Is Islamic Reform Possible?

In “Reform Islam or Live the ‘New Normal’ Forever,” Roger Simon argues that Donald Trump’s often frustrated travel ban on problematic countries, though not illegal, is insufficient. “It's only a meager beginning in dealing with a situation that has not changed in any real sense since 9/11, as the events in New York Tuesday testify. If we do not move even more seriously to prevent them, they will indeed become the ‘new normal.’ ” The violence, he continues, “will never be squelched until the ideology is defeated and reformed… We must all now be obnoxious, politically incorrect busybodies and get in Islam's face, demanding reform in every way possible, economically, socially, theologically and, yes, militarily.”

This is a bravely unpopular stance to adopt vis à vis Islam that will surely be opposed and condemned by progressivists and offended Muslims. In fact, however, it does not go nearly far enough. Islam is a notoriously resistant and tentacular faith. I have long argued in book and article that Islam cannot be reformed. For starters, it features no single “pontifical” authority that could institute real change. Moreover, the canonical network is too intricate and too vast to admit of effective modification. Expurgating the Koran, were it even possible, is only the tip of the sand dune. The hundreds of thousands of Hadith would need to be reviewed and amended, as would the Sunnah and Sirah, the five schools of jurisprudence, Twelver Shia, centuries of ulemic literature, and the underlying cultural predispositions, beliefs, ideals, and orthodox practices that form the bedrock of 57 Muslim nations and the West’s Muslim populations.

Tightening immigration protocols, as Trump is valiantly trying to do, may be a welcome step in the right direction, but it cannot meaningfully address the problem of jihadist violence or creeping Islamization. Ilana Mercer reminds us that “Religion is The Risk Factor, not chaotic countries-of-origin... The data show that young, second-generation Muslims are well-represented among terrorists acting out almost weekly across the West.”  

Trump’s initiative, then, would not have prevented truck-ramming Sayfullo Saipov, a legal Uzbek immigrant, from killing eight Americans; nor would it have prevented American Muslims, immigrant or native-born, such as the Fort Hood shooter, the San Bernardino couple, and the Orlando gay nightclub killer, from wreaking carnage and mayhem. The “new normal” will persist for the soldiers of Islam are already among us. Their agenda has been materially facilitated by a treasonable left-wing constituency and pandering political class in Europe and America, by the sentimental tolerance of current liberalism, and by the general ignorance of the tenets, doctrines and usages of Islam.

What is to be done? To begin with, we should stop all Muslim immigration to our shores for the foreseeable future, not just a selective minority from terror-sponsoring countries. Additionally, every mosque must be scrupulously investigated and many permanently closed, for it is among these putative houses of worship, as David Yurashalmi and Mordechai Kedar have shown in a Middle East Quarterly essay Shari’a and Violence in American Mosques,” that terror breeds unabated. Of course, there are peaceable and “moderate” Muslims who wish only to get on with their lives. But as Bruce Bawer has cogently argued in an article treating of the Tariq Ramadan rape case, the “codes of Islam” are endemic and those who continue “to identify as a Muslim” while rejecting fundamental aspects of Islam are engaging in “sheer delusion.”

Bawer, like the much maligned Geert Wilders, who distinguishes between the private individual and an ideological machine, is right. It is not a question of individual Muslims, who may be decent people and law-abiding citizens, but of the faith they profess or nominally acknowledge, a faith whose “codes,” teachings and dogmas are conquest-oriented and which is materially sustained by its adherents, whether they know it or not. A militant and supremacist theology is thus reinforced by its communicants, no matter how innocent of malice they may be. Such is the Dar al-Islam, a theo-imperialist establishment which is sustained by its “moderates” no less than by its “radicals.” As Mercer points out, “The fact that there are moderate Muslims doesn’t mean there is a moderate Islam”

Those who contend, like Clifford Smith, Director of the Middle East Forum Washington Project, that a more discerning vetting process, a “holistic approach regarding applicants’ ideology,” can resolve the problem of distinguishing between “bona fide Muslim migrants” and those “placing violent ideologies over American law,” reveal a profound misunderstanding of the ancestral resilience of Islam. This approach merely fudges the issue and does not account for home-grown jihadists, as well as being vulnerable to the Islamic principal of taqqiyah, officially approved lying. Canonical Islam would still remain intact and continue to pose a threat to a pluralistic democracy with which it is incompatible. As former Israeli Consul General to the U.S. Yoram Ettinger writes, acts of terror are “not an aberration, but an integral episode of… 14 centuries of Quran-sanctioned terrorism against the abode of the ‘infidel’.” Jihad is “a fundamental pillar of Islam… which commands Muslims to emulate previous struggles against the enemies of Islam, within the context of an eternal battle.”

As for those proponents of the “new normal” who frivolously claim, for example, that more people are killed, say, by lightning than by jihad, the rebuttal is obvious. Simon points out that TheReligionofPeace website documents “34 jihadist attacks in 13 countries over just six days this past week (Oct. 21-27), resulting in 444 killed and 114 injured. That doesn't include the horrific suicide bombing in Somalia on October 28 that took over two dozen lives -- including three children and a beheaded woman.” On the other hand, how many were killed by lightning in the last six days?

Let’s be realistic. The “New Normal” is indeed here to stay -- the invasion has become too expansive to be reversed -- but its ravages and incidence can be reduced if we repudiate the cultural sedatives of the day and proceed, as Ettinger urges, to “pre-empt, rather than react,” that is, to act decisively on several related fronts: a recognition that reform cannot succeed, a strict moratorium on immigration, a relentless surveillance of terror-fostering mosques, and a refusal to succumb to the Kumbaya rhetoric of the politically correct.

Again, to be realistic, a sea-change of this nature is highly unlikely -- since we appear to be as unamenable to reform as is Islam. Nevertheless, unless we come to our senses, realize that we are in the midst of a 1400-year civilizational war, and take appropriate measures, the sequel is a foregone conclusion. As the Gullah song goes, “Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya” -- but it won’t be us.  

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