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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 12-Jan-2015
12-Jan-15 World View -- Reader comments: Is Islam at war with the West?

Web Log - January, 2015

12-Jan-15 World View -- Reader comments: Is Islam at war with the West?

Is PEGIDA a neo-Nazi movement, or just a grass roots protest?

This morning's key headlines from

Reader comments on Islam and Christianity

U.S. Marines storm Tripoli during the First Barbary War (1801-05) against North African Berber Muslims
U.S. Marines storm Tripoli during the First Barbary War (1801-05) against North African Berber Muslims

In several recent articles, I've been describing the massive and growing war of Muslims against Muslims in the Mideast, South Asia and Northern Africa. I've made the point that Islam is NOT at war with the West, and that the terrorist attacks, such as this past week's Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, were collateral damage from the real war, the war between Muslims and Muslims.

The following are some comments that I received.

Is Islam at war with the West?

"I come to your site every day because I believe you have something valuable to say, but when you make this statement, you destroy your credibility.

'As I've been reporting repeatedly, there is no Muslim war against the West. Even in the last week, when a score of people in Paris were killed, thousands were killed in Boko Haram massacres in Nigeria, while hundreds more were killed in Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and other countries.'

Muslims are surely fighting against each other - but to declare the war is only happening on one front is nothing less than selective denial. Hitler fought the West, but you might remember he fought on an "Eastern Front" too. Save your credibility sir, Islam is at war with everyone, including their own families."

I've been writing about Muslim violence since 2003 -- thousands of articles. I have, on file, almost 90,000 news stories that I've copied and pasted from media sources around the world. I've read all of these, as well as millions more that I didn't copy. In addition, I've listened to untold thousands of hours from the BBC, al-Jazeera, and domestic news services.

With all of that input, I find plenty of terrorist acts, but I cannot find any evidence of an actual war by Muslims against the West -- as measured by actual behavior, not by the rantings of Muslim terrorists and jihadist leaders.

As I've described in recent articles, there have been fewer than 9,000 Christians killed in individual terrorist acts in the 13 years since 9/11/2011. Now that's a lot of Christians, but it's not what I would call a war, except in a symbolic sense. For it to be a real war, you would need to see Muslim armies attacking Europe or America.

On the other hand, there are militias and large armies of Muslims attacking other Muslims in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Mali, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. EACH YEAR there are 50,000 or so Muslims killed by these armies, five times as many killed each year as Christians were killed in THIRTEEN YEARS.

I want to emphasize what a big difference this is. Individual terrorist acts by individual terrorists are bad, but they're not the same as large armies conducting a real war.

In some ways this is just semantics. For most people, there isn't much difference between being at war with Islamist jihadists versus being at war with Islam.

I think it's dangerous for the West not to know who their real enemy is. Those who say that "Islam is the enemy of the West" or "All Muslims are enemies of the West" are doing a disservice because, if they're believed, then resources will be wasted fighting the wrong enemy. Indeed, it's quite possible that that's exactly what the ISIS and AQAP leaders want -- to see the West waste their resources attacking "Islam" or "all Muslims", rather than ISIS or AQAP or other Muslim terrorist jihadists.

For more discussion, see the following articles:

"10-Jan-15 World View -- Up to 2000 Nigeria civilians killed in three-day Boko Haram massacre"
"8-Jan-15 World View -- The historic dilemma of the West versus the Muslim jihadists"
"1-Jan-15 World View -- The three most important dangers for 2015"
"29-Dec-14 World View -- Do news organizations ignore jihadist attacks on Christians?"

Is Islam a religion, like Christianity, or just an ideology or mindset?

"Once there is a resolution of the Sunni-Shia schism within Islam, it needs to be clearly understood that this resolution is only the beginning. John's comments make no provision for dealing with the ideology of radical Islam after the resolution of their internal conflict (I have come to believe that there is no Islam other than radical Islam). I can't stress forcefully enough that Islam is not a religion... it is a mind set. Islam makes no provision for the accommodation of anything other than Islam - it isn't just about Allah, it's about Allah in government, it's about Allah in speech (the "rationale" for todays murders in Paris), it's about Allah in school, it's all about Allah in every single aspect of life. Further, to be clear, and make no mistake, there is an Imam someplace who is willing to issue a fatwa that is going to tell you just exactly what that means, and how you WILL comply with orthodox (as he sees it) Islam, under penalty of death. Understand: there is no aspect of life that is outside of the purview of Islam."

Islam is just as much a religion as Christianity is. Or, if you like, Christianity is also just an ideology, in view of Christian Nazis who killed Jews and other Christians, or Irish Protestants who killed Catholics.

"John, on most occasions we are in sync. Here we shall have to agree to disagree.

Grew up in Dearborn, MI - largest Muslim community in the U.S. The high school I attended was 30% Muslim - now it's 100% Muslim. Developed an unfavorable attitude first hand - Muslims are routinely strident, belligerent, and combative. After high school, I lived in Turkey for a year - at the time Turkey was the most moderate of the Muslim countries. Living in a Muslim country made me understand what I saw in high school. I can remember leaving Ankara in 1967 looking out the airplane's window thinking: "... no one will believe what I tell them about this place... God help the world if these people ever get money...." That was over 45 years ago, and now they have the money to buy arms, and explosives, i.e. the means to carry out their mentality; and there is no longer a powerful moral America with the will to stop them.

Muslims are a problem wherever they alight. Philippines, Timor, Myanmar, India, Kashmir, China, Russia, Israel, Britain, France, Nigeria, Thailand, Kenya, et al. Virtually every airplane hijacking since 1970 has been by Muslims, not Christians. ... The only time Muslims seek freedom and tolerance is when they are a significant minority; when they achieve a significant plurality, or majority it is their way or the sword, they have no compunction regarding impressing their will - Sharia Law - upon all. They tolerate nothing, it's Allah, or die - it's Sharia for all. Muslims believe that anyplace Muslims have occupied is theirs forever, anyplace Muslims have prayed is theirs forever. ...

And Christianity is certainly not without issues, but here we are discussing the differences between Christianity and Islam. The difference between Christianity, and Islam is that the embrace of Christianity is voluntary, with no direct physical harm, or ill consequences suffered if one rejects the conversion. As recent events have made clear, in Islam the conversion is not voluntary; it's convert, or the sword - the conversion is coerced and once converted, should you desire to exit Islam, it is a capital offense subjecting you to death. ...

While Christianity has its dark chapters, those are not taking place now. At this moment the Christian Church is as was given to us through the Enlightenment and to a somewhat lesser degree by the American Revolution (the inherent value of life, honesty, the rule of law, personal freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and many more, among others)."

Your final remark about "dark chapters" is where your argument contradicts itself.

You claim that Christianity and Islam are fundamentally different in that Islam isn't even a religion -- it's an ideology or mind set. To support that claim in practice you would have to prove two things: not only that Christianity and Islam have had different cumulative outcomes throughout centuries of history, but also that Christianity could never return to a new "dark chapter" in the future.

I claim you have no hope of proving either of those. All you can hope to prove is that AT THE PRESENT TIME Islam is producing different outcomes than Christianity. And the latter may in fact be true, as the examples you've given illustrate. But that means that Islam and Christianity are both religions, and differences in outcomes are only temporal.

Why would such temporal differences exist? For the answer to that, we look to a generational analysis.

WW II is still remarkably fresh in the minds of most Christians. How was it possible for the entire Christian German population to turn into Nazis and create the Holocaust to exterminate Jews, and also to turn on the Christian French population, the Christian British population, and also the Orthodox Christian Russian population. This is still a matter of shame throughout the world Christian community, and it affects every Christian's attitudes to people of other religions.

But there is no similar collective memory in the Muslim community. For Muslims, the destruction of the Ottoman Empire (in 1922) was in the far more distant past than WW II, and to them was not a cause for shame among Muslims, but a cause for shame among Europeans and Russians, including Christians and Jews. Furthermore, the loss of the Istanbul Caliphate is a gaping hole in the Muslim psyche.

That brings us to Iran's Great Islamic Revolution and the Iran/Iraq war (1979-1988), which is as important to Islam as WW II is to the West. This was a generational crisis war largely in the Shia Muslim community. The problems that you described as Muslim problems are actually almost always Sunni Muslim problems. Since Shia Muslims have had a generational crisis war much more recently than Sunni Muslims, then have far different attitudes and behaviors. So your argument about Islam falls apart even when you consider temporal differences between Shia and Sunni Islam.

Finally, as another counterexample to the uniqueness of Islam, the shame of WW II does not extend to the Buddhist community, and the Buddhists in Burma (Myanmar), led by a Buddhist monk, are massacring innocent Muslim women and children, razing entire villages. The Muslims under greatest attack are Rohingya immigrants, but the Buddhists have even attacked Muslim villages that have existed for hundreds of years.

Is PEGIDA a neo-Nazi movement, or just a simple grass roots protest?

This comment was in response to an article on PEGIDA, a growing 'anti-Islamization' movement in Germany.

"You interpret PEGIDA as the rise of some neo-Nazi movement. Writing to you this very moment from Germany, I can assure you that thousands of Germans are most decidedly NOT parading around shouting "Deutschland für Deutsche! Ausländer raus!" That was/is the slogan of the far right, to use the phrase, and you are wrong to conflate it and them with PEGIDA.

This movement, a grass roots protest, arose in the former GDR [Communist East Germany], a region that has more familiarity with totalitarian government than you or I have. They know a lie when they are being forced to believe it, first under the SED dictatorship, as socialism, and now under the EU and its constant cheerleaders and propaganda. If you are located on the continent, you will be only too aware of this. If you are not, then you are, as I posted previously, writing with a less than full understanding."

The article was not about me. What I was doing in my article was reporting that European leaders are describing Pegida as neo-Nazi or xenophobic.

In fact, Pegida organizer Kathrin Oertel agrees with my reporting: "Or how would you see it when we are insulted or called racists or Nazis openly by all the political mainstream parties and media for our justified criticism of Germany's asylum seeker policies and the non-existent immigration policy?"

So Oertel agrees with me that many Europeans view Pegida as xenophobic or racist or Nazi. My personal opinion is that Hungary's Jobbik and Greece's Golden Dawn are neo-Nazi, but Pegida is only "a little bit xenophobic," at least so far.

"To make the claim that this is the echoes of the 1930s all over again is patently false. There is not mass unemployment, there is not anarchy, there is no hyperinflation, there is no war just lost, there are no humiliating reparations, there is no loss of territory, no occupation by foreign powers. Would you like me to continue? Today's Germany is a modern, peaceful, prosperous and surprisingly tolerant country. Did you know it took in more refugees from the Yugoslavia conflict than all the other countries put together?"

Oh, really? Unemployment rate at 25% in Greece and Spain, 16% in Italy, above 10% in other eurozone countries. Hyperinflation was an early 1920s phenomenon -- deflation was a 1930s phenomenon, same as today. No humiliating reparations, but humiliating bailout accusations between Germany and Greece, with the same effect. No loss of territory or occupation, but floods of Syrian and African refugees evoking the same emotions.

"But given that a phobia is an irrational fear, there is nothing irrational in witnessing whole areas of the town or city where you were born and raised becoming nothing less than foreign enclaves filled with people who refuse to integrate, let alone be able to even if they should want."

I don't disagree with your characterization, and I might well feel the same way in those circumstances.

As a student of history, surely you must see the similarities with the 1930s. The Nazis gave very "rational" reasons for their attitudes towards Jews -- Jewish bankers had made money from the reparations, Jews had sold out the Germans, etc. One can always find "rational" reasons for any emotion.

But that doesn't change the point that I'm making. Xenophobic and neo-Nazi movements are spreading across Europe today, and Pegida is one of them, even if it's in its early stages. This is a trend that's been growing for years, particularly since the rise of Generation-X, and the trend is going to continue and grow.

By the way, suppose you were King of Europe. What would you do? Deport all the Muslims? Lock them up in camps? Close the borders to Syrian women and children fleeing starvation and bloody massacres? Sink their boats and let them drown in the Mediterranean? What would you do, and why would what you would do be better than what the neo-Nazis would do?

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 12-Jan-15 World View -- Reader comments: Is Islam at war with the West? thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (12-Jan-2015) Permanent Link
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