Sunday, November 29, 2009

Some notes from the past...

Here are some past articles from
Pat Buchanan


Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

by Patrick J. Buchanan

December 3, 2002

“I think Muhammad was a terrorist … a violent man, a man of war,” said the Rev. Jerry Falwell on “60 Minutes.” He added, “Jesus set the example for love. … Muhammad set an opposite example.” Murderous riots broke out in India, and an Iranian cleric threatened Falwell with assassination.

“The Koran teaches that the end of the world will not come until every Jew is killed by Muslims,” says the Rev. Pat Robertson. He compares the Koran’s message on Jews to “Mein Kampf.” “There is no doubt the religion of Muhammad … is extreme and violent.”

“I don’t believe this is a wonderful, peaceful religion,” adds Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, “When you read … the verses from the Koran, it instructs the killing of the infidel … those that are non-Muslim.”

What does President Bush think of this bashing of Islam by his Christian friends? He rejects it. “Islam is a religion of peace.”

Colin Powell is less charitable: “We will reject the kind of comments … where people in this country say that Muslims are responsible for the killing of all Jews, and who put out hatred. This kind of hatred must be rejected.”

Is Islam a religion of peace? Why, then, was an American Christian woman murdered in south Lebanon by an Islamic fanatic, after Christians were warned to stop proselytizing for the faith?

If Islam is a religion of peace, how do you explain four days of Muslim rioting in Kaduna, Nigeria, against a Miss World pageant, after a journalist wrote that Muhammad might have chosen one of the beauty queens as one of his wives? Those riots left 1,500 hospitalized and 215 dead.

Islam has “bloody borders,” says Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington. Is he not right? From Algeria to Afghanistan to the Philippines, Muslim insurgencies rage in a dozen countries.

Yet the president, too, has a point. In America, a huge Islamic community lives at peace with its Christian and Jewish neighbors. Around the world are a billion Muslims, only a tiny fraction of whom are waging jihad against Christian minorities or their own rulers.

How to explain the dichotomy? We are at the beginning of a religious and political revolution in the Islamic world. Like all revolutions, it is marked at its extremes by militancy, intolerance and a sometimes murderous xenophobia. What is being worked out, often violently, are the terms of Islam’s engagement with a hedonistic, triumphalist West that both attracts and repels the Muslim faithful.

In northern Nigeria, this revolution is religious and cultural – at war with both Christianity and a neo-pagan MTV culture. In Algeria, Islamic jihadists seek to overthrow a secular-socialist state brought to power by the war of independence. In southern Lebanon, militants want Christians out, now that Hezbollah has driven the Israelis out. In Palestine, Hamas and Islamic Jihad add religious fanaticism to a nationalist cause. Should Arafat become president of Palestine, he will face an Islamic party more rabid than the religious parties Sharon must cope with.

In Chechnya and western China, Islamic guerrillas seem more secessionist than fundamentalist. In Egypt, Islamic extremism is manifest in assassination attempts of pro-Western scholars, the slaughter of tourists and the persecution of the Copts.

Yet, while all this violence is the daily fare of our front pages, how many Islamic terrorists, guerrillas, assassins and rioters are there, when you consider that if they add up to 1,000,000, it would be less than 0.1 percent of the Muslims on earth? And not all the causes for which Muslims fight – independence for Chechnya and Palestine, secession from Russia, Indonesia and China – are inherently unjust or evil.

Islam is in a revivalist phase. In the lands where it is predominant, there is often little tolerance of rival religions seeking the conversion of Muslims. So it is that Falwell, Robertson and Graham, too, have a point. Between militant Islam and Christian fundamentalism, there is an unbridgeable chasm of belief, and in the Islamic world, devout Christians are citizens under suspicion – just as Jews and Muslims were in Isabella’s Spain and Catholics were in Elizabethan England.

Yet, in his sense that we must avoid war with militant Islam, lest we find ourselves at war with all Islam, President Bush is surely right.

In the last century, America was threatened by a global communist revolution. Avoiding all-out war, we outlasted it. And we can outlast this Islamist revolution. What we must avoid is a war of faiths, a war of civilizations between Islam and America. And those who propagandize for such a war are the unwitting or willful collaborators of Osama bin Laden.


Coming Clash of Civilizations?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

December 7, 2001

With the ouster of the Taliban and eradication of the al-Qaida in Afghanistan, Islamic extremism has sustained a crushing defeat. But what continues to unsettle Americans is that film of Arab and Islamic people, wildly cheering the barbaric atrocities of Sept. 11.

Is a war of civilizations coming?

Clearly, not a few in the Islamic world and the West so believe, and ardently desire. And, with the War Party cawing for an attack on Iraq, with Sharon unleashed after the atrocities in Jerusalem and Haifa, with the U.S. press calling for a reappraisal of our ties to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, a clash of civilizations has moved from the possible to the probable.

President Bush, however, seems instinctively aware such a war would be a disaster. For no matter how many deaths or defeats we inflict, we cannot kill Islam as we did Nazism, fascism, Japanese militarism and Soviet Bolshevism. Islam has survived for nearly 1,600 years; it is the predominant faith in 57 countries; it is indestructible.

Astonishingly, 63 years ago, when Islam lay dormant under the heel of Western empires, a famous Catholic writer predicted Islam would rise again. Wrote Hillaire Belloc: “It has always seemed to me … probable, that there would be a resurrection of Islam and that our sons or our grandsons would see the renewal of that tremendous struggle between the Christian culture and what has been for more than a thousand years its greatest opponent.”

Islam was a Christian heresy, Belloc believed, whose strength lay in its “insistence on personal immortality, the Unity and Infinite Majesty of God, on his Justice and Mercy [and] … its insistence on the equality of human souls in the sight of their Creator.”

While The Prophet “gave to our Lord the highest reverence, and the Mother of God was ever for him the first of womankind,” he rejected the Incarnation. Mohammed “taught that our Lord was the greatest of all Prophets, but still only a prophet, a man like other men.” Belloc believed Islam to be a “Reformation” movement with parallels to “the Protestant Reformers – on Images, the Mass and Celibacy.”

When Christians were illiterate, Islam spread “for 700 years, until it had mastered the Balkans and the Hungarian plain, and all but occupied Western Europe itself,” almost destroying Christendom “through its early material and intellectual superiority.”

Three heroes saved the West. In 732, at Poitiers, Charles Martel, the Hammer of the Franks, stopped Islam’s invasion in France. In 1571, the Christian fleets of Don Juan of Austria, an illegitimate son of Charles V, destroyed the Mohammedan armada in an epic battle immortalized in Chesterton’s “The Ballad of Lepanto.” And Polish Catholic King John Sobieski stopped the Turks at Vienna “on a date that ought to be famous in history, September 11, 1683.”

One of history’s great questions is why the Islamic world collapsed. A century before Yorktown, Constantinople was superior in arms. But in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Islamic world was not only superseded by the West, it fell backward – in technology, industry, communications, arms and governance. The Ottoman Empire became “the sick man of Europe.”

Colonization by the West followed. In the 20th century, only at Gallipoli – the 1915 battle that cost its architect, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, his post – can one recall an Islamic victory over a Western army.

But if a clash of civilizations is coming, how stands the balance of power? In wealth and might, the West is supreme – though wealth did not prevent the collapse of the Western empires and did not prevent the collapse of the Soviet empire. Rome was mighty, and early Christianity pathetically weak. Yet, Christianity triumphed.

If belief is decisive, Islam is militant, Christianity milquetoast. In population, Islam is exploding, the West dying. Islamic warriors are willing to suffer defeat and death, the West recoils at casualties. They are full of grievance; we, full of guilt. Where Islam prevails, it asserts a right to impose its dogma, while the West preaches equality. Islam is assertive, the West apologetic – about its crusaders, conquerors and empires.

Don’t count Islam out. It is the fastest growing faith in Europe and has surpassed Catholicism worldwide. And as Christianity expires in the West and the churches empty out, the mosques are going up.

To defeat a faith, you need a faith. What is ours? Individualism, democracy, pluralism, la dolce vita? Can they overcome a fighting faith, 16 centuries old, and rising again?


The Rage of Islam

September 19th, 2006

by Patrick J. Buchanan

To bank the firestorm ignited by his address in Regensburg, Germany, Pope Benedict XVI declared himself “deeply sorry” for the effect his remarks have had on the Muslim world. The words of the Byzantine emperor he quoted, Benedict explained, were “from a Medieval text which do not in any way express my personal thoughts.” The pope’s subject was the “profound harmony” of biblical truth and Greek thought…


The Rage of Islam
by Patrick J. Buchanan – September 19, 2006

To bank the firestorm ignited by his address in Regensburg, Germany, Pope Benedict XVI declared himself “deeply sorry” for the effect his remarks have had on the Muslim world. The words of the Byzantine emperor he quoted, Benedict explained, were “from a Medieval text which do not in any way express my personal thoughts.”

The pope’s subject was the “profound harmony” of biblical truth and Greek thought. No conflict exists, he argued, between true faith and right reason. Contending violence is the antithesis of reason, he cited the “erudite Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus,” during a siege of Constantinople, between A.D. 1394 and 1402.

Benedict’s words merit being put into context.

“I would like to discuss one point – itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole – which … can serve as the starting point for my reflections on this issue.

“In the seventh conversation … the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 (of the Quran) reads, ‘There is no compulsion in religion.’

“According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Muhammad was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions developed later and recorded in the Quran concerning holy war. …

“(The emperor) addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence … saying, ‘Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’”

The explosion followed. For it was reported that Pope Benedict had endorsed the view that the only innovations the prophet made to the monotheistic faiths were “evil and inhuman.” The pope did not say this and has denied that he believes this.

Yet the issues he raised, that true faith and right reason are never in conflict, that force is intolerable in advancing God’s word, merit discussion in light of history and the present.

How did the Christians conquer the Roman Empire after 300 years of persecution? By living the Gospel, preaching the Word and dying for the faith – martyrdom. But Islam came out of the desert to conquer the Holy Land, North Africa and Spain in a single century, by the sword. Islam is a fighting faith. Wrote J.M. Roberts in “The History of Europe,” “Islam from the start has been a religion of conquest.”

In 1095, Urban II preached the First Crusade to end the abuse of Christian pilgrims and recapture the Holy City and Holy Sepulcher. Muslims view these Crusades as Christian wars of aggression. Yet the martial means the Crusaders used to recapture Jerusalem were the same as those the Caliph Umar had used to conquer the Holy City.

Until our time, Western man did not apologize for the Crusades. Gen. Eisenhower even titled his war memoir “Crusade in Europe.”

For centuries, European Christians fought the Islamic world. In 1492, Muslims were forcibly expelled from Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella. In the early 16th century, Suleiman the Magnificent invaded the Balkans, defeated the Hungarians at Bohacs and besieged Vienna. The Balkan wars of Suleiman bear little resemblance to the Christian crusades of Dr. Billy Graham. In 1571, the fleets of the Ottoman Turks were destroyed at Lepanto by a fleet organized by Pius V.

In the 19th century, the Ottoman Turks began their long retreat from the Balkans. At the end of the First World War, Kemal Ataturk abolished the caliphate, put the caliph on the Orient Express, severed the ties between mosque and state, and made Turkey a secular state.

In our own time, however, the issues Pope Benedict addressed – the harmony between faith and reason, and the disharmony between force and faith – have re-arisen.

In Afghanistan this year, a Christian convert was threatened with beheading for apostasy. Most imams and Afghans seemed to approve. In Indonesia, Nigeria and Sudan, Muslims are at war with Christians, in the Middle East with Israelis, in Chechnya with Russians, in India with Hindus, in Thailand with Buddhists. Other issues are involved, but faith seems ever present as a prime motivator of violence.

In the West, men and women convert to Islam and imams preach and proselytize. In Islamic nations, conversion to Christianity can mean death, as can preaching and proselytizing. Do Muslim faithful believe it is legitimate to use state power to impose Shariah or maintain religious orthodoxy, as Henry VIII and Isabella believed?

In the West, a militant secularism has seized state power and the de-Christianization of America is well advanced. In the East, we had best recognize that the rage, militancy and intolerance so often on display are the unmistakable marks of a rising, not a dying, faith.