Muslim extremists are more concerned with defending against foreign intrusion than foisting Islam on the world, according to a new study of extremist texts. The study suggests that a Western approach of claiming extremists are seeking world domination is misdirected, and instead should seek to counteract claims of victimhood.Um, not too many people were claiming that they sought to take over the world militarily, at least not so soon. They aren't idiots who think that homemade bombs will topple the West.
"Continued claims to the contrary, by both official and unofficial sources, only play into a 'clash of civilizations' narrative that benefits the extremist cause. These claims also undermine the credibility of Western voices, because the audience knows that extremist arguments are really about victimage and deliverance," write the researchers, Jeffry Halverson, R. Bennett Furlow and Steven Corman.
The analysis by Arizona State University's Center for Strategic Communication looked at how the Quran was used in 2,000 propoganda items from 1998 to 2011, though the majority were from post-2007, that emanated mostly from the Middle East and North Africa. Among the groups analyzed were al Qaeda and al Shabaab, as well as anonymous postings online.
One result that surprised the researchers, the "near absence" of citations from one of the most extreme passages, the "Verse of Swords," that encourages "all-out war against world domination."
"Widely regarded as the most militant or violent passage of the Quran, it is treated as a divine call for offensive warfare on a global scale," the researchers wrote. "It is also regarded as a verse which supersedes over 100 other verses of the Quran that counsel patience, tolerance and forgiveness."
The study concludes that extremists, at least based on how they quote from the Quran, do not reflect "an aggressive offensive foe seeking domination and conquest of unbelievers, as is commonly assumed. Instead they deal with themes of victimization, dishonor and retribution."
To see how they plan to take over the world, just read what they say. The Muslim Brotherhood is not shy about sharing its blueprint, and it has kept the same plan for many decades:
In a recent sermon, the General Guide of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Badi', set out his vision for his movement and for Egypt in the post-revolutionary era. Citing Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Bana, he stated that the movement has two goals. The immediate goal is to prepare the hearts and minds of its members, which involves "purifying the soul, amending behavior, and preparing the spirit, the mind and the body for a long struggle." The second, long-term, goal is to affect "a total reform of all domains of life," which will eventually result in establishment of an Islamic state governed according to Koranic law – first in Egypt and eventually in the entire world.
Badi' stressed that this long-term goal can only be achieved by gradual stages: by "reforming the individual, then restructuring the family, then building society and the government, then [establishing] the rightly guided Caliphate, and [finally achieving] mastership of the world." He also emphasized that this must be achieved through cooperation among all the forces and sectors in Egypt, and without any coercion: "All these purposes and goals... must be realized... through unity of ranks [not division], by persuasion, not coercion, and by love, not by force." Badi' warned against the "attempts to split up the united ranks [of the nation] and drive a wedge between young and old, men and women, Muslims and Christians, and [different religious] schools and groups," saying that the Egyptian nation will need all of its human resources in order to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Finally, he advised his followers not to follow their emotions but to manipulate the circumstances rationally and realistically: "Do not fight the ways of the world because they are overpowering. [Instead], try to overcome them, use them, change their course, and pit some of them against others."
Academics should know that when you ask the wrong questions, you get the wrong answers.
(h/t JS, Yoel)