Book Review: Inside the revolution: how the followers of Jihad, Jefferson & Jesus are battling to dominate the Middle East and transform the world by Joel C. Rosenberg, Tyndale (2009)
Joel Rosenberg, son of a Jewish father and a gentile mother, is an evangelical Christian who studied at Tel Aviv University in Israel. He is popular amongst the Christian extremist talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. As expected, his book – Inside the Revolution – is swamped with evangelical and Christian Zionist overtones. People interviewed to writing the book include: Peter Goss, director, CIA (1997-2004)), Lt. Gen. (retd.) William Jerry Boykin, Deputy undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Special Warfighting (2003-07), L. Paul Bremer III, presidential envoy and first U.S. Administrator to Iraq (2003-04), Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, General Moshe Ya’alon, Chief of Staff, Israeli Defense Forces (2002-05), Dore Gold, Israeli Ambassador to the UN (1997-1999) and dissidents from Arab and Iran. From the list of ‘experts’ cited it is not difficult to understand where the author’s motivation and sources of ‘information’ came from to writing this book with a bloated title.
The book talks about three groups of Muslims: radicals, reformers and revivalists. The book starts with a meeting that Rosenberg had with Jerry Boykin on February 2007. Lest we forget, Boykin is a Christian Zionist, who belongs to the millennium nuts that essentially see themselves as initiators for the Armageddon, fighting on the side of their lord Jesus Christ that will purify the world of disbelievers and all half-hearted Christians. While working for President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld, he made some highly insulting and provocative remarks about Islam in the days following 9/11. Truly, he is not the kind of guy a serious researcher or writer of history or an analyst of the current events would lean on to learn about the changing political and intellectual landscape of the Muslim world. That interview with and quotations from a bigot are enough to discredit Rosenberg’s work.
Iran’s nuclear ambition, albeit a civilian one, is not acceptable to the Zionists and Christian neo-crusaders of any kind. For many years they have been sharing (thanks to Mossad-feeding and CIA-devouring) and drawing upon the same recycled and unsubstantiated intelligence information to exaggerate Iran’s and Iraq’s capabilities while ensuring rather unabashedly Israel’s troublesome and unjustifiable absolute military and nuclear monopoly, control and dominance that remain unthreatened or unchallenged in the Middle East. These warmongers have been proven wrong in Iraq, and are blameworthy of triggering the American recession and national debt in the last few years. But that kind of faulty claims and exaggerations have not sidelined the Zionist jihadists. We are, therefore, not surprised to learn about Boykin’s pro-Israeli views about Iran. He thinks that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapon to annihilate western civilization -- a view similarly shared and propagated by eliminationist Jews everywhere. Like any extremist Zionist, Boykin is against any negotiation with Iran and calls such “inane.” (p. 13) To his kind, elimination of Iran is the solution.
It is no-brainer that the Israeli general Ya’alon, a war criminal himself, supports Boykin’s exaggerated and unfounded claims and faulty opinions about Iran. Ya’alon is quoted to even say that Iran would have military nuclear capability within a couple of months or maximum couple of years (from March 2007, when the interview was held). (p. 18) Well, as we know by now, none of these claims and opinions has come to be true. Iran is no closer to any nuclear arsenal today than it was assumed back in 2007.
Rosenberg also cites Netanyahu, the current Israeli prime minister, who like Boykin, says that Iran, if unchecked, will create a second Holocaust in Israel and “proceed on their idea of building a global empire.” (p. 19) Only a brain-dead idiot, uninformed about the world it lives in, can swallow such unsubstantiated claims and exaggerations about Iran’s ‘global aspirations’ unquestioning!
As I have pointed out elsewhere Israel -- the last of the apartheid states in our century -- with her backers and promoters in the western world, military and economy power of its allies and co-religionists remains the greatest threat to our generation. Israel is in the business of exploiting holocaust to extract maximum concessions and benefits for its ever-expansionist plans and eliminationist politics. With the Hollywood film-makers and media moguls on their sides, Israeli leaders like Netanyahu have been able to sell their poisonous pill to many unsuspected folks. Thus, rather than challenging the obvious Israeli possession of nuclear weapons, her marauding aggression, history of war and preemptive strikes against all her neighbors and annexation of land, dispossession of original inhabitants, striking civilian targets with the intent to incur maximum casualty, her criminal refusal to sign the nuclear NPT and rejection of outside inspection of her nuclear sites and scenes of war crimes, the debate is cynically forced upon a pretender – a potential threat. The rogue state has thus remained opposed to making the Middle East a nuclear-free zone. Surely, we could have all benefited from such a life-saving and peaceful agenda, a call made for years by all the Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, by eliminating Israeli nuclear threat first before suspecting the absurd about others.
As to the views of the so-called radicals, Joel Rosenberg quotes Iran’s late spiritual leader Ayatullah Khomeini from his speeches of 1979-81, Osama Bin Laden and Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris, a cleric in Gaza (2005) who is little known outside Gaza. He also cherry picks words from Iran’s Ahmadinejad and Rafsanjani, and Lebanon’s Hasan Nasrallah. As to what these aforementioned ‘radicals’ believe Rosenberg quotes certain verses from the Qur’an (2:216, 5:33, 4:52, 5:51, 9:5, 9:12, 9:29-30, 22:19, 25:52, 47:4, 60:9, 66:9) which had a historical context. By misapplying their contextual framework, as if those verses are universally applicable for any Muslim, he does a terrible thing to the sacred text.
As I have pointed out many times before, if the hateful bigots like Rosenberg are looking for violent verses in the scripture, they need not go beyond their own Bible to find scores of such verses.
Rosenberg quotes statement from Walid Shoebat, a Palestinian convert to Christianity, to show martyrdom motivates Jihadists. Shoebat has long been found an unreliable and highly prejudicial narrator of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Rather than criticizing the motivation of the dead he should do us all a great favor by explaining what made those stone-throwing Palestinians of yesteryears to put on the suicide jacket today.
The author mentions the failed US Embassy rescue mission in Iran in the post-revolutionary days in which Colonel Charlie Beckwith, Delta force’s creator, and Jerry Boykin led the operation. Christian undertone is vividly clear among the mission leaders: “God has called us to lead fifty-three Americans out of bondage and back to freedom.” (p. 76). What is interesting in this detail narrative of the mission is that it disclosed how unreliable American contractors have been to the Muslim world. Even a ‘trusted’ puppet like the Shah of Iran could not be trusted. America deliberately sold faulty coastal radar system to Shah’s Iran so that American special forces could penetrate Iranian airspace undetected. (p. 77) Even then the mission to rescue American ‘spies’ or ‘hostages’ was a total fiasco with 8 US servicemen dead, 7 American helicopters lost, along with a C-130.
More disturbing is Rosenberg’s thesis that since a Pew poll in 2007 revealed that 5% of all Muslims in America had a favorable view of al Qaeda that there could be more than 100,000 radical Muslims living within the USA (p. 144). He goes on to extrapolate, much like his mentor Pipes, this number to include another 600,000 or more “Radical Muslims or Radical-leaning Muslims or sympathizers inside the country.” (p. 144) He then cites polling results in Europe conducted amongst Muslims which showed that some 15% Muslims in UK, Spain and France (and 7% in Germany) believed that suicide bombings against civilian targets were sometimes justified. Next, Joel takes the case for Muslims worldwide and finds that 7% would be classified as Radicals, which equals to some 91 million people (p. 149). Well, one can clearly see the fallacy of such arguments. A greater percentage of hateful bigots can be found in the non-Muslim world. The poll results, drawn from small samples of any given population, do not necessarily translate into actions. Thus, one can take a sigh of relief away from Rosenberg’s sinister conclusions by remembering that no serious attack has threatened the USA since 9/11. This, in spite of the fact that the country has been at war for nearly nine years (longer than the World War II) in the Muslim world in which more than a million unarmed Muslim civilians were killed by the USA and NATO allies.
As to the so-called reformers, Rosenberg fondly mentions the Moroccan model, which amongst other things, includes: reaching out to evangelical Christians in the West. By letting these Christian evangelists to operate freely, Morocco’s goal, according to Rosenberg, is to present a more pro-western image to the west. His Christian missionary zeal is unmistakable in this narrative. He reminds us that while such proselytizers are frowned upon in the non-Christian world, Morocco is a fertile ground for proselytism with thousands of converts to Christianity. I hope Morocco is not foolish or oblivious of the missionary ploys that once colonized the entire African continent while those soul-snatchers came for more than just the ‘heathen’ lost souls.
The most ludicrous part of the book is with the ‘revivalists’ when the author brings the story of someone named Tass Saada who is presented as one-time Yaser Arafat’s driver and bodyguard, unverified by the PLO. As expected, Taas, like Walid, has become a follower of Jesus by believing in the triune God (p. 365). Of course, he is “no longer a Radical – he is a Revivalist.” According to the author, “He no longer believes that Islam is the answer. He no longer believes jihad is the way. He believes that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one – Jew or Gentile, Radical or Reformer – can have a personal relationship with God without accepting that Jesus is the Messiah, just as the Bible teaches in John 14:6.” (p. 368) This narrative is so evangelical Christian that it insults one’s intelligence to rationalize Rosenberg’s categorization of an ex-Muslim as a revivalist in the Muslim world. This is like saying that a convert from Christianity to any other faith is a revivalist to Christianity!
Rosenberg believes that a Christian surge is taking place across the Middle East. According to senior Christian pastors and ministry leaders in Egypt, Rosenberg reminds us, there are now 2.5 million followers of Jesus in their country. A growing number of these are Muslim converts, whom he calls the MBBs (Muslim background believers in Christ). (p. 389) According to him, before 9/11 there were fewer than a hundred MBBs; by 2006 the estimate is 10,000 MBBs, which, by the way, represent less than half a percent of the total Christian population in Egypt. He says that these ‘revivalists’ are now using TV and radio to reach Muslims with the gospel. If these claims are true, they should put to rest the negative propaganda against Muslim societies that they are against religious freedom.
Rosenberg is typical of the cynical anti-Muslim, pen-pushing hawks whose voluminous work of 552 pages is not worth the paper it was written on. It offers very little to understand the mindset of the so-called Muslim Jihadists. Instead, it goes on to reveal not only hostile Christian missionary activities in the Muslim world but also the author’s own bias, zealotry and deplorable intolerance against Islam and Muslims. His book is similar to many post-9/11 era books that are written to keep alive the perceived “threat” of Islam before our eyes, while not only shielding western eliminationist campaigns against the Muslim world but also guaranteeing themselves profitable fees, consultancies, recurrent appearances in TV and lucrative book contracts.
It is said that falsehood oft repeated achieves the veneer of truth and some are sure to swallow it. Rosenberg’s book is a typical example of such an attempt at disseminating falsehood with Christian evangelical zeal that gave us the Crusades and the Inquisition, and led to the colonization of vast non-Christian territories of Asia, Africa and Latin America. A collection of lies and half-truths, quite a few unreliable sources and a plethora of false interpretation form the nucleus material for the above work. His repeated use of comments from anti-Muslim jihadists, bigots and racists, and ex-Muslims — whose motivation is nothing honorable either -- hardly carry any conviction.
For accounts of jihadist movements around the Middle East, a serious researcher or reader may find Professor Fawaz Gerges’s authoritative, deeply-researched books like – The Far Enemy: Why Jihad went Global (Cambridge University Press, 2005), and Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy (Harcourt Press, 2006) – much more useful.