Radical Islam Must Be Fought on the Cultural as Well as the Military Front

Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the author who goes by the pen-name Ibn Warraq are apostate Muslims who have bravely written about the threat that jihadism poses to Western civilization, and have sharply criticized Western leaders for obfuscating this threat by adhering to “politically correct” taboos and pieties. Reviewing recent books by each of these authors, Fred Siegel and Sol Stern argue for the necessity of fighting a cultural and intellectual battle against radical Islam, and use the experience of the cold war as a model:

The international Communist movement was adept at advancing Soviet imperial interests through the use of front groups—student organizations, labor unions, artists’ associations—operating freely within the Western democracies. These “progressive” organizations peddled innocent-sounding slogans about the need for disarmament, world peace, and social justice, while covering up the fact that they had been penetrated by Communist fellow travelers and agents of influence and were actively abetting Soviet expansionism. [In similar fashion], Hirsi Ali unequivocally identifies seemingly innocent-sounding Muslim groups as agents of an Islamist agenda. . . .

[During the cold war], while the U.S. and its allies “contained” the Soviet military threat, they . . . vigorously pursued the anti-Communist struggle in the political, economic, and cultural spheres. . . . [T]he Truman administration created a program to mobilize pro-democracy civic groups in the U.S. and Europe to oppose the Communist propaganda machine. . . . [T]he CIA covertly funded some of these groups. . . . [T]here is little question that bolstering the pro-democracy groups, particularly in confronting the far more sinister and clandestine foreign operations carried out by the Comintern and KGB, paid off in the life-and-death struggle against Soviet totalitarianism.

In their latest works, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq have produced a call to action in the United States and the free world. . . . Now is the time for the U.S. and other Western democracies to recognize that combating Islamist terrorism by military means alone will not work, and that a full-scale cultural counterattack is needed to convince Westerners of the danger—and to convince Muslims in the West that Islamism is a dead end for their own communities as well as for the entire Muslim world.

Siegel and Stern also note Ibn Warraq’s insights into Islamic anti-Semitism:

[T]he Hamas covenant makes clear that Israel must be destroyed not merely because it is a “Jewish state” but also because of the enduring Islamic principle that any territory once controlled by Muslims must be returned to Islamic dominion. . . . Islamic anti-Semitism, [Ibn Warraq argues], is not a 20th-century doctrine given additional potency by the Nazis. It is deeply embedded in all of [Islam’s] sacred texts, including the Quran, the sunna, and the hadith. For American and Western policymakers, this textual connection is key to understanding the motivation of Hamas (also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement) and its close ally, the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Islamic holy texts are even relevant for understanding the sources of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to Ibn Warraq, it is in the life and works of the founding father of Palestinian nationalism, the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, that one clearly sees the confluence of the original Islamic commandments and modern Arab and Palestinian hatred of Jews. . . . Ibn Warraq notes that the mufti not only succeeded in Islamicizing the Palestinian resistance to the Zionist project; he also was responsible for radical Islam’s survival in the 1950s and 1960s and its 1970s revival.

Read more at City Journal

More about: Anti-Semitism, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Cold War, Hamas, Politics & Current Affairs, Radical Islam, U.S. Foreign policy, War on Terror

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security