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Monday, August 14, 2006

Pan-Islamism challenges idea of nation state

Mark 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.

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.
Read the whole thing.

2 Comments:

At 2:56 AM, Blogger Dave in Pa said...

Steyn's final sentence - "Absent a determination to throttle the ideology, we're about to witness the unraveling of the world."

I suspect Steyn is coming to the right conclusion for perhaps some of the right reasons but not all.

Take this current war in Lebanon. As I see it, this is not Israel versus Hezbollah or Israel versus Lebanon. Israel is a front in the war of Islamofascism vs. Western Civilization. Israel is now fighting Syria and Iran, via their proxy army, Hezbollah. (Ditto Hamas)

Israel is only intended to be the first domino to fall, not the last.

Yet we still see most of the leaders of the West still unwilling to even utter the name of the enemy: global militant Islamofascism.

For example, Canadian authorities recently busted a cell of Islamofascist terrorists in Toronto planning mass attacks in Canada. All the arrested participants are militant Muslims, some Canadian born and raised. Yet the Politically Correct RCMP Commissioner at the news conference described the arrested suspects as "being from all strata of Canadian society." Right...some teens, some near 30, some living in rural Ontario, others in the city of Toronto, some college-educated, some not. Superficially true.

But the real truth is that ALL are fanatic Muslims psychotically enraged at the West for it's "war against Islam". That is their motivation and the context in which they act.

But that can't be even publicly uttered by the head of the Canadian federal police agency that investigated and arrested the terrorists.

I cite this example not to single out Canada but to exemplify it as typical of the reactions we're seeing as the norm in the UK, the rest of EUrope, the US, Australia.

We're so afraid of offending Muslims who don't give a damn about offending us, or our free societies. Indeed, they despise our democraciees and pluralistic freedoms. I think that's what Steyn is talking about.

The enemy has been fecklessly freely given the moral high ground in this world war. And in this world war, propaganda, public perception is no less important than military considerations.

The Islamofascists will tout this latest round of war as a great victory for Islam. While factually that's not correct (albeit not the huge victory for Israel and the West it could have been with real political leadership in Israel), we must remember that truth is a perception. Our common enemies will want to see victory and momentum, therefore they will choose to see victory and momentum.

And the cost of disabusing them later of this illusion will be unnecessarily far greater, due to this politically correct reticence and moral cowardice, which chokes Western Civilization's ability to fight effectively.

 
At 7:41 AM, Blogger NY Nana said...

Carl

I do not think that there is one non-cult of islam country where they actually do become true citizens. Their attempts at trying to have Sharia law instituted in Candada, etc., is only a part of what their goal is. Yes, as Jews, most us do consider ourselves to be Jewish, but at the same time, we become a part of the country we live in. If I had to say, I would say I am a Jewish American...and I am sure that it would be taken as a 'bad' American in the eyes of a lot of people. My husband (when we were first married nearly 44 years ago) and so many of my uncles served with honor in the US Military,in WWII and my maternal English Zeide zt"l served in the US Army in the Spanish-American War...after serving in the Royal navy.

In NY and NJ, there are a frightening number of muslims, and more mosques being built. They have no concept of citizenship.

The UK turned a blind eye, but now they must come to grips with the common danger each and everyone of us face. Israel is indeed the canary in the coal mine, but now possibly the world is realizing that no one is safe.

Just as Lebanon is a sovereign nation, so is Israel, and no one has the right to tell Israel what to do, especially the disunited arab-loving nations.

Chazak V'emetz!

 

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