Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Stealth Jihad, Not Jihadi Terrorism, Islam's Ultimate Weapon

Does terrorism work, meaning, does it achieve its perpetrators' objectives?

With terror attacks having become a routine and nearly daily occurrence, especially in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the conventional wisdom holds that terrorism works very well. For example, the late Ehud Sprinzak of the Hebrew University ascribed the prevalence of suicide terrorism to its "gruesome effectiveness." Robert Pape of the University of Chicago argues that suicide terrorism is growing "because terrorists have learned that it pays." Harvard law professor Alan M. Dershowitz titled one of his books, Why Terrorism Works.

But Max Abrahms, a fellow at Stanford University, disputes this conclusion, noting that they focus narrowly on the well-known but rare terrorist victories – while ignoring the much broader, if more obscure, pattern of terrorism's failures. To remedy this deficiency, Abrahms took a close look at each of the 28 terrorist groups so designated by the U.S. Department of State since 2001 and tallied how many of them achieved its objectives.

His study, "Why Terrorism Does Not Work," finds that those 28 groups had 42 different political goals and that they achieved only 3 of those goals, for a measly 7 percent success rate. Those three victories would be: (1) Hezbollah's success at expelling the multinational peacekeepers from Lebanon in 1984, (2) Hezbollah's success at driving Israeli forces out of Lebanon in 1985 and 2000, and (3) the Tamil Tiger's partial success at winning control over areas of Sri Lanka after 1990.

That's it. The other 26 groups, from the Abu Nidal Organization and Al-Qaeda and Hamas to Aum Shinriko and Kach and the Shining Path, occasionally achieved limited success but mostly failed completely. Abrahms draws three policy implications from the data.

  • Guerrilla groups that mainly attack military targets succeed more often than terrorist groups that mainly attack civilian targets. (Terrorists got lucky in the Madrid attack of 2004.)

  • Terrorists find it "extremely difficult to transform or annihilate a country's political system"; those with limited objectives (such as acquiring territory) do better than those with maximalist objectives (such as seeking regime change).

  • Not only is terrorism "an ineffective instrument of coercion, but … its poor success rate is inherent to the tactic of terrorism itself." This lack of success should "ultimately dissuade potential jihadists" from blowing up civilians.

This final implication, of frequent failure leading to demoralization, suggests an eventual reduction of terrorism in favor of less violent tactics. Indeed, signs of change are already apparent.

Sayyid Imam al-Sharif

At the elite level, for example the former jihad theorist, Sayyid Imam al-Sharif (a.k.a. Dr. Fadl), now denounces violence: "We are prohibited from committing aggression," he writes, "even if the enemies of Islam do that." On the popular level, the Pew Research Center's 2005 Global Attitudes Project found that "support for suicide bombings and other terrorist acts has fallen in most Muslim-majority nations surveyed" and "so too has confidence in Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden." Likewise, a 2007 Program on International Policy Attitudes study found that "Large majorities in all countries oppose attacks against civilians for political purposes and see them as contrary to Islam. … Most respondents … believe that politically-motivated attacks on civilians, such as bombings or assassinations, cannot be justified."

On the practical level, terrorist groups are evolving. Several of them – specifically in Algeria, Egypt, and Syria – have dropped violence and now work within the political system. Others have taken on non-violent functions – Hezbollah delivers medical services and Hamas won an election. If Ayatollah Khomeini and Osama bin Laden represent Islamism's first iteration, Hezbollah and Hamas represent a transitional stage, and Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, arguably the world's most influential Islamist, shows the benefits of going legitimate.

But if going the political route works so well, why does Islamist violence continue and even expand? Because they are not always practical. Rita Katz of the SITE Intelligence Group explains: "Engaged in a divine struggle, jihadists measure success not by tangible victories in this life but by God's eternal benediction and by rewards received in the hereafter."

In the long term, however, Islamists will likely recognize the limits of violence and increasingly pursue their repugnant goals through legitimate ways. Radical Islam's best chance to defeat us lies not in bombings and beheadings but in classrooms, law courts, computer games, television studios, and electoral campaigns.

We are on notice.

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Name: Walter Sieruk
Date: Friday April 24, 2009
Time: 16:37:19 -0400


People need to know the truth about Islam. Nevertheless, when the truth is spoken "The stealth jihadists malign their opponents even when such people are simply stating incontrovertible facts. [From the book STEALTH JIHAD: HOW RADICAL ISLAM IS SUVERTING AMERICA WITHOUT GUNS OR BOMBS by Robert Spencer p.56]

Name: KhaybarO
Subject: Pipes missed something
Date: Saturday April 25, 2009
Time: 02:29:47 -0400


Pipes says: <i>"Radical Islam's best chance to defeat us lies not in bombings and beheadings but in classrooms, law courts, computer games, television studios, and electoral campaigns."</i> Pipes is right about non-violent forms of jihad constituting a significant threat. However, he leaves out the key ingredient that makes those non-violent forms of jihad so threatening in the long term: Demographics. Mass Muslim immigration, plus higher birth rates among Muslims, plus the fact that Muslims generally teach their children Islam and sharia, are the keys to Islam's success and growth historically. Violent conquest helped establish Islam, but the maintenance and growth of the size of Islam is due to Muslims' high birth rates and their extension into what were once non-Muslim lands.

Name: duh_swami
Subject: hegemony Obama style
Date: Saturday April 25, 2009
Time: 09:45:00 -0400


Demographic jihad...Immigrate in large numbers...breed like rabbits...capture the vote...elect/appoint Muslims to power positions...take over...install sharia... Think Rasulullah Obama...The best kufr president Islam ever had...

Name: to moslem responses
Date: Monday April 27, 2009
Time: 04:05:56 -0400


the proper response is to stop killing the others and to stop oppress the minorities in your countries and to stop terrorism and to allow faith freedom and to adhere tolerance and love and to stop the hate machine ( muslim media & the speaches of imams in mosques ) and to accept the others and live with them in harmony and stop imposing your cult on the other nations and try to be peacful .

Name: ARM
Subject: The way to do it
Date: Monday April 27, 2009
Time: 16:33:54 -0400


The best way to fight these rascals is to fight them the way SL Govt did with the Tamil Tigers. Go in, do not allow media in, fight them, do what has to be done and finish them. This Political correctness will not work. They are nothing, when the so called "Human rights' (Which they do not observe) is taken off and when others fight them on equal terms. They will be finished in no time. You will find them run like dogs with their tail between their legs when the real heat is turned on...

Name: vbv
Date: Tuesday April 28, 2009
Time: 07:09:26 -0400


You are right! The blatant terrorism is just a facade to give a message of things to come when islam acheves suprmacy over others. But the more dangerous ones are the silent abettors in the garb of "moderate muslims" who actually are accessories to the violent fanatics. Do you see any of these "moderates" criticising their violent fanatical compatriots? But when it comes to 'protesting' against a cartoon or any other for of criicism against islam or their fake 'prophet' Muhamad brings them out in droves by the thousands or even millions on to the streets. What is the message? Dhimmis your days are numbered! These zombified barbarians are sly, stealthy and treacherous: you can never trust them. After all this criminal cult had a violent birth and from its very inception is based on hatred, discrimination and promotion of arab hegemony at the cost of destruction of civilisations,knowledge and human values. It is regressive,brutal and barbaric cult promoting arabian pagan beliefs in the name of a monotheistic god adopted from judaism . If it succeeds ,it will surely be an end to all prosperity and progress ,human values and adancement of science ,knowledge and spead of education, and a bleak future of ignorance ,fear, injustice, wars, anarchy and an endless "Dark Age" leading to exticntion of human species. We will have no TV, Music, no dramas, no Shaespeare,Shaw,Ibsen, no Wordswoth, T.S.Eliot, Tagore,etc, no Beethoven, Mozart,Berlioz,Handel,Wagner, no playtations,sports, athletics,games,olympics,etc... Just the ay of Taliban/Osama Bin Laden?Saudi Arabia,etc all mad fanatics would declare everything 'haram' but the reading of Quran and Hadiths , the ugly howling of 'azan in the mosqus, and general mstrust and bloodshed everywhere.So much for islam and its sly and stealthy scoundrel wh are nothimg but supporters of the terrorists who carry out barbaric bombimgs, beheadings, gunning down women and children, givng public lashing, stoning to death ,etc. That will be the only "sport" left with islam ruling the world!

Name: Kmgy
Subject: To vbv
Date: Wednesday April 29, 2009
Time: 08:57:22 -0400


I really appreciate your comments this time and I'm giving you my compliments. I'm really amused at the last statement of your commentary regarding the "only sport" (beheading, public flogging, stoning to death) Islam will give to the world.

Name: Archpagan
Subject: To vbv
Date: Thursday April 30, 2009
Time: 09:29:58 -0400


Pre-islamic Arab pagans were more civilized and cultured than Muslims.They developed the Arabic language and literature. Above all, they believed in pluralism and inclusivism, conceeding no moral high ground to Muhammad. So, Muhammad had to propagate his so-called religion by the sword.Islam had been a criminal ideology right since its birth. Ideologically, Islam and pre-islamic paganism are poles apart.

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