Islamism Resurgent: A Review of The Grand Jihad
From the June 7, 2010, issue of NR.


David Pryce-Jones

The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America, by Andrew C. McCarthy (Encounter, 455 pp., $27.95)

The very notion of a Muslim America might seem preposterous, downright laughable, but there are people and forces identifiably working towards that end. “Islamism” is the term that describes the growing global movement of Muslims for whom the supremacy of their faith justifies every kind of deception and violence.

Islamism as we experience it today began in Egypt between the world wars, with the movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood. Over the years, the Brothers have been phenomenally successful, establishing themselves in one form or another in at least 60 countries. In 1991, the Brotherhood’s top leader in America wrote a memorandum for the Brothers to make them understand their present purposes — and, in so doing, provided the title of this book. They were engaged, he explained, on “a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” Had he known that the FBI would obtain this document, he might have been more guarded. Yet today’s foremost spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, boasts in much the same manner: “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America, not through the sword but through dawa [the Arabic for proselytizing, or outreach].”

People in public positions — George W. Bush, for instance, Tony Blair, and pretty well all other European politicians — like to maintain that Islam is a religion of peace, and consequently it has become politically correct, indeed mandatory, to say that Islamism is a deformity, nothing whatever to do with the faith. Andrew C. McCarthy has the independence of mind and the courage to put the opposite point of view, that Islamism is the practical derivative of Islam itself. The doctrines of the faith and the savagery of Muslims are directly related or, as McCarthy defines it, they form a “nexus.” Plentiful incitements to violence and war against non-Muslims are to be found in the Koran to substantiate the point.

Islamism means jihad, and jihad means the imposition of sharia, or Islamic law as laid down in a doctrinal and theological form that cannot be challenged, and that means a Muslim society and Muslim supremacy for ever and ever, amen. Sharia, as McCarthy puts it, “establishes a state religion, rejects the freedom of citizens to govern themselves irrespective of a religious code, proscribes freedom of conscience, nullifies economic freedom, destroys the principle of equality under the law, subjugates non-Muslims in the humiliation of dhimmitude [officially recognized second-class status], and calls for the execution of homosexuals and apostates” — all of which is “antithetical to bedrock American principles.”

McCarthy has a serious case to make, even if the material has its sensational side. He was plunged into the study of Islamism as the federal prosecutor in the case of the Blind Sheikh responsible for the 1993 terror attack on the World Trade Center. That outrage was widely dismissed as an aberration, an isolated phenomenon, the act of a few deranged criminals. That was both ignorant and condescending. 9/11 and subsequent attacks provide the contrary evidence of a sustained international campaign planned and waged by purposeful and capable men. It is their belief that Muslims everywhere are suffering from injustices inflicted upon them through no fault of their own. Bad Muslims and wicked non-Muslims are held responsible for everything that has gone wrong in the Islamic world, and good Muslims are obligated to resort to jihad to put this right, sacrificing their lives if they have to.