“What we’ve seen in the recent past, I think, is an indication of one of the things that we’re going to have to be most concerned about in the future, this self-radicalization of American citizens or people who reside in the United States. They have too often come under the influence of people who have misinterpreted Islam.” – a statement by Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States
Eric Holder would no doubt be appalled if he learned of someone teaching Constitutional Law at an American university who, it turned out, had never bothered to read the Dred Scott case, nor Loving v. Virginia, nor Shelley v. Kraemer, nor Brown v. Bd. of Education, nor a whole host of other cases involving race, and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
But he, Eric Holder, presumes to make pronouncements about Islam, and to tell us that those Muslims who are involved in acts or attempted acts or planned acts of terrorism are misinterpreting Islam. He ignores the fact that all of them have always had, or recently or not so recently acquired, a deep faith in Islam. That faith is not modified by calculations of self-interest (as with many Muslims now living in the West who must act one way until such time as they feel their numbers and power have increased sufficiently). Nor is it modified by custom or nuance, or a prudential choice to support Jihad through other methods that at this point will be less likely to attract the attention and the alarm of unwary or lazy Infidels, such as deployment of the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da’wa (targeting in particular the psychically and economically marginal) and, especially in Western Europe, demographic conquest.
Could Eric Holder, or for that matter his own boss, Barack Obama, who would also no doubt be appalled if someone were to teach, to presume to teach, American Constitutional Law without that knowledge of Dred Scott, Loving v. Virginia, Shelley v. Kraemer, Brown v. Bd. of Education, and another two dozen important cases, tell us exactly in what ways — quoting from the texts of Islam – the jihadis are misinterpreting Islam? How is Mr. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab misinterpreting Islam? How, for that matter, is Nasrallah of Hizballah, or Meshaal of Hamas, or the leaders or members of Lashkar-e-Toiba, or Jaish-e-Muhammad, or Al Qaeda (merely the most ambitious and most attention-getting of Muslim terrorist groups, of which there are hundreds, along with thousands of groupouscules and millions of individuals, all of whom take what Islam teaches very much to heart) all “misinterpreting Islam”?
We are told this over and over. We are never given a single bit of proof, not a single interpolated or apocryphal passage, attributed to the Qur’an, Hadith, Sira. We are never told even of a single Hadith, upon which reliance has been put by Muslim terrorists, that they have improperly assigned a higher rank of authenticity (according to the most respected muhaddithin) than it deserves. We are given not a single shred of evidence, textual or otherwise, to support the idea that there has been a “misinterpretation” of Islam.
Eric Holder can keep repeating this stuff, and so can others, so can Barack Obama, for example, until the cows come home. But the more those who presume to protect and instruct us show that they expect us to be satisfied, and that they themselves are apparently satisfied, with soothing banalities and assertions that are easily shown to be baseless, they lose our trust. The very people they claim to lead and to protect stop trusting them. And when we stand in line for hours for new security measures, and when we see, with our own eyes, the absurdity of all the obvious non-Muslims, including the very young and the very old, who are called out of line for extra checks, that are tiresome for everyone but nevertheless performed, using up valuable man hours of the security services, only in order to prove…well, to prove what? That non-Muslims should be checked, too, though we all know what we are looking for is Muslim terrorists, committing acts of terrorism because of what Islam inculcates — the duty of Jihad to remove all barriers to the spread and then the dominance of Islam. They differ from other Muslims only in that they have decided to both participate in Jihad directly rather than indirectly, through financial, diplomatic, propagandistic, or moral support. They have chosen to use violence as their instrument of Jihad, for they see terrorism not as we do, but as acceptable qitaal, military combat, their modus operandi justified by the fact that given Infidel superiority in weapons technology, the odds have to be evened through terrorism.
No one is asking Eric Holder, or anyone else in the Administration, to take off a few months to study at Leiden, or Aix-en-Provence (two of the universities that Arab money and Muslim personnel have not yet managed to take over and transform in the Islamic and Middle Eastern areas). No one expects him to have read deeply in Ignaz Goldziher, Snouck Hurgronje, Joseph Schacht, Henri Lammens, or several dozen other great Western scholars of Islam whose works do not date, for Islam has not changed. But we do expect from him a justified diffidence, a hesitation to make pronouncements about Islam that are palpably absurd, and worrisome to all those who do know something, when he states that the problem are those who “misunderstand Islam.”
Among Muslims, the problem for Infidels is not those who “misinterpret Islam” but those who do not, who understand its letter and spirit all too well and, what is most important, are willing to act directly on what Islam inculcates, and not to be timid, not to be distracted, not to allow calculations of self-interest to interfere (as when one does not wish to endanger one’s position in the world and, especially, in the Infidel world where one may be living). In that Infidel world, of course, one may also have calculated that there are far cleverer ways to conduct Jihad below the current radar systems of the Infidels. For what are the sinister tariq-ramadans doing if not conducting Jihad, in a much more dangerous fashion, one might think, as they try to confuse Infidels, and whip up indignation against those who, like Geert Wilders, merely try to tell some unvarnished and disturbing truths. Yet more and more people in Western Europe, despite the propaganda campaigns conducted on behalf of Islam not only by Muslims but by their own political and media elites, have come to conclusions about Islam. They have come to them slowly, reluctantly, often unwillingly. And these conclusions then result in such measures as the Swiss referendum that expressed an overwhelming desire by people to ban minarets, but also, one can be sure, to limit the presence and power of Islam in a dozen other ways. And that Swiss ban is supported, public opinion polls tell us, overwhelmingly by people in France, Great Britain, and elsewhere.
Eric Holder can utter all the falsehoods he wishes. He will merely become someone who loses the trust of those whose trust he needs. That does not refer to those in political life who continue to ignore or misstate the matter, and who lack the wit to figure out ways to discuss the matter, if not head on, at least with the kind of semaphoring language of metonymy that some mastered long ago, possibly by sitting still in class — which at this point Eric Holder might learn to do. Or if not, then to at least he should remember the too-quoted line that nonetheless will have to do: “Whereof we do not know, thereof we should not speak.” As my music teacher used to say in a different context: Listen to Ludwig.
And there is a larger lesson, not for Holder alone, but for all those who talk about the “public trust.” Let’s talk about something else: the public mistrust. When the public, on issues of life and death, begins to recognize that it is not being talked to straight by those who govern, and who claim that they govern because they know best how to protect and how to instruct the citizenry, they lose faith in the government. When the public sees that members of the governing class are not telling the truth, but still worse, are actively misrepresenting the nature of the threat and acting as apologists for Islam, the ideology whose promptings explain Muslim terrorism and terrorists, they lose faith in the government. They become worried, fearful, disheartened. A few may seek other explanations, conspiracy theories that they would not succumb to if they could still have, or thought they could have, faith in the intelligence and knowledge of the governing classes. Eric Holder is one example.
But there are many others. We wonder why the words “Islam” and “Muslim” are still not to be used, and why phrases – self-evidently unhelpful, such as “violent extremists,” are used instead. “Extremists” about what? Tell us. Stop making us try to guess or still worse, trying to make us not guess, but to be satisfied with such empty formulations that tell us nothing, that help us understand nothing.
And then there are other things. Most of the people in this country fly, or have close relatives who fly, and so most of the country has a direct experience of airports today. And those who fly, and those who may not themselves fly but see off those who do, or hear their stories of airport waiting and woe, are well aware of this nonsense of patting-down nuns and great-grandmothers in wheelchairs and subjecting, even ostentatiously subjecting, non-Muslims to intensive searches when we all know that, since resources are limited, the time spent in such searches of non-Muslims is time not spent in searching Muslim passengers. And it is they, to the extent that they can be identified (and there was no doubt about Farouk Abdulwhatshisname), who should be the object of intensive searching. For we all know that it is Muslim terrorism, terrorism committed by Muslims and by no one else, that is the worry.
When we go to the airport, we endure the needless searches that are conducted, one assumes, only to avoid accusations from Muslim groups and Muslim individuals that they have been selected for special treatment. We share our fury and our ridicule with others. For all sensible people know that of course Muslim travelers should be selected for special searches. For it makes sense to allocate the resource of searching – a finite, even a scarce resource – to the searching of Muslims, and anyone who claims to be offended is a fool, or a danger to us, or both.
Such a policy can continue. We can even have security guards wearing hijabs, which does nothing but make most of us even more alarmed, for we take or mistake those hijab-wearing guards not as a heartwarming display of trust, a public demonstration of the “very values that we hold dear” blah blah that “the enemy hates us for” (nonsense, of course). Not at all. Most of us find the spectacle depressing and worrisome as all get out, for we believe – wrongly or rightly – that this is an outward and visible sign of an inward, crazed, nearly suicidal, and stupid attachment to the idea that one cannot distinguish, or that any intelligent distinguishing constitutes inadmissible discrimination.
Eric Holder can keep telling us, if he wishes, that the people we must worry about are those who “misinterpret Islam’ – even though he offers not a shred of evidence, not a single passage, to prove such “misinterpretation.” The TSA can continue to pat down non-Muslims and, as a consequence, have fewer resources devoted to two tasks: figuring out who is likely a Muslim (based on name, country or place of origin, previous travel – trips to Yemen, say, or Saudi Arabia or Sudan or Pakistan, should raise eyebrows sky-high), and then making sure that all those who are Muslims quite sensibly are given much greater scrutiny than non-Muslims. Barack Obama can keep prating of “violent extremists” but never telling us more about what those “violent extremists” are “extremists” of. But when we hear these words, when we listen to these solemn speeches, when we endure these misplaced security searches, what happens is that our trust, our faith in our own government, goes down, and down, and down.
And that is not something that people in a mass democracy can, or should, be expected to endure or, as quite a few in the current administration, appropriating lincolnian phrases whenever they can, long endure. Those who whose most important tasks include those of protecting and instructing us have to stop thinking they can mislead their own citizens, 99% of whom are non-Muslim, in order to avoid offending the 1% who are Muslim, or out of some ill-thought-out Machiavellianism, to avoid offending Muslims in Dar al-Islam. So we tiptoe timidly around so much, we avoid recognizing, much less discussing or still less confronting, the Muslim threat to Europe, the historic heart of the West, and we continue to allow ourselves to describe as “staunch allies” such meretricious and sinister places as Saudi Arabia, fearful of giving offense to those who night and day spend feverishly to spread Islam and ensure its dominance even in our lands.
We have to stop describing as part of “our values” what is merely a cripplingly inhibiting fear of offending Muslims. We must let them think we know what Islam inculcates and are now prepared to construct policies designed not to deal not merely with this or that terrorist group, but with the Camp of Islam, with all those who by identifying themselves as Muslims can reasonably be treated as adherents of an ideology that we have every right to be alarmed about – the ideology of Islam. Public trust in the capacity of those who claim to protect us adequately, once lost, is hard to regain. We are not quite there, but almost.