By Rabbi Steven Pruzansky
A week before last Thursday night, a Philadelphia police officer was shot in cold blood and wounded by a man in Muslim garb, shouting Islamic slogans, and purporting to act in the name of ISIS. Jim Kenney, the Mayor of Philadelphia, was quick to shoot down the assailant’s own stated motive: “In no way shape or form does anyone in this room believe that Islam or the teaching of Islam has anything to do with what you’ve seen on the screen. It is abhorrent. It is terrible and it does not represent the religion or any of its teachings. This is a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers. It has nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith.”
This follows the playbook crafted for many years by President Obama, who resolutely rejects the notion that there is such a thing as “Islamic terror,” “Islamist terror,” “radical Islamic terror,” or any and all associations between terror and any Muslim. ISIS “has nothing to do with Islam;” that is to say, Islamic State is not Islamic and also is not a State. Its entire name is a lie! Leaving aside the question who is Obama to decree what is or isn’t Islamic (how can he speak in the name of Islam when he denies being a Muslim?), his renunciations would be more credible if they were applied universally to other groups.
For example, the rare attack by a white on a black in America is never a crime committed by one racist criminal but always a sign of the endemic racism that infects all of white America and a legacy of slavery 150 years ago. It reflects on everyone, not just the individual perpetrator. The rare attack by a Christian on an abortion clinic is always a sign of the radicalization of Christianity in America, spurred on by radical priests and ministers. All Christians are expected to take responsibility for the acts of the individual. The president and his minions have never been heard saying “This has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity.”
And Jews? The even more rare attack by a Jew on anyone is always met with communal guilt and recriminations, and a failure of the perpetrators’ parents, grandparents, teachers and neighbors. If a Jew jaywalks (shame on him!), he and his community will be denounced by Jewish organizations across the world. He will be subjected to public ridicule. Commissions and committees will be formed to deliberate where we as a people went wrong to produce such miscreants, whether or not the appellation “chosen people” is still deserved, and speculate whether there is any hope for the Jewish future. If he is an Israeli Jew, the UN Security Council will condemn him an, depending where he jaywalked, accuse him of being a war criminal.
The acts of an individual – Jew or Israeli – are always perceived by this government and the political left as a sign of the moral decay caused by the “occupation” and the rot at the core of Jewish society. It is never – never – construed as just the act of an individual lacking any connection to Judaism or Israel. It is always perceived as a reflection on Judaism, otherwise it would not be a shonda(!). We should be able to avoid the specter of the shonda (!) by saying that they perpetrator should not be considered a Jew and his act has nothing to do with Judaism. But we don’t.
And one need not look further than the misdeeds of a couple of rabbis in the last few years, and the screaming headlines and seething discourses on the failed state of the rabbinate. All rabbis are somehow tainted and suspect and require re-training and supervision. It is never the individual; it is always the group. Except when it comes to Islam.
Well, everyone can’t be wrong. And there are Muslims who denounce the terrorists, the terror, and lament the perversion of Islam, as Obama is quick to emphasize. If it isn’t Islam, then what is it?
The terrorists have invented a new religion, and we have just been to slow to acknowledge it. There is a religion called “Islam.” There is a new religion that should actually be called “Is-not-lam.”
Islam is a religion of peace that respects all mankind and is tolerant of all religions. Isnotlam is a religion of war, permanent and perpetual holy war. Islam treats all people with respect and dignity and affords them basic human rights. Isnotlam is locked in an endless struggle against all non-Isnotlamists who are heretics, fiends and infidels; indeed, Isnotlam even targets Muslims and has murdered more Muslims than it has murdered non-Muslims.
Islam represents the submission of the individual to God’s will and sees life as a paramount value. Isnotlam sees death and martyrdom as desirable – the epitome of one’s life work – and the application of that value to others, willing or unwilling, as a fundamental religious commitment. Islam co-exists in peace and harmony with all nations and creeds. Isnotlam seeks world domination and the imposition of Isnotlamic law on every other person on the globe even at the point of a sword.
What makes it especially confusing to the outsider is that both Islam and Isnotlam revere the same texts, dress in similar ways, speak the same language and abide by many of the same customs. But Islam underscores the tolerant portions of the Koran, whereas Isnotlam has distorted the Koran into something that is unrecognizable to the true Muslim. It makes it very difficult for the outsider to distinguish between the true Muslim and the Isnotlamist.
Muslims justifiably do not want to be lumped together with Isnotlamists, and do not want the actions of a few tens of millions Isnotlamists to reflect poorly on them. And what is particularly outrageous is that the Isnotlamists do not hesitate in judging other individuals by the groups to which they belong. They will wantonly murder Jews all over the world because they have a grievance with Jews or Israelis in Israel. They will wantonly murder Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Kurds, Yazidis, and others – Americans, Europeans, Russians, Africans and Asians – only because they are part of a disfavored group (i.e., everyone else on the planet) and not because of any particular grievance they have with those individuals.
The relentless insistence by Obama and his acolytes that persistent terror by Muslims has absolutely nothing to do with Islam sounds ridiculous and clueless until one realizes – as sadly, the President has not yet – that the problem is not Islam but the new faith, Isnotlam. We are at war with Isnotlam, and would Obama recognize that and swiftly. Isnotlam through its various constituents - ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Taliban and assorted other groups – is causing tremendous harm across the world and has intensified its threats to all non-Isnotlamists.
Rather than saying what the terrorists are not – Muslims –and whose ideology they arenot following – Islam – world leaders should boldly declare war on Isnotlam. We can only hope and pray that Isnotlamists are outnumbered by the good people on whom they are inflicting death, suffering and fear, and that those good people – freed of any accusations of Islamophobia and the like – can prevail in this world war.
And, apologists for terror, please don’t accuse me of Isnotlamophobia. We live in very serious times and cannot be distracted in this struggle, the civilized world’s quest for victory and survival. It would certainly help the cause if followers of Islam unequivocally denounced the followers of Isnotlam.