Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Raymond Ibrahim, PJ Media: Islam’s Impact on the West’s Identity

RAYMOND IBRAHIM is a widely published author, public speaker, and Middle East and Islam specialist.  His books include The Al Qaeda Reader (Doubleday, 2007), Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (Regnery, 2013), and Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West (Da Capo, Spring 2018).
Ibrahim’s writings, translations, and observations have appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, CNN, LA Times, Fox News, Financial Times, Jerusalem Post, New York Times Syndicate, United Press International, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, and Weekly Standard; scholarly journals, including the Almanac of Islamism, Chronicle of Higher Education, Hoover Institution’s Strategika, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, and Middle East Review of International Affairs; and popular websites, such as American Thinker, the Blaze, Bloomberg, Breitbart, Christian Post, Daily Caller, FrontPage Magazine, Gatestone Institute, the Inquisitr, Jihad Watch, NewsMax, National Review Online, PJ Media, the UK’s Commentator, WND, and World Magazine. He has contributed chapters to several anthologies and been translated into dozens of languages.
Ibrahim guest lectures at universities, including the National Defense Intelligence College, briefs governmental agencies, such as U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and has testified before Congress regarding the conceptual failures that dominate American discourse concerning Islam and the worsening plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts. Among other media, he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, Blaze TV, CBN, and NPR; he has done hundreds of radio interviews and instructed two courses for Prager University, each of which has been viewed over a million times on YouTube.
Ibrahim’s dual-background—born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East—has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former. His interest in Islamic civilization was first piqued when he began visiting the Middle East as a child in the 1970s. Interacting and conversing with the locals throughout the decades has provided him with an intimate appreciation for that part of the world, complementing his academic training.
Raymond received his B.A. and M.A. (both in History, focusing on the ancient and medieval Near East, with dual-minors in Philosophy and Literature) from California State University, Fresno. There he studied closely with noted military-historian Victor Davis Hanson. He also took graduate courses at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies—including classes on the history, politics, and economics of the Arab world—and studied Medieval Islam and Semitic languages at Catholic University of America. His M.A. thesis examined an early military encounter between Islam and Byzantium based on arcane Arabic and Greek texts.
Ibrahim’s resume includes: serving as an Arabic language and regional specialist at the Near East Section of the Library of Congress, where he was often contacted by, and provided information to, defense and intelligence personnel involved in the fields of counterterrorism and area studies, as well as the Congressional Research Service; serving as associate director of the Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia think tank; and serving as a CBN News analyst and contributor.
He resigned from all positions in order to focus exclusively on researching and writing, and is currently a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow, Middle East Forum, and a Hoover Institution Media Fellow (2013), among other titles and affiliations.

http://raymondibrahim.com/2018/05/08/islams-impact-wests-identity/

Islam’s Impact on the West’s Identity


What role if any did Islam play in shaping Europe’s identity, both in the past and the present?
Akbar Ahmed, Chair of Islamic Studies at American University, Washington, DC, and author of the new book, Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration, and Identity, claims that Islam had a largely positive impact on Europe’s identity (including by invoking the Myth of the Andalusian Paradise).
Thus, any European suspicion or rejection of Muslim migrants is wholly unwarranted.  As Ahmed elaborates in a recent article:
To understand what is happening in European politics and society today, it is necessary to understand European identity, which can be interpreted in three distinct categories-primordial identity, predator identity, and pluralist identity.  Primordial identity emphasizes one’s unique culture and traditions, and predator identity indicates the aggressive, even militaristic lengths that people will resort to in order to protect their identity. Predator identity can be triggered due to perceived threats including globalization, unemployment, economic instability, and the greed and failure of elites. Add the presence of immigrants, and a society can move in extreme and bloody directions which challenge the very notion of a modern democracy.
Note that for Ahmed, Europe’s “predator identity” is only “triggered due to perceived threats”—as if Islam never posed any real threat.
As is often the case whenever the sophists apologize for Islam and blame the West, reality is the exact opposite.  Both past and present, Islam’s own well documented “predator identity”—which manifested itself in centuries of jihad and atrocities—was and is responsible for the “militaristic lengths that [non-Muslim] people will resort to in order to protect their identity.”
Hence the irony: yes, Europe’s identity is largely a byproduct of Islam—but hardly in the way the apologists claim: “If we … ask ourselves how and when the modern notion of Europe and the European identity was born,” writes historian Franco Cardini, “we realize the extent to which Islam was a factor (albeit a negative one) in its creation.  Repeated Muslim aggression against Europe between the seventh to eighth centuries, then between the fourteenth and the eighteenth centuries … was a ‘violent midwife’ to Europe.”
By way of examples, he cites “Turkish Sultan Mohammed II [r.1451-1481] and Suleiman the Magnificent [r.1520-1566],” under whose reigns hundreds of thousands of Europeans were slaughtered and much more enslaved, always in the name of jihad: they “forc[ed] the continent to defend itself and to find ways and means of concerted action, encouraged it towards a stronger sense of self—and strong sense of ‘the Other.’”
Similarly, after summarizing centuries of Islamic invasions, Bernard Lewis writes, “Thus, at both its eastern and southwestern extremities, the limits and in a sense even the identity of Europe were established through first the advance, and then the retreat, of Islam.”
It is, incidentally, for this reason that tiny Europe’s self-identity did not revolve around ethnicity or language—hence why such a small corner of the Eurasian landmass (Europe) still houses dozens of both, some widely divergent, while much larger landmasses are homogenous—but rather religion: it was the last and most redoubtable bastion of Christendom not to be conquered by Islam.
This becomes evident when one understands that the West is actually the westernmost remnant of what was a much more extensive civilizational block that Islam permanently severed.  As documented in my new book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, nonstop jihad and terror saw three-quarters of the post-Roman Christian world become Islamic, leaving the remaining quarter—Europe proper—in a permanent state of embattlement.
Moving to the present, the war has taken a different form—one partially built on presenting the antithesis of the true history between Islam and the West—that is, through dissembling.   While millions of Muslim migrants, many of whom exhibit that old Islamic hostility and contempt for the infidel, are brought into Europe, those Europeans who try to resist the takeover are counseled not to be “triggered due to perceived threats.”
Thus Ahmed’s article, “Italy must remember its pluralist past,” is dedicated to convincing Italians to be even more welcoming of Muslim migrants, “without reviving a predator identity that led to destruction on a catastrophic scale in the last century. They must act before it is too late.”
Whatever was “catastrophic” about the last century has no applicability to the question of welcoming a flood of hostile, unassimilable Muslim migrants.
If we’re going to evoke the past in the context of prompting Europeans to “act before it is too late,” the truth of what Muslims have done in and to Italy and the rest of Europe is what was and continues to be responsible for, to quote Ahmed’s own words, the “militaristic lengths that [Europeans] people will resort to in order to protect their identity.”