The worldwide Jihad is simply the sum of all the local Jihads. Each local Jihad receives automatic support from Muslims worldwide, who are quick to identify, always and everywhere, with other Muslims. For a century and a half the pursuit of Jihad was largely abandoned, not because the doctrine of Jihad had been changed, or had fallen into permanent desuetude, but because Muslims were too weak, vis-a-vis others, and they were fully aware of that weakness.
After World War II, the main objects of Jihad were the State of Israel and Kashmir. The former, in particular, received so much attention because, as Bernard Lewis so dryly put it, expressing what we all know to be true, disputes involving Jews were certain to attract attention, not least from antisemites (who found a new, more politically and socially acceptable outlet for their antisemitism, now that Mr. Hitler had temporarily dampened the open delight one could take in it). Others who were feeling, often unaware, an intolerable civilisational guilt, found it quite a relief, eventually, to accept the Arab narrative about those terrible Israelis and thus to have the psychic consolation, in the most extreme form of this mental illness, of allowing themselves to believe that it was Jews who were now behaving like Nazis. This was utter nonsense, but what a boost, not least in Germany and other parts of Europe. The cult of “Palestinianism” could be tied in — quite wrongly — with a hypertrophied sense of embarrassment about anything that might, however implausibly, be linked to European “colonialism.”
In remote Asia, in the first several decades after Partition, the Pakistanis had so much else to worry about, including holding the country together, that the Jihad against India was largely behind the scenes. That Jihad begins but does not end with the attempt to force all Hindus out of Kashmir, and to claim Kashmir and then all of India for Islam. Only in recent decades has the war against the Hindus has been carried on by Pakistan itself, and by individual Muslims and Muslim mobs in Pakistan (formerly West Pakistan), Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan), and India proper, where terror attacks have been conducted in Mumbai, and on the Indian Parliament in Delhi, and elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the Jihad against Israel was carefully camouflaged after the Six-Day War, which taught the Arabs two lessons. The first lesson was that Israel could not so easily be destroyed through military means, and that it first had to be weakened, through diplomatic isolation, economic boycotts, and steady international pressure to force Israel to disgorge all of its territorial gains, including the very territories which had originally been assigned to Israel by the League of Nations Mandates’ Commission. The second lesson was that the Western world would have to be cultivated, and that the way to cultivate its support would be to re-present the conflict as one between “two tiny peoples” rather than as one between tiny Israel and the large Arab world, as Nasser and all other Arab leaders, including Shukairy, the predecessor of Arafat as head of the local Arabs, had presented it.
The most important task would be to change the designation of the local Arabs so that they now suddenly became what they had never been before, and certainly were not when in Gaza they were ruled by the Egyptians or, in the “West Bank,” by the Jordanians. From here on out those local Arabs would be known as the “Palestinian people,” and everything would be done to reinforce, mainly by dint of constant repetition of the phrase (and the attendant, almost comical “construction” of a “Palestinian identity”), the belief in this “Palestinian people” who had, it was also absurdly claimed, always inhabited a place — unknown as a political unit to the Arabs — that was called by the Western world, for quite a while, “Palestine.”
As long as Israel (and distant, remote Kashmir) was the main victim of Jihad, receiving 99% of the attention, the Western world could, it seems, afford not to pay attention to what Islam was all about, to what Islam had meant historically for vast Infidel lands and many different Infidel peoples. And in ignoring what Islam was all about, in a fit of colossal and criminal civilisational negligence, the countries of Western Europe, starting about forty years ago, began to admit into their midst large numbers of Muslims, supposedly because they could be workers. But actually they were not needed, and insisted upon coming. The British did not import the Pakistanis, the Pakistanis simply came. The French did not encourage the Algerians and other Maghrebins to arrive, but could not, it seems, prevent them, or monitor their arrival and swelling numbers with the vigilance that was necessary. The only place where some Muslims were invited to come was in West Germany, where Turkish males were allowed in as Gastarbeiter, Guest-Workers, who were supposed to work, remit sums home, and eventually return home themselves. It did not work out that way.
And now, three developments that coincide in time have made the threat of Muslims and of Islam to the entire West no longer a matter of Israel alone, as may once have appeared. First, there has been the unhindered movement of millions of Muslims into the countries of Western Europe, where they greatly outbreed the locals, and conduct constant and aggressive campaigns to change the ways, and the laws, of Infidel societies. Second, there has been the transfer of fantastic sums — more than twelve trillion dollars since 1973 alone — to Muslim members of OPEC, which has disguised the economic underdevelopment that Islam, in the absence of unearned oil wealth, almost always guarantees (unless, as in Turkey and in Tunisia, Islam has been systematically constrained or, as in Malaysia and Lebanon, a large economically active class of non-Muslims spurs development). Third, there has been the appropriation of Western technology by Muslims who use that technology, in audiocassettes, videocassettes, satellite television, and the Internet, to spread propaganda for Islam and against non-Muslims. All of this is now becoming more and more understood in the Western world, though it has taken a while for that understanding to spread beyond the forthright apostates (Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, Ali Sina, Magdi Allam, and many more) and those who were never fooled and understood the threat of Islam (Pim Fortuyn, Geert Wilders). Now this understanding, still resisted by so many in the political and media elites, spreads and spreads, not so much because of what Infidels say or do, but because of what Muslims say and do. That can no longer be hidden, nor explained away, just as the canonical texts of Islam — Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira — can no longer be hidden, nor explained away.
And that is why it is so important to Arabs and Muslims to keep pretending that Jihad is a Western fabrication, or that its goal is misunderstood, or that this or that local Jihadist group is limited in its desires to this or that localized goal. So we are asked to believe that Lashkar-e-Toiba only wants to put Indian-held parts of Kashmir under Muslim control, or that a similar group in Indonesia only wishes to bring Shari’a to the country and possibly drive the Australians and other Western tourists out. Or we are asked to believe that Hamas and Hezbollah care only about destroying Israel, but have absolutely no interest in a Muslim takeover of the countries of Western Europe or, ultimately, North America. But this is nonsense. Islam does not tell Believers that they should be concerned only with this, or with that, small sliver of land. It tells them that the entire world belongs to Allah, and to his people, the “best of peoples,” and that as Believers, as members of the Umma, they have a duty, not tangential but central, to engage in the “struggle” or Jihad — not necessarily through violent means, if violence at this point would not be effective — to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam. And those obstacles include the laws and customs of the Infidels, or any laws and customs that violate the Shari’a, or otherwise prevent Muslim life from being conducted according to the Shari’a, and preventing the unhindered conducting of campaigns of Da’wa, or preventing non-Muslims from yielding to Muslim demands for changes in accord with what Muslims want, in lands built by, and peopled by, Infidels.
Thus it is important that any whiff of the most obvious promoters of the worldwide Jihad, members of Al Qaeda, be kept from public view if they end up, as of course they have, in Gaza or in the “West Bank.” In the same way, the Uighurs have a vested interest in making sure that any Arab fighters or Arab funds or Arab propaganda (or Pakistani, or Iranian) are not found in Xinjiang. And the same is true for those Muslims conducting jihad in southern Thailand, or the southern Philippines. And so on, everywhere that Muslims are fighting against non-Muslims. Since North America and Western Europe are still, militarily, overwhelmingly more powerful than Muslim states, wiles and guiles must be employed to prevent Western Infidels from recognizing the truth about Islam. And a delay in the day or date of recognition will also serve to allow Muslims to enlarge their numbers in the states of Western Europe, making it ever more difficult, in democratic societies, to undertake the kind of measures that will be necessary to halt all Muslim immigration, and then to halt the advance of Sharia in Europe, in the first place by making the conduct of Muslim life, where it violates Western laws (as for example in the public slitting of throats of animals during Eid al-Fitr), more rather than less difficult. But this is exactly what the Western world will, in order to survive, sooner or later have to do.