CPM: So, is Iran “not as much of a perversion of Islam” or is it not a perversion at all?
Deen: No, compared to Saudi Arabia, I would say not at all, because the Koran says that there are going to be different sects of Islam. You’re not going to be able to fix that. Only Allah’s going to be able to fix that. However, in the Koran it says that every place that you see a king, you’ll have problems. If kings and queens were permissible, it would say that. I haven’t found it. I mean, if someone can find it, please show it to me.
Sayed: I’m not saying Iran is not a threat. But Saudi Arabia is a bigger threat.
I think the Iranian Islamic Revolution was by the people. I think the people saw Islam as a way to get outside influences out. They saw a way to get rid of a corrupt king, the Shah.
This is my opinion. I think, as you saw in the Green Revolution, they want to change. They elected Rouhani. For Iranian politics, he’s pretty moderate isn’t he?
CPM: I actually just wrote about Rouhani. He has resumed using Hezbollah and the Quds Force to help courier drugs to fund terror in Latin America. And, under Rouhani, Iran has violated the nuke deal for the second time by testing nuclear-capable ICBMs with the ability to reach the United States.
That’s why, for me, I look at Iran and ask, “Isn’t that a destabilizing threat?” Or, do you think Shia terror is so centered around the Israel issue, it doesn’t pose the same threat as the Saudi-backed Wahhabism that fuels ISIS and al-Qaeda?
Deen: Let’s take a look at that. When Saddam was in power, he was the buffer against Iran. Now, if Saddam’s army — which was a joke — was the buffer to the Iranian military, then how big of a threat is the Iranian military to us?
CPM: An excellent point. And I think you can argue that, territoriality, Iraq was a buffer. But, even during the Iran/Iraq War, Iraq didn’t stop Iran from exporting terrorism and using its proxy forces, like Hezbollah, worldwide.
Deen: Yeah, I’m not saying that Iran’s not something that we have to worry about. They’re really good at having their little proxies work in destabilized areas, especially when there’s a power vacuum. But Iran is really an afterthought when it comes to any specific problems in Islam.
CPM: So, just to be clear, you’re saying that Iran may be a threat geopolitically, but theologically it isn’t? Iran isn’t the threat to Islam that Saudi Arabia is?
Deen: Yeah. How many of these groups that you’re seeing — Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, ISIS — how many of them are Shia?
Deen: How many of these Shia groups that you’re seeing are going to try to come and take over all of Islam? They’re not. The groups that want to do that are all Sunni.
Sayed: Right, 90% of the Muslim world is Sunni.
Deen: Look, the Saudis buy a lot of influence. That’s what they do to stay alive. Are you going to fault them as a country? No.
Do we really give a rat’s ass about what’s going on in the Middle East? Does the Middle East affect us like Canada and Mexico could?
CPM: Well, Americans didn’t concern themselves at all with the Middle East and then 9/11 happened and suddenly everybody was like, “Wait, what the hell is going on in the Middle East? Maybe we need to start paying attention to what’s going on over there because it seems to be impacting us.”
Deen: This all stems from the fact that no one wants to live under a repressive regime. That’s like the United States being under British law. It got to a point where we were like, “Screw it. We’ll take on this big badass in King George III just because he’s repressing us.” If you looked at what the US did to get its independence from Britain, you could see us as terrorists.
CPM: I disagree. We attempted lawful change under George III, followed by civil protests. It was only when those failed that we declared war, but it’s not like we were terrorizing British civilians in London. And the Revolution wasn’t fought to establish a fascist form of religion that demanded conformity from all the colonies.
Deen: No, no, you’re right. But what I’m saying is that we’re seeing terror groups evolve. It used to be that al-Qaeda was the boogie man. Now it’s ISIS. There will be another two to three groups that come out of ISIS. What are you going to do? They’re following the ideology. Their ideology is still skewed, but eventually one of these groups is going to get that ideology right.
In 18 months, ISIS doubled its recruits. If a terror group comes along where the ideology is refined, done right, they could probably double their recruits in a year.
CPM: When you say the ideology is “refined,” do you mean it is aligned perfectly with Islam?
Deen: Yeah, and it’s not right now. ISIS says they want to go back to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and create a caliphate. The problem is, they’re not doing it the way it should be done. One, you can’t just make yourself the damn caliph.
CPM: Wait, if an organization establishes a more “refined” ideology,” shouldn’t that ideology — if it aligns with true Islam — be peaceful?
Deen: It will, but the problem is in order to establish a caliph, there’s going to have to be bloodshed.
Sayed: I’m getting the picture that you think we’re saying, “Oh, the radicals will lead us to the right path.” No, I think it’s that the radicalism will wake us up, and we will realize as Muslims that we have to fight back.
Deen: Yeah, that’s absolutely correct. Sometimes you have the maniacs open the door.
CPM: So, you’re saying that because of this internal tumult in Islam, eventually the Saudi monarchy falls apart and something much better comes to fruition?
Deen: Exactly, and that’s exactly what’s going on. There’s a war within Islam.
The Struggle of Muslims in America
CPM: Most Americans, I think, would say, “We get it, there’s a war within Islam. But how does San Bernardino fit in with this? Why does Islam’s internal tumult need to involve us?”
Sayed: If I’m an Argentine Muslim, let’s say, I don’t really care about al-Qaeda because I’m more concerned about my day-to-day job — al-Qaeda has nothing to do with me. So I don’t really pay attention. But, as a result, al-Qaeda is still around. The Muslim community isn’t mobilized against them.
Now, though, with the formation of Daesh, the Muslim community just might mobilize because you have a group that wants to spread their perverted, evil version of what they call Islam by the sword, everywhere.
Daesh says, “If you’re a non-Muslim, I can recruit you. I can take you as a prisoner of war. I can brainwash you. I can turn you to my side. But if you’re a Muslim, you are a threat — even if you’re not a practicing Muslim, you have the basics of the faith so you’ll know enough to say, “What Daesh is preaching is not right. I know the truth.”
CPM: So, Muslims are a greater threat than non-Muslims?
Sayed: Correct, but the thing is what Daesh is doing with San Bernardino, is perfecting a strategy of divide and conquer. Al-Baghdadi wants to show Muslims that the West just won’t accept them, he wants to drive that wedge.
And you know what? He’s doing a good job in the West with making Muslims feel like we’re alienated. That is what happens, in my opinion.
I grew up during the years around 9/11. I had the daughter of the police chief in my town say some horrific things to me, since I was a Muslim, right after 9/11. That never deterred me because I’ve always been proud to be an American. I’ve always wanted to be that soldier. For me, as hard as things got, I never lost sight that I’m an American and you can’t take that away. This is our country. We got attacked. I wanted to become a soldier.
But, for some people — especially during those teenage years when you’re feeling a little lost or alone — they may not have that feeling, so they are very easily influenced. That’s where radicalism comes in through social media.
If the three of us were Muslim teenagers and, Chris, you started talking about how great Osama bin Laden was, we’d call you out on it — “Dude, you’re crazy.” Until you gave up those radicalized views, we’d say, “Stay away from Chris.” No one would pay any attention to you.
And if you started making some moves, somebody would say, “He’s buying weapons. He’s buying a shitload of ammo. We got to do something.” But the way Daesh does it, they radicalize you but you withdraw. You don’t tell your friends and family what’s going on. We don’t know the signs of radicalization. We’re not from the military. We’re just average people.
Deen: I just finished a three-month long Information Operations course. Good school, but we’re so far behind. We don’t want to understand the threat. We don’t understand the ideology.
ISIS doesn’t have to take a lot of time and effort to recruit because it presents the fix to an obvious problem. Recruits are like, “Hey, look. The Muslim world is screwed up. We’re in a repressive regime. We want to fix this our way.”
CPM: When you say “repressive regime,” you mean Saudi Arabia?
Sayed: Pakistan too. Afghanistan.
Deen: The recruits are saying, “Look, all these Muslim countries that say they’re Muslim are not Muslim. They’re just Muslim by name. The top echelons of their government are the absolute furthest thing from being Muslim. They’ll say whatever they want to the people and make whatever laws, but they do their own thing.”
CPM: So, the problem is a very perverted theocracy? It’s not like a corrupt Pope ruling the Holy Roman Empire, it’s like a ruler claiming to rule in Jesus’ name when he doesn’t even understand Christianity.
Deen: The people are being oppressed. The distribution of wealth is so uneven it’s ridiculous. There’s no education. Now, why is it so easy to get some of these recruits in the West? It’s because, as a Muslim, the hardest place to live is America, England — the West. That tests your faith.
Deen: Okay, if I lived in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, it would be very hard for me to go get alcohol. There’s no strip joints. You have to put in a real effort to do find vices. Here in the United States, almost everything is legal. If I want to go to a bar, I’m just going to go walk into a bar. Do I want to go to a strip club? I can go to a strip club. The things that test your faith are here. It’s the hardest place to be a Muslim.
CPM: I get that it’s hard to deal with the temptations of the West, but you’re actually saying that it’s harder to live here than under some of the more oppressive regimes like Saudi Arabia?
Deen: It’s almost like going to a rehab facility. It’s easy to live in an environment where it’s so clean and sterilized for you.
CPM: Even if it’s oppressive?
Deen: Even if it’s oppressive. But that’s part of Islam — to deal with those choices. It’s your choice. Do you want to go to a strip club or not?
CPM: If places like Saudi Arabia don’t allow you that choice, or if they threaten to punish you for engaging in certain kinds of activities — you’re saying that would be a perversion of Islam?
Deen: Yes. But at the same time, they’ll do exactly the same activities they’re punishing other people for. If the rich can do certain things, and the poor know that’s going on but they can’t do it, which is more reason for radicalization.
(Continued On Next Page)