Jihad Denial and Armenian Genocide Remembrance

The Center for Security Policy, under security analyst Frank Gaffney’s bold and thoughtful leadership, is launching a 10-part, web-based video course (key findings summarized here), today, April 24, 2012,  entitled, “The Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Enemy Within.”

Today , appropriately, also marks the 97th anniversary of the date officially commemorated as the start of the Armenian Genocide—a jihad genocide—April 24, 1915. Persistent jihad denial by U.S. policymaking elites across the intervening century—a mindset so egregiously delusive at present it reflects mindslaughter—is the tragic, shared living legacy of these superficially disparate, but intimately related phenomena, both animated by canonical Islam.

The Armenian genocide is formally commemorated each April 24th because on that date in 1915, the Turkish Interior Ministry issued an order authorizing the arrest of all Armenian political and community leaders suspected of anti-Ittihadist or Armenian nationalist sentiments. In Istanbul alone, 2345 such leaders were seized and incarcerated, and most of them were subsequently executed. The majority were neither nationalists, nor were they involved in politics. None were charged with sabotage, espionage, or any other crime, and appropriately tried. As the intrepid Turkish author Taner Akcam recently acknowledged,

…Under the pretext of searching for arms, of collecting war levies, or tracking down deserters, there had already been established a practice of systematically carried—out plunders, raids, and murders [against the Armenians] which had become daily occurrences…

Within a month, the final, definitive stage of the process which reduced the Armenian population to utter helplessness, i.e., mass deportation, would begin.

Historian Bat Ye’or places the continuum of massacres from the 1890s through the end of World War I, in an overall theological and juridical context, as follows:

The genocide of the Armenians was the natural outcome of a policy inherent in the politico—religious structure of dhimmitude. This process of physically eliminating a rebel nation had already been used against the rebel Slav and Greek Christians, rescued from collective extermination by European intervention, although sometimes reluctantly.

The genocide of the Armenians was a  jihad. No rayas [non-Muslim dhimmis] took part in it. Despite the disapproval of many Muslim Turks and Arabs, and their refusal to collaborate in the crime, these massacres were perpetrated solely by Muslims and they alone profited from the booty: the victims’ property, houses, and lands granted to the muhajirun [“holy warrior” jihadists], and the allocation to them of women and child slaves. The elimination of male children over the age of twelve was in accordance with the commandments of the jihad and conformed to the age fixed for the payment of the jizya. The four stages of the liquidation— deportation, enslavement, forced conversion, and massacre— reproduced the historic conditions of the jihad carried out in the dar—al—harb from the seventh century on. Chronicles from a variety of sources, by Muslim authors in particular, give detailed descriptions of the organized massacres or deportation of captives, whose sufferings in forced marches behind the armies paralleled the Armenian experience in the twentieth century.

Grigoris Balakian, a leading Armenian priest of his era who was in fact arrested April 24, 1915, managed to escape and compile his personal memoir of the years 1914-1918, the monumental Armenian Golgotha, originally published in 1922, but only available in full English translation since 2009. Balakian’s first hand narrative confirms the jihad motivation for the genocide.

More than one million Armenian city dwellers and peasants were savagely slaughtered and made to choke quietly on their own blood. Tens of thousands of Armenian males, lashed together with string or rope, were mercilessly butchered along all the roads of Asia Minor, or massacred with axes, like tree branches being pruned. The executioners were deaf to the crying and weeping of these wretched victims, even to their pleas to shoot them so that they might escape the torment: the order had come from on high and the jihad against the Armenians truly had been proclaimed. Yes, it was necessary to mercilessly slaughter them until not a single Armenian was left within the confines of the Ottoman Empire.

The recently published Judgment at Istanbul features the conclusions of the Ottomans’ own post World War I (Nuremberg-like) Military Tribunals which  long ago established the facts of a centrally organized mass murder committed against the Empire’s Armenian population. Judgment at Istanbul also includes Winston Churchill’s contemporaneous reaction to the genocidal events.

It is worth observing that when responding to the calamity of the wartime Armenian experience, Winston Churchill, the foremost contemporary British statesman, did not limit himself to merely castigating the mass murder in question in terms that in contemporary legal language are coterminous with “genocide.” He used, for example, such language as “a crime” resulting from a “deliberate policy” that was “planned and executed,” with the result that “the clearance of a race from Asia Minor was about as complete as such an act on a scale so great, could well be.” At the operational level, however, Churchill, in “a final attempt to break through the Turkish defenses at Dardanelles,” ventured to offer the War Cabinet an inordinate plan that is rarely mentioned, much less discussed, in history books. Namely, he proposed to the Cabinet in December 1915 that poison gas be used against the Turkish defenders, in part in retaliation for the “massacre of the Armenians” that was then still going on.

A combination of official diplomatic correspondence, and private memoirs—most notably the diaries of Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey from 1913 to 1916, an extended report by American consul Leslie Davis in Harput, Turkey, from 1915 to 1917, and the recently published United States Official Records on the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1917—provides lucid, often repellently detailed historical accounting of what the U.S. government knew regarding the Ottoman Empire and the Armenian genocide. These materials are perhaps the most salient examples of the evidence, as per the language of various House and Senate resolutions, “documented in the United States record,” which support the formal U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide as proposed in these Congressional resolutions.

The wartime reports from German and Austro-Hungarian officials, Turkey’s World War I allies, as well as earlier British diplomatic reports dating back to 1890, confirm the independent U.S. evidence that the origins and evolution of the genocide had little to do with World War I “Armenian provocations.”  Contemporary accounts by European diplomats written from 1890 through the of World War I era, also demonstrate that these genocidal massacres were perpetrated in the context of a formal jihad waged against the Armenians because they sought the equal rights promised to them, but never granted, under various failed schemes to reform the discriminatory system of Ottoman Islamic Law (Sharia). A widely disseminated 1915 Ottoman Fatwa entitled “Aljihad”(brought to the U.S. Consul’s attention in Cairo), for example, clearly sanctioned religiously motivated jihad violence.

And in his eloquent Wednesday 8/22/07 column “No Room to Deny Genocide”  the Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby emphasized the nexus between the jihad genocide of the Armenians, the contemporary depredations of jihad, and the dangers of denial:

And at a time when jihadist violence from Darfur to Ground Zero has spilled so much innocent blood, dissimulation about the jihad of 1915 [emphasis added] can only aid our enemies.

Moreover the various “strategic rationales” and arguments which continue to be put forth by the Obama  and earlier administrations to oppose formal U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide –the U.S.-Turkish alliance, the Turkish-Israeli alliance, the vulnerability of Turkey’s vestigial Jewish minority—appear wanting and hackneyed in light of burgeoning evidence which undermines their basic credibility.

The strategic futility and moral bankruptcy of this ongoing U.S. policy of jihad genocide denial was underscored by the findings from a lengthy U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report just issued March, 2012.

The report recommended that the U.S. government designate Turkey as one of the world’s 16 most egregious violators of religious freedom, sharply downgrading Turkey’s status from a prior “watch” list country, to the worst offender’s category, designated “Countries of Particular Concern.” Specific offenses cited, included:

  • interfering with “minority religious communities’ affairs; societal discrimination and occasional violence against religious minorities; limitations on religious dress; and Antisemitism in Turkish society and media.”
  • denying “non-Muslim communities the rights to train clergy, offer religious education, and own and maintain places of worship.”
  • continuing longstanding policies that “threaten the survivability and viability of minority religious communities in Turkey.”
  • restricting the religious freedom of “the Greek, Armenian, and Syriac Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic and protestant Churches, and the Jewish community”
  • regarding Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, Turkey “supports numerous arbitrary regulations implemented by local Turkish Cypriot authorities…[which] limit the religious activities of all non-Muslims living in northern Cyprus, deny these religious communities the right to worship freely and restore, maintain, and utilize their religious properties, and threaten the long-term survival of non-Muslim religious communities in the area.”

The USCIRF report further suggested that the U.S. government prompt Turkey to “abolish Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code which restricts the freedom of thought and expression and negatively affects the freedom of religion or belief.” (Not mentioned by the USCIRF report was the fact that this negation of freedom of thought and expression was in accord with the mainstream dictates of Islam’s Sharia—as articulated, for example, in the Cairo Declaration, to which Turkey is a signatory.) In addition, the report also acknowledged that “even starting a discussion on genocide [i.e., jihad genocide]  of Christians that occurred 100 years ago is a criminal offense in Turkey.”

These abuses are the tragic legacy of jihad denial abetted by a uniform present era US policy which fails to recognize the jihad genocide of the Armenians, and gives the Muslim Turks predictable impunity to continue imposing less cataclysmic expressions of Sharia-sanctioned discrimination and ethnic cleansing against non-Muslims. Concluding somberly, the USCIRF noted,

Every year that passes without substantial religious reform places these minorities in greater peril and helps seal their fate. In the Arab Spring, Turkey holds itself out to be an Islamist model. But it is no model for religious freedom. We have waited for ten years for the AKP to make a real difference in the Christians‘ fate. We can no longer sit by and just ―Watch.

This somber USCIRF conclusion provides a useful segue back to today’s release of the CSP’s web-based seminar “The Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Enemy Within.”

The World War I era collapse of the Ottoman Turkish Empire—punctuated by the convulsive jihad genocide of the Armenians—was soon followed by formal dismantling of the Islamic Caliphate system that had been under their aegis for almost a half millennium. Restoration of this recently dismantled Caliphate was a primal motivation of Hasan al-Banna  when he founded the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1920s—a dream shared by tens of millions of Muslims who comprised the global umma then, and perhaps hundreds of millions, now. Al-Banna’s and  the Muslim Brotherhood’s vision was steadfastly Islamic—hence its deep resonance with the timeless aspiration of the Muslim masses to establish a transnational Muslim Caliphate via jihad.

Quoting the Qur’anic verse [2:193] “And fight them till sedition is no more, and the faith is God’s,” the Muslim Brothers urged their fellow Muslims to restore the bygone greatness of Islam, and to re-establish the Islamic empire…[T]hey even called for the restoration of “former Islamic colonies” in Andalus (Spain), southern Italy, Sicily, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean islands…

What the CSP’s timely seminar makes plain is the odious “vision” of Al-Banna’s myriad Muslim Brotherhood affiliated heirs—concordant with the timeless aspiration of jihad to submit the entire world to the totalitarian Sharia—now extends to the Americas. Central to the CSP’spresentation is a document whose contents were revealed during the Texas Holy Land Foundation jihad-terrorism funding trial. This internal Muslim Brotherhood statement dated May 22, 1991 was written by an acolyte of the Brotherhood’s major theoretician, lionized Qatari cleric, popular Al-Jazeera television personality, and head of the European Fatwa Council Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Entitled “An Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal for the Group In North America,” the document is indeed self-explanatory.

The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and by the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated  and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.

Eight decades earlier, a strikingly concordant Weltanschauung was articulated openly by Sheik Abd-ul-Haq, a “progressive” Muslim Young Turk, writing in a Parisian Muslim review, (Le Mecherouttiete, edited by Sherif Pasha, Paris; cited here, pp. 241-42), during August, 1912:

Yes! The Musulman religion is in open hostility to all your world of progress.  Understand, you European observers, that a Christian, whatever his position may be, by the mere fact of his being a Christian is regarded by us as a blind man lost to all sense of human dignity.  Our reasoning with regard to him is as simple as it is definitive.  We say:  the man whose judgment is so perverted as to deny the existence of a one and only God, and to make up gods of different sorts, can only be the meanest expression of human degradation; to speak to him would be a humiliation for our intelligence and an insult to the grandeur of the Master of the Universe.  The presence of such miscreants among us is the bane of our existence; their doctrine is a direct insult to the purity of our faith; contact with them is a defilement of our bodies; any relation with them a torture to our souls.  Though detesting you, we have condescended to study your political institutions and your military organization.  Over and above the new weapons that Providence procures for us through your agency, you have yourselves rekindled, the inextinguishable faith of our heroic martyrs.  Our Young Turks, our Babis, our new Brotherhoods, all our sects, under various forms, are inspired by the same idea; the same necessity of moving forward.  Towards what end?  Christian civilization? Never! Islam is the one great international family.  All true believers are brothers.  A community of feeling and of faith binds them in mutual affection.  It is for the Caliph to facilitate these relations and to rally the Faithful under the sacerdotal standard.

Ongoing denial of these jihad aspirations has characterized continuous Western policy failures for the past century. Now, as the illuminating, uncompromised CSP seminar reveals, the tragic legacy of jihad denial has allowed jihadism to metastasize, and threaten our own most cherished U.S. institutions and freedoms.

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