Islamism, the real enemy

I’ve been writing these thoughts over the last couple of weeks in preparing to publish them today. Like when Kennedy was shot, I’ll always remember where I was when terror struck at home on this date five years ago. I said it then — we’re fighting a religious war — and that’s still the theme of my thoughts today. This especially hit home when reading a Martin Amis article from The Observer yesterday called “The age of horrorism.” This is such a brilliant essay that it should be required reading, especially for journalists.

Mr Amis rightly argues that in talking about religion, we are walking on eggshells, because religion itself is an eggshell. “All religions,” he writes, “unsurprisingly, have their terrorists, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, even Buddhist. But we are not hearing from those religions. We are hearing from Islam.” But we’re not at war with Islam, he adds, but what he calls “Islamism.” I call it fundamentalist Islam, and unless and until Islam itself rises up to crush this heresy, its targets (us) will have to do it. Trust me on this. Evangelical zeal has no equal in war.

We need to drop the pretense that the quagmire in the Middle East is political and not religious. Why can’t we just call a spade a spade? Why must we drape it in terms that distort reality? We hear the words. We see the sights. But we convince ourselves that it’s not what it is. This is a religious war we are involved in, and I don’t give a crap who argues with me on this.

Item: Responding to U.S. claims to have killed 200 Taliban in one weekend, Mullah Dadullah, Taliban military commander for south and southeastern Afghanistan, called it propaganda and threatened reporters who report such. “We have the Islamic right,” he said, “to kill these journalists and media.” Islamic right?

Item: The two Fox correspondents released by kidnappers last month, were freed after their captors were satisfied with their conversion to Islam. I know the arguments, but those who argue that these people are just “using” religion are simply denying the obvious.

Item: A headline about the Pentagon’s warning of civil war in Iraq is based on “sectarian violence.” That means RELIGIOUS sects. Well, we think, but it’s just these different governments exploiting deep differences to gain political advantage. Huh? Pay attention, people. These folks are killing each other based on fundamentalist religious beliefs.

Item: The latest Al Queda podcast is from an alleged American urging us all to convert to Islam. So there you have it. No, no, no, the deceived say. It’s just another diversion, because the real prize is oil.

Item: The blood feud between Jews and non-Jews isn’t about land or politics or living together; it’s about whose religion “owns” the region, even though it’s all the same God. Look, radical Islam is the only religion whose evangelical zeal can outpace Christianity. The difference, of course, is that it’s not a level playing field in the eyes of Islamism.

Please don’t tell me that it’s really just the wealthy Saudis funding something they don’t believe in for political gain. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state with extreme views. My daughter used to live there, so don’t give me any crap about my perspective.

Have you ever tried to reason with a religious fundamentalist? They have a lock on truth. You are Satan, or some variation thereof. I participated in the production of a documentary many years ago about snake handlers in North Georgia. Can you “reason” with such? Not a chance.

My daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren are all Muslims who live in Jordan. Islam has such potential for peace, but it seems bent on self-destruction, because it is institutionally incapable of criticizing itself. Many Mosques are run by local, uneducated, redneck Imams. There’s no school you have to attend or standards you have to meet to have control over the flock. You think the guy down the street’s full of shit? Just label him an infidel and kill his ass!

Can we reason with these types of people? No, just pass me the snakes. And if you don’t think this is identical to the many rural churches in America run by self-appointed “prophets,” you’re fooling yourself. The difference, of course, is that most of the Christian variety (but not all) aren’t armed to the teeth and killing those who disagree.

Here’s the thing, readers: fanatical, fundamentalist Islam will never — NEVER — be satisfied with half-a-loaf, just as fanatical, fundamentalist Christianity (or substitute your flavor) will never be satisfied with half-a-loaf. Unbelievers are expendable in expansionist missions. The only way to avoid death — in the here and now or in the life beyond — is to convert.

My heart goes out to the millions of peaceful Muslims — and especially Muslim-Americans — who get lumped into the same dough, but for us to ignore reality for the sake of the innocent only gets us further into the mess. And unless and until Islam itself rises up against fanaticism, we don’t stand much of a chance. Why, you ask, doesn’t Christianity rise up against fanaticism? Good question and same answer.

So arguing semantics or pretending it’s one thing when it’s really another doesn’t do us any good. When you cut away all the periphery, this terror business is about converting to a fanatical form of Islam, and that ought to form the central theme of our coverage. Otherwise, we’re marching down a familiar and deadly path.


  1. “My daughter used to live there, so don’t give me any crap about my perspective.”

    Hardly what i would call “conversational”, eh? 9/11 evokes extreme responses, and I myself am amazed at how raw I remain after 5 years. But I’m thinking (rightly or wrongly) that black/white yes/no right/wrong absolutism doesn’t foster the kinds of conversations we ought to be having.

    My opinion, filter it accordingly.

  2. Terry
    This is getting close enough to the truth that a real discussion about what to do can begin
    Best wishes

  3. Ethan,

    My daughter’s experience there as a Muslim wife is enough for me to make the same judgement that she and her husband made when they moved away from tremendous finanical opportunities to Jordan, where they could live a lifestyle of moderation.

    One of the problems with the current conversation is the rules of that conversation. I’m sorry, but it IS black and white. The U.S. blew the opportunity to do something about this five years ago, and the rules of this conversation had a lot to do with that. What people don’t want to acknowledge, I’m afraid, is that the freedom that permits the discussion you seek is exactly what fanatical Islam cannot permit.

  4. Per Elisa Camahort’s “>3 paragraphs of comment = make a separate post” rule, my thoughts are here:

    My response specifically regarding your post may be found towards the very end.

    Again, filter accordingly.

  5. Powerful thoughts for a sad day of remembrance. What so many fail to realize is that “fundamental” Islam is terroristic by nature. You cannot fully follow the Q’uran and NOT seek to either convert or destroy.

    Moderate Muslims are disobedient Muslims. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that Islam “in moderation” is even remotely possible for the Muslim who wishes to be obedient to the teachings of his religion.

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