Getting the history right about political Islam

It is almost a dogma, even among some conservative commentators, that there is a radical disconnect between moderate Muslims and radical Muslims. A charming young Muslim with an Australian accent and dressed modestly in a nijab appears on television to tell us that radical Islam is not true Islam. Islam is as peace-loving as she is. Indeed, she radiates peace as well as charm. ISIS warriors, brandishing their swords and mockingly dangling severed heads in front of us assure us otherwise. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the current President of Turkey has angrily rejected the distinction between moderate Islam and radical Islam. There is only one Islam he has insisted. Indeed, but what is it? Dangerous fish swim in calm waters. The ordinary person in the West is inclined to think of Islam in terms of Western thought and traditions, rendering their knowledge of it seriously deficient. Paul Stenhouse MSC Ph.D, an acknowledged expert on Islam and the Middle East, has included the following article in a recent edition of Annals Australasia of which he is the editor. Fr Stenhouse has kindly permitted us to reproduce it here.

ISIS, stratagems, lies, Islamist terror, and political totalitarianism


By Paul Stenhouse, MSC

YOUNG RELIGIOUS MUSLIMS from western democracies, impressed by the military hardware and the ruthless butchery and mayhem that the psychopathic, self-styled Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, spreads in the name of Allah in Iraq and Syria, have joined his band of young, brainwashed jihadists calling themselves The Islamic State.

Ai-Baghdadi has gone through many name changes; his latest nom de guerre is the title adopted by the legitimate Caliphs or Successors of Muhammad, viz.: Amir al-Mu’minin[Commander of the Faithful]. And he now wants to be called Caliph Ibrahim.

Whatever his name and his claims, would-be followers need to be aware that in the middle of the eleventh century AD there were no fewer than four self-styledCaliphsin Spain, each claiming to be the Commander of the Faithful, each claiming to be Sovereign over all Muslims in Andalusia: Hisham II at Seville; Muhammad I al-Mahdi at Malaga; Muhammad ben al-Qasim at Algeciras; and Idris II ibn Yahya [known as al-‘Ali] the rightful Caliph of Malaga.(1)

Their internecine quarrels unleashed murderous tribal, clan and personal vendettas between Andalusians, Berbers, Arabs, Slavs and Black Muslims in Andalusia that resemble the internecine bloodbaths still engulfing Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and of the Arab Spring in Egypt and North Africa Continue reading