Are Western Apologists for Islam Today’s ‘Useful Idiots’?
The early Muhammad, like the early Marx, sounded like a hippie.
Every day, in little ways and big, each of us faces the choice: Between illusion and truth. Comfort and courage. Between getting patted on the back or looking yourself in the mirror.
The French have made their choice. Confronted with monthly terror attacks, large sections of major cities “no-go” zones for police and women not wearing hijabs, and agents of ISIS infiltrating “refugee” groups, the voters of France overwhelmingly chose … surrender.
They rejected an imperfect candidate, Marine Le Pen, with a plausible and moral plan for containing the cancer of radical Islam. Instead, they picked Emmanuel Macron, an off-the-shelf crony socialist who favors open borders and denies that “French culture” exists.
That nation’s largest Catholic newspaper, La Croix, endorsed Macron, and the head of the French church welcomed his election. Meanwhile, Catholics in Iraq and jihadist-occupied Syria face burned and blackened churches, and life in refugee camps.
Just Cowards and Fools?
What’s the difference between Islam as seen by French Catholics, and by Iraqi ones? Are Christians who believe that Islam is a “religion of peace” simply … cowards and fools?
It’s a tempting conclusion. It easy to think the same of Western liberals who defend “Marxist theory” while squirming at Communist crimes. Indeed, Communists themselves used to call such people “useful idiots.” Both timidity and stupidity surely play their part.
But even those evils need something to work with. In the case of Communism, Westerners who sneered at “primitive anti-Communism” would insist that the “idealistic” Karl Marx was betrayed by Communist movements. Blood-soaked rulers like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot or even Lenin. … They were never real Marxists at all.
Every single time Marxism has ever been tried in the real world the results are the same: Famine, tyranny, and slaughter. But that doesn’t disprove the theory.
Yes, every single time Marxism has ever been tried in the real world the results are the same: Famine, tyranny and slaughter. But that doesn’t disprove the theory. Go back and read the early writings of Marx, when he sounded like a liberal. Look at the vaporous utopia he promises. Why, it doesn’t even have a State! That “withers away” at some point, right about the time that everyone willingly gives up his private property. Then he works hard every day just for the common good. Then the chorus of “Kumbaya” breaks out from grateful billions. And everybody’s happy. No need for secret police, gulags or psychiatric prisons. Or even for “opiates” like Jesus.
That’s the real Marxism. You know, the one Marx daydreamed about before he even led a movement. Which only ever existed inside his head. The version millions lived through, out in the grubby world of actual people and places, which tyrannized half the planet. … That was the illusion. Okay? Have you got that, students? It will be on your final exam.
Doublethink on Islam
The same kind of doublethink prevails concerning Islam, and it’s equally hard to fathom. Apart, that is, from cynical explanations like faint-heartedness and folly.
But we do know what materials this self-delusion works with. That comes courtesy of a prominent Jesuit Catholic priest, Father Henri Boulad. Unlike the bishops of France, Fr. Boulad has lived for decades in a majority-Muslim country, Egypt. In fact, he was the leader of all the Jesuit priests in Egypt.
According to Agenda Europe, Fr. Boulad has responded to the elections in France and the rise of Islam in Europe … by seeking citizenship in Hungary. That country’s conservative president Viktor Orbán, has refused to accept Muslim refugees — to the loud condemnation of leaders in the EU and the Church. As Agenda Europe reports:
With accepting Hungarian citizenship, he wanted to “signal that the country has made the right decision on the issue of the migration crisis that threatens the existence of Europe,” said Boulad. “I would like to (…) fight for the future and for the Christian values on the side of Hungary and Viktor Orbán.”
Cherry-Picking the Quran
Boulad explained in his comments the source of Western self-deceptions over Islam, especially in Catholic circles. Essentially, those who wish to think the best of Islam, whose fear of “xenophobia” overpowers their rational faculties, have plenty of material to work with. They can draw on the part of the Quran that Muhammad supposedly received while he lived in Mecca. At that point, he was still a marginal, little-heeded mystical preacher, surrounded by pagans. And his message was one of tolerance, and peaceful coexistence among Muslims, Christians and Jews.
The same kind of doublethink prevails concerning Islam, and it’s equally hard to fathom.
It was only later, once he ruled the nearby city of Medina as an absolute monarch, that Muhammad starting hearing very different messages. Now they told him to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them.” Now the messages began to include harsh condemnations of non-Muslims. They called for Islamic wars of conquest. Now Paradise was the reward for those who died in the course of jihad, while those who lived could keep the goods and the women whom they captured. Yes, plunder and sex slaves. As ISIS points out: It’s right there in the Quran.
Much more appears in the Hadith, dubious collections of supposed verbal traditions going back to Muhammad, which Arab scholars compiled centuries later. These filled in all the details of law, government and social control that were missing from the Quran — an infuriatingly vague and hard-to-understand document, whose first written versions only appeared long after Muhammad’s death. For useful, approachable books on the murky origins of Islam, see Tom Holland’s In the Shadow of the Sword, or the more provocative Did Muhammad Exist? by Robert Spencer.
We Are All Sufis Now
Wherever Islam really came from, or whatever happy visions danced in the Prophet’s head while he was still powerless, we know what happened next. Likewise, we know what came of Karl Marx’s youthful social justice fantasies. But if you want to avoid conflict, or seem more sophisticated than the “bigots” or “Bourgeois” around you, you can latch onto the early stuff. That is a religion of peace, just as Marx’s early scribblings talked a lot about “freedom.”
This cherry-picking is what most Christian clergy seem to be doing, Fr. Boulad warned. Except, of course, for Christians in Muslim nations, who oddly have a very different view of Islam. You know, the way the Polish Karol Wotyjla (later Pope John Paul II) had a different take on Marxism than lefty priests living in Paris.
In fact, Fr. Boulad even traces the etymology of Christian self-delusion over Islam. Boulad cites as the main source of Catholic Islamophilia,
French Islamologist Louis Massignon (1883-1962), for whom mystical Sufism had meant the essence of Islam. Islam, however, historically chose not the “Meccan,” but the “Medinian,” path that still determines it: “The suras of the Koran that threaten so-called unbelievers with violence and jihad, are from the Medina period, while the more tolerant, mystic suras stem from the Mecca period. Rome does not understand this, and the Christians of the East, who know Islam from the inside, are not asked, they are put to the side” [Boulad said].
Peaceful Muslims living in Western countries probably do the same thing in their heads that Massignon did. They focus on the early stuff, and shrug off its ugly sequels. We should be grateful for that. But the more time their kids spend in Saudi-funded mosques, or on the Internet, the more likely they are to find out the truth about Islam, at least as it’s preached by all its major religious authorities, in every Muslim country. Just like Marxism, by its fruits we shall know it.