American Elephants


We Need to Study Up. What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us. by The Elephant's Child

As the revelations regarding Benghazi drip, drip out, slowly, it is becoming clear that the administration’s understanding of the terrorism threat, and belief that terrorism is spawned by grievances about social, economic, and other problems for which America bears fault, play a large role in the administration’s deeply misguided foreign policy.

Andrew McCarthy had a helpful post at National Review a few days ago:

Let’s start with the intimation that “religious fanaticism” causes terrorism. To be sure, that’s a better explanation than the Left’s “blame America first” approach.  Yet, it still misses the mark. The real cause is ideology, not religion. The distinction is worth drawing because, for the most part, Islamist terror is not fueled by Muslim zealousness for Islam’s religious tenets — for instance, :the oneness of Allah.” We Westerners recognize such beliefs as belonging to the realm of religion or spirituality. To the contrary, Islamist terror is driven by the supremacism and totalitarianism of Middle Eastern Islam — i.e., by the perception of believers that they are under a divine injunction to impose all of Islam’s tenets.

Most of those tenets do not concern religion or spirituality, at least not as Westerners interpret those concepts. Instead, sharia is largely concerned with controlling what we see as secular affairs —political, social, military, financial, jurisprudential, penal, even hygienic matters. Of course, the fact that we separate church and state in the West does not mean our moral sense is without influence —indeed, profound influence — over how we conduct secular affairs. But in the West, we reject the notion that any religious belief system’s tenets should control those affairs.  In the United States, we reject the establishment of a state religion — such official primacy would suffocate freedom of conscience, a bedrock of liberty.

By contrast, the foundation of Middle Eastern Islam is submission to Allah’s law, not individual liberty.  This interpretation of Islam thus rejects a division between the secular and the spiritual.  Its sharia system contemplates totalitarian control.  That makes Islamist ideology (i.e., Islamic supremacism, or what is sometimes more elliptically called “political Islam”) just another totalitarian ideology, albeit one that happens to have a religious veneer.

The whole article is here. It is really worth your time. Andy of course, was the federal prosecutor in the trial of the Blind Sheik. His books are: The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America (2010). Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (2008), and most recently Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy (2012), among others.

Andy has thought deeply and clearly about radical Islam, and takes great care with the words he uses. We can get in awful trouble if we don’t know what we’re talking about, or even thinking about.



Sharia, Observed, Executes Another Child. by The Elephant's Child
February 11, 2011, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Islam, Middle East | Tags: , ,

There’s been another news story about Sharia, the Islamic system of religious law. In Bangladesh, a 14-year-old girl named Hena was raped by a 40-year-old  man named Mahbub, who is described as a “relative.  The matter was brought to the attention of the sharia authorities in her village of Shariatpur. (Both John Hinderaker and Andrew McCarthy have highlighted this story).

In Islam, rape cannot be proved unless there are four witnesses.  In other words, it is almost impossible to establish that what happened did happen.  Bad news for the victim, because if she had sexual relations outside of marriage but cannot prove that she was raped, she is considered to have committed a grave sin.

In Hena’s case, the sharia authorities ordered that she be given 100 lashes.  She fell unconscious before reaching 80, and died from the whipping.  Westerners are often told that they simply do not understand the richness and nuances of sharia.  And we don’t know how sharia is interpreted in different places, but it is very real.  Sakineh Ashtiani was sentenced by an Iranian court to death by stoning.  We have had “honor killings” in this country.  Andy McCarthy says:

It should by now be undeniable that there is an interpretation of sharia that affirms all its atrocious elements, and that this interpretation is not a fringe construction.  It is mainstream and backed by very influential scholars who know a hell of a lot more about Islam than we in the West do.  That makes it extremely unlikely that this interpretation will be marginalized any time soon.

The aim of the Muslim Brotherhood and the regime of the mullahs in Iran is to establish Islam throughout the world, for all to worship Allah, and to establish sharia as the law.




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