An op-ed by Quanta Ahmed, author of In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom and 2014 Ford Foundation public voices fellow with the OpEd Project, advances the heartening thesis that Islam needs to be divorced from Islamism. It also pulls no punches in condemning the Obama administration’s unwillingness to identify Islamism as being the driving force behind terrorism and empowering terrorists and terrorist organizations and regimes. She is both articulate and informed in her belief that the divorce is both necessary and doctrinally feasible. Would that it were so.
Her second paragraph nails the maddening stupidity of the Obama policy of Islamism denial:
Painful scenes have transfixed us as we watch in dismay our tongue-tied administration unable to name our nemesis. Owning the narrative is key in any ideological battle, and as President Barack Obama's administration struggles to name our enemy -- oscillating between "radicals," "extremists" and "terrorists" -- Islamism in its variegated forms shows neither fear nor hesitation in declaring war.
Her opening paragraph is also right on target except, unfortunately, for the last clause.
The Charlie Hebdo massacre demands that we at last acknowledge that the secular pluralistic democratic world is imperiled by Islamism, the dastardly impostor of Islam.
Not that she does not go on to present her case that Islamism is the dastardly imposter of Islam - and certainly we can all agree with the “dastardly” but “imposter”?
She also nails it by pointing out that even if the Islamism disconnect of the Obama administration is meant to shield Islam, it has just the reverse effect of “sheltering it within Islam’s bosom”:
Islamists -- whether violent as the Islamic State, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Hamas and Hezbollah, or nonviolent as institutional Islamists -- do not represent Islam. By exposing them, Islam is shielded from blame for their heinous acts, an unwanted burden the faith has borne. (Those straitjacketed by politically correct aphorisms struggle to convince us otherwise.) In avoiding the term Islamism, we shelter it within Islam's bosom.
Would that that statement would somehow brought to the President’s attention. It is powerfully stated. Another powerful point is made about the reverse effect of supporting creeping anti-blasphemy legislation to protect religious sensibilities which “privileges Islamists -- above all beliefs.” And then she notes tellingly that the elevation of Islamophobia by the current administration to the status of a cardinal sin has had the effect that “Islamism has evaded scrutiny through the powerful claims of Islamophobia -- an Islamist creation to shield it from inspection.”
The question of whether Islam can be reformed has been and is a hotly debated issue among scholars and politicians. The problem is that if one relegates the violent supremacist passages of the Koran to being directed only to the historical situation facing the Muslims at the time then there is very little left of atemporal significance. Some 60% of the Koran by some estimates commend violence and supremacism.
But certainly addressing Islamism, the ideology based, mistakenly or not, on the Koran is a necessary first step. As Ahmed forcibly notes, “Owning the narrative is key in any ideological battle.”
Also hammering home the theme that, aberration or not, Islamism must be confronted is Marine Le Penn, the National Front leader - whom some would argue would now win the presidency of France. She has derided French President Francois Hollande for being unwilling to target Islamism as the ideology propelling violent jihad, "France, land of human rights and freedoms, was attacked on its own soil by a totalitarian ideology: Islamic fundamentalism."
The bottom line is not whether or not Islam can really be divorced from Islamism, it is strategically important to target Islamism as the ideological driving force and justification for violent jihadists. It is not just a drones in the air and boots on the ground war it is also an ideological war. If Islamism is not discredited as the violent, inhumane theo-fascist ideology it is, then no matter how many terrorist cells are destroyed it will breed more and more jihadists committing gruesome acts of horror. It is reported that ISIS has now taken to beheading educated women.
The reason why there are Islamists is because there is Islamism. The reason why there are Islamo-fascists is because there is Islamo-fascism. There would have been no Marxists without Marxism. There would have been no Nazis without Nazism. How hard is that?
I've had it with beating round the bush. Time to cut straight to the chase. Probability and statistics tell us this: Got Muslims? sooner or later, got Jihad. Where there are Muslims, where there are mosques, there *will* be Jihad. Where there are *no* Muslims, whether inside the gates or next door, then you don't have to worry about Jihad. The more Muslims, the more Jihad (generally speaking; but if the surrounding/ neighbouring infidels are and appear very strong, the Muslims will lie lower than otherwise). The fewer Muslims, the less Jihad (generally speaking; but if they are pandered to, and accommodated, if they perceive the next-door or host infidels as a pushover, then they 'punch above their weight'). To be grimly realistic: if every single Muslim had been driven out of what is now Israel in 1948, and if the waqf had been given the boot in 1967 and the mosques on the temple mount totally removed and a ban placed on all further Muslim access there, there would have been no human bomb intifada possible; Muslims would not be able to riot on the temple mount or in the Galil or anywhere else, and Muslims would not be able to stab Jews on buses, or run over Jews with tractors in the street, or go into synagogues with guns and axes and murder rabbis at prayer. Israel's problem of self-defence would be solely a matter of fortifying and defending borders; there would be no jihad inciters shrieking from mosque loudspeakers inside Israel, no openly Jewhating Arab Muslims in the Knesset itself. Likewise, India today would be a great deal better off, and a great deal safer, and a lot easier to defend and *keep* safe, today, if the separation at Partition had been total; if every last non-Muslim had fled from East and West Pakistan (now Bangladesh and Pakistan) into India, and every last Muslim had been evicted from what is now India. The apparently 'peaceful' mass of Muslims function as willing or unwilling human shields for / run interference on behalf of the jihadis; but they are also the *incubator* for the jihadis, the ghazis, the jihad terror raiders who do the actual exploding, beheading, stabbing, etc. I think the only practical short-term hope for the entire non-muslim world, first world and third world, is to STOP all further entry of Muslims. No matter what. And to do nothing to prevent Muslims from leaving, say, to join Islamic State; but when they do leave, to remove their citizenship or residency and prevent them from returning. And to start working out ways to get other Muslim fifth columnists to depart. And in the meantime, to end all accommodation of the sharia and enforce things like burqa bans, and rigorously punish all Muslim breaches of Infidel law. Incitement to jihad, declarations of intention of forcing the host state to become an Islamic sharia state/ caliphate, threatening and/ or attacking apostates or blasphemers, engaging in polygyny and / or forced and/ or child 'marriage', should result in stripping of citizenship and deportation. The Qanta Ahmeds of this world are very nice but I fear they are broken reeds until and unless they do a Magdi Allam or an Ayaan Hirsi Ali, face up to the cognitive dissonance fair and square, and apostasise outright.