Third in a series. Read Part 1 and Part 2.
April 2008 – In January 2002, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped by Muslim radicals in Pakistan. A few days later, the 38-year-old journalist was beheaded.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece in January 2008, Judea Pearl, a UCLA computer science professor and the father of Daniel, noted the implacable nature of such Muslim radicals. Pearl said, “The shocking element in Danny’s murder was that he was killed, not for what he wrote or planned to write, but for what he represented – America, modernity, openness, pluralism, curiosity, dialogue, fairness, objectivity, freedom of inquiry, truth and respect for all people.”
Across the globe Islam appears to be mutating into a more virulent and aggressive strain, confronting the West with a radical ideology that is demanding submission to Allah – or else.
Dominance in stages
Historian Daniel Pipes, an author, columnist and founder of the Middle East Forum (www.meforum.org), believes that the radical Islam facing the West today arose in the last century.
“In the course of the 20th century, a new form of Islam arose, one that now had great appeal and power,” he said. “Militant Islam (or Islamism – same thing) goes back to Egypt in the 1920s, when an organization called the Muslim Brethren [or Brotherhood] first emerged, though there are other strains as well, including an Iranian one, largely formulated by Ayatollah Khomeini, and a Saudi one, to which the Taliban in Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden both belong.”
According to Clifford D. May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism, “The Islamists stress that Islam ‘was once a winner’s religion.’” It began small and became a world power in less than 400 years. But for the last several hundred years, Muslim nations have been dominated by Western powers.
“What went wrong? To Islamists, it is an article of faith … that Muslims lost ground because they strayed from the road of righteousness, the path trod by the Prophet Muhammad and his companions,” May said. “They allowed themselves to be seduced and corrupted by the West and its vices – materialism, individualism, and lasciviousness among them.”
The only way to return Islam to world dominance is, well, for Islam to dominate the world again. According to Samir Khalil Samir, a Jesuit professor of Oriental studies at the University of Saint Joseph in Beirut, Lebanon, the Islamist plan involves three phases, which are all intended to work concurrently.
The first stage is to reform Muslim countries which have compromised with the West, to “turn Muslim countries into Islamic states governed by sharia [Islamic] law.”
Next, Samir said, is the intention to “Islamize Christians living in Muslim countries. This is happening wherever there are radical Muslims, in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iraq. … We saw this happen in Iraq in the past year, where some neighborhoods in Baghdad have become micro-caliphates in which Christians are told to convert to Islam or pay the Jizya (protection money), and accept second-class status.”
Finally comes “the conversion of Europe. … This is carried out first and foremost by working with young, European-born Muslims through imams teaching radical ideologies in mosques, prisons, bookstores.” Such teachings go hand-in-hand with strident critiques of decadent Western culture.
The Islamist ‘strong narrative’
This explanation of Islam’s troubles and the plan for its return to past glory is, according to May, the “strong narrative” that attracts new recruits to the cause. It is similar, he believes, to the “narrative” used by Adolph Hitler to gain support from the German people for his own goals. Just as Hitler blamed the Jews and others for the problems of the nation, so Islamists blame Jews and corrupt Western ideals for the problems of the Ummah, the worldwide Muslim community.
Part of the appeal of this movement for Muslims is that Islamofascists declare themselves to be the true heirs of the message of the Prophet Muhammad.
“Today jihadists are making recruits among peaceful Muslims worldwide by appealing to the teachings of the Quran and Muhammad, and on that basis portraying themselves as the exponents of ‘pure Islam,’” said Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and author of Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t. “They claim they have rediscovered, as a popular jihadist pamphlet termed it, ‘the forgotten obligation’ of jihad.”
Jihad is an Arabic word meaning “struggle,” and can refer to either the internal struggle against unrighteousness or the external struggle against unbelievers – including “holy war.”
British jihadist Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri, currently in prison, summarized the goal of this holy war: “Allah is the only one that must be worshipped on Earth, and the only way to guarantee this is to control all the land masses, air, and sea and give Islam the proper channel to be heard by the people.”
Spencer said the West had better take note of what is happening throughout the Muslim world. “We fool ourselves when we imagine that the problem is a localized ‘Islamic fundamentalism,’ a ‘hijacking’ of an originally peaceful religion, such that the great majority of its adherents not only do not participate in religiously sanctioned violence, but also actively disapprove of it on grounds derived from the religion itself. In reality, active jihadists, while a minority among Muslims, base their actions in Islamic theology and are in the ascendancy throughout the Islamic world.”
Can the West defend itself?
Many in the West have misunderstood Islamist anger, believing that older theories about social unrest – often involving root causes such as poverty or alienation – hold the key to peace with Muslim radicals.
“From the ayatollahs to the freelance jihadists, there are, in the end, no ‘root causes’ – or not ones that can be negotiated by troop withdrawals from Iraq or the flag-raising ceremony for a Palestinian state,” said Mark Steyn in his book, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It.
Time and again, radical Muslims make it clear that this holy war is not an attempt to correct social inequalities. For example, after jihadists blew up a French oil tanker off Yemen in 2002, Steyn insisted that France should have been the last nation to get hit, seeing as that country had pretty much opposed all aspects of the War on Terror.
But that wasn’t really the point. A spokesman for the Islamic Army of Aden said, “We would have preferred to hit a U.S. frigate, but no problem because they are all infidels.”
“No problem. They are all infidels,” Steyn repeated. “When people make certain statements and their acts conform to those statements I tend to take them at their word. As Hussein Massawi, former leader of Hezbollah, neatly put it, ‘We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you.’”
The stakes are that high, said Steyn: “It is absurd: how can the most advanced society in human history fall to a bunch of ignorant death cultists? Well, who do you think advanced societies do fall to? Something worse, something barbarous, something that’s prepared to fight when you’re not.”
Video resources to learn more about radical Islam
Farewell Israel: Bush, Iran and the Revolt of Islam – A fascinating and frightening look at the history, ideology and goals of Islam, Farewell Israel provides a fast-paced overview of the religion itself, its origin and explosion out of Arabia in A.D. 632 to conquer much of the known world in its first 1,000 years of existence.
Perhaps most controversial is the documentary’s assertion that the West, including Israel, has often failed to understand the true nature of Islam. According to the film, the challenge facing the West is not merely a radical form of Islam but the religion itself. Simply put, what the U.S. and other democracies are facing is a revival of true Islam, which had receded during the ascension of Western economic and military power during the last three centuries.
Filled with informative, state-of-the-art computer graphics and rare video footage, this two-and-a-half-hour film is a top-rate primer about Islam that is sure to be engaging for small gatherings, church groups and older schoolchildren.
For ordering information, visit www.farewellisrael.com.
Islam in America – This DVD, produced by Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Chino Hills, California, is taken from a speech given at the church by Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese immigrant who is now a U.S. citizen. Gabriel was forced to leave with her parents after militant Muslim fundamentalists occupied parts of the country during the Lebanese Civil War.
Gabriel’s impassioned speech is riveting and powerful, as she uses her own experiences to warn the West – and especially America – that Islamofascists will not stop until all nations submit to Islamic law.
The DVD provides a harrowing view of Muslim fundamentalism and a stark contrast between it and the very different worldview which underlies Western culture, including the nation of Israel.
Gabriel, who has spoken on this topic on CNN and Fox as well as in numerous public venues, founded Act for America (www.actforamerica.org) as a vehicle for promoting the truth concerning Islamic fundamentalism. She has also written a book, Because They Hate, detailing her life’s story and her warning to the West.
The DVD can be ordered directly from the church’s Web site, www.calvarycch.org, or by phone at 909-393-7100.
Reviews by Ed Vitagliano