Monday, December 28, 2009

First Post / Final paper

Islamic Radicalization

The world is witnessing the rise of the third wave of jihad terror. This wave of jihad does not come from the Middle East to carry out attacks, but instead is born or has immigrated to the West. The threat is no longer from “foreign fanatics” but people who grew up in the west and became radicalized there. This radicalization is not overnight but stems from a combination of factors that finally push the young and male (for the most part) Muslim into becoming terrorists.
Sageman’s theory on the third wave of terrorism suggest that small groups of Muslims from the world wide Diaspora being under or un-educated, under or unemployed, unrepresented in politics, and in a place that is foreign to them and they view as hostile bad together for friendship and solace. These groups begin to feel that the world is subjugating the Ummah, and that Islam itself is under attack. These messages are promulgated on the internet and these groups begin considering terrorism as a way to fight for Islam. This path to radicalization is not the sole province of Islamic radicalization. For example, these factors were identified as the path to extremism for another religion as well.
• Economic deprivation
• Educational under performance
• Insufficient political representation
These are the stated grievances of the Irish Catholics who had little to gain in supporting the status quo of the Protestant controlled government of Ireland.
According to Sageman, another catalyst for the third wave of jihadists since 9/11 is the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Most of the world including Islamic countries, view the U.S. attack on the Taliban and al-Qaeda as justified. The same could not be said about the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Iraq has become the cause célèbre for jihadists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. This resentment towards the U.S. invasion of Iraq however does not stop at the young potential terrorists but has affected every part of Muslim Society. Nader Fergany an Egyptian academic, democracy advocate, and author of the United Nations2002 Arab Human Development Report. Mr. Fergany is still angry at the U.S. six years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq calling the “Americans the Mongols of the 21st century. ”
Fergany would be the perfect example of the moderate member of the Islamic community to combat the radicalization of Muslim youth. If however the pro democracy members of the Islamic community feel that the U.S. is the “Mongols of the 21st century” what motivation do these moderates have to fight radicalization? This is where Sageman falls short, eight years after 9/11, no large group of moderate Muslims have stood up to inspire the youth of Islam because they too are mad at the United States. While older Muslims may not engage in jihad activities more work needs to be done on where the older demographics of society stand in regard to jihad and terrorist activities. In the mean time, the call to jihad continues to be spread on the internet with no moderation. Websites and forums such as Al-Faluja, Shabakat Ansar Al-Mujahideen, Shabakat Al-Tahadi Al-Islamiyya, Shumukh Al-Islam, Shabakat Hanein, Shabakat Al-Mujahideen Al-Electroniyya, Mutadayat Al-Boraq Al-Islamiyya, and Ma'arik Islamic Network are the most popular of the wannabe jihadist.
Sageman makes a valid point in saying that “it is not the role of the West to tell Muslims what is and is not Islam. ” However, the Organization of the Islamic Conference is calling on the U.N. to criminalize the criticism of Islam. Sageman calls on the West, not to make Muslims feel more aggrieved, but to criminalize for criticism is taking this much too far. Any idea or religion that has as some of its central tenants to convert, kill, or subjugate unbelievers should be open to criticism and discussion. There is no world wide protection for Christians, Buddhists or Wiccans that equals what Muslims are calling for. Following the release of pictures of Mohammed in a Dutch news paper the Muslim world erupted.

While Piss Christ brought about criticism and outrage, there were no buildings destroyed, or threats being made to commit acts of terrorism. This is a challenge for the West and Islam, as the belief in freedom of the press is central to Western democracies it can also lead to events that are insulting to Muslims. Where does the sensitivity to Muslims sensibilities end?
Another issue that needs further study is what is being taught by leading Islamic figures about jihad? Until November 2003, the Islamic Affairs Department of the Saudi Arabian embassy carried the following statement on its website “The Muslims are required to raise the banner of jihad in order to make the word of Allah supreme in this world, to remove all forms of injustice and oppression, and to defend Muslims. If Muslims do not take up the sword, the evil tyrants of this earth will be able to continue oppressing the weak and the helpless. ” It should be remembered that most of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. The message of jihad that is being spread over the internet must be addressed by every school of Islamic teaching. Until then, jihadist ideology will continue to be part of Islamic radicalization. All four Sunni schools agree on the importance of jihad to Islam. Abi Zayd al Qayrawani, a tenth century Malike jurist declared:
The Maliki teach that Jihad is a precept of Divine institution. Its performance by certain individuals may dispense others from it. We Malikis maintain that it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah except where the enemy attacks first. They have the alternative of either converting to Islam or paying the poll tax, short of which war will be declared on them.
While Sageman addresses the rise of the third wave of jihadist terrorism that has appeared since 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. He does not address the still intact and very dangerous groups like Hezbollah. It must be remembered that until 9/11 Hezbollah and its affiliates launched the greatest number of attacks and caused the greatest number of Islamic terrorism related casualties.

Marine Barracks Beirut Lebanon 1984
Hezbollah does not rely on small groups of self radicalized young people like the al-Qaeda movement currently does. Hezbollah is one of the strongest non-state actors in the Middle East. While Hezbollah focuses most of its activities on Israel it has shown the capability to launch very destructive attacks abroad. The existence of the international aspect of Hezbollah proves that the organization is part of an international jihadist struggle that uses crime and state sponsorship to wage a campaign of jihad terrorism.
While Sageman provides valid points for the radicalization of small localized cells of terrorists his counter-terrorism model provides nothing that can counter an organization that can rally thousands to chant “death to America.” It is certainly important to know how the new homegrown terrorists become radicalized and how this radical ideology spreads through the internet. Sageman’s research says nothing about the origins of such beliefs, every school of Islamic thought teaches that Islam should be spread through jihad.
Since Muslims long since belief the West attacked them first they have the right to fight jihad. Until the ideology behind jihad can be changed, the United States and the West will have to continue to fight. Muslims are still aggrieved over losing Spain in 1492 this makes Sageman short sighted in his believe that Islamic terrorism will slowly fade away. While the third wave of terrorists have been killing themselves in Iraq fighting the U.S. invasion, when the U.S. withdraws in 2012, what is to prevent these self radicalized terrorist from dying in Washington, DC, Dallas, Paris or London. The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia has not salved al-Qaeda and bin Laden’s hatred of the West and America. There is nothing to indicate that the United States withdrawal from Iraq will sooth Muslim resentment of America as another grievance such as the Israeli / Palestinian conflict will continue to enrage the youth of Islam. The ideology of jihad as taught in the Koran will continue to inspire young Muslims to defend the Ummah. Until Muslims themselves become sick of the carnage that is inflicted mainly among co-religionists, the ideology of jihad will continue to perpetuate itself on message boards, at rallies in Lebanon, and mosques around the world and no amount of dialogue, sensitivity, or withdrawal from Muslim lands will stop it. Sageman also falls short in addressing groups such as Hezbollah. Which might have credibility in the Islamic world, but its record of bloodshed and hostility speak for itself. It is not a question of whether the United States should stop Hezbollah but of how. Sageman’s thoughts on counter-terrorism have no relevance to Hezbollah as this group’s hatred of America comes long before the war on terror.

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