Islamist militant organizations: remember what they are

July 21, 2006 at 1:55 am (Islam, Islamism, Middle East, Palestinian Territories, Religion, South Asia)

A common feature of many Islamist militant organizations is embracing a wide variety of activities. In addition to preaching jihad, recruiting militants, and waging jihad, they also build and operate schools, hospitals, public welfare facilities, mosques, and other amenities.

However, one ought to be careful: one should not think, “They fight, yes, but then they build schools and teach kids. They do good and bad.” Even the supposedly good deeds share their evil intentions. They build schools. Considering most of these organizations are seen as fundamentalist (and, therefore, evidently following the true precepts of Islam), they have an aura, if you will, of legitimacy and respectability. When they build a school, the locals will think a number of things:
a. Isn’t it nice that [organization] is building schools while our government ignores our needs? (The organization will mention such as well: we did this and that while the government did nothing for you.)
b. It is a good deed to build a school. [Organization] must be good indeed.
c. [Organization] does good deeds. It also follows Islam very meticulously. They must be very pious and good Muslims indeed.
d. Now that [organization] has built a school and is, undoubtedly, honorable and good, I will send my child there. Better than the government schools, if any exist.

These schools are not your regular “let us learn mathematics and geography and science and social studies” schools. Some, like Tālibān’s madrassas in South Asia, are established especially for Islamic topics. Mundane topics that can be of no help to Islam or jihad are not taught. In any case, these schools are used to indoctrinate the children to create a new generation of fanatic members for the organization. The propaganda they teach is truly abominable, and is one reason why peace between Islamists and moderate Muslims, Islamists and non-Islamist governments, Islamists and the West will be impossible.

Hospitals can be used to treat the local people, to treat injured militants, and as a front from money laundering, fund-raising, and other activities in support of the organization’s jihad. In some cases, they can be used to create, store, or use weapons and other materiel. Palestinians, for example, are well known for smuggling suicide vests in ambulances.

Other local amenities may be established in order to win popular good-will. This acts as a deterrence to government intrusion: the people will accuse the government of cracking down on the Islamists because they oppose the government (and because the government, being a lackey for Americans and Zionists, hates Islam and wants to stifle it) rather than because of the government-issued reason that the targetted organization is a terrorist organization. How can an organization that provides electricity or water be a terrorist organization?

The most ominous, and the most difficult for governments to deal with, are the organizations’ mosques. The organizations will conduct fund-raising drives for their mosques; they will build the mosques; they will staff the mosques; they will operate the mosques; they will provide all the services that a mosque is supposed to; they will continue to solicit funds for their mosques’ upkeep, operation, renovation, expansion, et cetera. These mosques are their operations centers, weapons storage facilities, indoctrination facilities (many mosques have schools or classes associated or attached to them), local command centers, hide-outs, and so on. The organizations’ membership’s activities revolve around the mosque. This is a wise and useful policy for them: if the government, or any other force, try to move against a mosque (to search it, to detain militants, to demolish it, et cetera), the organization can expertly use propaganda against the government, stirring the people’s anger against the government. They will say that the Islam-hating government is targetting such Islam-loving facilities, violating the sanctity of such sacred buildings. The organization will of course deny that they are abusing the mosque’s sanctity for their own purposes. But what other choice does a government or defending force have when militants launch rockets and missiles from the mosque’s courtyard or when they are used to coordinate attacks or store weaponry and materiel?

There are some who will say that certain Islamist organizations–for example, the Muslim Brotherhood (Arabic: الاخوان المسلمین, al-ikhwān al-muslimīn; literally, “the Muslim Brothers”)–that are divided into a number of sections. One section is involved in politics, one section is involved in community welfare, one section is involved in education, one section is involved in mosque-building, one section is involved in fund-raising and financial management, one section is involved in offensive and defensive protection, and so on. So while one section may conduct terrorist attacks, this does not mean other sections were/are involved. Even if this is true, which may or may not be the case, I reject such a characterization that certain acitivities of a militant organization are uninvolved with other activities. The entire organization usually embraces a paradigm, which paradigm permits militancy and terrorism, and so every aspect of the organization is tainted with its association with terrorism and militancy. Every aspect of the organization is tainted by its association with the organization’s evil deeds: this may be because other aspects are used to support or hide their terrorism or because they are part of the organization’s terrorism-permitting (if not encouraging) paradigm.

Governments and international bodies are justifiably hesitant to crack down on certain Islamist terrorist groups because of their supposed good deeds. Cracking down on Ḥamās just because some members engage in terrorism is seeing as punishing those members who do good deeds. This is seen as unfair. Some may argue that although parts of Ḥamās engages in terrorism, because Ḥamās doesn’t exist solely for terrorism, it is not a terrorist organization. This is most especialy evident in why people donate to Ḥamās: some may do it to support Ḥamās’s terrorism, others may do it to support its schools, hospitals, services, et cetera. But this should not matter: any donation to a terrorist organization supports that organization’s terrorism. One cannot be sure their donation for the organization’s schools or hospitals will, indeed, go to their schools and hospitals. As it is, there are plenty of “charities” established that lie about their purpose and funnel money to terrorist organizations. Furthermore, these services, as good as they may seem on the surface, helps the organization’s terrorism in more indirect ways, as mentioned above. A terrorist organization’s school is used to help terrorism. No good whatsoever will come from supporting their schools.

These are important points to keep in mind when we and they discuss these organizations. We must not let them–the organizations and their supporters–try to mislead or fool us.

(This post was inspired by “Question of the Day” by Laurence Simon of IMAO.)

1 Comment

  1. Christopher Taylor said,

    Sure, they have to do this stuff to get the locals to like them and to get the international community off their backs. But note, while Arafat did some of this, he got stinking rich in the process, so he was skimming quite a bit. Mobsters used to do this all the time, they’d donate and build things and help people… while murdering, running prostitution and numbers, etc.

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