At Atlas Shrugs this morning I discuss Islam’s moral critique of the West:
They hate us because we”re pigs. No, not the apes and pigs into which Allah transforms the Sabbath-breaking Jews in the Qur’an (2:62-66; 5:59-60; 7:166), but pigs as in”¦dogs. Wolves. Immoral, lecherous, lustful, fornicating creeps. Western immorality is a frequent feature of the Islamic critique of the contemporary West, as well as a target for the morality police of Sharia states. In the summer of 2009 Iranian authorities even published a list of hairstyles that were acceptably moral and Islamic, as opposed to “decadent” Western imports, among which were the ponytail and the mullet.
That same Western decadence is also a frequent preoccupation of Islamic jihadists. In December 2010, a Muslim named Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly set off explosives on a street in Stockholm that was crowded with Christmas shoppers, killing himself and injuring two others. His wife, who was herself later arrested for helping plan the attack, explained that Abdulwahab “disliked the decadent side of society here.”
Even some non-Muslim writers echo this critique. Dinesh D”Souza argued in his 2007 farrago The Enemy At Home that Islamic jihadists were largely motivated by rage at the West’s “social and moral corruption,” and asserted that “the Muslims who hate us the most are the ones who have encountered Western decadence, either in the West or in their own countries.”
The Catholic writer Peter Kreeft even calls upon Christians to learn from Muslims “the absoluteness of the moral laws and of the demand to be just and charitable.”
Yet writers like Kreeft and D”Souza never seem to examine the actual content of Islamic morality to see what exactly in Islam constitutes being “just and charitable.” And while Islamic supremacists rail against Western decadence, few realize that what they offer as an alternative is hardly the vision of moral uprightness that many assume. A few years ago President George W. Bush declared that we were fighting for “moms and dads in Iraq.” He might more accurately have said “moms and moms and moms and moms and dads in Iraq,” for his assumption that the Western model of the nuclear family would also be a universal in the Islamic world was not borne out either by Islamic law or the facts on the ground.
The moral universe of Islam is, indeed, radically different from the Judeo-Christian one. I have just completed a book, Not Peace But A Sword, which explores these differences in depth, but one telling incident recorded in a diary a century ago sums up a great deal of the key differences.