Islam and moral equivalence
by Greg Swann
Start with this from The Washington Times:
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson said yesterday the news media and political leaders have failed to educate Americans about violence in the Koran and in Islamic history and wishes President Bush had never said that "Islam is a religion of peace."
First, it is true that reporters and politicians have not adequately detailed the violence in the Koran and in Islam's history.
But second, that by itself is not of any particularly immediate interest. Quibbling moral-equivalizers can, and instantly do, point out the nearly identical calls to violence in Judaic and Christian apocrypha, and to the violent history rationalized by those texts.
But still third, President Bush is obviously wrong in saying "Islam is a religion of peace" and "Islam means peace". Not because the Koran is violent, and not because the Muslims of antiquity were violent. He is wrong because Islam is a creed of systemic violence right here and right now.
The Washington Times also says:
Mr. Robertson's comments in the past year have been a major part of the public debate on how a predominantly Christian nation responds to a foreign enemy with Islamic roots.
And that much is tragedy. Not that Robertson is taking another dent in his damaged reputation, but that the only consistent cultural opposition to Islam is coming from TV-preachers like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.
Islam does not mean "peace". Islam, an Arabic word with a very precise definition, means: "Submission to the will of Allah." A Muslim is a person who submits to the will of Allah.
"Yeah, so what?" says the pluralist West. "Let 'em worship how they want to."
The problem is that Muslims cannot let us worship as we might want to--or not at all, if we choose. To be a Muslim is to submit to the will of Allah, and the will of Allah is that everyone must submit to the will of Allah.
President Bush says that most Muslims want to live and worship in peace. This is undoubtedly true. The question is, what will 'most Muslims' do in the presence of Jihadi warriors making the demand that Islam has always made, submit or die?
We know the answer, don't we? They may not join the Jihad, but they will not oppose it, either.
They cannot oppose it, not and continue to be Muslims. Two types of people can say, "You have the right to refuse to submit to the will of Allah." Those two types of people are non-Muslims and former-Muslims. No practicing, observant, non-apostate Muslim can say those words, because to say them is the essence of Islamic apostasy.
And thus the moral equivalency argument fails on two grounds:
First, while Judeo-Christian and Islamic apocrypha and history might be similarly if not equally violent, only Islam systematically deploys its apocrypha to rationalize violent outrages in the present day. The quibbling equivalizer's counter to this is to cite abortion clinic bombings and random acts of violence against particular Muslims. These events are not sanctioned by secular or religious authorities, but even if they were, they pale in comparison to the slaughter effected in the name of Islam every day. Thousands were murdered in New York and Washington, hundreds in Bali, hundreds more in Nigeria, dozens of innocents are killed every week in Israel, and all this carnage is sanctioned and financed by theocratic Islamic states.
Second, there is no faith or doctrine of the West that demands universal submission--on pain of murder. It is not the job of Christians or Jews to defend the West. That task belongs to the philosophers, who so far have abstained from acting. But we don't need contemporary philosophers to bear a load that is obviously too heavy for them. We stand on the shoulders of giants, after all. The West is pluralistic and secular and tolerant. Not always, but as a matter of consistent policy, with the exceptions being regarded as aberrations and crimes. By contrast, Islam is universalist, theocratic and inherently intolerant.
The derision by the politically correct of Robertson and Falwell notwithstanding, it is nevertheless true that Islam is a warrior culture. It was born in war, and it remains committed to holy war down to the present day. Unreconstructed, unreformed, unrepentant. Individual Muslims may seek to live and worship in peace. But their creed--and the theocratic states seeking to advance that creed--does, must and will pursue universal submission to the will of Allah. By persuasion if possible. By coercion if not. And by murder if all else fails.
Islam is a religion of war. To equate it in any way with the West is not just an error but an abomination.