Sunday, December 04, 2005

If You Want To Understand Our Enemy, You Must Read This!

If you have ever wondered what motivates the Islamofascists we are fighting today, or if you have ever offered an opinion on the subject, you should go to All Things Beautiful right now and read this post by an anonymous Professor of Islamic Medieval History in Israel. I promise after doing so, you will know more than you do now.

There are few articles as brilliant as this one that absolutely must be read by any Layman who ever wishes to understand our enemy and speak intelligently on the subject of Islamofascism. Alexandra and the Professor have inspired me to begin compiling them.

Here is the introduction to the article:

The following article attempts to address two specific questions germane to the debate about Islam today: first, is there a specifically anti-Christian (as opposed to generally anti-"Infidel") strain in Islam; and, second, is private, non-statal Jihad a modern aberration or, rather, an integral and religiously respectable component of the Islamic tradition? Since the paper was addressed to a group of historians, it assumed a certain background knowledge of the larger question of Jihad which the readers on this site may understandably lack. This background is, however, all the more necessary in light of the concerted apologist effort to "prettify" the Islamic concept of Jihad post-9/11. Here, then, is some clarification regarding the duty of Jihad in Islam: The Prophet Muhammad, according to the Islamic tradition, was sent by God in the 7th century with Allah's perfect, final revelation, embodied in what was later (according to the tradition, in the 650s) collected into the volume called the Qur'an.

Here are the final two paragraphs.

One of the great cultural tendencies of the Islamic world is to view the world through the prism of the paradigms of classical Islam, much in the same way that someone raised in a strict Protestant tradition views people or events through Biblical archetypes, and speaks of contemporary figures as being second Jezebels, Herods, Judases and so forth. Thus, for the devout Muslim viewing the world through the prism of the classical tradition, America becomes the second 'Ad of the Qur'an, an arrogant and godless people doomed to destruction; the Western forces in 'Iraq become the Crusaders; and so forth. Any state peopled largely by Christians, therefore, however secular the state and however nominal the Christians, corresponds to the "Rome" of the classical Sunni tradition in the eyes of the volunteer Jihadist drawing his inspiration from the early Sunni sources.

Finally, in conclusion, we might ponder the fact that at certain key moments in history, religious tolerance- or the lack thereof- can have repercussions far into the future. Just as the anti-Jewish statements of the New Testament at the time of its writing have reverberated for millenia, because they came at a formative and normative moment in the crystallization of a religious tradition, so the state of hostility and warfare towards Christians and their leading polity entered into the Muslim tradition at a crucial moment, when Sunni Islam was being formed. It is this crucial timing which has had such a lasting effect, which we are still feeling 12 centuries later.

Now if that hasn't piqued your interest I don't know what will. I will warn you it is a long piece but every word is well said. I would sincerely appreciate to hear a response from an Islamic scholar on this piece and encourage them to dispute anything they felt to be inaccurate.

Thank you Professor, and Thank you Alexandra.


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