A review of Defeating Jihad. By Serge Trifkovic.

Regina Orthodox Press, 2006. (Available from Crossroad Books in Melbourne – crossroadbooks.com.au)

Serge Trifkovic is fast becoming a leading authority on Islamic militancy and how to respond to it. His The Sword of the Prophet (2002) was an important look at militant Islam. In this sequel volume to that incisive work, Trifkovic continues his hard-hitting analysis coupled with a sober realism about the struggle we are in.

This volume is broken into five parts: a brief review of Islam, its founder, its beliefs and practices, with special reference to Jihad; a lengthy examination of the crisis in Europe; an assessment of conditions in America; the global situation; and a series of proposed solutions.

Taken together these five sections offer a comprehensive and informed overview of the nature of Islamic Jihad and the response of the West. The book offers, in short, a workable understanding of, and plan for, an effective response to the war on terrorism.

And the author is quite right to begin by assessing the threat. A good deal of the problem lies in the fact that many Western intellectualoids refuse to even admit that there is a problem, or are much more inclined to blame the West for the current crisis.

For example, the “9-11 Commission”, the US Government report on terrorism, does note that Islamist terrorism is the main worry, but then goes on to argue that the reformist wing within Islam needs to be encouraged while the fundamentalist wing needs to be resisted.

But Trifkovic argues that this distinction between a real, peaceful Islam and a violent Islamic aberration is false. Jihad and terrorism, argues the author, are intrinsically imbedded in the Koran, hadith, and Sharia. The jihadists are fully acting in accord with their faith. Thus the real question is not, Are there moderate Muslims? Yes there are. But the question to really ask is, Is Islam itself moderate and peaceful? Trifkovic thinks not. Thus talk of reforming Islam becomes a questionable, if unobtainable, goal.

It is this understanding of the real nature of Islam that explains so much about the current crisis in Europe and the incredibly weak and short-sighted Western response. Europe is quickly becoming Eurabia because most Westerners do not understand the real nature of Islam. Peace in Islam can ultimately come when all of the Dar-al-Harb (world of unbelievers) is converted – one way or another – into the Dar-al-Islam (the world of Islam). Thus Islam is in a permanent state of war with the Western infidels until it finally reigns throughout the globe.

While the European response has been woefully inadequate, the American response has not been much better. Basically a policy of appeasement at home and saber-rattling abroad is in place. Fear of offending American Muslims has resulted in a superficial response at home. Foolish notions of tolerance, diversity and multiculturalism have failed to deal with the Islamic threat. Moreover, the West fails to understand that Muslims are unable or unwilling to properly assimilate and integrate into the West. Instead, Muslim conclaves are springing up all over the West, with the inevitable tensions which follow.

And US foreign policy has been confusing at best. Washington seeks to placate and cozy up to various Muslim states, often with counterproductive outcomes. Trifkovic doubts that the democratization of the Middle East is possible. Just as it was delusional to believe in détente with the former Soviet threat, so the idea of exporting democracy to the Islamic world is fraught with danger.

Like the Marxist world before it, the Islamic world is totalistic and implacably hostile to co-existence with the West. And for democracy to be exportable presupposes a framework of ideas that are amenable to it. Islam is fundamentally anti-democratic. The rule of Sharia law alone is the Islamic ideal – democracy is simply heretical.

Trifkovic offers a number of proposals to at least contain the Islamic threat in the West. He favours racial and ethnic profiling as a sensible and necessary feature of our security. He believes mosques should be monitored, sermons examined, and all preaching be conducted in the host-nation’s language.

He believes that Islamic activists should be denied citizenship, or that it be rescinded if already given. He urges Western nations to follow the lead of Switzerland which has one of the toughest naturalization policies in the world. You cannot even apply for citizenship in Switzerland unless you have first lived there for 12 years, paid your taxes, and have no criminal record.

Other get-tough measures are proposed. But the author concludes with a more important requirement. The West needs to know itself. What does it believe? What are its values? What does it stand for? And it needs to realize that the historic, core Western values are ultimately not compatible with the Islamic worldview. Say Trifkovic, “Islamic beliefs, ideas and intentions as such pose a threat to our civilization and our way of life”.

Thus the author reminds us that the first step in dealing with the war of terrorism is to recognize the fundamental differences between Western ideals and Islamic ideals. And then we need to ask ourselves, which are worth preserving and defending? Which are worth fighting and resisting? Unless the West can accurately and carefully answer those questions, it will not be well prepared to cope with the terrorist threat – nor with any other major threat for that matter.

[880 words]

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