islamism as political not religious ideology

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Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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1 Response

  1. Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

    I’m not sure what your main point is here. If you’re trying to answer the question you put up in the beginning of your post, “What role does religious knowledge play in the process of radicalization?” you’re coming up very short here. Of course Islam plays a determining role here. It’s undeniable. You can call Islamists ignorant all you want to but that doesn’t change that fact. If you think that Islamists have a mistaken view of Islam, then you should go and convince them. It’s notable that not even the greatest religious authorities in Islam have done so, or even really tried to do so. You want to distinguish Islam from Islamism. This is important. It’s mainly important for Muslims to do so, though, not you or me. And they have come up very short here—to the point of anathematizing fellow Muslims who do so.

    Along with this it’s important to distinguish jihad from jihadism. The problem is the same as the above.

    The main problem is that in theory Islam is one but in reality it is as plural as any other religion. This theory is not invented by Islamists—it’s part of Islam itself. It’s part of Islam itself to believe that Islam is superior and must dominate the earth. This is why Muslims do not condemn Islamists—in many ways they are only practicing what others preach. The contrast with Christian and Jewish fundamentalisms is apparent: Christians, even fundamentalist Christians, had no problem condemning the abortion clinic bombers and so forth back in the ’80s; Jews have no problem condemning Jewish terrorists in Israel—they’re even repudiated by their own families and denied a Jewish burial. Muslims cannot do this. Why?

    You mention Horkheimer. He was a German Jew who took refuge from the Nazis in the States and then returned to Germany after the war. He was the founder of the Frankfurt School of sociology. He wrote, “in terms of time and space Europe remains and island of freedom surrounded by an ocean of despotic rule.” He demanded that the West defend its freedom against all varieties of totalitarianism. It’s undeniable that Islam and Islamism is a challenge to the freedom valued by the West. Here, there can be no tolerance in the name of multi-culturalism. Muslims must share the commitment to an open society if the open society is to survive. As crazy as you think he is, Wilders at least knows this much and won’t tolerate intolerance. This is only the minimum one would expect and it’s a wonder that it’s such an outlying attitude here and in Europe.

    Before you criticize Wilders, you should know that Europe faces much more serious challenges from Islam than we do. Europe has its own identity and Muslims have no right to Islamize it. Wilders is simply saying that Islam must be Europeanized if Europe is to survive. It’s impossible to refute this.

    You seem to want to believe that the mass conversion of the Mediterranean world, Asia, and Africa to Islam is not related to jihad. Just how was the “early community” defending itself by conquering such massive amounts of territory, including great swaths of Europe? The only way for this “defense” to be true is if you accept Islamic belief that peace equals Islamic law. If not, then Islam is the greatest violent imperialist power in history. It is radically different from the Roman conquests in that the Romans were famously tolerant of other religions. Once the Roman Empire became Christian, of course, it became history’s first totalitarian dictatorship (under Theodicius). It is different from Christianity most of all because Christianity has evolved and Islam has not. But even so, the Christianization of Europe did not happen only by violent conquest. It happened by peaceful means as well. This just is not the case in Islam.Report