[Make sure to read Daniel Greenfield’s contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
Civilized nations have spent generations trying to convince themselves that the primary religious and national impulses of the Muslim world come down to more than conquest and mass murder.
The horrors of the past few years in Afghanistan and Israel both came down to the mistaken belief that you could negotiate and reach an agreement with Jihadist movements.
Both D.C. and Jerusalem had become enchanted with diplomatic initiatives to the Muslim world, from the Abraham Accords to two years of relative peace with Hamas, politicians, generals and diplomats were convinced that they had finally unlocked the secret of coexistence.
But there’s no perpetual motion machine, no diet that lets you eat what you want and no coexistence with an ideology that is built on conquering and destroying all outsiders.
Individually, contextually and circumstantially coexistence is possible. But not in the long run.
How long that long run is depends not on building relationships, but showing strength. Civilized people treat coexistence as a means of developing bonds but the other side uses periods of coexistence to test for weaknesses. Coexistence on their side is a wholly insincere facade, no matter how authentic it may appear, that gathers information to be used when the attack comes.
Israeli Kibbutz residents thought that they were building relationships with day laborers from Gaza. They chatted about life, their kids and their various hardships. Then those same laborers returned to kill, rape and abduct them. But that is how that was always going to end.
That is how it will end for us with the millions of immigrants that we have taken into our nations.
It is a fundamental error to view Hamas as an “extremist” group. It is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood whose political parties rule a number of Muslim countries. Its political organizations also dominate Muslim communities in America and Europe. Most of Al Qaeda’s leaders were also members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The myth of a split between political Islam and militant Islam, between moderate and extreme Islamic movements was always just that.
As Erdogan, the brutal Islamist tyrant who became the poster boy for moderate Islam said, “Islam cannot be either ‘moderate’ or ‘not moderate.’ Islam can only be one thing.” He has since, despite previous claims of turning more moderate and rebuilding relationships, renewed his support for Hamas, and threatened western nations with a Jihad against the “crusaders”.
The trouble with all the dreams of coexistence is that Islam is Jihad and Jihad is Islam. The most fundamental external expression of Islam is a drive to conquer the entire world, not in some uncertain ‘end of days’ future, but here, now and in the present. The difference between the so-called moderates and extremists comes down to quibbling over when and how that conquest is to begin, where it is to be implemented and who is to take charge of it.
But the actual conquest is an ongoing project. Every Islamic war, whether against Muslims or non-Muslims, is waged as part of an agenda of global conquest. Muslim civil wars are waged between different factions under the banner of Islamic leadership. And the purpose of Islamic leadership is to impose Islamic law in its lands and then invade other lands to impose the same brutal theocratic repression there.
The Jihad is the defining force of Islamic political and religious life. Much as with Communism, coexistence with it is impossible. It was impossible to coexist with members of a movement that believed in conquering and subjugating everyone under the red flag and the little red book. Individually you could chat with a Communist or help them with their groceries, but the ideology doomed any long term relationship with someone who wanted you dead or as a slave.
This was a difficult lesson that we never learned during the Cold War. Is it any wonder that we’re incapable of grasping this concept now when our civilization’s future is once again on the line?
The Cold War was fought on the optimistic premise that everyone wanted the same things we did, and that once we taught them to want them, they would adopt our means of getting them. Convince Communists that color TVs were fun and they become democratic capitalists. What sounded like a good argument to us has failed in every country that it’s been tried, except those that, like Japan and Germany, were originally democratic and capitalist. Instead we convinced China that it should make and sell us the TVs and use the money to build up its military, and convinced the Muslim world to move here, kill us and take the TVs.
We are not the world and the world is not us. Not all religions, cultures and countries are alike. Most have things that they believe in every bit as strongly as our fanciful belief that all people are basically good and that if we could just get them in a room, we would agree on most things. That’s what we did with multiculturalism and it’s why we now have violent riots every few years because we don’t agree on basic things like what we want out of life or how we treat each other.
That’s why we should not delude ourselves into thinking that the Jihad is a fringe, the misbehavior of a tiny minority, and that even that tiny minority doesn’t really buy into it. Every religion and movement has its hypocrites, but the belief that the world must be purified by Islam is as sincerely held by the majority of its believers as by those who fought for Communism. That is the religious impulse, more than any other, at the heart of Islam and its promise to Muslims.
Each religion has elements that make it exceptional. What makes Islam exceptional is not the collection of beliefs, scriptures and rituals often cribbed from Judaism and Christianity, but what it offers that these religions do not, an imminent redemption of the world achieved not in the distant future, but in the present day through the violent actions of its followers. That, and not borrowed scripture and ritual, is what allowed Islam to defeat Jews and Christians.
Western nations view this as ancient history while Muslims see it as an enduring struggle. That is why they talk, as Erdogan does, about “crusaders” and taunt the Jews with the massacre of Khaybar by Mohammed’s bandits. Convinced that history can never repeat itself, we dismiss the idea that it’s relevant or that the people we are dealing with are serious about bringing it back.
Civilized people are shocked by the horrors that ISIS, Boko Haram or Hamas perpetrate because they refuse to learn history or to see how it might be relevant to current events. It’s fashionable to draw a line, whether it’s 5 minutes ago or in 1967, and begin the clock from there. Why is this happening, they wonder, as if this had not been the longstanding practice of Islamic armies to behead fallen enemies, mutilate bodies or to rape women for over a thousand years. They assume without a shred of evidence that such practices must have been abolished.
What we are experiencing is not a reaction to anything we did. It has nothing to do with our views on a ‘Palestinian’ state, whether we draw Mohammed or welcome refugees. The Jihad is the founding religious impulse of Islam with over a thousand years of history behind it. The Jihad not only predates the United States of America and the rebirth of Israel, but dates back to a name when pagan kings ruled the various parts of England. It predates colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, globalism, the dollar, WWI and the Carter administration.
The Jihad made Islam possible. It is also what gives it meaning. It is the precarious reality that colors all relationships with the Muslim world. We have learned to ignore it at our own risk. And every time we unsee it, people die. They die by the dozens, the hundreds and the thousands. And the killing and the dying happen because we mistake what is at best a Cold War for a rich relationship. We think that we are building bridges when we’re really welcoming invaders.
To survive, we need to see all the things that we’ve been unseeing. We have to recognize that these horrors are not aberrations, they are the norm. It’s the pleasantries and periods of coexistence that are the aberration. It’s not a problem we can negotiate away. It’s not solvable by spreading democracy or building up trade relationships. The only reason we weren’t living with these horrors on an everyday basis is that the Western world became too powerful to have our coastlines and ships raided for slaves as used to be common practice in the past.
What the Muslim world and it leftist allies call “imperialism” and “colonialism” meant that kidnapped European women stopped showing up in the harems of the Ottoman Caliphate and European children as slaves in his armies. It also meant that the Jews were able to rebuild their country and, briefly, Christians in the region were also able to freely lift their heads again. We forgot that we had become strong to stop ourselves from falling victim to the endless Jihad. And our sons and daughters came to sympathize with former enemies who would rape and kill them.
Now we have made ourselves weak and the horrors are returning. We struggle to coexist with those who want to kill us. And then we wonder why they keep killing us. There’s our answer.
Coexistence is death, resistance is life. Until we learn to stop coexisting with our killers, they will go on killing us. All else is an illusion. A fantasy that we keep feeding ourselves. There is no moderate Islam because there is no moderate Jihad. And there is no moderate Jihad because there is no moderate way to conquer and enslave non-Muslims. Islam is a state of perpetual war. To know Islam is to never know peace. We coexist with Islam and so we are at war.