By Peadar O’Maoileoin
In 2007, Christopher Hitchens penned an exemplary essay with the pertinent title “Facing the Islamist Menace”. This protracted polemic is an equitable review of the book “America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It” by Mark Steyn; a defense of Martin Amis and Jack Straw; a friendly dig at Sam Harris; an explanation of where we stand in the struggle against Islamic extremists; and an eight point approach in response to Steyn’s ten point program for resistance to Islamism.
While I and countless others were listening to Barack Obama’s Address last night, memories of this polemic resurfaced and I became enraged when The President stated “No religion condones the killing of innocent people”. I wasn’t the only one to fume at his play on words here; millions of Americans gasped as he regurgitated this senile, gutless demagoguery. “How could the president say Islam is a religion of peace” I was asked. Well I have news for you – your own religion is guilty of the same charge.
Consider the following from Deuteronomy 17: “If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the Lord gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God in violation of his covenant, and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars in the sky, and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death”
This is a salient point against the president’s own supposed religion.
If we focus on The Koran, we find approximately 109 quite graphic verses which call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. The verses often request the beheading or removal of limbs from those deemed guilty by this grotesque religion.
The president is evidently pandering here because he needs Muslim allies to defeat ISIS. That’s not an issue and is in fact welcomed by the Western world. With that being said, one wonders why he blatantly lied to the world with what has to be one of the most stupid sentences he has ever voiced.
Christianity and Islam warp their view of innocence to suit their own bigoted, sectarian agendas. Neither religion is a religion of peace; both are belief systems which guide behaviour and encourage otherwise moral humans to engage in villainous acts against their fellow man.
The ironic thing here is that the American Christians can see the issues with Islam but they fail to see the issues with their own religion. Christianity is not tolerant of other religions, customs and traditions. It encourages people to leave no thought for tomorrow, to damage the planet and to embrace poverty as a gift from God. Poverty is not a monetary issue, it’s a sociopolitical and religious problem. You cannot solve world poverty with money when religion does all it can to keep the poor people living in hardship; segregated with enforced sense of “Us vs Them”.
This mentality is currently ingrained in US politics today. Religion is responsible for the death of innocents worldwide, poverty, blatant discrimination of homosexuals, xenophobia against immigrants and the mistreatment of women. This is not fringe behaviour, it’s the basic principles of faith written in bronze age books. We cannot operate societies based on such nonsense from thousands of years ago. Societies need to be dynamic and the only way for that to happen is to leave religion where it belongs; in the dark ages.
Hitchens stated “The Islamist threat itself is an intricate cultural and political challenge that will absorb all our energies for the rest of our lives”. I go a step further by saying it’s not an Islamic threat, but a threat from all religions which needs to be fought by one and all. Society will keep getting dragged back to the dark ages until we separate church and state. Civilization starts when you leave such tribalism behind.
I leave you with the eight points Hitchens put forward to Steyn in 2007:
“1. An end to one-way multiculturalism and to the cultural masochism that goes with it. The Koran does not mandate the wearing of veils or genital mutilation, and until recently only those who apostasized from Islam faced the threat of punishment by death. Now, though, all manner of antisocial practices find themselves validated in the name of religion, and mullahs have begun to issue threats even against non-Muslims for criticism of Islam. This creeping Islamism must cease at once, and those responsible must feel the full weight of the law. Meanwhile, we should insist on reciprocity at all times. We should not allow a single Saudi dollar to pay for propaganda within the U.S., for example, until Saudi Arabia also permits Jewish and Christian and secular practices. No Wahhabi-printed Korans anywhere in our prison system. No Salafist imams in our armed forces.
A strong, open alliance with India on all fronts, from the military to the political and economic, backed by an extensive cultural exchange program, to demonstrate solidarity with the other great multiethnic democracy under attack from Muslim fascism. A hugely enlarged quota for qualified Indian immigrants and a reduction in quotas from Pakistan and other nations where fundamentalism dominates.
A similarly forward approach to Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the other countries of Western Africa that are under attack by jihadists and are also the location of vast potential oil reserves, whose proper development could help emancipate the local populations from poverty and ourselves from dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
A declaration at the UN of our solidarity with the right of the Kurdish people of Iraq and elsewhere to self-determination as well as a further declaration by Congress that in no circumstance will Muslim forces who have fought on our side, from the Kurds to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, find themselves friendless, unarmed, or abandoned. Partition in Iraq would be defeat under another name (and as with past partitions, would lead to yet further partitions and micro-wars over these very subdivisions). But if it has to come, we cannot even consider abandoning the one part of the country that did seize the opportunity of modernization, development, and democracy.
Energetic support for all the opposition forces in Iran and in the Iranian diaspora. A public offer from the United States, disseminated widely in the Persian language, of help for a reformed Iran on all matters, including peaceful nuclear energy, and of assistance in protecting Iran from the catastrophic earthquake that seismologists predict in its immediate future. Millions of lives might be lost in a few moments, and we would also have to worry about the fate of secret underground nuclear facilities. When a quake leveled the Iranian city of Bam three years ago, the performance of American rescue teams was so impressive that their popularity embarrassed the regime. Iran’s neighbors would need to pay attention, too: a crisis in Iran’s nuclear underground facilities—an Iranian Chernobyl—would not be an internal affair. These concerns might help shift the currently ossified terms of the argument and put us again on the side of an internal reform movement within Iran and its large and talented diaspora.
Unconditional solidarity, backed with force and the relevant UN resolutions, with an independent and multi-confessional Lebanon.
A commitment to buy Afghanistan’s opium crop and to keep the profits out of the hands of the warlords and Talibanists, until such time as the country’s agriculture— especially its once-famous vines—has been replanted and restored. We can use the product in the interim for the manufacture of much-needed analgesics for our own market and apply the profits to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
We should, of course, be scrupulous on principle about stirring up interethnic tensions. But we should remind those states that are less scrupulous—Iran, Pakistan, and Syria swiftly come to mind—that we know that they, too, have restless minorities and that they should not make trouble in Afghanistan, Lebanon, or Iraq without bearing this in mind. Some years ago, the Pakistani government announced that it would break the international embargo on the unrecognized and illegal Turkish separatist state in Cyprus and would appoint an ambassador to it, out of “Islamic solidarity.” Cyprus is a small democracy with no armed forces to speak of, but its then–foreign minister told me the following story. He sought a meeting with the Pakistani authorities and told them privately that if they recognized the breakaway Turkish colony, his government would immediately supply funds and arms to one of the secessionist movements—such as the Baluchis—within Pakistan itself. Pakistan never appointed an ambassador to Turkish Cyprus.”