The return of the “grievance” myth.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center
Another Islamic terrorist attack has taken place on American soil—in San Bernardino, where 14 people were murdered—and none other than that unindicted co-conspirator of Islamic terror, CAIR, is saying it’s America’s fault.
Frank Camp of the Independent Journal reports that “During an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Friday [Dec. 4], Center for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) L.A. branch director Hussam Ayloush said the United States is partly responsible for radical Islam”:
Let’s not forget that some of our own foreign policy as Americans, as the West, have fueled that extremism. When we support cruel leaders in Egypt, or other places. When we support dictatorships, repressive regimes around the world that push people over to the edge. Then they become extremists; then they become terrorists. We are partly responsible. Terrorism is a global problem, not a Muslim problem.
It’s a testimony to CAIR’s intellectually barren and morally bankrupt—or, in a word, Islamist—nature that it must fall back on one of the most manifestly false of all apologias: the claim that Islamic violence is a product of Islamic grievance—in this case U.S. foreign policy.
The fundamental problem with the “grievance” claim is that it contradicts what the terrorist themselves repeatedly say is their motivation—killing non-Muslims (“infidels”) according to the Islamic doctrine of jihad.
Although jihadis do enjoy taking advantage of Western softness/naivety by claiming their murderous bloodlust is “our fault”—thereby killing two birds with one stone: 1) getting unwanted attention away from Islam/Muslims and 2) gaining concessions for the same—they also make it clear that hating, subjugating, and terrorizing the non-Muslim is required by Islamic law, or Sharia.
This was well summed up by the late Osama bin Laden. Although he had issued any number of communiques that were eagerly published by BBC and CNN saying that 9/11 was “payback” for supposed anti-Muslim U.S. foreign policies, he wrote the following words in a private letter to fellow Saudis:
Our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately revolve around one issue … and it is: Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually?... The matter is summed up for every person alive: Either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die. (The Al Qaeda Reader, p. 42)
Ayman al-Zawahiri, current leader of al-Qaeda, also wrote a 60-page treatise about the Muslim doctrine of Loyalty and Enmity. Based on numerous Koran verses, it makes clear that Muslims must always bear enmity for all non-Muslims—indeed, they must even hate their own wives, if they happen to be Christians or Jews.
Doctrinal justifications—that is, words—aside, daily current events also throw a wrench in the “grievance” propaganda machine. For instance, if Muslims are terrorizing and slaughtering Americans due to political “grievances,” why are they also terrorizing and slaughtering non-Muslim minorities who have no political power to “aggrieve” anyone?
Consider the situation of Christians, the largest and most visible religious minority in the Muslim world. Not just at the hands of “ISIS,” but at the hands of Muslims everywhere—in the Arab Middle East, in black Africa, in Central and Far East Asia, even in the West—Christians are being persecuted and denied religious freedom; are having their churches bombed, burned, or simply banned; are being abducted, extorted, enslaved, and raped.
Such Christians are often identical to their Muslim co-citizens in race, ethnicity, national identity, culture, and language. There is no political dispute, no land dispute. Most significantly, these disempowered Christian minorities certainly have no political power—meaning there can be no Muslim “grievances” either. So why are they hated and hounded? Because they are Christians—infidels—and that’s the same reason Americans are being terrorized.
As James Lorimer, a theoretician of legal jurisprudence, wrote back in 1884 in his Institutes of the Law of Nations:
So long as Islam endures, the reconciliation of its adherents, even with Jews and Christians, and still more with the rest of mankind, must continue to be an insoluble problem. … For an indefinite future, however reluctantly, we must confine our political recognition to the professors of those religions which … preach the doctrine of “live and let live.”
Of course, today we do “not confine our political recognition to the professors of those religions which … preach the doctrine of ‘live and let live’”—and so we die for it in the name of “diversity” and “multiculturalism.”
To the credit of CAIR’s Hussam Ayloush, he is partially correct when he says that “Let’s not forget that some of our own foreign policy as Americans, as the West, have fueled that [Islamic] extremism.”
It’s not, however, because “we support cruel leaders in Egypt”—a reference to President Sisi, who overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR’s mother-organization, which the Obama administration supported. Rather it’s because “we support cruel leaders” in nations like Saudi Arabia, which engages in the same sorts of atrocities that ISIS does—not to mention is the chief exporter of jihadi ideology around the world. Yet the human rights abusing Islamic kingdom is called a “U.S. friend and ally” (while secular, religiously tolerant Bashar of Assad is portrayed as Satan incarnate). The policies of the Obama administration have, in CAIR’s words, most certainly “fueled [Islamic] extremism” in countless ways—most notably by creating vacuums in Iraq, Libya, and Syria that have been filled by ISIS.
Speaking of Obama, the reason organizations like CAIR can continue disseminating the “grievance” myth is because the U.S. president and his administration also rely on it to distance Islamic terror from Islamic teaching. Obama himself said ISIS “exploit grievances for their own gain,” the State Department claimed that “a lack of opportunities for jobs” was the appeal of ISIS, and the head of the CIA said that jihad was “fed a lot of times by, you know, political repression, by economic, you know, disenfranchisement.”
Meanwhile, back in the real world, studies and statistics make unequivocally clear that “devotion” to Islam is what precedes terror attacks of the sort that occurred in San Bernardino.
For further reading that nails the coffin of the “Muslim-violence-is-a-product-of American-foreign-policies” claim, see the following articles:
- Islamic Supremacism: The True Source of Muslim ‘Grievances’
- My Debate with Michael Scheuer
- Reciprocal Treatment or Religious Obligation?
- Al Qaeda’s Offensive Rhetoric
- Peace to Whoever Follows Guidance
- Offensive jihad: The One Incontrovertible Problem with Islam