Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sayyid Qutb and the Virginia Five – by Robert Spencer

When five young Muslims from northern Virginia were arrested in Pakistan for trying to join jihadist groups, the local Muslim community professed to be puzzled as to how it could have happened.

Ashraf Nubani, an attorney for the mosque the five attended, said of their relatives and fellow worshippers: “There’s shock and disbelief in these families and in this mosque.”

Mahdi Bray of the Falls Church-based Muslim American Society, sounded a plaintive note: “We want to know: What did we miss? We saw these kids every day. In hindsight, what could we have done?”

If Mahdi Bray saw these young men daily, that might have been a clue right there as to what went wrong. For the Muslim American Society (MAS) is the American arm of the international Islamic supremacist organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood, the forefather of Al-Qaeda and Hamas.

A captured internal Brotherhood document says that the Brotherhood’s mission in the U.S. is “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

And according to a 2004 Chicago Tribune expose of Brotherhood activity in the U.S., “to be an ‘active’ member” of the Muslim American Society, “–the highest membership class–one must complete five years of Muslim community service and education, which includes studying writings by Brotherhood ideologues al-Banna and Qutb.” These are the Muslim Brotherhood’s two great theorists, its founder Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, “the father of modern [Islamic] fundamentalism.”

Of these, Qutb is the more influential today. His writings can be found easily in Islamic bookstores in the U.S. And Americans, particularly law enforcement officials, should know what’s in them.

Sayyid Qutb actually lived in the United States from November 1948 to August 1950, and wrote about his experiences in revealing ways. While hospitalized for a respiratory ailment in Washington, D.C., in February 1949, he heard of the assassination of al-Banna, an event which, he later claimed implausibly, set the hospital staff to open rejoicing.

His disgust with the gaudy materialism of postwar America was intense. He wrote to an Egyptian friend of his loneliness: “How much do I need someone to talk to about topics other than money, movie stars and car models.”

Moving to Greeley, Colorado, he was impressed by the number of churches in the city, but not with the piety they engendered: “Nobody goes to church as often as Americans do. . . . Yet no one is as distant as they are from the spiritual aspect of religion.” He was thoroughly scandalized by a dance after an evening service at a local church: “The dancing intensified. . . . The hall swarmed with legs . . . Arms circled arms, lips met lips, chests met chests, and the atmosphere was full of love.”

The pastor further scandalized Qutb by dimming the lights, creating “a romantic, dreamy effect,” and playing a popular record of the day: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” He regarded American popular music in general with a gimlet eye: “Jazz is the favorite music [of America]. It is a type of music invented by [American] Blacks to please their primitive tendencies and desire for noise.”

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