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Does anyone think that Donald Trump’s military plans for Afghanistan and Iraq are going to make a significant difference regarding Islamist violence? Do you believe that “destroying ISIS” will have any significant impact on terrorism in the long term?
I don’t. And I’m concerned that we are deluding ourselves by pursuing these military strategies as a major goal. So what should we do?
We must take a more aggressive approach to defeating political Islam. Let me explain my thinking.
Recently M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim and former Lt. Commander in the US Navy, who has been attacking radical Islam for years, wrote an essay including this comment:
It is vital that we pay close and vigilant attention to ISIS: its plans, its whereabouts, and its public statements. We must also pursue it, relentlessly and until it is decimated. Sadly, this is the same tail we chase with the rise of each radical Islamist terror group in what has become a global whack-a-mole program. As we were on the verge of decimating al-Qaeda, the violent jihadist brand shifted to ISIS. Without treating the real root cause of theocratic Islamism, any chance of decimating ISIS will disappear as the global terror movement shifts to the latest “brand” of violent jihad.
President Trump now has the chance to broaden our strategy. Instead of “combating violent extremism,” his administration needs to redefine the threat posed by political Islam by recognizing it as an ideology that is fundamentally incompatible with our freedoms and a movement that is working insidiously but effectively to achieve its stated utopia. I argue that the American public urgently needs to be educated about both the ideology of political Islam and the organizational infrastructure called dawa that Islamists use to inspire, indoctrinate, recruit, finance, and mobilize those Muslims whom they win over to their cause.
She added the following point:
The administration should acknowledge that combating political Islam by military means alone is not working.
How do we go after political Islam? We must go after all forms of political Islam, whether or not they are violent, and do everything we can to prevent the distribution of this virulent, hateful and destructive ideology that plans to dominate the world.
The biggest culprit in the distribution of this hatred: Saudi Arabia. How did the Saudi regime, one of the most decadent and biggest violators of Islamist tenets, become the primary purveyors of Islam?
In 1964, King Faisal decided to collaborate with the Wahhabis and in spite of his modern ideas, funded the spread of Wahhabism all over the world. From that time forward, Saudi Arabia spent billions:
Over the next four decades, in non-Muslim-majority countries alone, Saudi Arabia would build 1,359 mosques, 210 Islamic centers, 202 colleges and 2,000 schools. Saudi money helped finance 16 American mosques; four in Canada; and others in London, Madrid, Brussels and Geneva, according to a report in an official Saudi weekly, Ain al-Yaqeen.
There are a number of problems we face in tackling political Islam, mostly our own political agenda. We don’t want to damage our relationship with Saudi Arabia; after all, they have also helped us to fight terrorism. We are “encouraging” Pakistan to more aggressively attack terrorist groups and refuse to give them safe haven, yet Pakistan has also received significant funds from Saudi Arabia to support Wahhabi education. The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, India and parts of Africa are funded by the Wahhabis.
There are other ways to stop the incursion of political Islam:
A new bill introduced by Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) aims to take a step toward fixing a monumental imbalance. Brat’s proposed bill, H.R. 5824, the ‘Religious Freedom International Reciprocity Enhancement Act’ makes it unlawful for ‘foreign nationals of a country that limits the free exercise of religion in that country to make any expenditure in the United States to promote a religion in the United States, and for other purposes.’
To ‘promote a religion’ includes funding ‘religious services, religious education, evangelical outreach, and publication and dissemination of religious literature.’ Should funding proceed anyway in defiance of this bill, the U.S. government can seize the monies.
It was noted that the bill still needed work. And it’s no surprise: the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations in August 2016 and is still there. Whether this bill has a chance of being passed in any form is debatable.
So what else can we do? Ayaan Hirsi Ali makes several recommendations in her book. Some of her most challenging ideas include identifying genuine moderate Muslim communities who have no relationship or history with extreme groups (which eliminates several popular organizations); prohibiting government agencies from working with non-violent Islamist groups such as ISNA and the Muslim Student Affairs Association; screening immigrants for beliefs in Islamist ideologies; screening and rejecting prison chaplains with Islamist views; conducting surveillance of Islamic centers and mosques suspected of association with Islamist groups; revoking tax exempt status for Islamist organizations.
We may always need to fight political Islam; it is an insidious virus that may not have a permanent cure. But once we free ourselves of our fear of being accused of Islamaphobia or being pre-occupied with the reactions of other foreign governments to our actions, we may finally be in the business of providing effective national security for our country.
What other suggestions do you have for fighting political Islam at its roots?