How Did Western Islam Get So Hijacked?

“I don’t think there’s a war here, a war front here in the United States at this point. I think if the whole scenario continues the way it has, inevitably the United States is going to be reaching a type of war front. Yeah. But not right now.”

Mohammad al-Asi of the Islamic Education Center in Potomac, Maryland,

in a 1994 interview with Steve Emerson for the television documentary “Jihad in America.”

Beside the obvious conclusion that appeasement of thuggish dictators or mad religious fanatics nearly always proves disastrous, another by-product of our largest one-day loss of U.S. lives since 
the Civil War was a rather tectonic shift in public sentiment, that being the revulsion for the moral and cultural relativism typified by many such as Boston Globe editorialist, Cathy Young. Her essay, “Ecumenical Intolerance” makes her, as good as any, a leading representative of what we can call the N.M.W.A (the non-Muslim western apologists).

Some of that revulsion was displayed by the New York City police and firefighters, who at the concert headlined by the Rolling Stones to benefit the families of their lost colleagues, booed the transparent diversity peddlers, Hillary Clinton and Richard Gere, off the stage, and who would likely now agree with George Will’s less than deferential remark, “On 9-11, the worn-out notion that we should show tolerance and compassion toward any and all sub cultures was incinerated in thousands of gallons of jet fuel.”

Muzammil Siddiqi

The moderate Imam, Muzammil Siddiqi, Director of California’s Islamic Society of Orange County (shown here at the national prayer service), who said at rally to support Hezbollah, one year earlier, “America has to learn—if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will Come!”

Another editorial recently contributed to the San Francisco Chronicle entitled “Mohammed’s Message of Peace,” written by a Mr. Hai, the Director of Interfaith Relations for United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance, would make him typical of Ms. Young’s companion camp of apologists, the W.M.W.I (the Western Muslim Whitewashers of Islam). As we try to understand how Islam in the west has become so virulently anti-western, it’s important to note that Mr. Hai and Ms. Young form an alliance with our friends the Saudi’s who are still actively exporting to the West their militant version of Islam called Wahhabism.

The Kingdom coverIn his book, The Kingdom, Robert Lacey traces Wahhab beginnings to northern Arabian Bedouin village called al-Artaiya and to a group of fanatic converts who were haters of all things western except the rifle and who were inspired by the Wahhabist search for a new Islamic purity and enraptured with Leninism. It was called the Ikwan (the brotherhood). The founder of modern Saudi Arabia, Ibn Saud, the current King Abdullah’s grandfather, joined forces with the new zealots because they were terrific warriors because they had grown up as professional thieves, (camp raiding was and is a long-honored Bedouin tradition) and because the corner-stone of their newfound religion convinced them that, if killed in battle, theirs would be an immediate entry into Allah’s gardens of streams and many presumably willing maidens. The primitive warlike underpinning of this, Saudi Arabia’s official state religion, proved to be an effective way to unite the entire peninsula’s tribes. Political haggling among them was usually an unending process. But as Ibn Saud, the expert in the family business once explained, “When the question was of religion, we kill everybody.”

Radical, anti-western Wahhabism is being exported to the West as a kind of compact with the devil, a deal to deflect scrutiny by the Wahhabist “pure ones” away from the Kingdom’s all-too-westernized corrupt royal family and ruling elite. Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hizballah, even the Iranian theocracy, are all children of the Wahhabist/Ikwan movement. Estimates are that the Saudi investment in university Islamic studies departments, such as at Harvard and UCLA, payments to lobbyists, gifts to charities that act as front groups, construction and staffing of new mosques, has passed $100 million in the U.S. alone. More troubling, financial experts also estimate that the Saudi’s may hold as much as $1 trillion in banks outside the Kingdom. We in the west must worry how much of this money will fund our friends, the Saudi’s, ongoing outreach to prison populations, to new Islamic immigrants, and existing Western Muslims aimed at endowing a massive extremist movement. At this writing, we don’t even know how many Muslims are here in the U.S. Estimates range from 3 to 7 million. Nor do we know how many of them are true believers in and or operatives of radical Wahhabism. But disturbing examples abound. In Britain, where more inhabitants now practice Islam than are active Anglicans, shortly after 9-11, 40% of British Muslims contacted in one poll, stated that they supported the attack on the U.S. In a Saudi survey taken in October of 2001, 95% of educated Saudi’s between the age of 25 and 41 supported bin Laden as well. Thanks in part to our mainstream media; a Zogby poll found that 67% of U.S. Muslims believe that the best way for the U.S. to combat terrorism is to change U.S. foreign policies.

Getting back to the enablers, both Ms. Young and Mr. Hai call for tolerance and understanding and are utterly predictable of the self-serving equivocations we’ve seen so repeatedly contributed to magazines and opinion pages across the U.S. since 9-11. It needs to be said that both camps of apologists not only aid in the further subversion of Western Islam but are also dangerous to our survival as the world’s lone superpower. Daniel Pipes, who has assembled the definitive think tank for Middle East studies, writes, “Islamic apologists decree that we practice a form of unilateral disarmament on the ideological front,” something that too many of us are still willing to do even after being repeatedly attacked over the past twenty years in our embassies, at our military bases, and in our cities. “Since the cessations of hostilities in Vietnam twenty years ago,” Pipes goes on, “More Americans have died at the hands of Muslim radicals than from any other enemy.” And finally, the Islamic apologists and whitewashers uniformly misrepresent the Prophet’s message itself and the aggressive belief system it obviously inspires in a startlingly significant portion of its adherents.

No serious observer of this coming conflict is advocating that we reject Muslims, here and around the world, that wish to join our side against those of their faith who have declared war against the West. And granted, Islam can be a peacefully practiced in areas of the world where it is usually not the majority religion and where it has reformed itself, adapting to other disparate cultures. Khalid Duran, a professor at Islamabad University, earned a Ph.D. at the University of Berlin, and is a heroic supporter of reform and modernization of his faith now with a price on his head, points out, “In Spain you see the influence (on Islam) of Judaism. In East Africa, traces of animism. In India, there is a lot of Buddhism.” We in the west, obviously welcome the tens of thousands of Muslims inside Iran who are openly confronting the regime there and who are pro-American as well as the Shiites in Southern Iraq and Kurds in the North who we abandoned after the first Gulf War, and who will likely risk their lives again when the U.S. launches the attack to liberate their country. And we shouldn’t discount the Northern Alliance Afghans, including their brave leader, Ahmed Massoud, who was killed by suicide bombers posing as journalists. Finally, there are the lone, unsung Muslim agents, working with the CIA, and allied counter terrorism forces to track down sleeper cells throughout the world. Their kinship with us will save untold numbers of innocent lives. And without their help, it would be hard to envision an end to this war.

Age of Sacred Terror coverBut more and more thoughtful researchers, like Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, two former Clinton administration NSC staffers and certainly not icons of the far right, in their book, The Age of Sacred Terror, are concluding that al Qaeda’s belief system cannot be neatly separated from Islamic teachings. Militant Whabbism is in fact, built on fundamental Islamic ideas and principals. The point simply must be made that if we, in the West do not confront the truth and consider the danger posed by Islam’s core beliefs and teachings, it is obvious that we will not be able to craft a logical immigration policy with respect to those who wish to come here from Islamic countries but have grown up being taught to hate us. British philosopher and author, Roger Scruton, makes my point eloquently, “By offering them a home we free them from the chains in which the tyrants of the Middle East try to bind them. But we do not free them from the pathological hatred of our sinful world nor the desire to make the ultimate sacrifice in the jihad against it. Hence we offer them a home; what they receive is a “base” –the literal meaning of al-qaeda.” Still, for us Westerners, the vastly important question remains—who is them?

War Against the Terror Masters coverMichael Leden reports in his book War Against the Terror Masters, whereas all Islamic terrorist organizations were formally funded by the Soviet Union, most of the Islamo-terrorist organizations, now plotting the mass murder of U.S. and other western citizens, are primarily funded by six nations, Saudi Arabia Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan. And while Daniel Pipes who warned, throughout the 90’s, of the coming war with the militant “Islamists” and the need for a more sane immigration policy, provides the apologists with this irrefutable conundrum, “While anyone can become a fascist or Communist, only Muslims become Islamists (his word for the militant Muslims with whom we’re at war). And if it is true that most Muslims are not Islamists, it is no less true that all Islamists are Muslims.”

American Jihad coverSteve Emerson, author of American Jihad, produced an award-winning film documentary by the same name in November of 1994 which aired nationally and internationally. Shortly thereafter, partially incited by major state-run Arabic language media, a hit team was dispatched from somewhere in Africa to murder him. The FBI was tipped off and was able to warn him in time for him to go underground where he now heads up the largest intelligence-gathering center in the world on militant Islam. In his book, he reports on a 1999 State Department forum entitled, “Islamic Extremism: a Viable Threat to U.S. national Security?” where a courageous Sheik Kabbani, head of Islamic Supreme Council of America told Senators and officials, “80% of all mosques and Muslim charitable organizations have been taken over by extremists.”…”Osama bin Laden represents an imminent threat to America possibly through his attempted acquisition of nuclear weapons.”

But getting back to the apologist/enablers, Ms. Young asserts in her piece that Protestants, Catholics, and by all means, those “Talibanesque” born-again Christians are equally bad news. And she avers, “Like any major faith, Islam has many faces,” In this insipid construct, Ms. Young compares the admonitions to women by Jerry Falwell to that of the Taliban. The fallacy of this canard is that we’ve not seen many Christian women being stoned to death for their disobedience. Because the country has never faced a menace like this which is both an external and internal threat, Ms. Young is undoubtedly happy to remain unaware of its unprecedented magnitude and instead prefers to bathe in the comfort of her repudiated belief system that holds up engagement, conciliation, and appeasement as the preferred weapons against aggressive barbarism. Emerson, writes in American Jihad, “ Whahid el-Hage (convicted in 2001 in the U.S. for the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania) “was hired by bin Laden (to be his number two-man in al Qaeda) not only because he was well-educated, a hard worker, honest, responsible, and a devout Muslim, but, yes, he was an American free to travel on an American passport.”

In concert with Ms. Young, the whitewasher, Mr. Hai, author of “Mohammed’s Message,” for his part, makes the utterly specious assertion that the spiritual teaching of Islam and Christianity are the same. Perhaps they both just forgot to cite the sura that covers the prophet’s view of peace and tolerance for the “infidels” or the “apostates who must be killed.” In the days shortly after 9-11, like so many other of our nation’s Islamic spokesman and their apologists, even President Bush attempted to assure us that Islam is a religion of peace. But since 9-11, many of us in the West have looked rather carefully at the Prophet’s teachings. I suspect this accounts for the fact that Mr. Hai’s article is somewhat the exception now, in that most of the Islamic apologists have given up the on the attempt at selling the peace message. After all, Mohammed is the only founder of a major modern religion whose life falls within the bounds of pedigreed historical inquiry. The distinguished author, Father Richard Neuhaus doesn’t mince words, “Islam’s spectacular spread was brought about by brutal military conquest, rapine, spoliation and slavery. Its culture was derived from the vanquished.”

As pro forma, Ms. Young and Mr. Hai request that we practice mutual tolerance, and both decree or imply that it is anachronistic to cite examples from either the Old Testament or the Qur’an. I would strongly disagree. One reason that more of us, the infidels, should look more closely at its teachings is because, as a message of intolerance, the Qur’an is enormously thorough. I would challenge any apologist to find any passage in the New Testament, Old Testament or the Torah that would compare to “Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them. (Qur’an, Sura 9:5) “When you meet the unbelievers on the battlefield, strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly.” (Sura 47:4) And of course those captives, referred to by the Prophet above, are the women slaves whose husbands and sons were killed by Mohammed’s holy warriors in the 7th century and about whom he approvingly had much to say. Today, an obvious vestige of this fascination with female bondage and slavery is of course, Muslim polygamy. And it is also telling that, in much the Muslim world, rape is effectively condoned because the Qur’an’s rules of evidence discredit the testimony of the female victim.

As many have reported, two Muslim countries, the Sudan and Mauritania, still have active slaves trades. The reason you are taken as a slave in the Sudan is because you are a Christian. Despite the denials of prominent American Muslims like Louis Farakan, two brave reporters from the Baltimore Sun went to Southern Sudan, bought and freed a group of Christian slaves. Add to this, the Qur’an’s very detailed proscriptions for child marriage and divorce, female genital mutilation and the execution of women by stoning for infidelity, and you start to get a sense that Islam is actually the antithesis peacefulness or tolerance. It is much more characterized by obedience and submission (the literal translation of Islam). But even more important for us in the West to understand is that, unlike Christianity which preaches conversion by the power of teaching Christ’s message, the Qur’an emphatically implores its faithful to permanently wage war against all lands outside of Islam, (dar-al-harb, lands of war) that these lands are destined to come under Islamic subjugation. Pipes reports, “A survey of American Islam finds that most in the organized Muslim community in the United States agree with the dream of turning the U.S. into an Islamic country…And not just mosques: publications, schools, youth groups, community centers, professional organizations, etc., also tend to share a militant Wahhabist outlook extremely hostile to the prevailing U.S. culture and wanting to replace it with an Islamic order.” And in pursuit of that just cause, the Qur’an can easily be understood to specifically state in numerous passages like the above, that it is not a sin; in fact, a duty to kill the infidel who resists. Passages like 9:5 quoted above are not anomalies but abound in the Qur’an and are militant Islam’s marching orders.

Another good reason why it is not meaningless to cite the Qur’an is because all Muslims are taught that it is the divine word of God, dictated as it were, by Allah to Mohammed. It is the Muslim’s day-to-day manual for living, and unlike Christian texts that are today largely viewed as allegories, for virtually all Muslims, the Qur’an is to be taken literally. In Islamic countries, where sharia is law, to even suggest otherwise is dangerous. A West Bank Scholar, Suliman Bashear, attempted to posit that Islam may have developed gradually and did not emerge fully formed. The college students in his class threw him out a second story window. As Robert Spencer points out in Islam Unveiled, “Muslims believe that the Prophet cannot be judged. Rather he is the standard by which all others are to be judged.” And therefore, except when expediency dictates, it’s understandable why Muslims equivocate when condemning Osama bin Laden, Mohammed Atta, or Abu Nidal. The group that assassinated Anwar Sadat, Islamic Jihad, cited the Qur’an’s command that apostates must die. All these killers firmly believed that they are merely acting as would the Prophet and as the Qur’an commands.

Mr. Hai, the whitewasher, goes on to state, ‘we live today by the standards of a modern world…” Whose world and whose standards does he mean? Does he mean the world here that he comfortably inhabits? Or the world of an Islamic state, where a subject can be executed for the crime of converting from Islam to Christianity? Even moderate Muslim authorities concede that the Qur’an mandates death for apostates.

There are courageous western Muslim’s like Amir Taheri, Fouad Ajami, who, to their peril, are speaking out in an attempt to wrest control of their civilization from the fanatics. And there is Monsoor Ijaz, the Pakistani American businessman who twice tried to broker Bin Laden’s capture in the Sudan but was turned down by the Clinton administration. And Reda Hassaine, the Algerian Muslim who fled his ravaged country where the Islamists have killed over 100,000 thousand of their own and who is working for numerous Western intelligence agencies to infiltrate western Mosques where mass-murder plots are hatched. These are all brave souls. Nothing today is more dangerous today than suggesting that the “purists” are wrong. If captured by the Prophet’s jihadists, they will meet death by torture with their families also targeted.

But alarmingly, Mr. Hai’s and Ms. Young’s apologies, which enable the hijacking of Western Islam, are the norm. They are joined by a lots of academicians, such as John Esposito, of Georgetown University, a professional multiculturist, who in his most recent book, Unholy War, offers up the worn out, obligatory mea culpas on behalf of U.S. companies and our government that are guilty of “propping up dictators” by the sin of investing in the Middle East. But Esposito also unwittingly, helps me make my case by writing, “Regardless of national and cultural identities, most Muslims are not secular; they do self-consciously identify themselves as Muslim. They celebrate or bemoan successes and failures of Muslim struggles for self-determination, freedom from oppression,… as well as of militant jihads, holy and unholy wars.” The country’s preeminent authority on Middle East history Bernard Lewis, in his most recent and dispassionate book, What Went Wrong, would agree as he points out that few Muslims identify themselves as Iraqis or Syrians, or even Egyptians, let alone Britons or Americans. And this phenomenon is not simply because most modern Middle East national borders were drawn by western powers. Their religion commands their allegiance to a higher order. The Qur’an commands that Sharia is to supercede laws enacted by secular governments. So in addition to Islam’s aggressive posture toward the unbeliever, it is important to note that devout Islamic immigrants will continue to resist assimilation and, for example, will be more likely to work for American Muslim periodicals such as The Minaret, Islamic Horizons, The Weekly Mirror, and the Muslim Observer all based in the U.S. but which produce a never-ending stream of loathing for the U.S. and Israel and make no attempt to hide their attachments to international extremist groups.

The country’s Muslim spokesman, instead of carping about their “unfair treatment,” could engender some sympathy if they would describe how they were currently using their special access to the broader U.S. Muslim community to help law enforcement agencies find the Islamic terrorists in our midst. We now know that in far too many of the over 1,200 Saudi-financed U.S. Mosques, Saudi trained and financed imams routinely preach a virulent form of hatred for the West because it is embedded in their Kingdom’s official branch of Islam, Wahabism. As someone said, “They (the U.S. Muslims) are the ponds in which the terrorist swims. Pipes describes militant Islam as a utopian militant movement much like Nazism or Communism but built upon a set of religious principles. Unlike modern Christianity, Islam, the religion, has not been reformed. But it needs to be. The question is can it be reformed in time? Or as Bernard Lewis so eloquently states, “(will) the suicide bomber become a metaphor for a whole region.”

Western Muslims are equivocating with non-Muslims apologists such as Ms. Young and their allies. Or worse, like those polled in Britain and Saudi Arabia, all too many western Muslims celebrate 9-11 as a great and just victory. The real reason for U.S. and Euro Muslim enmity toward the west is only peripherally to avenge the crusades or for our occupation of their holy lands. And it has very little to do with the plight of the Palestinians. (The 1.1 million in refugee camps are largely supported by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The Arab states combined donate less than $7 million annually while the Great Satan donates $110 million. None of the Arab states even allow Palestinian immigration.) Western Muslims’ ambivalence toward sending in the suicide bombers or to the attacks of 9-11 is much more due to deeply embedded core beliefs, central to Islamic religious culture. As difficult as it may be for us to accept, it is our very existence that threatens even the mainstream devout Muslims’ sense of order because (and here the apologists cannot argue) we have separated religion from the rule of law and Islam has not.

Secondly, a pernicious atavism, that yearns for a purer past, has its grip on much of the Muslim world and even extends to an unknown number of its unassimilated immigrants here. And it is this that allows a medieval religiosity to triumph over reason. To quote Dinesh De Souza, “It (Islam) is easily exploited by fanatics. For most of the schoolteachers in the madrassas, the Islamic religious nursery schools, to the Euro and American imams, “The West,” De Souza asserts, “Is a subversive idea.”

Recently, Hezbollah, which is sponsored by Iran, declared war on the U.S., a common occurrence for various factions of the Islamic world. Saddam Hussein declared war against the U.S. countless times in speeches to his largely imprisoned nation. (I’ve often wondered what would result if we took those Islamic loudmouths at their word and, in honor of our citizens killed by their militants, responded in kind the next day?) What we are confronting is not unlike that which our allies and we faced in the 1930’s, many with the dismal disbelief exhibited today by the Hollywood left, as Hitler and Tojo marshalled their countries for war. It’s simply dangerous for the U.S. public to acquiesce to the admonitions of Mr. Hai and Ms. Young because this call for tolerance and understanding will inevitably be construed by the Islamic dictators, the militant Islamists, and their millions of sympathizers here and around the world as more appeasement and proof of our decadent cowardice. I suspect that even Ms. Young and Mr. Hai know that the next attack from the militant Islamists could easily dwarf 9-11 in terms of U.S. losses.

While President Bush has also taken pains to say that this is not a war against Islam, the truth of the matter is that it will be a war against a sizeable faction of it. Daniel Pipes estimates that only several hundred thousand are actual operatives but that 10 to 15 percent of 1.2 billion Muslims are sympathetic with the militants. This puts the figure of sympathizers who can aid and abet them at about 200 million worldwide.

President Bush has also said, “You’re either with us or you’re against us.” In order to prevent massive casualties among their innocent populations, Muslim reformers will need to join the war effort against those militant Islamists advocating war against the West and do so soon. U.S. restraint may not be possible after another next big Islamic attack. This will be a war within Islam, for the soul of Islam. The U.S. has taken sides in that war and time is growing short. It is time for the members of the Western Muslim community and its apologists to stop trying to whitewash Islam, join the reformers who themselves need to become militant in bringing about a desperately needed reformation. This is precisely what thousands of Iranians are doing who are protesting a death sentence handed out to Hashem Aghajari, whose crime was to suggest that Islam should not be rooted in the 7th century but be interpreted by each successive generation within a contemporary context. In it’s present state, Islam is not a message of peace. Christianity has reformed itself in numerous ways since the days of the Inquisition. Islam’s “many faces” must do so now, change its all too prevalent anti-western, aggressive dogma and crush the militants before they bring down the full wrath of the U.S., rightfully avenging a more massive loss of its innocent citizens. The President’s National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice has warned, “It is a very dangerous notion to view this as a war between civilizations.” While that may be so, it is vitally important that we not be deluded by the apologists and whitewashers. As any student of Machiavelli would say, “It is also dangerous not to understand your enemy.”

Notes And Sources

i. This was a very underreported poll cited by Josh Chafetz of Oxford University. At this writing I am attempting to verify its authenticity.

ii. As sources for this article, as well as uncounted magazine and newspaper articles I read the following books:

  1. American Jihad by Steven Emerson
  2. Militant Islam Reaches America by Daniel Pipes
  3. Islam Unveiled by Robert Spencer
  4. The War Against the Terror Masters by Michael Ledeen
  5. See No Evil by Robert Baer
  6. What Went Wrong? by Bernard Lewis
  7. Unholy War by John L. Esposito
By | 2017-02-28T07:31:39-08:00 January 29th, 2003|Islam and the West|Comments Off on How Did Western Islam Get So Hijacked?

About the Author:

Larry Kelley’s life was utterly changed by 9/11. On the day after the attacks, on his way to work, he was struck by the sudden realization that World War III had commenced. Like most Americans he desperately wanted to find out who were these people who attacked us, what could ordinary citizens do to join the battle and how can those plotting to kill us in future attacks be defeated. Mr. Kelley has written scores of columns on the dangers of western complacency.