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The Role of Religion in U.S. National Security Policy since 9/11 - Endnotes
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Article Index
The Role of Religion in U.S. National Security Policy since 9/11
Historiographical Projections on Human Conflict and Religion
The Power of Islam
Demographic Surveys
Religion as a Paradigm in National Security Policy
Conclusion: The Way Ahead
Glossary of Key Islamic Terms
All Pages


1. I wish to express my deep gratitude for the contributions of Dr. Tami Davis Biddle. Her global perspective, national security insights, and sensitivity to perceptions over religious issues provided critical context and caution as I wrote this manuscript. Dr. Biddle is Professor of National Security Strategy and Military History, US Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

National security policy rightly addresses both internal and external threats that impact the enduring beliefs, ethics, and values; the national interests; and the grand strategy of the nation state. This paper largely bypasses discussion of internal threats, in order to focus on external threats and the role of religion in visualizing and meeting those threats.
2. Sun Tzu, The Art of War, trans. Samuel B. Griffith (London: Oxford University Press, Oxford Paperbacks, 1971), 84.
3. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, ed. and trans. Michael and Peter Paret (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976). See Clausewitz, 89. He conceives of war at its most basic level as “primordial violence, hatred, and enmity.” To empower such violent conflict, “the passions that are to be kindled in war must already be inherent in the people.” Why would one omit religion as a constitutive power within a society, especially as that power comes into play in the calculus of war?
4. The Judeo-Christian heritage participated in the West’s just war tradition, which grounds war in the civil realm’s responsibility to prevent harm to innocents and punish evil doers in the cause of justice. Islam possesses its own just war tradition which grounds war historically and theologically in the necessity of the struggle to defend and spread the faith. See the monumental volume, Andrew G. Bostom, ed., The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims, with a foreward by Ibn Warraq (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2005). Bostom provides voluminous primary source materials translated for the English reader. For a helpful discussion of Islamic conceptions of jus ad bellum and jus in bello, see The Islamic Law of Nations: Shaybani’s Siyar, trans. and with an introduction by Majid Khadduri (Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1966).
5. Adolf Köberle, The Quest for Holiness, trans. John C. Mattes from the 3d German ed. (Evansville, IN: Ballast Press, 1999). In his sweeping analysis, Köberle examines world religions against the frameworks of moralism, mysticism, and speculation, and their engines of will, spirit, and thought. He tracks the inevitable futility of theological synergism, which he demonstrates can finally be overcome only by a robust divine monergism which, by the declaration of acceptance and the gift of the Spirit in Christ, enables human fulfillment and sanctification. Köberle was a confessional Lutheran scholar and professor at the University of Basel.
6. Ibid., 1. Latin: “Grant us peace.”
7. Federal pronouncements that would promote or proclaim the comparative value of a religion could, on the one hand, violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for internal audiences, and on the other, be inappropriate and even counterproductive for foreign audiences.
8. The date of 9/11 is commonly used to mark the start of persistent conflict for the United States. Equally significant is that this persistent conflict has been oriented against an adversary who defines himself chiefly in terms of religion vis-à-vis the USA and the West. How the USA and the West define the adversary is another matter.
Part III of this paper focuses on the post-9/11 timeframe through an examination of the national security policies of President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.
9. By historiographers, I mean those who write on history as a phenomenon and propose a paradigmatic view of history. This does not mean that the four authors herein surveyed consider themselves, or are, primarily historiographers. Indeed, Francis Fukuyama and Samuel Huntington have used historiography as a tool for their major discipline of political science.
I am especially indebted to Dr. Adam Francisco for his insight that a serious discussion today on the role of religion in national security policy requires handling the issues raised in Fukuyama’s and Huntington’s disparate treatments of religion’s connection to the world of human conflict. His insight helped determine the structure of this paper. Dr. Francisco is Associate Professor of History, Concordia University Irvine, Irvine, California.
10. In only a very limited sense does part two of this paper—by way of an historical review of Islam—provide a window to past connections of religion to national security policy.
11. Alvin Toffler, The Third Wave (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1980).
Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992). This book represents a substantial development beyond Fukuyama’s initial investigation published as “The End of History?” The National Interest 16 (Summer 1989): 3-18.
Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996). This book develops in detail, and asserts the validity of, the hypothesis that Huntington initially published in question form, “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs 72, no. 3 (Summer 1993): 22-49.
Robert D. Kaplan, The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War (New York: Random House, 2000).  Chapter one, “The Coming Anarchy,” was first published in the February 1994 edition of The Atlantic Monthly.
12. Alvin Toffler, an American futurist, has written on patterns of societal change, to include revolutions in the fields of technology, communication, and business. For further background on Toffler and his futurist views, see Peter Schwartz, “Shock Wave (Anti) Warrior,” Wired 1.05, November 1993, (accessed 27 February 2010).
13. Ibid., 25.
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid., chapters 11-23, 143-365.
16. Ibid., 21.
17. In discussing First and Second Wave confluence, Toffler emphasizes battles internal to a society, although he also touches on external violence. At 39: “As the Second Wave moved across various societies it touched off a bloody, protracted war between the defenders of the agricultural past and the partisans of the industrial future. The forces of First and Second Wave collided head-on, brushing aside, often decimating, the ‘primitive’ peoples encountered along the way.” For further discussion, see chapter 2, “The Architecture of Civilization,” 37-52.
18. Ibid., 453.
19. Ibid., 134.
20. Ibid., 375. Similarly, at 273: “Our religious views, like our tastes, are becoming less uniform and standardized.”
21. Ibid., 26.
22. Ibid., 306.
23. Ibid., 390-392, quote at 392.
24. Ibid., 435: “The first, heretical principle of Third Wave government is that of minority power. It holds that majority rule, the key legitimating principle of the Second Wave era, is increasingly obsolete. It is not majorities but minorities that count. And our political systems must increasingly reflect that fact.”
25. Ibid., 347. Toffler terms the long-term struggle in civilization between the Second and Third Waves “the coming super-struggle.” Religion will continue as a source of traditional conflict, but, more significantly for Toffler, will also be absorbed as a critical component within the larger ideological super-struggle. See Toffler, 25-34, 452-456.
26. Francis Fukuyama has written broadly on state governance, political and economic development, social order, biotechnology, and the philosophy of history. He currently serves as professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC. For further information, consult his biography posted at the website for the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, fukuyama/Biography.html (accessed 27 February 2010).
27. Ibid., 55. For an overview of Fukuyama’s argument, see his fine, introductory chapter, “By Way of an Introduction,” xi-xxiii.
Fukuyama frequently uses the word “man” in its universal and generic sense, to denote in the concrete, individual case the fullness of humanity therein presented. In the discussion which follows, I retain Fukuyama’s usage of “man.” In related terminology, Fukuyama also speaks of the “last man,” i.e., that man who is the final manifestation of human evolution, who no longer possesses the fullness of what previously had properly belonged to humanity.
28. See Fukuyama, chapter 1, “Our Pessimism,” 3-12, in which he rejects the pessimism founded on twentieth century wars. This pessimism he regards as historically anomalous. An example of his optimism is his rejection of political realism in chapter 23, “The Unreality of ‘Realism,” 245-253, and chapter 24, “The Power of the Powerless,” 254-265. At 254: “Realism rests on two extremely shaky foundations: an impermissible reductionism concerning the motives and behavior of human societies, and failure to address the question of History.”
29. See Fukuyama, especially chapter 4, “The Worldwide Liberal Revolution,” 39-51, in which he documents the rise of liberal democracies worldwide across time, and chapter 5, “An Idea for a Universal History,” 55-70, in which he argues for the philosophical possibility of “a meaningful pattern in the overall development of human societies generally.” Fukuyama tracks a general decline of totalitarian regimes and ideologically-driven nation states.
Fukuyama formally distinguishes liberalism from democracy. “Political liberalism can be defined simply as a rule of law that recognizes certain individual rights and freedoms from government control,” 42. Fukuyama focuses on civil, religious, and political rights. “Democracy, on the other hand, is the right held universally by all citizens to have a share of political power, that is, the right of all citizens to vote and participate in politics,” 43. Fukuyama notes that although liberalism and democracy do not always go together, they usually do, and his view of the end of history finds them united.
30. When Fukuyama speaks of the end of history, he is speaking of the idea of “a coherent and directional History of mankind that will eventually lead the greater part of humanity to liberal democracy,” xii. Fukuyama borrows heavily from Hegel, who viewed history as a rational process that “would come to an end with an achievement of free societies in the real world. This would, in other words, be an end of history. This did not mean that there would be an end to events arising out of births, deaths, and social interactions of humankind, or that there would be a cap on factual knowledge about the world. Hegel, however, had defined history as the progress of man to higher levels of rationality and freedom, and this process had a logical terminal point in the achievement of absolute self-consciousness,” 64, emphasis in original.
31. Ibid., xiv. See especially chapters 6-8, at 71-108.
32. Fukuyama anchors man’s struggle for recognition is Plato’s thymos, or spiritedness, a concept he sees embedded in many philosophical systems. For example, Hegel’s “first man” desires “to be recognized as a man,” which involves first and foremost his “ability to risk his own life,” 146. Closely connected to this desire to be esteemed and valued by others is the self-reflection of being worthy of such esteem, i.e., of being better than another. This desire to be regarded as superior to others Fukuyama terms megalothymia, calling its opposite, the desire to be regarded as the equal of others, isothymia. For a discussion of how thymos and megalothymia have led to war, and societies composed of slave and victor classes, see 146-152, 181-198.
33. Fukuyama lauds Christianity as that religion which “first introduced the concept of the equality of all men in the sight of God, and thereby conceived of a shared destiny for all the peoples of the world,” 56. He also criticizes Christianity because it relegated that vision of equality and freedom to the spiritual realm, judging the religion as “untrue in certain crucial respects,” 197.
34. Fukuyama relates Hegel’s critique of Christianity without dissent. “The last great slave ideology, Christianity, articulated for the slave a vision of what human freedom should be. Even though it did not provide him with a practical way out of his slavery, it permitted him to see more clearly his objective; the free and autonomous individual who is recognized for this freedom and autonomy, recognized universally and reciprocally by all men,” 198. Hegel believed that Christians were guilty of perpetuating a form of self-alienation by creating the concept of God, and then subordinating their “free wills” to that God and to their temporal conditions through the retention of slave identities; see 195-197.
This assessment of Christianity turns on the power of the “free will” to choose and act. Historic Christian confessions have embraced the concept of a will which is empowered to choose and act freely, but only after Christ has come and first made it free.
35. See Fukuyama’s discussion at 195-199; quote at 195. It should be noted that for Fukuyama, it is only that absolutist quality of religion that, like nationalism, makes itself an obstacle to liberalism: “The second cultural obstacle to democracy has to do with religion. Like nationalism, there is no inherent conflict between religion and liberal democracy, except at the point where religion ceases to be tolerant and egalitarian,” 216.
36. Fukuyama, 300-312; quote at 300, emphasis in original. Here Fukuyama follows Nietzsche. If all men are absolutely free and equal, and all recognition is universal, what is the quality of such recognition? If the last man has plenteous security and luxury, if the last man has no values compelling enough to die for, and if striving and excellence require discontent, what will the end state of humanity be? Fukuyama concludes, “Looking around contemporary America, it does not strike me that we face the problem of an excess of megalothymia. Those earnest young people trooping off to law and business school, who anxiously fill out their résumés in hopes of maintaining the lifestyles to which they believe themselves entitled, seem to be much more in danger of becoming the last men, rather than reviving the passions of the first man,” 336.
37. That the loss of religion would coincide with the loss of true humanity suggests that Fukuyama’s anthropology, based on economic and recognition privation (or positively, on the need for economy and recognition), is inadequate. I believe Fukuyama’s anthropology fails to take into account the fullness of the first man’s privation. Beyond economy and recognition, man strives for love, hope, joy, reconciliation, righteousness, peace, and unending life—arguably the deliverables of religion. Unless the fullness of man participates in history, which itself is part of the history of effects, the fusion of history cannot achieve its final and rational end. This line of thinking suggests that unless the divine substantively enters into the human race to supply what is ontologically lacking, the history of effects cannot achieve a finally satisfying end, and there can be no end of history in Fukuyama’s sense. Within Christian dogma, this entrance of the divine into human flesh is the Incarnation of the Son of God. For a superb analysis of the principle of the history of effects and the fusion of history at an end, see “The Elevation of the Historicity of Understanding to the Status of a Hermeneutical Principle” in Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Truth and Method, 2d revised ed., translation revised by Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall (New York: Continuum, 1988), 265-307.
38. We would then “return to being first men engaged in bloody and pointless prestige battles, only this time with modern weapons.” Fukuyama, 328.
39. Ibid., 322-327.
40. Ibid., 326-327.
41. Fukuyama uses the image of a wagon train to show the different evolutionary stages of societies and governments on the way to democratic liberalism and the end of history. “The apparent differences in the situations of the wagons will not be seen as reflecting permanent and necessary differences between the people riding in the wagons, but simply a product of their different positions along the road.” That said, on the last page of The End of History and the Last Man he stops short of guaranteeing a final universal destination of democratic liberalism, noting that, for now, “the direction of the wagons’ wanderings must remain provisionally inconclusive,” 339.
42. This is the point of Fukuyama, chapter 26, “Toward a Pacific Union,” 276-284. “For the foreseeable future, the world will be divided between a post-historical part, and a part that is still stuck in history. Within the post-historical world, the chief axis of interaction between states would be economic, and the old rules of power politics would have decreasing relevance.
“. . . The historical world would still be riven with a variety of religious, national, and ideological conflicts depending on the stage of development of the particular countries concerned, in which the old rules of power politics continue to apply. Countries like Iraq and Libya will continue to invade their neighbors and fight bloody battles,” 276-277.
43. Fukuyama, 211.
44. Ibid., 46.
45. Ibid., 45.
46. Ibid., 45. Fukuyama believes, however, that “the Islamic world would seem more vulnerable to liberal ideas in the long run than the reverse,” 46.
47. Samuel P. Huntington, born 1927, was a brilliant and conservative political scientist. He graduated from Yale at 18 and received his Ph.D. from Harvard at 23, at which time he began teaching in Harvard’s Department of Government. His areas of study included national security, civil-military relations; and the role of culture in national identity, political governance, and international civilizations. He died on Christmas Eve 2008. For fuller biographical and professional background, see Robert Kaplan, “Looking the World in the Eye” The Atlantic, December 2001, (accessed 27 February 2010).
48. Huntington, 21. The three blocs were: states aligned with the USA, states aligned with the Soviet Union, and the remaining unaligned states.
49. Ibid., 20; my emphasis.
50. Ibid., 21.
51. Ibid., Map 1.3, 26-27, and discussion at 45-48. The certain seven are: Western, Latin American, Islamic, Sinic, Hindu, Orthodox, and Japanese. The possible eighth is African. Buddhism is excluded, because “while Buddhism remains an important component of [certain] cultures, these societies do not constitute and would not identify themselves as part of a Buddhist civilization,” 47.
52. Ibid., 321.
53. For Huntington, fault line wars are violent communal conflicts fought between states or groups from different civilizations. Warring sides in fault line wars almost always come from different religions. For characteristics of fault line wars and communal wars, see 252-254.
54. Huntington, 42.
55. Ibid., 47. Although certain postmodern commentators may be offended by the claim that civilizations rest on religious foundations, consciences may be soothed by understanding the claim in its historical significance. One must ask which great civilizations were not founded on a profoundly religious understanding of identity, belief, and practice. It is another matter to bring such historical significance forward, to discuss whether a civilization’s current identities, beliefs, and practices reflect those same foundations. It is yet another matter to ask whether, or to what extent, cohesive civilizations still exist today.
56. On references in this paragraph, see Huntington, 183. On the micro-macro distinction, see 207-209. Huntington notes that “while at the macro or global level of world politics the primary clash of civilizations is between the West and the rest, at the micro or local level it is between Islam and the others,” 255.
On the capitalization of “west” and “western,” there is no single, authoritative literary convention. I follow the convention which capitalizes the proper nouns “West” and “Westerner,” but not adjectival forms, when used to denote the generalized civilization and set of values associated with the United States and Europe. Huntington follows a different convention which additionally capitalizes the adjective “Western,” reflected in quotations at notes 56 and 60.
57. Religion is clearly in view in the projected micro and macro level wars. Regarding Huntington’s three contributing causes for projected dangerous wars, Islamic intolerance is overtly religious, western arrogance is derivatively religious, and Sinic assertiveness is least religious, and perhaps even nonreligious.
On western arrogance and religious elements, see chapter 7, “Core States, Concentric Circles, and Civilizational Order,” 155-179. Huntington builds the historic case that the civilizational roots of the West, to include those of the USA, lie in the Holy Roman Empire and western Christianity. He also charges that the West now arrogantly believes that its culture is universal, i.e., that the world should adapt its “superior” culture; see 310. For Huntington, the derived religious significance of western arrogance is adequately established by the fact that Islamic militants point to the West as “Christian” and urge Muslims to fight against it. Huntington does not go so far as to say that the arrogance of the West springs from its western Christian civilizational roots.
For a discussion of China’s assertiveness as a function of its “history, culture, traditions, economic dynamism, and self-image,” see Huntington, 229-238.
58. Huntington capitalizes “Resurgence” in “Islamic Resurgence” because “it refers to an extremely important historical event affecting one-fifth or more of humanity, that is at least as significant as the American Revolution, French Revolution, or Russian Revolution, whose ‘r’s’ are usually capitalized,” 109.
59. Huntington, 109-121.
60. Ibid., 109-110.
61. Ibid., 111. Huntington notes correctly that this Resurgence is similar to the Protestant Reformation’s effect on historic Christianity. If one defines the Protestant Reformation as the general reform movement in which Martin Luther and John Calvin stood as pillars, then that reformation was without doubt an attempt to return Christianity to its original, more pure religious foundations. It is interesting to note that there are a number of modern commentators who suggest that Islam, and radical Muslims today, are in need of a “reformation,” using the term to signal a need for moderation and a less demanding form of piety. Use of this term in this sense demonstrates a failure to apprehend both the historical moorings and the effects of the Protestant Reformation. In the historic, theological sense, the goals of many radical Muslims today are reformational. For example, the view of the Taliban and Al Qaeda is that they are calling Muslims to return to their historic religious beliefs and practices.
62. “The Resurgence will leave a network of Islamist social, cultural, economic, and political organizations within societies and transcending societies. The Resurgence will also have shown that ‘Islam is the solution’ to the problems of morality, identity, meaning, and faith, but not to the problems of social injustice, political repression, economic backwardness, and military weakness,” 121.
63. Huntington, 174-179.
64. Ibid., 174.
65. Ibid., 209-218.
66. Ibid., 210. Huntington notes that “Islam is the only civilization which has put the survival of the West in doubt, and it has done that at least twice.”
67. See Huntington’s discussion of the Islam’s bloody borders and related causes of war, 254-265, especially 262-265.
68. Huntington, 211.
69. Huntington’s policy recommendations include recognizing civilizational differences, retooling current policies in that light, and abandoning all myths of universal culture, especially the myth that western culture is universal. For Huntington, part of recognizing civilizational differences means that the US must, on the one hand, embrace its own identity as a western, and not a multicultural, civilization, and on the other hand, accept a multicultural world composed of multiple civilizations. Regarding the non-universal nature of the West, Huntington stands opposite Fukuyama. See Huntington, 308-321.
70. This restates my earlier contention that religion—not as a standard of belief, but as a power which drives human behavior—must have a seat at the table of national security policy, if that policy is to embrace the fullness of the human condition, and prove effective in the long run.
71. Robert Kaplan is an American journalist who has written extensively for The Atlantic. A well-traveled author and foreign correspondent, his trips to dangerous locations—including Iraq in 1984, Afghanistan in 1990, the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia—have helped him document a position that emphasizes cultural and environmental factors as decisive for post-Cold War national security. For further information and a list of his books, see his biography at The Atlantic Online, htm (accessed 27 February 2010).
72. Kaplan, 19; emphasis in original. Kaplan continues, “The political and strategic impact of surging populations, spreading disease, deforestation and soil erosion, water depletion, air pollution, and, possibly, rising sea levels in critical, overcrowded regions like the Nile Delta and Bangladesh—developments that will prompt mass migrations and, in turn, incite group conflicts—will be the core foreign-policy challenge from which most others will ultimately emanate, arousing the public and uniting assorted interests left over from the Cold War,” 19-20.
For an opposing view on the threat of the environment, see Mark Steyn, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2006). Steyn argues that the insistence that the environment is the biggest national security issue for the future distracts the United States from the more concrete, deadlier threats that are accompanying changing Muslim demographics, especially in western Europe.
73. Ibid., 24.
74. Ibid., 22: “While a minority of the human population will be, as Francis Fukuyama would put it, sufficiently sheltered so as to enter a ‘post-historical’ realm, living in cities and suburbs in which the environment has been mastered and ethnic animosities have been quelled by bourgeois prosperity, an increasingly large number of people will be stuck in history, living in shantytowns where attempts to rise above poverty, cultural dysfunction, and ethnic strife will be doomed by a lack of water to drink, soil to till, and space to survive in.”
75. Based on personal experiences from his frequent travels, Kaplan illustrates friction between Muslims, and between Muslims and the West, anchoring the friction in cultural differences. In this sense, he usually subordinates religious animosities to cultural ones, but without denying the foundational religious clash. For example, “Two months of recent travel throughout Turkey revealed to me that although the Turks are developing a deep distrust, bordering on hatred, of fellow-Muslim Iran, they are also, especially in the shantytowns that are coming to dominate Turkish public opinion, revising their group identity, increasingly seeing themselves as Muslims being deserted by a West that does little to help besieged Muslims in Bosnia and that attacks Turkish Muslims in the streets of Germany.
“In other words, the Balkans, a powder keg for nation-state war at the beginning of the twentieth century, could be a powder keg for cultural war at the turn of the twenty-first century: between Orthodox Christianity (represented by the Serbs and a classic Byzantine configuration of Greeks, Russians, and  Romanians) and the House of Islam. Yet in the Caucasus that House of Islam is falling into a clash between Turkic and Iranian civilizations,” 29.
76. See Kaplan’s discussion of Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations,” 26-30.
77. Kaplan, 35.
78. Ibid., 35, quoting the 1951 work of Carleton Stevens Coon.
79. Ibid., 35; emphasis in original. Kaplan does not discuss the doctrine of jihad. Rather, in the context of environmental crises and failing states, he sees Islam as providing the political framework—to include forms of extremism—that will gain traction among Muslims. “Much of the Arab world . . . will undergo alteration, as Islam spreads across artificial frontiers, fueled by mass migrations into the cities and a soaring birth rate. . . .
“. . . As state control mechanisms wither in the face of environmental and demographic stress, ‘hard’ Islamic city-states or shantytown-states are likely to emerge,” 41-42.
His view of the result across Islamic lands—part of the coming anarchy—leads Kaplan to conclude that maps of the world of nation states will be obsolete. In a nice parody of Fukuyama, Kaplan discusses “The Last Map,” 50-56.
80. Kaplan, 32. See 30-37 for Kaplan’s discussion of the successes of Turkey’s secular government, built on a powerful Turkish Muslim culture. At 36: “Turkey has been living through the Muslim equivalent of the Protestant Reformation.” Here Kaplan presents a positive view of the secular Turkish government and what he characterizes as its moderating, modernizing, and stabilizing effects. For additional information on Turkey’s current struggles, see note 154 below.
From an historical and theological perspective, Kaplan is misguided in using the Protestant Reformation as a framework for such effects; see note 61 above.
81. See chapter two, “Was Democracy Just a Moment?” in Kaplan, 59-98. For Kaplan, democracies are inherently value-neutral and do not necessarily make societies more civil, at least not in the short run; see 61-63. He suggests that in certain circumstances it may make sense to sacrifice justice for the sake of order. This could mean supporting a tyrannical regime, where grave injustices are perpetuated in the name of religion. Kaplan follows Kissinger in arguing that, in the final analysis, “disorder is worse than injustice,” 134. As a policy example, consider Kaplan’s “Third World aid policy” based on proportionalism, where the evil endured is outweighed by the good accomplished; see 121-122.
82. Kaplan, 93. Kaplan applies this principle in multiple contexts—ancient, postmodern, national, and international—concluding that “the category of politics we live with may depend more on power relationships and the demeanor of our society than on whether we hold elections,” 96.
83. By “faith dimension” I mean religion as a comprehensive set of beliefs about God, which interprets the past, integrates human longings across time, and brings the world to fulfillment.
This faith dimension includes ontology and epistemology. Religion as an ontological system generally begins with a conceptual essence of God and proceeds outward to include humanity and the world. Since the Enlightenment, religion as an epistemological method generally begins with the experiences of humanity and works its way toward God. In my analysis of Islam, I focus on religion as an ontological system. This approach aligns with inner structure of the religion of Islam.
84. I am indebted to Dr. Adam Francisco for his help in navigating the vast sea of available works on Islam. His bibliographical expertise proved invaluable in part II of this paper. Dr. Francisco studied Arabic and Islamic Theology at the Centre for Islamic Studies, University of Oxford, receiving his D.Phil. for his work in the history of Christian-Muslim relations.
I have relied on a number of resources. For a general overview of Islam and the significance of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, see: John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, rev. 3d ed., updated with new epilogue (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005). Daniel Madigan, “Themes and Topics,” in Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 79-96. Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi, Toward Understanding Islam, revised ed., trans. and ed. by Khurshid Ahmed (no publication data, 1960). Fazlur Rahman, Major Themes of the Qur’an (Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica, 1980). Tariq Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). Efraim Karsh, Islamic Imperialism: A History, updated ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007).
On usul al-fiqh (principles of Islamic jurisprudence), Sharia’ah (divine law), and fatwas (legal rulings), see Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, 3d revised and enlarged ed. (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 2003).
On siyar (the Islamic law of nations), see Khadduri, first cited in note 4 above. Khadduri provides superb analysis of Shaybani, “the most important jurist to write on the siyar,” 22. For a transmission of the classical, traditionalist siyar, see Muhammad Hamidullah, The Muslim Conduct of State, rev. and enlarged ed. (Lahore, Pakistan: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1968).  For a modern interpretive view of siyar, compare Labeeb Ahmed Bsoul, International Treaties (Mu’ahadat) in Islam: Theory and Practice in the Light of Islamic International Law (Siyar) according to Orthodox Schools (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2008).
On jihad (struggle or war), see all the above resources for the foundations of jihad in the Qur’an, Sunnah, Sharia’ah, and constructs within usul al-fiqh and siyar. For the most comprehensive modern history and primary source compilation regarding jihad, see Bostom, first cited in note 4 above. In addition, see Shmuel Bar, Warrant for Terror: Fatwas of Radical Islam and the Duty of Jihad (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, Inc., 2006). David Cook, Understanding Jihad (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2005).
On English spelling, there are many ways of transliterating from the Arabic. I italicize and generally follow the formally correct transliterations of Kamali. This means that direct quotes from other authors may introduce different spellings, based on their personal preferences. Certain authors do not use italics for Arabic words, a standard convention for foreign language words. In such cases, for the sake of consistency I italicize the Arabic words, even in direct quotes, noting in the end note, “my italics.” (This is different from end note references to “my emphasis,” which marks my addition of italicized text in a quote as my emphasis, rather than as a foreign language.)
85. I offer the comparison with Christianity as a frame of reference, because most readers of this paper will certainly be from the western or Christian tradition.
86. Out of respect, Islam capitalizes “Prophet” when referring to Muhammad. Quote from Esposito, 17.
87. See Esposito, 17-20, on the radical nature of Islam’s monotheism. God is radically transcendent and exists as Unity in himself, apart from his creation. The Qur’an serves to bring the law—Shari’ah—which, in turn, effects the rule of God. By obedience to this law, the Muslim submits to God as God. This law defines the Muslim and his life. A human becomes a Muslim through submission to the law of this radically transcendent God who is Unity in himself. This submission initially occurs by confessing the shahada (testimony), “There is no god but God and Muhammad is the Prophet of God.” The shahada is the first so-called pillar of Islam, signifying agreement with two propositions: Allah alone is to be worshiped, and Muhammad is the final and perfect Messenger of that God. The other pillars are salat (prayer), zakat (alms), sawm (fasting), and hajj (pilgrimage). On the five pillars and their centrality for Islamic life and practice, see Esposito, 68-114.
88. The variety of forms and lack of chronology lead to interpretive difficulties, which are discussed below.
89. This distinction is important, as the Meccan passages enjoin peaceful behavior, while the Medinan verses generally enjoin war.
90. The Sunnah is regarded as revelation but it is qualitatively different than Qur’anic revelation. The Qur’an is viewed as God’s eternal and unerring word. The utterances and deeds of Muhammad are revelatory in the sense that they are inspired, but not necessarily inerrant.
91. Out of respect, Islam capitalizes “Companions,” based on their closeness to the Prophet.
92. The sirah, the biographical accounts of Muhammad’s life, draw heavily upon the hadith. The earliest sirah was written by Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat al-Rasul Allah, but this work is no longer extant. A redaction of it does exist, from Ibn Hisham (9th century) available in an English translation: The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, trans. and annot. by Alfred Guillame (London: Oxford University Press, 1955).
93. Shari’ah was never a codified, completed body of law. Instead, it includes the Qur’an and Sunnah, together with the discussions, commentaries, and fatwas of authorized Islamic legal experts, as authoritative practice for the ummah. See Kamali, 16-186.
94. For an overview of the relation of usul al-fiqh to Shari’ah, and usul al-fiqh’s location within the broader Islamic sciences, see Ramadan, 55-61. Note especially the helpful chart at 57.
95. Within radical Islam, fatwas are frequently used to justify jihad and acts of terror. See Bar’s volume which superbly documents this use of fatwas in the modern period.
96. The Sunnah attest to these revelations, through the utterances and deeds of Muhammad.
97. For examples of the liberal position, see discussion of John L. Esposito, and of the postmodern position, see Tariq Ramadan, below.
98. From Ibn Warraq’s foreward; Bostom, 23.
99. For an introduction to the meanings and usages of the word jihad, see Rudolph Peters, “Jihad: An Introduction,” in Bostom, 320-325. Although jihad in its most basic sense means “to strive, to exert oneself, to struggle,” Peters notes that most occurrences in the Qur’an and among the Islamic jurists carry the sense of “armed struggle against the unbelievers,” 320.
100. Khadduri, 5. Khadduri communicates the perspective of a devout Muslim. In explaining Islamic military aggression, he understands the motivation as religious zeal for the conversion of those who would be conquered. Khadduri subordinates any expansionistic desire to this religious motivation.
Certain liberal Islamic apologists note that Christianity has no less a universal vision of its faith and similarly seeks the conversion of the world. This is true, as far as it goes. But such a comparison fails to account for historical distinctions, i.e., for Islam’s norm of submission through warfare and Christianity’s norm of conversion through proclamation. The former worked through external domination, the latter through internal affection. This is not to deny that historic Islam desired, sought, and achieved conversion through proclamation, but to recognize that such was a penultimate means, with external jihad providing the final means, at least for the initial Islamic centuries.
101. See Khadduri, 10-14, for the classical position. Like Khadduri, Bsoul follows Shaybani as the definitive commentator on siyar in the classical tradition. See Bsoul, 14-26, for his discussion of dar al-Islam and dar al-harb, covering both classical and reformed perspectives, with more of an evolutionary approach to law. Bar, 18-24; also covers the classical and reformed perspectives, with greater emphasis on the effects for the ummah.
For the additions of dar al-ahd (the territory of treaty), dar al-amn (territory of safety), and dar al-dawa (territory of invitation), see Ramadan, 66-75.
102. Khadduri, 12.
103. Quote at Khadduri, 13. On the conditions for temporarily halting hostilities, see  Khadduri, 5-14, and Bsoul, ix.
104. Khadduri, 15; my italics.
105. Hamidullah, paragraph 312, 163. This is not to claim that the benefits do not accrue to the individual for participation in jihad. Those who undertake jihad receive both the spoils of war, and the rewards of Paradise. Indeed there is no more certain way in classical Islam to inherit Paradise than to participate in jihad. See Kadurri, note 28, at 15; 72; and chapter three in Shabaybani’s Siyar; Khadduri, 106-129.
106. Qur’an 9:111, Sahih International, (accessed March 13, 2010). Accessed at this same location and date is the Tafsir al-Jalalayn commentary on the first part of the verse: “Indeed God has purchased from the believers their lives and their possessions, that they expend it in obedience of Him — for example by striving in His way — so that theirs will be [the reward of] Paradise: they shall fight in the way of God and they shall kill and be killed (this sentence is independent and constitutes an explication of the [above-mentioned] ‘purchase’; a variant reading has the passive verb come first [sc. fa-yuqtal_na wa-yaqtul_n, ‘they shall be killed and shall kill’], meaning that some of them are killed while those who remain, fight on).”
107. Qur’an 9:5, Sahih International, (accessed March 13, 2010). Accessed at this same location and date is the Tafsir al-Jalalayn commentary on the first part of the verse: “Then, when the sacred months have passed — that is, [at] the end of the period of deferment — slay the idolaters wherever you find them, be it during a lawful [period] or a sacred [one], and take them, captive, and confine them, to castles and forts, until they have no choice except [being put to] death or [acceptance of] Islam.”
108. Qur’an 9:29, Sahih International, (accessed March 13, 2010); my italics. Accessed at this same location and date is the Tafsir al-Jalalayn commentary on the first part of the verse: “Fight those who do not believe in God, nor in the Last Day, for, otherwise, they would have believed in the Prophet (s), and who do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden, such as wine, nor do they practise the religion of truth, the firm one, the one that abrogated other religions, namely, the religion of Islam — from among of those who (min, ‘from’, explains [the previous] alladh_na, ‘those who’) have been given the Scripture, namely, the Jews and the Christians, until they pay the jizya tribute, the annual tax imposed them, readily (‘an yadin is a circumstantial qualifier, meaning, ‘compliantly’, or ‘by their own hands’, not delegating it [to others to pay]), being subdued, [being made] submissive and compliant to the authority of Islam.”
It is true that within conquered lands under Shari’ah, Jews and Christians were allowed to live as second class citizens, provided they paid the annual tax. Their status, called dhimmitude, was frequently characterized by repression. For a comprehensive survey of dhimmitude with hundreds of historical examples, see Andrew G. Bostom, “Jihad Conquests and the Imposition of Dhimmitude—A Survey,” in Bostom, 24-124.
109. Qur’an 4:95, Sahih International, (accessed March 13, 2010); my italics. The phrase, “with their wealth and their lives,” implies that the true jihad is that struggle whereby one gives his wealth to support Islamic war and follows up this support by fighting as a combatant. Accessed at the same location and date is the Tafsir al-Jalalayn commentary on the verse: “The believers who sit at home, away from the struggle, other than those who have an injury, such as a chronic illness or blindness or the like (read in the nominative, ghayru _l_ l-darar, ‘other than those who have an injury’, as an adjectival clause; or in the accusative, ghayra _l_ l-darar, as an exceptive clause) are not the equals of those who struggle in the way of God with their possessions and their lives. God has preferred those who struggle with their possessions and their lives over the ones who sit at home, on account of some injury, by a degree, by [a degree of] merit, since both have the same intention, but the extra degree is given to those who have carried out the struggle; yet to each, of the two groups, God has promised the goodly reward, Paradise, and God has preferred those who struggle over the ones who sit at home, without any injury, with a great reward (ajran ‘az_man, is substituted by [the following, daraj_tin minhu]).”
110. Qur’an 8:39, Sahih International, (accessed March 13, 2010); my italics. Accessed at this same location and date is the Tafsir al-Jalalayn commentary on the verse: “And fight them until sedition, idolatry, is, exists, no more and religion is all for God, alone, none other being worshipped; then if they desist, from unbelief, surely God sees what they do, and will requite them for it.”
111. See M. K. Kister, “The Massacre of the Banu Qurayza: A Re-examination of a Tradition,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 8 (1986): 61-96. For a summary of Kister, see Bostom, 17-19.
112. Muhammad ibn Umar al-Waqidi, Kitab al-Maghazi, (London: Oxford University Press, 1966), 3: 1113.
113. Qur’an 22:78, Sahih International, (accessed March 13, 2010); my italics. Accessed at this same location and date is the Tafsir al-Jalalayn commentary on the verse: “And struggle in the way of God, in order to establish His religion, a struggle worthy of Him, by expending all effort therein (haqqa is in the accusative because it is a verbal noun). He has elected you, He has chosen you for His religion, and has not laid upon you in your religion any hardship, that is, [any] constraint, for He has facilitated [adherence to] it during times of difficulty, such as [His permitting you] to shorten prayers, to seek ritual purification from earth, to eat of carrion, and to break the fast during illness or travel — the creed of your father (millata is in the accusative because the genitive preposition k_f [sc. ka-millati, ‘like the creed of’] has been omitted) Abraham (Ibr_h_ma, an explicative supplement). He, that is, God, named you Muslims before, that is, before [the revelation of] this Book, and in this, that is, [in] the Qur’_n, so that the Messenger might be a witness against you, on the Day of Resurrection, that he delivered the Message to you, and that you might be witnesses against mankind, that their messengers delivered the Message to them. So maintain prayer, observe it regularly, and pay the alms, and hold fast to God, trust in Him. He is your Patron, your Helper and the Guardian of your affairs. An excellent Patron, is He, and an excellent Helper, for you.”
114. Qur’an 9:81, Sahih International, (accessed March 13, 2010). Accessed at this same location and date is the Tafsir al-Jalalayn commentary on the verse: “Those who were left behind, from [the journey to] Tab_k, rejoiced at remaining behind the Messenger of God, and were averse to striving with their wealth and their lives in the way of God. And they said, that is, they said to one another, ‘Do not go forth, do not set off to [join] the fight, in the heat!’ Say: ‘The fire of Hell is hotter, than Tab_k, and more worthy for them to guard against, by not staying behind, did they but understand’, this, they would not have stayed behind.”
115. Qur’an 2:256, Sahih International, (accessed March 14, 2010); my italics. Note that although this verse does not use the word jihad, or a derivative, the verse is frequently invoked to argue that true jihad is non-violent. Accessed at this same location and date is the Tafsir al-Jalalayn commentary on the verse: “There is no compulsion in, entering into, religion. Rectitude has become clear from error, that is say, through clear proofs it has become manifest that faith is rectitude and disbelief is error: this was revealed concerning the Ans_r [of Medina] who tried to compel their sons to enter into Islam; so whoever disbelieves in the false deity, namely, Satan or idols (t_gh_t, ‘false deity’, is used in a singular and plural sense), and believes in God, has laid hold of the most firm handle, the tight knot, unbreaking, that cannot be severed; God is Hearing, of what is said, Knowing, of what is done.”
116. I have based much of my discussion of the greater and lesser jihad on Cook, 32-48. Quote at 35; my italics. It appears that the “greater jihad,” as an inner and spiritual struggle, is documented only after the initial military expansion of Islam stalled.
117. Such a possible synthesis assumes the enduring validity of jihad as warfare. Khadduri explains this as follows: “The believers may fulfill the jihad duty by heart in their efforts to combat the devil and to escape his persuasion to evil; by their tongue and hands in their attempt to support the right and correct the wrong; and by the sword in taking part in actual fighting and by sacrificing their ‘wealth and lives,’” 15-16, note 29, my italics.
118. On naskh, see Kamali, 202-227. “Abrogation applies almost exclusively to the Qur’an and the Sunnah,” 203. Most Islamic legal scholars believe that naskh exists and applies within the Qur’an.
Six juridical conditions must be satisfied before naskh can be applied. For a discussion of these six conditions, see Kamali, 207. The first stipulation is that the “text itself has not precluded the possibility of abrogation.” Kamali notes that jihad can never be abrogated “because the hadith . . . proclaims that ‘jihad shall remain valid till the day of resurrection.’”
119. Kamali, 24-25, anchors the permissibility of jihad in the later Medinan revelations.
Also see Raymond Ibrahim, “How Taqiyya Alters Islam’s Rules of War,” The Middle East Quarterly 17, no. 1 (Winter 2010), (accessed January 18, 2010). Ibrahim notes, “The [Islamic legal scholars] were initially baffled as to which verses to codify into the Shari'a worldview—the one that states there is no coercion in religion (2:256), or the ones that command believers to fight all non-Muslims till they either convert, or at least submit, to Islam (8:39, 9:5, 9:29). To get out of this quandary, the commentators developed the doctrine of abrogation, which essentially maintains that verses revealed later in Muhammad's career take precedence over earlier ones whenever there is a discrepancy. In order to document which verses abrogated which, a religious science devoted to the chronology of the Qur'an's verses evolved (known as an-Nasikh wa'l Mansukh, the abrogater and the abrogated).”
Another important dialog within Islam, which parallels the dynamics of the applicability of naskh, is the discussion of whether legitimate jihad is defensive or offensive in nature. Interpreters emphasizing the defensive posture cite earlier Qur’anic passages, while those justifying offensive actions cite the later revelations. A credible argument for defensive jihad may be made theologically, but not historically. Islamic clerics sometimes see a theological principle at work, where that portion of humanity which has not submitted to Allah is in truth attacking the universalizing work of the ummah and the will of Allah. In this theological sense, the Islamic invasion of foreign lands may be construed to be defensive in nature. That said, the historical perspective of Islamic warfare expanding to take the fight into Spain, France, and Italy cannot credibly be called defensive.
120. See Bar, 2-3, for naskh as the questionable basis for terrorist fatwas.
Within the discussion of the priority of the Qur’anic Medinan texts over the early Meccan texts, and of the militant over the peaceful jihad, it is important to call attention to an intensifying factor frequently present in such interpretations. This is the apocalyptic factor. See Cook, 22-25, for a discussion of how Islamic military expansion may have been tied to popular views that the world was about to end. Cook extends this line of thought in his analysis of modern radical Islam; see 157-161.
See also Timothy R. Furnish, Holiest Wars: Islamic Mahdis, their Jihads, and Osama bin Laden (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishing, 2005). He documents Islamic eschatology and the rise of Mahdism—the belief that a messiah, al-Mahdi, would reveal himself and usher in a worldwide Islamic state. Furnish tracks eight Mahdi movements within Sunni Islam. He also briefly discusses Shi"i Muslims who look for the Hidden Imam to reveal himself and usher in the final universalization of Islam. Many terrorists subscribe to such Mahdist views, and believe that their attacks, both against the West and against heterodox Muslims, will usher in the final Islamic fulfillment.
121. In no way do I intend the use of the term “problem” to be derogatory. When I speak of the “problem” of Islam, or of any religion for that matter, I mean that religion’s essential framework for understanding God and integrating a problematic humanity within that framework. In short, the problem of a religion propels the structure of that religion to deliver the power of that religion.
An example which may prove helpful for western audiences would be the problem of Christianity. The problem of Christianity is arguably the problem of love. Christianity conceives of the essential nature of God as love, with all other conceptions such as justice subordinated within the Godhead. This love exists within the one God himself, in the relation of the Persons of Father, Son, and Spirit. For the Christian: Father, Son, Spirit is God, and there is no God but Father, Son, and Spirit. Love binds Father and Son together in the unity of the Spirit. The problematic nature of love is seen in fallen humanity’s failure to love God and one’s neighbor purely and fully. The solution to the problem occurs in the enfleshment of the Son, who suffers and overcomes humanity’s failures and fallenness. This Son sends his Spirit through word and baptism to create faith and graft humanity into his own body. Connected with God’s love through the Son, humanity begins to love God and neighbor aright. This example shows how the problem of Christianity propels the structure of Christianity to deliver the power of Christianity.
122. This truth applies to the individual, the ummah, and the world.
123. This does not deny the internal, spiritual struggle that jihad also implied, and continues to imply. Rather, it emphasizes the continuing potential for legitimate, violent jihad.
124. My six categories overlap somewhat with Esposito’s four categories, from which I have drawn some of my materials. See Esposito, 228-232. Esposito divides the Islam of today into four categories—secularist, conservative, neotraditionalist, and reformist. The apparent similarity with my nomenclature, however, may be deceiving.
Esposito’s overarching purpose is to articulate how groups or positions within Islam address the need for change within Islam. Based on this approach, Esposito does not discuss radical traditionalist Islam as a position within Islam; this position sees no need to modernize the assumptions of historic Islam. Instead, Esposito speaks of a “radical activist” segment, which category largely overlaps my category of radical traditionalist Islam. See Esposito, 166.
Esposito also fails to distinguish the liberal and postmodern reformed positions, perhaps because both include a concept of change which addresses modern, political processes.
My approach differs from Esposito’s. My overarching purpose here is not to address perceptions about Islam’s need for change, but to articulate how groups or positions within Islam today address the central question of the Islamic faith—how Islam is to achieve its universalization. That Esposito addresses another question which is central neither to the Qur’an nor to Muhammad as we know him from the Sunnah and his biographies—i.e, how Islam is to change—is a reflection of Esposito and his assumptions from the liberal reformed position.
125. Regarding the naming of Islamic positions, I find certain terms currently in use to be less than helpful. For example, is an “extremist” one who is simply taking a good idea too far, i.e., to the extreme? If so, how far ought he to take his good idea? If “jihadists” are those Muslims who take jihad seriously, wouldn’t this term necessarily apply to all faithful Muslims, irrespective of variances in their particular understandings of jihad? What about “fundamentalists”? Are these people who subscribe to the fundamentals of their faith? If so, what religious adherent would want to subscribe to something other than that which was fundamental for that faith? “Islamists” and “Islamicists” are equally problematic terms; attempting to create a pejorative for a certain party within Islam, without identifying the distinctive nature of that party. Names matter and should articulate what is distinctive about the position being named.
126. On the distinctions between Wahhabists and Salifists, the often unexpected alliances between Sunni and Shi’ah groups, and the significant ideological differences within the broader radical Arab Sunni population, see Samuel Helfont, The Sunni Divide: Understanding Politics and Terrorism in the Arab Middle East (Philadelphia, PA: Foreign Policy Research Institute, 2009). Helfont’s work is published under the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Center on Terrorism and Counterterrorism and is available at pdf (accessed November 11, 2009).
There are multiple ways to transliterate words affiliated with Sunni and Shi’ah Islam. I follow the usages of Furnish and Kamali, which seem to represent the Arabic most faithfully. For the collective name of the sects, when used either as a noun or adjective, I use Sunni and Shi’ah. For the name of an adherent, when used either as a noun or adjective, I use Sunni and Shi’i. For the plural form of adherents, I use Sunnis and Shi’is.
127. On radical Islam and contemporary jihad theory, see Cook, 93-127. On Osama bin Laden and global radical Islam, see Cook, 128-161, and Esposito, 262-263.
128. Inter-Islamic warfare often breaks down into Shi’ah versus Sunni. This historic divide within Islam has erupted into war countless times. It is also true that Abd al-Wahhab considered “the overwhelming majority of Muslims as infidels,” and that many Wahhabists today make similar judgments; see Helfont, 5. The scale of potential Shi’ah-Sunni sectarian violence was graphically manifested following the 2006 bombing of the Al ‘Askari mosque in Samarra, Iraq.
129. See Helfont, 25-52, for a review of various terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East. Helfont’s study is chiefly structured against the backdrop of the Sunni division between the Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabists, but does take into account Shi’i Iran and its drive for regional hegemony.
130. Qur’an 4:29, Sahih International, (accessed March 16, 2010): “O you who have believed, do not consume one another's wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.”
131. See Cook, 142-147. Cook views with skepticism the applicability of such Qur’anic passages quoted by Islamic terrorists.
Cook notes that even if one grants the permissibility of martyrdom operations within Islam, there still remains the problem of legitimate authorization for undertaking terrorist attacks and, for that matter, any militant jihad. Radical Muslim movements “disregard the necessity of established authority,” for the history of Islam shows that only “a legitimate authority such as a caliph or an imam could declare jihad.”(164) The radical Muslim, however, finds the needed authorization in fatwas produced to address precisely this dilemma.
132. See Khadduri, 57-59, on adjustments to the Islamic concept of jihad in light of Islam’s relative loss of power.
133. See Khadduri, 20-21, 57-70, on adjustments to the Islamic concept of universalization, due to geopolitical realities.
134. Kamali, 501.
135. Ibid., 504.
136. Ibid., 513.
137. This list follows the analysis of Esposito, 229-231.
138. For example, consider the Muslim Brotherhood. Helfont points out that the Brotherhood has taken a more political than theological approach in addressing Islamic conflict, and has recognized the principle of nonviolence. Nonetheless, its sanctioned practice includes suicide bombings and other terrorist tactics. “In several cases, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Muslim Brotherhood’s understanding of jihad represents a direct military threat to the U.S. and its allies,” 53, my italics.
139. For another postmodern vision of Islam, see Abdulaziz Sachedina, The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).
140. See Ramadan, 3-7. “There is one Islam, and the fundamental principles that define it are those to which all Muslims adhere, even though there may be, clothed in Islamic principles, an important margin allowed for evolution, transformation, and adaptation to various social and cultural environments,” 9.
141. Ibid., 14.
142. Ramadan is representative of the postmodern Muslim position, for he rejects traditionalist understandings of Shari’ah as a defined set of rules and of jihad as an external struggle. Instead he views Shari’ah as “the path that leads to the spring,” 31. He characterizes jihad as those “individual and collective efforts, jihads, to be made at various levels and in various areas. On the intimate level, it is working on one’s self, mastering one’s egoisms and one’s own violence; on the social level, it is the struggle for greater justice and against various kinds of discrimination, unemployment, and racism; on the political level, it is the defense of civil responsibilities and rights and the promotion of pluralism, freedom of expression, and the democratic processes; on the economic level, it is action against speculation, monopolies, and neocolonialism; on the cultural level, it is the promotion of the arts and forms of expression that respect the dignity of conscience and human values,” 113.
143. Ramadan,17. For Ramadan, because none of the constitutive elements of man is positive or negative in itself, no external battle to achieve unity makes sense. Instead, the responsible conscience will seek the original testimony of the traces of the Creator left within man. In this way Ramadan moves the basis for Islamic unity from outside man to within man. See Ramadan, 14-19.
144. 151; emphasis in original.
145. Ramadan, 148-152.
146. Ramadan, 214: “Islam stands as a civilization as a result of this singular ability to express its universal and fundamental principles across the spread of history and geography while integrating the diversity and taking on the customs, tastes, and styles that belong to the various cultural contexts.”
The nomenclature of “Islamic civilization” raises Huntington’s thesis. To a degree, Ramadan resonates with this thesis. He notes that “if the clash is not a reality, the ingredients that could lead to it are very present in current mentalities; on both sides, the lack of knowledge of the other (and of self), the acceptance of simplistic and absolute caricatures and final judgments, not to mention conflicting political and geostrategic interests, are objective features that could lead to the breakdown,” 226. Interestingly, Ramadan concludes that the West will not likely meet Islam at the “geopolitical frontiers.” Rather, it will be “within European and American societies” where successful listening and dialog must occur, to preclude a breakdown.
147. John L. Esposito is a Professor of Islamic Studies and the Founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. The Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding was founded in December 2005 through a $20 million dollar gift from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia. Previously the institute existed as the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.
148. The assumptions of theological liberalism inform Esposito’s method of analyzing Islam.
149. Esposito, 12.
150. Ibid., my emphasis.
151. Ibid., 13-14. Esposito further interprets jihad today as the broader “religious, intellectual, spiritual, and moral” struggle to bring Muslims into “a progressive, constructive, modern Islamic framework in response to the realities of Muslim societies,” 266-267.
152. Ibid., 31.
153. Western political leaders have frequently hailed such a vision as a welcome basis for finding common cause with Islamic nation states. Interestingly, Esposito goes out of his way to note that Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism have each been wrongfully accused of supporting terrorism; see 270. This is true as far as it goes, but Esposito fails to note certain critical historical distinctions among the religions. For example, unlike Jesus, Muhammad was a warrior who did command his followers to wage war. That Esposito omits this demonstrates that his method is more committed to transhistorical principles than to historical data.
For an opposing view to Esposito, see Michael Scheuer, Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror, with new epilogue (Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2005). Scheuer argues that traditionalist Muslims will not give up their ideology to embrace the liberal perspective that all ideologies are essentially equal.
154. For a critical snapshot of the challenges that continue to face Egypt, consider that 53 percent of Muslims in Egypt find terrorist actions to be justifiable in defense of Islam, under certain situations. See related discussion at Table 8. For a discussion of the political mobilization of Islam in Mubarak’s Egypt, see Carrie Rosefsky Wickham, Mobilizing Islam: Religion, Activism, and Political Change in Egypt (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002).
Regarding Turkey and the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) beginning in 2002, see Morton Abramowitz and Henri J. Barkley, “Turkey's Political Revolution: Ankara's Civil-Military Struggle Has Global Significance,” The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2010, (accessed March 22, 2010). The article documents the threat of the evolution of Turkey from a secular democracy to a more religious and authoritarian state. For a similar discussion of current pressures to move Turkey toward Islamic nation state status, see Bassam Tibi, “Islamists Approach Europe: Turkey's Islamist Danger,” The Middle East Quarterly 16, no. 1 (Winter 2009), islamists-approach-europe?gclid=CP684dLJw6ACFcN05QodLjMhZw (accessed March 18, 2010). For another discussion of secular-state Turkey confronting a challenge to move toward a more Islamic government and still remain pluralistic, see M. Hakan Yavuz and John L. Esposito, eds., Turkish Islam and the Secular State: The Gülen Movement (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2003).
155. See Thomas F. Lynch III, Sunni and Shi’a Terrorism: Differences that Matter, Occasional Paper Series, West Point Combating Terrorism Center, December 29, 2008; http://gsmcneal. com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/sunni-and-shia-terrorism-differences-that-matter.pdf (accessed March 19, 2010).
156. Ibid., 64. On Shi’i “campaigns” versus Sunni “waves,” see especially charts on 23 and 28. Lynch offers policy recommendations that address Sunni and Shi’i terrorism as discrete threats; see 59-65. Lynch offers a list of Sunni and Shi’i terror organizations, many of which he references in his study; see 66-72.
157. Helfont, 1.
158. Ibid., my italics. Helfont finds these Sunni divisions to be “generally indicative of the political order in the Middle East,” 1.
159. See Helfont, 4-8, for his discussion of Wahhabism.
160. Wahhabism identifies Saudi Arabia as its ideological home, and continues to have a strong presence there.
161. See Helfont, 8-23, for his discussion of the Muslim Brotherhood.
162. For a comparison of the Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabism, with special attention to differences in their concept of jihad, see Helfont, 23-24, 44-52.
163. See Helfont, 25-41, for a discussion of the Middle East regional implications of the three-way power struggle between Wahhabism, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Iran.
164. For Helfont’s policy recommendations, see 53-73. Helfont believes that it is imperative that the United States support neither Wahhabist nor Muslim Brotherhood organizations. He advocates treating such organizations separately, while pursuing broad support for open, stable societies throughout the region.
165. Studies of “those who support” radical Islam or terrorism are also called “demand side studies.” The paucity of such studies is due in part to the size of the religion of Islam, the dangers in areas of conflict, and the requirement for significant resourcing. Also, there is the challenge of dividing radical Islam as religion from terrorism as tactic. Additionally, there are the terminological difficulties with unclear and overlapping meanings of the rule of Shari’ah, extremism, radicalism, jihadism, and Islamism, to name but a few. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, I believe there is the fear that demand side investigation might come off as judgmental.
166. See John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed, Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think (New York: Gallup Press, 2007). Esposito and Mogahed’s book is long on interpretation, but short on the Gallup data it seeks to represent. In fact, the book does not contain one table or chart of data. The study has been criticized as subjective and unscientific. For a critique of this study, see Hillel Fradkin of Middle East Strategy at Harvard, Weatherhead Center; (accessed March 23, 2010). See also the critique of Martin Kramer, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies, Shalem Center, and at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, Harvard University; dr_esposito_and_the_seven_percent_solution.htm (accessed March 23, 2010).
167. For the first applicable Islamic demographics from the Pew Research Center, see the first major report of the Pew Global Attitudes Project, What the World Thinks in 2002, Pew Global Attitudes Project, December 4, 2002; (accessed March 19, 2010). Henceforth, 2002 Pew Report. The Pew Research Center has continued to release regular Islamic studies, with the latest release of data in 2007.
168. C. Christine Fair and Bryan Shepherd, “Who Supports Terrorism?: Evidence from Fourteen Muslim Countries,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 29, no. 1 (2006): 51-74. Conclusions cited are found at 71. Fair and Shepherd are aware of the limitation of the original data having been collected before OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. They wonder if the rates of support for terrorism would have been higher, had the data been collected later; see 73.
169. See Support for Terror Wanes Among Muslim Publics, Pew Global Attitudes Project, July 14, 2005; (accessed March 19, 2010). Henceforth, 2005 Pew Report.
Also see Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream, Pew Research Center, May 22, 2007; (accessed March 19, 2010). This document also provides important data based on an April 2006 Pew Research Center survey of Muslims living in Muslim countries. Henceforth, 2007 Pew Study.
170. The 2005 Pew Report and the 2007 Pew Study both used the words “Islamic extremism” in its survey questions. The surveys themselves show the difficulty of using this nomenclature. My judgment is that the 2005 Pew Report and the 2007 Pew Study intend by this nomenclature to include all positions that would advocate any of the following: the rule of Shari’ah law at the governmental level, the potential legitimacy of violent jihad, and the potential legitimacy of the use of the tactics of terror. This would include all traditionalist positions—radical, conservative, and neotraditionalist—as well as terrorists. See related discussion at Tables 5 and 6.
171. The 2002 and 2005 Pew Reports, and the 2007 Pew Study, all fail to distinguish between acts which are part of militant jihad, which lies within the position of traditionalist Islam, and acts of terrorism. Also problematic is the pertinent survey question, which speaks of “suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians,” failing to recognize terrorism which might be committed against service members. For example, acts of violence committed against wounded service members out of the fight, or against prisoners of war, or against service members of neutral forces participating in humanitarian relief operations, would be terrorist acts, judged according to the Geneva Conventions and the just war tradition. These limitations notwithstanding, the survey question helps shed light on how many Muslims would support terrorist acts as defined by Pew. See related discussion at Tables 7, 8, and 9.
172. See 2005 Pew Report, 34, for question “MQ.18” and responses. A number of respondents volunteered that they were equally Muslims and citizens.
173. See 2005 Pew Report, 34-35, for question “MQ.19” and responses. The 2002 data, drawn from the 2002 Pew Report and included at “MQ.19” of the 2005 Pew Report, does not appear to yield any remarkable conclusion.
174. See 2005 Pew Report, 35, for question “MQ.20” and responses.
175. See 2005 Pew Report, 36, for question “MQ.25” and responses. The large numbers of those who could not or would not answer may suggest the possible inadequacy of the terminology “Muslim extremism.”
176. See 2005 Pew Report, 36-37, for question “MQ.26” and responses.
177. This is question “QH.1” of the 2007 Pew Study, 91.
178. There is a somewhat hopeful trend demonstrated among those countries which were surveyed also in the earlier 2002, 2004, and 2005 Pew Reports. The 2007 Pew Study shows in Pakistan, Jordan, and Indonesia a decline among the rates of Muslims who find acts of terror justified; however, in Turkey there is an increase. All told, the overall rates remain high.
179. On the Muslim population of the United States, see 2007 Pew Study, 3. On the age breakdown of Muslims in the United States, Great Britain, France, German, and Spain, relative to their support for suicide bombing and other terrorist acts, see 2007 Pew Study, 54. It is distressing that a reported 26 percent of Muslims in America ages 18-29 hold that such terrorist acts can be justified.
180. See 2005 Pew Report, 38, for question “MQ.31” and responses.
181. See Richard L. Pace, The Role of Religion in the Life and Presidency of George W. Bush, Strategic Research project (Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, March 19, 2004). See also Stephen Mansfield, The Faith of George W. Bush (New York: J. P. Tarcher, 2003). Mansfield recounts that most United States Presidents have used religious language in their speeches, but notes, “By the early decades of the twentieth century, however, religion had declined as an influence in the United States, but presidents still spoke religiously of the nation as a nod to a Christian memory and as an attempt to baptize the American culture of their day,” xvii.
182. See Pace, 8. Pace finds that certain of the terms President’s Bush used in connection with the global war on terrorism reflected “the lens of his personal faith.” He cites examples such as “the axis of evil” and, regarding the war against terrorists, “Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.”
183. See Bob Woodward, Bush at War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002), 131. Woodward quotes President Bush’s comments on the repressiveness of North Korea and Iraq: “There is a human condition that we must worry about in times of war. There is a value system that cannot be compromised—God-given values. There aren’t United States-created values. There are values of freedom and the human condition and mothers loving their children. What’s very important as we articulate foreign policy through our diplomacy and military action, is that it never looks like we are creating—we are the author of these values.”
184. Pace notes that President Bush used policy to support freedom of religion for all religions, because he viewed religious practice as one of the most basic universal freedoms; see 7. Had President Bush’s policy been based on his own particular faith, it likely would not have supported freedom of religion for all faiths.
185. The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 17, 2002, (accessed March 24, 2010). The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, March 16, 2006, http:// (accessed March 24, 2010).
186. 2002 NSS, iv, vi. Note that at vi, freedom is defined as the demand of human dignity; throughout the NSS freedom and human dignity are held to be two sides of the same coin.
On the freedom as a universal value, see also 3: “The United States must defend liberty and justice because these principles are right and true for all people everywhere.”
187. Ibid., 3. The entire quote runs as follows: “America must stand firmly for the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law; limits on the absolute power of the state; free speech; freedom of worship; equal justice; respect for women; religious and ethnic tolerance; and respect for private property.”
188. Ibid., 4. The 2002 NSS did not limit to Muslim countries its promotion of religious freedom. In its discussion of the main centers of global power, the 2002 NSS argued that “only by allowing the Chinese people to think, assemble, and worship freely can China reach its full potential,” 28, my emphasis.
189. Ibid., 6: “We will also wage a war of ideas to win the battle against international terrorism. This includes: . . . supporting moderate and modern government, especially in the Muslim world, to ensure that the conditions and ideologies that promote terrorism do not find fertile ground in any nation.”
190. 2006 NSS, 7.
191. Ibid., 6-7.
192. Ibid., 10.
193. Ibid., 9.
194. The articulated long-term solution was to build democratic societies defined by ownership stake in society, the rule of law, freedom of speech, and the respect for human dignity; ibid., 10-11. The short-term solution was to prevent attacks by terrorist networks before they could occur, deny weapons of mass destruction to rogue states and terrorist allies, deny terrorist groups the support and sanctuary of rogue states, and deny terrorists the control of any nation that they could use as a base of operations; ibid., 12.
195. President Obama’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, Washington, DC, February 5, 2009, (accessed October 18, 2009).
196. Ibid. Within his prayer breakfast remarks, President Obama commented that his father was a Muslim who became an atheist, his grandparents were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and his mother was skeptical of organized religion.
197. Ibid.
198. Ibid. The pertinent text reads in full: “We know too that whatever our differences, there is one law that binds all great religions together. Jesus told us to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’ The Torah commands, ‘That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.’ In Islam, there is a hadith that reads ‘None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.’ And the same is true for Buddhists and Hindus; for followers of Confucius and for humanists. It is, of course, the Golden Rule—the call to love one another; to understand one another; to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth.”
Many adherents of these, and other, world religions would argue that the moral imperatives of their faiths are not the same. That said, western theological liberalism frequently interprets the religions of the world as cut from the same cloth.
199. Ibid.
200. As of March 29, 2010, the original completion date of this paper, President Obama had not published a National Security Strategy.
To access the speeches of President Obama which I have used as sources, see:
President Obama’s Inaugural Address, Washington, DC, January 20, 2009, http://www. Address (accessed February 1, 2010).
President Obama’s remarks to the Turkish Parliament, Ankara, Turkey, April 6, 2009, (accessed October 18, 2009).
President Obama’s “On a New Beginning” speech at Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009, (accessed October 18, 2009).
President Obama’s “New Moment of Promise” speech to the Ghanaian Parliament in Accra, Ghana, July 11, 2009, (accessed February 1, 2010).
President Obama’s remarks at the memorial service at Fort Hood and III Corps, Fort Hood, TX, November 10, 2009, (accessed November 15, 2009).
President Obama’s “On the Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan” speech at West Point, NY, December 1, 2009, (accessed December 8, 2009).
201. From Ankara, the following quote is representative of President Obama’s speech: “The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical not just in rolling back the violent ideologies that people of all faiths reject, but also to strengthen opportunity for all its people.
“I also want to be clear that America’s relationship with the Muslim community, the Muslim world, cannot, and will not, just be based upon opposition to terrorism. We seek broader engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. We will listen carefully, we will bridge misunderstandings, and we will seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree. We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world—including in my own country.”
202. From Ankara, while speaking about his support for Turkey’s bid to join the European Union (EU), President Obama commented that the EU would stand to gain by the “diversity of ethnicity, tradition and faith” that Turkey would bring. He then proceeded to encourage Turkey in its reforms, for “freedom of religion and expression lead to a strong and vibrant civil society.”
203. From Cairo, regarding terrorists: “Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam.”
204. From Cairo, the full quote runs as follows: “There’s one rule that lies at the heart of every religion—that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples—a belief that isn’t new; that isn’t black or white or brown; that isn’t Christian or Muslim or Jew. It’s a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the hearts of billions around the world. It’s a faith in other people, and it’s what brought me here today.
“We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning.”
F205. rom Accra, the full quote runs as follows: “Defining oneself in opposition to someone who belongs to a different tribe, or who worships a different prophet, has no place in the 21st century. Africa’s diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division. We are all God’s children.”
206. On November 10, 2009 President Obama spoke at a memorial service at Fort Hood, TX, in the wake of the November 5, 2009 terrorist attack. As of the writing of this paper Major Nidal Malik Hasan stands accused of opening fire and killing 13, and wounding 30 others, while shouting Allahu Akbar, “God is great” in Arabic. All but one of the casualties were soldiers. These casualty figures are from the official U.S. Army Home Page. Other authorities cite 14 dead, including the unborn infant of one slain pregnant soldier, and 38 wounded. See C. Todd Lopez, “President Says Nation Will Always Remember Fort Hood Casualties,” November 11, 2009, at The United States Army Home Page, (accessed 25 March 2010).
207. From West Point, the full quote runs as follows: “We’ll have to use diplomacy, because no one nation can meet the challenges of an interconnected world acting alone. I’ve spent this year renewing our alliances and forging new partnerships. And we have forged a new beginning between America and the Muslim world—one that recognizes our mutual interest in breaking a cycle of conflict, and that promises a future in which those who kill innocents are isolated by those who stand up for peace and prosperity and human dignity.”
208. Here I am leaving aside the added strategic message in the 2006 NSS, which characterized Islam as a proud religion being twisted by terrorists for evil purposes. Because President Obama has taken this message and more fully developed it, I provide analysis in my discussion of the paradigm suggested by President Obama’s policy—the paradigm of Religion as Unity.
209I am not intending to convey a comprehensive plan that uses all elements of national power to the defeat the adversary, but only a sketch of some of the policy implications of the paradigm of Religion as Freedom.
210. On the answers of various positions within Islam to this question, see above, part II subsection, “The Central Question for Islam—How Islam Is to Achieve Its Universalization.”
211. See discuss above, part II subsection, “Alignments within Traditionalist Islam.”
212. Here I am leaving aside the additional note sounded in President Obama’s speeches at Ankara and Cairo, in which he encouraged diversity of religious expression for building strong and vibrant societies. Because President Bush more fully developed this thought, I provide analysis in my discussion of the paradigm suggested by President Bush policy—the paradigm of Religion as Freedom.
213. On the varying faith positions within Islam, see Table 1. On demographics which show the level of Muslim support for ever justifying terrorist acts, see Table 8.
14. On the answers of various positions within Islam to this question, see above, part II subsection, “The Central Question for Islam—How Islam Is to Achieve Its Universalization.”
215. The pertinent portion of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
216. I am indebted to Chaplain (Colonel) Micheal Hoyt of the Office of the Army Chief of Chaplains, DACH-3/5/7, for his analysis regarding options for strengthening religion within campaign planning.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2015 11:22