Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The War Within Islamic Civilization


In the article below, from the Weekly Australian, we were told that this was against the Jihadists is a crisis within Islamic civilization. In this next article, from National Review, Ismaili Muslim Alykhan Velshi tells us what that crisis looks like to a Western Muslim living in London:


The London terror attacks — indeed, al Qaeda’s war against civilization — is against ... moderate Muslims, too. It is a war against an Islam that is tolerant, adaptable to Western society, and that preaches respect and peace. Even if a significant number of moderate Muslims wanted to condemn terrorism and repudiate Islamist fanaticism, it might be very difficult to do so: The menace of fanaticism does not simply infect Islamist states, it also poisons its civil society, even in the West.

Sadly — dangerously — it is not uncommon for U.S. and British Muslim groups to be evasive when discussing the war on terror. Of course they’ll condemn individual terrorist attacks, though more out of sympathy for the victims and their families than out of a sense of solidarity with the West. When so much of Islamic civil society is corroded by the ideology of extremism, moderate Muslim dissenters have few outlets to voice their frustration and stop the tragic hijacking of their faith.

I experienced this firsthand while studying at the London School of Economics. Less than two weeks into my freshman year, after I expressed some interest in becoming involved in the student Islamic Society, I was invited to a screening of an incendiary video on the conflict in Chechnya, and another on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These videos were clearly intended to recruit potential terrorists: Indeed, the London School of Economics has a grim history on this front, having educated the terrorist who murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and having unwittingly hosted the jihadist group al-Muhajiroun.

What is more, another extremist group recently set up shop on campus, and invited a speaker who expressed his support for a nuclear Iran and a “global Islamic caliphate.” All this occurs because school authorities look the other way, refusing to monitor campus Islamic groups which are increasingly being taken over by extremists. When even Islamic civil society is controlled by fanatics and terror partisans, there is very little, if anything, that moderate Muslims can do. It is a sobering, sad, and thoroughly dispiriting truth.

The war on terror is not simply against terror-sponsoring states, but against the institutions of civil society that give terrorists quiet support, that inflame local Muslim populations, and that prevent the emergence of a moderate, peaceful form of Islam. The war on terror can never be won unless Muslims who have the privilege of living in the West stand up for civilization against the forces of barbarism and nihilism. I wish I could say otherwise, but I won’t be holding my breath.