About Jihad, Part III: On Dissimulation

February 14, 2008 at 12:30 am (Islam, Islamism, Religion)

On Dissimulation

A number of people who know about jihad by force ask why the facts about jihad, especially jihad by force, are not made clear by Muslims and scholars of Islam, why misrepresentations abound rather than the truths thereof. There are three reasons for this: strategic dissimulation, ignorance, and embarrassment. Let us look at each in reverse order.

When confronted with Western or secular values and standards which they agree with, Muslims feel embarrassed by jihad by force. They also view it as barbaric and out of date. They want to diminish, if not eliminate, the importance or relevance of jihad by force in Islam today and are quite embarrassed by those who engage in jihad by force or who support or facilitate it. As such, they buy the arguments made to explain away jihad by force.

There are those also who believe in jihad by force but are embarrassed by it in front of non-Muslims. So whereas they may not entirely believe the arguments explaining away jihad by force, they use them to alleviate their embarrassment. But such as these should not be lumped together with those who engage in strategic dissimulation, about whom there will be more soon.

Then there are those who truly do not know the truth about jihad by force in Islam. Either they were taught divergent views or were taught one view, which was normative and accepted by others around that person.

Finding out the rules of jihad by force is not easy anyway. Whom should one read or listen to? Which of the rules are applicable now and which are not? How do the rules of jihad by force square with Islamic history, what with periods of war and periods of complacency? As such, it’s easier to go along with whatever the rest are saying; there are more important things to do than to sit with boring books on the shari’ah of jihad by force. In any case the arguments explaining away jihad by force are persuasive enough and make enough sense to be accepted without much ado or doubt.

The third group consists of those who use dissimulation as a strategy in the greater effort to help Islam win. This dissimulation deflects attention away from jihad by force–asking others, in effect, to accept that the elephant in the room does not exist so that the elephant can, in due time, trample everyone flat. This dissimulation also enhances Islam’s image and provide for good PR: more people are tolerant of Islam and Muslims, more people are receptive to Islam, more people are made to spread good things about Islam. Whether these explanations are true or false doesn’t matter. What matters is that they work.

Of course, this strategic dissimulation plays another rôle. By convincing others that jihad by force is no longer an essential element of Islam, two things happen. One is that non-Muslims effectively ignore attempts or preparations to wage jihad by force, giving the Muslims a strategic advantage. The other thing is that non-Muslims stop pressuring Muslims to crack down on jihad by force, allowing Muslims to wage jihad by force or prepare for it with impunity.

These are some people who use the very convenient excuses made about jihad by force or that dismiss it as a reality. Indeed, one tactic has been to accuse elements in the West (further accused of being anti-Islamic) of misrepresenting events and plots as being part of jihad when such events and plots are not. Some people believe this: they believe that some of these jihadi organizations are either misrepresented by Western media and officials or are plants by anti-Islamic officials to discredit Islam. The reality is that they don’t want anyone to know about what they are up to, jihad by force wise; evidence of this is their treatment of those who have exposed the truth of jihad by force by and among Muslims.

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