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An Intro Study into the “Militant Ideology Atlas” Produced by the Combating Terrorism Institute at Wespoint

Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem

We praise Allah and thank Him for the blessings He has given us and we seek His forgiveness and ask for tawfiq for our endeavors and to bring His ummah back to His desired intent.

This think tank at Westpoint is an American Based think tank whose objectives is to clarify the intricate details of modern day terrorism. Refer to the following as to what they have stated about themselves and their mission.

MISSION

The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point contributes relevant scholarly perspectives through education, research and policy analysis to combat terrorist threats to the United States. We maintain expertise in four primary areas: terrorism, counterterrorism, homeland security, and weapons of mass destruction. By developing a curriculum of the highest quality, producing theoretically informed studies, and crafting relevant policy recommendations, we remain an internationally recognized center of excellence dedicated to the advancement of terrorism knowledge and expertise.

Our mission here at al-Mustaqeem Publications in this regard is to analyze their works regarding Islam or what they have labeled as “Islamism” and the people who defend their countries whom they have labeled as “jihadist” and correct the misrepresentations that they have embedded upon their readers in the academic field, God Willing.

We were hesitant to release a retrospective on some of the works brought forth at the “Combating Terrorism Center at Westpoint”. However, part of our endeavor and mission here at al-Mustaqeem is to express and show absurdity by either being absurd or exposing it. In this case we will merely expose it as is self explanatory to any Muslim, and for that matter any self conscience human whose knowledge of Islam and life has not been constricted under islamophobic western ideals.

This is a very brief overview such that the intent and purpose of this specific post is to humor our readers more so than to fully bring them into a case study.

Here is what they say in their summary

SUMMARY

The Militant Ideology Atlas identifies the most influential thinkers in the Jihadi Movement (see appendices) and delineates the movement’s key ideological vulnerabilities.*

It situates the Jihadi Movement within the various Muslim constituencies that Jihadi leaders seek to influence and persuade. These constituencies can be envisioned as a series of nesting circles (Diagram 1: Jihadi Constituencies). Each constituency is responsive to leaders in the broader constituencies of which it is a part, but each also has its own set of thinkers that are best positioned to influence their base.

The largest constituency is comprised of Muslims, people who follow the Qur’an and the example of Muhammad. This includes Sunnis (people who follow the example of the Prophet) and Shi`is (people who follow the example of the Prophet and his descendents through his son-in-law Ali), and ranges from secularists to fundamentalists. This constituency is much too broad to identify one or two individuals who shape opinion across the broad spectrum of Muslims.

The Jihadis lose credibility among mainstream Muslims when they attack women, children, and the elderly; damage the sources of a nation’s wealth (such as tourism and oil); kill other Muslims; and declare other Muslims apostates. Jihadi propaganda—which is designed to reclaim this lost credibility—can be countered with the following messages:

— Jihadis want a totalitarian system of government in which no one is allowed to think for themselves. Not even the Saudi government is strict enough. Anyone who does not share their understanding of Islam will be declared an apostate and executed. If you want to know what a Jihadi state will look like, contemplate the Taliban—the only state in recent memory that Jihadis consider to have been legitimately Islamic. 

However, dear readers, this is not the funny part. Since this is an “atlas” that means there must be “diagrams” involved in their “ideological deductions” of a religion they barely understand. Lets have a look at their first diagram

diagram-11

Without getting into several pages of  deciphering and pinpointing all the errors of this diagram, in a nutshell, if we are to explain to our readers this diagram, then in reality the outer layer is “not a layer of Islam at all”. Why? because the Muslims in the outer layer to them are nothing more than a bunch of heretical secularists, modernists, progressives, liberal oriented deniers of much of the religion in the name of “moderacy”. However, it should be pointed out here that even the most hretical of people like the secularists are not safe from the accusation of terrorism according to the wordings advocated by this very institute. At any rate, let us observe another humor as we have saved the best for last.

Observe what they say below about the most influential Islamic thinkers

MOST INFLUENTIAL THINKERS

Using a technique called “citation analysis,”

∗ the Militant Ideology Atlas identifies the most influential authors among Jihadi ideologues. A list of these authors is found in Appendix II: Most Cited Authors (modern Jihadi authors are highlighted in gray). A network representation of the data is found in Appendix I: Ideological Influence Map.

These authors are divided into two groups, medieval and modern.

Not surprisingly, the most influential medieval Muslim authors are largely scholars known for their conservative and uncompromising interpretations of Islamic law and theology. Most of these scholars are also highly influential among mainstream Salafis, which reinforces the notion that the Jihadi Movement is a violent subset of the broader Salafi Movement (largely indistinguishable today from Wahhabism). These authors, whom we call Medieval Authorities, are cited for two reasons. First, they are respected Islamic scholars among conservative Muslims, Salafi or not, so citing them provides religious and scholarly legitimacy to Jihadis’ arguments. Second, their conservative and often militant interpretations of Islamic law and history dovetail well with contemporary Jihadi arguments for violent revolution, as do their narrow delineations of proper Islamic belief and practice, which make it easy for contemporary Jihadis to excommunicate their rivals. A good case in point is Ibn Taymiyya, the most influential Medieval Authority. Aside from the Qur’an and the hadith (records of the Prophet’s words and actions), the fatwas by this 13/14th cent. AD jurist are by far the most popular texts for modern Jihadis, particularly his writings about the invading Mongols. These texts are important to the modern Jihadi movement because 1) Ibn Taymiyya is the most respected scholar among Salafis, 2) he crafted very good arguments to justify fighting a jihad against the foreign invaders, and 3) he argued that Mongol rulers who converted to Islam were not really Muslims. The last two arguments resonate well today with the global Jihadi agenda.

Again, before you read any further, brace yourself as you might actually fall on the ground in total laughter. This is their diagram about the Islamic “thinkers”

diagram-2

As a dear friend once told me, they would link you to the moon, and with this utter debacle of an atlas, I don’t think that nothing can match the spirit of this saying as this diagram. As is the case, God Willing, we will be monitoring these think tanks and bring forth some analysis to their studies.