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Conquest Model of Islamic Terrorism By: Moorthy Muthuswamy
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Western political, defense and intelligence establishments, for the most part, view Islam under the "religion model." In this model, aspirations of Muslims are seen to be no different from the ones in any other religious community. It acknowledges the violent track record of Muslims and its probable origins in Islamic scriptures, but hopes that, as is the case with other ethnic groups and nations, over the passage of time, Muslims too will eventually overcome the hurdles to become a cohesive component of the global community. This model implicitly assumes coexistence.


However, unlike any other religion, terrorism in the name of Islam, with the arrival of 9/11 attacks on America, has become a strategic threat to Western civilization. While still clinging to the religion model of Islam, the West is hoping to diffuse Islam-based terrorism through a multitude of approaches. These measures range from occupation of Muslim majority areas to crush the sources of terror, efforts to help build institutions for development and governing, use of massive amounts of aid, bring forth pressure on the financiers of terror, etc.


Smoldering Iraq, deteriorating Afghanistan, increasingly destabilized Pakistan, a virulent Iran, unabated funding for terror from Saudi Arabia and the unending supply of anti-American jihadists compel us to realize that American strategy in the global war on terror requires fresh perspectives and new approaches informed by deeper insights. Specifically, the religion model of Islamic terrorism itself requires rethinking.


Western sociologists and war strategists have mostly utilized the dynamics of Muslims vis-à-vis westerners and their ally, Israel, to influence what they see as "root causes" of terror. Prominent among these are the "grievances" Muslims feel in the hands of the West and Israel.


The most prominent grievance is Israel's continued military dominance of neighboring Middle Eastern nations and the unresolved status of predominantly Muslim Palestinians. Although one could argue that most of these grievances are self-inflicted, Muslims have managed to successfully transplant the idea that being part of the weaker civilization, they are the victims.


Wearing the mantle of a victim has its advantages, including the ability to camouflage aggression as a form of self-defense.


However, the dynamics of Muslim-non-Muslim interaction in the developing world tells an entirely different story. Far more aggressive tactics have been employed by Muslims against much weaker opponents, be it in Darfur against black Africans or against brown unbelievers in South Asia. Here too terrorism is employed, but only as part and parcel of a multi-front religious war of conquest (called jihad).


In the past sixty years, from every Muslim majority region of South Asia – without exception – be it Pakistan, Bangladesh or from India's own Kashmir valley, non-Muslims have been driven out in massive numbers to Hindu-majority India. This occurred when Muslim populations in these regions obtained political power. In 1971 about three million Hindus were slaughtered by the Pakistani army in the then East Pakistan and many more were driven to India, never to return. Surrounded by many Islamic nations, even the mostly non-Muslim India is seeing signs of an Islamic siege – the necessary instrument of an Islamic conquest.


This data bespeaks conquest in the name of Islam, using terror and more. This has no parallel with any other religion in the modern era. Most of these expulsions and genocides occurred before 1972 – well before the large-scale infusion of petrodollars and Wahhabism. This occurred despite the populations sharing ethnicity, language, culture and food habits. Also notable is that unlike the advanced, powerful and wealthy West, South Asia consists of populations that are among the most impoverished and deprived on the planet.


The geographical extent and the size of Muslim populations (about a third of the worldwide total) in South Asia make the above data an unlikely anomaly. This data is indicative of absolute violation of coexistence and hence is outside of the scope of the religion model. It compels one to scrutinize the roots of Islamic scriptures and study Islamic history of conquest.


Bill Warner has published a ground-breaking statistical analysis of the Islamic trilogy (consisting of the Koran, Hadith and Sira). His analysis emphasizes the point that that the Islamic scripture is predominantly political and that the religion itself was probably designed to extend Islam's founder Mohammed's powerbase upon an edifice of theology.


That a conquest-based ideology should use religion in its framework should be no surprise. Religion provides enduring and powerful legitimacy, inspires followers and helps impose the will of a civilization on unsuspecting alien populations.


Had western analysts been perceptive to the ongoing dynamics of the Islamic conflict in South Asia, they would have likely concluded that that the religion model of Islamic terrorism would be grossly violated by this data and that a different model is required.


Indeed, the conquest model of Islamic terrorism not only explains the data discussed concerning South Asia, the enduring Israel-Palestinian conflict too may be readily understood through this model. The revealing feature of the conquest model is the Muslim passion for conquest through jihad-building, not nation or community building. It comes as no surprise that significant aid given to the Palestinians by Europe and others have been, to the most part, wasted and the jihad directed at Israel continues.


The religion model would have the grateful Islamic world thanking America for siding with the Muslims both in Afghanistan (during the Soviet occupation) and more recently in the Balkans, both in words and in action. Instead, as part of the conquest vision, America has been relentlessly attacked by Islamists, due to its preeminence as the non-Muslim super-power.


The conquest model is a much more inclusive and nuanced one, where terror is just one of the many tools for achieving objectives. It also explains why the Muslim population in Europe is fast growing, angry and is disfranchised (through self-infliction) – to deliberately create conditions conducive to Europe's demographic conquest by the Muslims. The religion model of Islam also fails here, as it would have likely predicted that the transplanted Muslims would avail themselves of the opportunities like the Hindus in Britain and participate in its national aspirations.


Institutionalized mistreatment and repression of Muslim women has long puzzled many observers. But this is readily understood in the context of the conquest model and with the observation that Mohammed, the founder of Islam, by historical accounts, was a strong male and that his conduct was fully consonant with long established cultural precedents.


It is not the intention here to claim that the conquest model of Islamic terrorism is an all-encompassing one. Yet, this model is far more successful in explaining the dynamics of Islamic conflicts and societal outlook of Muslims – including the contemporary ones – than the religion model.


In the context of the conquest model, the Western approach to the war on terror would indeed be very different. For instance, the notion of introducing democracy in Muslim nations such as Iraq or Afghanistan without weakening Islamic ideological hold on the population will be considered flawed. Islamic religious institutions in the West will be seen as instruments of conquest of unbelievers and a repressive element in the life of Muslim citizens (these institutions are now protected under the religion model on the grounds of religious freedom). A Muslim minority’s drive to segregate themselves through special treatments will be seen as the first step toward creating their own exclusive place and eventually their own land – a form of conquest.


In the conquest model, Islam itself is seen as less a religion and more as an ideology of conquest – as an affront to liberty and wealth-creation, much like communism. From this perspective it is difficult to foresee how Islam can be reformed any more than Communism has been. This view makes it possible to wage a far more comprehensive ideological, political and military warfare against what is plausibly an ideology of conquest.

Moorthy Muthuswamy, PhD, has recently published the book The Art of War on Terror: Triumphing over Political Islam and the Axis of Jihad.

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