The Ostrich, the Warriors and the Whirlwind
This is a story about two opposing strategies to defeating Islamist terrorism.
One approach is fated to fail. In its most robust form, it is represented by America’s “polite war” in Iraq—surgical warfare that lances crooked leaders and preserves people, warfare that of necessity devolves into costly and knotty nation-building. In its weakest, silliest form, it involves trying to fight the problem with pillows—refusing to recognize terrorism’s correlation to a religion, striving not to eliminate but to “understand” and appease the enemy.
The other approach has not yet been tried. But once America and its associates have thoroughly exhausted themselves with theirs, and the problem of terrorism is exponentially more devastating than it was before they began fighting it, the time for this second approach will have arrived.
The Holy Bible prophesies of it. It will be shocking. It will be overwhelming. And it will be successful. Islamism will be defeated.
July 7, 2005, was a black day for Britain. That morning in downtown London, four coordinated terrorist attacks wounded 700 people and snuffed out 56 lives.
The shocking nature of the bombings intensified when it was discovered that the four attackers were homegrown British Muslims. The model of multiculturalism the UK had cultivated in recent years, intended to engender interracial and interfaith harmony, suddenly came under withering scrutiny. Inquiry into the attacks lifted the lid on a spiteful counterculture that despised its host country.
The investigation suggested that the men had actually been recruited at the Hamara Youth Access Point—a youth center funded in part by the British government and the European Union. Workers verified that at least two of the men were regular visitors to the center, which had become, in the words of the Globe and Mail, “a hub of radical Muslim politics and a hotbed of Islamic organizing, routinely hosting mysterious figures to speak about extremist politics” (July 14, 2005).
Any notion that these bombers were isolated fringers was killed by a disturbing post-7/7 survey. A Telegraph-sponsored YouGov poll of British Muslims found that fully 6 percent of them consider the attacks “on balance justified”; 24 percent sympathize with the “thoughts and motives” of the attackers; 26 percent disagree with Prime Minister Tony Blair’s characterization of their ideas as being “perverted and poisonous.” The poll also revealed a prevalent conviction in the Islamic community that British politicians, police and judges are prejudiced against Muslims and that British law enforcement has no business trying to squash extremism. Almost a third believe that “Western society is decadent and immoral, and Muslims should seek to bring it to an end, but only by nonviolent means”—while 1 percent say the West’s end should come “if necessary by violence.”
That stunner confirmed a finding in an April 2004 joint report by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office: “Intelligence indicates that the number of British Muslims actively engaged in terrorist activity, whether at home or abroad, or supporting such activity is extremely small and estimated at less than 1 percent” (emphasis mine throughout). Given that Britain is home to somewhere between 1.6 million and 3 million Muslims, that could amount to as many as 30,000 British Muslims “actively engaged in terrorist activity”! (That the government considered this number “extremely small” provides some insight into its thinking.)
Thus came the big question: Was Britain too tolerant, or not tolerant enough? It demanded an answer. With its malignant extremism diagnosed and 56 of its citizens dead, would Britain clamp down on the problem, or would it push the multiculturalist ideal even further?
It chose the latter route.
Tackling the Problem “Head On”
Britain’s police forces immediately set out to prove that their evenhanded treatment of Muslims would not change simply because of four misguided, misunderstood young Islamic men.
After one of the suicide bombers was called “a hero of Islam” at his funeral, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Brian Paddick, remained undaunted. “Islam and terrorists are two words that do not go together,” he said. His boss, Ian Blair, said there is “nothing wrong with being a fundamentalist Muslim.”
The Nottinghamshire chief constable considered it job one to mollify the Muslims in Britain’s midst. To show community solidarity with them, he ordered 20,000 green ribbons to be sent to local public offices and urged his officers to wear them. “[B]y far the biggest task which we have undertaken [since July] has been giving reassurance to the community,” he explained.
To prove its understanding of the Muslim community’s mistrust of counterterrorism operations, the Bedfordshire Police reissued an 18-point guide on how to handle Muslims suspected of terrorist offenses. The bulletin tells officers to use rapid entry only as a last resort and to stand aside when people are praying so as not to disrupt them. Officers are not to touch holy books, Korans or religious artifacts unless they are Muslim officers in a state of ritual purity. And England’s finest are encouraged to remove their shoes when entering Muslim homes, “especially in areas that might be kept pure for prayer purposes.”
Imagine how moved an impressionable young Muslim contemplating a switch to the dark side would be to see police raiding his home in their socks. Maybe these guys aren’t so bad after all.
Whatever one may think of those inane initiatives, they fell in step with those of the British government.
On July 19, Prime Minister Blair gave a stern speech unveiling a plan to “tackle extremism” and confront the rise in radicalism “head on.” What was his plan? It was the creation of a task force of advisory committees made up of prominent British Muslims who were instructed to produce proposals to solve the problem (since any solutions proposed by non-Muslims would undoubtedly be insufficiently sensitive to the needs of that community).
Thus the full counterterrorist force of the British government was unleashed. Surely the minions of extremism in Britain trembled with fear.
If onlookers doubted the wisdom in this approach, their qualms multiplied when the appointees to the task force were announced. Among them were extremist sympathizers such as Inayat Bunglawala (the anti-Semitic media secretary for the Muslim Council of Britain, who has called Osama bin Laden a “freedom fighter”), Tariq Ramadan (a Muslim professor at Oxford who had been previously banned from France and the U.S. for praising suicide killings) and Yusef Islam (aka Cat Stevens, the pop-singer-turned-Muslim who blames British foreign policy for the London bombings and is excluded from the U.S. because of “alleged association with possible terrorists”).
Within weeks came one of the task force’s first recommendations to “tackle extremism head on”: scrapping Britain’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day—which Blair established in 2001—in favor of “World Genocide Day.” Thus, rather than remembering the 6 million Jews killed by Hitler, Britons would “recognize the mass murder of Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya and Bosnia as well as people of other faiths” (Sunday Times, Sept. 11, 2005). A task force member explained, “The very name Holocaust Memorial Day sounds too exclusive to many young Muslims. It sends out the wrong signals: that the lives of one people are to be remembered more than others. It’s a grievance that extremists are able to exploit.”
Yes, it’s no wonder Muslims growing up in the UK end up blowing themselves up in subways. After all, Britain memorializes the slaughter of 6 million people that extremist Muslims hate. Or so the twisted thinking goes.
In this upside-down, black-is-white climate, even Tony Blair lies to the right of the British political mainstream. In November, when he threw all his support behind a proposal to expand the state’s powers over suspected terrorists, he suffered his first loss in a parliamentary vote in his eight years as prime minister. Forty-nine members of his own party defected to oppose him—a Commons record.
The prime minister was baffled. “What I can’t understand,” Blair said, “is how we can say, given the strength of the terrorist threat we face, that the civil liberties of a small number of terrorist suspects … come before the fundamental civil liberty of this country to protection from terrorism.” The reason for that which Mr. Blair can’t understand is the blindly obstinate commitment to politically correct conduct—no matter what the cost—no matter how deep the handicap it places on the British in the business of battling terrorism.
The idea that policemen wearing shoes on a prayer mat during an antiterrorism raid are responsible for terrorist violence is a farce. The idea that a Holocaust memorial is to blame for terrorist violence is a farce.
And the idea that terrorism that is clearly rooted in Islamic ideology can be eradicated without offending Muslims is just as much a farce.
Yet this is the ostrich-like approach of the West—marked by a head-in-the-sand unwillingness to acknowledge the true nature of the enemy.
America the Apologist
The United States has historically done its level best to keep religion out of matters of state. Thus, it doesn’t have a comfortable means of dealing with a religion that is perceived as a security threat. Since 9/11, however, discussion about Islam has increasingly entered the public sphere, and many American politicians have taken up the subject.
In their essay “The U.S. Government, Patron of Islam?”, Daniel Pipes and Mimi Tillman document the primary strands of what has emerged as U.S. policy regarding Islam. Politicians have been consistent in saying that there is nothing inherently threatening about the religion—that, in fact, Islam and terrorism are incompatible. Thus President Bush claims that Muslim scholars and the vast majority of clerics reject the extremist view and says that “[Islam’s] teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.”
U.S. officials have gone further by arguing that Islam is compatible with American ideals and actually beneficial for the country. “America is made stronger by the core values of Islam—commitment to family, compassion for the disadvantaged, and respect for difference,” said President Clinton on one occasion. His secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, praised the religion as being “a faith that honors consultation, cherishes peace, and has as one of its fundamental principles the inherent equality of all who embrace it.” It almost goes without saying that Islam as it is actually practiced by many worldwide embodies precisely the opposite of the ideals that exist in Mrs. Albright’s mind.
Like British leaders, U.S. officials have gone out of their way to demonstrate solidarity with Muslims—even to the point of insisting that Americans learn to appreciate Islam. They regard citizens who fear the religion or equate it with terrorism as misinformed—in need of education; several officials have spoken on the need for more Islamic instruction. President Bush has assigned American Muslims the commission of spreading their message: “By educating others about your religious traditions, you enrich the lives of others in your local communities.”
Pipes and Stillman make the obvious comment: “In adopting a determinedly apologetic stance, [American politicians] have made themselves an adjunct of the country’s Islamic organizations. By dismissing any connection between Islam and terrorism, complaining about media distortions, and claiming that America needs Islam, they have turned the U.S. government into a discreet missionary for the faith” (Militant Islam Reaches America).
Meanwhile, the extremists, it should come as no surprise, strenuously reject the airbrushed Western version of what constitutes “true Islam.” A Taliban representative said this: “I am astonished by President Bush when he claims there is nothing in the Koran that justifies jihad or violence in the name of Islam. Is he some kind of Islamic scholar? Has he ever actually read the Koran?”
Is Islam a Peaceful Religion?
Of course not every Muslim—not even the majority of Muslims—pine for the destruction of the Western world. But a substantial slice of Muslims understand their religion to promote militant behavior, no matter how vociferously some may condemn that as a perversion of Islamic orthodoxy.
The fact is, there is no Islamic orthodoxy.
Islam—practiced by one out of every five people sprawled over the globe (only 12 percent of whom are Arab)—takes many forms. It has no centralized government, no established hierarchy, no denominations. Where Roman Catholics, for example, can look to the pope to define Catholic doctrine (as can the rest of the world), Islam has no such singular authority.
Thus, those who interpret Islam to advocate terrorism cannot simply be dismissed as misunderstanding their religion. The idea has a distinguished pedigree among dedicated Muslims.
The late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who orchestrated the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, is one of the most respected Shiite clerics in modern times. Sixteen years after his death, his picture is still prominently featured at rallies in several Middle East countries. Here is how he weighed in on the subject: “Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! … Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors! There are hundreds of other [koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit on those foolish souls who make such a claim” (“Islam Is Not a Religion of Pacifists,” translation from Holy Terror by Amir Taheri).
Misunderstanding or no, Khomeini derived his religion from the Koran. The young men and women sacrificing their lives in suicide missions against Jews and other Westerners are receiving their training from mosques and madrasas. You can’t convince them they misinterpret Islam. These warriors are true believers. Not even cops in socks can deter them.
It’s not difficult to find compelling support for the Khomeinist version of Islam.
There are verses in the Koran that condemn killing innocent people, which those who claim that Islam is a peaceful religion often cite. But who is “innocent”? One prominent Saudi sheikh strongly disagreed with those who condemned the 9/11 attacks because they killed innocents: “This was jihad and those people were not innocent people.” Bin Laden also insists that his victims are not innocent.
Though some koranic verses advocate peace, at least 18 other verses (Khomeini found “hundreds”) oblige every Muslim to kill infidels when and where the opportunity arises. Islamic scholars resolve these scriptural contradictions with the rule of abrogation, which upholds the authority of later verses above those of earlier verses. Unfortunately, the peaceful verses mostly come early.
One scripture, usually called the “verse of the sword,” is considered by some to abrogate all others on questions of war and peace. It states, “Then, when the sacred months are over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them, take them [captive], besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every point of observation” (Sura 9:5). David Cook, assistant professor of religious studies at Rice University, states that though, historically speaking, this verse’s “immediate subject is the pagan Arabs—a narrow application sustained by early commentators,” the fact is that “later Muslim jurists would use the verse to proclaim a universal jihad against all non-Muslims” (Understanding Jihad). Cook also says that Sura was “revealed” toward the end of Mohammad’s life, a few years before the conquests, “making the final revelation a declaration of war.”
While Professor Cook acknowledges that Islam began as a peaceful proclamation of Mohammad’s teachings, he documents how in the prophet’s later years this new religion came to embrace warfare aimed at gaining converts and controlling territory: “Mohammad is recorded as having participated in at least 27 campaigns and deputized some 59 others—an average of no fewer than nine campaigns annually. … This evidence demonstrates categorically the importance of jihad to the early Muslim community. It is no coincidence that a number of the Prophet Mohammed’s early biographers refer to the last 10 years of his life as al-maghazi (the raids)” (ibid.). Thus, the personal example of Islam’s founder shows that he interpreted jihad as literal warfare.
Even as far back as the eighth century, Hajjaj, the governor of what is now Iraq, invoked the Koran after a battle with these words: “The great God says in the Koran, ‘O true believers, when you encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads.’ The above command of the great God is a great command and must be respected and followed.” The koranic verse he referred to was Sura 47:4.
As Spengler wrote in Asia Times, “It is a fact of history that jihad, by which I mean specifically the propagation of the faith by violence, is a mainstream tradition” (June 15, 2005).
Any Westerner who argues that the war against terrorism is a war against a minority of misinformed, anti-Islamic extremists is arguing against 1,400 years of history.
Islam, like Roman Catholicism, is a religion whose ultimate goal is universal conversion.
Reputed Islam scholar Bernard Lewis explains, “In the classical Islamic view, to which many Muslims are beginning to return, the world and all mankind are divided into two: the House of Islam, where the Muslim law and faith prevail, and the rest, known as the House of Unbelief or the House of War, which it is the duty of Muslims ultimately to bring to Islam” (Atlantic Monthly, September 1990).
In the writings and speeches of many influential Muslims, the language of religious conquest appears again and again. Even moderate Muslims speak of Islam as being a universal religion aimed at encompassing the world. Dr. Zaki Badawi, the moderate former director of London’s Islamic Cultural Center, said Islam “hopes that one day the whole of humanity will be one Muslim community.”
While the number of individuals willing to blow themselves up may be few, the goal of engulfing the globe in a single colossal caliphate is one held by a substantial share of the world’s Muslims. The vast majority of Muslims who seek to spread the religion globally are nonviolent, but they seek to “save” degenerate Western society nevertheless.
Among these would be the 31 percent of British Muslims polled in the post-7/7 YouGov survey who believe that “Western society is decadent and immoral, and Muslims should seek to bring it to an end, but only by nonviolent means.” Think about that. If that poll is to be believed, only 56 percent of the at least 1.6 million Muslims in the UK agree that “Western society may not be perfect but Muslims should live with it and not seek to bring it to an end.”
Sadly, many Muslims disagree with the violence perpetrated by Islamist terrorists not because they condemn killing innocent people—but because nonviolent methods simply work better. The ultimate goal is the same, but they feel that achieving it will be easier if they don’t awaken the West from its slumber.
Of course, if Britain’s toothless reaction to 7/7 is any indication, they have nothing to worry about.
Stoking the Flames
The effectiveness of the “silent spread” of Islam is hard to deny.
Proponents of this strategy seek to increase the number of believers through reproduction and conversion—and, in the case of Western nations, immigration. This effort is to be matched by the expansion of Islamic culture and gradual application and enforcement of Islamic law in place of the secular laws of individual countries.
A careful study of Muslim populations worldwide shows how they are systematically pushing for these aims.
Consider demographics alone. Islam has become the second-largest religion in America, Europe and Australia. The French government estimates that 50,000 Christians in France convert to Islam each year; in Britain, mosque attendance has outpaced that of the Church of England.
The inroads Muslims have made in implementing sharia law are even more shocking. Pakistani-Muslim-turned-Anglican-priest Patrick Sookhdeo wrote, “British Muslims now have sharia in areas of finance and mortgages; halal food in schools, hospitals and prisons; faith schools funded by the state; prayer rooms in every police station in London; and much more. This process has been assisted by the British government through its philosophy of multiculturalism, which has allowed some Muslims to consolidate and create a parallel society in the UK. …
“It is said that within 10 to 15 years most British cities in these areas will have Muslim-majority populations, and will be under local Islamic political control, with the Muslim community living under sharia” (Spectator, July 30, 2005).
While this evolutionary approach is a serious enough threat to the West, some few Muslims advocate a speedier, more revolutionary method. Though bin Laden is the most notable example, his thinking is not as far on the fringe as most Westerners would like to believe.
Sookhdeo continued: “The Deobandi minority argue for a quicker process using politics and violence to achieve the same result. Ultimately, both believe in the goal of an Islamic state in Britain where Muslims will govern their own affairs and, as the finishing touch, everyone else’s affairs as well. Islamism is now the dominant voice in contemporary Islam, and has become the seedbed of the radical movements. It is this that Sir Ian Blair [the police commissioner we met earlier] has not grasped” (ibid.).
This is the true nature of the problem the ostrich-like West faces. A failure to grasp this reality results in misguided and fruitless efforts to negotiate, compromise and appease. This insipidly polite approach produces only failure—actually, worse than failure. It stokes the flames of the problem!
Losing the Battle for Hearts and Minds
In Iraq, because the U.S. didn’t want to be perceived as the bully—applying too much force, especially against Muslim victims—it fastidiously sliced off the top level of autocracy and hoped that democracy would flourish in its absence. The chances for this policy’s success are essentially pinned on the idea that, when Muslims are permitted to govern themselves and forced to deal with fixing the potholes in their streets, they lose interest in jihad. That may be true for some. But that assumption totally underestimates the depth of conviction among those for whom jihad is a form of worship.
The “battle for hearts and minds” is a battle the West cannot win. The very effort is proving to have the opposite of its intended effect. Among many Muslims, it’s perceived as condescension and it foments resentment; among others, it is taken as a sign of rank weakness.
As the Trumpet has often pointed out, it is Western naivety, weakness and lack of will in eradicating terrorism that enabled it to flower into such a monstrous challenge today. Never in human history has the potential for such devastation been placed in so few hands! A mere handful of suicidal terrorists, with adequate coordination and appropriate technology, can wreak extraordinary destruction.
And that destruction is exactly what the Bible prophesies will occur in Britain and America.
Meditate on these warnings from the great God of the Bible: “I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror … that shall … cause sorrow of heart …. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies … and ye shall flee when none pursueth you” (Leviticus 26:16-17). In this age of terrorism, we are living these curses! (Read our online article “Ugly Truths About Islamic Terrorism” and chapter four of Gerald Flurry’s book Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet for a thorough biblical explanation of how terrorism will affect these nations.)
The peoples of Britain, America and the rest of the world must understand the nature of the enemy they face. It is bigger, angrier, more violent, more elusive, more terrible than they understand. And rather than trusting in God to deliver them, they are trusting in their own ridiculous initiatives. Unless they repent, their sins, their stubbornness, their faithlessness, will lead to their defeat and to the death of their wishy-washy methods of dealing with Islamist terrorism.
At that point, the time for a new approach to the problem will have arrived.
Europe has identified the gathering threat posed by Islam. In the last 30 years, the Continent has absorbed some 20 million Muslims—equal to the combined populations of Ireland, Belgium and Denmark. UN reports say that Muslim communities throughout Europe have grown over 100 percent in just a decade and a half. Islam has become Europe’s second-largest religion. Says Bernard Lewis: “Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century.”
This transformation is widely seen within largely Catholic and secular European society as a crisis. The issue has become one of the most contentious in continental politics today. Several political parties are incorporating anti-immigrant (read anti-Muslim) policies into their platforms and are reaping greater support as a result.
In addition to the London bombings, Islamist terrorist attacks in Madrid and Amsterdam have stirred European politicians and the public to act. Berlin established an anti-terrorism command headquarters, consolidating the efforts of the nation’s security offices and beefing up police power to detain people suspected to have terrorist ties. The brutal slaying in November 2004 of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh provoked a fierce backlash against Muslims in the Netherlands; the conservative Dutch government passed tough anti-terrorism laws—broadening the police’s power to conduct searches and wiretaps and to hold suspects, requiring courts to admit evidence against terrorists even if obtained by questionable means. In France, weeks of widespread rioting and burning by Muslim youths throughout the country in November—though treated delicately by French officials—drove thousands of people into the ranks of the far-right anti-immigration National Front party of Jean-Marie Le Pen. Across Europe, efforts are increasing to expel radical Islamic clerics who incite extremism and condone terrorism.
The simple truth is, Europe is waking up to the Islamic threat.
Observers must watch for growing evidence of this development, because the narrative of end-time events provided us by biblical prophecy explicitly describes a dramatic clash between the most violent of Islamic forces and the European beast they are already beginning to provoke.
By that time, the U.S. and Britain will have been crippled so severely by terrorist attacks, domestic infighting and economic disaster, they will not even be a factor; their ostrich-like tactics will have utterly failed. And a united Europe, watching from the sidelines, will have taken scrupulous notes and learned the lessons. Determined not to make the same mistake, it will take precisely the opposite approach!
Note the Bible’s description of this coming crusade: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south [a radicalized Middle Eastern, Islamic power] push at him: and the king of the north [a combine of European nations led by Germany] shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over [conquer and overwhelm]. He shall enter also into the glorious land [Jerusalem], and many countries shall be overthrown …” (Daniel 11:40-41).
Europe will not seek to demonstrate its solidarity with the Muslim community. It won’t single out specific terrorists or set its sights on a single dictator within one country. It won’t be squeamish about civilian casualties. It won’t strive to win hearts and minds. Europe will come in a storm of fury! And it certainly won’t remove its shoes in the process. It will “overflow”—meaning inundate, cleanse, drown, conquer. Whole countries will be “overthrown”!
This is how the war on radical Islamic terrorism will end. In fact, this is the only way this war could end! The problem is so entrenched and widespread—the enemy is so committed—that nothing short of a sudden, furious and indiscriminate whirlwind will get rid of it!
But the prophecy doesn’t end there. And while the Trumpet highlights the failures of the Anglo-American approach and acknowledges the certain success of Europe’s blitzkrieg into the Middle East, by no means do we advocate the latter. In fact, Daniel’s prophecy describes one of the seminal events of what will prove to be the worst time of torment in human history.
But just as surely as the Bible foretells these events, it shows how they mark a definitive countdown of days until the sun sets on this anguished age of man. At that point, as the world endures a short period of unimaginable darkness, we will know that it is about to be engulfed in the brilliance of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
With reporting by Lisa Godeaux