Winning Hearts and Minds of the Ummah

The reason Washington never declared Jihadism and Islamism as the global adversary was its intense fear of inadvertently offending and radicalizing Islamists. President Barack Obama tried without success to win sympathies for America among the Ummah (the worldwide Muslim community) by distancing America from Israel. In fact, America became only more unpopular in Islamdom during his years in the White House. 

The Islamists have gone a long way towards taking over Islam in many countries and certainly so in the United States itself where the vast majority of mosques are Islamist. Major front organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US dominate all aspects of Muslim life in the United States. The situation is certainly difficult, even critical in this respect in many countries. The Muslim Brotherhood was long funded by Saudi Arabia and the UAE although now both countries consider it a terrorist organization. Qatar has remained as the major funder of the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide. 

What is necessary is not only to encourage the creation of a worldwide movement of liberal mosques but generally to fund non-Islamist Muslim movements in Islamdom and in the Muslim world generally. This critically includes non-Islamist Sufis worldwide. Why has funding for non-Islamist Muslims not been made available so as to allow them to rival Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood? Imagine if extensive funding for liberal Islam and non-Islamist Islam generally had been made available already in 2001 and onwards – how much better our present global situation in the cold war with Jihadism and Islamism would have been. We have not even tried to win over hearts and minds. 

However, while the United States would be wise to outsource most tactical efforts to the Israeli-Muslim alliance in Islamdom; America itself must lead strategically not only against the evil Khomeinist empire but against Jihadism and Islamism generally worldwide. America needs to reserve strategic efforts for itself as befitting the sole superpower. The US has completely neglected all strategic aspects of the global conflict with Jihadism and Islamism as mainly relating to the exercise of strategic soft power and which is all about turning the hearts and mind of the Muslim world against Jihadism and Islamism. 

This conflict is far from lost even though a majority of Muslims in many countries presently sympathize with Islamists. Even in those countries are there however vast anti-Islamist minorities among devout Muslims. America has no choice but to take the lead to win in strategic terms or the global conflict will likely be aggravated in the years to come with potentially severe consequences for regional and global stability.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization

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