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Tuesday, March 8th 2016
“Bombs and bullets alone cannot defeat Daesh. To defeat these terrorists, we must engage them in the domain of deen [faith] where they maintain freedom of movement, and we must counter words with words. We need to use the same weapons, including knowledge of Islam, Islamic history, and language, to defeat them.” Army Major Theresa Ford has made a valuable contribution to this effort by publishing a guide on terminology, “How Daesh Uses Language in the Domain of Religion,” in the March-April, 2016, issue of Military Review.
“These words and ideas—from the name of its organization, its leader, and its online propaganda magazine, to key figures and ideas of Islam, including the prophet Mohammad, the end-of-days prophecy, and the caliphate—are components of the domain of deen, an Arabic word that means faith or religion,” she explained.
This short gist does not allow a proper summary of her explanations of key terms. She addressed:
-- Which Is It: Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh?
-- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Quraishi, Leader of Daesh
-- Raqqa: Capital of Daesh
-- Abu Qasim: The Messenger of Islam
-- The Quran
-- The black flag
-- The Caliphate
-- Shia, Alawites, and the Twelfth Imam
-- The Return of the Mahdi
Among Major Ford’s conclusions:
- Words and ideas are the most effective weapons of Daesh. It uses them to recruit and to spread its message in the domain of deen, where it enjoys freedom of movement.
- Therefore, this article gives several recommendations for countering Daesh, not with physical weapons, but with words and ideas, which we could use more effectively than any physical weapon.
- To start, we should refer to the “Islamic State” as Daesh. This simple word expresses the organization’s true identity, as a group of brutal blasphemers who bastardize Islam. We should refer to Daesh’s leader not by the name he prefers, but by the name he deserves: ad Dajjal. . . . This name represents an evil figure Muslims fear will one day appear as a false messenger.
- Next, our messaging should expose the abundance of religious fraud in Daesh’s jihadist propaganda, most of which justifies fighting based on religious authorities. Raising doubts about tenuous religious rationales might dissuade potential recruits who want to adhere to their holy scriptures.
- Nasheeds (or anashid) should be used to counter Daesh, as they are extremely effective in recruiting. . . . . . Nasheeds could be just as effective in turning people away from Daesh.
- Bombs and bullets alone cannot defeat Daesh. To defeat these terrorists, we must engage them in the domain of deen where they maintain freedom of movement, and we must counter words with words. We need to use the same weapons, including knowledge of Islam, Islamic history, and language, to defeat them.
- Unfortunately, U.S. soldiers are seldom, if ever, instructed on the proper use of these weapons, and until they are, Daesh will continue to dominate the domain of deen—its primary source of power.