Combating radical Islam requires understanding the lawful or peaceful means Islamists use to spread their doctrines.
Islamism is a threat to America because it does not accept the principles of general religious freedom, as protected under the U.S. Constitution. Rather, it has a totalitarian agenda that does not recognize national boundaries or the separation of religious dictates from the social, political, and economic governance of society – including the private lives of its citizenry. The Islamist view of law is based on Shari'a (Islamic law), not the American Constitution.
The central strategy of Islamists in the West is lawful Jihad, or soft Jihad. This Jihad is non-violent and proposes to work through a society's existing institutions to gain social and political influence, and then introduce Islamic law into society. Specific methods include lobbying, Islamist lawfare, libel tourism, seeking special, unreasonable accommodation in the name of religious freedom, and most importantly, radical missionization.
One of the key tools used by Islamists to spread their message and recruit individuals is that of aggressive proselytizing – thus distinguishing Muslim converts who are on a personal spiritual mission to Islam from those being indoctrinated towards a political ideology is a key task. Combating the latter begins with keeping a vigilant eye on Islamic organizations and the materials they disseminate to potential converts.
The Islamic Circle of North America, or ICNA, is one such organization that crosses the line, considering its "welcome package," which includes a video and a series of books reviewed below.
ICNA raises red flags, beginning with its mission statement on its website, which repeats the goals of Islamism:
"Islamic Circle of North America is a leading grass roots organization which seeks to obtain the pleasure of Allah (SWT) through working for the establishment of Islam in all spheres of life."
The language restates the doctrineof a website run by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, the Indian branch of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), a major Islamist political party based in the countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as India and the South Asian immigrant diaspora. The JI Hind website states, "If Muslims have faith in the efficacy of Islam, which has been a potent force for the good of mankind throughout the ages, it is not only the necessary demand of their faith, but also their altruistic duty to propagate its principles, especially at a time when the country is in search of a stable basis for building the edifice of its life."
The desire to "establish" and "propagate" Islam in the public sphere by both ICNA and JI, is a clear indicator of its theocratic political intentions.
Moreover, links between the two organizations are easy to confirm. Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Islahi, sits on the central board of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind website, and is also on the board of "Why Islam," a project of ICNA. Islahi also leads Muslims in prayer in a Why Islam produced video at the end of July 2008 called 'Why Islam Introduction.'
Why Islam also has a website that provides information to the public about Islam. Such efforts at dawah (Islamic proselytizing) are utilized by ICNA to spread its message that Islam has the answers to society's problems, as its mission statement suggests. The problem is that it also promotes anti-Semitism, misogyny and homophobia.
In summary, ICNA is a front for JI, a violent movement that advocates revolution and the erection of an Islamic order. ICNA identifies "Dawah: Inviting Mankind to Submit to the Creator" as its"top priority" and lists conversion efforts among its "expectations from all members… as follows: Spend a minimum of 4 hours a month on any of the following: Dawah to non Muslim (Dawah Field Trip, Prison dawah Trip, Dawah Response through Mail or Phone)."
The Why Islam website defends misogyny by defending polygamy, though polygamy is illegal in the United States. A quote from the website states, "What is the situation in countries that have banned polygamy? Do they really enjoy sincere and faithful 'monogamy' as the norm? Are infidelity and secret extramarital sexual relationships more moral than the legitimate, legally protected husband-wife relationships, even under polygamy if there is a pressing need for it? Which of the two situations is better?" The inference is that polygamy is preferable to society's tendency towards illicit affairs, and a way to deal with widows, etc. Islamists are not requiring Muslims to enter into polygamous marriages. Rather, what they are advocating is the right to enter into them in defiance of Western law.
Another radical text included in the welcome package is Towards Understanding Islam, penned by JI founder, Syed Abul Ala Maududi. In it, Maududi states, "The greatest sacrifice for God is made in Jihad, for in it a man sacrifices not only his own life and property in His cause but destroys those of others also."
ICNA continuously preaches armed Jihad against the West. Its publication, The Message International, includes material supporting al Qaeda and the Taliban.
This Jihad does not appear to be the inner struggle defined by spiritual Muslims and to which ICNA and its Islamist and apologist compatriots repeatedly had recourse after 9/11. Rather, the quote affirms a desire for Islamists to create a world where Muslims fight violently in the name of their interpretation of religion.
WI claims that it assists non-Muslims in learning about the 'true religion,' when in actuality, the group disseminates material advocating a totalitarian version of Islam that is not even practiced by most Muslims in the world. In attacking Jews, women, and the separation of church and state, the ICNA Welcome Package challenges the equality and respect for all non-violent religions America stands for as a democracy.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Joe Kauffman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate and the founder of CAIR Watch. This article was written with the help of Islamist Watch, a project at the Middle East Forum.