A warm welcome to a new and very brave kid on the block – British Muslims for Israel. As I have often said, where someone stands on Israel is for me the litmus test of whether they are a decent and rational human being or pose a threat not merely to Jewish interests but to civilised values. Unfortunately, even among those many Muslims who are opposed to the jihad and support western democracy, animosity towards Israel often runs horrifyingly deep. Any Muslim who speaks up in defence of Israel runs significant personal risks. So those behind British Muslims for Israel, which has emerged from the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, merit a huge amount of praise and support. They also offer a ray of hope for the future. They show that there are Muslims who pass that key civilisational litmus test with flying colours.You can see an interview with the leader of this new group below. Hasan Afzal is a committee member at the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy. (It starts out in Hebrew but it switches to English for the interview.)
Is this not the voice of reason and sanity? I wish him well. Muslims who do not wish to be associated with the barbaric violence of those who push themselves forward as spokesmen for all Muslims now have a flag to rally around.
Melanie Philips is absolutely right that tolerance of the existence of Israel is the absolute minimum standard for Muslims who want to be perceived as peaceful and civilized. Anti-Semitism is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to human rights and freedom.
Andrew C. McCarthy sharpens the issue of how to make critical distinctions in his new little booklet entitled: "How Obama Embraces Islam's Sharia Agenda" (Encounter Books Broadsides No. 18, 2011). In this pamphlet, he argues that the US government and the Western ruling elite is making a crucial mistake in where they are drawing the line between Muslims we can live with as neighbors and those Muslims who constitute a threat to our civilization.
McCarthy notes that the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, insists that Islam is a religion of peace and that the US and the West is not at war with the entire Muslim world. We can all agree on the latter at least. But we all know that there is a certain minority of fanatical, theocratic Muslims who seek world domination, the fall of the West and the establishment of a worldwide caliphate. They attacked us on 9/11.
Obama contends that we are only at war with the actual terrorists - a tiny group of fanatics. In fact, the Obama administration actually thinks that terrorists are nothing more than individual crazies who do not represent anything other than themselves. McCarthy argues that treating the terrorists as isolated, fanatical madmen prevents us from studying Islam, understanding Islam and getting to a comprehension of who they really are, where they come from and what their motivations and beliefs are.
McCarthy wants to draw a line between those Muslims - and there are many such Muslims in the West - who accept the Western legal/political heritage and desire to live under it in peace, on the one hand, and those Muslims who may live in the West or in Muslim countries who reject the West as an idea and want to conquer it.
Mulisms of the first sort often fled political oppression just so they could have the privilege of raising their families in a liberal democracy. Muslims of the second sort, however, especially second generation ones who get radicalized, often see their role as to create enclaves in which Sharia law can be established and then gradually extended to the society as a whole. In Europe, with the lack of assimilation and the low native European birthright plus the high Muslim birth rate and immigration rate, this strategy is extremely realistic and has a high chance of success. Already the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his capacity of spokesman for the Religious Left, has opened the door to Sharia as a parallel legal system in Britain.
McCarthy's point is that the danger to the West is not merely from terrorists, who want to conquer the West and impose Sharia law, but from all those Muslims who want to accomplish the same goals by means other than outright violence. This failure to recognize that many Muslim groups, which do not engage in terrorism themselves, are in sympathy with the goals and aims of the terrorists. The crucial issue is not whether they are committed to pursuing their goals peacefully or violently, but which goals they have. To want to overturn Western principles of law, politics and human rights in order to transform the West into conquered Islamic territory is to make oneself an enemy of the West.