Obama Terrorism Advisor’s Book Confuses and Distorts

By Raymond Ibrahim:

Reading CDR Youssef Aboul-Enein’s book, Militant Islamist IdeologyUnderstanding the Global Threat, published by the Naval Institute Press (2010), one can see why U.S. leadership is far from “understanding the global threat”; why the Obama administration is supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood; and why so many U.S. politicians rose up in condemnation when one obscure pastor threatened to burn a Koran.

book2According to the jacket cover, Aboul-Enein is “a top adviser at the Joint foIntelligence Task Force for Combating Terrorism” and “has advised at the highest levels of the defense department and intelligence community.”

What advice does he give?

He holds that, whereas “militant Islamists” (e.g., al-Qaeda) are the enemy, “non-militant Islamists” (e.g., the Muslim Brotherhood), are not: “It is the Militant Islamists who are our adversary. They represent an immediate threat to the national security of the United States. They must not be confused with Islamists.”

This theme, sometimes expressed in convoluted language—at one point we are urged to appreciate the “nuanced” differences “between Militant Islamists and between Militant Islamists and Islamists”—permeates the book.

Of course, what all Islamists want is a system inherently hostile to the West, culminating in a Sharia-enforcing Caliphate; the only difference is that the nonmilitant Islamists are prudent enough to understand that incremental infiltration and subtle subversion are more effective than outright violence. Simply put, both groups want the same thing, and differ only in methodology.

Whereas most of the book is meant to portray nonviolent Islamists in a nonthreatening light, sometimes Aboul-Enein contradicts himself, for instance by correctly observing that “the United States must be under no illusions that the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood includes limiting the rights of women” and other anti-Western aspects.

How to explain these discrepancies? Is the Brotherhood a problem for the U.S. or not?

The book’s foreword by Admiral James Stavridis clarifies by stating that the book is a “culmination of Commander Aboul-Enein’s essays, lectures, and myriad answers to questions.” In fact, Militant Islamist Ideology reads like a hodgepodge of ideas cobbled together, and the author’s contradictions are likely products of different approaches to different audiences over time.

His position on appeasing the Muslim world—a fixed feature of the current administration’s policies—is clear. Aboul-Enein recommends that, if ever an American soldier desecrates a Koran, U.S. leadership must relieve the soldier of duty, offer “unconditional apologies,” and emulate the words of Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond: “I come before you [Muslims] seeking your forgiveness, in the most humble manner I look in your eyes today, and say please forgive me and my soldiers,” followed by abjectly kissing a new Koran and “ceremoniously” presenting it to Muslims.

Likewise, after rightfully admonishing readers not to rely on skewed or biased accounts of Islam, he presents Islamic apologist extraordinaire Karen Armstrong—whose whitewashed writings on Islam border on fiction—as the best source on the life of Muhammad.

Then there are Aboul-Enein’s flat out wrong assertions and distortions, examples of which this review closes with:

  • He asserts that “militant Islamists dismiss ijmaa [consensus] and qiyas [analogical reasoning].” In fact, none other than al-Qaeda constantly invokes ijmaa (for instance, the consensus that jihad becomes a personal duty when infidels invade the Islamic world) and justifies suicide attacks precisely through qiyas.
  • He insists that the Arabic word for “terrorist” is nowhere in the Koran—without bothering to point out that Koran 8:60 commands believers “to terrorize the enemy,” also known as non-Muslim “infidels.”
  • He writes, “when Muslims are a persecuted minority Jihad becomes a fard kifaya (an optional obligation), in which the imam authorizes annual expeditions into Dar el Harb (the Abode of War), lands considered not under Muslim dominance.” This is wrong on several levels: a fard kifaya is not an “optional obligation”—an oxymoron if ever there was one—but rather a “communal obligation”; moreover, he is describing Offensive Jihad, which is designed to subjugate non-Muslims and is obligatory to wage whenever Muslims are capable—not “when Muslims are a persecuted minority.”

Islam or Islamism: A Distinction without a Difference?

Wallpaper-islam-15679036-1105-884By David Solway:

Thirteen years after 9/11, after some 24,000 [1] terror attacks perpetrated by Muslims since that fateful date, after the atrocities carried out and still being carried out by Caliphate-aspiring terrorist militias, after civil wars, incursions, the mass extermination and eviction of Christian populations in Muslim lands and territories, hostage-takings, kidnappings, beheadings, bombings, missile barrages — after all this, many Westerners still appear to endorse a strict distinction between Islam and Islamism. The former, we believe or have been led to believe, is a “religion of peace” whose doctrines have been twisted and misinterpreted by a cadre of extremists. Islam, according to this perspective, cannot be held accountable for a band of criminals willfully violating the tenets and premises of a venerable Abrahamic faith.

The claim is unsustainable. Where it is not advanced disingenuously — for profit, power or position — it is plainly a function of culpable or lazy ignorance or, at best, of a desire to be (or to seem) tolerant and supremely civil. I suspect that the majority of such Western apologists have not cracked a single page of the Koran or perused even a scattering of the ahadith [2] and sirah [3], where the chasm on which they insist between Islam and Islamism is nowhere to be found. The Koran, in particular, brims with exhortations to violence against unbelievers, which the 1400-year imperial history of Islam has honored to the letter. The religious mandate as well as the empirical practice are undeniably Islamic, not “Islamist” — a concept that has no meaning in the theological literature.

Far too many of us cannot bring ourselves to understand that the enemy we are facing is not some fringe minority of “radicals” who are abusing not only their victims but the principles of the faith they proclaim. For one thing, the jihadists and their enablers may be a “minority,” but they number in the millions — the lowball figure [4] of 1% of theummah yields 15-16 million; a not unreasonable estimate [5] of 10% gives 150-160 million. Any way you look at it, that’s a lot of people determined to kill you. When one considers that this number amounts to half the population of the United States out for one’s blood, it puts the issue into perspective. For another thing, the shahids [6] andmujahidin [7] know perfectly well how to read their sacred texts, far better than their victims, dupes, extenuators and fellow-travelers who neglect to study either the scriptures or the history of Islam in order to gain a more acute and comprehensive knowledge of the enemy who plots their destruction. Others, of course, have been bought, suborned by donations or bribes and subsidized by petrodollars, or they are trimmers who have capitalized on business interests and opportunities.

Even those who have grasped the pitiless and bellicose quality of Islamic law and normative doctrine, and, moreover, have suffered terrible losses at the hands of “the believers” will, often from the noblest of motives, insist on distinguishing between the unoffending and the barbarous members of the faith. George Reisman, whose son was among the 2,296 innocents massacred on 9/11, delivered a lambent and courageous tenth anniversary speech [8] in which he proudly declared himself an Islamophobe and excoriated the “medieval” savagery of his son’s murderers. Yet he assures us that his “hatred of Radical Islam does not extend to every Muslim as an individual. It does extend, however, to Islam as an institution.” Nor does his condemnation extend “to those brave souls who are struggling to bring Islam into the 21rst Century sensibilities.” These exceptions aside, he is clear about his “abhorrence of the 7th Century brand of Islam that the Radicals want to impose upon us and the rest of the world.”

The term “7th Century,” as employed here, is not exclusively historical but operates as shorthand for a primitive and barbaric mindset. The real problem, however — and it may well be insuperable — is that what we call  “7th Century Islam” is a 21rst century resident, inherent in the texts, judgments, precepts, usages and ceremonies followed by all believing Muslims. The distinction Reisman introduces between 7th century radicalism and the institution of Islam per se is redundant. Authentic Islam has always been a “7thCentury” religion insofar as the harsh, legalistic and invasive spirit that animates its founding documents has remained intact to the present day. As the great historian Jacob Burckhardt observed [9], Islam “spread not by mission but by conquests.” This is how it differs from the other two Abrahamic faiths, which, for that matter, date prior to the 7th century. Judaism does not actively seek converts and Christianity is intrinsically a missionary religion; moreover, the indwelling spirit that vitalizes them is universal and their congregants have for the most part adapted to the modern world.

There really is no comparison. Authentic Judaism is defined by the Decalogue and the Noahide Laws [10], which value human life, prohibit murder, and command us to establish a just and humane social order extending to all mankind.  Authentic Christianity is a religion of mercy that renders unto God what is God’s and unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, with only a sparse handful of jarring or dissonant moments. The fact that Islam, deriving from the preachments and practices of Allah’s Messenger, does not share these characteristics with Judaism and Christianity but is almost uniformly aggressive, severe and vindictive in its punitive austerities, is one that too few of us are willing to recognize, owing to a reluctance to appear “racist,” bigoted or illiberal.

Individuals will always betray or deviate from the austere or exalted temper of their scriptures where these enshrine the Golden Rule — Kierkegaard’s wise distinction between Christianity and Christendom. The difference in this connection is that what we would regard as “deviation” — cruelty, oppression, the call to perpetual warfare — is in Islam not a function of individual or group delinquency but is actually intrinsic to the incunabula of Islam and ubiquitous throughout the founding library of the faith. “People ask whether Islam can undergo a reformation like the one that Christianity underwent. That’s a poor parallel,” writes Canadian ex-Muslim Ali Sina in his seminal volumeUnderstanding Muhammad and Muslims [11].

In Christianity, it wasn’t the religion that needed to be reformed, but the church; what Jesus preached was good.…In Islam, it’s the religion that is not good.

In other words, a lapsed Church is foreign to essential Christianity and a corrupt Temple is alien to essential Judaism. But such regressions are actually integral to Islam, bred in the unabrogated scriptures which permit, approve and ratify such depravities as slavery, child marriage, polygamy, gynophobia, deception (taqiyya), the breaking of treaties, the doctrinally sanctioned acquisition of booty and of women as the spoils of war, dhimmitude and, most terrible of all, wanton slaughter of unbelievers. As Koran 8:39 commands, “Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme.” It is not difficult, then, to see that ancestral Islam is demonstrably contemporary Islam since the Koran is understood to be an eternal book, coterminous with Allah, and thus does not allow for revision.

Read more at PJ Media

The UK Confronts Islamism

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by :

A century ago the murder of a British soldier in broad daylight in London would have been an act of war. In this post-imperial and post-everything age, an atrocity leads to a task force which produces a report which is then filed in a desk drawer by the undersecretary for something or other.

Like clockwork, the murder of Lee Rigby led to a task force and to a report. The report is 7 pages long. It’s possible to read it in much less than the twenty minutes that it took London police to respond to the murder in progress. You could even get through it a few times in real time while a Muslim convert who describes himself as a soldier of Allah saws away at a fallen Englishman’s head with no one to stop him.

There is a thing that organizations say when they know that they are hip deep in a crisis. They say that “we are taking this seriously.”

The report, “Tackling Extremism in the UK” certainly takes matters seriously. The evidence of that is not so much in the report, as in the task force which included the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, four Secretaries of State, three Ministers, one Chancellor, one Lord Chancellor and a partridge in a pear tree.

Like so many of the more “serious” and “sincere” efforts at tackling the biggest threat to civilization in the twenty-first century, the report mixes occasional good ideas with politically correct absurdities. It starts off by equating Islamophobia with Al Qaeda and rolls out a plan to fight back against Islamism.

“As the greatest risk to our security comes from Al Qa’ida and like-minded groups, and terrorist ideologies draw on and make use of extremist ideas, we believe it is also necessary to define the ideology of Islamist extremism,” the report states. And then it goes on to carefully avoid defining it except to contend that, whatever it is; it is not Islam.

“This is a distinct ideology which should not be confused with traditional religious practice. It is an ideology which is based on a distorted interpretation of Islam, which betrays Islam’s peaceful principles, and draws on the teachings of the likes of Sayyid Qutb.”

The mention of Sayyid Qutb is startling considering that the UK seemed to be pretending that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “moderate” group. Say what you will about Cameron, but I don’t see Obama chairing a task force that would produce a report denouncing the Muslim Brotherhood’s evil genius.

But Qutb’s mention feels like a random aberration thrown in by someone a little too knowing. Beyond that the only further definition of Islamist extremism is that, “they seek to impose a global Islamic state governed by their interpretation of Shari’ah as state law, rejecting liberal values such as democracy, the rule of law and equality.”

In other words, Islamists are seeking to impose Islam on everyone. But then they aren’t a distorted interpretation of Islam. Islamism is simply the organized political implementation of Islam in the same way that Nazism was the implementation of National Socialism and Marxism is the attempted implementation of Karl Marx’s ideas.

Apologists can argue that Marxism distorts Marx and that Islamism distorts Islam, but those remain unconvincing defenses. Implementing a set of ideas always distorts them, but realizing ideas is the only truly objective way to assess their merit by seeing their consequences.

What the report is clumsily getting at is the idea that Islam is legitimate in private practice, but not in public imposition. It’s Islam when a Muslim goes to a mosque or avoids alcohol, but Islamism when he harasses barflies or chops off heads under the dictates of Islamic law. Unfortunately this distinction has no meaning in Islam which was never rewired to function as a private religion in a secular state.

America dealt with the clash between religion and tolerance by separating church and state allowing churches to retain their full doctrine while secularizing the machinery of the state.  Europe dealt with it by secularizing and liberalizing national churches to such a degree that they no longer had any religious content that anyone could object to.

Islam was absent from Europe when this rewiring took place. Unlike its Christian and Jewish antagonists, it hasn’t been liberalized or secularized. And it insists on being a public religion because theocracy is what it was built to do. Islam was not the religion of the oppressed. It was the religion of the oppressors. It equates morality with authority. If it doesn’t control the public square, then it has no function.

To Europeans, the infringement of religious values on public life is considered extremism. More so than blowing up buses. But Islam is dedicated to doing exactly that. It is an unreconstructed theocracy.

Read more at Front Page

The Desert of Islamization

sahara desertby Daniel Greenfield:

Wars are fought with steel and of words. To fight a thing, we have to understand what we are fighting and why. A blindness in words can kill as effectively as blindness on the battlefield.

Words shape our world. In war, they define the nature of the conflict. That definition can be
misleading. Often it’s expedient.

The real reasons for the last world war had very little to do with democracy. The current war does involve terrorism, but like fascism, it’s incidental to the bigger picture. The United States would not have gone to war to ensure open elections in Germany. It hasn’t been dragged into the dysfunctional politics and conflicts of the Muslim world because of terrorism.

Tyranny and terrorism just sum up what we find least appealing about our enemies. But it’s not why they are our enemies. They are our enemies because of territorial expansionism. The Ummah, like the Third Reich, is seeking “breathing room” to leave behind its social and economic problems with a program of regional and eventually world conquest.

Islam, like Nazism, makes a lot of utopian problems and pays the check for them through conquest. Like Communism, we’re up against a rigid ideology, brainwashed fanatics, utopian fantasies and ruthless tactics. And we can only win by being honest about that.

We are not yet dealing with armies. This is still an ideological conflict. Terrorism is just the tip of a much more dangerous iceberg. It’s the explosion of violence by the most impatient and least judicious of our enemies.

What we are dealing with is Islamization. Islamization is the imposition of ideological norms in increasing severity. Like Nazification, it transforms a society by remaking it in its own image from the largest to the smallest of details.

Islamization begins with the hijacking of “secular” spaces transforming them from neutral into explicitly Islamic forms and functions. The process can be grandiose or petty. A group of Minnesota Muslim taxi drivers who refuse to transport passengers carrying alcohol are “Islamizing” part of the transportation system around that airport. They are imposing Islamic norms on the airport and the passengers. Similarly a Target cashier who refuses to scan pork is Islamizing her line.

Islamic organizations encourage this form of seemingly petty Islamization even while they angle for bigger things. Their followers are foot soldiers in the same political war that destroyed secular spaces in their home countries.

Small scale Islamization becomes large scale Islamization. The women who begin wearing Hijabs are imposing a new social norm that eventually leads to Burkas. By then, women no longer have the right to leave the house, either legally or in social norms. The outlawing of liquor or pork begins in the same way. It doesn’t just happen in large ways, it also happens in small ways.

In Germany, the exchange of the greeting “Gruss Gott” for “Heil Hitler” was the bellwether of a larger social change underway. Nazification was not just a matter of Hitlerian speeches, it was in what you read, what you saw and how you said hello to your neighbors. A Nazi was not just someone who marched around in a uniform. It was also someone who said “Heil Hitler” or who in any way participated in the Nazification of public spaces.

Similarly an Islamist is anyone who participates in the Islamization of public spaces. The media has mischaracterized Islamist as a follower of some rogue branch of Islam followed by a tiny minority. But there is no rogue branch. Even Wahhabism is hardly rogue. If anything, it’s simply more literal.

Islam is Islamist in that it “Islamizes” what it comes into contact with. Islamists are not a separate movement. They are Muslims following a legacy of intolerance by practicing Islamization.

Read more

 

Taking Action: State Initiatives to Combat Islamism in the U.S.

we the people 2By Christopher Holton and Ryan Mauro:

The failure to recognize, let alone confront, the Islamist ideology on the federal level does not mean that nothing can be done. An increasing number of states are passing or considering legislation designed to take on this task.

Below are five initiatives you can promote in your state:

American Laws for American Courts

In 2011, the Center for Security Policy released a studied titled Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases. The study found 50 appellate court cases in 23 states where Shariah-based legislation from 16 foreign countries contradicted American law.

The primary victims of this “conflict of law” are Muslim-Americans. Areview of 10 cases where Shariah-based law and American law clashed in court found:

“In cases 1-3, the Appellate Courts upheld Shariah law; in cases 4-7, the Trial Courts upheld Shariah, but the Appellate Courts reversed (protecting the litigant’s constitutional rights); in cases 8-10, both Trial and Appellate Courts rejected the attempts to enforce Shariah law.”

The American Public Policy Alliance explains that unclear state law has resulted in “the courts and the litigants hav[ing] repeatedly failed to recognize that comity to a foreign judgment may be at odds with our state and federal constitutional principles…”

American Laws for American Courts is model legislation that prohibits courts from putting foreign law before American law. This has often been described as “Anti-Shariah” legislation, but it doesn’t even mention Shariah or Islam. Its purpose is to protect Americans from being abused by any kind of foreign law.

American Laws for American Courts has been passed in Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, Kansas and Oklahoma. It was recently passed by the Alabama legislature as a constitutional amendment and will soon be put to a vote by the people. In Missouri, the legislature will meet in September to try to override the Governor’s veto of the bill.

Free Speech Defense Act

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld was sued by a Saudi billionaire named Khalid bin Mahfouz because her book linked him to terrorism-financing. Because 23 copies of the book were bought online in the United Kingdom, Mahfouz was able to exploit the U.K.’s libel laws and sue Ehrenfeld even though she lives in America. Altogether, he targeted 45 publishers and journalists and only she refused to settle.

In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Committee warned that loose libel laws “discourage critical media reporting on matters of serious public interest, adversely affecting the ability of scholars and journalists to publish their work, including through the phenomenon known as ‘libel tourism.’”

Federal legislation called the SPEECH Act, also known as “Rachel’s Law,” has been passed but there is a glaring loophole that could result in Americans being denied a trial in U.S. courts.

The Free Speech Defense Act protects the First Amendment rights of Americans from foreign libel tourism. A modified version of this legislation has been passed in South Dakota, New York, California, Illinois, Florida, Utah, Tennessee, Louisiana, Maryland and Oklahoma. It is pending in the South Carolina legislature.

Read more at The Clarion Project

 

If you see something, say nothing

Runners at the start of the 117th Boston Marathon. Stew Milne / AP

Runners at the start of the 117th Boston Marathon. Stew Milne / AP

Changes to the AP stylebook show that we’re blinding ourselves to the connections between Islamic extremism and terrorism.

by Andrew C. McCarthy:

It was a report of the now numbingly familiar sort. Witnesses at the synagogue in Paris recounted that an Iranian immigrant had been screaming “Allahu Akbar!” while he chased the rabbi and his son. When he finally caught up, he slashed away at them with a box-cutter, causing severe lacerations. Nevertheless, the Associated Press assured readers that “[a]n official investigation was underway to determine a possible motive.”

Quite a mystery, that.

It is necessary to search for some “possible” motive because to notice the actual and perfectly obvious motive is verboten in the judgment of both the legacy media and Western governments. The motive, of course, is adherence to Islamic supremacist ideology, a mainstream interpretation of Muslim doctrine commonly referred to by the shorthand “Islamist.”

Indeed, just this April, the AP revised its stylebook to posit new guidelines for use of the term “Islamist.” In so doing, the news service deferred to admonitions from the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood’s influential public-relations-cum-lawfare arm in the United States, is a longtime supporter 0f Hamas, the terrorist organization that doubles as the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch.

Before these revisions, the definition off which the AP had been working was reasonably accurate. An Islamist, according to the old guidelines, was “a supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam.” Such supporters make up a sizeable percentage of the 1.4 billion-strong global Islamic ummah (the community), and thus reflect a wide range of Muslim notions about how best to impose these “laws of Islam”—the societal framework and politico-legal system known as sharia (the path). But all Islamists agree that they must be imposed. That is what makes an Islamist an Islamist. The dramatic ascendancy of Islamists—the implementation of their substantially anti-democratic system through democratic procedures—is the story of the so-called Arab Spring.

There is plenty of disagreement within the ummah about what constitutes sharia, which is derived from the Koran and other sources of Islamic scripture, in particular the hadith—authoritative collections of the words and deeds of Mohammed, Islam’s warrior prophet. Some claim it is merely a set of aspirational guidelines intended as a private behavioral compass designed to achieve a Muslim’s personal experience of the divine. This construction, though held by various reformers and modernizing “secular Muslims,” flies in the face of some stubborn realities.

Sharia, for example, is the law of Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, bastions of fundamentalist Islam that admit of no other legal systems, that employ “religious police” to promote strict sharia compliance, and that routinely apply Islam’s harsh corporal punishments, such as scourging and even stoning. Furthermore, even in Islamic countries that attempt to meld sharia with other legal systems (e.g., Napoleonic law), sharia is given pride of place and enforced both officially, in civil and criminal court cases, and culturally, by public mores.

The claims that sharia is aspirational and a matter of personal conscience are further contradicted, by its emphasis on governance: Only a small percentage of Islamic ideology prescribes what we in the West would recognize as religious principles (e.g., the oneness of Allah); the lion’s share is a thoroughgoing regulation of political and social life, from economic and military affairs through interpersonal relations and matters of hygiene. In addition, sharia has long been codified: The treatise “Umdat al-Salik,” reflecting the broad consensus on sharia’s prescriptions across the four ancient Sunni jurisprudential schools, was assembled by the renowned scholar Ahmad ibn an-Naqib al-Misri in the fourteenth century. It is translated into English as Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, and is readily available through most large book retailers—complete with endorsements, in the manual’s foreword, from such influential institutions as Cairo’s al-Azhar University, the seat of Sunni learning since the tenth century, and the International Institute of Islamic Thought, an Islamist think-tank headquartered in Virginia by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Islamic supremacist interpretation of sharia found in Reliance of the Traveller and systematically taught by the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most significant Islamic mass-movement, is the dynamic Islam of the Muslim Middle East. It is also gradually making inroads in the West, courtesy of a Brotherhood stratagem best described as “voluntary apartheid.” The idea is for Muslims to immigrate and integrate, but not assimilate. They are encouraged, instead, to move into Islamic enclaves, organizing their lives around the local mosque and Islamic community center, which the Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna stressed as the “axis” of the movement. The goal is to pressure the host government to abide an ever-increasing degree of sharia autonomy.

This form of sharia, to which Islamists widely adhere and aspire, is fundamentally antithetical to Western liberalism. It rejects individual liberty and privacy, equality before the law for women and non-Muslims, freedom of conscience and speech, economic liberty, and even the bedrock principle that a body politic has the power to make law for itself, irrespective of any religious or ideological code. Sharia also expressly endorses jihad. These are the “laws of Islam” to which the AP refers without describing them. The installation of these laws is the top priority of emerging Islamist “democracies,” which establish Islam as the state religion and enshrine sharia in their new constitutions—such new governments as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, whose sharia constitutions were drafted with the helping hand of the U.S. State Department.

Read more at The New Criterion

The Incontrovertible Dead-End of Islam Revisited

20121006_MAP003_0Islam is nothing if not a political ideology. The first time Mohammad raised his sword to forcibly convert men to Islam, and abandoned persuasion, that was the inauguration of political Islam. It has not changed since then. Force, coercion, slavery, death, and submission are the sole hallmarks of Islam.

By Edward Cline:

Excerpt:

The following is a revised and expanded version of “The Incontrovertible Dead-End of Islam,” which first appeared on October 30th, 2010. The revision and expansion are prompted by a May 13th, 2013 article by Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, “Islam vs. Islamism,” which also appeared in the Washington Times on May 13th. His article reflects a troubling central premise of alleging a necessary distinction between Islam and “Islamists,” that is, between ordinary, non-violent Muslims and their violent, “extremist” or “radical” brethren.

Pipes opens with a reference to the Boston Marathon bombings of April 15thand the foiled attack on the Canadian rail link to the U.S.:

What motives lay behind last month’s Boston Marathon bombing and the would-be attack on a VIA Rail Canada train?

Leftists and establishmentarians variously offer imprecise and tired replies – such as “violent extremism” or anger at Western imperialism – unworthy of serious discussion. Conservatives, in contrast, engage in a lively and serious debate among themselves: some say Islam the religion provides motive, others say it’s a modern extremist variant of the religion, known as radical Islam or Islamism.

As a participant in the latter debate, here’s my argument for focusing on Islamism.

His argument proposes a false dichotomy between Islam and “Islamists,” that is, between Muslims who wage violent jihad on the West and even amongst themselves for sectarian reasons, and those who don’t.

Islam is the fourteen-century-old faith of a billion-plus believers that includes everyone from quietist Sufis to violent jihadis. Muslims achieved remarkable military, economic, and cultural success between roughly 600 and 1200 C.E. Being a Muslim then meant belonging to a winning team, a fact that broadly inspired Muslims to associate their faith with mundane success. Those memories of medieval glory remain not just alive but central to believers’ confidence in Islam and in themselves as Muslims.

Major dissonance began around 1800, when Muslims unexpectedly lost wars, markets, and cultural leadership to Western Europeans. It continues today, as Muslims bunch toward the bottom of nearly ever index of achievement. This shift has caused massive confusion and anger. What went wrong, why did God seemingly abandon His faithful? The unbearable divergence between pre-modern accomplishment and modern failure brought about trauma.

Muslims have responded to this crisis in three main ways. Secularists want Muslims to ditch the Shari’a (Islamic law) and emulate the West. Apologists also emulate the West but pretend that in doing so they are following the Shari’a. Islamists reject the West in favor of a retrograde and full application of the Shari’a.

These paragraphs astounded me. The first one glosses over the conquest of the Middle East and North Africa which necessitated forced conversion, butchery, and slavery. Remarkable military successes, indeed. But for their defeat at the Battle of Tours, the “Islamists” would have carved out a huge empire in Europe. What economic accomplishments? The period he cites spans the economically stagnant Dark Ages and early Western Medieval periods. Cultural successes? Other than a certain architectural style, translating some Aristotle and other ancient thinkers – whose works Islam subsequently rejected – I can’t recall any great symphonies, artwork, or literature Islam produced in those six hundred years.

“Major dissonance” within Islam began over who was going to be Mohammad’s official successor in the 630’s. Thus the interminable conflicts between Sunnis and Shi’ites and other splintering sects of Islam. Islam never had any “cultural leadership.”

Secularist Muslims may want Islam to ditch Sharia law but only at the risk of being deemed apostates and of their deaths. Apologist Muslims feign a hypothetical reconciliation between Sharia and Western concepts of freedom, and demand the incorporation of Sharia into Western law. “Islamists,” however, are consistent with their creed, know that it is“retrograde” and primitive, and wage jihad to achieve that end.

Raymond Ibrahim, associate director of the Middle East Forum, on October 28, 2010, however, published an article, “Offensive Jihad: The One Incontrovertible Problem with Islam,” also in the Middle East Form (October 28, 2010), which seems to be at fundamental odds with Pipes’ article. Ibrahim’s article addresses one of the fundamental problems of and with Islam, one which I have continually stressed: jihadJihad is a core tenet in what is a codified system of irrationalism that cannot be “reformed” without obliterating Islam as a distinct religious creed. Remove the belligerent jihadist commands from the Koran and Hadith to wage jihad, for example, and it would cease to be Islam, not only in Muslim minds but in non-Muslim, as well.

There would, of course, remain a host of other irrational assertions and imperatives, such as the sanctioning of wife-beating and the murder of apostates and the like, which constitute, after some astounding mental gymnastics by Islamic clerics and scholars, the byzantine and illogical underpinnings and text of Sharia law. The jihadist elements of Islam, however, are easily transmutable into a political policy, which is conquest of all non-Muslim or infidel governments and societies and their submission to Sharia. That makes it an ideological doctrine. Muslims are either obliged to wage jihad, or they are not. Mohammad and Muslim scholars say they are. End of argument, so far as Koranic interpretation goes, and that interpretation is biased towards the literal.

Reading the debates about what Islam’s mission is and the role of jihad in it and what they truly “mean,” I am always reminded of H.L. Mencken’s observation on religious zealotry: “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.” Islam is a puritanical creed that makes no allowances for either infidels or apostates or its adherents. I cannot believe that beneath the pious exterior of any person who would be seduced by Islam is not a seething, percolating envy of men who are indeed free, an envy easily and maliciously transfigured into violent jihad.

This policy is operative and underway today in Western nations with varying degrees of success, and it is making progress only by default. Islam is strong only because the West’s defenders are emasculated by multiculturalist premises and a general disinclination to condemn any religion. Aggravating the problem is an unadmitted but general fear in tolerance-obsessed pragmatists of “offending” Muslims, who might start rioting and demonstrating again, claiming discrimination, defamation, and disrespect, and etc., none of it spontaneous but clearly organized and orchestrated by so-called “radicals.”

I was initially impressed by Ibrahim’s quotation from an entry on jihad in the Encyclopedia of Islam, which is an admission that “Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad can be eliminated” – until I realized that it could just as well mean that, after a global caliphate has been established, there would be no more justification for violentjihad. Every nation would by then be conquered, recalcitrant infidels slain, enslaved, or reduced to dhimmitude, and Sharia made the law of every land.

In short, after all the killing, enslaving, and oppression, jihad would be wrong!!

But, if Islam is completely” made over” in the sense of reforming it, what would be left of Islam that virtually any other creed could not claim as its fundamental tenets, as well? And to” make over” Islam, its principal font of “kilman” or wisdom, the objectionable and barbaric Mohammad, would need to be dispensed with. He is a role model for killers and tyrants and other psychopathic individuals. Remove that one critical link of the irrational and arbitrary in Islam, and all the other links fall to the floor or dissolve into nothingness.

 
Read more: Family Security Matters

Radicals Moderates and Islamists

angry-muslimsBy Daniel Greenfield:

The radical-moderate continuum that has defined the dialogue on Islam in the War on Terror is not an authentic perspective, it is an observer perspective.

To the Western observer, a suicide bomber is radical, a Muslim Imam willing to perform gay weddings is moderate and the Muslim Brotherhood leader who supports some acts of terror, but not others, is moderately radical or radically moderate.

These descriptions tell us nothing about Islam or about what Muslims believe, but do tell us a great deal about its observers and what they believe. They turn Islam into inkblots that reveal more about the interpreter than the splotch of ink being interpreted.

Muslims are not radical or moderate. The radical-moderate continuum is how liberal countries rate individuals and countries to decide how well they will harmonize with the national and international consensus. Even if that consensus only exists in their own mind. The label of moderate does not mean a rejection of violence. Otherwise it could hardly be applied to the Muslim Brotherhood. What it means is a willingness to collaborate with Western governments and progressive organizations.

The radical-moderate labels are useful for liberals, but useless for anyone who wants to asses reality. It is tied into a number of false notions that are necessary for maintaining the status quo of liberal democracies. Notions such as the equal moral stature and interchangeability of all religions and peoples are key to running a liberal democracy, but they make it impossible to have a rational conservation about Islam.

In liberal democracies, no one really discusses Islam as a religion. That discussion is preemptively aborted by the defense of the general category of religion. To criticize Islam is to challenge the category of protection for all religions, much as to attack Communism during the Cold War was to attack the First Amendment.

The general category makes it necessary to subdivide the specific religion or ideology into a moderate majority and a tiny minority of extremists. This categorization tells us nothing about Islam and everything about the political and intellectual classes that refuse to rationally discuss it.

Islam is neither moderate nor extreme. It simply is. Extremism and moderate are an observer perspective. That does not mean that Islam is all one thing, an impermeable block. But the one thing that it is not, is liberal.

Liberal Islam is secular Islam, in the same way that liberal Christianity and liberal Judaism are both secularized in their subservience to liberal values. There are indeed secular Muslims out there, but they are a tiny minority of secularists even in the secular West. Their influence is minimal. And it likely would be minimal even if the Saudis weren’t spending fortunes in oil money to control the expressions of Islam in the West.

Even these secular Muslims are not necessarily non-violent. What they lack is the broader worldview of Islamic nationalism, that some label Islamism. They will support Arab Nationalist terrorism, which defines peoples by nation, rather than the Islamic Nationalism, which defines them by religion.

Islamic nationalism is not a religion. Nor is it a separate branch of Islam. It is influenced by movements within Islam, but those movements are largely reformist efforts aimed at returning to a more uncompromised Islam. And it is not limited to these movements. The majority of Muslims identify with Islamic nationalism to some degree.

Islamism is simply the political implementation of Islam which is already political. Islamism does not politicize an apolitical religion, it applies a political religion to politics. And most Muslims support that for the simple reason that they are Muslims and Islam is their religion. They may quibble over some of the details and they may be fooled by some smooth talk, but the same may be said of many supporters of National Socialism and Bolshevism. What matters is not whether every single German who thought Hitler had some good ideas supported the concentration camps or whether every single Communist supported the Gulags. Certainly not all did. What matters is that they supported the systems and leaders that made those things possible even when the warning signs were there.

muslim rageNo Islamist movement represents a complete break with Islam. Not even a partial break. The greatest stressors that Islamic terrorist groups impose on their religious codes is the treatment of other Muslims as infidels. And that alone is a telling statement about the tolerance for interfaith violence in their religion. It isn’t war that stresses Islamic codes, it’s internecine warfare.

Western observers may label those who identify with Al Qaeda as extremists and those who identify with the Muslim Brotherhood as moderates, but these are cosmetic differences. Islamist organizations are not a separate religion. They are the practical implementation of the religion. If we are to have a truer continuum, it would run from secular to religious, rather than moderate to extremist.

What makes Islamists dangerous are not their means, such as flying planes into skyscrapers, but their ends, which involve a global theocracy that reduces non-Muslims to enemies and slaves. Whether this end is accomplished through bombs or elections makes little difference. Hitler and Stalin would be no different whether they won elections or seized power by force. Not so long as their ends involved war, mass slavery and genocide.

The trouble with Islamic nationalism is Islam. There is no way of getting around that. Terrorism is an aspect of the problem. But the problem is a violent system that views the lives of non-Muslims and dissenting Muslims as worthless.

When Muslim terrorists set off bombs in Boston, Mumbai, Jerusalem or anywhere else, what they are really communicating is not some passionate grievance, but an ideology that has no regard for the lives of non-Muslims. That same message is communicated by the treatment of Western prisoners in Dubai or the treatment of Western hostages in Nigeria. It is a message rooted in the xenophobia of the Koran and it is a warning of the system that these acts of oppression and terror are intended to build.

***************

Islamism won in the Arab Spring. It won the Western Diaspora. The idea that we can detach Islam from its political application by branding its political application extremist has failed. The two are intertwined. We cannot weaken Islamism except by weakening Islam, economically, militarily and demographically.

Read more

Islam vs. Islamism, again

4262329508_45b1258d1b_zBy Robert Spencer:

This is a familiar controversy to longtime Jihad Watch readers; in November 2011 I published an article in National Review responding to a piece by Andy McCarthy and criticizing the Islam/Islamism distinction for obscuring the fact that doctrines of warfare and subjugation are found in Islam’s core texts.

I’ve long rejected the term “Islamist” for reasons I explained in that piece: “…the distinction is artificial and imposed from without. There are not, in other words, Islamist mosques and non-Islamist mosques, distinguishable from one another by the sign outside each, like Baptist and Methodist churches. On the contrary, ‘Islamists’ move among non-political, non-supremacist Muslims with no difficulty; no Islamic authorities are putting them out of mosques, or setting up separate institutions to distinguish themselves from the ‘Islamists.’ Mevlid Jasarevic [a jihadist in Sarajevo] could and did visit mosques in Austria, Serbia, and Bosnia without impediment before he started shooting on Friday; no one stopped him from entering because he was an ‘Islamist.'”

And so to say we must work with ordinary Muslims while eschewing collaboration with Islamists is not precisely a distinction without a difference, but a distinction that is practically imperceptible and, in many cases, in fact not there at all.

This is not to say that Islam can never be reformed. Many strange things have happened in history: events that no one 100 or 50 or sometimes even 10 years before they happened would have or could have predicted. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989, but in 1986 and 1987 there were still plenty of learned analysts all over the airwaves and in the corridors of power in Washington talking about how we were going to have to deal with the Soviet Bloc for generations to come. So I will never say that something can never happen. But we have to recognize fully and honestly the obstacles in the way of it happening so as to make a truly realistic assessment of the situation we’re in, and apply remedies that are most likely to work, as well as to accord with our own fundamental principles.

This piece by Daniel Pipes has stirred up some controversy already; Pamela Geller comments here; Andrew Bostom weighs in here; and Walid Shoebat here.

“Islam and its infidels,” by Daniel Pipes in the Washington Times, May 13:

What motives lay behind last month’s Boston Marathon bombing and the would-be attack on a Via Rail Canada train?Leftists and establishmentarians variously offer imprecise and tired replies — such as “violent extremism” or anger at Western imperialism — unworthy of serious discussion. Conservatives, in contrast, engage in a lively and serious debate among themselves: some say Islam the religion provides motive; others say it’s a modern extremist variant of the religion, known as radical Islam or Islamism.

As a participant in the latter debate, here’s my argument for focusing on Islamism.

Those arguing for Islam itself as the problem (such as Wafa Sultan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali) point to the consistency from Muhammad’s life and the contents of the Koran and Hadith to current Muslim practice. Agreeing with Geert Wilders’ film “Fitna,” they point to striking continuities between Koranic verses and jihad actions. They quote Islamic scriptures to establish the centrality of Muslim supremacism, jihad and misogyny, concluding that a moderate form of Islam is impossible. They point to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s deriding the very idea of a moderate Islam. Their killer question is “Was Muhammad a Muslim or an Islamist?” They contend that we who blame Islamism do so out of political correctness or cowardliness.

To which, we reply: Yes, certain continuities do exist, and Islamists definitely follow the Koran and Hadith literally. Moderate Muslims exist, but lack Islamists’ near-hegemonic power. Mr. Erdogan’s denial of moderate Islam points to a curious overlap between Islamism and the anti-Islam viewpoint. Muhammad was a plain Muslim, not an Islamist, for the latter concept dates back only to the 1920s. And no, we are not cowardly but offer our true analysis.

 

Not only do moderate Muslims “lack Islamists’ near-hegemonic power”; they also lack the justification in the Qur’an and Hadith that Islamic jihadists always point to in order to gain recruits among peaceful Muslims, as well as to justify their actions. And this is a key point: if Wafa Sultan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (both, not incidentally, ex-Muslims) are right that there is a “consistency from Muhammad’s life and the contents of the Koran and Hadith to current Muslim practice,” and they most certainly are, as Daniel Pipes apparently acknowledges when he says that “certain continuities do exist, and Islamists definitely follow the Koran and Hadith literally,” then attempts to prescind from Qur’anic literalism in order to reform Islam and create a more peaceful version of the faith will always be challenged by the literalists (who are and have always been the mainstream in Islam) as heretics and apostates.

Read more at Jihad Watch

None Dare Call It Islamism

islamist-450x252By Daniel Greenfield:

The Associated Press, after putting up a brief defense of the English language, ceded the term “gay marriage,” then “illegal immigrant” and finally “Islamist.” The left has a long history with political language and the media, so these latest triumphs were only a matter of time.

“Don’t tell me words don’t matter,” Obama once said, while insisting that they meant the opposite of what we thought they meant. The left believes that words matter because they allow people to communicate the wrong sort of ideas. Change the words and you change the ideas.

Islamism is one of those ideas. The idea is that people ought to live under Islam. This was thought to be a bad idea, back in those dark days before we learned that Islamism is as American as Mom, Other Mom and Apple Pie.

Now we know that Islamism is actually the best defense against Islamism so long as it’s the good kind of Islamism that involves terrorist groups winning elections and shooting their people in the streets instead of the bad kind of Islamism which involves terrorist groups shooting people in the streets without first running for office.

The Muslim Brotherhood used to be the bad kind of Islamists that set off bombs and shot people in the streets, but then they disavowed violence, ran for office, shredded what was left of the law and began torturing and killing their opponents who protested the shredding.

Opponents of Islamism, the word not the idea, warn that if we associate Islamism with Islamist terrorist groups, then Muslims will get the idea that Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are the same thing. The only argument that they present in favor of them not being the same thing is that the media always calls the Muslim Brotherhood a moderate group. And if they’re a moderate group, they clearly can’t be torturing and killing their opponents, even if the same news stories that call them moderate also report that they are torturing and killing their opponents.

Read more at Front Page

CAIR to Media: ‘Stop Using the Term Islamist’

images (13)By Ryan Mauro:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), identified by the U.S. government as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, issuggesting  a New Year’s resolution for the media: Stop using the term “Islamist.”

CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, who expressed his desire for “the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future” in 1993 and, again, in 2003, writes that the media shouldn’t say “Islamist” anymore because it is “currently used in almost exclusively pejorative context.”

Hooper argues that being an Islamist isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He quotes from the Associated Press Stylebook that describes an Islamist as a “supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.”

This, he says, is no different than a Christian politician being influenced by Biblical values. But Christian politicians are influenced by the Bible as a moral influence. There’s no authoritative Christian doctrine on how a “Christian State” should be run.  As the definition itself says, Islamists view their religion as a system of governmental “laws” and a “political model.”

Hooper says that Muslims are unfairly called Islamists when there are political disagreements — sort of like the word “Islamophobe,” which he hypocritically uses in the very same sentence.

The attempt to eliminate the word “Islamist” from the media’s vocabulary is a reflection of what was said during a secret U.S. Muslim Brotherhood meeting in Philadelphia in 1993 that the FBI wiretapped. Two officials that founded CAIR the following year were present.

“Forming the public opinion or coming up with a policy to influence …the way the Americans deal with the Islamists, for instance. I believe that should be the goals of this stage,” said Hamas operative Abdel Haleem al-Ashqar.

The meeting participants, who repeatedly referred to themselves as Islamists, understood that friendly media coverage was essential to their goal of influencing public opinion and policy towards them. As pointed out by the Investigative Project, future CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad said at that meeting:

“The fourth goal is becoming open to the media in the U.S. and the Western society to ease the intensity of the campaign and to explain the legality of the opposition led by the Islamists,” he said.

The government determined from these transcripts that deception was an integral part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s procedure. In a 2007 court filing, federal prosecutors state: “From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists …the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists.”

Read more at The Clarion Project

Media Jihad and The Grand Deception

Snapz-Pro-XScreenSnapz2426by IPT News:

American journalists have been “subdued” when it comes to reporting on Islamic radicalization, “largely by intimidation and the fear of accusations of Islamophobia –[which] is the Islamists’ greatest coup,” Muslim physician and writer Qanta Ahmed argues in a new column.

She points to Investigative Project on Terrorism Executive Director Steven Emerson’s new documentary, “Jihad in America: The Grand Deception,” for examples about radical connections and ideals espoused by national Islamist groups that are ignored by the media.

“‘The Grand Deception’ exposes radical Islamists in their own words,” Ahmed writes, something “shattering to any Muslim in America – and is exactly why our communities invite unwanted scrutiny. In their own voices, American Islamists demand violent jihad against the United States.”

The documentary has impressed other viewers, with Orange County Register editorial writer Rory Cohen calling it a “must see” for showing “how far the Muslim Brotherhood has reached within our own political fabric in less than three decades.”

But media coverage fails to show the diversity of ideas and beliefs held by Muslims in America, Ahmed writes, noting adherents to 70 sects and people with roots in nearly as many countries. There’s a “battle for America’s Muslim narrative” that the media fails to recognize and cover.

“If only the media paid the same scrutiny to such data as to that gathered by the IPT in The Grand Deception … we would greatly advance the public debate. It’s time to emerge from our torpor. Refusing to debate these issues, however uncomfortable or intimidating, is a grand deception indeed, one which we accomplish at our own hand and our own peril.”

Read her whole column here. Learn more about the film “The Grand Deception” here.

Islamism’s No-Show at CPAC

cpac4-450x243

To watch Robert Spencer’s and Pamela Geller’s speeches on the “Uninvited Panel,” click here.

By :

At the fortieth annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this past March 14-16, 2013 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center just outside of Washington, DC, the Center for Security Policy’s (CSP) Christine Brim complained of an “amateurish view” of national security “unworthy of CPAC.”   Brim and other CPAC attendees charged CPAC’s organizers, the American Conservative Union (ACU), with neglecting national security issues, particularly those involving multiple interrelated global Islamist threats.   This national security component, which along with economic freedom and family values comprises conservatism’s traditionally-defined “three-legged stool,” did not receive the attention merited by a still dangerous world.

Interviewed at CSP’s booth in the exhibit hall, Brim attributed to CPAC 2013 a “deeply dangerous” outlook of living in the “best of all possible worlds” famously manifested by Voltaire’s thinker Pangloss in Candide.  Some CPAC panels even had “whether or not we should defend America” as a theme, something that before was “not a conservative question.”  In contrast, Brim wanted CPAC to return to discussing the “broader issue of US leadership in the world” according to Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” formula.

In particular, Brim complained of a “token number” of national security discussions at CPAC.  Indeed, the CPAC schedule reveals that only six panels (3% of the total, including one about military voting) had any relevance to national security, while 68 other panels covered assorted social, economic, and political organizing issues.  Brim wished for 2014 a “much greater number” of national security panels on topics such as border control, asymmetric warfare, cyber security, transnational movements (e.g. Hezbollah), and legal efforts “to de-legitimate drones.”

Almost completely missing from CPAC’s schedule was any discussion of a global authoritarian and aggressive Islamist threat, something disappointing many CPAC attendees.  Ann-Marie Murrell of Politichicks, for example, considered this to be a “real travesty” concerning “our number one enemy.” Questioned after his appearance on the panel “Religious Freedom:  A Winning Issue for Conservatives,” Rabbi Aryeh Spero also felt that CPAC was neglecting “one of the most important issues facing Western Civilization and America.”  Briefly questioned in the hallways, Phyllis Schlafly commented that Islamism is “neglected everywhere.”  Representative Allen West claimed to have not examined the CPAC schedule, but warned that this topic deserved examination because of a “slight, little infiltration” of Islamists in the United States.

Read more at Front Page

Problems in the FBI: Denying Islam’s Role in Terror

by Teri Blumenfeld
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2013, pp. 13-18 (view PDF)

More than a decade after the deadliest attack on U.S. soil, the U.S. administration seems no closer to identifying let alone repelling Islamist terrorists in the homeland. The 9/11 committee used the term “failure of imagination” to explain why the U.S. government was unable to prevent the catastrophic events of that day.[1] But although the enemy was identified at that time, the Federal government and one of its most important branches, the FBI, have adopted a policy of scrubbing Islamism from public consciousness[2]though since bin Laden’s 2011 demise, “at least nine publicly known Islamist-inspired terror plots against the United States have been foiled, bringing the total number of foiled plots as of April 2012, to 50.”[3]

In November 2009, U.S. Army major Nidal Hasan (right) gunned down thirteen of his fellow servicemen at Fort Hood, Texas. Despite clear links establishing his connection to radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (left), the subsequent Webster report spoke only vaguely about generic "violent radicalization" while president Obama referred to the jihadist massacre as "workplace violence."

In November 2009, U.S. Army major Nidal Hasan (right) gunned down thirteen of his fellow servicemen at Fort Hood, Texas. Despite clear links establishing his connection to radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (left), the subsequent Webster report spoke only vaguely about generic “violent radicalization” while president Obama referred to the jihadist massacre as “workplace violence.”

The Obama administration’s response to the 2009 Fort Hood terror attack by U.S. Army major Nidal Hasan offers a vivid illustration of this practice. In August 2012, an independent commission charged with reviewing the FBI’s failure to prevent the attack issued its report, recommending eighteen changes in policies and operations. However, the commission, headed by Judge William H. Webster, upheld the government’s policy of excluding Islamism from the findings, concluding that despite the intelligence failure, FBI personnel had faithfully followed protocols and procedure, and there occurred “no misconduct that would warrant administrative or disciplinary action.”[4]

There appeared to be little appetite for finding the attack’s root causes and its failed detection. Nor was corrective action an apparent priority. Instead, the directive focused on exploring “whether there are other policy or procedural steps the FBI should consider … while still respecting privacy and civil-liberty interests” and “whether any administrative action should be taken against any employee.”[5]

Faulty Protocols

The report scrupulously covers the operational missteps and errors in the FBI’s handling of the Hasan attack, detailing the substandard hardware, antiquated search tools, and inferior communications databases. Failure was exacerbated by lack of procedural clarity between the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Department of Defense, all of which dropped leads and omitted information. It is a frightening read, detailing a course of events within the intelligence communities that should never have occurred post-9/11.

The Webster report ought to have detailed what procedures resulted in Hasan not being flagged as a danger. Instead, it proposed general policy guidelines, some rather obvious and some further expanding chain of command. Of the eighteen recommendations, seven reference policy, five recommend technology and software improvements, and four recommend increasing compliance with the numerous bureaus protecting privacy and civil liberties. Only one proposal suggests operational changes, advising the training of Terrorism Task Force officers on FBI databases. The final recommendation concludes that no administrative or disciplinary action be taken.

Meanwhile, an earlier congressional investigation led by senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, concludedthat the FBI “collectively had sufficient information necessary to have detected Hasan’s radicalization to violent Islamist extremism but failed both to understand and to act on it.”[6] Yet the Webster commission barely mentions Islam in the body of the report.

The underlying justification for omitting this factor is encountered in Part 1, Factual Findings: “The FBI’s report on terrorist acts in the U.S. … identified 318 events … and only 7% of those events were attributed to Islamic extremists.”[7] Statistics such as these are easily manipulated at the D.C.-based Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS) site by selecting specific criteria. Moreover, the Webster report undermines this fact when it lists the successes of the FBI’s terrorism task forces: Of the sixteen examples of major terrorist plots foiled, all were planned by Muslims.[8]

One might also look to the selection of the committee members assigned to investigate an Islamist-inspired terror attack on the U.S. military for further explanation of the omission. None of the investigators and attorneys chosen were experts in Islamist extremism: Douglas Winter is an IT specialist; Adrian Steele, an antitrust and regulatory law expert; Russel Bruemmer, a financial institutions professional; Kenneth Wainstein, an expert in corporate internal investigations and civil and criminal enforcement; and William Baker is a criminal and counterterrorism specialist, and was the only member with a modicum of expertise in Islamism. The commission also consulted with “public interest groups that promote and protect civil liberties and privacy interests.” In fact, the only exhibit appended to the report was a lengthy treatise from the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that has distinguished itself by frequently contesting counterterrorism measures proposed by the government since 9/11 as an infringement on civil rights.

Thus the word “Islamic” is mentioned a mere thirty times in the 173-page report. Most instances have no significance, including eight referring to proper names while seven refer to “radical Islamic cleric” Anwar al-Awlaki, Hasan’s jihadist mentor. Almost half the mentions, ironically, come from Hasan’s own e-mail correspondence. The Webster report wascriticized by senators Lieberman and Collins who worried the “report fails to address the specific cause for the Fort Hood attack, which is violent Islamist extremism.”[9]

The sad truth is that the bulk of the blame for this sorry state must be assigned to guidelines that handicapped agents in identifying Islamist threats. The report holds no agent accountable for failing to follow FBI protocols since the chain of command and protocol is dictated to the FBI by the appointed attorney general. Implementing the Webster commission’s recommendations cannot prevent a similar, future attack while there is a concerted effort coming from the Attorney General’s office—and ultimately the White House—to obfuscate the main motivation, Islamism.

Read more at Middle East Forum

American Foreign Policy and the Tyranny of Old Ideas

aap_3281_MAR04_egyptker2_800x600-450x337By :

The French call it “professional deformation,”  the way institutions filter and shape information and events to fit institutional orthodoxy, interests, and ideology. Professional knowledge then becomes a stencil applied to reality, hiding information that doesn’t fit the institution’s received wisdom, and leaving a neat pattern that is then taken for the whole of reality. In foreign policy, this bad habit abets the failure of imagination that leads to disaster.

Our decades-long bungling in the Middle East is a good example of this phenomenon. For years our foreign-policy establishment has looked on disorder and conflict in this region through a Western paradigm that has downplayed or ignored other motives and beliefs, and failed to imagine worldviews radically alien from our own. Thus this paradigm is based on questionable assumptions, such as economic development, anti-colonialism, and nationalist self-determination as the prime movers of social and political unrest. Western colonial empires and then post-colonial interference, so the story goes, had brutally suppressed nationalist aspirations for autonomy and freedom. Economic development had likewise been thwarted to serve the colonizers’ own interests, leading to poverty and lack of opportunity that feed despair and drive the oppressed to violence. Get the neo-imperialists out, create democratic institutions, aid economic development, and all will be well. Peace, prosperity, international cooperation, and global order will follow.

Read more at Front Page