Sunday, September 06, 2009
Self-Defense and its Modern Limits
On the supposed pacifism of the Ahmadiyya, an Islamic sect often touted as an example of how Islam can be peaceful, the founder of that sect (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) wrote about the question of whether or not to resist the British Empire in India with violent jihad:
“. . . the conditions laid down for jihad are not to be met with at the present time and in this country; so it is illegal for the Muslims to fight for religion and to kill anyone who rejects the Sacred Law, for God has made clear the illegality of jihad when there is peace and security.”
The problem, of course, is immediately apparent: The apparent moderation espoused there all hinges on the relative and subjective perception of what constitutes “peace and security” and what constitutes a breach of that “peace and security” sufficient to warrant violent resistance. Thus we see that the Ahmadiyya provide the classic loophole by which to allow offensive violent jihad in the back door that we have seen from other Muslims of various flavors from the mainstream to the fringe, under the guise of “Defense against Unjust Aggressors”—where all the terms, “defense”, “unjust” and “aggressors” as well as the oft-cited “oppression”—are as slippery as snakes in a basket and in the Islamic lexicon do not mean the same things which we in the West understand by those terms.
A Muslim writer quoting Ahmad on her website, The True Spirit of Jihad, one Sarah Ahmad, then notes casually and perhaps with unintentional aptness:
Note the words, at the present time and in this country; this clearly shows that jihad may be legal in another country in which exist the necessary conditions laid down in the Quran, or even here when the conditions have changed.
The modern world, under the aegis of the West, has developed a concept of “self-defense”, whereby no religion is permitted to defend itself using physical violence, just as no groups within society are permitted to defend themselves, in the sense of building fortresses and stockpiling weapons and planning for proactive violence in the supposed eventuality that they may be attacked by perceived enemies. Nor are groups permitted to violently defend themselves when they perceive themselves to be unjustly oppressed by some other group. These matters, under the modern Western model, are to be adjudicated by the appropriate law enforcement authorities, not by various groups with grudges and perceived victimization by perceived enemies.
Some may cite as an exception to this model the militia organizations in each state in the U.S.A., which may hold regular exercises where they practice riflery in a rather quaintly antiquated sense, but the American government would never countenance those organizations to hold training exercises with major artillery and explosives, and certainly would monitor and severely restrict them if they were found out to be disseminating literature about perceived enemies who need to be fought, using language that renders the proactive nature of that defense ambiguous at best.
Even individual citizens under Western laws have certain limitations on their self-defense—since virtually all self-defense, of individuals and of groups within society, is conceived in the modern West to be properly in the hands of the police, intelligence agencies, and the state military. This modern principle becomes even stronger the broader is the “threat” perceived by any given group, and thus the broader their potential self-defense response might be. I.e., if we are talking about one man and his defense of his person, his family, his house—there is more latitude given. But when we start talking about a group—religious or otherwise—that feels the need to stockpile weapons and train for violence—if that group begins to embark upon a path of “self-defense” that involves violence against others, virtually in all cases of the modern West, this is simply not permitted. Why? Because in the modern world, the police and the military are there precisely to defend groups as well as individuals, and if a group feels they are threatened, then the state intervenes to protect them. That is the modern system. It may not be perfect and it may have some important flaws, but it’s better than having a “Wild West” situation where various groups, tribes, associations, sects, cults, etc. go around committing violence—each one feeling subjectively and passionately that they are only “defending” themselves.
Thus, it is intolerable for the modern world that there exists a major international religion out there which has a formal doctrine of violent “self-defense”, as though they constitute a State apart from any given nation they reside in—indeed a special trans-national Super-Nation with laws higher than the laws of any given nation, and with their own international Police and Army higher than those of any other nation. This Islamic idea is intolerable and as we see from history and from the news today, is causing enormous disorder and danger around the world.
It is true that in the last couple of centuries, this Islamic idea has been extensively curtailed by Western Colonialism, and then by the legacy of Western Colonialism in the last half century, both in the pressure which the West exerts upon the Muslim world to abide by human rights (not nearly enough pressure, but that is another story), and in the propping up, reflecting various degrees of influence and circumstance, of tin-pot Muslim dictators who more or less feel their hold on power is more important than the revival of Islam, and who therefore collude more or less with Western powers (particularly America) in suppressing as much as they can the natural mainstream grassroots groundswell of Islamic zealotry amongst their people. This hasn’t prevented some of those dictators here and there from trying to play both sides at once, as we have seen in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., and Pakistan for example. Nevertheless, for a brief window of time in the 20th century, it did serve to mitigate to a great extent—at least temporarily—the perennial Jihad of Muslims which fuses Offensive and Defensive War just as indissolubly as Islam itself fuses Religion and State.
The concatenation of events after 9/11 has served to reboot—to borrow a term from Obama—the revival throughout the Muslim world of the original goal of Islam, by which the defense of Islam is predicated upon the “offense” of the mere existence anywhere in the world of Unbelievers who flourish and have any power at all—not to mention power vastly superior to Muslims. To this revived paradigm, dormant only a relatively brief time in modern history, the model of the modern West regarding self-defense is to be followed by Muslims only as long as they perceive themselves as weak, in order to fool Infidels, while the long-term goal is to discard it—and other Western laws—as soon as Muslims gain sufficient strength.
Of course, the main threat here is not that Muslims will actually realize their goal of gaining sufficient strength to conquer the West, but rather the violence they will wreak merely in the pursuit of that goal. I.e., Muslims over the next 50 to 100 years could be unsuccessful in their goal of world conquest, and yet, merely in trying to succeed, could still manage to mass-murder untold numbers of people in various places throughout West, cause untold panic and confusion (not to mention billions spent by us in security and defense), and do untold damage to our infrastructure.
The Ahmadiyya group quoted at the beginning of my essay seems to countenance the mainstream Islamic idea of a militant posture, under the guise of “self-defense” against “unjust oppression”. Because of that, their protestations to be more “peaceful” and “moderate” not only are not persuasive, but are positively harmful, because they tend to promote the false notion of a viably peaceful Islam and thus contribute to the disinformation that lulls Western Infidels with a false sense of intelligence about Islam, and a false sense of hope in its reformability. This mechanism is replicated and amplified by innumerable other types of Muslims deemed by the PC MC West to be peaceful and tolerant, with all caution about Muslims relegated and delimited to a tiny minority of extremists.
Furthermore, any data that can be adduced to show that militancy is a widespread idea in Islamic societies, and not as insignificant as the PC MC insists, is re-contextualized by the PC MC (and by their partners, the Muslim apologists) in terms of a vaguely romantic quasi-Che-Guevaresque image of guerilla “freedom fighters” fighting against “oppression” not signficantly different from our own Minutemen of our own American Revolution against oppression—with an attractive added spice that these Muslim Minutemen of our time are perceived to be “ethnic”, and therefore to be “respected” lest we be “bigoted” if not “racist” by showing any signs of criticism against their ways.
This Western model continues to predispose the West to continue to allow more and more millions of Muslims to infiltrate deep within the fabric of their societies, among which will be innumerable numbers of them all too ready—and all the more enabled—to plot horrific attacks against us in the coming decades: all in the name, of course, of the “defense of Islam”.
Muslims must give up the right of religious “defense”
Muslims: Poster Children of Third World Peoples