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Sunday, 30 September 2007
What James V. Schall Might Have Said

James V. Schall, S. J., on the faculty at Georgetown, lends that school as much luster as the school's connection with Esposito's "Center For Muslim-Christian Understanding" takes away.

Here is one of his essays:

On the Term "Islamo-Fascism" | Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. | August 15, 2006

The one part of his otherwise excellent essay that gives pause is this:

"A somewhat bewildered American President and British Prime Minister have understood, whereas many politicians have not, that there is a real war and a real enemy. They have been prudent in their use of language, catering to differing usages both in western democracies and in the Muslim world. Their general approach has been to seek to isolate the "terrorists" from the rest of the Muslim world. This world itself has been caught up for centuries in a stagnant and almost totally controlled system usually under the power of a military that has served to sit on top of those religious radicals who would tear up the world. What the President thus has sought to do is finally to allow and encourage what he considers to be the great majority of Muslim citizens to be able to participate in a culture that is not dominated by such motives that burst forth frequently from within Islam to employ terror."

Where he describes Blair and Bush as having been "prudent" in their use of language, I suggest that they have been "confused" and "unhelpful" in their use of language, to be explained by invoking those Three Horsemen of the Esdrujula (Timidity, Stupidity, Rigidity). Furthermore, the "[Muslim] world" that "itself has been caught up for centuries in a stagnant and almost totally controlled system usually under the power of a military" is not an accurate description. What James V. Schall describes as stagnation is, rather, the stasis that Islam encourages, for all of truth was revealed in the Qur'an, uncreated and immutable, and glossed by the Sunnah (recorded mainly in the Hadith, which have been studied, and assigned to different classes of presumed authenticity, by muhaddithin more than a millennium ago, and those rankings are not to be questions), and both the habit of mental submission, and the fear of the new ("bida"), and the fixed belief that all truth has been revealed and there is nothing further ye need know on earth, explains that "stagnant" aspect of Muslim societies.

And James V. Schall, in describing what Bush is trying to do in Iraq, appears partly to endorse that venture, and leaves out the stinging criticism he might, fourteen months later, have made of this hopelessly naive effort to transplant "freedom" and "democracy" in the Western sense can possibly make sense, or be achieved, or if achieved would somehow dampen the ardor to fulfill the duty of Jihad.

Posted on 09/30/2007 5:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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