Thursday, September 13, 2007

thoughts post sep11

The biggest danger to the West is this climate of defeatism, appeasement, and cultural collapse now on display for the Islamists to see. This is the single biggest impetus to Islamist terrorism. We all have to grasp that terrorism is not the biggest threat we face. The biggest threat is the ideology that drives it. It’s not enough to fight terror, vital though that is. The principal battleground is the world of ideas, the battle for hearts and minds. The Islamists see this very clearly. They understand that psychological warfare — the fomenting of paranoia, resentment, hysteria, and demoralization — is their most effective weapon. If they can hijack the human mind to the cause of hatred and lies, they have an army; and if they can bamboozle and demoralize their victims, they will win.

Melanie Phillips: Denial, England dated September 11, 2007

Liberal democracy is no less an armed ideology than Islamist ideology, and liberals forgetting this elementary fact disarm themselves for an eventual surrender to those who reject a liberal future and make war against it in the present.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Americans awoke to a war in progress.Six years later the question hanging in balance is whether Americans and their allies will end this war on their terms or concede defeat to Islamists.

Salim Mansur: Fickle memories

For us here in Australia, sep11 is a very long day: for most of the hours on that date, it is not yet sep11 in New York where it counts, so it remains sep11 for much of our 12 September as well. It is only now, on 13 September, that I can really feel it is "post sep11".

This has felt like a very important anniversary. The fact that it fell on the same day of the week meant that a certain level of replay was possible. As a tennis fan, I watched while Roger Federer reaffirmed his dominance of the sport, winning the US Open tournament for the fourth time in a row. That was Sunday. On Monday, the media was abuzz with interviews and photo opportunities of this champion. I wasn't a tennis fan back in 2001 but everyone here in Australia knew that our own Lleyton Hewitt had won the tournament that year and no doubt a similar media circus encircled him on the following Monday. Then came the surreal events of Tuesday morning, making such an extreme contrast of the highly civilized and elevated fairness of the sport of tennis with the brutality and barbarism of this renewed Islamic invasion of our culture.

The two commentaries above each focus on an important element of our response to sep11. As Phillips points out, the battle within the world of ideas is crucial but we must also win this battle on the ground, in Iraq and in Afghanistan, perhaps soon also in Iran, as Mansur reminds us. Both fronts are needed and each requires a different kind of courage. However, in the Islamic world, Mohammad set the tone early when he approved the murder of women disagreeing with him (see Sunan Abu-Dawud 4348 and 4349 and my own hearing the breath). When battling with Islamists in the world of ideas, we also all put our lives at risk like soldiers on combat duty. This risk is taken most gravely by Muslims and ex-Muslims themselves wherever they oppose an official, orthodox, or political Islam. Apostasy is evident in an ex-Muslim like Wafa Sultan or Ayaan Hirsi Ali but apostasy - or at the very least heresy - is an accusation readily levelled even at a devout Muslim such as Mansur. People like him are soldiers on both battlefields.

In utter contrast, in the game of tennis, warriors fight it out without even making contact with each other, certainly without any bloodshed or direct physical harm involved. A purified spirit of combat prevails with a kind of humiliation being the price of defeat, far short of death itself. We often hear the expression: "I would rather die than ..." In the case of Islamists and any Muslim tied to the phenomenal (historical, cultural, institutional, doctrinal) aspect of Islam, the cultural defeat seems, indeed, to be worse than death. Muslims are dying in great numbers everywhere - and taking many innocent non-Muslims along with them - because they cannot stomach defeat on a level playing field, in a fair battle of wits and expertise, such as tennis is and such as any civilized cultural conversation amounts to.

Here in Australia we have a great reverence for sports heroes and heroines but nothing is viewed so badly as a poor loser in a fair game. Sadly, most of the Muslim world is behaving precisely like that, like poor losers in a fair game. Whatever rights and wrongs there may be within the specific doctrines underlying the West or the Islamic world, it is in the West that the greatest intellectual breakthroughs occurred, leading to profound understandings of our physical world and of the process of evolution of life on earth. The first gave us power through the atom bomb, the latter gave us humility in the face of life's diversity and our place in its unfolding. It is a further sign of Islamic arrogance that it greedily grasps at the fruits of the first while turning its back on the lessons of the latter.

That is why I watch out, with great care, for how events are unfolding in Iran with its ambition to replay jointly both the Hiroshima and the Holocaust tragedies while, at the same time, watching and waiting to see any signs that the Islamic world is "getting it" as far as Darwin is concerned. So far, the evidence is very very scant and so is the evidence of the natural humility that would accompany such a realization of God's plan for us.


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