Manchester, Muhammad and Trumping Ali

Muhammad Ali and Donald Trump
Muhammad Ali and Donald Trump

Britain stumbles into another election, this one in the wake of yet-another terrorist attack on the Vigil of Pentecost, with three Islamic jihadis mowing down pedestrians strolling down iconic London Bridge, before stabbing and slicing dozens in the name of Allah, killing 7 and seriously injuring 48.  It seems three determined men who think they are gaining a pleasure-filled paradise of women and wine can do a lot of damage with a few knives in the eight short minutes it took police to respond.  Not a long time, but an eternity to the victims. As I always say, God rest the souls of the dead, and healing to the wounded.

Theresa May and the rest of the political class blow forth the usual platitudes about ‘uniting’ into a true ‘United Kingdom’, not realizing that culture, at the base of which is religion, always trumps some vague notion of citizenship or being ‘British’, whatever that means nowadays. Pub crawls and boozily cheering on millionaire diva-ish soccer, I mean, football players, almost none of whom hail from the British Isles?  If the ever-less ‘United’ Kingdom keeps importing people of a fundamentally different, and very cohesive, culture, the inevitable will happen.  Such individuals will band together in communities, maintaining their own traditions and cultures, motivated by their own religious beliefs, and you will have Mecca in the midst of Manchester.

This happens in all cultures, which is why there are in so many cities ‘Chinatown’, Polish villages, and, less so nowadays with the lack of children, Italian, Czech, Slovak enclaves.

Such unification is especially evident in Islam, particularly of the ‘radical’ variety. In fact, many have asked the question:  Is there any other kind?  Is non-radical, peace-loving Islam really Islam?  The day after the attack I came across this brief ‘news’ about how boxing champ Muhammad Ali, who adopted that name from his original Cassius Clay when he converted to Sunni Islam in 1964, had ‘floored’ Donald Trump when, a few months before his death in June of 2016, he replied to the President’s (attempted) travel ban from countries fomenting extremist Islam:

“I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.

We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.

I think Cassius-Muhammad needs a bit of a history lesson in his own religion, a moot point now that he has gone to his eternal reward, and now knows the truth, at least in some way.  True, not everyone was ‘forced’ to join Islam in its formative years, but many, many, mostly, mostly were.  Even those who were not ‘forced’ at the point of the sword with death or submission (if even given that generous choice), were not-so-gently coerced by means of excessive taxation, slavery, the whole notion dhimmitude, whose purpose was to keep the infidel in line, and lead him to ‘submit’, as the very name of Islam implies, to the ‘one true religion and revelation’, that is, the message of the Prophet.

Of course, Ali and so many others are in one sense ‘free’ to make their own religion, modify Islam, attempt to purify it of its more radical and violent elements, and I wish them all the best in that endeavour, but not only is this not faithful to Islam’s own historical origins, it may in fact be practically impossible.  Things, religion included, always tend to revert to ‘type’, to their foundations, their original principles, which is why ISIS and its legion of jihadis claim to be the true Muslims, whose mission is to strip modern Islam it of its impurities, its softness and compromises with the ‘infidel’, the ‘Crusaders’, all the evil of the ‘West’, to bring it back to what Muhammad would have wanted, and, in their minds, Allah still does.

Evil as it is, there is a great simplicity, power and motivation in this stark message.  Live and die not in L.A.,  not even for oneself or others, but for Allah and his message, and paradise is yours. What we are facing is a metaphysical crisis, a deep and profound religious war, one which was predicted by many saints, and more recently by Chesterton and Belloc, between the religion of Christ and that of Muhammad. Did God become Man and take on flesh, our very human nature, and redeem us to be ‘like Himself’, or did He not?  Can we therefore become ‘like’ God, and attain the eternal beatitude with Him?  That, really, is the question.

For to those who claim to follow the ‘true’ religion of the original Muhammad, we who accept the truth of the Incarnation, and all that follows thereupon, will always, always be the ‘infidel’.

That is, until we submit.