THE REAL FRONT IN THE WAR AGAINST ISIS

ISIL-Militant-TriumphantBreitbart, By Katie Gorka:

As the war with ISIS heats up, so too does the debate over what it will take to win.  Immediately following Obama’s announcement of air strikes against ISIS, the debate centered on whether air power was enough or whether the United States also needed to commit boots on the ground.

However, in recent days the focus has shifted to the war of ideas.  The now infamous verbal brawl between Ben Affleck and Sam Harris on the Bill Maher show is just one sign that more and more people are identifying the ideology of jihad as the main front in this war.

General Jonathan Shaw, former Assistant Chief of the UK Defence Staff, said in a recent interview with The Telegraph that the war against ISIS will not be won militarily.  This battle must be fought ideologically and politically.  He said the heart of the problem is Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s funding of militant Salafism.  Saudi Arabia has long funded radical mosques and Islamic cultural centers across the globe, and Qatar supports Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, considered the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Al Jazeera, the pro-Muslim Brotherhood news outlet.  But these efforts have now backfired.  According to General Shaw: “This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education, Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really.  And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money and that must stop.  And the question then is ‘does bombing people over there really tackle that?’ I don’t think so. I’d far rather see a much stronger handle on the ideological battle than the physical battle.”

Even President Obama, who spends much of his energy insisting that Islam is a religion of peace and that ISIS has nothing to do with real Islam, acknowledged that ideology might have some role here. In his September 24 speech to the United Nations General Assembly, he said, “It is time for the world — especially Muslim communities — to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of organizations like al Qaeda and ISIL.”  But as Bill Gertz points out in a recent article, in fact the Obama administration is not engaging in the ideological war. They simply refuse to engage the Islamists on the battlefield of ideas.  Gertz quotes Quintan Wiktorowicz, an architect of U.S. counter-extremism strategy, who blames this failure on Constitutional constraints:

While the government has tried to counter terrorist propaganda, it cannot directly address the warped religious interpretations of groups like ISIL because of the constitutional separation of church and state…U.S. officials are prohibited from engaging in debates about Islam, and as a result will need to rely on partners in the Muslim world for this part of the ideological struggle.

But this is disingenuous.  Wiktorowicz is on record in numerous places asserting the need for the United States to tread softly with Salafists in order to avoid pushing them toward violence, even while he acknowledges that in the long run they do endorse violent jihad.

President Obama himself has repeatedly engaged in discussions about Islam, stating, for example, as he did on September 10th when he announced his plan to fight the Islamic State, “ISIL is not Islamic.”  John Kerry has likewise entered the fray, insisting that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, an assertion that has formed the basis of U.S. counter-terrorism policy and training under the Obama administration.  So to say that U.S. leaders cannot talk about Islam is simply untrue.  It is how they talk about that it is the problem.  The bottom line is that they do not see the fundamental clash between Islamism and the principles of the American founding, and as a result, they are fighting this as a purely tactical war.

As Robert Reilly, former director of the Voice of America, has written, “In fact, the U.S. side has failed to show up for the war of ideas. Strategic communication or public diplomacy, the purpose of which is to win such wars, is the single weakest area of U.S. government performance since 9/11.”

Refusing to engage in the war of ideas, whatever the reason may be, is a disservice both to Americans and to the world’s Muslims.  It is a disservice to Americans because unless the United States engages in the ideological war against ISIS, the battlefield will simply keep repopulating itself.  For every fallen jihadist, there will be ten ready to take his place, another hundred willing to fund and support them, and another thousand to silently cheer them on.  So it is not Al Qaeda or even ISIS who are the real enemies, but the ideology that inspires them, and it is this ideology that the United States must oppose, among both its violent as well as its non-violent adherents.

Obama and many others have said this is not our debate, the Muslim world must work this out for itself.  But this is not true.  The ideas of the American founding are as relevant for the Muslim world as they are to the West.  America’s forebears learned over centuries that when religion is allowed to drive politics, it leads to tyranny, oppression and endless conflict.  This is no less true for the Muslim world.  As Ahmad Mustafa writes in today’sGulf News, “Whether we like it or not, we all helped in the rise of this terrorism by manipulating religion. And here comes the simple conclusion: Religion in politics leads only to ills.”  He goes on to say, “The fight for Islam will not be won unless the current alliance partners, and the rest of regional and international powers, come to an agreement on freeing politics from religion.”

As the war of ideas heats up, the good news is that Americans are throwing off the strictures against talking about Islam.  People like Ben Affleck and Bill Maher and Sam Harris are engaging in substantive debate about the nature of Islam and what is at stake. The bad news is that our own leaders so far are not exercising – or permitting – the same freedom.  And until they do, the ideas driving our enemies will continue to thrive.

Katie Gorka is president of the Council on Global Security.  Follow her on twitter @katharinegorka.

White House’s ‘Attempt to Miniaturize the Enemy’ Ignores Dangerous Ideological Link Between Islamic State, Al Qaeda

TheBlaze TV’s For the Record spoke to counterterrorism experts who said the Islamic State beheaded American journalist James Foley in part as a commitment to its Salafi-jihadist end goals, the underlying ideology that bonds dozens of terror groups across the region. (AP)

TheBlaze TV’s For the Record spoke to counterterrorism experts who said the Islamic State beheaded American journalist James Foley in part as a commitment to its Salafi-jihadist end goals, the underlying ideology that bonds dozens of terror groups across the region. (AP)

The Blaze, by Elizabeth Kreft, Sep. 24, 2014:

You may not have heard the terms ISIS, ISIL, the Islamic State or caliphate in the mainstream media until this summer, but that doesn’t mean the violent Islamic jihadist organization is a completely new entity.

A Salafi-jihadi by any other name still beheads their victims.

The headline-grabbing introduction of the Islamic State in the last several months was a calculated rebranding by the Al Qaeda offshoot, with its specific, deadly strain of Islamic ideology dubbed Salafist jihadism. This ultra-strict ideology suggests the Koran must be followed word-for-word and may not be interpreted by anyone else. Rather than the violent uprising of a new breed of terrorist, the Islamic State is simply embracing the strictest ideology associated with the first three decades of Islam.

This is the ideology that connects all terror groups — the Islamic State and Al Qaeda alike — and it’s the brutal mindset they hope to impress upon the hearts of jihadi sympathizers susceptible to radicalization.

It’s an important connection to grasp, since President Barack Obama declared on multiple occasions that “Al Qaeda is on the run and Osama bin Laden is dead,” indicating the primary Al Qaeda threat to the U.S. — the ability to attack the United States within its borders — was removed. But one former federal prosecutor says the commander in chief downplayed the enemy in his descriptions, creating a gap in understanding about the Al Qaeda-spawned organizations that have actually increased in number by 58 percent since 2010.

“What the Obama administration in particular has done … since the president took office in 2009, in claiming to have decimated Al Qaeda, in claiming to have rolled back the terrorist threat, in claiming that we are a safer place than we were before he took office, has been a real purposeful attempt to miniaturize the enemy,” said Andrew McCarthy, who led the prosecution of the ”Blind Sheik,” Omar Abdel Rahman, for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. McCarthy spoke to TheBlaze TV’s For the Record for Wednesday’s new episode, “Total Confrontation” (8 p.m. ET).

That might be the one thing the Islamic State and the Obama administration have in common: They’ve both attempted to minimize Al Qaeda, but for very different reasons. Obama thinks Al Qaeda is “decimated”; Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the current leader of the Islamic State, thinks Al Qaeda moves too slowly.

In this way, the Islamic State likely sees Al Qaeda as its unwelcome anchor rather than as a supporting parent organization. But the two organizations are inextricably linked, even though the Islamic State is attempting to prove daily that it is willing and able to take its tactics in more brutal directions, and is pushing a more aggressive timeline for a full establishment of a caliphate.

Al-Baghdadi’s calculated rebranding of his terror branch this year — first as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant before the condensed “Islamic State” — is a purposeful honing of that vision and message.

“IS was formerly constituted as Al Qaeda in Iraq, but was disowned by ‘core’ al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri in February 2014. This fracture resulted in all-out war between the two groups for the leadership of the international jihad movement,” said Brian Fairchild, a former CIA operations officer. “Some describe it as Al Qaeda 6.0.”

The significant differences between Al Qaeda and the Islamic State could almost be seen as an upgrade for millennial jihadis: they embrace a newer, social-media friendly recruiting pattern and a penchant for self-promotion while focused on immediate results.

But the most important connection between the younger-seeming Islamic State and old-school Al Qaeda is the identifier the Obama administration has vehemently suppressed, both in narrative and in function: the underlying Salafi-jihadist ideology.

“The game-changing rise of the Islamic State and the phenomenal flood of radicalized foreign fighters flowing to the new ‘caliphate’ make political correctness and willful ignorance … of the jihad a recipe for national disaster,” Fairchild wrote in an analysis post on his website.

This means several organizations with different names and leadership charisma remain linked by their underlying mission and jihadist vision. Core Al Qaeda in Pakistan; formal affiliates that have sworn allegiance to core Al Qaeda (located in Syria, Somalia, Yemen and North Africa); the panoply of Salafi-jihadist groups that have not sworn allegiance to Al Qaeda; and inspired individuals and networks all have their own terrifying tactics — the common bond between these various terror networks is their relentless commitment to establishing an extremist Islamic emirate and returning Islam to its purest form.

The Islamic State group is often described as the most fearsome jihadi outfit of all: a global menace outweighing Al Qaeda, but experts interviewed by For the Record argue it’s the underlying Salafi-jihad mindset that fuels the brutal group, and this mindset is the foundational connection between multiple terror networks. (AP Photo/Militant Website, File)

The Islamic State group is often described as the most fearsome jihadi outfit of all: a global menace outweighing Al Qaeda, but experts interviewed by For the Record argue it’s the underlying Salafi-jihad mindset that fuels the brutal group, and this mindset is the foundational connection between multiple terror networks. (AP Photo/Militant Website, File)

“Government recognition of the Islamic religious foundation of jihad is essential for two specific national security reasons. The Muslim dilemma can never be successfully addressed until this fact is acknowledged, and official recognition of the religious nature of jihad would provide American counterterrorism officers with an investigative direction,” Fairchild wrote.

The ongoing feud between the Islamic State and Al Qaeda has only added to the confusion for average citizens trying to understand the connections between the violent groups.

Fairchild said the rivalry between the Salafi-jihadist organizations boils down to a single point: it means more violence will be directed at anyone who disagrees with a strict interpretation of the Koran.

Some experts say the Islamic State’s intense, regional focus to push for the caliphate proves the group is less a threat to the United States than core Al Qaeda, but as experts told For the Record, the end goal of all the Salafi-jihadist organizations remains the same: convert or kill.

“I don’t pretend that ISIS doesn’t see itself now as different from some of the other Al Qaeda groups, but an awful lot of the labeling that’s gone on has been the West trying to miniaturize Al Qaeda into a bunch of little regional and parochial branches that don’t really glue together because then you’d have to acknowledge the ideology that does bring all the stuff together,” McCarthy said, “and more of that has been labeling by us than self-identification by the jihad.”

Fairchild put it bluntly: It doesn’t matter how the U.S. classifies the Islamic State or other Al Qaeda affiliates; if a terror network self-identifies as Salafi-jihadist, they are embracing literal interpretation of the Koran’s commands to wipe out both Muslim “apostates” who disagree with violent jihad tactics, and nonbelievers in other countries.

No matter how the West defines the groups, Fairchild notes, if ideology that links them is ignored or minimized, intelligence groups have missed the point.

“And the enemy always gets a vote,” he said.

For The Record: Total Confrontation

 

TheBlaze TV’s For the Record will take an in-depth look at the Islamic State in the new episode “Total Confrontation,” Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Also see:

The Muslim Dilemma: Allah’s Commands to Wage Jihad

Quran_coverBlind Eagle, by Brian Fairchild, Sep. 18, 2014:

The most important strategic counter terrorist challenge to the United States today is to defeat the ideology of the international jihad movement.  The organizations and individuals that spread this virulent ideology constitute a giant international production line that creates more Salafi-jihadis than the United States can kill or capture.  On September 16, 2014, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who recently stepped down as the nation’s senior military intelligence officer, stated this fact when he responded to a question during a speech at Fort Benning, Georgia:

  • “What this audience wants (to hear) is, ‘kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out, get the t-shirt, go down to Ranger Joe’s [a local military clothing store],…we can kill all day long, but until we understand why there are [such large] numbers of [fundamentalist] believers globally, [groups like the Islamic State] will not be defeated”.

The rabid ideology of the international jihad movement is comprised of two elements:  a Salafi religious belief, melded with the revolutionary Islamist ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Much has been written about the Muslim Brotherhood and its infrastructure globally and in the United States, so this report will focus on Salafism.

Within Islam, Salafism is considered a legitimate Islamic orientation.  It traces its roots to the 13th Century Islamic scholar ibn Taymiyya (1263-1328) and his students ibn al-Qayyim, and ibn Kathir, as well as to the 18th Century Islamic scholar Muhammad ibn Abd-al Wahhab who revived the writings of ibn Taymiyya in the area that would become the Salafi Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Salafism is an ultraconservative form of Sunni Islam.  It is not a creation of al Qaeda or any Islamist terrorist organization.  Quite the opposite is true.  Al Qaeda and all Sunni Islamist terrorist organizations emerged from a Salafi religious foundation.  Salafism is practiced by a minority of Muslims, but that minority numbers over a hundred million.

Salafis proclaim that it is impossible for any man to understand the mind of God, so they regard any interpretation of the Qur’an as illegitimate, and they label any Muslim who dares to question Allah’s commands as an apostate.  They regard the four schools of Sunni Islam as illegal innovations, and insist that the only sources of Islamic authority are a literal acceptance of Allah’s commands in the Qur’an, and a strict literal acceptance and emulation of the life experiences of the Prophet Muhammad.  They call themselves “Salafis” to commemorate the first three generations of Muslims, described in Arabic as “as-Salaf as-Salih” – the “pious predecessors”, who practiced Islam only according to these two sources.  As explained by al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the following linked video, the key concept in Salafism is the Islamic doctrine of Tawheed that, according to Zawahiri:  “must be the ruling authority in every system, constitution and law”; it demands that man be ruled by Sharia law alone because all man-made laws, political ideologies, and government systems are an affront to God.

In intelligence analysis, analysts are required to use primary sources and rigid tradecraft to support their findings and forecasts.  The Qur’an is a primary source, and this report will base its findings on an inspection and understanding of it.

The first point of importance is to understand what the Qur’an represents.  People say “the Qur’an says this, or the Qur’an says that”, but this is incorrect, the Qur’an says nothing.  Allah is the speaker, and the Qur’an is just the medium to report his commands.  The Qur’an is not comprised of stories about Allah, or stories recounting the life of Muhammad, or stories of any kind.  Rather, Islam regards the Qur’an as a compilation of over 6,000 verses revealed directly by Allah to the prophet Muhammad through the archangel Gabriel, in Arabic, over a 23 year period.  Muslims believe that the verses in the Qur’an are in Allah’s active voice – it is not a summation, description, or interpretation by man of what Allah said, it is Allah’s direct word as revealed to Muhammad.

Herein lies the Muslim dilemma.  Because all the jihad verses in the Qur’an come directly from God with no interpretation or intercession by man, jihadis use them to justify their violent campaigns, while non-jihadis cannot question them without being labeled as apostates who must be killed.  Much is made of the fact that jihadis kill other Muslims, but the jihadis state that they are killing apostates as commanded by Allah in revealed verses such as Chapter 4, verse 89 below (4:89).

When it comes to jihad, or killing apostates, Allah is very specific.  There is no interpretation needed, and he never qualifies any of his commands by putting a time limit or geographical limitation on them.  In Allah’s revealed verses below you will recognize many of the atrocities committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), from Islamic supremacism, killing other Muslims, waging jihad, beheadings, crucifixions, taking and ransoming prisoners, and waging jihad against Christians and Jews.  All are commanded by Allah as the following verses concretely demonstrate.

Note:  None of the Qur’anic citations below have been altered in any way; they are all copied verbatim exactly as they appear in The Noble Qur’an:  English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary, published by the King Fahd Complex of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  It is distributed free around the world.  Despite the fact that Salafis believe that nobody can understand the mind of God, the Saudi publisher ironically inserted comments in parentheses within the verses to ensure that Muslims clearly understand what Allah meant when he revealed them to Muhammad.  Again, in order to understand the power of these verses, Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the word of God verbally revealed to Muhammad, in Arabic, through the angel Gabriel.  All of the verses in the Qur’an (which, in aggregate, constitute Sharia law) are considered direct commands in God’s voice.  To ensure that Muslims understand exactly what God meant when he commanded Muslims to “fight in the way of Allah”, the Saudi publishers included the following extensive footnote which leaves nothing to the imagination.  The footnote appears on page 39 in reference to Qur’an Chapter 2, verse 190.  It is copied verbatim, including incorrect spelling and grammar: 

 

  • (V: 2:190)  Al-Jihad (holy fighting) in Allah’s Cause (with full force of numbers and weaponry) is given the utmost importance in Islam and is one of its pillars (on which it stands).  By Jihad Islam is established.  Allah’s Word is made superior, (His Word being La ilaha illaliah which means none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and His Religion (Islam) is propagated.  By abandoning Jihad (may Allah protect us from that) Islam is destroyed and the Muslims fall into an inferior position; their honour is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanish.  Jihad is an obligatory duty in Islam on every Muslim, and he who tries to escape from this duty, or does not in his innermost heart wish to fulfil this duty, dies with one of the qualities of a hypocrite. 

Jihad Chapters and Verses:

  • 8:39 – And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone (in the whole world).  But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do. 
  • 8:60 – And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery) to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides whom, you may not know but whom Allah does know.  And whatever you shall spend in the Cause of Allah shall be repaid unto you, and you shall not be treated unjustly. 
  • 47:4 – So, when you meet (in fight – Jihad in Allah’s Cause) those who disbelieve, smite (their) necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives).  Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity (i.e. free them without ransom), or ransom (according to what benefits Islam), until the war lays down its burden.  Thus (you are ordered by Allah to continue in carrying out Jihad against the disbelievers till they embrace Islam and are saved from the punishment in the Hell-fire or at least come under your protection), but if it had been Allah’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you), But (He lets you fight) in order to test some of you with others.  But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost. 
  • 4:89 – They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another).  So take not Auliya (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the Way of Allah (to Muhammad).  But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold of) them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Auliya (protectors or friends) nor helpers from them. 
  • 5:33 – The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hand and their feet be cut off from opposite sides, or be exiled from the land.  That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter. 
  • 9:14 – Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of believing people. 
  • 9:29 – Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad) (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

The majority of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world are not Salafis and do not live their lives according to a strict adherence to Sharia law and Allah’s commands to wage jihad.  It is precisely this fact, however, that Salafi-jihadis cite to justify their jihad to bring all Muslims and everyone else in the world to “true Islam”, and as the above verses demonstrate, the fact that Allah has commanded them to do so is irrefutable.  As a result, it is grossly incorrect to say that Salafi-jihadis are not Islamic.  According to the above jihad verses, it is evident that they are quite literally practicing Islam as Allah commanded.

Government recognition of the Islamic religious foundation of jihad is essential for two specific national security reasons.  The Muslim dilemma can never be successfully addressed until this fact is acknowledged, and official recognition of the religious nature of jihad would provide American counter-terrorism officers with an investigative direction.  This is especially vital at present to stem the flow of American foreign fighters to the Islamic State.  At present, official policy states that Islamic terrorists have nothing to do with Islam, but are simply “violent extremists”.  But, where does a counter-terrorism officer go to investigate violent extremists?  The answer is, nowhere.

Current American policy ties the hands of counter-terrorism officers and relegates them to investigating already developed plots where individual “violent extremists” are in the process of carrying out a violent act.  This effectively rules out all proactive investigations that would prevent such plots.

If the religious aspects of jihad were acknowledged, however, counter terrorism officers would have numerous options.  They could identify and neutralize Salafi-jihadi mosques as well as Salafi-jihadi imams and Salafi guest speakers from abroad.  They could investigate Salafi organizations that raise funds and distribute Islamist training material and manifestos, and they could identify and counter Muslim Brotherhood organizations and the training programs they employ to instill Salafi beliefs in the next generation of young Muslims.

The game-changing rise of the Islamic State and the phenomenal flood of radicalized foreign fighters flowing to the new “caliphate” make political correctness and willful ignorance of the Islamic religious foundation of the jihad a recipe for national disaster.

Brian Fairchild Bio

 

Salafis Return to Egypt’s Mosques and Media

by Raymond Ibrahim:

In a move that has many anti-Islamist Egyptians concerned, the government has again allowed the Salafis to return to preaching in mosques and on television.

They’re back

They’re back

Soon after the June 2013 revolution in Egypt, which saw the ousting (and subsequent imprisonment) of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic supremacist groups—chief among them the Salafis—were banned from preaching.Salafis are Muslims who profess to follow as literally as possible the teachings and habits of Islam’s prophet and his companions.

The logic was that they were the primary actors responsible for inciting the nation’s more zealous Muslims to attack government targets, Coptic Christian churches, etc.

Accordingly, their access to mosques and other outlets were severely curtailed.

According to Nabil Zaki, the former spokesman for Assembly Party of Egypt, this new  move allowing the Salafis, particularly the Nour party, to make a comeback

is a major setback that will make it that much harder for the government to combat reactionary thinking—and this, after the Egyptian public had made great strides against such thinking….  Permitting the Salafi sheikhs to ascend to the pulpits again revives the bitter experiences of confronting this form of thinking, bringing us back to square one.

Zaki and others also warned that this decision coincides with parliamentarian elections, meaning that the Salafi clerics will again use their influence and religious rhetoric to sway voters towards a more “reactionary,” that is, Islamic, agenda.

Germany’s “Sharia Police”

by Soeren Kern:

According to Burkhard Freier, the director of domestic intelligence for North Rhine-Westphalia, German Salafists are increasingly inclined to use violence to achieve their aims, and many have travelled to Iraq or Syria to obtain combat training.

“The intention of these people is to provoke and intimidate and force their ideology upon others. We will not permit this.” — Wuppertal Mayor Peter Jung.

“In Germany, German law is determinative, not Sharia law.” — Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician Volker Kauder.

Salafist ideology posits that Sharia law is superior to all secular laws because it emanates from Allah, the only legitimate lawgiver, and thus is legally binding for all of humanity. According to the Salafist worldview, democracy is an effort to elevate the will of human beings above the will of Allah.

Muslim radicals have begun enforcing Islamic Sharia law on the streets of Wuppertal, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, the state with the largest Muslim population in Germany.

In what government officials say is a blatant challenge to the rule of law and the democratic order in Germany, groups of young bearded Islamists — some wearing orange traffic safety vests emblazoned with the words “Sharia Police” — have declared parts of downtown Wuppertal to be a “Sharia Controlled Zone.”

The self-appointed guardians of public morals have been distributing yellow leaflets that explain the Islamist code of conduct in the city’s Sharia zones. They have urged both Muslim and non-Muslim passersby to listen to Salafist sermons and to refrain from alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, gambling, listening to music, pornography or prostitution.

A seven-minute propaganda video in German, entitled “Sharia Police: Coming Soon to Your City,” shows a group of men led by a German convert to Islam, Sven Lau, roaming the streets of Wuppertal at night and pressing wayward youth to embrace radical Islam. In some instances, the men physically attempted to prevent young people from entering bars, casinos and discotheques; those who resisted were pursued and intimidated.

Sven Lau chats on the street with locals in Wuppertal, in “Sharia Police: Coming Soon to Your City”.

After local residents alerted German authorities, police stepped up their presence in downtown Wuppertal and also established a telephone hotline to enable citizens to report any possible criminal activity.

Local authorities, however, appear uncertain about how to proceed.

Wuppertal Police Chief Birgitta Radermacher said the “pseudo police” represent a threat to the rule of law and that only police appointed and employed by the state have the legitimate right to act as police in Germany. Sheadded:

“The monopoly of power lies exclusively with the State. Behavior that intimidates, threatens or provokes will not be tolerated. These ‘Sharia Police’ are not legitimate. Call 110 [police] when you meet these people.”

Wuppertal Mayor Peter Jung said he hoped the police would take a hard line against the Islamists. “The intention of these people is to provoke and intimidate and force their ideology upon others,” Jung said. “We will not permit this.”

More than a dozen Islamists between the ages of 19 and 30 are now being investigated on charges of illegal assembly. But the men have not been arrested and police say they have no legal authority to confiscate the orange vests, even though impersonating a police officer is a crime. Wuppertal’s Public Prosecutor, Wolf-Tilman Baumert, says it remains unclear whether the men have done anything illegal. “The mere explaining of religious rules is not a crime,” he said.

The vigilantes are followers of Salafism, a radically anti-Western ideology that openly seeks to replace democracy in Germany (and the rest of the world) with an Islamic government based on Sharia law.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

You Can’t Understand ISIS If You Don’t Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia

n-WAHHABISM-large570By Alastair Crooke, Fmr. MI-6 agent; Author, ‘Resistance: The Essence of Islamic Revolution’:

BEIRUT — The dramatic arrival of Da’ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed — and horrified — by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia’s ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, “Don’t the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?”

It appears — even now — that Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite “fire” with Sunni “fire”; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da’ish’s strict Salafist ideology.

Other Saudis are more fearful, and recall the history of the revolt against Abd-al Aziz by the Wahhabist Ikhwan (Disclaimer: this Ikhwan has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan — please note, all further references hereafter are to the Wahhabist Ikhwan, and not to the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan), but which nearly imploded Wahhabism and the al-Saud in the late 1920s.

Many Saudis are deeply disturbed by the radical doctrines of Da’ish (ISIS) — and are beginning to question some aspects of Saudi Arabia’s direction and discourse.

THE SAUDI DUALITY

Saudi Arabia’s internal discord and tensions over ISIS can only be understood by grasping the inherent (and persisting) duality that lies at the core of the Kingdom’s doctrinal makeup and its historical origins.

One dominant strand to the Saudi identity pertains directly to Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (the founder of Wahhabism), and the use to which his radical, exclusionist puritanism was put by Ibn Saud. (The latter was then no more than a minor leader — amongst many — of continually sparring and raiding Bedouin tribes in the baking and desperately poor deserts of the Nejd.)

The second strand to this perplexing duality, relates precisely to King Abd-al Aziz’s subsequent shift towards statehood in the 1920s: his curbing of Ikhwani violence (in order to have diplomatic standing as a nation-state with Britain and America); his institutionalization of the original Wahhabist impulse — and the subsequent seizing of the opportunely surging petrodollar spigot in the 1970s, to channel the volatile Ikhwani current away from home towards export — by diffusing a cultural revolution, rather than violent revolution throughout the Muslim world.

But this “cultural revolution” was no docile reformism. It was a revolution based on Abd al-Wahhab’s Jacobin-like hatred for the putrescence and deviationism that he perceived all about him — hence his call to purge Islam of all its heresies and idolatries.

Read more at The Huffington Post

 

Saudis Must Stop Exporting Extremism

1534157424 (1)ISIS Atrocities Started With Saudi Support for Salafi Hate

New York Times, By

ALONG with a billion Muslims across the globe, I turn to Mecca in Saudi Arabia every day to say my prayers. But when I visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the resting place of the Prophet Muhammad, I am forced to leave overwhelmed with anguish at the power of extremism running amok in Islam’s birthplace. Non-Muslims are forbidden to enter this part of the kingdom, so there is no international scrutiny of the ideas and practices that affect the 13 million Muslims who visit each year.

Last week, Saudi Arabia donated $100 million to the United Nations to fund a counterterrorism agency. This was a welcome contribution, but last year, Saudi Arabia rejected a rotating seat on the United Nations Security Council. This half-in, half-out posture of the Saudi kingdom is a reflection of its inner paralysis in dealing with Sunni Islamist radicalism: It wants to stop violence, but will not address the Salafism that helps justify it.

Let’s be clear: Al Qaeda, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram, the Shabab and others are all violent Sunni Salafi groupings. For five decades, Saudi Arabia has been the official sponsor of Sunni Salafism across the globe.

Most Sunni Muslims around the world, approximately 90 percent of the Muslim population, are not Salafis. Salafism is seen as too rigid, too literalist, too detached from mainstream Islam. While Shiite and other denominations account for 10 percent of the total, Salafi adherents and other fundamentalists represent 3 percent of the world’s Muslims.

Unlike a majority of Sunnis, Salafis are evangelicals who wish to convert Muslims and others to their “purer” form of Islam — unpolluted, as they see it, by modernity. In this effort, they have been lavishly supported by the Saudi government, which has appointed emissaries to its embassies in Muslim countries who proselytize for Salafism. The kingdom also grants compliant imams V.I.P. access for the annual hajj, and bankrolls ultraconservative Islamic organizations like the Muslim World League and World Assembly of Muslim Youth.

After 9/11, under American pressure, much of this global financial support dried up, but the bastion of Salafism remains strong in the kingdom, enforcing the hard-line application of outdated Shariah punishments long abandoned by a majority of Muslims. Just since Aug. 4, 19 people have been beheaded in Saudi Arabia, nearly half for nonviolent crimes.

M_Id_364974_beheadingWe are rightly outraged at the beheading of James Foley by Islamist militants, and by ISIS’ other atrocities, but we overlook the public executions by beheading permitted by Saudi Arabia. By licensing such barbarity, the kingdom normalizes and indirectly encourages such punishments elsewhere. When the country that does so is the birthplace of Islam, that message resonates.

I lived in Saudi Arabia’s most liberal city, Jidda, in 2005. That year, in an effort to open closed Saudi Salafi minds, King Abdullah supported dialogue with people of other religions. In my mosque, the cleric used his Friday Prayer sermon to prohibit such dialogue on grounds that it put Islam on a par with “false religions.” It was a slippery slope to freedom, democracy and gender equality, he argued — corrupt practices of the infidel West.

This tension between the king and Salafi clerics is at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s inability to reform. The king is a modernizer, but he and his advisers do not wish to disturb the 270-year-old tribal pact between the House of Saud and the founder of Wahhabism (an austere form of Islam close to Salafism). That 1744 desert treaty must now be nullified.

The influence that clerics wield is unrivaled. Even Saudis’ Twitter heroes are religious figures: An extremist cleric like Muhammad al-Arifi, who was banned last year from the European Union for advocating wife-beating and hatred of Jews, commands a following of 9. 4 million. The kingdom is also patrolled by a religious police force that enforces the veil for women, prohibits young lovers from meeting and ensures that shops do not display “indecent” magazine covers. In the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the religious police beat women with sticks if they stray into male-only areas, or if their dress is considered immodest by Salafi standards. This is not an Islam that the Prophet Muhammad would recognize.

Salafi intolerance has led to the destruction of Islamic heritage in Mecca and Medina. If ISIS is detonating shrines, it learned to do so from the precedent set in 1925 by the House of Saud with the Wahhabi-inspired demolition of 1,400-year-old tombs in the Jannat Al Baqi cemetery in Medina. In the last two years, violent Salafis have carried out similar sectarian vandalism, blowing up shrines from Libya to Pakistan, from Mali to Iraq. Fighters from Hezbollah have even entered Syria to protect holy sites.

Textbooks in Saudi Arabia’s schools and universities teach this brand of Islam. The University of Medina recruits students from around the world, trains them in the bigotry of Salafism and sends them to Muslim communities in places like the Balkans, Africa, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Egypt, where these Saudi-trained hard-liners work to eradicate the local, harmonious forms of Islam.

What is religious extremism but this aim to apply Shariah as state law? This is exactly what ISIS (Islamic State) is attempting do with its caliphate. Unless we challenge this un-Islamic, impractical and flawed concept of trying to govern by a rigid interpretation of Shariah, no amount of work by a United Nations agency can unravel Islamist terrorism.

Saudi Arabia created the monster that is Salafi terrorism. It cannot now outsource the slaying of this beast to the United Nations. It must address the theological and ideological roots of extremism at home, starting in Mecca and Medina. Reforming the home of Islam would be a giant step toward winning against extremism in this global battle of ideas.

Israel’s “Long War”

Israeli Merkava tank leaving Gaza staging area August 5, 2014 Source: The Guardian

Israeli Merkava tank leaving Gaza staging area
August 5, 2014
Source: The Guardian

By Jerry Gordon:

Tom Jocelyn, the American counterterrorism expert and Senior Fellow at the Washington, DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies is the editor of The Long War Journal. It is a chronicle of the global Islamic jihad in the 21st Century, now in its 13th year. The global jihad was sparked by what the US State Department has taken to calling “core Al Qaeda”, most dramatically with 9/11. Subsequently it has metatisized driven by the Salafist doctrine seeking to replicate the great barbarism of the first jihad that burst out of the Arabian peninsula 14 Centuries ago. In many instances it has been a long war against indigenous populations, both Muslim and not. In the later case, it has witnessed the self-declared Caliphate of the Islamic State, formerly ISIS, confronting non-Muslims with the choice to convert, be subjugated, leave or be killed. It is sacralized barbarity emboldened with arms and advanced military technology abandoned by fleeing armies. It is financed by extortion and billions in booty, money seized in conquered territories and oil resources.

Virtually alone and surrounded by these Jihadist forces is the Jewish nation of Israel. Israel has conducted a long war of its own over the 21 years since the conclusion of the 1993 Oslo Accords with the Palestinian Authority. An agreement orchestrated by former President Clinton between Israeli Prime Minister, the late Yitzhak Rabin and the late Yassir Arafat, first President of the Palestinian Authority. Arafat went on to ignite the Second Intifada in September 2000 using the excuse that the late Israeli PM Ariel Sharon had made an unauthorized visit to the Temple Mount. That intifada saw thousands of Israeli causalities, both dead and wounded,  that morphed into a seemingly unending series of military Operations. It began with Operation Defensive Shield following the bloody Park Hotel Passover suicide bombing in March 2002 that killed many Holocaust survivors. It culminated in the siege of Arafat in the Mukata in 2004 in Ramallah. A brief hiatus following the demise of Arafat saw Israel build a security barrier in the disputed territories that virtually brought to a close the Second Intifada. The late PM Sharon left Likud to found a new coalition party, Kadima, on the strength of a letter in 2004 with former President Bush giving Israel permission to defend itself with US assurances.

That led Sharon in 2005 to order the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza of 9000 settlers and 10,000 IDF personnel under the misguided pretext that it would make Israel more secure. The Bush Administration was preoccupied in the Long War in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It sought to foist the myopic view that the Islamist world could be transformed into budding western style democracies. This despite the rise of anti-democratic Muslim Brotherhood elements in Gaza, Egypt and other adjacent Muslim countries. They had been kept in check by autocracies supplied with both US and Russian military assistance and aid. Thus, the Bush Administration thought it had a willing peace partner in Arafat’s successor, the long serving PA President, Mahmoud Abbas. The Bush Administration prevailed upon Israel to relinquish its control over the strategic Philadelphi corridor along the Egyptian Gaza frontier installing Fatah bureaucrats. 2006 saw the one vote, one time election in Gaza of a Hamas dominated Palestinian Legislative Council. That  lead to the June 2007 ejection and literal defenestration of Fatah from Gaza, leaving Hamas virtually in control. Israel was forced to engage in a series of air assaults that resulted in assassinations of Hamas leaders, co-founder Sheik Yassin and Dr. Rantisi. Hamas took over the Rafah border with Egypt through which arms, rockets and missiles were infiltrated along with huge infusions of cash from foreign Muslim charities and backers, Iran and Qatar.

In 2006 Israel was embroiled in the Second Lebanon War with Iran proxy Hezbollah supplied by the former with thousands of rockets. That conflict was triggered by a kidnapping of two IDF soldiers followed by massive  Hezbollah artillery rocket barrages. The 34 day War with Hezbollah saw more than 4,000 rockets rain on Israel setting a pattern that was copied by Hamas in Gaza in 2009, 2012 and 2014. In that first clash with Hezbollah saw Israel’s population in the north sweltered in crude shelters or displaced to the central Mediterranean shore. It also sparked the development of technical countermeasures to protect the both Israel’s population and IDF defense. Those developments included the now recognized Iron Dome system of batteries equipped with Tamir anti-rocket missiles, and the less well known, Trophy system, used effectively in the most recent 2014 Operation protecting armored vehicles against anti-tank rockets and missiles. Just prior to the Second Lebanon War, a cross border raid by Hamas operatives kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, holding him hostage until released in an October 2011 exchange for 1,027 Palestinian terrorist prisoners held by Israel.

In June 2009, President Obama made a dramatic speech at Cairo University extending outreach, many believed that emboldened Islamist elements in the Muslim ummah. In December,2011 the self-immolation of a fruit vendor in Tunisia sparked the so-called Arab Spring that erupted in North Africa and the Middle East. Autocracies in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt were overturned. The latter witnessed the ousting of strongman Mubarak with rise of the Muslim Brotherhood that saw the election of one if its prominent leaders, Mohammed Morsi as its President in June 2012. Morsi was backed by a National Assembly  composed of dominate Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties. They sought to impose Sharia law on women, secular elements and the country’s ancient minority Coptic Christian community. Virtually, a year later, Morsi and thousands of Muslim Brotherhood leaders were ousted, jailed and killed during a coup by his Defense Minister Gen.Abdel- Fattah El-Sisi. He was engaged in a counterterrorism campaign against Hamas linked Salafist terror groups in the Sinai.

The overthrow of the Libyan strongman Qadaffi, with aid from the US and NATO, spawned chaos with warring tribal and jihadist militias. That culminating in the Benghazi attack that killed the US Ambassador and three other Americans, a communications aide, and two CIA-contractors on 9/11/2012.

Meanwhile, Israel was concerned about security on its southern border with Egypt in the Sinai. Following cross border attacks near the Red Sea resort of Eilat it constructed a 200 mile security barrier seeking to prevent intrusion, only to be left exposed to rocket attacks. On Israel’s north eastern Golan frontier a raging civil war in Syria, now well into its third year, saw the Assad regime forces ranging across the Golan frontier fighting opposition rebel groups. These included al Qaeda affiliates the Al Nusrah front and the extremist Salafist spinoff, the Islamic State, formerly ISIS.

The latest IDF Operation Protective Edge that began on July 8th with barrages from Gaza from both homemade and Iranian supplied long range rockets covered fourth fifths of Israel. It was triggered by a botched kidnapping by Hamas operatives and that resulted in the murder of three Jewish yeshiva students, whose remains were discovered on June 30th. The Palestinian Authority in late April had announced a unity government with Hamas that scuppered any chances of a possible final stage agreement sought by US Secretary of State Kerry. Hamas is a foreign terrorist group so designated by the US, Canada and the EU. Its 1988 Charter, had sought not only the destruction of Israel but the killing of Jews globally. Israeli PM Netanyahu and his coalition cabinet had no choice but to call up what ultimately would be a massed IDF force of 80,000 elite brigades and reservists to conduct the ground phase of Operation Protective Edge. That culminated in the launch of ground operations in Gaza that ended with the seventh truce on August 5th that is holding for the moment. That truce occurred ironically on the Jewish Fast Day of Tish B’Av commemorating historic catastrophes that have befallen the Jewish people over the millennia.

Go to NER to read the rest with commentary from Tom Joscelyn and Jonathan Spyer

Experts Warn More European Muslim Youth Are Radicalizing

The al Qaeda threat in Turkey

download (54)By KAREN HODGSON, July 8, 2013

1. INTRODUCTION

The threat of al Qaeda in Turkey is significantly understudied, considering the nature and number of targets against which the terror group has plotted attacks, including many targets affiliated with the United States. Perhaps this is because the Turkish police are successful in thwarting such attacks; foiled plots are not as sensational as those that are carried out and cause tragedy. Or it could be because terror in Turkey has historically been synonymous with the terrorism of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which distracts from the al Qaeda threat. It is also easy to dismiss Turkey as an unlikely target for al Qaeda, given its 99 percent Muslim population and currently Islamic-rooted government.

A look at al Qaeda’s targets, which appear to be concentrated on US, Turkish, British, Jewish, and Christian facilities, demonstrates the point. Plots involving American targets include a plan to attack the İncirlik Base in Adana in 2003; a foiled attack on the NATO summit in Istanbul in May 2004 that was to be attended by then-President George W. Bush; and an attack on the US Consulate in Istanbul in July 2008, which killed three policemen. In July 2011, an attack on the US Embassy in Ankara was thwarted just before Secretary of State Clinton’s visit. In April 2013, Turkish police found evidence of a new plot linked to al Qaeda to bomb the US Embassy in Ankara. As recently as May 2013, Turkish police uncovered a plot by the al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front to conduct sarin gas attacks against Turkish and American targets, a relatively new phenomenon which appears to be a result of the spillover effects of the Syrian war into Turkey.

Other targets include suicide attacks on the British Consulate, the headquarters of British HSBC international bank, and two big synagogues in Istanbul in November 2003, which killed some 60 people and injured at least 700; a possible attack on the Pope during his visit to Turkey in November 2006; and a plot to attack the Bilderberg Summit in Istanbul in June 2007. Turkish authorities have also intercepted al Qaeda plans to conduct attacks on churches and clergy in Ankara, Turkish soldiers in Afghanistan after their takeover of the Kabul Regional Command in November 2009, the Turkish parliament building, and an Israeli cruise ship to Turkey.

These incidents suggest that the al Qaeda threat in Turkey persists. In fact, an al Qaeda-linked document found during a recent raid in Turkey said that it was more beneficial for the group to target Turkey than the West. Routine operations and mass arrests of suspected al Qaeda members and sympathizers indicate the presence of a support network for its cause within Turkey. These indications, combined with the recent emergence of jihadists in Syria, and the presence of Al Nusra Front elements along certain parts of Turkey’s 570-mile border with Syria, make this a threat worth examining.

There are challenges in trying to decipher the al Qaeda threat in Turkey, however. Reports based on open sources such as this one have to make analyses based only on the information that is available. The media does not give much attention to thwarted attacks. And the Turkish press does not publish names of people arrested, to protect the privacy of the individuals and investigations; instead, only the suspects’ initials are published. Moreover, many al Qaeda operatives have one or more code names. In addition, many of the details of operations or what they reveal is not reported. Nevertheless, some conclusions can still be made about the characteristics of al Qaeda in Turkey today.
2. WHY IS TURKEY A TARGET? HOW DOES AL QAEDA VIEW TURKEY?

Al Qaeda’s narrative on Turkey suggests that it views Turkey as a Muslim traitor that abolished the Caliphate at the end of the Ottoman Empire, which for al Qaeda marks the start of the “Muslim world’s humiliation and contempt over the last 80 years.” Al Qaeda views Turkey — a country with free elections and a liberal economy, a member of NATO, and a strategic ally of the United States — as a US or Western puppet. Turkey was also one of the first countries to recognize Israel, and takes part in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, which leads al Qaeda to accuse Turkey of “cooperating with Israel” and “killing Muslims in Afghanistan.”

Read more at Long War Journal

PRICE: U.S. terrorist threat growing with new breed of jihadists

Tamerlan Tsarnaev (left) and his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Tamerlan Tsarnaev (left) and his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

By John Price:

The influence of radical Islam is on the rise around the world — and in the United States.

Mosques and Islamic schools called madrassas increasingly are teaching extreme, fundamentalist interpretations of the religion that presumably inspired the Chechen-born suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.

“The way to gain influence among the Muslim community is to control the mosques — to control what people think — to have the right imam preach the right message,” says Steven Emerson, an award-winning journalist and author.

Mr. Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, shared with me shocking insights about the growth of radical Islam in the United States, noting that terrorist network cells have grown rapidly since 1991.

A map painstakingly produced by his nonprofit organization identifies 127 terrorist training and teaching centers in more than 36 states.

It also shows an al Qaeda presence in Ashland and Quincy, Mass., even though bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev reportedly has told authorities that he and his older brother Tamerlan acted alone in the Boston Marathon attack, which killed three and injured more than 180 on April 15.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev reportedly posted videos of radical Islamic preachers on his YouTube page.

Mary Habeck, a researcher in radical Islam at Johns Hopkins University, said that Russian sheik Abdelal-Hamid al-Juhani is an “important ideologue for al Qaeda in Chechnya and the Caucasus … [and] preaches the form of Salafism that Tsarnaev was [allegedly] interested in — one that is usually associated with al Qaeda,” according to a recent report by The Daily Beast.

Salafism and Wahhabism are extreme, fundamentalist interpretations of Islam whose teachings have been gaining adherents around the world. They call for strict enforcement of Islamic or Shariah law under a global theocracy. The strictest adherents advocate the killing of unbelievers, or infidels.

One impetus behind the increase in these radical Islamic teachings is the work of a key U.S. ally in the Middle East — Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has sponsored several charities that have been spreading the Salafist and Wahhabist message, such as the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation and the International Islamic Relief Organization. Both charities have built numerous mosques and madrassas around the world.

In 2004, the Treasury Department accused the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation of having direct ties to Osama bin Laden, and the U.N. 1267 Sanctions Committee has issued a worldwide ban against the charity.

In a 2003 public hearing on terrorism, Mr. Emerson noted that bin Laden’s brother-in-law, Mohammad Jamal Khalifa, was the leader of the International Islamic Relief Organization. The U.N. has since listed the charity’s offices in the Philippines and Indonesia as being linked to al Qaeda.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has financed more than 4,000 mosques and madrassas around the world, with more than 2,000 being built in the U.S. — a 50 percent increase since 2000 and a 100 percent increase since 1990 — mostly led by Wahhabi-trained imams.
Read more at The Washington Times

• John Price is a former U.S. ambassador to Comoros, Mauritius and the Seychelles islands. He currently serves as a resident scholar at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. He is the author of “When the White House Calls,” and regularly writes commentaries on Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

The Salafi Crusades

greenfield121012By Daniel Greenfield

Empires leave behind a mess when they leave. And that mess acts as the building blocks of a new empire. One empire falls and another rises in its place. It’s an old story and it is what we are seeing in the Middle East.

The Islamist resurgence was fed by the collapse of two world powers, the USSR and the US. The fall of the Soviet Union robbed the Arab Socialist dictatorships of their support. The last of these, Syria, is now under siege, by Sunni Islamist militias after becoming an Iranian Shiite puppet.

Egypt’s Sadat had made the move to the American camp early enough to avoid the fate of Syria or Iraq, but instead his successor, Mubarak, encountered the fate of the Shah of Iran. With the fall of Egypt, Syria is the last major Arab Socialist holdout, and if it falls, then the Middle East will have shifted decisively into the Salafi column.

Unlike the Soviet Union, the United States has not actually collapsed, but its international influence is completely gone. Bush was accused of many things, but impotence wasn’t one of them. Obama however gave the Taliban a premature victory with a pullout deadline, ineptly waffled over the Iranian and Arab protests, before eventually getting on board with the latter, and allowed the UK and French governments to drag him into a poorly conceived regime change operation in Libya.

The Palestine UN vote, China’s South China Sea aggression and Karzai’s growing belligerence were just more reminders that no one really cared what the United States thought anymore. America had ceased to matter internationally as a great power. It still dispensed money, but its government had become an inept tail being wagged by Europe and the United Nations.

The loss of American influence was felt most notably in the Middle East, where its former oil patrons took the opportunity to back a series of Salafi crusades, the political Islamist version of which was known as the Arab Spring. The rise of political Islamists in democratic elections was however only one component of a regional strategy that depended as much on armed militias as on the ballot box.

In Egypt, protests followed by elections were enough to allow the Salafis, a category that includes the Muslim Brotherhood, to take over. That was also true in Tunisia. In Libya, a new American client, the government put up a fight, little realizing that Obama wasn’t Putin, but a horrible mashup of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Henry Wallace. Instead of getting American backing, Gaddafi got American bombs, and the Islamist militias, armed and funded by Qatar with Obama’s blessing, got Libya. In Benghazi they repaid the help they received from Obama and Stevens by humiliating the former and murdering the latter.

In Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood’s militias are racing the Al-Qaeda linked militias to the finish line in Damascus

In Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood’s militias are racing the Al-Qaeda linked militias to the finish line in Damascus, while Western pundits prattle reassuringly about a moderate and secular Syrian opposition, which is as moderate and secular as Egypt’s Morsi.

The regional snapshot of the Arab Spring isn’t reform, but a land rush as secular governments affiliated with Russia and the United States fall, to be replaced by believers in an emerging Islamist Caliphate. The Arab Spring isn’t 1848; it’s 638, the Mohamedan expansion at the expense of the ailing Byzantine Empire, a rampage that eventually ended in the Islamization of the Middle East. For Salafis, this is their opportunity to Re-Islamize the Middle East under the full force of Islamic law.

The Muslim world does not keep time by European progressive calendars. It isn’t out to recreate the republican revolutions that secularized and nationalized Europe; rather it is trying to undo the secondhand European effects of those revolutions on the Middle East. The left is celebrating this as a triumph for anti-imperialism, but it’s just a matter of replacing one empire with another.

Muslim imperialism and colonialism were far more brutal and ruthless

Muslim imperialism and colonialism were far more brutal and ruthless, as the Indians could tell you, and if the Salafis have their way, and they are having their way for the moment, it will be the beginning of a new wave of global conquests, with old sheiks using oil money from the decadent West to outfit militias of young men with top quality American and Russian weapons before sending them off to die, while they wait for news of the new caliphate and bed down with their eight wife.

This isn’t an entirely new game. Bin Laden was playing it for decades and Salafi crusaders have been fighting the Ottoman Empire and massacring Shiites for centuries. The notion of them extending their power into Cairo would have been absurd, but for the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the backlash from the efforts to modernize its former major cities which created a modernized Islamist movement inspired by Nazi politics and funded by Nazi money. A movement that we know as the Muslim Brotherhood. It took the Brotherhood a good 80 years, but they finally took Cairo.

The notion of the Salafis threatening the Middle East and the whole world would have been even more absurd if American oil companies hadn’t rewarded their tribal allies with inconceivable wealth while turning a blind eye to their ambitions. And the notion that the Salafi crusade would ever extend to Europe would have been even more absurd, if not for the jet plane and the liberal immigration policies of Socialist governments with aging populations looking for a tax base and a voting base.

The Salafis, despite their feigned obsession with the purity of the desert, have piggybacked their conquests entirely on Western technologies and policies, from the wire transfer to the jet plane to the cell phone to liberal political correctness and Third Worldism. The Salafi crusades were never any match for 19th Century policies and weapons, except in the occasional brief conflict. But they are a match for 21st Century policies and the accompanying unwillingness to use the full force of modern weaponry on people that a century ago would have been considered bloody savages, but today are considered potential peace partners.

Read more at Canada Free Press

Daniel Greenfield is a New York City writer and columnist. He is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and his articles appears at its Front Page Magazine site.

Daniel can be reached at: sultanknish@yahoo.com

Ansar al Sharia Egypt founder ‘honored to be an extension of al Qaeda’

Ahmed Ashush, a high-profile jihadist who has longstanding ties to al Qaeda and who has founded Ansar al Sharia Egypt. Image from Al Arabiya News.

Ahmed Ashush, a high-profile jihadist who has longstanding ties to al Qaeda and who has founded Ansar al Sharia Egypt. Image from Al Arabiya News.

By Thomas Joscelyn

In an interview with the Cairo-based publication Al Shuruq al Jadid  in late October, Ahmed Ashush, the founder  of Ansar al Sharia Egypt, praised al Qaeda and defended the terrorist  organization against criticisms. Ashush also named Mohammed al Zawahiri, the  younger brother of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, as one of the jihadist  leaders who remained true to his ideology during his time in prison.

The interviewer asked, “Does Egyptian Salafi-jihadism represent an extension  of the al Qaeda organization?”

Ashush first offered to “correct the view of the al Qaeda organization,”  according to a translation obtained by The Long War Journal. Ashush  proceeded to call al Qaeda the “House of Honor,” the “Title of Glory,” and the  “Home of the Nation’s Dignity.”

“We must perpetuate [Osama] bin Laden whether alive or dead,” Ashush  continued. “If the revolutions of the Arab Spring were fair they would have  adopted bin Laden as the symbol of heroism and sacrifice.”

Ashush declared, “We are honored to be an extension of the al Qaeda  organization in its beliefs, principles, and concepts.”

The senior Egyptian jihadist went on to describe al Qaeda itself as an  “extension” of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), which has long been headed by  Ayman al Zawahiri and merged with Osama bin Laden’s terrorist group prior to the  Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Ashush named two EIJ leaders, Abu Ubaidah al  Banshiri and Abu Hafs al Masri, as co-founders of al Qaeda. Both served as al  Qaeda military chiefs prior to their demise.

Ashush’s embrace of al Qaeda is consistent with his past rhetoric and  behavior. Since his release from an Egyptian prison, Ashush has repeatedly  praised al Qaeda.

And Ayman al Zawahiri is so fond of Ashush that clips of the Ansar al Sharia  Egypt leader are frequently included in al Qaeda’s videos. A Sept. 10 video  starring Ayman al Zawahiri featured a clip of Ashush praising Osama bin Laden. A  two-part al Qaeda video released on Oct. 24 included nine video clips showing  Ashush and other Egyptian jihadists.

During his interview with Al Shuruq al Jadid, Ashush did not shy  away from al Qaeda’s terrorism.

Al Qaeda is “fighting a criminal enemy,” Ashush claimed, and only the  terrorist group has prevented Muslim countries from being divided “into  mini-States” ruled by “the Jews and the Christians.” The US has authored this  anti-Muslim conspiracy, according to Ashush. “Al Qaeda is the one that stopped  the American scheme aimed at splitting Egypt into four States and dividing all  Islamic countries.”

Ahush’s organization, Ansar al Sharia Egypt, is dedicated to implementing  sharia law and rebuilding the Islamic Caliphate. As he made clear during his  interview, Ashush is also deeply hostile to the West.

“We are at war with the United States and Israel and all the Worldly Rulers  whom they appointed in the countries of the Muslims to carry out their  imperialist blueprint in our countries,” Ashush said.

Ashush has used the name “Salafi Vanguard” to describe his efforts and those  of his compatriots. Ashush described the group as part of the jihadist  “current,” explaining that they chose this name to prevent any jihadist who has  renounced his ideology from speaking for them.

“Those who speak in the name of the current are those who remained firm and  did not change inside prison,” Ashush said. “Sheikh Mohammed al Zawahiri is  among them.”

Read more at the Long War Journal

 

Germany weighs ban on Salafists after clashes

By Elisa Oddone, Alertnet:

BERLIN, May 9 – Germany is considering a legal ban on ultra-conservative Salafist Muslim groups, its interior minister said on Wednesday after violent clashes with the police, one of which was provoked by German ultra-rightists.

Last weekend, Salafists turned on police protecting far-right anti-Islam protesters during a regional election rally in the western German city of Bonn, injuring 29 officers, two of them seriously. Police arrested 109 people.

The far-right protesters had infuriated the Salafists by waving banners showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

There have been similar clashes in other German towns in the past week, including in Cologne, where around 1,000 police were mobilised on Tuesday to keep Salafists and far-right activists far apart.

“We will use all the possibilities at the disposal of a constitutional state to oppose them (violent Salafists) wherever they fight against… our constitutional order,” Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told n-tv television.

“Germany will not allow anybody to impose religious wars on us, neither radical Salafists nor far-right parties such as the Pro NRW,” he said, referring to the ultra-nationalist that clashed with the Salafists in Bonn.

An interior ministry spokesman confirmed to Reuters that the government was examining the possibility of a ban on Salafist groups. “However, there is nothing official yet,” he added.

Friedrich said Germany was home to some 4,000 Salafists, not all of whom were violent.

“Without question the Salafists are ideologically close to al Qaeda,” the minister told the Rheinische Post in a separate interview. “They have the clear political goal to destroy our liberal democracy. We will not allow them to do that.”

Read more

Islamic ‘Adult Breastfeeding’ Fatwas Return

By Raymond Ibrahim:

Back in May 2007, Dr. Izzat Atiya, head of Al Azhar University’s Department of Hadith, issued a fatwa, or Islamic legal decree, saying that female workers should “breastfeed” their male co-workers in order to work in each other’s company.   According to the BBC:

He said that if a woman fed a male colleague “directly from her breast” at least five times they would establish a family bond and thus be allowed to be alone together at work. “Breast feeding an adult puts an end to the problem of the private meeting, and does not ban marriage,” he ruled.  “A woman at work can take off the veil or reveal her hair in front of someone whom she breastfed.”

 

Atiya based his fatwa on a hadith—a documented saying or doing of Islam’s prophet Muhammad and subsequently one of Sharia law’s sources of jurisprudence.  Many Egyptians naturally protested this decree—hadith or no hadith—though no one could really demonstrate how it was un-Islamic; for the fatwa conformed to the strictures of Islamic jurisprudence.  Still, due to the protests—not many Egyptian women were eager to “breastfeed” their male coworkers—the fatwa receded, and that was that.

However, because it was never truly rebutted, it kept making comebacks.

For instance, three years later in 2010, a high-ranking Saudi, Sheikh Abdul Mohsin al-Abaican issued a fatwa confirming that “women could give their milk to men to establish a degree of maternal relations and get around a strict religious ban on mixing between unrelated men and women.” But unlike Atiya’s fatwa, “the man should take the milk, but not directly from the breast of the woman. He should drink it [from a cup] and then [he] becomes a relative of the family, a fact that allows him to come in contact with the women without breaking Islam’s rules about mixing.”

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