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Monday, March 26

First, know yourself

There is a similar ring to the stories of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Hassan Butt. Hirsi Ali, a Muslim Somali, escaped to Holland in order to avoid an arranged marriage. After 9/11 she found herself questioning the tenets of Islam:
"I hated to do it," she wrote in her book Infidel, "because I knew that I would find bin Laden's quotations in [the Quran]."

Partly as a result she lost her faith, concluding that the Quran spreads a culture that is "brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women, and harsh in war," and that should not be tolerated by European liberals.(1)
Yet Ms Hirsi Ali became a pariah in her adopted country because of her resounding rejection of Islam and embrace of Western secular values:
Curiously, what seems to rankle Europeans most is the enthusiasm with which Hirsi Ali has adopted their own secularism and the fervor with which she has embraced their own Western values.(1)
Hassan Butt is an ex-recruiter for al Qaeda. Mr Butt, a Briton of Pakistani descent, began to question the rationale for killing civilians after the London Train bombings. From a 60 Minutes interview with correspondent Bob Simon, aired last night:
He began asking questions of his handlers, theological questions. He wanted to know whether the bombings could ever be justified in Islam. He waited and waited for answers. Months later, he was summoned by his handlers to a meeting in the Middle East. But he wasn’t given answers, only new orders.

"They were trying to force me into Iraq to fight basically," Butt says.

"So, to summarize, you're asking, basically, why should we be killing innocent people?" Simon asks.

"That's correct," Butt replies.

"And the answer you eventually received is go to Iraq and perhaps carry out a suicide mission?" Simon asks.

"Go to Iraq to basically – the actual word that they used was that I needed 'reprogramming.' And Iraq would give me the opportunity to basically be reprogrammed for what I needed, I mean. I was quite shocked at the analogy," Butt says.

"To think that ... firstly, I'm neither a computer nor a robot. And I don't know on your say so, I do on God's say so. And if you can't justify to me or prove to me that this is what God wants, then I'm gonna have to go my separate way." [...]

Butt says it was after that meeting that he began answering his questions, himself.

"What I've come to realize is that killing for the sake of killing, and killing in the name of Islam for the sake of killing, is completely and utterly prohibited. And there's a big disease, a big problem and a cancer in the Muslim world. And it's a very dangerous cancer, and it needs to be dealt with," he says.

How?

"And I really believe, if Muslims can pluck up their courage to ask questions, regardless of the consequences, then I do see that there is still hope, you know, to solve, to cure this cancer," Butt says. [...]

"The position of moderate Muslims is that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. Do you buy that?" Simon asks.

"No, absolutely not. By completely being in denial about it's like an alcoholic basically. Unless an alcoholic acknowledges that he has a problem with alcohol, he's never gonna be able to go forward," Butt argues.

"And as long as we, as Muslims, do not acknowledge that there is a violent streak in Islam, unless we acknowledge that, then we are gonna always lose the battle to the militants, by being in complete denial about it."
Mr Butt's attempt to reform Islam from the inside has made him a pariah to his friends and family and placed his life in danger. He ain't seen nothin' yet in the way of resistance, if he continues to call Islam to task. If the experience of Hirsi Ali is any guide, Butt's biggest detractors will come from British and other European non-Muslims who were brainwashed by their government into believing that multiculturalism is the defining principle for humanity.

Hassan Butt detailed for 60 Minutes some of the tactics used by al-Qaeda recruiters, but what is most striking about his account is that until the London bombings, the very open and public recruitment went ahead with the full knowledge and approval of the British government. Mr Butt is by no means the first person to have made the observation, but it bears repetition as often as possible. From the 60 Minutes interview:
Butt was only 16 when he was recruited by the network. Like thousands of other young British Muslims, he became exposed to some of the most radical Imams in Britain – Imams who supported attacks on westerners all over the world and believed that they had a tacit agreement with the British authorities.

They could preach hatred, they could recruit followers, they could raise funds, and they could even call for Jihad – Holy war – as long as they didn't call for attacks on British soil. London became such a safe haven for Muslim militants that it came to be known as "Londonistan."

"Do you think this was an unspoken deal with the establishment? That, do whatever you want here as long as you don't blow us up?" Simon asks Butt.

"Absolutely. I believe that sincerely," Butt tells Simon. "That was an unspoken deal. And as a result of that, what tended to happen is the British government lost count of how many people were going abroad getting trained and coming back and going into operational mode as sleeper cells."
Writing in yesterday's Washington Post Outlook section, Professor Bruce Hoffman quotes Sun Tzu to make his point that we're fighting blind if we don't know the enemy -- "their motivation and mind-set, their decision-making processes and command-and-control relationships, their organizational dynamics and their ideological appeal." (2)

Spurred on by the quotation, I eagerly plowed through Mr Hoffman's essay on psyops, but found nary a sentence pertaining to the second part of Sun Tzu's advice: "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles."

Of course it is important to know as much as possible about the enemy. Butt makes the interesting point that many Muslims he recruited were initially drawn to jihadist teachings because they didn't want an arranged marriage. The violence-preaching imams told them they could marry any woman they pleased, provided she was Muslim. However, the studious silence of non-Muslim British society about Islam's violent aspects aided and abetted the imams at every step.

How could this happen? It happens very easily, when you don't know yourself. From there it's a hop and a skip to accepting the propaganda that getting along with others is a higher priority than thinking for yourself.

Western civilization rests on the belief that it is the basic duty and right of every human to learn how to think for himself. Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Hassan Butt invoked their basic right and thus, rather easily broke free of the conditioning that caused them accept false teachings.

It will be much harder for the British and others in the European Union to break free of their conditioning because the union is held together as much by compromise with diverse cultural beliefs as by common economic interests.

At some point, EU governments raised compromise to the status of a kind of god, and now woe betide any citizen of the European Union who dares to place one set of cultural beliefs above another. It is this kind of thinking that delivered the West to the Muslim terrorist bombers. It is the kind of thinking that favors understanding others while you don't have a clue as to what you're all about.

1) Europe can't grasp Hirsi Ali, who has the gall to speak her mind by Anne Applebaum.

2) We Can't Win If We Don't Know the Enemy by Bruce Hoffman.
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