Carl in J’lem takes a closer look at Sayyid Qutb, the godfather of Al Qaeda
Bret Stephens reminds us that even if Israel and the ‘Palestinians’ made ‘peace’ tomorrow, it would not solve Â most of the grievances that militant Islam has against the United States (Hat Tip:Memeorandum).
Now consider Lady Gagaâ€”or, if you prefer, Madonna, Farrah Fawcett, Marilyn Monroe, Josephine Baker or any other American woman who has, at one time or another, personified what the Egyptian Islamist writer Sayyid Qutb once called “the American Temptress.”
Qutb, for those unfamiliar with the name, is widely considered the intellectual godfather of al Qaeda; his 30-volume exegesis “In the Shade of the Quran” is canonical in jihadist circles. But Qutb, who spent time as a student in Colorado in the late 1940s, also decisively shaped jihadist views about the U.S.
In his 1951 essay “The America I Have Seen,” Qutb gave his account of the U.S. “in the scale of human values.” “I fear,” he wrote, “that a balance may not exist between America’s material greatness and the quality of her people.” Qutb was particularly exercised by what he saw as the “primitiveness” of American values, not least in matters of sex.
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“The American girl,” he noted, “knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs and she shows all this and does not hide it.” Nor did he approve of Jazzâ€””this music the savage bushmen created to satisfy their primitive desires”â€”or of American films, or clothes, or haircuts, or food. It was all, in his eyes, equally wretched.
Qutb’s disdain for America’s supposedly libertine culture would not matter much were it not wedded to a kind of theological Leninism that emphasized the necessity of violently overthrowing any political arrangement not based on Shariah law. No less violent was Qutb’s attitude toward Jews: “The war the Jews began to wage against Islam and Muslims in those early days [of Islamic history],” he wrote in the 1950s, “has raged to the present. The form and appearance may have changed, but the nature and the means remain the same.”
Needless to say, that passage was written long before Israel had “occupied” a single inch of Arab territory, unless one takes the viewâ€”held to this day by Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah and every other jihadist group that owes an intellectual debt to Qutb, including significant elements of the “moderate” Palestinian Fatahâ€”that Tel Aviv itself is occupied territory.
Bear in mind, too, that the America Qutb found so offensive had yet to discover Elvis, Playboy, the pill, women’s lib, acid tabs, gay rights, Studio 54, Jersey Shore and, of course, Lady Gaga. In other words, even in some dystopic hypothetical world in which hyper-conservatives were to seize power in the U.S. and turn the cultural clock back to 1948, America would still remain a swamp of degeneracy in the eyes of Qutb’s latter-day disciples.
Of course, the diplomatic Arab countries will not tell you that they agree with Qutb (do you really expect the King of Saudi Arabia to tell Barack Obama that what the Saudis really want is to make the United States an Islamic country?), but they do. Look at how they treat their own populations.
So instead, they complain to the World about ‘Little Satan,’ which is Israel. Israel is the appetizer. Western civilization is the main course.