May 28, 2006

Intellectual History of Islamofascism

Dr. John Lewis takes a good look at the intellectual history of the Mideast and Islam in his post Notes on the Near Eastern Legacy of Islam over at the Objective Standard Blog.

The bio for Dr. Lewis at the Objective Standard says he "is Assistant Professor of History, Ashland University, where he is Assistant Director of the Academic Honors Program. His Ph.D. is in Classical Studies from the University of Cambridge, and he has taught at the University of London."

Dr. Lewis says:

I just finished teaching an undergraduate university class on the Ancient Near East: 15 weeks on Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. I read as many original documents and modern histories—and looked at as much art—as I had time to do. I became intrigued by the many parallels between radical Islam and the ancient historical background. Here are just a few, in no particular order, each of which needs more work:
1. The idea that the world is divided into the realms of light and truth (ruled by a god's favorite on earth), versus the realm of darkness and lies (ruled by men). There are many parallels between Zoroastrianism (which sees the world as divided into warring realms of light and dark), Manicheism (similar views spread by a Persian mystic in the 3rd century A.D.), and Islam, particularly the Dar-al-Islam versus Dar-al-Harb, or World of Light and Submission versus World of Darkness and Chaos. From such views came Bin Laden's war with the west, which can only end when the forces of Islam have conquered the forces of Chaos.

2. The idea that the truth can only come from the authority of a higher power, to be accepted by faith. The ancient Persian kings saw a "world of truth" versus "world of lies," in which the Great King triumphs over those who lie. Islamists today see enemies lying to them everywhere—while they accept the grossest lies themselves (teaching their children, for instance, that Jews are born of pigs and monkeys).

… 4. The idea that proper political rule is based on the sanction of a divine power, whose commands are enforced by those who fight successfully on earth. For the Persians, it was the god Ahuramazda, among others, who legitimated the king's rule. The "peace" that follows when the king establishes his rule is a distinct parallel to claims by Islamic totalitarians that all will be well once Islamic law is imposed by a totalitarian Caliphate or ruling council. For such mentalities, adherence to divine commands is more important than the consequences on earth; thus the Taliban brought misery to their people, but called it goodness. … 7. The wars of expansion—by which the Near Eastern kingdoms and, later, Islam rose—continued until a dictator imposed his will. The ancient Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Median and Persian Empires all expanded to the limits of their power. For the Persians, the expansion to universal rule was stopped by the Greeks. Similarly, Islamists today say that a Caliphate will impose Islamic law over all, by force if necessary, under a totalitarian dictatorship. … 9. The "everywhere" of expansion and submission is important: as the ancient Persian-Iranians set out to expand their kingdom over the entire world, so modern Islamists demand the spread of Islam over the entire world. Universal submission is their aim.

All these ideas are, naturally enough, taught to students in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia and Palestine -- well, that's where I've seen documented evidence. Judging from words and actions, these ideas are taught throughout the Islamic world.

It is good to see the history of Islamic thought, to better understand it. History is indispensable to properly understand current events...which is one reason why so many people fail to understand modern issues such as the climate, eminent domain, capitalism...and Islamofascism.

War on Terror Posted by Cyrano at May 28, 2006 1:39 PM