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Saturday, Jan. 04, 2003 at 9:17 PM
There is quite a bit of fantasy going on here about Islam. Time for a reality check.
-> The Muslim world is a political and social disaster for all to see. It consists of a series of despotisms, each with an absolute ruler whose ultimate justification is his strength and will. A family or a clique gathers around the ruler under the protection of the state apparatus of secret police and military repression. To the powerful, the spoils; to the weak, submission. No rights, no freedom of expression, no loyal opposition, no rule of law, no redress except through violence, conspiracy, a coup, and ultimate civil war.
-> The Muslim world has never known exactly how to respond to the West, whether to adopt its values or to reject them. A logic arises: The West is powerful; power is arrogant; we are proud people; therefore we must overpower and humble the West. False as the logic is, it locks in high emotion.
-> Muslims by the millions already live in the West, wherever they can find refuge and opportunity. This in itself defies the doctrine of Islam, whereby Muslims are prohibited from living among unbelievers. The news reaching home countries confirms that life in the West is good.
-> In the first months of 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in Iran. Muslim society was a failure, and one cause of this was the people's abandonment of their faith. Islam had made its believers great and powerful in centuries past, and it would do so again.
-> Over the long term, Khomeini held, the West had had the cunning and deliberate intention of destroying Islam. Why the West would have such a wanton and malign ambition he did not explain. But he crystallized a mindset with revolutionary implications: Muslims were not responsible for their plight, it was all the fault of the West, to be rectified by war. So mosques in Iran, and then elsewhere, began to resound with cries that America was the Great Satan.
-> Good Muslims must kill Jews; America helps Jews; therefore America is killing good Muslims. Yet again: America is arrogant; Muslims are proud; therefore suicide bombers are giving America what she deserves. A fantasy is loose in the world, the fantasy of an Islamic supremacy destined deservedly to triumph everywhere.
-> Like Communism before it, this Islamic fantasy aims to impose its vision on others — and call it peace. In an unexpected form, here is another totalitarian movement with the usual murderous belief that the ends justify the means. This failure of intellect could hardly be more complete.
-> The Left throughout the West picks it up and fans it. Demonstrations against President Bush and his response to the suicide attacks have occurred in most major cities of Europe. In the media, even in the United States, people have jumped forward to blame the suicide attacks on America and its policies, rather than on the actual terrorist perpetrators.
-> In the event of liberation from the general Islamist fantasy and the suicide bombers in particular, most of the Muslim world will feel a grateful relief that can only surprise and shock the Left as much as the joy of those liberated from Communism did. Should America fail to rescue them for whatever reason, though, Muslims will know that the Islamist fantasy is coming true, and they will have to endure it for a very long time to come.
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