The Magazine

It Can Happen Here

America's "homegrown" terrorism was made in South Asia.

Dec 28, 2009, Vol. 15, No. 15 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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ICNA's extensive literature distribution efforts include the talks and writings of Abul Ala Maududi, founder of JI, on "the Islamic social order." Maududi was the most prominent theorist of radical Islam in modern South Asian history. ICNA outreach also includes a "Jihad FAQ" in which--dispensing with the usual evasions found in such materials--ICNA defines jihad as "collective armed self-defense, as well as retribution against tyranny, exploitation, and oppression." Furthermore, the same document distinguishes armed jihad from terrorism as follows: "Jihad, when the need arises, is declared openly, while terrorism is committed secretly." Regardless of the absurdity of the latter distinction, since 9/11 and other acts of Islamist terror are anything but secret, the five youths and one parent detained in Pakistan were allegedly on their way to fight American and other coalition soldiers in Afghanistan. Jihad, as ICNA defines it, was their motive.

It should be noted that ICNA also expressed a terse willingness to assist the U.S. authorities in the case of the six held in Pakistan but at the same time condemned the increase in U.S. troops sent to Afghanistan. The five young men and one father, in short, were products of a communal environment imported into America, based on a foreign ideology financed from abroad by bloodthirsty extremists.

Jihadism in America, then, is not really "homegrown." It is as alien to America as were the Soviet-controlled Communists and the pro-Nazi German American Bund. The only answer to it is a complete cutoff of financial and organizational links between such entities in the United States and their overseas masters, as well as other legal measures to end their subversive efforts.

Stephen Schwartz, a frequent contributor, is the author of The Two Faces of Islam and The Other Islam: Sufism and the Road to Global Harmony.