Winds of Change.NET: Liberty. Discovery. Humanity. Victory.

Formal Affiliations
  • Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto
  • Euston Democratic Progressive Manifesto
  • Real Democracy for Iran!
  • Support Denamrk
  • Million Voices for Darfur
  • milblogs
Syndication
 Subscribe in a reader

Who's Afraid of Islam?

| 56 Comments

Tashbih Sayyed, the Editor in Chief of Pakistan Today and The Muslim World Today, writes:

"Should I as a Muslim be happy about the situation? After all, these apologies and advances made by radical Islam confirm that the Muslims are winning in their jihad against the "infidel" world. The Judeo-Christian World is on the defensive and has chosen to lay down its arms at the feet of the religious fascists instead of standing up for its ideas about openness, tolerance and freedom.

But I do not feel any happiness or see any victory in finding that the world fears the Muslims. IN FACT I AM SAD. I do not want to be feared. I want to be respected, accepted and loved. The very fact that the world is appearing to be afraid of Muslims concerns me a great deal. I am afraid that the Muslim extremism is pushing this world to a point from where its rescue will be almost impossible. I do not see anything good in the situation.

The fact that the world fears Muslims speaks volumes about the image of my co-religionists. The image is definitely not good. People do not fear GOOD. They fear EVIL. And Muslims have somehow have failed to convey to the world that they are good."

It's a worthy article - can Islamic societies be "stronger at home and respected abroad"? That's certainly an important question when a religion chooses to confront several companion civilizations in a warlike manner, all at the same time. But the question ultimately goes deeper.

John F. Cullinan:

"It is often asked whether Islam as a faith is compatible with democracy as a political philosophy. Or whether Islam can accommodate equal rights for women and non-Muslims. Good questions, but hardly the most pertinent. For the most urgent question is whether Islamism as a political ideology is essentially totalitarian, like fascism and Communism, by seeking to bring the individual, the family, and society itself under the heel of the state. In other words, can Islamism function by example and persuasion - but without the coercive power of the modern state?

Or of mob-rule and terrorist violence as a surrogate for state control. The simple practice of raping women who do not wear veils in Muslim areas does not require the modern state, but that form of jihadism is most certainly an exercise of coercive power used for Islamist ends.

We've discussed the phenomenon of "politicist" ideologies before. It's a more precise term than "totalitarian," and highly applicable here where the question of "is there an acknowledged Islamic private/civil sphere" becomes a key issue. As Cullinan notes:

Similarly, can Islamism acknowledge the rightful autonomy - and freedom from clerical control - of the individual, the family, society itself, and political life generally? The answers to these questions will determine the fate of the post-9/11 U.S. grand strategy, namely "the forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East."

And more besides, as Dr. Sayyed's article reminds us with its survey of European developments et. al. Of course, regardless of how the Islamists choose to answer that question, they could simply end up contained or marginalized within their own societies; a struggle already underway in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, et. al.

The two streams of Islam as faith and as politics cross at the nexus of shari'a, of course - and if Islam as a faith requires the implementation of shari'a law, then the distinctions between it and political Islam as an ideology (aka. "Islamism") shrink to zero for practical puposes. It's one thing when religious groups advocate for public policy options that are informed by their religious values; quite another when a religious group's political program involves enshrining religious law that is superior to or entirely replaces civil-made law. Conceptions like Grand Ayatollah Sistani's, which wisely seek to establish politics as distinct from religion lest religion become as stupid as politics, can survive and even thrive in the first case - but not the second.

Ultimately, if Islam is politicist at its core, a war of civilizations is more or less inevitable. And precisely because of the size of those stakes, evasions and lies cannot be afforded or tolerated when grappling with this question. At the same time, however, we'll need to acknowledge that it's possible for the answer to change in response to introduced selection pressures. I submit that both of these propositions need to be acknowledged, and that neglect of either one leads to a tragic and possibly fatal blindness.

Which is why Dr. Sayyed's article is the sort of thing one wishes to see more of; I wish him success in his efforts. For Muslims will answer these questions by their actions and behaviour - and that in turn will call forth its own answers.

56 Comments

The people of Iraq already voted the "Islamists" into power.

There is no question that they will run that society...they are hardly being "contained or marginalized."

Given the level of expertise monkyboy displays elsewhere, I think we can more or less ignore that one and wait for intelligent commentary and argument instead. Anyone?

What are you saying, Joe?

We booted the Islamists out of power and installed a secular regime in Iraq?

Hehe Tom,

Bush and his "Judeo-Christianist" allies are less popular than the Islamists these days.

Not an easy task, but he and his pals pulled it off.

I'm not sure why you guys still pretend the battle will be fought when it's already over...

What Tashbih Sayyed is saying here, and what some other splendid people who are Muslims have said lately, is what I expected Muslims in general to say after 11 September 2001, when I was still very pro-Muslim and I expected Osama Bin Laden to live six months at most, because his fellow Muslims would turn against him for associating the name and image of their religion with shocking crimes.

History has taken another course, and it is now clear that Muslims will turn against crimes in the name of jihad only when these crimes are against Muslims, or under Western pressure of various kinds, or in atypical cases, with highly Westernized or just individually great people who happen to be Muslims.

Also, when Westerners fight against aggressive Muslims, even when it's against genocidal terrorists like Hamas, or simply terribly tyrants like Saddam Hussein, the global Muslim nation unites more than not against the unbelievers, and with double fury against Jews and their friends. This means that if all you want is to be less unpopular with Muslim populations, such as the population of Iran, this is possible to some extent, but you can't fight the crazy jihadists, you have to let them win, otherwise you unite the moderates with the radicals against you.

While unbelievers fighting against Islam provoke deep, lasting, widespread and deadly reactions, Muslims fighting against unbelievers (or sometimes Muslims fighting against non-Arab or otherwise "lesser" Muslims provoke only sad musings by isolated individuals, reactions that are inconsequential and can easily be set aside later, because, hey, we won.

This is why I liken our relations to the global Muslim community to a bunch or reaction rolls where we get a permanent penalty of one pip on the role, making friendly reactions weaker than might have been expected and unfriendly reactions more common and more deadly than would have been the case if we were not dealing with Islam.

And of course friendly reactions are disaggregated because the system of Islam is against them, while unfriendly reactions are readily rewarded, collectivized, organised and acted on in sharp, consequential ways by the system of Islam, which is inherently political and which strives (makes jihad) for domination without limit.

So five years ago, had decisive numbers of Muslims said what Tashbih Sayyed, Ph.D. is saying, I would have said "Here is the strongly moral Islam I was talking about. Organizations like Al Qaeda are doomed, because sooner or later they will all trespass over he boundaries that good Muslims will permit, and then they will each be destroyed." But today I say "Tashbih Sayyed, Ph.D. what a great guy!" And I attach no further significance to all such friendly opinions.

On the question of whether Islam is inherently political, I think history has answered that question and the answer is yes.

On whether political Islam inherently aims at sharia, I think it tends to, inherently, as that will alway be the preferred solution, all things equal - but in history all things are rarely equal, and jihad (which I think Islam does produce inexorably) can be carried on under its natural color as we see today, or under any "mask" such as Socialism or Nazism, that wins over allies and gets the job done. If aiming directly at sharia is less effective at achieving key goals such as the destruction of Israel, it can be rejected as Soviet-influenced socialism was.

Cans success be defined and ideological "masks" be evaluated by different, friendlier goals approved by Israel and the rest of the West? Unfortunately, no. Islam must dominate, and it is very big on making those who have been subdued feel painfully every day that their position is humiliated and inferior. Bernard Lewis's book on the Muslim discovery of the West is full of how the innate supremacism of Islam affected Islam's relations with unbelievers. That hasn't changed with time, and it won't change.

It's not personal. It's a system, and it's in the Koran and the example of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) and in history and in the systems of laws and the cultural influences derived from all of the above. This, you can't alter. You can't have a fundamentally friendly Islam.

What you can have is simply less Islam, and more of other alternatives which aren't so hostile. And that is what I advocate that we aim at.

That was an excellent post David. A lot rings true there. I will acknowledge that more could have been done to unite the moderates against the radicals, but even there we were limited so much more than I would have imagined on 9/12/01. Arab society specifically, and Muslim society in general, has some critical flaws that have made our job much more difficult than it would have been otherwise. And unfortunately it will be Muslims who pay the overwhelming price for this failing.

Thanks for the kind words, Final Historian.

#8 from Final Historian: "I will acknowledge that more could have been done to unite the moderates against the radicals, but even there we were limited so much more than I would have imagined on 9/12/01. Arab society specifically, and Muslim society in general, has some critical flaws that have made our job much more difficult than it would have been otherwise."

I think things would be easier if the Koran did not contain specific prohibitions on Muslims being friends with Jews and Christians, and the false but divinely authoritative statement to Muslims that they will never be satisfied with you till you change your religion. I think that is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If people's religion urges them to be implacably unfriendly to you, and that does have a permanent, pervasive influence on conduct (adding to the bias to bad reactions that I spoke of), then sooner or later some sensible non-Muslims are going to say: how can we ever be entirely at ease with these people till they change their religion for something different and less hostile?

(The alternative would be to re-write the Koran, removing statements that undercut friendship with unbelievers and enabled violence, aggression and domination. Unfortunately we don't have the authority to re-write the Koran to suit ourselves. Nobody does.)

... if Islam as a faith requires the implementation of shari'a law, then the distinctions between it and political Islam as an ideology (aka. "Islamism") shrink to zero for practical puposes.

Yes, and not merely an ideology but an ideological praxis, aimed at setting up a system of coercive relationships. Islamism does not offer any intellectual or spiritual challenge to the non-Muslim world; it does not seek to entice or proselyze (in a manner which Christians would be harshly criticized for). Its challenge is in the primal language of power and violence.

For this reason Islamism is not a faith, nor is any form of Islam that approves these tactics a faith, because the aim is not individual spiritual enlightenment but the creation of a totalist political system.

Tom, your link to TCS in #4 doesn't seem to go to an actual article.

When people ask, "Is Islam compatible with democracy?" I get the feeling that their hypothesis is to them already proven, the question is rhetorical, and they are about to roll out a list of reasons why it isn't. To actually have a dialogue about something like this, which appears to be a rather important question, I think it would be better to try and widen the view.

First, to suggest any religion is unpolitical is to ignore the entire structure of religion. What religion does not have a hierarchy of leadership, interests, citizens? The Catholic Church even has proper territory. Is Catholicism incompatible with secular democracy?
Pulpits can also deliver votes to the "true" political structure as well, no matter which creed.

"Bernard Lewis's book on the Muslim discovery of the West is full of how the innate supremacism of Islam affected Islam's relations with unbelievers."
How is that different from any Christian European opinion from a similar period concerning the Moor? Were they any less convinced of their superiority?
What is the difference now? I think it is social evolution, which can be said to generally consist of a rise in the level of education of the population and a filling of the gap between rich and poor. I am not arguing that there aren't some bad regimes in the Middle East. To blame their religion is to step on dangerous ground. If their religion is incompatible with secular democracy, which many people believe to be the most modern government, then what would you do with these Muslims as you try to modernise their region? Would you forgoe the region altogether? Try to force conversions?

I do not think there is any real evidence that Islam is incompatible with modernity. As in any religion, there are sects and leaders, which decide the interpretation of the religion into the real world. There are Muslims who vote and live in democracies around the world without a problem. Instead of declaring the religion of a billion people unfit for modern times, I think its best to focus on the reasons for some of the more violent interpetations (No, not Bush. Social progress, or the lack thereof).

E:

What is the difference now? I think it is social evolution, which can be said to generally consist of a rise in the level of education of the population and a filling of the gap between rich and poor.

Can you demonstrate that Christians worldwide are better educated than Muslims, or live in more egalitarian societies? The difference is the religion they practice: one religion which differentiated itself from the state 400 years ago, and a religion which has not separated itself from imperialist-theocratic politics and refuses to do so.

The correlation between poverty and terrorism does not exist, as has been demonstrated many times. Such a correlation does not exist for individuals or for states. And terrorist/jihadist leaders are drawn mostly from the educated classes.

By saying that we are declaring Islam "unfit for modern times", you are not only wrong but you have it exactly backwards. It is Islamism that has thrown down the gauntlet, demanding that modernity submit itself to Islam. Not the other way around.

I should add to my comment above that attempts to create closed societies, cut off from the pulse of the rest of the world, are ultimately doomed to failure - this has been the historical fate of fascism and communism, and of Christian theocracy as well. Political, economic, and religious freedom creates enviable societies, while the politicists and totalitarians give birth to nightmares.

So the question is not "What are we going to do with all the Muslims?" The question is what the Islamist regimes are going to do with them, when they grow tired of their slavery and arm themselves with the political and material means to throw off the yoke.

Will the Islamic religion survive that upheaval? I'm confident that it will, but it will be a profoundly transformed and pacified Islam.

Glen's last post underlines the point I make in that article, which is that:

"Ultimately, if Islam is politicist at its core, a war of civilizations is more or less inevitable. And precisely because of the size of those stakes, evasions and lies cannot be afforded or tolerated when grappling with this question. At the same time, however, we'll need to acknowledge that it's possible for the answer to change in response to introduced selection pressures. I submit that both of these propositions need to be acknowledged, and that neglect of either one leads to a tragic and possibly fatal blindness."

Having said that, the next question is "what selection pressures?" And that's where points like those David Blue makes become highly relevant.

There are certainly far fewer practicing Christians in Western socieities, as a percentage of population, than there were even in the 1500s. Part of the point of the democratization project is that it forces delivery and/or comparison, which is ultimately not healthy for a would-be political religion because religion gets dragged down to politics' level.

On the other hand, as Tim Oren et. al. point out, we have a finite clock for various reasons (the biotech clock is about 10-15 years, and then there's Iran...), and the democratization & decency option looks likely to run out of time.

If that conclusion becomes widespread, and it is spreading from the Left (who never believed in it and wouldn't support it if they did) to the Right and Center, things gets very interesting. Are Dr. Sayyed et. al. too late? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But regardless, I'm glad they're trying.

"Muslims have somehow have failed to convey to the world that they are good."

Perhaps because they're not?

And also perhaps, it's time to start reviving some old traditions, such as hanging drawing and quartering, the blood eagle, and burning at the stake - for use on violent nutcases who plan to kill and maim numbers of people they don't even know.

With the addition of subsequent burial in pigskin.

#13 from E: "When people ask, "Is Islam compatible with democracy?" I get the feeling that their hypothesis is to them already proven, the question is rhetorical, and they are about to roll out a list of reasons why it isn't."

For the record, I think Islam is compatible with democracy, though of a peculiar sort. We see this in Afghanistan now. The purple fingers of freedom have been bravely raised, and Abdul Raman, convert to Christianity, would be torn to pieces if he still lived in the country. There have also been democratic times in Pakistan. And so on.

The bottom line remains: we win, you lose.

Joe,

My view is that Islam is an ideology akin to fascism and communism that needs to be consigned to the ash heap of history. Here's what I had to say about the topic over at Anil Dash's blog when he decided to attack Charles Johnson for being racist:


Anil Dash, Little Green Monsters

One of the things that changed Christianity was that consequent to the Reformation, not only were there terrible wars in Christendom, very discreditable to a religion that aspired theoretically to lamb-like innocence and non-violence, but both sides, Catholic and Protestant, made prodigious efforts to persuade people that the other religious side was wrong. Both sides did a great job of that.

To apply a similar selection pressure to Islam, we'd need vast, bloody, protracted and cruel wars in Islam, which would shame it through the inability of its clerics to square what was happening with theoretical and aspirational (though not practical) pacifism, and the gentle and self-sacrificing spirit of the religion's founder.

Oops.

We'd also need both sides to be reasonably evenly matched and do a great job of pointing out all the problems in the other side's doctrine, to the point where the pious started to worry that they were headed for damnation whatever they did, the ignorant said (in their hearts if not out loud next to the enforcers of religion) "a plague on both your houses," and the scholarly started to take it for granted that viable ways of getting along had to be based on reasoning independent of religion.

We can't arrange that either.

So there won't be a Muslim Reformation or consequent Enlightenment in the sense that we might want one.

What might happen if we could put Islam into a serious and protracted global decline is that after every savage means had been tried to break out of the losing spiral, people might start to say: "This game of us and them is no good. The longer it goes on, the more we'll lose." So let's break up the sides."

I think we can make a decent job of this by moral means such as protecting and enabling people who want to quit this bloody and onerous religion.

At that point, Islam would go into a terrible crisis, because it is all about "us and them" and making "them" lose (and making life humiliating or short or both for the losers.

If it came out of it reformed and a genuine religion of mingling and not domination, which I do not think it could, then it would be OK to live with.

The problem with the selection pressure I want to impose is that "every savage means" includes nukes, and we just can't wait passively being nuked till Islam's hissy fit over losing is all played out. I think Islam will kick over the table rather than accept defeat in a global war of opinions, even a "gentle" one such as I would wish to wage.

So we have a problem, and I don't have a perfect solution for it either.

PS: "I think Islam will kick over the table rather than accept defeat in a global war of opinions, even a "gentle" one such as I would wish to wage."

But I might be wrong, and considering the other alternative ways of fighting are much nastier, or useless if not actually counterproductive, I say we should risk it.

#11 from Glen Wishard:
... if Islam as a faith requires the implementation of shari'a law, then the distinctions between it and political Islam as an ideology (aka. "Islamism") shrink to zero for practical puposes.
Yes, and not merely an ideology but an ideological praxis, aimed at setting up a system of coercive relationships. Islamism does not offer any intellectual or spiritual challenge to the non-Muslim world; it does not seek to entice or proselyze (in a manner which Christians would be harshly criticized for). Its challenge is in the primal language of power and violence.

For this reason Islamism is not a faith, nor is any form of Islam that approves these tactics a faith, because the aim is not individual spiritual enlightenment but the creation of a totalist political system.

-

Broadly, I agree with your post, and it's for this reason I think people will eventually be willing to contemplate a world not so much with a different and friendlier Islam, which will not in any case arrive, but simply with less Islam.

We don't need Islam for anything whatever. Not for moral instruction or spiritual uplift, or art, or science, or anything. What it has to offer us is fear, subjugation and violence, and only that. I don't say that as an insult, but simply as an awful fact: we can do without Islam, in pretty much the same way we can do without piracy.

The problem is we don't necessarily have long enough for that "eventually" to arrive.

It would be hard enough even if we started now to get Islam into a solid losing pattern and keep it there long enough to get a critical mass of Muslims to think that maybe they should stop playing this game.

A cure that would take a long time to work is almost condemned in advance if it will also take a long time for people to contemplate starting the process.

> The question is what the Islamist regimes are going to do with [Muslims], when they grow tired of their slavery and arm themselves with the political and material means to throw off the yoke.

Is there any reason to believe that Muslims will grow tired of the relevant parts of Islamist regimes? Or, are the disputes that we see in Muslim countries merely intermural disputes about which Islam? If that's the case, those disputes could be decided without affecting the relevant-to-us parts of Islam. You know, the whole "non-Muslims must be subjugated" bit.

We've actually played this game before, against communism. Different sects won in different countries.

One difference is that Islam is more interested in spreading.

> I'm confident that it will, but it will be a profoundly transformed and pacified Islam.

None of the contenders have those qualities, so it's unclear why they'll win.

David Blue's comments #6 and #7 would make an excellent stand-alone post as a follow-on to "Who's Afraid of Islam?" They weave together threads into a tragic picture. A perspective that is crucially important, yet one that is beyond the pale. Mainstream Republicans, Democrats, and media don't dare to explore where this road might lead. Or their various ideological committments make such free-thinking too difficult to undertake.

As a darkly amusing instance of willful blindness, consider this discussion of a news piece by Patterico. The New York Times staff plays the earnest, politically-correct straight man, struggling to discuss the Mohammed cartoons:

[The Times prints] an article about appeasing Muslims by censoring ideas -- in a paper that appeased Muslims by censoring ideas. And, the article censors the fact that it appeased Muslims by censoring ideas.

E #13, thanks for writing.

Like, perhaps, David Blue, I gave the ideas you express great weight in my thinking in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. At that time, few Westerners knew much about Islam--either its core unifying doctrines, or the theological and historical disputes that fracture it.

You have a Marxist's belief in the primacy of Economic Man: a rise in the level of education of the population and a filling of the gap between rich and poor will right the world's wrongs. The lack of such social progress is the root cause of some of the more violent interpetations of Islam.

I don't imagine that there is any modern Islamist of any stripe (Qutbist, takfiri/salafist, Wahibbist, Khoumenist, Twelver, and so forth) who would not take violent exception to your materialism. They consider such explanations to be insults to the message of the Prophet, and to be examples of ahistorical Western patronization.

So should we embrace your claims, or should we respect their views of their own religious and political beliefs?

I agree with him. But........
The world fear Islam because of the fundamentalists. I don't like Islam because of the fundamentalists and because it think it's just a religion to control the people.

Islams aren't good. Allah isn't good. Allah is the good of Islam but only that, nothing more. I don't believe in Islam and I don't believe in the Good if Islam, I believe in the GOOD of Christianity which is the ONLY GOOD there is the GOOD over everything.

I just want to add some more. The problem with Islam is also that you can't say anything against Islam without being hated, as a nation or as a person. For me, I don't care if anyone says anything bad about Christianity, they hate the right to say what ever they want and I don't care because I BELIEVE. That's the important part. I can take the drawings of muhammed in Denmark for an example. I can't understand why the Muslims were so upset, it's just a drawing. If a newspaper in lest say Iraq published some funny pictures of Jesus or the Pope I would not go out in the streets protesting and burning flags. Why wouldn't I do that? Because I believe, and that's the important thing, not what everyone else thinks. Of course I would think that they were stupid but I would not over react as Muslims does every time they think that someone or something is against Islam. People have the right to not like Islam, or what ever other religion it may be. It's so stupid today, you can't dislike Islam even if you don't believe in Islam. If you don't believe in Islam, Islam is nothing for you, it doesn't mean anything to you nor does it have any right to control what you should think about it. Muslims have to accept that not everyone is a fan or their religion without over reaction. Muslims should stop over react, calm and stop think that the rest of the world is against them, then they would have a much smoother connection with the rest of the world that does not believe in their religion...

Karl, Muslims should be a doing a whole bunch of different things. The point is, however, that they're not even though we've been reasoning with them patiently for five years now that they really really need to think about reform.

The issue then becomes whether we are willing to put up with their intransigence (and allow them to keep cutting our heads off), if we want to FORCE the issue that they must change (which is what we're trying to do in Iraq), or if we just want to zero the whole game out and start all over again (this would be the nuking Mecca option).

NahnCee #28:

We shouldn't ever forget that most Muslims are people with aspirations and dreams for themselves and their families that are no different from those of Hindus, atheists, Christians, and the like. In terms of the Muslims I have met and worked with, I see no reason to think otherwise.

Societies also include some minority of violent Islamists (1% of Muslims? 3%?), and a plurality of non-violent people who are sympathetic to their goals (10%? 40%?).

This absence of a discrete "they" makes "nuking Mecca" awful to contemplate, either as a revenge fantasy or as a dire policy.

#25 AMAC
You have a Marxist's belief in the primacy of Economic Man

The argument you make here is such a critical point, and may go a long way towards explaining the apparently perverse alliance between Progressives and Islamists. Both co-demonstrate for 'social justice' and against Western Imperialism, but there's a real distinction between what those terms means to either group. Equality of outcome /= shari'a, and of course (begging the issue of whether or not America's foreign policy is Imperial in nature), there are forms of imperialism far more worthy of condemnation (eg. slavery and rape camps in Sudan, culturecide in Tibet...). However, if (anticapitalist) economics is of primary importance, then the profound illiberalism of Islamism really is of lesser import - and seen through this distorted socialist lens, Haliburton really IS as bad, or worse, than Al Qaeda.

#19 HA,

Thanks for the link, and remind me not to get into an argument with you!

I think we can make a decent job of this by moral means such as protecting and enabling people who want to quit this bloody and onerous religion.

Christianity is ever-poised to sweep like a great harvesting-machine across the Muslim world and harvest the faithful.

Right now, we are outwardly too disorganized. But what Christianity is in its core is inherently united, inherently powerful, and inherently peaceful. Because of this, what Christianity is has never changed; even though people have built religions and states around it.

All we ask is that you support us. There are two ways to do this: 1. Become a Christian or give aid to Christians. 2. Persecute Christians.

Those of you who help us, our desire should be to peacefully (though our actions will be met with violence) bring the Gospel to all peoples. In all cases it must be spoken and delivered in a way that reaches each person where they are. In this sense, we also must come to understand what Christianity is at its core, and deliver these core truths, in whatever form they need to be delivered in. Our job is merely to plant seeds, or harvest the fruit. If our message is not received, we keep moving. Who knows when we will come back to find a fruitful field.

As to those of you who persecute us, you aren't doing very good. Step it up; the brothers and sisters are getting lazy, and many have fallen asleep. if you truly hate us, then don't hold back. But if you don't, then reconsider how you are treating us. Christianitiy is stronger than you could ever imagine, even more powerful than Islam. We don't have designs for a Theocracy, or even for a Christian military. A Christian must needs be anyone, anywhere, anytime.

I suggest a two-pronged assault on the pillars of Islam: one to secular idealogies and the betterment of economic realities, and the other, to the Faith that cannot be shaken.

Paul says: I am all things to all men.

And I'm serious about this; Christianity is a powerful force for good, if it throws off the yokes of institutions and buildings and politics. You wouldn't know a Christian by what church he attends, or by what politics he espouses, or by what nation he lives in. None are essential, so any of them may be any thing.

I do not suggest a movement, for a movement always centers around a leader; what needs to happen is a change in each Christian soul who believes. I do not suggest quitting the organizations you are in, for whether you want to stay or not is your decision. I do not suggest abandoning your political ideas, for whether or not they agree with the faith is your decision.

Anyway, I would prefer that all men be Christians, but I know that it is not so. Still, anyone who has ears let him hear. Let him read what is written and understand it so that he may do what is required of him. What is that? I don't know. How would I? Each man must know God's purpose for him.

Possibly, this fight against Islam will reveal to us what Christianity was conceived to be, instead of what we have made it.

Its all about Spirit, bros.

(Apologies for the theological ramblings, but I felt David's quip about quitting that onerous religion was a good place to note that this is essentially God's plan.)

Kirk,

TechCentralStation has it behind a firewall now which requires site registration. You have to register, then search for this article:

Our World-Historical Gamble, by Lee Harris, published on March 11, 2003.

You can also find the article as a chapter in Harris' book, Civilization and Its Enemies. If you get the book, ignore everything past the point where he starts talking about bunnies. [grin]

Morocco, Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait, Yemen, Bahrain, Djibouti, Kyrgystan, and Bangladesh are some of the Islamic countries that Freedom House ranks as "partly free," i.e., more free than Russia. Indonesia is scored as "free."

I would suggest that there are two crucials divisions. One division is between those that believe Islam is incompabible with _________ (freedom, democracy, modernity, non-Muslim counries) and those who disagree. I believe the more important division is between those have conclusively answered that question and those waiting for the answer.

I'm waiting for the answer. I disagree with those who have decided that a civilizational conflict is inevitable because I do not believe the proposition has been fully tested. And their answer surely makes such a conflict inevitable. For the same reason, I disagree with those who seek uncritical praise of Islam and want to ignore some real theological issues that need to be surmounted. I fear that ignoring the problems will likewise make a clash inevitable.

I want Islam to be compatible with basic fundamental liberties.

David Blue:

One of the things that changed Christianity was that consequent to the Reformation, not only were there terrible wars in Christendom, very discreditable to a religion that aspired theoretically to lamb-like innocence and non-violence, but both sides, Catholic and Protestant, made prodigious efforts to persuade people that the other religious side was wrong. Both sides did a great job of that.

Terrible wars? After centuries of crusades, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation were notable for their lack of terrible wars; few social changes of such importance have been accompanied with so little violence.

The worst bloodshed of the period was the 1525 peasant revolt in the German states, for which Protestant reformers were blamed, some justly and some unjustly. No great powers moved against each other. Both Pope Leo X and Martin Luther were extremely reluctant to come to blows, much to the disappointment of radicals on both sides. The Emperor Charles V badly wanted a crusade against the Protestants, but there was no support for it.

We would be very lucky indeed if Islam were to undergo a major reformation with so little loss of life. But then, who thought the Soviet Empire would eat the dirt so easily?

There were two notable violent events buring the Reformation, however, which support my point about the unsustainability of jihadist societies: Zwingli established an oppressive Protestant theocracy in Switzerland, then got himself killed in a war with neighboring Catholic princes, which ended his regime. Anabaptists tried to create a "New Jerusalem" in Munster, intending nothing less than the massacre of every non-believer on earth. That lasted only as long as it took neighboring cities to get their militias mustered.

Theocracy has a very poor historical record in the West. The Catholic Church never achieved it, not in all their history. It lasted longer in Cromwell's England and in Puritan New England, but could not last.

It has better luck in Muslim lands, with their illiberal traditions and their historical isolation from modernity. But Islamic fascism can't eat the whole world, and it can't make it go away, and it can't reconcile itself to it, so sooner or later it has to go down.

This is why all those on the left who sneer at attempts to spread democracy, and who try to shield the worst elements of Islam with their tissue-thin Political Correctness, and who refuse to stand up for the principles they claim to believe in --- this is why they are fatally wrong, against history, and hopelessly reactionary.

We've discussed "Islamic Reformation" here at Winds of Change many times - like teenage girls dreaming about a date with some American Idol singer - and here are some more of my thoughts on what it would take: Three Paths for Islam.

Andy Freeman:
Is there any reason to believe that Muslims will grow tired of the relevant parts of Islamist regimes?
You wouldn't have found much evidence in the 1930s that the Japanese were getting tired of the God-Emperor, or even of the Bushido fascists who were ruling in the Emperor's name. Stranger things have happened, even in Japan which was a homogeneous society, buried in a millennium of tradition and uniquely resistant to foreign ideological influence.

Napoleon complained that he couldn't hold back the sea with his hands, and still less can Muslims keep ideas about freedom out of their caliphates. Even the Saudi jihadists come equipped with sports cars and cell phones, somewhat at odds with their spiritual pretensions - which are mainly founded on their imaginary superiority to Westerners, Jews, and women. Their hypocrisy does not go unnoticed, even in the mosques.

The Islamists denounce democracy and the whorish freedom of western women, and leftists absurdly chime in, but the ground is going to move under their feet all the same. If Mohammed will not willingly go to the mountain, the mountain will come and get him.

This is a bit superficial and lacks the beloved nuance but generally summarizes my thoughts:

I do not believe that a person who is a muslim is inheriently bad or evil just because he is a muslim. On average they are, as people, just as good, smart, intelligent as anyone else on this planet. Some worse, some better.

The problem is islam itself. It is toxic and unable to cope with the world and will be even less able to do so as time progresses. This is a process that has been going on for several centuries and has finally come to a head because the world has become such a small place there is no longer anywhere for them to hide from the outside.

There is only one reason why islam is of any importance or worthy of any attention at all: nuclear/biological weapons.

Yes they will be ultimately be defeated. One way or another.

If they do not change a group, and I am not at all sure they are capable of doing so as a group, there are two possible outcomes:

One: They will be forceably civilized and pacified or exterminated by the non-muslim world. It is their choice which option plays out. No sane non-muslim would choose genocide, but when a mad dog attacks (apologies to mad dogs) you kill or die.

Two: Even should they defeat us (possible), they will end up turning on themselves for the "final purification" and end up destroying themselves because their passion and hatred combined with nuclear/biological weapons will be too much for them to handle.

The only reason anyone cares is because of the terrible damage they can cause while this problem is worked out.

If it were not for nuclear/biological weapons islam would be nor more of interest to the average person or the world than any given cockroach.

#34 from Glen Wishard: "Terrible wars? After centuries of crusades, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation were notable for their lack of terrible wars; few social changes of such importance have been accompanied with so little violence."

I mentally included the Thirty Years War (1816-1848) as a consequence of the Reformation, since it was from the outset a Protestant-Catholic fight, though it became a confused one. (Which was part of my point - that the players couldn't keep their stories straight, and everyone got tired of playing this game.) This is not to suggest that the price of the Reformation was too high and it wasn't worth it. Just, if you want to know what I had in mind by a "terrible" war, that's it.

And now, after (hopefully) the conclusion of my unwise diversion into controversies between Christians, back to the problem of Islam...

The early phase of the Reformation(s) (prior to the 1560s) was pretty peaceful. The 1560s inaugurated the Age of Confessionalism where different groups began drawing lines as to who was and who was not a Christian. Before that the Reformers thought their views would prevail and Catholics thought the Reformers would return to the fold. Then you get, the French Wars of Religion (1562-1598), the 30 Years War (1618-1648), and other wars. You have surges in communal violence, with witchburnings and massacres (like St. Bartholomew's). Between the fall of the Roman Empire and WWI, there probably was no greater source of population upheavels in Europe.

I don't know if this future awaits Islam. If this history is any evidence, however, in order for a mass of people to stand up in an Islamic country and say so-and-so are not Muslims, they must risk mass reprisals of violence.

David:

I mentally included the Thirty Years War (1816-1848) as a consequence of the Reformation, since it was from the outset a Protestant-Catholic fight, though it became a confused one.

I'll grant you the 30 Years War, in which German Catholics fought German Protestants - Protestants who were later backed by French Catholics, in rivalry with the Catholic Habsburgs, a policy which led to a war with Spanish Catholics ...

You can lay this Mother of all Princely Quarrels at Christianity's door, I suppose, but why does politics (the so-called Grim Science, which ought to be called the Grim Religion) always escape blame?

The facts are the Koran does NOT tell all of it's believers TO KILL ALL
of those who do not believe as they do. Nope, it is the Bible which does that.

Anyone who has actually studied (and learned)
a sufficent amount of history knows the Christian religion is one of persecution, slavery, rape and murder.

Ever hear of the Inquisition?

The Crusades?

The Witch trials?

The Bombing of the Fed. Buld. in OK. City and the Olympics in Atlanta G.?

Facts are, the Christians are still conducting witch trials here in the United States in 2006!

Neil,
Your hyperbole really does not aid your argument. As an example, the Crusades were a centuries-late response to Islam's violent conquests.

And the Salem witchtrials are hardly a religious war so much as the result of superstition.

By the way, Christians, MILLIONS of more Americans have gone FROM Being Christians TO Being Atheists than have gone the other way.

We were Christians & MANY have been some type of officals in the Christian Church. So do not waste your time in feeble attempts to inform us about your religion as we have been there and done that.

In general, you Christians are:

A. UNINFORMED about their Bible, religion and it's roots.

B. Both Inconsiderate and very Selfish as you think you have the right to put YOUR religious BULL SHIT on OUR money and in OUR pledge.

(You do NOT! It is NOT your county and you do NOT own it.)

C. IGNORANT of American History and the Intent of our Founding Fathers.

D. LIE about the founding of our country, our Founding Fathers and many other issues.

E. Are Hypocrites!

Here learn!

http://www.ffrf.org/

Well SPQR,

Your comments were the kind I expect from programmed religious robots. You really need to study history in more depth.

And how is atheism working for you? By your calm demeanor, it must provide you with a good deal of peace of mind.

You can lay this Mother of all Princely Quarrels at Christianity's door, I suppose, but why does politics (the so-called Grim Science, which ought to be called the Grim Religion) always escape blame?

I don't think it escapes blame. It was the political exploitation of religion that brought discredit to both.

Someone is not living in the real world.

QUOTE: "one religion which differentiated itself from the state 400 years ago"

Really?

Then why do we have "In God We Trust" on OUR money and "Under God" in OUR pledge?

(It sure ain't referring to any god other than the Christian one. On course, the Christian god is ONLY ONE god of the more than 30,000 gods invented so far.)

Why does the average American taxpayer pay an EXTRA $900.00 a year in taxes to support religion.

Why did the Congress just pass a law saying anyone who takes a seperation of Church and State issue to court has to pay their own lawyers EVEN WHEN THEY WIN
the case?

Why are Witch Trials STILL occuring in the U.S.?

Why could a black single mother with 15 kids, no formal eductation, a prison record, former hard drug users and on welfare be elected to office faster than an a super qualified Atheist?

(to name a few)


Is there something wrong with being a single mother? Or just a black single mother?

How is Atheism working for Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, George Soros and Bill Gates?

Pretty well I would say!

How did it work for Marlon Brando, Kathreen Hepburn, Richard Burton, Mozart, Brams, Beehoven, WC Fields, Mark Twain, Tom Edison, H. Ford, Alferd
Hitchock, Margert Sanger, Chris Reeve, Pat Tilman , Bert Lancaster and many, many, other vary successful and very famous people?

VERY DAMN WELL! THANK YOU!

ONLY FOUR people have been awarded TWO Nobel Prizes EACH and THREE of them are Atheists!

M. Curi, B. Russell and L. Palling.

While the other, Albert Einstein, did not believe in a personal prayer. answering god.

NO Christian has ever won TWO Nobel Prizes.

How is Atheism working for Anglia Jole, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nichelson, Chris Hitchens and many, many, many others who have publicly stated they are Atheists?

PRETTY DAMN WELL! THANK YOU!

Of course, IF most of my fellow American Atheists were NOT SO VERY AFRAID of what you Christians would do to them if they publicly stated they were Atheists, there would be many, many more very famous and very successful names added to the already long lists.

Should not most Christians BE ASHAMED to know most Americans who are Atheists are SO AFRAID of what some Christians would do to their property, homes, business, pets, children and them if they openly
state they are Aheists, they do not do so?

Yes, they SHOULD BE!

Are They Ashamed? NOT that I know of.

How is your believing in Childish Superstitions doing for you?

That is aside from totally screwing up your ability to think logically when it comes to YOUR religion.

Ah, a born-againer! Don't ya'll bait him too much. It's cruel, like putting roosters to fighting. They just can't help it.

A few more comments.

1. What "E" said is totally correct.

2. We ARE IN World War III
and we will be in it until we kill enough Moslem Fanatics to convince them to stop.

3. Bush's war in Iraq was, and is, FULLY Justified and a Necessary part of our War On Terror.

4. Monkeyboy is Clueless!

Why are Witch Trials STILL occuring in the U.S.?

If you're going to make claims like this, you're going to have to provide verifiable actual instances.

I am a Wiccan. I wear a pentacle openly and make no secret of my faith, and I do so here in America without fear of harm. While we do sometimes experience opposition from Christians, it's from a vanishingly small minority and it's petty stuff -- ignorant badmouthing or petty discrimination that we counter through civil suits.

Even in the unlikely event some group of Christian crackpots were to up and lynch one of us, it would be treated as the hate-crime homicide it was. Which brings me to a point of Mr. Katzman's that I'd like to address:

The simple practice of raping women who do not wear veils in Muslim areas does not require the modern state, but that form of jihadism is most certainly an exercise of coercive power used for Islamist ends.

Such a practice does not, indeed, require the modern state. It does, however, require a state -- modern or not -- that is either unable or unwilling to interdict/punish such behavior. In America, people -- singly or in groups -- may act violently against others based upon some religious motive. But, as the state disapproves of and vigorously discourages such actions, their occurance is extremely rare.

States generally reflect the mores of their populations, and this is especially true of democracies. So as much (or possibly more) to the point is the fact that American society as a whole disapproves of 'religious' violence. Muslim (especially Arab Muslim) states don't seem to share that disapproval, and in some cases actually approve of it, so it's not surprising that Muslim states have more of it.

That doesn't answer the basic question of is Islam incompatible with democracy, though.

Insofar as Islam fails to repudiate violence, be it 'freelance' or enshrined in the legal system, as a tool for coercing belief or 'Islamic behavior,' yes. Is that coercion inextricably part of Islam? I don't think so, though neither do I think it's going to be quick or easy to remove it. I do know it's up to the Muslims themselves. Ultimately, the followers of a religion are the ones who define what it is. There are verses in the Bible that would curl your hair, but they're ignored by the vast majority of Christians and so are now no longer functionally part of Christianity. There may be more and/or worse suras in the Koran, but it's entirely possible for them to meet a similar fate.

This isn't to say that we should treat it as a purely internal Muslim problem, because it's not. Hold them to the same secular standards as everybody else, no more, no less.

Trolls are sometimes sock puppets with frowny faces.

Jus wanted to mention that possibility. Verb. sap.

If the person was referring to me as a "troll" then the poor clueless slob should learn that "trolls" do NOT use their full names as I do.

Neil C. Reinhardt

"An Old Son Of A Beach"

Yes, The Moslem Fanatics are bad and SO are the Christian Fanatics. Here, read what present day "American Christian leaders" have said.

Then tell me (with a straight face) they are really "good people" who care about all Americans

http://www.sullivan-county.com/news/mine/quotes.htm

Compare the types of things they say to what America's greatest orator, Robert Green Ingersoll, who was one of America's greatest thinkers and an Atheist leader said.

"The true civilization is where every man gives to every other every right that he claims for himself."

For more on Ingersoll go here:

http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/robert_ingersoll/

The truth is religious people are NOT more kind, honest, helpful, nice, just, hard working, brave, compassionate, truthful intelligent, courageous or have more of any other positive traits than Atheists do.

MOST Americans who are Atheists WERE Christians.

And just like in anything else where people change their views, that change was due to their increased knowledge of the Christian religion and the Bible.

In fact, one of the main things which cause many to
start to DE-program themselves from the Christian faith, is the very careful reading of the Bible from cover to cover.

Thus, I urge all Christians to do that.

You Christians can go be active in the "word" while we Atheists go out and make the world a better place to live.

It's not American Atheists who poisoned themselves in Guyana, set themselves on fire in Waco, Tx., rob banks to get money for their terrorist activities, blow up abortion clinics and gay bars, shoot doctors and others, blow up the Federal Building in Ok. City and the Olympics in Atlanta.

Nope, it was the American Christians who did, and do, those things.

And it is American Christians who beat up, try to kill, and do kill, Americans who are Atheists ONLY because they are Atheists.

It's not Atheists who've been conducting terrorist attacks killing people all around the world and who did 9-11.  

Nope, it was more religious people who did, and do those things.

[ Held in moderation queue for 14 hours (3+ links in comment) --Marshall Festus ]

Reply to # 52

Well Wicken,

First, a persons personal experiences in one, or a few locales, in no way equate to the experiences of thousands, or millions across one of the largest nations on earth.

For some reason, MOST people seem to think if they do not feel that way or have not had that experience, then others have not either.

Second, I doubt you are a member of even one of the national organizations fighting for the total separation of Church and State and the rights of all including Atheists. Groups like the Atheists United of LA, American Atheists, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and others.

Why don't you contact American Atheists and/or ffrf (the Freedom From Religion Foundation) and ask them if many, to most Americans who are Atheists are not afraid to publicly state they are?

Third, I've most probably been studying the religion in general & the Christian religion in particular for many years longer than you have been alive.

Forth, (and people who have known me for longer than 50 years will attest to this) while you MAY know someone who is AS honest & truthful as I am, the odds of you knowing someone who is MORE honest and truthful than I am is about ZERO!

So, when I say something, you can damn well bet there is proof of it being true.

---------------

Here in the United States, we hear more and more about how Christians are not only a persecuted minority "the world over" they are even persecuted here in the U.S.

(Yea, Right! ? What total BS that is!)

No doubt, this message is being put out by an extremely well-funded PR machine and perhaps it is to cover-up stories like this one from Oklahoma, where we see just who is really persecuting who!.

Another Salem Which Trail:

Christian Persecution of Atheists in the American Heartland.

Charles Smalkowski and his family in Oklahoma was falsely charged with assault when Smalkowski refused an offer the to leave the state and not file a suit against the school district because of their official Un-Constitutional Christian prayers and persecution of his daughter.

When he resisted, the charges were increased to a felony, and his family suffered.

Still, in the end, he won.
Here's Mr. Smalkowski himself, writing about his experiences in the American Atheist newsletter

"The loving Christians brought their children to hear the verdict. They brought the town. They brought ministers. I even saw another judge in the back of the room.

It was the same Judge who, in an earlier hearing, while slapping an inch thick stack of papers on his bench saying with a list of witnesses this big you had better be a good boy.

It was lies then, it was lies now and the DA knew it was lies!

(She was later forced to hand over a written statement which she had denied for over a year even existed!)

"People prayed openly for a conviction."

While many people attended, for some reason, neither the so-called victim of Smalkowki's alleged assault nor the assistant district attorney bothered to show up.

Why?

Perhaps they had a good idea the case wasn't going to go there way.

http://atheism.about.com/b/a/257839.htm

Here's the American Atheist link:

http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/smalko2.htm

-------------------------

From: "The Volokh Conspiracy"

("The Volokh Conspiracy" blog averages 10,000 hits a day, Written by Eugene Volokh, a true genius I was fortunate enough to work with and whom is a friend of mine.)

MORE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WE ATHEISTS!

A horrific case of discrimination against Atheists occurred in New Orleans over recognized as immoral behavior (stealing, violence, sexual promiscuity). ...

http://volokh.com/posts/1125342962.shtml

------------------------

NCR (dats me) Sez: And people wonder why many Christians piss me off?

Leave a comment

Here are some quick tips for adding simple Textile formatting to your comments, though you can also use proper HTML tags:

*This* puts text in bold.

_This_ puts text in italics.

bq. This "bq." at the beginning of a paragraph, flush with the left hand side and with a space after it, is the code to indent one paragraph of text as a block quote.

To add a live URL, "Text to display":http://windsofchange.net/ (no spaces between) will show up as Text to display. Always use this for links - otherwise you will screw up the columns on our main blog page.




Recent Comments
  • TM Lutas: Jobs' formula was simple enough. Passionately care about your users, read more
  • sabinesgreenp.myopenid.com: Just seeing the green community in action makes me confident read more
  • Glen Wishard: Jobs was on the losing end of competition many times, read more
  • Chris M: Thanks for the great post, Joe ... linked it on read more
  • Joe Katzman: Collect them all! Though the French would be upset about read more
  • Glen Wishard: Now all the Saudis need is a division's worth of read more
  • mark buehner: Its one thing to accept the Iranians as an ally read more
  • J Aguilar: Saudis were around here (Spain) a year ago trying the read more
  • Fred: Good point, brutality didn't work terribly well for the Russians read more
  • mark buehner: Certainly plausible but there are plenty of examples of that read more
  • Fred: They have no need to project power but have the read more
  • mark buehner: Good stuff here. The only caveat is that a nuclear read more
  • Ian C.: OK... Here's the problem. Perceived relevance. When it was 'Weapons read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: Chris, If there were some way to do all these read more
  • Chris M: Marcus Vitruvius, I'm surprised by your comments. You're quite right, read more
The Winds Crew
Town Founder: Left-Hand Man: Other Winds Marshals
  • 'AMac', aka. Marshal Festus (AMac@...)
  • Robin "Straight Shooter" Burk
  • 'Cicero', aka. The Quiet Man (cicero@...)
  • David Blue (david.blue@...)
  • 'Lewy14', aka. Marshal Leroy (lewy14@...)
  • 'Nortius Maximus', aka. Big Tuna (nortius.maximus@...)
Other Regulars Semi-Active: Posting Affiliates Emeritus:
Winds Blogroll
Author Archives
Categories
Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en