2016-09-08

Management of Savagery — The Plan Behind the Terror Killing

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

najiSeveral times I have urged anyone interested in understanding modern Islamist terrorism to read the manuals and other literature that the Islamist terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and Islamic State have taken as their guides. Recently I went one step further and posted an overview of the seminal Islamist writing by Sayyid Qutb: The Founder of Islamist Extremism and Terrorism.

Another major work whose influence is very clear throughout Islamist writings and public announcements is The Management of Savagery, published online in 2004 under the pseudonym Abu Bakr Naji.

There is no need to wonder why Islamist terrorists target civilians in the West for horrific deaths. Naji set out the tactic and its rationale for all to read. There is no secret. No mystery.

I will copy and paste a few relevant sections from this manual. The translation is by (oh no, here’s that name again William McCants. The copy I am using requires me to acknowledge the following:

Funding for this translation was provided by the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University, and any use of this material must include a reference to the Institute.

That’s the formalities covered.

The management of savagery is the next stage that the Umma will pass through and it is considered the most critical stage. If we succeed in the management of this savagery, that stage (by the permission of God) will be a bridge to the Islamic state which has been awaited since the fall of the caliphate. If we fail – we seek refuge with God from that – it does not mean end of the matter; rather, this failure will lead to an increase in savagery!!

I skip the sections where Naji pinpoints times and places of supposedly comparable operations of savagery in history (e.g. resistance by numerous small bands to the Crusades).

A – The first goal: Destroy a large part of the respect for America and spread confidence in the souls of Muslims by means of:

(1) Reveal the deceptive media to be a power without force.

(2) Force America to abandon its war against Islam by proxy and force it to attack directly so that the noble ones among the masses and a few of the noble ones among the armies of apostasy will see that their fear of deposing the regimes because America is their protector is misplaced and that when they depose the regimes, they are capable of opposing America if it interferes.

 Then….

B – The second goal: Replace the human casualties sustained by the renewal movement during the past thirty years by means of the human aid that will probably come for two reasons:

(1) Being dazzled by the operations which will be undertaken in opposition to America.

(2) Anger over the obvious, direct American interference in the Islamic world, such that that anger compounds the previous anger against America’s support for the Zionist entity. It also transforms the suppressed anger toward the regimes of apostasy and tyranny into a positive anger.

And C

(C) – The third goal: Work to expose the weakness of America’s centralized power by pushing it to abandon the media psychological war and the war by proxy until it fights directly.

There is discussion of the appropriate targets of terrorist attacks. The aim is to spread the defensive forces of the State powers so thin as to be effectively useless as a guarantor of safety.

Hitting economic targets will force (the enemy) to goad the regimes, who are (already) exhausted from protecting the other remaining targets (economic or otherwise), into pumping in more forces for its protection. As a result, feebleness will start to appear in their forces, especially since their forces are limited . . . .

Thus, their forces are limited and select and the regimes have to put in place the following priorities:

First: Personal protection for the royal/ruling families and the presidential institutions.
Second: Foreigners.
Third: Petroleum and the economy.
Fourth: Entertainment spots.

. . . . .

There is an important principle which states, “If regular armies concentrate in one place they lose control. Conversely, if they spread out, they lose effectiveness”. . . .

When the best forces are positioned to protect thousands of petroleum or economic locations in a single country, the peripheries (of that country) and the crowded regions will be devoid of forces.

Organization is taken seriously. They are not amateurish hobbyists:

The most important skill of the art of administration that we must use is learning how to establish committees and specializations and dividing labor. . . .

We must make use of books on the subject of administration, especially the management studies and theories which have been recently published . . . .

And not only books on administration . . . .

— General books on the art of war, especially guerrilla wars . . .

Section three, page 28:

Section Three

Using the Time-Tested Principles of Military Combat . . . .

Following the time-tested principles of military combat will shorten for us the long years in which we might suffer the corrupting influences of rigidity and random behavior. Truly, abandoning random behavior and adopting intellectual, academic methods and experimental military principles and actually implementing them and applying military science will facilitate our achievement of the goals . . .

Page 31 brings us to our main interest:

Section Four

Using Violence

Those who study theoretical jihad, meaning they study only jihad as it is written on paper, will never grasp this point well. Regrettably, the youth in our Umma, since the time when they were stripped of weapons, no longer understand the nature of wars. One who previously engaged in jihad knows that it is naught but violence, crudeness, terrorism, frightening (others), and massacring——I am talking about jihad and fighting, not about Islam and one should not confuse them.

“Not about Islam”? “One should not confuse them”? That should not be surprising after reading Qutb’s Milestones. Qutb set out in black and white clarity the difference between Islamism and mainstream Muslims.

But never mind for now, let’s pick ourselves up and move along as if we never read that bit. . . .

We are now in circumstances resembling the circumstances after the death of the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and the outbreak of apostasy or the like of that which the believers faced in the beginning of the jihad. Thus, we need to massacre (others) . . .

Media savvy

A large section of Management is devoted to media management. Example scenarios (e.g. hostage taking) are presented and appropriate ways to communicate with the media/public before, during and after such an operation.

Therefore, the first step in putting our plan in place should be to focus on justifying the action rationally and through the sharia and (to argue that) there is a benefit in this world and the next (for undertaking the plan).

That justification, as implied in the above words, means stressing the idealistic motives, the conformity to “true Islam” (contrary to mainstream “apostates”) — the appeal to win more idealistic jihadis.

Why Attack the Innocent?

“Paying the price” in the following refers to revenge attacks. Any hostile action by a Western power or a proxy of a Western power (e.g. Egypt) but be met by savage retaliation, to ensure a price is paid. Bolding emphasis is my own.

Here is an important point: It is best if those that undertake operations of “paying the price” are other groups in other regions against which no hostility has been directed. There are a number of benefits in this, which we will expand on in the section concerning “power” [shawka]. Among the most important benefits is making the enemy feel that he is surrounded and that his affairs are exposed. If the enemy undertakes a hostile action against a region in the Arabian Peninsula or in Iraq, then the response will occur in Morocco or Nigeria or Indonesia. This will cause embarrassment for the enemy, especially if the region in which the operation of “paying the price” occurred submits to the control of the regimes of unbelief or the regimes of apostasy. Thus, (the enemy) will not find a good arena in which to respond. Further, that operation will work to raise the morale of those who had received (the initial) hostility and communicate a practical message to Muslims in every place that we are one Umma and that assistance is not limited by borders.

And against Muslim targets, too:

In the preceding depiction, “paying the price” is not limited to the Crusader enemy. By way of example, if the apostate Egyptian regime undertakes an action to kill or capture a group of mujahids, the youth of jihad in Algeria or Morocco can direct a strike against the Egyptian embassy and issue a statement of justification, or they can kidnap Egyptian diplomats as hostages until the group of mujahids is freed, and so forth. The policy of violence must also be followed such that if the demands are not met, the hostages should be liquidated in a terrifying manner, which will send fear into the hearts of the enemy and his supporters.

The Aim is to Polarize Society

What follows is the tactic that enabled the rise of Islamic State in Iraq, or at least the precursor of the Islamic State. The following also shows that it doesn’t matter if the tactic succeeds in actually producing an Islamic State — failure will only mean more violence.

The section begins with another tirade against “mainstream Muslims”, those who call for “national unity”, who are classed with the enemy:

These groups (Muslim leaders calling for unity) are like the (Arab) Christians and the propagandists of nationalism among the secular, apostate parties; their like is legion. . . .

They even directed some people to hold meetings with the Arab Christians and the secular parties in order to find fault with the activities of the groups of jihad. . . .

The following is exactly what transpired in Iraq when Zarqawi terrorized Sunni regions so that the “silent majority” kept their heads down until a clear winner was evident. Others in fear for their lives chose to join the terrorists at an earlier stage of the campaign. Some — the few ideologues — joined willingly. This way the terrorists maximized their numbers and candidates for more martyrdom operations.

By polarization here, I mean dragging the masses into the battle such that polarization is created between all of the people. Thus, one group of them will go to the side of the people of truth, another group will go to the side of the people of falsehood, and a third group will remain neutral, awaiting the outcome of the battle in order to join the victor. We must attract the sympathy of this group and make it hope for the victory of the people of faith, especially since this group has a decisive role in the later stages of the present battle.

Dragging the masses into the battle requires more actions which will inflame opposition and which will make the people enter into the battle, willing or unwilling, such that each individual will go to the side which he supports. We must make this battle very violent, such that death is a heartbeat away [lit. “the closest thing to the souls”], so that the two groups will realize that entering this battle will frequently lead to death. That will be a powerful motive for the individual to choose to fight in the ranks of the people of truth in order to die well, which is better than dying for falsehood and losing both this world and the next. This was the policy of battle for the pioneers: to transform societies into two opposing groups, igniting a violent battle between them whose end is either victory or martyrdom, whose emblem is either glorious war or humiliating peace. One of the two opposing groups is in Paradise and the other is in Hell: “Our fallen warriors are in Paradise and their fallen warriors are in Hellfire “. [A statement attributed to `Umar, a Companion of the Prophet.] This battle alone, through its vehemence and its (ability to) separate (people), is that which will enable us to polarize the largest number of individuals toward our ranks such that we will not grieve afterwards over those who are destroyed in the other rank.

The same applies in places far away from the Middle East:

When savagery happens in several regions—whether we administer them or they are neighboring regions or further away—a spontaneous kind of polarization begins to happen among the people who live in the region of chaos. The people, seeking security, rally around the great personages of the country or a party organization or a jihadi organization or a military organization composed of the remainders of the army or the police of the regimes of apostasy.

Fulfilled Prophecies

The attacks encourage sympathizers to come out and join the jihad, especially the youth. The efforts by youth to leave their homes in the Europe, North America, Australia and join Islamic State were predicted (this is published in 2004; Islamic State was born in 2014):

We will find (by the permission of God) that along with this first step there will be a continuous emigration of the youth of other regions to our regions in order to assist them and live in them, despite the loss of lives and worldly gains [lit. “fruits”] or the pressure of the enemies upon these regions.

And the current mass emigration of refugees from the regions of violence — Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan — was also the anticipated “dream” of Naji and his Islamist thugs:

On that day we will see millions of people emigrating from the regions, fleeing the violence of battle with the regimes of apostasy or the Crusader-Zionist regimes, as happened when the battles flared up in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

His call here is to the youth who “sit at home” doing nothing about the injustices around them and goading them to join the revolutionary movement.

Idealistic and courageous youth have responded just as Naji predicted; societies have been polarized just as predicted.

And ten years after the publication of Management of Savagery the Islamic State emerged:

If we succeed in the management of this savagery, that stage (by the permission of God) will be a bridge to the Islamic state which has been awaited since the fall of the caliphate.

Terrorism is clearly not diminishing since 9/11. Everything seems to be going exactly according to the plan set out in Management of Savagery.

If we fail – we seek refuge with God from that – it does not mean end of the matter; rather, this failure will lead to an increase in savagery!!

Simply defeating them militarily will not work — at least if we can go by the plan set out here. Loss of areas of administration will simply mean renewed energies in terrorist attacks anywhere and everywhere. Isn’t that just what we are witnessing now as ISIS is suffering setbacks in Syria, Iraq and Libya?

I think that means we need to fight (a lot) smarter, not just harder.

 

25 Comments

  • Zbykow
    2016-09-08 17:36:22 UTC - 17:36 | Permalink

    “We are now in circumstances resembling the circumstances after the death of the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and the outbreak of apostasy or the like of that which the believers faced in the beginning of the jihad. Thus, we need to massacre”

    So they give purely religious motives for their violence, who’d expect that?

    Mainstream Muslims and extremists…
    It seems most defense of Islam hinge on that silly non argument perpetuated through mainstream media, that “most Muslims are peaceful”. They say it like they made some shocking discovery and nobody else noticed that’s the case.

    In fact, it’s yet another take on the no true Scotsman fallacy.
    It’s completely irrelevant if most Muslims are peaceful, the question is whether Islam contributes to the violence of the violent.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2016-09-08 19:00:22 UTC - 19:00 | Permalink

      Smarter, not harder, seems to be the lesson. Can you explain how reforming Islam, changing Islam, fighting Islam, rewriting the Qur’an, having all the imams agree to change Islamic beliefs and practices, — can you explain how doing any of that is going to make one bit of difference to the fact of Islamist terrorism? If you actually have read the posts on Qutb and Naji’s works, better yet if you have read their actual works, it should be clear as day to you that they consider mainstream Islam to be apostate anyway and the main reason for the problems they wish to resolve.

      This idea that anyone is trying to “defend Islam” is absurd. It’s not about defending Islam. It’s certainly not about attacking Islam or trying to change Islam. Of course we have a right to work against the practices of any religion and cultural backwardness; of course it’s only right to continue to support reformist Muslims, etc etc etc. — but none of that is relevant to or going to make one bit of difference to the fact of Islamist terrorism.

      What is the point of “attacking” or “changing” or “reforming” Islam if Islamists declare Islam to be apostate anyway?

      How could changing Christianity prevent the rise of the Dave Koresh cults? How could changing Judaism remove the Zionists who believe it is their god-ordained duty to dispossess Palestinians?

      What causes people to radicalize in the first place? How can people, especially the youth, be turned off the temptation to radicalize in the first place? That is the question.

      • Zbykow
        2016-09-08 23:20:01 UTC - 23:20 | Permalink

        This rather loosely corresponds with my reply.

        Who says about reforming Islam and such? Trying to do so would be a fool’s errand imo.
        I’d start with not bullshitting people about how islamist terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. The best thing we can do is to state our opinions about religions honestly, it seemed to work with christianity to some extent before it went out of fashion. Some people are trying to do so already, let’s try not to attack them in public.

        “Islamists declare Islam to be apostate”

        You seem to have been convinced with your own rhetoric.
        It should read “Muslims”, they declare some Muslims to be apostates.

        “What causes people to radicalize in the first place?”

        Ideology/religion and stupidity if you ask me, that’s the most common combination.
        There are usually multiple factors involved, that’s why we observe varying levels of erratic behavior among adherents.

        • Neil Godfrey
          2016-09-08 23:29:01 UTC - 23:29 | Permalink

          You have not read any of the research, have you. Fortunately most of those who seem to be given the responsibility for our security against terrorist attacks do read and seek the advice of the researchers. Your attitude is playing right into ISIS’s hands and is part of the problem we are trying to fight if we want to tackle terrorism.

          Even after reading their own words where they say they want you to react the way you do you still fall blindly into cooperating with their plans. You are part of the problem we (and our counter terrorist authorities) face.

          • Zbykow
            2016-09-09 21:36:59 UTC - 21:36 | Permalink

            This got old long time ago.
            Even after your arguments have been repeatedly demonstrated to be fallacious, you retreat to the safety of unsubstantiated ad hominem.

            “Even after reading their own words where they say they want you to react the way you do you still fall blindly into cooperating with their plans. You are part of the problem we (and our counter terrorist authorities) face. “

            Honestly, I couldn’t care less about what terrorists want me to do, I’m thinking for myself.
            If they want me not to fall for illogical arguments having purpose rather than merits, so be it.

            Not that I’m not curious what it is you’ve misread they want me to do, but i’ve learnt not to expect you to be that specific in your allegations.

  • 2016-09-08 19:09:55 UTC - 19:09 | Permalink

    That’s pretty scary and pretty insane. Thanks, Neil.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2016-09-08 19:51:03 UTC - 19:51 | Permalink

      It is about the scariest thing I think I’ve ever read. It’s a nightmare, incomprehensible that it’s real.

  • Neil Godfrey
    2016-09-08 21:06:51 UTC - 21:06 | Permalink

    As for the possibility of Trump becoming President, that’s exactly what ISIS wants and they predict (and they have a very good successful prediction rate as we see in the post) that should he do so it will fan radicalization and terrorist attacks:

    In Foreign Affairs, August 24 2016, “Why ISIS Is Rooting for Trump: Islamophobic Politicians Make the Best Enemies” By Mara Revkin and Ahmad Mhidi:

    Trump is “the perfect enemy,” in the words of Tarek, a former ISIS fighter who recently switched sides to one of its Salafi rivals, Ahrar al-Sham. Take, for example, Trump’s vitriolic speeches, which provide a constant stream of material for ISIS’ hyperactive propaganda machine. He has been featured in at least two ISIS videos so far—one about the Brussels attack and the other about the strike in Orlando—as well as a third video released by al Shabab, al Qaeda’s Somalia-based affiliate.

    One recent ISIS defector, Samer, said that when he was fighting for the group in Deir ez-Zor, “we were happy when Trump said bad things about Muslims because he makes it very clear that there are two teams in this battle: the Islamic team and the anti-Islamic team.” Khaled expressed a similar view. “When Trump says hateful things about Muslims, it proves that jihadists are right to fight against the West, because the West is against Islam,” he said. A Trump presidency would make it easier for ISIS to justify its bipolar worldview, in which the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds are engaged in an existential clash of civilizations.

    When asked why Clinton has not yet been shown in an ISIS video, a recent defector, Adel, said it is because “she never says anything bad about Muslims.” Indeed, it is far more difficult for ISIS to vilify Clinton, who routinely insists that “Islam is not our adversary” and “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people.”

    INSPIRING HOMEGROWN TERRORISM

    Some ISIS supporters are hoping for a Trump presidency because they believe that it would fuel radicalization in the United States and Europe. As ISIS has suffered territorial losses and military setbacks in Syria and Iraq, the prospect of life in a shrinking and embattled caliphate is becoming less attractive to potential recruits. And so, over the past year, ISIS propaganda has become increasingly focused on encouraging homegrown terrorism and lone-wolf attacks in the United States and Europe and devotes less coverage to the battles it is fighting (and losing) on its own turf.

    I am not suggesting ISIS predicts Trump will be president, but that leaders who carry out his sorts of policies and speak the way he does about the issues can only aggravate and worsen terror.

    • Zbykow
      2016-09-12 17:46:40 UTC - 17:46 | Permalink

      I understand in politics telling the truth isn’t always a good idea, but such blatant nonsense like Clinton’s or Obama’s (Islam is a religion of peace etc.), that’s a different story.

      The problem is, most people don’t seem to believe it, and there are no good reasons they should.
      This only results in undermining liberal politicians’ credibility and increases the likelihood of Trump’s victory.
      They’d probably be better off if they avoided making any evaluative claims about Muslims and Islam, or maybe they might manage to acknowledge the problem carefully, without it sounding hostile.

      This whole lying to spite the terrorists strategy not only can turn out to be counterproductive, I’d argue that in the long run stupid leadership is potentially far more dangerous to the West than islamic terrorism.

      In the US it’s still just a possibility, but it has happened some places in Europe already, and I’ve been there.
      Everybody was so surprised that fear and hate of Muslims (especially among christians) affected election results to such an extent that brain dead demagogues gained power.

      • Neil Godfrey
        2016-09-12 18:21:58 UTC - 18:21 | Permalink

        Your comments are a classic case of the modern version of what past generations believed about witches, Jews and Reds. You say you think for yourself. But the information you select to inform your views and attitudes is taken entirely from the bandwagon of irrationality and ignorance. But once trapped inside your circular logic you can find no way out. 😉

        • Zbykow
          2016-09-13 21:26:11 UTC - 21:26 | Permalink

          Your comment is a classic case of baseless ad hominem and nothing more.
          Then I guess I’m allowed too.

          How come you’re acting so overconfident? After all, you have a history of making terribly bad judgements, so bad that most unindoctrinated underage children and many indoctrinated manage to avoid. Are you sure whatever was causing that is gone forever? Shouldn’t you be questioning your judgement on every occasion?

          Maybe the contradiction is only apparent? How would you describe your feelings about yourself back in the cult days? Humble and uncertain, or maybe the opposite?

          Have you noticed you cling to your beliefs even after your arguments have been demonstrated to be illogical, you don’t even try addressing that and go personal instead? Does it ring any bells?

          • Neil Godfrey
            2016-09-13 22:00:26 UTC - 22:00 | Permalink

            Are you referring to the time I decided to fellowship with the Anglicans and liberal Protestant churches? Or being completely open and above board about my past? Yes, all terribly bad judgments on my part. Other bad judgments I have made in the past I have learned to turn around to good, to build on what I have learned and come to understand. That’s part of the reason for this blog and the reason I believe I can understand radicalization so much more quickly than some others.

            If you want to know the basis of my evaluation of your pov see my posts on propaganda, especially the one titled “America, the most propagandised…”

            If you really want to understand where I am coming from then I try to engage with my arguments. Start by trying to sum them up in your own words to be sure you have really understood me correctly.

            Then read my posts where I discuss much of what I have learned about how the world works, how societies are manipulated and how they have behaved historically.

            Yes indeed, what we are seeing today in relation to Islam is exactly what we saw in the past in relation to public attitudes towards witches, Jews and Reds.

            • Zbykow
              2016-09-14 21:54:36 UTC - 21:54 | Permalink

              ” what we are seeing today in relation to Islam is exactly what we saw in the past in relation to public attitudes towards witches, Jews and Reds.”

              That’s another obviously illogical assertion. Don’t you realize they’re incomparable, separate categories?

              Corrected it might read “in relation to public attitudes towards communism, judaism and witchcraft (if it existed)”. But now it makes sense it doesn’t sound so condemnable anymore, does it?
              I freely admit that on the fundamental level I despise communism and judaism for about same reasons I despise islam, don’t ask me about witchcraft though.

              “If you really want to understand where I am coming from then I try to engage with my arguments. Start by trying to sum them up in your own words to be sure you have really understood me correctly.”

              How convenient.
              Ambiguity and being vague is fine if you want to encourage thinking, popularize some topics, inflame doubts,
              but if you strongly advocate specific point of view so that you’re attacking people you disagree with, being specific and to the point is pretty much mandatory, it becomes your responsibility.

              If you’re misunderstood, you should be able to infer it from the reply. Requirement to summarize eachother’s position each time would only bog it down.

              “If you want to know the basis of my evaluation of your pov see my posts on propaganda, especially the one titled “America, the most propagandised…””

              Popaganda is a pretty useless category. It’s nonspecific, subjective and pejorative. About every opinion out there is being propagandized or considered propaganda by some.
              Even in the pejorative sense, propaganda is wrong not because it’s propaganda, but because it’s wrong, and you still need to show how it’s wrong.

              By the way, I’ve never been to America or anywhere near, wherever i acquired my pov, it’s quite certainly not of american origin.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2016-09-15 11:33:22 UTC - 11:33 | Permalink

                ” what we are seeing today in relation to Islam is exactly what we saw in the past in relation to public attitudes towards witches, Jews and Reds.”
                That’s another obviously illogical assertion. Don’t you realize they’re incomparable, separate categories?
                Corrected it might read “in relation to public attitudes towards communism, judaism and witchcraft (if it existed)”. But now it makes sense it doesn’t sound so condemnable anymore, does it?
                I freely admit that on the fundamental level I despise communism and judaism for about same reasons I despise islam, don’t ask me about witchcraft though.

                It is not an illogical assertion. It is simply pointing out what history books tell us over and over about what led societies to adopt the beliefs and attitudes they did towards communists, Jews and witches.

                Do you know anything about the history of McCarthyism? Or popular beliefs etc about Jews and witches in times past?

                It is not hard to see we have the very same social forces at work today producing the same result in relation to Islam.

                I take it you are not very knowledgeable in history?

                “If you really want to understand where I am coming from then I try to engage with my arguments. Start by trying to sum them up in your own words to be sure you have really understood me correctly.”
                How convenient.
                Ambiguity and being vague is fine if you want to encourage thinking, popularize some topics, inflame doubts,
                but if you strongly advocate specific point of view so that you’re attacking people you disagree with, being specific and to the point is pretty much mandatory, it becomes your responsibility.
                If you’re misunderstood, you should be able to infer it from the reply. Requirement to summarize eachother’s position each time would only bog it down.

                You’re the first person I’ve ever heard say it is not a good idea to try to repeat in summary the other person’s point to be sure you really do understand. That’s just a basic piece of advice found in any professional work on human communications and relations. People are reminded of it all the time in many work places I know of.

                It actually saves time and avoids misunderstanding.

                I think some little while back I did sum up your own argument and because you did not object I assume I do understand you.

                If you are not interested in the basics of productive communication then we are both wasting our time.

                “If you want to know the basis of my evaluation of your pov see my posts on propaganda, especially the one titled “America, the most propagandised…””
                Popaganda is a pretty useless category. It’s nonspecific, subjective and pejorative. About every opinion out there is being propagandized or considered propaganda by some.
                Even in the pejorative sense, propaganda is wrong not because it’s propaganda, but because it’s wrong, and you still need to show how it’s wrong.

                Woah, You are poo-poohing my pov without even bothering to read it. You have made up your mind it is baseless without any need to know what I have to say.

                I am now starting to remember something called the Dunning-Kruger effect.

                If you want to discuss issues then I expect you to have the courtesy to make the effort to try to understand what I am saying — don’t just presume you do. You can start by repeating in your own words your understanding of the point you believe I hold and what you are so strongly objecting to.

                I would think the alternative is just coming in and shouting your disagreement. I am much more interested in exchanges of ideas.

              • Zbykow
                2016-09-16 19:59:52 UTC - 19:59 | Permalink

                “It is not an illogical assertion. It is simply pointing out what history books tell us over and over about what led societies to adopt the beliefs and attitudes they did towards communists, Jews and witches.”

                Interesting. Do history books really tell us not to notice the difference between Islam and Muslims?
                You made such a mistake twice in this thread already.

                I’m sure if you were asked what’s the difference between them, you wouldn’t have problems providing a textbook answer,
                but in practice you don’t seem to be able to wrap your head around it.

                “Do you know anything about the history of McCarthyism? Or popular beliefs etc about Jews and witches in times past?
                It is not hard to see we have the very same social forces at work today producing the same result in relation to Islam.
                I take it you are not very knowledgeable in history?”

                Yeah, you take it every time. You hurl such allegations at anyone who disagrees, hoping it will stick. Even Earl recently.
                Truth is, you don’t understand the difference between information and your interpretation thereof. It’s probably religious mindset that makes the idea your interpretations may not be infallible beyond your comprehension. They disagree – they must have never read anything and live in a closet until recently, there’s simply no other possibility, not one you might think of.

                You failed this time too.
                Social forces behind attitudes towards Jews and ‘witches’ were based on irrational, made up beliefs – same forces that are behind many Muslims’ attitudes towards outside world and ‘apostate’ Muslims.
                On the other hand, recent attitudes toward Muslims result from real events, real actions and threats being made by jihadist Muslims, they’re only reaction.
                You mixed up cause and effect here.

                It’s less important that your argument was just a poor attempt at a ‘guilt by association’ slur.

                “I think some little while back I did sum up your own argument and because you did not object I assume I do understand you.”

                I did object, you just never showed up.
                You just wasted the only reply you made there.

                “Woah, You are poo-poohing my pov without even bothering to read it.”

                How do you know I did not?
                Ah yes. That’s not possible, because if I did I’d be astonished with obvious correctness of it, no other option.

                I found your articles about propaganda largely irrelevant to my pov. There’s nothing I’d strongly disagree with or encourage me to reply.

                “I am now starting to remember something called the Dunning-Kruger effect.”

                Yeah me too.
                That’s how your famous interest in exchange of ideas manifests. This type of comment really pushes discussion forward.

                You know, I do have opinions about your abilities too, but why don’t we stick to the topic of Islam for a while?
                Your inability to engage in civil discussion seems to come from many baseless assumptions you make about the other guy – they must have not read, they must have misunderstood, they must be stupid, it’s really all you have. Why don’t you ditch these imaginary excuses and concentrate on things they say instead?

              • Neil Godfrey
                2016-09-16 21:11:58 UTC - 21:11 | Permalink

                Thank you for your kind and civil reply, Zb. I will try to keep this short by addressing just one point and hoping progress can be made by this focus.

                I have never said or implied that there is a difference between Islam and Muslims as you seem to think I said when you wrote:

                Do history books really tell us not to notice the difference between Islam and Muslims?

                The difference is between Islamism and Islam. Islamism is the political ideology (justified by religious ideas) that originated with thinkers like Qutb whom I have written about here a few times. Islamists, those who follow the writings of Qutb — that is, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, etc — claim that mainstream Islam or the mainstream Muslim religion is an apostate religion.

                Islamists believe they themselves are the only truly faithful Muslims and all others have fallen into apostasy.

                That explains why they kill more Muslims than non-Muslims.

                Compare the way some extremist Christian cults like the Dave Koresh or Jim Jones cults believed they were the only true religion, the only true Christianity, and all others were false.

                Some people might blame the Bible and Christianity itself as being responsible for such cults that ended with the horrible deaths of most of their membership.

                Most Christians would protest and say that their Christian religion cannot be held responsible for those cults. They would say other things (not just the Bible) explain their emergence.

                It is pretty much the same with Islamism versus Islam.

              • Zbykow
                2016-09-17 22:19:23 UTC - 22:19 | Permalink

                Anytime Neil, you can always count on me being just as civil as you are.

                “I have never said or implied that there is a difference between Islam and Muslims”

                That was my point, you are using them interchangeably, that’s incorrect, but let’s not dwell on it.

                I mostly agree with everything you wrote after that as to the facts, yet:

                “Some people might blame the Bible and Christianity itself as being responsible for such cults that ended with the horrible deaths of most of their membership.”

                I tend to agree with them.

                “Most Christians would protest and say that their Christian religion cannot be held responsible for those cults. They would say other things (not just the Bible) explain their emergence.”

                For obvious reasons.
                What do you mean ‘not just the Bible’? Do you think they see the bible as at least partially responsible for those cults, or is it your opinion?

              • Neil Godfrey
                2016-09-17 22:41:24 UTC - 22:41 | Permalink

                Do you understand that Islamism is not the same as Islam? Do you know what Islamism is and what Islamists think of Islam?

                Do you think they see the bible as at least partially responsible for those cults, or is it your opinion?

                How can an inanimate object bear responsibility for anything? People with the ability to make decisions bear responsibility for how they act etc. Objects don’t.

              • Zbykow
                2016-09-18 19:33:27 UTC - 19:33 | Permalink

                “Do you understand that Islamism is not the same as Islam? Do you know what Islamism is and what Islamists think of Islam?”

                I do.
                Do you understand why none of that is relevant?

                “How can an inanimate object bear responsibility for anything? People with the ability to make decisions bear responsibility for how they act etc. Objects don’t. “

                Wait, I asked you to clarify your statement.
                What did you mean ‘not just the bible explain [cults] emergence’. Does bible contribute somehow or not? Is it your view or are you referring to what you believe some christians think?

                As to your question, yes, an inanimate object can be responsible for sth happening, please look it up.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2016-09-18 22:38:01 UTC - 22:38 | Permalink

                I shall leave your words as the final say-so in our little discussion.

              • Zbykow
                2016-09-19 11:08:46 UTC - 11:08 | Permalink

                Since you didn’t bother to answer the question,
                I assume you were not careful enough and some of your real views slipped in.

                Happy to agree with you that christianity contributes to christian extremist cults emergence.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2016-09-19 12:34:38 UTC - 12:34 | Permalink

                I’ve been very patient with you so appreciate your free run and decide from now on to stop the childish retorts.

          • Neil Godfrey
            2016-09-13 22:07:58 UTC - 22:07 | Permalink

            I should add, though, that I do appreciate the way you do attempt to defend your position and are prepared to defend your challenge to mine — even though I disagree with your assumptions.

            I much prefer people to do what you are doing than slinking away muttering to themselves and complaining that they have been deeply wounded by strongly expressed challenges to their own world views.

  • Al
    2016-09-09 06:33:04 UTC - 06:33 | Permalink

    Stumbled upon this article on Thomas Hegghammer’s Twitter feed.

    Some parts seem a little ‘out there’, but I thought it might be of interest.

    https://sustainablesecurity.org/2016/09/08/islamic-state-and-dream-warfare/

    • Neil Godfrey
      2016-09-09 07:53:06 UTC - 07:53 | Permalink

      Very interesting. I recall the leadership of ISIS in its early days attempted to decide military strategy according to “the Qur’an” or some such sacred writing — that lasted about five minutes before they saw it was the quickest way to disaster. But these mantic ideas, the looking for signs, it’s all part of the apocalyptic mind-set.

      In some perverse ways it might even be thought to have some parallels with Christianity’s origins.

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