May 13, 2008

It's the Doctrine, Stupid

"...the administration enshrines as policy its most fervent hopes, as if hopes were facts."

Andy McCarthy reacts to the DHS guidelines seeking to cleanse the agency's lexicon of nasty words like jihad, which suggest that Islam might have something to do with Islamic terrorism.

....the ipse dixit about a friendly jihad, just as validly construed to be a virtue as a mortal threat, flows naturally from the ipse dixit at the heart of the DHS guidance: The premise that “many so-called [so-called?] ‘Islamic’ terrorist groups twist and exploit the tenets of Islam to justify violence[.]” (Emphasis added.)

Really? The Koran (which Muslims take to be the verbatim word of Allah) commands, in Sura 9:123 (to take just one of many examples), “O ye who believe, fight those of the disbelievers who are near you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty unto him.” Does DHS really expect us to believe a terrorist has to “twist” that in order to gull fellow Muslims into thinking Islam enjoins Muslims to “fight those of the disbelievers who are near you, and let them find harshness in you”?

As policy, DHS gives us rose-tinted category error. It confounds Islam with Muslims and non-violence with moderation. There are about 1.4 billion Muslims in the world and the majority of them would not come close to committing a terrorist act. But their rejection of jihadist methods is not an en masse rejection of jihadist goals. Similarly, the belief that America should become a sharia state, which is not all that uncommon among even American Muslims, is not a moderate one, even if a Muslim who holds it is not willing to blow up buildings to make it so. And even if most Muslims resolve the tension between their faith and modernity by choosing to take scriptures non-literally, or by marginalizing their violent directives as relics of a bygone time and place, that makes those Muslims peaceful people; it does not make Islam a peaceful religion. Where combating Muslim terror is concerned, Islam is a hurdle you need to get over, not a means by which you get over the hurdle.

Posted by dan at May 13, 2008 11:46 AM