Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The Key to Jihadist Ideology and Strategy

Lawrence Auster at FrontPageMag has a great analysis on the motivation of Islam for the atrocities it perpetrates in the name of Jihad.
What struck me most was something so simple, yet so often overlooked: The fact is that many people in the West look to themselves and their society for the reasons behind the conflict between Islam and the West (most people at some conscious or subconscious level recognize there IS such a conflict). This in itself is a compliment, after all, there's nothing wrong with asking yourself what it is you may have done that upsets another party so badly that he wants to saw your head off witha pen knife.

This gets silly after a while. It should be plain after about 1500 years now that the West really hasn't done anything remotely bad enough to warrant the type of insane hatred that most of Islam holds for us.
When trying to explain the Islamists' global campaign of mass murder, both liberals and conservatives, despite their fierce mutual disagreements, make the same underlying mistake. People on the anti-war left believe that Al Qaeda attacked us because we're imperialist, or because we're racist, or because we don't do enough for Third-World hunger (yes, there are people who actually believe the hunger argument; most of them are Episcopalians). By contrast, many people on the pro-war right, especially President Bush, believe that the Islamists hate us for our freedoms, opportunities, and overall success as a society. In other words, the left believes that the Islamists hate us for our sins, and the right believes that they hate us for our virtues. Both sides commit the same narcissistic fallacy of thinking that the Islamist holy war against the West revolves solely around ourselves, around the moral drama of our goodness or our wickedness, rather than having something to do with Islam itself.
As I've commented before, we sometimes treat the Arabs like we treat children: If they're upset with us, we ask ourselves what we did wrong. A child can be naughty but really can't do wrong.

But the Arabs are not children. They have no such excuse.

Auster then quotes Mary Habeck, who tells in some detail about the "Method of Muhammed", which essentially prescribes the steps Muslims take to spread Islam, based on the conditions of the society they live in, and the status Muslims hold.
The key point is that, while specific actions by the West might provoke the jihadis to greater attacks, their fundamental strategic and military decisions are not determined by anything done by the United States or Europe or by other major enemies of Islam such as the Hindus, but rather by which Method of Muhammed each jihadi faction follows, and each of these strategies has its own internal rationality, though it is not a rationality that makes sense in non-Islamic terms.
Read it all. It's an eye-opener.


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