Thursday, January 17, 2008

Reforming Islam: Beware of the Fifth Column!

Dr Sam C. Holliday, director of the Armiger Cromwell Center - a valued and regular guest author in these pages - is commenting on, and seriously cautioning for some taqiyyah related efforts in reforming Islam.

The review ('The Limits of Liberal Islam' in Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2008 ) of "The Politics of God" by Lilla (NYT Magazine, 19 Aug 07) highlights several important issues. The analysis is right on target and the solution suggested should be our goal; but the Muslim "renovators" mentioned are part of a fifth column.

Lilla accurately notes how Islam differs from other religions, and even from the other monotheistic religion with universal claims (Christianity). For Islam the way to salvation is obedience to Muhammad and the Koran; for Christianity salvation is the acceptance of Jesus' death as the removal of sin.

He correctly identifies Hobbes' argument that "humans must surrender to absolute rulers (secular authority) in order to achieve peace" as the foundation of the separation of church and state as well as of postmodern thought. He accurately notes the influence of the counter argument by Rousseau that "human beings need religion (sacred authority) both as an expression of their natural goodness and as a moral compass". However, he fails to note that the siren's call of progress toward some utopia is a fundamental belief of postmodern thought.

He concludes with the observation that when any belief is "trimmed to fit the demands of the moment, the fewer reasons it gives believers for holding on to that faith ..." It is true that achieving the "Great Separation" of politics and religion, which the West takes from granted, will be very difficult to achieve among Muslims.

The same is true for his conclusion that a "self-confident, modernized Islam that is able simply to coexist with the West ought to be enough". Nevertheless, this is the solution we should seek. The alternative of killing or converting all Muslims is not a very attractive solution.

The West should do whatever is necessary to neutralized hirabahists (unholy warriors, the correct term for those often called jihadists or holy warriors) and this includes supporting Muslim reformers working to renew Islam from within.

The goal should be furthering modern Islamic counties with which the West can live in peace. Everyone should encourage and support Muslims within Islamic countries attempting to change their countries or Muslims in the West assisting in the fight against the Third Jihad.

However, the "moderates" mentioned are neither. They are intellectuals living in the West that are attempting to get us to "understand Islam". They attack those that point out the true nature of Islam, or describe how Muslims treat those that do not submit to "the way of the Prophet". Also these intellectuals attempt to undermine any actions against the aggressive actions of the Third Jihad.

The "moderates" sited are Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss-born cleric, and El Fadl, a UCLA law professor. It is wise to consider both members of a fifth column in the West attempting to weaken our resolve; such "moderates" facilitate success of the Third Jihad. These "moderate" Muslims and their naive supporters are a major threat.

They are the led elements of a global Islamic movement that seeks the destruction of the West. They can be found in our prisons, both as inmates and as Muslim clerics. They can be found in our colleges and universities. They can be found among anti-war activists. They can be found among the translators in the military.

They can be found at the very top of the US Defense Department (See: "Coughlin Sacked" by Bill Gertz, Washington Times, 11 Jan 08, pg. 6; "The Fifth Column: the Enemy Within" on Politeia Articles). The top counterterrorism analyst (Stephen Coughlin) of the JCS was recently fired after his confrontation with a "moderate" Muslim (Hasham Islam) who is a special assistant to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England. The "moderate" Muslims wanted Coughlin removed because they opposed his hard-to-refute views on the relationship between Islamic law and Islamic Jihad doctrine and his challenging of the politically correct view of Islam as a religion of peace hijacked by extremists.

In the name of religious freedom we should welcome those Muslims that limit their belief to the personal, inner, nonviolent Jihad al Akbar in struggles to improve their own lives. Yet we must be on guard against those Muslims who believe that authentic Jihad, in accordance with the words of the Prophet, requires a struggle against all non believers and agree with the 1998 declaration that killing “the Americans and their allies, civilians and military, is an individual obligation for every Muslim".

We must remember that according to Islamic teaching it is morally acceptable to deceive non believers (taqiya). This is especially true regarding intellectuals living in Europe and America that know Western ideals, values, attitudes and weaknesses.

Copyright © 2008 Armiger Cromwell Center, 3750 Peachtree Road, NE, Suite 374, Atlanta, GA 30319-1322 Permission is granted to forward this essay to friends or colleagues, on a fair use basis. For reprint permission contact Armiger Cromwell Center.

Sam C. Holliday is a graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, a former director of Stability Studies at the Army War College, and a retired Army Colonel. He earned a Master's in Public Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in InternationalRelations from the University of South Carolina. Currently he is Director of The Armiger Cromwell Center, a small nonprofit Internet clearinghouse for thinking "outside of the box of conventional wisdom." By means of its online essays, the ACC seeks more effective foreign policies to achieve stability through equilibrium.

Earlier by Dr Sam Holliday in Politeia:

- "Civil Right vs Human Rights"
- "The Corruption of Patriotism"
- "The Fable of the Water Buffalo and the Sparrow"
- "The Fable of the Knife"
- "Effectively Communicating Jihad: a spade is a spade"

- Filed on Articles in "The Fifth Column: the Enemy Within" -

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