Peggy Noonan: Why Won’t the President Think Clearly About the Nature of the Islamic State?

gothard

An Administration Adrift on Denial

It isn’t about getting a job. They have a job: waging jihad.

Peggy NoonanTime for an Intervention - Peggy Noonan's Blog - WSJ writes: Great essays tell big truths. A deeply reported piece in next month’s Atlantic magazine does precisely that, and in a way devastating to the Obama administration’s thinking on ISIS.

What ISIS Really Wants,” by contributing editor Graeme Wood, is going to change the debate. (It ought to become a book.)

Mr. Wood describes a dynamic, savage and so far successful organization whose members mean business. Their mettle should not be doubted. ISIS controls an area larger than the United Kingdom and intends to restore, and expand, the caliphate. Mr. Wood interviewed Anjem Choudary of the banned London-based Islamist group Al Muhajiroun, who characterized ISIS’ laws of war as policies of mercy, not brutality. “He told me the state has an obligation to terrorize its enemies,” Mr. Wood writes, “because doing so hastens victory and avoids prolonged conflict.”

[See the full text of Peggy Noonan’s article in WSJ]

ISIS has allure: Tens of thousands of foreign Muslims are believed to have joined. The organization is clear in its objectives: “We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change . . . that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world. . . . The Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people.”

“The scale of the savagery is difficult to comprehend and not precisely known. Regional social media posts “suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions every few weeks.” Most, not all, of the victims are Muslims.”

The West, Mr. Wood argues, has been misled “by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. . . . The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers,” drawn largely from the disaffected. “But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.” Its actions reflect “a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bring about the apocalypse.”

Mr. Wood acknowledges that ISIS reflects only one, minority strain within Islam. “Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.”

He quotes Princeton’s Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on ISIS’ theology. Read the rest of this entry »


Lessons from Woolwich: The Dangers of Britain’s Islamist Underground

By Christoph Scheuermann

Where did the hatred that led to the murder of a soldier in Woolwich come from? Radical hate preacher Anjem Choudary knew one of the assailants and says he is proud of having “a big influence” on his life. The attack demonstrates how difficult it is to prevent Islamist violence in Britain.

Anjem Choudary grabs a can of Red Bull before he talks about the man with the blood-soaked hands and a meat cleaver — a man who is an acquaintance of his. Choudary doesn’t call what happened in London last week murder, but rather “the operation on Wednesday.”

Wearing a dark robe and sporting a beard that grows down to his chest, Choudary sits down at a table in a café in the northeastern part of the city. The press generally portrays him as a hate monger. In the mid-1990s, he founded the now-banned Islamist organization al-Muhajiroun, in which Michael Adebolajo later participated on a regular basis — the same man with the meat cleaver who hacked a British soldier to death so savagely, and so publicly, that an entire country seemed briefly in shock.

Choudary and Adebolajo know each other well. Between 2005 and 2011, Adebolajo often attended demonstrations organized by Choudary. Usually they protested the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the “crusade of the infidels” against the Muslims, as they called it. In video footage shot by the BBC in 2007, Choudary and Adebolajo can be seen together at a protest in front of a London police station. Choudary is barking into a megaphone. Adebolajo is clad in a white robe and has a serious expression on his face.

Over a period of five years, the two men regularly met, and Adebolajo occasionally listened to Choudary’s sermons. He was “a pleasant, quiet guy” when he first met him, says Choudary, who adds that he was surprised to see him again on TV last Wednesday.

On the televised images, the erstwhile pleasant and quiet Michael Adebolajo, 28 — together with his friend Michael Adebowale, 22 — is standing on a street in the South East London neighborhood of Woolwich on a dreary Wednesday afternoon and wielding a meat cleaver and a kitchen knife. His hands are covered in blood. Passersby are standing nearby and filming him with their mobile phones. On the street behind him lies the lifeless body of soldier Lee Rigby, 25, an infantryman and drummer who performed ceremonial guard duties at Buckingham Palace. “The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day,” Adebolajo shouts into the camera, adding: “The British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth…”

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Photo Gallery: The Shock of Woolwich

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BBC Under Fire for Giving Radical Cleric Airtime After Woolwich Attack

 by AWR HAWKINS 

Two U.K. politicians have called out the BBC for interviewing an Islamic cleric who refuses to condemn Wednesday’s grisly terror attack where two men beheaded a British soldier.

The Guardian is reporting that Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi and shadow defense secretary Jim Murphy are speaking critically of the airtime the BBC and Channel 4 have given radical cleric Anjem Choudary in the wake of the Woolwich attack.

Choudary, “who has been an outspoken critic of British military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan,” knew Woolwich attacker Michael Adebolajo when he converted from Christianity to Islam in 2003. Choudary allegedly impacted Adebolajo’s ideology and reported that Adebolajo changed his name to “Mujahid” upon converting.

To date, Choudary has “refused to condemn the [Woolwich] killing.”

Warsi believes Choudary and his anti-British military ideology have received too much airtime. Speaking on May 23, she said, “We all have a responsibility, including the media, not to give airtime to extremist voices–idiots and nutters who speak for no one but themselves.”

Murphy pointedly criticized the BBC’s decision to give Choudary airtime by tweeting, “Banned by France but welcome on Newsnight. A mistake of the BBC to invite Choudary on the telly tonight.”

The BBC has defended its decision to have Choudary on air. Channel 4 is refusing 

via BBC Under Fire for Giving Radical Cleric Airtime After Woolwich Attack.