A Chinese View of the Muslim World

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


This is interesting because the divide between the Muslim world and the Asian sphere goes right to the heart of the chaos spilling out of the region.

The non-Muslim countries of Asia have been getting their act together while the Muslim countries have been Islamizing and taking large chunks of Saudi money.

There is no telling where Indonesia might be today without the influence of Islam. And Pakistan might be closer to India, instead of a horrid backward place that murders women for minor offenses and invests money in terrorism and nuclear weapons.

North Korea is an aberration only by Asian standards. By Muslim standards it’s the norm. And so this Gatestone piece is of some interest.

The Chinese, at behind-the-scenes conferences and discussions during the past few months, kept saying they were perplexed about the Muslim world’s – particularly the Arab world’s – inability to deal with the modern world. The Chinese and the Muslims, they repeated, had suffered the same humiliation and occupation by foreigners over the past two hundred years, but the Chinese and Muslim reactions to these experiences seem so completely different.

“We also suffered,” the Chinese said, “but now we control our destiny, and are doing everything we can to learn from these foreigners so that we can benefit from the modern world and ensure that we do not suffer this humiliation again. We Chinese ‘look to the future.’”

The Muslims, on the other hand, the Chinese stated, seem to have a different approach: Instead of looking to the future, they “are mired in the past,” more concerned about taking revenge against those foreigners whom they believe had humiliated and oppressed them.

It was because of this focus on the past, these Chinese intellectuals and leaders stated, that Arabs and Muslims were therefore unable to build societies which could participate in the modern world. “Revenge and victimhood,” these Chinese argued, could permanently cause “the Arabs and Muslim world” to “remain behind the West and Asia.”

China, which is largely secular, despite a sizable number of Muslims, has trouble understanding the intersection between religious and national imperatives.

The Muslim world doesn’t really consist of nations, but of a motley collection of tribes, ethnicities and linguistic groups tied together by the Islamic expansionist mandate.

The expansionist mandate of Islam ties Islamic identity to conquest. Revenge and Victimhood is the whole point. China can function as a country without Korea, even though it might like to do that one day. However China does need to take Taiwan and Hong Kong to retain its Chinese identity.

But for Islam, their Taiwan is the entire world. Islam must rule over non-Muslims and expand its dominions or it loses touch with its Islamic identity and its sense of destiny that gives it momentum.

  • Clara S

    This is an interesting observation, siting the forward looking or backward clinging perspectives of Asians vs Muslims….but in the end, it seems that both groups would like to 'take over'…the world. We 'capitalists' are walking a fine line for liberty….can we hold on?

  • Mary Sue

    wow, China almost gets it!

  • Chezwick

    The only aspect of the equation that seems to have eluded the Chinese is the REASON for the Arab/Muslim world's preoccupation with "humiliation and oppression." It's rooted in the SUPREMACISM of Islamic theology.

    A rational, well-balanced individual can contextualize and forgive another who mistreated him/her in the distant past. But the Supremacist is unable to because the "humiliation" suffered strikes to the heart of identity. So it is for societies as a whole. The Islamic world is no longer colonized, no longer "oppressed", but this is only small comfort to believing Muslims.

    The REAL "sin" of the West, the REAL "humiliation" suffered by Islam, is that it was ever surpassed in the first place. And the ONLY means of pacifying Muslim anger will be the re-assertion of Islamic hegemony. Western dhimmis are working overtime for such an outcome.

    Chinese, beware. You're next after the West is conquered. You'll discover then it never was about "occupation" or "humiliation"….it was always about the sin of existing outside the parameters of Islamic supremacism.

    • Joe Hash

      "A rational, well-balanced individual can contextualize and forgive another who mistreated him/her in the distant past. " Really? Like, turning the other cheek? And that's supposed to be rational? Realistic? Bush and his neo-con buddies must have been the more "rational, well-balanced individuals" after 911 cause they forgave OBL, and in the process, forgave Afghani and Iraqi children, women and the aged for it as well. Yup, they forgave them to their death.

  • Spikey1

    The differences between Chinese and Muslim peoples:
    • Work ethic
    • Goat usage
    • Self Reliance
    • Child bombs
    • Can manufacture things aside from IED's
    • Will fight to gain more freedom
    • Women dress well
    • Smell better

    If you need a clue as to which is which… your probably a muslim.

    • Ar'nun

      LOL, "goat usage"!!!

    • Mary Sue

      there's another huge and very important one:

      Pork is the favorite food of the Chinese people!

      Seriously never get between a chinese person and their pork ;)

  • pagegl

    Interesting, the communists in China understand Islam, but the leftists in this country do not.

    • KarshiKhanabad

      The Chinese have the Uighurs in western China so they have their own indigenous Muslim problem. The irony is that most Uighurs and Uzbeks their cross border relatives are not Islamists except for militant minorities among them. But the Chinese fully understand the difference between moving forward & becoming mired in the grievances of the past.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Interesting, the communists in China understand Islam, but the leftists in this country do not."

      The Chinese don't need to use Islam as a club to attack Judeo Christianity. That's mostly the difference in approach. Any honest leftist would agree with their assessment as long as they were confident saying so would not be used against them.

  • Ar'nun

    Plus the Chinese don't have to follow the example of Mohammed or face death.

  • JacksonPearson

    The major difference is, the Chinese government doesn't put up with Muslim nonsense. When Muslims get out of hand, out comes the big head knockers. It's a simple equation.

  • Dan Reynolds

    The Chinese know their history and know how to learn from it. They have never and will never forget or forgive the humiliation that the British (and others) heaped on them in the Opium wars and they won't let it happen again. They are fully aware of exactly what a cancer Islam is and, unlike the West, are not at all queasy at dealing with ANYTHING that threatens their (conception of) their rightful place as the world's economic and cultural superpower.

  • Muslim

    good

  • coward

    want to post a good comment but this christian is afraid of repercussions. Wow am I a wimp. sadened to know that about myself.

  • Kepha

    China also is obsessed with recovering its imperial past.

    Further, it's telling that a China that imprisons people who might organize another political party, however peaceful and responsible, also allows a some to advocate a China that takes in all of the Far Eastern peoples–including the patrimony of the American Indigenes.

  • Tala

    This might be the most terribly written piece of “backward” propaganda I have ever had the misfortune of stumbling upon. Unprofessional, unbacked, and plagued with sweeping generalisations. I applaud you, good sir; it takes effort to produce something so unsubstantial. Not only am I offended as a student of the field (which you completely reduced to false facts), but too as a person existing on an Earth where this is considered journalism.

  • Zhang Mai

    China is friend to all Muslims!