Greenfield: "Islam's Violence is Rooted in Instability"


We are repeatedly told such things as "ISIS is not Islamic" (that from our own President), despite the fact that "ISIS" is an acronym for "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria," (emphasis added), and that jihadists like the unnamed monster who last night slaughtered more than 50 unarmed gay people in a nightclub does not represent true Islam. The idea is that if a tiny group of say, Lutherans, decided to go out and start executing innocent people in the name of a "Lutheran crusade," we certainly wouldn't claim that those nut jobs represent all Lutherans.

In the case of Lutherans, and really all Western religions in their modern form, that would be appropriate.

Of course, Catholicism in general was not always as peaceable as it is today.  Hundreds of years ago it had its share of religiously-motivated violence. Some may seek to justify that violence given the circumstances at the time, others might not, but in any case the Western religions all evolved into their modern, non-violent forms.

It seems, however, that Islam has never accomplished this evolution, and that it is therefore a tremendous mistake to think of Islam as the equivalent of the Baptists or Lutherans or Methodists, if only the Baptists or Lutherans or Methodists had a few of their own crazies running around waging religious war.

The whole point is that the modern Western religions do not have even of a few of their own waging religious war, and that alone suggests a profound qualitative difference between what Western societies perceive and accept as "religion" and what Islam represents as a "religion."

What might be the root of this qualitative difference between peaceful Western religions and an Islam that buds murderous jihadists with sad regularity?  A sound argument can be made that Islam is different because of characteristics that are, unfortunately, inherent to the religion in its current form.  Furthermore, Daniel Greenfield does an excellent job of articulating this in a recent blog post.  Just a taste of it here, and then I'll link over to his post.

The bottom line is that if the defect lies within Islam itself, then it cannot be "fixed" by political correctness or stubborn denial of Islam's obvious violent reality.  In that case Islam can only be fixed by Islam, and until that happens the Western nations owe it to their citizenry to acknowledge Islam as the inherently unstable, and thus violent, religious faith that it is.

Here is the start of Greenfield's post. Note that it was posted on Thursday, June 9, and thus prior to the most recent jihadist massacre at the gay nightclub in Orlando:

Islamic violence is nearly impossible to deny. But why is Islam violent? The usual answer is to point to Koranic verses calling for the conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims. That certainly covers the theological basis for Islamic violence. But it fails to explain why Muslims continue to practice it. Even against each other. Violence has become the defining form of Islamic exceptionalism.

Optimists speak of reforming Islam. But such reforms had over a thousand years in which to take place.

Islam is an ideology. Its violence is a strategy. That strategy fit the needs of Mohammed. Mohammed chose to use force to spread his ideology. He needed to recruit fighters so he preached the inferiority of non-Muslims, the obligation for Muslims to conquer non-Muslims and the right of his fighters to seize the property and wives of non-Muslims as incentive for them to join his fight. Furthermore he even promised them that if they should fall in battle, they would receive loot and women in paradise.

The strategy was barbarous, but quite effective. Mohammed had created a new super-tribe in a tribal society. The tribe of Islam united different groups in a mission of conquest. The Islamic religion allowed the varying clans to be more effective and ambitious than their victims. Within a surprisingly short amount of time the chain of conquests made Islam into a world religion. The most effective Islamic conquerors could not only claim vast territories, carving up civilization into fiefdoms, but they could prepare their sons and grandsons to continue the chain of conquests.

Islam made the standard tactics of tribal warfare far more effective. Its alliance was harder to fragment and its fighters were not afraid of death. But at the same time Islam remained fundamentally tribal. It made tribal banditry more effective, but didn’t change the civilization. It codified the tribal suspicion of outsiders and women into a religious doctrine. That still drives Islamic violence against non-Muslims and women today.

And yet Islam could have reformed. All it had to do was choose a different civilizational strategy.

Do read the whole thing, by clicking here.