“Islam has ordered us to terrorize our enemies and whoever denies that is an infidel himself.” So says the Algerian Salafist Group for Prayer and Combat (GSPC) which is a known North African Al-Qaida affiliate group as it applauded the 7-7 terrorist attacks in London and called for more attacks. See this article on the The Counterterrorism Blog. The position of the GSPC explains two important things: Why many diverse segments of Islam will always attack the West and why so few so-called moderate Muslims speak out against these attacks.
It seems interesting to me that most of the hope expressed for the West to have any rapprochement with Islam requires the West to deal with elements of Islam that are best described as progressive or moderate. Why is this important to me as a Christian? I have spent my life fighting for traditional Christianity, the “faith once delivered unto the saints.” In this ongoing battle I have contended against progressive and liberalizing distortions of Christianity, which the secular world embraces. With this in mind, it should be noted that even the detractors of traditional Christianity admit that what we believe is historically accurate.
However, when dealing with Islam, I am told that the modern progressive view of Islam is the accurate view and Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, while the traditional views of Islam are not “true” Islam. The secular West has to say this because traditional Islam is historically militaristic, believing that Islam’s destiny is to use the sword to conquer the face of the earth. In addition, traditional Islam’s goal is to rule all of mankind under Islamic religious (Sharia) law, initially subduing and in due time destroying all infidels (read here specifically Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists as well as any religion that is not Islam). That does not fit into the image that popular Islamic apologists want us to accept. They want us to see the espousers of the traditional views as extremists. They say the jihadists do not represent Islam. It seems to me they represent the historical heart of Islam.
I would point out just as traditional Christians argue that “progressive” Christianity is not really Christian, traditional Islamists argue that “progressive” Islam is not really Islam. They say, and I agree, that Islam is not peaceful to and tolerant of anything non-Islamic. Traditional Islam at its root spreads by military conquest and it is utterly intolerant of any view but its own.
What is interesting and problematic is that the traditional Islamists tend to see the progressive Islamists, even though they despise them, as useful in that these moderates are able to insinuate themselves into areas not controlled by Islam (such as into Europe and the United States), providing a potential fifth column for later use in bringing down the enemy. It is infinitely easier to radicalize a moderate mosque in the West than to moderate a radical mosque within Islam. There are many examples of mosques in the United States and Britain being radicalized.
Where is all of this leading? While prognosticating the future is at best difficult, some see it all leading to a real war between the West and Islam. I see it differently. I believe that our increasingly secularized West will instead deal with the problem by trying to limit the scope of all religion, which under the guise of dealing with radical Islam would allow the enemies of Christianity to put a stranglehold on its traditional expression. Only pseudo-Islam and pseudo-Christianity would be acceptable in the new marketplace. If as a Christian you wonder what pseudo-Christianity would look like, take a trip next Sunday to any Episcopal Church in the U.S. or Anglican Church in Canada that isn’t a member of The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes.
The point is that Islam has been at war with the West since its inception. Its methods have always been militaristic, its tolerance, when extended, merely a tool to infiltrate, not a future to embrace. While many Protestants still see Rome as the anti-Christ, Islam, a true anti-Christ, makes its inroads into the West and by the actions of its radical adherents puts true Christianity at risk in the culture it gave birth to.
Update 8/2/2005: For a good example of the pseudo-Christian church in the U.S. see this discussion in Double Toothpicks of homosexual Bishop Robinson’s argument in the Washington Post. I have long believed that acceptance of homosexuality will be the rock upon which the true Church is broken in our current Western culture. Our faithful resistance to this perversion of God’s created order will be the eventual means used to destroy the traditional Church as we know it, here and throughout the Western world.
Update II 8/3/2005: Richard Fernandez, who calls himself Wretchard
the Cat and blogs at the Belmont Club, in his post on Metropolis has ended with a statement that I think applies to my argument.
If we are lucky Islam is simply progressing through a Western vacuum that has not yet been filled, stepping over a population still mesmerized by the illusions of the 20th century. If we are unlucky it is coming to build the cities that we ourselves have dreamed, the necropolis over the ruins of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
Update III 8/3/2005: See an updated posting on this subject at Islam Has Ordered Us… Part II
The Communism and Fascism which abolished God and disabused civilization of the sacredness of human life in the name of enlightened progress also destroyed much else. If we are lucky Islam is simply progressing through a Western vacuum that has not yet been filled, stepping over a population still mesmerized by the illusions of the 20th century. If we are unlucky it is coming to build the cities that we ourselves have dreamed, the necropolis over the ruins of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.