September 25, 2012
Islam has become the crisis that never ends. It has ceased to be a great world religion and has become instead a predictable global tantrum, ready to be activated by the international Islamist network whenever a pretext is available. And they are always available or can be readily concocted. If it was not the pathetic film about Muhammad it would have been something else, as no doubt the world will see when the next alleged insult to Islam is denounced and the masses of radicalized Muslims are mobilized once again to attack, burn and kill anything and anyone that can be identified as representative of infidel Western civilization.
It has all become so predictable. It was in 1990 that Bernard Lewis, the great historian of Islam, published his seminal essay “The Roots of Muslim Rage”, in which he described how “suddenly, or so it seemed, America had become the archenemy, the incarnation of evil, the diabolic opponent of all that is good, and specifically, for Muslims, of Islam”. His analysis has stood the test of time, and 22 years later remains an essential source of insights into the perpetual crisis machine Islam has become.
At the core of Lewis’s argument is a pivotal concept: Islam and the West have been locked in a remorseless “clash of civilizations” for nearly 1,400 years and there is no reason to believe this is about to stop. Indeed, quite the contrary, as we can now see.
In developing this analysis, Lewis drew upon his unexcelled expertise in the history of Islam and the Middle East, showing how first one side and then the other has gained the ascendancy over the centuries in a battle that may never cease. At present the West is dominant, but once again the tide is turning in this epochal battle. Another great scholar, Samuel P. Huntington, took up and extended Lewis’s insight, publishing The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order in 1996 (an excerpt is available here).
The power of this idea can be measured by the outrage it continues to produce amongst those who insist the world is basically a stable and placid place disturbed only by the misdeeds of the West, unfortunate misunderstandings, and breakdowns in communication; and is not a terrifying and volatile realm of highly combustible conflicts and demographic dynamics that may overwhelm us all in the next few decades.
Unfortunately, the 1990s was the heyday of the post-Cold War enthusiasm for globalization, and critics lined up to denounce Lewis and Huntington, and to reject the merest suggestion that the world had not finally become an integrated political and economic system, united around a shared respect for the rights and freedoms of others; but was instead still at the mercy of the forces of religious, ethnic, racial, nationalistic, and ideological hatred and resentment that had previously driven history.
Lewis and Huntington were derided by the left as reactionaries, agent provocateurs, and ideologues of American imperialism, while the former Iranian president, Mohammad Khatami, promoted a fatuous international campaign of ‘dialogue’ and this became the basis of United Nations' resolution to declare 2001 (sic.) as the Year of Dialogue among Civilizations. In 2005 the UN established the Alliance of Civilizations under the co-sponsorship by the Islamist Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The ostensible objective of the Alliance is to combat religious extremism and to overcome cultural barriers between the Western and Muslim worlds. It has obviously failed at this. However, its real, if covert, objective was to discredit and de-legitimize all those who refuse to be blind to the realities of global conflict and to the central role played in it by organized, international Islamism, exemplified by the Muslim Brotherhood. It sponsors conferences, academic activities, and individual academics around the world, including in Australia, where its activities parallel that of the so-called National Centre of Excellence in Islamic Studies that operates at three universities and has received tens of millions of dollars in funding, allegedly to promote a broad and sophisticated understanding of Islam, a task in which it also has manifestly failed.
Instead, academic analysis of Islam is muted, stifled, and denied an outlet into public debate (or what passes for it in countries like Australia), especially when it dares to be critical or suggests that our society faces real intractable conflicts in an ongoing clash of civilizations. Despite recent protestations to the contrary, academia has failed to generate the sustained, objective analysis of Islam that is required.
And so, the Muslim world seethes and rages, according to a carefully planned strategy that is presently being implemented by the Muslim Brotherhood and the international Islamist network that operates with virtual impunity in countries like Australia. Faced with this never ending crisis and burdened with inept, bumbling, and apologetic leadership the West stumbles about like a great blind giant, assailed from all sides and from within, denied any useful intelligence, and with barely a clue as to what it going on, as it is systematically destroyed, betrayed by its own pampered intelligentsia.
Merv Bendle is a frequent contributor to Quadrant and Quadrant Online
The Quadrant Book of Poetry: 2001 - 2010
edited by Les Murray