The tragic events over the last month or two leave open questions and issues surrounding the numerous lawless outbursts that seem to be occurring: Charlie Hebdo cartoonists are massacred; Boko Haram reportedly kills 2,000 in Nigeria; beheadings of American, British and Japanese nationals by ISIL are broadcast on You Tube; innumerable persecuted Christians are killed in Syria; Russia inks a new military alliance with Iran; and now the ousting of President Hadi’s regime in Yemen by Houthis, a group so radical that even Saudi Arabia deemed them dangerous terrorists…the list goes on and on. Many conservative pundits have theorized that a state of war exists with elements of radical Islam and other fascist regimes. They further posit that the failure of political leaders to address the issues from a wartime perspective puts us all at risk. These events leave the difficult question hanging in the air…is the world unofficially at war? And what might that mean to us at home here in the Crossroads of the West?
Many leaders in our newly re-crafted Congress have been enjoying a fair share of sound bites on national news programs lately. We hear such aphorisms as “we need to know our enemy” and “we have to recognize these acts for what they really are”. But what are they really? The “lawless acts of the few” as President Obama has stated; the isolated and random acts of violence of a few, isolated radical people with a brutal point to make? Or is there something broader and more insidious occurring? And after glossing over the issues in the State of the Union, will the White House even recognize the potential seriousness of accumulating events?
The facts surrounding these violent outbursts share a common theme. The perpetrators were unquestionably organized militants, not common criminals. Their actions were motivated by a clearly extremist Islamic agenda. They are, for the most part, well-armed, well-funded and well-trained with carefully thought out strategies. Is there adequate reason to view these events as acts of limited engagement in a broader context of war?
A conflict that has raged for decades, even centuries has returned to the forefront. Are the overall goals of radical Islam, including the imposition of Sharia law, a method of war on the rest of the world until submission to Islamic rule worldwide is obtained? The fact is that the word Jihad, used so often to describe and justify acts of barbarism, actually means “submission”. War, as we have typically defined it, usually involves the invasion of borders for the destruction or usurpation of the sovereignty of a nation. Is the imposition of Sharia and Jihad a different type of war, a war that seeks to arise from within the borders of the perceived enemy? Are we slow to recognize this type of conflict due to the fact it does not mimic the traditional European pattern of war?
The Islamization of Europe has been a documented fact for years now. It is projected with current demographic in-migration and reproduction rates that Europe will be dominated by majority Muslim populations as early as 2035. Reports are that 751 “no go zones” exist in France alone. These are areas of the country, actual footprints upon sovereign French ground, where exclusive Muslim populations have taken over, legally been allowed to implement Sharia law, and are not interfered with by French authorities. Such areas also exist in Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Italy and elsewhere. Critics level accusations that such political zones are a breeding ground for radical contingents. Unfortunately, such trains of thought seem to be increasingly valid.
But does the eventual expansion of a population that refuses to integrate into a larger society, seeks to superimpose their own law and culture and distinctly reinforce their perceived rights with violence constitute a war? It may simply be in the way you look at it. If the goal of Jihad is to eventually force all other countries and cultures into submission of Sharia rule, then there is ample justification for alarm. Even if the ground rules are not the same as conventional warfare defined by the West.
It is well documented that the perpetrators of such atrocities around the globe consider themselves “soldiers of Islam”. Even if one cannot point to a specific illegal violation of borders, there is unquestionably an effort to undermine the established sovereignty of nations in the name of a supposed higher mandate. However, political leaders in the West seem to hem and haw around the severity of the issue and continue to treat such occurrences as isolated examples of extremism, refusing to associate such events with a larger overall global movement or goal. Will an escalation of such events over time be necessary for our leadership to recognize these events for what they might actually represent? Or will the current trends of political correctness keep things complacent? Let us hope not.
And what of life here at home in America, and Utah in particular? We seem to be relatively safe since that tragic day in 2001. A little research would reveal several concerns. First, our borders are not well secured. It is well-known that illegals flowing across the Mexican border are not all from Mexico or South America. There is increasing news chatter, mostly internet based, that plots are being uncovered suggesting coordinated terrorist strikes at American targets and infrastructure similar to 9/11 but on a much larger scale. Rumblings of the planning of much broader and coordinated attacks on high-profile American financial and infrastructure targets seem very real based on reports being leaked out of our intelligence community. Do we have the resources to stay ahead of these alleged plots? Can the average Utahn imagine a day when an attack on our utility grid statewide is executed and we must exist for weeks, months or longer, without water, gas or electricity? Is our Governor and the local authorities under his watch alert and prepared for such unthinkable contingencies? Are we so naïve and complacent that we would believe such things just are not possible?
The fact of the matter is this, if even a small but significant percentage of Muslims worldwide believe in extremist applications of Jihad or the imposition of a worldwide caliphate, as many of their leaders have now openly professed, this will undoubtedly lead to escalation of violence across the globe. Without a serious coordinated effort to keep such insidious machinations in check, no place is truly safe, including our own back yard. It may be high time for leadership at the international, national and state levels to unite and address the issues based on a more urgent set of merits. If Jihad is indeed viewed by its supporters as a war on unbelievers (generally translated as a war on the West), only policy and preparation geared to countering such movements as coordinated acts of war versus isolated examples of extremism will likely ever have lasting success.