Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Islamic Question; A Catholic Essay

On "Blogs for Bush" there is an interesting post called:

"The Islamist Plan"

It's about an extract from an essay called "The Islamic Question" by Roberto A.M. Bertacchini and Piersandro Vanzan S.I., taken from the authoritative Catholic journal “Studium,” and translated into english.

There is also an introduction about the essay, that compares it to the writtings of Italian author, War Journalist and anti-fascist Oriana Fallaci.An excerpt:
...The only substantial point that separates Oriana Fallaci’s analysis from that of Bertacchini and Vanzan is that, while she maintains that Islam is incapable of reform and incompatible with the Christian West, the other two acknowledge that an integration of the two civilizations is possible, albeit extremely difficult.

And Benedict XVI is also known to acknowledge this last possibility.

The essay itself maintains that there is a pan-Islamist program at work, a very real one, that can be seen in many ways. Here is the begining of the essay, with a few excerpts:

The Islamic Question
by Roberto A.M. Bertacchini and Piersandro Vanzan S.I.

Islamic terrorism is a rather complex response to the confrontation with the West, which Islam sees as a devastating, deadly threat.

At the end of the 1980’s, there was a pitched battle within the Islamist camp between the positions of Abdullah Azzam and the more extremist positions of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, a true ideologue of jihad in the form it has taken today, which includes in the category of enemy the “Herodians,” or those who collaborate with the West. On November 24, 1989, Azzam was assassinated in Peshawar, and Al-Zawahiri had an open field.

For the zealots, everything that comes from the outside is like poison to their traditional ways of life, so they hold that there is only one way to avert cultural catastrophe: expel the invader and hermetically seal off the borders, so nothing can pollute or corrupt their miniature world. This is, in part, the position of Osama Bin Laden, who is opposed to the American presence, not only in Iraq, but also in Saudi Arabia.

But this defensive program would never work against Western civilization. Unlike all previous civilizations, it is not localized or territorially circumscribed. The pervasiveness of the global village is such that there is only one way to escape its grasp: destroy it. And this is Al-Zawahiri’s ideological program, which he pursues with a complex strategy. For the formula of “modernizing Islam,” he substitutes another: “Islamizing modernity,” and therefore the West.

Within the Muslim world, Islamization means de-Westernizing everything: from political and cultural institutions to economic ones, even to the point of rethinking banking operations. On the outside, it means spreading Islam through vigorous missionary activity, in both Europe and the United States: this activity is supported above all by Saudia Arabia. But according to the most radical interpretations, Islamizing the West means violently attacking its political and economic power, without sparing the civilian population.

This pan-Islamist program might make some smirk, just as many smirked at Hitler before his political ascent. But this is a real program, which is being carried out according to a clear plan, and although it is working slowly, it is producing results.

That this is a real program can be seen in many ways...

...Moderate Islam, properly so called, does not exist because there is no institutional and moderate form of Islamic theology. There are moderate Muslims, and some of them see things with a clear and long-term perspective. But Islam itself, or rather the institutional religious culture of the Muslims, has reacted in its encounter with modernity by entrenching itself in fundamentalist positions. And this is true not only in Iran or Pakistan, but also in Egypt.

There is, therefore, an objective convergence between the trend in Islamic theology and the ideology of the terrorists. Fortunately, not all the imams have the same zeal for jihad, but the problem is that there is no moderate Islam, or rather there does not exist an Islamic theology that has integrated modernity. This is why it would not only be prudent, as cardinal Giacomo Biffi has suggested, to discourage Islamic immigration in Europe, it would be masochistic to encourage it without demanding reciprocation in terms of integration.

Islam is not compatible with liberal democracies for stronger and deeper reasons than those that usually come to mind: it is not only a question of polygamy, the veil, Friday religious observance, etc. That is, it is not only a problem of the rules of behavior, morals, and worship. It is seen in how Islam functions on its home turf. In Iran, there are mullahs who are appointed to supervise morality. And apart from peering into the bedroom, many more of them scrutinize the cinema, the press, and books: this is the monitoring of the public expressions of thought, which are censured if they are not in conformity with shari’a or the Qur’an and its official interpretation. A professor cannot say what he likes at school, and if an intellectual publishes his own views, he is taking a risk.

By way of explaining this issue, it is true that the Church did not abolish the index of prohibited books until Vatican II, but before it was abolished this institution did not carry any weight in civil affairs. That’s not how it is in Islam. Religious censure is “ipso facto” civil censure, because the religious authorities have civil authority, and vice versa. The entire spectrum of these and other related facts calls for intellectual honesty on our part, because we cannot interpret them as isolated cases devoid of general significance. And if these are not isolated cases, only one conclusion can be drawn: the word “freedom” did not exist in Arabic for centuries because Islamic civilization simply makes no provision for it (it was introduced with the word “hurriyya,” meaning “entitlement,” only in 1774, and out of the necessity of signing treaties with Westerners). So the absolutism of Saudi Arabia or other emirates, the legal inferiority of women and so forth, are not correctible eccentricities. They are the effects of a deep-rooted cause, which cannot be removed without destroying Islam. And this is why these eccentricities are so fiercely defended: because they have an intrinsic relationship with Muslim identity. And therefore integration can be achieved with Muslims on an individual basis, but not with Islam.

Unfortunately, open and liberal society becomes paralyzed when it encounters a closed and incompatible civilization. The problem of tolerance was worked out within Christian civilization in order to defuse its internal conflicts. But its introduction made sense, because tolerance was a value recognized by all parties, in that it was able to find a theological foundation...

...Dialoguing with those who have, in the back of their minds, the idea of Islamizing us and reducing us to dhimmi status, as subjects of an inferior order, simply makes no sense. Dialogue with moderate Muslims should not only be pursued; it should be increased, and the moderates supported in every way possible, even more so than the support that was given to the anti-Soviet resistance. But these forms of openness must be combined with a politics of distrust and suspicion, which would tighten the net as much as possible and utterly discourage the presence of the Islamizers in Europe. These are, in fact, the ideological column of terrorism: you cannot fight the one without opposing the other.

In order to enter the banquet, one must wear the wedding garment, which we must demand of those who knock on our door. It is a garment that makes acceptance dependant upon the observance of our laws. Otherwise we cannot prevent some mosques, centers of Islamic culture, and circuits of electronic preaching from cultivating hatred against us. And that’s just it, hatred – a sentiment toward which we have for too long shown a suicidal tolerance. It is a sentiment that renders social life impossible...

(bold emphasis mine) It's hard to pick excerpts from this, it's worth reading the whole thing. Mark Noonan, who posted this at "Blogs for Bush", said:

"Read the article - understand the challenge. And get ready for a battle which will take a generation to complete."

This really IS great stuff, thoughtful and well written. You can read the rest HERE.

Related Link:

Rome Getting It Right on Islam


Anonymous said...

Winston Churchill said that Islam in a man is as dangerous as rabies in a dog.

Islam ...

- Is a mind-control and information-control cult founded by a murderer, torturer, brigand, rapist and pedophile called Mohammed.

- Is Mohammed's personality cult. Has no foundations other than Mo's murderous rantings (Koran and Hadith).

- It claims to worship the same God as Christians and Jews, but in fact worships a demonic abomination which is Mohammed's character writ large, incorporating pagan practices such as moon and meteorite-worship and cut-throat blood sacrifice of animals and non-believers.

- There is no philosophical nor theological basis, and the whole belief system is contradicted by science, philosophy, commonsense and human decency.

- Cannot withstand rational criticism. Can only spread and maintain itself by ignorance, illiteracy, war, terrorism, and intimidation. Islam has bloody borders and cannot co-exist peacefully with other belief systems.

- Has a superstitious dread of images of animals (esp pigs), humans, crosses and Buddhas.

- Regards Islamic women as semihuman. Wife-beating, incest and child abuse (including mufa’khathat - the ritual abuse of infants) are encouraged.

- Regards all unbelievers (Kaffirs, Kuffar, Kufrs, Kafirs) as ritually unclean subhumans to be killed, subjugated, enslaved, exploited or parasitised.

- The ethical system applies only to Muslims. Allah encourages rape, pillage and enslavement of non-Muslims. Morality does not extend beyond the gang (ummah). These are the ethics of the Mafia.

- The cultists are motivated by hatred, greed and lust. There is no love, mercy or compassion.

- Is the only religion NOT founded on The Golden Rule. Morality is based on Mohammed's example. If Mohammed did it then it's OK for all Muslims. Hence the encouragement of rape, pillage, subjugation and murder of non-believers and the institutionalised pedophilia prevalent thoughout Muslim society.

- All human relations are defined by Dominance/Subjugation. Cultists have schizoid inferiority/superiority complexes. They respect strength but despise compromise as weakness. Appeasement invites more aggression. The only political system which has been strong enough to subjugate Islam is Stalinism.

- Polygamy ensures alpha-males get extra women, leading to a shortage of women for the betas. Beta-males must either jerk off (a sin leading to hell), or form dog-packs and rape or capture kafir women as booty in a razzia, or else self-destruct then they can screw 72 mythical virgins in Allah's bordello in the sky.

- Lying and deception of infidels (taqiyya) is OK. This may take many forms, including outright lies, feigned moderation, and condemnation of terrorist attacks to the Kafr while rejoicing with fellow Muslims. Individuals may appear law-abiding and reasonable, but they are part of a totalitarian movement, and as such, all must be considered potential killers who can flip in an instant (Sudden Jihad Syndrome).

- Cultists are forbidden to befriend non-Cultists except for purposes of deceit or where conversion may be possible.

- The Koran is Allah's final word and cannot be changed or challenged. To do so is punishable by death. Consequently, the Cult can never change or be reformed. This instructions to murder and rape infidels are just as valid now as the day they were written.

- Treaties and agreements with Kaffirs are made to be broken (Hudna).

- The world is divided between Dar al-Islam and Dar al Harb (domain of war, the Kufr lands). Muslims living in Dar al Harb must work to disrupt their host nations until these can be brought into Dar al Islam.

- Muslims have no obligation to their hosts and in fact are encouraged to parasitise them. Welfare fraud, identity theft, forgery etc are endemic in Western Muslim populations, and serious crime against Kufrs is regarded as normal and justified.

Chas said...

Many of the things you say here, I have heard from many other sources, too. Many people have written about them, and you have summarized a good many of them.

What I found exciting and encouraging about this essay in such a respected Catholic publication, is that while it does look at the truth about Islam with brutal honesty, it also does not flinch or give up hope that some sort of reform might be possible; neither does it pretend that this would be easy, in fact it says it would be very difficult.

It started off with the assasination within al-Queda. This is what has been happening throughout the history of Islam; reformist elements who would modernize Islam are murdered, by Islamists who cannot cope with the modern world, and believe the Modern world needs to be Islamisized instead.

What you end up with is a bloody cult of death, that cannot tolerate criticism or self -examination, because those are the very things that cause totalitarian cults to unravel. So what do we do?

The article does start with practical suggestions, like supporting truely moderate Muslims; it acknowleges that while Islam as a Religious Institutional Culture is not reformable, individual Muslims are another story.

I owned and worked in a restaurant in San Francisco for many years. We had a fair amount of Muslim customers. These folks were educated, westernized, modern people. And many of them were living in the West precisely because of that.

I don't claim they represent Islam as a whole; but they do show that the modern world can find accomodation with educated, modern Mulsims, if such people are not killed in their own countries.

As the essay says, the task before us is not easy. But neither can I be a complete pessimist and say there is no hope. There will only be no hope, when we give up all hope.

I'm not Catholic, nor do I even call myself a Christian, but I think this new pope seems to be a very smart man who recognizes the dangers of Islam, and I'm hoping we will see some positive, yet realistic direction from him in the future as we meet this Islamic challenge. For a challenge it is, and I think only the strong will survive, for the very reasons you have noted.