Articles, Opinions & Views: Tread Softly

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No Atheists
In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Tread Softly
Friday, December 12, 2008
Since several Muslim advocacy groups began condemning as “Islamophobic” any recognition of terrorists’ self-declared religious ideologies, the State Department has shied away from acknowledging such obvious connections. But, as Secretary Gates emphasized in subsequent speeches on soft power, long-term success in the conflict against a “malignant form of terrorism inspired by jihadist extremism” will depend less on military engagements and more on the “overall ideological climate within the world of Islam.”

First, Pakistan must close all schools and offices nationwide of LeT’s charity front, Jamaat-ul-Dawa. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed founded LeT in 1990 and changed its name to Jamaat-ul-Dawa (“Society for Preaching”) after the U.S. froze LeT’s assets and called for it to be banned following a 2001 attack on the Indian parliament. At that time Saeed publicly quit the militant wing, but remained head of Jamaat, which functions as LeT’s fundraising, educational, and social-services wing.

Jamaat runs schools and offices in over 60 Pakistani cities, including a 75-acre campus encompassing a university, madrassa, and school in Muridke, near Lahore. This complex and its students, one of whom was among the London Tube bombers, have been implicated in numerous violent attacks. Muridke is Saeed’s main base of operations, and he was reportedly giving public lectures there right up to the day before the Bombay attacks. He is one of 20 Pakistanis whose extradition India now demands.

Since Bombay, Pakistan has raided only one of Jamat’s hundreds of facilities, the Muzaffarabad camp in Pakistani Kashmir where the Bombay jihadis were trained.

Extremist indoctrination was an essential step in LeT’s preparations for the siege. According to press reports, the lone Bombay jihadi arrested, Ajmal Amir Kasab, told police his training began and ended with ideological indoctrination: “At first, it was the recitation of the Koran and lectures about jihad. He was being prepared mentally.” After subsequent military training, Kasab was “briefed” one last time, actually by Saeed himself. According to the Washington Post, Saeed “told them that this was good for the community and the religion, and that they were blessed to be martyrs.” He no doubt drew from one of Jamaat’s publicly distributed instruction manuals, entitled “Why We Are Performing Jihad.”

The brand of Islamist ideology in which Kasab and his Bombay cohorts were indoctrinated is based on Saudi Wahhabism. Pakistan’s current ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, formerly the co-editor of the Hudson Institute journal Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, wrote in 2005 that LeT is Pakistan’s “most significant jihadi group of Wahhabi persuasion” and is “backed by Saudi money and protected by Pakistani intelligence services.” Saeed founded LeT after returning from Saudi Arabia, where he had been immersed in advanced Wahhabi studies and developed contacts with Saudi sheikhs who supported jihad in Afghanistan.

In turn, Saeed found fertile ground for LeT in a South Asian jihadist movement founded in the 19th century by Sayyid Ahmed of Bareili, who himself, according to Haqqani, had been influenced by Wahhabi ideas during his pilgrimage to Mecca. As Haqqani wrote, Ahmed’s revival of the ideology of jihad became “the prototype for subsequent Islamic militant movements in South and Central Asia and is also the main influence over the jihad network of al-Qaeda and its associated groups in the region.”

Saudi oil riches have increased the influence of Wahhabism exponentially: Legions of people have gone to Saudi Arabia as missionaries, pilgrims, or workers, and returned home with Wahhabi views. In Pakistan, such Wahhabi followers call themselves “Ahle-Hadith” or People of the Prophet’s Tradition. The network of Ahle Hadith seminaries and schools has strong links to LeT and the other jihadi groups. One example is the Darsatul Islamia madrassa in Karachi, where Hafiz Saeed is known to hold his public gatherings. The International Crisis Group, in its 2007 detailed study on Karachi madrassas, reported that when security agencies raided Darsatul Islamia to arrest 19 students in connection with the Bali bombings, Saeed was addressing a gathering in the same hall. Saeed was not arrested, nor was that madrassa shut down.

The Heritage Foundation is one among many think tanks to attest to the connection between Saudi Arabia, Pakistani Wahhabi madrassas, and jihadi groups. As a Heritage scholar testified to Congress last year: “The Saudi Arabian organization, Harmain Islamic Foundation, reportedly has provided substantial financial assistance to the Ahle-Hadith madrassas, which have provided fighters to the banned Kashmiri militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.”

The International Crisis Group calculates that there are 36 Ahle Hadith madrassas in Karachi alone. They are unmonitored and unregulated, but it can be certain that they aim to brainwash Muslim boys. The Wahhabi teachings they employ likely resemble those found in the Saudi government textbooks currently posted on the Saudi Ministry of Education website: Militant jihad against infidels is “the summit of Islam,” “one of the noblest acts,” and “one of the most magnificent acts of obedience to God”; martyrdom is a “noble life force”; the clash between the Muslim umma and the Jews and Christians will continue to doomsday; apostates should be killed; etc.

The crucible of America’s soft power is now in Pakistan. The U.S. must seriously respond to the ideological component of the terrorists’ war against the West. Such efforts cannot be limited to earthquake assistance, public-relations efforts to re-brand America, and hope for the effectiveness of Saudi deprogramming sessions for captured jihadis. Not all of Pakistan’s 10,000-plus madrassas should be closed. But Pakistan must be pressured to arrest Hafiz Saeed and shutter his Jamaat ul Dawa operation, the Wahhabi Ahle Hadith madrassas, and those other Islamist ideological training centers that in fact function as jihadi feeder schools for a multitude of terrorist organizations. The U.S. must also stop Saudi Arabia from spreading, through financial support, educational materials, and dawa efforts, its noxious Wahhabi brand of Islam.

Unless Pakistan’s ideological climate changes, the world should brace for continued jihadist terror. National Review

— Nina Shea is director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom. Her reporting on Saudi educational texts can be found here.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 7:20 PM  
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