Bernard Lewis is about to turn 101

Thanks to Scaramouche

Martin Kramer writes about “The return of Bernard Lewis,” the historian who is about to turn, gulp, 101.

I especially like these lines which Lewis penned way back in 1976:

To admit that an entire civilization can have religion as its primary loyalty is too much. Even to suggest such a thing is regarded as offensive by liberal opinion, always ready to take protective umbrage on behalf of those whom it regards as its wards. This is reflected in the present inability, political, journalistic, and scholarly alike, to recognize the importance of the factor of religion in the current affairs of the Muslim world and in the consequent recourse [by Western observers] to the language of left-wing and right-wing, progressive and conservative, and the rest of the Western terminology, the use of which in explaining Muslim political phenomena is about as accurate and as enlightening as an account of a cricket match by a baseball correspondent.

“Protective umbrage”–what a great turn of phrase. Think I’ll have to borrow it.

Last week we heard a great deal about what Islamic terrorism isn’t.
Fridge bees, the most dangerous things on earthFridge bees, the most dangerous things on earth


Just what is Islamic terrorism, exactly? What are the causes and background of this mysterious phenomenon? Sixteen years and more than 30,000 Islamic terrorist attacks after September 11, 2001, many are none the wiser.

Last week we heard a great deal about what Islamic terrorism isn’t. For example, visiting US academic Lawrence Krauss told his fellow ABC Q&Apanellists Islamic terrorism isn’t as dangerous as a common household appliance. “You’re more likely to be killed by a refrigerator, in the United States, falling on you,” Krauss explained.

The next morning 22 people, mostly women and girls, were killed in Manchester by someone less dangerous than a fridge.

Back on Q&A, Guardian journalist Mona Chalabi insisted Islamic terrorism wasn’t even at the danger level of a tumbling Westinghouse. “Actually,” she said, “the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, if you want to view it in terms of the number of dead bodies, which, as awful as it sounds, is the way to kind of make sense of some threat, actually, really, isn’t that present.”

Except, perhaps, in the Manchester Arena immediately following an Ariana Grande concert. Actually. Really. And also during last night’s Q&A, apparently, because the ABC saw fit to add increased security. Can’t be too careful, what with all these radicalised refrigerators flying about.

Following the Manchester attack, Australia learned further about what Islamic terrorism isn’t thanks to a PhD thesis written by Dr Aloysia Brooks, estranged wife of former Guantanamo Bay resident David Hicks. Forget fridges – Islamic terrorism isn’t even as dangerous as bees.

“In reality, more people die in car accidents, from domestic murders and bee stings in Australia than terrorist attacks. However, the resources provided to prevent domestic murder, car accidents and bee stings are proportionately miniscule compared with the mammoth resources given to counter terrorism,” Brooks wrote.

“One could hardly imagine a war on bees occurring any time soon, and therefore it can be ­concluded that the counter-­terrorism laws have been largely politically driven.” As a further precaution, you’re far safer marrying someone who once vowed he was “very well trained for jihad” than you would be marrying some honey-producing pollination bug. Those things are scary.

The David Hicks Dancers in 2006

These arguments miss an obvious point. The number of deaths in Australia and the US caused by Islamic terrorism is not a conclusive measure of terrorism’s danger. A more accurate measure would take into account all of the attacks prevented by authorities in both countries. It might also take into account the number of deaths caused in Syria and northern Iraq by Australian and US citizens who have joined Islamic State’s freelance falling refrigerator squadrons.

As to the causes of Islamic terrorism, besides the obvious clue in the phrase “Islamic terrorism”, British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn last week blamed Britain. “Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home,” Corbyn said, which explains all those post-WWII terror missions by offended Germans and Japanese.

“That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children,” Corbyn continued, offering the left’s standard token line against Mohammedan murderers. “Those terrorists will forever be reviled and held to account for their actions.

“But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people that fights rather than fuels terrorism.”

When it comes to Islam and deadly explosions, the likes of Corbyn sure do love themselves a bit of “informed understanding”. It’s just that they never really get around to explaining what that “informed understanding” is, unless you include as “informed” various comparative bodycounts involving kitchen whitegoods and insects.

Might an informed understanding of Islamic terrorism require some appreciation of the risk presented by refugees? Not at all, according to ASIO boss Duncan Lewis. Appearing last week before a Senate inquiry, Lewis declared: “I have absolutely no evidence to suggest there is a connection between refugees and terrorism.”

Andrew Bolt covers this issue in some detail elsewhere, but to offer a brief rebuttal to Lewis’s dismissal of any refugee-terrorism links: Iranian refugee Man Monis, Afghan refugees Farhad Jabar and Mohammad Ali Baryalei, Iraqi-Kurdish refugee Numan Haider and Somali refugee Saney Edow Aweys. The ASIO leader should look up these names prior to his next Senate chat.

He could also, along with Krauss, Chalabi and Brooks, renew his awareness of a little book called the Koran.

The odd passage within give a few clues to the cause of his puzzling Islamic terrorism business. There’s even, according to one online translation, a mention of bees: “There issues from within these bees a fluid of many hues, wherein there is health for man. In all this, behold, there is a message indeed for people who think!”

No mention of fridges, though. That book would benefit from a modern makeover.

4 thoughts on “Bernard Lewis is about to turn 101”

  1. Again people making utterances as if they were talking about the reject rate of toothbrush holders made China. If I made the same remark about the road toll (which is statistically insignificant) I would be howled down. The other, unstated issue is the potential for more attacks. Rid the road of cars and you have no road deaths. Rid society of Islam…………. hmm it’s probably easier to get rid of all the fridges.

  2. Except that islam isn’t a religion at all much less one “Of Peace!”

    It’s a threat. The fiercely independent, fractious, contentious and warlike Arabs historically only united to repel a greater threat, as is codified in their “Me against my brother; my brother and I against our cousins; our clan against the tribe, the tribe against other tribes; the ummah against the infidels!” meme.

    So to make himself their ruler, Muhammad Abd’Allah had to come up with the greatest threat imaginable: “Allah” itself!

    So I’d like to propose we take their inherent resistance that last logical step, to let them reclaim their basic humanity:

    “The muslims and infidels against the Allah!”


  3. I hate to have to inform you, but the distinguished scholar Bernard Lewis is now regarded as a racist and Orientalist in our universities. His invaluable work has been replaced by the bitter and incoherant ramblings of Eduard Said and John Esposito.
    Is it any wonder the west has not come to terms with the reality of Islam?
    Islam is sugar coated by an uninformed academia (a few exceptions here, Merve Bendle and others who have lived and worked in Muslim countries do have a grip on the situation). Those who don’t toe the politically correct academic line will have thier careers unceremoniously cut short.

    1. Thanks for pointing it out. I am well aware of the toxic influence of Edward Said, John Esposito & the multitude of Islamic headbangers who infest our institutes of higher learning, thanks to Arab money.

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