The Paralyzing Notion of Islamism and Moderate Islam
In the on–going public outrage in Denmark about the Danish Free Press Society’s public face, Lars Hedegaard’s, comments about Muslim girls, where he stated that they have no value inside Islam except for creating new warriors for the jihad, and the fact that they can be used as sexual objects, something interesting caught my eye: It was the comment of Naser Khader, who resigned from Free Press Society’s advisory board because of Hedegaard’s statement.
Naser Khader’s comment was as follows:
“Lars Hedegaard’s regret isn’t good enough, since he’s still not accepting the basic premise that one should make a distinction between Islam and Islamism.
Islam is a religious, while the latter is a dangerous ideology we should fight.”
Although Hedegaard’s only regret was concerning the fact that his statement had been misunderstood, and not about his statement in itself, the point I want to make lies elsewhere.
Now, if I was to formulate my own view about Islam and Islamism in a similar phrasing as Naser’s, it would be something like this:
“Islamism is just a western word for the aspects in Islam which are not compatible with western values. Islam is a religious, dangerous ideology that we should fight.”
What struck me was the similarities between these two opposing views: The former is the publicly accepted and politically correct view, where Islam itself is refused to be seen as the problem, and the latter is the politically forbidden view, where Islam itself, is seen as the problem.
Actually these two sentences neatly show the whole debate about Islam in the west in a nutshell: On the one hand we have the equation where Islam, as a major religion can not be a problem, but because some kind of a problem clearly exists in connection with Islam, the concept of Islamism is created – and on the other hand we have the equation where Islam equals the problem.
What is interesting in these two equations is that if you take away the concept of Islamism, the first equation automatically turns into the second equation.
So how to take Islamism out of the equation?
If we look at the concept, it becomes apparent that Islamism – with it’s many different names like radical Islam, political Islam, or militant Islam – is just a made-up concept created in the west for the purpose of supporting another, equally imaginary concept called moderate Islam – also known as true Islam or worldly Islam.
It is obvious that these two imaginary concepts were created together, as a pair, as neither of them can exist without the other. However, as both of the concepts support each other, it is clear that moderate Islam is the actual concept that is at the heart of this whole thing, and that the concept of Islamism is created to support the concept of moderate Islam.
After all, Islamism is just a word that was made up for the aspects inside Islam that we don’t agree with in the west: For example, even as the Quran tells him do so, if a Muslim kills infidels, it is Islamism. On the other hand, if a Muslim treats other Muslims well, as advised in the Quran, he is practicing the so-called true, or moderate Islam.
In other words, everything in Islam that is not compatible with western values is Islamism – and everything else in Islam is moderate Islam.
The only problem is that we can not divide Islam in this way: Islam is a religion that is based on holy scriptures and these holy scriptures simply contain what they contain – everything they contain is Islam, regardless of how we categorize it in the west.
So, as so-called islamists base their actions on the holy scriptures of Islam, it’s completely absurd to claim that their Islam would not be true Islam.
Actually, if we use the simplified example I gave above, the Muslim who kills infidels and treats other Muslims well, is in fact practicing a more “true”
Islam than the Muslim who is only treating other Muslims well, because the latter is putting into effect the commands of the Quran only partially, whereas the former is doing everything that the his holy scriptures are commanding him to do.
On the other hand, as the Quran really commands Muslims to kill infidels, a moderate Islam can not even exist by definition, as long as this and similar commandments stand.
Moderate Muslims of course do exist, but if we were to say it more precisely, we would have to call them bad or lazy Muslims.
And exactly here, I think, lies the key to this whole optical illusion where Islam mystically turns into Islamism and moderate Islam: People do not understand that the fact that moderate Muslims exist, does not in any way prove that moderate Islam exists.
Actually this misconception is very understandable and it goes somewhat like this: “There’s a lot of Muslims in the world who are not terrorists – they are all practicing moderate Islam.”
What these people do not understand is that the Qurans in the homes of those nice Muslims says the same thing about killing infidels than the Qurans of the terrorists: Regardless of whether you find the Quran in a home of a nice, moderate Muslim or in the ashes of a suicide bomber, it says the same thing: Kill the infidels.
So Islam itself doesn’t become more moderate no matter how many Muslims are nice, as I am sure many Muslims of course are.
In other words, moderate Islam does not exist before the parts of the Quran that are not compatible with western values are either removed, or until somebody from inside Islam, who has the authority to do so, says that those parts are no longer relevant in today’s world.
Until one of the above-mentioned scenarios become reality, moderate Islam does not exist – and it must be mentioned here that in the case of the second scenario becoming a reality – where the person with the necessary Islamic authority would be discarding central parts of the Quran as outdated – this person must have considerable support from inside the Muslim population before we can start talking about a moderate Islam with any relevance.
The situation being such, and as at least I personally have never heard of any kind of moderate Islam that would have any relevance, we will proceed from the basic premise that no such thing exists as moderate Islam.
The concept of Islamism is also a totally absurd concept as Islamism (in the sense as the word is commonly used) is included in Islam and can not be separated from Islam before somebody from inside Islam does it in one of the above-mentioned ways.
So, regardless of which side we approach the subject from (meaning from the concept of moderate Islam or Islamism), in the end we end up with the holy scriptures of Islam. For this reason I advise everybody who might find themselves talking about the subject to really read at least the key points in the Quran, or at the very least, to read the chronologically latest part of the Quran, that is, to read the so-called sura of the sword. Also abrogation is a concept one should be able to explain. As an absolute minimum, we should at least be able to explain the difference between Muslims and Islam.
The misconception about Islamism and moderate Islam must be corrected. It must be corrected because if we can not prove the existence of moderate Islam, and Islamism is just a name we have invented in the west for the unacceptable actions of Muslims done in the name of Islam, the whole conceptual structure that is preventing people from seeing the connection between Islam and the things done in the name of Islam will break, and when it breaks, it will take out the foundation of everything that is harmful in today’s political correctness.
Now let’s go back to the publicly accepted equation that the politicians and the media is using:
“Islam is a religious ideology which we should support, while Islamism is a dangerous ideology that we should fight.”
Then, let’s add a new factor into the equation
Islamism = Islam
And suddenly the equation changes into:
“Islam is a religious, dangerous ideology that we should fight.”