Thursday, August 24, 2006

Inside the Mind of Militant Islam

By Klaas Brobbel

When Ayatollah Khomeini began his cassette tape ministry while in exile during the mid-1970s little did he know the impact it would have on Islam as a whole. Within a few years his sermons became very popular taking the Islamic world by storm. His brand of orthodoxy revitalized Islam, which for centuries had taken a back seat in relation the Western ways. In the end he retuned victoriously to his native Iran and subsequently became the most powerful person in the country.

The power of the cassette tape was not lost on many other Islamic preachers who followed him. Today, hundreds of thousands of such cassette tapes are available in the bazaars across the Middle East and find their way well beyond that region of the world. These messages have militarized Islam and Muslim youth especially are greatly attracted to it. Cases in points are the recent arrests of seventeen young Muslims in Canada and the arrests of others earlier this month in Great Britain on terrorist charges. Those of us who do not speak Arabic will need to rely on those who do to tell us what these massages contain. This raises the question, "Should we care?"

The other day, while scanning through nearly 100 e-mail reports dealing with the persecution of Christians and issues related to Islam and Hinduism I came upon a twelve page article written by Emmanuel Sivan who teaches history at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The article Eavesdropping on Radical Islam, draws on research for a project conducted for the Twentieth Century Fund (you can find this article at

Professor Sivan has done a phenomenal job by listening and analyzing hundreds of sermons from over 30 popular Islamic preachers in the Arab world. His study enables us to get right into the Islamic mind and thinking to see for ourselves the unyielding non compromising spirit of militant Islam.

While much of their analyses regarding democracy and Western society are right, their methods to correct the wrongs are not. As Christian we believe that people have a right to be wrong. To force everyone to have the same belief (which would ultimately fail anyway) would create a world where terror would reign supreme.

So, should we be concerned? The answer is, "Yes we should." The influence that these men have over a new generation of Muslims is frightening and does not bode well for the freedoms we so easily take for granted.

Sivan concludes his article with the warning: "Westerners debating the question of Islam and democracy would do well to listen to these voices, representing as they do the hegemonic discourse in the Islamist movement. When Islamists talk to each other rather than for external consumption, the talk is clearly and unambiguously anti-democratic. And so would be their behaviour should they seize power."

(Klaas Brobbel is the Executive Director of The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada)

1 comment:

James Meyer said...

I have read your blog and find it worth reading farther. I believe there must be a dirrerent way to deal with the Islamic world other than trying to cram western democrocy down there throats with I believe will cause more hatred towards the west.

On another note I have just recieved a copy of Extreme Devotion and I think is should be a must read for all christions