What do the events in Denmark and the town of Al Baghdadi have in common? Demonstrations of worldwide mass derangement syndrome caused by geo-political maltreatment perhaps? This might be favoured by those whose white guilt and heightened social conscience overwhelm cognitive abilities. President Obama would undoubtedly plump for violent extremism, which by his reckoning is haphazardly and illegitimately choosing Islam on which to hang its hat.
Those not severely stunted by fears of contributing to Islamophobia might well use the ‘I’ word and identify the commonality as violent Islamic extremism.
Those who have studied Islamic scripture, like Robert Spencer, go further and attribute the root cause of all Islamic terrorism to “a belief system that mandates warfare against unbelievers”. Egypt’s President Sisi seems to be an unlikely ally. Else why call upon imams to revolutionise the faith, as he urged on New Year’s Day at Al-Azhar University in Cairo?
But, take note! There is one disturbing commonality between the events in Denmark and Al Baghdadi that goes beyond the religious scripture and fervour that inspired them. That commonality is success.
A lone Muslim gunman succeeded in killing two people and injuring five policemen at a Danish free-speech meeting and later near a synagogue. No, unfortunately, Mr President we can’t get away this time with ‘the random act of violence’ ploy. One of those in the cafe was a Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who had drawn Muhammad, and unflatteringly to boot. Then there’s the whole synagogue complication. You know, only Jews go to synagogues, as distinct from kosher delis.
Separately, many miles away, ISIS — in the throes of being degraded and destroyed – took over Al Baghdadi. This is a small town only some five miles from Al Asad, the major air base housing a contingent of US Marines. I don’t want to be obtuse, but to me that doesn’t have the ring of ISIS on the run.
In fact, exactly where in the world can you say that Islamism has been decisively rolled back? Middle Eastern and North African rampages go unabated. Iran builds its bomb. Problems are evident throughout Asia and Southeast Asia. Muslim populations are growing rapidly in most Western countries, each of which has radical and violent elements.
Right now, the relevant question is not when and where Islamists will next be defeated. The relevant question is the purely defensive one: How can they be stopped from making further inroads? Can they be kept out of Sinai and Jordan, for example? Will we be able to forestall the inevitable next attack on a cafe, a railway station, a church or synagogue?
It’s all defensive, not to mention pathetic. To wit: “Bring our girls home”. It will remain defensive and pathetic at least up until the time that the enemy has been properly identified by western political leaders.
Robert Spencer, mentioned above, knows who the enemy is, as do Mark Durie, Mark Steyn, Peter Hammond, Hirsi Ali, and others. How in the world did they acquire this knowledge when, with all the resources at their disposal, it clearly eludes Obama, Cameron, Merkel and Hollande? Let me guess. I think they may have read some of the Koran and Hadiths and listened to any number of imams preaching. An analogy seems apropos: If Chamberlain had read Mein Kampf and closely followed Hitler’s speeches he might not have been so easily duped at Munich.
Religious education is alien to the modern Western mind. Yet that is the only key to identifying and subsequently defeating the Islamic enemy. Nothing else will work. When a particular scripture is consistently and widely invoked to support bombings, beheadings, rapes, enslavements and burnings; and when that same scripture has supported conquest and domination since the 7th century, it is surely time to look into it.
Start this way. If practising Muslims were to disavow the intolerant, violent and sharia parts of Islamic scripture what would be left of this (so-called) Abrahamic faith? Not being a religious scholar, I don’t know the answer. But isn’t it a question worth asking of leading Muslim clerics and scholars?
After all, there has to be something innovative in a mainstream faith. Jews introduced the single God, the creator of all things and lawgiver. Christians introduced Jesus as the pathway to God’s grace. (By the way, to ease the minds of non-Christians, the pathway is a multi-lane highway barring none from travelling if fit.) Exactly what does Islam add once stripped of Muslim domination and superiority? That, as they say, is the question.
Is Islam the religion of the Koran and its companion scripture, in all of its completeness and all of its ‘gory’. Or can the ‘gory’ be extracted and still leave a faith worth its salt? The answer to this question is crucial.
Egypt’s President Sisi seems to believe in the possibility of an affirmative answer. Disconcertingly, however, the Western conservative political world has taken more notice of Sisi’s speech than has the Muslim clerical world. You may have heard the deafening silence from that quarter. The omens are bad, as they were bound to be.
There are three developmental stages to go through before Islamism can be confronted. In stage one fools reign. As each beheading occurs to the cries of Allahu Akbar Islam is described as a religion of peace. Arrested development caused by political correctness can prevent graduation from this stage. David Cameron and Barack Obama are cases in point.
In the second stage comes recognition that Islam is not so peaceful after all, that it can quite easily accommodate beheadings and other unspeakable acts against those regarded as infidels. President Sisi seems to have reached and embraced this second stage of enlightenment. Presumably Cameron and Obama regard him as something of a heretic.
The third stage is the defining stage. It becomes clear that Islam cannot change. It has been set in stone since the 7th Century. The very words of God are not mutable at the hands of Johnny-come-latelies. Almost equally, the sayings and doings of the Prophet are not mutable.
If Western political leaders were ever to reach this third stage of understanding they might have a chance of devising strategies to undo Islamism at home and abroad and protect Western civilisation. Sad to say, Churchill is dead. In fact, even quoting him now in the UK, as politician Paul Weston found out, can get you arrested. What we have instead is a collection of prissy, post-modern political opportunists who are willing to sell their respective countries down the river for a Muslim vote. That is the real existential problem.
Leaders with gumption: Your countries need you!