Is Islamic Militarism Overconfident?

Note: This is the last part of an essay I have been posting on this forum in segments.

Faced with Islam’s long record of failure to improve quality of life, what remains to its apologists but saber-rattling militaristic triumphalism? The Turkish pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah, in a fit of downright antediluvian savagery, yammers: “With their pure Ahl as-Sunnah beliefs that they did not contaminate with philosophy, Turks became the most powerful state in the world and buried the Byzantine Empire in history.” It would be excessive here to reiterate Raymond Ibrahim’s explanation, in Sword and Scimitar, of the combination of historical happenstance and the earlier weakening of the Byzantine Empire that allowed the armies of Islam to roll over it, beginning its centuries-long demise. A different point he makes is more pertinent: the Turks were already a nation of skilled warriors before they accepted Islam, as were the Arabs and Berbers. It is not that Islam made nations better at warfare, but rather that its doctrine appealed to warlike peoples in the first place.

And how effective, in the many centuries since, have Islamic radicals been in war compared to their (more) secular compatriots? We have already mentioned the great commanders Atatürk and Dudayev with their misgivings about the Muslim faith, and Algeria’s National Liberation Front, which fought a successful insurgency against the French and later thwarted an Islamist insurgency against itself. We may also recall the unbelievably unpopular Afghan communist government, which nonetheless outlasted the Soviet Union despite the best efforts of the mujahideen it faced. Then there are the Chechen Kadyrovites, who have proved to be just about the least capable forces on the Russian side of the Russo-Ukrainian War, and other similar examples.

When will the people of the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and other regions turn their backs on the historical mistake of Islam? Perhaps sooner than we think. Two people who should know write: “given the public’s long experience with theocratic rule, Iran has perhaps become the most secular Muslim nation in the Middle East, Turkey included.” When the mullahs’ sclerotic regime finally collapses, one can only guess how free Iranians – possibly ninety million of them – will talk about Islam and what trends that could inspire abroad. Perhaps we will yet see those long-subjugated nations of the East and South shake off the shackles of their spiritual enslavement.


Interesting. Thank you, Simon_Maass.

Will the mullahs’ regime collapse in the foreseeable future? Any sign that it will? Maybe if Trump becomes president again …

Will the Arabs ever turn their backs on Islam? Well, ever is a long time.

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