Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Middle East & Militant Islam
2. Militant Islam
There has always been militant Islam. Moreover, as long as Islam retains real strength it will contain elements of political militancy. For proof, one needs only to look at recent history. After the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, the headlines announced a storm brewing in the Arab world. That storm spread rapidly, penetrated several Moslem countries. Today, we observe many parts of the Arab world being engulfed by this rising tide of militancy. We saw in the earlier blog that Islam is a way of life, and must be central to every aspect, including politics. This allows militancy to penetrate the Muslim population.
In recent years the Islamic storm invaded the weakening structure of a number of Moslem states, namely, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and Pakistan. Westerners should have recognized what lay ahead when the first an oil embargo was imposed by Moslem countries. Suddenly, the shortage of oil to the Western consumer gave power to the Arab oil producers. From that day forward Islamic animosity toward the West has increased, along with a growing hatred of the Israelis. Since that time in the 1970s there has been a political resurgence of Islam from Morocco to the Philippines. How can Westerners deal with the Islamists in the future?
Westerners carry images of bearded men in flowing robes and turbans, black- veiled women in long black garbs trudging along in small groups. They see severed heads displayed, hanging over gates. They see bloody stumps of amputated hands and feet, and piles of stones covering the battered bodies of the adulterous. This is all true, but the West misunderstands that real implications go much further, covering autonomy, constitutions and legal systems.
Misapprehensions between Christians and the Moslems go back 1500 years. From the West, originally, there was fear, later contempt. From the East, there was first hatred, then a feeling of inadequacy and envy – coupled with a bit of respectful admiration. History tells the story of Medieval Europeans viewing Moslems as pagans, fanatics who burned cities and turned churches into mosques. Later, the Ottomans were the scourge of southeastern Europe for close to two centuries. There was no common ground.
Today, the West sees a fat oil Sheikh buying up everything in sight; and at the same time attempting to bankrupt the West. Maybe, the mad Mullah brandishes an AK-47 surrounded by masked fanatics carrying bombs and machine guns. These images have warnings of religious, political and economic interests that will be destroyed by Islamic fanatics.
On the other hand, the Moslems know they have shaken the West’s confidence, self-esteem, and definitely the pocketbook. At the same time, it is of little comfort to know that militant Islam is part of a much larger problem. The problem is not just confined to the Moslem world it includes all the Third World. However, it mainly affects those undeveloped regions in the south part of the planet. The problem is challenging the Western way of life; one that is rapidly becoming a global way of life. The aggrieved feelings of the Third World are expressed by the growing animosity of these peoples; backward and deprived they believe they are faced with an economic and military giant without morals or scruples. The UN mirrors these Third World attitudes.
Look closely at the terms of reference. Militant Islam is not a passing fad. It will remain a permanent factor in the life of the Islamic world. For years, the dogma of the Moslem Brotherhood stood as a silent warning, i.e., until recently. Moreover, its dogma is well thought out and menacing, and always with the same steely core. The organization calls itself a political party, but is much more. In reality, they are engaged in the high and holy task of infusing principles of a lofty religion into workaday politics, economics and social affairs. That exalted religion is Islam, which is quite uncompromising in the totality of its claims for authority over all aspects of the life of the individual. It is the goal of militant Islamists to take control of a state’s national life. In short, the West is ‘stuck with’ militant Islam and will have to live with it.
The foregoing paragraph, written thirty-three (33) years ago, was prophetic. Because few paid any attention to what was taking place in the Arab world, we find ourselves suffering the consequences. The Brotherhood may be gaining control of Egypt; however, there is growing dissent and demonstrations against Morsi's recent proclamations. If Morsi does gain full control, it may guarantee that Egypt will become an Islamic state. Moreover, it this happens; it may become a twin for Iran. What is the basis for this comment? For some reason, unexplained, Western politicians and diplomats think a Western education converts a Muslim to Western ideals. Wrong, Morsi holds a Doctorate in Engineering from a prestigious American University. Further, I personally have known many Arabs who were educated in our universities, and more than half remained Islamic to the core.How many Islamic terrorist organizations are actively operating? Let’s get real and recognize; there are dozens. Some are well organized with strong leadership. Some are ancillary to the larger more powerful groups. The complexity grows, since many are loosely connected, while still others are cloaked in secrecy. We are certain the Benghazi terrorist attack was carried out by Islamic extremists - maybe al Qaeda. We should be aware of the most powerful