Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Cross and the Crescent (I)

From the desk of Dr Sam C. Holliday, director of the Armiger Cromwell Center


In his 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Samuel Huntington predicts a clash between the West and the Islamic world as some Muslims continue their attempt to establish the Great Caliphate – in which everyone is governed by “the ways of the Prophet.” In 1921 Hendrick Van Loon, in The Story of Mankind, described the struggle between the cross and the crescent. He explains how peaceful Arab shepherds listened to Muhammad, mounted their horses, drew their swords, and in less than a century pushed to the heart of Europe and proclaimed the glories of Allah, “the only God,” and Muhammad, “the prophet of the only God.”

Today we face the third episode in the Great Jihad (Holy War). The current so-called War on Terror could be a precursor for a final Clash of Civilizations, or it might be only a skirmish, which if handled correctly can prevent death and destruction of a magnitude the world has never seen. This essay is an attempt to determine the nature of the current threat to Western culture and to suggest what should be done.

Possible Outcomes
If ever there is conflict to the point that either Western culture or Islamic culture is utterly vanquished the world will be fundamentally altered. There will be more death and destruction than in World War I, II, and the Cold War combined. Terror will be an everyday occurrence, and weapons of mass destruction will kill millions.

Our challenge is not to accept the inevitability of this final Clash of Civilizations, but to do whatever is possible to prevent it. True excellence is not killing all of your enemies, but defeating your enemies without killing. Reasonable people must have the conviction, knowledge, and courage to challenge the extremists on both sides – evildoers (Hirabahists) and postmodernists.

However, from what we see on TV reasonable people might be in short supply. Reasonable Muslims around the world need to step forward and challenge those advocating the Third Jihad, for they are subverting Islam to advance their own agenda. The extremists call themselves jihadists (holy warriors), but they are hateful unholy warriors (Hirabahists) defaming the Prophet Muhammad.

Reasonable Westerners, and their allies around the world, need to prevent postmodern thinking from weakening Western culture to the point it is unwilling to defend itself and becomes an easy target for conquest by the Third Jihad. Postmodern thought attempts to eliminate or modify many of the roles, rules, standards, and character that were accepted as proper, good, and right in Western culture prior to the 1960s. Postmodernism visualizes "progress" toward an ideal “Postmodern Culture” that is nonjudgmental and nondiscriminatory, in which disagreements are resolved by universal law, debate, and compromise – but never by the use of force.

The Role of Islam
It is true that there are many violent apostates (Hirabahists) in mainstream Shi'a and Sunni Islam who claim they are faithful to the teachings of Muhammad. They often claim that the only basis in the Qur'an for Muslims to address non-Muslims is to struggle until the non-believers are converted, expelled, or destroyed. If most Muslims accept this view, the final Clash of Civilizations is inevitable.

But the teachings of Muhammad are not so simple – they combine opposites: struggle and tolerance. They present several kinds of jihad. It all depends on what Muslims are led to read into Muhammad’s words and actions. Hopefully there are Muslims who want to avoid the death and destruction of the final Clash of Civilizations. If so, they must find ways to be faithful to the Prophet Muhammad and the Qur'an while they stress inner jihad for themselves and practice compassion, mercy, and tolerance toward non-Muslims. However, this is certainly a long shot. Yet we must convince any such Muslims that they are our allies – that all Muslims are not our enemies.

Initially Muhammad spoke to the pagans who worshiped the meteorite now enclosed by the Kaba at Mecca. Islam was then expanded into a reform movement – in part to replace Judaism and Christianity that had, according to the Prophet Muhammad, gone astray and were no longer the proper legacy of Abraham, Moses, David, and Solomon. The Qur’an clearly states that the Bible is false, and rejects Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God.

Islam from the very start was a religion of struggle, both inner and against non-believers. It sought to eliminate temptations that the devil might use to erode commitment to Allah. It sought to get all people to submit to Allah. Islam does not give a high priority to economic wealth, prosperity, freedom, self worth, or comfort. Islam seeks purity. Thus in many ways Muslim true believers are less concerned about non-Islamic religions or Western armed forces being in their lands than they are about non-Islamic ways, i.e. movies, pop culture, dress and behavior. The challenge we all face is to show that Islamic purity is compatible with Western Culture—a very difficult challenge.

Islam is hostile to pluralistic, representative, secular government, since true believers consider Qur’an law and its sharia derivatives the only basis for governance. It is true that Christianity, Shinto, and other religions also do not have stellar records in this regard. However, dhimmi status (subordinate, disfranchised residents subject to discriminatory taxation and limits on freedom) is unique to Islam. Only when Islam controls a country and all non-Muslims have accepted dhimmi status can evildoers (Hirabahists) accept diversity.

Neither Islamic fundamentalism nor Western postmodernism can tolerate the coexistence of religion and reason. Neither will accept the suggestions in the lecture of Pope Benedict XVI at Regensburg on 12 September 2006. The Pope called for the rejection of dogmatic faith, cultural relativism, and forced conversion. But these seeds of hope fell on the unwelcoming ground of Islamic fundamentalism and Western postmodernism. Even some fundamentalist Christians did not welcome the Pope’s comments.

Islamic extremists see nonbelievers as too weak, too easily tempted, too confused to govern themselves; therefore, they must be shown the way, and protected, by scholar-jurists that know the way of Allah. With the same reasoning, postmodernists think people must be shown the way, and protected, by secular authority.

The evildoers (Hirabahists) see the Third Jihad as a way to seek their Utopian vision of restoring Islamic rule to all lands ever ruled by Muslims but now governed by Christians, Jews, and apostate Muslims. The secular transnational postmodernists of the West are equality rigid in their convictions as they seek their Utopian vision of a worldwide postmodern culture that is nonjudgmental, nondiscriminatory, and in which disagreements are resolved by law, debate and compromise – but never by the use of force.

It is true that Islamic extremists want to expel Western influences from all territory formerly under Muslim control. They want their politico-economic and philosophical views to be dominant. While most insurgents in the past were motivated by a Utopian view of a better world with economic equality and social fraternity, Islamic extremists seek spiritual purity in the eyes of Allah. They seek to protect people from worldly temptations; therefore they attempt to remove anything that will prevent people from submitting to Allah. Postmodernists solve the same problem by giving in to all temptations, thereby making the very idea of “temptations” moot.

Continued in Part II, "Strategy of the Third Jihad" ... "It is a mistake to focus only on terror. The strategy of the Third Jihad is far more complex. It is to be expected that the media, politicians, and those trained for conventional War will focus on the violence of Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Taliban ..."

Copyright © 2008 Armiger Cromwell Center, Atlanta, GA 30319-1322. 404-201-7374. Permission is granted to forward this article by e-mail to friends or colleagues on a fair use basis. For reprint permission, contact Armiger Cromwell Center at

More by Dr Sam Holliday filed in "The Armiger Cromwell Center"


- "Reforming Islam: Beware of the Fifth Column"
- "Effectively Communicating Jihad: a spade is a spade"

- Filed on Articles in "The Unholy Alliance" -


James Higham said...

It is true that Islamic extremists want to expel Western influences from all territory formerly under Muslim control.

Not only formerly held territory, hence Gates of Vienna.

Mister No said...

This is a good essay.I am Muslim from Turkey. I am for secularist government,religious diversity and freedom of faith. We learned much from West.
Islam community is not monolitic or homogenous.There are many views and practises in Islam. Practises and understanding in Indonesia ,in Arabia, in Turkey, in Bosnia are very different from each other.
There are muslim bloggers in Turkey who appreciates the ideas of John Locke, Stuart Mill, Thomas Jefferson. Liberatianism is widening among Muslims here.
In that blogs we are also expressing our sorries and grieves about Armenian Massacre, Greek's departure.
It's good to give dialogue a chance. God Allah appreciates diversity, not homogeniaty.

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