The Western world is ignorant, unacquainted, and in fact stupid concerning Islam. For so many years and so many Islamic attacks, its leaders still reiterate the Pavlovian question: “why do they hate us?” On March 22, 2016 Matthew Karnitsching ran an op-ed in Politico, titled “Why Do They Hate Us So Much? How the Brussels attacks strike at the heart of Europe and shake its political foundations.”
It’s time to stop asking this question. It is confusing and embarrassing, let alone being stupid and shows ignorance. Like battered spouses, victims of Islamic violence continue trying to alter their own behavior, to appease and to blaming themselves in futile attempts to make the Muslims to love “us.” It’s time to stop asking this question and to start understanding Islam. It is Islam, which is culturally so different, being tribal and ascriptive (suspicion and mistrust). It is the Islamic Sharī’ah, which includes the entire Scriptures (Qur’ān Hadīth and Sīrah). It is Islamic doctrine, the centrality of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’, the total loyalty to Islam and the total animosity and hatred to the other. It is the main part of Islamic education, socialization and indoctrination (at home, in schools, in the mosques, through the media, and by Muslim clerics).
This hatred to the other is cultural, religious, and ideological. It is out of the educational realm and part of the public surroundings and lifestyle. It is not and never has been economic. It is not and never has been out of poverty and lack of education. It has nothing to do with inferior feelings or psychological frustrations. Above all, it is not out of Western blames, of colonialism and imperialism and guilt remorse.
So when Fareed Zakaria asked in October 15, 2001, in Newsweek, “The Politics of Rage: Why Do They Hate Us?” he blames the victim: the US support of “Israel’s iron-fisted rule over the occupied territories;” having “neglected to press any regime there to open up its society,” and by supporting “oppressive police states” in the Arab world. This view was reiterated by John Powers, in LA Weekly, on September 19, 2001, that American support for “brutal, undemocratic Middle Eastern regimes” is the root of the problem. Bill Maher returned to this on November 13, 2015, concluding that “we still don’t know the answer,” and Hisham Melhem has debated the same question on December 7, 2015, in Politico, blaming the poor assimilation and rampant Islamophobia.
The Western world has learned nothing, and still ask this stupid question when the answer is crystal clear? It is only when it faces up to its delusions and actions and stop torturing itself and silencing Islam critics, it will be able to take itself out of darkness. Islam is totally different culturally. Muslims don’t want to assimilate and to integrate. It is not Islamophobia but Islamophilia, even Islamification. Islam is defined as the total submission and devotion to Allah.
Islam is a political religion, more political than religion that acts in a continuous expansion without political borders, until the entire humanity proclaims “there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.” The focus of Islam is the occupation of the world employed in dynamic means. This is the natural reality of Islam to control and not being controlled; to impose its religious doctrine on all the nations of the world; and to be superior on all the infidels (4:141; 7:158; 9:33, 123; 21:107; 63:8). At the same time, it is the interest of humanity to come under Islamic rule (7:158; 21:107). Islam has the eternal divine wisdom from the beginning of history to the end of the world, and the Muslims are the best of nations who believe in Allah, doing but the good and denying evil (3:110; 3:114; 5:3; 9:71; 9:112). The objective is the establishment of world Islamic Ummah under the Caliphate. It is so inclusive that all human history, from Adam to the end of the world is Islamic (12:109). Heaven and Earth and all in-between would have been collapsed unless they are controlled by Allah (5:17; 10:68; 21:22; 40:62; 46:33; 48:14).
This ideological call and action of Islam is imperative, and those who oppose this natural world order become immediately the enemy, including other Muslims, and deserve death. It is so simple. When one learn the Islamic doctrine and its objectives, there are no doubts about the question. One has to clearly understand the al-Wala’ wal-Bara’ doctrine, which is second in importance, after the Tawhīd, the oneness of Allah. Loyalty to Islam and animosity to the Kuffār are an integral part of the strict adherence to the Sharī’ah, and are demanded by all the Muslims.
The Qur’ān says that all other religions as such are cursed by Allah. All those who join idols, or false gods to Allah, or invent lies about him, or deny Allah, or change even one word of Allah’s Book, or does not believe in Muhammad — are to be “seized wherever found and slain with a slaughter.” The second aspect of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ is when the Muslims solemnly declare the Tawhīd: La Illāh ila-llâh (there is no god but Allah), it means they clearly state that all other religions are denied, sinful and unlawful. According to Ibn Taymiyah: it is not possible to achieve complete happiness by loving Allah, except by the full rejecting all other things. This is what the words, “There is no god but Allah” mean; this is the spirit of Dīn.
On many verses, the Qur’ān reiterates the commandment that it is forbidden to associate other gods with Allah, and Islam should be adhered to become the only legitimate religion on earth. It is followed by the swear-belief that Muhammad is his messenger, that his conduct embodied Islam and Qur’ān. Muhammad’s words are absolutely the best to follow, being religiously unassailable. Moreover, the mission of Muhammad is to all humanity, so actually humanity must obey Muhammad as much as Allah. Those who disobey Allah and his messenger will be led into the torment of Hell-fire to live forever. Tawhīd will never be achieved on earth until the believers apply the doctrine of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’, by total following of Muhammad’s way of life, al-Sirāt al-Mustaqīm.
The al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ doctrine also relates to the prayer. In each of the five daily prayers, Muslims declare the total allegiance and submission to Islam and objection to the other, between 17 to 100 times a day, as appears in al-Fātihah, 1:5-7: “Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have favored, not of those against whom there is wrath, nor of those have gone astray.” Those who have incurred Allah’s wrath are the Jews, and those who go astray are the Christians.
The last aspect of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ is related the issue of war and peace (Siyār). Since the world is divided into two distinct realms: Dār al-Islām and Dār al-Harb, the normal and only justified relationship is a state of infinite war. There is no peace in Islam toward the other but temporary, elaborated by Majid Khadduri. Islam has no concept of “Just War,” since any war directed against the Kuffār, whatever are its grounds and circumstances is morally justified and religiously legitimized. A lasting peace between Dār al–Islām and Dār al–Harb is impossible, until Dār al–Harb no more exists. When the entire world becomes Dār al–Islām, submission to Allah will be the law of the whole universe, and Jihad al-Akbar reigns. Until then, war is the normal and lasting state of affair (Jihād al-Saghīr).
The issue of Walā’ wa-Barā’ has also a domestic framework. Salafi-Jihadi groups and the Wahhabi Muslims believe they are the Saved Sect (al-Tā’ifah al-Mansūrah), the only group that has the correct Islamic beliefs. They are the real Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamā‘ah, while all other manifestations of Islam have deviated from the ‘straight path’ (Sirāt al-Mustaqīm), and by that destined for hell as ‘apostates’. This principle is the basis of Takfīr doctrine the Jihadists use to identify their domestic Muslim enemies and to justify their elimination, as we see in Dawlat al-Khilāfah al-Islāmīyah.
Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s concept of Takfīr, includes the command that anyone who does not show sufficient levels of Walā’, allegiance to ‘true Muslims’, and adequate Barā’, rejection of ‘sinners’, is at risk of committing apostasy. Abū Qatāda, the Jordanian-Palestinian preacher, has written on the subject. al-Tā’ifah al-Mansūrah reinforces Jihadists’ self-belief being righteous; strengthen their mutual solidarity; and allows them to fight opposition to their views.
The Fitrah doctrine is the Islamic concept of human nature, as the right action of submission to Allah, and it is associated with the Dīn, as how Allah has created mankind and universe. Islam is called Dīn al-Fitrah, the religion of human nature, because its laws and its teachings are relevant to all universe and human beings. Therefore, actually all mankind from eternity are Muslims. Allah, having created humankind, took a covenant with them that they all will believe only in Islam and obey only him and his messenger.
The implementation of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ is operated through Jihad. To clarify the term and to oppose the Islamic Da’wah, propagation, in the West: Jihad comes from the third Arabic Conjugation, meaning to fight, to make war (Mujāhadah and Jihād are the nouns). It has nothing to do with the first Arabic Conjugation, meaning to make an effort, to exhort struggle. Jihad is the tool of the Islamic imperative to subjugate the world and to make Islam the only legitimate religion in the world, mainly by force (if the infidels resist accepting it willfully). Muslims totally believe engaging in Jihad is the only way to remain faithful to Muhammad’s example. Jihad is always offensive and aggressive, but at the same time it is always portrayed by Muslims as defensive and waged against the political and ideological encroachments emanating from the Kuffār to continue their control and subjugation.
The religious sources of Jihad prove very clearly: Jihad is the Islamic war against the Kuffār. Polytheism (Kufr, Ishrāk); hypocrecy (Nifāq, Munafiqûn), and apostasy (Irtidād) on the one hand, and Islam on the other, cannot co-exist under any terms. Jihad appears 41 times in 18 chapters in the Qur’an, mostly coupled with Fī-Sabīlillāh, for the sake of Allah, which gives it a religious sanctity. All four Schools of Jurisprudence (Madhāhib: Hanbali; Shāfī`i; Māliki; Hanafi) and Islamic important authoritative exegetes agree: Jihad means eliminating the barriers to the spread of Allah’s truth and establishing Islamic justice on universe in its entirety.
All four Islamic Schools of thought (Madhāhib) and most of Islamic exegetes agree that the aims of Jihad are meant to removing the infidel’s oppression and injustice; eliminating the barriers to the spread of Allah’s truth; and establishing Islamic justice, well-being, and prosperity all over the world. The elevation of Allah’s word cannot be achieved without Jihad, which is actually the protector of all Muslim deeds (2:251; 4:75; 8:39; 57:25). They divide the world into two spheres variously called the Dār al-Islām against Dār al-Hārb. There can be no peace between the two until Dār al-Islām conquers the enemy. Accommodation and compromise are permissible only temporarily, and fighting them is obligatory.
They all have agreed that Jihad means “to fight in the Path of Allah: Māliki Fiqh: “The Muslims are to fight with the Kuffār to advance Allah’s religion.” Shāfī’i Fiqh: “The meaning of Jihad is to make utmost effort in fighting the Kuffār in the Path of Allah.” Hanafi Fiqh: “Jihad means to be involved in fighting for the sake of Allah by one’s life, wealth, and speech.” The aim is “to call the Kuffār toward the true religion of Islam and to fight against them, if they are unwilling to accept this true religion.” Hanbali Fiqh: “Jihad means to fight against the Kuffār by all means” (Fadā’il al-Jihād).
The main manual Sharī’ah codex are as follows: Ibn Rushd rests his analysis of the laws justifying Jihad on the following Qur’an Sûwar: 2:190, 2:216, 4:95, 8.1, 8:39, 8:41, 8:61, 8:67, 9:5, 9:29, 9:122, 17:17, 40:25, 47:4, 48:17, 59:6, and 59:10. Misri rests his analysis on the following Qur’an Sûwar: 2:216, 4:89, 4:95, 9:29, 9:36, 9:41, 9:111, and 61:10–13. Yahya, rests its analysis of the laws justifying Jihad on the following Qur’an Sûwar: 2:216, 4:95-96, 9:36, 9:41, 9:111, and 61:10–13.
Ibn Rushd, Misri, and Yahya clearly identify Jihad with military combat, including support and service roles in the battlefield for the sake of Muslim community. In the Sharī’ah there is unambiguous legal guidance upon whom Jihad and support to Jihad is obligatory; identification of the persons to be fought; conditions for the declaration of war. The reasons for waging Jihad war against the infidels are two: to force the conversion to Islam and to secure the payment of the Jizyah. This is also the view of al-Hidāyah of Shaikh Burhanuddin (1135–96) that represents the Hanafi school of thought.
On page 599 of Reliance of the Traveler, one can find the following passage: o9.0 JIHAD. Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word Mujāhadah, signifying warfare to establish the religion. (1) “Fighting is prescribed for you” (Koran 2:216); (2) “Slay them wherever you find them” (4:89); (3) “Fight the idolaters utterly” (9:36); and such Ahādīth: “I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they do so, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And their final reckoning is with Allah.”
Ibn Rushd, the Maliki master of philosophy and Islamic law, offers the following rulings on Jihad: Scholars agree that the Jihad is a collective not a personal obligation. The compulsory nature of it is founded on 2:216: “Fighting is prescribed for you, though it is distasteful to you.” It is not personal according to 9:112: “It is not for the believers to march out altogether.” The obligation to participate in the Jihad applies to adult free men who have the means at their disposal to go to war and who are healthy. There is no controversy about the latter restriction, because of 48:17: “There is no blame upon the blind, or upon the lame, or upon the sick,” and because of 9:91: “No blame rests upon the frail or upon the sick or upon those who find nothing to contribute.” All sorts of infidels should be fought. This is founded in 8:39: “Fight them until there is no persecution and the religion is entirely Allah’s.”
The Shahīd is one who is killed and achieved martyrdom in the battle of Jihad against the enemies of Islam. In its primary source Shahīd is an eye witness, even one of Allah’s names. He is called Shahīd because Allah and the angels are witnesses that he deserves Paradise, and that his means and motives were pure. This is very different from the Jewish and Christian notion of martyrs, as those who voluntarily endure torture and death rather than renounce their belief. According to the Islamic tradition, there is a typology of three kinds of Shuhadā’ in the battleground. The one is the warrior that goes to the battle, but not to kill and not to be killed; the second is the warrior who wishes to kill and risk his life in the way of Allah but wishes to stay alive; and the third is the warrior that wishes to kill and be killed, to sacrifice his life in the way of Allah (Talab al-Shahādah), which is the best rewarded ideal Islamic action. This is according to the tradition that on the Day of Judgment Allah will smile to those warriors who had not looked behind and went to their death willingly, with open heart.
There are many Qur’anic “sword verses:” fighting all infidels (9:5); fighting the People of the Book, Ahl al-Kitāb (9:29); fighting the hypocrites (Munāfiqûn) (9:64-73, 3:86:91); fighting the enemies of Islam whenever they are found (47:4). The Muslims are not allowed to befriend idolaters even they are nearest relatives (9:23, 58:22). Muslims are commanded to terrorize their enemies wherever and whenever they are found (3:151, 8:12, 8:60, 33:26, 59:2). Beheadings (8:12, 47:4) are of the most important and practiced acts in Islamic history. It is so pervasive that it becomes a model for the best Islamic deed.
These acts are not without rewards: first, the Shuhadā’ immediately gain the glorious gardens of Eden with “… rivers of wine and streams of purifies honey, and fruits of every kind of them…” Second, they enjoy the black-eyed virgins in paradise (44:51-4, 52:17-20, 56:22-4), and young boys, beautiful like a pearl in a shell are there to serve all the Shuhadā’ needs. However, the most important reward of Jihad is the fact they are not dead. This is so important so that it must be quoted from the source: 2:154: “Do not think that those who are killed in the way of Allah are dead, for indeed they are alive, even though you are not aware (wa-La Takûlû Liman Yuktalu Fī-Sabīlillāh Mawtan, bal Ahyā’ wa-Lakin la Tash’arûn). 3:169-71: Never think of those who are killed in the way of Allah are dead. They are alive with Allah…rejoicing at what Allah has given them of his grace, and happy for those who are trying to overtake them… They rejoice the kindness and mercy of Allah…” (La Tahsabāna al-Lathina Kutilû Fī-Sabīlillāh Amwāan, bal Ahyā’, ‘Inds Rabuhum Yurzakûn).
The concept of Shahīd in the Hadīth. He is granted seven gifts: he is forgiven at the first drop of his blood; he is dressed in clothes of Imām and sees his status in paradise; he is protected from the punishment of the grave; he will be safe from the great fear of the Day of Judgment; a crown of glory will be placed on his head; he will intercede on behalf of 70 members of his family; he will be married to 72 virgins.
From the Hadīth, here are few examples of the importance of Jihad.
“Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords… whoever amongst us is killed, will go to Paradise… and their enemies will go to the Hellfire.”
“…I have been made victorious with terror, and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand.”
“Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the shahid who, on seeing the superiority of Jihad, would like to come back to the world and get killed again because of the dignity he receives.”
“I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Mohammad is Allah’s apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give obligatory Zakāh.”
“Allah’s Apostle said: No doubt I wish I could fight in the way of Allah and be a Shahīd and come to life again to be Shahīd and come to life once more.”
“There is no group of people on earth in which you cannot bring me from them Muslims. And the best I like that you bring their wives and sons and kill their men.”
One of the ingredients of Jihad is the doctrine of homicide bombing (Istishhād). It is mistaken to allude Islamic Istishhād to Christian Martyrdom. While the Martyr testifies his faith through his personal sacrifice; the Shahīd testifies his faith through his homicide terrorism against the infidels, as the most exalted expression of faith. The Martyr tortures and kills himself out of religious devotion to God. The Shahīd, kills other for not converting to Islam, or worse, just for being infidels.
People misunderstand homicide terrorism by thinking that only hatred could cause Muslims to act in deep inhumane activity. This in fact is basically wrong, because it is part of Islamic belief that Islam wins because the Muslims love death while peoples of the West love life. This distinction is not “out of depression and despair” as Islamic propagation claims in its politics of deception, and Western ignorant apologists adhere to. It is cheerfully carried out to the service of Islam, for the sake of Allah. That is why Palestinian homicide bombers detonate themselves, while their families celebrating their wedding to dark-eyed virgins in heaven. It is as if accompanying the groom to his wedding; it is joyful event, the Shahīd is alive, together with Allah.
Instead of asking the stupid question “why do they hate us?”, the Free World must realize that it is facing the greatest national security existential threat ever in history, far beyond and above the 20th century two World Wars and the horrors of the cold war era. The Free World has already been in the midst of a third world war, formally conducted by Islam as a religious war, a war that is so different from the previous wars in the 20th century; a war that is conducted not in the battleground and not by planes and tanks. This is a war of totalities is perpetuated by three Islamic arms: a total war of inhumane Jihad terrorism that is sweeping the entire states in the world to chaos; a total war of Hijrah, a huge unprecedented immigration to the Free World’s lands that threatens to change the demography, the culture, and the way of life of its indigenous peoples; and a total war of Da’wah, a strategy of propagation and sophisticated diplomacy to deceive and mislead the Free World, called the Kuffar, the infidels, by controlling their minds and changing their awareness about the situation.
On this war of totalities, the Free World has no coherent plan, in fact it has no plan at all to battle the enemy. This complicated reality starts with misunderstanding and misreading the situation. Moreover, there is no concrete definition of the lethal threat and no comprehension of its essence. As a result, the Free World is unable to act, in fact, is led by its own free will and full awareness to civilizational distinction. By its large scale and by its huge repercussions, this lethal existential threat and of conscious suicide has become unprecedented in history.
Therefore, the Free World’s leaders have to ask the right correct question: how do we define and understand the situation? And the answer is meant to mobilize all the political powers possible internationally and the abilities to fight for their existence.
The Autopsy of Jihadism in the United States
The American counter-terrorism establishment is shocked to know that its current terrorist threat, contrary to conventional wisdom, is not foreign but “a large majority of jihadist terrorists in the United States have been American citizens or legal residents”.
A terror threat assessment by NewAmerica, a think tank comprehensive, up-to-date source of online information about terrorist activity in the United States and by Americans overseas since 9/11, 20 years after 9/11 reported: “…while a range of citizenship statuses are represented, every jihadist who conducted a lethal attack inside the United States since 9/11 was a citizen or legal resident except one who was in the United States as part of the U.S.-Saudi military training partnership”.
The ultimate irony is NewAmerica quoting a terrorist to underline the seriousness of the threat: “Yet today, as Anwar al-Awlaki, the American born cleric who became a leader in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, put it in a 2010 post, ‘Jihad is becoming as American as apple pie’.”
Since 9/11 and today, the United States faced just “one case of a jihadist foreign terrorist organization directing a deadly attack inside the United States since 9/11, or of a deadly jihadist attacker receiving training or support from groups abroad”. The report recalls: “That case is the attack at the Naval Air Station Pensacola on December 6, 2019, when Mohammed Al-Shamrani shot and killed three people. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed the attack and according to the FBI, evidence from Al-Shamrani’s phone he was in contact with an AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula) militant and AQAP prior to his entry to the United States…”
In the last two decades, “jihadists” have killed 107 people inside the United States. Compare this with deaths occurring due to major crimes: 114 people were killed by far-right terrorism (consisting of anti-government, militia, white supremacist, and anti-abortion violence), 12 and nine people, respectively, killed in attacks “inspired by black separatist/nationalist ideology and ideological misogyny”. Attacks by people with Far-Left views have killed one person. It just goes to show that terrorism inside the United States is no longer the handiwork of foreign or “jihadi” ideologies, but is “homegrown”, the report points out.
The report points out a poor understanding of the terror threat and its roots by the Trump administration. A week into his presidency, Donald Trump issued an executive order banning entry of citizens of seven Muslim countries into the United States. The countries were: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. Th order cited “national security” as the reason, but gave no real justification.
Trump’s aides tried to find some justification for the order claiming that in the administration’s assessment the United States was and will be the prime target of terrorist organisations from these countries. The same report clarifies how wrong this assessment was: “None of the deadly attackers since 9/11 emigrated or came from a family that emigrated from one of these countries nor were any of the 9/11 attackers from the listed countries. Nine of the lethal attackers were born American citizens. One of the attackers was in the United States on a non-immigrant visa as part of the U.S.-Saudi military training partnership.”
President Trump had to swallow his pride and gradually revoke his order. In early March of 2017, he revised the order excluding Iraq from the ban list. That September, he dropped Sudan too, but added North Korea, Venezuela and Chad.
In the last two decades since 9/11, there have been 16 “lethal jihadist terrorists in the United States”. Of them, “three are African-Americans, three are from families that hailed originally from Pakistan, one was born in Virginia to Palestinian immigrant parents, one was born in Kuwait to Palestinian-Jordanian parents, one was born in New York to a family from Afghanistan, two are white converts – one born in Texas, another in Florida, two came from Russia as youth, one emigrated from Egypt and conducted his attack a decade after coming to the United States, one emigrated from Uzbekistan and one was a Saudi Air Force officer in the United States for military training”. Nobody from the banned countries, nobody foreign citizens; all were American citizens.
What is more embarrassing for the Trump administration is the report saying: “When the data is extended to include individuals who conducted attacks inside the United States that were foiled or otherwise failed to kill anyone, there are only four cases that the travel ban could have applied to. However, in at least two of those cases, the individual entered the United States as a child. In a third case the individual had a history of mental illness and assault not related to jihadist terrorism. In a fifth, non-lethal attack Adam al-Sahli, who conducted a shooting at a military base in Corpus Christi on May 21, 2020, was born in Syria but was a citizen because his father was an American citizen and thus would not have been subject to the travel ban.”
The NewAmerica assessment, in contrast to the executive order, finds concrete evidence to suggest that the terror threat is “homegrown”. It gives the example of Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar, “a naturalised citizen from Iran”, who on March 3, 2006 drove a car into a group of students at the University of North Carolina, injuring nine people. “Taheri-Azar, though born in Iran, came to the United States at the age of two” and “his radicalization was homegrown inside the United States”. On September 17, 2016 Dahir Adan, a naturalized citizen from Somalia, injured 10 people while wielding a knife at a mall in Minnesota. He too had come to the United States as a young child.
There are more such instances: “On November 28, 2016 Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an 18-year-old legal permanent resident who came to the United States as a refugee from Somalia in 2014 — having left Somalia for Pakistan in 2007 — injured eleven people when he rammed a car into his fellow students on the campus of Ohio State University…However, it is not clear that the attack provides support for Trump’s travel ban.
In Artan’s case, he left Somalia as a pre-teen, and “if he was radicalized abroad, it most likely occurred while in Pakistan”, which is not included on the travel ban. The report says the chances of him being radicalised inside the United States are more. This is based on the fact that “in a Facebook posting prior to his attack, he cited Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American cleric born in the United States, whose work — which draws largely upon American culture and history — has helped radicalize a wide range of extremists in the United States including those born in the United States”.
There are several other pointers to the “homegrown” theory. For one, a “large proportion of jihadists in the United States since 9/11 have been converts”. There are “jihadists” who are non-Muslims. These facts “challenge visions of counterterrorism policy that rely on immigration restrictions or focus almost entirely on second generation immigrant populations”, the report says, debunking the Trump executive order.
The NewAmerica report debunks the assumption that only “hot headed” people are attracted to jihadist extremism. It finds that “participation in jihadist terrorism has appealed to individuals ranging from young teenagers to those in their advanced years (and) many of those involved have been married and even had kids – far from the stereotype of the lone, angry youngster”.
Women have broken the glass ceiling of jihadist terrorism as “more women have been accused of jihadist terrorism crimes in recent years” inside the United States.
The expansion of the social media world has played a singular role in radicalising American youth. “Many extremists today either maintain public social media profiles displaying jihadist rhetoric or imagery or have communicated online using encrypted messaging apps. The percentage of cases involving such online activity has increased over time.” Al Qaeda terrorists became key figures in this proliferation. They “fine-tuned the message and the distribution apparatus” and “put out extremist propaganda via websites and YouTube videos”.
America’s jihadists were never an immigration problem, the biggest jihadist terror threat U.S faces today is “homegrown”.
March Towards Mosul: Beckoning the End of ISIS
The tenor of ISIS is laced with terror and brutality ever since the militia began rattling Iraq in 2013. While the Civil War already wreaked havoc in the desolate country long before, the advancement of ISIS resonated the country beyond repair. The spread of ISIS quickly transitioned into an endemic as a succession to government failure and withdrawal of the United States military from Iraq in 2011. The group quickly took hold of the key cities of Raqqa, Tikrit, and Ramadi: inching closer to the capital city of Baghdad. However, the strategic win came in 2014 when ISIS struck victory and subsequently toppled the city of Mosul: the core cultural and economic haven of Iraq, only second to Baghdad. The fall of Mosul not only alarmed the Iraqi regime regarding the surging threat of ISIS but also pushed the US to advance airstrikes to displace the gripping offensive in northern Iraq.
While ISIS flourished on the sectarian divide rooted in the Iraqi society post the execution of Saddam Hussein, the US invasion and subsequent withdrawal was cited as the main reason for the passage of ISIS into Iraq. The 2003 invasion left the Iraqi society weakened and desperate for constant US regulation. While the Shia-Sunni divide broadened gradually over the decade, the Arab spring added oil to fire as animosity against the shite-regime expanded in the region. Syria served as the death grip of chaos as rebellious militants surged to dethrone the adamant Bashar al-Assad. With loose Syrian borders, compromised governments on either side of the border, and immediate exit of the US military, ISIS got a convenient passage of expansion from Syria to Iraq.
Amidst the sinister possibilities of the springing rebels in the Middle-East, ISIS declared the split from Al-Qaeda in January 2014. However, what some touted as the fragmentation of the Afghani militant group was only to surf into dangerous territory. A nightmarish humanitarian crisis followed suit as ISIS ransacked city after city while Iraq dwindled and perished piece after piece to the swelling violence of the militants. The US airstrikes targeting the militants did little to deter the group as it verged towards the city of Erbil, spewing chaos as they gripped the northern periphery of Iraq.
The fall of Ramadi, however, quickly incited the retaliation of the regional Kurdish forces. The regional forces were notoriously accused of fighting the government in the civil war and were the main targets of the US forces before their withdrawal in 2011. With the combined effort of the Iraqi army, the Kurdish Democratic Forces (KDF), and the sporadic US airstrikes, ISIS was pushed to a defensive stance as key cities of Falluja, Ramadi, and Tikrit were snatched back from the tight hold of the militant group. The city of Mosul, however, has been much of an unprecedented challenge to rope back as ISIS has cliched onto their ‘Caliphate Capital’ as a power statement to prove their subdued yet eminent presence in Iraq.
ISIS holds onto as many as 2.5 million people in the city of Mosul ever since the reign of brutality sprawled over the city in June 2014. Public beheading, lynching, and incineration are the common tactics inflicted by the group that has led to a mass exodus of millions of victims from the city over the course of the decade. With Mosul’s strategic proximity to Syria and Turkey, ISIS has commanded the region ever since the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, declared the city as their ‘Cultural Capital’. The reality, however, is not as simply put as the context of historic or cultural significance of the city. Mosul is the prime location of some of Iraq’s most lucrative oil fields and thus a notorious means of revenue to the group. Confirmed reports suggest illegal oil dealings between ISIS and both regional and international smugglers. The heavy compensation has granted ISIS enough means to acquire advanced artillery to continue its combat against the coalition forces of the country.
The command of combat against ISIS in 2016 were to mark the end of ISIS as the group perished its conquests. Despite that, the Iraqi coalition amounting to 94000 members all but failed to oust the group estimated to be only about 5000 to 7000 in number. The coalition faced a decimating response of round-the-clock attacks ranging from suicide bombings and car bombs to heavy firing while the forces breached the 200 km radius leading to Mosul. The coalition managed to free the Erbil-Mosul road which was a strategic mark to sever any connection of ISIS from the rest of Iraq. While the coalition cornered ISIS only to Mosul and its outskirts, the urban center of Mosul resisted the breach attempt even with the heavy backing of a coalition with up to 90 fighter planes. The labyrinth of villages in the Mosul metropolis deterred the coalition to advance further and to this day, Mosul remains the last remaining straw in the violent streak of ISIS in Iraq.
The fall of Mosul could end the blood-ridden hold of ISIS in Iraq since it has all but fallen in shambles throughout the Middle-East. However, the victory over Mosul is only the beginning of the end of ISIS; the key lies in the execution of the strategy. The fall of ISIS may crush the backbone of extremism yet the Shia-Sunni divide still exists as it did long before ISIS raised its head in 2014. The same divide could fester again after the common enemy is eliminated from the picture. Moreover, the fall of Mosul could disperse ISIS over Europe in the form of ethnic-diaspora recruited by the militant group over the years. This could well spread the militants over Europe and Africa: reigniting the offshoots in failed states like Libya, Syria, and Nigeria. Without a doubt, the fall of Mosul could bring liberation and economic flourish to Iraq. However, precise execution and reform of the war-torn country is the answer for a sustained and progressive reality in Iraq.
Every Pakistani is a soldier of Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad
Citizens have the right to participate in politics and to be aware of the political situation. However, in our country, it is becoming common to make unwarranted comments and speculations on non-political, national issues. All institutions in the country have their own mechanisms and among them, the Pakistan Army is the most committed to its rules and regulations. However, the attitude adopted by some people towards the security agencies of the country and the nation in the recent past does not fall under the category of patriotism in any way. This is the same institution whose soldiers and officers have not only extinguished the flames of the beloved homeland with their blood but also restored peace by eradicating terrorism from the country. DG ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar briefing on the completion of four years of Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad said that the forces with the help of the people have defeated terrorism and eliminated major terrorist networks. Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad covers the entire country and every Pakistani is a soldier of this operation.
There is no denying the fact that Pakistan has suffered the consequences of being a frontline ally in the US war, launched in Afghanistan in the name of eradicating terrorism, in the form of the worst terrorism on its soil. The Pakistan Army launched Operation Rah-e-Rastin 2008 to eradicate the scourge of terrorism, which entered the phase of Operation Rah-e-Nijat. These operations took place mostly in North, South Waziristan and Northern areas, followed by Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad were launched, the domain of which was extended to the whole country and combing operation and Operation Khyber-4 were also launched under it. Our security forces made great sacrifices in these operations for the protection of civilians and a peaceful Pakistan and remained committed to continuing the operation till the last terrorist is killed. It is the result of the unparalleled sacrifices and determination of the security forces that the terrorists have been completely wiped out from the land of Pakistan. Although some miscreants fled across the border during the counter-terrorism operation which is a constant threat to Pakistan butto secure the borders, Pakistan is erecting fences not only on the border of Afghanistan but also on the border of Iran so that the movement of terrorists can be stopped.
After four years of Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, the country is peaceful, playgrounds are inhabited, foreign teams are coming to the country for sports, Pakistan’s war on terror is being praised around the world, world leaders and Institutions are also acknowledging the peace efforts of our security forces. According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Pakistan’s journey towards peace is excellent while British General Sir Nicholas Carter is calling the clearing of South Waziristan from terrorists a great achievement of the Pakistan Army. Pakistan army has not only accepted the challenge of terrorists and their sponsors and facilitators but has also left no stone unturned in measuring their necks. DG ISPR has rightly termed it as a journey from terrorism to tourism. However, all this has been made possible by the sacrifices made in Radd-ul-Fasaad.
There is no doubt that the Pakistan Army has not only successfully met every trial yetis working day and night to protect the country’s internal and external borders but the question is, are we doing our job? Even now, some political and non-political people are hurling insults against the institutions in public meetings and also on social media; those who slander the country’s sensitive institutions should be ashamed. It is the duty of every patriotic Pakistani along with the spokesperson of the institution to respond to them with arguments and facts and also to take a hard line to discourage them. The rioters who speak out against these institutions and sitting on social media are even more dangerous than ISIS. If every Pakistani is a soldier of the Radd-ul-Fasaad operation then we all have to work for our country. The anti-national agenda must be thwarted together but we must not forget the heroes who made Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad a success by shedding their blood and the people are beginning to breathe a sigh of relief in an atmosphere of peace.
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