Islam and the West
On the planet Earth, as envisioned by the Prophet Muhammad, all of humanity is divided into two distinct realms: the House of Islam, in which Islamic law is the last word on every subject, and the House of War, which includes all non-Muslims. In the Islamic cosmology these two Houses must continue in a state of conflict until the entire world embraces Islam or until the infidels submit to the rule of Muslim overlords. There is no other choice. This is the essence of jihad as millions of non-Muslims have experienced it since the dawn of Islam, so let’s dump all the distracting chatter about how jihad is really about a peaceful internal striving for moral perfection. For non-Muslims in the real world jihad is all about not getting killed or wounded or enslaved by someone who has read the Quran and taken it seriously. It isn’t the Amish clergy who are passing death sentences on people of other faiths; it isn’t Norwegian grandmothers who are building bombs in their basements. We know who the killers are and they all point to the same holy book to justify their homicidal activities. By casting themselves as victims in their personal psychodramas they can convince themselves that “jihad is defensive;” they can even convince “senior scholars” like James Reston Jr. that this is so.
Since the dawn of Islam the Muslims have recognized the distinct belief systems of the different peoples of the House of War. Most of these peoples were animists, polytheists and idolaters who were seen as easy targets for conversion to Islam. The towering exception was Christianity which the Muslims recognized was a belief system more like their own and therefore a major impediment to their big plan for an totally Islamic planet, what they were comfortable calling “world enlightenment.”
The Quran is Muhammad’s battle plan for Islamic conquest. Some of the earliest Muslim inscriptions from the Quran and from the Dome of the Rock (691-2 A.D.) include pointedly anti-Christian propaganda, such as “Praise be to God, who begets no son, and has no partner,” and “He is God, one, eternal. He does not beget, nor is he begotten, and he has no peer.”
Western liberals reflexively capitulated to the Islamo-fascists whose rhetoric so perfectly echoed their own. The leftists leaped at the chance to declare their “solidarity” with an “authentic voice” of an “oppressed” Third World people. Perhaps, if the Left weren’t such an incestuous reading circle, they would have a better grasp of history. Muslims will characterize any serious impediment to Global Islam as The Great Satan. Early Muslims identified every Byzantine emperor in Constantinople as a satanic impediment to their Big Plan because these emperors were the leaders of Christendom and the Christian equivalent of the Muslim caliph. Later, the Muslims focused their hostility on the Holy Roman Emperor in Vienna. After that, they hurled their invective at emerging rulers of the West. So the Muslims have kept alive the notion of an earthly Great Satan since the first days of Islam.
The Islamic empire flourished under the medieval caliphate and later during the Persian and Turkish dynasties. Muslim wealth and military prowess kept Christendom on the defensive throughout the Middle Ages. It wasn’t until the Fifteenth Century that Christian Spain expelled the Moorish occupation and Russia rid itself of the Muslim Tatars. Even then Muslim power prevailed in southeastern Europe where Ottoman sultans continued to seek advantage over the Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors. Any setbacks were seen by the Muslims as temporary inconveniences. As recently as the Seventeenth Century, Turkish Pashas ruled Budapest and Belgrade and Turkish armies laid siege to Vienna. North African Muslims plundered Christian communities as far away as the British Isles and even raided Iceland in 1627
It wasn’t until the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 that the myth of Muslim invincibility was decisively shattered. A Turkish historian of that time candidly observed: “This was a calamitous defeat, so great that there has been none like it since the first appearance of the Ottoman state.”
The defeat of the major military power of the Muslim world was a blow to the collective Muslim ego; the Ottoman army was the sword arm of Allah and that army had been thrown back by the defenders of Christendom. In human terms this event occurred only four and a half human lifetimes ago (70 years each). It provoked a debate among the Muslims which has continued in varying terms until today: How was it possible that the contemptible Christians had defeated an instrument of Islamic Destiny? And, what could Muslims do to restart the engine of Islamic Manifest Destiny?
The West Surpasses the Islamic World
Well, things change. In the West, Europeans were busy inventing the modern world; they had embraced the promethean concept of progress. For the Muslims, defeat followed defeat as Christian Europeans cast off ancient cosmologies and began to make political and economic inroads into the stubbornly medieval realms of the Muslims. Even the minor European powers of Holland and Portugal were able to secure vast empires in the Muslim East because of modern upgrades in their technology and the productive potential of their modern ways of thinking.
The political landscape of the modern Middle East owes its first rough contours to General Napoleon Bonaparte who landed his small expeditionary force in Egypt in 1798. In short order, the little general had captured all of Egypt. This minor campaign was another blow to the ego of Islam: How could such a small force of contemptible infidels step ashore and so easily take possession of one of the heartlands of Islam? The departure of the French infidels upset the Muslims even more because the French were not dislodged by patriotic Egyptians, nor by the mighty Turks, but by a small squadron of the British Royal Navy. The Muslims had been taught two shocking lessons: 1. Western powers had what it took to colonize territory once ruled by Muslims and, 2. Only a Western power could dislodge another Western power.
By the early Twentieth Century most of the Muslim world had been subsumed as a category of the French, British, Russian or Dutch empire. The Muslims were reduced to playing these rival European powers against one another. They were playing this game when they collaborated with Nazi Germany during the Second World War; it was their way of sticking it to the rest of Europe. The Jew-hating rhetoric of the Nazi propaganda machine sounded like Holy Scripture to students of the Quran. During the Cold War the Muslims cozied up to the officially atheistic Soviet communists.
After the Soviet Union collapsed from sheer ineptitude, the United States remained as the single greatest spiritual force on Earth and it wasn’t a Muslim nation. Worse yet, America was a modern and vigorous power without a rival that the Muslims could use to their advantage. What were jihadis with a languishing Seventh Century battle plan for world domination to do?
Well, some of those Muslims who longed for that very old time religion ganged together as homicidal non-governmental organizations and went searching for Muslim patrons who would bankroll their expeditions into violent Twenty-First Century jihad. One such gang of medieval revivalists calls itself al Qaeda.
Where We Are Now
Now that the old colonial powers have retired in world-weary exhaustion, the world’s single vigorous power, the United States, has become the target of hostile rhetoric from both the East and the West. The Western nations are envious of America’s capabilities but lack the resolve to join America as forceful actors on the world stage. Instead, they languish in welfare-state indolence, their armies have withering into decrepitude. At their current strength levels even long-suffering Poland could whip the Wehrmacht. The Europeans cling fondly to lingering memories of past glory but refuse to endure the discomfort of accomplishing great things today. The Europeans reproduce (slowly); they eat; they criticize. Europe’s espresso-sipping, Galois-puffing intellectuals have declared their solidarity with Middle Eastern malcontents with whom they share a common rhetoric of Jew hating and impotent anti-Americanism.
Lacking any real power, both of these unhappy groups have sought to direct American foreign policy by the application of moral force. To be persuasive in their chosen role as nattering scolds, these unhappy critics must appear to be pious. The Europeans have sought the illusion of piety through continual repudiations of their past colonial sins. The Middle Eastern malcontents have sought piety by wrapping themselves in the cloak of victimhood. Neither group could continue to use the aging rhetoric of anti-colonialism with any sincerity without first redefining the meaning of colonialism to include even everyday American commerce. Once the meaning of colonialism had been sufficiently broadened to include the McDonald’s hamburger salesmen as a force of American cultural imperialism, both the European intellectuals and the bomb-building jihadi were on the same page rhetorically: America was The Great Satan. European intellectuals had been trying to sell socialism and leftist liberation theology to the Third World for decades (“Who would Jesus kill?”); now they had a chance to extend their delusions of relevance at no cost to themselves: they could sit at home and live vicariously through the romantic exploits of faraway Muslim bomb builders. They were secure in their sense of moral superiority until some jihadi-built bombs began to explode in European cities.
A Little History
Once upon a time, some Western petrologists informed some Middle Eastern potentates that their sandy windswept territories were situated above a subterranean ocean of petroleum. The Arab and Persian bossmen had no personal use for petroleum: camels don’t need lubrication.
Western businessmen explained to the indigenous bossmen that petroleum could be useful to people who lived beyond the Middle East. Petroleum, they explained, was a messy goo comprised of various kinds of hydro-carbon molecules which chemists could tease apart to make all sorts of useful stuff such as fuels, lubricants, solvents, finishes and, someday, maybe something called plastics. The businessmen explained that if enough people used these products then petroleum would become a “commodity,” also called a big seller. If the businessmen and the bossmen shared in the profits, then everyone would make lots of money.
The bossmen liked what they heard and deals were made. In the beginning, the Western businessmen supplied all the money, did all the dirty work, and created the Middle Eastern oil industry from the ground up. The Persians and the Arabs sat in the shade and watched the money roll in. As time passed, the Western cultures became more entangled in the economy of petroleum and the Western powers developed a deepening interest in securing a stable supply of the stuff. During the same period the Arab and Persian bossmen became fabulously wealthy and increasingly dissatisfied with their share of the profits, so the bossmen stole the technologies of production from the businessmen but allowed the businessmen to stick around to manage petroleum production because the bossmen were helpless without the businessmen. The seizure of the means of production from Western control diminished the political clout of the Western businessmen in the Middle East, as well as that of their home governments. Nonetheless, the Western cultures became increasingly attached to petroleum products and the Western powers had an increasing interest in securing a reliable supply of the stuff.
The relationships between the Western powers and the Middle Eastern potentates were essentially commercial. For all the excellent personal qualities of the bossmen, there was little in the medieval and tribal essence of Islam to recommend it as a cultural template for people steeped in Western ideals. The petroleum-rich Islamic homelands attract the attention of the West because of the West’s commercial interests in these Islamic territories. If the West negotiates with authoritarian anti-democratic rulers it is because the culture of Islam has produced little else. If cars could be made to run on cocoa, then the Islamic world would slip away into well-deserved obscurity. Without petroleum the Islamic world has little to offer any modern people. If cars ran on cocoa the economies of West Africa and South America would flourish; Ivory Coast, Ghana and Cameroon would displace Saudi Arabia and Iraq; Brazil would replace Iran, and Islam would pretty much vanish down the memory hole. Only the homicidal acts of its freelance jihadists would stir the West to the occasional hammer blow it would take to keep these latter-day Saladin wannabees safely bottled up in their Islamic wastelands.
But this is a wistful dream; cars don’t run on cocoa and because the West is too decent to simply sweep aside the primitive armies of the Middle East and make their wretched desert hangouts our personal filling station, we are stuck with having to deal with them. The collapse of the colonial systems that had policed much of the non-Western world left the former colonies to lapse into warlordism and tin-pot dictatorship. For most of these regions this civilizational decline marked a return to traditional behavior; the civilizational advances the colonial powers had brought to these far-flung regions were theirs to reject. As their societies became more disorganized, less evolved and less connected to the reliable markets of their former colonial sponsors, the little countries experienced economic declines and uncertain futures. It was then that the chorus of whining began: How could the heartless Big Powers have left the little countries in such bad shape? For good measure they lodged a complaint against white racism to heat up the rhetoric and foster feelings of guilt in susceptible white intellectuals.
Western intellectuals are particularly susceptible to feelings of guilt; on the sunniest of days they will find a cloud to stand under. By the time the typical Western intellectual has secured a position of influence at a university or a periodical or a government office he has been marinated in Freud, steeped in the guilt-inducing literature of cultural relativism and has become deeply troubled about whether the Leninist category of “intellectual worker” packs as much “authenticity” as the category “coal miner.” These intellectuals are suckers for the self-serving post-colonial, go-away-white-man-but-give-me-lots-of-your-money rants of the Third World’s indigenous mis-managers.
No such self-inhibiting guilt weakens the purpose of the Muslim jihadists who dismiss Freud as a prurient Jew and whose Islamic perspective subordinates all cultural differences to the over-arching project of planetary Islamic Manifest Destiny: a world girdling caliphate that will guiltlessly put all the kafirs (infidels) in their place. The jihadist project for global Islamic colonization is promoted with endless recitations of the sins of historic Western colonization. A variation on this theme is all the rhetoric about the Crusades and “Crusader armies” and “Bush the Crusader” which the jihadis have re-imagined as a form of Western colonialism. The historic fact that Islam’s armed seizure of the world from Spain to India makes Islam the most aggressive religious colonizer of all time is a topic the jihadi bigots and their left-wing intellectual sympathizers deemed unfit for discussion.
The fact that the advocates of planetary Islamic colonization are playing Western intellectuals like a violin is cause for concern. It’s striking how quickly the Western intellectuals fell like ripe fruit into the catch basket of the Islamic millennialists. Within days of the mass murders of September 11th, 2001 the leftist pundits and professors were pointing the finger of guilt at American culture, at America’s diplomatic relations with the Saudi princes, at the CIA and, as usual, at “the Jews.” They concocted fantastic conspiracy theories; they insisted that the attacks had been provoked by America. They pointed their accusing fingers at all of their pet boogeymen but they scrupulously avoided mention of the jihadi’s obvious inspiration: Islamic religious bigotry. Osama bin Laden’s considerable rhetorical outpourings have made it crystal clear that he is obsessively focused on cleansing the Muslim lands of the contaminating presence of all non-Muslims, whom he likens to unclean creatures such as dogs and pigs. Again and again, he returns to the urgency of making the Muslim world clean and pure, his drum-beat rhetoric taking on the quality of obsessive ritualistic hand washing. Because America was the biggest dog on the block, this big unclean creature was identified as The Great Satan. The modern world, which is to say Western civilization, “provoked” Osama bin Laden and his fellow Muslim fundamentalists by the mere fact that it does not comport with Osama’s idealized vision of a spiritually pure and perfect Seventh Century Islam. The latest wrinkle in the jihadi master plan for planetary Islamic hegemony is Iran’s nuclear weapons program and its long-range ballistic missile program. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, another self-styled latter-day Saladin, inspires his rocket engineers and uranium-enrichment technicians with fiery rhetoric about burning all the Jews in Israel off the face of the Earth.
Any sane person, any mature adult, would see that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is preparing to unleash a nuclear holocaust to advance the Quran’s blueprint for planetary Islamic colonization, global Islamic hegemony, and universal trial by Sharia law. Western liberals make excuses for these fanatics because liberals see everything through the distorting prism of their leftist assumptions about history, economics and culture. These assumptions are useless here because the Iranians are driven by motives that have nothing to do with economic gain which is the narrowly focused central concern of Marxist economic theory. The jihadists, like all True Believers, wish to be rid of this soiled and tattered world; they long to usher in a shiny new world as soon as possible. Because all of the important issues have been settled to their satisfaction and because all negotiation is equivocation to their way of thinking, there will be no negotiation.
In support of this assertion I would have you recall the Iranian revolution of 1979. On November 4th of that year a contingent of Muslim radicals, in a flagrant violation of international law, stormed the American embassy in Tehran and took fifty-two embassy employees hostage. These hostages were released four hundred forty-four days later on January 20, 1981. This entire episode was misunderstood by Western intellectuals, by the State Department and by a hand-wringing Jimmy Carter who fretted overmuch about how he might placate the hostage takers.
Here are the facts: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the erstwhile president of Iran, was recently identified by one of the former American hostages as one of the hostage takers of 1979. Also, accumulating evidence makes it clear that the carefully planned attack on the United States Embassy did not happen because relations between Iran and the United States were deteriorating but because relations were improving. The Islamist extremists who overran the embassy did so to trash any possibility that the two nations would establish friendly relations. News that Iran’s Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan had met cordially with American national security advisor Zbignew Brzezinski in the fall of 1979 sent the radicals and their leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, into a tizzy. Better diplomatic relations between the two nations would mean a closer relationship between Islamic Iran and the nation that Khomeini had characterized as The Great Satan. Khomeini needed a great satan: every religious fanatic does. If America became a benefactor or, worse yet, a role model of the modern Good Life, then the Muslim fanatics were screwed: America was the last remaining candidate for the role of Big Infidel Boogeyman. Keeping America remote and “foreign” was essential to maintaining the dynamic tension the Muslim fanatics needed to galvanize the Muslim masses. It still is. The Iranians will not negotiate with America because they are engaged in a holy war that might falter if they lessen their anti-American, anti-Western, anti-modernity polemics.
Leftist paradigms leave the liberals unequipped to comprehend, much less challenge, the Muslim holy warriors. Strangely, both of these groups share a common objective: the remission of sin. For the Muslim fanatics the greatest sin is an insufficiency of zeal; for the Western liberals the greatest sin is an insufficiency of empathy. Open any liberal periodical or click on any television and there you will find liberals galore doing secular penance for Western sins, real and imaginary. Is the history of Western behavior really so horrible?
The continuing ascendancy of Western civilization has been propelled by three Western inventions: democracy, capitalism and experimental science. These inventions owe there unique expression to the West’s unique heritage of autonomous reason (by way of Greek philosophy) and the unique perspectives of Judaism and Christianity. Let’s examine each of these Western inventions one at a time and then see how they reinforced one another to propel the ascendancy of the West.
All science springs from human curiosity. Curiosity is not unique to Western peoples but science as we know it today, the kind of science that is rooted in prolonged experimentation and inductive reasoning, is a Western creation. The overwhelming majority of important inventions have originated in the West because modern science is a Western institution. The unprecedented power of Western science springs from Greek philosophy which gave us the notion that the universe might be understandable, that its motions are defined by natural laws, and that these laws are within the grasp of human reason. Furthermore, the Greeks sized on the idea that natural laws might be expressible in the language of mathematics.
Take a moment to compare this liberating vision with the ancient world view of the highly revered and still influential Muslim theologian Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali (1058-1111) who argued in his work The Incoherence of the Philosophers that reason and logic are impotent human inventions that are utterly useless for gaining deeper insight into the nature of the universe because the hand of Allah stirs in every event to make things happen as they do, even to the smallest detail. He offered the radiant Muslim vision of an enchanted universe, a vision common to ancient peoples that has shaped the Muslim mind even to the present day.
It was the Christians, who had embraced the teachings of the Greek philosophers, who first imagined a divine being whose essence is inextricably entwined with reason and truth. Some of the greatest visionaries of the West – Copernicus, Kepler, Newton – believed that their discoveries revealed the designs of a logical deity. If the Muslim armies had prevailed in the West, the modern world would have died in the womb and science would have remained in the early hunter-gatherer phase of specimen collecting and speculation.
Another idea crucial to Western ascendancy was the notion of progress, or what we might call the birth of sustained optimism. The idea of progress is an article of faith that is not shared by Hindus, Buddhists, Confucians or Muslims. These faiths promote the idea of change and the idea of historical cycles and the idea of Allah’s hidden hand stirring in every moment, but none of them promotes the idea of progress. All of the non-Western faiths are essentially fatalistic. Only in the West was a civilization inspired by the notion that human history is progressive, that tomorrow will be better that today, that useful knowledge is an accumulating resource, and that humans can apply their knowledge for the continuing betterment of humanity. The source of this uniquely Western faith-based optimism is Christianity. It was Christianity that first proposed a divine plan for humanity: From the Christian perspective history is not a disconnected bunch of meaningless events or recurring cycles – it is a storyline that began with the Fall and will ascend until the triumphant return of Christ. From a Christian perspective we are all moving forward from Creation to the Last Judgment.
To be clear, the idea of progress does not spring directly from Christian doctrine, but it does spring from Christians who were imbued with the Christian concept of historical development who came to imagine themselves as active participants in the process of positive historical evolution.
The uniquely Western faith in progress was encouraged by the emergence of democracy which offered Christians the opportunity to participate in their own governance. By democracy I mean the full apparatus of free elections, representative government and the separation of powers, not the occasional pow-wow where the boss man solicits the opinions of his inferiors.
The third pillar of Western ascendancy is capitalism which springs naturally from the human impulse to barter and trade. Westerners elaborated the willing exchange of goods and services into a system of free trade supported by property rights, commercial courts and contract laws. The scale of commerce was enormously increased by the creation of limited-liability companies (corporations), patent laws, stock exchanges and insurance companies – all of them Western institutions. While the rest of the world treated merchants like some lower life form, the West encouraged merchants to be daring, imaginative and productive.
The mutually encouraging interplay between the Western institutions of science, capitalism and democracy produced even more amazingly productive offshoots. For example: the flowering of Western technology occurred when Western science provided the knowledge needed for invention and capitalism transported the resulting inventions into the marketplace for the benefit of the greater community. Profits from the marketplace encouraged further invention and the discriminating nature of the marketplace ensured that the quality of inventions would continue to improve.
This highly evolved engine of wealth had no equal outside the West and it is the principle source of the wealth and power of the West. It is completely wrongheaded to believe that the West is rich because it stole the wealth of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The West created its own wealth.
Even so, students in American colleges are still being fed ignorant nonsense about how the white man stole the tea from India and how the white man stole the rubber from Malaya and how the white man plundered the cocoa from West Africa. Here’s the truth: before the “white man” set foot in those places there was not a single rubber tree in Malaya, nor a single cocoa tree in West Africa nor a single tea bush in India. The British transplanted rubber trees from South America and they transplanted tea bushes from China. The British taught the Africans how to cultivate cocoa, a crop that was completely new to them. In short, the “white man” created the wealth-generating agricultural economies of these faraway places. The diet of the Africans was also improved with food crops such as pumpkin and potatoes which the Europeans brought to Africa from South America. Some of these items grace the tables of those American blacks who celebrate Kwanzaa.
The petroleum industry that funds so much of the Muslim world was also a Western creation: without the Western technology that was borne of a marriage between Western science and Western capitalism, the oil of the Middle East would have remained beneath the wind-blown sands and the Islamic world would have continued its listless decline. The economic engine that drives the Middle East was created by cultural forces beyond the experience of the Islamic world. The Seventh Century mentality that is Islam can only envy and imitate the West. Every part of the Islamic world that appears to be even slightly modern is borrowed from the West. You name it: electric power generation, light bulbs, airplanes, automobiles, television, air conditioning, refrigeration, the flush toilet, antibiotics, newspapers, universities, museums – all the things that contribute to the illusion that the Islamic world is a modern world – are all borrowed from a truly modern world: the West.
Psychologically, most of the Arabic speaking world is stuck in the Seventh Century. Most of the 243 million Arabs are poor and poorly educated. For all but a few Arabs history began with the birth of The Prophet; they have no understanding of their history within the context of the deeper history of their homelands: the people of Egypt are ignorant of their lineage from the time of the pharaohs; the people of Iraq are unaware of the magnificence of Mesopotamia. Museums are a Western invention. The great museums of Cairo and Baghdad are tourist attractions; few of the indigenous people of these countries have visited them. So the Islamic world is largely ignorant and uncaring of the larger context of history; for them nothing before Muhammad is of interest. For all the grace and beauty of Seventh Century Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad and Cordoba, the contemporary Muslim world is profoundly ignorant and anti-intellectual.
The Arabs share a common language but their world is hobbled by the popular belief that the Quran must be a guide to all vocabulary and that the Quran contains all the words necessary for communication. All of which leaves Muslim purists tongue tied when the discussion turns to such things as lasers, radar and jet engines. The typical Arab is profoundly ignorant of the non-Islamic world. All of his news of faraway events is refracted by Quranic teachings which have taught him to hate and distrust non-Muslims.
The Prophet Muhammad was an illiterate camel wrangler with a vision. When his preaching infuriated the pious pagans of Mecca they had a go at him and his family. Two of Muhammad’s loved ones were slain and he left town in a hurry. In Medina he tried to convert the Jews to his novel interpretation of one of the Jewish holy texts. The Jews rebuffed Muhammad because he was an illiterate camel wrangler who was urging them to do something impious: discard their time-honored religious traditions and put their destiny in the hands of an illiterate camel wrangler. Fat chance.
So the snubbed Muhammad dictated bits and pieces of what would later be bound together as the Quran to scribes who jotted Muhammad’s utterances down on pieces of bark and animal hide. During these sporadic dictations Muhammad unleashed his hurt feelings by denouncing the Jews as a base and immoral people whom he associated with the pagans, who had also hurt Muhammad’s feelings. These poisoned-pen passages of the Quran have been part of the education of every devout Muslim since about the year 600. In the spirit of the ancient Arab aphorism “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” every devout Muslim must become an enemy of the Jews in order to become a friend of The Prophet. So anti-Jewish teaching was an integral part of Islam from its inception, it did not begin with the Arab-Israeli conflict as the left-wing academics might have you believe. In much of the Arab world school children have not been told that Americans have walked on the moon. The very idea that infidels had done such a thing would be much too disturbing; it would disrupt their Seventh Century perspective.
A Multicultural Mis-education
The post-colonial world looks more Western than ever: the government officials, bureaucrats and businessmen of Asia wear Western-style suits; English is the international language of science, technology and commerce. The post-colonial governments of the world could have banned these things and required that all education be in native dialects. Dress codes could have been enforced. The post-colonial world could have cast aside civil service hierarchies and bi-cameral governments. It could have closed its museums and shut down its daily newspapers. The post-colonial world could have rejected all of these Western inventions, but they chose not to do so.
These freely made choices perplex those American students who have been steeped in multicultural curricula, which is to say, those miseducated unfortunates who have been taught to despise Western civilization. Their ability to make discerning judgments has been stunted by the central premise of multiculturalism: the dictum that all cultures are equally life enhancing. To think otherwise, from the multicultural perspective, is to be stigmatized as a racist. Because all racists are further vilified as stupid, vulgar and probably mentally ill, it follows naturally that any student who was so bold as to suggest that Western civilization might be more life enhancing than African tribalism would be stigmatized as a lout, a fool and a menace. What student would want to be singled out for such abuse? The threat of social rejection ensures the purity of multicultural classroom orthodoxy.
The novelist Saul Bellow caught all Hell for saying, “Show me the Proust of the Papuans, the Tolstoy of the Zulus, and I will read him.” Bellow was instantly tarred as “astonishingly racist” for hinting that Western civilization may have been a bigger contributor to the cultural wealth of the world than some other cultures. Could a Samoan become a renowned author? Yes, of course, but not without the assistance of a written language, printing presses, binderies, publicity, and book sellers, which is to say, not without the complex interdependent compartmented matrix of modern civilization. Ironically, when Samoan students began attending American universities they were appalled to discover that their Samoan culture had been horribly misrepresented by the multiculturalists. A crown jewel of the multicultural curriculum, then and now, is Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa, a silly text that completely misrepresented that island’s Christian population as sexually uninhibited innocents who were utterly uncontaminated by Western notions of shame and probity. It was all rubbish but it boosted Margaret Mead to celebrity status and established her as an early avatar of the budding American sexual revolution. (See my essay The Margaret Mead Hoax)
The multicultural curriculum owes a tremendous debt to Rousseau’s romantic vision of the Noble Savage, which is itself a unique invention of Western civilization. No other civilization saw anything noble about savages, or even foreigners. The Greeks were interested in the customs of faraway peoples but those peoples were always classified as barbarians. To this day, even the most primitive peoples of the world fancy themselves to be blessed with superior qualities. That being said, it should be noted that many of the quaint non-Western customs, styles and habits of mind that decorate the multicultural curricula are on the skids in their places of origin. The indigenous peoples of the world are making choices that reflect their discerning judgments about the comparative value of things native and things Western.
When Muhammad Ali landed in Zaire for his “Rumble in the Jungle” prize fight against George Foremen, both he and Foreman emerged from the airplane resplendently swathed in traditional African regalia only to be greeted by a crowd of several hundred contemporary Africans wearing suits. Upon his return to America Mister Ali was asked his opinion of Africa, to which he replied, “Thank God my granddaddy got on that boat!” This wasn’t an endorsement of slavery; it was an acknowledgement that Ali had enjoyed a better life because he had not been born to an African tribeswoman.
To put it more bluntly: a multicultural curriculum is a museum of mummified human customs. To take it seriously is to deny the evidence of cultural hierarchy that is all around us. Some cultures obviously offer more life-enhancing benefits than do others. People who want the benefits that Western civilization has to offer voluntarily adopt Western behaviors.
Prior to the year 1500 all the smart bettors would have put their money on China or Islam to become the world’s dominant civilization. No one predicted that the fortuitous synergy of institutionalized democracy, capitalism, scientific inquiry, forward-looking Christian optimism, and the dynamic marriage of science and capitalism (technology) would transform the West into a force that would one day manage eighty-five percent of the world. But it happened.
To preserve the theory of cultural relativism the multiculturalists must deny all of this history; to them the West couldn’t possibly have become a superior civilization; there must be some other explanation for the preeminence of the West. It didn’t take them long to find an explanation for the last five hundred years of Western success: the West was simply evil, or, to use a popular contemporary locution, the West was The Great Satan.
Now you can see why the leftist pundits and their professors were ready to drop like ripe fruit into the catch basket of the radical Islamists. Their years of marinating in “oppression theory” on American campuses made the liberals willing mouthpieces who would parrot the jihadist claim that “America made them do it” only days after the surprise massacres of September 11th. Conveniently forgetting that Islam was an aggressively expanding ethnocentric imperialistic colonial empire that conquered the world from India to Spain and rattled its scimitars at the gates of Vienna and Paris, the liberal professors and the liberal journalists and the liberal politicians joined the jihadi chorus in proclaiming that Islam was the victim of crusader armies, old and new.
Summary and Conclusion
The Prophet Muhammad was born in the year 570. At the age of forty (610 A.D.) Muhammad felt himself inspired by Allah. Two years later he began to preach. In the year 630 Muhammad’s battle group captured Mecca without a fight. After several military victories he became the most powerful man in Arabia. Muhammad died in 632, at age 62.
After the death of The Prophet the folks he had inspired burst out of the Arabian Peninsula, spreading Arab folkways far beyond the borders of their ancestral homeland. In the year 638, only 26 years after Muhammad began preaching, his followers conquered Jerusalem and seized the holy sites of the Christians and the Jews. To put that in perspective, a 26-year-old religion stole the holy capital city of a religion thousands of years its senior. To make this conquest even more perverse, Islam’s claim to legitimacy rests on Muhammad’s quirky exploitation of the Jewish Bible story of Ishmael. Within a few decades the Muslims had conquered an empire stretching from Tripoli into Afghanistan and including present-day Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
In the year 673 the Muslims launched their first attack on the Christian city of Constantinople. Islam had existed for less than a single human lifetime and Muslims had been killing Christians and Jews from the very beginning. The holy text of Islam relegates all non-Muslims to the House of War. Conquest and forced conversion were the standard methods of the Arabic political mass movement: From its first moments the religion of Islam was the ideological core of an Arab political mass movement. Islam means “submission” and what converts were submitting to was a standardized set of Arab behaviors. In short, the rules and rituals of Islam were a method for imposing Arab cultural norms on conquered peoples: Islam was cultural imperialism in the service of Arab political conquest.
In the year 711 the Muslims invaded Spain. In 732 their northward advances were stopped by a rare Christian victory at Poitiers, France. In 878 Muslims gained control of Sicily.
The Crusades began in 1095 during a Christian religious revival. At that time Muslim armies were once again threatening Christian Constantinople and ever more Christian pilgrims were complaining of Muslim harassment on the route to the Holy Land. At a great popular assembly in France, Pope Urban II called for volunteers to resist the Muslims and repossess Jerusalem. The pope offered a forgiveness of sins for all volunteers.
The Crusades began with crowds of peasant volunteers being slaughtered by the Turks in Asia Minor. Better equipped Christian armies soon followed, sweeping the pilgrims’ route to the Holy Land clear of tormentors. In 1099 Christian forces reposed Jerusalem.
Muslim armies eventually triumphed, overwhelming two centuries of Christian rescue attempts. The Muslims overran Christian Jerusalem in 1187 under Saladin; they routed the last wave of Christian Crusaders in 1291 at Acre.
Bloody Muslim conquests continued. The Muslims maintained their hold on Spain for seven centuries. In 1453 the Ottoman armies finally captured Constantinople, a civilization that had endured for more than 1,100 years as a Greek-speaking eastern portion of the Roman Empire. Constantinople was renowned for its beauty and the refinement of its culture. It was the wealthiest city in all Europe throughout the Middle Ages and included such refinements as piped water, a sewage system, hospitals, homes for the elderly and public baths. Its population had swelled to over half a million people and it was larger than all the other major European cities combined. Its loss was deeply felt throughout Europe. The magnificent Church of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) is a supreme masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. It was converted to a mosque by the awestruck Muslims.
In 1492, Christians recaptured the Muslim stronghold of Grenada in Spain. In 1521, the Ottoman armies captured Belgrade. In 1529 the Muslims reached Vienna and laid siege for three months before being repulsed. The aggressive Muslim expansion into Europe was finally ended by a crushing Muslim defeat near Vienna in 1683. It was not until 1755 that the Russians began to assert control in the Muslim regions in southern Europe. It was not until 1923 that the Ottoman Empire was finally partitioned amongst the European powers as a consequence of World War I. My father turned eighteen that year. This is recent history.
So Islam has been a threat to the lives, property and cultural continuity of its neighbors since its infancy. The Prophet Muhammad is distinguished from every other great spiritual leader by his enthusiastic use of the blitzkrieg cavalry charge to promote his self-invented religion. It’s hard to imagine Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu or Jesus giving a pre-attack pep talk to a massed army of rarin’-to-go sword-brandishing armored cavalrymen, but that is the example that Field Marshall Muhammad set for all of Islam for all time. The Muslims have got it stuck in their heads that the supreme role model of their religion is a battlefield commander.
With Muhammad’s armies running loose in the world it was a matter of life and death for Christians to realize a defensive doctrine of positive violence. This doctrine emboldened Christians to resist the armies of Islam that were threatening to push all of Christendom into the Atlantic. The Christian world owes its existence to the brave Christian men who defended Paris and Vienna and hundreds of other Christian communities against the predations of the Muslim storm troopers.
The Quran tells Muslims that it is morally permissible to take hostages and hold them for ransom. The present bossman of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is himself an experienced hostage taker, having seized and tormented American diplomats in Tehran for four hundred forty four days. This self-styled latter-day Saladin is spending the wealth of Iran on long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons development. He has declared that Israel should be wiped off the map; he says the Holocaust never happened; he thinks Hitler was defamed. The absence of moral outrage among Muslims suggests widespread silent support for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s master plan for the Muslim master faith.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad grew up in the provinces. He is the son of a blacksmith and the fourth of seven siblings. He owes his career and his notoriety entirely to the Islamic Revolution and to his enthusiastic participation in the Revolutionary Guards, the paramilitary wing of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iranian Islamic takeover of 1979. He is a man of limited experience; his Muslim beliefs are sincere and narrow. He is inclined to spontaneous pronouncements such as, “The wave of the Islamic Revolution will soon reach the entire world” and “Our revolution’s main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi.”
The Mahdi is a captivating figure of Islamic eschatology. According to the Shiites, the Twelfth Imam went into “occlusion” (vanished) at the age of five in the year 941; when he returns he will reign on Earth for seven years and then he will administer a final judgment and bring about the end of this world. His return will be preceded by a time of chaos, war and a cataclysmic confrontation between the forces of good (Islam) and the forces of evil and darkness. Guess who gets to play the role of Evil & Darkness in this Islamic drama?
Central to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s piety is his devotion to the Hidden Imam whom the president of Iran reveres as “the Savior of Times.” During a speech to assembled world leaders at the United Nations, Mr. Ahmadinejad bewildered his audience with a prayer for the appearance of the Mahdi: “O mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the Promised One, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace.”
He later recounted how one of his fellow travelers had told him that when he uttered the words “In the name of God the almighty and merciful . . .” he was suddenly suffused with a glowing aura: “He saw a light around me, and I was placed inside this aura. I felt it myself. I felt the atmosphere suddenly change, and for those 27 or 28 minutes, the leaders of the world did not blink . . . And they were amazed, as if a hand held them there and opened their senses to receive the message of the Islamic Republic.”
The assembled leaders were certainly amazed. They had expected a conciliatory Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to offer a proposal that would lessen their fears that Iran was refining weapons-grade nuclear materials. Instead they were treated to one of his signature apocalyptic visions of an imminent clash between the pure-of-heart Muslims and the evil West.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad clearly stated his primary mission in a speech in Tehran on November 16th, 2005: “. . . to pave the path for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reappearance.” All of Iran is ablaze with talk of the Mahdi and the supporting role Iran and its president are playing in his eagerly anticipated return. There are news agencies devoted to Mahdi-encouraging developments. There’s a new Muslim-messiah hotline. An institute was created in 2004 for the study of the Mahdi; it has a staff of 160; it spreads the good news of the Twelfth Imam who will usher in a radiant new world. Amir Mohebian, political editor of the newspaper Resalat caught the Iranian zeitgeist: “If I think the Mahdi will come in two, three, or four years, why should I be soft? Now is the time to stand strong, to be hard.”
Indeed. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believes that the End of Days is at hand and that it is his duty, if not his destiny, to usher in the Promised One. When an airplane crashed in Tehran killing 108 people, the president of Iran thanked the dead, declaring that “What is important is that they have shown the way to martyrdom which we must follow.”
Soon after his election Ahmadinejad purged Iran’s national and provincial governments of moderates. He has placed Tehran’s nuclear program under the control of his fellow radicals in the Revolutionary Guard, many of them from the Quds Force in which Ahmadinejad was formerly a brigadier general. The Revolutionary Guard conducted the 444-day hostage taking of 1979-1981 at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. So the young radicals of 1979 are now the hardliners in control of Iran’s nuclear weapons initiative.
“The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny!” rants Iran’s Saladin wannabee. “The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestine. As the Imam declared, Israel must be obliterated from the map.”
At Iran’s current rate of development, Mr. Ahmadinejad will soon have ballistic missiles capable of carrying warheads to the capitals of Europe. With a nuclear arsenal he could shake down timid Europeans, he could leverage reduced oil production by the Arab gulf nations, he could counterbalance the influence of the United States in the Middle East and he could drive the tribe of Israel into a post-nuclear-holocaust diaspora. It would be a shining new day such as the devout have not witnessed since Saladin expelled the infidels from Palestine; the name of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be revered for centuries as the good Muslim who drove the crusader interlopers from Muslim lands and ushered in the return of the Mahdi.
From President Ahmadinejad’s perspective the times are filled with promise. To the north of Iran lies Russia, the mother of failed Marxism, that is so depleted that it is eagerly offering nuclear facilities and technological assistance to anyone with hard currency. Iran is flush with petrodollars. China will sell Iran anything it cannot purchase from impoverished nuclear-equipped Pakistan or the little nut-ball maximum leader of North Korea. Moscow and Beijing will reliably veto any sanctions by the United Nations. The mincing diplomats of Europe will reliably “rule out” the use of force to stop the radical Muslim bomb crafters from going nuclear. The Europeans can be counted on to offer Tehran lots of cash, credit and trade deals in the hope that money will make Iran’s Shia fundamentalists suddenly stop seeing history from a Seventh Century Muslim perspective. In the United States the president is a short-timing lame duck and the vocal leftist anti-war movement is denouncing every effort to birth democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq. To the west of Iran the once-menacing secular hoodlum Saddam Hussein is a prisoner and the Iraqi military is a hollow uniform. Saudi Arabia and its smaller Gulf-state brethren are toothless. The Shia are certain to dominate any future Iraqi government. Shia influence pervades nearby Syria and, by way of Iran’s client Hezbollah, has infiltrated Lebanon.
The former brigadier general of the Revolutionary Guard, the man who felt himself enveloped by a “green aura” during his invocation of the Twelfth Imam at the United Nations, has declared that “Our enemies should know that they are unable to even slightly hurt our nation and they cannot create the tiniest obstacle to its glorious and progressive way.”
Every patriot is entitled to preen, but a truly “progressive” Iran wouldn’t need to sustain itself with the menacing security apparatus of a totalitarian state. Iran’s dreaded Interior Minister, Mustafa Pour-Mohammadi, is responsible for thousands of summary judicial murders. Among the murdered was a sixteen-year-old orphan girl named Ateqeh Rajabi whose offense was working as a waitress to feed her siblings. An Iranian Islamic court characterized her selfless efforts as “acts incompatible with chastity” and sentenced her to death. She had been forbidden the services of a lawyer and her judge personally put the hangman’s noose around her neck.
At the dawn of the Twenty-first Century, Iranian Islamic courts are putting Iranian citizens to death for an offense called “enmity to God.” University staffers and students are being purged and bloggers are being arrested by the score. Meanwhile the rest of the state-run Muslim media of the Middle East continue to characterize Jews as “pigs and apes.”
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s violent and hateful jabber is custom crafted to resonate with the poorly educated Muslim masses, but he has also garnered a warm response from those Western liberals who were suckled on multiculturalism and spoon fed the mush of moral relativism. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad understands that Western liberals will overlook his fascist brutality if he audaciously denounces the sins of the West; the liberals will forgive his worst predations so long as he can portray himself as a victim of the West. His grasp of the Western post-modern mindset has convinced Mr. Ahmadinejad that millions of cynical Westerners see nothing exceptional about the culture of the West and will therefore be slow to rally to the defense of its traditional values.
The fashionable pose of cultural relativism has disposed the liberal deep thinkers of the West to question what is “true” and to discount history’s hard-won lessons as mere narratives “constructed” by the victorious. After all, weren’t those death camps really just jails? In the new “Holocaust-lite” narrative of the Muslims, aren’t the Jews just aggressive trespassers on Muslim property? Would it be so bad if Muslims lobbed a big bomb into downtown Tel Aviv just to urge the Jews to return to Europe? From within their malaise the moribund Western liberal intelligentsia will dither and fret and equivocate while the Shia set the stage for the End of Days.
The immense popularity of Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic rhetoric springs from a pervasive sense of shame among Muslims that the infidels of the West have overshadowed Islam. The West now enjoys a power and glory that Muslims believe should be theirs by birthright. This Muslim mindset was shaped by the still-popular Nineteenth Century Shiite Persian author Jamal al-Din al-Afghani who sought to relieve Muslims of their feelings of humiliation by telling them that their comparative backwardness was no fault of theirs because the infidels of the West were behaving “unfairly.” He told his fellow Muslims that “It is science that everywhere manifests its greatness and power. Ignorance had no alternative to prostrating itself humbly before science.”
His argument was that Muslims had been humbled by their ignorance of stuff that the infidels had discovered and all the Muslims had to do to restore themselves to their rightful dominance over the infidels was to appropriate Western knowledge. In al-Afghani’s opinion the West is entirely to blame for the backwardness of the Islamic world because the West took unfair advantage of “science.” This is a soothing message for Muslims and it has been a powerful motivation for Eastern Muslims to attend Western universities.
Nowhere in his text does al-Afghani display the slightest insight into the origins of Western greatness. He could not have made the argument he did make and also acknowledge that Western science was an organic expression of Western civilization. The Christian West had a deep faith that God was logical and rational and that the natural laws that brought order to God’s Creation were also rational and accessible to rational humans. This is a very different vision of the world from the Muslim belief that the hidden hand of a whimsical Allah stirs in every moment and in every event. The Christian view is optimistic; the Muslim view is fatalistic.
Christian optimism fostered a secular faith in progress: the idea that tomorrow would be better than today. Because of their belief that God’s Creation was logically constructed, Christians also accepted as a matter of faith that God’s laws might be expressible in the language of mathematics. Westerners invented experimental science. Their accumulating knowledge bolstered the West’s faith in progress. The highly evolved apparatus of Western capitalism financed the development of useful applications of scientific knowledge which resulted in an outpouring of ever-improving products and technology. Improving technology produced better products and a more powerful military which, in time, pried open many a faraway closed society and exposed many a faraway people to the wonders of the West.
Jamal al-Din al-Afghani’s assertion that Islam could become as majestic as the West by simply copying the inventions of the West is simply ignorant. The most that traditional Islam could hope to achieve by copying the West is an illusion of modernity. The resulting effect would be both comical and grotesque, like a dinosaur in a space suit. The theocracies of traditional Islam are barren soil for invention. Western experimental science and technology flourished because the Christian faiths in a logical God and a brightening future were allowed secular expression. None of America’s first five presidents were conventional Christians; all of them were to some degree influenced by the once-popular idea of Deism, the notion that God willed the universe into existence and then abstained from tinkering with his Creation. While conventional Christians are intent on “Our Savior,” the “Redeemer” and “the Resurrected Christ,” the Deists were inclined to imagine a “Merciful Providence” and “Divine Goodness.” America’s Deist framers proclaimed that religion was the wellspring of morality but they were uncompromising in their preference for reason before revelation. They were creatures of the Enlightenment and they were repulsed by what Washington aptly called “the horrors of spiritual tyranny.”
The first five presidents were intellectual radicals who pushed religious tolerance beyond all previous limits and their conception of religious liberty allowed freedom and opportunity for non-Christians and the altogether unbelieving. These great leaders crafted a political philosophy that protected unorthodox creativity and free expression. This secular space is the great incubator of Western science, capitalism and technology. Because the theocracies of traditional Islam suffocate unconventional thinking, those theocracies are reduced to shoplifting the inventions of the West.
As of today, Muslim foreigners are “borrowing” with a vengeance. South of Tehran the desert is festooned with barbed wire and anti-aircraft guns that surround a complex of twenty big buildings and a welter of smaller ones. Hidden below the desert are two cavernous production facilities about half the size of the Pentagon. This is Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility at Natanz.
In February of 2006 Iran, which is a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, suddenly restricted access by international inspectors to Natanz and to dozens of other atomic sites and programs. According to the New York Times (5/19/06 p.1A) “As a result, the world is losing much of its ability to answer pressing questions about Iran’s nuclear ambitions: how fast Tehran could make an atom bomb, and whether it harbors a program to do so.”
The fact that Iran is perched atop an ocean of petroleum negates any pressing need for Iran to pursue the daunting and expensive process of enriching uranium for any peaceful purpose. The president of Iran keeps ranting about the imminent return of The Promised One – The Twelfth Imam – and an imminent apocalyptic confrontation with the forces of evil and the final End of Days. He has clearly stated his belief that Israel should be “wiped off the map.”
From the Times:
“Diplomats and nuclear experts say the diminished view increases the risks of miscalculation, and possibly armed confrontation, just as the atomic impasse with the West is reaching a volatile new stage.”
What “miscalculation”? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s intentions are crystal clear. Because American intelligence officials have virtually no human sources of information inside Iran, they depend heavily on the atomic agency inspectors for information. Those inspectors have been blinded by Iran’s president.
As you read these words tens of thousands of centrifuges at Natanz are spinning madly in a frenzied effort to enrich uranium to ever higher levels of purity. “Just last week, diplomats disclosed an inquiry about traces of highly enriched uranium linked to a razed military research base in Lavizan, outside Tehran,” reported the Times. Even though Iran has been obligated to disclose its nuclear enrichment activities since 1968, its candor on the subject did not begin until early in 2003, and only after an Iranian opposition group blew the whistle on the sprawling nuclear facility at Natanz. The American preparation for the invasion of Iraq also loosened their tongues.
It was then that a smiling Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the boss of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, led international atomic inspectors on a tour of Natanz and proudly displayed Iran’s hard-working centrifuges. He tossed in the preposterous lie that Iran had built the sophisticated facility in only five years using information it had downloaded from the Internet. The inspectors concluded that Tehran had been in flagrant violation of the treaty’s safeguards agreement for a very long time.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded that an outlaw Iran began using lasers to refine uranium in 1991 and built a pilot enrichment plant in the year 2000. Also uncovered was Tehran’s research on polonium 210, a rare element used in atomic weapon triggering devices. Iran was also a client of A.Q. Khan, “the rogue Pakistani atomic pioneer, who supplied Iran with its centrifuge designs,” in the words of the New York Times. Inspectors found a proposal from the “atomic pioneer” offering to assist the radical Iranians to form uranium metal into the shapes needed for atomic bomb cores. The Iranians refuse to hand over another red-hot Khan document that the inspectors have sought for years.
The sly Iranians will resort to the most ridiculous of excuses for not meeting their treaty obligations. When it was time for an inspection of a centrifuge facility at the Kalaye Electric Company access was denied because the door key was “lost.” The Lavizan-Shian military physics research facility outside Tehran was abruptly demolished to make room “for a park” after it was linked to the discovery of highly enriched uranium.
It was the election of career revolutionary and Muslim mystic Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that brought an end to dialog with the West. Iran has announced that its factories will produce 54,000 enrichment centrifuges. How soon Iran acquires nuclear warheads for its long-range missiles will depend on its rate of centrifuge manufacture and on the efficiency of its centrifuges. Last month President Ahmadinejad announced that Tehran was “presently conducting research” on the advanced P-2 centrifuge that the Muslim mystic boasted would quadruple Iran’s production of enriched uranium. The atomic inspectors suspect Iran has a hidden P-2 research center. Iran is now threatening to abandon its commitment to the nonproliferation treaty altogether.
So, here we are at the dawn of the Twenty-first Century and Islam remains a menace to its neighbors. For all its bearded graying imams and ayatollahs, Islam remains the rambunctious adolescent of the world’s religions. The upstart faith that stormed the gates of Jerusalem at age 26 is still trying to impose its Seventh Century orthodoxies on the rest of the world in the name of Planetary Islamic Manifest Destiny.
May 23, 2006