U.S. Islamic Convert Says Islamists Address "Real Grievances"


Dr. Robert D. Crane, an American convert to Islam with many ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, has attempted to distinguish between “Jihadists”, a term he supports, and “Islamists” on the basis that Islamists “address real grievances” as opposed to the Jihadists who exploit such grievances. According to a new article by Dr. Crane:

Muslims are rightfully sensitive about the misuse of the word jihad in politically manufactured terms, such as jihadi and jihadist. Reza Aslan in his book How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror, however,…gave good arguments for using the term “Jihadi.” The movement attributed to Osama bin Laden, he says, is a new phenomenon, less than two decades old, just as is its only slightly older counterpart or twin, NeoConservatism. These movements are not fed by any coherent political, economic, or social agenda, because the war between the forces of good and evil is playing out at a different level in heaven. The human protagonists are acting on behalf of God in a script written by God. Aslan emphasizes that this is an old theme common to all of the Abrahamic religions. Most importantly, the jihadist has transformed the concept of jihad into an individual duty to fight against evil as a means of worship. Aslan writes, “The reason we call them jihadist and not Muslim is because they have replaced the five pillars of faith upon which Islam rests with only one – jihad, and only jihad. This is almost a new kind of sect, so we should call it exactly what it is.” The jihadist movement is based on existential fear and diabolical hatred. It is committed to destroy all nations and all boundaries in order to establish a collectivist state in which every person would serve as an automaton with no inherent dignity and no value other than what the Caliphate grants. Perhaps the most important reason why this jihadism should be viewed as a new phenomenon is to distinguish it from another relatively new phenomenon represented by Islamists. The Islamists address real grievances, such as the injustices of Palestinian suffering and the oppression of entire nations by Arab dictators, whereas the Al Qa’ida movement uses these as symbolic grievances to justify and rally people to its totalitarian cause. These two phenomena are complete opposites, even though professional Islamophobes have built a new industry in the attempt to equate them as the same so that the “war on terror” becomes a war against Islam.

An earlier post discussed the rhetorical strategy of the global Muslim Brotherhood toward terrorism and included the “legitimate grievance” argument as the third element of this strategy:

3. DEFENSE- Having staked out the positions that Islam is not violent and that Jihad is not connected with violence, the Brotherhood is left with the task of defending the violence carried out by Islamist groups. Since according to the Brotherhood these groups cannot, by definition, be motivated by Islamic ideology, there can be only one answer- they are fighting because of “legitimate grievances” and hence are “freedom fighters.” This defense of Islamist violence is mounted differently for Brotherhood-related groups such as Hamas as opposed to Al Qaeda. Because of the visible dispute over land, it is easy for the Brotherhood to suggest that the actions of Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas are based on such grievances whereas, in reality, the Brotherhood has managed to turn the conflict into a religious war.

A example of how the global Brotherhood actually generates such grievances are comments made recently by Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, considered to be the most extreme wing of the movement that essentially comprises the Muslim Brotherhood in Israel. In a recent report carried on Islam Onlne, Salah said that Israel has a ‘diabolical plan” to cause the Al–Aqsa Mosque to collapse “in a way that would appear as is happening as a result of natural causes, such an earthquake.”

According to his resume on Islam Online, Dr. Crane has numerous ties to organizations associated with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network. He was a director of publications for the International Institute of Islamic Thought as its Director of Publications (IIIT), helped to found the American Muslim Council, and since 1996 has been a board member of the United Association for Studies and Research (USAR) and Managing Editor of its Middle East Affairs Journal. USAR is generally associated with the Hamas infrastructure in the U.S. Previous posts have discussed articles by Dr. Crane suggesting that Islam is the best means for returning the U.S. to the vision of its Founding Fathers:

The American Empire must eventually collapse, as John Whitehead predicts, and as all empires have. The challenge is to transform America so that it is no longer an empire and therefore can serve the intent of its founders to be a moral model for the world based on the universal wisdom of all the world religions. This transformation can come only with the help of Muslims who are pursuing the mission of educating their fellow Muslims for the good of America.

In 1998, Dr. Crane wrote that he had a “structure for Islamizing America.”

(Note: The URL for the current article by Dr. Crane appears to have been changed. A new URL will be posted as soon as it is available.)

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