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Monday, September 14, 2015

'France, the West and the Islamist Challenge' Great insight By AMIR TAHERI

"There are those who insist that Islam is a religion of peace. There is no word for peace in Arabic. There is “silm,” which means submission. They ignore the fact that Islam will be a religion of peace only after it has seized control of the entire world."

The sad fact is that Islam cannot be reformed, if only because it lacks a recognized authority capable of proposing, let alone imposing, reform. Today, the bulk of Islamic energies are devoted to political issues, with theological work not even getting a stool at the high table.

What France and the West in general face today is a war waged by part of Islam against the democratic world. The silly slogan, “this has no military solution,” is based on a denial of the reality that Western democracies are being attacked in a multifaceted war. The only question that really matters in a state of war is: Are you with us or against us? The unwillingness of Western democracies to agree on an analysis of the situation enables opportunist Muslim powers by tolerating the terrorists.

Three months after the Islamic terror attacks in Paris, France is still grappling with the diagnosis of what happened and remains uncertain on how to cope with what everyone agrees could be a long-term threat to French freedom and security.

There is disagreement, even at the highest levels of state, on the designation of the terrorists who carried out the attacks.

While France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls has spoken of Islamic fascism and announced that France was at war with “terrorism, jihadism and Islamist radicalism,” its President, Fran├žois Hollande, has insisted that “the events had nothing to do with Islam.” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has gone even further by claiming that the men responsible for the carnage belonged to no religion at all. They were simply “men without faith.”

The phrase “this had nothing to do with Islam” is found everywhere, a mantra for those who say they are concerned about pouring oil on fire.

That inability and/or unwillingness to decide who the adversary is has affected the debate on the origins of the threat and ways of dealing with it.

As usual, some analysts have blamed “society,” an all-purpose abstraction that is supposed to be capable of both good and evil, for the evil deeds of the men who carried out the attacks. Thus we are treated to a litany of woes about how French society had forced the would-be terrorists into a life of poverty, which presumably made terrorism an attractive, if not the only, option for them.

The fact that none of the men involved was especially poor and that, in a welfare society such as France, violence is not the only way out of poverty, is conveniently ignored.

In reality, Islamist terrorism in its latest manifestations is not a product of poor Muslim countries or poor Muslim communities in non-Muslim nations.

In the past 40 years or so, Islamist terror has come from fairly wealthy countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iraq, Algeria and Nigeria, more than poverty-stricken nations such as Bangladesh, Mauritania or Sierra Leone. Even in poor countries that became breeding grounds for Islamist terror, countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia and more recently, Yemen, Mali and Niger, the funds needed for creating and operating terrorist networks — the training and financing necessary and the theological-political guidance — always come from richer Muslim nations.

In the past two years, thousands of volunteers for jihad from rich European countries, as well as the United States, Canada, Russia, China and Japan, have joined various Islamist terror outfits including the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the Al-Shabaab in Somalia and the Ansar al-Allah (Helpers of God) in Yemen, among other groups.

In its early form, Al Qaeda was created with seed money from several oil-rich Arab states to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. When those states stopped the flow of funds in the 1990s, a number of wealthy Arab families, often operating in the guise of Islamic charities, stepped in to keep the wheels of jihad lubricated.

Today, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Boko Haram in Nigeria and, of course, Islamic State (Da’esh in Arabic) are better funded than some small developing nations. Recent footage from Raqqah, capital of the Islamic Caliphate in Syria, reveals a city flush with money. The jihadis go around in the latest 4-wheel-drive gas-guzzlers manufactured in “Satanic” lands. The Caliph who has just renamed himself Abubakar Hussein al-Hashemi himself drives a bullet-proof Mercedes 600 and, when in public, likes to show off his $25,000 Swiss gold watch.

Thus, the claim that poverty causes terrorism is a moot point at best. What we are facing is not a revolt of the poor but a movement that attracts relatively well-to-do individuals from all over the world. After all, to reach the area controlled by the Caliphate, one would need cash to buy airline tickets to Turkey and then hire a taxi for a 200 mile drive south to Raqqah.

The second diagnostic, that the terrorists represented a failure of the education system, is equally open to debate. The men who carried out the Paris massacres had all benefited from an educational system that many French boast about as the best in the world. They had obtained their “Bacs” and could also have proceeded to secure university education had they so wished.

More broadly, the current international jihad movement is not an affair of uneducated individuals. Members of the top echelon of the Islamic State all have higher education, as do the leaders of various Al Qaeda franchises in North Africa and Yemen. All the top five theoreticians of Da’esh have the equivalent of PhDs from the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, reputed to be the most exclusive center for Sunni Islamic theological education.

There are more PhDs, often from U.S. universities, in President Hassan Rouhani’s administration in Tehran than in that of President Barack Obama in Washington. And, yet, the Rouhani administration, claiming a duty to “export revolution,” is the principal supporter of a variety of Islamist terror groups, including branches of Hezbollah, the Ansar Allah, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

In any event, no education is ever neutral. What matters is what you are taught, where, by whom and for what purpose. Many jihadists do attend Islamic madrassahs to complement and counter-balance their education in schools they do not consider halal. They are taught a vision of the world and the place of Islam in it that is bound to lead to conflict, violence, terror and ultimately war.

By encouraging the illusion that Islam is really better than it is, and regardless of their intentions, Islamopologists do great harm both to Islam and to France. At the same time, the creation of a new category of topics beyond any critical scrutiny prevents France from developing policies needed to cope with Islam’s positive as well as negative aspects. Hmmmm......A Must read post. There is more, much more.....Read the full story here.

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