In “A Terrorist Appeal to the Left,” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Erick Stakelbeck in FrontPage (thanks to KJL) explain how the jihadist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir is trying to appeal to the American Left:
A recently released propaganda video by the Islamic extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir is quite revealing. Not only does the video demonstrate the group’s growing effort to package arguments in a manner designed to appeal to Westerners on the political left, but it also serves as a barometer of radical Muslim groups” broader shift in rhetorical strategy.
The video, “Iraq: Past and Present Colonialism,” appears for the first twenty-seven minutes to be a standard leftist critique of the Iraq war, indistinguishable from Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. The slickly-produced video begins with the history of past colonialism in Iraq””including the Mongol conquest of the Middle East and British soldiers” triumphant march into Baghdad after World War I””and attempts to situate the current conflict within the same colonialist paradigm. In one scene, vivid footage of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison and Iraqi civilian casualties is interspersed with clips of George W. Bush and Tony Blair talking about how they will bring “freedom” to the Iraqi people. Another scene shows American soldiers roughly pushing Iraqi prisoners with bags draped over their heads down a nighttime street, the camera speed slowing down with each push to emphasize the excessive force.
As if Michael Moore’s influence on “Past and Present Colonialism” weren’t readily apparent, the video even lifts directly from Fahrenheit 9/11 the famous footage of American soldiers talking about how war is the “ultimate rush,” and how a good song can get you “real fired up” for battle. To demonstrate, one wild-eyed soldier sings a few off-key lines from the Bloodhound Gang’s “Fire Water Burn” (“The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire / We don’t need no water, let the motherf—– burn / Burn, motherf—–, burn”).
Only in its last eight minutes does “Past and Present Colonialism” veer sharply from run-of-the-mill leftist criticism of the Iraq war. This shift in focus is heralded by a Qur’anic verse appearing on the screen, reading, “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.”
Read it all.