Hugh Fitzgerald: A Few Thoughts on Muslims in the West
It may be impossible to completely end Muslim immigration to the West, but can it not be cut way back in the interests of security? We already know that there are tens of thousands of jihadis among recent Muslim immigrants to Europe. Even to monitor just one suspect around the clock requires at least three members of the police. It’s a terrifically expensive undertaking. We simply lack the manpower and money to monitor all those who require it. Should we not return these Muslim non-citizens to their countries of origin rather than fail to monitor them, or monitor them only at great expense? On what theory are we required to allow them to stay? Similarly, can we not impose restrictions on money coming from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere that fund Wahhabi or other extremist mosques and madrasas, with their message of hatred for Infidels, all over the Western world? Can legislation be passed to allow for the monitoring of mosques, and stripping citizenship from those who by word or deed support Islamic terrorism, identifying such support as treason? Can we enforce the equality of women, and freedom of conscience, among Muslims in our own countries? We are expected to believe that “diversity” is always and everywhere a societal good, though there is no evidence for this belief that amounts just to that warm fuzzy feeling that so often substitutes for thought. We need to take a much harder look at the impact of Muslims on our societies, instead of dwelling on the presumed but unproven benefits of “diversity.”
Is it impossible to create the conditions where True Believers in Islam, with all that that implies, may have to make a choice? If they remain in the Lands of the Infidels, they will discover how hard it can be to lead a “full Muslim life.” The mixing and equality of the sexes, in schools and sports (no more yielding to Muslim demands for “women only” hours at public pools), and at work, the banning of burkas and niqabs for security reasons, the security afforded apostates from Islam, the punishment of Muslim men who commit “honor killings,” the denial of Muslim prayer breaks in schools and workplaces, the public denouncing, and punishment, of imams who call for the mass killings of Jews, or Hindus, or Christians, the ending of tax breaks for any religious institution where such preaching goes on, new laws to punish anyone who publicly calls for such genocide, with both fines and prison terms as possible punishments — all this can severely constrain the conduct of Muslim life. Some Muslims, in order to be able to freely lead a truly Islamic life, may rethink their plans to settle in the West and instead may never leave their homelands, or if already living in the West, may decide to return to the Muslim lands from whence they came.
Islam is not mainly, or merely, a “religion” as we understand that term. It is a religion and a politics, a Total Belief-System. If we come to view Islam as the threat it is to the legal and political institutions that have been created in our own societies over time — tolerant, liberal, with equality of the sexes and equal treatment for minorities enshrined in the law — that we have inherited, and that we have a duty to preserve, then we will be far more willing to consider, and then to take, the kind of measures that have been taken, within recent memory, by a tolerant and advanced people, who decided they were under no obligation to again endure, for the sake of some theoretical “standard of tolerance,” a situation that they could remedy once and for all. I am thinking of the case of the Czechs, and those Europeans of the civilized old school, the Czech leaders Jan Masaryk and Eduard Benes. Their government passed, and then put into force, what came to be called the Benes Decree in 1946. By that decree, the Czech government decided to expel the “Sudeten Germans” who had lived, for hundreds of years, along what was then the border separating the Czechs from the lands of Deutschtum, These ethnic Germans had before the war allowed themselves to be used by Hitler to whip up Western opinion against the Czechs, and during the war, the Sudeteners were to a large degree supporters of Nazi Germany, treated by the Nazis as German citizens, and given, for example, the larger food rations to which Germans, but not Czechs, were entitled. Benes and Masaryk did not want the Czechs to ever again have to endure, much less yield to, demands from their German population. So they expelled them, well aware that not every Sudetener was a threat, but that enough of them had been, and were, to justify such an act. No one then thought, and no one has thought since, that the Czechs were wrong to expel the Sudeteners. Why should the Western world, similarly, provide citizenship to Muslims, whose deeply-held beliefs are not consonant with, but opposed to, Western values? Shall we simply ignore the evidence, pretend that everyone shares those values, and hope for the best? Should those who believe deeply, sincerely, in the Qur’anic commandment to conduct violent Jihad, be allowed to remain in our countries? Why? On what theory?
All those Muslims who recognize a duty, because of opinions they have expressed or posted or shared with others, either to participate themselves, or to support others who do, in the “Jihad” or struggle to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam, ought to be carefully examined, before being given citizenship, to see if they are likely to pose a permanent danger to the legal and political institutions of this country. And if they have already acquired citizenship, but either taken part in Jihad warfare themselves, or given or expressed support to others who engage in violent Jihad, we have a right to take that citizenship away.
Those Muslims who do not agree that they have such a duty of Jihad and whose Islam is more a matter of inherited cultural baggage than deep belief – people are born into states and societies and families suffused with it, and do not realize that in non-Islamic societies they are free to leave Islam — should have our government make clear to them that apostasy is their right, and that they are safe, in the West, to abandon Islam for another or for no religion, if they so wish, and no harm will come to them. Some may at once take up the offer. And given that guarantee, many more should now be willing to listen, no longer constrained by fear, to Christian proselytizers eager to make new converts.
Still others, despite their being ill-treated by other Muslims, may wish to defend the faith, out of some kind of residual loyalty to their own families of Believers, or to the sect from which they came. It is amazing to see, for example, how Ahmadi Muslims, though themselves the perennial targets of persecution and even murder, in Muslim lands, by those Muslims (especially in Pakistan) who consider Ahmadis to be Infidels rather than true Muslims, nonetheless remain stout defenders of Islam. They never complain to non-Muslims about their treatment, as if that were akin to hanging out Islam’s dirty laundry. The Ahmadis have shown themselves perfectly willing to misstate Islam’s contents when they participate, as a significant number of Ahmadis do, in those “Ask-A-Muslim-Anything” efforts. Misrepresenting what is so clearly in the texts, and that form the tenets, of Islam, is hardly the way for Ahmadis to alleviate the fears of Infidels. We have a right to expect Muslims not to hide the uncomfortable truths about the ideology of Islam, and we should be suspicious of those who continue to twist or deny the clear meaning of the Qur’anic verses, even if, like the Ahmadis, they are themselves generally peaceful. Non-Muslims could show up at these affairs, and suggest to the Ask-Me-Anything Muslims that they ought to be working on turning the “prescription” of Jihad (a commandment applicable to all time and space) in the Qur’an into “description” (meant to describe wars against non-Muslims at a particular time and place), which may be the only possible way to “reform” Islam and relieve non-Muslims of their justified worries and suspicions.
Those who continue today to call themselves Muslims (and not “cultural Muslims” or “Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only” Muslims), should ordinarily be held to know the contents of the texts (Qur’an, Hadith, Sira), and therefore the teachings of Islam, and arising naturally from them, the attitudes of Muslims, and the atmospherics of states, societies, families suffused with Islam. There are still many Infidels who don’t want to hear any unpleasant truths about Islam (Robert Spencer’s extraordinary experience at Stanford is just the latest example), but at the same time, other Infidels have been educating themselves about Islam, thanks in large part to the Internet, and it is getting harder to hide the truth from that ever-expanding number of well-informed Infidels in the West. Muslims should realize that they should not encourage willful ignorance among non-Muslims, if they wish to be trusted, nor insult the intelligence of those who have educated themselves, and cannot be fooled. Someone who today calls himself a Muslim has an affirmative duty, as the lawyers say, to forthrightly acknowledge what the Qur’an teaches about Jihad warfare, while declaring that as far as he is concerned, the doctrine of violent Jihad is no longer acceptable, but must be re-interpreted as a description of what went on in early Islam.
There are a wide variety of reasons why Muslims might fail to acknowledge the commandment to wage Jihad, or to admit to what Muslims have done in conducting Jihad over 1400 years. In some cases this may reflect not a desire to deliberately mislead, but lack of information. Not all 1.5 billion Muslims are equally informed. Some are simple souls, many are illiterate, who just don’t know what is part of their faith or what has been committed in the name of Islam. Others may not wish to know, preferring to be kept in the dark for fear of what they might learn. Still others know perfectly well what is in the Qur’an and Hadith, but are determined to keep that knowledge from non-Muslims; these are the sly and sinister defenders of the faith, people such as Tariq Ramadan.
Here are some of the reasons why a Muslim (or an “Islamochristian”) might not recognize certain home truths about Islam:
1) Ignorance of history is widespread among Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Why should we assume that the real history of Muslim conquest — as with the mass killings of tens of millions of Hindus, or the Arab slave trade that claimed 80 million victims — is known to all Muslims? How many Westerners are ignorant of their own history? What does the average American know, say, about European history between 500 and 1800 A.D.? Why should Muslims be any different?
2) Ignorance of what happened, after conquest by Muslims,, to so many lands and peoples. How did islamization,, and then arabization, of the conquered populations, proceed over time?. Few non-Arab Muslims recognize how Arabs are privileged in Islam. But just think: Muslims prostrate themselves in prayer toward Mecca, in Arabia, five times a day; they read the Qur’an, ideally, in Arabic; they often memorize and recite passages in Arabic even if they do not really know the language; they make the hajj to Mecca, at least once in their lives, if financially able; if not Arabs, they take Arab names, and assume pseudo-Arab identities, while some even go so far as to adopt false Arab lineages, calling themselves “Sayeeds” or descendants of the Prophet; they copy the ways of seventh-century Arabs in dress and manners. Islam has always been, as the writer Anwar Sheikh maintained, the “Arab national religion” or, put more bluntly, “a vehicle for Arab supremacism.”
3) Filial piety, including memories of sympathetic older relatives who were quietly pious Muslims and did not seem to wish harm to anyone, can delay or soften criticism of Islam. The famous apostate, and now fierce critic of Islam, Magdi Allam, writes movingly of the simple piety of his elderly parents, and it is clear that their example did cause him to delay announcing his own apostasy, but once he had moved from Egypt to Italy, and especially after the death of his parents, he began to relentlessly denounce Islam, pulling no punches, as he still does today.
4) The desire to spare oneself knowledge of certain truths about Islam that could call into question the entire value of what has been, in so many ways, central to one’s sense of self or, rather, of the self immersed in the umma, or community, of Believers. How difficult it is for those who live not in free societies, but in Muslim lands, to see Islam steadily and whole. For they are subject to the constant din of Islamic propaganda, in societies suffused with Islam, where this total belief-system offers both a simple explanation of the universe, and a complete regulation of life, and thus a comforting way to organize and make sense of the universe.
5) Among Arab Muslims, their ethnic identity reinforces a desire to protect, to defend, not to question, Islam — and that can be true even of non-Muslim Arabs, those I call “islamochristians.” One thinks, for example, of Christian “Palestinians” who parrot, because they have internalized, the Muslim view of Israel and of Jews. These “islamochristians” thereby hope to be accepted by the Muslims among whom they must live. They choose not to take seriously what the Qur’an says about Christians; they ignore the ominous Muslim chant of “first the Saturday people, then the Sunday people” that expresses the anti-Christian hatred among Muslims that is to be satisfied once “the Jews” have been taken care of.
These are explanations, not justifications, of varieties of Muslim responses, of both real and willful ignorance, of misplaced loyalties, of the defensive desire to protect, of the tug of family and tribe, of the fear of apostasy, of the ethnic identity that carries with it loyalty to Islam even among some non-Muslims. But they should give pause to those who insist that every Muslim knows exactly what all other Muslims know about Islam, or that those who remain loyal to it do so for the same reasons. It’s not so simple. There’s plenty to ponder.
Coming back to the effect of a large Islamic presence on our societies, let’s think first of the cost. More than $1 trillion dollars has been spent on homeland security alone since 9/11 (and another $7 billion on wars abroad that were prompted by the felt need to clean out terrorists from the Middle East and Central Asia). Then think of how our way of life, because of the large-scale Muslim presence and the consequent threat of terrorism, has been considerably altered. Think of the hundreds of millions of man-hours now wasted because we must appear at airports, for security reasons, at least three hours before our scheduled flights. Think of the ubiquitous security checks, before we get on a plane or train, think of the security details on those planes, trains, busses, subway stations and subway cars..Think of the enhanced security now required at concerts, sports arenas, night clubs, hotels, army recruitment centers, national monuments, government buildings, famous pedestrian walkways (as in Nice, Barcelona, New York), hospitals, universities, churches, synagogues, all because of the threat of Muslim terrorists. Think of all the events,too, that have been cancelled because of terrorist threats. Many Christmas markets have been cancelled in Europe, the latest being the Christmas market held on the Champs-Elysées, in the very heart of Paris. Concerts and sports events, too, have been cancelled or postponed, especially in the immediate wake of Muslim terror attacks. And these terrorists against whom we require all this security are not, we know, misunderstanding Islam, but zealously following the Qur’an — e.g., Qur’an 3:151, 4:89, 8:12, 8:60 — and Hadith (Muhammad’s “I have been made victorious through terror”). The call for qitaal (combat) against the Infidel, the jihad commanded in 109 Qur’anic verses, is held by many Muslims to legitimately include, along with conventional combat, what we non-Muslims have no difficulty in describing as “terrorism.” These texts calling for “striking terror” in the hearts of Infidels have not been twisted or distorted, but taken literally, are correctly understood.
Meanwhile, the march of Islam is promoted by using, along with terrorism, non-violent instruments of Jihad– Da’wa (the Call to Islam), demographic conquest, deployment of the Money Weapon (all of which have the same goal as terrorism, and in the long run may be even more effective in spreading Islam). Da’wa — the Call to Islam — has been effective in the prisons of the Western world, where individual prisoners convert because they want to join “the Muslim gang,” the toughest of all the gangs, which affords them protection in the violent prison environment. In the U.S. alone, last year 40,000 prisoners converted to Islam. Little is done to counter this Da’wa, though much could be done if there were sufficient will and resources. Since many of these prison converts to Islam are black, a campaign by Christian ministers, possibly accompanied by black refugees from the Sudan, former slaves of northern Arabs, ought to bring prisoners information about the horrendous Arab slave trade carried on in Africa for centuries, with 80 million black African victims of that trade. There never was, nor could have been, a Muslim William Wilberforce, because Muhammad himself bought and sold and traded in slaves, which means that Muslims have always regarded slavery as legitimate. Slavery finally ended in the Muslim Arab lands, but only under terrific Western pressure; it wasn’t until 1962 that slavery ended in Saudi Arabia.
These, then, are some of the things we ought to be thinking of doing:
1) cutting back, if not eliminating entirely (only because it would be politically impossible), Muslim immigration. At the same time, deliberately raising the number of immigrants who have been victimised by Muslims, as Assyrian and Chaldean Christians from Iraq, Copts from Egypt, and Hindus and Buddhists from Bangladesh. Not only do these people deserve rescue, but once in the West they will offer convincing personal testimony as to how Muslims treat non-Muslims.
2) denying American citizenship to those Muslims who are not yet citizens, and whom we have reason to believe support the doctrine of violent Jihad. They need not have taken part in such Jihads; it is enough that they support them.
3) stripping American citizenship from anyone found to have taken part in, or who otherwise lends support to, terrorism planned or carried out against our citizens.
4) halting the flow of money from abroad, especially from Saudi Arabia, that pays for mosques and madrasas, and for the salaries of imams and teachers, where we have evidence that violent Jihad, or hatred of non-Muslims, is preached in those mosques or taught in those madrasas. In some cases, if we find repeated violations of our laws concerning the preaching of genocide or extolling of Jihad, those mosques and madrasas may be permanently shut down.
5) helping to arrange private funding (to avoid first amendment problems) for campaigns of counter-dawa, especially in prisons, where African-American prisoners in particular should be informed about the massive Arab slave trade in Africa, Mohammed’s role as a slave-owner, and the consequent toleration of slavery in Muslim Arab lands.
These are some of the measures that deserve to be considered and that, one hopes, will be adopted. When it comes to Islam, the Western world has for decades tried a large number of carrots. Now it’s time to try the stick.