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Do Islamic Jihadis Really Lack A Basic Understanding of Islam?

23

Pope Francis and H. R. McMaster and John Kerry and so many other learned imams have assured us over the years that Islamic terrorism has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, and now there is proof, or what purports to be proof, in the form of a study from no less august an authority than the United Nations.

The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism has released a new study claiming that Islamic State jihadis “have low levels of education and ‘lack any basic understanding of the true meaning of jihad or even the Islamic faith.’”

The study found that most of these jihadis “saw their religion in terms of justice and injustice rather than in terms of piety and spirituality,” and that the typical jihad warrior “is most likely to be male, young and disadvantaged economically, educationally, and in terms of the labour market. He is also more likely than not to come from a marginalised background, both socially and politically. Most were unemployed, or underemployed, and/or said that their life lacked meaning.”

This study directly contradicts the results of another new study that was conducted in Germany, which found that “the widespread view that radical Muslims know little about Islam is wrong.”

Which study are we to believe? Well, this one reinforces the common view that a typical jihadi “is most likely to be male, young and disadvantaged economically, educationally, and in terms of the labour market.”

Yet study after study (of a more honest variety) has shown that poverty and lack of opportunity don’t really cause terrorism at all. The Economist reported in 2010: “Social scientists have collected a large amount of data on the socioeconomic background of terrorists. According to a 2008 survey of such studies by Alan Krueger of Princeton University, they have found little evidence that the typical terrorist is unusually poor or badly schooled.”

In the same vein, CNS News noted in September 2013: “According to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, ‘Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.’ One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, “Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.”

The Times Online reported the following as far back as April 2005: “Three-quarters of the Al-Qaeda members were from upper middle-class homes and many were married with children; 60% were college educated, often in Europe or the United States.”

There are innumerable examples of affluent Muslims becoming jihad terrorists. One was Maher “Mike” Hawash of Portland, Oregon, a well-regarded Intel executive who made $360,000 a year at the crest of a highly successful career. Around the year 2000, Hawash began to become more religious, growing his beard long, rejecting the nickname “Mike,” and attending the supremacist Islamic Center of Portland. Ultimately he served a seven-year prison term for conspiring to aid the Taliban.

What’s more, there is plenty of evidence that Islamic State jihadis know the Qur’an well. One Malaysian Muslim said that the Qur’an led him to join the Islamic State. A Muslima in the U.S. promoted the Islamic State by quoting the Qur’an. An Islamic State propagandist’s parents said of him: “Our son is a devout Muslim. He had learnt the Quran by heart.” A Muslim politician from Jordan said that the Islamic State’s “doctrine stems from the Qur’an and Sunnah.” There are innumerable other examples of this.

So this UN study appears to be simply an advertisement for the failed policies that the West is already implementing regarding the jihad threat. They have to keep pumping out propaganda such as this, because their policies are such obvious failures, they can only be shored up by lies.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies). Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

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