Is Donald Trump’s controversial new policy announcement to ban all Muslims from entering the United States until ironclad screening processes can be implemented by our government a good idea?
The New Jersey Star-Ledger doesn’t think so. And neither does just about anybody else. Trump's open bigotry is a challenge to mainstream Republicans, said the Star-Ledger in an editorial. The Star-Ledger brushed off Trump as a bigot, labeled his rhetoric “hate speech,” and basically viewed Trump’s popularity as evidence of something fundamentally wrong with the Republican Party.
There’s also something wrong with the Left, though. From President Obama on down, the Left seems more outraged by real or imagined prejudice against Muslims than the murderous Islamist Jihadists themselves. Perhaps it’s because of the Left’s blind spot blocking its realization that we are at war with an Islamic enemy.
The Star-Ledger does have a point, though:
The mistreatment of Muslims is, in fact, a national security threat. It plays right into the hands of the Islamic State, whose leaders openly admit their goal is to make Muslims in the West feel isolated and turn against their own communities.
I left these comments, edited for clarity:
The covert smearing of the entire Republican Party is just as bigoted as Trump’s call to ban Muslims—only less honest. That aside, Trump is dangerous. Bigotry has no place in the fight against Islamic Imperialism. It is not just evil. It is practically counterproductive.
We are not at war with Islam. But we cannot ignore the fact that we are at war with a malignant manifestation of Islam that combines faith-based belief with aggressive action; specifically, an ultra-conservative, fundamentalist merger of Islamic religion and political power. In my view, the best way to understand what we are up against is to look back at the Empire of Japan.
Japanese militarism was forged out of a merger of Shintoism and state. Shintoism, the official state religion, was the ideological driving force behind the Japanese government’s hold on the people and thus of Japanese imperialism, spawning such tactics as the Kamikaze—the Japanese equivalent of Jihad suicide bombers—and the banzai charge, the call to die for the Emperor rather than surrender, no matter how hopeless the chance of victory. State Shintoism enabled the Japanese government to orient an entire culture around war and regional hegemony. The Emperor under state Shintoism was held up as God’s representative on Earth.
After the Japanese surrender that ended W.W. II, the allied occupying force of General MacArthur was given these instructions from the State Department:
Shintoism, insofar as it is a religion of individual Japanese, is not to be interfered with. Shintoism, however, insofar as it is directed by the Japanese government, and as a measure enforced from above by the government, is to be done away with. . . . [T]here will be no place for Shintoism in the schools. Shintoism as a state religion—National Shinto, that is—will go . . . Our policy on this goes beyond Shinto . . . The dissemination of Japanese militaristic and ultra-nationalistic ideology in any form will be completely suppressed. [Quoted from “Gifts from Heaven”: The Meaning of the American Victory over Japan, 1945 by John David Lewis for The Objective Standard.]
Our leaders recognized the ideological source of the Imperial Japanese government’s power—state Shintoism—and took steps to make a resurgence of that threat impossible by imposing a separation of Shintoism and state. The emperor was stripped of political authority, and reduced to a figurehead, like the Queen of England.
The lesson: Peaceful Muslims—those who want to observe Islam in private while respecting others’ right to their freedom of conscience—are our allies. Though his ban-all-Muslims policy is bigoted, I don’t believe Trump himself is a bigot. But he is a dangerous fool. The enemy is not private, peaceful Muslims. Since the fight is largely ideological, we need Islamic reformationists—a faction led by leaders such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Muhammad Syed—who are fighting the ideological battle from within Islam. A ban-all-Muslims policy undermines Enlightenment principles and thus those Muslims and ex-Muslims fighting to drag Islam into enlightenment. Fundamentally, the enemy is political Islam. Private Jihadists can be deadly but are not an existential threat to society or civilization. Ex political power, Jihadists are marginal criminal organizations like the Italian or Russian mafias, the drug cartels, etc. Political Islam—i.e., ISIS, Iran, the former Taliban, the Sharia regime in Egypt before it was ousted by the military—is an existential threat. Just think of Imperial Japan. As long as political Islam is tolerated in any form anywhere in the world, the recruiting of private Jihadists will continue and expand, and so will the long-term threat of Islamic Imperialism. Islamic statism is the inspiration for all Jihadists.
Any effort to justify or respect religious control of political institutions is to support Islamic Jihad. In this regard, we in the West must re-examine our worship of “democracy”—the absolutism of the vote. It doesn’t matter if a Sharian caliphate is elected by popular vote. Religious enslavement should never be a voting option. In this regard, Bush 43’s “Forward Strategy for Freedom” was a dismal failure. The right to vote is not freedom. The right to vote is a derivative of freedom. Bush’s strategy didn’t bring freedom. It brought the vote divorced from the principles of individual liberty—and a series of elected Sharia regimes. Many bemoaned the overthrow of the elected Sharia government of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt. But a Morsi regime is exactly what we should never tolerate, even at the price of a military dictatorship. Egypt’s military regime is not a threat to the West. The Morsi regime, regardless of it’s intentions, was.
We must recognize that political Islam is the enemy, no matter its manifestation. America would never tolerate the imposition of Christian law, no matter how large a voting majority Christians have. If we are to eradicate the Islamic imperialist threat, we must insist with the same moral vigor on the separation of mosque and state everywhere, no matter how large a majority Muslims may have in any given country.
The separation of religion and state is a must, lest we face some future Islamic equivalent of the Empire of Japan, this time armed with modern weaponry. The way we handled Japan should be the model for how we approach the Islamic threat today. We must insist on the strict separation of mosque and state, in the same way as America has the separation of church and state, while simultaneously protecting the right of individual Muslims’ freedom to the peaceful observance of Islam. Our guiding principle in the War against Islamic Jihad should be the First Amendment, which guarantees both freedom of religion and freedom from religion.
I suspect that many, many Muslims are just as horrified as we are. And just as frightened. Or maybe more so. Westernized Muslims are as much ISIS’s enemy as we are. The Star-Ledger is right that “The mistreatment of Muslims [in the West] plays right into the hands of the Islamic State.
We need to encourage peaceful Muslims to speak up within their families and communities, despite their fear. Islamic reformationists need to know they have friends in the West who have their backs. Trump’s solution to the militant Islamist would constitute a major strategic blunder.
The War Between Western Enlightenment and Fundamentalist Political Islam—and the Choice All Muslims Must Make