ISIS & the Enigma of Modernity
Turning the Clock Back 1,400 Years by Robin Phillips
. . . Al-Qaeda grew out of the Islamic revival of the last century and, murderous as it was, it provided a platform for devout Wahhabi Muslims to prove their piety through acts of sacrifice. But the profile of an ISIS terrorist is very different. We are now dealing with people like Sally Jones, whose exposure to Islam has been shallow, superficial, and brief. I suggest that the key to unlocking this mystery lies in recognizing that the current jihad, despite its ancient roots, is also a distinctly modern phenomenon. ISIS offers an alternative to the individualism, isolation, and fragmentation of the modern world while at the same time exemplifying and embodying those conditions. . . .
Britain Struggles to Win Young Muslim Minds by Michael Cook
. . . “Our strongest weapon [is] our own liberal values,” the prime minister said in a speech last July. He defined these as follows: “We are all British. We respect democracy and the rule of law. We believe in freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of worship, equal rights regardless of race, sex, sexuality or faith.” But will these capture the imagination and idealism of young people? Democracy and the rule of law are the hard-won glories of Western culture, but they don’t appeal to the existential passions of young people trying to shape a meaning for their lives. ISIS recruits are being promised suffering, sacrifice, and eternal glory. To them, Cameron’s words must sound like the huffing and puffing of a latter-day Colonel Blimp. . . .
Is Blasphemy Against Free Speech Worth Dying For? by Michael Cook
. . . The real question is whether a commitment to Free Speech can bear the weight of being the lynchpin that holds society together. The terrorists are ruthless killers, but they are also prepared to die for their convictions. Are French devotees of Free Speech prepared to die for theirs? Will their lynchpin hold firm when put to the ultimate test? I hope we never have to discover the answer to this question. However, by a bizarre coincidence, a wildly popular and controversial novel that examines the conflict between Islam and the Enlightenment was published on the same day as the attack. It suggests that the French would not die in a ditch for free speech. The title of Michel Houellebecq’s novel, Soumission (“Submission”), is a clever pun, as the word “Islam” means submission to the will of Allah. But it also describes the shoulder-shrugging, life-must-go-on attitude of collaborators. . . .
Reconciling Christianity & the Crusades by Terrell Clemmons
. . . while acknowledging sin and asking for forgiveness are unquestionably laudable acts—we’ll return to that shortly—the Reconciliation Walk and its publicity team perpetuated a plethora of falsehoods about what we have come to call the Crusades, prompting Mark Galli of Christian History to “apologize for their apology.” It’s too easy, he says, to repudiate the actions of Christians of other times and places. Though wrongs certainly transpired, “there’s little point in becoming judgmental. Better to try to understand the crusaders in the context of their times.” And to do that, a little history is in order. . . .
In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, Tripoli’s ambassador to Britain. The purpose for meeting with Adja was to negotiate an end to Muslim raids on American ships. Jefferson and Adams later reported what the ambassador said when asked how he could justify such attacks. According to the report given to Congress, Adja replied “that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.” Little has changed in the intervening years concerning Islamic hatred of Americans. What has changed, however, is that Muslims have become more cunning in their tactics. That is the subject of Robert Spencer’s book Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs. . . .
The above articles appeared in the pages of Salvo. You should subscribe. SPECIAL OFFER! Subscribe to Salvo for only $19.99 and receive the Salvo Science & Faith issue FREE