I’ve walked into the aftermath of a suicide bombing, a meeting with a terrorist from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and a dank cell in Azerbaijan holding the al-Qaeda masterminds of the African Embassy bombings, but it only took an hour in Robson Square Provincial Court Room 105 in Vancouver to make me realize how fundamentally the nature of Jihad is truly changing and evolving.
Room 105 houses the court room where Mohamed Elmasry (in absentia) and Naiyer Habib of the Canadian Islamic Congress on behalf of B.C.’s Muslim residents are taking on Macleans Magazine and Mark Steyn in a human rights case—the details of which I won’t enter into as they were comprehensively covered by Macleans' Andrew Coyne and the National Post's Brian Hutchinson.
While the attendants in the court room were viewing a so-called human rights trial, I was looking at the seed-sowing of the seemingly benign “Soft Jihad”. This is not to be confused with the “Greater” and “Lesser” Jihads which refer to the spiritual and armed struggle of Islam respectively. To me, Hard Jihad is the violent and militant sort most commonly recognized by westerners as suicide bombings, beheadings, insurgency-planted IED’s, and a Taliban style of governance and Soft Jihad something far more subtle.
What most of us are unable to recognize because of multicultural blinkers is the slow and seeping introduction of cultural change based on the dictates of a minority group that in its history has resisted acclimation to a minority role in society. In fact, we don’t only not recognize it, we are tripping over ourselves to grease the cogs and wheels of its machinery. This is what I call the “Soft Jihad”.
Islam throughout its history has almost always existed as a majority culture enfolding minority groups within itself and either converting them to Islam or granting them the lesser status of dhimmitude under Shariah. In those cases where Muslims were not in the majority, the results have usually not been one of peaceful coexistence. The partition of Pakistan and India being a case in point.
This is of course the very opposite of the Jewish experience of existing almost exclusively as a minority culture where the Jews have had to consider the imperatives of basic survival through compromise and acquiescence to the majority rule. Jews have learned through much trial and error that survival means learning to co-exist within the confines of their host culture and religion in power—although as history has sadly demonstrated all too often—this method did not always meet with acceptance on behalf of those in power.
The Soft Jihad is another matter altogether and the subsequent result of a minority culture that resists acceptance of the established status-quo. It may perhaps not even consciously be recognized for what it is by its adherents and proponents and this was evidenced clearly in the court room by listening to the testimony and cross examination of Naiyer Habib by Macleans counsel, Julian Porter.
Dr. Habib spoke admirably of how Osama bin Laden was an enemy of Islam and how his community has made great efforts to combat radicalism within its midst. This was music to the ears of moderate Muslim seekers everywhere, but we were all left unsure about what Dr Habib’s reaction was to his CIC colleague, Dr. Elmasry’s televised response of, “Yes, I would say,” to Michael Coren’s on-air question, “So everyone in Israel and anyone and everyone in Israel, irrespective of gender, over the age of 18 is a valid target?”
Listening to Dr. Habib, I’m convinced beyond a doubt that he is no card-carrying Hard Jihadist who condones suicide bombing or any other act of terrorism conducted by his radicalized coreligionists. But it very much worth noting that Dr. Habib and the CIC have no compunction about seeing the basic and fundamental right to free speech and open discussion concerning Islam to be silenced entirely in this country. Dr. Habib and the CIC whether they like it or not, are Soft Jihadists.
They are not alone. Only recently two Christian preachers were threatened with hate crime charges for passing out Christian literature in Muslim neighborhoods by the West Midlands Police “Community Support Officer”.
Even in this country, we can see the Soft Jihad in action as it has come to light that some of Ontario’s Muslims have engaged in polygamy condoned by Toronto-based Imam, Dr. Ali Hindy. True to form, the government is slow to react because it doesn’t know what kind of Pandora’s Box it may be opening.
These are but examples of many such incidents in western countries that have now become too banal and commonplace to report or worse, are seen by a fearful media as an infringement of the invisible rules of politically correct discourse.
The Hadith, or oral tradition of the words and deeds of the Prophet Mohammed, make little equivocation of the fact that Jihad concerns armed struggle (despite the well-meaning protestations of many scholars on our university campuses) but as it turns out, there are more insidious ways of conducting Jihad that we are foolishly condoning and in some cases facilitating out of fear of being branded culturally insensitive.
It was with a deep sense of irony that I saw Mark Steyn sitting before a Human Rights Tribunal essentially being vilified for offering an opinion that was all but being manifested before his very eyes. Glancing at the tribunal's “judges”, I sincerely doubted that they felt the same way as Mr. Steyn and from what I could tell, they didn’t even seem to realize that they were already acting as unwitting agents of the Soft Jihad.