Sometimes with all the political fallout of the Iraq debacle we lose site of what is at stake in the war on terror. Because the country is so divided over President Bush’s ability to manage the war, the very real and serious problem of Islamic terror is often relegated to a foolish unimportance. As my brother-in-law told me the other night, “if Bush hadn’t gone into Iraq we wouldn’t be in this mess.” On Wednesday, March 14, the West Valley Jewish Community Center presented “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War on the West,” sponsored by the West Hills Chabad. Like a clarion call this film reminds us of the clear and present danger that confronts Western Civilization . After the movie one of the primary speakers in the film, Noni Darwish discussed with the audience in detail her pro American/Israeli position to this war. This is a film that every American should see.
Darwish, the daughter of the Egyptian Fedayeen commander in Gaza during the 1950s, spoke about the madness that is gripping her people. You could not help but admire her courage and her recognition of righteousness against all odds. Ms. Darwish has a price on her head, so the security to get into this presentation was very strict. She doesn’t waiver from her condemnation of the Arab world, her support for Israel or her love of democratic values. I have to admit, I was impressed. It’s not every day that you meet an Arab national speak about her respect for the Jewish state. Perhaps reality is never far behind because as Ms. Darwish spoke you got the distinct impression that she was very alone in this commitment, disowned by her family, her country and the religion that totally dominated her life growing up.
Meeting and talking with a real live hero like Noni Darwish made the evening exciting but the film stands on its own merit as a glaring example of the utter hatred that much of the Arab world and large swaths of the rest of non Arab Islam feel toward the west. Thanks to Al-Jizeera and some other like minded Middle East media outlets there are mounds of written and video evidence to support the film’s arguments.
The film argues that we are not taking this war seriously. Most of what is reported in the Arab world and in other places never seems to make it in the western media. Steven Emerson, a long time researcher of the Islamic threat said, “The amount of hate propaganda is far more extensive and pervasive than the attention that it receives in the western media.” This has to stop. We need to begin to follow the Muslim press, listen to what they are saying, understand what they are implying with their statements and analyze more closely their intentions. The films ultimate message: We face disaster if we don’t.
There is a violent movement to convert the entire world to Islam, to completely eliminate the Christian-Judeo world from the face of the Earth. Perceived western influences around the globe are targeted on a regular basis. Caroline Glick, a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, makes the point that many countries in the world today have a problem with Islamic extremism on some level. And then to emphasize that statement the film shows a map of the world covered in red “X”s where Jihadis are on the rise, attacking, bombing and killing. As noted in one Palestinian children’s textbook, “this religion (Islam) will destroy all other religions through the Islamic Jihad fighters.”
Several of the speakers in the film kept reiterating the fact that the West is in denial of this problem. Even in a post 9-11 environment people do not want to admit that there is a growing malignancy on the planet bent on our destruction.
The film is very clear not to condemn Islam as a religion and therefore claims that not all of the world’s Muslims are the enemy. But, it is clear that the Jihadi movement is at present very large and is growing with each passing generation. There are many Islamic leaders calling for the deaths of Jews, the destruction of the United States, and the defeat of the west, all the while being cheered on by thousands of onlookers. There is no shortage of hatred in the Islamic world. The film implores us to recognize this threat and to begin to fight back in order to survive.
Most disturbing about this enemy is the chair squirming, undeniable connection of the Islamic Jihad movement to the rise of Nazism in Europe during the 1930′s.The two historical periods are so closely correlated that it is hard to comprehend how we could have missed its growth. It is as if we were so busy reminding ourselves in the last sixty years that we would never again forget the past in Europe that we did not see it creeping up on us again in another part of the world. The film shows that 19th and early 20th century European anti-Semitism along with a remarkably similar ramp toward fascist ideology are alive and well and flourishing within the Muslim world. The only difference being in Europe it was based on politics and now it is based in religion.
One of the historical parallels to Nazism is the connection between the Mufti of Jerusalem and Adolph Hitler. As disturbing then as it is now the film describes and verifies that Hitler and the Mufti agreed that the extermination of the Jews was central to the War’s aims. The Mufti, a radical fundamentalist in his own right, distinguished himself as one of the leaders who tried to prevent Jewish Zionism from establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine during that era. In exchange for his support Hitler promised him that would never happen.
In one especially chilling moment, Walid Shoebat, a reformed Palestinian terrorist and, who like Noni Darwish is shunned by his family, community and religion, explains the growth of Jihad as compared to the growth of Nazism. He says that Islamo fascism is far more dangerous than Nazism because of its religious components. Jihad makes war in the name of almighty God while Nazism made war for a man, Adoph Hitler. And, it exists in several countries not just one. Therefore, Shoebat concludes, that if we do not stop its rise we will be facing not one Nazi Germany but several.
The sole of Islam is at stake some western commentators have noted, indicating that the only way we can win this is for Islam itself to struggle with the question internally and repair it internally. In other words, we are your supporters but it is you who have to correct the problem. According to “Obsession,” and confirmed by Noni Darwish, the struggle is already over, Islam has been stolen by the Jihadi movement. The enemy is getting stronger and the decent Muslim who wants to live his life like we live ours is growing ever weaker. In fact, one gets the sickening feeling that Noni Darwish, and the other Muslim commentators depicted in the film, which courageously stand against the Jihadi enterprise, are lone puppies in a sea of wolves.
The danger to all of us is clear. Either we begin to get serious about this problem and take positive steps to end it favorably or we are going to lose. The very existence of Western Civilization is at stake and all the freedoms that we developed, struggled with and refined over the last 2500 years are in danger of being forcibly replaced by something very different. We must recognize that to do nothing and to continue to live in denial of this growing problem is a huge mistake. Unless you are willing to accept that your grandchildren before the end of their lives will be bowing down to Mohammad five times a day I would suggest that you begin looking at our involvement in the Middle East as a matter of survival not as a political football to be argued as Republicans and Democrats. It is not too late but we need to begin now or face a global confrontation of such huge proportions that it will dwarf World War II by comparison. The choice is ours.