1 readers online now  |  69 million page views

Changing Jihad

Reader comment on item: Jihad through History

Submitted by Reuven Paz (Israel), Jun 1, 2005 at 04:42

I must admit I have not yet read the new book by David Cook. Yet, from Dr. Pipes' comments I can tell that the conclusions of this book seem to be correct and very well presented. As a scholar in the field of radical Islamist movements and doctrines for many years now, I would like to provide the following comments:

a. The radical and extremist interpretations of Jihad in our days, or in the past 25 years since Abdallah Azzam imported his interpretations to Afghanistan, opened the "Pandora box" and the "open university of Global Jihad," and since the killing of an Arab "infidel" president in Egypt, have gone only in one direction -- more extremism.

"Moderate Islam and Muslims," and "moderate Arab and Muslim governments," and there is some misleading use of the term "moderate," indirectly assisted the spread of radical Islamist global Jihad through the attitude towards Israel in particular and Jews in general. A majority of Arab and Muslim governments and publics intensively supported the use of "suicide operations" as an ISLAMICALLY legitimate method of operation, and thus paved the way and opened the door for the legitimacy of such operations on their own soil and against MUSLIMS as well.
One of the leading Saudi clerics of the new generation of the Islamic establishment in the kingdom -- Sheikh Abd al-Muhsin al-Ubaykan -- who is trying nowadays to lead the Saudi fight against its own extremists after they had opened their terrorist Jihad on Saudi soil, admitted it. In an interview already in 2003, he couragiously stated that "the legitimacy for suicide operations in Israel opened a door we could never close." Therefore, whether you support either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this conflict is used by the "moderates" only to inflame the extremists and lead them to more radical interpretations of Jihad.

Two weeks ago, 58 Pakistani clerics signed a fatwa that prohibited suicide operations. In the several hours that followed this fatwa, a spokesman of the group hurried up to clarify publically that the prohibition "does not include Kashmir, Iraq, and Palestine." The Muslim official policy of "moderates" is hypocritic and comes only, so far, to defend themselves but not to deal with the real issue.

b. Radical doctrines of Jihad are flexible and dynamic. They depend also on the changing definitions of the ENEMY. Yet, there is a permanent factor -- the sense that they could never close the wide gap between them and the West in most fields. Therefore, they are motivated by the sense of humiliation, and hence, the automatic tendency to through everything against the West and its culture, looking backwards to the glorious past of the Muslim empire of the Middle Ages. This sense of humiliation is shared by almost all Muslims, including in Muslim communities in the West.

Humiliation, as wrote Franz Fanon in the 1960s, is a main factor in extremism and the approach to violence. Fanon was one of the leading ideologues of secular neo-Marxist terrorism, but it implies to Muslims and Islamists as well. Wether this sense is justified or not, the fact is that it exists and it is very difficult, maybe impossible to uproot it from the Muslim mindset of both extremists and moderates. Therefore, the answer to radical jihad is only through education of the future generations of young Muslims. But, not by imposing upon them what the West or the United States view as "correct" -- Western terms of democracy; imposed reforms in the curriculum of their studies; radical and quick changes of national order such as the power given to the Shiites in Iraq after 500 years of Sunni rule.

Fighting global Jihad and extremism is a very long mission and cannot be acheived in a generation or two. Continuing sense of humiliation through what they, including the "moderates," perceive as "Western cultural colonialism" could only lead to further support for the doctrines of global Jihad.

c. ALL the developments of the doctrines of global Jihad with no exception, come from the Arab world and exported to the non-Arab Muslim world, where the majority of Muslims and moderate forms of Islam exist. Fighting extremist interpretations of Jihad should start above all in the Arab world itself. The non-Arab Muslim world has no influence over the Arabs. Moderate interpretations of Islam in India, Indonesia, or Central Asia, are useless in the Arab world. The change could come only from within the Arabs, and there the focus should be.

d. One of the most helping elements for radical Jihadists is the fact that they are in many cases the only opposition to dictatorships, some of them are less cruel but not better than Saddam Husein's. Hence, Islamist groups became leading elements in struggling for human and civil rights, and gain support by youngsters who are naturally attracted to such movements of opposition. Jihad in their eyes is not just anger, terrorism, anti-Americanism or Judaism, or an attampt to blame the Western enemy for all their suffering. This is in many cases perceived as a struggle for freedom, civil rights, reformism, and values that the United States is doing its best to export to the Arab world. They cannot support the United States while she is the primary shield for the Saudi royal family.

Support for global jihad is in many cases a very emotional element, motivated by the complexity and ambivalency of the socio-political situation in the Arab world, and the messages of the doctrines of global Jihad. Especially when the heart and mind of those Jihadi fighters who exiled from the Arab world remained in their own homelands -- Osama bin Laden in Saudi Arabia; Zawahiri in Egypt; Azzam in Palestine, and even Zarqawi in Jordan, not in Iraq. The globalization of modern Jihad was also a means to bypass the difficulties of fighting on Arab soil. It was also a political compulsion that was covered by Islamist doctrines.

Thank you

Reuven Paz
PRISM
Israel

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Changing Jihad by Reuven Paz

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2021 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)