What is Islam? Ending the Romance in Academia
by Richard H. Shulman
As leader of the free world, Pres. Bush should have stated clearly what he was defending it from. He said we are in a war on "terrorism," but he aids Arab terrorism against Israel. He really mean we have to defend ourselves from Islamism, or should it be from Islam? We have to ask what really is Islam and how does Islamism differ from it.
A useful explanation of Islam would not discuss theological principles and religious practices that have no bearing on the war. That is the Muslims' business. Our business is Islam's goal for our culture, what means it uses, and what counter-measures we may need to take.
Ordinary people may try to understand what Islam is by reading the Koran. They probably overlook the teachings and interpretations that define what is authoritative. In general, later verses of the Koran take precedence over the earlier, more tolerant verses.
There is no point in asking Muslim authorities to define their
religion. They may be part of the war on us. In any case, they are
likely to give a self-serving definition.
Islamists dispute other Muslims over the meaning of their religion.
Some scholars contend that the Islamists have stolen the religion's
Western scholars should be advising who the enemy is and what means to combat the enemy. Should we lace killed and captured terrorists with lard? Should we bomb the shrine at Mecca?
In my evolving opinion, the Islamists have gotten most of their
co-religionists to accept their more extreme position against the Jews
- to murder them rather than just to humiliate them. The general
Muslim reaction to 9/11 was joy.
I think that the difference between Islamists and most other
practicing Muslims but especially the Arabs and Pakistanis, is that
the Islamists are activist. They actually wage jihad. They shame and
cajole and indoctrinate other Muslims, the so-called moderates, into
My understanding is a pessimistic one. It perceives of the mass of Muslims as not moderate in their views, just inactive and amenable to being activated. Certainly many have become radicalized and readily so. In self-defense, the West should expel the Muslims among them. Islam endangers Western civilization.
If there were a movement of moderate Muslims, or if one could be
organized, I would favor it. The problem is that Islam is a religion
like the Western ones in matters of monotheism but not of tolerance
and other ethics. Islam holds that the ends justify the means, and
Muslims break agreements. One cannot make peace with them, for they
deem rivals as false and evil.
Richard Shulman is a veteran defender of Israel on several web-based forums. His comments and analyses are a regular feature on Think-Israel. He provides cool information and right-on-target overviews. He distributes his essays by email. To subscribe, write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If using this material on another site, please provide a link back to my site.