Friday, March 28, 2008

Dr. Tawfik Hamid reveals life as an Islamicist - VDH

Hamid’s metaphors are more poignant and instructive. After accurately likening radical Islam to a “cancerous cell” within the Islamic body, he goes on to discuss Western “myths and misconceptions” regarding the spread of this cancer (i.e. that Islamist terror is the inevitable byproduct of poverty, discrimination, ignorance, absence of democracy, colonialism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, U.S. foreign policy, et. al.).
He then reminds us that “Every medical doctor [i.e. people who truly apply the “scientific method”] will assert that it is very difficult to treat a disease if it is misdiagnosed or if the disease is confused with symptoms. If we misdiagnose, then we treat the wrong illness. If we confuse the roots of the illness or superficially mask its symptoms, we cannot effect [sic] a cure. The same applies to the societal disease of terrorism.”
March 27, 2008
Radical Thoughts
Dr. Tawfik Hamid reveals life as an Islamicist.
by Raymond R. IbrahimPrivate PapersThis review of Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam by Dr. Tawfik Hamid (Top Executive Media, 2006) was originally published at ASMEA as “An Insider’s Thoughts on Radical Islam.”
Several singular reasons make Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam by Dr. Tawfik Hamid a welcome contribution to the otherwise growing lore on radical Islam. Tawfik himself is a former jihadist and onetime member of Egypt’s infamous Islamist group al-Gam’a al-Islamiyya, which, among other notorieties, was responsible for the 1997 Luxor massacre where fifty-eight foreign (mostly European) tourists where butchered (to Hamid’s credit, he abandoned the organization well before it took to such extreme acts of terror). More intriguing is the fact that he met and was “mentored” by none other than al Qaeda leader and Islamic ideologue Dr. Ayman Zawahiri.
These two aspects alone place Hamid in a privileged position to comment on radical Islam; he is not simply talking out of “theory” but real life immersion and experience. But what makes his observations more noteworthy is the fact that, as a medical doctor with a background in psychology, he approaches his subject objectively (medical training) as well as gives a meticulous account of the jihadist mentality and the phases it goes through (psychological training).
Hamid’s professional background further allows him to make valuable use of medical analogies to better illustrate his point — not unlike his former mentor and fellow doctor, Zawahiri. Ironically (and surely unknowingly) both doctors offer medical imagery to combat each other’s views. Warning the umma from those who “cloak themselves in the garb of Islam worming their way into the umma’s beliefs, mind, and heart,” Zawahiri likens reformers such as Hamid to “lethal bacteria, trying to overcome the human immune system, trying to destroy it to sow corruption in the cells of the human body” (The Al Qaeda Reader, p. 104).


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