The West defeated fascists and communists in World War II and the Cold War. It now faces a foe equally determined, if not more so. Can it defeat radical Islam?
Daniel Pipes, author of 11 books on Middle Eastern topics and director of the Philadelphia think tank Middle East Forum, asked that crucial question in his Dec. 26, 2006, article “How the West Could Lose” in the New York Sun.
“On the face of it, [the West’s] military preponderance makes victory seem inevitable … ,” he wrote. “Yet, more than a few analysts, including myself, worry that it’s not so simple.
“Islamists (defined as persons who demand to live by the sacred law of Islam, the Sharia) might in fact do better than the earlier totalitarians. They could even win. That’s because, however strong the Western hardware, its software contains some potentially fatal bugs. Three of them—pacifism, self-hatred, complacency—deserve attention.”
In discussing pacifism, Dr. Pipes writes of those in the West who believe that a military solution is not possible. Yet, he points out, “What were the defeats of the Axis, the United States in Vietnam, or the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, if not military solutions?”
His paragraph on self-hatred illustrates a phenomenon peculiar to the West. “Significant elements in several Western countries—especially the United States, Great Britain, and Israel—believe their own governments to be repositories of evil . . . Self-hating Westerners have an out-sized importance due to their prominent role as shapers of opinion in universities, the media, religious institutions, and the arts. They serve as the Islamists’ auxiliary mujahideen.”
Thirdly, he focuses on complacency. “The absence of an impressive Islamist military machine imbues many Westerners, especially on the left, with a feeling of disdain . . . Too many dismiss terrorism as a mere ‘nuisance,’” he wrote.
Yet, as Dr. Pipes points out, they could win.
What do Islamists have going for them?
Dr. Pipes lists some of the capabilities Islamists have in their favor:
• “A potential access to weapons of mass destruction that could devastate Western life.
• “A religious appeal that provides deeper resonance and greater staying power than the artificial [religious] ideologies of fascism and communism.
• “An impressively conceptualized, funded, and organized institutional machinery that successfully builds credibility, goodwill, and electoral success.
• “An ideology capable of appealing to Muslims of every size and shape . . . The movement almost defies sociological definition.
• “A non-violent approach . . . that pursues Islamification through educational, political, and religious means . . . Lawful Islamism is proving successful in Muslim-majority countries like Algeria and Muslim-minority ones like the United Kingdom.
• “A huge number of committed cadres. If Islamists constitute 10% to 15% of the Muslim population worldwide, they number some 125 to 200 million persons, or a far greater total than all the fascists and communists, combined, who ever lived.”
In conclusion he paints decidedly worrying scenarios of the near future.
Pacifism, self-hatred and complacency, he notes, only hinder the struggle against the threat from radical Islam. Only after devastating losses in lives and property will many Westerners belatedly recognize the stakes and the magnitude of the danger. And while the West may then prevail, the battle will have been unnecessarily prolonged and won at considerably higher cost.
Alternatively, he explains, if Islamists avoid turning world opinion against them by not using methods and weapons of mass destruction and instead follow non-violent and political routes to gain control, they may prove unstoppable in the long run. After all, high Muslim birth rates and declining Western births mean the demographics are definitely on their side.
In other words, either way the West is seriously threatened by Islamists determined to advance radical Islam and the rule of Sharia into the very heart of the Western democracies.
In The Wall Street Journal, editor Daniel Henninger warns that “militant Islam is on the march, literally, with enormous moral self-confidence. By contrast the West . . . is in ‘an era of post-modern insouciance’ ” (“Western Civ 101,” Dec. 1, 2006). Webster’s Dictionary defines “insouciance” as “lighthearted unconcern.” It’s as if there is no threat at all.
Yet, as Dr. Pipes so clearly points out, the numbers of Islamists worldwide is “a far greater total than all the fascists and communists, combined, who ever lived.” Bluntly speaking, that means that the threat from radical Islam is the greatest threat ever to the Western democracies. And overthrowing Western civilization is their stated goal.
Why do so few see it?
I recently heard a panel discussion on National Public Radio in which the topic was the first U.S. Muslim congressman, newly elected from Minnesota, taking office. All five people on the show expressed the opinion that the more Muslims we have in Congress (and the country generally) the better.
The panelists repeated the politically correct mantras stating that what the country needs is more cultural, ideological and religious diversity (excepting that of the Christian variety, of course). This, they argued, is a good thing.
One Bible verse in particular comes to mind in helping to explain the attitude of so many in the West. It can be found in Revelation 3:17 Revelation 3:17Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
American King James Version×in the evaluation of the “lukewarm” church of the Laodiceans. They are described as self-satisfied, “rich, . . . wealthy, . . . and [in] need of nothing.”
That certainly sums up the prevailing attitude of most people in the West. People are enjoying greater abundance than they have ever had. Consequently, most people are focused on having fun, largely oblivious to the growing threat to their very existence.
Even many professing Christians have succumbed to this “Laodicean” attitude. Most of those who claim to be Christians today rarely attend church, and when they do, it’s for a rushed hour on a Sunday morning that makes them feel good. They’ve done their duty! Many claiming to be Christian have private lives that are incompatible with the standards laid down by Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile, all over Europe churches and cathedrals sit empty or nearly so. In Britain, it’s reached the point that a greater number of people go to Muslim services in mosques each week than attend services of the Church of England.
Islam an expansionist religion
For well over two centuries the West has been led by the two great English-speaking powers, the British Empire before World War II and the United States since.
This period of domination is rapidly drawing to a close.
Overlooked in talk of withdrawal from Iraq is the fact that if the war in Iraq is lost, it will be the first time that the United States and Great Britain, fighting together, have lost a war! The same could be said for Afghanistan, where defeat seems set to follow. It’s as if God is removing His protective hand from the English-speaking peoples.
Defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq may not worry the average person in the United States or Western Europe, but could defeat there also mean defeat at home? Could the seemingly inexorable advance of radical Islam in the Middle East be replicated in the United States, Australia, Canada or Britain?
History shows Islam to be an expansionist religion. With its origins in the cities of Mecca and Medina almost 14 centuries ago, it has now spread throughout the Middle East, North Africa, large parts of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and pockets of Europe.
Mass immigration into Western countries since World War II now means that millions of Muslims now reside in Western nations. In the 1970 census there were only 500,000 Muslims in the United States; today it’s at least 7 million. Many of these are converts from mainstream Christianity. As churches have turned progressively away from the Word of God, people have left seeking alternative religions.
If, as Dr. Pipes claims, 15 percent of Muslims are committed radicals, that means there are well over one million in the United States alone. Even if the proportion is far smaller, it’s still a disturbingly high number.
The director of the British intelligence service warned recently that Britain was a primary target of radical Islam and claimed that investigations were continuing into 30 ongoing terrorist plots. Attacks on public transportation in London in July 2005 were perpetrated by British nationals —the sons of Muslim immigrants to the country. A few months later, France and Italy endured weeks of rioting by second-generation Muslims.
The threat is very real.
The solution is quite simple: national repentance, a turning back to the true God of the Bible.
Consequences of turning from God
In the midst of the Battle of Britain, when the fate of the free world was at stake, Britain’s King George VI called for a national day of prayer. Four years later, on the eve of the Normandy landings, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt actually led the nation in prayer on the radio.
Up until the end of World War II, most Americans believed in God and accepted that they had a God-ordained purpose to fulfill in the world. That faith and confidence has eroded as the nation has turned progressively away from God. Congress and the courts, particularly the courts, have reinterpreted “separation of church and state” to mean not freedom of religion but freedom from religion. As they have rejected God, is it any wonder that He could now allow defeat?
In Leviticus 26, God promised Israel tremendous blessings for obedience and negative consequences for rejecting His laws. The United States, Britain, Australia and Canada—modern descendants of the ancient Israelites—are now beginning to experience some of those consequences. More will follow unless there is a national repentance, a turning back to God with a sincere desire to change both individually and nationally.
“I will break the pride of your power,” God warned in verse 19.
Just a few years ago there was great national pride in America’s military power, a feeling that the country was invincible, that any nation that dared to defy the United States could be soundly beaten, thoroughly and rapidly.
Yet now the country faces international humiliation, with the possibility of defeat at the hands of militant Islamists, religious fanatics who seem determined to take the world back to the Dark Ages.
Multiculturalism clouds understanding
Part of the problem must lie at the feet of multiculturalism, a modern creed that has become a god in itself. In the name of multiculturalism and political correctness, all religions are declared equally valid. That includes Islam as well as Christianity.
This has resulted in many errors of judgment and a failure to correctly perceive the threat that faces the West at this time.
The Bible tells us that salvation is possible only through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12 Acts 4:12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
American King James Version×). Yet Islam specifically denies the divinity of Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death for the sins of all mankind.
The founders of the United States were mostly Protestants, men who had learned tolerance through two centuries of European religious conflict. Prior to the American Revolution, they considered themselves Englishmen.
The French philosopher Voltaire observed in his Philosophical Letters, “If there were only one religion in England, we should have to fear despotism; if there were two, they would cut each other’s throats; but there are thirty, and they live in peace and happiness” (quoted by Gordon Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, 1991, p. 14.)
With so many different denominations, it was agreed that there should be no official national church in America as there was in England itself.
Religious tolerance has been a major factor in the success of the United States. It has also contributed to the development of democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.
The same tolerance has not developed in other parts of the world. This helps us appreciate more fully the animosity between Sunni and Shia in the Islamic world, being played out with so much bloodshed in Iraq. It also helps us understand why democracy is unlikely to succeed in many countries.
Rejection of the religious beliefs that inspired the English to spread around the world and helped found the United States has led to an inability to under- stand correctly the current threat to the West. Because so many in the West do not take religion seriously, they fail to comprehend how others can. Thus most people remain ignorant of the threat from radical Islam.
In Revelation 6, Jesus Christ warned of the impact false religion would have on the world in end-time events. This chapter describes the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.
The prophecy shows that false religion will bring a sword on the world like nothing before. It will go out “conquering and to conquer” (verse 2). This will be rapidly followed by war (verses 3-4), which, in turn, is followed by famine (verses 5-6) and disease and death (verses 7-8), the inevitable result of war and famine.
Only national repentance, a turning back to God, can now save our nations from the cataclysmic events prophesied to befall them. The modern descendants of ancient Israel—primarily the peoples of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand—have increasingly rejected God and His commands. God warns us of the dire consequences.
But even if others won’t repent, you can. Will you? GN