The closest I have heard anyone come to Cromwell's idea is Juan Cole a while back. It was more or less the same theme I have been dwelling on since before the war... We do not understand the enemy. I have also supported the concept that change must come from within. Your idea of "Re-Framing" the ideology, motives and actions of the extremists is a valid approach to attacking the problem from within as well as from the western world's aspect. Combined, this redefinition would make a difference where little has been made up to now. - fc
Redefining the war on terrorism
Posted by Cromwell on July 26, 2005, 9:42 am
I've thought for some time that the West has been approaching terrorism - and fighting terrorism - from the wrong 'angle'; we've been attempting to fight terrorism in conventional military/police terms. Thus the use of terms like 'criminal' in reference to terrorists. Conventional warfare does not work against an enemy that has no physical location except among the population you're trying to protect.
I've also noted that while many Muslim organizations have issued various types of statements condemning the terrorists and their actions, these statements do not get much publicity or even encouragement. This is to the point that discussions I have had with some people reveal that they are honestly not aware that any Muslim organization had issued any condemnation until provided with examples. Mainstream media must be enlisted in this goal; care must be taken, however, not to 'know more Islam' than Muslims.
It's time to change our approach. First, Muslim organizations and individuals must be encouraged to condemn al Qaeda and similar terrorist organizations, at the very least to define them as counterproductive - but more appropriate (and likely more effective) would be to use religious terms - define them as apostates.
The terrorists must be characterized as mufsidoon as opposed to mujahiddin (evildoers vs. holy warriors) practicing Hirabah vs. Jihad (war against society vs. holy war). The following, according to informed sources, are desecrations of the Quran:
- Killing of innocents and noncombatants, including many peaceful Muslims
- Decapitating the live and desecrating the dead bodies of perceived enemies
- Promoting hatred among communities, nations, religions and civilizations
- Committing to battle against nations where Islam is freely practiced
- Issuing and inspiring unauthorized and un-Islamic fatwas (religious edicts)
- Committing and enticing others to commit suicide (bombings)
- Using some mosques as weapons depots and battle stations, while destroying others
- Forcing extremist and absolutist versions (and distortions) of Islam on Muslims, when the Quran clearly states "no compulsion in religion"
- Distorting the word "infidels" to include Christians, Jews and many Muslims -- when the Quran calls them all "Children of the Book" - the Old Testament - and "Sons of Abraham" AND refers to Jesus one of Islam's five main Prophets
- Deliberate misreading, ignoring and perverting of passages of the Quran, the Hadith and the Islamic Jurisprudence (the Fiqh)
These things should be played upon - not the 'criminal' nature of the terrorists; they may indeed be criminals, but their appeal in the middle east is religious - and on driving out the West.