What Makes a Jihadi?


Secular Western analysts of Islamic militancy typically miss the boat when seeking the root causes spurring Muslims to engage in violent jihad. Since the analysts themselves have no galvanizing religious faith upon which they build their lives, they can’t imagine that religious faith could be a serious motivator for anyone else — they are blinded by their own bias.

Hence, we often hear in the mainstream media that what really motivates new recruits joining ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, etc. is not religious conviction but rather a desire to flee poverty and disenfranchisement (as John Kerry argued in 2014), JohnKerry.jpgto topple politically corrupt regimes, to escape the dreariness of a meaningless future, or to combat other social injustices. Only motivations as powerful as these could compel a terrorist to face death willingly. Religious motivations, as everybody knows (in the world of secularism), are silly and groundless, so they cannot provide an adequate foundation to explain the terrorist’s mindset. Their dismissal amounts to this: “Since I cannot conceive of the possibility that religious faith might be of ultimate importance, to the point of sacrificing my life in its pursuit, it must not be possible for anyone else” (except, of course, for those who are mentally unbalanced).

As a result, we find that though militant Muslims ascribe their actions to their religion (quoting copiously from the Qur’an, reciting authoritative martial accounts of their peerless prophet, slavering over the sensual delights of paradise promised to those who kill and are killed for Allah (Qur’an 9:111), our elite analysts know better. “Islam,” they say, “has nothing to do with terrorism and militancy and conquest. It is a religion of peace. These militants have hijacked Islam and perverted it — they don’t really believe it, but are using it as a front for their real agendas — economic advancement, destruction of political enemies, and so on.

However, when one gets a chance to listen to militants who describe how they were originally recruited, it becomes clear that our secular analysts haven’t got a clue. Time and again, seasoned jihadis recount that clear teachings from the Qur’an and Sunna (authoritative accounts of the actions and declarations of Muhammad) convinced them that jihad for the sake of Allah was the only acceptable path for one seeking to be a true Muslim.

One such recruit, 38 year-old “Alex” ( a pseudonym used for his protection now that he has been captured by government forces), belonged to the Maute Group, a local terrorist group on Mindanao Island in the Philippines that gave its allegiance to ISIS and carried out a five month siege of Marawi City, effectively leveling the city center and killing over a thousand residents in the process. Part of a bullet-riddled mosque is seen in the city of Marawi, southern Philippines, in 2018 after the end of a bloody siege by Isis affiliate the Maute Group.Alex said of his recruiters, “They said ‘they’re the ones fighting for the true jihad. We’re going to fight to the death to defend our religion and we will reap our rewards in the afterlife,”  Most influential in his decision to join the Maute Group along with his 13 year-old son (who died in battle) was the terrorist group’s charismatic leader Abu Dar. Alex recalls that “Abu Dar was a great speaker, even better than Omar Maute [one of the founders of the terror group]. He was very knowledgeable about the Qur’an. You will really believe him.” 

Still fresh in our minds today are the suicide bomb attacks Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, carried out by nine local Muslims (with the support of some 60 other Sri Lankans now under arrest and the apparent help of a larger Islamic terror network, perhaps ISIS). Authorities are now reporting concerning the nine suicide bombers that they were all “well-heeled” and “well-educated,” from middle- to upper-middle-class families, once again putting the lie to the claims of John Kerry and expert Western analysts that terrorists are made primarily by poverty and social victimization. ISIS have released an image of the suspected suicide bombers as Sri Lanka said one of them studied in the UK. Pictured centre is ringleader Moulvi Zahran Hashim

Sadly, the culprit turns out to be the religion of Muhammad as taught in the Qur’an, Hadith literature and the early histories of Islam, all revered Muslim documents. Historical Islam is inherently jihadi, and the more seriously a Muslim entertains patterning his/her life after that of Muhammad, the more he/she is drawn to totalitarian violence against all who resist submission to Islam. Its capacity to woo willing pawns eager to kill and be killed for the sake of Allah so that they may earn a ticket to paradise must not be underestimated.

Religious convictions can be the most powerful human motivators toward the advancement of good or the fomenting of evil. Until Western, secular leaders wake up to this fact and decide to face squarely the threat of Islam to Western civilization, we will continue to take body blows to our cherished freedoms and Judeo-Christian values. If we will not define the enemy clearly and precisely, fear and paralysis will lead us to capitulate to those ever willing to tyrannize us until Islamic law reigns supreme.

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12 Responses to What Makes a Jihadi?

  1. Linda says:

    Absolutely agree! The question is… how do we help our congregations understand the bias of “elite analysts” who have a post Christian worldview that disregards any faith motivation as valid and has not only politicized Muslim agenda, but has made tolerance their god? The only reason this attack was even publicized by the mainstream press was that it occurred on Easter, included tourist hotels, and killed several Americans. The persecution of Christians is usually ignored and most Americans have no idea about the level of violence against believers in other parts of the world. How do we help our congregations understand what you blog about… and still pray for and care about the salvation of Muslims. Satan has cloaked the reality of Muslim faith and the need for Muslim conversion quite well!

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  2. Sanjeev says:

    Brilliant article. I was led to this site from jihadwatch.org.

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  3. A criminal terrorist imperialistic community is passing in the name of religion and getting equated with other religion of the world. The day has come to understand the true nature of this terrorist organisation by the world community and deprive it of all rights in the civilized society. It is a cancer to the humanity and should be eliminated from the world body

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  4. As a former Muslim, I was fed many lies. These are some of the things that I hear people continue to say in the community. Not only do Christians need to know what is the truth and what is not, but Muslims need to be educated as well. I was living in ignorance for many, many years – even far into adulthood until the Lord Jesus Christ saved me for His glory!

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  5. b.a. freeman says:

    Until Western … leaders wake up … we will continue to take body blows to our cherished freedoms and Judeo-Christian values.

    our secular leaders are not stupid, although i believe that the greater part by far of them are uneducated and incapable of critical thought, but i also believe that those whose thought leads those leaders – the “thought leaders,” who are invariably leftist and Godless – *do* understand islam. they *know* the damage capable of being done to western society by the pious ~10% of the ummah, and because the left have only been able to seize complete power in societies in great flux (usually civil wars), they lead their acolytes to ignore, gloss over, and actually provide cover for the pious 10% of those muslims whom they import as refugees. these leftist leaders of our leaders need not do *anything* themselves to destabilize society; all they must do is provide cover for their proxy army. society will inevitably collapse if they can provide that cover long enough, and when things get so bad that society cannot function, the government can declare martial law. conveniently, although the left holds sway in the thinking of a modest majority of americans (the fraction is quite a bit larger in eurabia), larger numbers of leftists are working in government, because they are more willing to forgo income in order to have access to power (to “fix” things, of course), and those in such employ will be more willing than non-leftists to absolve the state of blame should the thought leaders encourage a few assassinations. it will only take a few assassinations, and the power grab can be complete.

    of course, if the left thinks that the ummah will roll over and play dead for them so that the left’s power grab can succeed, they are sadly mistaken. the ummah must *rule*, not *be* ruled. i foresee the beginnings of civil war in the struggle between these 2 groups. worse yet, i can’t see any of these civile wars being resolved without great bloodshed, mostly of innocents. the blame for these deaths will be on the left, since there was no need to import large numbers of muslims into *any* western nation. there are *plenty* of islamic nations that could have helped (a few have, but most have not), and rich western nations could have assisted those nations.

    the time for blame and avoidance of violence is gone; i no longer believe that civil wars can be avoided. if ever there was a time to be *ON* *YOUR* *KNEES* before God Almighty, pleading with Him and begging for the avoidance of the horrors to come, it is *NOW*. civilization has a slight chance of survival, but that chance recedes every day, and we can’t even *TALK* about it. at this point, the entire struggle is *ENTIRELY* in His capable hands. i acknowledge that i can do *NOTHING*, that He is the vine, and that i am only a branch. i will continue to speak out, and will try to protect my community, my friends, and my family when the time comes, but being old and living in a relatively highly-populated area, i suspect that i will be among the first to die. i accept that, but i pray that He will protect those who are lost long enough for them to turn to Him. i already have the assurance that i am His, and will be going home to Him; others need that assurance as well.

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  6. I’d love to read your writing on the subject of public enemy #1 @ CAIR is Hamas not only would it be informative and definitely honest but also I’m supremely confident humorous to boot. Thanks time to finally designate Muslim brotherhood as an FTO between your expert journalism and my ADHD driven mouth we might very well live up to the Churchill axiom of liberal hubris and Islam apologetics” there insatiable lust for power is only equaled by their incurable impotence in exercising it”

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  7. sheaholliman says:

    Reblogged this on Mohammedan Islam and the World.

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