MORE ILLUSIONS – AT 9:02 A.M. ET: As we run an election campaign, we're averting our eyes from the results of the badly named "Arab spring." It's turning into an Arab winter.
Alan Johnson, writing in the journal World Affairs, where conservatives are actually represented, warns us about our illusions by reporting on his recent experience at the US-Islamic World Forum, held in Qatar.
I was troubled by a naive approach among some participants toward one of the most ideologically driven political formations in the Islamic world, yet also the wiliest, indeed the most duplicitous: the Ikhwani, or Muslim Brotherhood.
The trouble was the willingness to allow the forum’s debates to shuffle around the categories of “freedom,” “equality,” “democracy,” and “rights.” For as Paul Berman has pointed out, the Ikhwani prefer that kind of kumbaya debate, and for one simple reason: they don’t mean what we mean by such words, and they sense that we don’t realize that! They are masters at finding “words that elide and hide.” We think they are liberalizing Islam. They know they are trying to Islamize—to swallow whole—liberalism.
With the Ikhwani now poised to wield power in several countries, the better approach is to deal only in specifics. That’s why one participant (who must remain nameless under Chatham House rules) asked the constitution writers present to say whether or not they agreed with the following four “no”s (a cheeky reference to an earlier totalitarianism, that of Chairman Mao). First, no religious test for citizenship or for any public position, including president. Second, no second-class citizenship on the basis of religion. Third, no legal impediment or social restriction on the freedom of worship. Fourth, no imposition of religious identity upon the individual by society or state. So, free entry to religion—no coercion—and free exit from religion—freedom of conversion and apostasy.
The silence was deafening.
COMMENT: And it will continue to be deafening. And the silence will be covered up or explained by paid apologists in Washington, by the multiculturalists in the universities – who see the Brotherhood as a natural ally to their own leftism – and by journalists still influence by the illusions of the 1960s.
Only strong, well-informed leadership, an educational system that is restored to its moral foundations, and a journalism that graduates from its current state of near-death, can save our civilization. The tragic fact is that there are many in the West who don't want to save it, who consider it simply another "narrative" of history.
Where is Sir Winston when we need him?
June 7, 2012