Incredible as it might seem, even after the Paris massacre, Barack Obama has assured us yet again that ISIS (or ISIL, as he prefers) has nothing to do with Islam. Why does he do this? Is he sociopath, a congenital liar?
Well, maybe. The putative explanation — an old one now — is that we have to encourage moderate Muslims by not identifying their faith with ISIS. But I think Obama’s true motivation is overweening personal shame about Islam and what it has wrought in the modern world.
He’s not a Muslim himself. He claims to be a Christian (in the Reverend Wright tradition) and is actually a post-modern agnostic who almost never goes to church, except for political purposes. But he is a Muslim by emotion, by childhood attachment to his days in an Indonesian madrasa when his father, and later his mother, abandoned him. The morning cry of the muezzin, he has told us, is the most moving sound on Earth to him. It undoubtedly reassured him.
Unfortunately, what soothed Barack as a youth turns out to be a death scream of seventh century tribalism for the rest of us. He can’t countenance that, so he has to disconnect the carnage of ISIS, etc. from the ideology that drives it. It can’t be that the Islamic State is Islamic. That would mean there is something wrong with him. But it is. Indeed it is an orthodox form of Islam with roots going back to the Medina Koran.
Most Muslims know this (and Obama undoubtedly knows it too on some level); so when these Muslims hear the president deny that ISIS is Islamic, they know he is lying and dismiss what he is saying. He isn’t fooling anybody except his liberal/progressive clientele at home. It’s a form of taqiyya for local consumption — permissible lying in defense of the faith — one he doesn’t actually believe, but identifies with.
And speaking of taqiyya, almost none of that liberal/progressive clientele has the slightest conception of what that is. In fact, I can’t recall having met a liberal or progressive in my daily life who knows much about Islam and its beliefs at all, lo these fourteen plus years after 9/11. And, yes, I’ve experimented, asking them if they knew how the Koran was organized and if they knew what “abrogation” was. No one had any idea. (Surprisingly few even know that Mohammed married a seven-year old and was, in effect, what we would call a pederast.) This is what Andy McCarthy has called “willful blindness” and it is there for a reason and that reason is simple — self-preservation. If you start to understand, many things unravel. You begin to question core beliefs.
These same “liberals” (cf. Jonathan Chait in New York magazine) are now up-in-arms, again accusing conservatives and anyone sensible of that absurd neologism “Islamophobia.” Republicans, in Chait’s world, are apparently guilty of such “extreme” notions as wanting to call Islamic terrorism Islamic or not wanting to welcome Syrian refugees in our midst when one of these refugees has already gone on a rampage in Paris with, as we know, hundreds dead and wounded. Such a “phobia!”
You want to know who the real Islamophobes are (assuming we accept the existence of such a silly term)? They are the three Democratic candidates who were phobic about connecting the word Islam with terrorism at last week’s debate. That’s a true phobia and, so deeply ingrained, it’s hard to imagine they will ever be cured.