Westernized crypto-Islamist Tariq Ramadan, an idol of the cultural left, passes himself off as a Muslim reformer but strongly implies in Western Muslims and the Future of Islam that Islam is a superior religion that will outclass Judaism and Christianity. According to an interview in the New Statesman for June 21, 2004, Ramadan believes that Islam can infiltrate and conquer the West by initially peaceful means, continuing immigration, and the “duty for Muslims…to take Islam from the periphery of European culture to the centre.” The warrant here is clearly Koran 9:33 in which Allah sends forth his prophet “to make the true faith supreme over all religions.”
Ramadan argues that what should “be called into question” is not Islam in itself or the violence it is said to engender but “the immigration policies of Western countries and their social and urban policies,” which give “rise to vexatious, discriminatory, and unjust administrative measures”—a conclusion straight out of the pages of Orientalism. In a speech given to an Islamic circle of North America (ICNA) fundraiser on July 27 of this year in Dallas, Ramadan took the next logical step. “It should be us,” he told the crowd, “with our understanding of Islam, our principles, colonizing the United States of America.” Ipse dixit.
John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleel Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, deserves special mention. Esposito writes in his co-edited volume Islam and Democracy that “[i]t is important to examine the conceptual resources within Islam for democratization” and to see that “the term ‘democracy’ is capable of multiple interpretations and applications.” Esposito’s “democracies” are like Groucho Marx’s “principles”: “If you don’t like them, I have others.” The fact that there is no true democracy anywhere in the Islamic world, not even in Indonesia or Turkey which are frequently cited as democratic beacons and signs of the reformability of Islam, does not constitute a problem for someone who is funded by Saudi money—no more than it does for Jimmy Carter whose Peace Center floats on Wahhabi cash.
Esposito has assumed the mantle of Edward Said to become Senior Academic Clatterer among today’s pro-Islamic intellectual synod. In his most recent book, The Future of Islam, he asserts against all the evidence that “religion will remain a significant political and social force for reform” and endorses the convenient fiction that serves the interests of Western temporizers, namely that the “threat to the West will not come from civilizational differences but from the political and socioeconomic reality that breeds radicalism.” The degree of cognitive dissonance exemplified by such statements, however typical of our Islamic infatuates, paid proselytizers and professional flunkies, is really quite remarkable. Obviously infected by what Bernard Lewis in a 1954 essay for The Royal Institute of International Affairs called “the romantic and apologetic presentation of Islam” that discounts the fact that “the political history of Islam is one of almost unrelieved autocracy,” Esposito concludes by stressing, Obama-like, our “shared values, dreams and aspirations.”
Indeed, no catalogue of Said’s innumerable acolytes would be complete without mentioning Barack Obama. The Clatterer-in-Chief studied under Said at Columbia in the period between 1981 and 1983, taking at least one course from his presumptive mentor. He was later photographed with him, seated at the same table and engaged in earnest conversation at a 1998 Arab American Action Network dinner in Chicago, where Said delivered the keynote speech calling, as a news account has it, for a campaign “against Israeli apartheid.” Being someone’s dinner companion is not an offense. But when that “someone” is Edward Said, a former preceptor, a pro-Arab and anti-Israeli firebrand, and about to give a scandalous address, there is room for suspicion.
As Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review Online, “Obama plainly maintained some sort of tie with Said,” whose intimate circle also included Obama’s friends, Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn and former Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi. Dinesh D’Souza in The Roots of Obama’s Rage points out that Said “seems to have had a lasting influence on Obama: some of Obama’s writings are highly resonant with Said’s themes and arguments.” And Stanley Kurtz, author of Radical-in Chief, for his part sees “a sincere interest in Said’s radical views.” True, the details of the relation between the president and his teacher remain somewhat shrouded since Obama has steadfastly refused to release his Columbia transcripts and his graduating thesis—a suppression which also generates suspicion.
Whatever the exact nature of the liaison may be, Obama’s latest policy decisions favoring the Palestinians, his insistence that any peace agreement be based on Israel’s indefensible 1967 borders, and the hard line he has generally adopted to Israel’s distinct disadvantage suggest a profound connection with Said’s political convictions—as Cashill reports, Said served for many years on the Palestine National Conference, “alongside…Yassir Arafat and still harder core radicals from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the terrorist group that hijacked the Achille Lauro.” Moreover, there can be little doubt that Obama’s frequent overtures to the Islamic world, his notorious “apology tour,” his telling bow to the Saudi king, the obsequious flattery of his Cairo speech and his warming rapport with the Muslim Brotherhood all indicate a strong affinity with Said’s ideological perspective, as expounded not only in Orientalism but in a pulpiteering and deeply-skewed successor volume The Question of Palestine. (True to form, Said there extravagantly praises his friend, Israel Shahak, one of the most viperous Jewish Jew-haters of modern times whose anti-Talmudic and anti-Israeli Jewish History, Jewish Religion has made a major contribution toward the effort to disentitle the Jewish state.) In any event, it appears that the faux apostolic tradition continues at the highest levels.
The question now presents itself. What stance should the justly skeptical take up? But how we should properly respond to our Clatterers is not that difficult to determine. They should be read or attended to not with the proverbial grain of salt but the entire salt mine. Their strictures and admonitions invariably mislead and can be counted on to exacerbate a deteriorating political situation. Emerging from the ambience of Orientalism, some consciously, others unconsciously, they swivel between disingenuousness and blindness. Their “scales are light” and the verdict of history will be pronounced against them.
The four conspicuous figures I have cited are representative of a legionary host. Whatever their public profile, the spawn of Edward Said proliferate everywhere one may look, even though, as Makiya has meticulously unpacked for us in Cruelty and Silence, Said’s “depiction of the state of Arabic culture is simply untrue.” But the day of retribution is not all that far off. As events regress, the world will not be kind to the Clatterers, who “shall be like scattered moths” and whose “abode shall be the abyss.” They have stoked the “blazing fire” that will consume them. It is only a matter of time.
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