Monday, January 18, 2016

Blog at 10: Jihad Trumps World Peace

Heart of the Ummah
This blog began 10 years ago, hoping that the Western ideas of capitalism and democracy would help generate universal peace. At the time, the U.S. was locked in a difficult, ultimately hopeless effort to launch an independent, democratic Iraq at the Middle East’s center. In Iraq and elsewhere since 2006, hopes for peace smacked head-on into Islamic terror.

Mao Zedong taught that “the guerrilla must move among the people as a fish swims in the sea.” Islamic terrorists are today’s fish, and they exist in the Islamic ummah’s vast sea. Muslims at 1.6 billion make up 22% of the world, and are the planet’s fastest-growing faith. They are found on all continents though most numerous in Asia (chart: click to enlarge), with their greatest concentration running Pakistan through North Africa (above map).

From 1648 through the late 20th century, nationalism beginning with the Treaty of Westphalia grew to dominate the world, symbolized by the United Nations and its nearly 200 member-states. Nationalism first replaced the Church, then overturned European colonialist empires.

Today, however, the super-national ummah threatens nationalism, even as movements centered in Iran (Shia), Syria-Iraq (ISIS) and Saudi Arabia (Sunni) compete for control.

In fact, three developments in the late 1930s transformed the face of Islam, giving birth to the tensions today’s ummah generates. First, Nazi persecution of German Jews led to a sharp increase in British-governed Palestine’s Jewish population. Alarmed, Palestine’s Arabs demanded popular rule through a legislative council. Jews, fearing Arab domination, rejected the proposal, which led to the 1936-39 Arab rebellion and to the 1948 folly of partitioning Palestine into Israeli and Arab areas.  

Second, in 1938 CALTEX geologists discovered the world’s largest oil reserves in Saudi Arabia, which over time gave the Middle East’s Islamic leaders, including Iran’s, economic power all out of proportion to their numbers. In Palestine, the British feared siding against Arabs would cost them access to Middle East oil. Oil has similarly distorted U.S. and other great power policy toward the region.  

Third, when British India moving toward eventual independence held national elections in 1937, the victorious Congress Party refused a coalition with the Muslim League. The League responded by organizing India’s Muslim masses and in 1947 forcing India’s partition into separate Muslim and Hindu nations, a tragic event that resulted in 200,000 to 2 million deaths and the forcible relocation of 14 million, the largest mass migration in history. Today nearly one-third of the world’s Muslims, many radicalized by their region’s communal violence, live in the Indian subcontinent.

A history of Islamic terrorism since 1947-48 partitions of India and Palestine includes the bloody 1954-62 Algerian fight for independence, Robert Kennedy’s assassination in 1968, airline hijackings from 1968 on, the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, the virtual destruction of Lebanon in 1975-90, the Iranian revolution and occupation of U.S. Embassy Tehran in 1979, the successful effort to drive the U.S.S.R. from Afghanistan in 1979-89, assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981, Hezbollah’s birth and its subsequent destruction of the Beirut U.S. marine barracks in 1983, PLO hijacking the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985, the rise of Hamas, its control in Gaza and use of suicide bombers starting in 1987, the bloody Chechen wars in 1991-94 and 1999-2000, the rise of al Qaeda starting in 1993 culminating in the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center’s twin towers, Bali bombings in 2002, al Qaeda’s success in Iraq, especially with IEDs, in 2003-07, Madrid and London train bombings in 2004-05, the radicalization of Iran and its pursuit of nuclear weapons under Khamenei from 2005, the Mumbai killings in 2008, the Taliban’s renewal in Afghanistan since 2013, creation and expansion of ISIS from 2014 and its destructive impact on Syria and Iraq, the 2015 downing of a Russian commercial plane in the Sinai, the current unfolding of Islamic terrorism throughout Western Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, West Africa, Southeast Asia, and worldwide.

It would be a mistake to underestimate the threat radical Islam’s jihad poses to world peace.  According to Princeton University Middle Eastern scholar Bernard Lewis, jihad is an unlimited offensive to bring the whole world under Islamic law. Lewis:
Even the Christian crusade, often compared with the Muslim jihad, was itself a delayed and limited response to the jihad and in part also an imitation. But unlike the jihad it was concerned primarily with the defense or reconquest of threatened or lost Christian territory...The Muslim jihad, in contrast, was. . . unlimited.
Lewis says Islam imposes, without limit of time or space, the duty to subjugate non-Muslims.
it is the duty of those who have accepted [Allah's word and message] to strive unceasingly to convert or at least to subjugate those who have not. . . It must continue until the whole world has either accepted the Islamic faith or submitted to the power of the Islamic state.
When Lewis talks about the “clash of civilizations,” he helps us understand how fully Islamic terrorism rejects the world we know. Osama bin Laden’s "Letter to America," answered the question, "What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you," with:
We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honor, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling's, and trading with interest (...) You separate religion from your policies, (...) You are the nation that permits Usury, which has been forbidden by all the religions (...) You are a nation that permits the production, trading and usage of intoxicants (...) You are a nation that permits acts of immorality (...) You are a nation that permits gambling in its all forms. (...) You use women to serve passengers, visitors, and strangers to increase your profit margins.
The Islamic sea is deep and wide; we must oppose its fish who favor death to peace.

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