Westminster Institute Conference [May 25, 2011]: Fighting the Ideological War. Strategies for Defeating al-Qaeda.
by Ibn Warraq
Part I here.
A ranking US Defense Department official, speaking at a recent conference: “We are not at war with jihad. Jihad is a legitimate component of Islam.” The muddled thinking behind such statements is clear: “We must not give the impression that we are at war with Islam, a great world religion of peace and tolerance”¦.”.
President Obama in a similar vein indulges in fantasy when he declares, “…we reject the notion that al-Qa”ida represents any religious authority. They are not religious leaders, they are killers; and neither Islam nor any other religion condones the slaughter of innocents.” [NSS, 2010, p.22] British Ambassador to Lebanon, Frances Guy, speaking after the death of the Hezbollah leader Shiekh Muhammad Hussein Falallah, displays his own kind of wishful thinking, “The world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths, acknowledging the reality of the modern world and daring to confront old constraints.” President Obama’s ecumenical gush was replied to by Anjem Choudary, the British radical cleric, “There is a place for violence in Islam, there is a place for jihad in Islam…Jihad is the most talked about duty in the Koran after tawhid — belief.”
It is time Western policy makers woke up to the reality of the struggle we are facing: we are not faced with freedom fighters, or latter day Robin Hoods trying re-distribute wealth; we are dealing with ideologues who wish to impose their worldview on the entire globe, and who are willing to use every kind of violence at their disposal. All the violence is justified with references to the Koran, Hadith, and the example of the wars and tactics employed by Muhammad and his Companions.
The West is still consumed with post-colonial guilt, is hampered by political correctness, and wishful thinking. Adding to the confusion have been the geopolitics of oil, and the wars in the Islamic world which have influenced policy adversely — seeing allies where there are none. President Obama in particular has tried to deny reality, and pursues his goal to win popularity in the Muslim world. There are no quick fixes; we are engaged, as in the Cold War, in a long ideological struggle that is likely to endure for decades. Since poverty is not the problem — as Khomeini once said, we did not make the revolution to reduce the price of melons — the solution is not to throw money — billions of dollars of taxpayer money — at various Islamic regimes.
Various dictators in countries where Muslims form the majority have themselves been engaged in struggles against the jihadists, and are perfectly aware of Islamic history, the theological and Koranic underpinnings of their ideology. Leaders in Muslim countries have tried to control mosques and the sermons preached there, and even the Islamic media and discourse. And yet these same leaders, living in cultures of honor and shame, refuse to admit that there is a problem, and even less that it is Islam that is the chief obstacle to peace. Others who are more conservative refuse to let in the cold blasts of sobering modernity knowing that they themselves might be blown away, and that Islam itself would be undermined.
The Islamists, with considerable justification from Islamic history and Islamic theology, view Islam as inherently political- there is no separation of state [dawlah] and religion [din], and thus they aim at political dominance worldwide. For them the state is the best way to implement Islamic Law, Sharia, and hence their primary goal is gain power in the state. The Koran and the Sharia are enough to construct a complete social and political system.