The View From 1776

Encouraging Moves by Islamic Spokesmen

Keep praying that God will soften the hearts of jihadists.

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The Washington Times today carries an article titled Moderate Muslims celebrate public rebuke of bin Laden.

The article commences:  “The condemnation of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda by the Islamic Commission of Spain on the first anniversary of the train bombings in Madrid that took 200 lives is making waves throughout the Muslim world.

The Spanish commission’s fatwa, or condemnation, follows other signs of the kind of public theological debate rarely seen in the Muslim world, openly challenging the dominance of Saudi Arabia’s wealthy Wahhabi fanatics.

One Islamic scholar even calls it a sign of “a counter-jihad.”

In a recent interview with the Qatari daily newspaper Al-Raya, for example, Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, the former dean of Shariah and law at the University of Qatar, urged his fellow Muslims to purge their heritage of fanaticism and adopt “new civilized humane thought.”

Such humane thought, he said, “must be translated [into deeds] in educational ways, via the media, tolerant religious discourse, nondiscriminatory policy and just legislation.”

“We must purge the school curricula of all sectarian implications and elements according to which others deviate from the righteous path and the truth is in our hands alone. We must enrich the curricula with the values of tolerance and acceptance of the other who is different [in school of faith, ethnic group, religion, nationality or sex].

“The political regime must refrain from sectarian or ethnic preference; it must respect the rights and liberties of the minorities and must guarantee them through legislative action, practical policy and equal opportunity in the areas of education, media and civil positions.”

*****

It is hardly surprising that the usual suspects in the Islamic world vociferously denounce such calls for moderation.  Without the hatred essential to jihad, such people would lose all meaning in the Islamic world. 

Since 9/11/01, we have been urged to consider several different ways to deal with this hatred.

One of them can be dismissed out of hand. 

It strikes me as nonsense to take the liberal-socialist view that there would be no jihad but for the unequal distribution of property between the Western world and Islam.  This is, of course, a materialistic doctrine in the Marxian socialistic sense:  humans are said to have no inherent, God-given natures, but are clay in the hands of the intellectuals.  The corollary is that, by changing the structure of the political state, i.e., by redistributing property, intellectuals can perfect human conduct and produce political states characterized by high economic productivity and social harmony.

This theory goes all the way back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the mid-1750s.  Results whenever it has been tried have been devastatingly horrible.  Start with the French Revolution and proceed through the bloody history of the Soviet Union, Mussolini’s Fascist state, Hitler’s National Socialism, Mao’s China, Castro’s Cuba, and the Sandinistas’ Nicaragua.  There is simply no magic in changing the names on property title deeds.  No matter what the theorists predict, human nature remains exactly as it has been described throughout the 7,000 years or so of recorded history.

History demonstrates clearly that giving in to unjustified demands of an aggressor merely emboldens him to demand more.

A second and related liberal-socialist prescription is “nuanced” foreign policy and “sensitivity,” evidenced in renouncing our right to self-defense and handing our foreign policy over to the UN.  We need not dwell at length on the abject failures of the League of Nations and of the UN to stop aggressors.  9/11 demonstrated that the UN was unwilling even to enforce its own mandates to Iraq.  The blood-money-for oil scandal makes clear that the “international community” so revered by liberals is more massively corrupt, at the cost of health and life of needy women and children, than any private corporation ever imagined being. 

What then can we do?

One part of Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount clearly is applicable.  Jesus told the assembled thousands of listeners, “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28).

How to interpret this admonition has occupied thinkers for two thousand years.  Out of their pondering emerged the just-war doctrine.  When an enemy like Al Queda announces its implacable hatred and its intention to annihilate us, then backs up the threat with the 9/11 attack, action must be taken to stop the threat.  Results to date in Iraq, elsewhere in the Middle East, and in Ukraine suggest that military force to demonstrate the vulnerability of jihadists and their lack of support among liberated Muslims has worked well.

That leaves us, still, with Christ’s admonition. 

My personal interpretation is that Jesus is saying that hatred begets hatred.  Rather than praying for the savage destruction of our enemies, we should pray that God will soften their hearts and lead them to prefer civilized ways to attain their goals.

The declarations of the Islamic Commission of Spain, recorded above, supports our faith that all things are possible with God’s love.

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