Dr. Moorthy Muthuswamy is a significant voice on the issue of jihad in India. His book, The Art of War on Terror: Triumphing over Political Islam and the Axis of Jihad, is excellent. Here is a FrontPage interview with him:
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Moorthy Muthuswamy, an expert on terrorism in India. He grew up in India, where he had firsthand experience with political Islam and jihad. He moved to America in 1984 to pursue graduate studies. In 1992, he received a doctorate in nuclear physics from Stony Brook University, New York. Since 1999 he has extensively published ideas on neutralizing political Islam's terror war as it is imposed on unbelievers. He is the author of the new book, The Art of War on Terror: Triumphing over Political Islam and the Axis of Jihad.
FP: Moorthy Muthuswamy, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Muthuswamy: Thank you for the opportunity.
FP: What inspired you to write this book?
Muthuswamy: India has been a longstanding victim of Islam-inspired terror. There has been a need to address this terror issue comprehensively. This is also a humanitarian problem. Already an impoverished nation, millions of Indian children are going hungry and getting malnourished due to economic bleeding imposed in the name of Islam.
Toward the second half of 1990s I began to publish on this issue mostly in the South Asian context. Since the 9/11 attacks, my focus has shifted to include America.
Even after six years into the anniversary of 9/11 attacks, we are still struggling to identify the enemy, let alone figure out how to defeat him. However, in my view, we may be closer to realizing, at last, the parameters of waging a successful war on terror. I wanted to bring it to the audience by writing this book.
FP: Who is our enemy in this terror war? What engenders this enemy? Who are the main backers of this enemy?
Muthuswamy: Our enemy is political Islam and a movement based upon it: the political Islamic movement. Political Islam holds that Islam should have a dominant say in governing the affairs of government. There are good reasons for this outlook, going back to Islamic scriptures.
Islamic trilogy, consisting of the Koran, Hadith and Sira, is the basis of political Islam. In the past few years sophisticated scientific analysis of the trilogy has been carried out. The Center for Study of Political Islam has published a series along these lines. Their analysis points to a very dominant political nature of the trilogy – i.e. domination of political deeds of Islam’s founder Mohammed – as opposed to spirituality. Hence it is very reasonable to conclude that political Islam is almost Islam.
In the context of the trilogy, inner political Islam prevents Muslims from acquiring new knowledge to create a better future for themselves; external political Islam commands them to wage a religious war (called jihad) with unbelievers until the whole humanity is converted to Islam.
Trilogy-based evidence and early Islamic history suggest that political Islam’s intent on absolute control of Muslim masses and channeling of their energies toward conquest gives an impression of an ideology that is primarily designed for extending the powerbase of Mohammed during his times and that of extended tribes of Saudis, non-Saudi Arab Muslims and non-Arab Muslims (in that order) subsequent to his death.
This strong political component also means that Islam may not be structurally amenable to reform or moderation. If one takes away this political component, there is no Islam.
Mosques not only bring trilogy to Muslim communities but they also function as social centers. Due to the political domination of the trilogy, clerics are naturally inclined toward political activism, including multi-front jihad directed at unbelievers. It is ascertained in my book that political Islam, through its socially networked nodes called mosques, is the swamp that creates mosquitoes called jihadis, radicals, militants and extremists, and importantly, gets Muslim populations to support them.
We should view political Islam, not radical or militant Islam, as our main enemy.
Any movement based on the political ideology outlined in the trilogy has to have powerful and resourceful backers in order to be successful. Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan have powerful political Islamic movements within that fuel movements elsewhere – both in other Muslim majority nations and in nations with Muslim minorities. These three nations are called, Axis of Jihad in my book.
Saudi and Iranian funding for mosques can be seen as the most efficient way of advancing jihad, by funding nodes of social network in Muslim communities. Also, the axis of jihad nations or political Islamic movements in these nations has created powerful proxies – be it Al-Qaeda, Afghan Taliban (by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) or Hezbollah (by Iran).
In this context we can now identify the weakness in American strategy in the war on terror. America is trying to neutralize proxies and radicals while doing little to neutralize the axis of jihad and the global political Islamic movement. While I agree with the initial assault on Saddam’s regime and the Taliban, the continued occupation of Iraq – and even Afghanistan appear to be expensive, time-consuming and draining diversions.
We are now further identifying the enemy: a political ideology of conquest that inspires terror, mosques as the nodes that spawn jihad and axis of jihad as the main backer nations of the ideology and the nodes.
FP: Well, the continued “occupation” of Iraq has indeed brought many challenges, but the bottom line is that Iraq is today the jihadis’ central front in their war against the West. If we cut and run, we will embolden political Islam everywhere and the bloodbath that will follow may resemble another Southeast Asia after 1975 – and probably much worse.
Muthuswamy: Indeed, a pull-out from Iraq under the current conditions will embolden jihadis and their backers. However, if we work to increase the pressure points on jihadis and the political Islamic movement (discussed in the book), it will make our pull-out from Iraq less difficult and justifiable.
FP: Ok, well, we can continue a debate and discussion on this issue in another forum. The Iraq war is not our focus today my friend.
Tell us a bit about your problem-solving approach to the war on terror.
Muthuswamy: Because the political Islamic movement is driven by a conquest-oriented medieval ideology and outlook, it behaves like a “germ”. Dialogue or accommodation is simply not possible. Second, this movement is entrenched among Muslim populations and importantly, is networked, with multiple power centers or nodes. This means classical approach of predominantly using diplomacy and/or military force, along with aid is not effective. This may be the reason why our traditional Think Tanks are struggling to come up with a coherent policy response that our political leaders could rely on.
We are fighting this war with a number of preconceived notions. I have debunked many critical ones in my book. Let me mention a few (within the brackets are my retorts):
Democracy is the solution to radical Islam. (No, in order for functional democracies to take root, political Islam must first be neutralized.);
A widely practiced religion must have a strong moderate component. (No again, free wealth can create conditions for complete domination of extremism.);
The fight within Islam is between moderates and extremists. (No, the fight is between different extremist groups or schools of thought.);
We must use moderates in Islam to fight extremists. (We must use a fundamentally different approach: using science-based arguments to help liberate educated Muslims so that they are empowered to neutralize political Islamic movement from within.);
Ideology is the strong suit of Muslim radicals. (No, seen through common sense, derived from science, it is political Islam’s weak link.);
We can rely on moderate leaders in nations such as Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. (The de facto power in these nations are political Islamic movements, this makes these leaders ineffective in stopping these nations from being fountainheads of terror.);
Grievances drive Muslim populations into anger and towards terror. (No, most grievances are manufactured to channel Muslim energies towards jihad.).
FP: Can you talk a bit about science vs. political Islamic ideology?
Muthuswamy: Political Islamic ideology is found in the Islamic trilogy. Confronting this ideology with science is a no-lose proposition and has the most potential for driving a wedge between the political Islam and educated Muslims. This should also lead to loss of prestige of Muslim clerics and weakening of nodes of network that spawn jihad – the mosques.
Educated Muslims are the backbone of the political Islamic movement. Clearly, madarasa-only educated Muslims do not have the requisite knowledge to operate effectively in the modern world; the college educated ones do.
Due to physical threats, the trilogy couldn’t be put under microscope in Islamic nations and political correctness has done the same in Western nations. But the existential threat arising from political Islam calls for taking a critical look at the trilogy.
Here is a brief critical look.
The Koran was the first book of the trilogy to be put together, and that was done several decades after the death of Mohammed. In a Hadith it is said that Koranic verses were collected from bits of bone, stone, parchment, date palm leaves, and also from the memories of those who had memorized it.
Clearly, leaves, stones, bits of bone, and people’s memory are not reliable forms of note-taking or information storage when Mohammed delivered his “revelations”. This is common sense. For something as profound as God’s “revelations,” there shouldn’t be an iota of doubt about their authenticity. We can make a powerful assertion that available evidence makes the claim of associating these revelations with God not scientifically credible.
Second point to be noted: Immersed in a rudimentary and often flawed understanding of nature, the tribes Mohammed belonged to were not well-placed to identify phoney messengers of God or falsehood.
While this type of an ideological warfare can be seen as a must, it is a long-term approach. We do need near-term measures that increase the cost of waging jihad unbearable for its sponsors.
FP: Illuminate for us the ongoing jihad in India.
Muthuswamy: The answer to the question of what will likely happen to Europe and other nations as their resident Muslim populations rise faster than unbelievers becomes apparent by studying the ongoing jihad in India’s vicinity and in India itself.
During the last sixty years, from every Muslim majority area of South Asia – without exception – be it Pakistan, Bangladesh or from India’s own Kashmir valley, non-Muslims have been massively driven out to India. This occurred when the Muslim population there achieved political power through majority status. Also, laws and conditions have been put in place to deliberately marginalize non-Muslims. In almost all of these cases, mosques and the clerics played a major role in facilitating this “conquest”. In India the Muslim population percentage has increased from about 10 percent in 1951 to about 15 percent now. Even within 85 percent non-Muslim India, in some Muslim majority towns this phenomenon is getting repeated. These South Asian populations share language, food habits and culture but differ in religion. Clearly, these Muslim populations are influenced by political Islam.
Written orders were issued by Pakistan’s military high command to kill Hindus in the then East Pakistan in 1971. The largest religion-based genocide of the past fifty years was conducted as a result. Most of these expulsions and genocides occurred before 1972 – well before the large-scale infusion of petrodollars and Wahhabism.
Those who claim that oil money, Muslim “grievance” or “freedom fighting” are responsible for terror should think again. As noted earlier, political Islam’s fundamental emphasis on conquest is traced to the scripture level.
This data of non-Muslim expulsions from every Muslim majority area of South Asia implies that Muslims of this region do not believe in coexistence. This also points to intolerance among Indian Muslims (also substantiated in other ways). But due to their minority status they have not been able to completely impose their will on non-Muslim Indians. Still, Indian Muslim leaders have managed to lay siege to Indian democracy and have started to marginalize majority (to be discussed later) Hence, a fast-growing Muslim population within India can be seen as a looming genocidal threat to non-Muslim Indians.
With about half of worldwide Muslim population in South Asia, this damning conclusion couldn’t be set aside as a deviant. The implications of this analysis for regions and nations with fast-growing and radicalized Muslim populations can’t be understated. A more complete statistics discussed in my book can be useful in articulating and justifying far-reaching policy measures.
At the moment, India’s only Muslim majority state of Kashmir is embroiled in an insurgency. Material and other forms of support for this insurgency come not just from Pakistan but also from many Middle Eastern nations, including Saudi Arabia. While these Muslim nations find it convenient to support “freedom fighting” of Muslims, they choose to neglect non-Muslim ethnic cleansing from every Muslim majority area of South Asia. For instance, Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir is virtually devoid of non-Muslims. This fits in with the idea of extending Islam’s frontiers at the expense of unbelievers.
Terror is just one avenue for conquering the land belonging to infidels. When Muslims are a minority different ways must be found. Special reservations for Muslims in jobs and educational institutions were demanded and extracted by intimidating ruling regimes in India. In the long run, these unfair reservations empowers Muslims at the expense of people belonging to other faiths, setting the stage for further annihilation of non-Muslim faiths in India.
Powerful clerics and Muslim community leaders “cautioned” the Indian government of violent attacks by “angry” Muslims if the reservation demands were not met. After all, Muslim masses have been told in mosques that their relative lack of representation in positions requiring education is no fault of their own; only government and the Hindu majority are to be blamed. This flawed perception of Muslim grievance has taken years to achieve and is part of the jihad buildup funded by several Middle East nations and Pakistan whose passion is unbeliever conquest.
The jihad-related data from India (and everywhere else) emphasizes the need to preempt jihad buildup at its infancy. The power structure of political Islam is based in mosques – the socially networked nodes. With its power so narrowly concentrated (Muslim masses are otherwise disorganized outside of mosques), mosques are also political Islam’s greatest weak link.
Political Islam’s contemporary record of unbeliever genocide, backed by scriptures, has no parallels with any other faith. Hence, as part of preemption, non-Muslim majority nations are well-within their rights to categorize any mosque or any Muslim religious institution that stocks or distributes material derived from Islamic trilogy as an enemy entity – and shut them down if needed. Even if a mosque appears outwardly moderate in a Western nation, by preaching trilogy dominated by political Islam, it is still stealthily building up jihad in local Muslim community! Of course, mosques in Muslim majority nations are overt about advancing jihad.
This way of going after the nodes that spawn jihad should also help liberate Muslim populations to alternate way of life or faith – i.e. help ensure religious freedom of Muslim populations repressed by a political ideology masquerading as a religion. Importantly, this tactic does not violate liberty of individual Muslims.
FP: How does India serve as a counterforce to jihad? What is the best policy the U.S. and the West should apply vis-à-vis India in this context?
Muthuswamy: In terms of population, location and size, India matches the extended global network of Muslim populations that are influenced by political Islam. When a non-white, non-Christian developing nation such as India claims to have been victimized at the hands of Islamic nations and movements, it is bound to create ideological difficulties for Islamists who have made Muslim grievance the bedrock upon which to build the jihad castle.
If America could help deliver a fatal blow to the former Soviet Union by backing Muslim nations against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, why not back cornered Indians to fight political Islam and its sponsoring nations? Unlike a resurgent political Islamic movement, which has turned its guns on its former benefactor America, a resurgent India already sharing secular and democratic mode of governing is no threat to the Western civilization.
An integral part of this project can be neutralizing the influence of Deoband Islamic seminary in India. This seminary is the major force behind political Islamic movement and jihad in entire South Asia and Afghanistan. An India working to successfully neutralize political Islam within can do more. Sharing language and culture with Pakistan and Bangladesh, such an India could help to liberate these nations to alternate faiths or way of life. While these ideas may look far-fetched now, policy decisions should be geared toward rapidly building up India in order to create a new future.
Helping India is nothing other than helping to empower a West-friendly Hindu majority to mobilize and take on political Islamic movement, by building on the grievance majority has had in the hands of political Islam. This also involves aiding Hindu organizations and promoting able and strong leaders such as Narendra Modi of Bharathya Janata Party (BJP), which have the wherewithal to take on political Islam.
The current regime of ManMohan Singh-Sonia Gandhi has proven to be, through policies enacted, an unwitting friend of jihadists in India. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Sonia Gandhi’s Congress party, according to Indian intelligence, has been infiltrated by jihadists. Due to the policies enacted by Manmohan Singh’s government, jihadi infiltration into Indian institions is escalating, including its paramilitary forces. The window of opportunity to leverage 850 million beleagured non-Muslim Indians for a win-win situation is fast closing.
Nassim Taleb observes in his book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Random House, 2007) that “History does not crawl, it jumps”. He mentions how certain precipitous and unpredictable events changed the course of history or societies.
In other words, history or societies don’t change in predictable and small incremental steps. There is always this pattern: Certain unpredictable events affected significant percentage of a population leading to evolution of a society in a new direction. But the American response to 9/11 attacks can at best be seen as a predictable, incremental progression in dealing with the enemy. This approach, historically, as noted earlier, doesn’t work! American security, including its nuclear security, continues to be compromised by the presence of strong political Islamic movements in axis of jihad nations.
One could argue that with political Islamic movement in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan being the de facto powers there, and outside of the control of the national leadership and being entrenched, decisive strikes could be an unfortunate necessity. In other words, these strikes could become in the word’s of Nassim Taleb’s 2007 book, a “Black Swan” – the unexpected and devastating event that compel jihad-sponsoring populations that are part of the political Islamic movement to make a U-turn vis-à-vis terror support.
More so than any Western nation or even Israel, there is an important way a jihad victim state such as India can help deliver decisive near-term blows to political Islamic movements in some axis of jihad nations.
Using Muslim majority Kashmir as a jihad base extensive network of terror cells have been established in Muslim communities all throughout India. It is a matter of time India is hit in a major way, thanks to jihad buildup in India sponsored mainly by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Strikes on India’s nuclear reactors, oil refineries or call-center infrastructure, for instance, is bound to make devastating economic impact and make hundrends of milions more of its children go hungry, and destitute and set the stage for India’s ireversible destruction and eventual Islamization. Under international law every state, including India, has the right to strike back preemptively and devastatingly when faced with a blatant and long-pattern of genocide by an enemy.
Iran’s situation is different, with clerics in direct control there. America may have to execute military strikes to slow down its nuclear program. However, Iran does have a strong semi-secular nationalist political class, unlike Sunni Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. With this class and misgoverning by clerics, there exists potential for discrediting the standing of ruling mullahs as the first step towards neutralizing its terror and nuclear threats.
FP: Moorthy Muthuswamy, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
Muthuswamy: It was an honor to be interviewed at Frontpage.