This is written by John Lloyd (title: To the Death, at www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree)
. And hey, i found my 'dearest' friend Hei Gou there:D and John Lloyd is HeiGou's new hero:thumbs_up I just want to see some opinons about this. thanks.
TO THE DEATH
The competing explanations for a resort to terrorism are many, but you can more or less group them round two poles.
One of these was vividly expressed in the Guardian last Saturday by Karen Armstrong. Tony Blair had been wrong, she said, to call for moderate Muslims to act and speak out more decisively against radical Islamists. He had missed the point: all Muslims, moderate or radical, were deeply stirred by the sufferings of their co-religionists in Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Iraq and Palestine, and the "strong emphasis placed by Islam on justice and community solidarity" made this a religious issue.
"It is disingenuous of Tony Blair," she wrote, "to separate the rising tide of 'Islamism' from his unpopular foreign policy, particularly when Palestinians are being subjected to new dangers in Gaza."
This pole is defined, roughly, by the belief that it is the west's, or America's, fault that radical Islamists are violent. While violence may be wrong - Armstrong certainly believes that - it takes its root and justifies itself in its own eyes in the empathy with the victims of, and anger with, the West's actions.
The other pole has been evoked, at least as vividly, by an ex-Muslim, now a non-believer: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somalian-born Dutch MP whose apostasy (as many of her former co-religionists saw it) and outspoken criticisms of Islam earned her death threats and police protection. Further, a campaign against her in the Netherlands mounted by some elements in the left saw her temporarily stripped of her citizenship, a move that was the main cause of the collapse of the country's centre-right coalition last month.
Hirsi Ali has written a book (The Caged Virgin: A Muslim Woman's Cry for Reason) arguing that the position of women in Muslim societies and communities is one of largely unrelieved oppression tolerated and even encouraged by their own families. She writes: "Most Muslim families regard violence against women as something that women themselves provoke because they don't follow the rules. The family and social environment do not disapprove of it."
In an appearance on BBC Radio 4.s Start the Week programme on Monday, Hirsi Ali said: "Muslim women must remain virgins, and are confined to their houses; they are beaten; they can be murdered in honour killings and suffer mutilation." She criticised the western states for "not standing up for their values"; for not appealing to Muslims on the basis of their intelligence and reason but rather excusing their excesses on the basis of tolerance.
In Hirsi Ali's view, the driver of Muslim intolerance is Islam itself, both in its traditions, and in its new (in existence for the past half century or more) radical form, that of Islamism. This ideology has been fashioned in the past few decades, by such figures as the Pakistani Abu Ala Mawdudi and the Egyptians Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, and Ayman al-Zawahiri. The first of these was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, the next two were executed at different times by the Egyptian authorities and the third became the main adviser to the Saudi Osama bin Laden.
These men based their teachings on an interpretation - they would claim a strict and literal interpretation - of the Qur'an and Islamic law, as transmitted by the great scholars. Ala Mawdudi, for example, begins his essay on apostasy with the flat statement:
To everyone acquainted with Islamic law it is no secret that according to Islam the punishment for a Muslim who turns to kufr (infidelity, blasphemy) is execution ... The whole of our religious literature clearly testifies that ambiguity about the matter of the apostate's execution never existed among Muslims. The expositions of the Prophet, the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (Khulafa'-i Rashidun), the great Companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet, their Followers (Tabi'un), the leaders among the mujahids and, following them, the doctors of the sharia of every century are available on record. All these collectively will assure you that from the time of the Prophet to the present day one injunction only has been continuously and uninterruptedly operative and that no room whatever remains to suggest that perhaps the punishment of the apostate is not execution".
Hassan al-Banna was even more categorical: "It is the nature of Islam," he wrote, "to dominate, not to be dominated; to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet."
This, Hirsi believes, is the basis of radical Islamism: an ideology that sought to pit it directly and violently against the other religions, especially the other monotheistic religions of Christianity and Judaism.
Radical Islamism, on this reading, does indeed, find rationales for its hatred of the west: in the existence and actions of Israel, in the actions of the US/the west in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and in the scandals of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. But these are not the fundamental reasons, any more than the effects of the Versailles treaty "created" Nazism, or the assistance given to the Whites by the British and the French after the Russian revolution "caused" the Bolsheviks to hate cosmopolitanism and democracy.
In a wonderful just-published, piece of reportage on the development of al-Qaeda, The Looming Tower, the New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright gives due weight to the ideology, a necessary compliment to the tenacious dedication of these men to the bloody cause they created. In a fine passage, he writes of Qutb that: :
His extraordinary project, which is still emerging, was to take apart the entire political and philosophical structure of modernity and return Islam to its unpolluted origins. For him, that was a state of divine oneness, the complete unity of God and humanity. Separation of the sacred and the secular, state and religion, science and theology, mind and spirit - these were the hallmarks of modernity, which had captured the west. But Islam could not abide such divisions. In Islam, he believed, divinity could not be diminished without being destroyed. Islam was total and uncompromising. It was God's final word. Muslims had forgotten this in their enchantment with the west. Only by restoring Islam to the centre of their lives, their laws, and their government could Muslims hope to recapture their rightful place as the dominant culture in the world. That was their duty, not only to themselves but to God.
I am with Hirsi Ali on this. As I argued in a piece on Ken Loach's film The Wind that Shakes the Barley on Cif two weeks ago, ideology - uncompromising, appealing to purity of thought and action, murderous - is required to give real or imagined wrongs a framework, a cause and both a battle cry and a battle order. You must fight for something as well as against something. And one of the most powerful of such ideologies has been, in very different forms, an appeal to oneness: oneness of nation and ethnos (Nazism); one-ness of class and party (communism) and oneness of faith, state and thought (Islamism).
The ability to dehumanise large tracts of fellow human beings, because they are non-Aryan, or bourgeois, or non-Muslim, lends great strength to the cause: strength enough to cause adherents to gladly murder, and willingly die, for it.