Qaddafi, Wilders, and the Jihad Against Switzerland
by Andrew G. Bostom
Qaddafi’s declaration of jihad against Switzerland is an action with centuries of precedence within Islam.
Ever since the triumphs of Islam’s prophet became the ultimate inspiration for jihadism almost 14 centuries ago, Muslims have especially revered the bellicose, conquering Muhammad of Medina. (For a pious contemporary example, see Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s “The Prophet Muhammad as a Jihad Model.”) According to a canonical hadith (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0272), Islam in essence belongs to Medina, as a serpent to its lair, the specific words being, “Verily the faith [i.e., Islam] would recede to Medina just as the serpent crawls back into its hole.”
Consistent with the accepted virtues of predatory Medinan Islam and the sacralized jihadism of Muhammad, Libyan despot Muammar Qaddafi recently marked the Muslim prophet’s birthday by declaring a jihad against Switzerland “with all means,” including violent jihad. This was ostensibly in response to the Swiss referendum banning construction of minarets:
We will not give up Jihad, because it is a religious duty. Jihad constitutes a religious duty and self-defense. It is the defense of the religion, fighting for the sake of Allah, defense of the Prophet Muhammad, of the Koran, of the mosques. … Whoever destroys the mosques of Allah before the eyes of the Muslims is worthy of having Jihad launched against him. If Switzerland were situated on our border, we would fight it, for destroying the mosques of Allah. Jihad against those who destroy the mosques of Allah and their minarets is [true] Jihad, and not terrorism. … Switzerland is an infidel and sinful country which destroys mosques. Jihad, with all possible means, should be declared against it.
He decried as “infidels” all Muslims who continued dealings with Switzerland, or the European publishers of the banal Muhammad caricatures which originally appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten:
Any Muslim who buys Swiss products is an infidel. Let Muslims all over the world know this. There are people here from all over the Islamic world. Any Muslim anywhere in the world who deals with Switzerland is an infidel against Islam, Muhammad, Allah, and the Koran. If you continue to have dealings with Switzerland, and the people who portrayed the Prophet Muhammad in the most abominable way in their newspapers. … If you continue to have dealings with them, to buy their products, to support them, to accept their tourists, to accept their planes, to accept their ships, and to host their embassies — you are not Muslims. Any Muslim must boycott them.
Qaddafi’s statement exhorted the global Muslim community:
Boycott Switzerland, its products, its planes, its ships, and its embassies. Boycott this sinful infidel community, which attacks the mosques of Allah. The Muslim masses must head towards all the airports in the Islamic world, and prevent any Swiss plane from landing. They should head to the ports, and prevent any Swiss ship from coming in. They should comb the shops and markets and remove the Swiss products. Allah said: “Let them find harshness in you.”
Libya’s own example indicates these are not idle threats. Over the past two months, Qaddafi’s government has cut its oil supplies to Switzerland, withdrawn Libyan capital from Swiss banks, and moved to close all Swiss companies active in Libya — Swiss Air having already been shut down. And within a week, by Thursday, March 4, Qaddafi’s call for jihad against Switzerland — manifested as economic jihad, for now — was endorsed by Arab League ministers meeting in Cairo. Ministers from Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Djibouti, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, theUAE, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Tunisia each signed a document in support of Libya’s actions, which also denounced Switzerland as “racist.”
Qaddafi’s jihad-sanctioning diatribe and its endorsement by the Arab League ignores the Swiss electorate’s legitimate concerns expressed through their political leadership, notably the Swiss People’s Party (SVP). These actions towards the Swiss and Western Europe in general by Qaddafi, his Arab League supporters, and other Muslim political and religious leaders illustrate simultaneous denial and imperialistic threat — archetypal Islamic behaviors toward infidel civilizations.
For example, the brutal Arab jihad conquest, colonization, and Sharia-based rule of a swath of Western Europe for eight centuries (the 8th through the 15th), although centralized in the Iberian peninsula of mythically tolerant Muslim Spain, included jihadist ravages that beset what is now modern Switzerland.
Charles Emmanuel Dufourcq, the pre-eminent historian of the Arab Muslim jihad campaigns in Medieval Western Europe, has described how Muslim invaders reached Switzerland from their well-established bastion in Provence. Penetrating toward the north, the east, and the northeast:
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They reached Gap [~ 100 miles northeast of Marseille] and Grenoble (which they would seize for almost twenty years in the middle of the tenth century), advanced as far as the mountain passes in the Alps, which they controlled, making everyone who traveled through them pay a tax, in particular at the Grand-Saint-Bernard [between Italy and Switzerland]. … They arrived in LeValais [a Swiss canton], up to the Abbey of Saint Gall [presently in the Swiss city of St. Gallen], becoming … “the masters of Switzerland” for a decade or so (during the late 9th century).
Major contemporary Muslim clerics and leaders such as Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (“spiritual” leader of the Muslim Brotherhood), former Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, and Qaddafi himself have openly extolled this imperialist past as a prologue to modern efforts seeking Europe’s Islamization. Qaradawi’s public fatwa issued December 2, 2002 urged Muslims to conquer Europe, stating: “Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and a victor after being expelled from it twice — once from the south, from Andalusia, and a second time, from the east, when it knocked several times on the doors of Athens.”Sheikh Qaradawi ruled, in addition, that Muslims should reconquer “former Islamic colonies to Andalus (Spain), southern Italy, Sicily, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean islands.”
Such sentiments were reiterated with equal stridency by European Muslim leaders at a conference entitled “Islam in Europe” that accompanied the July 10, 2003 opening of the new Granada Mosque. The keynote speaker at this putatively “ecumenical” conference, Umar Ibrahim Vadillo, a Spanish Muslim leader, implored Muslims to cause an economic collapse of Western economies (by switching to gold dinars, and ceasing to use Western currencies), while the German Muslim leader Abu Bakr Rieger told attendees not to adapt their Islamic religious practices to accommodate European (i.e., Western Enlightenment?) values.
These blatant, repeated exhortations for the Islamic subjugation of Europe — a context ignored by mainstream media “analyses” — motivated the Swiss Freedom Party’s (SVP’s) successful referendum to ban minarets.
The SVP has referred to minarets as both an accessory to worship, i.e., an instrument for the Muslim call to prayer (or “adhan“), and “a sign of domination.” Does this claim have merit? Indeed it does, according to the official entry on minarets from the venerable Encyclopedia of Islam. Ottoman minarets, in particular, epitomized their dual role “as a sign of power, and as an instrument for the adhan.” Despite orthodox Islamic views that minarets were garish and unnecessary — most notably, by the convenient bogeymen for “radical Islam” in our era, the Wahhabis — the Ottomans built:
… gigantic, needle-sharp lances clustered protectively, like a guard of honor, around the royal dome, have a distinctly aggressive and ceremonial impact, largely dependent on their almost unprecedented proportions; the pair of minarets flanking the Süleymaniye dome are each some 70m high.
Thus objective historical reality supports SVP’s claim that “Islam makes no distinction between Church and State, such that minarets become the expression of influence not only religious, but political, in nature. This conception is incompatible with Western secular tradition.”
SVP Parliamentarian Oskar Freysinger further rejects any anti-Muslim bias, but re-asserts:
We don’t want minarets … The minaret is a symbol of a political and aggressive Islam; it’s a symbol of Islamic law. The minute you have minarets in Europe, it means Islam will have taken over.
These SVP arguments are bolstered by the brazen speech of then Istanbul mayor and current Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, who declared in 1997: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes are our helmets, the minarets are our bayonets and the faithful are our army.”
On Wednesday, March 3, 2010, Dutch voters delivered an even stronger democratic message rejecting Europe’s Islamization, ironically just hours before Qaddafi’s declaration of jihad against Switzerland was joined by his co-religionists in the Arab League. Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV), participating for the first time in local municipal elections, won handily in Almere, a city of 200,000. The PVV also became the second biggest party in The Hague, the country’s third largest city. Polling data now indicate that the PVV could become the Netherlands’ largest political party after June’s national parliamentary elections.
Wilders celebrated these local electoral gains and optimistic national prospects during a remarkable address given in London at the British Parliament’s House of Lords on Friday, March 5. He invoked Winston Churchill’s 1899 commentary on Islam from “The River War” — a first hand narrative of the great British prime minister’s encounters with jihadism in The Sudan as a young military officer:
No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science — the science against which it had vainly struggled — the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.
Wilders agreed with Churchill’s historical assessment, and then provided an accurate doctrinal rationale for Islam’s bellicose nature and its contemporary relevance to Europe, which fittingly referred to Qaddafi’s statements from 2006:
I don’t have a problem and my party does not have a problem with Muslims as such. There are many moderate Muslims. The majority of Muslims are law-abiding citizens and want to live a peaceful life as you and I do. I know that. That is why I always make a clear distinction between the people, the Muslims, and the ideology, between Islam and Muslims. There are many moderate Muslims, but there is no such thing as a moderate Islam. Islam strives for world domination. The Quran commands Muslims to exercise jihad. The Quran commands Muslims to establish Shariah law. The Quran commands Muslims to impose Islam on the entire world … Islam is merely not a religion, it is mainly a totalitarian ideology. Islam wants to dominate all aspects of life, from the cradle to the grave. Shariah law is a law that controls every detail of life in a Islamic society. From civic and family law to criminal law. It determines how one should eat, dress, and even use the toilet. Oppression of women is good, drinking alcohol is bad. I believe that Islam is not compatible with our Western way of life. Islam is a threat to Western values. The equality of men and women, the equality of homosexuals and heterosexuals, the separation of church and state, freedom of speech, they are all under pressure because of Islamization. Islam and freedom, Islam and democracy are not compatible.
As former Turkish Prime Minister Erbakan said: “The whole of Europe will become Islamic. We will conquer Rome.” Libyan dictator Qaddafi said: “There are tens of millions of Muslims in the European continent today and their number is on the increase. This is the clear indication that the European continent will be converted into Islam. Europe will one day soon be a Muslim continent.” Indeed, for once in his life, Qaddafi was telling the truth.
Wilders’ keen, if blunt, conceptions articulate contemporary realities while restating seminal insights on Islam observed by great scholars whose works antedate the present day morbid affliction of cultural relativism.
Jacob Burckhardt (d. 1897), an iconic figure in the annals of Western historiography, believed it was the solemn duty of Western civilization’s heirs to study and acknowledge their own unique cultural inheritance — starting with the culture and heritage of classical Athens. Burckhardt emphasized how the Western conception of freedom was engendered in Athens, where its flowering was accompanied by the production of some of history’s most sublime literary and artistic works. Moreover, while Burckhardt affirmed the irreducible nature of freedom, and upheld equality before the law, he decried the notion — a pervasive, rigidly enforced dogma at present — that all ways of life, opinions, and beliefs were of equal value. Burckhardt argued that this conceptual reductio ad absurdum would destroy Western culture, heralding a return to barbarism. And contra the Western legacy of Athens — epitomized by freedom —Burckhardt referred to Islam as a despotic, totalitarian ideology:
All religions are exclusive, but Islam is quite notably so, and immediately it developed into a state which seemed to be all of a piece with the religion. The Koran is its spiritual and secular book of law. Its statutes embrace all areas of life … and remain set and rigid; … [imposing] this nature on many nationalities and thus [remolding] them for all time (a profound, extensive spiritual bondage!). This is the power of Islam in itself. At the same time, the form of the world empire as well as of the states gradually detaching themselves from it cannot be anything but a despotic monarchy. The very reason and excuse for existence, the holy war, and the possible world conquest, do not brook any other form.
The strongest proof of real, extremely despotic power in Islam is the fact that it has been able to invalidate, in such large measure, the entire history (customs, religion, previous way of looking at things, earlier imagination) of the peoples converted to it. It accomplished this only by instilling into them a new religious arrogance which was stronger than everything and induced them to be ashamed of their past.
G.H. Bousquet (d. 1978), one of the foremost 20 century scholars of Islamic Law, explained how Islam’s unique institution of jihad war and its eternal quest to impose the Shari’a on all of humanity represented the quintessence of Islamic totalitarianism. Writing in 1950, Bousquet (p. 104) further warned that these ancient Muslim doctrines remained alive, and relevant to the modern era:
Islam first came before the world as a doubly totalitarian system. It claimed to impose itself on the whole world and it claimed also, by the divinely appointed Muhammadan law, by the principles of fiqh, to regulate down to the smallest details the whole life of the Islamic community and of every individual believer … Viewed from this angle, the study of Muhammadan Law (dry and forbidding though it may appear to be to those who confine themselves to the indispensable study of the fiqh), is of great importance to the world of today.
Geert Wilders’ appropriate perspective on Islamic totalitarianism leads him to formulate equally direct positions — ideological and political — which he also enumerated in the March 5 speech to the House of Lords:
First, we will have to defend freedom of speech. It is the most important of our liberties. In Europe and certainly in the Netherlands, we need something like the American First Amendment. Second, we will have to end and get rid of cultural relativism. To the cultural relativists, the Shariah socialists, I proudly say: our Western culture is far superior to the Islamic culture. Don’t be afraid to say it. You are not a racist when you say that our own culture is better. Third, we will have to stop mass immigration from Islamic countries. Because more Islam means less freedom. Fourth, we will have to expel criminal immigrants and, following denaturalization, we will have to expel criminals with a dual nationality. And there are many of them in my country. Fifth, we will have to forbid the construction of new mosques. There is enough Islam in Europe. Especially since Christians in Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia are mistreated, there should be a mosque building-stop in the West.
In 1978, Dufourcq was concerned (even then) that historical and cultural revisionism might precipitate a recurrence of:
… the upheaval carried out on our continent (i.e., Europe) by Islamic penetration more than a thousand years ago … with other methods.
By the early 1990s, Bat Ye’or had already observed that European Islam [pdf] was adhering to its traditional supremacist orthodoxy, making no effort to eliminate doctrines incompatible with true ecumenism and core Western Enlightenment values:
I do not see serious signs of a Europeanization of Islam anywhere, a move that would be expressed in … a self-critical view of the history of Islamic imperialism … we are light years away from such a development … On the contrary, I think that we are participating in the Islamization of Europe, reflected both in daily occurrences and in our way of thinking … All the racist fanaticism that permeates the Arab countries and Iran has been manifested in Europe in recent years.
Muammar Qaddafi embodies such quintessential Islamic supremacism and belligerence — witness his call for jihad against Switzerland being validated by representatives of the entire Arab Muslim umma. Tangential, bizarre aspects of his behavior — obsessively highlighted by mainstream media and so-called analytical publications, alike — are conflated with this disturbing reality as a willful distraction from the jihadist threat Qaddafi’s Libyan regime has posed continuously for over four decades. Geert Wilders’ portrayal by the same chattering classes and analysts is an equally deliberate simulacrum of reality constructed with the opposite intent. The transparent agenda in characterizations of Wilders is to demonize Western Europe’s most informed and courageous politician resisting the actual jihadism Qaddafi represents, independent of Qaddafi’s mere odd behaviors. But the Swiss minaret referendum, and even more emphatically, burgeoning Dutch support for Wilders and his PVV, indicate that ordinary Europeans reject the capitulation to Islamic supremacism their cultural relativist media and political elites deliberately abet.