Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Roots Of Islamism

Michael Gove has written a new book called Celsius 7/7. The Times has printed excerpts.
Islamists believe in the re-ordering of society to secure total submission to a narrow, puritan and fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. They are conducting a civil war within the Islamic world designed to overthrow existing regimes, which they consider to be unforgiveably apostate, and replace them with a single and unified Muslim state, the restored Caliphate. Islamists believe that the sanctity and culture of Muslim lands are menaced and defiled by Western influences, from capitalism to feminism, which have to be eradicated.

That cleansing process must be accomplished by suicidal violence, because, in the words of Islamism's most influential thinker, Sayyid Qutb, "the death of those who are killed for the cause of God gives more impetus to the cause, which continues to thrive on their blood."

The bloodshed should not stop at Islam's current borders. Not just because those nations which are unIslamic constitute dar-al Harb, the House of War, which constantly threatens the security of the Muslim world. But also because Islamists are driven by a divine mission to ensure the whole earth, in due course, learns to submit to Islamist rule.
...there is a wilful blindness among many in the West who refuse to acknowledge the totalitarian nature of the ideology which drives jihadi warriors. Even though the shelves of every Western bookshop sag under the weight of texts which record the cruelties and barbarism inflicted by totalitarianism in the twentieth century, there seems to be a remarkable reluctance to accept that totalitarian thinking could be behind contemporary cruelty and barbarism.

Instead Western commentators attribute Islamist violence to specific, discrete, grievances such as the presence of American troops on Saudi soil, the failure to establish an Arab Palestinian state or the material poverty of Arab peoples. In every case the blame for Islamist violence is laid at the door of the West, for failing to deliver "justice".

It is a remarkable commentary on the state of analytical thinking in the West that when faced with mass-murderers, who loudly proclaim the ideological basis of their actions and prophesy victory on the basis of Western weakness, Western thinkers respond by denying the ideological motivation of their attackers and instead blame the West for stoking grievances.

The belief that Islamist violence can be explained by these factors is as flawed as the belief in the 1930s that Nazi-ism could be understood as simply a response to the perceived injustices of the Versailles settlement which could be assuaged by re-uniting Sudeten Germans with their Bavarian cousins.
This should be a must-read for anyone who believes otherwise.