Alice in Texas

Not writing here anymore- see top post for details of my new blogs.

Friday, July 08, 2005

goals of Islamism

I am interrupting my embargo on all things depressing and political to write something about the London attacks. Being British and having lived longer in London than any other part of the UK, it feels necessary to gather some thoughts on the subject and share them here. But I want to do it properly, which means putting some thought in. I want to say something about the "what do they want?" question.

This article in the Times sets out quite clearly that while the Islamist strategic goal is clearly defined:

With the advent of Islam all previous religions were “abrogated” (mansukh), and their followers regarded as “infidel” (kuffar). The aim of all good Muslims, therefore, is to convert humanity to Islam, which regulates Man’s spiritual, economic, political and social moves to the last detail.

... there are differences within the movement on how this should be achieved. The three main approaches are:

1. Dialogue, leading to the world willingly converting to Islam. (I do now know enough about Islam to have an opinion on whether it can be consistent with a live-and-let-live approach to other religions, but in any case if all religions stuck to mere dialogue no trouble would be caused between them).

2. Tactical land war, as espoused by Bin Laden's
... supposed No 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who insists that the Islamists should first win the war inside several vulnerable Muslim countries, notably Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

3. Pure terror, or ghazavat:
... others, including Osama bin Laden, a disciple of al-Maudoodi, believe that the Western-dominated world is too mired in corruption to hear any argument, and must be shocked into conversion through spectacular ghazavat (raids) of the kind we saw in New York and Washington in 2001, in Madrid last year, and now in London.

And indeed, Westerners are rushing out in their droves to sign up at the nearest mosque. Erm, not. Shurely there is shome mishtake here, and I intend to pin it down a little more in my next post. Feel free to make suggestions in the meantime, if you are still reading this blog.


At 12:54 PM, Blogger gcotharn said...

Its fun to see you blogging a bit. I'll take a swipe at what is wrong with Osama's thinking:

To believe terror will create capitulation and/or conversion, Osama must believe soft and immoral infidels will be cowed by an enemy who is unafraid to die.

The problem:
Persons who have tasted freedom are generally willing to defend their freedom to the death - if there is a reasonable chance of maintaining their freedom. Thus:

"Give me liberty or give me death," and "Live free or die."

Many persons who have never been free will still risk their lives, if only they can see a reasonable opportunity of succeeding at gaining their freedom. An example is Iran, where more and more Iranians are coming to believe they have a reasonable chance at freedom, and are willingly risking their lives in an effort to gain it.

Such free persons will not be cowed by an Islamic warrior's willingness to die.

What of the free persons who can be cowed? IMO, they really haven't faced up to the reality of a life of oppression - or maybe they haven't faced up to the possibility of it actually happening to them. If they ever did face up to those things, they would be less inclined to be cowed by bearded international bullies.

At 3:57 AM, Blogger emma said...

The "erm, not" bit...

I wonder whether the terrorists are unable to conceive of a free society rather than a fear society? And therefore they predict how those terrorised will react from the POV of a fear society

which is: look for strong leaders, which the terrorists see as their brand of Islamic ones, with their certainties and authority

erm, which people in free societies aren't so much into, actually.

Criticise please.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger emma said...

Lee Harris says it's a blood feud on their side

he earlier said that the terrorists are enacting a fantasy - they are proving to themselves that radical islam can glamorously topple the west.

just another couple of ideas...

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Becky said...

I have wondered about this topic for a while. I've tried to figure out what such people really hope to accomplish and how they think it will come about.

I have a few thoughts that aren't really a direct answer, just some exploratory thoughts about it.

One possibility that comes to mind is that part of the goal is to try to create fear so that people will seek out authorities, as was suggested by gcotharn. I wasn't entirely certain that this couldn't work. Some people seem to give up freedoms rather easily when they're afraid.

I was very skeptical of all the security measures being taken. People could get used to it and come to expect to be treated that way in other areas and give up their freedoms incrementally. I have long suspected this to be a possible goal of militants although I'm skeptical now that it will have consequences that favor Muslim extremists. I think giving up freedoms incrementally is still a concern, but I think so long as we have free presses and speech we have the means to fix that.

At 6:01 AM, Blogger Mrs. du Toit said...

During the 600 years the Middle East remained in the Dark Ages, Western Civilization changed course--from a state of passivity to King/Church/Ruler. The "To" is what is wholly unique about The West.

The early emancipation freed man from speaking to G-d through intermediaries. Once man had a direct relationship with his creator, not through Pope or Rabbi, he was able to think about other forms of emancipation--beyond his spiritual self. Free Will was the conceptual result and Western Religions transformed as well (or they'd have lost all their members).

The idea that G-d put the world in motion and filled it with temptations that a good man must resist is uniquely Western.

The Middle East is still mired in the cultural mindset that man must make man resist temptations, by removing them. Hence, women are still shrouded because man is not capable of resisting her temptations.

The terrorists may have adopted the war matériel of The West--they may even understand our technology and financial habits, but they do not understand that we have 600 years of deviation in the path of man's relationship with G-d and himself.

You cannot re-shackle the mind of a culture that chose freedom 600 years ago.


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