Last month the office of the Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, published the 18-pp., glossy, maize-and-blue "National Intelligence Strategy of the United States of America." Even if I weren't an Ohio State fan, I'd have problems with it. In discussing the "Strategic Environment," Iran's missile systems and support for terrorism are mentioned—but not the Islamic Republic's global da'wah that reaches as far as West Africa and Latin America (and which I heard about first-hand in Iran in 2008). As for non-state threats, the NIS lists "violent extremist groups" and "insurgents"—without bothering to note what ideology motivates the bulk of them: some variant of Islam. This willful ignorance continues into the "Mission Objec tives," the first of which is to "Combat Violent Extremism" –for remember that according to the Department of Homeland Security these "extremists" could just as well be "Tea Party"-ers, Rush Limbaugh listeners or, perhaps—as Juan Cole has recently opined—those still-warlike Anglo-Saxons. At least in this section the NIS does manage to include al-Qa'ida [sic: correct transliteration is al-Qa'idah] in passing , but again sans any explication of the underlying ideology. The NIS authors' obtuseness is all the more perplexing—and maddening—considering that under "Mission Objective 3: Provide Strategic Intelligence and Warning," the U.S. Intelligence Community is encouraged to "build and access deep understanding of the cultural, political, religious, economic, ethnic, and tribal factors in operational theaters."
Of course, it can be argued, what else might one logically expect from an administration headed by a Commander-in-Chief whose father was Muslim , who rejects "negative stereotypes" of Muslims and whose primary foreign policy directive seems to be "diplomacy is always having to say you're sorry?" But, to be fair, his predecessor the "Crusader-in-Chief" was also a vocal proponent of the "Muslims are just Quakers with beards" approach. To both of them, and to the other Islamic apologists of the world such as Karen Armstrong, I submit the following problematic data:
The U.S. State Department has a list of 45 "Foreign Terrorist Organizations." Of those, 25 are Islamic-based organizations; 11 are secular nationalist; 7 are Marxist or Maoist; and only two are religious-based but not Muslim: the Jewish extremist Kahane Chai, and the pseudo-Shinto Aum Shinrikyo of Japan. So well over half of the "current list of designated foreign terrorist organizations" have, as their motivating ideology, Islam in one form or another. Sorry, Professor Cole, no Anglo-Saxon organizations were on there (although a few Celtic ones were); neither were there any Christian ones. Perhaps less reliable, but no less damning to the "Islam is peaceful" mantra, is this list of terrorist organizations as designated by Australia, Canada, the European Union, UK, US, India and Russia. Of 126 terror-waging groups listed, here is the breakdown by ideology:
Secular nationalist: 36
Shinto and Jewish: 1 each
So, just over half the world's terrorist organizations are Muslim in origin and function. No other religious ideology is close—not even, most notably, Christianity (with its 2 billion+ membership, you'd think more would be involved in violence, wouldn't you?). Since Muslims make up 20% of the world's population, their involvement in over 50% of the world's terrrorist groups is telling and troubling—and something the NIS is loathe to admit, thus tainting its claim to "know…the nature of the threats."