Then there is the immensely “charismatic” Ayatollah Khomeini — the original poster-boy of radical Islam, who transformed once secular Iran into a fundamentalist theocracy. Over twenty years after his death, Iran is more radical than ever, and on its way to becoming a nuclear power with eschatological visions of glorious “martyrdom.”
One can go on and on. For example, after Hamas’ spiritual leader and founder, Sheikh Yassin, was assassinated, far from fizzling, Hamas grew in strength to the point that it now runs the Palestinian Authority.
Bana, Qutb, Khomeini, and Yassin are a meager sampling of Islamist leaders that have come and gone in this century alone. Were one to go further back in time, the continuum of history would unequivocally prove the existentialist nature of the threat.
Throughout the centuries, “charismatic ideologues” — like Ibn Abdul Wahhab (18th century), Ibn Taymiyya (14th century), and Ibn Hanbal (9th century)— have preached the jihad; and any of these Muslim leaders would make bin Laden look like a sissy. Indeed, if one doesn’t mind being labeled an “Islamophobe,” one could trace jihad back to the origins of Islam in the 7th century, to the prophet Muhammad, who once proclaimed: “I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah.”
Yet all of them — including the revered prophet of Allah — came and went. And still the jihad rages on.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, now al-Qaeda’s de facto leader, once summarized this phenomenon well. Asked in an interview about the status of bin Laden and the Taliban’s Mullah Omar, he confidently replied:
Jihad in the path of Allah is greater than any individual or organization. It is a struggle between Truth and Falsehood, until Allah Almighty inherits the earth and those who live in it. Mullah Muhammad Omar and Sheikh Osama bin Laden — may Allah protect them from all evil — are merely two soldiers of Islam in the journey of jihad, while the struggle between Truth [Islam] and Falsehood [non-Islam] transcends time (The Al Qaeda Reader, p.182).
How terribly myopic of mainstream analysts to conclude that the death of bin Laden — of one man—can in any way, shape, or form eliminate the threat of jihad, which has a fourteen-hundred year lineage. It is a sign of the times that the media’s most celebrated “experts” cannot — or will not — distinguish between cause and effect.
For our purposes, then, clearly the “chicken” (the cause, the idea) came first, producing many “eggs” (the effects, the believers). Even as we crack and fry up another jihadi-egg — an admittedly large one, bin Laden — the jihad-chicken runs wild, producing eggs around the globe, while the establishment refuses to acknowledge its existence.