An international organization that supports persecuted Christians has a heads-up for Western politicians and other leaders who continually insist Islam has nothing to do with terrorism and describe it as a “religion of peace.”
It’s not, contends the England-based Barnabas Fund, citing a newly released study by Ednan Aslan, a professor of Islamic religious education at the University of Vienna.
Aslan found that many jihadis and “other radical Islamists” have a “deep understanding of Islamic theology.”
“The study … comprehensively refutes the claims made by many politicians and other public figures in the West that radical Islam is a perversion of Islam and jihadists have little knowledge of Islamic theology,” the Christian organization said.
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Barnabas, which focuses most of efforts on the Muslim world, works through local organizations and churches on behalf of the persecuted church “to be their voice – making their needs known to Christians around the world.”
Aslan’s 310-page study, published in German, features in-depth interviews with 29 “radical Muslims” in Austria.
“Most of those studied already had a grounding in Islamic belief before they were radicalized,” Barnabas said. “However, what Professor Aslan terms ‘the intensive examination of theological topics’ represented a turning point for many in their radicalization. Professor Aslan’s study also highlighted the central role played by some Islamic theological teachers in radicalization, stating, ‘persons with a higher theological knowledge function as authorities and play a central role in the spread of ideology.'”
It’s something the West needs to understand, Barnabas Fund said.
“It is really important that Western governments wake up and take notice of such research. Until they recognize that the persecution of Christians and other non-Muslim minorities in the Middle East and elsewhere is driven by some long-standing interpretations of Islamic theology, it is unlikely that they will be able to address the problem effectively.
“In fact, when Western recruits join jihadi groups such as Islamic State, one of the first things that happens to them is that they are taught Islamic theology, which includes how non-Muslims are to be treated.”
The study concluded: “The radical individuals are the only true Muslims.”
Barnabas Fund also pointed to an ongoing discussion among Muslims about what makes a Muslim and what they must believe.
The Middle East Media Research Institute noted that “takfir,” the act of accusing a fellow Muslim of heresy, is key, since in Islam heresy is punishable by death.
MEMRI reported a recent memo from a top ISIS leader asserting “takfir is a fundamental tenet of Islam, as important, or even more important than basic obligations such as prayer, and adopted a radical position regarding the collective status of citizens of Muslim countries, casting doubt on whether they should be considered true Muslims.”
But the hard-line approach drew criticism from various Muslim clerics, who claimed the move was “pandering to extremist elements,” MEMRI reported.
It’s critical, as Takfir is considered “pivotal to identifying the enemies who must be fought and killed.”
One thought inside Islam is that such actions should be reserved for “selected individuals,” while another view is that it should be applied against entire movements or communities.
ISIS has removed textbooks that were used to teach basic theology to new ISIS recruits in the organization’s training camps to install teachings with a harder line.
Lifezette reported the study by Aslan was funded by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Aslan told the German newspaper Die Tagespost that he found debate and interaction “with content, norms and values of the Islamic doctrine” plays a critical role in individuals’ radicalization, according to Lifezette.
Aslan said the “intensive examination of theological issues is a turning point in many of the respondents in their lives.”
Lifezette said the “results of the study have clearly come as a shock to Western liberals conditioned by years of multicultural propaganda.”
“The German newspaper Die Welt reported the study under the headline, ‘Islam plays a greater role in radicalization than assumed.’ It would be far more accurate, however, to say that ‘Islam plays a greater role in radicalization than admitted,’ experts say.”
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim and leader of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told Lifezette: “This study proves what any honest Muslim already knows or [has] been in major denial about. While our ‘Islam’ as we practice it here in the West is for reform-minded Muslims compatible with Western values, the reality is the ‘Islam’ practiced by large swaths of Muslims in Muslim-majority nations run by Shariah law is supremacist and theocratic in mindset.”
He continued: “Our organization [AIFD] and other leaders in our Muslim reform movement have been screaming from the rooftops for over a decade that there is a direct connection between non-violent Islamism (the supremacism of Islamic states based in Shariah law) and the violent Islamism of militant jihadists. One naturally leads to the other, and this study is simply proving what has been painfully obvious to any honest Muslims.
“Islamists will blame the ‘anti-Muslim bigotry’ or aka ‘Islamophobia’ of the ‘right’ when in fact it is Islamist groups in the West (Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups) that exaggerate the extent of anti-Muslim bigotry, trying to impose anti-blasphemy behaviors by calling it ‘Islamophobia,'” Jasser said. “The Islamist groups like CAIR, MPAC, MAS, ICNA, ISNA and others will do anything possible to blame everyone on the planet who is non-Muslim except their own ideologies and in essence the ideology spread across the planet by OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] regimes of Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan, to name a few.”
Barnabas noted: “It is true that some jihadists simply ‘jump on the bandwagon’ with little initial knowledge of jIslamic theology. But – and this is why Aslan’s study is so important – Western governments must grasp the fact that the jihadists’ persecution of Chrisitans and other non-Muslim minorities is primarily driven by interpretations of Islamic theology that go back centuries.”
In “Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance,” renowned activist Pamela Geller provides offers proven, practical guidance on how freedom lovers can stop jihadist initiatives in local communities.