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Monday, May 14, 2018

Paris Knife Attacks and Incels

Lucas Lynch - Leftists are rightfully outraged by attacks by...

Lucas Lynch: Paris attacker 'shouting Allahu akbar' shot dead by police after stabbing victims in street

Leftists are rightfully outraged by attacks by so-called "Incels"

Given how Islamists have killed scores more than Incels over many decades, I'm sure leftists will apply consistent standards and condemn the ideology behind this attack as well..

h/t Basit Saeed

Anthony Galli: Some leftists -- many, actually -- will indeed criticize Islamism, which is the most actively hostile, radical wing of political Islam bent on violently overthrowing states to create an Islamic revolution in which the Muslim heartland, and eventually everyone, is ruled by a strict Caliphate.

But many of these same leftists will say that either this is an extreme interpretation not supported by mainline Islamic scholars and jurists (mostly true), or that it's not "the real Islam." Yes, the majority of Muslims, in most countries, do not agree with this ideology. But the latter contention is based on many other assumptions we should examine - that it's a panicked reaction to modernism (it is), that it's not rooted in classic Islamic sects, movements, or theological doctrines (untrue, they can trace precedence in the Khawarij, Ibn Taymiyyah, Hassan-i Sabbah - ironically a founder of an Ismaili sect known to be tolerant and peaceful, al-Wahhab, etc.) and that it's a reaction to colonialism.

The last point is certainly true, but it also limits our understanding of historical context if it ignores the fact that Islamic imperialism is much older than European colonialism, by at least a millennium. Islamic imperialism had lulls in between centuries of expansionism, of course, but there's a continual rhythm, a trend of war, trade, and colonization of Muslims towards non-Muslim lands. Even Muslim scholars tend to view their history cyclically (though linear in the ultimate Abrahamic sense). Europeans did take advantage of situations in which there was a decline of certain empires, Sunni-on-Sunni or Sunni vs. Shiite in-fighting, and lulls in expansion.

But it was not exactly just the exploitation of an otherwise peaceful and poor people by technologically superior, greedy European warmongers on behalf of kings and the emerging bourgeoisie trading class (well, it was that too), but more accurately a takeover of once powerful Muslim kingdoms and empires by non-Muslims. Muslims didn't just forget the wealth, power, and privilege they once had. This is no where more true than in India, when during the Quit India movement towards independence, Muslims realized how much of their privilege they would lose once the British left, with a Hindu majority to rule in India instead.

Much of what motivates jihadis are beliefs historical grievances the go back before 20th century developments such as Cold War policy (and hot wars) or petro politics, in which all of these faultlines were exposed and exacerbated. This ideology based on a belief that the natural state of the world, when all is just and right, is one aligned correctly with the will of Allah (as much as the laws of physics, the instincts of animals, the phases of the moon etc., which he also wills) with Muslims ruling and deciding laws for all, and dominating the earth like good stewards. For that to happen of course they need to get their own house in order by purifying themselves - austerity, discipline, ridding themselves of all false religious innovation, and *then* bringing peace back to the world by ridding non-Muslims of their false ways too, that is, those lands permissible to wage war on and conquer (bringing the House of War all under the control of the House of Peace). Thus, we can then and only then have world peace. The big divide among Salafi purists is whether to focus inwardly only (maintaining strict sharia and enforcing it) and waiting later to expand, or to focus on overthrowing secular or insufficiently pious Muslim governments that bow to the West instead of Mecca, accomplished primarily by, and in tandem with, removing the most powerful non-Muslim obstacles in the world - America and its non-Muslim allied states.

By denying this real, old, venerable tradition of martial jihad and its underlying ideological-cum-theological structure, much of the left is... well, left explaining it only in terms of very modern -- mainly 20th and 21st, 18th and 19th at the earliest -- political developments and even more recent events (just reactions to, say, the structural racism of societies that Muslims are minorities in, or the treatment of poorer Muslim countries on the periphery who are being exploited by the global central powers). Even though many leftists are not strict or orthodox Marxists, many will look to ideas of dialectical materialism as the basic explanation, i.e. base and superstructure. Even non-Marxists sociologists, historians, and economists often find that idea useful.

So much of the leftist critique of Islamist ideology I find incomplete.

And some leftists won't even go this far, instead denying that it has anything to do with either Islamic doctrine/teaching, or historical context beyond recent global events. In many instances, Lucas is right that this critique is simply absent in leftist discourse.

Far be it from me -- a naturalist -- to deny the importance of material conditions in any analysis, but ideology does frame thinking (as do values and metaphors, in a deeper sense, cognitively). Moreover, many buy into the explanation that it's "just politics," that Islamist politics are unrelated to Islam, as though Islam isn't inherently political in nature. This is a largely Western projection, based on Christianity's distinction between the City of God vs. City of Man, which Islam never made. While medieval Europe had a dual theocratic structure, with Popes having ultimate power and often conflicting with secular kings, Islam has never really had a singular Pope-like figure, not even among Shiites. And the separation of Church (religion) and State (secular government) so far hasn't very successfully caught on in Muslim countries during the past century or so that it's been tried, except maybe Turkey, and even there it's starting to fail.

So to sum up for those watching at home: A.) Most Muslims in the world do not agree with or support terrorism; B.) Most Muslims do not subscribe to its underlying ideology; C.) There *is* an underlying ideology though; D.) This ideology should be analyzed in its full historical context (where it originated from and what it morphed into in response to changing circumstances); E.) This ideology should be critiqued; F.) The basic doctrines of Islam itself can, and should, be examined, questioned, and critiqued; G.) Recent events and material conditions alone are necessary but not sufficient to explain the causes of jihadi activity, or guiding doctrines.

Yuri Krausz: Your assumption that A.) Most Muslims do not agree or support ( Islamic) terrorism is not substantiated. Today in Indonesia a majority Muslim country, a whole family with suicide vests blew themselves up in 3 churches in order to murder Christians. The youngest daughter was 9 years old and her mother sacrificed her. Do you see any mass protests , demonstration s of Muslims to condemn this barbaric Islamic terror? Do you see any marches? Generally what I see, even the Muslims who say they oppose terror, making all kinds of excuses and blaming others, mostly West, specially USA or Israel.
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