Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Muslim fundamentalists' hatred of the West

An e-mail contact kindly forwarded to me this link to an article called The Roots of Muslim Rage by Bernard Lewis. Initially I quickly scanned through thinking it was analysing the problem of jihad terrorism today but was puzzled by its reference to the Soviet Union rather than Russia. It turned out to have been published in 1990 and it was clear that some 15 years before the US invasion of Iraq, instigated by the Twin Towers atrocity (11 Sept 2002), radical Islam had been recognised as a serious problem by this author. 

 I also re-read a chapter of The Great Reckoning by James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg. The chapter was called Mohammad replaces Marx. This was published in 1993 and again Islamic terrorism was identified, well ahead of time, as a serious problem for the world by 2000 AD and beyond. It opens with this quote from Saddam Hussein in 1990:

 ‘Oh Arabs, Oh Muslims and faithful everywhere, this is your day to rise and defend Mecca, which is captured by the spears of the Americans and the Zionists. Burn the soil under the feet of the aggressors and invaders.’   

This was made in the context of the lead up to the first Gulf War, when coalition forces reversed his invasion of Kuwait.

 Here are some points which emerged from these works with my comments in italics.

  • Mohammad was a politician and soldier as well as a prophet. This makes it difficult to separate religion from politics in the Muslim world. Jesus, on the other hand, was the human face of God and said ‘render... unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things which are God’s.’ Although the Roman church was closely related to government  the potential for separation of church and state was implicit in Christian theology. This was compatible with the ideas of Spinoza, Locke and other philosophers of the Enlightenment, culminating in the United States constitution. I think separation of the powers is good but that in the UK a small representation in the House of Lords (the UK's second chamber), i.e. the 26 Lords Spiritual,  is a good way of keeping  Christian ideals in the minds of politicians and should be retained, because it is from these ideals that Western civilisation (Christendom) originated.

  • Islam has made great contributions to humanity. These are not listed by either source. Off hand I can think of three: algebra, the Kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God and Islamic architecture such as the Al Hambra palace in Spain. The problem with Islamic science was the same as that for Greek, Egyptian, Persian, Babylonian and Chinese science: the findings of a creative individual were not launched into a fertile, receptive environment where they could be peer reviewed, pruned and grown – this was the strength of Protestant Europe during the Enlightenment after the printing press, and later of the USA.  Today, Islamic scientists along with Chinese, Japanese and all others, publish and develop their work through the global peer-review network which sprang from Protestant Christendom.  Also, the idea of questioning the status quo seems to be foreign to Islam and this inevitably holds up progress in all human endeavours. Democracy in an Islamic state could not be democracy as Christendom (the West)) knows it.
  • The Soviet Union was an atheist state which suppressed Islam and gave help to Israel yet never was the subject of hatred the way the US was and is, because the US culture is offensive to them yet popular with many young Muslims, who like to wear baseball hats and T-shirts. The Soviets lived an austere monk-like existence, unless they were members of the Party, were totalitarian and did not degrade the Muslim world with a hedonistic lifestyle. The author lists sexism, racism, imperialism, institutionalised patriarchy, slavery, tyranny and exploitation as reasons which Muslims had for hating the USA. I can’t see that these are characteristics of the USA- most seem to be rife in Islamic countries. I think the rampant debt driven consumerism, commercialism, sex obsession and materialism of the West are more offensive to Islam (as they are to me as a Christian).  Perhaps the USA is a threat because it promotes Christianity as a rival belief while its society offends against both Muslim and many Christian values, largely as a result of the media. 

  • When the cold war finished so did the injection of money and expertise from the West and the East into the third world. This left many Soviet or western educated young Muslim men with no career prospects. They were a natural prey for jihad recruiters. At the same time the heads of Islamic families were having their authority undermined by female emancipation, the clergy were being challenged by western educated young Muslims and Sharia law could not be instituted in western countries.

  • A lot of oil money went into financing jihad.  I believe that the Saudi government was blackmailed into financing jihad in return for being left alone by Bin Laden etc., who wanted to enforce reforms on Saudi Arabia, which they saw as decadent. Drug trafficking has also been a major source of revenue, especially for the Taliban.

  • Muslims, who see all other religions as enemies of Allah do not feel obliged to protect minority religions within a Muslim country, yet expect such protection for Muslims in non-Muslim countries. In previous eras  protection was offered to non-Muslim minorities within Islamic countries but with diminished rights.

  • Initially Muslim intellectuals welcomed the West and tried to copy some of its methods of government, technology, business and science. However, these methods did not suit the Muslim world-view and as they failed to be fruitful bitterness and resentment set in.  Islam appears most suitable in helping backward countries to maintain stability and give a minimum standard of living, albeit one much lower than in the West, based on a charity safety net for the poor operating at a local level.

  •  Any Muslim who converts to Christianity is severely punished, either directly or through his family or both. Often the punishment is death. Some Muslims are secretly worshipping Christ (I don't know how many; it is for obvious reasons difficult for anyone to identify them. If anyone has knowledge to the contrary please let me know. I would be more than happy to modify the preceding sentences. I am stating the truth as I understand it.)
  • Muslim intellectuals in the first half of the 20th century were  influenced by Marxists, Nazis and existentialists like Jean-Paul Sartre. They were encouraged to revolt against western 'imperialism'. 

  • In practice the main cause of resentment is the domination of infidels over true believers in Allah. The fanatics cannot see that Allah could be the same God as that of the other monotheistic religions who has reasons beyond our comprehension for revealing himself in different ways to different peoples at different times and places in history. There is only one Allah and all who disbelieve in him are enemies of God. Do all Muslims think this today? I find it difficult to believe. 

  • It is possible that terrorist fanatics are partly the product of many generations of in-breeding and community isolation, which is a problem in parts of the Middle East.

  • Violent 'Muslim' extremists cannot be in tune with God - in fact they are going directly against God in trying to enforce their ideas on others against their free will. When humans separate themselves from God anything is permissible. The protestant and catholic factions in Ireland have done the same in the past; some still do. It  can only be called evil.
  • The first Islamic attack was on the US Embassy in 1979, instigated by Iran. Violence in response to Salmon Rushdie’s anti-Islamic novel followed a decade later. Iran fermented and financed fundamentalism and terrorism in the 1990s. Iran is a Shia country. Did they encourage both Shia and Sunni Moslems to attack the West? 

The tragic invasion of Iraq after the Twin Towers attack was understandable, given that it was based on apparently erroneous intelligence data about weapons of mass destruction, although there are some who claim that chemical weapons had indeed existed  in Iraq up to a short time before the invasion but had been secretly transferred to Syria. What I find impossible to understand is the lack of any long term, carefully constructed plan on how to occupy and stabilize the regime after Saddam  had been deposed.

Kyrie eleison