While Western leaders confidently and repeatedly assert that the Islamic State is un-Islamic and has nothing to do with Islam, Islamic State jihadis present themselves as the exponents of “the real Islam,” and make recruits among peaceful Muslims by doing so. Obama, Cameron and the rest are foolish to ignore this, for all their complacent assurances aren’t doing a thing to stop Islamic State recruitment among Muslims in the their countries or elsewhere.
“Islamic State group support grows in Jordan town, a microcosm of challenge to halt militants,” by Mohammed Daraghmeh and Karin Laub, Associated Press, December 6, 2014:
MAAN, Jordan — Local authorities quickly stripped away public signs of support for the Islamic State group in this desert town. Black flags have been removed from rooftops. Graffiti proclaiming the extremists’ imminent victory have been whitewashed.
But supporters of the Middle East’s most radical extremist group are only laying low after their surprise show of strength in protests last summer. Despite government efforts, support for the Islamic State group is growing in Maan and elsewhere in Jordan, one of the West’s key allies in the region, say Islamic State activists, members of rival groups and experts on political Islam.
One of the leading Islamic State group activists in Maan said he and others are still working to build their base.
“In homes, at work, in mosques, in the streets, we reach out to people to call them to the real Islam,” the 40-year-old blacksmith, Abu Abdullah, told The Associated Press. Like other Islamic State group supporters interviewed by the AP, he spoke on condition he be identified only by his nickname for fear of troubles with authorities.
Militants like Abu Abdullah talk confidently of eventually having enough numbers to make their takeover of Jordan inevitable.
That may be overconfidence. Hardcore supporters of the Islamic State group’s self-proclaimed “caliphate” likely number in the thousands in a nation of 6.5 million. The government says the threat is overblown. But extremists do have momentum, attracting followers with promises of radical change and an ostensibly more just society at a time when many Jordanians can’t find jobs, struggle with rising prices or feel abandoned by the pro-Western ruling elite.
The war in Syria gives them a cause and battlefield experience. Up to 2,000 Jordanians are fighting in rebel ranks in Syria and Iraq, most of them with extremist factions, and several hundred have been killed, according to Hassan Abu Haniyeh, an expert on Islamic movements, and Marwan Shehadeh, a scholar who was once part of the ultraconservative Salafi movement.
Over the summer, jihadi Salafi marches were held in Maan, Zarqa and several other cities, with protesters raising black banners and chanting slogans in support of the Islamic State group.
Given the poverty and anger at perceived government neglect, such protests could easily erupt again and spread, warned Maan’s mayor, Majed al-Sharari.
Study after study has shown that poverty doesn’t cause terrorism, and that terrorists are generally wealthier and better educated than their peers, but this goes against the dogma that everyone accepts, and so is universally ignored.
“My expectation is that because of this pressure, there will be a huge explosion in Jordan,” he said. “I don’t expect 2015 to pass peacefully. The signs are there.”
Jordan’s King Abdullah II called the fight against the Islamic State group and extremists “a third world war by other means.”
“This is our war. This is a war inside of Islam,” he said in an interview with CBS News on Friday ahead of White House talks with President Barack Obama. “We have to own up it. We have to take the lead.”…