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Inside Jihadism: Understanding Jihadi…
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Inside Jihadism: Understanding Jihadi Movements Worldwide (The Yale…

by Farhad Khosrokhavar

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This is one of the best explanations of Islamism available. Islamists argue that the Tawhid (Allah's uniqueness, the 1st pillar of Islam) should be re-interpreted as the essential duty of Muslims to defend (pp. 2, 22). All Muslims therefore must reject all other religions since they do not emphasize the Tawhid. The web site Minbar al Tawhid wal Jihad is a good example of this idea and is readily available to recruit world wide (p. 3), its founder, Abu Mohammed Maqdisi (p. 20) has been a primary proponent of this sentiment.

Among the four most important modern thinkers who generate the Islamist movement are: Abdullah Azzam, Abu Basir al Tartusi (p. 20), Abu Mus'ab al Suri, and Abu Qatada al Filistini. These four have been adamant in their denunciation of democracy. (pp. 32, 77). Also, they do not advocate a Republic (p. 103ff). They do however advocate an infiltration of democracy in order to overthrow it (p. 110). For Abu Qatada,

"There is no doubt that democracy is a religion and in its principle it is a religion that is set against the religion of Allah in all respects. Democracy introduces dissension among all faiths, by they celestial or earthly. . . . Those who believe in the Sufi [Islamic] faith are Heretics. . . . The same holds true for democracy and the democrats. Democratic belief is the sovereignty of the people in legislative, executive, and judicial matters. This supersedes Allah's sovereignty even if He speaks on those matters in the Books (Koran) and the Prophetic tradition (pp. 110-111)."

Democracy is a religious heresy at odds with Allah.

"Maqdisi's attitude toward democracy is not fundamentally different from Abu Qatada's (p. 111):"

"Those who desire democracy as a religion in substitution to Allah's religion become heretical (yakferun). . . . Democracy is a religion invented in Greece. Obviously it is not Allah's religion and therefore it cannot be the Truth (Haq). . . . Democracy and Islam cannot be compatible since Allah does not accept anything but Islam and Islam is the exclusive Allah's religion that stipulates legislation and the commandment of Allah alone. Democracy is a heretical and unfaithful religion that stipulates commandments and laws according to the people, not to Allah, and Allah the Graceful does not accept that people mix up heresy and Islam or the disbelief and the Unity [of Allah]. . . . Allah does not accept from someone to be a Muslim and a partisan of democracy because Islam is Allah's religion and Democracy is a heretical religion (p. 111)."

Democracy is antithetical to Islam.

"In another book Maqdisi develops his ideas (p. 112):

"Democracy is a heretical religion with reprehensible innovations. Its worshippers put legislators as gods and their followers, as believers. . . . This dirty word is Greek and not Arabic, and it is the incorporation of two words, demos signifying people and kratos the government or the domination or the legislation, and the meaning of this by the verbal translation is the government of the people, or the domination of the people, or the legislation of the people. . . . [Democracy] contradicts Islam and the religion of the Unity of Allah at most (pp. 112-113)."

Democracy is a heretical religion, promotes popular sovereignty, and contradicts Islam.

Maqdisi does not believe that Muslims and non-Muslims are equal. He states:

"The heretical character [of the legislative bodies] is based on legislating parity with Allah, vouchsafing equal rights to men and women without any distinction, abiding by the stipulations of the international treaties and laws, honoring the laws asserting the equality and peaceful coexistence wiht the heretical people and their various governments, be they Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Communists, Zoroastrians, Idol-worshipper, Hindus, or other, observing the religion of the Charter [of the United Nations] and its heretical articles, granting the same rights to other religions [which should have inferior rights compared with Islam] (p. 117)."

Heresy is legislating parity with Allah, equal rights for women, and peaceful coexistence with other religions. Other religions are inferior to Islam.

Abu Mus'ab al Suri enumerates democracy as a system of equality within the framework of the Constitution (p. 118). The actual system is controlled by Jews, lobbies, Christianity, and the capitalist system (pp. 118-119). "From Christianity nothing else remains, besides religious fanaticism, booze, pork, and something from the religious liturgy (p. 119)."

Freedom of speech is not allowed according to Tartusi because it might mean that Islam could be questioned while democracy promotes dissension and divergence from Allah and his words (p. 125). Tartusi continues that Islam is sufficient as a detailed guide to life that already clearly "restrict man's life in how he eats, how he drinks, how he dresses, how he sleeps and even how he defecates, how he enters the WC [bathroom] at home and how he exits . . . Islam leaves no room for the desires and opinions of the people (p. 126)."

According to Khosrokhavar, "another aspect of democracy that is in total disagreement with Islam is the freedom of political parties" (p. 126). " "Democracy puts at its foundation the freedom of organizing political parties and groups, whatever the religious faith or the ideals or morals of these parties and groups! This foundation is wrong (pp. 126-127)." Al Suri expounds upon only a Shura (Islamic Council, p. 139-140). The Islamic Council is at odds with representation by the people in a democracy. Al Suri postulates nine differences between the two.

Political parties diverge from Islam. There are no political parties in Islam. Al Suri states that political parties are suspect because groups within them that join to advance their interests; for example, political parties may even include Jews and as an anti-Semite he does not believe this is compatible with Islam (p. 136).

Maqdisi, al Suri, and Tartusi all agree that there should be no freedom of religion (p. 129). If other religions are equal to Islam, "this equality undoubtedly confirms their depravity and their falsehood and expresses their opposition and their incompatibility to so many solid texts of the [Islamic] religion (pp. 129-130)." Al Suri states that Christians and Jews are "Brethren of monkeys and swine" (p. 164).

Democratic (fitna, a dissension from within that tends to destroy the unity of the Muslim religion, p. 129) equality of religion entails dissension from Islam. There should be no freedom of religion or equality between religions as a corrective.

Qatada agrees but he goes perhaps even further. He is anti-capitalist and is against economic freedom (p. 133). Qatada equates democracy with licentiousness (p. 134).

The key historical divergence between Islamism and the West is in their separate approaches to reform: a time associated most directly with the religious Reformation, the humanism of the Renaissance, or the secular movement of the Enlightenment. Within Islam, the Renaissance (Nahda) "failed as an intellectual movement in the Muslim world and paradoxically, helped Islamic Fundamentalism (p. 156)." Reformists either were killed or fled persecution (p. 157).

In any case, the Koran has never been critically examined within Islam as the bible has been dissected by Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant scholars. There is no historico-critical examination of the Koran within Islam and the Islamists interpret any examination of the Koran by outsiders as a hostile attack. With no scholarly Islamic tradition of critical examination of the text the hermeneutics within Islam is excessively pietistic and reactionary as a result.

One key rule of interpreting the Koran are the rules governing the "abrogating/abrogated" verses hermeneutic. The verses which appear to treat the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) in peaceful coexistence are now abrogated by the more authoritative warlike, and later, verses (p. 158). Most typical of the authoritative verse is the way that 9:29 reads: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which had been forbidden by Allah and his Messenger, nor acknowledgte the Religion of Truth, from among People of the Book, until they pay the Jiziya [Islamic tax for non-Muslims under the protection of Muslims] with willing submission and feel themselves subdued [humiliated] (p. 158)."

With no scholarly tradition predominating Koranic studies, much less among the lesser educated common faithful, a major problem is the "belief that the Koran remained unchanged from its revelation to Mohammad up to now [that] is historically inaccurate, but most believers strongly endorse it (p. 160)."

Koranic interpretation remains rigidly and inflexibly fundamentalistic with few nuances. The cleric Molla Hasani, who is an Islamist representative in Iran, can confidentially assert that dissidents, such as democratic adherents, or those who advocate freedom, aggressively states: "I'll shoot the person in the head and get rid of him with the coup de grace! (p. 175)."

As democracies, political expression, and social mobility have languished for Muslims in the West, the most highly educated Muslims are mostly Islamist in orientation; in the Muslim world, those with less education are Islamists because of "their lack of opportunity in society (p. 181)."

One of the potentially positive Islamic nations is Iran which has an active pro-democracy movement (pp. 181-182). If the U.S. promoted its message of liberty there it potentially would bear fruit. It does not appear that Obama grasps this elemental point and is bending his knee to anti-democratic rulers.

Islamists are expressing themselves in popular culture with their anti-American sentiments. The Outlandish for example denounces America (p. 192). Mohammed Bouyeri, the assassin of tte Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh, expressed himself in verse with a poem entitled: "Drenched in Blood," a work he had in his possession when he killed van Gogh.

So this is my final word. . .
Riddled with bullets. . .
Baptized in blood. . .
As I had hoped.
I am leaving a message. . .
For you. . . the fighter. . .
The tree of Tawhid is waiting. . .
Yearning for your blood. . .
Enter the bargain. . .
And Allah opens the way. . .
He gives you the Garden. . .
Instead of the earthly rubble.
To the enemy I have something to say. . .
You will surely die. . .
Wherever in the world you go. . .
Death is waiting for you. . .
Chased by the knights of DEATH. . .
Who paint the streets in red.
For the Hypocrites I have one final word. . .
Wish DEATH or hold your tongue and . . . sit.
Dear brothers and sisters, my end is nigh. . .
But this certainly does not end the story (p. 202).

Despite all the hateful rhetoric, Khosrokhavar is not convinced by Samuel Huntingdon's "Clash of Civilizations" theory nor are most Islamists (pp. 211, 279). He believes the evidence contradicts Huntingdon's thesis. The Islamists are indigenous to Western society.

In fact, the U.S. is breeding Islamists such as Yong Ki Kwon, Ali Al-Timmi, Jose Padilla, Adam Pearlman Gadahn (aka Yahya Gadahn), Earnest James Thompson (aka James Ujaama), Wadih El Hage, Randall Royer (pp. 214-220). Other Western countries have their Islamist counterparts as well.

Islam is not adjusting well to the modern world and seeming necessity of assimilating to a secular legal situation (p. 273). This predicament is unprecedented in Islam where the Muslim faith either conquered or dominated inferior peoples. The same dominance is not occurring in the world and this cognitive dissonance is troubling for many younger, vital members of Islam.

The worldwide Islamist circle is growing, technologically savvy (the Electronic Jihad Program 1.5 [Silver Edition] p. 285), and shows little sign of abating.

This is the best single source on contemporary Islamism.
  gmicksmith | Sep 10, 2009 |
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