Dr. Walid Phares

www.walidphares.com

Why terrorists hate us
 

By DR WALID PHARES,
academic, adviser to President Bush and author of
Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against The West
 

IN the five years since the terror attacks of 9/11, Walid Phares has been consistently consulted by high-ranking US officials to explain who the jihadists are and to help the West prepare for what may come.

Walid’s study of the phenomenon of jihad – or Islamic struggle – for more than 25 years has enabled him to translate the intentions, justifications and goals of the terrorists who are determined to defeat America and her allies.

Here, he answers critical questions including: Who are the people who want to destroy the West and why do they want to hurt us?

SINCE September 11 in New York, March 11 in Madrid and July 7 in London, questions have been forming among a stunned public – why do these people hate us, who are they and what do they want?

As someone who studied the jihadist movement for a quarter of a century on three continents, I find the questions indicate a greater drama — how can societies targeted for a systematic and global warfare by terrorist forces operating in the open for at least two decades be asking questions about their identification?

Instead, the Americans, British and Spanish should ask how the jihadists were able to strike successfully, how long they have been able to infiltrate democratic societies and who is helping them do it.

The real question is this — why are most British citizens, let alone Europeans and Westerners, lost about who the enemy is? How come they aren’t able to see clearly, and who is blurring their vision and how?

Ironically, the debate about these concepts is raging in the West, on its university campuses and in its media, but not elsewhere.

Thus it is within Europe and other democracies that the real war of ideas is happening.

And as I have made the case for years, it is about the public being able, or enabled by those qualified, to learn about the root causes, the identity and strategies of the groups claiming jihadism and acting violently on behalf of this ideology.

SINCE September 11 in New York, March 11 in Madrid and July 7 in London, questions have been forming among a stunned public – why do these people hate us, who are they and what do they want?

As someone who studied the jihadist movement for a quarter of a century on three continents, I find the questions indicate a greater drama — how can societies targeted for a systematic and global warfare by terrorist forces operating in the open for at least two decades be asking questions about their identification?

Instead, the Americans, British and Spanish should ask how the jihadists were able to strike successfully, how long they have been able to infiltrate democratic societies and who is helping them do it.

The real question is this — why are most British citizens, let alone Europeans and Westerners, lost about who the enemy is? How come they aren’t able to see clearly, and who is blurring their vision and how?

Ironically, the debate about these concepts is raging in the West, on its university campuses and in its media, but not elsewhere.

Thus it is within Europe and other democracies that the real war of ideas is happening.

And as I have made the case for years, it is about the public being able, or enabled by those qualified, to learn about the root causes, the identity and strategies of the groups claiming jihadism and acting violently on behalf of this ideology.

WHAT DO THEY WANT?

THE terrorists who have been conducting suicide attacks, producing videos calling for violence and recruiting more terrorists among a radicalised pool of youth are acting on behalf of an old, sophisticated and totalitarian ideology, with long-range strategic objectives — jihadism, or al Jihadiya.

These jihadists aren’t born overnight, nor are they an automatic response to state policies so far as — according to their own texts, chatrooms, books and ideologues — indoctrinated militants who have been made to believe that by killing and being killed, they are fulfilling a higher divine mission.

It is not about British policies so much as Russians, Indians, Americans, Spaniards, Arabs and all those who do not bow to the ultimate goal of “the return of the caliphate and its dominance of humanity”.

These aren’t some Star Wars movie themes but speeches delivered from Hyde Park to Osama’s hideout.

In short, the jihadists believe in an ideology that wants to reshape the West’s “evil world”, particularly its most liberal, secular and democratic dimensions.

 

The ultimate worst enemies of the jihadists aren’t Bush, Blair and Putin, but a new generation of Muslims opposed to fundamentalism in Tehran, Khartoum and beyond. Their war in the West is in fact a tool to obstruct the rise to freedom for women, minorities and youth in the Middle East and the Islamic world. Evidence abounds from Morocco to Afghanistan.

WHO ARE THEY?

THE jihadists borrowed heavily from what they claim is or was religion, while in fact they created an all-out ideology.

They shielded themselves by filling an immense gap created by the crushing of liberal Arabs and Muslims at the hands of dictatorships in the Middle East.

There are two “trees” of jihadism — the Salafists, who want a renewed caliphate after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

STRATEGIES AND TACTICS

THE main feature of the jihadists is their amazing ability to placate the societies — principally democratic — which they target.

Experts in political camouflage and students of both Islamic and Western institutions, they have carried out a long-term infiltration of societies on both sides of the Mediterranean using the appropriate means.

The fundamentalist militants skilfully use the legal protections provided by liberal democracies to insert themselves within ethnic communities and use democracies to shield their ideology in a robe of religion.

Their major success has been to mass “dis-educate” the public, hence they abuse collective tolerance as they convert their doctrines into the so-called “political correctness”.

The latter is proportional to the public’s awareness — the fewer citizens who know about this “ideology”, the more the radicals have a free ride.

Hence it is crucial for the British and others around the world to learn as quickly as possible about the real “factory” producing the bombs.

Not the warehouses themselves, but the set of ideas that ideologues have been able to implant in the minds of many in this generation and are about to instill in the next.

In short, Muslim democrats in particular and informed British in general are the answer to future jihad.

Dr Walid Phares is the author of Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against The West. He is a visiting scholar at the European Foundation for Democracy and a Senior Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. www.futurejihad.com

http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006400521,,00.html

Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against The West is published by Palgrave Macmillan, from £7 at bookshops.