Middle East studies in the News
Jihad Threat Against US Is Real [incl. John Esposito]
by Tawfik Hamid
Despite the U.S. Military surge in Afghanistan in 2010, the average monthly average of armed clashes, roadside bombings, and other violence has increased sharply this year in Afghanistan.
In its quarterly report on Afghanistan released Wednesday, the United Nations says that as of the end of August, the average monthly number of incidents was 2,108. This means that violent and terrorist attacks in Afghanistan are up 39 percent compared with the same period last year.
The report adds that on average, three complex attacks have been carried out each month this year — a 50 percent increase compared with the same period last year.
This suggests that the United States needs to re-evaluate many of its approaches in dealing with radical Islam.
One of our failures is failure to understand the nature of the threat that we are facing. Thousands of U.S. troops have been killed and trillions of dollars have been spent, yet the statistics show that the intensity of the nearly decade-old war is growing, not abating.
This failure could be attributed to several factors that impeded our ability to understand the problem. One of these is trying to be politically correct at the expense of our national security.
For example, several government officials and academics have insisted that 'jihad' is basically a peaceful concept.
These include John Brennan (The president's top counterterrorism adviser) who defined jihad as "a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one's community" and Professor John Esposito who mentioned that the primary meaning of jihad in Islam is "the struggle to be a good Muslim."
Both ignored the standard, well-established, and dominant offensive meaning of the word in Islamic Shariah books.
A few days ago 50 influential imams and religious leaders threatened a jihad against the U.S. The main question now is : Should we consider 'jihad' a peaceful concept — as the former experts suggested — and thus do nothing or perhaps send a thank-you note to these scholars, or should we be on alert and increase our caution?
Giving incorrect information by government officials and academics in the field of counterterrorism can be a life-and-death issue. Incorrect information can be due to:
1. Ignorance about the topic
2. Intentional desire to cause harm to America
3. Political correctness
The possibilities that ignorance is the cause of giving misleading information in the above cases is unlikely as both experts are unlikely to be unaware of the very basic facts about the ideology of the enemy.
Also, it is unfair and unfounded to assume that it is intentional desire to cause harm to America. Political correctness seems to be the most likely possibility for giving incorrect or incomplete information about 'jihad'.
To understand what this means we need to imagine a doctor giving the U.S. government incorrect information about a very serious infectious disease that he discovered in an immigrant. The aim of the doctor was simply to be 'politically correct' with the country of origin of this patient.
Are we going to accept this form of political correctness that can lead to disasters? Or are we going to consider this as a form of "malpractice" that deserves an action against it?
Similarly, we need to look at giving incorrect information about the phenomenon of radical Islam as "malpractice" as it threatens our national security, misleads us, and diverts our efforts away from confronting the real cause of the problem.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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