Here are the last few paragraphs of Ed Husain’s attempt to equate “Zionism” and “Islamism”:
“Just as Israel is an expansionist state which remains in occupation of the Golan Heights, Islamists plan for a state that would have an occupying army to support ever-expanding borders (see Hizb ut-Tahrir’s draft constitution). Just as Zionists claim territory based on notions of “Jewish land” and God-given rights, Islamists wish to reconquer India and Spain as “Muslim land”, once ruled by Muslim monarchs.
Zionists have achieved their state; Islamists are busy trying out every conceivable option to bring their dream Zion to fruition. For centuries, Jewish people said “Next year in Jerusalem”, and for decades for now, Islamists have been repeating “Caliphate by next Ramadan”. I did this for three Ramadans before realising I had been sold a pup and so abandoned Islamism, and slowly rediscovered Islam. There is a world of difference between Islam and Islamism, as there is between Judaism and Zionism.
While millions across the world make the distinction between Zionism and Judaism, to date that distinction is not yet clear for most of us when it comes to Islam. Islamism is not Islam, regardless of the claims of “Muslim spokesmen”. To condemn Israeli excesses is not anti-semitic; and to criticise Islamism is not to be Islamophobic.
Among my closest friends, I count American Jews. As a Muslim, I see Jews as cousins-in-faith, the descendants of Jacob. In The Islamist, I denounce suicide bombings and support a two-state solution to the question of Palestinian nationhood, as endorsed by Muslim scholars at al-Azhar in Egypt. So I don’t come to this as an enemy of Israel.
My problem lies with marketing political ideologies as religion. Whether it is evangelical Christianity in the United States and their religious support for rightwing Republicans, or Zionism posing as Judaism, or Islamism masquerading as Islam – all three are equally guilty of misleading people, creating conflicts and corrupting three of the world’s greatest religions.
Note that Zionists are depicted by Ed Husain as religious fanatics. But Herzl, Max Nordau, and other early Zionists, and those who came later, such as Chaim Weizmann and his associates, or the incomparable Jabotinsky, writer, feuilletonist, boulevardier, and orator (Nabokov, the uncle of the writer, who as the Russian Ambassador to Great Britain heard Jabotinsky speak, and declared him to be the greatest orator he had ever heard) were all secular, worldly, thoroughly assimilated. They could have done nothing, continuing in their successful careers without giving a thought to the tragic condition and situation of Jews in Eastern and Central Europe.
Then there are those whom Ed Husain absurdly calls “Islamists,” failing to realize that their goals are nothing but standard Islamic doctrine, even if their currently chosen means are, it seems, exclusively violent. (That in itself is strange, given that there are so many other instruments of Jihad — the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da’wa in the Bilad al-kufr, and of course slow and inexorable demographic conquest of those Lands of the Infidels.)
The “Islamists” do not read a different Qur’an, or consult a different set of “authentic” Hadith, or have a different version of Muhammad’s life, from the Qur’an and Hadith and Sira consulted by those “moderate” Muslims whom Ed Husain allows himself to believe exist, or better, pretends to allow himself to believe exist.
He is alarmed about Muslim violence, one suspects, because he is alarmed about the position of Muslims in the West, and their continued ability to remain in that West, and to flourish — as he so obviously does. His very slight disaffection, at the edges of Islam, should not relieve or satisfy anyone. For it is prompted neither by a keen recognition and keen analysis of the nature and permanent menace of Islam, nor of its persistent hold over the minds of men (Islam is primitive, but most men, in most times and places, are very primitive). He is no Wafa Sultan, or Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or Ibn Warraq. He represents a snare and a delusion.
He might only ask himself this: suppose the “Zionists,” as he calls them, were to hold on to every inch of land they now possess? After all, the Jews have a considerable historic, legal, and moral claim to that territory. It comes from the exact terms of the Palestine Mandate itself, which was set up for one purpose: to encourage Jewish immigration into Mandatory Palestine, and to facilitate “close Jewish settlement” on the land. The claim is further buttressed by the relentless siege by the Arab Muslims (supported by other Muslims), of the Zionist settlers, and then of the Jewish state. That siege is prompted by Islam, and that constitutes what can be called a Lesser Jihad. Some local Arabs who are islamochristians provided, for a time, a useful facade for what was always a Muslim campaign. And Ed Husain knows very well that that campaign is not going to end no matter what further surrenders of territory and of rights the Jews of Israel make. For those Arab Muslim gains will merely be pocketed. And then the complaining and the pressure — diplomatic, economic, and whenever possible military — will continue, will continue to the end of time. For it is absolutely intolerable that an Infidel nation-state, and still more humiliating one controlled by the long-despised Jews, should exist on land once part of Dar al-Islam.
And when Ed Husain writes of the desire of “Islamists” to recapture other lands — Spain (Al-Andaluz) and Sicily, for example — that were once under Muslim rule, he does two things, both of them bad. First, he implies that the desire of Muslims to re-possess lands once in Muslim possession is limited to those he calls adherents of “Islamism.” Not at all. This is standard, mainstream Islam, and Ed Husain surely knows it. And then he further implies that the desire of Muslims (or, in his misleading presentation, “Islamists”) is limited to the recapture of territories once under Dar al-Islam. This does, admittedly, cover a lot of territory. It includes Israel, and Spain, and Sicily, and a few other Mediterranean islands. It includes Greece, and all of the Balkans, and Rumania and Bulgaria and much of Hungary. It includes an enormous swathe of Russia. It includes most of India, and part of western China.
But that is not all it includes. For Islam inculcates not only the idea that once under Islam, forever to be, or to revert to the condition of being, under Islam, but that the whole world must ultimately come under the sway of Islam. And by telling us only about the places that were once part of Dar al-Islam, and even then carefully limiting how many such places he lists, Ed Husain causes unwary Infidels to breathe a sigh of relief. “Whew, at least thank god I live not in Spain or Sicily or Israel, but in Paris or London or New York. For a minute I was worried there.”
I suspect that Ed Husain is on to a good thing, a gravy-train, as a professional “moderate” who offers “hope.” It is a false hope, and a dangerous hope. Those who are subsidizing him, possibly believing in the old theory that “he’s the best till the best comes round,” should stop. There are those who tell the truth, the full truth, and nothing but the truth, about Islam. They are both ex-Muslims, and non-Muslims. Support them.
You can start, by the way, with this website. It needs all the help it can get.