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Adding to Dave's argument: Islamic franchiise (lose coalition) serves two negative human needs

Reader comment on item: Will Islam Survive Islamism?
in response to reader comment: Islamism has become like Rome, and will fall

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Nov 16, 2021 at 22:53

Dear Dr Pipes, The reader Dave wrote an insightful letter "Islamism has become like Rome, and will fall" to your blog. I agree with Dave's conclusion that Islamism will fall but I think the parallels that he draws between the Roman empire and some economic events of ancient times (like taxing if Christians by Persian rulers) are over drawn, Islam is a 14-century long phenomenon spread over huge regions of the world. Islamic history may have similarities with other events in the human history, but the analogies will never be able to explain Islam of all times and places.

I will provide my explanations to the ancient Islamic phenomenons. First, regarding Muhamad, I think besides being a religious zealot, he was also a master politician. He strategized his plans with enough selfishness and stratagem. He had no qualms about making and breaking strategic treaties and winning brutal violent battles. What we see today as loots from Muhamad's ancient raids and what looks small loots of war-tools and women to us, was a source of revenue and power to Muhammad and his followers. After winning enough raids in his early Medina years, Muhamad got addicted to these violent methods. While looting other nations was a standard operating procedure at that time of human history, Muhammad was the only major religion-founder who used organized violence as modus-operendi. When you win revenue, it becomes your obligation to defend and protect that revenue. That led to the concept of the Islamic State that was started by Muhammad in his own time and raises its head even today, I would like to remind the readers that Muhamad died in the year 632 and the first siege of Jerusalem started just four years later in 636, So, Muhammad created the cultural foundation --if not militaristic foundation-- of this siege within his life time.

Second, it seems both Shoemaker whom Dave quotes and Dave himself give the Abbassid empire too much credit for the success or corruption of the original Islam. Every theory or doctrine --even scientific ones-- need someone to formalize and codify it. The Abbassids formalized the formula that was already working: mark everyone who is not a Muslim, make them a target, and, then, loot and/or convert them. It was convenient to make Jews and Christians believer-partners sometimes and kafirs-enemies the other times as dictated by the political needs of the times and geographies. It is not a surprise that when Christians were attacking Jerusalem, Muslims tried to become friends with the Jews. What else?

Let us not forget that all this time Muhamad was a religious leader as well. Islam, after all, was the freshest and best monotheistic religion. This also, exactly, explains the "good-muslim bad-muslim" dichotomy that we have to deal with even today. When no expansion is called for, every Muslim is a "good Muslim". But when Islam gets into the expansion mode (as in today's Kashmir, PA, and Nigeria) a higher percent than normal of these good Muslims become "bad Muslims" incognito. If Nizis need a good person, they will dig every grave in Germany and will find none among them. When Muslims need a good cop, he is omnipresent in the meighborhood Mosque.

Third, Dave (and probably Shoemaker) calls early Islam a "lose coalition of believers". This lose coalition can also be called franchised violent expansionism. The unifying factor of the franchise is, of course, the faith. Muslims make their communities around the central facets of the religion. These communities are united not by common ethical, economical, culinary, business or cultural principles, They are united by Islamic terminologies and practices. And, by a common desire to advance Islam (Muhammad's initial idea, survives). And, these communities fight the wars against non-Muslims together. For example, almost no Islamic countries or people speak against PA, or Kashmiri Muslims. They do not even speak against child-kidnapper Boko Harams! The islamic franchise is still losely knitted together via the religion and it still fights violent wars.

Finally, Islam fulfills two human needs beautifully. People like community built around a rallying cry and people like to win against others. On these two things ethics play little role. When we come back winners, we just say that every thing is fair in love and war. Case closed. Throughout its history, Islam has provided a rallying cry to the converts and has yielded hundreds of brutal wins, No Muslim laments that Muslims brutalized Spain, Constatinople, Persia, Sindh and Jerusalem. Why should they? Victory is sweet even when the vanquished were your ancestors!

So, what has changed now? And, where is the hope? The hope is in the laws of nature. When you do wrong, the wrong does happen. Islamic wrong is still happening, Some of us are talking about the Yezidis who were destroyed by the Muslims not too far ago. Many of us have not forgotten the killings on the TV and shootings in the bars and streets of London, Paris, New York or Mumbai. And, when you do wrong, it becomes more amd more expensive to defend your bad deals (specially in this age of social media). More and more Muslims now realize that defending Islam is a bigger pain in the neck than letting it be. That is the hope. And, that is why Dave is so right when he says that Islamism will fall.

Submitting....

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