The Pakistani government is firmly in the ideologue-Islamist camp. So is the rest of the Middle East. Thus, Daniel Pipes sounds a warning to those of us — especially us, the optimistic and sometimes fatally hopeful Americans — who fail to see how powerful the Islamofascists will remain, no matter which tyrant dies or is toppled.
one main danger threatens to undo the good news: that a too-quick removal of tyranny unleashes Islamist ideologues and opens their way to power. Sadly, Islamists uniquely have what it takes to win elections: the talent to develop a compelling ideology, the energy to found parties, the devotion to win supporters, the money to spend on electoral campaigns, the honesty to appeal to voters, and the will to intimidate rivals.
This drive to power is nothing new. In 1979, Islamists exploited the shah’s fall to take power in Iran. In 1992, they were on their way to win elections in Algeria. In 2002, they democratically took over in Turkey and Bangladesh. Removing Saddam Hussein, Husni Mubarak, Bashar Assad, and the Saudi princes is easier than convincing Middle Eastern Muslim peoples not to replace them with virulent Islamist ideologues.
This is more than simply “converting” Muslims in the Middle East to democratic reform. What is the point of elections when they do not rest on the fundament of rule of law? Islam rests on something far less flexible and infinitely less merciful: taqiyya.
Whether the politically correct would disown it or not, Western political philosophy is Judeo-Christian in nature. Thus, lying is considered unethical and in some cases unlawful. Western jurisprudence takes seriously the need for truth in the rule of law.
Such restrictions do not hold in Islamic jurisprudence and theology. In fact, taqiyya against unbelievers is a necessary virtue in the waging of jihad. All is fair in war. And all is war until the arrival of the Hour, that time when the world is Allah’s.
The celebration of taqiyya can be traced all the way back to Mohammed and his abrogation of the treaty he made with Mecca. It can be traced forward through the centuries of Muslim conquests, all the way to the Gates of Vienna.
Taqiyya may seem clever to those who use it against the seemingly witless West. Such tenets, however, are in the end self-destructive. They shred the society of believers into ever-smaller tatters. They halt the natural progress toward transparency and flexibility in human interchange. Such a culture is riven with distrust; such a house, divided against itself, cannot stand. However, it can bring the rest of the neighborhood down with it.
For Muslims, that means it will not be a short run up to liberty’s transformative power. First they have to practice truthfulness with all of us.
For the rest of us, it would be well to heed Mr. Pipes’ warning. He praises President Bush’s “steadfast vision of a free Middle East” but warns
his administration should proceed slowly and very carefully about transferring power from autocrats to democrats. The Middle East’s totalitarian temptation, with its deep questions of history and identity, needs first to be confronted and managed. To skip these steps could leave the region even worse off than during the era of unelected tyrants.
In the midst of a much longer passage, Jesus tells this cautionary tale:
When a foul spirit has left a man, it roams about in the Desert, seeking a resting-place; but, unable to find any, it says, `I will return to the house I have left;” 25 and when it comes, it finds the house swept clean and in good order. 26 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more malignant than itself, and they enter and dwell there; and in the end that man’s condition becomes worse than it was at first. 27 (Luke 11:24-26)
If you have ever wondered what that story meant, simply consider “the Middle East’s totalitarian temptation” and the possibility of elected tyrants in place of the despots we are busy destabilizing.
With such destruction is strewn the path of unintended consequences.