This is the answer to the general’s questions: “what is it?” “Where is it?” “How big is it?” “How dangerous is it?”
The answer is that it “shimmers”.
By way of the example of a terrorist act coupled with reference to scripture, the scale measuring presence would seem to point to 100 percent total war: “they” really are all “like that”, and no good person can be Muslim and remain good; on the other hand, we have greater than equal cause to recognize and invest in a vast majority of humanity more reasoning and stronger than its legacy, nominal affiliation, and the flow-down from express or explicit instructions from on high, in which case our inner presence detector scopes the occasional terrorist as simply one who has latched on to a convenient screed to engage in behavior that in the absence of Islam would simply have found another avenue for justification. At zero presence, as the anti-Islamophobe crowd would prefer it, the conflict is all in the head and, again, “shimmering” toward disappearance.
That I should apply a metaphor associated with “mirage” is no mistake and in all probability responsive to strategy developed to abet Islamic expansion, and that primarily as a Saudi enterprise accompanied by competitor zeal in other states. Note from a 2007 post on the Center for Islamic Pluralism web site:
“As to how much money Saudi officials have spent since the early 1970s to promote Wahhabism worldwide, David D. Aufhauser, a former Treasury Department general counsel, told a Senate committee in June 2004 that estimates went “north of $75 billion.” The money financed the construction of thousands of mosques, schools and Islamic centers, the employment of at least 9,000 proselytizers and the printing of millions of books of religious instruction . . . .”
As much for Muslims as anyone else, the “zero presence” option is not an option, and the total presence potential is not an option either, as its much belied by the internecine, within-Islam, warfare that most dominates the coverage of conflict worldwide.
Pipes also seems to differentiate between “Islamists” (perhaps as promotional agents for a stern “sharia”) and “terrorists” as some other flavor more minimally percolating through the Ummah.
The problem faced by apologists as well as more vociferous defenders of Islam is that the history of the expansion of the religion would seem inseparable from the violence attending the same plus combinations of warfare and in-state police action modifying more strident aspects or reducing — as in Cordoba, Spain — the authority, power, and presence of in situ Muslim will overall.
The reactive mirrors for what shimmers may start with the strident of the anti-Jihad, both Muslim and non-Muslim, for whom the system must be rejected completely and defeated absolutely and in every way possible, e.g., via alternative formatting, as with the Amadiyya community, plain conversion to Christianity, or the adoption of atheism; from without, manning a global defense to match expansionist zeal seems to have come about.
Along a more moderate path, which I believe mine, mixing common wisdom, including Hillel’s, with more gently and naturally shared and transforming values negates the mirroring of all-or-nothing mentalities. One moves the focus of discussion to “goodness” within the framework of distinct but peaceful cultural co-evolution, leaving irrelevant the madcaps with their grandiose and sociopath ambitions.
Update – October 9, 2014
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/10/06/ben-affleck-and-bill-maher-are-both-wrong-about-islamic-fundamentalism/ – 10/6/2014. The global survey highlights tell at least a story suspected: attitudes are different in North America from those predominant in Asia and elsewhere.
As with other mirage, as one in fact draws closer to the object sought, the shimmering stops and more solid details maintain their appearance with solidity.
Update – October 15, 2014
The most striking as well as encouraging finding is that ISIS has almost no popular support in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Lebanon – even among Sunnis. Among Egyptians, a mere 3 percent express a favorable opinion of ISIS. In Saudi Arabia, the figure is slightly higher: 5 percent rate ISIS positively. In Lebanon, not a single Christian, Shiite, or Druze respondent viewed ISIS favorably; and even among Lebanon’s Sunnis, that figure is almost equally low at 1 percent.
http://fikraforum.org/?p=5608 – Distributed 10/14/2014 by The Washington Institute. The web page summary has attached to it the full PDF report.
Update – October 16, 2014
Other Muslims also told me that by speaking up about Muslims who are suffering in Islamist societies, I was intentionally stoking the Islamophobic climate on the Rutgers campus. One woman gestured to her hijab, her face flushed, shouting: “Who are you to talk about these victims, when you aren’t even visibly Muslim?” For good measure, she added that I was personally responsible for the post 9/11 escalation in the harassment of veiled Muslim women.
I was stunned.
Update – May 29, 2015
After first believing in this predator’s lies, Lessing eventually began suspecting something about him is not right and after some detective work found out his real name and the fact that he is a cleric who works at Shi’a Association of the Bay Area (SABA) in San Jose, California and that he is actually married.
Lessing wondered whether she should go to his mosque and expose him publicly. This tells me how little non-Muslims know Islam and the Muslim mind. What do you think would happen if you tell them? At first they deny it categorically accusing you of smearing the name of a good man and vilify you. If they see the undeniable proof, they change tactic and condemn him in your face assuring you that Islam does not allow that. Once you leave, they pat him on the back and laugh heartily.
Primary text: Lessing, K. M. God Has Failed Me: A True Story, Part I.
The BackChannels response to the correspondent who sent the piece: “I wanted to share the link with (name withheld) because it so mixes themes toward a demonizing that leaves no channel out for the Muslims who would themselves revile the cleric on display.
Earlier today from The Awesome Conversation: ” . . . a part of the American / North American / NATO / western public responds to Islam as represented by al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, et al., plus any number of western writers who emphasize the medieval qualities embedded in texts and taken up by the organizations mentioned. That’s what they see. It’s too little — not the whole thing — but that’s what they see.”
With every act of disrespect — betrayal, deception, desecration, intimidation, libel, murder, seduction, slander, and theft — toward another person or group, Islam, through one person or many, displays itself exactly as its most vociferous critics describe, which makes the work of the Ummah’s more conscionable, introspective, and reforming adherents that much more difficult to impossible.
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