By refusing to recognise the precursory nature of religious faith, faux liberals play into the hands of Wahhabi-Salafi fanatics who wish to destroy us. As things rapidly come to a head in Europe, we can no longer humour those who stick their heads in the sand, pretending that everything is fine. It is not, and the more we deny it, the harder it will be to deal with. In our efforts over the coming months and years, Alliance of Former Muslims (Ireland) aims to make the reality of Islamic terror so clear that anyone who denies it will be automatically held up to ridicule.
Nearly a month has passed since the Manchester attacks. On that harrowing night, the lives of twenty-two innocent people were taken by a Muslim suicide bomber. Without question, the root of this atrocity was the conviction held by the bomber that acts of violence against “those who reject faith” are championed by God: for as a man believes, so he will act. The killing of young women and children exposes the real evil of such belief systems, which propose that only a chosen few individuals have earned the approval of the Almighty, and that everyone else is to be seen as less-than-human – a threat to their faith which supernaturally sanctions their extermination.
In the dark cult of the suicide bomber, it is believed those who carry out such operations will be given a handsome reward in paradise – specifically, a brothel of eternal virgins and an ever-erect penis1. This puritan, militant branch of Sunni Islam appeals to those who shirk responsibility for their failures, and who thus desire to punish society for their misfortune. It is rooted in the tafsir (Qur’anic exegesis) of the medieval warmonger Ibn Taymiyyah, who is venerated by Sunni Muslims as “the great Islamic revivalist”. This tafsir was revived at the end of the nineteenth century by the preacher Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab, thus creating the destructive cult of Wahhabi-Salafism.
For Wahhabis, the world can be divided up between the House of Islam (Dar al-Islam) and the House of War (Dar al-Harb) – the latter comprising all those who do not profess their belief in God and the Prophethood of Muhammad, and are thus destined for hell. Just like Ibn Taymiyyah, they invert the concept of jihad such that physical struggle (the minor jihad) takes priority over the struggle within (the major jihad), with the explicit goal of extending the frontiers of the Muslim world such that it resembles the Caliphate of old. This imperial mindset informs any and all opposition to Western foreign policy by Islamic fundamentalists, however victimised they may claim to be.
Indeed, for Wahhabis, it is not enough for the Americans or the British to get out of Afghanistan or Iraq: rather, they see the conflict as a holy war between Muslims and non-Muslims, between the forces of absolute good and absolute evil. It is, therefore, the height of naiveté to suggest that extremism wouldn’t exist without Western interference. This is a militant ideology that has existed for over a thousand years; American imperialism has barely been around for a hundred years. Any explanation of Middle-Eastern conflict that does not recognise this simple truth is unworthy of the reader’s time.
Through violence against the secular materialistic West, the likes of Al-Qaeda and ISIS want to establish an Islamic utopia on earth which will be ruled under one leader – the Caliph. He will be the Commander of the Faithful, whose words will influence Muslims worldwide and help propagate the faith, so that eventually all of humanity will submit to the Will of God. The official Al-Qaeda training manual summarises the nature of the mission as follows:
The confrontation that we are calling for…knows the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing and destruction – the diplomacy of the cannon and machine gun. Our main mission is the overthrow of the godless regimes and to force their replacement with an Islamic regime… The Al-Qaeda member has to be willing to undergo martyrdom for the purpose of establishing the religion of majestic Allah on earth.2
These are the words of Osama bin Laden, who has been portrayed as both a saviour and a demon in the online world. Indeed, the internet is resplendent with Evangelical Christian websites that identify bin Laden as the anti-Christ prophesised in the Book of Revelation: search ‘Osama bin Laden anti-Christ’ on Google, and you’ll get over 285,000 listings. In direct contrast to this is the London-based Islamic website www.muhajiroun.com, whereby 9/11 is celebrated as an act of divinely inspired violence. In this apocalyptic Muslim view, bin Laden is taking the battle to the West and using its superior technology to destroy it.
For his supporters, bin Laden is a hero, reminiscent of Salah ad-Din al-Ayyubi (Saladin) who repelled the evil Western Crusaders all those centuries ago. Others cast him as the Mahdi, the Rightly-Guided Caliph who, it is predicted, will appear near the end of time and bring about the Day of Reckoning – the day when the whole world, believers and non-believers alike, will bow down before the Throne of God for final judgement. This apocalyptic tone was dominant from the moment Western journalists began interviewing bin Laden. In May 1998, a little more than two months before the bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, bin Laden gave an interview to ABC’s John Miller in which he revealed the Armageddon-style conflict he envisaged with the West:
We are certain that we shall – with the grace of Allah – prevail over the Americans and over the Jews, as the Messenger of Allah promised us in an authentic prophetic tradition when he said that the Hour of Resurrection shall not come before Muslims fight Jews and before Jews hide behind trees and rocks… We anticipate a black future for America. Instead of remaining United States, it shall end up as separated states and shall have to carry the bodies of its sons back to America.
Some three years and four months later, bin Laden fulfilled his dire threat to the United States. Suicide terrorists crashed three hijacked American airliners into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, killing close to three thousand unarmed civilians. It was the worst terrorist attack against the United States in its history, courtesy of a millennial tradition of Islamic imperialism.
The iconography of the event was precisely calculated for maximum propaganda effect. For Wahhabis like Mohamed Atta, who piloted the first plane into the towers, modernist architecture symbolised a Satanic world order presided over by Uncle Sam. For him, the increasing number of skyscrapers in his native Cairo reflected encroaching Western control. The source of that control was New York, a centre of godless decadence and heartland of a global Jewish conspiracy designed to infiltrate and destroy Muslim society. Bin Laden had similar views: three months after 9/11, he referred to the attacks as “the blessed strikes against world infidelity and the head of infidelity, namely America.”3
The apocalyptic mentality of “let’s do away with it all” appeals to powerless and angry young Muslims, who have been raised to believe that their religion is supreme, but don’t see anything like it in reality. Thus, in order for the world to be rid of the scourge of Islamic terror, the responsibility falls on Muslims to reopen the doors of inquiry (ijtihad) that were sealed shut centuries ago: for without the possibility of internal dissent, Islam will be forever bound by the chains of exceptionalism, and thus never allow young Muslims to feel secure in their position. The moral and intellectual stagnancy of the Muslim world is a direct reflection of the mainstream faith, for you can’t use 1,400 year-old desert scripture as the basis for building a twenty-first century society. To quote Sam Harris in this regard:
If Islam had any potential to contribute positively to a productive society, if it addressed an actual sphere of understanding and human necessity, then it would be susceptible to progress; its doctrines would become more useful, rather than less. Progress in religion, as in other fields, should be a matter of present inquiry, not the mere reiteration of past doctrine. Whatever is true now should be discoverable now, and describable in terms that are not an outright affront to the rest of what we know about the world.
In making excuses for Islamic terror, such as poverty or lack of education, faux liberals are only helping to keep the doors of ijtihad sealed. When reflecting on the terror attacks of the past decade, they should take a close look at the 2005 London bombings, and realise that, just like the 9/11 bombers, the perpetrators were college-educated middle-class people, who had no discernible experience of poverty or political oppression. They did, however, spend a remarkable amount of time at their local mosque, talking about the wickedness of infidels and the pleasures that await martyrs in paradise. Let us keep this in mind the next time Islamic terror rears its gruesome head: for certainly, there is no shortage of engineers and computer scientists within the ranks of ISIS.
1. Narrated by Abu Umama:
The Messenger of God said, “Everyone that God admits into paradise will be married to seventy-two wives; two of them are houris and seventy are his inheritance of the dwellers of hell. All of them will have libidinous sex organs, and he will have an ever-erect penis.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Book of Abstinence, hadith 39)
2. Quoted from Sue Reid, ‘Manual for Murder’, July 16th 2005.
3. Al-Jazeera TV broadcast from Dubai on December 27th 2001.