by Bruce Thornton

boko haram

The murder of 27 hotel guests in Mali's capital city by Boko Haram, now an al Qaeda franchisee, highlights yet again the delusional futility of asserting that, as Hillary Clinton put it in a tweet, "Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism." Like Obama, Hillary also vigorously condemns the use of a phrase like "Islamist radicalism."

These evasions are contrary to the history and doctrines of Islam consistent over 14 centuries, and contradict the professed motives for the continuing violence perpetrated across the globe — 27,295 deadly attacks just since 9/11 — by Islamic terrorist groups who emulate the Prophet and take seriously his injunction to "slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in every ambush" (9.5), one of 109 verses — the direct commands of Allah — that order war against infidels.

Moreover, that most Muslims do not engage directly in such violence, or may even condemn it, does not change the fundamental doctrines that justify it, no more than the millions of Catholic women who use birth control invalidate the church's doctrine against contraception. The doctrine of jihad has been part of Islam from its beginning, enjoined by the Koran and Hadith, and confirmed and celebrated by the most eminent Islamic historians, jurisprudents, and theologians. One of the most famous, the late-14th century writer Ibn Khaldun, wrote in the Muqaddimah, "In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force." When we see Muslims in the 21st century killing and dying in service to this traditional religious imperative created in the 7th century, it is perverse blindness to claim that there is no connection between Islam and Islamic terrorism.

The more important question is why anyone would assert something that would have struck our Western ancestors — for a thousand years the victims of Muslim invasion, occupation, enslavement, and slaughter — as a dangerous fantasy. One rationale appeared in the months after 9/11, when George W. Bush distinguished al Qaeda from the larger Muslim community and engaged in outreach to the latter, inviting imams to the White House and proclaiming Islam the "religion of peace." The idea was that alienating millions of Muslims would make it harder to fight the jihadists, and even aid in their recruitment. This tactic, of course, has been an obvious failure for over a decade, as there is no evidence that being nice to Muslims — for example, rescuing Afghan and Iraqi Muslims from murderous autocrats — changed traditional Muslim attitudes toward infidels, and predisposed them to turn on their fellow Muslims.

The better answer lies in several bad ideas spawned by modernity. Western secularism has rendered us incapable of understanding passionate religious beliefs. The banishment of faith from public life is nearly complete in Europe, and we Americans are on the same trajectory. What remains of religion is reduced to a private life-style choice, commercialized holiday traditions, and a vague comforting "spiritualism" that makes few demands on its adherents. Secularists relentlessly patrol the public square to attack any sign that religious belief is stepping outside its private ghetto. And any recognition that the Judeo-Christian tradition contributed to the foundational beliefs of the West — equality, unalienable rights, and freedom — is attacked as spiritual colonization and "fundamentalist" bigotry. Hence Obama calls "shameful" the suggestions that Christian Syrians, currently suffering a genocidal persecution, be prioritized over the mostly economic Syrian refugees.

In contrast, most Muslims are intensely religious to a degree most Westerners can hardly imagine. Religion suffuses their lives, most noticeably in the muezzin's daily five calls to prayer, and the commands of Allah and the words and deeds of Mohammed are a living presence in every aspect of a devout Muslim's life. Nor is this religiosity a private affair kept away from the public square, and compartmentalized in people's lives apart from politics, economics, or foreign policy. As Bernard Lewis writes,

In most Islamic countries, religion remains a major political factor, for most Muslim countries are still profoundly Muslim in a way and in a sense that most Christian countries are no longer Christian . . . in no Christian country at the present time can religious leaders count on the degree of belief and participation that remains normal in the Muslim lands . . . Christian clergy do not exercise or even claim the kind of public authority that is still normal and acceptable in most Muslim countries.

Lacking the constant public presence of spiritual reality in our own lives, we find it hard to accept that religious doctrines advocating violence against the unbeliever, or basing all social, economic, judicial, and political order on a code of law formulated over a thousand years ago, can be real enough to compel violence against innocents. This failure of imagination has been a powerful enabler of our feckless strategies.

So too has been our ignorance of history. Worse yet, what history we do rely on is false or ideologically warped. Few politicians in charge of our foreign policy seem to be aware of the long, violent assault of Islam against the West, the chronicle of massacre, slaving, kidnapping, occupation, and exploitation, all in service to the commands of Allah and the practices of Mohammed. At the same time, our president invents the mythic "golden age" of enlightenment and tolerance in Muslim Cordoba, harps on the Crusades and the Inquisition, excoriates Israel for defending itself against the progeny of invaders, colonizers, and immigrants to the ancient Jewish homeland of Judea and Samaria, and apologizes for imperialism and colonialism. Meanwhile Muslim Turkey is in its fifth decade of the occupation of northern Cyprus that followed an invasion accompanied by ethnic cleansing, population transfers from Turkey, and the destruction or vandalizing of 300 churches.

A good example of this bizarre historical ignorance is the demonic role assigned to the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement. An ISIS billboard in Iraq reads, "We are the ones who determine our borders, not Sykes-Picot." In this false history borrowed from self-loathing Westerners, the imperialist French and English divided up the Ottoman Empire in an act of stealth colonialism. This history is false, and strangely diminishes the region's Muslims, making them the mere passive pawns of external manipulators. But as Efraim Karsh points out in his indispensable new book[1] The Tail Wags the Dog, the region's leaders "have been active and enterprising free agents doggedly pursuing their national interests and swaying the region pretty much in their desired direction, often in disregard of great-power wishes." The true history of the region shows that the disorder today has two main sources: the doctrines of Islam that keep the region mired in a premodern, tribal mentality; and the disastrous decision of the Ottoman sultan to join the Central powers in World War I, against the advice of the British, who wanted not colonies, but an Arab empire to replace the Ottomans'.

Such distorted history, in which the West is to blame for dysfunctions created by Muslims themselves, justifies an apologetic tone like that of Obama's Cairo speech, and rationalizes Muslim violence as an understandable reaction to historical injustice — just as John Kerry did in his despicable comments that the Charlie Hebdo murders had a "rationale that you could attach yourself to."[2]

Finally, multiculturalism, which is an expression of this false history that makes the West the global villains deserving of payback from the oppressed dark-skinned "other," compromises a robust and muscular response to Islamic violence. The lexicon of political correctness, predicated on the commandment never to blame the victim "of color," leads to the sort of duplicitous evasions mentioned earlier, in which traditional Islamic doctrine disappears as motivating force, and effort is wasted on pursuing remedies — economic development, flattering outreach, or democracy promotion — that will not solve the problem of metastasizing jihadism. Moreover, like the British sympathizers with Germany in the 20s and 30s, the charges of racism and neo-imperialist oppression thrown around by the multiculturalists foster a spirit of appeasement and accommodation, sapping our morale and inhibiting our response.

The denial of Islam's sanctified violence, confessional intolerance, and global ambitions is the biggest impediment to our destroying the enemy. The solution is simple, and memorably expressed in the New Testament: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."


[1] UTF8&qid=1448127283&sr=1-1&keywords=the+tail+wags+the+dog



Some of the comments that added useful information.

Space Cowboy

"Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism."

Islam is the ideology that has been driving the Islamic totalitarian world's jihad for the past almost 1400 years. As a matter of fact, it was the ideology of Islam that was the culprit that created the Dark Ages in Europe.

However, GWB, as blinded by moral equivalence as much as Obama and Hillary are today, ignored almost 1400 years of history and declared a "war on terror" and at the same time let Islam off the hook. Hence, ever since then we have been fighting a fruitless fantasy-based war against terrorists, as opposed to a war against Islam. With the inevitable result today being that most American's will to fight has been sapped, and at the same time we have also been destroying ourselves economically as well.

Like Obama, Hillary also vigorously condemns the use of a phrase like "Islamist radicalism."

I don't blame them, as the existence of "Islamist radicalism" is another politically correct myth. In other words, it's pure utter nonsense. Obama and Hillary may deny that Islam is the culprit, but obviously so do the Republicans, but they use silly politically correct terms like "Islamist radicalism" to hide that fact. Like Obama and Hillary, the Republicans too also deny the reality that Islam is the culprit and therefore are just as incompetent. In fact, this debate is very stupid, as it is the blind leading the blind.

Indeed, both sides insanely morally equate Islam to all other religions and Muslims to the adherents of all other religions. Hence, both sides couldn't be any more incompetent to lead this country.

Nonetheless, Islam is not morally equivalent to all other religions. Because unlike all other religions, Islam is a combination of a religion and an extremely radical form of totalitarianism that seeks world supremacy.

In addition, Muslims are not morally equivalent to the adherents of all other religions either. Because Islam also makes it mandatory for all Muslims to wage jihad in one form or another and then summarily executes all non-conformers. There is no freedom of conscience in Islam because first and foremost Islam is an extremely radical form of totalitarianism that is also a religion.

Moreover, that most Muslims do not engage directly in such violence, or may even condemn it, does not change the fundamental doctrines that justify it, no more than the millions of Catholic women who use birth control invalidate the church's doctrine against contraception.

Astronomically far more jihad is waged via stealth and deception and deliberately non-violently relative to violent jihad. Thus, non-violent Muslims do not automatically equal so-called "moderate Muslims" as is universally assumed today thanks to that silly fantasy based moral equivalence. As in reality all so-called "moderate Muslims" are in fact actually non-Muslim apostates.

Meanwhile, the relatively very few instances of Muslims condemning violent acts of jihad are Muslim jihadists employing taqiyya to dupe gullible useful idiot infidels.

There are also quite a few MUSLIM IN NAME ONLY PEOPLE like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, for instance, condemning violent acts of jihad, but at the same time they are about as Muslim as the man in the moon.

These are the kinds of people that Faux News likes to latch onto to try to substantiate the myth that so-called "moderate Muslims" constitutes the vast overwhelming majority of Muslims in the world despite the mountains of evidence that proves otherwise. Indeed, the CEO of Faux News, Roger Ailes, once worked for GHWB and consequently Faux News will always remain loyal to the Bush family no matter what as long as Roger Ailes remains in control of Faux News, and as such Faux News will also always remain one of the biggest purveyors of misinformation on the topic of Islam in America.

In any event, we are not at war with terrorists and have never been at war with terrorists, and as long as we continue to pursue a silly fantasy based war against terrorists, we will continue to lose. Why? Because we are at war with Islam, since Islam is the ideology that has been driving the Islamic totalitarians world's jihad perpetually for the past 1400 years. Therefore, we must end the enormously failed so-called "war on terror" strategy ASAP that has yielded us nothing but disaster upon disaster before it is too late to win, and transition to a new "war on Islam" strategy instead.

Had GWB declared war on Islam way back in 2001, the world today would be a far safer place. As the first step in such a war inevitably would have been to expel all the Muslim invaders that were currently infiltrating our country. As zero Muslims = zero jihad.

Michael Copeland

"The uncomfortable facts remain: the instruction to kill is there, and so is the death penalty for denying it." From "You people will never be safe" — Jihad killings in Islam:


Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey 'These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that's it."

Source: Milliyet, Turkey, August 21, 2007

So long as the fascist cult of Islam is allowed to attack others this will continue to be the problem. Islam declared war on the world in 622CE - time the world started fighting back


It all derives from the fundamental weakness of market capitalism. Without profits and access to resources, capitalism grinds to a halt. That state of affairs is what capitalism dreads. As long as there is a possible sale, capitalism is ready to deal. Lenin's quip: a capitalist will sell you the rope he knows you will hang him with.

Hence the West's everlasting coddling of primitive Saudi Arabia. Given the successful relationship with Saudi Arabia, which the West sees as the model nation to relate to, it has been trying since the Shah was overthrown to create Saudi-like states in Libya, Egypt, Iraq, and now Syria. Th's the source of the ongoing confusion and the ongoing love affair with Islam. The weak assumption is that to stay in the good books of the oil-bearing nations in the Middle East, and to preserve the comfortable relations between them and the West--in the form of oil imports and weapons exports--one must never be critical of Islam, never, ever.

There is a perverse logic here, but there is no logic at all in the Western liberal love of Islam--a primitivized, plagiarized religion founded on the Jewish Abrahamic narrative. Islam is the odd religion out of the three religions--being a religion poached from the Jews and enraged with them for not buying back their own stolen stuff. It is totalitarian and very right wing in its conservatism[nothing can be changed given that Islam represents the unchangeable words of Allah], yet the so-called "progressive liberals" love it, even as Islam threatens them with "death to the infidels and kuffars."


Knowing the Mohammedans' Koran. Siri and Haditha, one would realize that Mohammad is the "ideal" Muslim and all his followers are bound to follow his tenets and emulate his actions. Objective truth: if it is in the Koran, Sira and Hadith, it is Islam. This information is not understood or is ignored by the infidels, at their peril.

Space Cowboy

Shouldn't Islamic immigration be a major issue? Indeed, how many hundreds of billions of dollars do we spend annually on security just to accommodate mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage? Do other immigrant groups cost nearly so much to accommodate as Muslims? Not to mention their demands for only halal foods, prayer rooms, and prayer rugs. Plus what about all the freedoms that Americans had to sacrifice and the inconveniences we are all forced to endure just to accommodate Muslims? Not only that, but no matter where Muslims migrate, like clockwork they never ever assimilate and integrate.

Hence, why are we allowing it? Indeed, it was GBW that increased immigration from Islamic countries back in 2005 to the highest levels ever in history and today immigration from Islamic countries constitutes the largest block of legal immigrants allowed into America on an annual basis. It's insane. We can't afford this crap!

Peter Hyatt

If, as Hillary says, Muslims are peaceful people, why the need to say so? If Islam is the religion of peace, why the need for violence to make you believe this? The winds of war are blowing in Europe. History says it wont stay there, though....

Michael Copeland

Many share the wish to reform the Koran. It will not happen. It is not permitted.
The Koran is part of Islamic law.
The Koran itself says it is "perfect".
"The word of your Lord is complete, in truth and justice. There is none who can change His words.", 6:115. To "reform", or change any verse is to deny it. One who denies any verse has to be killed. The killing can be performed, penalty-free and vigilante style, by anyone "since it is killing someone who deserves to die" (Manual of Islamic Law, "Reliance of the Traveller" o8.7(7), o8.4). The Manual is available as a free download.

Martin Luther's reformation was of the non-Biblical practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He did not reform the Bible.


The "perverse blindness" that claims that there is no connection between Islam and Islamic terrorism and the "failure of imagination" the author claims to be "a powerful enabler of our feckless strategies" are an example of confused thinking brought about by a limited understanding.

Liberal, "useful idiots" accept the Left's assertion that there is no connection between Islam and Islamic terrorism. Their Leftist Masters know better. It is a truism that one predator always recognizes another predator. Leftists and fundamentalist Muslims are predators because their ideologies are predatory.

Islam and the Left are in an informal, temporary 'marriage of convenience'. Each rightly recognizes that the America's conservative right is a far greater obstacle and threat to their desired tyranny. Once they have defeated the American right, they will turn on each other.

Of the two, the Western Left (along with an opportunistic Russia and a strategically cunning China) is the far greater threat. Islam can hurt America very badly but it lacks the logistical and technological resources to defeat America. If Islam's agents prevail over America it will be because we lack the societal consensus and will to win.

The internal threat of the American Left is creating the pre-conditions that will lead to the needed chaos and riots necessary to 'having' to declare nationwide martial law for "the duration of the national emergency". Under martial law, a democrat President can suspend key Constitutional provisions and guarantees and sign binding treaties that supersede the Constitution. The US Army has already created a manual for Domestic internment/re-education camps.

President Obama's executive order # 13603 designated the "National Defense Resources Preparedness" gives the federal government the authority to seize ANY and ALL 'resources' they deem 'needed' in an emergency.

The writings on the wall folks and only the willfully blind refuse to see it.

"There are three kinds of people; those who see, those who see once they are shown and those who will not see" Leonardo da Vinci

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book is Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press, 2014). This article appeared November 23, 2015 in Front Page Magazine and is archived at

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