Europe, Features, Politics, Security

Manchester’s Children and the Regressive Left

Editor’s note: This goes to publication on the same day that the London Attacks have occurred on London Bridge and at Borough Market. This latest attack comes less than a fortnight after the Manchester bombing.

 

Are the enlightened losing the battle of ideas? It would certainly seem so. Moral decay, hypocrisy, ginned-up hysteria, and denials of verifiable fact are suffusing our public discourse. Atavism, nativism, undue respect for religion (and one religion in particular, about which more below) are now ascendant; a childishly intolerant, tantrum-like brand of Leftist militancy has emerged, with intersectionality, cultural appropriation, and “privilege” being the fashionable catchwords, and de-platforming controversial speakers a common manifestation. (The specter of postmodernism hovers over all the above.) This militancy displays a strain of ideological derangement so outlandish that it resembles the most vicious of nuthouse satire and would be risible if it weren’t so dangerous. We can safely say that we’re teetering on the brink of civilizational suicide—a suicide assisted by those of the illiberal left.

Nowhere is this more evident than on university campuses. In mid-May at Dartmouth College, a student group saw fit to host a speech by unabashed Islam-apologist Linda Sarsour—she with whom Bernie Sanders urged us to march in Washington, D.C, in January, but who had earned notoriety for issuing (and then deleting) regressive, at times nasty tweets, including one in which she announced in 2011 that she wished she could “take away the vagina” of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the heroic Somali-born public intellectual and apostate from Islam. (Hirsi Ali happens to have suffered female genital mutilation. The cruel, sick irony of Sarsour’s tweet can escape no one.) At Sarsour’s talk, a (white male) student stood up, announced that “women’s rights are human rights,” and impertinently asked her about this tweet. Sarour’s response? To call for “context,” cite the young man’s sex and skin color as reasons for dismissing his question, and then prevaricate clumsily about the tweet, which she said (untruthfully) he “got from a right-wing blog”, and which she “did or did not tweet,” and, anyway, she was in her twenties when she posted it, and “people say stupid shit sometimes” at that age. “Right?” The students shamelessly rewarded her evasive non-answer with applause and hoots of approval.

But we are losing more than the battle of ideas. As the recent Islamist attack in Manchester shows, we are losing the lives of our children. The bomb-splattered blood, shreds of flesh, and feces of the pubescent victims had not yet dried on the skin and in the hair of surviving bystanders when, predictably, calls rang out cautioning us all against “Islamophobia”—see here and here, for example:

By casting the frank discussion we desperately need to have about Islam and its violence-inducing doctrines as reprehensible, those issuing such calls abet the perpetrators of Islamist atrocities and fittingly find themselves in the company of the Manchester terrorist, who himself filed an “Islamophobia” complaint against a teacher.

Shame on them.

There is nothing new in such “Islamophobia” warnings, which, after each episode of mass Islamist murder, rain down upon us like shrapnel from the bomb blasts themselves, inflicting collateral damage on reason and on our sense of human decency. But a certain Shaun King, who writes for the New York Daily News, did manage to pen one such admonition that is newsworthy; he managed, in fewer than eight hundred words, to pack all the regressive left’s prevailing Islam-pertinent fallacies into a single, grotesquely self-important declaration of civilizational surrender. Titled in a way that neatly exemplifies the dilemma true liberals now confront when demanding honest discussion of Islamist terrorists’ motives, King’s essay—“Why we must never hate Islam, or Muslims, because of the violence of its fake followers”—might be dismissed as a preachy, gross sort of parody. But King is serious—and earnest to a discrediting fault.

King’s opening line portends the unseemly solipsism that is to come, and straightaway insults the grieving victims’ family members by equating their unimaginable anguish with his rather mundane qualms about being of mixed-race heritage. “My dear mother is a sweet, supportive, 66-year-old white woman from rural Kentucky. I love her without hesitation.” In an article prompted by the Islamist extermination of innocent children, two entire paragraphs then follow in which Kings touts his own fair-mindedness as a journalist. He is still nattering on about this in the third graph, but at least he finally introduces his central (and so unoriginally wearisome) Islam-exculpatory fallacy: “we must always resist the urge to throw an entire race of people under the bus even if we truly despise whiteness or white privilege or white supremacy.”

So adherents to an ideology constitute a race? Islam is a faith-based ideology, with nothing biologically inherent about it. How would King account for (white) Taliban-combatant John Walker Lindh, or the thwarted shoe-bomber Richard Reid? What would he say of the European converts who joined ISIS? What about Muslim-majority Albania and Kosovo? By King’s illogic, we should declare red-state Republicans a race, since they mostly share a skin color and dogmatically professed beliefs. Religions are thought systems—thought systems conceived in ages of ignorance, asserted without evidence, and deployed to control human behavior—above all, female behavior.

(In a similar vein, imagine the storm of popular outrage that would erupt if any modern-day political party wrote into its charter sex-slavery, wife-beating, and clitorectomies; declared said charter to be immutable and sacrosanct; announced its headquarters stood on sacred ground; and promised to kill anyone who dared leave the party. Even the reddest of red-state Republicans would never go this far.)

And let’s be clear: King urges us to look benignly upon an ideology that does endorse taking female captives as sex slaves, instructs husbands on how to beat their wives, values women’s testimony as half that of men, and sanctions the barbaric butchery that is female genital mutilation. These tenets are matters of scripture, not distortions concocted by a few renegades from the faith.

Religions, to be sure, deserve not a pass, but relentless critique, and Islam is no exception. After all, it declares its remit over humanity as a whole and thus must face criticism by us all. The sort of wrongheaded respect King demands we show Islam (not Muslims, who obviously deserve respect as people, but Islam) we already display enough of, with the result that, for instance, the media suppressed the eminently newsworthy cartoons of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists (slain by Islamist assassins in 2015); and straight-talking heroes like Hirsi Ali and Sarah Haider (co-founder of Ex-Muslims of North America) must live as hunted outcasts in a country that should celebrate them. Telling us “never to hate” the ideology behind terrorist massacres may be evidence of Stockholm Syndrome. After all, those cautioning us to feel kindly toward Islam could potentially themselves be targets of the gunmen and bombers.

King next tells us that many of the Manchester victims were the same age as his own four daughters—nota bene, this; I’ll address it below—and then slips into understatement that defies rationale: “our unspoken understanding is that the carnage there in Manchester was severe.” Our “unspoken understanding”? “Severe?” What does this mean? Is he trying to downplay the ghastliness of the attack? It would seem so.

King then gets to his point.

[W]hat happened [in Manchester] is no excuse to slide into Islamophobia. Whoever did this is no more a Muslim than those who lynched African Americans during Jim Crow were Christians. Wearing the garb of a faith no more makes you a follower of that faith than me wearing a Steph Curry jersey makes me a Golden State Warrior. From the beginning of time, people have perverted religions to justify the worst possible behaviors imaginable. This man who decided to blow himself up at the exit doors of the concert venue just as families exited was not a Muslim.

Is there an Islam-apologist who does not trot out the “no true Scotsman” dodge? (Apparently not.) In any case, who granted King the right to impugn the piety of the Manchester attacker, Salman Abedi, and on what basis does he do so? A committed Muslim who did not hide his faith, Abedi, we have every reason to think, believed he was committing an act of jihad, for which he would be rewarded with instant access to paradise. Jihad and martyrdom are fundamental tenets of mainstream Islam.

King goes on:

Suicide itself is forbidden in Islam. Well over a billion Muslims believe this. Murder, doubly so of innocent women and children, is forbidden in Islam. This is commonly understood and peacefully observed by everyday Muslims all over the world. These terrible, ignorant violent betrayers of Islam who blow themselves up in the names of causing such carnage are not Muslims.

It goes without saying that a majority of Muslims are not killing themselves or murdering women and children. But far too many are, as the wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere attest; most victims of Islamist terrorism are, in fact, Muslims. (The West’s role in helping to ignite some of the current conflicts deserves attention, but King, fixated on the notion that Islam is a race, ignores it.) Nevertheless, alarmingly large numbers of Muslims, Pew polling data show, believe that suicide bombing is “often” or “sometimes” justified. From their burgeoning ranks ISIS and similar groups draw their recruits. What “everyday Muslims all over the world” are doing does not matter to us; those slaughtering innocents are the ones pushing us to examine the faith that impels them to act.

Without any theological justification, King informs us that Islamist acts of terrorism “are fundamentally un-Islamic. They not only violate the letter of Qur’an, but violate the spirit of it as well.”

Calling such bloodshed a “bastardization of Islam,” he segues awkwardly into the “[t]rans-Atlantic slave trade” and one of its “early ships” that “was actually known as the “Good Ship Jesus.” KKK lynchers, he notes, also professed Christianity. Hence there’s nothing in particular wrong with Islam.

Well, the Muslim slavers who sold the human beings they had captured to their Western counterparts found nothing problematic with their profession either (and they began their odious trade long before the Europeans). Not surprising, this; the Quran condones slavery, even sex slavery. Of course, Europeans could also turn to their holy book for slavery’s justification. That neither Islam nor Christianity outlaws slavery stands, most of all, as evidence for junking religion. King appears to be unaware of any of this.

“Of all the friends I have,” King tells us, “none are more consistently warm, peaceful, supportive, and kind than my Muslim friends.” This line is too transparently silly to be worth refuting; no one is contending that Muslims are not nice as people. At issue, we recall, is the motivation of the Manchester attacker and those like him. For King, “fake Muslims and Christians—who cloak themselves in the accoutrements of religion but do so for the asinine and insincere reasons” amount to a grave danger. An editor at the New York Daily News would have done well to ask King to state clearly these “asinine and insincere reasons” as well as the criteria by which he so reliably discerns “fake” followers of religions from “true” ones. In another era, this was the business of the Holy Inquisition’s murderous sleuths.

King closes with a conflation of Islam and its practitioners, and tells us that we “must find a way to be angry at what happened in Manchester without hating Islam and its more than 1.5 billion adherents. Blaming all of Islam for what this idiot, or for what the few hundred other idiots like him have done, is not just simple, it’s both dumb and dangerous.”

Actually, it’s King’s conflation that is “both dumb and dangerous.” As former Muslim Sarah Haider has pointed out, considering all Muslims as innately, unalterably religious “will come back to hurt Muslims since you can end up saying ‘this religion has issues that don’t mix well with modernity, so these [Muslims] need to go!’” King’s is just the sort of faulty thinking behind Trump’s Muslim bans, which, had they been in place decades ago, would have barred both Haider and Hirsi Ali from entering the United States.

The truly “dumb and dangerous” approach is to see Islamic ideology and its followers as inseparable and place them above criticism. We do not need a wholesale prohibition on Muslim immigration, and we do not need to “love” or “hate” Islam; but, rather, we need an honest, open talk about just why Islam is driving so many to shed blood today. The point here would not be to attack the Islamic faith’s followers—the U.S. Constitution guarantees religious freedom, of course, as do the constitutions of other Western countries—but to start a dialogue about two Islamic tenets in particular—jihad and martyrdom—and what can be done to lessen their allure. This might seem impossible, but it’s worth a try. Let’s not forget that free speech about religion can have the effect of freeing people from religion. Secularizing trends are well underway—and in the Islamic world as well.

That King penned the above essay while himself having four daughters demonstrates the degree to which he (and others like him) are willing to go in capitulating to the politically correct nonsense notion that Islam has nothing to do with today’s wave of terrorism. Even the murder of children won’t shake them. Deception of this sort has consequences. Trump likely beat Hillary Clinton in November because she refused to speak forthrightly about Islam’s relation to terrorism.

Freedom of speech has already numbered among the casualties of the left’s reaction to Islam—and free speech is what keeps society healthy and helps preserve it from civil strife.

Yet all is not lost! There are signs that a more truthful discussion about Islam is beginning. The horrors of the Manchester assault seem to have prompted a refreshing openness (see also here) from at least a few on the Left and even among some of the Muslim clergy.

Cable news stations have rarely sought commentary over the past couple of years from flagrant Islam-obfuscators Reza Aslan and Dean Obeidallah – and after Manchester was no exception. The edifice of distortion, doubletalk, and lies built around Islam is starting to crumble.

There may, after all, be hope for our civilisation yet.

Jeffrey Tayler

Jeffrey Tayler

Jeffrey Tayler is a contributing editor at The Atlantic. He is the author of seven books, including “Angry Wind,” “River of No Reprieve” and “Murderers in Mausoleums.” Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyTayler1.
Jeffrey Tayler
Filed under: Europe, Features, Politics, Security

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Jeffrey Tayler is a contributing editor at The Atlantic. He is the author of seven books, including “Angry Wind,” “River of No Reprieve” and “Murderers in Mausoleums.” Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyTayler1.

63 Comments

  1. “…and free speech is what keeps society healthy and helps preserve it from civil strife.”
    I find that argument fascinating, particularly the vehemence with which it’s pushed in America. Other free, democratic countries have managed to restrict speech that incites hatred without tumbling into dictatorship. How can free speech override, for example, the primordial right of the equality of citizens? I have the impression that some people (sometimes misguidedly, but not always) being impeded from speaking at universities are people promoting the notion we are not or should not be treated equally in society or under the law. How is that not a greater attack on modern society than the curtailing of their (sometimes hate) speech?

    • Jeremy says

      “Other free, democratic countries have managed to restrict speech that incites hatred without tumbling into dictatorship.” The concern in my view, is that the restrictions are totally counterproductive. Holocaust denial laws energize those that deny it. Banning speakers like Charles Murray (actual scientist) vs Milo (actual troll) lumps them in the same bin. Aside from calls to violence, legislation curtailing speech often has the opposite effect of the intended result.

      • I don’t think there’s any evidence of holocaust denial laws being a catalyst for larger or more important antisemitic movements. In fact I think we could probably make the reverse argument, demonstrating for example how unfettered free speech allowed for fake news and the rise of Trump whereas the same was not true of Le Pen in France (in great part due to legal restrictions on slander/defamation et al)

        • Jeremy says

          I didn’t claim they were a catalyst for larger or more important movements, rather they give strength to the “something is fishy here” feeling. I think it most unwise to regulate speech when someday the regulation can be used against you. Fake news will always be coupled with free speech – a price I’m willing to pay. Freedom is never free and this seems like a pretty sweet bargain.

          • I don’t see where restrictions on fraud, slander or defamation are harmful.
            The idea the American variety of free-for-all freedom of speech is better than that found in other countries which restrict certain things is simply not sustained by evidence. All it actually does in the US is allow for abuses.

        • a pile of twigs says

          Just a suggestion, but I think the problem is a lot more complicated than simply whether or not we should censor certain discussions or not.

          For example, holocaust denial laws seem excessive in modern times personally due to the fact of the sheer amount of evidence required to be refuted to deny the holocaust. After all, the problem is that the belief is held by a substantial enough population to actually have momentum. It’s hard to defend the idea that the holocaust didn’t happen when the information is available, which is why most holocaust deniers rely on hiding critical information to young, impressionable people. However, since the information that the holocaust existed can be presented and is physical, tangible evidence, it’s unlikely that most people would continue to hold the idea that the holocaust didn’t happen, thus restricting holocaust deniers to a small population of people who refuse to accept all evidence.

          This is different from the issues regarding fake news due to the fact that news by its very nature is difficult to confirm and of uncertain actual truth. This situation is far more dangerous because it’s already unlikely that individuals will come up with a single “right answer” due to the lack of verifiable information. It’s far easier to hide from critical thinking and huddle in your “belief hole” when the information is not very clear to begin with.

          I’m really not sure how to deal with the problem to be honest, but I don’t think that it’s wise to restrict freedom of speech more than what is necessary, because it can easily cross the line into oppression, which can give an actual reason for extremist groups to gain traction.

          • The problem with censoring discussion of the holocaust is that in fact the censorship applies only to the Jewish experience of Holocaust at the hands of the Nazis. Any other holocaust, and tragically, there have been too many, can be discussed, dissected and debated.

            In addition, it is not that those tiny, tiny few who say no holocaust happened, if indeed any such people exist, who are silenced, but those who dare to ask questions about the Jewish experience of holocaust. Anyone who asks any question beyond the official story about the Jewish experience of holocaust at the hands of the Nazis is dismissed as a Denier when asking questions patently does not equate with denial or the Scientific system would not exist.

        • Hugh says

          “In fact I think we could probably make the reverse argument, demonstrating for example how unfettered free speech allowed for fake news and the rise of Trump whereas the same was not true of Le Pen in France (in great part due to legal restrictions on slander/defamation et al)”

          We could make that argument, but it would be a really dumb argument to imply that Donald Trump won and that Le Pen lost because of “fake news”.

          • The US dynamics allowed for fraud and the perpetuation of fraud. That worked, just as religion does, by creating an alternate reality, with “alternate facts”. This is in essence a description of how propaganda functions. And this type of propaganda is (fortunately) illegal in most of the developed world.

        • Genuine question: Trump may have uttered many falsehoods and absurdities on the campaign trail, but did he say anything that would have fallen foul of slander/defamation/hate speech law if he’d said it in a country like France?

          • Yes, absolutely. In France you can’t say “someone said your father was part of the Kennedy assassination” without being held responsible for disseminating that information. If it’s true, you can say anything you want, truth is the ultimate defence to slander allegations. But if you’re doing it to defame, you’re in trouble because of the 1881 law: “…any allegation or imputation of an act affecting the honour or reputation of the person or body against whom it is made.”

      • Joel says

        The question also becomes, who is the final arbiter in a situation where freedom of speech must move over for censorship when the likes of hate speech creep in? Sure there are many unambiguous examples of hate speech we could all agree on, but am I supposed to rely on my government not to turn PC and become upset when I decide to critique Islam?

    • Hugh says

      “Other free, democratic countries have managed to restrict speech that incites hatred without tumbling into dictatorship.”

      Which countries are you talking about here, exactly?

      “How can free speech override, for example, the primordial right of the equality of citizens?”

      Are you saying that free speech overrides the primordial right of the equality of citizens, and what in Allah’s name do you even mean by “primordial right of the equality of citizens”?

      “I have the impression that some people (sometimes misguidedly, but not always) being impeded from speaking at universities are people promoting the notion we are not or should not be treated equally in society or under the law.”

      If you are supporting a nation wide censorship law against “hate speech”, you are not just talking about some people being impeded from speaking at universities here, are you now? Why are you being so dishonest?

      “How is that not a greater attack on modern society than the curtailing of their (sometimes hate) speech?”

      Because these “hate speech laws” are inevitably only used as cudgel against people Milo Yiannopoulos, and Ann Coulter and others who piss off leftists, but does nothing against Islamic hate preachers who brainwash their followers to commit terrorist attacks.

      • Hate speech laws exist in much of the free democratic world. They’ve stopped hate speech from Muslim speakers in the UK, France and Spain- alongside stopping other forms of hate speech.

        As for equality of citizens, I think the concept is self-evident, but if you don’t understand it I’m happy to point you to various Enlightenment period authors who elaborate in some detail.

        • Hugh says

          “Hate speech laws exist in much of the free democratic world.”

          Which countries?

          “They’ve stopped hate speech from Muslim speakers in the UK, France and Spain- alongside stopping other forms of hate speech. ”

          Source?

          “As for equality of citizens, I think the concept is self-evident, but if you don’t understand it I’m happy to point you to various Enlightenment period authors who elaborate in some detail. ”

          I really don’t care about your appeal to authority. Either make the case yourself, or you are full of shit.

          • Hugh says

            “The US dynamics allowed for fraud and the perpetuation of fraud. That worked, just as religion does, by creating an alternate reality, with “alternate facts”.”

            How do you know this? Source?

            “This is in essence a description of how propaganda functions. And this type of propaganda is (fortunately) illegal in most of the developed world. ”

            Once again, source for any of this?

          • Now see, you’re not actually interested in facts because if you were you would have (quite easily) checked the information for yourself instead of playing this childish game.
            The earliest case I remember was the Imam of Fuengirola (Andalusia) being arrested (and convicted by a Barcelona court) for promoting the beating of women by their husbands. This fell under the hate speech statute. His name is Mohamed Kamal and this was reported in all the major Spanish papers and also in the international media.
            In 2015 France deported 40 Imams for hate speech. This was also reported everywhere from the Huffpo to Breitbart. In December of that same year the Bild reported Germany was deporting a Kosovo migrant who had celebrated the Charlie Hebdo attacks on social media. Those are three countries that successfully limit hate speech but the list is much longer. It includes all of Scandinavia, Canada, Holland, New Zealand, Belgium, Ireland, certain provinces of Australia & others.

            Furthermore, I’m not appealing to authority in the discussion of rights I’m referring you to evidence- which is abundant. From Socrates, Plato or Aristotle to Hume, Hobbes or Herbert Spencer. If you want good succinct literature, the American Constitution and Bill of Rights are an excellent option.

          • Hugh says

            “Now see, you’re not actually interested in facts because if you were you would have (quite easily) checked the information for yourself instead of playing this childish game.
            The earliest case I remember was the Imam of Fuengirola (Andalusia) being arrested (and convicted by a Barcelona court) for promoting the beating of women by their husbands. This fell under the hate speech statute. His name is Mohamed Kamal and this was reported in all the major Spanish papers and also in the international media.
            In 2015 France deported 40 Imams for hate speech. This was also reported everywhere from the Huffpo to Breitbart. In December of that same year the Bild reported Germany was deporting a Kosovo migrant who had celebrated the Charlie Hebdo attacks on social media. Those are three countries that successfully limit hate speech but the list is much longer. It includes all of Scandinavia, Canada, Holland, New Zealand, Belgium, Ireland, certain provinces of Australia & others. ”

            Interesting, seems like you were not full of shit, like leftists like yourself usually are.

            Now let me ask you this: despite all those deportations, terrorist attacks have increased in France, not decreased. The same is true for other western countries. So how effective were these “hate speech” laws?

            Seems to me, that censoring people, or deporting them as was the case here, is not very effective.

            “Furthermore, I’m not appealing to authority in the discussion of rights I’m referring you to evidence- which is abundant. From Socrates, Plato or Aristotle to Hume, Hobbes or Herbert Spencer. If you want good succinct literature, the American Constitution and Bill of Rights are an excellent option. ”

            You are appealing to authority. Like i said, either make the case yourself, or this is just a silly attempt at trying to cite some famous philosophers so you don’t have to do heavy lifting yourself.

    • If you believe in restrictions on free speech maybe you’d like to list the comments of your own that you believe should be restricted? My guess is none.

      Only a fucking retard would call for restrictions on free speech while Trump is in the Whitehouse.

      What? You thought that once you put restrictions in place what can it cannot be said will be decided by snivelling little shits hiding in their safe space?

      Grow the fuck up.

      Censorship is, and has always been, the tool of the ruling classes.

      It’s no wonder those throwing a hissy fit in elite colleges are predominantly from the families of the 1%.

      • How about evidence/verifiability being a standard for claims?
        As things stand in America, free speech is a shield to what is in essence fraud, slander and libel (except for food libel laws, of course.)

    • Denise says

      Moot point. First Amendment. We may not enact hate speech laws even if we want to.

      I’m happy about that. I don’t trust anyone with the power to silence anyone else.

      • It would only be a moot point if the United States was the only country in the world 😉
        Not to mention various forms of restrictions of expression are already in place (in America) whether it be in the form of food libel laws or FCC regulations. So the real question is when should restrictions apply?

    • Charlie says

      Yes, it’s pushed with “vehemence” in America. Our Constitution protects speech. But we got the idea of Free Speech protection from Europe, actually: the Enlightenment thinkers. Thank you, Europe. So sorry that you don’t care about it anymore.

        • dexter says

          Humans always had the freedom to speak with the majority.
          But i guess the guys is french, as myself, and of course when you told you negationism is not on rise in France, it’s a big lie, how could you know Alain Soral and Dieudonée M’bala M’bala ?

  2. Liouville says

    How can you have equality of citizens if each citizen’s right to expression is not on equal footing?

  3. Hugh says

    “There may, after all, be hope for our civilisation yet.”

    Considering that pretty much every single western politician is in denial about the extend of the problem that we have with Islam, and the one that does seem to recognize the problem with Islam, is Donald Trump, i would say that there really isn’t any hope left.

    Sit back and watch as your civilization crumbles.

  4. Nothing happens in a vacuum. We should grieve the deaths of all children and think of parents in the countries we have helped destroy, as they gather the remains of their mangled children – Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Pakistan…..

    and ask ourselves if radical Islam would have risen without the destruction and death we have helped wreak on so many Muslim countries.

    • Matt Rufo says

      I don’t deny failures of the West in the world are numerous and glaring, but your question has a known answer and it’s not what you seem to be suggesting.

      Your Question: “…ask ourselves if radical Islam would have risen without the destruction and death we have helped wreak on so many Muslim countries.”

      The Answer: Yes. Radical, theocratic, and violent implementations of each of the Abrahamic faiths have existed as long as the religions themselves.

      We intervene in Iraq and we are hated by Islamists for being an unwanted occupying force, we don’t intervene in Bosnia​ and we are hated by Islamists for allowing genocide. Under the assumption that Western foreign policy is responsible for the global Jihadist threat then we are to blame whether we have an interventionist foreign policy or not. This is exactly the wrong way to look at the problem.

      • Lup Cheong says

        US foreign policy is what the US is directly responsible for and can conceivably change. Hundreds of thousands of civilians could have NOT died from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, after all.

        To say that intervention, whether it happens or not, has no effect on Muslim resentment is to advocate for what, exactly? Killing Islam? Or are you proposing a better way to live? If you are, how well does that work when US missile strikes kill civilians every day?

      • Matt rufo,
        Your statement “radical theocratic …..in each of the abrahamic faiths have existed as long as the faiths themselves” rings vary true. And a brief study of history seems to confirm this. What ’caused’ the Spanish inquision etc.?
        It seems to me that the rise of secularism (using the original meaning of the word) is what has tended to curb the activities of Christian exponents of such behaviour. So perhaps a rise of secularism among members of other Abrahamic religions might ultimately be the answer.

      • I meant it more simply than that. This is not about theory or even principle, it is about destroying Muslim countries and creating places for extremism to thrive, exacerbated by the slaughter of men, women and children.

      • Most Iraqis are Muslims, or were.

        The American invasion killed more than a million, maimed around 8 million and created tens of millions of refugees. That happened because Saddam Hussein the American stooge no longer wanted to play ball so they ‘took him out’ and laid waste to Iraq.

        Why do they hate us?

        The Israeli occupation of Palestine has nearly 6 million people, some Christians but mostly Muslim, imprisoned under the murderous boot of military rule with around 2 million of them in the Gaza concentration camp and the rest virtually imprisoned in their homes and what is left of their land, criss-crossed by Jew-only roads and dotted with Jew-only settlements. Israel puts Palestinians under house arrest on Jewish holy days so the illegal settlers can travel on their Jew-only roads without care or thought of the people they brutalise.

        Why do they hate us?

        The Americans and Allies put the Taliban into power in Afghanistan and then, when they would not play ball on oil pipelines threw them out. The Americans bombed the hell out of Afghanistan in revenge for 9/11, despite the fact no Afghans were involved. The claims of Osama Bin Laden need to be understood in light of the fact he was a CIA operative who worked in Afghanistan.

        Why do they hate us?

        Gaddafi was an American allied stooge until it suited them to remove him. ‘We came, we saw, he died’ quipped the awful Hillary Clinton. So did the country. Another ruined land.

        Why do they hate us?

        Assad Senior and then Junior were American/Allied stooges as well, until it suited them to remove Junior. So the Americans and allies began arming and supporting a bunch of rebels, to bring down the Syrian Government, shsshhh, mercenaries in the main, and whammo, another country in ruins and millions of refugees fleeing their homes to survive.

        Why do they hate us?

        The Americans and allies backed the venal and corrupt Mubarak in Egypt, not giving a toss about the misery in which the people lived.

        Why do they hate us?

        And then we have General Wesley Clarke admitting that 9/11 would be used to ‘take out’ – the euphemism for slaughtering millions and destroying lives – seven countries:

        Quote: We’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.

        What did the poor Lebanese ever do, except counter the Zionist Israeli lie that Jews invented hummous?

        Why do they hate us?

        Let me think about that. One could almost think that being hated was part of a plan for endless war in the Middle East to boost bank accounts and make the Zionist state the supreme power in that part of the world.

        Why do they hate us?

    • LukeReeshus says

      …and ask ourselves if radical Islam would have risen without the destruction and death we have helped wreak on so many Muslim countries.

      The answer, of course, is yes. Modern Islamism, and Arab nationalism, are twin responses to the (inevitable) disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, which occurred a century ago. What’s more, the two countries from which the most virulent versions of Islamism are currently emanating, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, have received more support from the U.S. in the meantime (oil industry for SA, nuclear for Pakistan) than any other countries in the Middle East (except Israel, of course). The “they’re only bombing us because we bombed them” trope, which you alluded to, is the next-most-common and next-most-fatuous one we routinely hear about Islamic violence, right after the “jihadists aren’t real Muslims” one.

      Al-Qaeda and ISIS may look like recent movements. People who were paying attention to the Muslim world before 9/11, people like Bernard Lewis, know better. He wrote an in-depth article for The Atlantic titled The Roots of Muslim Rage. Its fifth paragraph contains two remarkable sentences:

      Certainly nowhere in the Muslim world, in the Middle East or elsewhere, has American policy suffered disasters or encountered problems comparable to those in Southeast Asia or Central America. There is no Cuba, no Vietnam, in the Muslim world, and no place where American forces are involved as combatants or even as “advisers.”

      Now, before your head explodes in consternation, bear in mind that Lewis wrote this in September of 1990—three months before the First Gulf War. Prior to that, the U.S. military presence in the Middle East was paltry. We were, in fact, giving more weapons to Muslims, e.g. the mujahadeen in Afghanistan, than using weapons on them. And yet, Lewis must explain the Muslim “surge of hatred that distresses, alarms, and above all baffles Americans.” Which he eventually does.

      But why the hostility in the first place? If we turn from the general to the specific, there is no lack of individual policies and actions, pursued and taken by individual Western governments, that have aroused the passionate anger of Middle Eastern and other Islamic peoples. Yet all too often, when these policies are abandoned and the problems resolved, there is only a local and temporary alleviation. The French have left Algeria, the British have left Egypt, the Western oil companies have left their oil wells, the westernizing Shah has left Iran—yet the generalized resentment of the fundamentalists and other extremists against the West and its friends remains and grows and is not appeased.

      He then goes through the “familiar accusations” against the West—support for Israel, sponsorship of cruel dictatorships, imperialism, etc.—and shows that, while these certainly factor in, they don’t explain the fundamental disagreement that Islamists have with the West. He gets to that towards the end:

      Ultimately, the struggle of the fundamentalists is against two enemies, secularism and modernism. The war against secularism is conscious and explicit, and there is by now a whole literature denouncing secularism as an evil neo-pagan force in the modern world and attributing it variously to the Jews, the West, and the United States. The war against modernity is for the most part neither conscious nor explicit, and is directed against the whole process of change that has taken place in the Islamic world in the past century or more and has transformed the political, economic, social, and even cultural structures of Muslim countries.

      He admits that

      The instinct of the masses is not false in locating the ultimate source of these cataclysmic changes in the West and in attributing the disruption of their old way of life to the impact of Western domination, Western influence, or Western precept and example.

      At the same time, how Muslims deal with this “clash of cultures” ultimately depends on them:

      The movement nowadays called fundamentalism is not the only Islamic tradition. There are others, more tolerant, more open, that helped to inspire the great achievements of Islamic civilization in the past, and we may hope that these other traditions will in time prevail. But before this issue is decided there will be a hard struggle, in which we of the West can do little or nothing.

      So yeah, Western interaction with the Islamic world is going to inspire jihadism, whether we drop bombs or not. It’s our ideas they hate, even more so than our policies.

      • Interesting post. However, there is an assumption that there is something cohesive about the Muslim world which could ‘hate ideas.’

        I don’t believe it. Lewis doesn’t make sense although he sounds very sensible.

        If we want to think Western we need to think Anglo/European as well as American and the former have been meddling in the Muslim world for centuries. Plenty to hate without ideas.

        However, even if one is to assume Lewis is right, there is no doubt that Western actions play into the hands of whoever might be organising this resistance – nothing stirs people more than sweeping up the remains of their loved ones and digging mementoes out of their shattered homes.

        Not only is there no cohesive Islamic World, there is no cohesive Western world although we like to pretend that there is.

        The West is just the name for the most developed world which happens to be largely Anglo/European and there are many variations on that theme and not all are willing toadies supporting the American war machine as it marches ever onwards for hegemony.

        I don’t know how much time you have spent in Third World countries – I have spent decades, and time with Muslims as well as Hindus, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and most of them don’t think too much about the West, they just want what we have materially.

        And why not? Many are too busy surviving to participate in grand plans of cosmic proportions regarding cultures.

        The current mess to my mind rests on the following:

        1. Centuries of meddling in Muslim countries by the West.
        2. The idiocy of multiculturalism in the West which encourages people to hold onto cultures they should be encouraged to leave behind and which creates disaffected youth who belong nowhere and feel it.
        3. The ongoing support for the travesty which is the Israeli occupation and colonisation of Palestine and the apartheid state it has created in the name of religious bigotry.
        4. The cavalier dropping of bombs on Western countries, knowing civilians will also be killed and made worse because those who see their loved ones shredded know the bomb was sent by some robot gutless coward sipping his or her coffee in an American bunker thousands of kilometres away.
        5. The propping up of tyrants by the US and its lackeys – Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Libya and dozens more, then and now, with old tyrants being tipped out so new ones can be put in place.
        6. And the fact that someone has a vested agenda in creating a mindset that this is a clash of cultures and that the Western world is pitted against the shocking danger of the Muslim world. That’s a Zionist theory which gets pushed nonstop and which also serves to create resistance.

        • Correction – Freudian slip. By Western countries, not on Western countries. Although that may come if we maintain the slaughter.

          4. The cavalier dropping of bombs by Western countries, knowing civilians will also be killed and made worse because those who see their loved ones shredded know the bomb was sent by some robot gutless coward sipping his or her coffee in an American bunker thousands of kilometres away.

        • LukeReeshus says

          @rossross

          I thought about addressing your comment point by point. Instead, I’ll just focus on one paragraph.

          I don’t know how much time you have spent in Third World countries – I have spent decades, and time with Muslims as well as Hindus, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and most of them don’t think too much about the West, they just want what we have materially.

          Let me ask: are you religious? Do you want more out of life than material comfort? Do you have a grand vision of the Cosmos and your place within it? Islamists do. Your claim about Third Worlders, that “they just want what we have materially,” does not apply to them.

          Yours is the attitude I run into over and over again when discussing this topic with nice, secular people. They simply can’t empathize with the sincere wish for theocracy that Islamists and their supporters espouse, and with their assertion of righteousness while pursuing it.

          So you make the mistake of thinking that their concerns are merely temporal, like yours. Revelation, Judgement, Heaven, Hell, Martyrdom—you don’t take these ideas seriously, and thus are perpetually constrained in your understanding of people who do.

          It is, of course, trivially true to point out that most Muslims are not hard-core Islamists, let alone jihadists. However, it is frankly irresponsible to dismiss the power of the ideas percolating through their culture.

          • LukeReeshus says

            Wow. Disregard everything I wrote. I thought I was communicating with a (somewhat) reasonable person. Then I read “The claims of Osama Bin Laden need to be understood in light of the fact he was a CIA operative who worked in Afghanistan” in your above comment.

            You, sir, are out of your mind. Thanks for confirming everything I suspected about the isolationist / anti-Zionist fringe.

          • No, I am not religious. I have studied many but have no time for religion, albeit, having picked out of all of them, nuggets of value.

            I take a spiritual view of life.

            Wanting more out of life is a human instinct, but being satisfied or at least content, with where you and life are, works better I find.

            No, I don’t have a grand vision of the Cosmos or my place in it. I simply consider all to be meaningful and with purpose even if we do not know what the meaning or purpose might be.

            All orthodox religions, and fundamentalist versions, have such views. Nothing particular to Islam.

            Those who live in what we call the Third World, regardless of their religion, pretty much want the same thing. I have spent a lot of time living in Africa where one village is Christian and the next one is Muslim –
            and they pretty much want the same things.

            I have Muslim friends. I also have Christian, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Jewish and Atheist friends.

            I find fundamentalist versions of all of them, including the Atheists have much in common. Perhaps they could all go and live together.

            None of the Muslims I know – and they include Australian, European, British, African want theocracy. Then again, I guess I don’t know any of the minority radicals.

            I know a lot of radical Jews because I have worked with and for Israelis, but I don’t consider they are representative of Judaism.

            Your problem is that you take what the media tells you about the most radical elements of Islam and you then apply that to every Muslim on the planet. Hardly sensible.

            I have met a few Christian nutters in my time, mainly Americans, but only a fool would think they represent Christianity.

            Here is the reality. Muslims are a minority in the world and radical Muslims even more of a minority. Most Muslim countries are Third World in many respects, some in all respects and the Muslim world is not united.

            Quite how they would dominate the world is beyond reason. Militarily they could never counter the power of the West, and then we have Hindu India and Secular, increasingly Christian, China – two billion people who would be on the side of the West.

            If conversion is how you think it might happen, I can assure you, most women in the world would not touch it with a barge pole because while all religions are misogynistic – Hinduism is worse than Islam – Islam is pretty bad and having just thrown off the yoke of patriarchy, will not take it back.

            Quite how you see Islamic religious beliefs permeating through culture is beyond me.

            Most Muslims are moderate for a reason.

  5. Lup Cheong says

    You say it’s the nasty Qur’an. Others might say it’s the mass death and violence and destruction of whole cities in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan. Which is it? The nasty Qur’an or the horror of living in the Middle East? In what ways might the latter significantly contribute to extremist applications of the former?

    Over 200,000 civilians have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Libyans drown by the hundreds fleeing that civil war. The terror of life in these places dwarfs the Manchester bombing and London attacks EVERY SINGLE DAY (and get little media attention). To ignore that basic fact (and the West’s culpability in causing so much of it) is truly perverse. That you do ignore the wider context shows how steeped in ideology you are.

    If you believe it’s ONLY the nasty Qur’an, then you must prove that the horror abroad is entirely a function of Islam or that US wars, western imperialism, sectarianism, and oppressive dictators have nothing to do with it. And if you’re interested in combatting extremism, you also need to offer a better alternative to the situation than what Islamist extremism offers. Has the US, the West, or the (authoritarian) Gulf nations provided anything other than death, oppression, and travel bans? For the most aggrieved (perhaps ones entire family was bombed by a US missile strike in Mosul), has a way out—other than extremist Islam, martyrdom, and jihad—been offered?

    Show some courage and look at the issue in its full context.

    • Hugh says

      Considering that the majority of these terrorist are natives, and not immigrants or refugees, i would say that the whole foreign policy excuse doesn’t work.

      • Lup Cheong says

        That’s your gut feeling?

        I mean, it’s pretty well-documented how natives get radicalized online. Also well-documented how they travel back and forth.

        Also, most ‘terrorists’ are not natives. They’re killing other Muslims in the Middle East. There’s more going on than just Manchester and London.

        • Hugh says

          Right, but i thought we were talking about terrorism happening in western countries.

  6. ElJer says

    I say it’s the nasty quran because I’ve read it and seen the specific exhortations to violence. Many societies have endured the horrors of war but don’t produce divinely inspired violence because the doctrines of jihad and martyrdom aren’t part of the bedrock. Vietnam, Russia, Germany, Japan and Korea have had some tough wars, where are the suicide bombers? And why does the imperial colonizing Ottoman empire always get a free pass? Why aren’t Serbian and Romanian suicide bombers attacking innocent Turks in Istanbul to this day? How about the absence of terrorism among Syrian and Iraqi Christians who not only suffer from war but oppression as minorities in intolerant muslim lands? Over and over again when you sift out variables you are left with terrorism insprired by Islam. In regard to Western interventions in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan it is profoundly depressing to note that these countries were light years better off under the domination of some of the evilest regimes in human history. Yemen? Never colonized by the West and just one more ghastly episode in the age old schism within islam. I think muslims and muslim countries would be better off if we didn’t make excuses for them, held them to a higher human standard and ask why can’t you organize yourselves in the construction of a decent society? This shouldn’t be so difficult for humans to accomplish. Unfortunately, as alluded to by Churchill, as long as they adhere to a preposterous and violent creed they will never do so and will continue to blame and attack others. What a vastly superior world we would have if only islam could somehow be deleted from human history and present.

    • Lup Cheong says

      “What a vastly superior world we would have if only islam could somehow be deleted from human history and present.”

      What else would you like ‘deleted’? I bet you could dream up some more. Also, your process of ‘sifting out’ variables is hilarious.

      But I agree with you that we shouldn’t make excuses and we should hold ‘them to a higher human standard.’ The problem is that we don’t hold ourselves to a higher human standard. We kill a lot of civilians and make a lot of excuses. We kill prisoners. We torture prisoners. We make excuses, or approve of, dictatorial regimes. So the hypocrisy of human standards or human rights and who the US pals around with does not go unnoticed.

      Also, having a ‘decent society’ is pretty much the hardest thing for humans to accomplish. Domestically, the US has its own decency to work toward.

    • I suggest you spend a bit of time reading the violent bits in Christian, Jewish, Hindu religious works. You will find that Islam is not the most violent. What it is, is the youngest, by some 600 years compared to Christianity. What were the Christians thinking and doing in 1400 AD?

      • Jeremy says

        @rosross
        Ah I see. All we have to do is be patient with Islam as it goes through the confusion of adolescence. Very much looking forward to the year 2,617. Never mind the wealth of information and breakthroughs easily accessible to anyone who has internet connection (I truly feel sorry for those who don’t).

        Seriously, grow up. We have better moral and scientific understanding in the year 2017 than in 1400. The 600 year “head start” is no excuse for what we are seeing today.

        • You misquote and misunderstand. Bear in mind the comparative youth of Islam, but yes, it needs a Reformation. Then again, so does Judaism and Hinduism.

      • Jeremy says

        @rosross Are you really holding the global civilization in 2017 to the same standards as 1400? Your soft bigotry of low expectations is showing.

        • No, but you seem to be.
          All religious writings need to be read in the context of the times they were invented. Islam, Judaism, Christianity, a few centuries here and there, all violent.

          And then there is Hinduism and Buddhism, also violent and misogynistic.

  7. NL says

    Lup,

    It’s hard to deny that American foreign policy is a great multiplier, but I suggest you do some research on Sayyid Qutb. I’d also urge you to read Dabiq “why we hate you, and why we fight you”. They make it crystal clear that even if the U.S. wasn’t a presence in the Middle East, they would still be killing the infidels in order to establish a world wide caliphate.

    http://clarionproject.org/factsheets-files/islamic-state-magazine-dabiq-fifteen-breaking-the-cross.pdf

    • Lup Cheong says

      I have read that Dabiq thing. Among their points, the last two are purely political grievances (for which the US can change its policy).

      “5. We hate you for your crimes against the Muslims; your drones and fighter jets bomb, kill, and maim our people around the world, and your puppets in the usurped lands of the Muslims oppress, torture, and wage war against anyone who calls to the truth. As such, we fight you to stop you from killing our men, women, and children, to liberate those of them whom you imprison and torture, and to take revenge for the countless Muslims who’ve suffered as a result of your deeds.”

      “6. We hate you for invading our lands and fight you to repel you and drive you out. As long as there is an inch of territory left for us to reclaim, jihad will continue to be a personal obligation on every single Muslim.”

      If political grievances mean nothing, why did ISIS include them? Perhaps they need to cast a wider net–beyond the purely ideological stuff–to convince people? The only way to know is for the west to NOT provide reasons to be resented.

      The pressing question: What can the US do to stop the popularity of extremism? Well, because the US is directly responsible for its own foreign policy, that’s an obvious place to start. Take responsibility for our part in the horror abroad. Stop creating grievances. Stop supporting/selling weapons to these hyper wealthy Gulf autocracies while their masses live in poverty. Stop holding double standards for whose civilian lives matter (how western media covers Manchester and London while neglecting the DAILY missile strikes or the too-frequent suicide-bombing in the Middle East).

      To avoid self-criticism and those obvious, actionable steps–while going straight to the Nasty Qur’an instead–is totally pathological.

      • (1) Those grievances you quite come low down in their list. Way behind ‘we just hate you for being you’ and ‘I love killing little girls because it gives me a hardon’.

        (2) Islamists are killing people in countries which have had fuck all to with conflicts in the Muslim world.

        (3) I’d agree that the press pays too little interest in Islamist attacks outside America or Europe. I just don’t see why you think addressing that ‘double standard’ by increasing the coverage of Islamist violence will make Islam look less barbaric instead of 100 times worse.

  8. Pingback: Free speech is at the core of the left-right divide. But what are we fighting over? | Jason Wilson | Opinion | The Guardian | Just Merveilleux

  9. Matt Rufo says

    Lup,

    I think you missed my point. I am not saying Western intervention has no effect, but rather that is is not the scapegoat people seem to think it is with regard to the global Jihadist threat. It doesn’t explain, for example, why the several middle-upper class individuals, from Western countries, and with college educations have decided to become Jihadists. It doesn’t explain why Jihadists have taken Yazidi women as sex slaves. How could Iraqi Yazidi women have anything to do with Western interventions.

    I hear about these grievances a lot. However, people putting all or even most the blame of Jihadist attacks on Western foreign policy is obviously flawed thinking. It is definitely one part of the puzzle, but focusing on it as the only or main causal factor is demonstrably mistaken. I demonstrated this above in its lack of explanatory scope and power over Western recruits and Yazidi sex slaves (just 2 examples of how this thinking fails).

    Now the three other pieces of the puzzle of extremism generally and Jihadism specifically are the charismatic recruiters, people having an identity crisis, and the underlying ideology (Islamism​ in this case). We must understand all of these causal links and make an effort to undermine their affect over people. And we must also stop making the same flawed excuses for why the Jihadists are so angry at the West.

    • Lup Cheong says

      In the hierarchy of the West’s concerns, my emphasis on changing US foreign policy is about what’s (supposedly) within our control right now. We can actually stop bombing, selling weapons, fomenting sectarianism, etc. In other words, that particular puzzle piece is a matter of accessible, state policy. Getting someone off their religion? That’s as fraught as it gets.

      (I’m also not convinced that it’s ultimately worthwhile for us all to be atheists. Criticizing religion without an alternative, belittling it in the process, makes atheists feel big and courageous but it comes across as very small and strategically dumb.)

      Anyway, I don’t see how the other puzzle pieces can be meaningfully addressed given current US foreign policy. If this is about winning ‘hearts and minds,’ any exchange of ideas seems pretty pointless given our actively destroying entire cities. That’s not a flawed excuse to me. Mass civilian death–wherever it happens–is significant enough to garner sympathy and make extremist reactions tenable. Just imagine a role-reversal. Your city/town is reduced to rubble. Your family has been wiped out. How do you NOT hold a grievance and seek out a vessel for it?

      That ISIS and al-Qaeda target the Yazidi, Coptic Christians, and thousands more Muslims is an atrocity. These people deserve our support, especially since this particular Yazidi and Coptic genocide began during the Iraq War and in areas the West has destabilized. It should also be noted, there hasn’t been an attack on the Yazidi of this scale since the Ottomans. Also important to say, the eight Patriarchs of the Eastern Christian churches said, unequivocally, that vilifying Muslims does not help at all. A religious war is what ISIS and al-Qaeda want.

      Having said all that, Islam and the Middle East is not beyond criticism. But to criticize Islam before/without changing US policy (or without even recognizing monumental US failures) is misguided. Such a strategy only compounds the West’s double standards. This argument is not just about determining causation (for which the West remains partly culpable). It’s about what gets prioritized going forward.

      • AS says

        Hi Lup,

        You certainly make a fair point. Yes, the West caused all of this with its meddling. ISIS is a direct byproduct of the Iraq war. We can go on for ages. The problem is that the West is in such a bind that it cannot walk away. ISIS is there, and if it walks away, ISIS may survive, and continue to be a thread. While you are correct in saying that most of this is the result of Western meddling, Matt Rufo is correct in saying that we’ve reached a stage where these jihadists don’t just have political grievances anymore. If the West turned around and ran, they would take it as a victory, and go on more killing sprees to bring forth the global caliphate. It’s a terrible Catch 22. I’d rather wish it weren’t. I’m a non-interventionist at heart in general, and in particular I’m allergic to Western (and especially American) interventionism. However, the West, in effect, needs to clean up its mess. I’ve no idea how to do this properly in detail, but here are some talking points:

        1. The Western countries should double, triple, quadruple, n-uple the efforts to destroy ISIS as a functioning state on the ground. They have to lose the physical caliphate, the other governments of the region have to retake the territory they’ve taken. This will be bloody and ugly but is at this point necessary. The same should be applied to the various Al-Qaeda affiliates, as much as possible – they should not be allowed to hold any physical territory.

        2. The West should make clear it doesn’t support nor care for any Salafist/radical Islamist faction (this means MOST of the remaining Syrian “moderate” rebels), and should cut all of their direct and indirect support for them. Any intelligence the West possesses about those groups should be passed under the table to the Russians, in order to aid in their destruction. Western allies in the Middle East (Turkey, S. Arabia, Qatar, UAE, etc.) should be pressured to drop their support for these groups. The oil/gas producers should be bluntly threatened with an oil export embargo (get Russia on board to guarantee it can cover the shortfall). Then turn a blind eye as Russia, Assad, and his allies proceed to destroy these groups.

        3. Russia and Assad should be pressured to produce at least someone from the formerly moderate/liberal opposition (most of these people which are still alive are either abroad, or inactive, or even actively or passively on Assad’s side, since they became disillusioned with the radicalization of the rebellion) Assad will share power with in a post-war Syria. Find Sunnis who are not overly close to Assad who will administer the Sunni areas on a local level with some autonomy. Pressure Assad and Russia to recognize the autonomy of the Syrian Kurds. This will make a post-war Syria more stable.

        4. Stop sabre-rattling with Iran and stick to the deal Obama made.

        5. Once ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the other Salafist factions are destroyed, the West SHOULD GET THE HELL OUT of the Middle East. Just OUT. Those US bases in the Gulf? Close them. In S. Arabia? Close them. In Iraq? Close them. Leaving a good impression will be near impossible, the West will be hated in the Middle East by millions for generations to come. However, if the West tries to stay to do reconstruction & nation-building, it will bungle up and fail and waste whatever goodwill it will get from destroying ISIS and the like (the same way it lost whatever goodwill it had among many Iraqis for toppling Saddam). For places where the situations post-war are really dire (like half of Syria) the UN can be used to funnel aid money to reconstruction programs that should mostly be supervised by non-Westerners (but rather by Chinese, South Africans, Indonesians, Japanese, whoever).

        6. Western countries should severely restrict immigration from countries know to have Salafist/Wahhabist problems (let in only people who have a genuine claim for asylum or refugee status – i.e., if they are being harassed by same Salafists) for say, 20 years. For the same amount of time, require visas for all travelers from these countries, and let in only a trickle of the brightest students on student visas. Re-evaluate the policy after that period of time.

        7. Countries that export Salafism (i.e. the Gulf monarchies) should be banned from sponsoring and funding foundations, NGOs, think tanks, universities, and the like in the West. The Gulf influence in the Beltway must be removed, for example.

        8. Obviously a general “cleansing” of Muslim clerics in the West needs to be done. This will require deep infiltration of the Muslim cleric community in each Western country by that country’s internal security services. Basically, for the next 30 years, every Muslim cleric in the West must be an asset of at least one security services. Clerics which are not assets should not be allowed to even be in the country if possible, let alone operate as clerics. Hate-preaching and overly Salafist clerics should be identified, and if possible, deported. If they have dual citizenship, strip them of one and deport them.

        9. Importing of clerics from countries with Salafist/extreme Islamist tendencies should be stopped. Forever. These people should not be allowed to even travel to the West, let alone preach there. If this (and the previous step) causes a shortage of clerics, they can be imported from countries known to have moderate ones on average (Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Albania, etc.). The goal should be to have 100% locally-trained clerics in the future serving the Muslim communities in the West. These clerics would be educated with minimal Salafist/Islamist influence. Western countries which don’t have a large enough community to train their own clerics could then import them from other Western countries that do (i.e. Czech R. or Poland would import from Germany or Canada; no one would import from Pakistan or Qatar).

        10. Western European countries in particular have a lot of soul-searching to do about how they integrate their immigrants and their descendants, especially the Muslim ones. The present situation is partially a failure of integration (I’m looking at you, France; but the UK is marginally better). Governments and societies there need to figure out how these people will be made to a) feel fully accepted and integrated b) accept the norms of the majority (even if they themselves don’t necessarily practice all of them) c) identify with their adopted (or native!!!) societies, instead of bearded cave-dwellers from the nether regions of Afghanistan and the like.

        I could go on. Already though it looks very ugly (so ugly that I’m hesitant to publish it) and at times uncivilized, and more or less impossible to implement given how things stand.

      • Since Al Quaeda was created by the CIA and ISIS is armed by the US ….. just who is it that wants a religious war?

  10. And why would you believe something as impossible as a worldwide Caliphate would have emerged from Islam? The Muslim world is not even united. A Caliphate is a serious joke, or some useful propaganda by those who think they can terrify non-Muslims.

  11. Peter Sulliivan says

    I only heard about this website a week or two ago and have been impressed by what it publishes. But with this article I’m not, despite probably agreeing with most of what it says. It’s just too headstrong and too often like a rant. Slightly disappointed the editor Claire Lehmann agreed to publish it.

  12. Al Roth says

    My car didn’t start this morning. It was the regressive left’s fault,

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