Two good articles for future reference on Islam and the West’s blindness to it:
Christians in countries with Moslem majorities, or large minorities, are having a difficult time getting the rest of the world to recognize that most (as in about 80 percent) of the religious violence in the world is carried out against Christians and most of the violence is committed by Moslems. This is because the Islamic world, while unable to do much in terms of economic, scientific, or cultural progress, or even govern themselves effectively, have proven quite adept at convincing leaders and media organizations in the West that Islam is not the aggressor and is actually the victim. For those who have spent any time living among Moslems, this all seems absurd. But this delusion is real.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The Problem of Muslim Leadership
Some refuse even to admit that this is the question on everyone’s mind. Amazingly, given the litany of Islamist attacks—from the 9/11 nightmare in America and the London bombings of July 7, 2005, to the slayings at Fort Hood in Texas in 2009, at the Boston Marathon last month and now Woolwich—some continue to deny any link between Islam and terrorism. This week, BBC political editor Nick Robinson had to apologize for saying on the air, as the news in Woolwich broke, that the men who murdered Lee Rigby were “of Muslim appearance.” Memo to the BBC: The killers were shouting “Allahu akbar” as they struck. Yet when complaints rained down on the BBC about Mr. Robinson’s word choice, he felt obliged to atone. One can only wonder at people who can be so exquisitely sensitive in protecting Islam’s reputation yet so utterly desensitized to a hideous murder explicitly committed in the name of Islam.
As I wrote in a previous post about multiculturalism, the blindness isn’t based on tolerance, it’s based in the very western superiority that multiculturalism is supposed to denigrate and deny. But I think the overall success of such propaganda victories for Islam is limited. Americans and the west in general have become used to violence from Muslims, and the constant but low-level war waged by its adherents has caused an “acceptable level of violence,” a term coined by the British during the “Troubles” in Ireland in the late 20th century. Some individual acts will shock us briefly in the news, as the murder in the English town of Woolwich has done in the UK, but within a few weeks everything goes back to normal. Even the Boston Bombings have done little to change the dynamic between Islam and American free society. It’s only when spectacular attacks like 911 are done that the game changes for awhile as it did in the years following the attack. But now, 12 years on, we’re back to a pre-911 attitude within the American government that has backed off the fight against Islamic terror and begun resorting to the half-measures of the Clinton era that emboldened Osama Bin Laden. But another attack of 911 or greater magnitude would force the same policy reversals of the Bush administration, and the political correctness which currently protects Islam would be at least temporary forgotten as the term Global War on Terrorism was dusted off.
911 was the best attack by Islam against the West since Suleiman’s Siege of Vienna, but it too failed in its goals of uniting Muslims in a global war to eradicate non-Muslims and create a global caliphate. Over the past 12 years Muslims have killed more Muslims than Jews, Hindu, Buddhists and Christians combined, and the divide between Shi’a and Sunni Islam is now wider than ever, partly because it’s much easier to attack a Muslim than it is a Christian given the depopulation of Christians and Jews from the Middle East. Divisions between the two main sects are difficult for non-Muslims to appreciate as Christianity has nothing to relate it to. The Protestant/Catholic split seems tempting, but it’s a very poor analogy. A better one would be if one of Christ’s apostles founded a separate version of Christianity at the same time Peter was building the Church after the death of Christ, and the two sects went their separate ways from there. The two would be separate for so long with such different beliefs and traditions that they may as well be completely different faiths. That gives you some idea of what the schism is between Sunni and Shi’a, and no Bin Laden or heir of his will be able to unite the Islamic world against the West without healing that split. As I see it there are only two likely outcomes: no unity or the systematic extermination of Shiites by Sunni, which Iran will never allow (unless it gets its nuclear weapon and is on the receiving end of one from Saudi Arabia or Turkey).
How to turn propaganda victories into real (military and socioeconomic) ones? This must be particularly frustrating to Islamists who see the global caliphate within their grasp, but like a desert mirage the closer to it they get the further away it becomes. So the best they can do is take comfort in the media victories and pray that someday Islam spawns a transformational figure that can unite Islam’s internal differences and leverage the media victories into something consequential. It will be a long wait.