Skip to comments.Islamists and Anti-Americanism (It's a war to the death which they fully intend to win.)
Posted on 12/27/2003 3:23:46 PM PST by quidnunc
The leading element of anti-Americanism in contemporary world politics is the radical Islamist one, which, since the 1990s, has viewed the United States as its strongest and principal enemy. This perception, especially after the American occupation of Iraq, is often accompanied by a demonization of the United States in an apocalyptic sense within a concept of a war that heralds the end of the world.
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks and the onset of a global war against terrorism led by the United States, anti-Americanism has become an integral part of world politics. The debate over war in Iraq and then the war itself, invoked even more anti-Americanism in the Arab and Muslim World, as well as in parts of Europe. In parts of the world, anti-Americanism is also linked to anti-Globalization.
Yet, the leading element of anti-Americanism in contemporary world politics is the radical Islamist one, which, since the 1990s, has viewed the United States as its strongest and principal enemy. This perception, especially after the American occupation of Iraq, is often accompanied by a demonization of the United States in an apocalyptic sense within a concept of a war that heralds the end of the world.
The roots of Islamist anti-Americanism were deep long before the rise of the Jihadist movement in the 1990s, or the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. They were developed by the anti-American atmosphere of secular Arab regimes, such as the Nasserist and Ba'thist ones, and encouraged by their alliance with the Soviet Union. Millions of Arabs grew up with and were indoctrinated by anti-American slogans, and the perception of the United States as an enemy that was plotting against them by supporting Israel.
Secular Arab anti-Americanism was mainly political, and not part of a cultural worldview. But, it heavily contributed to the development of Islamist anti-Americanism, by contributing one very important element the sense of a global Western conspiracy against the Arabs and the Arab and Muslim world.
The sense of confronting a conspiracy is a crucial element in understanding contemporary Islamist anti-Americanism. It provides the Islamists with their main justification and motive for developing the image of the "American enemy." The fact that the Islamists became the leading proponents of anti-Americanism in our time supported the notion that a cultural clash of civilizations was occurring. In previous decades, Arabs and Muslims had vacillated between being pressured by their governments to espouse political hatred of the United States, while, at the same time, there was admiration for its culture, education, freedom, and wealth. Millions of Arabs and Muslims had been dreaming about immigration to the United States and some of them managed to fulfill these dreams. The Islamists managed to turn this dual situation among certain circles especially intellectuals and highly educated Muslims into a war of cultures. They spread anti-American feelings, not to mention support and justification for terrorism against the United States.
The first Islamist to declare a cultural war against the United States and Western civilization was the Egyptian scholar Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966). Qutb was a senior official in the Egyptian Ministry of Education in the late 1940s, and a member of the then influential movement of the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1949 he was sent to the United States for two years to study methods of education. During the two years that he spent in the United States, he began to develop his radical ideas and doctrines, which, in the 1960s and 1970s, would become the philosophical basis of a wide spectrum of Jihadi groups.
Malise Ruthven, who spent time exploring the writings of Sayyid Qutb, wrote that he "was as significant in that world as Lenin was to Communism." Ruthven characterized his visit to the United States as "the defining moment or watershed from which 'the Islamist war against America' would flow."
Sayyid Qutb wrote many articles and letters from the United States. Many of them were collected in a book published in Saudi Arabia in 1985.(1) Many references to his views on the United States are found in his writings, including his monumental interpretation of the Koran, "In the Shadow of the Koran" (Fi Zalal al-Koran).
In his letters and writings, Sayyid Qutb laid the foundation for the perception that American society, and hence Western culture, was the new form of Jahiliyyah the pre-Islamic period, which represents ignorance of God's rule and the rule of arbitrary law instead. In his famous book, Milestones (Ma'alim fi al-Tariq), Qutb draws the most important element of his conclusions from his interpretation of Western society in the American paradigm:
The leadership of mankind by Western man is now on the decline, not because Western culture has become poor materially or because its economic and military power has become weak. The period of the Western system has come to an end primarily because it is deprived of those life-giving values, which enabled it to be the leader of mankind.
It is necessary for the new leadership to preserve and develop the material fruits of the creative genius of Europe, and also to provide mankind with such high ideals and values as have so far remained undiscovered by mankind, and which will also acquaint humanity with a way of life which is harmonious with human nature, which is positive and constructive, and which is practicable.
Islam is the only System, which possesses these values and this way of life.
From these conclusions, he then defines the nature of the clash between Islam and the West/United States:
The enemies of the Believers may wish to change this struggle into an economic or political or racial struggle, so that the Believers become confused concerning the true nature of the struggle and the flame of belief in their hearts becomes extinguished. The Believers must not be deceived, and must understand that this is a trick. The enemy, by changing the nature of the struggle, intends to deprive them of their weapon of true victory, the victory, which can take any form, be it the victory of the freedom of spirit .(2)
Qutb argued that the worst form of colonialism, which had outlasted the formal end of European colonialism, was "intellectual and spiritual colonialism." He advised the Islamic world to destroy the influence of the West within itself, to eradicate its residue "within our feelings." Anti-Americanism, according to Qutb's philosophical legacy for the generations that followed him, was "the greater Jihad" in Islam the Jihad of the self or Jihad al-Nafs. This Jihad would therefore require the emergence of a new generation of Muslims who should fight the West primarily in their own minds long before moving to launch a military Jihad.
(Excerpt) Read more at meria.idc.ac.il ...
Culture war. And not limited to a struggle between Muslims and Jews (plus "the West") but between neo-caliphates and everyone they consider kufr, including Muslims.
Al-Qa'ida's goal is to "unite all Muslims and to establish a government which follows the rule of the Caliphs." Bin Laden has stated that the only way to establish the Caliphate is by force. Al-Qa'ida's goal, therefore, is to overthrow nearly all Muslim governments, which are viewed as corrupt, to drive Western influence from those countries, and eventually to abolish state boundaries.
There is no question that a sizable portion of the Muslim world considers it to be a religious war.
I always get a chuckle at how misinformed a sizable portion of the Muslim world is about many things. Most of which comes from their clerics - giving many non-religious (in fact anti-Islamic) teachings a religious color.
In the Muslim world culture is inseparable from Islam.
Devout Muslims consider the Koran to be a comprehensive instruction book on the business of living one's life.
Except for religion the non-Muslims living in the Middle East share most of the cultural traits as the Muslims, but they are not at war with the West.
No, this is a religious war.
At one time or another, I was enamoured with the theory Muslims were stuck in the Middle Ages. No more. They are looking at today as the return of the Last Pharaoh and their own salvation through Moses bin Laden.
But they have their characters all mixed up. George W. Bush more accurately resembles Joshua, and for this they should tremble, just like the Canaanites which they resemble and of whom they are descendents!
For some reason, this comes to mind:
I believe that would be considered an irrelevant conclusion. For example, except for religion, the Muslims everywhere share most of the cultural traits as the non-Muslims in their society, but they are not at war with the West either.
We are not at war with most Muslims, either in the Middle East or outside of it. We couldn't win that war anyway.
In the Muslim world culture is inseparable from Islam.
And yet, there are a number of predominantly Muslim cultures, and many interpretations of Islamic theology. We are at war with the neo-caliphates and their cultural ambitions.
If, as you say, this is a cultural war then the culture we presumably at war with is the Middle-Eastern culture.
But if we are at war with the Muslim part of the Middle-Eastern culture but not the non-Muslims then it is ipso facto a religious war.
The fact that we are not at war with each and every Muslim makes no difference, the salient fact is that everybody who is waging war against us is Muslim and they are waging thast war for religious reasons.
To make the cheese more binding, many Pakistani Muslims who are not part of the middle-Eastern culture are also at war with us.
In the name of islam.
That makes it a religious war.
Say It: Muslim Terrorist
According to the Canadian Islamic Congress, the newspaper you are reading is "stirring up hatred against an identifiable group of Canadians." As proof, the group has prepared an analysis of what it says is anti-Muslim sentiment in the print media. The results were released yesterday. Out of nine newspapers analyzed, the National Post was judged worst.
The CIC's report caused us concern. Like all mainstream media outlets, we make a good-faith effort to report news objectively. The CIC's claim that we have not only failed in this regard, but also engaged in an ongoing propaganda war against a particular religion, is very serious.
Our concern evaporated, however, when we actually read the CIC's report. (We urge our readers to do likewise. It has been posted at www.canadianislamiccongress.com.) The study purports to be an objective, statistical analysis of the incidence of "anti-Islam terminology." What counts as "anti-Islam terminology"? Apparently, the term "Muslim terrorist" does. Under the CIC's rules, it counts for 80 hate points. So do "Muslim militants" (70 points), "Muslim extremists" (60 points) and "Muslim fundamentalists" (50 points).
The CIC's campaign is not a battle against hate. It is a battle against truth. Pop quiz: What do al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Pakistan's Harakat ul-Mujahidin and Egypt's al-Jihad have in common? Not just that they are made up of people who happen to worship Allah, but that they fight with the explicit aim of destroying secular governments and instating Muslim theocracies. "Muslim terrorist" is therefore an entirely apt term. The religion of such terrorists is not incidental to their terrorist acts as is the case with, say, Timothy McVeigh or Spain's Basques. Islam is their raison d'être, their inspiration, their call to battle, their means of recruitment and, in the second before they explode themselves, their great comfort.
That fact is reflected in the names the groups pick for themselves. How, we'd like to know, would the CIC have us refer to the Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad? When the group triumphantly claims responsibility for blowing up a disco or a school bus, should we be careful to report the claimant group as "Is***ic Jihad" so as not to promote "stereotypes"? For that matter, how many hate points do we get for using the word "Hamas"? Presumably that group's name is off-limits, too, because it is an Arabic acronym for "Islamic Resistance Movement."
Finally, we should point out that if there is anyone who needs to be lectured about hysteria and hyperbole, it is the CIC. Last month, a CIC representative told a Commons committee that the treatment of Muslims in the days since Sept. 11 is comparable to that of Japanese Americans during the Second World War. He also claimed that "hundreds" of Arabs and Muslims have been arrested and detained, refused normal toilet facilities and left naked in cells. Proof? None.
Like the vast majority of Canadians, the members of the National Post editorial staff bear no ill will toward Islam or the many Canadians who peaceably practise it. We will not, however, be cowed into self-censorship by those who see truthful reporting as an act of hate. If the CIC is concerned with anti-Islamic sentiment, it should turn its attention to its source the monsters who blaspheme Allah by attacking civilians in His name. Blaming the messenger will get the CIC nowhere.
(The National Post editorial, December 7, 2001)