September 20, 2006

The Moderate Mahdis


This cover illustration was for the December 2003 edition of The Intellectual Activist magazine. We first posted it in January 2004; I'm reposting now because of the news item below.

From The Age:Muslim nations must have nukes: Mahathir.

Muslim nations in the Middle East should arm themselves with nuclear weapons to deter Western enemies from attacking them, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said.

"They should have tanks, warplanes, warships, guns and missiles," Mahathir said.

"Yes, they need to have nuclear weapons too, because only with the possession of such would their enemies be deterred from attacking them."

Mahathir, 81, who retired as prime minister in 2003, remains highly respected and influential throughout the Muslim world. ...

When asked whether Muslim nations in the Middle East should acquire nuclear weapons, Mahathir replied, "Well, if you allow Israel to have them, why should the others not have them too?"

In original "The Moderate Mahdis" cover story, Robert Tracinski wrote:

The Madhi [of Sudan in the 1880s] was a wild-eyed fanatic who, the encyclopedia notes, "moved from orthodox religious study to a mystical interpretation of Islam." But his vision was essentially the same as that offered by Mahathir: to strike back at the West and expel the "colonialist" infidels, restoring the original might of the Islamic empire.

Mahathir is, in effect, offering his vision for a new, modern, "moderate" Mahdi -- in the form of a business-suited autocrat seeking battleships, ballistic missiles, and nuclear bombs.

And that is precisely what makes Mahathir and his ilk all the more dangerous. The "extremists" like the Taliban doom themselves to insignificance by the very fact of their consistent adherence to their religious philosophy. But those who can make compromises with the demands of this world -- those who embrace the same moral and religious precepts, but implement them in a more reasonable, practical form -- are much more dangerous. They give their irrationalist philosophy some degree of power in the world.

But the biggest threat to the West is not the moderate Mahdis. It is the failure of our leaders to identify the malevolence of the Muslim "moderates" and see them as a threat.

Posted by Forkum at September 20, 2006 05:43 PM