The greatest ideological struggle in the post-communist era is, so the media tells us, the struggle against radical Islam. Unfortunately, the media oracle feeds us conflicting messages on what the real issue is and how it can be solved. Like any issue that involves political zombies, America has two irreconcilable visions of the problem, and two radically different solutions. But, as is true with many issues in American politics: both sides are wrong. This is part two of a two-part series dealing with the problems Americans have with understanding and responding to radical Islam. You can find part one here.

I meant to post this earlier, but I was hitting the mojitos pretty hard at lunch today, and well, that has consequences.

Now for the left, which is as one might imagine, not right. Their basic response to radical Islam is that we need to recreate Islam in our own image — creating a warm, fuzzy pro-abortion, pro-gay, non-violent form of Islam that looks more or less like American Episcopalianism with the addition of The Prophet. They argue that we need to encourage Muslims to follow touchy-feely liberal types, instead of the hard-line ascetic Salafists. Ultimately, Islam cannot be saved unless it is sufficiently “Westernized” and any sort of meaningful moral authority is eviscerated.

What’s the problem with that? Well, not much, if I’m a spineless moral relativist, who believes that the role of religion is to confirm the prejudices of the current age. But if I were a devout (but not radical) Muslim, I’d be furious at the elitist snobs, who can’t be bothered to worship their own God, but condescend to tell me how to worship mine. Imagine how the secular elite would react if King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia were to say, “We need to encourage moderate atheists to abandon their old-fashioned ideologies of abortion and homosexuality and embrace ideas more compatible with Islam?” I’d wager good money they’d be furious and fill the blogosphere and new media with their ranting… and I’d have no sympathy whatsoever (what goes around comes around).

To expect that Islam will be reinvented because Uncle Sam (aka The Great Satan) says so is either unbelievable arrogant or monumentally naive. Personally, I have a fundamental problem with any government (including my own) trying to get all Caeseropapist. I don’t care whether it’s my religion or someone else’s, but I don’t want any state telling someone what the “right” version of their religion should be. To expect that the Muslim world will welcome the American vision for Islam and not brand those who share it infidel dogs who are traitors to the true faith is sheer delusion… which appears to be where the left is living these days.

The greatest ideological struggle in the post-communist era is, so the media tells us, the struggle against radical Islam. Unfortunately, the media oracle feeds us conflicting messages on what the real issue is and how it can be solved. Like any issue that involves political zombies, America has two irreconcilable visions of the problem, and two radically different solutions. But, as is true with many issues in American politics: both sides are wrong. This is part one of a two-part series dealing with the problems Americans have with understanding and responding to radical Islam.

Let us begin with the right, which frankly speaking, isn’t. From the view of extreme partisans on the right, the problem is Islam itself. The Islamaniacs , and all those who follow the False Prophet, follow a fundamentally violent religion. From this perspective, Islam is locked in an eternal jihad against the heathen world, and it is a conflict that can only be continued by force of arms: Non-Muslims must either recite the shahadah or perish: There is no room for the separation of Mosque and State in Islam. Supporters of this view of Islam feel that the solution to the conflict is to take up arms to oppose the jihad. Though most won’t say it, there are always the more candid (and extreme) voices that feel that Islam must be destroyed. Supporters of this position point to the (admittedly) violent rise of Islam in the 7th and 8th century and content that the us-versus-them mindset of the early days of Islam translate perfectly into the 21st century.

In a refreshing (albeit disturbing) alternative to the zombification of politics, fellows from the “Atheist by Faith Alone” camp of lunatic leftists (like the recent douchebag-cum-author Christopher Hitchens) agree with this view. But this odd confluence of fundamentalist Christians and irrational atheists is united in something else: being flat out wrong.

For starters, Islam is not the only religion to have a troubling relationship with the state. Christianity, for instance has had problems in all its major branches (see late medieval Western Europe for Catholicism, the late Byzantine Orthodoxy or later writings of Luther that smack of complete Caesero-Papism). Second, the violence in Arabia was par for the course at the time and that Islamic nations were significantly less violent than some of their pagan contemporaries (the Golden Horde comes to mind). Third, radical Islam is a product of the modern era: beginning in the late 19th century with Jamal al-Din al-Afghani as a response to the British occupation. Until that point, the Islamic world (at least in its Turkoman/Islamic flavor) wallowed in the peaceful, slothful decadence it had descended into since the Battle of Lepanto. Fourth, barring isolated separatist insurgencies (which are not, in general religiously motivated), Muslims in Southeast Asia, the major nexus of Islam outside of the Middle East have lived quite peacefully for a long time.

A detailed look at history and a smattering of common sense (often lacking in the American right) tell a clear story: this view of Islam is wrong, and the conclusion that it must be destroyed by force cannot be supported from that evidence. If only the other side offered a better view. As we’ll see in the next issue, things aren’t any better on the left.

When the founding fathers of the United States created the Constitution of the United States, they built into the document constraints against, among other things, the excesses of the Church of England. At that time, the Church of England was the only accepted form of religion sanctioned by the English King, and was largely a product of the wars against Catholicism and the French . Nevertheless, the founders of the United States went to great lengths to insure that no government under the Constitution could establish and maintain a state-sanctioned religion.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Judiciaries and analysts henceforth have interpreted that to become the doctrine of “separation of Church and State” with liberal extensions of the definition of church to include such oddities as The Partridge Family Temple, The Church of Least Resistance, or The First Church of Jesus Christ, Elvis. Ingrained in American society is a tolerance for religion, but this very tolerance could become the cancer destroying the fabric of American society.

Seldom in the the papers of the founding fathers, or in the numerous journals and diaries these gentlemen produced, was there the consideration of a religion that itself was a form of Government. (John Q. Adams seems to have, in fact, some acquaintance with Islam.) In fact, the entire concept of Islam would have been anathema to these men as this represented what the Church of England had become in their minds. With the practice of religion tied to Shariah Law, itself inimical to the rights enumerated in the first and other Amendments, Islam was explicitly what the Founders sought to avoid—a church intrinsically tied to the State.

Alas, in today’s environment, any attempt to preserve the American Way, or preserve choice among the people, is blocked when that choice runs up against Shariah. The particular case of the Minneapolis taxi drivers refusing to carry alcohol is one example. Otherwise well meaning people, when confronted with the dichotomy which is Islam, opt for the first amendment language protecting religion. As a result, Shariah Law is building a foothold in the United States. How many local ordinances against loud noises in the morning will be voided in the name of the first amendment when mosques begin their 5:00 AM muezzin prayer calls.

Anticipating the rise of Islam in the United States, (and Islam as a religious practice divorced of the Shariah, can and should be allowed) a safeguard will be required to protect the basic fundamentals of the Constitution. To this end I propose that the Constitution be amended to explicitly address the exclusion of Shariah Law within the United States and its possessions. This is the best and easiest way to avoid the trap constructed within the Constitution: i.e., that the First Amendment dictates that we must allow, as a religion, a system whose practice is contrary to the balance of the Bill of Rights.