The ‘Useful Idiots’ of Militant Islam
Self-delusion reaches new heights when clueless Westerners defend Sharia, the "moderate" Muslim Brotherhood, and "mild" Islamism.
by Youssef M. Ibrahim
Somewhere during Lawrence of Arabia’s blockbuster career, his bosses wondered if he was becoming “more Arab” in the desert to which they sent him to lead a revolt against the Ottoman Empire. In an endearing cue to imperial haughtiness, Field Marshal Lord Allenby asks if his man had “gone native.”
Indeed the spymaster and legendary British officer became quickly enmeshed in the tangled web he weaved back at the turn of the last century.
Likewise, when communism dawned in the 1920s, Vladimir Lenin ordered a strategy of nurturing “useful idiots” — by which he meant a contingent of communist Lawrences in the West. It worked, spawning hundreds of thousands of enamored scholars, intellectuals, experts, and dreamy romantics waving the red flags of Bolsheviks over the 70 years of the Cold War.
Today’s Islamist Lawrences are being cultivated among a broad swath of political analysts, scholars, anthropologists, pundits, missionaries, and even spies dissecting militant Islam and Islamofascism. While most carry out illuminating and necessary work, the fish they bait ends up ensnaring many.
A few recent catches: the archbishop of Canterbury urging the introduction of Sharia law in Britain; Harvard University, a bastion of secular scholarship, shutting its gym to men to accommodate Muslim women; authorities at Minneapolis’s international airport negotiating for months with 700 Somali Muslim taxi drivers who refused to pick up passengers carrying liquor or depending on guide dogs.
Then there was President George Bush launching his Muslim initiative last June from the Islamic Center of Washington, a Saudi institution distributing educational material instructing Muslims to segregate themselves from other Americans.
Among other things, the Saudi-funded publications admonish Muslims in America “to dissociate from infidels, hate them for their religion, never to rely on them for support, and always oppose them in every way according to Islamic law.” The question: how was it that among the estimated five million Muslim Americans with hugely varied institutions, the president’s advisors picked a Saudi Islamofascist ghetto as a venue?
This cluelessness is spreading into the academy and the arts too.
1) The ‘Useful Idiots’ of Militant Islam