The Corner

The Jihad Is Wide and Deep

As we confront yet another weekend of jihadist violence – with 81 Christians dead in Pakistan, 142 dead after a jihadist killing spree in Nigeria, and 62 innocents slaughtered in a Kenyan shopping mall – we should remember three key (and infuriating) realities:

First, the sustained and deadly jihadist violence that has swept the Muslim world cannot be maintained without broad and deep support from the Muslim population. Tens of thousands of jihadists are recruited, trained, and funded from a much larger network of sympathetic Muslim civilians who share the jihadists’ goals but not always the same willingness to die. In other words, we are not dealing with some sort of criminal syndicate — like a mafia — but instead a full-blown religious movement with millions of adherents, millions more sympathizers, and a larger population that will bend towards the strongest force.  

Second, these spectacular, large-scale attacks are supplemented by a grinding, low-level grassroots jihad against religious minorities in the Muslim world. Our European Centre for Law and Justice has an affiliated office in Pakistan dedicated to defending Pakistani Christians, and the incidents of spontaneous mob violence, individual retribution, and community-level retaliation against Christians are both regular and terrifying. It is depressingly easy to whip up a Muslim lynch mob on the flimsiest of allegations and rumors. Yet none of these stories make the international press. It’s just business as usual in a society increasingly overrun with jihadism.

Third, as we see the horrifying images from Kenya, Pakistan, and Nigeria, let’s not forget that the Obama administration seems dead-set on aiding Syrian rebels who are ideologically, morally, and tactically indistinguishable from the monsters who killed so many innocents this weekend. If the administration continues with its efforts to aid the worst people in the world — despite full knowledge that the opposition is overrun with jihadists — then it will stain our national honor and empower our most savage enemy.

The jihad is wide and deep, and there is no excuse for believing otherwise.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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