The more we delve into the reasons for Islamic extremism (ISIS in particular) the more ridiculous they become.
People are free to believe in whatever they want, and rightly so. What they are not free to do is impose their beliefs on others.
Most people seem to want to feel as though there is a reason for their existence other than the daily routine/grind they are subjected to in our economically driven world. Those reasons vary greatly depending on many factors in the person’s life.
What is particularly disturbing, is when those beliefs are based on something which is so obviously false it is baffling why anyone would believe them in the first place.
Of course, it is not uncommon in belief systems for some people to believe in obvious falsehoods or outlandish theories. But generally such belief systems are limited to a few hard-core believers and everyone else exposed to the theory sees it for what it really is, or seriously doubts its validity.
In the case of Islamic extremism, the belief system is often cited as being a pure interpretation of Islam from the original texts and teachings of Abraham. A myth that has been propagated among ‘believers’ across the world, and which has been used to radicalise the gullible.
Delving a little below the surface of their beliefs reveals a different story entirely.
Modern Islamic extremism is based on the writings of Sayyid Qutb, a little-known Egyptian writer who was born in 1906 in the Egyptian village of Musha.
As a boy, he memorised the Koran and later became a teacher in the Ministry of Education in Cairo and a writer of novels. His novels had little impact, but he gained a reputation as a literary critic.
In the aftermath of World War One with the Ottoman empire totally destroyed Qutb became increasingly vocal about new governments in the region being established by Western powers. His writings in various publications became more political and critical of the Egyptian government in particular.
According to Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz (who Qutb had championed during his early days as a writer, and who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988) Qutb’s friends in the Ministry of Education were sufficiently worried about his situation that they contrived to send him abroad to the safety of the United States.
Qutb began his stay in the United States at Washington at Wilson Teachers College and then moved to Greeley, Colorado, home to Colorado State College of Education, where he spent the bulk of his time.
Although Greely was a conservative town founded by Utopian idealists looking to make a garden out of the dry plains north of Denver using irrigation and where alcohol was banned, Qutb still found the town distasteful. Writing in a booklet entitled “The America I Have Seen” in 1951, he said “Nobody goes to church as often as Americans do. . .. Yet no one is as distant as they are from the spiritual aspect of religion.”
As well as presenting a distorted history of America, he was also highly critical of the conservative culture.
Qutb denounced the primitive jazz music and loud clothing, the obsession with body image and perfection, and the bald sexuality. The American female was naturally a temptress, acting her part in a sexual system Qutb described as “biological”:
“The American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs — and she shows all this and does not hide it.”
Even an innocent dance in a church basement is proof of animalistic American sexuality:
“They danced to the tunes of the gramophone, and the dance floor was replete with tapping feet, enticing legs, arms wrapped around waists, lips pressed to lips, and chests pressed to chests. The atmosphere was full of desire…”
More than presenting valid fact, much of Qutb’s writing seemed to reflect his own primitive and misogynistic views on women and the society in which they existed. Greeley was his first experience away from the ‘Old World’ where the most powerful time for civilisation was in the Middle Ages where it was carried triumphantly by Muslim armies.
In 1951 Qutb cut short his stay in America to return to Egypt after the assassination of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the nationalist, religious and militant movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood.
He resigned from his post in the civil service and became editor-in-chief of the Muslim Brotherhood’s weekly publication ‘Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin’. Later he became head of the organisation’s propaganda department as well as an appointed member of their working committee and guidance council.
Being in a position to influence others suited Qutb. He could now spread his own bigoted and warped view of the world to a willing captive audience. Based on his very limited experience of another culture, Qutb claimed that the whole world as a just and viable target for Jihad.
Qutb refined his extremist views during various spells in prison as a result of his criticisms of the Egyptian government.
The theories of Qutb were accepted by a minority Muslims in the region, with the majority criticising his understanding of Islam and his denial of centuries of Islamic learning and culture.
Of course, Qutb’s theories are extensive and detailed, and we are unable to address them in-depth here.
Historians disagree on whether Qutb would agree or not with the way his theories have been interpreted and used as an excuse for terrorist activities since his death.
John Calvert, a history professor at Creighton University and author of “Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism,” states “Qutb would have condemned the violent actions perpetrated by the Egyptian jihadis of the 1970s and 1980s and by al-Qaeda and its regional affiliates today. He would not have understood al-Qaeda’s desire to attack a Western power, such as the United States. In Qutb’s mind, the jihad targeting “iniquitous” Muslim regimes was always paramount.”
Calvert said the modern Brotherhood is politically savvy enough to know that there’s little appetite for radicalism in today’s Egypt. While the Muslim Brotherhood has a violent past, it forswore violence in 1970.
“The younger generation of Brothers are more eager to engage in the Brotherhood in the political process and play by democratic rules,” Calvert said. “They regard Qutb as problematic, as something of an embarrassment.”
Qutib was arrested (again) by the Nasser government in August 1965 and accused of plotting to overthrow the state, with many of the charges against him taken from his last book – a manifesto of political Islam called “Ma’alim fi-l-Tariq” (Milestones).
Along with six other members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Qutib was sentenced to death for their part in the conspiracy to assassinate the President. He was executed on 29th August 1966.
After his death, according to journalist Lawrence Wright, the teenage al-Zawahiri (later to become the leader of al-Qaeda) formed his first violent cell, dedicated to the overthrow of the Egyptian government and the creation of an Islamist state. Meanwhile, Qutb’s brother Muhammad went into exile in Saudi Arabia, where he taught at King Abdul Aziz University. One of his students, an heir to the country’s largest construction fortune, was Osama bin Laden.
Perhaps the most well-known of the Islamist extremist groups is al-Qaeda.
The group was first active around 1988 under the leadership of Osama bin Laden after receiving significant funding and resource from the CIA as part of the Thatcher/Reagan anti-Soviet policy of the time. The aim was to oust the pro-Soviet government in Afghanistan as Soviet forces withdrew from the country.
Up until then, the Mujahideen had mounted a guerrilla war against government and Soviet forces.
Osama bin Laden believed that the Muslim world was in crisis and that violent jihad and strict adherence to sharia law was the only solution. His beliefs were firmly rooted in the writings of Qutib – beliefs he was responsible for promoting throughout the factions fighting against the Afghan government and Soviets.
As al-Qaeda attracted more attention other affiliate groups and offshoots emerged. All of them had their roots in the core principles of jihad based on Qutib’s writing and the concept that civilians from enemy countries, including women and children, were legitimate targets for jihadists to kill as Osama bin Laden had stated.
This idea was promoted through the poor of Muslim countries, and it the west through self-styled ‘teachers’ in mosques and other Islamic institutions – usually where there were large numbers of poor and ignorant immigrants.
Far from being ‘teachers’ of a genuine belief system, many of them were individuals more interested in their own power within Muslim communities. So much so that they have successfully developed systems of radicalisation which specifically target the gullible and those who feel disenfranchised from society.
The methods they use are exactly the same as those used to recruit cult members.
Others attracted to these terrorist groups include those who are quite simply psychopaths. Individuals who see joining the organisation as a means to dominate and control numbers of people while at the same time indulging themselves in their own perverted fantasies.
ISIS is the most recent of these offshoot organisations.
Known by several names (ISIL, ISIS, Daish, Daesh, and Islamic state group), the group was founded in 1999 by Jordanian radical Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
A petty criminal and high-school drop-out, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi joined the Mujahideen in 1989 where he became a ‘reporter’ for an Islamic newspaper and met bin Laden.
According to a report by the The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “Zarqawi’s criminal past and extreme views on takfir (accusing another Muslim of heresy and thereby justifying his killing) created major friction and distrust with bin Laden when the two first met in Afghanistan in 1999.
After returning to Jordan he was sent to prison in 1992 after guns and explosives were found in his home. During his time in prison he had a reputation for violence and as a cellblock enforcer.
In 1999 he was released as part of an amnesty but within months he was involved in a plan to bomb the Radisson SAS hotel in Amman, Jordan. The plan to bomb the hotel was discovered and Zarqawi fled to Pakistan.
When the Pakistan authorities revoked Zarqawi’s visa he went to Afghanistan, where he met with Osama bin Laden and was given funds to establish a training camp in Herat.
It was from this camp that the organisation we know as ISIS emerged which carries the barbaric and primitive doctrine of Zarqawi.
As with al-Qaeda, ISIS became a natural magnet for psychopaths, criminals, and the radicalised.
The rise of ISIS – as we can see – was not spontaneous. It has a very definite path of development based on purposely manipulative doctrines and barbarity.
The recruitment process of the psychopaths and manipulators in control is still based in the cultish methods of radicalization and on subjugating the population of invaded/occupied villages and towns.
People in ISIS occupied areas have two choices. Convert to Islam and acknowledge the ISIS doctrine or face incredible barbarity.
In the meantime, the leaders are busy amassing incredible fortunes through the theft of resources, including antiques and artefacts, making ransom demands, donations from other gulf states – including Saudi Arabia – illegal drugs, and through extortion of the population they control.
As more evidence of the inner workings of ISIS filter through by way of disillusioned recruits and supporters escaping from the organisation, it seems that religion is far less important than making cash.
At the lower ends of the hierarchy followers are forced to live in very basic conditions, and are subjected to harsh discipline, while the upper levels live lives of luxury and are free to indulge themselves in any perverted desire.
Although the doctrine of ISIS is rooted in the writings of a bigoted and ignorant Egyptian, successive ‘leaders’ of Islamic extremism have added layers of brutality to suit their own power hungry agendas.
ISIS has very little (if anything at all) in common with modern Islam, and have ignored centuries of development and knowledge that have influenced how Islam has maintained a place in one and a half billion people’s lives in a modern world.
If it were not for the violence and barbarity ISIS would be treated with the contempt it rightly deserves – verging on the comical.
As we hear ISIS idiots spouting diatribes of religious nonsense with warped justifications and false claims, we should keep in mind that their ‘value system’ values nothing at all of benefit to humanity.
While politicians around the world try to ignore the issue of Islamic extremism – let alone do anything about it in their own countries – hundreds of thousands of ordinary people with the same basic core wants as the rest of us are being subjected to the most horrific barbarity by ISIS morons.
It is going to take someone in power to make a very brave and controversial move to thwart the spread of this poison – let alone eradicate it.
It is illogical that the rise of ISIS came as a surprise to western powers as some have claimed. They are very well informed of developments in the region, and as we can see, in some instances have encouraged and contributed to the situation we see today.
A monster was created because of political manoeuvring and has been allowed to either get out of control or run its course because it suits the agenda of western powers, which is to destabilise the last remaining obstacles to gaining total control of the region and its resources.
Whether ISIS will continue is indeterminable. But if it is defeated we shall no doubt see other organisations full of the same psychopathic types emerge.
“Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.”– George Bernard Shaw
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