Jewish World Review Nov. 5, 2002 / 30 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763
And entirely irrelevant.
The vast majority of Germans living in the Nazi era were also peaceful; very few ever so much as laid a hand on a Jew. So, too, the vast majority of Russians never killed anyone while 20-40 million of their fellow citizens were murdered by their Communist regime under Stalin. The point here is that the threat to civilization emanating from within Islam is no more obviated by the fact that the great majority of Muslims are not violent than the threat that emanated from Nazism was obviated by the peaceful behavior of the great majority of Germans or the threat from Soviet Communism was nullified by the nonviolence among the great majority of Russians.
Germany was a threat to civilization because Nazis and their ideology took over German society while the majority of Germans (the "good Germans") either supported Nazi ideals or did nothing. Russia was a threat to civilization because Communists took over the country, and the great majority of Russians either supported Papa Stalin or did nothing. Some Islamic societies are today becoming a threat to civilization because Islamic totalitarians and terrorists are taking over those societies while a majority of Muslims either support their ideals or do nothing.
That is why it is meaningless at best and dishonest at worst to deny the threat to civilization coming from various Muslim countries by noting that most Muslims are not violent. Only a handful of Saudis terrorized America on 9-11-01, but a large majority of Saudis support Osama bin Laden. Few Palestinians strap bombs onto their children's bodies, but the majority of them support such evil and none others publicly morally condemn it.
At this moment, the dominant strain of Islamic thought is totalitarian, meaning that wherever possible, a government should be Islamic and govern according to a strict interpretation of the Sharia (Muslim religious law). Furthermore, when necessary and when possible, the Islamists believe these religious laws should be imposed violently -- as in Sudan, Nigeria, Afghanistan and elsewhere. In addition, the dominant ideological trend in much of Islamic society is hate-filled. What is said daily about Jews in Middle Eastern mosques rivals what the Nazis said about Jews. And not only in mosques. During Ramadan, Egyptian television is running a 41-part series based on the anti-Semitic forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."
For all these reasons, one's moral assessment of what is taking place in the Muslim world must be made independent of the fact that the great majority of Muslims are peaceful people. Their peaceful lifestyle is not influencing the bellicose trends in their religion.
Thus, what is most frightening is not that there are Muslim terrorists, but by how little criticism of Islamic terror emanates from normative Islamic groups. While some Muslim groups have condemned individual acts of Islamic terror such as 9-11, not one significant Muslim group in the world, including here in free America, has condemned Islamic terror generally. And the leaders of Al-Azhar University, the most prestigious institution of Islamic learning, have actually morally and religiously come out in support of Islamic suicide terror against Israelis.
So the fact that the majority of those living in the Islamic countries are good people is of no consequence. Unless they do something to condemn and to isolate the Muslim totalitarians and terrorists in their midst, history will judge them as it has all the good Germans during the Holocaust.
Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
10/29/02: Nice guys finish first: Thoughts on the World Series