Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald discusses the views on Islam of Edward Walker of the Middle East Institute:
Did Edward Walker eagerly accept the assignment as Ambassador to Israel perhaps for the same reason that the “Middle East Institute” ostentatiously announces on its website that it encourages the study of Hebrew — to provide cover for him, and for the Institute, as apologists for, and promoters of, those who fund the Middle East Institute? To wit: certain well-known and very rich Middle Eastern states, institutions, and individuals, and businesses with deals afoot in the Middle East. And of course, another contributor is that well-known sap (“our staunch ally Saudi Arabia” being that sap’s mantra for the past 40 years), the government of the United States.
His preposterous description of Islam would come as a surprise to any of the great Western scholars of Islam. But then, Edward Walker and his ilk don’t have to worry about being confronted by Joseph Schacht or Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje. No – they only need be concerned about such profound students of Islam as Tom Friedman, and Khaled Abou el Fadl, and Condoleeza Rice, and George Bush.
Possibly the most absurd phrase in his farrago of absurdities was this:
“Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is a big tent that incorporates many different versions, some formally such as the Shiia, Sunnis, Ibadis, Suffis [sic], Salafis, and others and various versions…”
“Big tent” is it? Just like the Republican Party, or the Democratic Party, with their “big tents” where all are welcome? Well, in the first place, that demure phrase “various versions” hides the fact that for 1300 years the Sunni have oppressed, and more than oppressed, the Shi’a — mass murder is a bit more than mere oppression. And the doctrine of taqiyya, or religiously-sanctioned dissimulation about both the contents of Islam and one’s own beliefs, originates in Shi’a Islam as a defense, not against the wicked Americans or Israelis back in 700 A.D., but against the Sunnis.
And the other point that Walker elides, or deliberately omits because he would prefer we not dwell on it, is that whatever their differences about the succession to Muhammad (Sunni and Shi’a), whatever their differences as to the role of the clergy or the most effective way of immediate and direct contact with Allah (as with the Sufi mystics, including those famously whirling mevlevis), there is NO difference on the only issue that matters to Infidels.
And that is the hostility, the hatred, the desire either to do away with, or to subjugate, as is only natural in the belief-system of Islam, all Infidels. There is no detectable difference in attitudes toward Infidels as held by Sunnis and the Shi’a (though some of the former may denounce the latter as “Rafidite dogs” and the worst kind of Infidels). There is no difference, though naive college freshman, clutching their well-thumbed copies of Rumi’s poetry, may assume there is. Besides, half of them are under the impression that that campus favorite of the recent past, Hermann Hesse’s “Siddhartha,” is all about some Muslim mystic. There is no difference in their view of Infidels, and in the necessity for Jihad, as preached and accepted by those “mystics.” The most famous Muslim theologian, Al-Ghazali, was a Sufi, and he just like all the others preached the necessity of Jihad. That must have come as quite a shock to a number of people — say, Eric Ormsby, did it come to a shock to you?
So this business of the varied sects, the vast variousness and diverse diversity of Islam, is meaningless when it comes to the essential worldview that is contained in the immutable text of the Qur’an, the most authoritative recensions of the Hadith (those of Bukhari and Muslim) and the Sira of Muhammad, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil. That view of the world, or of the universe, uncompromisingly views that world as one of polarity, opposition, division. And that division is between Believer and Infidel. And on that matter, all the schools and sects and “versions” (as Walker puts it) agree. And that is the only thing, that for Infidels, should matter — and what they could keep their eyes squarely on.
One doubts that some of those associated with the Middle East Institute, on its Board of Advisers or Trustees or something, would welcome any of these unpleasant truths being investigated, much less publicized, by the Middle East Institute. John Esposito, for example, the egregious entrepreneur who takes the name of a Jesuit institution in vain even as he expresses his admiration for Hamas supporter and would-be suicide bomber Azam Tamimi, or enters the Boston Mosque case to express his great admiration not only for himself (as his 9-page resume delightedly expresses) but also for Sheik Al-Qaradawi, the man who thinks homosexuals should be killed, suicide bombing is just peachy if it hits the right Infidels, and looks eagerly forward to the day when, in Europe, as is only right, “Islam is to dominate and is not to be dominated.” Esposito the entrepreneur (pocketing those Saudi sums for his fiefdom, which only supplement those large speaking fees to the right audiences) is not the only doubtful character associated with the Middle East Institute. Lucius Battle, despite the implied Roman warrior rectitude of his name, is one of those who, like former ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Akins,appears to be deeply concerned about that favorite topic of antisemites, the Israeli attack — clearly established now, with the release of the tapes, as an accident — on the U.S.S. Liberty in the heat of (non-lucius battle), during the Six-Day War.
Quaere whether or not Edward Walker knows and doesn’t care, about these people associated with his “Middle East Institute.” Quaere as well, whether or not Walker himself, a plausible fellow who knows the value of outward amiability and ostensible fairmindedness to all sides (it makes one seem so….so thoughtful, has ever in all his years of being occupied and preoccupied with the Middle East actually sat down for a month or a summer of solid study, to read and re-read, with appropriate guides, the Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sira, including in the latter category the lives of Muhammad by Jeffery, by Tor Andraen, by Sir William Muir. And he should also read, if he hasn’t had the time, all those Western students of Islam whose works are only now being republished — those who published between 1880 and 1960, and who have been studiously ignored, or even denounced (see Khaled Abou El Fadl’s website list of “Books Not to Read”), but who do not date, as the belief-system of Islam does not change. All that has changed is the level of Muslim ability to carry out the duties and desires of Muslims, largely through the OPEC trillions that provide the financial wherewithal, and the migrant tens of millions who have settled deep behind what they regard as enemy lines, in Western Europe and elsewhere in the Lands of the Infidels.
It is a scandal that a deep knowledge of Islamic texts, and therefore of the tenets, and attitudes, and atmospherics, of Islam, as investigated and studied by Western scholars of Islam in the century of free and uninhibited study that existed before rich Arab governments bought up or created all kinds of academic or pseudo-academic institutions, and before Muslims themselves so thoroughly penetrated, and now dominate, the teaching about Islam all over this and many other countries (google “MESA Nostra” for more).
Edward Walker was such an ambassador. One wonders if, in his comfortable Middle-East-Institute life, he has had a moment to dip into Schacht or Margoliouth, Muir or Fagnan, Zwemer or St. Clair Tisdall, Crone or Cook or Wansbrough, Mingana or Luxenberg, or Ibn Warraq? Has he thought that just maybe it is time to put away childish things, and break with the past of all those State Department people, and to work now to alert others to the danger to the West of the various instruments of Jihad, including Da’wa and demographic conquest in Western Europe? It would mean he would have to publicly resign his position, to declare himself a new man. Could he conceivably do it — out of a greater loyalty to the idea of the West? One cannot imagine such people as James Akins or Raymond Close or Eugene Bird doing that. But possibly Walker may have it in him. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, his avoiding of the only subject that really matters in the Middle East, the only explanatory model for all that has happened, and is happening, and that possesses, as a good model must, predictive value — is that of Islam itself. To continue to ignore truth-telling about the contents of Islam, and the varied instruments of Jihad, is either silly or sinister. Silly, if people such as Walker continue to ignore the matter, or to echo the most transparent of apologists, from Cherif Bassiouni to Khaled Abou El Fadl. Siniter, if he knows more than he is letting on, but is not about to help unwary Infidels in and out of government know more. Or perhaps he is one more example of someone who is a bit of both — — silly-sinister, or sinister-silly. Take your pick.
Edward Walker turns out to be James-Akins-Raymond-Close-Andrew-Kilgore light, or lite. More plausible, more deniability from that stint as ambassador to Israel. Essentially, the same apologetics. As would have to be — what do you expect from the well-fed director of the Middle East Institute?