Thursday, 25 August 2016

Territorialist Islam

Sitting in the quiet and civilized company of south Asian diaspora Chinese reading and sipping oolong tea, the ambience is suddenly interrupted by the blaring and intrusive nasal cacophony of the Mahometan call to prayer blasted through massive amplifiers from the nearby mosque. This is Malaya, but it is the same across the border in Siam, and the same in Java and much of northern Hindoostan too. Armed with electric sound systems the Mahometans now see fit to bombard their neighbours with the peel of the ‘adzan’: "Alahoo akbaa, Alahoo akbaa…. There is no god but God, and we won’t tolerate anyone who disagrees." The electric amplifier has become the weapon of choice for Saracens in such places. It sounds off five times a time, most aggrievedly at five or four o’clock in the morning lest the faithful, and anyone within earshot, should be so impious as to prefer sleep to banging their foreheads on the ground in a show of submission to Mooselman law. 

On his recent journeys throughout the Indian subcontinent, and then the Malaccan Straits, and yet more recently throughout the islands of the East Indies, it has become perfectly evident to the present writer that, more than being a “call to prayer” – hurry to prayer! hurry to prayer! – the adzan is, first and foremost, a territorial device. It is the way that the Mooselmans mark their territory in the same way a dog urinates on a lamp-post.

For Mahometanism, in both its historical and contemporary forms, is above all else a creed of territorialism, and it remains so in a manner that stands in contrast to modern Christianity which, by and large, has dropped its territorial pretensions. Christians, that is, some time ago gave up on the territorial entity once called ‘Christendom’, while the Saracens have clung to the notion of a territorial ‘House of Islam’. These are functions, no doubt, of the colonial and then the post-colonial eras. Colonialism in its first phases concerned an extension of ‘Christendom’ but this narrow notion was then sublimated to a more universal worldview. After all, the first purpose of the Christian faith was to dissolve particularisms in order to accommodate the civilizing mission of the Roman Empire. One suspects it was created for this very purpose. Counter- and post-colonial Mahometanism, in contrast, has failed to universalize. On the contrary, with the collapse of the Ottomans and the rise of the fundamentalist Wahhabis it has ossified into a virulent cult of anti-colonial rectitude – it is this that it shares with progressives and Leftists, the Whigs of the West. The cry of Alahoo akbar is at the same time the cry of “Colonialists Out!” Every advance of modernity, every overture of internationalism, no matter how sane, is greeted as a colonialist infringement. In the Mahometan worldview there are two types of places: the Darasalaam, the House of Peace, and the Darasalhaab, the House of War. Peace, to the Mahometan means submission to Islamic Law. The Call to Prayer, when it is blasted across non-Muslim neighbourhoods, means exactly ‘we are coming to subdue you’ until you submit.

In Malaya of recent times matters have grown increasingly uncomfortable for the Chinese minority. Under Wahhabi influence the otherwise moderate modes of Malayan Mohametanism – restrained by the civilizing hand of the British as it was, it must be said – has hardened into more territorial forms. That is, the Malays increasingly regard Malaya as Mooselman territory and increasingly embrace all the geopolitical consequences that follow from that fact. We see the same happening in the East Indies. The Mooselman activists – conspicuously fired by anti-colonial rhetoric, let us note – are pushing for laws that would make alcohol prohibited throughout all the lands of the Indonesian archipelago. They see this as simply formalizing a fact, namely that such lands are Mooslem lands, and they – being good Mooselmen – have a duty and an obligation to impose the laws of God upon God’s land. This is their whole mentality. They deplore “innovation”. It is a simple reality to which they subscribe. There is the territory of God and the territory of Shatan. The Islamic project is simple: turn the latter into the former. Non-Mooslem minorities are exposed to this mindset. The Chinese in the Malay peninsula, the Hindoos in Bali and other pockets of East Asia are increasingly besieged. 

The scene of the Bali nightclub bombing in 2002

Moreover, this same territorial ideology is shaped by the distinctly militant and aggressive history of Mohametan territorial expansion. The present author stood recently at the memorial marking the place of the bombings of a nightclub in Legian (Kuta) in the Balinese islands. There, in October 2002, Mahometan militants ignited a series of bombs that killed hundreds of young people, most of them Australian, who were that night enjoying music and beer during their holidays in the island getaway. A further bomb targeted the American embassy in Bali at the same time – Alahoo akbaa! – Colonialists out! The justification for such a heinous act was, and is, in the Mahometan mind quite straightforward; the logic is this: 1. Indonesia is a Muslim nation. 2. Alcohol and modern immorality is forbidden in Islam. 3. If it requires force to cleanse Islamic soil of such pollutants, then so be it. 4. The Prophet – peace be upon him - would do the same. 

On his travels throughout Java the present writer found to his dismay that there was a large swell of sympathy for this mentality among the Javanese. They shrug their shoulders, look you in the eye and say “But this is Muslim land!” The Indonesian government rounded up a few of those who committed that particular atrocity, executed a few of them eventually, but others remained at large and the so-called “school”, madrassa, in central Java at which they all studied and were indoctrinated in the ideology of territorial Islam was not touched and remains active to this day. One cannot but remember this fact when one hears the call to prayer. It signifies: this is Mahometan land. Mahometan law prevails here. Flouting of Islamic norms will not be tolerated, and if the pious resort to violence it is, after all, an act of religion, or in fact an act of love, the purpose of which is to restore existential ‘peace’ (for Islaam = the religion of salaam.)

One encounters versions and degrees of this ideology everywhere in the so-named ‘Daraslaam’. A conspicuous and tragic instance of it persists in modern Palestine. Among the Mooselman Palestinians there is a prevailing insistence that territorial compromises are not only undesirable but impious and “contrary to religion”. The writer recalls seeing a representative of this tragic people in a television interview during which the representative was asked repeatedly why he could not even countenance a territorial compromise with the Israelis. “It is not that we do not want to,” he explained, exasperated. “You must understand. We cannot! It is against our religion.” His exasperation was born of the realization that outsiders see his position as merely obstinate. No, he was not being obstinate. Rather, his hands are tied. There is nothing he can do. He means, by this, that under Mooselman Law (in all its permutations) there is simply no provision for conceding so much as an inch of territory. The best he, and the Palestinians, can offer is a postponement of the issue. The soil cannot be conceded. Not ever. Once land is under Mooselman rule it remains Allah’s forever, until Judgment Day. But Mooselman Law does allow for a “truce” that “postpones” the obligation to fight for the aforesaid soil. Thus the Palestinians cannot, will not, will not ever, concede a single inch of ground to the Israelis, and cannot, will not, will not ever, recognize the right of Israel to exist, for this is simply impossible – inconceivable – under all shades of Mooselman Law. Even the possibility of a postponement of the issue is a legal stretch, however. It is only possible as a military strategy. In fact, in actuality, the obligation to fight to restore Islamic soil to Islam is absolute and binding upon all of the faithful. It is this intractably territorial and necessarily militant ideology that dooms the Palestinians to their on-going predicament today.

Palestine, indeed, is a microcosm of the tragic state of affairs that prevails in the Mooselman faith more generally. The Saracen is trapped in a medieval territorial mindset that is invigorated by and overlaps with the resentful and venomous ideology of Whig anti-colonialism. It is this, above all, that guarantees that the Mahometan world is doomed to remain a failed modernity. This has been appallingly clear to this present writer throughout his many travels. Nothing quite prepares one for the glaring realities of a trip through Pakistan, for example. There are many modernities, and among them are successful ones and unsuccessful ones. Japan, for instance, is a case of a successful modernity. Post-Maoist China too. Singapore, certainly. Hong Kong. Taiwan. The eastern Asians have been determined to make the most of the inescapable facts of modernity and in this have often been able to safeguard important features of traditional life in doing so. But the same cannot be said of most parts of the world where a Mahometan majority population prevails. 

The present author recalls showing some young, educated ostensibly “modern” Malayan students (engineers, medical students etc.) pictures of the Cordoba mosque in Spain and explaining, since it was news to them, that Spain had been Muslim some 500 years ago. They reacted with horror. Here was Islamic land now ruled by Christians? The shame! The shame! The reaction of one of these students was that Muslims must – must! it is an obligation as binding as five prayers a day! – fight to restore this land (Andalusia) to Allah. He was not joking.

On the whole, one must count the Islamic world – such as it is – a case of a failed modernity. Need one mention the festering pusule that is the entirety of modern Mesopotamia? At the core of this failure is the whining territorial obsession that bleats from the loud-speakers of mosques at every prayer time. This is what is at the heart of Mahometan extremism and jihad ideology too. It is no mystery. There is now a self-perpetuating industry of Leftist academics devoted to unraveling the “sociological problem” of extremist Islam. More often than not such academics share the same anti-colonialist underpinnings of this ideology. In fact, we might say they are gazing at a deformed reflection of their own pathological worldview. This explains their duplicity and double-talk and such extraordinary Orwellian nonsense as the argument that confronting jihadism “only makes it stronger” – the risible paradox that those who denounce and warn of Mahometan extremism “fall into the extremist’s trap” while those who advocate a self-despising and accommodationist multiculturalism and open borders will somehow defeat them with kindness and cuddles in the end. With such “experts”, you see, it is always the West that is to blame. Whereas, in fact, jihadism has two obvious causes and it does not take a taxpayer funded Left-wing think-tank to work it out: it is the conjunction of two abiding themes in Mahometan orthodoxy, namely militant aggression and religious territorialism. Those who claim that jihadi ideology is not incidental but innate to the Mahometan faith are right. The “experts” – listen to them - will tell you it is just an (understandable) reaction to colonialist oppression. But in reality it goes much deeper than neat sociological reflexes. It is, unfortunately, an indelible feature of all versions of an unreconstructed Islam. The die was cast when the Wahhabis took control of modern Islam. The Mooselmans as a whole have failed to restructure and rethink and reform the faith into any shape that might reasonably negotiate a successful modernity. The opportunities to do it, especially in the XIXth and early XXth centuries, were squandered. Now the sad fact is that the Mahometan world is burdened with a totalitarian religious creed that will fail them at every turn of the modern era.

What solutions might be possible? How might the Mahometan faith proceed otherwise? How might it be “reconstructed”? These are huge questions and we cannot consider them in any detail here, although the simple facts of the matter are that (a) Islam is not going to go away and (b) it cannot continue as it is. One can see little or no prospect of change, though, and so in any foreseeable future a deepening tragedy is the only likelihood. The Straits Chinese in Malaya seem resigned to this. The Hindoos in the East Indies will eventually be confronted with the fact that Islamic chauvinism will dictate the future of Indonesia too. Recent events in Turkey – the collapse of Attarturk’s secular Turkey and the European dream - need to be acknowledged in this context too. And Palestine? Impossible. Yet a path must be found eventually, and it must surely be found from within Mahometanism itself. There is simply no other choice. Perhaps the only path that can be discerned is in Soofic sublimation. Territorialism can be universalized. And the jihad can be turned to the ‘greater Jihad’ that is the war against the false ego, the nafs, which is to say that the militant spirit of the Mahometan might, conceivably, be internalized since this is an established theme in Mooselman spirituality already. There are no answers to be seen in externalist Islam, though. Not in any of its current manifestations. 
The plain truth is that the ossification of the Wahhabi revolution was a catastrophe for Islamic religion. It doomed modern Islam to the juvenile literalism of Salafism, a stance utterly incapable of addressing the complexities of modernity in any meaningful sense. There is really no hope for the Mahometans until the fall of the House of Saud at very least and, after that, until the disease of Salafism is erased from the global Ummah. Any fair assessment for this most likely extends to generations hence, if ever. The irony is that the call to prayer includes the phrase “Hurry to success! Hurry to success!” In today’s unreconstructed Islam those who answer that call are hastening to failure. 


Harper McAlpine Black

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