I have been asked to put something up that states my position as to "why they hate us." I have written a lot about this kind of thing. you can find all that in the SST archive. pl
Implicit in the rhetoric concerning this new phase of anti-jihadi warfare is the notion that "jihadism" is a passing phenomenon that can be destroyed and which will disappear as irrelevant to "modern" life. It is also said that jihadism is "un-Islamic," a distortion and misrepresentation of a great religion. In fact, jihadism is inherent in some views of what Islam is.
Islam, as I have often said, is a religion of laymen. It has no hierarchy, no clergy, no sacraments. There are only groups of Muslims of varying size who agree on what Islam and most especially what Islamic religious law (sharia) is. This process of forming consensus (ijma') groups is endless and inevitable. Some will say that Shia Islam has a hierarchy. It does not. In fact, The howza ("college" of Shia scholars) is merely another expression of consensus, in this case of consensus among scholars "elected" by acclamation from among their fellows. The "authority" created by such acclamation is fleeting as each man's opinions are automatically disregarded after his death. Much the same thing is true of the great Ulema (scholars) of Sunni Islam.
Therefore, for one group of Muslims, however large, to say that the consensus of some other group of Muslims is invalid or "un-Islamic" is merely vanity on a grand scale. That is particularly true if the smaller, armed and violent jihad inclined group of Muslims are willing to fight, kill and die for their views. Perfumed and elegantly dressed Muslim ladies are frquently heard expressing such disapproval of jihadis. More vanity is expressed in this. More vanity.
The spokesmen for the various parts of the US governnment are now engaged in telling the world that this unfavored group or that unfavored group are un-Islamic or the like. More vanity.
The corpus of Islamic scripture contained in the Qur'an and the wildly varying collections of hadith (traditions of the early Muslims) is so vast that it contains ample justification for any sort of view desired.
We can kill our way to a state of relative quiet in which the jihadi impulse is suppressed for some time, perhaps a long time but that is all we can do. Until the Muslims taken as a whole themselves see the futility of the unending struggle against the kuffar (unbelievers) we will always face the prospect of more violent jihad. pl
What you write is true, but not really relevant to the Jihadhi wars in the Levant as they are political, not religious in nature. Think Northern Ireland.
Obama’s attack on ISIS is doomed to fail for military and Geo Political, not religious reasons.
As a real matter he has only two ways of defeating ISIS. One is military cooperation with Tehran, which would mean ceding Iran more influence in the Levant than the US is ready to do.
The other is making a deal with Erodgan to allow regional Kurds to use Turkey in the way he has allowed Jihadhis to use it in the past.
That is a space to organize, arm, train, be financed, and get logistical support. The US will have to pay for all of this as the Gulf States won’t, and of course neither will Erdogan. In fact the US will need to pay Erdogan as well.
30 million regional Kurds can make an excellent military and after a few years of organization and training should have little trouble with ISIS.
But if you want boots on the ground in the end you will have to pay for them, either that or give Tehran what it wants in the region.
What you say is correct and shall continue to be for so long as Islam continues to exist, ie: well into the long range future.
However, it also was correct for the first 200 odd years of the United States existence without its generally being a serious problem/obsession to the degree which it has been this century.
Your argument is just another version of the social sciences inspired rubbish that denies the importance of culture. So, in your universe Hizbullah is just another competing political group and the opposition against the Syrian government is political and not religious in nature. This Sunni struggle against an Alawi dominated government is really about civil liberties? for you, Erdogan is shamming his Islamism. Nonsense. pl
Islamic revivalist hostility is cyclic. In recent centuries, surges of jihadism have been followed by bloody and costly defeat by the West followed by some period of quietism followed by… The US had no areas of interaction with Islamdom after the Barbary Pirates triviality until the Moro War in the Philippine and that was unimportant to American life. (Unless you fought in it) Post WW2 we were in their faces and they in ours. pl
In the countries under discussion culture dominates politics and business and not the other way around. Have you ever tried to make a business deal in one of these places? pl
“Think Northern Ireland.” You think that wasn’t religious? One must distinguish between religion as a vehicle for liturgy and religion as expression of group identity based on belief in differences. pl
In today’s high population high technology world, people are able to reach out and touch eachother in ways that were not possible in the past.
What if a jihadista decided to go to Liberia to catch some ebola so he/she could then fly to the West with it? What if some jihadistas figured out how to infect themselves with MERS or SARS and fly to the West with it? Such things are possible now.
You mean the Kurd’s who have been fighting Turkey for decades? They would take only “a few years of organization….” Is that a few years longer than we took with the 30 million Iraqi’s? How’d that turn out?
What makes you think the Kurds are prepared to act as US mercenaries in waging war on the IS?
Their only interest is to establish and maintain a state of their own. They have fought the IS when it sought to encroach on their land and people, and will do so again if necessary. But they will not fight someone else’s war.
You seem to exaggerate the ‘value’ of money. Perhaps everything can be bought in America, but that is not the case in much of the rest of the world.
Where is Charles Martel when you need him?
as I can remember, US tried to pay Erdogan in 2003 Iraq invasion but Erdogan wasn’t for sale at that time.
If he wasn’t for sale over a baathist sunni dictator, why do you think he can be bought over a salafist insurgency that he is covertly supporting?
culture dominates politics and business
I would be greatful if you would expand some on how this plays out, maybe with an example or two. Obviously I’ve never conducted business in any such area. Thanks in advance.
I am unable find the link to an item you posted some time ago, a report on the history or origins of Islam. One of the topics you mentioned, IIRC, was that during the period in which Islam originated, the Arabian peninsula and nearby regions were under pressure from long term drought. (If you recall the link that I’m referencing – it was either a series of slides, or a report – would it be possible to repost that link?)
The topic of ‘drought’ reverberated when I read the recent link you posted to William Polk’s history of modern Syria – in recent years, extreme drought has been a severe problem in Syria. It has fundamentally disrupted rural segments of the population; this in turn has impacted urban populations. If population and climate pressures continue to increase, as they appear likely to do, it seems inevitable that conflict will escalate.
I have no experience of the Arab world, and consequently no real way to get a sense of the literacy rates, or education styles, that jihadis from many different nations would bring to discussions (and interpretations) of the Qur’an.
Europe has a tradition of hierarchical religions and ‘received wisdom’ handed down by experts; this authority rests on a tradition of monasteries and archives and long-term repositories of written documents. This tradition also produced – after the Protestant Reformation – a powerful cultural move toward widespread literacy (in order to read ‘the Good Book’).
In contrast, although there have been valuable libraries in the Arab world, overall the Middle East seems to have (historically), a much larger segment of its population living in nomadic communities.
This would be expected in an arid environment, where presumably the ‘carrying capacity’* of the land requires that people be on the move fairly constantly in order to find enough forage and food. If I understand correctly, this historical pattern suggests that Islam had to be interpreted locally, or ‘on the move’ – Islam would probably have been passed primarily orally from one generation to another. A nomadic lifestyle would not place a very high priority on accumulating repositories of written documents, so each generation would interpret the spiritual teachings in a fashion relevant for their own lives.
Am I reasonably accurate? Or way off base…?
(I am trying to get some historical context for the way in which the Qur’an is interpreted locally, within small groups – but I may be wildly misinterpreting.)
I am trying to get some sense of how the educational backgrounds and historical traditions of the jihadis would tend to bias their interpretations of the Qur’an. My concern is that there may be minimally-literate fighters, who will defer to extremist views if they perceive those ‘religious authorities’ to be particularly scholarly, or knowledgeable. If that proves to the the case, then it seems highly likely that extremist interpretations of the Qur’an will be powerfully reinforced in a ‘brotherhood’ of fighters.
The ‘perfumed ladies’ will become less relevant by the month if this proves to be the case.
However, all this is mostly guesswork on my part.
If this comment is too long, or too extraneous, I trust you will not publish it.
*carrying capacity = minimal amount of land required to sustain… a cow, or a horse (or a person). In some regions of my state, an acre would sustain a horse; in more arid regions of my state, it would require up to 10 acres to supply enough food for that same horse.
Although “Jihad” is translated roughly as “religious feuding” by our newspapers, some Muslims translate this as “struggle”–Life is Struggle. Cognate Buddha’s “Life is Inefficient Suffering”. But I sometimes prefer “Challenge”–“Life is Challenge”–as more understandable.
Human beings are driven by meaning & purpose, the chance to make a difference. This inspiration feeds one’s soul. A young man cannot tell the difference between glorious patriotism and sophistry for slaughter. Young men everywhere will always have the need to challenge themselves, to protect the weak, to prove their worth. Therefore, jihad will continue indefinitely.
Especially in the face of no counter-arguments by peace-seeking learned scholars.
Bodies also require bread, and an organized army that pays a reliable salary is attractive to unemployed poor populations. A second prong for indefinite jihad.
We are not being competitive, both at the soul and body levels. And no wonder: although Peace is cheaper than War, war is more exciting and gets the big bucks. The skill of effective peacemaking goes begging in the US. No one else is doing it; perhaps the better guys at the Pentagon could establish a Dept. of Peace so as to save American lives & money?
Thank you for this — I can scarcely believe the repeated insolence of lecturing others on what their religion “really means”. Perhaps it is time to invoke the genocide/crimes against humanity tropes rather than venture into the faith thickets and pointlessly insulting those whom we presumably wish to persuade.
Also, “western” tribes are singularly unaware of their own tribal customs yet are hypersensitive to the same sort of things in others.
I am not sure what to think of this but it might be useful here:
“Crusade ideology was almost identical to jihad, as the warrior who was killed fighting for the faith was supposedly guaranteed admission to heaven. The passing of time showed that this was an aberration in Christianity. In the Tradition, war is always an evil, even if necessary for self-defence. Jihad has also had its critics and interpreters in Islam. For the Sufis it was to be understood to signify the interior, moral warfare to be undertaken by all believers, not as ‘holy war”’ The suicide bomber and the Islamic fundamentalist are a world away from the Sufi sages. The Sufi movement is also a later development in Islam, owing much to Middle Eastern Christianity. It is a minor player in the global Islamic world.
“In these times, when Muslim extremists target Christians, Jews and Westerners, and the suicide bomber is called a martyr, it might be helpful to recall the decisions of the Council of Elvira (305 AD) which dealt with those young Christian hotheads who were engaged in vandalistic acts against pagan shrines and idols, although they were more like the modern street graffitist than the suicide bomber. Canon 60 of that ancient Church Council declared:
“If anyone breaking idols is killed in the process, since this [kind of act] is not written in the Gospel and would never be found occurring in the time of the Apostles, he is not to be called or received into the ranks of the martyrs.
“Maybe Islam needs something like Canon 60 of the Council of Elvira, or something a good deal stronger.
“All people of good will hope that we are not witnessing a clash of civilisations. However, while there may be no clash of civilisations occurring, the social and cultural worlds involved are very different. Both Islam and the West have serious questions to ask of themselves. Islam needs to ask itself about the meaning of the fundamentalism within its spiritual world, while the modern West needs to ask itself about the moral life and development of its citizens. Neither examination will be easy. Honesty never is.”
But maybe it’s all just another manifestation of “jihad vs. McWorld”.
@ Col Lang
You are probably right, Colonel. Jihadism looks like cyclical phenomenon
We had 18th century jihadism (Wahhab+Ibn Saud) near 100 years of calmness. Then 19th century jihadism (Sudan’s Muhammad Ahmad “Mahdi” etc) and again near 100 years of relative calmness, probably ended with Russian invasion on Afganistan and awakening of Islamism as an side effect of it.
Mahdi’s jihadism was stopped by English army conquered Omdurman (Umm Durman)
What could stop jihadism for the next 100 years? Seems we can’t do it militarily now.
Would cultural or religious changes in Islam be those factors tranqulizing jihadism? If so, we should wait for years for the real change, as those social and psychological phenomena works very slowly…
I think northern ireland was historically a mix of the political and religious (indivisible 300 years ago). More recently it was primarily economic, but with a religious ideological wrapper.
So perhaps there are similarities.
“culture dominates politics and business and not the other way around”
Excellent point Colonel. This kind of mirror imaging plagues the minds of both USA and EU decisionmakers. At least most are affected.
Well said. Keep the lessons coming— informed, erudite, and above all, based on experience, not cant. Perhaps somewhere someone is listening.
Ignoring another belief on what something is or isn’t can be called vanity. But there has to be a point where one can say something is or isn’t. Saddam Hussein ran elections, Gaddafi considered Libya a “peoples Republic” but no one would argue that both men were anything but dictators despite their supporters claiming otherwise.
There has to be a point, even a forgiving and distant line in the sand, where one can say this is no longer what it claims to be.
So while IS’s claim to be on a jihad to bring back the Caliphdom cannot be strictly called “unIslamic” its tactics, methodology and actions are clearly contrary to both the teaching of the Quran and the Prophet.
Yes one can argue that many Islamic traits of peace, mercy, justice etc. are ethereal enough to be open to interpretation there are other aspects that simply are not, no matter which school or scholar you follow.
Forced conversions, the rules of war set by the Prophet himself such as the prohibition of killing the wounded, elderly and children, men and woman of the cloth, the sanctity of places of worship, and the protection from the execution of POWs or hostages have all been broken time and again by IS.
The notion of Jihad will never die because it is part and parcel of Islam. And its existence shouldn’t be a worry or a problem as it is supposed to be an honorable act. Simply calling something a Jihad and then behaving as a righteous
asshole doesn’t a Jihad make.
And lets face it, when Ayman Al Zawahri calls you a bunch of crazies you know you are on the extreme of something.
Until the world, and especially the Arab world wakes up to the financing of schools and the brainwashing of children bu Wahabi oil money and counters that there will always be poor, easily led people who will believe what they are old and are too ignorant to question. It is putting an end to the ignorance that will end the existence of IS and Al Qaida, not F-16s or tomahawk missiles.
“…there has to be a point where one can say something is or isn’t.” You make my point. You have a view of Islam based I suppose on how you were raised to think. At the same time you insist that others’ versions of Islam are invalid because they differ from yours. As I recall you are Shia or half and half Lebanese. You must know that the Shia/Sunni divide continue to exist because of irreconcilable difference with regard to scripture and sharia. These differences have often led to war between the ever changing groups. Indeed Shiism’s greater tradition is that of the Battle at Karbala against the Ummayads and their supporters with its bloody finale still celebrated every year by Shia beating themselves bloody with chains, etc. Can you really watch the never ending violence between Shia and Sunni and among the variety of smaller groups and say that Islam is not various rather than a universal faith? Well, I suppose you can but as I say you make my point. pl
Perhaps old friend, perhaps. pl
As I recall you are a Catholic Englishman so I suppose that view is comforting. I don’t see how you can think that the IRA Provo’s were anything but a Catholic Irish nationalist group in which the Catholic part was key to their identity. The regular IRA were/are a different matter. pl
It seems that we have a culture clash going on and the position of “We can kill our way to a state of relative quiet in which the jihadi impulse is suppressed for some time, perhaps a long time”, shouldn’t be ignored. Sometimes it comes to that, but it’s just sooo indelicate to say so openly. During the “River War” campaign it was considered just a needful thing when dealing with “Mohammedan Fanatics”.
Hey. I am an indelicate guy. Ask any of the academics who know me. Their gasps of horror when I challenge some library savant ring in my ears. pl
“Crusade ideology was almost identical to jihad, as the warrior who was killed fighting for the faith was supposedly guaranteed admission to heaven. The passing of time showed that this was an aberration in Christianity.” No. It was not “The passing of time.” It was the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation that led eventually.to at least a partial change of attitude. Nothing like that has ever successfully occurred in Islam. Islam remains a religion that reflects the medieval mind set. pl
I would reverse your formulation Harry. Respectfully. It was primarily a religious war, with a wrapper of chic radicalism, 70s style, and a touch of seasoning in the form of profit taking.
You know very well that I am writing of violent jihad, not spiritual struggle. Don’t be condescending. People here are not ignorant. pl
Sorry Colonel, I really don’t see how I prove your point. Just because I point out that what one group of people claim to be is erroneous and say exactly why, does not equate to me believing that other versions of Islam are invalid. Nor does it equate to my belief that Islam is universal rather than various. In fact, I believe that Islam can only be various, not just between groups but on an individual basis and I do not make claims of validity to any particular sect be it Shia, Sunni, Sufi or Druze.
The Sunni/Shia divide has existed since Karbala but it has rarely manifested itself in violence and Sunnis and Shia have co-existed without feud or fighting far longer than they have ever done at war with each other. The differences may be “irreconcilable” but this has often led to honest and open dialogue between the two rather than war to the extent that Al Azhar also teaches Shia theology.
So what never ending violence do you mean? Almost a thousand years were Sunni and Shia lived and fought together? If the divide was so deep would Nasrallah be evoking the memory of Saladin? The divide is there but not this level of hostility in the last one thousand years which if truth be told is a one way hostility.
In my opinion, the current hostile atmosphere is a result of two things but emanating from one place: Saudi Arabia. It is a reaction to the influence the Resistance Axis was having on the Sunni public as it was seen as Shia led, and it is the export of Saudis nasty cancerous beliefs. You can call it vanity if you wish but there is a reason the black and white minstrel shows are found to be obnoxious. It doesnt matter how much boot polish you put on a white man, he will still be white.
P.s Most theological and clerical scholars have decreed that the self-immolation practiced at the Karbal Remembrance is wrong and should not be done.
Col. Lang is generally correct.
And Muslims will reject the idea of Islam being non-political theoretically.
Several centuries ago, the Iranian people as well as the other Shia decided that they best leave the articulation of Islam and who is and is not a Muslim to the ayatollahs in Qum, Najaf and elsewhere.
In this they followed Plato’s advice that in search of Truth, the layman must go to experts in Truth just as he would seek a physician in case of illness.
The political ramification of it was that for the most part, you would not find a number of Shia Muslims going into a room and deciding that they constitute the True (Shia) Muslims and every one else was a heretic.
With the advent of the Islamic Republic of Iran, this process has accelerated, attempts are being made in Hawza of Qum – led by the Iranian Government – to mitigate and limit even more the autonomy of the ayatollahs in issuing statements that could endanger the state.
After all, you could not have some obscure Ayatollah or Sheikh al Islam issuing a fatwa that contravened the edicts of the Islamic Government, headed by the Supreme Jurisprudent – no state or government could function in such a manner.
In a way, it is like Anglo-American political scene in which Lawyers, who are experts in an obscure body of knowledge called “Law” play a very important role – some would say detrimental – in the government.
Clearly, you cannot let 4 lawyers go into a room and decide that they are the only True patriots and everyone else is a traitor.
I stated this on this forum several years ago: basically the only way you can stop “jihadism” is to organize Muslim governments along the lines of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in my opinion.
“Just because I point out that what one group of people claim to be is erroneous and say exactly why, does not equate to me believing that other versions of Islam are invalid.” I think it does. A judgment that some belief is “invalid” is just that. Universal truths are aspirations in Islam. They are not actually universal. pl
This Iranian guy was in Mecca a few years back and was discussing Islam with this blind Wahabi Sheikh.
The Sheikh maintained that Quran did not require contextual knowledge for its interpretation (things such as grammar, hadith, analogy, history, logic etc.)
The Iranian responded by quoting the verses 16 & 17 of the Cow Chapter – with its allusion to the inability of the blind ( and deaf, and mute) to see God.
The blind sheikh started swearing at him next.
A man with gun most likely would have killed him.
There is a deep seated disbelief in the Islamic culture continent concerning the actual possibility of other than zero sum outcomes in business deals. I have had endless conversations with ME businessmen on the subject of the desirability of win-win outcomes. The more ‘evolved” will agree with this line of reasoning based on Western business experience but when the crunch comes submission is always sought no matter how elaborate may be the courtesy rituals that accompany it. This attitude prevails among Christians as well in that part of the world. In politics the Camp David II talks were a perfect example. The Israelis and Americans believed that the outcome would emerge in a Hegelian dialogue. The Palestinians assumed that the outcome should be known in advance and that the Israeli willingness to talk signaled a willingness to accept Palestinian maximal demands. When that did not occur the Palestinians believed themselves betrayed. Surrender in both business and politics is suitably “padded” with elaborate politeness. pl
Surrender in both business and politics is suitably “padded” with elaborate politeness
Reminds me of Asian cultural behavior (Japanese in particular).
As a Muslim, albeit a not very dutiful or observant one, I have no objection to the restoration of a caliphate, nor can I see any reason why any other Muslim would.
I certainly don’t agree with the theo-political concepts, or methods of IS, but would much prefer a Muslim world that negotiates and determines such things independent of outside intervention, let alone locked into borders decided upon by the British Foreign Office and Churchill’s table manners.
The fitna that has bedeviled the Muslims since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and before, comes from lack of unity, lack of cohesion. Is it still necessary to remind each other of what the Prophet said about tribalism, and its implicit posterity of nationalism and ethnicity?
There are some who alive who still have his spirit.
In reply to Robert44 25 September 2014 at 09:06 PM
I have an Irish republican father and did most of my growing up in the Middle East. I find the way in which Western secularists such as you pontificate about wars and societies in which religion plays a major motivating role actually quite funny in a ghastly “let’s pour more oil on to the burning oil slick” sort of way.
The war in Northern Ireland is a continuation of the War of Independence which led to the British withdrawal from the 26 counties. It’s a war in which a Catholic people have consistently resisted attempts by armed colonial and protestant invaders to subjugate them and to create a colony loyal to the protestant British crown.
For historical reasons if you’re Catholic in Ireland it’s pretty certain that you’re descended from the original Irish and that you’re a member of a community that gives its political allegiance to the idea of a free and united Ireland there are various shades of nationalism but ultimately for all of them an independent and united Irish republic is the goal.
If on the other hand you’re protestant in Ireland it’s pretty certain that you’re descended from the invading colonisers and that you’re a member of a community that gives its political allegiance to the idea of continued British sovereignty in the Six Counties still occupied by the British.
” political, not religious in nature. Think Northern Ireland.” – To this day in Northern Ireland people on all sides of the divide routinely think and refer to their political opponents as “Catholic” or “protestant” respectively. It is ignorant in every sense of that word to try to pretend that what’s going on there is – and I quote you directly “political, not religious in nature”.
Similarly in the Middle-East the struggle between Sh’i and Sunni in its various manifestations is intrinsically both religious and political. Islam is inherently political in that it prescribes not only how individual believers should behave but also how the communities in which they live should be ordered.
Religion is a major part of identity both individual and communal. Get used to it.
In reply to FB Ali 25 September 2014 at 10:53 PM
Agreed. In particular this bit:
“You seem to exaggerate the ‘value’ of money. Perhaps everything can be bought in America, but that is not the case in much of the rest of the world.”
In reply to Peter Brownlee 26 September 2014 at 01:43 AM
Thank you for that link to “A Deadly Mix of Tribalism and Religion” – by Lawrence Cross. Well written, well argued, and with much food for thought.
In reply to mo 26 September 2014 at 09:08 AM
” The divide is there but not this level of hostility in the last one thousand years which if truth be told is a one way hostility.
In my opinion, the current hostile atmosphere is a result of two things but emanating from one place: Saudi Arabia. It is a reaction to the influence the Resistance Axis was having on the Sunni public as it was seen as Shia led, and it is the export of Saudis nasty cancerous beliefs.”
Agreed, and they’re exporting it. There’s a proposal floating around in what for lack of a better term I’ll call Nordic-Europe that imams should be licensed by the state in the same way that priests and preachers are. The idea is that an imam needs to be aware of and respect the social, political, and legal realities of the country(ies) in which he lives and preaches. The motivation behind it is that at least in Scandinavia the experience has been that Imams have been appointed to mosques backed by Gulf state money – mostly Saudi but sometimes Qatari and sometimes Kuwaiti but always very hard-line Muwahhidun.
In reply to turcopolier 26 September 2014 at 08:40 AM
I wonder if it would be possible to orchestrate their gasps and set them to music. I can see the musical direction for the overture to Turcopolier the Oratorio now:
“Allegro ma non troppo, un poco inorridito”
I know many people – even some misguided Shia Muslims – deplore the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire; not I.
Well, Charles Martel kicked the Arabs out of France. This is being fought in Arab lands.
We don’t need a natural-born warrior. Ideally we would need a Frederick II – a man (or woman?) of superior subtlety and intelligence, who would actually try to understand the situation and address the long-term problem, rather than just throw more men and bombs at it.
jr786: My understanding is that many muslims want unity – until you start asking for which rules (or rulers) they should be united under.
Considering the difficulties in uniting the relatively homogenous European nations, claims of building a “Caliphate” are bound to be fig-leaves for conquest and submission of dissenters, at least for the foreseeable future.
The Islamic code says that any Muslim living in non-Muslim lands must adhere to the laws of that land and if they conflict with their religious duties then they should leave rather than break the law of that nation. Licensing would only drive these people into preaching in homes and private property and make them seem like martyrs.
The best response is to ensure there are people in the mosques who are well versed in religion to counter their arguments and sometimes even the invented verses they concoct.
Those Shia obviously have no idea of the way Shia were treated by the Ottomans
“who are well versed in religion to counter their arguments and sometimes even the invented verses they concoct.” Which “religion,” the kind of Islam you prefer? So, you think that those you don’t agree with invent verses from the Qur’an? Or is it from the versions of the Hadith that you do not like ? pl
All or any
Perhaps of interest to several here, as an expat American for 37 years, I have spent 25 of that in Greece and 12 in Portugal during which I have managed to observe a few characteristics. In Thessaloniki, where I have spent my 25 years, I learned that this part of northern Greece achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, and I have heard a number of stories of the locals and edited a number of books and academic articles on the then and current situation. The Ottoman legacy is much more marked here than in many parts of Greece. A couple of personal accounts might help to paint a broader picture of that. In my Greek course at the Aristotle University, I had a Greek instructor whose mother was as refugee from Izmir (Smyrna in Modern Greek) who fled during the war initiated by Greece after the Ottoman defeat in WWI. The Greeks invaded thinking that they could achieve their irridentist Grand Idea (Megale Idea) of regaining Alexander’s empire. They were defeated, and this led to as mass pogrom of both Greeks and Armenians. The Greek and Turks on both sides of the then-border were “repatriated” according to the Treaty of Lausanne (1923 if memory serves).
My Greek teacher’s mother was a young girl who was evacuated as a refugee by one of the ships that helped folks out. She landed in Thessaloniki and had the name of her father’s employer’s brother who had a butcher shop here in Thessaloniki. Long story short is that the families exchanged deeds to their respective properties, the Turkish family took the ethnic Greek family in until they were both resettled, and that was one human encounter that I find a cause for some limited optimism at present.
That said, I find a great number of western attitudes to be projections of western fantasies and ignorance of day-to-day life throughout this part of the world and in regard to Islam and the ME. Col. Lang and others point to these often. I will offer a anecdotal observations. On Col. Lang’s observations on negotiation and business, I hope I will not be judged as exceeding pedantic when I point out that Herodotus, considered by many to be the founder of western history undertook to tell of and celebrate of the heroic of both the victors and the losers. He also pointed out that the Persians considered the Greeks rather uncivilized in that they did not conduct business under the roof of the bazaar but in the open air. The Greek word for bartering or haggling is pazari, which I believe derives from the same root. I have observed this numerous times both in Greece and in in Istanbul, where western ideas of value and those of the bazaar differ. We westerners tend to think of market value in different ways than in the bazaar. In the latter, the seller has a notional lowest price, and the haggling is an attempt to reach a compromise in which each side feels happy. Often such “negotiations” are the result of common acquaintances. I recall going into as stall in Istanbul in 1980 and spending two hours with a carpet merchant who answered my questions, gave me tea, and kept offering his wares at lower prices despite my insistence that I was not in the market to buy. I left with the promise that I would buy from him on my next return. In contrast, a British friend went through the same routine a year later and four hours and many teas fled when the merchant came down to her initial offer or thereabouts out of fear of “being cheated.”. He pursued her indignantly but not threateningly. She confessed to us that she made a huge mistake.
Obviously, times have changed, and the current dynamics of international relations are much more complex than buying a carpet, but the projection of stereotypes of the universality of cultures is dangerous. Apologies for the length of this.
“The best response is to ensure there are people in the mosques…”
You mean the government must monitor all assemblies of Muslim worshipers to ensure they adhere to the correct interpretation of the religion?
I have made mant a deal in bazaars from Fez to Peshawar and have enjoyed beating the poor bazaari down to the point at which I insisted on giving him more money than he agreed on. To do that was easy if you understood his culture. Sorry, I suppose that is a stereotype. On the other hand I have made business deals worth hundreds of millions. Every big business man I ever dealt with in the ME was out to screw the other side in the deal. if you think I am spreading bigoted stereotypes, go somewhere else to read. BTW read Hemingway’s “On the Quai at Smyrna.” The scene was in Alcinjak around the corner from my house. I particularly like the part in which the Greek Army broke the knees of ther horses and mules and pushed them off the pier to prevent their capture by Ataturk’s men. pl
re: Charles Martel. I think we need plenty of natural born warriors though perhaps not as president.
No they did not and they also suffered from a severe case of historic amnesia and wishful thinking (Umma and all that)…
Your English friend had acted in bad faith as well as bad form.
The fact that we have waged merciless war on that part of the world since 1991 has anything to do with what is happening now. A battered wife will eventually slice off your pecker while you sleep.
I had this conversation with a Lebanese friend from Tripoli just the other day.
Totally agree. A win – win outcome is almost an alien concept except to the Western educated–and even then, when push comes to shove…
If you beg my pardon, his explanation was it’s: “I win, you lose. And then I fuck you even harder after you lose.”
Following along a similar line, I’m curious if you’d be willing to discuss more in detail the idea of getting one over on the ajnabeen. How it’s both a popular sport so to speak and a point of pride–whether it’s ripping you off for 5 Egyptian pounds for a cab ride, presenting oneself as more powerful or influential than one is, or convincing naive milquetoasts in DC that they’re absolutely on board for promoting American objectives over their own parochial interests.
You broached it a few weeks ago both in reference to Arab and Turkish culture. It’s not an entirely unimportant point when it comes to American interaction in that part of the world, both politically and even personally, yet is hardly (never, really) presented as an issue in terms of American policy.
Thanks. Sorry. My point was many believe violent jihadis to be bat-sh*t crazy incomprehensible Others, thus only worthy of being bombed. This cardboard, Bush-league thinking leads to tautologies: They’re crazy because they’re crazy. The thinking then stops there.
When one asks WHY the jihadis act so, it opens up into the possibility of diverting or subverting forces.
I heard you saying jihad is part of religion. I agree. If the reasons why men go jihad could be made understandable, then perhaps better answers could be found.
My proposal was to find something (a) meaningful, and (b) profitable for them to do, that did not involve stomping people. Perhaps Muslim GE could build a water purification mega-factory. Perhaps a new seminary, with thousands of paid scholarships. Certainly, wild ideas; but something that fits those parameters; others better than me can run with it.
My other point was, until something changes and something better like this comes along, (jihad being a reasonably fulfilling and profitable career choice), I guess young men are going to continue to choose violent jihad over a vacuum of lesser opportunities. So, again, agreeing; until someone comes up with something better, or a better religious/conceptual frame for them, violent jihad will continue indefinitely.
Beating in heads of unbeliever heathens with your best buds, in the name of The LORD. What could be a better way to spend time??
And perhaps the Enlightenment (self-described by its supporters, including me, I suppose).
Producing dictionaries and encyclop(a)edias can be a revolutionary, threatening and delicate activity as our French and Soviet friends (and vanishing commissars) learned.
Jihad does seem to be a root principle of Islam. What is jihad, from their point of view? It’s resistance to injustice.
Why is the US getting resistance? Perhaps it’s because we have arrogated to ourselves the right to control people’s lives over there. The Carter Doctrine says that the US will prevent, by force if necessary, any polity hostile to the US from gaining control of Saudi Arabia. That includes forces internal to Saudi Arabia.
What would the reaction be in Virginia if China declared that it would use military force to prevent a government hostile to China from coming to power here? How would Americans feel if China actually had overwhelming military power compared to the US when it said that?
The US has killed hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in the Middle East in an attempt to dictate who will govern other people. (I’m counting Iraqi dead through sanctions as well as the wars here).
Why can’t we just let go of the belief that we have the right to do this?
John N Gray has written a book called “Al Queda and What it means to be Modern” in which claims that the current Jihadist movement is actually a product of Modernism.
The latest from General Dempsey:
“There’s no airpower alone solution to ISIL either in Iraq or in Syria,” Dempsey said, using an acronym to refer to the Islamic State. “There has to be a ground component to the campaign against ISIL in Syria, and we believe that the path to develop that is the Syrian moderate opposition.”
From 5000 to 15000.
Now if everyone and his brother are saying that defeating ISIS will take years ( David Cameron is the latest ), won’t that number go up.
The latest from the Sultan:
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that a “no-fly zone” should be created in Syria to protect part of it from attacks by Syria’s air force.
He is trying to pull the same stunt that Qatar did on Gaddhafi . Both Qatar and Turkey were promoting the Muslim Brotherhood until they were slap on the fingers by the Saudis.
With all the respect i have for you as a teacher for all of us, i have to ask this. How come when Christians of Europe revisit their religious dogma and practices, it is called reformation and renaissance, but when muslims want to challenge internal phenomena like ISIS, they are just indulging in vanity?
I almost find the whole episode tragic. Charles Martel, defending a middle eastern faith spread by an imperial Roman power among his people, killing a lot of northern African Berbers fighting in service of another middle eastern religion imposed upon them by another imperial Arab power.
In London there is this statue of Boudica next to parliament house. When i stood there, it made me wonder how complete was the annihilation of her identity that she was being celebrated in a very Roman way with a statue, surrounded by structures and ideas that were brought by her enemies to her land.
“but the projection of stereotypes of the universality of cultures is dangerous”
Yes, I think this is a MAJOR problem of our times, the denial of which padoxically fuelling the very “Clash of Civilisations” it purports to ignore.
Col., in re: “if you think I am spreading bigoted stereotypes, go somewhere else to read.” I do not think anything of the kind, since your posts reflect your eyes-wide-open observations f a number of places and cultures. My remark on projection referred to those who seem to believe there is an arc of history in which the world will come to embrace American values and beliefs.
Now I understand. Good, but it is not just stereotypes that poisons the American mind about strange peoples and places. It is also a problem of sheer ignorance and a desire to believe that all people are equally and identically motivated. even after all that has passed I still hear people say that “all people are the same,” etc. This statement and its implied criticism will probably draw a response. pl
Much of European angst and communal struggle over doctrine and dogma was also a matter of vanities variously displayed. A key difference from the past and present situation in Islam was the existence in European Christianity of religion administered in a hierarchical manner. The Catholic and Orthodox churches are authoritarian and ruled from the top down, much like an army. The Protestant Reformation challenged that organization with the result that there now exist Christian sects such as the Evangelical Anabaptist derived groups that exercise the kind of dogmatic independence that has always been the universal situation among Muslim ijma’ groups. I insist that to deny that the process of forming ijma’ among separate groups of Muslims is the rule is vain. pl
I would argue that you are right. However it would have been as irrelevant as in england if catholics were as well off as protestants in northern ireland. Without the economic discrimination I doubt we would have had as much violence. Of course, the counter argument is that the economic discrimination was rooted in religion.
Or so I think.
Disclaimer, british catholic of jewish descent.
The “of Jewish descent thing” means little. “You may be whatever you resolve to be.” Stonewall Jackson. I think of you as English. pl
It was merely disclaimer. I am of course, a north londoner.
Jihad has become such a loaded term now- like Nazi, I wonder if it’s useful anymore. I know a guy named Jihad who now goes by John because hes so tired of dealing with it.
One thing I’d try to point out- the very notion of ‘church’ and ‘state’ which came out of the European experience of the Renaissance and which underpins a western culture of ‘modernity’ doesn’t really exist in the Middle East except as in a fragmentary way.
The Middle East is in many ways both pre-modern and post-modern. Pre modern in the sense that life, religion and politics retain a much more unified character- medieval or fuedal in the context of European history.
But also post modern in the sense that the modern and pre modern exist simultaneously as fragmented experiences. There really is no unified ‘ism’ left in the Arab Middle East. Perhaps in turkey and Iran, for now.
The very suggestion that church and state can and should be separated is a western imposition on the people there.
The ‘jihad’ under discussion is a manifestation of a local resistance to exactly these kinds of impositions. This resistance- and I think resistance is a more useful term- will never really go away, even in periods of quiet.
Your comment is yet another version of the tired social sciences inspired theme song the refrain of which insists that culture and in this case religion are a disguise for what is really going on. pl
Colonel Lang :
I’m not sure I’m in on “what is really going on”. All I was saying is that any interaction on the west terms is bound to encounter resistance in the Middle East by the locals. That resistance is religious today – you can call it jihadi, fine by me. But it hasn’t always been thus. For a very long time it was called anti colonial.
But it’s not a disguse at all, the resistance IS religious cultural and politcal- and the very idea that those things are distinct is preposterous to the people doing the fighting.
My question is about the nature of the conflict. If the jihadi thing is hard wired into the religion,all I would also say is that maybe the western appeal to universality for all people, which is that brown skinned people want the same thing is as white skinned Europeans is no less wired into western civ. Maybe we aren’t there because we made a policy mistake, maybe we are there because it is our ‘manifest destiny’.
If not then why are we there? Just because of a children’s crusade? Why has the west continued to go back again and again since the time of Alexander?
THAT would be an enlightening thread.
I just read the Armstrong article. My comments were trying to get at precisely this line of thought, but in a far less articulate and informed way.
I think it is worth mentioning that you are probably a Swedish Air Force person. “… maybe the western appeal to universality for all people, which is that brown skinned people want the same thing is as white skinned Europeans.” Islam is not a religion of “brown skinned people.” Europeans of the Germanic descended type; English, Scandinavians, Finns (whatever they are in descent), etc. tend to see “brown skinned people” in everyone who comes from beyond Calais. When I worked with an English headquartered company I heard Arabs, Turks, Pushtuns, Parsees and the like described as “colored.” Often these people are as “white” as I am and I am quite White. Sometimes people of that kind of genetic endowment said this themselves. “The English will never accept us because we are Black!” Many, many Muslims can only be described as White and the religion does not admit of such distinctions as race, although there are a lot of Muslims who are quite prejudiced against others of African descent. pl
Brown skinned was ironic- but you are quite right in that I am pretty white. But in no way Scandinavian or Air Force – although i happen to live and work in the area where SAAB aircraft is headquartered.
I am 100% alawite half Lebanese half Syrian who has spent most of my adult life in the southern United states and then had the great luck to fall in love and marry a wonderful swedish woman who finally managed to drag me back to this cold and beautiful place.
Like many southerners (and Lebanese) I am a contrarian and enjoy a good argument as much as I think you do.
When I lived in the gulf, which I did throughout my boyhood, my father never told me I was alawite- probably for some protection. We often prayed in Sunni mosques and listened to Sunni imams. When I was in Dubai I had two years of religion class courtesy of the UAE ministry and the Lebanese school i attended. It was rough. The instructor threw a broken ruler at my head at one point for giggling during a qur’an recital and split it open.
I walked away from organized religion a couple of years later when the imam at the mosque I was at told us that the San fransisco earthquake was gods punishment to the people there. I had just been there with my family. I realized at 13 or so that the religion thing wasn’t for me.
I know all about Islam. You are right- the religion does not distinguish between races. But I was parodying a western point of view in terms of brown skinned. I wasn’t being very precise in the writing
Just viewed a promo for 60 minutes..Obama “Our intelligence community has underestimated the strength of ISIS…”. Is this a serious statement???
“…walked away from organized religion…”
I don’t know that I was ever close enough mentally to organized religion (the “organized” qualifier is critical) to walk away, only physically. Nonetheless it was a long time before I found language to express my belief about organized religion and when I did it came from an interesting person.
“I think different religions are different doors to the same house” – Steve Jobs
Seems obvious, at least to me, but certainly many would disagree.
Preach the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus to the Muslims in Europe.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..”.
Don’t be ashamed of being a Christian.
So is that why we invested a ton of money in Iron Dome?
Fred wrote: “You mean the government must monitor all assemblies of Muslim worshipers to ensure they adhere to the correct interpretation of the religion?”
That is shallow. You obviously did not understand the argument Dubhaltach made in his last post:
“There’s a proposal floating around in what for lack of a better term I’ll call Nordic-Europe that imams should be licensed by the state in the same way that priests and preachers are. The idea is that an imam needs to be aware of and respect the social, political, and legal realities of the country(ies) in which he lives and preaches.”
This is the most serious mistake northern European countries made: They too long iginored the fact that Islam IS a part of our society and its followers should get the same ability to persue their religion in the same extend as other religions.
Islamic teachers and imans, trained in Europe, would have prevented some of the issues we face now caused by guys imported from and payed by Saudi Arabia.
Do not drag Jesus into this, you are only going to aggravate the situation even more by bringing Christianity into explicit confrontation with Islam.
You have written many times over the years of negotiating in the bazzars. A post on the principles and tactics of doing that and the cultural traits making your negotiations successful might help us here in the Committee better understand something more of the culture from which jihadism arises.
Dubhaltach: And yet, the next prime minister of the Republic of Ireland is to be the gay son of an Indian immigrant. I have no idea of his religion but it seems that attitudes are changing much faster than people once thought possible.
Your error is in believing that attitudes are changing at similar rates on both sides of the Islamic/Christian divide. They are not. pl
“Westerners and Muslims don’t agree on the basics of social order and don’t want to live under the same rules. That shouldn’t be a problem because that’s what separate countries are for. We should stop occupying their countries and stop letting them move to ours.”
(Steve Sailer, 2006)
This is the best summary of our predicament.
People who claim that only a small minority of Muslims are violent are simply missing the point. They should look at the reaction of British Muslims to the murder of Salmaan Taseer – the governor of Punjab, murdered for speaking-up on behalf of a Christian woman accused of blasphemy. His murderer was hailed as a hero by the imams of the biggest mosques in Scotland an Birmingham.
Yes. A great many (not all) of Muslim émigrés to Western countries never abandon the political/military/religious culture that is Islam. As a result they and many of their descendants never think themselves, British, French or whatever. pl
Ah, a trick question. I don’t think I have ever written anything about negotiating in “bazaars other than you can beat bazaaris down using the levers of their courtesy. Negotiating in general is thought by most Arabs asa process in which the weaker party is allowed to surrender gracefully to th stronger. Weakness is indicated by a signal desiring negotiations. This has little or nothing to do with jihadism. Jihadism is about absolutes. It is perceived by factions of Muslims as the path to salvation through absolute adherence to some accepted view of sharia. Occasionally the two things come together as at Camp David II. There Arafat and company were deliberately put into a position by Dennis Ross and Clinton in which they were asked to sign away the “title deed” to a piece of the umma’s territory in Palestine. To do so would have been irtidad (apostasy) and they could not do it without a general sanction of the umma which they would never, ever get. A truce is one thing, a cession of territory belonging to the community of believers is quit another. pl
In every Islamic country that I know of or have experience all Imams Muftis and Qadis are licensed by the government and are in effect paid civil servants. pl
If you are saying that the Israelis do not actually believe in two-state solution, IMO you are correct. pl
The Shah has his paid mullahs but there were many who refused to take his money – they were dependent on alms of the faithful and waqf.
Fred: Are you paying attention? This writer is from Michigan.
The qualm is not for defense, at least in my case of stating it.
I fear the broad brush approach confounds elements of Arab ethnic culture w a diverse religious culture, making imprecision in understanding inherent complexities more probable. I.e., it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby Moslems in distant places untouched (relatively) by wahabbi Islam get put on the defensive and then start looking for a big brother protector ideology.
All religions suffer this confound problem, but of course most do not sit atop oil reserves.
I.e., literally hundreds of millions of Muslims live outside the Middle East and probably most only care about or even know wahabbi as those passing money around. Or looking to prop up some candidate in identity politics. KSA itself plays this confound w geographical history to great effect.
I admit maybe this qualm is irrelevant or naïve in the bigger ME picture but nevertheless premodern feudal religious norm governance is common wherever more civil governance has never taken hold. Some of these are more pacifistic cultures than others that’s for sure .
Islam already is in conflict with Christianity. By their choice not ours.
If the colonel is correct then no appeal to reason or pragmatism will
mollify those sects bent on jihad.
Just as the Catholic church was the
catalyst for the overthrow of communism in Poland, so can Christianity
be the catalyst for bringing peace to Europe.
“I fear the broad brush approach confounds elements of Arab ethnic culture w a diverse religious culture, making imprecision in understanding inherent complexities more probable. I.e., ‘ Oh for Christ’s sake I was writing of Arab Sunni Muslim jihadis. I have been doing this and living with Muslim’s for forty years. You are not tough enough inside to be on this blog. You also seem to be a sanctimonious academic jerk. pl
I don’t know enough about the relationship of Iranian ulema to the state to have an opinion. I was speaking of the Arab countries. pl
I think that is a possible solution to Sunni Muslim terrorism in Western Europe; expel all the Sunni Muslims that hail from outside of the Seljuk Boundary – or force them to convert to Christianity at gun-point.
That could work, without a doubt, but its implementation will destroy the Enlightenment Project in Europe, cause the expulsion, certainly murder, of hundreds of thousands of Christians in places like Egypt (Friend of the West) and Pakistan (another dubious Friend of the West), Malaysia & Indonesia (Best Muslim Friends of the West).
And you guys in the West will be helpless to stop the flow of Christian Refugees.
And then, who is going to carry out this program of forced conversion, expulsion: The New Vatican II Inquisition? Or are you suggesting the creation of new Protestant Inquisition?
I stand by what I have said; leave Jesus out of this.
I know that you know, but others may not know who read those lines.
Excellent parable of the Din Behi; the Cosmic War rages inside all human individuals (waged by any and all soldier of the Wise Lord – Ahura Mazda) until God’s very own potentiality of Evil has been entrapped in this present universe.
The shock waves hitting the West have an ideological and religious epicenter. The Muslim Christian divide is over a thousand years old and traversed across the world in opposite directions to form a fault line across the southern Philippine Islands. Proof that the world is round. War and tribal conflict are part and parcel of human evolution and sexual selection. An aristocracy is civilization. These interact. They have played out in only two ways through history; “kill them all” or containment. The problem is that global capitalism contradicts man’s nature. It is impossible to keep losing wars and survive. Containment was founded on secure national borders and a healthy population to guard them. Short term profit, transnational institutions, free movement of people and corruption make containment impossible today. There was a brief period of the bright light shining on the hill when free education, public health and good jobs would transform us into a new world. Instead, we have devolved into a never ending conflict between religions, classes and beliefs. This triggered the new Cold War and the soft coup to force Donald J Trump out.
I wasn’t referring to forced conversion. I was referring to an increase
of proselytizing of the Christian faith in Europe. Just because Christianity is persecuted/banned/restricted in many Muslim countries
is no reason for Christians in Europe to refrain from trying to make converts among Muslims. European Muslims aren’t afraid of trying to convert Christians, is their Muslim faith so weak that they can’t stand up to a good a theological give-and-take? Are they like our own SJW snowflakes who must shut down discussion of everything that disturbs their tranquility?
the position of “We can kill our way to a state of relative quiet in which the jihadi impulse is suppressed for some time, perhaps a long time”, shouldn’t be ignored.
How’s that going so far? That’s been basically our whole approach. We haven’t tried to address or even acknowledge any of the well-founded complaints about our activities in the region.
“Why can’t we just let go of the belief that we have the right to do this?”
Because Zbig Brzezinski created the Carter Doctrine. And the answer to your question might be illuminated by this blockbuster of a revealing article published two days after Zbig’s death by someone who was in Carter’s White House and is now giving a first-hand account of what Carter allowed Brzezinski to get away with. It starts slowly then rips.
You need only apologize for the lack of paragraph breaks with a blank line in between. Some of us read these posts and comments on an iPhone or iPad. Impossible to do without proper screen formatting, which is the opposite of what print publishing demands.
An internet paragraph is not the same as a print or scholarly journal paragraph, which emphasizes subject matter importance from the most important to the least throughout,the article with each paragraph supplying proof of the point made
An internet paragraph is designed for readability on a variety of devices and operating systems. Generally two or three sentences each. Ever read a Maureen Dowd column? (Dowd is a columnist for the NYTimes.) She writes for the web correctly.
“you can beat bazaaris down using the levers of their courtesy. Negotiating in general is thought by most Arabs as a process in which the weaker party is allowed to surrender gracefully to the stronger. Weakness is indicated by a signal desiring negotiations.”
This idea seems strange to me as a westerner that one exhibits weakness by signaling a desire for negotiating. Here in the West, the strong often demand negotiation from a weaker party. It is the levers I am interested in. What are they and how do they work?
Could it be that the west continuously fails in its relations with the east because the cultural signals/levers work in opposite ways so that the intended message of one side is read totally differently by the other?
As for your earlier writings, I recall you telling us about an incident where some Russian soldiers who were trying to negotiate something in a bazaar and you helped them out somehow. That was years ago.
I have always wanted to go to a bazaar to see if I could haggle some good deals.
I know of only one successful action against the Saudi/Western sponsored jihadists: Chechnya. Aside from that, and even that may be fake knowledge, I know nothing. I do believe that the terrorist attacks we are witnessing are a sign of battle fatigue on the battlefield by ISIS. They are striking now where they can strike. I imagine that Chechnya comes very close to the killing solution.
Thanks for the delayed response. To quote Dubhaltach from three years ago “The idea is that an imam needs to be aware of and respect the social, political, and legal realities of the country(ies) in which he lives and preaches”
Why should that only be a requirement of the Imams? What percentage of Austrian Muslims meet that requirement?
Muslim populations have fought against occupiers and trespassers with appeals to religion, through the call to jihad, a valid defensive struggle. In the Caucasus, it was against the Russians, as was Afghanistan, Libyans battled Italy. In the middle of the 20th century, however, the same causes were fought in terms of various ideologies including pan-Arabism and anti-colonial nationalism, such as in Algeria, which also had a religions component. In Aden/Dhofar, even Communism was incorporated into the battle.
Shortly before he died, the long time Irish expert on the Arab world, Fred Halliday, who wrote “Arabia without Sultans,” noted at a British conference on jihadism, that when all the current banners, to include Islam, are enfeebled, what will remain is “resistance,” under no matter what banner. For him, one battle cry or another will be used as long as people are put upon by others. It is the rebellion against injustice that is at the heart of conflict and will continue to be such, whether the unjust are internal or foreign.
A lawyer from Grand Rapids who teaches at Cooley? I’m sure he’s an expert.
I just took a look at the Daily Mail report that one of the London knifemen had been filmed in a program about city Islamists that appeared on London TV. He is only described as a twenty-seven-year old. The photos show him with a
small group of four or five men prostrate at prayers in a park; and he is shown unfurling the black ISIS flag. There is then some sort of confrontation with the authorities. He seems to have received a caution, and nothing else.
What interests me here is that while London famously has a Hyde Park Speakers Corner where anyone so inclined can get up and make a speech, it does not appear that this little group of fanatics was there. Further, contrary to popular belief, any speaker at Hyde Park corner remains subject to the law, as, for example, regarding obscene speech. I was unaware that over the years there have been some five other Speakers Corners in various London parks. Years ago I had the heady experience of participating there, when I found the subject was Jim Crow, and though I was agin’ Jim Crow, I felt corrections were in order about certain
slurs against my native state and region. I found myself turning into a kind of monster, though I started quite well, and thereby learned something about free speech, as well as about myself.
However, my point here is that I think there are already laws on the books in Britain, which if diligently acted upon, as in this case, might have gone a long way towards preventing this massacre. Consider the Queen’s Peace; was this man not breaking it? Disturbing the Peace? In Virginia the law is useful. I have been told–this was years ago, at Clark’s on 29 N –that you could strap on a pistol in Alexandria and walk down King Street quite legally, but you would be arrested for Disturbing the Peace. If this 27-year-old had been arrested for breach of the peace, brought into court and sentenced to six months in jail and been given a fine, and then, after having served two months, out on parole, now finding himself having to report to a parole officer, I can’t help thinking that tolerant attitudes around him would have changed, and he would have come under a lot more notice from perhaps family, or friends, or neighbors. He would have no longer been able
to hide in plain sight. Continuing close attention to this man and his friends by the authorities might have uncovered other breaches of the law, questions say, about the registration of the van. Perhaps eventually Islamic neighbors would have ‘denounced’ him, as the Spanish say. If any of his friends had a criminal record, then he would have been at risk of violating his parole. This doesn’t sound like cricket, but the Islamic community had better get its act together, or it could find its members being required to register and carry certain papers and to present them at any policeman’s whim, at any time.
And that would just be the beginning.
So, in your view jihad is a product of “resistance to injustice?” What is the injustice that Al-Qa’ida and IS are resisting? pl
More likely tribal. Irish who happened to be Catholic v Scottish who happened to be Protestant, and since partition in 1921, it’s been anti-colonial with a touch of gangsterism off and on since until 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
When a Republican says “Brits out” he’s not just referring to the British administration in Belfast, he’s referring to the Scottish colonists in Ulster. The solution to the Northern Ireland problem was pretty obvious back in the 1960s with the Civil Rights movement, but neither side was prepared to compromise at that point.
They were sailors from the USSR Black Sea Fleet and the place was Tunis. they were trying to trade bits of metal junk from their uniforms, pins, etc. for individual cigarettes from a street vender. They were in a tour group under a petty officers supervision. their ship was in port. I felt sorry for them and bought a pack of cigarettes for the vender to give them. Even I have SOME human feelings. The vender thought it was funny that this American “tourist” was buying smokes for these fellows. Yes. You understand nothing about the Arab culture and seem incapable of trying to understand it. pl
OK. what would be “the well founded complaints about our actions?” the existence of Israel? the supposed puppet regimes? buying their oil? what would they be? pl
“Why should that only be a requirement of the Imams? What percentage of Austrian Muslims meet that requirement?”
One problem in Germany and Austria is that many imams are often not trained properly in respect to European culture, do not speak German and influence their communities in a way I do not like.
This issue was self inflicted, we should have offered religious education in high schools much earlier, this with teachers who were trained in Germany.
Around 2012, in Germany and Austria 50% of the Muslims are Turks, 25% are eastern European, around 10% each are Asians and North Africans. Pakistanies and Afghans are a small minority.
Now we have had a much higher influy from ME, especually Syria, during 2015/16.
Most of the Turks are secular, most of the Muslims from the Balkan too. The Syrains now complain that the “Turkish” mosques are too old fashioned.
I do not know how many are really integrated in the sense that they defend western values against their own people.
No, I really wasn’t referring to forced conversions in any way, shape or form. All of my posts explicitly reference preaching the Gospel in Europe. And yes, I too find being approached by someone like a Latter Day Saint or a Seventh-Day Adventist to be annoying. But I deal with it through a smile and a polite “I’m not interested”.
I ask the question again: are the Muslims in Europe so fragile, so like our SJWs that we must tiptoe around lest we upset their delicate egos. I advocate for a robust theological debate between Christianity and Islam not for forceful conversions.
If I understand him correctly Brother Babak seems to think that the remnants of the Enlightenment will eventually bring the jihadis to their senses. Eventually can be a very long time. I too am an “Advocate of Peace”. May I respectfully and with no intention of sarcasm ask what your suggestion for a peaceful solution is? I view my proposal as an updated version of the non-violent demonstration, as a peaceful sit-in if you will. Hope to hear from you.
BrotheJoe sends you his best wishes.
I think you got that one wrong. Dempsey probably prevented WW3 by his actions back in 2014.
Anniversary of 1967 war looming, Norman Finkelstein was interviewed by Aaron Mate of The Real News
on “What Really Happened.”
Most interesting observation was Finkelstein’s explanation of BenGurion’s overarching fear of the rise of “a new Ataturk,” a Muslim or Arab leader who could unify the Arab world and elevate the Arab world from its backwardness. To the end of removing that possibility, Finkelstein said that BenGurion and all subsequent Israeli leaders followed policies of undermining any potential strong leader to deliberately keep Arabs backward and fragmented.
Finkelstein’s comments brought to mind statements by David Wurmser in a December 2007 discussion in Annapolis, in which Iran posed the greatest threat to Israel (or the mindset induced by Ben Gurion). Wurmser said,
PS Neglected to extend birthday greetings to the Colonel — Happy Birthday, and many more fruitful years.
Shades of Ralph Peters.
There are no diplomatic, ideological, political, cultural, or social solution to the problem of radical islamic terrorism. The days of “hearts and minds” COIN operations are over; attrition warfare is in.
Trump does not want to destroy ISIS, he is now calling for a level of destruction he is calling “annihilation”. The old conventional warfare term of “destroy” where you eliminated the enemies capability or will to continue fight is no longer enough (think the first Iraqi 5 day war, where we ceased combat operations with most/much of the Iraqi army still intact). I suspect that the effect that annihilation is supposed to bring about is that reconstitution of the enemy is to be made impossible by achieving enemy material, personnel and infrastructure losses close to 100%.
I just hope we do not lose the peace by the State Department trying to install democratic institutions. What is needed to preempt terrorism and insurgencies are authoritarian police states. It worked on both sides of the Iron curtain after WW2.
A slightly harsh personal attack. I truly find the Arab culture hard to understand, but I hope I am not incapable or trying, else I would not be a member of your Committee.
I confess to frustration that you do not seem to understand or accept anything I tell you about Arab or Islamic culture. this is interesting because you profess to be a liberal man living in the deep south but you can’t seem to get your head around the idea that the people we are talking about are different. pl
Interesting point to bring up here to illustrate the importance of this, in the approximately 2 years following the Tunisian “revolution”, a state of anarchy ruled this previously heavuly authoritarian sphere of society(the strictly controlled use of government-approved civil servants as Imams). “Unlicensed mosques” with “unlicensed imams”, many of them returning from exile in europe, sprang up like mushrooms. Tunisia, one of the most secular arab countries in the ME, then became the #1 source of foreign fighters to ISIS, more than doubling the members sent by #2(saudi arabia). All of that in less than 2 years of unlicensed preaching, at which point the government realized the gravity of the situation once politicians started being assassinated and the true magnitude of the ISIL issue began to come apparent. One can only imagine the beast lurking just under the surface, if this was accomplished in such a short period in one of the most secular and historically peaceful arab countries in the ME
What is the status of Iranian mullahs/scholars and that reject vilayat-e Faqih, on theological grounds, and their relationship with the government?
My question, “This idea seems strange to me as a westerner that one exhibits weakness by signaling a desire for negotiating. Here in the West, the strong often demand negotiation from a weaker party. It is the levers I am interested in. What are they and how do they work?” was an attempt to learn about the differences.
Clearly, the culture is different, but as our culture interacts with the Arabs, things we do are received with opposite interpretations. I was inquiring into how the western art of the deal is different from the Arab art of their deal. Negotiation is akin to using levers and you tell us the levers in the Arab world are different. How so? “It is the levers I am interested in.”
Please help us understand the differences in the levers.
I have discussed this here many times. You are just a pain in the … In your lawyerly way whatever I say you will ask more and more minutely framed questions. Adios pl
Learn Arabic and spend 3 years in Egypt and you will learn.
The Tunisian revolution lacked the leadership at the high caliber of men such as ayatollah Khomeini.
The successor regime did not have velayt faqih; which meant that no centralized spiritual authority exist there.
No surprises there, has anyone in that creole country read the Republic
You have missed an important observation of Col. Lang’s with respect to Arab culture – zero sum.
I am not annem, but in the absent of his response I feel the urge to chime in:
Certainly the depredations committed by the UAS-supported,funded, and installed Iraqi Government post-2003 in their woefully misguided crusade factors into it, beyond the theological. We are talking about one
s relatives being raped, thrown in a heap of dozens on the cornerside with nail gun holes in their heads, and their anuses sewn shut with liquid cement. By the thousands from 2003 onwards,especially in baghdad(in the tens of thousands). This, beyond the Saddam-era(in the last days) islamization of the core ba’ath party, surely had a greater role in the rise of modern IS.
In syria, and don’t get me wrong on the following, I am a fervent supporter of a secular syria ruled by the present structure: the same happened, on a much smaller scale, but given the wide range of it and the tribal structure of syria it doesn’t matter. In 2011-2012 during the peak of Syrian gov panic, putting aside the lunatic Obama-era arab spring madness/propganda, the same torture and butchery occurred en masse, inflicted on the exurban majority sunni populace. The rape, imprisonement, torture, and murder of thousands. This was a larger source of grievance than Arab(GCC) money, by a long shot. And this is the source of the manpower available to the jihadis, both the foreign funded ones(HTS et al) and the non foreign funded ones(ISIS)
Yes, they do not really believe in win-win outcomes although the goal is normally to make zero sum outcomes palatable so that you don’t have to fight the same fights over and over and watch your back perpetually for the strike with a fine Florentine hand. In business, war, politics there are always winners and losers. the factors leading to defeat or victory are not different in the West and among the Arabs. What is different is the way that defeat and surrender are handled among the Arabs. pl
Apropos of the title of this post:
“The Forever War”
by Patrick Buchanan, 2017-06-06
An excerpt (emphasis added; comments in square brackets are by KH)
(Note to Pat Lang: this seems to touch on many points you have discussed.):
By all accounts,
the killers [at the London Bridge and in Manchester]
bore no special grudge against those they murdered.
They appear not even to have known their victims.
Why, then, did they kill these strangers, and themselves?
A BBC eyewitness suggests a motive:
“They shouted, ‘This is for Allah’,
as they stabbed indiscriminately.”
The murderers were Muslims.
The rationale for their crimes lies in the belief that
their bloody deeds would inscribe them in a book of martyrs,
and Allah would reward them with instant ascension
into the paradise that awaits all good Muslims.
Ideas have consequences.
And where might these crazed killers have gotten an idea like that?
Is there a strain of Islam,
the basis of which can be found in the Quran,
that would justify what the murderers did at London Bridge?
[Y]ears of such atrocities have effected
a near-complete cleansing of Christianity
from its cradle provinces in the Holy Land.
If these persecutors and killers of Christians
are apostates to
Islam, headed to hell for their savageries,
why have not all the imams of the world, Shiite and Sunni,
risen together to condemn them as heretics?
from the suicide bombings and shootings of civilians in the Middle East,
now across the West,
there is a belief among some Muslims that
what the killers are doing is moral and meritorious —
taking the martyr’s path to salvation.
When have the imams of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and West
ever stood as one
to condemn all such acts as against the tenets of Islam?
In condemning the London Bridge attack,
Prime Minister Theresa May said that
recent atrocities across England were
“bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism.”
There is an extremist school of Islam
that needs to be purged from the West,
even as this school of fanatics is seeking to
purge Christianity from the East.
We are at war.
And the imams of Islam need to answer the question:
“Whose side are you on?”
Is our commitment to diversity broad enough to embrace people with Islamist beliefs?
Is our First Amendment freedom of speech and of religion
to cover the sermons of imams who use mosques to preach in favor of
expelling Christians from the Middle East and
an eventual takeover of the West for an Islam
where Sharia replaces constitutional law?
Are such Islamist beliefs not intolerable and perilous for our republic?
the West is in a civilizational struggle,
with the outcome in some doubt.
Today we are in the 16th year of a war begun on 9/11.
We are mired down in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Our victory in Afghanistan is being reversed by the Taliban.
[And, of course, there are many powerful people in the media and in politics
urging actions against Iran
which would lead to yet another war.]
While the ISIS caliphate is being eradicated in Raqqa and Mosul,
its elements are in two dozen countries of the Mideast.
Muslim migrants and refugees, ISIS and al-Qaida among them,
are moving into Europe.
Terrorist attacks in the West grow in number and lethality every year.
The new normal.
second-generation Muslims within Europe
seem to be converting to a violent version of Islam.
To fight them, we are being forced to circumscribe our sovereignty
and empower police and intelligence agencies of which
free men were once taught to be wary.
Wars, it is said, are the death of republics.
And we now seem to be caught up in an endless war.
“When have the imams of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and West ever stood as one to condemn all such acts as against the tenets of Islam?”
Statement of Iran’s then-President “Elder of Islam” Mohammad Khatami after September 11 2001 attacks on the United States:
“My deep sympathy goes out to the American nation, particularly those who have suffered from the attacks and also the families of the victims….Terrorism is doomed, and the international community should stem it and take effective measures in a bid to eradicate it.”
2 months later on CNN,
“I expressed my deepest sorrow to the people of America right after the tragedy, and I’d like to say how sorry I am, and express my sorrow. …
What matters is that we must confront this phenomenon. We have to do it in a determined manner. We have to address the root causes of terrorism. We have to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. And we must fight terrorist bases wherever they are. But again, we have to address the roots as well.
…What matters is that we must identify matters very clearly. We must not act too quickly. And we must also fight terrorist bases and hopefully we must move in a direction so that in the future no nationality, no country will face such tragic events again.”
But the United States and the Western Fortress were not interested in Dialogue, only Regime Destruction.