In a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Tony Blair hit the nail on the head:
The former prime minister said that there had been a failure to challenge the ”narrative” that Islam was oppressed by the West which was fuelling extremism around the world.
He said too many people accepted the extremists’ analysis that the military actions taken by the West following the 9/11 attacks were directed at countries because they were Muslim and that it supported Israel because Israelis were Jews while Palestinians were Muslims.
Speaking on Tuesday night in New York to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mr Blair warned that it was impossible to defeat extremism ”without defeating the narrative that nurtures it”. Moderate Muslims who believed in co-existence and tolerance were, he said, being undermined by the unwillingness of the West to take on the extremists’ arguments.
”We think if we sympathise with the narrative – that essentially this extremism has arisen as a result, partly, of our actions – we meet it halfway, we help the modernisers to be more persuasive,” he said.
”We don’t. We indulge it and we weaken them. Worse, a reaction springs up amongst our people that we are pandering to this narrative and they start to resent Muslims as a whole.”
Robert Pape is a University of Chicago professor who runs the so-called Chicago Project on Suicide Terrorism. His thesis is that suicide terrorism isn’t the product of jihadist ideology. Rather, it is a response to US occupation:
Pape argues that the key factor in determining spikes of suicide terrorism is not the prevalence or profile of radical Islamic clerics or mental sickness but rather the garrisoning of foreign troops, most often US troops or its allies, in these respective countries.
Pape and Feldman, in their new book Cutting the Fuse, suggest that the US military would better secure its key foreign policy interests with a posture of “offshore balancing” – relying on military alliances and “offshore air, naval, and rapidly deployable ground forces rather than heavy onshore combat power.”
All well and good.
Except that the Investigative Project on Terrorism has just revealled that Pape worked with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR”), a Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood front group which was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding trial, artificially to boost sales of his new book to position it in the best seller list:
University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape, whose research finds religious extremism has a limited role in suicide bombings, is working secretly with a suspected Hamas front to pump up sales of his new book, the Investigative Project on Terrorism has learned. That includes a secret agreement by CAIR to have its chapters around the country to buy them in bulk so they can manipulate the sales to move up the bestseller ranks. Pape is also scheduled to appear at this weekend’s national banquet for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Emails reviewed by the Investigative Project on Terrorism show Pape reached out to CAIR this past summer, hoping to have the Hamas-front group buy 1,000 advanced copies of his new book. Pape asserted in his emails and other communications to CAIR that the book would advance and reinforce CAIR’s ideological views that it is the occupation of Arab lands that causes suicide bombings. CAIR’s officials responded with enthusiasm to Pape’s thesis and to his proposal for bulk purchases to artificially boost his rankings into the best seller lists.
“Pre-orders are especially helpful,” Pape wrote on his University of Chicago email account, “because they allow the press to increase the advertising for the book when it is published, and so help to build momentum for the message in the book — that ending Western occupation of Muslim countries is the best path for reducing the spread of suicide terrorism.“
And that, in short, is how Islamists have managed to outmanoeuvre us. Although CAIR suffered a significant blow to its credibility when it was exposed by the FBI as part of the Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood network, it sought to repair its reputation by working with other “establishment” figures whose politics allowed them, in effect, to vouch for this organisation.
A similar technique is used by British Islamist groups. Islam Expo and the Cordoba Foundation are key components of the United Kingdom’s Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood network. They are also the funders of Bob Lambert and Jonathan Githens-Mazer’s European Muslim Research Centre, who similarly argue that “there is “no evidence base” for the argument that Islamist terrorism can be addressed by tackling Islamist ideology in all its forms”, and indeed that law enforcers and policy makers should partner with Islamists who support violence against civilians outside the United Kingdom only, as a bulwark against Al Qaeda.
The promotion of Islamist groups linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood is both foolish and incredibly dangerous. The arguments of the likes of Pape and Lambert are unconvincing. Their alliances with supporters of extreme Islamist politics discredit them, in any case. Worse still, as Tony Blair pointed out:
[A] reaction springs up amongst our people that we are pandering to this narrative and they start to resent Muslims as a whole.
I think that most people are able to see that “Muslims as a whole” are not responsible for the actions of a small clique of individuals involved in the British wings of South Asian and Middle Eastern extremist politics. It is essential to continue to make the case: that what we are seeing is the product of the activities of a handful of people, whose names and organisations will be well known to readers of this website.
Ironically, it is the promoters and allies of these Islamist parties, who argue that Islamist hate preachers and pressure groups are mainstream and moderates and that opposition to their politics is motivated by racism, who do the most to promote the anti-Muslim perspective.