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Winning This War Requires Language of Faith

The West's abandonment of religion has left it unprepared to defeat a foe that's driven by spiritual concerns.

by
Elizabeth Scalia

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December 12, 2008 - 12:00 am
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As the world processes the horrific events in Mumbai, secular Jews wonder how their secularism relates to their Semitism. Governments speak softly while reconsidering what sticks may be used in war. Elites, echoing the post-9/11 left, ask, “Did Mumbai deserve it?” The decrepit news media, determined to forget everything that ever happened prior to the Iraq war, wonders why terrorism still exists, since Barack Obama won the election.

These groups are stymied by their own enlightenment. As the West evolves into a post-faith society — disdainful of religion and confident in the primacy of reason alone — it is rendering itself ineffective and mute. Mute against an enemy that, for better or worse, communicates solely in the language of the supernatural and belief.

Increasingly, we see Western societies serving the interests of Muslims (both moderate* and extreme) in government (Britain’s first Sharia court has quietly opened), public buildings, and even public and private schools, in ways that — in those same societies — are unthinkable for other faiths.

These unprecedented social and political accommodations owe much to terrorism’s ability to intimidate. Thus is a perverse idea reinforced; the jihadist can see that bomb belts and AK-47s “work.” We may anticipate, then, more attacks in dubious service to the fastest growing religion in the West.

The West loves its court systems, its bureaucracies, its diversities, but jihadists use these tools to further their ends. They will not be legislated, jailed, sued, or celebrated out of existence. Appeasement and the stodgy language of diplomacy will not stop them, either, because “diplomacy” is not the language being spoken in these attacks. The fundamentalists who endorse and commit terror believe they are heaven-bound heroes. First and foremost, they “believe.” Their rhetoric of jihad rides the language of faith.

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