The Trade Jihad
10 Sep, 2007
The Arabs’ Undeclared Trade War Against America and the West
At the Paris air show at Le Bourget, which took place early this year, a number of Middle Eastern airlines placed orders to renew their fleets. According to some Middle Eastern newspapers, the total value of the orders, exceeded 31 billion dollars, all went to the European manufacturer Airbus. The decision to buy from Airbus, and not from the American rival Boeing Corporation, may well be a purely business-based decision, after all, airlines are more interested in profits than politics. However, I do not rule out completely some political or ‘trade jihad’ motivation in this aircraft deal. I am afraid the Americans have to wake up to the fact that the Muslims in general and the Arabs in particular have waged a fierce but informal trade war against them. I call it the trade jihad, because it has all the characteristics of Islamic jihad.
What is Jihad?
Jihad is an Arabic word that means struggle, but is currently used as a short term for ‘the jihad for the sake of Allah (=jihad ’ fi sabeel Allah) which is an obligatory duty (fard) to all Muslims. Allah asks Muslims to keep up His name and His word (kalimatu allah), which is the Islamic way of saying to struggle, or practice jihad, to achieve supremacy of Islam. Understandably, the highest and the best form of jihad is the military jihad. The financial jihad is another important variety of jihad that existed since the birth of Islam. Financial jihad was a very popular form of jihad in the 1980s when thousands of ‘charity’ organizations flourished worldwide to channel money to the various Islamic groups. In the 1990s the media jihad, pioneered by Aljazeera, became the most lethal type of jihad. Aljazeera’s media jihad is responsible in speeding up the spread of the Islamic awakening and the jihad culture. The jihadists consider any aspect of life as a legitimate field to wage jihad. True to this Islamic philosophy the islamists/the Arab world have launched the trade jihad against America soon after 9/11.
Jihad vs Formal War:
In the absence of a recognized pan-Islamic state, or khilafa, coupled with the increased influence of the liberal left in the west who aggressively pushes their politically correct policies, jihad is a far more effective and more lethal option than a formal war. Jihad against the west is basically a one-way warfare, the jihadists being the only players in this combat. In this battle, the jihadists set the rules of engagement, and they are the ones who change them as they please.
The current rules of jihad, as set by the Muslims and apparently accepted by the feeble west, give the jihadists an unlimited power to shoot at the west, while the role of the west is to try to avoid being hit! With rules like this, the only possible outcome is that the west will be hit sooner or later!
Jihad renders all the enemy defences virtually useless because the cunning jihadists readily overcome them. In most cases, from the outset, the jihadists have the capability to operate from behind their enemy’s lines, and often make use of their enemy’s logistics and finances to their own advantage.
Consider the case of the military jihad, which the west has been fighting for many years, with no signs of winning. This informal war has been waged for many years although the Arab armies, which would not stand a chance in a formal war, are not involved at all and did not lose a single soldier. Politically, none of the Arab countries is formally at war against the West; on the contrary, many are deemed as close allies. Alqaeda members live in the west and get total protection and financial support from the infidels. They do not even have to worry about going to work. This is taken care of, thanks to the infidel’s welfare system, which gives the jihadists the vital time to focus on their jihad activities. Almost all of the terrorists arrested in the UK benefited from the state’s welfare system while they were planning for the destruction of that very system and the state altogether.
In his video few weeks after 9/11, Bin Laden described with pride how the operation was financed completely by America, ‘we used their own planes, their own fuel, their own passengers and their own buildings’ he said.
As a result of the military jihad, America now spends millions of dollars to protect its airlines from being hijacked, bombed or shot down, while the Arab airlines are busy reaping profits from the confident passengers who know well that by flying in an Arab airliner they are unlikely targets for Islamic terrorism. A terrorists’ attack on an American city would result in raised alert level for weeks with severe disruption of normal life throughout the country and the loss of billions of dollars. On the other hand, life in the cities of the Arab world continues just as normal, after the initial dancing in the streets, with no fear at all that an American reprisal in kind will ever take place.
The trade jihad
All that is required to set off jihad is a fatwa and the means to deliver it to the Muslims. In the case of the trade jihad, many fatwas were issued soon after 9/11. With lightening speed, the message spread throughout the Middle East. The Islamic establishment used the mosques, Islamic centres, the media outlets, the Internet and mobile phones to spread those fatwas. The message was clear ‘Muslims must boycott America’.
The trade jihad, like all other forms of jihad, has no internationally recognized rules. It is a unilateral war, which Muslims practice as they please, guided only by their own interests and convenience. As an example, the Arabs can live without MacDonald’s restaurants because there are alternatives, but they cannot live without viagra, therefore viagra becomes exempt from the boycott. Soon after 9/11, the sale of many American products in the Middle East came to a near standstill and many American businesses had to shut down their operations. MacDonald’s restaurants in the Middle East, which are partly owned by local Arab companies, had a hard time explaining to the public they were joint ventures and had nothing to do with the American policies. The pressure of the market forced the American fast food chain to donate a proportion of its profits to the Palestinians in a desperate attempt to retain customers.
The trade jihad is an opportunistic war waged by Muslims to their convenience. It is this flexibility that makes it possible for all Muslims to participate. When a Muslim has the choice, he will avoid the American businesses, but he may decide to ease the boycott temporarily if that is seen to be in his best interest, like the lack of alternatives or to make use of a spectacular offer.
The trade jihadists
Once a fatwa is issued, the trade jihad becomes open to all Muslims to participate. The flexibility of the rules encourages the participation of all individuals and companies alike. Trade jihadists can be Arabs or Muslims in their own countries or in any part of the world including America. On arrival to a foreign country, one of the first things an Arab will learn is to identify which stores the Americans and the Jews own. In the Middle East, an Arab doesn’t have to be a Muslim to join the trade war; many Christians also became trade jihadists to avoid criticism by the Muslim majority. However, there is no shortage of Arab Christians who seem to enjoy their dhimmtude state and feel happy to do whatever the Islamists ask them to do.
When it becomes necessary to step up the jihad, like during the Danish cartoon crisis, the Islamists may circulate rumours, through all possible means, claiming that certain western products exported to the Middle East are deliberately poisoned to inflict harm on the Muslims population. At one stage, there were strong rumours in the Middle East claiming that imported cosmetics and dairy products contained trace elements that cause male and female infertility! In the Middle East, no Arab will doubt that Marks & Spencers donates its Saturday’s revenues to finance Israel’s war efforts. In the Middle East, anti western rumours spread fast among the Arabs and are readily believed even by the professionals and intellectuals!
In the west, mosques and Islamic centres usually take the lead in steering the war; they regularly update their communities on which stores or businesses to avoid.
We should not doubt that the entire non-Muslim world, including Europe, Russia and China will eventually be targeted by global jihad. However, America stands as a main target because it is in the way of the Islamists’ aim, and makes it difficult for them to pursue their agenda for world domination. We must admit that the jihadists are good in making use of the trends in world politics, and they are smart enough to swiftly make strategic alliances with their future enemies in order to bring down the current enemy. Such smart strategy worked well with Mohammed, who entered into alliances with the various tribes in Arabia to neutralise them while he took his enemies one at a time. Today, the jihadists principal objective is to bring down America, and nothing will stop them from using all possible means to achieve their objective, even making alliances with other enemies like the Europeans, the Russians and the Chinese.
Does it matter?
The American exports to the Arab world form only a small proportion (less than 5%) of the total American exports. Thus, even a total boycott is unlikely to cause serious harm to the American economy. But this figure does not take in consideration the practice of the Arabs outside the Middle East. The Arabs are committed to the trade jihad wherever they go; they actively and successfully recruit other Muslims, even other anti- Americans of any background, to join their trade jihad. The trade jihad is a long-term war that doesn’t do the Arabs any harm or cost them anything, thanks to the flexibility of its rules.
Recently, we read about the planned American arms deals to the Middle East, which as far as I can see, fits well in the general picture of the trade jihad; boycott America to help the Muslims’ cause and buy from America to help the Muslims’ cause.
To answer the above question, yes I think the trade jihad, on the long term, does matter.
Mumin Salih is a Middle Eastern ex-Muslim.