The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
The God Wars Muslims Must Condemn ISIS Visibly and Loudly

The links between western jihadists and ISIS are getting even tighter. The BBC reports on a Khaled Sharrouf, a terrorist who was jailed for planning attacks in Australia. When he was released after four years in prison, he illegally left the country to fight with jihadists in Syria. Now he has provoked a domestic controversy in Australia by posting a picture to his twitter feed showing a young boy, who may be his son, holding the severed head of a Syria. Australian PM Tony Abbott has condemned the picture, and the country is trying harder to prevent domestic radicals from leaving the country to fight abroad.

Stories of this nature are continuing to proliferate as the jihadi madness draws citizens of the western democracies into its vortex. Among the bad consequences of this intensification will be deepening polarization around issues of immigration and surveillance in Western countries. The best thing that can happen is for Muslim individuals and groups to strongly and visibly condemn the perverted cult of these Death Eaters. For religious, personal and political reasons western Muslims must make this a high priority. If western Muslim communities fail to publicly reject jihadism, tensions between western religious communities will grow, as will popular suspicion of all Muslims. 

It is wrong to tar all Muslims with the brush of jihad or to say that fanaticism is somehow uniquely a problem for Islam. All religions are capable of distortion; Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, and Jewish history all have ugly stories to tell. At this very moment in time, Muslims face horrible persecution and unjustifiable discrimination in many countries. We will continue to chronicle these sorry stories. We are anything but indifferent to the plight of people being persecuted on account of their faith, Muslims included. 

But Muslims have to be realistic. Except for those of us who have Muslim neighbors and friends, the terrible deeds of ISIS and its brethren are more visible to the average citizen of western countries today than the quiet and peaceful lives of hundreds of millions of Muslims who want nothing to do with this madness and evil. Whether it is from the standpoint of dawa, of preventing the blasphemers of ISIS from shaping the public image of Islam, or of protecting themselves and their loved ones against a backlash driven by ignorance, hatred and fear, Muslims around the world must make their loathing and rejection of these criminals unmistakably clear.

Though as a Christian I cannot instruct people of different religious backgrounds on their duties, it seems to me that this is a matter of both religious obligation, benevolence to ones neighbors (protecting them against ignorance and a resulting sin of hate), and practical common sense. It cannot come too soon. 

Published on August 11, 2014 12:16 pm
  • Art Metz

    > But Muslims have to be realistic.

    No, they don’t. Not when they can kill and intimidate non-believers.

    > Though as a Christian I cannot instruct people of different religious backgrounds on their duties,

    Then why are you trying?

    > a matter of … religious obligation, benevolence to ones neighbors

    You are writing this in the context of Islam? Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

    Don’t forget. Islam is the Religion of Peace (TM) and they’ll kill anyone who disagrees.

  • BXVI

    The problem is, the “moderate” Muslims are stuck with the teachings of their faith, which support ISIS conduct. And they are stuck with the official biographies of the life of the so-called “prophet” Muhammad (which are accepted as authoritative by mainstream Muslim clerics). You see, those biographies idolize Muhammad as the perfect man, God’s Chosen One, and they glorify him and hs life. The problem is, they portray a profoundly evil man. He murdered, he tortured, he ordered beheadings, stonings and crucifixions, he took the wives of conqured enemies as sex slaves, he demanded 20% of all captured booty from conqurered enemies for his personal satisfaction, he was supposedly given special sexual privileges by God, including the right to extra wives and to take the wife of one of his relatives as his own, he owned and traded slaves. Oh, yes, and he had sex with his 9-year old “wife.” The ISIS jihadis are merely following the orders and example of their “prophet.” Here is the problem: Islam is the problem. It must be defeated, completely and utterly. Sorry, I know there are a billion-some Muslims in the world, but we should be engaged in all-out psychological war to defeat this evil ideology.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Good job, here. You have correctly explained “the problem”. We can’t kill all the Muslims, and, honestly, we shouldn’t WANT to hate or kill any of them.

      HOWEVER, Islam itself, the philosophy and belief system is exactly as false and evil as you claim—–all the way to its roots. I happen to be a liberal who is not “open-minded” to this profound falsehood, and I’m hoping the rest of the world will wake up to simply recognize an evil fib for being an evil fib. The answer is No, no, no, no,….and no.

      Progress will come when more and more people now trapped in Islam somehow gain freedom to happily walk away as apostates. We, from a place of freedom, owe them our encouragement to question it, then reject it. We hope Muslims do not have to kill other Muslims to achieve the freedom to become ex-Muslims, but if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes. Meanwhile, we might hope the connected digital age will help with the necessary “war” on a false ideology (maybe even more than guns and bombs.)

      • Fat_Man

        “We can’t kill all the Muslims … we shouldn’t WANT to … kill any of them.”

        No Problem. the available evidence is that, if they are left alone, they will kill each other.

        • FriendlyGoat

          That sounds sort of “okay” to most of us Americans who are profoundly tired of the mess, but it’s still tragic—-mostly for women and children.

          I’d like us to find a world strategy for helping Islamic believers escape the mental tyranny of it all and become peaceful, prosperous ex-believers. It’s a tall order, of course.

          • Fat_Man

            The problem is the crab basket. If anyone tries to escape, he is dealt with violently. It would require an enormous army and a long time to change that. Besides, like I said, if we quarantine them they will solve the problem for us.

    • http://abiasedperspective.wordpress.com Luke Phillips

      What a disgrace, that such bigoted crusaders as you, BXVI and unFriendlyGoat, read The American Interest. You should go to Commentary or Breitbart (or in unFriendlyGoat’s case, whatever website Chris Hitchens most often wrote for) for YOUR news.

      Professor Mead has a point and it is one that should be made. If you have any sort of organic relationship with radicals, you should endeavor to sever it as loudly and publicly as possible (as the Reformicons have done against the crazies to the right of them.) And indeed, any Muslim who attempted to justify the actions of ISIS and Hamas and other Islamist groups would be opening himself or herself up to the just criticisms of the masses of Westerners.

      That said, though it is most likely indeed in the self-interest and patriotic duty of American Muslims to renounce terrorism, it is nonetheless of the utmost bigotry for Americans to associate them with terrorism to begin with, and on par with requiring Christians to renounce the Westboro Baptist Church and the Ku Klux Klan. Mere membership of an intellectual or spiritual movement does not at all assume sympathy for that’s movement’s radicals. We should not be in the business of peddling loyalty oaths and other McCarthyite nonsense; we SHOULD be encouraging good common sense, unhyphenated Americanism, and fraternal loyalty among fellow Americans, and in that regard American Muslims probably WOULD benefit to renounce Islamism publicly, and all good Americans would applaud them for it.

      Professor Mead, I think, has the RIGHT analysis here. And unlike you two kooks, he truly has balance and fairness in his ways of thought. You can read about them here.

      http://www.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2010/07/22/welcome-to-via-meadia/

      • FriendlyGoat

        Do you not understand that the Ku Klux Klan was NOT following Jesus and was therefore eligible to be denounced by Christians, whereas ISIL actually IS following Mohammad and is therefore difficult for Muslims to denounce without “offending the Prophet”?

        We don’t need a few Muslim Americans denouncing terrorism out of some fraternal motivation with “unhyphenated Americanism” (whatever that is). We need WORLD Muslims properly concluding that Mohammad is not “the prophet” of anything but trouble and washing the whole concept out of their minds. I admit this is hard to get done, but it is the only answer to the Islam problem. False has to be called false—-all of it and all the time.

      • charlesrwilliams

        This seems to be more of an insult than an argument. Is there a basis in Islam for condemning the jihadists? Is the issue Islamism or Islam? I hesitate to tell Muslims what their religion means but I just don’t see how the suppression of other religions through violence is not a fundamental and non-negotiable principle of Islam such that a moderate Muslim’s argument with the jihadists is over tactics and not goals.

        Now whatever you think of McCarthy, Communist subversion in Hollywood, American universities, the labor movement and the highest levels of the federal government in the forties and early fifties is a well-established fact, documented in the Soviet archives.

      • BXVI

        Luke –
        1. It is not bigoted to point out that Islam is evil at its core.
        2. You did not even attempt to refute the premise of my comment, which was that so-called moderate Muslims are fatally handicapped in trying to loudly condemn groups like ISIS because those groups are living out Islam more fully and more faithfully than the “moderates.”
        3. You did not refute my description of the evilness of Muhammad. No one ever does. That is because they can’t. The official biographies say what they say.

  • Boritz

    Are we not since September 2001 on red-alert in the West against the possibility of an “anti-Muslim backlash?” &nbspWhen did that get cancelled and how is there room for any other focus?

  • Fat_Man

    “Muslims Must Condemn ISIS Visibly and Loudly”

    Right. I am going to be here holding my breath until they do.

  • TheCynical1

    If this post, and the supporting comments, do not amount to bigotry, I don’t know what would.

    • Breif2

      You’re damn right I’m “bigoted” against Jihadism! The Jihadists claim that they represent true Islam; if they are right, then I am “bigoted” against Islam as well. If other Muslims wish to contradict them, they are most welcome to do so. After all, it is not for me to decide what Islam really is.

      I humbly hope this summary of the original post meets with your approval.

      • TheCynical1

        I share your “bigotry against jihadism.” Not what I was talking about.

        Peaceful Muslims, who number in the “hundreds of millions” according to the Professor, have no more or less of a “duty” to repudiate jihadism than any civilized individual.

        To suggest otherwise — as the Professor appears to do by calling them out — seems to buy into stereotypes based on group identity and collective responsibility and guilt; unfortunate notions that tend to infect the thinking of bigots (and leftists too).

        I guess it’s too much to ask that each of us be judged as the individuals that we are, accountable for our own individual beliefs and conduct. I would never accept any suggestion that peaceful Jews have some sort of special, unique “duty” to condemn persons like Meir Kahane, or that peaceful Christians have such a duty to repudiate persons like Fred Phelps, because such a suggestion would strike me as an anti-Semitic or anti-Christian slur.

        • Breif2

          According to the Jihadists (a significant and very vocal part of the worldwide Muslim community, the Ummah), Jihadism represents the One True Islam. They loudly proclaim it, day in and day out, in words and in deeds. They are declaring that the entire Ummah is at war with everyone else. As a non-Muslim, I find this very concerning. I naturally turn my gaze to the seemingly peaceful Muslims. And I mostly hear crickets. Now they certainly have no legal duty to say or do anything, but the longer this goes on, the more likely I am to conclude that the Jihadists are right in their characterization of Islam, and that the peaceful Muslims are quiescent followers of a murderous ideology. And they will have no cause to complain about my conclusion. And there matters will rest, unless the Jihadists manage to pull off some more 9/11s. At which point, right or wrong, “Bug off, copper, I don’t got to tell you nothin’!” will prove to have been an unwise attitude.

        • BXVI

          By your logic, the “peaceful” Germans of the 1930s had no duty to loudly and forcefully condemn fascist Naziism. And they didn’t. And we all know where that led. There is no difference in my mind between that and what we are seeing today with Islam. A small minority of Muslims implementing the jihad with a large majority either cheering from the sidelines or silently looking the other way. You are clearly (willfilly?) ignorant about Islam. Can you refute my description of the life and deeds of the evil founder of this malevolent cancer, described in my post above? No. Muhammad was an evil monster who founded a monstrous religion / political ideology. We in the West need to wake up and shed the moral relativism that insists criticism of Islam amounts to “bigotry”. Like it or not, we are in the midst of a global-civilizational struggle with Islam.

          • TheCynical1

            Yes, I am more ignorant about Islam than I would like, and I don’t like opining about things that I don’t know much about — so I can’t agree or disagree with your characterizations of Muhammad without first having adequately researched the matter for myself. I do know that many people seem to share your view, at least if the comments to the Professor’s post are any indication.

            For the purpose of this discussion, let me assume your characterizations may be accurate . . . but I would still remain troubled by your conclusion.

            It doesn’t always follow that every characteristic of a founder is endorsed by later followers. For example, the writers of the Old and New Testaments appeared to be fine with slavery, and apparently nothing in the Bible shows that Jesus ever repudiated slavery; but I have little doubt that Christians do not endorse slavery today. If a leftist and/or atheist were to claim that this shows the evil of Christianity, or that all Christians have a unique duty to vocally repudiate slavery, I would dismiss such an “argument” as an anti-Christian slur.

            I do know that a few days after 9/11, President Bush visited the Islamic Center and said: “The face of terror is not the true face of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war. . . . America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. . . . In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect. . . . And it’s a great country; it’s a great country because we share the same values of respect and dignity and human worth.” If that makes President Bush ignorant about Islam and freedom of religion in America, then I suppose I’m guilty too.

          • BXVI

            Guilty then. Here’s a little primer for you: a comparison of Jesus & Muhammad. It’s the difference between good and evil.

            M – Said Allah hates those who don’t accept Islam.
            (Qur’an 30:45, 3:32, 22:38)
            J – Said God loves everyone.
            (John 3:16)

            M – “I have been commanded to fight
            against people till they testify that there
            is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad
            is the messenger of Allah”
            (Muslim 1:33)
            J – “He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.”
            (Matthew 26:52)

            M – Stoned women for adultery.
            (Muslim 4206)
            J – “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
            (John 8:7)

            M – Permitted stealing from unbelievers.
            (Bukhari 44:668, Ibn Ishaq 764)
            J – “Thou shalt not steal.”
            (Matthew 19:18)

            M – Permitted lying.
            (Sahih Muslim 6303, Bukhari 49:857)
            J – “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”
            (Matthew 19:18)

            M – Owned and traded slaves.
            (Sahih Muslim 3901)
            J – Neither owned nor traded slaves.

            M – Beheaded 800 Jewish men and boys.
            (Sahih Muslim 4390)
            J – Beheaded no one.

            M – Murdered those who insulted him.
            (Bukhari 56:369, 4:241)
            J – Preached forgiveness.
            (Matthew 18:21-22, 5:38)

            M – “If then anyone transgresses the prohibition against you, Transgress ye likewise against him”
            (Qur’an 2:194)
            J – “If someone strikes you on the right
            cheek, turn to him the other also.”
            (Matthew 5:39)

            M – Jihad in the way of Allah elevates one’s position in Paradise by a hundred fold.
            (Muslim 4645)
            J – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for
            they will be called Sons of God”
            (Matthew 5:9)

            M – Married 13 wives and kept sex slaves.
            (Bukhari 5:268, Qur’an 33:50)
            J – Was celibate.

            M – Slept with a 9-year-old child.
            (Sahih Muslim 3309, Bukhari 58:236)
            J – Did not have sex with children.

            M – Ordered the murder of women.
            (Ibn Ishaq 819, 995)
            J – Never harmed a woman.

            M – “O you who believe! Fight those of the
            unbelievers who are near to you
            and let them find in you hardness.”
            (Qur’an 9:123)
            J – “Blessed are the meek, for
            they shall inherit the earth.”
            (Matthew 5:5)

            M – Ordered 65 military campaigns
            and raids in his last 10 years.
            (Ibn Ishaq )
            J – Ordered no military campaigns, nor
            offered any approval of war or violence.

            M – Killed captives taken in battle.
            (Ibn Ishaq 451)
            J – Never took captives. Never killed anyone.

            M – Encouraged his men to rape enslaved women.
            (Abu Dawood 2150, Qur’an 4:24)
            J – Never encouraged rape. Never enslaved women.

            M – Demanded captured slaves and
            a fifth of all other loot taken in war.
            (Qur’an 8:41)
            J – “The Son of Man came not
            to be served, but to serve.”
            (Matthew 20:28)

            M – Was never tortured, but tortured others.
            (Muslim 4131, Ibn Ishaq 436, 595, 734, 764)
            J – Suffered torture, but never tortured anyone.

            M – “And fight them until there is no more persecution and religion is only for Allah”
            (Qur’an 8:39)
            J – “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”
            (Matthew 5:44)

            M – Blessed the brutal murder of a half-blind man
            (al-Tabari 1440)
            J – Healed blind men
            (Mark 8:28)

            M – Ordered a slave to build the very pulpit
            from which he preached Islam.
            (Bukhari 47:743)
            J – Washed his disciples feet.
            (John 13:5)

            What are the Greatest Commandments?
            M – “Belief in Allah and Jihad in His cause”
            (Muslim 1:149)
            J “Love God and love thy neighbor as thyself.”
            (Matthew 22:34-40)

            M – Demanded the protection of armed bodyguards, even in a house of worship
            (Qur’an 4:102)
            J – Chastised anyone attempting to defend him with force.
            (John 18:10-12)

            M – Died fat and wealthy from what was
            taken from others in war or
            demanded from others in tribute.
            J – Demanded nothing for himself. Died without possessions.

            M – Advocated crucifying others.
            (Qur’an 5:33, Muslim 16:4131)
            J – Was crucified himself.

            M – According to his followers: Had others give their lives for him.
            (Sahih Muslim 4413)
            J – According to his followers: Gave his life for others.
            (John 18:11 and elsewhere)

          • FriendlyGoat

            Good job, again. VERY good job.

          • FriendlyGoat

            1) There are many shades of political “leftists”, and some of them (us) are not at all “against” Jesus. It is quite possible to favor many of America’s best leftward ideas without being a Marxist or an atheist or a satanically-inspired hater of Christianity. (One simple example is the FDIC insurance of people’s deposits in banks. Without liberal leftists, you wouldn’t have it.)

            2) George W. Bush may or may not have been ignorant of Islam. The remarks he made at the time were probably somewhat necessary from a president in the wake of 9/11.
            He was trying to brag on Muslim people who were not involved in terrorism and to appeal to other Americans to not lash out erroneously against innocent people. There is nothing wrong with that.
            Unfortunately, his characterization actually describes the best of the human nature emanating from many gentle Muslims and does not accurately describe the dogma of Islam, itself.

          • Breif2

            Even if you, I, the other commenters here, and Bush were the world’s foremost experts on Islam, it wouldn’t matter. What counts is not what Islam should be theoretically, but what Muslims believe it to be. If the Jihadists preach Jihad, while the easygoing Muslims refrain from pushing back and preaching for peace, the latter are conceding to the first. If young Muslims around the world hear the Jihadists make the plausible case that they represent true Islam, while easygoing Muslims remain neutral on the matter, many of them will reach the reasonable conclusion that the Jihadists are right. So by exercising their legitimate right not to express an opinion, easygoing Muslims are in effect helping Jihadists recruit.

            Does that mean that my peaceful neighbor Mustafa is obliged to drop by and condemn every terrorist attack committed by Muslims? Of course not! But the ongoing silence of too many Muslim organizations and leaders has a negative cumulative effect.

    • BXVI

      Define bigotry, please. Is it “bigoted” to criticize an evil and malevolent ideology? By your logic, it would have been “bigoted” to criticize Nazi fascism in the 1930s. And it would have been “bigoted” to insist that such ideology must be defeated, or that the “silent majority” of Germans had any obligation to oppose it. The moral relativism that pervades Western civilization (and your post) is what I find “troubling” and fear will be our undoing in the end.

  • ljgude

    I too have Muslim friends and neighbors who are not jihadis, WRM, but what I see is that Muslims are a lot more afraid of their fellow Muslims if the speak out against the Jihadis, than they are afraid of a Western backlash. I do not think they will heed your exhortation to speak out against the jihadis unless and until they are more afraid of a Western backlash. And why should they be afraid of that? So far, it is mostly Muslims who kill Muslims so I see the behavior of moderate Muslims as entirely rational. How many Muslims have Christians, or Buddhists, or Hindus crucified in the past few weeks. Not a whole lot, I’d wager.

  • N Chew

    “All religions are capable of distortion; Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, and Jewish history all have ugly stories to tell.” Why have to bring in other religions which are not at all as bloodthirsty as the Muslims in today’s world?

    “At this very moment in time, Muslims face horrible persecution and unjustifiable discrimination in many countries.” This is highly disputable. Where are the examples? The opposite is true. For some people, it’s extremely easy to make ridiculous statements.

  • Charles Vairin

    We are missing a bet if we do not annihilate the Islamic dogs and bury then in pig fat. It is time to recognize the treachery of the Islamic religion and those who are raised in it.

  • alisyed_zain

    Islam is not a religion but code of life as how to live life on the earth. Quoran teaches that Mankind is one family means we are all sisters and brothers born to one mother. Islam teaching is to win the hearts and minds of other by sacrificing their will and minds.
    All Muslims who are going against Quoranic commandments are enemies of Islam. They have chosen their own destiny to go to hell. They will dwell there for ever.

  • Gladiator214 .

    I don’t see Christians and Catholics condemning the thousands of Catholic priests who bugger little boys. Its always swept under the rug. The priests say their Catholic and its the will of God that they have sex with little boys. Give me a break. Muslims are constantly condemning terrorism, its just kinda hard to get the message out when the media is controlled by biased Zionists.

  • Jd LaBash

    Muslims have to choose between integration with the secular world, isolation, or Jihad. Those who select Jihad will eventually be destroyed. Unfair as it may be, Muslims who have chosen either of the other paths have to participate in the destruction of the Jihadists to avoid being included in that destruction.

  • John Bakerman

    Most Muslims were SILENT when al-Qaeda terrorists were beheading innocent people.
    Remains to be be seen whether they will stay mum on the recent actions by ISIS.