Contemporary Muslim millennialists sizzle in their outrage at the evil West’s ongoing humiliation of their part of the world. Drawing on both the longstanding Muslim apocalyptic tradition and, in strange ways, the Christian apocalyptic tradition as well, they have “embraced any and every conspiracy theory, every fevered dread of annihilation, every envy-ridden and rage-soaked hatred that millennial visions can, at their worst, produce.” Israel, an outpost of demotic millennialism in the midst of the Muslim world which upholds very different values, is the sorest point of all. The sight of it has provoked Muslim apocalyptic thinkers to arrive at “the same conclusion as the Nazis: genocide.” But for them, that is only the beginning. “The extermination of the Jewish enemy represents a part of a larger claim: the entire West with its (Jewish-inspired) corruptions will fall.”^
If the study of millennialism’s historical impact teaches anything at all, Landes thinks, it is that dreams of this sort should not be taken lightly, at least not by their potential victims. The Jews and everyone else in the West must remain alert to the terrible dangers that they face. Whether the threat posed by Islamic millennialism is really as great as Landes believes it to be is debatable, but it is too complex a question to be usefully addressed here...
Saturday, July 07, 2012
Be Alert to Terrible Dangers
From a review of Richard Landes' book, Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience, by Allan Arkush, professor of Judaic studies and history at Binghamton University,