It appears that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won a close election. Unfortunately, that moves Turkey ever closer to an Islamist, totalitarian regime at the edge of Europe. His victory is a major win for Islamists, a very bad sign for Europe, and a harbinger of the increasing influence of dawa. In a recent post, I discussed the impact of dawa—an ideological warfare strategy adopted by political Islam. In discussing dawa, I quote Ayaan Hersi Ali who writes:
Dawa is to the Islamists of today what the “long march through the institutions” was to twentieth-century Marxists. It is subversion from within—the abuse of religious freedom in order to undermine that very freedom. Another analogy is also possible. After Islamists gain power, dawa is to them what Gleichschaltung (synchronization) of all aspects of German state, civil, and social institutions was to the National Socialists.It's interesting that the Left, in light of Hillary Clinton's upset loss in November, has become very concerned about Russia and it's influence on the election. Few would argue that today's Russia has adopted communist Russian penchant for ideological warfare. Craziness enters into the discussion when specious claims of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump are proposed. But then again, those claims are a form of ideological warfare, aren't they?
There are of course differences. The biggest difference is that dawa is rooted in the Islamic practice of attempting to convert non-Muslims to accept the message of Islam. As it is an ostensibly religious missionary activity, proponents of dawa enjoy a much greater protection by the law in free societies than Marxists or fascists did in the past.
Just today, I came across a rather dark post by Eric Raymond who writes:
Americans have never really understood ideological warfare. Our gut-level assumption is that everybody in the world really wants the same comfortable material success we have. We use “extremist” as a negative epithet. Even the few fanatics and revolutionary idealists we have, whatever their political flavor, expect everybody else to behave like a bourgeois.If you pay even a little attention to trends, progressives, who generally find religion to be declasse´, have adopted Islam as their pet religion, shielding it from criticism by attacking its critics. Progressives honestly believe that there is no connection between transnational Islamic terrorism and Islam and that dawa doesn't exist.
We don’t expect ideas to matter — or, when they do, we expect them to matter only because people have been flipped into a vulnerable mode by repression or poverty. Thus all our divagation about the “root causes” of Islamic terrorism, as if the terrorists’ very clear and very ideological account of their own theory and motivations is somehow not to be believed.
By contrast, ideological and memetic warfare has been a favored tactic for all of America’s three great adversaries of the last hundred years — Nazis, Communists, and Islamists. All three put substantial effort into cultivating American proxies to influence U.S. domestic policy and foreign policy in favorable directions. Yes, the Nazis did this, through organizations like the “German-American Bund” that was outlawed when World War II went hot. Today, the Islamists are having some success at manipulating our politics through fairly transparent front organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Progressives also believe that those of us who have been critical of Islam are either Islamophobes or bigots. Is it possible that instead of phobia or bigotry, our criticism is based on a genuine concern for the hundreds of millions of Muslims who do, in fact, want to live in peace? If they do not rid their religion of their Islamist brothers and sisters, and relegate Islamist ideology to the garbage bin of history, there may come a point when the West is forced to rid itself of them. That's dark, but it is not inconceivable.
The U.S., fortunately, is still on a demographic expansion wave and will be till at least 2050. But if the Islamists achieve their dream of nuking “crusader” cities, they’ll make crusaders out of the U.S., too. And this time, a West with a chauvinized America at its head would smite the Saracen with weapons that would destroy entire populations and fuse Mecca into glass. The horror of our victory would echo for a thousand years ...*But the work to be done cannot be sidetracked by the usual accusations coming from the usual suspects. We must speak honestly, we must make demands, we must insist that Islam reform. If we don't, if progressives shut down the "conversation" (as they like to say), my children and grandchildren may be doomed to live in a dark future.
I don’t want to live in that future, and I don’t think any of my readers do, either. If we want to save a liberal, tolerant civilization for our children, we’d better get to work.
* For those who want to follow this dark vision a bit further, I recommend Richard Fernandez' classic treatise, The Three Conjectures. A lot has happened since Fernandez described the conjectures in 2003, but his words remain as true today as they were 14 years ago.