Strategies of Denial

by Hugh Fitzgerald (July 2009)

Delivered to the New English Review Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee on May 30th, 2009.

Strategies of Denial –the title is ambiguous. Possibly deliberately. What might it mean? It might refer to Muslims, and to all the ways that adherents of Islam, “slaves of Allah,” especially those living in the West, have managed so successfully to distract or confuse or intimidate, morally or intellectually or physically, so many non-Muslims, managed to keep those non-Muslims from finding out too much about what Islam inculcates, and to achieve this despite the fact that the Islamic texts —  Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira – are easily accessible, no more than a mouse-click away, and their meaning discussed at thousands of Muslim websites. And though not always a mouse-click away, the long record of Islamic imperialism, of the conquest through violence and the subsequent subjugation, through violence and the threat of violence, of non-Muslims, which had always been known throughout the Western world,  discussed by its outstanding figures (see John Quincy Adams, see Tocqueville, see Winston Churchill), noted as a matter of course by Western travelers to Muslim lands, whose own experiences revealed the clear hostility of Muslims toward them (and toward all non-Muslims), and when the great mass of Christians  thought about Muslims at all, they never doubted that those who had studied Islam and those who had encountered Muslims must surely be right: Islam was a ferocious and fanatical faith – for “faith” and not “religion” was the word used until the past century, and it was American writers of books for children who first began to use that leveling phrase about “the world’s great religions” and not until recent decades that the soothingly misleading phrase about “the three abrahamic faiths” began to be used. Never before, in the history of the Western world, would such a phrase have been invoked, never before would it have been taken seriously or used to convince non-Muslims that there was some kind of shared faith and shared traditions which bound Christians (and Jews) to Muslims. People once understood, even if they could not site sura and ayat, the Muslim injunction to “take not Christians and Jews as friends, for they are friends only with each other.” And even if Sura 9 and a hundred other Jihad verses in the Qur’an had not been read, and the hundreds or thousands of malevolent anti-Infidel hadiths were unknown, inhabitants of the Western world – the chief obstacle to the spread of Islam for a thousand years – did grasp, in the main, the nature of Islam.

But in the last few decades, the very decades in which the political and media elites of Europe have permitted millions of Muslim migrants, in an act of civilisational heedlessness and historical amnesia, to settle within their lands, those same elites failed to reconsider their earlier presumptions and negligence, failed to meet their solemn responsibility to study the texts and tenets of Islam, and their observable effect, over 1350 years, from Spain to the East Indies, on the behavior of Muslims. They have instead avoided such study, and still worse, have attacked those who have engaged in such study, and armed with the knowledge of the meaning, and therefore the menace, of Islam, have begun to sound all kinds of tocsins.
It’s an amazing feat, really, the ability of millions of Muslims to settle within the non-Muslim lands, what in Islam is called Dar al-Harb, the House or Domain of War, where the writ of Islam does not yet run, and Muslims do not yet rule, and yet those Muslims have been able to prevent, to stave off, to deflect, any serious and widespread study of Islam, and hence to prevent the understanding of the threat that a large Muslim population unavoidably presents (for a handful of apostates, and a slightly-larger handful of those who become “cultural” Muslims or “Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only” Muslims, do not relieve us from worrying about the 90% or more of Muslims who remain True Believers, and Defenders of the Faith).  

How is that so many have allowed themselves to be so willfully incurious, so incapable of finding out what Islam inculcates, and the kind of attitudes and behavior that Muslims exhibit that are not the result of “extremism” – a word never explained nor defined adequately – but rather of orthodox, mainstream teachings of Islam, based on texts that anyone can read. The Muslim migrants who have been allowed to settle deep behind what they themselves are taught to regard as enemy lines, and even though now living in Infidel lands, surrounded by Infidels, keep making aggressive demands for changes in the social arrangements and understandings, and for changes in the legal and political institutions of the Infidel nation-states in which they live, the very nation-states that have so innocently welcomed them and lavished upon them every benefit that generous welfare states (those benefits paid for, almost entirely, by non-Muslim taxpayers) provide, and then some.

In opinion poll after poll, Muslims in Western Europe show an astonishing willingness to admit to their support for suicide bombing, and for other forms of terrorism, not even in distant lands, but within the very countries they live in, and of course, given the likelihood that many will hide their real feelings, the true numbers would likely reveal still greater Muslim support for violent Jihad. But even those who support Jihad – the “struggle” to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam – through non-violent means (as: the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da’wa, demographic conquest), are a menace to the wellbeing of Infidels and their institutions. Those who have studied Islam know that Muslims are taught to offer their loyalty, their sole loyalty, only to Islam, as a faith (in Islam, what is worshipped is Islam itself), and to fellow members of the Umma, the Community of Believers. Islam is centered on an inculcuated division of the world between Believer and Unbeliever, Muslim and Infidel, and on the notion that between the two a state of permanent war, if not always of open warfare, must exist between the two. It makes no sense to expect Muslims to ignore this, to somehow push it to one side. Too many people, easygoing or fearful, choose to rely on examples of outward affability, in circumstances that require it – living in an Infidel nation-state where one does not yet have sufficient numbers to show one’s true feelings – instead of on study, not endless but at least detailed enough, and prolonged enough, of Islam – enough, that is, to give the student a grasp of Islam’s texts and tenets, and the effect of Islamic teachings, reinforced in a thousand ways outside of madrasa and mosque, on the minds of its adherents.


These Muslim migrants demonstrate, in the constant flow of aggressive demands for changes in the Infidel lands in which they have settled, demands for changes in the social arrangements and understandings, and in the legal and political institutions, and by showing in many different ways a singular indifference, or more accurately deep hostility to, Infidels and their nation-states, save in geographic terms, as land areas to be conquered, not by military but by other means. Among those means, discussed in Muslim circles quite openly, and even mentioned by Muslim rulers such as Boumediene of Algeria at the U.N. in 1974, and Qaddafi of Libya in 2006, is that of demographic conquest, an overwhelming, through both breeding – Muslim birth-rates far exceeding those of the indigenous non-Muslims or indeed, of the other, but non-Muslim, immigrants in Western Europe, and through campaigns of Da’wa, particularly in prisons, to win over the economically and psychically marginal.

And it’s also amazing that so many non-Muslims have been so incurious, or so disbelieving, or perhaps better, so unwilling to believe the evidence of their senses, and to fail to recognize what should be obvious: adherents of Islam, those who are not “extremists” but simply adherents of mainstream Islam, represent both a civilisiational and a physical threat to the well-being of non-Muslims, and this is not a secret. The Shari’a, the Holy Law of Islam, flatly contradicts in letter and spirit Western notions of political legitimacy (based on a social contract theory), Western solicitude for the rights of individuals, including those recognized in the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in the American Bill of Rights.

There are many strategies employed. Two are Taqiyya and Tu Quoque. Taqiyya is the name given to religiously-sanctioned dissimulation about the faith of Islam itself, and about what particular Believers believe. Essentially, it means it is alright to lie about the contents of the Faith, and about the beliefs of particular Believers (including, most obviously, the particular Believer who practices Taqiyya), if that protects the Faith and the Believer from enemies.

Taqiyya has its origins in Shi’a Islam, first practiced by Shi’ites to protect themselves from Sunnis bent on persecuting or even killing them. But its sources are in the Qur’an, and the Sunnah (including Muhammad’s celebrated phrase “War Is Deception”), and both are the supreme sources of authority for Sunni Muslims, so that the practice of Taqiyya, and what is called “kitman”—the practice of “mental reservation” which refers to the practice of holding back on the full truth – are common to both Shi’a and Sunni Muslims. In less diplomatic terms, Taqiyya is the practice of lying, lying about what Islam teaches, and lying about what an individual Believer believes. That’s it: religiously-sanctioned lying.

And then there is another technique, purely rhetorical, which is that of Tu-Quoque, a Latin phrase meaning “You Also – You Too Do The Same Thing” and perhaps, the teased-out implication further suggests, “You do it even more outrageously, you are even more guilty.”

Yes, that is one meaning of the phrase “Strategies of Denial.” We could dilate upon how Muslims themselves practice to deceive, confuse, distract, undermine non-Muslims.

But after so much discussion of Islam, and Muslims at this conference, it might make sense to discuss non-Muslims, and the strategies that they employ, not to find out more about Islam, but to protect themselves from finding out more, even to absolve themselves of the responsibility of finding out more.

So let’s take a look at the mental strategies employed by non-Muslims to make their own lives temporarily easier, by allowing themselves the mental calmant that allows them to continue to overlook, or to deny to themselves, what Islam inculcates, what is the certain outcome of allowing Muslims to settle deep within non-Muslim lands, and to take advantage of every Infidel act of generosity and blind faith in something called “diversity” which leads, in this case, to an endless, even suicidal, tolerance. In a mass democracy, where even the elites are badly educated, have forgotten or never knew what an education should be and once was, managing to overlook or deny, what Islam inculcates. And this overlooking or denying takes place almost willfully, despite all the evidence of history, over 1350 years, from Spain to the East Indies, and despite all the scholarship on Islam by great Western students of the subject, in every major European country, and despite the easy access to all the Muslim texts – Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira – that are now a mouse-click away, and despite the easy access, too, to many hundreds or thousands of Muslim websites, to which any of us can repair to see how Muslims discuss Islam strictly among the believers.

Some non-Muslims, recognizing that the duty imposed on Believers to participate, directly or indirectly, in the “struggle” or Jihad to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam, have managed somehow largely to remain uninitiated into what are not hermetic mysteries, find puzzling, frustrating, maddening, the failure of other non-Muslims to share in that recognition. They wonder what explains it, and the answer may vary depending time and place.

I would like to hold up for inspection three distinct examples of Infidels who, for reasons that sometimes overlap, and sometimes vary, have managed to avoid learning what they need to about Islam. There are reasons, in each case, for the particular response, and then there is a common explanation as well, for why so many Infidels have so much trouble coming to grips with the problem of Islam. I will talk about three places: Israel, the countries of Western Europe, and the United States.

Let me begin with Israel. Here is a tiny country, a country that has never known peace, and never will know peace if by “peace” we mean the absence of Jihad that has been, is, and will be conducted against this Infidel nation-state whose very existence, no matter to what absurd dimensions it may be forced to shrink, is a constant source of anguish, an affront to how Arabs and Muslims see themselves, and one that simply must be extinguished. There are differences, in matters of tactics and timing, between the Slow Jihadists of Fatah, and the Fast Jihadists of Hamas. But essentially, as one reads more and more, in what the Islamic writers on Jihad and on the laws governing war and peace with Infidels, comes to realize, as one might not have before, that in the Islamic view the world belongs to Allah, and to the Muslims, and especially to the Arab Muslims. Allah did not say: allow the Jews to have a state, as long as it is the size of Connecticut but not the size of Massachusetts. Allah did not say: it is okay to allow Infidels in many parts of the world to continue to rule over great parts of the earth’s surface. The entire world belongs to Allah and to Muslims, and it is a duty to participate, directly or indirectly, in the Jihad which, let me emphasize, does not necessarily require terrorism, nor even combat, qitaal, if the goals can be achieved more effectively in other ways.

What are the reasons why the Israeli political and cultural elite has not understood that the war being waged against it has its roots, is prompted by, can be understood by, reference to Islam?

There are many reasons.

One is the question of personnel. The elite, political and cultural, that has been in charge in Israel for the first forty or even fifty years of its existence comes from Europe, refugees from Europe, from people who had suffered from the Nazis and others who came out of the West, or from antisemites in Western Christendom, with its own tradition of antisemitism. They knew that they were not wanted.

They also knew that the Arabs did not like them, waged war on them. But in the earliest period, there were some Arabs, chiefly Christian, who saw the Jews as possible allies against the feudalism of the absentee Arab landlords. And, too, in the earliest days, the Arabs – the Muslim Arabs – shared in the general malaise and recognized weakness of the world’s Muslims. Many lived in places under the control of more powerful European powers: the French in North Africa, the British controlling the Muslims, as well as the non-Muslims, in the Raj; the Dutch still ruling in the East Indies. There was no OPEC, there was no oil. There was the natural poverty of Muslim states. And so this was a period – and it lasted until the 1950s and 1960s. And it was not until after World War II that the Dutch left the East Indies, and not until the 1950s that the French pulled out first from Morocco and Tunisia, and then, in 1962,  from Algeria. The British — who under Lord Cromer had been responsible for making the Egyptian Civil Service more efficient and less corrupt, left Egypt in 1922. But in all these places European influence did not evanesce but lingered, and it took a while, among those local leaders who had made their name as “nationalists,” and who were in any case Muslims of a more secularizing bent, for Islam to re-assert itself, as Islam, it turns out, tends to do.

And so it was hard, for the Jews of Israel, to think of Islam as anything other than a faith of people who were not threatening, or whose threats, in the case of the Arabs, were not seen as connected to Islam. How many Israelis, how many Zionist pioneers, knew much, or found out much, about Islam? When the famous leader Jabotinsky, who was such a realist, and thus a pessimist, analyzed the necessary Jewish response to Arab hostility, he spoke of the need for an “Iron Wall” – but an “Iron Wall” against the Arabs, not against Muslim Arabs.

Christian Arabs played an important role, too, in disguising the Islamic nature of the war being waged, the Jihad being waged, against Israel. Christian Arabs were much more prominent in that earlier period, when the good will of the Western powers, still seen by the Arab Muslims as part of Christendom, was deemed important, and so the presence of Christian Palestinians — see George Habash, for example — also helped to disguise the Islamic nature of the opposition to Israel. After all, if Christian Arabs were opposed to Israel, then one might wonder what was specifically “Islamic” about the war being waged, by all means possible, against Israel. A decade or two ago, the Christian Hanan Ashrawi, loyalist of the PLO, was much in evidence, and Christian Arab clergymen, even today, are still useful in disguising the Islamic basis of the Jihad against Israel. Think of Naim Ateek, or Bishop Michel Sabbagh. They are silent about the persecution and driving into exile, by Muslims, of the Christian Arabs who flee from Bethlehem and elsewhere in the “West Bank” and Gaza, or about the pressure even on Nazareth’s Christians, but they are as noisy as possible about the “plight of the Palestinians” and the perfidy and cruelty of Israel. This keeps a certain number of Israelis, as it does other Infidels, confused.

Occasionally, in all this, someone in Israel who had studied Islam managed to utter a home truth or two. There is one example that is known to me, and to others, and it comes from an article by Dr. A. Carlebach published in Ma’ariv in 1955. It goes like this:

“These Arab Islamic countries do not suffer from poverty or disease, or illiteracy, or exploitation; they only suffer from the worst of all plagues: Islam. Wherever Islamic psychology rules, there is the inevitable rule of despotism and criminal aggression. The danger lies in Islamic psychology, which cannot integrate itself into the world of efficiency and progress, that lives in a world of illusion, perturbed by attacks of inferiority complexes and megalomania, lost in dreams of the holy sword. The danger stems from the totalitarian conception of the world, the passion for murder deeply rooted in their blood, from the lack of logic, the easily inflamed brains, the boasting and above all: the blasphemous disregard for all that is sacred to the civilized world…their reactions – to anything – have nothing to do with good sense. They are all emotional, unbalanced, instantaneous, senseless. It is always the lunatic that speaks from their throat. You can talk “business” with everyone, even with the devil. But not with Allah…This is what every grain in this country shouts. There are many great cultures here, and invaders of all kinds. All of them – even the Crusaders – left signs of culture and blossoming. But on the path of Islam, even the trees have died.”

Now what is piquant about this statement is not its now self-evident truth, but how it was preserved for, and brought to the attention of, posterity. I would never have known about it, nor I suspect would you, had it not been kept for posterity in the text of “The Question of Palestine” by Edward Said, who included it because, when he wrote that book, Islam had still not strode across the world stage, and he thought that by quoting it, it would appear to be self-evidently absurd. The reverse, of course, is true. Now it is that perceptive observation that seems so prescient and piercing, and Said who, in dismissing it, has made himself seem so foolish in the eyes of discerning posterity.

So along with the elite from Europe that was largely unaware of Islam, and the effect of Christian Arabs who helped to disguise the nature of the Jihad, there were several other factors unique to Israel.

One was the touching Israeli belief that someday, somehow, Israel could fit in with its Muslim neighbors. Or, at the very least, it might make alliances with some Muslim countries, or if not countries, then at least with Muslim regimes. And the two countries with which the Israelis did, in fact, form alliances, were Iran, under the Shah, and Turkey, or at least military Turkey, the Turkey of the Defense headquarters in Ankara. Both countries of course, were led by secularists.

The Shah removed legal disabilities from Christians and Jews and Baha’is, and what’s more, Iran under his rule really did allow non-Muslims to flourish, even if they did not take an active part in political life. The Turkish military remained loyal to Kemalism and Ataturk’s attempts to constrain Islam. So both the Shah’s court, and the Turkish military, were able to come to some understandings with, and were not hostile to, Israel. So it would not have made sense for Israelis to identify Islam as the problem, Islam as the source of their worry, if Israel was at the same time trying, and even succeeding, at making friends with some regimes in Muslim-dominated lands. And it certainly helped that both the Turks and the Persians were quick to express their dislike of “the Arabs” and to tell foreign visitors not to confuse them with “Arabs.” But now that the Shah is gone, and first Khomeini, and then his epigones, have taken over in Iran, and now that the party of Islam, the party that wishes to undo, bit by bit, the constraints of Kemalism, is in the ascendant, and the secularists in Turkey are on the run, Israelis now realize that while the Shah, and Kemalism, are temporary phenomena, Islam is forever. And they have come to understand that the reason alliances or quasi-alliances might be made with the Turkish military and Iran under the Shah is that these were two elements that represented the desire for, the triumph of, secularism – that is, the elements in the Muslim world least fervently Muslim, so least opposed to Israel.

And finally, one of the elements that has caused Israelis to deceive themselves about Islam is that they cannot bear to think that the war being made against them has no end, and that they shall simply have to endure the Jihad, as the United States endured Soviet enmity, for as long as it takes to break, or at least weaken, an implacable foe. But at least the United States could think of a day when the hold of Communism would weaken, when enough people in the Soviet Union concluded that on its own terms, those of bringing economic development and prosperity, Communism would fail and would be seen to have failed, and so come to an end – which is what happened. But in Islam, it is hard for Muslims to see the failures of their own societies – political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral – not least because the vast oil wealth, that is unearned, that comes from an accident of geology, has given the Muslim oil states more than twelve trillion dollars since 1973 alone, which represents the greatest transfer of wealth in human history. And many Muslim states, such as Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and Egypt, and Jordan, and of course the “Palestinian” Authority, have been receiving money not from oil wells, but aid, endless aid, running into the tens and hundreds of billions of dollars, from Infidel lands. And while the Muslim recipients receive that aid as their due, the non-Muslim donors have come to give that aid uninterruptedly, for fear that if they stop, or cut the aid, the Muslim recipients will get angry. In other words, the aid from Infidels has, on both sides, turned into a kind of Jizyah, a tax that must be paid lest the Muslim masters punish the Infidels who are not obeying the laws that govern dhimmis.

In Europe, the failure to recognize the reality, the meaning, the menace, really, of Islam, can be attributed to a variety of developments. After World War II, anything that smacked of “racism” was to be deplored. That, sixty years later, the realization then of the terrible crimes that had been committed against the Jews, and the revulsion – though not so often guilt – felt by many Europeans, and all of the institutions that had been created, such as the U.N., in a determined spirit of making sure that such things as genocide would not be repeated, and all the brave declarations made, and treaties signed, and committees set up – all this has now been exploited not to rescue the victims of antisemitism, but to rescue those who, at present, are the major carriers and spreaders of antisemitism – Muslims in the Middle East and, now, in Western Europe. 

How did it happen?


Let’s start with the movement of peoples, the contemporary Volkswanderung. The British, in the late 1940s or early 1950s, passed an act which allowed entry into Great Britain of people who arrived from countries that once formed part of the British Empire. It was not contemplated that so many would come, just as it could hardly have been foreseen that the generous welfare state set up by the Labor Party of Attlee and Aneurin Bevan would find that many of those most adept at taking advantage of that welfare state would turn out to be, not British taxpayers, but people who were not British but had simply managed to come to, to settle deep within, Great Britain, from distant and different places. And among those who came in the greatest numbers, starting in the 1950s and then 1960s, and then 1970s, and who found all kinds of strategies for increasing their numbers, were Muslims from Pakistan. They were met, sometimes, with hostility. And that hostility, sometimes acted upon by thuggish members of the host community, was called “Paki-bashing” and very much deplored, and everyone was so busy deploring it, that they had no time to spend to find out if, indeed, there was something in the attitude of the “Pakistanis” that might make them particularly disturbing as, say, the Hindu immigrants were not.

These people came by the tens of thousands each year. They brought their wives, or in many cases, the young men would be sent back to Pakistan to find a wife, and to bring her to England, and the young women would be sent back to Pakistan to be married to a Pakistani who would then be admitted to Great Britain. They had large families, often living on the dole, for in Great Britain, as all over Westtern Europe, Muslims receive free or subsidized housing, free education, free medical care, and of course very generous unemployment benefits, far beyond what we know of here, and do so at rates far higher than those of any non-Muslim immigrant group, or than any of the natives. By now there are 1.7 million Muslims in Great Britain. They have a certain presence, and a certain power. Some politicians try to curry favor with them. Some are simply fearful of them, of what they might do if, for example, the foreign policy of the country were to be too allied to the Americans, or if the Foreign Office were to begin to show a modicum of fairness and understanding in its treatment of Israel. But neither the political pandering, nor the pusillanimity, will be owned up too – it’s all too embarrassing, and even….frightening.

Different groups of Muslims arrived in other European countries, too. In West Germany, under Ludwig Erhard, it was Turks – men who arrived, so it was thought, to work, as Gastasrbeiter, Guest-Workers, who would then, it was assumed, return home at some point with their earnings, or what they had kept above what they would be sending home. In France, after the end of the Algerian War in 1962, it was not only the French, who came to France from Algeria, but les harkis, the native troops who had sided with the French against the FLN and some of whom were killed, and all of whom were threatened with being killed. 600,000 of them were allowed to enter France. But then, after them, came other hundreds of thousands of those who did not need to be rescued, and who were owed nothing, Arabs from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, along with some Berbers.

There were those who worried about this influx. They tended to be older people, with some experience of the world, and of Islam. There was, for example, Jacques Soustelle, a famous scholar of Mexico, who was from Algeria, and knew what Islam was all about. There was the Protestant theologian and writer Jacques Ellul. But Soustelle supported a continued French presence in Algeria, and that made him suspect, and Ellul was outspokenly pro-Israel, as part of the West, and that made him suspect. And the older generation of French scholars of Islam, like those in other countries, was dying out, and the new generation of scholars were people deeply influenced by decolonization, and a hyper-awareness of the sins of the white West, and they forgot, or never learned, the history of what the most successful imperialism in world history, Arab imperialism, with Islam as its vehicle, had managed to accomplish, in not only conquering vast territories, but in convincing or forcing those conquered to wish to adopt Arab names, to model themselves on Arabs of the seventh century, to read their holy books in their new religion only in Arabic, and to face, five times a day, in daily reminder of the superiority of Arabs, toward western Arabia, toward Mecca.

In Germany the Turks, in England the Pakistanis, in France the Algerians, Moroccans, and some Tunisians. In Spain, Moroccans. In Belgium, maghrebins. In the Netherlands, Moroccans and Turks. And so on, with admixtures now of Somalis and Kurds in the Scandinavian countries, so quick, and so innocently complacent, in offering what they call “refuge” or “asylum” to Muslims who come from Muslim countries, and who are in no need of “refuge” or “asylum” – it is only non-Muslims from those countries who need it.

The demographic change, and then the absence of a class of scholars who, like all those of the previous century – such as Joseph Schacht and Snouck Hurgronje, and Arthur Jeffrey, and Henri Lammens, all understood perfectly what Islam inculcated, and would have been amazed, and perplexed, had they lived to see the influx of Muslims permitted to settle deep behind what Muslims themselves are taught to regard as enemy lines, the borders of Infidel nation-states.

Decolonialism and its aftermath were in the air. And the denial of Islam’s menace was connected to that awareness, a deliberately cultivated awareness, of the exaggerated sins of the white West for “colonialism.” Never mind that we can now imagine what Africa would have looked like without the West – see the Congo, see Rwanda, see Zimbabwe, see Emperor Bokassa or Idi Amin – nor the great good done by so many in that period we hasten to denounce as “colonial.” And just look at Algeria. Its first schools, its first colleges, its first hospitals, its first museums – all of these were built during the period from 1830 to 1962, 132 years of “colonialism.” Algeria has been sliding back into a hell of anarchy and murder, and it is only the French connection, the French language, the back-and-forthing with France, the access to French television and radio and hence to an advanced Western civilization, that keeps it from sliding still further into what it would naturally be, without that French connection.

Meanwhile, in metropolitan France itself, a group of pseudo-scholars – such as Gilles Kepel, a sociologist, and Olivier Roy – who have connections to the government, and who are still relied upon by some, carefully act as pollyannas, suggesting that the problems do not lie with Islam – which cannot be changed, which is immutable – but with the treatment meted out to Arabs and other Muslims, and since that treatment can, of course, be changed, this leaves out the possibility that the resentments and hostility of Muslims, and the inability of all but, say, the most culturally advanced, and the least observant, to genuinely “integrate.” But so many in France who work beside those culturally advanced, often charming, and sometimes, let’s face it, physically alluring Muslims (if you work with a beautiful Muslimah, would this not make it far more difficult for you to see Islam steadily and whole), though that is, as one of the Glass family members, in Salinger’s work, says to another, “that’s just sex talking.”

Sentimentalism plays a role. Arabs are just like…well, like the Portuguese immigrants, say, who came in the 1950s, to work as domestics, and whose children are now thoroughly French. And since they are among the damnes de la terre, the victims of white colonialism and racism – a word that started to be used, as an all-purpose curse word, or used with fiendish deliberation by those who now wish Islam to be exempt from scrutiny, or Muslims, acting as Muslims, that is fi sabil Allah, in the Way of Islam, rather than as run-of-the-mill delinquents. Victims of racism – or those who are quick to call themselves such – immediately throw up an invisible protective shield, like a famous toothpaste of yore. 

So then, in Western Europe, to sum up:

There was, after World War II, the second self-inflicted wound in Western Europe within little more than a quarter-century, a loss of civilizational morale. There was hatred of, and fear of being accused of, anything that might smack of “racism.” There was a noticeable decline in the quality of the elites, and indeed, the very idea of a civilizational or cultural elite, that would lay down the law. This was replaced by cultural egalitarianism, by a belief, all over the West, that everything had value, and the word “culture” itself lost its earlier significance, of “high culture” to become the “culture” we have today, a word which merely describes what is going on, from Brad and Angelina, to hip-hop, or their equivalents in every European country.

Muslims from different countries were allowed in, for there were few left to warn about the nature of Islam. The celebrated scholars of Islam were dead, or retired, or on the verge of retirement. Only a handful remained. A very few sounded the tocsin, but most were occupied with their difficult scholarship. They were replaced by the naïve, and the leftists, apologists for Islam, for Islam was identified with the Third World, and this was a Good Thing, and the West – the Christian West – had so very much to answer for. One could cheerfully mock Christianity and display anti-Christian sentiments, but to mock Islam would be cruel, it would be to insult the poor newspaper vendor, or the curry proprietor. And since the first generation of Muslims were, indeed, far more hard-working, and not yet adept at fiddling the system of benefits, and not yet sufficiently sure of themselves in various infidel lands to start to exhibit their real feelings, it was easy, twenty or thirty years ago, to overlook or fail to recognize the danger. But there is no excuse now.

Then came the spectacular rise of OPEC, and the quadrupling in the price of crude in the fall of 1973. Since 1973, the Muslim states of OPEC have had transferred to them from the oil-consuming nations more than twelve trillion dollars. That has bought them palaces, that has paid for several trillion dollars of arms, that has paid for private 747s for a great many princes, princelings, princelettes, that has paid for those boatloads of Western callgirls who are taken out to the yachts of waiting Arabs, just after their black-sacked wives and many children are offloaded for a day of shopping, on the Riviera, or off Marbella in Spain. But it has also paid for political influence. It has paid for an army of Western hirelings – traitors really – who conduct propaganda on behalf of the Saudis, and the Arabs, and also of Islam. In Washington, in London, in Paris, a few thousand people – former diplomats to Arab countries, former intelligence agents (Raymond Close), businessmen who want to keep old contracts, or to win new ones, journalists on the take, and others – have been promoting the Saudis. It is they to whom Prince Bandar and his ilk have spread their largesse. And it is they who keep insisting that we “need to do favors” to the Arabs with oil because…well, because otherwise they might not sell the oil. It’s utter nonsense. You don’t do favors to the gas station owner who sells you gasoline. You don’t offer to clean his house, or take care of his kids, or to stand guard while he goes out of town. No, you simply pay him the market price for gasoline. That’s it. And it is no different with any of the oil-producing states.

The Muslim Arab states are all dependent, completely, on the sale of oil. That’s all they’ve got. Not one has created a modern economy, or will be able to do so. Not one. They rely on foreign workers, from the day laborers to the female domestics from Asia who often double as sex slaves, to the South Korean contractors and builders, to the American and West European doctors and engineers at the top – as in Saudi Arabia, so in the tiny sheikhdoms, it’s foreigners, and mostly foreign infidels, who do the work. The oil money itself is not earned, not merited – it’s merely an accident of geology.

But this money has paid for mosques and madrasas all over the Western world. In a state not far from where I live, there is a new, $15 million dollar mosque. There are only 100 families that go to that mosque. They do not have much money. Meanwhile Catholic churches nearby are closing because of lack of funds, despite having thousands of parishioners in some of the closing churches. What’s going on? Where does all this money come from? It comes from outside, from the rich Arab states.

So: a failure of scholarship, a loss of nerve, the aftermath of colonialism, and then decolonization, and then the charge of being “colonialists” still, at heart, and the whole Third-World sympathies of the European left, and the hostility, born of an earlier age, when anticlericalism might have made sense, toward the Catholic church, and then toward Christianity in general, and an unwillingness to distinguish between the performance of non-Muslim immigrants and Muslim immigrants, and finally, the effect of oil money, in buying up influence – all of these are the elements that have allowed Muslims, such as Tariq Ramadan, to withstand, until just recently, critical attention and analysis,

Now let me come to the case of America. 

Unlike Europe, America is not yet swamped with Muslims. Fewer than 1% of the American population consists of Muslims, and most of those are Black Muslims who, while they are anti-Infidel, are not completely orthodox in their beliefs.

The denial in the United States about Islam centers on one word: “religion.” Unlike Europeans, Americans are not put off by, made wary by, a belief-system that is traditionally called a “religion.” No, they tend to offer an automatic respect to anything called a “religion.” George Bush, for example, believes that he was saved, from his alcoholism and his life as a scapegrace, by finding religion, Christianity, by being re-born. For such a man, the very idea that Islam, which he knows formulaically as “one of the world’s great religions,” could be other than benign, if rightly understood – though “fanatics” and “extremists” can always bring a venerable religion into undeserved disrepute – is simply too much for Bush, and for many others, to bear. It may be harder for many – not all, by any means—believing Christians and Jews, to come to grips with Islam, than for those who are not believers at all.

Calling Islam a “religion” and using such empty verbal formulae, designed to offer a specious connection between Islam and the two prior monotheisms, as “the three great monotheisms” or “the three Abrahamic faiths” – phrases used mostly when Muslims are doing outreach on the Interfaith Healing circuit, have helped to keep critical faculties sufficiently paralyzed for quite a while. 

Another strategy of denial, one that Muslims encourage, and that many Infidels are happy to embrace, is that provided by that all-purpose pejorative or bit of invective, “racism.” If you dare to make an observation about what is contained in the texts of Islam – Qur’an, Hadith, Sira – one that is critical that is and not full of praise – you are likely to be called a “racist.” And since so many people apparently find that charge unbearable, simply impossible to laugh off or wave away, those against whom that charge is flung feel compelled to deny any anti-Islam sentiment whatsoever, even though they have every right to criticize Islam, for Muslims are not a “race” and an ideology is not something one is forever stuck with, but one has the freedom to choose, and to choose not to identify with, or promote, or help to spread, that ideology, even if, say for reasons of filial piety or fear, one does not make an open break.

So “religion” and “racism” are two terms that are used, by Muslims, and non-Muslims, in this country.

And yet another is the idea of “Diversity.” This word has entered, not the language, but the collective consciousness, as a Good Thing, something we are all supposed to agree cannot but be good. Many people do not agree. The Japanese famously do not, limiting severely who can become Japanese – so severely that even Koreans whose families have lived for generations in Japan, who attend Japanese schools, who speak perfect Japanese, may never become Japanese. In Korea it is the same, toward all non-Koreans. In China too. Indeed, in most of the world the easygoing admission of others into a specific country and society is not celebrated but treated with great wariness. It is only in one small part of this world, in Western Europe and North America, that Diversity has become an idol of the age. The word itself is used most often in the United States; it simply hasn’t become popular in Western Europe, though the ideal of Tolerance – Tolerance for everyone, no matter what they may think – is a variant on Diversity.

It is not at all clear to me that this country, which save for its black population was, until very recently, derived almost entirely from Europe, and with a political and legal system, a language, and a literature, all taken from England, so that once no one would have questioned the realism of that now semi-comatose organization, the English-Speaking Union, still possesses an elite that understands that this country remains European in its background, and that cultural coherence, if that is, as I think, indispensable to survival beyond the level of mere economics, demands that it remain largely so. We say to ourselves that “diversity is our strength.” But just how much “diversity” makes us strong and at what point does it weaken?

In any case, Muslims have learned quickly to prate about both “diversity” and about “pluralism.” The fact that no Muslim society tolerates, in the Western sense, real diversity, by which I mean non-Muslims, and that no Muslim society practices what we mean by “pluralism” or ever could, if it were to remain true to Islam, but that does not prevent Muslims in this country from exploiting the naïve faith in “pluralism” of the natives in order to strengthen the position of Muslims and yet this somehow escapes most of us.

Islam is shape-shifting, then. In every one of the places I have described, in Israel, in Western Europe, and in the United States, and in each of these places slightly or even greatly differing appeals are made by Muslims, carefully tailored to meet local needs, so that what has been found to work best with a particular set of Infidels can be applied and local weaknesses exploited, in the particular theatre of that world-wide Jihad, that we even now refuse to recognize or describe correctly.

In Israel, what works best is to de-emphasize Islam altogether, and to present the war against the Israelis as a war of another “tiny people” – with whom the Jews are asked to identify, to sympathize with by forgetting their own claims, their own rights, even their own historic identity, and this goes on so incessantly, and has for so long, and so many other non-Muslims have so cruelly and unthinkingly joined in, that there are many Israelis eager to comply, eager – as Robert Frost once defined liberals – “
“to take the other fellow’s side in a quarrel.” Well, many Israelis wish above all not to offend, not to stand up for themselves, and as it says in Isaiah, they do liberal things, and by liberal things shall ye know them.

And in Europe, with a history whose evils have been exaggerated and its good forgotten, the weapon of choice is “anti-colonialism,” and the pretense that the Arabs and Muslims suffered greatly from it, which is both nonsense and a way of overlooking the inescapable fact that the longest, and most damaging, imperialism in the history of the world has been that of the Arabs, and the Arab supremacism of which Islam is and always has been a vehicle, one which is not merely political and economic, but also a linguistic and a cultural imperialism that effaces memories, for so many different peoples, of their time before Islam.

And in the United States, the key is to hide behind the word “racism,” a word that can hardly apply to an ideology, especially one that makes universal claims, and yet at the same time, one whose chief practitioners and standard-bearers, the Arabs, conducted the longest and most brutal of all those many peoples involved in the African slave trade.

These different, though sometimes overlapping, verbal and conceptual weapons have been sufficient to paralyze host countries so that little or no response is made to the ever-increasing aggression of Muslim immigrants.

This has to stop. And as the time grows late, I too, with the sense of an ending that offers what I allow myself to believe is a salutary jarring in Tennessee, will also stop.


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