An Arab Prince Denounces Islamism

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
December 10, 2014

In a remarkable but thus-far unnoticed address on Dec. 5, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the crown prince of Bahrain (an island kingdom in the Persian Gulf and home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet), candidly analyzed the Islamist enemy and suggested important ways o fight it.

 

 

Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa on Dec. 5, discussing the enemy’s identity.

He has much to teach Westerners (starting with his hapless UK counterpart, Crown Prince Charles), if only we would listen. Yes, some Western leaders speak about confronting the Islamist ideology, but the majority avoids this issue by resorting to euphemism, obfuscation, and cowardice. Most frustrating are those leaders (like Tony Blair) who deliver powerful speeches without follow-through.

 

Tony Blair gave fine speeches on Islamism as British prime minister but did not follow up on them.

Prince Salman, 45 and widely acknowledged to be the Bahraini royal family’s principal reformer, opens his remarks by addressing the inaccuracy of the phrase, “War on Terror.” The time has come, he says “for us to get rid of” a term that dates back to 9/11. “It is a bit misleading, it is not the entirety and the totality of our conflict” but merely a “tool” and a tactic.

He goes on in flawless English to place the current conflict in historical context: “If I think back in the last century, we faced a very different foe. We faced communism and we faced it together. But when we faced communism we understood it as an ideology. Terrorism is not an ideology.”

He notes that “we are not only fighting terrorists, we are fighting theocrats.” As Salman uses this term, theocrats are men “placed at the top of a religious ideology who [have] the power by religious edict to strip someone … of their hereafter – and use [religious power] for political gains.” They are also tyrants, isolationists, and misogynists who will need to be fought “for a very long time.” He scorns them for being “very much like the seventeenth century” and having “no place in our modern twenty-first” century.

He urges us “to discard the term ‘War on Terror’ and focus instead on the real threat, which is the rise of these evil theocracies”; to this end, he proposes to replace “War on Terror” with his formulation: a “War on Theocrats.” This concept, he hopes, will make it possible to “start to put together the military, social, and political – and maybe even economic – policies in a holistic manner to counter this, as we did with communism.” In perhaps the outstanding line of the speech, he states that “it is the ideology itself that must be combatted. It must be named, it must be shamed, it must be contained, and eventually it must be defeated.”

So far, perfect. But Salman avoids the bitter reality that the “twisted” and “barbaric” ideology he describes is specifically Islamic and the theocrats are all Muslim: “this war that we are engaged in cannot be against Islam, … Christianity, … Judaism, … Buddhism.” So, when naming this ideology, Salman dithers and generalizes. He proffers an inept neologism (“theo-crism”), then harkens back to World War II for “fascist theocracy.” He implicitly rejects “Islamism,” saying he does not want a “debate about certain political parties, whether they’re Islamist or not.”

I submit that Islamism is precisely the term he seeks for the enemy ideology; and we are engaged in a “War on Islamism.” Salman understands the problem well –the transformation of Islam into a totalitarian ideology. But he seeks refuge in the pretense that Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism all share this affliction. Better that he – and other forthright Muslims – accept the ineluctable reality that Islam alone contains a totalitarian temptation.

On the positive side, Salman’s remarks fit into a growing trend among Muslim politicians directly to confront the Islamist danger. Two recent examples:

  • In an important conceptual breakthrough, the nearby United Arab Emirates government has placed the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and many other non-violent groups on its terrorism list on the grounds that they engage in incitement, funding, and the other precursors of terrorism.
  • The government of Egypt issued an INTERPOL arrest bulletin for Yusuf al-Qaradawi, 88, the hugely influential spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, for “incitement and assistance to commit intentional murder, helping … prisoners to escape, arson, vandalism and theft.”
 

The Egyptian government put out an arrest warrant for the Muslim Brotherhood’s deep thinker, Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

This new tendency has great importance. As I often say, radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution. Now, we may add another influential leader, indeed a crown prince, to the ranks of those Muslims who wish to find a solution.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2014 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

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