I wrote this a few years ago, and I think it’s worth posting again, particularly after the latest jihadist attack in Boston. I noticed, after the attack this week, that a number of people are using more proper terminology to identify this enemy, which is very important in taking on the enemy. I recall watching panel discussions after 9/11, with each panelist using a different term to describe the enemy we face. That annoyed the hell out of me as I think it’s incredibly important to identify the proper terms when speaking about our enemy, and to NEVER create terms, for whatever reason. To me, the only difference between “Islamism” and Islam is three letters. Below I try my best to make the case why we should always call Islam “Islam.”
Western intellectuals and commentators refer to the enemy’s ideology as:
“Islamic Fundamentalism,” “Islamic Extremism,” “Totalitarian Islam,” “Islamofascism,” “Political Islam,” “Militant Islam,” “Bin Ladenism,” “Islamonazism,” “Radical Islam,” “Islamism,” etc….
The enemy calls it “Islam.”
Imagine, if during past wars, we used terms such as “Radical Nazism,” “Extremist Shinto” and “Militant Communism.” The implication would be that there are good versions of those ideologies, which would then lead some to seek out “moderate” Nazis. Those who use terms other than “Islam” create the impression that it’s some variant of Islam that’s behind the enemy that we’re facing. A term such as “Militant Islam” is redundant, but our politicians continue praising Islam as if it were their own religion. Bush told us “Islam is peace” — after 2,996 Americans were murdered in its name. He maintained that illusion throughout his two terms, and never allowed our soldiers to defeat the enemy. And now we have Obama, who tells us, from Egypt:
“I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”
If only he felt that way about America. Washington’s defense of Islam has trumped the defense of America and this dereliction of duty could well be called Islamgate.
Islam is a political religion; the idea of a separation of Mosque and State is unheard of in the Muslim world. Islam has a doctrine of warfare, Jihad, which is fought in order to establish Islamic (“Sharia”) Law, which is, by nature, totalitarian. Sharia Law calls for, among other things: the dehumanization of women; the flogging/stoning/killing of adulterers; and the killing of homosexuals, apostates and critics of Islam. All of this is part of orthodox Islam, not some “extremist” form of it. If jihadists were actually “perverting a great religion,” Muslims would have been able to discredit them on Islamic grounds and they would have done so by now. The reason they can’t is because jihadists are acting according to the words of Allah, the Muslim God. From the Koran:
“Slay the idolators wherever you find them…” Chapter 9, verse 5
“When you encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads until you have made a great slaughter among them….” Ch. 47:4
Beyond the doctrine, there is the historical figure of Mohammad, who, more than anyone, defines Islam. How would you judge a man who lies, cheats, steals, rapes and murders as a way of life? This evil man is Islam’s ideal man, Mohammad. Whatever he said and did is deemed moral by virtue of the fact that he said it and did it. It’s no accident that the only morality that could sanction his behavior was his own. Nor is it an accident that Muslims who model themselves after him are the most violent.
For the 13 years that Mohammad failed to spread Islam by non-violent means, he was not so much peaceful as he was powerless. It was only through criminal activity and with the help of a large gang of followers that he managed to gain power. But he wanted his moral pretense too, so he changed Islam to reflect the fact that the only way it could survive was through force. And so, acting on Allah’s conveniently timed “revelation” that Islam can and should be spread by the sword, Mohammad led an army of Muslims across Arabia in the first jihad. From then on, violence became Islam’s way in the world. And today, acting on Mohammad’s words, “War is deceit” — in the sense that Muslims use earlier “peaceful” verses from the Koran as a weapon against the ignorance and good will of their victims. Those “peaceful” passages in the Koran were abrogated by later passages calling for eternal war against those who do not submit to Islam. How Mohammad spread Islam influenced the content of its doctrine and therefore tells us exactly what Islam means.
Note also that the only reason we’re talking about Islam is because we’ve been forced to by its jihad. And where are Islam’s “conscientious objectors”? Nowhere to be found, for even lax Muslims have been silent against jihad. But that doesn’t stop desperate Westerners from pointing to them as representives of “Moderate Islam.”
Far from being a personal faith, Islam is a collectivist ideology that rejects a live-and-let-live attitude towards non-Muslims. And while the jihadists may not represent all Muslims, they do represent Islam. In the end, most Muslims have proven themselves to be mere sheep to their jihadist wolves, irrelevant as allies in this war. Recovering Muslims call the enemy’s ideology “Islam,” and they dismiss the idea of “Moderate Islam” as they would the idea of “Moderate Evil.” When, based on his actions, Mohammad would be described today as a “Muslim Extremist,” then non-violent Muslims should condemn their prophet and their religion, not those who point it out.
Islam is the enemy’s ideology and evading that fact only helps its agents get away with more murder than they would otherwise. Western politicians have sold us out, so it’s up to the rest of us to defend our way of life by understanding Islam and telling the truth about it in whatever way we can. If we can’t even call Islam by its name, how the hell are we going to defend ourselves against its true believers? One could argue that we’d be better off if the West would just choose one of the many terms currently used for the enemy’s ideology. For my part, I call the enemy what they are, “Jihadists,” and our response, “The War on Jihad.” But behind it all, it’s Islam that makes the enemy tick.
Despite my frustrations with the refusal of many to call Islam “Islam,” I know that those who speak out against Jihad put themselves in danger, and I respect their courage. But it’s important that we acknowledge Islam’s place in the threat we face and say so without equivocation. Not saying “Islam” helps Islam and hurts us. So let’s begin calling the enemy’s ideology by its name. Let’s start calling Islam “Islam.”
Bosch Fawstin is an Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist currently working on a graphic novel, The Infidel, featuring the anti-jihad superhero, Pigman. The first two chapters are now available in digital comic book form. Bosch’s first graphic novel is Table for One. He is also the author of ProPiganda: Drawing the Line Against Jihad, a print companion to The Infidel.