by Wasiq Wasiq
Thursday, 11
August 2022
Response
16:37

The UN is in denial about Islamic terrorism

The UAE ambassador made a bizarre statement this week
by Wasiq Wasiq
(Photo by: Pictures from History/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Mohamed Abushahab, the Ambassador of the UAE to the United Nations (UN), recently made a statement at a UN Security Council Briefing on the threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist attacks. Abushahab talked about the continued threat of Da’esh (Islamic State) and its affiliates as well as the fight against al-Qaeda remaining a global priority.

The Ambassador also took this opportunity to emphasise a curious point: that “there is nothing Islamic about terrorism” and to end to the use of ‘Islamic State’ in reference to Dae’sh. This is an ill-conceived statement that ignores the widely available violent Islamic doctrines relied upon by the very groups he is talking about. Not only that, it also plays directly into the hands of Islamists in the West who have long wanted to control language when it comes to Islamic inspired terrorism.

The first point that should be made is that Islam is a religion that has been left to Muslims to interpret how they see fit. As a result, there are many sects within Islam, the two largest being Sunni and Shia. The Sunni sect have a sub-sect of conservative Muslims known as Salafis — the word deriving from salaf al-sahi — the first three generations of people since the death of the Prophet Muhammed.

Salafis themselves can be categorised into a further three sub-sects: quietest, activists and jihadists. The first two, quietest and activists do not engage in violence themselves, but the latter does support it in principle if it is to benefit the ‘Ummah’ (global Muslim community) or to spread Islam. The Jihadists on the other hand, actively use violence for this very purpose and can be considered violent rejectionists.

But the Salafis didn’t just wake up one day and declare themselves jihadists; instead they produced a whole doctrine which provides the justification for their violence. Shiraz Maher, the Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) posits that there are five essential and irreducible features of the Salafi-Jihadi movement: 1) tawhíd (belief in the oneness of God), 2) hákimiyyah (the absolute rule of God), 3) al-walá wa-l-bará (loyalty and disavowal), 4) jihad (holy war) and 5) takfír (excommunication). The first two features are used to promote the faith whereas the remainder three features are to protect it.

The key point to note here is that while these features are needed to form the Salafi Jihadist ideology, these ideas exist in normative Islamic traditions nonetheless. They do not exist because of Salafis — they exist despite Salafis. Therefore, to assume that there is nothing Islamic about terrorism ignores the very history of ideas in Islamic theology that have existed since its conception 1400 years ago.

But there are also wider implications to making statements that do not fully appreciate the history of ideas in Islamic theology and to exonerate the religion of Islam from any aspect of violence. Islamists in the west have, for many years, attempted to control the language used to describe acts of terror when the perpetrator is found to have been Muslim.

The National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP) was looking at proposals to drop the word ‘Islamist’ or ‘jihadi’ when describing attacks from individuals claiming Islam as their motive. Instead, they were seeking to replace these terms with “faith-claimed terrorism”, or “terrorists abusing religious motivations” and even more strangely, “adherents of Osama bin-Laden’s ideology”.

This move garnered support from Islamist organisations who have claimed that it would mark a “milestone in undoing the harms the counter-terror apparatus has inflicted upon Muslim communities.” What harm is being inflicted on Muslim communities by accurately describing Muslim perpetrators of terrorism as Islamist or Jihadis is anyone’s guess. But the Ambassador to the UN gives these groups legitimacy by making statements that serve a shared purpose with them.

Mohamed Abushahab is clearly mistaken if he believes that there is only one interpretation of Islam and that it is a peaceful one. To make such a statement, not only ignores the well-established theology of violence within the Islamic tradition, but it also places him in a position that he, nor anyone else, can take, which is to declare what Islam is.

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Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 month ago

We must stop tip-toeing around this issue. Politicians insisting “Islam is a religion of Peace” and pretending such attacks have “nothing to do with Islam” is a dangerous fantasy. The UK Govt, since the threat of Islamist terror came to our shores, has been at pains to try and ignore the fact that these jihadis explicitly commit atrocities in the name of their faith. The state seems reluctant to admit this obvious fact for fear of upsetting Muslim communities. Of course the majority of Muslims do not condone such atrocities, though many seem reticent to condemn their co-religionists publicly.
Not being free to discuss that point is, itself, a real problem and only provides cover in which Islamic extremism can flourish in our midst, unchallenged.
There is no rehabilitation possible for men such as Suddesh Amman or Usman Khan. Once you have a person who genuinely believes that whatever evil they commit is divinely mandated then it is impossible to convince them of their error. What logic or reason is going to persuade someone who believes, as a matter of fundamentalist faith, that murdering unbelievers will earn them an eternity in paradise?
Returning ISIS fighters, those who attended Al Qaeda training camps and even those home-grown jihadis who can view beheading videos and nod approvingly, pose a real and present threat to this country. Not even North Korean style ‘re-education’ is going to cure such twisted thinking.
There will always be well-intentioned do-gooders who’ll suggest that we cannot give in to fear or hate and that we must try and reach out to such people. But we are dealing with people who believe – and I mean REALLY believe – in paradise for the faithful and eternal conscious-torment-in-fire for unbelievers. No amount of well-intentioned do-goodery on the part of the state will move them from that position one inch. What rational, temporal argument could one put forward that would be seen to countermand a spiritual, holy mission, if that is what the jihadi believes his actions to be?
The only “reformed” Islamist I’m aware of is Majid Nawaz – though he came to the realisation himself, rather than being deradicalised by a kindly probation officer. I would suggest that if a man with such an obvious intellect, a man with such finely calibrated ethics, can be persuaded to the cause of Islamist extremism it only goes to show what an insidiously “attractive” ideology it can be if fed to a disaffected young man seeking answers.
So what can a Govt do with home-grown Jihadis? No civilised culture should condone indefinite detention but short of capital punishment what is the alternative? You cannot “solve” the problem of imprisoned Islamist extremists, you can only hope to contain it. And certainly you must separate them from the general prison population and young, disaffected prisoners who they would undoubtedly attempt to radicalise. Once inside a place like Whitemoor, which appears to have become a UK Jihadi finishing school, it would be safe to assume that any former inmate poses a real and ongoing threat to society.
To rehabilitate was memorably defined as “To invest again with dignity”, a noble aim, and one that in the long run saves the state money. Funding adequately to achieve this will pay for itself many times over. Most right minded people would believe in that as a general rule.
However, to equate such high-minded goals with our necessarily harsh treatment of Jihadis and Hate Preachers is entirely self-defeating. With ISIS fighters it would be better for all concerned if they were killed in battle – however we cannot simply murder those that are captured. With home-grown jihadis all we can do is arrest them and, in the majority of cases, hold them indefinitely and isolate them from ‘regular’ prisoners – because there’s no way you can expect to win in a situation where the state is trying to rehabilitate a petty offender whilst his cell-mate believes he is doing God’s work trying to turn him into a mass murderer.

Last edited 1 month ago by Paddy Taylor
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 month ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

superb!

james goater
james goater
1 month ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Excellent. Every one of your words rings true.

Tina D
Tina D
1 month ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Added to being radicalised is the high possibility that these people have a pathological disorder. I doubt there’s a reasonable cure or treatment for that.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago

“The National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP) was looking at proposals to drop the word ‘Islamist’ or ‘jihadi’ when describing attacks from individuals claiming Islam as their motive. Instead, they were seeking to replace these terms with “faith-claimed terrorism”, or “terrorists abusing religious motivations”

Presumably by the same logic so-called right wing terrorists will be reclassified as “terrorists abusing political motivations” and “political-claimed terrorism”. I can’t see many journalists abandon reference to right-wing terrorism when some angry mentally disturbed drugged up white youth shoots up a bunch of their classmates and teachers for such anodyne phrases.

”White supremacist” seems popular journalese. “Muslim supremacist” seems quite apt for most Muslim Terrorists.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeremy Bray
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

If a peson, who is a Muslim, destroys a lab which is experimenting on animals because (s)he is an anti-vivisectionist, then this is not an Islamic terrorist act, it’s an animal rights terrorist act, but if the same person commits an act of violence against (say) a gay club because this violates the tenets of Islam then this is an Islamist terror act. Simple distinction I would say.

Caspian Prince
Caspian Prince
1 month ago

Brilliant stuff. Thank you for writing this.

Ayman Ibrahim
Ayman Ibrahim
1 month ago

The United Nothing will never, NEVER do anything to disrupt the status quo of blatant Islamic terror wherever it occurs. They will not condemn it, they will not sanction it. They won’t even write a strongly worded letter about it. This is a feckless organization. It is listless, has no purpose, does very little good, and occupies phenomenal real estate while US taxpayers fund the majority of it it’s bureaucratic nonsense that gets pumped out of it. It is a venue that allows the perceived grievances of lesser nations to collectively moan about how bad the US is while neglecting and being willfully blind to the blight they create in their own respective countries and their citizens.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 month ago

Yes thanks for a thoughtful article. It was a good read, but it only serves to bolster my opinion that we would be a lot better off with no religions in this world than we are now.

I just think that their time is past, and that they do more harm than good. The sentence below just about sums up the conniving, twisted, sick thinking around all this…

“…This move garnered support from Islamist organisations who have claimed that it would mark a “milestone in undoing the harms the counter-terror apparatus has inflicted upon Muslim communities.” 

Last edited 1 month ago by Albireo Double
Sam Agnew
Sam Agnew
1 month ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

I would argue the western world is currently in the grip of a more rigid and zealous faith than any time in the last hundred years. The fact that it doesn’t have a deity at the centre is no more an obstacle than it was for the adherents of Marx or Robespierre. The idea has been soundly tried, I’m afraid.

Andy Fraser
Andy Fraser
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam Agnew

Yes – the Social Justice movement has many features of a religion – and the worst features.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam Agnew

Yes, I understand, and agree. But it is only the West. Therein lies hope I think. Cureently, we think we have nothing better to worry about that that nonsense. But I rather think that soon we will – and when the food starts to run low and the lights go dim, I expect that people will worry less about performative offence-taking and personal pronouns.

Last edited 1 month ago by Albireo Double
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 month ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

like we would be a lot better of with no electric cars… I actually mean that, but like your view, it is not going to happen.

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
1 month ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

Are you incapable of discriminating between the various faiths and their adherents? If I said that we would be better off without those that don’t have a religious faith, it would be equally dumb to tar all those who do not believe in any god or gods with the same brush. Please be a bit more discerning and intellectually astute when you throw out this kind of opinion. All religions are not equal.

Mikel Kritzinger
Mikel Kritzinger
1 month ago

” … but it also places him in a position that NEITHER he, nor anyone else, can take, which is to declare what Islam is.”

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 month ago

ahhh JiHadis ’67.. a very fine Islamic port…

Ayman Ibrahim
Ayman Ibrahim
1 month ago

The United Nothing will never, NEVER do anything to disrupt the status quo of blatant Islamic terror wherever it occurs. They will not condemn it, they will not sanction it. They won’t even write a strongly worded letter about it. This is a feckless organization. It is listless, has no purpose, does very little good, and occupies phenomenal real estate while US taxpayers fund the majority of it it’s bureaucratic nonsense that gets pumped out of it. It is a venue that allows the perceived grievances of lesser nations to collectively moan about how bad the US is while neglecting and being willfully blind to the blight they create in their own respective countries and their citizens.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ayman Ibrahim
Ian Gribbin
Ian Gribbin
1 month ago

Islam and human rights are mutually exclusive terms.

End of debate

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 month ago

I like the name Wasiq Wasiq. Is that like Durand Durand, of Barbarella fame, the Earth’s Last Great Dictator?

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 month ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Ah yes, the endless fascination of names. For instance, what was going through the minds of Mr & Mrs Cross when they decided to give their new baby boy the name Christopher?

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
1 month ago

I believe they were confused by a gravitational tug of war between the Moon and New York City

Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
1 month ago

UAE is rights, terrorism is just a tactic. Can be used by the weaker side like N Ireland, Palestine, Israel, Chechnya, in the west it’s mostly Islamic today.

Ukunda Vill
Ukunda Vill
1 month ago
Reply to  Mickey Mouse

States are usually the biggest terrorists. Remember the terrorist attack by the USA and its alliances on Iraq over the false WMD claims. That was an illegal invasion aka state terrorism.

Peter Buchan
Peter Buchan
1 month ago
Reply to  Ukunda Vill

Good point. Whatever the case against “Islamic Terrorism” – and there is a case to be made of course – anyone serious about addressing rising violence and the risk of all-out war in the world, acknowledgement of US/NATO/Western driven state-based terrorism and the imperially-minded dominance of Global South nations must form part of any solution framework. Fat chance! The self-serving citizens of the Moral West are so blind to the egregious behaviour of their leadership and other elites (“sure, they’re sociopathic – but at least they’re OUR sociopaths”) that there’s less and less point in engaging in serious discussion. Raise equivalent behaviour and/or hypocrisy and it’s dismissed as “whataboutism” – as if that means (or resolves) anything.
That Islamic extremism is a serious problem is beyond debate; that it arises from highly complex historical, political and cultural issues and must not be considered or addressed in isolation cannot be wished away.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter Buchan
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 month ago
Reply to  Mickey Mouse

Try and tell this to the hoardes of muppetts at airport security, who, if you quote the hi jacking factual statistics threaten to call Gestaplod and have one arrested for being ‘ herr fensyffe”…

Nick Gilbert
Nick Gilbert
1 month ago

…hordes …

Ukunda Vill
Ukunda Vill
1 month ago

ISIS is a clever and effective creation of the CIA, Mossad and the arab kings. It was created at the time the Arab spring was sweeping across North Africa and heading towards Israel and the self appointed Arab kings. Suddenly out of nowhere came a new theatrical group calling themselves ISIS. Arab spring was halted, the theatrical group was a success. It’s a pyramid scam with the masses within ISIS being dumb angry young muslims and a few top level architects taking thier instructions from USA, Israel and the kings.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 month ago
Reply to  Ukunda Vill

Yes, but Father Christmas is a real person, because I have been told by the fairies ( lbgtq+ non gender specific) at the bottom of my garden, whilst preparing my magic carpet to fly to the planet Zarg…..

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
1 month ago
Reply to  Ukunda Vill

I’m sorry but this is bollocks and dangerous bollocks at that. Why don’t you just say Jews are to blame for everything wrong in the world and be done with it because that is what you really believe. This ISIS is a creation of the US and Israel crap is a dangerous deception. Have you actually read the myriad of interviews with the people that gave their lives for the cause – not a single one names Israel or the West, but they all name their belief in an Islamic caliphate.

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
1 month ago
Reply to  Ukunda Vill

So you are suggesting that the whole of the Islamic world is so dumb and weak that the majority of muslims do not realise that their lives and religion are manipulated by CIA and Mossad? Were Quran and Hadiths authored by Knights Templars? Was Mohammed an imposter planted by Byzantine Empire to mislead Arab tribes?

Last edited 1 month ago by Vijay Kant