Thursday, July 28, 2005

Terrorism is an appeal to Muslim tradition

Writing in the International Herald Tribune, Phillip Blond and Adrian Pabst give us some grim advice. They say that jihad as holy war against the infidel and apostate is called for by the Koran and, at the same time, is a modern theology.

They point out, and correctly if one but reads history, that Islam was spread by war and conquest.
Regarding classical Islam, the oft-quoted remark that Islam is a religion of peace is false.

The Prophet died a successful military leader who created a single Islamic polity that expanded - through warfare - all over the known world. The caliphate combined the double logic of a religious community and an imperial state.

"He who dies without having taken part in a campaign dies in a kind of unbelief."

Al Qaeda sympathizers avidly read European fascist literature and pursue religious ends via atheist methods. Recruits to the cause are not the excluded uneducated poor, they are intellectuals with a radical critique of Western society and its impact on Islam.

But it could begin to develop a critique of its history by recovering some of its aborted traditions. Islam must place true religious conversion (like that of Sufism) over territorial conquest.

Islam needs to restore the legislative authority of communal consensus to allow Muslims to develop along with, rather than against, the future.
I fear we are in for a longer war than anyone can imagine. A war that we must win.

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