The jihadi elite

Anne Applebaum notes that the terrorists we are seeing lately are from the upper crust.  She discusses the widow of the suicide bomber who killed the CIA agents in Afghanistan, a woman who is a well-known author in the Arab world, having written, among other things,  a book comparing Osama bin Laden to Che Guevara:

Bayrak is a shining example of what might be called the international jihadi elite: She is educated, eloquent, has connections across the Islamic world — Istanbul, Amman, Peshawar — yet is not exactly part of the global economy. She shares these traits not only with her husband — a doctor who was the son of middle-class, English-speaking Jordanians — but also with others featured recently in the news. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, for example, grew up in a wealthy Nigerian family and studied at University College London before trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane on Christmas Day. Ahmed Saeed Omar Sheikh (“Sheikh Omar”) was born in Britain and studied at elite high schools there and in Pakistan and dropped out of the London School of Economics before murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan was born in Arlington, graduated from Virginia Tech and did his psychiatric residency at Walter Reed before killing 13 people in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood.

These people are not the wretched of the Earth. Nor do they have much in common, sociologically speaking, with the illiterate warlords of Waziristan. They haven't emerged from repressive Islamic societies such as Iran, or been forced to live under extreme forms of sharia law, as in Saudi Arabia. On the contrary, they are children of ambitious, “Westernized” parents who sacrificed for their education — though they are often people who, for one reason or another, didn't “make it,” or didn't feel comfortable, in their respective societies. Perhaps it sounds strange, but they remind me of the early Bolsheviks, who were also educated, multinational and ambitious, and who also often lacked the social cachet to be successful. Lenin's family, for example, clung desperately to its status on the lowest rung of the czarist aristocracy.

With that bin Laden and Che association and the Bolshevik comparison, could radical Islam be the new Communism? That is to say, a revolutionary ideology to challenge that of Western democracy?

via Anne Applebaum – We need a smarter way to fight the jihadi elite – washingtonpost.com.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Katie

    Yes. I believe it is a revolutionary ideology to challenge that of Western everything.

  • Katie

    Yes. I believe it is a revolutionary ideology to challenge that of Western everything.

  • fws

    I see a different point here Dr Veith!

    The thread that runs through all this is that we want evil to look different than us.

    It must be crazy, or uneducated or ignorant or blindly ideological/fanatical, or blindly immoral.

    Why? This is simple. We prefer to focus on sins we KNOW we will never commit. This is exactly why posts on homosexuality here get so very many hits! Gluttony, coveteousness, neglecting the poor and widows in their distress, womanizing, not so much….

    Galatian 6:1. “Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

    Luther: ”
    This consideration is very much needed to put a stop to the severity of some pastors who show the fallen no mercy. St. Augustine says: “There is no sin which one person has committed, that another person may not commit it also.” We stand in slippery places. If we become overbearing and neglect our duty, it is easy enough to fall into sin. In the book entitled “The Lives of Our Fathers,” one of the Fathers is reported to have said when informed that a brother had fallen into adultery: “He fell yesterday; I may fall today.” Paul therefore warns the pastors not to be too rigorous and unmerciful towards offenders, but to show them every affection, always remembering: “This man fell into sin; I may fall into worse sin. If those who are always so eager to condemn others would investigate themselves they would find that the sins of others are motes in comparison to their own.”
    “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (I Cor. 10:12.) If David who was a hero of faith and did so many great things for the Lord, could fall so badly that in spite of his advanced age he was overcome by youthful lust after he had withstood so many different temptations with which the Lord had tested his faith, who are we to think that we are more stable? These object lessons of God should convince us that of all things God hates pride.”

  • fws

    I see a different point here Dr Veith!

    The thread that runs through all this is that we want evil to look different than us.

    It must be crazy, or uneducated or ignorant or blindly ideological/fanatical, or blindly immoral.

    Why? This is simple. We prefer to focus on sins we KNOW we will never commit. This is exactly why posts on homosexuality here get so very many hits! Gluttony, coveteousness, neglecting the poor and widows in their distress, womanizing, not so much….

    Galatian 6:1. “Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

    Luther: ”
    This consideration is very much needed to put a stop to the severity of some pastors who show the fallen no mercy. St. Augustine says: “There is no sin which one person has committed, that another person may not commit it also.” We stand in slippery places. If we become overbearing and neglect our duty, it is easy enough to fall into sin. In the book entitled “The Lives of Our Fathers,” one of the Fathers is reported to have said when informed that a brother had fallen into adultery: “He fell yesterday; I may fall today.” Paul therefore warns the pastors not to be too rigorous and unmerciful towards offenders, but to show them every affection, always remembering: “This man fell into sin; I may fall into worse sin. If those who are always so eager to condemn others would investigate themselves they would find that the sins of others are motes in comparison to their own.”
    “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (I Cor. 10:12.) If David who was a hero of faith and did so many great things for the Lord, could fall so badly that in spite of his advanced age he was overcome by youthful lust after he had withstood so many different temptations with which the Lord had tested his faith, who are we to think that we are more stable? These object lessons of God should convince us that of all things God hates pride.”

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I really like the Luther quote Fws. Really. A lot. Is that in Luther’s commentary on Galatians? I’m reading through that with some friends right now. We have a long way yet to go.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I really like the Luther quote Fws. Really. A lot. Is that in Luther’s commentary on Galatians? I’m reading through that with some friends right now. We have a long way yet to go.

  • Peter Leavitt

    FWS, Luther would certainly condemn the savage slaughter of innocent people that these Islamic jihadists are involved with. While we are all need to acknowledge our capability to sin, we may condemn and go to war against these savage jihadists; we may also, make hard judgments on any form of sinful behavior.

    On the subject of homosexuality that you raise, Luther once wrote in no uncertain terms that it was a “monstrous depravity” and that the heinous conduct of the people of Sodom was extraordinary, inasmuch as they departed from the natural passion and longing of the male for the female, which is implanted into nature by God, and desired what is altogether contrary to nature. Whence comes this perversity? Undoubtedly from Satan, who after people have once turned away from the fear of God, so powerfully suppresses nature that he blots out the natural desire and stirs up a desire that is contrary to nature. (Luther’s Works, Vol. 3, 255)

  • Peter Leavitt

    FWS, Luther would certainly condemn the savage slaughter of innocent people that these Islamic jihadists are involved with. While we are all need to acknowledge our capability to sin, we may condemn and go to war against these savage jihadists; we may also, make hard judgments on any form of sinful behavior.

    On the subject of homosexuality that you raise, Luther once wrote in no uncertain terms that it was a “monstrous depravity” and that the heinous conduct of the people of Sodom was extraordinary, inasmuch as they departed from the natural passion and longing of the male for the female, which is implanted into nature by God, and desired what is altogether contrary to nature. Whence comes this perversity? Undoubtedly from Satan, who after people have once turned away from the fear of God, so powerfully suppresses nature that he blots out the natural desire and stirs up a desire that is contrary to nature. (Luther’s Works, Vol. 3, 255)

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I love it when people read Luther! If only I had more time to digest more volumes, he was so prolific.

    Anyhoo – are we going to get back to the post?

    I guess I was hoping the next idealogical critique of the limitations of Western Democracy would be more rational than radical Islam. This would certainly be another instance (like communism) where the critique is even more scary than the problem. Therefore is it logical that perhaps there’s an ulterior motive of people in power to keep our eyes focused on Islam rather than what is going on behind the curtains of our own government? I sometimes wonder if health care reform is a similar slight of hand.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I love it when people read Luther! If only I had more time to digest more volumes, he was so prolific.

    Anyhoo – are we going to get back to the post?

    I guess I was hoping the next idealogical critique of the limitations of Western Democracy would be more rational than radical Islam. This would certainly be another instance (like communism) where the critique is even more scary than the problem. Therefore is it logical that perhaps there’s an ulterior motive of people in power to keep our eyes focused on Islam rather than what is going on behind the curtains of our own government? I sometimes wonder if health care reform is a similar slight of hand.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    By the way, I’m not saying that radical Islam isn’t a real threat. It certainly is. Perhaps that’s why it seems to work so well in keeping us from actually examining the problems of our own society’s ideologies.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    By the way, I’m not saying that radical Islam isn’t a real threat. It certainly is. Perhaps that’s why it seems to work so well in keeping us from actually examining the problems of our own society’s ideologies.

  • Wyldeirishman

    Hey…I thought that poverty was one of ‘The Root Causes of Terrorism?’

    No?

    My mistake, then.

  • Wyldeirishman

    Hey…I thought that poverty was one of ‘The Root Causes of Terrorism?’

    No?

    My mistake, then.

  • Wyldeirishman

    #6)

    It is entirely possible to simultaneously deal with Islamic jihadists while continuing to practice self-examination.

    Of course it works well; being attacked tends to be a tad distracting. But the acknowledgment of that is far, far away from ‘demonizing’ an entire people group.

    Our society, like all those comprised of living, breathing human beings, has its sin-driven flaws…but I’ll take it when considering the available alternatives.

  • Wyldeirishman

    #6)

    It is entirely possible to simultaneously deal with Islamic jihadists while continuing to practice self-examination.

    Of course it works well; being attacked tends to be a tad distracting. But the acknowledgment of that is far, far away from ‘demonizing’ an entire people group.

    Our society, like all those comprised of living, breathing human beings, has its sin-driven flaws…but I’ll take it when considering the available alternatives.

  • fws

    Comment #8 Wyldeirishman said:
    #6)

    It is entirely possible to simultaneously deal with Islamic jihadists while continuing to practice self-examination.

    It is not only possible. it is essential for a christian to do so.

    “life is mortification” Martin Luther.

  • fws

    Comment #8 Wyldeirishman said:
    #6)

    It is entirely possible to simultaneously deal with Islamic jihadists while continuing to practice self-examination.

    It is not only possible. it is essential for a christian to do so.

    “life is mortification” Martin Luther.

  • fws

    Comment #3 Bryan Lindemood said:
    I really like the Luther quote Fws. Really. A lot. Is that in Luther’s commentary on Galatians?

    yes it is. I understand that that commentary was almost included in the confessions AND it was one of the few works Luther said should NOT be burned after he died. it is really that awesome.

    It is good to go to anything Luther that chemnitz cites in the formula of concord.

    here is the luther sermon that served as the basic structure for article VI 3rd use of the law in the Solid declaration of the formula. it too is a real gem.

    http://www.godrules.net/library/luther/129luther_e13.htm

    its theme is two kinds of righteousness or the two kingdoms. earthly and heavenly.

    9th sunday after trinity. delivered at marburg in 1528 just before the marburg coloquy.

    Brian, you will love it!

  • fws

    Comment #3 Bryan Lindemood said:
    I really like the Luther quote Fws. Really. A lot. Is that in Luther’s commentary on Galatians?

    yes it is. I understand that that commentary was almost included in the confessions AND it was one of the few works Luther said should NOT be burned after he died. it is really that awesome.

    It is good to go to anything Luther that chemnitz cites in the formula of concord.

    here is the luther sermon that served as the basic structure for article VI 3rd use of the law in the Solid declaration of the formula. it too is a real gem.

    http://www.godrules.net/library/luther/129luther_e13.htm

    its theme is two kinds of righteousness or the two kingdoms. earthly and heavenly.

    9th sunday after trinity. delivered at marburg in 1528 just before the marburg coloquy.

    Brian, you will love it!

  • fws

    Comment #4 Peter Leavitt said

    great peter. the justaposition of my quote in #2 and your luther quote in #4 is awesome.

    would you care to share for us how you personally would apply what luther said in his galatians commentary I quoted:

    Paul therefore warns … [to remember]: “This man fell into sin; I may fall into worse sin. If those who are always so eager to condemn others would investigate themselves they would find that the sins of others are motes in comparison to their own.”

    with what you quoted about homosexuality.

    can you actually imagine yourself falling into homosexuality or a worse sin Peter? what would that worse sin possibly be?

  • fws

    Comment #4 Peter Leavitt said

    great peter. the justaposition of my quote in #2 and your luther quote in #4 is awesome.

    would you care to share for us how you personally would apply what luther said in his galatians commentary I quoted:

    Paul therefore warns … [to remember]: “This man fell into sin; I may fall into worse sin. If those who are always so eager to condemn others would investigate themselves they would find that the sins of others are motes in comparison to their own.”

    with what you quoted about homosexuality.

    can you actually imagine yourself falling into homosexuality or a worse sin Peter? what would that worse sin possibly be?

  • Peter Leavitt

    So, FWS, how do you explain that Luther regarded homosexuality as a monstrous depravity. Might it be that he understood that we all sin, while being frank about particular sins uncluding that of homosexuality.

  • Peter Leavitt

    So, FWS, how do you explain that Luther regarded homosexuality as a monstrous depravity. Might it be that he understood that we all sin, while being frank about particular sins uncluding that of homosexuality.


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