Raymond Ibrahim is a name to watch for. His book, The Al Qaeda Reader (DoubleDay) will be out in April 2007. By way of introduction, don’t miss his outstanding Op-Ed today in the Los Angeles Times. Entitled “Islam gets concessions; infidels get conquered: What they capture, they keep. When they lose, they complain to the U.N.,” is so brilliant that it takes a lot of restraint to select the following excerpts instead of simply reproducing the whole piece:
All this illustrates the privileged status that many Muslims expect in the international arena. When Muslims conquer non-Muslim territories — such as Constantinople, not to mention all of North Africa, Spain and southwest Asia — those whom they have conquered as well as their descendants are not to expect any apologies, let alone political or territorial concessions.
Herein lies the conundrum. When Islamists wage jihad — past, present and future — conquering and consolidating non-Muslim territories and centers in the name of Islam, never once considering to cede them back to their previous owners, they ultimately demonstrate that they live by the age-old adage “might makes right.” That’s fine; many people agree with this Hobbesian view.
But if we live in a world where the strong rule and the weak submit, why is it that whenever Muslim regions are conquered, such as in the case of Palestine, the same Islamists who would never concede one inch of Islam’s conquests resort to the United Nations and the court of public opinion, demanding justice, restitutions, rights and so forth? . . . .
But perhaps Muslims cannot be blamed for expecting special treatment, as well as believing that jihad is righteous and decreed by the Almighty. The West constantly goes out of its way to confirm such convictions. By criticizing itself, apologizing and offering concessions — all things the Islamic world has yet to do — the West reaffirms that Islam has a privileged status in the world.
Ibrahim is a Language Specialty Assistant at the Library of Congress’s Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division.