[This book review article was published in the Summer 2017 issue of The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, pp. 251-272.]

 

BOOK REVIEW ARTICLE

 

Jihadism and Muslim Immigration: Three Recent Books

Dwight D. Murphey

Wichita State University, Retired

 

          There is little in today’s world that is more contentious than the debate over the nature of Islam and the role of Muslim immigration into the United States and Europe.  Major figures take the position that Islam is a religion of peace and that Muslim immigration is to be welcomed.  An opposing view points to much in Islamic teaching that is not peaceful, to the widespread jihadist presence that is bringing violence both to Islamic societies and those of the West, and to the inability effectually to know what is going on inside Muslim communities and to “vet” newcomers.  Still another perspective, thus far latent because it is presently outside what is “politically correct,” is that it is mostly irrelevant how peaceful Islam is, because in any event it is existentially unwise for the West to invite an influx of a major new population element whose religion and culture diverges so greatly from Western society’s.  Those who grapple with these issues find that the subject is vast in its extent and complexity.  The article here reviews three books.  The first is by an author we presume to be Muslim, and tells much about the jihadist hatreds that produce not just attacks upon the West but a great deal of internecine violence among the world’s many Muslim factions. The others are by American authors, each a Christian, pointing to the dangers and social costs of large-scale Muslim immigration.  These reviews are put forward not as a final word, but for the benefit of the information they contain and as an invitation to further study.

Key Words:  Islam, Muslim immigration, jihadism, sharia, Islamic rivalries, Islamic divisions, Islamic terminology, Muslim Brotherhood, “civilization jihad,” U.S. immigration system, political correctness

 

          The West’s ideological divisions  have in recent years taken on a new face.  There was a time when the nature of Islam and its role in the modern world was of interest almost exclusively to academic specialists, and when mass immigration of Muslims into the West was on no one’s radar.  By now, however, questions about Islam and Muslim immigration are critically important.  The questions and their answers tell as much about the fault lines, ideological and otherwise, within the West as they do about the Muslims themselves and their religion.

          Speaking before Congress in late 2001 shortly after the 9/11 attacks attributed to Islamic terrorists, U.S. President George W. Bush laid down the premise that has actuated American policy until, at least, early 2017.  He distinguished between Islam and the “radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them.”  The terrorists, he said, are “traitors to their own faith,” seeking “to hijack Islam itself.” He spoke of “our many Muslim friends” and “our many Arab friends,” and saw nothing inherent in their ways of life or belief systems that would make the terrorists representative of them.  Thirteen years later, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said much the same thing when speaking about the beheading of an American by the Islamic State.  “The face of Islam is not the butchers who killed Steven Sotloff.”  Those who did the beheading were “mass cowards whose actions are an ugly insult to the peaceful religion that they violate… The real face of Islam is a peaceful religion, based on the dignity of all human beings.”[1]

          The defense of Islam and the Muslim population at large has been fundamental to the policies that have welcomed and facilitated the immigration of many hundreds of thousands of Muslims into the United States and Europe.  It is the conceptual complement to the other factors that have caused the influx.  The others include, but are hardly limited to: American interventions that have destabilized much of the Middle East, tearing up existing structures and exacerbating the social chaos that the many contending factions of Islamic society lend themselves to; the seemingly ever-present economic demand for cheap labor;[2] the Western ideology of “multiculturalism” that by seeking profound demographic change reflects the Left’s centuries-old alienation against the mainstream of American life, the population of which has been of European stock; and the generous desire to do good that dates back through American religious history, such as to the Social Gospel.

The welcoming perception and open-door policies based on it are strongly opposed by others who, although acknowledging that there “are millions of peaceful Muslims throughout the world,”[3] stress that much Islamic doctrine, going back to the Quran and found in the writings of  many Islamic scholars over the centuries, is far from peaceful. To them, the metastasized jihadist movements represent a major aspect of Islam, one that places the many thousands of Muslim immigrants under a cloud.  They see it as impracticable – as, in effect, a self-deceiving fiction – to “vet” the immigrants sufficiently to remove the danger of terrorist violence.   And they are conscious of the inability of non-Muslims to know what is taking place or being taught within the Islamic communities and their mosques.[4]  The three books reviewed here voice this opposition.

In these introductory comments, it is worth noting a third position, which must be taken seriously despite lying beneath the surface of today’s discussion.  Even in Donald Trump’s campaign for the American presidency, he did not suggest the need for a long-term ban on mass immigration of Muslims into the United States (and Europe).  The most he felt it possible to propose was a short-term ban “until we can figure out what is going on.”  After becoming president, he caught intense criticism for, and even judicial opposition to, a temporary ban on immigrants from seven (later six) countries that the Obama administration had designated as sources of terrorism.  The end result was that although Trump often repudiated “political correctness,” his position was severely circumscribed by it.  He was no doubt correct in sensing that the climate of opinion laid down by the mainstream media and America’s “opinion elite” made it taboo to suggest that a major Islamic presence in American life should be avoided.

The result is that a question of existential importance – of whether the West is to continue to exist as such – is repressed.   If mass immigration into the United States and Europe, and the non-replacement birthrates of the historic European population, continue, the erstwhile populations will be supplanted.  The physical locations will remain, but the people will be different.  They will represent cultures and belief systems to which many will most likely be tenaciously loyal, so there is reason to expect that the culture and institutions of the present will no longer continue.  The implications are examined in a number of books that have warned of “the death of the West.”[5]

This third option would call for a deliberate policy of the West’s staying the West, while leaving the Muslim populations within the Islamic swath.  It would mean the end of mass migration of Muslims to the West, and a concomitant part of it would be for the United States to defer from intervention into the Islamic countries, forsaking the post-Cold War aspiration of making each of the societies over in the American image.  (We recall that Osama bin Laden’s primary complaint was that Americans were present within “the land of Islam.”)

The books reviewed in this article were selected out of our desire to know more about jihadism and sharia. The authors give much information and make important points, some vital.  But they do not represent all of the existing viewpoints, and we hope readers will join us in thinking there is potentially much more to learn. 

 

Jihadism, Terror and Rivalries in the Middle East: Isis, Hezbollahis and Taliban

Hoshang Noraiee

Hoshang Noraiee, 2016

 

          What is often overlooked by those of us who are so rightly preoccupied with jihadi violence in the West is that the many branches within radical Islam mostly hate (and are anxious to kill) each other.  Within the broad Islamic swath, there are moderates, and – just as in the traditional population in Europe and the United States – there is, according to Noraiee, presumably a “silent majority” that is hardly heard over the articulate voices of the radicals, but within the precincts of the radicals themselves there is a chaos of blood-thirsty sectarian animosity.  As one reads this short book by Hoshang Noraiee, the impression of a mound of fire ants is reinforced by a great many details about sects, rivalries and personalities.

          It would help if Noraiee told us more about himself.  He is described as an independent researcher who has taught at the University of Westminster and London Metropolitan University.  Presumably, by inference from his name and subject, he is himself a Muslim, but we don’t know that, or where he is from.  It is to the book itself that we look for an appreciation of his credentials and the extent of his knowledge.  While it makes no pretension of being “the definitive book” on radical Islam, readers will find it quite a good introduction.

          One reason the book isn’t “definitive” is that Noraiee has limited its scope to the Middle East.  He has nothing to say about the Islamic penetration of Europe and its many ramifications, which include a challenge to the continued existence of Europe as Europe.  Nor does he delve more than slightly into the vastly important subject of who the “moderates” are, what they believe, and to what extent their influence may (or may not) eventually bring Islam into the modern age and dampen the fires, so reminiscent of the internecine conflicts within medieval Christianity, that now burn so fiercely.  Rather, the book’s value lies in the extensive information it gives about the radical jihadist movements where they are most centered, which is the Middle East.  Nevertheless, a caution: the subject is vastly more variegated than we are able to convey.  Almost certainly Noraiee himself, in this 235 page book, hasn’t covered all aspects, even though readers will find considerably more information than we are able to mention here.

As we have said, what strikes us most about his account is the extent to which the Middle East is a cauldron of boiling hatreds, partly toward the West but most especially of its many factions toward one another.  Before we can review their rivalries, however, it is necessary to see who the factions are, and what Noraiee tells us about them. 

 

The Many Faces of Islam

          The primary division: Sunni and Shia. Although there are differences between Sunni and Shia (and within each itself) on many levels, the two branches of Islam disagree most fundamentally about who the legitimate successors to the Prophet Mohammad have been.  Sunnis look to four caliphs (Abubakr, Omar, Osman, and Ali), who were the Prophet’s senior deputies.  The Shia accept only the last of these, Ali.  They hold that he “and his 11 descendants were the only legitimate Imams.”  A 12th Imam, known as the Mahdi, who disappeared, will come back as a messiah “to rule and bring real justice.”

          The Sunni 

Although all Sunnis agree that the four caliphs are Mohammad’s legitimate successors, they are divided into four types of “jurisprudence,” each with its own branches, such as Wahhabism and Deobandism.  (“Jurisprudence” pertains to the interpretation of the Quran and the Hadith.  Noraiee explains that “Hadith” is the body of traditions coming from Mohammad’s words and actions.) 

          Salafism.  In a way similar to Protestants within Christianity, Salafists call upon Muslims to consult the Quran and Hadith directly in their search for Islamic purity rather than to rely on intermediaries.  They look only to Islam’s first three generations, and consider the four traditional Sunni schools of jurisprudence polluted by non-Islamic rituals.   The Salafists have a large network of Madrassas (religious schools) in Pakistan, second only to the Deobandi.  They are themselves divided into three branches.  Not all Salafists accept the teachings of Sayyid Qutb, but he is a source of inspiration for many.  Noraiee describes Qutb as “a radical Muslim Brotherhood ideologue” who called for “eternal jihad” (struggle).  Through the ideological leadership of Abu Bakar Naji, who wrote The Management of Savagery, ISIS is Salafist.

          Wahhabism.  The followers of Mohammad ibn al-Wahhab (who lived in the 18th century) are dominant in Saudi Arabia, which accordingly is considered Sunni-Wahhabist.  Noraiee says their views are similar to the Salafists, including being hard-line and adamantly anti-Shia.  He says they have been “successful in spreading their radical ideas among many other Muslims all over the world,” doing so with generous financial support from Saudi Arabia.

          Deobandism.  We are told that this started in India in the 1860s, seeking through education to purify Islam, moving away from Hanafism’s mysticism and Hinduism.  [“Purify” is a recurrent theme in much Islamic thinking.[6]]  It was restrictive toward music, singing and dancing, and toward “women’s visibility in public and women’s dress code.”  There are Deobandi jihadist factions, but Noraiee says many of the Deobandi religious leaders are “traditional or quietist.”  Radicalism has increased as Deobandis supported the Taliban.  For almost the past two centuries, the Deobandis have run a “vast network” of madrassas (religious schools), especially in India and Pakistan.    

          Al-Qaeda.  As the reputed perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks on the United States,[7] al-Qaeda is often thought of as the more aggressive of the Sunni jihadist groups, but that reputation has been eclipsed by internal rivalries and by ISIS, a movement that grew out of “al-Qaeda in Iraq.”  Nevertheless, al-Qaeda continues to have networks throughout the world, several identified  by area, such as “al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”  Its present commander is the Egyptian Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri, the successor to Osama bin Laden.  It is interesting that although al-Zawahiri is a forceful promoter of violence toward the West, he differs from Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, the founder of “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” in taking a milder approach to Shias and other Sunnis.  Noraiee says of al-Zawahiri that “while he rejected Shias, he considered them ignorant and thus in need of further guidance.”  Al-Zarqawi (1966-2006), on the other hand, “killed ordinary Shiites” (i.e., Shias) and “promoted harsh engagement” even with Sunnis of a somewhat different persuasion. 

          ISIS.  A Salafist jihadist movement, ISIS[8] inherited “the most hard-line of al-Qaeda traditions.”  Noraiee spells out in detail the guiding ideas of Abu Bakar Naji, which call for a jihad that passes through successive stages of extreme violence in a “total war to destroy others’ identities and existence.”  The goal, according to Naji, is a caliphate involving both “societal purification and territorial expansion.”  The leaders of ISIS are mainly Salafist-educated Arabs who have little connection with madrassas, and include many Muslims who have received their education in the West.  Consistently with that, many of its combatants are “foreign fighters” who come to it from outside Syria or Iraq.  A spokesman has invited Muslims to join “if you disbelieve in democracy, secularism, nationalism, as well as all the other garbage and ideas from the West.”  ISIS claims that its caliphate is the only legitimate one, and combines this exclusionary attitude with a desire for world expansion.  To that end, it makes abundant use of social media, and has an English-language magazine.

          Taliban.  Once led by Mullah Omar, the Taliban became divided over his successor after his death in 2013.  The Taliban name is derived from “school boys,” coming from the word “talibs,” the students who attended Deobandi madrassas in Pakistan. The Taliban have their roots in the Pashtun tribe, although not all Pashtuns are Taliban.  The movement originated in a struggle against the mujahidin warlords who took over in Afghanistan after the Soviet Union was defeated there.  Noraiee says the Taliban haven’t formulated a literature crystalizing their ideology.  Rather, they are locally rooted, mixing their Islamic religious views with local customs.  The movement spread to Pakistan, but otherwise seems to have no expansionist or international aspirations.  This is not to say that the Taliban are not brutal or  militant: “It was mainly given publicity for its strict policies against women’s education [and] demolition of historical heritage sites.”  They provided al-Qaeda shelter early on, but are not affiliated with it.

          Boko Haram.  This Wahhabist/Salafist group is infamous for its brutality, which arguably exceeds that of any of the others.  It is centered in northeast Nigeria, but extends also to Cameroon, Chad and Niger.  In early 2015, it declared its allegiance to ISIS.

“Awakening Movement” (Iraq).  During the U.S. involvement in Iraq, one hundred thousand Sunni tribesmen from Anbar Province were mobilized to fight al-Qaeda.  A key development (marking for the opponents of ISIS a disastrous loss of a major U.S. ally) occurred later when many of the tribal militias joined ISIS, feeling deeply alienated from the Maliki government in Baghdad.

          Al-Nosrah Front (also called the Nusra Front).  This is one of the radical jihadist groups seeking to overthrow President Assad in Syria.  In common with ISIS, it grew out of “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” and it remains affiliated with al-Qaeda.  Although sometimes working with ISIS, it has also clashed violently  with ISIS over territorial control.  Its relationship with ISIS is said to have deteriorated after ISIS tried to absorb it in 2013.

          The Shia

          Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI).  Noraiee discusses at length the thinking of the Ayatollah Khomeini, who led the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979.   Khomeini, in common with so many others, sought a “purification” of Islam, “brutally suppressing… his opponents’ interpretation of Islam” and advancing “a specific Shia interpretation.”  Noraiee points out that this did not prevent Khomeini from using much the same rhetoric and ideas as the radical Salafists such as Sayyid Qutb (despite Qutb’s advocating killing Shia).   The IRI actively supports the Assad government in Syria, the Maliki government in Iraq, and Hezbollah in Lebanon

Noraiee doesn’t give much attention to other Shia factions, but mentions Hezbollah in Lebanon as being associated with “hard-line elements in Iran” and backing Assad in Syria.  He also writes briefly of the Shia militias in Iraq, which are “organized and supported by Iran” and are, in the opinion of Kurdish leader Masrour Barzani, “even worse than ISIS in Iraq.” 

We submitted this article to a friend from Bangladesh raised as a Muslim, and he commented that it would be well “to include smaller Shi’ite groups like the Alawites of Syria, the Druze of Lebanon and Israel, and the dispersed but cosmopolitan Ismailis who, despite their small numbers, play an outsized role in the evolution of political Islam’s internal conflicts and external impact.”

          Others

          Sufism.  Noraiee mentions Sufism several times without telling much about it.  It is not considered a sect, but rather a “dimension” of Islam that for over a millennium has sought a mystical inner experience of Islamic Truth.  All Muslims, including Shias, can be Sufists, although Sunnis predominate in the leadership.   There are a number of Sufi orders, and a variety of devotional practices.  Adherents meet in congregations under the leadership of Sufi masters.

          The moderates.  In several places, Noraiee speaks of “ordinary, moderate Muslims,” distinguishing them from radical jihadists.  His references include: “more moderate Wahhabis and Salafists”… “conservative and even quietist Sunni authorities”… “moderate Islamists, particularly Muslim Brotherhood organizations such as…” and “large sections of Deobandis are still traditional, quietist, and conservative.”  He tells how “in a 2015 fatwa, over 1,000 Indian Islamic scholars – including muftis and imams – have called ISIS’s actions ‘absolutely inhuman,’” and in an Appendix he spells out the Executive Summary of an Open Letter that 175 Islamic scholars sent to the head of ISIS.  The letter asserted the right of Muslims to differ on anything other than fundamentals of the Islamic faith, and declared that Islam forbids killing innocents, diplomats, journalists, and aid workers.  It said Islam forbids mistreating Christians or any “People of the Scripture”; the reintroduction of slavery; the forcing of people to convert; the denial of “their rights” to women [although this causes us to ask what the signers’ views are about the rights women have]; the use of torture; and the declaration of a caliphate “without consensus from all Muslims.”  Noraiee’s readers will find it worthwhile the read the entire Executive Summary, which covers still more.  As with anything of its sort, it suggests many questions, both about what it says (such who the signers count among the “innocents”) and what it doesn’t say.  In its allusions to moderation, Noraiee’s book leaves much unexplored about an aspect of Islam that is of especial importance to those, in the West and among Muslims themselves, who are looking for allies against radical jihadism.  It whets our appetite to know more.  It would be well, for example, to be informed about Saudi Arabia’s seeming contradictions.  We know the country is Wahhabist/Salafist, but Noreiee tells us its top official clerics have condemned ISIS and have said that “terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.”  The Saudi grand mufti has said “that under sharia law, terrorists merit the punishment of execution….”

 

The Rivalries 

          The larger picture of blood-thirsty animus among the jihadists themselves is commented upon by Noraiee when he refers to “conflicts we now find erupting between radical jihadists, not only in Syria and Iraq but also in all other parts of the world.”  Our reference to this as “rivalry” is perhaps too limited, since that word suggests primarily a struggle for position.  Most assuredly the conflicts reflect such a struggle, but they also go to deep-seated differences among people who see things in black and white, regard each difference as an existential chasm, and have little if any regard for the lives of the “others.”  A shorthand way of saying this is that the conflicts are among fanatics.  It is a fanaticism that wears various faces, along a spectrum from hooded beheaders to soft-spoken, clean-cut young Iranian business administration professors in a mid-western American university who comment casually that it is all right to kill a Baha’i on the street.

          The mutual hatreds run together into a tangled web, complicating any effort to do more than point to a few of them specifically.  Noraiee mentions the effort by Arab countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to “weaken Iran.”  Turkey is, in addition, active against ISIS and “has continued to attack Kurdish forces.”  Al-Qaeda and ISIS are both “threats against Saudi Arabia,” and we recall that in 1987 “about 400 pilgrims, mostly from Iran, were killed” by Saudi police in Mecca as the “pilgrims” marched in a political demonstration.  In Iraq, even years after the withdrawal of American troops, explosions occur so often that the world virtually takes for granted an amount of mutual slaughter that would seem inconceivable elsewhere.  In Afghanistan, the Taliban are seen as “unbelievers” by “radical Salafists,” have long conducted their warfare against the mujahidin warlords and the established government of the country, have fought against the Iranian Shia on Iran’s eastern border, and have clashed among themselves over the succession after the death of Mullah Omar. 

          ISIS, of course, fights both “the far and the near enemies,” and these include almost everybody.  ISIS claims exclusive dominion over the Islamic world and, beyond that, wants the eventual “global rule of ‘real’ Muslims.”  Noraiee cites al-Zarqawi’s “ideological blueprint” as calling for opposition to “Shias and the Iranian regime.”  Accordingly, “ISIS has attacked Shia mosques in Kuwait, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and even Bangladesh,” and has sought to have the Sunni population in Iran revolt there.  The violence, however, has not just been against Shias; an Islamic scholar reports that “ISIS has not hesitated to kill many Sunni clerics who oppose them in different countries.”   As ISIS has expanded into Afghanistan, it has had “many bloody clashes” with the Taliban.  In June 2015 “ISIS supporters… beheaded 10 members of the Taliban.”  In Syria, ISIS has executed “some senior members of al-Nosrah Front.”   Jaish-al Islam is a coalition of fifty rebel factions fighting the Assad government in Syria, and the brutality of its clash with ISIS is illustrated by ISIS’s having beheaded eleven of its members, prompting a revenge beheading of eighteen ISIS members.  Each group has taken a macabre pleasure in videoing the beheadings.[9]

          Although its treatment seems out of proportion to that given his other topics, Noraiee has devoted an entire section to a jihadist and ethnic nationalist movement among Sunnis in southeastern Iran.  At its origin this movement was known as Jondollah – the Army of God.  As with other Sunni/Salafist groups, it sought to “purify” Islam and hated Shias as well as moderate Sunnis, starting its armed struggle in 2004 with beheadings, suicide bombings, and “deliberately indiscriminate massacre of civilians in Shia places of worship.”  It has not, however, had international objectives (i.e., sought to fight “the far enemy”).  One of its leaders has called for the killing of all Israelis as collaborators with the Israeli government.   Jondollah split into several small factions, by no means homogeneous, after Iran executed its first leader in 2010.  Its main successor organization, Jaish-e Adl (JAD), has moved away from Islamic jihadism and toward Baluch[10] nationalism, becoming more accepting of both Shia and moderate Sunnis.  As an indication that radical jihadists are often a loud and violent minority, Noraiee says Jondollah has not enjoyed general public support within the Sunni population of perhaps 1.5 to 2 million people in the Baluchistan area.

So we see from this partial summary that Noraiee’s readable short book, though by no means exhaustive or definitive, is an excellent introduction. 

 

Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest Through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad

Leo Hohmann

WND Books, 2017

 

          Leo Hohmann is a long-time journalist who is news editor for World Net Daily, a major conservative internet news outlet.  Stealth Invasion is a rich source of information about Muslim immigration, with primary emphasis upon the United States.  He is conservative, deeply critical of the increasing Muslim presence, and orients his discussion, especially near the end of the book, to Christian readers.  Whether these qualities decrease  – or rather increase  – the weight to be given to his judgments is for each of our readers to decide.  What we are doing with these reviews is to lay out three contributions that we consider significant to the subject, and which provide information most of us lack.  

          Hohmann cites a report by the Pew Research Center in January 2016 that estimates that at that time three and a third million Muslims lived in the United States, vested either with citizenship or permanent legal status.  An additional 240,000 come in each year, he says, in various capacities: as refugees, green-card holders, students, or workers on temporary work visas.  After the civil war began in Syria in March 2011, more than 13,000 refugees from that country were resettled in American communities by October 1, 2016.

          The mechanism for this influx is elaborate.  Nine nonprofit agencies bring in refugees under contract with the U. S. government, and engage more than 350 subcontractors.  The VOLAGs (volunteer agencies) include the International Rescue Committee, the U.S. Committee  for Refugees and Immigrants, the Ethiopian Community Development Council, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and five major Christian denominations or councils.  An annual “abstract” is submitted by each resettlement contractor for each of the communities receiving refugees.  These abstracts contain information about the number of refugees, their origins, and the services they will receive.  The public is in the main not informed about all this, given the silence that prevails among the local media.

          Hohmann describes in detail how much of the resettlement is done in secret, is imposed on local communities without their consent, gives rise to local resistance, and divides communities.  Of the 132,000 Somali refugees brought in since 1983, he says “they have been secretly planted in dozens of communities.”  He adds that “the people in these communities are never told that the changes being foisted upon them are being centrally planned by bureaucrats in Washington and the resettlement agencies….”  Secretary of State John Kerry overrode the request by over two dozen state governors not to resettle Syrian refugees in their states because of concerns that vetting is inadequate to screen out terrorists.   As residents find their communities changing for the worse, resistance movements spring up, but Hohmann says they wither as people find the local governments and media unresponsive.  He devotes a chapter to the impact on Amarillo, Texas, a city of 240,000, where seventy-five different languages and dialects are spoken within its school system and “small ghettos” have fragmented the city.

          The initial resettlements are only part of the story.  Of the 240,000 mentioned above, approximately half are issued “green cards.”  This puts them on “a fast track toward full U.S. citizenship, including voting rights.”  There is a multiplier: those with green cards are “given the opportunity to bring their families into the United States.”  There are H1-B and H2-B visas for skilled and unskilled workers, respectively; and an “entrepreneur visa” to do such things as “run hotels and convenience stores.”   In addition, a yearly “Diversity Visa Lottery” is held to admit about 50,000 people from countries that don’t “otherwise send many immigrants to the United States.”

As mentioned above, the United States has resettled 132,000 Sunni Muslims from Somalia in American communities since 1983, and Hohmann says an immigration lawyer told him that most Somali asylum-seekers “never show up for their asylum hearings,” but are not deported.  We are told that “refugees are different from asylum seekers, who show up uninvited at the border,” whereas refugees come in through the provisions of the Refugee Act of 1980.  (Illegal immigrants, euphemistically known as “undocumented,” who have come in by the millions are another category altogether.)  Those arriving as refugees, Hohmann says, “immediately qualify for a full slate of government goodies that aren’t offered to most other immigrants.”  These include “everything from subsidized housing to food stamps, aid to families with dependent children, cash stipends, and Medicaid.” They can apply for citizenship after they’ve been in the country five years.

Except for the illegal immigration, all of this is done under the color of law.  As chairman of the U.S. Senate Immigration Subcommittee, Senator Edward Kennedy shepherded the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 through Congress.  Family reunification, not the earlier per-country quota system, became the guiding principle.  It has become commonplace to quote Kennedy as having assured the Senate that “the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset.”  This assurance has certainly not proved true.     During the intervening years, Hohmann says, “Congress, whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans, has done nothing to stem the tide.”  As with so much else in American social thinking, the philosophy has morphed from a bare beginning to something quite expansive.  In a commencement address at Boston’s Northeastern University in May 2016, then-Secretary of State John Kerry “told students to prepare for a ‘borderless world.’”

Hohmann discusses the nature of the Muslim population in the United States.  Although he acknowledges that “there are many good Muslims,” he is one of those who see reason for concern.  The fact that “only certain Muslims take the principles of jihad seriously enough to attack us” doesn’t fully reassure him.  Hohmann says that “due to the nature of Islam, it’s very difficult, often impossible, to sniff out a radicalized Muslim before he strikes.”  Moreover, the situation is not static: “Terrorism experts tell us the process of radicalization can happen within a matter of weeks.” 

He notes the refugees’ “poor record of assimilation.”[11]  “Muslim women sue their employers to be able to wear the hijab.  Schools, hospitals, and prisons must provide halal meat… Muslims push for separate sharia tribunals to settle their family disputes.”   Some two dozen Somalis in Minnesota have sued their employer for “having been denied a place to pray at the manufacturing plant.”  It is possible, of course, that none of this is representative of the Muslim population in general (although we don’t know that), but “a 2015 study commissioned by the Center for Security Policy found that 51 percent of American Muslims preferred to live under sharia law.”  For those under thirty, it was 60 percent.  The same poll showed that “nearly a quarter believe the use of violent jihad is justified in establishing sharia.”  Hohmann points out how “more than forty” Somalis have either tried to join terrorist groups overseas or been “tried and convicted of providing material support to overseas terrorist organizations.” 

The Muslim Brotherhood , founded in 1928 and with Sayyid Qutd as a “doctrinal godfather,” is present in eighty countries, but as “an extreme Islamist organization[12] whose overarching goal is to create a global caliphate governed by sharia,” it has a long history of conflict within the Islamic swath.  This has led to bans in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.  Hohmann gives considerable attention to the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States, where, according to “former FBI counterterrorism specialist John Guandolo… almost all the major U.S. Muslim organizations are dominated” by it.  “Front groups” of the Muslim Brotherhood are said to include the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim-American Society (MAS), the Muslim Student Association (MSA), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), which “holds the deed to roughly 25 percent of the mosques in North America.”

We are admonished to pay more attention to what Islamists say to each other than they do to the American public.  Hohmann tells of a speech given at the annual convention of the Muslim-American Society in late 2015 “openly calling for an Islamic-inspired revolution in America.”  He refers to a “notoriously radical mosque” in Boston, and another in Phoenix.  Part of the evidence at the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas in 2007 was “An Explanatory Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” written in 1991 and “seized in 2004 by FBI agents during a raid on a Muslim Brotherhood safe house in northern Virginia.”  The Memorandum urged the adoption of an “absorption mentality,” spoke of a “civilization jihad process,” and explained that “the brothers must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”  The result, Hohmann says, is that “unlike the violent jihad we see in daily acts of terror around the world, civilization jihad is stealthy and less obvious.  It uses migration, high birthrates, and lack of assimilation to build a parallel society.”  The 2004 FBI raid also discovered, according to Guandolo, a recording of a speech by a Muslim Brotherhood leader about Muslim training camps and firearms training in America.  

It is part of the mindset of many Americans to reject all of this as fabrication and paranoia.  There are a good many indicia, however, that make it less than reasonable to dismiss it out of hand.  A simple dismissal turns a blind eye to the many manifestations of Islamic radicalism across the world.  The indicia are enough to make the existence of a threat (both of physical violence and of attempted cultural displacement) an open question.  It is arguable that the question need not be resolved.  Readers will recall an option we mentioned earlier: that a threat, if there is one, need not exist.  A threat from Islam is important to the United States (and Europe) only because large-scale Muslim immigration has been welcomed.  If Islam stays within its historic swath (together, perhaps, with the United States’ staying out of their affairs), it is not an existential issue for the West.

The demographic transformation of Europe receives rather little attention from Hohmann, but is an essential part of the bigger picture.  The world teems with people eager to come into the West.  Patrick Buchanan writes that “Africa has a billion people, a number that will double by 2050, and double again to 4 billion by 2100.”  He asks, “Are those billions of Africans going to endure lives of poverty under ruthless, incompetent, corrupt and tyrannical regimes, if Europe’s door remains wide open?”  We have the impression that the horrors in Syria have been the reason for the flood into Europe, but Hohmann points out that “while the media mostly blamed the influx on the Syrian civil war, only 20 percent of the 381,412 refugees and migrants who arrived in Europe by sea in the first eight months of 2015 were from Syria [our emphasis].  The rest were from all over the Middle East, central Asia, and North Africa.”  The Schengen Agreement, signed by five European countries in 1985 but now grown to encompass 26 countries, did away with internal border checks within the “Schengen Area,” with the result that once the migrants have gotten inside Europe they have been able to move freely from one place to another.  A recent exception: the “European migrant crisis” in 2016 caused Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Poland and Sweden to enact temporary border controls.

Although Stealth Invasion deals with only with the specific issue of Muslim immigration, it is worthwhile to consider its many revelations about the governmental, academic and media enthusiasm for that immigration as, in effect, a case study of the mechanisms of governance by America’s (and Europe’s) dominant opinion elite.  Hohmann gives many examples of how the “establishment media,” national and local, hammers home what can only be characterized as pro-immigration propaganda.  Flowery feature stories and compassionate anecdotes are combined with a failure to cover unfavorable information, amounting to a vast blackout.  Violent crimes aren’t reported; and, when they are, the perpetrators often aren’t identified as Muslim immigrants (just as the public usually is not told that a crime was committed by an illegal Hispanic immigrant).  Those who dissent are denounced as “bigots” and “Islamophobes.”  Little is more taboo in American life than a violation of “political correctness.”  The book is replete with many specifics.

The media are just a part of it.  The web of institutions that occupy most of the spaces in American life play an active role.  These range from schools whose students are taken on field trips to mosques, to universities that bring in “thousands of young people from the Middle Eastern countries,” to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center, to church groups acting out of a sense of caring but that also profit from serving as resettlement agencies, to the “sanctuary cities” that refuse to enforce immigration laws, to the non-governmental agencies involved in humanitarian enterprises – and to many more, besides.  (Such a list is inadequate even to suggest how ubiquitous the institutional presence is, but readers are told a lot about it in Stealth Invasion.) 

 

Civilization Jihad and the Myth of Moderate Islam

Paul Sutliff

Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC, 2016

 

          Paul Sutliff, like Leo Hohmann, sounds the alarm against the Muslim penetration of the West, centering on the “civilization jihad” that he sees occurring in society, government, on college campuses and in the public schools.  In an Afterword that concludes his book, he says “the most important action that has to be accomplished is to declare the Muslim Brotherhood an enemy of the United States.”

          His credentials are not nearly as extensive as Hohmann’s, nor his knowledge of Islam as intimate as Noraiee’s, but his message is much the same as Hohmann’s and is to be taken seriously.  His education includes a bachelor’s degree in Religion and Philosophy, and a Master’s in Education, each from a Christian college.  He is a teacher of social studies at the high school level.  Placed in the context of the other books we are examining here, Sutliff’s contribution is largely to supply information that adds to the very considerable detail we have already seen.

          We have commented on the inability of non-Muslims to know fully and accurately “what is going on” in Muslim thinking and activity in America and Europe.  There is a profound epistemological problem in understanding what doctrines are extant, what their children are taught, how much “radical jihadism” there is and what influences (such as the Internet) provoke it, what they are saying to each other in their social media, to what extent their way of life corresponds with or stands in conflict to that of a Western society – and so much more.  The American public, for example, would be hard pressed to say whether female genital mutilation is occurring among them, whether fatwas are entered against those who convert to Christianity or otherwise leave the Islamic faith, whether honor killing (as occurs elsewhere, say) is condemned or looked upon favorably, and whether the Muslim population in general or in families will report any pending terrorist activity or will cooperate with authorities after one is carried out. 

          A mask is placed over Muslim reality if the Islamic immigrants adhere to a tactic discussed by Sutliff.  “My extensive research into Islam revealed that it is part of their belief structure to lie about what they believe to protect their faith.  This is called taqiyyah.  There are five additional terms under Islam that speak of lying to non-Muslims…. Yes, this does mean I do not trust Muslims to tell me the truth about their religion.”  Whether such a mask is worn by American and European Muslims is yet another thing most of us can’t know.  For his part, however, Sutliff cites a number of reasons for thinking it is.

          Among the reasons, he says, is that American students are taught about only five of what are really six “pillars of Islam.”   The five pillars are shahada (creed), the salat (five daily prayers), sawm (fasting), hajj (pilgrimage), and zakat (almsgiving).  “But,” Sutliff tells us, “there is a sixth pillar.”  It “was revealed by Al-Sarakhsi – an eleventh-century Hanafi iman, mujtahid, and judge – who outlined the eight rights of Allah… Within [the] first right are encompassed the six pillars… The sixth is jihad (holy war).”

          The mask is compounded, according to Sutliff, when disinformation about Islam is passed along to American  students in their textbooks.  As he dissects a popular textbook’s treatment of Islam, to which it devotes 44 pages in contrast to 14 for Christianity and 22 for Judaism, he points to much that is superficial gloss, passing over unattractive realities.

          When our friend from Bangladesh, in whom we have great confidence for an honest and informed opinion, commented on the concern about taqiyyah as a doctrine of deception among American Muslims, he downplayed it, not sensing “some conspiracy” among them to hide their true feelings.  He said the small Shi’ite groups like the Alawites, the Druze and the Ismailis do indeed “make the discretion of taqiyyah central to their theology as persecuted minorities among their more orthodox Muslim neighbors,” but this is to protect themselves from persecution by other Muslims.  An article to which he referred us explained that Muslims on various occasions historically have had to dissimulate about their beliefs in situations where they would otherwise be killed.  It observed that this is not unlike those who have professed other faiths.  Thus, the friend’s comments to us have highlighted what we have said here: that there is much that is indeterminate about the subject, requiring an open mind and further study.

 

As with the Noraiee and Hohmann books, Sutliff’s contains much more than we have been able to mention here.  All three are worth reading, for their own sakes or as part of the larger study we just mentioned, as each of us seeks to penetrate further into a subject that is of vital importance to the West.  

 

ENDNOTES

1.  The quotes from President Bush and Secretary of State John Kerry are given in the Paul Sutliff book (at pages 41 and 42) that will be reviewed here.

2.  The demand for cheap labor is not a recent development, though globalization has given it new shape.  “Guest workers” from Turkey have for several decades been invited into Germany in large numbers.  In the United States, less-paid immigration, both legal and illegal, has been welcomed by major businesses and agricultural groups.  Historically, most (perhaps all) societies incorporated slavery, peonage or serfdom into their basic economies.  Although “involuntary servitude” in those forms has in the main been done away with, “cheap labor” is still available through immigration and/or out-sourcing.

3.  This is the view expressed by Leo Hohmann on page 236 of one of the books we will be reviewing.

4.  It is little commented upon, but the combination of a large Muslim presence and an inability to know what is transpiring among them has serious implications for “civil liberties.”  This is so because if jihadist violence grows as a threat and is to be prevented, the society may come to feel it imperative to resort to a broad and long-continuing surveillance, even though that is incompatible with the liberties fundamental to a free society.  It would necessarily be surveillance without the prior showing of “probable cause” as to each individual surveilled, would destroy personal autonomy and privacy, and would entail secretive and extensive police powers at odds with “limited government” and “the rule of law.”  The prospect of an otherwise unacceptable surveillance – with possible long-term consequences changing the historic nature of American society – is one of the things that should be at the forefront of any consideration of mass Islamic immigration.  (Those who call themselves “libertarians” are inclined to support open borders.  They would do well to think about whether, as a de facto matter, that is consistent with their support for limited government.)

          If such a “police state” comes into being, the Left, articulating its view from its many outlets, will predictably blame it on the main society.  That will be misplaced blame, since the cause will more reasonably be found in the creation of the threatening conditions in the first place.  Such a misplacing of blame can for many decades warp the understanding of our historical epoch.

5.  See especially Patrick J. Buchanan’s The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2002), which we reviewed in this Journal in our Spring 2002 issue, pp. 126-130.  The review can be accessed free of charge at www.dwightmurphey-collectedwritings.info as Book Review 68 (i.e., BR68).

6.  The desire for “purity” that seems ubiquitous among the Islamic groups is reflected in there being two different forms of “jihad” (struggle).  Noreiee explains that “jihad asghar” (small struggle) has to do with physical combat, whereas “jihad akbar” (great struggle) “relates to the comparatively greater challenge of self-improvement and spiritual warfare.”

7.  The author of this article is one of those who finds many reasons to doubt the conventional account of the 9/11 atrocities.  It that account is false, the implications are, of course, endless so far as our understanding of the contemporary world is concerned, including our understanding of such that is discussed in this article.

8.  Noreiee explains that although he uses the name ISIS (Islamic State in Syria), because it is the most commonly used designation, the group is also called Islamic State (IS) and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), in addition to “Daesh,” a pejorative name that ISIS detests.

9.  We may wonder why beheading plays so prominent a role.  It may have something to do with the verse in the Quran that says “when you face those who are blasphemous, behead them to shed their blood.”

10.  Baluch is also spelled Baloch, and refers to a people spread across southeastern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even the Arabian Peninsula.

11.  “Assimilation” was in general the American ideal under the “melting pot” aspiration, but pronouncedly separate identity has been a way of life for, say, the Amish in Kansas, orthodox Jews on the lower east side of Manhattan, and the Chinese in various Chinatowns.  Even when it remains the aspiration, assimilation is difficult, sometimes taking generations.  Now, though, within America’s dominant opinion culture, “multiculturalism” has replaced the hope for a “melting pot.”  What is now the norm is an accommodation of differences by many who are even eager to subordinate the mainstream to Muslim practices.

12.  By contrast, it is worthwhile to remember Noreiee’s mention of “moderate Islamists, particularly Muslim Brotherhood organizations such as….”          

 

 

 

           

 



[1]   The quotes from President Bush and Secretary of State John Kerry are given in the Paul Sutliff book (at pages 41 and 42) that will be reviewed here.

[2]   The demand for cheap labor is not a recent development, though globalization has given it new shape.  “Guest workers” from Turkey have for several decades been invited into Germany in large numbers.  In the United States, less-paid immigration, both legal and illegal, has been welcomed by major business and agricultural groups.  Historically, most (perhaps all) societies incorporated slavery, peonage or serfdom into their basic economies.  Although “involuntary servitude” in those forms has in the main been done away with, “cheap labor” is still available through immigration and/or out-sourcing.

[3]   This is the view expressed by Leo Hohmann on page 236 of one of the books we will be reviewing.

[4]   It is little commented upon, but the combination of a large Muslim presence and an inability to know what is transpiring among them has serious implications for “civil liberties.”  This is so because if jihadist violence grows as a threat and is to be prevented, the society may come to feel it imperative to resort to a broad and long-continuing surveillance, even though that is incompatible with the liberties fundamental to a free society.  It would necessarily be surveillance without the prior showing of “probable cause” as to each individual surveilled, would destroy personal autonomy and privacy, and would entail secretive and extensive police powers at odds with “limited government” and “the rule of law.” The prospect of an otherwise unacceptable surveillance – with possible long-term consequences changing the historic nature of American society – is one of the things that should be at the forefront of any consideration of mass Islamic immigration.  (Those who call themselves “libertarians” are inclined to support open borders.  They would do well to think about whether, as a de facto matter, that is consistent with their support for limited government.)

If such a “police state” comes into being, the Left, articulating its view from its many outlets, will predictably blame it on the main society.  That will be misplaced blame, since the cause will more reasonably be found in the creation of the threatening conditions in the first place.  Such a misplacing of blame can for many decades warp the understanding of our historical epoch.   

[5]   See especially Patrick J. Buchanan’s The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2002, which we reviewed in this Journal in our Spring 2002 issue, pp. 126-130.  The review can be accessed free of charge at www.dwightmurphey-collectedwritings.info as Book Review 68 (i.e., BR68).

[6]   The desire for “purity” that seems ubiquitous among the Islamic groups is reflected in there being two different forms of “jihad” (struggle).  Noreiee explains that “jihad asghar” (small struggle) has to do with physical combat, whereas “jihad akbar” (great struggle) “relates to the comparatively greater challenge of self-improvement and spiritual warfare.”

[7]   The author of this article is one of those who finds many reasons to doubt the conventional account of the 9/11 atrocities.  If that account is false, the implications are, of course, endless so far as our understanding of the contemporary world is concerned, including our understanding of much that is discussed in this article.

[8]   Noraiee explains that although he uses the name ISIS (Islamic State in Syria), because it is the most commonly used designation, the group is also called Islamic State (IS) and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), in addition to “Daesh,” a pejorative name that ISIS detests. 

[9]   We may wonder why beheading plays so prominent a role.  It may have something to do with the verse in the Quran that says “when you face those who are blasphemous, behead them to shed their blood.”

[10]  Baluch is also spelled Baloch, and refers to a people spread across southeastern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even the Arabian Peninsula.

 

[11]  “Assimilation” was in general the American ideal under the “melting pot” aspiration, but pronouncedly separate identity has been a way of life for, say, the Amish in Kansas, orthodox Jews on the lower east side of Manhattan, and the Chinese in various Chinatowns.   Even when it remains the aspiration, assimilation is difficult, sometimes taking generations.  Now, though, within America’s dominant opinion culture, “multiculturalism” has replaced the hope for a “melting pot.  What is now the norm is an accommodation of differences by many who are even eager to subordinate the mainstream to Muslim practices.

[12]   By contrast, it is worthwhile to remember Noraiee’s mention of “moderate Islamists, particularly Muslim Brotherhood organizations such as…”