Pan-Islamism challenges idea of nation stateMark Steyn has an interesting column this week, with which I am not sure I entirely agree. Steyn builds his theory on surveys that indicate that "In the United Kingdom, 7 percent of Muslims consider themselves British first, 81 percent consider themselves Muslim first." He goes on to compare that to the situation in Lebanon (where loyalties are to Hezbullah and Islam first and to the Lebanese government second) and draws conclusions that I suggest you read for yourselves.
Yet I am part of a community where if you caught people in an honest moment and asked them whether they are Jews first or whether they are Americans, Brits, or for that matter even Israelis first, I think a similar percentage would say that they are Jews first. So what's the difference?
The difference lies in Islam's violent ideology. Orthodox Judaism has no tradition of attempting to convert people - violently or otherwise. No non-Jew has ever been killed for refusing to convert to Judaism. In fact, the opposite is true. We are urged to attempt to convince people not to become Jews, because it is so difficult to keep all of the religious requirements properly, and during certain periods - most notably the periods of King David and King Solomon when the Jewish people were "flying high" if you will - the Talmud in Yevamoth tells us that converts were not accepted. (Steyn admits that the multi-culti crowd has a 'world view' and says that they won't act on it, but they see themselves as 'citizens of the world' rather than as part of an ethnic grouping. In many ways the strictures of Orthodox Judaism may be closer to Islam than to western multi-culturalism).
So while I think Steyn has a valid point, I think he's only telling half the story (and knowing Steyn's writing, I think I can be pretty sure it's not out of some multi-culti PC desire to avoid 'insulting' Muslims).
Hat Tip: Lois in Mamaroneck, New York
Is there a software program at Western news agencies that automatically inserts random segues in terrorism stories? The plot to commit mass murder by seizing up to 10 U.K.-U.S. airliners was well advanced long before the first Israeli strike against Hezbollah. Yet it's apparently axiomatic at Reuters, the BBC and many other British media outlets that Tony Blair is the root cause of jihad. He doesn't even have to invade anywhere anymore. He just has to "refuse to call for an immediate cease-fire" when some other fellows invade some other fellows over on the other side of the world.Read the whole thing.
Grant for the sake of argument that these reports are true -- that when the bloodthirsty Zionist warmongers attack all those marvelous Hezbollah social outreach programs it drives British subjects born and bred to plot mass murder against their fellow Britons. What does that mean?
Here's a clue, from a recent Pew poll that asked: What do you consider yourself first? A citizen of your country or a Muslim?
In the United Kingdom, 7 percent of Muslims consider themselves British first, 81 percent consider themselves Muslim first.
And that's where the really valid Lebanese comparison lies. Lebanon is a sovereign state. It has an executive and a military. But its military has less sophisticated weaponry than Hezbollah and its executive wields less authority over its jurisdiction than Hezbollah. In the old days, the Lebanese government would have fallen and Hezbollah would have formally supplanted the state. But non-state actors like the Hezbo crowd and al-Qaida have no interest in graduating to statehood. They've got bigger fish to fry. If you're interested in establishing a global caliphate, getting a U.N. seat and an Olympic team only gets in the way. The "sovereign" state is of use to such groups merely as a base of operations, as Afghanistan was and Lebanon is. They act locally but they think globally.
And that indifference to the state can be contagious. Lebanon's Christians may think of themselves as "Lebanese," but most of Hezbollah's Shiite constituency don't. Western analysts talk hopefully of fierce differences between Sunni and Shiite, Arab and Persian, but it's interesting to note the numbers of young Sunni men in Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere in recent weeks who've decided that Iran's (Shiite) President Ahmadinejad and his (Shiite) Hezbo proxies are the new cool kids in town. During the '90s, we grew used to the idea that "non-state actors" meant a terrorist group, with maybe a few hundred activists, a few thousand supporters. What if entire populations are being transformed into "non-state actors"? Not terrorists, by any means, but at the very minimum entirely indifferent to the state of which they're nominally citizens.