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Combating Political Islam: Follow Israel’s Lead

June 5, 2013 1:28 pm 15 comments

Political Islam is the major force shaping the Middle East region today, and a dangerous one at that. The real question is if it can be tamed, and, more pointedly, what the West can do to bring about positive change during this pivotal time in history.  But first, we have to understand what we’re dealing with.

Political Islam, or “Islamism” as we call this phenomenon in the West, is an armed political ideology similar to Bolshevism and Maoism. It’s essentially religiosity cloaked as a movement which operates as a virulent ideology of warfare (jihad.) It demands radical reorientation of Muslim societies to comply with Sharia Law that repudiates modernity in all its forms and it has brought death and devastation both within the Muslim world as well as outside its borders. In some ways, Islamism is more dangerous than outright terrorism, as terrorism can be identified by violence, while Islamism is a war of ideas.

It is essential to note that historically this aberrant thinking has only been espoused by marginal groups and kept in check for centuries.  However, there was one pivotal moment in world history when they were not.  In 1926, a marginal sectarian movement inside Arabia, the Wahhabis, allied with the Saudi tribe, captured power, and established the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It now serves as the bastion of Islamism, most notably spawning Osama Bin Laden and various militant youth groups that spread the ideology.

What are the defining characteristics of Islamism? It’s anti-modern, misanthropic, misogynist, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, triumphalist, jihadist, terrorist, and suicidal.  Put simply, it is Islamic-flavored totalitarianism. It is based upon the intolerance of others, including Muslims, and the glorification of violence as martyrdom, to be exercised against all who disagree with the Islamist rendition of Islam.

So, where is Political Islam headed? To answer this, we must look to the Arab Spring, which has fast become the ‘winter of discontent.’

Countries that originally showed promise are now headed down a dark path. The mandate of The Muslim Brotherhood, stemming from Egypt, is taking hold, while traditional Islam is pulling back. The youthful voices of change and reason have often been stilled in harsh ways, including through sexual violence against women.

As Muslims in the West, we want to explain that the Muslim world is presently in an upheaval of historic proportions.  We have important inside knowledge regarding the extent to which Wahhabi teachings generating from Saudi Arabia and Islamism have together undermined what was once a rich and tolerant culture within Islam.

As once Christendom and Europe transitioned from the pre-modern to the modern world of liberal and secular values, the painful redefinition now begins in the East. The internal struggle among Muslims will likely continue over several generations, as the Muslim world painfully makes its transition, and begins a renaissance of its own.

The West must now use its friends, progressive Muslims and the State of Israel, to determine a clear strategy for dealing with Islamism. Progressive Muslims, like myself, have tried to inform our governments about what they are up against. After 9/11, we called for recognition of the true enemy, a violent ideology which could not be fought with weapons of mass destruction. However, multiculturalism and political correctness kept sidelining the real issues, with any critique of Islamism bringing accusations of racism and Islamophobia.

This must stop.

Multiculturalism has become a cover for Islamist penetration of the West. The foe is formidable and has already taken hold in our backyards.  Political Islam is on the rise in the U.K. and Europe, where some cities have installed “Sharia Zones.”  There are entire areas of Norway where non-Muslims are not safe.

If there is one country that truly “gets it,” it is Israel. They understand the powerful force of Political Islam, and have vast experience in determining the enemy. They are a powerful ally in understanding this volatile situation.

The weeding out of Islamism and the Islamist threat lodged inside the West is the essential prerequisite, or the first step, in defeating global Jihadi warfare of Islamists and in helping the Muslim world reconcile itself with the modern values of science, democracy and human rights.

To do this, we need to follow the lead of our Israeli allies and look with clear eyes into the nature of Political Islam and have a frank conversation without fear of political correctness.

Raheel Raza is an award winning author, journalist, and filmmaker on the topics of Jihad and Sharia. She is president of The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, and an activist for human rights, gender equality, and diversity. Ms. Raza will discuss “Political Islam’s Tomorrow” alongside fellow experts at the upcoming Fifth Annual Israeli Presidential Conference: Facing Tomorrow 2013 in Jerusalem later this month.


  • isaac brajtman

    Preaching to the converted ! How dos one get the message across to those that need to hear it ?

  • Axis History Forum – Muslim dignitaries visit Auschwitz

    There is nothing wrong with Muslim clerics visiting Auschwitz and praying for the persons who died there. But it is a distortion of reality to claim … rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

  • Finally an article written with sensitivity, intelligence, and understanding, explaining recent developments that contributed to the rise of political extremism in the Muslim world, and the manner in which the totalitarian position has gained ascendancy! Raheel Raza must be commended—she is not only a brilliant writer, but is clear, logical and a supporter of human rights and moderation.

  • Vivienne Leijonhufvud

    Thank you Ms. Raza, it is re-assuring to hear your words, the points you make for the future. We all have a long hard road to fight, if we are all united it will be easier to make progress. Thank you again.

  • If you go on the internet and type in Huffington Post/Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg you will see my posts. The Huffington Post in fact did a story on me when I was president of Rabbis For Romney. I have not idea why I was censored since I did not use foul language; I presume someone from the Muslim Group or Claims Conference complained . Every thing I stated is fact and I am outspoken when it relates to extremist Muslims whom I believe are today’s Nazis; I will not back down. I did state I did not want the Muslims praying at Auschwitz at my relatives’ ashes. This story of Muslims going to Auschwitz is a PR stunt. There are only a handful of Muslims involved and most Muslims would like to see the destruction of Israel and a Palestinian state instead. See my comments about the local Imam who walked out on the singing of Hatikvah during the Holocaust program in Edison even though he stated he believed in the lessons of the Holocaust. I wrote the Huffington Post explaining my position and did not receive a response. I am officially banned and cannot post. RABBI DR. Bernhard Rosenberg

  • A courageous voice by one who understands the failing of her own religion’s extremists. Radical Islam is the enemy and terrorism is the weapon. Its well-publicized goal of destroying Western civilization and replacing it with a worldwide caliphate and global sharia -strict Islamic law – must be recognized and prevented before it is too late.

    Contrary to vicious propaganda, Israel is accused of being the cause of the Middle East problems. In truth, the tiny state is the only democracy in a region infested with terrorism and chaos. In 1922 the League of Nations unanimously declared that all of today’s Palestinian territory was to be the renewed Jewish homeland. For 2,000 years Jews were identified as ‘Palestinians’ until 1948 when they became Israelis. Years later, the Arabs adopted that name for political expediency. It would be disastrous for world peace to create an apartheid terrorist state of Palestine in the heart of democratic Israel.

  • “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” George Orwell – Or, in this instance a woman. Thanks for a cogent and incisive summary.

  • I continue to applaud my fellow Torontonians Raheel Raza and Tarek Fateh for fighting Political Islam and Muslim antisemetism.

    • Europe will fall and large parts of East and North Africa. America is losing right now but we don’t know how that will go. It is possible that a new president will make a positive difference. If America should fall the possibility of a new Dark Ages is Real. It will depend on the America people if they should wake up and see the danger that will make all the difference.


    Good document and I fully agree with the example of Israel, you should not be afraid to call things as they are and that political Islam or “Islamism”, as they call this phenomenon in the West, believe that be winning battles in the Middle East and in different parts of the world subjected to people with terror.

  • This is an important volley in the battle against the ideology of Political Islam/Islamic Totalitarianism. Those in the West who promote multiculturalism need to take heed of her point that “(m)ulticulturalism has become a cover for Islamist penetration of the West”, which has led to “Sharia Zones…where non-muslims are not safe”, and that the Muslim world needs the help of the West to weed out the Islamist threat.

    Bravo, Ms. Raza, for these brave words, and for your courageous stand on the front lines of this conflict.

  • E.S.Lombard

    Many states in the US are requiring teachers to take courses in multi-culturalism. After the initial point, I think it becomes problematic. Both my parents were Hispanic immigrant newcomers with little education and they saw to it that I learned not a word of Spanish although they spoke it between themselves. I was to adapt totally to US culture and was able to float through school, start major university at age 15, go on to PhD, conduct symposia for college presidents, chief psychologist, etc. Retired now, living abroad, I’m now learning about their culture and am grateful for it all.

  • Emil Schafer

    This is the basic scene at present. If not understood, fundamentalist Islam will overrun the rest of the world, ensuring a long descent into religious totalism.

  • To World Jewry:

    I hope you will consider my plea as one of the few Rabbis in Americas who speaks out for Israel, fights anti-Semitism throughout the world and one who speaks out vehemently against extremist Muslims. In addition I fight on behalf of Holocaust survivors and have been vocal regarding the Holocaust Claims Conference missing funds. I was also president of Rabbis for Romney. You are welcome to look me up on the internet.

    We are living in pre Holocaust times. European Jewry is facing major anti-Semitism and parts of Europe are Judenrein. Israel is facing a possible Holocaust from Iran and surrounding enemies. I was just banned from the Huffington Post for expressing my displeasure with Muslims praying at Auschwitz over my family ashes. Extremist Muslims want Israel and all Jews annihilated. My plea to all Jews: Speak out. Tell your Rabbis not to remain silent. We are running out of time.

    Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

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