Archive for fundamentalism

A SENSIBLE ARTICLE ON WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO DESTROY ISIS – REBLOGGED

Posted in MIDDLE-EAST POLITICS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2014 by drjgelb

If You Want To Stop ISIS, Here Is What It Will Take    by Angelo M. Codevilla

The Islamic State’ video-dissemination of one of its goons beheading an American is an existential challenge from which we cannot afford to shrink. Until the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS) did that, it made sense for the U.S. government to help contain it because the Islamic world, which the IS threatens most directly, must destroy it sooner or later. But internetting that beheading was a gory declaration of America’s impotence—a dare-by-deed that is sure to move countless young persons around the globe to get in on killing us, anywhere they can. The longer the Islamic State survives, the more will take up its dare. Either we kill the IS, or we will deserve the wave of terrorism that will engulf us.

Killing the IS requires neither more nor less than waging war—not as the former administration waged its “war on terror,” nor by the current administration’s pinpricks, nor according to the too-clever-by-half stratagems taught in today’s politically correct military war colleges, but rather by war in the dictionary meaning of the word. To make war is to kill the spirit as well as the body of the enemy, so terribly as to make sure that it will not rise again, and that nobody will want to imitate it.

That requires first isolating the Islamic State politically and physically to deprive all within it of the capacity to make war, and even to eat. Then it requires killing all who bear arms and all who are near them.

Why It’s Now Our Business

The Islamic State is a lot more than a bunch of religious extremists. Its diverse composition as well as its friends and enemies in the region define its strength and its vulnerabilities. Its dependence on outside resources, its proximity to countries with the capacity and incentive to strike serious blows, and its desert location, make its destruction possible with little U.S. involvement on the ground, and providing the United States uses its economic and diplomatic power in a decisive manner.

It would have been better for America not to have taken sides in that region’s reshuffling, or to have done so decisively in a manner that commanded respect.
Geopolitically, the creation of a Sunni Arab state in western Mesopotamia should not be any of America’s business. For a thousand years, Sunni Assyrian Arabs from the northwest have fought for exclusive control of that area, against countervailing pressure from Shia Persians from the southeast and their Arab co-religionists. All the while, Kurds held fast to their northern mountains. In recent centuries, the Ottoman Empire arbitrated that ancient contest. In 1801, Sunni Wahabis from the Saudi clan invaded present-day Iraq and inflicted horrors that surpass even today’s. In response, the Ottomans nearly wiped out the Saudis and tortured the Wahabi leaders in the main cities of the empire. It would have been better for America not to have taken sides in that region’s reshuffling, or to have done so decisively in a manner that commanded respect. Alas, U.S. administrations of both parties intervened fecklessly. We are reaping the results.

Now one of the parties to the struggle is making itself our business, and is doing so globally. We have to mind that business.

How to Command Respect Again

To kill IS, take note of its makeup: Sunni Wahabis from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, Syrian Sunnis who rebelled against the Alewite regime of the Assad family, the Naqshbandi army constituted by the Ba’athist cadre of Saddam Hussein’s army and security services that fled to Syria in 2003, that ran the war against the U.S. occupation, and that now runs the IS military, plus assorted jihadis from around the world including the United States and Western Europe.

Breaking the hold of ISIS on the people it now rules will require a rude ‘awakening.’
Note, as well, that the IS did not have to exert much power to conquer Sunni majority areas in either former Syria or former Iraq. The people there want to be ruled by Sunni, unless they are given a compelling reason to accept something else. In former Iraq, the local Sunni tribes supported the Sunni Ba’athists’ fight against the Americans until, in 2006, the Shia death squads slaughtered them in such numbers as to lead these tribes to beg for a deal with the Americans. What the American spinners called “the Sunni awakening” resulted from the reality of imminent Sunni mass death. Breaking the hold of the IS on the people it now rules will require a similarly rude “awakening.”

Note the material sources of the Islamic State’s power: supplies from and through Turkey’s Muslim Brotherhood government, paid for largely with money from notables in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, as well as from the government of Qatar. Beyond religious sectarianism, the motivation for this support is the Qataris’ and the Turks’ foreign policy seemingly based on promotion of Sunni political Islam wherever possible.

The first strike against the IS must be aimed at its sources of material support. Turkey and Qatar are very much part of the global economy—one arena where the U.S. government has enormous power, should it decide to use it. If and when—a key if—the United States decides to kill the IS, it can simply inform Turkey, Qatar, and the world it will have zero economic dealings with these countries and with any country that has any economic dealing with them, unless these countries cease any and all relations with the IS. This un-bloody step—no different from the economic warfare the United States waged in World War II—is both essential and the touchstone of seriousness. Deprived of money to pay for “stuff” and the Turkish pipeline for that stuff, the IS would start to go hungry, lose easy enthusiasm, and wear out its welcome.

Next, the Air War

Striking at the state’s belly would also be one of the objectives of the massive air campaign that the U.S. government could and should orchestrate. “Orchestrate.” Not primarily wage.

Saudi Arabia has some 300 U.S. F-15 fighter planes plus another hundred or so modern combat aircraft, with bases that can be used conveniently for strikes against the IS. Because Saudi Arabia is key to the IS’s existence, to any campaign to destroy it, and to any U.S. decision regarding such a campaign, a word about the Saudi role is essential.

Wahabism validates the Saudis’ Islamic purity while rich Saudis live dissolute lives—a mutually rewarding, but tenuous deal for all.
The IS ideology is neither more nor less than that of the Wahabi sect, which is the official religion of Saudi Arabia, which has been intertwined with its royal family since the eighteenth century, and which Saudi money has made arguably the most pervasive version of Islam in the world (including the United States). Wahabism validates the Saudis’ Islamic purity while rich Saudis live dissolute lives—a mutually rewarding, but tenuous deal for all. But increasingly, the Saudi royals have realized they are riding a tiger. Wahabi-educated youth are seeing the royals for what they are. The IS, by declaring itself a Caliphate, explicitly challenged the Saudis’ legitimacy. The kingdom’s Grand Mufti, a descendant of Ab al Wahab himself, declared the IS an enemy of Islam. But while the kingdom officially forbids its subjects from joining IS, its ties with Wahabism are such that it would take an awful lot to make the kingdom wage war against it.

American diplomacy’s task is precisely to supply that awful lot.

Given enough willpower, America has enough leverage to cause the Saudis to fight in their own interest. Without American technicians and spare parts, the Saudi arsenal is useless. Nor does Saudi Arabia have an alternative to American protection. If a really hard push were required, the U.S. government might begin to establish relations with the Shia tribes that inhabit the oil regions of eastern Arabia.

Day after day after day, hundreds of Saudi (and Jordanian) fighters, directed by American AWACS radar planes, could systematically destroy the Islamic State—literally anything of value to military or even to civil life. It is essential to keep in mind that the Islamic State exists in a desert region which offers no place to hide and where clear skies permit constant, pitiless bombing and strafing. These militaries do not have the excessive aversions to collateral damage that Americans have imposed upon themselves.

Destruction from the air, of course, is never enough. Once the Shia death squads see their enemy disarmed and hungry, the United States probably would not have to do anything for the main engine of massive killing to descend on the Islamic State and finish it off. U.S. special forces would serve primarily to hunt down and kill whatever jihadists seemed to be escaping the general disaster of their kind.

That would be war—a war waged by a people with whom nobody would want to mess. Many readers are likely to comment: “but we’re not going to do anything like that.” They may be correct. In which case, the consequences are all too predictable.

Angelo M. Codevilla is a fellow of the Claremont Institute, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University and the author of To Make And Keep Peace, Hoover Institution Press, 2014.

PETITION TO REFER THE ISLAMIC STATE’S LEADERSHIP TO THE ICC

Posted in MIDDLE-EAST POLITICS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2014 by drjgelb

I signed an online petition today that has collected tens of thousands of signatures calling for international partners to refer the Islamic State to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. A few hours after I signed the petition, this automated reply from the British Foreign Secretary arrived:

“Thank you for your email.

The Foreign Secretary is receiving a large volume of emails on Iraq and abuses being carried out by actions by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He regrets that he is unable to reply personally to each one.

The Foreign Secretary shares the concerns of many in the UK about the suffering of civilians in Iraq and condemns in the strongest possible terms the atrocities that are being committed by ISIL. They are targeting people of all religions and ethnicity, different ages, male and female, including the most vulnerable.

We now have confirmed reports that ISIL continues to kidnap large numbers of people, mostly women, and credible information that women and children are being held by ISIL in a number of locations. We have confirmed reports that some women have been executed, possibly because they refused to change their religion, while others have been sold or allocated as slaves. We are also receiving distressing reports from displaced persons fleeing ISIL of family separation and their heinous crimes.

We utterly condemn the acts of horrific violence and slavery reportedly being carried out by ISIL in areas under its control. These are serious breaches of the Geneva Conventions and all parties to the conflict must do everything in their power to prevent them and to protect the civilian population.

The Government is working closely with the United Nations, the Iraqi authorities and international partners to ease the humanitarian situation in Iraq, including providing humanitarian support assistance to displaced people, many of whom have been the victims of ISIL’s abuses and persecution.

Internationally, the UK chaired an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on 7 August to discuss ISIL’s attacks and the humanitarian situation. The UK Government has driven UN Security Council Resolution 2170, which was unanimously adopted at the UN Security Council on 15 August. This builds on our strong contribution to the humanitarian response to the current crisis in Iraq by providing measures to choke ISIL’s recruitment and financing and sanctioning ISIL individuals.

Any decision to refer to the International Criminal Court must be made on the basis of what will be the most effective means to bring the perpetrators of these atrocities to account. We will look at every available option to ensure accountability and to work with our international partners on what can be done to both assist the victims and to bring those responsible to justice.

If you have contacted the FCO as a member of the public, thank you for your email. Your email will be forwarded to the relevant part of the FCO for reply.”

LETTER TO MY MEMBER OF FEDERAL PARLIAMENT

Posted in MIDDLE-EAST POLITICS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2014 by drjgelb

Dear Kelly,

I hope this email finds you well.

No doubt, you have been appalled at the swift and horrific rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The article attached herein is truly a timely warning that Western governments would be very foolish to ignore. The author, whom I have personally met, is a thoughtful, highly intelligent and scholarly researcher of Islam and provides his readers with evidence based opinion that is independently verifiable.

I hope that you have recognised, as have I, that the preferred approach of the Obama administration to Islamic imperialist aspirations has been to deny their existence, to order all references to “Islamic Extremism” and “Jihad” removed from Federal publications and to label terrorist attacks such as the Fort Hood shootings with euphamisms such as “workplace incident”.

The result has been the total failure to accurately assess the consequences of American policy in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Gaza, Israel and Iran. Former U.S. Intelligence leaders are extremely worried about U.S. foreign policy settings and are incredulous of Obama’s choice of Muslim Brotherhood linked advisors.

The attached document, published today in the online Mid-East Forum by Mark Durie, provides a well researched explanation for the behaviour of the Islamic State and warns that adherents of Islam are mandated by Islamic scriptures to treat non-Muslims in exactly the manner we are seeing today.

Furthermore, widespread theological illiteracy in the government and public alike, renders our community extremely vulnerable to the dissimulation of Islam perpetrated by the increasing number of Saudi sponsored chairs of Islamic Studies being established across Australia. With professors in these institutions being constantly quoted as the sole experts in Islamic jurisprudence, both public and government are extraordinarily vulnerable to the deliberate untruths favoured by Islam as an instrument to protect Islam’s real intentions. This strategy, formally named “Taqqiya”, appears to be a concept unknown to journalists, who accept false statements without any apparent fact checking. The ABC is a serious offender in this regard.

Please read the attached article and could I please come and talk with you about my concerns and ideas in respect of the increasing threat posed by the tens of thousands of Islamic militants currently volunteering amongst the murderers of the Islamic State, who are certain to return to their parent nations (thousands expected to return to Indonesia) with committed Jihadist intentions.

Kind Regards,

Jerry GELB

    How Dissimulation about Islam is Fuelling Genocide in the Middle East
    Middle East Forum 16/08/2014 12:09 am

    Tens of thousands of Yazidis have been driven from their homes in northern Iraq.
    In northern Iraq religious genocide is reaching end-game stage. Islamic State (IS) soldiers, reinforced with military equipment originally supplied by the US, are driving  back Kurdish defenders who had been protecting Christians and other religious minorities. While hundreds of thousands of refugees have been fleeing into Kurdistan, around 40,000 Yazidis and some Christians are trapped on Mount Sinjar, surrounded by IS jihadis. (Yazidis are Kurdish people whose pre-Christian faith derives from ancient Iranian religious traditions, with overlays and influences from other religions.)

    The Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq has reported that children and the elderly are dying of thirst on Sinjar. Parents are throwing their children to their deaths off the mountain rather than see them die of thirst or be taken into slavery  by IS. The IS jihadis are killing the men they capture. In one recent incident 1500 men were executed in front of their wives and families. In another incident 13 Yazidi men who refused to convert to Islam had their eyes plucked out, were doused with gasoline and burned alive. When the men are killed, captured women and children are enslaved to be used for sex, deployed as human shields in battle zones, or sold to be used and abused as their new owners see fit.

    The United States has ironically called for greater cooperation. UN Ambassador, Samantha Power, urged ‘all parties to the conflict’ to allow access to UN relief agencies. She called on Iraqis to ‘come together’ so that Iraq will ‘get back on the path to a peaceful future’ and ‘prevent ISIL from obliterating Iraq’s vibrant diversity’.

    Of course  it is not ‘vibrant diversity’ which is being wiped out in Iraq, but men, women and children by their tens of thousands. This is not about the failure of coexistence, and the problem is not ‘conflict’. This is not about people who have trouble getting on and who need to somehow make up and ‘come together’. It is about a well-articulated and well-documented theological worldview hell-bent on dominating ‘infidels’, if necessary wiping them off the face of the earth, in order to establish the power and grandeur of a radical vision of Islam.

    The American administration, according to Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute, ‘withholds arms from the Kurds while awaiting a new, unified Iraqi government with a new prime minister. Meanwhile … no Iraqi troops are in Nineveh province. Only at a few minutes to midnight on the genocide clock has the US begun to launch military strikes against IS forces.

    These events ought to be sobering to the West, not least because thousands of the IS jihadis were raised and bred in the mosques of Europe, North America and Australia, not to mention the madrassas of nations such as Malaysia, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Having been formed by the theology of radical Islam in their home societies, would-be jihadis are flocking to Syria and Iraq where they seek victory or martyrdom, killing and raping as they go.

    Why is this so? How did the Arab Spring, hailed by so many armchair western commentators as the next best thing for the Middle East, blossom bright red into a torrent of blood?

      Theological illiteracy

    Part of the answer is that the West is in the grip of theological illiteracy. It has stubbornly refused to grasp the implications of a global Islamic revival which has been gaining steam for the best part of a century. The Islamic Movement looks back to the glory days of conquest as Islam’s finest hour, and seeks to revive Islamic supremacy through jihad and sacrifice. It longs for a truly Islamic state – the caliphate reborn – and considers jihad to be the God- given means to usher it in.
    This worldview was promoted in compelling, visionary terms by Indian scholar  Abul A’la Maududi, whose writings continue to be widely disseminated by Islamic bookshops and mosques across the West.

    Maududi argued in his radicalisation primer, “Let us be Muslims” that the only valid form of government is Islamic theocracy – i.e. sharia rule – and Muslims are duty-bound to use whatever power they can muster to impose this goal on the world:

    “whoever you are, in whichever country you live, you must strive to change the wrong basis of government, and seize all powers to rule and make laws from those who do not fear God.” … The name of this striving is jihad. And “If you believe Islam to be true, you have no alternative but to exert your utmost strength to make it prevail on earth: you either establish it or give your lives in this struggle.”

    My own copy of Let us Be Muslims, which lies open before me as I write, was bought from a well-respected mainstream Islamic centre here in Melbourne, Australia.

      Violent protests

    When Pope Benedict gave a lecture in Regensburg in 2006, in which he suggested that Islam had been spread by force, the Muslim world erupted in violent protests.
    Sheikh ‘Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, responded with a revealing defence of Islam’s record. Without a glimmer of irony, he argued that the Pope was wrong to say Islam had been spread by force, because the infidels had a third choice, apart from death or conversion, namely to “surrender and pay tax, and they will be allowed to remain in their land, observing their religion under the protection of Muslims.” He claimed that those who read the Qur’an and the Sunna (the example and teaching of Muhammad) will understand the facts.

    The reality unfolding in north Iraq today reveals to the cold light of day exactly what the doctrine of the three choices means for conquered non-Muslims populations, and why the dogma of the ‘three choices’ is no defence against the assertion that Islam was spread by the sword.

      Jizya

    It is crystal clear that IS is not playing by the world’s rules. It has nothing but contempt for the Geneva Convention. Its battle tactics are regulated by sheikhs who implement the sharia’s rules of war. Many of the abuses committed by IS being reported by the international media are taken straight from the pages of Islamic legal textbooks.

    Consider IS’s announcement to Christians in northern Iraq: “We offer them three choices: Islam, the dhimma contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this, they will have nothing but the sword.”

    These words are cobbled together from the pages of Islamic sacred texts. It was Sa’d b. Mu’adh, a companion of Muhammad, who said of the pagan Meccans “We will give them nothing but the sword” ( A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, OUP 1955 p. 454). Muhammad himself was reported to have said “When you meet your enemies who are polytheists [i.e. they are not Muslims] invite them to three courses of action. … Invite them to Islam… If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the jizya. … If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them” (Sahih Muslim. The Book of Jihad and Expedition [Kitab al-Jihad wa’l- Siyar] 3:27:4294). When the Caliph Umar attacked Persia, he announced to them “Our Prophet [Muhammad] … has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah Alone or pay jizya” (Sahih al- Bukhari, The Book of al-Jizya and the Stoppage of War 4:58:3159).

      Prophesy

    I have analysed the doctrine of the three choices in my book The Third Choice: Islam, dhimmitude and freedom, drawing extensively on Islamic sources to explain the worldview of jihad and the dhimma. That book now reads as a grim prophecy of the tragedy unfolding in Syria and Iraq. The Arabic word jizya is derived from a root j-z-y which refers to something given as compensation, in substitution for something else. According to Arab lexicographers, jizya is tribute taken from non-Muslims living under Islamic rule “as though it were a compensation for their not being slain.” It is paid by defeated communities to compensate or reward their attackers for forgoing the right to kill, enslave or loot them.

    The nineteenth-century Algerian Qur’anic commentator Muhammad ibn Yusuf at-Fayyish explained that jizya is “a satisfaction for their blood. It is … to compensate for their not being slain. Its purpose is to substitute for the duties of killing and slavery … It is for the benefit of Muslims.” Over a thousand years earlier, Abu Yusuf Ya’qub, a Hanafi jurist wrote “their lives and possessions are spared only on account of the payment of the jizya.”

      Compensation

    In 1799 William Eton, in a survey of the Ottoman empire, reported that Christians under Ottoman rule, on paying the jizya, were addressed with a standard form of words to the effect that “the sum of money received is taken as compensation for being permitted to wear their heads that year”.

    To be sure, there are other ways to interpret the Qur’an, but the point is that this understanding of jizya has become the operative one in Northern Iraq and Syria. It also has the backing of centuries of Islamic jurisprudence and practice. It was with this understanding of Islam that the Middle East, South Asia and large parts of Eastern Europe were conquered and occupied under Muslim rule until modern times.
    This grim fact – that the IS jihadis can ably defend their theology on the basis of Islam’s history and religious traditions – means that it will be no easy task to persuade Muslim clerics and intellectuals to ‘debunk’ them. Such a strategy, which has been proposed by Peter Leahy, former head of the Australian Army, will be fraught with difficulties. Debunking would be a whole lot easier if radical ideologies were in fact bunkum. The problem is, the jihadis hold far too many theological trump cards from the Qur’an and the precedent of Muhammad’s example to be so easily routed on the field of ideas. Indeed it is the radicals who have become expert at debunking, as their successful global recruiting drive shows.

    Let us consider some of the weight behind the radicals’ theology.

      Surrender

    According to Islamic law, Christians and other non-Muslims who agree to keep their religion and their lives by paying jizya are subject to a dhimma treaty of surrender.
    The word dhimma is derived from an Arabic word meaning ‘to blame’. It implies a liability or debt arising from fault or blame. The idea is that the non-Muslims, known as dhimmis, owe a debt to their conquerors for their lives, and non-observance of the treaty of surrender would attract blame and thus incur punishment. The dhimma conditions include payment of jizya by adult men, but also many demeaning legal disabilities which are enforced upon non- Muslims and apply in one form or another across most of the Muslim world right up to the present day: one example is widespread restrictions on building new churches in areas formerly conquered by Islam; another is restrictions on freedom of religious expression.The imposition of these disabilities upon non-Muslims is in accordance with a command of Muhammad

    “I have been sent with a sword in my hand to command people to worship Allah and associate no partners with him. I command you to belittle and subjugate those who disobey me, for whoever imitates a people is one of them” (cited from Musnad (chain of) Ahmad Ibn Hanbali, founder of the Hanbali school of jurisprudence).

      Belittling

    One of the means of belittling non-Muslims has been to ensure that they would not “look alike”, by requiring that they wear discriminatory clothing, patches or even, in ancient times, seals around their necks. A modern-day manifestation of the principle of not ‘looking alike’ is the application of the Arabic letter nun (for Nazrani, the Arabic word for Christians) to the exterior of Christian homes in Mosul. Using similar reasoning, the Taliban required that Afghan Hindus should wear discriminatory patches on their clothing, so their non- Muslim status could be instantly recognisable.

    IS is even looking to the model of first century Islam to set the level of the jizya tax. Early Islamic sources state that the jizya was a minimum of one gold dinar, and up to four dinars, depending upon the wealth of the individual dhimmi. Following these provisions to the letter, IS has made the following declaration:

    “Christians are obligated to pay Jizya tax on every adult male to the value of four golden dinars for the wealthy, half of that for middle-income citizens and half of that for the poor . . . they must not hide their status, and can pay in two installments per year.”

    A gold dinar weighs about 4.5 grams, which at $45 a gram means that a tax regime of one to four dinars equates to $200 to $800 US dollars per non-Muslim adult male. This is a heavy burden for a conquered people in a war zone, and the reality on the ground in both Syria and Iraq has been that the jihadis demand much more, and not once a year as its textbooks state, but again and again.

      Convert or die

    Reports show that IS has been setting jizya so high in both Syria and northern Iraq, and levying it so often, that it cannot be paid. This gives Christians who wish to stay in their homes but two choices: convert or die. Most have fled, but some, including those who are too frail or disabled to flee, have had to convert to save themselves. The fleeing refugees are in a particularly desperate situation, because they are progressively stripped of their belongings by IS checkpoints as they escape.
    There is nothing new here. Throughout history the jizya has been a heavy imposition for non-Muslims. Large numbers of Christians converted to Islam in the early centuries of Islamic rule in order to avoid this tax. Dionysius, a Syrian patriarch writing in the eighth century, reported that the jizya often had to be extracted from Christians by beatings, extortion, torture, rape and killings. Many fled destitute from town to town after they had sold everything they owned to pay the tax.

    Arthur Tritton reported in “The Caliphs and their Non-Muslim Subjects” about eighth-century Egypt that for ordinary day labourers the jizya tax was around a quarter of annual earnings, or ten times the zakat tax paid by Muslims. Shlomo Dov Goitein, writing on the situation of Jews in medieval Egypt, reported that men would enslave themselves or their family to pay the tax. Centuries after Dionysius of Antioch, he also reported that many, having sold all they had to pay it, took to wandering homeless as beggars.

      Rules of war

    The treatment of captives by IS is also in accordance with orthodox rules of war in Islam, which permit men to be killed, while women and children are enslaved. Sex slavery – concubinage – is permitted by the sharia principles which guide IS. The Reliance of the Traveller – a respected Sunni manual of sharia law – states: “When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman’s previous marriage is immediately annulled” (chapter o9.13). The option of converting to Islam to avoid death or capture – which is being urged upon non- Muslims by IS – is also clearly supported: “Whoever enters Islam before being captured may not be killed or his property confiscated, or his young children taken captive” (chapter o9.12).

    The widespread looting of property is also validated by Islam’s rules of war: “A free male Muslim who has reached puberty and is sane is entitled to the spoils of battle when he has participated in a battle to the end of it” (chapter o10.1). And “Anyone who … kills one of the enemy or effectively incapacitates him, risking his own life thereby, is entitled to whatever he can take from the enemy, meaning as much as he can take away with him in the battle, such as a mount, clothes, weaponry, money or other” (chapter o10.2).

    The grim reality is that the fate of Christians and Yazidis in northern Iraq today all too often matches the stipulations of Islamic textbooks: non-Muslim men are killed, their women and children enslaved, and their property and possessions looted.
    It is regrettable that the hard cold reality of Islamic imperialism and the dhimma system have been denied and obscured by scholars. For example Bernard Lewis claimed that “The dhimma on the whole worked quite well.”

    As part of this obscurantist veil, the true meaning of the words jizya and dhimma have been hidden by scholars. Anglican priest Colin Chapman, who was the then Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy to Al-Azhar University in Cairo, claimed in his widely-ready book, “Cross and Crescent” that Jews and Christians were ‘protected’ and implied that the jizya was paid in compensation for them not doing military service or paying the Muslims’ alms tax (zakat). In reality the main protection afforded to dhimmis is that they can keep their heads away from the sword of jihad, and it was in return for this privilege that the jizya is exacted. John Esposito similarly claimed that jizya is an “exchange” in return for keeping one’s religion, protection from ‘outside aggression’, and exemption from military service.

      Islamic rule

    Such dissimulations, also advanced by Muslim apologists, have served to prop up the myth of convivencia and a golden age in which Christians and Muslims lived contentedly side-by-side under Islamic rule. Architects of multiculturalism and advocates of interfaith dialogue have repeatedly promoted this mythical Islamic construct as a model for different religions to flourish side by side in Europe today. This has gone hand in hand with the claims that European culture owes an unacknowledged debt to Islam, and Islam’s historical record has been misrepresented by hateful, bigoted people. In reality Islamic coexistence with conquered Christian populations was always regulated by the conditions of the dhimma, as defined above, under which non-Muslims have no inherent right to life, but had to purchase this right year after year.

      Bigotry

    Willful historical ignorance has been deeply debilitating for the intellectual elites of the West, who feel righteous in dismissing evidence that contradicts their corrupted worldview, on the grounds that they are taking a stand against the bigotry of Islamophobia. They have been schooled in this self-hatred by their Muslim dialogue partners. Also debilitating has been the trend among scholars to deny or downplay the military meaning of jihad. An extreme example is Yale theologian Miroslav Volf’s preposterous claim that the use of military force to expand Islam is “rejected by all leading Muslim scholars today.”

    The promotion of the idea of the ‘greater jihad’ as a personal spiritual struggle has also served to distract western leaders, such as CIA director John Brennan, who stated that “jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community”

      True meaning

    In reality the meaning of jihad in all sharia textbooks is warfare against unbelievers. If the true meaning of jihad was a spiritual struggle with the self, IS would not be attracting so many willing volunteers from around the globe to the killing fields of Syria and Iraq. There is a chronic and urgent need for a dialogue of civilizations between Islam and the post-Christian West. However this dialogue cannot be based upon myths. At the top of the agenda must be the twin institutions of jihad and the dhimma. It is essential for Western people to emphatically reject and stigmatize these two pillars of Islamic law, and to deplore to Muslims their application both throughout history and in the contemporary world.

      Cultural blindness

    One of the effects of enforced cultural blindness and intellectual amnesia is rampant theological illiteracy among Western policy makers. This is now having the direst of consequences for Christians and others in the Middle East. Those who managed the Western occupation of Iraq were deeply ignorant of the dangers to non-Muslim minorities posed by the Islamic revivalism combined with Western inference, and in particular by the re-establishment of the jihad-dhimma system. They overlooked the fact that re- establishing the dhimma has always been part of the agenda of Islamic revivalist movements. They did not grasp that jihad war zones always prove especially deadly to non-Muslims, even when the main conflict is between Muslims.

    It had also been forgotten that advances in the rights of non- Muslim populations across the Middle East – such as the official dismantling of dhimma laws by the Ottomans in the mid- nineteenth century – were only achieved due to sustained political and military pressure from the Great Powers, and at the cost of suppressing mainstream Islamic dogmas. Indeed this ‘humiliation’ of Islam is one of the very things the global Islamic revival is supposed to be winding back: this is why the deterioration of the human rights of non-Muslim minorities – from Malaysia to Egypt – has been so marked in recent decades.

    Today Islamic revivalist dogmas, which have become deeply entrenched in Muslim communities both throughout the West and in Muslim majority states, eulogize Islam’s glory days, when Christians and other non-Muslims paid jizya to keep their heads. Revivalists look forward to a time when sharia principles, implemented through unfettered jihad, will enforce the view that non-Muslims do not have an inherent right to life, but only a conceded right for which they must compensate Muslims in gold. We need not be surprised or shocked when young men from around the globe, reared on this poisonous theological cocktail, volunteer for jihad in Syria and Iraq to usher in a longed-for Islamic utopia. It should not shock us that they have no qualms about shedding non-Muslim blood.

    The effect of the cultural jihad, waged not only by Muslim apologists, but also by Western elites, is that Western policy makers have become blind to the enormity of present-day non- Muslim suffering under the yoke of Islam, for they have no reference points to comprehend it. To engage with this suffering and develop policies to counter it would require acknowledgement of its root causes, namely the theological framework of jihad and the dhimma, but that is simply too frightening for societies who have multicultural dogmas rusted onto their psyches, having embraced a false view of history and stubbornly obscurantist views about theology.

    As long as policy makers continue to seek intellectual solace in calls for ‘conflict resolution’ and ‘reconciliation’, the vulnerable will continue to be killed, raped and looted in the name of Islamic revivalism. The lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable and peaceful Christians, Yazidis and others, whose crime is that their religion is unacceptable, now hang in the balance in northern Iraq, while the West sits paralyzed on the side lines, stunned and stupefied by the lies it has told itself for so many years.

      Infidel West

    This is not to say that reconciliation is unnecessary. Usama Bin Ladin got it right when he asserted that the doctrine of the three choices is the crux of the West’s problem with Islam: “The West avenges itself against Islam for giving infidels but three options”:

    “Our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately revolve around one issue – one that demands our total support, with power and determination, with one voice – and it is: “Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually?” [The answer is:] Yes. There are only three choices in Islam: either willing submission; or payment of the jizya, through physical though not spiritual, submission to the authority of Islam; or the sword – for it is not right to let him [an infidel] live. The matter is summed up for every person alive: Either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die.”

    Bin Ladin was right about this, that Islam’s doctrine of three choices, encompassing the theological institutions of jihad and the dhimma, is and must be the central issue for the West in its dialogue with the Islamic world. An understanding of this doctrine and its implications for the human rights of non-Muslims should be a cornerstone of public policy in relation to Islam, both now and in the foreseeable future.

    This will not be an easy or comfortable dialogue, judging from the howls of protest that greeted Pope Benedict’s comparatively mild Regensburg lecture in 2006. Yet appeasement of howling objectors through conflict-avoidance manoeuvers will bring nothing but grief, as we are seeing in northern Iraq.

    According to the “Vicar of Bagdad”, Canon Andrew White, what is needed right now to help non-Muslim victims of Islamic jihadism is three things: Protection, Provision and Perseverance. The lie foisted upon the world was that there was nothing non-Muslims needed to be protected from. Right now IS’s victims deserve military intervention, food, water and medical supplies. Many will need permanent sanctuary outside of their homelands. Longer term, much more is needed. Certainly the will to persevere, because the world is in but the early stages of a (now resumed) centuries-long war with militant Islam, but above all, in order to make sustained progress in the long struggle ahead, we will require a greater appetite for the truth.

    Mark Durie is a theologian, human rights activist, pastor of an Anglican church, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and director of the Institute for Spiritual Awareness. He has published many articles and books on the language and culture of the Acehnese, Christian-Muslim relations and religious freedom. A graduate of the Australian National University and the Australian College of Theology, he has held visiting appointments at the University of Leiden, MIT, UCLA and Stanford, and was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1992.

THE DEPRAVITY OF CREATIONISTS

Posted in ONLINE DEBATE with tags , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2014 by drjgelb

Hats off to Mark Joseph Stern and his recent article in Slate, entitled “The Cruelty of Creationsim”. The article finally pitches itself at the Creationists not only for their delusional fundamentalism but also for their depraved goal of indoctrinating children to take their twisted logic into the future. Here is the article. Please share it with your friends.

Intellectual freedom is one of humanity’s greatest gifts—and biggest burdens. Our ability to ask questions, to test ideas, to doubt is what separates us from our fellow animals. But doubt can be as terrifying as it is liberating. And it’s the terror of doubt that fosters the toxic, life-negating cult of creationism.

That fear is on full display throughout HBO’s new documentary Questioning Darwin, which features a series of intimate interviews with biblical fundamentalists. Creationism, the documentary reveals, isn’t a harmless, compartmentalized fantasy. It’s a suffocating, oppressive worldview through which believers must interpret reality—and its primary target is children. For creationists, intellectual inquiry is a sin, and anyone who dares to doubt the wisdom of their doctrine invites eternal damnation. That’s the perverse brilliance of creationism, the key to its self-perpetuation: First it locks kids in the dungeon of ignorance and dogmatic fundamentalism. Then it throws away the key.

And that dungeon is much darker than most Americans realize. The creationists interviewed in Questioning Darwin—including their abominable doyen, Ken Ham, a wily businessman who is already fundraising off his ill-conceived recent debate with Bill Nye—returned again and again to the same depressing subjects. Death, suffering, pain, sorrow, disease: These, creationists inform us, are what await any skeptic, anyone who questions the word of God. Pastor Joe Coffey neatly sums up their objections to natural selection:

If all we are is a product of this random mutation process, then where does morality come from? Where does hope come from? Where does love come from? Where does anything that makes us a human being really come from?
The answer, to creationists, is simple: There is no love, no humanity, in a world with evolution. Humans must have been designed by God; if we weren’t, then we’re mere animals, lacking in morality and dignity, consigned to a pitiful and pointless life of struggle and dolor. Evolution, one true believer informs us, is “incompatible with biblical Christianity” because it recognizes the permanence of death and leaves no room for a second coming. Creationists are consumed by repressing the existential panic that often attends acceptance of reality. Instead of confronting that terror, they’ve retreated into an elaborate fantasy.

So deep is their delusion, in fact, that many creationists are perfectly willing to acknowledge their abandonment of reality—on camera. “Truth is not an assimilation of information,” insists one fundamentalist in Questioning Darwin, explaining why no amount of evidence could change his mind about human evolution. “There’s one truth, and that’s found in the Bible.” A creationist pastor takes this illogic to its harrowing extreme, freely conceding that he would perform endless mental gymnastics to justify the seemingly unjustifiable conclusions of biblical text.

Creationists brainwash their own children and push their creed into public schools across the country.
“If somewhere in the Bible I were to find a passage that says two plus two equals five,” the pastor states plainly, “I wouldn’t question what I’m reading in the Bible. I would believe it—accept it as true and then do my best to work it out and to understand it.”

This ideology might seem fairly benign. And it’s true that, by itself, creationism damages only those who choose to believe it. But here lies the true peril of the dogma: No creationist is content to keep her beliefs to herself. Creationists don’t merely proselytize; they brainwash their own children and push their creed into public schools across the country. Creationists teach their children not only that evolution is evil, but that studying evolution, even thinking about it, is a sin that leads the soul to eternal damnation.

“What [Darwin] has done is worse than murder,” proclaims one creationist in the documentary. “All the death and suffering we see here isn’t the result of a creator God,” says another. “It’s sin”—such as the acceptance of evolution. (He doesn’t explain how so much death occurred before the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859.) Creationists spend countless hours telling their children that scientists and biology teachers are spouting the devil’s lies. Creationism is a mental prison with no hope of release, for the only escape hatch—intellectual inquiry—has been sealed off by years of suppression.

The conflict between creationism and evolution is, to many believers, an all-out war between God’s word and humans’ sins. That’s why parents are so determined to prepare their children for battle. One mother in Questioning Darwin home-schools her children to prepare them to defend their creationist beliefs against secular “attacks.” We see pastors casting an ominous eye over their congregations, warning them of the horrors of the Darwinian worldview and the hellfire that awaits those who are lured into its trap. Creationists discuss evolution with a combination of abject fear and muffled rage, ranting that natural selection sounds “crazy” while calmly asserting that Adam and Eve shared Eden with vegetarian dinosaurs. They blame Darwin for Hitler (a time-honored smear) as well as for drug use, murder, and an endless parade of horribles. Question the Bible, creationists tell their children, and you will soon be drowning in barbarity.

This view isn’t benign or wacky: It’s poisonous and medieval. Creationists reject not just evolution but most of the Enlightenment and pretty much all intellectual development since. Rather than celebrate the brilliance of the human mind, they disparage free thought as dangerous and sinful. Instead of extolling the virtues of creativity and imagination, they malign all unorthodox ideas as immoral and wicked. For all creationists’ insistence that evolution denigrates humanity, creationism is fundamentally anti-human, commanding us to spurn our own logic and cognition in favor of absurd sophism derived from a 3,000-year-old text. It turns our greatest ability—to reason—into our greatest enemy. Using our brains, according to creationism, will lead us to sin; only mindless piety can keep us on the track to salvation.

It’s easy to scoff at all this, to giggle at the vivid weirdness of young Earth creationism and then shrug it off as an isolated cult. But the 40 percent of Americans who reject evolution, as well as the tens of thousands of children or more who are being brainwashed with it in publicly funded classrooms, aren’t laughing. Creationism is built to metastasize; those who believe it won’t rest until everyone else believes it, too. True believers yearn for the rest of us to be locked up in the same mental prison where they have consigned themselves and their children. They insist that evolution has robbed us of our humanity. But in reality, it’s their twisted gospel that aims to strip us of the very thing that makes us human.