The Death Throes of Islam
It is troubling to look around us today, the early part of the 21st century to see so much killing and terrorism and hatred all over the world and it is almost all sourced from the Islamic world. Is the Islamic world waging a war to conquer the world, or is it a manifestation of their frustrations of their total failure as a world civilisation? Or is it both. Where does all this frustration and anger stem from?
All pious Muslims know that Allah is the Greatest and Only God to be worshipped and that Allah will rule the world – and the world will belong to Muslims. All pious Muslims are expected to dedicate their lives for the advancement of Islam by obeying Allah’s command to undertake Jihad in the cause of Islam. These are lofty concepts about the religion but all Muslims believe this. Those who worship other gods are infidels to be disposed of.
Yet, after 1400 years later, a majority of Muslims are illiterate, poor, undeveloped, and backwards while those of other faiths have prospered, advanced and gone ahead. There can only be one conclusion, the other peoples, Westerners, have exploited and suppressed the Muslims so they must be the enemy. Muslims, because of their culture do not seek a reason for this, nor do they ever self-introspect, but will find a scapegoat every time. It will be the fault of the Jew or the Christian of the pagan, but never the inhibitions of their own teachings, doctrines or culture. So not blaming themselves for their failings, they lash out at the West, at their sectarian rivals (Sunni vs. Shia), at anything that is not in accordance with their concept of Islam.
“The wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya, the campaigns of terror in Nigeria, the Philippines, Indonesia, India and Xinjiang, all together accounting for most of the turmoil spanning the globe are centered in the Islamic world.
One would not be far off the mark if one suggests that the world faces its greatest crisis due to this turmoil.
Islam is the world’s second-largest religion after Christianity. According to a 2010 study, Islam has 1.62 billion adherents, making up over 23 per cent of the world population. Islam is the predominant religion in West Asia, in Sahel, in the Horn of Africa and northern Africa, and in some parts of Asia.” 
The Quran Is the Immutable Literal Word of Allah
With all this turmoil over the centuries of Islamic intransigence with other religions and cultures, one would expect that learned Muslims would begin to question the cause of such disharmony and to examine if it can be rectified. But Muslims have been brought up to believe that the Word of Allah is sacred and cannot be questioned, hence whatever is in the Quran must be correct and that the cause of the problem lies elsewhere. Hence the Word of Allah, and the Doctrines of Islam are never questioned and blame must be apportioned on other causes. With such an outlook, believing that questioning the Word of Allah amounts to blaspheming and that the punishment for blaspheming is death, introspection of the Quran is never considered. This is the reason that Islam will or cannot change, because no one on earth has the authority to alter the Word of Allah.
However, there is one exception in the annals of Islamic history that records that one man, Kemal Ataturk, managed successfully to convert Islamic Ottoman Turkey into a National Secular Nation within his lifetime. Let be very briefly list the things Ataturk had to do to achieve this era unique feat.
Atatürk was a military genius, a charismatic leader, also a comprehensive reformer in his life. It was important at the time for the Republic of Turkey to be modernized in order to progress towards the level of contemporary civilizations and to be an active member of the culturally developed communities. Mustafa Kemal modernized the life of his country.
Atatürk introduced reforms which he considered of vital importance for the salvation and survival of his people between 1924-1938. These reforms were enthusiastically welcomed by the Turkish people.
Chronology of Reforms
1922 Sultanate abolished (November 1).
1923 Treaty of Lausanne secured (July 24). Republic of Turkey with capital at Ankara proclaimed (October 29).
1924 Caliphate abolished (March 3). Traditional religious schools closed, Sheriat (Islamic Law) abolished. Constitution adopted (April 20).
1925 Dervish brotherhoods abolished. Fez outlawed by the Hat Law (November 25). Veiling of women discouraged; Western clothing for men and womenencouraged. Western (Gregorian) calendar adopted instead of Islamic calendar.
1926 New civil, commercial, and penal codes based on European models adopted. New civil code ended Islamic polygamy and divorce by renunciation and introduced civil marriage. Millet system ended.
1927 First systematic census.
1928 New Turkish alphabet (modified Latin form) adopted. State declared secular (April 10); constitutional provision establishing Islam as official religion deleted.
1933 Islamic call to worship and public readings of the Kuran (Quran) required to be in Turkish rather than Arabic.
1934 Women given the vote and the right to hold office. Law of Surnames adopted – Mustafa Kemal given the name Kemal Atatürk (Father of the Turks) by the Grand National Assembly; Ismet Pasha took surname of Inönü.
1935 Sunday adopted as legal weekly holiday. State role in managing economy written into the constitution.
On assuming office, Atatürk initiated a series of radical reforms in the country’s political, social, and economic life that aimed at rapidly transformingTurkey into a modern state. For him, modernization meant Westernization. On one level, a secular legal code, modeled along European lines, was introduced that completely altered laws affecting women, marriage, and family relations. On another level, Atatürk urged his countrymen to look and act like Europeans. Turks were encouraged to wear European-style clothing.
***In 1922 the new nationalist regime abolished the Ottoman sultanate, and in 1924 it abolished the caliphate, which the Ottoman sultanate had held for centuries. Thus, for the first time in Islamic history, no ruler claimed the spiritual leadership of Islam; this was still the case in the late 1980s. The withdrawal of Turkey, heir to the Ottoman Empire, as the presumptive leader of the world Muslim community was symbolic of the change in Turkey‘s relation to Islam.
Secularism or laicism (Laiklik in Turkish) was one of the “Six Arrows” of Atatürk‘s blueprint for modern Turkey; these founding principles of the republic, usually referred to as Atatürkism or Kemalism, were the basis for many of the early republican reforms. As Islam had formed the identity of the Ottoman Empire and its subjects, so secularism molded the new Turkish nation and its citizens.
Establishment of secularism in Turkey was a process of distinguishing church from state or the religious from the nonreligious spheres of life. In theOttoman Empire, all spheres of life were theoretically ruled by religious law, and religious organizations did not exist apart from the state.
The reforms bearing directly on religion were numerous. They included
(1) the abolition of the caliphate;
(2) abolition of the office of seyhülislam (Islamic ruler);
(3) abolition of the religious hierarchy;
(4) closing and confiscation of the dervish lodges, meeting places, and monasteries and outlawing of their rituals and meetings;
(6) replacement of Sheroot with adapted European legal codes;
(7) closing of the religious schools (Redresses);
(8) changing from the Islamic to the Western calendar;
(9) outlawing the fez for men and frowning on the veil for women, both garments associated with religious tradition; and
(10) outlawing the traditional garb of local religious leaders.
The nationalist regime made attempts to give religion a more modern and more national form. The state also supported use of Turkish rather than Arabic at devotions and
(12) In 1932, for example, the government‘s determination that Turkish be used in the call to prayer from the minarets was not well accepted and in 1934 it returned to the Arabic version of the call to prayer. Most notably,
***Moderating an Islamic State: Observations
So it is possible to change an Islamic nation/state, but the only way to do so is to follow the drastic measure that had to be taken by Kemal Ataturk to achieve this end. To change and Islamic nation means to completely remove the authority of Islam from any influence on the governance of that nation. But he allowed the worship of Islam in each person’s private capacity. Perhaps tampering on faith was a step too far, but despite the continued support and protection of his secularism by the armed forces and many Kemalists, Kemalism only managed to survive freely for about 2-1/2 generations. Today, Gulenism and Erdoganism, fundamentalist Islam, are seeking to re-assert themselves in Turkey to the extent that Kemalism can be considered dead.
***Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the only Muslim who had the vision of separating the State from Islam. He is the only Muslim to have succeeded, 90%, during and after his lifetime for about 2-1/2 generations. By doing so, Kemal Ataturk broke many of the traditions and taboos of Islam and proved that he was not struck dead by divine powers for doing so, neither did the Turkish Muslims rebel against him. Many Turks today still worship him and what he did for Turkey, as did the rest of the world. So, Kemal Ataturk has proven that the old orthodox Islamic traditions can be broken without too many tragic consequences, with benefit to the peoples. [But Kemal Ataturk failed because he did not complete the task and fundamentalist Islam has returned to Turkey today.]
***It only more Islamic intellectuals would be prepared to defy Islamic inhibitive prohibitions and investigate, critically examine, the roots and historicity and scientific evidence of Islam, they will soon see the mythical roots of Islam just as Christianity and Judaism has its roots in mythology. This will totally alter the perspective of Islam’s role in governing the lives of the people who follow her doctrines, and will dilute its extreme views. Eventually this will alter the aggressive aspects of Islam, but that would take many generations to take effect.
***As things stand today, the world has had its fill of Islamic Terrorism and Extremism and is at the end of its tether. If Islamic Totalitarian Supremacy continues to force her presence onto the rest of the world, the world has little alternative to destroying this pernicious enemy. The end result would be catastrophic.
Discussing the Appendix
Just a few brief word on the two appendixes below:
(1) Greg Lewis’s article clearly recognises the frustrations of Muslims with their Islamic culture that has held them back over the thousands of years. And it is this frustration that has cause this outburst of anger, hatred, and terrorism all over the world. I quote:
***the restrictions of Islamic religious law have served for more than a millennium to enslave Muslims around the world by putting up insurmountable barriers to the societal advances that could have been realised by the acceptance, even the acknowledgment, of western scientific and legal principles.By closing themselves off from the objectively verifiable conclusions that have in the main characterised western philosophical and scientific thought since the enlightenment, Islamic civilisations have denied themselves the opportunity to expand.”
Hence Islam has stagnated and petrified as a 7th century tree unable to move forward. Islam has failed the civilisation.
I totally disagree with Greg Lewis when he hypothesised the day that Islam would change and be part of the world community again. Islam, or the Quran being the Immutable Literal Word of Allah (god) can neve be changed by any soul on earth and thus Islam can never change. I quote Greg Lewis’ words that I CANNOT AGREE WITH:
***@@@”as reason and moderation are enabled to reassert themselves in the religion of Islam, then this great religion, having died one death at the hands of the radical terrorist cohort that has taken it over, will once again assume its place as an important member of the world religious community.
***@@@”I can envision a time, and in the not-too-distant future, when Islam will once again become a true participant — and not a terrorist dissident — member of world society.”
(2) Referring to the Appendix 2 by Wolfgang Günter Lerch, t is clear that the reasoning for the terrorist behaviour of the Muslims is the same.
“***In Islam, he sees a declining culture which is, so to speak, striking out blindly before it dies.”
“Abdel-Samad’s prognosis is grim. If the Islamic world does not reform, it threatens to disintegrate, to do away with itself.”
In this respect I cannot place any hope for any reformation of Islam. It has been impossible to reform Islam in the past 1400 years and I doubt that it can reform in the next. Islam will either destroy itself or force the West in coalition with the East to destroy this aggressive, destructive, Totalitarian, Supremacist ideology as it did Nazism.
Appendixes below are to provide other views on this same subject.
The Death Throes of Islam
Commentary by Greg Lewis / NewMediaJournal.US (October 25, 2006)
The increasingly cataclysmic events of the past decade, characterised especially by the ***escalation of threats and violent acts by Muslim extremists against western institutions and other Muslims, signal not so much a struggle between western civilization and the religion of Islam, as they do the death throes of the religion of Islam itself.
Islam is — in the important sense of being a religion that has historically supported a vital and vibrant and legitimate culture — dying.
The emergence of such foolish, although admittedly dangerous, Islamist bullies as Usama bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, along with a cadre of militant mullahs and other Islamist “political” leaders, ***signals not the rise of a new Islamic order, but the demise of an old and outmoded one. We are witnessing the death throes of a once-powerful religious/spiritual force, one that has lost its relevance and its ability to provide spiritual and cultural sustenance to its adherents in the contemporary world.
One of the first signs that this political-religious force is hemhorraging power has been the rise of the very Islamist terrorist militias that purport to demonstrate how powerful Islam is. While such groups came into ascendancy with the emergence of Al Qaeda as a means of resisting the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, and while Al Qaeda certainly received support from the United States during that time, Al Qaeda’s assumption of governmental control and its imposition of a fundamentalist Islamic dictatorship in Afghanistan could hardly have been predicted more than a decade before the Soviets were repulsed in Afghanistan.
The result was Al Qaeda’s relatively unfettered ability to put together in Afghanistan an Islamist terrorist organization that managed to stage a deadly attack on the U.S. on September 11, 2001 — an attack that in effect woke Americans up to the fact that there was indeed an anti-American terrorist force to be reckoned with.
It can be argued that during the 1990s Al Qaeda’s and other terrorist groups’ killing Americans randomly and in small numbers through attacks concentrated in the Middle East simply did not resonate with America’s leaders, not to mention the American public, as a direct threat to our national interests. 9/11 taught us that there was indeed an Islamist terrorist enemy which sought to bring its “holy war” against infidels to the very shores of what they perceived to be the world’s infidel haven.
***But while we are today most certainly engaged in a life-and-death struggle against a treacherous enemy that seeks nothing less than our total destruction, it is instructive to step back and examine what the current war Islam has declared on western civilisation really means.
Do not misunderstand me: ***Islam is the enemy. Islamist terrorists have highjacked one of the world’s historically great religions and have intimidated moderate and reasonable Muslim leaders into silence, for fear that if they speak out against terrorism they and their families will be slaughtered without consideration or mercy by the jackals who now dominate the world stage in the name of Islam.
Because the moderate leaders of this great religion have not found the will or a way to speak out against their religion’s terrorist minority, they have in fact abdicated their right, nay their duty, to represent Islam to the world. ***Islam today is Islamist terrorism, and, if we examine the historical picture, it can be argued that Islam has no one to blame but itself.
Simply put, ***the restrictions of Islamic religious law have served for more than a millennium to enslave Muslims around the world by putting up insurmountable barriers to the societal advances that could have been realised by the acceptance, even the acknowledgment, of western scientific and legal principles.By closing themselves off from the objectively verifiable conclusions that have in the main characterized western philosophical and scientific thought since the enlightenment, Islamic civilizations have denied themselves the opportunity to expand — as Julian Jaynes has named it in his seminal book, “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” — the “space behind the forehead” of their subjects.
It’s very clear that, over at least the past ten centuries, what has distinguished western, predominantly Christian and Jewish, peoples from their African and Middle Eastern Muslim counterparts has been westerners’ ability to separate religious from secular interests in governmental and societal affairs. Western civilization’s (albeit gradual and grudging) acceptance of empirical science as an important foundation block of societal progress, along with the expansion of westerners’ understanding of what it means to be human, gradually found a place in the laws of their maturing nations.
As Bernard Lewis so convincingly demonstrates in his book, “What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response,” the result of the radical divergence of western nationalistic Judaeo-Christian civilization and African-Middle Eastern Islamic civilization could not be more pronounced, nor could it have led to a more divisive outcome in terms of societal and cultural differences than what we are experiencing today.
*****Societies which have maintained an allegiance to government based on Islamic religious principles at the expense of evolution along the lines set forth by western nations now invariably find themselves desperately cocooned in the trap of a primitive cultural/political consciousness. They are prisoners of a consciousness that in its adherence to an early medieval mindset is incapable of acknowledging such fundamentals of western democracies as the efficacy of science; the importance of women’s and minorities’ contributions to public life and the necessity to work toward the goal of equal rights for all people; and the urgency — nay, the utter necessity — of separating the secular interests of government from the spiritual interests of the church.
With few exceptions — Turkey is one that comes immediately to mind — virtually every country governed by a Muslim theocracy has eschewed participation in the intellectual, cultural, and political changes that have informed western nations over the past millennium.
As a result, I would argue, we are experiencing the last desperate lashing out by Islam against western civilization through the terrorist minority that has highjacked that great religion.
***For a small minority of Muslims to assert that it is powerful enough to take on western civilisation, specifically the United States, and to defeat it militarily through terrorist action is absurd on its face. And I say this even understanding that it is not without the realm of possibility that Islamist terrorists might manage sometime in the future to launch one or more localized nuclear attacks on our shores, given the international community’s (and particularly China’s and Russia’s) inability to find the will to stop the proliferation of the nuclear capability in rogue states.
In the context of contemporary international politics and diplomacy, America’s waging war in Iraq represents a justifiable and worthwhile attempt to introduce in a concrete way the principles of western democracy into the Middle East while at the same time removing from power a known supporter of terrorism against the west. (I’m referring, in case you’ve been overwhelmed by assertions to the contrary in the mainstream media, to the deposed Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein.)
That the United States is dependent on Middle-Eastern oil is, of course, part of the equation. (I won’t address, except to mention it in passing, the idea that, if leftist-liberals had relaxed in the mid-1990s their ill-advised commitment to radical environmentalism and anti-corporatism, we might now be building new nuclear power plants and recovering oil from still-off-limits Alaskan and other offshore oil fields, both of which energy sources would certainly have significantly reduced our dependence on Middle-Eastern oil by now.)
***If our Islamist enemies manage to commandeer a significant percentage of middle-eastern oil production, they will have a powerful weapon at their behest in their quest to destroy us. In this light, the War in Iraq serves a dual function: to establish a beachhead for democracy in the Middle East, and to protect our oil interests in that region.
(It does seem remarkable that Americans, especially Democrats and other leftists, have managed to forget that Iraq invaded Kuwait in the early 1990s for the purpose of seizing that country’s oil industry and thus significantly increasing Iraq’s economic leverage in any negotiations it conducted with western nations. We can only thank our lucky stars that our President at the time, George H. W. Bush, was an old oilman and recognized the nature of the Iraqi threat and the potential economic damage its success might have wreaked on America’s economy, not to mention our ability to maintain our position of economic and military dominance throughout the world.)
All of this is to say: “Islam is dead! Long live Islam!”
By which I mean, of course, that, like the English Monarchy, the religion of Islam is not going to disappear from the face of the earth any time soon. But as the west — and indeed, “the west” might well mean “the United States” acting unilaterally, given the reluctance of the European Union countries to acknowledge the threat that Islam represents to their very existence as western democratic societies — subdues and ultimately negates Islamist terrorism as a significant force in international politics, and as the global community begins to see Islamism as the threat it truly is to the world’s well-being, and ***@@@as reason and moderation are enabled to reassert themselves in the religion of Islam, then this great religion, having died one death at the hands of the radical terrorist cohort that has taken it over, will once again assume its place as an important member of the world religious community.
***@@@”I can envision a time, and in the not-too-distant future, when Islam will once again become a true participant — and not a terrorist dissident — member of world society.” I can envision a time when Muslims and Christians and Jews and Hindus and members and leaders of every religious faith will understand that being a citizen of this world means acknowledging the validity of the wonderful variety of interpretations of what it means to be given the gift of life through the grace and power of an Infinite Being.
***As this result manifests over time with the military defeat of the Islamist terrorist minority that has highjacked one of the world’s great religions, the people of the world will be once again able to acknowledge and embrace their brothers and sisters of other religions as members of the family of man who share the same interests, including the ability to freely worship the deity of their choice, the flourishing of their children and loved ones as manifested in the freedom to explore the frontiers of knowledge and to practice their religion even as they grow as human beings. This is what all humans who believe in a benevolent deity are working toward, and this is what all humans can agree upon as the terrestrial end that every religion strives for.
***The death of Islam — the Islam that has come in its contemporary public persona to stand for indiscriminate killing and repressive tyranny — is imminent. This death will, inevitably, involve brutal military conflict that no feeling human would countenance. Would that there were some way to circumvent the murderous struggle we are currently engaged in or witnessing.
But in the wake of that struggle, we must all recognise that the impending death of Islam, as represented by the defeat of Islamist terrorist forces, can signify the rebirth of Islam as a viable member of the global religious community, and that what promises to be a difficult and painful defeat for Islamist fundamentalism will prove to be a victory for Islam as a religious force in the global community. 
Sunday, December 26, 2010
This review of a book written by an Egyptian-German scholar was published last month in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Many thanks to JLH for the translation:
“The Decline of the Islamic World”
by Wolfgang Günter Lerch
A startling analysis from the pen of a Muslim scholar
November 17, 2010
Where does the hate of the Islamic world for the West come from? Is it from the false policy of the Americans, the unfortunate Iraq war, the fighting in Afghanistan, or the unsolved Palestine problem?
The German political scientist Hamed Abdel-Samad, himself a Muslim and from Egypt, has an answer which will not make most Muslims happy: ***In Islam, he sees a declining culture which is, so to speak, striking out blindly before it dies.
But how can you say that? Is Islam not the only religion that is growing, and not just because of demographic developments? For instance, does it not attract many in Africa who do not (any longer) practice other religions? Isn’t it Islam that gives an impression of aggressive strength which makes many people afraid?
In his book The Decline of the Islamic World: A Prognosis, the author comes to a completely different conclusion. The title was a conscious choice. When he first came to Germany, Abdel-Samad read Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West. At first, the opinions he had brought from home about the “decadent” West were confirmed in this classic of cultural philosophy. Spengler’s elitist, alabaster-like language was hard to understand, so he put the book aside. When he picked it up again later — intellectually better prepared for it — it became clear to him that Spengler’s analysis applied perfectly to the condition of his own Islamic culture.
Abdel-Samad is following a line of criticism of radical Islam already marked out by the Pakistani dissident Ibn Warraq, now living in the West, and/or Abdelwahhab Meddeb, the Tunisian-French author. All in all, though, he is milder than his predecessors, advocates for an Islam without sharia and jihad.
*****He sees the Islamic world as an uncreative culture which today does not offer humanity a single innovation. In contrast to the first three centuries of its history, when it enthusiastically absorbed everything foreign and created a society that was intellectually creative, and developed a religious pluralism that accepted individualistic, even hedonistic life styles, ***Islam is now in a state of cultural regression. Invocation of the golden age of Islam — strengthened by the consciousness of superiority that is inculcated in every Muslim — contrasts with the permanent sense of being offended, and with the collective complexes resulting from being outstripped by the West — the European-American culture. One of the outré chapter titles in his book is “I am Muslim, so I am offended.” According to Abdel-Samad, the radicalization that is called Islam today is not a new phenomenon, but a reappearance of constantly recurring waves of religious-theological rigidity which find fertile ground in an unenlightened, authoritarian image of God and an authoritarian exercise of power in religion and politics. Obedience, not individual thought, is the first duty of the faithful. For men as for women — but far more for women — sacrifice is the entire Islamic culture — petrified in intellectual barrenness.
***The miseries of the present are lamented, but blamed on conspiracies of the West. Modernization means buying what the West has created, but rejecting the scientific, secular way of thinking that made it possible. Egyptian schoolbooks evaluated by the author speak volumes about the reflexive search for a scapegoat in the outside world. In justification for this attitude and in complete ignorance of the intellectual processes that have taken place in Europe since the Renaissance is the claim that Muslims are just taking back what they had once given to Western culture. The author does not deny the negative effects of Western (to be sure also Ottoman) imperialism on the Arabs, but notes that they are only too prone to self-exoneration.
Abdel-Samad’s prognosis is grim. If the Islamic world does not reform, it threatens to disintegrate, to do away with itself. After petroleum, no one will be interested in it anymore unless it finds its own way out of its self-inflicted weakness: which is the cult centering on authority and obedience, and rooted ultimately in an untouchable divine law. It extends from the concept of God, through the patriarchal family and the restrictive but mostly hypocritical sexual morality, all the way to the state and its leadership.
Critics will accuse this author of one-sidedness and generalizing. He polarizes, and that is intentional. In fact , he says nothing about the Islam of the Sufis, who shaped this culture over centuries, and little about the rationalistic traditions and reform movements. Then, too, the world of Islamic states, between Morocco, Turkey and Malaysia, should be differentially evaluated in many respects. But a sore point has been touched. It pains many Muslims and will make some indignant. And the West is on friendly terms with countries in which this “Islamic system” is carried out almost to perfection.
 The Death Throes of Islam: http://www.greglewis.org/2006/102506.htm
 Death Throes of a Failed Culture: http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/death-throes-of-failed-culture.html
 Islam Wars of Terror: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/140614/commentary-op-ed/article/turmoil-world-islam
 Kemal Ataturk’s Reforms: https://mbplee.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/kemal-ataturks-reforms/