As the Arab Spring model implodes in the Middle East, it is even more urgent that the West understand that behind this ongoing violence is the inexorable Muslim adherence to sharia law. Sharia is the unremitting lodestar for their actions.
In his latest magisterial work, entitled Sharia versus Freedom: The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism, Dr. Andrew Bostom adds another enlightening tome to supplement The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims (2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism (2008).
Honest scholarship in our politically correct world is a hard commodity to find. Thus, a debt is owed to Bostom for his continuing contributions as he give numerous examples to prove that it is the “centrality of Islamic jihadism” (26) that motivates, inspires, instigates, arouses, and stirs its adherents toward the unrelenting goal of a global caliphate. During the recent Ramadan, for example, there were 260 jihad attacks in 23 countries, with 1,209 dead and 1,910 critically injured. The so-called religion of peace is extraordinarily bloody, yet leaders of the free world prevaricate about its violence.
The culture of death, destruction, and deceit that is Islam is painstakingly exposed by Bostom. The deep and abiding anti-Jewish animus in Islam is shown to be integral to Islam. Neither a byproduct of Western anti-Semitism nor a result of alleged Western imperialism, to say nothing of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Muslim-inspired anti-Jewish sentiment actually dates back to before 869 A.D.
Bostom affirms that this legacy of “Muslim anti-Jewish hatred and violence” is not some aberrant vision of radical Islam, but rather is “rooted in mainstream, orthodox Islamic teachings” (83). Bostom explodes the oft-repeated idea that “Islam’s society’s hostility is non-theological” and “not related to any specific Islamic doctrine” (74). He proves that, a thousand years before any “serious colonial penetration of the region” (38) could influence views about Jews, there is evidence that Jews were hated by the Muslims because they stubbornly denied Muhammad’s message.
In fact, the Jews of the period even “coined their own terms for hatred directed at them by Muslims” (38). Jews used the terms sinuth for Muslim hatred of Jews and sone for the Muslim hater, thus confirming that Islamic anti-Jewish hatred existed a millennium ago.
Another myth central to the discussion of Islam is that Jews and Christians — i.e., dhimmis — were well-treated. Blasting the oft-repeated notion of cordial Muslim relations toward Jewish and Christian subjects in Muslim-dominated Spain, Bostom cites one pogrom after another within the Muslim world, and he underscores that Koran 9:111 “provides an unequivocal, celebratory invocation of martyrdom during jihad” (82).
Repeatedly, Bostom examines the “contract of the jizya” or “dhimma,” which “encompasses … obligatory and recommended obligations for the conquered non-Muslim” (70). In the last thirty years, Europe has not withstood the onslaught of Muslims, who deliberately do not assimilate into society, who demand that the countries in which they reside bend to Islamic will, who hysterically call for sharia-imposed judicial decisions, who have made sharia-controlled zones that even police are afraid to enter, who have relegated women to second-class status, and who intimidate and threaten their host governments with violence.
As Bostom emphasizes, each time that Islam gains ascendancy in an area, such transition to dhimmi status results in enslavement, forcible conversion to Islam, and death to the non-believer.
It is no exaggeration to state that there is an ongoing ideological war against the West. In only thirty years, European support for “common Euro-Arab positions” now finds itself in a perpetual state of “dhimmitude and rabid Judeophobia” (170). For example, Muslims living in Germany believe that the “German Constitution [is] irreconcilable” with the Koran (172). Muslim immigrants who demand European welfare benefits actually view these entitlements as a form of jizya to be paid by dhimmis, aka the host country (188).
Particularly revelatory is the chapter entitled “Sayonara Shari’a: Japanese Lessons, Lost?,” where Bostom relates that after World War II, “under stern American guidance” (440), Japan was forced to delegitimize its state religion of Shintoism. In other words, the state would no longer be able to impose religious belief; nonetheless, the practice of Shintoism as a “private, demilitarized, and depoliticized personal faith” was protected (441). Individual religious liberty was maintained but could not be imposed upon the general populace.
Sadly, this lesson, which produced a vibrant Japanese reconstruction while protecting individual rights, has been entirely ignored following the U.S.-led military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Rather than neutralizing the bellicose religious-political-economic creed of Islam, we have actually helped to promote sharia imposition.
How galling it is to learn that there is a tried and true antidote to counter the totalitarianism of state-imposed religion, but that the West ignores it? It is vital to note that there “has never been a sharia state in history that has not discriminated … against the non Muslims (and Muslim women) under its suzerainty” (447).
Islam refuses to reform. Thus, it consigns its followers as well as non-Muslims to an existence where no “freedom of conscience” can occur. The modern-day sermons of jihadists receive their script lines from the ideas of a thousand years ago. Islam, by its very nature, is unyielding.