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Sunday, September 4, 2016
Islam Is Not a Civilization
We need a politically incorrect and radically new multi-disciplinary and multinational understanding of Islam.
To speak of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as the "three Abrahamic faiths" or as the "three religions of the Book," or, more significantly, as the "three monotheisms," obscures rather than illuminates. These familiar tropes, says theologian George Weigel, ought to be retired.
The eminent French scholar Alain Besançon agrees. He writes, "The Abraham of Genesis is not the Ibrahim of the Qur'an; Moses is not Moussa. As for Jesus, he appears, as Issa, out of place and out of time, without reference to the landscape of Israel. His mother, Mary, or Mariam, identified as the sister of Aaron, gives birth to him under a palm tree. Then Issa performs several miracles, which seem to have been drawn from the apocryphal gospels, and announces the future coming of Muhammad.
Alain Besançon takes us deeper into the heart of the matter. He draws this theological distinction between Judaism and Christianity, on the one hand, and Islam, on the other:
Although Muslims like to enumerate the 99 names of God, missing from the list, but central to the Jewish and even more so to the Christian concept of God, is "Father" - i.e., a personal God capable of a reciprocal and loving relationship with men. The one God of the Qur'an, the God who demands submission, is a distant God; to call him "Father" would be an anthropomorphic sacrilege. The Muslim God is utterly impassive; to ascribe loving feeling to Him would be suspect. If God is not "Father," then it is difficult to imagine the human person as having been made "in the image of God."
Now, let us admit that Islam has, over the centuries, given meaning and purpose to hundreds of millions of lives that have been decently lived. It is also true, however, that today, throughout the world, Islam finds itself in the midst of what Besançon aptly describes as "a long-delayed, wrenching, and still far from an accomplished encounter with modernity."
Indeed, Islam continues to divide mankind into two groups, the faithful on the one hand, and creatures Islam calls "pigs" and "dogs" on the other, an attitude that fosters Islamic terrorism.
To clarify matters further, in 1985, note well that Iran's delegate to the United Nations, Said Raja'i-Khorassani, declared that "the very concept of human rights was 'a Judeo-Christian invention' and inadmissible in Islam."
The indiscriminate nature of Islamic terrorism can be explained by these words of Catholic theologian George Weigel: "The notion that there are 'no innocents,' that the enemy is 'guilty' simply by reason of drawing breath – logically entails a strategy of open-ended mayhem based on the radical dehumanization of the 'other.'"
Dehumanization describes the terrorist acts of the Palestinian Authority. This consortium of Muslim-led terrorist groups reduces Jewish children to body parts by exploding the busses in which they ride to school. There is no essential difference between these Muslim terrorists and those that perpetrated the bloodbath in Paris, in Nice, and in Orlando.
Alain Besancon, quoted by Dr. Weigel, exposes another obscure aspect of Islam: "Although Muslims like to enumerate the 99 names of God, missing among the list is 'father' – i.e., a personal God capable of a reciprocal and loving relationship with men. If God is not our 'father,' then it is difficult to imagine the human person as having been made 'in the image of God.'" Small wonder that Muslims liken "infidels" to "pigs" and "dogs," and harbor no qualms about using their own children as human bombs to explode Jewish schools busses, thus reducing Jewish children to body parts.
The social philosopher Lou Harris offers a broader assessment of Islam in Civilization and Its Enemies. Contemptuous of the cultural relativism propagated by American colleges and universities, Harris means by civilization a standard of behavior that can be applied across cultures and across history. He sees civilization as having four prerequisites: a stable social order, the co-operation of individuals pursuing their own interests, the ability to tolerate or socialize with one's neighbors, and a hatred of violence.
Clearly, Islam lacks three of the four prerequisites of Harris' definition of a civilization. What is remarkable is that Syrian-born psychiatrist Wafa Sultan arrived at the same conclusion. She denied a clash between the West and Islamic civilization because, in her view, Islam is not a civilization!
Egyptian-born scholar Bat Ye'or agrees. She defines Islam as a culture of hate, and one can cite several former Muslims who renounced Islam for this very reason.
That said, I have collected several essays by renowned scholars and statesmen who, even though they represent different nations and even different periods of history, nonetheless agree about the egregious nature of Islam, which justifies the title of Harris' book Civilization and Its Enemies.