Friday, November 17, 2006

Islam and Islamism

In response to the Queen's speech, British MP Paul Goodman spoke thoughtfully in Parliament about the government and nation's approach to terrorism and security. (Hat tip to Melanie Phillips. The speech is not short, but worth reading.)

Interestingly, he makes the distinction between Islam - a great religion various, as complex, as multi-faceted and as capable of supporting a great civilisation as Christianity.

... and Islamism - an ideology forged largely in the past 100 years...

  • First, it separates the inhabitants of the dar-al-Islam-the house of Islam-and the dar-al-Harb-the house of war-and, according to Islamist ideology, those two houses are necessarily in conflict.
  • Secondly, it proclaims to Muslims that their political loyalty lies not with the country that they live in, but with the umma-that is, the worldwide community of Muslims.
  • Thirdly, it aims to bring the dar-al-Islam under sharia law.
I do not agree with this analysis. It seems to me that the Islamic religion is oppressive, aggressive and regressive. The 'moderate/radical' distinction is that so-called 'moderates' are influenced by the western style pick-and-choose belief system. They pay more attention to the nice parts of their religion, and wish-away the slay-the-infidel-wherever-you-find-em bits.

Those very committed to every tenet of Islam will of necessity oppose freedom and peace. Islamism is Islam's response to 'corrupting' and particularly, western influences. 'Moderate Islam' from a western point of view is really just 'back-sliding Islam' from the committed.

I think it's fair to say that Islam is not going to 'go away' anytime soon - though frankly, I'd rather it would. (I don't consider it a 'great religion' or even helpful in the world.) The next best is that it be watered-down, westernised and marginalised.

1 comment:

Peter said...


The media speaks of fundamental Islam and radical Islam which, of itself, suggests that fundamental Islam is not radical. As you point out, moderate Islam is not fundamental but rather diluted. Which, no doubt, infuriates the radicals.

Pope Benedict (Arnold) actually got something right when labeling Islam as a religion of hate.

Perhaps its not Islam itself that's at fault. After all, radical Christians have been known to kill abortion doctors. Perhaps the real enemy here is the 'radical' concept itself. It self-absorbing obsession with enforcing conformity.

I remember marching down main street protesting against nuclear weapons as a teenage in the 80s. It was as though nukes were a cancer. Nukes are no more evil than knives. It is how they're used and by whom that makes them evil. Once the nuclear Pandora box was opened, there was no alternative to western powers but to have them. But to my radical mind, all the world's ills could be solved in an instant.

As I raise my son, I'm weary of radical ideas of any form. Be they conservative or liberal, and try to teach him to think for himself and not react. Perhaps that's the real root of the problem with Islam, with Christians killing abortion doctors. Perhaps we all just need to stop and think rather than reacting.