a review by Jerry Gordon (April 2015)
ISIS Exposed: Beheadings, Slavery, And The Hellish Reality of Radical Islam
by Erick Stakelbeck
Regnery Publishers, March 2015
A Northeast Philadelphia high school and college basketball star, budding sportswriter Erick Stakelbeck was transformed by his 9/11 experience in Manhattan to become one of America’s acclaimed experts on Islamic terrorism. His weekly The Watchman programs on CBN, appearances on FoxNews, columns in world media and his two previous books The Terrorist Next Door; How the Government is Deceiving You About the Islamist Threat, and The Brotherhood: America’s Next Great Enemy have kept Americans and an international following abreast of the growing menace of Islamic terrorism now roiling the West and destabilizing the Middle East. A Middle East quickly devolving in a titanic clash among opposing apocalyptic Islamic end-times visions. One is Iran’s Mahdist Shia cult on the verge of becoming a nuclear threshold hegemon. Another is the alleged ‘reformist” Saudi Wahhabist Sunni doctrine. Confronting both is the highly visible ascent of the Sunni Salafist Islamic State (IS), formerly ISIS. Written in the genre of a page-turning thriller, Stakelbeck’s latest in his burgeoning trilogy on Islamic terrorism, ISIS Exposed: Beheadings, Slavery, and The hellish reality of Radical Islam is a compact, yet telling guide to the brutal ideology behind the sudden eruption and expansion of the Islamic State (IS), a self-declared Caliphate. Among questions addressed in Stakelbeck’s ISIS Exposed are:
Why the large unassimilated Somali émigré community in Minneapolis has become the US hub for Al Qaeda and now ISIS recruitment.
How ex-US prisoner in Iraq, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi with a doctorate in Islamic Studies and alleged bloodline relation to the Prophet Mohammed transformed al Qaeda in Iraq into ISIS, thereby surpassing al Qaeda ‘central’ led by bin Laden’s successor Ayman al Zawihiri.
- How ISIS’ adroit use of social media, on-line publications and well produced videos of their barbaric actions have reinforced an appeal for purification of Islam sanctioned by Qur’anic doctrine.
Why ISIS has surpassed al Qaeda, from which the group originated, because it possesses conquered lands in Syria and Iraq.
How ISIS and Sunni terrorist groups, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas among others, have common objectives while pursuing different tactics to achieve them.
How ISIS has exploited the wreckage of failed states in Yemen, Libya, Syria to spread its doctrine and influence.
Why the Administration-led “coalition of the willing” cannot succeed in defeating ISIS without a commitment of military forces.
How the Administration’s denial of the ISIS radical threat was ironically fostered by outreach to radical Muslim Brotherhood clerics.
How tolerance of ISIS advocates in the UK and rest of EU has established de facto Sharia governed zones, escalated recruitment, acts of rape, murder and terrorism from returning veterans and home grown wannabes.
How ISIS-inspired Muslim protests and deadly attacks on Jews in the EU have stoked antisemitism driving Jewish Communities there to seek sanctuary in Israel and other havens.
Tens of thousands of young Muslims across the ummah from Minneapolis in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and even China have been drawn like bees to the holy beehive of the self-declared Caliphate which espouses Islamic purification through ethnic and religious cleansing. IS is a throwback to the sacralized barbarity of Mohammed and his companions, the future caliphs, during the early days of the grand jihad of Islam – a jihad that swept the world in just a few centuries after Islam erupted on the scene over millennia ago leaving a trail of beheadings, immolations, crucifixions and enslavement of women and children as war booty. ISIS emblazons those contemporary acts of purification using social media like Twitter and Instagram along with slick on-line webzines and high production value videos to attract thousands of foreign Muslims to serve the self-declared Caliphate which occupies a conquered swath of land in Iraq and Syria nearly the size of Great Britain. A Caliphate, not unlike the earlier Caliphates which were created from conquered Christian, Zoroastrian, Hindu and Buddhist realms, from North Africa through the Middle East to South Asia.
As Stakelbeck portrays in ISIS Exposed, Western media and political leaders are inexplicably frozen in intimidation and bewilderment about how to explain what has occurred. The public square is filled with nattering nabobs of political correctness portraying ISIS as Muslim extremists in contradistinction to the misinformed view that Islam is a ‘religion of peace and tolerance.’ The Kuffars, that is the unbelievers encountered by ISIS whether Christians, Jews, ancient religious minorities like the Yazidis, and Muslims who are deemed apostates for not adhering to the strict Sunni Tawhid doctrine of IS, are given the choice of conversion, death or subjugation under Sharia Law. Opting for subjugation to remain alive, many have become dhimmis and are forced to pay the jizya (an annual payment of a tax on each person) to avoid being beheaded. Stakelbeck cites reports from escapees who have witnessed rape and sex slavery auctions of captive women and even young girls by the Islamic State. He explains that the Islamic State, unlike al Qaeda and its affiliates across the Muslim Ummah, holds land where the purest form of Islam can be practiced by Muslims. Stakelbeck points out how IS has built up a huge treasury from seized booty, enforced protection payments (jizya) and the illegal sale of oil from overrun fields to pay for a veritable Jihadist army equipped with US and Russian supplied vehicles, tanks, weapons and munitions captured or left behind by fleeing Iraqi national and Syrian forces. This field force, as Stakelbeck discusses, ironically is directed by cadres drawn from the former Ba’athist military of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with experience in the use of unconventional chemical weapons. ISIS has used chemical weapons in attacks in Iraq after raiding Syria stockpiles near Aleppo.
Stakelbeck, unlike many in the mainstream media, bases his assessment of threats posed by IS from firsthand interviews with Salafist proponents in the West such as Anjem Choudary former head of the banned Salafist group al-Muhajiroun in the UK. In several interviews with Choudary, Stakelbeck reveals why Muslims are attracted to join and serve the Caliphate building an Islamic holy nation. In Chapter Six, “London Falling, The Battle for Britain,” Choudary is quoted by Stakelbeck saying:
I believe there were many positive outcomes from 9/11 … the legacy of that is what you see today in the Islamic State that has been established in Syria and in Iraq. There is a giant that has woken up. The Sharia is being implemented. [Muslims] are getting rid of the dictators, which many of the Western regimes put in place – in Iraq, in Syria, in Libya, in Tunisia, in Egypt. And that is afflicting the interest of the West…Communism is dead. Capitalism is dying. Islam is the future, I believe, for mankind.
When asked by Stakelbeck whether the US Administration view of ISIS as simply committing “criminal acts,” Choudary replied:
There is a war taking place… there are up to one thousand people who are joining the Islamic State’s army every single day. And these people look down the barrel of a gun and they see paradise. They love to die, the way that you and others love to live. You cannot defeat people like that.
In chapter seven, “Amsterdamned: ISIS over Europe,” Stakelbeck reveals the impact of mass Muslim immigration policies in the significant growth of Muslim émigrés communities that have not accepted nor integrated in EU countries. He notes how lax border policies in the EU and 26 Shengen countries have created a veritable jihad highway drawing thousands from across European Muslim communities to travel to Turkey and ultimately join the Islamic State. He warns that a number of those returning Euro-Salafist jihadists could enter the US through the visa waiver program making what he calls “an unpleasant little pit stop in New York City or Chicago.” He refers to the efforts of Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party in The Netherlands and others in France, Denmark and the UK seeking to put a stop to Muslim mass immigration and denial of citizenship to returning homegrown jihadists. Stakelbeck cites the backlash against the Islamic State in street clashes involving Kurdish opponents of the Islamic State and demonstrations by the Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) which holds weekly rallies in Dresden and other German and European cities. He notes the 300 ISIS supporters currently facing trial in Germany and contrasts that with the Danish treatment of ISIS fighters – myopically continuing to pay their welfare benefits while they are off fighting in Syria. In Aarhus, Denmark, returning ISIS vets are given psychological counseling and both job and school or university placements. All while the local mosque backs the Islamic State by refusing to criticize it. Stakelbeck suggests that Danish political correctness must be appreciated by the 30 Aarhus ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq.
As evidence of ISIS’ influence on the spike in European antisemitism, Stakelbeck draws attention to massed protests in July 2014 during IDF Operation Defensive Edge of more 45,000 in Central London with crowds outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington crying, “Israel is a terror state” and “Allahu Akbar.” He noted the doubling in 2014 of hate crimes against Jews in Great Britain as compared to 2013. More than half of UK Jews polled said they do not see a future in Great Britain for their children. The growth of extreme Muslim and leftist attacks on Jews may be one reason for considering emigration to Israel and other havens.
At about the same time in Paris, what Stakelbeck describes as a virtual pogrom broke out with cries of “Gas the Jews,” “Kill the Jews” and destruction Jewish businesses reminiscent of Nazi-era Kristallnacht in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles. The Charlie Hebdo massacre by Cherif and Said Kouachi trained by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that killed 12 was followed by the ISIS-inspired attack by Amedy Coulibaly on the Hyper Cacher(Kosher) supermarket murdering four Jews, three French and one Tunisian. Despite a European-wide manhunt, Coulibaly’s common law wife, Hayat Boumeddiene, guided by an ISIS pathfinder, was safely flown from Spain to Istanbul where she cleared customs ending up posing in black garb for an ISIS propaganda video inside Syria. French Jews are leaving France for Israel and other bolt holes. 7,000 French Jews made aliyah to Israel in 2014, a doubling over 2013. An estimated 10,000 are expected to arrive in 2015.
Israel itself is threatened by ISIS. Stakelbeck noted the presence of Ansar Beit al Magdis in the Egyptian Sinai on Israel’s southern border. Recently the ISIS affiliate has threatened cross border attacks on the Israeli resort area of Eilat. ISIS sympathizers are active on Israel’s entire frontier in Lebanon, Syria and in Gaza. Israel has arrested ISIS cell members in Hebron, a major center of Hamas on the West Bank.
Stakelbeck reviews the problematic lack of appropriate identification of the ISIS threat by the Obama Administration, reflected in the recent Countering Islamic Extremism Summit in February 2015. He also cites the New Year’s speech by Egyptian President al–Sisi before Muslim clerics and scholars exhorting them to reform Qur’anic doctrine that provides the basis for the Salafist doctrine of ISIS. Unfortunately, the Administration myopically persists in resorting to consulting Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist scholars from Egypt in the vain hopes of deriving messaging to combat what it deems “extremist criminal activities,” not reflective of core Islamic values.
Stakelbeck ends ISIS Exposed with suggested steps to defeat the global jihad of the self-declared Caliphate:
Completely destroy ISIS militarily in Syria and Iraq.
Educate Americans and name the threat posed by ISIS- Islamic terrorism.
Revoke passports and citizenship of American ISIS fighters.
Secure the US borders.
Revise the US Visa Waiver program
Bolster cooperation with Allies, Muslim and non Muslim, to root out Islamic extremism.
Isolate and pressure allies in the Sunni Muslim world to denounce support for ISIS and other Islamic terror groups.
Consider the Islamic Republic of Iran as not an ally in the war against ISIS, actively support regime change and stop it from acquiring nuclear weapons “by any means necessary.”
Stand proudly with Israel and world Jewry.
Stand with beleaguered Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East threatened by ISIS.
Review US immigration and student visa policies for predominately Muslim nations.
Stakelbeck’s book went to press before the eruption of tumultuous events in late March 2015. There was outbreak of a virtual political war by the Administration against Israel following the March 17, 2015 elections overwhelmingly won by Prime Minister Netanyahu. The Administration severely criticized Netanyahu for his address before a joint meeting of Congress on March 3rd conveying the message that the nuclear agreement with Iran was “a very bad deal.” There was the sudden attack by Saudi and Gulf Emirate allies on Iranian- supported Houthi rebels in the failed state of Yemen who were extending the regional hegemony of Iran across four Arab capitals in the Levant. The Administration found itself caught between support of Iranian Quds Force led Shia militias in Iraq while trying to distance itself. Then there is the appeasing accommodation of Iran’s nuclear objectives with the P5+1 in looming political agreements scheduled for conclusion on March 31st. Stakelbeck on a Fox and Friends segment about these developments on March 27, 2015 suggested that “the leader of the free world, had abdicated his responsibilities.” Lost in all this is what to do about ISIS. Nevertheless, Stakelbeck’s ISIS Exposed provides a warning brief for compelling action to destroy the Caliphate Triumphant.
Watch this C-Span video of a presentation by Erick Stakelbeck on ISIS Exposed at a Washington, DC event sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET):
Also see Jerry Gordon’s collection of interviews, The West Speaks.
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