Violent Islamist extremism is akin to mental illness and not rooted in poverty, memories of Western imperialism, and anger over the Israeli-Palestinian situation, Robert Sibley writes in Monday's Ottawa Citizen. This is ignored by the chattering class, Sibley writes, which believes that "[i]f only the West would apologize, make reparations, abandon Israel, leave the Middle East and Afghanistan, all would be well."
He draws this from a new book, New Political Religions, by Barry Cooper. Cooper describes a "disease of the spirit" in which people "see themselves as specially chosen by God, or even as gods themselves." If they aren't psychopaths, "they most definitely are spiritually disordered."
According to Sibley, that disorder makes it impossible for Islamists to compromise. They contend that the Koran contains Allah's direct speech. "And because Allah's will and action is unlimited, the Koran, as his eternal word, must apply to all times and places. There is no need to look elsewhere in responding to the human condition, regardless of changing circumstances."
These views "augur ill for the presence of Islam within the secular West," Sibley writes. "If radical Islam is…rooted in the suppression of reason, it is hard to see how even moderate Muslims can achieve a deep and wholesome attachment to Western societies and their values. How can genuinely devout Muslims identify wholeheartedly with a modern society that denies the efficacy of their faith. And if they can't, what are they going to do about it?"
The Islamists believe genuine accommodation with the West is impossible. "Hence, they ultimately seek the transformation of the West to accommodate Islam," Sibley adds. "The challenge for Islamists, obviously, is whether they can achieve that transformation better through demographic domination over the next few decades or through violence. The challenge for Westerners, perhaps not so obviously, is whether they will awaken in time from their multicultural slumbers to protect their cultural heritage, and avoid, possibly, a new dark age."
Read Sibley's full column here.