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The History of Jihad

The History of Jihad
(Robert Spencer, September 5, 2018)

Transcript available below

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About the speaker

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is the author of eighteen books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (Regnery Publishing) and The Truth About Muhammad (Regnery Publishing).

Spencer has led seminars on Islam and jihad for the FBI, the United States Central Command, United States Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), the Justice Department’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council and the U.S. intelligence community.

He has discussed jihad, Islam, and terrorism at a workshop sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the German Foreign Ministry. He is a consultant with the Center for Security Policy.

Spencer is a weekly columnist for PJ Media and FrontPage Magazine, and has written many hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism. His articles on Islam and other topics have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Examiner, the New York Post, the Washington Times, the Dallas Morning NewsFox News OpinionNational ReviewThe FederalistThe Hill, the Detroit NewsTownHall.comReal Clear Religion, the Daily Caller, the New Criterion, the Journal of International Security Affairs, the UK’s Guardian, Canada’s National PostMiddle East QuarterlyWorldNet DailyFirst ThingsInsight in the NewsAleteia, and many other journals.

For nearly ten years Spencer wrote the weekly Jihad Watch column at Human Events. He has also served as a contributing writer to the Investigative Project on Terrorism and as an Adjunct Fellow with the Free Congress Foundation.

For more on the nature of jihad, see Mary Habeck’s Westminster talk, How to Identify Jihadi-Salafists Through Their Ideology, Practices, and Methodology.


Robert R. Reilly:

Robert Spencer is the Director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He’s the author of 18 books. I won’t name them all or half his time will be taken. A number of them are New York Times bestsellers as I assume his new book will be because it’s already sold out on Amazon and it was just listed and that is the History of Jihad: From Mohammed to Isis.

I’d say they are available for sale on the table outside in the library but they’re already sold out but in case you haven’t had a chance to get your copy signed I know that Robert will be happy to do so after his presentation.

Other books, just quickly name a couple of, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Isis. He’s led seminars on the subject of Jihad and Islam for many national security government institutions both domestic and foreign policy, the FBI, the United States Central Command, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Justice Department Anti-terrorism Advisory Council and so forth. He’s a weekly columnist for PJ Media and Frontpage Magazine. He’s written in addition to his 18 books hundreds and hundreds of articles. He’s a contributing writer to the Investigative Project on Terrorism and as an adjunct fellow with the Free Congress Foundation. He has an MA in religious studies from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and he has been studying about Islamic theology history and law in depth since 1980. Please join me in welcoming Robert Spencer.

Robert Spencer:

Thank you Bob and thank you everyone for coming. It’s a great honor to me to speak with the Westminster Institute and I admired the great work that you’ve done here over the years and all the resources you have provided. I hope in this book, The History of Jihad, to fill a gap that has not been addressed thus far. My friend David Wood, the great skewer-er of Islamic apologists, he told me not long ago that he knew about what was in the Quran, that there were deeply problematic passages within it, and he knew about the life of Muhammad, that Muhammad was not exactly as Karen Armstrong says, a ‘seventh century Ghandi’ but — she really says that too — but he was actually a warlord who led armies, committed the assassination of his enemies, and so on but that after that there’s a gap until 20th century jihad terrorism becomes part of our daily lives. And so the History of Jihad, I wrote actually in this book that I’ve wanted to write for many years in order to fill that gap and to give people a general overview of what happened after Mohammed died and before the Saudis struck oil and started financing Wahhabi terrorism around the world. And it is a story that I hope you will find interesting. I think it is a pressing moment in many ways for American and American public policy and the public policy of many other countries today. And I thought that tonight I would try to outline some of that.

One of the first things that I think is noteworthy about the 14th century history of jihad is what you do not see in it and that is you do not see any Muslim resistance to jihad activity to jihad violence. You do not see ever in any country at any time in any place under any circumstances some large Muslim organization opposing jihad violence. Now why does that matter? Because nowadays, Western Europe in particular, the United States to a lesser degree, we are betting our futures on the idea that we can bring in large numbers of Muslims into the United States and we will not ever have any problem with jihad activity, that that is all a thing of the past that we need not be concerned about. But one thing we also do not see in the history of jihad is any rejection, Reformation, reconsideration or other kind of mitigation of the elements of Islamic texts and teachings that gave rise to jihad activity in the first place. And so it is certainly true, it is undeniably true, that most Muslims today are not waging jihad. That’s great and once again we are betting our future on it. However, the idea that most Muslims today are not waging jihad means that they are therefore Democratic pluralists who accept the principles of human rights that are enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations of 1948 remains at best unproven and has no historical antecedents whatsoever.

There was all through the history of jihad state warfare by Islamic entities against the non-Muslim entities solely because they were non-Muslim. We see this right from the beginning in the Muhammad according to Islamic tradition is supposed to have died in the year 632 and almost immediately after that the armies came out of Arabia and conquered the Middle East and North Africa. Very soon they conquered Persia, which was one of two great powers of the day and they attacked the other great power of the day the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire. And by 732, a hundred years after the traditional date for Muhammad’s death, they were of course in central France fighting at Poitiers or Tours against Charles Martel, Charles The Hammer, who stopped their advance. And they besieged Constantinople, the great city of the Eastern Empire, in first in 675 then again in 717, all the while thus fighting against Europe from both sides and in – this book is the first to discuss this at tremendous length in a narrative fashion – that they were also pressing the jihad into India and waging it with a special fury there because the Indians were not People of the Book.

Most of you I’m sure know that the Qur’an speaks of Jews and Christians and Zoroastrians and some others as people of the book who have supposedly legitimate revelations from Allah that they have twisted and changed out of their original meanings and thus they out of respect for this revelation they are given the opportunity to live in peace as non-Muslims within the Islamic state but they have to submit to various humiliating and discriminatory regulations, most notably the tax, the jizya, that’s specified in the Quran in Chapter 9 verse 29 for the Dhimmis that for so called protected people.

Now, these humiliating and discriminatory regulations made life very, very hard for these populations such that you could ask for example what happened to the Christians of Egypt? Egypt was 99% Christian when it was invaded in the late 630s and conquered in the 640s. Now it’s about 10% Christian. Where did all the Christians go? Did they move? No. They’re still there. They’re the Muslims of Egypt. And what happened was life was so difficult to live as a Dhimmi in Egypt that ultimately over time the only thing that they had to do to be out from under all the humiliation and constant harassment was to convert. They converted. It’s very hard to think that anybody faced with that kind of a situation would do anything different although of course some did holdout and we should acknowledge their courage and perseverance.

At the same time, the Hindus in India did not even have that protection because they were not people of the book and consequently the choice that Muhammad and the Qur’an give for the people of the book to convert or submit to the rule of Islamic law or be killed, for the Hindus it was only convert or be killed. And as I show in the book, the history of jihad in India was especially bloody and especially violent. At a certain point actually they had to grant them honorary people of the book status because it simply wasn’t possible to kill them all but they were still nonetheless extraordinarily harsh toward especially the Hindu temples. The Quran speaks about protecting churches and synagogues because the name of Allah is spoken there that was often honored in the breach but there was no such protection afforded to the Hindu temples at all and thousands, tens of thousands of them were destroyed, a great patrimony of human culture lost forever.

And in the middle of all this you have- This is mainstream Islam. You have state actors doing this: first Mohammed unifying Arabia, then the so-called Rightly Guided Caliphs, the four successors of Mohammed as the leaders of the Islamic community, Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali and then the Ummayad caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate, the Ottoman Caliphate and some of the outliers, the Umayyad Caliphate of Cordoba in Spain, the Fatima Shiite Caliphate in Egypt. All of these are Islamic states and they all waged jihad against non-Muslims on the basis of the Islamic imperative in the Qur’an and Sunnah to do so. The difference that we have nowadays comes about at the beginning of the 20th century because the last Ottoman- the last Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire, was abolished by the secular Turkish government by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk of modern Turkey in 1924.

Now, Ataturk was no- nobody to admire in any respect. He was just as brutal to the religious minorities as the Ottomans had been if not more so but he objected to political Islam and he was unique among the leaders of Islamic States throughout history. He was the first ever to say the troubles that were having come from Islam and what we have to do is get rid of Islam as much as we can and then our country will prosper. And he’s consciously patterned Turkey after Western secular models of governance. Of course nowadays, all that’s being rolled back by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey today, but for almost a hundred years Turkey was a secular state, a relatively secular state, and the Caliphate was no more.

So what did the people who believed that there was an Islamic imperative to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers and that the Caliph was the tip of this spear, what did they do when there was no more Caliph? They decided to form various international organizations that would work toward restoring the Caliphate. The first of these was founded in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood. Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Brotherhood, made it very clear than what he was intending to do was to create a movement that would restore the Caliphate and thereby the unity of the Muslims and that once the unity of the Muslims was re-established, then they could wage offensive jihad again against non-Muslim States.

But in the meantime, there is the concept of defensive jihad. I should explain. In Sunni Islamic theology, and of course the Sunnis are 85-90% of Muslims worldwide, the Caliph is the only one authorized to declare offensive jihad. And he’s not just authorize,d he has the responsibility to do so. If he doesn’t do it, he could be removed on that basis. He has to declare offensive jihad on a regular basis against non-Muslim states. But if there’s no Caliph, there’s no offensive jihad, so since 1924 all jihad has been defensive.

And you might think well that’s absurd. What was defensive about 9/11? If you read the communiques of Osama bin Laden from the 1990s, he lists a long list of grievances, terrible things that the Americans have supposedly done that justify defensive jihad against the United States, most notably Islamic- Sunni Islamic theology specifies that if a Muslim land is attacked, it is the responsibility of every Muslim everywhere to wage jihad to win it back and to repel the invaders. So Osama bin Laden said ‘look the’ – this is a little bit later – the- no, actually it’s not. I’m sorry. I’m thinking of the second Gulf War. The first Gulf War the American troops go into Saudi Arabia and Osama bin Laden said ‘They’re trampling down the sacred soil of the kingdom of the two holy places. They have no business being there. This is an invasion. That triggers this defensive jihad and 9/11 was a defensive jihad in that respect.

Every jihad has been defensive. All 30,000 jihad attacks since 9/11 around the world. They are all couched in this. If you read the communications of jihad leaders they always retail grievances. It’s not because they’re inveterate whiners, although they are, it is also – they are – it is also because they have to list the grievances to justify what they’re doing is defensive. If they don’t, then they have no authorization to wage jihad.

So what we see in that is although there’s a discontinuity at the beginning of the 20th century and no more state actors at least directly declaring jihad and carrying it out, you could say that the Saudis certainly were spending so many billions of dollars to spread Wahhabi Islam around the world that that is a certain waging of jihad that is just as unmistakable as any Ottoman invasion of Vienna or Eastern Europe in general.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that there was a change when the- with the decline- demise of the Caliphate in the approach to how jihad was justified, but there was no end in jihad. And above all there was no internal resistance. First, you have mainstream Islam carrying out the jihad because you have the Islamic states of the world carrying out jihad, the Mughal Empire in India, as well as the Ottomans, the Abbasid, the Umayyads, and so on. And then you have jihadis justifying what they’re doing on the basis of defensive jihad, which is a mainstream concept in mainstream Islamic law. No where do you find ever in history that jihad was only the province of a tiny minority of extremists who were twisting and hijacking the true teachings of the peaceful faith. That never happens anywhere and anybody who would challenge that I would ask you to specify when and where was there this Islamic movement against jihad activity Under what theological basis did it proceed, and what became of it? But there just isn’t any such thing in Islamic history.

The second thing you do not see in the history of jihad is any let-up, any respite. It is something that people are taken by surprise about. I was speaking to a marvelous group not long ago and they were very well-informed, very committed, very interested, very involved. And I mentioned in passing this fact that there was never any let-up and people were shocked and said wait a minute what about the age of tolerance and pluralism in Al-Andalus? What about Muslim Spain? What about the paradise of tolerance and proto-multiculturalism that Maria del cimento Cal speaks about in her book The Ornament of the World? Everybody knows Muslim Spain was a paradise of coexistence, right?

Well, unfortunately, here again this is a historical myth. There are great many of these things what I tried to do in this book actually was puncture some of the historical myths that people take for granted nowadays. And doing- to do that [I] went back to the primary sources so is that were eyewitnesses or in many cases the Muslim court historians. The Mughals in India were especially in careful to always have court historians, these guys who would at the time something would happen, they would write about how wonderful it was that the emperor so-and-so he’d just demolished 325 Hindu temples. He took all the gold and he strewed it in front of the mosques that people would trample on the idols as they went into the mosque. Isn’t he wonderful? Happy Hindustan. That’s that’s- it’s true.

Anyway, people who think that Islamic terror tactics are newly-minted should look at the reality of Muslim Spain and in particular, for example, the rule of the Caliph- the court of the Caliph Abdul Rahman the third. This is the words of the 11th century Muslim historian Ibn Hayyan of Cordoba. He says at one- on one occasion Muhammad, an officer of Abdul Rahman the third, chose the 100 most important barbarians – that could be you because there was a lot of Christians – and sent them to the Alcazar of Cordoba where they arrived on Friday, March 2nd, 939. But since Abdul Othman was vacationing at another place they took them there and their marching coincided with the people coming out of the mosque on this Friday afternoon.

So that many gathered and follow to see what end the prisoners would have and it turned out Abdul Rahman was installed on the upper balcony over the orchard facing the river to watch the execution. All the prisoners one by one were decapitated in his presence and under his eyes in plain sight of the people and their feelings against the infidels Allah alleviated. You see they were very happy to see this. As a matter of fact the Qur’an remember in Chapter 9 verse 14 says, “fight them and Allah will soothe the bosoms of the believers.” And so if you are feeling sad and depressed, kill an infidel. You’ll feel better. You were- Allah will soothe the breasts of the believers in doing this, in fighting the believers. And this is something that you see actually recurring throughout Islamic history; Islamic chroniclers making reference to that and taking it quite seriously that through these acts of savagery and violence the Muslims were pacified and gladdened in their hearts.

And of course the most notorious example of tolerance and pluralism in Muslim Spain was in 1066 in Granada. When rules are often honored in the breach you know and just because something is Islamic law doesn’t mean that every Islamic ruler has always observed it just as every rule is not always followed by every one of us. Some of us perhaps may have had a speeding ticket now and again or something of this kind and so in Granada in 1066 there was a Muslim ruler who had this Jewish friend whom he appointed the, essentially, the mayor of Granada and the local Muslims were furious because Islamic law specifies that a non-Muslim must not have authority over a Muslim, especially a Jew.

And so there was a Muslim poet and he wrote a very lengthy poem. I won’t to read all of it to you but the- this is the tenor of it: “Turn your eyes to the Jews who are outcasts dogs. Why would you be different and bring them near when in all the land they are kept afar? I came to live in Granada and I saw them frolicking there. They divided up the city in the provinces was one of there cursed him and everywhere they collect all the revenues they dress in the finest clothes while you wear the meanest. And so on so hasten to slaughter them as an offering. Sacrifice him for he is a precious thing. Do not consider it a breach of faith to kill them. The breach of faith would be to let them carry on.” 4,000 Jews were killed in a pogrom in Granada after this poem was published. And so this was a direct reaction to the Muslim ruler breaking Islamic law by appointing a Jew to have authority over Muslims. So this was tolerant, pluralistic Muslim Spain.

What you see in the history of jihad is wherever Muslims have gone, there are among them, there have been among them, jihad, violent jihadis who committed acts of violence against non-Muslims and they were never upgraded or rebuked or otherwise opposed by any Islamic authority and were often rewarded for doing so. So we see these two things that there was never any internal resistance and there was never any respite. These things- This- the- the violence against unbelievers is a constant of Islamic history.

The third golden thread that we see in the history of jihad is that non-Muslims were often the best help to the jihadis, which ought to bring a lot of bells today. But you take for example the conquest of Spain. Now the conquest of Spain is shrouded in legend and I’m not vouching for the absolute historicity of any of this but these legends are alive among the people of Spain to this day. And the story goes that there was a Christian count, Julian of Ceuta who had a daughter and his daughter was very bright. He sent her to the court, kind of like sending her to Bill Clinton’s White House as an intern. And Roderic, the Visigothic King of Cordoba, was an admirable predecessor of Bill Clinton. So the girl of who – her degree of guilt in this is widely controverted in the Spanish legends – but in any case, Florinda is one of those most common names that has come down to her. Florinda being thus outraged, Count Julian was even more outraged and determined that Roderic had to pay.

How could he get back at the King of Spain? He decided to go to Tariq ibn Ziyad who was a Muslim ruler in North Africa. And he told him, “you want to invade Spain.” And Tarik said, ‘Sure, I’d love to, but every time they see us coming in our boats they are- their defenses are prepared and we are repelled’. So he said, ‘I have a solution to that. I’ll give you my boats and they’ll think it’s me and no defenses will be up.” And so Tarik ibn Ziyad used Count Julian’s boats, got across the strait, and once on the beach he burned Count Julian’s boats, which I think is not entirely sporting. They were after all a loner. But he burns the boats and he told his men, “We are going to take this land for Islam or we’re going to die here but we’re not going back.”

It’s noteworthy in terms of how important it is to know history. A few years ago there was a big controversy in the Minneapolis area about a charter school that was teaching Islam as fact. It was all Muslim in any case but it was a public school getting public funds so there were there was a little bit of controversy over it being a public school and being essentially a madrasah. And the name of the school I noticed, and I was surprised to note, that nobody seems to ever ask wait a minute why is this school called Tariq ibn Ziyad Academy? Who’s Tariq Ibn Ziyad? Nobody seemed to care. Nobody ever looked it up as far as I know. It was never in any of the Minneapolis coverage of this but you gotta wonder why would a school in Minnesota name itself after this figure? Could it have to do with maybe having the same goals? I mean this is what he’s famous for. He’s the great Conqueror of Spain and he was able to do it by means of the help of this Christian who was enraged over his- He had his own grievances and I’m not saying his grievances were illegitimate but perhaps he didn’t count on the consequences that it would take 700 years to undo what he did.

There are so many other examples of this in Islamic history. In 1345, the Byzantine Emperor John the 6th Kantakouzenos was in the midst of a dynastic dispute and he invited the Ottomans to go and fight against his rivals, and [he] let them into Eastern Europe to do that. And of course they’re still there. The Ottomans at one point of course controlled all of Eastern Europe and now they just have that little bit of Europe that is so much trouble because it gives them a claim to be in NATO and everything else – the Turks that is. But it was John the Emperor, John the 6th Kantakouzenos, excuse me, who allowed the Ottomans to enter Europe in the first place in order to solve his dynastic dispute. And I don’t think that he expected that they were just going to stay. But he wasn’t probably thinking about the whole of jihad activity or the jihad doctrine even though it was something that he and the emperors of his time, the other emperors of his time, had ample reason to know all about.

You may recall about 12 years ago now Pope Benedict the 16th got in a lot of hot water, there were riots all over the world, because he quoted a Byzantine Emperor, Manuel II Palaiologos. And Manuel II said, “There is nothing new that Muhammad brought except what is evil and inhumane.” And this of course was terrible and Islamophobic and Benedict had to apologize. And people, innocent people, were killed by those who were objected to their prophet being called evil and inhumane. And nobody here again seems to ask well wait a minute who was this Manuel II Palaiologos? Why did he say this? And he’s one of the tragic figures in this book. You can you read about how he was essentially a vassal of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman emperor actually even sent him to put down uprisings among the Turks and kept him prisoner at the court where he was routinely mocked and vilified, ridiculed. He had a very rough life and a sad and tragic life going also to Europe when he was free, trying to get support for a new crusade to roll the Ottomans back and preserve the Byzantine Empire. All of it failed. The Byzantine Empire fell. Constantinople was entirely conquered nine years after his death. So he had direct daily experience of what he was talking about. And that seems to me that should have been some of the part of the debate when the Regensburg address controversy was raging. But here again nobody seems to have any historical interest.

One final example of non-Muslims aiding the jihad were or- the British of course who- In the- in the latter part of the 18th century there arose a reformer in Islam. A lot of people ask me all the time well what about what are the chances of reform? What we need is Islamic reform. Another thing you’ll see in this book actually is that there’s been- there’s been plenty of reform. There’s lots of reform in Islamic history.

Now, the thing about it is think about reform. What is reform? Whether you’re a Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox or none of the above, the people most famously known as reformers are those who said we’re going to get rid of all the later additions and get back to the basics. That’s what reformers generally do in whatever context.

And so the Almohads, who were among the rulers of Muslim Spain, they were reformers, And the fellow who arose in Arabia in the 18th century to whom I referred, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab, he was a reformer. He began to fight against the Ottomans. He said they were not Islamic enough. They had strayed from true Islam. He was going to restore true Islam. He began to get gain of following when he personally stoned an adulteress to death to show how Islamic he was. And he did get a following. One of the main followers he got early on was a chieftain in Arabia named Ibn Saud. Ibn Saud and Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab began to fight a jihad against the Ottomans, against the other rulers in Arabia.

They began to gain a little bit of territory and by the middle of the 19th century, the Wahhabi movement, the Saudi movement caught the attention of the British Empire, which was in several hundred years of struggle against the Ottomans.

Now, the Ottomans by this time had well earned the nickname the sick man of Europe and they weren’t really a formidable force at all. But the British wanted to administer the coup de gras and they thought, ‘This guy Saud, these Saudis, they could help us’. So they started bankrolling them. They started giving them money and at the end of World War I they favored the Saudis over the Hashemites and others to gain control of Arabia and helped to establish the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Of course, the rest is history. The Saudis struck oil and what did they use our oil money to do but spread Wahhabi Islam around the world, this reformist idea of Islam that is even more virulent in violence than other forms. So we have the British to thank for that as for so much else. It is probably or probably I would say the most responsible outside of the Saudis themselves for the spread of Wahhabi Islam around the world.

When the Wahhabis did begin to spread their version of Islam around the world, there were many areas where jihad was essentially quiescent. This doesn’t mean it was reformed or rejected. It was just ignored. As a matter of fact one of the pamphlets that the Saudis distributed is called, Jihad: the Forgotten Obligation,” and they wanted to bring it all back and they did so we can thank King George or whoever it was at that time for this marvelous calculation. But of course in all of these and so many other examples I could give you.

And perhaps the most stinging is George W. Bush when six days after 9/11. I wrote this book more or less chronologically. I don’t usually do that but this was a book of- as I said at the beginning I wanted to write this book for many years. I’ve had all this material and just haven’t had the opportunity to put it all together. Finally, I got the opportunity last winter to put it all together and I did. And I just started at the beginning and went all the way through. Essentially, most of them of- most of the time- and so what happened was I got to 9/11 after I’d written fourteen centuries of jihad activity and I got to six days after 9/11 with all of this very much in my mind, just having set it down on paper.

And there’s George W. Bush in the mosque in front of me, Nihad Awad of CAIR, which is tied to Hamas in the Muslim Brotherhood and Abdul Rahman Alamoudi of the American Muslim Council, who is now doing 23 years in prison- well, root sentence was reduced by Obama, but he was sentenced to 23 years for financing al Qaeda. And he stands in front of them in the mosque in Washington and says, “Islam is a religion of peace.” It really hit me after reading this uninterrupted, unmitigated, no let-up jihad for 14 centuries, this guy says Islam is a religion of peace. Now we know he had various political reasons for doing so. Things that he thought would make things easier for our allies or whatever. We don’t have to go over all that. At least not right now.

Maybe in the question period if you like, but George W. Bush was in a short-sighted manner actually enabling jihad activity by foreclosing upon an examination of the motivating ideology that gives feel to it. And he was doing so on the basis of short-sighted political calculations just as much as Count Julian was when he invited Tariq Ibn Ziyad into Spain and just as much as the British were when they funded the Wahhabis and John the 6th Kantakouzenos was when he invited the the Ottomans to fight his rival. It never ends up working out for the infidels because the infidels have their own immediate goals but the jihadis always have the goal of establishing Islamic law over the world and will take and have taken throughout history any advantage in which to do that. So the history of jihad I think is one that it is extraordinarily important for people especially in the government in the military to be aware of. You cannot solve the problem unless you know exactly the dimensions of the problem itself. And that’s where we drastically- so signally failed since 9/11, especially with the advent of Obama and his forbidding of any mention of Islam and jihad in counter-terror training in 2011.

So it is imperative that we reacquaint ourselves with this history, that we ponder very carefully its implications for our stances toward various policy questions today. I mean one of the most obvious of course is immigration, the Trump travel bans. Is it really wise to bring in large Muslim populations into the country? Obviously, not every Muslim we bring in is going to be a jihadi but among them there will be or at least people who think that Sharia ought to be the law of the land. How- how is that going to work out in terms of a tolerant and pluralistic society when you introduce this radically intolerant force? Another one is of course our alliances with Pakistan, with Turkey where it’s very clear that these entities are now on the other side if they ever were not on the other side. And we- is it really prudent to keep pouring money into these countries when we’ve known for 10 years for example in terms in regard to Pakistan that they’ve been turning around and taking a great deal of it and giving it to the people they’re supposed to be using it to fight. So not only do we need a reconfiguration of our international alliances but a general re-evaluation of our stance of also of course ultimately toward states like Saudi Arabia. It’s very clear of course that the president is playing a very delicate game, a dangerous game, but one that probably has to be played in working with the Saudis against Iran. At the same time we have to recognize that the Saudis ultimately are only going to be our friends to a certain degree and that after- after that there is the jihad imperative that overrides any possibility of any long-standing or deeply fruitful cooperation. But none of this can happen unless we recognize the problem to start with. It was because of this that I wrote this book. I hope that it will spark discussion on these issues in places where it can make a difference and I thank you all for coming out to consider these things with me. If you have any questions, comments, death fatwas, whatever I am all ears. Thank you very much.

Robert R. Reilly:

By the way I want to honor a late arrival, Bud McFarlane.

Robert Spencer:

The immortal Dr. Ho.

Audience member:


Robert Spencer:

Thank you. That’s a great question. He doesn’t really have to say anything as far as I’m concerned it’s much more important what he does and I just mentioned in passing that Obama’s mandated that all mention of Islam and jihad be scrubbed from counter-terror training. This is unbelievable. People have trouble believing this but it’s absolutely true. You can go online and look at the countering violent extremism program. There is no mention. There’s no hint in it that there’s any problem with Islamic Jihad. It doesn’t exist. It’s actually an elaborate exercise in pretending that it doesn’t exist. That’s what he should address. What I’ve been so signally disappointed by and I hesitate to say this because he started so remarkably well and surprisingly well in so many ways moving the embassy to Jerusalem, standing up to the violent intimidation that is hamstrung American foreign policy for so many years in that and so many other things but I’ve been sort of surprised and disappointed that he has not addressed to this he needs to open up mandate perhaps by an executive order or whatever engine would do it effectively mandate that the FBI, that DHS, that the CIA, the Pentagon, all of them that they not only are allowed to study Islam but that they must and that it must not be from these smooth apologists, from the Council on American-Islamic Relations and so on that have demonstrable ties to our enemy. But it has to be from people who are gonna speak about it honestly and realistically. Now he’s gonna catch hell for that because of course all the people who speak about and honestly and realistically our hate group leaders according to the Southern Poverty Law Center and so that has to be directly opposed and rebuked and an unapologetic setting out of the necessity going back to sunsuit that you have to know your enemy we have to understand this and he could even say you know I- I wouldn’t have any objection at all if he were to say that this might be a completely wrong understanding of Islam I grant you this is this could be twisted hijacked false Islam and real Islam is as cuddly as as it could possibly be but we have to understand the motivating ideology of the enemy and this is what it is and so we’re going to study it in depth instead of pretending it doesn’t exist and the Muslim Brotherhood elements of course in the US government that has to be also addressed as well that people like his shawm Islam who made sure that major Stevens Shawn Islam was the I believe Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense adviser to Gordon England who was the Assistant Secretary of Defense in George W. Bush’s administration that he obviously he had ties to the Brotherhood and so on and so why was he wielding this influence he’s the one who got major Coughlin fired when major Stephen Coughlin who I’m sure many of you know was the own Pentagon’s only expert on Islamic law and so this is an issue that he needs to be made aware of but I don’t know that there’s anybody around him who is telling him about it I think we have to wait for the microphone sorry thank you yes that’s right yes yeah Stanford yes I’m supposed to go to Berkeley in a couple weeks I’m really looking forward to that no when I get invited to speak at universities it’s by the college Republicans or young America’s Foundation a group like that and I’ve never been invited by the university administrators ever and when I am invited to a university it’s as if Jack the Ripper has been invited and there is an uproar like you wouldn’t believe and it’s very clear that what we see is the fruit of indoctrination that these children have been told that Islamophobia is a big problem an Islamic Jihad terror is really something that’s just a manifestation of a reaction to American imperialism and the State of Israel and this is this so this is one of the reasons why I wrote the book I know that probably most college students will never hear about it some of them will yeah absolutely but I you know I can’t I don’t have any control over who how much it’s distributed or who reads it but this is one of the reasons why I wrote it as a contribution to try to correct this you’re absolutely right that thank you really up until about 1970 everybody knew that what I was what I mean I wasn’t saying it there and I was eight but in everybody knew that what I’m saying is true everybody knew that Islam was not a religion of peace Winston Churchill says this John Quincy Adams Thomas Jefferson and John Adams despite the myth making of that Thomas Jefferson nowadays everybody took these things for granted it was obvious but there has been a concerted effort at disinformation and rewriting of history that has been remarkably effective and that we need to be energetically counteracting thank you well you know no I didn’t but it’s a good title terrific title I wish I had in any case what do we do that’s right treble out what do we do about this of course we have to be true to our own principles and that means that took something like massive deportation or something of this kind this is not even on the table of course nowadays what we need to do are some things that I think would be very simple and effective and ought to be common-sense measures that would do go a large way a long way to solving this problem one is enforce our own laws and be consistent in that enforcement there is should be one law it was actually the great achievement of Western civilization that there’s one law for everybody that this is the Magna Carta people you know that there’s not one law for the noblemen and the other law for the commoners it’s one law for everyone everyone is responsible in the same way and so if we were to enforce that then polygamists for example would be arrested those who practice female genital mutilation those who violate any number of other American laws that are already at variance with Sharia principles if we were to make it clear that those laws would be enforced then the followers of Sharia would have the choice to either renounce those aspects of Islam in a genuine and sincere way or leave the country but they’re not going to be able to have both also of course you have laws against subversion and Sedition which would mean that even there’s preaching that Sharia ought to be the law of the land eventually would be something that would be legally actionable these things are already laws that are on the books it’s just that they’re not being applied Ibrahim Hooper of care that was a house fire few years back in the Bronx and this guy was killed and his wives and so the New York Times rather blandly noted he had three or four wives he was a Muslim and Ibrahim Hooper was trotted out from the counsel on there llama Croatians to say yeah there I believe he said 50,000 Muslims and polygamous arrangements in the United States and then the New York Times moved on of course to something else probably Islamophobia backlash but wait a minute that’s illegal in the United States the Latter day Saints Church had to change its doctrine to get the Utah admitted as a state and so why are we tolerating this now and these questions remain unanswered why indeed why has there been no prosecution why are there only two doctors now that it’s only been in the since Trump took office that anybody was ever prosecuted for female genital mutilation these two doctors who were still on trial in Detroit you can’t tell me they’re the first ones that ever did it in the United States there are thousands of people who have suffered this in the United States and nothing’s been done so my first recommendation is enforce our own laws thank you yeah what’s his name Oh puss I have him in the book yeah yeah he’s the guy who told pelea I don’t mean that if you were gonna tell the story go ahead polio was the last holdout I hope he will all be polio as if it comes to this when all of Spain was conquered there was this one guy and he wasn’t gonna play and he went up on top of a mountain with a small band of followers and the Muslims tried to get at him but he was up a mountain and so he was able to rain down stones from the jihadis and keep them from coming up and eventually they said what do we care about this band of barbarians perched on a rock they’ll die off but Abbas was a bishop a Spanish bishop in the tradition of Pope Francis and he went to Pelayo and he said I believe that you now understand how the aren’t entire army of Goths cannot resist the force of the Muslims how then can you resist on this mountain listen to my advice abandon your efforts and you will enjoy many benefits alongside the Muslims Pope Francis is Amin he had to have peace he’s the worthy successor of Oh bless the bishop this thing yeah there’s no doubt about it I mean obviously I am classifying Pope Francis as chief among them that in shaming the Christians of Europe and telling them that they’re not good Christians unless they accept the Muslim migrants and saying that there should be no walls well tear down your Vatican walls pal but you know the Vatican walls were put up in the year 846 after the Muslims sacked Rome they couldn’t actually get in because of the existing laws and the ones that are there are reinforcements of those because they made some breaches and they sacked st. Peters which was outside the walls at the time and st. Paul outside the walls so he should think back on the example of his predecessors but he’s the local Pope and he’s not going to do that yes ma’am you play in sports oh my their team is the bomb well see these things are all allowed in America now because we’re not enforcing the laws the ACLU fought for decades to get Christian prayer out of the schools right and now in Texas there’s a public school that has an Islamic prayer room and the Attorney General of the state of Texas wrote to them and said you know we have this thing separation of church and state you got to close down the Islamic prayer room and they refused so what’s he gonna do call out the National Guard? He didn’t do anything. They still have their prayer room and he ought to get police and going there and say this is illegal but instead it’s happening all over the country I was debating a couple of Imams a few years back in University of Michigan Ann Arbor and I went into the men’s room there’s a public university there’s a foot bath for the Islamic prayers and I looked around there were no holy water fonts it was very strange it seems as if there’s only accommodation at public expense of one religion only but I’ll tell you something there is I don’t I thought there’s a single university in the country that speaks honestly about these issues I was at Cal Poly I was speaking at Cal Poly University San Luis Obispo California very pretty place and I was speaking about this how the universities today they’re one-party states and there’s only one point of view allowed and that’s the far-left point of view and the corollary idea that Islam is a religion of peace that has as Hillary Clinton said nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism and so I was at Cal Poly and I was challenging them about this and I said for example I’ll bet that the point of view that I represent that there are texts of the Quran and teachings of Muhammad and rulings of Islamic law that justify violence against unbelievers and have been acted upon by Muslims throughout history that is nowhere ever discussed in any of your classes that touch on Islam and this one girl said oh no we talked about your book just last week and I said oh really and what did you say and she said that hate speech is not free speech and see what they taught them was that I was purveying hate speech which ought not to have First Amendment protection it ought to be forcibly suppressed by government agencies and this is very very common in American universities today and I think that well of course the corruption of the Academy started in earnest in the 1960s with the long march through the institution’s that the hard left began at that time and it becomes a self-perpetuating thing one leftist professor gets in and then he recommends his friend and then we’ll a little while later they’re there the hiring board and they only hire their own people and now it’s all completely closed off to truth about these issues of course then also there’s the Saudi money Georgetown University as the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian understanding they got I believe it was 12 million from Al Waleed who’s a Saudi prince 220 i I thought it was 20 half to Harvard and half to Georgetown now 22 Georgetown great and so if you look at their the al belief centre and the bridge initiative that comes from it’s all dedicated to fighting Islamophobia and got dossiers on all the people who are so evil who talk about how they get the crazy idea that Islam is not peaceful and they’re trying they they do bamboozle a lot of people in this way of course Georgetown is the worst but there are many many other universities have to take in the Saudi money yes sir oh sorry the microphone yes I forgot about hey I think I know you back in the dark how are you likewise sure Linda Sarsour of course is one of the most interesting and paradoxical figures of our time I know she’s really irritating but just if just a minute if you ponder with me a feminist icon who wears a hijab the leader of the women’s march on Washington the day after Trump is inaugurated and she’s wearing this and says that’s my choice and meanwhile there are untold numbers will never know the number of women who’ve been brutalized and killed for not wearing the ADEA we know that except our MS and Mississauga Ontario in 2007 was strangled to death by her father and her brother with the hijab she would not wear we know I have a long list that I keep current at jihad watch whenever I come across a story and now it’s this long of women who have been threatened who’ve been killed who have been brutalized for not wearing the hijab the very idea of the hijab is inherently misogynistic do you know why women have to wear the hijab yes they have to it’s a woman’s responsibility to make sure a man is not tempted and so apparently the temptation in here’s in the hair so the hair has to be covered the harmful air rays have to be extinguished and if the man is still tempted if the woman is raped or attacked it’s her fault she did not succeed in extinguishing the temptation and that is why we have the niqab and the burqa because if the hijab doesn’t do it then cover the face if the covering the face doesn’t do it cover the eyes and what you have then is an inherently misogynistic a garment that is a symbol very neatly and clearly of the oppression of women and the second-class status of women in Islamic law so you have this woman who’s wearing it very proudly and lying about it she’s openly Pro Sharia she’s got familial ties to Hamas she has said that she wants to mutilate the women who are opposing jihad she named for G Gabrielle and Ayaan Hirsi Ali and this is somebody who celebrated as a great hero she was just arrested a couple days ago at the hearing for she wanted to get arrested it was a stunt that she was showing again how terrible this Cavanaugh is and how the the part of the breakdown of the civility in the American society and the polar extreme polarization but what she’s trying to do actually is normalised tell them I’m not here is normalized the idea that just snug them I wouldn’t answer either anyway normalize the idea that the hijab is completely ordinary is something that we’re going to have to get used to see that it is something that represents the marvelous diversity of American culture and you notice that this diversity is in favor of this radically oppressive and intolerant belief system you also have you asked about the Kopernik how do you say his name I don’t follow football but I know I looked it up the other day that the the 49ers when he was quarterback in 2016 were one in ten and not it’s it’s interesting to note that the great football fan mahmoud ahmadinejad tweeted the other day that this is the best quarterback in the league and he doesn’t have a contract obviously this is the Iranians want to exploit the divisions in American society and so they take this anti-american figure and exalt him and of course everything is so confused and polarized in America today you even have Nike exalting him and it’s good to see that Nike lost drinking of what it was a three and a half billion dollars today so there are still some there are still some people who object but these are directly anti-american initiatives the exultation of these people is directly anti-american and in service I think aqua Meena jods tweet about Kapernick they it shows vividly that this what this is about is in service of the jihad to weaken American society so that ultimately it collapses and can be replaced by a Sharia State that may be fanciful but the efforts to destroy American society and service of that fanciful goal is not fanciful at all yes thank you okay sure the primary person that you can credit although his influence is it has to come from other sources the fact that he became so wildly influential but the primary person responsible for the obfuscation in Middle East Studies for the extinguishing of true teaching about Islam and the introduction of all these politically correct falsehoods is Edward Saeed Edward Saeed of course was a Christian Arab who was the author of a book called Orientalism in which he explained that it was essentially a colonialist enterprise to criticize Islam that if you were criticizing Islam it was only in service of destroying the Islamic world such that it could be colonized by the West and that therefore all criticism of Islam essentially had to be rejected by anybody who was against imperialism yeah it was a theological at all on his part I mean you can’t really sustain the idea that Islam as a religion of peace in any honest manner I tell you something I sometimes I mean I get people telling me I’m an idiot all the time and maybe they’re right but tahir-ul-qadri is a Pakistani theologian who wrote a 512 page fatwa proving that Islam is a religion of peace and I get people even even now especially when it came out I would get people writing me every couple days saying why don’t you be talking about country and then you will see that you are Islamaphobe and so I read it and it was very doubtful that it was available in a PDF excuse me that was searchable so I searched I searched for to 191 which is kill them wherever you find them I searched for 489 which is kill them wherever you find them I searched for 95 which is kill the idolaters wherever you find them I searched for 929 which is fight against those who don’t believe in a law in the last day and do not forbid what he is forbidden even if they are of the people of the book until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued I searched for 47 for when you meet the unbelievers strike the necks I searched for 860 strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah research for three fun with 151 soon we will strike terror we beating Allah in the hearts of the unbelievers and on and on and on not one of them was mentioned so 512 pages of blather where he never even addressed the passages of the Qur’an that G Hadees used to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims that’s how they convince people that Islam is a religion of peace and so some non-Muslim reads to hero Qadri and thinks oh well this is a respected Islamic theologian who’s showing that as long as the religion peace he doesn’t know what’s in the Quran he doesn’t know those verses to search for they fall for it and there are many many examples of expositions of that kind you don’t find you can’t find because Islam is not a religion of peace any honest appraisal of how these the Qur’an’s violent verses don’t really have any force in the modern age you will find people saying oh that only applies to the 7th century which in the first place contradicts the idea that the Quran is the perfect book that’s the perfect guide for human behavior for all time and then we hear oh yeah but large portions of it only apply to 1400 years ago it doesn’t make any sense but secondly if you say that the Quran is passages only apply to a very strictly circumscribed period of time then you’ve got to deal with the fact that all throughout history Muslims misunderstood that and behaved violently on the basis of these passages and so you’ve got the most spectacular failure to communicate the truths of the religion that has ever been in the history of the world in any religion and so it just doesn’t make any sense either way anubias yes sir thank you yes well the intelligence community is done a grave disservice to our understanding of the threat by partnering with people who represent aspects of the threat I mean you have the extraordinarily strange situation of the Justice Department determining that care the Council on american-islamic relations and ISTA the Islamic Society of North America are tied to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and then you have the FBI having them to lunch and consulting with them and it the the amount of interaction is actually extraordinary people don’t know we did Pamela Geller and I did a Freedom of Information Act years ago way back in 2011 or 12 we did a FOIA request on the interaction of the FBI with care and isne and we got a stack of documents this high that they said this is the first volume we’ll get you the rest later they never did but in that in that there was nothing much that was explosive and there was a great deal that was redacted but what came through was the friendly daily interaction and Eric Trina and the Department of Homeland Security and others writing to these emailing these care and it’s not operating and saying lunch is on us today and what are you guys having and and and they’re they’re bringing them in to consult on a regular basis and this is like if if FDR had had the German American Bund Fritz Kuhn come into the White House and chat after the United States declared war on Germany yes well you’ve got a point there there are precedents yes hi how are you it’s just more of the same short-sighted realpolitik that we think that we can deal with these people on the basis that we deal with France or Germany that it really comes from the postmodern notion that everybody’s good at heart and if we just sit down and talk about our differences we’ll be able to find common ground and that really of course guides so much of Western policy that the the Ayatollah Khamenei and Hassan Rouhani they’re just guys like us and we can strike a deal we just have to come to an understanding the idea that there might be people who have radically different values radically different priorities no interest really in being pals it doesn’t enter their minds but this is a deeply entrenched State Department idea that goes back to the the hearts and minds initiatives that we pursued in the third world in the Cold War and it’s just been transposed now to a new context where it’s even less effective because there’s no way and with a certain kind of Islamic mindset now people are people everywhere and human nature is always the same you might be able to win over some hearts and minds somewhere but generally that you’ve got also to deal with Wilson clerics who will tell you that the infidels will come and try to seal your Islam away by giving you roads and hospitals and basketballs and such and you have to take them all the more when they come to you with all their largesse but take it and so it’s it’s ultimately just a waste of time and waste of money and it’s not going to get us anywhere and I can guarantee you that and if I – those guys today they would say we you you you don’t know anything you’ve never been a diplomat you’ve never been in the Foreign Service you have to leave this to the experts but the fact is they what they have done and the basis on which they have done it has failed again and again and again and again and again and I am advocating here for some very simple and obvious truths that if they were to base their actions upon rather than their wishful thinking and fantasy based policymaking that they’re pursuing today they might end up being more successful and I would submit that when we look back on this when our children’s children look back on this after that paid the jizya they will see that this whole establishment foreign policy establishment was wrongheaded and I hope that we wake up to that before it’s too late yes yep so consider Keith Ellison I don’t really know the story about why he’s leaving Congress it would seem to me that being the member of the House of Representatives is better than being Attorney General in the state of Minnesota my immediate guess as to why he’s moving down is because perhaps of the allegations against him I don’t know but imagine but think about what damage he can do as Attorney General of the state of Minnesota which has been a hotbed of jihad activity and a Shabaab recruitment Isis recruitment right in Minneapolis among the Somali community if he puts an end to investigations of that it can proliferate and he could be in a position to do that very easily we have to be able to speak forthrightly about these issues but right now that’s why they’ve done been so indefatigable in making sure that speaking forthrightly about these issues has been so terribly stigmatized and anybody who speaks out about this or raises concerns or says wait a minute do we really want a hijab wearing Muslim in the United States Congress what are the implications of that and then it’s of course you have to deal with the charges of racism and bigotry in Islamic obeah well if you are willing to brave that then you can speak about the nature of Sharia and of women’s rights and the implications of wearing a de jab such as I outlined a little hasar sword and tried to frame Ilhan Omar the hijab wearing congressional candidate of course she’s running unopposed so it would just be a matter of trying to call attention to these issues she’s going to Congress but framing what show her to be what she really is as an instrument of oppression and somebody who is trying to make the world worse for women and that we have to go on the offensive in this regard the problem is then all these problems become interrelated and then the problem of RT being deplatformed and not being able to have a voice in social media becomes a very salient issue so we can only hope that some of this is going to break our way but the D platforming is very serious because if we can have the best arguments in the world but if we can’t get them out then we’re done for and the social media giants today control the means of communication to a greater degree than any totalitarian state ever did I don’t actually I haven’t heard anything maybe Clare knows or or Chris but I haven’t heard anything about what grover norquist has been doing many of you know I’m sure that he was involved with Abdul Rahman Alamoudi, the al Qaeda financier. He had connections to other people who were very questionable in regard to their going connections to Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood and so on and he’s always been very very dismissive to anybody notably Frank Gaffney who has called attention to this and just accused them of racism and Islamophobia and that’s the end of the story and this kind of thing is I think emblematic of the fix that we’re in that these kinds of discussions that we need to have if Grover really is compromised with all his power and influence then that’s a very important question but we can’t even ask it just like when Michele Bachmann asked about investigation ask for an investigation of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration into the United States government st. John McCain denounced her on the floor of the Senate and shut it down yes I do think that the Sunnis that she is they’re certainly cooperating mm-hmm I don’t know where the ultimate orchestration comes from but there is orchestration I could tell you that because I’m constantly trying to answer their arguments on an intellectual basis at jihad watch my website and various articles and such and I noticed that there are certain times when many many Muslim spokesmen say the same thing you know Ibrahim Hooper will make a statement the Muslims are the new Jews and then three days later Reza Aslan will say the Muslims are the new Jews and a couple days after that Keith Ellison will say the Muslims are the new Jews and I think okay who told them to say the Muslims are the new truth and I don’t know who’s coordinating it but there is coordination it seems to me to be clear and yes the Sunnis and Shia are cooperating of course the most obvious example of that is 9/11 when the Saudis and Iran collaborated in worked in working with the 9/11 hijackers there’s documentation of this much of it thanks to Clare Lopez in the book the History of Jihad and of course the Iranians the Islamic Republic of Iran which is Shiite today funds Sunni Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well as having also funded al-qaeda and the Taliban which are Sunni. There’s an old proverb ‘my brother against my brother but both of us against our cousin’ and Sunnis and Shia hate each other but they’ll always- I’ll always collaborate against infidels. Thank you.

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