“We are at war…with Islamic heretics” — from an article in the Los Angeles Times by Judith Miller and David Samuels
Now we all know what a Christian heresy is. It is a belief that is held by some who call themselves Christians that has been characterized or defined as a “heresy” by other Christians in positions of higher authority. We can even name some of them — Antinomianism, arianism, marcionism, millennialism, montanism, mandaeism, manichaenism, and so on. And if you go to an encyclopedia, you will find, because if you are like me you will not know, exactly in what this or that heresy was said to consist — that is, the precise belief deemed to be heretical.
But here, with the easy use by Judith Miller and David Samuels in the Los Angeles Times of the phrase “Islamic heretics,” we have not a single indication of the “heresy” of which Nidal Malik Hasan, or Osama bin Laden, or Sheikh Fadlallah, or Al-Zarqawi, or a hundred thousand or ten million or a hundred million others, are guilty.
They may think, as journalists, that they can get away with using such words as “heretics” because, you see, the very idea is so comforting. They may think that everyone or most everyone will simply accept the assertion that all these people are heretics, and will therefore drop any pretense of demanding an explanation of precisely what defines, in this case, the so-called Islamic heresy.
But there are two reasons they cannot do so. One is that there is no supreme authority, in quite the same way, in Islam, as there is in Catholicism. It is true that the closest thing to it might be Al-Azhar University, and the head of it, the Sheikh Al-Azhar, at least for Sunni Islam. For Shi’a Islam, those who have reached the rank of Ayatollah or Grand Ayatolloh might, collectively, play the same role. But it is nevertheless not quite so easy to call some Islamic belief a “heresy.”
More importantly, however, the texts — and the commentators on those texts — of Islam are on the side of Nidal Malik Hasan, and all the others who believe in Jihad. There may be prudential considerations, wherever Muslims are perceived as still too weak, for the avoidance of violence as the chosen instrument of Jihad. Besides, other means – deployment of the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da’wa, and demographic conquest (discussed openly by Muslims as the surest way to take over the historic enemy, “Christian” Europe) — to conduct Jihad that are far more effective, because they are not recognized as such, and are therefore not alarming to the great heedless complacent and too-busy-to-focus masses of non-Muslims.
Judith Miller and David Samuels of the Los Angeles Times now have to tell us the following: why, in what exact way, relying on what unorthodox texts (let’s be generous, let’s even let them call “unorthodox” those Hadith which were not assigned to the highest rank of “authenticity” by those learned and tireless muhaddithin Al-Bukhari and Muslim), are those with whom we are “at war” properly defined as “Islamic heretics”?
Go ahead, Judith Miller. Go ahead, David Samuels. Consult, right away, with all the authorities on Islam — those living and those dead. Yes, do look up, do wander in the pages of, the hundred greatest Western scholars of Islam who wrote between 1870 and 1970, and find in those pages any evidence, any evidence at all, that suggests that any of these scholars thought heretical the ideas of the centrality of Jihad, the natural violence of Jihad, the division of the world, in the Islamic view, between Muslim and Unbeliever, and the understanding that between the two a state of permanent war (though not always of open warfare), must exist until, at long last, the final triumph of Islam, and Islam dominates, and Muslims rule, everywhere — go ahead, quote chapter and verse.
Show us you are not cheap journalists of the kind famously denounced by Karl Kraus. Show us you have standards. Publish your findings in the Los Angeles Times, as a follow-up to your glib article there today.
In your new piece, explain more fully, please, exactly what you mean by “Islamic heretics.”
We’re all ears.