Sword and Scimitar

Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West


By Raymond Ibrahim

Foreword by Victor Davis Hanson

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A sweeping history of the often-violent conflict between Islam and the West, shedding a revealing light on current hostilities

The West and Islam — the sword and scimitar — have clashed since the mid-seventh century, when, according to Muslim tradition, the Roman emperor rejected Prophet Muhammad’s order to abandon Christianity and convert to Islam, unleashing a centuries-long jihad on Christendom.

Sword and Scimitar chronicles the decisive battles that arose from this ages-old Islamic jihad, beginning with the first major Islamic attack on Christian land in 636, through the Muslim occupation of nearly three-quarters of Christendom which prompted the Crusades, followed by renewed Muslim conquests by Turks and Tatars, to the European colonization of the Muslim world in the 1800s, when Islam largely went on the retreat — until its reemergence in recent times. Using original sources in Arabic and Greek, preeminent historian Raymond Ibrahim describes each battle in vivid detail and explains how these wars and the larger historical currents of the age reflect the cultural fault lines between Islam and the West.

The majority of these landmark battles — including the battles of Yarmuk, Tours, Manzikert, the sieges at Constantinople and Vienna, and the crusades in Syria and Spain–are now forgotten or considered inconsequential. Yet today, as the West faces a resurgence of this enduring Islamic jihad, Sword and Scimitar provides the needed historical context to understand the current relationship between the West and the Islamic world — and why the Islamic State is merely the latest chapter of an old history.



THIS BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY CONCEIVED AS A MILITARY HISTORY between Islam and the West,* revolving around their eight most decisive battles and/or sieges (the first occurring in 636, the last in 1683). As intrinsically interesting as this topic may be—my own master’s thesis, written nearly twenty years ago under the chairmanship of noted military historian Victor Davis Hanson, was on the first and most decisive clash between Islam and the West, the Battle of Yarmuk—it soon became evident that there was a much larger but wholly forgotten backstory to this particular military history, the recollection of which can revolutionize the way the West understands its past, and thus its present, with Islam. As Bernard Lewis, one of the few modern historians to appreciate the totality of Muslim-Western history, explains, “We tend nowadays to forget that for approximately a thousand years, from the advent of Islam in the seventh century until the second siege of Vienna in 1683, Christian Europe was under constant threat from Islam, the double threat of conquest and conversion. Most of the new Muslim domains were wrested from Christendom. Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa were all Christian countries, no less, indeed rather more, than Spain and Sicily. All this left a deep sense of loss and a deep fear.”1

Despite all this, the only conflicts highlighted today include the crusades, European colonialism, and any other Western venture that can be made to conform to the popular view that Europeans initiated hostilities against non-Europeans. Even among less ideologically charged historians, the macrocosmic significance of the aforementioned millennium, when “Christian Europe was under constant threat from Islam,” is unintelligible. They talk of “Arab,” “Moorish,” “Ottoman,” or “Tatar”—rarely Islamic—invasions and conquests, even though the selfsame rationale—jihad—impelled those otherwise diverse peoples to assault the West.

None of this is helped by the fact that “most Muslims, unlike most Americans, have an intense historical awareness and see current events in a much deeper and broader perspective than we normally do.”2 Indeed, Muslim words addressed to and deeds performed in the West are often based on verbatim quotes and acts that Muslims have been saying and doing to Europe’s ancestors for centuries. When Osama bin Laden opened his messages to the West with the words “Peace to whoever follows guidance,” few knew that these irenic words were lifted directly from Islamic prophet Muhammad’s “introductory” letters to non-Muslim kings; even fewer knew that Muhammad’s follow-up sentence—which bin Laden wisely omitted—clarified what “following guidance” really means: “submit [to Islam] and have peace.” When Yasser Arafat made a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 that was criticized by fellow Arabs and Muslims as offering too many concessions, the Palestinian leader justified his actions by saying, “I see this agreement as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh in Mecca”—that is, a truce that Muhammad abolished on a pretext once he was in a position of power and able to go on the offensive.3 Whereas many of the world’s Muslims make the connection and appreciate the continuity of the words and deeds of their politically active coreligionists, the West remains oblivious.

Which leads to the most timely aspect of this book. It definitively answers one of the most pressing questions of our time: Are militant Muslims—aka “terrorists,” “radicals,” “extremists”—being true to Islam, as they insist, or are they “hijacking” it for their own agendas, as we are told? This question has taken on renewed urgency with the rise of the Islamic State, which fashions itself after the caliphates of old and justifies every atrocity it commits—genocidal massacres, beheadings, crucifixions, mutilations, immolations, mass rapes, and enslavements—by citing Islamic doctrines.

A number of writers and analysts, myself included,4 have sought to answer this question by showing that Islamic scriptures and their mainstream exegeses often do indeed support the Islamic State’s and other jihadi organizations’ actions. What few have done, however, is answer this question from a macro-historical perspective—that is, not by citing what most in the West instinctively dismiss as “abstract,” “theoretical,” and thus “open-to-interpretation” words of old scriptures, but by documenting what Muslims have actually done to and in the West for centuries. This is an admittedly more complex task that requires a familiarity with and distillation of a number of arcane texts written over the span of a millennium and in a variety of languages—not just key verses in the Koran and hadith. Yet within the context of its stated purview, this book does just that: it records a variety of Muslims across time and space behaving exactly like the Islamic State and for the same reasons.

Some words on methodology and various other caveats: what may seem a disproportionately large amount of space has been allotted to the first three chapters, which collectively center around three battles waged between 636 and 732. This was intentional: battles closer to our times are generally better documented, more detailed, and naturally seem more relevant due to their temporal proximity. Accordingly, they are already overrepresented in the modern literature, especially in contrast to their more distant and sparsely recorded counterparts. Yet, as shall be seen, there is no denying that Yarmuk (636) or the Second Siege of Constantinople (717) had far greater consequences than, say, the widely known and much celebrated Battle of Lepanto (1571).

Doing justice to nearly fourteen centuries of military history between Islam and the West without going over the allotted space was no easy task and required an unwavering fixation on matters of wars, their origins and consequences. As such, this book does not pretend to be a general history; that nonmilitant exchanges between the two civilizations existed, and that the totality of Islamic history is richer than and hardly limited to jihad, is acknowledged. Yet the fact remains: “For most of their common history, relations between the two communities were shaped by attack and counterattack, jihad and crusade, conquest and reconquest.”5 Thus, while this book is not a general history of Western-Muslim relations, it is most certainly a history of the most general aspect of said relations—war—which is more than can be said for many academic books that masquerade as “general histories” of Islam and its interactions with other civilizations by placing peripherals and incidentals at center stage and sidelining the constants of war.

Tracing these constants, setting the record straight, and shedding light on contemporary questions would not have been possible without resorting to the original (but out of fashion or too cumbersome to wield) tool of the historian: primary sources, both Muslim and Western. Unlike many secondary histories—books heavy with their authors’ subjective interpretations and light on objective substantiations—I have given the Muslims and Christians of the past, including those who fought and died, much space to tell their story. Their words—separated by centuries and continents—evince a remarkable continuity that is alone significant.*

A word of warning: premodern men—kings or chroniclers, Muslims or Christians—were by today’s standards vociferously candid and spared no invective for what they deemed was the source of conflict—namely, the belief system of the other. Although their aspersions are usually seen as unnecessarily provocative hype and thus left out of polite histories, I have kept a fair amount in this book in the belief that they go a long way in explaining how each saw the other, and hence why they fought and died.

Concerning the oldest Muslim histories, which are our chief source for Islam’s first two centuries, one Western school of thought holds them to be little more than foundational myths. Whatever the merits of this thesis, they have not dissuaded me from employing these earliest Arabic texts (mostly limited to the Introduction and Chapter 1). After all, what Muslims believe happened—and most Muslims treat the histories in question with reverence—is more important than what actually happened (much of which must remain conjectural anyway) and reveals how Muslims see their role in history. Of course, by using these sources to highlight Muslim beliefs does not mean that I also replicated their pious rationale, as many Western historians are wont to do—much to the disservice of their audience. By parroting hagiographical formulations—such as “Muhammad received a revelation” to explain his subsequent behavior—such historians rarely offer critical interpretations concerning motive.

In conclusion, Sword and Scimitar documents how the West and Islam have been mortal enemies since the latter’s birth some fourteen centuries ago. It does this in the context of narrating their military history, with a focus on their most landmark encounters, some of which have had a profound impact on the shaping of the world. However, unlike most military histories—which no matter how fascinating are ultimately academic—this one offers timely correctives: it sets the much distorted historical record between the two civilizations straight and, in so doing, demonstrates once and for all that Muslim hostility for the West is not an aberration but a continuation of Islamic history.

Raymond Ibrahim October 6, 2017

* Especial thanks go to my literary agent Peter Bernstein for representing, and to my acquiring editor Robert L. Pigeon for accepting the idea of this book.

† That Europeans and Muslims each won four is a happy coincidence of symmetry.

* In an effort to eliminate confusions borne of inconsistencies, when quoting from (usually older) English translations of Arabic, Turkish, or Persian texts, I have taken the liberty of changing certain translations to transliterations. For example, if an English-language source of an Arabic text translates “Allah” to “God,” I returned it to “Allah”; if it translates “jihad” to “Holy War,” I returned it to “jihad”; if it translates “Allahu Akbar” to “God is Great[est]”—which is also a wrong translation in that the Arabic is a comparative, not superlative—I returned it to “Allahu Akbar.” Koran translations are my own as checked against more mainstream translations (e.g., Pickthall, Dawood, Ali, and Shakir).

† Thus, according to John V. Tolan, “the Koran verifies his [Muhammad’s] right to more than four wives and specifies his right in particular to marry Zaynab, divorced wife of his disciple and adopted son Zayd (33:37–38). This story, too, will be twisted by the hostile pens of Christian polemicists, will be used to supplement their image of Muhammad as lustful” (Tolan 2002, 29). Not only does Tolan fail to mention that Zaynab and Zayd got divorced precisely because Muhammad desired the latter’s wife, but he appears irked that Christians “twisted” this story—that is, read between the lines and understood Muhammad’s “revelation” for what it was—instead of simply accepting it as Allah’s will, not to be questioned.



I have been commanded to wage war against mankind until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.… If they do so, their blood and property are protected.

—Muhammad bin Abdullah, Prophet of Islam1

I have been made victorious with terror.

—Prophet of Islam2

If it were not a hardship for the Muslims, I would never idle behind from a raiding party going out to fight in the path of Allah.… I [would] love to raid in the path of Allah and be killed, to raid again and be killed, and to raid again and be killed.

—Prophet of Islam3


BEFORE DELINEATING THE HISTORY OF WARFARE BETWEEN ISLAM and the West, its roots must first be comprehended. These begin and end with the Arabian founder and prophet of Islam, Muhammad bin Abdullah (570–632). In 610 he began telling his polytheistic tribesmen in Mecca that an angel (Gabriel) had called him to become Allah’s messenger. The message was simple and revolved around the concept of submission—Islam in Arabic—to Allah’s commandments (as delivered to and by Muhammad); whoever obeyed became a Muslim (“one who submits”). After twelve years of preaching Muhammad had only won over some one hundred converts, mostly relatives. Although they originally let him preach unmolested, Mecca’s tribal elites, the Quraysh, eventually wearied of his agitating against their gods and traditions and drove him out in 622. The prophet and his followers fled to, and the former eventually became master of, the oasis region of Yathrib, later dubbed Medina, the “Radiant.” Now, with a considerable force of men under his control, Muhammad began to launch raids everywhere.

There was only one way to avoid the scimitar of Muhammad, captured in the following instructions he gave his followers: “Fight them [non-Muslims] until they testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger; if they do so, then their blood [lives] and possessions are denied you.”4 His followers grew with every spoil-laden victory and were of two kinds: those vanquished by Muhammad, who chose Islam (submission) over slavery or death; and those impressed by Muhammad, who chose Islam (submission) in order to join his bandwagon and reap its rewards. All that both groups had to do was recite the shahada, Islam’s first pillar and proclamation of faith: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” Whether they sincerely believed the words or not was an academic distinction. In saying them, they made submission (Islam) to Muhammad’s political authority and as such were good Muslims.

As Islamic histories will make clear in the coming pages, desire for what can be gained from or mere fear of Islam—both of which are seen as validating and thus exalting its power—were the primary impetus for conversion. That Muhammad had only won over some one hundred followers after a decade of peaceful preaching in Mecca—but nearly the whole of Arabia after a decade of successful raiding, “an average of no fewer than nine campaigns annually”5—speaks for itself. As Edward Gibbon observed, Muhammad “employ[ed] even the vices of mankind as the instruments of their salvation,” and the “use of fraud and perfidy, of cruelty and injustice, were often subservient to the propagation of the faith.”6

By 630, Muhammad’s following had so grown that he could march ten thousand armed Muslims onto Mecca, whence he had been ignominiously driven out eight years earlier. An ultimatum was sent to the longtime naysayers and scoffers: “Embrace Islam and you shall be safe. You have been surrounded on all sides. You are confronted by a hard case that is beyond your power.” When the Quraysh chieftain of Mecca—who, since Muhammad began preaching some two decades earlier, had only mocked and persecuted him as a false prophet—came to parley, Muhammad trumpeted, “Woe to you, Abu Sufyan; isn’t it time that you recognize that I am Allah’s apostle?” “As to that,” replied the crestfallen pagan, “I still have some doubt.” One of Muhammad’s raiders instantly ordered him to “submit and testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the apostle of Allah before you lose your head!”7 Abu Sufyan, followed by the Meccans, proclaimed the shahada to resounding cries of “Allahu Akbar!”

Such is the bare-bones, hagiographic-free summary of Muhammad’s rise from obscurity to power.


The appeal of Muhammad’s message lay in its compatibility with the tribal mores of his society, three in particular: loyalty to one’s tribe, enmity for other tribes, and raids on the latter to enrich and empower the former. For seventh-century Arabs—and later tribal peoples, chiefly Turks and Tatars, who also found natural appeal in Islam—the tribe was what humanity is to modern people: to be part of it was to be treated humanely; to be outside of it was to be treated inhumanely. This is no exaggeration: Muslim philosopher Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) described the Arabs of his time (let alone those from Muhammad’s more primitive era eight centuries earlier) as “the most savage human beings that exist. Compared with sedentary people they are on a level with wild, untamable animals and dumb beasts of prey. Such people are the Arabs.”8

Muhammad upheld the dichotomy of tribalism, but by prioritizing fellow Muslims over blood relatives. Thus the umma—the Islamic “Super-Tribe” that transcends racial, national, and linguistic barriers—was born*; and its natural enemy remained everyone outside it. The Islamic doctrine of al-wala’ wa al-bara’ (“loyalty and enmity”), which Muhammad preached and the Koran commands, captures all this.* The latter goes so far as to command all Muslims to “renounce” and “disown” their non-Muslim relatives—“even if they be their fathers, their sons, their brothers, or their nearest kindred”—and to feel only “enmity and hate” for them until they “believe in Allah alone” (Koran 58:22 and 60:4). As one researcher summarizes, non-Muslims are described in the Koran as “vile animals and beasts, the worst of creatures and demons; perverted transgressors and partners of Satan to be fought until religion is Allah’s alone. They are to be beheaded; terrorized, annihilated, crucified, punished, and expelled, and plotted against by deceit.”9

Hence the jihad was born. As only two tribes existed—the Islamic umma in one tent and the dehumanized tribes of the world in another—Muslims were exhorted to attack and subjugate all these “infidels” in order to make their Super-Tribe supreme. This dichotomized worldview remains enshrined in Islamic law’s, or sharia’s, mandate that Dar al-Islam (the “Abode of Islam”) must battle Dar al-Kufr (the “Abode of Infidelity”) in perpetuity until the former subsumes the latter. From here the argument can be made that Muhammad’s most enduring contribution to world history is that, in repackaging the tribal mores of seventh-century Arabia through a theological paradigm, he also deified tribalism, causing it to outlive its setting and spill into the modern era. Whereas most world civilizations have been able to slough off their historic tribalism and enter into modernity, to break with tribalism for Muslims is to break with Muhammad and his laws—to break with cardinal Islamic teachings.


Numerous Koran verses and canonical (sahih) hadiths portray jihad as the noblest endeavor. “Lining up for battle in the path of Allah,” Muhammad said, “is worthier than 60 years of worship.”§ Accordingly, whereas the rewards of the pre-Islamic tribal raid were limited to temporal spoils and came with the risk of death, the deified raid (jihad) offered rewards in the here and hereafter—meaning it was essentially risk-free—and thus led to a newborn fanaticism and sense of determination. As one Meccan scout reported after secretly surveying Muhammad’s nascent Medinan army: “Yes, they are quite fewer than us. But death rides astride their camels. Their only refuge is the sword; dumb as the grave, their tongues they put forth with the serpent’s deadly aim.”10

Whoever survived the successful raid on the infidel was guaranteed all the usual spoils of war—plunder and slaves, including concubines; whoever died during this jihad was guaranteed similar but greater spoils in the afterlife. Either way, they won: “I guarantee him either admission to Paradise,” said Muhammad, “or return to whence he set out with a reward or booty.”11 As for “the martyr”—the shahid—he “is special to Allah,” said the prophet.* “He is forgiven from the first drop of blood [he sheds]. He sees his throne in paradise.… Fixed atop his head will be a crown of honor, a ruby that is greater than the world and all it contains. And he will copulate with seventy-two Houris.12 The houris are supernatural, celestial women—“wide-eyed” and “big-bosomed,” says the Koran—created by Allah for the express purpose of gratifying his favorites in perpetuity. That Islamic scriptures portray paradise in decidedly carnal terms—food, drink, gold, and “eternally young boys” who “circulate among” the believers also await the martyr—should not be surprising considering the aforementioned primitivism of Muhammad’s society.13

Incidentally, Muhammad/Allah took a different approach to Muslims not inspired to fight on promises of temporal or eternal rewards: they “will be tortured like no other sinful human”14 in hell, threatened Muhammad, with confirmation from Allah (e.g., Koran 8:15). At any rate, that the jihad’s win-win nature motivated the early Muslims is widely attested and independently confirmed by past and present non-Muslim sources. “It is almost as if they are driven by the very demons of Hell itself,” a bewildered Byzantine official would proclaim of the soon-to-be invading Arabs. “They are in no wise tempted by comfort or safety. Instead, I dare say, they relish the ardor of battle and welcome the horrors of death.”15 According to a tenth-century Chinese source, “Every seventh day the king [of the Arabs] sits on high and speaks to those below, saying: ‘Those who are killed by the enemy will be borne in heaven above; those who slay the enemy will receive happiness.’ Therefore they are usually valiant fighters.”16

Nor—and this is pivotal—were those who undertook jihad obligated to have sincere or pious intentions. The cold, businesslike language of the Koran makes this clear. Whoever wages jihad makes a “fine loan to Allah,” which the latter guarantees to pay back “many times over,” always commensurate with their efforts (e.g., Koran 2:245, 4:95). Simply put, “Allah has bought from the believers their lives and worldly goods, and in return has promised them Paradise: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall kill and be killed.… Rejoice then in the bargain you have struck, for that is the supreme triumph” (Koran 9:111, emphasis added).§

The instant forgiveness of sins granted to believers naturally became a license to sin for less believing Muslims. So long as they proclaim the shahada and pledge allegiance to Muhammad/Allah/umma, they can join and reap the rewards of jihad, no questions asked. Fighting in Islam’s service—with the risk of dying—is all the proof of piety needed. Indeed, sometimes fighting has precedence over piety: many dispensations, including not upholding prayers and fasting, are granted those who participate in jihad. Ottoman sultans were actually forbidden from going on pilgrimage to Mecca—an otherwise individual obligation for Muslims—simply because doing so could jeopardize the annual jihad.17 Similarly, according to the renowned Sunni jurisprudent Ibn Qudama (d. 1223), “One must fight under every leader, whether it be a respectable [meaning pious] man or a corrupt man.”18

All this is important to keep in mind because many of the greatest jihadis* in the coming pages led otherwise un-Islamic lives (for instance by drinking alcohol or engaging in homosexuality). This fact has caused Western historians to disassociate these Muslims—and their often sadistic treatment of infidels—from Islam. Meanwhile Islamic historiography reveres them as good Muslims precisely because they waged successful jihads on the infidel. Others, like Khalid bin al-Walid, who mocked and warred on Muhammad only to proclaim the shahada once the latter took Mecca, were little more than mass-killing psychotics and rapists.


Having gained a basic understanding of jihad, it is now necessary to examine Muhammad’s dealings with and views on “the West.” But as that term is fraught with problems and anachronisms—what other civilization is still named after a direction?—some clarifications are in order.

Like Islam, what is now referred to as the West was for centuries known and demarcated by the territorial extent of its religion (hence the older and more cohesive term, “Christendom”). It included the lands of the old Roman Empire—parts of Europe, all of North Africa, Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor—which had become Christian centuries before Islam arrived and were part of the same overarching civilization.

In other words, the West is what remained of Christendom after Islam conquered some three-fourths of its original territory. As historian Franco Cardini puts it: “If we… ask ourselves how and when the modern notion of Europe and the European identity was born, we realize the extent to which Islam was a factor (albeit a negative one) in its creation. Repeated Muslim aggression against Europe… was a ‘violent midwife’ to Europe.”19 Resisting Islam defined Europe through the unity of Christianity. Similarly, after summarizing centuries of Islamic invasions, Bernard Lewis writes, “Thus, at both its eastern and southwestern extremities, the limits and in a sense even the identity of Europe were established through first the advance, and then the retreat, of Islam.”20 Accordingly, Europe’s self-identity never revolved around ethnicity or language—hence why such a small corner of the Eurasian landmass (Europe) still houses dozens of both, some widely divergent—but rather religion; it was the last and most redoubtable bastion of Christendom not to be conquered by Islam. Simply put, the West is actually the westernmost remnant of what was a much more extensive civilizational block that Islam permanently severed.


  • "Raymond Ibrahim's Sword and Scimitar is a much-needed history of landmark battles between Islam and the West, . . . [a] first-rate military history and a product of solid scholarship and philological research."--from the Foreword by Victor Davis Hanson, Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution
  • "With passion, Raymond Ibrahim offers an edgy and eye-opening introduction to a millennium of warfare between the Muslim and Christian worlds before the modern age."--Thomas Madden, award-winning author of Istanbul,Venice,and Concise History of the Crusades
  • "Raymond Ibrahim has the humility to take seriously the voices and opinions of history's Christians and Muslims; the result is a refreshingly honest account of Islamic expansion and Christian reaction that provides useful insights into today's problems. This is history as it should be done: allowing the past to inform and guide the present, rather than distorting the past to fit contemporary political ideologies."--Paul F. Crawford, Crusades historian, California University of Pennsylvania
  • "Raymond Ibrahim's Sword and Scimitar is a riveting military history of eight pivotal battles between the armies of Islamdom and Christendom. Ibrahim tells his story with extensive citations of primary sources which vividly bring to life the bloody fighting. Moreover, his method reveals the religious, political, and material motivations of the leading Christian and Muslim actors in this enduring conflict of visions that seem so very different from many modern western secular sensibilities."--James E. Lindsay, Professor of Middle East History, Colorado State University
  • "An accessible and well-researched examination of extremely important but often neglected cultural phenomena and historical events that have impacted several civilizations up to the present day."--Darío Fernández-Morera, Northwestern University, author of The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain
  • "Impressively informative, Sword and Scimitar is an exceptional work of outstanding scholarship that is so well written it reads more like a deftly crafted novel than a non-fiction history."—Midwest Book Review
  • "Ibrahim tells this history vividly, clearly, and engagingly."—American Thinker
  • "Enlightening for readers unfamiliar with the long history of war between these two faiths."—New York Journal of Books
  • "A riveting account of the major battles between Islam and the West."—Catholic World Report

On Sale
Aug 28, 2018
Page Count
352 pages
Da Capo Press

Raymond Ibrahim

About the Author

Raymond Ibrahim is a scholar of the Middle East and Islam and author of The Al Qaeda Reader and Crucified Again. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Weekly Standard, and the Chronicle of Higher Education; appeared on C-SPAN, Al-Jazeera, CNN, NPR, and PBS; guest lectured at several universities, including the National Intelligence University; briefed governmental agencies such as US Strategic Command; and testified before Congress. Ibrahim has been a fellow at several think tanks, including the Hoover Institution, and has attended the Middle East Forum.

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