Mitt Romney: Jihadism is "not Islam"
Posted by Marisol on June 5, 2009 2:10 AM
A new twist on politicians' failure to understand the depth of the jihadist threat: For Mitt Romney, "jihadism" is apparently nothing but his label for what he considers a heretical, militant branch of the Religion of Peace. Indeed, the quotation below indicates Romney himself is firmly within the bounds of Beltway orthodoxy with respect to the nature of Islamic teachings.
"Mitt Romney: Jihadism Is Not Part of Islam," by Dan Gilgoff for  US News, June 3:
With Obama's big speech to the Muslim world in the offing, I asked Mitt Romney in an interview yesterday about a major speech on national security that he gave on Monday at the Heritage Foundation [...]. In it, Romney referred to Islam only insofar as he referred to "jihadism," a term he used four times in the address, and to "mullahs" and "ayatollahs."
I asked Romney how he'd respond to Muslim complaints that his speech characterized Islam in entirely sinister terms. His response surprised me:
Count the talking points:
I didn't refer to Islam at all, or to any other religion for that matter. I spoke about three major threats America faces on a long term basis. Jihadism is one of them, and that is not Islam [one! - Marisol]. If you want my views on Islam, it's quite straightforward. Islam is one of the world's great religions [two] and the great majority of people in Islam want peace for themselves and peace with their maker. [three] They want to raise families and have a bright future. [four]
And so on:
There is, however, a movement in the world known as jihadism. They call themselves jihadists and I use the same term. And this jihadist movement is intent on causing the collapse of moderate Muslim states and the assassination of moderate Muslim leaders. It is also intent on causing collapse of other nations in the world. It's by no means a branch of Islam. It is instead an entirely different entity. In no way do I suggest it is a part of Islam....
It's surprising he hasn't taken up the banner of " hirabah," or purportedly (for Western consumption) unlawful warfare. Some follow-up questions: Which are the "moderate Muslim states?" The common thread among purportedly "moderate" Muslim states is that some competing ideology -- like Kemalism in Turkey and Pancasila in Indonesia -- has held full-bore Islamic law at bay.
Moving on: What is "moderate" Islam? Is it orthodoxy or heterodoxy, traditional or reformist Islam? Is it more like Muhammad or less? Meccan Muhammad or Medinan Muhammad? What does "moderate" Islam specifically include or exclude? When does "moderate" Islam cross the line into "liberal" Islam? It turns out it's a uselessly relative term: "Moderation" depends on where the extremes are, and is, in essence, the slippery state of being less extreme in some respect than the next guy.
For that matter, what does Romney know about Islam, and where did he learn it? Did he look at primary sources, or consult pre-packaged apologetics? There is a three-step process that he likely skipped over: 1.) becoming aware that troublesome Qur'anic verses (4:34, 5:33, 9:5, and 9:29, to name a few) and ahadith exist, 2.) becoming aware of how jihadists (in the real sense, not Romney's) and even supposed "moderates" accept and interpret them, 3.) becoming aware of the silence and evasion on the part of Islamic apologists when confronted with 1 and 2. It should seem curious, given Islamic societies' track record for aggressively -- even brutally -- stamping out various heresies and practices associated with unbelief, that the supposed heresy of Romney's "jihadism" is so persistent and widely tolerated.
Ultimately, not to accept that the jihadist ideology comes from Allah's own commands as conveyed by Muhammad is to vastly underestimate the depth of the jihadist threat. And to base public policy on such underestimation, wishful thinking, and outright denial is to invite disastrous consequences for the near future.
Article printed from Jihad Watch: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2009/06/mitt-romney-jihadism-is-not-islam.htmlURLs in this post: