Monday, March 27, 2017

Political Islam

Ayaan Hersi Ali is one of the smartest, most experienced, and logical commentators on the scene today about the problems between the West and Islam.  She has written a great document sponsorted by the Hoover Institution titled, "How to Counter Political Islam".  It is a well-written piece that provides not only really wonderful insight into the problems we are encountering with political Islam, but also some precient strategies to go about thwarting the threat.

You can read the report at this link.

I'm going to copy the Executive Summary below in case you don't have the time to read the entire thing (although you really should).  This will give you a taste of the issues and the proposed solutions.

Executive Summary
Speaking in Youngstown, Ohio, on August 15, 2016, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gave a speech on what he unequivocally referred to as “radical
Islam.” He declared:
Nor can we let the hateful ideology of radical Islam—its oppression of women, gays, children, and nonbelievers— be allowed to reside or spread within our own countries . . . [W]e must use ideological warfare as well. Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of radical Islam. Our administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, and will amplify their voices.1
Since Mr. Trump’s election victory and inauguration as pres- ident, much attention has been focused on hurried and probably temporary restrictions on refugees, visitors, and immigrants from a number of majority-Muslim countries. Almost no attention has been paid to the broader goals outlined in the Youngstown speech.

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I argue that the speech heralded a paradigm shift away from President Obama’s doctrine of focusing solely on the violence committed by “extremists” to a more comprehensive approach that seeks to undermine, degrade, and ultimately defeat political Islam (or Islamism) as an ideology and a movement seeking to in ltrate and undermine our free society.
A narrow focus on Islamist violence had the effect of restricting our options only to tools such as military intervention, electronic surveillance, and the criminal justice system. This approach has proved both costly and ineffective.
Moving beyond the controversy over his executive order on immigration, President Trump now has the chance to broaden our strategy. Instead of “combating violent extremism,” his adminis- tration needs to rede ne the threat posed by political Islam by recognizing it as an ideology that is fundamentally incompatible with our freedoms and a movement that is working insidiously but effectively to achieve its stated utopia.2
I argue that the American public urgently needs to be edu- cated about both the ideology of political Islam and the organi- zational infrastructure called dawa that Islamists use to inspire, indoctrinate, recruit, nance, and mobilize those Muslims whom they win over to their cause.
There is no point in denying that this ideology has its foun- dation in Islamic doctrine.3 However, “Islam,” “Islamism,” and “Muslims” are distinct concepts. Not all Muslims are Islamists, let alone violent, though all Islamists—including those who use violence—are Muslims. I believe the religion of Islam itself is indeed capable of reformation, if only to distinguish it more clearly from the political ideology of Islamism. But that task of reform can only be carried out by Muslims. Happily, there is a growing number of reformist Muslims. Part of the Trump

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administration’s strategy must be to support and empower them.
The other part of the strategy requires confronting dawa, a term unfamiliar to Americans. Dawa as practiced by radical Islamists employs a wide range of mechanisms to advance their goal of imposing Islamic law (sharia) on society. This includes proselytizing but extends beyond that.4 In Western countries, dawa aims both to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and to instill Islamist views in existing Muslims.5 The ultimate goal of dawa is to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with the rule of sharia law.
Dawa is to the Islamists of today what the “long march through the institutions” was to twentieth-century Marxists. It is subversion from within—the abuse of religious freedom in order to undermine that very freedom. Another analogy is also possible. After Islamists gain power, dawa is to them what Gleichschaltung6 (synchronization) of all aspects of German state, civil, and social institutions was to the National Socialists.
There are of course differences. The biggest difference is that dawa is rooted in the Islamic practice of attempting to convert non-Muslims to accept the message of Islam. As it is an ostensibly religious missionary activity, proponents of dawa enjoy a much greater protection by the law in free societies than Marxists or fascists did in the past.
Worse, Islamist groups have enjoyed not just protection but at times of cial sponsorship from government agencies duped into regarding them as representatives of “moderate Muslims” simply because they do not engage in violence.
All this means that the new administration urgently needs to devise an anti-dawa counterstrategy that employs the full range of tools at our disposal.
4 the challenge of dawa
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The purpose of this report is to suggest the basis for a new anti-dawa strategy, designed to check the advance of political Islam as an ideology and a movement.
In the rst part, I describe the constitution of political Islam: the foundational principles, terminology, and objectives of Isla- mist ideology.
In the second part, I analyze the infrastructure of political Islam, in particular the institutions and techniques of dawa.
In the third part, I propose a number of policies that I believe will, if properly implemented, halt the spread of political Islam in the United States and perhaps also abroad.
The report concludes with a series of detailed policy recom- mendations, grouped under seven headings. These are summa- rized in the following pages.

Summary of Policy Recommendations 
General
  • The administration should acknowledge that combating political Islam by military means alone is not working.
  • The administration should de ne the enemy more clearly: political Islam (Islamism) is not just a religion, but is also a political ideology.
  • The administration should understand the signi cance of Islamist dawa: the subversive, indoctrinating precursor to jihad.

    Government Outreach
  • In reaching out to the Muslim American community, the administration should ally itself with genuine Muslim moderates and reformers, not with “nonviolent” Islamists.
  • The administration should require the FBI to scrutinize
    the ideological background and nature of the Islamic organizations it engages with and partners with to ensure that 
    they are genuinely moderate, that is, not committed to the Islamist agenda.
    The current failing strategy known as “Countering Violent Extremism” should be abandoned and replaced.

Immigration
  • The administration, through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), should subject immigrants and refugees to ideological scrutiny.
  • The DHS should deny entry to foreign individuals involved with or supportive of Islamism and related groups and should refuse permanent residency and naturalization to such individuals.
  • The administration should prioritize entry to the United States of immigrants who have shown loyalty to the United States.

    Law and the Justice System
  • The secretary of state should designate the Egyptian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO).
  • The administration should implement effective ideological screening of chaplains employed by the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Defense (military chaplains), and the State Department.
Surveillance
  • The administration should systematically map the infrastructure of subversive dawa activities around the world.
  • The administration should ensure reasonable surveillance of Islamic centers and mosques that are credibly suspected of engaging in subversive activities, such as the Islamic Society of Boston.
  • The administration, through the Internal Revenue Service, should revoke the tax-exempt status of organizations connected to subversive Islamist activities.

    Diplomacy
  • As a condition of US friendship, the administration should require foreign governments as well as Islamic NGOs to stop supporting and nancing subversive Islamist activities in the United States.
  • The administration should use broadcast institutions
    overseas (e.g., Voice of America) to ght the war of ideas by disseminating a counter-dawa message, highlighting the work of Muslim reformers and non-Islamist Muslims.
  • If a country or NGO cannot show veri able progress in curbing its support for subversive dawa activities in the United States, the administration should punish that country or NGO in concrete terms, for example by trade sanctions or cuts in aid payments.
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Military Operations
  • The administration should meanwhile continue conventional military operations against jihadist organizations.
  • However, the administration should also wage cyber war on organizations engaged in Islamist dawa as well as those engaged in jihad. 
As I said, this gives you an idea of the paper.  However, if you, like me, think that the invasion of political Islam is a danger to our society akin to others we've confronted and defeated in the past, this will be educational and well worth your time.
 

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