Why do our leaders insist on saying the Islamic State is “not Islamic?”

September 13, 2014
Seal of the new Caliphate

Seal of the new Caliphate

In a more general sense, this is something that’s been happening since the days right after 9/11: American leaders insisting that the actions of jihadists do not represent “true” Islam. It’s utter nonsense, of course; in fact, one can argue that the jihadists are practicing the faith exactly as Muhammad intended, following his example. (Warning, gruesome photos)

And yet our leaders, both under Presidents Bush II and Obama, continue to insist that the actions of al Qaeda and, now, the Islamic State, really aren’t Islamic. President Obama provided the latest example during his address to the nation the other night:

Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL (sic) is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents. [1] And the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.

Why the obfuscation? The leaders of al Qaeda, the late, unlamented Osama bin Laden and his successor, Dr. Zawahiri, were both very well schooled in Islam. The caliph of the new Islamic State himself has a PhD in Islamic Studies. Until some serious Muslim scholars show why the jihadists are wrong in their understanding of the Qur’an, the hadiths, and the tafsir (learned commentary stretching back over 1,000 years)  –which hasn’t happened yet!– it is safe to assume these guys know what they’re talking about.

So why the insistence that a spade really isn’t a spade?

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy hits the mark, I think: governments and intellectual leaders are married to a strategy of relying on “moderate Islamists” –such as the Muslim Brotherhood!!– to tame the fires burning the Middle East and threatening us all. And it is delusional:

There is a reason they are taking a position diametrically opposed to reality.

Obama and Kerry, like transnational progressives in both of our major political parties, believe there are “moderate Islamists” who are the key to stability in the Middle East. Now, the term “moderate Islamist” is contradictory: an Islamist wants government by sharia, Islam’s totalitarian societal framework and legal code. There is nothing moderate about sharia. Those who want it implemented are not “moderates” even if they don’t commit mass-murder to get their way. Sharia is also anti-liberty, anti-equality, and anti-Western. Therefore, we should oppose Islamism just as we oppose other freedom-killing ideologies. That doesn’t mean we need to go to war with all Islamists, but we should work to diminish their influence and we should never regard them as a solution to anything.

Notwithstanding their abhorrence of the West, “moderate Islamists” are regarded by Obama and Kerry as potential allies: people, groups, and, in the case of Turkey, for example, countries that we can work with to solve the problems plaguing the Middle East and overcome our own security challenges. It is thus critically important to Obama and Kerry for the public to believe that (a) all Islamists are not basically the same and (b) there is a sharp difference — a day-and-night difference — between “moderate Islamists” and terrorist organizations like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. If, instead, the public becomes convinced that all Islamists, violent or non-violent, adhere to essentially the same ideology, the administration’s goal of working with Islamic supremacists becomes politically untenable.

(…)

It is vital to Obama and Kerry that the public sees these Islamist groups as having nothing in common with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. And since the latter, like the “moderate Islamists,” define themselves by their adherence to Islam, Obama and Kerry have no alternative: They must deny them standing as true Muslims. That is why they assert that the claim of Islamic State jihadists to be faithful Muslims waging holy war in the name of Islam is fraudulent — and, just as ridiculously, they assert that jihad has nothing to do with violence.

The problem, of course, is that “moderate Islamists” and violent jihadists are bound together by sharia-based Islamic ideology. Yes, they have their differences, but those differences are mainly about tactics; and, to the limited extent they are doctrinal, they are irrelevant as far as we are concerned because the differences do not affect the core Islamist belief that we are the enemy.

(Emphasis added, and be sure to read the whole thing.)

This refusal to face reality has been driving me nuts since September 11th, 2001. This isn’t to say every Muslim is a violent jihadist or wants to impose sharia on us all — far from it. But support for both is far higher in the Islamic world than apologists would like to admit, and the jihadists, whether the patient ones of the Muslim Brotherhood or the action-now crowd of al Qaeda and the Islamic State, have an ideology rooted solidly in Islam’s sacred texts. And it has an appeal to disaffected Muslims and converts to Islam around the globe, as the numbers of people joining the Islamic State shows.

Until we deal with this religious-ideological foundation for jihadism, and until our leaders are honest with themselves and us about the nature of the problem –Islam’s aggressive and totalitarian nature– we will continue to fight with one hand tied behind our back and one eye closed, misdiagnosing the problem and prescribing the wrong solutions.

That’s no way to win a war.

RELATED: Jonah Goldberg on “Is the Islamic State really not Islamic?” Robert Spencer on “Five Non-Muslims Who Know More About Islam than the Caliph of the Islamic State.” Michael Ledeen asks “Why do they join the jihad?”

Footnote:
(1) The Devil is in the details. In this case, the definition of “innocents.”


Climate Craziness of the week: “We Have Five Years to Stop Building Coal Plants and Gas-Powered Cars”

September 12, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

With the facts refusing to cooperate, climate alarmists have but one other argument: scare-mongering.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Written by Stephen Leahy at “motherboard”

Here’s the frightening implication of a landmark study on carbon emissions: By 2018, no new cars, homes, schools, factories, or electrical power plants should be built anywhere in the world, ever again, unless they’re either replacements for old ones or carbon neutral. Otherwise greenhouse gas emissions will push global warming past 2˚C of temperature rise worldwide, threatening the survival of many people currently living on the planet.

Every climate expert will tell you we’re on a tight carbon budget as it is—that only so many tons of carbon dioxide can be pumped into the atmosphere before the global climate will overheat. We’ve already warmed temperatures 0.85˚C from pre-industrial levels, and the number rises every year. While no one thinks 2˚ C is safe, per se, it’s safer than going even higher and running the risk that global warming will spiral out of our control completely.

Last year, the latest Intergovernmental…

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9-11: George W. Bush and his bullhorn

September 11, 2014

Lots of people have written today about that terrible morning: where they were, what they remember, maybe honoring the victims or the many valiant heroes of the battle and its aftermath. I wondered what I would write. I decided that, rather than focus on the day itself, something others have done much more eloquently than I ever could, I wanted to share video of what has become one of my strongest memories from that time: the moment, when, three days later, George W. Bush stood amidst the smoldering ruins from which the dead were still being recovered and rallied a stunned and bloodied nation:

That was the day a man who won a disputed, contentious election truly became President of the United States of America, and I’ll forever be grateful for him.

Note: This is a re-posting, slightly updated, of something I wrote for the tenth anniversary; I think it’s a moment that needs recalling.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity

September 10, 2014
"Peace? Don't make me laugh."

“Peace? Don’t make me laugh.”

That’s actually a misquote of what the late, great Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban once said, but it’s accurate enough in this case. Writing in the International Business Times, Jack Moore reports that Egypt offered Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas a portion of the Sinai peninsula from which to form a Palestinian state… and Abbas refused:

Egyptian President General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has offered Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas the chance to create a Palestinian state in the Sinai Peninsula, according to local Israeli media.

The offer to the Palestinian President which, reports say Abbas has denied, would have seen 1,600 square kilometres of the Sinai Peninsula given to the Palestinian Authority, creating a Palestinian state five times the size of Gaza.

According to IDF Radio, the offer would see Abbas relinquish demands that Israel return to the 1967 borders.

In the new and enlarged Gaza, the territory would be demilitarised and Palestinian refugees, many who were unable to return to their towns after the creation of Israel, would have been able to settle there.

As part of the proposal, Palestinian cities in the occupied West Bank would have been autonomous and continued to be under Palestinian Authority control.

Sisi allegedly said to Abbas in the meeting: “You are now 80 years old, if you don’t accept this proposal, your successor will.”

The Palestinian Authority is yet to publicly comment on the initiative but unnamed sources said that Abbas rejected the deal in a meeting with Sisi.

Seems like a good deal to me: Israel will never go back to the 1967 borders, and rightfully so — they’re indefensible. The Palestinians would have their own homeland and, in return for demilitarization, they’d be free to make a prosperous country. You know, like those Jewish guys next door.

But, no. It seems there is no deal too good for the PLO, Hamas, or any other Palestinian group to turn down. But why? Why so obdurate? Why so bloody-minded? I think Robert Spencer nails it:

Of course he turned it down. The point is not to have a “Palestinian” state. The point is to destroy Israel. No one was crying about “occupation” between 1948 and 1967 when Egypt had Gaza and Jordan had Judea and Samaria. The “Palestinians” didn’t consider Egyptian and Jordanian rule to be “occupation.” Only Israeli rule is “occupation.” The hypocrisy of the entire “Palestinian” cause is as palpable as its dishonesty, but the world takes no notice.

Yep.


Paris is Overwhelmed by the Jihadi Threat

September 9, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Unrestricted (or very loosely restricted) immigration combined with poor results at assimilation (multiculturalism has much to answer for) has left France and much of Europe facing a dangerous “domestic jihad” threat.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

As I’ve previously reported, France stands on the front lines of Europe’s struggle against the Salafi jihad, with numerous violent incidents in the country in recent years perpetrated by terrorists who radicalized while they were at home, not abroad. The urgency of the situation has been clarified by the revelation that French national Mehdi Nemmouche, who murdered three Jews in Brussels, was a notorious torturer for the Islamic State while he waged jihad in Syria. Reports that Nemmouche had much bigger plans, including a terrorist attack on the Champs Élysées parade on Bastille Day, have hardly calmed nerves in Paris.

Calmness is not in order in France now, as the number of its citizens waging jihad in Syria and Iraq, mostly on behalf of the Islamic State, is without precedent. While earlier jihadi campaigns in Bosnia in the 1990s or in Iraq a decade ago, for instance…

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Ooops! First animal claimed extinct due to ‘climate change’ found ‘alive and well’

September 8, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Oops! I guess this tiny fella didn’t read the Gospel according to Pope Al, aka “An Inconvenient Truth.” Little heretic.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

seychelles_snail

In this photo taken Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 and provided by the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), an adult Aldabra Banded Snail (Rhachistia aldabrae) is examined at the discovery site in dense mixed scrub forest on the coastal fringe of Malabar island, Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles. The Seychelles Islands Foundation says the Aldabra banded snail, previously thought to be extinct, has been rediscovered “alive and well” at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles. (AP Photo/SIF, C. Onezia)

Seychelles snail, believed extinct due to climate change, found ‘alive and well,’ says group

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A snail once thought to have been among the first species to go extinct because of climate change has reappeared in the wild.

The Aldabra banded snail, declared extinct seven years ago, was rediscovered on Aug. 23 in the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles. The mollusk…

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Liberal Fascism laid bare in one @DonnaBrazile tweet

September 7, 2014
Donna Brazile

Donna Brazile

Donna Brazile is a Democrat activist and frequent on-air spokeswoman for the party, when she’s not pretending to be an objective analyst. And she was the manager for Vice President Gore’s unsuccessful campaign in 2000. She also, apparently, deeply desires rule-by-decree in the United States.

This morning she tweeted:

Well, gosh, Donna. I’m awful sorry that Republicans in the House and Senate, listening to their constituents (1), act like an opposition and oppose policies they think are bad. That’s what opposition parties do in democratic republics like ours; it’s part of the whole scheme. (2) If President Obama wants the minimum wage raised or our immigration policies reformed, maybe he should come up with revised proposals the Republicans might agree to. You know, political give-and-take?

Nah. That would be too much like work for him, and he hates that.

But, back to that “executive action” bit, Donna, we carefully and firmly divided the lawmaking power from the law enforcement power: Congress has the former, the Executive the latter, and one doesn’t get to do the other’s job just because it’s feeling frustrated.  As Madison wrote in Federalist 47:

The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.

It must be frustrating for you that Obama can’t act like a tyrant, but, last time I checked, we hadn’t passed an enabling act. You know, though, I seem to recall a country that did

What Mr. Madison called “tyranny,” Donna, seems to be the goal of modern American progressivism. A “liberal fascism.”

Thanks for making that clear.

Note: Sometimes the tweet takes a few seconds (minutes?) to display. I think it’s a problem in the hookup between Twitter and WordPress.

Footnote:
(1) That’s why it’s called “democracy.” You Democrats should try to acquaint yourselves with it, sometime.
(2) There’s this thing called “the Constitution.” It gives all the lawmaking power to Congress, not the president. Sorry if that frustrates you.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! Thanks, Glenn!


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