Militant Islam 101: a history
By Daryl L. Hunter - 2004

In the wake of the Iraq War, there has been much Monday morning quarter backing by America's weak offensive line (liberals) who insist the “War on Terror” is to be waged only against Osuma bin ladens al Qaeda. This essay is to make the connection of pan-Islamo Fascism and its long terrorism history. As the democratic world confronts al Qeada's Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah 's Hassan Nasrallah, and their followers, many among us are trying to understand militant Islam, where it came from and its aims. The following background material is designed to give an overview of the phenomenon that has been called "militant Islam," "fundamentalist Islam," “Islamo Fascism” “Islamism,” or "radical Islam."

"Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." - The Muslim Brotherhood

Early Islamism

The roots of militant Islam go back to the thirteenth century; to a traditionalist legal philosopher named Ibn Taymiya, who opposed Islam's incorporation of western influences. The most successful militant Islamic movement, which drew its inspiration from Ibn Taymiya is the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam. Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, a fundamentalist sheikh who preached religious reform, forged an alliance with a local village chief, Muhammad Ibn Saud, to overturn un-Islamic practices that had become prevalent among the Arabia's people. As with his ideological ancestor Ibn Taymiya, Ibn Wahhab fought Muslim rulers who he believed failed to implement a pure form of Islam. Between 1773 and 1819, the Saudis and the Wahhabis united to conquer the Arabian Peninsula, and found the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Ibn Saud was the first to harness the power of fundamentalist Islamist zeal to cement his power. This is the genesis of today's seemingly inexplicable and uneasy alliance between the Saud Family and Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi clerics.

The first modern use of militant Islam against western Imperialism was in the nineteenth century, as response to the colonialist rule in the Middle East and North Africa. Muhammad Ahmad 'The Mahdi' of the Sudan gained power in a revolt in the early 1880s; his followers 'the Mahdists' annihilated an Egyptian army in November 1883. And despite the Mahdi's death in June 1885, the Mahdists continued the jihad under his successor, Khalifa Abdullahi, clashing with Ethiopia's Christian regime and fighting the British colonizers near Suakim, mounting an abortive invasion of Egypt in 1889, and periodically confronting the Italians in Eritrea. The Mahdi's president of harnessing militant Islam's anti-colonialist wrath endured through the 1950's.

The Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic revivalist movement that exemplifies strong Arab Muslim irredentism (acquisition of a region or country by reason of cultural, historical, ethnic, or racial ties). It was formed in 1928 in reaction to the 1924 abolition of Ottoman Empire's Caliphate by Turkish reformer Kemal Ataturk, the caliphate system of government that had united Muslims for centuries. It is the parent organization of numerous subsequent Islamist terrorist groups. The Muslim Brotherhood's influence would soon be felt in places as far away as the Gulf and non-Arab countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, are all members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, came from the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and some experts even suggest Zawahiri's Egyptian Islamic Jihad took over al-Qaeda, when the two groups forged its coalition in the late 1990s.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by Hasan al-Banna, a 22-year-old elementary schoolteacher, it was Hasan Al-Banna's belief that Islam was not only a religious observance, but a comprehensive way of life, based on the tenets of Wahhabism, better known today as "Islamism," Hasan al-Banna supplemented the traditional Islamic education for the Society's male students with jihadi training. His early influence was the Syro-Egyptian Islamic thinker Muhammad Rashid Rida (1865-1935) who was influential in the revival movement of the nineteenth and early twentieth century and influences Islamism to this day.

The Brotherhood grew as a popular movement over the next 20 years, encompassing not only religion and education, but also politics.

After Adolf Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, before he came to power, al Banna contacted him. As a result of al-Banna's letters, Hitler sent a member of his intelligence community to Egypt and an alliance was formed.

Hasan al-Banna admiration for Hitler's Nazi Party ideal that in the 1930s Al-Banna, and the Muslim Brotherhood became a secret arm of Nazi Intelligence for North Africa. Al-Banna created a spy network for the Nazi's in Egypt then expanded it to the entire Arabian Peninsula. He also pledged the Muslim Brotherhood would kill the British when the Nazi's arrived in Egypt. Al-Banna's Arab Nazis had much in common with Nazi doctrine: they hated Jews; they hated democracy; and they hated Western culture. The Third Reich secretly developed the Muslim Brotherhood as the "fifth parliament," their army inside Egypt. Al Banna learned well from Hitler the importance of “educating” the youth.

The Arab Nazis of the Muslim Brotherhood began to expand in scope and influence during World War II. They even had a Palestinian section headed by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

After WWII The Muslim Brotherhood, blamed the Egyptian government for being passive against "Zionists" and joined the Palestinian side in the war against Israel and began terrorist attacks inside Egypt. This terrorism led to a ban of the Muslim Brotherhood by the Egyptian government. A Muslim Brother assassinated Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmud Fahmi Nokrashi, on December 28, 1948. Government agents in Cairo killed al-Banna in February, 1949, but his organization lives on.

The Egyptian government legalized the Brotherhood again in 1948, but only as a religious organization; it was banned again in 1954 because it insisted that Egypt be governed under Sharia Law. Sharia Law is often called Islamic law, but this is wrong, as only a small part is irrefutably based upon the core Islamic text, the Koran. A correct designation is "Muslim Law" (i.e. the law system of the Muslims), or "Islam-inspired," "Islam-derived," or even "the law system of Muslims." This is well known to most Muslims, yet Sharia is always referred to as "based upon the Koran," hence, it is the "will of God." When in actuality; Sharia has incorporated Old Arab Bedouin law, commercial law from Mecca, agrarian law from Madina, law from the conquered countries, Roman law and Jewish law to form the amalgamation of regional law that is falsely credited totally to the Koran. Also, calling the Sharia 'law' can be misleading, as Sharia extends beyond law. Sharia is the totality of religious, political, social, domestic, and private life.

Abdul Munim Abdul Rauf, a Brotherhood activist, attempted to assassinate Egyptian President Nasser in 1954 and was executed, along with five other Muslim Brothers. Four thousand Brothers were also arrested, and thousands more fled to Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Lebanon. Nasser ordered all the Muslim Brotherhood out of Egypt or be imprisoned and executed. Consequently during the 1950s, the Muslim Brotherhood fled to Saudi Arabia and beyond. When they arrived in Saudi Arabia, some of the stars of the Muslim Brotherhood became the teachers in the madrassas, madrassas are fundamentalist radical Islamic schools chartered by the ultra radical Wahhabi sect of Islam; and in the madrassas they combined the doctrines of Nazism with the fundamentalist Islamic cult, Wahhabism that Ibn Abd al-Wahhab started in the eighteenth century. The Saudi/Wahhabi asylum provided a new incubator for the Muslim Brotherhood radical ideas, their Fascism and extremism were mingled in Arabia's madrassas, and here, Osama bin Laden was taught by the Nazi's of the Muslim Brotherhood who had immigrated to Saudi Arabia after their expulsion from Egypt. Anwar Sadat, Nasser's successor, promised the Muslim Brotherhood that Sharia Law would be implemented in Egypt and released all the Brotherhood prisoners; but the Muslim Brotherhood lost their trust in Sadat when he signed the peace agreement with Israel in 1979; four Brothers assassinated Sadat in September, 1981, as a lesson for appeasers, if only appeasers had an aptitude for learning.

Today, a very complex financial network connects the operations of over seventy branches of the Muslim Brothers worldwide. Since the Muslim Brothers' inception in 1928, there have been cycles of growth, followed by divisions into factions, including clandestine financial networks, and violent jihad groups, such as al-Jihad and al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya in Egypt, Hamas in Palestine, and Mujahideen groups in Afghanistan. The Russian government allege that the Muslim Brotherhood is a key force in the Chechen revolt.

Amin al-Husseini the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Post WWII Palestine was a British protectorate; the British Empire, unlike the failed Ottoman Empire Britain replaced, had authority. The British appointed Amin al-Husseini, a religious/political leader and he became known as “the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem,” to head Palestine. Amin al-Husseini latter became the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestinian faction.

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 stated the British government supported Zionist plans for a Jewish "national home" in Palestine. Al-Husseini was apoplectic with anger. The implications of an Israeli State were unacceptable to al-Husseini. Not only was there to be a tremendous migration of Jews from Europe, but also they were not going to be under his control.

Al-Husseini's began attacking and killing all Jews, even those who had lived in Palestine for centuries. Al-Husseini's anti-Semitic atrocities caught the attention of Hitler, and in 1936, or 1937 Himmler was dispatched to Palestine to meet with Al Husseini. Shortly after this meeting, the doctrine of the Third Reich changed. In its original model, the “undermencsh” (subhuman) were to be slaves of the Third Reich. There is substantial evidence that Al-Husseini was an instrumental architect of Himmler's Final Solution to kill the Jews instead of subjugating them.

Following his expulsion from Palestine in 1941 by the British, the Mufti organized a brutal anti-Jewish pogrom in Baghdad, concurrent with his failed effort overthrow of the British control of Iraq and to install a pro-Nazi government.

Al-Husseini met Adolf Hitler for the first time on November 28, 1941, Hitler, at this time, agreed to establish a propaganda bureau for al-Husseini and, organized spy rings in Europe and the Middle East, and established al-Husseini's Muslim Nazi SS divisions and Wehrmacht units in Bosnia, the Balkans, North Africa and Nazi-occupied parts of the Soviet Union. Heinrich Himmler also named al-Husseini SS Gruppenfuehrer, a rank equitable to General and Adolf Hitler himself referred him to as the “Fuhrer of the Arab World”

The Mufti's incessant pressure of German, Rumanian, and Hungarian government officials caused the cancellation of an estimated 480,000 exit visas which had been granted to Jews.

Haj Amin al-Husseini in his post-WWII memoirs said: “Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world. I asked Hitler for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem in a manner befitting our national and racial aspirations and according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews. The answer I got was: 'The Jews are yours.'”

After WWII Adolf Eichmann's deputy, Dieter Wisliceny said: “The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and adviser of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan: He was one of Eichmann's best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures.” Wisliceny was later executed as a war criminal. Al-Husseini hated Jews for the same reasons as Muslim Brother Hasan al-Banna in Egypt. Jews especially the Zionist immigrants from Europe even pre Israel, who brought with them a modern, Western/European way of life, a direct opposite of what fundamentalist Muslims wanted. Just as Banna, Husseini felt Islam was threatened by Western culture; he was noted as saying: “The Jews have changed the life of Palestine in such a way that it must inevitably lead to the destruction of our race. The Jewish girls who run around in shorts demoralize our youth by their mere presence."

In 1946 Egyptian-born Yasser Arafat meets Amin Al-Husseini, at this time, a 17-year-old Yasser Arafat began a personal relationship with the Mufti. In 1947, Arafat was placed in charge of arms procurement and shipment for the Mufti's Irregular forces - The Holy Strugglers. Yasser Arafat worked for the Mufti performing terrorist operations. Arafat considered Al-Husseini his primary spiritual and political mentor.

Saddam Hussein was raised from age ten by his uncle Kharaillah Tulfah, a close friend of the Grand Mufti. Kharaillah Tulfah was Al-Husseini's main partner during the Arab Nazi coup in 1941 in Baghdad. Saddam was a great admirer of Kharaillah Tulfah and Tulfah was Saddam's mentor; Saddam grew up in his home until 1947. Tulfah was one of the main organizers of Arab Nazi coup in Iraq in 1941. Saddam Hussein later married Kharaillah Tulfah's daughter.

After WWII, al-Husayni fled to Switzerland, was detained and put under house arrest in France, but escaped and was given asylum in Egypt. Al-Husayni died in Beirut, Lebanon in 1974. He wished to be buried in Jerusalem, but the Israeli government refused this request.

Abdullah Assam: Osama Bin Laden mentor and partner

The Muslim leader most responsible for expanding the jihad into a full-blown international holy war without borders was not Osama Bin Laden, but Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, a leader whose name remains today virtually unknown to our ignorant West. Azzam who is more responsible than any Muslim in modern history for galvanizing Islam to wage international holy war against all infidels until the enemies of Islam are defeated.

Azzam was born in Palestine in 1941, he moved to Jordan and then to Saudi Arabia before heading to Pakistan after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. In Pakistan, Azzam set up the Office of Services of the Holy Warriors (Mujahideen) and set about reigniting the Islamic power rage not only against the Soviets but against all non-Islamic powers that had conspired against Islam since before the Crusades.

Azzam succeeded in moving forward Hasan al-Banna's vision of jihad among Muslims. Azzam's oratorical skills, capabilities as a military strategist, religious leadership, and his unbridled energy were an inspiration for many. Azzam expedited mobilization of the Muslim Brotherhood movement more than any other leader. Today, the military wing of Hamas in the West Bank is called the Abdellah Azzam Brigades.

Azzam harnessed hatred for the West, Christians and Jews, his paranoia convinced him they had executed diabolical conspiracies against Islam, and he was nostalgic for the days of the Islamic caliphate and was eager to establish another.

Azzam believed it was the United States that epitomized the Jewish-Christian conspiracy. Between 1985 and 1989, Azzam and Palestinian, Sheikh Tamim Al-Adnani, his top aide, visited dozens of American cities, exhorting their followers to pick up the sword against the enemies of Islam. They succeeded in recruiting thousands of fighters and believers for their Jihad.

Ironically, it was American freedom of speech, assembly, and press that enabled Azzam to raise critical amounts of money, enlist new fighters, and most important, provide the political freedom to coordinate with other top radical Islamic movements.

As Azzam went around the U.S., he focused his rage on the evils of the infidels, i.e., Americans, Christians, and Jews, whom he accused of sabotaging the victory of the anti-Soviet mujahideen. Azzam somehow overlooked the fact that the Mujahideen wouldn't have been able to beat the Soviets without the help of America, but that didn't fit his message that America was a bad infidel.

In one speech - picked at random from hundreds Azzam said, "Today, humanity is being ruled by Jews and Christians. The Americans, the British and others, and behind them, the fingers of world Jewry, with their wealth, their women and their media. The Israelis have produced a coin on which it is inscribed - we shall never allow Islam to be established in the world -." This speech he gave to a group of followers in 1988 in Kansas was indicative of the stump speech he gave all over the U.S. Videotapes of these speeches are sold throughout the world by Islamic fundamentalists and the FBI has a few as well.

Azzam's enmity toward Jews was not based on politics but was a product of his visceral hatred of Jews; he combined European, blood libel, and propaganda from the Middle Ages and passages from the Koran. In a 1998 speech, for example, Azzam spoke of how the Jews "mix the blood of a Christian or Muslim into (bread) dough." As well as other myths perpetuated in the fallacious, - Protocols of the Elders of Zion - published in 1897 that describes a plan by the Jews to achieve world domination. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a proven forgery, were created in Russia for Czar Nicholas II' secret police, too divert the discontent of Russian workers and peasants into religious bigotry.

In what was called the First Conference of Jihad, held at the Al-Farook Mosque in Brooklyn in 1988, Azzam instructed his audience of nearly 200 to carry out jihad no matter wherever they were, even in America. "Every Muslim on earth should unsheathe his sword and fight to liberate Palestine. The Jihad is not limited to Afghanistan. Jihad means fighting, you must fight in any place you can get. Whenever Jihad is mentioned in the Holy Book, it means the obligation to fight. It does not mean to fight with the pen or to write books or articles in the press or to fight by holding lectures."

Azzam acknowledged Bin Laden's largesse numerous times as the financial sponsor of Ali Kifah. "There is one person who has always stood by us - Osama bin Laden," declared Azzam in one speech he gave in Peshawar, Pakistan, at his Al Kifah offices.

In November 1989, Azzam was killed by a devastating bomb blast that also killed two of his sons. No perpetrator was ever found responsible, but many of Azzam's followers blame the United States for the assassination. Azzam was just the first of several radical Islamic leaders and groups, who cultivated a visceral hatred for the U.S. whose goals would make the U.S. a center of their activity.

"The Jihad in Afghanistan will broaden until the entire world will be conquered because Allah has promised the victory to Islam" declared Abdullah Azzam.


Many in America believe that our efforts to wage a war on terror should be limited in scope to Osuma bin Laden and al Qaeda and it is my hope that this essay has highlighted the deep roots and many facetted arms, limbs, and tentacles of Islamo Fascism. If we limit our efforts to any limited facet of Islamism, our efforts are doomed to fail.

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