“Hossam Ahmed, a retired Air Force Reserve colonel who occasionally leads prayer meetings for the small Muslim congregation at the
Pentagon, agreed. ‘Ignorance is the number one problem. Education is of the essence.'” — from this article about growing distrust of Muslims in the United States
The personally appealing Muslim who outwardly seems to offer no problem for Infidels, nonetheless poses a problem — no matter how benign his own motives. No doubt the military colleagues of Hossam Ahmed find him a swell fellow, but ultimately that doesn’t tell them a single solitary thing about Islam or Jihad. It should not get in the way of their studying Islam, comprehending Islam, and indeed comprehending why the unrepresentative “good Muslim” is so unrepresentative indeed.
By “unrepresentative “˜good Muslim– I mean the handful who serve in the armed services, perhaps because they came, say, from India (where educated Muslims have had to accommodate themselves to, and have therefore been affected outwardly by, the larger non-Muslim society in which they swim, which softens the hard edges) or are in other ways quite particular in their personal histories (Afghanis who fled the Taliban, Iranians who fled the Islamic Republic of Iran).
Such people should not for a moment have been taken to “represent Islam” or, still worse, to demonstrate that there is nothing to worry about in regard to Islam or Jihad. They, by their outward affability or even charm help foster misconceptions that can be quite dangerous to Infidel Americans keen not to offend colleagues, keen to assume the best and never the worst, keen not to be too mistrustful nor to draw conclusions based on the study of a belief-system.
Imagine, for a moment, attempting to arrive at, and then to articulate to one’s colleagues or to policymakers, what has been suggested so often here: the need to see the belief-system of Islam and Jihad as a source of permanent threat to all non-Muslims, and then to formulate a policy designed to divide and demoralize the Camp of Islam in order to lessen that menace, and at the same time to allow the natural fissures within Islam, ethnic, sectarian, and economic, develop — so that they will do the work that might otherwise have to be accomplished by Infidels in other ways.
Now imagine that you teach at a military school with a Muslim colleague — say, Vali Nasr. Or you are giving a presentation to people in the executive branch and Zalmay Khalilzad is present. Or you are giving a lecture to a select group and either, or both, Fouad Ajami and Kanan Makiya are participants — both of them clearly Muslim-for-identificaton-purposes-only Muslims, yet neither willing to be an open apostate, and both of them retaining — Makiya it would appear far more than Ajami — a filial piety (perhaps to remembrances of relatives past, who were simple and pious Muslims who rejected all the natural anti-Infidel attitudes of Islam) that causes you to not wish to hear about plans to divide and demoralize and weaken the Camp of Jihad. Telling the truth under such circumstances would require people who are quite sure of themselves and are willing to offend colleagues or others whom they know, whom they may have to work beside — people who are personally attractive, but who as Muslims, even if in name only, may inhibit sensible planning and discussion of what Infidels must come to grips with.
It is not the handful of westernized and secularized Muslims who matter for the making of policy, except insofar as they may here and there, if willing, be able to help in the propaganda war to weaken the appeal of the Jihad to both Muslims and Infidels alike. It is the menace posed by the hundreds of millions of primitive Muslims that matters, and that must be the focus of policy.
Forget all the Hossam Ahmeds, Vali Nasrs, Kanan Makiyas, Fouad Ajamis. This is too menacing a matter, with everything at stake, for personal or professional delicacy and decorum. Too many Americans don’t know how to be relentless, perhaps seemingly ruthless, in their own defense. They have forgotten all the lessons of World War II and the Cold War — or perhaps they never knew them.
Niceness will just have to go.