“No religion can be considered in abstraction from its followers, or even from its various types of followers.” — Alfred North Whitehead, from Adventures in Ideas (1933)
Publilius Syrus wrote long ago that “there are some remedies worse than the disease.” We could say as much about most of the Western world’s erroneous ideas about the religion of Islam. Chief among them is the notion that Islam is good and the terrorism committed by Muslims is tangential from Islam – a transmogrification of Islam proper. The remedy for this terrorism, the theory goes, is to “deradicalize” those Muslims who have taken the plunge into the dark waters of Islamic terrorism, or better yet, prevent those Muslims considering taking this plunge by sheltering them from the dangers of “radicalization.” The consequences of these imprudent and sciolistic estimations is now catching up to the Western world, a world that at one time believed our freedoms and our unhindered way of life immune from the egregious cultures and violent sectarianism to which Islam is innately connected in other, far away reaches of the planet.
Edmund Burke warned: “Well is it known that ambition can creep as well as soar.” And those who have not really taken the religion of Islam seriously, who have assumed that its adherents and its tenets are probably quite similar to those of the other major religions, have done so at the expense of our future and the well-being of the Western world. The insouciant and the foolhardy pluralist (and this would include journalists and academia and clergy) among us believe that the hegemony that Islam strove violently and ruthlessly to achieve in the not-so-ancient past cannot possibly be the end and the means that the “moderate Muslim” envisions and employs today for the future of Islam. The most glaring failure of our modern experts (aside from making innumerable observations about terrorists and terrorism without offering even one real antidote) is that their premise has always been, and remains, that Islam is good and, as the logical extension of this premise, terrorism and the terrorist are anomalies tangential from Islam proper. The creeping obtrusion of jihadist ideologies (and their political/religious supporters) into the Western political narrative will continue in congruence with the propagandistic existence of such contradictory assumptions.
In a 2015 article in Commentary, Joshua Muravchik, after presenting the results of numerous polls regarding Muslim attitudes towards terrorists and terrorism, concludes: “While the predominant view among the world’s Muslims, insofar as we can learn from these polls, rejects terrorism, a significant minority does not. If, on the whole, say, 20 percent of Muslims, a conservative estimate of the average of these numbers, support terror ‘often’ or ‘sometimes,’ that amounts to 300 million people; and if, say, another 15 percent support it ‘rarely,’ then the total base of support for at least occasional terror acts comes to 500 million. There is little comfort to be found in such figures.” Such figures prove without a doubt that terrorism within the Muslim world and terrorism committed by Muslims in the Western world can no longer be viewed as incidental or anomalous, but the norm. Such figures also do little to exculpate Islam from the common but oft-slandered and suppressed opinion that this religion is a root source of anti-Jewish hatred and terrorism, and the primary inspiration for jihadist ideologies.
Edmund Burke also wrote: “Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference.” It could also be said (although it would be a deviation from Burke’s intended meaning) that nothing is so fatal to Western democracy as indifference to Islam and the terrorism that inevitably manifests itself in a minority of Muslims that numbers in the hundreds of millions. I’ve written long ago that you cannot judge a religion’s efficacy, whether good or bad, by its exceptional personalities, but only by the behavior of those masses who are conglutinated by its tenets. In this sense and from this perspective, Islam is not merely insalubrious for mankind, but even worse, and because of this same insalubrious nature, it is a grand deception that has hoodwinked the Western world in such a way that we
bend over backward in abject humility just to accommodate this intolerant religion “in abstraction from its followers, or even from its various types of followers.”