If you gain mastery over them in battle, inflict such a defeat as would terrorize them, so that they would learn a lesson and be warned. — Qur’an 8:57
Allah made the Jews leave their homes by terrorizing them so that you killed some and made many captive. And He made you inherit their lands, their homes, and their wealth. He gave you a country you had not traversed before. — Qur’an 33:26
It’s been said that the Cold War was a conflict of civilizations, between opposing ideological views of the world. But it can also be seen as a simple geopolitical struggle between blocs. From the end of WWII until the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was common to find local disputes turned into proxy wars by the opposing powers.
There were also conflicts that were primarily instigated by the powers, as they tried to find an advantage in the struggle to protect or extend their spheres of influence. While there were exceptions, I think it is correct to say that there was a degree of centralized control, or at least strong influence, over much of the mischief in the world, and it was located in Moscow (or, if you prefer, Washington — my point is the same).
Today we are in the midst of a real conflict of civilizations, one which has been under way for much longer than the duration of the Cold War. It has gone up and down in intensity, sometimes remaining on simmer for hundreds of years, sometimes erupting into large-scale conflict, taking the form of traditional war, economic struggle, demographic competition, or all of those.
Unlike the cold war, this war is not directed from the capitals of the great powers. And unlike the cold war, in which ideology was wielded as a tool of the combatants, this war is in essence a war between ideologies. And at least on one side, it has become a truly grass-roots struggle.
Of course I am talking about the religion-ideology of Islam, whose endeavor to overpower the West has been going on for hundreds of years.
And not just the West. Most people are familiar with the rapid Muslim conquest of the Middle East and North Africa, and Islam’s advance into Europe until it was stopped at Tours in 732, but not the conquest of India which primarily took place during the 12th century, with Muslim rule dominating until the 1700′s. Indonesia, today the most populous Muslim nation in the world probably obtained its Muslim majority around 1600, with Islam gradually driving out minority Christian, Hindu and animist beliefs since then. In Africa, Islam moved southward and inland from the coasts, more or less continuously until the present day, when bloody fighting continues.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that one of the most important “commandments” of Muslim doctrine is to spread Islam throughout the world, by any means necessary. To do Jihad.
The struggle with the West was on hold for several centuries, as the Christian nations of Europe made comparatively rapid scientific, technological and economic progress, in some cases actually turning history (and Islamic doctrine) on its head by colonizing or at least controlling Muslim lands. Militarily, it was no contest, with traditional Muslim fighters on horseback facing machine guns, tanks and air forces.
But something has changed. Europe has to a great extent abandoned its Christian faith and even seems to have abandoned its desire to reproduce, with birth rates below the replacement level. It has no stomach for warfare, or even to confront small-scale attrition by terrorism and ‘crime’ by Muslim immigrants (whose birthrate is much higher than that of the natives). The question is not ‘will Europe fall?’ but when it will happen.
Why did I mention Christianity? Because when individuals believe that the world ends with their own death, why should they care about the future of their culture as a whole? This is why religious belief is critical to cultural survival. Worse, what replaced Christianity is a secular humanism which is hostile to nationalism or peoplehood. What does a European have to fight for?
Muslims have learned to use modern weapons, and in places where the terrain and home field advantage is favorable enough, have managed to hold off Western armies, if not defeat them. The crown jewel of Western military technology, the nuclear bomb, is now in Muslim hands, although it is yet to be used. And the degree of commitment to Islam and Islamic ideology is growing and deepening among Muslims everywhere, thanks in part to modern technology.