It has come to my attention that a Joint Staff memorandum by Information Operations analyst Stephen Coughlin describing the nefarious aspirations of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Salafi-Wahhabi-al Qaeda look-alikes has been circulated in the anti-Terrorism community -- and includes patently false inferences that I am somehow in collaboration with these self-proclaimed "Death to America" killers and hate-mongers.
The outrageous charge is that my "Truespeak" efforts to promote a new truth-in-language glossary of terms for use in the "war of words" aspects of the broader War on al Qaeda-style Terrorism are being done in league with fomenters of suicide mass murder who, like Mr.Coughlin himself, insist on calling their atrocities "Jihadi Martyrdom" -- but which I propose to condemn as "Hirabah" (unholy war, forbidden "war against society") and as "Irhabi Murderdom" (terroristic genocide), instead.
And for this effort on my part to remove the self-sanctifying "holy guy" legitimacy from AQ-style and al Sadr-style terrorism, one of the DoD's active-duty interpreters (name withheld here for reasons of courtesy) of this Coughlin document has concluded that:
"Exceptionally important in the analysis is the role of the "Truespeak" organization and Jim Guirard who has been arguing in DoD circles and academic institutions that the term jihad should be suspended from the GWOT lexicon to be replaced by hirabah. This analysis demonstrates that "Truespeak" contributors are part of the Muslim Brotherhood threat network, with the implication that this entire communication and lexicon effort is part of a strategic disinformation and denial and deception campaign."
The truth of the matter is that while I am trying to undermine bin Ladenism's self-canonizing language of "Jihad by mujahideen and martyrs destined for Paradise as a glorious reward for killing all of us infidels and for destroying The Great Satan," it is Mr. Coughlin and others of his persuasion in the Government, the media, the universities and elsewhere who are busy parroting and promoting this perverse AQ and Muslim Brotherhood narrative as the true face of Islam -- rather than as a satanic deviancy and an apostasy toward that religion.
Contrary to current DoD, State and White House Doctrine, they seem to be arguing that the Real Enemy are not the Terrorists but Islam itself -- which is exactly the "war of religions" and the "America's War Against Islam" message that bin Laden is trying to sell in the Muslim World, as well. In the all-important "War of Ideas" and "War for Hearts, Minds and Souls," that does not sound to me like a very bright idea at all.
Some of these well-intentioned people -- who are probably as anti-AQ as I am -- cannot see the destructive illogic and even the "cognitive dissonance" of insistently defining bin Ladenism by exactly the same holy, godly and Paradise-bound labels by which UBL himself defines it -- as does the Salafi-Wahhabi-Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy throughout.
A Warning From Pat Moynihan and Fred Ikle
In this "war of words" context, the admonitions of the late, great Senator Pat Moynihan and of Dr. Fred Charles Ikle (President Reagan's Under SecDef for Policy) about the dangers of "semantic infiltration" are extremely relevant. As Senator Moynihan defined the term and the problem in the early 1980's:
"Simply put, semantic infiltration is the process whereby we come to adopt the language of our adversaries in describing political reality. The most totalitarian regimes in the world call themselves 'liberation movements.' ...[substitute AQ's "Jihadi Martyrdom"] ... It is perfectly predictable that they should misuse words to conceal their real nature. But must we aid them in that effort by repeating those words? Worse, do we begin to influence our own perceptions by using them?"
For my most recent truth-in-language and truth-in-Islam recommendations as to how we might avoid those elements of "semantic infiltration" which favor the Terrorists and their politico-religious support groups here and abroad, please take a look at two recent articles in the always excellent SmallWarsJournal.com website, as follows:
FIRST, a June 29, 2007 essay, entitled "David Kilcullen Calls for a New Lexicon," which can be found at the following URL -- and which lists and defines about a dozen Arabic and Islamic words which will finally begin to label the Terrorists as who they actually are, rather than as the "holy-guy martyrs" who Osama bin Laden and his ilk want them to be called.
SECOND, an August 7, 2007 essay, entitled "Gen. James Mattis -- Attacking The Al Qaeda Narrative," which is based on Gen. Mattis' recent charge that AQ Terrorism is nothing but "tyranny in false religious garb" and which proposes a powerfully negative counter narrative to bin Ladenism's self-sanctifying narrative of so-called "Jihadi Martyrdom" -- by turning it into "Irhabi (terroristic) Murderdom" with a hot ticket to Hellfire, instead.
ALSO, for a number of my earlier "war of words" and "war of ideas" essays published over the last three or four years in a variety of news outlets (including several in the DoD-funded Marshall Center's PTSS Daily Report from Garmish, Germany), please check my new Truespeak.org website.
Selected Scholarly and Clerical Quotations re "Hirabah"
Next, there is the matter of Mr. Coughlin's attacks on some of the quotations compiled in 2003-05 and cited in some of my writings. These are from a variety of Middle Eastern affairs experts and scholars of Islam in support of the "Hirabah" (unholy war, forbidden "war against society") by "mufsiduun" (evildoers, sinners, corrupters) destined for "Jahannam" (Eternal Hellfire) frame of reference -- which imagery, it seems to me, expresses a powerful and much needed disincentive to suicide mass murder.
Three or four of these quotes did, indeed, come from Muslim-American individuals who are clearly "suspect" to Mr. Coughlin -- who quite erroneously suspects me, as well !! -- but whose sharp words of condemnation for AQ-style terrorism may be quite accurate and quite usable by our PsyOp, Information Operations and Public Diplomacy experts, nonetheless.
And just because a valid and usable condemnation of Terrorism comes from some person or group whose anti-AQ bona fides are or once were questionable, this does not at all imply approval of or support for anything else that source might otherwise be doing. In fact, many of those organizations cited by Mr. Coughlin have been extensively investigated by Federal agencies and are in various stages of good-standing with the Government -- the Holy Land Foundation, Hizb ut-Tahrir, CAIR and the MAS being among those which are either "guilty" or at least deserving of more serious scrutiny than they have thus far received by those Agencies which have authority in such matters.
Indeed, the US Justice Department (which includes the FBI) had a major anti-terrorism booth at last week's annual convention of ISNA, the Islamic Society of North America -- from which one of the many quotations in support of the "Hirabah by mufsiduun" labeling came into my compendium about four years ago.
After all, are we not looking -- in a Reaganesque "trust but verify" fashion, to be sure -- for a few significant defectors from the Salafi-Wahhabi-Saudi funding empire? Might not some of these people now be —as faithful Muslims to revise their earlier thinking, to come to the defense of their own versions of Islam, and to oppose its wholesale take-over by UBL's, Hizballah's, al Sadr's and the Muslim Brotherhood's evildoers (mufsiduun), hypocrites (munafiquun) and Slaves of Satan (abd'al-Shaitan)?
A representative sampling of these quotes (some provided at my urging, some several years old with no guarantee that they would be repeated, some lifted from media reports but all sharply critical of terrorism in Islamic religious terms) are as follows:
DR. ABDUL HAKIM (a.k.a. SHERMAN JACKSON), of the University of Michigan, points out in a major article about al Qaeda-style terrorism in the Fall 2001 issue of Muslim World: "In the end, however, Hirabah assumes its place as an effective super-category hovering above the entire criminal law as a possible remedy to be pressed into service for the more sensational, heinous or terrifying manifestations of these and other crimes.
"In this capacity, Hirabah appears, again, to parallel the function of terrorism as an American legal category. Its function is not so much to define specific crimes but to provide a mechanism for heightening the scrutiny and/or level or pursuit and prosecution in certain cases of actual or potential public violence...
"In sum, we may conclude that it is terror, or the spreading of fear and helplessness, that lies at the heart of Hirabah. From this perspective, Hirabah speaks to the same basic issue as does terrorism in American law. As mentioned earlier, however, Hirabah actually goes beyond the FBI definition of terrorism, inasmuch as Hirabah covers both directed and coincidental spreading of fear.... Hirabah, as it turns out, is [once was and should become again] the most severely punished crime in Islam, carrying mandatory criminal sanctions."
PROF. AKBAR AHMED (Chair of Islamic Studies, American Univ.) "Properly understood, this is a war of ideas within Islam -- some of them faithful to authentic Islam, but some of them clearly un-Islamic and even blasphemous toward the peaceful and compassionate Allah of the Qur'an..... As a matter of truth-in-Islam, both the ideas and the actions they produce must be called what they actually are, beginning with the fact that al Qaeda's brand of suicide mass murder and its fomenting of hatred among races, religions and cultures do not constitute godly or holy "Jihad" -- but, in fact, constitute the heinous crime and sin of unholy "Hirabah"..... In its worst excesses, particularly in the wanton killing of innocents -- both non-Muslim and Muslim alike -- as a method of terrorizing the entire community, such ungodly "war against society" should be condemned as blasphemous and un-Islamic."
DR. AKHTAR EMON (President, Arabic Language Inst. Foundation) "Hirabah represents an Unholy War against innocent civilians. The truth stands clear from falsehood. Hirabah can never be confused as 'Jihad' (Holy War), as much as al-Qaeda would like to label their heinous acts against humanity as Jihad.... Hirabah is forbidden and sanctioned not only by the teachings of Qur'an, but also by the Bible and Torah -- all three Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) agree on this, and so also other major faiths such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Bahai's, and the New Age religions addressing "mind, body and soul".... TrueSpeak efforts are highly commendable in educating the world citizenry with truth-in-language and expanding the lexicon e.g., to distinguish a good guy with a bad guy (mufsidoon), a good act with an act of blasphemy (tajdeef), etc."
DR. SAYYID M. SYEED (Sec. General, Islamic Society of N. America, ISNA) "The Quran and the sayings of the prophet emphatically distinguish the term jihad from Hirabah, a destructive act of rebellion committed against God and mankind. Hirabah is an act of terrorism, a subversive act inflicted by an individual or a gang of individuals, breaking the established norms of peace, civic laws, treaties, agreements, moral and ethical codes.... Whereas different forms of jihad are highly commendable acts of virtue, Hirabah is recognized as a despicable crime. A mujahid (someone who performs acts of jihad) is respected and recognized as a person with high spiritual ranking in this life and promised paradise and eternal bliss in the hereafter. But individuals and groups indulging in Hirabah are condemned as criminals, subjected to severe deterrent punishments under Islamic law and warned of far more punishment and humiliation in the life after life."
DR. RADWAN A. MASMOUDI (President, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy) "The war against society and innocent civilians that Usama Ben Laden is calling for is not Jihad. To the contrary, it is a forbidden and un-Islamic war (Hirabah) which is counter to all the values and teachings of Islam. This is a crime against innocent civilians and therefore a crime against humanity. In Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), there is no justification for killing innocent people."
IMAM YAHYA HENDI (Muslim Imam, Georgetown University, interview, Feb. 7, 2003) -- "I believe that terrorism has no religion. And violence has no faith. Violence is violence, and terrorism is terrorism, whether they are conducted by Jews or Christians, Muslims, Baharis — any of those communities, and they have to be condemned. .... Any religion cannot support terrorism. But can a religion be used to promote terrorism? Of course. And I think all of our religious communities — within the Jewish community, within the Christian community, within the Muslim community — we all have done so. And that has to be rejected. ... I mean, the Arabic word for terrorism is hirabah. And it is a term that was developed about 1,000 years ago by Muslim jurists ... Hirabah means what I mentioned, the three types of terrorism, either [sponsored by] states, government or individuals ... And it was condemned by Islamic jurists those hundreds of years [ago]."
IMAM TAMMAM ADI, PhD. (Director, Islamic Cultural Ctr -- Eugene, Oregon): "International terrorism claims to be fighting a jihad against followers of the Gospel and the Torah, a jihad that ends in 'martyrdom,' despite murder and suicide. But this is a flawed understanding. Interestingly, the verse following the Quran's definition of mosque-exploiting Hirabah (9:111) defines true jihad and true martyrdom. It says that the Torah, the Gospel and the Quran all promise paradise to believers who fight, not against each other, but for God's cause (i.e., to defend the weak). The masterminds of international terrorism are not fighting a jihad, they are Hirabah thugs.......The Quran also speaks of international terrorism that exploits religion (9:107-110).
"False religious organizations are created only as outposts for terror masterminds (Hirabah veterans) who will sabotage and destabilize communities, cause faithlessness and insecurity and instigate clashes between faith communities, maybe so far as a clash of civilizations. Fortunately, the verses tell us that this plot is very fragile, built on the crumbling edge of a mud hill and bound to collapse with the plotters into Hell."
PROF. SEYYED HOSSEIN NASR (George Washington University Professor of Islamic Studies) "The usage of technical terms especially those with religious connotations must be done with the greatest care for such terms evoke the deepest responses in the human soul. In the present context of the world situation it is essential to understand the authentic meaning of such terms as Jihad, Shahada and Hirabah. It is important to understand the authentic Islamic interpretations of each term and to clarify where and how they can be used in a truthful manner. It is especially important to understand clearly the meaning of Jihad in all its different dimensions and its difference from Hirabah. To speak truthfully about such terms is itself a major step towards better understating between the Islamic world and the West and also within the Islamic world and deeper comprehension of crucial concepts and ideas and the nature of actions based upon them within the Islamic world itself."
PROF. KHALED ABOU EL FADL, Islamic legal scholar of UCLA and author of the highly esteemed book "Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law" (Cambridge University Press, 2001), clearly and authoritatively defines the sin and crime of Hirabah as "killing by stealth and targeting a defenseless victim in a way intended to cause terror in society."
And more recently in his highly acclaimed 2005 book, "The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists," Professor El Fadl points out that the al Qaeda-style killers and their apologists "entirely ignore the Qur'anic teaching that the act of destroying or spreading ruin on this earth is one of the gravest sins possible -- fasad fi al-ard, which means to corrupt the earth by destroying the beauty of creation.
"This is considered an ultimate act of blasphemy against God. Those who corrupt the earth by destroying lives, property and nature are designated as mufsiduun (corruptors and evildoers) who, in effect, wage war against God by dismantling the very fabric of existence... the crime is called Hirabah (waging war against society)."
Others also under attack -- and eventually Mattis and Petraeus, as well ???
Finally, please be aware that both in the Government sector and the media, not only I but several of my scholarly colleagues (Dr. Michael Waller of the Institute for World Politics, Dr. Doug Streussand of the Marine Corps Staff and Officers College, Col. Harry Tunnell of the National Defense University and, quite significantly, Dr. David Kilcullen while he was on General Petraeus' senior staff in Baghdad) have all been severely chastised for wandering off the "Jihadi Martyrdom" Reservation.
And sooner or later, both General David Petraeus and Marine Corps General Jim Mattis -- the two signatories of the new Counterinsurgency Field Manual -- are likely to be targeted. Both men are moving slowly and prudently toward challenging what Gen. Mattis calls the "false religious garb" in which AQ Terrorism is masking itself, and of doing so not in Western secular terms only but in Qur'an-compatible Islamic religious words, as well.
As these terms appear in one of the SmallWarsJournal.com articles recommended above, here are a baker's dozen of such terms -- which the S-W-MB-AQ conspiracy does not even want us to know, much less to begin using in stripping the pseudo-Islamic hides off of bin Ladenism and al Sadrism and their bloodthirsty killers.
Unfortunately, even after six years of this War on Terrorism, there is still no USG-designed and approved work-a-day glossary of Arabic and Islamic terms anywhere in the Government. This is primarily because any such glossary would have to include several sensitive Islamic religious words which, to date, we have chosen to avoid entirely rather than to use correctly.
Notice, please, that rather than removing the word "Jihad" from the New Lexicon as the DoD critics charge, I have included it FOUR TIMES -- with a simple appeal that when it is used at all, it should be used appropriately and truthfully and, when necessary, in quotation marks, rather than parroted in ways which polish bin Ladinism's halo and relegate us to the status of "infidels" and of "The Great Satan."
irhab (eer-HAB) -- Arabic for terrorism, thus enabling us to call the al Qaeda-style killers irhabis, irhabists and irhabiyoun rather than the so-called "jihadis" and "jihadists" and "mujahideen" and "shahids" (martyrs) they badly want to be called. (An appropriate use of this word changes AQ's "Jihadi Martyrdom" into "Irhabi (terroristic) Murderdom," instead.)
Hirabah (hee-RAH-bah) -- Unholy War and forbidden "war against society" or what we would today call crimes against humanity. Among the many al Qaeda-style crimes and sins which constitute this most "unholy war" are such willful, and unrepented transgressions as those enumerated in the next section of this proposed glossary of terms.
Jihad al Akbar (gee-HAHD ahl AHK-bar) -- this "Greater Jihad" is a personal and spiritual struggle or striving to become closer and more faithful to Allah and his teachings as set forth in the Qur'an.
Jihad al Saghir (gee-HAHD ahl sahg-HEER) -- "Lesser Jihad" can be a physical -- and even a military -- struggle to protect or to free Muslims and non-Muslims from oppression, but only in strict accordance with reasonable and non-terroristic standards set forth in the Qur'an, which provides that only the Caliph (or head-of-state?) can legally declare such a Jihad. Osama bin Laden is neither.
Jihad al Kabir (gee-HAHD ahl kha-BEER) -- the spiritual and intellectual quest to promote common knowledge of Divine Revelation through all of Islam's Prophets and to carry out ijtihad (consultative efforts throughout the Umma) in applying both Revelation and Natural Law -- and Reason -- to human affairs. (Taken to the extreme, even this essentially non-military version of the struggle is used to rationalize the worldwide Fascist-Left Caliphate envisioned by an imperialist and "istihlal" (playing God) Osama bin Laden.)
"Jihad" (gee-HAHD, so called) -- al Qaeda's false label for both Irhab and Hirabah, which is at heart an anti-Islamic, apostate and forbidden "war against society" and a clearly satanic assortment of "crimes against humanity."
mufsiduun (moof-see-DOON) -- Islam's word for evildoers, sinners and corrupters whose criminality and sinfulness, unless ended and sincerely repented, will incur Allah's ultimate condemnation on Judgment Day; this is Islam's optimum antonym for "mujahideen."
munafiquun (moon-ah-fee-KOON) -- hypocrites to Islam who pretend to be faithful to the Qur'an but who willfully violate many of its basic rules, mandates and prohibitions -- killing of innocents, fomenting suicide for purposes of intimidation, desecrating bodies, spreading hatred and envy, destroying other Muslims' mosques, issuing unauthorized fatwas, etc.
hizb (hizb) - a political party, as in Hizballah (Party of God), or as the senior Saudi cleric Sheik Jafar Hawali recently called this radical and arguably apostate Shi'a organization Hizb al-Shaitan (Party of Satan, Party of the Devil).
Jahannam (jyah-HAH-nahm) -- Islam's antonym for Paradise and meaning the Eternal Hellfire to which Allah on Judgment Day condemns unrepentant, unforgiven evildoers and hypocrites of the unholy war variety.
khawarij (kha-WAH-reej) -- outside-the-religion and outside-the-community deviants and activities; derived from the ancient al Qaeda-like militant Khawar or Kharajite cult, who were eventually suppressed and expelled as apostates and enemies of Islam.
istihlal (eesh-tee-LAHL) -- Islam's cardinal sin of "playing God," as Osama bin Laden is doing when he attempts to pervert Islam into his own murderous image, and turning it into nothing but a killing machine -- of all Christians, all Jews and all Muslims who disagree.
irtidad (eer-tee-TAHD) or ridda (REE-dah) -- apostasy, a certifiably correct conviction for which is often punishable by death in this life and by Allah's eternal damnation in the next, with al Qaeda's murderous extremism eventually to be labeled "The al Qaeda Apostasy."
takfir (tahk-FEER) -- the Wahhabi and al Qaeda-style practice of making false accusations of apostasy and disbelief toward Allah and the Qur'an. Radicals, absolutists and judgmental fanatics who engage in this divisive practice of false excommunication are called "takfiri."
Shaitan and shaitani (shy-TAHN and shy-TAHN-ee) -- Islam's Arabic words for Satan and satanic [example: Osama Abd'al-Shaitan, Osama Slave or Servant of Satan]
IN CONCLUSION, in reviewing these and other Arabic and Islamic terms, we should not imagine ourselves using them quickly, expertly, loudly or in a fashion of pontificating or of lecturing to any audience -- particularly Muslim audiences.
But we should at least understand them well enough -- one word at a time if necessary -- to know which ones will serve our purposes and which ones are to be avoided because they are preserving and enhancing the legitimacy of the "Irhabi Murderdom" likes of Osama bin Laden, Moqtada al-Sadr and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Only then can we begin designing strategies, operations and tactics which will, at long last, begin to define these hyena-like suicide mass murderers, rather than America and the West, as the real and everlasting enemies of authentic, Qur'anic Islam -- which, despite all of its many faults, the Terrorists are trying to pervert into something immeasurably worse: namely, nothing but a perpetual killing machine of all Christians, all Jews and all peaceful and compassionate Muslims who dare to disagree.
Assuming an effective use of the new words identified above, please imagine how difficult it would be for the IrhabiFascists to recruit the suicidal zealotry of young Muslims -- or the support of any faithful Muslims whatever -- once their forbidden Hirabah (Unholy War) and their de facto apostasy against a "peaceful, compassionate, merciful and just" Allah of the Qur'an have been recognized as such.
And even how much more difficult will their satanic mission become once the young suicide bombers are perceived -- and begin to perceive themselves -- not as heroic mujahideen and martyrs destined for a virgin-filled Paradise but as mufsiduun (evildoers, mortal sinners) and as khawarij (outside-the-religion deviants) who are quite likely being led by bin Ladenism into a demon-filled Jahannam (Eternal Hellfire), instead.
Might this not be the powerful Islamic disincentive -- the optimum antidote -- to suicide mass murder for which we are all so desperately searching?
A DC-area attorney, writer, lecturer and anti-Terrorism strategist, Jim Guirard was longtime Chief of Staff to US Senators Allen Ellender and Russell Long. His TrueSpeak Institute and new TrueSpeak.org website are devoted to truth-in-language and truth-in-history in public discourse.