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December 29, 2014 / 7 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Islamism’

Common Sense on the Syria Mess

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

“I know what the world thinks of us, we are Communists, and of course I have said very clearly that we are not Communists; very clearly.” –Fidel Castro, 1959

U.S. policy toward Syria has changed but it is too late. A senior State Department official said at the meeting just concluded of opposition groups: “We have to help the moderates, people like [Chief of Staff of the Free Syrian Army] Salim Idris….”

This is what I proposed two years ago but I have to admit that I almost never saw anyone else who suggested that the strategy should be to help the non-Islamists with money, weapons and diplomatic support.

Unlike Castro, the Islamists in Syria never lied about their goals and ideologies. Now the Islamists are far more powerful and well-armed than anyone else, courtesy of U.S. policy. Oh and there’s one more problem. Many or most of the Free Syrian Army’s troops, that is the supposed non- or anti-Islamist alternative, are also Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

So what’s there to do with revolutionary Islamists controlling Syria and sooner or later, though it might take a couple of years, taking over the whole country or at least gaining recognition as the legitimate government of Syria while the regime holds out in the northwest of the country?

That’s okay, says the main line of U.S. policy. We don’t care if they are America-hating fanatics who want to impose Sharia, suppress or even massacre Christians, and commit genocide against Jews. Just as long as they aren’t affiliated with al Qaeda.

Beyond this, there’s mostly wishful thinking. Compare these statements by a Turkish diplomat and a Saudi newspaper:

“Once Assad is gone, al Qaeda won’t stay long in Syria.”

“We know that there are radical forces like [al Qaeda] but do not overestimate them.”

But it seems impossible to get the mainstream debate to recognize the fact that the problem is not merely al Qaeda but other radical Salafists and another Muslim Brotherhood government.

What kind of situation would another Egypt bring about in the Middle East?

What will happen within Syria which historically is a far more radical entity (for historical, political culture, and geopolitical reasons) than Egypt? What will be the fate of all those modern-oriented women, liberals, Alawites, Christians, Druze, and Kurds?

Going beyond the largely worthless current debate on Syria let’s look ahead into the seemingly inevitable future. We can reasonably assume that the Assad regime might last another year or two but it will either retreat to the Alawite areas by then or have fallen totally. There is by the way another possibility. Rebels make advances in Damascus, then use the opportunity to announce the establishment of a provisional government there. The United States and other countries then recognize it–despite Assad’s continuing hold on much of the country–as the legitimate government of Syria.

Whatever happens, there will be a Muslim Brotherhood regime in Syria and Obama will support it. The Salafis will not rule but they will kill people, intimidate non- or anti-Islamist forces, and probably be the main force in various local areas of the country.

Many conservatives and Republicans favor more intervention which means in practice working even harder to install an Islamist regime in Syria. That’s a terrible idea. With few exceptions they never seem to grasp the point about supporting the non-Islamist forces and not just the Syrian rebels in general as if they were glorious freedom fighters.

A few other people favor supporting the Assad dictatorship to keep the Islamists out of power. (Note: These were suggested prior to reports about the regime’s use of chemical weapons). This is another terrible idea. Aside for morality and the impossibility of saving Assad, no Western country is going to adopt such a policy. Whatever its past, the Assad regime had in effect become an Islamist regime, a Shia Islamist regime, and its fall will weaken Iran and Hizballah.

The problem, of course, is that its fall will also strengthen the Sunni Islamists. According to estimates by my colleague, Dr. Jonathan Spyer:

Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al Qaeda, has about 6,000 fighters. The Syrian Islamic Front (dominated by Ahrar al-Sham) has about 13,000 fighters. And, the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front, which seems close to the Muslim Brotherhood, (including the Farouq Brigade of Homs; Suqour al-Sham of Idleb, and Tawhid Brigade of Aleppo) has about 40,000 fighters.

Canada Couldn’t Deport Alleged Terrorist Because He’s ‘Palestinian’

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Here’s a follow up to to the discovery of a terror cell in Canada. Questions are now being asked there that highlight a series of governmental decisions about one (at least) of the two men accused of plotting to carry out a terrorist attack on an interurban train. They’re questions that ought to get some wider airing and they come from Canada’s minister of citizenship and immigration, Jason Kenney.

The questions are about Raed Jaser, 35, accused, along with Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of planning to derail a Via Rail passenger train in what the Canadian authorities are calling an “al Qaeda supported” attack. Terrorism-related charges [detailed here] have been brought against the two.

From a CBC report, the government minister framed his concerns this way.

* Mohamed Jaser, with his wife, his son Jaser and two other children, travelled from Germany where they had been living, equipped with fake French passports, arriving in Canada on March 28, 1993. They applied immediately for asylum as refugees. Jaser was a boy of 10. He had been born in the United Arab Emirates, though he did not hold UAE citizenship. * The family’s request for refugee status was denied. They appealed, and must have succeeded because the report says they eventually became Canadian citizens.

* Jaser, however, did not – evidently because of a proclivity for engaging in crime. He had acquired five separate fraud-related criminal convictions and was also convicted of making death threats by the time the citizenship application was heard. These offences rendered him ineligible for citizenship.

* In 2004, the Canadian government served a deportation order on him. In court – despite the government’s claims that he should remain in detention – Jaser’s lawyer successfully argued that Jaser could not be deported because, as a Palestinian, he was stateless (though he was born in the United Arab Emirites – see below).

* Some time after that, Jaser received a pardon – why is not clear – and granted permanent residency status in Canada.

Kenney says, as minister of citizenship and immigration, that the pardon and permanent residency given as gifts to the accused terrorist happened because of “old policies.” Canada had recently legislated the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, a law designed to make it easier for Canada to expel foreigners who have faced six months or more in jail for a crime committed in Canada.

Some time after Raed Jaser got permanent residence (according to Canada’s Global News), his own father

became worried enough about his son’s religious views to ask others in the community for assistance that apparently never came through, and another two before a Toronto imam approached police through a lawyer, concerned about Jaser’s influence on youth. By the summer of 2012, he was under RCMP surveillance as part of an investigation that would ultimately see him and 30-year-old Chiheb Esseghaier arrested, accused of terrorist conspiracy and plotting to attack a passenger train… [more].

The parents’ story [sourcekeeps coming back to their Palestinianism:

Raed Jaser’s father, Mohammed Jaser, says he was born in Jaffa; moved with his parents to Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip as a child. Egyptian authorities refused to provide citizenship. The mother says she is a Palestinian, though born in Saudi Arabia.

The two married when she was 16, and lived in Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. She attended secretarial and business administration school. Mohammed, the father, was granted legal residence in Jordan.

Raed’s younger brothers were born in Jordan. In 1966, the Jasers all moved to United Arab Emirates. Raed was born there.

Mohammed Jaser worked there in a garage, then as a school teacher, then to an advertising and publishing firm, then to Al Syasa, a political newspaper. he describes being terrorized by UAE authorities. “We lived in fear. Palestinians in the Gulf became the target of abuse, random arrests, torture and beatings… We lived as outsiders, in fear of growing and hardening anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiments. Our lives were threatened and we were harassed.”

After 24 years in the UAE, the family moved to Germany in January 1991. “The Jaser children were denied asylum.” They again “lived as outsiders, in fear of growing and hardening anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiments. Our lives were threatened and we were harassed.”

Education by Murder in Boston

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

What will be the long-term impact of the Apr. 15-19 Boston Marathon attack and the ensuing action-movie-style chase, killing a total of four and wounding 265?

Let’s start with what its impact will not be. It will not bring American opinion together; if the “United We Stand” slogan lasted brief months after 9/11, consensus after Boston will be even more elusive. The violence will not lead to Israeli-like security measures in the United States. Nor will it lead to a greater preparedness to handle deadly sudden jihad syndrome violence. It will not end the dispute over the motives behind indiscriminate Muslim violence against non-Muslims. And it certainly will not help resolve current debates over immigration or guns.

What it will do is very important: it will prompt some Westerners to conclude that Islamism is a threat to their way of life. Indeed, every act of Muslim aggression against non-Muslims, be it violent or cultural, recruits more activists to the anti-jihad cause, more voters to insurgent parties, more demonstrators to anti-immigrant street efforts, and more donors to anti-Islamist causes.

Education by murder is the name I gave this process in 2002; we who live in democracies learn best about Islamism when blood flows in the streets. Muslims began with an enormous stock of good will because the Western DNA includes sympathy for foreigners, minorities, the poor, and people of color. Islamists then dissipate this good will by engaging in atrocities or displaying supremacist attitudes. High profile terrorism in the West – 9/11, Bali, Madrid, Beslan, London – moves opinion more than anything else.

I know because I went through this process first hand. Sitting in a restaurant in Switzerland in 1990, Bat Ye’or sketched out for me her fears concerning Islamist ambitions in Europe but I thought she was alarmist. Steven Emerson called me in 1994 to tell me about the Council on American-Islamic Relations but I initially gave CAIR the benefit of the doubt. Like others, I needed time to wake to the full extent of the Islamist threat in the West.

Westerners are indeed waking up to this threat. One can get a vivid sense of trends by looking at developments in Europe, which on the topics of immigration, Islam, Muslims, Islamism and Shari’a (Islamic law) is ahead of North America and Australia by about twenty years. One sign of change is the growth of political parties focused on these issues, including the U.K. Independence Party, the National Front in France, the People’s Party in Switzerland, Geert Wilder’s Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, the Progress Party in Norway and the Swedish Democrats. In a much-noted recent by-election, UKIP came in second, increasing its share of the vote from 4 percent to 28 percent, thereby creating a crisis in the Conservative party.

Swiss voters endorsed a referendum in 2009 banning minarets by at 58-42 margin, a vote more significant for its ratio than its policy implications, which were roughly nil. Public opinion polling at that time found that other Europeans shared these views roughly in these same proportions. Polling also shows a marked hardening of views over the years on these topics. Here (with thanks to Maxime Lépante) are some recent surveys from France:

* 67 percent say Islamic values are incompatible with those of French society * 70 percent say there are too many foreigners * 73 percent view Islam in negatively * 74 percent consider Islam intolerant * 84 percent are against the hijab in private spaces open to the public * 86 percent are favorable to strengthening the ban on the burqa As Soeren Kern notes, similar views on Islam appear in Germany. A recent report from the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach asked what qualities Germans associate with Islam:

* 56 percent: striving for political influence * 60 percent: revenge and retaliation * 64 percent: violence * 68 percent: intolerance toward other faiths * 70 percent: fanaticism and radicalism * 83 percent: discrimination against women In contrast, only 7 percent of Germans associate Islam with openness, tolerance, or respect for human rights.

These commanding majorities are higher than in earlier years, suggesting that opinion in Europe is hardening and will grow yet more hostile to Islamism over time. In this way, Islamist aggression assures that anti-Islamism in the West is winning its race with Islamism. High-profile Muslim attacks like the ones in Boston exacerbate this trend. That is its strategic significance. That explains my cautious optimism about repulsing the Islamist threat.

Terrorism and Immigration Reform

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

One of the questions raised by the events in Boston last week is whether it should effect changes in U.S. immigration policy.

As a child of the Holocaust I am very sensitive to immigration issues. The sorry actions of Breckenridge Long, a State department official who was thinly disguised anti-Semite contributed mightily to the numbers of my people who perished in the Holocaust. From a PBS website:

[In] an intra-department memo he circulated in June 1940… [Breckenridge Long] wrote: “We can delay and effectively stop for a temporary period of indefinite length the number of immigrants into the United States. We could do this by simply advising our consuls to put every obstacle in the way…”

90 percent of the quota places available to immigrants from countries under German and Italian control were never filled. If they had been, an additional 190,000 people could have escaped the atrocities being committed by the Nazis.

Needless to say I am very much in favor of immigration reform. Never again should the State Department be able to pursue such restrictive immigration policies.

That said I understand the dilemma this country faces. America is a very desired place to live by people of all nations, especially those that are economically depressed. Illegal immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere have risked their lives trying to gain entry just so they could work at menial jobs. Jobs that very few Americans are willing to do. Those jobs provide income for their impoverished families back in their country of origin – even at the very low wages they make.

So an open door policy would mean a flood of immigrants coming in hoping to improve their lives. They would all be seeking the same number of limited jobs. The same menial ones that Americans are unwilling to do. There is a limit to how many of even those jobs are available. What America does not want is a new dependency class that will break our welfare system… and possibly even destroy our economy. So immigration must be controlled.

And yet there has been an almost free flow of illegal immigrants coming across our southern borders. There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently living here.

In a perfect world, they should all be penalized for violating our immigration laws by being deported. But it is not as simple as that. Most of these people have jobs that actually aid the economy. Jobs that would mostly go unfilled. They have lived here many years, pay taxes, have families and are law abiding respected members of their new adopted communities. Their children have known no other world. Having been born here they are legally American. They are also culturally American. Deporting their parents (who would take their children back with them – or leave them here in some sort of foster parenting situation) would be counter-productive and a great injustice.

In my view there needs to be a way to allow these people to stay here legally – unfair though their entry may have been. This doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be penalties for what they did. But deportation would be an injustice in far too many cases – and it would probably hurt the economy.

Proposed legislation would deal with these issues. Based on media reports I see a more or less fair resolution of the problem. It includes fines, requirements to have jobs, and a ten year waiting period that provides a path to citizenship. It also includes measures to tighten our borders so that crossing them illegally will be reduced by 90%.

But one thing I have not seen addressed is who we will be allowing in.

As a Jew and a child of the Holocaust – remembering the Breckeniridge Longs of the world – I am loathe to base restrictions on any particular religion. But that is precisely what I am doing. I propose that Muslims be given extra scrutiny when they apply for immigration. And that those who are found to be here illegally be deported.

I am not proposing they should be completely barred. As I have said in the past many times, most Muslims are not terrorists. Most are law abiding citizens and should be given the same opportunities to pursue life, liberty, and happiness in a country based on that credo. Religious freedom embedded in the Bill of Rights is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. Immigration policy should reflect this. So I would never suggest that Muslims be barred from entry. Nor would I ever suggest quotas for them that are different than for anyone else.

But I do believe they should get extra scrutiny. There should be extra vigilance by immigration officials – backed by law that will enable them to profile Muslims and check their backgrounds more thoroughly.

It should be obvious by now that it is from their number that the greatest threat of terror comes. Radical Islamist/Jihadists are Muslim by definition. There is no way to separate them as a distinct ethnic or religious group. If an immigrant is Muslim – this ought to be seen as a red flag and it should generate extra scrutiny.

This should not be seen as racist or in any other way prejudicial. It is nothing more than prudence in light of recent history. A history that includes violence as the philosophy of one of their branches. A branch that believes in murder and carnage to achieve their religious goals. A branch that 2 American Muslims somehow gravitated to. Ignoring Islam’s part in this because of a misguided form of political correctness is why things like the Boston bombings happen.

This will of course not eliminate all terrorism. We will still have the Timothy McVeighs of the world. But there can be little doubt where the source of the vast majority of terrorism in the world lies. And that is in the Islamist version of Islam.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev: What’s in a Name?

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Killed Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen Muslim, has been identified by the FBI as a “strong believer” in Islam, and an adept of jihadism. Tamerlan was unabashed in his Muslim piety and avowal of jihad—the latter bringing him to the attention of both Russian intelligence and the FBI.

Indeed, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was identified last summer, during a 6-month sojourn in Russia, as having frequented a well-known jihad-fomenting mosque in Machachkala, Dagestan, meeting directly with a jihadist underground movement leader there at least six times.  It has further been suggested that Tamerlan and his surviving brother Dzhokar, a Boston Marathon bombing suspect co-conspirator, who was in thrall to his elder brother (as well as to jihadism), were jointly “inspired” by Doku Umarov, known as Russia’s Bin Laden, and also an ethnic Chechen. Umarov is believed to have organized jihad terror attacks, such as the mass-murderous homicide bombing of Moscow’s Metro system, which slaughtered at least 40. Ominously, as noted by Chechen analyst, Dr. Carlo Gallo, “Umarov has made statements in which he said that the enemy of Islam is not just Russia, but America….”

But the astute observations of young freelance writer Alyssa Kilzer—a client of Zubeidat Tsarnaev, mother to Tamerlan and Dzhokar—are even more chilling, and indicate that the brother’s “radicalization” was a pious Muslim family affair. Ms. Kilzer, who received facials from Zubeidat Tsarnaev for several years at the Tsarnaev household (410 Norfolk Street, on the border between Cambridge and Watertown, M.A.), therein witnessed arranged marriages, wife-battering, hijab donning, strict Islamic piety with repeated Koranic references, and ultimately, baleful anti-American Islamic conspiracy theories about 9/11/2001. Kilzer also alludes to the “political activities” of Zubeidat Tsarnaev and her husband (Anzor) had engaged in (a euphemism for their anti-Russian jihadism?), which caused the Daghestani native parents—both lawyers—to flee.

The Tsarnaev family ties to Daghestan—a primordial hub of Islamic jihadism in the Causcasus for over a millennium—may prove critical to understanding the jihad carnage in Boston wrought by the Tsarnaev brothers. Moreover, it is also worth noting that Dzhokar Tsarnaev was mentored (albeit only via e-mail correspondence) by a full-throated University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth apologist for so-called Chechen separatism, Brian Glyn Williams.

But there was an even more basic, profound warning sign of the Tsarnaev family’s dangerous Weltanschauung—the very name Anzor and Zubeidat Tsarnaev chose for their eldest son: “Tamerlan(e).”

The cover art for "Sharia Versus Freedom—The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism," a miniature painting from a sixteenth century manuscript of the Zafarnama by Sharaf al-Din Ali-Yazdi, from the year 1552.

The cover art for “Sharia Versus Freedom—The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism,” a miniature painting from a sixteenth century manuscript of the Zafarnama by Sharaf al-Din Ali-Yazdi, from the year 1552.

The cover art for my recent book “Sharia Versus Freedom—The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism” (at right) reproduces a miniature painting from a sixteenth century manuscript of the Zafarnama by Sharaf al-Din Ali-Yazdi, the best-known example of early Persian historiography the Islamized Mongol conqueror Amir Timur-i-lang, or “Tamerlane.” The image was housed in the British Library and originally published/produced in Shiraz, Iran, 1552. It depicts soldiers filing before Tamerlane holding heads of their decapitated enemies which they used to build a tower shaped like the minaret of a mosque, in Baghdad (1401).

The upper inscription embedded within the painting reads,

How fate and destiny have cast awe in the minds of the “Tavaajis”! [king’s messengers, and herein, more generally, “traitors”], In an orderly and numerical fashion, They made minarets with the heads of the wretched “Tavaajis” As a lesson to the inhabitants of the world.

While the lower embedded inscription states,

So that no subordinate would dare to challenge superiors and no fox acts like a lion, and threatens the kings; Under the temptation of the demon pride…

Historian Jean Aubin’s 1962 analysis notes that the Baghdad siege lasted nearly forty days, adding that the Zafarnama insists, “in hopes of seeing the city surrender and conserve it intact, Tamerlane delayed several times the attack requested by his officers.” Ravaged by starvation, groups of soldiers and residents fled the city, “by jumping from the summit of the ramparts.” When Tamerlane’s forces launched their final assault, escape from Baghdad was prevented by archers who were arranged on both riverbanks of the Tigris.  Consistent with the earlier accounts of Browne and Grousset, Aubin summarizes the fate of Baghdad’s hapless population, stating,  

The rare survivors—approximately one person out of a hundred, according to the Zafar-nama—were sold into slavery. The only ones spared were theologians, sheiks, and dervishes who managed to reach Tamerlane’s pavilion. They were given food and clothes, and sent to a safe place.

Tamerlane was born at Kash (Shahr-i-Sebz, the “GreenCity”) in Transoxiana (some 50 miles south of Samarkand, in modern Uzbekistan), on April 8 (or 11), 1336 A.D.  Amir Turghay, his father, was chief of the Gurgan or Chagtai branch of the Barlas Turks. By age 34 (1369/70), Timur had killed his major rival (Mir Husain), becoming the pre-eminent ruler of Transoxiana. He spent the next six to seven years consolidating his power in Transoxiana before launching the aggressive conquests of Persia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and then attacking Hindustan (India) under the tottering Delhi Sultanate.

Charismatic, ‘Folksy’ Egyptian Politician Incites Followers to Martyrdom

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Egypt’s political landscape is dotted with people and issues that, from a reasonable distance, are  incomprehensible.

Unfortunately, when you share a neighborhood with some of those people, you can’t always afford the luxury of trying to comprehend “root causes” and socio-demographic dynamics. The dangers are existential, not intellectual and so you need to first take defensive measures and then try to understand. People who fail to understand this tend – usually – to be those who live far from the threats, or think they do.

The Dubai-based Al Arabiya news site carries a report from Egypt today. It focuses on a televised sermon delivered Friday by Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a “holy man” and lawyer who is “the country’s most charismatic Salafist politician” and a front-running candidate in Egypt’s 2012 presidential election. He was reckoned to have a serious chance up until his electoral run was forcibly ended by the disclosure, denied by the candidate but subsequently confirmed by the Egyptian authorities, that his mother was a citizen of the United States. It appears he is still laboring to overcome that disgrace.

He favours lowering the legal age of marriage to puberty (for girls, of course); chopping off the hands of thieves, naturally; ending the 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty; supports the veiling of women and their segregation from men in the workplace (according to the L.A. Times). He calls Iran a successful model of keeping your independence from the United States. And about the 9/11 massacres, he said

I am one of those who believe these events were fabricated from the outset as part of the global groundwork for the distortion of Islam’s image. I mean, this is part of a comprehensive global plan that includes a media aspect. [Interview on a 2004 Saudi TV program]

There’s an eye-popping selection of other public pronouncements of this person here.

On Friday, according to Al Arabiya, the ultra conservative Abu Ismail preached that

The only way to build a strong Egypt is to have tens of thousands fight and be “martyred” under the name of God, a prominent Salafist politician told worshipers during a televised sermon on Friday. “So what if a hundred or a thousand, or even ten thousands are martyred to build a long-prevailing nation,” Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a former presidential candidate, said. “There is no other plan but to be martyred.”

A lunatic, right? Yes, and/or a cynical manipulator. But that’s not necessarily the impression you would get from the mainstream Western media coverage he has enjoyed during this past year.

A handful of examples from just one source: the L.A. Times:

* Abu Ismail’s is “a robust voice in the fractious political Islam” of post Mubarak Egypt;
* He embodies “a new Egypt searching for a religiously resonant yet pragmatic brand of politics that can fix the nation’s deep economic and social problems“;
* “He’s a favorite on talk shows and internet videos, a charismatic speaker who can charm a university crowd as easily as he can raise cheers from mill workers in the provinces”;
* “He skims the edge of fundamentalism — he once suggested that he and Osama bin Laden shared the same ends, if not the means, to create an Islamic state — but connects with Egyptians’ everyday worries.

The Economist has said he is “committed to replicating the seventh-century ways of the Prophet Mohammed [and]could be the country’s next pharaoh.” More recently, it has also called him a man with “folksy charm putting the dour Mr. Morsi in the shade.” He’s a politician whose followers are “rowdy enthusiasts.

There is no suggestion that Abu Ismail himself has any intention of embracing martyrdom. It’s a near certainty that his inspiration will bring less discerning Egyptians (aka rowdy enthusiasts) to that end. Martyrdom-minded religious fanatics have a bad reputation in this part of the world, so this “folksy” sermon is less than good news.

Visit This Ongoing War.

The Dzhokar is Not Wild, It was Jihad

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

It seems that my suspicions about the motives of the Boston terrorist bombers were correct. This was not some crazy person going wild. This was a deliberate act based on Islamist/Jihadist fervor. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and his younger other, Dzhokar carefully planned and executed it. Fortunately the death of one and capture of the other has to be one of the quickest end to a manhunt (of criminals of this magnitude) in U.S. history. It also seems to be clear that Tamerlan, a once assimilated Chechniyan who married an American woman, became a radicalized Islamist during a lengthy visit to his homeland.

It is still early in the investigation. But is unlikely that any new information will change the basic assumptions now being made. Radical Islam is behind the attack. I assume Dzhokar was somehow persuaded to join him in this effort by his older brother – who was somehow also able to convince him about about the justice of killing innocent people for “the cause.”

Everything that has been revealed about Dzhokar so far says “normal.” He was a popular out-going 19-year old; a completely naturalized citizen. He was enrolled in college, well adjusted and well liked. He was kind and considerate. There seemed to be no anger issues with this young Muslim. So far all those interviewed who knew him only had superlatives to say about him. They are shocked that he had anything to do with this. That a normal and seemingly well adjusted American kid can be so easily convinced to help commit a terrorist act of this magnitude is in and of itself is terrifying.

In this era of the ubiquitous surveillance camera, they were quickly identified as having placed the bombs. A manhunt ensued. Tamerlan was shot and killed in a confrontational major shootout with law enforcement officials. His younger brother Dzhokar was later captured alive although seriously wounded. Hopefully he will survive and will be interrogated.

There are a lot of unanswered questions. Are there any additional co-conspirators? What was their motivation? What precipitated their act? How could Dzhokar join his older brother so easily? Could this have been prevented with better security measures? How much liberty are we willing to give up for better security? …All good questions. But for me the one question that keeps coming up that I am not sure has an answer is how do we fight an idea?

As of now it seems that these two brothers were not a part of any organized terrorist group. They decided to act on their own motivated by the ideals of radical Islam.

These are the ideals that are behind every suicide bomber who blew themselves up in Israel. This is the ideology behind Hamas, Hizballah, and every other jihadist group in the world. This is what caused our problems Iraq after we eliminated Saddam Hussein and still causes our problems with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Just about every American soldier who was ever killed in the Middle East was killed because of Islamist radicalism. And let’s not forget 9/11. I don’t think there can be any doubt about that.

Yes, there are other non-Islamist radicals that can carry out terrorist bombings. That was made very clear by Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma in April of 1995. But I don’t think it is disputable that Islamism is the biggest international threat to security in our day.

More than ever the focus needs to be on the idea rather than it does on any given group carrying out terror. Whether it is al Qaeda or any other group. This should be painfully obvious after the events in Boston last week. You don’t need more than one person to carry out a major act of terror. Not that al Qaida should be ignored. But it is the idea that motivates them that ought to be the main focus of counter terrorism.

This is something that anyone with half a brain should have known for the longest time. But in our politically correct world, connecting terror to a specific religion is counter to one of America’s most sacred values, religious tolerance. Government officials are therefore loathe to mention Islam and terror in the same sentence. While I agree that we ought not castigate an entire religion for the acts of a few, it makes no sense to overlook the obvious.

I am the first to say that the vast majority of Muslims living in America are not terrorists. Most of them love this country and want to live peaceful lives while practicing their religion freely. This does not mean that they aren’t anti-Israel. I’m sure that most of them are. They buy into the narrative of Israeli occupation being the source of all evil. But most of them would never support terror in pursuit of what they perceive to be justice for the Palestinians. But the root of worldwide terror is in Islam’s radical religious element. Ignoring this simple fact because of political correctness may be our biggest folly.

That said Muslims in this country ought not be persecuted. On the contrary. They have the same right as anyone else to pursue happiness and practice their religion in this country. But even they must realize the extent of Islamist extremism. Extra vigilance about Muslims living in this country must be part of our security considerations. Muslims themselves can be just as easily victimized by terrorist bombers as anyone else. A truly patriotic Muslim should therefore be the first to condemn it and understand why their community gets more scrutiny. They should welcome that. I’ll bet that some of them actually do welcome it.

If there is any silver lining here, it is that the media will hopefully finally realize what I have from the very beginning. That it is Islamism that is the enemy and not al Qaeda. Al Qaida is but one tool of many dedicated to the cause. There must be hundreds more like them. Who knows how many sleeper cells there are! Some Jihadist groups might only have two members as was most likely the case with the Tsarnaev brothers. There are a number of Jihadist websites that are dedicated to recruiting innocent Muslims into their cause and provide simple instructions on how to build devastating bombs with easily obtainable household items.

How stupid must the media have been not to have seen all of this till now? These websites did not happen yesterday. Well at least now it is being noticed. Much of the commentary I’ve seen since the bombing seems to finally be getting it. And that is a good thing.

I just hope that this new realization does not wear off so that we end up going back to a political correctness that ignores the real danger. If it does, then we will have learned nothing from what happened in Boston last week.

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