Saturday, 18 June 2016

Post-Colonial Myopia

The Second Hundred Years War

For the past fifty years or so the West has practised the politics of guilt and pity with respect to Islam.  It has done so assiduously.  The guilt is grounded in nasty Western imperialism, which the Chattering Classes long ago rejected as evil.  The navel of Islam--the Middle East--suffered under Western imperialism--hence the guilt.  Backward, impoverished and ignorance are perpetual conditions in the Middle East caused by Western sins.  

The pity is an expression of atonement, a longing to make things right, an expression of restitution and atonement for wrongs committed and sufferings caused.  So, when Islamic heroes commit murder--even mass murder--they are immediately washed with the cleansing flow of Western guilt and pity.  "We can't blame them.  We in the West are to blame".  Mea culpas all around.

Western imperialism notwithstanding, the West has willed itself to ignorance when it comes to Islam and Islamic teaching.
 It struggles to respect Islam, failing to take it seriously on its own terms.  In this refusal to take the religion seriously, the West inadvertently continues a policy of soft-imperialism, a noisome kind of paternalism.  The parent might explain away the tantrum of a child when he considers that the bawling infant is hungry and tired. Similarly, the West continues the imperialistic attitudes of condescension and paternalism toward Islam--just in another form--but this time with a truckload of guilt thrown in.

What the West generally has failed to realise is that in Islam, the state and the religion are inseparable, because of the life and actions of Muhammad.  And therein lies a tale.

In 622 things were getting tough for Muhammad in Mecca.  He and his followers quietly moved out.  They had been invited to a prosperous oasis 275 miles north, called Yathrib.  It was a turning point for Muhammad and for Islam.
The Hijra, as the migration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib has come to be known, was a watershed in Islamic history, aptly designated after the prophet's death as the official starting point of the Muslim era.

At one fell swoop Muhammad was transformed from a private preaching into a political and military leader and head of a rapidly expanding community, and Islam from a persecuted cult into a major religious and political force in the Arabian peninsula.  "Hitherto it had been a religion within a state," wrote the historian Philip Hitti, "in Medina ['the city', as Yathrib came to be called after the Hijra] it passed into something more than a state religion--it became the state.  Then and there Islam came to be what the world has ever since recognized it to be--a militant policy."  [Efraim Karsh, Islamic Imperialism: A History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), p. 13. Emphasis, ours.]
Karsh is too generous here.  The Western Commentariat, in a move of staggering revisionism, has chosen to ignore the history of Islam, cloaking it with its own guilt and pity.  But this is a relatively recent phenomenon.  However, Karsh's presentation of the heart of Islam is spot on.  Since Medina, it has ever been a religion of doctrines sanctioned and enforced by the State.   He goes on to describe how this took shape:
Muhammad created this inextricable link between religious authority and political power shortly after the Hijra in the form of the "Constitution of Media" which organised his local followers and those who had migrated with him from Mecca into "one community (umma) to the exclusion of all man," designed to act as a unified whole against external enemies and internal dissenters. [Ibid.]
Tribal and racial links and loyalties were replaced by religion as the bond of the umma--and all internal dissent was to be crushed.  Allah was the supreme sovereign, and Muhammad his earthly manifestation.  All would need to submit.

Ironically, here lies the reason why Islamic sects are always at war with one another: there can be only One--one Ring to rule them all--and so variances and differences are intolerable.

These things are fundamental--but the West's elites and rulers cannot grasp them through the fog of their own guilt and pity.  Until Western nations repent of their peculiar pride and vanity they will never see Islam as it truly is.  Consequently, their policies will forever be askew and awry.

We expect that future historians will look back on the last half of the twentieth century and the first fifty years of this century, and will coin an appellation for the period we are now living through: they will call it "The Second Hundred Years War."

It's a great time to be a Christian, serving the Prince of Peace.  As the nations rage, the following remains true:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. . . .

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
And the government shall be upon his shoulder,
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end. . . .
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. [Isaiah 9: 2--7]

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