Oct 29, 2003
Islam is dying. In its death throes, it has turned not just on its perceived enemies, not the least of which is the modern world, but upon itself, killing with seeming indifference both Muslim and non-Muslim as it thrashes about, filling each day with new corpses, the last of which will be its own.
It took hundreds of years for the Roman Empire to be built and to come to an end. During that long period in the early history of Western civilization, the populations under its control throughout the Mediterranean and up into England were largely permitted to worship any of the many gods in local areas, although they were expected to also honor the state gods of Rome.
By 312 AD, the emperor Constantine began his ascendancy, attributing it to the God of the Christians and, in 325 AD, he called the Council of Nicaea, the first council of bishops to formalize a Christian creed. After that, Christianity, one of many faiths in the vast empire began its path toward becoming, not just the religion of the empire, but one that now numbers more than two billion people worldwide.
In 610 AD, Mohammed began to create Islam to gain control over the desert tribes of Arabia. He built his religion on the wealth acquired through raids on caravans and attacks on cities such as Medina and Mecca. Islam's text, the Koran, was said to supercede both the Old and New Testaments, disputing the laws of Judaism and the divinity of Jesus.
Following Mohammed's death in 632 AD, the religion, a warrior cult built around adoration of Mohammed, quickly spread throughout North Africa and into Spain. Today, Islam is estimated to have more than 1.2 billion adherents around the world, although most are largely located in the Middle East and Africa. There are some 31 million in Europe, more than 845 million throughout Asia, and 323 million in Africa. A little over a million are in South America and approximately 2.9 million in North America. It remains a distinctly "Arab" religion.
Islam has literally been at war with all other religions since its inception. It looks at the world as being divided between Islam and the world of the infidel, the unbeliever. The central prayer of Islam, the Kalima, spoken daily, states "There is no God by Allah and Mohammed is His Prophet." A militant religion. Mohammed said, "The sword is the key to Heaven and Hell." By contrast, six hundred years earlier, Jesus said, "He who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword."
A Muslim's first allegiance is to Islam. One's nationality and other allegiances are secondary. In the latter half of the last century, Middle Eastern Arabs strove to establish a national identity and it proved a failure from its inception. In late October, 35 heads of state will gather for a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in an effort to achieve a unified voice for Islam and to try to offset perceptions that Islam is linked to the violence being perpetrated worldwide. Observers, however, note that the OIC is unified only in its support for the Palestinian attacks on Israel.
With considerable irony, Libyan rule, Col. Muammar Al-Qaddafi, speaking in early October, said, "Today, you cannot speak of Arab unity and pan-Arab nationalism," adding "The Arabs have become the joke of the world because they do not think of their future." But the Arab leaders of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Palestine, and other Muslim nations who have funded and unleashed the Islamic Jihad are thinking of the future; the future of Islam.
Since the birth of the Islamic revolution, begun by the late Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, Islam has been attempting to conquer the modern world by the sword. Despite the schism between the Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam, both are united in this quest. Jihad or holy war, in the words of Paul Fregosi, an expert on Islam, is "essentially a permanent state of hostility that Islam maintains against the rest of the world."
Islam is losing its war on the world. We are witnessing the earliest stages of its decline, although historians would probably mark that from the end of the Ottoman Empire after World War I when the Western allies divided the Middle East into new nations and areas of economic imperialism.
Islam, however, is the primary reason that the Middle East has long been a cesspool of ignorance, poverty, and oppression. Even Islamic scholars are beginning to openly warn that the path on which it has set itself can only lead to its predictable decline and end.
A recent study by the London-based Transparency International found that Middle Eastern and North African nations form the world's most corrupt region. Twelve nations out of a rating of 133 come from that region. Among them were Libya, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, the Sudan, and Algeria. The study defined corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain, ranging from misuse of public power for private benefit to bribery; not exactly the kind of nations that attract foreign investment. Only the invasion of Iraq to rid it of Saddam has opened opportunities to restructure it into a modern nation.
Most Westerners are unaware that Islam is unable to adapt, to change, and to evolve. These attributes have been the hallmarks of the world's oldest monotheistic religion, Judaism, and of Christianity which experienced its own Reformation. Instead, Islam is locked into the dictates of the Koran and of the Hadith, a collection of observations based on the life of Mohammed whose rules dictate the most minute aspects of a Muslim's life. The death of Islam was written into its birth.
The daily reports of acts of Islamic terrorism seem to defy a rational explanation, but there is a pattern emerging. First is the hatred focused on Israel, a nation based on the belief that Jews, like other ethnic or religious groups, have a right to their own country. Following the Holocaust of World War II, the survivors and those who had subscribed to Zionism, a movement to reestablish Israel, wrested a tiny piece of Palestine, a British protectorate. They declared their sovereignty in 1948 and the attacks on Israel by Muslims before and since then have never ceased.
Nothing frightens Muslims more than the very existence of Jews, a people whom the Koran repeatedly identifies as the primary enemy of Islam; a people seen to be allied with their other enemy, Christianity.
If Muslims fail to destroy Israel and its long history as the birthplace of Jesus and Christianity, that means Allah has failed. If Allah fails, Islam fails with him for Allah is neither the Jewish, nor Christian God.
Another part of the pattern that has emerged is the Islamic attack on America along with Western civilization and its institutions. The West with its tradition of tolerance, of secular government, of a capitalist economy, is seen as a threat to Islamic law as applied throughout the Middle East. Carefully selected for destruction, the World Trade Center in New York was targeted first in 1993 and again in 2001 as the ultimate symbol of the West.
The war on the West now becomes clearer as Muslims attack its institutions, chief among which is the United Nations. The attacks on diplomats are yet another sign of the indifference to ancient traditions protecting those entrusted to do the work of international resolution of conflicts. When you kill take diplomats hostage or kill them, you threaten the very sinews of civilization. Even the timid conglomeration called the European Union is reluctantly concluding they must protect themselves against Islam's jihad though, typically, they would prefer accommodation than self-defense. When the UN failed to deal with the Islamic uprising in the former Yugoslavia, NATO was used to suppress it.
A further sign of Islam's decline can be seen in the way Muslim nations that align themselves with the West also find themselves under attack to bring them into line with Islam's ultimate objective of world domination. These attacks are acts of desperation and come not from nations, but from the core of Islamic fundamentalists.
The perfect metaphor of Islam is the suicide-bomber, killing himself as he kills others. When enough Muslims conclude Allah cannot protect them, they will conclude in the decades and centuries to come that the God of Judaism and Christianity has triumphed.
Alan Caruba is the author of "Warning Signs", published earlier this year. His weekly column is posted on www.anxietycenter.com, the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.
© Alan Caruba 2003
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