Monday, November 29, 2004

The Power and the Glory of Islamic Women

What gives with Western feminism? Families of Muslim women rape, torture, behead, crucify, and hang them in public squares - all because they have committted the truly mortal sin of being female - yet the silence here on the behalf of these victims is deafening. Compared to the suffering of their Islamic sisters, the indignant chatter about 'oppression' emanating from women in the West is obscene.

Feminists in the U.S. claim that girls in school do less well than boys, and this happens because "America today is a girl-destroying place. Everywhere girls are encouraged to sacrifice their true selves...girls come of age in a misogynistic culture in which men have most of the political and economic power, and girls sense their lack of power." Misogynistic? Girl-destroying? Is America, the destroying place for girls, a recognizable country?

For contrast, try these cautionary tales:
  • in Sudan women who refuse to convert to Islam from Christianity are gang-raped, their breasts are cut off. Then they are left to die.
  • in Pakistan laws are structurally biased against women, especially since the advent of the Hadood Ordinances in 1979. Now when coerced sexual assaults cannot be proved, the victim becomes an offender, one who enjoyed illicit sexual activity. She is therefore liable to punishment. Safia Bibi, a blind eighteen year old was raped, subsequently becoming pregnant. Since there was insufficient evidence to prove rape ("sufficient" evidence being eye-witness testimony of four adult Muslim men), the pregnancy itself was evidence of her immoral behavior. Thus she was sentenced to three years in jail and fifteen lashes for having sex outside marriage.
  • In Yemen on learning that his daughter had eloped with a man from another clan, a father gathered sons, brothers, uncles and cousins, and headed a convoy of twenty cars to storm the bride's new home. Upon retrieving her, she was thrown into one of the cars. As the convoy returned, and reached the edge of her village, her father hurled her to the asphalt and had every car drive over her.
  • In Jordan, a man received a six-month prison term for stabbing his younger divorced sister thirty times. The murder, termed a misdemeanor by the tribunal, was minimized because the father of both brother and sister dropped charges against his son. The defendant was also sentenced to one week for intoxication and to two months for carrying a knife.
  • In Palestine a sixteen year-old was raped by her younger brother. Once her pregnant condition became known in the wider community it fell to her older brother to kill her in order to avenge the family honor. "She made a mistake," said one of her male cousins. "She had to pay for it."

Ah, the absolute power of Muslim women, holding Islamic men by the short hairs; indeed the old Arab saying is true: "a man's honor lies between a woman's legs."

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The World Jihad

In "Beyond Madrid", a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations in May, the prime minister of Singapore, Goh Chok Tong, provided insight into the Great Islamic Jihad from a South Asian viewpoint.
The war against terrorism could shape the 21st century in the same way as the Cold War defined the world before the fall of the Berlin Wall. To win, we must first clearly understand what we are up against... My perspective is formed by our own experiences in Southeast Asia, which post 9/11 has emerged as a major theatre for terrorist operations. In December 2001, Singapore arrested 15 people belonging to a radical Islamic group called the Jemaah Islamiyah [JI]. They were plotting even before 9/11 to attack American and other Western interests in Singapore.

Singapore has Muslim minority of about 15%, so that its experience is probably typical of Western-oriented states on the border of the ummah. It is these governments which will bear the brunt of the attempts to build a new worldwide caliphate. Singapore has uncovered the network of jihadists who pursue this goal:
But the most crucial conclusion our investigations revealed was this: the existence of a transregional terrorist brotherhood of disparate Southeast Asian groups linked by a militant Islamic ideology to each other and to al Qaeda. Whatever their specific goals, these groups were committed to mutual help in the pursuit of their common ideology: they helped each other with funds and support services, in training, and in joint operations.

The ideology of these radical jihadis who pursue the caliphate is known as salafi.
Our experience in Southeast Asia is not without wider relevance because of what the salafis themselves believe. This is what one of them, an Algerian named Abu Ibrahim Mustafa, has said: "The war in Palestine, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Algeria, in Chechnya, and in the Philippines is one war. This is a war between the camp of Islam and the camp of the Cross, to which the Americans, the Zionists, Jews, their apostate allies, and others belong. The goal of this war, which they falsely called a war on terror, is to prevent the Muslims from establishing an Islamic state..."

The prime minister then addresses a series of rhetorical questions to moderate Muslims:
Do you seek to change the world by prayer and faith? Do you work with an imperfect reality and strive towards its perfection? Do you not reject all that is not Islamic and seek to destroy it by force so as to re-establish the perfect caliphate? These are all questions that vibrate and resonate around a single axis of faith.

He hopes that by encouraging the moderates in the Islamic community and engaging them in dialogue, an alternative to the extreme Islamists can emerge and take part in the political sphere. But the war against the Islamofascists will still have to be fought.
Only the U.S. has the capacity to lead the geopolitical battle against the Islamic terrorists. Iraq has become the key battleground. Before he was killed in Saudi Arabia, Yousef Al Aiyyeri, author of the al Qaeda blueprint for fighting in Iraq, said, "If democracy succeeds in Iraq, that would be the death of Islam."

The Islamists know that a democratic Iraq is a threat, and they will do all in their power to prevent it from coming into being. As the nascent political parties jostle for position in the January elections, once again we are left with the all-important question: Where does mainstream Islam stand?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Demography in America

The previous post, Demographic Jihad in Europe, dealt with the population crash in Europe and the incipient emergence of "Eurabia". The obvious question is: Can the same thing happen in America?

The foreign-born Muslim population in the USA is certainly growing. But a glance at the statistics (PDF file) reveals that the major influx of immigrants (legal or otherwise) into this country comes from Latin America.

So if the native-born population of the USA eventually goes the way of Old Europe, the newcomers taking up the slack will not be mainly Muslims. They will be from traditional Christian backgrounds, with a large component of born-again evangelicals as well as Roman Catholics. This is a culture which is compatible with American values, even if it brings with it a different language. Look for an emphasis on family values and a strong work ethic from the new arrivals.

Dhimmitude, if it comes, will surely be delayed by this trend. We may well experience cultural conflict, but it seems unlikely to reach the dangerous level that the Great Jihad would bring. For the United States, dhimmi status is not inevitable.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Demographic Jihad in Europe

The decline in the European birthrate has joined with the mass immigration of Muslims into Europe to produce a demographic time bomb. If present trends continue, the future of the EU is "Eurabia": a collection of welfare states in which an increasingly geriatric native European population is maintained in its comparative luxury by a Muslim underclass. France could have a Muslim majority before the end of this century.

The big question is: Will Europe go gentle into that good night? If the emerging Muslim communities obey certain niceties - stick to their neighborhoods, abuse their women only behind closed doors, practice terrorism in other countries only - perhaps their encroachment can be tolerated. France and Germany have in effect paid protection money to terrorists. In some cities in Scandinavia whole districts of large cities are effectively closed to non-Muslims; it is said that Muslims rule Malmø. If the water of jihad boils gradually enough, the European frog may not notice the heat of dhimmitude until it is too late.

If the Muslim communities in Europe remain quiescent, one can envision a future in which their numbers become large enough to influence political outcomes, with Islamic parties forming and joining coalitions with the left to introduce sharia slowly, in piecemeal fashion. By the time Europe's demographic decline reached its extremity, the component states of the EU would already be effectively Islamic.

But it seems unlikely that Islam in Europe will remain quiescent. The death of Theo Van Gogh seems a harbinger of what is to come. The reaction of the Dutch is a hopeful sign that Europe is waking up and throwing off the multicultural dream.

And in other parts of Europe, such as Italy, there are signs that the tide of extreme secularization is turning. If Europe were to recover some of the spiritual values and energy which gave birth to the glories of Western civilization, it may yet find the cultural nerve to stem the demographic jihad.

An optimistic, outward-looking, spiritually grounded culture may even produce a rise in the birthrate and stem the population crash in Old Europe. Stranger things have happened.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Is Islamic Democracy Possible?

In his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Samuel P. Huntington confronts the primary problem facing the West today in its war against the Great Islamic Jihad: Is Islamic culture fundamentally incompatible with, and opposed to, the secular modernism of the West?

If Islam requires that there be no compromise, that the war with the infidels must go on until all are exterminated, converted, or reduced to dhimmitude, then the West will be forced eventually to take the battle to all corners of the Muslim world and fight until the believers are destroyed or completely subdued.

Today's Belmont Club post touches on this topic. Commenter "wildiris" says:
Modern western constitutional democracies are now in a struggle to the death with the religion/culture of Islam. There can be only one winner in this struggle, since Islam, as a combined political-secular-religious worldview, can tolerate no competitors. The Protestant Reformation ushered in a century of bitter warfare. The wars of the second half of the twentieth century can be viewed as the struggle of western constitutional democracy to overcome the fascist forces of Marxism, Nazism, Communism and etc.
But is this true? Can Islam brook no competitors?

If the holy writ of the Quran is followed, no competition is allowed; it is the duty of every believer to wage jihad and expand the Dar al-Islam. However, in reaching modernity both Christianity and Judaism abandoned as literal truth portions of their sacred texts. St. Paul's dictates on the status of women were jettisoned in order to create the modern secular state, for example. In order for modern science to develop, the descriptive cosmologies of the Book of Genesis had to be understood as allegory rather than absolute truth. The democratic state of Israel does not enforce scriptural rules concerning, among others, the cutting of side-locks or the treatment of non-Jews within Israel.

If Islam could develop in a similar way; if it could regard its texts as allegorical, as a guide to living righteously in the eyes of God, but without the requirement that every word be taken literally, then modernity for Muslims becomes conceivable.

But if the Islamic view of scripture remains that of antiquity, the West will have to win its victory on the terms of antiquity. And antiquity sets a harsh standard for victory: if we are to fight in seventh-century terms, able-bodied males must be slaughtered to a man, women and children must be enslaved, the holy cities razed, and the rubble sown with salt to make a wasteland for the rest of time.

Is the West capable of that? Not now, and not for the foreseeable future. But pray that Jihad never acquires nuclear weapons; once the radioactive crater appears in New York or Chicago, all bets are off.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Quo Vadis

In his convention speech, when George Bush said "liberty is transformative" he was proclaiming his coming victory.

For the last two generations the political spheres in America have been in the process of making their distinctions by contrast with each other. In one sphere, the good of the group is paramount. In the other sphere, the group is background and the individual moves to the foreground. The tension between them is the difference in world views: one of scarcity and entitlement and one of plenitude and responsibility.

Some have called this the war between the Gramscians and Tocquevillians: between the Marxist left and classical liberalism. However, if economic motives underlie decisions, then the split is between the now-discredited Keynesian view of large government and progressive taxation for the commonweal, and the view of Nobel Prize winners Mundell and Prescott, who posit the necessity for lowered taxes as the driving force behind prosperity and productivity. In their more conservative view, individual liberty is based on an essential trust in the nature of man, despite his inherent flaws and limitations. It is a view of society which sees its potential secured in the freedom of each to make individual decisions, the sum of which add up to the wisdom of the community.

The Keynesian view is more paternal. The children -- the electorate -- are not to be trusted with so much responsibility. Instead, they make a Faustian bargain with a central government, trusting the solutions of large bureaucracies to provide better outcomes than can be achieved by aggregate decisions of the community. This is not a view of man as redeemed but rather man as eternally fallen. In trade for peacefully surrendering large amounts of individual wealth which the government will re-distribute for the greater good of all, the people are kept safe. In this world view Government Knows Best.

However, if Frederic Bastiat is right then America is beginning to grasp the old-but-ever-new idea that liberty is a gift bestowed by God on each individual; it is each person's birth right. Through this authentic freedom lies the only path toward transformative change, a true metanoia.

And if, as his opponents have said, George Bush is simplistic, naïve and dim, then perhaps the idea that "a child shall lead them" has come to pass.

Finally, if, as The Wisdom of Crowds proposes, the group makes wiser, more truly intelligent decisions than do the "experts," then the re-election of George Bush is good, is a good.