Could Vladimir Putin Be As Clueless As Joe Biden?

Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, the Western intelligentsia has been busy portraying Vladimir Putin as a man who, unlike, say Lyin’ Joe Biden or Rachel Levine or your local drag queen, has transgressed all the bounds of decency. He’s an authoritarian. He’s an imperialist. He’s an autocrat. He’s a new Hitler. 


But while the media and numerous government officials have not hesitated to portray Putin as evil incarnate, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone claiming that he is stupid. Few people, if anyone, doubt that he is as shrewd as he is ruthless, as thoughtful as he is menacing. Putin himself, however, has just put a massive dent in his fearsome reputation with his response to the ISIS attack in Russia.

When the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for Friday’s jihad terror attack in Moscow, in which the death toll is currently 139, its claim met with widespread skepticism. ISIS issued a statement boasting that “the Islamic State dealt a strong blow to Russia with a bloody attack, the most violent targeting it in years.” It added that “security sources told Amaq Agency that a coordinated attack was launched by Islamic State fighters, on Friday, on a large crowd of Christians in the city of Krasnogorsk on the outskirts of the capital, Moscow.” Amaq Agency is ISIS’ mouthpiece for its announcements of various jihad activities.  

Despite this, however, the usual suspects of conspiracy paranoia, notably the CIA and Mossad, were accused on social media of being the real culprits. And Putin himself, in his initial statement on the attack, blamed the massacre on “international terrorism” but didn’t mention ISIS and suggested that Ukraine had something to do with it: “They tried to hide and moved towards Ukraine, where, according to preliminary data, a window was prepared for them on the Ukrainian side to cross the state border."


On Monday, however, Putin issued another statement, in which he acknowledged the truth he had skirted previously: “We know that the crime was committed by radical Islamists, whose ideology the Islamic world itself has been fighting for centuries.” Really, Vlad? Where? 

As "The History of Jihad" demonstrates, one constant amid 1,400 years of jihad warfare around the world was that there was never any pushback from within the Islamic world. In all the centuries of jihad warfare and bloody jihad conquest, there was never an Islamic group dedicated to fighting against “radical Islamists” and showing that Islam is a religion of peace. There were never even any protests until a handful of Muslims began standing against jihad terrorism in the modern West.

Putin wasn’t finished. He asked, “And how do radical Islamists, who position themselves, by the way, as devout Muslims, professing so-called pure Islam, commit serious atrocities and crimes during the holy month of Ramadan for all Muslims?” Well, Mr. Putin, it’s like this: Ramadan is the month in which Muslims are supposed to redouble their efforts to please Allah. A hadith has a Muslim asking Muhammad: “Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward).” Muhammad replied, “I do not find such a deed.” (Bukhari 4.52.44) So if there is no greater deed than jihad, and Ramadan is the month to do great deeds for Allah, Ramadan is the month of jihad.


Many Muslim authorities have said as much. In April 2022, the Palestinian Authority’s Supreme Sharia Judge, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, declared that “Ramadan is not a month of laziness but rather a month of activity, of effort, and of hard work, and as it also was in the life of the Prophet, a month of jihad, conquest, and victory.” The jihad he had in mind was violence against unbelievers, as a Muslim cleric in India, Maulana Bashir Ahmad Khaki, made clear in 2018: “Ramadan is the pious month of ‘Jihad-o-Qital’ (Jihad and killing). Those who attain martyrdom while waging Jihad, doors of heaven remain open.” In 2012, a jihad group in Bulgaria explained that “Ramadan is a month of holy war and death for Allah. It is a month for fighting the enemies of Allah and God’s messenger, the Jews and their American facilitators.” 

      Related: Are You Ready for a Major Jihad Attack in the U.S.? Because It's Coming.

So is Vladimir Putin retreating into Bidenesque, FBI-style denial and willful ignorance regarding the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat? It certainly seems as if he is. After all, he has restive Muslim populations in Chechnya and elsewhere in Russia, and he doesn’t want them to get the idea that their ruler is an “Islamophobe.” And as Russia continues to cultivate relationships with the Islamic Republic of Iran and other Islamic entities, it would be poor business sense to risk saying something that might ruffle the ever-so-easily ruffled feathers of the motherland’s partners.


That means that just as in the West, Russia’s most respected foreign policy analysts will continue to look everywhere except in Islam for the motivating ideology behind the massacre in Moscow and so many others. The jihadis, meanwhile, will keep plotting more bloodshed and murder.


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