AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT?

I have previously written about my contention that we are at war with Islamic State, which, along with Al Qaida, exemplifies Radical Islamic Terrorism (RIT).[1][2][3] I have about as much reluctance to use RIT in conjunction with the Muslim religion as I do with using the term militant white Christian nationalists (e.g., hate groups defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center) with respect to Judeo-Christianity as a whole. A major problem with using these terms would result if the vast majority of Muslims and Judeo-Christians refused to condemn abhorrent offshoots of their religions and failed to report such terrorists to law enforcement authorities.

As a professing—albeit struggling Judeo-Christian—I am neither perturbed nor offended when allegedly Christian white nationalists merit the hate group definition. I felt insulted when President Obama and his administration refused to use RIT for fear of offending the supposed preponderance of Muslims. Furthermore, I am totally uninterested in false equivalences that some misguided individuals posit in discussing the violent nature of RIT by immediately bringing up terroristic acts of Judeo-Christians, notably the Crusades and the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. An act of terrorism by one side does not excuse, rationalize, or mitigate a subsequent act of terrorism by the opposing side.

The Threat

Determining how best to confront and defeat RIT requires that we first be clear about the nature of the threat RIT poses: Is the threat existential—a danger to the very existence of the United States and other western democracies? My answer is definitely, “yes,” in the long term without containment of RIT in the short term.

From history, we know the difficulty of defeating a motivating idea. The Roman Empire could not defeat the idea of Judeo-Christianity, even with massive acts of state-sponsored corporate and individual violence. I doubt that we can defeat the idea motivating RIT with military force alone. Ultimate victory for the United States and its allies over RIT will require that we fight on the battleground of ideas. Nevertheless, we must be resolute in the judicious and continuing application of effective and overwhelming military force to contain RIT. We must eschew predictions that we can eliminate the RIT threat in only a few years.

Motivating Ideas

Fundamental features of Judeo-Christianity and Islam necessarily thrust these two world religions into a centuries-old contest for allegiance. This struggle arises from two opposing theological imperatives: (1) Judeo-Christians believe the Great Commission stated in Matthew 28:18-20[4] commands them to bring the entire world to Christ, whereas (2) Muslims believe Allah calls them to convert the entire world to Islam. The struggle to carry out these theological imperatives does not necessarily mean violent conflict between Islam and Judeo-Christianity, although the history of both religions is replete with violence of one toward the other.

Mohammed started preaching his visions in AD 610 at Mecca, located in the present Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Because his preaching generated deadly opposition in Mecca, Mohammed and his followers fled to Medina, also in Saudi Arabia. Historians tell us that Islam has been tainted with militarism as a feature of the religion’s propagation since shortly after the move to Medina. Even now, some people would categorize modern Muslims into two broad camps: (1) A primarily non-violent category deriving from Mecca before Mohammed fled to Medina and (2) A very violent category arising after the move to Medina. Thus, Muslims today may argue that their religion is peaceful but a strain of militarism has persisted to this day as RIT illustrates.

Islam, like Judeo-Christianity, encompasses a broad spectrum of internal beliefs ranging from liberal through conservative to fundamentalist, non-violent to violent. Both religions have dirty hands from past acts of extreme violence, one against the other; however, except for some religious idiots, the main thrust of modern Judeo-Christianity does not advocate conversion by military conquest. In contrast, RIT employs the strategy that all non-Muslims, as well as Muslims who do not adhere to the vision of RIT, must be killed or expelled from Muslim lands. Violence in the name of Islam, therefore, constitutes a compelling tactic for the forced conversion into Islam.

Incompatibility

Islam means “submission” to the will of Allah, which is inflexible and beyond human comprehension, much like the theologically deficient Judeo-Christian concept of predestination. That is, Allah’s will is always done despite human support or opposition, and humans have no choice but to submit to Allah’s will without question. Jihad is an Arabic word that literally means striving or struggling, especially with a praiseworthy aim, e.g., a struggle against one’s evil inclinations, efforts toward the moral betterment of society, or conversion of unbelievers to Islam. Importantly, classical Islamic law and RIT employ Jihad in reference to violent struggle against unbelievers.

Focusing only on the violence of RIT as the primary threat to the western democracies can lead us to miss the greater danger Islam poses: Islam is a political ideology with the goal of imposing Sharia law on all societies.[5] This goal will be accomplished by destroying the political institutions of free societies within the western democracies, especially the United States.

Political Islam is fundamentally incompatible with the U.S. Constitution, which accommodates—even if imperfectly—religious pluralism, equality of men and women, and toleration for different sexual orientations. Sharia Law does not easily, if at all, accept these basic tenets of our society in its best iterations. Nevertheless, our Constitution, if not interpreted and applied correctly, could aid and abet political Islam within the United States.

The Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution together read: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . ” Our noble secular Constitution, therefore, allows Muslims within the United States to openly practice their religion and to proselytize for converts. Furthermore, under the Constitution, Muslims have the right to work to amend this document to define Sharia Law as the supreme law within the United States, thereby, negating the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses. There is, however, an important caveat: Advocacy for, much less participation in, violence to accomplish this end is unlawful.

Intolerance for the Intolerant

We must be extremely careful not to be seduced by the idea of tolerating all religions or, perhaps more appropriately, strains within religions. I agree with the Austrian-British philosopher Karl Popper, who wrote in 1945 after the devastation intolerant societies, e.g., Nazi Germany, had perpetrated upon the western democracies: “If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed and tolerance with them.”

Let us make no mistake: Political Islam and its accompanying constituent, RIT, are not tolerant of other religions and societies. We should have no reluctance to speak against this intolerance and to use all legitimate legal force to remove political Islam and RIT from the United States and the western democracies. We can, of course, combat political Islam and RIT without besmirching the ostensible majority of Muslims who are peaceful, who object to political Islam and RIT, and who are good citizens of this country.

I am a financially supporting member of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center. In general, I thoroughly endorse the good work these organizations accomplish for our society; however, I object to instances in which they forget Karl Popper’s dictum: No tolerance for the intolerant. And, yes, this dictum equally applies, for instance, to nationalist groups who advocate white supremacy and violence to accomplish their odious goals.

[1]  We are at war: Part 1. MikeFrosolono.com

[2] We are at war: Part 2. How shall we fight? MikeFrosolono.com

[3]  We are at war: Part 3. The climatic battle with Islamic State. MikeFrosolono.com

[4] And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

[5] I thank JP Tristani, Captain Eastern Airlines-ret, Marine, media aviation consultant for alerting me to Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s work on dawa or political Islam.

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