by Dave Swindle
For season 2 of the 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen, each weekday I juxtapose excerpts from my book readings with a selection of the previous day’s headlines and noteworthy excerpts. The goal is to make fresh connections between the events of the day and the bigger picture of history and humanity’s place in the universe.
In yesterday’s collection of the weekend’s headlines and excerpts, I announced my plan to begin opening each of these weekday link round-ups by highlighting one of my favorite writers and explaining how one of their key ideas could be used to better understand the day’s events. I opened this series with the intent of naming the five men and one women — all PJ columnists — who have most shaped my foreign policy views. I began by proclaiming my appreciation for PJ columnist Michael Ledeen and his books. To understand Monday’s headlines, I invite others to consider The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America by Andrew C. McCarthy – excerpted below — and also his PJ Media Ordered Liberty blog and National Review archive. McCarthy is one of today’s most important advocates for a strong, focused national security policy that recognizes and defeats America’s enemies.
Back in November, I included The Grand Jihad in my list of the “The 15 Best Books for Understanding Barack Obama’s Mysterious Political Theology.” The book is particularly valuable for understanding a vital reality that the majority of people across the political spectrum either know nothing about or work very hard to ignore: for decades the Muslim Brotherhood has worked very hard developing front groups which train operatives for the purpose of subverting America and someday conquering us from within. These activists pretend to be moderates but actually work to advance the interests of Islamic supremacists who seek to implement Sharia. They intentionally obfuscate their real views. So far it’s been working very well.
McCarthy is one of the most incisive and credible analysts of this phenomenon. He is unique amongst other writers on Islam in that he is a former federal prosecutor, responsible for convicting the Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. He’s not someone who can be dismissed as promulgating “crazy conspiracy theories” like the Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein recently attempted. There really are criminal conspiracies and they’ve been convicted in court. Want documentary proof that the Muslim Brotherhood created the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for the purpose of duping people into supporting Muslim supremacists? This document recovered from the Brotherhood — “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America” — was entered into evidence by the FBI during the Holy Land Foundation trial. It’s a good place to start and an important piece of evidence that McCarthy explains. Here’s the excerpt from which the title of the book emerged:
This isn’t conspiracy mongering. It’s a well-established historical fact that during the Cold War the Soviet Union funded spies and subversive cultural groups to try to destroy America from within. Today’s Islamist groups draw from this tradition. The various strains of Islamism we see today across the Middle East from the Muslim Brotherhood to the Saudi Kingdom to the Iranian mullahs all infuse orthodox Islam with aspects of Marxism and fascism. (Hence one of the reasons why I choose to use the term “Islamism” much to the consternation of some of my more hardline counter-Jihad colleagues. An “Islamist” is someone who uses modern day political methods — violent or nonviolent — in order to establish an Orthodox Islamic state that runs according to Sharia law. The Islam of Mohammed’s age is the goal, but modern tools from modern weapons to postmodern ideology are the means.)
Having come to understand the criminal techniques utilized throughout the 20th century, we can see them implemented today. Consider the subject of Robert Spencer’s monday PJ Lifestyle article: Why Reza Aslan’s Christian Relatives and Friends Aren’t Trying to Kill Him.
With the understanding in mind that America’s totalitarian foreign enemies have throughout history sought to disrupt the foundations of America’s cultural values, we can begin to connect the dots:
Fact 1: Reza Aslan is an advisory board member of the National Iranian American Council, an unofficial lobbying organization and apologist for the current terrorist-sponsoring regime.
Fact 2: Aslan has advocated for the U.S. to negotiate with both Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah
Fact 3: Aslan is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. He wrote that “the Muslim Brotherhood will have a significant role to play in post-Mubarak Egypt. And that is good thing” and has spoken regularly at events sponsored by the MSA and CAIR.
Fact 4: Aslan, an ex-Christian who returned to Islam, claims that Jesus of Nazareth was an illiterate, revolutionary zealot and that the gospels are all distortions of who Jesus really was. In Aslan’s telling, Jesus is reminiscent of Mohammed. Where have we heard this before? Aslan agrees with the dominant Muslim interpretation of the Koran, which claims that the Jewish Torah and Christian gospels are perversions of what Moses and Jesus actually taught. His evidence for an illiterate Jesus? This interview from the Wall Street Journal demonstrates Aslan’s preferred creative writing method of historical analysis — stereotyping — and then his outright dismissal of the importance of the individual:
In the book you say that Jesus was “very likely” illiterate, and there’s “no reason to think” he could read or write. But a lot of Biblical scholars disagree. In Luke 4:16, we see Jesus reading. [“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”] So where do you get that from, saying Jesus is illiterate when in the Bible he is seen reading?
Well, first of all, it may sound shocking to some people, but just because the gospels say something doesn’t mean it’s actually factual. The Gospel of Luke was written 60-70 years after Jesus had died, when Christianity was quintessentially a Roman religion and no longer a Jewish religion and the gospel writers were very interested in making Jesus someone who would appeal to a non-Jewish audience. But the facts of history speak for themselves. And I would say the vast majority of Biblical scholars would agree that the illiteracy rates in Jesus’s world were somewhere around 98 percent. 98 percent of Jesus’s fellow Jews could neither read nor write. The notion that a tekton, as Jesus is referred to in the Bible, a woodworker, which would make him the second-lowest rung on the social ladder in his time just above the slave and the indigent and the beggar, the notion that he would have had any sort of formal education, let alone the kind of education necessary to debate theological points with the scribes and the Pharisees, is difficult to reconcile with what we know of the history of the time.
But examining the broad sweep of historical trends of a particular time doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about an individual person.
It tells you everything about an individual.
This ideology — that believes “historical trends” are more important than the individual — is the perpetual enemy of America, constantly returning with new masks. We have beaten it many times throughout our history and we will defeat it again.