Wednesday, August 23, 2006

On the impoliteness of calling it Islamofacism ...

... and yes, sure, I've read David Ignatius in the WaPo tit and tut about Islamofacism this and that. And lots of other people who talk about how the whole Islamism as "totalitarianism" thing is just a Western mental construct by people unable to understand the Other. And other people who give little academic disquisitions on the origin of the term facism and what it means and what it meant (memo to self, do they all consult Wikipedia?) and why it can't have application to something as Otherly as "political Islam" (a euphemism, in its evasion of the violence of the wilder, more fanatic parts of the Religion of Peace, nearly unto itself).

So do let's try and stay approximately on the same page as to what the threat is about, as noted by Tim Blair, here, wherein Abu Bakar Bashir, spiritual counselor to the Bali bombers, explains why democracy, liberalism, secularism, "moderate" Islam, "democratic" Islam, separation of mosque and state, etc. are no-goes for what we might call ... Islamofacism. As Mr. Bashir eloquently explains:

The principles of Islam cannot be altered and and there is no democracy in Islam or nonsense like ‘democratic Islam’. Democracy is shirik (unbelief) and haram. Here we do not compromise. Those who claim to be Muslims and do not support Shariah one hundred per cent are all munafik and kafirs, they are out of Islam. No need to discuss with these people, they are not part of the ummat anymore.

There is no need to listen to public opinion: kafirs, apostates, liberals, atheists - they are all non-believers …

Let me be perfectly clear that Mr. Bashir obviously does not speak for vast millions of Muslims worldwide for whom finding a way to be devout while being in the world constitutes a serious religious path. The problem is that Mr. Bashir just as obviously is not speaking merely for himself. He speaks for a group of people who, while small relative to whole populations, are not small as to effect. And the effect of a small group of people willing to intimidate their own as well as outsiders, to make religious moderation in Islam not an active, chosen way of religious life, one that can be defended as legitimate and orthodox - but instead simply a passive and sullen way of keeping silent and one's head down as between the non-Muslim world and Muslim thugs willing to use violence to intimidate their brothers and sisters and demand conformity to their version of orthodoxy - well, it is the logic of terrorism, in which the violence of a small group is enough to intimidate a large group.

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