Yesterday, upon the air,
I heard a word that wasn’t there.
It wasn’t there again today,
I wish that it would go away…
(With apologies to Hughes Mearns)
In his report yesterday on the latest OSCE conference, Henrik Ræder Clausen included this summary of a dominant meme among ideological leaders in the West:
Panel members stressed the importance of not calling the Islamic State the “Islamic State”, for doing so could give the impression that Islam motivates people to war, terrorism and other crimes.
The avoidance of the I-word seems to have become a fixation in the revolving-door world of NGOs and state functionaries, particularly in Europe. It’s as if all the participants have been mysteriously hypnotized, and now wander around glassy-eyed, muttering the phrase “nothing to do with Islam” over and over again, their repetitive chant forming a background susurrus at every international function where important people assemble to hand down momentous policy decisions.
A notable example of the mindset may be found this handout from the OSCE Vienna meeting:
The four terrorist outfits shown in the chart are composed of different ethnic groups, operate in geographically separate areas, represent disparate cultures, and speak a variety of languages. The only thing these groups have in common is the word that wasn’t there.
When required to identify a common ideology, Western bien-pensants prefer to discuss “extremism” or “radicalization” — modifiers with no substantive objects. If cornered, they may refer to “Islamism” or “radical Islam”, but never plain old unmodified ISLAM.
It seems that a prerequisite for receiving funding from any government agency or charitable foundation is the absolute refusal to consider Islamic political ideology as an explanation for anything bad that happens in the world.
You can’t say that, old chap. It just isn’t done.
While drivers of terrorist activity are often complex and multidimensional, there are several generalised and significant socio-economic correlates of terrorism. Countries with higher levels of terrorism were found to have three statistically significant factors:
- Greater social hostilities between different ethnic, religious and linguistic groups, lack of intergroup cohesion and high levels of group grievances.
- Presence of state sponsored violence such as extrajudicial killings, political terror and gross human rights abuses.
- Higher levels of other forms of violence including deaths from organised conflict, likelihood of violent demonstration
The usual suspects are trotted out: socio-economic factors, ethnic and linguistic differences, etc. “Religion” is mentioned, but nothing specific — even though only ONE religion is significant in any of the major terror attacks chronicled by IEP.
The full report does refer to Islam, however. In the forms “Islam”, “Islamic”, or “Islamist”, the word occurs 113 times, and “Muslim” appears 20 times. The descriptions are what you’d expect from an organization that wants to avoid “Islamophobia” at all costs. For example, on pp. 2-3:
The majority of claimed deaths from terrorist attacks, 66 per cent in 2013, are claimed by only four terrorist organisations; ISIL, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Qa’ida and its affiliates. Variations of religious ideologies based on extreme interpretations of Wahhabi Islam are the key commonality for all four groups; however their strategic goals are not necessarily the same. To counteract the rise of religious extremism, moderate Sunni theologies need to be cultivated by credible forces within Islam. The current political context underscores the importance of moderate Sunni countries and not outside influences leading such a response. One such example was the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies led by Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah in March 2014 which brought together 250 Islamic scholars to promote a unified peaceful response to the current violence issuing a Fatwa in response to ISIL.
“Moderate Sunni theologies”? What are those? Where are their mosques, their seats of learning, their manifestos, their books of jurisprudence?
In point of fact, there are no “moderate Sunni theologies”. There are only soothing words spoken into microphones in non-Arabic languages directed at foolish, gullible Westerners who long to be told that Islam is OK, and everything will be fine. The Muslim Brotherhood long ago figured out what our elites want to hear, and make sure to lay it on thick at every available opportunity.
The report continues in a similar vein at eye-glazing length for 94 pages, with 81 endnotes — including one for our old friend, the International Centre for the study of Radicalisation and Political Violence.
There are numerous professional-quality charts, graphs, maps and tables to help readers visualize the problem of terrorism without thinking about Islam. The various statistics and references provide copious data on everything except the word that wasn’t there.
As Major Stephen Coughlin has repeatedly pointed out, there is no hope of grasping the nature of the problem as long as a pre-determined “narrative” continues to delimit what may be observed, thought, and said. There are strict boundaries on what may be identified as the “root causes” of terrorism, and Islam lies outside of them. The only plausible factor held in common by all the major terrorist groups and incidents has been ruled off the turf in advance.
During the panel discussion at OSCE Vienna last week, the speaker insisted that the Islamic State not be referred to as the “Islamic State” because it wasn’t Islamic. A Middle Eastern woman on the panel said, “Yes, the truth can constitute hate speech.” — and the moderator concurred.
We are required to understand reality through the prism of a model that distorts the reality it seeks to explain by using nested layers of abstraction. Add to this the fact that one of the primary purposes of the model is to systematically not mention that which is the object of the model, and we have an even greater distortion made complex because of it. But the complexity is due solely to an abstraction superimposed on top of another abstraction of those things that might initially have been explained in real terms. We take something obvious, turn it into a riddle, and then wrap it in a mystery inside an enigma.
In contrast, imagine what a normal, fact-based analysis of the situation would look like. To begin with, all the studies indicate that Islam is divided into two groups: the “moderates” and the “extremists”. How are those groups distinguished from one another?
Each follows a religious doctrine it calls “Islam” and identifies itself as “Muslim”.
Each reads the same scriptures — Koran, hadith, sira.
Since all the groups described are Sunni, each observes Islamic law as laid out in one of the four principal schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence.
In order to understand the possible differences between “moderates” and “extremists”, we would have to study Islamic legal doctrines, which are derived from the Koran, the hadith, and the sira. After several years of patient research, we would have gained the sense of what a devout, observant Muslim must do in order to meet the requirements of Islamic law — among which are instructions to fight the unbelievers until they submit or are dead, and to kill anyone who leaves Islam. There is no disagreement among the scholars on mandates such as these.
We would thus be drawn to the inescapable conclusion that the “moderate” Muslim merely professes the religion of Islam, while the “extremist” acts on it. That’s it. Otherwise they are the same.
A further layer of complication might be added by the discovery that Islamic law permits the believer to lie for the sake of his faith, and mandates lying if the cause is mandatory. That tells us that when the “moderate” speaks his soothing words to us at the microphone, he may in fact not be telling us the truth.
Just before the conference in Vienna, IslamOnline published a fatwa issued by the European Council for Fatwa and Research — an organization that has been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood — that says apostates (even in Europe) should be killed. A member of the audience wanted to know: Would the OSCE condemn such extremism and radicalization here in Europe?
The question was never answered.
When I came home last night at three
The word was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see it there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door
For links to previous articles about the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, see the OSCE Archives.