In his new book, the acclaimed writer of No god but God and Middle East analyst for CBS News Reza Aslan lays out, for the first time, a revolutionary assessment of the social movement behind al-Qaeda and like-minded militants throughout the Muslim world.
He argues the the goals and aspirations of Jihadists are so impossible to achieve in this life that they have been forced to transform their earthly struggle for power and influence into a metaphysical conflict between Good and Evil -- what he calls a Cosmic War.
Surveying the global scene, Aslan explores why religion is once again becoming the supreme marker of identity in nearly all parts of the globe.
In doing so, he launches a revolution in the way we understand -- and confront -- radical Islam. How do you win a cosmic war? Refuse to fight one.
Reza Aslan is a writer and scholar of religions.
Born in Iran, Aslan is currently a research associate at the University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy. He was a visiting assistant professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Iowa and the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction at the Iowa Writer's Workshop.
A frequent commentator on television, radio, and in print, Aslan is a graduate of Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of Iowa. He is the author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam and How to Win a Cosmic War: Why We're Losing the War on Terror.
Praveen Madan is an entrepreneur / investor seeking out business opportunities along the US-India Corridor, "the new silk road" of global commerce.
Most recently, Madan was a Managing Director at Trilogy, a business-value centered company headquartered in Austin, Texas. He oversaw the launch of Trilogy's new Telecom Business Unit in India developing innovative business services for Indian Telecom clients.
In Islam, the central doctrine that calls on believers to combat the enemies of their religion. According to the Qur'an and the Hadith, jihad is a duty that may be fulfilled in four ways: by the heart, the tongue, the hand, or the sword. The first way (known in Sufism as the greater jihad) involves struggling against evil desires. The ways of the tongue and hand call for verbal defense and right actions. The jihad of the sword involves waging war against enemies of Islam. Believers contend that those who die in combat become martyrs and are guaranteed a place in paradise. In the 20th and 21st centuries the concept of jihad has sometimes been used as an ideological weapon in the effort to combat Western influences and secular governments and to establish an ideal Islamic society.
These are merely "stated aims" which we (and probably they) know are unattainable. For all intents and purposes, Al-Qaeda want a never ending war. This is what energises and motivates them. Is Bin Laden really stupid enough to beleive he can impose a world caliphate on us...I dont think so.
Same goes for Hamas and the destruction of Israel.Hamas leaders dont really believe that guff.
Did he say Al-Qaeda doesn't want anything?
How can any supposebly knowledgeable person say that in front of others and expect not to be laughed off stage, we know exactly what they want - an Islamic caliphate in the middle east completely free of non-Muslim influence and the destruction of Israel.
Reza Aslan is a Muslim apologist that is rather misleading. He talks about the BJB of India, Jews of Israel, evangelical Christians etc. and likens them to the Talibans.
The reality is that in ALL Islamic countries, Muslims who convert to other religions pay a heavy price, very often they are executed or have to flee for their lives.
DURING CHRISTMAS MANY CHURCHES IN INDONESIA ARE BURNED DOWN. THE CHRISTIAN WORLD DON'T GO BERSERK DESTROYING MOSQUES IN RETURN.
BUT WHEN A PASTOR OF A SMALL CHURCH IN THE USA TALKED ABOUT THE BURNING OF KORAN, MUSLIMS ALL OVER THE WORLD GOES CRAZY. THE REACTION SHOWS THE VERY VIOLENT NATURE OF MUSLIMS.
In 1786, Thomas Jefferson, then the ambassador to France, and John Adams, ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, a visiting ambassador from Tripoli. The Americans asked Adja why his government was hostile to American ships, even though there had been no provocation. They reported to the Continental Congress that the ambassador had told them "it was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave,"
from Times of London:
Hamas, as its charter and political literature make clear, does not want an end to Israeli occupation. It wants the end of Israel. That is because Hamas is part of a pan-Islamist movement with global messianic ambitions. Creating a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank is not its aim. A branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas dreams of world dominion for its version of Islam rather than a mini-state in 5,000 square kilometres of barren land in a geopolitical backyard.
Mr. Aslan, like all muslims, is called on to jihad. Jihad is not as he claims a recent 20 year old phenomenon. The US Navy was created to fight against jihad-ing Barbary pirates ("to the shores of Tripoli").
Mr. Aslan is a soft jihadist, semantically dividing and perhaps conquering some ... all these groups are so different ... how can you treat them the same ?
This idea that Hamas and others are "nationalist" and thus can be negotiated with is nonsense. Hamas, in fact, has declared that they don't want an independent Palestinian state. They want the world-wide Islamic caliphate.
We thought Vietnam was an international struggle against Communism and now we view it as a nationalist struggle. We are now making the mistake (and Aslan is trying to help us make that mistake) of thinking that these struggles are nationalist. Afghanistan is not really a nationalist struggle. Once we let the Taliban succeed we might loose Pakistan. Then it will be the 'Stans. Islam's goal is international.
Instead of depending on a muslim to explain Islam and jihad please do some reading yourself. (The Quran tells muslims to be deceptive to infidels)
The Arab world does not give a whit about the Palestinians. The Palestinians are mascots for the very regimes that use "the West" as the bogeyman for all of the poverty, backwardness and failure of their states while they count all of their oil riches and do nothing to propel their societies forward. There IS a Palestinian state - Jordan. The Jordanians, however, do not want their downtrodden brothers and sisters in their country. They will trot their representatives out to speak, inconsolable about the evil Israelis, but they have perpetuated this Arab-created and maintained Palestinian refugee problem going for 60 years.
The Arab world is not the largest population of Muslims. Most Muslims are not Arab.
Europe has abondoned the war on terror because their exploding Muslim immigrant populations burn cars, slaughter film makers and blow up buses and trains to make their point. This is not a "War on Terror" for Europe as it is for us - with a distant enemy. It has become a civil war for many European nations. This is why they do not fight back.
"Islam-ists" do not prescribe to the true Islam and that is that everyone who is not a Muslim is 'the infidel' and must die. Plain and simple. That is the teaching of the Quran and it is very blunt. I would like to have heard more on the differences in Islamic belief systems that exist. The Al-Qaeda regime seems to be holding the true teaching of the Quaran, yet few people address this fact.
Originally Posted by TreeLuvBurdpu
Insightful. I think he should have also mentioned that the Jihadists are at war with free trade and personal freedom.
He touches on some of the ways the US has miscalculated the true intentions of the Jihadists.
I think that only an American could make that statement. Jihadists are completely accepting of personal freedom within their view of it - i.e. Patricentrically.
The Jihadist movement frequently points accusing fingers and the American supported dictators throughout the Middle East with respect to their repression of personal freedoms of their citizenry.
Forget the GWB speech ("They hate us for our freedom") it's a duplicitous lie. They no more hate you/us for your freedom than you'd hate the man who stole your car for his.
They may very well hate us for what we choose to do with our freedom, however. But that's very different - and the key to this is authoritianism and libertarianism.
A Libertarian may disagree vehemently with what you do, but as long as it does not affect anyone but you, it's your own business. An authoritarian opposes the action regardless of its sphere of influence, and will aim to prevent it whether it only affects willing parties or not.
The Jihadists, like the American Christian right, are firmly Authoritarian, whether the issue is homosexuality, abortion, drug usage or anything else, both sects firmly instist that they have the right proscribe your actions based on their religion and beliefs, in spite of the effects of the actions being extremely limited.