Mohammed's Ghost and the
Incompatibility of Islam and the West
A clash of civilizations is at the heart of it a clash of allegiances, for a
civilization is defined by its pattern of allegiances. Therefore the clash
between Islam and the West, is also the clash between what we give
allegiance to and what they give allegiance to. It is also one of the best
demonstrations of why Islam is incompatible with Western democracies.
Western nations expect Muslim immigrants to live by a code that separates
civil and religious laws. The Western system assumes that Muslims will
accept a division between the political and the religion, relegating
religion to the mosque, while otherwise being Englishmen, Frenchmen and
Americans. This concept however is innately foreign to the Muslim mind.
Nationalism in the Muslim world remains a far weaker force than religion and
tribal kinship. That is why the post-Saddam Iraq so easily unwound into
extended bloody bouts between Sunnis and Shiites. Most Muslim nations are in
any case artificial, Egypt, Pakistan, Syria, the Kingdom of Jordan and their
like were the products or the afterbirth of European colonialism. Their
rulers may cultivate nationalism, but such nationalism is only skin deep.
That is why when Israelis point out that Palestine is an artificial entity,
the average Arab will only shrug. He knows quite well that just about any
country in the Muslim world is an artificial entity, a set of borders drawn
out by England or France or a UN mediator with an ancient name thrown into
the bargain. The Muslim has only a short term national history, often under
Western backed dictators, or a very long one to the romanticized glory days
of ancient history. He does not care nearly as much for his nations, as he
does for his religion.
Mohammed's real achievement was to take the Arab tribal system and transcend
it with a higher identity, that of Muslim. The resulting wave of bloody
conquests would not have been possible without that Muslim identity. And
that is the problem now facing the West.
Nationalism among Muslims is a very shallow thing at best, as Iraq has
shown. And that nationalism is primarily based on tribal kinship. Yet
Western countries seriously expect to convince their Muslim immigrants to
give equal weight to being French, English or Dutch or American, as to being
Muslim. The idea is all the more absurd, because tribal kinship, the family
relationships that underlie political loyalties in the Muslim world, are
absent here. Muslim immigrants have no familial ties to the political
structures of Western countries. Which means that the prospects of expecting
them to identity with those countries are virtually nil.
In trying to integrate Muslim immigrants, Western countries find themselves
pitted against the Mohammed's Ghost. Mohammed's supreme idea was that Islam
demanded complete submission, transcending all tribal and political bonds.
Our supreme idea is that political representation allows law to coexist with
The two supreme ideas of Islam and the West are naturally incompatible.
Muslims view all political laws as corrupt and Allah's law alone as
transcendent. The West preserves political and civil rights by separating
civil and religious laws into separate spheres. That is not a compromise
that Muslims can truly understand or respect. For all intents and purposes,
both sides are speaking different political languages that represent two
radically different viewpoints.
Our relationships with Muslim countries are based on tribal ties. When we
ask one Muslim country to side with us against another Muslim country, we
try to outweigh religious ties with tribal ones, something that naturally
touches off a domestic backlash from the general Muslim population. The
leaders of the Arab world generally understand the necessity of driving out
a Saddam or opposing Iran's nuclear development program, in their own
self-interest. But tribal bonds within a country are narrow because only a
small portion of the population has direct ties to the government, religious
ones however are very wide because most of the population is Muslim.
The same problem recurs in the West with Muslim immigrants, except this time
our political system, to which they have no allegiance, is pitted against
the network of Mosques and their various Imams and religious leaders. It's
no surprise that the West will always lose their showdown for the hearts and
The problem is simple enough. The West provides opportunities for Muslims in
the West to find jobs, homes, schools and everything that's considered part
of the good life. It assumes that this will produce a natural loyalty. That
assumption, like many others, is dead wrong. Political tribalism in the
Muslim world ladles out employment and other opportunities based on familial
connections and as a reward for loyalty. We "give away" the currency of
political tribalism, and in turn wind up treated with contempt by the people
we've given everything to, with no loyalty asked for in return.
Yet even were we to do things the way they're done in the Third World, it
would only make a limited difference. To give up our political system for
political tribalism would only further diminish us, and it would not deal
with the problem of Mohammed's Ghost. The Islamic Will to Power is rooted in
embracing the "transcendence" of Mohammed's perfect law, over the corrupt
political laws of governments. Since we cannot declare our political laws to
be religious, not without creating our own Mohammeds', and we cannot sell
the freedoms that we have already given away to win their tribal loyalty,
the problem remains an irresolvable one.
And each time we insist that there is no contradiction between being a
Muslim and being a Frenchmen, a Brit or an America-- we make it that much
worse. For Islam insists that there is a contradiction, even as we insist
that there is none. Having given up our claim, the Western Muslim naturally
moves to appease the cleric by resolving any contradictions between Islam
and Western society; in Islam's favor. And thus the moderate Muslim becomes
a Jihadist enabler, if not a Jihadist himself.
Given enough centuries of residence, the problem might resolve itself. If
Islam did not insist on conquering infidels by the sword, but merely on
separatism, the problem would be mainly a social one. If Muslims were not
swiftly moving from minorities to majorities across Europe, there might
still be time. Unfortunately there is very little time left before Europe
becomes Eurabia, and much of the rest of the world will follow. The toxic
combination of Saudi wealth, a booming birth rate, a decaying West and the
industrialized secularism of the First World colliding with the fanatical
determinism of the Muslim world, leaves only two ways for this clash of
civilizations to end.
One idea, one way of life must win. The other must lose. The great question
being decided now in our words and deeds, is which will stand and which will