Conservative Liberal

FDR would have been a Republican today.

Tony Blair: behind his naivete lies a good understanding of global struggle

I saw this post today on LGF, describing how Tony Blair praising Islam for tolerance:

To me, the most remarkable thing about the Koran is how progressive it is. I write with great humility as a member of another faith. As an outsider, the Koran strikes me as a reforming book, trying to return Judaism and Christianity to their origins, much as reformers attempted to do with the Christian church centuries later. The Koran is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance.

Under its guidance, the spread of Islam and its dominance over previously Christian or pagan lands were breathtaking. Over centuries, Islam founded an empire and led the world in discovery, art, and culture. The standard-bearers of tolerance in the early Middle Ages were far more likely to be found in Muslim lands than in Christian ones.

I initially dismissed this as just another bunch of politically correct platitudes about “religion of peace”. But then I saw an update recommending reading Tony Blair’s article in full. Charles is of course absolutely correct in recommending the complete article, for behind naive PC statements like “extremism is not the true voice of Islam” lies a very good understanding of our global struggle against a totalitarian political ideology based on religion. Consider these passages:

…It is also rubbish to suggest that Islamist terrorism is the product of poverty. Of course, it uses the cause of poverty as a justification for its acts. But its fanatics are hardly champions of economic development.

Furthermore, the terrorists’ aim is not to encourage the creation of a Palestine living side by side with Israel but rather to prevent it. They fight not for the coming into being of a Palestinian state but for the going out of being of an Israeli state.

The terrorists base their ideology on religious extremism — and not just any religious extremism, but a specifically Muslim version. The terrorists do not want Muslim countries to modernize. They hope that the arc of extremism that now stretches across the region will sweep away the fledgling but faltering steps modern Islam wants to take into the future. They want the Muslim world to retreat into governance by a semifeudal religious oligarchy.

Yet despite all of this, which I consider fairly obvious, many in Western countries listen to the propaganda of the extremists and accept it. (And to give credit where it is due, the extremists play our own media with a shrewdness that would be the envy of many a political party.) They look at the bloodshed in Iraq and say it is a reason for leaving. Every act of carnage somehow serves to indicate our responsibility for the disorder rather than the wickedness of those who caused it. Many believe that what was done in Iraq in 2003 was so wrong that they are reluctant to accept what is plainly right now.

Some people believe that terrorist attacks are caused entirely by the West’s suppression of Muslims. Some people seriously believe that if we only got out of Iraq and Afghanistan, the attacks would stop. And, in some ways most perniciously, many look at Israel and think we pay too great a price for supporting it and sympathize with those who condemn it.

If we recognized this struggle for what it truly is, we would at least be on the first steps of the path to winning it. But a vast part of Western opinion is not remotely near this point yet.

This ideology has to be taken on — and taken on everywhere. Islamist terrorism will not be defeated until we confront not just the methods of the extremists but also their ideas. I do not mean just telling them that terrorist activity is wrong. I mean telling them that their attitude toward the United States is absurd, that their concept of governance is prefeudal, that their positions on women and other faiths are reactionary. We must reject not just their barbaric acts but also their false sense of grievance against the West, their attempt to persuade us that it is others and not they themselves who are responsible for their violence.

Tony Blair is right when he says that there was a time when the Muslim countries were more progressive than the Christian countries in Europe. That was the time often called “the Dark Ages”, not for nothing, I might add. But the times changed. In the end, it is irrelevant whether the Islamists represent true Islam or distorted Islam. Dennis Prager often says that he judges a religion by its practitioners. I couldn’t agree more. However small the percentage of Islamists among Muslims in the world might be, the absolute numbers are large enough to be of global concern. What is relevant is the fact that in order to co-exist with all the other religion and philosophy in the world Islam needs to go through some sort of transformation, similar to what Christianity went through. Tony Blair can call it returning to true Islam if he wants. It doesn’t really matter. What is also relevant is the fact that majority of people in the Muslim World (or any other group of people for that matter) are too preoccupied with their daily lives to act upon their beliefs. They might hate the Jews, Israel, America and the West, but it is irrelevant to their daily lives. So, if American or Israeli goods make their lives easier, given the opportunity, they will buy them. Their hatred will not go away, but they will not act on it, if the price of acting on it will be too great. Over time (generations) this hatred will simply be forgotten. That is why, along with carrot, stick is absolutely necessary in order to win “the hearts and minds”. Tony Blair seems to understand that. I can forgive his PC platitudes. Again, do read the whole thing.

December 28, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment