In this series of six essays, Peter Carl guides us through a thought-provoking analysis of the Counter-Jihad Movement and what he sees may be its own greatest obstacles: itself and its message. Based upon thoughts arising from his intermittent exchanges over the past three years with opinion-leaders and politicians within the Counter-Jihad Movement, these essays will cause all who care about the survival of Europe and the West to step back and think. In this, his first in this series of essays, he begins by looking at a number of commonly accepted myths that are not only holding the Movement back – but which are actually giving a free and open road to the Islamization of the West. He concludes with a defense of a few of the Movements best known voices and our right, individually and as groups, to “hate” ideas.
“We have [come] together to try to pull the nation out of the forlorn and somber plight into which the action, or inaction, of all political parties over a long period of years had landed it. [….] What holds us together is the conduct of the war, the prosecution of the war. No Socialist, or Liberal, or Labour man has been in any way asked to give up his convictions. That would be indecent and improper. We are held together by something outside, which rivets all our attention. The principle we work on is: ‘Everything for the war, whether controversial or not, and nothing controversial that is not bona fide needed for the war.’”i (Emphasis supplied).
Winston Churchill, October 13, 1943, Speech to the House of Commons
Anyone in any party who falls below the level of the high spirit of national unity [-] which alone can give national salvation [-] is blameworthy. I know it is provoking when speeches are made which seem to suggest that the whole structure of our decent British life and society, which we have built up so slowly and patiently across the centuries, will be swept away for some new order or other, the details of which are largely unannounced. The spirit sometimes tempts me to rejoinder, and no doubt there are many here who have experienced passing sensations of the same kind, but we must restrain those emotions; we must see things in their true proportion; we must put aside everything which hampers us in the speedy accomplishment of our common purpose. ii (Emphasis supplied).
Winston Churchill, March 27, 1941, Speech to the Conservative Association
As background to this piece, presented exclusively here at The Brussels Journal as a six-part series of essays, over the past three years irregularly and off and on, I have been involved in a friendly yet sporadic private e-mail conversation, if one might characterize it so, with a few editors from a handful of some of the more widely-read blogs within the Counter-Jihad. This exchange has continued prior to and up through the attacks of the Oslo terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, including actually during the very day itself of the extremely tragic and troubling July 22, 2011 massacres.
The topic of the conversation has always centered around my own assertion over the years that the bloggers, opinion-leaders, activists, and related political parties, including their respective leaderships (collectively the “Counter-Jihad Movement” or “Movement”), are and have been consistently laying the foundation for what could very likely be their own (and, therefore, our and the West’s) defeat. At the very minimum, as we have seen in the wake of the Breivik atrocities, the Counter-Jihad Movement has long been setting limits on its own successes and creating an atmosphere for its own defeat all due to a distinct inability to unify and properly identify and promote the most efficient and effective argument to that majority of Westerners of all political stripes who remain either sickeningly repulsed or ambivalently unconvinced by the Counter-Jihad Movement.
The most efficient argument, I insist, is what I will refer to throughout this series of essays as the “Counter-Jihad Argument”. The “Counter-Jihad Argument”, as defined below, is analogous to Winston Churchill’s national unity approach during World War II, which was based upon his well-defined one “Principle” and one “Ideology” (both to be discussed in a later essay). I define this argument as the Counter-Jihad Movement’s pitch for credibility among the politically correct, the fanatically opposed, the disbelieving, the skeptical, or quite simply the otherwise unconvinced individuals from the political “Center”, “Left”, and “Right”. I argue that the Counter-Jihad Movement together, in unity, including Counter-Jihad bloggers, authors, political parties, and politicians – in order to successfully stem the tide of the growth of Islamism and Sharia in the West – must immediately, consciously, and fully put aside “Left”/”Right” rhetoric and, finding actual unity in focusing only on the Common Freedoms outlined and defined below, speedily convince the broadest spectrum of these voters as soon possible that Islamism: 1) poses an ideological, social, political, cultural, judicial, financial, and demographic threat; 2) that Islamism is based in promoting discrimination and violence against and subjugation of non-believers, lapsed believers, and even believers; 3) that human rights, women’s rights, the rule of law, equality under the law, freedom of expression, freedom of inquiry, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, etc. (collectively our “Common Freedoms”) are all threatened as a result; and 4) that Counter-Jihad proponents – whether from the “Center”, “Left”, or “Right” – are, contrary to general perception, the most broadly protective of these rights for all people, including even for the oppressed among Muslims and former Muslims themselves (hereinafter all referred to as the “Counter-Jihad Argument” or “Argument”).
I base this Argument for the need to unify globally the “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” behind our Common Freedoms in the many experiences of the past years, my own thoughts and reflections, as well as in the thoughts and writings of Sir Winston Churchill, as Churchill sought unity among all political ideologies to best face and defeat the Nazi menace during World War II. I base our ability to unify “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” behind our Common Freedoms in my assertion that – because “Political Correctness” (“PC”) arises out of Westerners’ very well-meaning collective and historical application of Christianity’s otherwise extremely valuable “Golden Rule” as intensified by the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust (as opposed to PC arising in some nebulous and nefarious “Leftist”, “Marxist”, or “Elitist” conspiracy) – individuals from the political “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” across the West are quite nearly equally apt to think and to act in a Politically Correct manner. African-American author and physician Ben Carson, M.D. correctly sums up how “Political Correctness” and the “Golden Rule” differ; “[b]eing nice doesn’t mean compromising your standards,” iii whether as to yourself or others. “Being nice,” he writes, “is not the same as being politically correct.”iv “Political Correctness”, then, is applying the “Golden Rule” in a way that does not equally uphold the many high standards that must necessarily always be applied right along with that “Golden Rule”. Without equal application of the all-important standards, the rule becomes hypocrisy.
Because Political Correctness has been a phenomenon that has affected Western people of all political ideologies, I argue, we are all equally responsible for the present predicament of Islamist expansionism in which we find ourselves. Up to now the focus of the Counter-Jihad’s approach has been very much centered on an attack against the “Left” (also interchangeably called “Leftists”, “Hard-Left”, “Liberals” (in the US), “Socialists”, “Left-wing”, “Progressives”, etc.) asserting unrealistically that it alone has somehow been responsible for or even that it is consciously part of some “collusion” or “conspiracy” to ensure Islamism’s advance in the West. Counter-Jihad bloggers Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller have themselves shown that, in the United States alone, even the most conservative of Conservatives, including present Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Ron Paul, Republican Governors Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Rick Scott (R-FL), and “king-makers” Grover Norquist and the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) are like everyone else, due to Political Correctness or their own self-interests (or a combination thereof), just as likely to be a part of the problem of unwittingly advancing Islamist goals and agendas.
I argue, therefore, that this approach of focusing blame solely on the “Left” or, for that matter, using any terms of ideology such as “Right” and “Left” and other partisan labels in making the Counter-Jihad Argument is not only highly ineffective and detrimental to the cause, as Winston Churchill long ago recognized, it is factually incorrect and very much responsible for alienating potential voters from the “Center”, “Left”, and even the “Right”. Equally as importantly, I argue that, in particular, constantly aiming all arguments and blame at the “Left” has also had the very detrimental effect of making the entire Counter-Jihad Movement and its political parties all across the West to appear as if those involved are unquestionably attached to and stemming from the “far-Right”, “right-wing”, “Rightist”, “Right”, “neo-fascist”, “neo-Nazi”, or simply “populist” movements, which, of course, though not the case here, implies “scary”, “bigoted”, “hatemongering”, “racist”, “xenophobic”, and “Islamophobic”.
This does not mean we must somehow now become “Politically Correct” and “sensitive” as to the “Left”. Instead, we must simply recognize that those on the “Left” simply and honestly believe themselves to be fighting for those very same Common Freedoms for which we of the “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” within the Counter-Jihad Movement actually are fighting. Pat Condell recognizes the “Progressives’” or “Leftists’” very well-intentioned desire to support rights of apparent underdogs in his recent commentary on Israel and Palestine (at 3:43). Thus, it is not a question of a need to change any person’s political ideology, as Churchill emphasized. Each “Progressive”, “Liberal”, or “Leftist” and every other person – “Right”, “Left”, or “Center” – who does not now support the Counter-Jihad Movement simply must be convinced – leaving political ideologies aside – that protecting a “religion” (any religion, but now most especially Islam) from valid questions and challenge will ensure the end of all human rights as we in the West know them and as, in fact, have arisen over centuries out of core Christian teachings. This simple inability of ours to focus on commonalities in this Argument instead of differences, I insist, serves quite dangerously to hamstring and defeat the immediate and long-term cross-national needs and goals of the entire Counter-Jihad Movement.
By our very own arguments – and our own inability to confirm for governments and citizens openly and regularly both our emphasis on human rights for all and, equally as importantly, our desire to gain the support of and show respect for the “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” as members and voters, the Counter-Jihad Movement and related political parties, in this way, severely limit the support and membership that could otherwise be achieved among people who might consider the Counter-Jihad Argument. In the direct case of the recent Oslo Massacres, by the Counter-Jihad parties’ failure in the past to have reached out to the “Left” and “Center” and by never previously criticizing and publicly condemning those within the Counter-Jihad Movement who irrationally and irresponsibly place all blame for Islamization wholly on the “Left”, the Counter-Jihad Movement naively and without sufficient foresight has implicitly and repeatedly affirmed a connection with the “far-right”, alienated (perhaps for good) massive numbers of potential supporters among the “Center”, “Left”, and “PC Right”, and made itself look highly biased ideologically in its approach to problems where public policy, immigration, and human rights all intersect.
Worst of all, the result of this counterproductive strategy has done nothing but provided the Counter-Jihad’s opponents an extremely large and growing quiver of negative arguments, resources, quotes, and soundbites useful in smearing the entire Movement as “far-right” that can and will be used against the Counter-Jihad Movement and its political parties across all borders and for years to come. As opposed to, instead, choosing the correct Counter-Jihad Argument and wording and, thereby, limiting self-inflicted damage while forcing the Counter-Jihad Movement’s opponents to look for real answers when presented over and over with real questions about violent Islamists and Islamism’s violations of Muslim and non-Muslim human rights, this ineffective, inefficient, and ideologically polemical approach to presenting the Counter-Jihad case has put the entire Counter-Jihad Movement and all of its parties and supporters very much at risk and on the defensive in all ways. Blamed for Breivik now and still apparently unable to focus criticism on anything but the “Left”, the Counter-Jihad Movement today has the very daunting task before it to prove to the average voter across the West – before it is too late – that these political parties are not merely a wasted vote for “right-wing” “extremism”. This, of course, all could have been prevented – and may, with the right steps, still perhaps be ameliorated in the future.
The old and ineffectual arguments that focus all blame on the “Left” (and thereby stop dead in its tracks the growth of supporting voters) and simultaneously cause disunity within the Counter-Jihad Movement are based upon a number of disconnects with reality and generally inaccurate assumptions, some of them being:
First, such arguments often delusionally assume that normal average people – including the vastly differing politicians that represent them – are part of some global “Leftist” conspiracy aimed at supporting the Islamization of the world. Top conservatives, including U.S. Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Ron Paul, Republican Governors Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Rick Scott (R-FL), and others such as Grover Norquist and the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), each of whom have fallen in with a blindly Politically Correct message about Islamism, suggest quite otherwise. Fact is, with the exception of a handful of actual self-avowed Marxists and a few neo-Nazis (National Socialists), all of whom are very small in number in every Western developed country, the vast majority of Westerners from the “Center”, “Left”, or “Right” who promote Muslims and Islam do so out of Western misguided (but well-meaning) Christian-based modernist universalism which, diffracted by “Political Correctness”, sees all religions as equally good or equally evil. They believe they are doing what we all like to do – protecting human rights and working to advance those seemingly in need of inclusion or protection.
Such well-meaning people have very likely never really honestly considered the question of what a person or a society should do to protect our Western Common Freedoms when one comes across a hyper-ideology (as opposed to merely a political ideology or religion) that is fully self-contained (religiously, socially, politically, judicially) and teaches and carries out, for example, violence, supremacy, misogyny, and is deeply anti-democratic. Why not? Because we believe in universalism and, besides, we in the West have not had to face such threatening ideas based in “religion” for centuries. It is not part of our present historical, social, or cultural memory. So, instead, we believe “Really, all people are the same” – and, for that reason: “Don’t worry, they will eventually become like us – in fact, they want to.” That being the case, it is our job within the Counter-Jihad then to patiently help the unconvinced to consider these important questions and disconnects; to look at how we all have a very well-meaning and otherwise highly-valuable desire to apply the “Golden Rule”.
In this specific case in relation to Islamism, however, a well-meaning desire becomes a dangerous tendency that causes us instead to blunt our senses and from a very safe distance assert that all religions and cultures are equally good and bad. The fact is, all people across the West – from “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” – believe in Western freedoms and human rights for ourselves and all the world’s peoples. The only question is, what happens when showing “respect for religion” in one case results in the subordination of every other freedom and every other religion? And, just as importantly, what arguments do we choose to pursue in order to convince the unconvinced and ensure that we and our Common Freedoms (developed over centuries and arising out of our own Western reckonings with and beliefs in a very different religion) will continue to exist? By considering these questions – if presented properly – a person of the “Left”, “Center”, or “Right” can not help but to see the dilemmas which Islamism and Islamists pose to Western freedoms, citizens, and institutions.
Second, it assumes that these enormous masses of people in so many countries designated simplistically as the “Left”, instead of being assumed to be well-meaning in their defense of the human rights of not only Muslims and Islam, but any person, group, or religion they see as being discriminated against, are somehow assumed to be malicious, subversive, or just plain stupid in their alleged intent to “purposely” bring down or “hate” the West. Fact is, like the above-named Conservatives, such people generally do not believe they are bringing down the West. They believe they are doing what we all rightly want to do across the West: protect and advance human rights and tolerance. Even the Norwegian Conservative Party (Høyre) – only weeks after the Breivik Massacres – asserted that today’s Muslims are being persecuted and suffering human rights abuses comparable to those of the Jews of the 1930s. What most tend to mindlessly forget, including apparently even the Norwegian Conservative Party itself, is that Jews of the 1930s, contrary to today’s Islamist immigrants, were not ever responsible for throwing Molotov cocktails and assaulting Norwegian police and civilians in the streets or for committing one-hundred percent (100%) of Oslo’s rapes for five years running (in which the rapist could be identified). Nor were the Jews of the 1930s ever participating in or funding a Jihadist war against the West, teaching outright intolerance for other religions, happily pursuing lives of crime and rejecting the Norwegian native culture and people around them, or working together en masse to end Western values of free expression and free thought.
Today, there are very rational and very real reasons for dissatisfaction with significant portions of Islamism’s immigrants and immigration across the West; thus, any comparison with Jews of the 1930s – or any claims that the West’s dissatisfaction with this specific group of immigrants is mere religious discrimination – are fully inaccurate and fully inappropriate. On the other hand, a comparison of militaristic, violent, anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, misogynistic, imperial, supremacist Nazism of the 1930s with the past’s as well as today’s similarly situated Islamism would be quite accurate, as we will see in a latter section. All this being the case, there is no need to allege that the “Left” is alone responsible or somehow malicious, subversive, or just plain stupid, even if the argument is tempting or feels good. In reality, the assertion only damages the Counter-Jihad Movement. The “Left”, like others from the “Center” and “Right” who make the mistake of unwittingly advancing Islamism, believe themselves to be doing that which is otherwise quite admirable. They believe they are doing exactly as most Westerners – including the “PC Right” – believe themselves to be doing: protecting the human and religious rights of others. Problem is, again, most have not thought about what happens when – quite the opposite of the Jews in the 1930s – the non-Western religious system that Norwegians like the Conservative Party leader and the “Center”, “Left”, and “PC Right” believe themselves to be venerably protecting actually teaches or promotes the destruction of the kuffar (non-believer) meaning, in the case of the West, Westerners, Western values, Western institutions, and Western belief systems. Accordingly, since Political Correctness and a concern for upholding religious rights and freedoms are at home equally with the “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” – though in different ways, simplistically blaming the “Left” is an approach that does little to assist the unconvinced or governmental authorities in understanding the Counter-Jihad’s facts and positions on human rights. Human rights, if the Counter-Jihad Movement could get the unconvinced to keep from tuning-out the Counter-Jihad Argument, are issues that everyone on the “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” all actually would very much care to support.
Third, it assumes that “Political Correctness,” “Multiculturalism,” “Cultural Equivalency,” “Moral Equivalency,” etc. are, again, all part of some evil global “Leftist” conspiracy aimed at supporting the Islamization of the world or at intentionally deconstructing the West or, simultaneously, both of these while converting the world to “Socialism” or “Marxism”. The fact is, these religio-cultural phenomena are rooted in Christian universalism and Westerners’ very well-meaning but incomplete application of Christianity’s “Golden Rule” – again – exacerbated by the horrors and experiences of World War II and the Holocaust. As a result, these concepts can be found among people from the political “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” all across the West. No evil conspiracy. We are merely living out a very valuable part of our culture that works – so long as everyone in the West observes our religio-cultural rules and is held to the same standard. When faced with a hyper-ideology (e.g. Islamism) or even a separatist people that does the opposite of what Christian-Western culture has promoted for centuries – and we fail to apply the same standards equally to all, severe problems begin to arise. It’s not a question of getting rid of the values and freedoms (e.g. not applying the “Golden Rule”) that have made Western European culture the most stable, democratic, equal, open, tolerant, and prosperous in the world; it’s about maintaining the same standards for all, applying them equally, and dealing decisively, democratically, and non-violently with those who insist on being separate from or subverting those values found in our Common Freedoms. To do that, the Counter-Jihad Movement immediately needs to make the correct Argument, answer the correct questions, and obtain the absolute broadest support of all people from the political “Center”, “Left”, and “Right.
Fourth, related to the above, the present approach forgets that the “Left’s” attempt to preserve human rights and freedoms are meant to guard exactly the same Western Common Freedoms and rights as those which the “Center” and “Right” are also trying to protect. This is exactly what we all – “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” – have in common. The issue that needs to be overcome, therefore, is not the “Left’s” political ideology. What needs to be overcome actually is an unconvinced individual’s belief that the Counter-Jihad is somehow adverse to or attempting to curtail human rights and, conversely and most importantly, that unconvinced individuals need to be shown (by some patient repetitive examples and hard facts) that the Counter-Jihad – made up of people from the “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” – is actually fully committed to the human rights of all people. This is best done by teaching by concrete examples how blind support of Islamism and Islamists and its fascist tendencies actually fully undermines the Common Freedoms and human rights of both Muslims and non-Muslims. To do this, one must address and explain why and how this hyper-ideology (e.g. Islamism) is not merely a religion but, on the contrary, is far more than and very much unlike anything we have ever seen before. Arguments or comments made by the “Right” about the “Left” and its political ideology are simply off-topic and counterproductive. Such infighting and antagonism merely alienates potential voters of all political stripes and causes the label “right-wing” to stick even more permanently to the Movement, thereby ensuring its own lack of growth, failure, and an eternal association with the “far-right”.
Fifth, this assumes that it is somehow easier or more efficient – or even necessary – to get people to change their political ideology. Fact is, as will be discussed in a later essay, changing a person’s political ideology is nearly impossible. For most people, this is one of the most highly personal set of beliefs that define each of us, generally from childhood. Think about it: could someone convince you not to be “conservative”? Likely not. In any case, in the time it would take to convert the unconvinced populus en masse across the West, the West would quickly be lost to Islamization while we all uselessly argue ideological “Left/Right” politics – as opposed to efficiently focusing on the winning Counter-Jihad Argument and the one point held in common for people of the “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” – that is, human rights and our Common Freedoms.
Sixth, this assumes quite incorrectly that it is easier to convince a person they are ideologically wrong than to cause that person to seriously think about the extreme abuse of human rights of Muslims and non-Muslims taking place everywhere in the Islamist’s wake. The facts (and bodies) are everywhere. These facts only need to be presented using the correct approach, tone, manner, and terminology – all in the context of human rights and our Common Freedoms, as part of this, the one true Counter-Jihad Argument.
Seventh, this assumes quite simplistically and incorrectly that the “Left” is somehow more than any other point on the political spectrum hopelessly “lost” and to be forgotten as ever being a partner in a Counter-Jihad Movement. This false and counterproductive belief is largely evidence that some today value attempts to score political points far more than they value defeating Islamism. Or they actually believe – very incorrectly – that there is still actually time to do both. It is moreover a sign of the extreme polarization that now exists between the “Right” and “Left” – especially in the United States. Fact is, in other places the picture is quite different. In Denmark, a country that was occupied by Nazi Germany for much of World War II and, therefore, very much knows the value of our Common Freedoms, all parties across the political spectrum – fully from “Left” to “Right” – are aware of and have been working together to address Islamist separatism and supremacism in their country. Just prior to the recent change in governments, with broad support across party lines, they created new laws requiring border enforcement once again and declared – with the Social Democrats and Socialist People’s Party in favor – that all immigrants found guilty of a crime must be deported.
As far as raw numbers, in Germany, even disregarding those Greens (6%) and mere Social Democrats (17%) who support the Counter-Jihad, twenty-five percent (25%) of actual Socialists (Die Linke) said they would vote for a new so-called “Right” or Counter-Jihad party. You are reading that correctly. The farthest “Left” are the largest potential group of voters and the strongest supporters for the Counter-Jihad. Thus, one might say, there’s more “Left” in the so-called “Right” than there is “Right”, right? If those on the “Left” in Europe, including their leaders like Thilo Sarrazin in Germany, a Social Democrat, and Villy Søvndal, the head of the Danish Socialist People’s Party, for example – who are generally far more liberal (in the American sense) than those on the “Left” in the United States – have recognized the dangers and bravely come out to confront Islamist supremacism and expansionism in their own countries, then, as the refined saying goes, any idiot with a half of a brain should realize that the problem we face is not that they or anyone else are a part of the “Left”. The situation in Sweden is not so different. In Sweden, of those who are actual members in the Counter-Jihad Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna), twenty percent (20%) had previously supported the Swedish Social Democratic party, ten percent (10%) identified themselves with the “Left”, and approximately thirty-three percent (33%) identified themselves in the “Center” as being neither “Right” nor “Left”.
As the Los Angeles Times reported long ago that, “In Europe's cafes, the newspapers are as wrinkled as always, the conversations still veer toward the abstract, but tempers these days are riled. Artists and influential leftists are warning that the rise of radical Islam is threatening the tradition of European liberalism….” I guess that explains the above numbers from Germany. In a recent European poll performed by England’s “Left-leaning” The Guardian, the poll showed that although 62% of Europeans view themselves as “liberal” rather than “traditional” on social issues, pluralities in the four biggest countries (Britain, France, Germany and Spain) are opposed to immigration from outside the European Union. Recent movement in France across the political spectrum shows that the so-called “far-right” is actually not “far-right” at all but very equally made up of “Left”, “Right”, and “Center”. Thus, the only things that stand in the way of bringing more voters into the Counter-Jihad Movement anywhere in the West are the self-defeating actions and messages of the Counter-Jihad Movement itself. As the figures above show, the Movement needs to re-craft and re-present the Counter-Jihad Argument in a way that leaves behind these very incorrect assumptions about the “Left” and that strikes on the concerns and priorities that are common to the “Center”, “Left”, and “Right”. That means communicating the Counter-Jihad Argument in a non-ideological way that explains and points to facts that show by real examples of Islamist supremacism from all around the world, including from our own countries, how our Common Freedoms are being threatened and subjugated.
Eighth, this assumes that for the last fifty years (and even today) that “Right”, “conservative”, and “Center” politicians have not also been a part of the Islamization process that has gone on and that “conservatives” have not had their own reasons for allowing immigration to constantly increase (e.g. for the “Right”: increase labor pool, decrease wages, add to housing market, more new customers for small and big businesses; for the “Left”: feeling sorry for and wishing to assist those less fortunate, wishing to bring “diversity” and “multiculturalism” to Western societies; and, for both “Left” and “Right: innocently like everyone else, a well-meaning Western universalist belief that “They’ll all quickly become just like us; we can change ‘hearts and minds’ – after all, all people are really the same deep down…”). Just as the “Left” has, the “Right” has also promoted mass immigration to the West, which everywhere has included large numbers arriving from Muslim countries.
Both at present and long into the past, the parties of the “Right” of all Western nations have and continue to work to increase immigration to the West for their own specific reasons. Ronald Reagan himself in 1984 as candidate for president proudly offered his support for amnesty (at 1:20) for illegal immigrants, which, in 1986 became reality as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. The Act gave 3,000,000 illegals the right to remain in the United States. This we see still continuing even today, for example, among business leaders, the conservative FDP, and the conservative CDU in Germany; among the conservative Moderaterna in Sweden; among conservative business leaders, business owners, and Republicans in many places across the US; among business leaders and the Conservative Party in England; among business leaders and the Conservative Party in Canada; and even as to the conservative so-called “anti-immigration” UMP Party of France and its key leaders such as Nicolas Sarkozy, Brice Hortefeux, and Jacques Barrot. To argue that mass immigration or Islamization is or has somehow been the sole fault of the “Left” – and not also caused by and in coalitions with the “Center” and the “Right” – is neither reflected in history nor reality. Regardless, we can be certain that continually blaming the “Left” for these policies only counterproductively alienates large numbers of potential voters for Counter-Jihad parties from the “Center”, “Left”, and “PC Right” and, most dangerously, further confirms and serves as repetitive reminders in the minds of the greater general public and the mass media that all Counter-Jihad political parties – though traditionally made up of dissatisfied voters from the “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” – must somehow always be described as “Right-wing”. That is a price the Counter-Jihad political parties and the West can no longer in any way afford to pay.
Ninth, it assumes that the concerns people of the “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” have about Counter-Jihad parties as being “right-wing” are to simply be dismissed as not valid. Individuals involved with injudicious comments or actions – including some neo-Nazis – have been rightly purged and ejected from a few of the Counter-Jihad parties. Breivik himself was very briefly a member of Norway’s very reasonable “Fremskrittspartiet” (Progressive Party), which he thankfully left because he felt it was too mainstream and Politically Correct. After all, Norway’s Fremskrittspartiet is fully dedicated to the human rights and Common Freedoms of all. The Breivik massacres – as I myself foresaw that such events could and would do when and if they were to occur – have now greatly increased negative concerns and perceptions about Counter-Jihad parties among the general public. Because these concerns have created assumptions that Counter-Jihad parties are necessarily “Right-wing”, these concerns of the general public (and now governmental authorities) must be both recognized as valid and then addressed by the Counter-Jihad parties.
One key and most obvious way of doing so is to quit continually stating or implying to the general public and the media that Counter-Jihad parties are in fact “right-wing”. This can most easily be achieved by simply refraining within the Counter-Jihad Movement itself from the wholly constant, amateurish, and counterproductive “Right”/”Left” polemics. Sometimes, as any experienced lawyer or politician can tell you, an argument can be more about what one does not say as opposed to what one actually says. In other words, by eternally and vehemently attacking the “Left” – usually with no semblance of balance whatsoever – the Counter-Jihad “Right” (without ever saying it) infers to the general public and the mass media that it is in fact truly “right-wing”. In light of World War II and the Holocaust, “right-wing” is definitely not a position any political party should, by its own hand or mouth, cause itself to be labeled and pigeonholed.
Tenth, it assumes that it is clear that we in the Counter-Jihad Movement hold the intellectual, moral, and philosophical high ground in the debate. Fact is, everyone outside of the Counter-Jihad Movement – whether those gravely repulsed or those at least open to listening – have a picture of those in the Counter-Jihad Movement as being a bunch of uneducated, bigoted, xenophobic, “right-wing” “populists”. They believe that those concerned with Islamism are merely simple, anti-intellectual people who have a tendency to be “conservative”, “reactionary”, and “fearful”. As a result, those outside of the Counter-Jihad Movement actually believe themselves to undoubtedly hold the intellectual, moral, and philosophical high ground in the debate. In fact, both sides hold a piece of the same intellectual, moral, and philosophical high ground in this discussion of human rights. Both positions are intellectually, morally, and philosophically “high”. And yet neither position requires a person to be rooted in any one certain type of political ideology.
In fact, it is merely a question of whether a person of the “Right”, “Left” or “Center” counter-intuitively recognizes and understands that the ironical Achilles heal of all of Western society – because of our admirable and deep respect for all religions held by others not like us – lies in that every one of our Common Freedoms can be quickly undone by showing tolerance for and withholding examination and criticism from (and, where necessary, societal protections against) any form of religion that is centered or may or could be centered in intolerance and violence. This is where the argument of those outside of the Counter-Jihad Movement fails. It is not because their argument is not intellectually, morally, or philosophically “high” or because it is ideologically “wrong”. It is because they have failed to consider countless and constant facts and events that are reported in theological texts, historical books, and mainstream news sources all around us every day.
They also fail to consider one very important counter-intuitive (yet not-so-hypothetical) irony: tolerance for intolerance exterminates tolerance. Those of the “Left”, “Right”, and “Center” who see no danger at all in Islamism believe themselves to be valiantly standing against bigoted intolerance toward Muslims. In fact, the Counter-Jihad Movement is neither bigoted nor intolerant. And those who oppose the Counter-Jihad Movement, unblinkingly focused on no other value than “religious tolerance”, are failing to apply the same critical thinking they have applied in all ways to the dominant historical religion of their own culture and, thereby, have failed to consider what would ever happen if a religion – any religion – were ever based in intolerance and one blindly and trustingly allowed such an intolerant system of belief to spread its intolerance.
So, forget Islamism for the time being. Let’s think purely hypothetically for a moment. What would happen, hypothetically speaking, if a new religion were suddenly invented tomorrow, for example, that were based in enforcing inequality between its own followers and everyone else and that required: inequality between genders; the killing of those who ever dared leave this new religion; the stoning of adulterers and rape victims; an obsession with covering women’s hair and skin and controlling a code of “honor” associated only with the female genitalia and sexual life; permission to kill one’s grandchildren, children, or siblings who violate that “honor” or who appear to be becoming or supporting “non-believers”; an ability to declare insufficiently pious co-religionists as “non-believers” and kill them; a belief in eternal war against and the subjugation, humiliation, and at times the enslavement of non-believers; forced child- and inter-familial marriage; polygamy for demographic advancement of the religion and community; destruction of all cultures, religions, history, art, and religious symbols not belonging to it; communal (not private) worship five times a day (the times of which change daily); gender segregated worship and society; the beating of disobedient women; a ban on proselytizing by all religions other than for this new religion; a full rejection of democracy in favor of all laws coming only from the holy books of this new religion; a rejection of reason and human free will in favor of a belief that there is no knowledge or independent will outside of that taught and demanded by the “god” in the holy books of this new religion; and, finally, death, physical violence, or imprisonment for any person or intellectual who dared criticize, challenge, or make fun of this new religion’s theology or beliefs. As a very important hypothetical intellectual exercise, we must ask ourselves how would Western society deal with this? Would, ironically, our tolerance be lost by tolerating the intolerance taught by this new religion? And what effect would any tolerance for such a new religious belief system have then on Western society and its political systems, art, intellectual inquiry, gender relations, views of violence, criminal statistics, national security, educational systems, children, work days and workplaces, clothing, to name but a few aspects?
Thus, making the most effective Argument has nothing at all to do with “Left” or “Right” political ideologies or “conservative” or “liberal” views. Again, we must return to that which we all have in common: a desire to uphold our Common Freedoms. We must do so because it is here that this counter-intuitive and highly ironical disconnect lies that leaves Western societies exposed and those both inside and outside of the Counter-Jihad Movement butting heads. We must show that we – both inside and outside of the Counter-Jihad Movement – all believe in our Common Freedoms and protecting those Common Freedoms for all people. We must also show, however, how blind application of our Western rules for “religious tolerance” or “respect for religion” (which works where and when all of our religions across the West are Western and proceed from generally similar historical and theological assumptions regarding love, peace, human equality, intellectual inquiry, and non-violence or, in the case of modern Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, which do not generally conflict with these Western assumptions) can quite ironically result in the end of “respect for religion” and our Common Freedoms across Western societies. The answer is not that one must be disrespectful of religious belief. The answer is, however, that all must critically examine and openly and vigorously discuss and challenge every form of theological teaching and religious belief equally and, thereby, not allow for any lesser standards – whether personally or as a society – than those now found within our own society with respect to teachings of love, peace, human equality, intellectual inquiry, openness, non-violence, and the inherent dignity due every person.
In the case the thoughts, disconnects, incorrect assumptions, and concerns raised in the various parts of this multi-part essay are not addressed and taken into account within the very near future in promoting the Counter-Jihad Argument and our Common Freedoms, the future of non-violent, democratic Counter-Jihad parties in Europe will be jeopardized greatly leaving the fate of all of the West to hang in the balance. In the case these non-violent, democratic Counter-Jihad parties and the Counter-Jihad Argument do not succeed quickly and efficiently, as the horrific Breivik massacres – and terrible events and memories of World War II and the Holocaust also remind us, others like Breivik who would endanger our Western rights and Common Freedoms in as much as Islamists do today will find a way of coming in to fill the void left by our ineffective, “Left”-obsessed Counter-Jihad Movement. As we will see below in the section that delves into Breivik’s beliefs, his vision of Europe again burning “…and rivers from the blood of patriots, tyrants and traitors…” flowing in its streets is nothing any person of any political stripe should ever like to see occur. The twentieth century saw enough of such disaster.
Accordingly, it is imperative that the Counter-Jihad parties build broad-based support among voters of the “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” by promoting and voluntarily focusing arguments upon our common beliefs in preserving human rights and the Western Common Freedoms held by people of all political stripes. In that way, the “Center”, “Left”, and “Right” can avoid unwinnable and alienating ideological argumentation and get on with opening the minds of and informing the countless unconvinced of all political colors across the West of Islamism’s dangers to the human rights and Common Freedoms of both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Now a few words about what the “conversation”, that is, my intermittent exchange of e-mails with these opinion-leaders over the past few years and this series of essays here, is not about. Two of the blogs that have been involved in the intermittent conversations with me regarding the topics and issues surrounding the Counter-Jihad Argument and “Left”/”Right” polemics emanating from the Counter-Jihad Movement, have included, among others, Jihad Watch and Atlas Shrugs. Robert Spencer is the much-read author of ten books on Islam and Islamism, a leading expert on Sharia and the Koran, and the editor of the straight-forward and informative Counter-Jihad blog, Jihad Watch. Pamela Geller herself is an author and the dedicated editor of Atlas Shrugs. Both are founders of the Counter-Jihad organization, SIOA – Stop the Islamization of America. As part of this amicable exchange with Mr. Spencer, Ms. Geller, and numerous others, I have also worked to involve leading Members of Parliament from a number of Europe’s Counter-Jihad parties. One of those MPs especially has, on occasion, also periodically taken part in this conversation.
In mentioning Mr. Spencer and Ms. Geller here by name, due to recent post-Breivik attacks on their writings and characters, it is important to be clear from the start of a few very important points. This six part series of essays, in looking at the ineffective arguments of the Counter-Jihad Movement and reflecting on the Oslo Massacres, is not – since numerous bloggers (Mr. Spencer and Ms. Geller included) were cited in Breivik’s rambling manifesto, “2083 - A European Declaration of Independence” – an article about whether Mr. Spencer or Ms. Geller somehow “caused” Breivik’s violence. They did not. Others from larger corporate media sources such as the BBC, NBC Nightly News, The New York Times, Fox Radio, and The Atlantic have already asked that question rather unsuccessfully. Jeffrey Goldberg, from The Atlantic, for example, referring to possible influences on Breivik, wrote: “Geller is a hatemonger, but she didn't pull the trigger. Free speech means free speech. But she should be aware now that violent people look to her for guidance, and she should write with that in mind.”
With all due respect to Mr. Goldberg, to characterize Ms. Geller – or others who do no more than challenge ideas – as a “hatemonger” is at best disingenuous. One commenter on an unrelated and fully inconsequential forum went even so far as to write, “…the likes of Robert Spencer, Geller, Shoebat and other racists and bigots should be brought in and questioned extensively.” A comment like that itself brings back visions of Nazi Germany’s Gestapo; a time when having, holding, and advocating “wrong” ideas grounded in our Common Freedoms could have gotten one locked up or killed. That Mr. Spencer or Ms. Geller should be questioned for themselves questioning a religion and publicly presenting facts offered both by Muslim clerics and the mainstream media is fully absurd. For that reason, it would probably be worth noting here that in their writings, like many others, Ms. Geller and Mr. Spencer only challenge and attack ideas – never ethnicity or race – and never in “hate” against any person or persons. If their true motivation were “bigotry” or “racism”, one would think they would attack the ideas of Indian Hindus as vehemently as they attack those of “Islamists” from Pakistan. This thought, however, never seems to come to mind for those who criticize Counter-Jihad concerns.
Instead, the words “hate”, “racism”, and “bigotry” are used to attempt to shut down simple calls to examine ideas. That being the case, I must confess, where symbolically burning a book (a collection of ideas) or even criticizing or artistically decorating a book (a collection of ideas) mockingly with bacon, for example, is considered to be “hate” (as opposed to free expression), I am not sure exactly what the terms “hate” or “free expression” are supposed to mean today. What many tend to forget, in any case, is that religion, as one example, is made up of nothing more and nothing less than a set of ideas and explanatory ideas (teachings) laid out in a core text or texts. Ethnicity and race are fully irrelevant. No one – and I mean no one – could successfully argue that ideas may not be “hated” or “detested” or “vehemently rejected.” No one can deny there are many ideas in this world – including specific religious teachings – that are fully worthy of being “hated”. Child marriage? Pedophilia and its results? Punishing rape victims? Wife-beating? Slavery? “Honor” killings? Does any Westerner want to stand up and argue anything other than “hate” for those ideas – especially if, instead of being applied to unrelated, far-off “cultures”, they were suddenly torn from the sad daily headlines and applied to your own neighbors, friends, or family members? I doubt it. Therefore, no person should ever be prevented from lawfully “hating” or, least of all, criticizing any idea, religious or not.
A person’s ideas are, in fact, what makes him or her good to others, constructive, non-violent, productive and so much more (or less); again, ethnicity or race have nothing to do with the matter. Nor does the act of pointing out actual differences in ideas and people’s applications of those ideas make a person doing so “hateful” or overcome with “hate”. Examining and challenging ideas – especially when experience suggests certain ideas may contain inhumane, intolerant, or violent precepts – can and should, therefore, never be considered “hate”. In fact historically, challenging religious ideas has brought to the West each Christianity, the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, the reform of the Roman Catholic Church, the reform of Judaism, and so much more along with these. These are not insignificant achievements. As a result, no religion should be held away from even the most vehement intellectual challenge, criticism, mockery, or ridicule.
In any case, like so many of us, both Mr. Spencer and Ms. Geller continually strive in their work against all forms of intolerance and bigotry and, instead, have as their goal the protection of human rights, women’s rights, the rule of law, equality under the law, freedom of expression, freedom of inquiry, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religion – our Common Freedoms – for all people equally across the world. In all cases, for those familiar with their websites, neither Ms. Geller nor Mr. Spencer have ever asked, encouraged, or implied that people should commit or turn to violence. They have continually argued for the opposite, in fact. Regardless, except where words cross that fine legal line of “incitement” to violence, no one can or should be held responsible for what others, stable or instable, themselves may in their own minds bring to interpreting words or ideas. As a result, actual “incitement” to commit acts of violence (as opposed to attempting to discern some vague emotion or state-of-mind long after the fact, as in “incitement to hatred” or “hate” laws) is and should be the only legal restriction that should ever exist on free expression in a Western society.
Ironically, however, when considering “incitement” to acts of violence in Islamic core texts, contrary to so many assertions today that “true” Islam is being somehow “distorted” or “misinterpreted” in some violent way, no “interpretation” is actually necessary at all. Thus, the daily terrorist acts of the “very devoutly religious” all in the name of Islam all across the world come directly from the Koran’s unambiguous pages. The Koran does not merely “incite”, it demands violence and, moreover, offers “painful doom” for those who do not follow Allah’s words or Muhammad’s best examples of terror and murder. As the Koran reads, “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an [sic] seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” Or in one of the Koran’s many “peacefully” named chapters, entitled “Spoils of War, Booty,” it demands, making clear where one of the Koranic sources the Middle Eastern love of beheadings and amputations can be found: “Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): ‘I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil [sic] terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.’”
In yet another chapter named for the Muslim prophet himself, “Muhammad,” which still yet today echoes through everyday news stories of terror (and again beheadings) from across the Muslim world, a pious Muslim is commanded: “Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah, - He will never let their deeds be lost.” To make sure all comply, a “dreadful penalty” or “evil doom” await those who turn away from these commandments. Jihad in battle is seen as a believer’s highest calling and worthy of Allah’s highest rewards. And, according to the Koran itself, those believers who fight in Jihad for Allah are due a “special reward” and deemed higher in the eyes of Allah than those who merely sit at home. It was for these and so many other specific incitements to violence in the central theological book of Islam that Geert Wilders, head of the Netherland’s third largest political party, “Partij voor de Vrijheid” (“PVV” or “Freedom Party”), facetiously or not, once proposed that the Koran be banned in the Netherlands. For that and other of his words, though possessing parliamentary immunity generally for his public statements, he was also quite ironically tried in the courts of the Netherlands for his so-called “hate”.
Yet neither Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer, nor Pamela Geller – nor any of the leadership of Europe’s elected Counter-Jihad parties – have ever advocated violence of any kind. What they have focused upon, instead, is Islamic supremacism and the historic and present global jihad for the subjugation of believers and non-believers and the implementation of Sharia wherever Islamism has found or is given an opening. From Abu Dhabi to Arizona to Australia, Egypt to England, Malaysia to Madrid to Mumbai, Lahore to London, Indonesia to India, Pakistan to Paris, Nigeria to New York, Fallujah to Frankfurt, Somalia to Stockholm, Marrakesh to Minneapolis, Bali to Boston. In so doing, they along with many others have worked to raise awareness of the need to protect our Common Freedoms, including human rights, women’s rights, the rule of law, equality under the law, freedom of expression, freedom of inquiry, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religion across the world for all people from Islamist and other totalitarian aspirations.
Admirably, in the case of Mr. Spencer’s blog, he has done this in no other way than to lay out facts. He does this by linking to and discussing normal news articles and media pieces culled from the mainstream press worldwide which, in their content, point out violations and the potential for violations – in the West or elsewhere – of basic Western human rights and our Common Freedoms. In order to explain what Islamists themselves say in these many articles and videos, Mr. Spencer, who possesses an advanced degree in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and years of expertise in Islam, often explains and then links to the actual citations from the Koran and Sunnah that underlie the belief, statement, or action in question. As fitting, he also refers to mainstream interpretations of these theological requirements from accepted sheikhs and chief schools of Islamic jurisprudence.
It follows then that, no matter how one considers it, the fact that so many of us, including Mr. Spencer and Ms. Geller, are merely discussing and comparing ideas and presenting facts in relation to the words of believers, religious or otherwise, is not and never should amount to “incitement” to violence and can and should never be considered “incitement” to “hatred”, if at all, of anything other than an idea. For this reason, the topics of conversation in the various parts of this series of essays and their discussion of Anders Behring Breivik and the consequences of Breivik’s terrorist actions in no way imply any guilt whatsoever on the part of individuals like Mr. Spencer or Ms. Geller, who, as I myself do here, ask no more than that we read, think, and then consider the power and potential for either beauty or absolute destruction in the ideas each of us choose to carry or defend.
The author, writing under the pseudonym Peter Carl, is an independent non-partisan advisor to a sitting American congressperson and a strategic political researcher and consultant on international and comparative political and public policy issues. He is also a member of the American Committees on Foreign Relations. The author maintains contacts with numerous present and former ambassadors from both the U.S. and European countries, a number of whom are serving or have served in the Middle East. Similarly, he also maintains contacts with present and formerly elected representatives from parties across the political spectrum who have been elected to the U.S. Congress, the EU Parliament, and various national parliaments within Europe. Fluent in five languages and possessing elementary abilities in others, the author was trained and works as an international attorney and possesses a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the top-ranked public affairs program in the United States.
The terms “Islamist” and “Islamism” are used in this piece in recognition of relevant and applicable European Union directives or national laws, while duly noting valid and correct concerns over these terms and any uses of such terms.
Other parts of this series:
i Winston Churchill, Closing the Ring (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1985), 148; Cf. Randall Bennett Woods, A Changing of the Guard: Anglo-American Relations, 1941-1946 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), 34.
ii Winston Churchill, The Churchill War Papers: The Ever-Widening War, 1941 (New York: C&T Publications, 2001), 405-406.
iii Dr. Ben Carson, The Big Picture: Getting Perspective on What’s Really Important in Life (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), 123-124.
iv Carson, Big Picture, 124.