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I was walking through an underpass the other day when I noticed some bright yellow graffiti on the sloping wall above me. It was an unidentifiable but medieval-looking shield, above which the ferocious statement (in English) ‘Death to Islam!’ was scrawled in capital letters.
Walking on, I wondered whether the shield was some sort of Crusader symbol, or perhaps a coat of arms connected to the Reconquista (I am still in Spain). The former is not unusual in counter-jihad society, where veneration of the Knights Templar and Teutonic Order has long been popular.
I don’t personally venerate the Crusaders. They were brutal anti-Semites and religious fanatics. They killed without mercy or planning, and the mission with which they charged themselves was little different to the Jihadism of today.
And the crusader worship so prevalent in Counter-Jihad circles seems to me generally wide of the mark. I don’t want a war with Islam. I want Islam out of the West and a segregation of cultures enforced by a large, well-organised transnational military. I don’t much care if Indonesians or Sudanese people want to practise their faith. I don’t think that’s part of the West’s concern.
Whilst an entity like ISIS, which has declared war on the civilised world, must be vanquished from the air as soon as possible, the existence of the Islamic religion itself is not something we can do much about. ‘Death to Islam’ consequently has no meaning for me, unless it is followed with the limiting clause “…in the West.”
One of the greatest myths in modern political discourse holds that Islam (and Muslims) are ‘weak’. Designed to manipulate opinion, the idea is typically advanced alongside the observation that the West is strong, thus making for an asymmetry of power conducive to a view of Muslims as the ‘underdog’.
We don’t have to place much stress on the imagination to bunk that concept. Simply think of the political, economic and military capabilities of 1.6 Billion people acting for a common goal. Think of a civilisation which together controls 70% of the world’s oil supply. Think of the combined might of the Turkish, Egyptian, Iranian, Algerian, Moroccan, Saudi, Pakistani and Indonesian militaries. Think of the disruption that would be caused if the Muslims of Europe and India violently turned on their host societies.
No, Muslims are not weak, and nor is the Muslim world. It is formidably powerful and a condition of total war between Islam and the West would plunge both coalitions into bloody oblivion.
This is why, in reversing the Islamic conquest of Europe, we have to be careful not to redevelop a crusader mind-set. We would be fools to try to defeat the Muslim world entirely. Even if it were possible, we’d gain little from doing so.
Let us stress instead the benefits of a peaceful separation of Islam and the West. A peace that would allow for both cultures to develop as they wish.