Fawaz Gerges, professor and television “analyst,” wants to make sure that Infidels are greatly impressed with all the “ferment” and movement toward “reform” that is supposedly visible all over the “world of Islam.” It is guff and blague, but useful for a transparent propagandist for Islam, and the peoples and states suffused with Islam, all over Dar al-Islam.
Someone who is apparently impressed with Fawaz Gerges is one Anthony T. Sullivan, founder and main beneficiary of a “consulting firm” known as “Near Eastern Support Services” (think James Akins, think Eugene Bird, think Raymond Close, and you’ll know exactly what is going on here). Recently Sullivan managed to hornswoggle the editors of “Modern Age,” a publication put out by the Intercollegiate Studies Association (which should put one in mind of Richard Weaver, Friedrich von Hayek, and Josef Pieper, not of Muslim apologetics, and certainly not of Fawaz Gerges), into publishing his piece all about that ferment, that “reform,” within Islam that Infidels should do nothing to disrupt.
In this Sullivanesque view, a view that Gerges pushes, some kind of “battle goes on for the soul of Islam.” In order to ensure that the Good Muslims triumph over the Bad Muslims, Infidels must be attuned to, solicitous of, Muslim sensibilities. No critical scrutiny of Islam. Acceptance of what self-anointed “moderate Muslims” (“moderate” in what way? to what end? for how long? with what degree of certainty?) tell us to think about Islam, as an inoffensive faith somehow kidnapped or hijacked or captured by Bad Muslims, who haven’t a textual leg, apparently, to stand on. And not only must Islam be free from Infidel scrutiny and criticism, but key words must be left out of the Infidel vocabulary altogether. Gordon Brown has apparently told his Cabinet not to use the word “Islamic” near the word “terrorism,” lest the British government offend.
And in Washington, a man closely connected to the Saudis, James Guirard — some say the Saudi Embassy and the Saudi lobby, all-powerful as ever, channel their views right through him — keeps pushing the view that the word “jihad” should never be used by Infidels, but only the word “hirabah” that the Saudi government favors, a word which lets Islam as a belief-system off the hook, and implies simply an ideological disorder that can in time be cured.
The article by Anthony T. Sullivan in “Modern Age” perfectly encapsulates this line of apologetics. No doubt its appearance will enable Sullivan to hike the fees that his Near East Support Services charges to sky-high levels, when he makes his pitch, or pitches his woo, to members of the Al-Saud or Al-Maktoum or Al-Thani or Al-Sabah families — but really, we all have to eat, don’t we? In this article Sullivan tries to convince us, yet again, that the world of Islam is in a ferment, experiencing a veritable orgy of self-questioning and “reform.” And Sullivan quotes, to this deliberately misleading effect, Fawaz Gerges: “We are in the throes of a …new wave [of democratization].”
About this one can say several things.
1) It is flatly untrue. Those naive hopes about “the opening up of the Mubarak regime” were smashed with the same club that the Egyptian police use to smash political opponents. The truest Egyptian democrat now sits in an Egyptian jail. Ditto with the supposed “opening up” of Saudi Arabia — purely trivial and cosmetic steps.
2) It ignores the fact that the principles of modern advanced democracy are flatly contradicted by Islam. The will expressed by the people, mere mortals who should be submissive to Allah, does not count. What counts is the will expressed by Allah in the Qur’an, and glossed by the Sunnah. This is something that Bush, Rice, and many others simply don’t understand. They don’t understand that Islam is a total belief-system, a Total System, doubly totalitarian, claiming to regulate every area of a Believer’s life, and laying claim as well to the entire globe.
3) “Democracy” when it is temporarily practiced always leads to more, not less, Islam. This is because the discontent of Muslims, over bad government, will always take on an Islamic cast, and always lead to more Islam, not less. And that is true whether or not the discontent is justified, as it is, certainly, with the corruptions of Abbas and Fatah, or Mubarak and his Family-and-Friends plan, or the Al-Saud, the Al-Maktoum, the Al-Thani, the Al-Sabah, and all the other despots and potentates and beglerbegs and pashas of this world that some insist, absurdly, as seeing as somehow akin to our own world, when it is nothing like it.
I don’t know if Gerges has gotten on the gravy train of government and foundation grants to study, or promote, the “reform of Islam” that he and others, eager for the same grant money, keep talking about. Perhaps his television retainer, and other fees, are enough. But in Fawaz Gerges’ case, I doubt it. No, I’m sure some “reforming Islam” grant money (Vartan Gregorian’s Carnegie Foundation? Or some other innocent, shelling out the dough?) has gone, is going, or will go his, Fawaz Gerges’, way.
Surely you don’t disagree.