By Ismail Royer
This was written in about May 2015 in the federal prison in Petersburg, Virginia.
In recent months and years, certain Muslims have been cruelly and gratuitously slaughtering innocent people around the world. In Paris, Peshawar, Boston, New York, Canada, and Kenya, these people have staged spectacular murders with the specific aim of generating as much revulsion as possible. Not only do the perpetrators profess to be Muslims, they claim that their deeds are justified, even praiseworthy, because they advance the religion of Islam. Taking these people at their word, the casual observer might conclude that something about Islam itself inspires these acts. As a Western convert to Islam with a long history of involvement with jihad groups, I can attest that this is false, and that these people are delusional liars. Their religion is not the Islam revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, but a modern political ideology that is similar in key respects to a deviant extremist sect the Prophet ordered the Muslims to fight. Far from being the Muslims’ champions, they are a manifestation of the underlying spiritual and psychological sickness of today’s Muslim culture. Treating this underlying sickness will not only obviate the plague of extremism, it will fulfill a necessary condition for the Muslim world’s renewal.
I converted to Islam in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1992. In 1994 I travelled to Bosnia to join the military effort to defend the Muslims there against the genocide their Serbian and Croatian neighbors were then waging against them. I served as a soldier in an Arab unit attached to a brigade of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most of my fellow mujahideen, as we called ourselves, were Saudi veterans of the war against the communists in Afghanistan. During my service I received infantry training, as well as religious training from visiting religious students, and I participated in several firefights.
Significantly, those I was with in Bosnia never advocated or used terrorist tactics; rather, we were taught to follow Islam’s laws of war, including the prohibition of killing women, children, priests, and non-combatants, and of harming churches, wells, livestock, and trees. And in areas under the foreign fighters’ influence, the church bells rang and I used to watch the uniformed Catholic school students trundle off to class. Watching them, I felt pride in my people because these kids were safe, whereas I knew that the Bosnian Serbs had flattened every mosque in the land they controlled.
My purpose here is not to romanticize the foreign mujahideen in Bosnia. I know there were a few bad apples among them and I know they didn’t always live up to the ideal. What I mean, though, is that in my time there, I never encountered the virulent, nihilistic extremism that has come to characterize so-called jihadi groups today. So I was confused and upset when, in 1997, terrorists calling themselves mujahideen bombed the United States embassies in Africa, and Osama bin Ladin threatened to kill innocent Americans anywhere. I opposed those acts and held their perpetrators to be deviants, a stain on Islam and the true concept of jihad.
Since converting to Islam, I have travelled and lived extensively in Muslim countries, including Bosnia, Turkey, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. For nearly ten years before my arrest I worked with prominent Islamic activist groups in the United States and Europe. During that time, unbeknownst to those groups, I was also involved with jihad movements in Kosovo, Chechnya, and Kashmir. In 2003 I was indicted in federal court on charges that stemmed from my assistance to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), a Pakistan-based militant group focused on driving the Indian military from the area of Kashmir that it controls. I pleaded guilty to weapons and explosives charges, and in exchange, prosecutors dropped several other weapons counts and charges related to allegedly attempting to supply services to the Taliban. As a result of all these activities, I became personally familiar with a number of prominent leaders, ideologues, and activists from a range of organizations and movements.
After my arrest, I was confined for seven years in special prisons and units designed for prisoners with cases involving terrorism and other dangerous crimes. There I interacted with dozens of terror defendants, both Muslim and non-Muslim.
Through these experiences, and through my conversations with fellow travelers and other primary sources, I have gained insight into the social and ideological trends affecting the Muslim world and diaspora. Among these ideological trends is the plague of violent Islamist extremism espoused by the likes of Al Qaeda, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Boko Haram, and others. In what follows, I hope to explain the origins of this ideology, its tenets, why it has succeeded to the extent that it has, and how it should be dealt with.
The context in which the phenomenon that is best described as Islamist extremism arises is the decline and stagnation of Islamic civilization and the concomitant rise of the West in the early modern period. While Islamic civilization has experienced periods of decadence in the past, religious revival movements or new dynasties have always emerged to renew it, drawing on religious inspiration to reach new heights of cultural achievement. With the most recent downturn, however, such a renewal has yet to happen. In light of this, many Muslims have mixed feelings about the flourishing West: a grudging admiration that often skews towards resentment. This is particularly so among unemployed young people, a population that is swelling due to economic trends and the poor governance of the Muslim world’s rulers. It is also the case among the segments of Europe’s Muslim population that are alienated and ghettoized.
For years the dominant vehicle for anti-Western resentment was a secular political ideology, a noxious blend of nationalism and Marxism similar to other Third World “isms.” Ironically, both Marxism and nationalism — the idea that an ethnic group should rule a nation state with borders coterminous with its geographic distribution — were themselves Western in origin. This ideology, manifesting as Baathism, Nasserism, Pan-Arabism, and so on, served for many as a civil religion, a replacement for waning religious sensibilities. At its core was a burning resentment of the West, victimology sublimated by specious political theory. This ideology began to lose cache in the 1970s due to, among other things, its failure to achieve Arab unity or victory over Israel.
Meanwhile, a new and rival ideology arose in Egypt in the first half of the twentieth century: Islamism. The populizer of this ideology was the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood saw itself as a religious movement; because Islamism was born in the milieu of modernity, however, it took many of modernity’s assumptions as its point of departure. It reimagined Islam as a political ideology with activism as its default mode: mobilization of the masses in pursuit of a political program. Islamism transformed personal and social religious rites like prayer and charity into political activities serving the goals of the party. To help achieve those goals, adherents organized themselves into cells, mimicking the structure of European ideological movements. Even the words “Islamism” (in Arabic, “Islamiyya”) and “Islamists” (“Islamiyoon”) reflect modernity’s influence, the suffixes corresponding to “-ist” and “-ism” signifying that they were different from ordinary, traditional Muslims on the one hand, and from Marxists, nationalists, etc., on the other.
It bears emphasizing that Islamism would have been repugnant to the nobility and clerical establishment who had traditionally led reform movements. One reason is Islamism1s secularizing, disenchanting effect on the religion. Another is that traditional Islam is not revolutionary at all, but rather, quite conservative, and deeply suspicious of the wisdom of the mob and of unqualified people attempting to insert themselves into political and religious affairs. The Prophet himself warned that a sign of the approach of the day of judgment would be the appearance of ignorant commoners making pronouncements about public affairs. Indeed, Islamism’s methodology of activism and mass mobilization, by definition, can never be successful in restoring anything like the traditional order because that methodology is inimical to the hierarchical feudal, tribal, and clerical structures of Islam’s past.
To the Islamists, however, their new approach seemed appropriate because the religious establishment, known as the “ulema,” or scholars, were in no position to lead a renewal of Islamic civilization. In the past, the ulema had wielded enormous moral authority, but by the latter period of the Ottoman empire they had been coopted by the sultans, and in most regions their status and influence was barely a memory. Nor could the Islamists rely on the forces of a nascent empire to sweep in from the hinterland and inject new life and energy into Islamic civilization, as had happened in the past.
Islamism became the paradigm for a range of subsequent contemporary Muslim organizations and movements. Some of these are arguably benign, and some are not. Among those that are not are those inspired by the work of Sayyid Qutb. Qutb, an Egyptian, is often thought of today as a religious scholar, but he was not from the ulema; rather, he began his career as an intellectual and an author of secular works. In the 1950’s, after a trip to the United States during which he was reportedly mistreated due to his dark complexion, he turned to Islamism. He wrote a series of works in which he argued that contemporary Muslim society was in a state of ignorance, or “jahiliyya,” a term originally applied to the pre-Islamic Arabs. Qutb also denounced the rulers of the Muslim world as apostates because they did not rule according to Islamic law. In contrast to mainstream Islamism’s mass mobilization strategy, Qutb advocated the establishment of a revolutionary Islamist vanguard, a concept adapted from Leninism, to realize his vision. Thus, like the Islamists before him, Qutb’s ideas carried the DNA of modern Western political ideology, albeit of a more extreme, Jacobin strain. Because of • these views and his activism, the Egyptian government executed him.
Although some of his defenders claim that he was misunderstood, Qutb’s more extreme followers interpreted his teachings as declaring the majority of Muslims in the world to be apostates. This made shedding their blood lawful in pursuit of their goal of establishing their version of an Islamic government. To that end, following Qutb’s teachings, they formed secretive, conspiratorial organizations like Takfeer wal Hijrah (“Excommunication and Flight”) and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIG), Ayman Al-Zawaahiri’s outfit. Like the man who inspired them, these organizations were heavily influenced by the ideas and methods of radical secular political ideology, particularly communist and nationalist movements. These influences are attributable not only to Qutb, but also to the Zeitgeist of the era, and to the fact that many of the original participants in these groups had backgrounds in radical secular politics. Qutbism also shares with other Third World-isms the extreme resentment towards the West, the combination of fascination and contempt born of an acute sense of the Muslims’ inferior position relative to the United States and Europe.
The contemporary Islamist terrorist groups attracting so much attention, such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, and so on, are of the Qutbist variety, even though the rank and file may not be aware of the direct influence of their ideological forebear. For the Qutbists, violence is an end in itself, the purification of society. Qutbists also use violence and chaos as a means toward power. They seek to shake the foundations of society to the ground with the hope of ruling whatever emerges from the rubble. And they seek to sow terror in the West in order to disrupt its success and make it taste some of the misery with which they feel consumed, as well as to bolster their image as Islam’s defenders.
Thus modern Islamist terrorist groups share characteristics with their radical secular forebears that have no precedent in Islam. The bearers of Islamic renewal in the past were not revolutionary agitators, and they did not organize themselves into conspiratorial cells. Traditionally, revival was initiated by qualified scholars, nobles, or tribal leaders, whereas modern terrorist groups have virtually no connection to legitimate ulema or tribal authority. Rather, modern extremist groups tend to be led by men of secular professions — doctors, engineers, and the like — who affect the appearance and speech of the ulema to seem more authoritative, as with Bin Ladin and Zawahiri. Nor did the revivalists of the past build just, prosperous societies and refined cultures through terror and chaos; Islamist terrorists learned tactics like airplane hijackings and suicide bombings from secular terror groups. And Islam’s champions of old took themselves and their communities as objects of reform; they did not nurse obsessive, all-consuming resentments of rival nations, or waste their energy and focus blaming those nations for all their problems.
Of course, Islamist extremists deny their modern roots and try to justify their corrupt innovations by pointing to traditional religious sources. But to do so they must cherry pick evidence from its context, distort the meaning of religious texts, and use invalid analogies. For example, they claim that the Prophet Muhammad’s use of a catapult during the siege of a town justifies suicide bombings against innocents. Or they claim that the Qur’an’s exhortations to “kill the non-believers where you find them,” which applies specifically to battlefield conditions during a time of war, authorizes the random murder of any non-Muslim, anywhere. Such bogus interpretations, and the capricious, amateur “scholarship” used to arrive at them, are rejected by the vast majority of legitimate ulema.
As for ISIS’s burning alive of its victims, I do not know what devilish casuistry that group uses to justify this deed; even the most ignorant Muslims know that the Prophet forbade punishment by fire. But this illustrates that whenever the extremists cannot rationalize their whims with Islamic precepts, they simply ignore those precepts. For example, while I was housed at ADX, I asked Richard Reid, the so-called “shoe bomber,” whether he had known before his attempted attack that Islam forbids entering a land under peaceful pretences and then treacherously committing an act of war. Reid told me that he had asked an Al Qaeda “scholar” about this in Afghanistan, but that he merely waved his hand dismissively and advised him, “Don’t worry about that.”
Hence, it is simply inaccurate to say that radical Islamist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS are “medieval” or that they want to “return Muslims to the sixth century.” Such clichés merely assume the truth of the extremists1 claims, and in my experience, extremists relish such statements as evidence of their authenticity. Nor is it accurate to call them “fundamentalists,” if fundamentalism is an effort to return to the fundamental principles of a religion. Islam as it was originally revealed and traditionally practiced is the farthest thing from the extremists’ minds.
That said there is one way in which this ideology does hearken back to the early days of Islam: its tenet that the majority of Muslims and their rulers are apostates. This characteristic marks the Islamist extremists as a species of the Khawaarij, a sect that arose shortly after the death of the Prophet. The Khawaarij declared any Muslim who committed a major sin to be a disbeliever. They proceeded to accuse the Prophet’s companions and successors of the sin of failing to rule by the Qur’an and waged war against them. The Prophet predicted this sect’s appearance, describing them as the “dogs of the hellfire” and exhorting the Muslims to fight them until they desisted. The scholars of Islam did not consider the Khawaarij to be disbelievers, but rather, a heterodox sect. Because the Islamist extremists have declared the majority of Muslims, including the rulers and the ulema, to be disbelievers, and because they foment chaos and terrorize the;people, many ulema consider them to be the Khawaarij of this era. They differ from the original Khawaarij only in some of the modern elements of their methodology that they inherited from radical secular groups, and in that they occasionally turn their violence on nonbelievers. Strictly speaking, then, it is not accurate to describe Al Qaeda, ISIS, and their ilk as “Sunni,” since their deviations are repugnant to the Sunni creed.
Also repugnant to the religion, and to common sense, is the grandiose claim of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, ISIS’s leader, to be the caliph of the Muslims. Any crackpot can declare himself caliph, but that doesn’t make it so. The word caliph, from the Arabic “khalifa,” refers to the successor to the Prophet’s rule over the ummah. The Prophet himself stated that after his death the caliphate would last for only a brief period — i.e., the rule of his four closest companions — and then be replaced by “biting kingship” and tyranny. By definition, then, while there have been emirs, sultans, and kings after the caliphate that followed the Prophet’s death, there have been no true caliphs. But even under the broadest view of the term, a caliph must have actual temporal authority over the ummah, and the ability to protect and administer it. Obviously, ISIS’s leader does not. Moreover, recognition by the ulema is a necessary condition of a caliph’s legitimacy, and the ulema have unanimously rejected Al Baghdadi’s pretensions.
ISIS’s claim that it has established shariah law also fails. What ISIS and similar extremists actually do is mete out arbitrary punishments, which is not the same thing. The real shariah is a noble and subtle affair treating areas of law like commerce, civil litigation, and inheritance, as well as criminal law. Luminaries of the Islamic legal system from the past include Ibn Rushd, known to medieval European scholars by his Latinized name, Averroes, for his commentary on Aristotle; Al Ghazali, the scholastic theologian; and Ibn Khaldoun, the pioneer of the philosophy of history. Legitimate authority, which the extremists laek, is a condition for enforcement of the shariah. Among the conditions for qualification as a shariah judge are the mastery of several religous sciences — classical Arabic, Qur’anic exegesis, legal reasoning, etc. — as well as wisdom, an even temperament, and insight into human affairs. But it is precisely such education, temperament, and wisdom that, by definition, Islamist extremists lack. That is why, when they try to impose their twisted version of the shariah, the inevitable result is a grotesque mockery of divine law and Islamic tradition.
The Islamist extremists claim to be “mujahideen” fighting on behalf of Islam. On the contrary, this ideology and its adherents are an existential threat to Islam:and Muslims. This threat exists on many levels. On one level is the Islamist extremist threat to the Muslims’ prospects for stability, security, and prosperity. Islam teaches that tyranny, while abhorrent, is preferable to the chaos and repression that attends revolution and rebellion. From the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat by Zawahiri’s EIJ, to Al Qaeda’s bombing campaign in Saudi Arabia in 2003, the open-ended Islamist extremist revolution directed at the rulers and people of the Muslim world has achieved nothing but fear, misery, death, insecurity, and more of the repressive government measures that attend violent rebellions.
The Islamist extremists’ vaunted campaign against the West has met with similar results. Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks, carried out in violation of Islamic law and in violation of the group’s agreement with its Taliban hosts, has led to an exponentially greater US military presence in the Muslim world, including the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, along with subsequent insurgencies, civil wars, and the death and displacement of thousands of Muslims. Al Qaeda supporters claim that all of this is worth the damage inflicted on America. Underlying this callous assertion is the assumption that the destruction of America would resolve all of the Muslims’ problems; Islamist extremist dogma fails to account for the fact that the decline of Islamic civilization was well on its way before the United States existed.
And then there is the damage that Islamist extremism is wreaking on the religion of Islam itself. True Islam teaches that all human good flows from the obedience of God, and that all good done for his sake is worship. Its practice requires profound, honest introspection, a constant examination of one’s motives, a careful accounting of one’s deeds, and the practice of godly habits of the heart, tongue, and limbs. Practiced sincerely, Islam’s effect is the cultivation of noble character traits –patience, justice, magnanimity, mildness, courage, humility –and the suppression of base traits. “I was sent to perfect good character,” the Prophet said. It is upon these values that great civilizations are built, and it is with their loss that great civilizations decline.
Islamist extremism, on the other hand, has no spiritual content and does not engender introspection. Rather, it teaches adherents to scrutinize others for signs of hypocrisy and apostasy, which it defines as anything less than total, unquestioning support for its cause and often for extremist leaders personally. It works in the opposite direction of Islam, by suppressing any noble qualities latent in the individual and cultivating evil qualities, like arrogance, cruelty, and pettiness. The ranks of Islamist extremism are swollen with narcissists and sociopaths because the ideology sublimates their foul qualities and provides a soothing, self-serving explanation for why other human beings find them repellent. Such people, and those suffering from feelings of alienation, failure, and inadequacy in their personal lives, find a home in Islamist extremism because it allows them to ideologize their misery and rage into zeal for a purportedly noble cause.
Thus it is no accident that the acts most associated with Islamist extremism resemble the acts of embittered, maladjusted killers. In their delusion, they believe that their mass shootings, bombings, and hooded executions are the actions of a manly, confident people. In reality, they are the actions of a people seething with resentment and feelings of powerlessness and victimhood. Their violence is driven by the same misery wracking the student who murders the classmates he believes have rejected him, going out in a blaze of glory. The leaders, idealogues, and propagandists of terrorist groups are skilled, cynical manipulators who stoke these feelings in their followers until cruelty, murder, and suicide seem like their only release.
After countless conversations and debates with current and former Islamist extremists, after years of living with them and watching their behavior, and after analyzing: their propaganda, I am convinced that, generally speaking, Islamist extremists believe in their ideology only in a shallow, technical sense. Whatever tenets they pay lip service to, I believe that extremist leaders believe in their ideology only insofar as it is a means to power and admiration. As for their followers, they believe only insofar as they are able to transform their personal failures into participation in a meaningful, historical drama. This lack of deep belief is why so many of those involved with Islamist extremism come from irreligious backgrounds, why they often continue to be involved in irreligious activities even as they participate in Islamist extremism, and why they fail to mature in their spiritual state, character development, and religious knowledge or practice, being content to memorize a few canned slogans or formulas that usually bear in some way on the Islamist extremist interpretation of Islam. Indeed, one need not even be a Muslim to be inspired by Islamist extremism; in the months after 9/11, a disturbed young man flew a small airplane into a building in Florida, leaving behind a note that read, “Osama bin Ladin was right.” Islamist extremism is not a religion; it is a glorified personality disorder.
Indeed, Islamist extremism is proving to be a force for the spread of anti-religious sentiment among Muslims. This is happening because, with the increasing urbanization of the Muslim world and mass migrations to Europe leaving many-Muslims alienated from their traditions, Islamist extremists take advantage of the resulting spiritual vacuum to present their ideology as true Islam. As the extremists’ ranks swell with the most vile (and the most gullible) of society, the majority reject it, being repelled by its bankrupt tenets and the repulsive actions and character of its adherents. But in rejecting Islamist extremism, they may believe that they are rejecting Islam itself — or their experience with the extremists may be so traumatic, particularly for victims of violence, that the distinction is rendered irrelevant. There is ample anecdotal evidence from Syria, Iraq, and around the world that encounters with Islamist extremism has driven some Muslims to irreligion and even atheism. I personally know three people who left Islam after disastrous experiences with extremism. Unless something changes, this trend may grow acute, to the point that large portions of the Muslim world abandon their religion altogether.
Paradoxically, for those who believe that Islam, or religion in general, is the source of all evil in the world, this outcome might seem like the silver lining in the scourge of extremism. But for those who believe that true Islam brings out the best in an individual, and that Muslims at their best have made the world a better place, it would be a tragedy.
The remedy for the Islamist extremist pandemic lies only in addressing the conditions that gave rise to it. Moreover, the burden of doing so rests with the Muslims themselves, who, while not collectively guilty of the crimes inspired by this ideology (indeed, they make up the majority of its victims), are collectively responsible for its eradication. While laying out the full range of approaches to defeating Islamist extremism is beyond my purpose here, I will discuss some of the most important.
It would be a good start if the ulema, imams, and callers to Islam would more assertively call people towards traditional Islam and away from Islamism, even moderate Islamism. Now, there are very decent and well-meaning people among the moderate Islamists; indeed, it is a gross and even dangerous fallacy to attribute the fanatics’ methodology to moderate Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood. But the fact remains that, as noted above, even in its moderate iteration Islamism is less a religious movement than a modern materialist political ideology, one that has displaced or at least inflected the faith of many in the Muslim world, particularly in urban areas. This is a problem because, by its nature, traditional faith is a barrier against Islamist extremism‘s deviations, whereas even moderate Islamism can be a gateway towards its more extreme branches because it tends to foster a grievance-based outlook on the world. And of course, the transformation of a faith into a political ideology is a loss in itself, regardless of whether it opens a door to extremism. This observation is made in the spirit of sincere and well-meaning advice, and to the extent that moderate Islamists recognize the value of self-evaluation I hope this advice will be well-taken.
And as for this grievance-based outlook that is so central to Islamism, secular nationalism, and indeed, contemporary Muslim culture itself, then it must be eradicated. The Qur’an tells us that on the day of judgment, Satan will say to the people he led into the hellfire, “Don’t blame me, blame yourselves.” Pointing the finger at others is a mark of immaturity and is a strategy for ducking responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions. The decline of Islamic civilization was not the fault of America, Europe, or “the Jews.” It was the Muslims’ own fault, and it was the result of the process described by ibn Khaldoun, just before the dawn of the modern era, in his seminal work on the life cycle of nations: a process whose end stages are characterized by complacency, decadence, official corruption and injustice. Facing up to this reality will promote the healing of the Muslim psyche so that the Muslim world can stop wallowing in a cesspool of victimhood, resentment, and defensiveness — the cesspool that spawned Al Qaeda and ISIS. Only by moving beyond their self-pity and inferiority complex can the Muslims begin reviving their civilization with the faith-inspired creativity and dynamism of their tradition. And the seed of this revival lies within every Muslim: not in implementing a political program or sowing revolutionary chaos, but in sincere devotion, moderate faith, and treating others with fairness, kindness, and charity.
In discussing approaches to eliminating Islamist extremism, it would be remiss not to stress that, with its invasions, misuse of drones, and indefinite detentions, the United States has consistently played into the hands of the extremists by taking actions that boost their position and add credibility to their narrative. While it is natural for a nation to respond to provocations, the path that America took was to fight the war of its enemy’s choosing rather than the war that would advance its interests. Al Qaeda’s strategy was akin to poking a dog with a stick until it bit, then using that as evidence of the dog’s viciousness. And these people are more than willing to sacrifice Muslim lives and subject their lands to invasion if they think it will improve their position. The extremists1 refrain is, “It is irrelevant now whether 9/11 was right or wrong; the West has attacked and now all Muslims must fight together” — together, that is, under their leadership. This argument, though deceptive, resonates with many, and it is time to stop helping them make it. Winding down U.S. military engagements in the Muslim world would, go a long way toward removing the foundation of the limited legitimacy that groups like Al Qaeda enjoy.
Those are in the realm of long-term approaches, and if such approaches are ignored in favor of putting out fires, then there is little hope of defeating Islamist extremism. But there are also measures that must be taken in the immediate term, and these too are the Muslims’ responsibility. In the first place, the ulema must reach out to the extremists, to debate with them, counsel them, or otherwise persuade them to rejoin the community and leave off their agitation and violence. All possible effort should be made towards such rehabilitation and reconciliation. And for those extremists who choose to continue waging war, then the Prophet commanded the Muslims to wage war against them until they desist. The Muslims should take this command seriously and carry it out with dispatch. Their dithering will only serve the Islamist extremist campaign to bring ruin to Islam, its people, and its lands.
So in the end, the reality of the matter could not be clearer. Islamist extremism is not Islam; rather, it is a cancer eating away at the soul of the Muslims. The time has long since passed when they could pretend that it is not a problem. They will either destroy it or it will destroy them.