Recently, Barack Obama weighed in on Israel’s war against Hamas and, unsurprisingly, repeated all the conventional wisdom that our politicians on both sides have indulged in since 9/11. One comment, in particular, evoked one of the most dangerous views of the conflict with modern jihadism: that this venerable doctrine of Islam is a kind of heresy or extremism that does not represent Muslims around the world.
In the context of the current war with Hamas, according to ABC News, Obama said of Israel’s campaign: “There are people dying right now that have nothing to do with what Hamas did,” making the distinction between Palestinians living in Gaza and the militant group Hamas, which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization.”
We will ignore the mendacious euphemism “ the militant group Hamas ” and the insinuation that the exact description “terrorist organization” is nothing more than a prejudiced smear of American security agencies. More important still is Obama’s variation on the lowly and dishonest phrase “ nothing to do with Islam,” an echo of Western apologists after 9/11 who regularly chanted this lie.
The use of this misleading formula transcends political parties. After 9/11, the Bush administration no doubt thought that such rhetorical distortions would appease Muslims and show them that “we are not at war with Islam.” In Bush’s speeches, preventive verbal insults abounded, such as the following: “Our enemy [Al Qaeda] does not follow the great traditions of Islam. “They have hijacked a great religion…All Americans must recognize that the face of terror is not the true face of Islam…It is a faith based on love, not hate.”
Anyone even remotely familiar with traditional Islamic doctrine and history knows that this flaccid ecumenism is, at best, well-intentioned wishful thinking and, at worst, a talking point for evil apologists. Let us listen to Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), one of the most important and revered historians and philosophers of Islam: “In the Muslim community, holy war is a religious duty, due to the universalism of the [Muslim] mission and [the obligation to] convert everyone to Islam, whether by persuasion or force .” Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 1328), another important Muslim theorist of jihad, thinks the same: “Since lawful war is essentially jihad and since its objective is that the religion be entirely of Allah and the word of Allah is above everything, therefore, according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this goal must be fought .” Are these titans of Islamic thought “kidnappers” or “heretics”?
In the current crisis, such distortions of jihad as Obama’s serve to portray Hamas as a victim and to demonize Israel for its supposed callous disregard for innocent lives, as Obama implies. But “innocence” is not so simple, not when the enemy is totally indifferent to the safety and lives of his own people and hides his weapons in schools, tunnels under hospitals, mosques, apartment buildings and other civilian infrastructure.
Furthermore, Hamas has the support of about half of the Gazans, who voted Hamas to power in 2006. There was also no mystery about Hamas’s genocidal violence, codified in its founding pact.
Furthermore, support for the “armed struggle” against Israel and its people is shared by the majority of Gazans. As Andrew McCarthy recently reported, a poll “from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Polling Research tells us that, by a margin of 58% to 20%, Palestinians would prefer a renewal of the intifada ( the “armed struggle”) to negotiations. peaceful actions aimed at ending “the occupation ”. This is consistent with polls from last year, as is the finding that approximately seven in ten Palestinians oppose the two-state solution.”
Other recent Washington Institute polls similarly report that “there is a broad popular appeal for competing armed Palestinian factions, including those involved in the attack. Overall, 57% of Gazans express an at least somewhat positive view of Hamas, along with similar percentages of Palestinians in the West Bank (52%) and East Jerusalem (64%).”
On the other hand, smaller but more fanatical outfits like the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Lion’s Den “receive the most widespread popular support in Gaza. About three-quarters of Gazans express support for both groups, including 40% who view the Lion’s Den ‘very positively,’ an attitude shared by a similar percentage of residents in the West Bank.” Since the Palestinian Arabs lack a formal army, “armed struggle” means terrorism.
It is not surprising, then, that many “civilians” participated in the massacre of 7/10. Photographers embedded with Hamas terrorists have publicized the carnage with photos that appeared in Western media such as the AP, the New York Times, Reuters and CNN. The media watchdog website HonestReporting asked: “Is it conceivable to assume that the “journalists” appeared by chance early in the morning at the border without prior coordination with the terrorists? Or were they part of the plan?” And wouldn’t that make those reporters and media outlets “accomplices in the crime,” as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said?
In fact, according to the managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, Rabbi Yaakov Menken, “What we now know is that ‘civilians’ drew maps for Hamas, guiding them to every house, every child, every pet … The “Civilians” went after the terrorists to murder and kidnap those who had been saved,” and “civilians” joined the terrorists to report the atrocities committed. Furthermore, “civilians” deliberately gather around terrorists, even barbarously bringing their children.”
These delusions about the doctrines of Islam have vitiated our response to jihadist terror since before 9/11. There was a misinterpretation of the Iranian revolution by our national security and intelligence agencies, who apparently knew very little about Ayatollah Khomeini’s religious motives in the 1978-79 revolution that created the Islamic Republic [NB] of Iran. More egregious was the similar failure in the 1990s to understand the origins and motives of Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
And it’s not like we weren’t warned before. In 1993, a group of jihadists associated with Abdel Rahman, the “Blind Sheikh,” planted a bomb in the underground parking lot of the World Trade Center, leaving a 30-meter crater and killing six people. Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who successfully prosecuted Rahman and his accomplices, laid out during the trial the jihadist doctrines that would also motivate Osama bin Laden.
Nor was Abdel Rahman the leader of a crackpot cult, a “fringe beard” Muslim similar to David Koresh or Jim Jones, whose beliefs were obviously strange interpretations of Christian doctrine. By contrast, Abdel Rahman had a doctorate, with distinction, in Quranic studies from the famous al-Azhar University in Cairo, the Islamic equivalent of Harvard or Oxford.
As McCarthy’s analysis of jihadist doctrine demonstrated, Abdel Rahman’s preaching on jihad was entirely consistent with traditional Islamic orthodoxy expounded in the Quran, the hadiths, the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence, and later theorists such as the traditionalist Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned.
However, no one in our security and defense agencies seemed to take McCarthy’s explanation of jihadist doctrine seriously during Rahman’s trial. Throughout the 1990s, dozens of our citizens and members of the armed forces were killed, and our security and national interests were harmed by Al Qaeda’s string of terrorist attacks against our embassies in East Africa and military quarters in Arabia. Saudi.
All of these attacks were treated by the Clinton administration as crimes and not as battles in the war declared by Osama bin Laden against the greatest power of the infidels and challenger to Islam’s religiously sanctioned dreams of global domination. And as we saw earlier in Bush’s statements, not even the gruesome end of 9/11 and the 2,996 deaths could wake our foreign policy experts from their dogmatic slumber.
Finally, this willful blindness, as McCarthy titled his important book on the first attack on the World Trade Center, serves the therapeutic and self-deprecating narrative that makes our jihadist enemies the victims “of historical Western depredations instigated by Israel, in particular colonialism. ” Barack Obama, in his humiliating adulation of Islam during his 2009 Cairo speech, recycled this dubious received wisdom about the West’s culpability.
Like current Western supporters of Hamas and their ahistorical talk of “settler colonialism,” Obama blamed “tensions” between Islam and the West on “colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.
Obama neglected to point out that Islam created one of the largest colonial empires in history and that those Muslim nations received billions of dollars in foreign aid to align themselves with the United States.
So now, because of our decades of delusions, we face a more dangerous Middle East dominated by Iran and its terrorist proxies, an Iran that partners with Russia and China to compromise our national interests and security. Yet we continue to ignore the facts of history and, more importantly, continue to indulge our own moral idiocy.
The moral truth is that if a man stands behind his family and shoots at yours, and you return fire in self-defense, killing members of his family, then the moral blame is on him for endangering them in the first place. We need to stop pressuring Israel to value enemy civilians more than its own, and telling the truth about jihad is a good place to start.
Originally Written by: Bruce S. Thornton