Here is another new piece by European writer Wolfgang Bruno.
In our clash with Islam, our opponents have at least one major advantage over us: At the beginning of the 21st century, the West has indeed lost its way and sense of purpose. We want to defend “Western civilization”, but are we even sure what that is anymore, or was it lost in the multicultural fog somewhere? Is the West primarily defined by its Judeo-Christian religious heritage, or is it something else?
The Western Left has a clear goal: The destruction of the society that vanquished its dreams fifteen years ago. But it does not have, as in the old days of the Soviet Union, the hard power to accomplish this by itself. Their bets are now on Islam. Religious people in the West tend to view secularists as anti-Christian hypocrites, and not without some justification. Devout Catholic Italian Rocco Buttiglione was rejected as the European Union’s justice commissioner because of his conservative, religious views. At the same time, the EU has extensive relations with the brutal theocracy in Iran, and few Islamic organizations, not even terrorist group Hamas, ever seem to be too extremist for the EU to cooperate with them. In the USA, the ACLU makes sure that prayer in public schools is just fine for Muslims, but banned for everybody else.
Even though left-wingers may usually be the worst offenders in appeasing Islam, that does not mean that right-wingers are blameless in this either. Economic liberalists are frequently naÃ¯ve when it comes to cultural and religious differences. Theirs is the blind belief that immigration will always be “good for the economy”, ignoring the troubling aspects of Muslim immigration. More pronounced is the fact that many members of the religious Right are even more skeptical of the secular Left than they are of Islam. Quite a few of them tend to view Islam as a potential ally against secularists, and want to cooperate with Muslims in a misguided attempt to revive “religious values” in their own societies. This line of thinking may be the Achilles heel of the Bush Administration.
As Hugh Fitzgerald says, the Faith-Based Initiative put forward by President Bush will turn out to be a fund for fate-based Muslims, a nice supplement to Saudi money, and will help support Islam in the USA. In other words, American taxpayers will be supporting a system that in every single one of its canonical texts inculcates hostility to infidels, and further mandates Jihad as a duty for all Muslims, in order to ensure that Islam comes to dominate the entire globe. At the same time, rumor has it that individuals associated with the Bush administration think that people such as Ibn Warraq and Ali Sina are “no longer in the game”, since they have abandoned Islam completely and are not religious. This is a serious miscalculation, and yet another indication that the Bush administration has no idea what they are doing regarding Islam.
Muslim immigration to the West has enabled groups of Jihadis to use modern technology against Western society itself. Less talked about is the fact that it has also created the first, organized international groups of dissidents challenging the very foundations of Islamic teachings. Nobody has ever before published a book similar to “Leaving Islam”, the anthology of testimonies by ex-Muslims edited by Ibn Warraq. And only with the advent of the Internet did it become possible for Ali Sina to make a movement such as Faith Freedom International, exposing the intolerance of Islam in real time, with people from all over the world being able to read it. It is highly unlikely that Islam can be reformed, but if it should, then a litmus test of real change would be whether Muslims could freely leave Islam. Ex-Muslims thus hold the key to one of the most important questions of our age. It is gross negligence of Western leaders to overlook this, but spend hundreds of billions of dollars on propping up what could become an Islamic state in Iraq.
Religious groups claim that only religion gives people the backbone and moral clarity needed to stand up to Islam. There may be some truth in this, as Europe managed to stop and even scale back Islamic aggression in days when it took its religion seriously. Indeed, today’s post-Christian Europe does appear weaker. But again, reality is not always as simple as this. Who has more moral clarity: Atheists such as Ibn Warraq and Ali Sina, who risk their lives every day by challenging Islam, or the late Pope John Paul, kissing the Koran? The biggest weakness of the West right now is our inclination to blame ourselves for whatever happens, and for reaching out to “win the hearts and minds” of people who profess to want to kill us and destroy our civilization. Isn’t guilt, the idea of being a sinner, paying for your sins and asking for forgiveness, a deeply Christian concept? Guilt is no stranger to Jewish thinking, either. This obsession with blaming ourselves does not have to be in opposition to religion and need not be cured by it. Some would even claim that it is a quintessentially Christian or Judeo-Christian concept. The idea of compassion, of personal responsibility, sets Christianity apart from Islam, and makes it infinitely superior to it. Non-religious people should take heed of this. The notion of reaching out to your enemies is usually a positive one, but can in an Islamic context also make some Christians perfect dhimmi material.
The West is mired in a cultural war by proxy, where the secular Left and the religious Right battle it out, using Islam as a tool to defeat the other. But Islam is not a tool, and has no master other than Allah and his Prophet. Any “alliances” non-Muslims make with Muslims are only temporary, until Muslims feel confident enough to do without them. It doesn’t matter whether you define the West primarily in religious or non-religious terms. Islam is an enemy of both, and will strive relentlessly to subdue them both. At least Christians and Jews are allowed to live in an Islamic state. Non-religious people have only the choice between conversion to Islam or death.
We can’t begin to do anything, until we in the West come together in agreement about basic principles concerning the value of Western Civilization. Until this is done, we will not be able to recognize and fight the danger of Islam. The most interesting and promising development is the alliance between non-religious persons such as Ali Sina and devout religious persons such as Robert Spencer. This is where the dynamic heart of the Islam-critical movement is today. And if the Bush administration were smart, they would support them in every way they can, including financially. Italian writer Oriana Fallaci has labeled herself a “Catholic Atheist”. Not a believer herself, but still deeply attached to the religious heritage that makes up an important part of her culture. Maybe the end definition of the West will be a society similar to what the USA is today: Secular by form, but religious by nature.
Wolfgang Bruno is a European author. He is writing a book about the Internet movement of ex-Muslims. All of Bruno’s essays can be republished and reproduced for free by anybody who wants to, as long as credit is given to the author.