By Father Patrick Bascio C.S.Sp
ISBN: 13: 978-0-8283-2152-5
You may have recently read my review of Priest to Mafia Don by Father Patrick Bascio. In the same year, Father Bascio has also published Defeating Islamic Terrorism: The Wahhabi Factor. I don’t think I have read two such different books by the same author and yet, both are excellent in presentation and fascinating in covering their subject.
Father Bascio professionally has acted as Director of the PhD program for American and Allied personnel at the United States Naval War College. During his years as a priest, he became a member of the General Assembly of the United Nations. There, he had the distinction of having been the only priest ever to be a Permanent Delegate to that august body. Through his professional involvement, he gained the knowledge and experience used in writing this book. Normally I wouldn’t include coverage of an author’s credentials within a review, but I believe that those who will consider reading this book will want to know the author’s background. Terrorism has become a household word for most people these days. We need and want to know more! I found that the information presented in this book was very comprehensive, for Father Bascio has much to share with Americans. Please consider reading this book in the near future!
No, I had never heard of the word Wahhabi—just as the author predicted! “Wahhabism is the angry form of Islamism...the soil in which anti-Western and anti-American terrorism grows,” according to Ex-CIA Director, R. James Woolsey. “Never before in history have so many been so fearful of so few because Islamic terrorism plagues a very large section of the world’s population.” (p. 7) As I read, I had to agree with the author that, “there is something wrong with a foreign policy that is so lacking in knowledge of the Wahhabi that the average American citizen, upon hearing the term, has no idea what it means.” (p. 11)
For me, I felt it was important that the author included references to the many atrocities of the past, done in the name of Christianity. Just as at that time, it is important that we realize that the Islamic terrorists are not representatives of all Islamic nations, but rather of those that are of the Wahhabi sect from Saudi Arabia. A key issue, though, is that these terrorists are being funded and children throughout the world are being taught at newly built schools and mosques the basic tenets and principles of Wahhabism through that funding! “Saudi money spending frenzy has resulted in the construction of 1500 mosques, 210 Islamic centers, 202 colleges and nearly 2000 schools spread across the globe.” (p. 53) So, the breadth of exposure and expansion of this group is far above anything seen in the past. “Saudi connections to terrorism continue to appear.” (p. 58)
Indeed, the author notes “Wahhabism’s intimate relationship with the Saudi government presents American officials with a unique dilemma, in that it is the only foreign government that directly uses religion as a cover for its political activities in the United States” (p. 30). This is especially ironic when the United States monitors and mandates a strict separation of church and state for its own citizens. “Regrettably, religiously inspired or pseudo religiously inspired terrorist groups are the fastest growing form of terrorism.” (p. 101)
Bascio hones in on another little-known issue. There is little known about the history of the Central Asian republics’ successful struggle with our enemy or their willingness to help us defeat them. Why is that? Perhaps because “when Uzebekistan, in July, 2005, ordered the eviction of U. S. Military personnel from the Karshi-Khanabad airbase, the dimensions of our loss of face and influence in Central Asia became evident.”
The author discusses each of the countries involved in Central Asia and demonstrates how each of three major countries—Russia, China and the United States—are working to gain a relationship. Russia and China are doing much to increase their interaction while the United States still has not gotten over what happened in the past. Are we able to become humble and recognize our mistakes and approach the Islamic issue with understanding and patience? Because no matter what, the “United States and Central Asian governments share a common enemy – Wahhabism.” (p. 161)
In-depth reviews of specific events, the identification of “Peshawar as the Heartland of Islamic Terrorism,” (P. 145) specific people of influence, such as “Euvgeny Primakov” (p.234), as well as specific recommendations make this book one of the most unbiased, informative books available, in my opinion. There is much to be considered here; there is much to be learned.
The United States has made mistakes in decisions made from time to time. Can we acknowledge and move on to discussing options that will allow us to work with the majority of Islamic people who lives in accordance with the Koran, which speaks out against violence? Perhaps as we learn more through books such as Defeating Islamic Terrorism, we can become better informed and help toward making sound decisions that will indeed defeat the acts of terror now feared by all. The reality of today in America makes this a Must-Read Book!
G. A. Bixler For IP Book Reviewers