Today's New York Times reports on escalating sectarian conflict in northern Iraq between Sunnis and Kurds. I'm sure Robert Spencer would be on the case, spouting his nonsense about religious wars, except that the Kurds happen to be Sunni as well! -- Dinesh D'Souza
D'Souza appears to think that religion -- that is Islam -- cannot conceivably have been connected to the fighting now between Kurds and Arabs, or the massacres of Arabs by Kurds, and forced arabization of Kurdish lands, under Saddam Hussein.
This shows again how little D. D'S. knows about Islam, and what he does not understand is quite significant. For the discrimination against, and persecution and murder of, the Kurds by the Arabs is prompted by the Arab supremacism that is not called into question by, but supported by, Islam. Islam in fact is a vehicle for Arab supremacism, and owes its origins, that peculiar blend of pre-Islamic Arab pagan beliefs (those djinns), mixed with bits and pieces of stories and figures from both Judaism and Christianity, in a felt need for a "new faith" that would both justify, and promote, the Arab conquests -- justify and promote them among both those carrying out those conquests, and those non-Arab peoples, Christians and Jews and Zoroastrians and assorted others, who were more populous, more wealthy, more advanced, more settled, than the primitive Arab tribesmen who lived by raiding, and who conquered them.
Of course D'Souza is hardly the only one not to understand all the ways in which, despite its universalist pretensions, Islam is that vehicle of Arab supremacism. Many overlook the requirement that, ideally (and certainly up until recent times) the Qur'an had to be read, could only be read, in Arabic. The book that had been revealed to an Arab, and in the language of the Arabs, the best of peoples, is fully itself only in the original Arabic. Converts to Islam routinely take Arabic names -- some, such as Adam Gadahn and John Walker Lindh, find this very exciting. Muslims pray five times a day Meccatropically, and not only to they turn, wherever they are, in the direction of Arabia, but they take as the Model of Perfect Conduct, uswa hasana, as the Perfect Man, al-insan al-kamil, Muhammad, himself an Arab. And they carefully study the stories that convey the words and acts of this figure central to Islam, words and acts that often involve still other Arabs.
Why does this matter? Well, it might help the nicholas-kristofs of this world, who appear puzzled as to why some people who consider themselves "Arabs" are willing to mass-murder those who may look, in some cases, very much like themselves, but whom they consider to be "blacks" and therefore non-Arabs and therefore, fit to be cut down, raped, murdered, the heads of children split open, the wells poisoned, the miserable huts burned.
And it might also help the benighted and insufferably thick Bush Administration, or others for that matter, in beginning to fashion a coherent and intelligent policy of constraining the forces of Jihad, by encouraging division and demoralization within the Camp of Islam. And while sectarian fissures are most obviously present, right now, in Iraq, in the wider world of Islam it is the ethnic divisions -- the divisions between the o'erweening Arabs and the 80% of the world's Muslims who are not Arabs -- that offer the greatest promise of whittling Islam down to size.
D. D'Souza knows none of this. He cannot figure out that when Sunni Arabs kill 182,000 largely Sunni Kurds, that Islam may be involved, that "religion" (if that is what D. D'S. thinks, like Bush, is a sufficient description of Islam) it is indeed a reflection of what is in the attitudes and atmospherics of Islam.
He's wrong every which way but up. No, including up.