There seems to be growing tolerance for agendas that conflict with Jewish sovereignty and national claims. At the same time, Islamic operatives enlist liberal support for their anti-liberal goals.
After a recent trip to Israel, former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann reportedly called upon Christians to step up efforts to convert the Jews. Her pronouncement was met with indignation from across the Jewish political spectrum – and deservedly so, as it displayed a patronizing and flawed understanding of Jewish scripture and history. But as misguided as it certainly was, it was not a call to pogrom or massacre; and while Jews have every right to be offended, such comments are benign, albeit insulting, and pose no threat to Jewish life, limb, or belief.
Ironically, few of those who criticized Bachmann would ever chastise those Muslims who preach doctrinal supremacism or reject the very concept of a Jewish state. Nor would they denounce leftist ideologues who defend progressive anti-Semitism as political speech or delegitimize Israel. The question, then, is how they can reconcile assertive condemnations of Christian missionary zeal with apologetic attitudes towards radical Islam and a refusal to acknowledge the religious basis for much of today’s terrorism.
As suggested by ongoing dialogue between the nontraditional movements and dubious Muslim advocacy organizations, and by liberal support for progressive groups like the New Israel Fund, there seems to be growing tolerance for agendas that conflict with Jewish sovereignty and national claims. There is also a tendency to express admiration for Islamic values while ignoring troubling dogmas that discourage free speech and demonize Jews.
Jewish progressives are quick to praise Islamic culture as peaceful and tolerant, yet few have actually read the Quran, Hadith, Sira, or classical legal commentaries. Fewer still have any concept of the stringent nature of Sharia or how “infidels” are treated thereunder. They overlook the history of Jews in Islamic lands, where subjugation, massacres, segregation, pogroms, and forced conversions were the rule, not the exception; and they rationalize Muslim Jew-hatred as a modern consequence of the Arab-Israel conflict.
In denying the existence of traditional anti-Semitism in Islamic society, these sophists also claim that the Quran and Hadith are no different from the Torah and Talmud. But Jewish law does not command the subjugation of Gentiles and has no jihad-like tradition of holy war. Whereas Halakha applies to Jews, Sharia purports to bind non-Muslims, whom it regards as infidels to be conquered, taxed and converted.
These issues were discussed at a recent program in Massachusetts entitled, “Western Media and Sharia Law: A Fundamental Misunderstanding,” featuring Daniel Akbari, an ex-Muslim and former Sharia lawyer from Iran, and Lt. Col. Roy White, a retired U.S. Air Force combat pilot and Gulf war veteran.
Before renouncing Islam and converting to Christianity, Mr. Akbari defended clients accused of capital offenses in Sharia courts. He was jailed and tortured for apostasy before coming to the United States, and is the author of many articles and two books, “Honor Killing: A Professional’s Guide to Sexual Relations and Ghayra Violence from the Islamic Sources,” and “New Jihadists and Islam.”
Lt. Col. White served in various Air Force command positions for twenty years and now heads the San Antonio, Texas chapter of “ACT! for America,” which is at the forefront of the counter-jihad movement. Through the “Truth in Texas Textbooks Coalition” he spearheaded a review of books being considered by the Texas State Board of Education for use in its public schools, which exposed more than 1,500 errors regarding, among other things, Jewish history, Christianity, and the historical use of violence against non-Muslims. As a result, hundreds of errors were corrected or deleted, and many of the textbooks were rejected altogether.
One strategy of civilizational jihadists is to infiltrate societal institutions and pursue their goals from within.
Mr. Akbari and Col. White discussed the spread of Islamism in the West, which they see as a consequence of doctrinal supremacism combined with a western failure to discuss it or acknowledge its existence. They explained that jihad can be violent or nonviolent, and that in the absence of sufficient power to dominate infidel society by force, it is permissible to advance the faith bytaqiyya (deception).
Propagating the faith covertly is the modus operandi of many extremists posing as moderates in the West. The principles of “civilizational jihad” were articulated in “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” reportedly written for the Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was entered in evidence by federal prosecutors in U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a terror financing trial in 2009. One strategy of civilizational jihadists is to infiltrate societal institutions and pursue their goals from within. They commonly use political correctness to portray themselves as a minority (despite a global Muslim population of approximately 1.6 billion) and to characterize their opponents as bigots.
According to Mr. Akbari, the term “Islamophobia” was created to chill discourse by equating critical discussion of Islam or Sharia with unwarranted prejudice, adopting the strategy of gay rights activists who coined the term “homophobia” to describe opposition to their cause. Stealth Islamists understood how quickly the term “homophobic” became synonymous with “bigot,” and endeavored to manipulate language to similar effect. The irony is that in so doing they emulated the strategy of a group that suffers greatly in Sharia states.
It’s equally ironic that their operatives in the West have enlisted progressive support to advance an agenda that contravenes liberal principles. According to Akbari, they have beguiled western progressives by claiming only to be protecting a minority culture while downplaying supremacist religious doctrine. He believes the distinction between culture and religion is artificial, however, and that in evaluating the long-term goals of civilizational jihad it is necessary to determine those of Sharia.
In assessing the nature of Sharia, Akbari said one must analyze its rules and determine whether harsh applications can be militated by interpretation. Informed by his experiences growing up in Iran and practicing law in Sharia courts, he opined that punishments such as crucifixion, beheading and amputation reflect a body of law that is anti-western. Moreover, the prevalence of honor killings of women and girls who adopt western manners or refuse arranged marriages cannot be ignored. These killings have occurred in North America and Europe without comment from apologists who so freely characterize critics of Sharia as racists and bigots.
Mr. Akbari believes that many Muslims who came to the US and Europe a generation ago were nominally religious and had little understanding of Sharia law and doctrine. Indeed, many were fleeing persecution and had no interest in forcing their beliefs on others. But as first generation children began to assimilate, their parents often encouraged them to attend Islamic centers run by fundamentalist clerics, or student groups under the aegis of such organizations as the Muslim Brotherhood.
It is in fundamentalist environments where youths from acculturated homes become radicalized and learn the use of dissimulation. Mr. Akbari noted that a sure sign of taqiyya is the claim that the word jihad does not mean war, but instead means “fighting evil temptation,” a definition that he said is not found in Islamic scripture. According to Akbari, this interpretation requires a suspension of orthodox belief, which itself could be considered heretical. There is nothing heretical, however, in claiming to be moderate to advance jihadist goals. And no expense is spared promoting such efforts, particularly in public schools and on college campuses.
Both Akbari and White expressed concern about the prevalence of Islamist propaganda in American schools. White’s work in vetting textbooks is a response to the proliferation of educational materials from questionable sources that seek to indoctrinate schoolchildren. At a time when organized prayer and moments of reflective silence are banned in American public schools, many districts are using materials that teach Islamic principles, and parents who complain are often branded “Islamophobic.” Sometimes it takes interventions by activists like Col. White to force schools to reassess their counterintuitive – and perhaps unconstitutional – use of such materials.
The problem is especially acute on college campuses, where groups with ties to organizations like the Brotherhood are accorded respect and credibility, and where anti-Semitism is pervasive, Israel is vilified, and free speech is denied those who disagree with the agenda. Universities boasting anti-hate speech codes only seem to enforce them when progressive or Muslim sensibilities are offended, not when Jewish students are abused or conservative students are penalized for voicing their opinions.
The divide between western enablers and critics of radical Islam is reflected in the debate over Syrian refugees. The left advocates relaxing immigration restrictions and admitting refugees with little scrutiny, while the majority calls for a cautious approach in light of the skewed demographic profile of the refugee population, seventy to eighty percent of which consists of single men of fighting age. Furthermore, many are non-Syrians with fake passports or are suspected of having terrorist sympathies or affiliations. This is especially troubling in light of reports that at least one of those responsible for the recent carnage in Paris entered France as a refugee.
Through it all, progressives refuse to identify the problem, and their critics tend to limit the danger to extremist groups like ISIS or al-Qaeda. But western society would be better served by recognizing the dogmas that motivate extremism and the existence of civilizational jihad. If Americans and Europeans are to prevail against today’s terrorism, they will need to discard their stupefying political correctness, acknowledge the doctrines that sanctify violence, and assert those values that are under attack. Falling short will only facilitate submission and defeat.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in Arutz Sheva.