Dr. Sebastian Gorka. Screengrab
As the connection between the Orlando nightclub mass shooting and radical Islam becomes clearer, Dr. Sebastian Gorka says it’s time for all Americans – particularly President Obama – to recognize the threat posed by jihadists.
“In the past 15 years, we haven’t seen an Episcopalian suicide bomber. We haven’t seen Zoroastrian mass murderers. We’ve seen Muslim extremists,” Gorka said. “If you deny that, you are in a fantasy land, and you’re endangering American citizens.”
“It’s time to wake up, America. The war is here.”
Dr. Gorka says we must name the ideology and face it fully.
Dr. Gorka called President Obama’s Sunday, June 12, 2016 remarks on the Orlando shooting “pablum.”
Orlando: America’s Worst-Ever Mass Shooting Re-Ignites Debate — Why Can’t We Call Radical Islamic Terrorism What It Is — Does It Matter?
What ISIS Really Wants
The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.
By GRAEME WOOD
What is the Islamic state?
Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.
Following takfiri doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people. The lack of objective reporting from its territory makes the true extent of the slaughter unknowable, but social-media posts from the region suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions every few weeks. Muslim “apostates” are the most common victims. Exempted from automatic execution, it appears, are Christians who do not resist their new government. Baghdadi permits them to live, as long as they pay a special tax, known as the jizya, and acknowledge their subjugation. The Koranic authority for this practice is not in dispute.
Centuries have passed since the wars of religion ceased in Europe, and since men stopped dying in large numbers because of arcane theological disputes. Hence, perhaps, the incredulity and denial with which Westerners have greeted news of the theology and practices of the Islamic State. Many refuse to believe that this group is as devout as it claims to be, or as backward-looking or apocalyptic as its actions and statements suggest.
Their skepticism is comprehensible. In the past, Westerners who accused Muslims of blindly following ancient scriptures came to deserved grief from academics—notably the late Edward Said—who pointed out that calling Muslims “ancient” was usually just another way to denigrate them. Look instead, these scholars urged, to the conditions in which these ideologies arose—the bad governance, the shifting social mores, the humiliation of living in lands valued only for their oil.
Without acknowledgment of these factors, no explanation of the rise of the Islamic State could be complete. But focusing on them to the exclusion of ideology reflects another kind of Western bias: that if religious ideology doesn’t matter much in Washington or Berlin, surely it must be equally irrelevant in Raqqa or Mosul. When a masked executioner says Allahu akbar while beheading an apostate, sometimes he’s doing so for religious reasons.
“Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.”
(Bernard Haykel is a Princeton scholar and the leading expert on the Islamic State’s theology.)
“People want to absolve Islam,” he said. “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.”
“What’s striking about them is not just the literalism, but also the seriousness with which they read these texts,” Haykel said. “There is an assiduous, obsessive seriousness that Muslims don’t normally have.”
the caliphate has continued to embrace slavery and crucifixion without apology. “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women,” Adnani, the spokesman, promised in one of his periodic valentines to the West. “If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.”
In October, Dabiq, the magazine of the Islamic State, published “The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour,” an article that took up the question of whether Yazidis (the members of an ancient Kurdish sect that borrows elements of Islam, and had come under attack from Islamic State forces in northern Iraq) are lapsed Muslims, and therefore marked for death, or merely pagans and therefore fair game for enslavement. A study group of Islamic State scholars had convened, on government orders, to resolve this issue. If they are pagans, the article’s anonymous author wrote,
Yazidi women and children [are to be] divided according to the Shariah amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations [in northern Iraq] … Enslaving the families of the kuffar[infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Koran and the narrations of the Prophet … and thereby apostatizing from Islam.
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By Michael Danti
Daesh’s rapidly expanding footprint occasioned the antithesis of cultural property protection—an overt and systematic campaign of cultural cleansing targeting both the past and present over vast swathes of the Middle East. While all of the conflict’s major belligerents have been complicit in, or have committed cultural property crimes, none approach the barbarity of Daesh, and most autochthonous forces also engage in, or facilitate cultural property protection. Surveying the devastation wrought across large parts of the Middle East and North Africa over the last five years, it is no exaggeration to rank the current crisis as the greatest cultural heritage challenge since World War II.
Daesh social media, internet and print propaganda instill in its audiences reassurances that the organization has adapted to address past violent jihadist failures, particularly the supposed impurities inherent in secularism. Daesh alleges to comprehend the root causes of purported stasis, inequities and discord affecting global Islam and proffers prescriptive measures. The core message evokes a shared notion of a modern, cohesive community engendered by an idealized seventh century past. Strict adherence to this doctrine through systematic cultural cleansing will open the gates to earthly and heavenly paradise. Daesh’s essentialist epistemology runs as follows: we are the true believers and heirs of the Prophet through emulation, founders of a legitimate caliphate, justified in our actions—submit or perish.
Cultural heritage experts have been sounding the alarm regarding recent developments with good reason. A destructive dialectic prevails in which cultural diversity and heritage are increasingly perceived as optimal targets for expressions of widespread rage and frustration. It behooves us to reappraise our often-outmoded approaches to cultural property protection and international heritage management, particularly the unpredictable outcomes of heritagization. Daesh will be defeated, but the organization’s radical ideology will likely endure and metathesize. We can and must expect the continued deliberate targeting of cultural assets and diversity based on the lessons of Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Mali, Libya and other conflict zones. The prevalence of radical non-state actors requires new nimble, coordinated and proactive responses. I firmly believe anthropologists are ideally suited to meeting the wide-ranging exigencies of such crises and countering the deleterious effects of these escalating wars on culture.