UK 'Butchers' Spoke Volumes with Attack

Image: UK 'Butchers' Spoke Volumes with Attack Flowers honor Drummer Lee Rigby, who was slain in Woolwich (Getty Images)

Friday, 24 May 2013 06:56 PM

By Walid Phares

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The savage slaughter of a British soldier on the streets of Woolwich, England, not far from London was not a random crime.

It was an act of terror, an expression of relentless war that is inspired by a jihadist ideology and sponsored by an international network of Salafist indoctrination. The reason we make such a distinction is not simply to repeat what we have underscored in reports on similarly-inspired bloody attacks in the West.

Rather, it is to prevent a shocked public from being confused by propaganda they may be hearing from apologists, who are attempting to spread intellectual chaos, covering up for violent extremists with irrelevant arguments.

Some people point to the Western presence in Muslim lands as rationale for such attacks. The two killers in Woolwich this week insisted on shouting their “political motives” and the cri de guerre, “Allahu Akbar,” after committing cold-blooded murder.

They said their actions were in response to Western occupation of Muslim lands. That is the same excuse that was repeatedly given by Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida jihadists in the 1990s, and increasingly since 2001.

The two perpetrators of the most recent attack are British citizens, but they act as citizens of the “umma” in defense of an emerging Caliphate. They do not speak on behalf of a community; they speak on behalf of a movement that claims to speak on behalf of a community.

In short, they are jihadists, regardless of whether they are rank and file al-Qaida or not.

They are part of a movement solidly anchored in a doctrine — whether they act as individuals, a pair, or two commandos dispatched by a larger group.

The attackers spoke openly to witnesses on the street where they committed their treachery. They spoke with predetermined certainly — not spontaneity. "We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. We must fight them (the infidels-kuffar) as they fight us.”

Their choice of words matter — because these words come from the Salafi jihadi dictionary used by committed operatives, fighters and killers around the world.

In a letter to the American people, Osama bin Laden once said, "It is commanded by our religion and doctrine that the oppressed have a right to return the aggression. Do not await anything from us but Jihad, resistance and revenge."

The commander of al-Qaida, his successor, and other jihadi leaders around the world, have consistently used the expression “as long as we won’t have our security, you won’t have yours.”

Translated strategically, the proposition means that as long as the enemies of the jihadists are obstructing the rise of a Caliphate — a Taliban-style empire to cover one fifth of the planet for starters — all those who resist are enemies and will be treated with the full force of militants continually produced by pools of indoctrination.

The Woolwich butchers had no personal quarrel with the UK soldier they hacked to death. They had no mandate from the Afghani people to commit bloodshed in Great Britain as a way of provoking a troop withdrawal.

The mandate these terrorists acted upon was from a standing, growing, creeping political ideology with a name — Salafi jihadism (al Salafiya al Jihadiya). Some will rush to connect their words to Islamic religious texts, invoking verses and chapters.

Others will rush in another direction to counter attack by charging “Islamophobia” as the root cause of the craziness of the perpetrators. Some may fall into the trap of making the link proposed by the terrorists, that their killing is necessary for the liberation of a “Muslim land.”

But the Arab Spring, gone bad with the rise of Islamists across North Africa and the Levant, is sending us a strong message: Civil societies in the region — youth, women and minorities — dislike the “Islamist fascists,” a term used by Muslim democracy activists from the Arab world and Iran to describe the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists and  Khomeinists.

This refutes the notion that the killers have any shred of legitimacy. Add to this illegitimacy, even in regulated conflicts, the Woolwich attack was a war crime, regardless of the motives.

Verses or not — Afghan related or not — the terrorists who beheaded the British service member on an English street are war criminals, just like Major Hassan of the Fort Hood massacre and the Tsarnaev brothers, who carried out the Boston Marathon attack.

The Jihadi butchers of England were undoubtedly aware of previous terror attacks throughout Europe.

In March 2011 a terrorist shouting "Allahu Akbar" opened fire on a bus carrying U.S. airmen in Frankfurt, Germany, killing two and wounding two others before his gun jammed and he was subdued.

In 2012, a Jihadist known as Merah killed 12 French citizens with a rifle, including members of the military in Toulouse and Montauban. Similar attacks were stopped across Europe over the past few years.

Jihadists indiscriminately kill British citizens, Americans, Spaniards, Swedes, French, Malians, Algerians, Tunisians, Tanzanians, Iraqis, and Pakistanis. They are as keen to kill Muslims they describe as apostates (Mushrik) as they are to butcher those they label “infidels” (kafir).

The most recent attack is one in a long chain of terror attacks inspired by a radical ideology, often described as “criminal” by Western leaders, including the Obama Administration, but never explained.

This is where the British people should be looking and where the international community should act. Expose the specific doctrine that generates violence and identify the networks that propagate it to produce jihadists.

Otherwise, our societies will be living in fear, waiting for the next blood to be spilled from one terror attack to the next. The methods are not as significant as what binds such attacks together. The Nuremberg trials are just a few decades behind us.

They showed the world that Nazism created the greatest barbarism of the 20th century. Jihadism is now seizing that claim for the 21st century.

Lessons should be learned.

Dr. Walid Phares is a Congressional advisor and the Co-Secretary General of the Transatlantic Legislative Group on Counter Terrorism. He is the author of several books on Terrorism including "The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad." Read more reports from Walid Phares — Click Here Now.










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