“Yes, I am a terrorist. Write that down: I admit I am a terrorist. [The Qur’an] says it is the duty of Muslims to bring terror to the enemy, so being a terrorist makes me a good Muslim.”
These are the words of Marwan Abu Ubeida, the subject of a Time magazine piece entitled “Inside the Mind of an Iraqi Suicide Bomber.” It is gratifying to see Time being willing to take this trip into Marwan’s mind, since most mainstream media outlets have been singularly uninterested in the thought processes of jihad terrorists. But even Time doesn’t explore the implications of Marwan’s words. And this is no trivial omission: jihadists from Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to Marwan Abu Ubeida have consistently made clear that today’s jihadists are working from mainstream traditions and numerous Qur’anic exhortations, and that by means of these traditions and teachings they are able to gain recruits among Muslims worldwide — as well as to hold the sympathy of others whom they do not recruit. This explains why there has been no widespread, sustained, and sincere Muslim outcry against the jihad terrorist enterprise in general.
Marwan makes it clear: “The jihadis are more religious people. You ask them anything — anything — and they can instantly quote a relevant section from the Qur’an.” He is chillingly forthright: “The only person who matters is Allah — and the only question he will ask me is ‘How many infidels did you kill?’” He invokes Qur’an 8:60: “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the enemy of Allah and your enemy.” The jihad ideology Marwan reflects is rooted in the Qur’an and Islamic tradition. The longer we postpone confronting that fact, the worse the problem will grow.
Yet both liberal and conservative media analysts do not want to face this. They think that by speaking about the Islamic roots of jihad violence they will undercut moderate Muslims. But in fact, no reform in Islam can ever take place without an acknowledgment of what needs to be reformed. The near-universal refusal to provide that acknowledgment is just one reason why that reform is virtually certain not to be forthcoming. The contemporary problem of global Islamic terrorism will never be solved unless people are willing to speak forthrightly about the nature of the challenge we face and work to find positive solutions. Ignoring or distorting the true nature and source of the problem will only postpone the crisis, and make its ultimate resolution more difficult.
The media is failing the American public on this issue. But the truth will out, if in other venues. It’s time for the direct approach. One organization is taking the truth about jihad terrorism directly to the people: The People’s Truth Forum. On September 21 I will be participating in a symposium on terror, sponsored by the Forum, entitled, “The Radical Islamist Threat to World Peace and National Security.” This symposium will challenge media bias head-on by exploring forthrightly such unexamined dogmas as the idea that regionalized economic conditions and American injustices are the real cause of terrorism, not any imperative derived from Islamic theology. We will explore the mindset of people like Marwan Abu Ubeida who think that terror is commanded by God, providing a profile of the slaughterers of innocents that is urgently needed — and has not been provided by the media in almost four years since 9/11.
Other speakers include the renowned terrorism expert Harvey Kushner, author of Holy War on the Home Front; Brigitte Gabriel, a former anchor for world news in the Middle East and a prominent Arab-American journalist; and Judith Jacobson, vice-president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and the coordinator of the Columbia University SPME chapter. This promises to be one of the few places in modern-day America where you will be able to hear the truth about what we're up against. Get more information about how you can attend at www.peoplestruthforum.com.
The People’s Truth Forum was organized to heighten public awareness about the issues that matter most. The Forum hopes to host similar events around the country in the future and thereby to circumvent the information stranglehold of the mainstream media — a stranglehold which, with its cavalier refusal to face the facts, leaves us all that much more vulnerable.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch; author of Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West (Regnery), and Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith (Encounter); and editor of the essay collection The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: Islamic Law and Non-Muslims (Prometheus). He is working on a new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (coming August 8 from Regnery).