A tipping point is being inexorably reached. Sometimes reality trumps ideals. Take the nice liberal fiction that the only problem between the rest of us and radical Islam is a series of misunderstandings or bad Western actors. Consider just one day’s (today’s) New York Times headlines. ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape, ISIS Affiliate in Egypt Says It Has Beheaded Croatian Prisoner and Nigeria: Boko Haram Is Said to Have a New Leader.
Here’s how the sweeping and terrifying ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape, story begins. (I encourage you to read all of it.)
QADIYA, Iraq — In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.
He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her.
When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion.
“I kept telling him it hurts — please stop,” said the girl, whose body is so small an adult could circle her waist with two hands. “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God,” she said in an interview alongside her family in a refugee camp here, to which she escaped after 11 months of captivity.
The systematic rape of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority has become deeply enmeshed in the organization and the radical theology of the Islamic State in the year since the group announced it was reviving slavery as an institution. Interviews with 21 women and girls who recently escaped the Islamic State, as well as an examination of the group’s official communications, illuminate how the practice has been enshrined in the group’s core tenets…
Liberals (and everyone else) had better read the entire New York Times Magazine story (worthy of a Pulitzer) and then figure out how to call for “understanding between all religions” in the light of what reality this story represents. And denunciations of “Islamophobia” hurled against those who demand we face reality won’t cut it as an excuse much longer. The worst is yet to come.
It’s nice to play well with others. It’s nice to sit on panels in American and British universities and have civilized talks with religion scholars. But sometimes reality outpaces ideals.
If the left doesn’t face the evolving nature of the global conflict between radical Islam and the rest of us– and by “the rest of us” I mean and include most peaceable Muslims who are also the targets of this Islamic religious aggression— liberalism will earn a deservedly bad name. Elections in America and Europe will be lost to far right parties whose xenophobia will (for once) be justified.
Watch out Democrats running for office in 2016. Don’t leave the denunciation of rape for God up to Fox News and the Tea Party haters.
Watch out mainstream liberal pastors and theologians. Don’t leave the stage bare to the likes of Franklin Graham when it comes to standing up for the children being raped in the name of God. We liberals better get out on front on this and drop the moral equivalency bullshit about the Crusades having been just as bad. We’re talking about now. Same goes for drone strikes. Give the “on the one hand and on the other hand” media type “balance” a rest. There is nothing to “balance” re ISIS.
There is no point in ducking the truth: Sure, Christianity and Judaism, Hinduism and the rest of us, atheists included by the way (Pol Pot anyone?) have blood on our hands.
Sure white racism here at home, is a very big deal. Sure, there are other issues that beg for attention. But right now the world faces its greatest horror in decades not just one little offshoot someplace in one little “branch” of some cult, but a full bore assault by the spreading cancer of radical Islam. And this is happening on a huge scale. ISIS is just one of many manifestations.
And this cancer hits closer and closer to home. ISIS is being recruited from Western-educated men. So much for our society.
As Roger Cohen writes in the same day’s NY-Times as the articles above appear in, Why ISIS Trumps Freedom:
What leads young European Muslims in their thousands to give up lives in France, Britain or Germany, enlist in the ranks of the movement calling itself Islamic State, and dedicate themselves to the unlikely aim of establishing a Caliphate backed by digital propaganda?… Islamic State has been adept in exploiting the alienation felt by many young Muslims, from the “quartiers” of Paris to the back streets of Bradford. It offers to give meaning, whether in this life or the next, to meaningless lives. The group has benefited from active support by online jihadi preachers and tacit backing, or at least acquiescence, from imams in some mosques who are inclined, in British Prime Minister David Cameron’s words, to “quietly condone.” … Every effort of Western societies, particularly since 9/11, to curb the metastasizing jihadi ideology that threatens them has failed. … It is clearly tapping into something deep. …There are few, if any, moral boundaries left.
Here’s the question for liberals, for Democrats and for non-far right European leaders: Is our answer to this global reality to pretend that all that ails us is right wing Republican paranoia and European reactionaries?
We better develop a better and reality-based answer than hand-wringing over intolerance at home. We might even want to resurrect an unfashionable word: Evil.
Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His latest book —WHY I AM AN ATHEIST WHO BELIEVES IN GOD: How to give love, create beauty and find peace