Moderates, Islam, and the experts
Middle East expert Daniel Pipes focuses public attention on a distinction between Muslim moderates and extremists. He also distinguishes between Islamism and militant Islam from Islam per se.
Still too many jihadists
Now, let us admit at the outset that not every Muslim is a Jihadist. Indeed, Dr. Pipes’ estimates that “only” 10 percent of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims support Jihad. Now that’s 150,000,000 people, a not very comforting number. Other experts estimate the number of Muslim supporters of Jihad as more than 20 percent. That would be 300,000,000, roughly the population of the United States. That should make Obama voters sleep well.
9/11 was a subject of gleeful celebration throughout Islamdom. That makes the distinction between moderates and extremists appear academic or “politically correct.” Not that there are no Muslims who sincerely deplore the extremists. Dr. Pipes has brought the names of some moderates to the public’s attention. He succumbs to obscurantism, however, when he admits that
Militant Islam, with its Westphobia and goal of world hegemony, dominates Islam in the West and appears to many commentators to be the only kind of Islam. (Jerusalem Post, September 24, 2003).
Yes, that was thirteen years ago. But why did Pipes then limit “militant Islam” to the West? Doesn’t “militant Islam” dominate the East, the heart of the Islamic world?
Now a question arises. Why so much attention to Muslim moderates? That becomes a strategically insignificant matter when Muslim extremists dominate Islamdom. Indeed America is at war with the most authentic disciples of Muhammad. These people readily defeat moderates in any debate over the meaning of the Qu’ran In fact, Pipes himself has indicated that many moderate Muslims may be or become quiescent extremists!
Moderates in Nazism?
This is more than a semantic issue. Imagine focusing public attention on German moderates in the midst of World War II. Wouldn’t this be disarming in the democratic world so given to pacifism or milk-and-toast liberalism? Moreover, didn’t all this talk about Muslim moderates mislead the West regarding the “Arab Spring”? Pundits on Sunday applauded this as a democratic wave sweeping across the East. Then they discovered on Monday that the “Arab Spring” was a misspelling of “Muslim Brotherhood”.
In his book Militant Islam Reaches America, Pipes quotes the following spokesmen:
- Algerian secularist Said Sadi: “A moderate Islamist is someone who does not have the means of acting ruthlessly to seize power immediately.”
- Osmane Bencherif, former Algerian ambassador to Washington: “It is misguided policy to distinguish between moderate and extreme Islamists. The goal of all is the same: to construct a pure Islamic state, which is bound to be a theocracy and totalitarian.”
- Mohammad Mohaddessin, director of international relations for the People’s Mojahadin in Iran, a leading opposition force: “Moderate fundamentalists do not exist…. It’s like talking about a moderate Nazi.”
A clash of civilizations
Dr. Pipes is not a milquetoast expert on Islam. But he sees no way the United States can vigorously counter Islam without ceasing to be a liberal democracy. So he obscures the evil nature of Islamic theology by reducing it to a political ideology. Thus he metamorphizes Islam into “Islamism,” a political ideology. This he compares to Nazism and Fascism which one can the more readily overcome. Really? Yes, by not giving Islamophiles free space in the public forum or in college classrooms!
Unlike Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington, Pipes denies a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. Thus he takes the dangerously disarming position of the “politically correct” Benjamin Netanyahu. Pipes goes even further than Netanyahu. He contends that Islam is compatible with democracy. This while he assembles a wealth of information confirming what he denies!
Nevertheless, Pipes seeks to minimize the appearance of this clash of civilizations. So he states, in the preface to the 2002 reprinting of his 1983 book In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power:
Militant Islam [is] best understood not as a religion but as a political ideology.
But surely Dr. Pipes knows that Islam has always been “political.”
Not the God of the Bible
But what is far more significant and deadly, Islam diametrically opposes the theology of the Bible! Robert R. Reilly, in The Closing of the Muslim Mind, lucidly demonstrates this. Pipes ignores or does not magnify this fact. He prefers to magnify “Muslim moderates,” a contradiction in terms!
Ironically, he succumbs to self-contradiction. Thus, as the subtitle of his book Islam and Political Power suggests, and as its content makes obvious:
However much institutions, attitudes, and customs have changed, the Muslim approach to politics derives from the invariant premises of the religion and from fundamental themes established more than a millennium ago. (My emphasis)
Now I applaud Pipes’ courageous exposure of “militant Islam”. But I find his denial of a clash of civilizations incomprehensible. Shall we regard former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s maledictions “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” as nothing more than political posturing devoid of theological significance? Those two maledictions mean nothing less than “Death to Christianity” and “Death to Judaism.” That has always been the goal of Islam and its genocidal theology. For evidence, look at the Muslim slaughter of more than 200 million non-Muslims since the time of Muhammad. This is why the notion of “Muslim moderates” is self-contradictory!
Identify the enemy
Let me be brutally frank: Islam is at war with us. We can’t win this war merely by winning the hearts and minds of so-called Muslim moderates, however noble that effort may be. “Islamism” has become a euphemism for Islam. This being demonstrably the case, it follows that the conflict is first and foremost a theological conflict. Thus it is far more awesome and comprehensive than any political ideology. This is precisely what Americans need to learn.
I was in New York a few days after 9/11. I shuddered as I gazed down on the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Indeed, I could even smell the rotting corpses. As I walked away with a troubled soul, I felt I had to do something. So I composed in my mind an article subsequently published a week later in the Jewish Press. In it I said America cannot win the war thrust upon it by Islam unless Americans unambiguously and publicly identify the enemy. The enemy is not “Islamism” or “political Islam” or “radical Islam.” No, the enemy is the source of these “politically correct” euphemisms. The enemy is unadulterated Islam, the Islam of the Qur’an!
If Donald Trump wins the 2016 presidential election and establishes, as promised, a commission to investigate the nature of Islamic terrorism, he may find my aforesaid article on the catastrophe of 9/11 more instructive than that of milquetoast commentators.◙