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Obama’s Top Counterterror Adviser’s Inability to Think Outside the Box Bodes Disaster

John Brennan, the man who recently defended jihad as a"legitimate tenet of Islam,” has come to to personify the misguided phenomenon of westernizing Islamic concepts.

Raymond Ibrahim


May 29, 2010 - 12:25 am
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Fox News continues:

Brennan defined the enemy as members of bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network and “its terrorist affiliates.” But Brennan argued that it would be “counterproductive” for the United States to use the term, as it would “play into the false perception” that the “murderers” leading war against the West are doing so in the name of a “holy cause.”

Fine, do define the enemy as members of bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network and “its terrorist affiliates,” but do also define the cause that binds these “terrorist affiliates” together in the first place. Of course, one need only read their writings to know that they adhere to one and the same cause — namely, the establishment of a hegemonic caliphate that governs the world according to Sharia. As for Brennan calling the terrorist affiliates “murderers,” would he also be willing to apply that epithet to their prophet Muhammad, who was wont to send assassins to, well, murder his critics, including poets and one old woman whose body was dismembered by her Muslim assailants — assailants who were no less convinced that they were involved in a “holy cause” than were the 9/11 hijackers?

It should be further noted that this tendency to project one’s own cultural norms of right and wrong onto others is the height of arrogance and ethnocentrism — precisely what liberals always warn against. Yet the irony is that “open-minded” proponents of cultural relativism and respect for “the other” are also the ones most prone to westernizing Islam. When Brennan insists that jihadists are really not motivated by religion but rather are products of “political, economic and social forces,” is his position — that jihadists are just like us, they just don’t know it yet — not the height of cultural arrogance?

In the end, Brennan is not all to blame. After all, though he and I were both born and raised in North Bergen, New Jersey, my dual Middle-East/Western background gives me the advantage to understand both the Islamicate and American mindsets equally. No, seems the greater blame lies with the president who used to denounce ignorance and arrogance as leading us astray — only to hire a counterterror adviser who epitomizes both.

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Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings have appeared in a variety of media, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, World Almanac of Islamism, and Chronicle of Higher Education; he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Blaze TV, and CBN. Ibrahim regularly speaks publicly, briefs governmental agencies, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and testifies before Congress. He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center; Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow, Middle East Forum; and a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution, 2013. Ibrahim’s dual-background -- born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East -- has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.
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