Thursday, January 31, 2008

What You Don't Know Could Kill You (Updated, Argued & Bumped)

Western governments are failing in their duty to define "radical Islam." Defining "radical Islam" is the key to designing a strategy to address the problem and to protecting those Muslims who would fight against "radicalization." Failure to do so is at least problematic if not existential.


It is a truism that the key to solving any problem - or defeating any threat - is knowledge. And one of the major threats we face is the specter of Islamic terrorism, or Islamofacism, Islamic radicalism, Jihadism - pick your favorite descriptive term. They have all been bandied about by our government. They are all only partially true. And if we are ever going to actually address "radical Islam," our political leaders need to define it. This has long been one of the critical themes I hammer upon in this blog. And now one of the world's preeminent experts in radical Islam and their terror tactics, author and Professor Walid Phares, has issued a public call for precisely that. This from Prof. Phares writing in the CounterTerrorism Blog, who called on the President to:

. . . define the enemy, clearly and strategically. For the changes in definitions over the past seven years have left the public in quest for a definitive knowledge about who are we fighting and why. The last year of the Presidency must help the next White House to engage in successful a war of ideas instead of a continuous search for the identity of the enemy.

See here.

The reason our government has been loathe to define "radical Islam" is that such definition would begin and almost end with our "ally," Saudi Arabia. It is Saudi Arabia's poisonous Wahhabi / Salafi Islam that defines "radical Islam." Whatever excuse there may have been in 2001 not to understand the nature of threat from Salafi Islam, none exists today. Unfortunately, our government to this date continues to speak of this problem in euphanisms.

Without identifying the source of "radical Islam" and shining a light on all of the relevant aspects of the source, we are incapable of developing a coheren national and international strategy to that will meet and defeat this cancer. Identifying the source of radical Islam and explaining about it to America is a fundamental duty of our government. And on this, our government has failed.

This failure has other significant ramifications. It leaves our populace without the knowledge to distinguish between a particularly dangerous ideology and a benign one - both of them being interspersed among us and throughout the world. This will lead to a a tendency to lump all Muslims under one banner. Most critically, it will marginalize and cut off from support those Muslims who would fight against the Salifization of their religion. And indeed, as this is in large measure an ideological struggle, it it the fight they will wage that will determine the future of Islam. We need to insure they win over Salafi Islam.

And there is yet another critical aspect to the the governments use of euphanisms to describe "radical Islam." It falsely implies that radical Islam is merely an anamoly. By doing that, our government provides cover for Wahhabi / Salafi Islamists to continue to spread their ideology free of criticism and publicity. This only allows the problems created by that Salafi Islam to fester and metasticize. It will only compounds the costs that we will eventually have to pay if and when things get to a point where some action must be taken against these purveyors of hatred, death and triumphalism.

I posted below a long article by Tawfiq Hamid, a former terrorist in an al Qaeda type organization, who details how he was seduced by Salafi Islam into becoming a terrorist. If you have not read it, do so. At any rate, his concluding paragraph is an appropriate warning on this issue of identifying the cause of terrorism:

The civilized world ought to recognize the immense danger that Salafi Islam poses; it must become informed, courageous and united if it is to protect both a generation of young Muslims and the rest of humanity from the disastrous consequences of this militant ideology.

Tawfiq Hamid (emphasis mine)

Update: This exchange from an interview of Walid Phares by Hugh Hewitt:

HH: . . . [I]s it possible to turn the Salafist edge back on itself? Is it possible to win that war of ideas? Or just do we have to wait and watch it run its very destructive and horrible course?

WP: No, absolutely, we can begin the war or ideas. At this…we have not. And then we can, with time, turn the tide and win it. But we have not even began the real steps such as discussing it openly in Congress, have the right legislation for it, and have huge funding that is going in all directions, but not in the right directions, that is to fund the NGO’s, women’s movements, students movements, and all the intellectuals who in the Arab and Muslim world, including in the Diaspora, are completely anti-Salafist, pro-democracy. We have not begun to talk to them.

Update: Dr. Sanity posted the other day about "The Conclusions We Dare Not Face." It asks, what are the ramifications if we conclude that Islam is incompatible with freedom and democracy. And, clearly, the ramification is, at its logical conclusion, an existential war of genocide. As she says:

It may eventually be the case that the West becomes convinced that Islam is unable to change and is completely incompatible with freedom. We are well on our way to that eventuality, sadly. Time and again there have been opportunities for the moderates in the religion to pull it back from its suicidal historical course.

Personally, I am not convinced that Islam can change, but I hope it can, given time.

This goes to the heart of what I have attempted to articulate in my post above. There are certain sects of Islam that are, as they exist today, completely incompatible. Salafism and Khomeinist Shia'ism. At any rate, I wrote a response to her post and responded to additional comments which I reproduce here, as they are a detailed explanation of why it is an absolute necessity that our government identify the source of radical Islam immediately.


Response to Dr. Sanity's Post:

I think this misses the point in a critical way. All of the things by which we name terrorism - radical Islam, political Islam, Islamofacism, - they all come back to Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi / Salafi Islam. That is the heart and soul of terrorism. If you have not read it, I would recommend Tawfiq Hamid's story [posted here] of how he became a Salafi terrorist and his own thoughts of Saudi Arabia's Salafism as the root and branch of "radical Islam"

Unfortunately, while we have ignored it over the past century, Salafism has slipped the hinterlands of Saudi Arabia and is ever increasing its influenced over most other sects. Salafism now defines the majority of Pakistani's Deobandis and its interpretations even crossed over into Khomeini's brand of triumphalist Shia Islam and the politics of velyat-e faqh. Salafism is what defines Hamas and every other Sunni terrorist organization you will find. And it defines the Muslim Brotherhood.

You can be a devout Muslim and, if you have not been infected with Salafism, there is a very strong chance that you will not be a "radical" unable to live peacefully and gainfully in a democracy and with respect for the rights of others.

The tremendous disservice we do to all of Islam is to hide the source of terrorism behind euphanisms. Most Muslims look in horror at what is happening in their ranks - all of which can be traced to Salafi / Wahhabi Islam. Trace the money from Saudi Arabia and every cent you will see spent is either going to export Salafi Islam or to buy freedom from criticism. It has been incredibly effective at both. Every foreign country in which a madrassa is built by Saudi Arabia, they are preparing to turn out a generation of Salafitsts - often completely counter to the much more peaceful brand of Islam historically extant in that country.

Visit the Center For Islamic Pluralism [here] and you will see that they are far more vocirerous about the Wahhabi / Salafis than any Western politician.

At any rate, unless and until we acknowledge this fact, the problem will just get worse and Salafism, funded by Saudi Arabia's petrodollars, will continue to displace the other sects of Islam and ever more threaten the West. This problem can be solved - messily - now. It can be solved - bloodily - later. One of the two will happen. The first step is for our government to start telling the nation precisely who it is that wants to kill us and enforce their will by the sword. It will piss off the Saudi's to no end. But to not do so is going to lead to much greater problems down the road.


In response, one individual wrote that he accepted my analysis of the problem, but not my proposed actions. He posited that the onus was not on non-Muslims in the West to define radical Islam and fight the ideological battle for the soul of Islam, but rather it was the responsibility of Muslims themselve. The following was my response to that argument:

For Muslims to stand up to Salafi Islam is to risk threat of death. That is actually a part of Salafi dogma - death for apostacy, a crime which includes questioning Salafi interpretations of the Koran. There are a few people doing it - Tawfiq Hamid, Zhudi Jasser, David Suleyman Schwartz, and Mansoor Moghal being the most prominent. They are shouting it to the mountaintops. It will make no difference until our government does its job of defining the threat for we, the people. We have every bit as much stake in defeating the scourge of Salafi Islam as do non-Salafi Muslims.

Right now, our government is treating the symptoms with billions of dollars spent in added security and the costs of war, plus, far more importantly, the blood of our soldiers. We have to do that. I support that and more, in fact.

But beyond the symptoms, the disease itself grows ever stronger world wide and will continue to do so until our government defines it and starts shining a light on it.

All that said, the Islamic reformists stand no chance whatsoever of succeeding if they do not have the backing of the West. And they cannot get that backing if the West is collectively clueless as to what these men - and we - face in Salafi Islam.

Even then, it has to be noted that Salafism has so infested so many of the other sects on the backs of Saudi petrodollars that is far from identifiable only with Saudi Arabia now. To get a feel for the scope of what is involved:

"According to official Saudi information, Saudi funds have been used to build and maintain over 1,500 mosques, 202 colleges, 210 Islamic Centers wholly or partly financed by Saudi Arabia, and almost 2,000 schools for educating Muslim children in non-Islamic countries in Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia."
[See here]

The North American Islamic Trust - a Wahhabi Salafi organization owns between 50% and 80% of all mosques in North America. [See here]

And Salafists are, in many cases, taking over existing Mosques throughout the world. Some very informative expamples include:

Belgium [See here]

Somalia [See here]

Indonesia [See here]

Further, I would invite you to read this post [see here] on the incredible degree to which our education system - university and even K-12, has been infiltrated with Salafi Islam

My question to you, what would happen if 300 million Americans demanded that this Salafi infiltration stop - that universities give back the Salafi funds, and that the poeple who support Salafi Islam be challenged at every turn. That is, as I see it, step one to ending the scourge of Salafi Islam and all the evil it has brought to the world.

One of two things is going to happen. We either fight Salafism on two fronts now - i.e., on middle eastern battlefields to stop their advances now AND on the larger battlefield of ideas, or we go to war with Islam as a whole eventually. I have also written a fairly long post on this issue here if you are interested: [See here]


I also received another response, this one asking: "If it's just about salafi/wahabism, then someone please explain the shia brutality in Iran and Basra area of Iraq?"

My response was:

I stated this in my earlier post but did not elaborate.

If you look at Khomeinist Shia'ism, what your going to find is a lot of Salafi dogma creeped in. The Shia religion has, since its inception, been called the "quietist" school becasue it stayed out of day to day politics. Khomeini relied on what previously had been only Salafi interpretations to justify his new "political" and triumphal Shia'ism.

This is a quote from Fukiyama, though I am having trouble finding the original column on WSJ:

"Though developed among Sunnis, this virulent ideological mix reached the Shiite world as well, most notably through its influence on Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran. Indeed, the Iranian revolution of 1979 conferred on Islamism a degree of religious respectability that it had never before possessed."

That is where you get the increasing radicalization of the Shia. As I said earlier, Salafi Islam has poisoned everthing its touched, and it has touched a lot.

Two things are going on in Southern Iraq. One is simply a power struggle between armed gangs with religion as its cover. The second is Iranian meddling in the South. Have no doubts, Iran would like to see another Hezbollah under its control in Iraq just as it has in Lebanon. There is a reason 300,000 Shiites in Southern Iraq signed a petition a month ago condemning Iran for its deadly meddling in their region.

"The Iranians, in fact, have taken over all of south Iraq," said a senior tribal leader from the south who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life. "Their influence is everywhere." [See here]


Anonymous said...

I really ought to be working, so I have not yet given your article and references the thorough reading that it clearly deserves. But a quick comment on skimming through.

You seem to be writing as though the problem is rooted in the Religion of Peace, and if that/they were resolved, the problem would then disappear. I beg to differ.

Because political Muslims are so easily whipped up to all sorts of violent action, it is my fear that there are others at work in parallel. Those others are the proponents of the "New World Order". I would venture to suggest that amongst governments, there are no true patriots anywhere in the world fighting Militant Islam. What they are doing is using it (or the carefully manufactured fear of it) to entrench their own positions of power. Ready.

Methinks that there will be more than a few cross words when each of the New World Orderists and the Militant Islamists realise that they have each been taken for a ride by their "partners". Then we really will know that we are in the last days!

Anonymous said...

Walid Phares is right on target. His book "The War of Ideas; Jihadism against Democracy," is the best textbook on this ideological conflict. I have assigned it to the class I teach in a community college.

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