The general tendency of Westerners is to view global jihad as a foreign policy issue. But today it is clear that it is also a domestic policy issue.
Over the weekend The Sunday Telegraph reported that a recently circulated British intelligence report warned: "The terrorist threat facing Britain from home-grown al-Qaida agents is higher than at any time since the September 11 attacks in 2001."
After foiling the jihadist plot to down US-bound British passenger aircraft last summer, MI5 director Eliza Manningham-Buller claimed that there are some 1,600 British Muslims actively involved in plotting attacks against Britain. According to the intelligence report cited in the Sunday Telegraph, today that number exceeds 2,000.
As one senior British political source told the newspaper, "The Security Services have constantly warned that the task of countering Islamic terrorism is a daunting one. There will be more attacks in Britain."
It is not surprising that Britain faces the specter of mass attacks carried out by its own citizens in the name of Allah. Repeated exposes of the goings-on in British mosques and in supposedly "moderate" British Muslim communal organizations have shown unequivocally that they are being used as indoctrination centers for jihad.
A poll published last month by Britain's Policy Exchange think tank bore out the poisonous impact this indoctrination has had on young Muslims in the country. Thirty-seven percent of British Muslims between the ages of 16-24 would rather live under Shari'a law than under British Common Law; 36 percent think Muslims should be killed if they convert to another religion; 13 percent admire al-Qaida and similar terror groups; and a whopping 74 percent of young British Muslims believe women should wear veils.
WHILE IT is true that in the US the danger of home-grown jihadists to national security is lower than it is in Britain, it is also true that there is a growing phenomenon of jihadist violence being perpetrated by Muslim men against American civilians in the name of jihad.
Ten days ago, the Investors Business Daily published an editorial enumerating a partial list of acts of terrorism carried out by Muslim men against their fellow Americans since the September 11 attacks. Most recently, Sulejman Talovic entered a shopping mall in Salt Lake City, murdered five and wounded four unsuspecting shoppers before being killed by an off-duty police officer.
As was the case when Derrick Shareef, another Muslim male, was arrested in early December for plotting to carry out a similar attack at a shopping mall in Illinois just before Christmas, the media and the law enforcement agencies covering the Salt Lake City massacre have made light of the fact that the perpetrator was a Muslim.
While Talovic is dead and so cannot explain his motives to authorities, Shareef was arrested after telling an FBI informant of his plans to murder Jews specifically and Americans in particular for Allah. As Shareef told the informant, "I swear by Allah man, I'm down for it too. I'm down for the cause. I'm down to live for the cause and die for the cause, man."
SHAREEF'S protestations of jihadist ardor made little impression on either federal authorities or the media. Upon announcing Shareef's arrest, US Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald insisted that he was acting on his own and that he had no outside inspiration for his decision to commit mass murder for Allah. As was the case with Talovic and with Naveed Afzal Haq, who murdered one woman and wounded five during his shooting rampage at the Seattle Jewish Federation last July, the media and federal authorities have hushed up and failed to investigate the jihadist motives for the Illinois attacker or link him to any larger phenomenon.
The Investors Business Daily editorial ran under the headline "Sudden jihad syndrome." The term, which has been bandied about by law enforcement officials in both the US and Britain in recent months, encapsulates the view that Muslims can be incited and then move to commit acts of murder in the name of Allah and jihad instantaneously.
The attractiveness of the "sudden jihad syndrome" explanation for violent Islamic crime is clear. By arguing that the jihadists are acting on their own after being mysteriously inspired by no one, law enforcement officials and the media are relieved of the thankless task of investigating mosques, Muslim advocacy groups and Islamic centers, where the jihadist indoctrination is conducted on a daily basis.
IT IS hard to know what to make of this view. Perhaps there is something to it. Perhaps the message of jihad is so strong that young Muslim men can be inspired to shoot pregnant women in office buildings after the notion of murder for Allah enters the transoms of their minds independently of other outside factors – through vapors or spontaneous generation perhaps.
What is clear enough is that since this is the view that is informing policymakers, law enforcement officials and the media in handling a clear trend of jihadist murder, it requires serious empirical study. The obvious place for that research to take place is in the universities.
Unfortunately, there can be little hope that universities in the US or in the West in general will devote any serious consideration to this most important sociological, psychological and national security trend. Far from being willing to study the most central issue of our times, universities are leading the charge in either ignoring it, or apologizing for it.
On February 15, the Iraqi Ambassador to the UN, Hamid Al Bayati, spoke at New York's Fordham University. During the course of his remarks, Bayati doubted the fact that the Holocaust had occurred. In his words, "I'm not aware of any dictator who used chemical weapons against his own people. Some academics or diplomats would say Hitler used chemical weapons, but I am sure he didn't use them against his own people – his German people."
When pressed by law professor Avi Bell on the fact that several hundred thousand German citizens were gassed to death by Nazi Germany, Bayati still refused to take the point.
Fordham University is far from alone in providing a platform for Holocaust deniers. Last Thursday the Dean's office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology co-sponsored an event on the Arab-Israel conflict called, "Foreign Policy and Social Justice: A Jewish View, a Muslim View." The man invited to provide the Jewish view was Dovid Weiss, a member of the crackpot Neturei Karta sect. Weiss rose to prominence when he traveled to Teheran last December to participate in Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial conference.
While MIT and Fordham were hosting Holocaust deniers in the name of intellectual freedom, their fellow universities were hosting "Israel Apartheid Week." As part of their efforts to criminalize the Jewish state, Arab and Jewish speakers at "Israel Apartheid Week" events refer to Israel as "1948 Palestine" and show propaganda films portraying IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians in Judea and Samaria as murderers.
The events are generally sponsored by the International Solidarity Movement. In addition to their campus outreach, the ISM sponsors the weekly riots against the security fence in Bil'in and in Hebron, where its protesters throw rocks at IDF soldiers. Given the violent content of their actions in Israel, it should come as no surprise that their events on US campuses also breed violence.
At an "Israel Apartheid Week" event at City University of New York, after watching a propaganda film, 19-year old Binyamin Rister rose and politely asked the ISM presenters if they supported terrorism. When he received no reply
he politely repeated the question. Rather than wait for an answer, CUNY security guards dragged Rister from the room and then repeatedly banged his head against the wall of an elevator and threw him head first down the stairs. Rister's injuries from the assault by campus security required him to be evacuated by ambulance in a neck brace to the hospital.
In an almost identical case at Georgetown last year, Bill Maniaci a 65-year-old retired Jewish American police officer was brutalized by Georgetown security guards after he asked ISM spokesmen if they supported terrorism. He is currently suing Georgetown for $8 million in damages for the assault. According to Lee Kaplan's report of the CUNY event in Frontpage Magazine, there were seven witnesses to the unprovoked attack against Rister. He too has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against CUNY.
EVEN THOSE propounding the view that jihadist murderers in the US and Britain are inspired to kill after being brought under the spell of the "sudden jihad syndrome" cannot deny that the root of the jihad is ideas. Similarly, it is self-evident that the key to beating the global jihad is victory in the battlefield of ideas. Unfortunately, as the pro-jihadist trend on US and Western campuses, and its impact on idea consumers in law enforcement, the media and policy circles throughout the free world shows, to the extent that those charged with engaging in the battle of ideas are engaged, they fight on the side of the enemy.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.