Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


The Mind of Jihad in the New York Post

“I know of no other book so valuable in helping us grasp the nature of our enemies.”

Kind words from “Looking for Trouble” author and New York Post reviewer Ralph Peters for Cambridge author Laurent Murawiec and his new book The Mind of Jihad. Here’s the full review:

Allowing the fanatics who’ve ravaged Islam (and who’ve slaughtered countless Muslims) to speak for themselves, author Laurent Murawiec quotes the late Ayatollah Khomeini: “Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war . . . I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim . . . A religion without war is a crippled religion. It is war that purifies the earth.”

A notorious ally of Khomeini’s, Ayatollah Khalkali, put it even more bluntly: “Those who are against killing have no place in Islam.”

Those are but two of the hundreds of chilling citations in “The Mind Of Jihad” – a work that needs to be widely read in Washington, where key government organizations forbid the use of the term “Islamist terrorist” to avoid offending our enemies.

Murawiec painstakingly dissects the roots of the current Islamist jihad against our civilization. He employs the extensive Muslim literature on the subject to explode the nonsensical claim that “true jihad” is an innocent personal struggle, rather than a theology of conquest.

The author makes it abundantly clear that, for all the complex factors at play in human behavior, the essence of the threat we face is “a toxic combination of jihad and totalitarianism . . . expressed in and symbolized by the jihadis’ worship of violence, their predilection for blood and their cult of death. [Theirs is] a society going terminal and descending into a nihilistic frenzy of destruction.”

The text details the evolution of holy-war doctrines over the centuries of Islam’s existence, and provides proof that conquest-oriented jihad has always been integral to various schools of the faith. The reader also learns how Muslim malcontents placed their hopes in and ultimately learned terror techniques (and virulent anti-Semitism) from Nazi Germany. On the other hand, the greatest organizational influence on today’s terror networks came from the Soviets, who exploited Muslim aspirations during the Russian Civil War – only to crush them when their usefulness ended.

The author demonstrates that today’s Islamist extremism, while drawing inspiration from secular terrorists and totalitarian regimes, is ultimately a blood cult celebrating death in Allah’s name. “I [saw] in the action of the jihadis the exceptional prevalence of a cult of violence,” he writes, “of a glee to inflict suffering, in short, of a bloodlust that had little if any counterpart … an underlying ‘theology of death.’ The conviction that one knows God’s will is heady stuff that often leads to shedding torrents of blood.”

This chilling book is not a shotgun blast at all Muslims. Murawiec stresses that the Aztec-aping fanatics at the core of Islamist terror are a minority. The “Mind of Jihad” is fierce, but fair – letting terrorists hang themselves with their own declarations. The views he advances are substantiated by the words of our self-declared enemies, living and dead. And in the best academic tradition, Murawiec isn’t out merely to convince us, but to help us understand. That means engaging our minds, not just our emotions.

I know of no other book so valuable in helping us grasp the nature of our enemies.

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