terrorists. They then go out and kill local Christians, because they are within easy reach.
The Jihadist Scale
I have Sheik Qaradawi in my list with a jihadist score of 95 out of 100, only because I have not actually heard him offer an opinion on female genital mutilation. Here’s the chart I use:
Usama bin Ladin scores 100 on this scale, of course, but so do a great many influential thinkers of Islam. This is jihadism. It is, unfortunately, not a fringe notion.
In the “500 Most Influential Muslims” document, the people who oppose jihadist interpretations are denigrated as practicing “Islamic modernism.” Here’s what that document says about them:
Islamic modernism is a reform movement started by politically-minded urbanites with scant knowledge of traditional Islam. These people had witnessed and studied Western technology and socio-political ideas, and realized that the Islamic world was being left behind technologically by the West and had become too weak to stand up to it. They blamed this weakness on what they saw as ‘traditional Islam,’ which they thought held them back and was not ‘progressive’ enough. They thus called for a complete overhaul of Islam, including—or rather in particular—Islamic law (sharia) and doctrine (aqida). Islamic modernism remains popularly an object of derision and ridicule, and is scorned
by traditional Muslims and fundamentalists alike.
Think about this. Sharia law, which incorporations the notion of death as the appropriate punishment for someone who decides to leave Islam, is mainstream — and those who think that this is too harsh are objects of “derision and ridicule” and “scorned by traditional Muslims and fundamentalists alike.”
Talk show fodder
In Saudi Arabia, a “progressive, moderate” talk show host had a guest on suggesting that one should be free to believe as his conscience dictates:
The young audience in the studio, and the viewers at home, disagreed: Three-fourths of them decreed death as the necessary punishment. The other guest, a Muslim mainstream cleric, agreed as well, and castigated Gamal al-Banna for his suggestion of lenience. “But what if he has something wrong in his head?” al-Banna asked? “Then his head must be disconnected from his body so that it does not contaminate other Muslims!” was the reply.
The moderate Muslim brother
Gamal al-Banna, the brother of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood (Hasan al-Banna), has been allowed to live by dint of his famous brother. He steered clear of politics, but said things that Muslims considered “outrageous” … like suggesting that religious freedom could be compatible with Islam. Last February, he died, at 92 years old. And while Wikipedia touts him as “influential,” it is clear from the articles about him that few in the Middle East agree with him.
This does not hold much hope for the modernists.
Or us, for that matter.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle