The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Now what? Senusso-Fascists?

It’s always fun to watch the leaps which the American ideological right will make in trying to cast Muslims as radicals. To whit, this new allegation by John Rosenthal in the National Review about the supposed jihadi nature of Libya's rebels...

There is a clear overlap between the [Libyan jihadist] Islamists and the monarchists, inasmuch as the deposed King Idris I was himself the head of the Senussi brotherhood, which the authors [of a French report] describe as "an anti-Western Muslim sect that practices an austere and conservative form of Islam." The monarchists are thus, more precisely, "monarchists-fundamentalists."

Uh, "anti-Western" in the sense that Mussolini was Western. The Senussis fought against the Italian colonization of Libya, but King Idris sided with the Allies during WW2, formed a kingdom under their patronage, and throughout his reign was arguably one of the more pro-Western monarchs in the Arab world. That was one reason why Qaddafi was able to overthrow him.

The American rightwing media does this kind of thing fairly regularly in its coverage of the Middle East and Islam. Some of these bizarre conclusions die on the vine, but others go viral.

Rosenthal is trying to argue that radical Islamists dominate the Libyan rebellion. Now, there is a strong Islamist tradition in eastern Libya as well as a more extreme Qaeda-affiliated tradition, particularly in the town of Derna, and it would be logical to assume that some al-Qaeda sympathizers (or ex-Qaeda sympathizers) have fought with the rebel forces. But most serious journalists and researchers working in the region I think would shy away from any confident guess as to the size of their representation among the rebel forces, let alone judge that Senussi monarchists, on the basis of their anti-Italian activities in the 1940s and before, are for all intents and purposes one with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

However, columnists for ideological magazines tend to abhor uncertainty. So, they run and grab a bunch of sweeping and mostly unsourced allegations stated with absolute confidence, make a few logical jumps of their own, and expose what us Useful Dhimmiots have clearly been covering up.


Getting away from Libya, probably some of the weirdest jumps about Islam and the Arab world in general, particularly in the fringier right-wing publications, come from misuse of Arabic and Muslim terminology. Salon recently ran a pretty good summation (although I think it's a little disingenuous about the degree to which jihad is used to refer to its militant variation) Salon 's piece was occasioned by the claim made on the Washington Times' Communities section, since removed, that Anthony Weiner may have been a taqiyya-practicing convert to Islam.

To Salon's list of misused terms, I'd like to add one more. During the height of the mosque controversy last year, the NRO's regular Islamic affairs columnist Andrew McCarthy caught on to Feisal Abdul Rauf's sinister useage of the term "dawa". Now, those of us whose eyes have not been opened by the Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (And the Crusades) might translate "dawa" in its religious sense as "preaching" or even "outreach" -- sometimes proselytizing non-Muslims, but also getting Muslims to interpret their faith in a certain way, or simply explaining Islam to non-Muslims without the goal of conversion. But the real story is that dawa necessarily has as its end goal the installment of a theocracy:

The purpose of dawa, like the purpose of jihad, is to implement, spread, and defend sharia. Scholar Robert Spencer incisively refers to dawa practices as "stealth jihad" the advancement of the sharia agenda through means other than violence and agents other than terrorists.

Man, what a screw-up by Rauf -- all those years of hardcore taqiyya thrown out the window. At least he didn't let slip about this strange Allah deity whom he worships.


Steve Negus1 Comment