Opinions, unlike principles, are not sacred possessions to be protected, locked away and defended from all intruders. Rather, they are, or should be, living and evolving attitudes, constantly subjected to rigorous revision and adjustment — or, when necessary, quickly abandoned for some more plausible or cogent truth.
rg - Wrestling With Mohammad
Originally published by Real Clear Politics - August 3, 2007
Lost amidst the heated rhetoric of our current debates over whether or not the Koran contains an inordinate amount of violence, or whether Islam is indeed a violent religion is a simple but often neglected truth -- Islamism is not a religion.
Islam is a religion. Islamism, like all of those other familiar isms -- Communism, Socialism, Fascism, etc. -- is an aggressive political movement. Like all aggressive political movements its goal is to attain political power -- in this case, nothing less than world-wide hegemony. Islamism is a political ideology grounded in religious doctrine. It is a revolutionary political movement which seeks to destroy our Western democratic societies and replace them with a totalitarian theocracy.
One of the most serious mistakes which we in the West have made in attempting to deal with the rising threat of Political Islam is in allowing it to usurp that sacrosanct "hands-off" space reserved in our democratic systems for legitimate religions.
Whereas the Islamists make no such separation between mosque and state, we pride ourselves on this particular constitutional distinction. The Islamists thoroughly understand this democratic weakness and cynically exploit it to their advantage.
So long as Political Islam cleverly hides itself beneath the veil of religion it remains virtually immune to that Western tradition of rational investigation and objective debate to which all of those other isms are subjected.
Until we rectify this situation and extricate Islamism from that rarefied realm of culture and religion and place it squarely where it belongs -- on the rough and tumble battlefield of politics -- we will continue fighting this momentous battle with one arm tied behind our back.
Although there is much that I would still agree with in this article, I would not write this article the same way today. As with most of us, my opinions have been continually evolving. At the time of this article I was still able to separate out "radical Islamism" from Islam itself, the Islamists from Islam. Since then, however, the more I have learned about the nature of this violent and aggressive "religion", and the teachings of their criminal "Prophet", the more my heart has hardened against this great civilizational threat to Western Society. As I have stated elsewhere, actions speak louder than words, and the actions of these belligerent and intolerant Muslim immigrants against their welcoming, if naive, host countries speak volumes. No longer can I make those fine distinctions between those "extreme" elements within Islam and the whole negative and destructive nature of Islam itself.
Evidently, I am not alone in this grim assessment. According to the small poll conducted here at Radarsite, when asked "Is Islam itself the problem?", 86% of the respondents answered Yes. Admittedly, this small sampling of opinion is not meant to be representative of a larger attitude, but it does demonstrate that not everyone is buying into the "peaceful religion hijacked by a few fanatics" paradigm, and beginning to look at Islam itself for what it really is, not for what some of its apologists would wish it to be. rg - March 15, 2008