Our study does not perfectly replicate the Team B work of a generation ago. We have not been encouraged by our government, which, under administrations of both parties, has been immovably content to wear its blinders. Nor have we been invited to review classified information. These, however, have hardly been insuperable obstacles. What Americans need to know is ready to hand in the public record. The problem isn't access to information, it is coming to grips with what available information portends for our security.
Shariah is the crucial fault line of Islam's internecine struggle. On one side of the divide are Muslim reformers and authentic moderates - figures like Abdurrahman Wahid, the late president of Indonesia and leader of the world's largest liberal Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama - who embrace the Enlightenment's veneration of reason and, in particular, its separation of the spiritual and secular realms. On that side of the divide, Shariah is defined as but a reference point for a Muslim's personal conduct, not a corpus to be imposed on the life of a pluralistic society.
The other side of the divide is dominated by "Islamists," who are Muslim supremacists. Like erstwhile proponents of communism and Nazism, these supremacists - some terrorists, others employing stealthier means - seek to impose a global theocratic and authoritarian regime, called a caliphate. On this side of the divide, Shariah is a compulsory system that Muslims are obliged to wage jihad to install and to which the rest of the world is required to submit.
For these ideologues, Shariah is not a private matter. They see the West as an infidel enemy to be conquered, not a culture and civilization to be embraced or at least tolerated. It is impossible, they maintain, for alternative legal systems and forms of government like ours to coexist peacefully with the end-state they seek.
It is not the burden of our study to broker competing claims about which side of the Shariah divide represents the "true Islam." There are approximately 1.4 billion Muslims in the world, and their understandings about their belief system, as well as their practices with respect to it, vary widely. There may not be a single "true Islam." If there is one, we do not presume to pronounce what it holds.
What cannot be denied credibly, however, is that Shariah is firmly rooted in Islam's doctrinal texts, and it is favored by influential Islamic commentators, institutions, traditions and academic centers. For more than a half-century, moreover, Shariah Islam has been financed lavishly and propagated by Islamic governmental entities (particularly Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Organization of the Islamic Conference) through the offices of disciplined international organizations, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. We know from an internal 1991 memorandum authored by one of the Brotherhood's U.S. leaders that its mission is a "grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house."
...Most important, we must protect our way of life regardless of the ultimate resolution of Islam's internal strife. We can do a far better job of empowering non-Shariah-adherent Muslims who are our natural allies, but we cannot win for them - they have to do that for themselves. Irrespective of whether they succeed in the herculean task of delegitimizing Shariah globally, we must face it down in the United States, throughout the West and wherever on Earth it launches violent or ideological offensives against us.
If we are to face down Shariah, however, we must understand what we are up against, not simply hope that dialogue and "engagement" will make the challenge go away. The brute fact is that Shariah adherents perforce support objectives that are incompatible with the U.S. Constitution, the civil rights it guarantees and the representative government it authorizes. Our security depends on confronting them, not sitting silent as they gradually efface our liberties.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
...According to an article published today, by R. James Woolsey, Andrew C. McCarthy and Harry E. Soyster: