Monday, February 12, 2007

Bernard Lewis tries to make historical sense here:

...the breakup of the Soviet Union ended an era. We are back to the
struggle inside and outside Islam for control of the world. Israel isn’t the
Sunni establishment’s main worry.

...The struggle is always the Muslims against the rest. The aim is to bring
Islam to the rest of humanity. It is the duty of the Muslims; the Christians are
the second player in the “game”.

There is an ongoing battle between the two religions. In the seventh century, the Muslims managed to conquer parts of France and Spain. The second successful attempt was during the Ottoman Empire, and reached the gates of Vienna. Now we are witnessing a third attempt in the hope that this time they will have greater success. Studying Muslim articles, we can see that the battle has already begun.

There are battles over who will lead this struggle. The Saudi-Wahabi
version is represented by Bin Laden, another version is the Shiite version which
began with the first Iranian Revolution and this is the second which is taking
place today.

The second important change at the end of the Napoleonic era was an
increase in inner conflict in the region, which sometimes occurred within the
Arab world. Today the struggle is assuming more traditional characteristics as a
struggle between Sunni and Shia. Some say that the difference between them is
like the differences between Catholics and Protestants. But when I ask them “In
Islam, which are the Catholics and which are the Protestants” there is no answer
to the question so the definition is meaningless.

The differences are significant, especially today when Shia rebirth is
taking place. There is overuse of the word “revolution” in the Middle East. You
practically have to declare yourself a revolutionary to get legitimacy. However,
the Iranian one was real like the Russian and French ones, and its impact, which
went far beyond the borders of Iran, are still being felt. The second stage,
which is now taking place, is also having effect far beyond Iran’s borders, and
therefore is a real threat to the west and the Sunni establishment.

And tangentially related is this article:

It is precisely this suicidal outlook that distinguishes the Iranian nuclear weapons program from those of all other countries and makes it uniquely dangerous. As long ago as 1980, Khomeini put it this way: "We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. For patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world."

Anyone inclined to dismiss the significance of such statements might want to consider the proclamation made by Mohammad Hassan Rahimian, representative of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who stands even higher in the Iranian hierarchy than Ahmadinejad. A few months ago, on November 16, 2006, Rahimian explained: "The Jew"--not the Zionist, note, but the Jew--"is the most obstinate enemy of the devout. And the main war will determine the destiny of mankind. . . . The reappearance of the Twelfth Imam will lead to a war between Israel and the Shia." The country that has been the first to make Holocaust denial a principle of its foreign policy is likewise the first openly to threaten another U.N. member state with, not invasion or annexation, but annihilation.

Yet it's all confusing. Why, if Iran wishes Israel ill, does it deny the Holocaust rather than applaud it? Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial has been especially well received in the Arab world, where it has won praise from Hezbollah, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas. Yet in the Arab world, Hitler is admired not for building highways or conquering Paris, but for murdering Jews. How can Holocaust denial be most prevalent in a region where admiration for Hitler remains widespread? To unlock this paradox it is necessary to examine the anti-Semitic mind.


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