By Michael Widlanski
Muslims often say “sabeel Allah fi-al-sayf,” “the path of God is by the sword,” and this path, which once led to the gates of Vienna, or to Spain, or to France, or Asia, now seems to be leading to Africa.
Mali, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Libya, Nigeria and Egypt are all experiencing terrific violence at the hands of forces claiming to be carrying the banner of Islam.
The world looks on and acts slowly, if at all. Meanwhile, weapons proliferate, and many die.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees’ stream across Mali, as the UN debates what to do – much as it did when tens of thousands were slaughtered in Sudan.
Egypt’s mostly nonviolent revolution was hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leader says Jews and Christians are descended from apes and pigs. Egypt remilitarizes the Sinai Desert, and the US sends it F-16’s and more aid.
Tunisia’s secular opposition leader has been murdered, and the Islamic agenda rises in both Tunisia and Egypt, even as Christians are slaughtered in Egypt and Nigeria. Areas once conquered by Islam and now deemed somehow insufficiently Islamic, as well as areas not completely conquered by Islam are now being targeted by forces who call themselves “true Muslims.” Villages are destroyed in Algeria and Nigeria, their inhabitants often beheaded.
ISLAM HAS been knocking loudly and violently at the gates of the non-Muslim world ever since the prophet-general known as Muhammad sanctified, as jihad, land grabs for his “religion of peace.” In some respects, jihad was a way to sublimate the territorial urges of the Beduin that used to find their outlet in periodic raids known as Ghazwa. Jihad, as scholars observed, was a both a religious duty and a pragmatic safety valve.
Jihad is the “sixth pillar” of Islam, whose five basic commandments are known as khamsat arkaan al-Islam – the five pillars of Islam. Jihad, in other words, would be a bit like what Jews and Christians would call “the eleventh commandment” of the Ten Commandments.
This is important information, but it is being studiously avoided by leading Western officials who prefer to take a politically correct approach to Islamic conquest.
In his State of the Union speech, US President Barack Obama patted himself on the back for sending some transport planes to help France try to push back against the Islamic terrorists in Mali.
Obama claims to have eviscerated al-Qaida, but the actions of al-Qaida-inspired or linked groups in Africa make a mockery of his claims. Meanwhile, China and Russia, which have their eyes on the minerals of Africa, play the usual diplomatic games of supporting Islamic terror by refusing to countenance “interference in domestic affairs.”
Obama and his CIA director-designee John Brennan take a benign view of some of the Islamist movements, even helping the Brotherhood in Egypt, much as Jimmy Carter once helped the ayatollahs in Iran. Brennan, who speaks Arabic (badly), has publicly called jihad a “spiritual journey,” and both he and Obama believe that they know where Islam is headed.
They think it is headed to Indonesia – the most populous Islamic country in the world.
Obama and Brennan both spent part of their youth in Indonesia. They think Indonesia is an example of what Islam is and should be. But the Indonesia of their youth is not the model for most Muslims, who prefer to look to Mecca. Indeed the Islam of East Asia – Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines – is itself becoming much more violent and anti-Western.
The more radical Islamic forces are on the march, and they are not really impressed by Western solidarity, by speeches by Obama and Brennan. Many of the victims of jihad are now in Africa, but they will probably not be the last.
Michael Widlanski, an expert on Arab politics and communications, was a strategic affairs adviser in the Ministry of Public Security and is the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat published by Threshold/Simon and Schuster.