In the last two decades of the twentieth century Islamist presence increased in the United States and across the globe. In U.S. political circles Islam was not seen as posing a challenge or threat but was accepted and even embraced. Political leaders with names like Clinton, Bush and Obama made efforts to disassociate Islam from violence.
“However, especially after September 11, 2001, many average Americans began to see things differently.” Even before that, during the 1990s, others “were warning Americans in print and other media about the deleterious influence and potential violent consequences of Islamism left unchecked.” There was, and still is, much American ambivalence towards Islam.
Some individual Muslims thickened the plot by living lives of “dissimilation and deception.” They gave the outward impression of responsible, peaceful behavior that in fact masked a life devoted to violence. Some served for a while as religious leaders in respected U.S. institutions, only to defect to places in the Middle East, connecting with violent al-Qaeda activities there.
While that was going on, other Muslims endeavored to “take back Islam from those who have allegedly corrupted it.” Some have made “remarkable contributions toward efforts to educate and expose the proliferation and danger of Islamist ideology amidst a significant number of American Muslims and their organizations.”
Some of these more moderate Muslims lacked the knowledge, credentials and credibility necessary to speak authoritatively and persuasively. Some even attempted to “deconstruct the classical (and exclusivist) politicized theology of Islam and reconstruct in its place an Islam that has never existed—one that champions constitutional government, tolerance, pluralism, etc.” While some progress has resulted, Muslims have been instructed by their authorities not to listen.
For Americans, one of the most penetrating questions about Islam is “what it means to be Muslim in societies that are not.” Historically and legally Muslims are required by sharia law to reside in “the abode of Islam, where Muslims dominate the population and Islamic law informs the institutions and preserves the mores of society.” The territory outside the center of Islam is “the territory into which the abode of Islam is to expand in what Muhammad described as a perpetual jihad that should take place until the day of judgment.” More about this next week.
As previously stated, my goal with this series of articles is to be as objective and accurate as possible, being neither unnecessarily alarmist nor gullibly naïve about the potential impact of Islam’s future in America. Stay tuned for next week’s conclusion of this series. God bless you!