Islam Undressed: The Issues at Hand
The war in which the western world became engaged in 2001, we were told, was a 'war against terror', but there is an inherent problem with that phrase selection. Terror is an emotion, not a person, nation, or ideology, and terrorism is any violent act designed to induce that emotion on targeted victims. Terrorism acts deployed against a people are a tactic, like blockade, blitzkrieg, ambush, or siege. The phrase ‘war on terror’ is entirely inadequate because does not describe at all the philosophical or political motivations of the people adopting terrorist methods. Terrorism is not an enemy per se, but simply a tactical method deployed by unsavory characters with a larger objective in mind. Those who limit their thinking to the constraints of the politically-correct 'thought police' seem content to believe that we are not really fighting individuals or nations, but rather some kind of abstraction, … as if somewhere there are soldiers with "Republic of Terror" embroidered on their uniforms marching lock-step to attack us. Terrorist acts are simply the weapon of choice deployed by actual enemies of flesh and blood to accomplish a specific objective. It would seem most western leaders and peoples still lack the knowledge-base, intellectual-honesty, self-confidence, or moral-fortitude to clearly identify its true ideological enemy.
Though such vague nomenclature may be reassuring to our society obsessed with political correctness, it is unnecessarily nebulous. Such poor precision is deception because it prevents rational evaluation of the true threat behind the terrorist weapon deployed against us. In reality, we are no more in a war against ‘terrorism’ than we were ever engaged fighting the scourge of machine guns in WWI, the plague of Zeros or German Tanks in WWII, or the threat of Nuclear weapons in the Cold War. In wartime, it is not machine guns, kamikaze zeros, tanks, bombs, and bullets which by themselves are responsible for killing people; … it is actual real people, acting on some nationalistic, political, or religious ideology which pull the trigger and are responsible for all causalities. In fact, all potentially lethal weapons are just inanimate objects, perfectly content to remain safely in storage, until some ideologist chooses to pick it up and use it to advance some personal, nationalistic, or religious cause. Ultimately it is not only the foot soldiers, but the leadership, and in particular the ideology itself, which is responsible for all acts of war committed in its name, by whatever weapon.
Terrorism may be the method employed, but Jihad in support of Islam is the ideology all these militant movements share. That simple fact remains difficult to express because of the inferences that naturally follow. It remains unacceptable to draw any conclusions implying that to effectively ward off Jihadist aggression; we may need to also combat an ideology born of a religion. In the formerly Judeo-Christian (currently relativist-hedonist) West, such a thought triggers near panic: How can religious worship inspire anything but goodwill among men? Aren't terrorist tactics opposed by all but a statistically invisible Islamic fringe? Instead of identifying the real enemy, and discrediting the dangerous ideology inciting them, we courageously fight ‘terrorism’, and determinedly target ‘evildoers’. Like the well-intentioned and noble Don Quixote, we slash at windmills. All the while, actual real terrorists with steely determination and considerable support plot their next massacre.
Most Americans have a benignly positive attitude toward religion. That partiality, now allied with political correctness, is blinding us and keeping us from asking reasonable questions upon which the survival of our civilization may well depend. Does our culture, obsessed with tolerance, render us incapable of critically studying the religion and drawing reasonable conclusions about its core values and designs? The general reluctance to criticize any non-Christian religion, and the almost universal public ignorance about Islam, make for a dangerous and potentially lethal mix. Large numbers of people are still not sure how to judge the present (Iraqi/Afghani) wars, following popular opinion like sheep because they lack either specific knowledge of the causal roots, or the strong values and morality our country has traditionally depended on for its strength and prosperity. Those lacking knowledge and/or with no strong convictions are dangerous because, with no moral compass of their own, they can be easily manipulated through misinformation and spin. Stalin referred to those people as "the convenient masses". This book is intended as an antidote to save us from such manipulation.
There are two very practical pieces of advice upon which one can base fair judgment of other people, religions, and governments. Those who fail to embrace this basis are destined to remain forever as lost as 'old' Europe is today. The first litmus test to use in judgment is the statement; "Only through a mans works, what he produces, is his true nature exposed". That is to say …it is the fruit resulting from mans hands and words that demonstrate his true character. The other is; "By this we can know if a man has truly reformed … he will both confess and forsake the bad behavior". By these two pieces of advice we can fairly judge the value to humanity of any individual or religious/political group. With them we can also gauge actual progression if and when a claim of reformation is made by a group who had previously produced ‘bad fruit’. Until actual reformation occurs, it would be stupid to call the kettle anything other than 'black', even when speaking from a pot that is less than white.
It seems inevitable that this work is likely to be tagged by some as Islamophobic. It may appear (and some will undoubtedly charge) that the facts and views presented herein are extreme. But the data is in fact genuine, accurate, as is the context in which it is presented. It seems inevitable these days that perspectives based on traditional family or nationalistic values are quickly tagged as politically incorrect, and often judged as coming from the extreme far right. The author admits only to ascribing to a political and social philosophy centered much more on personal responsibility and social/cultural accountability than is currently interpreted as 'politically correct' by the far-left. There is Far-Left, Left, Middle, Right, and Far-Right. Be careful not to limit and ascribe correct thinking and judgment to any one political philosophy. Within all these leanings are valuable perspectives, truth, and sometimes even wisdom. The trick is sorting through the mountains of propaganda necessary to get to any information of true value. Whatever our political affiliation; continued prosperity, as well as our very survival, now dictates that this people put aside their differences and concentrate on the values we share, and the threat common to all of us.
This work explains exactly why the West waits in vain for Islam to take full responsibility for the vile acts being produced in its name by a myriad of fundamentalist groups worldwide. Hopes will remain unfulfilled that majority 'peaceful Islam', out of a sense of principal and humanity, will actually do something to reform itself, without having to be pressured by others. Until such a day we must realize that all we can really expect is just more of the same …a little 'hand wringing' is probably all we will ever see from prominent imams and Islamic figureheads, along with more finger pointing at Israel and the West. The reasons for such pessimism will become clear later. In the meantime, until we see effective action and hear convincingly from this supposed vast silent majority of peace-loving Muslims, it is expedient for the rest of the world to take off the blinders and begin to live with both eyes wide open. From knowledge comes wisdom, from wisdom comes power, and from power comes safety. The only thing that springs from ignorance is error, weakness, and sometimes …mortal peril. This is one of those times.
The Emperors Raiment
Once upon a time, there was a grand Emperor who enjoyed elaborate clothing and fine robes as ornate and decorated as any great leader of vast kingdoms. Seeking to be the greatest of all he sought ever finer raiment so that others might see outwardly the greatness and power of his office and influence. He had the finest clothes and trappings commensurate with his desires, but a great tailor and wizard from another land came and whispered in his ear that he could create an adornment so beautiful, grand, and powerful that all who saw it would naturally worship the wearer as the greatest of all leaders. He claimed the material to be used possessed the unique quality of being visible only to the truly enlightened and intelligent, but would be invisible to stupid infidels. Work commenced and soon the great one was on proud display with his new robe for the entire world to see.
The Emperor's New Clothes’ by Hans Christian Andersen should be studied carefully as it seems more applicable today than any other time in history. Today many view plainly the works of Islam yet continue to issue the usual politically correct euphemisms of how beautiful and perfect the new robes appear (i.e. how peaceful the great religion is). The simple innocence and honesty of an unafraid, unsophisticated child is called for to give the rest of us the courage to state the obvious.
Who are the modern-day weavers of the emperor’s new clothes today? Islamic apologists, the myopic liberal media, academic elitists, as well as an unusual conflagration of fascists, communists, European socialists, anarchists, and many other far-left and far-right organizations throughout the world. But then even President Bush regularly defends and praises the "great, peaceful world religion", giving it blanket legitimacy irrespective of the inaction and failure of the worlds ‘best’ religion to put a lid on terrorist acts committed in its name. From my vantage point I just don’t see those golden flowing garments shrouding Islam and its prophet at all, but rather something completely different from all those flowery descriptions offered by Islam’s promoters. The reader is hereby promised that if you study without bias the facts herein in their entirety, the robes will also become invisible to you. The spectacle of ‘Islam Undressed’ is neither benign nor pleasing, and is likely to invoke embarrassment or horror from the on-looker, but should also result in a healthy dose of apprehension and accompanying survivalist thinking. Survival is the first order of the day. Once secure; we can return to debating the niceties of various political and cultural differences and resurrect more sensitive approaches to handling differences in religion and culture. Difficult social issues relating to our hyper-delicate racial, sexual, and gender sensibilities can be debated again later. For now, the sight of this self-described great emperor needs to be dealt with, particularly his intentions with respect to the sword of Jihad in his right hand already dripping in blood.
The Enemy at the Gates
On September 11, 2001, self-described devout Muslims carried out an act of brutal terrorism and murdered some 3000 people in America causing over $100 billion in property damage. They hijacked 4 planes, slit the throats of stewardesses, destroyed the World Trade Center, and part of the Pentagon. Remaining Americans were impacted by the trillion dollars in capital and millions of jobs lost. The victims of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the crashing airliners were not armed and did not fall in pitched battle. Of the three thousand dead, none expected their fate, but were nonetheless combat casualties of self-described religious warriors. On March 11, 2004 hundreds in Madrid, Spain experienced the same fate, at the same hands, for the same reasons, with thousands left wounded and maimed. The Israelis know intimately the nature and intents of Islam, while the children of Beslan Russia had their up-close and personal introduction to ‘real Islam’ Sept 2004. Londoners received their bitter taste of reality on 7/7/05. Today, many not directly affected by these attacks seek to forget those terrible days, to push it out of relevance, but the orphans, widows and widowers of those casualties will never forget.
America and other nations responded and went after culpable Muslim terrorist groups in Afghanistan, with a follow-on campaign against a major sponsor of terror in Iraq. Elsewhere in the world, some governments arrested men associated with Islamic extremist groups. Those arrested were members of organizations participating in terrorism, but whether convicted or not, they always claimed to be good devout Muslims badly treated and misunderstood. As it turns out, various terrorist cells, networks, and organizations stretch far and wide. The enemy we pursue has proved to be adept at using false identities and cloaks of privacy to hide. To conceal themselves, their efforts, and their plans, they also make use of our own freedoms of speech, movement, and religion, along with the seemingly always available grass-root support from fellow Muslims.
Following September 11th, many Muslims living in the West defended Islam, stating that it is a religion of peace. At the same time there were many other Muslims in Islamic lands, and even some Muslims in America who openly celebrated the deaths and destruction. Many throughout the Islamic world were observed rejoicing and calling for the continuing destruction of America chanting "Death to America", and "America is the Great Satan". Huge numbers openly or quietly rejoiced, with the absence of sincere outrage palpable. In the West, Muslim spokesmen were much more muted; some proclaimed that "the Muslim terrorists have hijacked our faith" and that real Islam is a kind, tolerant religion not associated with terrorist individuals or events. A claim oft repeated in defense of Islam was that "'Islam' is a word which literally means 'Peace'". In response it was pointed out that the Arabic word for peace is salaam, and that Islam is Arabic for surrender or submission, quite a different concept than peace, and that even Muslim means one who submits. Now the official line from Islam is that "'Islam' means Peace through submission to Allah's will", but the opposite camp points out that the newly created definition is illusory in that it does not mention what 'Allah's will' is with respect to Jihad and its role in the advancement of Islam. The two camps often seem to completely contradict each other. Obviously, they both cannot be correct. Those in the West are left to guess what the bottom line is according to real Islam. Out of an overabundance of prudence, it would be wise to first fortify ourselves with knowledge. If we fail to thoroughly investigate what Islam is truly all about, there is a danger we might inadvertently invite even more horrific sequels to the disasters that have already been perpetrated upon us.
Since that dastardly attack the topic of Islam seems always in the news, and there is more discussion about terms like "Jihad". One question commonly asked is "why are so many associated with this religion so violent?" Giving the benefit of the doubt to a poorly understood religion, and to secure the support of the Islamic world, the American political machine has gone out of its way to stress that America and her allies are not fighting Islam, but rather, they are fighting terrorists who have perverted the true teachings of Islam. On the other hand, other voices have raised concerns that indeed there is a violent component within the religion, and that Islam itself is part of the problem. Thus far those expressing concerns about fundamental Islam have been largely muted, out of an excess of political correctness. But this overwhelming desire to view the Islamic world through rose-colored glasses has resulted in significant resistance to critical analysis of Islamic writings, practice, and history.
In addition, there is the problem that most Americans are generally a busy people caught up in various pursuits, who have neither time nor inclination to dive into a foreign religious philosophy filled with strange new words. Most of us are too lazy or distracted to learn even our own religious heritage in any depth, let alone one that is as different as Islam. Indeed, almost half of Americans have no interest in religion at all, if not an aversion to studying or understanding any religious culture or philosophy. Of the rest who consider themselves religious, few study with the intent of understanding the details and nuances of a doctrine. Most are content to read their sacred texts occasionally, learn a few key concepts, listen to their appointed leaders, and then go home after church to catch the football/basketball game. The average American needs to understand that the benefits for us ‘non-believers’ to understand Islam and Jihad in some detail are tremendous, especially when there are Muslims making Jihad headed your way. Unfortunately, because of the convoluted perception of what Jihad means nowadays, many might not be able to appreciate that warning.
For us to truly understand "Jihad" and Islamic violence in today's time frame, we must start by examining the revered Islamic texts in some detail. A sixty-second sound byte from some "expert" (be they Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or otherwise) is not sufficient. To gain a knowledge base sufficient for fair judgment, one must more deeply investigate the three sources of religious philosophy related to Islam in their holy texts … the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira. These texts form the foundation of Islamic beliefs and philosophy. Merely quoting verse is not enough; we also need to acquaint ourselves with other sources to become familiar with all available history surrounding the period. This is essential to understand the context, background, scope, and applicability of the various passages related to Jihad and violence in Islam. Otherwise, one is left with many passages that seemingly contradict each other and is no closer to truly understanding "Jihad" and the application of Islamic violence today. A complete picture must be drawn. A mere phrase such as "Islam means peace", or "Jihad is an internal struggle against internal, sinful desires" or, "Islam is violent", has little support if one does not know the actual teachings of Islam.
Since the death of thousands of Americans has occurred at the hands of self-proclaimed devout Muslims, and since scores of similarly disposed Muslims have vowed to continue to murder Americans, be they men, women, or children, it is incumbent upon us to examine the fundamental teachings of Muhammad, found in the afore mentioned texts, to see how they are being applied or misapplied today. This investigation and study has become all the more urgent because of what is at stake. It is not only American lives (and way of life) which is at risk, but the lives of anyone living in free, democratic societies. All non-Muslim peoples have a vested interest in understanding these issues. Therefore, readers should understand that when "America", or "American" is referenced, we are also including Britons, Filipinos, Mexicans, French, Germans, Japanese, Brazilians, Russians, Poles, Chinese, Australians, Canadians, and so forth.
For a start, the elusive Islamic concept of Jihad must be clearly understood. In particular, we need to determine exactly how it is understood, accepted and supported by Muslims today. If it is accepted as it is practiced by the many militants, then by western standards it would be incorrect to call Islam a religion at all; rather it would represent more a political and military threat to non-islamic countries and cultures. Hard questions need to be asked to know if the actions of the many devoted murderous Muslims today can be identified as truly Islamic. Are their violent acts done in the spirit of real Islam, or do they and their active/passive supporters represent a fringe minority? Many prefer to believe that the threat to America comes not from Islam itself, but from an extremist form of the religion espoused by just a few terrorists and their small but vocal band of supporters. If they are a tiny insignificant minority, they may be manageable by typical diplomatic, military, and law enforcement methods designed to marginalize, isolate, discredit, and destroy. But a majority - or even a large minority - from a population of about 2 billion is still a huge number of people virtually impossible to manage by those methods. If millions or hundreds of millions intend to kill and destroy a particular people or nation, there is very little that society can do to protect itself short of extreme self-defensive and even offensive measures. By the observations of various Muslim and Western scholars, up to 50% of all Muslims worldwide sympathize with the Jihadist message; if this is accurate were talking many hundreds of millions of people, a number much too large to monitor and impossible to police.
The task of critically analyzing Islam is not particularly difficult, as the writings and history of the 1400 year Islamic movement are quite extensive and prolific. The difficulty arises when anyone identifies any possible fault or criticism whatsoever in those volumes. You see …Muslims are what you would call hypersensitive to any criticism or observation that does not glorify and honor their ‘best’ religion and in particular their prophet, Muhammad. Whereas all other religions seem to be able to survive all sorts of arguments and even disparaging comments, Islam tolerates no such dissent or discussion of any kind. In Islamic lands the punishment for insulting the prophet is the same as it has always been: death! This sort of intimidation has proven to be very effective in suppressing critical thought and expression. Even Muslims through the ages have been terrified of the response by fellow Islamic fanatics should they accidentally disrespect the Qur’an or say something negative about the prophet or accepted teachings. Apparently you can only criticize Muslim leaders and lay by saying they are not Islamic enough; but suggest that the theology is flawed or needs reforming, and be prepared to be dispatched to hell very quickly. Non-Muslims especially suffer at the hands of ‘believers’ if they make ‘insensitive’ comments about the religion or their prophet. The first documented violent acts of the religion were when Muhammad attacked and killed several of his non-believing critics at the beginning of his movement, which seems to provide Muslims today all the justification they need to continue that practice.
Though potentially dangerous, we are keenly interested in cutting through all fog and spin to ascertain what is genuine, authentic, and indisputable. In reality it is much more dangerous to continue to give the religion and its fanatic followers cover through our fear and silence. For the future of our families and country, we need clear understanding and honest answers to the following three questions: 1. What are the correct scriptural teachings of Islam with respect to the application of violence to further its cause both yesterday and today? 2. Is real Islam behind and does it condone the Sept 11th attack (and others claimed in its name), or were those terrorists doing something outside Muhammad’s religion? And… 3. What does the future hold for Islam and America (and all other non-Islamic countries)?