Cross and crescent.

Author:Holliday, Sam
Position:Analysis of the threat of Islamic extremism on Western culture

In his 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Samuel Huntington predicts a clash between the West and the Islamic world as some Muslims continue their attempt to establish the Great Caliphate - in which everyone is governed by "the ways of the Prophet." In 1921 Hendrick Van Loon, in The Story of Mankind, described the struggle between the cross and the crescent. He explains how peaceful Arab shepherds listened to Muhammad, mounted their horses, drew their swords, and in less than a century pushed to the heart of Europe and proclaimed the glories of Allah, "the only God," and Muhammad, "the prophet of the only God."

Today we face the third episode in the Great Jihad (Holy War). The current so-called War on Terror could be a precursor for a final Clash of Civilizations, or it might be only a skirmish, which if handled correctly can prevent death and destruction of a magnitude the world has never seen. This essay is an attempt to determine the nature of the current threat to Western culture and to suggest what should be done.

Possible Outcomes

If ever there is conflict to the point that either Western culture or Islamic culture is utterly vanquished the world will be fundamentally altered. There will be more death and destruction than in World War I, II, and the Cold War combined. Terror will be an everyday occurrence, and weapons of mass destruction will kill millions. Our challenge is not to accept the inevitability of this final Clash of Civilizations, but to do whatever is possible to prevent it. True excellence is not killing all of your enemies, but defeating your enemies without killing.

Reasonable people must have the conviction, knowledge, and courage to challenge the extremists on both sides - evildoers (Hirabahists) and postmodernists. However, from what we see on TV reasonable people might be in short supply.

Reasonable Muslims around the world need to step forward and challenge those advocating the Third Jihad, for they are subverting Islam to advance their own agenda. The extremists call themselves jihadists (holy warriors), but they are hateful unholy warriors (Hirabahists) defaming the Prophet Muhammad.

Reasonable Westerners, and their allies around the world, need to prevent postmodern thinking from weakening Western culture to the point it is unwilling to defend itself and becomes an easy target for conquest by the Third Jihad. Postmodern thought attempts to eliminate or modify many of the roles, rules, standards, and character that were accepted as proper, good, and right in Western culture prior to the 1960s. Postmodernism visualizes "progress" toward an ideal "Postmodern Culture" that is nonjudgmental and nondiscriminatory, in which disagreements are resolved by universal law, debate, and compromise - but never by the use of force.

The Role of Islam

It is true that there are many violent apostates (Hirabahists) in mainstream Shi'a and Sunni Islam who claim they are faithful to the teachings of Muhammad. They often claim that the only basis in the Qur'an for Muslims to address non-Muslims is to struggle until the non-believers are converted, expelled, or destroyed. If most Muslims accept this view, the final Clash of Civilizations is inevitable.

But the teachings of Muhammad are not so simple - they combine opposites: struggle and tolerance. They present several kinds of jihad. It all depends on what Muslims are led to read into Muhammad's words and actions. Hopefully there are Muslims who want to avoid the death and destruction of the final Clash of Civilizations. If so, they must find ways to be faithful to the Prophet Muhammad and the Qur'an while they stress inner jihad for themselves and practice compassion, mercy, and tolerance toward non-Muslims. However, this is certainly a long shot. Yet we must convince any such Muslims that they are our allies - that all Muslims are not our enemies.

Initially Muhammad spoke to the pagans who worshipped the meteorite now enclosed by the Kabba at Mecca. Islam was then expanded into a reform movement - in part to replace Judaism and Christianity that had, according to the Prophet Muhammad, gone astray and were no longer the proper legacy of Abraham, Moses, David, and Solomon. The Qur'an clearly states that the Bible is false, and rejects Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God. Islam from the very start was a religion of struggle, both inner and against non-believers. It sought to eliminate temptations that the devil might use to erode commitment to Allah. It sought to get all people to submit to Allah. Islam does not give a high priority to economic wealth, prosperity, freedom, self worth, or comfort. Islam seeks purity. Thus in many ways Muslim true believers (Hirabahists) are not concerned about non-Islamic religions or Western armed forces. It has more to do with the threat they see from non-Islamic ways, i.e. movies, pop culture, dress, and behavior. The challenge we all face is to show that Islamic purity is compatible with Western Culture - a very difficult challenge.


Islam is hostile to pluralistic, representative, secular government, since true believers consider Qur'an law and its sharia derivatives the only basis for governance. It is true that Christianity, Shinto, and other religions also do not have stellar records in this regard. However, dhimmi status (subordinate, disfranchised residents subject to discriminatory taxation and limits on freedom) is unique to Islam. Only when Islam controls a country and all non-Muslims have accepted dhimmi status can evildoers (Hirabahists) accept...

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