By G. M. Davis, Ph.D.
In an earlier column, I argued that the great adversary we are facing on the world stage today is not “radical” Islam, or “extreme” Islam, but Islam pure and simple.
It is the same adversary that, beginning in the seventh century, overran the Middle East and North Africa killing and enslaving tens of millions, and oppressed most of the Christian East under Shariah law for more than a thousand years, and it is now pushing down roots in the urban centers of Western Europe and North America.
It is this metastasizing danger that recently prompted Patrick Calvar, chief of the French Directorate General of Internal Security, to declare, “We are on the brink of civil war.”
The answer to this challenge is neither the gutless multiculturalism of Western elites, which refuses either to name or resist the adversary that is threatening Western Civilization, or the misguided efforts to “democratize” the Islamic world through military action, but rather a policy of active containment, which would simultaneously curtail Muslim immigration into the West and disengage Western military assets from costly and fruitless overseas entanglements.
Containing Islam is a deliberate echo of the strategy articulated by George Kennan in 1947 and pursued to ultimate victory during the Cold War against Soviet Communism. It may be said that it was not merely containment that won the Cold War – that the Soviet Union collapsed for other reasons – or that containment itself was pursued inconsistently, all of which certainly have grains of truth to them. Nonetheless, containment was the essence of the successful American strategy against Communism, and it can bring the much-needed clarity to Western strategy against Islam that has been so terribly lacking.
Containment would operate in two ways: stopping the Islamization of the West through curtailing Muslim immigration and clamping down on Islamic activism, while supporting secular and quasi-secular regimes overseas that share an interest in quashing jihadist activity.
At home, Islam would, in addition to its status as a religion, be recognized as a hostile political ideology, which would give the government broad powers to stop terrorists as well as “soft jihadists” from pushing their agenda of bringing Shariah to the West.
Overseas, no mission of the U.S. military would henceforth include “nation building” or bringing “democracy” to any Islamic country; Islam itself is a form of government and is entirely unsuited to Western democratic principles. The only effective alternative government to the repressive and barbaric code of Shariah is the only form that has ever worked in the Islamic world, namely, quasi-secular dictatorship.
The reason the Islamic world breeds strongmen like Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gadhafi, Hosni Mubarak, Bashar al-Assad, etc., is because they are the only types of leaders capable of lending order to what is a fundamentally chaotic and brutal culture in which true-believing jihadists ever threaten to rend the tenuous strains of freedom and order (e.g. ISIS). Even “enlightened” Turkey, which has teetered along as a nominal democracy since the draconian reforms of Ataturk, is at least two parts dictatorship, as current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems intent on proving on a regular basis.
On immigration, Muslims wanting to enter the United States would be given greater scrutiny as a matter of course for the simple reason that, all things being equal, their religion disposes them to the sort of otherwise unpredictable violence we have witnessed again and again, in this country and overseas.
As Winston Churchill observed, “Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.”
Exactly. The problem now is that our immigration controls are so upside-down that the call for a moratorium on Muslim immigration is the right one. In time, with more discerning policies, it should be possible to allow Muslims who can demonstrate their genuine good intentions and pass rigorous background checks to be granted long-term residency and even citizenship. Until then, halting Muslim immigration to the U.S. and other Western countries is just common sense. Furthermore, entry visas should immediately be required for all Muslims seeking to enter U.S. territory with attendant extra background checks and reduced times for remaining on U.S. soil.
The most difficult question is how the U.S. government should regard Muslim Americans. Here, it is imperative to bear in mind that, along with the objectives of defending the nation against jihadist attack and the sort of creeping Shariah occurring in European cities, an equal imperative is the safeguarding of civil liberties. The current policy regime of profiling people on the basis of everything except the salient ideology that drives terrorism is a recipe for the police state we see growing around us. Profiling on the criterion of Islam would dramatically reduce the need for the present sprawling surveillance apparatus, which in turn would dramatically reduce the threat to civil liberties. Muslim Americans, in turn, should be granted all of the rights and privileges accruing to all American citizens with the caveat that their allegiance, explicit or implicit, to a political-religious ideology that sanctions violence against unbelievers and intends the replacement of the U.S. Constitution with Shariah law will necessarily mark them for greater scrutiny and must preclude them from sensitive areas such as government service. For all Muslims wanting to leave their religion and who come to the U.S. for sanctuary, they should be afforded every help and protection to undertake their act of conscience.
In this whole debate, it is imperative to bear in mind that containment is not merely about us versus them: Islamic terrorism is at least as great a threat to Muslims around the world as Westerners at home. Preserving Western civil society not only serves the interests of Westerners but also those from around the world who look to the West – and to America – as a safe haven from Islam-based violence.
Countless Muslims have left their own societies and made better lives for themselves in the West – something they will no longer be able to do should the West fail to rise to the challenge of resurgent Islam. Indeed, Islam’s greatest victims are the many ordinary Muslims around the world oppressed by Shariah law, persecuted as heretics by their coreligionists or killed outright in jihadist attacks.
We are fighting, in other words, not only for our own freedoms, but also for those of others; others who will come after us, and others around the world who, unlike ourselves, have experienced the true face of Islam firsthand.
G.M. Davis studied political religions and totalitarianism at Stanford University, where he received his Ph.D. in political science in 2003. He has written for Human Events, FrontPage, JihadWatch, Chronicles, and other websites and magazines. He was a guest speaker at the 2007 International Conference on the Collapse of Europe at Pepperdine University. He has appeared on Fox News, the BBC World Service, and numerous radio programs across America and Britain. He has lectured on issues of politics, international policy, and culture in the U.S. and the Balkans. He is the author of “House of War: Islam’s Jihad Against the World” from WND Books and producer and director of the feature documentary “Islam: What the West Needs to Know.”