Small LinkSwarm this time.
Posts Tagged ‘Islam’
I might have an analysis of the the Iranian nuclear deal later, or I might now, depending on how my taxes are going…
Welcome to the Friday LinkSwarm, where two themes are jihadis enjoying the benefits of the welfare state, and Hillary Clinton enjoying treating campaign finance laws as “optional suggestions.”
— BattleSwarm (@BattleSwarmBlog) February 26, 2015
This extensive Graeme Wood Atlantic piece on the Islamic State is must reading. Though many of the points Wood addresses about Koranic scriptural justifications for Islamic State actions (including its most horrific atrocities) have been covered here and in places like Jihad Watch, they have not been heretofore covered to the depth and breadth they are here in any mainstream American publication.
The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.
Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail.
When a masked executioner says Allahu akbar while beheading an apostate, sometimes he’s doing so for religious reasons.
Many mainstream Muslim organizations have gone so far as to say the Islamic State is, in fact, un-Islamic. It is, of course, reassuring to know that the vast majority of Muslims have zero interest in replacing Hollywood movies with public executions as evening entertainment. But Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, “embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion” that neglects “what their religion has historically and legally required.” Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, he said, are rooted in an “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.”
According to Haykel, the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor. Koranic quotations are ubiquitous. “Even the foot soldiers spout this stuff constantly,” Haykel said. “They mug for their cameras and repeat their basic doctrines in formulaic fashion, and they do it all the time.” He regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he said. “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else.”
All Muslims acknowledge that Muhammad’s earliest conquests were not tidy affairs, and that the laws of war passed down in the Koran and in the narrations of the Prophet’s rule were calibrated to fit a turbulent and violent time. In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.”
If al-Qaeda wanted to revive slavery, it never said so. And why would it? Silence on slavery probably reflected strategic thinking, with public sympathies in mind: when the Islamic State began enslaving people, even some of its supporters balked. Nonetheless, the caliphate has continued to embrace slavery and crucifixion without apology. “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women,” Adnani, the spokesman, promised in one of his periodic valentines to the West. “If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.”
It has already taken up what Islamic law refers to as “offensive jihad,” the forcible expansion into countries that are ruled by non-Muslims. “Hitherto, we were just defending ourselves,” Choudary said; without a caliphate, offensive jihad is an inapplicable concept. But the waging of war to expand the caliphate is an essential duty of the caliph.
Choudary took pains to present the laws of war under which the Islamic State operates as policies of mercy rather than of brutality. He told me the state has an obligation to terrorize its enemies—a holy order to scare the shit out of them with beheadings and crucifixions and enslavement of women and children, because doing so hastens victory and avoids prolonged conflict.
Choudary’s colleague Abu Baraa explained that Islamic law permits only temporary peace treaties, lasting no longer than a decade. Similarly, accepting any border is anathema, as stated by the Prophet and echoed in the Islamic State’s propaganda videos. If the caliph consents to a longer-term peace or permanent border, he will be in error. Temporary peace treaties are renewable, but may not be applied to all enemies at once: the caliph must wage jihad at least once a year. He may not rest, or he will fall into a state of sin.
Wood also goes into considerable detail about the fundamentally apocalyptic nature of the Islamic State’s vision for the world. Think The Late Great Planet Earth, but not nearly so warm and funny.
While I may not agree with every point Wood makes (I rather doubt there are enough “quietist Salafis” to provide anything resembling a theological counterweight to the Islamic State among the Ummah), it’s still a very important piece that I hope will open many eyes in our political establishment as to the nature of the foe we face.
Read the while thing.
So the Charlie Hebdo killers are dead, but the manhunt for a female accomplice implicated in the deaths of four people during the siege of a Kosher food store in Paris continues. Here are various reactions and pieces on the Charlie Hebdo attack:
A journalist explains that a crowdfunding campaign, spontaneously created on the Internet by strangers, has already collected 98,000 euros in less than 24 hours. Charlie’s survivors are inundated with subscription requests that they can’t handle at the moment. Charlie Hebdo’s lawyer, Richard Malka, speaks. “There’s money arriving from everywhere. Assistance, space, personnel to deal with requests …” “We have received support from lots of media sources,” echoes Christophe Thévenet, another lawyer for the newspaper. “There are donations, already 250,000 euros from the Press and Pluralism Association, the million euros pledged by Fleur Pellerin [the French Minister of Culture and Communication]. … You are going to have finances like never before at Charlie!”
So no, we’re all not Charlie—few of us are that good, and none of us are that brave. If more of us were brave, and refused to yield to the bomber’s veto, and maybe reacted to these eternally recurring moments not by, say, deleting all your previously published Muhammad images, as the Associated Press is reportedly doing today, but rather by routinely posting newsworthy images in service both to readers and the commitment to a diverse and diffuse marketplace of speech, then just maybe Charlie Hebdo wouldn’t have stuck out so much like a sore thumb. It’s harder, and ultimately less rewarding to the fanatical mind, to hit a thousand small targets than one large one.
The French establishment is co-opting these brave men’s deaths for their own purposes, and for the most part the world’s media are helping them get away with it. I spent much of Thursday on TV and radio, and my irritation with the dismal #JeSuisCharlie campaign increased as the day wore on. The self-flattering evasiveness of all those cartoonists around the world offering lame variations of “the pen is mightier than the sword” was especially feeble.
Steyn also offers this sad, telling point:
I can’t claim to have known Georges Wolinski, the 80-year-old cartoonist among the dead on Wednesday, but I met him briefly, a few years ago. Via Laura Rosen Cohen, I learn of the strange, circular journey of his life and death. His father was a Polish Jew who fled to Tunisia to lead a life free of pogroms. Georges was born there in 1934. Two years later, his dad was murdered, and the family moved again, this time to France.
And on Wednesday, like his father, the son was killed.
Wolinski père fled Jew-hate in Europe to be murdered in the Muslim world.
Wolinski fils fled Jew-hate in the Muslim world to be murdered in Europe, by Muslims.
however. When it comes to appeasing militant Islam, my own trade is equally culpable.
So is the entire apparatus of the State. We pussy-foot around anything which may cause offence to Muslims, partly out of good manners but primarily because we are worried about the potential backlash.
The reason most of the media in the Western world steered clear of republishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammed wasn’t because they were not newsworthy but because of fears that men in balaclavas with machine-guns might march into the front office and start firing at random.
Islam is just one of the New Establishment’s favoured client groups. Exciting ‘hate crime’ laws have been invented to grant them special privileges and punish their critics.
So mad mullahs in Midlands madrassas can call for homosexuals to be stoned to death. But a Christian preacher who objects to gay marriage can expect to be arrested and given a criminal record.
We have also created a ‘victim’ culture, which allows minority groups to justify any kind of bad behaviour on the grounds that they are being oppressed.
You didn’t have to look far yesterday to find allegedly ‘respected’ voices prepared to blame the staff of Charlie Hebdo for bringing the wrath of the Islamists down on themselves. They shouldn’t have been so ‘provocative’.
(Hat tip: The Jawa Report.)
— BattleSwarm (@BattleSwarmBlog) January 10, 2015
The anti-Muslim backlash in France that many people were expecting this week seems to have somehow resulted in the murder of Jews.
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) January 9, 2015
“Boko Haram fighters burnt down almost the entire town on Wednesday, after over-running a military base on Saturday, Musa Alhaji Bukar said.
“Bodies lay strewn on Baga’s streets, amid fears that some 2,000 people had been killed in the raids, he added.”
Let’s hope those numbers are exaggerated, as early reports frequently are.
Also remember that the full name of Boko Haram is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Prophet’s Teachings for Propagation and Jihad). Perhaps we could take up a collection for one of the learned members of our ruling class to fly over and explain to them how they’re not actually Islamic…
(Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)