Fractured Fairytales about Jihad on Capitol Hillthe flag of Jihad

September 26, 2008
Jeffrey Imm
Anti-Jihad League of America

On September 23, 2008, in the U.S. Congressional Rayburn House Office Building (RHOB), speakers in a panel discussion sponsored by the Counterterrorism Blog (CTB) and the New America Foundation (NAF) spun fractured fairytales about Jihad and the need for America to “engage” with proponents of Islamic supremacism. (I previously wrote a background article on this subject entitled “Jihad and the Growing Surrender of American Counterterrorism.”)


The September 23 panel discussion topic was “The Jihadists’ Revolt Against Al Qaeda” based on a New Republic article co-written by Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank. The speakers on the panel were: Peter Bergen of the “liberal think tank” New America Foundation, Counterterrorism Blog contributing experts Paul Cruickshank and Evan Kohlmann, and the Quilliam Foundation’s Maajid Nawaz. The audience at this panel discussion included foreign policy analysts, counterterrorism analysts, the Saudi Arabia press, and a representative from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Per the Bergen/Cruickshank New Republic article, the focus of the discussion by most of the panelists was that disagreements over tactics between Al-Qaeda and other Jihadist and Islamic supremacist (aka “Islamist”) groups was “making Americans safer,” and the idea that Americans should “engage” with “Islamist” groups to promote peace. Bergen, Cruickshank, and Kohlmann addressed details on how Al-Qaeda bombing tactics (resulting in the death of other Muslims) have alienated Al-Qaeda from other Jihadists.

One attendee in the audience asked the obvious question: “Isn’t this just a PR problem for Al-Qaeda that they can solve by simply killing just Americans [i.e., non-Muslims]?” Predictably, the panelists waffled on answering this question, stating that it was really more than a “PR problem,” and moved on to reiterate the tactical differences between Al-Qaeda and other Jihadist groups, as if we didn’t hear them the first time around.

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