When I said yesterday that "Islamic fascism" is an inaccurate and politically motivated term, several commenters challenged me to come up with a more accurate one. Here it is: "Islamic conservatism." How do you like it? And in the process of coining this new phrase (which I hope will catch on in Washington), I also discovered Ann Coulter's soul mate. Love is truly a many-splendored thing.
I've already explained why "fascism" is an inaccurate term for the Islamist movement. Before I discuss why "Islamic conservatism" is more accurate, I should explain what I mean by "conservatism." That label used to describe people with a set of beliefs that included support for individual freedoms, courtesy and civility, preventing government interference in the free market, a balanced budget, and judicious use of our military abroad.
Today's "conservative" shares few of those beliefs. Instead, the people who represent today's conservatism promote runaway deficit spending (supported by reckless tax cuts), interference in the electoral process by any means necessary, and the ruthless skewering of all opponents through vicious personal attack.
Why not call the radical Islamist movement "conservative" - in the new meaning of the word? After all, they believe in the following:
1. Opponents are to be killed. No negotiation is permissible.
2. It's acceptable to plunder the resources of a country in pursuit of the Cause.
3. Slandering your opponent is preferable to competing in the marketplace of ideas.
4. War is always the first option, not the last.
5. "We" can't be questioned because we're doing God's will.
6. "We" know it's God's will, because we're doing it.
7. The sacred texts must be selectively read, removing all references to peace, justice, or tolerance.
8. Enemies can be anyone - even people from the same community - who disagree with you.
9. The electoral process is a waste of time. God has already spoken.
11. Only the fundamentalists have "true religion."
10. "We" can do or say anything we want to our enemies ...
11. ... but we treat our friends very, very well.
Oh - and Islamists oppose gay marriage,too.
Radical Islamists are the "right wing" of the Muslim world. Where most Muslims would enter the modern world, Islamists would return to a false vision of the past. Where most Muslims want peace, they seek war. Where most Muslims seek tolerance, they pursue hate and rejection.
Now, to be fair, not all conservatives are Islamists. But all Islamists are conservatives. They miss the good old days.
And radical Islamists are very bad actors indeed. Even in Western countries, where we claim to have higher standards of discourse, some of their commentators are just as vile as American conservatives! Speaking of which ...
Ann Coulter, meet Omar Brooks. I think you two will hit it off. Omar's a British Muslim, but he uses religion the same way Ann does: he doesn't follow its tenets, he just uses it to spread hate.
But the resemblance doesn't end there. Omar mocks the victims of 9/11, just like Ann! And he wants to "instill terror into the hearts of the kuffar (unbelievers)," while Ann wants to "kill their leaders and convert them."
Omar agrees with Ann that "There is without doubt a war taking place between the Muslims and the non-Muslims . . . you must take part in the struggle." And for those who think all Muslims are the same, note that Omar doesn't think much of his fellow Muslims, either:
"Since the majority of Muslims living in the West are on the brink of committing apostasy (e.g. by voting for man-made law and allying with the disbelievers), it is important for us to identify the ways in which they are leaving the fold of Islam and tackle these problems directly."
Peoply will object to my writing about Ann on the grounds that her star's already fading. Why give her the attention? While she's not that significant, the fact that conservatives (including today's GOP) tolerate her as a spokesperson speaks volumes about their moral stature. Neither Ann nor Omar is a very interesting person, but their continued visibility says disturbing things about their respective conservative movements.
Brooks also goes by the name Izzadeen (rhymes with "Dizzy Dean," as pronounced by my friends in North Carolina). Izzy has brought well-deserved shame and disgrace to his movement in the UK and is widely denounced there. When he was interviewed on the BBC, for example, correspondent Richard Watson didn't hesitate to stand up for decency. After saying in a voice-over that Brooks expressed "views that most people in this country would find abhorrent," here are some of the questions that followed:
WATSON: "Are you willing to denounce, right now, the London bombings which killed so many people?"
WATSON: "This was murder."
BROOKS: "No. Mujahadin activity."
WATSON: "It's murder. Innocent people have died."
Sadly, while British television condemns its guests when they use hate speech, Coulter still largely enjoys the royal treatment from Fox News, CNN, and other television outlets.
But enough with the long-winded introductions! I'm sure you two are dying to get to know each other. Omar, meet Ann. Ann, meet Omar. You two crazy conservative kids are going to get along great! At last you've found what mystics like to call your "twin flame," that one person in the world who's so much like you they must have come from the same fire. I know you have a wonderful future before you, as you stand hand-in-hand and proclaim the start of World War Three.
I'm especially happy for you, Ann. I just saw your latest TV appearance and I can tell you that, in the words of Don Henley, "this was the last worthless evening that you'll have to spend."
Oh, and one last word to the two of you:
You deserve each other.
Follow RJ Eskow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rjeskow