Most people are unaware that the driving motto of ISIS (Islamic State) is ‘baqiya wa tatamaddad,’ which stands for ‘remaining and expanding.’
Both these elements must be understood to really understand not only ISIS but Islam generally.
The ‘remaining’ component is the establishment of a presence and strengthening this base. This includes centering a population, constructing a mosque, educational facilities and official institutes. This requires effort, financing and resources to turn it into solid Launchpad from which to expand to other locations which must be controlled and fortified before spreading out to the next stage of the expansion. This can be done militarily or peacefully, depending on the political environment into which Islam intends to expand.
This then is the kinetic energy, indeed the driving force of Islam in all its forms. It is far from being limited to ISIS.
The point that Western policy-makers fail to grasp is that ISIS is only a symptom of a wider malady, just as Al-Qaida s before it. If it were an isolated cell it would be relatively simple in military terms to apply sufficient force to eliminate it. The misunderstanding comes when ISIS, Al-Qaida or other Muslim terror groups retaliate against Western targets (as opposed to their ongoing battles against non-Western targets) it is too often construed as a rebuttal against what we have done to them. It is not. It is an angry response to our interference of their intended expansion into our territory.
It has to be remembered that what we see, in all forms of Muslim-based violence (even in cases where it is not perpetrated officially in the name of Islam), is exactly a modern-day, Muslim-inspired crusade. It is their version of the Christian/Catholic crusades that not only set out to conquer the Holy Land, slaughtering non-believers along the way. It also drove out and slaughtered the Jews of Spain, Portugal, Britain and other European countries. It conquered and converted much of Africa, Central and South America, and spread into Asia.
What was done on the name of Christ is now being done in the name of Mohammed or Allah.
In today’s world, we can see the jihadi agenda in both the Sunni and Shia factions of Islam.
Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait openly promulgate Wahhabism and Dawa (the promotion of Islam) throughout the West. Recently, I saw it being done on busy Oxford Street in the heart of London. This too is an integral part of tatamaddad, expanding the Caliphate. It is known in Islamic circles as Dar-al-Islam (the House of Islam) replacing Dar-al Harb (the House of War.) Any land not under Shariah law is considered Dar al-Harb.
Iran is the global leader on the Shiite world. It’s promotion of tatamaddad can be seen in its state-sponsored terrorism as it supplies and supports its global proxies including the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon and even non-Shia Hamas in Gaza because Hamas fights a shared enemy – Israel.
It is in this light that we can see the aim of the Palestinian Arab leadership. Although they hide their aim for the staged destruction of Israel behind a secular nationalistic mask, this mask often slips revealing the read face of the Palestinian cause, which is steeped in radical Islamic terms.
One only has to glance at the Hamas Charter to be appalled at the heavy tome of Jew-hating incitement to murder and genocide.
“Oh Muslim! There’s a Jew hiding behind me. Come out and kill him!”
This Article 7 can hardly be called a call for Palestinian independence. It can only be defined as anti-Semitic rhetoric couched in Islamic terms.
This incitement is also found in the opposing Fatah party’s manifesto as well as in the P.L.O. founding documents.
If further proof was needed that the Palestinian movement is not based in Jew-hating Islamic-inspired incitement to murder, the words that came out of the mouth of Palestinian Authority leader, Mahmoud Abbas and into all elements of Palestinian life, words that were based on an ancient blood-libel that the Jews were destroying the Temple Mount, removed all lingering doubts. This incitement came with an unmistakable call to spill Jewish blood.
“The blood of the martyrs spilled on the Temple Mount is pure.”
Nobody can convince this author that the ultimate aim of the Palestinian movement is not the destruction of the Jewish state which is viewed as an abomination throughout the Muslim world.
As such, it is an integral and inseparable element in the Islamic call for tatamaddad, an expansion of the Muslim world leading, eventually, to a global Caliphate.
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy with the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is also the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism.’