Blind 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