Monday, February 18, 2008

Islamism: The first enemy in the battle of values

As I said in a post in January, I am posting a series on what I see as being the great battles of values in modern civilisation. This post discusses what I see as being the nearest immediate threat to Western liberal democracy and individual freedoms. Islamism, also known as Islamo-fascism.
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Islamism is the most pernicious example today of integrating religion, which is a personal choice, with the state and law. It is pernicious not only because it reflects a vision of religion, the state and individuals that was apparent in the dark ages, but because those advancing it are waging war. They are willing to kill to advance their bleak vision of the world.
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Islamism places the worship of a faith at the centre of laws that govern behaviour between individuals, not reason. That in itself is a cause for concern, as it is for those of other faiths, Hinduism, Shintoism, Buddhism and Christianity all have plenty of followers ready to integrate church and state. However, whilst all that do so take a malignant view of individual freedom and reason, Islamism is a particular concern for several reasons:
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1. Islamists have deliberately waged war against secularism and against Western civilisation. There is a long litany of attacks. It is deceptive to dismiss these as reflecting a desire to resolve the Palestianian question, or to keep US troops out of Islamic holy lands. Those who advocate Islamist terror have a far more malignant agenda, of a global caliphate. Islamists are a clear and immediate danger, that can be seen not only in the Middle East, but also in the USA, UK, France, Spain, Indonesia, Africa and elsewhere.
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2. Islamists worship death and glorify sacrifice, and often actively target civilians regardless of race, belief, age or sex. Their philosophy is the complete antithesis of life, the pursuit of happiness, individual freedom and diversity. Some seek to ban music, glorify explicit violence and horror, and revel in those who die for their religion.
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3. Islamists are profoundly sexist and racist. Their anti-semitism rivals that of the Nazis, and goes beyond concern for the Palestinian question. Their sexism is renowned, from seeking to ban education of girls, to treating women as subservient and almost evil seductive creatures that divert men from their duties of running the world. They insult both men and women in their sexist generalisations that treat sex and human relations as a joyless necessity that needs planning by old judgmental men, not a celebration of people with common values, shared experiences and affection/love for each other. Islamist states treat women as second class at best, and virtually slaves at worst.
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4. Islamists are totalitarian in their attitudes. They are intolerant to the point of calling for murder of those they disagree with and who offend them. Their solutions to being insulted, or those disagreeing with them is to use threats of force or actual force. Their suppression of debate cripples those under their rule and cripples humanity. This is an attitude of brutal savages. By contrast, they do not think twice about adopting the most vile terminology to describe those who they are bigoted against.
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Islamists are well funded, highly motivated, have states that actively back or shelter them, and have proven their willingness to kill for their political objectives.
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One simply has to look at those states which exemplify Islamism to see how governments treat their citizens, or indeed how citizens are permitted by the state to treat each other. The Taliban banned girls over the age of eight from getting an education and would execute any (and their teachers) who sought it. It banned music, women playing sports, flying kites, stuffed animals, photographs of people or animals. Think how much of a joyless bully you have to be to ban all that.
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Let me make it perfectly clear, there is a difference between being Muslim per se, and being an Islamist. Being a Muslim is a private personal choice (or should be), and practicing the religion in one’s private affairs, subject to the non-initiation of force principle, is not my concern. It is the application of Islam upon the state, advocacy of a singularity between the state and Islam, and the particularly violent means that Islamists use to advocate their view. The first battle is against violent Islamists, but Islamism itself is at the root of this. Only when Islam is considered a religion, and not a blueprint for the role of the state will there be the tolerance and acceptance that so many Muslims seek. Humanity has gone a long way to have secular tolerant liberal democracies where people can feel free to choose religion or no religion, without violence or threat of violence or discrimination by the state. Islamists seek to destroy this. For the sake of civilisation, peace, human rights and the future of humanity, Islamism must be fought until it is no longer a violent threat, and then must be debated vigorously until this philosophy of death, misery and irrationality resides in the past.

2 comments:

ruth said...

Read this about Civilisation War grandstanding (you may have to click through an ad) http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/02/17/steyn/index.html

Nothing produces more pulsating feelings of excitement and nobility like convincing yourself that you are a Warrior defending Western Civilization from the greatest threat it has ever faced, following in -- even surpassing -- the mighty footsteps of the Greatest Generation and the Warrior-Crusaders who came before them.

If it wasn't for your obsession with The Apocalyptic Threat of Islam (TM) you would be the best libertarian blogger on the internet that I know of.

libertyscott said...

Ruth, first please note I said Islamism not Islam. I don't like Islam, but don't believe it is a threat to anyone other than those who believe in it.

Secondly, living in London does make one aware of Islamism - it has killed, it isn't just something to observe from afar, it is a daily real threat. It recruits people to undertake that threat.

Thirdly, it is not apocalyptic but it is malignant in many many countries, it holds back millions particularly women. It is a philosophy of oppression.

I don't hold any banner to a crusade, except individual freedom and rights. Islamism is counter to that, fundamentally so. It does not excuse eroding freedoms to fight it, but it cannot be ignored. It is not the biggest threat ever, but it is a big threat.