|“the man whose ideas would shape Al Qaeda”, Sayyid Qutb, in an Egyptian Prison.|
If you don’t read anything else today, read Mary Katharine Ham’s incredible article, The Last Stand of the West. Here’s a brief excerpt where she discusses the origins of this conflict and the ideological source of this cancer, Sayyid Qutb.
A Shared Enemy
It is easy in this, the 60th year of Israelâ€™s existence, to believe blithely that the Middle Eastâ€™s tiny besieged bastion of Western thought will continue to endure simply because it always has. But, what four hijacked American jetliners brought home to the United States in a horrific, towering blaze of national tragedy on Sept. 11, 2001, is that we are engaged in the same struggle.
Radical Islamists had tried to send the message before: when Islamic Jihad bombed the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in 1983, killing 63, and bombed a Marine barracks killing 242; when Hezbollah killed 19 servicemen at Khobar Towers in 1996; when al Qaeda struck two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998; and when the same group drove a dinghy into the U.S.S. Cole, killing 16 in 2000.
We neglected to draw the line from Sayiid Qutbâ€™s short educational stint in Greeley, Colo., in 1948 to the holy war waged against us in 2001. We did not see that the cranky Egyptian scholar observed American culture with disdain. It was, after all, the year Israel won its independence by defeating four invading Arab armiesâ€”the Arabic word for the war is â€œThe Catastropheâ€â€”that Qutb first developed his distaste for the West.
We did not know that his almost comic dyspepsia would eventually metastasize into a declaration of all modern society as jahiliyyaâ€”the unredeemed period of history before the founding of Islamâ€”making it open season for jihad on Jews, Christians, Westerners and even secular Muslims complicit in the maintenance of modernity itself. Qutbâ€™s â€œscholarshipâ€ boasted such famous acolytes as Ayman al Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, and fueled the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, a branch of which now runs the Gaza Strip after wresting it violently from the more moderate Fatah party of the Palestinian Authority in summer 2007. That branch is Hamas, and it now smuggles tons of explosives per month into Gaza and has shot more than 2,700 rockets into the civilian population of southern Israel since disengagement.
Ayatollah Khomeini, the other father of radical Islamist thought and Qutbâ€™s Shia counterpart and contemporary, founded an Islamic state in Iran that now unites the causes of extremist Islamists of all sects by funding the wars of Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel and the terrorism of extremists in Iraq against Iraqi and American forces.
President Bush has always advocated, wisely, taking terrorists at their word, famously using Osama bin Ladenâ€™s words in a 2005 speech to stress that among terrorists â€œthere is no debateâ€ about Iraq being central to the War on Terror.
In that spirit, these are the words of Hamas MP and Cleric Yunis Al-Astal preached on Al-Aqsa TV in April: â€œVery soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered. â€¦ Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics â€¦ this capital of theirs will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe.â€
Make no mistake, it is the same fight. From the craggy hills of the West Bank to the lush heights of Golan, Israel is a testing ground for their tactics, a proving ground for their martyrs and a potential foothold for their bloody philosophy. The West cannot afford to ignore the battles waged, lessons learned and indignities suffered by those who share our values and fight to preserve them in the most inhospitable of climates.