MUSLIM EXTREMISTS ARE NOT EXTREME--JUST ORTHODOX FAITHFUL
FP: Why do you think there is so much that the West actually doesn’t know about Islam? Why the impulse to deceive oneself?
Davis:The first is a natural if unwarrantable reluctance to face the very uncomfortable reality that there is an entire civilization seeking our subjugation under nothing less than a totalitarian system of government, i.e., Islamic (Sharia) law.
The second reason I believe is the persistence of the multicultural myth that all peoples, religions, and civilizations are morally equivalent...The unhappy truth is that the jihadists are, to a great extent, acting from genuine, deeply-held religious conviction.
Invariably, the jihadists are serious, pious Muslims, many of whom recently rediscovered the tenets of their faith. It is an uncomfortable fact for a tolerant society such as ours to acknowledge that sincere religious belief can pose an imminent danger to a society's physical safety.
FP: So what hope exists that there can be a modernization and democratization within the Islamic world? How can this even begin to happen when the extremists appear to be in command in most of its quarters?
Davis: Hope that a "reformation" of Islam will somehow eliminate its fundamental hostility to the non-Muslim world is wishful thinking. The only even modestly successful attempts to "reform" Islam have taken the form of de-Islamization. This was the policy of Attaturk, who in Turkey replaced the cult of Muhammad with the cult of himself.
Throughout Islamic history, the only alternative to the rule of Islamic law is military dictatorship. It is between these two extremes that modern Turkey continues to oscillate.
Democratizing Islam is really a contradiction in terms: one might as well try democratizing National Socialism or Communism. Islam is what it is: a repressive, expansionary, militaristic religious and political system with a mandate from Allah to conquer the globe.
The fundamental problem is that the Muslim extremists are not really "extreme" at all -- rather they are the orthodox faithful. By Western logic, Muhammad himself -- who engaged in political assassination, wars of aggression, and massacre --- would qualify as an "extremist." Violence and intolerance are mainstream in Islam, not distortions of its orthodox traditions as they would be in a religion such as Christianity.
FP: But we have many Muslim moderates and reformers who are our allies. We don’t want to alienate them. They are our allies in this struggle. Surely many Muslims are our allies against extremism. What should our strategy be?
Davis: The primary task for Western leaders today is to mobilize their societies to confront the Islamic threat -- it is not to manipulate the Muslim world to develop a fictive "moderate" Islam. The danger of encouraging "moderate" Muslims is that it gives a false signal to Westerners that there can be a long-term modus vivendi between Islam and the West. We must understand that, while there are peaceful Muslims, there is no peaceful Islam. The distinction is capital. Muslims who have rejected Islam's violent injunctions, consciously or unconsciously, have thrown out one of the essential elements of their faith.
Pretending that there is a peaceful Islam will only foster further muddled thinking and disastrous policy. Fearing that we will alienate peace-loving (unorthodox) Muslims by properly identifying Islam as violent is a recipe for disaster. As Osama bin Laden has put it, people will naturally favor a strong horse over a weak one. Islam today is showing itself as the strong horse, confident in its purpose and determinedly pursuing it, while the West cannot even bring itself to speak plainly about the enemy.
We should encourage genuinely peace-loving Muslims to take a hard, unflinching look at their religion and to draw the necessary conclusion: as have prominent apostates such as Ibn Warraq, Walid Shoebat, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. They have had the intellectual integrity to acknowledge the violent nature of Islam and to reject it by renouncing Islam in its totality. That sort of courage is a tall order -- apostasy is a capital offence in Islam -- and we in the West should do everything to encourage and protect such acts of conscience.
The DVD is available at Netflix and www.WhatTheWestNeedsToKnow.com.