And so are the moderate Muslims. Today's Wall Street Journal has an article from a Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a onetime member of Jemaah Islamiya, an Islamist terrorist group, and who is currently a medical doctor and Muslim reformer living in the West. The article is entitled "The Trouble With Islam"- here are the key excerpts-
Not many years ago the brilliant Orientalist, Bernard Lewis, published a short history of the Islamic world's decline, entitled "What Went Wrong?" Astonishingly, there was, among many Western "progressives," a vocal dislike for the title. It is a false premise, these critics protested. They ignored Mr. Lewis's implicit statement that things have been, or could be, right.
But indeed, there is much that is clearly wrong with the Islamic world. Women are stoned to death and undergo clitorectomies. Gays hang from the gallows under the approving eyes of the proponents of Shariah, the legal code of Islam. Sunni and Shia massacre each other daily in Iraq. Palestinian mothers teach 3-year-old boys and girls the ideal of martyrdom. One would expect the orthodox Islamic establishment to evade or dismiss these complaints, but less happily, the non-Muslim priests of enlightenment in the West have come, actively and passively, to the Islamists' defense.
These "progressives" frequently cite the need to examine "root causes." In this they are correct: Terrorism is only the manifestation of a disease and not the disease itself. But the root-causes are quite different from what they think.....
Dr. Hamid goes on to document the historical manifestations of the current Islmic fundamentalist movements, namely Salafi Islam- a violent, ultra-conservative version of the religion. A troubling aspect of this struggle against radical, violent Islamists is the way that the "progressives" in the west are handling it.
Dr Hamid explains-
The grave predicament we face in the Islamic world is the virtual lack of approved, theologically rigorous interpretations of Islam that clearly challenge the abusive aspects of Shariah. Unlike Salafism, more liberal branches of Islam, such as Sufism, typically do not provide the essential theological base to nullify the cruel proclamations of their Salafist counterparts. And so, for more than 20 years I have been developing and working to establish a theologically-rigorous Islam that teaches peace.(emphasis mine-ed.)
Yet it is ironic and discouraging that many non-Muslim, Western intellectuals -- who unceasingly claim to support human rights -- have become obstacles to reforming Islam. Political correctness among Westerners obstructs unambiguous criticism of Shariah's inhumanity. They find socioeconomic or political excuses for Islamist terrorism such as poverty, colonialism, discrimination or the existence of Israel. What incentive is there for Muslims to demand reform when Western "progressives" pave the way for Islamist barbarity? Indeed, if the problem is not one of religious beliefs, it leaves one to wonder why Christians who live among Muslims under identical circumstances refrain from contributing to wide-scale, systematic campaigns of terror.
The tendency of many Westerners to restrict themselves to self-criticism further obstructs reformation in Islam. Americans demonstrate against the war in Iraq, yet decline to demonstrate against the terrorists who kidnap innocent people and behead them. Similarly, after the Madrid train bombings, millions of Spanish citizens demonstrated against their separatist organization, ETA. But once the demonstrators realized that Muslims were behind the terror attacks they suspended the demonstrations. This example sent a message to radical Islamists to continue their violent methods.
Dr Hamid on western feminists-
Western feminists duly fight in their home countries for equal pay and opportunity, but seemingly ignore, under a façade of cultural relativism, that large numbers of women in the Islamic world live under threat of beating, execution and genital mutilation, or cannot vote, drive cars and dress as they please.
But here is the million dollar phrase from the article-
Progressives need to realize that radical Islam is based on an antiliberal system. They need to awaken to the inhumane policies and practices of Islamists around the world. They need to realize that Islamism spells the death of liberal values. And they must not take for granted the respect for human rights and dignity that we experience in America, and indeed, the West, today.
What he's saying is that we in the west need to wake the hell up. These radical Islamists don't care how much you hate Bush. They don't care whether you're pro-life or pro-satan- you are the enemy because of the liberal values all those of us in the west have come to expect as a human right, things like personal liberty and equal rights. And our constant internal bickering is only further reinforcing the idea that we in the West are too weak to face up to these bullies.
Recently I've been perusing the various liberal blogs here in Tennessee and the nation to see what's the current mood and ideas on that side of the aisle. I am curious now that we are almost six years removed from 9/11 how seriously people on the left are treating this war. Thanks to Brittney at Nashville Is Talking, I am able to hit the most prominent ones in Nashville pretty easily. I'm going to use some recent threads as an example.
Over at Tennessee Guerilla Women, an uber-feminist blog, I've been reading their take on the trip to the middle east to visit Syria and others by Nancy Pelosi and some other congressfolks. This trip is not exactly what one would consider a wise move on our part if we are trying to isolate state sponsors of terrorism. Oh and uh, by the way- the Syrian regime is currently under investigation for the murder of Rafik Harriri, the former PM of Lebanon. How anyone can justify negotiating with assassins and dictators is beyond comprehension, but the Tennesse Guerilla Women have it rationalized somehow-here is what passes for rational discourse on the left-
"President Pissypants Disapproves of Pelosi's Trip to Syria" The neat part is I tried to argue in the comments to this thread and was accused of being racist and stating "KKK material, at least". Good times.
Then there's my buddy the Freedonian, who writes the following in his post "Turfing Out the War"
See the soldiers in this picture?(see post for the pic) Sure, they may, at first blush, look like any other soldiers carrying out combat operations in a war zone. Know what's different about these?
Now don't get me wrong--- I'm quite happy that our neighbors to the north felt so strongly about an attack on our soil that they wanted to help out.
But this is our job, and our fight.
Freedonian is making the grave mistake that this is the US's fight alone. He could not possibly be more wrong.
If you are someone that approves of equal rights for women, and oppose such atrocious practices as clitorectomies, then this is your fight.
If you are someone that believes that gay folks shouldn't be hung for their lifestyle choices, then this your fight.
If you are someone that believes that government and religion should remain seperate, then this is your fight.
If you are someone that believes in the right to worship whatever god you want, then this is your fight.
The question is are we still willing to fight it?