Mosques as Barracks in America
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan represents the triumphant Janus-faced approach to the fundamentalist global "Islamic revival." He and his pious forbears have now completed dismantling Turkey's secular experiment, and achieved the full-throated re-Islamization of Turkish society, an insidious process begun already within the decade after Ataturk's death, in 1938. When currying favor with gullible Western audiences, Erdogan burbles disingenuous ecumenical platitudes about the "Alliance of Civilizations." But in reality, this is an Islamization campaign promoted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, notably Saudi Arabia, which rewarded Erdogan, for his role in the Alliance, specifically, as "services to Islam," with the "King Faisal International Prize," considered the "Nobel prize" of the Arab world. Regardless, Erdogan has always aroused his Muslim constituencies by brazenly appealing to their deep-seated jihadist sentiments as he did while mayor of Istanbul, in 1997, delivering a fiery speech that reminded the masses of these words from the poem "The Soldier's Prayer," written (in 1912) by Turkish nationalist poet Ziya Gokalp:
The minarets are our bayonets, the domes our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the faithful our army.
Cited appropriately by successful opponents of minaret construction in Switzerland, such rhetoric should now resonate uncomfortably in America with the online release Monday June 6, 2011 of alarming survey data from a representative national sample of US mosques.
During August 2007, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) released "Radicalization in the West - The Homegrown Threat." This insightful 90-page report evaluated the threat that had become apparent since 9/11/2001, analyzing the roots of recent terror plots in the United States, from Lackawanna in upstate New York to Portland, Ore., to Fort Dix, NJ. Based upon these case-study analyses of individuals arrested for jihadist activity, the authors concluded that the "journey" of radicalization that produces homegrown jihadists began in so-called "Salafist" ("fundamentalist" to non-Muslims) mosques characterized by high levels of Sharia-Islamic Law-adherence. The landmark study just published, "Sharia and Violence in American Mosques" (Kedar M, Yerushalmi D. The Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2011, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 59-72) sought to expand considerably upon the NYPD's post-hoc, case study approach-systematically gathering objective survey data, with much greater methodological rigor-and address these two a priori questions: I) Is there a robust association between observable measures of religious devotion, coupled to Sharia-adherence in US mosques, and the presence of violence-sanctioning materials at these mosques?; and II) Is there a robust association between the presence of violence-sanctioning materials at a mosque, and the advocacy of jihadism by the mosque's leadership via recommending the study of these materials, or other manifest behaviors?
Full details of the sampling methodology, extracts of representative jihad promoting materials (texts), and specific Sharia-compliant behaviors recorded, are provided in the accompanying appendices, reproduced from the full study (which will be available here 6/6/11). In brief, survey data were collected from a nationally representative, random statistical sample of 100 US mosques, covering 14 states, and the District of Columbia. This concise overview of the basic data collection procedures-including a self-critical, honest caveat by the authors about "completeness" of the available information on US mosque locations-is reproduced verbatim from the report (p. 68):
A surveyor visited a subject mosque in order: (a) to observe and record 12 Sharia-adherent behaviors of the worshipers and the imam (or lay leader); (b) to observe whether the mosque contained the selected materials rated as moderate and severe; (c) to observe whether the mosque contained materials promoting, praising, or supporting violence or violent jihad; and (d) to observe whether the mosque contained materials indicating the mosque had invited guest speakers known to have promoted violent jihad. Thus, the survey only examined the presence of Sharia-adherent behaviors, the presence of violence positive materials in mosques, whether an imam would promote the study of violence-positive materials, and whether a mosque was used as a forum to promote violent jihad. Since there is no central body to which all mosques belong, it was difficult to ascertain that the sampling universe list was complete. This may have introduced bias into the sampling although the authors find no evidence of any systemic distortions.
The study's results provide clear-and ominous-affirmative answers to the a priori questions posed. Sharia-adherence was strongly associated with the presence of jihad-violence sanctioning materials, and the presence of jihad-violence sanctioning materials was in turn robustly associated advocacy of jihadism by mosque imams-religious leaders. This key summary finding was highlighted by the authors:
...51 percent of mosques had texts that either advocated the use of violence in the pursuit of a Shari'a-based political order or advocated violent jihad as a duty that should be of paramount importance to a Muslim; 30 percent had only texts that were moderately supportive of violence like the Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Fiqh as-Sunna; 19 percent had no violent texts at all.
Thus 81% of this statistical sample representative of US mosques were deemed as moderately (30%) to highly (51%) supportive of promulgating jihad violence to impose Shari'a.
Additional profoundly troubling findings emerge when the data are explored in depth beyond these summary observations. For example, only 4.7% of Muslim worshippers attended mosques where jihadist materials were not provided because Sharia-compliant mosques promoting jihad were the most heavily attended. The authors also describe these specific details indicating that the preponderance of US mosques sanction jihad terrorism and its ultimate goal of a Caliphate (i.e., the transnational imposition of strict Islamic law in current Muslim nations, and ultimately global imposition of Islamic Law, including in the US), if one includes advocacy of financial support for this sacralized violence (from pp. 67-69).
The survey found a strong correlation between the presence of severe violence-promoting literature and mosques featuring written, audio, and video materials that actually promoted such acts. By promotion of jihad, the study included literature encouraging worshipers to engage in terrorist activity, to provide financial support to jihadists, and to promote the establishment of a caliphate in the United States. These materials also explicitly praised acts of terror against the West; praised symbols or role models of violent jihad; promoted the use of force, terror, war, and violence to implement the
Sharia; emphasized the inferiority of non-Muslim life; promoted hatred and intolerance toward non-Muslims or notional Muslims; and endorsed inflammatory materials with anti-U.S. views... [O]f the 51 mosques that contained severe materials, 100 percent were led by imams who recommended that worshipers study texts that promote violence.
[M]osques containing violence positive materials were substantially more likely to include materials promoting financial support of terror than mosques that did not contain such texts. A disturbing 98 percent of mosques with severe texts included materials promoting financial support of terror. Those with only moderate rated materials on site were not markedly different, with 97 percent providing such materials.
These results were comparable when using other indicators of jihad promotion. Thus, 98 percent of mosques that contained severe-rated literature included materials promoting establishing an Islamic caliphate in the United States as did 97 percent of mosques containing only moderate rated materials.
These are the hard data that make plain why the "see no Sharia in America" mindslaughter redolent across the political spectrum amongst our policymaking, academic, and journalistic elites, is so dangerously delusive.
Indeed such disturbing survey results from a nationally representative sample of US mosques demonstrate Islam's doctrinal and behavioral consistency across nearly 14 centuries, past as prologue to the present. Over 17,000 jihad terror attacks have been committed by Muslims worldwide since the cataclysmic acts of jihad terrorism committed against the United States itself on September 11, 2001. These data should remind us that there is just one historically relevant meaning of jihad despite contemporary apologetics. Jahada, the root of the word jihad, appears 40 times in the Koran. With 4 exceptions, all the other 36 usages in the Koran as understood by both the greatest jurists and scholars of classical Islam (including Abu Yusuf, Averroes, Ibn Khaldun, and Al Ghazali), and ordinary Muslims-meant and mean, "he fought, warred or waged war against unbelievers and the like."
The Muslim prophet Muhammad waged a series of proto-jihad campaigns to subdue the Jews, Christians and pagans of Arabia. Numerous modern day pronouncements by leading Muslim theologians (see Yusuf Al-Qaradawi's "The Prophet Muhammad as a Jihad Model," 2001) confirm that Muhammad remains the major inspiration for jihadism today. Jihad has been pursued continuously since the 7th century advent of Islam, through the present, because it was institutionalized by seminal early Muslim theologians based on their interpretation of Koranic verses, and long chapters in the "hadith," or acts and sayings of Muhammad. Within a century of Muhammad's death, violent jihad conquests-achieved by religiously sanctioned massacre, pillage, enslavement, and deportation-Islamized a vast swath of territory, extending from modern Pakistan to Portugal. The permanent goal of jihad is to bring humanity, en bloc, under the jurisdiction of Sharia-a totalitarian system of religious governance, particularly oppressive to all non-Muslims, and women.
American Presidents John Quincy Adams and Theodore Roosevelt each possessed a remarkably clear, uncompromised understanding of the permanent Islamic institution of jihad war-both its doctrinal basis, and history. Regarding jihad, Adams states in an 1829-30 essay series,
...he [Muhammad] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind...The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God.
Roosevelt offered this historical perspective in 1916 on the consequences for Western civilization of succeeding, or failing to repel jihad conquerors:
The civilization of Europe, America, and Australia exists today at all only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization...[including] those of Charles Martel in the 8th century [over Arab jihadists] and those of John Sobieski in the 17th century [over Ottoman Turkish jihadists]. During the thousand years that included the careers of the Frankish soldier [Martel] and the Polish king [Sobieski], the Christians of Asia and Africa proved unable to wage successful war with the Moslem conquerors; and in consequence Christianity practically vanished from the two continents; and today nobody can find in them any 'social values' whatever, in the sense in which we use the words, so far as the sphere of Mohammedan influence [is]...concerned."
Also writing in 1916, C. Snouck Hurgronje, the great Dutch Orientalist, underscored how the jihad doctrine of world conquest, and the re-creation of a supranational Islamic Caliphate remained a potent force among the Muslim masses:
...it would be a gross mistake to imagine that the idea of universal conquest may be considered as obliterated...the canonists and the vulgar still live in the illusion of the days of Islam's greatness. The legists continue to ground their appreciation of every actual political condition on the law of the holy war, which war ought never be allowed to cease entirely until all mankind is reduced to the authority of Islam-the heathen by conversion, the adherents of acknowledged Scripture [i.e., Jews and Christians] by submission.
Hurgronje further noted that although the Muslim rank and file might acknowledge the improbability of that goal "at present" (circa 1916), they were,
...comforted and encouraged by the recollection of the lengthy period of humiliation that the Prophet himself had to suffer before Allah bestowed victory upon his arms...
Thus even at the nadir of Islam's political power, during the World War I era final disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, Hurgronje observed how
...the common people are willingly taught by the canonists and feed their hope of better days upon the innumerable legends of the olden time and the equally innumerable apocalyptic prophecies about the future. The political blows that fall upon Islam make less impression...than the senseless stories about the power of the Sultan of Stambul [Istanbul], that would instantly be revealed if he were not surrounded by treacherous servants, and the fantastic tidings of the miracles that Allah works in the Holy Cities of Arabia which are inaccessible to the unfaithful. The conception of the Khalifate [Caliphate] still exercises a fascinating influence, regarded in the light of a central point of union against the unfaithful (i.e., non-Muslims).
Nearly a century later, the preponderance of contemporary mainstream Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia, apparently share with their murderous, jihad terror waging co-religionists from al-Qaeda the goal (if not necessarily supporting the gruesome means) of re-establishing an Islamic Caliphate. Polling data released April 24, 2007 in a rigorously conducted face-to-face University of Maryland/ WorldPublicOpinion.org interview survey of 4384 Muslims conducted between December 9, 2006 and February 15, 2007-1000 Moroccans, 1000 Egyptians, 1243 Pakistanis, and 1141 Indonesians-reveal that 65.2% of those interviewed - almost 2/3, hardly a "fringe minority" - desired this outcome (i.e., "To unify all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state or Caliphate"), including 49% of "moderate" Indonesian Muslims. The internal validity of these data about the present longing for a Caliphate is strongly suggested by a concordant result: 65.5% of this Muslim sample approved the proposition "To require a strict [emphasis added] application of Sharia law in every Islamic country."
Such Caliphate dreams -- to be achieved through jihad conquests -- have always been nurtured in mosques. The authoritative Brill Encyclopedia of Islam entry on "masdjid," or mosque, highlights the mosque's primary socio-political functions -- including holding war councils -- since the advent of the first Muslim polity under Islam's prophet-warrior and ruler, Muhammad, in Medina:
The mosque was the place where believers assembled for prayer around the Prophet, where he delivered his addresses, which contained not only appeals for obedience to God but regulations affecting the social life of the community; from here he controlled the religious and political community of Islam...From the Medina mosque was developed the general type of mosque.
It was inherent in the character of Islam, that religion and politics could not be separated. The same individual was ruler and chief administrator in the two fields, and the same building, the mosque, was the center of gravity for both politics and religion. This relationship found expression in the fact that the mosque was placed in the center of the camp, while the ruler's abode was built immediately adjacent to it, as in Medina.
[W]ar was inseparably associated with early Islam and the mosque was public meeting place of ruler and people...councils of war were held in the mosque.
Richard Mitchell's seminal analysis of the contemporary Muslim Brotherhood-the prototype modern fundamentalist organization-state's simply, that from its advent,
Throughout the history of the [Muslim Brotherhood] movement the mosque continued to be its principal recruiting office.
This doctrinal and historical context explains why the "Sharia and Violence in American Mosques" study results-while immediate, justifiable cause for alarm-are unsurprising, even predictable. Moreover the current findings were augured by a qualitative assessment of US mosques by Sheikh Hisham Kabbani described in 1999, and the localized Detroit area survey of mosques conducted in 2003.
During a 1999 State Department presentation entitled "Islamic Extremism: A Viable Threat to U.S. National Security" Sufi Sheikh Kabbani, who heads The Islamic Supreme Council of America, based upon personal visits to mosques across the US, asserted that 80% were run by "militant," i.e. fundamentalist clerics. "The Detroit Mosque Study: Muslim Views on Policy and Religion," was conducted by Ihsan Bagby an Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at thye University of Kentucky and a fellow at the Institute for Social Policy Understanding-a Muslim organization. Data were gathered during the summer of 2003 and published online in 2004. These portentous findings were described on page 37 of the report:
Mosque participants were asked, whether they agree or disagree with the statement, "Shari'ah should be the law of the land in Muslim countries?"
Apply Islamic Law in Muslim Lands
Strongly Agree - 59%
Somewhat Agree - 22%
(i.e., collectively = 81%)
Somewhat Disagree - 8%
Strongly Disagree - 3%
Don't Know - 8%
Such data supposedly reflected the Detroit area Muslims views of "Islamic countries," only. But given the intrinsic, universally supremacist nature of Islam and the global umma (i.e., as stated in Koran 3:110, and the Orwellian-named Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, "Ye are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and ye believe in Allah"), once an area has a Muslim majority it is assumed by Muslims that Islamic Law should prevail-hence the "enclave" phenomenon, even here in the United States.
Publication of the "Sharia and Violence in American Mosques" study provides irrefragable evidence that the overwhelming majority of American mosques -- consistent with mainstream Islamic doctrine and practice since the founding of the Muslim creed -- are inculcating jihadism with the goal of implementing Sharia here in America.
Finally, Whittaker Chambers' autobiographical opus "Witness," which chronicles his apostasy from Communism, offers these searing insights that elucidate how American Muslims could rationalize such seditious behaviors -- consistent with Islamic doctrine -- and why this phenomenon remains largely incomprehensible to American non-Muslims, despite its existential threat to them.
What went on in the minds of those Americans...that made it possible to betray their country? Did none of them suffer a crisis of conscience? The question presupposes that whoever asks it has still failed to grasp that Communists mean exactly what they have been saying for a hundred years: they regard any government that is not Communist, including their own, merely as the political machine of a class whose power they have organized expressly to overthrow by all means, including violence. Therefore the problem of espionage never presents itself to them as problem of conscience, but a problem of operations...
The failure to understand that fact is part of the total failure of the West to grasp the nature of its enemy, what he wants, what he means to do and how he will go about doing it. It is part of the failure of the West to understand that it is at grips with an enemy having no moral viewpoint in common with itself, that two irreconcilable viewpoints and standards of judgment, two irreconcilable moralities, proceeding from two irreconcilable readings of man's fate and future are involved, and hence their conflict is irrepressible.
(See appendix on methodologies here)