All the marbles.
Before Madden 2007 and PlayStation3, children enjoyed playing marbles. In most neighborhoods, it wasn’t very sophisticated. There were only two types of games – funsies and keepsies. “Funsies” is where – at the end of the day – everyone picks up their marbles and goes home. “Keepsies” is winner take all. You bring out the big guns (called “steelies”) when you’re playing for keeps.
This might be a way to imagine the enormous gulf between Islam and the West – and what Westerners can do about it. Even though we are paying a horrific price in lives lost, Westerners continue to downplay religious faith by believing in a fiction called “the war on terrorism.” This is the way people talk when religion is played for “funsies.” In reality, this is a religious battle fomented by radical Islamists who are playing for keeps. In the West, we don’t typically connect Sunday to Monday – religion is something we enjoy recreationally on the weekends. So we can’t fathom how deep the currents run in this conflict. It’s time we face a few facts, or we might end up losing a lot more than our marbles. Here are four we need to take seriously.
Fact #1: Islam has – as its ultimate goal – world domination. That’s a fact. And facts, John Adams wrote, are stubborn things. The tenacious truth is that Islam means submission. This means you, me, and everyone. The goal of Islamic Jihad (“struggle” or “striving”) is to rid the world of polytheists, or disbelievers (read: Christians, Jews, and everyone else who disagrees with Islam). The Qur’an teaches “if they turn back from Islam, take them and kill them wherever you find them.”1 Jihad is to be carried out by taking captives,2 or slaughtering “disbelievers.”3 It’s submit or be slaughtered.4 To be sure, Judaism and Christianity have their own sorry histories of bloody conquest. But those were aberrations. Islam has always played for keeps and wielded the sword.
Fact #2: This doesn’t fit your image of the average Muslim. They too are playing for “funsies” and act like your typical Protestant or Catholic who doesn’t take faith very seriously. In our politically correct Western world, we’re all striving to be nice people – Muslims, Jews, and Christians (we don’t know nice comes from the Latin stupid or silly). Most Muslims are not terrorists. But they aren’t very good Muslims, either.
Fact #3: This is not a “war on terrorism.” In World War II, we didn’t fight against German concentration camps. That was a tool of a fascist state. “The United States has never fought a war against an enemy’s tools – such as German submarines or the Soviet KGB – but only against those who employ them.”5 In today’s war against Islamist fascism, terrorism is a strategy and tool. For the first time in our history, we talk about fighting a war against a tool. This means we’re playing for “funsies” – we don’t get it. But committed Islamists do. This is a holy war that’s been going on for 1400 years, long before terrorism was used. And it will not end until one team has won all the marbles – for keeps.
Fact #4: The world will look very different depending on who wins this war. Islam aims for world subjugation. It brooks no dissent in its efforts to impose a comprehensive system of submission. Christianity’s aims are different. It does indeed hope that everyone will embrace its claims – but not through coercion. Christians aim to be compelling. They respect freedom of conscience and differing views. The genius of the Founding Fathers (who borrowed liberally from the Christian faith) was making room for living with our deepest differences. For example, why were no theaters in America bombed when the highly offensive Last Temptation of Christ was released? Because Christians respect dissenting opinions. But why did mobs attack the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus, burn down the Danish consulate, and kill some 30 people answering Islamic rage because of one Danish cartoon? The world will look very different depending on who wins this war.
In his press conference on September 26th, President Bush noted that somebody is “trying to confuse the American people about the nature of the enemy.” He’s right. Radical Islamists are playing for keeps. They will never, never, never stop until there is a clear winner and one side comes away with all the marbles. It’s time we stopped treating our Judeo-Christian tradition as a recreational sport.
1 Sura 4:89
2 Sura 47:4
3 Sura 8:57, 9:5
4 One example: In the historic Battle of Trench, Muhammad had 800-900 Jewish men beheaded in one night, while hundreds of women and children were taken captive as slaves.
5 Victor Dale Hanson, “It’s fascism – and it’s Islamic,” (Baltimore Sun, September 8, 2006)