With the dream of establishing an utopian Islamic State having failed to materialise, Islamists have found a less violent (at least for now) to expand their base in the West through dawa, writes Ayaan Hirsi Ali, in her column in UnHerd website. Dawa means call to faith.
Explaining the modus operandi of Islamists, Ali writes: “Nearly 20 years after 9/11, Westerners still remain unfamiliar with dawa. In theory, the term simply refers to the call to Islam, a kind of invitation; Westerners would recognise it as part of a proselytising mission. In practice, however, Islamists rely on dawa as a comprehensive propaganda, PR and brainwashing system designed to make all Muslims embrace an Islamist programme while converting as many non-Muslims as possible.”
Western analysts are unaware of the potential of dawa which Muslim Brotherhood has effectively used. In this context it may be mentioned that in India, too, a slew of Islamist organisations inspired by Muslim Brotherhood such as Jamaat-e-Islami and Popular Front of India are engaged in pushing dawa activities for converting non-Muslims.
She further adds that Islamists achieve far more through promoting Dawa than manifesting their jihadist proclivities, which invariably involves the use of barbarity and violence to fulfil their objectives. The threat from Dawa is unsubtle, it is not as conspicuous as militant jihad, Hirsi Ali says. Dawa is about forging networks: international, regional and local, which is what makes it even more dangerous than the menace of violent jihad.
For instance, Saudi Arabia has pumped billions of dollars into Dawa in countries where it plans to expand the influence of Islam. The United States is one of the many countries where these murky and opaque donations have continued unabated. Since these transactions happen under the veneer of charity, spirituality and religion, the western regimes, including the government in the United States, don’t give it much of a thought. As a result, Islamism in western institutions is spreading unchecked and has got a powerful ally for Dawa.