Thursday, May 12, 2011

Death from above

The Diplomad has a post, The SEALs and Abbottabad: What it Means for Islam, in which he discusses the War on Terror. He states the following in it:

Islamic civilization is a rotten house. Constant outside pressure either will collapse it, or force its miserable occupants to begin a serious effort at reforming and rebuilding it.  Islam holds sway among some of the world's potentially richest and most advanced countries, but that, in fact, are among the poorest and most retrograde on the planet.  Islam as practiced is a failed ideology: it leads to slavery, stupidity, and poverty on a mass scale.  The greatest victims of Islam are the Muslims forced to live under its tyrannical, mind-numbing, and brutal rule.

I agree. Islam is fundamentally a triumphalist religion, and by that I mean it assumes its domination over others. The image that leads this post is of the roof tops of Cairo. Note the vast number of satellite dishes on those rooftops. Those TV signals, along with radio, movies and the internet and the message they carry of the differences between the lives of them and us are a poison seeping into that triumphalism.

We often times overlook that the Muslim world, the Ulema, historically has been contracting. We know about their lost Andalusia on the Spanish peninsula, but how many of us forget they earlier lost Sicily, were pushed south out of Russia, and back eastward by the Chinese? Also, within the last 200 years they've been ejected from large swaths of the Balkans and their expansion out of the islands of Indonesia may be in retrograde.

That must eat at a people who imagine they are fated to be at the pinnacle of civilization. Yet, what seeps through those satellite dishes is even worse. The subversiveness of images of affluence and dynamism elsewhere, while so much of what they see in their neighborhoods is squalor and torpor cannot be underestimated.

The Muslim Brotherhood started as a reaction against British rule. Sayyid Qutb, their most influential thinker, was shocked by his travels in the U.S. It should be noted that his shock was not a revelation, rather it was a vindication of beliefs he already held. He had wondered, on the boat trip to the States, “should I travel to America, and become flimsy, and ordinary, like those who are satisfied with idle talk and sleep. Or should I distinguish myself with values and spirit. Is there other than Islam that I should be steadfast to in its character and hold on to its instructions, in this life amidst deviant chaos, and the endless means of satisfying animalistic desires, pleasures, and awful sins? I wanted to be the latter man.”

That thought is revivalism pure and simple. Just like he imagines he has to cling onto his steadfast character in this life, so to the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists, Wahabists and the rest think they have to cling to something pure -- in all their cases that purity is the example of the first three generations of Muslims -- so that they can stave of this world's chaos and return things to their rightful place. In their minds it is bad behavior that has caused the poverty, powerlessness and contraction of the Ulema, and they can only
erase the decline by returning to the pure path of Mohamed's days.

We tend to think that because Islamic radicals take the long view, after all they still mourn the loss of Spain, that they have all the time in the world to wear us down. However, the problem that all revivalists face is there has to be a revival. Sooner or later there has to be a revival. 

In reality, if what is pouring through their TV sets doesn't soon match reality, then they don't have decades much less centuries. The revivalists have to produce or soon they'll join the pan-Arabics and earlier followers of Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah in the obscurity of lost causes.

That sad thing is, arriving at that lost cause is going to be a bloody mess. 

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