Europe and America are impaled on the horns of a strategic dilemma. On the one hand, the world is besieged by jihadi religious terror, barbarity, and serial wars with jihadists. Concurrently, most of the civilized world defends the very religious cultures, Sunni and Shia Islam especially, where the problems originate. To be clear at the outset; with Islam today, there seems to be less and less daylight between secular and religious imperatives.
Theology, for the most part, is the a priori premise for Muslim politics and evangelism, Islamism if you will. Culture proceeds from or is conditioned by religious writ or tradition in the Ummah. The adjective "Islamic" before the noun "republic" is not just an historical artifact.
Indeed, since the 1979 Shia religious coup in Persia, the political trend lines throughout dar al Islam are clearly theocratic. You might call the recent Shia coup in Yemen a copycat killing. Secular Islam is in the crosshairs. The trend suffered a setback in Egypt recently, but only at the expense of a military coup.
Theocracy or the generals are the two political default settings in the Muslim world today. Priests and brass hats are never far from the nexus of power. If behavior is a measure of merit in the Ummah, the generals are to be preferred over the ayatollahs, Islamic scholars, mullahs, or imams. Cairo might take a nervous bow here.
A priori or unwarranted assumptions are not limited, however, to the Islamic side of the geo-strategic conundrum. European and American intellectuals, politicians, generals, and academics, are handicapped with the same infirmity.
Terror provides a snapshot of the logic that flows from flawed premises, foregone conclusions that attempt to absolve Islam.
After most atrocities, East or West, the specter of the late Edward Said reappears. Said is the Palestinian apologist, tenured at Columbia University, who coined the theory of "Orientalism," a grab bag of complaints that cover a host of shibboleths that permit blanket absolution for the Muslim majority today.
Infidels in the West usually begin with ritual handwringing about the horrors of bombs, bullets, and beheadings, followed immediately by a logical hairball where moral poles are reversed -- a universe where the Islamist villain morphs into the Muslim victim. Shooters and bombers are rhetorically excommunicated by Western Quislings. Such is the "logic" that allows a black politician from Chicago to declare emphatically that "ISIS is not Islam," a little like parsing jackals from coyotes.
In contrast, few prominent Muslims condemn or ostracize jihadists. Jihad is as Muslim as Mohammed. Indeed, nearly 50 countries in dar al Islam now send Islamist fighters to ISIS, hirsute recruits that are happy to execute, in the name of Allah, any European, American, or East Asian that falls into their hands. Most recently, two Japanese civilians lost their heads. The executioner of choice at the moment apparently carries a British passport.
Before the blood dries after such barbarism, politicians and media pundits go on defense lest atrocity stain the veil of immunities created for all Muslims. Indeed, when the President of the United States or the Prime Minister of Britain says that ISIS, or any terror group, is not Islamic, they confer blanket amnesty on a sixth of the world's population, the now celebrated "pacific," passive-aggressive, Muslim majority.
The anointing of Islam as victim is underwritten by a litany of lesser and equally unsupportable excuses including but not limited to: colonialism, exploitation, poverty, illiteracy, imperialism, racism (sic), and moral equivalence. Of these, moral equivalence is the most absurd.
Few Muslim scholars, ayatollahs, or imams make any claim of moral equivalence. Mohamed, Islam, the Koran, and Hadith are thought to be a unity, the final, singular, and unalterable truth. The Islamist sees all other religions, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu especially, as infidels or apostasies, vessels of ignorance. Ecumenism and multiculturalism is only possible, and only a tactic at that, in polities where Muslims are a minority. Tolerance is nearly absent where Muslim majorities prevail.
Within major religions, moral consistency is now an oxymoron. Discrimination in the West is a still a vice while bigotry in Islam has been ordained a cultural virtue.
Jews and Christians have been removed from most Arab states and are in peril in the Muslim world at large. Jews in Europe are also under siege now by a coalition of traditional anti-Semites on the Left, augmented by irredentist Muslim immigrants on the Right. In contrast, 1.5 million Muslim Arabs still thrive in the tiny state of Israel.
Equality is a claim made by western apologists on behalf of Islam. Few Sunni or Shia clerics or scholars confer equality, civic or religious, on the unbeliever -- infidel or apostate. Among Muslims, small minorities like the Kurds, the Zezidi, Ahmadiyya, and the Sufi might legitimately think of themselves as moderates, but they represent only five percent of Islam.
Premature absolution of Islam is now the knee jerk response to all atrocity. Never mind that most terror groups are Muslim and proudly array themselves with all the predictable kit: incantations, black surah flags, the Koran, the Hadith, beards, and burkas -- all in the name of Mohammed. Somehow we are supposed to believe that none of this has anything to do with true Islam. The Ummah plays the victim with the passive approvals of believers and the active collaboration of infidels. "Great religion" indeed!
A standard mantra claims that the majority of Islamist victims are Muslims, another absurd tautology. The summary execution of milquetoast Muslims by righteous Muslims is a kind of cultural masochism. Jihadists who kill, or are themselves killed, are celebrated from Gaza to Kabul as heroes or martyrs.
There is no organized, universal opposition to the bomb, bullet, or the knife in the Arab League or the 56 nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Indeed, the surah, the sword and the gun are the staples of modern Muslim iconography. Flags and banners alone put the lie to the "moderate" meme.
When the goal is submission, the modalities for victory are clear, indeed, endorsed by scripture. No Muslim cleric argues that any surah, Koranic admonition, needs amendment or reform. Individual or isolated voices might be raised against violence, but there is no reform movement.
The reform vacuum has its own logic. The reformer would be an apostate and a target in any case. The penalty for apostasy is death! Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Salman Rushdie are examples. What is there to alter if you believe that you have the immutable word of God as guidance? And why change anything if you are winning?
The imperial Islamic 5th column in the West now punctuates evangelism with periodic massacres like Charlie Hebdo in Paris just to remind infidels which side has the upper hand. Global terror may not be orchestrated by any one Muslim group or Islamic state. Alas, centrifugal terror is a tactical conundrum for the West and a strategic asset for the Islamist. Nothing succeeds like viral success.
Strategy in Brussels and Washington has deteriorated to what amounts to "whack-a-mole," a carnival game where the hammer falls only where the rodent raises its head. ISIS is the rodent du jour. The tunnels of Gaza are the literal incarnation of such Muslim tactics, the strategic significance of which is designed to bleed Israel, in particular, and the West, in general, into submission.
Appeasement in the West and serial terror in the East makes for a calculus where new terror groups or Islamic states are likely to proliferate. ISIS, Boko Haram, and Hisb ut Tahrir provide some of the more recent evidence.
ISIS is the new and now more candid face of Islamo-fascism, savage and uncompromising, with a flair for public relations. Brute force is the attribute that merits the fascist label. Preliminary evidence suggests that ISIS tactics, on a global scale, are better proselytizers and recruiters than any al Qaeda atrocities. Al Baghdadi is not just another Sunni Osama bin Laden. Baghdadi is worse -- and more effective at the same time.
When American soldiers like Chris Kyle used words like "savages" to describe Islamists, he was only giving voice to the least offensive description of those who kill in God's, Mohamed's, or Islam's name.
Boko Haram is another metastasizing menace. With the assistance of the US State Department, these Islamic slave traders flew under the terror radar for decades. The ninnies at Foggy Bottom can't bring themselves to put the words "black Muslim slave trading terrorists" in the same sentence. Political correctness in Washington is a kind of Yankee fatwa nowadays, a death warrant, especially for African schoolgirls.
Political correctness is now the official Achilles heel of social democracies.
Hizb ut Tahrir is another caliphate proselytizer flying under the media radar with an assist from the US State Department and the Intelligence Community. HT activities seldom see the light of day although this mutation of Sunni Islamism now operates openly, like al Ikhwan (aka, the Muslim Brotherhood), without a US terrorist designation and associated scrutiny. If the activists of HT, al Ikhwan, and affiliates were audited, the totals would number in the hundreds of millions.
Moderation among Muslims is not a function of kinetics so much as it is a function of cultural affiliations and sympathies. The Pew Research Center and World Health Organization surveys provide ample testimony to toxic Islamic attitudes and social abuses like capital apostasy, polygamy, and consanguinity.
At the moment we live in an era where the Muslim Brotherhood, and affiliates (see CAIR), are welcomed at the Oval Office, but the Prime Minister of Israel is snubbed and reviled. The reasons for such folly are clear: fear for the economy, fear for energy sources, fear of global Muslim numbers, and ultimately the fear that terrorism might get worse.
The US State Department is one of the few institutions in America, other than the Nation of Islam, blessed with the gift of prophecy. Logic, reason, and morality have been subverted to serve the cause of appeasement. Pandering to savages has always been the one policy choice that guarantees that things will get worse.