23 May Trump and Islam, Part 1 of Many Parts…
We’d guess that before President Trump is out of office (in 8 years, or 4 years, or 4 months, or something else), there will be many other occasions to comment on his grasp of the Islamic threat. So we’ll treat this as â€˜Part 1 of Many Parts’ to come.
President Trump displayed many right instincts and intuitions in his campaign for President; among them, his instinct that something is not right with Islam. “There is so much hatred”, he mused. But he is not much of a religious man, nor by all appearances is he deeply philosophical. Everything is a deal, and solving the divisions and hatreds of the Middle East is for him just one tough deal.
His first trip to the Middle East has displayed all of this. He bravely called out his Saudi hosts to drive Islamists “out of the earth”; he bravely called out the barbarous nature of terrorists killing innocents (and that was before the bombing in Manchester); and he said these things while also telling the Saudis he wasn’t there to lecture or to tell them how to worship.
Trump moved on to Israel, where he followed up a visit to the Western Wall of the ancient Jewish Temple Mount with a visit to Palestinian controlled Bethlehem, where he was accompanied by Mahmoud Abbas, the Muslim leader of the Palestinian Authority.
He’s clearly signaling his willingness to make a deal with all sides; and he has injected what he can into the moral and spiritual background for that deal–not condemning Islam itself, but condemning Islamist violence and Iranian sponsorship. He thinks he has set the framework for a deal.
In his comments after the Manchester bombing, he branded the Islamic perpetrator(s) as “losers in life”, which shows consistency with his message in Riyadh.
We hope Trump’s approach will move the needle in the direction of greater peace. There is something good to be said for the power of capitalism to promote cooperation rather than confrontation, even between Israel and the people living in areas called Palestine. And who knows, maybe below the surface of Islamic authorities there lies a widespread desire for reformation of Islamic doctrine that has just needed a more public shove to get going (Egypt’s President al-Sisi seems to think so).
Count us as sadly but deeply skeptical.
The suicide bombers of Islam do not think they are losers in life; they think martyrdom while killing infidels wins them the jackpot of 72 virgins in the paradise of an afterlife.
ISIS and al Qaeda and the many other names of Islamic supremacist groups do not pervert Islam; they practice it as spelled out in the Koran and the teachings of Mohammed.
This last statement isn’t remotely arguable to those with actual knowledge of what is written in the Koran and taught in the mosques; it is only objectionable to ignorant or wishful Christians and others who can’t imagine a religion that teaches the killing of infidels, the subjugation of women, the killing of gays, lying in defense of the faith, and a god who approves all of this.
Islam and its sharia law as spelled out in the Koran is a supremacist ideology; a conquest ideology. The fact that its adherents might feel a certain hate toward those who do not believe–or, as another example, that the children of adherents hate Jews–is not a mystery; it is what Islam teaches.
It’s not clear at this point whether President Trump knows these unhappy facts but is hoping that an appeal to economics and some semi-secular notion of brotherhood can ultimately moderate behavior, or whether he and his advisors are in denial of these facts and are plowing ahead in the hopes that secularism, or some sort of universal religion that only they understand can win the day regardless of religion.
We’ll hope for the best, and would welcome visible signs from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the PA that they indeed want to amend, modernize and moderate the Koran and the teachings of Mohammed to conform to Trump’s views. We won’t hold our breath.