Global Islamism: Prospects for 2014

Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf project at Columbia University. He can be reached at rafizadeh@fas.harvard.edu. Follow Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.


Mideast-Iran-Election_Horo4-e1371313739782-965x543Thanks to the Obama administration’s uninformed and flimsy foreign policy decisions, the year 2013 has distinctively been a blessing for the independent Islamist parties and fundamentalist Islamic governments throughout the Middle East and the world. Although it is somewhat difficult to predict what will happen in 2014 regarding the Islamists movements and prominent challenges within that (along with Iran’s nuclear ambitions), several issues can be projected based on the trends and polices carried out in 2013.

Firstly, the foreign and domestic policies carried out by the Obama administration have led to several key trends.  In 2013, Islamists and fundamentalists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and other Islamists parties have gained an unprecedented level of power, organization, and coordination, particularly across the Middle East and Africa. In Syria, for example, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has emerged as among the most powerful jihadi groups. This particular Islamist group, which seeks to rule Syria and the Levant just as the Taliban did in Afghanistan (along with fighting against infidels), has become more centralized through obtaining a unified command-and-control structure, ideologically and politically.

Reportedly, this Islamist party— which has been behind thousands of beheadings, in many cases proudly beheading people and showing it on videos— is advocating for the systematic genocide of Shi’ite Muslims or others who are “damaging Mohammed’s legacy” in perpetrating their beliefs. Currently, ISIL is the most powerful oppositional group in Syria, even overshadowing the Free Syrian Army and other rebels. It is argued that many of the arms sent to the Free Syrian Army were actually obtained by several Islamist groups, including ISIL. In late 2013, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights labeled the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams as “the strongest group in Northern Syria.”

Beheading ordinary people, taking videos (such as the reported beheading of a young Christian girl in this widespread video, or others as seen in this video), targeting non-Muslims (primarily Christians), raping women, and kidnapping non-Muslims have become daily practice in several Muslim countries, carried out by either independent Islamist groups or by those who have recently gained control of the sovereignty of the state.

According to an Amnesty International report this week, Islamist militants are perpetrating “a shocking catalogue of abuses” conducted in secret jails, including torture, flogging, and killings after summary trials. Amnesty International added that, “Those abducted and detained by ISIL include children as young as eight who are held together with adults in the same cruel and inhuman conditions.” Despite all the atrocities and brutalities committed by the ISIL and other Isalmist groups, recent reports from various credible news outlets including Reuters indicate that the Obama administration has attempted to reach out to these Islamist groups, with the Islamists rejecting the administration’s overtures. Do these attempts empower and embolden these Islamist groups to further carry out their atrocities and barbarity?

A turning point and tremendous achievement for the Islamists has been the nuclear deal struck with Iran, thanks to President Obama’s efforts. The Ayatollahs, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the Iranian leaders will receive about $7 billion worth of sanctions relief on sectors including its metal industry, the sanctions relief can be accomplished by an executive order by the Obama administration, without the need to appeal to Congress.

In return for this sanctions relief, Iran is not giving any concessions to rollback its program; Tehran is not going to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure. The Islamic Republic will not decrease the number of its centrifuges, currently about 19,000 (just a few thousands below the needed amount to created a nuclear bomb). In addition, Iranian leaders will not close any of the nation’s nuclear sites. Iran will not even halt its nuclear enrichment. In fact, the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue enriching uranium.

In addition, while the Obama administration still supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Islamist party of Al-Nahda in Tunisia and other Islamist parties that have recently gained power, with billions of American dollars, the persecution of non-Muslims has reached an unprecedented level.

If the current foreign policy moves by the Obama administration continue on, 2014 may likely mark other groundbreaking and exceptional turning points for fundamentalists and Islamists in the region and across the world. The balance of power has already considerably shifted in favor of the Islamists in the region in 2013. They have been capable of remobilizing, organizing, and fossilizing their establishment, ideology and power.

If this trend continues, Iran is more likely to declare itself as the first ideologically-Islamist nuclear-armed state. Furthermore, ISIL will obtain greater territorial, organizational, and political gains in the region, possibly fulfilling their objectives of obtaining sovereignty in Syria. This reminds us of a reiteration of history, where the Taliban and Al Qaeda created a similar centralized state, later implementing their goal by committing the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The other Islamists groups in the region will also continue gaining power, growing, becoming more centralized, organized, and coordinated through the current foreign policies that are being carried out.

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  • Muhammad

    So as Quran said, Muslims and Islam would be the winner.

    • m4253y

      don’t count on it. the backlash against you and yours hasn’t even started.

    • Allah is Dead

      quran is a fable

    • Allat

      Muhammad,

      How do you counter a launched nuclear weapon that is not targeted for any point on the earth?

    • kikorikid

      Let’s go hypothetical here for a moment.
      Iranians, Islamist, are compelled to strike Isreal
      with a nuclear weapon, when they get it.
      They get several and decide to pop one in
      Haifa Harbor, they do. A quarter million people
      die. The mushroom cloud just hangs in the air….
      You and your sodomite brothers are in the street
      yelling allahu Akbar when the first Isreali nuclear
      device goes off over Tehran, only fifty more to go….

      • v

        read the prophecies of an American Indian Bright Day black Dawn…Iran is no more

    • Drakken

      Once the shackles are off of us infidels, you muslims are nothing but fair game and no bag limit.

  • Allah is Dead

    islam is a cancer on the world

    • Muhammad

      So is Christianity dear.

      • William

        Unlike Islam, Christianity serves and builds up humanity and leads them to a better world: Islam is a so-called “religion” of hate, intolerance, death, mayhem and destruction. The Christian God stands only for Truth and Love, Life and Justice. Allah is just the opposite. Allah is not god, God is not Allah.

        • Mohammed

          Bullshit, cross worshippers are a satanic cult. Cross worshippers committed more genocide then any other religion. Just ask the Native Americans and European jews.

          • Softly Bob

            I fear for your soul. Jesus is the only provider of salvation. Blasphemy against God is a very serious thing. Mohammed was a stooge of Satan intending to destroy the word of God. The Bible warned us of this, centuries before Mohammed was even born. Mohammed was one of the false prophets that we were warned about.
            Only a fool would believe that Islam is anything other than utter evil!!

          • RagingVoiceOfReason

            I wonder if the name Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during WWII, would have meant anything to the six million European Jews that “didn’t make it.”

      • Freda Bothwell

        Christianity has contemporary records of the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ. Islam has no contemporary records on Muhammed and scholars now doubt his existence…ever.

        • Mohammed

          So Jesus was born on the 25th of December?? Please give me your facts.

      • jude newman

        Muhammed dear, put some facts to your statement because we have plenty of proof that islam is satanic, barbaric and is overwhelmingly revolting to civilized people

      • defcon 4

        BUt only in your islamic delusions…

      • ArentIpretty

        Should the West start returning the favors that Islam has been visiting on non-Muslims since its beginning? Are you surprised that the Buddhists of Myanmar understand full well what it means to allow Islam into their land? They know what Islam means to them and they are going to purge it from their land. Muslims like to conjure up colonization, imperialism, the Crusades, and Israel as excuses for their actions and to claim a false victimhood. But they all pale in comparison to Islam’s holy wars, colonizations, and Imperialism both past and present. Islam has a lot to account for. Your jihadists are repulsive as is your call for the Shari’a. We will not let such a barbarous ideology infect our cultures and lands. It is time for those Muslims who believe in freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and democracy to rise up against what is, and has been, happening in Muslim majority lands for the past 1400 years. If Muslims cannot allow non-Muslims the same rights afforded them in our lands, then it is time for Muslims to leave.

      • tokoloshiman

        really , i do not see christians committing 90% of terror or beheading people! christianity does not support the subjugation of women or call for death to infidels and believe it is theur duty to murder in the name of god.

      • Sharon

        No way. Christianity is all about love, manifested in Christ dying on the cross for sinners.

        • Mohammed

          Yeah so cross worshippers can go and commit genocide as Jesus paid for it on the cross!!! Pathetic cult.

          • Sharon

            Mohammed, your name demonstrates that you are part of the devil’s own cult. Everywhere Islam goes, there is violence and bloodshed. Everywhere Christ Jesus goes, there is love and forgiveness/new life. If you repent and follow Christ, you too can have this new life. No-one is beyond redemption.

      • edlancey

        Name one positive development that has ever come out of Islam, Mobot.

        • Mohammed

          Algebra

          • edlancey

            Like everything else supposedly invented by Mobots a 1,000 years ago it was stolen off the Greeks, and was a dead end until Europeans rescued it hundreds of years later.

          • Mohammed

            Like your Hasbara lies. Keep up the good work

          • Fasdunkle

            muslims didn’t invent algebra. al-Khwarizmi’ certianly did some good work in it but even then there is some debate if he was a muslim or a zoroastrian

          • Mohammed

            Ok sorry maybe the State of israel did??

            Where did the term come from then?? Al-Jabr or shall I say Algebra for you western mindset.

          • Fasdunkle

            The term comes from arabic but so what?

      • kikorikid

        “Religion is the opiate of the masses”, Mao

    • darioqqo948

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      white Infiniti G Convertible IPL from only workin part-time on a pc at home.
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    • Sharon

      You’re dead right it is. It is a tool of satan.

  • Marty

    Islam is a mental disease attractive to murderers, rapists, and sociopaths.

    • Ahmadd

      Your anger shows that Islam is not.

      • Drakken

        You effing muslims haven’t made us mad yet, but that day is coming.

        • Mohammed

          Suck my A*** Bitch

    • Freda Bothwell

      Yes it is. No Normal person would glorify evil! Allah is satan…according to scholars, Muslim and no muslim.

      • Mohammed

        So Arab jews are satan worshippers as they call God Allah??

        • Freda Bothwell

          Yes, if they worship Allah they are Satan worshippers. As Muhammed probably didn’t exist, islam is all man made evil, directed by Satan.The Koran didn’t appear until several hundred years after the so called death of the so called Muhammed. Man written, made little sense and even Muslim honest scholars admit that,. You are deceived.

    • tokoloshiman

      yes it is a disease developed over centuries and still feeling it is second rate hence the attempt to instill fear and eradicate other older more loving religions.

  • Walter Sieruk

    The God of the Bible is not the god of Islam. Through the passing of time it has become it has become widely accepted that the word Allah is just the Arabic word for God. This started when truth compromising Bible “translators” substituted the word Allah where the word God should have been used in the Arabic translation of the Bible. Furthermore, in the glossary in the Book ASSASSINS! By Dr. Haha Lung defines Allah as the “Pre-Islamic Lunar god : the god of Islam.” Likewise, the book INSIDE ISLAM by Reza F. Safa on pages 22,23. Reads “In pre-Islamic times both Allah-worship and Baal-worship involved the worship of the sun, the moon and the stars which defines them as astral religions [Which are condemned in the Bible Second Kings 21:3,,5. 23:5. Second Chronicles 33:5.] The crescent moon, which was the symbol of moon worship is also the symbol of Islam. In short, The god of Islam is not the God of the Bible.
    The words in brackets are my own. Moreover, this above truth is further exposed in the books WHO IS THIS ALLAH ? by G.J.O. Moshay. THE ISLAMIC INVASION by Robert Morey. UNVEILING ISLAM by Ergun Mehmet Caner and Ermir Fethi Caner. PHILISTINE by Ramon Bennett .

  • Muhammad79

    Do you know what is the fastest growing religion? and why? there should be some positive reasons.

    • Wolfthatknowsall

      There are no positive reasons. People convert to Islam because they’re afraid to do anything else.

      However, the fastest growing faith … notice the word “faith” … is Christianity, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. I realize that people will cite studies indicating that Christianity is in decline, but it’s not declining. It’s merely moving. In the United States, people have left mainline churches by the millions for independent community churches. This is also happening in Europe, where there has been a charismatic movement from state churches.

      Note that the independent churches don’t get counted by the people doing the studies. My own church consists of Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Nazarenes, Baptists, ad infinitum. All of these people were NOT counted in the studies.

      Islam? A “religion” that will die of its own brutalities …

      • Richard Connolly

        islam is only a fast growing religion for child molesters, there are more and more going there, I don’t really care, it makes them easier targets amongst savage inbreed muslims, so yes to that….as for islam having any stable footing, not a chance, islam is crumbling faster and faster, but not fast enough for my liking, now that the muslim brotherhood has been recognized for what it really was, it’s giving the people all over the world a birds eye view of how evil islam really is, Russia banned the quran, a very wise move on their part, Japan wants nothing, nor will they allow islam to be a part of their society, because they no how evil the quran as well as anyone that pratices islam really is, the Swedish people have put their foot down and will not allow the muslim people to build anymore mosques, as well they want the one’s already in operation destroyed, Britain is starting to fight back, God I love the EDL fine God fearing men they are, really good people, Canada made sure that there will never be a chance that sharia law could ever be established, laws were made to back that up…..I could go on and on with all the other countries that are either banning islam or making sure it is never established in other countries, islam IS crumbling at a very fast rate, and it’s the fault of nobody else except muslims, plain and simple they should of stayed where it was excepted cause it will never be in our civilized western society…..AND THATS A FACT

    • http://www.iranaware.com/ American Infidels

      yep, your inferior Muslim minds needs a fantasy to believe in while suppressing your women and indoctrinating the youth that murder and suicide is acceptable to god..

    • Freda Bothwell

      It is not and the death threats to those who do not convert is evil and no guarantee of what is I the spirit and heart. It is spiritually filthy..

    • Moa

      There are 1.6 Billion Muslims on Earth. That leaves 5.4 Billion people who are getting increasingly fed up with Islamic nonsense and brutality.

      Given the fact that the 1.6 Billion Muslims are completely unable to defeat little old Israel, the Shield of the Free World, just how well do you think your little band of 1.6 Billion Muslims would go against those 5.4 Billion non-Muslims if you pushed them over the edge? Note Israel has 8 million souls, which means that the Islamic World has an numerical advantage of 200:1, yet they still cannot defeat Israel, and get progressively pushed back in every battle.

      China alone can defeat the Islamic world, if it had to. Now throw in India, Europe, the USA, other ‘Western’ countries, all the Christians in Africa that Muslims have been threatening, all the Buddhists in Asia that the Muslims have been threatening (eg. the Thais etc).

      Islam does not have a chance man. The brith rate in many Islamic countries is higher than Europe, but is actually in a faster rate of decline. Plus, Islam cannot stand up to scientific scrutiny and is very out of place in the 21st Century. Islam doesn’t solve the needs of the common person.

      Islam is dying. Some Muslims cannot see it yet but it is dying. That is why they are desparate to convince themselves and others that it is not. Islam will struggle to survive into the 22nd Century, especially as easy oil runs out in the Middle East in a decade or two. Without money to bribe academics in the West the academics will turn to China.

      Islam is dying. The only question is, how many non-Muslim people will it take out in its death throes?

      • Richard Connolly

        Very well said, I couldn’t put it any better myself, man I’m so glad that other people are starting to see what islam is all about, and the quran is the biggest human rights violation to ever be written, I would even say I’m surprised that muslims cannot tell the difference between fiction and reality, but then again this is the outcome of years of inbreeding, they are just not mentally stable anymore, and this is proven daily by actions world wide by muslims, stoning women, raping and molesting children, beheadings…..all the actions of pure evil.

    • ArentIpretty

      If there were no violent consequences for Muslims leaving Islam, then many rational people would have left Islam a long time ago. What you would be left with are the criminals and sexual perverts who are promised riches in this life, or if they die in the name of “allah”, the go to the sexual paradise of jannah immediately and intercede for 70 of their family members. It is because Islam is so fragile and weak that it has to impose severe penalties on those who might wish to leave and offer such mundane pleasures to appeal to the most base of men. Muslims also cannot question Mohammad or Allah. This is another form of apostasy.There is no critical thought in Islam when it comes to the actions of Mohammad, or the Qur’an. Therefore, Muslim apologists can only fail. Oh, and the main reason for Islam growing is birthrates, not conversions. Over 70% of converts to Islam leave within 3 years. Are you a rational, or a base man?

    • tokoloshiman

      if people understood the ancient arabic of the quran they may change their minds.
      even indonesia which is the biggest islamic community in the world pray in arabic but do not know what the words mean…
      islam is a hateful revenge filled bigoted unrelenting ideology and complete way of life , it is not a religion , it is a blight on humanity especially on women.

    • Richard Connolly

      islam is only a fast growing religion for child molesters, there are more and more going there, I don’t really care, it makes them easier targets amongst savage inbreed muslims, so yes to that….as for islam having any stable footing, not a chance, islam is crumbling faster and faster, but not fast enough for my liking, now that the muslim brotherhood has been recognized for what it really was, it’s giving the people all over the world a birds eye view of how evil islam really is, Russia banned the quran, a very wise move on their part, Japan wants nothing, nor will they allow islam to be a part of their society, because they no how evil the quran as well as anyone that pratices islam really is, the Swedish people have put their foot down and will not allow the muslim people to build anymore mosques, as well they want the one’s already in operation destroyed, Britain is starting to fight back, God I love the EDL fine God fearing men they are, really good people, Canada made sure that there will never be a chance that sharia law could ever be established, laws were made to back that up…..I could go on and on with all the other countries that are either banning islam or making sure it is never established in other countries, islam IS crumbling at a very fast rate, and it’s the fault of nobody else except muslims, plain and simple they should of stayed where it was excepted cause it will never be in our civilized western society…..AND THATS A FACT JACK!

    • Fasdunkle

      It is growing through birth rate and the fact that leaving islam is illegal or dangerous in many places

    • kikorikid

      the threat/promise of violent extortion.
      sorry cant think of any positives

  • Freda Bothwell

    Muslim and non Muslim scholars doing research over hundreds of years, now express doubts if Muhammed ever actually existed! There are no contemporary records of his existence until about 60! Years after his supposed death. Islam is a false religion.

    • defcon 4

      LOL, a muslim “scholar” publicly expressing the opinion that Muhammad didn’t exist? Somehow I don’t think that ever happened.

      • Wilhemina Bothwell

        I know, it sounds extraordinary but It was not a definite opinion but a scholarly doubt by several researchers form long ago – including muslim ones. You may be interested in reading “Did Muhammed exist?”.

  • Freda Bothwell

    Mulims and non Muslims scholars over the last couple of hundreds of years have serious doubts that Muhammed ever actually existed…there are no contemporary records of him (unlike Jewish and Christian ones, from which Islam appropriated many stories) therefore Allah is Satan which is obvious in the Islamic behaviour.

  • Moa

    Why no mention of the Egyptians, heavyweights of the Middle East, who are fighting hard against the Muslim Brotherhood?

    The Egyptian Revolution of July 2013 will eventually be seen as one of the most significant events of the Middle East this decade. It is a huge and crushing blow against Islamists, and especially the Muslim Brotherhood (which is now discredited in the minds of the majority of Egyptians).

    • kikorikid

      In the current trials taking place, Pres. Obama
      is being listed,by the prosecution, as an aider and abbettor
      to the Muslim Brotherhood. Obama has placed MB throughout his
      administration. The MB was declared a “Terrorist Organization”
      by the Egyptian Govt. this past week.

  • Hass

    I’ve got a feeling if something isn’t done re Syria’s Christians, 2014 will be the year of their premature demise.

    Especially the Christian village of Maaloula, they are Descendants from Jesus’ days and are the only people who speak the ancient Aramaic.

  • Freda Bothwell

    No, Jesus wasn’t born on 25th December – that is the date we celebrate his birth which was probably in Septemeber