What is the problem analysis for addressing “the accelerating spread of terrorism?” Would you not like to know the answer from the US State Department, Department of Defense, US Congress and ultimately The White House? Would it surprise you to learn that the answers might be misaligned? Well, we won’t know for certain because our government by the people has gone astray. We must do our own homework. When you hear the terms “jihad” combined with “terrorism” what does it mean?
There is a story by Seth Jones in the Wall Street Journal today that discusses the subject by declaring that terrorism is on the rise, citing his own Rand report. Before getting to that, it is important to get our terms straight, so posted here is an authoritative reference by Dr. M. Amir Ali.
“Islam, Jihad, and Terrorism
Jihad: one of the most misunderstood concepts in Islam
by M. Amir Ali, Ph.D.
‘Islam’ and other various Islamic terms and concepts are grossly misunderstood in the West. Muslims can hardly find anyone to blame but themselves because (a) they have failed to live by the Islamic tenants in our times, and (b) they have failed to promote understanding of Islam in the West through outreach projects.
Some of the Islamic Terms
Islam: means a commitment to live in peace through submission to the Will of God (Allah).
Muslim: is a person who makes a commitment to live in peace through servitude to Allah.
Jihad: means "struggle" and "strive" against evil thoughts, evil action and aggression against a person, family, society or country. Jihad may be a "justifiable war", borrowing the Christian term.
Mujahid: is a person who engages in Jihad for the sake of Allah according to the Quran (Muslim's source book for guidance) and Sunnah (the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Mujahidin is the plural of Mujahid.
"Islamic terrorism": There is no such phrase or term in the Islamic source books of the Quran or the Sunnah and has no place in Islam.
Sunnah: Sunnah is the preferred way of the Prophet Muhammad that includes his teaching. The sources of the Sunnah are authentic Hadith (reports of the Prophet's sayings, doings and approvals) collections.
The True Meaning of "Jihad"
Jihad is usually associated with Islam and Muslims, but in fact, the concept of Jihad is found in all religions including Christianity, Judaism and political/economic ideologies, such as, Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, etc. Islam defines Jihad as striving and struggling for improvement as well as fighting back to defend one's self, honor, assets and homeland. Also, Jihad is interpreted as the struggle against evil, internal or external of a person or a society. Jihad, in Islam, means doing any or all but not limited to the following:
Learn, teach, and practice Islam in all aspects of one's life at all times to reach the highest and best education in order to benefit oneself, family and society.
Be a messenger of Islam everywhere, in every behavior and action.
Fight evil, wrongdoing, and injustice with all one's power by one's hand (action), with one's tongue (speech), or at least with one's heart (prayer).
Respond to the call for Jihad with money, effort, wisdom and life; yet, never fight a Muslim brother, a Muslim country, or a non-Muslim society that respects its treaties and harbors no aggressive designs against Islam or Muslims.
Suicide under any pretext is not condoned as Jihad in Islam.
Converting people to Islam by force or coercion is never Jihad but a crime, punishable by law.
The concept of Muslim men rushing out to kill themselves to get "70 dancing virgins" in
Paradise, is really quite silly.
The fact of the matter is, the "companions of Paradise" are mentioned as being pure and so much above anything we might imagine on earth, so as to indicate to us they are perpetually "virgin" and are not "touched" by men or devils.
The words "perpetual virgin" even in English, should give anyone the understanding these are not such as we have known on earth.
There can be no mistaking the meaning in the Arabic language as to the purity and innocence of these companions.”
Accepting the principle that the vast majority of Muslims are not radicalized terrorists, the US strategy for eliminating the threat must be to start here. Next, address the root causes of terrorism from Arab nations that begins with Western powers wielding power and might over poor people in pursuit of oil without helping the poor and uneducated persons escape from enslavement by political regimes, including Islamic theocrats who thrive on repressing humanity instead of lifting it from poverty and ignorance.
“The Accelerating Spread of Terrorism
Since 2010, there has been a 58% increase in the number of jihadist groups world-wide.
By SETH G. JONES
June 3, 2014 7:24 p.m. ET
President Obama's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by 2016 is a risky step and may embolden Islamic extremists. So could the release of five high-level prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in a swap with the Taliban to win the freedom of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
The number of al Qaeda and other jihadist groups and fighters are growing, not shrinking. U.S. disengagement—or even risking the return of terrorists to the field by freeing them from detention—is not the answer to the threat they pose. Instead, U.S. strategy should be revamped, prioritizing American interests and developing a more effective, light-footprint campaign.
According to new data in a RAND report I have written, from 2010 to 2013 the number of jihadist groups world-wide has grown by 58%, to 49 from 31; the number of jihadist fighters has doubled to a high estimate of 100,000; and the number of attacks by al Qaeda affiliates has increased to roughly 1,000 from 392. The most significant terrorism threat to the United States comes from groups operating in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. Moner Mohammad Abusalha, an American who was a member of the al Qaeda affiliate organization al-Nusra, blew himself up in Syria on March 29.
U.S. troops at the site of a car-bomb terrorist attack in Kabul, Feb. 10. Reuters
Today the U.S. faces complex, significant threats beyond jihadi terrorism. Russia has invaded Ukraine and threatens America's NATO allies. China is flexing its military, economic and cyber muscles in East Asia. Iran remains dedicated to developing a nuclear-weapons capability.North Korea, which already has nuclear weapons, is highly unstable.
Still, these nations are not to our knowledge actively plotting attacks against the American homeland. A handful of terrorist groups, however, remain dedicated to attacking the U.S. at home and overseas.
Some of these groups have an interest and ability to strike the U.S. homeland. They are a top priority, and include al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula based in Yemen, and the core al Qaeda along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. There are also individuals like the Tsarnaev brothers, the Boston Marathon bombers, who read al Qaeda propaganda and used sources, such as al Qaeda's Inspire magazine, to build their bombs. The growing number of radicalized Americans fighting against the Assad regime has also raised the threat from Syria.
Some analysts and policy makers have played down the threat from al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has been weakened because of persistent U.S. pressure. But its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, remains committed to striking the U.S. He is flanked by a number of Americans, such as Abdullah al-Shami and Adam Gadahn, who support that goal.
Given the high-level threat posed by these groups, and the limited capacity of local governments, the U.S. should engage long-term in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and possibly Syria. The strategy should involve clandestine special operations, intelligence, diplomatic and other capabilities to target al Qaeda groups and their financial, logistical and political support networks. The U.S. should also help train, advise and assist local governments in their struggle against terrorism and to deal with its root causes, which may vary from incompetent security forces to collapsing economies.”