Ideas Do Have Consequences


by John Thompson

This last week has been interesting - more and more Iranians are taking to the streets and the Mullahs are busy trying to pretend all is well. Ordinary Iranians have lost their patience with a stale, tired ideology. If the Mulllahs and their minions are the perfection of Islam, then a lot of Iranians are thinkng it is time to look up the Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi and start over.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the Palestinian paradigm is coming unglued. UNRWA (the UN Relief and Works Agency) and international aid has come unconditionally for decades, allowing the Palestinians to perpetuate a dysfunctional dependency. Political credibility lies with threatening to avenge their perceived dishonor, while continuing to pretend there is a 'peace process' which will falter if they don't get their way.

In January, the US finally called the old bluff while the Saudis and Egyptians are now following suit. For the Palestinian authority, money is getting short, their legitimacy is faltering, and Palestinians are as tired as Persians are of incompetent leadership. The Saudis and Egyptians are also coming to grips with the limitations of Islam, and the House of Saud is breaking its old partnership with the Wahhabi Sect.

Meanwhile, in Holland, a Dutch court has decided that Geert Wilders, head of the Freedom Party, is perfectly entitled to criticize Islam, just so long as he doesn't insult Muslims themselves. A fine distinction given the minefields of political correctness, but this means an objective and logical appraisal of the religion is something that can made in public life.

Islam has never competed well in the world of ideas, which is why 'no compete' rules are at the heart of the religion. Christians and Jews, once conquered, got the joys of being squeezed in the Dhimmi protection racket - extra taxes and coercion in exchange for being permitted to exist as second-class citizens and keeping their mouths shut. 'Convert or face slavery or death' was the offer to everyone else. Apostates, Muslims who decide to leave the faith, automatically become outlaws.

People need religion for various reasons; most of them are more cultural than spiritual yet there are questions that we expect religion to answer. Christianity and Buddhism have kept their core elements intact, but their practices and institutions have changed over time. Judaism, Sikkhism and Hinduism are more narrowly cultural, but are diverse and fulfilling to many adherents.

Islam, thanks to the Hadiths that shackled to it from the start, changes little and very slowly. More and more of the world is leaving it behind as they realize its limitations.

The Iranian experiment marks the first time in 14 centuries that Islamic Clerics actually formed a government. Its incompetence and corruption has been causing an unprecedented rejection of the religion. Persians are resorting to nationalism and even their old Zoroastrian faith to define themselves - trends that are growing.

The other great touchstone of Muslim unrest in the Middle East is also crumbling. The Palestinians are going to have to find something else besides hating Israel for a living and they're going to have to do it soon. If, however, they run from the Palestinian Authority into the Pro-Mullah arms of Hamas and the Islamic Brotherhood, they will find themselves even more isolated than before. Finding fresh leadership that leads them off in a safer direction will be a real miracle.

A lot of Muslim Canadians came here to get away from Islam and Islamists. Continuing to tolerate the presence of Muslim Brotherhood activists, Salafists and the agents of the Mullahs of Iran has been one of the most dysfunctional aspects of Canadas security and immigration policies.

The debate over the worth and future of Islam is going to grow, particularly in the Middle East. It behooves us to pay careful attention and watch developments closely... and keep a careful watch at the refugee claimants of the coming years. They may well be the people so many Muslim Canadians fled from in the first place.