A Journal for Western Man

 

 

 

The War on Fanaticism, Savagery, and Murder--

Not on Islam

G. Stolyarov II

Issue LXXIV- September 25, 2006

 

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Eden against the Colossus

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A Rational Cosmology

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Statement of Policy

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In “The War on Islam,” Mr. Andre Zantonavitch—for whom I have great respect—has made claims with which I must take issue, as I see them undermined by evidence from the real world. I have no quarrel with Mr. Zantonavitch’s wish to eradicate the fanatical, barbaric, bloodthirsty, murderous Muslim terrorists and their active supporters—who have no regard for the sanctity of human life and the inalienable rights of man. These savages need to be hunted down and eradicated if we are ever to be rid of the threat they pose. Mr. Zantonavitch goes further than this, however, to claim that the West needs to wage war on moderate Muslims as well as the terrorist savages. Here I cannot agree with him, because I consider the warrant for his claim to be erroneous from a factual standpoint.

Mr. Zantonavitch writes: “All Muslims believe in assertively promoting their hateful and annihilating ideology via the phenomenon of war. All Muslims believe in assertively promoting their hateful and annihilating ideology at home via the phenomenon of tyranny. This is normal Muslim foreign policy and normal Muslim domestic policy.”

This is the fundamental premise behind Mr. Zantonavitch’s wish to wage war on all those who adhere to the ideas of Islam: “Virtually all Muslims today are jihadist and shariist. There's virtually no Muslim anywhere in the world that can honestly say he opposes normal-type Muslim propagation (jihad) and normal-type Muslim law (sharia). There's virtually no Muslim anywhere in the world that can honestly be called a Western liberal. For those who don't believe this – name one.”

I hereby accept Mr. Zantonavitch’s challenge and offer to him the following statements by prominent Muslims and Muslim organizations in direct and unambiguous opposition to and condemnation of the atrocities perpetrated by the terrorist fanatics.

Statements by Prominent Muslims and Muslim Groups in Opposition to Terrorism and Religious Fanaticism

1.) Shaykh Abdul Aziz al-Ashaikh, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Senior Ulama, stated on September 15th, 2001, just four days after the vile terrorist attacks of September 11th:  "Hijacking Planes, terrorizing innocent people and shedding blood constitute a form of injustice that can not be tolerated by Islam, which views them as gross crimes and sinful acts." (http://www.islamfortoday.com/terrorism.htm)

2.) "The terrorists’ acts, from the perspective of Islamic law, constitute the crime of hirabah (waging war against society)."
September 27, 2001 - Fatwa, signed by:
Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Grand Islamic Scholar and Chairman of the Sunna and Sira Countil, Qatar
Judge Tariq al-Bishri, First Deputy President of the Council d'etat, Egypt
Dr. Muhammad s. al-Awa, Professor of Islamic Law and Shari'a, Egypt
Dr. Haytham al-Khayyat, Islamic scholar, Syria
Fahmi Houaydi, Islamic scholar, Syria
Shaykh Taha Jabir al-Alwani, Chairman, North America High Council

(http://www.islamfortoday.com/terrorism.htm)

3.) Qaradawi Rejects Al-Qaeda’s Killing of Innocents
Prominent Muslim scholar Dr. Youssef Al-Qaradawi has condemned Al-Qaeda for their fuel tanker suicide bombing of a centuries-old Jewish synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba in April 2002.

4.) Dr. M. A. Muqtedar Khan (http://www.ijtihad.org/MuqtedarKhan.htm), an Islamic scholar and professor at the University of Delaware, stated: "It is time that we Muslims acknowledge that the freedoms we enjoy in the US are more desirable to us than superficial solidarity with the Muslim World. If you disagree, then prove it by packing your bags and going to whichever Muslim country you identify with." (http://www.islamfortoday.com/terrorism.htm)

5.) Al-Azhar condemns suicide attacks- BBC News, 11 July, 2003

Grand Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi of the Al-Azhar mosque of Cairo - which is seen as the highest authority in Sunni Islam - said groups which carried out suicide bombings were the enemies of Islam.  Speaking at the conference in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, Sheikh Tantawi said extremist Islamic groups had appropriated Islam and its notion of jihad, or holy struggle, for their own ends.

6.) Ingrid Mattson, Vice President of the Islamic Society of North America, stated: "Who has the greatest duty to stop violence committed by Muslims against innocent non-Muslims in the name of Islam? The answer, obviously, is Muslims." (http://www.islamfortoday.com/terrorism.htm)

7.) Hamza Yusuf (http://www.zaytuna.org/teacherMore.asp?id=9), a Muslim teacher and scholar, made the following remarks at an interview with Ed Bradley on CBS's 60 Minutes, September 30, 2001:

Ed Bradley: Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it the responsibility... Does not Islam, does not Allah require that Muslims police their own religion and rid themselves of extremists?

Hamza Yusuf: Yes, absolutely. It's an obligation for Muslims to root them out. And I think it is a jihad now for the Muslims in the Muslim country to rid themselves of this element.

(http://www.islamfortoday.com/terrorism.htm)

8.) Finally, a prominent Muslim group in the United States is specifically devoted to assist in the opposition to the terrorist savages. It is The Free Muslims Coalition, which describes its mission statement at http://www.freemuslims.org/about/:

“The Free Muslims was created to eliminate broad base support for Islamic extremism and terrorism and to strengthen secular democratic institutions in the Middle East and the Muslim World by supporting Islamic reformation efforts.”

Furthermore, the Free Muslims planned and organized a massive rally against terrorism in Washington, D. C., on May 14, 2005. They described their effort in anticipation of its occurrence at http://www.freemuslims.org/march/:

“On May 14, 2005, Muslims and Middle Easterners of all backgrounds will converge on our nation’s Capital for a rally against terrorism and to support freedom and democracy in the Middle East and the Muslim world.”

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Of course, this is not by any means an exhaustive list of explicit and resolute statements made by Muslim individuals and organizations in condemnation of the terrorist fanatics. However, it more than suffices to answer Mr. Zantonavitch’s challenge and give a clear indication that numerous Muslims—the “moderate,” “normal” Muslims whom Mr. Zantonavitch condemns as “monsters”—are in fact more staunchly in favor of combating the terrorist menace than many non-Muslim Westerners. Instead of making a blanket characterization of these people as evil, it is instructive to examine what they actually say and do. In this war for the survival of Western Civilization, we cannot afford to be too picky as to who our allies are. No matter what creed they profess, if they oppose violent intrusions on the rights of individuals in the West to their lives, liberties, and property, then they are on the right side of this conflict, and their efforts could help defeat the terrorist fanatics.

The Principle of Individualism in Passing Judgment

The principal error in Mr. Zantonavitch’s article is his condemnation of whole groups of people as evil, savage, and inherently destructive—using nothing but the extremely broad ideological label of “Muslim” to justify the condemnation. Such judgments are at odds with the ideas of individualism, which necessitate judging each individual person by what he says and does. Consistent individualism implies that without knowing some given individual person’s specific beliefs and actions, it is illegitimate to pass negative judgment on that person. In the absence of moral guilt on any level, the individual—whatever general creed he belongs to—must be judged innocent unless further evidence to his specific moral guilt is acquired.

Furthermore, individualism recognizes that each person has his own particular system of ideas and worldview—no matter what name he chooses to call it by. If Person X claims he is a Muslim, he adheres not to “Islam in general” (whatever that might be), but to “Islam as interpreted by Person X.” If Person X interprets Islam as a religion of peace and an ideology compatible with Western liberties and technologies, then “Islam as interpreted by Person X” is an absolutely harmless ideology. It might even be of benefit in helping persuade others who call themselves Muslims to adopt pro-Western, pro-individualist attitudes.

Of course, this says nothing about “Islam as interpreted by Person Y,” which might well be a bloodthirsty, savage, Dark-Age creed inciting murder and violence. If Person Y holds that ideology, it is indeed proper to at least condemn him morally; if he acts on such pernicious beliefs, it is proper to retaliate against him with full force. In accord with this principle, I wrote of those who threatened to kill the heroic Danish cartoonists in February of 2006: “We should send a strong signal to the fundamentalists: civilized people absolutely refuse to tolerate violence against free expression. Let us have no mercy or toleration for intolerant savages. In a genuinely free society, anyone who kills another for religious reasons ought himself receive the death penalty.”

Whoever does hold the anti-civilized beliefs that Mr. Zantonavitch mistakenly attributes to all Muslims ought indeed be most thoroughly condemned and actively resisted. However, the principle of individualism mandates scrutiny of individual beliefs and practices in each case of passing judgment. Public statements, demonstrations, or violent acts committed by Muslim individuals and organized groups suffices to condemn and often retaliate against those individuals and groups. However, such actions say nothing about the people who did not commit them—even though they, too, might call themselves Muslims. Islam as they interpret it might have little or nothing to do with Islam as interpreted by the fanatics.

Certainly, just as the fanatics might use passages from the Koran to justify murder, so might the peaceful Muslims use other passages to justify respecting the rights of others. For instance, the last sermon of Mohammed contains the following words: "Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds." Mohammed also wrote: "By God, he is not a true believer, from whose mischief his neighbors do not feel secure." Virtually every religious text contains numerous irreconcilable contradictions—and in the writings of every major religion, justification can be found for diametrically opposite courses of action in most cases.

Indeed, the Koran contains passages justifying violence and intolerance. But the Hebrew Old Testament also includes a passage wherein God instructed Saul to commit genocide against the Amalekites and slay every one of their infants. Yet no Jews commit genocide today, despite their use of the same religious text as their forebears. Whether “Judaism in general” condones genocide is an irrelevant question when judging particular Jewish individuals today. Rather, we must ask whether “Judaism as interpreted by Person A” or “Judaism as interpreted by Person B” condone genocide. If they do not, then A and B do not deserve to be condemned on this point.

I urge Mr. Zantonavitch and all who read this article to refrain from issuing blanket condemnations of individuals for anything other than specific clearly immoral actions; anybody who commits an act of murder, homicide bombing, terrorism, kidnapping, and/or mob violence deserves to be severely punished—likely with death—for his deeds. But calling one’s ideas by a given broad name like “Islam” does not carry any guilt in itself; it tells us virtually nothing about any given individual’s ideas, motivations, and actions. As true individualists, we must judge people on an individual basis—resisting them when they threaten us, leaving them alone when they do not, and accepting whatever help we can in protecting our sacred liberties.

G. Stolyarov II is a science fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, contributor to Enter Stage Right, Le Quebecois Libre, Rebirth of Reason, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Senior Writer for The Liberal Institute, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress. His newest science fiction novel is Eden against the Colossus. His latest non-fiction treatise is A Rational Cosmology. Mr. Stolyarov can be contacted at gennadystolyarovii@yahoo.com.

This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA’s Statement of Policy.

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Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, at http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/rc.html.