Mark Durie is an Anglican pastor and research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at the Melbourne School of Theology. I hadn’t read his book The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom, published in 2010, until the other day. It is a must read for anyone wanting or needing to understand Islam. In the latter category, I would particularly single out genuinely moderate people who are Muslims and also non-Muslim apologists for Islam. Clearly, both groups have no idea what Islam stands for and are in dire need of education.
Durie’s book is far scarier than the scary polemical works of Mark Steyn or even Oriana Fallaci. It is scarier because it is a work of scholarship and authority. It is too late in the date for me to review the book and, anyway, I am not remotely qualified to do so. I have two purposes: one – the main one – is to give a sense of 8¾ of the book’s 9 chapters; the other is to wonder aloud what the heck the remaining one-quarter of the last chapter (“The Way Forward”), to which the book presumably owes its main title, is doing.
Durie refers extensively to the Koran, to the Hadiths, to Muhammad’s life, and to histories of Islam since the 7th Century. He shows conclusively, to my mind, that jihad is central to Islam. Part of jihad is making war and conquering unbelievers. The subsequent part is converting unbelievers or, alternatively, giving them a choice of death or dhimmitude with attendant taxation tributes. And then, by the way, there can be peace. Islam is truly a religion of peace — once it has won the war.
Now if all of this were just an historical perspective on Islam it would be as unconcerning, as are stories of the Inquisition. But Durie finds that dhimmitude is “returning as an integral part of the global Islamic resurgence, which aims to revive sharia”. Think about it. How could any such resurgence be otherwise? Islam is Islam, not some happy-clapper lookalike.
Durie shows conclusively that Islam and jihad go together. Wonder exactly what Islam would look without jihad? Imagine Christianity without the example of Christ’s life and his message? It just seems plain silly to assume a religion can exist without its core essence. This brings me to the problem I have with that one-quarter of the last chapter. Let me explain.
In his last chapter Durie describes the participation of Dr Walid Fitaihi, of the Islamic Boston Society, at an Episcopalian church service conducted by Reverend Samuel Lloyd on the morning after 9/11. For Lloyd “this interfaith event was an affirmation of common humanity and solidarity”. According to Durie, Fitaihi’s take was somewhat different.
Durie quotes material from some of Fitaihi’s subsequently published letters. To Fitaihi the interfaith event was (as Durie puts it) “a step towards the Islamization of America, the defeat of Israel, and the day when Muslims will dominate the People of the Book under a dhimma pact.” You have to weep at the naiveté of Christian leaders compared with the calculation of Muslim leaders. But perhaps they are both simply living their faiths.
Durie provides numbers of authoritative Islamic references which allow Muslims, when in a subordinate position, to show friendliness towards non-Muslims, provided they keep “enmity and hatefulness” in their hearts. Christ, on the other hand, left no wriggle room for deception: Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’. (Matthew 5:37) When one party is allowed to lie and the other not, the battle is hardly equal. So how does Durie square the circle, so to speak?
After the weight of the first eight chapters describing the domineering worldview of Islam and much of the last chapter backing that up, Durie puts forward his solution: “Non- Muslims, and Muslims with compassionate hearts, cannot and must not sit idly by while this ancient system of discrimination [dhimmitude] is renewed.” That is basically it.
Talk about whistling into the wind and ending with a whimper. What exactly can non-Muslims do to prevent Muslims hankering for dominance? Nothing is the answer. What can Muslims with compassionate hearts do? Well, first we have to know that they really have compassionate hearts and are not just pretending to have them. We non-Muslims have no way of knowing. However, we can be fairly sure that those who genuinely have compassionate hearts, unless they form the overwhelming majority, will have no say in the course of events and therefore can be ignored as an irrelevance.
Apart from his kumbaya moment at the end, Durie’s message is clear and powerful. Islam has nothing within it which abrogates the right of Muslims to wage war of one kind or another on unbelievers. Tony Abbott should take note of this when quoting biblical scripture.
The Prime Minister was at it again in his national security statement to Parliament. This time it was treating other people as you would like to be treated. The other day it was rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s. He should be aware that Muslim clerics don’t give a fig what’s in the Bible. Is it in the Koran or the Hadiths? That is the only thing that matters to them.
Islam is unrelenting and will have to be steadfastly and resolutely opposed. That doesn’t mean treating individual Muslims any differently from anyone else. Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, the well dressed and the not-so-well dressed presumptively deserve equal respect and kindness. What it means is opposing the Islamic creed as set out in the Koran and the Hadiths; this includes not being easily duped by Islamic spokespersons. A first step must be to understand what Islam is actually about as distinct from simple-minded fairy tales about it being a religion of peace. In this regard, Durie’s book is the most informative treatment of Islam I have read.