Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Seeing to the heart of Islam

Robert Spencer, writing on the Front Page Magazine website draws our attention to the larger implications of Fox News reporter Steve Centanni and photographer Olaf Wiig's gunpoint "conversion" to Islam, conversions that both men have since renounced:

After being freed, Centanni said: “We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint. Don’t get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do because they had the guns, and we didn’t know what … was going on.”

Indeed, few in the West know what’s going on regarding the example of uhammad and the stance of traditional Islam on conversion. The human rights should have the courage to recognize and denounce this conversion-or-else directive, and to recognize the plight of those who even today suffer from its scourge. Moreover, with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad operating according to uhammad’s instructions, this now has geopolitical implications. In his letter to President Bush, Ahmadinejad
invited him to accept Islam, and then echoed the Prophet of Islam in
delivering a threat to Bush through
Mike Wallace: “We are all free to choose. But please give him this message, sir: Those who refuse to accept an invitation will not have a good ending or fate.”

Ahmadinejad’s threat, as well as the ordeal of Centanni and Wiig, epitomizes the threat that the global jihad represents to the freedom of conscience. Analysts are increasingly beginning to note that the conflict has ideological dimensions, but these dimensions are still imperfectly understood in the public sphere. Were Western leaders courageous enough to speak forthrightly about the threat we face as an Islamic jihad, they could use the “conversions” of Centanni and Wiig to illustrate one of the elements of Western civilization that is being challenged and that we are resolved to defend. Unfortunately, mired as they are in denial about the nature of the “terror” threat itself, they have made as yet no such resolution.

It is a good thing that notice is being taken of the true nature of Islam and what that means for the West in its death struggle against that Seventh Century warrior cult. Islam has not been "hijacked" by "extremists". It has been restored by true believers to a form which Mohammed would have recognized and approved of.

This highlights the problem faced by modern Muslim reformers. Unlike Martin Luther, who was removing centuries of unbiblical additions to Christian doctrine in order to bring Christianity back to a form closer to the New Testament, the would-be Muslim reformers have to contend with the fact that Osama bin Laden is actually advocating a form of Islam which is entirely true to the vision and conduct of its founding prophet.

Just as the United States and its allies forced the Empire of Japan, at bayonet point, after the war to make serious structural changes to their national religion (forcing the Emperor to admit that he was not a god and did not own the entire earth and forcing him to show himself to the people so that they would learn that his radiance would not burn out their eyes if they looked directly at him, among others) the West is going to have to force major changes upon Islam.