FP: Are the findings of your research consonant with surveys among Muslims globally?
Yerushalmi: Yes, and again, this speaks to the fact that our findings are not necessarily surprising. For example, the World Public Opinion survey conducted out of the University of Maryland found that majorities or near-majorities in so-called “moderate” Muslim countries desire an al Qaeda like strict sharia to be imposed, a Caliphate to replace national sovereignty, and a rejection of Western values:
Following this survey, Pew conducted its own opinion research in 2010 among “moderate” Muslim countries and found that majorities favored sharia’s criminal punishments including death for those who wish to engage in freedom of worship by leaving Islam (i.e., apostasy).
These results clearly suggest that Muslims around the world take sharia seriously and they know what it is and what it stands for.
FP: Based on these findings, what are some of the lessons for counter-terrorist experts and professionals in the field, and indeed, for the layman?
Yerushalmi: We should, all of us in this field, pay special attention to the lessons learned from this study. First, researchers need to get more serious about studies that examine the jihad “threat doctrine.” All of the important research informs us that the jihadists around the globe base their violence and terrorism on sharia and its doctrine of jihad. Most label their jihad defensive and some offensive, some use aggressive global violence to pursue their ends (i.e., al Qaeda), others a more nuanced nation-by-nation strategy with a mix of political maneuvering with violence and/or the threat of violence (i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood). But, they all tell us that their driving doctrine is sharia and its call for a global Caliphate order by Islamic law.
Unfortunately, many researchers shield themselves from this brute fact out of a fear of being labeled an Islamophobe and the rest of the epithets hurled by the Leftist and Muslim Brotherhood academic and political machinery. In a word, P.C. rules in this field and that is never good for scientific inquiry.
Second, experts and professionals in this field must extend the results of this study by furthering the research to attempt to understand how sharia is actually taught to young Muslims and what it says about citizenship in the West.
Third, experts and professionals in the field must take their research seriously. For example, the New York Police Department invested tremendous resources in an ex post facto examination of the “radicalization” process in the important study titled, “Radicalization in the West: the Homegrown Threat.” This study found that mosques were one of the main incubators for jihad recruitment. The study also found that one of the early indicators was “Salaf” behavioral profiles. Unfortunately, what the authors did not fully understand was that these “Salaf” behaviors were really Sharia-adherence. In other words, the researchers saw the relevant facts but had not actually studied the other research in the field that links Islamic terrorism, at least doctrinally, to Sharia and the call for global and regional jihad.
We hope this study provides an important link and serious step for researchers and professionals alike to examine the role sharia plays as a legal-political doctrine and system with a long historical pedigree in the Islamic world and as the primary doctrinal and legal impetus for terrorism in the name of Islam.
FP: David Yerushalmi, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview. We encourage all of our readers to check out David Yerushalmi’s ground-breaking co-authored investigation here.
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