Robert Small's Islam

Andrew G. Bostom

Robert Small's new exercise in "Islam policy" conveniently ignores my detailed rebuttal of his initial presentation whose linchpin was that the Indonesian Nadhlatul Ulama (NU) party represented the apotheosis of Islamic "moderation." As I pointed out, Small's earlier claim was made because of an inadequate historical understanding of the NU on his part. NU's 1926 foundational principles which sanction Sharia-based Islamic supremacism, were reiterated and acted upon during the subsequent decades, through the present, resulting in such "moderate" outcomes as mass murderous jihadism against Indonesian non-Muslims (ethnic Chinese; Christians), and its ongoing avowed support for female genital mutilation, is "contributing" to rates of this misogynistic barbarity at well over 90% among Indonesian Muslim women.

Not addressing those sad realities -- which shatter his premise altogether -- Small now "replies" by focusing on the personal probity of former President Wahid. But Small's latest "Wahid-centric" line of "argument" simply reinforces what I previously demonstrated about the NU -- and Small's own inadequate presentation of basic facts which undermine his assumptions. When, in 1984, Wahid assumed the leadership of the NU (which his grandfather had founded) he (according to Leftist political scientist John Sidel) apparently was remorseful about (and thus acknowledging!) "the role of NU activists in the anti-Communist pogroms of 1965-66." Fast forward a decade and a half later to Wahid's assumption of Indonesia's Presidency, largely via the support of a consortium of Muslim parties known as the Central Axis -- an "axis" which had rallied the Muslim masses for the 1990s jihad campaigns against the Christian minorities in Poso and Maluku.

When Wahid, in the eyes of the Muslim Central Axis "betrayed" their support, these Muslim parties spearheaded a successful campaign (in 2000-2001) to initially censure then President Wahid, and ultimately, compel his removal from office. Thus Small's latest revisionism fails to account for what these facts clearly indicate: Wahid was an outlier within both his own "traditionalist" NU Islamic party (which he felt compelled to attempt to "reform"), and more broadly, Indonesian Islam itself, and was ultimately rejected for failing to support the longstanding goal of Indonesia's full, jihad-based Islamization.

Small ignores what a serious scholar of modern Indonesia, and its post-Dutch colonial Islamic revival, Harry J. Benda (who helped establish a graduate program in Southeast Asian Studies at Yale University) observed astutely in 1958:

 

[The] political significance of Indonesian Islam, including Javanese Islam, stems in no small measure from the fact that in Islam the borderline between religion and politics is, at best very thin. Islam is a way of life as much as a religion...[Islam] does not recognize the existence of independent, secular realms of life...Separation of religion and politics, in other words, was, at best a temporary phenomenon of Islam in decline. In an era of Islamic awakening, it could not survive for long, either in independent Muslim lands or in Islamic areas ruled by non-Muslims.

 

But Small puts forth, recklessly, this uninformed and pejorative non-sequitur about me:

 

His [Bostom's] simple model surrenders Islam to the Islamists, which is ultimately self-defeating because it offers no counter-strategy except resistance.

 

An extensive publication record -- two lengthy, copiously documented, published books (The Legacy of Jihad, and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism), and a third, nearly completed and due out in 2012 (Sharia Versus Freedom -- The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism), plus numerous essays and commentaries (mostly, here, here, here, here, here, and here) -- thoroughly debunks, Small's mischaracterization of my evidence-based ideas.

Refusing to kowtow to post-modern, ahistorical apologetics about mainstream Islam -- both its very broadly supported doctrines, and nearly 14 century history, graphically reflecting how those doctrines have been actualized -- undergirds, my realistic, evidence-based approach to dealings with the Muslim world. Unlike Small's approach, my worldview is shaped by the irrefragable reality of what Islam, not "Islamism", inculcates, and Muslims, not "Islamists", abide, in overwhelming numbers. How would Small's "policy formulation" deal, in contrast, with the 78% of Pakistani's, 86% of Jordanians, and 84% of Egyptians who adamantly reject basic freedom of conscience, and support killing so-called "apostates" from Islam? (Data on less draconian "punishments" for apostasy -- a "crime" that does not even exist outside of Islamdom-such as imprisonment, beating, the annulment of marriage, loss of parental rights, and disinheritance, were not collected, but would likely have been even more "popular", within those countries across the Islamic world.) Does Small honestly believe those representative, vast Muslim majorities are hapless victims of "modern Islamism", somehow "abetted" by the "dark hand of Bostom's model" -- not -- reality/sanity check -- pious Muslims adhering to unbowdlerized, mainstream Islam, as preached and practiced for a continuum of nearly 1400 years?

Rather than engaging in defamatory projection regarding my views, I would encourage Small to -- wait for it -- actually read what I have written, extensively, about combating all forms of jihadism and Islamization -- military and cultural -- while upholding Western freedom.

Finally, although I have certainly amplified my own views on these matters in the interim (including related discussions about harvesting our vast domestic resources of shale oil, natural gas, and coal, as well as related analyses of the embarrassing [i.e., to real scientists] sham "science" of anthropogenic warming), here are my comments from a 2003 book review of Raphael Israeli's "Islamikaze", endorsing his (my shared) policy recommendations vis a vis the Islamic Ummah.

 

The author concludes with a most unique and unflinching prescription for how Western democracies should respond to the Islamikaze threat. He proposes the creation of an Alliance of Western and Democratic States (AWADS), consisting of a nucleus of the United States, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe (and these core nations can sponsor other countries proven to conform to its rules and standards), with the following six avowed "rules of engagement": 

  • The importation into AWADS nations from Muslim countries of cultural commodities and assets-books, movies, art shows and exhibits, performing arts groups, clerics and missionaries, print media or audio/video tapes- must also be reciprocal, contingent upon the unrestricted flow of similar AWADS assets into Muslim countries- and all such assets will be required by law to be devoid of messages that disseminate hate 
  • Strict control of immigration from Muslim countries without reliance on the "efforts" of the countries of origin, who have shown neither the will nor the means to stop this massive flow, much of it already illegal. This policy should include interception and routine unceremonious repatriation of the illegal immigrants themselves, and expulsion from AWADS nations of those who assist them.
  • Reciprocal arrangements for controlled immigration, tourism and educational exchanges between Muslim countries and AWADS nations to guarantee equivalent, unimpeded bilateral flow- Muslim nationals to AWADS, AWADS nationals to Muslim countries- devoid of characteristic Muslim discriminatory regulations towards other races, faiths, or nationalities.
  • Rendering various forms of economic, technical/infrastructural, health, agricultural, and educational assistance by AWADS to Muslim countries contingent upon basic conditions met by the applicants, including: accountability; progress in human rights; meaningful efforts at population control; renunciation of force/violence in dealing with other nations/communities; and monitoring and controlling incitement to hatred and violence in mosques and media outlets.
  • Terminating all military assistance and weapons sales by AWADS to non-member states, supplemented by a policy that any weapons-manufacturing third party which sells or transfers weapons to those regimes will itself forfeit the right to deal with AWADS members.
  • Mosque construction, as well as the building of other Muslim institutions in AWADS nations, particularly projects funded by Saudi Arabia, will be contingent upon reciprocal arrangements to construct religious institutions for other faiths in Muslim nations, including each country situated on the Arabian peninsula, and the binding commitment by all parties- AWADS and non-members of AWADS-that no incitement or hatred will be propagated in any of these religious institutions.

Writing almost 90 years ago, in 1922, the historian Louis Bertrand chastised Western governments, who, in their interactions with Islamic societies, tried "to appear more Musulman (Muslim) than they (the Muslims) themselves", warning,

 

...The times are too serious for us to engage any longer in the antics of dilettantism and played-out impressionism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small and those would be policymakers who share his mindset need to rapidly cease and desist their own similarly delusive "antics of dilettantism and played-out impressionism."

Robert Small's new exercise in "Islam policy" conveniently ignores my detailed rebuttal of his initial presentation whose linchpin was that the Indonesian Nadhlatul Ulama (NU) party represented the apotheosis of Islamic "moderation." As I pointed out, Small's earlier claim was made because of an inadequate historical understanding of the NU on his part. NU's 1926 foundational principles which sanction Sharia-based Islamic supremacism, were reiterated and acted upon during the subsequent decades, through the present, resulting in such "moderate" outcomes as mass murderous jihadism against Indonesian non-Muslims (ethnic Chinese; Christians), and its ongoing avowed support for female genital mutilation, is "contributing" to rates of this misogynistic barbarity at well over 90% among Indonesian Muslim women.

Not addressing those sad realities -- which shatter his premise altogether -- Small now "replies" by focusing on the personal probity of former President Wahid. But Small's latest "Wahid-centric" line of "argument" simply reinforces what I previously demonstrated about the NU -- and Small's own inadequate presentation of basic facts which undermine his assumptions. When, in 1984, Wahid assumed the leadership of the NU (which his grandfather had founded) he (according to Leftist political scientist John Sidel) apparently was remorseful about (and thus acknowledging!) "the role of NU activists in the anti-Communist pogroms of 1965-66." Fast forward a decade and a half later to Wahid's assumption of Indonesia's Presidency, largely via the support of a consortium of Muslim parties known as the Central Axis -- an "axis" which had rallied the Muslim masses for the 1990s jihad campaigns against the Christian minorities in Poso and Maluku.

When Wahid, in the eyes of the Muslim Central Axis "betrayed" their support, these Muslim parties spearheaded a successful campaign (in 2000-2001) to initially censure then President Wahid, and ultimately, compel his removal from office. Thus Small's latest revisionism fails to account for what these facts clearly indicate: Wahid was an outlier within both his own "traditionalist" NU Islamic party (which he felt compelled to attempt to "reform"), and more broadly, Indonesian Islam itself, and was ultimately rejected for failing to support the longstanding goal of Indonesia's full, jihad-based Islamization.

Small ignores what a serious scholar of modern Indonesia, and its post-Dutch colonial Islamic revival, Harry J. Benda (who helped establish a graduate program in Southeast Asian Studies at Yale University) observed astutely in 1958:

 

[The] political significance of Indonesian Islam, including Javanese Islam, stems in no small measure from the fact that in Islam the borderline between religion and politics is, at best very thin. Islam is a way of life as much as a religion...[Islam] does not recognize the existence of independent, secular realms of life...Separation of religion and politics, in other words, was, at best a temporary phenomenon of Islam in decline. In an era of Islamic awakening, it could not survive for long, either in independent Muslim lands or in Islamic areas ruled by non-Muslims.

 

But Small puts forth, recklessly, this uninformed and pejorative non-sequitur about me:

 

His [Bostom's] simple model surrenders Islam to the Islamists, which is ultimately self-defeating because it offers no counter-strategy except resistance.

 

An extensive publication record -- two lengthy, copiously documented, published books (The Legacy of Jihad, and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism), and a third, nearly completed and due out in 2012 (Sharia Versus Freedom -- The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism), plus numerous essays and commentaries (mostly, here, here, here, here, here, and here) -- thoroughly debunks, Small's mischaracterization of my evidence-based ideas.

Refusing to kowtow to post-modern, ahistorical apologetics about mainstream Islam -- both its very broadly supported doctrines, and nearly 14 century history, graphically reflecting how those doctrines have been actualized -- undergirds, my realistic, evidence-based approach to dealings with the Muslim world. Unlike Small's approach, my worldview is shaped by the irrefragable reality of what Islam, not "Islamism", inculcates, and Muslims, not "Islamists", abide, in overwhelming numbers. How would Small's "policy formulation" deal, in contrast, with the 78% of Pakistani's, 86% of Jordanians, and 84% of Egyptians who adamantly reject basic freedom of conscience, and support killing so-called "apostates" from Islam? (Data on less draconian "punishments" for apostasy -- a "crime" that does not even exist outside of Islamdom-such as imprisonment, beating, the annulment of marriage, loss of parental rights, and disinheritance, were not collected, but would likely have been even more "popular", within those countries across the Islamic world.) Does Small honestly believe those representative, vast Muslim majorities are hapless victims of "modern Islamism", somehow "abetted" by the "dark hand of Bostom's model" -- not -- reality/sanity check -- pious Muslims adhering to unbowdlerized, mainstream Islam, as preached and practiced for a continuum of nearly 1400 years?

Rather than engaging in defamatory projection regarding my views, I would encourage Small to -- wait for it -- actually read what I have written, extensively, about combating all forms of jihadism and Islamization -- military and cultural -- while upholding Western freedom.

Finally, although I have certainly amplified my own views on these matters in the interim (including related discussions about harvesting our vast domestic resources of shale oil, natural gas, and coal, as well as related analyses of the embarrassing [i.e., to real scientists] sham "science" of anthropogenic warming), here are my comments from a 2003 book review of Raphael Israeli's "Islamikaze", endorsing his (my shared) policy recommendations vis a vis the Islamic Ummah.

 

The author concludes with a most unique and unflinching prescription for how Western democracies should respond to the Islamikaze threat. He proposes the creation of an Alliance of Western and Democratic States (AWADS), consisting of a nucleus of the United States, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe (and these core nations can sponsor other countries proven to conform to its rules and standards), with the following six avowed "rules of engagement": 

  • The importation into AWADS nations from Muslim countries of cultural commodities and assets-books, movies, art shows and exhibits, performing arts groups, clerics and missionaries, print media or audio/video tapes- must also be reciprocal, contingent upon the unrestricted flow of similar AWADS assets into Muslim countries- and all such assets will be required by law to be devoid of messages that disseminate hate 
  • Strict control of immigration from Muslim countries without reliance on the "efforts" of the countries of origin, who have shown neither the will nor the means to stop this massive flow, much of it already illegal. This policy should include interception and routine unceremonious repatriation of the illegal immigrants themselves, and expulsion from AWADS nations of those who assist them.
  • Reciprocal arrangements for controlled immigration, tourism and educational exchanges between Muslim countries and AWADS nations to guarantee equivalent, unimpeded bilateral flow- Muslim nationals to AWADS, AWADS nationals to Muslim countries- devoid of characteristic Muslim discriminatory regulations towards other races, faiths, or nationalities.
  • Rendering various forms of economic, technical/infrastructural, health, agricultural, and educational assistance by AWADS to Muslim countries contingent upon basic conditions met by the applicants, including: accountability; progress in human rights; meaningful efforts at population control; renunciation of force/violence in dealing with other nations/communities; and monitoring and controlling incitement to hatred and violence in mosques and media outlets.
  • Terminating all military assistance and weapons sales by AWADS to non-member states, supplemented by a policy that any weapons-manufacturing third party which sells or transfers weapons to those regimes will itself forfeit the right to deal with AWADS members.
  • Mosque construction, as well as the building of other Muslim institutions in AWADS nations, particularly projects funded by Saudi Arabia, will be contingent upon reciprocal arrangements to construct religious institutions for other faiths in Muslim nations, including each country situated on the Arabian peninsula, and the binding commitment by all parties- AWADS and non-members of AWADS-that no incitement or hatred will be propagated in any of these religious institutions.

Writing almost 90 years ago, in 1922, the historian Louis Bertrand chastised Western governments, who, in their interactions with Islamic societies, tried "to appear more Musulman (Muslim) than they (the Muslims) themselves", warning,

 

...The times are too serious for us to engage any longer in the antics of dilettantism and played-out impressionism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small and those would be policymakers who share his mindset need to rapidly cease and desist their own similarly delusive "antics of dilettantism and played-out impressionism."