Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The roots of Islamism

Times Online reported In the second extract from his book Celsius 7/7, Michael Gove claims Islamism is not a campaign to restore piety but a revolutionary attempt to re-make society.

Whoever thought it was a campaign to restore piety; it is a desire to dominate the world.
Western tourists were also the victims of a series of attacks in Egypt. Sixteen Greek citizens were killed in 1996, nine Germans and their Egyptian driver were killed in September 1997 and in November of that year 58 tourists and four Egyptians were massacred near Luxor. Since the beginning of the 90s Islamist fighters have also targeted, among other nations, Indonesia, Pakistan, Israel, Qatar, Spain, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, India, Australia and Kenya. Tourists, businessmen and travellers of almost every nationality have been victims of Islamist atrocities. Attacks have been planned, and terrorist cells established, in Germany, Italy and France as well as the United Kingdom and most of the Arab world. Nations with colonial traditions, and those which have never played the imperial game, countries which are Christian, Muslim or multi-confessional, nations which supported the Iraq war and those which opposed it, all have been visited by the shadow if Islamist violence.
They hate everyone.
there is a ruthlessness in the selection of civilian targets re-inforced by a willingness to embrace suicide bombing, a belief that Western influence needs to be cleansed from Muslim lands and a desire to see a narrow and highly politicised form of Islam imposed across the Muslim world.

The global, and inter-connected, nature of the Islamist terror campaign can only be understood by grappling with the totalitarian ideology which drives jihadist warriors. While they proclaim themselves soldiers for Islam they are not representative of majority Muslim opinion. Far from it. Islamists are a self-conscious vanguard who look down on other Muslims and consider the majority of their co-religionists as sunk in barbarity or error.
And this is why they are just as eager to kill them as westerners.
Islamism is not Islam in arms, it is a political creed which perverts Islam, just as fascism degraded nationalism and Communism betrayed socialism. Its animating spirit is not the pious devotion of the believer who finds in contemplation, charity and prayer both fulfilment and inspiration. Islamism appeals to that part of the human soul which has always been capable of being drawn to revolution, violence and the exaltation of the self through membership of the elect.
In other words, rather than being focused on God, it is directed by Satan.
There are aspects to Islamism which lend it the same appeal which seduced young men into the Red Guards or the Waffen SS, but there are also specific aspects to the ideology which attune it to the discontents and yearnings of young men in our time.

Rather than thinking of Islamism as a variant of a great and ancient faith it is better to view it in the terms defined by the Italian historian of fascism, Emilio Gentile, who explained that totalitarianism is "an experiment in political domination undertaken by a revolutionary movement that aspires towards a monopoly of power. It seeks the subordination, integration and homogenisation of the governed on the basis of the politicisation of existence interpreted according to the myths and the values of a political religion. (It) aims to shape the individual and the masses through a revolution in order to regenerate the human being and create the new man. The ultimate goal is to create a new civilisation along expansionist lines beyond the nation state."
Actually it is a desire to tear down civilisation, not build a new one.
Islamists believe in the re-ordering of society to secure total submission to a narrow, puritan and fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. They are conducting a civil war within the Islamic world designed to overthrow existing regimes, which they consider to be unforgiveably apostate, and replace them with a single and unified Muslim state, the restored Caliphate. Islamists believe that the sanctity and culture of Muslim lands are menaced and defiled by Western influences, from capitalism to feminism, which have to be eradicated.

That cleansing process must be accomplished by suicidal violence, because, in the words of Islamism's most influential thinker, Sayyid Qutb, "the death of those who are killed for the cause of God gives more impetus to the cause, which continues to thrive on their blood." The bloodshed should not stop at Islam's current borders. Not just because those nations which are unIslamic constitute dar-al Harb, the House of War, which constantly threatens the security of the Muslim world. But also because Islamists are driven by a divine mission to ensure the whole earth, in due course, learns to submit to Islamist rule.
As I said at the start, world domination is the objective.

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