Clear Thinking On Islam

Barb Wire

In an age of overwhelming political correctness, cowardice, and creeping dhimmitude, it is getting more and more difficult for pure, unadulterated truth to be heard about the religion of peace. Creeping sharia abounds in the West, resulting in the great mass of Western leaders, politicians and opinion makers cowering in fear, as each one tries to outdo the other in grovelling in submission to all things Islamic.

The examples of this are everywhere to be found. And they really are revolting. Consider this appalling example:

Labor MP Tony Burke has defended the community in which convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf became radicalised, saying “of course” Muslims are opposed to beheading. Speaking at the Lebanese Muslim Association’s function centre in Lakemba last night, the Member for Watson told the gathering the community is doing its best to stop radicalisation.

Of course! That is why we see all these moderate Muslims marching in the streets in their tens of thousands, protesting all this violence, bloodshed and jihad – not. But Burke says so, so it must be true. Umm, why is all this fully predictable: Labor politicians sucking up to Muslims in western Sydney electorates. Getting votes is all these guys are worried about it seems – not the national interest.

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In contrast to this moonbattery, at least Tony Abbott is sounding a bit more sensible: “Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called on moderate Muslims to stand up to local extremists, warning the community shouldn’t be complacent against a possible ‘mass casualty event’.”

But sadly there are plenty of clueless Liberals around as well, who know nothing about Islam. Consider the mindboggling words of Liberal MP Sussan Ley: “We must be really careful with the – we must recognise several things about Muslim Australians. One is that Islam is a religion of peace. It absolutely is…”

Absolutely. Her brainless outburst occurred, not surprisingly, on perhaps the most PC show in the nation: ABC’s Q&A. This is a program I have long ago stopped watching, given how utterly reprehensible it is in pushing secular left bigotry on a regular basis.

However, on Monday night I was flicking channels, just as this portion of the show was on, and I was staggered to hear someone actually talking sense on this issue. It nearly floored me – finally someone with some moral and mental mastery of this topic, and not another zombie stooge pushing the PC line.

I discovered later it was the North American theologian John Stackhouse. I did not even know he was over here. I have five of his books and have found him to be a solid thinker and Christian theologian. And on Monday night, he stood up strongly for truth, despite being surrounded by a gaggle of clueless buffoons. This is what next transpired:

TONY JONES: John Stackhouse, listening to this, I’m sure you’ve had the same debates in Canada?

JOHN STACKHOUSE: Well, no, we don’t have a lot of Canadians who go fight overseas on behalf of Muslim movements elsewhere, so this is actually something that’s more Australian than Canadian… . But to keep our country safe, we do have to try to figure out who’s who and what’s what without being unrealistic and sentimental. I mean, I have to respectfully disagree. I’ve been teaching world religion for 25 years. Islam is not a religion of peace. They’ve tried to trademark that but it’s just not true. Islam is a religion that copes with the real world and in Islam, including in its holy books, there are provisions for warfare and there are provisions for defensive warfare and there are also provisions for the extension of Islam, which is why the whole history of Islam has been steady territorial expansion. Of course it’s a religion of peace, by which they mean the subjugation of other people under sharia and that’s peace but it is an imperial sort of peace and I’m not judging it. I mean, we Christians have done the same thing and lots of other religions have done the same thing as well.

TONY JONES: I mean, I beg to differ you. You do appear to be judging it?

JOHN STACKHOUSE: No, I’m simply correcting the record. I mean, as a matter of fact, the Qur’an and the sharia are very clear that the jihad can be both the internal, the greater jihad of subjecting myself to the will of God, and the lesser jihad is to subject the world to God. I mean there is only two realms. There is Dar al-Islam. There is the submitted part of the world and then there is the rest of the world that’s not yet submitted to God, the dar al-harb, the situation of war, the house of war. So it’s a pretty clear world view and while many of my Muslim friends are liberal and multicultural and love Canada and have no interest in the violent prosecution of their faith and I think it’s really important to understand, nonetheless, we just can’t make sense of world history if we suggest that Islam doesn’t have within it the legitimation of violence.

Wonderful. Some truth about Islam on the ABC! And on Q&A of all places. Jones and Co must be kicking themselves now for asking this guy on to their show. But as Andrew Bolt remarked, when you hear the words “Canadian theologian” you usually think of a lefty, “self-hating Christian”.

I bet he does not get asked back on any time soon. Now for some reason he now has an entire article on Islam in today’s Australian. I suspect that so many folks were so impressed with his performance on Monday night that they may have urged him to say more about this topic. Whatever the reason, he has done so, and it is also very good indeed. Let me quote from this important article:

A few basic facts will help us all, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, get past the stereotypes to understand the history of Islam and the events that alarm us here and abroad.

First, Islam is indeed a religion of peace, but in a crucially qualified sense. The root word of both “Islam” and “Muslim” is “s-l-m”, which is also the root for “salaam” or “peace” — but it most basically means “submission” (to God).

So peace will be achieved by the rule of God extending over the world. It is the peace of a single ideology and a single regime, the peace of an empire united around one God and one faith. That global peace has not arisen yet, because the world is still divided into two realms: dar al-Islam, where people live in submission to God, and dar al-Harb, the abode of war, where non-Muslims do not yet submit to the beneficent reign of Allah. Once Islam triumphs over the whole world, humanity will have global peace.

Second, Islam’s scriptures forbid forcible conversion. “There must be no compulsion in religion,” says the Koran. Unbelievers are always given a choice: exile or conversion. (Christians and Jews, “people of the book”, traditionally are given the choice to remain under Muslim rule and to remain in their traditions, albeit as second-class citizens. But not all Islamic regimes have extended that privilege to them.)

Third, Islam’s scriptures not only allow for, but in some places encourage, the use of force. The so-called sword verses of the Koran in particular encourage believers to fight to defend the faith and the faithful community, and subdue enemies of the faith. Muslim scholars have long disputed the interpretation and application of these verses. At one extreme are those who preach them as the chief duty of Muslims who feel embattled or aggressive. At the other are liberal Muslims who doubt their authenticity, particularly in the face of many other verses in the Koran that advocate peace. But every educated Muslim knows that the sword verses are there.

Fourth, the general expectation of Islam since Muhammad’s day is that the reign of God (which is to say, the reign of Islamic regimes) would extend steadily over the whole earth. And that extension, again since Muhammad’s day, was achieved sometimes by diplomacy and persuasion, yes, but also sometimes through military action. One cannot understand Islamic history without acknowledging the frequent resort to armed force in extending the “house of Islam”.

Wow, so a double dose of truth and sanity in a world gone mad. There is hope yet for Australia and the West. Well done John Stackhouse and well done the Australian. Who knows, we just might see more such rationality and truth in the days ahead.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Bill Muehlenberg
Bill Muehlenberg, who was born in America, lives in Melbourne, Australia. He runs a web-based ministry of pro-faith, pro-family activism called CultureWatch: Bill is widely sought out by the media for comments on social issues, faith issues, and family issues, and has appeared on all the major television and radio news shows, current affairs shows, and debate programs. He is the author of In Defence of the Family; Strained Relations: The Challenge of Homosexuality, and several other books.

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