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February 16, 2015 9:55 am

Radical Islam Exists: Islamism is the New Totalitarianism

avatar by Qanta Ahmed

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A vigil for Jordanian pilot Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh, reportedly burned alive by the Islamic State terrorist organization. Jordan's King Abduallah vowed vengeance in response to the killing. Photo: Twitter

In contrast to others, I confirm that Radical Islam exists. Political scientists, including Muslim political scientists, know it as Islamism. Only part of Islamism expresses violence – violence frequently identified as terrorism. Much of Islamism pursues non-violent ambitions devoted to a new but entirely 20th Century totalitarianism, which is now the preeminent threat of our age. Islamism is the new totalitarianism.

ISIS, and other such organizations, self-identify as Muslim, offending sentiments of believing Muslims everywhere, including my own. Raised a Muslim by birth and observing Islam life long, I maintain that ISIS’s values in no way represent Islam because like its fellow Islamist groups, al-Qaeda, Jamaat Al Nusra, al-Shabbab, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Pakistani and Afghani Taliban, and others, ISIS shares a rank disregard for Islamic morality as shown in its salacious appetite for human rights violations. For now, ISIS merely exceeds others in barbarity.

As I mentioned on CNN last week, words matter.

Most Muslims are not Islamists. But all Islamists are incontrovertibly Muslim. Even so, the most numerous subjugates of Islamism, including its violence, are Muslims. Islamism is connected to Islam while representing no aspect of Islam. Islamism is connected to Islam at Islam’s expense. Without Islam, there would be no Islamism, which steals both legitimacy and shelter from Islam. This parasitization is not to be blamed on Islam, but it is to be blamed on Muslims who are Islamists, and on Muslim patrons of Islamism.

Muslim patrons of Islamism include several Muslim majority countries. The deliberate nurturing of jihadists in defeating the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan – the mujahideen, cultivated as violent Islamists – served political interests of superpowers, including the United States and regional geopolitical heavyweight, Muslim Pakistan. Iran, Turkey ,and Saudi Arabia are either explicitly Islamist in government, or support Islamism. Until recently the same could be said for Egypt. Saudi Arabia finances Islamist ideology in a tacit agreement to keep Islamism from disrupting the Kingdom internally. Pakistan has long abandoned its secular democratic ideals in favor of the Islamist hybridization through a “Sharia-ization” which has led to the erosion of pluralism in exchange for political expediency.

Muslim states have very much reared Islamism, as the viper in our bosom, for their own self-interest, never thinking their own status might ultimately be threatened by such venom.

To suggest Islam and Islamism are not connected, as a denial of Radical Islam requires, is at best amateurishly simplistic and at worst intellectually dishonest. There is a further risk in simplifying the discourse whether because of ignorance or deliberate evasion. By asserting there is no Radical Islam offering ‘there are only terrorists who are Muslim’ deception confines Islamism to one dimension- the pursuit of evolutionary terrorist jihadism. This is false. Islamism has equally lethal non-violent ambitions- the weaponized version of blasphemy, for one, which directly inspired the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Islamism benefits from the intellectual confusion which surrounds its debate. Critical scrutiny of Islamism is all too often smeared as Islamophobia, serving only to shield Islamism from exposure and preserve a convenient falsehood – that Islamism is Islam.

Totalitarian regimes crave an external appearance of legitimacy, the veneer of being a legitimate state. Unsurprisingly Islamism has as its central tenet that Islam can only be expressed as ‘Dawla’ (‘state’). Islamic expression mandated as statehood cannot be found in the Quran but is well documented in the charters of Islamist entities, including that of Hamas, and has been the hallmark of ISIS since its outset.

ISIS makes its intentions for statehood obvious. The Arabic acronym for ISIS, ‘Da’esh’ is in fact “ad-Dawlah al-IslāmÄ«yah fÄ« al-‘Irāq wash-Shām,” which translates as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Statehood is both in ISIS’ self-declared name, as well as its deeply held political ambition. Seeking to express Islam in the form of a State is a specifically Islamist ambition.

Terror is integral to any totalitarian state. Its appetite for terrorizing violence defines ISIS. Like all totalitarian powers, ISIS monopolizes all communications, appropriates a monopoly on all armaments, and holds central and absolute control on the economy. A year into its nascent state, ISIS has clearly expressed its totalitarian intentions in all these sectors. Part of ISIS’s absolute power is expressed through total domination of its population, which is terrorized and indoctrinated daily by ISIS’s appetite for evolutionary jihadist terrorism.

The immolation of Jordanian pilot Lt. Col. Moath Kasasbeh, far from being dismissed as ‘medieval barbarism,’ is in fact the ghoulishly principled use of terror in line with totalitarian Islamism. ISIS’s use of terror to dominate, as well as to propagandize, is deliberate. Through such terror, ISIS seals absolute control over its subjugated population through a pall of fear and the perverse allure (to sympathizers) of pornographic violence.

While the Jordanian pilot’s murder has rightly triggered an intense global reaction including in the Muslim world, this outrage is long overdue. Sadly other atrocities have long failed to mobilize sentiment in the same way. Perhaps this is because the viper is now uncomfortably close to home, its venom readily apparent, and Muslims long sedated to the beast that parasitizes us are finally ready to admit Radical Islam exists, nesting in our midst.

Qanta Ahmed, M.D., author of In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom, is 2014 Ford Foundation public voices fellow with the OpEd Project. Follow her on Twitter @MissDiagnosis.

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  • Liz Crawford

    By definition, to be a Muslim, one must not interact, befriend or tolerate a nonbeliever, unless to charge them a jaziya tax onerous enough that “they know they are oppressed.” Kling because of threats, or perceived oppression, or insults to Islam, slave taking, child-wife taking, polygamy…

    To deny these basic tenets is akin to denying Christ’s deity, if one is Christian.

    What do ‘moderate Muslims’ believe? Do they specifically recant these tenets or simply say “they are not Islam?” Because they certainly are and represent a large majority of Muslim people’s and government’s attitudes…

  • How can you converse with Allah?

    An amazing Article by Dr. Azriel Carlebach. Published in the Israeli newspaper “Ma’ariv” on 7 October 1955

    Translated from Hebrew with Google translator with modifications

    “The source of the conflict between Israel and the Arabs is not borders, but the Islamic ideology. Arabs are members of Islam, and with it, according to the world views, you can not converse with it. With Islam you do not, and cannot, live side by side as neighbors in peace.”

    The clear and simple truth is, that between the Islamic world and the culture of the Western world, there is not one common word, thus, there is not, will not, and cannot be any understanding.

    This intention is not religion, because all religions can be good or bad. Rather, it depends what their believers will implement or neglect in its moral principles. The intention of Islam is its influence on social life and social services, on the sentiment of the world and the relationship with other human beings.

    For fifty or sixty consecutive generations the Muslims have been educated and brought up in Islam to rape human nature: not to use the power of reason; and not wanting to utilize individual rights. In fact, Islam, when exposed, will actually dim, darken, and further an undefined Allah. Leadership is strict and capricious, hidden, and sick. This is the essence of Islamic religions, demanding their followers not to question. A person who undertakes islamic belief says: “Allah il Allah”, not because he is convinced of the idea, but because he has entrusted himself to a tyrant.

    Such faith by its very nature may not be distributed with intellectual persuasion or guided by a moral beacon, which would require the work of mind and body. Rather, it demands to be distributed only by knuckle and physical force. Thus, there is a requirement of constant holy war against the un-believers in order to “bring them to the bosom of the true faith by force with the sword of al-Islam Allah the lover of blood”. The danger is largely never manifest by itself, but with a finger stuck to the trigger and a small bomb carried by the crazy individual that can destroy an entire physical and ideological sect.

    The danger for the West against Islam is far greater than that of communism. The Communist ideology has a multiple rationalistic nuclei lacking in the Muslim religion. With Communism one can have dialogue based on the foundations of give and take because they take into account the harsh reality of measured forces, formulating demands, weighing and considering proposals by its benefits.

    All these particulars do not exist in Islam. Muslims have never agreed on anything – will be whatever will be – even among themselves. They can not bring anything to fruition – not just in matters of Israel. The whole mighty Muslim world could not come to an agreement on one common postage stamp. Their responses to anything has no relevance to common sense. Their responses are calculated on emotion, transient and baseless, You can talk about “business” with anyone, even with the devil, but not with Allah.

    We created – and continue to create – inexcusable foolishness that cannot be forgiven. We are not helping the world depicting Arabs that do not exist at all, and are only the fruits of our wishful imagination. Thus we are adding insult to injury when we distort the image and narrow the conflict as only a border dispute between Israel and its neighbors.

    Above all, it does not correspond to reality. The issue of borders are not the real source of conflict, but the Islamic ideology. If our neighbors were Westerners, for example Protestants, we would have for a long time been living in peace with them, just like the Norwegians and Swedes. Even if they were Catholics our relationship would be settled and we would get along like the French and English in Canada, and like many South American countries among themselves. However, here in Israel we have been trying for over fifty years in any and all ways possible to reach some kind of an agreement with the followers of Islam. Yet, a solution has never even appeared on the horizon with even a shadow of hope because the essence of the problem does not lie with actions, facts and fears. Rather, the problem lies only in the fact that Arabs are members of Islam. Thus, because they are Muslims, as the world now knows, you cannot converse with them. It does not matter who the other party is and with what rightful claim, with Islam you cannot live side by side in peace.

    Consequently, presenting the dispute as a conflict between two similar people equips the Arabs-Muslim arsenal of argument that is not theirs. If the argument with them is really political, then there are aspects to either side. Then we appear as if we came to a land that was completely Arabic, thus we conquered, occupied and put ourselves as a wedge between them and through them, and we burdened them with refugees, and our army is a danger to them etc. etc. Is it possible that one can justify this or that party. For instance, in this presentation of a rational and political problem, it becomes understandable to the European minds to our detriment.

    The Arabs-Muslims claim certain complaints that are accepted by World opinion under normal legal fight. However, even though reality proves no substance to such claims, it is the source of the hostile Worldly stance. All true political and social concepts are not in the real world of the Arabs-Muslims .

    Conquest by the power of the sword, in their eyes, and the eyes of Islam, is not at all an injustice. On the contrary, they believe it is a right and a crushing proof of eternal ownership.

    The care for refugees and dispossessed brothers is not in the Islamic train of thought; Allah expelled them, Allah will take care of them. A Muslim politician has never been bothered or excited on aspects like this (unless calamity risked his personal status). Therefore, even without the occupation or the refugee problem, the Arabs would have opposed Israel with the same force and vengeance. Based on the criteria we are negotiating with Arab-Muslims, it seems to the World we are the savages who cloak ourselves in the gown of European justice. Thus, instead of alerting the people of the world, we anesthetize them.

    This is the basis of our mistake, and in my humble opinion, the secret of our isolation and our failures:

    that we, – though not crying about the sting of the stabbing into our flesh – teeter on the open mouth of the abyss in an effort for the peace of the world. We ask for bandages to bind the wounds from where we were bitten, and we do not warn: Here circling between all your feet, is a mad dog!!

    Consider this, what if when Hitler came to power, we recognize and would say he was indeed an anti-Semite? However, because he is the founder of a supposed wise and respected religion that we should not be concerned about him. Rather, we should extend our hand to him for peace, and dare to resolve among ourselves any small private disagreements. Then afterwards enter into a covenant of peace with him, and thus, help him in developing and promoting his teachings and to spread his influence.

    We would be committing sin not only to our struggle for the existence of our country and the lives of our sons and daughters, we would also be sinners to the world as a whole if we ignore and hide the simple truth which resides in the heart of all of us, – including government officials when they announce and declare peace – which is: the enemy is the spirit of Islam.

    The Arab-Muslim is not only our enemy because we are residing here in Israel. He is our enemy even if we were sitting at the North Pole because the Arab-Muslims and the ideology of Islam is the enemy of all the free world. It is the enemy of all fertile minds, any kind of initiative, and any creative ideas. The Arab-Muslim is the enemy of life for every Jew, every Christian, every non-muslim, and every Muslim. Whatever is given in his hand, whether a sword of wood or a tank of steel, he will use to become a threat to all human beings.

    The Arab-Muslim has never contributed, and if history holds true, will never contribute anything which is good to this world. He has not brought forth even one person who has led the world forward in any area of human existence. Without a doubt he is darkness, he is the catalyst to all which is negative, he is the prison to 900 million people who are being tortured; he is the root, the essence and the obstacle to peace in the world. Therefore, as long as we do not make the effort to succeed to impart to the free world this knowledge, we will always be as the first victims for the lack of knowledge.

    And that our sages said, “All that adds – subtracts”

    Mention that the article was written in 1955.

    Submitted, translated and modified by: YJ Draiman

    • Piet-Hein

      Dear Algemeiner editors, this should in some manner be brought to the attention of the Israeli cabinet in order to be used in Netanyahu’s 3 march speech. Mr. Netanyahu has already proved himself to be paramount as a Western world opinion leader, if it were only by coining the term radical islam. Which is a way of teaching the world to call a spade a spade. The insight that this 1955 article offers is for the same reason urgent, necessary and long overdue. Always a keen reader of mr. Draiman’s contributions on this forum, I find this one extremely important. The west needs to hear this truth. Now.