Monday, February 13, 2006


Another excellent essay by Amir Taheri. He describes a split between the religion Islam, and the political movement, Islam. He traces the origin of the political line to Jamaleddin Assadabadi, a Persian adventurer who

disguised himself as an Afghan to hide his Shiite origin and set out to build a career in the mostly Sunni land of Egypt. Although a Freemason, Jamal (who dubbed himself Sayyed Gamal) concluded that the only way to win power among Muslims was by appealing to their religious sentiments.
His slogan was,
"Tell the Muslims something is in the Koran, and they will die for you."
According to Taheri, what he started had, by the end of the 19th Century, mutated into Salafism, whose violence throughout the 20th Century had little success in the Middle East. However,
Salafism's biggest successes have come in the West — where the emergence of large communities of Muslims has created a space in which neo-Islam can thrive.
This new space is of crucial importance for two reasons.

* It allows Salafism to promote its ideas and recruit militants in freedom — something not possible in most Muslim countries, where local despots won't tolerate any breach of their control of the public space.

* Muslims living in the West have no first-hand experience of the intolerance and terror that neo-Islam has practiced in Muslim countries for decades. Instead, they see Islam as an element of their identity and, although seldom going to the mosque, consider neo-Islamist militants as "lobbyists" for themselves.
These Salafis are not just small-minded bigots. They are willing to learn, even from us.
Anxious to control its constituency within Western democracies, neo-Islam, in its different versions, uses tactics developed by other totalitarian ideologies, notably fascism and communism.

Its first move was to promote a visual apartheid to distinguish its adherents from the rest of society — in the same way that Lenin, Hitler and Mao wanted their followers to wear specific uniforms.
That's Phase 1.
Once visual apartheid is achieved, the neo-Islamist moves to Phase Two: making his followers brain-dead. This is done by persuading them that there is a unique Islamic answer to all questions ever asked or ever to be asked. The idea is that, as Maudoodi (the "Lenin of Islam") believed, Islam was sent by God to turn men into robots obeying divine rules as spelled out by the sheiks.

Maudoodi claimed that, when God created man, He made His creature's biological existence subject to "unquestionable laws." Yet God failed to to apply the same rule to man's spiritual, political and cultural existence. Realizing His mistake, God sent Mohammed to preach Islam, which provides the "unquestionable laws" needed for the non-material aspects of man's existence.
Taheri has some kind words to say about Mohammed, as well. Obviously a multi-faceted bloke, this prophet. Someone should make a film about him.

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