Saturday, September 16, 2006

Muslims’ Handling of Dissent

Tibor R. Machan

Sure, not all Muslims are like that but even those who don’t join in seem not to have enough influence to stop the large mass of troublemakers. This was brilliantly uncovered by the recently deceased Oriana Fallaci, the firebrand Italian journalist who gave some instances of the Arab leadership’s thinking, including this from George Habash, the nominally Christian Marxist-Leninist: “Our revolution is a part of the world revolution,” he told Fallaci (as reported in her book The Force of Reason [Rissoli, 2004]). “It is not confined to the reconquest of Palestine.... The Palestinian problem is not an aside problem. A problem separated from the Arab Nation’s realities. Palestinians are part of the Arab Nation. Therefore the entire Arab Nation must go to war against Europe and America. It must unleash a war against the West. America and Europe don’t know that we Arabs are just at the beginning of the beginning. That the best has yet to come. That from now on there will be no peace for the West. To advance step by step. Millimeter by millimeter. Year after year. Decade after decade. Determined, stubborn, patient. That is our strategy. A strategy that we shall expand throughout the whole planet.” Or how about this from a bona fide Muslim, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, reported in Asia Times Online recently: "We must believe in the fact that Islam is not confined to geographical borders, ethnic groups and nations. It's a universal ideology that leads the world to justice. We don't shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world. We must prepare ourselves to rule the world." Although there may well be millions of moderate Muslims, they seem not to have managed to take the leadership position in the Islamic world but left it all to these imperialists.

Recently Pope Benedict made some critical commons about Islamic doctrine. As reported by Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, the provost of Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida, the Pope said, “in the Islamic tradition, God has given His word to Mohammed, but it's an eternal word. It's not Mohammed's word. It's there for eternity the way it is. There's no possibility of adapting it or interpreting it, whereas in Christianity, and Judaism, the dynamism's completely different, that God has worked through his creatures. And so it is not just the word of God, it's the word of Isaiah, not just the word of God, but the word of Mark. He's used his human creatures, and inspired them to speak his word to the world, and therefore by establishing a church in which he gives authority to his followers to carry on the tradition and interpret it, there's an inner logic to the Christian Bible, which permits it and requires it to be adapted and applied to new situations.”
Now whatever you may think of this, agree or disagree, what’s vital to note is that in response to the Pope’s views a large mass of Arab Muslims demonstrated with several thousand flag-waving Palestinians marching in the Gaza Strip in protest against his views. "This is another Crusader war against the Arab and Muslim world," Hamas official Ismail Radwan is reported to have said in an address to some 5,000 chanting demonstrators. Even the Pakistani government got into the act, with its National Assembly, unanimously passing a resolution condemning the Pope's comments.

Contrast this with how the recent call by Roman Catholic bishops in California for us all to abandon our search of earthly joys and pleasures was met. With, well, not much. Is that because everyone agrees with the bishops? No. Quite evidently millions of Californians prefer living well here on earth, making the most of mundane pleasures and showing, what the bishops call, “spiritual indifference.”

OK, so the California Roman Catholic bishops are insulting the life style and belief systems of millions of not just California Roman Catholics but people around the Western World. Yet, do these insulted, offended people insist that the bishops be censured? Do they march against them and have their political bodies pass legislation against them?

No, not as a rule. And that is a fundamental difference between the current crop of Muslim leaders and those against whom they urge their jihad, the bulk of the population of the non-Muslim world. The latter mostly leave such disputes and controversies to be conducted in forums of civilized discussion—magazines, newspapers, university seminars, journals, conferences—and do not make it all a political and military matter, at least not in recent times. We may thank, I submit, the influence of classical liberal social political philosophy for this civilizing influence that the Muslim world clearly lacks.

It is interesting to notice, by the way, that here is where the Marxist-Leninist Left is very close to the radical Muslims. They, too, make everything political, everything subject to a physical conflict, to coercion.

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