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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jihad Me at Hello

With the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, it's no surprise that jihad has also come to be of serious attention.

The PC hacks say that jihad is a holy war that is fought internally, but informed individuals who do not follow the creed of political correctness know that the real meaning of jihad is far more sinister. After all, if jihad was really an internal struggle against the forces of good and evil, why do terrorist groups like Al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood exist?

Terrorist organizations responsible for waging jihad on the West will stop at nothing until Islam rules the world, no matter how high the casualties are. That said, they need manpower to carry out their deadly missions. A great many of the jihadis captured are young men, and indeed, they seem to be viewed as expendible.

But there's more to the jihad story than just young men wanting a shot at 72 virgins. A recent raid of a jihadi camp in Yemen turned up not just Arabs, but Americans and Europeans who were training to become terrorists.

Inquiring minds would ask:

What causes such men [John Walker Lindh, Richard Reid, etc], born and raised in the West, often from Christian backgrounds, to abandon their heritage, embrace Islam, and become radicalized to the point that they conspire to kill their fellow countrymen?

At first glance, theology may be a factor.

As for Islam's intrinsic appeal, it has long been argued that, unlike Christianity, which can be "heavy" on theology, Islam is relatively simple and straightforward. Thus while Christianity may revolve around the metaphysical -- the Trinity, Christology, even the notion of grace -- Islam, in black-and-white terms, commands its adherents to do this and not do that. In fact, the Arabic word "Sharia," that comprehensive body of laws Muslims are to obey, is etymologically related to the word for "pathway" -- as in, "the pathway to paradise."

"The pathway to paradise"? Must the path to heaven be a river of innocent blood, tears, and clogged with rubble left behind from the blast?

But what if this is not a good-enough justification for turning Islamic?

Their Christian background in which they were raised, which demands sacrifice and hard work, service to others, is abandoned with the desperate hopes and sick dreams of becoming the masters off all. But in fact, what they succeed in their conversions to primitive Islam is they are slaves of masters, who themselves are slaves of higher masters, slavery all on up; all of whom are the "slaves of Allah" power structure; all in the name of an Arabian pagan moon-god Al-Ylah, worshipped by Mohammad's uncle's family, which their prophet raised to the One. It is all sick, a renewal of slavery in Europe, a tyranny we had fought wars to banish, from the American Civil War to banish slavery of American Blacks, to World War II to banish slavery under Nazism, including the long Cold War to banish slavery of Communism. There is no 'manliness' in conversion to Islam, no compassion, no tolerance, no freedom - no redemption of any kind. It is slavery again, as it had ever been for 1400 years.

Indeed, power corrupts. But the part that really stood out to me was "no redemption of any kind" in regards to Islam. I have read in more than one place that Islam's more violent aspects make it an appealing religion to criminals because it doesn't require them to change their violent habits-just change who they're doing it for. Unlike Christianity, which combines repentance with intrasocial accountability (let the punishment fit the crime), Islam has no such thing as this because you are accountable only to Allah and no one else-not even your peers. You don't have to stop killing people just cuz you hate them-just say you're doing it in the name of Allah and that damned PC will make the police go easy on you. Just ask the Panty-bomber himself.

But what if there's something else involved? Something more than just satisfying someone's cravings to kill and dominate?

Yet there is another, more subtle, factor that may entice men to Islam: traditional male roles are highlighted in the religion. This may appeal to non-Muslim men who want to assert their "masculinity" in what they perceive to be gender-free Western societies. Harvey Mansfield's book, Manliness, defines that term as "a quality both bad and good, mostly male, often intolerant, irrational, and ambitious. Our gender-neutral society does not like it but cannot get rid of it."

Indeed, with an ethical code that coalesced in the seventh century -- when the Muslim prophet and "perfect example" walked the earth, enforced his will, and conquered his "infidel" neighbors -- Islamic culture can hardly be deemed "gender-neutral." Even philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who despised Christianity as "effeminate" and preached the need for man to be transformed into an amoral "hyper-man," professed admiration for Islam, describing it as "noble and manly" (The Antichrist).

Of course, traditional masculine roles are not the sole domain of Islam; most civilizations have lived in accordance to such norms; so-called "gender-neutral societies" are, from a historical perspective, aberrant. James Bowman, author of Honor: A History, points out that, when it comes to the West's disregard for notions of honor and masculinity, "we are, in global terms, the odd ones out"; he further asserts that, up until the Victorian era, in the West, "honor was rather closer to the Arab and Muslim idea of it today."

It is in this context, then, that disaffected young men -- who, like Nietzsche, despise what they perceive to be a "gender-neutral" society -- may find a religion which emphasizes "masculinity" appealing.

John Walker Lindh especially seems to fit this paradigm. Precipitating his conversion to Islam was his teenage discovery that his father was homosexual -- an event that appears to have traumatized and alienated Lindh. Islam's masculine ideals and unequivocal condemnation of homosexuality may have lured young Lindh, who, soon after his father left his mother and moved in with another man, converted to Islam at age 16. Shortly thereafter, he went a-jihading.

This is all further exasperated by Muslims mocking Western masculinity -- such as Osama bin Laden, who has ridiculed Western acceptance of homosexuality and characterized the American soldier as "a paper tiger" who is "too cowardly and too fearful to meet the young people of Islam face-to-face" (The Al Qaeda Reader).

Whatever position one may hold regarding these issues, one thing is clear: If traditional masculine virtues are upheld in Islamic culture, so too do traditional masculine vices abound -- for it is often a very fine line that separates hyper-virtue from hyper-vice. Honor, courage, and patriarchic ethics can -- and, in Islamic culture, regularly do -- morph into destructive pride (e.g., "honor killings"), disdain for life (e.g., suicide bombings), and brutal misogyny....

Not a pretty picture. It's no surprise that modern Europe has sunk so low that even characterizing what is male and what is female is ripe for a lawsuit.

But who knows-maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Maybe violent Islam is enough to make the West "Man-up" once and for all.

**Many thanks to Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch for providing the bolded quotes. The italicized quote was from a commenter named "Battle_of_Tours"**


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