U.K.’s Islamic State problem: ‘Jihadi-cool’ isn’t going away anytime soon

Islamic State UK

The world has an Islamic State problem on its hands, but the United Kingdom may bear the brunt of terror attacks directed at Western interests in the years to come. The reason: “Jihadi-cool” sub-culture. There is a dangerous size of Britain’s young Muslim population that identifies with the Sunni terrorists chopping heads off in Syria and Iraq, and they have made it very clear that the battlefield for an Islamic caliphate is limitless.

Reuters reported Aug. 21:

Iqbal Sacranie, an adviser to the Muslim Council of Britain, said Britons from across the country’s communities had to stop young men being seduced by radical ideologies.

“This sub culture of this ‘jihadi-cool’ – as they call it in the media – within the margins of society … that is the real challenge,” he told BBC Radio. “This is a problem that affects all of us and it will only be dealt with more effectively if all of us are working together on this.” …

Ghaffar Hussain, managing director of the counter-extremism Quilliam Foundation, said it was almost inevitable that men who had fought in Syria would return to plan attacks in Europe.

“It is disturbing that people born and raised in Britain and who have gone to the same schools as us could have been essentially indoctrinated to the extent where they can justify raping women and chopping heads off,” he said.

The Muslim Council of Britain is comprised of over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organizations, mosques, charities and schools that bring services to the nation’s 2.7 million Muslims. When its advisers start warning about “jihadi-cool” cultures taking root among British youth, it is time to worry.

In February, 2013 this blog explored changing demographics in the U.K., which favored its radical Islamic population. As a result, certain readers said I was “scare mongering.” Another asked: “Why are you making this bizarro assertion that there is some great Muslim threat in England?”

Today, there is a budding Islamic caliphate in the heart of the Middle East, there are no Christians in Mosul for the first time in roughly 2,000 years, and American photojournalist James Foley is dead — thought to be beheaded by a British-rapper-turned-terrorist, Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary.

The U.K. Independent reported Aug. 23:

A former rapper fighting with the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria is believed to be one of several British jihadists under investigation following the beheading of James Foley.

Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 24, was known as L Jinny or Lyricist Jinn at home in London, where his rising music career saw him appear in videos and have his singles played on BBC Radio in 2012.

He came to national attention earlier this year, when he posted a picture of himself holding a severed head on Twitter after resurfacing in Syria.

The gruesome picture, believed to have been taken in the Isis stronghold of Raqqa, was captioned: “Chillin’ with my homie or what’s left of him.”

It may very well turn out that Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary isn’t the man who murdered James Foley. Why? Because roughly twice as many British Muslims are fighting for Islamic State than in the nation’s armed services.

Newsweek reported Aug 20:

There are now more than twice as many British Muslims fighting for Islamic State than there are serving in the British armed forces, according to a British Member of Parliament (MP).

Khalid Mahmood, the MP for Perry Barr in Birmingham, estimates that at least 1,500 young British Muslims have been recruited by extremists fighting in Iraq and Syria in the last three years. …

Mahmood told Newsweek that this figure had been building since the start of the Syrian conflict: “If you look across the whole of the country, and the various communities involved, 500 going over each year would be a conservative estimate.”

According to the Ministry of Defence, there are only around 600 British Muslims currently serving in the Armed Forces, making up approximately around 0.4% of total personnel. 4.3% of the British population are Muslim. …

“Their use of the internet is unlike anything we have seen before,” Charlie Cooper of the Quilliam Foundation said.

If that phrase sounds familiar, that’s because U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel believes the same thing.

While speaking at a joint press briefing with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey on Aug. 21, he said: “They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess,” Hagel said. “They are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we’ve seen.”

That is not “scare mongering.” That is reality. Unfortunately, it is a reality that too many people still do not want to confront. And if you think Islamic State is only going after men, then think again. France knows the problem first-hand.

The Associated Press reported Aug. 22:

PARIS (AP) — Two French girls, aged 15 and 17, have been captured by a security net that authorities are using to ferret out citizens who are considering traveling to other countries to join jihads. …

France, with a Muslim population estimated at 5 million — the largest in Western Europe — is particularly concerned about the flight of youths to the battlefields.

French authorities say there are some 900 people from France who have been implicated in jihad — meaning they have taken part in one, plan to join one, or are returning from one. Several dozen have been killed.

How many young girls across Europe are hoping to join Islamic State’s all-female brigade in Raqqa, Syria? That’s an excellent question. Regardless, we are well past the stage where officials (and bloggers) who want to know the answer can be labeled by multi-culturalists as “scare mongers.”

Syria Deeply ISIL

Obama says ‘No just god would stand for ISIL,’ forgets that God gave humans free will

President Obama took time out from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation on Wednesday to give a press conference on the beheading of U.S. photojournalist James Foley. In his remarks on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant he made a curious statement: “No just god would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day.” It sounds nice, but there is absolutely no reason to believe he is correct.

Here is an excerpt from the speech:

“Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than they practice a different religion.

They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people. So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just god would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt.” — (President Obama, August 8, 2014).

Mr. Obama forgets one crucial point: God gave humans free will. C.S. Lewis puts it well in “The Problem of Pain.”

I have tried to show in a previous chapter that the possibility of pain is inherent in the very existence of a world where souls can meet. When souls become wicked they will certainly use this possibility to hurt one another; and this, perhaps, accounts for four-fifths of the sufferings of men. It is men, not God, who have produced racks, whips, prisons, slavery, guns, bayonets, and bombs; it is by human avarice or human stupidity, not by the churlishness of nature, that we have poverty and overwork.” — (C.S. Lewis, ‘The Problem of Pain’).

A God who values free will would be very just indeed to let humans stew in the evil juices of their own making.

In short, we have a president who doesn’t have a clear understanding of the threat posed by ISIL, as even Shadi Hamid of the liberal Brookings Institution points out: “Underestimating ISIS is dangerous, as Obama did when he referred to it as the ‘JV team’ of terrorism. Let’s not do that again.”

Obama JV Team ISISAnd we have a president whose understanding of a just God is constrained to his point of view. Mr. Obama does little to dispel charges of narcissism when he even tries to lock God into an ideological box of his own liking.

What is more likely: That Mr. Obama knows what actions a just God would permit on earth — or that God’s purpose in eternity would in fact leave room for evil, so that free agents could reject such a scourge and willingly come to Him?

The onus is not on God to stop ISIL — the onus is on humanity. Mr. Obama may have inadvertently tried to slip off the hard (and painful) responsibility for humans to stand up to evil, but intellectually honest individuals know that it can not be done. While God may be gracious enough to answer certain prayers, He is under no responsibility to save us from the countless sordid affairs we create for ourselves on a regular basis.

C.S. Lewis also said: “Until the evil man finds evil unmistakably present in his existence, in the form of pain, he is enclosed in illusion.” We have been enclosed in illusion for a long time. It is time to wake up.

Related: Islamic State beheads James Foley, then keeps the lights on in town; U.S. citizens left in the dark

Editor’s Note for regular readers: The book I am writing is heavily influenced by the idea put forth by C.S. Lewis that “pain is inherent in the very existence of a world where souls can meet.” If that message resonates with you, then stay tuned.

Islamic State beheads James Foley, then keeps the lights on in town; U.S. citizens left in the dark

James Foley

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant beheaded U.S. photojournalist James Foley yesterday, and the news shot out across social media at lightening speed — but Americans have been kept in the dark about what it will take to defeat the terrorist group. As Islamic State and its tens-of-thousands of fighters dig in to large swathes of Iraq and Syria, we are being led to believe that random airstrikes, occasional Special Forces operations, and some new weapons in the hands of the Iraqi government will do the trick. Meanwhile, Islamic State is learning how to fill potholes and get the trash out on Thursdays.

The Obama administration is not being upfront about the nature of the threat, and in time that dishonesty will bring the sorrow felt by the Foley family to many other Americans.

James Carafano, vice president for foreign and defense policy at the Heritage Foundation, spoke with The Washington Times on Tuesday. During the interview, he indirectly reminded everyone that the group President Obama infamously referred to as the “J.V. team” are establishing themselves as a serious adversary.

It’s “a very provocative way of showing that you are still a force to be reckoned with” and not just “a bunch of losers,” he said. “In this part of the world, honor is power. It’s not about doing the right thing. [Honor] is as important to them as martyrdom.

The U.S. is setting itself up for failure because many of its policymakers a.) don’t understand (or want to understand) the threat posed by Islamic State and its allies around the globe, b.) what they do know they don’t accurately convey to the American people, and c.) they deal with the threat by creating the illusion that something is being done (e.g., random drone strikes), when in reality they are most-likely exacerbating the problem.

Meanwhile, Islamic State is using its time in charge of cities across the Middle East to learn how to govern.

Foreign Policy Magazine reported Monday:

The Obama administration’s escalating air war against the Islamic State is running up against a dispiriting new reality: The militants are becoming as good at governing territory as they are at conquering it, making it considerably harder to dislodge them from the broad swaths of Syria and Iraq that they now control.

U.S. intelligence officials say the leaders of the Islamic State are adopting methods first pioneered by Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite militia, and are devoting considerable human and financial resources toward keeping essential services like electricity, water, and sewage functioning in their territory. In some areas, they even operate post offices. …

Islamic State, already the best-armed and best-funded terror group in the world, is quickly adapting to the challenges of ruling and governing. That, in turn, dramatically reduces the chances that the extremists will face homegrown opposition in what amounts to the world’s newest territory.

“ISIS is the most dangerous terrorist group in the world because they combine the fighting capabilities of al Qaeda with the administrative capabilities of Hezbollah,” said David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency expert who spent several years working as a top aide to Gen. David Petraeus during the height of the Iraq War. “It’s clear that they have a state-building agenda and an understanding of the importance of effective governance.”

Once again, it’s time to revisit David Remnick’s January interview  with President Obama in The New Yorker:

I pointed out that the flag of Al Qaeda is now flying in Falluja, in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria; Al Qaeda has asserted a presence in parts of Africa, too.

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.

“Let’s just keep in mind, Falluja is a profoundly conservative Sunni city in a country that, independent of anything we do, is deeply divided along sectarian lines. And how we think about terrorism has to be defined and specific enough that it doesn’t lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology are a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.”

Is the extermination of entire Christian populations in the Middle East worth wading into? We now know that it’s at least worth a few American air strikes along the side of a mountain. Is the beheading of American photojournalists worth wading into? Perhaps not a single person, but the mountain of heads is piling up mighty high in Syria and Iraq, and the guys wielding the instruments of death have openly stated their desire to bring terror to the Western world.

The Obama administration desperately wanted to believe that “extremist Islamic ideology” is something that is only a threat to “local” populations, when members of such groups state again and again that the goal is to build a worldwide Islamic caliphate. While it is much harder to expose Mr. Obama’s incompetence on domestic issues (e.g., The reason why Program X isn’t working is because it requires $10 billion more dollars on top of the $10 billion we’ve already spent, and the evil Republicans in the House aren’t working with me.), honest individuals can see that he is in way over his head on foreign policy. His fundamental misunderstanding of the threat posed by Islamic terrorists will have deadly repercussions for years to come.

If you get a moment, say a prayer for the Foley family. Then, say a prayer for the family of journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, who Islamic State is threatening to behead next.