some popular fallacies about Islamism

Get your facts right.

Al-Qaeda and its most recent clone, Daesh,  did not come about as a result of the invasion of Iraq or the civil war in Syria. It was born out of the unholy alliance between America and the Wahhabi zealots of Saudi Arabia to defeat Communism and bring down the Soviet Union. Remember the Cold War and Afghanistan ? That was the primal sin we are all paying the price for. Islamism itself is of course a much older phenomenon which received an enormous boost with the arrival of oil money in the Gulf. It will continue in all its heinous forms even after Daesh is defeated, as long as there are those who believe that there are moderate and radical Islamists. Islamism is extremism.

Do European leaders really want to do something about it as they say ?

Here is what they have to do :

  • Cut Qatari and Saudi funding to any Islamic activity in Europe under any form : mosques, schools, charities, so called think-tanks that justify violence, Muslim victim mentality and legitimise the dictionary of hate.
  • Train European Iamms, who study history and psychology of religion. Do not import Imams from Egypt, Pakistan and certainly not those who studied in Saudi Arabia. 

There is a direct line between the ideology of the Muslim Brothers and that of global jihad. In fact, it is not even a line. It is the same ideology. Allowing the MB to continue to operate inside European mosques or schools or charities or student association under any guise means allowing the cancer to grow and metastisize. If you ban Hizbu Al Tahrir — why not the Muslim Brothers — the mother of all terrorist organisations ! Don’t be taken in by their suave and media savvy spokespeople in European capitals. Look at the basics of their ideology : the Koran is our Constitution, Jihad is our way, Martyrdom is our ultimate goal. What more evidence do you need !!

Keep on the look out for any discourse that uses the vocabulary below. These are the building blocks of the hate doctrine that demonsies non-Muslims, and underpins the Islamist narrative  to justify  the killing of kuffar, infidels, Westerners,   Christians, Jews, apostates,  women, Yazidis, gays and any one who is not a Muslim or does not subscribe to the Islamist doctrine :

  • Muslims are victims of the West
  • The West is decadent and has no principles
  • Palestine is the principal cause of Islam and all Muslims.  (Incidentally, Palestine is the principal cause of the Palestinians)
  • Islam is the only true faith and will and must prevail
  • Islam is under attack
  • blasting any criticism of Islam or Islamism as Islamophobia


And to those who still entertain the fallacy that there is a link between poverty or lack of opportunity and Islamic terror I would like to remind them that OBL was a millionaire; the current leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, comes from a well-off middle class family in Egypt, and so was  Anwar Awlaqi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, and many more.

And to those who claim  lack of democracy is another reason for Islamic terror or radicalisation I refer them to the many European Muslims who joined the ranks of global jihad. Take the most recent example of  French Muslims who perpetrated the barbaric horrors of Paris, or the British Muslim dubbed Jihadi John (real name Mohamed Emwazi) who behaded American hostages in Syria :  it is not abject poverty of Yemen of Egypt or Waziristan,  not lack of opportunity, and certainly not lack of democracy because he grew up in one of the most democratic societies in the world. The likes of Emwazi are the agents of   a pernicious ideology called ISLAMISM,  that thrives in our midst in Western societies, and the main carrier of this virus is an organisation called the Muslim Brotherhood, that continues to enjoy the full rights and freedoms of a democracy while working to undermine by brainwashing the minds of young European Muslims, inculcating into them the ideas of Jihad, Muslim victimhood and Islamic superiority.

If the West really wants to stop the recruiting to IS or Al-Qaeda, it knows where to go and what it should do. Islamism is extremism. There is no such thing as moderate Islamists. Stop believing in Muslim Brotherhood propaganda and its apologists in Western think tanks.

Another fallacy : Islamism is not Islam. Yes and NO.

Islamism draws upon, and is sustained  by,  the canonical texts of mainstream Islam. That is why it is difficult to challenge it from within Islam. There are plenty of textual and historical evidence to justify the use of the sword against infidels or those perceived as the enemies. And once you designate anyone as such using Islamic texts (as the Muslim Brothers, Al-Qaeda, Daesh often do) you cannot challenge them by playing the same game of textual quotation. Textual evidence weighs in their favour.  There is no shortage of texts that are — by modern standards — pretty nasty. Only if there is radical overhaul of Islamic teachings to bring them into line with the universal declaration of human rights, can you deny Islamism the legitimacy it currently enjoys. That is not happening, and is unlikely to happen any time soon. Only a cultural and religious revolution of some kind can pave the way for such change. As long as the fundamental dogma of Islam and its teachings understood literally, meaning what was valid in 7th century Arabia is valid today, Islamism will thrive.    

This way —  to use a concept from Biblical exegesis —  the letter killeth the spirit in Islam. That should be bad news for Muslims,  and for all of us.



Magdi Abdelhadi

Writer, broadcaster, moderator, media consultant. I commute between London and Cairo. I am a former BBC journalist. All views here are only mine.


  • Well said Magdi. So true and so pertinent to all religions. Once religious texts start dictating behaviour…we’re on a slippery slope to all manner of atrocities.

  • Maged, this is a very apt article you have written. From personal experience having grown up all my life in London, I absolutely agree with your points in relation to Islamic religious leadership in the West. I have found that Imams tend to be out of touch with the society they are parachuted into which they must then go on to play a leading role. In the majority of cases, I have found Imams to be mainly focussed on leading prayer, rather than devoting the majority of their time and energy to pastoral care. Conseuqently, I have found young people very challenged in reconciling their faith and/or identity with aspects of the western society they live in. This happens with nobody who would not judge them that is in touch with being young in these societies to turn to who has trodden the same path. The Imam has played the role of preaching on a Friday in a language that is out of touch and appears and speaks in ways the young can hardly relate to. In addition, you may often find the parents of these children as completely cut off and disinterested from what goes on in the society around them, more engaged with ongoings in the far away lands they are from, only taking an interest in the media of that region, never speaking a word of English at home. They, again, tend to take an out of touch judgemental view driving away their children. Consequently, I have seen examples of several who have found “answers” with so called “scholars” who talk in a way the young could relate to and could say they have gone through the same struggles. Apologies for going on for so long, but its something I’ve experienced first hand and feel very strongly about. Thank you for this piece.

    • Thank you, Mohamed. No need to apologise at all. Everything you said makes perfect sense to me, and I am sure to hundreds of thousands of Muslims growing up in the West with a cultural umbilical chord to faraway places. I am hopefull one day they would cut off that chord and develop an Islam-inspired spirituality that is at peace with the modern world they live in.

  • A good post. I am old enough to remember Uncle Sam (with some sterling British assistance), financing, training and arming the Mujahadeen. The only reservation I have about what you have said is that of ‘training European Imams’. Who is supposed to pay for this? It should be Muslims themselves not the host nations in which they live. Muslims need to secularise and even satirise their religion and clerics in they way that Christians have long done.

    • By European trained Imams, I mean religious leaders who have absorbed the values of tolerance and pluralism. As to who pays for their institutions, that is something the Muslims themselves will have to work out as long as the money does not come from the Middle East or the Gulf.

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