Two Islamic “scholars”, one located in the confident late-antique, early-mediaeval period when the religion was ensnaring barbarian minds, the other in the modern world, when Islam is haemorrhaging civilised minds as a standard feature, and is fighting tooth and nail to stem the flow. The first, Imam Muhammad Idris ibn al-Shafi‘i, who founded one of Islam’s schools of jurisprudence, insisted:
It is fitter for them [the common people] to confine themselves to contentment with the above-mentioned absolute certainly [to believe in everything brought by the Messenger of Allah …and to credit it with absolute conviction free of any doubt].
Contemporary “scholar” Dr Yasir Qadhi, especially preoccupied with Muslims asking questions, has his hands full preserving the “absolute conviction” that his illustrious predecessor mandated. Sheikh Qadhi is on record as declaring it “unwise” for the lay Muslim to know anything, and that the latter should not question, but wait to receive their answers after death. Generally, those who describe Islam as a “complete way of life”, offer their words as a positive endorsement. Had George Orwell known Islam, he might have accomplished his aim with a different Nineteen Eighty-Four. According to Christopher Hitchens:
His hope was to make the book so frightening that it would mobilise people to resist it. But it certainly had the effect on some, I fear, of making them feel there's nothing worth fighting for, or that resistance is futile. …How do you manage this extraordinary feat of being right when everyone else was wrong? I think in two ways: one by life experience. He did know that power was not its own justification. The authority didn't come from God, didn't come from tradition. It came from people who wanted power. He understood that and he felt that he should never stop criticizing them and exposing them. That's the first thing.
Second, he realised that often this trick [of getting citizens to voluntarily forego their freedom] is masked in language. If you only read one essay of his, you must read Politics and the English Language, in which he exposes the fraud, the way in which euphemism is used to mask brutal reality. I don't think now that any member of any American administration would use the word ‘collateral damage’ again to describe what it does describe: civilian casualties. …He [Orwell] was onto that. He knew every time that the Stalin regime said, “Well, you know, in extraordinary times extraordinary measures must be taken,” he thought, that is mass graves. He knew without being told, by reading their own propaganda, that whatever the truth was, the propaganda was lying and it was using nice words for disgraceful things.
In an Islamic apologetics reader, War And Peace in Islam: The Uses and Abuses of Jihad, we read the following: “The contract of dhimmah basically entitles non-Muslim citizens to equal rights and obligations to those of their Muslim compatriots.” Lovely, you may think, but then further down the same page we read, “Should they choose, at any point in time, to embrace Islam, their status of dhimmah is automatically terminated and they become full-fledged citizens as of that time.” The critical reader might wonder what the point would be of converting to Islam, if the “rights and obligations” between Muslim and non-Muslim are “basically equal”. The lie hinges on the distinction between the innocuous-sounding “basically” and the upbeat “full-fledged”, lulling even the critical reader into thinking of the dhimmi as a second-class citizen, when he is, in fact, a non-person whose life is forfeit, but is “protected” from Muslims killing him as they should, in exchange for abject submission and paying the protection money.
This lie conceals within it a deeper lie: that there is such a thing as citizenship in Islam. Citizenship, of course, in its earliest forms long predates Islam. Yet, in Islam, everyone is a slave of Allah. In the sense implied in War and Peace in Islam, citizenship is in the form it assumed in the Enlightenment. This citizenship originated after Islam and so is a “reprehensible innovation,” as is the nation-state associated with it. The authors continue: “The lawful government and …those in charge of community affairs may specify the requirements of conferring citizenship on non-Muslim applicants.” Who are these non-Muslims applying for citizenship? They are all the citizens of the non-Muslim country conquered by jihad, who were not Muslim at the time Shari’a was imposed on them. To spell it out, when Muslims take over your country, you become stateless unless you convert to Islam. The very people whose deportation you so fiercely resist “because they are citizens,” will, immediately upon taking over your country, strip you of your citizenship! Da’wa is replete with this kind of language abuse, and there can be no question that George Orwell would have smelt it a mile off.
…He did stick to it and he did, therefore, understand how great, noble ideas can turn into their opposite, and thus that in Nineteen Eighty-Four ‘Freedom is Slavery’ and ‘War is Peace’ and people live with the negation because they believe the Party or the authority or the dictator who claimed it in the first place, and they didn't have the nerve to doubt it because if they were wrong, if they had themselves been fooled, then what would it make them?
I think that Christopher Hitchens is too generous here. People who “don’t have the nerve to doubt,” that is, suppress their own doubt, already doubt. They just don’t have the nerve to express it. Timidity is itself a survival response. That it lends itself to easy exploitation is another matter. People who suppress their doubt are conflicted, but the impulse to not bring pain upon oneself prevails every time. Aversion to humiliation is something else. When people realise that they’ve been fooled, their determination to put an end to their foolishness quickly overcomes their humiliation and embarrassment. The people who firmly believe that ‘Freedom is Slavery’ and ‘War is Peace’ are very far from doubt. Devout Muslims are such people. Jesus freaks are such people. China has legions of such people. Doubt would never even cross their minds. They are like Winston at the end of Nineteen Eighty-Four, either created broken or become that way. Christopher Hitchens knows the mind of the free person facing the prospect of slavery. He does not know the mind of the slave, the mind forged in submission to totalitarianism, who would not know freedom when he sees it, yet would be repulsed by what he sees.
This blind spot is not fatal in the case of Hitchens, who is too astute and too intellectually honest to succumb to it. But it is fatal to the West European intellectual who imagines that because he has experienced Nazism, he knows the fascist mind. From the short life of Nazism, half of which was taken up with war, they conflate the nightmare of fascism with the horrors of war. If they knew fascism, they would not imagine that by supporting Islam, they are opposing fascism, and by building the "ever closer" European Union, they are opposing totalitarianism!
They have never experienced fascism stable over the course of generations, able to forge the mind most suited to it, compose the ethics most consistent with it and hardwire the emotions most accommodating to it. Even the long-suffering and far less naïve peoples of Central and Eastern Europe “only” experienced fascism at arm’s length, imposed and controlled from outside, even if they did so twice and in quick succession, as in Poland and Czechoslovakia, and they are still suffering its effects, and probably will continue to so do for another generation. Totalitarianism in the USSR’s European satellites was a different animal to totalitarianism in the Soviet Union itself, even if the former did experience it across more than one generation. These nations were oppressed, but they did not submit. They suffered deprivations, but did not experience the famines, the reigns of terror, the mental hospitals and the gulags, even if they have known the horrors of the Nazi industrialised extermination of millions. They had to be suppressed with tanks, despite the indoctrination and the secret police. But they had their home-grown indoctrinators and local secret police. A large enough proportion of the population acquiesced in their own oppression and by their very presence amongst the rest, largely ensured quiescence, or at least, the appearance of it. They were Winston Smith at the start, not at the end, of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Never having seen peacetime totalitarianism such as in the USSR, such as in China, and having forgotten the European mediaeval mind under Catholicism, Western European intellectuals see fascism only in its narrow, particular expressions of Nazism, Italian fascism and an externally imposed (Soviet) Communism. They are completely blind to an even worse form of fascism making haste to reduce them all to real, literal slavery: Islam.
Not only do they tolerate the intolerant, to borrow Popper’s phrase, they actively encourage it. It is a virtue to encourage Islam, to “help the refugees,” or to “make Muslims feel at home,” as such virtues tend to be portrayed. The Nazis oppressed the Jews, so we will do nothing against the Muslims, because we are not Nazis and we do not want to oppress anybody. The Communists denied us our human rights; we do not want to deny anyone’s human rights. Muslim migrants rape and kill all over Western Europe everyday, and where they are not yet inside the EU, they violently assail its frontiers, as in Spain, Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. But we can do nothing against them because to do anything would make us Nazis. They do not even know that their logic is broken.
Europe had its communist terrorist groups in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, and the security services wiped them all out. Yet Muslim global terrorist outfits, such as Hezbollah, operate openly in Western Europe, while the Muslim Brotherhood, another global terrorist organisation, is headquartered in London and has spread like a cancer to every organ, administrative and civil, of the United States. This is far from indifference to totalitarianism, this is actively aiding and abetting it, while the Alternative für Deutschland are labelled “Nazis” and the half-baked French intellectuals are losing their minds over Eric Zemmour's presidential candidacy. Were they not in such a parlous state, they would see that Zemmour is their very last hope to stop the slide towards the stark alternatives of either civil war or barbarism, and return their country to security, beauty and sanity. On this phenomenon, Hitchens had something to say:
This power is only what you allow it to be. Very many people put up with political lying and political illusions and political propaganda because if they were to denounce it, they would have to admit that for many decades they had themselves been fooled, that they had been taken for granted, that they had allowed themselves to be deceived. The con man's work is always done for him by the victim. The victim doesn't want to go to the police and say I've been conned. I was so stupid that I did this. They don't wish to admit it, so in a subtle and deadly way, the dictator can dirty enough people up to make them all complicit in his rule, or I suppose her rule, can make them the tortured, yet willing masochistic, complicit elements in his own sadistic mania.
Saddam Hussein, he who shall not be toppled by imperialist invaders, took this victim complicity to new depths. When, with the flick of a finger, he dispatched named members of his audience to the firing squads, unaware that those firing would be themselves. He got half his victims to shoot the other half. The shooters were spared; evil and brilliant in equal measure. “Sir, I salute your indefatigability,” swore useful idiot extraordinaire George Galloway, when brought into the presence of the murderous tyrant. One wonders whether Hajj Amin al-Husseini was quite so oleaginous when he was brought before Adolf Hitler. I understand that the deluded anti-war demonstrations in Western capitals drew millions then, just as the equally deluded pro-Palestinian demonstrators draw millions today.
- HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad Professor Ibrahim Kalin Professor Mohammad Hashim Kamali, editors, War and Peace in Islam: The uses and abuses of jihad, 20013, MABDA, Jordan.