by Kung Fu Zu 1/10/15
In their September 1990 issue, The Atlantic Monthly published a short article by Bernard Lewis, titled “The Roots of Muslim Rage”. In this brief piece, Professor Lewis lays out why Islam has become such a problem in the modern world. In doing so, Dr. Lewis points out facts, which too many Westerners try to ignore.
He reminds us,
“Muhammed, it will be recalled, was not only a prophet and teacher, like the founders of other religions; he was also the head of a polity and of a community, a ruler and a solder. Hence his struggle involved a state and its armed forces.”
To give some idea of how this intertwining of government and religion plays out from an Islamic view, Lewis writes,
“If the fighters in the war for Islam, the holy war, “in the path of God”, are fighting for God, it follows that their opponents are fighting against God. And since God is in principle the sovereign, the supreme head of the Islamic state-and the Prophet and, after the Prophet, the caliphs are his vicegerents(sic)-then God as sovereign commands the army. The army is God’s army and the enemy is God’s enemy. The duty of God’s soldiers is to dispatch God’s enemies as quickly as possible to the place where God will chastise them-that is to say, the afterlife.”
Given this attitude, it is not surprising that the traditional Muslim view had the world divided into two realms, the House of Islam and the House of Unbelief or War, as it is sometimes called. I will point out there are other philosophies which divide the world in an equally crass way, Communism and Nazism come immediately to mind, but Islam has the clear advantage of promising an afterlife.
The professor gives a short history lesson on the origins and growth of Islamic civilization, which he contends had a glorious era of one thousand years. And that “since the failure of the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 and the rise of the European colonial empires in Asia and Africa” Islam has been on the defensive.
According to the professor,
“For a long time now there has been a rising tide of rebellion against the Western paramountcy, and a desire to reassert Muslim values and restore Muslim greatness. The Muslim has suffered successive stages of defeat. The first was his loss of dominion in the world,…..The second was the undermining of his authority in his own country, through an invasion of foreign ideas and laws…..The third-the last straw-was the challenge to his mastery in his own house, from emancipated women and rebellious children.”
Lewis contends that to the Muslim, these humiliations arose as a direct result of the rise of Western i.e. European power. For those who have wondered why so many Muslims hate America, even though America is a completely different place with a different history, Lewis states that it is because Muslims see America, with its material success and decadence, as a sort of culmination of the West. Lewis points out that much of this anti-West sentiment is supported and pushed by Westerners themselves. I believe the useful idiots, such as our elected leaders tacitly support this view when they pretend that the problem is not one of Islam, but of a sort of generic terrorism.
According to Lewis, the sorest point of contention with the anti-Western crowd is that of Imperialism. But when one looks deeper,
“One also sometimes gets the impression that the offense of imperialism is not….the domination by one people over another but rather the allocation of roles in the relationship. What is truly evil and unacceptable is the dominion of infidels over true believers. For true believers to rule misbelievers is proper and natural, since this provides for the maintenance of the holy law, and gives the misbelievers both the opportunity and the incentive to embrace the true faith. But for misbelievers to rule over true believers is blasphemous and unnatural, since it leads to the corruption of religion and morality in society, and to the flouting or even abrogation of God’s law.”
Here we have an unbridgeable gap.
Professor Lewis notes that only after the religious wars in Europe did Christians, “evolve a doctrine of the separation of religion from the State.” And writes,
“Muslims experienced no such need and evolved no such doctrine. There was no need for secularism in Islam, …Islam was never prepared, either in theory or in practice, to accord full equality to those who held other beliefs and practiced other forms of worship.”
Lewis notes that at one time in the Islamic world there was, “admiration of the West as regards, science, technology, its manufactures, and its form of government.” Unfortunately, “In our own time this mood….has, among many Muslims, given way to one of hostility and rejection.” Which is, in part, “surely due to a feeling of humiliation.”
At its root, Lewis sees the “fundamentalists’” fighting against secularism and modernism. He clearly believes this to be a very serious threat as he writes,
“It should by now be clear that we are facing a mood and movement far transcending the level of issues and policies and the governments that pursue them. This is no less than a clash of civilizations-the perhaps irrational but surely historic reaction of an ancient rival against our Judeo-Christian heritage, our secular present, and the worldwide expansion of both.”
How wonderful would it be if the leaders of the West realized and acknowledged this?
Toward the end of his article, Lewis writes,
“The movement nowadays called fundamentalism is not the only Islamic tradition. There are others, more tolerant, more open, that helped to inspire the great achievements of Islamic civilization in the past, and we may hope that these other traditions will in time prevail. But before this issue is decided there will be a hard struggle, in which we of the West can do little or nothing. Even the attempt might do harm, for these are issues that Muslims must decide among themselves.”
Sadly, if this was ever true, it is no longer the case. The fundamentalists have taken their resentment and spread it over much of the world. Islamic countries do not exist in a vacuum and need to take a forceful stand against the primitives who have not taken the caravan out of the seventh century. Leaders such as al Sisi in Egypt are in short supply, but should be encouraged by Western governments.
It should be clear that only fools and liars claim what is happening is not part of Islam. Why these scoundrels dissemble is known only to themselves, but we must start to push back. We, in the West, need to force our leaders to grow some spine and ignore the oil money which has corrupted so many of our policies. This must be done even at the risk of being called racists, etc.
A good way to start would be to prevent all individuals who have travelled to the Middle East to join groups such as ISIS or Al Queda in Yemen, from returning to our shores. How insane is it for us to allow these avowed jihadiis to return to the West and enjoy the privileges and protection of our civilization and law?
We must educate and prepare ourselves for a difficult time. Professor Lewis’ piece should be part of this education. • (14526 views)