The Rise of the Ignoramus Jihadist

The Rise of the Ignoramus Jihadist

Posted By Wm. B. Fankboner On May 14, 2010 @ 12:03 am In FrontPage | 13 Comments

It is still widely believed in leftist circles that the generic Islamic terrorist is the product of ignorance and poverty. This idea – that terrorists are a persecuted minority of the ignorant and downtrodden – dovetails neatly with another liberal tenet: that the problem of modern terrorism is amenable to a socioeconomic solution. Typical of this putative class of terrorist is “shoe bomber” Richard Reid. A petty criminal who was arrested in his teens for assaulting an elderly woman, and who was in and out of prison for most his adult life, Reid considered himself a victim of racism. He was thus promising material for conversion to Islam: the Jihadists love to glom onto disaffected and benighted losers to do their dirty work.

But even liberals are coming around to the view that many acts of terror are being planned and carried out by “educated” members of the Islamic middle class, not a few of whom have come from affluent and privileged backgrounds. Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist and former CIA case officer, states in his book Understanding Terror Networks that a high percentage of al-Qaeda operatives are college educated (34 percent) and come from skilled professions (45 percent). A governmental report prepared for the CIA in 1999 entitled “The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why?” reached the same conclusion.

However, some qualification of the word “educated” is in order. While secondary education in some Islamic countries like Malaysia is modeled on the Western system, in the Middle East it is largely the responsibility of the madrasahs (religious schools), which are dedicated almost exclusively to religious instruction and indoctrination. Though not all these institutions are stridently anti-Western, the fact that the curriculum is entirely religious-based, i.e., focused on the Quran and the hadith, means that the average madrasah graduate is blissfully unaware of the modern world and thus a receptive vessel for the anti-American narrative promoted by militant jihadists.

For example, if you were to ask a madrasah graduate to explain what role the Christian democracies have played in world affairs in the twentieth century (the Anglo-American alliance that defeated German imperialism in 1918, the Nazi-Fascist Axis in 1945, and international Communism in 1989), they would have no idea what you were talking about. Indeed, so profound is their ignorance of current events and world history, few would even know there had been a Cold War.

If the number of Nobel laureates is any measure—Islam, 20% of the world’s population, has produced 6, while the Jewish community, a tiny minority of 0.2%, has produced 165—intellectual curiosity is not a highly rated virtue in the Koran; “Islam” is a Syriac word meaning submission, which is the surrender of the mind to faith, i.e., the abdication of free conscience and independent thought to the teachings of the Prophet. Most so-called “educated” jihadists, those who see themselves as symbolic emissaries of Islam and are fully convinced of the rectitude of their cause, suffer from a cognitive disorder Thomas Aquinas called “invincible ignorance.” The best (or worst) you can say of graduates of the madrasahs is that their knowledge of history and world affairs is roughly equivalent to that of an average American fourth-grader. In no other culture, society, or religion is the pursuit of knowledge viewed with such virulent contempt and ignorance of the world considered evidence of virtue.

So when we speak of “educated” jihadists we are referring to training and expertise in a specialized technical field or in one of the professions, like medicine. Practically all university-educated jihadists are engineers and technologists. In terms of general education, however, middle-class, university-educated jihadists like Mohammed Atta, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Jordanian double agent Mulal al-Balawi aren’t much better off than ordinary graduates of the illiberal and benighted madrasah, i.e. they reason with the intellectual sophistication of superstitious children. Exposure to Western science and technology does not erase years of obscurantist religious indoctrination and conditioning. Like their fellow supplicants, they have been taught from early childhood to believe that the West, and Israel and America in particular, are their mortal enemies; and that Western Enlightenment values, and the temptations of Western popular culture, constitute a diabolical conspiracy to defile and undermine their religion.

According to a Congressional Research Services report published in 2008, radicalized madrasahs in Afghanistan were incubators for the Taliban movement:

In the 1980s, madrasas in Afghanistan and Pakistan were allegedly boosted by an increase in financial support from the United States, European governments, Saudi Arabia, and other Persian Gulf states all of whom reportedly viewed these schools as recruiting grounds for anti-Soviet mujahedin fighters. In the early 1990s, the Taliban movement was formed by Afghan Islamic clerics and students (talib means “student” in Arabic), many of whom were former mujahedin who had studied and trained in madrasas and who advocated a strict form of Islam similar to the Wahhabism practiced in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

The Madrasahs are, in fact, indispensable to the perpetuation of Islam’s medieval worldview. Deprivation of information about life and the ways of the world is an essential tool for infantilizing generations of Muslim students: isolated from reality, these adolescent novitiates never encounter the world as it is and thus never achieve full adulthood. Their maturation into self-actualized individuals is defeated by a distortion field of fanatical dogma and a rancorous hatred of the infidel; while Islam’s demonstrable inferiority to the West fans a searing humiliation and inchoate resentment that cuts them off from every decent human instinct.

Since these embryonic jihadists have no inclination or opportunity to discover their own humanity they will never sense any solidarity with the community of mankind. In the Muslim view the non-Islamic world constitutes “the other,” i.e., the enemy of Islam. In place of humanity Islam offers its young men the spiritual blessings of imams, mullahs, and ayatollahs, and the unsurpassed exhilaration and exaltation of martyrdom.

But while the motivations of information-deprived terrorists are comprehensible, the complacence of Dar al-Islam is unfathomable. One can only gasp with disbelief on learning that in nuclear-armed Pakistan, an ally which the U.S. has bankrolled with over a billion dollars in aid yearly, 64 percent of the population views the U.S. as an enemy. What is to be said of a country where one in five trust Osama bin Laden more than Barack Obama, and of the population that clings to these beliefs after Taliban militias have penetrated to within sixty miles of Islamabad, and after Al Qaeda has, according to estimates of the World Health Organization, killed 150,000 Muslims in Iraq alone? The forces of paranoia, superstition, and ignorance will not be quelled by reason: the roots of anti-Western sentiment are deep, global, and generational in Islamic society. Indeed, how could it be otherwise in Middle Eastern states where outlawing political debate, saturating the media with anti-Western slogans, and propagating hate speech in mosques and in school textbooks, have become institutionalized strategies to maintain political power and prop up incompetent tyrants?

I happened to be teaching at a government prep school in Malaysia, a country that practices a relatively benign version of Islam, during the siege and occupation of the U.S. embassy in Teheran by revolutionaries of the Ayatollah Khomeini, and I was surprised when a devout but gentle Muslim teacher approached me and half-apologetically explained his admiration for the revered Iranian religious leader who had lately occupied the world stage. I hadn’t expected him to repudiate the Ayatollah for fomenting revolution against the Shaw (self-determination is the right of every decent society) but I was disturbed to hear him countenance the storming, and the imprisonment the staff of, an American embassy that was under the protection of international law.

So sacrosanct is the concept of diplomatic immunity that the Italian Minister Bettino Craxi allowed Mohammed Abbass, leader of the Achille Lauro hijacking, to leave Italy because he had a diplomatic passport issued by Iraq. In the history of revolution, some perpetrated by ruthless and vicious regimes, the taking of hostages of a foreign embassy was unheard of. Moreover, to countenance Ayatollah Khomeini was to countenance his barbaric fatwa against Salmon Rushdie, a criminal incitement to the assassination of a celebrated novelist and blatant attack on the very roots of Western civilization. What did such reckless and defiant acts portend for the future of Islam and the world? The lawless Ayatollah had passed the infallible litmus test for fascism that had been the mantra of every tyrant in history: What’s Mine is Mine and What’s Yours is Mine.

The complacent attitude of my Islamic colleague whose faith in the Iranian Ayatollah was absolute and who believed the revered spiritual leader could do no wrong, was almost as disturbing as the event itself; for me and my generation, his viewpoint bore an eerie resemblance to the mindless adoration of the German people for Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. How a gang of inept sociopaths succeeded in taking over the country that gave the world Kant, Goethe and Beethoven is still something of a mystery. When asked about it, most Germans simply shrug and say they awoke one morning and found the Nazis in control. Something like the Nazis’ stealthy seizure of power seems to be taking hold in Islam: a cabal of sociopathic clerics masquerading as a holy religious cause appears to be co-opting Islam in an apocalyptic confrontation with the civilized world with the passive compliance of Islam itself.

The 2005 Pew survey below would seem to indicate that the support of mainstream Islam for violence is diminishing. Such fluctuations in attitude are probably due to increased awareness of the self-liquidating nature of the jihadist philosophy and internal contradictions of Islamic fundamentalism. Such trends can be misleading because the primary cause for jihadist violence still exists, i.e. a culture that has no intellectual tradition, and that uses information deprivation to manipulate the faithful.

As the examples of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and the Khmer Rouge show, unanimity is not a prerequisite for the takeover of a society. With a misinformed, cowed, and submissive populace, a scant minority of determined fanatics can do the job. What Dar al-Islam does not fully understand or refuses to admit, even to itself, is that the rise of child-martyrs and ignoramus-jihadists in its midst holds more peril for Islam than it does for the West.

Dealing with Islamic mentality for the first time can be a startling and eye-opening experience for a Westerner. Confronted with Islam’s negative view of the West, one is beset with an overwhelming sense of futility. The problem lies not in only correcting facts, or in supplanting illusion with objective information; this is a mentality so steeped in obscurantist tradition and ignorance that it has never developed any standard for truth; rather “truth” is something used to hoodwink an opponent. And this is an ignorance so absolute and on a scale so extensive that it is impossible to convey it to anyone who hasn’t experienced it. One quickly realizes that in an ignorance this total any fiction, no matter how outrageous, can not only survive but take permanent residence and flourish.

This is a problem that can only be corrected by a major overhaul of the Islamic educational system. For where there is no concept of truth, there is no idea of free inquiry. Thus, it would appear that the tender-minded liberals had it right after all: this is a socioeconomic problem. The children of Islam are the disadvantaged educationally-deprived victims of deliberate parental abuse and theological violation, and nothing will change until this problem is remedied, either by Islam itself or by the political and cultural disaster that certainly awaits it over the horizon of history.

Finally, for those who question the power of the Mosques and madrasahs to infantilize and dehumanize Muslim society, and to cocoon a population in near absolute ignorance, there was this AP filing on April 19, 2010:

A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear immodest clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes. “Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes,” the cleric, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, was quoted as saying by Iranian media. Mr. Sedighi is Tehran’s acting Friday Prayer leader. Women in Iran [1], one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, are required by law to cover from head to toe but many, especially the young, ignore some of the stricter codes and wear tight coats and scarves pulled back that show much of the hair. “What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble?” Mr. Sedighi asked during a prayer sermon on Friday. “There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam’s moral codes.”

It would probably be disrespectful to suggest that Sedighi is himself getting off on those sexy Iranian bints in tight coats and exposed locks. Nonetheless the lip-smacking relish with which this revered Shiite cleric describes the cause and effect between male arousal and earthquakes is certainly suspicious. Surrealistic decrees from Iran’s delusional leadership have taught us not to be shocked by any communiqués originating in Teheran, but Westerners would probably be surprised to learn how many listeners in Sedighi’s audience actually agree with this childish nonsense. More to the point, the grim-mouthed cleric spouting this vile claptrap is the venerated prayer leader for a regime that is acquiring the capacity to build nuclear weapons and the rocket technology to deliver them.

William Fankboner is the author of The Triumph of Political Correctness and A Hypertext Field Guide to Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media. He runs a web site at: http://home.roadrunner.com/~lifetime. His e-mail address is: williefank@aol.com.

The Jihad Fracture Widens

The Jihad Fracture Widens

By Ray Robison

Despite the impression created by the dominant media, global jihad is showing signs of serious trouble. Bad news always tends to crowd out the good, of course, and this natural tendency is magnified when the press is as politicized and one-sided as it is today. Last March I postulated that the Global Islamic Jihad Movement had begun to fracture. (  The assertion was controversial with disagreement and agreement found oft times from the same sources. The most notable response was an interview conducted by Bryan Preston at Hot Air with CIA veteran Dr. Tefft.
It was a great interview and I welcome diverging opinions (that are supportable with evidence, not bumper sticker arguments) so I update here not as a rebuttal but to enhance the previous debate.

In March my hypothesis was supported by two essential elements. First, that reporting from Pakistan showed friction among al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Islamic Party of Gulbudden Hekmatyar. Second, that funding to these groups was drying up due to the loss of state sponsors. While these groups (representative of, but not the entirety of global jihad) continue to receive private donations and surely some rogue regime funding, the loss of Saddam, Libyan, Pakistani and the U.A.E. support could only increase their woes.
In the last few months independent war reporting from Iraq has discussed the “anbar awakening.” The term refers to the move by Sunni tribal chieftains in the al Anbar province to reassert power by fighting al Qaeda, allying with the Coalition and somewhat with Iraqi government forces. Even the mainstream media has begun to catch up and has reported the new development.
Recent reporting from Pakistan shows a similar but not so friendly development. There is little question that the new power broker of the Taliban, Maulvi Nazir is outwardly anti-U.S. and pro-al Qaeda. Yet at the same time he has adopted a “not in my backyard” stance as his Pashtun forces have killed and run off “Uzbeks” a colloquialism for al Qaeda used to refer to Arab and other foreign fighters (Pashtun and Uzbek ancient rivalries contribute to this designation). It is the age old story of infighting for power but this time it benefits the U.S. by reducing al Qaeda support and capabilities. The Sydney Morning Herald, in a fascinating series of interviews with different elements involved in the saga, quotes a Pakistani Governor about the treatment of “foreigners” – Arab jihadists:

“Virtually all of the tribes are ready to fight the militants. Yesterday the southern tribes held a jurga [council] and decided that any foreigner was to be shot dead and any tribesman supporting the foreigners would be banished from the area or killed too. They have declared jihad and their plan is to annihilate any of the foreigners who refuse to leave.” 

As a matter of fact, this sounds a lot like what is happening in Iraq. While this certainly does not make the Taliban leader a friend, it is much better to have the enemies killing each other off. It provides solid evidence that al Qaeda is losing a foothold in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The earlier reporting from the region predicted bin Laden might leave the region and now we might have a better idea why.
Just as the Iraqi Sunnis have decided to wrest control from al Qaeda, it would appear the tribal chieftains of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border are doing the same. Not quite an awakening but it appears al Qaeda has overstayed its’ welcome again. Interestingly, a new study from the West Point Combating Terrorism Center identifies this same phenomenon in the horn of Africa among the regional tribes during the 90’s and notes it as an exploitable weakness.

Could this be a covert US strategy?
However, care should be taken in rejoicing at the thought of al Qaeda and Taliban fighters killing each other off. Nazir opposes al Qaeda because it currently seeks to aim jihad at the Pakistan government which brings heat on the tribal areas (admittedly a slow burn), whereas Nazir would much rather have the warfare directed at coalition forces in Afghanistan, which doesn’t particularly threaten Pakistani government survival and keeps the internal pressure off. Nazir has publicly claimed he would welcome bin Laden into his region if he capitulates to tribal governance. Yet it should be realized that Nazir knows Usama would never accept such terms and the offer is likely nothing but an effort to show that he is not a U.S. proxy.
According to the Asia Times, Nazir is a former pupil of Maulana Fazlur Rahman. I discussed the Maulana in the “Fractured Jihad” article as one of the most dangerous men on the planet because of his proximity to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and leadership of the government opposition plus leadership of international terrorism. (My book Both In One Trench highlights his connection to Saddam.)
Previously I noted reporting that Nazir was on the outs with al Qaeda, a very positive development. This claim finds more confirmation in India’s popular news website Rediff.com

“Old fundamentalist leaders of the 1980 Afghan war vintage such as…Maulana Fazlur Rahman… no longer command the kind of influence and obedience they commanded in the past.”

His loss of jihadist credentials may mean the end of significant support for al Qaeda.

There is also substantial reporting of a purge within the Taliban of anyone suspected of spying.  Whether the Taliban spy plague is real or a finely tuned disinformation campaign against the Taliban, the good news is that they are killing more of their own. It’s a win-win for us.
In addition, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Islamic Party of Afghanistan is having a rough time. Afgha.com declares that Hekmatyar’s party is in the death throes of starvation.  I am not familiar with the site but the facts in the article seem to be supported by other reporting (with one notable error, Hekmatyar was declared a terrorist long before 9/11 by the US State Department). The article reads like a laundry list of jihad follies from internal warring, to warring with other jihad groups, to a continuous degradation of his party leadership via assassinations. Considering that Hekmatyar has recently began a media blitz to show his relevance, it is quite likely he is very weak, but still dangerous.
As well as more signs of bitter infighting, the financial strain is starting to show publicly. The well regarded Counterterrorism Blog reported a few days ago about an al Qaeda leader on al Jazeera Television begging for cash donations.  Evan Kohlmann at the blog calls the man al Qaeda’s declared leader in Afghanistan, Shaykh Mustafa Abu al Yazid. Interestingly, al Yazid claims to be calling for financial support of the Taliban. Which begs the question, if one of the new Taliban commanders (possibly the dominant leader of the most powerful faction) is openly fighting al Qaeda (as several outlets have reported), then why is al Qaeda doing fund raisers for them?

There are a couple of possible answers. Most obvious, I think, is that it may be a case of false advertising. The money is not meant for the Taliban, and al Qaeda leadership realizes that AQ has become unpopular and dangerous to support. Which would be nice confirmation that its popular support is drying up due to excesses against Iraqi Muslims.  It could also mean that as usual there are divisions even within the Taliban, and that al Qaeda still works with some clans and fights others. Either way it’s good news for us.
Just as a coherent Iraq policy as heralded by Petraeus has made quick gains, a similar methodology in the Northwest Pakistan frontier border region might work. For all we know recent developments might not be just good fortune but evidence of a working covert policy.
Of course if the latter is the case we will probably not know for many years. Such is the case with much of the War on Terror, and another systematic reason why press coverage is biased toward the unfavorable.
Note:
I mentioned in the original “fractured” article that captured documents show Saddam had basically contracted a hit on US Forces in Somalia (using al Qaeda precursor groups) and was thus responsible for the Battle of Mogadishu. (Something I should have made clear then is that he was not solely responsible, but the documents indicate that he paid the bills.) This was easily the most contentious issue of the “fractured” article and for those who did not see my follow up, here is the link. The short version is that subsequent to that article the government released new al Qaeda documents which link up solidly to where the Saddam documents left off, providing a timeline and a human linkage from Saddam to the al Qaeda training in Somalia.  
Ray Robison is a former army officer, a former member of the ISG, and co-author of the new ebook Both In One Trench: Saddam’s support to the Global Islamic Jihad Movement and International Terrorism

London police counter-terror chief: “Sensible assumption” jihadists will strike again in U.K.

London police counter-terror chief: “Sensible assumption” jihadists will strike again in U.K.

There is much discussion in the article about how difficult the situation is, but almost nothing about what they intend to do in order to manage and reduce the threat. “Islamist militants may strike in Britain again,” by Adrian Croft for Reuters:

LONDON (Reuters) – London police’s anti-terrorist chief said on Tuesday it was a “sensible assumption” that Islamist militants will strike again in Britain.

Reviewing British counter-terrorism efforts since the September 11 attacks on U.S. cities, Peter Clarke said the strategic threat from Islamist militants was “enduring and to a significant extent targeted at the United Kingdom.”

“Within the country we have people who are sympathetic to the terrorist cause and prepared to carry out attacks against their fellow citizens,” he said in a lecture.

The police and security service had stopped a number of attacks in Britain and more than 100 people were awaiting trial on terrorist-related charges, he said.

“Nevertheless, we suffered the appalling attacks of July 2005 and the only sensible assumption is that we shall be attacked again,” he said.

[…]

“The extremists have a momentum that must be stopped,” he added.

In the 2005 London attacks and in other cases, police had spotted a trend for groups of British citizens to travel to Pakistan for training and then returning to Britain and building up their networks in preparation for launching attacks, he said.

This has become known as the “Al-Qaeda Pipeline.”

Clarke said the threat from al Qaeda was very different from the threat Britain faced for 30 years from Irish Republican Army (IRA) guerrillas opposed to British rule in Northern Ireland.

The al Qaeda networks are large, mobile and resilient, he said.

“We have seen how al Qaeda has been able to survive a prolonged, multinational assault on its structures, personnel and logistics. It has certainly retained its ability to deliver centrally directed attacks here in the UK,” he said.

“Arrested leaders or key players are quickly replaced, and disrupted networks will re-form quickly. Suicide has been a frequent feature of attack planning and delivery,” he said.

Posted by Marisol at 01:20 AM |

Professor at Kent State University running Jihad web site

Professor at Kent State University running Jihad web site

“Are You Prepared for Jihad?” IN THE NAME OF OBL. 2007: THE YEAR OF ISLAMIC VICTORY!” “OBL” — you know who that is. Talk of “Crusaders” and praise for suicide bombers. Run by a Kent State prof.

“Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” by Mike S. Adams (thanks to all who sent this in):

Yesterday afternoon, I logged on to the “Global War” blog (global-war.bloghi.com) of Associate Professor Julio Pino – a Muslim convert who teaches at Kent State University. The heading for the site used to read “The Worldwide Web of Jihad: Daily News from the Most Dangerous Muslim in America.” Now it reads “Are You Prepared for Jihad?” IN THE NAME OF OBL. 2007: THE YEAR OF ISLAMIC VICTORY!”Hardly able to believe what I was reading, I called Pino at his office in Ohio around 4 p.m. According to his secretary, he had not been at work that day (he only has office hours two days of the week). He was drawing a paycheck from the people of the State of Ohio while trying to launch a Jihad against people like me. In fact, just five minutes before I called he posted an entry under the title “Crusaders Can’t Take Anymore in Afghanistan!”

Pino began his morning of not going into his office at Kent State by penning a post under the title “Frightened British Crusaders Rush More Troops to Occupied Afghanistan.” Using terms like “occupation” and “Crusaders” it isn’t really necessary to read these posts in order to ascertain who this employee of the State of Ohio is rooting for in the War on Terror.

But, just in case you were curious about the purpose of this site, it is provided in the upper right corner: “We are a jihadist news service, and provide battle dispatches, training manuals, and jihad videos to our brothers worldwide. All we want is to get Allah’s pleasure. We will write ‘Jihad’ across our foreheads, and the stars. The angels will carry our message throughout the world.”

There is also an “Oath of Freedom” in the upper right corner: “We were born free. We will live freely and when death comes to us, we will die freely. Jihad is changing all that can be changed; freeing ourselves through our own efforts; and the conviction that truth will prevail, inshallah.”

Under the entry “Sister Detonates Herself to Eliminate Shia Traitors” there is a description of a female suicide bomber who recently killed 41 people. Just in case you wondered how the host of the site feels about the suicide bomber, the next line tells you: “Now she lies on the Golden Couch of Paradise.”

UPDATE: More on Pino here.