Sunday, September 5, 2010

Why Islam is an Ideology

Several Western countries are struggling with the notion that Islam is a totalitarian  ideology masquerading as a religion. Most are in a firm state of denial.

The last few weeks we saw the Christian-Democratic Party (CDA) in the Netherlands tearing itself literally to pieces over Geert Wilders' claim that answers the question in the affirmative. A great number of Islam scholars agree with him.

The party was engaged in government coalition talks with Geert Wilders' Freedom Party. Wilders broke off negotitions last Friday, fearing endless dissent in the Christian-Democrat camp, that views Islam as a slightly more militant version of Christianity.

The claim touches fundamental, Constitutional rights on the freedoms of expression, religion, and education, causing some even to express fears if the rule of law would remain in responsible hands. On the one hand such fears are caused by a corruption and a misunderstanding of these rights; but it is also not well grasped what precisely constitutes a religion.

The following essay answers the question from an American perspective.

While there is an argument to be made, as Dr Holliday does, that religion is something separate from political ideology, on the broad philosophical scale of things all religions belong to the family tree of ideas, viz. ideologies.

Earlier articles and essays from the pen of Sam Halliday posted on Politeia, are available on the Articles file of the Armiger Cromwell Center, a non-profit organization aiming to contribute to more effective and efficient policies in international relations.

First published on 5 September 2010 under the title "Shari’a Makes Islam an Ideology"

by Dr. Sam Holliday

The First Amendment of the US Constitution grants freedom of religion. But what did the Founders mean by religion? Surely they did not mean for any behavior to be justified by the claim of religious freedom. Freedom of belief, yes; freedom of worship, yes; but not freedom of behavior.

Religion to the Founders meant a belief system compatible with morality. In the United States any belief system that contradicts morality—as understood by the Founders--should be considered a legal/political ideology, rather than a religion. Shari’a contradicts such morality and thus Americans should not consider Islam a religion protected by the First Amendment of our Constitution.

- Caption: "Battle of Lepanto or Naupaktos" which ultimately inspired the Greek War of Independence against Ottoman oppression - 

Religion and American Morality
The American nation is unique. Most nations are based on shared history, ethnicity, language, culture, or religion. Not so the United States with a diversity of people with nothing in common but principles and ideals upon which to have a better life for themselves and their descendents. Even those who did not come of their own free will now have the same opportunity if they are willing to seize it. It is an error to refer to all of those living in this country as Americans. Americans are those individuals willing to accept the risks and rewards offered by freedom, and willing to seek their dreams through hard work.

America is indeed “out of many one” symbolized as a melting pot. If “We the people” is to mean anything it is the American nation of self-governing people, free from the arbitrary edicts of centralized Secular Authority. With such diversity, what provides a common identity to form an American nation? It can only be the principles and ideals upon with the United States was founded. Without this shared identity there is no American nation—and no Americans. There could be many people living in the territory governed by the United States of America, but no American nation. This fact should not be obscured by demands for rights, equality and governmental largess.

There are many definitions of morality, religion, ethics, belief, and faith; what they define is fundamental to a way of life. Together they define Sacred Authority, and they shape the inner compass of individuals; they determine what individuals consider right, good and virtuous. The American nation depends on all Americans sharing a Sacred Authority, i.e. specific principles and ideals. It is suggested that these be those of the Founders of this country.
In order to gain acceptance of a Sacred Authority for America these definitions are suggested:
Morality contains: (1) beliefs about the nature of man, (2) beliefs about ideals, and about what is right, good and virtuous, (3) rules of what ought to be done, and what ought not be done, and (4) motives which are right, good and virtuous.
Religion, according to the U.S. Constitution, is any belief system that supports the morality expressed by the principles and ideals of the Founders.
Religion, according to philosophy, includes (1) belief in supernatural powers, (2) appropriate sacred attitudes and emotions which create a sense of reverence, and (3) ceremonies, rituals, and duties.

The Threat of the Third Jihad and Shari’a
The goal of the Third Jihad is the destruction of Western Culture. We must not let the Islamists use our most cherished convictions to achieve their goal. Conspiracy is just as much a threat to America as the planting of an atomic bomb in a city. Much of Shari’a condones what our Founders would consider criminal activities. In accordance with taqiyya Islamists willingly lie to deceive non-believers. To teach or practice such behavior, in the name of any belief system, is not compatible with American morality.

The problem is that Islam contains aspects that are religious, by any definition, and some aspects that do not reflect American morality. In fact, the Founders did not want the state to specify a belief system that required submission. For them belief, worship and behavior were determined by the free will of individuals—not by submission to a doctrine prescribed by an elite. This is what freedom of religion is all about. Shari’a is just what they wanted to prevent.

Some want to reject all of Islam because it contains Shari’a. This would be wrong. Some want to accept all of Islam, including Shari’a, because Islam is a “religion”. This would be wrong. What needs to be done is to welcome those parts of Islam that are compatible with American morality, but to reject other parts of Islam. This is very difficult because all parts of Islam are intermingled.

We must be able to identify those Muslims who want to protect their children from a drug-laden, sexually permissive, and tradition rejecting society, who want a better life for themselves and their children, who reject violence, embrace pluralism, and work to stop terrorism, and who want to exist peacefully with nonbelievers. Also we must be able to identify those Muslims who accept the teachings that promote hatred, discriminatory edicts, Shari’a and conflict between the Islamic nation (umma) and all nonbelievers. Therefore, we need to use our judgment to accept what is moral in accordance with the principles and ideals of our Founders, and to reject any alien legal/political ideology.
In the case of the Ground Zero mosque this will require some way to determine if the outer jihad (a moral struggle which is evil and unconstitutional since it requires the submission or killing of all nonbelievers) will be advocated by that mosque, or if teaching in the mosque will be limited to the inner jihad (the struggle against the baser instincts of an individual, which is constitutional). Limiting teaching to the inner jihad would require the rejection of much of the Qur’an.
The necessary action will be very difficult to do, since it cannot be done solely through politics and peacetime law enforcement activities, i.e. the rule of law (Secular Authority). It requires intelligence gathering and actions beyond those specified in our Constitution. It will require actions appropriate for Irregular Warfare during an ideological struggle. It will require recognition that Feisal Abdul Rauf is typical of the intellectual Islamists of the lead element of the Third Jihad’s penetration into Western Culture. Such Islamists pose as moderates, oppose terrorism, claim that the United States supports terror against Muslims around the world, and use only non-violent means. Such Islamists manipulate our tolerance to advance Shari’a toward the goal of a world wide Caliphate.
Shari’a is about power—neither faith nor making an individual a better person. It is not compatible with American morality. It is totalitarian and inherently unconstitutional and the direct opposite of the American ideal of "religious freedom."
We need to recognize that the Muslim Brotherhood, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Hamas, and other Islamists groups support the Third Jihad. For them Shari’a is a  "tradition of Islam" which dictates what everyone must do regarding their whole life, including marriage, divorce, commercial relations, and personal behavior.

They want to bring Shari’a to the United States. Any Muslims in the United States living according to all of the tradition of Islam violates our Constitution regarding freedom, civil rights, government and way of life.
An appeal for understanding of Islam is a Trojan Horse. The noble idea of mutual respect between the Cross and the Crescent based on overlapping, and shared beliefs are fool’s goal. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” only works among those with shared values and principles. To practice it with those who are evil and seek your end will insure that you are a victim. We are currently engaged in an ideological struggle not unlike those in our past against Fascism, Nazism, and Communism.
What Must be Done?
We need to establish policies, strategies, techniques, and processes that are appropriate for the ideological struggle of Irregular Warfare, i.e. asymmetric conflict between those in authority and those who want to weaken and destroy them. We need to reestablish the means used in the past to obtain compliance with shared morality, i.e. Sacred Authority. We must again be judgmental and discriminate against that which is considered wrong, bad, or sinful. In our current legalistic and politically correct society this will be difficult to achieve.

We must recognize the extent the Third Jihad has advanced in this ideological struggle--and what it is doing to subvert the West. The Saudis alone have invested at least $2 billion a year over the past 30 years to spread the most radical form of Islam. The response of Europe and America in this ideological struggle has been negligible. In fact much of what has been communicated by our movies and media has worked against us.

We must actively defend Western Culture

  • The first step is to recognize that Islam with Shari’a is not a religion of peace, as our Founders understood religion; it is an alien legal/political ideology designed to control the behavior of everyone and to eliminate anyone who does not submit to the way of Muhammad, as described in the Qur’an.

  • The second step is to recognize that those Muslims who believe in the outer jihad, as taught and practiced by Muhammad, can never be assimilated into America or Europe—the outcome of any such attempt would be the destruction of Western Culture. Such Muslims must be expelled.

  • The third step is to revitalize belief in the principles and ideals upon which America was created.

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Shari’a Makes Islam an Ideology" is available here.

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