Bookworm Room 12/21/16 — the “don’t be afraid, it’s just Islam” edition

Islam ISIS one finger salute
Don’t let the bodiless head frighten you. Can’t you see that the Muslim is smiling?

Islam is in the news again, thanks to an ambassador’s death in Ankara and another truck jihad, this time in Berlin. I’ve got a few Islam-themed posts to share with you, all of which say that we should indeed be afraid, because it’s Islam.

Before I get to those posts, let me say that the Western fear of Islam is not tantamount to the German’s ginned up fear about Jews during the 1930s. Jews were peaceably living their lives throughout Europe, just as they had done for centuries. There were no terrorist attacks; there was no fiery rhetoric of conquest. There were antisemitic conspiracy theories that used invisible lines to connect imaginary dots.

With Islam the situation is different: Since 9/11, radical Muslims have been mobilized throughout the world. The Religion of Peace, which tracks murders committed explicitly in Islam’s name, says that there have been almost 30,000 of these Islamic-inspired attacks since 9/11. Please note, that number isn’t counting “deaths;” it’s counting “attacks.” Most of these attacks are aimed at creating mass deaths, whether in churches in Egypt, market stalls in Berlin, sidewalks and nightclubs in France, or quiet streets in Tel Aviv. Moreover, that number doesn’t even address ISIS’s depredations across increasingly larger swaths of the Middle East, nor does it look at what is essentially a raging Sunni-Shia war in Syria.

That we view Islam as dangerous is not the product of a fevered “Islamophobic” imagination; it is simply a matter of reading newspapers, noting the attacks, and noting how each is preceded by “Allahu Akbar,” and each is followed by a radical Islamist group (lately, ISIS), proudly taking responsibility for the death and bloodshed. With that in mind, here are some recent articles about the trouble with Islam.

Obama played into the terrorists’ hands. James E. Mitchell, who helped break the terrorists once America caught them (back in the Bush era), has a new book out: Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying To Destroy America. According to Daniel Greenfield, the book, which is based upon interviews with the terrorists themselves, can be summed up in pretty much a single sentence: Everything that Obama did vis-a-vis Islamic terrorism in the last eight years was wrong and only fed the beast.

One of the most pervasive myths was that Islamic terrorists actually wanted us to fight them and that we could only defeat them by ignoring them. The irrationality of the myth that terrorists wanted us to bomb and kill them was exceeded only by its persistence among experts and political officials.

Popularly known as “Playing into their hands”, the goal of this counterintuitive narrative was to make the ostrich approach appear prudent and masterful while flipping around patriotism by accusing national security hawks of playing into the hands of the terrorists by killing them.

Only the appeasers had the secret to defeating Islamic terrorism while the patriots were truly traitors.

Trump faced repeated accusation from Hillary and her proxies that he was playing into the hands of ISIS with calls to get tough on Islamic terrorism. And you can expect the smear that he’s playing into the hands of the terrorists by bombing and killing them to recur throughout his administration.

But the myth has been shredded by James E. Mitchell’s book, “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying To Destroy America.” As the man who helped the CIA break terrorists, Mitchell had written the “book” on effective methods for fighting Islamic terror. And now he actually wrote the book on what the terrorists really wanted and fear.

And no, they didn’t want to be bombed. We weren’t “playing into their hands” by killing them or by making it harder for them to come to America. It was the left that was playing into Al Qaeda’s hands.

And that still is.

We here at the Bookworm Room are not surprised, of course. We’ve frequently repeated the old British line about the Germans during WWI: “The Huns are either at your throat or at your feet.” By culture and religion, Muslims and Arabs are not into equality. They are intensely hierarchical and recognize only two positions in relationship to other people — up or down. When they’re up, they’re brutal; when they’re down, they grovel. We’ve allowed them to become too brutal of late.

A cautionary tale about Islam from . . . Seventeen Magazine! Almost a decade ago, Myrna Blyth wrote a great book, Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness — and Liberalism — to the Women of America, in which she detailed the way in which magazines aimed at women relentlessly press a hard-Left agenda on their readers. It’s gotten worse lately, with magazines aimed at teens among the worst offenders. They’re not talking fashion, make-up, and boys anymore. In the service of “empowerment,” they’re preaching racial divisions, gender fluidity, bed-hopping morality, and hatred for all things conservative.

That’s why it was a considerable surprise for me to read Yasmine Koenig’s first person narrative about the fact that her Palestinian family took her from Chicago to Ramallah when she was 15 and forced her to marry a much older man. The reason for what could have been a lifelong prison sentence (one already visited upon her sisters) was that she had dared to befriend a non-Muslim at school. Thinking about it, Yasmine was lucky she wasn’t killed to preserve the family’s honor.

Although the article is careful never to mention Islam in connection with Yasmine’s ordeal, the reality is that this practice is almost entirely limited to the Muslim community. Perhaps some young Seventeen readers will start to recognize a pattern….

And no, not all Muslims are like that. What Obama has done has been to side relentlessly with Muslim extremist groups, such as CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood, which not only empowers their radicalism, but also marginalizes the ones Obama claims to represent: Muslims who demand reform, such as the amazing Zuhdi Jasser and his organization, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Another person who deserves applause is Remona Aly, who embraces multiculturalism at Christmas time.

Considering that the main victims of Islamic violence are other Muslims, we are exceptionally cruel not to support those who believe in Western pluralism. Of course, this is precisely what our Progressive political class does with blacks too. They throw their weight behind the thugs, while doing the two things that will must hurt the thugs’ black victims: chasing police out of the communities and leaving the victims unarmed. But that’s another post entirely….

And what’s this about Muslim grievances? One of the things that invariably happens after a Muslim goes full jihad is that the Progressive media starts finding excuses for his or her behavior. The person has “grievances,” which the media implies are legitimate reasons for a person suddenly to decide to commit mass murder (unless the person, in the first — and always wrong — instance seems to be a conservative, in which case he is just evil). Raymond Ibrahim has strong words for the Progressive effort to suck Islam out of violent acts:

For about a decade now, I’ve argued that the “Muslim grievance” narrative is a myth meant to shield Islamic teachings from scrutiny. The “Muslim grievance” narrative goes like this: if Islam is a religion of peace yet Muslims everywhere are behaving violently, then the explanation we must all cling to is that they are really, really pissed off about something being done to them.

Most recently, the Islamic State, instead of disseminating and taking advantage of the “grievance” claim, could not have been clearer as they told the West the truth: no matter what the West does, the true reason ISIS hates and terrorizes us is because we are infidels.

Millions of Muslims — including Artan — do harbor strong grievances against the West and others. The problem is that they define “grievance” in a manner incompatible with liberty.

Remember, though, that people can change. I always enjoy the stories that occasionally crop up about Muslims who do manage to back away from the hatred. Here’s one such story. It does remind us that people are malleable and can change. But pretending that they’re not evil or accepting manifestly false “change” stories only makes things worse.

Islam is a dragon. Dex Quire likens Islam to a fire-breathing dragon, albeit one that can be taught to fear civilized man. It’s a useful and elegant analogy.

More later (I hope).