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"Holy War", too, is War


From: Christ in der Gegenwart, 38/2010, P. 419 et sequ.
webmaster's own, not authorized translation


    In discussing the inculturation and integration of Muslims, the separate world - but dangerous reality - of the home-grown "jihadists" should not naively left out of account.


At present, more than 400 extremely radical Islamic fanatics live in Germany and pose a serious risk of attacks. This has just been made public by the Federal Criminal Police Office (cf. CIG No. 37, p. 410). According to it, a hard core of hundred to two hundred people is already ready for terrorist actions. To these must be added three hundred others who - although they as leaders become hardly visible - nevertheless knit the network, organize, and take care of financial resources and technical and logistical tasks. More than two hundred people who come from Germany have already received a paramilitary training in training camps between Pakistan and Afghanistan, in Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. More than 350 preliminary inquiries are pending.

According to the findings of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution even far more, namely about 3000 people work in the vicinity of the activists of "holy war", of jihad. Of the approximately four million Muslims in Germany about 32.000 are classified as extremist, with varying degrees. Of the 2900 mosques in the Federal Republic hundred are under suspicion of terrorist or corresponding rabble-rousing activities. This was reported by the Deputy Director of the Institute for Terrorism Research and Security Policy in Essen, Kai Hirschmann. In an illuminating article of the "International Information" of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation (8/2010) he points out that it is admittedly an "absolute minority" phenomenon. However, it should be noted that in recent years "the cases of jihadist fanatics from Germany are increasing in number." Particular attention is given to the angry young men who were born or grew up here and come from Muslim immigrant families. People who have converted to Islam are noticeably recruited, among them more and more women. It is said that in our western region one out of five "holy warriors" prepared to use violence is a convert. It is no longer necessary to smuggle in Islamic terrorists from outside, they come from our very midst. An English technical term refers to them as "home-grown Jihadists", which roughly means self-cultivated, local jihadists.


From Party into Paradise

Based on international studies, inter alia from Britain, Hirschmann says about this phenomenon, a large number of those new Islamic warriors come from families that do rather laxly or not at all practise their traditional religion. Not a few have a completely secular background. They lived in families of the higher middle or even upper class, pursued a profession or studied, and were socially integrated, often even in the third immigrant generation. This sheds a light of its own on the current integration debate. For integration per se does obviously in no way protect from a possible radicalization.

The change to fanaticism takes place mostly between the ages of 15 and 35. It can be connected with life crises, or with conflicts in the school, academic and professional career or in the family of origin. The break of a love relationship or a divorce may also trigger many a deep spiritual change. For it is about such a change, and not about a mere politicisation. Almost all of them become fighters not for the sake of a just secular matter but for God, faith, and religion. Many are looking for an alternative to the up to now rather thoughtless life. Four months after his turn to Islam, the German convert and jihadist Eric Breininger from Neunkirchen, who was shot and killed in the end of April in a combat with Pakistani soldiers in the region bordering Afghanistan, wrote in his diary, "I just lived the life that a teenager in the Western world wants to live. However, I could not explain the sense of being." A Pakistani colleague at a logistics company had led him to faith, after he had in his youth chosen the "way of the accursed Satan, spent his time with women, celebrated parties, and done many other bad things." In a terror promo spread via internet he said in 2008, "When you love God and His Messenger then join jihad, because this is the way to paradise." Thus, it is basically about the conversion to God, the search for the true, pure faith. Hirschmann: "Fundamentalists see themselves in the midst of a 'religious war'. Their interpretation of faith, which is considered to be the sole truth, has to be defended. Their own interpretation and beliefs are regarded as 'willed by God', and their own 'good belief' must be separated from the 'bad one'."

This deeply religious motivation should be recognized. It should not be hushed and separated as merely political, as often happens. This can e.g. also be seen in the fact that in our irreligious milieu the term 'Islamist' is often used for those radical Muslims, as if they were not members of Islam. This artificial term, however, does not take seriously the self-conception of those men and women who as jihadists want deliberately to wage a real and not just spiritual war. They regard themselves as defenders of Islam, of the true Islam - and not as an exotic group, which could be separated from Islam and be put in a different mental world. It is even possible that the European-American effort to demarcate Islamism from Islam is based on a typical secularist delusion. We refuse to believe some thing that is not allowed to exist; namely that even today, in the third millennium, human beings want to fight militarily with life and limb for God and for eternal life - the paradise. Even with all available weapons, they stand up for what according to their viewpoint is true, good and beautiful. Here the Western view is subject to a serious fallacy, a delusion when it believes that this was not a "religious war". It precariously underestimates the vast intellectual potential that exists already in the origins of the Islamic faith for this kind of jihad.


Founder of Religion and Warlord

For Jihad does not only mean - what is time and again emphasized by many Muslim and non-Muslim interpreters of the Koran - something spiritual; namely that you must strive in your heart, must struggle and fight with yourself in order to please God. On the contrary, it involves holistic initiatives up to the use of force, at least in the orientation of many influential imams and their docile disciples. Here, the "Holy War" is also real war, in its most literal meaning.



These facts should not be glossed over, not be softened. Today's Islam participates here in a long tradition. Here, the historic origin is perfectly smoothly taken up by the reception history; especially the fact that Mohammed - in stark contrast for instance to the pacifist Jesus - was as founder of a religion a warlord who imposed his religious insights upon other tribes, resp. 'infidels' by force of arms. Movements, institutions, ideas, religions are in the long run shaped by their origins, even if they might be "spiritualized" in the course of time. For the simple reason that this has historically been always the case, many non-Muslims understandably continue to have a deep-seated distrust of Islam, even if they know many Muslim neighbours to be very amiable, peaceful, God-fearing and competent people. The permanent assertion that Islam means peace - Salaam - does not help, as long as persecution of Christians, discrimination of dissenters, honor killings, assassinations, lapidation, cutting off hands, suppression of women, inflammatory speeches, etc. belong to the repertoire of Muslim faith and scholarship.


Muslim High Society

Actually, the vast majority of the attacks of the jihadists is directed at their religious brothers and sisters, at Muslims. Ninety per cent of terrorist acts befall Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and other Arab or Islamic states. The "Holy War" has obviously to hit primarily those who as apostates have betrayed God. These preferably include the clans of Arab rulers, who live on the fat of the land, are corrupt, complacent and conceited, while their people continue to remain underdeveloped, and solidary support to development and progress is denied to the poor masses of the Islamic world. This false "elite" of the Muslim high society is an abomination for Muslim jihadist fighters, who feel called to be the true elite of God. Those who make deals with the corrupt West, with the "infidels", are exceedingly despised. Up to now, the wrath of the jihadists is only secondarily directed against the Western nations. In the eyes of those fanatics the West is morally degenerated, arrogant, godless - and essentially shares responsibility for the subjugation of Muslim peoples, not only since the Crusades.

As God-sent avengers of the "Wretched of the Earth", the jihadists consider themselves to be taken into the saving work of God as His willing executors. The willpower of the warriors of God comes from here, and not from a merely secular ideology. They do not fear death, because they expect eternal life. They see themselves as defenders, not as attackers. In this view, their "holy war" is defence and not a war of aggression. Instead, the attack on Islam would rather come from outside. That's why the appeals for peace of the Islamic authorities, as e.g. those of the late Grand Sheikh Tantawi of Cairo's Al-Azhar University, are always so ambivalent, because the scholars on the one hand admittedly condemn terrorism against innocent people, but on the other hand they justify the war of defense. What they do is in the eyes of the jihadists not criminal but pleasing to God.

The "holy warriors" - the terrorism expert notes - "segregate themselves and accept that they are rejected and persecuted by the majority. They are of the opinion that this belongs to their pioneering role in the name of faith." From the entire Muslim world community - the Ummah - volunteers are to be brought together as elite and vanguard, in order to "fulfil their religious duties as international mujahideen by defending Islam against its enemies and their attacks." For it the persons involved accept long ways full of privation: from learning Arabic over intensive studies of Koran up to the use of arms.

The sharpest weapon of the global organization, the informative networking, and recruitment is the Internet, which has interestingly been invented and made available by the Americans. It is already the terrible irony of history that the Western alliance has admittedly been bombing Afghanistan but the worst activists grow up in our midst as "Homegrown Jihadists". For flying an aircraft into the World Trade Center no bombs or machine guns were needed, at the most a pocket knife. Mohammed Atta learned his terrorist method not in jihad camps in Asia, but in flight training schools in the middle of the United States. The new terrorists have no foreign but domestic passports: German, British, Spanish, French, American, etc. Like ordinary innocent citizens, they often live incognito here and there; they go now to this and then to that place. Nobody in Washington would, similar to Afghanistan, think of intervening in Germany, France, England etc. or even of bombarding these friendly countries with missiles, although the real danger of the future will probably come from here. This shows again how absurd this military action in the Middle East was and is. It has not brought about more peace but more dispeace and provocation. Its result is that now the network Al Qaeda is much faster and more effectively decentralized and globally cross-linked. Not even the rhetorical propaganda target to catch and checkmate Osama bin Laden has been achieved after nine years of fighting.


Camouflage with Pork

Germany is defended in the Hindu Kush? The "Homegrown Jihadists" show us the absurdity of this phrase. No, Germany is defended in Germany! Many people are confused and wonder as to why the government does not more forcefully, faster and more sharply take action against suspicious mosques and putative jihadists. Does the constitutional state, whose "weakness" these people find funny and take advantage of with legal tricks, rather protect criminals than its citizens? If one can trust the publications of the German Federal Criminal Office and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the greatest international threat to Germany comes now from Germany itself, because the camouflage of the local "jihadists" is effective. The deception maneuvers are considerable. In order to remain unsuspicious as radical Muslims who were recruited as terrorist, the leaders even advise to adapt to the local lifestyle, eat pork, drink alcohol, lead a sexually licentious life, and wear the hated jeans as a symbol of Satanic America. Disguise as a strategy for mass murder. And that is where, as the political scientist Bassam Tibi has examined among other things, that tradition of Taqiyya (caution, fear) comes in, according to which in emergency situations the Koran recommends to conceal one's faith and to pretend.

A threatening video of Bekkay Harrach alias "Abu Talha, the German", entitled "A rescue package for Germany", shows how inhuman and tremendous the cynicism of the zealots is. Among other things it says, "Our nuclear bomb is a car bomb. Every Muslim can be it." And, "The Taliban and Al Qaeda are like a prime number. It is divisible only by 1 and itself."

Such violent criminals are not "insane". They are often highly intelligent; they act rationally, logically, coolly. They can only be fought with the most energetic means. The intellectual, human jihad against the real violent jihad can only be conducted by the Muslims themselves as a kind of self-enlightenment: by rethinking, demythologizing, purifying and spiritually deepening their beliefs. Only Muslims are able - with their responsible scholars - to lead the zealots in their ranks from a "God Delusion" to God, and to worship the Holy with respect for the Holy of members of other faiths, who are anything but "infidels." What will prove to be a support for our state in the competition of ideas and aims in life depends reversely on the intellectual and religious strength of our very own culture, and on the power of a convincing Christian life. Those who neglect or throw away their 'Leitkultur' [defining culture], which was once shaped by Christianity, should not be surprised if it is worn out and loses its plausibility. For our ancestors the foreign Christian faith has once become a native, familiar faith. A society wanting to see that the Christian heritage develops together with the culture that is based on it must collectively and individually invest something for it: curiosity, passion, and above all religious reflection. The Islam issue of integration, too, is not merely a pragmatic, social, political, educational, secular issue, but an essentially religious one.


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