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International Politics, On the Bookshelf

Book Review: The Grand Jihad

The American Left and the Islamists work together to sabotage American, spreading their social justice (or sharia) values in a way that is inimical to American values, argues Andrew C. McCarthy in his book The Grand Jihad. For the hard left, social justice translates into Marxism and communism. For the Islamist, social justice leads to implementing Sharia and an Islamic state. These two are natural partners, he argues, because of their pursuit of “power” and opposition to American liberties. (McCarthy’s newest book is Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.)

A riveting tale of Islam in America and abroad, in The Grand Jihad McCarthy details the Salafist views harkening back to Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb; both provide ideological inspiration for the Muslim Brotherhood. Banna founded the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.

And the tentacles of the Brotherhood can be found throughout American society, be it through the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), or the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Muslim American Society (MAS). Whatever the acronym, McCarthy documents how these groups are connected to terrorist organizations because of their shared desire for a sharia-based Islamist society.  “With Islam off the table, we no longer worry about–or defend ourselves against–a global movement, driven by a common religious ideology which, far from a perversion of Muslim doctrine, is both well-rooted in scripture and a lot more mainstream than DHS’s consultants let on,” argues McCarthy.

“For all their infighting, the Islamists and the terrorists start and hope to end in the same place,” asserts McCarthy. One of his key arguments is that “The Islamist’s problem with the terrorist is not that the latter acts forcibly but that he acts prematurely.” The terrorist may also be defended by Islamists, who couch the terrorists’ actions in terms of “resistance” against an oppressive power. (Consider, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.) “The terrorist, by contrast, will never acknowledge that he is a terrorist and moreover will go to great lengths to evade and obscure any such inference or connection,” wrote Bruce Hoffman in a 1998 chapter “Defining Terrorism” (emphasis in original). This is shown by McCarthy, who writes that “When he finally pled guilty to conspiring to support terrorism, the judge who had presided over [Sami al-Arian’s] case called him a ‘master manipulator’ who had serially lied to cover up his exertions on [Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s] behalf.” The University of Maryland’s START defines PIJ as “[...] a violent offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni, Islamist, religious movement that originated in Egypt and seeks broad social, moral, and political reforms based upon Islam.”

“The PIJ is one faction within a loosely organized, highly secretive group of Islamic Jihad movements that span the Middle East.”

While highly informative about the Obama Administration’s connections with ISNA, CAIR, MAS and other groups–as well as President Barack Obama’s communist and Islamist connections–McCarthy’s material describing the ideologies which join the Left and Islamism at the hip is somewhat thinner than his other documentation. “In the final analysis, Islam’s conception of private ownership resembles leftist doctrine, and it denies the American conception of individual liberty in the acquisition and use of one’s assets,” he writes. In other words, he argues that both leftists (through the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau) and Islamists believe in the “general will” and a community to which all individual needs must be subjected. “Given that both Americans and Islamists are apt to invoke the word ‘freedom’ with regularity, it is critical to remember that when it comes to ‘freedom,’ East and West are not talking about the same thing.” The Left and the Islamists are fast friends–until they aren’t, he argues.

Readers of The Grand Jihad may be tempted to conclude that all Muslims are Islamists, although McCarthy is careful to make the point that they aren’t. The documented connections of the earlier mentioned groups to Hamas and Al Qaeda should speak for themselves.

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