From The Gathering Storm Blog

Yesterday I did a post on the Swedish Jihad and how Islam has infiltrated that nation placing its feet on the path to dhimmitude. But not only non-Muslims nations are threatened by political Islam. The moderate Muslim dominated countries in Southeast Asia are also the target of the Islamists. A recent documentary by PBS “Struggle for the Soul of Islam: Inside Indonesia,” part of the “America at a Crossroads” series, brings this threat into focus.

Those most feeling the pain and pressure of militant Islam’s rise have been moderate Muslims, many of them horrified by the tactics and goals of their fundamentalist brethren. It is these moderates who are potentially the Western world’s strongest allies in the struggle to contain the radicals. One of the great stages for this struggle is Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country and home to about 210 million Muslims, more than any other nation’s.

These moderate Muslim nations are not Arab – yet are practicing Muslims.

Indonesia is an ancient nation but a fledgling democracy, one that was born after the country’s longtime dictator, Suharto, was ousted in 1998. The demonstrations that drove out Mr. Suharto established freedom and the rule of law, but it was “a double-edged sword,” says Ulil Abshar-Abdalla, an Indonesian Islamic scholar and leader of the Liberal Islam Network. It unleashed many political forces that had long been suppressed. “This freedom is not only for the good guys, but also for the bad guys,” Mr. Abshar-Abdalla says.

This is one of the prime challenges in this war between the freedom of democracies and the tyranny of Islamism and one that we are sorely neglecting. Indonesia like other moderate Muslim nations is at a crossroads. They, like us proven with Iraq, are discovering that democracy doesn’t automatically grant the personal freedoms that much of the West has enjoyed. The establishment of tyranny can be voted in as much as the establishment of individual rights and personal freedoms. Hitler’s Germany is an example in history and many European nations are under the thumb of bureaucratic elitist tyranny of the EU.

The “bad guys,” in his view, are fundamentalist Muslims who want to establish an Islamic state, or, as it is expressed on “Struggle for the Soul of Islam” by Abu Bakar Bashir, one of the movement’s leaders, “an Allah-ocracy, not a democracy.” Mr. Bashir, who is described as one of the spiritual mentors of the Bali bombers, is a beatific figure with a white beard and a big bucktoothed smile. “Islam and democracy,” he calmly explains, “can never coexist.”

The Islamist are pursuing their Islamist agenda using thuggery jihad.

Squads of pious youths armed with long sticks launch attacks on “immorality,” sometimes with the tacit cooperation of local government officials. The dynamic is easy to understand. Traditionalists who would never support the establishment of sharia, or Islamic law, are content to let these freelance enforcers, operating under the label of the Islamic Defenders Front, crack down on anything they find uncomfortable or risqué.

One of the most moving interviews in the program is with Inul Daratista, a popular singer and performance artist, whose suggestive dancing — which would hardly raise an eyebrow in the West — has provoked the ire of these unofficial moral guardians. Her shows have been attacked and shut down, and there is a tone of despair in her remarks. “I think some of the authorities are afraid of these radical organizations,” she says. “Soon the people won’t have respect for the authorities. They will respect these groups. Then what will become of Indonesia after that?”

But there is resistence.

The Daratista controversy prompted a bill in the national legislature to ban “pornography,” a term that was defined broadly enough to force all Indonesian women to adopt strict Islamist garb; those opposing it were labeled “pro-pornography.” Among other things the bill prohibited kissing in public for more than three minutes. Against these signs of rising radical strength “The Struggle” also shows many hopeful signs that Indonesia’s mainstream has begun to rouse itself to fight back. For example popular outrage against the pornography bill caused it to be withdrawn. (It is now being redrafted.) Then there is the popular rock band whose songs attack fundamentalism head on, and the group of schoolgirls who, having been forced to wear head scarves and robes, are happy to speak on camera about how much they hate them. “I can’t stand these things,” one girl says, tugging with disgust at the fabric draped over her head and neck.

Now read this because it tells the true story on how to resist the political jihad of the Islamist.

Perhaps the strongest ally in the fight against fundamentalism, the program suggests, is Indonesian traditional culture. Mainstream Islam long ago adapted to the indigenous island culture, and most Indonesians see the radical movement as an effort to impose Arab customs and beliefs. So national pride resists this “foreign” intrusion.

“National pride resists “foreign” intrusion”. There it is in a nutshell – the recipe for a nation, a society, a culture and a people to resist Islamification. Is Europe resisting by protecting its culture from foreign infiltration? Nope. Is America? Not looking good.

Nations and cultures will have to wake up the threat before them. Islamism is a predatory socio-political system under the guise of a religion and it must be confronted and resisted as so.

But warring against this resistance is rampant anti-Americanism. Sidney Jones, an expert on Indonesian terrorism with the International Crisis Group, sees post 9/11 American military policy as a major boon to the Islamists, who have successfully characterized the invasion of Iraq, in particular, as part of a global war against Islam.

“American policy is worsening the situation,” Ms. Jones says.

Perhaps he is right. All of Islam is not our enemy – yet! But if we don’t find ways to engage these current moderate, non-Arab Muslim nations, they will most certainly fall into the hands of the Islamists.

We need a strategy to combat the insidious form of political Islamism that has found the civilized world’s Achilles heel.


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