Insights into Islamism

Sean sent me this link and I pulled the following insights from it:

During his six months at the Colorado State College of Education (and thereafter in California), Sayyid’s hungry disapproval found a variety of targets. American lawns (a distressing example of selfishness and atomism), American conversation (‘money, movie stars and models of cars’), American jazz (‘a type of music invented by Blacks to please their primitive tendencies – their desire for noise and their appetite for sexual arousal’), and, of course, American women: here another one pops up, telling Sayyid that sex is merely a physical function, untrammelled by morality. American places of worship he also detests (they are like cinemas or amusement arcades), but by now he is pining for Cairo, and for company, and he does something rash. Qutb joins a club – where an epiphany awaits him. ‘The dance is inflamed by the notes of the gramophone,’ he wrote; ‘the dance-hall becomes a whirl of heels and thighs, arms enfold hips, lips and breasts meet, and the air is full of lust.’ You’d think that the father of Islamism had exposed himself to an early version of Studio 54 or even Plato’s Retreat. But no: the club he joined was run by the church, and what he is describing, here, is a chapel hop in Greeley, Colorado. And Greeley, Colorado, in 1949, was dry

Qutb is the father of Islamism. Here are the chief tenets he inspired: that America, and its clients, are jahiliyya (the word classically applied to pre-Muhammadan Arabia – barbarous and benighted); that America is controlled by Jews; that Americans are infidels, that they are animals, and, worse, arrogant animals, and are unworthy of life; that America promotes pride and promiscuity in the service of human degradation; that America seeks to ‘exterminate’ Islam – and that it will accomplish this not by conquest, not by colonial annexation, but by example. As Bernard Lewis puts it in The Crisis of Islam

‘This is what is meant by the term the Great Satan, applied to the United States by the late Ayatollah Khomeini. Satan as depicted in the Qur’an is neither an imperialist nor an exploiter. He is a seducer, ‘the insidious tempter who whispers in the hearts of men’ (Qur’an, CXIV, 4, 5).

Qutb is the father of Islamism. Here are the chief tenets he inspired: that America, and its clients, are jahiliyya (the word classically applied to pre-Muhammadan Arabia – barbarous and benighted); that America is controlled by Jews; that Americans are infidels, that they are animals, and, worse, arrogant animals, and are unworthy of life; that America promotes pride and promiscuity in the service of human degradation; that America seeks to ‘exterminate’ Islam – and that it will accomplish this not by conquest, not by colonial annexation, but by example. As Bernard Lewis puts it in The Crisis of Islam

‘This is what is meant by the term the Great Satan, applied to the United States by the late Ayatollah Khomeini. Satan as depicted in the Qur’an is neither an imperialist nor an exploiter. He is a seducer, ‘the insidious tempter who whispers in the hearts of men’ (Qur’an, CXIV, 4, 5).

The fact of expansion underwrote the mandate of heaven. And now, for the past 300 or 400 years, observable reality has propounded a rebuttal: the argument from manifest failure. As one understands it, in the Islamic cosmos there is nothing more painful than the suspicion that something has denatured the covenant with God. This unbearable conclusion must naturally be denied, but it is subliminally present, and accounts, perhaps, for the apocalyptic hurt of the Islamist.

As a Sunni military man put it, Iraqis hate Iraq – or ‘Iraq’, a concept that has brought them nothing but suffering. There is no nationalist instinct; the instinct is for atomisation.

We may wonder how the Islamists feel when they compare India to Pakistan, one a burgeoning democratic superpower, the other barely distinguishable from a failed state. What Went Wrong? asked Bernard Lewis, at book length. The broad answer would be institutionalised irrationalism; and the particular focus would be the obscure logic that denies the Islamic world the talent and energy of half its people. No doubt the impulse towards rational inquiry is by now very weak in the rank and file of the Muslim male. But we can dwell on the memory of those images from Afghanistan: the great waves of women hurrying to school.

What would happen if we spent some of the next 300 billion dollars (this is Liz Cheney’s thrust) on the raising of consciousness in the Islamic world? The effect would be inherently explosive, because the dominion of the male is Koranic – the unfalsifiable word of God, as dictated to the Prophet:

‘Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme’ (4:34).

Can we imagine seeing men on the march in defence of their right to beat their wives? And if we do see it, then what? Would that win hearts and minds? The martyrs of this revolution would be sustained by two obvious truths: the binding authority of scripture, all over the world, is very seriously questioned; and women, by definition, are not a minority. They would know, too, that their struggle is a heroic assault on the weight of the past – the alpweight of 14 centuries.

I will never forget the look on the gatekeeper’s face, at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, when I suggested, perhaps rather airily, that he skip some calendric prohibition and let me in anyway. His expression, previously cordial and cold, became a mask; and the mask was saying that killing me, my wife, and my children was something for which he now had warrant. I knew then that the phrase ‘deeply religious’ was a grave abuse of that adverb. Something isn’t deep just because it’s all that is there; it is more like a varnish on a vacuum. Millennial Islamism is an ideology superimposed upon a religion – illusion upon illusion. It is not merely violent in tendency. Violence is all that is there.

They think of us as inferior, arrogant, and sinful. It might have been acceptable for us do so in isolation but we, the west, tempt and corrupt them. And even worse we have been destroying their culture via our temptations and demonstrating their inferiority. It’s sort of an extreme case of When Prophecy Fails. Not only must they increase their proselyting when their prophecy of superiority fails they must convert or kill the unbelievers.

The suggested solution here is interesting and worthy of throwing into our multiple front attack on Islamic extremism–liberate the women.