Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
November 5, 2001
A plot to destroy Christian cililization
Bin Laden's terror part of centuries-old battle
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
Sept. 11 was a significant date in the annals of historical tensions between Islam and the West long before 9/11/01.
In the late 17th century, the Ottoman Turks made their last and deepest penetration into the West, laying siege to the gates of Vienna. They were ultimately routed and turned back by a crusader army led by Polish King Jan Sobieski, in a watershed battle on a date that ought to be counted among the most momentous in history - Sept. 11, 1683.
While the West has largely turned its back on history, you can bet that Islamic fundamentalists have not, and it's likely that Osama bin Laden deliberately picked Sept. 11 as the date for launching the bloodiest single-day terrorist attack in history.
In his 1938 essay, "The Great and Enduring Heresy of Mohammed" (The Great Heresies, New York: Dodd, Mead), Anglo-French historian and Catholic apologist Hilaire Belloc asked three key questions: 1) What makes Islam attractive? 2) Why does it have no converts to anything else? 3) Will it rise again?
"The future always comes as a surprise," Belloc noted, "but political wisdom consists in attempting at least some partial judgment of what that surprise may be. And for my part I cannot but believe that a main unexpected thing of the future is the return of Islam."
"Today we are accustomed to think of the Mohammedan world as something backward and stagnant, in all material affairs at least," Belloc observed. However, "(Islam is) the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had, and may at any moment become as large a menace in the future as it has been in the past."
The West's historical obliviousness today, combined with its now-dominant, rose-tinted, liberal humanist fantasizing and revisionism, constitute major obstacles to comprehension of an enemy that has been, in some form, attacking us since the seventh century. Almost all the lands conquered by Islam since its rise were once Christian lands.
When the postmodern West has paid attention to Islamic radicalism, it has almost always been relative to oil or the Palestine/Israel gotterdammerung. The notion of a plot against our very civilization has not registered on many Western intellectual radar screens.
But that's not how Osama bin Laden and his fellow travellers see it. Bin Laden has declared that this is a duel to the death between Islam and the West. "These events have divided the whole world into two sides. The side of believers and the side of infidels. . . . Every Muslim has to rush to make his religion victorious," he declares.
The notion that this war we are now engaged in can be isolated in the conveniently abstract box of a "war against terrorism" is naive.
This is not a war against faceless terrorism. It is a war against specific forces with a specific organization and a specific agenda, which is to kill us and destroy our centres of culture, economy and government.
In our egocentric worldview, we have imagined that our technology was invincible, but our clever, and more historically conscious, enemies have figured out how to use that vaunted technology against us, managing to flatten one of the wonders of the modern world, wound the heart of the American military establishment, and murder 7,000 people for the price of a few cheap box-cutting tools and some airline tickets.
We are baffled by the phenomenon of sophisticated, well-educated, technologically-savvy individuals choosing to use their engineering knowledge to commit horrific mass-murder-suicide.
Hilaire Belloc observed that theoretical Islam is composed of a series of classical Christian propositions, but denying the Christian Trinitarian concept of God's Incarnation in the world.
There have been many contradictions in the Qur'an pointed out by scholars, but since Islam believes that Allah is pure will, such contradictions do not create philosophical dilemmas. If no natural law or objective order exists even in Allah, then any command of God can be followed by its opposite. It can therefore follow that killing thousands of people can logically be a command of God because the command not to murder is itself something in another context.
The fact that the cardinal virtue of liberal society is unqualified "tolerance," rather than truth, renders most Westerners both loathe and incompetent to cognate the reality of what we are now confronted with.
It suits their default assumptions much better to refer to the terrorists as "madmen," but that is both ignorant and facile. Are the crowds of thousands of demonstrators burning American flags and howling for a bloody fatwa against the West all "madmen?"
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