The Obama administration began last week with the assertion that the root cause for ISIS’ barbaric behavior was “its lack of opportunity for jobs.” President Obama ended the week claiming that ISIS’ allure for young people is that they “feel entirely trapped in impoverished communities … where there are no educational opportunities.” Nonsense. In fact, it is and has been just the opposite.
Olivier Roy, a researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, notes that even back in the 1970s and ’80s in “the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Refah in Turkey, the Islamic revolution in Iran – the actors [were] young, urban, educated people and people educated in the modern, Western system of education.” This is still true today. Thousands of youth are now joining ISIS by leaving schools in wealthy prosperous Western nations and choosing to go live instead in an impoverished desert region.
Why? According to an expert at Duke University, these young people (such the recent three British girls) “are responding to quite a deliberate call from the Islamic State to have women come and participate in a form of state-building and to make a new country in which they can practice their religion.” “Practice their religion.” It is religious beliefs, not economics or education, that is the common thread in ISIS’ growth.
If the Obama administration really wants to identify the root causes of ISIS’ outrageous behavior, it should start by reading documents already in its possession – such as the first reports filed on this subject from back in the 1780s.
At that time, America (along with other Western nations) was a victim of Muslim terrorist attacks being launched out of northern Africa and the Middle East. Seeking to solve the problem, in 1784 Congress dispatched John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to go meet with the Islamicists. Adams and Jefferson candidly asked the Muslim ambassador the motivation behind the unprovoked attacks and then reported his answer to the State Department:
“The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet [Muhammad] – that it was written in their Quran that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners; that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”
William Eaton, similarly sent to negotiate with the Muslims, likewise reported:
“Taught by revelation that war with the Christians will guarantee the salvation of their souls, … their [the Muslims'] inducements to desperate fighting are very powerful.”
Based on what they learned, Jefferson identified the obvious solution:
“If we wish our commerce to be free and uninsulted [i.e., unattacked], we must let these nations see that we have an energy [willingness to use force], which at present they disbelieve. The low opinion they entertain of our powers cannot fail to involve us soon in a … war.”
George Washington agreed, affirming that what was needed was decisive military action that would “reform those enemies to mankind – or crush them into non-existence.”