It soon became clear why these particular documents had not been directed to the West. They were theological treatises, revolving around what Islam commands Muslims to do vis-Ã -vis non-Muslims. The documents rarely made mention of all those things “” Zionism, Bush’s “Crusade,” malnourished Iraqi children “” that formed the core of Al Qaeda’s messages to the West. Instead, they were filled with countless Koranic verses, hadiths (traditions attributed to the Prophet Muhammad), and the consensus and verdicts of Islam’s most authoritative voices. The temporal and emotive language directed at the West was exchanged for the eternal language of Islam when directed at Muslims. Or, put another way, the language of “reciprocity” was exchanged for that of intolerant religious fanaticism. There was, in fact, scant mention of the words “West,” “U.S.,” or “Israel.” All of those were encompassed by that one Arabic-Islamic word, “kufr” “” “infidelity” “” the regrettable state of being non-Muslim that must always be fought through “tongue and teeth.” — from this article by Raymond Ibrahim
Jorn Holme, and all those who continue to believe that there is something called “Islamism” that is a threat, and something called “Islam” that is not a threat, that is perfectly fine, that makes no claims on Infidel institutions or Infidel lives, should start, perhaps, by reading the article, linked above, by Raymond Ibrahim that has just appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Ibrahim, who is a researcher in the Near East Division of the Library of Congress, has had the intelligence to publish the writings of Al Qaeda members. He had noticed that these assorted manifestos and appeals, when addressed to Infidel audiences, always contained some rhetoric about such obvious “grievances” as Iraq, “Palestine,” Kashmir, Kosovo, and so on. This litany, however, was completely absent from the writings and speeches directed at fellow Muslims. For them, Bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri, and others had no need to deceive (“war is deception”) but could stick to Islam — plain Islam.
And so they do: they offer the texts of Islam, passages from the Qur’an and stories from the Hadith, unchanged by a jot or tittle, the very same passages and stories that are part of Islam, and have been read, and are known, by Muslims all over the world. There is no “European Islam” or “American Islam,” as some fondly believe, or somehow, illogically, think magically comes into being once Muslims are physically present on the soil of Europe or America.
Having realized that the Arabic versions of what Bin Laden and others say remained largely untranslated, and therefore unknown to Western policy-makers and the Western public, Ibrahim took on the task of translation, and mass divulgation, himself. Before Raymond Ibrahim (an Arabic-speaking non-Muslim) came along, apparently, none of our “loyal” and “moderate Muslim” Arabic-speaking scholars in colleges, or universities, or employed by the government, saw fit to discuss, much less translate, those texts. Apparently none, before Raymond Ibrahim performed his indispensable service, felt a responsibility to undertake the task themselves, and thereby to better inform Infidels (the very Infidels whom some of them have, as their professions, a duty to advise on the nature of Muslim terrorism and its sources) of what it is that menaces them now, and indeed, menaces them permanently, for Muslims are taught to think of themselves in a permanent state of war — though not always active warfare — with Infidels, until such time as Islam everywhere dominates and Muslims rule, everywhere.
The communiques and tapes made for Western audiences are, Ibrahim noticed, not at all like the tapes made by terrorists for fellow Muslims as recruiting tools. Those tapes, those writings, are full of standard Islamic doctrines, well-known passages from the Qur’an, “authentic” Hadith from the collections of Bukhari and Muslim. They are intended to motivate those who, out of laziness or self-interest, have become “bad” Muslims and are not sufficiently inspired to participate directly in violent Jihad, or are not “bad” Muslims but merely those who fully support the efforts of the “good” (i.e., violent) Muslims through donations of money, or through attempts to block Infidel efforts to successfully monitor or even head off those who do engage in terrorism. Terrorism, for these Muslims, is not terrorism at all. It is merely a form of qitaal, combat, and when directed at Infidels — as opposed to fellow Muslims — it is perfectly acceptable, unless of course any resulting harm to Muslims and to Islam renders it counter-productive. This is a merely practical objection to some kinds of terrorism, and not a moral one.
Raymond Ibrahim’s book of translated documents by Bin Laden and other terrorists, The Al-Qaeda Reader, has been published in paperback. Every government official, every FBI agent, every DHS bureaucrat should have a copy.