What History Shows ... Jihad Is a Form of Offensive Warfare





Mr. Pipes is the director of the Middle East Forum. His website address is http://www.danielpipes.org. Click here for his HNN blog.

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In his just-released, absorbing, and excellent book, Understanding Jihad (University of California Press), David Cook of Rice University dismisses the low-grade debate that has raged since 9/11 over the nature of jihad – whether it is a form of offensive warfare or (more pleasantly) a type of moral self-improvement.

Mr. Cook dismisses as"bathetic and laughable" John Esposito's contention that jihad refers to"the effort to lead a good life." Throughout history and at present, Mr. Cook definitively establishes, the term primarily means"warfare with spiritual significance."

His achievement lies in tracing the evolution of jihad from Muhammad to Osama, following how the concept has changed through fourteen centuries. This summary does not do justice to Cook's extensive research, prolific examples, and thoughtful analysis, but even a thumbnail sketch suggests jihad's evolution.

The Koran invites Muslims to give their lives in exchange for assurances of paradise.

The Hadith (accounts of Muhammad's actions and personal statements) elaborate on the Koran, providing specific injunctions about treaties, pay, booty, prisoners, tactics, and much else. Muslim jurisprudents then wove these precepts into a body of law.

During his years in power, the prophet engaged in an average of nine military campaigns a year, or one every five to six weeks; thus did jihad help define Islam from its very dawn. Conquering and humiliating non-Muslims was a main feature of the prophet's jihad.

During the first several centuries of Islam,"the interpretation of jihad was unabashedly aggressive and expansive." After the conquests subsided, non-Muslims hardly threatened and Sufi notions of jihad as self-improvement developed in complement to the martial meaning.

The Crusades, the centuries-long European effort to control the Holy Land, gave jihad a new urgency and prompted what Cook calls the" classical" theory of jihad. Finding themselves on the defensive led to a hardening of Muslim attitudes.

The Mongol invasions of the thirteenth century subjugated much of the Muslim world, a catastrophe only partially mitigated by Mongol leaders' nominal conversion to Islam. Some thinkers, Ibn Taymiya (d. 1328) in particular, came to distinguish between true and false Muslims; and to give jihad new prominence by judging the validity of a person's faith according to his willingness to wage jihad.

Nineteenth century"purification jihads" took place in several regions against fellow Muslims. The most radical and consequential of these was the Wahhabis' jihad in Arabia. Drawing on Ibn Taymiya, they condemned most non-Wahhabi Muslims as infidels (kafirs) and waged jihad against them.

European imperialism inspired jihadi resistance efforts, notably in India, the Caucasus, Somalia, Sudan, Algeria, and Morocco, but all in the end failed. This disaster meant new thinking was needed.

Islamist new thinking began in Egypt and India in the 1920s but jihad acquired its contemporary quality of radical offensive warfare only with the Egyptian thinker Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966). Qutb developed Ibn Taymiya's distinction between true and false Muslims to deem non-Islamists to be non-Muslims and then declare jihad on them. The group that assassinated Anwar El-Sadat in 1981 then added the idea of jihad as the path to world domination.

The anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan led to the final step (so far) in this evolution. In Afghanistan, for the first time, jihadis assembled from around the world to fight on behalf of Islam. A Palestinian, Abdullah Azzam, became the theorist of global jihad in the 1980s, giving it an unheard-of central role, judging each Muslim exclusively by his contribution to jihad, and making jihad the salvation of Muslims and Islam. Out of this quickly came suicide terrorism and bin Laden.

Mr. Cook's erudite and timely study has many implications, including these:

  • The current understanding of jihad is more extreme than at any prior time in Islamic history.
  • This extremism suggests that the Muslim world is going through a phase, one that must be endured and overcome, comparable to analogously horrid periods in Germany, Russia, and China.
  • Jihad having evolved steadily until now, doubtless will continue to do so in the future.
  • The excessive form of jihad currently practiced by Al-Qaeda and others could, Mr. Cook semi-predicts, lead to its"decisive rejection" by a majority of Muslims. Jihad then could turn into a non-violent concept.

The great challenge for moderate Muslims (and their non-Muslim allies) is to make that rejection come about, and with due haste.


This article first appeared at frontpagemag.com and is reprinted with permission of the author.


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omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
I truly fail to understand why you call me a "classic Jew hater"!
That is not only wrong, fallacious and insulting but truly ridiculous! I have nothing against the Jews.
Zionism , the racist , rapacious creed is our enemy that inflicted on my people great harm and will still inflict on the Jews greater harm.
I do believe that , ultimately, we will make common front against Zionism for poisoning both our lives and squandering so much of our energies and resources; both human and material.
You would, possibly, recall that Moshe once asked me to stop saying racist Zionist Israel; that to say Zionist is superfluous .It is not. It was always meant to stress that Zionism is the enemy; without "Zionist" the first thing to spring to mind would be the Jews which is NOT meant whether you believe it or not.
Once again by equating the Jews with Zionism you do them a great disfavour.
I do not, never did.
However if it is my reference to the "goyim" that elicited this ugly reaction from you then I invite you to be less infantile and face soberly the historical and cultural facts of life.
"Goyim" is as much part and parcel of Judaism culturally and historically as is "dhimi" in Islam; undeniable.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
I will not accept any precondition for a "debate" particularly when it comes from the opposite side.

Nevertheless you pose an important question viz:
" Why can the Palestinian Arabs not do the same? In my view, the Palestinian Arabs have created their own hell by opting for eternal war over making new lives."
For one thing let us agree that humans react to a certain, presumably similar , situation differently!
Petain chose to surrender and submit while De Gaulle chose to resist and fight on .
Human communities are not driven by the laws of physics; their reaction is usually the resultant of many inner and external factors which include, in this case:

-Inner factors such as their perception of the justice of their cause, their perception of their duties in the service of that cause and their appraisal of the effects, both personal and communal, of the situation that would result from failing to do what they are, culturally and patriotically, duty bound to do.

-External factors such as their appraisal of the real nature and ultimate goals of the adversary , their ability or inability to resist him and a national communal cost/benefit analysis of submission versus resistance and ultimate victory.

For the inner factors there is little to discuss; it is the same as asking why different men react differently to an intruder into their homes? Why would one chose to surrender and the other to fight back the intruder!

For the external factor re the appraisal of the enemy I can only refer you to my post "What is Israel ?"; I can repost it if you wish and if HNN does not object.

As to the abiltity or inability to resist and roll back the invader I, for one and among many many others, do not have the slightest doubt that the ability is there and the only question is how and when best to marshall it; it is only a question of time.

Last but not least is the cost/benefit analysis question:
with a racist Zionist Israel being what it is, the key word here is racist/Zionist, the cost of NOT resisting is immeasurably higher than any transient benefits that may accrue in the short term.
This, however, does not mean that we underestimate the cost of resisting.

While the cost of racist/Zionism fighting on , to Israel and Jews, will prove to be unbearable as I outlined in my post "What did Zionism Achieve ?"; ditto re reposting it.

That is, as briefly as possible, my answer to your question which boils down to, let us side step the feigned compassion, " why do not you, Palestinians/Arabs/Moslems, surrender and submit to the racist Zionist conquest of Palestine?".


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


Mr Friedman; you say :
"Omar,


You are correct that the meaning of a word is determined by its use and that Jihad has numerous uses.

However, of the uses of Jihad, the one which, to non-Muslims, is most important involves conquest. It is the Jihad described by Ibn Khaldun, namely, a religious duty, unique among major religions, to Muslims to bring the world to be governed by shari'a."
To which I reply:
"No single, absolute meaning could be attributed to Jihad ; it should always be considered in its context as a word and as an act .
Jihad is not the only command on Moslems ; other commands exist. To me the overruling command is "antum alam bi shoun dinyakim"i.e. "you know better the exigencies of your world/time. "
To claim that Jihad will convert the world to Islam by force is not only utterly silly but denotes an abysmal ignorance of Islam."




omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
Zionist racist Israel is the only country in the world , in the 20th and 21st century , that enacts "LAWS" that grant or withholds "rights" on the basis of the ethnic/racial provenance of the applicant as for the (Israeli) Law of Return!
Discrimination is openly unabashedly "legally" practiced on "racial/racist" grounds.
"Legal" prerogatives are granted , or withheld, through the application of declared "racial/ethnic" criteria.
Zionism called openly for a nation/state with a distinct "racial/racist" character and, by implication, domination by a distinct "racial/racist" entity.
It is not only that Zionist Israel openly practices discrimination on "racial/racist" grounds but that such a practice is "legal" and "legally" condoned.
That is as racist as racisim can go!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
That countries X, Y and Z have laws that restrict or favour admission on racial or other grounds, if true, does not negate nor alleviate the avowedly declared RACIST naure of the Israeli Law of Return and consequently the Racist nature of the Zionist state of Israel which was populated, in the majority, by the application of this law.
That A, B and C did or do steal is no justification for D (Israel) to steal and claim honesty at the same time.
Stealing is wrong no matter how many people practice it!
To deny that the Israeli law of return is RACIST is akin to denying that the sun rises from the East...which you would , I suspect, deny when the situation calls for denial.
White is white and black is black and calling RACISM nationalism will not change its true intrinsic RACIST nature.
( I expected the security argument but to call black white is really a surprise!)


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
That A, B, C & D steal does not make stealing less of a criminal act!
It is as simple as that.

" To Favour" is quite different from " to restrict" not that I approve of any body "favouring" somebody by LAW particularly when it comes to inalienable human rights such as the Palestinians inalienable right to return to their homeland Palestine !

"For Jews only" does not that remind you of "For Whites only"? You seem to have a peculiarly selective memory; not unlike the selective morality to which you have given ample evidence in your posts!

There is little you can say, do or write that will change the fact that Zionism is a RACIST creed !
Why do not you accept, for once, that 1+1=2 and NOT 1 or 3!
And that RACISM is NOT nationalism no matter how far you sretch the meaning of both words.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

For Pipes to pronounce on JIHAD is as trust worthy and reliable as for the Grand Inquisitor to pronounce on Islam or Judaism at the high point of the Spanish Inquisition!
It is not only that they are diametrically opposite in doctrine but there is a pressing political need to denigrate and demonize irrespective of the truth, or at least, the need to view things from other than an intractable enmity stand..
Pipes' does not deserve to be seriously considered for he is deaf and blind when it comes to matters Islamic and/or Arab.
I recall I once posted a little thing re the Palestinians Right of Return to their homeland, Palestine, on his forum!
Within 15 minutes, it was struck out.
He does not want to listen nor to allow others to read anything that does not support 100% his rabid Zionist line.Which is typical of where ever he and his ilk are in control.
Jihad is derived from "jahada" which means to exert one self to the maximum.
Basically it includes two major branches "Al Jihad al akbar" i.e." the bigger jihad " which is with oneself and "al Jihad al asghur" i.e. "the smaller, lesser, Jihad" which is with the "others".
In Islam Jihad had been historically used to denote, inter alia, the search for learning, the search for a better life, both material and spiritual for the individual and/or the community and as the effort to spread Islam with "the good word"(bilkalima al hassana) or, if that fails, by war.
To the Moslem Brotherhood presently engaged in a strenuous non violent political confrontation with the government of Egypt for democracy their effort is a JIHAD par excellence.
To those involved in it the armed anti American insurrection in Iraq is also a JIHAD.
No single, absolute meaning could be attributed to Jihad ; it should always be considered in its context as a word and as an act .
Jihad is not the only command on Moslems ; other commands exist. To me the overruling command is "antum alam bi shoun dinyakim"i.e. "you know better the exigencies of your world/time. "
To claim that Jihad will convert the world to Islam by force is not only utterly silly but denotes an abysmal ignorance of Islam.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


Mr Friedman
The Webster, in the Encyclopedia Britannica, has the following to say about racism:
"Main Entry: racism
Pronunciation: ‚r†-ƒsi-z„m also -ƒshi
Function: noun
Date: 1936
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination"

As is evident from (2) above acts of discrimination, whether for or against, as in the Israeli" Law" of Return which restricts the right to return, to Palestine, to Jews, while denying it to Moslems and Christians, are by definition Racist acts propounded by a Racist dogma; Zionism and practiced by a Racist regime as for the Zionist nation/state of Israel.
The Racist nature of Zionism is further confirmed when we recall that the object of Zionism was to establish a JEWISH homeland in Arab/Moslem/ Christian multi ethnic , multi confessional Palestine, as was its cultural and demographic composition when the imperialist British assisted Zionist conquest began in the 1920s.
However it is not only in this, discriminatory, sense that Zionism was and still is Racist.
Zionism is equally RACIST in the original sense of the word ,as in (1) above, in that it sprung from and addresses the JEWS; a majority of whom believe that they share a common singular ethnic/RACIAL provenance through an uninterrupted blood lineage through the mother!
To top it all, or all stemming from, is the basic distinction made in Orthodox and Conservative Judaism between the Jews and the "goyim", you can correct my spelling here if you wish, in rights, prerogatives and, ultimately, human value.
Mr Friedman , you have to accept that 1+1=2, not 1 not 3.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Putting "history" and "Pipes" on the same line is ludicrous. One might as well talk about Joe McCarthy's great scholarly achievements in writing the history of communism. The final gratuitous line, in this latest bit of fearmongering, concerning "moderate Muslims" is a pitiful joke, because Pipe's scores of prior articles on this website are obviously designed mainly, if not solely, to concoct a myth (through repetitve deception) that no such category of Muslims could ever exist. I will acknowledge that this particular piece is by far not the worst I have ever seen from him, but his credibility on anything to do with Islam is at absolute zero, and HNN's plummets every time it runs another predictably biased and warped article by him.


N. Friedman - 6/19/2005

Omar,

I am happy to hear that you do not hate Jews, only Zionists. Of course, 95% of Jews are Zionist and most of the rest are friendly to Zionism might give you some pause.

Regarding your comment regarding "goyim," I note your comment regarding ajami. I gather you do not believe that the issues you raise about Jews can be applied to you when you spoke to Irfan about ajami. Or, what was your point?




N. Friedman - 6/19/2005

Omar,

I am happy to hear that you do not hate Jews, only Zionists. Of course, 95% of Jews are Zionist and most of the rest are friendly to Zionism might give you some pause.

Regarding your comment regarding "goyim," I note your comment regarding ajami. I gather you do not believe that the issues you raise about Jews can be applied to you when you spoke to Irfan about ajami. Or, what was your point?



N. Friedman - 6/18/2005

mar,

Your conclusion does not follow from the definitions of racism you assert. According to the definitions, racism involves race, not religion. That is problem number one in your theory. Which is to say, what you write makes no sense, unless, of course, you posit that the Jews are a race. Most Arabs claim otherwise as such claim would justify Israel's historical claims. (I am enjoying this so keep on keeping on.)

Morevoer, let us explore the definitions a bit more carefully.

The first definition, that "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race," is not a view held by any Zionist I have ever met. In fact, Zionists do not believe anything of the sort.

The second definition, that "racial prejudice or discrimination" is also not a position that is necessary to Zionism any more than it is necessary to democracy. Yet, there have been democracies which have had slaves but that does not mean that democracy is a form of racism. Instead, the noted fact means that democracies can have slave or not have slaves.

By contrast, discrimination against non-Muslims is a requirement of Islam in its traditional form. Such is what the dhimma is all about, whether or not you call it voluntary or not. The fact is that the dhimmi are subject to different rules, different taxes, etc., etc. So, I gather it is you who need to look inward and see the racism (using your formula which confuses religion and race) at home before accusing others.


I might add: In that every monotheistic religion distinguishes believer from non-believer, all monotheistic religions are, on your theory, racist. So, your theory is pretty silly.

But note (and this sort of shows your ignorance): Judaism's distinction between believer and non-believer is radically different from Islam's or Christianity's. Judaism does not posit that Judaism is the only true path. Islam and Christianity do. Which is to say, by the definition you post of racism, Judaism is not racist.

But Islam is a classic example - using your definition - of a racist faith. And, unlike Christianity today, large numbers of Muslims want to bring back the good old days when non-Muslims were treated like dirt (i.e. the days, using your theory, when racism was justified by Islam).

At this point, Omar, you have shown yourself to be a classic Jew hater. You are not even a careful one who abides by the distinction of Jews and Zionists.


N. Friedman - 6/18/2005

Omar,

Your conclusion does not follow from the definitions of racism you assert. According to the definitions, racism involves race, not religion. That is problem number one in your theory. Which is to say, what you write makes no sense, unless, of course, you posit that the Jews are a race. Most Arabs claim otherwise as such claim would justify Israel's historical claims. (I am enjoying this so keep on keeping on.)

Morevoer, let us explore the definitions a bit more carefully.

The first definition, that "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race," is not a view held by any Zionist I have ever met. In fact, Zionists do not believe anything of the sort.

The second definition, that "racial prejudice or discrimination" is also not a position that is necessary to Zionism any more than it is necessary to democracy. Yet, there have been democracies which have had slaves but that does not mean that democracy is a form of racism. Instead, the noted fact means that democracies can have slave or not have slaves.

By contrast, discrimination against non-Muslims is a requirement of Islam in its traditional form. Such is what the dhimma is all about, whether or not you call it voluntary or not. The fact is that the dhimmi are subject to different rules, different taxes, etc., etc. So, I gather it is you who need to look inward and see the racism (using your formula which confuses religion and race) at home before accusing others.


I might add: In that every monotheistic religion distinguishes believer from non-believer, all monotheistic religions are, on your theory, racist. So, your theory is pretty silly.

But note (and this sort of shows your ignorance): Judaism's distinction between believer and non-believer is radically different from Islam's or Christianity's. Judaism does not posit that Judaism is the only true path. Islam and Christianity do. Which is to say, by the definition you post of racism, Judaism is not racist.

But Islam is a classic example - using your definition - of a racist faith. And, unlike Christianity today, large numbers of Muslims want to bring back the good old days when non-Muslims were treated like dirt (i.e. the days, using your theory, when racism was justified by Islam).

At this point, Omar, you have shown yourself to be a classic Jew hater. You are not even a careful one who abides by the distinction of Jews and Zionists.


N. Friedman - 6/16/2005

Omar,

The US once had laws that supported "for whites only" and many Americans championed that view. That did not make democracy a racist creed. And "for Jews only" does not make zionism a racist creed. Your position, frankly, is involves a logic error.

To understand your error: I shall posit a different position for purposes of our discussion, namely, that Palestinianism is form of racism. The reason: the position adopted by those who believe in that creed demands that the West Bank and Gaza be cleared of all Jews. Such, after all, is the PA's negotiating position and such, after all, is Hamas' view for the entire region. Now, a far better case can be made that Palestinianism is a form of racism than Zionism since Zionism does not require the removal of all Palestinian Arabs. How can I say that: because the vast majority of Palestinians favor the noted position.

Moreover and again: following your logic: Palestinianism is a form of barbarism. This is because Palestinians employ the massacre as their strategy of first choice and the Palestinian people celebrate such occurences as festive occasions. Only barbarians would do that. Again, there is a better case for claiming that Palestinianism is a form of barbarism than claiming that Zionism is a form of racism.

In fact, however, both creeds, Palestinianism and Zionism, are forms of nationalism. People like you - who prefer eternal war to a settlement that benefits both sides - either do not know the difference between nationalism and racism or make believe that only one form of nationalism is racism when all have the features you claim Zionism has. And, frankly, Palestinianism has the features complained of in a rather militant form.

In any event, Israel's motivation for separating groups is to prevent people from killing each other, not racism. In this case, fanatical people who target civilians intentionally and give out sweets to celebrate massacres (about as low as it comes) need to be separated for the survival of the country. That is not racism; it is the very sort of policy which is employed all over the world when there are civil wars and other disputes between peoples.

Were the Arabs to say "let's see what sort of life we could make with the Israelis" (i.e. accept Israel not only as a fact but as a way to advance both Jewish and Arab interests), that would then test your thesis. My bet: the Arab side would prosper and enlighten the Arab regions and would be accepted as equals - as that is what Zionism is actually all about -. My bet is that Israel would make any and all necessary compromises to accomodate the legitimate needs of the Arab side. And, frankly: even if I am wrong, nothing you have said cannot be explained as necessary security laws in the face of a violent and unreasonable population which show no moral conpunction - which is what the Palestinian Arabs have turned themselves into -.

I shall say this for the last time: nothing you have written suggests that Israel is a racist country. What you have written suggests that Israelis and Palestinians do not get along.

In this case, the problem is the Arab side which is mired in racism and antisemitism and anti-Americanism while overlooking Arab insufficiencies. As historian Paul Johnson writes in The Anti-Semitic Disease:

As an example of the self-destructive force of anti-Semitism, the case of Hitler and Nazi Germany is paralleled only by what has happened to the Arabs over the course of the last century.

The year 1917 saw both the issuance in London of the Balfour Declaration, authorizing the creation of a Jewish “national home” in Palestine, and the wartime British occupation of Jerusalem, followed thereafter by an international mandate to govern the country. In the Balfour Declaration the British pledged to use “their best endeavors” to further the national-home project, but “without prejudice to the rights of the existing inhabitants.” At this stage, many Zionists themselves did not necessarily envisage a sovereign Jewish state emerging in Palestine. Thus, Chaim Weizmann, the prime mover behind the Declaration, imagined that Jewish immigrants, whose ranks included a growing number of scientific and agricultural experts as well as many entrepreneurs, would play a key role in enabling the Arabs of the Middle East to make the most effective use of their newly developing oil wealth.

Had Jewish-Arab cooperation been possible from the start, and had money from oil been creatively invested in education, technology, industry, and social services, the Middle East would now be by far the richest portion of the earth’s surface. This has been one of history’s greatest lost opportunities, comparable, on a much greater scale, to Spain’s mismanagement of its silver wealth in the 16th century. Anti-Semitism, helped by an ingenious forgery, was the key to the disaster.


And:

Over the last half-century, anti-Semitism has been the essential ideology of the Arab world; its practical objective has been the destruction of Israel and the extermination of its inhabitants. And this huge and baneful force, this disease of the mind, has once again had its customary consequence. Just as Hitler ended his life a suicide, having failed in his mission of destroying the Jewish people, so 100 million or more Arabs, marching under the banner of anti-Semitism, have totally failed, despite four full-scale wars and waves of terrorism and intifadas without number, to extinguish tiny Israel.

In the meantime, by allowing their diseased obsession to dominate all their aspirations, the Arabs have wasted trillions in oil royalties on weapons of war and propaganda—and, at the margin, on ostentatious luxuries for a tiny minority. In their flight from reason, they have failed to modernize or civilize their societies, to introduce democracy, or to consolidate the rule of law. Despite all their advantages, they are now being overtaken decisively by the Indians and the Chinese, who have few natural resources but are inspired by reason, not hatred.

Yet still the Arabs feed off the ravages of the disease, imbibing and spreading its poison. Even as they keep alive the Protocols itself, now published in tens of millions of copies in major Arab capitals, they have embellished its lurid fantasies with their own, homegrown mythologies of Jewish wickedness. Recently the Protocols was made into a 41-part TV series, filmed in Cairo and disseminated throughout the Muslim world. Turkey, once a bastion of moderation, with a thriving economy, is now a theater of anti-Semitism, where hatred of Israel breeds varieties of Islamic extremism. At a time when at long last there is real hope of democracy taking root in the Arab and Muslim world, the paralysis continues and indeed is spreading.


Somehow the obvious has escaped your intention and hope to brand one of the world's most humane philosphies into a form of racism - a foolish and quite obvious error that harms the interests of the entire Arab regions -. I might add that if Johnson is correct, Palestinianism is a form of Nazism.



N. Friedman - 6/16/2005

Omar,

I was asking you distinguish what Israel does from what is normally called nationalism.

Instead, you listed some laws, of the garden variety that exist all through the world and which no one calls racism, except in connection with Israel.

In fact: France has a law of return which favors those of French blood. Germany has a law of return which favors those of German heritage. Jordan has a law of return which favors anyone who is not Jewish. No one claims that such laws are racist. Yet, Israel has a law similar to what France and Germany have yet you call Israel racist.

So the question is: since Germany has, for practical purposes, the same law as Israel, is Germany racist? Since France has, for practical purposes, the same law as Isarel, is Germany racist? Since, Jordan prevents all immigration by Jews - and only by Jews -, is Jordan racist?

In France, there is a law that target Muslim rather explicitly, namely, the law regarding public showing of religious designations. In fact, the law was explictly targetted at Muslims. Does that make France racist?

Germany has not a single Muslim legislator in the National legislature. Israel has more or less the same percentage of Muslim legislators as there are Israeli Muslims. So, it would seem to me, that Germany, not Israel, is racist. Or, do your words only apply to Israel.

Somehow, I think you do not apply rules universally. Instead, you have a thing against Israel, as if it were somehow worse than Jordan or Germany or France or Egypt. In fact, Israel is far less racist than those noted countries.

So, I await a reasoned argument, not a list of laws that are said to be racist only when applied to Israel


N. Friedman - 6/15/2005

Omar,

I think these laws are normal laws in a normal country. I do not see your point. I note that by world standards, Israel is not racist. Moreover, by the standards of the Muslim regions, Israel is by far the least racist country.


N. Friedman - 6/15/2005

Omar,

You are mistaken regarding immigration laws - law of return -. Jordan, France and Germany all have laws of return. France's is based on "French blood," Germany's on "German heritage" and Jordan's based on religion as in anyone with roots from what is now Jordan, other than a Jews (and the law singles out Jews), can immigrate to Jordan. I suspect that many other countries have those law but I know that the above do. Again, these laws, except in the case of Jordan which restricts a specific group, are not racist.

Further, the US has laws regarding immigration which favor one ethnic group over another. And so does Canada. Probably other countries do as well.

As for the remainder of what you say, you are mistaken. What you describe (" Zionism called openly for a nation/state with a distinct "racial/racist" character") is called nationalism, not racism. You can find the very same thing exists in every single European country - based on ethnicity and religion.




N. Friedman - 6/14/2005

Omar,

You misread my post. Read what I wrote more carefully.


N. Friedman - 6/14/2005

Omar,

You assert that Zionism is racist. Prove it in a manner which distinguishes Zionism from nationalism as practiced by the French, the British, the Jordanians, the Greeks, etc. In my view, Zionism is no different than, say French or Greek nationalism. But I am always willing to listen. But note: the fact that people were displaced will not persuade me. A lot more people were displaced in the creation of France, Greece, Britian, the US, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, etc., etc., than Israel displaced. So that fact will not mean anything to me as it merely denotes what occurred to the Palestinian Arabs to what occurred in nearly every country on Earth.


N. Friedman - 6/14/2005

Ashar,

Indeed you are correct.

The treatment, historically speaking, of non-Muslims under Islam was terrible. While no doubt true that Christiandom treated non-Christians terribly, the treatment of non-Muslims is itself an important topic to be examined on its own terms.

Such topic ought to be examined with great urgency because today the Muslim regions have a substantial population of people urging and/or carrying out past injustice of the type you have described and rationalized by religion.


Ashar J Khokhar - 6/14/2005

If the Ivy Academics spend little more time in studying the documents/reports sent by different European Consulates appointed in different Muslim countries in different times, they will find out more about the treatment of non-Muslims. The way non Muslim should dress, how they should build their house and it height, the door height and how non Muslims should enter into their house, where they should build, rules about repairing an existing church (not to talk about building a new one), owning a horse or a mule and how to ride it, how they should pay the tax, the manner, how they should approach a Muslim and what they should do when the come across a Muslim in the street, whey they can not go to a Muslim area or a Muslim house, it will tell them a lot about Jihad and its true meaning.

The tax that a dhimmi should pay also became a community tax, where the community was supposed to contribute young men and women who would work in Muslims' houses as servants, to fight in Muslim army. I wonder if the Ivy Academics know the term that Ottomoan used for such soldiers. The communities were also asked to their young children to work in Muslim soldiers' houses. They were also part of the community tax. The parents never knew what happened to their children afterwards, since they never saw them again, for history shows that those children were brought up as Muslims and those who try to go back to their families or religion, they were killed.


N. Friedman - 6/13/2005

Omar,

You are correct that the meaning of a word is determined by its use and that Jihad has numerous uses.

However, of the uses of Jihad, the one which, to non-Muslims, is most important involves conquest. It is the Jihad described by Ibn Khaldun, namely, a religious duty, unique among major religions, to Muslims to bring the world to be governed by shari'a.

On the other hand, there are other uses of Jihad and you are correct that the word, in its origin, is derived from the word, to strive. Perhaps, from a internal Muslim point of view - which is, to note, a real point of view but, from the point of non-Muslims, not really pertinent -, the greater Jihad is most important. Again, to non-Muslims, the issue is its relationship with the Islamic regions and with Muslims. Historically, that relationship has involved a great deal of war. While some of the war was instigated by the Christians, a great deal was the work of Muslims seeking to enlarge the realm of the world governed by Muslims and Muslim law.

As for the inquisition, the involvement of Jews was on the receiving, not the side of the inquisidor. Which is to say, Jews, like Muslims, were victims of the Inquisition.

As for Israel and the Palestinians, there is no basis to engage your discussion. As anyone who has opened a book of history knows, the creation of nations has nearly always involved people - usually very large numbers of people - being displaced and being displaced permanently. Few peoples, on the other hand, have preferred to ruin multiple generations rather than agree to resettlement. In our time, the Sudetens (and far more Sudetens were displaced than Palesitinian Arabs) were all resettled - albeit against their will - in Germany. There are, to note 12.5 million such people.

While there is some wish to return among Sudetens, they have moved on with their lives and now lead productive lives in Germany. Why can the Palestinian Arabs not do the same? In my view, the Palestinian Arabs have created their own hell by opting for eternal war over making new lives.

I shall only debate you on the Palestinian Arabs if you acknowledge (or at least address) the obvious, that their plight is not much different than the Sudetens with the exception that Palestinian Arabs, unlike the Sudetens, refuse to move on with their lives.


N. Friedman - 6/7/2005

Edward,

There is a serious question whether the global Jihad is a responsive action in some sense or whether it is the result of a religious revival sweeping the Muslim regions under circumstances where it is possible to advance the Muslim political cause (i.e. the religious demand to expand the realm of Muslim rule) due to changes in the world including, for example, the retreat of Europeans from the Muslim regions (i.e. an outcome taught by the end of the Colonial era ) and changes in technology that make a global Jihad possible.

My gut reaction is that professor Hanson is probably mistaken. I also note that he is brilliant scholar.

I note a third possibility, that which comes from Professor Lewis. He views the Jihad as a product of ressentimente created by the military and other failures of Islam over the course of the last several centuries. He might also be correct although I think the most likely cause involves religious revival, a phenomena that needs to be considered in its own right.





Edward Siegler - 6/6/2005

I think you might find this of interest, N. It argues that we are seeing failed ideologies lashing out in their death throes. Jihad can reasonably be called one of those failed concepts. Perhaps this isn't entirely relevant here, but I thought is was a worthwhile read on it's own merits.

June 5, 2005
Western liberalism is the only idea left standing
by Victor Davis Hanson
Tribune Media Services

The French and Dutch rebuffs of the European Union constitution will soon be followed by other rejections. Millions of proud, educated Europeans are tired of being told by unelected grandees that the mess they see is really abstract art.

The EU constitution—and its promise of a new Europe— supposedly offered a corrective to the Anglo-American strain of Western civilization. More government, higher taxes, richer entitlements, pacifism, statism and atheism would make a more humane and powerful new continent of more than 400 million to outpace a retrograde U.S. Instead, Europe faces a declining population, unassimilated minorities, low growth, high unemployment and an inability to defend itself, either militarily or morally. Somehow the directorate of the EU has figured out how to have too few citizens while having too many of them out of work.

The only question that remains is just how low will the 100,000 bureaucrats of the European Union go in shrieking to their defiant electorates as they stampede for the exits.

In fact, 2005 is a culmination of dying ideas. Despite the boasts and threats, almost every political alternative to Western liberalism over the last quarter-century is crashing or already in flames.

China's red-hot economy—something like America's of 1870, before unionization, environmentalism and federal regulation— shows just how dead communism is. Will Vietnam, North Korea and Cuba go out with a bang or a whimper? If North Korea's nutty communiques, Hugo Chavez's shouting about oil boycotts and Fidel Castro's harangues sound desperate, it's because they all are.

Fascism has long vacated its birthplace in Europe. The fragments of the former Soviet autocracy are democratizing. The caudillos are gone from Latin America. The last enclave of dictators is the Middle East. Yet after Saddam Hussein's capture in a cesspool, their hold is slipping too. There will probably not be an Assad III or a second Mubarak.

The real suspense is whether the Gulf royals can make good on their promises of reform and elections. Will they end up like pampered Windsors or go the ignominious way of the Shah of Iran? In desperation, the apparatchik journalists in the state-controlled Arab press are damning the United States, the avatar of change. Then there is bankrupt Islamic fundamentalism. The zealots can always tape a beheading or turn out a few thousand to burn an American flag. But the Taliban are gone from power. Iran is facing popular disgust at home, while its desperate nuclear plots are waking up even a comatose Europe. And the promise of a return to the 8th Century has always had an appeal limited to a few thousand pampered elites, like Osama bin Laden, Dr. Zawahiri or Zarqawi. These losers figured they might become Saladins if they convinced an Arab populace that the Jews and America, not their own corrupt regimes, kept them poor. Now they are reduced to ranting about the evils of democracy.

The Islamicists offered nothing to galvanize the Arab masses other than nihilism. That doctrine feeds or employs no one. Instead, we witness the creepy threats and the pyrotechnics of a lunatic ideology going the way of Bushido and the kamikazes.

Why all these upheavals?

Global communications now reveal hourly to people abroad how much better life is in Europe than in the Middle East and Asia— and how in America, Australia and Britain the standard of living is even better than in most of Europe.

The removal of the Taliban and Hussein and their replacement with democracies proved that the United States after Sept. 11, 2001, was neither weak nor cynical. In fact, it was the utopian United Nations, with its oil-for-food program, snoozing in Darfur and scandals about peacekeepers, that proved corrupt and unreliable.

What are we left with then?

Democracy, open markets, personal freedom, individual rights, pride in national traditions, worry about big government—about what we see in the United States, Britain, Australia and their allies in Japan and the breakaway countries in Europe. Elections in Ethiopia, France, Iraq, Lebanon and Ukraine all point to a desire for more freedom from central state control.

Embers of communism, fascism, theocracy and socialism, of course, will always flare up should we become complacent or arrogant. Wounded beasts like Iran, North Korea and bin Laden are most dangerous before they expire. Expect discredited EU bureaucrats to conjure up the specter of the American bogeyman before they pension out.

Still, the racket and clamor from all these anti-democratic ideas in 2005 are not birth pangs, but the bitter death throes of those whose time is about past.



N. Friedman - 6/6/2005

Peter,

How do you know Pipes is wrong? How do you know that he is citing nonsense? What do you know about Islam? What is the basis for your opinion? What books are you relying on for your opinion?


N. Friedman - 6/6/2005

Peter,

In other words, you do not much care about the uses of Jihad in history. How typical of you, regardless of your view of Mr. Pipes.


N. Friedman - 6/6/2005

Jihad began as offensive war and it remains to this day offensive war. That it has had other uses and meanings is rather irrelevant as, in fact, the most significant role for Jihad in history has been actual offensive wars, as in the great early Arab Jihad which swept Islam from Arabia both east and also west out to Spain. And then the second great Jihad of the empire of the Ghazi (i.e. empire of the "holy warriors" known better as the Ottoman Empire) which swept Islam into Southern Europe. Today, we have the third great Jihad intended to sweep Islam into Europe again and then beyond.


Jonathan Dresner - 6/6/2005

I haven't been accused of sophistry in some time, thanks.

What you said is not what Pipes said. You may be right, but that's not what Pipes said, nor is it relevant to his argument about what changes need to happen in Islam for the world to be a happier, more peaceful place.

Pipes, among other things, draws an implicit distinction in his historical summary between wars of conquest and wars of defense: that's not insignificant. Nor, though it may be a minority position, is the Sufi/Esposito issue. One of the things which has long interested me about the Sufi, like the Jain of India, is that their philosophical and theological impact is much greater than their numbers: they are capable of, as we now say, "framing" the issues for others in striking ways.


Tim R. Furnish - 6/6/2005

There's also something called sophistry, I think it's called. Having done some research on this myself--though undoubtedly less in-depth than that of Dr. Cook or Dr. Pipes--I can attest that MOST of the time in MOST contexts in the last 1,425 years of Islamic history, MOST Muslims have understood "jihad" to mean "war against unbelievers." OK, so that's NOT "always." But jihad-as-holy war is a damned sight more often the meaning than jihad-as-Muslim-self-actualization.


Jonathan Dresner - 6/4/2005

Maybe it's the summary, or perhaps it's the recommendations, but there's some slippage here: The dismissal of Esposito's ideas coupled with the recognition that those ideas did form a significant component of Islamic thought (the Sufi redefinition) followed by the call for "moderate Muslims" to reject "excessive" jihad which would presumably mean returning to a Sufi/Esposito position on personal development instead of political domination.... Having your cake and eating it too, I think it's called.

There's also a distinct tension between the idea of jihad as an evolving term and jihad as "always" meaning wars of domination and conquest.

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