War On Islamic Terrorism Is Long Overdue
by David Parsons, Editor - ICEJ News
The massive catastrophe wrought by Muslim suicide terrorists in New York and
Washington on September 11 has served as a "wake up" call to the United
States and other Western democracies to a lurking global menace, yet few
understand the radical Islamic theology that has been spawning hatred,
conflicts and human missiles for decades. The American-led effort to
eradicate this evil hinges largely on isolating the terrorist support
network hiding among the world's one billion Muslims and preventing it from
recruiting others to their ruinous cause - an incredibly tall task at this
Western leaders and mainstream media share much of the blame for the
ignorance of many worldwide as to the ambitions of the ever expanding
alliance of Islamic elements bent on conquering the world for their god,
Allah. This despite the fact that America has been singled out for repeated
attack by Muslim militants ever since the Islamic revolution swept Iran in
1979. The overthrow of the pro-Western Shah of Iran and the triumphal rise
of the Ayatollah Khomeini provide a good starting point for reviewing the
modern resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism and its holy war against
A. THE RISE OF FUNDAMENTALISM:
Like many Muslim radicals who openly live in free Western societies even to
this day, Khomeini sparked his revolution from exile in Paris, distributing
cassettes of his fiercely anti-American sermons back to Iran's Shi'ite
Muslim majority. He arose as the most prominent voice from a fanatical
school of clerics based at Khom in Iran, which also had a sister Shi'ite
seminary near Basra, in southern Iraq. Though the Muslim Brotherhood in
Egypt had advocated similar ideas since the 1930s, Khomeini more than anyone
else popularized a unique strain of theology that has now emerged as the
ascendant brand of Islam - fundamentalism.
At the time, the Arab/Islamic world had been repeatedly humiliated on the
battlefield by tiny Israel, seen as a "cancerous" Western implant in the
midst of the Islamic crescent - stretching all the way from Morocco to
Pakistan and beyond. In addition, Iran and many other Muslim states were
ruled by "corrupt" pro-Western regimes, which were permitting an intolerable
invasion of foreign cultural influences.
Khomeini explained to fellow Muslims that they were being disgraced because
they had displeased Allah by their lax observance of Islam. The answer, he
preached, was to return to the basics or fundamentals of the faith. This
included strict adherence to such core Islamic tenets as the call to prayer
five times a day, the hajj to Mecca once in a lifetime, the fast of Ramadan,
and of course the obligation to engage in jihad.
This line of thinking taught that renewed faithfulness to the religion of
the Koran would win Allah's favor and would begin to reverse the string of
Muslim setbacks in the Middle East. An important sign of Allah's blessing on
their endeavors, they submitted, would be the "liberation" of Jerusalem and
Palestine from the "Zionists."
The Ayatollah returned home to Iran in triumph in the midst of the violent
overthrow of the Shah, a revolution that also saw hundreds of Americans held
hostage at the US Embassy in Tehran for some 440 days.
B. SPREADING THE REVOLUTION:
Once in power, the radical Iranian mullahs began exporting their revolution
to other nations, with particular success in Sudan, Algeria and among the
Shi'ites of war-torn Lebanon. Pro-Iran militants assassinated Egyptian
leader Anwar Sadat in 1981 for signing a peace treaty with Israel after the
US-brokered Camp David accords. Not long after, Tehran's proxy militia
Hizb'Allah pioneered the use of suicide bombers in deadly attacks on
American and French forces and nationals in Beirut.
In the 1980s, Muslim extremists from many lands were also volunteering as
mercenaries to fight the jihad against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Among
these holy warriors was one Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi who eschewed
his life of luxury for rugged trench warfare. Fellow fighters described him
as "fearless," engaging in hand-to-hand combat with an almost mystical zeal.
Bin Laden used his vast fortune - still valued at over $300 million - to
recruit and train other Muslim warriors, including a contingent of some
5,000 Palestinians that saw action in Afghanistan.
Palestinian terrorist factions - though still speaking the Marxist-Leninist
rhetoric of their Kremlin patrons - began to be influenced by Islamic
fundamentalism. With the outbreak of the first intifada in late 1987, Hamas
and Islamic Jihad quickly surfaced among militant Sunni Muslims in Gaza.
Though widely viewed during the Oslo peace process as a more dangerous
alternative to PLO chief Yasser Arafat, these groups have found safe haven
within Arafat's fiefdom, from where they have been allowed to carry out a
horrific wave of suicide bombings inside Israel. And in his infamous speech
in a Johannesburg mosque in 1995, Arafat himself appealed for all Muslims to
join his jihad for Jerusalem, revealing an even more chilling side to the
PLO leader's true agenda.
Elsewhere, Muslim fundamentalists have waged insurgencies in an array of
countries throughout the 1990s. Afghan-style mercenary armies have joined
local Islamic militias in the Balkan states of Bosnia, Kosovo and now
Macedonia, as well as in Kashmir and Chechnya. Fundamentalist ideology fuels
separatist conflicts in the scattered islands of the Philippines and
Indonesia, and in the hinterland provinces of China. For years, the
Iranian-backed hard-line regime in Khartoum has been slaughtering and
enslaving thousands of black Christians and animists in southern Sudan. And
in the past week alone, another 500 people have died in Muslim attacks on
Christians in Nigeria.
In the bloodiest of all such conflicts, Muslim fundamentalists in Algeria
have waged a brutal uprising that has left hundreds of thousands dead ever
since they swept national democratic elections nearly a decade ago, only to
be denied power by the military-backed ruling regime.
Like Algeria, Pakistan has nuclear capabilities and thus is also a coveted
prize for the fundamentalists. Northern Pakistan is dotted with
indoctrination and training camps for the Taliban and for Muslims fighting
against Indian forces in Kashmir. When the fundamentalists were poised to
seize power in Pakistan not long ago, a military coup set up an emergency
secular government under General Pervez Musharraf. Current appeals from
Washington for Islamabad to join the anti-terror coalition in formation will
test the ability of Pakistan's army to retain its increasingly unpopular
hold over the country.
C. TARGETING THE WEST:
Meanwhile, a myriad of Islamic terrorist groups have sprung up over the
years intent on taking the battle to Israel and the West. This constellation
of terror conducts state-sponsored intelligence activities and runs military
training camps, all with the assistance of Muslim diplomats, financiers and
technological experts. They maintain support bases and recruiting centers in
dozens of countries, with hundreds of interlocking yet compartmentalized
cells of hard-core activists who easily move across borders and blend in
with growing Muslim communities in European and American cities.
Among their list of notorious achievements in the past decade is the
bombings of Israeli and Jewish targets in Argentina; the car bombing aimed
at toppling the World Trade Center in New York in 1992; the bombing of US
troops in the Khobar towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996; the simultaneous
bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998; and the suicide
attack by an explosives-laden rubber dingy on the USS Cole in Yemen last
fall. Spectacular terror attacks planned in Jordan and the US to disrupt
gala Millennium celebrations were averted by timely intelligence and alert
Bin Laden has been linked in some way to most of these more recent
operations, and is the "prime suspect" in last week's suicidal hijackings
that destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center and ripped a gaping
hole in the Pentagon, leaving some 5,800 people dead at latest estimate. US
federal authorities remain baffled at how the 19 suicidal air pirates
recruited from among the secretive hydra of Islamic terrorist factions were
able to infiltrate into the US over several years, take flight training
lessons in numerous states and slip on board four airliners at the same
time - all without being detected. The logistics of such a well-coordinated
operation suggests state sponsorship as well, with Iraq being the main
suspect, according to Israeli intelligence sources.
D: COLLECTIVE HATRED:
With the outbreak of the violent Palestinian intifada last September,
anti-Israel sentiment has boiled over in the Arab/Islamic world, with many
angry at the inaction of their own governments and at Washington's perceived
favoritism toward Israel. Hizb'Allah and bin Laden's group Al Qaida have
sought to fill the void left by Arab rulers by smuggling weapons and
operatives into Palestinian territories to join the battle. Meanwhile, the
full gamut of Islamic terrorist organizations put aside their differences
and gathered in Beirut last February and again in Tehran in April to chart a
common strategy for waging war against Israel and her chief backer -
These groups have been able to coalesce because they share a common goal,
imposing strict Islamic shari'a law in countries with Muslim majorities and
waging jihad against the rest of the world until it too is conquered for
Islam is a territorial religion and divides the world into two basic camps:
"Dar al-Islam" [House of Islam] consists of all lands were Islam has
prevailed at one time or another, and "Dar al-Harb" [House of War] is all
other unconquered lands where jihad must eventually be waged.
The fundamentalists teach that it is the duty of every able Muslim to join
the holy struggle to win back parts of the House of Islam that have been
lost over the centuries, including present-day Israel, the Iberian peninsula
[Spain and Portugal], and large parts of southeastern Europe up to Vienna.
This explains many of the raging conflicts discussed earlier.
The fundamentalists also promote the idea of a promised renewed golden age
of Islam, when the faith of Mohammad will rule the entire world. Many
Muslims await a modern-day pan-Islamic figure - a new "caliph" - to lead
this battle against the infidel nations. It appears that the late Khomeini,
Saddam Hussein, bin Laden, and even Arafat have aspired to claim this mantle
at various times by their decrees of jihad against their respective enemies.
This common agenda has been aided of late by a series of fatwas, or
religious decrees, by leading Muslim clerics declaring that suicide attacks
are an acceptable form of jihad, that the US is an appropriate target for
assaults, and - in a very recent ruling - that any Muslim who cooperates
with non-Muslim intelligence agencies is an apostate worthy of death.
E. THE RECRUITING WAR IS ON:
In the wake of the devastating suicide attacks last week, US President
George W. Bush has joined those urging that care be taken in not labeling
all Arabs and Muslims as terrorists. "These acts of violence against
innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith," Bush said
this week. "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not
what Islam is all about. Islam is peace."
While this may seem a fair statement, it is hard to ignore the many public
and vocal expressions of outright joy by many ordinary Arabs and Muslims
worldwide over the enormous death toll in New York and Washington. And each
Muslim must now be viewed as a potential conscript of the fundamentalists.
We all watch in horror each time our television sets replay the explosions
in the World Trade Center towers, the scenes of people leaping from the
flames to their certain deaths, and the ultimate collapse of these mighty
symbols of American pride and progress. But to the fundamentalists, this
same footage is a recruiting bonanza, a spectacular success that will be
replayed again and again to win more followers to their hostile agenda.
There are many reasons being cited for the build-up of Arab and Islamic
resentment against the US, including: the UN sanctions and allied bombing
raids in Iraq; Washington's military and diplomatic support for Israel
vis-a-vis the Palestinians; US protection of corrupt pro-Western regimes in
the region; and the presence of "infidel" US troops on the "holy soil" of
Yet this list of grievances must not be allowed to hide the real root cause
of the alarming level of anti-American hatred, which lies in Islamic
fundamentalist theology and its vision of world conquest. Militant Muslim
leaders view America as the main impediment to their quest to spread Islam
throughout the entire world through jihad. Thus, the US is widely presented
as the "Great Satan" which must be defeated in battle.
Many voices in the Arab/Islamic world have defended the attacks as a
justified response to American support for the "Little Satan" - Israel.
Sacrifice Israel, this line of thinking goes, and America will no longer be
Yet such a course of action will only have the opposite effect. Any step or
measure at this time in which the US appears to distance itself from its
democratic ally Israel will be interpreted by Muslim extremists as an
achievement in their terror campaign. Rendering Israel and Jerusalem more
vulnerable will only fuel radical Muslim thinking that their dreams of world
conquest are one step closer, and enhance their ability to draft the masses
of ordinary Muslims to their cause.