The Conquest of the West by Ideological Jihad
Tariq Ramadan’s current speaking tour of North America has been met with widespread enthusiasm from the media and from appeasers of Islam in all walks of life. In Montreal, however, the blog Point de Bascule (Tipping Point) organized a press conference featuring several powerful speakers with Muslim backgrounds who offered a picture of Ramadan that is based in facts and that contrasts dramatically with the benign image offered by the mainstream press. This is the second in a series of three articles in which Marc Lebuis and Étienne Harvey of Point de Bascule offer a definitive account of who Ramadan really is and what he really stands for, as demonstrated by his own words and those of the Islamic scholars he most admires.
By Marc Lebuis and Étienne Harvey, Point de Bascule, for Human Rights Service
A few years after the death of Hassan al-Banna (1949), Tariq Ramadan’s grandfather and the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, large waves of Muslims emigrants left Pakistan and India for Great Britain, left Turkey for Germany, left Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia for France, and so forth. Suddenly, the conditions in which the Islamists were operating changed radically. While the Islamic offensives that led to the conquest or the occupation of the Middle East, of Spain (711 – 1492), of Sicily (965 – 1072) and of parts of Eastern Europe (1299 – 1830) were all following the traditional rules of an offensive military jihad, there was this new option available to the Islamists of mobilizing large Muslims communities living in the midst of territories that had resisted the armies of Islam in the past.
In the fifties, many Muslim Brotherhood leaders were amongst those who fled the political persecution practised by Nasser and other Arab nationalist regimes. After a few years of hesitation, these Muslim Brothers in exile decided not to wait for their return to Egypt, Syria or elsewhere to implement their political and religious programme but chose rather to implement it in Europe, where they already were living. Western freedoms gave them room to manoeuvre which they had never experienced in their home countries. The financial support they received from their rich backers in the Middle East did the rest.
In his book Western Muslims and the Future of Islam (New York, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 26), Tariq Ramadan divides Sunni Muslims into six categories. He identifies three of them as salafi. Salafism is a militant Sunni trend that draws its inspiration from the early Islam, as it was practised by Muhammad and his companions (hence the expression salaf which means ancestors in Arabic).
All salafi sub-groups advocate and work for the imposition of sharia and the return of the caliphate, a worldwide system of Islamic government that came to an end with the collapse of the Ottoman empire in 1924. Disagreements have arisen among the various groups regarding the methods and the tactics that should be employed to reach their common goals. While al-Qaeda favours the traditional violent jihad that was used in the past to advance the cause of Islam, the “salafi reformist” trend to which Ramadan and the Muslim Brotherhood belong believes that their chances of Islamizing the West are better if they take full advantage of all the legal means available in Western democracies.
Contrary to al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood does not believe that the camp of Islam can seriously threaten the West militarily, since they are relying on their enemy for their weapons supply. Under these circumstances, they have chosen to work at mobilizing the Muslim populations living in Europe and in North America as a fifth column in a political and ideological jihad.
The following quotations have been excerpted from Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase submitted by Youssef al-Qaradawi at the previously mentioned 1990 gathering of Islamists.
(Our) Movement, though it is Islamic in source, orientation, principle and objective, adopts such methodologies and means as it sees fit to serve its religion and establish it on the earth, as appropriate to time, place and conditions….Methodologies, means and systems are not as immortal as Islam itself. (Chapter 3 – The Necessity of Renewal in Means)
We (Muslims) depend on others for military power. Those against whom we want to launch our offensive jihad are the same people who make all sorts of weapons and sell them to us. But for them, we would be unarmed, defenceless and unable to do anything!
That being the case, how can we talk of launching offensives to subject the whole world to our Message, when the only weapons we can muster are those given us by them and when the only arms we can carry are those they agree to sell us? (Chapter 3 – A Debate that We Do ‘Not Need Today)
It is to overcome their military weaknesses that the Islamist of the so-called “salafi reformist” variety have designed a plan B in order to attain, through ideological and political means, what they considered unattainable with military means. The ideological and political jihad promoted by Qaradawi, Ramadan and the Muslim Brotherhood relies on the infiltration of the political parties, the media, the universities, the inter-faith groups and other Western social organisations. It also makes use of non-Muslim tribunals to impose sharia gradually. This is what happens when the critics of Islam drown in debt because they have had to defend themselves against accusations of “Islamophobia” thrown at them by Islamist lobbies financed by Saudi Arabia; this is also what happens when Western tribunals violate property rights by compelling businesses to change their dress codes or work schedules in order to comply with Islamist requirements regarding the veil, the prayers, and so forth.
Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor, after being expelled from it twice – once from the South, from Andalusia (Spain – 1492), and a second time from the East, when it knocked several times on the door of Athens (1830). (…) I maintain that the conquest this time will not be by the sword but by preaching and ideology. (Youssef Al-Qaradawi on islamonline.net in 2002 – Excerpt archived on MEMRI)
What remains, then, is (…) the second part of the omen: «The city of (Constantinople / Islanbul) will be conquered first (1453),” so what remains is to conquer Rome. This means that Islam will come back to Europe for the third time, after it was expelled from it twice (…) Conquest through Da’wa (proselytizing), that is what we hope for. We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword but through Da’wa. (Youssef Al-Qaradawi during a conference organised in 1995 by the Muslim Arab Youth Association in Toledo (Ohio) in United States – Excerpt archived on Investigative Project)
The mobilization of Muslims living in the West is critical for the success of the operation. Qaradawi explained that the Muslim Brotherhood must become the “soul of the body”, “the blood that runs through the veins” of the Muslim nation. He added that that the Muslim Brotherhood must increase its influence in the West to a level at which it will be able to “order (the Muslim nation) to move, stop, cry or keep silent, or turn right or left”. (Chapter 2, The Islamic Movement and the Masses; Chapter 4, A Nation Without a Leadership)
Since that moment when Qaradawi stressed the importance for the Muslim Brotherhood to assume leadership of the Muslims living in the West in 1990 until today, the Brotherhood has taken many steps toward this goal. Whoever wants to figure out the level of penetration that the Muslim Brotherhood has reached in Western governmental and non-governmental organisations need only examine the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report website (GMBDR).
Ramadan has described Qaradawi as a “prominent scholar” who has outlined the attitudes and the kind of behaviour that Muslims must adopt when they live in the West. He has also stated that he “deeply respect(s) the man and the scholar and that (he) would be the last one to deny it.” (Tariq Ramadan, Radical Reform, pp. 31 and 326; Aziz Zemouri and Tariq Ramadan, Faut-il faire taire Tariq Ramadan ? [Must we silence Tariq Ramadan?}, p.135 – Google Books)
As for Youssef Al-Qaradawi, he implicitly endorsed Ramadan’s conception of Islam by asking him in 2002 to preface his Recueil de fatwas (Compilation of Fatwas).
During the 2007 and 2008 trials of five Muslim Brotherhood leaders who were being charged in the United States for having organised the financing of terrorist activities in the Middle East, the prosecutors submitted an internal memorandum that had been produced by the organisation in 1991. Not only does the Brotherhood’s document provide a long list of North American organisations affiliated with the Islamist network, it states in crystal clear terms the mission pursued by Tariq Ramadan’s organisation in North America:
The Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) must understand that their work in America is 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 the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions…. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes.
Such is the mission of the Western intellectual class’s favorite “moderate Muslim,” Tariq Ramadan.