BBC Misinformation: Jihadism

This article was originally published at LibertyGB in December of 2014; it was edited in 2021.

BBC Misinformation: Jihadism

By Michael Copeland

The BBC, in a by now familiar tactic of deflection and obfuscation, misinform their readers yet again in an article “What is jihadism?”. Characteristically, no author is shown. The BBC employ a number of Muslims: it is hardly likely that management would ask a non-Muslim to write an explanatory article about Islam. It is a reasonable surmise that the author is Muslim. Here is where we need to remind ourselves that Islam authorises its followers to employ deception in the cause of Islam. That’s right: Islam authorises Muslims to lie. There is no shame or sin in doing so: it is righteous and devout Muslim behaviour. “Using deception to mask intended goals” is a stated aim of the Muslim Brotherhood plan, as revealed in a captured secret internal memorandum.

“Permissible Lying” is section r8 of the Manual of Islamic Law, Reliance of the Traveller.

The BBC article’s unnamed writer informs us in a rather anodyne manner that “more than 5,000 people around the world died… as a result of violence…” Let us be clear about this: they were intentionally killed — in Islamic jihad killings. The writer avers that those responsible are “al-Qaeda, its offshoots and groups which subscribe to a similar ideology.” So far so good: this is accurate. What follows, though, is obfuscation: the “similar ideology”, explains the article, is “commonly referred to as “jihadism”. This is deception and obfuscation.

“Commonly referred to…” Really? How commonly? Evidently not “exclusively”, or even “usually”: no, just “commonly”. Maybe “commonly” in mosque circles, or maybe — and this is more likely — it is just an unbacked assertion included to sound authoritative and throw you off the scent. The phrase has a crafty function: it is slipped in to pre-empt any objection. You are left to think that because you have not heard of “jihadism” then you are embarrassingly out of touch, because the BBC tells us it is “commonly referred to”. But is it? By whom? When? Where can these common references be found and inspected? In reality what the writer is doing is artfully steering the spotlight away from Islam.

Jihad is indeed part of Islam, an inseparable part. After the compulsory waffle about “internal struggle” the article correctly explains that jihad can be “war for the faith against unbelievers”. This accords with the Manual of Islamic Law, which explains (o9.0) “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims”, and it is “obligatory” (o9.3). Muslims actively engaged in it can be described as jihadis, or jihadists. Jihad is a “communal obligation” (o9.1). Is there an ideology “commonly referred to as ‘jihadism’”? No. Emphatically not. “Jihadism” is not an ideology. The ideology is Islam, that “ideological political movement”, as Anjem Choudary describes it. This is, indeed, what is followed by al-Qaeda and its offshoots — ordinary basic back-to-the-roots Islam. Jihad is a component of Islam. There is no Islam without jihad, and no jihad without Islam. Islam is the source, the only source.

The writer goes on to introduce, gratuitously, many complexities, all of which usefully steer attention away from Islam itself:

The term “jihadist” has been used by Western academics… as a way to distinguish between violent and non-violent Sunni Islamists.”

Here we go again: these old chestnuts are really rather tedious. What you are supposed to think, you see, is that jihadists are not proper Muslims: they are “Islamists”. Remember “Islamists”? The article explains: “Islamists aim to reorder government and society in accordance with Islamic law, or Sharia.” Just a minute: that aim — making the whole world Islamic — is identical with the aim of Islam itself. “Kill the unbelievers until the Islam is the only governance” is the import of Koran 8:39. Revealingly, there is no mention of “Islamists” in the Manual of Islamic Law, Reliance of the Traveller. No. It is a word deliberately invented for use in the West in order to deflect attention away from Islam. You see, it has to be anything but Islam itself. It is “Islamists”. More than that, it is not even ALL alleged “Islamists”, either. First of all it is only Sunnis, who, albeit a majority, are only a PART of the world’s Muslims, and of them it is only the VIOLENT ones. Nothing to do with Islam: move along, now.

What the reader is intended to conclude from all this is that the remaining Muslims are problem-free, all Nice and Peaceful. Artfully the article does not actually say so: it leaves that conclusion to be formed through this careful conditioning of the unsuspecting mind. It is all designed to take Islam off the hook.

The text includes a masterful piece of obfuscation:

The term “jihadist” is not used by many Muslims because they see it as wrongly associating a noble religious concept with illegitimate violence. Instead, they use delegitimising terms like “deviants”.”

Rather at variance is this with what we were told above — that this phenomenon is “commonly referred to” as jihadism. We are now told that the term “jihadist”, though used by Western academics, is “not used by many Muslims”. It cannot be that “commonly” employed, after all. What is important, though, in this passage is to pick up the signals. Here they are: “wrongly… illegitimate… delegitimising… deviants”. There, we really cannot miss the message, can we? You see, it is all erroneous, not proper Islam at all. Notice also it does not actually say so directly: it is done by semaphore, and left to the reader to understand, subliminally, as it were. Again, nothing to do with Islam: keep moving along.

That explanation does not wash. Jihad involves war, that is, violence. Jihad is legitimate, and compulsory: it is not “illegitimate violence”, nor is conducting it “deviant”. Note that the writer does not say that Islam specifies this or that. Oh no, it is the safe “many Muslims”. Why safe? The reason is that many Muslims, we are told, have a warped understanding: they have apparently twisted, distorted, perverted, and misunderstood their Nice Peaceful ideology. In reality, for an understanding of Islam, the matter of many Muslims or few Muslims is a red herring: Islam is not defined by what “many Muslims” think or do. It is defined by its source texts. All this veiling, screening, decoys, smoke and mirrors, are to throw us off the scent.

The article also includes some phrases which need to be translated, as they bear special significance that is not obvious to kuffar (non-Muslims).

“Jihadists share the basic aims of advancing Islam and countering danger to it, but their priorities can vary.”

“Advancing Islam” sounds like harmless missionary work: doing so in jihad means using weapons, and involves attacks, acts of war, woundings, killings, on trains, buses, pedestrians, schoolboys, under-age girls, lone clubbers, and so on and so on. “Countering danger” sounds righteous and prudent, but it covers aggressive demonstrations, “Days of Rage”, displays of thuggery to prevent a film being shown, or a play being performed, or a cartoon being published, or a teddy bear being named. Those constitute “danger”.

The article also includes half-truths which tell only part of the story. Islam has a special Arabic name for this kind of authorised deception — kitman.

Jihadists divide the world into the “realm of Islam” (dar al-Islam), lands under Muslim rule where Sharia prevails, and the “realm of war” (dar al-harb), lands not under Muslim rule and where under certain circumstances war in defence of the faith can be sanctioned.”

Two observations are called for. Firstly it is not just jihadists who divide the world into the two realms. This is basic Islam. Again the author is directing the spotlight away from Islam. Secondly in the West, which is “Dar al Harb”, the Realm of War, war is permanent: it is NOT restricted to “certain circumstances”. Jihad is taught as a “permanent war institution against Jews, Christians and pagans” by Al Azhar University. The Koran itself, part of Islamic law, says in 8:39, “Fight and kill the unbelievers until Islam is the only governance”. The jihad only comes to an end when there are no more non-Muslims left to kill or subjugate. In the absence of a Caliph only defensive jihad may be waged. This concept is stretched to include “defence” against U.S. foreign policy, cartoons and teddy bears. If there is a Caliph, as there now is, he declares jihad against unbelievers, as he has done. The war is on.

Once again, in a long track record of similar deceptions, the BBC have obfuscated Islam and lied about it. This is not good enough. The public, who pay for the Corporation, deserve better. It is a national disgrace.


For previous essays by Michael Copeland, see the Michael Copeland Archives.

9 thoughts on “BBC Misinformation: Jihadism

  1. Carlos the Jackal did say that an unholy alliance of Islam and Communism would burn down the west once and for all.
    Will the “peaceful religion” followers be happy little serfs on the neo-feudal plantation or go to Camp Wellness quietly?

  2. Re: “Two observations are called for. Firstly it is not just jihadists who divide the world into the two realms. This is basic Islam. Again the author is directing the spotlight away from Islam. Secondly in the West, which is “Dar al Harb”, the Realm of War, war is permanent: it is NOT restricted to “certain circumstances”.

    All warfare is deception, the ancient Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu once noted, and again we that truth demonstrated with Islam and Muslims.

    The author – Michael Copeland – is absolutely correct. Misdirection is a fundamental tactic used by Muslims and their apologists to divert attention from the fact that Islam itself is wholly congruent with jihad and those who commit it.

    Those of a certain age may be familiar with the 1960s-1970s folk singer Cat Stevens, who was very popular for a time on AM radio. Stevens, it turns out, converted to Islam, and now goes by the moniker Yusuf Islam. Stevens, ahem, Mr. Islam, was asked some years ago, about the prevalence of Islamic terrorism. He replied “That’s not my Islam…” Misdirection. That isn’t “real” Islam, so don’t concerned.

    No less than President George W. Bush reassured a shocked and horrified nation shortly after the 9-11-2001 attacks that Islam was “a religion of peace.” The implication being that the perpetrators behind the destruction of the WTC Towers were not “true” Muslims, and therefore Islam ought not to be feared or scrutinized.

    The western MSM – not just in the U.S., but across Europe and in much of the developed world – consistently twist themselves in rhetorical and logical knots trying to talk about Islam and Muslims but without connecting them to the violence, chaos and destruction of jihad. The most-commonly employed tactic is to resort to euphemistic descriptions of Islamic violence, calling those who perform such acts “extremists,” “fundamentalists,” or the now time-worn “terrorists.”

    The reader, viewer or listener unfamiliar with Islam and its doctrines, may therefore conclude that these are accurate descriptors. They sound weighty and consequential when uttered by the right talking heads and various exerts … so they must be correct, right? Actually, no – not at all – far from it and that’s precisely the point.

    Major Stephen Coughlin, U.S. Army (ret.) in his book “Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad,” notes that the dynamic above sets-up imagery whereby the entities “Islam” and the “terrorists” are a Venn Diagram which overlaps only slightly, and only at the margins of Islam. In reality, though, the two circles representing “Islam” and “Jihad (terrorism, etc.)” overlap completely. Far from lying at the periphery of orthodox mainstream Islam, jihad is absolutely central to it – and always has been.

    The other tack Muslims take is to try and convince people that “jihad” just means “personal struggle” or “self-improvement,” and not violence against others, let along violence sanctioned by the core precepts of the faith. This claim is true sometimes in the narrow sense – but only up to a point, and it is deceptive insofar as the vast majority of Muslims know perfectly well that this argument is a red-herring.

    We know of the centrality of the jihad of the sword because Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, spoke of it to his followers as he exhorted them to carry Islam far-and-wide into non-Muslim lands. When asked how important was jihad, Mohammed said it was second in importance only to the act of being a Muslim in the first place, i.e., the saying of the shahada and the remaining five pillars of the faith. Many scholars of Islam at al-Azar University – the ‘wise old men’ or ulema – believe that jihad ought to be considered the ‘sixth pillar’of the faith.

    We also know the centrality of jihad of the sword by the status within Islam accorded those who wage jihad – and especially those who perish while fighting on behalf of the faith, who are elevated directly to paradise for all eternity.

    Dr. Bill Warner, one of the world’s foremost scholars of Islam, has stated that one of the fundamental characteristics of Islam is its shape-shifting ability, its two-faced nature, its ability to camouflage itself when threatened. He calls it the “duality” of the faith, if memory serves.

    He is indeed correct: one of the simplest ways to understand the duality or two-faced nature of Islam is the fact that imams (Islamic clerics) generally issue one set of statements to non-Muslims (in English, etc.), which are largely peaceful and nonthreatening – but when speaking in Arabic in their mosques, they reveal their fiery exhortations, their aggressiveness, their desire to wage war upon the unbelievers.

    They are quite brazened about this. Not many years ago, Pope Francis gave an “inter-faith dialog,” one of those “Let’s all hold hands and sing songs” types of deals, where representatives of the church spoke about how wonderful it was that the imams had agreed to such a meeting of the minds. But unbeknownst to the pontiff, when an imam spoke in Arabic, his message was one of aggression and contempt for his foolish counterparts who had invited him to the very seat of Catholicism and allowed him to mock their faith without even realizing that he was doing it!

    • Georgiaboy61: All true. As for “interfaith dialogue,” it’s the religious equivalent of multiculturalism. A trojan horse.

  3. My goodness! Apologies to the reader for the poor proof-reading…. serves me right to try and write cogently so late at night….

  4. islam not the problem this people you talking about not even 1% from 2billion muslim ar all chrsitain are lra killed more than ISIS around the world but the real problem is the consequence what come after ISIS more refugee specially who game the system by saying i am atheist they find support from the rights and the problem they become rich and unbalance the political environment and all forget the little guy the homeless the sick for all service nowgoing for atheist refugee to back up the new the political environment
    if you want to help people help them in their country not bring them to my country

  5. I would have thought that people who copulate with goats would be pariahs on that basis alone.

  6. The rule of thumb that is true since the time Mo crawled out of the desert and molested his first 9 year old. No more muslims = No more problems. If you don’t get it by now, you are sheep for the slaughter and I have no more empathy nor sympathy to give, you deserve your fates.

  7. Are there any practitioners of Islam who worry and warn about jihad as a violent ideology? Are there any practitioners of Islam that exhort the simple minded folk of the ‘West’ that there is a violent, hostile, lothesome ideology that aspires to destroy democratic process in submission to a vile authoritarianism? Can a Muslim want to escape the ‘big brother’ culture of caliphate?

    Does the interpretation of the ‘word’ mean anything that the bigot says or means? Can a ‘religious’ idea be warped by elitist bad culture or simple minded, bigoted hostility?

    Don’t ever turn your back on Anjem Choudary. Look at Tarek Fatah, M. Zuhdi Jasser, or Tawfik Hamid, are such people full of snot?

    Humans can use a concept or a word and mean diametrically different things.

    Do not be be soothed into calm complacency. Be skeptical. The European enlightenment means being question-filled, and looking at answers that are offered. Calibrate your personal insight on human behavior.

    Winston Churchill found political Islam to be very problematic. Can a practitioner of Islam be a watchman on the gate of humanity and point out the terrible drawbacks and barbarism of political Islam?

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