The People of Blood and Jihad

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


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Thirty years ago, after Jimmy Carter’s disastrous attempt to rescue the embassy hostages in Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini warned, “Carter still has not comprehended what kind of people he is facing and what school of thought he is playing with. Our people is the people of blood and our school is the school of Jihad.” Despite the graphic proof of Khomeini’s words in the carnage of 9/11, many in the media, politics, and foreign policy establishment still refuse to comprehend the enemy we are facing.

Even as Islamists have come to power in the countries hastily celebrated last year as cradles of democracy, “Arab Spring” fever continues to addle the thinking of many. New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid (who died suddenly of an asthma attack last week in Syria) had his final article published last Saturday. It is a puff-piece on Tunisian Islamist Said Ferjani, who has returned to Tunisia from exile to “build a democracy, led by Islamists.” Said’s mentor is Rachid al-Ghannouchi, whose Ennahda party won over a third of the seats in Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly. “His own thoughts evolving in exile,” Shahid writes, “Gannouchi became an early proponent of a more inclusive and tolerant Islamism, arguing a generation ago that notions of elections and majority rule were universal and did not contradict Islam.”

This statement is riddled with conceptual incoherence and obfuscation, and cries out for critical scrutiny. Elections and majority rule have nothing to do with being “more inclusive and tolerance,” which is the consequence of foundational principles such as human rights and equality before the law. Majorities can vote in democratic elections for exclusion and intolerance, as shown by the calls for intolerant shari’a law, and increased assaults on Christians and Jews in countries recently taken over by Islamists. And a shrewd reporter would have asked how this alleged “inclusion and tolerance” squares with Gannouchi’s campaign statement that “God wants you to vote for the party that will protect your faith,” a faith that prescribes subordinate status for women and non-Muslims; or whether Muslim Brothers offshoot Ennahda has repudiated the Brothers’ motto: “God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.” Like many liberal reporters, Shadid simply accepts at face value the tactical deceptions of media-savvy Islamists adept at telling Westerners what they want to hear.

In fact, Shadid passes up numerous opportunities to do some good reporting and give his readers the whole story. For example, Shadid quotes approvingly Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Brothers’ Grand Mufiti, but doesn’t inform his readers that Qaradawi is on record advocating shari’a law, terrorism, and genocide against the Jews. Shadid also quotes another “reformer,” Tariq Ramadan. Ramadan is the Swiss born grandson of Muslim Brothers founder Hassan al-Banna, whose desire was to see “the Islamic banner . . . wave supreme over the human race,” and about whose Islamist ideology Ramadan has said, “there is nothing in this heritage that I reject.” Of course, Shahid says nothing of Ramadan’s documented tactical duplicity, illiberal ideas, and connections to terrorists, all documented in Caroline Fourest’s Brother Tariq, which reveals that beneath his soothing rhetoric Ramadan is pursuing the jihadist program of global Islamization through propaganda and recruitment rather than through violence. But Shadid is simply following the pattern of most “reporting” on Islam and Muslims over the last decade. As Bruce Bawer wrote in Surrender about another Times puff-piece, this one about a Brooklyn Imam, such articles “emphasize personal and superficial details that are likely to generate sympathy while sidestepping or whitewashing core beliefs, domestic arrangements, cultural practices, social rules, and long-term political goals that might actually inform, enlighten––and therefore alarm––readers.”

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  • verityjes

    So who are the people of blood and jihad? The entire Middle East? All Muslims? All Aras?

    • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ JasonPappas

      Good question. Answer: those who take Islam seriously and fully practice Islam, those who go back to the original Islam (Salafi), and those who heed the call to engage in jihad. Most Muslims are lax and somewhat perfunctory in their practice. However, the return to original Islam is bring many a Muslim back to the vicious example of their founder.

      • ziontruth

        "Most Muslims are lax and somewhat perfunctory in their practice."

        In their practice—maybe. But not in their faith. Nothing equivalent to the Western Enlightenment has yet swept the Muslim world. Their faith is medieval in its strength and lack of wavering. Consequently, lax and perfunctory practice is a temporary situation just waiting to change.

  • The Infidel

    The people of blood and jihad are those who believe the koran when it says that the whole earth is for islam, believe the koran when it says to slay the non muslim wherever you find them, believe the koran when it says the end will not come until the rock says to the muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come kill him. also, if they want sharia, they want to dominate, subjecate and humiliate all non muslim, or the wrong sort of muslim. pretty simple really.

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ JasonPappas

    Brilliant! Of course today's intellectual establishment can't even consider Thornton's thesis. It is dismissed as Islamophobia prior to critical analysis. People are forbidden to let such ideas into discussion. The fear of Islamophobia, i.e. Islamophobiaphobia, leaves people without a road to the truth about "blood and jihad." As soon as it is obvious that such barbarity isn't confined to a few "extremists who hijacked Islam" one has to whitewash the whole Islamic faith.

  • Stephen_Brady

    We all see people and ideas through a lens created by our own view of the world. In a time when our societies were more homogeneous, this worked out well. I remember the 1950s, and it was a glorious time in America. But of course, I see the 1950's through the eyes of a white, middle-class, suburban, ango-Saxon protestant, don't I? The 1950's might be differently seen in the memory of a black man from Mississippi.

    There were similarities between how we perceived our nation, though. We've got to get past the idea that all we have to do is present our ideals to other cultures, and they will joyfully accept them. This was part of the premise of Irving Krystol's ideas on neoconservatism, and at the time, I bought into them. My eyes are open, now.

    Today, we're still trying to resurrect the past, and we still see through the lens of the past … at least, people my age do. But if we continue to look at the non-Western world through this lens, we will fail to notice that "they" don't look at us in the same way. Some of them have slipped over the line and desire to kill us.

    Wonderful, eye-opening article, Bruce …

    • Sage on the Stage

      Your points about the 1950's are well taken. However, "they"–radical Muslims–have been wanting to kill non-believers since well before the 1950's; and to kill Americans since U.S. marines fought the Moros in the Philippines.

      • Larry

        Shores of Tripoli, oh Sage one. Muslims have been killing Americans simply because they were kuffars and infidels since before America was a nation.

        • Stephen_Brady

          Agreed, Larry.

      • Stephen_Brady

        Indeed, they have. And we didn't notice it, because we were the people who "destroyed" fascism and Hitler, we lived in the most stable and powerful nation in the world, with the best economy. Why wouldn't anyone like to be like us? This is what we thought, and we were wrong.

        We've got to open our eyes, and actually SEE our enemies, as they are. Then, as General Patton might have put, "We'll know what to do."

  • tramky

    Of course this is right on the money regarding the American media's campaign of disinformation.

    I sometimes have this thought in moments of great cynicism about the American media: they actually WANT–and will help to establish–conditions in the United States to deteriorate so that a massive terrorist event can occur–so they can then have a big story to cover. What else can account for a media that whitewashes & kowtows to the enemies of the people of America while producing stories about how awful America is, how corrupt, how morally bankrupt (not to mention financially so), and how it would be better for everyone (well, except for Americans) if the United States just disappeared or was destroyed?

  • hammar

    how can you pray 5 times a day and still hate everyone around you?
    Even muham the phony will be judged come Judgement Day by
    Jesus Christ Our Lord and God!

    • Larry

      Reinforcing the hate 5 times a day is what it is. Take your taqqiya elsewhere.

      • JoJoJams

        I'm — I think you misread what Hammar wrote, Larry….. It wasn't a pro-islam/mohammed statement – it was against…..

  • michiganruth

    one of the joint chiefs just said yesterday that they consider Iran to be "a rational actor." now anyone who can think that at this point is just deluding himself.

    and this genius is just one of the foreign policy advisors that Barack Obama is listening to. he joins James "The Muslim Brotherhood is largely secular" Clapper and John "I Love al-Quds!" Brennan and Samantha "We should be attacking the Israelis on behalf of the Palestinians" Power. these people all suffer from the problem the author talks about here. they simply refuse to believe that Iran, or Hamas, or the Muslim Brotherhood, could possibly not want what we want: peace, friendship, and harmony. guess what, Mr. President? they don't.

    I sometimes wonder how the Palestinians would spend their time if they actually WERE successful in "wiping Israel off the face of the map." what the heck would they DO all day, with nobody to bomb?

  • Beth

    In the article:
    "too many Westerners prefer their own received ideas and comforting illusions to the words of the enemy and the record of his deeds"

    The tree is known by his fruit. (never forget the Beslan School massacre – carried out in the name of islam).

  • NorthStar

    Because radical Muslims sounds stupid. And sounds more like PC multiculturalism than Islamists.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Between 10:03 PM and 10:22 PM tonight you hit me up with 11 replies all of them insulting and derogatory as part of you and your leftist moronic buddies stupid campaign of cyber stalking me because first of all, you want to attempt to intimidate and harass me, and second because you want to marginalize me as being an Islamophobe in order to apologize and sympathize with the Muslims in which you idolize and in order to help them like gullible useful idiots to cover up their covert and deceptive non-violent jihad.

      In other words, you spent an average of 1 minute and 43 seconds per posts, which includes locating 11 posts, reading 11 posts (and my posts are painfully long), composing 11 insulting and derogatory replies to them, and finally hitting the submit button. Hell, you couldn't have come close to finding all of them, let alone reading them, much less responding to all 11 of them in 19 minutes, and that irrefutably proves that all of your posts are part of that same childish cyber stalking campaign you and your moonbat buddies have been pursuing against me for months now. As this same pattern of cyber stalking has been repeated numerous times by you and your other unhinged cyber stalker buddies.

      Of course, I had the audacity to respond earlier this morning to a stupid comment made from one of your favorite cyber stalker buddies, which no doubt incited your 11 insulting and derogatory replies tonight.

      Meanwhile, I'm just so proud that little ole me can rankle up the emotions of all you leftwing cyber stalkers so badly. So let me thank you useful idiot loons from the bottom of my heart for being such loyal and generous fans. I truly appreciate it, because without my fans, I would be nothing. Your cyber stalking campaign gives me a deep seated feeling of fulfillment because you picked me out of everyone else to repeatedly cyber stalk, and for that I'm very gracious. Thanks a lot buddies. I'm glad you and your fellow moonbats enjoy my posts so much.

      Indeed, I'd give you my twitter account, but then again you'd not only find out who I am, but you would also join my long list of followers as well so you moonbats could spam my twitter account and it would then take me hours retweeting all your spam.

      • NorthStar

        I didn't call you an Islamophobe.

        So you're a liar, a coward, and a spamming troll.