Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Via Shane, this interesting post at SWJ by the founder/president of the True Speak Institute, Jim Guirard.

"Since 2002, Mr. Guirard has served as founder and President of the new TrueSpeak Institute, whose primary focus is truth-in-language and truth-in-history in public discourse. He currently writes and lectures extensively on the vital "war of words" and "war of ideas" aspects of the broader Global War on al Qaeda-style Terrorism." (TrueSpeak Institute; emphasis my own)

I haven't yet read much of Guirard beyond the SWJ post (which is as much a clarification of what would appear to be either misguided or slanderous analysis) but what I have read I liked. Beyond the 5GW elements (which I'll leave to Shane) the entire premise makes absolute sense to me:

"Contrary to current DoD, State and White House Doctrine, they seem to be arguing that the Real Enemy are not the Terrorists but Islam itself -- which is exactly the "war of religions" and the "America's War Against Islam" message that bin Laden is trying to sell in the Muslim World, as well. In the all-important “War of Ideas” and “War for Hearts, Minds and Souls,” that does not sound to me like a very bright idea at all.

Some of these well-intentioned people – who are probably as anti-AQ as I am – cannot see the destructive illogic and even the “cognitive dissonance” of insistently defining bin Ladenism by exactly the same holy, godly and Paradise-bound labels by which UBL himself defines it – as does the Salafi-Wahhabi-Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy throughout."

As the above describes, the essence of Guirard's message is that by defining bin laden and al Qaeda's operatives as Jihadis or the more popular, Jihadists, we effectively validate them. Instead he promotes changes in lexicon that both more accurately define and divide the ideology and actions of al Qaeda (and like elements) from "true" Islam. To wit:

"Next, there is the matter of Mr. Coughlin's attacks on some of the quotations compiled in 2003-05 and cited in some of my writings. These are from a variety of Middle Eastern affairs experts and scholars of Islam in support of the "Hirabah" (unholy war, forbidden "war against society") by "mufsiduun" (evildoers, sinners, corrupters) destined for "Jahannam" (Eternal Hellfire) frame of reference -- which imagery, it seems to me, expresses a powerful and much needed disincentive to suicide mass murder."

The article goes on to list a rather lengthy list of sources that recognize and illustrate the divide between jihad and hirabah. This provides a sound foundation for Guirard's argument that rather than a defense of jihad (as his work seems to have been erroneously attributed to be) he's proposing an ideological lever through language that would serve to be a damaging tool in the Information Operations theater which remains, in my humble opinion, an abject failure.

Like it or not, how we define our adversary (and I've touched on this before regarding the term "Terrorist,") carries weight and effects both our own perception and the vision of the enemy. By turning from al Qaeda's jihad to al Qaeda's hirabah we both cease validating our enemy and finally take a worthy step into the realm of ideological warfare.


Adrian said...

The problem is - do American Christians have the credibility to talk to Arab Muslim audiences about this stuff? They have to find locals to spread the message instead of us (why al-Hurra fails miserably). And there are lots of prominent imams who condemn this stuff - I don't know if the US aids them clandestinely or not, but if we don't, we should try.

Pangloss said...

If we have to respect jihad that assumes that jihad is worth respecting, and even worthy of non-Muslims promoting it. Is it?

I would state confidently that it is not worth promoting. Jihad is a wicked, evil perversion of religion. Jihad will need to be abandoned as a central feature of Islam or else the war will be to the death.

deichmans said...


I vehemently disagree with your assertion that Jihad is "a wicked, evil perversion of religion," and recommend you do some more research on the usage of this term in the Qu'ran.

Jihad is not a "call to arms" to battle "non-believers". It is a testament of one's individual struggle to become more like God (or Allah, or Yahweh) in action and thought. It represents the struggle to improve both one's self and one's society.

The only "perversion" is how this virtue has been bastardized by Islamofascists -- and how we have unwittingly swallowed their bait.

Curtis Gale Weeks said...


Jihad is not a "call to arms" to battle "non-believers".

One of my favorite chapters from the Qur'an is At-Tariq (The Morning Star, the nightcomer) --

The Day that (all) things secret will be tested,
(Man) will have no power, and no helper.
By the Firmament which returns (in its round),
And by the Earth which opens out (for the gushing of springs or the sprouting of vegetation),-
Behold this is the Word that distinguishes (Good from Evil):
It is not a thing for amusement.
As for them, they are but plotting a scheme,
And I am planning a scheme.
Therefore grant a delay to the Unbelievers: Give respite to them gently (for awhile).

--"And what will explain to thee what the Night-Visitant is? -- (It is) the Star of piercing brightness;-" This is Judgment day, in which all will be revealed (radical transparency? heh) and each person will be judged accordingly. The final lines, in italics above, basically say, "Do not worry about the Unbelievers, for though they scheme and scheme, I am Allah; I'll take care of it."

But the "Islamofascists" have taken matters into their own hands, as if not trusting to Allah.

Jay@Soob said...

adrian, agreed there are inherent difficulties. However this is less about direct dialogue and more about the residual effect of mass information labeling what is known as "jihad" a more appropriate (in light of Guirard's vision)and culturally repugnant label.

Sadly blogger cheerfully chomped off the last few bits of your link. Shoot it to me via email if you get a chance. If not I'll mess around with what's posted and find it.

Jay@Soob said...

Wolf, I suspect you (as did many) misunderstood the message. Guirard's approach is much more about correctly defining the so called "jihadists" than it is a defense of Jihad.

As both Shane and Curtis point out the term jihad is a tad more deep than waging violence in the name of Allah or in defense of the ideals of Mohammed.

That bit aside, Guirard rightly (IMO) insists that we cease in essentially unwittingly romanticizing the actions of al Qaeda and instead dive directly into the information fray and define them along the same lines as many (as listed in the original article) Islamic scholars have. In essence what we've been calling a righteous struggle (to any Muslim; jihad) is actually an evil ideological and theological fraud (Hirabah.)