This will be a crowded news week, with the Iowa caucus, the State of the Union and the end of the zombie impeachment all coming up within forty-eight hours. But, following what the BBC reported as London's first post-Brexit "terrorist-related incident", we are starting with a guest column by Mark Steyn Club Sydney member Kate Smyth:
In recent months, the premature passing of two titans of Islamic jihad - a Sunni scholar and a Shiite soldier - has raised interesting questions about extremism (not least of all media extremism). The left's perspective on the untimely departures - due to President Trump - of al-Baghdadi and Soleimani has been hagiographic in every respect short of mentioning the 72 virgins (exhausted by preceding martyrs as they must be). Trump's precisely targeted approach to waging war on terror at a leadership level has been arguably more popular with Muslims in the Middle East than with "liberals" in the West.
Coinciding with this, the move to end interminable US-led wars is an acknowledgment of the resistance of the Dar-al Islam to democratisation, whether imposed by "nation-building" or arising - "Arab Spring" style - from within. In 2020, ideological progress in the Muslim world seems unlikely in the foreseeable future (much as the left might harbour hopes of an Ummah-wide referendum on same-sex marriage). Given the circumstances, confining the conflict to dealing with top theocratic terrorists - but not their Make-Islam-Great-Again worldview - seems as good an exit strategy as any.
Meanwhile, the ideology continues to make inroads into the West, where we deal ever more narrowly (and evasively) with terrorism as "part-and-parcel" of the wider project to accommodate Islam. An increasing degree of media and political deference surrounds any mention of the subject (or avoidance thereof). And while multiculturalists point to a betrayal by jihadists of the Religion of Peace, many Muslims - London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, among them - take aim at a betrayal by another group of their co-religionists: "Uncle Toms". The use of the pejorative term to denote - and intimidate - reformist Muslims is widespread, and amounts to the "Westernisation of takfir [the Islamic principle of apostasy]" according to American anti-Sharia campaigner, Zuhdi Jasser, who concedes that "... the ex-Muslim community has it a lot worse".
How much worse? In early 2017, the question was asked by freelance journalist, Alison Bevege, at a local meeting of the Australian division of the Islamic organisation, Hizb ut-Tahrir; somewhat to her surprise, a spokesman for the group (no sign of a spokeswoman) obliged with a definitive answer in relation to Article 7c of their "draft constitution".
Q: "Do you want to kill ex-Muslims?"
A: "In Islam it is clear that apostates do attract capital punishment and we don't shy away from that."
Ah, well - it's just a "draft", so #NothingToSeeHere. As an astute online commenter noted at the time: "They talk about killing ex-Muslims and complain about Islamophobia. Go figure".
The video gained prominence in late 2019 (ZOG-alert!) after it caught the attention of the 'Ex-Muslims of North America', and was retweeted by Canadian "apostate" and author of "Unveiled" Yasmine Mohammed. In the West, Hizb ut-Tahrir (or HT) - the "Party of Liberation" - comes under the banner of "non-violent" "political" Islam (apparently to avoid confusion with the violent, religious type), though former Muslims obviously dispute the liberating effect of their peaceful message. Aside from attracting the death sentence in 13 Islamic countries, the crime of "treason against God" is the basis of so-called honour killings (often carried out by immediate family members) throughout the Muslim diaspora: rather than "extreme", the punishment is a mainstream phenomenon, and an increasingly globalised one.
Of course, compared with al-Baghdadi, Hizb ut-Tahrir - in Australia, the UK, Canada, and the US - takes a somewhat more restrained (if not more seditious) approach to infidels in particular and to Islamic conquest in general. But the MSM are reluctant to ask questions for fear of getting answers, given that freedom of (a certain) religion has evolved to include the freedom to advocate killing those who don't follow it (and to "dissimulate" when required). Instead, the task falls to the rare reporter who is game enough to ask about a core principle on which "Islam is clear" - even though it's barely considered newsworthy. Quite aside from journalistic self-censorship and political correctness, we are so inured to the horrors of the ISIS caliphate that "non-violent extremists" who reside among us are the new moderates. Which in turn means that, compared with the more explicit and revolutionary agenda of HT, the representative approach of Ilhan Omar is the very embodiment of assimilated (if not ascendant) Islam: raising a rhetorical Star-and-Crescent alongside the Stars & Stripes in defiance of the day that "some people did something".
Since 9/11, our tendency to dissimulate is as troubling as the religious inclination to do so. We have been conditioned to "not notice", and to suppress the dissonance of observable reality. At odds with our rational, private unease, we collectively fear "Islamophobia" such that, in the words of Mark Steyn a decade ago, we embrace Diversity Unto Death.
Increasingly, the role of the those in authority and with control of information is to downplay the story whenever badness flares up, as it does on a continual basis. Inconvenient truths are buried, often with victims, in the face of ongoing jihad across the Dar al-Harb. In recent news: England - the decades-long ISIS-style mass sexual enslavement of non-Muslim girls and its cover up; France - the murder of a Jew attributed to the perpetrator's "temporary abolition of discernment" (while exclaiming Allahu Akbar). Above all, the priorities are to preserve the semblance of multicultural harmony and to further desensitise the public.
As long as our assimilation with Islam is relatively smooth - more Ilhan Omar and less al-Baghdadi, with only sporadic violence (or reports of thereof) - not many people seem to mind. Or even notice. Meanwhile, free speech ebbs away. The OIC inches closer to its global blasphemy law - already obeyed if not enforced - in a world of Islam-without-borders. A war of words is off limits, so we focus on the "war on terror" in its latest iteration, determined to smooth things over on the home front - the real front - while we slip slowly towards a permanent abolition of discernment.
We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline, starting with Brexit Day jubilations and ending with the only Song of the Week we could possibly have selected. In between came Kathy Shaidle's Saturday movie date: Adam Carolla in The Hammer. If you were too distracted by groundhogs and tailgates this weekend, we hope you'll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week commences.
Mark will see you tonight on the telly with Tucker.