On July 11, 2015,in the online daily Middle East Online, Iraqi writer Farouq Yousef criticized jihad fighters who, he said, sanctify death and view anyone desiring to live as an enemy who must be killed. Arguing that jihad is an absurd war, and that everywhere the jihad banner has been raised human dignity has been violated and liberties have been revoked, he stated that jihad fighters were combating the value of life itself. For this reason, he said, Arab societies will remain at risk as long as they, and they alone, do not bring to an end the lie of jihad.
Below are translated excerpts from his article:
Farouq Yousef (Image: Middle-east-online.com, July 11, 2015)
"With the Afghanistan war against the Russians, jihad fighters began to surround us on all sides. They multiply and are renewed; their faces change, and they repeatedly [speak] eloquently on the opportunity to attain Paradise...
"Because jihad fighters fight to die as martyrs, war for its own sake has become their objective.
"The war [of jihad that began] in Afghanistan has in effect not yet ended, and it cannot end, because of its absurdity, and because it has lost its goals, and because the blind illusions of its participants who make up its steady stream of cannon fodder. These jihad fighters are of no specific age, and none reaches retirement age; they do not abandon the battle arena until they die...
"Jihad, the voice of which is now rising in many regions of the Arab world, is a form of suicidal war, waged not in defense of human dignity and liberty, to liberate land, to preserve women's honor, to protect natural resources, or to fight corruption. On the contrary: What the jihad fighters are doing sketches a picture of the complete opposite. Indeed, wherever the jihad fighters have raised their banner adorned the name of Allah, man's dignity is violated; his liberty is stripped away; his natural resources are looted; his women's honor is violated, and his land has been stolen from him.
"The jihad fighters are not rebelling against a corrupt regime. On the contrary: They are themselves the essence of corruption, created by a regime that seeks refuge in jihad. It [jihad] is a tool for deifying common folk, by means of the idea of war against the apostates, aimed at obtaining gratification in the next world - which is preferable to thinking of worldly matters such as homeland, natural resources, liberty, and other ideas imported from the West...
"The jihad war in Afghanistan against the Russians generated jihad wars against the Muslims, particularly against the Arabs... Were the jihad fighters supposed to abandon the profession of jihad just because the first Afghanistan war ended in a Russian defeat?... According to the view of the jihad fighters who devoted their lives to death, relinquishing the dream [of death]is a betrayal of the commandment to wage jihad. Perhaps this idea cannot be contained in societies who seek to integrate into the current era, because this era favors the idea of a life that provides an opportunity for liberty, equality, constructive progress; a world in which man is the crown of creation by virtue of his intellect and imagination, and by virtue of his constructive willpower.
"[The idea of] death for no reason, which is part of the concept of jihad, is not in the lexicon of these [modern] societies. As the jihad fighters see it, this makes them an enemy. The Muslim Brotherhood's war against the Egyptian people, the war of Hizbullah and Jabhat Al-Nusra against the Syrian people, and the war of ISIS and the Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi [Shi'ite Popular Mobilization Units] militias against the Iraqi people are predictable outcomes of this historic clash, that has become an inevitable decree.
"Indeed, the jihad fighters, who do not believe that their jihad era can end without death, refuse to accept the existence of anyone who prefers living to dying. As far as they are concerned, such a deviation from the correct path must not pass in silence.
"Jihad fighters are fighting life. They see it as representing deviation from the correct path. This is why our societies will remain threatened by death - as long as they themselves do not bring to an end the era of the false jihad."
Middle-east-online.com, July 11, 2015.