Saturday, March 3, 2012

Zachery Chesser and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Zachery Chesser is a young man from Virginia serving a 25-year prison sentence for providing material support to an Islamic terrorist organization. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs recently published this case study on his radicalization.

The committee began its report with a glossary of relevant terms in which it defined Jihad as follows: an Arabic word commonly translated as "struggle;" used in the Qur'an to mean either a struggle on the battlefield or an inner spiritual struggle.

How did the intelligent, highly-educated young Senate staffers conclude that the Qur'an describes Jihad as an "inner spiritual struggle"? Was it from their own study of Islam's sacred text and their analysis of its more than 150 "Jihad verses"? I don't think so;  if they would have, they would have known that more than 95% of these verses were written when Muhammad was conducting wars from Medina, and almost every reference is to the primary meaning of Jihad which is effort exerted to ensure the victory and supremacy of Islam.

Chances are they watched this movie, What a Billion Muslims Really Think, perhaps at a government-sponsored conference on how to avoid offending Muslims in the workplace, and listened to Dalia Mogahed explain that to her Jihad is a wonderful word that expresses her desire to draw close to God. The fact that this has nothing at all to do with the Qur'an would be lost on them, because it is information Dalia and her many associates do not want them to have.

The report next defined Kafir as an "Arabic term used in Islamic doctrine and often translated as "non-believer", "disbeliever", or "infidel". The reality is that a Kafir in the Qur'an is anyone who did not accept Muhammad as a Prophet from Allah or the Qur'an as the word of Allah. In other words, a Kafir is simply a non-Muslim.

The glossary then defined Violent Islamist Extremism as "the ideology whose core goal is the establishment of a global state - or caliphate - by violent means in which the most radical interpretation of Shari'ah (Islamic religious law) will be enforced by the government."

The question to be asked, with just a slight rewording of the text, is this: does this define Violent Islamist Extremism, or is this nothing more than Islam as envisoned and practiced by Muhammad? Did the state established by Muhammad enforce "the most radical interpretation of Shari'iah", or did it simply enforce Qur'an-defined Shar'iah? Instead of calling this a definition of Violent Islamist Extremism, could it not simply be:

Islam as Envisoned and Practiced by Muhammad: The ideology whose core goal is the establishment of a global state - or caliphate - by violent and non-violent effort (Jihad) in which Shari'ah (including the Qur'anic Hudud of amputations, floggings, and capital punishment) will be enforced by the Caliph (God's representative on the earth).

The Senate report then establishes a timeline to describe "The Rapid Radicalization" of Chesser in 2008. What I find amazing is that the report says absolutely nothing about how he became radicalized. It devotes a single sentence to his conversion to Islam,  describes three sentences later his newly-developed conviction that voting in presidential elections is un-Islamic, and shortly afterwards notes his committment to violent Jihad.

Why would the report's authors not be interested in the process of Chesser's radicalization? Why would their report not include the verses from the Qur'an, the instructions of Muhammad in the Hadith, the examples from his life in the Sira, that caused Chesser to become in a short time someone who issued violent threats against the writers of South Park for showing Muhammad in a bear costume?

As government reports do, this one ends with "Findings and Recommendations". The Findings were that radicalization takes place over the Internet, is likely to increase, and Law Enforcement Agencies  are unable to counter it. The reason for the latter is that Law Enforcement is not allowed to interfere in the two basic American values of freedom of belief and freedom of speech. If I believe that Islam must rule, and if I openly proclaim that conviction, Law Enforcement is powerless to stop me until I engage in  criminal activity that puts my conviction into practice.

The recommendations were that "the U.S. Government needs a comprehensive Internet strategy to address online radicalization", and that the Government "should strengthen its ability to assist Muslim American communities seeking to address and counter radicalization online".

The problem is that the Government and Muslim American communities have nothing to counter the persuasive and powerful arguments of the Jihadists. Dalia Mogahed can tell us that Jihad is her effort to draw closer to God, but the Jihadist will recite hundreds of examples from the Qur'an and Hadith that Jihad is warfare in the way of Allah to spread and strengthen Islam. The moderate American Muslim can note with pride that Muslims serve in the U.S. military, but the Jihadist will challenge him to show a single verse in the Qur'an that allows a Muslim to serve in the armies of the Kuffar (non-Muslims) against the Mu'mineen (believing Muslims). The Muslim Colonel in the Marine Corps might be a good American, but he is not a good Muslim.

Zachery Adam Chesser is a 22-year old man, born three days before Christmas in 1989, now serving a 25-year sentence in a maximum security prison for attempting to follow the instructions of his Prophet to migrate from the land of the Kuffar and engage in Jihad among the Mu'mineen. In other words, he is just another young man whose life was tragically destroyed by Islam.