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The fate of Palmyra

Yesterday evening I attended a dinner, hosted by a bank, at the outstanding Enlightenment Gallery of the British Museum. The collection of artifacts in that place is astonishing and I could have spent many happy hours there. Later, talking to one of the folk attending the dinner, we got on to the subject of how the BM has, notoriously, become a home to items of classical antiquity, and how, by a savage twist of fate, the museum’s experts are assisting people in countries such as Iraq and Syria to restore and recover the treasures being destroyed, defaced, or stolen by ISIS and other Islamo-nihilists. The conversation reminds me of this article by Daniel Johnson. Here is an extract:

The full significance of the demolition of Palmyra thus only emerges when we consider what it implies about the perpetrators’ attitude to Western civilisation. Ruins that had stood for nearly 1,800 years mean less than nothing to the genocidal ghouls of the new Caliphate, whose aim is to throw history into reverse and annihilate even the memory of all non-Islamic cultures. By harnessing the resources of Western culture — not only military technology but above all using the internet as a propaganda tool — the marauders of Isis have forced themselves into the forefront of our consciousness. Islamism is the face of nihilism in our time. The paralysis of the Western democracies when confronted with such radical evil is not unprecedented — we did not stop the Holocaust or the Cultural Revolution either — but what is new seems to be the brazen self-aggrandisement of the perpetrators. The great crimes of the 20th century were largely hidden from the world while they took place. This time, Isis has forced us to watch the agony of a civilisation. Whose civilisation is it? Ours — for the ruins of Palmyra belong to our cultural heritage no less than their architectural progeny, the English country house or the Capitol. The casual murder of Khaled al-Asaad in front of the antiquities that had been his life’s work recalls the death of Archimedes, who according to Plutarch was slain in Syracuse by a Roman soldier because he would not look up from his geometrical diagrams in the dust. Yet the Roman general, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, was apparently furious, having given orders that Archimedes was not to be harmed.

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31 comments to The fate of Palmyra

  • Watchman

    It’s vandalism, but bluntly that is what history produces quite regularly. Britain has had its own vandalisms – where are our Rood Screens and wall paintings in the (vaste majority of) medieval churches (indeed, where are many of the medieval churches)? Without it we wouldn’t be able to move for preserved history and I’d hate to be trying to get wifi to write this due to the difficulties of having an iron-age roundhouse surrounding me.

    There is always a tension between preservation and destruction of heritage, and it is never easy to negotiate. IS clearly has its own views, which are hardly unique, about the purity of objects and places – so they find this a lot easier to negotiate. So what we are angry at here is generally actually simply their different approach to a different question. It is to us (to put aside any cultural relativism) a clear barbarianism to deliberately destroy culturally important sites – and I would happily argue we are right and IS are a bunch of egotistical overgrown teenagers living out their fantasies on this – but the reasons for despising their destruction should only ever be that their judgements are wrong and simple, not that what they destroy is important to us. Palmyra was always, like southern Scotland, an area on the edge of the Roman Empire and never part of the mainstream – it was indeed often held by the Persians/Sassanids (equally insecurely) so it is not part of the western cultural heritage. It has its own value (and we can now at least see more of it by digging underneath it – one problem with heritage is it destroys archaeology, and one problem with trained historians is that they learn to see opportunities in destruction…) but this is the heritage of the Levant and the deserts, of the margins of the fertile crescent, not of the Roman empire and certainly not of a culture developed in the post-Roman societies of western Europe. It is no more our heritage than the Roman forts and post-Roman churches at Bradwell or Bewcastle are part of the Syrian heritage.

    So hate ISIS for being petty vandals with the worldview of a grumpy 14 year old and the ability to act on this. But please don’t try to make us think that the heritage of Palmyra is invaluable testimony to our own history. We don’t need justifications such as this to hate those who are engaged in evil.

  • Thailover

    ‘Reminds me of the destruction by the Taliban of the giant cliff carvings of Buddha, the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan. After the Taliban announced that they are to be blown up, I remember that France offered to BUY them, have them dismantled and transported to France, as cultural preservation.

    The Taliban, being the fanatics that they are, didn’t take the money, but rather blew up the statues anyway. Later of course, the Muslim fanatic propagandists LIED about it, (as their religion sanctions lying to infidels), saying that they were “offended” (there’s the magic word isnt it folks?) that people were willing to spend money on restoration while people in Afghanistan were hungry. Anyone with even a 5yr old’s ability to reason would immediately figure out that THEY had no concern about the starving when they decided to destroy the statues (that were worth nothing to them) rather than receive loads of money for them from the French, money they could have used to buy either food for themselves, or arms against the west. (Not to mention their proclivity for throwing concentrated sulfuric acid in the face of 9yr old girls going to school). Their desire to destroy everything non-Islamic is also reflected in their continued destruction of Buddhist artifacts in Pakistan. AND the recent backpack bomb attack on a Buddhist shrine in downtown Bangkok.

  • Thailover

    Watchman, indeed. The backpack bomb attack on the Buddhist strine in downtown Bangkok goes to show that Islam is not merely offended at offenders/attackers, as the appologists like to suggest, but rather they’re at war with everything on the planet non-Islam. If someone is “offended” that Thailand has Buddhist shrines, then one is at war with existence itself.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Watchman
    September 24, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    But please don’t try to make us think that the heritage of Palmyra is invaluable testimony to our own history.

    Nonetheless, the destruction of Palmyra shows what ISIS will do with any non-ISIS-approved history that falls into its hands.

  • Runcie Balspune

    I don’t think you can dismiss Palmyra as an “outpost” or the area as not being part of western heritage. The Roman Empire slowly moved eastwards and the western culture based on Christianity that Europe inherited had a distinct Middle Eastern flavour, most of Asia Minor and the Levant was held as sacred, so much so that many lives and tragic effort was expended by post-Roman European kingdoms trying to reclaim it.

    However, your conclusion is correct, as the main issue is not that the barbarians are doing this, but that western “progressives” are giving them a free excuse to continue, whereas any western country caught doing the same would be roundly criticised. The bizarre logic of religious extremists needs to be confronted, but that would mean questioning the doctrine itself, something that ultimately questions the many untouchable and easily offended adherents living in the same western countries. This is only a symptom of a wider malaise, that of silencing yourself out of a supposedly greater principal.

  • Watchman

    Thailover,

    Not sure the attack on the Buddhist shrine is the same thing – I think that was aimed at people, not at heritage. The shrine still exists after all…

    PfP,

    Indeed – but as we know what they do with people (who are far more important than buildings) who fall into their hands, we hardly need be surprised. Indeed, even if they preserved all the buildings they encountered, we should still hate them equally for their treatment of people.

    Runcie,

    I am not aware of any non-Syriac Christian links to Palmyra, which was not in the Holy Lands (the lands west of the Jordan with the Mediterranean coast basically), and was not even in the Roman Empire during the early years of Christ’s life, and is not certainly mentioned in the Bible. And the efforts expended in the crusades are basically akin to those of ISIS to be honest – including the early success in expanding over a large region and the religious intolerance…

    But you are correct that doctrine needs to be challenged generally – whatever it is that sends people off on jihad or crusade, or to try and stop others marrying the one they love or have an abortion, is clearly a collectivist urge to conform rather than something that promotes individual views.

  • Chip

    “he efforts expended in the crusades are basically akin to those of ISIS to be honest – including the early success in expanding over a large region ”

    The crusades never regained all the territory lost to Islamic invaders, who triggered the crusades to begin with.

    The Middle East from Syria to Egypt were Christian centuries before Muhammad came up with Islam.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Watchman:

    It’s vandalism, but bluntly that is what history produces quite regularly.

    I don’t like the “but”. So it has happened before; the point here is that there is a revelry in it, a level of madness, that seems to overcome many other forms of such destruction. Yes I am very familiar with the vandalism done in the name of “reform” in the early modern period of European history. And of course older structures have been amended and knocked down to make way for more modern stuff, and often with decidedly mixed results and reactions. A mark of a civilisation is to protect some of what went before to aid learning and memory of the past.

    Without it we wouldn’t be able to move for preserved history and I’d hate to be trying to get wifi to write this due to the difficulties of having an iron-age roundhouse surrounding me.

    A silly point if you don’t mind my saying so.

    I actually think it does matter that the ISIS destroy what we consider to be important to us and to the record of human civilisation. These cunts know that these things are important, that they are a value, which is why they want to destroy, because these nihilistic ghouls don’t believe in anything at all on this Earth.

    Palmyra was always, like southern Scotland, an area on the edge of the Roman Empire and never part of the mainstream.

    Just because it wasn’t in Italy doesn’t make this a minor site of interest about the classical world. It is a remarkable place full of detail. One might say the same about Roman/other remains in north Africa, the Levant, or even the borders of what is now Germany.

    For what it is worth, though, much of the greatness of classical architecture, and the civilisation that gave rise to it, lives on in the buildings that were erected during the Renaissance and down the subsequent centuries. And I hope plenty more such architecture gets built in future, including in the Middle East, if only to taunt these fuckers.

  • Greytop

    As the Caliphate is hell-bent (pun intended) on destroying as much of civilisation as they can perhaps we in the UK should start photographing, measuring and recording as many of our important historical and landmark sites as possible. When our muslim friends take over as some say they fully intend, there may be a few among them who think Stonehenge, Big Ben, Edinburgh Castle, etc are all worthy of dynamite to prove how loving their god is. Of course, these memories will have to be stored somewhere and preferably safely in any outpost of the west remaining, but while much can never be rebuilt as it was at least we can remember it after the Caliphate descends (as it will) into a merciless civil war between barbarian hordes.

  • A Swiss

    Well Greytop I might be a bit late for that.

    According to the former head of the Austrian “MI5” they completely lost control.

    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/09/24/former-security-chief-security-services-lost-track-terrorists-europe/

    Thanks Ferkel.

  • ajf

    What would it take for Europe to say: “That’s it, no more immigration from Muslim lands. None.”?
    Serious question. I can see public opinion moving in that direction but what would be the trigger?

  • HarryPowell

    But please don’t try to make us think that the heritage of Palmyra is invaluable testimony to our own history

    But it was, The Society of the Dilettanti published a survey of the Ruins of Palmyra that was very influential on British neoclassicism.

  • JohnK

    ajf:

    I think St Paul’s would become a mosque before that happens.

  • Tomsmith

    What would it take for Europe to say: “That’s it, no more immigration from Muslim lands. None.”?
    Serious question. I can see public opinion moving in that direction but what would be the trigger?

    It is impossible for politicians to think of this. The idea of Islamic culture actually destroying the West that offers it sanctuary boggles their minds. Either that or they wish for the destruction of the West, but I prefer to think the second possibility is not true.

  • Watchman

    Why would we want to stop immigration from muslim countries – unless we are stupid enough to believe that just because you come from a particular country or background you have to act in a certain way. And if you do believe that, then what is the difference between the underpinning to your beliefs and those of ISIS, who also believe everyone from a muslim country should act in a certain way (and indeed, may be in agreement with you about what that way is).

    Far better to just target the idiots who threaten others, and otherwise just notice that islam is a religion and not an identity, and treat everyone as individuals. But then that doesn’t fit certain types of conservative thought does it…

  • Watchman

    Johnathon,

    A mark of civilisation is its treatment of people. Its treatment of building and heritages is a characteristic of civilisation. I am not particularly happy about any destruction of historical sites (I am a historian by training) but the risk is prioritising buildings over people, and therefore protecting the rents implicit in these sites.

    And I also think ISIS destroy what they perceive to be important to others (they have destroyed mosques as well that they do not like) due to nihilism – hence my comments about teenage behaviours.

    And Palmyra can tell us a lot about a Greek/Syriac/Arabic/Latin speaking part of the Roman empire. But the Roman empire was not homogenous (it co-opted and enriched local elites, but did not incorporate them into its ruling classes in the main – hence the locus of power becoming the army, because the political root was pretty well closed), and although there was mobility of people (and indeed we know of a Palmyrian buried in South Shields) this is not to say that this meant what happened in a city (a centre of elite activity and display) in the east had any relevance to the very different situation in Britain or elsewhere. Rome was a predatory empire, drawing resources to the centre and the army – it did not produce a unified culture, as we are not even sure whether the peasants in Britain actually spoke Latin. Although we might claim Palymyra (or Athens, or the Pyramids) as our culture, frankly this is ridiculous – they belong to the culture of the eastern Mediterranean, which interated with those cultures that interacted with ours. If you want to disagree, then there is an easy counterquestion – are the EU bureaucrats correct to argue there is a single European culture reinforced by mobility and overarching structures?

  • Thailover

    Watchman, The bomb wasn’t an attack on the shrine, it was an attack on worshipers/i.e. the worship of a foreign deity. In this case, Brahma, the promordial god of creation.

    (Ignorant media report that the Brahma statue was a “Hindu shrine”. Wrong. Many people are ignorant of the fact that Buddhism is a heretical offshoot of Hinduism, as Christianity is a heretical offshoot of Judaism. In the west, many Buddha enthusiasts have turned to Buddhism because they have become disgruntled with western theism, and so enthusiastically propagate the Zen nonsense that the Buddhist religion is a philosophy, devoid of gods. That’s not true and has never been true. Zen, an abomination of Buddhism, is a pseudo-philosophy, (really, an anti-philosophy), whereas Buddhism proper is a religion(s). Reincarnation is central to Buddhism, and one can possibly (in theory) reincarnate not only into lower beings, but gods as well. The Buddhist “samsara wheel of life” has not only humans, animals and insects, but also devils, gods and many different hells (some hot, some cold) and many different paradises, abodes of the deities. The details differ, depending on the type of Buddhism one is talking about. For the Thais, we’re talking about Theravada, version 1.0 of Buddhism if you will. To see an explanation of a heretical offshoot from this heretical offshoot, (Mahayana from Theravada, see the Lotus Dharma.)

    Sorry for the long tangent,
    Cheers,
    Thailover

  • Thailover

    Watchman said,
    “just notice that islam is a religion and not an identity”

    That makes sense to me, but not to Muslims. Mulsim literally means slave to Allah. It is a theocratic religion, a fascistic culture and a cultural identity. There is no “I” in “servant/slave of Allah”.

  • Thailover

    Tomsmith,
    It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see some European country ban the koran. Where there is no koran, there will be no Muslims, at least not in the open.

  • ajf

    I think that your arguments are deluded, Watchman. Fallacy of composition: one Muslim in Europe is fine, twenty million not so much. This is just so utterly obvious to the general public. How much longer will the elite continue to bury their heads? I don’t want conflict, but it feels to me that Europe is heading that way.

  • Watchman

    Thailover,

    I think that you are making the mistake of following one interpretation of what that means – that of the extremists. I know plenty of Muslims (joy of a multicultural city – and in most cases they are a joy to know) who do not regard themselves as having to follow the dictates of anyone else to be Muslim. Like any religion there are those that say that you should dedicate yourself to the Lord God who is the alpha and omega, and against whose judgement no material thing or even emotional bond will stand (sorry, just realised I’m slightly deliberately making that sound Christian…), and those who pay lip service; there are those who claim their very pronouncements have the authority of sacred scripture and learning behind them to make them the word of God (damn, it’s the Christians again – why does that keep happening?) and those that think they are perfectly happy living the way they are thanks, which seems to them to meet their religious requirements; there are those who are so mad keen on their religious book that they pick on one verse and follow it literally whilst totally ignoring others, so opposing gay marriage whilst not actually selling their daughters in slavery (OK – this is just silly now – you’d think I picked these examples), and others who just go along with the general gist of the book as they see it without bothering to actually open it up and check it for guidance.

    As you might spot, I am not actually that keen on religion, but do acknowledge that assumptions about someone because of their religion is ridiculous… Islam is a ridiculously divided religion (the joy of not having an episcopate) – there are sects that do not even follow the five pillars (Shi’a and Sunni are only two of many sects). It is hard to be theocratic unless you have actually have a structure for a theocracy (that’s where Iran with its ayatollahs did well) – ISIS has to give religious authority to its own leaders because it has no structures to hijack, and then kill those who disagree. And therein lies the key to me – if you were right that Muslims see themselves as a single identity, how could it have separate sects, how could ISIS have other Muslims to kill.

    Oh, and stop that ridiculous farce of calling God Allah. If you are typing in English the word is God. If you are typing in Arabic the word is (transcribed as) Allah. The wonderful line ‘There is no God but Allah’ is misquoted so much both by extremists and by those who seem to want to see Muslims as a threat that it seems to be forgotten that the same symbol (allowing for the negation in the first usage) is used for both God and Allah, because as any Jew, Christian or other monotheist will tell you, there is no God but God. The name of God (which Muslims are not allowed to say, so which is clearly not Allah) is the same in all three (and however many off-shoots) Abrahamic religions – jvh or some variant (insert your own vowels apparently). As one of the wisest teachers (of children) I ever met once told me, the idea of there is no God but Allah is an attempt by some Muslims to make themselves different, and has to be resisted. He was an RE teacher who was in his spare time an imam incidentally…

    So in effect you are echoing the extremist Muslims, who do want all Muslims to believe there is no choice but to be slaves to Allah in the way the extremists specify, rather that they should spend their life in the service of God in the way they interpret it. Fortunatley in my experience many Muslims are smarter than that – not all, and that is a problem I agree, but solving the problem of a few by penalising the many does not seem to fit in with this site’s general ethos of freedom.

  • Watchman

    ajf,

    Where would we get 20 million Muslims from? That’s most of the population of any muslim country, and no population movement in history has ever unleashed that large a movement. Current movement (mostly economic) is actually in the thousands.

    But if we did, the 742 million Europeans might be a bit upset that 1 in 38 of them was now a Muslim I suppose. Although you are making the mistake of assuming that Muslim as an identity trumps all the others available.

  • Runcie Balspune

    I am not aware of any non-Syriac Christian links to Palmyra, which was not in the Holy Lands (the lands west of the Jordan with the Mediterranean coast basically), and was not even in the Roman Empire during the early years of Christ’s life, and is not certainly mentioned in the Bible.

    Palmyra was certainly part of the Roman Empire, and whilst it was exchanged between the Middle Eastern powers and got downgraded it did become a vital military outpost. Your reference to Christ’s lifetime is not the same thing as the Christian heritage of western countries, when Christ lived he was another Jewish apocalyptic preacher, far different from the “son of God” that the Byzantine Empire had adopted three centuries later, it is Christianity from that (Eastern) period that formed one of the seeds of western culture and Asia Minor was it’s heart.

  • Laird

    Watchman, nice try but, it doesn’t fly. Sure, there are undoubtedly secular or eclectic Muslims who don’t follow the dictates of radical Imams and are very nice people. But in quantity Muslims are dangerous in the extreme. Take a look at any Muslim-majority nation. Not one has any respect for basic human rights or, for that matter, a functioning modern economy. Surveys in such countries repeatedly show that substantial majorities support the killing of apostates and non-Muslims, and the stonings, beheadings, etc. that all civilized persons decry. Islam “works” (in the sense of allowing its followers to prosper materially and to coexist peacefully with others not of their faith) only when it comprises a small minority of the population. Individually they may be (and generally are) inert; in concentration they achieve critical mass and destroy everything around them.

    Islam isn’t a religion; it’s a pervasive socio-political philosophy in which some elements of religion are embedded. And it is toxic.

  • ajf

    Laird: exactly. Fallacy of composition. No one wants to imagine their nice Muslim co-worker or neighbour as an extremist but the best way to ensure that never happens is to massively restrict further Muslim immigration (I would say restrict to zero, but others might consider that a little harsh).

  • Paul Marks

    Good post J.P.

  • Thailover

    Watchman,
    Of course different factions of Islam exist. Suni and Shia existed before the koran. ‘Just as different factions of virutally all religions exist, as I’ve already pointed out with Buddhism (coensidentally enough).

    There are over 33,000 different sects and denominations of christianity, with practically all of them thinking that all the others are wrong and possibly heading to hell. (Those that believe in hell, yes there are some “modern” christians who don’t believe in hell). And Christianity was DANGEROUS ALSO until secular governments neutered that god. Which is why Thomas Jefferson wanted the accomplishment of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom (which included freedom from religion) inscribed on his tome stone, rather than his US Presidency.

    And writing Allah instead of ‘god’ tell us from which perspective that title is being applied. Don’t try to snow me with the idea that for a non-mulsim to write Allah is to be “Islamophobic”. That kite don’t fly. The word “god” in and of itself, does not necessarily denote a one and only master deity, “Allah” does. What IS parochial though, is to assume that the word “god” necessarily referres to the ‘god’ of Abraham. So if there’s any corrections to be made on the matter, I suggest it’s in your usage, not mine. The world has thousands of “gods”, most of them reside in polytheistic belief systems and most are not super-bullies of the universe.

    And now I’m going to channel the spirit of Sam Harris through my body for a bit.

    The Jains have a beleif of complete non-violence. They sweep ants out of their path for fear of accidentally stepping on one. They filter their drinking water, for fear of swallowing a microscopic organism. The more “fundementalist” and “extremist” a Jain becomes, the less you have to worry about him.

    “Fundementalism” isn’t the problem. What the problem is, are the fundementals of Islam.
    The Koran explicitly calls for violence and standards that modernity cannot allow among the civilized, and the vast majority of the Muslims in the world are serious about their faith. Most of the Jews in the world have dealt with this type of thing in their horrific Jewish bible by choosing to ignore it. Christians have Jesus telling them to “resist not evil”, and if someone beats their faces, to offer them other other side to beat on too. Of course, most Christians ignore this, (as they should), but the more “fundementalist” a New Testament reader gets, the more he’s inclined to be a punching bag for others.

    Phil 2:3″Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

    Is it possible for there to be Christians who don’t choose to ignore the horrific dictates of the “Old Testament”? Of course. Westboro Baptists come to mind. But who do you think would be more inclined to burn an out-of-the-closet witch today, a Muslim or a Christian or Jew? The answer’s obvious.

    If you went to the center square of your town, and publically burned a koran, and it gained media attention, your life would be in danger, and no doubt you’re rolling your eyes right now and thinking of a small minority of a few existent “extremists” in the world taking their koran out of context and this is a silly point, but that’s not where I’m going with this. Where I’m going is that I have NO DOUBT that if one conducted a poll of the opinions of Muslims in Muslim nations, the ones that would say that you deserved to be publicly stoned to death would be well into the double digits in EVERY Muslim nation. This constitutes MILLIONS, if not tens of millions, not a few insane boneheads who are functionally illiterate. This isn’t merely theory. This has real world consequence in our world today.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7TAAw3oQvg

  • John Mann

    So hate ISIS for being petty vandals with the worldview of a grumpy 14 year old and the ability to act on this

    Indeed, Watchman. I suspect that the real motivating factor for most of those involved in ISIS is not so much Islamic theology (or ideology) – as the fact that they are a bunch of adolescent losers who get a sense of satisfaction from killing people and destroying things, particularly if it attracts the attention of the world and makes people take them seriously. The vandalism in Palmyra is not so very different from the vandalism perpetrated by western youths, except that ISIS have access to bombs and bullets.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Watchman:

    Where would we get 20 million Muslims from? That’s most of the population of any muslim country, and no population movement in history has ever unleashed that large a movement. Current movement (mostly economic) is actually in the thousands.

    Sorry, but these statements make it impossible for me to take you seriously.
    Not sure there are reliable estimates, but the Muslim population is probably around 20M in Western Europe already.
    Based on the wikipedia article from which you presumably took the figure of 742M Europeans, the Muslim population of Europe is about 6%, way above 1 in 38. That figure includes Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, and European Russia; but so does your figure of 742M Europeans.
    As for your estimate of the “current movement”, funny how those “thousands” are estimated to add up to a million in Germany alone, in 2015 alone!

  • Eric

    IS clearly has its own views, which are hardly unique, about the purity of objects and places – so they find this a lot easier to negotiate. So what we are angry at here is generally actually simply their different approach to a different question.

    I think the comparison to places like England and Greece are a bit stretched. A buddy of mine from Greece says if you want to dig a basement you have to do it secretly because if you dig up any pottery shards officially you get stuck in the antiquities bureaucracy. But you’re not digging up these shards because they offend you – you just want a basement.

    That’s not the IS motivation. They’re not destroying ancient temples because they need space to build housing or they want to put a highway there. The goal of the effort is destruction.

  • Edward

    I was going to write a long piece here, but Watchman has already said most of what I was going to say.

    I’ll only add this; do not fall into the trap Al-Qaeda and now Daesh would lead us into. They are a tiny minority, a perversion of Islam. Most Muslims are their enemies as has been proven; most victims of Daesh are Muslims.

    Why would be so stupid as to say Salafism is true Islam, identify all Muslims with them and drive a billion people into their ranks who otherwise would stand with us?

    Palmyra stood for a thousand years under Muslim control. Christian and Jewish communities lived in lands controlled by Muslims for just as long. Their elimination is a new thing; we need to support traditional Islam with at least as much money and other help as the house of Saud has given the Salafis.

    Islamic Jesuits, if you will, to beat back the Islamic Calvinists that the Salafi are.