http://www.jihadwatch.org/2005/03/fitzg ... perly.html
Fitzgerald: Fourteen Points on How to Discuss Islam Properly
Jihad Watch Advisory Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald has nothing in common with Woodrow Wilson except that they are both carbon-based life forms -- and both have Fourteen Points:
For people to discuss Islam properly, they would need to do a number of things. The first thing would be to recognize that the Qur'an itself is only the major but hardly the sole text, and that the other great source of Islamic beliefs and acts come from the Sunna, which means "Custom" or “Tradition,” and which itself is comprised of the Hadith, records of the sayings and doings of Muhammad, and the Sira, which is Muhammad’s actual biography. (Obviously there is a great deal of overlap between these two). Once all that has been clearly understood, one would have to:
1) Read, and re-read, together with the most authoritative Muslim commentaries, or at least some of them (as well as ‘Umdat al-Salik, "The Reliance of the Traveller," which is a most enlightening and helpful compendium of Islamic law put together for the use of Muslims), the three canonical texts of Islam: the Qur'an (available online in various English translations set out synoptically), the Hadith (available online in the recensions of Bukhari, Muslim, Malik, and, partially, Abu Dawud), and the Sira (chiefly the earliest, that of Ibn Ishaq in the recension of Ibn Hisham). For the Sira, in addition to the Muslim version, see also the many biographies of Muhammad by Western scholars of Islam: Sir Wiliam Muir, Professors Arthur Jeffery, and Tor Andrae, and Maxine Rodinson. All are readily available.
2) Study not only the texts, but how they are received. Are they taken literally? Figuratively? Are there different guides available by which Muslims reconcile seemingly contradictory elements, as for example the doctrine of abrogation, or "naskh"? And is that doctrine of abrogation helpful in smoothing out the harshness and hostility in many passages, or does that doctrine, on the contrary, make the Qur'an far harsher in its impact than a cursory reading, and a misunderstanding, might suggest?
3) Study the role of Islam in the lives of Muslims. How potent is that religion, how much does it pervade and suffuse everyday life, down to the slightest conversational allusion? For that one would need to read, and not quickly, in both in the historical sources (Muslim and non-Muslim) and in the reports of European travellers, diplomats, visitors, and in modern times, the sociologists who live for a year or two or five among Muslims, or like Fr. Menezes, tended to them over many decades, and left a record of their observations. One would also have to consult the testimony of both those who were born into Islam, and remained Muslims, and those who became "defectors" from Islam, though intimately familiar with it -- such people as Ibn Warraq and Ali Sina and Azam Kamguian and Irfan Khawaja and a thousand other articulate writers on the subject. Many of these are presently in this country, and the rest, of course, are in other non-Muslim countries where they are safe from the penalty for apostasy – for now.
4) Study the psychology of Muslims. What does belief in Islam do to one's worldview, one's way of regarding the world, and one’s understanding of facts about the workings of the natural world? How does it affect the way one regards the acts, and attitudes, of Infidels? Several books have been devoted to analysis of "The Arab Mind" (the title of a well-known book by Raphael Patai), but more important, perhaps, is a study of the "Psychology of Muslims." One such study exists -- that of Andre Servier -- but it is out-of-print. But this is a key area of study that someone should take up. The assumption, for example, that both Infidels and Muslims regard treaty-making in the same way is simply false. Infidels adhere to the principle of Pacta Sunt Servanda (Treaties are to be obeyed), while for Muslims, the model of all subsequent treaties between Muslims and Infidels is the agreement made by Muhammad with the Meccans in 628 A.D., the Treaty of al-Hudaibiyya. Without understanding the significance of this treaty, one cannot begin to discuss the value of, for example, Israel's signing of solemn agreements (or what appear to Israel and the United States as solemn agreements) with Egypt, or the "Palestinians," or any number of others.
5) Attempt to comprehend how Islam inculcates a manichaean view of the universe, in which the essential division is between Believer and Infidel, and hostility, or even murderous hatred, is so deeply inculcated at every level. This includes even urging Muslims never to take non-Muslims as friends (cf. Qur’an 5:51), never to wish them well on their own holidays, and never to accept even their seeming acts of benevolence (such as the help extended a month ago in the tsunami aftermath) as anything other than a sinister plot designed to soften up Muslims -- the better to then have them heed the "whisperings of Shaytan" (Satan). That this seems incredible to Western man does not mean that it is not true. The general lack of historical training in the West, and of training in the exercise of imaginative sympathy, among not only ordinary people but also among those who have a special duty to learn, and then to instruct, others (which includes journalists, government officials), now can be seen to have practical consequences.
6) Study, and think about, and study again, and think again -- for it takes time to have this matter sink in – about what it means to be a "moderate" Muslim. Is it a question of simple nonobservance, nonchalance about the Faith? Is it based on ignorance, the ignorance of an illiterate Bedouin, or Afghani villager, or someone deep in the Sumatran jungle, who knows he is a "Muslim" but has no idea what that may mean? To be a "moderate," is it enough not to be a believer or follower of "Wahhabi" Islam? If so, then must we class as moderates such notable non-Wahhabis as Ayatollah Khomeini, or Hassan Nasrallah of Hizballah, or Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood?
Is a "moderate" someone who opposes the burka? Who opposes the full imposition of the shari'a when it comes to the criminal law? Is it someone who accepts Western dress, Western ways of doing things, Western technology, and yet still believes that Islam has a divine right to spread across the globe -- and that it must, as Muhammad said, come to "dominate and not to be dominated"?
Is a "moderate" someone who assures you that he is a "moderate," or do we need other proof, given the religiously-sanctioned doctrines of dissimulation (Taqiyya, Kitman) and the existence of people who are well-versed in lying for the Faith and the wellbeing of Believers?
And is a "moderate" Muslim someone who assures you he fully accepts pluralism? What if you suspect that that is only because he is, for now, living in the West, where Muslims are still in the process of solidifying the position and entrenchment of Islam? Could it be that for that process of solidification he needs the protection of Western pluralism, tolerance, and a highly-developed system of individual rights, but that he has no intention of supporting pluralism in the West when he no longer needs it for his own purposes, and will make no move to ensure that pluralism is accepted in Muslim countries, with full rights for non-Muslim minorities, and the right of freedom of conscience for Muslims themselves (i.e., the right to become apostates without being killed)?
Is a "moderate" Muslim someone who is now "moderate" but who may, at some personal setback, some disappointment or depression or emotional desarroi, revert to the idea that Islam provides a Total Explanation of the Universe -- and that Explanation includes the Infidel, all Infidels, as the objects of all hatred and blame? Remember “Mike” Hawash, the ideal Rotarian-turned-jihadist? Thus it is that we Infidels, when things go wrong in our own lives, can blame our parents, our siblings, our children, our spouses, Fate, the stars, our cholesterol level, our serotonin level, The System, The Man, Amerikkka, or even, at times, ourselves. Muslims, on the other hand, have it all so simple: they can blame the Infidels.
7) Study how changes in technology -- such as the widespread availability of audiocassettes, videocassettes, satellite television channels, and the Internet -- can effect the reception of Islam among those who are already convinced that they are "Muslims" and identify themselves as such, but perhaps are largely ignorant of a good deal of the contents of Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira. Their Islam of such people will, until the jihadist recruiters arrive, consist of rather casual attendance at a small village makeshift mosque, and observance of the five canonical prayers, and Ramadan. What does the existence of those Islamic tapes, satellite channels, and the Internet do to the practice of Islam? Does it make for more or less "moderation"?
8) Study how the entirely unprecedented permission granted to millions of Muslims to live in the dar al-harb -- from the Muslim point of view, behind enemy lines, the Lands of the Infidels -- has led to a situation that was not analyzed in advance. At this point it has created, for all the Infidels involved, a situation that no one could disagree has made life for Infidels, in their own lands, far more difficult, unpleasant, expensive (the costs of security, including monitoring what goes on in mosques and madrasas) and more physically dangerous, than it would be without those millions of Muslim immigrants. Meanwhile, the numbers of the immigrants keep growing: the birth-rates are, in Western Europe for example, five times higher among them than among non-Muslims (7 1/2% annual growth versus 1 1/2% annual growth) – so that if nothing is done, then Europe, well before the end of the century, and probably well before the middle of the century, will contain a sufficient Muslim population, determined and cohesive, that will effectively take possession of the historic birthplace of Western civilization, its art treasures, its museums, its wealth, its land, and its military capacity.
If, of course, as Rich Lowry says, we are fighting merely a "war on terrorism" and Islam itself is fine, then the islamization of Europe, as long as it proceeds through peaceful demography and Da'wa, should hold no terrors for him or those who think like him.
9) Study the history not only of Jihad-conquest, but of the consistency of the treatment of the much larger numbers of those conquered – people who were more advanced, wealthier, more settled, and more civilized than their primitive Muslim conquerors. Are there any similarities in the treatment, under Muslim rule, of the Christians and Jews of the Middle East, or North Africa, or Spain, and the treatment meted out to the Zoroastrians of Sassanid Persia, or the Hindus and Buddhists of Central Asia and of Hindustan? In other words, over 1350 years in time, and from Spain to the East Indies in space, are there remarkably wide differences in how Muslim overlords treated their subjugated non-Muslim populations, or do we find, upon close examination, that in fact we are most struck by the astonishing similarity in the treatment?
10) Study the nature of that treatment. What exactly did the ahl al-kitab, the People of the Book, the specially-favored (so we are told) Christians and Jews, have to do in order to stay alive, and to avoid forced conversion to Islam, and to continue to practice their own religions? What were the disabilities -- economic, political, legal, and social -- under which those Christians and Jews labored? And what was the treatment meted out to Zoroastrians, and to Buddhists, and to Hindus? And what was the reason that the Hindus, for example, after the murders of 60-70 million of them, were finally granted a kind of honorary "People of the Book" status, and permitted to live -- as long as they paid the jizya and endured the other indignities of dhimmi status?
11) Study how the treatment of dhimmis changed, or did not change, under the pressure of Western powers on the Ottoman rulers, beginning with a study of how those Ottoman rulers did, or did not, actually execute the Tanzimat reforms of 1839, or any of the later reforms in their treatment of non-Muslims that were supposedly undertaken in order to limit Western (Christian) pressure.
12) Study the persistence of the mistreatment of non-Muslims, including the massacres of Maronites in 1860, the massacres of Armenians in 1894-96 and then the full-scale genocide of 1915-1920, the massacre of Assyrians in Iraq in 1933, the various pogroms against Jews throughout the Muslim Arab lands, all through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, until there were no more Jews left to enslave (as in the Yemen), or expropriate property from (as in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Algeria), or murder (as in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen, Morocco).
13) Study the persistence of Jihad, as with the local Jihads in West Africa (1804), North Africa (1830s), East Africa (1880s in the Sudan), or the world-wide Jihad declared in Constantinopole in 1915.
14) Study how OPEC oil money helped spread Islam, through the determined and relentless use of the of the "money weapon" in many ways:
• To acquire hundreds of billions of dollars of the most advanced weaponry.
• To pay for WMD projects, some successful, some abandoned, some with an outcome still unknown, in Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria (with Egypt and Syria using outside aid, including in Egypt's case, foreign aid from the American government)
• To establish a network of academic centers, and individual professors, dependent on Arab money and eager to do Arab bidding not only about the obvious topic (the Arab-Israeli matter), but on the entire subject of the nature of Islam, its theory and practice -- which is the Great Untaught and Unknown Subject on American campuses today.
• To establish a network of ex-diplomats and ex-intelligence officials, all Westerners, to act as defenders of Islam, helping to deflect criticism from Saudi Arabia in particular, and to keep insisting that it is Western (or American) policies, and not the tenets of Islam, that explain the obvious examples of Jihad everywhere in the world -- from the southern Sudan and northern Nigeria to East Timor, the Moluccas, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (for those Hindus beaten to death surely were not part of some Pentagon conspiracy). These diplomats also serve to muddy whatever clarity may ever have existed at the State Department about the proper definition of "terrorism" and to keep as many policy-makers from understanding Islam as possible. These include luminaries such as Raymond Close, James Akins, the late John C. West, Fred Dutton, and others. As "public relations advisers" or more commonly, as "international business consultants," or latterly, people helpfully specializing in "explaining Islam to the Western world in the hope that they may contribute to avoiding a clash of civilizations" (see the website of Alistair Crooke's little outfit for more in this vein), these men expect and receive handsome payments from "concerned" Arab governments and individuals.
• To buy into large media companies, thereby insuring that their coverage of Islam remains predictably innocent. Or, as in the case of National Review, even to drop a word to a powerful advertiser (Boeing, which of course hardly wishes to offend such good present and future clients as the Arabs), that CAIR must be strongly seconded when it attempts to censor an ad.
There is much more. I could have listed ten points, or twelve, or a Baker's Dozen, or Thirty-three, or Ninety-Nine Theses. I stopped at a Wilsonian Fourteen. That should be enough to jog a few people into beginning to study what they should study -- instead of taking the word of those who keep repeating that Islam is a religion of "peace" and "tolerance," or who bleat that Western civilization owes "so much" to Islam, or who tell us that the bad old days of Jihad are a thing of the past, and as for dhimmitude, pah! It doesn't exist, it's merely a figment of Bat Ye'or's imagination.
Well, it's now time for Study Hall.
Let's see who gets this right.