Seeing In Islam What You Want to See

First, secularists used Islam to expose the illiberality of Christians in the West:

“If we do not bind together as partners with others in other countries then this conflict is only going to metastasize,” said Steve Bannon in 2014. He was referring to a conflict he perceived between “Judeo-Christian values” and “Islamic fascism.” Speaking to a conference held at the Vatican, he seemed to call for Christian traditionalists of all stripes to join together in a coalition for the sake of waging a holy war against Islam.

The rhetoric of a looming civilizational war has proved persistent. Recent years have seen religious leaders from both the American Christian community and the Russian Orthodox community coming together to bemoan the decline of traditional values. One example is the 2015 Moscow meeting between Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Franklin Graham, son of the evangelist Billy Graham. The Patriarch lamented to Graham how, after decades of inspiring underground believers in the Soviet Union with its defense of religious freedom, the West has abandoned the shared “common Christian moral values” that are the bedrock of a universal “Christian civilization.”

Now, Neo-Calvinists use Islam to expose secular liberalism’s intolerance:

I submit that the Muslim schoolgirl who walks into her classroom with a simple scarf atop her head is performing a critical democratic function—one we should all be thankful for. Whether she knows it or not, she is offering a distinct contribution and precious gift to Western democracy.

Her hijab is doing the critical work of exposing several viruses growing at the heart of Western democratic culture: racism, colonialism, anti‐religious bigotry, cultural insecurity, and fear. Each of these viruses is potential deadly to the democratic experiment, and she is exposing all of them.

What is missing here is that secular liberals and Neo-Calvinists share far more in common than either group does with Muslims. Both liberalism and Neo-Calvinism emerged out of a Christian West that had no place for Islam and regarded the Ottomans, for instance, as an alien civilization. Secular liberals and Neo-Calvinists came down on different sides of the French Revolution, liberals for and Neo-Calvinists against. But both were not favorable to Islam. Secularists wanted to remove religious influences from public life (hence banning hijabs). Neo-Calvinists wanted/want to restore religion to public life and recognize God (the Triune one) as the foundation for civilizational advance (hence opposition to secular liberalism and false religion). In both cases, Islam is not an ally of secular liberalism or of Neo-Calvinism.

So why do those historically at odds with Oriental religion and society and currently distinct from Islamic culture think they have a friend in Islam? Is it really as simple as any enemy of President Trump is a friend of mine?

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10 thoughts on “Seeing In Islam What You Want to See

  1. Maybe today for the Left, whatever is historically/culturally of the West is the problem, i.e. the evil to be rejected. Islam is not of the West therefore…

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  2. There is a third option between Secular liberalism’s abolishing religion in society and Transformationalism’s restoring some level of Christian Paternalism over society. That third level was promoted by Martin Luther King Jr. But what is interesting about King is that while liberals and some conservatives rush to celebrate him, neither group follows King past his working against racism.

    As for the title, there is a third group to mention that sees what it wants to see in Islam. That group is represented by one passerby who stopped her car to tell me that all Muslims want to kill us. I responded with saying that I know several Muslims but that Hasn’t been my experience. Those conservatives who Islam as only a threat also see what they want to in Islam. Only what they look for is unrelated to the discussion above.

    BTW for all their errors in terms of supporting White Supremacy and, in Madison’s case, economic class rule, Jefferson and Madison want Muslims and other non-Judeo Christian followers to feel at home in the US.

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  3. Islam is less a threat than Islamophobia?

    Imagine if Saturday’s three London Bridge killers had been British Nationalist party thugs, ramming their car through a Pakistani neighborhood. Would a single decent person have heard the news and immediately said, “Well, this number of dead people is statistically insignificant compared to those that die in car accidents. These punks can’t threaten our society!” Would anyone have asked, “Why are we talking about the killer’s politics? There are thousands of gun murders in America every year and those killers don’t have their politics talked about.” Would they have felt like singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” the next morning to conjure up a vision of a day when people of all political creeds can get along?

    We all know the answer.

    And yet, even before the victims on London Bridge had stopped bleeding, this was the reaction among society’s best, brightest and most morally self-assured members on social media. The pattern is by now familiar. Even as an Islamic terrorist killer’s proclamations about Allah’s will are still ringing in victims’ ears, these individuals are already declaring that the true danger from the attack is an Islamophobic backlash, and that you’re more likely to die by drowning in your own swimming pool than from a terrorist attack.

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  4. We might want to note that family members of some of these terrorists have attributed these terrorist acts to the politics that the West practices in Muslim nations. Indeed, that attribution also came from interviews with Al Qaeda after 9/11.

    The first mover in Islamic terrorist attacks against the West has been Western intervention in Muslim nations. Noting that doesn’t is not an attempt to justify the attacks. It is simply saying that if we want to address this kind of terrorism, then we should look at the whole picture.

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  5. D.G.,
    Which is exactly why for not showing empathy to other victims. But we should also realize that some have been exploited more than we have.

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  6. D.G.,
    Didn’t fully edit my last comment. So I will rewrite it.


    Which is exactly why there is not excuse for not showing empathy to other victims.

    Think I will eat breakfast before writing other comment.

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