Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Further Retreat From The War Of Ideas - To The Detriment Of The U.S. & The Islamic World

We are in an existential war with not merely terrorists, and not merely Islamic terrorists, but terrorists motivated by the Salafi sect of Islam and those sects heavilly influenced by Salafism. The single most important thing that Obama could do in the war on terror - to the benefit of not merely us, but the Islamic religion - is to honestly identify our enemy and distinguish between Salafism and other sects of Islam. Allowing Salafism to metasticize in the dark, out of the realm of public scrutiny, is to insure that far more Muslim and American blood will be spilled in the future.

Yet Obama has decided not merely to refrain from honestly identifying the source of Islamic terrorism, but he has decided to lead us into a retreat even further into fantasy land, now removing from the government lexicon all words that would describe the threats we face as even arising out of Islam. You can read the report from Fox News here.

This is not merely funamentally wrong, it is very dangerous. I have previously blogged on this at length. To repeat:

The physical war on terror is necessary to stop the immediate attacks. But it is in the war of ideas that the true battle lies, for if we do not stop the radicalization of Muslims, then the war on terror will never end. Ultimately, as Tom Friedman recently opined, this is a battle that must be fought within the four corners of Islam itself. But that said, we have an existential motivation to insure that the "good side" wins. This is made all the more critical because the good side, if you will, is not winning. The ideology at the heart of al Qaeda and other radical Islamic groups is very much still on the advance.

The threshold issue in the war of ideas is to identify who, as a group, constitutes “radicalized Muslims.” Islam, like Christianity, is subdivided into numerous different sects, many of which, such as Sufi for example, are peaceful and counsel coexistence. Individually, there are hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world, most of whom would make good citizens, good friends, good neighbors and good family members in the West. Only a portion of them become “radicalized” whether as members of al Qaeda or some of the other radical Islamic groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, and Jamat-I-Islami to name but a few. Those who belong to these groups do in fact share a common thread – virtually all are adherents to the Salafi/Wahhabi school of Islam or a school, such as Deobandi, that has been heavily influenced in all relevant respects by Salafism.

There was a time when Salafism was confined to the back waters of Arabia. That changed when the tribe of Saud, in partnership with the tribe of Waahab, conquered Arabia in the 1930's. Within decades, the Sauds became incredibly wealthy on oil. Now, they spend billions annually exporting Salafi clerics, schools and textbooks to the four corners of the world. Consequently, Salafism is becoming the dominant form of Islam and is effecting every major school of Islam. As I wrote in a prior post:

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. The North American Islamic Trust - a Wahhabi Salafi organization, owns between 50% and 80% of all mosques in North America. And Salafists are, in many cases, taking over existing Mosques throughout the world. Some very informative expamples include Belgium, Somalia, and Indonesia. And indeed, the Saudi Salafi Islam now exerts significant influence on our educational system, all the way from grade school to university. [On a related note, see the last half of this PJTV video in which Bill Whittle discusses the degree to which radical Islamic organizations have infiltrated law enforcement in America. The second half of the video is here.]

The West's premier orientalist, Professor Bernard Lewis - the man who coined the term "clash of civilizations" half a century ago and who predicted the rise of Islamic terrorism years prior to 9-11 - writes in his book "The Crisis of Islam," that the ideology of Wahhabi / Salafi Islam is the equal of the“KKK” in terms of bigotry and violence (p. 129). Dr. Tawfiq Hamid, a former Salafi terrorist, has written that "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." The NYPD, in a 2007 report, “Radicalization In The West” documented Salafism as the common thread and motivating force behind terrorist attacks in the West. Zhudi Jasser, a Muslim reformist, writes on the dangers of Salafism and the efforts to engage it in the war of ideas here. The Center For Islamic Pluralism, a "a think tank that challenges the dominance of American Muslim life by militant Islamist groups," maintains a section on their website called "WahhabiWatch." Perhaps the most cogent description of Salfism goes back a century, to the observations of Winston Churchill:

A large number of Bin Saud's followers belong to the Wahabi sect, a form of Mohammedanism which bears, roughly speaking, the same relationship to orthodox Islam as the most militant form of Calvinism would have borne to Rome in the fiercest times of [Europe's] religious wars.

The Wahhabis profess a life of exceeding austerity, and what they practice themselves they rigorously enforce on others. They hold it as an article of duty, as well as of faith, to kill all who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children. Women have been put to death in Wahhabi villages for simply appearing in the streets.

It is a penal offence to wear a silk garment. Men have been killed for smoking a cigarette and, as for the crime of alcohol, the most energetic supporter of the temperance cause in this country falls far behind them. Austere, intolerant, well-armed, and blood-thirsty, in their own regions the Wahhabis are a distinct factor which must be taken into account, and they have been, and still are, very dangerous to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Salafism has remained virtually unchanged since Churchill's observations. It was only a few years ago that the Saudi courts, applying Salafi Sharia law, ordered the victim of a brutal gang rape to suffer 200 lashes and six months in jail for being outside of her home without the escort of a male family member. To this day, hunting witches and breaking spells are the top duties of the Salafi religious police and, when witches are "caught," they are ritually slaughtered. In the Salafi culture of Saudi Arabia, it has been less than 20 years since the kingdom's senior cleric, the Grand Mufti issued a fatwah declaring "the earth is flat. Whoever claims it is round is an atheist deserving of punishment." And then there is the well known Salafi edict that anyone who converts from Islam is to be slaughtered.

As I pointed out in a post here, Islam, unlike Christianity, is a religion that has never gone through a Rennisance, a Reformation or a Period of Enlightenment. And while the mechanism - itjihad - exists that could lead to such an event, the reality is that Salafists are fighting any change to their interpretations of the Koran and Sunnah with every tool at their disposal, up to and including "slaughtering the takfirs." Moreover, they are using the UN to push for blasphemy laws that would shut down all criticism of Salafism in the Western world.

The vitriol, bigotry, and triumphalism of Salafism are taught to students in schools and madrassas across the world – including in American Islamic schools and Salafi prison ministries. Salafi Islam teaches that its adherents can freely murder non-Muslims or enslave them and rape them. Moreover, Salafists hold that challenging their existing Salafi Koranic interpretations are "redda (apostasy) punishable by death . . ." And indeed, for specific references to these doctrines being taught in a Saudi school in Virginia, read the USCIFR report here.

Salafism is the religion of bin Laden, the religion of Zawahiri, the religion of all the 9-11 hijackers. That said, nothing that I write here is to suggest that all or a majority of Salafists should be stigmitized as radical. But the simple reality we ignore at our peril is that it is from the wellspring of Salafism that virtually all the radicalism of the Muslim world arises.

In the war of ideas, one of the most important steps that Obama could take would be to publicly shine a light on Salafism, both as the feeder for radical Islam and for the barbarity of some of its dogma. That would go very far to starting the type of discussion that could actually bring some semblance of evolution and peaceful change to Salafism. Ignoring Salafism - which, according to ex-CIA agent Bob Baer we have done ever since the 1970's when the Saudi's first began to buy influence in the American body politic - allows it to metastasize in the dark. And it is metastasizing at rapid speed today on the back of Saudi petrodollars. That is a recipe for disaster.

The chance of Obama taking such a necessary and bold step seems nonexistent. The reality is that it has taken Obama a year and three terrorist incidents before he even explicitly acknowledged an act of terrorism as terrorism. Further, in his Cairo speech, Obama chose to address the mythical “ummah” - the entire Muslim world as if it were a single entity. Rather than acknowledge the problems of Salafism and the danger it poses to the rest of the Muslim world , Obama portrayed al Qaeda as “violent extremists” who have “exploited . . . tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims.” That is false. They are not "extremists," they are true believers in all of the Salafi/Wahhabi dogma. [Update: Indeed, a DOD analyst makes precisely that same point in a recent PJTV interview with Bill Whittle.] [Update 2: Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of the founder of Hamas, a Mossad agent and a convert to Christianity, also makes this point.]

Moreover, Salafism is well on its way to dominating Islam When Obama said at the Ft. Hood memorial service "no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts" he sounded poetic, but factualy he could not have been more disingenuous. This not only leaves Americans in the dark, it does a tremendous disservice to that large portion of the Muslim world that is not implicated in the violence of al Qaeda. Worse yet, it makes it that much harder for would-be Islamic "Martin Luther's" to develop the international voices they need to bring change to their religion.

Obama wants to ingratiate himself with Muslims by being nice, by attacking Israel, and by pretending that there are no issues of existential importance brewing within Islam itself. His policies are 180 degrees of wrong. What the Islamic world needs is a strong dose of reality and honesty. This fantasy Obama is engaging in is just as potentially deadly for the Muslim world as it is for us.


OBloodyHell said...

Three words:

Cloward. Piven. Strategy.

No other notion fits the insanity.

WAKE UP said...

From Wake Up’s book of synonyms: Cowardice = Dhimmitude = Treason.