Here is a review, of a book about jihad-
The key point is that jihad differs from other forms of conquest by allowing the conquered to join with the conquerors, by way of conversion.
What doesn’t come up is the weakness of this. If you rope in a wide variety of people and cultures, the original belief system is liable to become diluted. And that is what happened with Islam. The strict desert religion became something a lot looser. Islam as it came to be practiced in Indonesia and Bosnia was not something recognized in Saudi Arabia as true Islam.
The weakness of the Ottoman Empire, and the toleration of different kinds of Islam, must have provided a lot of the motivation for the Wahhabi revolution, which started 200 or more years ago. (I’m going to lump in Salafism here, although I appreciate there are important differences.)
It has some to the point where certain factions of Islam believe they need to reassert it as a world enveloping, universal ideology and cultural and political system. But any such ideology has to deliver. Communism made the mistake of promising worldly material prosperity, and on top of that a kind of personal freedom where one could live without the oppression of a boss or a priest. Instead it brought want and the constant surveillance of one’s thoughts and behavior. People realized this and it lost its appeal. As long as it was gaining it seemed like the future, and won by resignation, but confronting a rearmed and aggressive capitalist world it folded pretty quickly.
Islamic fascism makes no such temporal promises. But it has for the last 20 years asserted that it, in either the Iranian or Saudi form, is, must and will be the universal ideology of humanity. It can either deliver on this or lose credibility.
Despite all the gloom and doom you hear about the death of the West Islam is not going to take over the world, and particularly not the fascist strand of Wahhabism and Salafism. Islamic fascism will lose its credibility and 50 years from now Islam will be something quite different from the Saudi dominated version we see today.
First, Wahhabism has nothing to offer anyone in the West or even the Islamic world beyond a few alienated fanatics. A much larger number of people will go along with it if it seems to be the powerful and winning force (bin Laden’s strong horse.) Even in its home and financial stronghold, Saudi Arabia, it is paid only public lip service and mostly ignored in private. It’s easy to do if you can rape your Filipina or Indonesian maid when you want or go drinking and whoring in Europe when the mood strikes you. Saudi society is deeply sick and only held up by massive amounts of oil money, which will not last forever.
Second, as aggressive as it is in the West, it is simply incompatible with western society. The really dominant ideology in the West is multiculturalism. Multiculturalism might be called Third Worldism, due to its preference for anything non-Western over anything Western. Multiculturalism does not, despite its name, recognize the equality of all cultures. There is a master culture in multiculturalism, which deigns to grant the lower cultures with its approval. I don’t know exactly what to call it, but it is the culture of northeastern US liberal Protestants, some Quaker, some Calvinist, some Episcopalian. It acts in opposition primarily to the culture of Anglo-Saxon traditionalists, mostly in America but also in other countries.
It patronizes other cultures by pitying them and granting them its recognition. The best example of this is the way it deals with black Americans. It grants them political favors on the condition they be appropriately grateful. It’s contemptuous of blacks, just as it’s contemptuous of white people who aren’t of the “right kind.” Blacks understand this, and they grate against this, but they mostly go along with it. One way this manifests itself is black-Jewish tensions. Anti-Semitism, at least of any overt type, is quite lower class but it’s overlooked since Jews aren’t the “right kind” of people anyway. Jews are the one group whose patronizing blacks can smart against.
Many would argue that since multiculturalists run the universities and courts they run the country, and this master culture isn’t really in control. But the money is in the hands of the master culture, and thus they rule.
This kind of patronizing contempt works well for blacks, gays, Hispanics, Asians, and even Jews, who are not part of the master culture, regardless of what anyone says. It will not work for Islam though. It can use multiculturalism to get quite a bit of power for itself, and to vanquish the European traditionalists, but it can’t live permanently as an angry, aggrieved minority receiving succor from the master culture. At some point it must become dominant.
The pessimistic viewpoint is that when this happens it will be too late. But it’s already happening, as we see from Tony Blair’s recent speech and some other events in Europe. And here’s the critical thing- the only serious weapon the Islamic fascists have is the aquiesence of the multiculturalists! They have no real military power. Their financial power is limited and waning. Any push back from the multiculturalists forces the question of whether Islam, as represented by the Wahhabists/Salafists, is the universal law of all humanity, or a weak, Third World relic to be tolerated and patronized by the rich of the West.
It’s like throwing water on the Wicked Witch- it’s just a bucket of water, thrown by a teenage girl, but there is not a whole lot there.
The whole thing may be cracking already. To us the situation in Iraq looks like a failure, but the inability of either the Sunnis or Shiites to drive us out is extremely embarrassing to them. I think the enemy was counting on the US elections to lead to a rapid withdrawal, but now it looks like even the more liberal Democrats aren’t in a big hurry to get out, so it looks like a couple more years of the Great Satan effectively ruling a large Islamic country. Something is happening in Saudi, and Ahmedinejad isn’t looking too good these days.