By Khaled Abou El Fadl
19 Jan 2017
Clash of Civilizations
But beyond the spoils-of-war problem, the genesis of the rage-full new Christians lies in a now little remembered history. In 1993, an Israeli-born and Israeli-American citizen, Yossef Bodansky, who occupied the position of Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1988 to 2004, wrote a book entitled Target America: Terrorism in the U.S. Today.
Perhaps more importantly, he authored a most nefarious classified document titled "The New Islamist International." Interestingly, the impetus driving Bodansky was the Bosnian genocide and his most urgent appeal to the West was not to intervene to bring an end to this human travesty.
Co-opting and borrowing from the anti-Semitic annals of The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem and The Protocols of Elders of Zion, Bodansky argued that there is a worldwide conspiracy by an unspecified camarilla of Islamist Elders who planned to establish an Islamic state in the very heart of Europe - namely, Bosnia-Herzegovina. This state is an eminent threat, Bodansky maintained, that must be eradicated at all costs. Moreover, in both of the above-mentioned texts, Bodansky predicted that the cabal of Muslim Elders is unleashing a well-planned and well-orchestrated conspiracy to inflict unrelenting terror on America and the West, leading to the eventual destruction of Western civilization.
Bodansky's thesis was gleefully embraced by the likes of Daniel Pipes, Steven Emerson and many others, including the ever-so-subtle and sophisticated endorsement of the don of Islamic studies, the elderly Bernard Lewis. Rumours are that both Pipes and Bodansky were students of Bernard Lewis but they were willing to engage in the type of crass and vulgar discourse that never suited the donnish Lewis.
Samuel Huntington's 1993 "clash of civilizations" thesis was a virtual gift from heaven to the rage-full new Christians. There was the highly intellectualized, sophisticated and historically-justified vindication of the type of worldview for which this group yearned. With the clash of civilizations thesis, they felt entirely justified in their outrage at the idea of sharing the spoils of war or even in seeing Islamists as co-partners in bringing down the Soviet Union.
Although this is not what Huntington intended or perhaps even desired, the clash of civilizations thesis was all the fuel needed for their stubbornly and triumphalist exclusivist view of history. With no apologies, the West's civilization is superior to all; and with no apologies, this civilization is anchored in Judaeo-Christian values and nothing else; and more importantly, this prized civilisational achievement entitles the West to its privileges and exceptionalist status around the world.
As far as other cultures are concerned, they have but two options: learn and adapt to the natural superiority of the Judaeo-Christian civilization, or be exterminated. The politics of paranoia became a dogmatic catechism. All of the inferior civilizations, especially Islam, are filled with envy, rage and jealousy. Covetous of what the West has, but forever doomed to their inferior status, they find themselves compulsively drawn to conspire against the West and to seek its destruction.
9/11, the Bush Administration, the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq - these were all as if gifts from supernatural forces to the new rage-filled Christians. They created the world that they imagined. Their paranoias and the threatening shadows and ghostly spectres they once suspected became an all-imposing demonic reality. Islam became the spawn of Satan, angling in every dark and sinister space, ready to pounce on the goodness and purity of the chivalrous West.
In this dread-filled Manichaean atmosphere, this movement was gifted with what became a gospel of affirmation solidifying all of their anxieties and fears in what is known as the Adlouni memorandum. In 2004, an FBI raid on a Virginia home found a memorandum written in 1991 by an alleged member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Akram Adlouni. In this so-called memorandum, Adlouni appealed to his superiors at the Muslim Brotherhood to engage in a "Civilization-Jihad" wherein Muslims would work at "eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house."
Although precious little was known about Adlouni, and there was no indication that the memorandum was actually received by anyone in the Brotherhood, leave alone given any weight or authority; and although the vast majority of the memorandum focused on proselytizing in the West instead of destroying the West; and although precious little was known about Adlouni himself and some in Egypt accused him of being an implant by Egyptian intelligence, all of that was blissfully ignored.
For these rage-filled new Christians, Adlouni's memorandum became the living proof that all of their conspiratorial visions were in fact true. But what Adlouni's memorandum allowed this group to do was to focus their visualization of the mafia of Muslim Elders in the Muslim Brotherhood in particular. So instead of an unspecified group of Muslim Elders "somewhere out there" conspiring to bring down the West, it was now concretized in a precise organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood, which was seen as leading and orchestrating the entire conspiracy against the Judaeo-Christian civilization.
The Spectre of Islam
The truth is there are no haunted worlds but only haunted minds. And the greater the trepidations of the soul, the bigger and scarier its demons. The more ugliness festers within, the greater the ugliness projected upon the world without. And what festered in the hearts of this Christian theological aberration sometimes called in American politics "the Christian right" is nothing short of monstrous.
The Muslim Brotherhood is but a side-note to their paranoid fears because the true object of their loathing and fears, and the subject of their worse self-projections, is Islam itself. After reading close to sixty of their books, if I may summarize their view of everything Islamic:
• Islam is not the religion of mercy, compassion, or peace - indeed, it is an evil religion. In fact, Islam is not a religion at all. It is but an ideology that seeks to dominate and subjugate the world under a universal totalitarian fascist-like system known as the Caliphate, and that seeks to impose a draconian code of law known as the Shari'ah.
• The Qur'an is the heart of the problem because it is a book of violence and supremacist aspirations. It is a book that teaches hate; preaches hostility to Christians and Jews; misrepresents and corrupts the teachings of Jesus because it simply does not understand the mysteries of the Trinity. And in all cases, it demands absolute submission to a god known as Allah.
• The Prophet Muhammad was an immoral man who engaged in a plethora of vices that should repulse the conscience of any reasonable and moral human being. Compared to Jesus, Muhammad is an abysmal failure. Jesus died to absolve us of our sins; Muhammad lived to indulge his sins. Among his many crimes, Muhammad was a highway robber, paedophile, rapist and murderer of children and women.
• The heart of Islam is Shari'ah, and Shari'ah is the law of violence, oppression, cruelty, barbarism and supremacy. Muslims by their very creed are committed to imposing Shari'ah law upon the world through coercion, compulsion and oppression. Shari'ah teaches the utter subjugation of women to men. Under Islam, women are expected to be mindless objects of erotic subservience and slavish service to men. Under Shari'ah, non-Muslims (infidels) must pay a tax of subservience and enjoy precious few rights. Anyone resisting Shari'ah law or Islam must be dispatched without mercy.
• The creedal instrument of Islam is the jihad. The jihad is at the very heart of what the Qur'an and Muhammad taught. It is an ideology of violence, cruelty and authoritarian compulsion. Jihad bears no resemblance to the Christian just war tradition, and whatever rules Muslims conjured up for their jihad, such rules were all opportunistic and self-serving.
• Allah is not the God of Jesus. Allah is an evil god that teaches his followers supremacy and domination at all costs, and that does not seek to restrain his followers from any act of cruelty and savagery. Allah demands submission in the sense of total and complete subservience wherein human beings must surrender their intellects and their consciences to the whimsical sovereignty of this draconian deity.
• The problem is not just the god of Islam and its book and its prophet, but also its history. The history of Islam can be summed up in the words aggression and unmitigated cruelty. Islam throughout history imposed itself through brute force and terror and wherever it went it persecuted all those who refused or rejected its tutelage. If Islamic history managed any semblance of a civilisational achievement, it was but vulgar theft from the Greek, Roman, or Jewish civilizations, but ultimately, whatever Muslims added was a deprecation and a diminishment.
• The Qur'an, Muhammad, Shari'ah and Islamic history teach Muslims to be conniving, dishonest and stealthy. This is precisely why an observant Muslim feels at complete liberty to be multi-faced, and to say and do what they do not believe and to believe what they do not say or do. If a Muslim denies that he or she believes any of the above stated, it is but a lie or obfuscation of the truth. After all, Muslims feel at liberty to practice dissimulation because in Islam the ends ultimately justify any means.
• Muslims are creedally bound to dominate through violence or stealth. They are on a mission to take over the world and rule over it through Shari'ah. The bulwark and sole obstacle before them is the luminous and bright Western civilization. Realizing this, Muslims are on a sacred jihad to bring down this civilization by any means necessary including terrorism, immigration, pretence, lies, manipulation, duplicity and conspiracy.
• Any believing Muslim is a ticking time bomb because such a Muslim is a virtual sleeping cell. At any given time, any Muslim might start paying attention to what the Qur'an and Hadith teach, and when this happens such a Muslim will become instantly radicalized and will pose an imminent threat to public safety.
• Islam is fundamentally at odds with democracy and human rights. Unless Muslims are bravely willing to denounce the teachings of the Qur'an and the example of Muhammad, there is simply no way for Muslims to accept, leave alone understand, democracy. Democracy and liberty are the achievements of the Judaeo-Christian civilization, and both concepts are completely alien to the Muslim civilization. The idea of "moderate Islamists" is a lie. Islamists use the political process to reach power but once they do so, they will invariably usher in the rule of Shari'ah, despotism and oppression.
Conscientious readers might look at the above list and have a moment of pause and perhaps disbelief. Is it possible that this group sees a fourteen-hundred-year old tradition with over a billion followers in this sweeping and monotone light? My response is to look at the recommended list of readings by Jihad Watch. And if you take the trouble of reading all the listed sources, you will invariably reach the same conclusions summarized above.
What Is To Be Done?
Now, this is a bit of a predicament. What do you do when you demonize and dehumanize your enemy past the point of no return? What do you do when your hate has infected all of the viable living space that any talk of a possible accommodation becomes an exercise in frivolity? If Allah, the Qur'an, Muhammad and Islamic history are so vile, what options are left to Muslims?
The answer provided by the same group of Trump appointees is straight-forward enough: Muslims, confess that this is the truth of your religion and beliefs. And if you refuse to, it is only because your religion allows you to lie and deceive. If you are willing to admit, then salvation is a possibility. You can denounce Allah, the Qur'an, Muhammad and Islamic history, and become "reformed Muslims" along the lines of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nonie Darwish and Irshad Manji (which is to say, not Muslims at all), or if you truly are chosen, come to Jesus, who will forgive and embrace you in his loving arms.
So egregious are these options, and so irredeemable low are their opinions of Muslims, I wonder sometimes why they have not simply urged Muslims to commit mass suicide? After all, they would rather be rid of us altogether. But since I believe suicide is a sin, and since my religion teaches me it is a mortal sin to kill, I would rather endure persecution and even death than to retaliate in kind. It is better for others to bear the sin of murder than for me to engage in violence.
Alas, to many of my fellow 1.6 billion Muslims, the logical end of all of this targeted hatred and despair may prove to be more genocidal frenzies of the kind we have witnessed in Bosnia, Chechnya, Myanmar and Syria. This will then provoke even more oppression, dictatorship and despotism, which will be fully supported, endorsed and promoted by the Trump administration. Then, of course, this despotic misery which we, as Americans, will have had a role in engineering and protecting will be cited by our rage-filled Christians as proof of Islam's evils.
Whatever happens in the upcoming Trump era, I am at peace with bearing witness before my Lord, the Lord of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad that this cabal of angry white women and men are murdering the very soul of true Judaism, Christianity and indeed all of humanity.
Khaled Abou El Fadl is the Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law. He is the author of Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age.