Writing as an atheist, I at first thought it would be difficult to comment on a specific part of Stephen Coughlin’s Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad, which is Part XI: Interfaith Outreach (Appendix One, pp. 511-574). But Coughlin presents the subject in such clear terms that it was fascinating and definitely instructive to observe how the Islamic Movement ensnares Christians and Jews in “interfaith dialogue” for the Muslim Brotherhood’s own nefarious purposes. Much of the slithering methods of the interfaith dialogue promoted by various Islamic organizations, which can be viewed as a master template, can be seen in how Muslim “experts” in Islam are used to help American counter-intelligence formulate useless and vacuous analyses of threats by ISIS and al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, which is also exhaustively detailed by Coughlin in his book.
Readers and fans of my novels know that I can mock any religion, but refrain from such business in real life because all those religions but one are not out to kill, convert, or subjugate me. They leave me alone, I leave them alone. Except for Mormon and Jehovah Witnesses door-knockers, who are mostly unsolicited pests. They’re not on my doorstep for long.
The exception is Islam.
The biggest beneficiary of postmodernism – that is, the broad movement of denial of the value and efficacy of reason – aside from the Democrats, aside from the “trigger warning” and “safe place” addicts, aside from the advocates of open borders, aside from the advocates of moral relativism, aside from gun-control advocates, aside from Black Lives Matter, aside from the assailants on the First Amendment, and etc., is Islam. In the suffocating, mind-stunting miasma of postmodernist thought and practice in Western culture, the biggest victor is and will continue to be Islam.
Postmodernism has allowed Islam unopposed and unparalleled entrée into the minds and values of Westerners. Coughlin discusses how this entrée works and the consequences of Christian and Jewish religionists compromising their own beliefs by agreeing to form a “united front” for peace and coexistence and multi-beliefs with Islam. He correctly identifies the chief culprit and enabler of Muslim Brotherhood-dominated interfaith dialogue as postmodernism. Postmodernism is not incidental to the inroads being made by Islam in the West. It is a key factor.
Without the assist of postmodernism – which Islam did not create – neither the Brotherhood nor the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) could exploit the self-criticism of the West nor inveigle their way into the language and behavior of non-Muslim interfaith participants. Islam would be stopped cold, told to return to the miserable pestholes from which it came, and not admitted through the gates of Aristotelian thought. The shiny shield of reason consistently applied to everything and every idea, could not be breached by the underhanded finagling and deft finessing machinations of the Brotherhood and the OIC.
A West that doubts or questions its own value qua West is destined for destruction, either by Islam or by “its own hands.” Islam will provide the rope.
Islam has proved adept in exploiting the anti-reason, anti-man culture of the postmodern world. But its somersaults and linguistic gymnastics would fall flat in a one hundred percent Aristotelian West.
What is postmodernism? Britannica Online has a succinct description:
Postmodernism as a philosophical movement is largely a reaction against the philosophical assumptions and values of the modern period of Western (specifically European) history—i.e., the period from about the time of the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries to the mid-20th century. Indeed, many of the doctrines characteristically associated with postmodernism can fairly be described as the straightforward denial of general philosophical viewpoints that were taken for granted during the 18th-century Enlightenment, though they were not unique to that period.
The descriptive and explanatory statements of scientists and historians can, in principle, be objectively true or false. The postmodern denial of this viewpoint—which follows from the rejection of an objective natural reality—is sometimes expressed by saying that there is no such thing as Truth.
The Brotherhood and the OIC would agree: There is no such thing as Truth – except for the “truth” of Islam. And what is it that the Brotherhood and the OIC have had successes in corrupting, sabotaging, and misdirecting?
Reason and logic are universally valid—i.e., their laws are the same for, or apply equally to, any thinker and any domain of knowledge. For postmodernists, reason and logic too are merely conceptual constructs and are therefore valid only within the established intellectual traditions in which they are used.
Coughlin begins “Interfaith Outreach” with:
While penetrating government and civil organizations is important, the interfaith movement constitutes a major supporting line of operations in Brotherhood penetration operations. Through subversion of the interfaith community, the Brotherhood seeks to manipulate other religions in furtherance of dislocating their faith. [Its ultimate goal being the imposition of Sharia law.] Regarding the interfaith community, the “hands of the believers” are primarily the Brotherhood and Islamic Movement participants, while “their hands” refers to those non-Muslim clerics (ministers, priests, and rabbis) who help facilitate the mission of “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.” [Excerpted from the Brotherhood Explanatory Memorandum of 1991.] Because a Quranic basis exists for what the Brotherhood strategy states is its intent, all interfaith activities emanating from or involving known Brotherhood groups should be viewed with this understanding. (p. 512)
Imams and other Muslims who meet with non-Muslim clerics are not so much having a “dialogue” as engaging in dawah, or Islamic proselytizing. It is a one-way street, and the non-hostile, non-threatening conviviality of Muslim clerics with the clerics of the People of the Book (Christians and Jews, called in the Koran apes and pigs) blinds the clerics to what is actually happening.
Coughlin discusses at length book published in 2011 by the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), based in Herndon, Virginia., Interfaith Dialogue: A Guide for Muslims, by Muhammad Shatfiq and Mohammed Abu-Nimmer. It is a kind of guide of what to do and say and what not to or say when having a “dialogue” with non-Muslim clerics.
From another Islamic publication, The Methodology of Dawah Illallah in American Perspective, by Shamin Siddiqi, published in 1989 by The Forum for Islamic Work, based in Brooklyn, New York, Coughlin quotes from Siddiqi on the similarities between that publication and Interfaith Dialogue:
The I.M.O.A. [Islamic Movement in America – an early designation for the Muslim Brotherhood in America] will open dialogues with dignitaries of the religious institutions, presenting Islam as the common legacy of Judeo-Christian religions and as the only Guidance now available to mankind in its most perfect form for its Falah (Deliverance and Salvation). These talks must be held in a very friendly and non-aggressive atmosphere, as directed by Allah (SWT) in the Qur'an as to how to talk with people of the scripture – “And argue not with the people of the Scripture unless it be in a way that is better.” [bold the author’s] (Al- Qur'an -- 28,.46)
The “common legacy,” Muslim dialogue participants will not enlighten their opposite numbers with, is that the Koran historically was a work-in-progress over centuries that cadged from Judeo-Christian texts and lore. Coughlin:
As Siddiqi stated, the Brotherhood views the methodologies used in dawah as prescribed by Allah. When assessing the intentions of the Brotherhood’s work product, it is important to remember that is manner of communication is generally consistent with Omar Ahmad’s requirements to send two messages in the same communication:
…We will recognize the source of any message which comes out of us…if a message is publicized, we will know…the media person among us will recognize that you send two messages; one to the Americans and one to the Muslims…. (Bold Coughlin’s]
Coughlin highlights what non-Muslim clerics ought to know about the Brotherhood’s ends that is rooted in Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones, but don’t know because they are too enthralled by the prospect of having a dialogue with Muslims without being cursed out or killed.
Another indicator that interfaith Dialogue reflects the Muslim Brotherhood mission is the repeated allusion to bridge building. Sayyid Qutb used this term in Milestones to set the limits of dawah interaction with non-Muslims: “the chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah [society and government of unbelievers, or, pagan ignorance; specifically, a pre-Koranic state of ignorance ]is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam.” P. 515)
In short, the interfaith dialogue “bridge” only exists, as far as the Muslim Brotherhood is concerned, to facilitate non-believers to cross over to Islam. It’s a one-way bridge. Muslims will never cross it to join the non-believers.
There’s more. Why are Muslim clerics so eager to share the same air with infidel clerics? Coughlin writes:
Interfaith Dialogue positions Hudaybiyah [a ten-year “treaty,” actually a truce, between Mohammad and Meccans in 628 A.D.] to establish the claim the Prophet had an overwhelming interest in maintaining peace, even going so far as entering into treaties that were unpopular and humiliating. Interfaith Dialogue states:
The treaty shows that the Prophet preferred peace even at the cost of annoying some of his close followers. He knew that peaceful living would allow Muslims to dialogue with non-Muslims, move about freely, and build relations with other tribes. The treaty is an excellent example of giving the extra mile with others to achieve peace.
But, there’s a catch, which Coughlin details.
Without an awareness of Islamic law [Sharia], interfaith partners read this observation and think it reflects an ongoing commitment to peace grounded in an explicit preference of the Prophet. Yet a quick reference to Reliance of the Traveller makes it clear that this is not the case. The relevant shariah is in the section on jihad concerning truces. Reliance shows that Islamic law does not permit treaties, but recognizes only truces that are made on a short-term basis. Of note, Interfaith Dialogue erroneously designates Hudaybiyyahas a treaty, not a truce.
Further, because truces require the nonperformance of jihad, truces are disfavored, cannot be entered into merely to preserve the status quo, and can only be made in times when Muslim weakness, lack of numbers, or because the other side may convert to Islam. (p. 516)
Briefly, no member of the tripartite alliance of jihad, dawah, and ummah in the organizing principle, which is Sharia, can nullify, frustrate, or contradict the other two. They work together as one entity in an aggressive ideological gestalt.
Non-Muslim interfaith partners are misled or deluded when they encounter in their “dialogue” with their Muslim opposite numbers such terms as “peace,” “goodwill,” “justice,” “injustice,” “liberty of thought,” and “human rights.” They do not realize, or do not care to know, that these terms only apply to Muslims. “Peace” is the peace of a global caliphate. “Goodwill” is extended solely to Muslims. “Justice and “injustice” apply only to Muslims. “Liberty of thought” means being “free” to convert to Islam. And only Muslims have “human rights.” Non-Muslims are “tolerated” only if they pay the jizya or poll tax imposed by Islamic authorities. If they refuse, they die.
When Christian and Jewish clerics read something like:
Islam is not an arbitrary religion, nor has it ever ordered Muslims to force others to adopt it even though it is the final and complete revelation from God. He says: “Let there by no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error.” (Sayyid Qutb, in Islam and Universal Peace, Q.II.256). (pp. 518-519)
…their “hearts and minds” go aflutter at the prospect of “getting along” with their Muslim “brothers,” unaware that the words they are familiar with mean that it is an issue of converting to Islam. The phrase, “Let there be no compulsion in religion” is an invitation to voluntarily convert to Islam, that the “Truth” is Islam, and that the “error” is their Christianity or Jewish faith.
When meeting with their Muslim interfaith partners, there are rules that govern the “give and take” about what to say about one’s religion. But, with Islam, it’s all “take” and very little “give.” It’s the Jews and Christians who must do the “soul searching” and “reflection” about the “truth” of their faiths. The terms “reciprocity,” “trust,” and “honesty” might be in the dialogue lexicon, but they’re not observed by the Muslims. “Reciprocity,” in the context of interfaith dialogue, for Muslims is nearly akin to shirk or apostasy, while “honesty” about Islam is right out. The truth about Islam might frighten the “partners” away, and that would be the end of the dialogue. The Brotherhood has invested too much effort in getting the infidel clerics to “sabotage their miserable faiths by their own hands” and at the hands of the Brotherhood to indulge in frank and brutal honesty about Islam and their goals. “Trust,” to Muslims, is an understanding that their interfaith “partners” will not ask Muslims embarrassing questions that would require Muslims to bare their true intentions. Not that they ever would in any circumstance.
But Christian and Jewish dialogue partners are so anxious to “iron things out “with their Muslim opposite numbers that they are virtually hypnotized by their own delusions about what is possible. In effect, they become subordinate to the Muslim clerics, because the dialogue is conducted solely on Islamic terms. This is in keeping with the Islamic goal of becoming the dominant religion; no concessions are made by Muslim interfaith partners. The “bridge” they throw across the chasm of doctrinal differences is meant for the infidel clerics to cross over to Islam. Muslims will never set foot on it.
There are, writes Coughlin, Jewish and Christian clerics who know what the score is, yet continue the interfaith dialogue charade and have prestige invested in it. They are willing to compromise – and even betray – their core religious beliefs to publically meet their Muslim opposite numbers “half way,” knowing that their Muslim “partners” are in the game for the whole pot. Coughlin writes:
Interfaith rules are thinly veiled postmodern assaults on reason that succeed by undermining basic principles of logic. (p. 523)
Coughlin cites the three laws of Aristotelian logic – the law of identity, the law of the non-contradiction, and the law of the excluded middle – to drive home his point that Jewish and Christian clerics, visi-a-vis their religious principles, are products of our postmodern culture. They are willing to accept the contradictions, and hang all their hopes and wishes for a multifaith détente on a phantom excluded middle. They are fascinated with and entranced by the crocodile that smiles at them, unaware that sooner or later, the crocodile will attack and eat them, but not before drowning them in their own folly.
Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad, by Stephen Coughlin. Washington DC: Center for Security Policy Press, 2015. 788 pp.