Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Video: Fighting Islamists With Counterinsurgency, Counterterrorism--And Lady Gaga

Bret Stephens outlines a strategy for dealing with Islamist extremists: Lady Gaga Versus Global Jihad, one contrary to the West's approach to Islamists so far:
Since 9/11, the West's approach to Islamism has been one long pre-emptive cringe. It's how we have come to handle the Quran with white gloves and shy away from reprinting the Danish cartoons. It's why Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is now being represented in court by a military attorney wearing a hijab. It's why the phrase "Islamic terrorism" has become taboo. It's why nobody in the Army had the sense to call out Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan on his rants before he went on his rampage.

The predictable result has been to violate our best principles while encouraging Islamists to make ever-more outrageous demands.
A possible counter-strategy against the Jihadists would of course include the usual military counter-strategies, and something else:
Maybe there's a better way. The West so far has been trying to fight radical Islamists with a mix of counterinsurgency and counterterrorism strategies. But it's not going to win the long war unless it has a countercultural strategy, too.
Bret Stephens suggests Lady Gaga--the same Lady Gaga who, as Stephens notes "did more to galvanize Muslim hatred of the West than all Israeli settlements combined":
Last week, the star announced she was canceling her June 3 Jakarta concert date, disappointing the 52,000 ticket holders who had sold out the show in days. The reason? A group called the Front for the Defense of Islam, or FPI, had threatened to "wreak havoc" at the concert. Their reason? She brings "the faith of Satan to our country and thus will destroy the nation's morals," according to an FPI leader.
With all of the Islamist bile, the fact remains that had she gone ahead with the concert, Lady Gaga would have filled the stadium.

Here is a video report from The Wall Street Journal:



A more likely agent for change is Irshad Manji, the director of the Moral Courage Project at New York University. She recently visited Indonesia to promote her new book, Allah, Liberty and Love. Stephens notes that Manji, a Muslim who fled Idi Amin's Uganda and now lives in Canada, is the author of the 2004 best seller, The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith.

In the past she has traveled to Indonesia and given a variety of lectures.
This time her event was cancelled--and while there, she was attacked and would have been injured if not for Muslims who made a barrier between her and the would-be attackers.

Stephens believes "both Lady Gaga and Ms. Manji have important constituencies in mass and high culture" -- and as such can form cultural bridges.

Maybe.


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