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The Globalization of Jihad: From Islamist Resistance to War Against the West - A Clash of Civilizations

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It now appears that we are indeed headed for the sort of clash of civilizations that Samuel Huntington feared[11] – and not only a clash of civilizations but a clash of two conflicting ideas of democracy.

In the West, church and state are kept separate, and this division is seen as one of the essential bulwarks of democracy. Such a division is not possible in Islamic countries today. Scholars like Bernard Lewis have pointed to Turkey as the exception to that rule and held up the so-called “Turkish model” as one worthy of emulation throughout the region. But look at what is happening in Turkey today.

Today, the Turkish model is falling apart. Every election brings more and more religious candidates into power. Although these may appear more liberal and more open to the West, they are nonetheless increasing the role and power of religion in Turkish society. Thus, Turkey’s secular character is eroding. A sign of this is the law against adultery that Turkey tried to pass. The European Union threatened to reject Turkey’s application for membership if the law was enacted, so the government withdrew it. Who knows what will happen when Turkey actually becomes part of Europe?

In this, we see another reason why you cannot simply transplant Western democracy in the Muslim world. At best, your efforts to do so will be short-lived. More likely, you will simply aid the extremists in their efforts to win control of the nations of the region. When they do, the United States will face not only scattered terrorist cells, but whole armies operating under the control of anti-Western forces. This is why the United States should view its best interests as not allowing Islamists to take control of Arab countries like Egypt.

Moreover, America will again and again find itself facing the same dilemma it now faces in Palestine – either accepting the rule of the extremists as the legitimate electoral winners, or rejecting the outcome of democracy and providing the extremists with new recruits.

The process of true democratization in the Middle East will take a long time. Until then, the United States and its Western allies will continue to face the challenge of indigenous radicalism in the guise of Islamism.

In truth, there is no clash between Islam and the West, which is another way of saying a clash between Islam and Christianity. If that were the case, Muslims would be attacking the Christian communities in their own nations. While there are isolated conflicts along these lines, they have never been widespread, nor have they ever been a focus of the jihadist movement.

What we are witnessing instead is a clash between people with power and those without it. It is a conflict rooted in the history of colonialism and the perception of present-day imperialism. It is a conflict in which religion is simply a means to an end. We must recognize this if we are to understand the true nature of this so-called “jihad” and its increasingly global character.

It is no longer an Islamic issue, if indeed it ever was. Rather, it has become a more generalized struggle between ideologies, between haves and have-nots, between East and West. As such, the struggle of the jihadists has become a global struggle.

The globalization of this jihadist movement poses a serious threat to our domestic security. The threat is no longer restricted to Afghanistan or Iraq. It is no longer a centralized organization, but a decentralized movement that exists wherever Muslims have established communities – not only in the Middle East, but also throughout Europe and the United States. The leaders of al-Qaeda are finding ways to reach these disparate groups, either indirectly through their propaganda or directly with material support. Osama bin Laden’s latest recommendation to read “Rogue State” is a direct reflection of this, sending an obscure leftist, anti-imperialist tract to the top of’s list of most-ordered books.

Therefore I have a fear that, eventually, we will see Islamist violence spread not only to the cities of Europe, but also here at home. Make no mistake: The aim of the jihadists is to extend their power not only through Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Pakistan, but also through “Francistan,” “Londistan,” “Italistan,” “Switzeristan,” “Hollandistan” and even “Americastan.” That is the globalization of jihad.