Jihad terrorism in London

Within hours of the four reported explosions in London yesterday—three in the subway, and one on a crowded double—decker bus—the so—called 'Secret Organization of al—Qaida in Europe' claimed responsibility for the attacks. This same group previously took credit for another major act of jihad terrorism in Europe: the series of Madrid, Spain commuter train bombings in March 2004, which killed 191 people.

A video was found in a trash can outside a Madrid mosque, two days after that attack, with a statement purported to be from the group's spokesman, nicknamed 'Abu Dujan al Afghani.' In the July 7, 2005 statement, the group proclaimed, '...the heroic mujahedeen carried out a blessed attack in London, and now Britain is burning with fear and terror, from north to south, east to west.'

As the toll of deaths and injuries mounts from these horrific blasts—aptly termed by London emergency management officials as, 'A callous attack on innocent members of the public'—the intent of the self—proclaimed 'mujahadeen' perpetrators merits examination within the overall strategy of Islamic jihad. Indeed to sow terror, and thus promote the Islamization of infidel territories, is consistent with jihad tactics that date back well over a millennium.

Ibn Hudayl, a 14th  century Granadan author of an important treatise on jihad, explained the original methods which facilitated the violent, chaotic jihad conquest of the Iberian peninsula, and other parts of Europe, during the prior six centuries:

It is permissible to set fire to the lands of the enemy, his stores of grain, his beasts of burden — if it is not possible for the Muslims to take possession of them — as well as to cut down his trees, to raze his cities, in a word, to do everything that might ruin and discourage him, provided that the imam (i.e. the religious 'guide' of the community of believers) deems these measures appropriate, suited to hastening the Islamization of that enemy or to weakening him.  Indeed, all this contributes to a military triumph over him or to forcing him to capitulate. [1]

And the 20th century historian Charles Emmanuel Dufourcq characterized the impact of these repeated attacks, indistinguishable in motivation from modern acts of jihad terrorism, such as the Madrid bombings on (3/11/04), or yesterday's London bombings (7/7/05):

It is not difficult to understand that such expeditions sowed terror.  The historian al—Maqqari, who wrote in seventeenth—century Tlemcen in Algeria, explains that the panic created by the Arab horsemen and sailors, at the time of the Muslim expansion in the zones that saw those raids and landings, facilitated the later conquest, if that was decided on:  'Allah,' he says, 'thus instilled such fear among the infidels that they did not dare to go and fight the conquerors; they only approached them as suppliants, to beg for peace.' [2]

Writing in 1978, Dufourcq (d. 1982), one of the preeminent scholars of European Islam, worried (even then) that historical and cultural revisionism of this established legacy of jihad might precipitate a recurrence of,

...the upheaval carried out on our continent (i.e., Europe) by Islamic penetration more than a thousand years ago [3]

Less than a decade after Dufourcq's death in 1982, the historian Bat Ye'or (from a 1991 French interview, published in English translation in 1994) echoed his intuitive concerns about Europe's re—Islamization, and warned more broadly,

I do not see serious signs of a Europeanization of Islam anywhere, a move that would be expressed in a relativization of religion, a self—critical view of the history of Islamic imperialism...we are light years away from such a development...On the contrary, I think that we are participating in the Islamization of Europe, reflected both in daily occurrences and in our way of thinking...All the racist fanaticism that permeates the Arab countries and Iran has been manifested in Europe in recent years...

Julien Benda in his classic 1928 La Trahison de Clercs (The Treason of the Intellectuals) decried with prophetic accuracy how the abandonment of objective truth promoted the rise of totalitarian ideologies. Ignoring, dismissing, or worse, continuing to vilify thoughtful and intrepid scholars such as Dufourcq and Bat Ye'or reflects the broader La Trahison de Clercs of our time: the complete failure of Western intellectuals to study, understand, and acknowledge the heinous consequences of the living Islamic institution of jihad war.

Those myriad intellectuals in denial might now, at last, wish to study with care the continuing legacy of jihad war, and pay serious attention to its modern Muslim proponents—including the renowned jihadist cleric Yusuf al—Qaradawi recently lionized—with tragic irony—by London's own current mayor as a 'progressive.'   Here are some of Qaradawi's views on jihad and jihad terrorism:

It has been determined by Islamic law that the blood and property of people of Dar Al—Harb [the Domain of Disbelief where the war for the domination of Islam should be waged, i.e. including within Western Europe and America] is not protected. Because they fight against and are hostile towards the Muslims, they annulled the protection of his blood and his property... in modern war, all of society, with all its classes and ethnic groups, is mobilized to participate in the war, to aid its continuation, and to provide it with the material and human fuel required for it to assure the victory of the state fighting its enemies. Every citizen in society must take upon himself a role in the effort to provide for the battle. The entire domestic front, including professionals, laborers, and industrialists, stands behind the fighting army, even if it does not bear arms. [4]

Allah has also made the prophet Muhammad into an epitome for religious warriors [Mujahideen] since he ordered Muhammed to fight for religion... the first assignment is to prepare the hero who is willing to put his life in his own hands for Allah's sake, and he who does not care whether he encounters death or death encounters him...He [i.e., a self—immolating bomber] kills the enemy while taking self—risk, similarly to what Muslims did in the past... He wants to scare his enemies, and the religious authorities have permitted this. They said that if he causes the enemy both sorrow and fear of Muslims... he is permitted to risk himself and even get killed. [5]

And Qaradawi stated his ultimate goals explicitly—consistent with orthodox jihad ideology—at a Muslim youth convention in 1995 in Toledo, Ohio: 'We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America!'. In light of the London bombings, will the West's intellectuals finally awaken to this threat—the jihad? Will they study with seriousness and urgency the theological—juridical underpinnings of the Islamic jihad, and its 14 centuries of brutal, imperialistic conquests, continuing through the present? Hope springs eternal.

Dr. Bostom is an Associate Professor of Medicine, and the author of the forthcoming The Legacy of Jihad, on Prometheus Books (2005).

[1] Ibn Hudayl (French translation by Louis Mercier), L'Ornement des Ames, Paris, 1939, p. 195. English translation by Michael J. Miller
[2] Charles Emmanuel Dufourcq, La Vie Quotidienne dans l'Europe Medievale sous Domination Arabe, Paris, 1978, p. 20.
[3] Dufourcq, La Vie Quotidienne dans l'Europe Medievale sous Domination Arabe, pp. 9—10.
[4] Al—Sharq Al—Awsat (London), July 19, 2003. 'Those Who Oppose Martyrdom Operations and Claim that they are Suicide are Making a Great Mistake'
From the July 2003, European Council for Fatwa and Research, headed by Sheikh Al—Qaradawi, which convened in Stockholm. Middle East Media Research Institute. July 24, 2003 No.542 http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP54203 
[5] Al—Jazeera Television [Qatar], June 19, 2001. 'The Prophet Muhammad as a Jihad Model' Middle East Media Research Institute, July 24, 2001 No.246. http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP24601