Turning Back Islam’s 1,300-year Assault on Western Civilization

There has been nothing in history like the war of annihilation that Islam has waged and continues to wage against all other religions and cultures, but especially against the Christian West, its most formidable opponent. Present-day Islamic attacks are identical in concept to past attempts, only different in tactics. But they can be stopped by resolute action.

The West’s historic position has been to contain Islam, not to destroy it. Islam’s historic position has been the opposite: to wipe Western Civilization off the face of the earth. The West, for example, is trying to influence events the Middle East, but not settle it with Westerners. Fundamentalist Islamic imams or leaders have precisely the goal of populating Europe with Muslims, converting it to Islam, then using Europe as a launching pad to move against the United States.

The true war between Islam and the West is being fought in Western Europe.

Fundamentalist imams have chosen Western Europe for their battleground because they do not have sufficient leverage in the U.S. to open a new front, since there are many fewer Muslims in the U.S. than in Western Europe. Accordingly, the United States can defend itself best by joining with our European allies to stop the advance of Islam in Western Europe.

The U.S. will have to take the lead. Europe is divided and lacking in resolve. For example, only a minority of NATO countries are permitting their forces to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. One Dutch unit has a policy of withdrawing every time the Taliban fires on it.

In Western Europe today, Muslim imams are trying to force governments to apply Islamic laws and customs to Muslims. Western governments must resist this effort, and insist that only European laws be applied to all people, including Muslims. If the governments of Western Europe allow Muslims to be judged by their own laws and customs, the imams will insist that Islamic laws and customs be applied to all the people. There already have been efforts to bring this about.

In 1988, for example, the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini issued a death warrant against the English author Salmon Rushdie because his book, Satanic Verses, was critical of the Prophet Mohammed. Khomeini’s pronouncement set off wild protests in Muslim lands and forced Rushdie to go into hiding for years. In 2006, Islamists all over the world rioted, demanding that Western newspapers and stations not show Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, thereby challenging press freedom and freedom of expression everywhere in the West. Islam is a religion of extreme intolerance. The history of Islam shows that subdued populations either accept Islam, or they die. Christians and Jews, being considered people of “the Book,” can be accorded a degree of tolerance—but not equality.

Despite these threats, the West has great strength, and can turn back Islam’s advance.

The West should reduce its presence in the Middle East drastically, and concentrate on thwarting the Muslim advance in Europe. We can do little to change conditions in the Middle East anyway. The people of Iraq will stop killing each other only when they decide to do so themselves. Western military forces cannot influence this decision, and they should be withdrawn. The West should focus on reducing its imprint on Muslim lands, not increasing it.

We should abandon our efforts to bring democracy to the Middle East. Muslims have a world view that sees the Koran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed as the source of all laws and all actions. Muslims deny people individual choice. They repress their women. They believe that Allah, speaking through their imams, is the only authority they should respect.  Democracy, like a lot of other Western values, is alien to Islamic thinking and Western efforts to change it are useless.

The aim of Western policy in the Middle East should be to stop threatening Muslim efforts aimed at the West, but otherwise to allow Muslims to live as they wish within their existing territorial bounds.

The resurgence of Islamic attacks in Europe is only a continuation of a drive that started with the rush of converts to Islam out of the Arabian peninsula on the death of Mohammed in 632 a.d. Islam’s aim has always been to destroy all other religions and societies, especially the West, which has been the main barrier to Islamic advances, and against which Islam has directed its greatest efforts and animus.

Islam experienced a meteoric expansion in its early centuries primarily because of the fanaticism engendered by the charismatic leadership of Mohammed, and by his teachings that promised everlasting pleasure in heaven to those who died in holy war against the infidel. No other religion has been able to inspire so many persons to be heedless of death and of personal danger in battle. Although this spirit was suppressed or lay dormant during the century and a half of Western imperial dominance of Islam that ended after World War II, it motivates a renewed assault on the West by Islamic fundamentalists and inspires suicide bombers today.

Muslims blame the West—not their own anti-democratic, anti-rational, repressive and misogynistic impulses—for their failure to advance economically, or to provide more than a small minority of their people with the standards of living enjoyed by most Westerners.

No encounter of Western Civilization with any other culture or civilization has come close to the threat posed by Islam. Western Civilization has never faced another opponent with Islam’s relentless hostility and drive to destroy it. Muslims want no peace treaty or modus vivendi with the West. They want total submission. They believe theirs is the only true society and their goal is to eradicate all false societies.

In 1993 Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington said that there are deep divisions between civilizations and predicted: “The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.” The collision of the Christian West with Islam commenced well before either had even become a civilization, and it has been ongoing. The conflicts between the two did much to shape both civilizations and to distinguish one from the other. Each hostile encounter threw up examples of what one was and the other did not want to be.

Muslims state flatly that Islam is the religion of Allah and needs no justification. Thus, it is superior to all other religions, and the Koran states that Muslims, when they gain control, can tolerate Christians and Jews only under limited terms and conditions. The Islamic faith is based on the concept that sharia, or Islamic law, must be observed by all people. Sharia—which calls for punishing persons with 50 to 100 lashes for small offenses, cutting off the hand of a thief, and stoning adulterers to death—encompasses every sphere of human activity and supersedes all governments, economies, and moral and spiritual institutions.

The laws and rules of secular Muslim states, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Tunisia, do not fully implement sharia, because to do so would mean their extinction. Sharia does not recognize secular states. It would require the abolishment of states and the establishment of a caliph (or successor to Mohammed) who would impose a religious dictatorship and sharia law on everyone.A caliphate would be a universal society based on rigid religious rules of behavior and thought. Fundamentalists regard secular Muslim states as defenders of Western society and as alien bodies imposed on Islam by the West. The basic Islamic viewpoint was expressed by the Ayatollah Khomeini, who set up an Islamic state in Iran in 1979: “If laws are needed, Islam has established them all. There is no need after establishing a government to sit down and draw up laws.”

Fundamentalists, therefore, are fighting two separate battles. One is to destroy the states that encompass the Muslim world—Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and the rest. The other is to attack all aspects of Western society, which they consider to be sinful.

The chances of the fundamentalists abolishing all Muslim states and establishing a caliphate are small, because the kings, emirs, and dictators of the Muslim world have great power, and because large numbers of the populace would oppose living in a rigid religious society. Resolution of this issue should remain an all-Muslim affair. The West should not take sides, except to prevent disorder from spreading beyond the region.

The West should concentrate on preventing terrorist attacks on our cities and on stopping fundamentalist imams from trying to force Islamic ideas on Western societies. Governments in Europe have been slow to respond. Among the Muslim methods being used is insistence not only that nothing disrespectful of Mohammed be printed or broadcast, but that women cover their heads or even more of their bodies in public.

Imams are pushing for Muslims to be ruled by sharia, not Western law, as the first step in imposing sharia on all Europeans.  In March 2007 a German judge refused a quick divorce to a Muslim woman on the grounds of abuse by her husband. The judge concluded that the Koran says that “men are in charge of women” and are allowed to beat their wives if they are disobedient. Although the judge was removed from the case, her willingness to apply Islamic law in a German court shows the extent to which Islamic thought has penetrated into Western Europe.

More than half a million immigrants are coming into Spain (and thus into the European Union) annually, mostly illegally, and mostly from Islamic west and north Africa. A major reevaluation is going on in Europe today to decide how to reverse the penetration of Islam into the continent. The entire West needs to launch a full-scale war to protect traditional Western rights of free speech and free expression. Europe and the U.S. cannot continue to crumple to Muslim protests, as they did over Danish newspaper cartoons of the Prophet.

European states are realizing that a large percentage of resident Muslims, under the influence of fundamentalist imams, have not become part of the culture and are unwilling to live under the laws and customs of the West. In Britain, for example, many Muslim women are wearing the niqab, a form of dress that covers the body from head to toe in flowing black gowns and allows only a slit for their eyes.

The Muslim world view is at the opposite pole from the Western world view.  Muslims believe in polygamy, subordination of women, and the death penalty for apostates and gays. They suppress any conduct they do not like. For example, the Iranian Supreme Court exonerated six persons in April 2007 for killing five people they considered “morally corrupt.”  A young couple engaged to be married were selected among the victims because they were walking together in public.

The Princeton Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis calls the Muslim approach to religion “triumphalist,” in that Muslims consider their views entirely right and all other views entirely wrong. Christianity also originally possessed a triumphalist approach, but in recent centuries it has become much more relativist, defined by Lewis as: “I have my god, you have your god, and others have theirs.”

The collision between the West and Islam has been marked by war and conquest.  The conflict has been continuous since the first encounters in the Mediterranean in the seventh century. The first Arab-Islamic invasions conquered the then-Christian lands of Syria, Palestine, Egypt, North Africa, and Spain, and surged into France, to be stopped by Charles Martel and the Franks at Tours in 732. The Arabs were thwarted from overrunning the Byzantine Empire by the walls of Constantinople and by Greek fire in 672 and on later occasions.

But in the eleventh century the Muslim Seljuk Turks conquered Byzantine territories in Anatolia. Byzantium and Eastern Orthodox Christianity retreated slowly before the Ottoman Turks, the successor regime to the Seljuks. The Islamic advance in the West, however, generated Roman Catholic rejoinders: the Reconquista in Spain, and the Crusades into the Levant. The Crusades ultimately failed to hold the Holy Land for Christianity, but they did succeed to some extent in opening the Mediterranean to Western trade.

The Spanish threw out the last Muslim kingdom, Granada, in 1492. The Ottoman Turks continued to press into southeastern Europe, capturing Constantinople in 1453, and driving to the gates of Vienna, where they suffered a culminating defeat in 1683. Thereafter the Islamic flood receded, to be followed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by a great European counterattack into the lands of Islam, an assault that usually goes by the name of imperialism.

The last major imperialist imposition on Islam occurred in 1948, when the West established a Jewish state on half of the territory of Palestine, and then armed this state with modern weapons. The creation of Israel is analogous to the establishment of Christian kingdoms in the Holy Land during the Crusades. That is, Western power was inserted into the heart of the Muslim world. Opposition to Israel set off an upheaval among Middle Easterners in general and among Arabs in particular that has accelerated in recent decades.

Islamic fundamentalists have taken the leadership in assaults on Israel. Attacks there and elsewhere represent an Islamic form of Reconquista, exemplified today in al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the al Aqsa Brigades—but also in the deep penetration of Muslims into Western Europe.

In Europe we have the means to stop the Islamic advance. What we are lacking in sufficient degree is the will. This must change.

The war against the Islamic advance in the West has been complicated by the attacks of fundamentalist terrorists. They have launched a guerrilla-like campaign in Europe and America. Such a war is characterized by sneak attacks against ill-defended or undefended targets, as for example the efforts to blow up two cars near Piccadilly Circus in central London in June 2007. 

We may seem to be unable to prevent such attacks, except by fortuitous chance. But this is not so. Guerrilla attacks can be sustained indefinitely only in a country where guerrillas have a large base of support among the native population. Although there is a large Muslim population in Western Europe, most Europeans are scandalized by sneak attacks and support the governments in their efforts to locate terrorist cells and destroy them. We can never entirely prevent suicide bombers, but strong public opposition and firm police intelligence work can reduce their occurrence to a minimum. Terrorist strikes into Europe and the United States, while not impossible, are much harder to pull off than strikes against American and NATO forces within Iraq or Afghanistan.

The West has never possessed a goal to destroy Islam. The West has generally warded off Muslim attacks, in the hope that Muslims and Westerners could live in peace.

Only rarely has the West advanced into Muslim territory on a permanent basis. In the majority of cases, the West’s aggressions were only to recover territories that had been seized by Muslims—examples include the Reconquista in Spain, the Crusades, reoccupation of Sicily, and the long effort to reclaim southeastern Europe from the Turkish Ottoman Empire after its defeat at Vienna in 1683. Only in the imperial period did European powers seek to control Muslim lands. The collapse of imperialism after World War II resulted in withdrawal from Muslim lands other than for temporary military operations. The only exception was the West’s establishment of Israel in 1948, and its support of Israel thereafter.

The West’s refusal to embark on a war of annihilation is a valid strategy, and the West’s best defense is to withdraw as much as possible from the Middle East, but to resist strongly all attempts by Muslims to impose their views and their laws in the West.

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