Azeem Ibrahim, Boko Haram And Hashtag Diplomacy


May 12, 2014 – San Francisco, CA – – In an article appearing in the May 9 edition of the HuffPost, Dr. Azeem Ibrahim, Executive Chair of a new progressive/Marxist think tank, The Scotland Institute [SI], argues unpersuasively that Muslim terrorists are not Muslim, a shop-worn sleight of hand.

Since the SI is a progressive/Marxist think tank let’s quickly blow through a critique of that philosophy; this seems necessary given the affinity between those on the extreme left and the Islamists.

Progressivism/Marxism doesn’t work and its snow-blind adherents can't provide any historical evidence that it ever has worked anywhere. It’s utopian meddling is led by “scholars” who believe that they, through their coercive social manipulation and engineering, can manufacture the “perfect” human and thus reproduce the city of heaven on Earth. Ideologies of this nature always result in a diminution of individual liberty for those affected.

Thus it's an essential part of the totalitarian mindset.

As has been shown over the last hundred years, progressivism/Marxism is quite good at producing two products, piles of dead bodies and mounds of skulls, an estimated 100M all told. These human carcasses are the “eggs which needed to be cracked” in order to override the delicate social and economic order - provided in the West through the nexus of tradition and reasoning from a Judeo-Christian derived natural law - by these extremists in order to bring about their model societies. In this effort they had quite a bit of help from the German statist philosophers especially Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche.

Now as to the substance or lack thereof contained within Dr. Ibrahim’s article.

“…Muslim tradition does not forbid women from being educated. Indeed, scripture encourages both sexes to seek learning. Boko Haram doesn't care about this; it uses the language of Islam just like the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda used Christianity. Both use perverted religious dictum to control, terrorise and kill, to prey on children and to take advantage of weak governments. Neither group truly represents religion at all… [source, Azeem Ibrahim, Boko Haram Are Not Muslims but the Enemy of All Muslims, the Huffington Post]

Point one: Let's be clear about first principles. Boko Haram means, “Western education is forbidden,” haram being the Arabic word for prohibited/sinful/forbidden. Abubakar Shekau states that he is acting within the confines of the Shari’a, “What I am doing is written in the Holy Qur'an and the Hadith and I will not stop. I challenge all the clerics of the world to question my deeds. Those underrating my capacity should have a re-think. I will never allow democracy to thrive. The concept of government of the people by the people for the people will never be possible and will never exist. Democracy shall be replaced only by the government of Allah, from Allah and for Allah."

This level of dogmatism is the norm among jihadists.

Consider Omar Abdel-Rahman, the “Blind Sheikh,” convicted and now serving a life sentence for his role in the first bombing of the World Trade center in 1993. It would be disingenuous to allege that Abdel-Rahman wasn't well grounded in Islamic theology, since he graduated from Al-Azhar [the oldest and most renown Sunni seminary in the world] with a degree in Qur'anic studies. Abdel-Rahman spread his poison at that institution for forty years, though the prestige of Al-Azhar has waned over the last hundred years as its leadership started being appointed by the Egyptian head of state, from which it also receives its funding.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, who now leads al-Qaeda central after the death of bin-Laden, came from an illustrious family of Salafist Muslims.

“Zawahiri was the product of an unusually strict, and unusually illustrious, home. His father's uncle, Rabi'a al-Zawahiri, was the grand imam of Cairo's al-Azhar University, a position that has been described as being of "papal" importance within the Muslim world. His mother's family was also prominent. Her father, Ayman's grandfather, served as the president of Cairo University and founded King Saud University, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia…” [source, Jayshree Bajoria, and Lee Hudson Teslik, Profile: Ayman al-Zawahiri, Council on Foreign Relations]

It’s undeniable that these people are conversant in the ideology which they use to justify their behavior. They are most assuredly Muslims.

Point two: Ibrahim conflates [a common rhetorical tactic used to evade the truth] the worldwide epidemic of terrorism perpetrated by Muslims who clearly have read the Qur’an literally, with the actions of a single, nominally Christian Ugandan group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, which we note was created in response to a very long reign of Islamic barbarity in that county.

That brutality was raised to a high art form by Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, a Muslim who received support from Libya's then terrorist strongman, Muammar Gaddafi. Amin's father, previously a Roman Catholic, converted to Islam in the early twentieth century, changing his name from Andreas Nyabire to Amin Dada. Idi Amin was formally educated in the Islamic tradition. Many readers will be familiar with Amin’s depraved reign during which it is believed he engaged in cannibalism.

Perhaps Mr. Ibrahim would like to issue a fatwah regarding Amin’s human meals…were they halal?

Uganda is overwhelmingly Christian, upwards of 80%, roughly divided between Roman Catholics and Protestants. On that basis alone, aside from the aspect of human rights, efforts to resist forced conversion seems entirely reasonable.

Point three: Despite Ibrahim’s reassuring words to the contrary, Islam has a long historical record of slavery, most notably the usage of them in military settings.

For this we turn to Middle East historian, Daniel Pipes PhD [a fluent Arabic speaker for over 40 years] whose first book was extraordinary, in that it dealt with the relationship between Islam/Islamic culture and slavery.

“…military slavery in Islamdom served as a nearly universal tool of statecraft. Elsewhere, slaves fought as emergency forces, personal retainers, auxiliaries, or cannon fodder; only Muslims used them in large numbers on a regular basis as professional soldiers . Also, the few systematic examples of non-Muslims using slaves in this way date only from the sixteenth century, long after the establishment and proliferation of the Islamicate system. Except for these unusual cases, Muslims alone chose to recruit soldiers through enslavement, a fact which has many implication… the raison d’être of military slavery is bound up with its purely Islamicate existence; its causes cannot be understood apart from Islam …” p. 53-54, Dr. Daniel Pipes, Slave Soldiers and Islam]

Pipes makes the scholarly distinction between Islam and Islamicate [the culture surrounding the religion], but in this usage it's a distinction with no effective difference, since military slavery and Islam are conjoined, in that where one was found, so was the other.

It's unreasonable in extremis, to conclude that a practice so widely employed in the Muslim world would be un-Islamic.

Then there is the problem presented by Islamic scripture.

We provide the following Surah, not in the sense that we are interpreting Islam, but to provide illumination that within Islamic culture, slavery was such a common phenomenon that it was considered a given as was the concept of terrorism.

"Thus, for all their fury, God repulsed those who were bent on denying the truth. No advantage did they gain, since God was enough to protect the believers in battle - seeing that God is most powerful, almighty; and He brought down from their strongholds those of the followers of earlier revelation who had aided the aggressors, and cast terror into their hearts: some you slew, some you made captive; and He made your heirs to their lands, and their houses, and their houses, and promised you lands on which you had never set foot: for God has indeed the power to will anything…” [source, the Qur’an, Surah 33:25-26, as translated by Muhammad Asad. This is the translation of Islam’s most sacred book which the Council on American Islamic Relations, a Hamas associated Muslim Brotherhood front group, distributed free of charge [da’wa] for a number of years, an offer of which we availed ourselves.]

Point four: This is a doctrinal question, one which we have dealt with on previous occasions. Taken as a whole Dr. Ibrahim is suggesting, but not actually making a declaration that, Boko Haram, Shekau its leader and we must presume by means of extension, other violent jihadist groups which use Shari’a as justification for their actions, are takfir.

Takfir is a matter of Islamic jurisprudence in which a ruling is made that an individual or group thereof are not or are no longer Muslim. Traditionally this was done by a Muslim group which was at war with another to avoid the Qur’anic prohibition of Muslims killing their coreligionist brothers and sisters. It is a little known fact that in Islam’s early period, Muslims fought each other more frequently than they did non-Muslims.

It was such inter-religious warfare which led to the Sunni-Shi'a schism.

As far as we are aware, Mr. Ibrahim is not an imam and has no authority to make a decision which would be seen as legally valid or binding within an Islamic context on this or any other matter, not that it would matter since there is no central authority in Islam, such as a Pope, who can speak with surety to important theological questions. Complicating matters further there are multiple "schools" of Islamic law, "the five schools of Islamic thought accepted by all Muslims are the Ja‘fari, comprising 23% of the Muslims; the Hanafi, comprising 31% of the Muslims; the Maliki, comprising 25% of the Muslims; the Shafi'i, comprising 16% of the Muslims; and the Hanbali, comprising 4% of the Muslims..." [source, The Five Schools of Islamic Thought, the Islamic website al-Islam]

This makes it necessary to reject Ibrahim’s inference out of hand, but it does help reveal an intellectual reliance on a contradiction.

If it's possible for every Islamic terror outfit to simply be written off the books so to speak by the stroke of a pen then by definition Islam can never be linked to terrorist acts. This despite the fact that terrorism committed by Muslims is ascendant across the globe and all of these groups legitimize their actions under the Shari’a.

There are other examples which show the defects inhernt in this line of reasoning.

Iran’s Shi'a led government is continuously threatening Israel and the “Great Satan,” America, with nuclear annihilation. It also is the largest state funder of terrorism in existence, maintaining a proxy army, Hezbollah, which routinely acts in a terrorist manner as well as funding HAMAS, the Muslim Brotherhood created entity whose charter states that Israel must be destroyed.

This is terror on a scale far grander than anything that Abubakar Shekau could ever imagine bringing about.

Does Mr. Ibrahim suggest then that Iran’s Shi'a theocracy is also takfir, that the mullahs don’t understand Islam? May we conjecture that the mullahs undoubtedly understand the nuance of Islam at least as well as the author of the HuffPost article.

Using this transparent dodge we must also accept that the Taliban is un-Islamic since Muslims killing other Muslims is also haram. Another point regarding the Taliban which is germane to this topic is that they have a history of blowing-up Afghan schools which has a deterrent effect on non-madrassah style education [i.e., studying the Qur'an exclusively]. It also discourages girls from even considering becoming educated. They understand by example that the Taliban believes, and will back with deadly force, practices it believes are haram.

Pulling back a bit we find broad support for terrorism in the Muslim world - the Ummah. In some Muslim countries, surveys have indicated that half of the population supports terrorism and other forms of violent jihad against perceived enemies. During the Iraq war sometimes 60% of the citizens in these same nations supported suicide bombing – Muslim on Muslim violence generally.

Are these millions also takfir/un-Islamic?

In summary we reiterate the central thesis of this piece.

Taken to its logical conclusion, Dr. Ibrahim’s through-the-looking-glass assertion that by definition terrorists can’t be Muslim would – using a Roman Catholic concept – excommunicates tens if not hundreds of millions of people who have for over a millennia never even considered that they were not fully Muslim.

Another aspect of this Kabuki dance is the duplicitous response which has come from America's self-appointed representatives of the American Muslim community, organizations such as CAIR. Here we might also mention that the specter of Michelle Obama and a gaggle of self-centered lefties including the president, all of whom seem to believe that it's possible to conduct foreign policy and diplomacy via a Twitter hashtag - #. This is Twilight Zone material; it's risible and a sad commentary on the cognitive dissonance which now guides the United States.

In a piece published by Steven Emerson's Investigative Project on Terrorism, Andrew E Harrod confronts the stealth jihadist's campaign of taqiyya on this matter. Please refer to, Deceptive Support For Nigerian Girls.

"A coalition of American Muslim leaders came together at a press conference Thursday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to condemn Boko Haram's (BH) April 14 kidnapping of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls. Yet the participants' deficient frankness about Islamic doctrine made their denunciations ring hollow. Islam is not the problem," insisted Ahmed Bedier, a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Tampa chapter founder. "No one is buying their story," Bedier argued with respect to Islamic claims of BH. He dismissed them as "just another con" whose "ideology comes from nowhere" in a country known for scams..."

Despite all of the above, Dr. Ibrahim is a clever man. He knows that his apologetics will find resonance among the typically anti-American, Christian and often Jew hating readers of the HuffPost who are so ignorant on these matters that that they will believe just about anything in order to avoid critical thinking regarding Islamic jihad.

Though Ibrahim seems to have given this his best shot, his puppy don’t hunt.

©2014 LLC, William Mayer. All rights reserved.