The West must wake up to Islamism

by Mark Pickles
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‘If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle’
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

I have often been surprised by the number of campaigners against antisemitism and advocates for Israel (including in Israel) who do not know what Islamism is. This is very concerning because Islamism – the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood – is not restricted to antisemitic jihad of the sword and the machine gun. Islamism manifests itself everywhere in the world as antisemitic jihad of the pen and of the keyboard.

Islamism pervades media and social media, and some its purveyors are extremely well funded and incentivised, including in Western universities, as Dr Charles Small writes here for Newsweek.

Islamism penetrates the mind of Muslims and non-Muslims. Islamism caused the British Labour Party to overwhelmingly fly the Palestinian flag at its party conferences when Jeremy Corbyn was leader. Islamism is the reason that, at the time of this writing, hundreds of thousands of British people are descending on London waving their Palestinian flags and chanting hate slogans against Jews and Israelis.

Islamism is a philosophy. Every nation and civilisation has a prevalent and underlying philosophy (although of course every nation or civilisation has members who oppose the prevalent philosophy).

Islamism is the formalised underlying philosophy of contemporary Islam, one of whose consequences is murderous jihad. Most Islamists are not violent, but all Islamists are a threat to Israel and to Western civilisation, and they make no secret of it.

Islamism is a religio-political philosophy that, like Communism, has ripped through many nations, and not just Islamic nations. It shapes the beliefs of imams and Muslim communities everywhere in the world, including here in the UK.

There are nearly 4 million Muslims in Britain (including nearly 1.5 million in Greater London), and a high percentage of these are Islamists. I cannot give a figure on percentage, but suffice to say that the main representative bodies of Muslims in the UK – who themselves claim to represent the majority of British Muslims – are Islamist. These include Muslim Association of Britain, founded in 1997 by Muhammad Sawalha (Wikipedia), who is a former leader of Hamas, and The Muslim Council of Britain (founded in 1997) is also Islamist (The Spectator), although it did for a time dupe (msn.com) the British Government.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamists, are very good at duping Western governments.

Jihad of the Dupe
Consider Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, who was a regular visitor and advisor to the White House under both the Clinton and Bush administrations. In 2001 President Bush invited Amoudi to speak at the national prayer and memorial service for 9/11; and when Bush gave his stunning speech at the Islamic Center in Washington DC, he had Muslim Brotherhood operators standing by his side, and who were probably the authors of his speech (theaugeanstables.com).

Two years after leading prayers at the memorial service, Amoudi was arrested at Heathrow Airport with $340,000 dollars concealed in his suitcase, destined for terrorist groups. Amoudi was working with Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and involved in a plot to assassinate the Saudi Crown Prince. He is now serving a 23-year prison sentence (cupcolubmia.edu).

There are various Islamist NGOs/charities, such as Islamic Relief UK an antisemitic charity (Times of Israel) banned in Israel and the UAE due these nations’ respective claims that Islamic Relief UK is linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood in many Islamic nations is evidence enough that Islamism prevails today in Islam. The people of the Gaza Strip voted in Hamas, which defines itself as a chapter of ‘the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine’.

The Muslim Brotherhood, enabled by the revolutionary ‘Arab Spring’, dominated the Middle East as a political force, including in Egypt, the birthplace of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1929.

The people of Egypt voted for the Muslim Brotherhood in referenda a decade ago. Egypt’s Brotherhood was ousted (Wikipedia) in the military coup of 2013. The United Arab Emirates also ended their relationship with the Emirati Muslim Brotherhood, whereas the emirate of Qatar, which is thoroughly Islamist, still supports the Muslim Brotherhood (washingtoninstitute.org). The whole point of Islamism is to usurp civilisation as we know it with Islamism. Islamism uses
violence, and plans to use more violence, but it has many other strategies and means of persuasion, including duping Western governments and Western citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim.

As noted, the huge ‘Palestinian’ rallies that we have been witnessing in London in recent weekends are not the product of jihadism, they are the product of Islamism. The Muslim organisers (dailymail.co.uk) of the rallies are Islamists – such as Dr Anas Altikriti, Zaher Birawi, and, as mentioned earlier, the former leader of Hamas, Muhammad Sawalha – who are variously associated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain including the Muslim Association of Britain.

The mass rallies across the globe since 7 October 2023 are evidently not motivated by concerns
for Palestinian welfare, because there has been no demonstrable concern by the British public
for Syria’s torturing, raping and murdering many thousands of Palestinians in Syria
(gatestoneinstitute.org).

The globalised mass rallies are evidently not Muslim concern for Muslims, because there have been no such rallies for the phenomenally high death tolls and displacement of millions in Muslims in nations such Syria and Yemen.

85,000 children have died from starvation between 2015 and 2018 in Yemen, according the charity Save the Children. No mass rallies in London. No campaigns instigated by the UK’s Islamist organisations.

And so these rallies are not spontaneous concern for children, there are obviously other motivations at play.

Whereas ‘jihadism’ is a term used by non-Muslims to describe Islamic-inspired terrorism and violent revolution, ‘Islamism’ was coined by the first Islamists as a philosophical system developed by the hugely influential formative thinkers of the Muslim Brotherhood (internal link).

Islamic State (ISIL) and Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. ISIL and Hamas are not merely spontaneous jihadism. ISIL and Hamas are the kinetic application of the philosophy of the Islamist philosopher Sayid Qutb who mapped out Islamic State in his hugely influential work Milestones (1964).

Qutb wrote Milestones several years after he had Islamised Hitler’s Mein Kampf [‘my struggle’] in a book he titled Our Struggle against the Jews. Qutb was a founding father of the Muslim-Brotherhood and the originator of Islamism. Qutb is, to contemporary Islam, what Marx is to contemporary Socialism/Communism. Indeed, some Muslims prefer to call Islamism ‘Qutbism’ (Wikipedia) out of admiration for Qutb, just as some Communists self-identify as Marxists.

Islamism, like all philosophy, is complex. Sayid Qutb was as prolific a writer as Karl Marx, but I believe that I can explain it Islamism as three principal concepts:

  • Honour-shame.
  • Apocalypticism.
  • Genocidal antisemitism.

The West and the Islamic Middle East (with South Asia) started to diverge dramatically in their underlying philosophies during and after the two world wars. Today the West has become politically liberal and largely irreligious, although still largely Christian in character in nations such as the UK.

In the West today, our underlying philosophy is Post-Modernism and its offshoots, all atheistic, which bring their own problems: there has never anywhere been a successful atheistic civilisation, and there never will be. (The decadence of Western philosophy is beyond the scope of this project, but my view is that it began with scientific atheism following Albert Einstein’s atheistic understanding of the nature of things, as I wrote in this philosophical-theological piece (markpickles.wordpress) (1000 words) on my blog in 2019.)

In 2019 I was invited to a (ISGAP) conference on antisemitism at Oxford University. One of the speakers was Haris Rafiq, (a former adviser to the UK Government on terrorism and deradicalisation). Rafiq’s talk (youtube.com) explains that Islamism borrowed from Nazism and Communism, including the call for genocidal antisemitism and violent revolution. Rafiq also explains that although most Islamists today are not violent, all Islamists by definition – including those who dupe governments and media they are ‘moderate’ – have extreme views, including genocidal antisemitism and anti-Israelism.

In this article for The Washington Institute, the Muslim political analyst and researcher Soner Cagaptay suggests that Islamists are not in fact Muslims, quote: ‘Islamism is not a form of the Muslim faith or an expression of Muslim piety; it is, rather, a political ideology that strives to derive legitimacy from Islam’.

Islamists disagree. Islamists maintain that they are the true Muslims, and that anti-Islamist Muslims have failed to heed the call. Soner Cagaptay, in this short talk on YouTube makes what I think is a good analogy between the working class and Communists, i.e. as Communism ripped through the world, not all working-class people became Communists. However, what is certain is that Communism prevailed in many nations, just as today Islamism prevails in many nations.

Our political class in the UK, Europe, USA, Australasia and even on the liberal and left wing in Israel (as I wrote here for The Conservative Woman) has been programmed since university education to not accept that there is a clash of civilisations between the West and Islam, despite the prevalence of Islamism. Suggesting that the West and Islamism are incompatible does not square with the ideology and conventional wisdom of multiculturalism and secularism.

Those of in the UK who point out that the culture and values of Islamism are incompatible with the long-held culture, values, laws and traditions of the UK are accusing of ‘othering’, i.e. diminishing the humanity of the other.

The accusation of ‘othering’ goes back to the hugely influential American-Palestinian academic Edward Saïd (1935–2003), who heaped scorn on ‘honour-shame’ criticism in Orientalism (1978).

Honour killings are frequent in some of the Islamic nations. And honour-based abuse is an increasing problem in Western nations with large Muslim populations, such as the UK (gov.uk).

Saïd pointed out that, yes, honour killings are a problem for Islamic culture, just as domestic violence is a serious problem in the West. But the difference is that no-one of good standing in the West accepts that domestic violence is a necessary and desirable aspect of Western culture, whereas many men of good standing in Islamic nations preach that honour-shame is necessary and desirable in Islamic culture.

Honour-shame motivates fathers who want to kill their daughters in order to maintain family honour. And honour-shame motivates the leaders of Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon… who want to eradicate the tiny nation of Israel because it is formerly land that was conquered by Muslims. Shame, in Islamic culture, is passed down the generations until, through blood, honoured is restored.

Today, some Islamic nations, rich and poor, are obsessed with the catastrophic (‘Nakba’) loss of honour in losing wars to the Jews. In traditional Islamic law, Jews are second-class citizens (‘Dhimmis’), forbidden to carry arms, and in Islamism, Jews are vermin, ‘descended from pigs and apes (memri.org)’, for whom even Nature has contempt (sunnah.com). The fact that some Islamic nations have normalised relations with Israel (and with the West in fact), and others were planning to normalise with Israel, is intolerable to the Islamist regime of Iran (and all its political proxies bordering Israel).

In our times, Islamic honour-shame has met up with Islamic apocalypticism (the belief in an end-time global ‘Islamic State’), to be ultimately played out in Jerusalem. This is why the Islamic Republic of Iran (which has been overtly apocalyptic since the 1979 revolution) calls its elite special operations force the ‘Quds Force’, meaning ‘Jerusalem Force’.

Similarly, the Houthi movement (Wikipedia) in Yemen, which has now declared war on Israel, is an apocalyptic movement, whose motto is, ‘God is the Greatest, Death to America, Death to Israel, Cursed be the Jews, Victory to Islam’.

The prevalence in contemporary Islam of honour-shame, apocalypticism, and genocidal antisemitism defies all Western commentators, reporters, and politicians who think that peace talks, diplomacy and financial aid can solve all problems.

In any case, no region of the world has had as much money poured into it as the Gaza Strip. Hamas has some very rich donors, including Qatar, one of the richest nations in the world. Furthermore, Qatar pours money into Western universities – much of undeclared with strings attached (isgap.org)– to promote anti-Israelism on campus.

For an understanding of the apocalyptic ideologies at play, there is perhaps no better scholar than my friend Dr Richard Landes, a historian who specialises in apocalyptic movements, Christian and Islamic, down the ages. Here (jcpa.org) Richard talks about the genocidal apocalypticism that came to the fore in 2000, and has been ripping through the Islamic world ever since.

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