When the Director of National Intelligence declares publicly that "We try not to refer to 'jihad' as something that's bad," even though he knows that the United States (U.S.) and all of civilized society is engaged in an existential struggle with the forces of Islamic Jihad, it is hard to fathom what he could possibly be thinking. Only a few short weeks ago, we were told that referring to jihad might somehow legitimize our enemies. Of all of our leaders charged with the defense and protection of our Constitution, DNI Michael McConnell bears a special responsibility to understand clearly the identity of the enemy and the nature of the threat he poses. He also has a professional responsibility to communicate that honestly to the American people.
The refusal of DNI McConnell and, apparently, the rest of the Bush administration, to acknowledge the obvious linkage between terror in the name of Islam, and the Islamic faith, goes beyond absurd: it is dangerous to national security because it prevents the U.S.'s top officials from crafting an appropriate strategic policy to defend us. Willful ignorance of the fundamental doctrine of Islamic Jihad, as defined by Islamic scriptures, scholarly consensus, and historians cannot change what is written, what is believed, and what is lived by those who would destroy our Constitutional system and replace it with Sharia. It doesn't matter in the end whether we agree or disagree with the doctrine of our enemies, or judge it good or evil: if that is what guides the enemy's behavior towards us, then that is what we must deal with. It is also irrelevant that more peaceful methods for propagating Islam, such as Da'wa, do exist, or that there indeed is a "Greater Jihad" (the inner struggle to better oneself). Neither Da'wa nor the "Greater Jihad" employs warfare or terror to replace liberal democracy with Sharia. But the "Lesser Jihad" does.
Let it be clear:
"Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion." (Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller, A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, o9.0, JIHAD, pg. 599)
"Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the Religion of truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya (tribute) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." (Quran, Sura 9:29)
This is Islamic law; this is sacred, non-abrogated, Islamic scripture. It is doctrine. It cannot be changed. It can be criticized or renounced - but if Muslims do so, they are apostates, subject to the death penalty. It will take much courage and the support of free people everywhere to establish the right to leave such doctrine behind, in the dustbin of history.
What is unavoidable is the current reality of this doctrine for millions of Muslims across the world, including right here in the U.S. The 2007 Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas, Texas featured a startling collection of documents entered into evidence; among them was the "Explanatory Memorandum" of the Muslim Brotherhood for the destruction of Western civilization (dated 1991).
"The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands..."
With such documents now in the public domain, in addition to such fine works as Andrew G. Bostom's comprehensive collection of primary source documents about Jihad through history, The Legacy of Jihad, there is simply no excuse for not understanding the systematically destructive character of Islamic Jihad for all societies that have ever attempted to stand against it.
So, how could it possibly be that the head of American intelligence does not want to refer to Jihad as something that's bad? Why are U.S. government employees not allowed to speak the name of the Jihadi enemy, or the Mujahedeen troops that slaughter in the name of Islam, or the Caliphate they are fighting to re-establish? It seems that it is alright to speak of al Qaeda (but only as an "aimless death cult") - even though al Qaeda is but one discrete organization of Jihadi terrorists and hardly "aimless." It also appears to be acceptable to speak of the "radicalization phenomenology" - which apparently is what our government thinks is the process by which normal, everyday citizens of the world are turned into suicide bombers. But to refer to the faith-based ideology that every suicide bomber's farewell video claims as motivation for the murder they intend, that hate-filled Friday sermons cite as God-given justification, or that treatises by scholars of the Islamic faith annotate with such exactitude - no, that is forbidden.
Outreach to non-jihadi Muslims is certainly a key component of this war. But we need to show them and all who believe in the values of tolerance and civil society the respect they deserve. A misplaced concern that holds such potential allies incapable of distinguishing between the Greater and Lesser Jihad and thinks an infantilized lexicon that denies the reality we all see will somehow win over hearts and minds betrays an incompetence that is jarring to observe. Neither can fear of the magnitude of this threat be allowed to destroy our faith in ourselves, our abilities, and our values. Dhimmitude (the second-class status of people conquered by Jihad) is a status freely accepted; it does not happen overnight, but is slipped slowly, inexorably over a society that loses its will to resist.
We Americans are not a people to submit, whether by infiltration, subversion, or Jihad.