In the latest James Bond movie, “Spectre,” an evil organization is trying to take over the world, but 007, once again, stops them.
It’s the most successful movie at the box office right now.
Millions around the world have already seen it; millions more will in the weeks to come.
The question is: why do people believe this is credible, but won’t accept an evil organization really IS trying to take over the world and, at present, well on the way to success?
I’m referring, of course, to ISIS. Also Al-Qaeda, which, through an affiliate in Mali, has staged the latest terrorist attack today in Bamako. An ISIS affiliate, Boko Haram, attacked a market yesterday in northern Nigeria, killing almost 50. These terrorist attacks are now a daily occurrence. It seems likely that Al-Qaeda and ISIS are competing with each other, to see who can kill the most people. Whoever wins will get the most recruits – people will want to join the one who is winning!
Both organizations believe that Islam shall rule the world. They also have an eschatological interpretation of their religion, which is telling them to stir things up at this time, which they, like many Christians, believe is the end-time. (Be sure to read Graeme Wood’s article “What ISIS really wants” in the March 2015 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. It’s available online. I quoted from it in a blogpost at the time.)
It’s not just religious people who write articles warning about ISIS and others. Niall Ferguson, my favorite historian and a non-believer, wrote a very good article this week for The Australian newspaper, likening what is happening now to the fall of Rome. Commenting on the Paris attacks, he observed: “this is exactly how civilizations fall.” (“Paris attacks: fall of Rome should be a warning to the West.” The Australian, November 16th). Ferguson had this to say about Muslims in Europe:
It is doubtless true to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent. But it is also true the majority hold views not easily reconciled with the principles of our liberal democracies, including our novel notions about sexual equality and tolerance not merely of religious diversity but of nearly all sexual proclivities. And it is thus remarkably easy for a violent minority to acquire their weapons and prepare their assaults on civilization within these avowedly peace-loving communities.
Conservative columnist Mark Steyn wrote:
“Among his other coy evasions, President Obama described (last week’s) events as “an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.”
“But that’s not true, is it? He’s right that it’s an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world – an attack on one portion of “humanity” by those who claim to speak for another portion of “humanity.” And these are not “universal values” but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta “universal” when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West Frontier Province were at least obliged to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those “universal values” are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.
“And then Europe decided to invite millions of Muslims to settle in their countries. Most of those people don’t want to participate actively in bringing about the death of diners and concertgoers and soccer fans, but at a certain level most of them either wish or are indifferent to the death of the societies in which they live – modern, pluralist, western societies and those “universal values” of which Barack Obama bleats. So, if you are either an active ISIS recruit or just a guy who’s been fired up by social media, you have a very large comfort zone in which to swim, and which the authorities find almost impossible to penetrate.” (“The Barbarians are inside – and there are no gates!” Steynonline, Friday November 13th)
Nothing has yet been done to change immigration rules. President Obama was on the defensive when the issue came up – he said it was un-American to discriminate against Muslims, though that’s exactly what was done from the founding of James Town (in 1607) until the 1965 Immigration Act that was sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy. In the 1952 Immigration bill that became law, members of any organization that called for the overthrow of the US government and constitution, was forbidden to enter the country. At the time, communism was the threat. Today, it’s radical Islam. Both the religion and the Koran threaten the US.
Islam means “submission” – all members of the faith must submit to Allah and Sharia Law. According to a recent poll of Muslims in the United States, 51% of American Muslims believe Sharia should be the law of the US. In the same poll, 25% felt it justified to use violence against Americans. In other words, their faith comes before America, intolerance before tolerance.
It was clear from what the President said that his agenda is to get as many into the country as possible, while bending over backwards to stay out of any conflict with radical Islam. Obama is not the only one. President Hollande of France declared war on ISIS after last week’s terror attacks, but his government remains committed to taking in 30,000 more Syrian refugees in the weeks to come. Multiply that by 5 to get a US equivalent of 150,000. The US is taking 10,000.
France is interesting. The country has arguably been more successful assimilating Muslims than any other. 10% of the French population is Muslim, immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa and their offspring. Only 10% of these Muslims go to the mosque every week. Muslims seem to be more secularized than in other countries.
But, perhaps that’s the problem.
When a devout Muslim moves to the West, rather than appreciating his newfound freedom, he will see the West as totally degenerate. Whereas Muslims are in submission to Allah, the West is in submission to the god of materialism and the pursuit of licentiousness. They are two diametrically opposed ways of life.
The surprise is that so few, comparatively speaking, resort to extremism.
Although attitudes are hardening throughout the West and right-wing movements are gaining support, a lot of people are still clueless at the threat from radical Islam. More than one victim in Paris remarked on how they still believe in the basic goodness of people. They would do well to heed the words of the prophet Jeremiah who wrote: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” (Jeremiah 17:9). We are likely to see far more evil acts perpetrated by ISIS in the near future.
Which brings us back to James Bond.
We must not confuse real life with movies. If and when ISIS is defeated, it does not mean the end of violent Islamic extremism. Other organizations will arise that will likewise threaten the peace and security of the West. Radical Islam is here to stay. It’s an idea whose time has come!
The final words are from Niall Ferguson, who quotes Bryan Ward-Perkins, who wrote “The Fall of Rome” in 2005: “The end of civilization came within a single generation.” The West could fall much quicker than that faced with the serious threat of radical Islam.