Why do our leaders insist on saying the Islamic State is “not Islamic?”

September 13, 2014
Seal of the new Caliphate

Seal of the new Caliphate

In a more general sense, this is something that’s been happening since the days right after 9/11: American leaders insisting that the actions of jihadists do not represent “true” Islam. It’s utter nonsense, of course; in fact, one can argue that the jihadists are practicing the faith exactly as Muhammad intended, following his example. (Warning, gruesome photos)

And yet our leaders, both under Presidents Bush II and Obama, continue to insist that the actions of al Qaeda and, now, the Islamic State, really aren’t Islamic. President Obama provided the latest example during his address to the nation the other night:

Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL (sic) is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents. [1] And the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.

Why the obfuscation? The leaders of al Qaeda, the late, unlamented Osama bin Laden and his successor, Dr. Zawahiri, were both very well schooled in Islam. The caliph of the new Islamic State himself has a PhD in Islamic Studies. Until some serious Muslim scholars show why the jihadists are wrong in their understanding of the Qur’an, the hadiths, and the tafsir (learned commentary stretching back over 1,000 years)  –which hasn’t happened yet!– it is safe to assume these guys know what they’re talking about.

So why the insistence that a spade really isn’t a spade?

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy hits the mark, I think: governments and intellectual leaders are married to a strategy of relying on “moderate Islamists” –such as the Muslim Brotherhood!!– to tame the fires burning the Middle East and threatening us all. And it is delusional:

There is a reason they are taking a position diametrically opposed to reality.

Obama and Kerry, like transnational progressives in both of our major political parties, believe there are “moderate Islamists” who are the key to stability in the Middle East. Now, the term “moderate Islamist” is contradictory: an Islamist wants government by sharia, Islam’s totalitarian societal framework and legal code. There is nothing moderate about sharia. Those who want it implemented are not “moderates” even if they don’t commit mass-murder to get their way. Sharia is also anti-liberty, anti-equality, and anti-Western. Therefore, we should oppose Islamism just as we oppose other freedom-killing ideologies. That doesn’t mean we need to go to war with all Islamists, but we should work to diminish their influence and we should never regard them as a solution to anything.

Notwithstanding their abhorrence of the West, “moderate Islamists” are regarded by Obama and Kerry as potential allies: people, groups, and, in the case of Turkey, for example, countries that we can work with to solve the problems plaguing the Middle East and overcome our own security challenges. It is thus critically important to Obama and Kerry for the public to believe that (a) all Islamists are not basically the same and (b) there is a sharp difference — a day-and-night difference — between “moderate Islamists” and terrorist organizations like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. If, instead, the public becomes convinced that all Islamists, violent or non-violent, adhere to essentially the same ideology, the administration’s goal of working with Islamic supremacists becomes politically untenable.

(…)

It is vital to Obama and Kerry that the public sees these Islamist groups as having nothing in common with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. And since the latter, like the “moderate Islamists,” define themselves by their adherence to Islam, Obama and Kerry have no alternative: They must deny them standing as true Muslims. That is why they assert that the claim of Islamic State jihadists to be faithful Muslims waging holy war in the name of Islam is fraudulent — and, just as ridiculously, they assert that jihad has nothing to do with violence.

The problem, of course, is that “moderate Islamists” and violent jihadists are bound together by sharia-based Islamic ideology. Yes, they have their differences, but those differences are mainly about tactics; and, to the limited extent they are doctrinal, they are irrelevant as far as we are concerned because the differences do not affect the core Islamist belief that we are the enemy.

(Emphasis added, and be sure to read the whole thing.)

This refusal to face reality has been driving me nuts since September 11th, 2001. This isn’t to say every Muslim is a violent jihadist or wants to impose sharia on us all — far from it. But support for both is far higher in the Islamic world than apologists would like to admit, and the jihadists, whether the patient ones of the Muslim Brotherhood or the action-now crowd of al Qaeda and the Islamic State, have an ideology rooted solidly in Islam’s sacred texts. And it has an appeal to disaffected Muslims and converts to Islam around the globe, as the numbers of people joining the Islamic State shows.

Until we deal with this religious-ideological foundation for jihadism, and until our leaders are honest with themselves and us about the nature of the problem –Islam’s aggressive and totalitarian nature– we will continue to fight with one hand tied behind our back and one eye closed, misdiagnosing the problem and prescribing the wrong solutions.

That’s no way to win a war.

RELATED: Jonah Goldberg on “Is the Islamic State really not Islamic?” Robert Spencer on “Five Non-Muslims Who Know More About Islam than the Caliph of the Islamic State.” Michael Ledeen asks “Why do they join the jihad?”

Footnote:
(1) The Devil is in the details. In this case, the definition of “innocents.”


Irony alert: Eyes finally open, liberals hope for military coup in Egypt

January 30, 2013

From Andy McCarthy’s post at NRO’s “The Corner” blog on commentators rising calls for the Egyptian military to intervene as that country starts to fall apart:

Here’s the really interesting part: The [Egyptian] Left does not have the numbers needed to defeat the Islamists at the ballot box. That is why the latter have won election after election, usually by overwhelming numbers, thus putting Islamists firmly in charge of the government and ensuring passage of the sharia constitution. So what has finally happened: the Left-leaning press in the West is suddenly discovering that maybe popular elections do not equal democracy after all. Maybe there really is something to the notion that democracy is not merely a procedural means by which majorities achieve power; maybe democracy, as us Islamophobes have been contending all along, really is a culture that is committed to equality and respect for such minority rights as freedom of conscience and speech.

The liberal left’s obsession with procedure, seeing elections as synonymous with democracy, is a good portion of what lead to the folly of the Obama administration’s support for democratic-in-name-only “Arab Spring” revolutions in the Sunni Arab world. Instead we cut the legs out from under a friendly but authoritarian regime in Egypt, in the process doing untold damage to 30 years of American policy in the region, and we removed a cruel, crazy, but nevertheless harmless to us dictator in Libya, creating chaos in North Africa. (c.f., Mali)

But, at least, they’d have elections, so all would be good. Majority rule, and all that.

Except that the majority is turning out to be the very groups most hostile to the democracy we hold dear. smiley d'oh!

And now that their Wilsonian unicorn dreams have turned into nightmarish reality, they want a military coup.

Welcome to the waking world, kiddies.

PS: Longtime readers will recall that I supported the liberation of Iraq under George W. Bush, including the effort to help democratic, constitutional government to take root there. I still think it was worth trying –for reasons local to Iraq, I felt it was the one country in the Arab world in which this might work– but, thanks to the Obama administration’s precipitous and premature bug-out from Iraq, my opinion of that country’s democratic future has become much bleaker.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Fruits of the Arab Spring: peaceful, tolerant Muslim preacher pardoned?

August 7, 2012

Maybe, but the web site of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president and that of the preacher himself are doing their best to scrub the news from their sites.

Via Raymond Ibrahim, behold another consequence of Obama “Smart Power” diplomacy in Egypt:

Wagdi Ghoneim, the Islamic cleric whose many terrorist-connections and activities got him exiled from Egypt where, under Mubarak’s rule he was sentenced to do five years in prison, has, according to several Arabic news sites, just received a general pardon from Egypt’s new president, Muhammad Morsi.

Ghoneim is especially renowned for his hate-mongering and constant incitements to kill Christians, Jews, and secular Muslims. Most recently, he praised Allah for the death of Coptic Pope Shenouda, cursing him to hell and damnation—even as many Egyptians were mourning him during his state funeral.

What a sweetheart of a guy. So happy he’s free to return to Egypt to contribute to its future and that of the whole Middle East.

Yeesh.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Fruits of Smart Power: the jihad against Freedom of Speech

April 27, 2012

I’ll bet the Arab liberals, such as Wael Ghonim, who naively thought they could work with the Islamic supremacists are feeling like idiots right about now.

…a shadowy organization calling itself the “Jihad Group to Cleanse the Country” is threatening On TV (1), one of the nation’s leading liberal media stations, which regularly exposes the Islamist agenda. It sent a letter to the president of the station threatening to target its studios and facilities, as well as kidnap some of its top reporters and journalists, holding them for a $20 million ransom or otherwise “liquidating” them. The message further threatened other media and organizations dealing with On TV with “painful and severe punishments.”

The reason for all this? The letter accuses On TV of “seeking to destroy the nation and create chaos to implement the American and Zionist agenda”—or, more accurately, the media policy of the station is exercising free speech, and thus exposing the nefarious agenda of groups like this “Jihad to Cleanse the Country.”

The Obama Administration and the Clinton State Department don’t bear the blame for the rise of jihadism and Salafism in Egypt and elsewhere in the Muslim world, of course; those processes have been at work for many decades. But they are responsible for the over two years in which they formulated no policy for the transition that was obviously coming in Egypt, did nothing to smooth the way beforehand, and then reacted spasmodically when the revolt finally hit. All that Obama/Clinton “smart power” accomplished was leaving us with the distinct possibility of the Arab world’s largest nation coming under Muslim Brotherhood control, with all the inherent dangerous implications for regional stability.

It also serves to illustrate again how utterly antithetical Islam –when practiced as Muhammad intended– is to the values of Western civilization. After all, Muhammad himself had poets murdered who criticized him, while modern Europe has seen several times the assassination or attempted assassination of critics of Islam.

Now that the fires have been lit, this pot isn’t done boiling, yet.

Footnote:
(1) The same TV station reported as criticizing the proposed “Farewell Intercourse” law described in an earlier post.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Nigeria: Religion of Peace leaves people in pieces

April 9, 2012

A double car-bombing at a church kills fifty. On Easter Sunday:

Shehu Sani, the President of Civil Rights Congress based in Kaduna, said two explosions took place at the Assemblies of God’s Church near the centre of the city with a large Christian population and known as a major cultural and economic centre in Nigeria’s north.

“There were two explosions and the casualty figure may go up because some injuries were really critical,” he said on phone.

Another resident of the city, Miss Blessing Audu said that the explosion has caused panic among Christians celebrating Easter.

She said some parts of the church were damaged even as the vibration caused by the explosives were heard in several parts of the city.

An emergency worker on condition of anonymity explained that the bombs were planted in two cars near the church.

At least 50 people were killed amid fears that the casualties may rise from the blasts.

But who could have done this?

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombings, but the BBC reported that Boko Haram recently said it would carry out attacks in the area over the Easter holiday.

The radical group has carried out a series of attacks on churches and other locations on Christmas Day, including outside the church in capital Abuja, where 44 people died.

It is waging a bloody war against the government to seek the enforcement of strict Shariah law and the release of all its detained members.

The imposition of Sharia is the goal of jihad:

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah. But if they cease, then lo! Allah is Seer of what they do.

(See also for an exegesis.)

This isn’t a police matter. This is “jihad fi sabil Allah,” war for the sake of Allah. And it’s going to happen again and again in the borderlands between Islamic and non-Islamic civilizations, whether we leave Iraq and Afghanistan or stay.

They’re on a mission from Allah.

RELATED: Background on Boko Haram, which is an al Qaeda ally.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


TR forecasts the “Arab Spring”

March 30, 2012

From a letter to a friend written in 1911, after the former-president had visited Cairo and Khartoum:

The real strength of the Nationalist movement in Egypt, however, lay not with these Levantines of the café  but with the mass of practically unchanged bigoted Moslems to whom the movement meant driving out the foreigner, plundering and slaying the local Christian, and a return to all the violence and corruption which festered under the old-style Moslem rule, whether Asiatic or African.

Very foresightful, our 26th president. He and Churchill would have agreed.

via Andrew Bostom


Libya: Daffy Qaddafi dead? And the country’s future?

October 20, 2011

Let’s hope so; I can think of few people more deserving of a trip to Hell. What’s certain, though, is that his “hometown” and last major focus of resistance, Sirte, has fallen:

There are unconfirmed reports deposed Libyan leader Moamar Gaddafi has died of wounds sustained when fighters captured his home town of Sirte.

If true, his death, which came swiftly after his capture is the most dramatic single development in the Arab Spring revolts that have unseated rulers in Egypt and Tunisia and threatened the grip on power of the leaders of Syria and Yemen.

“He (Gaddafi) was hit in his head,” National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid Mlegta said.

“There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.”

Mr Mlegta said earlier Gaddafi was captured and wounded in both legs at dawn on Thursday as he tried to flee in a convoy which NATO warplanes attacked.

There was no independent confirmation of his remarks and NATO said it was still checking on the reports, which could take some time to confirm.

“We are checking and assessing the situation,” a NATO official said.

“Clearly these are very significant developments, which will take time to confirm. If it is true, then this is truly a historic day for the people of Libya.”

I’ll say it would be, if true. That sharp-dressing psychopath made the lives of most Libyans a nightmare for over 40 years and was responsible for the murder of Americans and other nationals in acts of terror. In the 70s he was a backer of the Irish Republican Army, as well as the Italian Red Brigades, the Basque ETA, and Peru’s Sendero Luminoso. While it became easy to laugh at his public buffoonery (and here’s the sad truth about his female bodyguards), let’s keep in mind that Muammar Qaddafi was a seriously evil, vile human being. If he has indeed met the fate of Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceaucescu, and Benito Mussolini, let no tears be shed for him.

But what of Libya’s future? This morning I caught a few minutes of Fox and Friends and watched Gretchen Carlson interview a reporter from the New York Times (sorry, can’t find a video link) and almost laughed at the man’s naivete: the Libyans were fighting for “democracy” and the “rule of law,” and that they “want the same things we do.” It was the starry-eyed “they’re just like us” argument that’s almost inevitably lead to cries of “what went wrong” a few years later.

“Just like us?” Did this reporter know of the Libyan Jew who went home to rebuild a synagogue in his old neighborhood, only to be told to flee for his life? Or how the rebels would scrawl the Star of David over pictures of Qaddafi, implying he was a Jew and thus an enemy to the Muslims?

“Just like us,” only without the religious tolerance part.

Did the reporter recall that eastern Libya, the Benghazi area, where the rebels originated, was also a hotbed for Al Qaeda recruiting? Or that at least some influential rebel commanders and their soldiers have fought for Al Qaeda? I think the “rule of law” they’re fighting for may mean something a bit different to them then it does in a Western liberal democracy. (hint: Sharia)

“Just like us,” only without that equality under the law part.

I’m not saying all the Libyan rebels are Islamists nor that there are no liberals among them; they’re not and there are. Libya may yet become a recognizable constitutional democracy instead of another Islamic hellhole. Let’s hope so, for the world would be a better place. But no one can predict a revolution’s future, and I’m not nearly so sanguine and indeed positively chirpy about Libya’s as a “sophisticated” reporter from the nation’s fish-wrap of record.

They’re not “just like us.”

RELATED: Some great photos at The Atlantic on the fall of Sirte. (via Stephen F. Hayes)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 13,786 other followers