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Islamism, 1912 and 1922

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

[ by Charles Cameron — intriguing uses of the terms Islamism and brotherhood in US newspapers a century ago, also the Ahmadiyya ]


Here are the opening paragraphs of a fascinating article in the Ogden Standard Examiner, June 1922, titled Trying To Make Christian America Mohammedan. Marisa Urgo pointed to it in a tweet yesterday, with the comment “Reads like some blogs I know. I kid you not…” I noted it because it contained the word “Islamism” – surely an early use of that term? – and found much of interest when I read it more carefully this morning:

The Christian people of America are spending millions of dollars every year in the effort to spread the gospel of Christ all over the earth and convert the people of every nation under the sun to Christianity.

And while this tremendous outlay is being made to maintain thousands of devoted missionaries in foreign lands, one of the world’s other great religions is making a determined effort to gain a foothold in Christian America.

The leaders of Mohammedanism, not content with the 227,000,000 or more adherents that faith now has in Turkey, India and other countries, are turning their attention to the United States and Canada, with the hope of making both those nations strongholds of Islamism.

They aim to make their picturesque mosques and the towers from which the muezzins issue their calls to prayer as numerous as our churches, and when that day arrives they are confident it will not be long before the crescent will overshadow the cross and a great majority of Americans will be following the precepts laid down in the Koran.

To the millions of American Christians who have so long looked eagerly forward to the time when the cross shall be supreme in every land and the people of the whole world shall have become followers of Christ the plan to win this continent to the faith of the “Infidel Turk” will seem a thing unbelievable. But there is no doubt about its being actually well under way or that it is being pressed with all the fanatical zeal for which the Mohammedans are noted.


The article as a whole is about the Ahmadis, followers of a nineteenth century Mahdi claimant, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad — and we should note what Wikipedia calls “the Ahmadiyya concept of Jihad in a peaceful format”:

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes that God sent Ahmad, like Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace. They believe that he divested Islam of fanatical beliefs and practices by championing what is in their view, Islam’s true and essential teachings as practised by the Prophet Muhammad.

For this and various other reasons, the Ahmadis have been widely considered non-Muslim by orthodox Sunni and Shi’a, and notably persecuted, see for example Attackers Hit Mosques of Islamic Sect in Pakistan.

The article also includes a hypothetical question and answer between Jesus and a US customs official, when the former attempts to enter the US from India. While not as fine a work of literature as Dostoevsky‘s Grand Inquisitor, it has its Life of Bryan moments…


On early uses of the term Islamism – I haven’t consulted OED, which would probably be wise, but Marisa Urgo also pointed to a use of the same term in a 1912 New York Sun piece, Rallying to Defend Islam:

But Islamism is even more than a faith, it is brotherhood…

Recommended Reading

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Top Billing! Global Guerrillas “Dronenet Series” – DRONENET The next BIG thing. , An open drone network vs. closed logistics networksWhat a Dronet (a more compressed spelling?) can leverage and DRONENET How to build it 

About five years ago I did some work for a defense contractor on the potential applications of drones ($$).  One of the things I put together for them was a logistics system, using drones, for special ops teams.  It was the perfect application for keeping dozens of dispersed teams supplied in rough terrain.

Flash forward five years and I heard a presentation by Matternetat a conference called Poptech.  Matternet is a 2011 start-up that got some play at a “Solve for X” presentation at Google (solve for x is supposed to be a “think tank” for solving the worlds biggest problems).  Essentially, they were pitching the same thing the defense contractor I consulted with was interested in, except for humanitarian uses.  A logistics network that uses drones to overcome the problems of delivering supplies to small groups in harsh terrain (although the defense contractor’s drones and systems were FAR more sophisticated than the stuff Matternet is pitching 4 years later).

However, when I heard Matternet’s presentation it hit me that a closed network approach would miss the real opportunity. Here’s why….

Dr. Tdaxp – Progress, Science, and Exemplars — or — when it sucks to be young 

Some people divide the ways we know about our world into two types, Science and Inquiry. Science typically refers to using falsifiable hypotheses to make predictions about the world. Inquiry refers to any deviation or alteration of this method.


For the rest of this post I’m going to talk about fields in which the objective is tocontrol, predict, and improve the behavior of some object (cancer cell, human being, State, whatever). That is the purpose for which the tool of science is most applicable.

Some people further divide Science into two types: Normal Science and Revolutionary Science. These terms from from Kuhn’s book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Normal Science, in Thomas Kuhn’s original model, was capable of progress but governed by religious-like “paradigms.” Revolutionary Science, likewise in Kuhn’s outdated model, was capable of freedom but incapable of progress….

Michael Yon Online – Some Thoughts About The Kingdom of Thailand 

….Some Red Shirts brought children into their camp even though bullets were flying.  It was dishonorable to bring children into a combat zone.  Images of children killed in war are branded into my memory.

Red Shirt leadership should have ordered that children be taken home.  Press members should not issue a free pass to leaders who allow kids to be brought to combat.  Any journalist who did not report on the children is professionally flawed.

This level of sustained and violent occupation would never have been permitted in the United States.   The first time that a protestor fired an M79 grenade launcher in downtown New York City, popular opinion would have demanded that the police or the Army put them down.

Occupy Wall Street is annoying, for example, but we can live with it.  If members of Occupy Wall Street fired grenades or an RPG, a final response would have been demanded.

Waging insurrection is not a constitutionally protected activity in any country. Peaceful protesting is protected in some countries, including the United States and Thailand.

Launching grenades is over the line.  Dozens of bombings, grenade attacks, and shootings were perpetrated in Bangkok during the Red Shirt protest, including a small car bomb. In addition to the protests, a steady insurrectional campaign targeting symbolic targets was waged.

Red Shirt protestors used automatic weapons, 40mm grenade launchers, bombs, firebombs, and firework rockets, not to mention slingshots and ball bearings.

Many Red Shirts were courageous and unafraid of combat.  I greatly respect Red Shirts for their courage under fire.  Much was caught on video.  I respect them though I believe that they should not have engaged in violence.

NRORisk, Relativism, and Resources

…. First: Progressives and those who sympathize with them are economically risk-averse compared with conservatives. As Charles C. W. Cooke recently pointed out, the terms “conservative” and “liberal” are sometimes confusing in the American context, and that is certainly true in the case of financial risk, about which conservatives are not conservative at all. As an academic study published in the American Journal of Business put it: “As the economic political orientation of the subjects in our study becomes increasingly conservative (meaning they lean more towards an economically libertarian position as opposed to an economically socialistic position), they assume significantly higher levels of risk in their investment decisions.” Other studies find similar results.

There are many ways to measure financial risk tolerance, but consider this: One of the riskiest things you can do with your money is start a business, and entrepreneurs and small-business owners skew heavily Republican. The 2011 survey from the National Small Business Association found that 54 percent of the organization’s members identified as Republicans, while only 16 percent identified as Democrats; it is significant that more small-business owners identified themselves as independents in the survey than as Democrats….

Small Wars Journal– What Caesar Told His Centurions: Lessons of Classical Leadership and Discipline for a Post-modern Military

Easily Distracted-A Mismatching of Frame and Picture

Ribbonfarm-Schumpeter’s Demon 

Gene Expression –When Rome fell civilization did decline


ForeignPolicy.com – The Art of Snore

The Telegraph – Is Slavoj Zizek a Left-Fascist?

Foreign Affairs– Chavismo After Chávez 

Scientific AmericanWisdom from Psychopaths


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