Islamism is a Threat Posing as a Religion
by MERVYN F. BENDLE
October 28, 2010
This is the central message of an important new report released by the Center for Security Policy in Washington DC.
Entitled Shariah: The Threat to America: An Exercise in Competitive Analysis - Report of Team B II (pdf), the study is the product of an extended period of research, analysis and debate, undertaken by a large team of security policy experts, which seeks to re-orientate American national security policy regarding the Islamist danger.
In doing so it focuses on the core of Islam, its system of law, or "shariah", conceptualised as a totalitarian ideology akin to communism, Nazism and fascism, and pursued by Muslim supremacists who seek "to impose ... a global totalitarian system cloaked as an Islamic state and called a caliphate" (p.6).
The report emphasises that the extremely aggressive Islamist campaign of "civilizational jihad" is not entitled to constitutional protection because it is not primarily a religious pursuit involving "the sacrosanct realm of private conscience and belief", but is a political project that "seeks to supplant our Constitution with its own totalitarian framework" governing every area of life (p.8).
In advancing this argument, the report pointedly accepts the standard Muslim definition: "shariah is held by mainstream Islamic authorities ... to be the perfect expression of divine will and justice and thus is the supreme law that must comprehensively govern all aspects of Muslims' lives, irrespective of when and where they live. Shariah is characterised as a 'complete way of life' (social, cultural, military, religious, and political), governed from cradle to grave by Islamic law" (p.37).
For adherents to shariah there can be no compromise with any other system of laws, politics, beliefs or behaviour. In particular, "the West [is] an obstacle to be overcome, not a culture and civilisation to be embraced or [even] tolerated", much less respected (p.6).
Note that the report stresses that such a totalist and exclusivist conception of shariah is not limited to Muslim radicals or extremists; quite the contrary, it insists that this is the authoritative view of shariah held throughout the mainstream Muslim world, across the spectrum from the largely irrelevant "moderates" to highly effective militant Islamists.
It follows from the premise that Islamism and shariah are totalitarian in their very nature, and that claims to the contrary are either ignorant and misguided, or deliberately deceptive, in accordance with the Muslim principle of deliberate lying (taqiyya) to non-Muslims to further their interests.
Unfortunately, in the report's critique of the current Obama Administration it is often not clear whether the responsible officials are unforgivably ignorant or intentionally deceptive. For example, it cites John Brennan, Obama's top counter-terrorism advisor, who has decreed that the term "jihadist" will no longer be used to describe violent Islamist extremists because "jihad" means "to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal" (p.15).
While this is one (archaic) use of the term, the claim is essentially incorrect, as all relevant uses of "jihad" intend it to mean holy war undertaken to extend the hold of Islam over the globe. As the report observes: "Brennan's assertions directly contradict the teaching of leading Islamic scholars [and] the top counterterrorism advisor to the President of the United States has a professional responsibility to know these facts" (p.15).
As Brennan is unlikely to be ignorant of such a basic detail it appears he is prevaricating and should be located in the second category above, with all that this implies about the Obama Administration's strategy of appeasement towards Islamism and terrorism.
Unsurprisingly, as the report points out, in the vital sphere of law enforcement, security and defence policy, the relevant information about the nature of shariah and its role in Islamism "is not even taught at a basic level" at the FBI, CIA, or at the Departments of State, Defence, Justice or Homeland Security (p.19). Instead, the Administration has pursued "the failed strategy of fictionalising the state of Islam in the vain hope that reality will, at some point, catch up to the benign fable" (p.7).
An excellent case study in the consequences of this official strategy of studied ignorance, naivety and dissimulation concerns the massacre carried out by Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood army base in Texas in November 2009, in which he murdered 13 people. Even though "Hasan announced himself an enemy combatant ... no-one was either able or willing to process that information properly" (p.16).
And while he was quite explicit about his jihadist views, "few in the Administration, the media, academia or the rest of the elite seemed capable of comprehending [his] motives" (p.16). Consequently, virtually every aspect of the Hasan case was subjected to "spin" by the Administration and quickly became politicised, when a robust and unconditional denunciation of such Islamist atrocities and their shariah-based justifications was clearly called for.
Another case involved "a Muslim woman whose request for a legal restraining order against her Moroccan husband who had serially abused and raped her was denied by a New Jersey family court judge [who] ruled that the abusive husband had acted according to his Muslim (shariah) beliefs and thus not with criminal intent" (p.18).
Such examples illustrate the extent to which Islamism is winning the civilisational jihad by utilising a stealth strategy, involving "multi-layered cultural subversion, the co-opting of senior leaders, influence operations and propaganda, and other means of insinuating shariah into Western societies", in accordance with the promise of a prominent Islamist that their work is "a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilisation from within and sabotaging its miserable house [until Allah's] religion is made victorious over all other religions" (p.17).
As the report acknowledges (p.8), its assessment echoes the analysis of Robert Spencer in Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America Without Guns or Bombs (2008). It also parallels other prominent works, including Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US (2006), by Steven Emerson; The War of Ideas: Jihadism Against Democracy (2007), by Walid Phares; and The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America (2010) by Andrew McCarthy.
However, the report also draws together a great deal of material and is a major resource for those who choose to resist the jihadists' ideological onslaught, providing a wealth of information and analysis in a document that is not only written in a clear, concise and engaging fashion, but is also freely available for download from the Center for Security Policy website.
Above all, it is also quite deliberately combative, being modelled on the efforts of the original "Team B", a group of national security experts, who were invited in 1976 by the then CIA Director (later President) George H.W. Bush, to conduct a "competitive analysis" of then-prevailing official U.S. government intelligence estimates of Soviet intentions and offensive capabilities, at a time when it was felt that a period of détente had been reached between the West and the USSR.
In contrast to the comfortable illusions of the policy establishment, "Team B found that the Soviet Union was, pursuant to its ideology, determined to secure the defeat of the United States and its allies and the realisation of the worldwide triumph of Soviet Communism" (p.5).
This analysis provided the intellectual foundation for Ronald Reagan's successful presidential campaign in 1980 and for "his strategy for destroying the Soviet Union and discrediting its ideology" that came to fruition a decade later (p.6).
Now that America is faced with a similarly determined and well-resourced totalitarian threat, "Team B II" recommends a major policy overhaul and a series of urgent measures to meet the new challenge (see "Measures needed", listed below).
Implicit in the "Team B II" concept is the notion that its recommended approach will not only more effectively combat Islamism and the colonisation of Western societies by shariah but will also form the basis of a successful political campaign, contesting the Obama Administration's policy of appeasement towards the Muslim world, which appears to have failed (witness Iranian President Ahmadinejad's recent outrageous accusation at the United Nations of American complicity in the 9/11 attacks).
Central to such developments may be the unfolding saga of the provocative attempt to probe American resolve by establishing a large mosque near "Ground Zero" in New York.
The report has obvious implications for Australia, which lacks the resources required to put together its own "Team B". Nevertheless, we similarly face a stealth campaign by Islamists and their allies in politics, academia and the media, committed to infiltrating shariah into our society, under the guise of multiculturalism, anti-racism, anti-discrimination, human rights, etc.
The above recommendations are sensible and, while the universities are compromised, there are many concerned and well-informed people in the community.
Consequently, it may be that the opportunity exists for political leadership and a more robust policy in this area. Civilisational jihad is the challenge of our times and the future of our nation will be determined by how we rise to meet it.
Measures needed to counter Islamic jihad
Urgent measures recommended by "Team B II" include:
• resisting attempts to establish shariah, either as a parallel system of laws or as the sole system in Islamist-dominated enclaves and "no-go areas";
• preventing the establishment of such areas;
• denying immigration entry to those who advocate or adhere to shariah;
• cutting government funding to shariah advocacy groups and their front organisations;
• using hate laws to prohibit supporters of shariah from holding positions in government-funded bodies;
• proscribing shariah-compliant finance systems and other practices that promote and facilitate the development of shariah;
• enforcing sedition laws and applying them to imams and mosques that advocate shariah;
• preventing the use in schools of textbooks that promote shariah and withdrawing funding to such schools; and
• generally educating the population about the nature of the shariah threat.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributor Dr Mervyn F. Bendle is senior lecturer in history and communications at James Cook University, Queensland, Australia. This article was originally published on Australia’s News Weekly and is reproduced with permission.