In last night’s post, a comment by loyal reader truepeers invited such a long response that it has become a separate post.
|I don’t think we have to accept our enemies’ terms of engagement. Why should we define our fight in terms of their lunacy? Our enemy should be defined as anyone who would use or support violence against us…|
I am in agreement with you. But it is extremely important not to look the other way and say, “Oh, no, we’re not at war with Islam, we’re at war with terrorists” if, in fact, Islam has decided that it is at war with us. It’s not yet clear that this has happened, but we should always be on the alert for it, because it may yet happen. If people who devoutly hold the Islamic faith decide that, according to their own religious precepts, they have to support the jihadis against the West, then we will be at war with Islam, whether we will it or not.
It’s not yet clear because the average devout Muslim, heretofore peaceful, has not declared himself clearly on the topic. With luck it may never come to that.
|Beyond this, I don’t think we have to declare a war against Islam…|
I am not talking about our declaring war. I am talking about who declares war on us.
|When you write, “According to Auster, because the scripturally-based tenets of their religion require them to have no loyalty except to Islam, and to wage jihad against the infidel whenever circumstances permit, serious Moslems are not capable of being loyal Americans, or, indeed, loyal citizens of any nation except the Caliphate of the True Faith”, I just shudder because this is what many have wrongly said and still say about Jews, Japanese-Americans, etc.|
You’re right, which is why it is so hard to look at the possibility. But it is extremely important to consider it — if it is, indeed, impossible for a devoutly observant Muslim to be loyal to any polity save the Caliphate, then it would be foolish for the West not to observe this fact and take it into consideration.
|Islam does pose a problem of loyalties, no doubt about it. So does Judaism in the Christian context. But we cannot know the solution for one and all. When discussing a religion, there is no objective truth. We must locate the religious in the (etic/emic) terms of an interaction between our own religious perspective – our own understanding of what religion is – interacting with those of others. We must attend to what Muslims in America think their religion is about, not only what we or Islamicists think.|
With all due respect, we do not have to do this. We only have to determine whether they consider us their enemy, and act accordingly. But determining this is difficult, and it may not become clear for a long while yet.
|A big part of the problem, let us remember, is our own liberal elites who need a reality check and we can’t expect Muslims living in the west to share in that reality check until it comes perfectly ok, for example, for security personnel to engage in religious or “racial” profiling. When we make clear the terms of the fight – and they must be our terms – we can then truly ask are you with us or against us, and then respond accordingly. We cannot start the fight by making blanket statements about a war against Islam. Not simply because we might not win or because it would be unfair to many Moslems. It is not for us to decide what is inherent in or essential to that faith. Despite its anti-historicism (the eternal and uncreated Koran), it and its members have a right to live in history with the rest of humanity. We can only respond to unacceptable violence, wherever it comes from, and we might start with our own loony western foes of the marketplace.|
We are in agreement here. But, if we are to fight this war effectively, and prevent the deaths of thousands or millions of additional innocents, we must anticipate unacceptable violence as well as respond to it. If we are only reactive, we will sustain more casualties and fight for a much longer time.
In order to be proactive, we will have to destroy the politically correct shibboleths which hobble us so severely. One of them, a companion to the “religion of peace” meme, is that “we are not at war with Islam”.
I submit that we do not yet know whether we are at war with Islam. And until we do know for certain, it would be extraordinarily foolhardy to foreclose the possibility.