Robert Maynard
In defense of jihad?
By Robert Maynard
June 1, 2010

Once again the mindset of political correctness is hard at work muddying the waters when it comes to the War on Terror. In a Fox News article entitled Counterterror Adviser Defends Jihad as 'Legitimate Tenet of Islam', the President's top counterterrorism adviser is quoted as saying that the use of the term "jihadist" should be off limits in our war on terror efforts. The reason he gives is that jihad is a "legitimate tenet of Islam," which means "to purify oneself or one's community," and there is "nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children." Brennan argued that it would be "counterproductive" for the United States to use the term, as it would "play into the false perception" that the "murderers" leading war against the West are doing so in the name of a "holy cause." Indeed, these violent extremists are really victims of "political, economic and social forces," and those plotting attacks on the United States should not be described in "religious terms."

This is the standard politically correct line when it comes to jihadism. The fact that this mantra is being mouthed by our top counter terrorism advisor is a cause for alarm, but hardly surprising. First of all, Bin Laden and many like him are from the wealthy privileged class of their societies and are hardly "victims." Secondly, any objective reading of the writings of the jihadi leadership makes it quite clear that they are motivated by an ideology and are proactively engaged in an effort to bring about their approximation of the utopian vision associated with that ideology. They are not merely reacting to political, economic or social forces.

Dr. Walid Phares has written extensively of the threat of jihadism and the ideology driving this cause. He is originally from Lebanon but came to the U.S. in about 1991 and is one of the few terrorist experts who have read their writings in the original Arabic. They envision a restored Caliphate who would establish an Islamic State ruled by Sharia, or "Islamic Law." Our western form of democracy poses an existential threat to their understanding of an Islamic State rooted in submission to the rule of Allah as represented by Sharia. The problem with democracy, according to Yussuf al-Ayyeri, one of Osama bin Laden's closest associates since the early '90s and author of the book "The Future of Iraq and The Arabian Peninsula After The Fall of Baghdad," is that is a form of "unbelief." According to al-Avyeri: "This form of "unbelief" persuades the people that they are in charge of their destiny and that, using their collective reasoning, they can shape policies and pass laws as they see fit. That leads them into ignoring the "unalterable laws" promulgated by God for the whole of mankind, and codified in the Islamic shariah (jurisprudence) until the end of time."

What Mr. Brennan fails to understand is that violent jihad as a means of subjugating the "infidel" is very much a center of the jihadi interpretation of Islam. Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, who is the founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and has been on True North several times. Dr. Jasser's parents immigrated here from Syria and he has made it his life's focus to counter the jihadi interpretation with one that is compatible with freedom and democracy. Dr. Jasser does not deny that the Qur'an calls for violent jihad against one's enemies, but insists that such a call was made at a particular time for a specifically defensive purpose and has no place in today's society. The jihadis see this call as a divinely sanctioned command to expand Islam and institute an Islamic State. To them the call for violent Jihad against the infidels is relevant until everyone has submitted to the will of Allah as represented by a Caliphate at the head of a global Islamic State which imposes Sharia.

Muslims like Dr. Jasser who oppose the jihadi interpretation of Islam have often been their targets. There is a civil war within Islam over whether it can be understood as compatible with our notion of freedom. The outcome of this struggle is crucial to our war on terrorism and people like Brennan are enabling the jihadis by pretending that no such battle exists.

© Robert Maynard


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