Thursday, April 19, 2012
The Devil We Don't Know With Nonie Darwish
What is true in the Arab spring is that people of good will have appeared and are creditably trying to produce a better outcome. How this will actually work out remains to be seen. The measure of their success will be based on the lively presence of free debate with both male and female participants. The problem is that while we see enthusiasm, we also see the noisy agents of regression hard at grasping power and they will not hesitate to kill and kill in order to hold power. Syria is a prime example of this mentality.
We may well see the Arab spring stifled by radical Islamism. In reality, it is the expected result. There is no Ataturk here and even Ataturk was unable to create a demos that blocked the agenda of radical Islam. And that is the problem. It may be possible to salvage an Islamic faith, but only if it is stripped of hatred. Yet stripped of hatred one may as well convert to Christianity. What can not be salvaged and must be suppressed is the dogma of radical Islam which is outright fascism. We need to do what was done in Germany in 1945.
History shows us no other course. Nonie here is screaming the alarms and is certainly getting heard as are other former 'insiders'.
As with Nazism, the West is attempting to ignore the obvious threat. Our misfortune in WWII was that Germany achieved temporary military superiority. Our victory allowed the communist heresy to achieve apparent military parity that only collapsed from its economic contradictions after half a century and after the total bankruptcy of its ideological dogma had become completely obvious to even the leaders. It was not faith driven as was Nazism.
The present question is what options are available to the West. It does not take much industrial development to arm a population. It does however take a modern education to provide skilled people able to work the weapons. Here the Islamic world has generally been cheap. They are not about to produce a nifty version of the Wehrmacht. For the past half century, western expeditionary armies and Israeli armies have crushed Islamic armies. The only tactical advantage available to Islam is apparent local advantage when a huge manpower edge exists and it is possible to make an argument.
That leaves the remaining option of using tactical nuclear weapons against soft targets or possibly in conjunction with a massive land assault. It is easy to conjure a nightmare in which a nuclear bomb is lobbed into Southern Israel followed by a massive Egyptian invasion. What is worse is that we can readily imagine a lunatic wanting to do it. Such a horror would certainly bring about the total suppression of Islam by the rest of the world.
Ending this threat is the primary challenge facing the world today. I have already spelled out the road to total victory been the compelled re education of women and children into the modern world outside of Islam. 9/11 woke us up to the threat and the past decade of engagement has taught us our capabilities and our limitations. The military aspect although necessary is only a small part of this confrontation.
Engagement has to start with the absolute demand for freedom of religion in Islamic societies and the dismantling of Sharia. We will have free competition for belief systems. Christian evangelists must be able to operate freely.
Islam will have to reform in order to survive open competition but that is what is needed anyway. Once that ball starts rolling in one country or the other the rest may follow easily. Recall Islamic communities do exist in the West and a good part is learning to accommodate. There is much to be done and the communities need to take a more visible role in leading change
The Devil We Don’t Know
The “Arab Spring.” The mainstream media clung to this phrase last year in their giddy haste to promote what they saw as a flowering of freedom-loving, democratic uprisings across the Arab world, for which they were eager to credit President Obama’s famed Cairo speech as partial inspiration. Instead, it unfolded with freedom-hating Islamic fundamentalists seizing political dominance, and the Arab Spring came to look more a Muslim Winter. What went wrong?
Bestselling writer and speaker Nonie Darwish is author of the compelling autobiography Now They Call Me Infidel, about growing up in Egypt and her break from Islam, and Cruel and Usual Punishment, an exposé of the stark reality of sharia. Her new book,The Devil We Don’t Know: The Dark Side of Revolutions in the Middle East, explains what really lies behind the Arab Spring movement, and it exposes Islam as the belief system that will inevitably doom those revolutions.
This is the first of a two-part interview. Part two will appear tomorrow on FrontPage Magazine.
Mark Tapson: Nonie, you note in your introduction that you have written The Devil We Don’t Know not merely to criticize Islam but as a challenge, a plea to Muslims. What are you asking of them with this book?
Nonie Darwish: The purpose of writing The Devil We Don’t Know is not to shame Muslims or criticize Islam for the fun of it. The purpose is to expose the dark side of Islam and its laws that obstruct political, social and individual development, causing the Islamic political system to fall into a continual dysfunctional cycle of tyrannies and revolutions.
Muslims need to understand that the reason Islam is highly criticized is because it has assumed the role of government and a warlike confrontational and oppressive draconian legal system, and thus Islam has opened itself to criticism. But unfortunately Muslims, as a group, ignore or are unaware of such an important reason for why Islam is highly criticized. What Muslims need to understand is that the worldwide rejection, fear and criticism of Islam is not an unjustified phobia.
The number one enemy of Islam as it is practiced today is the truth, and thus my plea to Muslims is to understand that being open to an honest dialogue is best for everyone.
Muslims who truly love their religion need to lay down their pride, shame and guns and honestly acknowledge the challenges of Islam today, not only for themselves, but also for the rest of the world. Acknowledging historical atrocities and evolving into a better faith in tune to human rights are values that apply to everyone, every religion and ideology, if they are to stand the test of time. Islam and Muslims are no exception. It is Islam’s turn today to look within, seeking forgiveness and redemption as a first step towards healing the wounds with the rest of the non-Muslim world. The whole world will stand in support of a brave movement of cleansing Islam, especially its written books, from the factors that contribute to its dysfunctional system. There is nothing to fear for Muslims to let go of their fears and be willing to face reality, admit their imperfections and their need to change course. That will be the most positive, constructive and honorable thing Muslims can do today.
These are the questions that Muslim revolutionaries today must face: are Muslims confident and secure enough in their faith and its survival without resorting to enforcing it through the government and legal system under penalty of death? Why do Muslims not dare remove Sharia from their constitutions? Why do they dread letting go of total control of every aspect of a Muslim’s life and the institutions that govern him? What is behind their insecurity and feelings of inadequacy? What is it that forces them to rely on government and not the freedom of the Muslim individual to choose?
MT: You write that the West misunderstood the Arab Spring revolutions by assuming that Middle East dictators like Saddam Hussein, Mubarak, and others were secular. What were they really, and how were they perceived by the Islamic fundamentalists?
ND: The West describes Mubarak, Assad, Hussein and other regimes as secular when in reality they were not. It is true that many of these dictators did come from a military background and their wives do not wear Islamic clothes, but at the same time many of them, in their youth, had been members of the Muslim Brotherhood; for example, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar El Sadat. Many of the so-called secular dictators govern under constitutions that state that Sharia is the primary law of the land. No Muslim leader in the Middle East can get away with a true secular rule, or even survive one day in office if he rejects Islamic law. It was during Mubarak’s rule in 1991 that Egypt signed the Cairo Declaration for Human Rights, which declared that Sharia supersedes any other law. So even though Sharia is not applied one hundred percent in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan or Tunisia, it is officially the law of the land. Mubarak, like all Muslim leaders, had to appease the Islamists to avoid their wrath.
In fact, according to Sharia, a Muslim head of state must rule by Islamic law and preserve Islam in its original form or he must be removed from office. Islamic law leaves no choice for any Muslim leader but to accept, at least officially, that Sharia is the law of the land or else be ousted by a mob of Islamists who are commanded by Sharia itself to remove any leader who is not a true Muslim. Because of that law Muslim leaders must play a game of appearing Islamic and anti-West while trying to get along with the rest of the world. It’s a game with life-and-death consequences and that is why Anwar Sadat was killed for violating Sharia when he signed a peace treaty with Israel.
MT: One of the new book’s chapter titles is “A Muslim’s Burden: How Islam Fails the Individual.” How does Islam fail the individual?
ND: The reason Western civilization achieved its goals of democracy and freedom was because they had the right moral foundations at the individual level that produced the constitutions and democratic governments of the West. On the other hand, Muslim culture failed to equip the individual with the moral foundation for democracy. The Islamic state has failed the Muslim individual, his morality and his humanity. For centuries, the Muslim mind believed in values contrary to those espoused in the rest of the world.
After 17 years in the Egyptian educational system I was never taught values such as the brotherhood of man, respect for human rights, pursuing peace and harmony in our relationships with people outside of our faith and treating our neighbors, including neighboring countries as we wished to be treated. Such values are never taught in Islamic culture, not even in a non-religious social setting. It was all about jihad, martyrdom, paranoia, conspiracy theories and hatred of the other. And the sad thing is that Muslims as a group have never found anything unusual or bad about this.
How can the ordinary Muslim society achieve democracy when Islamic clerics promote values such as slavery, beating of disobedient wives, lying, exaggeration and slander if it is for the benefit of Islam? Under the title of “Permissible Slander,” Sharia states: “Slander, though unlawful, is sometimes for a lawful purpose, the legitimating factor being that there is some aim countenanced by Sacred Law that is unattainable by other means.” (Reliance of the Traveler, r2.16 p. 737.) That means that the goal justifies the means, encouraging vengeance, hating and cursing of non-Muslims, especially Jews, taking the law into their hands, all of which contribute to fear and distrust between Muslim citizens.
Also, the human dilemma of finding a divine clear path that leads man to safety in God is not clear to the Muslim believer. The only guaranteed path to heaven for the Muslim is to die in the process of jihad against non-Muslims. Islam constantly resorts to threat, fear and horrific punishments to prevent followers from asking questions or thinking for themselves. Islamic scriptures encourage Muslims to believing in two opposite views or interpretations at the same time and depending on the situation, they will use the applicable view.
Islam has also burdened the Muslim individual with saving and protecting Mohammed’s honor and execute anyone who criticizes Mohammed, even if he or she repents. It is totally opposite to Christianity, where Jesus came to save humanity on the cross. Islam has neglected the concept of forgiveness and redemption and thus has increased a Muslim’s feelings of guilt and paranoia, becoming a burden rather than a healing to the Muslim individual. Instead of healing the guilt and pain, it has burdened him with vengeance, hate, fear and oppression and above all saving and protecting their prophet’s reputation with their lives, even today in the 21st century.
MT: Please explain how Jews and Israel constitute an “existential problem” for Islam.
ND: Few Muslims ever question why the prophet of Islam’s final words at his deathbed were not to command his followers to be holy and righteous or to make the world a better place, but were a commandment to kill the Jews wherever they went and to continue the genocide for him until Judgment Day.
One does not have to be a psychotherapist to find it extremely odd for a prophet of Allah to declare a whole group of people as illegal to exist under Islam. Nevertheless, Muslims today are unable to see the wickedness in such a commandment and how odd it is to continue fighting the unfinished business of Mohammed.
But what could ever drive a prophet to such a vendetta? A truthful analysis and answer to these questions will expose an existential dilemma at the heart of Islam. Rejection by the Jews became an intolerable obsession with Mohammed. Not only did the Jews reject to convert to Islam, but their prosperity made Mohammed extremely envious. The Jewish tribes were successful businessmen who earned their living legitimately, through agriculture, trade and tool making. On the other hand, Mohammed earned his living and wealth through warfare, attacks on Arab tribes and trade caravans and seizing their wealth and property. That did not look good for a man who claimed to be a prophet.
Mohammed accused the Jews of having broken a treaty and Allah himself agreed with Mohammed in the Koran. One Jewish tribe after another was subjected to siege, execution and confiscation of property. Islamic books documented in detail how he and his followers beheaded 600 to 900 Jewish men from one tribe. Mohammed was very keen on not slaughtering Jews without convincing his reluctant followers that all the decisions to kill the Jews were made jointly with the counsel of others. The bloody massacre took about two days to be completed. However, the mass genocide committed by Mohammed was reported in Muslim scriptures not as a sin or something to be ashamed of, but as justifiable deeds. Mohammed and his followers then seized the massacred men’s properties, businesses, homes and their women and children as slaves. Many of the women became sexual slaves of Muslim fighters and Mohammed himself had the first pick, Rayhana d. Amr b. Khunafa, and she remained as his sexual slave until she died.
One does not have to be an authority on human behavior to see how tormented Mohammed must have been after this massacre to empower and enrich himself and his religion. To reduce his torment he needed for everyone around him to participate in the genocide against the Jews, the only people whom he could not control. An enormous number of verses in the Koran encouraged fighting as an act of obedience and even worship of Allah, while those who refuse to fight and flee instead are condemned. Allah himself said in the Quran: “Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace” [9:14], meaning those who kill are innocent of any crime since it is Allah who is using their hands. The persistent message in Islamic scriptures is that Muslims, like their prophet, are destined for war and vengeance.
Muslims today must continue fighting the unfinished business of Mohammed and the cover-up of Islam’s bloody shame. What Mohammed did to the Jews of Medina has become the unspeakable cover-up of Islam – actions that no prophet, or human being for that matter, should commit against his worst enemy. No prophet documented in the history of man ever committed mass genocide except Mohammed. But Mohammed never got over his anger, humiliation and rejection by “the people of the book.” By asking his followers to continue the genocide for him until the Day of Judgment, he had expanded the shame to cover all Muslims and Islam itself. He was not going to sin and go down alone.
Mohammed’s failure with the Jews of Arabia became an unholy dark mark of shame in Islamic history and that shame, envy and anger continues to get the best of Muslims today. That has developed into Islam’s existential problem. To justify the genocide that Mohammed waged against the Jews, Muslims had two choices: (1) Either the Jews are evil, subhuman, apes, pigs and enemies of Allah, a common description of Jews in Islamic scriptures, or (2) Mohammed was a genocidal warlord and not fit to be a prophet of God, a choice that would mean the end of Islam. The choice for Mohammed and Muslims then and now was clearly the first, and any hint of the second must be severely punished. Jews must remain the evil eternal enemies of Islam if Islam is to remain legitimate. There is no third solution to save the core of Islam from collapsing; either Mohammed was evil or Jews were evil.
Thus, nothing shakes Islam’s confidence in itself like Judaism and the idea of making peace with the Jewish people. Making peace with the Jews is equivalent with treason to Mohammed and Islam itself. Whether it is the Arab Spring, the current revolution, the previous revolution, Arab kings or presidents, Islamists, Arab socialists, moderates or radicals, any new leadership that refuses confrontation with Israel and the West will be considered to be committing treason against Islam and will not last.
Islam’s fears of democracy, freedom of religion and human rights are closely tied to its fears of being exposed. Allowing freedom of religion will end Islam as we know it. Muslim nations go through one cycle of revolution after another, they spin and spin and come back to where they started. Islam must continue the slander, lies and hate propaganda against their number one enemy, the Jews and then the Christians and any non-Muslims, or else the Islamic existential problem will cause it to collapse.
Mark Tapson: You write that “liberty and equality for women in the Middle East are closely linked to defeating sharia.” But you note that “Islamic feminism is a twisted kind of feminism that champions pride in Islamic bondage.” Can you elaborate on that?
Nonie Darwish: It is a fact that there is hardly any Islamic feminist movement. How could it be that female citizens of the most oppressive anti-women system on Earth fail to take the opportunity of the Arab Spring to change their destiny and the destiny of their daughters and granddaughters? The answer to this question is very complex and part of the larger problem of Islam itself. Muslim women are at a much greater disadvantage if compared to Western feminists who did not have to overcome death penalties, humiliation, flogging and societal rejection and isolation if they violate religious laws.
There are some who believe that the defeat of Sharia and reformation of Islam itself will come at the hands of its most oppressed group – the women. That seems to be a logical conclusion, but I disagree that Muslim women can do it alone. One cannot expect the prisoner to be in charge of her own release when the guards of her prison are often Muslim women themselves. For centuries Muslim women have molded their lives to adapt to Sharia and its prison, which has resulted in many having grown comfortable hiding behind their burqas. In many cases they have created a warped mechanism of coping with a system that treats them as a minor juvenile who needs the permission of male family members to travel, to tell her who she can befriend and who not, and even whom to marry.
When Muslim women open the Muslim scriptures they read descriptions of women as being half the value of men, deficient in intelligence and religion, not to be trusted or entrusted and that they are slaves, possessions and toys to their husband, and even that they are like dogs in distracting a man. For Muslim women to rise against what Islamic holy books and laws condemned them to be, they must criticize Sharia, which is an act of apostasy in itself. Expecting Muslim women to be behind the reformation of Islam and Sharia is like asking slaves to end their own slavery without the approval of their masters or asking prisoners to get out of prison without the guards opening the doors.
That does not mean that there are no brave and strong women in Muslim society. To the contrary, the brutality of Islam has produced some of the sharpest, most aggressive and persistent women in the world. But Islamic feminism has incredible obstacles to overcome, the most important of which is the accusation of apostasy if they criticize Sharia. That is one reason they find it extremely hard to develop a grassroots movement and bring onboard the majority of the population. A Muslim woman’s inferior status in Muslim society has gone too deep and is intertwined with all Islamic institutions. For Muslim women to simply revolt against it would be regarded as an act of subversion that is anti-man, anti-family, anti-religion, anti-government and, worst of all, anti-Allah himself.
Women who defy Sharia or try to change it are harshly attacked and silenced and they end up withdrawing from the scene altogether. Islamists admit that the attacks against feminists are partially made to make an example of them for any woman who would dare to follow in their footsteps. Another major obstacle that Muslim feminists face is the difficulty in connecting and reaching out to other women, especially the poorer and less educated majority. Isolation in their homes, distrust of strangers, and social taboos are major factors in Islamic gender-segregated societies that restrain women’s relationships, even with each other, and prevent them from organizing, especially for feminist causes.
Because of blasphemy and apostasy laws forbidding anyone from speaking or criticizing Islam and Sharia, feminists end up dancing around the issues without hitting the bulls-eye or getting concrete results. The only feminism allowed in this dynamic is the militant Muslim woman wearing her Islamic garb with pride and promoting Sharia, the very law that oppresses her. The only outlet for respect, power and dignity to a Muslim women, is compliance and submission to Islam. In other words, she can earn her dignity and pride only by accepting her bondage.
That is why the few Islamic feminists seem to be running in circles only to achieve minor cosmetic changes that scratch the surface, and they have done so at a heavy price of earning disrespect and threats without being taken seriously. And even more sadly, their example has produced a group of Muslim women who embrace another solution: those who believe if you can’t beat them, then join them. They have discovered that the key to power and respect in Muslim society is to become as radical, if not more radical, than men. We have all seen Muslim women in black showing nothing but their eyes, demonstrating in London carrying signs against British law and in support of Sharia and warning Europe of another holocaust and another 9/11. Sharia enforcers are pursuing a policy of generously rewarding women who tell the world that women are happy under Sharia. And many embrace jihad with open arms. We have all seen Arab mothers celebrate the death of their jihadi sons and volunteering their other children for jihad. I do not know what is in the hearts of these women, but mothers who did so in Gaza were highly respected and rewarded handsomely with life pensions; one mother was even elected to a position in the Palestinian parliament.
An extreme and almost laughable case of pandering to Sharia occurred in mid-2011 when a Kuwaiti woman, Salwa al-Mutairi, spoke to the Kuwait Times demanding the re-establishment of sexual slavery for the poor Muslim men. Seducing Muslim women to be on the side of Sharia has reached even as far as U.S. academia. Islamic and Middle East Studies departments in the U.S. have a good number of Muslim female professors who defend the veil as “liberating.”
Dalia Mogahed, the head-covered Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer and Sharia defender who became President Obama’s Islamic advisor, has been recently voted the most powerful woman in the Arab world. Only defenders of Sharia and Islamism get such honor.
To sum up, the dilemma of Islamic feminism is to see it as a twisted kind of feminism that champions pride in Islamic bondage. This is what all Muslim women can or are allowed to do. It allows a unique kind of feminist aggressive submission to the abusive laws of Islam – a kind of mass Stockholm syndrome where the victim, the Muslim woman, identifies with and defends the very laws that oppress her. As a result, there are many assertive militant Muslim women who act like the “virtue police” against other women. Muslim countries have succeeded in developing a self-destructive kind of feminism that pits one woman against another in competition to defend the religion that taught her to loathe herself and makes her loathe other women as well.
MT: You conclude the book by writing that Islam has sown the seeds of its own collapse and cannot survive a confrontation with the truth. But it seems these days that the West too has sown the seeds of its own collapse, and that the truth is in retreat and the lie of Islam is on the march. Are you optimistic that the West can survive that confrontation?
ND: The West is certainly capable of surviving the confrontation with Islam, but so far it has been unwilling to use its power to stop the Islamic avalanche. The West is immersed in self-blame and multiculturalism, whereas the Muslim world is obsessed with blaming and conquering the outside world. This is a marriage made in hell and if this continues, Western civilization will not survive the Islamic tsunami and meltdown coming to our shores.
In my last chapter, “House of Cards: The Downfall of Islam as We Know It,” I said that within the DNA of Islam is a self-destructive element. It is fear of the truth and a constant urge to fight those who value truth. Islam planted its own seed of destruction the day it relied on lies, violence, robbery, slavery and rape for its expansion. For 1400 years, Muslims have managed to suppress the truth about their religion and condoned acts of unspeakable injustice, violence, torture as justifiable acts by their Prophet that must never be criticized under penalty of death. In the process they have produced a morally confused and self-destructive culture that is incapable of withstanding the challenges of honest debate or criticism. Islam and its institutions are under huge pressure to be truthful and I do not believe that holding on to the lies, threats and terror in this day and age can last forever.
Incredibly, Mohammed himself was not at peace with his own message. He was not optimistic about the future of Islam and Muslims when he said more than one time that “Islam started as something strange and it would again revert (to its old position) of being strange just as it started, and it would recede between the two mosques just as the serpent crawls back into its hole.” [Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0270] He also said, “Muslims will be the scum and the rubbish even though their numbers may increase; the enemy will not fear Muslims anymore. This will be because the Muslims will love the world and dislike death.” [Sunaan Abu Dawud, 37.4284]
Like a Ponzi scheme, Islam must expand to survive. The Ponzi scheme works as long as it can bring in new members and expand. In that sense, Islam works only when more and more people at the periphery of the Islamic state join the bottom of the pyramid of Islam and empower it to last longer. The key to its survival is to continue convincing new believers and keep lying to the naïve Muslim followers. Muslims are constantly counting and reporting the good news to the Muslim world on how many new Western converts are coming to Islam. But when the light of truth reaches the pyramid, especially the majority on the bottom who are not benefiting from the system, being sacrificed for the purpose of preserving and perpetuating the fraud, then the whole system will collapse and the colossal fraud will be exposed. Remember no one can succeed to lie to all people all the time.
Islam’s pyramid scheme that was about to collapse in the 19th and early 20th centuries was revived by the discovery of oil, Western dollars, and the welcoming of huge Muslim populations to the West which enabled the pyramid of lies to continue expanding and receiving a new bloodline. It is up to the West to develop the courage to cut off the bloodline or go down in history as yet another casualty of great civilizations destroyed by Islamic imperialism.