Robert Spencer: Do Islamic Jihadis Really Lack A Basic Understanding of Islam?

Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, Aug. 9, 2017:

My latest over at the Geller Report:

Pope Francis and H. R. McMaster and John Kerry and so many other learned imams have assured us over the years that Islamic terrorism has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, and now there is proof, or what purports to be proof, in the form of a study from no less august an authority than the United Nations.

The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism has released a new study claiming that Islamic State jihadis “have low levels of education and ‘lack any basic understanding of the true meaning of jihad or even the Islamic faith.’”

The study found that most of these jihadis “saw their religion in terms of justice and injustice rather than in terms of piety and spirituality,” and that the typical jihad warrior “is most likely to be male, young and disadvantaged economically, educationally, and in terms of the labour market. He is also more likely than not to come from a marginalised background, both socially and politically. Most were unemployed, or underemployed, and/or said that their life lacked meaning.”

This study directly contradicts the results of another new study that was conducted in Germany, which found that “the widespread view that radical Muslims know little about Islam is wrong.”

Which study are we to believe? Well, this one reinforces the common view that a typical jihadi “is most likely to be male, young and disadvantaged economically, educationally, and in terms of the labour market.”

Yet study after study (of a more honest variety) has shown that poverty and lack of opportunity don’t really cause terrorism at all. The Economist reported in 2010: “Social scientists have collected a large amount of data on the socioeconomic background of terrorists. According to a 2008 survey of such studies by Alan Krueger of Princeton University, they have found little evidence that the typical terrorist is unusually poor or badly schooled.”

In the same vein, CNS News noted in September 2013: “According to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, ‘Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.’ One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, “Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.”

The Times Online reported the following as far back as April 2005: “Three-quarters of the Al-Qaeda members were from upper middle-class homes and many were married with children; 60% were college educated, often in Europe or the United States.”

There are innumerable examples of affluent Muslims becoming jihad terrorists. One was Maher “Mike” Hawash of Portland, Oregon, a well-regarded Intel executive who made $360,000 a year at the crest of a highly successful career. Around the year 2000, Hawash began to become more religious, growing his beard long, rejecting the nickname “Mike,” and attending the supremacist Islamic Center of Portland. Ultimately he served a seven-year prison term for conspiring to aid the Taliban.

What’s more, there is plenty of evidence that Islamic State jihadis know the Qur’an well. One Malaysian Muslim said that the Qur’an led him to join the Islamic State. A Muslima in the U.S. promoted the Islamic State by quoting the Qur’an. An Islamic State propagandist’s parents said of him: “Our son is a devout Muslim. He had learnt the Quran by heart.” A Muslim politician from Jordan said that the Islamic State’s “doctrine stems from the Qur’an and Sunnah.” There are innumerable other examples of this.

So this UN study appears to be simply an advertisement for the failed policies that the West is already implementing regarding the jihad threat. They have to keep pumping out propaganda such as this, because their policies are such obvious failures, they can only be shored up by lies.

Paris Terror Attack Targets Police on the Champs-Elysees, Suspect is Yet Another ‘Known Wolf’

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Aug. 9, 2017:

A man previously known to French authorities for radicalism has rammed his car into a bus filled with police on the iconic Champs-Élysées in the heart of Paris this afternoon.

This is yet another “Known Wolf” terror attack. Virtually all terror attacks are committed by someone already known to authorities:

Reports claim that the car exploded upon impact and that the suspect had an AK-47 but was reportedly killed at the scene:

French reports indicate that the still-unnamed suspect was on on the “fiche S” terror list for radicalism and previously known to authorities:

Read more

Also see:

Jihad Horror in Austria

Front Page Magazine, by Stephen Brown, July 19, 2017

It is not a club that anyone would willingly want to join, and Austria certainly didn’t apply for membership.

However the Danube state, which had been spared until now, recently joined the growing fraternity of European countries to experience a murderous jihad attack, whose depth of savagery and hatred has left the country deeply shaken.

The latest “victory” for the establishment of the worldwide caliphate took place June 30 in Linz, the country’s third largest city. Besides being Austria’s first such killings, the double murder stood out for its incredible cruelty, the victims’ age, and possible political motivation.

The jihadist-killer, a 54-year-old Tunisian immigrant identified only as Mohamed H., a resident of Austria since 1989, first slit the throat of Hildegard Sch., 85, and then stabbed and beat her husband, Siegfried, 87, to death in their home.

Before leaving, the “holy warrior” then burned the dead couple’s residence down over them. Firemen discovered the murder victims’ bodies when extinguishing the blaze.

“This man caused a bloodbath in the apartment – this was obviously a proxy war,” said the couple’s son, who was not identified.

After the killings, Mohamed H. told police he considered drowning himself in the Danube but decided to give himself up instead. He then went to the police station where he said he waited his turn to report the double murder.

Mohamed H. gained entrance to the old couple’s home because he regularly delivered groceries there from his wife’s vegetable store.

The Tunisian was so well known to the elderly Austrians, and relations so friendly, that the couple had given Mohamed’s daughter, and only child, $225 as a high school graduation present.

But on the day of their deaths, the couple’s friendly deliveryman arrived not only with their groceries, but also with “a belt, a wooden stick, a knife, as well as a can of gas” hidden under his apron. Police called the murders “carefully planned.”

Tragically, what the elderly couple did not know was that behind Mohamed M.’s familiar, amiable smile now lurked a   jihadist killer who had sworn loyalty to the Islamic State (IS) and its leader, al-Baghdadi. The Tunisian had “praised… diverse IS horrors” on social media, exhibiting a radicalization trend “right up to the last entry,” although there is no evidence he ever fought for the terrorist entity.

One newspaper report states residents in his neighborhood remember him wearing a head covering, kaftan and beard before he went back to Tunisia in 2014, where, authorities believe, he was radicalized. He returned in 2015, clean-shaven and wearing Western clothes but noticeably more “difficult and aggressive.”

Several reasons have been offered as to why Mohamed M. chose the elderly couple as his target in Europe’s latest jihad attack.

One is that the murderer believed the elderly pair, besides being defenseless, were supporters of the anti-migrant Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), which had almost won the last federal election.

“The police say in the past years he settled more and more into the role of victim,” the newspaper, Kronen Zeitung, stated. “As a Muslim and foreigner, he felt discriminated against and blamed the FPO.”

The couple’s son believes he may also have been a target for the Tunisian’s homicidal rage. Although he never personally knew his parents’ murderer, he is a lawyer for the FPO, which currently rules Upper Austria, the province containing Linz.

“He had asked my mother whether I could come for a talk with him in my parents’ apartment,” said the son. “Obviously, he definitely wanted me there.”

The head of Upper Austria’s FPO government, Manfred Heimbuchner, believes the murders were political and that the son was certainly a target.

“This deals with a politically motivated murder…,” said Heimbuchner. “One must imagine. The criminal murdered the couple because they had at home a photo of their son with me. That is just insanity!”

Heimbuchner also confirmed the murdered couple did not have a close relationship with party; and the son was not a party follower.

One report suggested Mohamed H.’s targeting alleged FPO supporters may have had more prosaic reason than immigration policies. In 2012, a FPO party representative had reported the Tunisian to police for cruelty to animals. He was later convicted on the charge.

But while political motivations may, or may not, have formed in whole or in part the reasons for Mohamed H.’s murders, they do not account for his actions’ sheer savagery. To understand this, one has to understand how Islam’s” holy warriors” view the conduct of jihad itself, whose precepts Mohamed H., as a sworn jihadist, would have been following.

These are probably best summed by Pakistani Brigadier General S. K.. Malik in his book, The Quranic Concept of War, whose forward was written by a Pakistani former chief of army staff and president of Pakistan, General Zia-Ul-Haq.

“The Koranic military strategy,” Malik writes, “thus enjoins us to prepare ourselves for war to the utmost in order to strike terror into the hearts of the enemy…In war, our main objective is the opponent’s heart or soul…”

Mohamed H’s slaughter of the helpless, old couple follows this strategy perfectly. It shook Austria to its very core.

Many Austrians, such as one provincial parliamentarian for Upper Austria, are bewildered as to “why a man we took into our country 30 years ago develops a hatred of this kind for our society and sympathy for the IS.”

Journalist Ani Cyrus, a former Iranian Muslim, may have answered this in her recent video, “Non-Devout Muslims and the Threat They Pose” (see video here). In it, she blames the Koran for apparently “friendly Muslims that seem to be your lovely, caring neighbor” becoming heartless killers.

“The toolbox of the Koran is giving you enough tools that when it is convenient for them to use them, well, it’s party time!” said Cyrus. “You’re talking about a book that freely allows the followers of it to kill.”

Besides the bloody murders, what has also angered Austrians, as well as other people in Europe, is the behavior of their security authorities and politicians after the fact.

In what has become almost standard practice, the police immediately denied the slaughter in Linz had an “Islamic background” – until overwhelming evidence was soon produced showing otherwise.

Security authorities also said they did not know anything about Mohamed H. and his radicalization. That he was unknown to them.

Again, another false statement. An Austrian newspaper quickly found a neighbor who had reported the Tunisian as a possible “IS sleeper” two years earlier to a government office combating National Socialist (Nazi) activities. (A name change is perhaps in order here. The office’s title should also include Islamo-Fascism.)

Authorities then questioned Mohamed H., but classified him as “non-dangerous.” Police say this was due to “a clerical error.”

Fourteen suspected Islamic radicals were arrested in Vienna and Graz last January. At least one other Islamic attack was also foiled this year. And with an estimated 300 Austrians currently fighting for the IS with a right to return home, Austria will not be able to resign from its new club any time soon.

Linda Sarsour And Her “Mentor”

Center for Security Policy, by Alex VanNess, July 7, 2017:

Linda Sarsour addressed the 54th ISNA Convention over the Fourth of July weekend.  Her speech is being criticized widely for calling on Muslims to wage “Jihad” against President Trump.

While this is justifiably being criticized, it is not the most unnerving aspect of her speech.  It is all too easy for Sarsour and her supporters to brush aside her Jihad remark by claiming she simply meant to protest and not wage a holy war.

The most controversial remarks in her 22 minute long speech came within the first 2 minutes of her speech where she gives a shout out to her “favorite person in this room” Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who Sarsour calls him a “mentor, motivator, and encourager” of hers.

But why is having Siraj Wahhaj as a “mentor” controversial?

It is controversial because Wahhaj appeared on a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

report on Wahhaj by The Investigate Project on Terrorism notes:

“Wahhaj provided testimony during the trial to defend the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman, the former leader of the Egyptian terrorist organization, Gama’a al-Islamiyya. Rahman was found guilty of “conspiracy to murder President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt,” “solicitation to attack a military installation,” and of bombing conspiracy related to a plot to bomb the New York FBI headquarters along with tunnels and other landmarks. During Wahhaj’s testimony, he called the Sheik a “respected scholar,” also calling him “bold, as a strong preacher of Islam.”

In addition to these ties, Wahhaj has made extremist statements while lecturing at the Islamic Association of Northern Texas. In November of 1991, Wahhaj advocated the establishment of an Islamic State in the U.S.”

Following the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, Wahhaj gave a sermon in which he advocatedfor armed Jihad in streets for the benefit of Islam.

“We don’t need to arm the people with 9mms and Uzis. You need to arm them with righteousness first. And once you arm them with righteousness first, then you can arm them (with weapons).”

“Even if we go to war, brothers and sisters — one day we will, believe me — that’s why you’re commanded (to fight in) jihad.”

Wahhaj has also stated that Muslims should “get involved in politics because politics are a weapon to use in the cause of Islam.”

We can see now that Sarsour has been a glowing mentee. Sarsour, who is being groomed as a leader of the Democratic Party, has worked hard to promote Islam and Sharia law in America.

Sarousr has describing Sharia as “reasonable” and uses utopian terms to promote Sharia.

She whitewashed Saudi misogyny.

She also claims that Mohammed was “a human rights activist,” “racial justice activist,” “environmental justice activist,” “animal rights activist,” A “feminist in his own right” and the “first victim of Islamophobia.”

This is not the first time Sarsour has embraced objectionable figures.

She attended a Jewish Voice for Peace summit, where she sat alongside PFLP terrorist, Rasmea Odeh, gave her a warm embrace, and while speaking Sarsour said she was “honored and privileged to be here in this space, and honored to be on this stage with Rasmea.”

Image via Legal Insurrection

She associates with the organization Al-Awda and its co-founder (an open and unapologetic Hezbollah supporter) Abbas Hamideh. While having recently distanced herself a bit from Al-Awda,  Sarsour has attended numerous rally’s sponsored by Al-Awda; promoted and solicited donations for their events; spoke at their rallies. She has never renounced the organization.

Sarsour and Hamideh have playfully joked around with each other about the Jewish connection to Israel.

She has also called for people to show solidarity with Muhammad Allan, a member of the terrorist group, Islamic Jihad.  Allan has a history of recruiting suicide bombers.

How long will the political left put up with those who hobnob with terrorism?

Alex VanNess is the Director of the Middle East Peace and Security Policy at the Center for Security Policy.

Also see:

Swedish Spy Chief Admits ISIS Sympathizers Have Increased Tenfold to 2,000

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, July 4, 2017:

The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem.

That should be what advisers to the Swedish prime minister should be whispering in his ear constantly, in case he fails to respond to comments made by his spy chief yesterday.

The National (UAE) reports:

Sweden is home to at least 2,000 ISIL sympathisers who are believed to have been radicalised over the internet, the country’s spy chief revealed on Monday.

Anders Thornberg, who heads the domestic intelligence agency Säpo, said the number of ISIL loyalists had increased from a suspected 200 in 2010; a 10-fold leap.

“We have never seen anything like it before,” Mr Thornberg told the Swedish news agency TT. “We would say that it has gone from hundreds to thousands now.

“This is the ‘new normal’ … It is an historic challenge that extremist circles are growing,” he said.

He also reported that Swedish security police are receiving 6,000 intelligence tips on Islamist extremist activity every month.

Last month I reported here at PJ Media that jihadist arrests in the EU had doubled last year from 2015:

And since 2007, terrorism in OECD countries has skyrocketed a whopping 900 percent:

The scope of the Islamist terror problem in Europe — as the Swedish spy chief now admits — is without precedent.

Another remarkable element to this story is that just a few months ago President Trump observed that Sweden has having such issues. The Swedish prime minister responded with mocking:

Reportedly, more than 150 former ISIS fighters have returned to Sweden. And what is the Swedish government’s response? Finding them jobs:

And they’ve even gone so far as to give these former ISIS fighters new identities.

Sweden is hardly alone in confronting the returning ISIS fighter issue.

And the cold, hard reality is that the problem may now be unmanageable.

Read more

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Former UK Intel Official Says 23,000 Jihadists Living in Britain Is Probably ‘the Tip of the Iceberg’

PJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, JUNE 28, 2017:

Colonel Richard Kemp is a former senior UK intelligence official and former chairman of the Cobra Intelligence Group who briefed the British government on secret intelligence.

Speaking with BBC Newsnight this week, Kemp said that the 23,000 jihadists MI5 officials have publicly admitted are living in the UK “may be the tip of the iceberg”:

The 23,000 number was reported in the days following the Manchester arena attack last month that left 22 victims dead and 250 injured.

The Times reported:

Intelligence officers have identified 23,000 jihadist extremists living in Britain as potential terrorist attackers, it emerged yesterday.

The scale of the challenge facing the police and security services was disclosed by Whitehall sources after criticism that multiple opportunities to stop the Manchester bomber had been missed.

About 3,000 people from the total group are judged to pose a threat and are under investigation or active monitoring in 500 operationsbeing run by police and intelligence services. The 20,000 others have featured in previous inquiries and are categorised as posing a “residual risk”.

Those MI5 figures were confirmed by UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd the following day on Andrew Marr’s BBC show.

But Kemp’s stunning admission that these figures on the number of jihadists may be vastly understated lends evidence to the claim that the extent of the threat in the UK may exceed authorities’ ability to deal with it.

The pace of terror attacks in the UK this year has been staggering.

Notwithstanding that arrests have been taking place at a blistering speed:

Top among the terror concerns are those returning foreign fighters who have traveled to terror zones, most recently Syria and Iraq, to fight with terror organizations:

Read more

Yes, It Is All About Islam

Front Page Magazine, by Bruce Bawer, June 23, 2017:

Douglas Murray, whose book The Strange Death of Europe I applauded here the other day, has called him “one of the great heroes of our time.” I fully agree. His name – or, at least, his pen name – is Ibn Warraq, and he’s the author of such important and eloquent works as Why I Am Not a Muslim (which I wrote about here eleven years ago), Why the West Is Best (which I reviewed here five years ago), and What the Koran Really Says. Born in India and educated in Britain, Warraq began criticizing Islam in print during the 1988-89 Satanic Verses controversy, when he was appalled by the failure of celebrated writers and intellectuals to defend Salman Rushdie’s freedom of speech. Warraq, who was then based in France and now lives in the U.S., has been publishing books on Islam ever since, and is one of the essential contemporary authors on the subject, courageously telling ugly truths about a religion – an ideology – that has been swathed in pretty lies.

His new book, The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology, is (if it doesn’t sound a bit odd to put it this way) a godsend – a comprehensive answer to every one of those duplicitous politicians, lily-livered journalists, and slimy professional “experts” and “consultants” who tirelessly insist that Muslim terrorists have hijacked a peaceful faith. Some of us don’t need to be told that this “Religion of Peace” stuff is arrant nonsense; but innumerable apologists continue to absolve Islam itself of guilt for violent terror, and tens of millions of people in the West continue to buy their bull – some because they are themselves so pure of heart that they simply can’t believe any religion would actually preach violence, and others because admitting the facts would make them feel like bigots.

Many apologists insist that violence in the name of Islam is a relatively recent development; Warraq makes it crystal clear that it’s prescribed in the Koran and has been practiced from the outset. Since 9/11, apologists have attributed Islamic terrorism to such “root causes” as poverty, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. foreign policy, Western imperialism, and the Crusades – anything but Islam itself. About this determination to formulate sophisticated answers to a question that the terrorists themselves have already answered repeatedly and definitively, Warraq observes that “[t]he centrality of religion in the Islamic world is something that Western liberals fail to understand or take seriously.” This isn’t just true; it’s one of the tragic realities of our time.

One by one, Warraq expertly shreds every one of the apologists’ fake “explanations” for terror. Imperialism? Warraq reminds us that Muslims, too, have been imperialists, destroying “thousands of churches, synagogues, and temples…in a most brutal fashion” and exterminating “whole civilizations such as the Pre-Islamic cultures of Iran (Zoroastrians) and the Assyrians.” Saudi Arabia, homeland of fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers, “was never colonized by the West” but was, rather, part of an Islamic empire – namely the Ottoman Empire, governed by Turks from Constantinople. If those Saudis were spurred by a rage at empire, why not fly a plane into the Hagia Sophia?

No, as Warraq demonstrates, there’s no way around it: Islamic terrorism is jihad. And jihad is a founding Islamic concept. The apologists, of course, have their own line on this one, too: under true Islam, they say, the word jihad denotes an inner spiritual process, and has nothing to do with violence; when terrorists use the word to describe their depredations, they’re distorting the word and the faith. Warraq, citing a wide range of scholarly sources – both Western and Islamic, some recent and some dating back to the eighth century – puts that fulsome falsehood firmly in its place: yes, jihad can be used to mean an inner struggle, but in the Koran and Hadith, and in key texts ever since, it always refers, above all, to the sacred obligation to advance Islam by means of armed action against unbelievers.

Warraq also gives us a sweeping – but succinct – lesson in the history of jihad, beginning with Muhammed’s own conquests, then moving on to ninth- through eleventh-century Baghdad, seventeenth-century Constantinople, eighteenth-century Saudi Arabia, and so on, right up to today’s Muslim Brotherhood. Of course the apologists (Barack Obama among them) would have us believe that the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate and non-violent; Warraq establishes that throughout its existence, to the contrary, the Brotherhood has preached Holy War, period. Then there’s the Nazis. Some apologists argue that Islam was just peachy until some of its leaders got chummy with Hitler and were infected by his love of violent world conquest and Jew-hatred; Warraq establishes that if Islamic higher-ups cozied up to the Nazis, it was because their totalitarian, exterminationist doctrines were already extremely similar.

Warraq also introduces us to a 1979 book that has been called “the most influential treatise on why Jihad is necessary and how it must be fought.” Written by one Brigadier S. K. Malik, The Qur’anic Concept of War won the endorsement of no less a jihad enthusiast than the late Pakistani president Zia al-Haq. A brief sample: “The Quranic military strategy…enjoins us to prepare ourselves for war to the utmost in order to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies….[The Koran] gives us a distinctive concept of total war. It wants both the nation and the individual to be at war ‘in toto,’ that is, with all their spiritual moral and physical resources.” In addition to Malik’s tome, Warraq reads (so we don’t have to) several other vile works that have also inspired the suicide-vest set – a veritable library of holy hate.

Warraq sums up his book’s point as follows: “jihad is essential for the spread of Islam, and it is a duty incumbent on all Muslims until Islam covers the whole surface of the earth.” And what’s essential for the West’s survival is for us infidels to face up to the fact that nothing is more integral to Islam than that monstrous duty. If Islamic terror is, as apologists assert, a reaction to some action by the West, that action is, as Warraq points out, nothing more or less than our failure to “accept the Koran as a blueprint for a model society.” However much the talking heads may insist otherwise, it was Islam’s explicit call for jihadist conquest, and nothing else, that motivated 9/11 and 7/7, Atocha and Nice, Bataclan and Ariana Grande. If we insist on clinging to lies about these atrocities – and thereby lose our freedom – it won’t be because Ibn Warraq hasn’t nobly and bravely shouted the truth from the rooftops.