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Article on the roots of militant Islam


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Osama's Brain

Meet Sayyid Qutb, intellectual father of the anti-Western jihad.

by Dinesh D'Souza

04/29/2002, Volume 007, Issue 32

BEHIND THE PHYSICAL ATTACK on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was an intellectual attack--an assault not just on American foreign policy but on the principle of freedom. So far the Bush administration's military response has been quite effective against the al Qaeda network. But our intellectual response has been weak. This matters, because ultimately it is not enough to shut down the terrorist camps. We also must stop the "jihad factories," the mosques and educational institutions that are turning out tens of thousands of aspiring suicide bombers and martyrs. We cannot kill all these people; we have to change their minds. So far, however, America is making few converts in the Muslim world.

Part of the problem is that Americans were too quick to dismiss the terrorists as craven, insane, or misinformed. The truth, however, is that the hijackers were not cowards any more than the Japanese kamikazes were cowards. And on September 11, they performed an act requiring considerable coordination and technical sophistication. Moreover, our assailants were people who had lived in the West and been exposed to the West. In some respects, they understood us all too well.

If one wants to penetrate the mindset that produced their actions, a good place to begin is with the work of the most influential thinker of fundamentalist Islam, Sayyid Qutb. A theoretician for the Muslim Brotherhood, Qutb was executed in Egypt in 1966. Since then, his works have gained in popularity, so that he is now considered the most effective Islamic critic of the West and the most eloquent advocate of pan-Islamic revival. Pupils of his assassinated Anwar Sadat in 1981. The blind sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, now in prison in the United States for conspiracy to commit terrorism, is also a disciple. The leaders of many of the major terrorist groups--such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad--regularly cite his works. His influence is so pervasive in the bin Laden circle that he has been called "the brains behind Osama."

Sayyid Qutb was born in the Egyptian village of Musha in 1906. As a child he was something of a prodigy; by the age of 10 he had memorized the entire Koran. He became a teacher, and was soon appointed to the Egyptian Ministry of Education. His early writings included poetry, novels, and literary criticism. He became friends with the Egyptian literary figure Taha Husain, whose cosmopolitan and pro-Western outlook he initially shared.

During his tenure at the Ministry of Education, Qutb established a reputation as a critic of corruption and an advocate of an Islamic society free of nepotism, tyranny, and foreign control. In 1948, the Egyptian government sent him on a mission to America, "doubtless with the assumption that direct acquaintance with America would incline him more favorably to official policies," in the words of his English translator, the Islamic scholar Hamid Algar. Qutb stayed three years in America, studied in Washington, D.C., California, and Colorado, and completed a master's degree in education at the University of Northern Colorado. By this time, he had come to hate the United States, and decided not to pursue a doctorate here.

On returning to Egypt in 1951, Qutb broke with the pro-Western Taha Husain circle and began a long association with the Muslim Brotherhood, a group founded by Hasan al-Banna in 1928 to unify the Muslim world and strengthen Islamic influence over all aspects of society. Qutb began writing for the publications of the Brotherhood, and was appointed editor of its official journal, al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun. He also published several books, including his best-known work, "Social Justice in Islam."

Qutb's rising influence as a champion of Islamic revival and an advocate of radicalism brought him into conflict with Gamal Abdel Nasser, who had seized power in Egypt in 1952. Although Nasser was no less anti-Western than Qutb and initially admired him and reportedly attended some of his lectures, the two had different outlooks. Nasser was an Arab nationalist, Qutb a pan-Islamic revivalist who held that "a Muslim has no nationality except his belief." Qutb and the Muslim Brotherhood criticized Nasser for putting personal and national interests above the interests of Islam. After failing to co-opt Qutb by offering him a cabinet position, Nasser outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood and put Qutb in jail.

Qutb spent the next several years in and out of prison. He was routinely beaten and tortured, and eventually he was convicted of inciting sedition and terrorism (admittedly under procedures far short of a fair trial) and hanged in Cairo together with two friends. Yet Qutb's prison period was his most productive. He published Milestones, a short account of his vision of an Islamic society, and "In the Shade of the Quran," "the most widely read modern commentary" on the Koran, according to Hamid Algar. Through his writings, Qutb helped his political cause prevail over Nasser's. In recent decades, Arab nationalism has faded, and Islamic fundamentalism has become the power to be reckoned with in the Muslim world.

What, then, did Sayyid Qutb believe? A good place to begin is with his account of this country in "The America That I Saw." While he was impressed with the productivity and technological efficiency of America, he was shocked by what he deemed its rampant racism, especially toward people of Arab descent, its materialism, and the sexual promiscuity of its women. Even the church, Qutb commented, had become a place of amusement and social interaction rather than worship. Qutb concluded that America was materially prosperous but morally rotten. The Muslim believer, he wrote, has no reason to envy American society; rather, he should feel contempt for it. "The believer from his height looks down at the people drowning in dirt and mud."

To explain America's decadence, Qutb argued that from its earliest days Western civilization had separated God and society. Long before the American doctrine of separation of church and state, the institutions of religion and those of government operated in separate realms and commanded separate allegiances. Consequently, God and society were bound to come into conflict. And this, Qutb pointed out, is precisely what happened in the West. If Athens represents reason and science, and Jerusalem represents God and religion, then Athens has been in constant struggle with Jerusalem. Now the terrible truth is that Athens has won. Reason and science have annihilated religion. True, many people continue to profess Christianity, but religion has ceased to shape society. It does not direct government or law or scientific research or culture. In short, a once-religious civilization has been reduced to jahiliyya--the condition of social chaos, moral diversity, sexual permissiveness, polytheism, unbelief, and idolatry that was said to characterize the Bedouin tribes before the advent of Islam.

Qutb's alternative to this way of life is Islam, "an unparalleled revolution in human thinking" that provides the only solution to "this unhappy, perplexed, and weary world." Islamic societies may be poor, he admitted, but at least they are trying to implement the will of God.

In his book "Social Justice in Islam," Qutb told the story of a man and woman who came to the prophet Muhammad and said, "Messenger of Allah, purify us." Muhammad asked, "From what am I to purify you?" They replied, "From adultery." Muhammad asked whether the couple was mad or drunk. Assured that they were not, Muhammad asked them again, "What have you done?" And they said they had committed adultery. Then Muhammad gave the order, and they were stoned to death. While the couple were being buried, onlookers scorned them, but Muhammad chided the scoffers. The couple had repented, he said, and now they were with Allah.

"This is Islam," Qutb wrote. Analyzing the incident, he pointed out that no one had witnessed the adultery, and the prophet initially sought to attribute the couple's confession to the influence of alcohol or mental disturbance. Still, they had persisted. Finally Muhammad had no choice but to have them stoned in accordance with God's law. Qutb posed an interesting question: Why did the couple demand to be stoned? His answer: "It was the desire to be purified of a crime of which none save Allah was cognizant. It was the shame of meeting Allah unpurified from a sin which they had committed."

Islam, Qutb emphasizes, is not merely a moral code or set of beliefs; it is a way of life based upon the divine government of the universe. The very term "Islam" means "submission" to the authority of Allah. This worldview requires that religious, economic, political, and civil society be based on the Koran, the teachings of the prophet Muhammad, and the sharia, or Islamic law. Islam regulates religious belief and practice, but also the administration of the state, the conduct of war, the making of treaties, divorce and inheritance, property rights and contracts. In short, Islam provides the whole framework of life, and in this sense it is impossible to "practice" Islam within a secular milieu.

This is especially true in the West, whose institutions are antithetical to Islam. In Qutb's view, Western society is based on freedom, while Islamic society is based on virtue. Moreover, Qutb argued that Western institutions are fundamentally atheist, based on a clear rejection of divine authority. When democrats say that sovereignty flows from the people, this means that the people--not God--are the rulers. So democracy is a form of idol-worship, just as capitalism is a form of market-worship. Qutb contended that since the West and Islam are based on radically different principles, there is no way that Islamic society can compromise or meet the West halfway. Either the West will prevail or Islam will prevail.

Qutb rejected the view of those Muslims who say that Islamic countries should embrace capitalism and democracy and follow the ways of the West. That, he writes, would assure Muslims a place "at the tail of the caravan." Instead, Qutb reminded Muslims that the Koran promises prosperity in this world and paradise in the next world to those who follow the teachings of Allah. The problem, he contended, is that Muslims have fallen away from their faith. Qutb argued that only by purging Western influences and returning to true Islam can the Muslim world recover its glory.

Qutb's work concludes with a resounding call to true-believing Muslims to stand up for Islam against the Western infidel and against those apostate Muslims who have sold out to the West for money and power. Many of his followers have interpreted his work as a call to jihad. Kill the apostates. Kill the infidels. Qutb's writing stops short of advocating violence, but his long association with the Muslim Brotherhood would suggest that he approved of terrorism.

Today, we need to take Qutb's views seriously for two reasons: because they are taken seriously in the Islamic world, with which we must find ways to communicate; and because, for all his vehemence, Qutb raises a fundamental challenge. For Qutb, Western prosperity, pluralism, and equality of the sexes are as nothing, worthless. The true Islamic society is superior to Western society because it makes virtue as laid down by the Koran the chief end of government. To counter this idea will require a full-bodied defense of freedom as understood in the West, as a gift from God and a necessary pre-condition for true virtue.

Dinesh D'Souza's book "What's So Great About America" has just been published by Regnery. He is the Rishwain Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

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Ive read this analogy before and it pisses me off everyime I read it.

The truth, however, is that the hijackers were not cowards any more than the Japanese kamikazes were cowards.

Give me a break :puke:

Hijacking a civilian airliner full of innocent people and ramming it into the side of a building full of unsuspecting civilians is bravery!!!????

I agree the Japenese were not cowards.

Japs at least were hitting well armed military targets in a last ditch effort to protect their homeland during a state of war.

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The opposite of cowardice is not bravery. True a coward is not brave but a person who is not brave is not always a coward.

This was an excellent article. Before you kill a man, you should always have a full understanding of why because then you will accomplish the mission in the most efficent manner. You must know how he'll react in a given situation before he does.

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Very interesting article. I had heard of Sayyid Qutb before. Im surprised other news reports havnt mentioned him and his influence on muslim fundamentalism.

The part about the intellectual attack is very thought provoking. The one think America did so well in the Cold War was win the intellectual/propoganda war against Communism.

Whether the hijackers were cowards or brave is a tough call. depends on what side you see things from. But one point about the bravery of their suicide attack is that they felt they would be with God if they did this act. That would seem to me to not be so brave. I guess my concept of bravery is doing something where one does not know the outcome. If someone believes that self-sacrifice will get them into heaven then dying is not loss but in a sense a benefit. just a raw thought.

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What I dislike the most about this article is that we're now over 8 months after Sept. 11 - hell, we're 30+ years after the birth of militant Islam and its affects upon us, our allies and our foreign policy - and this is the first I've heard of this guy. And I keep up with the news. What does that tell you about how pathetic our mainstream news coverage is?

When you're dealing with fanatics, you have to keep your eye on the ball. And by that I mean that we have to continue to remember that the message is the most important thing here, the message as to what our country's philosophy is. And there is no country on earth that is better equipped to win a PR campaign than ours.

Yes, we have to be militarily prepared so that we can protect ourselves. However, that's only a means to an end, as the message and the values of our culture are what will eventually persuade the otherwise reluctant and more moderate Muslims to condemn their violent bretheren.

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Go to your local bookstore and then look in the middle-eastern section, you'll find several academic tomes on the culture. You might think that someone just rushed them into publication but if you look at the orignal publication dates, many of them are re-prints of books written 10, 20 even 30 years ago!

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D'Souza is an interesting cat. Despite being an immigrant, D'Souza is perhaps America's most vocal cheerleader. And, unlike Pat Buchanan, he can pull off the pro-American bit without coming off as downright certifiable.

He's also the guy most directly responsible for Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect getting cancelled. As he does in this article here, he termed the 9/11 terrorists as "brave" on a broacast of P.I. shot and aired just days after Sept. 11th, and Maher concurred with him. (Maher then went on to characterize the U.S. military as "wimpy," and that, as they say, was "all she wrote" for Maher and his little TV program.) I personally find the "brave" charge by D'Souza on this issue to be weak. I don't find the 9/11 terrorists to be any more brave than those people at Jonestown who drank the cyanide Kool-Aid or those Heaven's Gate folks who offed themselves en masse.

However, after reading this article and hearing D'Souza speak on the Fox News Channel the other day about America's purported P.R. campaign for winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim World, I'm absolutely convinced he's on the right track here. There's no denying that, in general, people in the Middle East look at the world very differently than we in the West do. For example, I found the story about Muhammad and the adulterous married couple to be barbaric. However, in the Muslim World, I'm sure that such a tale is seen as essential to and paradigmatic of their faith. Our notion of freedom is seen as vexing and troublesome by them. So, as D'Souza argues, we must attempt to convince the Muslim World that one must first be free before he/she can decide to do the right thing, that until one is free to choose any and all paths will he/she be able to opt for the virtuous path.

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So, as D'Souza argues, we must attempt to convince the Muslim World that one must first be free before he/she can decide to do the right thing, that until one is free to choose any and all paths will he/she be able to opt for the virtuous path.

That seems really naive to me.

The guys that flew those planes into the towers were free people. They could make their own choices, choose their own paths. They lived among us in the land of freedom, enjoying the lifestyle that we assume the rest of the world wants and would make them behave in a more 'civilised' manner.

Yet it didn't happen. Their hatred and anger wasn't abated, their murderous intentions remained pure.

Bin Laden is a millionaire. He had any choice that he wanted. Yet he chose a fanatic's path, the path of the ascetic, in order to fight against the foes of Islam.

It costs money to send a man to Afghanistan, arm him, feed him, and have him fight a holy war. Those people could take that money and better their lives, but they don't. They have a choice, and they still make it against us.

Consider this: the crusades weren't fought by the poor. They were fought by the wealthiest members of the society at the time, the people with choices and opportunity - kings, barons, knights. They were the only members of society that could set the direction of their lives, yet they chose the militant religious path to remove the infidel from the holy places. Sound familiar?


And it's somewhat of an arrogant assumption to believe that all people, if given a choice, will choose freedom, especially if the US is provided as the ultimate example. Some cultures don't feel that way, don't believe that freedon and choice are a natural state or a desirable state.


'Islam' means submission, submission to God. Your choices are God's choices, as described by the Quran, and interpreted by the priests and clerics. Those who lead the Islamic world are threatened by the west, it's freedom of choices, it's culture, and it's lifestyle. The more we push it upon them, the more they resist.

So I don't think that there will be any convincing of anyone about freedom. And I don't think that the changes we would like to see can be imposed form the outside. Unless the changes come from within Islam, then nothing will happen.

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I thought a little levity would be good here.

I hope that this isn't inappropriate.

26 September 2001

JAHANNEM, OUTER DARKNESS—The hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon expressed confusion and surprise Monday to find themselves in the lowest plane of Na'ar, Islam's Hell.

"I was promised I would spend eternity in Paradise, being fed honeyed cakes by 67 virgins in a tree-lined garden, if only I would fly the airplane into one of the Twin Towers," said Mohammed Atta, one of the hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11, between attempts to vomit up the wasps, hornets, and live coals infesting his stomach. "But instead, I am fed the boiling feces of traitors by malicious, laughing Ifrit. Is this to be my reward for destroying the enemies of my faith?

The rest of Atta's words turned to raw-throated shrieks, as a tusked, asp-tongued demon burst his eyeballs and drank the fluid that ran down his face.

According to Hell sources, the 19 eternally damned terrorists have struggled to understand why they have been subjected to soul-withering, infernal torture ever since their Sept. 11 arrival.

"There was a tumultuous conflagration of burning steel and fuel at our gates, and from it stepped forth these hijackers, the blessed name of the Lord already turning to molten brass on their accursed lips," said Iblis The Thrice-Damned, the cacodemon charged with conscripting new arrivals into the ranks of the forgotten. "Indeed, I do not know what they were expecting, but they certainly didn't seem prepared to be skewered from eye socket to bunghole and then placed on a spit so that their flesh could be roasted by the searing gale of flatus which issues forth from the haunches of Asmoday."

"Which is strange when you consider the evil with which they ended their lives and those of so many others," added Iblis, absentmindedly twisting the limbs of hijacker Abdul Aziz Alomari into unspeakably obscene shapes.

"I was told that these Americans were enemies of the one true religion, and that Heaven would be my reward for my noble sacrifice," said Alomari, moments before his jaw was sheared away by faceless homunculi. "But now I am forced to suckle from the 16 poisoned leathern teats of Gophahmet, Whore of Betrayal, until I burst from an unwholesome engorgement of curdled bile. This must be some sort of terrible mistake."

Exacerbating the terrorists' tortures, which include being hollowed out and used as prophylactics by thorn-****ed Gulbuth The Rampant, is the fact that they will be forced to endure such suffering in sight of the Paradise they were expecting.

"It might actually be the most painful thing we can do, to show these murderers the untold pleasures that would have awaited them in Paradise, if only they had lived pious lives," said Praxitas, Duke of Those Willingly Led Astray. "I mean, it's tough enough being forced through a wire screen by the callused palms of Halcorym and then having your entrails wound onto a stick and fed to the toothless, foul-breathed swine of Gehenna. But to endure that while watching the righteous drink from a river of wine? That can't be fun."

Underworld officials said they have not yet decided on a permanent punishment for the terrorists.

"Eventually, we'll settle on an eternal and unending task for them," said Lord Androalphus, High Praetor of Excruciations. "But for now, everyone down here wants a crack at them. The legions of fang-wombed hags will take their pleasure on their shattered carcasses for most of this afternoon. Tomorrow, their flesh will be melted from their bones like wax in the burning embrace of the Mother of Cowards. The day after that, they'll be sodomized by the Fallen and their bowels shredded by a demonic ejaculate of burning sand. Then, on Sunday, Satan gets them all day. I can't even imagine what he's got cooked up for them."

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I guess I'd like to think that with greater freedom and information to make choices that less people will support fanatical extreme groups. Lord knows we have them here in the U.S. too. THe difference is in how the majority of people here view them as apposed to how the extremists are viewed in the Middle East.

Have you ever seen those peg boards for random distributions? Basically, you drop a ball and it bounces downward though lots of pegs till it ends up in one of several holders at the bottom. Left to it's own devices, most balls fall to the middle avoiding the extremes at either end. I tend to think that's the most you can ever hope for in terms of people too. There will always be some tilted to one extreme or the other, you just try not to hold the board on it's side so that the extreme becomes the norm.

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Terry, let me start off by saying that I didn’t mean to imply that any sort of P.R. campaign by the U.S. to win over the hearts and minds of the Muslim World would have any sort of positive impact on the “true believers” there, individuals like Muhammad Atta and the rest of the human canon fodder that flocks to Bin Laden’s terrorist training camps. Those people are lost to us. We’ll never win them over. The only kind of campaign that can effectively deal with them is a military campaign.

What I meant to suggest was that any kind of U.S. public relations campaign aimed at the Muslim World should and must focus on hitting the older “moderates” there and, more importantly, the younger portion of their population. The problem in Middle East is that the sociocultural milieu there is so profoundly dysfunctional, yet few in the region seem to realize this fact. Or if they do realize how f*cked up it is there, they point the finger of blame in the wrong direction. Instead of looking inward, at their own massively corrupt governments, disinformation-propagating media outlets and, ultimately, themselves for having idly put up with such nonsense for so long, they blame the ever-ubiquitous “Infidels” and “The Great Satan of the West” for their thoroughly sorry lot. And until they wise up and recognize...

Actually, upon further review, what the hell am I talking about? Until they wise up? When the hell is that gonna occur? How the hell is that gonna occur? For goodness sake, their media are run by people so fanatical that they make the K.K.K. and the Army of God seem reserved and reasonable! Maybe nothing we do in the way of P.R. will matter one iota. Maybe the only solution here is a military solution. Maybe the only thing these folks can wrap their minds around is the sheer might of overwhelming military force in the face of their @ss-backwards worldview.

I don’t know. I thought I did. But I just don’t know anymore. And I’m not afraid to admit it, either.

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Paving the Way for Islam, an article by Sayyid Qutb:

Paving The Way

Sayyid Qutb


Before a Muslim steps into the battlefield, he has already fought a great battle within himself against Satan- against his own desires and ambitions, his personal interests and inclinations, the interests of his own family and of his nation; against anything which is not from Islam; against every obstacle which comes into the way of worshipping Allah and the implementation of the Divine authority on earth, returning this authority to Allah and taking it away from the rebellious usurpers.

Those who say that Islamic Jihad was merely for the defense of the 'home land of Islam' diminish the greatness of the Islamic way of life and consider it less important than their 'homeland'. This is not the Islamic point of view, and their view is a creation of modern age and is completely alien to Islamic consciousness. What is acceptable to Islamic consciousness is its belief, the way of life which this belief prescribes, and the society which lives according to this way of life. The soil of the homeland has, in itself, no value or weight. From the Islamic point of view, the only value which the soil can achieve is because on that soil Allah's authority is established and Allah's guidance is followed; and thus it becomes a fortress for the belief, a place for its way of life to be entitled the 'homeland of Islam', a centre for the movement for the total freedom of man.

Of course, in that case the defense of the 'homeland of Islam' is the defense of the Islamic beliefs, the Islamic way of life, and the Islamic community. However, it's defense is not the ultimate objective of the Islamic movement of Jihad but it is a mean of establishing the Divine authority within it so that it becomes the headquarters for the movement of Islam, which is then to be carried throughout the earth to the whole of mankind, as the object of this religion is all humanity and its sphere of action is the whole earth.

As we have described earlier, there are many practical obstacles in the establishing Allah's rule on earth, such as the power of state, the social system and traditions and, in general, the whole human environment. Islam uses force only to remove these obstacles so that there may not remain any wall between Islam and individual human beings, and so that it may address their hearts and minds after releasing them from these material obstacles, and then leave them free to choose to accept or reject it.

We ought not to be deceived or embarrassed by the attacks of the orientalists on the origin of Jihad, nor lose self-confidence under the pressure of present conditions and the weight of the great powers of the world to such an extent that we try to find reasons for Islamic Jihad outside the nature of this religion, and try to show that it was a defensive measure under temporary conditions. The need for Jihad remains, and will continue to remain, whether these conditions exist or not! (emphasis added)

Do you agree with me that this man's writings read like the Mein Kampf of militant Muslims?

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Originally posted by OPM


Go to your local bookstore and then look in the middle-eastern section, you'll find several academic tomes on the culture. You might think that someone just rushed them into publication but if you look at the orignal publication dates, many of them are re-prints of books written 10, 20 even 30 years ago!

You missed my prior point. I'm sure that there's literature out there on it. One of the wonders of this country is that there's literature on everything! However, the silence of the news media - people who are paid to report on and, they insist - editorialize on the news - on this is staggering.

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Remembering Sayyid Qutb, a Muslimedia article from 1999:

Remembering Sayyid Qutb, an Islamic intellectual and leader of rare insight and integrity

By Zafar Bangash

It is perhaps indicative of the present state of the Ummah that, outside his native Egypt and a small circle of Islamic activists, few Muslims are aware that August 29 marked the thirty-third anniversary of the martyrdom of Sayyid Qutb. He was no ordinary Muslim. A man of impeccable Islamic credentials, he made an immense contribution to Muslim political thought at a time when the Muslim world was still mesmerised by such western notions as nationalism, the nation-State and fathers of nations. Nationalist rhetoric laced with socialist slogans was the vogue.

It was in this atmosphere that Sayyid Qutb raised his voice - indeed his pen - against these false ideologies and in one clean sweep denounced them as the modern-day jahiliyyah (the primitive savagery of pre-Islamic days). In this Sayyid Qutb departed from Maulana Maudoodi's articulation of "partial jahiliyyah" in which the late Pakistani scholar was prepared to concede to the systems prevalent in Muslim societies some room for modification and hence a degree of respectability. Sayyid Qutb would have none of it; he insisted that, being a complete system of life, Islam needs no additions from man-made systems.

It was this forthright formulation which sent him to the gallows on August 29, 1966 together with two other Ikhwan al-Muslimoon leaders, Muhammad Yusuf Awash and Abd al-Fattah Ismail. The specific charge against Sayyid Qutb was based on his now-celebrated book, Ma'alim fi'l-tareeq ('Sign-posts on the Road', also translated as Milestones). The book denounced the existing order in Muslim societies as jahiliyyah, provides guidelines for Muslim activists, and describes the steps they must take to establish a society based on divine guidance.

The Ikhwan al-Muslimoon is no longer the movement that Sayyid Qutb had joined when he returned from the US in 1950. It has since been reduced to a shell, being little more than a political party with an Islamic flag. Even this mild version of Islamic expression is not tolerated by the pharaohs of Egypt, who are beholden to their masters in Washington and Tel Aviv. Yet it is the Muslim activists who are accused of 'intolerance.'

Sayyid Qutb was a prolific writer. His best works, however, were produced after his sudden return from the US. What disappointed him most there was the infatuation of American society with materialism and the widespread sexual anarchy. He could have gone on to study for his doctoral thesis, but decided instead to return to Egypt and devote his life to the Islamic movement.

If there was one particular moment in his life which proved crucial in this decision, it was his pain at the manner in which Hasan al-Banna's martyrdom was reported in the American press. Crescent International readers will not be surprised at the manner in which the New York Times reported the martyrdom of Imam Hasan al-Banna. It wrote: "In Cairo the leader of the outlawed terrorist Moslem Brotherhood Hasan el-Banna, was killed by an assassin" (February 13, 1949). It went on to say: "Sheikh Hasan el-Banna, 39-year-old head of the outlawed Moslem Brotherhood extremist Egyptian nationalist movement that was banned after authorities had declared it responsible for a series of bombing outrages and killings last year, was shot five times by a group of young men in a car and died tonight in hospital."

The "terrorist" appellation for Islamic activity is not a phenomenon of the eighties or nineties. It has been in circulation for more than 50 years. One can immediately see the emotionally-loaded expressions - "terrorist", "extremist", "outlawed", etc - used for the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon by the mouthpiece of the zionist establishment in America. Qutb's disappointment at seeing the supposedly respectable organs of public opinion indulging in a vicious attacks on the character of a leading Islamic leader can be imagined.

When Sayyid Qutb returned to Egypt, he started working with the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon, which he had not previously been a member of, as well as continuing to think and write. At the time, the Ikhwan were working with the 'Free Officers' plotting to overthrow the monarchy of king Farouk. Among the Free Officers were such figures as colonel Gamal Abd al-Nasser and colonel Anwar Sadat. According to the Sadat's own account, Sayyid Qutb was the main ideologue of the Free Officers' 'revolution.' Had the coup failed, it is clear that Sayyid Qutb would have paid with his life. Sadat, again according to his own account, had gone to the cinema on the day of the coup in order to have an alibi in the event that 'things went wrong.' He went on to become the president of Egypt after Nasser's death from a heart attack in September 1970.

The Free Officers, however, soon fell out with the Ikhwan. That can be no surprise to those with even a superficial familiarity with such institutions as the military in the Muslim world. The coup-plotters were young and inexperienced; they needed a father-figure and an intellectual guide; Sayyid Qutb fit the bill well. But once the coup had succeeded, the Free Officers had other plans.

Within two years of the coup, Nasser had taken full control of the state. He then came down hard on the Ikhwan. Two events in particular contributed to the break: the Ikhwan's insistence on an Islamic constitution and a free press; and their denunciation of the July 1954 Anglo-Egyptian Agreement pertaining to the Suez Canal. This totally exposed Nasser's false revolutionary credentials. The treaty allowed British troops to enter Egypt if British interests were threatened in the Middle East. In fact, it actually permitted the presence of British troops on the Suez Canal.

>From the beginning of 1954 until his execution, Sayyid Qutb spent most of his time in prison. In early 1954, when the Egyptian secret service came to arrest him, Sayyid Qutb was running a high fever. They insisted on putting the handcuffs on him and forcing him to walk to prison. On the way, he fainted several times from weakness. Once inside the prison compound, a specially-trained dog was unleashed upon him which dragged him around for more than two hours. He was then interrogated for seven hours without a break.

At his 'treason' trial in 1966, he was accused of plotting to bring about a Marxist coup in the country. This ludicrous charge was made by a regime that was already a close ally of the erstwhile Soviet Union. The rulers of Egypt knew that they were trying a man on wholly false charges. The real reason for the prosecution was Sayyid Qutb's denunciation of the system and regime as jahiliyyah. Nasser knew that if such ideas were allowed to circulate, they would threaten his rule and ultimately lead to his overthrow. Sayyid Qutb had to be eliminated.

Shortly before his scheduled execution, an emissary of Nasser came to Sayyid Qutb asking him to sign a petition seeking mercy from the president. Sayyid Qutb's reply was forthright: "If I have done something wrong in the eyes of Allah, I do not deserve mercy; but if I have not done anything wrong, I should be set free without having to plead for mercy from any mortal." The emissary went away disappointed; Nasser was denied the pleasure of turning down Sayyid Qutb's 'appeal' for mercy.

Sayyid Qutb wrote a number of books, including the well-known tafseer, Fi Zilal al-Qur'an ('In the shade of the Qur'an'), in which he explains Qur'anic ayaat with references to other ayaat of the noble Book. This he compiled during his long confinements in prison on spurious charges. Similarly, his contribution to Muslim political thought was immense. He categorically rejected any borrowings from the west and insisted that Islam is self-sufficient.

That such a worthy son of Islam should be so mistreated and humiliated in a Muslim country shows the depths of depravity to which the regimes in the Muslim world have sunk. Perhaps this was partly the reason that Nasser's army faced such an ignominious defeat at the hands of the zionist forces a year later, in the 'Six Day war' of June 1967.

Sayyid Qutb lives in the hearts of millions of Muslims worldwide. His books have been translated into virtually every language that Muslims read, and remain hugely influential. The main translations into Farsi have been done by the Rahbar of the Islamic Republic, Ayatullah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, himself. This is a great tribute to the martyred scholar of Islam.

[Zafar Bangash is Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT).]

Muslimedia: September 1-15, 1999

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Originally posted by redman

You missed my prior point. I'm sure that there's literature out there on it. One of the wonders of this country is that there's literature on everything! However, the silence of the news media - people who are paid to report on and, they insist - editorialize on the news - on this is staggering.

No I did not miss your point, I was comiserating. :cheers:

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Originally posted by redman

the silence of the news media - people who are paid to report on and, they insist - editorialize on the news - on this [just how strikingly militant Militant Islam really is] is staggering.

True that, Redman! :cuss:
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Originally posted by Glenn X

D'Souza is an interesting cat. Despite being an immigrant, D'Souza is perhaps America's most vocal cheerleader.... after reading this article and hearing D'Souza speak on the Fox News Channel the other day about America's purported P.R. campaign for winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim World, I'm absolutely convinced he's on the right track here..... Our notion of freedom is seen as vexing and troublesome by them. So, as D'Souza argues, we must attempt to convince the Muslim World that one must first be free before he/she can decide to do the right thing, that until one is free to choose any and all paths will he/she be able to opt for the virtuous path.

Glenn X, I'm sure D'Souza is well-intentioned, but a PR campaign by the West is not only doomed to failure, it is counter-productive. It will make the conflict with Islamic fundamentalists worse, by further injecting the voice of the infidel in their society.

I've spent many months studying the Middle East conflict, reading dozens of books and related material on the web. What I've found has shocked and disturbed me. I won't bother reporting most of that here -- it leads to an inflammatory discussion -- but suffice it to say that I've come to doubt both the objectives of our U.S. Middle East policy (which boil down to oil and support for Israel) and the likelihood that there can ever be a mutual understanding between the West and Islam. The fault for this lack of understanding lies on both sides -- essentially, we don't want to hear what they're saying, and vice versa, and the news media in both worlds is seriously compromised by vested interested who are opposed to mutual understanding.

Sayyid Qutb is right about one thing: Islam and the West are antithetical. This is not an opposition in which compromise is possible. Where I differ with Qutb is his conclusion that one or the other side must "prevail." Quoting him:

Qutb contended that since the West and Islam are based on radically different principles, there is no way that Islamic society can compromise or meet the West halfway. Either the West will prevail or Islam will prevail.

If world history shows anything, it is that people have forever lived in different places with different beliefs. It is only when people are quarreling over ownership of the same places, or when one side feels the need to inject its beliefs into another society, that conflict over belief systems leads to bloodshed. Also, societies tend to have a long memory for their defeats and martyrs, so sometimes cycles of violence get started that are difficult to stop because whoever suffered the more recent defeat feels the need to avenge that defeat.

To understand the issues, it's important to try to remove one's biases. It seems to me that the Islamic viewpoint makes sense if one accepts the premises of Islam. So does the Judeo/Israeli viewpoint. So does the fundamentalist Christian viewpoint. So does the Jeffersonian pluralistic viewpoint of tolerance and separation of church and state (Jefferson was still a devout Christian). So does the aetheistic/scientific viewpoint, which holds no respect for religion at all.

The thing is, all these viewpoints are fundamentally incompatible. That's hard to understand when most Americans adopt adopt either the Jeffersonian principle of religious belief but toleration of differences, or the scientific belief that all religions are self-deluding malarkey. If you are an Islamic fundamentalist -- or an Israeli fundamentalist, or a Christian fundamentalist -- Jeffersonian pluralists are dangerously misguided and are powerful enablers of other enemies. Atheists are even worse; their very existence is an insult to your God.

We are not going to convince the followers of Islam that they are wrong, or that all religions can sit together in a big happy circle. That's terribly misguided and condescending -- it reduces one's most primal belief system to a campfire story to be shared along with other campfire stories.

In theory, the West could achieve a military victory over Islam, but doing so is morally repugnant and politically untenable. By "military victory" I don't mean some sort of raid or Bush's proposed invasion of Iraq to topple Hussein -- I mean the serious work of exterminating all of the Islamic Middle East (and Islamic pockets elsewhere in the world) with nuclear weapons.

On the domestic front, the most secure defense is surely a Constitutional revision to expel followers of Islam. I realize this sounds repugnant and incompatible with our core assertion of religious freedom -- it is both -- but it is also the only effective method of stopping domestic Islamic terrorism. I'm not advocating this approach, and I recognize that like the nuclear option, it won't happen, at least not before our deaths number in the millions.

But it is important to recognize that not only will Islamic terrorism not stop, it will increase in frequency and magnitude. The more we respond like the Bush administration (and the Israeli government) with punitive military raids, the more the terrorism increases. Our raids are simply more evidence to Islamic followers that the West (or Israel) must be destroyed.

Recognize our future, because it is coming fast. I expect within 10 years to see tens of thousands of Americans killed. Should nuclear or biological weapons be mastered or acquired by Islamic militants, our deaths could easily be in the millions.

What's the solution? Is there a solution?

In my view, there are really only two primary reasons for our escalating war with Islamic followers:

1. Our need for Middle East oil

2. Our unilateral support for Israel

Take away these factors, and we could easily leave the Middle East alone. Both sides could live in separate worlds in peace, each thinking the other side was hopelessly barbaric, but not feeling the need to go to war over those opinions.

The first factor, dependence on Arab oil, is largely up to scientists and our government, though the American public could help out by not wasting so much of the existing oil supply. Fundamentally, though, our dependence on oil is both a technological and geopolitical dead end -- we must end this dependence, before we run out of oil or destroy the world over oil. So it is up to our scientists and government to find a renewable source of energy that can replace oil. It could be nuclear fusion, solar, fuel cells -- there are many possibilities, but little interest in the issue by our government or people. This is seriously and dangerously short-sighted. Certainly the Bush administration will not lead this issue, because it is fatally intertwined with oil interests.

The second factor, our unilateral support for Israel, is something well within our political control. Removing U.S. support for Israel is a simple matter -- we remove support for various world governments all the time. Despite the theoretical ease of this option, I see even less likelihood of it happening than our finding a source of renewable energy to replace oil. Without getting into inflammatory details, it is simply a fact that our country is run by Jewish people and people afraid to offend Jewish people. Our government will never have the willpower to so directly oppose the interests of Jewish Americans, despite the fact that Jews number less than 3% of the American population.

A reading of the history of Israel from any objective perspective shows that there can be no peace with Islam so long as the U.S. unilaterally supports Israel. From an Islamic perspective, Israel simply is an abusive cancer in the heart of Islam, created and imposed on Islam by the weight of the West (via U.S.-backed U.N. initiatives), an aggressive invader and occupier of its neighbors, and historically unwilling to accommodate even the slightest interests of non-Israelis in the Middle East.

Of course, the Israeli perspective makes sense when one seriously considers the perspective of a Chosen People. As usual, Americans condescend and consider Israel just another campfire member. Understand that in the mind of the fundamentalist Israeli, there are only Israelis and animals at that campfire, just as in the Islamic mind, there are only Islamics and infidels at the campfire. These people play along with our condescensions because it is pragmatically in their interest to do so -- it buys time, money, armaments and leverage.

I believe the only solution to this mess is a radical, American-imposed segregation of Islam and West. This would involve an end of American oil imports from the Middle East, an end of unilateral support for Israel, the creation of a state of Palestine alongside Israel, the exiting of U.S. military from Islamic and Israeli territory, and the creation of secure and permanent borders between the states. The key U.S. role here is defining the solution and guaranteeing the solution -- i.e., we guarantee that we will use all our military force to repel any invasion by the Arabs against Israel or vice versa.

Once the dust settled, I do believe all sides could live with this solution. Israelis could go on being the Chosen People living in their Promised Land. Islamic fundamentalists could worship Allah without being offended by Israeli occupation, American puppet governments in oil states, and American military occupation of "moderate" countries like Saudi Arabia. While Islamic fundamentalists would prefer that Israel didn't exist, they'd eventually conclude that half a loaf was better than none, and at least they got half of their Palestine back.

Do I think this is going to happen? No. Americans don't have the intellectual curiosity to understand the issues well enough, and American leaders who do understand the issues don't have the courage and the political support to drive a radical (if peaceful) solution that is opposed by both oil and Jewish-American interests.

So don't live in New York or Washington. Take some pictures when you go there. You can tell your grandkids about those cities someday, about what they were like before they were destroyed.

It's that kind of future ahead.

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Well developed argument. Some of your points I disagree with but I think its more a matter of definition then substance.

The biggest thing we need to do to deal with the 'Islamic Issue', would be to rid ourselves on dependence on their oil. According to the research I've developed, the only way that end is viable alternatives. Of couse, based on the long-term health of our country and socialogical theory, one may argue the best way to create those alternatives.

Also, our support of Israel is not the problem, only the excuse. It serves as confirmation that the USA is actually a colonial power just like England. Generally, they see their position in the world in the present as inferior or the same as their postion in the past.

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Originally posted by OPM

our support of Israel is not the problem, only the excuse. It serves as confirmation that the USA is actually a colonial power just like England.

You are seriously underestimating the damage done by Israel and by U.S. support for Israel.

Americans seem to regard Israel as some kind of beleaguered victim, a good and just democratic society just trying to survive amid bewildering assaults by crazed barbarians.

This is simply not true. What is true and tragic is that some relatively innocent Israeli citizens are being slaughtered by terrorist bombings, much like some relatively innocent Americans were slaughtered on Sept. 11. But these actions are the effects of a much deeper problem, one caused by the very creation and history of Israel.

Certainly the Jewish people have suffered over the centuries, with the Holocaust being one of the very worst and unjust assaults against their existence. But our recognition of the past victimization of certain Jewish people does not give their descendents and relatives the moral right to seize and occupy the land of other peoples. It is repaying one crime with another crime, and rewarding one set of individuals for the extermination of another set of individuals, regardless of their shared religion.

The actions of Israel since its creation also should diminish American sympathy. There are many books on this subject, and I don't want this thread to degrade into some kind of attack on Israel. My point is that the creation and history of Israel on holy Islamic land is a massive, overwhelming insult to all Muslims -- and there are over one billions Muslims in the world. They are angered by unilateral U.S. support for Israel -- which comes in the form of huge cash and arms subsidies (including nuclear weapons technology), political cover in the U.N., misinformation through U.S. and western media, and implied direct military support should Israel be attacked. Muslims see the U.S. as the primary problem in the end, because they could possibly defeat Israel were it not for U.S. support.

Osama bin Laden detailed exactly three grievances in his jihad against America:

1. Our support for Israel

2. Our miltary occupation of Islamic holy lands (principally Saudi Arabia)

3. Our continuing military and economic abuse of Iraq, which has resulted in the suffering of millions

Islamic fundamentalists understand that they will not convert us, the infidels, to their religion. They simply want us to stop our support for what they see as a cancer in their midst (Israel), and to stop infiltration of their lands through military occupation (including support for puppet Arab governments in oil states) and active abuse of the Muslim people in places like Iraq.

If you read the history, you see that these are reasonable demands. The only losers in acceding to the demands are oil companies and the supporters of Israel. These interests are powerful enough that the world may well see millions killed -- all because we're selfish and short-sighted about getting cheap oil, and because we decided to back a group of folks who think God promised them other people's land.

This stupid tragedy really is that simple.

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What I was pointing out is that, if we pulled our support for Israel , people like Osama will find another reason to hate the US (and from what I understand, if we supported them once, we support them forever no matter our future action).

The issue is that as long as Islam (or at least their brand of it) is not the dominant religion in the world (at least the relevent portion of it), certain factions will continue to be problematic.

Of course, if and when we do deal with these factions successfully, someone else worse may arise.

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Originally posted by OPM

What I was pointing out is that, if we pulled our support for Israel , people like Osama will find another reason to hate the US.

The issue is that as long as Islam (or at least their brand of it) is not the dominant religion in the world (at least the relevent portion of it), certain factions will continue to be problematic.

Osama bin Laden was clearly radicalized by the Gulf War -- the U.S. abuse of Iraq and our related "peaceful" military occupation of Saudi Arabia, both of which continue today. He's a Saudi millionaire who became disgusted by the sight of such abuse and particularly incensed by the complicity of what he saw as a puppet American government running his country (the Saudi royal family).

I'm sure many Muslims are disgusted by the West and wish the West did not exist, but people have a lot of such opinions that don't result in violent attacks. For example, I was disgusted with Marty Schottenheimer when he cut Larry Centers. However, notice that I didn't kill him over it.

People become motivated to kill when they feel the essence of their being is under attack. The seizure of holy Islamic land to create Israel, and the aggressive history of Israel, do seem to strike at the heart of Muslims. So does American abuse of Iraq, American military occupation of the most holy Islamic land, Saudi Arabi (home to Mecca and Medina), and American cooption of Arab political leadership in the oil states (through "moderate" stooge governments on the take). These are things that turn true believers into killers.

I'm certainly willing to test the theory that Islam and the West can live in peace. As the sole superpower, the U.S. is in a unique position to devise and keep the peace. The burden is on us.

As I hope is obvious, I don't bear any ill will toward Jewish or Muslim people. I just get irritated when people can't find a way to get along, and I become pretty outraged when I see our country being dragged into other people's fights.

However, we did have a role in starting this fight (without the U.S., Israel would not have been created by the U.N.). So since the primary participants can't seem to settle it, I think it's appropriate for us to step in and force a lasting peace. It's also in our direct interest to do so, because a lot of us will get killed if we don't.

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My position is this:

-- Create viable alternatives to oil for power generation

-- Sever all political ties in the middle east

This would server to minimize but not elimate the 'Islamic Issue'.

Some factions of Islam consider anyplace there is even one Muslim to be Arabic and thus part of Islam which in the end must come under their control. Others consider countries like the US, who will not submit to the will of Allah but still are 'blessed', as stealing Allah's blessing by subtrefuge. Still others, of the same opinion of us, that we are proof that they are not obeying the will of Allah and have construed that as meaning they must force us to submit.

The thing is, pulling our support from Israel may create a situation that encourages the great majority of the Muslim population to actively support the militant factions. :D

Meanwhile, some in the west should bless them for giving us :high: and improved distallation for :pint:

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