Two firm critics of political Islam described the threat totalitarian Islam poses to Western civilization and why its ideology, not its followers, are to blame.
The Objectivism Club of UC Irvine held a lecture entitled “Islamic Totalitarianism’s Threat to Civilization” in HIB 100 to a modest crowd of graduate students and community members at 7 p.m. last Monday, Oct. 13.
The event featured two panel celebrities: Dr. Yaron Brook, 57, president of the Ayn Rand Institute located in Irvine and annual contributor to Objectivism events, and Dr. Wafa Sultan, a psychiatrist and critic of Islam who immigrated to the United States from Syria in 1989. The panel forum was led by Eric Brunner, the president of UCI’s Objectivism Club, who prepared questions for the guests to answer for the first hour, followed by questions from the audience.
Objectivism is the philosophy of writer Ayn Rand and follows a “practical selfishness” in foreign policy to protect America and American capitalism at all costs. In keeping with this theme, Dr. Brook and Dr. Sultan proposed solutions to Islamic “totalitarianism,” the combination of Islamic faith with state politics in many Middle Eastern countries, and its threat to America.
Dr. Brook’s opening statement addressed the importance of Islamic totalitarianism amidst the busy season of elections and financial crisis.
“America will come out of this crisis a weaker country – weaker financially, weaker economically, but most importantly … weaker in spirit, weaker in self-esteem,” Dr. Brook said. “And there is nothing the enemy out there wants more than a weak America … an inability to respond to this enemy when it strikes again, which it inevitably will.”
Dr. Brook criticized the Bush administration’s response to Sept. 11 for refusing to acknowledge the identity of America’s enemy.
“The most important mistake that everyone in the political realm made is that they refused to name their enemies. The enemy is not terrorism. The enemy is totalitarian Islam. If you don’t name your enemy, you can’t fight it. I think the whole charade of the last seven years is a consequence of the fear that prevented us from naming them,” Dr. Brook said.
Dr. Sultan’s opening statement urged the audience to be aware of Islamic influence in their daily lives.
“As long as there are Muslims within our societies who will promote Islamic sharia, [Islamic religious law] and work tirelessly to apply it, we have to be educated and vigilant,” Dr. Sultan said. “My goal is to unearth the two faces of Islam as a hateful and intolerant ideology.”
Dr. Sultan placed the blame for terrorism not on the terrorists but on the religion that was imprinted into their minds from birth.
“The fact is, those terrorists are victims of a hateful ideology,” Dr. Sultan said. “At a very early age, they were brainwashed to believe that Islam is bound to control the entire world, and [these terrorists’] mission on Earth is to achieve this goal.”
Dr. Sultan emphasized the importance of Islam in the Middle East as not only a religion, but also a political ideology “that controls every aspect of life.”
Dr. Sultan ended her introductory statement by charging citizens of the United States and the free world to fight for their liberal values and democracy, “which can be lost, as it is happening right now.”
Brunner’s first question asked Dr. Brook and Dr. Sultan to define totalitarian Islam, who promptly replied.
“[Totalitarian Islam] is a movement dedicated to totalitarianism: in that sense, it is not different than other totalitarian movements, like Communism or Fascism … totalitarianism means they want to control every aspect of your life,” Dr. Brook said.
Its goal, Dr. Brook explained is to apply this control of Islamic law (sharia) in world dominance.
“The goal of this sharia, no matter if it’s Shiite or Sunni totalitarians, they all share this notion of the reestablishment of caliphates and ultimately the establishment of a caliphate over the entire world,” Dr. Brook said.
Dr. Brook said that totalitarian Islamists do not limit themselves to terrorism. Iran is building nuclear weapons to further this goal and the Muslim Brotherhood uses democracy, specifically in Egypt, to achieve domination.
Both Dr. Brook and Dr. Sultan agree that the biggest threat to totalitarian Islam are people such as Dr. Sultan: Muslims inside the Islamic world who speak out against totalitarian Islam.
“The honest Muslims inside their communities are the ones who suffer the most,” Dr. Brook said.
Dr. Sultan added that she receives death threats daily and came to the event accompanied by her bodyguard.
Dr. Brook and Dr. Sultan agreed that the West bore responsibility for encouraging Islam to grow and for describing Islam as a peaceful religion. “I don’t think any religion is peaceful,” Dr. Brook said.
According to Dr. Brook what sets Islam apart is that, compared to other religions, Islam is not moderated by reason and its countries have not separated church and state. Dr. Brook cited Christianity’s rule during the Middle Ages and the terrible consequences of merging religion and politics.
“Human history has proven that separation of religion and politics is essential to peace,” Dr. Sultan said.
Most questions asked by the audience were neutral or aligned with Dr. Brook and Dr. Sultan’s views, asking which presidential candidate the doctors preferred and why more Muslims from inside these totalitarian countries did not speak up. One challenging question asked why Dr. Brook criticized Bush for doing nothing after Sept. 11 but “asking America to go shopping,” which he countered by saying that we cannot defeat terrorism by pretending that nothing happened.
“The way to defeat terrorism is to get angry,” Dr. Brook said.
Dr. Brook has been featured on Fox News, CNN and CSPAN. Dr. Sultan has been featured on CNN and Fox News and is currently writing a book entitled, “The God That Hates.” She has described the conflict between Islam and the West as “a battle between modernity and barbarism that Islam will lose.”
“This is the type of event we like to put on,” Brunner said. “I see this as a new starting point for the rest of the campus to look. There’s opposition to the Muslim Student Union and we’re showing people that these people are intellectual midgets. Its an intellectual battle, it has to be fought intellectually. If you do that, they will crumble.”
Filed Under: News