Untitled Document

Denying the Link between Islamist Ideology and Jihadist Terrorism: “Political Correctness” and the Undermining of Counterterrorism

by Jeffrey M. Bale

“[I]f your enemy is a terrorist and he professes to be an Islamist, it may be wise to take him at his word.” – Ralph Peters[1]

“Islamism is a reactionary ideology that kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present….Its victory can only lead to a world of injustice and domination: men over women, fundamentalists over others….We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of‘Islamophobia’, a wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion [with the] stigmatisation of those who believe in it.”- ‘ Together Facing the New Totalitarianism’ Writers’ Manifesto[2]

“Muslims need to become free of totalitarian Islam and the least the West can do in support is not concede an inch of its own hard-won freedom in quest of a false peace with Islamists.” - Salim Mansur [3]

“The jihadists appear to be right: we [in the West] are weak, self-indulgent, unsinewed by political correctness, in thrall to sentimental and utopian notions, ripe for the plucking. Too many years of soft living and even softer thinking.” - David Solway [4]

Abstract Ever since the jihadist terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, Western policy-makers, mainstream media organisations, and even academicians have been perversely reluctant to highlight the crucial role played by Islamist ideology in motivating jihadist terrorist attacks. Indeed, the more acts of jihadist terrorism that are perpetrated, acts in which the perpetrators clearly reveal their ideological motivations, the more insistently key Western elites refuse to acknowledge those motivations. This article discusses several of the reasons for this peculiar disjuncture, and focuses in particular on the persistent efforts to whitewash certain features of Islam, demonize its critics, and even engage in apologetics for Islamism at a time when the latter, in both its violent and non-violent forms, poses a significant threat to Western democracies. One especially worrisome source and dimension of this problem is the continuing reliance of Western governments on members of Islamist advocacy organizations for advice. In order to illustrate the degree to which “politically correct” impulses can have both damaging analytical and potentially lethal consequences, three cases of jihadist terrorism are discussed herein – the Boston Marathon bombings, the gruesome assault on a British soldier in Woolwich, and the mass shootings at Fort Hood.


Ever since the jihadist terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, Western policy-makers, mainstream media organs, and even academicians have been reluctant to highlight the key role played by Islamist ideology in motivating jihadist terrorist attacks. This is all the more peculiar given that, as is typical of ideological extremists, the perpetrators of these attacks themselves openly and indeed proudly emphasize the central role played by their religious beliefs, specifically their strict, puritanical interpretations of Islamic scriptures (i.e., the Qur’an) and their supposed emulation of the exemplary words and deeds of Islam’s prophet Muhammad (as recorded in the six canonical hadith collections), in motivating their violent actions. One might imagine that the gap between the oft-professed motivations of the Islamist perpetrators and the assessment of their motivations by Western analysts would be closing with the passage of time, all the more so given that jihadists have since carried out thousands of acts of terrorism in various regions of the world. Yet in fact the exact opposite has occurred: the more acts of jihadist terrorism that are carried out, in which the perpetrators clearly reveal their ideological motivations, the more insistently key Western elites refuse to give credence to those motivations. It should be remembered, for example, that the official 9/11 Report prepared by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States did not avoid referring to the sponsors’ and perpetrators’ religious motivations, and indeed often used accurate descriptive terms like “radical Islam,” “Islamic fundamentalism,” “jihadists,” “Islamists,” and “Islamism” (even if the section on the apparent involvement of certain Saudi officials in the plot was almost completely redacted and details about the egregious failures of certain government agencies were suppressed).[5] Since then, however, various Western government officials and media outlets have instead repeatedly sought to banish the use of terms like “jihadist” and “Islamic terrorism” from public discourse, thereby effectively acting to conceal the core ideological motivations of our Islamist adversaries in an era characterized by explicitly ideological contestation and ideologically-motivated asymmetric warfare.[6]

The 2013 Jihadist Terrorist Attacks in Boston and Woolwich as Examples

These ongoing problems were illustrated yet again in the wake of the 2013 jihadist terrorist attacks in Boston (15 April) and Woolwich (22 May). Beginning with Boston, the refusal of many commentators to acknowledge the role of Islamist ideology in motivating the bombings reached new heights. As usual, most expressed unwarranted perplexity about the motives of the perpetrators, even as evidence increasingly mounted that their mother Zubeidat, Tamerlan, and eventually Dzhokar Tsarnaev had all adopted radical interpretations of Islam – i.e., Islamism – which had inspired the two sons to carry out the attacks.[7] Yet reporters and government officials kept publicly wondering, wringing their hands, and agonizing about “how” and “why” the Tsarnaev brothers, who appeared to be “normal” kids, were not mired in poverty, had seemingly become Westernized and integrated into American society, and, in the case of Dzhokar, had been an excellent student with many friends, could have been induced to carry out such a heinous act. The question itself reveals a shocking level of ignorance about the normal motives of insurgent terrorists, since it assumes that they must be either display clinical psychopathologies (i.e., be “crazy”) or be poor, disadvantaged, and/or disenfranchised in order to perpetrate acts of terrorism, even though research has shown for more than a decade that most members of terrorist groups are no more prone to having such psychopathologies than non-terrorists and that there is no direct correlation, much less any primary causal link, between poverty and immiseration and a propensity for terrorism.[8] On the contrary, most insurgent terrorists (especially, but not exclusively, those in key leadership, ideological, and operational positions), like extremists in general and other self-styled revolutionaries, tend to be from relatively privileged strata of their own societies, tend to have above average intelligence, and tend to have benefitted from higher levels of education than most of their countrymen.

Even after it emerged that Tamerlan had become increasingly religious (along with his mother), had forced his converted American wife to wear a headscarf, had posted jihadist materials online, had argued with less radical (but by no means moderate) imams at a local mosque, and may have interacted with North Caucasus mujahidin during a recent visit to Dagestan, pundits and officials continued to profess ignorance about the bombers’ motives. Note, for example, the comments of Secretary of State John Kerry: “I think the world has had enough of people who have no belief system…but who just want to kill people because they don’t like what they see.”[9] Since when, one might ask, is Islamism not a belief system? And even after the wounded and captured Dzhokar admitted to interrogators that the bombers had been motivated by their religious worldviews, three apparently uncomprehending journalists nonetheless wrote the following lines: “Based on preliminary written interviews with Dzhokar in his hospital bed, U.S. officials believe the brothers were motivated by their religious views. It has not been clear, however, what those views were.”[10] Perhaps the authors of this article suspected that the attacks had been inspired by Mormonism or Buddhism rather than by radical interpretations of Islam. Even President Barack Obama initially characterized the bombings, bizarrely, as a “tragedy,” as if they had been the result of some sort of natural disaster rather being the product of human ideological fanaticism.[11]

The legions of academic “Islam apologists” and “Islamist apologists” also immediately weighed in after the Boston bombings, as usual in a desperate effort to absolve Islam in general or Islamism in particular from bearing any moral, intellectual, or political responsibility for motivating the attacks.[12] Apart from their standard claims that Islam does not sanction and is therefore incompatible with terrorism, claims that are frankly absurd given that so many Islamists (and other Muslims) regularly cite well-known Qur’anic passages[13], Muhammad’s own reported actions, and the military conquests of the “rightly-guided” Caliphs and their successors to justify ongoing acts of aggression, violence, and terrorism against “infidels,” these self-styled experts also insisted that the Tsarnaevs were not really devout Muslims motivated by their interpretations of the Islamic religion. According to University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, for example, the Tsarnaevs were “secular ex-Soviets” rather than “observant Muslims,” and were simply “on an adolescent homocidal (sic) power trip, dressed up like al-Qaeda, the way the Aurora [Colorado] shooter was wearing an arsenal and dressed up like Batman.”[14] Actual evidence for this bizarre claim was, as one might expect, never forthcoming. Likewise, for University of North Carolina professor Omid Safi, the “few pieces [of information] we have do not exactly add up to a life of pious observance of Islam. Their high school friends talk about the two brothers getting together, drinking, and smoking pot….We have seen this before, in the case of the 9/11 hijackers who visited strip clubs and got loaded up on alcohol before committing their atrocities – again, not the action of Muslim role models.”[15] These types of arguments are not only misleading but factually incorrect, in the same way as claiming that a neo-Nazi could not be “real” Nazi extremist if he turned out to be a homosexual, given that homosexuality is officially viewed as “degenerate” in Nazi ideology – is it really necessary to refer here, say, to gay SA leader Ernst Röhm or gay German neo-Nazi Michael Kühnen? – or that a devout Christian pastor could not really be a fanatical “true believer” if he was at some point discovered hiring prostitutes or snorting cocaine, since these are considered “sins” by both Catholics and Protestants. The reality is that ideological extremists, being characteristically flawed human beings, can rarely live up to the ostensibly “higher” moral standards that they try to impose on everyone else, that new “born again” converts to religions have often lived hedonistic or even criminal lifestyles before their conversions, that even the most devout jihadists operating in the West are often explicitly instructed by their trainers to behave just like “decadent” Westerners so as not to draw undue attention to themselves (as, e.g., is the case for members of al-Takfir wa al-Hijra [Excommunication and Migration] and Qa‘idat al-Jihad [The Base, or Foundation, of the Jihad]), and that most Muslims believe that the worldly sins of believers who die as “martyrs” fighting on behalf of Islam will be instantly forgiven by Allah, who will then automatically grant them entry to the highest level (firdaws) of Paradise (janna). Hence the periodically “un-Islamic” moral behavior displayed by would-be or actual jihadist terrorists hardly signifies that they are not motivated to carry out their violent actions as a result of embracing extremist interpretations of Islam.[16]

Yet another example of the ongoing attempts by various left-of-center commentators to minimize, obscure, or deny the Islamist ideological motivations of the Tsarnaevs was the BBC’s Panorama investigative report entitled “The Brothers Who Bombed Boston,” wherein it was suggested that Tamerlan was merely a “Muslim of convenience” and instead emphasized that he had likewise possessed some American “right-wing extremist literature”, specifically publications espousing white supremacy (one of which argued that “Hitler had a point”), anti-government conspiracy theories concerning the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks, and warnings about the “rape of our gun rights”; also found were materials about U.S. drones killing civilians, the alleged plight of Muslims imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, and literature about what motivated mass killers and “how the perpetrators murdered and maimed calmly.”[17] Alas, this information has already been exploited by certain political websites so as to imply that Tamerlan might not have really been an Islamist radical after all.[18]

However, there is no reason to suppose that these new discoveries have any bearing on the nature of Tamerlan’s ideological beliefs. First of all, Islamists are themselves right-wing religious extremists, so it is hardly surprising that they would embrace certain ideas and tropes peddled by other types of anti-Western, anti-“New World Order,” anti-democratic, and anti-Semitic extremists, including “infidel” right-wingers from the West. After all, ideological cross-fertilization between different extremist milieus is quite common, especially in the context of conspiratorial beliefs.[19] Second, Islamists have long avidly absorbed and disseminated Nazi and pro-Nazi anti-Semitic literature, which is in fact openly sold in Islamist bookstores and book stalls throughout the Muslim world (including those in certain mosques and Muslim enclaves in the West), which – together with the extensive and well-documented historical pattern of collaboration between influential Islamists and the Nazi regime – explains why they are so often enamored with Hitler and his anti-Jewish (and anti-gay) exterminatory policies.[20] Third, many Muslims are prone to embrace conspiracy theories of various types, in particular those that attribute sinister secret machinations to Jews, the U.S. government, various European powers, Russia, and India. Therefore, it is understandable why so many uncritically accept nonsensical 9/11, London, Madrid, Bali, and Mumbai conspiratorial scenarios regarding attacks that were actually perpetrated by jihadists, as well as no less bogus claims that other high profile acts of terrorism (such as the one carried out by Timothy McVeigh) were likewise “false flag” operations covertly conducted by the U.S. government or the Israeli secret services.[21] This is another of the many psychological defense mechanisms that all too many Muslims conveniently adopt in order to absolve themselves and/or Islam from shouldering any moral responsibility for jihadist terrorist crimes and atrocities, and that Islamists systematically promote in efforts to further demonize their principal “infidel” enemies. That is precisely why both Western right-wing extremists (e.g., Michael Collins Piper, Lyndon LaRouche, David Duke, Bradley R. Smith, and Gerald Fredrick Töben) and left-wing Western conspiracy theorists (e.g., Thierry Meyssan of the Réseau Voltaire [Voltaire Network] and former professor and Muslim convert Kevin Barrett) are typically welcomed with open arms at “Holocaust denial” or “9/11 Truth” fora organized by Islamists, whether private associations (e.g., the now defunct Arab League “think tank” formerly based in Abu Dhabi, the Zayid Center for Coordination and Follow-Up) or governments (such as that of Iran).[22] Finally, it is no mystery why Islamists like Tamerlan should possess partisan materials denouncing drone attacks and conditions at Gitmo, or literature on mass murders in cases where they are motivated to commit such acts themselves. Thus the exploitation of these “revelations” by the BBC and others only serves to illustrate the moral bankruptcy and distorted political priorities of many self-styled “progressives,” whose primary concern is never about the actual victims of acts of terrorism, protecting national security, or the ongoing threat posed by jihadist terrorists, but is rather to shift the blame away from the actual Islamist perpetrators of violence and/or their professed ideological motives and onto preferred villains like the domestic far right, “imperialist” Western governments, Israel, or “white males.”[23]

Turning now to the sadistic murder of an unarmed, off-duty British soldier named Lee Rigby by two jihadists in Woolwich, British Prime Minister David Cameron was quick to insist, without providing any actual evidence for these claims, that it constituted a “betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to this country,” and that “[t]here is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act.”[24] Similarly, fellow Conservative Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, hastened to state that “it is completely wrong to blame this killing on the religion of Islam…,”[25] although, like the PM, he studiously ignored the obvious fact that particular interpretations of Islam clearly inspired the attack. Similarly, British comedian Russell Brand opined that the killer was “a nut who happens to be Muslim”; hence “[b]laming Muslims for this is like blaming Hitler’s moustache for the Holocaust.”[26] Brand did not, however, explain why blaming Islamist ideology for inspiring the Woolwich attack would be any less accurate than blaming Nazi ideology for inspiring the Holocaust. Predictably, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella group reportedly dominated by pro-Mawdudist Islamists, also immediately claimed that this was “a barbaric attack that had nothing to do with Islam”,[27] and as per usual the MCB and several other UK Islamist organizations – like their American counterparts – immediately began focusing their energies, not on challenging or criticizing radical interpretations of Islam (which they themselves espouse in one form or another), but rather on sounding the alarm about a possible “wave” of “Islamophobic” retaliatory violence, as they invariably do in the wake of jihadist terrorist attacks.[28] Yet oddly enough, like tens of thousands of other Islamists throughout the world, the Woolwich perpetrators apparently never realized that waging “individual jihad terrorism” (to use the phrase coined anew by Syrian jihadist strategic thinker Abu Mus‘ab al-Suri) was actually “un-Islamic,” since one of those two Nigerian Islamists yelled “Allahu akbar,” paraphrased a passage in the Qur’an, and declared that “[w]e swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone.”[29]

Indeed, one very inconvenient fact that Muslim and Western “Islam apologists” and “Islamist apologists” are never able to explain satisfactorily – if Islam really is the inherently tolerant, “progressive,” and peaceful religion that they insistently claim it is (which the historical record generally belies) – how and why all of the Islamists, as well as millions of other Muslims, invariably “mis”-interpret their core religious doctrines and scriptures in a similarly intolerant, bellicose, regressive, and imperialistic fashion. And why, for that matter, do so few ostensibly “moderate” Muslims openly, persistently, and genuinely denounce the Islamist interpretation of Islam, even in Western countries, where they have the freedom to do so?

Possible Reasons for Denying the Key Role of Islamist Ideology in Acts of Jihadist Terrorism

There are three possible explanations for the failure of so much of the Western intelligentsia to acknowledge the Islamist motivations of the perpetrators of acts of jihadist terrorism like those in Boston and Woolwich. The first is the belief that political ideologies and religious doctrines do not influence the behavior of terrorists at all, which would mean that other factors – psychological, narrowly political, economic, etc. – must invariably be responsible for that behavior. Such a view, which some “social scientists” actually seem to accept, is not only preposterous on its face but is completely contradicted by the historical record. The second is the supposition that political ideologies and religious doctrines sometimes influence the behavior of insurgent terrorists, but that unlike in other contexts this is not true in cases of Islamist terrorism. Those who assert that particular interpretations of Islam do not actually serve to motivate jihadist terrorists, in spite of the fact that the latter invariably proclaim that they are acting fi sabil Allah or “in the cause of Allah” (as, for example, Moroccan Islamist Muhammad Buyari repeatedly did after he brutally murdered Dutch film director Theo van Gogh on 2 November 2004), have yet to provide any credible evidence to the contrary. The third is the conviction that, even though it is obvious that Islamist ideology does influence the behaviour of jihadist terrorists, it is simply better not to admit this publicly. Naturally, those who hold the latter view should be forced to explain how this ongoing denial of reality could possibly be helpful in terms of responding to the terrorist threat from this quarter.

Whatever the explanation in specific instances, the fact is that if either of the two aforementioned acts of jihadist terrorism had been high-profile attacks carried out by, say, domestic right-wing extremists, Western media and law enforcement officials would have not only immediately recognized, but also displayed no reluctance whatsoever to identify, the key motivational role played by the noxious ideological beliefs of the perpetrators.[30] Indeed, for months or even years afterwards they would be insistently hyping the real or imagined dangers posed by the homegrown radical right, as the examples of Timothy McVeigh, David Copeland, and Anders Behring Breivik all serve to illustrate.[31] In marked contrast, those same media and officials usually downplay or even conceal the much greater subversive and security threats presented by the Islamic radical right (i.e., Islamists), whether its cadres are operating at home or overseas. The very same pattern is unfortunately displayed by a myriad of private “watchdog” organizations whose stated purpose is to monitor the activities of the radical right, which typically exaggerate the threat posed by the domestic far right whilst systematically ignoring the more serious threat posed by Islamist networks, including terrorist cells, that are active in their own and other Western nations.[32] Thus, it is mainly in cases where radical interpretations of Islam are undeniably the inspiration for brutal acts of terrorism that Western media, academic, advocacy, and key policy-making elites continue to display a stubborn and perverse reluctance to acknowledge this publicly. Such a blatant display of hypocritical double standards is surely not coincidental.

This phenomenon of willfully ignoring or dismissing the importance of the ideologies motivating our primary enemies is arguably unprecedented in modern history. Apart from assorted naïve or dissimulating intellectual apologists for left-wing and right-wing totalitarianism, Western democratic elites did not hesitate to highlight the central role played by Marxist-Leninist, Fascist, and Nazi ideologies in motivating the systematic acts of state repression, persecution, and violence carried out by the Soviet Union, Fascist Italy, or Nazi Germany, nor in fueling the brutality and violence carried out by those same extremist ideological movements before they had managed to seize state power. Indeed, recognizing, understanding, and countering the doctrinal tenets and appeal of those ideologies was a key factor that enabled the West to defend itself effectively and ultimately prevail in its struggles against these three would-be totalitarian movements and regimes. As Sun Tzu and innumerable other strategic thinkers throughout the centuries have rightly emphasized, it is virtually impossible to counter and defeat an adversary if one does not understand his underlying beliefs and motives, however bizarre or delusional those beliefs and motives may in fact be, since they greatly affect his strategic and even operational decisions. Why, then, do Western policy-makers and opinion-shapers still stubbornly persist in denying reality with respect to the baleful role played by Islamist ideology in influencing the observable behavior of Islamist organizations, including the jihadist groups and networks that constitute an ongoing terrorist threat?

There are several apparent reasons for this continued Western unwillingness to face reality. First, Westerners grow up and live in, and thus are unavoidably socialized within, relatively materialistic human societies, in multiple senses of that term. Therefore, they are naturally prone to ascribe similarly materialistic motivations to all of their adversaries from other cultures, including political or religious extremists from the Muslim world, instead of taking their ideological and religious beliefs seriously.[33] That is why Western analysts so often wrongly assume that ideological extremists are really motivated by narrowly material interests or a naked thirst for power rather than by their stated beliefs, which some falsely claim are nothing more than convenient rationalisations. It is also why they continue to argue, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, that really-existing problems like poverty or the lack of democracy are the actual underlying causes of Muslim radicalisation and violence. On the basis of this egregiously myopic and wrong-headed perspective, for which there is virtually no evidentiary support and a great deal of evidentiary disconfirmation (especially in the wake of the so-called “Arab Spring,” which has thus far mainly degenerated into an “Islamist Winter,” just as more knowledgeable people had predicted from the outset),[34] it follows that the provision of more foreign aid and the introduction of democratic procedures like elections is the solution to that radicalisation and violence. Here, as in so many other cases, one can observe the phenomenon of “mirror imaging,” in which the analysts in question simply project their own characteristic motivations and modes of thinking uncritically and therefore naïvely onto others instead of carefully examining and trying to empathize – albeit not sympathize – with the actual beliefs, cultural values, and motivations of their adversaries.

Second, more than a decade after 9/11, there still remain shocking levels of ignorance in the West about the nature of Islam as a religion, about the basic outlines of Islamic history, about tribal social structures in the Muslim world, and about the doctrinal characteristics of Islamism, an extreme right-wing, intrinsically anti-democratic, and indeed totalitarian 20th-century political ideology deriving from an exceptionally strict and puritanical interpretation of core Islamic religious and legal doctrines.[35] Islamism is only one of many possible interpretations of such doctrines, of course, but it is by far the most intolerant, aggressive, belligerent, and imperialistic of all of those interpretations. Moreover, at the present time it appears to be growing exponentially in popularity at the expense of more moderate interpretations of Islam (as the electoral successes of Islamist parties in the Palestinian territories, Iraq, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, and regions of Pakistan have repeatedly demonstrated). Hence most Westerners, including influential policy-makers, journalists, and academicians, simply do not possess the requisite levels of expertise to comprehend the extremist ideological beliefs and thoroughly regressive cultural values of our Islamist adversaries, much less to distinguish between genuinely moderate Muslims and extremists employing deception and disinformation.

Worse still, following the reprehensible example set by various activist academicians (above all Palestinian literary critic Edward Said), a majority of the Western professoriate in the field of modern Middle East Studies – in contradistinction to the far more serious scholars of medieval Islam – appear to have avidly embraced overtly biased, hopelessly one-sided, and blatantly ideological (if not propagandistic) interpretations of Islam and Islamism, interpretations which have resulted not only in blaming the “imperialist” West for most if not all of the Muslim world’s problems and in the systematic whitewashing of Islam itself (for example, as a “religion of peace” or at least a religion that is no more prone to intolerance or violence than any other religion), but also in the patently absurd characterization of Islamist movements that have eschewed violence for purely tactical reasons as “moderate” and “democratic.”[36] These same engagés experts have also repeatedly argued that a tiny, fringe minority of violent jihadists has “perverted” or “hijacked” Islam in pursuit of agendas that are supposedly “un-Islamic,” when in fact the jihadists are Islamists whose interpretations of Islam are far more often orthodox than “heretical” in relation to the “classical” medieval Islamic jurisprudential tradition, above all in regard to conceptions of international relations between Muslims and “infidels.”[37] Last but not least, many of these academicians have systematically sought, together with dissimulating Islamist activists and clueless or dishonest members of self-styled anti-fascist groups, to demonize all those who have adopted a more critical perspective about Islam or Islamism as bigoted, hate-filled “Islamophobes,” no matter how justifiable and well-documented their criticisms of Islam and Islamism may be.[38] From this blinkered perspective, everyone who has concerns about various undeniably regressive aspects of Islam and/or is sounding the alarm about the threat posed by Islamism, no matter how legitimately, must ipso facto be afflicted with some sort of clinical psychopathology, i.e., an irrational “phobia” about Islam.[39] Alas, it is precisely these “Islam apologists” and “Islamist apologists” in academia who have been providing classroom instruction to future journalists and government officials in recent decades. It is therefore hardly surprising that the latter would so often internalize and then subsequently regurgitate the exact same misinterpretations.

Political Correctness

However, the main reason for the West’s ongoing unwillingness to identify Islamist ideology as the primary source of the jihadist terrorist danger, other security threats, and a plethora of growing socio-cultural problems involving Muslims, has to do with the present era’s ever-more pervasive climate of myopic, self-destructive “political correctness.” This is a well-known term that has come to refer not only to the uncritical if not slavish following of political “party lines,” but also to insistent displays of rigid moral self-righteousness and puritanism, humorlessness, and intolerance (if not outright hatred) directed against, as well as an undemocratic impulse to demonize and suppress, the opinions of anyone who does not share one’s own biases and agendas. Such blatantly illiberal behavior is typically justified – as intolerance, fanaticism, and repressive attitudes and behavior almost invariably are – as being in the interests of the “greater good.” Many different forms of “political correctness” exist, including those associated with ideologues on the political and religious right. But herein we are concerned with the now hegemonic self-styled “progressive” forms operating within academia, the media, and government, which emanate primarily from morally puritanical “liberals” (which once was a contradiction in terms), sectarian leftists, radical “feminists” (of the deluded sort who argue that the wearing of a niqab or a burqa by Muslim women should be viewed as a sign of “freedom of choice” rather than recognized as either an indication of coercive male Muslim misogyny or a sartorial expression of regressive Islamist beliefs), multiculturalist ideologues, and assorted anti-Western or anti-white minority group activists (including Islamists).

These self-appointed “guardians of public morality” have organised a multitude of advocacy groups which, much like the official and unofficial medieval “witch hunters” who systematically but falsely accused individuals of being “heretics” and “witches” in order to justify persecuting them, constantly smear all those who disagree with their social and political views, often equally falsely, as “sexists,” “racists,” “homophobes,” “xenophobes,” “bigots,” “haters,” and “Islamophobes.” The goal of the former is to demonize the latter, delegitimise their opinions, and even provide a legal basis for prosecuting them under bogus “hate speech” or libel laws, thereby effectively endeavoring to criminalise dissenting opinions that they regard as beyond the pale. If these all too common impulses to generate “moral panics” and legal persecution were not bad enough, insofar as they represent a clear and present danger to freedom of speech and expression in Western democracies, “political correctness” is also typically characterized by blatant hypocrisy and double standards in that it systematically apologises for, or even seeks to justify, the very same or even worse behaviour, whenever it is manifested by supposed “victims,” that it excoriates when it is manifested by alleged “oppressors.”[40]

In the context of Islam, Islamism, and jihadist terrorism, “politically correct” circles in academia, the media, and government have been insistently peddling the unsupportable view that neither Islam in general nor any conceivably “legitimate” interpretation of Islam can be blamed for acts of terrorism committed by Muslims, even though the perpetrators themselves haughtily declare otherwise.[41] However, not everyone who is taking this position is doing so for the same reasons. On the contrary, the motives of the various “Islam apologists” and “Islamist apologists” are often fundamentally incompatible. Here are some illustrative examples:

  • well-meaning but naïve political or religious liberals are doing so in the name of promoting greater tolerance and preventing discrimination against innocent Muslims (which are, in principle, worthy goals);
  • •multiculturalists are doing so in the name of promoting ethno-cultural “diversity” and justifying continuing high levels of Third World immigration or asylum;[42]
  • • sectarian leftists, minority activists, and some radical neo-fascists in Europe are doing so in order to shift the blame from the actual terrorist perpetrators and onto Western “imperialism” or “Zionism” for supposedly “provoking” Muslim violence;
  • • self-styled “anti-fascist” groups are doing so in order to more easily justify denouncing their designated enemies from the supposedly “Islamophobic” domestic right;
  • •Islamists are doing so in order to mislead gullible “infidels” about their ongoing pursuit of anti-democratic, anti-Western, and Islamic supremacist agendas;
  • • other Muslims are doing so in order to shield certain features of Islam from any criticism or blame, no matter how well-deserved; and
  • • Western governments are doing so in an ultimately futile effort to win Muslim “hearts and minds,” both at home (in large part for domestic electoral purposes) and abroad, by convincing conspiracy mongering Muslims that they are not waging a “war against Islam.”

Meanwhile, conspiracy theorists from most of these milieus – and many others as well – are busily insisting that Islamists, despite overwhelming evidence of their responsibility, are not even the real sponsors or perpetrators of acts of jihadist terrorism.[43] As a result, all of these milieus are increasingly prone, for their own respective and sometimes disingenuous reasons, to try and “protect” Islam and Muslims from criticism by abusively labeling all critics of Islam and Islamism as “Islamophobes.”[44] In practice, then, these diverse circles of Western “Islam apologists” and “Islamist apologists” are unwittingly functioning as “useful idiots” – or, as per the reformulation of Richard Landes, as no less idiotic “useful infidels”[45] – for radical right, totalitarian Islamists, who are mercilessly exploiting their abysmal ignorance, misplaced good will, or political myopia for their own sordid and sinister purposes.

The Impact of “Political Correctness” on Western Counterterrorism Policies and Actions

Alas, the concrete effects of all of this naïveté, self-delusion, and outright dissimulation are very dangerous indeed, especially in the context of counterterrorism. The West has now reached the point where the very elites entrusted with defending it are increasingly unwilling even to acknowledge the nature of the threat posed by Islamism, despite the fact that Islamists all over the world are openly and indeed continually denouncing the West as a mortal enemy that must be defeated, subjugated, and ultimately converted to their strict, puritanical version of Islam. The only debate among the Islamists is how this commonly shared objective can best be achieved, i.e., whether by means of armed jihad, the approach favored by terrorist groups such as al-Qa‘ida), or by means of gradual processes of infiltration, implantation, and subversion in which the Islamists establish ideological hegemony over Muslim migrant communities, are appointed as representatives of those communities (usually with the unwitting aid of Western governments), and carve out shari‘a-compliant areas within the bosom of Western societies. The latter approach (which is already well underway, especially in certain areas of Europe[46]) has been favored by the Jam‘iyyat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin (Society of Muslim Brothers, better known as the Muslim Brotherhood), Saudi Wahhabis, and South Asian Mawdudists.[47] Indeed, instead of publicly identifying the Islamists as the implacable enemies of the democratic, pluralistic West, as in fact they are, key Western elites have increasingly adopted an “Islamist apologist” stance, deluded themselves that the “non-violent” Islamists can be our “allies” against terrorism, and therefore unwisely endeavoured to collaborate or “partner” with them in Egypt and elsewhere.[48] (This policy is every bit as foolish and counterproductive as if we had opted to “partner” with the Nazis during the Weimar Republic or with Japanese ultranationalists in the 1930s rather than at least tacitly supporting their opponents, be they authoritarian, democratic, or quasi-democratic.) Indeed, such ill-conceived notions now constitute the basis of many U.S. and E.U. policies towards the Muslim world, especially in the wake of the “Arab Spring.”

The grim reality is that Western collaboration with Islamists is nothing new, given that the U.S., Britain, and several other Western or democratic countries (including Israel) covertly supported Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood against rival Arab nationalists and leftists throughout the Cold War era. The reason is that these religious reactionaries were simplistically and short-sightedly perceived through only one prism: as a useful bulwark against communism and Soviet influence within the Muslim world.[49] Even worse, some Western regimes periodically supported armed jihadist groups, as the U.S. did with the Afghan mujahidin, the British reportedly did with jihadist terrorist groups opposed to Mu‘ammar al-Qadhdhafi, and the Israelis initially did with the Harakat al-Muqawwama al-Islamiyya (HAMAS: Islamic Resistance Movement), actions that in every case led to serious “blowback” that grievously harmed the West and its allies and mainly benefited the Islamists.[50] Yet unlike the Islamists, who have continued to cleverly exploit “infidel” gullibility so as to obtain various types of tangible aid, the West has seemingly not learned any lessons at all from its repeated foreign policy failures vis-à-vis the Muslim world.

However, “political correctness” has now apparently replaced Realpolitik as the driver of Western pro-Islamist domestic and foreign policies. In past decades, it was often geopolitical hardliners within the intelligence community who had advocated supporting the Islamists against secular anti-colonialist movements. Those hardliners naïvely believed that they could easily manipulate the Islamists into functioning as their de facto agents against common Cold War enemies, after which they could abandon or dispose of them as they wished. In reality, they themselves were often conned and played for fools by the Islamists. But unlike today’s delusional policy-makers, these hubristic Cold War Realpolitiker rarely mistook the Islamists for genuine “moderates” or closet “democrats.” Hence the post-Cold War adoption of inaccurate and egregiously sanitised “politically correct” attitudes about Islam and Islamism, which has all too often reflected a misguided bipartisan consensus in the United States, has resulted in even greater Western foreign policy blunders and has now reached the point where it is arguably undermining, if not compromising or sabotaging, the future security of the West.[51] Both neo-conservatives and liberal internationalists have fundamentally misconstrued the nature of Islam and Islamism, with the result that both have uncritically promoted simple procedural “democratisation,” if necessary by force, as the solution to the multifaceted problems in the Muslim world, many of which are in fact mainly the product of the continuing debilitating influence of regressive social, cultural, and religious values.

Moreover, both the Bush and Obama administrations, and those of both Labour and the Conservatives in Britain, have foolishly allowed Islamist operatives and front groups, often portraying themselves – like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – as Muslim “civil liberties” organizations, to exert a baleful influence on the development of Western security and military policies.[52] Illustrative contemporary examples in the U.S. include Islamists like Rashad Hussain (Obama’s Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC] and a Deputy Associate White House Counsel working on “Muslim outreach” and national security), Dalia Mogahed [correct transliteration: Mujahid] (Obama’s Muslim Affairs Advisor to the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism Working Group), and numerous other activists who are reportedly associated with Muslim Brotherhood front groups.[53] Islamist influence has especially manifested itself in three interrelated spheres, where it has predictably created both conceptual and policy problems.

The first problem, and by far the most serious manifestation of Islamist influence, is that Islamist activists have increasingly been allowed to vet the instructional materials related to Islam and Islamism that are being used to train Western intelligence and military personnel. This has progressed to the point where they have actually succeeded in having certain contract instructors fired who they claimed, at times falsely, were “anti-Islamic.”[54] In reality, any criticisms at all of Islam or Islamism immediately make someone, in the eyes of such activists, “Islamophobic” or “anti-Islamic,” even if those criticisms are partially, largely, or entirely warranted. Be that as it may, it is surely an unprecedented situation that our declared Islamist enemies, despite usually operating under the cover of barely-disguised front groups, are nowadays being allowed – with the witless and pernicious help of the “useful infidels” who uncritically accept their disingenuous talking points – to decide what official training materials can and cannot be used to describe and analyze fellow Islamists. Imagine, if you will, that the U.S. government had allowed members of the German-American Bund, a Nazi front organization, to vet its training materials related to Nazism or Nazi Germany prior to World War II, or if it had allowed members of Soviet-backed front organizations to vet its training materials related to communism or the Soviet Union during the Cold War. That is essentially what is occurring at the present time with respect to non-state Islamism and jihadist terrorism, as certain documents released by the FBI in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Judicial Watch clearly indicate.[55] Why would any responsible government allow its own enemies to exert any influence whatsoever over the selection of its training materials for security personnel, as the Islamists have been trying to do with considerable success ever since 9/11?[56] All the more so since the Islamists and the “Islamist apologists” they have hoodwinked are explicitly endeavouring to delegitimize any analytical approach or statement that raises Western awareness of what the former are up to by labeling them, a priori, as “conspiracy theories.”[57] Only a government that is hopelessly blinkered by “political correctness” would adopt such a self-destructive and potentially suicidal course of action.

Indeed, the other two problems to be highlighted are in large part the predictable result of actively soliciting advice from Islamist activists about how to frame security issues involving Muslims. The second is the adoption and continued employment of euphemistic, misleading terminology to describe jihadist terrorism. As is well-known, after 9/11 the Bush administration adopted the pithy phrase “war against terrorism” to describe America’s conflict with jihadist terrorists. Yet the “war against terrorism” formulation was problematic inasmuch as one cannot wage a war against an operational technique, just as one cannot wage a war (other than metaphorically) against an inanimate object like “drugs” or a social phenomenon like “poverty.” As some have sardonically pointed out, the “war against terrorism” phrase would be equivalent to characterizing the war against Nazi Germany as a “war against blitzkrieg [operational techniques],” which would obviously have been risible. Nor is the post-9/11 conflict one between Western democracies and all of the world’s terrorists, i.e., non-state groups and states that frequently resort to the use of terrorist techniques. On the contrary, the conflict that has been going on since 9/11, and that in fact predated those attacks by more than two decades, is between “infidel” governments (including supposedly “apostate” Muslim governments) and Islamists, first and foremost those who rely primarily on armed jihad to achieve their goals. Yet Bush and his advisors, in an attempt to convince Muslims that they were not waging a war against Islam, generally promoted the notion that Islam itself was a “religion of peace” and, as a consequence, also refused to identify Islamism as the enemy in their public statements, in the way that U.S. presidents and officials had previously identified Communism and Fascism as the primary enemies of democracy.[58]

Under Obama the terminology for the Islamist enemy has again been changed, this time to “violent extremism,” which is certainly preferable to the ill-defined “terrorism.” Yet once again, the U.S. is not currently fighting against all forms of violent extremism in the world, but primarily against a certain type of violent Muslim radicalism (i.e., jihadism). Officials in the Obama administration have repeatedly acknowledged that al-Qa‘ida and its affiliates are their enemy, thereby stating the obvious, but they have also increasingly endeavoured to eliminate references to “radical Islam” or “Islamism” in official national security and strategic documents and, as will become clearer below, have stubbornly refused to publicly label their enemies as “Islamists,” “jihadists,” or “Islamic terrorists.” This was ostensibly done to facilitate “outreach” to Muslim communities and to avoid giving “offense” to Muslims in general. However, there is no good reason to believe that non-Islamist and anti-Islamist Muslims would find such accurate descriptive terminology “offensive” in any way (since they themselves often use it), any more than non-Nazi and anti-Nazi Germans would have been “offended” by the Allies identifying National Socialists as their enemies. Nor is there any reason to suppose that criticising Islamists would in any way inhibit “outreach” efforts to genuinely moderate, pro-democratic Muslims who are themselves opposed to Islamism – on the contrary, it would likely embolden such Muslims to speak out publicly and contribute to the forging of a common ideological, social, and political bulwark against mutual enemies. In any case, referring to Islamists and jihadists euphemistically and misleadingly, and not acknowledging the motivational centrality of their interpretations of Islam, does not change their nature or behaviour one iota.

The third problem, which is directly linked to and indeed reinforced by the two aforementioned problems, is the persistent and otherwise inexplicable refusal of key Western officials to link terrorism carried out by religiously-inspired Muslims in any way to Islam, or even to Islamism, both in their public statements and in their intelligence assessments. John Brennan, then Senior Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, attempted to explain and justify this approach in a 6 August 2009 speech at the DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). On that occasion, he exclaimed that President Obama did not consider this struggle to be a “fight against jihadists” because “[d]escribing terrorists in this way, using the legitimate term ‘jihad,’ which means to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal, risks giving these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek but in no way deserve” as well as “reinforcing the idea that the United States is somehow at war with Islam itself.”[59]

Built into those remarks of Brennan, who currently serves as Director of the CIA, are two unwarranted assumptions. The first is that Muslims will be looking to “infidels” to determine what the term jihad signifies and whether al-Qa‘ida and other Islamist terrorist organizations can be justly characterized as jihadists, which is an absurd proposition given that no terminology adopted by U.S. officials, negative or positive, is going to significantly affect Muslim perceptions of al-Qa‘ida and other Islamist organizations. After all, even Muslims who are opposed to al-Qa‘ida’s totalitarian goals and/or its brutal methods have not generally claimed that the group’s fighters are not really mujahidin, even if they view them as being misguided or dangerous. Furthermore, even the anti-Islamist and anti-jihadist themes and rhetoric disseminated by more or less autocratic Muslim governments (e.g., denigrating jihadists as khawarij or Kharijites, in reference to members of a puritanical Muslim sect who broke away from and later assassinated ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth “rightly-guided” Caliph), which were often formulated by regime-friendly Muslim clerics and therefore tended to be more relevant and have more resonance than anything Westerners might devise, have not appreciably affected general Muslim attitudes toward Islamism. (On the contrary, only the systematic targeting of innocent Muslim civilians – but not, alas, their no less innocent non-Muslim counterparts – and the rigid imposition of brutal hudud punishments has served to discredit the jihadists in the eyes of many Muslims.) The second assumption is that it is what U.S. officials say in public fora, rather than what tangible policies the U.S. actually ends up adopting, that will somehow matter most to Muslims, which is no less illogical. Indeed, given that the U.S. has never been waging a “war against Islam,” either prior to or in the wake of 9/11, any Muslims who believe that it has, as the Islamists clearly do, are in effect living in a conspiratorial fantasy world that has no correspondence with reality. Hence proclaiming this self-evident fact publicly is not likely to alter their distorted perceptions.

Nevertheless, Brennan’s speech set the tone for innumerable other pronouncements made thereafter by Obama administration officials. Indeed, even under oath, in the course of being subjected to direct questioning before congressional committees, several such officials have stubbornly continued to deny that which is patently obvious to everyone who has not willfully placed their heads in their sand. Rather than citing selected quotes from the transcripts, it is much more revealing to provide the URLs to their testimony so that readers can directly observe the extent to which these government officials have sought to evade the questions or engaged in bizarre verbal contortions in order to avoid acknowledging the obvious: that radical interpretations of Islam have motivated, and are continuing to motivate, acts of jihadist terrorism. Here, for example, is Attorney General Eric Holder, who, among other absurdities, claimed that Yemeni-American imam and al-Qa‘ida operative Anwar al-Awlaqi espoused a doctrine that was “not consistent with the teachings of Islam”:


And here is Paul Stockton, Assistant Defense Secretary for Homeland Security, refusing to admit, and in fact stubbornly denying, that the U.S. is at war with “violent Islamist extremism” (not to mention insisting that he is not being “politically correct”):


One might therefore assume that it would be impossible even to satirize such behaviour, but somehow the notoriously biased Fox News channel managed to do so here:


Sadly, this particular satirical skit is right on target.

The deleterious practical effects of willfully failing to recognise, or obstinately refusing to correctly identify, the Islamist motives of the jihadist perpetrators on the West’s counterterrorist efforts can easily be documented. For one thing, the motives of past plotters and perpetrators of jihadist terrorism, including “martyrdom operations,” have all too often been systematically mischaracterized.[60] In contrast to all other types of violent ideological extremists, when it comes to the acts of violence planned or carried out by Islamists, especially but not exclusively “lone wolf” actions, the tendency of journalists, academicians, and law enforcement spokesmen has almost invariably been to minimize or deny the crucially important and often publicly articulated religio-ideological motivations of the perpetrators and instead to claim, falsely, that the individuals in question were motivated solely by various idiosyncratic personal grievances deriving from their psychological alienation, social isolation, socio-political disgruntlement, and/or mental illness.

Perhaps the most egregious and illustrative example of this peculiar tendency can be observed in the official response in relation to the case of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Muslim U.S. Army major who on 5 November 2009 carried out a jihadist terrorist attack against fellow soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas, killing 13 and wounding 32. It soon became evident that Hasan had embraced al-Qa‘ida’s “jihadist Salafist” ideology, had periodically espoused its tenets in both classroom oral presentations and private conversations with other soldiers, had established email contact in order to solicit advice from Anwar al-Awlaqi, had prepared a card identifying himself as a “Soldier of Islam,” had given away his possessions and engaged in Muslim purification rituals on the eve of the attack, and had shouted “Allahu akbar” while firing his weapon at nearby soldiers.[61] One might therefore assume that every honest and informed observer would conclude that his attack had been ideologically motivated, and indeed that it was clearly an act of “individual jihad terrorism” of the sort advocated by Abu Mus‘ab al-Suri and al-Qa‘ida’s Inspire English-language magazine, which al-Awlaqi had played a very important role in creating and editing prior to his death in a 30 September 2011 drone strike.

However, high-ranking political and military officials at once hastened to present a radically different interpretation which essentially attributed Hasan’s murders to psychological problems and personal grievances, an absurdly distorted conclusion that was later slavishly echoed in the Department of Defense’s “after action” report on the Fort Hood shootings. The main purpose of this distortion, as usual, was to minimise the crucial motivational role played by Hasan’s Islamist interpretations of Islam. So it was that the President himself and other government spokespeople immediately endeavored to absolve Islam of any responsibility for the attacks. For example, in his eulogy for the shooting victims, Obama opined that although it “may be hard to understand the twisted logic that led to this tragedy….we do know [that] no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts…”[62] The President thereby conveniently ignored the many Medinan-era Qur’anic passages, the ones that are widely viewed as having “abrogated” the more tolerant Meccan-period suras, that urge Muslims to fight, slay, and subjugate “infidels.” One might at least suspect that a reluctance to face facts would be much less likely to afflict the U.S. military than other components of the American government, but unfortunately “political correctness” has also increasingly been embraced by the Joint Chiefs of Staff since the 1990s. Indeed, in his own remarks, Army Chief of Staff General George W. Casey, Jr. sounded more like a multiculturalist ideologue or a “diversity” bureaucrat than a commander worried primarily about protecting his troops from future jihadist attacks by radicalised Muslim soldiers: “I’m concerned that this increased speculation [about Hasan’s Islamist motivations] could cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers....As great a tragedy as this was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.”[63] Other military officers and “expert” witnesses in court also expressed doubts that Hasan was an extremist who had carried out a terrorist attack, albeit without presenting any reliable supporting evidence or enumerating any credible reasons.

Because of this systematic unwillingness to confront unpleasant but thoroughly documented realities, it should come as no surprise that the only oblique reference to Islam or Islamic extremism in the official Department of Defense report on the Fort Hood attack occurred within an extraordinarily narrow context: “Finding 2.7: DoD policy regarding religious accommodation lacks the clarity necessary to help commanders distinguish appropriate religious practices from those that might indicate a potential for violence or self-radicalization.”[64] This seemingly willful blindness will likely continue to make the U.S. military ill-prepared to cope with, or respond effectively to, future jihadist terrorist threats emanating from within its own ranks or the ranks of its ostensible Muslim “allies” in Afghanistan. Muslim-American soldiers have already planned or carried out several attacks on their fellow soldiers, and there have also been increasing numbers of attacks by members of the Western-trained Afghan security forces on coalition troops in Afghanistan (so-called “green on blue” attacks). Unless Western governments are willing to publicly identify and confront the underlying motivations behind these attacks, there are bound to be more successful attacks of this nature in the future.[65]

Indeed, a seemingly growing inability or unwillingness even to recognise the ideological motivations of the perpetrators makes it all the more difficult for Western security services to interdict future jihadist attacks of any sort. Evidence of this ongoing problem of blindness to the dangers of radical Islamic beliefs can easily be deduced from the case of the Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Even before March 2011, when the Russian Federal’naya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti (FSB: Federal Security Service) had alerted its American counterparts about the possibility that Tamerlan had adopted radical interpretations of Islam, he had already come to the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In congressional testimony in June 2013, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III revealed that Tamerlan’s “name had come up in two other cases” whose nature he did not explain, but acknowledged that those two cases, which were apparently not related to terrorism, had then been closed until the Russian warning “refocused” the Bureau’s attention on him.[66] Yet he nevertheless insisted that the FBI agent(s) who conducted the subsequent investigation of Tamerlan had been thorough, and that there was nothing else that could have been done legally, which is doubtful given that Mueller also admitted before Congress that prior to the bombings the Bureau had visited Tamerlan’s mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), not in the context of investigating Tamerlan, but only in order to conduct “outreach” to Muslims.[67] And here is how the FBI officially characterized its investigation after receiving the information that Tamerlan “was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer….[who] had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States…to join unspecified underground groups” in the Caucasus[68]:

“In response to this 2011 request, the FBI checked U.S. government databases and other information to look for such things as derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with the promotion of radical [Islamist] activity, associations with other persons of interest, travel history and plans, and education history. The FBI also interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev and family members. The FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government in the summer of 2011. The FBI requested but did not receive more specific or additional information from the foreign government.”

Even if one assumes that the FBI agent(s) in question followed these procedures diligently, which is entirely possible, it is nonetheless easy to postulate that anyone familiar with the nature of Islamism, the central role it plays in motivating acts of jihadist terrorism, and the various indicators of Islamist ideological radicalisation could have found ample evidence of such radicalisation in the case of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Was it not already clear, as later became obvious, that his mother had also become radicalised, that he was espousing Islamist doctrinal tenets to certain family members, friends, and at the mosque, that he was no longer drinking and smoking for religious reasons, and that he had compelled his wife to wear a headscarf? Or did all of those telltale activities begin only after the FBI questioned and investigated him?

The answer to the latter question is unequivocally “no.” According to many diverse but convergent indications, it is now abundantly clear that Tamerlan had become increasingly radicalised from 2008 on, i.e., three years before the 2011 FBI investigation.[69] Indeed, growing forensic evidence suggests that Tamerlan may have been involved (along with Dzhokar and Ibragim Todashev, another Chechen who was later shot and killed while being questioned by FBI agents) in the brutal knife murders and near beheadings of three men (at least two of whom were Jewish) in Waltham, Massachusetts, on 11 September 2011, exactly ten years to the day after the 9/11 attacks.[70] Given that one of the murdered men had been a close acquaintance of Tamerlan, that there was no evidence of forced entry, and that marijuana and money were strewn all over the bodies, the police concluded that the victims had known their killers and that robbery was not the motive for the slaughter. Hence it increasingly looks as though this triple murder of hated “infidels” might have been carried out by the future Boston bombers in order to memorialize the 9/11 attacks, and that it might also have served as a kind of practice run to test the courage and religious faith of the perpetrators. Later, in early 2012, Tamerlan spent six months in Dagestan, where he definitely met twice with members of one radical Salafist group (the Soyuz Spravedlivykh [Union of the Just], with which his third cousin Magomed Kartashov was associated).[71] Moreover, given that he began posting many comments supportive of and videos produced by the Imarat Kavkaz (IK: Caucasus Emirate) on his You Tube and Facebook pages as soon as he returned to the U.S., he may likewise have made contact or interacted with IK-linked jihadist organizations during his visit to the Caucasus.[72] Such contacts may have further induced him, whether indirectly or directly, to carry out the 15 April 2013 bombing attacks with his younger brother.[73] Not only had the earlier FBI investigation missed all of these rather obvious indications of growing Islamist radicalisation, the Bureau inexplicably failed to keep track of the subjects of that investigation even after one of them became increasingly linked to known jihadists and had traveled overseas to a terrorist hot zone.[74] One can therefore conclude that the failure to give proper weight to and/or recognise the bombers’ Islamist ideological motivations, both before and after the bombings, contributed mightily to the failure of the American security services to prevent this particular attack, as well as to learn any valuable lessons from it that might help them interdict future jihadist acts of terrorism. If so, there is no doubt that “political correctness” in the counterterrorism sphere has deadly consequences. And, sadly, that the delusions it encourages will likely “kill” again.


This brings us to the real nub of the problem: the longer that key Western elites persist in mistakenly denying the central role played by Islamist interpretations of Islam in motivating jihadist terrorist attacks, the less likely they will be able to prevent future attacks from this quarter. Until Western intelligence, military, and law enforcement personnel are provided with accurate information about the history and core religious doctrines of Islam and the intrinsically extremist nature of Islamism, and until they are taught how to distinguish between Muslim moderates and Islamist extremists (including those who are posing as moderates) and learn how to recognise the many telltale signs of Islamist ideological radicalisation, they will generally be unable to identify prospective jihadist terrorists in advance.[75] Nor will they be able to respond effectively to the stealthy “civilization jihad” being waged by certain Islamist organizations that have abandoned violence for tactical reasons, albeit only to pursue their intrinsically anti-democratic agendas via seemingly legal means. It should also go without saying that relying on Islamist activists for “advice” about how to deal with the threat posed by Islamism is not only preposterous but utterly self-defeating.

Among the justifications for promoting these “politically correct” inanities about Islam and Islamism is a professed desire to “reach out” to rather than antagonise the Muslim world, as well as to avoid inadvertently encouraging Westerners to adopt a hostile, discriminatory, or persecutory attitude toward Muslims. While the latter goal of discouraging retaliation against innocent Muslims, especially in the wake of successful mass casualty terrorist attacks like 9/11, is perfectly justifiable, the fundamental question is whether ignoring or downplaying the role of Islamist ideology in motivating jihadist terrorists, or avoiding any and all legitimate criticism of Islam itself, will end up having these salutary effects. Quite possibly, they will have the exact opposite effects, since they are so at variance with observable realities. And even if they did have those desired effects, could this one social benefit possibly compensate for the innumerable other intellectual, political, social, cultural, and security problems that have already materialised, and that will no doubt become even more acute, as a consequence of systematically concealing troubling facts about Islam, certain Muslim communities in the West, and Islamism?

Perhaps the best short definition of reality is “that which exists irrespective of what one believes.” Hence persisting in promoting or even foolishly believing in falsehoods about Islam and Islamism cannot possibly be the solution to any real world problems, above all the threat of jihadist terrorism. On the contrary, it is only by honestly confronting the most regressive and otherwise problematic aspects of Islamic religious teachings and the destructive patterns of tribal solidarity (‘asabiyya) that exist throughout the Muslim world, as well as by highlighting the insidious anti-modernist and anti-democratic agenda of Islamism, that the West can morally encourage and empower secularists, liberal Muslim reformers, and other anti-Islamist Muslims who are resisting the most puritanical, intolerant, bellicose, and reactionary elements in their own societies. Surely this should be the primary goal of Western democracies in the current ideological and political struggle, just as in the past it had generally induced them to support, with successful outcomes, a vast and diverse array of anti-fascist and anti-communist forces during the other great ideological conflicts that characterized the 20th century. After all, it is a matter of vital importance, both for the non-Muslim world and for the Muslim world itself, that anti-Islamist forces ultimately triumph over the Islamists in their intellectual and moral struggle for the “soul” of Islam.[76] Hence the West should not be adopting policies of any kind, either domestic or foreign, that have the effect of tangibly aiding or morally legitimising the Islamists. Sadly, almost every policy option that the U.S. has embarked upon since 9/11, whether it be the misguided confrontational policies of the neo-conservatives during the Bush administration or the overly conciliatory but no less delusional policies of the Obama administration, has thus far only served to empower the West’s Islamist enemies at the expense of its friends in the Muslim world.[77]

Indeed, in the twelve years since the “global war on terrorism” was officially declared, the West seems to have learned no fundamental lessons about the essential nature and oft-professed aims of our Islamist enemies, jihadist or otherwise. There is absolutely no excuse for this ongoing, persistent, and seemingly willful blindness, given that certain analysts and officials have been sounding the alarm for many years. For example, on 1 December 2005 U.S. Marine Corps General Peter Pace, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave a speech at the National Defense University in which he commented on the Bush administration’s recently-released National Strategy for Victory in Iraq report.[78] In his remarks, Pace correctly emphasized the “need to understand the nature of the jihadist enemy.”[79] And despite the naïve and overly optimistic tone of the report itself, Pace made the following perfectly accurate comments:

“I say you need to get out and read what our [jihadist] enemies have said. Remember Hitler. Remember he wrote Mein Kampf. He said in writing exactly what his plan was, and we collectively ignored that to our great detriment. Now, our enemies have said publicly on film, on the Internet, [that] their goal is to destroy our way of life. No equivocation on their part. They’re not saying if you stay home, we will not come after you. They are saying their goal is to rid the Middle East of all foreigners. Then, overthrow all governments that are not friendly to them, which means every single one of those governments. Then, to use that base as a way to spread their terrorism and their oppression across the globe to include a map that shows 100 years from now that the entire globe will be under their domination.”[80]

These statements, which can easily be documented on the basis of Islamist – not just jihadist – primary sources[81], should have been taken fully to heart by the American military and policy-making establishments, as well as by the Western political “commentariat.” Unfortunately, Pace’s admonitions were largely ignored rather than followed, with the result that the West’s understanding of the enemy’s motives and goals in 2013 seems actually to have deteriorated further, having become corrupted by even more Orwellian rhetoric and “magical thinking” thanks to the pernicious ongoing efforts of Islamist activists and their academic “apologists” to sanitise or conceal basic historical, political, and doctrinal facts about Islam and Islamism. Unless that situation changes dramatically, which means that a multitude of blatantly false but au courant “politically correct” notions will have to be jettisoned, the United States and its democratic allies will never be able to develop effective policies or strategies to cope with their extremist Muslim enemies, whether they are armed jihadists or subversive “stealth” Islamists who have concluded that resorting to violence is not the best way, at least at the moment, to pursue their Islamic supremacist objectives.

About the Author: Jeffrey M. Bale is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of International Policy and Management (GSIPM) at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS), as well as a Senior Researcher in the Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP) at MIIS. He obtained his B.A. in Middle Eastern and Islamic history from the University of Michigan, and his Ph.D. in modern European history from the University of California at Berkeley. His research has been focused on the study of terrorism, covert operations, and various types of political and religious extremism for nearly three decades, long before these subjects suddenly became “fashionable” after 9/11. Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to [email protected] .


[1] Ralph Peters, “Wishful Thinking and Indecisive Wars,” Journal of International Security Affairs 16 (Spring 2009), at http://www.securityaffairs.org/issues/2009/16/peters.php .

[2] “Together Facing the New Totalitarianism,” reprinted in full as “Writers Statement on Cartoons,” BBC News, 1 March 2006, at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4764730.stm . This manifesto was originally published in the satirical left-wing French magazine Charlie Hebdo in response to the hysterical “Muhammad cartoon” controversy in Denmark (and beyond), which had been provoked, exploited, and exacerbated by Islamist fanatics so as to curtail, by means of intimidation and violence, freedom of speech in the West. All of the signatories of this manifesto were left-leaning intellectuals. This and other evidence of left-wing opposition to Islamism should cause sober observers to question both the fraudulent accusations of “Islamophobia” so often proffered by Islamists and self-styled “anti-fascists” and the histrionic claims of certain right-wing “Islam bashers” and “left bashers” regarding the existence of an ostensibly monolithic “green-red” alliance. The issue of “Islamophobia” will be dealt with at more length below. For examples of simplistic polemics about “green-red” alliances, see David Horowitz, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2004); and Jamie Glazov, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror (Los Angeles: WND Books, 2009), even though both highlight some real-world past and present examples of collaboration between the international left and radical Muslims, including Islamists. See further notes 43 and 32.

[3] Salim Mansur, “How the West Was Duped,” Toronto Sun, 14 February 2009, at http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/salim_mansur/2009/02/14/8389986-sun.html .

[4] “David Solway Interview,” Arts & Opinion 9:3 (2010), at http://www.artsandopinion.com/2010_v9_n3/solway-20.htm .

[5] See United States Government, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Final Report (Washington, DC: GPO, [22 July] 2004), p. 363, at http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf : “Our enemy is twofold: al Qaeda, a stateless network of terrorists that struck us on 9/11; and a radical ideological movement in the Islamic world [i.e., Islamism], inspired in part by al Qaeda, which has spawned terrorist groups and violence across the globe. The first enemy is weakened, but continues to pose a grave threat. The second enemy is gathering, and will menace Americans and American interests long after Osama bin Laden and his cohorts are killed or captured. Thus our strategy must match our means to two ends: dismantling the al Qaeda network and prevailing in the longer term over the ideology that gives rise to Islamist terrorism.” However, a few lines further on (ibid), this perfectly accurate conclusion was in part compromised by the claims that “Islam does not teach terror[ism]” and that Islamism is a “perversion of Islam, not the great faith itself”, problematic public relations themes that have since been widely emphasized and promoted instead of the sober assessment in the earlier passage.

[6] See, e.g., [U.S.] Society of Professional Journalists, “Guidelines for Countering Racial, Ethnic and Religious Profiling,” Society of Professional Journalists website, 6 October 2001, at http://www.spj.org/divguidelines.asp . Along with many other “politically correct” recommendations (e.g., “[s]eek out people from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds when photographing Americans mourning those lost in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania”), the Society urged its members to “[a]void using combinations such as ‘Islamic terrorist’ and ‘Muslim extremist’ that are misleading because they link whole religions to criminal activity” [a claim that is baseless provided that one actually distinguishes “Islamic terrorists” and “Muslim extremists” from the vast majority of other Muslims]; “when writing about terrorism, [to] remember to include white supremacist, radical anti-abortionists and other groups with a history of such activity” [why should this be necessary if such facts are irrelevant to the context of a story concerning jihadist terrorists?]; to “[a]void using terms such as ‘jihad’ unless you are certain of their precise meaning….The basic meaning of ‘jihad’ is to exert oneself for the good of Islam and to better oneself” [a definition that, while not technically false, is very misleading – see note 59 below]; and to “[a]sk men and women within targeted communities to review your coverage and make suggestions” [perhaps OK in theory, but in practice a suggestion that will result in journalists consulting self-styled Muslim “spokesmen,” who often turn out to be dissimulating Islamists]. The BBC has promoted similar recommendations, and even goes so far as to suggest that reporters avoid using the term “terrorism.” See BBC, “Language When Reporting Terrorism: Guidance,” October 2010, at http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/page/guidance-reporting-terrorism-summary . Perhaps the most egregious example of the use of Orwellian language in connection with jihadist terrorism was the attempt by former British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to re-designate “Islamic terrorism” as “anti-Islamic activity”. See James Slack, “Government Renames Islamic Terrorism as ‘Anti-Islamic Activity’ to Woo Muslims,” Daily Mail, 17 January 2008, at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-508901/Government-renames-Islamic-terrorism-anti-Islamic-activity-woo-Muslims.html . This initiative stemmed from the naïve view, based primarily on wishful thinking (as well as misguided concerns about alienating “mainstream Muslim opinion”), that violent Islamists, i.e., jihadists, “were behaving contrary to their faith, rather than acting in the name of Islam.” Yet as Canadian conservative Mark Steyn wryly observed in a New York Sun column on 28 January 2008, calling jihadist terrorism “anti-Islamic” could only make sense “in the same way that the Luftwaffe raining down death and destruction on Londoners during the Blitz was an ‘anti-German activity.’” This column was later reprinted in his book, Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech and the Twilight of the West (Woodsville, NH: Stockade Books, 2009), p. 147. Nevertheless, a similar assertion was reportedly made by former U.S. commander General Stanley A. McChrystal in his 30 August 2009 Initial Assessment of the war in Afghanistan, wherein he advocated that in the “more forceful” strategy now to be employed by the International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan (ISAF), the Afghan insurgents should be “exposed continually for their cultural and religious violations, anti-Islamic and indiscriminate use of violence and terror[ism]….and flagrant contravention of the principles of the Koran.” See Andrew G. Bostom, “McChrystal, Tocqueville, and the Koran: The Postmodern ‘COINage’ of a Failed Policy,” PJ Media website, 29 June 2010, at http://pjmedia.com/blog/mcchrystal-tocqueville-and-the-koran-the-postmodern-coinage-of-a-failed-policy/ [emphasis added, JMB]. However, I was unable to find those particular quotes in the declassified version found at http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/documents/Assessment_Redacted_092109.pdf . While one can surely make a case that various types of excesses and atrocities commonly associated with today’s jihadist terrorism violate classical Islamic “just war” conceptions – in theory, if not always in terms of actual historical practice – it is nonetheless utterly Orwellian to characterize jihadists as “anti-Islamic.” Whether such a rhetorical approach could be useful, even within the limited context of information warfare, remains doubtful given that “infidels” lack the credibility and authority, in Muslim eyes, to decide what is “Islamically correct.” On Islamic “just war” doctrines in relation to contemporary Islamism and jihadism, see John Kelsay, “Islamist Movements and Shari‘a Reasoning,” Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, Vol. 10, No. 2 (June 2009), pp. 121-34. Cf. idem, Arguing the Just War in Islam (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 2007), for a broader treatment.

[7] By Islamism, I am referring specifically to the radical right pole of the “political Islam” spectrum, which is only one of many possible interpretations of core Islamic doctrines. The term “political Islam” is not synonymous with “Islamism” per se, as many assume, but instead covers all of the Islamic ideologies and movements that explicitly aim either to politicize Islam or to Islamize politics. It therefore encompasses, from left to right, “Islamic socialism” (which should not be confused with Western-style socialism), “Islamic liberalism” (which should not be confused with Western-style liberalism), “conservative Islamic reformism,” and “Islamism” (the Islamic extreme right). Islamism can best be defined as a totalitarian anti-secular and anti-“infidel” Islamic political ideology with both revolutionary and revivalist features. More specifically, the principal ideological characteristics of Islamism – in all of its diverse and often sectarian Sunni and Shi‘i forms – are an outright rejection of Western secular values, an intransigent resistance to “infidel” political, economic, social, and cultural influence on the Muslim world, a pronounced hostility towards less committed and militant Muslims (who are often denounced as “apostates” or even “unbelievers” [in a process known as takfir]), and an insistent demand for the establishment of an Islamic state governed by a rigid, puritanical application of the shari‘a. Since these particular ideas are inherently radical, one cannot legitimately draw a meaningful distinction between “moderate” and “radical” Islamists, at least not with respect to their ultimate, Islamic supremacist objectives, even though they do disagree amongst themselves, often vehemently, about the means that should be employed to achieve those objectives (e.g., about whether or not to rely primarily on violence). See further Jeffrey M. Bale, “Islamism and Totalitarianism,” Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions,Vol. 10, No. 2 (June 2009), esp. pp. 79-81 and 92, note 32. Cf. also Emmanuel Sivan, Radical Islam: Medieval Theology and Modern Politics (New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1990); Abderrahim Lamchichi, L’islamisme politique (Paris: Harmattan, 2001); Johannes J. G. Jansen, The Dual Nature of Islamic Fundamentalism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 1997); Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi‘, Intellectual Origins of Islamic Resurgence in the Islamic World (Albany: SUNY, 1996); Martin Kramer, (Ed.), The Islamism Debate (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University/Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, 1997); and the Hudson Institute publication series, Current Trends in Islamist Ideology.

[8] See, e.g., Paul K. Davis and Kim Cragin, (Eds.), Social Science for Counterterrorism: Putting the Pieces Together (Santa Monica, CA: RAND National Defense Research Institute, 2009), p. xxiv: “Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.” Cf. also Claude Berrebi, “The Economics of Terrorism and Counterterrorism: What Matters and Is Rational-Choice Theory Helpful?,” in ibid, pp. 152-69. Nevertheless, all too often, many analysts, officials, and advocacy groups are still prone to insist, for varying reasons, that the actions of violent, ideologically-motivated extremists are really attributable either to poverty or to mental illnesses of some type rather than to their stated beliefs and motives. For a bald-faced assertion that poverty is “directly connected to the proliferation of…terrorism and insurgency”, see Jake Harriman, “Linking Extreme Poverty and Global Terrorism,” New York Times, 13 March 2012, at http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/linking-extreme-poverty-and-global-terrorism/?_r=0 . For several examples of decisions by American courts to portray ideologically motivated jihadists, especially “lone wolf” jihadists, as “insane” or “mentally incompetent” rather than as the religious extremists that they usually are, see Teri Blumenfeld, “Are Jihadists Crazy?,” Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Spring 2012), pp. 3-13, at http://www.meforum.org/meq/pdfs/3190.pdf . Unfortunately, such errors or legal stratagems, even when contemptuously repudiated by the defendants themselves, have repeatedly led to the acquittal of the perpetrators on the most serious charges.

No less inaccurately, many right-wing “Islam bashers” were quick to deny that Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik had been in any way influenced or inspired by their own hostile attitudes towards Islam and left-wing elites, even though Breivik explicitly and sometimes repeatedly cited them in his 1518-page “manifesto,” 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. Instead, they too have resorted, in order to protect and defend themselves, to the convenient but misleading argument that his actions were more or less the product of “insanity” or “psychopathology,” thereby downplaying the undeniable ideological motivations behind those actions. Cf., e.g., Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch’s interview comments on a BBC Newshour broadcast, 27 July 2011,at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00hz34g , where he characterized Breivik as a “nutcase” and a “psychopath”; “Statement of Geert Wilders concerning the Massacre in Norway,” Jihad Watch website, 26 July 2011, at http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/07/statement-of-geert-wilders-concerning-the-massacre-in-norway.html , who likewise labeled the killer as a “madman” and a “psychopath;” and “Baron Bodissey” (pseudonym for Edward S. “Ned” May), “Not a Madman, But a Psychopath,” Gates of Vienna website, 27 July 2011, at http://gatesofvienna.net/2011/07/not-a-madman-but-a-psychopath/ , where it was also argued that Breivik was a “psychopath,” and that the “psychopath’s world contains nothing but himself…” Although it can scarcely be doubted that the writings of certain of the most histrionic Islam opponents had affected Breivik’s attitudes, there is one crucial difference that must nonetheless be emphasized here: none of the critics of Islam or Islamism cited by Breivik has ever advocated carrying out acts of violence against Muslims – to my knowledge, the most provocative statements that they have made are to warn of a possible future civil war between native Europeans and violent, unassimilated, West-hating Muslims, and to accuse multiculturalist European elites of effectively engaging in treasonous behavior for placing the interests of immigrants and asylum seekers (especially Muslims) above those of their own citizens. In contrast, the Islamist ideologues who inspire jihadist terrorists regularly urge Muslims to wage armed jihad against, conquer, subjugate, enslave, and/or exterminate the “infidel” enemies of Islam. In any case, resorting to simplistic and often spurious “psychological” explanations to explain the violent actions of ideological extremists has the unfortunate effect of diverting attention away from the core worldviews that inspire their actions - worldviews which desperately need to be understood if one wants to develop effective counterterrorism – and, obviously, effective counter-extremism – measures and strategies.

[9] Italics added. Tracey Jan, “Suspect Returned from Russia ‘with a willingness to kill people,’ Kerry says,” Boston Globe, 24 April 2013, at http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2013/04/24/secretary-state-john-kerry-says-tamerlan-tsarnaev-returned-from-russia-with-willingness-kill-people/59mtQpCSKTKk38udnyybSI/story.html .

[10] Italics added. Adam Goldman, Eric Tucker, and Matt Apuzzo, “Dead Boston Subject Influenced by Mysterious Radical,” Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, 23 April 2013, at http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130423/NEWS/130429851/1006 .

[11] However, President Obama soon acknowledged that they were in fact acts of terrorism, and at the memorial service for the MIT police officer slain by the bombers, Vice President Joseph Biden ascribed the murders to “two twisted, perverted, cowardly, knockoff jihadis.” Whether or not those various adjectives are applicable, he at least was honest enough to label them “jihadis.”

[12] For more on the notions, and the characteristic manifestations, of “Islam apologism” and “Islamist apologism,” see Bale, “Islamism and Totalitarianism,” esp. pp. 74-9. Concerning the former, cf. Jean-Pierre Péroncel-Hugoz, The Raft of Mohammed: Social and Human Consequences of the Return of Traditional Religion in the Arab World (New York: Paragon House, 1988), pp. 5, 2: “We have a whole host of [Western] voices whose single concern, when Islam is in question, is to prettify, to transform, to ameliorate, to exculpate, all at the expense of accuracy….Most of them…have felt obliged, in writing or speaking about Islam, the Muslim world, or the Arabs, to adopt an attitude in which an excess of reverence, deliberate omissions, or worse, distortion or servility, have damaged truth, scholarship, and most seriously mutual understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims.”; and Marxist French Islam scholar Maxime Rodinson, “The Western Image and Western Studies of Islam,” in The Legacy of Islam, edited by Joseph Schacht with C. E. Bosworth (Oxford: Oxford University, 1974), p. 59: “The anti-colonial left, whether Christian or not, often goes so far as to sanctify Islam and the contemporary ideologies of the Muslim world….Understanding has given way to apologetics pure and simple.” Unfortunately, these harmful and dangerous apologetic trends have become even more pronounced in recent decades, especially since the 9/11 attacks, an event that should have had the effect of curbing them.

[13] For verses of the Qu’ran that explicitly refer to armed fighting, see Nationaal Coordinator Terrorismebestrijding, Ideologie en strategie van het jihadisme (The Hague: National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, [December] 2009), pp. 78-83.

[14] Juan Cole, “Pot and Partying: Top Ten Signs the Tsarnaev Brothers Weren’t Pious Muslims,” Informed Comment website, 27 April 2013, at http://www.juancole.com/2013/04/partying-tsarnaev-brothers.html . Perhaps the only recent claim about Islamists that is more wildly inaccurate than this one – excepting the notion peddled by some academicians that Sunni and Shi‘i Islamism constitute new forms of “liberation theology” – was that of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper, who in 10 February 2011 testimony before Congress characterized the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood as a “very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaeda as a perversion of Islam. They have pursued social ends, [the] betterment of the political order in Egypt, etc.” [Italics added, JMB]. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POwd44zH9GA . The erroneous nature of this characterization was so obvious that the following day Jamie Smith, director of public affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), attempted to spin Clapper’s remarks by saying that what he actually meant was that the Brotherhood “makes efforts to work through a political system that has been, under Mubarak’s rule, largely secular in its orientation – he is well aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization.” See “Office of the Director of National Intelligence ‘Clarifies’ Remarks on the Muslim Brotherhood,” ABC News, 10 February 2011, at http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/02/office-of-the-director-of-national-intelligence-clarifies-remarks-on-muslim-brotherhood/ . That is clearly not what Clapper’s remarks implied, however, since they had the effect of whitewashing the nature of the organization.

[15] Omid Safi, “10 Essential Points about the Boston Marathon Bombers,” in his “What Would Muhammad Do” blog, Religion News Service website, 20 April 2013, at http://omidsafi.religionnews.com/2013/04/20/10-essential-points/ . For misleading claims concerning the Boston attacks, however, perhaps nothing can top the “analysis” of the Director of the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at the University of California at Berkeley. See Hatem Bazian, “Boston Bombing, Islamophobia and Sudden Ignorance Syndrome,” Islamic Human Rights Commission website, 19 May 2013, at http://www.ihrc.org.uk/news/comment/10523-boston-bombing-islamophobia-and-sudden-ignorance-syndrome , who personally slanders several Islam and Islamism critics – and by extension virtually everyone else who expresses concerns about Islamism and jihadist terrorism – as a “racist,” a “McCarthyism like” witch hunter, a Muslim “hater,” a “bigot,” an “Islamophobe,” and a committer of collective “crimes” against Muslims. In short, the Tsarnaevs’ crimes in Boston , “horrific” as they were, pale into insignificance in comparison to the alleged (thought) crimes committed by those who correctly highlighted the brothers’ Islamist ideological motivations. Indeed, Bazian is prone to apply the term “Islamophobia” to virtually everyone who is opposed to the Islamist agenda, including other Muslims, as he does in his article “Egypt, the ‘War on Terrorism’ and Islamophobia,” al-Jazira website, 20 August 2013, at http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/08/201381916528829808.html , wherein he accuses the Egyptian military of “seeking legitimacy through Islamophobia” for having ousted the “democratically elected” Brotherhood from power.

[16] According to recently published U.S. government documents, e.g., between 5 November 2001 and 4 February 2002, while he was imam of the now notorious Dar al-Hijra mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, Islamist extremist and al-Qa‘ida operative Anwar al-Awlaqi paid over $2,000 to hire prostitutes in the Washington, DC, area. One of those liaisons occurred the night before he gave a presentation at the Pentagon in connection with a Department of Defense “outreach” effort to supposedly “moderate” Muslims. Al-Awlaqi had also reportedly hired “escorts” when he lived in San Diego in the 1990s, as well as during visits to Florida. See “Terror Leader Awlaki Paid Thousands for Prostitutes in DC Area, Documents Show,” Fox News, 2 July 2013, at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/02/terror-leader-awlaki-paid-thousands-for-prostitutes-in-dc-area-documents-show/ . Note also that pornography is often found on the computers of Islamists and jihadists, including Usama b. Ladin himself. See, e.g., Scott Shane, “Pornography is Found in Bin Laden Compound Files,” New York Times, 13 May 2011, at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/14/world/asia/14binladen.html?_r=0 . Using Safi’s logic, this would mean that neither the actions of al-Awlaqi or Bin Ladin could have been motivated by their extremist interpretations of Islam because they were not proper “Muslim role models.”

[17] Hilary Andersson, “Tamerlan Tsarnaev had Right-Wing Extremist Literature,” BBC, 5 August 2013, at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23541341 . It is now known that Tamerlan obtained these materials from an embittered 67-year old disabled man, Donald Larking, who was a client of Tamerlan’s mother Zubeidat, who was then making a living in the U.S. working as a home health aide for the elderly. See Alan Cullison, “Boston Bombing Subject was Steeped in Conspiracies,” Wall Street Journal, 6 August 2013, at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323420604578649830782219440.html ; and Connor Simpson, “Meet the Man who Supplied Tamerlan Tsarnaev with Right-Wing Literature,” The Atlantic Wire, 6 August 2013, at http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/08/meet-man-who-gave-tamerlan-tsarnaev-his-right-wing-literature/68020/ . Under Larking’s influence, Tamerlan reportedly began reading copies of the weekly American Free Press – the successor of the defunct newspaper The Spotlight, formerly published by Willis Carto’s right-wing populist, anti-Semitic (and bankrupted) Liberty Lobby organization – and the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, the notorious Tsarist forgery that has long been very popular with Islamists and other types of anti-Semitic extremists. Tamerlan was also a fan of conspiracy websites like InfoWars and, of course, jihadist websites. Parenthetically, it should be noted that certain conspiratorial writers for the American Free Press, such as Mark Dankof and Mark Glenn, are also contributors to Iran’s English-language Press TV channel. For the Liberty Lobby and Carto, see Frank P. Mintz, The Liberty Lobby and the American Right: Race, Conspiracy, and Culture (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985); and George Michael, Willis Carto and the American Far Right (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2008). For more on the background and history of the Protocols, see Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World-Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1981); Pierre-André Taguieff, Les Protocoles des sages de Sion: Faux et usages d’un faux (Paris: Fayard, 2004); Eva Horn and Michael Hagemeister ( Eds.), Die Fiktion von der jüdischen Weltverschwörung: Zu Text und Kontext der “Protokolle der Weisen von Zion” (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2012); and Richard Landes and Steven Katz, (Eds.), The Paranoid Apocalypse: A Hundred-Year Retrospective on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (New York and London: NYU, 2012).

[18] “Tamerlan Tsarnaev, White Supremacist? Boston Bombing Suspect had ‘Extreme Right-Wing Material,’” Huffington Post UK website, 5 August 2013, at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/08/05/tamerlan-tsarnaev-white-supremacist_n_3706693.html . The falsity of this suggestion is revealed in a more recent article, wherein Larking, the provider of the domestic right-wing materials to Tamerlan, emphasized that the latter “was very, very religious. He believed that the Koran was the one true word and he loved it.” Indeed, Tamerlan even persuaded Larking, a lifelong Catholic, to convert to Islam, after which the elderly American began attending the Islamic Society of Boston mosque and grew a beard (which the Chechen, who had started referring to Larking, fondly, as “Dawud,” thence helped him trim). See Sally Jacobs, “Tsarnaev Friend Tells of Beliefs in Conspiracies,” Boston Globe, 8 August 2013, at http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/08/07/unlikely-friendship/xQao9NHjkUvtvhTcK1uwCL/story.html .

[19] Michael Barkun, A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (Berkeley: University of California, 2003), esp. chapters 2 and 11. In this particular case, Larking indicated that Tamerlan believed, like so many other Islamists and extremists with a conspiratorial worldview, that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job and that the [U.S.] government had pulled it off.” And according to his landlady, Joanna Herlihy, Tamerlan had given her a copy of the Protocols, saying that it was a “good book.” See Jacobs, “Tsarnaev Friend Tells of Beliefs in Conspiracies.” None of this should be surprising, since both extremists themselves and scholars have long recognized that extremists from diverse ideological milieus tend to have much more in common with each other, in terms of their psychological make-up and fanatical attitudinal mindset, than they do with moderates who are much nearer to their own political sphere.

[20] See, e.g., Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (New Haven, CT: Yale University, 2011); Roger Faligot and Rémi Kauffer, Le croissant et la croix gammée: Les secrets de l’alliance entre l’Islam et le nazisme, d’Hitler à nos jours (Paris: Albin Michel, 1990); David Patterson, A Genealogy of Evil: Anti-Semitism from Nazism to Islamic Jihad (New York: Cambridge University, 2010); Matthias Küntzel, Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 (New York: Telos, 2009); Emmanuel Sivan, Islamic Fundamentalism and Antisemitism (Jerusalem: Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Hebrew University, 1985); Wolfgang Benz and Juliane Wetzel, (Eds.), Antisemitismus und radikaler Islamismus (Essen: Klartext, 2007); Hans-Peter Raddatz, Allah und die Juden: Die islamische Renaissance des Antisemitismus (Berlin: WJS, 2007); and Clemens Heni, Antisemitism, a Specific Phenomenon: Holocaust Trivialization, Islamism, Post-Colonial and Cosmopolitan Anti-Zionism (Berlin: Critic, 2013), chapters 3 and 9. But cf. also Michael Berenbaum, (Ed.), Not Your Father’s Antisemitism: Hatred of the Jews in the Twenty-First Century (St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2008). However, the widespread acceptance of European, including Nazi, anti-Semitic notions in the Muslim world was greatly facilitated by the indigenous Islamic tradition of anti-Semitism, which dates back to the era of Muhammad’s earliest conflicts with Jewish tribes in Medina. Cf. N[orman] A. Stillman, “Yahūd,” in Encyclopedia of Islam: New Edition, ed. by P. J. Bearman et al (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2002), volume 11, pp. 239-42; Neil J. Kressel, “The Sons of Pigs and Apes”: Muslim Antisemitism and the Conspiracy of Silence (Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2012); Philippe Simonnot, Enquête sur l’antisémitisme musulman: De ses origines à nos jours (Paris: Michalon, 2010); Carlo Panella, Il “complotto ebraico”: L’antisemitismo islamico da Maometto a Bin Laden (Turin: Lindau, 2005); and the collection of texts in Andrew G. Bostom, (Ed.), The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2008). For a detailed account of Muhammad’s activities in Medina, see W. Montgomery Watt, Muhammad at Medina (Oxford: Oxford University, 1956). For a genuinely liberal Muslim’s analysis of Islamic anti-Semitism, see Tarek Fatah, The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2010). For an interesting but controversial revisionist interpretation, see Ahmad Barakat, Muhammad and the Jews: A Re-examination (Delhi: Vikas, 1982), which subjects the standard account in Ibn Ishaq’s biography (sira) of Muhammad to critical scrutiny.

[21] Daniel Pipes, The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy (New York: St. Martin’s, 1998). Cf. also Matthew Gray, Conspiracy Theories in the Arab World: Sources and Politics (New York: Routledge, 2010), who adopts a different explanatory framework.

[22] See, e.g., Nazila Fathi, “Holocaust Deniers and Skeptics Gather in Iran,” New York Times, 11 December 2011, at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/11/world/middleeast/11cnd-iran.html?hp&ex=1165899600&en=89a54e1e0974643d&ei=5094&partner=homepage&_r=0 ; [Meir Amit] Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Center for Special Studies, “Holocaust Denial as a Tool of Iranian Policy. The Holocaust Denial Conference in Tehran: Overview,” undated, at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/data/pdf/PDF_06_360_2.pdf , which contains an appendix listing the participants at the 2006 conference on pp. 16-20; Stephen E. Atkins, Holocaust Denial as an International Movement (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2009), chapter 11; Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “Backgrounder: The Zayed Center,” ADL website, 15 September 2003, at http://archive.adl.org/anti_semitism/zayed_center.asp ; idem, “Iran ‘Hollywoodism’ Conference Partners with U.S. and International Anti-Semites, Conspiracy Theorists,” ADL Official Blogs website, 5 February 2013, at http://blog.adl.org/international/iran-hollywoodism-conference-partners-with-u-s-international-anti-semites-conspiracy-theorists . Note also the sparsely attended 11 September 2013 “Million American March Against Fear” (originally designated the “Million Muslim March”) rally in Washington, DC, which was organized by the American Muslim Political Action Committee (AMPAC), a group formed by Islamist extremists and “9/11 Truth” conspiracy theorists who have links both to HAMAS and to left-wing, pro-Islamist demagogue George Galloway, an MP for the disreputable Respect Party in Britain (which was created primarily by Islamists and Trotskyist activists from the sectarian Socialist Workers Party). The ideas animating the rally were that Muslims are being unfairly scapegoated, targeted, and persecuted by the U.S. government, which itself was behind the 9/11 and other alleged “jihadist” terrorist attacks. See Ryan Mauro, “Million Muslim March on 9/11 Linked to Islamist Radicals,” Clarion Project website, 22 August 2013, at http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/million-muslim-march-911-linked-islamist-radicals .

[23] See, e.g., David Sirota, “Let’s Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber is a White American,” Salon.com website, 16 April 2013, at http://www.salon.com/2013/04/16/lets_hope_the_boston_marathon_bomber_is_a_white_american/ , whose claims about double standards concerning the reportage of acts of terrorism are not only manifestly false, but amount to a complete inversion of reality.

[24] “Woolwich Attack: David Cameron’s Full Statement,” The Guardian, 23 May 2013, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/may/23/woolwich-attack-david-cameron-statement .

[25] Cited in Sam Jones, Ben Quinn, and Conal Urquhart, “Woolwich Attack Prompts Fears of Backlash against British Muslims,” The Guardian, 23 May 2013, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/may/23/woolwich-attack-backlash-british-muslims .

[26] Russell Brand, “Blame This on Madness…not Muslims,” The Sun, 26 May 2013, at http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/4942468/Blame-this-on-madnessnot-on-Muslims.html#ixzz2UTukG2DV . For a broader and humorous critique of such “Islam apologist” or “Islamophilic” intellectual foolishness, see Douglas Murray, Islamophilia: A Very Metropolitan Malady (New York: em Books, 2013), Kindle edition.

[27] Italics added. Cited in Cassandra Vinograd and Paisley Dodds, “Brutal Attack in London Blamed on Radical Islam,” Associated Press, 22 May 2013, at http://news.yahoo.com/brutal-attack-london-blamed-radical-islam-003607343.html . For Mawdudist domination of the MCB, see Anthony McRoy, From Rushdie to 7/7: The Radicalisation of Islam in Britain (London: Social Affairs Unit, 2006), pp. 171-3.

[28] “Muslim Groups Fear ‘Wave of Attacks’ in Wake of Woolwich Murder,” Huffington Post UK website, 6 June 2013, at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/06/woolwich-attack-muslim-groups-fear-wave-of-attacks_n_3394287.html?utm_hp_ref=uk . Such attacks in fact rarely materialize, except for some reprehensible but relatively minor incidents of opportunistic thuggery and destructive vandalism. See, e.g., “Muslim Group Monitoring ‘Hate Crimes’ Loses Funding for Lying,” Clarion Project website, 13 June 2013, at http://www.clarionproject.org/news/muslim-group-monitoring-hate-crimes-loses-funding-lying . Despite the exaggerated claims of both Islamist and self-styled “anti-hate” organizations like Faith Matters, which tend to uncritically accept the claims of real or imagined Muslim victims and which clearly have a vested political interest in exaggerating the number and seriousness of such acts, thus far there have been only a handful of truly dangerous post-Woolwich retaliatory incidents, e.g., one involving an arson attack on the Grimsby Islamic Cultural Centre while worshippers were inside. It goes without saying that even one serious attack of this type is one too many and that the perpetrators of documented acts of anti-Muslim violence should be severely punished whenever they are identified, just as the Muslim perpetrators of anti-Semitic or other types of “anti-infidel” violence should be. But there seems to be much greater governmental, media, and academic concern in Britain, inexplicably, about a few dozen right-wing “yobs” in the English Defence League (EDL) than there is about jihadists. As Douglas Murray rightly asks, “Islamophobia is a Government Priority. What about Islamism?,” The Spectator, 25 April 2013, at http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/douglas-murray/2013/04/islamophobia-is-a-government-priority-what-about-islamism/ . See, e.g., Jon Garland and James Treadwell, “‘No Surrender to the Taliban’: Football Hooliganism, Islamophobia and the Rise of the English Defence League,” paper prepared for the 2010 British Society of Criminology conference, pp. 19-35, wherein it is argued (in the Abstract, p. 19) that the EDL “poses the most serious threat to public order and community cohesion since the heyday of the [fascist] National Front in the 1970s.” From this blinkered perspective, one apparently need not worry at all about jihadist terrorism or Islamist provocateurs from pro-jihadist groups like Shariah4UK, Islam4UK, or Muslims Against Crusades (MAC) posing any threats of this type, even though it was in fact a hostile, insulting March 2009 public demonstration in Luton organized by yet another al-Muhajirun (The Émigrés) successor organization, Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama‘a (People of the Sunna and the [True Muslim] Community), against British troops who had returned from Iraq that actually precipitated the creation of the EDL (ibid, pp. 20-22). Indeed, in that same paper, phrases like “radical Islam,” “extremist Islam,” and “Islamic extremism” are at times placed in quotes, as if they were purely imaginary constructs generated by “Islamophobic” hooligans and fascists. For more on al-Muhajirun and its offshoots, see Catherine Zeta Raymond, Al Muhajiroun and Islam4UK: The Group Behind the Ban (London: International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, [May] 2010), at http://icsr.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/1276697989CatherineZaraRaymondICSRPaper.pdf . Shariah4UK now also has branches in other European countries. See, e.g., Emerson Vermaat, “Shariah4Belgium and Shariah4UK: Small but Dangerous Islamist Fringe Groups,” Pipeline News website, 12 June 2012, at http://www.pipebombnews.com/2012/jun/14/Shariah4Belgium-Shariah4UK-Small-But-Dangerous-Islamist.html .

[29] Moreover, it later emerged that the murderous fanatic who made these statements, Michael Adebolajo, had been a member of the banned pro-jihad Islamist group, al-Muhajirun – which thereafter simply kept renaming itself to circumvent periodic bans – whose leaders, ‘Umar Bakri Muhammad and Anjem Choudary were both quick to praise his atrocious act. See Dominic Evans, “Exiled Cleric who Taught UK Knifeman praises ‘Courage,’” Reuters, 24 May 2013, at http://news.yahoo.com/exiled-cleric-taught-uk-knifeman-praises-courage-112658347.html . Indeed, according to Kenyan anti-terrorist police unit head Boniface Mwaniki, in 2010 Adebolajo (then using the name Michael Olemindis Ndemolajo) was personally preparing to train and fight with, and had also sought to recruit other young Kenyans for, the al-Qa‘ida-linked Somali jihadist group, the Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujhahidin (Mujahidin Youth Movement). The Kenyan authorities then arrested and deported him to Britain, where he changed his name to Adebolajo. See Tom Odula and Sylvia Hui, “Suspect in Savage Slaying of U.K. Soldier was Previously Arrested in Kenya in Terror Probe,” National Post [Canada], 25 May 2013, at http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/05/26/suspect-in-savage-slaying-of-u-k-soldier-was-previously-arrested-in-kenya-in-terror-probe/ .

[30] Unfortunately, this too may now be changing, and also for the worse. In recent years, elements of the domestic American far right - militia groups, right-wing talk radio conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck, fringe Tea Party activists, and hard right Republicans in the House of Representatives – have all been engaged in strenuous efforts to delegitimize the government’s threat assessments of the domestic radical right and, even more dangerously, to impede U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies from monitoring paramilitary militia groups and anti-abortion extremists. Here the emblematic example is the case of a Department of Homeland Security intelligence analysis produced by Daryl Johnson, wherein he warned that the economic downturn, the election of Obama, concerns about gun control, and changing demographics in the U.S. were leading to a dangerous resurgence of the radical right, including the meteoric growth of militia groups which could pose a real terrorist threat. See Department of Homeland Security, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Rightwing Extremism: Recent Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment (Washington, DC: GPO, [7 April] 2009), at http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf . In short, he was simply stating that which is patently obvious and easily documentable. But in response, a hysterical campaign was launched by the aforementioned groups to demonize Johnson, a straight-laced and very conservative Mormon, as someone trying to push a “left-wing” agenda against supposedly “patriotic” Americans, and to put congressional pressure on DHS to repudiate the report and stop identifying the radical right as a potential security threat. Sadly, DHS rapidly caved in to this malicious campaign, and refused to defend Johnson and support his analysis. This incident has apparently made U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies more reluctant to sound the alarm about or aggressively investigate the domestic radical right (in part out of fear that House committees will cut their funding). This troubling story has been recounted in detail by Daryl Johnson in his book, Right-Wing Resurgence: How a Domestic Terrorist Threat is Being Ignored (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012).

American right-wingers were also in an uproar about another document, the Department of Homeland Security’s “Reference Aid: Domestic Extremism Lexicon” (Washington, DC: GPO, [26 March] 2009), at http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/lexicon.pdf , even though the definitions contained therein – apart from the emotion-laden, propagandistic term “hate group” (one that has long been promoted and often applied indiscriminately by anti-fascist “watchdog” organizations), which should be discarded once and for all and replaced with more precise designations – are generally accurate, cover diverse types of extremists, and should therefore be unobjectionable to any reasonable person. So it is that dangerous militia groups are now also successfully playing the “victim” card, just as the Islamists have long been doing, by accusing people who are justifiably concerned about their activities of launching “witch hunts” and “persecutions” against them. The obvious question is why U.S. security agencies, working under the direction of a moderately liberal administration, are cravenly capitulating to this sort of illegitimate pressure from both types of extreme right milieus, given that such a response only serves to inhibit their counterterrorist efforts.

[31] Note, e.g., the attempts by Social Democratic elites and “anti-fascists” to exploit the terrorist acts of Breivik so as to exaggerate the security threat posed by the domestic radical right, as well as to demonize all critics of Islam and Islamism, for which see Bruce Bawer, The New Quislings: How the International Left Used the Oslo Massacre to Silence Debate About Islam (New York: Broadside, 2012), Kindle edition. As Bawer justly summarizes the situation (ibid, at 27% and 35%), “all too many members of the Norwegian cultural elite made use of this atrocity as an opportunity to launch personal attacks against their longtime ideological adversaries – whom they unhesitatingly linked to the perpetrator of these unspeakable crimes….Of course, it is a common practice on the far left, not only in Norway but elsewhere, to use guilt by association to smear one’s opponents and delegitimize their views, even as one hypocritically refuses to ‘jump to conclusions’ in obvious cases of Muslim fanaticism….[so] they lost no time in turning Breivik’s actions to their advantage, brazenly maintaining that because he had opposed multiculturalism and the Islamization of Europe, everyone else who held such views also bore a share of the responsibility for his monstrous actions….”

Emblematic of this dishonest approach was the op-ed by two Norwegian bien pensant icons, Jostein Gaarder and Thomas Hylland Eriksen, “A Blogosphere of Bigots,” New York Times, 28 July 2011, at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/29/opinion/Gaarder-Eriksen.html?_r=0 , which accused various people who claim to defend “enlightened values,” including openly gay moderate liberals like Bawer, of being members of the “new right.” As if individuals like Bawer – such as indefatigable defender of Muslim women and Islam critic Hege Storhaug of the Human Rights Service in Norway, who has been similarly vilified by other Norwegian leftists and multiculturalists – were comparable to right-wing rabble-rousers like Pamela Geller, a histrionic American blogger, activist, and Islam critic. Moreover, social anthropology professor Th. H. Eriksen is the quintessential multiculturalist, postmodern “West-hating Westerner,” as many of his comments in various fora reveal. A key figure in a multiculturalist research group at the University of Oslo and a local candidate in 2011 for the Oslo Miljøpartiet de Grønne (Green Environmental Party), he openly stated that the “most important white spot [i.e., research task] is to deconstruct the [white European] majority and to do it so thoroughly that it can never be called the majority any longer.…Something like that could contribute both to understanding and liberation.” See Lorenz Khazaleh, “Håper på fem nye Culcom-år,” on the website of the aforementioned research group, 18 June 2008, available at https://www.uio.no/forskning/tverrfak/culcom/nyheter/2008/hylland-eriksen.html . Elsewhere on that same website, in a description of one of its major projects, it is stated that the group does not share the “normative agenda” of government and commercial interests to “integrate” immigrants, but rather will investigate the “volatile and contested concept of Norwegianness and [the] ways in which notions of Norwegianness is [sic] used discursively to exclude or include ambiguous persons (i.e., minority members resident in the country).” Eriksen and his colleagues believe, then, that existing ideas about Norwegian identity are intrinsically problematic, if not racist, and that efforts to encourage immigrants to adopt “locally hegemonic (‘Norwegian’) values” violates those immigrants’ so-called “cultural rights.” See “Programbeskrivelse,” available at https://www.uio.no/forskning/tverrfak/culcom/forskning/programbeskrivelse/ . It follows that Eriksen thinks that indigenous Norwegians – and, by extension, Europeans in general – do not have any “cultural rights” that are worth preserving and defending, in contrast to those of non-European immigrants.

Hence Eriksen perfectly illustrates Mark Steyn’s argument that “[n]on-judgmental multiculturalism is an obvious fraud” that was “conceived by the Western elites not to celebrate all cultures but to deny their own; it is, thus, the real [cultural] suicide bomb.” See Mark Steyn, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2006), p. 194. Cf. Paul Edward Gottfried, Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt: Towards a Secular Theocracy (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 2002), p. 14: “In the new multicultural as opposed to conventional multiethnic situation, the state [along with multiculturalist ideologues such as Eriksen] glorifies differences from the way of life associated with the once majority population. It hands out rewards to those who personify the desired differences, while taking away cultural recognition and even political rights from those who do not.”

[32] Worse still, most “anti-fascist” organizations have thus far tended to uncritically accept and disseminate the propaganda about “Islamophobia” being peddled by Islamist front groups, with whose cadres they often collaborate in smearing even serious critics of Islam and Islamism. (Although it is definitely not true, as some Islam critics have claimed, that Islamists invented the term “Islamophobia” [which was actually first coined in the early 20th century, if not before], the International Institute for Islamic Thought [IIIT], an Islamist think tank created by Muslim Brotherhood activists, reportedly adopted and enthusiastically promoted its usage in order to demonize and delegitimize critics of Islam and Islamism. See the congressional testimony of black American Muslim ‘Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a former member of the IIIT, cited in “Moderate Muslims Speak Out on Capitol Hill,” Investigative Project on Terrorism website, 1 October 2010, at http://www.investigativeproject.org/2217/moderate-muslim-speak-out-on-capitol-hill , who stated that IIIT officials had “decided to emulate the homosexual activists who used the term ‘homophobia’ to silence critics…” and viewed the term “Islamophobia” as a useful way to “beat up their critics.” Cf. Claire Berlinski, “Moderate Muslim Watch: How the Term ‘Islamophobia’ Got Shoved Down Your Throat,” Ricochet website, 24 November 2012, at http://ricochet.com/main-feed/Moderate-Muslim-Watch-How-the-Term-Islamophobia-Got-Shoved-Down-Your-Throat , who rightly argues that the “association of anti-Islamism – the noblest [contemporary] form of liberal anti-totalitarianism – with gay-bashing rednecks in the grip of a psychosexual panic was not just one of those linguistic accidents of history, in other words” [even though she falsely claims therein that the IIIT “invented” the term].) So it is that the declared enemies of fascism have foolishly – or, at times, cynically and disingenuously – given aid and comfort to their “anti-infidel” Islamist enemies, the most dangerous and deadly of contemporary right-wing extremists. For different manifestations of collaboration between elements of Western radical left or right milieus and Islamists, cf. Alexandre del Valle, Verdi, rossi, neri. La convergenza degli estremisti antioccidentali: Islamismo, comunismo, neonazismo (Turin: Lindau, 2009); George Michael, The Enemy of My Enemy: The Alarming Convergence of Militant Islam and the Extreme Right (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2006); Gary Ackerman and Jeffrey M. Bale, “The Potential for Collaboration between Islamists and Western Left-Wing Extremists: A Preliminary Theoretical and Empirical Overview,” in Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, Vol. 5, No. 3 (2012), pp. 151-71; and Jeffrey M. Bale, Where the Extremes Touch: Patterns of Collaboration between Islamist Networks and Western Left- and Right-Wing Extremists (forthcoming book to be published by Routledge). Furthermore, there are also geopolitical alliances between “revolutionary” states whose leaders embrace different extremist ideologies, such as Shi‘i Islamist Iran and quasi-fascist “Bolivarian” Venezuela. See Sean Goforth, Axis of Unity: Venezuela, Iran, and the Threat to America (Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2011); and Gustavo de Arístegui, Contra Occidente: La emergente alianza antisistema (Madrid: Esfera de los Libros, 2008).

[33] Cf. Ralph Peters, “Wishful Thinking and Indecisive Wars”: “The willful ignorance within the American intelligentsia and in Washington, D.C [as well as, it must be added, in Ottawa and most European capitals]…extends to a denial of the essential qualities of our determined enemies….The problem is religion. Our Islamist enemies are inspired by it, while we are terrified even to talk about it. We are in the unique position of denying that our enemies know what they themselves are up to. They insist, publicly, that their goal is our destruction (or, in their mildest moods, our conversion) in their god’s name. We contort ourselves to insist that their religious rhetoric is all a sham, that they are merely cynics exploiting the superstitions of the masses. Setting aside the point that a devout believer can behave cynically in his mundane actions, our phony, one-dimensional analysis of al-Qaeda and its ilk has precious little to do with the nature of our enemies – which we are desperate to deny – and everything to do with us….Thus we insist, for our own comfort, that our enemies do not really mean what they profess, that they are as devoid of a transcendental sense of the universe as we are.” See also Bruce Thornton, Decline and Fall: Europe’s Slow Motion Suicide (New York: Encounter Books, 2007), p. 110: “These clearly expressed religious motives [of jihadist terrorists], however, consistent with centuries of Islamic theology, jurisprudence, and practice, nonetheless were never accepted at face value. Instead, they were reduced to expressions of some psychological trauma connected to inequitable social and economic conditions.” For a good introduction to what our jihadist enemies actually believe, see Mary R. Habeck, Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror (New Haven, CT: Yale University, 2007). Cf. Jeffrey M. Bale, “Jihadist Ideology and Strategy and the Possible Employment of ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction,’” in Jihadists and Weapons of Mass Destruction, edited by Gary Ackerman and Jeremy Tamsett (New York: CRC/Taylor & Francis, 2009), esp. pp. 6-26; and Jeffry R. Halverson, H. L. Goodall, Jr., and Steven R. Corman, Master Narratives of Islamist Extremism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), for the recurring themes emphasized in Islamist ideological statements, treatises, and websites.

[34] See, e.g., Bassam Tibi, The Sharia State: Arab Spring and Democratization (New York: Routledge, 2013). Time will no doubt tell, but the July 2013 ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood from power in Egypt may only have temporarily delayed, rather than reversed, the onset of a possible Islamist “dark age” in the region.

[35] Cf. Michael Whine, “Islamism and Totalitarianism: Similarities and Differences,” Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions Vol. 2, No. 2 (Autumn 2001), pp. 54-72; Bale, “Islamism and Totalitarianism,” op. cit. pp. 73-96; Bassam Tibi, “The Totalitarianism of Jihadist Islamism and Its Challenge to Europe and to Islam,” Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, Vol. 8, No. 1, (2007), pp. 35-54; idem, Der neue Totalitarismus: “Heiliger Krieg” und westliche Sicherheit (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche, 2004); idem, Islamism and Islam (New Haven, CT: Yale University, 2012), chapter 8; Alexandre del Valle, Le totalitarisme islamiste à l’assaut des démocraties (Paris: Syrtes, 2002); and the “Together Facing the New Totalitarianism” manifesto (see note 2 above).

[36] Cf., e.g., Martin Kramer, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America (Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2001); Ibn Warraq (pseudonym for a secularist and former Muslim “apostate”), Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2007); and Robert Irwin, Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents (Woodstock, NY: Overlook, 2008). If anything, these academic biases and delusions have become even more pronounced in the wake of 9/11. See Clemens Heni, Schadenfreude: Islamforschung und Antisemitismus in Deutschland nach 9/11 (Berlin: Critic, 2011). Note also the recent comments by Thomas Hegghammer, a leading expert on jihadist terrorism: “There are virtually no [academic] jobs for terrorism researchers. And if you look at Middle East studies, you will not find a single person on the faculties in the Middle East studies departments that work on terrorism. Some of them dabble in it, but nobody specializes in it.”[Italics added, JMB]. See Beth McMurtrie, “Terrorism Experts Sought by Public but not by Academe,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 24 June 2013, at http://chronicle.com/article/Terrorism-Experts-Sought-by/139957/?key=QD8lJldmPSxFbS4yMD4SZG5VP3xsYRp3ZnJHY3t1bl9UFQ . The comments made in the same article by Nader Hashimi, Director of Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, are sadly illustrative of the biases within the Middle East field: “If you were to focus exclusively on [terrorism], you’d be reinforcing the stereotype that there’s something intrinsic to the region that produces violence, that it has to do with culture or Islam or Near Eastern civilization.” The implications of this revealing statement are that neither interpretations of Islam nor the mores of various tribal cultures in Muslim countries have any relationship whatsoever to jihadist terrorism, which is every bit as absurd as claiming, as the “Islam bashers” all too often do, that the Islamic religion and Middle Eastern cultures are uniquely conducive to generating terrorism. Unfortunately, the misleading characterisation of non-violent Islamists as “moderate” or “democratic” has almost become the norm in academic and policy-making circles, even though it erroneously confuses or conflates means with ends.

[37] For those rather Manichean, belligerent conceptions, see Majid Khadduri, War and Peace in the Law of Islam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1955), esp. chapters 3, 5, 6, and 8. Cf. these more or less canonical medieval notions with the very similar ideas espoused in the text written by Usama b. Ladin (or, at least, prepared under his direction), “Moderate Islam is a Prostration to the West,” in The Al Qaeda Reader, edited and translated by Raymond Ibrahim (New York: Broadway Books, 2007), pp. 17-62. On the other hand, Ayman al-Zawahiri’s argument justifying “martyrdom operations” (suicide attacks) published in the same volume, “Jihad, Martyrdom, and the Killing of Innocents,” pp. 137-71, departs significantly from “classical” Islamic “just war” doctrines and relies primarily on “weak” (da‘if) hadiths or problematic analogies.

[38] Here again one can see the usual bizarre “politically correct” double standards at work. If Christian or Jewish conservatives, reactionaries, and right-wing extremists were promoting political, social, and cultural initiatives designed to facilitate the furtherance of fundamentalist, theocratic agendas and thereby transform secular Western societies, none of these “Islam apologists” of the ostensibly “progressive” sort would be adopting such a charitable attitude towards them, much less docilely submitting to or actively assisting them. On the contrary, they would be sounding the alarm and vigorously opposing every single initiative promoted by the Christian and Jewish religious right – and justifiably so. It is only in the case of Islam that such “progressives” suddenly jettison their secularism and become embarrassingly solicitous and supportive of undeniably regressive religio-cultural values, to the point where they devote almost all of their time and energy to denouncing critics of Islam and Islamism rather than anti-Western, anti-secular Muslim conservatives, traditionalists, or Islamists.

[39] At this point more needs to be said about the propagandistic term “Islamophobia,” which – together with similarly problematic neologisms like “homophobia” and “Judeophobia” – has a built-in conceptual bias insofar as it suggests that critics of Islam and Islamism who are branded thusly must necessarily have an irrational “phobia,” i.e., an “extreme fear of or aversion to” Islam, one that is both allegedly groundless and effectively pathological. To what extent is this pejorative term really applicable? First, being concerned about and critical of a totalitarian right-wing ideology like Islamism no more signifies that one is “Islamophobic” than being concerned about Nazism makes one a “Germanophobe.” Second, apart from certain circles of Christian and Jewish extremists who consider Islam per se to be a “satanic” or “heretical” religion – usually the very same fanatics who also demonize “secular humanism” using similar terms – few if any in the West have a “phobia” about Islam as a religion, i.e., are irrationally fearful of Islam for narrowly theological reasons. Third, certain regressive and intolerant aspects of Islam itself, not just Islamism, present real and ongoing problems for the West, and are therefore both matters of legitimate concern and deserving of criticism.

Hence although it is true that many Westerners have developed negative attitudes towards Islam, especially since the onset of jihadist terrorism symbolized most dramatically by 9/11, the question is whether those negative attitudes are warranted, i.e., whether they are not only understandable but justifiable responses to real problems and actual threats posed by elements within the Muslim community, or whether they are instead based on irrational prejudices against Muslims and are therefore unwarranted. Certain people may well fall into the latter “Islam-hating” or “Muslim-hating” category, such as Qur’an-burning Florida pastor Terry Jones, American right-wing radio talk show hosts Glenn Beck (also a convert to Mormonism), Michael Savage (né Michael Weiner), and Bryan Fischer, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (the Coptic maker of a crude anti-Muhammad film), assorted extremist Tea Party activists and “know nothing” populists in the U.S., and various fringe European fascist groups (although other fascists are actually pro-Islam or even pro-Islamist), but most Westerners who have concerns about Islam clearly fall into the former category.

Is it “Islamophobic,” for example, to associate Muslims with terrorism and other security threats during an era when jihadist groups are carrying out vastly disproportionate amounts of terrorism in various regions throughout the world? Is it “Islamophobic” to be concerned when Islamist activists demand the introduction of shari‘a-based laws that are directly contrary to Western laws and Western secular Enlightenment values? Is it “Islamophobic” to be concerned about high immigrant and Muslim crime (as well as welfare dependency and birth-) rates when it is a statistical fact that both immigrants from the Third World, including Muslim countries, and Muslims born in Europe are responsible for committing very disproportionate amounts of crime, especially violent crime? Is it “Islamophobic” for Westerners to want to preserve and defend their own cultural mores and civilizational values in the face of certain Muslim religio-cultural practices that are antithetical to those mores and values, e.g., polygamy, blatant male domination of women, forcible female genital mutilation, “honor killings,” arranged marriages with pre-pubescent girls, etc.? (Why, after all, is it OK for non-Westerners to want to preserve their cultures, but not OK for Westerners to want to preserve theirs?) Is it “Islamophobic” to be concerned about the ongoing efforts of Islamists to criminalize all criticism and satirical treatments of Islam, i.e., to restrict freedom of expression in Western societies, not only by labeling such criticisms as “Islamophobic” but by engaging in outright intimidation and acts of violence? Is every Westerner who expresses such legitimate concerns in fact a “nativist,” “racist,” “xenophobe,” “right-winger,” or “Islamophobe”? The answer to these questions is clearly “no.” Indeed, as Walter Laqueur has wryly observed, if Eskimos began committing disproportionate amounts of terrorism, there would be an understandable increase in the amount of suspicion and hostility directed at Eskimos, which would then inevitably lead to bogus accusations of “Eskimophobia.” See Laqueur’s review of Michael Gove’s Celsius 7/7 book in The Times Literary Supplement, 11 August 2006. Nevertheless, according to the ever-growing and increasingly histrionic “anti-Islamophobia” network, anyone who has such justifiable and indeed commonsensical concerns is a priori nothing more than a bigoted Islam-hater or a racist. Needless to say, the application of the term “racism” is particularly ridiculous in this context, since Muslims are members of a multi-ethnic community of religious believers (the umma) – one that includes many whites – rather than a specific racial group.

Finally, perhaps those morally sensitive souls who profess to be so concerned with stigmatising and discriminatory “phobias” should really be paying far more attention to the irrational Muslim hatred of “infidels” (or “infidelphobia,” though I personally reject the use of the term “phobia” in these contexts) – not to mention the brutal, systematic official and unofficial persecution of religious minorities in so many contemporary Muslim countries – which is a built-in characteristic of Islamism and is also vastly more widespread and problematic than so-called “Islamophobia” is ever likely to become. Here is a suggestion for those who know nothing whatsoever about Islam: start with the “loyalty [towards Muslims] and enmity [towards ‘infidels’]” (al-wala’ wa al-bara’)doctrine, deriving from Qur’anic passages (e.g., 3:28, 4:89, 5:51), that is so vociferously espoused by Wahhabis and other Islamists (e.g., Shaykh Muhammad Sa‘id al-Qahtani, Al-Wala’ wa’l-Bara’ According to the Aqeedah of the Salaf, Part 1 [Mecca: Kashf al-Shubuhat Publications, 1993], at http://www.kalamullah.com/Books/alWalaawalBaraa1.pdf , which was originally an M.A. thesis written under the direction of Muhammad Qutub, Sayyid Qutub’s brother, and other professors at ‘Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, Saudi Arabia) and embraced in part by all too many Muslims. Cf. the enthusiastic support within al-Qa‘ida for this same intolerant, “infidel” hating al-wala’ wa al-bara’ notion, as reflected in “Al-Qaeda Releases ‘Standards of Friendship and Enmity in Islam’…,” MEMRI website, 26 September 2013, at http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/7428.htm .

Of course, as two Canadian critics of the term “Islamophobia” have rightly pointed out, “one doubts that a formulation like ‘infidelphobia’ will gain traction anytime soon.” See Jackson Doughart and Faisal Saeed al-Mutar, “Opinion: Stop Calling Criticism of Islam ‘Islamophobia,’” National Post, 26 September 2012, at http://life.nationalpost.com/2012/09/26/opinion-stop-calling-criticism-of-islam-islamophobia/ . Ironically, the only real “phobia” on display in this context is the phobia about “Islamophobia” itself, for which British journalist Andrew Anthony has coined the term “Islamophobiaphobia.” See his book The Fallout: How a Guilty Liberal Lost His Innocence (London: Vintage, 2008), chapter 10. Others have introduced the term “Islamofauxbia” into the lexicon.

[40] Since the proponents of “politically correct” viewpoints are, much like religious fanatics, “true believers” who are impervious to contrary evidence or logical counterarguments, Lucien Samir Oulahbib has justly characterized “political correctness” as a “crypto-religion.” See his Le politiquement correct français: Épistémologie d’une crypto-religion (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2012).

[41] This is why it has become practically unavoidable for serious researchers – myself included – to consult, in addition to a wide variety of primary sources that become available (e.g., Islamist publications and trial materials), the websites of assorted conservative and right-wing “watchdog” groups whose self-appointed mission is to monitor the activities of Islamist networks operating in the West, just as those who study the Western radical right find it necessary to consult the websites of left-leaning anti-fascist “watchdog” groups. In both cases, it is the factual information presented on those websites, not their agenda-driven interpretations of that information, which generally proves to be most useful for research purposes. (I should also hasten to add that, apart from their concerns about problematic aspects of Islam, their opposition to radical Islam, and their alarm about ongoing Islamist subversion of Western law enforcement and counterterrorism efforts, I rarely share the views promoted on those conservative or rightist websites about other social and political matters [e.g., their knee-jerk hostility towards President Obama or their unwavering support for Israel no matter what the context or circumstances].) Sadly, one reason why it has become increasingly necessary to make use of right-leaning sources about Islamism is that so many liberals and leftists have completely abdicated their own politico-moral responsibility to monitor the Islamic radical right, either due to egregious ignorance about the nature of Islamism or because of their narrow pursuit of partisan ideological agendas. As atheist Sam Harris has put it, less charitably, “the political correctness of the Left has made it taboo to even notice the menace of political Islam [i.e., Islamism], leaving only right-wing fanatics to do the job.” See his “Response to Controversy, Version 2.3,” Sam Harris website, 7 April 2013, at http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/response-to-controversy2/ . If one changed his word “only” to “mainly,” that statement would be all too accurate. In a sane world, one would expect Western liberal and left-wing “watchdogs” of the domestic and international radical right to be paying much closer attention to Islamist and jihadist activities, which are intrinsically antithetical to their own professed “humanitarian” and cosmopolitan values, than would many elements of the Western right, which ironically share certain ultra-conservative social and cultural values with the Islamists (such as opposition to abortion, homosexuality, evolution, women’s rights, sexual liberation, drug use, secularism, coddling criminals, etc.). (Note, e.g., conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who argues that Muslims are justifiably opposed to and disgusted by a West, supposedly dominated by liberal elites, that is promoting irreligiosity, sexual licentiousness, and “anti-family” values, and that this understandably provoked jihadist terrorists to carry out the 9/11 attacks. See his The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 [New York: Broadway Books, 2008].) Instead, these “politically correct” self-styled “progressives,” like the Islamists themselves, are all too quick to denounce conservative anti-Islamist “watchdog” organizations, often tendentiously, as “Islamophobic.”

[42] Here it is important to distinguish between multiculturalism as a social and demographic phenomenon, i.e., the intermingling of people from different ethno-cultural backgrounds, and multiculturalism as a partisan political ideology. For critiques of the latter, see Richard Bernstein, Dictatorship of Virtue: How the Battle over Multiculturalism is Reshaping our Schools, our Countries, and our Lives (New York: Vintage, 1995), for the U.S.; Salim Mansur, Delectable Lie: A Liberal Repudiation of Multiculturalism (Brantford, Ontario: Mantua, 2011), for Canada; Patrick West, The Poverty of Multiculturalism (London: Civitas/Institute for the Study of Civil Society, 2005), for Britain; Fabien Ollier, L’idéologie multiculturaliste en France: Entre fascisme et libéralisme (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2004), for France; Alex P. Schmid (Ed.), De multiculturele samenleving: Smeltkroes of kruitvat? (Driebergen: Synthesis, 1996), for the Netherlands; and Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt, Les pièges de la culture: Les contradictions démocratiques du multiculturalisme (Geneva: Mētis, 2012), for Europe. The ideology of multiculturalism not only constitutes a threat to individual freedom, but also to universalist ideas, for which see Caroline Fourest, La dernière utopie: Menaces sur l’universalisme (Paris: Grasset & Fasquelle, 2009).

It is noteworthy that although proponents of multiculturalist dogmas invariably view themselves as “progressive,” the ideology they espouse is arguably a right-wing ideology inasmuch as it views individuals not as actual living, breathing people who should be judged on their own merits and can freely choose to adapt, reject, or transcend elements of their own ethno-cultural heritage, but rather solely as imagined “representatives” of their own ethno-cultural groups, to which are ascribed certain intrinsic characteristics. Cf. Alain Finkielkraut, The Defeat of the Mind (New York: Columbia University, 1995), parts 1-3 (although I do not support his own condescending display of cultural conservatism and elitism in part 4). In the case of non-Western groups, the characteristics of the supposedly innocent and victimized “Other” are paternalistically romanticized and glorified by multiculturalists, whereas Westerners are instead demonized as inherently guilty “oppressors” who are forever obliged to apologize for and take steps to “right” the collective “wrongs” they have allegedly perpetrated. (This latter “guilt-by-association” calumny would be justly recognized and denounced as unfair or even “racist” if it were applied to any human group other than white Westerners.) So it is that multiculturalists display the most blatant double standards by insisting that all non-Western cultures must be “respected” or “celebrated” and never criticized, no matter how objectively regressive, intolerant, and barbarous they may be, whilst continually denigrating their own culture and encouraging others to blame the West for all of their own problems. In short, they adopt a flaccid, nauseatingly sappy moral relativism vis-à-vis supposedly “oppressed” members of non-Western communities, who are always portrayed as “innocent victims,” but a rigid, denunciatory moral absolutism vis-à-vis ostensibly “privileged” Westerners. As several critics of multiculturalism have rightly noted, this amounts to a kind of paternalistic de facto racism insofar as it treats non-Westerners like virtual children without moral agency, who cannot therefore be expected to adhere to the same impossibly high moral and behavioral standards that are insistently demanded of Westerners. Such a reprehensible double standard directly conflicts with the authentically liberal view that every individual and human group should be judged according to the same standards of morality and legality with respect to their behaviour. In any case, for some examples of how multiculturalist dogmas are sabotaging Western resistance to Islamists, see Bruce Bawer, Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom (New York: Anchor, 2010), for the West in general; Melanie Philips, Londonistan (New York and London: Encounter, 2006), esp. pp. 57-76, for the UK; and Abigail R. Esman, Radical State: How Jihad is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010), for the Netherlands.

For critiques of post-1960’s “Third Worldism,” which essentially involves the excessive romanticisation of Franz Fanon’s “wretched of the earth,” see Pascal Bruckner, The Tears of the White Man: Compassion as Contempt (New York: Free Press, 1986); idem, The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 2010); Caroline Fourest (a self-described supporter of the “anti-totalitarian left” who is opposed to the “Third Worldist left”), La tentation obscurantiste (Paris: Grasset, 2005), pp. 33-51; and Pierre-André Taguieff, Prêcheurs de haine: Traversée de la judéophobie planétaire (Paris: Fayard, 2004), who provides numerous examples of the harmful political and moral consequences of uncritically glorifying and supporting all anti-Western movements in the Third World, no matter how reactionary they may be (as the Islamists clearly are). Taguieff has also produced a brilliant diagnosis of the hypocritical pretentions of today’s imagined “anti-reactionaries” among the Western intelligentsia, who are nowadays so prone to label those who disagree with their own views as “new reactionaries,” in Les contre-réactionnaires: Le progressisme entre illusion et imposture (Paris: Denoël, 2007).

[43] Here I am referring to the vast, tendentious, often delusional, and sometimes purely mercenary or dishonest literature claiming that undeniable acts of jihadist terrorism, such as the 9/11 attacks, the 2002 Bali bombings, the 2004 Madrid bombings, the 2005 London bombings, the 2008 Mumbai attacks, etc., were actually covert “false flag” operations carried out by whomever the particular conspiracy theorists – usually Western leftists, Western right-wingers, anti-Semites, anti-Western “Third Worldists,” “Islam apologists,” “Islamist apologists,” or Islamists – consider to be key actors within the villainous cabal that is supposedly manipulating or controlling world events from behind the scenes. Among those that have been singled out in these cases are the Bush administration and/or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Israeli MOSSAD and its alleged neoconservative “agents,” Indonesian military intelligence, the Spanish intelligence services, the British security service (MI5), and Hindutva extremists. For illustrative examples, see David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Northampton, MA: Olive Branch, 2008) and Webster Tarpley, 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA (Joshua Tree, CA: Progressive Press, 2006), for 9/11; segments of Glen Clancy’s “Fool Me Twice” video “documentary” for the 2002 Bali bombings, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4jCabkjukE ; Bruno Cardeñosa, 11-M: Claves de una conspiración (Madrid: Espejo de Tinta, 2004), for 3/11; Nick Kollerstrom, Terror on the Tube: Behind the Veil of 7/7. An Investigation (Joshua Tree, CA: Progressive Press, 2012), for 7/7; and Jonathan Azaziah, “26/11: Mossad Terrorizes Mumbai,” Mask of Zion website, 4 January 2011, at http://www.maskofzion.com/2011/01/2611-mossad-terrorizes-mumbai.html , for 11/26. According to this ever-growing flood of conspiratorial literature, the alleged sponsors or perpetrators of these mass casualty terrorist attacks were not the Islamist jihadists who were “officially” blamed (and who proudly took credit for several of them, including 9/11), but rather the various sinister aforementioned behind-the-scenes forces. And if any jihadists happened to be involved, they were simply dupes or double agents working for the “real” conspirators. Certain more serious journalistic investigations have unearthed some valuable new information and/or revealed some problematic lacunae in the “official” accounts of these incidents, but they have neither undermined the overwhelming evidence substantiating the general thrust of those accounts nor made a convincing case for their preferred alternative explanations. See, e.g., Daniel Hopsicker, Welcome to Terrorland: Mohamed Atta and the 9-11 Cover-Up in Florida (Venice, FL: MadCow Press, 2004); and José María de Pablo, La cuarta trama: Verdades y mentiras en el caso del 11-M (Madrid: Ciudadela, 2009).

[44] Note, however, that this transnational “anti-Islamophobia industry,” which has been busily churning out masses of both naïve misinformation and malicious disinformation about critics of Islam and Islamism, typically fails to make clear distinctions between a) bigoted “Islam-hating” ignoramuses, b) severe critics of Islam in general, for more or less legitimate reasons, and c) astute, knowledgeable people whose primary goal is to defend Enlightenment values, individual freedom, and democratic pluralism from the threat of Islamist totalitarianism. Moreover, Islamist activists themselves often play the most prominent, albeit frequently behind-the-scenes, role in enunciating this industry’s characteristic themes and talking points. For representative examples of this sort of tendentious “liberal,” Islamist, or “anti-fascist” literature, which tend to ignore both the aforementioned distinctions and the very real threats posed by Islamism, see Nathan Lean, The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims (London: Pluto Press, 2012); Wajahat Ali et al, Fear, Inc: The Islamophobia Network in America (Washington, DC: Center for American Progress, [August] 2011), at http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2011/08/pdf/islamophobia.pdf ; Thomas Cincotta, Manufacturing the Muslim Menace: Private Firms, Public Services, and the Threat to Rights and Security (Somerville, MA: Political Research Associates, 2011), at http://www.publiceye.org/liberty/training/Muslim_Menace_Complete.pdf ; Muslim Public Affairs Council, Not Qualified: Exposing the Deception Behind America’s Top 25 Pseudo-Experts on Islam (Los Angeles, CA: MPAC, undated [2013]), at http://www.mpac.org/assets/docs/publications/MPAC-25-Pseudo-Experts-On-Islam.pdf ; David Williams and Nick Lowles, The ‘Counter-Jihad’ Movement: The Global Trend Feeding Anti-Muslim Hatred (London: Hope Not Hate, 2012); Øyvind Strømmen, Det mørke nettet: Om høyreekstremisme, kontrajihadisme og terror i Europa (Oslo: Cappelen, 2011); and the Loonwatch website (which is arguably the most dishonest and malicious of them all).

However, the supposed “Islamophobia network” that these groups virulently denounce and demonize is no more monolithic, and no less diverse, than its “anti-Islamophobia” counterpart. Indeed, the organizations and individuals critical of or opposed to Islam and/or Islamism, far from being composed exclusively of right-wing extremists, as the “anti-Islamophobes” falsely claim, comprise a vast and diverse array of people on all sides of the political spectrum. First, there are the outright “Islam haters” and “Muslim haters,” who truly deserve to be censured (albeit not censored), some of whom were identified above in note 39.

Second, there are the “Islam bashers” that make up the so-called “counter-jihad” movement, who generally (and foolishly) fail to distinguish between Islam and Islamism, and sometimes even argue, preposterously, that there is no such thing as Islamism. See, e.g., Robert Spencer, “Islam and Islamists,” Jihad Watch website, 21 October 2011, at http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/10/islam-and-islamists.html . That is the equivalent of arguing, equally absurdly, that there is no difference between Christianity in general and literalist, extremist, and theocratic interpretations of Christianity, e.g., Christian Reconstructionism. This “counter-jihad” movement admittedly includes several problematic far right organizations and even some extremists with a quasi-fascist orientation or background, such as elements of the Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) party in Belgium, the Bürgerbewegung pro Deutschland (BpD: Pro-Germany Citizens’ Movement) in Germany, various European “ethno-pluralist” movements inspired by the intellectual nouvelle droite (e.g., the Bloc Identitaire [Identitarian Bloc] in France, and the Identitäre Bewegung [Identitarian Movement] in Germany), the EDL in Britain (and some of its foreign counterparts), and the Sverigedemokraterna (SD: Sweden Democrats) party in Sweden, as well as others with a radical right-wing religious agenda, including assorted Protestant fundamentalists (e.g., Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, the Christian Action Network, Christian Concern in the UK, Lt. Gen. [Ret.] William “Jerry” Boykin, evangelical Christian ex-Muslims like Mark Gabriel, Sam Solomon, Imran Firasat, Reza Safa, and Nassim Ben Iman, including self-proclaimed ex-Muslim terrorists [Walid Shoebat, Zachariah Anani, Kamal Saleem]), ultranationalist Eastern Orthodox Christians (e.g., the Serbian author Srđa [Serge] Trifković, the Laíkos Orthódoxos Synagermós [LOS: People’s Orthodox Rally] party in Greece, the now banned Otačastveni Pokret Srpski Obraz [OPSO: Serbian Honor Patriotic Movement] and Serbski Narodni Pokret1389 political party [1389 Serbian National Movement, a name commemorating the year when Serbian armies lost a heroic battle against the Ottoman Turks at Kosovo Polje]), Orthodox Jewish extremists affiliated with the haredim or “messianic Zionist” milieus (e.g., David Yerushalmi), and Catholic ultratraditionalist circles (e.g., Chrétienté-Solidarité in France, the La Yijad en Eurabia/La Sexta Redoma website in Spain). However, it also consists of less radical but nonetheless very conservative or rightist individuals (e.g., Geert Wilders, Mark Steyn, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Bat Ye’or [pseudonym for Gisèle Littman], Oskar Freysinger, Fjordman [pseudonym for Peder Jensen], Brigitte Gabriel, David Wood of Answering Muslims.com), and organizations or websites (e.g., Jihad Watch, Gates of Vienna, the Brussels Journal, the Center for Security Policy, the Clarion Project, Document.no, Politically Incorrect [Germany], Front Page Magazine, Vlad Tepes, Creeping Sharia, Islam Versus Europe), which often post interesting and important information despite their pronounced right-wing biases.

Third, there are assorted “centrists,” including relatively moderate conservatives (e.g., John Rosenthal, David Solway [an ex-leftist Canadian poet and writer who is nowadays moving ever-further to the right], Daniel Johnson, Aldo-Michel Mungo of Les Résistants, Hallgrim Berg, Leslie S. Lebl), classical liberals (e.g., Bruce Bawer, Andrew Anthony, atheist Pat Condell), genuinely moderate Muslims, ex-Muslim secularists, or Arab Christians who are both painfully familiar with Islamism and sometimes highly critical of Islam itself (e.g., Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Mamoun Fandy, Tarek Fatah, Chahdortt Djavann, Ibn Warraq, Mohamed Sifaoui, Wafa Sultan, Salim Mansur, Chala Chafiq, ‘Ali Sina, Naser Khader, Irfan al-Alawi, Zuhdi Jasser, Asra Nomani, Irshad Manji, several ex-Islamist Muslims from the Quilliam Foundation in the UK, Walid al-Kubaisi, Raymond Ibrahim, Magdi Cristiano Allam, Antoine Sfeir, Walid Phares, Kamal Nawash, members of the secularist Zentralrat der Ex-Muslime [Central Council of Ex-Muslims] in Germany and other European countries), and conservative anti-Islamist watchdog or reporting groups (e.g., the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the Middle East Forum’s Islamist Watch, the Global Muslim Brotherhood website) that are roughly comparable in their focused approach (though not in their levels of dishonesty and maliciousness) to the aforementioned agenda-driven anti-fascist watchdog groups.

Fourth, there are left liberals and leftists opposed to “political correctness” and Islamist totalitarianism, such as the signers of the Euston Manifesto in the U.K., the “new atheists” (e.g., Sam Harris, the late Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher, Maryam Namazie, Taslima Nasrin), and a number of academicians, journalists, artists, and intellectuals (e.g., Bassam Tibi, Nick Cohen, Paul Berman, Kurt Westergaard [almost murdered, and the object of other murder plots, by jihadists], Caroline Fourest, Bernard Henri-Lévy, Kanan Makiya, Pascal Bruckner, the late Theo van Gogh [murdered by a jihadist], Alain Finkielkraut, Lars Hedegaard [almost murdered by a jihadist], Salman Rushdie [under the perpetual threat of death from Islamists], Gregorius Nekschot [pseudonym for a Dutch cartoonist], Lars Vilks [almost murdered by jihadists], Helle Merete Brix, Oriana Fallaci [who admittedly crossed the line into “Islam bashing” or even “Muslim hating”], Robert Redeker, Daniel Krause, Farhad Khosrokhavar, Philippe Val, Afshin Ellian, the publishers of Charlie Hebdo [whose office has been attacked and firebombed by jihadists]). (I should also admit, for the record, that I myself – as a radical individualist, an unabashed secularist, a member of the anti-PC and anti-totalitarian left, and a countercultural rebel – straddle two of the above categories [the third and the fourth], and that I voted for Obama in both 2008 and 2012, which means that my criticisms of his policies with respect to Islamism herein are by no means motivated by partisan animus.)

Thus the fact that most “anti-Islamophobes” are so intent on portraying everyone who is highly critical of Islam, particular aspects of Islam, and/or Islamism, as a “fascist hate-monger” is therefore quite revealing, both about their intellectual dishonesty and about their underlying fanaticism. It is bad enough that conservatives of various types are being indiscriminately slandered as “fascists,” but so-called “anti-fascism” has truly reached a point of total moral bankruptcy and indeed utter lunacy when both anti-Islamist Muslims and liberal or left-leaning critics of the totalitarian Islamic radical right are also regularly being falsely and maliciously smeared as “Islamophobes” “right-wing extremists,” and “racists.” For an example, see the reply by atheist Islam critic Sam Harris to such calumnies, “Response to Controversy, Version 2.3.” Cf. Jeffrey Tayler, “Richard Dawkins is Not an Islamophobe,” Salon.com website, 24 August 2013, at http://www.salon.com/2013/08/24/richard_dawkins_is_not_an_islamophobe/ ; and Hartmut Krauss (Ed.), Feindbild Islamkritik: Wenn die Grenzen zur Verzerrung und Diffamierung überschritten werden (Osnabrück: Hintergrund, 2010), a collection of left-of-center authors who oppose both Islamic obscurantism and the hysterical demonization of critics of Islam.

[45]Richard Landes, “From Useful Idiot to Useful Infidel: Meditations on the Folly of 21st Century ‘Intellectuals,’” Augean Stables website, 8 June 2010, at http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2010/06/08/from-useful-idiot-to-useful-infidel-meditations-on-the-folly-of-21st-century-%E2%80%9Cintellectuals%E2%80%9D/ . Cf. Karen Jespersen and Ralf Pittelkow, Islamistes et naïvistes: Un acte d’accusation (Paris: Panama, 2007); and Bawer, New Quislings, at 82%, who justly refers to such people as “tools of the Islamists.” The only question is whether they are witting tools or unwitting tools.

[46] See, e.g., Lorenzo Vidino, Hisba in Europe?: Assessing a Murky Phenomenon (Brussels: European Foundation for Democracy, [June] 2013), at http://europeandemocracy.org/images/stories/Media/Hisba/Hisba_in_Europe.pdf , although the author intentionally errs on the side of caution in his conclusions. The term hisba (“verification”) is short-hand for the Qur’anic injunctions (3:104, 3:110, 7:157, 9:71, etc.) urging Muslims to “command the good and forbid evil” (al-amr bi al-ma‘ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar), which Salafists and Islamists generally interpret as giving them authorization to compel other Muslims (as well as subjugated “infidels”) to behave in strictly shari‘a-compliant, “Islamically correct” ways, if necessary by force. For a detailed analysis of this doctrine, which was generally interpreted historically to mean that the Muslim state had the primary responsibility for enforcing hisba within the umma, see Michael Cook, Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought (Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University, 2000). However, modern Islamists have instead all too often taken it upon themselves, either as individuals or members of small groups, to prevent and/or punish what they regard, very expansively, as “un-Islamic” behaviour, including in Western countries. See, e.g., Roel Meijer, “Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong as a Principle of Social Action: The Case of the Egyptian al-Jama‘a al-Islamiyya,” in Global Salafism: Islam’s New Global Religion, editem by R. Meijer (London: Hurst, 2009), pp. 189-220.

[47] For indications of the Muslim Brotherhood’s long-term plans for waging a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” so as to “Islamize” the West, cf. the revealing documents discovered in the wake of raids on suspected Islamist terrorist funding entities in both Switzerland and the U.S. The first, which was discovered in the course of the November 2001 Swiss raids on the Bank Al-Taqwa (founded by Muslim Brotherhood activists) and its Ikhwani directors’ homes, was entitled “Al-manhaj” (“The Project”), for which see Sylvain Besson, Le conquête de l’occident: Le projet secret des islamistes (Paris: Seuill, 2005), pp. 191-205 (in French translation). This 14-page document (dated 1 December 1982), which outlined a multifaceted 12-point strategy to “establish the reign of Allah on Earth,” was subsequently summarized and republished in an English translation by Patrick Poole, “The Muslim Brotherhood ‘Project,’” Front Page Magazine, 11 May 2006, at http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readarticle.aspx?artid=4476 . The second was a 16-page strategy document discovered during raids conducted in connection with the case of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a HAMAS front based in the U.S., for which see Muhammad Akram, “Mudhakkara tafsiriyya al-hadaf al-istratijiyya al-‘amm li al-jama‘at fi amrika al-shamaliyya” (“An Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal of the Group in North America”), 22 May 1991, at http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/20.pdf (firstly in the original Arabic, and then in English translation). In addition to outlining what Akram viewed as the Brotherhood’s agenda and methods for achieving its goals in the U.S., this document also conveniently listed various organizations that were controlled by or closely associated with the Ikhwan (ibid, p. 15), which revealingly included many of the most prominent and influential Muslim-American organizations. Thus the very first organization on that list is the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), for which see Steven Merley, “Extremism and the Islamic Society of North America” (no place: unpublished “confidential” report, [February] 2007), at http://www.globalmbwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/20080127_extremism_and_isna.pdf . [A third document that is often cited in this context, which is referred to as the “Muslim Brotherhood Underground Movement Plan,” does not in fact appear – on the basis of the incomplete 9-page English-language translation prepared in connection with the Holy Land Foundation trial – to be a Brotherhood document at all, but rather a Saudi intelligence memo concerning the Ikhwan’s strategy in Saudi Arabia, including its involvement with the Islamist, anti-regime Sahwa (Awakening) movement. For this document, see Center for Security Policy, Muslim Brotherhood Case Study: Documentation (Washington, DC: CSP, undated), pp. 37-46, at http://suhailkhanexposed.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/MB_Case_Study_Evidence.pdf .] Whether those first two documents simply reflected their well-connected authors’ own proposed objectives or delineated a coherent overall strategy that was to be adopted by various organizations formed by Brotherhood activists remains unclear, although it would surely be a mistake to view these organizations as being centrally directed in some tight conspiratorial fashion.

Be that as it may, many of these Brotherhood-linked groups are still operating openly and largely unimpeded in America today. Similar networks of such organisations exist throughout Europe, where their apparent goals are likewise to undermine, destroy, and eventually supplant Western civilization. Cf., e.g., Johannes Grundmann, Islamische Internationalisten: Strukturen und Aktivitäten der Muslimbruderschaft und der Islamischen Weltliga (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2005), pp. 15-74; Lorenzo Vidino, The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West (New York: Columbia University, 2010); Barry Rubin, (Ed.), The Muslim Brotherhood: The Organization and Policies of a Global Islamist Movement (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), chapters 7-11; Xavier Ternisien, Les Frères musulmans (Paris: Fayard, 2005), pp. 187-323; Nina Nowar, Ramadans Erben: Die Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland e.V.(IGD) (Hamburg: Diplomica, 2012), esp. chapter 4; Udo Ulfkotte, Heiliger Krieg in Europa: Wie die radikale Muslimbruderschaft unsere Gesellschaft bedroht (Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn, 2007); Fiammetta Venner, OPA sur l’Islam de France: Les ambitions de l’UOIF (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 2005); and Lhaj Thami Breze, Qu’est-ce que l’UOIF? (Paris: L’Archipel, 2006). The best history of the Brotherhood remains that of Richard P. Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers (New York: Oxford University, 1993 [1969]). Cf. also the useful recent contribution of Jeffry R. Halverson, Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam: The Muslim Brotherhood, Ash‘arism, and Political Sunnism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), esp. chapters 3-4. Perhaps predictably, most newer academic works on the organization and its founder have tended to be overly apologetic. See, e.g., Raymond William Baker, Islam Without Fear: Egypt and the New Islamists (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 2006); and Gudrun Krämer, Hasan al-Banna (Oxford: Oneworld, 2009).

[48] For a recent illustrative and troubling example, note the 13 June 2013 meeting at the White House organized by representatives of the Obama administration, including Rashad Hussain (about whom see below, note 53), with Salafist Mauritanian shaykh ‘Abdallah b. Bayyah, a professor of Islamic law at King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz University in Saudi Arabia and a close associate of Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is widely regarded as the most important ideological animator of the Muslim Brotherhood at the present time. See Steven Emerson and John Rossomando, “Exclusive: Banned Cleric’s Outspoken Deputy Visits White House,” Investigative Project on Terrorism website, 26 June 2013, at http://www.investigativeproject.org/4055/exclusive-banned-cleric-outspoken-deputy-visits . Cf. “Qaradawi Associate Meets at White House: Abdullah Bin Bayyah Close to Saudi with Ties to Al Qaeda and Hamas Support,” Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch website, 26 June 2013, at http://www.globalmbwatch.com/2013/06/26/qaradawi-associate-meets-white-house-abdallah-bin-bayyah-close-saudi-figure-ties-al-qaeda-hamas-support/ . For two other leading Brotherhood-associated activists with whom the Obama administration met in 2013 (in addition to Ibn Bayyah), in connection with the President’s misguided policy of “fully engaging” with that organization – Salah Sultan and Safwat al-Hijazi – see the three-part series, “The White House’s New Best Friends,” published by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch website, 30 June-15 July 2013, beginning at http://www.globalmbwatch.com/2013/06/30/part-1-white-houses-friends-fantastical-antisemitic-world-abdallah-bin-bayyah-2/ . Al-Qaradawi himself has long been one of the most influential Sunni religious scholars, and he currently has the most popular talk show on the al-Jazira television network. Like all Islamists, al-Qaradawi is an extremist, an anti-Semite, and a promoter of armed jihad against non-dhimmi “infidels” within the dar al-islam (albeit not against Western countries, which he anticipates the future Muslim conquest of via gradual proselytization and infiltration; although he himself normally refers to the West using the traditional formulation dar al-‘ahd [abode of the pact or covenant], he has effectively embraced, however conditionally, the Mawdudist Khurram Murad’s conception of the West as the dar al-da‘wa [abode of proselytization] so as to differentiate it from the dar al-harb [abode of war] that Muslims are mandated to wage war against). He also does not support the concept of Qur’anic “abrogation” (naskh), which is unusual for Islamists. Cf. “Sheik Yousuf al-Qaradhawi: Islam’s ‘Conquest of Rome’ will Save Europe from Its Subjugation to Materialism and Promiscuity,” MEMRI website, 28 July 2007, at http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1592.htm ; Nina Wiedl, “Dawa and the Islamist Revival in the West,” in: Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, edited by Hillel Fradkin et al (Washington, DC: Hudson Institute, 2009), volume 9, esp. pp. 128-33; and Lorenzo Vidino, “Aims and Methods of Europe’s Muslim Brotherhood,” Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, edited by Hillel Fradkin et al (Washington, DC: Hudson Institute, 2006), volume 4, pp. 22-44. The fact that other Islamists are even more extreme with respect to the means they advocate employing does not mean that al-Qaradawi’s Islamic supremacist goals are “moderate,” as some have argued. See, e.g., Bettina Gräf and Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen, (Eds.), Global Muftī: The Phenomenon of Yūsuf al-Qaradāwī (New York: Columbia University, 2009), wherein many of the contributors (including co-editor Gräf, following the example of her academic mentor, Gudrun Krämer) adopt such a misleading, overly apologetic perspective. Note further that, according to John L. Esposito and İbrahim Kalın, (Eds.), The 500 Most Influential Muslims: 2009 (Amman, Jordan, and Washington, DC: Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center/Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, 2009) , pp. 19-20, al-Qaradawi is the world’s ninth most influential Muslim, whereas Ibn Bayyah is the 30th most influential.

[49] See, e.g., Ian Johnson, A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2010); Stefan Meining, Eine Moschee in Deutschland: Nazis, Geheimdienste und der Aufstieg des politischen Islam im Westen (Munich: C. H. Beck, 2011); Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006); Mark Curtis, Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam (London: Serpent’s Tail, 2010).

[50] For source citations, see Bale, “Islamism and Totalitarianism,” pp. 89-90, note 21.

[51] Unfortunately, as Thor E. Ronay (president of the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Washington, DC) rightly notes, “[p]olitical correctness is [at this point] too broad and deep institutionally to be overridden. It arises from years of inculcation in the [government] agencies, and more generally in the culture that we all operate within.” Cited in Paul Sperry, Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington (Nashville, TN: Nelson Current, 2005), p. 10.

[52] For the U.S., see, in general, Steven Emerson and the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2006); idem, “Jihad in America: The Grand Deception” video documentary; Sperry, Infiltration; and “The Muslim Brotherhood in America,” a 10-part video documentary produced by Frank Gaffney’s neo-conservative Center for Security Policy, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhtG4k7sQbc . Although the two last-named sources have a rightist political agenda and a rather alarmist tone, and their analyses are at times overly simplistic or distorted and therefore cannot be accepted uncritically, the basic information provided in all four of these sources about Islamist organizations and individuals that have acted to undermine American counterterrorism policies is accurate and well-documented, both during the Bush and Obama administrations. For the activities of the HAMAS-linked organizations out of which CAIR emerged, in particular the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), see the voluminous legal materials produced in connection with the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) case: United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, United States of America vs. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, et al., 3:04-CR-0240-G, beginning with the 26 July 2004 Indictment, at http://www.tamilnet.com/img/publish/2007/10/Holyland_01.pdf . The exhibits from the HLF trials in Texas can be accessed at http://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/judges/hlf2.html . Cf. Steven Merley, “Extremism and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) (no place: self-published “confidential” report, [January] 2007), at http://www.globalmbwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/20080127_extremism_and_cair.pdf ; Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha, “CAIR: Islamists Fooling the Establishment,” Middle East Quarterly Vol. 13, No. 2 (Spring 2006), pp. 3-20; P. David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry, Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America (Los Angeles, CA: WND Books, 2009), another right-wing, at times histrionic, and perhaps overly conspiratorial but nonetheless fact-filled investigative report based largely on confidential CAIR documents surreptitiously (and, according to a judge, “unlawfully”) obtained by infiltrators within the organisation (above all Gaubatz’s son Chris); and, for one of the co-founders of CAIR, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Omar Ahmad and The Palestine Committee (Washington, DC: IPT, undated [2008?]), at http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/635.pdf . Moreover, CAIR’s underlying undemocratic agenda was illustrated, yet again, by the public statements of several of its officials, who enthusiastically supported Egyptian Brotherhood leader and President Muhammad Mursi and contemptuously dismissed his pro-democracy opponents – in the words of CAIR-Los Angeles’ Executive Director Hussam Ayloush – as “Mubarak supporters, military rulers, anti-Islamists, confused leftists, anarchists, & some well-meaning activists [who were trying to] undo a democratic election.” See John Rossomando, “American Islamists Rally behind MB Amid Egypt Protests,” Investigative Project on Terrorism website, 2 July 2013, at http://www.investigativeproject.org/4068/american-islamists-rally-behind-mb-amid-egypt . [53] For more information about such people and their activities, see “Muslim Brotherhood in America” video documentary, parts 8 and 9. Cf. also “Muslim Brotherhood at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,” Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, 23 May 2013, at http://www.globalmbwatch.com/2013/05/23/part-2-muslim-brotherhood-department-homeland-security/ ; Stephen Schwartz, “Obama’s Islamic Envoy [Hussain]: Obama is America’s ‘Educator-in-Chief on Islam,’” Weekly Standard, 24 June 2010, at http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obama-america-educator-chief-islam , where it is pointed out that Hussain is supportive of the OIC’s efforts to institute de facto “blasphemy” laws, even in non-Muslim countries, that are designed to criminalize the ostensible “defamation” of religion (more recently, the wording has been subtly shifted from “defamation” to “incitement to discrimination and violence,” based on the model of less blatantly unconstitutional “hate speech” laws); “Dalia Mogahed: A Muslim George Gallup or Islamist Ideologue?, Investigative Project on Terrorism website, 15 April 2010, at http://www.investigativeproject.org/1904/dalia-mogahed-a-muslim-george-gallup-or-islamist ; and “Obama Muslim Faith Advisor [Mogahed] Appears on U.K. Television with Hizb ut-Tahrir,” Global Muslim Brotherhood website, 5 October 2009, at http://globalmbreport.org/?p=1644 . For the members of the DHS Working Group, which in 2010 contained both Islamist activists like Mogahed and “Islamist apologists” from academia or anti-fascist “watchdog” groups, see Department of Homeland Security, Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Working Group, Homeland Security Advisory Council, Recommendations (Washington, DC: GPO, [Spring] 2010), pp. 27-30, at http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/hsac_cve_working_group_recommendations.pdf . Other Brotherhood-linked Islamists with an entrée into U.S. government and counterterrorism circles include Shaykh Kifah Mustafa of the Chicago Imam Council, Muhammad Majid of the Islamic Center of Washington, and Muhammad Elibiary of the Freedom and Justice Foundation in Texas. Even before Obama’s election, he selected Mazin Asbahi, another Islamist with ties to Brotherhood organizations, as his National Coordinator for Muslim American Affairs. See “Obama Top Muslim Advisor Part of Two More Organizations Linked to Muslim Brotherhood,” Global Muslim Brotherhood website, 1 August 2008, at http://globalmbreport.com/?p=1017 (although Asbahi later resigned after evidence surfaced concerning his involvement in Islamist fundraising activities). Hence it is hardly surprising that Obama, apart from aggressively targeting al-Qa‘ida and other jihadists, has failed to adopt an appropriately anti-Islamist foreign policy.

[54] Some of these ousted individuals were in fact “Islam bashers,” even though Islamists should never be allowed to vet anyone in such a position. For an overview of this problem in the context of the Department of Defense, see David J. Rusin, “Problems in the U.S. Military: Denying Islam’s Role in Terror,” Middle East Quarterly Vol. 20, No. 2 (Spring 2013), pp. 19-26. See, as an illustrative example of Islamist pressure and interference, the letter from Farhana Khera, on behalf of various American Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Organizations, to John Brennan, 19 October 2011, at http://aai.3cdn.net/337acb641d29d2e40a_3nm6bx9ap.pdf , which complained about the government’s use of allegedly “biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam…” (p. 1). These groups then urged Brennan (p. 5) to “create an interagency task force, led by the White House,” that would “[r]eview all trainers and training materials at government agencies….[p]urge all federal government training materials of biased materials....[i]mplement a mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, U.S. Army officers, and all federal, state, and local law enforcement who have been subjected to biased training….[e]nsure that…all trainers and other government employees who promoted biased trainers and training materials are effectively disciplined….[i]mplement quality control processes to ensure that bigoted trainers and biased materials are not developed or utilized in the future….[i]ssue guidance clearly stating that religious practice and political advocacy are protected activities under the First Amendment, not indicators of violence, and shall not be the basis for surveillance or investigation.” [Italics not added, JMB]. They then insisted, not surprisingly, that these actions be carried out with “input from Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities…” (i.e., themselves). Yet many of the letter’s signatory organizations had previously been identified, on the basis of internal documents and/or thegovernment’s own investigative materials, as Islamist front groups (pp. 6-7), including CAIR, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), to name only the most prominent. For more on MPAC, e.g., see Investigative Project on Terrorism, Behind the Façade: The Muslim Public Affairs Council (Washington, DC: IPT, undated), at http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/358.pdf . Moreover, only a few of the illustrative examples that were cited in the letter actually supported their histrionic claims of bias. Indeed, several of the individuals identified therein were falsely smeared as members of “hate groups” (p. 2), such as Robert Spencer (as per “anti-fascist” watchdog groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center [SPLC], which have sadly adopted the radical Islamist right’s talking points about “Islamophobia” in a wholly uncritical fashion) or were unfairly accused of being “authors who have publicly defiled and maligned Islam and Muslims” (p. 4), such as Daniel Pipes, who has in fact always argued, unlike the “Islam bashers,” that “radical Islam is the problem, and moderate Islam is the solution.”

One might therefore assume that the government would have been strongly resistant to such blatant attempts by Islamist advocacy groups with vested, if not subversive, interests to interfere with its counterterrorist training. On the contrary, Brennan responded with an early November letter on White House stationery, in which he expressed unqualified support for Khera’s complaints, which he said were in line with the administration’s own “countering violent extremism” (CVE) strategy, and thence promised to act upon them. See John Brennan letter to Farhana Khera, 3 November 2011, at http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/742.pdf . Apparently, it never occurred to Brennan that slavishly adopting the advice offered by hyper-sensitive Muslim advocacy organizations, including several that were dominated or controlled by Islamist extremists, might not be the best way to “counter” Islamist extremism, violent or otherwise. Unfortunately, the United States (as well as Canada and various European countries) has now adopted the very same misguided approach within the Muslim world itself – partnering with supposedly moderate Islamists to help resist violent Islamists – by collaborating with the Islamist government in Turkey and the pro-Islamist regime in Qatar through the newly-established Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience. See Ryan Mauro, “U.S. Taxpayers to Pay for Spread of Turkish, Qatar[i] Islamism,” Clarion Project website, 3 October 2013, at http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/us-taxpayers-pay-spread-turkish-qatar-islamism . Cf. Patrick Goodenough, “Kerry: Potential Terror Recruits Need ‘More Economic Opportunities,’” CNSNews website, 30 September 2013, at http://cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/kerry-potential-terror-recruits-need-more-economic-opportunities .

[55] See “Documents Responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA Request Seeking Records of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Training Material Review,” Judicial Watch website, 20 May 2013, at http://www.judicialwatch.org/bulletins/documents-responsive-to-judicial-watchs-foia-request-seeking-records-of-the-fbis-counterterrorism-training-material-review/ . These documents, which were released in two batches, can be accessed in groupings by clicking on their URLs at the bottom of that page. See, e.g., the “Agenda” [pp. JW71-JW77] of an 8 February 2012 “Office of Public Affairs Community Engagement Meeting” between FBI officials and representatives of several Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and “interfaith dialogue” organizations, among whom were many Islamists and apologists for both Islam and Islamism, along with a brief summary of that “OPA Community Meeting” [pp. JW84-JW85]. This harmful Islamist input is being facilitated by the Obama administration’s “community-based” approach to “countering violent extremism” (CVE), especially “local [Muslim] communities that may be targeted by violent extremists” like al-Qa‘ida, which was outlined in a series of official documents, including White House, Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States (Washington, DC: GPO, [August] 2011), at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/empowering_local_partners.pdf ; White House, Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States (Washington, DC: GPO, [December] 2011), esp. pp. 15-18 (section 2.3), which mandates “standardized training” of government personnel for “countering violent extremism” that is culturally sensitive and eliminates supposedly “offensive and inaccurate information…”, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/sip-final.pdf ; and Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Robert Wasserman, Guidance for Building Communities of Trust (Washington, DC: GPO, [July] 2010), at http://nsi.ncirc.gov/documents/e071021293_BuildingCommTrust_v2-August%2016.pdf . The basic premise of this strategy is that Muslim community organizations should not be viewed as a source of radicalization problems, but rather only as a solution to the problems of Islamist radicalisation. This ignores the documented reality that influential segments of the Muslim community – in particular Islamist front groups, mostly established by Muslim Brotherhood operatives and, in a number of cases, funded by Saudi Arabian or other Gulf State donors – are in fact a major source of the Muslim radicalisation problem. Moreover, since personnel from government agencies are rarely able to distinguish between genuinely moderate Muslims and Islamist extremists posing as moderates, this approach has enabled Islamist activists (and academic “Islamist apologists”) to exert a growing influence on U.S. government efforts to deal with the threat of Islamism and jihadism.

[56] See, e.g., Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, “Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims,” January 2008 memo, at http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/126.pdf . Unfortunately, it can be inferred that several of the “influential Muslim Americans” (p. 1) who were providing these problematic recommendations were likely members of Islamist front organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Among their suggestions was to avoid using terms like “jihadist,” “Islamic terrorist,” “Islamist,” “holy warrior,” and “Salafis” – the very terms, other than “terrorist,” that are used as self-designators by our jihadist terrorist enemies – in order, ostensibly, to deny the terrorists the “legitimacy” they seek (p. 3); to use terms like “death cult,” “sectarian cult,” and “violent cultists” instead to characterise al-Qa‘ida, which suggest that the latter embraces a “pseudo-religious ideology that is outside the [Islamic] mainstream” and is thus unlikely to cause offense to Muslims (p. 4) [even though this will surely cause offense to academic “cult apologists”]; to use the term “mainstream Muslims” rather than “moderate Muslims,” again so as to avoid offending Muslims (pp. 4-5); and to emphasize the “positive,” including the success of Muslim integration in America (pp. 7-8). The impact of their suggestions can be clearly seen in later government policy documents, e.g., Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, “Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Training: Guidance & Best Practices,” October 2011, at http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/docs/shared/CVE%20Training%20Guidance.pdf ; Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, “Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Training: Do’s and Don’ts (sic),” date illegible [2011], accessible at http://www.scribd.com/doc/141998997/DHS-CRCL-CVE-Training-Dos-and-Donts . One indication therein of Islamist influence, apart from the actual contents, is that both of these DHS documents recommend a report sponsored by the Islamist organization MPAC: Alejandro J. Beutel, Building Bridges to Strengthen America: Forging an Effective Counterterrorism Enterprise between Muslim Americans and Law Enforcement (Los Angeles: MPAC, undated [2010]). DHS also recommends a misleading academic report published by Duke University: David Schanzer, Charles Kurzman, and Ebrahim Moosa, Anti-Terror Lessons of American Muslims (Durham, NC: Duke University, [6 January] 2010), at http://fds.duke.edu/db/attachment/1255 , which greatly exaggerates the extent to which American Muslim organizations have actively opposed and unequivocably condemned Islamist terrorism.

[57] E.g., on p. 2 of DHS’ “CVE Do’s and Don’t’s” document, one of the items in the “Don’t” column reads as follows: “[F]3. Don’t use training that relies on fear or conspiracies to motivate law enforcement. Don’t use training premised on theories with little or no evidence to support them.” No one could object to these guidelines in principle, but the problem lies in the examples that are provided therein to illustrate such allegedly conspiratorial, unsubstantiated ideas: “Examples…of unsubstantiated theories include: a. Many mainstream Muslim organizations have terrorist ties [, and] b. Mainstream Muslim organizations are fronts for Islamic political organizations whose true desire is to establish Sharia law in America. Muslim Americans are using democratic processes, like litigation and free speech, to subvert democracy and install Sharia law.” In reality, both “a” and “b” are perfectly accurate and easily documentable statements when it comes to certain ostensibly “mainstream” Muslim organizations, which are all too often Islamist front groups that in some cases have documented links to terrorism and in many more instances are simply exploiting democratic processes to further an intrinsically anti-democratic agenda. Yet this DHS brochure pre-emptively dismisses such notions as conspiracy theories, even in cases where they are verifiably applicable, in the context of the agency’s vetting guidelines for counterterrorism training. From where, one might ask, did DHS borrow this dangerously biased and wrong-headed approach? The answer is from a report prepared by an anti-fascist “watchdog” group, Cincotta’s Manufacturing the Muslim Menace, in a section entitled “Islamophobic Frames for Law Enforcement and Homeland Security Professionals,” esp. pp. 37-47. And who did Cincotta himself solicit advice from in writing his report about “Islamophobia”? From Islamists like Alejandro Beutel of MPAC and from “Islam apologists” and/or “Islamist apologists” in academia, including Professor John Esposito from Georgetown University and Professor Ziad Munson of Lehigh University. Esposito is so notorious that he needs no introduction, but examples of Munson’s no less misleading views are that the Brotherhood has “little or no organizational capacity” in the U.S., and that “building front organizations is not in the Muslim Brotherhood’s repertoire.” See ibid, p. 41. These claims are verifiably false. For reliable evidence to the contrary, see Steven Merley, The Muslim Brotherhood in the United States (Washington, DC: Hudson Institute, [April] 2009), passim, at http://www.currenttrends.org/docLib/20090411_Merley.USBROTHERHOOD.pdf . For more on Beutel’s background and ideas, see “Alejandro Beutel,” Investigative Project on Terrorism report, undated, at http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/716.pdf .

[58] Actually, President Bush waffled on this issue. In a 20 September 2001 address to a joint session of Congress, Bush rightly insisted that the jihadists who sponsored and carried out the 9/11 attacks were “the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century,” and that they were thus comparable to the fascists and other prior totalitarians who were destined to end up “in history’s unmarked grave of discarded lies.” Cited in White House, National Strategy for Combating Terrorism (Washington, DC: GPO, [February] 2003), p. 5, available at https://www.cia.gov/news-information/cia-the-war-on-terrorism/Counter_Terrorism_Strategy.pdf . Even so, according to [Islamist organization] MPAC’s Executive Director Salam al-Marayati, “President Bush told us in a [26 September 2001?] meeting with him that he will make it a point to detach the Islamic label from the word terrorism….So you will never see President Bush saying ‘Islamic terrorism.’” Transcript of a 9 September 2003 speech given by al-Marayati at the MPAC conference on U.S. counterterrorism policy in Washington, DC, cited in Sperry, Infiltration, p. 6. Indeed, in that same 2003 strategy document, there were only scattered, perfunctory references to ideology and the “war of ideas.” Yet by September 2006, that initial failure to pay sufficient attention to ideological matters seemed to have been rectified, when the Bush administration published an updated version of its earlier strategic policy guidelines. In the very first sentence, it proclaimed that “America is at war with a transnational terrorist movement fueled by a radical ideology of hatred, oppression, and murder.” See White House, National Strategy for Combating Terrorism (Washington, DC: GPO, [September] 2006), p. 1, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nsct/2006/nsct2006.pdf . Therefore (ibid., p. 7), in “the long run, winning the War on Terror [sic] means winning the battle of ideas.” Bush thus seems to have become increasingly aware of the ideological dimensions of the “war on terrorism” and belatedly recognized that something needed to be done to counteract Islamist ideology, even if the initiatives he ended up adopting to win this “war of ideas” proved to be completely ineffective. Unfortunately, it seems as though the Obama administration, in support of its laudable (in principle) but misdirected (in practice) efforts to reorient and improve U.S. relations with the Muslim world, has deliberately “unlearned” those valuable lessons.

[59] John Brennan, “A New Approach for Safeguarding Americans,” p. 9, at http://csis.org/files/attachments/090806_brennan_transcript.pdf . [Italics added, JMB]. Such a sanitized definition of jihad , a noun deriving from the verb jahada, meaning “to struggle” or “to exert oneself,” conveniently ignores the fact that jihad bi al-sayf (“jihad of the sword”) has always been the most common meaning of the term, both historically and at the present time. See E[mile] Tyan, “Djihād,” in Bernard Lewis et al, Encyclopedia of Islam: New Edition (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1983 [1965]), vol. 2, p. 538: “In law, according to general doctrine and in historical tradition, the djihād consists of military action with the object of the expansion of Islam and, if need be, of its defence…The notion stems from the fundamental principle of the universality of Islam: this religion, along with the temporal power which it implies, ought to embrace the whole universe, if necessary by force.” Cf. further Michael Bonner, Jihad in Islamic History: Doctrines and Practice (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 2006); David Cook, Understanding Jihad (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California, 2005); Reuven Firestone, Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam (New York and Oxford: Oxford University, 1999); Rudolph Peters, Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam (Princeton, NJ: Marcus Weiner, 1996); and Alfred Morabia, Le Gihâd dans l’Islam médiéval (Paris: Albin Michel, 1993).

[60] See, e.g., Robert A. Pape, Lindsey O’Rourke, and Jenna McDermit, “What Makes Chechen Women So Dangerous?,” New York Times, 30 March 2010, at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/31/opinion/31pape.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 , wherein the authors argued – reiterating the severely problematic and oft-criticized interpretations of suicide terrorism proffered by Pape in book- length studies, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (New York: Random House, 2005), and, subsequently, (with James K. Feldman) Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It (Chicago: University of Chicago, 2010) – that Chechen “black widows” were not really “Islamic extremists” motivated in large part by Islamist ideology. For Pape, then, Islamic religious conceptions of “martyrdom” play no role whatsoever in acts of jihadist suicide terrorism, which are instead said to be mainly a response to foreign occupation or a desire to get revenge. For a corrective to this historically uninformed (as well as methodologically problematic) interpretation, see David Cook and Olivia Allison, Understanding and Addressing Suicide Attacks: The Faith and Politics of Martyrdom Operations (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007); and Gordon M. Hahn, “What Makes Russia’s Jihadists So Dangerous?,” Russia: Other Points of View website, 28 April 2010, at http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/2010/04/what-makes-russias-jihadists-so-dangerous.html . Cf. also David Cook, Martyrdom in Islam (New York: Cambridge University, 2007).

[61] See, e.g., U.S. Senate, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Special Report by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Chairman, and Sen. Susan M. Collins, A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons from the U.S. Government’s Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack (Washington, DC: GPO, [February] 2005), esp. chapters 2-4, at http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/testimony/377.pdf . Despite all of these indicators of radicalisation, after a special investigation undertaken by the FBI to evaluate its own counterterrorism responses before and after the Fort Hood shootings, it was noted that the Bureau’s “WFO” (Washington, DC Field Office) had concluded, after examining the 16 emails Hasan had sent to “radical Islamic cleric” al-Awlaqi and the latter’s two email replies, as well as consulting FBI and DoD databases and Hasan’s personnel records, that it could not conclude that Hasan was then involved in “terrorist activities.” Although the San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which had first discovered Hasan’s earliest emails to al-Awlaqi, argued that the WFO’s assessment was “inadequate,” neither entity took any further action. See William H. Webster Commission on the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Counterterrorism Intelligence, and the Events at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009, Final Report, undated, p. 1 and, for further details, chapters 5-7, at http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/final-report-of-the-william-h.-webster-commission . Moreover, the report immediately took pains to emphasise (ibid, p. 6), in the very first chapter on “violent radicalization,” that “[a]lthough highly publicized terrorist plots and acts – and the Fort Hood shootings – have referenced Islam, violent radicalization transcends any one religion – and indeed religion – and can find causes in political, social, environmental, and other contexts.” This is an utterly banal observation that no informed person would disagree with. Indeed, it is hard to imagine that such a sappy and unnecessary disclaimer would have been included in official U.S. reports dealing with any other type of “violent extremist” incident, i.e., those not involving a Muslim perpetrator. This report did, at least, acknowledge the obvious (ibid): that Hasan was a “religious person.”

Note further that since his arrest, especially in various verbal and handwritten statements proffered on the eve of his trial (in which he opted to defend himself), Hasan has repeatedly highlighted his jihadist ideological worldview and motivations, and has explicitly explained and justified his attack on that very basis, thereby demonstrating the falsity of the ludicrous non-ideological interpretation of his actions being officially promoted by the U.S. government. Cf. “Nidal Hasan Admitted Jihadist Motive, Victims’ Attorneys Say,” ABC News Radio, 6 June 2013, at http://www.krna.com/common/more.php?m=58&ts=1370449411&article=40ABA5EBCE0611E286DEFEFDADE6840A&mode=2 ; “Fort Hood Shooting Suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan Renounces Citizenship,” Associated Press, 2 August 2013, at http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/state&id=9192877 ; and Catherine Herridge and Pamela Brown, “Hasan Sends Writings to Fox News Ahead of Fort Hood Shooting Trial,” Fox News, 1 August 2013, at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/08/01/hasan-sends-writings-ahead-fort-hood-shooting-trial/ , which contains links to Hasan’s handwritten documents. For an excellent short analysis of the contents of those documents, see Timothy Furnish, “Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s Post-Jihad Islamist Manifesto,” Mahdi Watch website, 2 August 2013, at http://www.mahdiwatch.org/2013.08.01_arch.html#1375474673746 . Nevertheless, the judge assigned to the case, Colonel Tara Osborne, has refused to allow the prosecution to cite most of the evidence of Hasan’s jihadist motivations for carrying out the attack (e.g., his classroom presentation on “martyrdom” attacks, his emails to and from al-Awlaqi, and his interest in the 2003 murder of fellow soldiers by U.S. Army Sergeant Hasan Karim Akbar) because “motive is not an element of the crime.” [Italics added, JMB]. See Chelsea J. Carter, “Nidal Hasan Challenges Witness Account of Fort Hood Shooting at Court Martial,” CNN, 19 August 2013, at http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/19/justice/nidal-hasan-court-martial-monday/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_us+%28RSS%3A+U.S.%29 .

[62] As fully quoted in “Obama Fort Hood Speech: Video, Text of Memorial Remarks,” Huffington Post, 10 November 2009, at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/10/obama-ft-hood-speech-full_n_352633.html . Needless to say, that “twisted logic” is not at all hard to understand if one has even a rudimentary familiarity with Islamist ideological precepts.

[63] “Casey: I’m ‘Concerned’ About Backlash against Muslim Soldiers,” CNN, 8 November 2009, at http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/11/08/casey-im-concerned-about-possible-backlash-against-muslim-soldiers/ . What makes this professed “concern” even less justifiable is that Casey himself then stated that he did not believe that there was any evidence of discrimination against the 3,000 Muslims serving in the U.S. military and National Guard. Yet then Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also hastened to tell reporters in Abu Dhabi that “we object to – and do not believe – that anti-Muslim sentiment should emanate from this [incident]” given that Hasan “was an individual who does not, obviously, represent the Muslim faith.” See “Napolitano Warns against Anti-Muslim Backlash,” Fox News, 8 November 2009, at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/08/napolitano-warns-anti-muslim-backlash/ . On the basis of this “politically correct” presumption, it is apparently only angelic behavior that can nowadays be identified as truly “representative” of the Muslim faith. Yet perhaps the greatest irony here is that it was precisely Hasan’s “keen interest in Islamic culture and faith” and supposedly “unique insights into the dimensions of Islam” – including its “belief, culture, and moral reasoning” – that had been highlighted by his superiors in Bethesda, Maryland on his 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 Officer Evaluation Reports, wherein it was also concluded that he had “unlimited potential”. In the end, Hasan’s violent actions did in fact serve to “illuminat[e] the role of culture and islamic (sic) faith within the Global War on Terrorism” – but certainly not in the beneficial way his superiors had naïvely anticipated. See Molly Hennessy-Fiske, “Ft. Hood Shooter Received Glowing Evaluations before Attack,” Los Angeles Times, 24 August 2013, at http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-0825-nidal-hasan-20130825,0,2071659.story , from which one can access PDFs of the actual Army OERs.

[64] Department of Defense, Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood. The Report of the DoD Independent Review, January 2010, p. 16, at http://www.defense.gov/pubs/pdfs/dod-protectingtheforce-web_security_hr_13jan10.pdf . Instead, the professed concern of the DoD was focused on “policies and procedures at the DoD or Service level that address workplace violence.…” [Italics added, JMB]. Cf. also the forwarding memo and attached “Department of Defense Implementation of Recommendations from the Independent Review Related to Fort Hood” report, which makes no reference to Islam, including in the section devoted to recommendations concerning the identification of “behavioral indicators of violence,” and also focuses on the dangers of “workplace violence.” See, respectively, p. 1 of the report and p. 1 of the 18 August 2010 memo, at http://www.defense.gov/news/d20100820FortHoodFollowon.pdf . Apparently, then, Hasan’s attack had nothing to do with his interpretation of Islam, but was simply another case of a disgruntled government employee “going postal.”

[65] What makes all of this seem even more tragic was that at an annual U.S. Army counterterrorism conference held in Florida in February 2008, three speakers were said to have explicitly warned attendees (many of whom were responsible for military force protection) that a failure to understand jihadist doctrines was – in the words of one of those advisors, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Myers – “going to get soldiers killed in America, on our own bases.” See Bill Geertz, “Army Warned about Jihadist Threat in ‘08,” Washington Times, 9 February 2010, at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/feb/9/army-warned-about-jihadist-threat-in-08/?page=all#pagebreak . Their sound advice was obviously ignored. Moreover, less than three years after Hasan’s shooting spree, another Muslim-American soldier named Naser Jason Abdo who had gone AWOL (after child pornography was found on his computer) was arrested for plotting to carry out bombings and shootings at a restaurant frequented by U.S. soldiers near Fort Hood. This attack was only averted due to the alertness of a local gun shop owner. Yet even though Abdo had already applied for Conscientious Objector status because he did not want to be deployed in Afghanistan where he might have to fight other Muslims, had planned to use two IEDs placed inside pressure cookers of the type that had been described in al-Qa‘ida’s Inspire magazine (and were later used in Boston by the Tsarnaev brothers) in his attack, had vowed to continue “to answer the call of jihad” at his sentencing, and had shouted “Nidal Hasan – Ft. Hood 2009” when leaving the courtroom, U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman did not characterise this as another would-be incident of jihadist terrorism, but instead compared Abdo’s actions to two 2012 spree killings, one carried out by a mentally deranged student in Aurora, Colorado (which was not ideologically motivated), the other carried out by a white supremacist skinhead against a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee (which was ideologically motivated). See Molly Hennessy-Fiske, “Jason Abdo, Former AWOL Soldier, Sentenced in Ft. Hood Bomb Plot,” Los Angeles Times, 10 August 2012, at http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/10/nation/la-na-nn-ft-hood-bomb-20120810 .

[66] Josh Gerstein, “FBI Knew Earlier of Boston Bombing Suspect,” Politico website, 15 June 2013, at http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2013/06/fbi-knew-earlier-of-boston-bombing-suspect-166313.html?hp=f2 .

[67] “FBI: No Investigation [of] Radicalism in Boston Bombers Mosque,” Clarion Project website, 16 June 2013, at http://www.clarionproject.org/news/fb-no-investigation-radicalism-boston-bombers-mosque?utm_source=feedly . This is all the more extraordinary given that the two Islamic Society of Boston centers in Cambridge and Boston have documented links to Islamist extremists (including some of its founders, imams, and presidents), and that certain worshippers there had previously been prosecuted for their involvement in terrorist plots. See “Mosque that Boston Suspects Attended has Radical Ties,” USA Today, 25 April 2013, at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/23/boston-mosque-radicals/2101411/ ; and Jeff Jacoby, “The Boston Mosque’s Saudi Connection,” Boston Globe, 10 January 2007, at http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/01/10/the_boston_mosques_saudi_connection/?page=full . Alas, this blindness is hardly a new problem at the FBI. As Sperry notes (Infiltration, p. xxii), numerous firebrand Islamist imams and activists had been “preaching anti-American hate to the Muslim community for years, yet they never raised serious red flags at FBI headquarters.” And given that after 9/11 FBI director Mueller had forced FBI agents to attend Enrichment Training Sessions, i.e., “sensitivity training” courses offered by personnel from Islamist organizations like CAIR, and that (according to many FBI insiders) he was always anxious to appease such organizations (ibid, chapter 1), it is hardly a surprise to learn that so many of the Bureau’s agents are still not only bureaucratically “risk averse,” but also utterly clueless about the nature of Islam and Islamism. Cf. Gaubatz and Sperry, Muslim Mafia, pp. 101-10. Note further the FBI’s likely mischaracterisation of what appears to have been yet another act of “individual jihad terrorism,” in this case one committed with firearms on 12 February 2007 – years prior to Major Hasan’s attack and the Boston Marathon bombings – in Trolley Square mall in Salt Lake City, Utah, by an 18-year old Bosnian Muslim immigrant named Sulejmen Talović. See further Paul Sperry, “Could the Kenya Attack Happen Here? It Did,” New York Post, 12 October 2013, at http://nypost.com/2013/10/12/could-the-kenya-mall-attack-ever-happen-here-it-already-did/ .

[68] FBI National Press Office, “2011 Request for Information on Tamerlan Tsarnaev from Foreign Government,” Federal Bureau of Investigation website, 19 April 2013, at http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/2011-request-for-information-on-tamerlan-tsarnaev-from-foreign-government .

[69] Many of those indications are conveniently enumerated, year by year, in the Wikipedia entry on “Dzhokar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev,” which also lists the relevant media citations. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dzhokhar_and_Tamerlan_Tsarnaev . Moreover, in late 2011, a few months after the FBI concluded its investigation during the summer of that year without finding anything suspicious, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) added Tamerlan (and his mother) to its huge Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) database. See Mark Hosenball, “Boston Bomb Suspect’s Name was on Classified Government Watch Lists,” Reuters, 24 April 2013, at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/24/us-usa-explosions-boston-suspect-idUSBRE93N06720130424 . He was also placed on the Department of Homeland Security’s unclassified Terrorist Screening Database.

[70] See, e.g., Michael Rezendes, “Police Probe Possible Link between Marathon Bomber and Unsolved Triple Homicide in Waltham,” Boston Globe, 22 April 2013, at http://boston.com/metrodesk/2013/04/22/police-probe-possible-link-between-marathon-bomber-and-unsolved-triple-homicide-waltham/T6MgaX0lur7plZrGj0HsvO/story.html ; Peter Hermann, “Authorities Investigating Slain Boston Bombing Suspect in Three Earlier Killings,” Washington Post, 22 April 2013, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/authorities-investigating-slain-boston-bombing-suspect-in-three-earlier-killings/2013/04/22/5a5c6874-ab91-11e2-a8b9-2a63d75b5459_story.html ; Michelle McPhee, “Boston Bomb Suspect Eyed in Connection to 2011 Triple Murder,” ABC News, 22 April 2013, at http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/boston-bomb-suspect-eyed-connection-2011-triple-murder/story?id=19015628#.UXYXeVfhf5n ; idem, “‘Mounting Evidence’ Boston Bombers Involved in 2011 Triple Murder,” ABC News, 10 May 2013, at http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/mounting-evidence-boston-bombers-involved-2011-triple-murder/story?id=19151271 . There are conflicting reports about whether Brendan Mess, one of the three Waltham victims (the one who had been a very close acquaintance of Tamerlan), was in fact Jewish.

[71] Gordon M. Hahn, “The Caucasus Emirate Comes to America: The Boston Marathon Bombing,” unpublished report, September 2013, pp. 4-6.

[72] Ibid, pp. 6-8. His brother Dzhokar also posted (ibid, pp. 8-9) many pro-jihadist sentiments and materials online, including those promoting the IK’s jihad.

[73] For the possibility that Tamerlan was directly inspired or perhaps even assisted operationally by jihadists in the North Caucasus, see ibid, pp. 11-18. There is now evidence, according to the Russian and Dagestani security forces, of contacts between Tamerlan and three individuals involved in the North Caucasus jihad, an 18-year old, half-Kumyk, half-Palestinian IK recruiter named Mahmud Mansur Nidal, a Canadian-Russian convert to Islam named William Plotnikov, and Gajimurad (“Abu Dujana”) Dolgatov, the ‘amir of the Rabbanikala (Kizlyurt) Sector of the Central Front of the IK’s Dagestan-based network, the Dagestan Vilayet. All three of these individuals were subsequently killed, in separate engagements, by security forces.

[74] For another recent illustration of how “political correctness” is continuing to compromise the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts, note that the Bureau cravenly removed its “Faces of Global Terrorism” advertisements depicting the 16 most wanted terrorists, which announced rewards for information leading to their capture, from buses in Seattle after the Islamist group CAIR, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and other “useful infidels” mounted a ridiculous campaign claiming that the ads were “Islamophobic.” Why? Simply because all 16 of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists were jihadists. A rational person might therefore conclude that radicalised Muslims were nowadays more prone to carry out anti-American acts of terrorism than members of other ethno-cultural groups, as indeed they are, but apparently such an obvious conclusion would itself be “Islamophobic.”. See Ryan Mauro, “FBI’s Most-Wanted Ads Blocked by Muslim Brotherhood Group,” Clarion Project website, 27 June 2013, at http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/%E2%80%8Bfbis-most-wanted-ads-blocked-muslim-brotherhood-group/#fm .

[75] When speaking about Muslim “moderates,” one has to be clear about exactly what that term means. Many observers have naïvely assumed that all Muslims who are not directly participating in jihadist terrorism, either as perpetrators or as active facilitators, must ipso facto be moderate in terms of their core beliefs and ultimate goals. This is false. First, no Muslim who is also an Islamist, even if he or she eschews or abjures the use of violence and terrorism for essentially pragmatic or tactical reasons, is really a moderate given his or her Islamic supremacist aims. Second, neither other types of Islamic fundamentalists (e.g., of the “quietist” rather than the “activist” variety) nor hardline Islamic traditionalists can be justly characterized as moderate with respect to their doctrinal tenets. Third, even the very large number of semi-observant or non-observant Muslims (i.e., those who do not strictly follow Muslim rituals or regularly attend mosques, or who engage periodically in certain religiously-proscribed activities like gambling and drinking) are not necessarily moderate with respect to their basic theological beliefs, their social and political attitudes towards “infidels,” or their views about armed jihad. After all, conveniently ignoring Islamic injunctions is not the same thing as explicitly repudiating them. Therefore, these personal behavioral lapses do not necessarily signify that such Muslims do not basically agree with orthodox Muslim or even Islamist clerics who interpret Islam in very dogmatic, intolerant ways, or that they do not sympathise to some extent with the attacks launched by jihadists against non-Muslims. In this context, the results of several public opinion polls conducted in Muslim communities and countries, even those that appear to have been specifically designed to mislead gullible Westerners by exaggerating the degree of Muslim “moderation” (e.g., John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed, Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think [New York: Gallup Press, 2007], a propagandistic book that was sent gratis to hundreds of academicians and journalists), are anything but reassuring when one carefully parses the responses (e.g., according to Esposito and Mogahed, 7% of Muslims worldwide – nearly 100 million believers – actually support attacks targeting civilians [even though this is not, in my opinion, an accurate definition of terrorism]). And even if these less observant Muslims – and the overwhelming majority of their co-religionists who are simply devoting their energies to raising families and making ends meet – really are more moderate with respect to their actual interpretations of the Qur’an and the shari‘a (which is by no means certain), as Sam Harris rightly points out, religious moderation alone “offers no bulwark against religious extremism and religious violence.” Why? Because “[m]oderates in every faith are obliged to loosely interpret (or simply ignore) much of their canons in the interests of living in the modern world….This is a problem for ‘moderation’ in religion: it has nothing underwriting it other than the unacknowledged neglect of the letter of the divine law.” See Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004), pp. 20, 17, 18. Finally, even secularists in the Muslim world can be anti-Western ideological extremists rather than moderates, like the nationalist-socialist supporters of Jamal ‘Abd al-Nasir and the Ba‘thists, or communists from the Hizb-i Tudeh Iran (Party of the Masses of Iran).

Who, then, are the genuine Muslim moderates? – a minority of Muslim clerics who have embraced more open, flexible, and rationalist forms of “independent reasoning” (ijtihad) and circles of Westernised Muslim intellectuals, both of whom have been promoting more contextual, metaphorical, modernist, or secularist interpretations of Islamic scriptures and legal tenets. Unfortunately, even if there is in fact a “silent majority” of relatively moderate, apolitical, or unobservant Muslims, these real religious and intellectual moderates do not yet seem to be capable of mobilizing a large, broad-based social movement of supporters whose primary aim is to modernise the Muslim world and liberate it from a host of harmful and regressive religious, tribal, and cultural traditions, something roughly equivalent to the vital “reform(ation)” processes that Judaism and Christianity both underwent after centuries of internal disputation and conflict and/or external struggle.

At present, then, hundreds of millions of more or less observant Muslims apparently remain very conflicted about these issues, and are effectively “sitting on the fence.” Hence they could end up going either way, depending upon who wins the battle for ideological influence and hegemony that is currently being waged within the dar al-islam. Sadly, the clerical conservatives and/or the Islamists now seem to be winning this ideological battle, especially in the Arab heartland and in many Muslim communities in the West, notwithstanding the sometimes large-scale popular anti-Islamist protests in Egypt (as well as in Iran and Turkey).

[76] The essence of this struggle has been well summarized by Salim Mansur: “The struggle within Islam in our time is between Muslims who embrace the values of the modern world in terms of freedom, individual rights, gender equality and democracy on the one side and Muslims who oppose these values and, hence, modernity on the basis of Sharia….This struggle, therefore, goes to the very heart of how Muslims understand Islam either as a faith-tradition, or as a total system of belief and practice that is antithetical to the norms of the modern world. In other words, for Muslims who embrace modernity, as I do, Islam is a matter of personal belief and not a political system; and Muslims opposed to modernity view Islam ideologically, hence Islamism, and accordingly they embrace the views of Maudoodi and Hasan al-Banna, Syed Qutb and Khomeini, about Islam as a totalitarian value-system.” See Mansur’s interview by Ryan Mauro, “Salim Mansur: Moderation is Anathema to Islamists,” Clarion Project website, 27 February 2013, at http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/salim-mansur-moderation-anathema-islamists . Similarly, Bassam Tibi promotes a “civil and liberal Islam with a secular perspective” as an alternative to Islamism. See Tibi, Islamism and Islam, p. viii (quote) and chapter 9. For one apparent example of a successful Muslim anti-Islamist campaign, see Syafii Maarif et al, The Illusion of an Islamic State: How an Alliance of Moderates Launched a Successful Jihad against Radicalization and Terrorism in the World’s Largest Muslim-Majority Country (Jakarta: LibForAll Foundation, 2011), Kindle edition. Their targets were transnational Islamist movements, such as Wahhabism and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the local Indonesian supporters of such movements.

[77] For Arab critiques of the Obama administration’s policies of “partnering” with the Islamists instead of Muslim democrats in the MENA region, which is in part arguably due to the influence exerted by American Islamist front organizations and other “Islamist apologists” on that administration, see Egyptian liberal Essam Abdallah, “Islamist Lobbies’ Washington War on Arab and Muslim Liberals,” The Cutting Edge website, 16 February 2012, at http://www.thecuttingedgenews.com/index.php?article=53331&pageid=44&pagename=Slices ; and “Ahead of June 30 Protests, Egyptian Opposition and Media Attack U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Accusing Her of Taking Sides in Support of Muslim Brotherhood and President Mursi,” MEMRI website, 27 June 2013, at http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/7258.htm . Yet despite this unflagging public U.S. government support for Mursi, popular anti-Islamist protests soon after prompted the Egyptian military to force the President to step down from power on 3 July 2013. And what was Obama’s response to the ouster of Mursi? Rather than lauding the collapse of a reprehensible Egyptian Islamist government dominated by enemies of the West (one that was bent on imposing strict shari‘a-compliant laws and destroying its domestic liberal enemies), which would have been the appropriate response, Obama instead said that his administration was “deeply concerned” about this action, called on the Egyptian military to “avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters”, and “directed the relevant departments and agencies [of the U.S. government] to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to Government of Egypt.” See Bill Chappell, “President Obama: U.S. ‘Deeply Concerned’ Over Morsi’s Ouster,” National Public Radio website, 3 July 2013, at http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/07/03/198490883/president-obama-u-s-deeply-concerned-over-morsis-ouster . (Needless to say, the best time to have cut off U.S. aid to Egypt would have been the moment that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists “won” the elections in 2012.) Even though Obama also claimed in his remarks that the U.S. “does not support particular individuals or political parties” in Egypt, the thrust of his statement was perfectly clear: rather than tangibly and morally supporting the anti-Islamist opposition, which he should have been doing all along, he was instead lending his administration’s de facto support to a powerful, repressive, and intrinsically anti-“infidel” Islamist organization. Indeed, Obama and other Western leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have since unwisely pressured the Egyptian military to release Mursi and his cronies from custody, not to “marginalize” the Brotherhood politically, and not to crack down on “peaceful” Ikhwan demonstrations (even though the latter have been anything but peaceful).

Not surprisingly, such counterproductive responses have been encouraged by Brotherhood activists in the West. For example, members of an American Brotherhood front organization (according to the internal Akram memorandum cited above) – the Muslim American Society (MAS) – created a new “pro-democracy” umbrella organization, Egyptian-Americans for Democracy and Human Rights (EADHR), to denounce the Egyptian military and demand the reinstatement of Mursi as Egyptian president. Cf. Abha Shankar, “Rally Organizers Deny Ties with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,” Investigative Project on Terrorism website, 9 August 2013, at http://www.investigativeproject.org/4119/rally-organizers-deny-ties-with-the-egyptian ; and John Rossomando, “Pro-Morsi Demonstrations Make MB Ties Harder to Hide,” Investigative Project on Terrorism website, 12 August 2013, at http://www.investigativeproject.org/4121/pro-morsi-demonstrations-make-mb-ties-harder-to . Needless to say, these Islamist self-professed “democrats” had displayed no concerns whatsoever about Mursi’s attempts to subvert democracy and impose an Islamist agenda or about the Brotherhood’s systematic violations of human rights both before and after its ouster.

In any case, one is forced to concur with Barry Rubin that the “Obama Doctrine” with respect to the Muslim world, like that of many European governments, effectively often amounts to supporting the West’s Islamist enemies. As Rubin rightly points out, however, “[o]ver and over again history has shown that backing radicals merely gets you more powerful radicals.” See Barry Rubin, “Obama Doctrine: Backing Middle East Radicals after 10 Previous Western Failures,” Rubin Report website, 18 June 2013, at http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2013/06/obama-doctrine-backing-middle-east.html . Note also the disastrous impact of U.S. and NATO military intervention in Libya against al-Qadhdhafi’s regime, which likewise had the practical effect of empowering Libyan Islamists, in this case armed jihadist groups. See John Rosenthal, The Jihadist Plot: The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion (New York: Encounter Books, 2013). Cf. Raymond Ibrahim, “Libyan Intelligence: Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi Involved in U.S. Consulate Attack,” Raymond Ibrahim website, 26 June 2013, at http://www.raymondibrahim.com/from-the-arab-world/libyan-intelligence-muslim-brotherhood-morsi-involved-in-u-s-consulate-attack/ (even though the Libyans might well have had a vested interest in blaming “outside agitators” rather than Libyans for the resulting murders of Americans). Alas, the decision of the Obama administration to provide arms to the Syrian resistance, as per the advice of Islamists like Ibn Bayyah and many naïve Western humanitarians, could potentially lead to another political and human rights catastrophe: an armed Sunni Islamist or Syrian Muslim Brotherhood takeover of much, if not all, of Syria.

More broadly, see the wise words of Burak Bekdil, “‘Ballotization’ is not Democratization,” Hürriyet, 5 July 2013, at http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ballotization-is-not-democratization.aspx?PageID=238&NID=50041&NewsCatID=398 , who points out the obvious fallacies of promoting the introduction of democratic electoral procedures and processes (“ballotization”) without first inculcating genuine democratic values, which in the MENA region has thus far resulted mainly in the election of anti-Western, anti-democratic Islamist candidates who interpret democracy as simple “majoritarianism.” As Bekdil rightly notes, “[f]or Islamists [who are elected to office], [the] ‘free will of nations’ means a carte blanche given to an Islamist leader by an arithmetic majority to forcibly Islamize the entire society. The free will of nations simply means crude majoritarianism over pluralism. That’s ballotization, not democratization…” This is an important lesson that the myopic Western proponents of “spreading democracy,” whether they are liberal internationalists or neo-conservatives, and/or of “partnering” with supposedly “moderate” Islamists, should belatedly learn. Cf. also the remarks of David Solway in The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity (Toronto: Lester, Mason & Begg, 2007), p. 65: “A realistic view of history tells us that democracy comes at the end of a long social and political process when the ground has been adequately prepared; it is not a silver bullet. Introduced prematurely, it is the bullet that backfires, the disaster that follows from good intentions and bad judgment. The West seems to be confusing the ritual with the substance, as if the theatre of elections could bring about a democratic reality in regions where there is no freedom of speech, no free or responsible press, no stable civil society, no rule of law, and which are torn apart by rival militant groups and warring religious factions. As Amin Maalouf writes in his In the Name of Identity, ‘what is sacred in a democracy is not mechanisms but values’; universal suffrage can result not in the establishment of a free society, but in the ‘abolition of democracy,’ in ‘tyranny, slavery and discrimination’ if the appropriate cultural framework and political value system are lacking.”

[78] For that report, see National Security Council, National Strategy for Victory in Iraq (Washington, DC: GPO, [November] 2005), at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/documents/Iraqnationalstrategy11-30-05.pdf .

[79] See Peter Pace, “Extemporaneous Remarks on Our National Strategy for Victory in Iraq,” keynote speech delivered at the National Defense University, Washington, DC, 1 December 2005, at http://www.jcs.mil/chairman/speeches/051201remarks_NationalStrategyVictoryIraq.html

[80] Ibid. Yet even Pace displayed far too much faith in the potential impact of the spread of democracy in Iraq and elsewhere in the Muslim world, which a proper understanding of the Islamist enemy would have undermined.

[81] In addition to the internal Brotherhood documents cited above in note 47, see also treatises written by the founders of ostensibly “non-violent” Islamist organizations, such as Hasan al-Banna and Abu al-A‘la Mawdudi: Hasan al-Banna, “On Jihād,” in Five Tracts of Hasan Al-Bannā’: A Selection from the Majmū‘at rasā’il al-Imām al-shahīd Hasan al-Bannā’, translated from the Arabic and annotated by Charles Wendell (Berkeley: University of California, 1978), chapter 6; and Abu al-A‘la Mawdudi, “Jihād in Islām,” at http://www.muhammadanism.org/Terrorism/jihah_in_islam/jihad_in_islam.pdf . For those who are unable to consult primary sources in Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Urdu, and other relevant languages, the MEMRI website (at http://www.memri.org/ ) conveniently provides translations of many speeches, sermons, statements, or writings produced by Islamist ideologues who openly promote the wholesale destruction of “infidel” regimes, followed by the armed subjugation or religious conversion of unbelievers and thus, in effect, advocate and anticipate the establishment of strict, puritanical, shari‘a-compliant Islamist rule over the entire world. (Lest anyone assume that this represents a biased selection that is not representative of present-day Islamist thinking, or that it is unfairly designed to portray Muslims in general in a negative light, note that MEMRI also translates many statements made by liberal, moderate, and secularized Muslims.) For translations and analyses of important jihadist statements and documents, see specialist websites such as Jihadica (at http://www.jihadica.com/ ) and that of the U.S. Army’s Combating Terrorism Center at West Point (at http://www.ctc.usma.edu/ ).




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