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December 21st 2015 print

Peter Smith

The Minaret’s Long, Dark Shadow

Let’s indulge optimism and hope for the sake of Western civilisation and, not least, for the wellbeing of coming generations of people born into Muslim societies that Islam can and does undergo a revolution. But I won't hold my breath

allah-boundMalcolm Turnbull, ASIO head Duncan Lewis, Sydney Mayor Clover Moore and Assistant Multiculturalism Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, among others, apparently believe that it is discordant, dangerous even, to be too critical of Islam. So here we have a diseased ideology which we have to tiptoe around lest its adherents become upset. What the heck is happening to our civilisation?

OK, am I going too far in calling it a diseased ideology? Well there must something of the like at work. How else is it possible to explain so much symptomatic violence, hateful preaching and sheer intolerance wherever there are Muslim populations? Surely large numbers of Muslims were not born that way. Of course they were not. They have been infected.

The fault does not lie with Muslims as people. It lies fairly and squarely with Islam, and we have to say so unashamedly, loudly and often. But what about the moderate Muslims, the hand-wringers whine, don’t we need them onside? Hmm! First a question: What do moderate Muslims believe?

My concise OED defines “moderate” as “not radical or excessively right or left-wing.” I therefore buy the siren cry that most Muslims are “moderate”. It does not alter the fact that they are moderate Muslims, a qualifier we never hear in regard to “moderate Christians” or “moderate Hindus”. The evidence is that there a world of difference. That is why we don’t hear about ‘Hinduophobia’. The difference goes to their belief systems.

Zuhdi Jasser (US) and Raheel Raza (Canada) together with twelve other Muslims — five from each of the US and Canada and one from each of the UK and Denmark — have recently founded the Muslim Reform Movement (MRM). They epitomise moderate Muslims.

They are a pro-democracy and reject ‘political Islam’. I have often seen Dr Jasser on TV and have met Ms Raza. I am as confident as it is possible to be as a casual observer that they are genuine in their views and aims. But what do they believe when it comes to their faith? Why do they call themselves Muslims? Is it just a cultural thing with no religious connotation? This is part of what they say:

We are Muslims who live in the 21st century. We stand for a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam. We are in a battle for the soul of Islam, and an Islamic renewal must defeat the ideology of Islamism, or politicized Islam, which seeks to create Islamic states, as well as an Islamic caliphate. We seek to reclaim the progressive spirit with which Islam was born in the 7th century to fast forward it into the 21st century. We support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by United Nations member states in 1948.

We reject interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam. Facing the threat of terrorism, intolerance, and social injustice in the name of Islam, we have reflected on how we can transform our communities based on three principles: peace, human rights and secular governance. We are announcing today the formation of an international initiative: the Muslim Reform Movement.

Pardon me for saying so; but this, to me, is well-meant platitudinous guff. Muslims believe the Koran to be the verbatim words of Allah, which repeatedly identify Muhammad as a model to follow. If the moderates don’t believe that they should say so and then go on to explain what they do believe and identify their common, presumably expurgated, body of Islamic scripture. In the meantime, to paraphrase the Koran (25:52), ‘I will not listen to them but will strive against them with utmost seriousness.’ The Koranic injunction itself identifies unbelievers as the recalcitrants; and this, apparently, when Muhammad was in Mecca and Allah was in a “more progressive” less strident mood. Does the MRM disavow this verse?

Adjem Choudary and so-called radicals like him say that they are true Muslims and that those who don’t believe in the implementation of sharia law are not Muslims at all. They seem to have a point. It’s fine for the so-called moderates to protest that they are, in fact, the true face of Islam. But that leaves completely vacant what they actually believe. What scripture guides their thoughts, words and actions?

We have to get this straight. That is those of us who are prepared to face reality and who are not already, like many leading citizens here and elsewhere, in a state of dhimmitude. It is not about terrorism. Will Islamic terrorists sneak in as part of the flight of Syrian, and pretend-Syrian, refugees? Well, yes they will. Will Muslim enclaves in the West continue throw up home-grown terrorists? Again, yes. This is a grave concern. But it is not the grave concern.

However horrific are terrorist attacks they will not undo our civilisation or way of life. Terrorists will be routed out and defeated. Mosques and minarets spread across the landscape are quite another thing. That is the grave concern.

You might think I am being a cultural absolutist. I plead guilty. If Islamic countries, which generally form part of the bottom of the free, tolerant and prosperous world league table, want to embrace the morbid cave visions of an illiterate war lord good luck to them.  But it is totally unacceptable in Western countries. We are moulded by Judeo-Christian values which is precisely why we are at the top of the free, tolerant, and prosperous league table.

I don’t want to hear about moderate Muslims. I want to hear about Islam being abandoned in droves and Christmas is an apt time to contemplate the prospect. Or, perhaps, if it is remotely possible, which I doubt, an Islamic revolution might do the job. (Mind you, according to Mr Turbull’s admirers, Tony Abbott should keep shtum about it. As we know from the hand-wringers, he is an ignorant troublemaker even when he simply echoes the call of devout Muslim President el-Sisi of Egypt.)

It makes you wonder what el-Sis was talking about if everything is lovely in Islamic-ideology land and nothing can be done. Let’s hope for the sake of Western civilisation and, not least, for the wellbeing of coming generations of people born into Muslim societies that Islam can and does undergo a revolutionary change. President Obama’s fawning admonishment “that the future does not belong to those who slander the Prophet” is a complete distraction from the attitude of mind we must have.

Muhammad’s scriptural excesses lay waste to civilised values. It is well to think – this time of the year – on the way Christ’s words provide a template for living together. Loving your neighbour as yourself, needs no clever-by-half interpretation to make it peaceful. Nor moderate Christians to excuse those who take the words literally. Merry Christmas.

Peter Smith

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [10]

  1. Bill Martin says:

    “Moderate”, “peaceful”, “radical”, “fundamental” – these are all weasel words when attached to “Muslim”. Anyone who does not denounce the teachings of Islam is a Muslim, pure and simple. There are those Muslims who are keen to do anything to advance the cause of Islam, however sinister and vile, and those who are happy enough to watch and wait as the sheer weight of numbers will subdue the world under Islam. They are all Muslims just the same. As to “reforming” Islam, that amounts to the same as pronouncing islam null and void. That is exactly what the Muslim Reform Movement appears to aim for. We should wish them all the success in the world but most certainly should not depend on it.

  2. Jody says:

    I’ve posted this before, but some of you might not have heard it. Very pertinent to the discussion about Islam’s need to reform. Please note that one of the major advocates in this discussion is a muslim himself, though British.

    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2015/s4341426.htm

    • Bill Martin says:

      If only what the Muslim participant in this program, Maajid Nawaz, says could be regarded as anywhere near realistic. Unfortunately, it is pie-in-the-sky. To “reform” Islam as he outlines means denouncing almost all of it, leaving nothing much for Muslims to “believe”. It is interesting that he refrains from rejecting the “example” of Mohammed, he obfuscates around the subject. Then he speaks of reinterpreting the Koran! That, even by the standard of the most “moderate” Muslim is nothing less than sacrilege. How can you reinterpret the perfect words of Allah? As I say, it’s pie-in-the-sky.

      Incidentally, this seems a better link to the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwQhu1A-Ats

  3. Ian MacDougall says:

    Islam is largely the creature of its clerics, the first one being arguably Mohammad himself. You can get an idea of their clerical priorities by looking at the sorts of acts and activities that call for the death penalty in countries (‘Islamic republics’) where Islam is the established and official religion. These include blasphemy (of God, Mohammad, or Islam), apostasy (the only halal way out of Islam is in a box), ‘adultery’ – by women only; which includes any and all sex outside of marriage.
    So for example, in Tehran every Friday after prayers, they have public executions of those the clerics have found guilty of the above and other capital offences,
    However, progress in science and the arts depends on free thought and the ability to think for oneself: not exactly encouraged by the clerics in control of mass education. Hence the abysmal record of the Islamic world in this domain.

  4. The problems facing the western world and civilisation is not just an ‘Islamic problem’ or a matter of ‘left versus right’. It is a matter of totalitarianism as compared to freedom – The ‘left’ just loves totalitarianism, be it secular as espoused and practiced by Lenin, Stalin and Mao, etc. or the theological totalitarianism of the Islamic variety. Most leftists have a sado-masochistic suicidal delusion that they will be able to take over and establish their wonderful secular socialist workers totalitarian Nirvana after the Islamists have weakened the [semi] capitalist west sufficiently.
    Tony Abbott wasn’t a champion of freedom and free markets, but he was/is none-the-less anti-totalitarian which makes him a better person and hence Prime Minister than Malcolm Turnbull.

    • Patrick McCauley says:

      It seems to me that this totalitarian addiction of the left has been long hidden beneath the class warfare and equality arguments. However now it is revealing its ugly face more openly. The masked socialists attacking the Reclaim Australia rural mums and dads at the Bendigo Mosque for example showed a nasty urban face of totalitarian socialism – so does a quick cursory read of the Overland site on any given week. The Australian green gay alarmist left are Fascists in disguise .. they own the universities, several small towns, inner urban Melbourne, the Labor Party and the ABC … and they are a force to be reckoned with. ..at least now, anyway, the enemy reveals herself.

  5. Bran Dee says:

    This penetrating presentation on Mohammedanism by Peter Smith has been energizing for me and and I need an action plan. What to do with all this insightful knowledge and the fighting spirit of self preservation?

    What about we demand our politicians disallow the massive funding of Wahhabism, the puritanical form of Sunni Islam, by Saudi Arabia. University Chairs, schools, and mosques are funded, and “Saudi duplicity fuels extremism” is an editorial heading in the Oz today. One can’t build a Christian church in Saudi Arabia so why do we allow their petro-dollars to undermine our peaceful advanced society. Could we protesters be organised to demonstrate in front of the Saudi embassy, or at least have a non-halal BBQ at their front gate for the ABC cameras?

    Merry Christmas, and good cheer to all non Salafists.

  6. BTW says:

    This could be the rise of a politically correct movement on the part of Muslims desperate to play down the true nature of Islam to the gullible in the West. They will no doubt draw the admiration of the left who are hell bent on dismantling our tried and true culture and values. Be warned though, never take down a fence until you know why it was erected in the first place.

  7. gardner.peter.d says:

    The simple fact is that everything ISIS/ISIL/Daesh does can be justified by the Koran, Hadith, or Sharia. Muslims must take all of these or none. If they call themselves ‘moderate’ they are what we might call ‘lapsed’ and are therefore targets of Islamists. There is a fashionable argument that calling out Islamists and resisting the spread of Islam will encourage extremism. It might but the Islamists pull from the other direction by challenging lapsed or moderate Muslims to stand up for Islam. This is a war coming for us, the moderates, appeasers and pacifists. It is not us seeking war against Islam. If Islam would stay within its national borders we would have no problem. But it won’t. It is out amongst the civilised world creating what the Koran calls ‘mischief’ when we ruffle the feathers of Islam and which, by the Koran, justifies Muslims in killing us.

  8. Trevor Bailey says:

    Upon the announcement of the last (that is, most recent, certainly not final) Paris massacre, I turned to Michel Houellebecq’s ‘Submission’. (Ironically, never was the warning ‘Spoiler Alert’ better made than here & now.)
    The Left will welcome the Caliphate because 1) demographically, Muslims will outnumber Westerners in decades to come; 2) the totalitarian structure of Islam appeals to their lust for dominion over others; 3) by early collaboration (submission) they can rise to the top of the administration; 4) women will return to their place (see today’s Australian about rampant sexism in the Labor Party); 5) the blokes can look forward to having lots of young women by polygamous arrangement.

    I’m told the secular West has lost confidence in itself in contrast to the adherents to Islam. I’ve read many accounts of Western decay – from Nietzsche & Spengler through Scruton to C. Hitchens – and all I can really say is that our current leaders’ acquiescence has a dream-like quality to it. I hope it doesn’t become a nightmare.