July 13, 2002
More On Tithing And Jihad

In reply to my post of a few days ago, Roy Edroso of WarbloggerWatch objects (July 13th, 12:14 AM):

Nolo contendere. Of course, this implies that your garden variety Muslim is not even as observant of jihad as Christians are of tithing -- else America, with one million allegedly observant Mohammedians in residence, would be experiencing daily bombings.

Which was really my point. Whatever the Koran says, all followers of Islam are not automatically going to blow infidels to bits. With all the recent talk of the Crusades, it's important to remember that we're not facing a monolithic force. Catholics don't automatically hew to the Pope, and Muslims don't automatically hew to Bin Laden, who of course has much less temporal authority than John Paul II.

The implication does not follow. The other possibility is that the situations are more similar than Edroso allows. Suppose, as a guess, that 10% of Christians tithe, but unobstrusively, so non-Christians don't tend to notice. It's quite possible that 10% of Muslims practice jihad, but (for even more obvious reasons) keep it as unobtrusive as possible until it's time to strike (or perhaps until they can't stand to wait any longer and decide to strike without orders or encouragement from others).

I don't know whether this estimate is true, but neither does Edroso know that it is false. We do know that on July 3rd there was a limo driver in Southern California who didn't show any particular inclination to active jihad, only a strong aversion to Jews when talking to his Muslim employees, a 'Read Koran' sign on his door, and bitter complaints about his upstairs neighbor's flag-flying. On July 4th, he 'came out of the closet' as a jihadist, killed two people, and would surely have killed a lot more if it hadn't been for a couple of quick-thinking and well-armed El Al security guards. How many other such not-yet-active jihadists are there in the world? I don't know, but it's a safe bet that the number is not zero or three or twenty, and may be quite substantial. Even if the percentage of Muslims ready and willing to do violence for their faith is only 1% or 0.1%, that's an awful lot of people.

No one has ever denied that most Muslims in the U.S. and an awful lot of Muslims (perhaps most of them) in other countries are peaceful. The problem is the other ones. A related problem is that the peaceful ones don't seem to be willing to stick their necks out and reclaim their religion from the thugs. Why not? Are they afraid of the thugs? If so, they must think the latter too numerous or too thuggish to resist. Or do they sympathize with the goals of the thugs? Over the years quite a few Irish-Americans (to take one example) who wouldn't dream of doing violence themselves have sent money to people that they must have known would use it to finance large-scale murder.

Finally, it would have been more accurate to say "people who consider themselves Catholics don't automatically hew to the Pope". Many Catholics thinking 'hewing to the Pope' is exactly what separates Catholics from Protestants, and that there are a lot of Protestants out there who believe or pretend that they are Catholics. After all, Christians who thought the Pope was wrong on matters of faith and morals invented Protestantism.

(If Roy Edroso continues to argue like a grown-up and stops hanging around with such creeps as 'Eric A. Blair', I'll start linking to him, which would be more convenient all around. At the moment, I have a well-justified aversion to linking to WarbloggerWatch.)

Posted by Dr. Weevil at July 13, 2002 08:02 AM