Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald on American (and Western) policy myopia and its causes:
Every story about Muslim attacks on Buddhists in Thailand or elsewhere, like the many stories of Muslim murders of Hindu villagers in Pakistan and Kashmir and Bangladesh (in all three, the percentage of Hindus in the population has gone steadily down) and even in India itself, raises the question that the Pilgers and Fisks and Scowcrofts and Brzezinskis can never quite answer: for they have no reply to those who offer up the evidence that Muslims are not making war only on Israel (the Lesser Jihad), nor only on Israel’s intermittent and often lukewarm ally the United States, but against all Infidels.
It is curious that so many people, so quick to deplore the Eurocentric (or Americanocentric) view of the world as deplorably colonialist or racist or narrow-minded or what-have-you, suddenly become completely ignorant of, or indifferent to, the rest of the world’s many victims of Islam. But not only is this unfair to those victims; it also keeps the American Infidels from realizing that the attack on them has little to do with what American policy is — except insofar as it remains insufficiently appeasing to Muslims, and rather, is merely a specific case of the general problem.
And that general problem is the one which was identified long ago by Samuel Zwemer, the long-time editor of “The Moslem World.” Long before America even knew where the Middle East was, long before the Muslims had acquired their unmerited oil wealth that funds the Jihad, long before millions of Muslims were allowed to settle within Infidel lands, behind enemy lines, long before the rebirth of a Jewish commonwealth now known as Israel, Samuel Zwemer (d. 1952), an American scholar of Islam, and former editor of Moslem World, wrote the following in 1920 (in “Moslem World,” Vol. 10, pp. 154-155):
“Its [Islam’s] intolerance and persecuting spirit have been revealed within the past few years, the blood of a million martyrs testifying to the failure of Islam, its absolute failure to understand the words that open every chapter save one of their Sacred Volume: ‘God the Merciful and Compassionate’. A few years ago one of the leading Moslems of Baghdad wrote an article for a French journal entitled, The Final Word of Islam to Europe : ‘For us in the world there are only believers and unbelievers; love, charity, fraternity toward believers; contempt, disgust, hatred, and war against unbelievers. Amongst the unbelievers the most hateful and criminal are those who, while recognizing God, attribute to Him earthly relationship, give Him a son, a mother. Learn then, European observers, that a Christian of no matter what position, from the simple fact he is a Christian is in our eyes a blind man fallen from all human dignity.’…Can a religion which inculcates such principles make the world safe for democracy?”
“For us there are only believers and unbelievers” — that is the key. That is what the Administration, helping one set of Believers (the Shi’a) against another set of Believers (the Sunnis) — so singularly fails to understand. It does not want to understand. Like Jack Straw, like Dominique de Villepin, like Javier Solana and Chris Patten, many in this Administration — and especially, it seems, those who still rule the roost in the State Department – refuse to consider these words or even acknowledge that they have been uttered. They construct policy on what they wish were true rather than on what is actually true.
Islam is more than a collection of rituals — of shehada, zakat, salat, Ramadan, and hajj. It is a Total Regulation of Life, a Complete Explanation of the Universe. And central to Islam, running all through Islam, through the canonical texts of Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira, and running through the lives of Muslims and the attitudes and mental makeup of Muslims, is an assumption of superiority and a will to dominate. This is borne out by the history of Muslim conquest, the history of Muslim subjugation of non-Muslims in those conquered lands, the history of Muslim enslavement of non-Muslim blacks and non-Muslim whites, whether taken in slaving parties in Africa (where black African boys were castrated on the spot), or raiding parties up and down the coasts of Western Europe (see the recent book by Giles Milton on one such victim, Thomas Pellow of Cornwall), or into the lands of the Slavs, or into Circassia and Georgia (both places suppliers of women for the slave-markets of Islam, and the harems of Muslims over many centuries).
And central to Islam is that division noted by Samuel Zwemer, and expressed by that “Moslem from Baghdad” whose article “The Final World of Islam to Europe” Zwemer quotes, which makes the point unembarrassedly clear:
“For us in the world there are only believers and unbelievers.”
The division of the world, according to the Muslim view, is that between Believers and Infidels. Give Muslims all the aid — the disguised jizyah of aid — you want to give them. Give them water-treatment plants. Build them schools and hospitals. Repair power grids. Keep repairing, and re-repairing, oil fields. Spread the tens of billions of dollars in aid like confetti; if the usual corrupt locals manage to make off like gangbusters (even fleeing Iraq with a billion or so in American loot), just “redouble those efforts.” Use up your own political capital to relieve their external debt by one hundred billion. And don’t forget other Muslims. Give the Egyptians several billion a year, and ignore the fact that Egypt has failed to fulfill a single one of its solemn commitments to the Infidel state of Israel under a treaty brokered by, indeed forced down the throat of Israel by, the deplorable Carter and the clueless Brzezinski. Ignore the fact that Egypt is now a world center of both anti-Americanism and antisemitism. Keep paying that disguised jizhay of aid to the “Palestinian” Arabs, those shock-troops of the Lesser Jihad (that against Israel), who were the earliest foreign supporters of Khomeini (Arafat and his retinue proved so valuable to the resistible rise of Khomeini). Turn a blind eye — no, turn two blind eyes, one for each face of Janus-faced Pakistan — the Pakistan of “Dr.” A. Q. Khan, the Pakistan that helped create and then foster, for its own purposes, the Taliban, the Pakistan of a hundred Islamic groups and tens of thousands of madrasas — and keep that aid to Pakistan, that debt relief, those planes and guns, coming.
The Ur-source of the problem with American policy in Iraq is not that the government has been too bold, but too timid, afraid even synecdochically to allude to Islam, insistent on parroting until no one of any sense can stand it, that silly phrase about a “war on terrorism” with no hint, no hint of a hint, that “terrorism” is merely one instrument of Jihad, that “Jihad” means a struggle, and that all over the world this duty of Jihad to spread Islam, as old as Islam itself, is being pursued in various ways of which terrorism is only one, and not even necessarily the most effective.
The American government, or many people in it, failed to understand two things when they went to Iraq. They failed to understand the history of Iraq itself, with its long-standing ethnic and sectarian divisions that in the case of the Sunni-Shi’a split go back to the fourth of the rightly-guided caliphs, a split that in the history of modern Iraq only widened, rather than narrowed, since the days of Sir Percy Cox and Gertrude Bell. They failed to understand that the Kurds were hot for independence, and that a Kurdish state might usefully be exploited in order to raise the consciousness of non-Arab Muslims everywhere, beginning with the Berbers of North Africa (subjected not to the mass murder that the Kurds endured under Saddam Hussein, but rather to Arab cultural and linguistic imperialism). Paralyzing fear of Turkey, perhaps, or a belief that Turkey could still be described (as Richard Perle did in an interview in 2004) as “secular” as if Kemalism were permanent, Islam transitory — instead of, as we all now know, the reverse.
And there was just one other little thing, one other intelligence failure, that characterizes the American effort in Iraq, and the madness of the effort to create out of these three vilayets a moderate, rational, democratic nation-state that will prove a Light Unto the Muslim Nations. And that other little thing was Islam. There was not in 2001 an understanding of Islam; there was not such an understanding in the spring of 2003, when three American divisions in a few weeks conquered Iraq; there appears to be no such understanding now, at the top, of the nature of Islam, or why, for example, the campaign of Da’wa, and demographic conquest of Western Europe, is far more important a matter to address, and think of ways to reverse, than whether or not the Sunni lion can lie down with the Shi’a — well, not exactly lamb, but lioness.
That remark by the Muslim writer quoted by Zwemer — “For us in the world there are only believers and unbelievers”– was written in 1920. It could have been written in 1120, or 1620, or of course, in 2005. Islam is based on immutable texts. Islam does not and cannot change. It can be contained. It can be weakened. It can be demoralized. It can have its own natural divisions exploited. But it cannot change — or at least no one has yet successfully done so, and many have tried. For how would one change the text of the Qur’an? How would one declare “inauthentic” Hadith that al-Bukhari and Muslim and other muhaddithin had declared “authentic”? How would one change the facts of Muhammad’s life as detailed in the Sira?
And even if this or that scholar claimed to have done so, would the hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world accept any of it? Why should they? To please those Infidels, those unbelievers against whom they have been thoroughly brainwashed since birth in a thousand ways? This brainwashing never lets up. It does not depend on mosque attendance, but sometimes merely on the fact that one considers oneself, calls oneself, a Muslim and has a visceral, primordial identification with Islam and with Muslims that can suddenly be summoned, in the most unlikely, seemingly westernized, Muslims, from the depths of their beings — at any moment, set off by any number of things, both “political” and completely personal.
That’s it. Only those who understand that that is the basis of Islam — that division between Infidel and Believer — can conceivably begin to construct policies that make sense, and that do not squander, but husband, resources for a very long campaign — a campaign not of aggression, but of intelligent self-defense.