(In Part 4 we looked at the “Islam Delusion”. In this instalment, we will consider an outline — a vision for a Neo-Caliphate order in “Arabia”.)
There are many problems with Islam, not just from a “Western” perspective. The biggest problem is aggression and violence. Aggression and violence are problems that all civilisations must confront. This post will try to outline one strategy for dealing with aggression within an Islamic context. I want to be brief here, so this will come across as, perhaps, comically simple. Let’s get to it.
In the last part, I outlined what a possible peace treaty would look like between Islam and the West. I believe it gives both civilisations what they want. For the West, it is security and freedom. For Islam, it is security and dignity. In this post, I will focus on Islam.
Muslims require not just an end to military incursions into Muslim majority countries, but cultural and political security. I.e. no more cultural interference or “soft power” games by the West. Russia, China and Islamic countries see Western countries as sources of, for want of a better term, “spiritual pollution.” They have a point, but even if they didn’t, a prudent international order should counsel non-interference in each other’s affairs.
The question of culture, “soft power” and “spiritual pollution” is intimately linked to the question of dignity or honour — male dignity, manly honour. Simply put: the West’s culture threatens the traditional, patriarchal, Islamic culture — the men. The West threatens the status and dignity of Muslim men. This is, I think, one reason why Muslim men fight with such tenacity; because, if they lose, they lose everything — and they will have to listen to the endless clucking of women.
Nevertheless, the problem of violence in Islam is quite serious. It threatens other Muslims perhaps more than non-Muslims. Even if Muslim countries are secure, how is an eruption of violence, or a “holy spiral” of “virtuous” violence against less “virtuous” Muslims to be prevented? Apart from Jihad, what else stands out in Muslim culture? What is really special, unique, modern, useful, or admirable in Islam? Apart from its tremendous militancy (which is fascinating in its own right), there is not a lot there there. However, there exists, I believe, great potential. What it requires is a re-direction and a change of focus: a new structure and a new system of incentives.
Muslims, let us assume, should become more peaceful and less warlike (but not necessarily liberal, or Western). They must gain, first the trust, then the respect of other peoples and civilisations — if we are to have anything like global stability. This is a conditional if-then claim. I am not making here moral claims — but prudential ones.
A tremendous opportunity exists for Islam and Muslims to accomplish this — to gain trust and respect of other peoples —but also to maintain their religion in the 21st century.
The Koran says: “…if any one killed a person, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind; and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole of mankind…” – The Holy Quran (Chapter Five, Verse 32). It is my understanding that this verse inspires many Muslims to become doctors and nurses. To mix religious metaphors, this is a rock upon which a new Islam can be built.
The idea is this: Muslims, under the Neo-Caliphate system, could strive to be the world leaders in medicine, medical science and medical technology. Muslims should seek to gain “comparative advantage”, I.e. be first, and be the best. Pump as much money (from oil) and other resources into developing a world-beating system of medicine and health care. This will allow Muslims to trade and also gain the trust, respect and admiration of the world — and money. If Muslims could direct their potent, personal and collective discipline into this, they could easily achieve it.
“New Arabia”, like Israel, could become the homeland of a significant number of Muslims. All (male) Muslims must make pilgrimage and visit the Kabba. So, this idea of extending a “right of return” to Arabia is a natural one following the practice of pilgrimage. Yes, I know about limits of space and the fact that there over a billion Muslims — but keep reading.
Muslims have proved that they can build fabulous world-beating structures like the Burj Khalifa. So, start building massive new cities in Arabia. Let towers of steel rise from the desert. This will create job opportunities for Muslim men. Build all the amenities of a modern city. Aim to build the safest, most efficient, cleanest, most technologically advanced cities on the planet. The cities should have at their centre, the medical research centres and hospitals that will be the engine of “New Arabia.”
In addition to this focus on technology and design, there will be, of course, considerable effort spent in creating an ever-more-perfect Islamic society.
What of the men who have a taste for Jihad in the old style? Here is my second main idea. The Caliph will need a “Praetorian Guard”. This should be the most-coveted-position-for-Muslim-men. In short, we make the position open only to those Muslim men who are, quite simply, the best men of Islam: the most virtuous, the noblest and the toughest. They will live like aristocratic warriors or warrior monks.
The house of Islam shall send its sons to be trained for this prized, coveted position. But the training, education and preparation will, quite simply, be the hardest in the world. Most will be rejected. Many will fail. Only the very best men can become the Guards of the Caliph. It will be a small elite. The excess can be soldiers, police, and security. They will, naturally, have tremendous prestige in their society. To use a phrase: every woman will want to sleep with them, and every red-blooded man would want to be them. The issue of females is not inconsequential, however. After the Caliph’s needs are met, every sexual whim for the guards will be catered for. These men will, quite simply, have the pick of the best females. Overall, however, the goal is, as the Roman aristocrats would understand, for the men to have dignitas (dignity.)
How will these men spend their days? The regular routine will consist of three main activities: training for fighting; sex; reading and praying. The training will comprise both modern and ancient warfare: camel riding, sword-fighting, archery, and hunting. The other two elements are self-explanatory. In addition, the guards will be called upon to perform ceremonial duties. And, of course, they will be required to show loyalty unto death for the Caliph.
In essence, the plan is this: a synthesis of piety (which includes an elite warrior ethos — Jihad) and technological prowess. It will cater for those Muslims who wish to pursue science and technology (medical science), and other Muslim men who want to live an aristocratic warrior lifestyle.