The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
 TeasersiSteve Blog
/
Muslims

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
🔊 Listen RSS

From Toronto’s Globe and Mail a few weeks ago:

The Islamic State’s perversion of hijra

REBECCA GOULD

Contributed to The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015

Rebecca Gould, the author of the forthcoming book Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus, is a professor of humanities at the University of Bristol.

In recent decades, the Arabic word jihad – once used to describe the duty of all Muslims to act according to their faith – has become overwhelmingly associated with the waging of violent war against non-believers. With the rise of the Islamic State, another term has been refashioned for inclusion in the lexicon of extremist violence: hijra.

Other ways it is spelled include hegira and hejira. I used hegira in my new Taki’s Magazine column, “A Few Questions about the Hegira to Germany,” because that’s the way I saw it when I first read about it in the 1960s. (That was back in the days when progressive opinion favored the spelling “Moslem” and only dusty imperialists stuck with the offensively old-fashioned “Muslim.”)

As with jihad, this is no mere semantic hijacking. The real-world implications are all too alarming. By militarizing the concept of hijra, which traditionally referred to Muslims’ peaceful migration to lands where they would be free from persecution, they have created a powerful tool for radicalizing and recruiting Muslims far and wide, including in the United States and Europe.

Hijra’s association with Islam has its origins in the Prophet Mohammed’s escape from Mecca to Medina in 622, to avoid assassination and preserve his community. He and his followers knew that as long as they remained in Mecca, they would be despised by non-Muslims; their very lives were in danger. And so, in an act of hijra – or migration – the prophet left the city of his birth. Islam would have a stable base, because Muslims in Medina would be free to worship according to the dictates of their faith.

And, as it turned out, after much conflict, to impose their faith upon everybody in Medina and/or kill the recalcitrant (such as 700 Jews executed in Medina).

And Medina was just the beginning. By 732 A.D., or 110 A.H. (After Hegira) according to the Muslim calendar, there was a Muslim army in central France.

Mohammed’s hijra is not narrated in the Koran, but the sacred book is structured around the event, divided into revelations he received in Mecca and those he received in Medina. The year of Mohammed’s hijra also became the first year of the Islamic calendar. And, as the faith spread, the word came to describe not only Mohammed’s departure for Medina, but also a general obligation by all Muslims to migrate to lands under Muslim rule when it will serve their faith.

Or maybe not quite yet fully under Muslim rule.

Over the course of Islamic history, hijra has come to represent more than physical movement; it is widely viewed as an injunction to create a better world in lands under Muslim rule. …

In early modernity, however, with the systematic expulsion of Muslims from Spain in 1492, and later from lands seized by other colonial empires, hijra acquired a more violent meaning that anticipated its later association with jihad. After these expulsions – most notably by the Spanish and Russian empires – the concept came to signify not only the pressure to migrate, as during Mohammed’s lifetime, but also an ultimatum from the state: Leave or you will be slaughtered.

Chechen refugees hijraing in Boston, April 2013

Centuries after these violent expulsions by European powers, hijra today signifies much more than physical relocation. For many modern Muslims, hijra represents the perpetual movement between memory and forgetting. It is what Muslims do when – like Palestinians and Chechens – they have been dispossessed by more powerful states. …

Most recently, however, under the Islamic State, hijra has acquired a connotation that alienates it from its prior meanings. The Islamic State can only understand hijra as physical migration for the purpose of jihad. For the Islamic State’s crude and contrived medievalism, the past is of only instrumental value, to be refashioned in the service of violent conquest and savage repression. Far from being an ethical mode of remembering – a source of cultural continuity and consolation – hijra has been turned into a call to arms by this new self-proclaimed caliphate, which the vast majority of Muslims today do not recognize as part of their religion.

Before hijra became militarized, it was used to hold the present accountable to the past. In this richer, if more elusive, sense, hijra far exceeds – indeed, confounds – the Islamic State’s remit. The word’s original evocation of the early Islamic community of believers who had to migrate not to wage war, but rather to live in peace, are nuances that the group’s ideologues – whose appeals to the force of the new require a purified version of the past – would very much like us to forget.

 
🔊 Listen RSS

With Muslim terrorists committing anti-Semitic massacres in France and Denmark earlier this year, and Middle Eastern and African youths routinely harassing Jews on the street in European cities, one might think that facilitating another massive influx of Muslims, along with all the chain migration to follow, would be considered not good for the Jews.

Some Eastern European countries have offered to accept persecuted Syrian Christian refugees, but not Muslims. You might think that would be considered a reasonable compromise good for the Jews, right?

But that is simply unthinkable to the current mind. The important thing is not to do practical things to help actual European Jews, the important thing is to stick to the Narrative and follow out its symbolic logic. Thus, from the New York Times:

Hungarian Leader Rebuked for Saying Muslim Migrants Must Be Blocked ‘to Keep Europe Christian’
SEPT. 3, 2015

Open Source
By ROBERT MACKEY

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, was criticized online and in person on Thursday for writing in a German newspaper that it was important to secure his nation’s borders from mainly Muslim migrants “to keep Europe Christian.”

“Those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims,” Mr. Orban wrote in a commentary for Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, a German newspaper. “This is an important question, because Europe and European identity is rooted in Christianity.”

“Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian?” Mr. Orban asked. “There is no alternative, and we have no option but to defend our borders.”

Before meeting with Mr. Orban on Thursday in Brussels, Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, which represents European Union leaders, thanked him for securing Europe’s borders, but took issue with the argument of Mr. Orban’s opinion article.

“I want to underline that for me, Christianity in public and social life means a duty to our brothers in need,” Mr. Tusk said as he stood alongside Mr. Orban.

“Referring to Christianity in a public debate on migration must mean in the first place the readiness to show solidarity and sacrifice. For a Christian it shouldn’t matter what race, religion and nationality the person in need represents.”

Mr. Tusk, a former prime minister of Poland, drew attention to his rebuke of the Hungarian leader on social networks, and his office posted video of his comments on YouTube.

Mr. Orban waited until the end of the day to respond to Mr. Tusk. At a separate news conference in which he faced reporters alone, he reiterated the theme of his article, that Europe was at risk of being “overrun” and had to shut its borders. The Hungarian prime minister argued that European countries had no obligation to accept most of the migrants, as “the overwhelming majority of people are not refugees because they are not coming from a war-stricken area.”

“Our Christian obligation is not to create illusions,” he said. …

Mr. Orban’s formulation echoed notorious remarks made by the poet T.S. Eliot in 1933, another moment in history when Europeans expressed fears of being overwhelmed by a “flood” of non-Christian immigrants.

The Real Enemy

The highest priority must always be to defeat the real enemy, T.S. Eliot.

Of course, you can’t stop T.S. Eliot in the past without getting a few more kosher supermarket shoppers and bat mitzvah security guards murdered by Muslim thugs in the future. But the deaths of these Jews will, apparently, be a small price to pay for not having to consider whether diminishing marginal returns have started to set in for our era’s dominant ideological obsessions.

Never forget: It’s always 1933.

Thus, from the New York Times once again:

Treatment of Migrants Evokes Memories of Europe’s Darkest Hour
By RICK LYMAN SEPT. 4, 2015

BUDAPEST — In Hungary, hundreds of migrants surrounded by armed police officers were tricked into boarding a train with promises of freedom, only to be taken to a “reception” camp. In the Czech Republic, the police hustled more than 200 migrants off a train and wrote identification numbers on their hands with indelible markers, stopping only when someone pointed out that this was more than a little like the tattoos the Nazis put on concentration camp inmates.

Razor-wire fences rise along national borders in Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary and France. Many political leaders stoke rising nationalism by portraying the migrants as dangerous outsiders whose foreign cultures and Muslim religion could overwhelm cherished traditional ways.

“It was horrifying when I saw those images of police putting numbers on people’s arms,” said Robert Frolich, the chief rabbi of Hungary. “It reminded me of Auschwitz. And then putting people on a train with armed guards to take them to a camp where they are closed in? Of course there are echoes of the Holocaust.”

Europeans are facing one of the Continent’s worst humanitarian crises since World War II, yet many seem blind to images that recall that blackest time in their history.

This migrant crisis is no genocide. The issue throughout the Continent is how to register, house, resettle or repatriate hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees, a daunting logistical challenge. But perhaps not since the Jews were rounded up by Nazi Germany have there been as many images coming out of Europe of people locked into trains, babies handed over barbed wire, men in military gear herding large crowds of bedraggled men, women and children.

At the same time, the images may reveal a deeper truth about Europe and its seeming unpreparedness for a crisis so long in the making: While extolling the virtues of human rights and humanism, it remains, in many parts, a place resistant to immigration and diversity.

As a result, some here are reacting in ways that recall some of the Continent’s darkest impulses.

“They must be oblivious because who would do that if they had any historical memory whatsoever,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “It’s amazing, really. Certainly those images of the trains can’t help but conjure up nightmares of the Holocaust.”

Rabbi Frolich was especially struck by the lies used to manipulate the migrants.

“They tell them that the train was going to Austria and then take them to a camp instead,” the rabbi said. “I don’t think the police got instructions from the government to do it this way, but it is very similar to what happened to Jews in the 1940s.”

Jan Munk, chairman of the Jewish Community of Prague, was inclined to be generous in his interpretation of the episode.

“I understand the reasons why the police marked migrants with numbers,” he said. “They are under a lot of pressure and stress and simply did not realize the connotations it would have. It was indeed tasteless and reminded me of the numbers at Auschwitz, but I know it was not done on purpose.”

But for others, the fact that it was not done on purpose was even more frightening, showing a puzzling historical disconnect in many of the very places that the Holocaust caused the deepest devastation.

“It may be correct that they didn’t know, but the insensitivity and the ignorance of the imagery their actions evoked is stunning; it’s just sickening,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, in New York.

The T.S. Eliot Menace is the important thing, not the future of Europe.

George Orwell famously stated: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

But those who control the present may not actually get a future they will like if they are so focused upon symbolically smiting their enemies of the past that they blind themselves to learning from the present.

 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


PastClassics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?