Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fundamentalism and Islam

Michael has written his paper "Fundamentalism" and asked for comments. What follow are my observations on “Fundamentalism,” especially as it is applied or misapplied to Islam, as in “Islamic Fundamentalists.” (awaiting permission to post Michael's paper)

Westerners in general, our State Department and perhaps your sources or professors have difficulty getting their minds around “ISLAM.” There is the natural attempt to understand it according to western categories. In the West even in the height of the middle ages when the Roman Catholic Church was at its apex of political influence, it did not govern nation states. Spain, England, or Germany, were Monarchies or Principalities with an established that is an official church that being the Roman Catholic Church, but with rear exceptions where some Bishops were actually princes, the Bishops did not rule, govern the nation state. The king and his court did, these states were not Theocracies. They were not governed by religious laws and clergy. The only true Theocracy in the West was the Papal States the remnant of which today is Vatican City State. The pope is the sovereign of this tiny city-state.

This is not true with Islam; Islam is a Religio-Political system and ideology... IRAN is de facto (in fact) and de jure (in law) a Theocracy. It is governed by Sharia, Islamic religious law, and its sovereign is a Muslim religious leader, the President of Iran Ahmadinejad is elected but he is not the supreme authority of Iran.

Islam which means, “submit” was founded by Allah through his Apostle Mohamed (according to the Qu’ran) to subdue the world, to bring all people to the true faith in Allah. It is the divine mission of Islam to bring the entire world to “submit’ to Allah under Sharia, Islamic Law. This is the only road to salvation. Jihad, war against infidels, is considered a manifestation of the mercy of Allah, because it provides them the opportunity to embrace Islam and save their souls. This is the mission of Islam as revealed to the Prophet Mohamed, practiced and taught by him, and continued after his death. Within a generation of Mohamed’s death, Islam had subdued everything from Persia, (IRAN) through the middles east, along the north cost of Africa, up to northern Spain. These were not “fundamentalists” these were the practitioners of Islam. These were the Jihadist, the Mujahedeen. They are the early heroes of Islam. The Qu’ran proclaims in:

Sura 9:5. “Then when the Sacred Months have passed, then kill the unbelievers wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush. But, if they repent {accept Islam} and perform As-Salta {the Islamic ritual prayers} and give Zakat {alms} then leave them their way free.”

Non-believers have these choices, fight, convert, die, or pay the jizya, which is a heavy tax up to 50% of all earnings of non-Islamic peoples within the territories conquered by Islam and under Islamic Law, Sharia. These peoples were to feel subdued. Those Christians and Jews (people of the book) who wish not to convert, or leave Islamic territory, may live as second-class citizens, with very limited rights and pay the jizya. Pagans, atheists, secularists have only two choices, convert (submit, Islam) or die. That is why there are absolutely no Christian Churches, or Synagogues in Saudi Arabia. Catholic Military Chaplains in Saudi Arabia must celebrate mass for the troops in secret, they are officially forbidden to do so under Sharia in Saudi Arabia. They and the troops are not permitted to wear crosses or any Christian symbols.

The war to spread Islam in the seventh and eight centuries, in the twelfth to the seventh-tenth centuries, ending at the gates of Vienna (please notice the date) SEPTEMBER 11th, 1683, and its modern manifestations in terrorism “officially” commenced by Osama Ben Laden on SEPTEMBER 11th, 2001, is called Jihad, literally “struggle.” It is the responsibility of every Muslim to engage in Jihad, to struggle to bring their communities, nations, states, under Sharia. The participation of some in violent Jihad can excuse others, but all are expected to support Jihad in some way. Therefore, there is plenty of financial support for Jihad, in its modern terrorist manifestation. This is why there is virtually no end to the supply of suicide bombers.

Westerners would like to argue that all this is simply a manifestation of “fundamentalists” Muslims. It is very difficult for westerners to believe that other human beings could actually behave this way. What westerners, even secular westerners, do not understand is that they are thinking like Christians, and more specifically Catholics. Nothing in the Gospels or in the example of Jesus justifies the killing of innocent, men, women, or children, or blowing oneself up to spread Christianity. Therefore, anyone who does this by definition must be some type of fanatic fundamentalist.

A Christian Martyr is one who imitates Jesus. He lays down his life for his faith, not in combat, but in personal sacrifice. History is full of these saints and they exist today, in China, North Korea, and Cuba. They died in Nazi concentration camps and Communist gulags. A Martyr for Islam is one who dies in combat for Islam and Allah. This is sanctioned and approved by the Qu’ran and Mohamed’s life and teaching. Mohamed is considered the ideal man who is to be imitated to achieve holiness, he waged Jihad, and a Muslim must do the same. You perhaps have noticed how appealing Islam is to young men. It is a very macho religion. It encourages behaviors in young men that are forbidden to young Christians. It is truly impressive to see so many men young and old praying in the videos of Mosques. Catholic Churches are certainly not filled daily with men as mosques regularly are. This degree of fidelity among men is very attractive to other young men.

None of this relies on a “fundamentalist” reading of the Qu’ran. It is not based on some perverse translation of the Qu’ran, because Muslims are forbidden to read the Qu’ran or pray in any language except the original Arabic, in which the Qu’ran was written. The Qu’ran was dictated by Gabriel to Mohamed in Arabic, therefore Allah chose Arabic to communicate with Mohamed therefore that is the only language allowed in which to read what Allah communicated and to worship Allah.

Now this may seem very bizarre to westerners. The evidence leads inevitably to the conclusion that Islam is essentially “Fundamentalist.” That is Islam is not a religion of Faith and Reason, but only of Faith. Islam clearly teaches submission to Allah not theological study of him, which is a rational endeavor. Allah has spoken; he has given his Law, he has made his will known to mankind through his Apostle Mohamed, therefore, it is up to each man and woman to embrace Islam, to SUBMIT to Allah.

If you wish to read more on this subject and these assertions, you may want to consult:

Religion of Peace? Why Christianity is and Islam Isn’t by Robert Spencer

Religion of Peace? Islam’s War against the world by Gregory M. Davis

America Alone, by Mark Steyn

God’s Continent by Philip Jenkins

Pax Tecum