Common sense analysis -- such as is sadly lacking in Washington -- on the jihad threat. "If the Terrorists Misinterpret Islam …," by David Steinberg for Pajamas Media, May 25:
[...] The world’s current conflicts: an Islamic revolt in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq; an Islamic butchery in Sudan; an Islamic civil war in Somalia; an Islamist civil war in Sri Lanka; an Islamic invasion into Chad (perpetrated by the Sudanese butchers); an Islamic insurgency in Thailand; an Islamist insurgency across all of Northeast Africa (the Maghreb); an Islamic separatist movement in Kashmir; an Islamist insurgency in the Philippines; and a sustained Islamic belligerency against Israel involving Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. [...]
First, we withheld judgment on the religion of the attackers. President Bush stood on rubble and promised “the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” But he also stated, again and again, that we are not at war with Islam, simply with a perverted form of the great religion. It was a subjective, anti-intellectual conclusion. It was not based on reason, and the correct response regarding liberalism’s stance toward Islam should have been: “We have not reached an answer yet.”
The left took a similar stance, if only initially — they withheld judgment on the religion of the attackers but then chose to blame Western policy towards Islamic lands for motivating the terrorists. Subjective is not a descriptive enough word for this. Essentially, that was the end of the Left’s investigation — which, stunningly, is exactly what Leftism required.
The non-Left liberals? Those with any connection to the beliefs of the classical liberal have spent the past decade asking the questions they are required to ask:
- Do societies ever turn to terroristic, totalitarian behavior solely because of outside oppression, or do the movements arise from within?
- Is Islam as it is practiced by terrorists and aggressive Islamic countries a new phenomenon? Or does it predate contact with the West?
- Is it possible for one religion/culture to be more worthwhile to humanity as a whole than another?
- Is it racist to think Islam is inherently violent?
These questions researched, the next step was to thoroughly examine the Koran, the Hadith, and the Sira, and the accepted interpretations of such by Islamic scholars and leaders.
- Quite simply, what was Mohammad’s life like? How does it compare, objectively, to other prominent religious figures? How did subsequent Islamic leaders interpret Mohammad’s teachings, and — most importantly — how did they act in response? If Islam as interpreted by the terrorists is not true Islam, what is the strain of moderate Islam called? Who are its leaders and its followers? What is their literature? Where is it practiced?
Almost eight years following 9/11, eight years to address these questions, and I am hard-pressed to find any sort of sizable leftist group of voters who know a bloody thing about the contents of the Koran.
The classical liberals? We’ve done what was required of us in the name of defending liberty. Feel free to challenge our bulletproofed conclusion, but we promise your failure:
If the terrorists misinterpret Islam, then so does Mohammad.
The evidence concerning Islam is as much logic and reason as any government can ever hope to get regarding an international crisis. As an Islamic leader chases the bomb, we do not intend to wait for the illiberal, unreasoned, irrational half-thinkers of the left to simply ask a proper question.
Because they never will.