Photo Credit: State Department photo
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L), Secretary-General of the OIC Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu (2nd L), Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (3rd L) and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton (4th L) participate in the OIC conference on "Building on the Consensus" in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 15, 2011.

Islamist clerics preach that loyalty to the worldwide Muslim community, or umma, transcends any ethnic or cultural attachment to one’s native land. National borders are seen as artificial constructs of the West — certainly true of several Mideast countries, the boundaries of which were set arbitrarily by European imperial powers. This historical reality helps Islamists justify their effort to create a separate Islamic emirate that ignores the current borders between, for example, Iraq and Syria, and makes it difficult for the Islamic faithful to integrate fully into the body politic of their native lands — as in, say, the case of U.S. Army Major Nidal Hassan.[9]

Extremist Muslims occasionally boast that the Soviet Union, one of the modern two superpowers, disappeared a decade after its invasion of Afghanistan. Muslims attribute this victory to their fighting in the cause of Allah — a type of conflict that is, by Koranic definition, a jihadist-led defensive war fought by mujahedeen [freedom fighters]. To fight this defensive war is a fard, or individual obligation, incumbent upon Muslims from all over the Islamic world. It was this dynamic that energized Muslims to fight U.S. forces in Iraq, the troops of the secular dictator Qaddafi of Libya, and the forces of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The rhetoric of jihadists is replete with the same confidence in ultimate victory over the world’s remaining superpower, the United States.


Restoring Muslim Lands to Islamic Governance

Nations as diverse as Israel, India and Spain also have no legitimacy in the Islamist worldview. Many Muslims believe that these countries have been unjustly ripped from the Dar al-Islam [The Abode of Islam] by the military power of polytheists and infidels. According to this Islamist axiom, the Islamist effort to return Spain to “the glorious era” of al-Andalus is well under way; it is viewed as having been stolen from the Muslims by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492. And Israel is also regarded as land stolen from the Ottoman Turkish Muslims. Both al-Andalus and Israel are therefore viewed as forever part of the waqf [the entitlements of Allah]: land that once belonged to Allah, still belongs to Allah, and that can never revert. Northern India, condemned as being the world’s most flagrant violator of the principle of Islamic monotheism, is also seen as eventually returning to the Muslim sovereignty that once flourished under Mughal [Mogul] dynastic rule.[10]

Although Muslim numbers continue to grow, in large part through the proselytizing efforts enabled by oil revenues from the Arab Gulf states, many Muslims seem concerned about the challenge to Islamic values presented by the secular aspects of globalization, and the corrosive impact this may have on the faithful.

Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin is a former Iran Desk Officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and USAF Reserve Colonel Military Attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Israel.


[1] Adnan Rashid, a former Pakistani Air Force officer, was serving a life sentence in a prison in Bannu, Pakistan for his role in a 2003 plot to kill the then President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf. The Taliban freed him from prison last year along with about 400 other prisoners.
[2] The OIC, headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was established in 1969 as a vehicle to speak for the entire umma, the community of the world’s estimated 1.6 billion Muslims (OIC estimate). The OIC is an administrative substitute for the Ottoman Caliphate that was abolished in 1924.
[3] The truck bomb outside the UN offices killed 17 people on August 19, 2003.
[4] The Daily Beast, March 1, 2013, “Radical Islam Aids and Abets Polio” by David Frum.
[5] The Koran, Al-Anam (The Cattle), Sura 6, Verse 44.
[6] The Koran, Sura 4, Al-Nisa (The Women), Verse 84. See also Bin-Laden’s article in Nida’ul Islam, October/November issue, 1996, Australia.
[7] The Koran, Al-Anfal (The Spoils), Sura 6, Verse 9.
[8] Burns, Edward, Western Civilizations: Their History & Their Culture Volume II, W.W. Norton & Co., New York. 2002. p. 527. The Peace of Westphalia officially ended the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). It began as an internecine Christian struggle between Catholic and Protestant interests in West Europe. It ended with the primacy of the political power of nation-states firmly established.
[9] Hassan was gradually drawn to embrace the ‘higher calling’ of his Muslim faith over his loyalty to the United States in his role as an Army officer. Hassan allowed himself to be swayed by the terrorist siren dawa — call to wage Jihad against his fellow soldiers — by the internet-based jihadist propaganda of Anwar al-Awlaki.
[10] Much of India was ruled by a series of Turko-Afghan Muslim dynasties culminating in the cultural zenith of Islamic rule of the Mughals. The Mughal Dynasty (1507-1707) was of Turkic-Mongol origin, invading the sub-continent from Afghanistan. The Muslim Mughals ruled in over the vastly more numerous Hindu population. On occasion the Mughals respected Hindu values but at other times treated native Indian religions with an iconoclastic intolerance.