Karsh defines imperialism as "conquering foreign lands and subjugating their populations." Whenever possible, Muslims from the time of Muhammad have done that. Now, the Church also subjugated peoples to Christianity, and Europe suffered from prolonged religious wars. But as Karsh notes, from its inception, Christianity acknowledged a separation of the religious and the political, rendering to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.
No such division was allowed for in Islam. That is why the nation-state developed in the Christian world but not in the Muslim world. The Muslim states of the Middle East, for example, are creations of Western (secular) imperialism or pre-date Islam (Egypt, for example); and they are foreign concepts to most Middle Eastern Muslims, who recognize themselves much more as part of the ummah, the Muslim community, than as Iraqis, Jordanians, Syrians, etc.
Nor is Islamic imperialism only a function of Muslim behavior rather than Muslim theology. Karsh opens his book citing the statements of four Muslim figures.
The Prophet Muhammad in his farewell address: "I was ordered to fight all men until they say, 'There is no god but Allah.'"
Saladin (great 12th-century founder of the Ayyubid dynasty that included Ayyubid Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and much of present-day Saudi Arabia): "I shall cross this sea to their islands to pursue them until there remains no one on the face of the earth who does not acknowledge Allah."
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (father of the Islamic revolution in Iran): "We will export our revolution throughout the world . . . until the calls 'There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah' are echoed all over the world."
Osama bin Laden in November 2001: "I was ordered to fight the people until they say 'there is no god but Allah, and his prophet Muhammad.'"
No one should have a problem with Muslims wanting the whole world Muslim. After all, Christians would like the whole world to come to Christ. What should matter to all people is the answer to one question: What are you prepared to do to bring the world to your religion? For virtually every living Christian, the answer is through modeling and verbal persuasion (and Jews never believed the world needs to be Jewish).
But by the most conservative estimates, 10 percent of Muslims are in sympathy with the bin Laden way. That means at least 100 million people are prepared to murder (and apparently torture) in Allah's name. And given the history of Islamic imperialism and its roots in Muslim theology, hundreds of millions more are probably fellow travelers. Hence the almost unanimous Muslim governments' support for the genocidal Islamic regime in Sudan.
We pray that there arises a strong Muslim group that is guided by the Quranic verse, "There shall be no coercion in matters of faith."
But until such time, we had better understand that we are not merely fighting a war on terror, but a war against an ideology that wishes us to convert, be subject to Islamic law, or die.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”
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