Understanding the Islamic Mindset

Many religious and political discussion forums are taking place across America and around the world in an attempt to foster understanding and tolerance between Christians, Jews and Muslims.  I, too, am a proponent of the concept of understanding.  To be able to co-exist with Muslims, Christians and Jews and the West in general must possess more than a surface or media-generated understanding of the Islamic mindset.  What I have observed coming from these forums thus far clearly indicates that we are failing to grasp even the basics principals necessary to understand Islamic thought and reasoning.

Western and Islamic thinking are quite opposite and we in the West must shed our cloak of ignorance and wake up to this fact.  For instance, the concept of nationalism really does not exist in the Muslim world.  A Muslim’s only allegiance is to Allah.  For example with this being said, a Muslim in Jordan would feel a closer bond to a Muslim in Afghanistan that to a fellow Jordanian who is not Muslim.  To a Muslim sharing the same country is not as strong a bond as sharing the same faith.

Word definitions are another important key to understanding the Muslim mindset.  When a Muslim speaks the word ‘peace’ it does not carry the same definition as when the same word is uttered by a Westerner.  Rarely, if ever, will we hear a Muslim speak the word ‘peace’ without also uttering the word ‘justice’ almost in the same breath.  Why?  Because the concept of peace as defined by the West does not exist for a Muslim.  The closest we can come to an understanding of the Muslim definition of peace is the “absence of conflict” or “reconciliation” and neither of these encompasses the fullness of the Western definition of peace.  The word ‘justice’ as defined by Islam can only come when all submit to the rule of Islam.  So, when a Muslim speaks of ‘peace with justice,’ he or she is speaking of the ‘absence of conflict when all submit to the rule of Allah.’ Clearly this is not what the Western world is seeking to achieve through peace conferences and treaties yet this is exactly what Muslims are seeking.  Muslims make open declarations of this by carefully choosing their words because they know that we in the West are naïve and ignorant and lack understanding of what they are openly declaring.  We have failed to study the Islamic mindset and this is to our detriment.

When a Muslim speaks about peacefully co-existing with Jews and Christians, they are not speaking of an equal co-existence which is what our Western minds conjure up.  The Muslim is actually speaking of allowing Jews and Christians to exist in Muslim societies but in a lesser status called a dhimi whereby Jews and Christians are subservient to Muslims and submitted to the rule of Allah.  Furthermore, in Muslim controlled countries, Christians and Jews must pay a special tax.  Only when these conditions are met will Muslims allow Jews and Christians to exist in an Islamic society.  Clearly this is not what the West is seeking as we pursue the current, or any other, Road Map to Peace.

The basic tenants of Islam are fairly easy to understand but a thorough and careful study is required.  Misleading statements and outright trickery are perfectly acceptable instruments in the hands of Muslims.  In fact, Islam instructs its followers that is it perfectly acceptable to enter into treaties and negotiations with the infidel (that’s you and me and anyone else who does not worship Allah), if the end result will further the Islamic cause or agenda – world domination.  In other words, the end does justify the means and this is opposite what we in the West view as acceptable or honorable behavior.  In fact, we often say ‘the end does NOT justify the means.’ Again we see opposites.  So, for a Muslim to agree to refrain from violence for some length of time, in other words if they agree to an absence of conflict with Israel or other non-Muslim country, the Muslim is not betraying his or her faith because to have time where there is an absence of conflict creates time for Muslims to regroup, plan and re-arm.

For the past 300 years, Islam has been in a state of revival gaining followers in countries around the world.  It’s conceivable that Muslims currently number close to a billion.  It is estimated that Europe will soon have a majority Muslim population in only a few decades.  Already there is talk of incorporating Sharia Law, the strictest form of Islamic law, into the laws governing England.  It’s time, maybe long past time, for those who love God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to wake up before we are all prisoners of Islam.