Saturday, January 26, 2008

Anti-Islamic Activities

Mark Steyn informs us that the British government is relabeling moslem terrorism as "anti-Islamic activity". Hm. He likens this to "the Luftwaffe raining down death and destruction on Londoners during the Blitz" and calling it an "anti-German activity." Well? He is correct, of course. The more mollifying part of our souls wants to point out that the bloody conflicts and atrocities committed between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, although in some way associated with religion, were in no way Christian. Perhaps the same could be said of Islam's excesses?

Islam as the Religion of Peace, however, is a debatable proposition. Christianity undoubtedly has as its Lord the Prince of Peace. There is only one Christian war, and that is the long one led by Christ when he returns with a sword to vanquish the Antichrist, and a thousand years later his demiurge Satan. All other bloody conflict can only be secular, whatever the labels. Islam however is a quadruped of a different color -- green, one would suppose.

Its adherents are urged to violence. Its founder was no prince of peace. It divides the world into two Houses, of Submission and of War. The s-l-m of Islam and of Moslem do indeed share a Semitic root with salaam, peace -- but it is the peace of acquiescence. Unbelievers are an affront to Allah, and must be taxed, converted or slain; one would suppose enslaved is an acceptable alternative to killed -- slavery after all is still a thriving institution in the hinterlands of Islam. The upshot is that the starting proposition, that violence is an "anti-Islamic activity", is highly debatable on grounds both historic and doctrinal.

Thus, the essential point: religions are observed by humans, who must be flawed. Their observances will be imperfect, and often untrue to the original tenets. Mass madness can sweep over any population. We must make our distinctions then based not only on human conduct, but on original teachings. All ethical faiths must urge moral conduct. Morality is a cultural norm, however, and may be a perversion of natural law. If we examine the core teachings of Islam and of Christianity, do we find agreement or conflict?

We can ignore the theological issues. A god who is an absolute unity, or a God who manifests as a triunity -- who's to say? God as a capricious being, limited not even by his own nature? -- or an all-powerful God for whom there are impossibilities? Not both can be correct. Both might be wrong. But such ideas are irrelevant, regarding violent conduct between people and populations. We can best concern ourselves with what religions have to say about how to treat one another.

Jesus says that in his name brother will stand against brother; he is not telling them to do so -- he's saying that they will do so. Human nature. Mohammad says to cut off the heads of infidels. Not much room for interpretation, there. Jesus looked forward to the day he would receive his kingdom. Mohammad led military assaults on caravans and cities. We need not multiply examples -- the issue is clear.

Does Islam teach that jets should be flown into skyscrapers? Does it teach anything that could reasonably be interpreted as a justification for such actions? I think not. Evil men corrupt morality. For all that it was founded in violence, Islam itself may be separated from such direct actions. But why the silence? Why the cowardice? Why is there not a great outcry, a mass and unequivocal uprising against such atrocities? Why is there always some qualifier? -- a 'yes it is wrong, but...'?

Because infidels are made for killing. As long as that is a truth of Islam, its footprints will be bloody. Terrorism is not an anti-Islamic activity. Beheading is terrifying, and it is meant not just as an act of instant Divine justice, but as a coercive admonition to other infidels, that they must submit. Terrorism has a point. It has a missionary function. It is a kind of sermon. The theological error of Osama is not in his tactics, but in his targets. Bystanders and wayfarers are to be protected, under traditional Islamic law. Osama and his ilk violate this custom, and are thus outlaws. If they attack military bases and government facilities, they would be on solid ground. Islam is a militant faith not just historically or through rhetoric. It is militant by definition.

The British double talk about terrorism is nothing but shameful. As Steyn says, to call moslem terrorism "anti-Islamic activity" is not merely "self-defeating Orwellian Newspeak. The broader message it sends is that ours is a weak culture so unconfident and insecure that if you bomb us and kill us our first urge is to find a way to flatter and apologize to you."

Men do not flatter and apologize to criminals. Men stand up and speak the truth and resist evil. Sorry to be so obvious. It's just necessary sometimes to be really clear. As if we were speaking to little children, afraid, say, of monsters under the bed. There are no monsters under the bed. There are no monsters. There are only people, who act like monsters.


No comments: