Know thy enemy, or at least acknowledge him

Raymond Ibrahim, writing on Victor Davis Hanson’s website, laments that our Defense Department does not teach, and along with the State Department appears not fully to appreciate, well-documented Islamist strategies of warfare. Ibrahim notes that the senior Service college of the Department of Defense has not incorporated into its curriculum a systematic study of Muhammad as a military or political leader.

As a consequence, he argues, “we still do not have an in-depth understanding of the war-fighting doctrine laid down by Muhammad, how it might be applied today by an increasing number of Islamic groups, or how it might be countered.” These doctrines include (a) the “war of deceit,” which permits Muslims to lie and dissemble whenever they are under the authority of the infidel and, in fact, places deceit on a par with physical courage as an attribute for waging war and (b) the “Abode of War versus the Abode of Islam” dichotomy, which maintains that Islam must always be in a state of animosity vis-à-vis the infidel world and, whenever possible, must wage wars until all infidel territory has been brought under Islamic rule.

Ibrahim sees our government’s deficiency in this regard as the product of Middle East/Islamic scholars who have made anathema anyone who dares imply that there may be some sort of connection between Islamic doctrine and modern-day Islamist terrorism. He notes that, “though there are today many Middle East studies departments, one will be sorely pressed to find any courses dealing with the most pivotal and relevant topics of today — such as Islamic jurisprudence and what it has to say about jihad or the concept of Abode of Islam versus the Abode of War.” Instead, according to Ibrahim, “the would-be student will be inundated with courses dealing with the evils of ‘Orientalism’ and colonialism. . . .”

There’s a competing explanation for why our government seems intent on ignoring, and maybe even ruling, out the connection between aspects of Islamic doctrine and the current jihad (the State Department has decided that the government should not call al Qaeda-type radicals “jihadis,” “mujahidin,” or iincorporate any other Arabic word of Islamic connotation such as “caliphate,” “Islamo-fascism,” “Salafi,” “Wahhabi,” and “Ummah”). That explanation relies on a combination of naivety and the desire not demonize a major religion or its millions of peaceful adherents.

The desire is commendable, but not inconsistent with knowing and acknowledging the lessons that the non-peaceful adherents take from that religion.

Via Stephen Wilson.


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