Monday, June 21, 2010
Playing Six Degrees of Separation from Sayyid Qutb
Recently, a journalist named Adam Serwer attempted an argument against those who object to the Ground Zero Mosque. In one part of his attempted argument, Adam Serwer does have a point, though it is somewhat obscured by his sloppy locution:
"Why bother trying to play six degrees of Sayyid Qutb if you ultimately believe all Muslims are terrorists anyway?"
The sloppy part is the T word ("terrorists").
That aside, it is a point made valid by the continuing incoherence of the Anti-Islam Movement (such as it is).
The incoherence in question involves a fiddling back and forth between two stances:
1) massively implying that Islam itself and by logical consequence all Muslims who support Islam (and how many Muslims don't support Islam? and even if there existed such a strange animal, how would we identify and locate it?) are to be condemned as antithetical, yea positively deadly, to our societies;
2) explicitly at every point shrinking back from the boldly universal stance of #1 in order to attempt to parse some kind of localized condemnation of this, that and the other Muslim, or this, that and the other Islamic institution, or this, that and the other Islamic country.
Part and parcel with this basic incoherence is a curious incomprehension most in the Anti-Islam Movement (such as it is) persist in indulging -- namely, while on the one hand they massively imply the universal stance of #1, they scratch their heads in bafflement as to why people recoil from their implication. One reason for this bafflement so common among those in the Anti-Islam Movement (such as it is) is that they apparently sincerely believe in the softer stance of #2 and will not, or cannot, take intellectual responsibility for the implication of #1 they are otherwise, without even really realizing it, massively defending.
I say it's time for us in the Anti-Islam Movement (such as it is) to stop fiddling with loopholes and wiggle room afforded by the simultaneous presentation of the Large Print Giveth of Condemnation of Islam & Muslims, on the one hand and, on the other hand, the Small Print of Finding Muslims to Save From Our Condemnation.
Sometimes this other hand of the Small Print is motivated by a concern to avoid the wrath of our PC MC masters; other times it is motivated by a sincere disinclination -- if not a moral repugnance -- to condemn an entire People and their culture. More often than not, it seems to be an incoherent melange of both.
The Adam Serwers of the world (and they continue to outnumber us) have a point when, in so many words, they ask of us -- "Are you against the Ground Zero Mosque because the friend of a friend of a cousin of a nephew of its proponent, Imam Rauf, was a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood? Or are you against it because it's an Islamic mosque and because Imam Rauf is, simply... a Muslim...?"
Too many in the Anti-Islam Movement (such as it is) waffle back and forth between these two. Let's stop playing Six Degrees of Separation. The shortest distance between two points is a line -- but too many dots complicate the trajectory. The two points are, in this instance:
Islam --> Ground Zero Mosque.
Muslim --> Imam Rauf.
And what is still implicit needs to be rendered explicit:
Islam and Muslim: Unacceptable.
"Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand is doing" may be a sound principle in in its original context of Christian charity -- but in the context of our primary concern, the safety of our societies, it becomes a most uncharitable dictum.