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Old 10-11-2007, 04:36 PM
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Exclamation A Critical Analysis of ‘Real Islam’. Its People, Culture, Philosophy, and Practices

A Critical Analysis of ‘Real Islam’. Its People, Culture, Philosophy, and Practices Yesterday and Today.

by: Vernon Richards (Sept 19, 2005)

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O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Old 10-30-2007, 06:55 PM
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Exclamation Racism in the Middle East - Zionism or Arabism?

Racism in the Middle East - Zionism or Arabism?

e-Zion Commentary:
Racism in the Middle East - Zionism or Arabism?

O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Old 10-30-2007, 09:16 PM
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Default Islamic Bigotry: The Persecution of Fellow Muslim Believers

Islamic Bigotry: The Persecution of Fellow Muslim Believers

By Robert Spencer

Islamic jihad violence has captured worldwide attention when focused on unbelievers – in the Twin Towers, as well as in London, Madrid, Bali, and in so many other places. But the jihadists don’t hesitate to target fellow Muslims as well, when they regard them as insufficiently Islamic.
The most notorious example of this throughout Islamic history is the Sunni-Shi’ite strife that has broken out in many times and places – and today in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Sunni suicide killers and Shi’ite death squads have targeted one another since the removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Nor have they hesitated to target holy sites: Sunni jihadists destroyed the tenth-century Shi’ite Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, in a two bombings in 2006 and 2007. Some estimate that 4,000 have been killed in Sunni-Shi’ite strife in Pakistan since the late 1980s, and in Afghanistan, while the Taliban was in power they waged relentless jihad warfare against the Shi’ite Hazaras.

The Qur’an forbids a Muslim to kill a fellow believer intentionally (4:92), but both sides justify these conflicts by appealing to the Islamic practice of takfir: the declaration that, because of some doctrinal deviation, some group of Muslims are not actually Muslims at all, and their blood can lawfully be shed. One of the chief characteristics of modern day Salafist movements – that is, movements to restore the purity of Islam – is their frequent use of takfir and subsequent targeting of those whom everyone in the world except they themselves would regard as their fellow Muslims. This phenomenon is playing out all over the world today, as Wahhabis and other Salafist preachers take an Islamic hardline into areas where a more relaxed cultural Islam has long prevailed. The result is often violent. In fact, the Algerian sociologist Marieme Helie Lucas explains that the controversial term “Islamo-Fascism” was “initially coined by Algerian people struggling for democracy, against armed fundamentalist forces decimating people in our country, then later operating in Europe, where a number of us had taken refuge.” These pro-democracy Algerians were, of course, Muslims – Muslims who were massacred by jihadists in the 1990s for being insufficiently Islamic. Over 150,000 were killed.

In November 2003, a Somali journalist named Bashir Goth complained in the Addis Tribune about a group of Islamic clerics, the “Authority for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,” who were “trying to impose draconian moral codes on Somaliland citizens.” Goth was himself a Muslim, but he objected to the Wahhabi Islam that Saudi preachers were bringing into Somalia.

Wahhabism, said Goth, was “an austere and closed school of thought,” deviating from the established schools of Islamic jurisprudence. “Wahhabism,” according to Goth, “is the only school that compels its followers strictly to observe Islamic rituals, such as the five prayers, under pain of flogging, and for the enforcement of public morals to a degree unprecedented in the history of Islam.” He characterized it as “a closed mind sect that turned Islam into a fragile creed that lives in constant fear of children’s toys and games such as Barbie dolls and Pokemon.” Wahhabi clerics, Goth noted, were challenging Somali Muslims: “They want to tell us that over the LAST 14 CENTURIES, our people have been practicing the wrong religion; that since the dawn of Islam, Somali people had lived in vain, worshipped in vain and died in vain. God help them, they all will be burned in hell because they did not follow the correct path -- Wahhabism.”

Their devotion to this “correct path” led them to despise numerous manifestations of Somali culture, despite its Islamic character. “These people,” Goth continued, “are out to eradicate our culture, our traditions, our songs, our poetry and our folklore dances….If we let them have their way, these prophets of ‘purity’ would soon be on a mission to destroy what has remained of our culture.” He listed several female Somali singers, warning that “the cassettes of their songs will be burned in the streets. Just remember Taliban.” Goth went on to explain that the jihadists also wanted to eliminate co-ed schools and compel Somali girls to go out only “fully shrouded with black from head to toe.”

The Wahhabi-influenced Islamic Courts Union that held power in Mogadishu for seven months in 2006 bore out Bashir Goth’s fears. It criticized indigenous Somali practices as not sufficiently Islamic. One militia commander, Mohamed Ali Aden, explained: “We’ve neglected God’s verses for so long. We want our women veiled and we want them at home. We men have to grow our beards.” The Courts forbade music (which is prohibited according to strict Islamic law), dancing and soccer within days of taking power. Women began to don Saudi dress, which covered their faces, rather than traditional Somali garb, which did not.

ICU militiamen were ready to enforce Islamic law with an iron fist: after banning all movies and television viewing, jihadists shot and killed two people who were watching a World Cup soccer match in early July. Raids in Mogadishu led to sixty arrests for the crime of movie-watching. Islamic Courts militiamen also raided a wedding reception in Mogadishu because men and women were attending the celebration together and music was playing. “We had warned the family,” explained Sheikh Iise Salad of the ICU, “not to include in their ceremony what is not allowed by the sharia law. This includes the mixing of men and women and playing music. That is why we raided and took their equipment. What was going there was un-Islamic.” In September 2006, the ICU closed down Radio Jowhar, a station in a town about fifty miles from Mogadishu, because it was playing love songs. ICU Sheikh Mohamed Mohamoud Abdirahman explained that the programming was “un-Islamic.” The station was later allowed to return to the airwaves, without music. The Islamic Courts even decreed that Muslims who did not perform the five daily prayers would be executed.

Salafists target Muslims they regard as insufficiently Islamic also in Darfur, where Arab Muslims attack non-Arab Muslims whose Islam is closer to the cultural version that prevailed in Somalia than to Wahhabi austerity. Dr. Hassan Al-‘Audha of the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood explained in July 2007 that “we are not zealous for this land because of the rivers that flow in it. We are zealous for it because it is the land of Islam.” Another Sudanese leader situation the activities of the brutal Janjaweed militia within the larger struggle of the Muslims against the infidels: “Those scumbags want to play with us? They want to come to the children of Darfur? The children of Darfur will eat them alive. By Allah, there are some ferocious tribes there. They call them Janjaweed, and they want to attack them. There is a tribe called ‘Al-Masiriya.’ Are they men or not? By Allah, when we ride horses and make these battle cries... By Allah, the infidels die of fear. They die of fear.” In 2004, Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir charged that international efforts to aid Darfur were actually targeting Islam. Referring to the 1990s Sudanese jihad against the Christians in the southern part of the country, he said: “The door of the jihad is still open and if it has been closed in the south it will be opened in Darfur.”

That jihad in Darfur features Muslims targeting Muslims. Such episodes, whether in Somalia, Darfur, or anywhere else, emphasize the need for peaceful Muslims to stand up strongly, in deed as well as word, against global jihadist violence. The sword of takfir ought to cut both ways, with peaceful Muslims willing to distinguish themselves from their bloody-minded coreligionists, and to repudiate their murders not just of fellow Muslims but of non-Muslims also.

Meanwhile, Islamic jihadists and Sharia supremacists continue, with increasing confidence and brutality, to impose – violently – their vision of Islam upon their coreligionists.
O Israel
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The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Old 11-01-2007, 11:55 PM
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Default Video: Saudi Cleric Explains Proper Islamic Wife Beating to Teens

In a Ramadan television show for young Muslims, Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-’Arifi explains the proper way to beat one’s wife. (Courtesy of MEMRI TV.)

Muhammad Al-’Arifi: Men beat women more often than women beat men. I said that some women beat their husbands because this happens, but it is rare, and there is no need to hold conferences on wives who beat their husbands. I believe this is less prevalent, because by nature, the body of the man... In most cases, Allah made the body of men stronger than the body of women. Therefore, you and your sister... You may be taller than your mother, right? If your mother is ill, you may be able to carry her, but she cannot carry you. Allah created women with these delicate, fragile, supple, and soft bodies, because they use their emotions more than they use their bodies. Therefore, while the man may use beating to discipline his wife, she sometimes uses her tears to discipline him. He gets what he wants by screaming, while she gets what she wants from him by crying and displaying emotions. For men, women’s emotions may be fiercer than the strike of a sword.

[... ]

First, “admonish them” – once, twice, three times, four times, ten times. If this doesn’t help, “refuse to share their beds.” In such a case, the husband does not sleep with his wife, or, in other words, he is angry with her. He gives her the silent treatment, refusing to talk to her. If he comes to eat, and she asks him: “How are you?” – he doesn’t answer. If she asks him: “Do you want anything?” – he doesn’t answer. He distances himself from her in bed and in conversation, he does not sleep with her, but goes to sleep in another room. He shows her that he is angry with her. If this does not help – if the admonishing did no good, and when he goes to sleep in another room, she says: “Thank God, he’s gone. Now I’ve got the whole bed to myself, I will sleep alone in bed and roll over at night as much as I like.” If neither method worked with her, what is the third option?

Guest: “And beat them.”

Al-’Arifi: That’s right. How is this beating performed? What do you think?

Guest:: Light beatings.

Al-’Arifi: Light beatings in what way?

Guest:: For example, I wouldn’t beat her in the face...

Al-’Arifi: Beating in the face is forbidden, even when it comes to animals. When a person is beating an animal... Even if you want your camel or donkey to start walking, you are not allowed to beat it in the face. If this is true for animals, it is all the more true when it comes to humans. So beatings should be light and not in the face. Some religious scholars say: “He should beat her with a toothpick.” I happen to have a toothpick with me. A man who is angry with his wife because she doesn’t get it... If he says to her: “Watch out, the child has fallen next to the stove,” or: “Move the child away from the electrical socket,” and she says: “I am busy” – then he beats her with a toothpick or something like it. He doesn’t beat her with a bottle of water, a plate, or a knife. This is forbidden. The scholars said he should beat her with a toothpick. Check out how gentle the toothpick used for beating is. This shows you that the purpose is not to inflict pain. When you beat an animal, you intend to cause it pain so it will obey you, because an animal would not understand if you said: “Oh camel, come on, start moving.” The camel does not understand such things, unless you beat it. A donkey understands nothing but beatings, but a woman, a man, a child, and so on, are generally more affected by emotions than by other things. If you beat her with a toothpick, or if you beat her lightly with your hand, and so on, it is meant to convey: “Woman, it has gone too far. I can’t bear it anymore.” If he beats her, the beatings must be light and must not make her face ugly. He must beat her where it will not leave marks. He should not beat her on the hand... He should beat her in some places where it will not cause any damage. He should not beat her like he would beat an animal or a child - slapping them right and left. Unfortunately, many husbands beat their wives only when they get mad, and when they start beating, it as if they are punching a wall – they beat with their hands, right and left, and sometimes use their feet. Brother, it is a human being you are beating. This is forbidden. He must not do this.

While Saudi sheikhs teach young people about the etiquette of wife-beating, Tony Blair’s wife is telling Britain that the Koran does not allow wife-beating.
O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Old 12-21-2007, 11:07 PM
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Exclamation Jihad Today

December 21, 2007
Jihad Today
By: Menahem Milson*
The Arabic word jihad has gained wide currency in the media worldwide. Since the 1990s, various countries around the world have seen numerous terrorist attacks perpetrated by Muslims calling themselves "jihad fighters" - the most deadly of them being the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. [1] But what exactly is this concept of jihad, which has so much impact on life in the world today?

The Meaning of the Word Jihad
Let us begin with the meaning of the word jihad as it is understood by the "ordinary" contemporary speaker of Arabic (and also by Muslims who are not Arabs) - I refer to the meaning of the word in "common parlance," to use a British legal term, or in what the Jewish sages called "the language of ordinary people." In the language of ordinary people, jihad means war against the enemies of Islam. Since this interpretation often arouses controversy or objection among academic experts, I present here a word-for-word translation of what is said about the concept of jihad in a standard 11th grade textbook used in Jordan and the Palestinian Authority:

"Jihad is the Islamic term equivalent to the word 'war' among other nations. The difference is that jihad is [war] for the sake of noble and exalted goals, and for the sake of Allah… whereas other nations' wars are wars of evil for the sake of occupying land and seizing natural resources, and for other materialistic goals and base aspirations." [2]

It should be noted that the literal meaning of the word jihad is not "war." Jihad is the nominalized form of the verb jahada, which means "to strive," "to exert oneself." The textbook from which the quote is taken presents this etymological information, but what it stresses - and what is relevant to this investigation - is the accepted meaning of the word in Muslim culture and history, and, of course, its accepted meaning today. [3]

The Place of Jihad in the Muslim World View
To properly understand the place of jihad in the Muslim world view, it is important to keep in mind that Islam has been, from its very beginning, not only a religion but a political community - the nation of Islam (ummat al-Islam). Muhammad was not merely a prophet communicating the word of God, but a political leader and military commander. Hence, any victory by the army of a Muslim state over non-Muslims is perceived as a victory for Islam itself. According to Islam, Allah promised the Muslims victory and superiority over all other religions worldwide. Allah validated this message with the Battle of Badr, in Ramadan of 624 CE, in which 300 Muslim warriors under Muhammad's command vanquished the 950-strong army of the Quraysh tribe - a military feat which played a crucial role in shaping the Islamic consciousness. [4]

This victory was not an isolated event. Rather, it was the harbinger of an impressive series of victories that led to the rise of a Muslim empire stretching from India to the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, the notion of Islamic superiority became engrained in the Muslim religious consciousness. "Islam is superior and cannot be surpassed" - this saying, attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, reflects the Muslim sense of superiority, and this self-perception remained unshaken for many centuries, even when the political and military reality no longer supported it.

According to the traditional Muslim outlook, humanity is thus divided into two groups: the followers of Islam who are called "believers," and all non-Muslims, who are called "infidels." It is the duty of the Muslims to propagate the one true faith - Islam - throughout the world. Should the infidels refuse to embrace Islam, jihad is the means to vanquish them.

Among the infidels, Islam distinguishes between two main groups: idolaters or polytheists (who, in Arabic, are called al-mushrikun - those who place others alongside Allah) and the "People of the Book" (ahl al-kitab), that is, Jews and Christians. Islam recognizes that the Jews and Christians have received divine revelation and divine laws (hence "People of the Book"), but maintains that they distorted the word of God and the holy scriptures, and are thus infidels.

The People of the Book are granted special status in Islam, and their fate is different from that of the polytheist infidels. The Muslims are commanded to fight them until they either accept Islam or agree to pay the poll tax (jizya). The basis for dealing with them is laid down in the Koran in the "jizya verse": "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya out of hand, in a state of submission..." (Koran 9:29). By paying jizya, the People of the Book indicate that they submit to Muslim rule and accept the status of protected people, called in Arabic ahl al-dhimma. [5]

Just as humanity is divided into two - into believers and infidels - the world itself is also divided into the abode of Islam (dar al-Islam), namely the region under Muslim rule, and the abode of war (dar al-harb), referring to all lands not yet under Muslim rule, which must be conquered by the sword, i.e., through jihad.

However, jihad, important though it is, is not regarded as a personal obligation (fard 'ain) incumbent upon each and every Muslim. In this, it differs from the "five pillars of Islam" - the declaration of faith (shahada), prayer, fasting, pilgrimage to Mecca, and the payment of zakat (alms tax) - which are personal obligations of every individual believer. According to the shari'a, jihad is a collective duty (fard kifaya) of the Muslim nation, or community, as a whole. It is the Muslim ruler who decides when and against whom to declare jihad. When a Muslim ruler declares jihad, it becomes a personal obligation for those whom he orders to take part in the war.

There is only one situation in which jihad becomes a personal obligation of each and every Muslim even without an order from the Muslim leadership - namely when non-Muslims attack Muslims or invade a Muslim country. Bin Laden and the adherents of extremist Islam claim that this is the situation today: Islam is under attack, both physically and ideologically. The infidels - Christians and Jews - are invading the lands of Islam: Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq and Afghanistan. Therefore, they maintain that waging jihad has become a personal obligation incumbent upon all Muslims, wherever they may be.

Even in the modern era, when the balance of power tipped decisively against the Muslims and in favor of the European states, jihad did not recede from the Muslim consciousness. The notion that any confrontation between Muslims and non-Muslims constitutes jihad was so deeply ingrained in Muslim thought that the Muslim rulers of North Africa in the beginning of the 19th century referred even to the actions of Muslim pirates - who used to attack "infidel" ships from ports on the North African coast - as "jihad."

Let me enumerate several military conflicts between Muslim and European forces during the 19th century that were defined by the Muslim side as jihad: In 1830, the Algerian leader 'Abd Al-Qadr bin Muhyi Al-Din declared jihad on the French invaders; in the mid 19th century, the Dagestani leader Shamil launched a (partly successful) jihad war against the forces of Czarist Russia; in 1881, the Sudanese Mahdi declared jihad upon the British; in 1912, Sheikh Sayyed Ahmad Al-Sanusi declared jihad against the Italians in Libya; and in 1914, when the Ottoman Empire joined the war alongside Germany and Austria, Sultan Muhammad V declared jihad upon the Entente Powers, though this obviously did not cause all the world's Muslims to join the Ottoman Empire in its war against England, France and Russia.

Self-Sacrifice for the Sake of Allah
Jihad is obviously closely linked to the concept of self-sacrifice in battle for the sake of Allah (shahada). Shahada means "martyrdom," [6] and any Muslim who is killed in the course of war with non-Muslims is a shahid (martyr), whether he was engaged in active fighting or not. Every Muslim man, woman, or child whose death came about, directly or indirectly, through the actions of the enemies of Islam is a shahid. Actively pursuing jihad and seeking a martyr's death (istishhad) is especially laudable.

Willingness to sacrifice oneself in battle is no small matter, and Koranic verses dealing with war for the sake of Allah (al-jihad fi sabil Allah) reflect the fact that Muhammad's warriors in the early days of Islam were often reluctant to risk their lives, for Allah rebukes them: "You who believe! What (excuse) have you that when it is said to you: 'Go forth [into battle] for the sake of Allah,' you should cling to the earth; are you contented with this world's life instead of the hereafter?... But the goods of this world's life compared with the hereafter is but little" (Koran 9:38). The reward promised to those who sacrifice themselves for Allah is one of the means to overcome the natural fear of death: "Allah hath purchased of the believers their lives and their property; for theirs [in return] is the garden [of Paradise]..." (Koran 9:111). Moreover, the Koran stresses that those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Allah are not really dead: "Reckon not those who are killed for the sake of Allah as dead; nay, they live [and] are provided sustenance from their Lord" (Koran 3:169).

The Koran does not merely promise the martyr a reward in the world to come; a number of Suras in the Koran contain descriptions of the pleasures of Paradise - food, drink and beautiful women. The Muslim traditionists and commentators greatly elaborated on these descriptions, providing, for example, details about the physical and spiritual characteristics of the black-eyed virgins of Paradise. [7] Every man who enters Paradise is rewarded with 72 such brides.

The distinction of martyrs, compared to other Muslims, lies primarily in the fact that they are guaranteed the privilege of Paradise: The act of falling in battle for the sake of Allah washes away every violation or sin they have committed during their lives. Moreover, the shahid enters Paradise right away, without enduring the "torments of the grave" ('adhab al-qabr), whereas an ordinary Muslim who does not have the privilege of dying as a martyr must wait for the Day of Judgment, and only then - providing he is sufficiently virtuous - do the gates of Paradise open before him.

The following excerpts show how pervasive is the belief in the pleasures that await the martyr in the world to come:

Al-Risala, the Hamas mouthpiece, published the last statement of Sa'id Al-Hutari, the terrorist who carried out the June 1, 2001 suicide bombing near the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv. Al-Hutari says: "I shall turn my body into pieces and bombs that will pursue the sons of Zion, blow them up, and burn the remains [of their bodies]." Addressing his parents, he tells them not to weep over his death, saying, "There is nothing greater than to give one's soul for the sake of Allah on Palestinian soil. Mother, utter cries of joy; Father and brothers, hand out sweets. Your son is awaiting his betrothal to the virgins of Paradise." [8] Indeed, following the death of a shahid, the family does not erect a "mourners' tent," but holds a celebration similar to a wedding celebration: sweets are served and the mother of the "groom" utters cries of joy.

Reports in the Palestinian press likewise reflect the acceptance of these beliefs as a familiar and established reality. Journalist Nufuz Al-Bakri, for example, reported the death of the shahid Wael 'Awwad as follows: "The mother of Wael 'Awwad, from Dir Al-Balah, never planned to hold a second wedding for her eldest son, after he married his fiancée Miyada on August 10, 2001 in a simple ceremony attended only by the family. But Wael's real wedding day arrived yesterday, when the angels of [Allah] the Merciful married him, along with the [other] martyrs, to the black-eyed [virgins], while all around rose the cries of joy that his mother had dreamt of on the day of his wedding [to his fiancée]." [9]

Hamas official Ashraf Sawaftah told of a ceremony honoring 'Izz Al-Din Al-Masri, who carried out the suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizza parlor in central Jerusalem in August 2001: "His relatives handed out sweets. [They] received their son as a bridegroom who was being married to the black-eyed [virgins], not as one who had been killed and was being laid in the ground." [10]

The uncle of Nassim Abu 'Asi, who died in an attempted terrorist attack, said that whenever Nassim was asked why he was not married, he would always reply, "Why would I relinquish the black-eyed [virgins] to marry a woman of clay [i.e. of flesh and blood]?" [11]

Hamas leader 'Isma'il Abu Shanab once explained to a foreign reporter: "This is part of the Islamic belief. One who dies a martyr's death is rewarded [in Paradise]. If a shahid who died for the sake of Allah dreams of the black-eyed virgin, he receives her." [12]

The children in the Hamas education system are taught, beginning in kindergarten, that martyrs are rewarded with 72 virgins in Paradise. After touring Hamas schools in Gaza, Jack Kelley of the American daily USA Today wrote that, in one of the classes he visited, an 11-year-old was speaking before the class, saying: "I will turn my body into a bomb that will tear the flesh of the Zionists, the sons of apes and pigs… I will tear their bodies into little pieces and cause them more pain than they could have ever imagined." The teacher responded by saying, "May the virgins give you pleasure!" A 16-year-old youth told Kelley that "most boys cannot stop thinking about the virgins of Paradise." [13]

The terrorists who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks also believed that the black-eyed virgins were among the rewards awaiting them in Paradise. A letter of instructions found in the vehicle of Nawaf al-Hazmi contained two mentions of the wide-eyed virgins: "...Do not show signs of discomfort of anxiety, be relaxed and happy. Rest assured that you are carrying out an operation that Allah desires and of which He approves. When the time comes, Allah willing, you will enjoy the virgins of Paradise... Know that Paradise has been bedecked with the finest decorations in anticipation of your coming, and that the black-eyed [virgins] are calling to you..." [14]

The chief mufti of the Palestinian Authority police, Sheikh 'Abd Al-Salam Abu Shukheydem, also mentioned the virgins as one of the rewards of the martyr: "From the moment he sheds the first drop of blood, he does not feel the pain of his wounds, and he is forgiven all his sins; he sees his seat in Paradise; he is spared the torment of the grave and the great horror of Judgment Day; he marries the black-eyed [virgins]; he vouches for 70 of his family members; he receives a crown of honor inlaid with a precious stone that is more valuable than this entire world and everything in it." [15] The phrase "he vouches for 70 of his family members" refers to another reward of the martyr, less known than the black-eyed virgins but nevertheless very significant: a shahid is allowed to bring 70 of his relatives into Paradise, by his own choice and recommendation. This exceptional privilege confers prestige on the shahid and special status on his family.

The last statement of Hanadi Jaradat, who carried out the October 2003 suicide bombing at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa, sheds light on the perception of martyrdom in general, but especially on this aspect of the martyr's reward. This document, posted on the website of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, reads as follows:

"The Exalted One [i.e., Allah] said [in the Koran]: 'Reckon not those who are killed for the sake of Allah as dead; nay, they live [and] are provided sustenance from their Lord' [Koran 3:169]. Verily, Allah's words are true.

"My dear family, whom the Master of the World will reward as He promised us all in His Holy Book... Allah promised Paradise to those who persevere in all that He has brought upon them - and what a good dwelling Paradise is.

"Therefore, reckon my sacrifice in anticipation of the reward that Allah, may He be praised and exalted, will [grant] you in the hereafter. [My life] is not too great a sacrifice for the sake of the religion of Allah. I have always believed in what is said in the Holy Koran, and I have been yearning for the rivers of Paradise, and I have been yearning to see the glorious light of Allah's face. I have been yearning for all these ever since Allah bestowed guidance upon me…" [16]

The expression "reckon my sacrifice in anticipation of the reward that Allah... will [grant] you in the hereafter" recurs four times in Jaradat's letter - addressing her family, her loved ones, her father, and her mother. This expression - referring to the special privileges conferred upon a shahid's family - is familiar and clear to any Muslim.

The Culture of Death
On February 16, 2003, an Islamist website posted the contents of an audiocassette of a sermon by Osama bin Laden. The sermon naturally created an uproar in the media. Particular attention was paid to the last sentence, which was especially curious and somewhat alarming. In this sentence, bin Laden quoted a few lines from a poem:

"O Lord, when death arrives, let it not be upon a bier covered with green shrouds,
"Rather, let my grave be in the belly of an eagle, tranquil in the sky, among hovering eagles."

Various commentaries appeared in the media by experts in various fields - such as Middle East specialists, intelligence experts, experts on counter-terrorism, and so on - who proposed different interpretations. Some suggested that these words hinted at an imminent aerial attack, along the lines of 9/11, with the eagle symbolizing the hijacked airplane flown by suicide terrorists. Others maintained that the eagle symbolized not the attack itself but the target of the attack - not the aircraft, but the United States, whose emblem is an eagle. Some termed this sermon "bin Laden's testament" based on an apparent reference to the expressed desire for burial in "the belly of an eagle."

These interpretations, however, are way off the mark. When we at MEMRI translated the sermon in full, it became apparent that bin Laden was referring neither to an American eagle nor to a hijacked airplane. The poet quoted by bin Laden yearns to die a hero's death as a shahid (martyr) on the battlefield and to be consumed by an eagle, which would then bear him up to heaven, where he would reach the throne of Allah. The eighth-century Arab who authored the poem was a member of a fanatical militant sect of Islam. [17]

I have mentioned bin Laden’s sermon in order to highlight two central characteristics of modern jihadist Islam. The first is identification with the early generations of Islam, the first hundred years of its Islamic history. It is impossible to understand contemporary extremist Islam if one does not regard it as a religious movement whose members strive to follow the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions in this early period of Islam. They believe that if they act out of faith and readiness for self-sacrifice, like the Islamic warriors of the Prophet's era, they will prevail over armies superior to them in both numbers and equipment. Early Islam - the era of Islam's far-reaching conquests - is the exemplary era of Islam and the source of their inspiration.

Another motif that runs through this part of bin Laden's sermon is death for the sake of Allah. This too is a prominent motif in jihadist Islam, which is manifest, for example, in the motto of the Hamas movement: “Allah is our goal, the Messenger our model, the Koran our constitution, jihad our path, and martyrdom for the sake of Allah our aspiration.” At an end-of-year ceremony in a Hamas kindergarten in Gaza, the children, dressed in camouflage uniform, enthusiastically chanted this slogan. [18]

Islamic zealots speak boastfully of their “love of death,” contrasting themselves with their enemies (in particular the Jews), who love life. In this context, they frequently quote the words spoken by the Muslim military commander Khaled bin Al-Walid to a Persian commander on the eve of the battle between the Muslim and the Persian armies: “I am bringing with me warriors who love death, while you love life.” [19]

Reaction to the Decline of Muslim Power
The engrained belief in Muslim superiority was seriously shaken during the 19th century, when the Ottoman Empire suffered a series of defeats at the hands of the Russians, and when various Muslim-ruled lands fell under non-Muslim rule: Algeria and Tunisia were conquered by the French, Egypt and Sudan by the British, and the majority of the Balkan countries achieved independence from the Ottomans. In World War I, the Ottoman Empire was totally defeated by Christian powers, and subsequently, in 1924, Turkey's reformist secular leader Kemal Ataturk abolished the Caliphate. To Muslim eyes, it appeared that history had deviated from its predestined course. [20]

It was the disturbing recognition that Muslim power was inferior to that of Europe, the West, or Christendom (however the "other side" is perceived) that shaped the outlook of modern Muslim intellectuals, both extremist and moderate. The question that faced, and that continues to face, Arab intellectuals and political leaders was how the Arab peoples, which constitute the heart of Islam both historically and ideologically, could regain their rightful place in history.

Ideological and political answers to this question are of two kinds. First, there are the answers proposed by the Islamist school of thought. The Islamists argued that the decline in Muslim power did not stem from any flaw in Islam, but rather from the fact that the Muslims had abandoned Islam. Their maxim was: "There is no fault in Islam; the flaw lies with the Muslims." According to them, when Muslims return to the original, pure Islam, all the ills of Muslim society will disappear, and the Muslim nation, led by the Arabs under the banner of Islam, will be in a position to fulfill its historical mission. They call to return to the Islam of the early generations, known in Arabic as al-salaf. This stream is therefore called "Salafi Islam." The Salafi stream is represented in the Arab world by two movements: The first is Wahhabism, founded by Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792) in the middle of the 18th century, which is the dominant school of Islam in Saudi Arabia; the second is the Muslim Brotherhood, established in 1928 in Alexandria, Egypt, which today has branches in other Arab countries as well.

Answers of a different kind were proposed by the nationalist school of thought. [21] The concept of nationalism took root in the Arab world in general, and in Egypt in particular, in two different forms: local nationalism, defined by country, and pan-Arab nationalism, based on the unity of language and culture throughout the Arab world. In the contest between local, single-state nationalism and pan-Arab nationalism, the latter had a much stronger appeal, due to the close connection between Arab identity and Islam. The proponents of pan-Arabism believed that the unification of all Arabs would enable the Arab countries to regain their rightful place in history. The influence of pan-Arabism grew after World War II and peaked in the 1950s and 1960s. Gamal 'Abd Al-Nasser's Arab Socialism and the Ba'th movement were both based on the concept of pan-Arab nationalism as the foundation of the Arabs' collective identity. The ideological and political differences between the nationalists on the one hand and the Salafists on the other (both the Wahhabis and the Muslim Brotherhood) were vast.

Salafism - both that of the Wahhabis and that of the Muslim Brotherhood - derives its inspiration from the works of 14th-century scholar Ibn Taymiyya, who called to purge Islam of all impurities, stressing the centrality of jihad as a personal obligation of each and every Muslim in times when Islam is under threat. According to Ibn Taymiyya, a Muslim ruler who commits grave sins or applies alien laws (i.e., non-Islamic laws) is no better than an apostate (murtadd) and should be put to death. Hence, war against such rulers is a religious duty, namely jihad. [22]
The 1967 Six-Day War, bringing with it the collapse of the Nasserite vision, was a cataclysmic event for the Arabs: an utter defeat, which naturally had religious significance. As far as the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists were concerned, the collapse of the Arab armies, although distressing, was understandable and even justified. In their eyes, it was the Arabs' punishment for having abandoned Islam, and it offered an opportunity for repentance and rectification. For the Muslim Brotherhood and the other Islamists, the 1967 military debacle - even more than the defeat of 1948 - proved the worthlessness of secular Arab nationalism, Nasserist and Ba'athist alike. The slogan "Islam is the solution" was now being proclaimed with greater force. But the way towards implementing this slogan in practice had not yet been found. The Islamists had great difficulty in living up to their own ideals when it came to jihad against the infidels inside and outside the Muslim world. It took unique historical circumstances to bring about the return of jihad.

The Return of Jihad
The takeover of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Tehran and the taking of American hostages by Iranian students on November 4, 1979 was greeted throughout the Muslim world as a victory of Islam over the infidels. Iranian students had managed to humiliate the great American superpower - and had thereby confirmed the Islamist belief that, by acting fearlessly in the name of Islam, Muslims could defeat the infidels. The fact that this was a victory by Shi'ites, a minority group in the Islamic world, did not detract from the sense of achievement among Muslims in general. In the grand division of the world into two camps - believers and infidels - there was a near-universal Muslim solidarity with Khomeini's Iran.

For the Saudi regime, however, the prestige earned by the Islamic Revolution in Iran posed a problem. After all, it is the House of Saud, the Defender of the Two Holy Places (i.e., Mecca and Medina), that should rightfully be the guardian of the true Islam - that is, Sunni Islam in accordance with the Wahhabi doctrine. In their view, it was they who deserved to lead the Islamic awakening - not the heretical Shi'ite Ayatollah Khomeini, whom they considered not much better than an infidel. The religious aura of the House of Saud was a political asset in the pan-Arab and international arena, and even more so within its own kingdom. In order to preserve its religious status, it had to win the struggle for primacy as the champions of Islam throughout the world. Therefore, in response to the challenge posed by the Iranian Revolution, the Saudis took a dual course of action: They embarked upon jihad against the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and they launched a far-reaching operation for the propagation of Islam.

To achieve the latter goal, they invested billions of dollars through Islamic charities in order to build mosques and religious seminaries (madrasas) throughout the world. Obviously, these madrasas and mosques were venues for Wahhabism, disseminating the doctrine of Ibn Taymiyya. The propagation of Wahhabi Islam worldwide served an internal purpose as well, countering charges of moral laxity directed against the Saudi regime. It would not be an exaggeration to say that, beginning in 1979, there has been a process of "Wahhabization" throughout the world. Although this process cannot be quantified, its effects are evident in far-flung Muslim communities, from Manchester to San Diego, from Shanghai to Oslo.

The 1989 Soviet debacle in Afghanistan was a great victory for Islamism. A decade after Khomeini's Islamic revolution in Iran, Sunni Islam triumphed over the infidel Communist power. The U.S. believed at the time that they had effectively manipulated Islam to deal a blow to the Soviets, but for the Islamists this was only a single battle in the global drama that would unfold until the ultimate victory of Islam, which would include the defeat of the U.S.

A series of terrorist operations during the 1990s signaled the direction and goals of the Islamists: jihad against the "infidel power" - the U.S. [23]

On February 23, 1998, Osama bin Laden and four of his aides, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, issued their "Declaration of Jihad against the Crusaders and the Jews," which was a declaration of all-out holy war against the U.S. and its allies. The unique significance of this declaration lay in the fact that bin Laden and his associates had pronounced this jihad to be the personal obligation of each and every Muslim throughout the world. They based their decision on the teachings of medieval Muslim authorities, primarily Ibn Taymiyya, maintaining that the circumstances, which the declaration describes, warranted this unusual decision. The declaration stated: ""Killing the Americans and their allies - both civilians and military personnel - is a religious duty for every individual Muslim who can do this, in any country in which he can do this."

Islamist jihad has two goals, both global. One of these is to wage war against the main infidel power, the U.S., and all of its allies. Israel and the Jews are singled out in bin Laden's jihad declaration as allies of America. It presents the 1991 Gulf War as an operation by "the Crusader-Zionist alliance." It further states that one of the goals of the U.S. in its campaigns in the Middle East is "to help the tiny Jewish state and to distract attention from the fact that it is occupying Jerusalem and murdering Muslims."

The other goal is to topple the evil regimes in the Muslim countries, because their leaders are only outwardly Muslim. It is thus a religious obligation to fight them, depose them, and establish a truly Islamic regime in their place. The ultimate goal of jihad is to impose Islam on the entire world as the only true religion. This fundamental stance of Islam is manifested in bin Laden's call on the American people to embrace Islam, thereby putting an end to the war in Iraq. [24] Bin Laden reminds the Americans that "the biggest and most irreversible error one can commit in this world is to die without surrendering oneself to Allah, namely, to die without embracing Islam."

Osama bin Laden's declaration of jihad is not an isolated document. Similar calls - and even stronger ones - are made regularly in Friday sermons that are broadcast live on Arab television across the Arab and Muslim world, and even in the West. These sermons include exhortations to slaughter Jews and Americans because "Allah has commanded the killing of the infidels." [25] From the Islamist perspective, Muslims are in a no-holds-barred war of jihad.

The phenomenon of jihad, and the idea of self-sacrifice in battle for the sake of Allah (shahada), which is closely linked to it, are not easy to comprehend. In some liberal circles in the West, Islamic terror in Europe is often claimed to be the consequence of economic and social factors, such as the frustration, unemployment, and economic hardships suffered by second- and third-generation Muslim immigrants in Europe.

This explanation, based on concepts familiar to the secular Westerner, appears to make sense and is therefore readily accepted. Indeed, many liberal-minded researchers and commentators, who see 'the West' as historically guilty vis-à-vis the Third World, are not prepared to accept an explanation linking terrorist activities with jihad and religious extremism, which they construe as disparagement of Islam. Therefore, they prefer explanations that deny or at least blur the connection between suicide terrorist attacks and the Muslim identity of their perpetrators. The problem with such an approach is that, when we look at the profiles of Islamic terrorists in Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere, we see that they do not belong to the population evoked by this explanation, namely those suffering from unemployment and economic deprivation. Neither the perpetrators of the Madrid train bombing on March 11, 2004 nor the 19 Al-Qaeda members responsible for the September 11th attacks were uneducated, unemployed young men. Without recognizing that the Islamist belief system is at the root of all these terrorist acts, we cannot possibly understand the nature of these acts or the motives of their perpetrators.

Muslim Protest against Jihadist Islam
In the preceding sections I have described the phenomenon of modern jihad and its early Islamic roots. It is now necessary to present the limits of its power and influence.

Islamist terrorism has won sympathy in the Muslim world, but the Islamist call for universal jihad has had only limited success. The extremist Islamic organizations are all clandestine, and the Arab regimes, in the interest of self-preservation, fight them in various ways - including some attempts to delegitimize them from the Islamic religious point of view. The Egyptian and Saudi Arabian media publish abundant information about the struggle of officially ordained clerics against extremist Islamic groups. Bin Laden's call for all-encompassing jihad has thus clearly failed to move the entire Muslim world. In fact, even some of the extremist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt do not subscribe to the idea of global jihad waged here and now, and against all infidels, within and without. [26] On October 1, 2007, Saudi Mufti Sheikh Abd Al-'Aziz bin Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh issued a fatwa prohibiting Saudi youth from engaging in jihad abroad. The fatwa stated that setting forth to wage jihad without authorization by the ruler is a serious transgression, and that young Saudis who do so are being misled by dubious elements from both the East and the West who are exploiting them in order to accomplish their own aims, and who are actually causing serious damage to Saudi Arabia, to Islam, and to the Muslims. [27] This fatwa is a clear example of the ideological struggle led by the Saudi authorities and a group of Wahhabi religious scholars against the jihadist propaganda.

In addition to the authorities' struggle against this propaganda, there is an ongoing ideological struggle by the educated circles against extremism in Islam in general, and against jihad with its culture of death in particular. Muslim thinkers and writers who strive for social and cultural reform in their countries are calling to abandon the jihad ideology and to desist from fostering hatred of other religions and cultures. Some of these reformist writers have a clearly secular worldview, such as Syrian philosopher Sadiq Al-'Azam, or Arab-American psychiatrist and author Wafa Sultan. Most of the active reformist thinkers, however, do not follow an openly secular doctrine but call for adjustments to Islam to fit it to modern life.

The Jordanian-born historian Dr. Shaker Al-Nabulsi, who resides in the U.S.; the Saudi director-general of Al-Arabiya TV and former editor-in-chief of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed; the Egyptian intellectual Sayyed Al-Qimni; Professor of Psychology at Al-Zaytouna University in Tunis Iqbal Al-Gharbi; Tunisian poet and civil rights activist Basit bin Hassan; Ahmad Al-Baghdadi, Professor of Political Science at the University of Kuwait; Syrian journalist Nidhal Na'isa; former dean of Islamic Law at Qatar University Dr. 'Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari; and Egyptian playwright 'Ali Salem are only some of the figures prominent in the ideological struggle against the jihadist culture. [28]

This ideological struggle - whether it is fought by the official clerics or by writers and other independent circles - is no simple matter, because jihad is a religious duty, and the reverence for the martyrs of jihad (the shuhada of Islam's first generation - al-salaf al-salih) is shared by all Muslims. This makes the ideological struggle against the Islamists, who evoke the authority of "the pious forefathers," all the more difficult. Arab regimes face an inherent ideological contradiction: On the one hand, their security forces battle the jihadist organizations, while on the other, state-funded schools and mosques continue to disseminate the idea of jihad for the sake of Allah. The conflict within Islam over the issue of jihad is essentially a conflict over the path that Muslim societies should follow - either hostile isolation and war vis-à-vis everything non-Muslim, or integration into the modern world.

*Menahem Milson is professor emeritus of Arabic Literature at the HebrewUniversity of Jerusalem and MEMRI's academic advisor.

[1] Some of the other attacks were the February 26, 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center; the March 1995 assassination of the American diplomats in Pakistan; the bombing at the Saudi military base in Riyadh in November 1995; the June 1996 bombing at the American barracks in the Saudi town of Dhahran; the double bombing of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar Al-Salam in August 1998; the attack on the U.S.S. Cole near Aden in October 2000; the March 2004 Madrid bombings; the July 2005 bombings in London; and the deadly bombings in Bali tourist resorts in 2002 and 2005.
[2] Al-Thaqafa Al-Islamiyya (Islamic Education), Ministry of Education, Palestinian Authority, Ramallah, 2003, p. 208.
[3] Jihad can refer not only to actual war, but also to the struggle between good and evil within an individual's soul. This metaphorical understanding of jihad was developed by the Sufis, the Muslim mystics, in the ninth century CE, based on a hadith (oral tradition) of the Prophet Muhammad. On the basis of this hadith, spiritual jihad was termed "the Greater Jihad" (al-jihad al-akbar), while jihad on the battlefront was termed "the Lesser Jihad" (al-jihad al-asghar). However, this understanding of jihad did not supersede the original, historical understanding of the term to mean war against the infidels as a duty incumbent upon every Muslim.
[4] In Muslim tradition, Ramadan is not only a month of fasting but a month of victory. In the October 1973 war, the codename of the Egyptian-Syrian offensive, which began on the tenth day of Ramadan in the Muslim year of 1393, was "Operation Badr," after the victorious battle of Badr. The war itself is called the Ramadan War (harb ramadhan) in Arabic.
[5] It should be noted that there is a significant discrepancy between Muslim law and what most Muslim leaders did in practice. The far-ranging Muslim conquests brought large populations of different religions - not only Jews and Christians - under Muslim rule, and all were granted the status of dhimmi. The Muslim scholars found pretexts to allow this, thus granting religious justification for what was essentially a practical necessity.
[6] For the sake of accuracy, it should be noted that the word shahada has three meanings: a) "testimony" or "bearing witness"; b) the Islamic pronouncement of faith; c) self-sacrifice in battle for the sake of Allah, that is, martyrdom, also known as "the greater shahada."
[7] In the Koran, they are called hur 'ayn. Islamic scholars and commentators have discussed this expression at length, and it is generally agreed that the virgins have wide, black eyes.
[8] Al-Risala (PA), July 7, 2001.
[9] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), October 4, 2001.
[10] Al-Risala (PA), August 16, 2001.
[11] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), September 11, 2001.
[12] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), September 17, 2001.
[13] USA Today, June 26, 2001.
[14] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), September 30, 2007.
[15] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), September 17, 1999.
[17] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 476, March 5, 2003,, "Bin Laden's Sermon for the Feast of the Sacrifice." The poet quoted is Al-Tirimmah ibn Al-Hakim Al-Ta'i (660-743 CE).
[18] See MEMRI TV Clip No. 1468, "Graduation Ceremony at the Islamic Association in Gaza on Hamas TV," May 31, 2007,
[19] This historical incident appears in numerous medieval Muslim sources. The version given here is taken from the chronicle by Jarir Al-Tabari (d. 923), from the chapter describing the events of the 12th year following the hijra.
[20] The decline of the Ottoman Empire was a protracted process, which began long before it reached the awareness of the Ottoman elites. Admittedly, as early as the beginning of the 18th century, as a result of the 1699 Karlovitz agreement, the Ottomans could not avoid the realization that the balance of power between the Muslims and the Christian world had shifted against them and that a reform in the system was therefore necessary. However, the sense of crisis did not become widespread among the Muslim elites until the turn of the 19th century.
[21] It is significant that the concept of nationalism as a foundation for collective identity came to Islam from the Western culture.
[22] Though all Salafis regard ibn Taymiyya as a religious authority and source of inspiration, not all of them interpret the duty of jihad in the same way. The largest differences concern their perception of intra-Muslim jihad, i.e. jihad against Muslim leaders.
[23] See Endnote 1.
[24] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1709, "Osama Bin Laden's Video Message to the American People," September 11, 2007,
[25] See MEMRI Special Report No. 25, 'Contemporary Islamist Ideology Authorizing Genocidal Murder," January 27, 2004,
[26] Pressure on the part of the Egyptian authorities has caused most of the members of the Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya movement to abandon their claim that it is every Muslim's obligation to fight any government that is outwardly Muslim but that fails to apply Muslim religious law.
[27] The mufti's speech was published in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), in Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), and in Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) on October 2, 2007. [28] Ample material on reformist opponents to jihad can be found on MEMRI websites and
O Israel
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The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Exclamation The Middle East's Tribal DNA

The Middle East's Tribal DNA

by Philip Carl Salzman
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2008

Conflicts within the Middle East cannot be separated from its peoples' culture. Seventh-century Arab tribal culture influenced Islam and its adherents' attitudes toward non-Muslims. Today, the embodiment of Arab culture and tribalism within Islam impacts everything from family relations, to governance, to conflict. While many diplomats and analysts view the Arab-Israeli dispute and conflicts between Muslim and non-Muslim communities through the prism of political grievance, the roots of such conflicts lie as much in culture and Arab tribalism.

Tribalism and Predatory Expansion

Every human society must establish order if it is going to survive and prosper. Arab culture addresses security through "balanced opposition" in which everybody is a member of a nested set of kin groups, ranging from very small to very large. These groups are vested with responsibility for the defense of each member and responsible for harm any member does to outsiders. If there is a confrontation, families face families, lineage faces lineage, clan faces clan, tribe faces tribe, confederacy faces confederacy, sect faces sect, and the Islamic community faces the infidels. Deterrence lies in the balance between opponents. Any potential aggressor knows that his target is not solitary or meager but rather, at least in principle, a formidable formation much the same size as his.

Balanced opposition is a "tribal" form of organization, a tribe being a regional organization of defense based on decentralization and self-help. Tribes operate differently from states, which are centralized, have political hierarchies, and have specialized institutions—such as courts, police, tax collectors, and an army—to maintain social control and defense.

Understanding the influence of tribalism upon the development of both Arab culture and, by extension, Islam, requires acknowledging the basic characteristics and dynamics of Middle Eastern tribalism. Part of any tribesman's job description is to maximize both the number of children and of livestock. There are practical reasons for this: First, children aid in labor. Nomadic pastoralism requires heavy physical work. Workers are needed to conduct many tasks simultaneously. Family members are more committed to common interests than individuals recruited for reciprocity or pay. Large families also enhance political stature. Because technology remains constant across tribal societies in any given area, the factor that determines military strength is how many fighters an individual can muster. The man who can call on five or six adult sons and a similar number of sons-in-law to support him is a force with which to reckon. Cultural values underline this emphasis on progeny. A man is not a man if he cannot produce children, and a woman is not really an adult if she does not become a mother.

Maximizing livestock possession is also important. Livestock generate income of offspring, products, and services. They produce milk and meat. Camels offer hair; sheep supply wool, and goats provide underwool, all of which can be spun into yarn or woven into bags and food covers, and goat hair can also be woven into sheets and used as tent roofs. Camels enable distance travel. Sold at market, they supply money to purchase goods not produced locally, such as firearms, brass household goods, tea, and sugar. Their sale also provides funds to buy agricultural land, peasant villages, and urban villas.[1]

There are also important social reasons to maximize livestock possessions. Upon marriage, the husband's family compensates the wife's kin with livestock. Any man with political aspirations should own animals. Slaughter of sheep or goats enables hospitality for guests.[2] Loan or grant of livestock can establish or reinforce alliances with other families and create useful obligations to be repaid in provision of labor or political support.
Tribal success, though, counted in increasing progeny and livestock, strains pasturage, water, and arable land. To accommodate enlarged populations, it becomes necessary to expand tribal resources through geographical expansion, often at the expense of neighboring populations. Alternatively, some tribes may capture herds and seize pastures and water resources through predatory raiding. Such a strategy often appeals to young tribesmen who see it as a quick way to independence and prominence.[3] Either way, tribesmen are ready to fight. Their tribal structure enhances feelings of unity and normalizes antipathy against outsiders. Challenging neighbors over territory and livestock not only feels natural and justified but is also desirable.

Raiding is the modus operandi of predatory expansion with the capture of livestock the first priority. Attacks on the human population tend to vary according to the cultural distance of the outsiders. Those close are treated with some consideration: Men are allowed to escape, and women are not harmed, nor is housing destroyed. Among Bedouin, women from other Bedouin groups are often left some mulch animals to support their children.[4] But resistance is met by force, and injuries or deaths lead to blood feuds. Tribes can respond to blood feuds with large parties bent on vengeance. Conflict can thus escalate to all-out battle. Losers can escape by retreat, taking their household and livestock with them. This leaves the territory open for occupation by the winners.

The concept of "honor" infuses raiding and predatory expansion. First, fulfillment of obligations according to the dictates of lineage solidarity achieves honor. Second, neutral mediators who resolve conflicts and restore peace among tribesmen win honor. Third, victory in conflicts between lineages in opposition brings honor. Violence against outsiders is a well-worn path for those seeking honor. Success brings honor. Winners gain; losers lose. Trying, short of success, counts for nothing. In Middle Eastern tribal culture, victims are despised, not celebrated.

Nothing is more common in the history of tribes in the Middle East and North Africa than battles between tribes, the displacement of one by another, and the pushing of losing tribes out of their territories.

Sometimes, losing tribes became dependents of stronger tribes, allowing them to continue to access territory while, at other times, losing tribes retreated to peasant areas from where they were absorbed into the peasantry, and lost their tribal nature.[5]

While tribal organization facilitates the ability of Middle Easterners first to defend life and property and second to make a living through pastoralism, it also facilitates control over other people and their resources. The principle of alliance, with the closer against the more distant, applies both within and outside the tribe. Just as all members of a small lineage are obliged to unify and support the lineage against another lineage, all members of a tribe are expected to unify and support the tribe when it is in conflict with others. This does not mean that all members of the tribe line up in one gigantic regiment but rather that other members of the tribe see themselves as unified against outsiders and will provide material support if and when necessary. Tribal solidarity and balanced opposition remain powerful means of predatory expansion.[6]

Tribal Influence on the Rise of Islam

It is against this backdrop of tribal interaction that Muhammad's actions should be considered. Prior to Muhammad's ascendancy, the tribes of northern Arabia engaged in raiding and feuding, fighting among themselves for livestock, territory, and honor. Muhammad's genius was to unite the fissiparous, feuding Bedouin tribes into a cohesive polity. Just as he had provided a constitution of rules under which the people of Medina could live together, so he provided a constitution for all Arabs, which had the imprimatur not only of Muhammad but also of God. Submission—the root meaning of the Arabic term islam–to God and His rules, spelled out in the Qur'an, bound into solidarity Arabian tribesmen, who collectively became the umma, the community of believers.

Building on the tribal system, Muhammad framed an inclusive structure within which the tribes had a common, God-given identity as Muslims. This imbued the tribes with a common interest and common project. But unification was only possible by extending the basic tribal principle of balanced opposition. This Muhammad did by opposing the Muslim to the infidel, and the dar al-Islam, the land of Islam and peace, to the dar al-harb, the land of the infidels and conflict. He raised balanced opposition to a higher structural level as the new Muslim tribes unified in the face of the infidel enemy. Bedouin raiding became sanctified as an act of religious duty. With every successful battle against unbelievers, more Bedouin joined the umma. Once united, the Bedouin warriors turned outward, teaching the world the meaning of jihad, which some academics today say means only struggle but which, in the context of early Islamic writing and theological debates, was understood as holy war.

The Arabs, in lightning thrusts, challenged and beat the Byzantines to the north and the Persians to the east, both weakened by continuous wars with one another. These stunning successes were followed rapidly by conquests of Christian and Jewish populations in Egypt, Libya, and the Maghreb, and, in the east, central Asia and the Hindu population of northern India. Not content with these triumphs, Arab armies invaded and subdued much of Christian Spain and Portugal, and all of Sicily. Since the Roman Empire, the world had not seen such power and reach. Almost all fell before the blades of the Muslim armies.

Conquest of vast lands, large populations, and advanced civilizations is a bloody and brutal task. Most accounts of Islamic history glide over the conquests, as if they were friendly takeovers executed to everyone's satisfaction. Boston University anthropologist Charles Lindholm, for example, wrote, "The Muslim message of the equality of all believers struck a cord with the common people of the empires, who, theoretically at least, were liberated from their inferior status by the simple act of conversion. The rise of Islam was both an economic and social revolution, offering new wealth and freedom to the dominions it assimilated under the banner of a universal brotherhood guided by the message of the Prophet of Allah."[7] It may have been the best of all possible worlds, so long as one had not been one of the slain, enslaved, expropriated, suppressed, and degraded.

There are some accounts that address the Islamic conquests more frankly. Andrew Bostom, an associate professor of medicine at Brown University who edited a collection of primary source descriptions of jihad, provides lengthy quotes from major Islamic authorities, ancient and modern, verifying the obligation upon all Muslims to make holy war against infidels.[8]

The Arab and Islamic conquests were not unlike tribal raids against distant, unprotected peoples, but on a much larger scale. One of the main characteristics of the Arab empire was the enslavement of conquered peoples.[9] During conquest, men were commonly slaughtered while women and children were taken in slavery. Muslim invaders spared men who willingly converted but still enslaved their wives and children. In conquered regions, Muslim troops often took children from parents while along the periphery, it was normal to raid for slaves.

Bostom and other scholars provide historical accounts of such jihad.[10] One Greek Christian account describes the Arab invasion of Egypt as "merciless and brutal." Not only did the Muslim invaders slay the commander of the Byzantine troops and his companions, but they also put to the sword all who surrendered including old men, babes, or women.[11] Similar slaughters occurred across Palestine and Cyprus. Muslim troops were particularly brutal toward non-Muslim religious institutions. During the caliphate of Harun al-Rashid, many Christian monks were put to death. One Muslim historian estimated that Arab armies destroyed 30,000 churches throughout Egypt, Syria, and other central lands.[12] An Armenian historian reported that, following a rebellion in 703, General Muhammad bin Marwan invaded the province, massacring and enslaving the populace. He wrote a letter to the nobility, giving guarantees of safety in return for surrender. They surrendered, at which point the Arab invaders shut them in churches and burned them alive.[13]

While writers today depict the Muslim civilization in medieval Spain as tolerant, a Grenadan Muslim general from the late thirteenth century wrote that "it is permissible to set fire to the lands of the enemy, his stores of grain, his beasts of burden, if it is not possible for the Muslims to take possession of them." He further advised razing cities and doing everything to ruin non-Muslims.[14] Muslim generals instituted similar practices in Afghanistan and India.

Tribesmen can treat non-members with disdain. Tribal identity coalesces in opposition to the "other." Common Muslim attitudes toward non-Muslims reflect the influence of these tribal values. The historical evidence for the degradation of Christian and Jewish dhimmi [subjugated religious minority] in Muslim lands is overwhelming, both in quantity and near unanimity in substance. Much is documented in Bat Ye'or's Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide.[15] In eleventh-century Al-Andalus, for example, Abu Ishaq, a well-known Arab poet and jurist of the day, expressed outrage at the presence of a Jewish minister in the court of the ruler of Granada. He argued that the Muslim leaders should "[p]ut [the Jews] back where they belong and reduce them to the lowest of the low … Do not consider it a breach of faith to kill them." Soon after his call, local residents slaughtered approximately 5,000 Grenadan Jews.[16] Such sentiments were not exceptions limited in time and scope. Egyptian president Anwar Sadat spoke in closely parallel terms to Abu Ishaq's when, on April 25, 1972, he declared, "[The Jews] shall return and be as the Qur'an said of them: ‘condemned to humiliation and misery.' … We shall send them back to their former status."[17]

Arab Muslims frequently subjugated their non-Muslim brethren across the width and breadth of the Muslim world. The Spaniard Badia y Leblich traveled in Morocco at the end of the nineteenth century as a Muslim named Ali Bey and reported the Jews there to be "in the most abject state of slavery."[18] William Shaler, the U.S. consul in Algiers from 1816 to 1828, described the Jews of Algiers to be "a most oppressed people," not even permitted to resist any violence from a Muslim and subject to conscription for hard labor without notice.[19] Contemporaneous chroniclers describe the Jews of Tunis and Benghazi similarly.[20]

Such treatment is rooted in the Muslim belief that Islam was God's word and God's way and any other religion or belief was false. Muslims believe Judaism and Christianity to be superseded by Islam. All non-Muslims were infidels who should be subject to Islam. Jews and Christians were to be allowed to live as inferiors and subordinates, dhimmis, but with obligatory, legally-mandated humiliation; other infidels, such as Hindus and pagans, could choose between conversion to Islam and death although, in practice, many Muslim conquerors preferred to derive economic benefit from their enslavement.

The theological foundation of the Arab empire was the supremacy of Islam and the obligation of each Muslim to advance its domination.[21] The relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims is thus defined by Islamic doctrine as one of superiority versus inferiority and of endless conflict until the successful conquest of the non-Muslims.

Islam also reflects tribal notions of honor with regard to women. Within the Arab tribal society in which Muhammad was born, women's reproductive capacity was necessary for lineage strength. The ability of the lineage to allocate women where needed most for strategic purposes, whether endogamously to contribute to the number of offspring or exogamously to establish or maintain an alliance, required obedience. The close attention of community members to the sexual behavior of women reflects not only a concern for fulfilling community norms but also a keen self-interest in rank competition and the way different groups may rise or fall.

But have Muslims carried down views expressed in the fourteenth century C.E. to the present day? Here anthropologists contribute to the discussion. E. E. Evans-Pritchard, later professor of social anthropology at Oxford University, had close contact with the Bedouin of Libya during World War II. In his studies of eastern Libya encapsulated in The Sanusi of Cyrenaica, he observed that the Bedouin saw it as their special religious responsibility to carry out holy war, jihad, leaving others to pray and study the Qur'an.[22] When the Italians invaded Libya early in the twentieth century, the Bedouin of Cyrenaica were unwilling to accept Italians as rulers under any terms, no matter how generous. Although the Bedouin were heavily outgunned, they chose to fight for decades until they were virtually exterminated.

From a political point of view, Islam raised tribal society to a higher, more inclusive level of integration. But it was not able to replace the central principle of tribal political organization. Framing Muslims in opposition to the infidel preserved the balanced opposition. As with tribal lineage, affiliation and loyalty became defined by opposition.

The basic tribal framework of "us versus them" remains in Islam. The conception "my group, right or wrong" does not exist because the question of right or wrong never comes up. Allegiance is to "my group," period, full stop, always defined against "the other." An overarching, universalistic, inclusive constitution is not possible. Islam is not a constant referent but rather, like every level of tribal political organization, is contingent. People act politically as Muslims only when in opposition to infidels. Among Muslims, people will mobilize on a sectarian basis, as Sunni versus Shi‘a. Among Sunni, people will mobilize as the Karim tribe versus the Mahmud tribe; within the Karim tribe, people will mobilize according to whom they find themselves in opposition to: tribal section versus tribal section; lineage versus lineage, and so on.

The structural fissiparousness of the tribal order makes societal cohesion difficult. Affiliation places people and groups in opposition to one another. There is no universal reference that can include all parties. Oppositionalism then becomes the cultural imperative. While the tribal system based on balanced opposition effectively supports decentralized nomads, it inhibits societal integration and precludes civil peace based on settlement of disputes through legal judgment at the local level.

Islam's Bloody Borders

What does this mean today? The tribal notion of balanced opposition has profound implications on modern conflict. The Arab-Israeli debate is polarized and almost every "fact" contested by the other side. Too often, though, Western academics, journalists, and policymakers focus on the debate without reference to how Arab culture shapes and impacts the conflict.

Any outside observer without any prior knowledge of the Arab-Israeli conflict would find the unrelenting rejection by Arabs of Israel to be confusing. It would be difficult to fathom why Arabs who currently struggle to get along with one another would not look with enthusiasm to neighbors who could and would assist them in bettering their circumstances. The Arab situation, compared to Israel's, is bleak. In all spheres of life except for religion, Arab society and culture has declined in importance and influence. In global competition with other societies and cultures, Arabs have for centuries been losers. Israel, on the other hand, is a parliamentary democracy with established civil liberties. It is perhaps the most multiracial and multicultural state in the world, gathering as it has Jews from all corners of the world. It has also accepted and, albeit imperfectly, incorporated a substantial population of Arab Bedouin and Palestinian Arabs, both Muslim and Christian. Israeli science and technology makes major contributions to medicine and high technology. IBM and Intel each have three research and development centers in Israel while Microsoft and Cisco Systems have built their only non-U.S. facilities there. Motorola has its largest research and development site in Israel. Israelis are close cousins of the Arabs. Hebrew and Arabic are both Semitic languages. And, even religiously, Jews are a fellow "people of the book."

Rather than accept any Israeli contribution—even Arab countries at peace with Israel refuse, for example, to accept disaster relief from the Jewish state—the Arab rejection of Israel is close to absolute. Four factors contribute to Arab rejectionism: (1) conflicting material interests, (2) use of Israel as an external enemy by Arab leaders to diffuse internal discontent, (3) Arab organizational principles based on opposition, and (4) the challenged honor of the Arabs. These last two factors are perhaps the most important. Not by coincidence, they derive from Arab tribal culture and are now incorporated as general principles in Arab cultures.

Conflicts in material interest—such as over land and water—are important, but they are common whenever people live together. Seldom do they become intractable. Arab rulers' diversion of internal discontent outward toward Israel is also important. But it is the balanced opposition drawn from tribalism that impacts enmity more. The Arab saying, "Me against my brother, me and my brother against my cousin; me, my brother, and my cousin against the world," holds true. Take for example the situation of Libya in the years prior to World War I: Prior to the Italian invasion of Libya in 1911, Arab Bedouin there fought Turkish overlords. But, rather than stay neutral or join the Italians, the Bedouin instead sided with their co-religionists against the Italians. For much the same reason, Arabs will unite in enmity to any non-Arab, let alone non-Muslim. In the conflict with Israel, the most basic Arab social principle is solidarity with the closer in opposition to the distant. "Right" and "wrong" are correlated with "my group" (always right) and "the other group" (always wrong). The underlying morality is that one must strive always to advantage one's own group and to disadvantage the other group.

For Arab Muslims confronting Jews, the opposition is between the dar al-Islam, the land of Islam, and the dar al-harb, the land of the infidels. The Muslim is obliged to advance God's true way, Islam, in the face of the ignominy of the Jew's false religion. Islamic doctrine holds that all non-Muslims, whether Christian or Jewish dhimmi or infidel pagans, must be subordinate to Muslims. Jews under Qur'anic doctrine are inferior by virtue of their false religion and must not be allowed to be equal to Muslims. For Muslim Arabs, the conceit of Jews establishing their own state, Israel, and on territory conquered by Muslims and, since Muhammad, under Muslim control is outrageous and intolerable. As Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University and an expert on Arab politics explains, "Underneath the modern cover there remained the older realities of sects, ethnicity, and the call of the clans."[23] There is no way, in this structure, to reach beyond the Arab versus Israeli and Muslim versus Jew opposition to establish a common interest, short of an unimagined attack on both Arabs and Israelis by some group more distant. In this oppositional framework, it is impossible to seek or see common interests or common possibilities. Israel will always be the distant "other" to be disadvantaged and, if possible, conquered.

A corollary principle, also with roots in Arab tribalism, is honor. Arab honor consists of the warrior's success in confrontations against outsiders. Only the victorious have honor. The more vanquished are the defeated, the greater is the victor's honor. As Ajami observes, in the Arab world, "triumph rarely comes with mercy or moderation."[24] Arabs are taught, and many have taken to heart, that honor is more important than wealth, fame, love, or even death. Imbued with such a sense, today's Arab finds himself in an untenable situation: Juxtaposing their recent history to the years of glory under Muhammad, Arabs can see only defeat visited upon defeat. First there was the breakdown of Arab solidarity and fighting among the Arabs themselves, then the Turkish Ottomans conquered the region. The decline and fall of the Ottomans led to conquest and occupation of almost all Arab lands by the Christians of Europe. Even their successful anti-colonial struggles turned into empty victories with Arab populations subject to power-hungry rulers, sadistic despots, or religious fanatics.

What honor can be found in defeat and oppression? And what self-respect can Arabs find without honor? In a world of defeat and failure, honor can be found only in resistance. Arab self-respect demands honor be vindicated through standing and fighting, no matter what the cost. In a 2006 interview, Pierre Heumann, a journalist with the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche, asked Al-Jazeera editor-in-chief Ahmed Sheikh whether enmity toward Israel is motivated by self-esteem. Sheikh explained, "Exactly. It's because we always lose to Israel. It gnaws at the people in the Middle East that such a small country as Israel, with only about 7 million inhabitants, can defeat the Arab nation with its 350 million. That hurts our collective ego. The Palestinian problem is in the genes of every Arab."[25] Lebanese poet Khalil Hawi echoes a similar theme in his 1979 volume Wounded Thunder in which he laments the failure of the Arabs to defeat Israel. "How heavy is the shame," Hawi asks. "Do I bear it alone?"[26]
These four factors—the defense of honor, segmentary opposition, transference of discontent outward, and conflicting material interests—militate in favor of alienation between the Arabs and Israel and the tenacious rejectionism of the Arabs. The two cultural factors—honor and opposition—are influences deeply embedded in Arab character. What appears to be reasonable to Westerners will not appear reasonable to Arabs. Such is the power of culture.

The conflict between Arabs and Israelis, Muslims and Jews, is not the only major conflict between Muslims and others. On the contrary, military contests along the borders of lands dominated by Muslims are pervasive. Samuel Huntington, a Harvard political scientist, observed, "The overwhelming majority of fault line conflicts … have taken place along the boundary looping across Eurasia and Africa that separates Muslims from non-Muslims. While at the macro or global level of world politics, the primary clash of civilizations is between the West and the rest, at the micro or local level it is between Islam and the others."[27] Among the conflicts enumerated by Huntington are the Bosnians versus the Serbs, the Turks versus the Greeks, Turks versus Armenians, Azerbaijanis versus Armenians, Tatars versus Russians, Afghans and Tajiks versus Russians, Uighurs versus Han Chinese, Pakistanis versus Indians, Sudanese Arabs versus southern Sudanese Christians and animists, and northern Muslim Nigerians versus southern Christian Nigerians.

Indeed, everywhere along the perimeter of the Muslim-ruled bloc, Muslims have problems living peaceably with their neighbors. Muslims may only comprise one-fifth of the world's population, but in this decade and the last, they have been far more involved in inter-group violence than the people of any other civilization.


Muslim Middle Eastern countries, from Morocco to Iran, are dictatorships. None are ranked free, and some, such as Egypt, Iran, Libya, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, are ranked not free, the lowest category.[28] The propensity of Arab states and Iran to dictatorship also has roots in tribal culture. There is an inherent conflict between peasants and nomads. Peasants are sedentary, tied to their land, water, and crops while tribesmen are nomadic, moving around remote regions. Peasants tend to be densely concentrated in water-rich areas around rivers or irrigation systems while pastoral tribesmen, in contrast, are spread thinly across plains, deserts, and mountains.

To state leaders, cultivators are vulnerable and rewarding targets who cannot escape without sacrificing their means of making a living. In comparison to peasant cultivators, pastoral nomads are much less vulnerable than cultivators to state importunity. Both their main capital resource, livestock, and their household shelter are mobile. While farming follows a rigid schedule of planting and exploitation, nomadism requires constant decisions and initiative, which instill willfulness and independence. Mobility and guerilla prowess make tribesmen less vulnerable than peasants to state control.

States struggle to impose effective control over the nomads. State authorities do not, however, always take a modest, compromising attitude in dealing with tribes. The Ottomans tended to be a bit more stringent in their own heartland. If tribes in Anatolia were deemed to be too independent, the government responded rigorously. Ottoman authorities forcibly settled unruly tribes and, in the 1920s and 1930s, Reza Shah subjected and forcibly settled in villages Iran's nomadic tribes—the Qashqai and Basseri of the southwest, the Lurs of the west, the Kurds of the northwest, the Turkmen of the northeast, and the Baluch of the southeast.[29] When occupying British officials deposed Reza Shah in 1941, many of the tribesmen reverted to nomadism.

In order for states to retain control over and exploit the production of their subjects, they must transform tribesmen into peasants. Governments cannot extract taxes and recruit soldiers from tribesmen, but they can do so from sedentary populations. Peasants are socially fragmented because the state has monopolized responsibility for collective action. Fast forward to the modern day. This tribal dynamic leads to dictatorship. Dictatorship occurs in one of two ways: In some societies, political leaders must use repression to stymie the centrifugal force inherent in tribalism. In countries, though, such as Libya or some Persian Gulf emirates, tribes are encapsulated in the national government. Tribal leadership morphs into the governing structure. Tribal notables become regional if not national elites. Either way, a rigid governing structure takes root.


What part does tribal organization and culture play in contemporary Middle Eastern life? Is it possible to say that tribes in the Middle East are primarily of historical interest with little influence in modern Middle Eastern societies, at least outside the state? After all, in the Middle East, there are established state organizations with governments, bureaucracies, police, courts, armies, and political parties. If Middle Eastern states are developed countries with modern institutions, then it might be easy to assume that the influence of tribes and tribal life and culture is minimal or nonexistent. It would then follow that the argument that Middle Eastern culture is imbued with tribal culture and organization and that balanced opposition underlies many aspects of contemporary Middle Eastern life must be heavily discounted or rejected altogether. Middle Eastern societies are not "modern," however, in the sense that European and American societies are. The tribal spirit holds sway. Its influence upon Islam permeates even the most cosmopolitan Arab states even if the tribal influences enshrined in the religion espoused or revealed by Muhammad are, almost fourteen centuries later, forgotten. Indeed, had Islam, whatever its many dimensions and complexities, not incorporated the balanced opposition structure of the tribal society that it sought to overlay, it is doubtful whether it could have been as accepted and successful as it was.
Philip Carl Salzman is the author of Culture and Conflict in the Middle East (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2007), on which this excerpt is based.
[1] Fredrick Barth, Nomads of South Persia (Oslo: Oslo University Press, 1961), pp. 98, 104-11.
[2] William Lancaster, The Rwala Bedouin Today (Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland, 1997).
[3] Ibid.
[4] Louise Sweet, "Camel Raiding of North Arabian Bedouin: A Mechanism of Ecological Adaption," American Anthropologist, 67 (1965): 1132-50; William Irons, "Livestock Raiding among Pastoralists: An Adaptive Interpretation," Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, 50 (1965): 393-414; Lancaster, The Rwala Bedouin Today, p. 141.
[5] E.E. Evans-Pritchard, The Sanusi of Cyrenaica (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1949); Emrys L. Peters, The Bedouin of Cyrenaica: Studies in Personal and Corporate Power (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
[6] Marshall Sahlins, "The Segmentary Lineage: An Organization of Predatory Expansion," American Anthropologist, 63 (1961): 322-43.
[7] See, for example, Charles Lindholm, The Islamic Middle East, rev. ed. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2002), p. 79.
[8] "Part 3: Muslim Theologians and Jurists on Jihad: Classical Writings," in Andrew Bostom, ed., The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2005), pp. 141-248.
[9] Andrew Bostom, "Part 2: Jihad Conquests and the Imposition of Dhimmitude—A Survey," in Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, pp. 86-93.
[10] "Part 6: Jihad in the Near East, Europe, and Asia Minor and on the Indian Subcontinent," pp. 383-528, "Part 7: Jihad Slavery," pp. 529-88, "Part 8: Muslim and Non-Muslim Chronicles and Eyewitness Accounts of Jihad Campaigns," pp. 589-674, in Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad; P.M. Holt, Ann K. S. Lambton, and Bernard Lewis, eds. The Cambridge History of Islam (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970); David Cook, Understanding Jihad (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005); Efraim Karsh, Islamic Imperialism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006).
[11] Demetrios Constantelos, "Greek Christian and Other Accounts of the Muslim Conquests of the Near East," in Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, p. 390.
[12] Ibid., p. 393.
[13] Aram Ter-Ghevondian, "The Armenian Rebellion of 703 against the Caliphate," in Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, p. 412.
[14] C.E. Dufourcq, "The Days of Razzia and Invasion," in Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, pp. 419-20.
[15] Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002.
[16] David G. Littman and Bat Ye'or, "Protected Peoples under Islam," in Robert Spencer, ed., The Myth of Islamic Tolerance (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2005), p. 93.
[17] The Jerusalem Post, Feb. 24, 1995.
[18] Travels of Ali Bey in Morocco, quoted in Littman and Ye'or, "Protected Peoples under Islam," p. 99.
[19] An 1826 report by Shaler, quoted in Littman and Ye'or, "Protected Peoples under Islam," p. 101.
[20] Littman and Ye'or, "Protected Peoples under Islam," p. 102.
[21] Bat Ye'or, Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide (Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002), pp. 40-1.
[22] Evans-Pritchard, The Sanusi of Cyrenaica, p. 63.
[23] Fouad Ajami, The Dream Palace of the Arabs (New York: Vintage, 1999), p. 155.
[24] Ibid., p. 134.
[25] Pierre Heumann, "An Interview with Al-Jazeera Editor-in-Chief Ahmed Sheikh," World Politics Review, Dec. 7, 2006.
[26] Ajami, The Dream Palace of the Arabs, p. 97.
[27] Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon & Shuster, 1996), pp. 254-8.
[28] "2007 Subscores," Freedom in the World (Washington, D.C.: Freedom House, 2007), accessed Sept. 28, 2007.
[29] Hassan Arfa, Under Five Shahs (London: John Murray, 1965), p. 253-7.
O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Old 02-05-2008, 03:09 AM
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Exclamation Banned: “the Passion Of The Wilders”


Geert Wilders had a point: “If I had announced that I was going to make a film about the fascist character of the Bible would there have been a crisis meeting of Holland’s security forces?” Wilders had just announced that his 10-minute film would be postponed for two weeks and that Dutch authorities had ordered him to leave the country.

A ten-minute film about the fascist character of the Bible…hasn’t that been done by CCN or by Ted Turner or somebody at the UN? Seems like one is aired every night. No one has called the cops. There have been no bomb threats. Bill Maher’s anti-Christian rants last longer than 10 minutes. Between Real Time and the Playboy Mansion, he’s spent more time abusing Christ than Herod and Judas Iscariot did combined.

Suppose someone did propose a 10-minute film about fascism in the Bible who would be the narrator? Got to have a narrator. Bill Maher? Rosie O’Donnell? Would bin Laden be invited to the Premier? Got to have be a Premier. Would Bill Clinton apologize for the behavior of Mother Teresa? There would have to be an apology. Who would be the first dhimmi at CNN or MSNBC to insist that there are many versions of Christianity and that Opie Taylor and Potsy Weber shouldn’t be confused with …with…ah, Tim McVegh or…or…Eric Rudolph…yes, Eric Rudolph…don’t want to tar all Christians with the David Koresh brush.

Columbia and Berkeley would probably snap up the film for its freshmen indoctrination programs. Chances are an Obama or Hillary administration would show it to the FBI and the CIA. It’s time they took a closer look at who they are hiring in this War on Terrorism. Tighten up those screening procedures…some of those fuzzy-cheeked applicants might have belonged to the Catholic League while in college or worse…been a Promise Keeper. Can’t take chances with national security.

Would the Vatican protest—warn the producers not to show the film under penalty of excommunication? Would they get Ibrahim Hooper’s backing?

Wilders, 44, continued: “Would I have received as many death threats as I have done since announcing I was making a film about the Koran?” Of course not! He would be praised for his bravery; invited on The View; they would name a faculty lounge at Berkeley in his honor. Half the US Congress would say they might disagree with what he says but would defend to the death his right to say it—unless he used the N word or was insensitive to some minority group (list available on request).

Iran has warned the Netherlands what will happen if the Dutch are so foolish as to air the Wilders film. “The Iranian parliament will request to reconsider our relationship with it (the Netherlands),” said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of Majlis National Security. Iran is currently reconsidering relationships with the United States, Israel, Australia, Denmark, Lower Slobbobvia, Shangrila…

“In Iran, insulting Islam is a very sensitive matter and if the movie is broadcast it will arouse a wave of popular hatred that will be directed towards any government that insults Islam.” Succinct! Let’s see…Pim Fortuyn insulted Islam; Submission insulted Islam; Theo van Gogh insulted Islam; Salman Rushdie insulted Islam; the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons insulted Islam; the rondellhund insulted Islam; Kafirs gnawing on pork rinds insult Islam; women in miniskirts insult Islam; ringing church bells insult Islam. It is easy to insult Islam. Muslims are the most sensitive and most easily insulted people in the world and also the most tolerant and peaceful—and that is why every offender of Islam is given a day in court except during waves of popular hatred.

In Afghanistan a journalist who insulted Islam has been sentenced to death. He had questioned the Islamic marriage bed. Why should Muslim men be allowed four wives and Muslim women only one husband he asked? Would an American Horace Greeley have dared to ask Mitt Romney that question? Muslim clerics were humiliated—to suggest that a Muslim man couldn’t satisfy four women—with appropriate separate rooms—would be to question his fitness for the 72 virgins awaiting his expertise in Allah’s Great Whorehouse in the Sky. Is it any wonder that the Court’s decision was immediately praised by the Afghan parliament?

In Pakistan, Muslim men are abducting and killing Christian boys, not because of hatred though that is part of it, but to harvest their body parts for sale on the black market. In Saudi Arabia, a Nigerian woman was beheaded for drug trafficking in the holy city of Mecca. It’s a dark side to something.

Meanwhile in Washington DC, Floris van Hovell, spokesperson for the Dutch Embassy said, “The government is taking the announcement of this movie quite seriously. Obviously, because the movie hasn’t been made, we cannot say anything about the movie until the movie has been shown, but the message Mr. Wilders has told us he wants to portray is disturbing.” But not as disturbing as murdering young Christian boys for their body parts or beheading drug traffickers in Mecca? Right?

Maybe it is Wilders. “I believe our culture is much better than the retarded Islamic cultures,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of the intolerance in the world comes back to the Islamic religion and the Koran.”

Well—sure, if one counts organ harvesting, honor killings, church burnings, suicide bombings and female genital mutilation, but Bill Maher knows about all this, doesn’t he?

O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Old 02-05-2008, 04:26 AM
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Question Is the Qur'an Hate Propaganda?

Is the Qur'an Hate Propaganda?

What the Holiest Book of Islam Really says about Non-Muslims


Why the Violence? Why the Indifference?

When Islamic terrorists massacred 186 children and 148 other non-Muslims on the morning of September 3rd, 2004 at a schoolhouse in Beslan, Russia, very few Muslims celebrated the high-profile event and some even took the time to denounce it. But, in a community renowned for its peevishness, there was very little passion over the routine slaughter of innocents in the name of Islam.

While rumors of a Qur’an desecration or a Muhammad cartoon bring out deadly protests, riots, arson and effigy-burnings, the mass murder of non-Muslims generally evokes yawns. In the six years following 9/11 more than 10,000 acts of deadly Islamic terrorism were perpetrated, yet all of them together fail to provoke the sort of outrage on the part of most Muslims that the mere mention of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo inspires.

This critical absence of moral perspective puzzles many Westerners, particularly those trying to reconcile this reality with the politically-correct assumption that Islam is like other religion. The Judeo-Christian tradition preaches universal love and unselfishness, so it is expected that the more devout Muslims would be the most peaceful and least dangerous... provided that Islam is based on the same principles.
But beneath the rosy assurances from Muslim apologists that Islam is about peace and tolerance lies a much darker reality that better explains the violence and deeply-rooted indifference. Quite simply, the Qur'an teaches hate.

Consider the elements that define hate speech:
  • Drawing a distinction between one’s own identity group and those outside it
  • Moral comparison based on this distinction
  • Devaluation or dehumanization of other groups and the insistence of personal superiority
  • The advocating of different standards of treatment based on identity group membership
  • A call to violence against members of other groups
Sadly, the Qur’an qualifies as hate speech on each count (despite the best intentions of many Muslims).

The holiest book of Islam draws the sharpest of distinctions between Muslims and non-Muslims, lavishing praise on the former while condemning the latter. Far from teaching universal love, the Qur'an incessantly preaches the inferiority of non-Muslims, even comparing them to vile animals and gloating over Allah's hatred of them and the dark plans for their eternal torture. Naturally, the harsh treatment of non-believers by Muslims is encouraged as well.

What does the Qur'an, believed by Muslims to be the literal and eternal word of Allah, really say about non-Muslims?

The Qur’an Distinguishes Muslims from Non-Muslims
and Establishes a Hierarchy of Relative Worth

The Qur’an makes it clear that Islam is not about universal brotherhood, but about the brotherhood of believers:
The Believers are but a single Brotherhood (49:10)
Not all men are equal under Islam. Slaves and the handicapped are not equal to healthy free men, for example (16:75-76). The Qur’an introduces the “Law of Equality,” which establishes different levels of human value when considering certain matters, such as restitution for murder (2:178).

With regard to Islam, the Qur’an tells Muslims that they are a favored race, while those of other religions are “perverted transgressors”:
Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors. (3:110)
As we shall see later, Allah condemns non-Muslims to Hell based merely on their unbelief, while believers are rewarded with the finest earthly comforts in the hereafter, including never-ending food, wine and sex (56:12-40). In fact, much of the Qur’an is devoted to distinguishing Muslims from non-Muslims and impugning the latter.

Since Allah makes such a strong distinction between Muslims and those outside the faith, it is only natural that Muslims should incorporate disparate standards of treatment into their daily lives. The Qur’an tells Muslims to be compassionate with one another but ruthless to the infidel:
Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves (48:29)
Allah intends for Muslims to triumph over believers:
And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way to triumph over believers [Pickthall – “any way of success”] (4:141)
The only acceptable position of non-Muslims to Muslims is subjugation under Islamic rule:
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (9:29 Jizya is the money that non-Muslims must pay to their Muslim overlords in a pure Islamic state.)
A common criticism of many Muslims is that they often behave arrogantly toward others. Now you know why.

The Qur’an Dehumanizes Non-Muslims
and Says that They are Vile Animals

The Qur’an dehumanizes non-Muslims, describing them as “animals” and beasts:
Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures. (98:6)
Surely the vilest of animals in Allah's sight are those who disbelieve, then they would not believe. (8:55)
Verse 5:60 even says that Allah transformed Jews of the past into apes and pigs. Verse 2:65 continues the theme.
Verses 46:29-35 even say that unbelieving men are worse than demons who believe in Muhammad.

The Qur’an Says that Allah does NOT love unbelievers

Christianity teaches that God loves all men, but hates sin. The Qur’an never says this. Instead it explicitly states that Allah does not love those who do not believe in him:
For He loves not those who reject Faith (30:45)
Allah only loves those who obey Muhammad (at least according to Muhammad):
Say: "Obey Allah and His Messenger": But if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject Faith. (3:32)
Whereas Christianity teaches that God loves the sinner, but hates sin, the god of Islam's wrath is squarely on the person:
Surely Allah does not love any one who is unfaithful, ungrateful. (22:38)
Verses 11:118-199 say that Allah does not bestow mercy on everyone. For this reason, he chooses not to guide some people:
And Allah's is the direction of the way, and some (roads) go not straight. And had He willed He would have led you all aright. (16:9)
For those whom Allah does not love, there will be the most terrible of eternal torments:
Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. (4:56)
As we shall see, Allah hates unbelievers so much that he even leads them into sinning and actively prevents them from believing in him, thus ensuring their fate.

The Qur’an Says that Non-Muslims are
Destined for Eternal Torture in Hell

Although nowhere does the Qur’an say that Allah loves those who don’t believe Muhammad, there are over 400 verses that describe the torment that he has prepared for people of other religions (or no religion):
And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers (3:85)
The relative worth of non-Muslims is that they are but fuel for the fire of Hell:
(As for) those who disbelieve, surely neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them in the least against Allah, and these it is who are the fuel of the fire (3:10)
As they are fueling the fire, unbelievers will be tormented by Allah’s angels on his command:
“O ye who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire whereof the fuel is men and stones, over which are set angels strong, severe, who resist not Allah in that which He commandeth them, but do that which they are commanded.” (66:6)
It doesn’t matter how many good deeds an unbeliever does, because they count for nothing with Allah:
The parable of those who reject their Lord is that their works are as ashes, on which the wind blows furiously on a tempestuous day: No power have they over aught that they have earned (14:18)
Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works? They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter): vain will be their works, nor shall We, on the Day of Judgment, give them any weight. That is their reward, Hell, because they rejected Faith, and took My Signs and My Messengers by way of jest. (18:103-106)
Muhammad told his people that anyone who rejects his claim to be a prophet will go to Hell:
Surely those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers and (those who) desire to make a distinction between Allah and His messengers and say: ‘We believe in some and disbelieve in others’, and desire to take a course between (this and) that. These it is that are truly unbelievers, and We have prepared for the unbelievers a disgraceful chastisement. And those who believe in Allah and His messengers and do not make a distinction between any of them-- Allah will grant them their rewards (4:150-152)
In Christianity, punishment in the hereafter is directly tied to sin and ‘wickedness.’ There is relatively little said about Hell, but the emphasis is on personal suffering for selfish or cruel deeds. In Islam, Hell is a punishment for merely not believing Muhammad’s personal claims about himself. In contrast to the Bible, every 12th verse of the Qur’an speaks of Hell and vividly describes Allah’s wrath on unbelievers:
But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads, Whereby that which is in their bellies, and their skins too, will be melted; And for them are hooked rods of iron Whenever, in their anguish, they would go forth from thence they are driven back therein and (it is said unto them): Taste the doom of burning. (22:19-22)
No one could torture a person in this way without hating them intensely. Neither can Allah’s intense loathing for unbelievers help but affect the Muslim attitude toward those outside the faith.

The personal superiority of Muslims is confirmed by the contrasting picture painted in so many places in the Qur'an in which they are rewarded with the greatest of earthly comforts in heaven, while the unbelievers concurrently suffer horrible torment (see Sura 56 for just one example).

Allah Himself Prevents Non-Muslims from Understanding

It would make no sense if Allah gave the people that he hates an opportunity to avoid his wrath. The Qur'an says that Allah deliberately puts obstacles in the way of unbelievers to keep them from accepting the truth:

If Allah wished, he could provide guidance to every soul:
If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance (32:13)
But, instead he sets a veil over the hearts and coverings over their ears:
Verily We have set veils over their hearts lest they should understand this, and over their ears, deafness, if thou callest them to guidance, even then will they never accept guidance. (18:57) – See also 17:46 & 45:23
Allah even uses chains and barriers to prevent unbelievers from believing:
Certainly the word has proved true of most of them, so they do not believe. Surely We have placed chains on their necks, and these reach up to their chins, so they have their heads raised aloft. And We have made before them a barrier and a barrier behind them, then We have covered them over so that they do not see. And it is alike to them whether you warn them or warn them not: they do not believe. (36:7-10)
For the same purpose, Allah also fills the hearts of unbelievers with doubt:
No soul can believe, except by the will of Allah, and He will place doubt (or obscurity) on those who will not understand (10:100)
Allah Actually Causes Non-Muslims to Sin

Not content with merely preventing unbelievers from knowing the truth (which is enough to condemn them to Hell) the Qur'an says that a hateful Allah also causes unbelievers to commit the very sin that He will later punish them for:
And if Allah please He would certainly make you a single nation, but He causes to err whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases; and most certainly you will be questioned as to what you did (16:93)
Although Satan tempts Muslims, it is Allah himself who causes unbelievers to err.
…and whomsoever Allah causes to err, you shall not find a way for him. (4:143)
Allah intentionally sends the people that he hates astray:
…and Allah sendeth him astray purposely, and sealeth up his hearing and his heart, and setteth on his sight a covering? Then who will lead him after Allah (hath condemned him)? Will ye not then heed? (45:23)
Allah even sends demons to inspire unbelievers to commit further bad deeds (that He can later hold against them):
See thou not that We have set the Evil Ones on against the unbelievers, to incite them with fury? (19:83)
Allah tricks unbelievers into thinking that they are doing good deeds, when, in fact, they are merely deepening their own eternal punishment with bad deeds:
As to those who do not believe in the hereafter, We have surely made their deeds fair-seeming to them, but they blindly wander on. (27:4) See also 39:23, 6:39, 35:8, 13:27 & 14:4)
Allah recruits Satan to join Him into fooling unbelievers into thinking that they are doing good:
On the contrary their hearts became hardened, and Satan made their (sinful) acts seem alluring to them. (6:43)
The joke is on non-Muslims, of course, who will protest on Judgment Day that they did everything they thought was right – but are sent to Hell anyway:
Then would they offer submission (with the pretence), "We did no evil (knowingly)." (The angels will reply), "Nay, but verily Allah knows all that ye did; "So enter the gates of Hell, to dwell therein. (16:28-29)
The Qur’an Says that Non-Muslims Should Not be Taken as Friends

Given that Allah hates non-Muslims to the extent that he would prevent them from knowing the truth, cause them to err and then condemn them to eternal torture for their unbelief and misdeeds, it would make little sense if he intended Muslims to treat unbelievers by the same standards that they treat each other here on earth.

The Qur’an says that no true Muslim would ever love anyone who resists Islam, even if it is a family member:
Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. (58:22)
There are at least nine places in the Qur’an where believers are warned not to befriend non-Muslims:
O ye who believe! Take not for friends unbelievers rather than believers: Do ye wish to offer Allah an open proof against yourselves? (4:144)
In fact, anyone who does take a non-Muslim as a friend could be accused of being an unbeliever as well:
O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. (5:51)
Muhammad said that unbelievers have it out for Muslims. They may appear harmless or friendly, but they really harbor corruption and evil intentions:
O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin: Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse (3:118)
Those outside of Islam are really helpers of evil against Allah:
The Misbeliever is a helper (of Evil), against his own Lord! (25:55)
Instead of befriending non-Muslims, Muslims are ordered to fight them:
O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty. (9:123)
The Qur’an tells Muslims that they will spend eternity mocking the suffering of non-Muslims as they are tortured in Hell:
And the dwellers of the garden will call out to the inmates of the fire: Surely we have found what our Lord promised us to be true; have you too found what your Lord promised to be true? They will say: Yes. Then a crier will cry out among them that the curse of Allah is on the unjust. (7:44) – Muhammad personally mocked his dead enemies following the Battle of Badr (Ibn Ishaq 454)
The Qur’an Says that Other Religions are Cursed by Allah

Buddhists in Thailand, Jews in Israel, Christians in the Indonesia, Hindus in India... Why is Islam at war with every major world religion, when none of these religions are not at war with each other? Part of the reason is that the Qur’an is specific about the inferiority of other faiths and the hatred that Allah harbors for their people.

Although it is common for Muslims to become upset about anyone “insulting” their religion, here is what the Qur’an says about Jews and Christians:
The Jews call Ezra a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! (9:30) (See also Bukhari 8:427), one of the last things Muhammad ever said on his deathbed was "May Allah curse the Jews and Christians.”)
The Qur’an specifically addresses Christians, Jews, Polytheists (Hindus) and atheists:
Christians are blasphemers (5:17, 5:73) who have invented a lie about Allah (10:68-69). Inventing a lie about Allah is the worst of sins (7:37, 29:68) and for this reason Christians are condemned to Hell (10:70). Although one (early Medinan) verse seems to say that righteous Christians will go to heaven, this is abrogated by later verses that make it very clear that Christians must cease being Christian (ie. reject the Trinity) or suffer eternal torment for their beliefs (5:72-73).

Jews are also cursed by Allah (5:13), in one of His final pronouncements. The Qur’an goes on to assure Muslims that Jews are wicked (4:160-162) – so wicked, in fact, that they have somhow managed to do the impossible (18:27) and alter the word of Allah (2:75). Jews are “fond of lies” and “devour the forbidden” (5:42).

The Qur’an assures believers that Jews and Christians have “diseased hearts” (5:52). Allah even takes credit for the enmity between then (5:14). Only Jews and Christians who submit to Islamic subjugation and pay the Jizya are protected in this world (9:29 & Ibn Ishaq 956).

Hindus are polytheists. Although Muhammad didn’t know any Hindus (and neither did Allah, apparently) the Qur’an still manages to lay the groundwork for the 1000 year ethnic cleansing campaign against the Hindu people that is estimated to have taken tens of millions of innocent lives. In Islam polytheists are worse than all other religion. Those who join idols (14:30) or false gods (11:14) to Allah also invent a lie about Him (29:17) and will burn in Hell. Even believing in other along with Allah is an unforgivable crime (4:48, 40:12).

Atheists believe in no god, which is even worse than believing in the wrong one (Muhammad and his successors had atheists put to death - Bukhari 84:57) . Merely questioning the existence of Allah is a testament to one’s arrogance and impiety (25:21). But the arrogance of Muslims is encouraged in the Qur’an. Muhammad always answered probing questions merely by telling the inquiring party that they would go to Hell if they didn’t believe in him (36:49-64).

Anyone who gives up his religion is a “perverted transgressor” (3:82). Perverted as well is anyone who denies Allah (40:63). Freedom of conscience does not exist in Islam. Muhammad clearly prescribed the death penalty for apostates (Bukhari 52:260.

While contemporary Muslims often speak of “dialogue” (meaning an arrangement in which they tell you about Islam while you listen) the Qur’an speaks of Jihad instead:
Listen not to the unbelievers, but strive (Jihad) against them with the utmost strenuousness. (25:52)
What would be the point in hearing anything a non-Muslim has to say... or even talking with them for that matter? Allah has already sealed their hearts and condemned them to Hell:
As for the Disbelievers, Whether thou warn them or thou warn them not it is all one for them; they believe not. Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom (2:6)
Yep, there’s your interfaith dialogue – Religion of Peace style.

The Qur’an Says that People of Other Religions
are to be Punished in This World

Allah himself fights against the unbelievers (9:30), so why should Muslims not fight in His cause rather than in the cause of evil (4:76)?
Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah and your enemies and others besides, whom ye may not know (8:60)
Strive hard (Jihad) against the Unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge (indeed). (66:9, See also 9:73)
Muslims are to expect a reward in this life as well as the next (4:134), so it makes sense that unbelievers should be punished in this life as well:
…He whom Allah sendeth astray, for him there is no guide. For them is a penalty in the life of this world, but harder, truly, is the penalty of the Hereafter… (13:33:34)
All beings on heaven and earth will be forced to bow down to Allah, either willingly or by force:
And unto Allah falleth prostrate whosoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly (13:15)
Those who resist Islam will be humiliated:
Those who resist Allah and His Messenger will be among those most humiliated. (58:20 - The context for this verse is the eviction of the Jewish Medinan tribes and the confiscation of their wealth, land, and children by Muhammad).
Non-Muslims are to be fought until religion is only for Allah:
And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah (8:39 – “Persecution” in this context means resistance to Islam – defined in the prior verse as an unwillingness to believe (see verse 38). This passage was “revealed” following a battle that Muhammad deliberately provoked. Verse 2:193 essentially says that same thing and was also “revealed” at a time when the Muslims were not under physical attack).
Non-Muslims are to be encroached on and pressured by the Muslims:
See they not that We gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders? (13:41)
And He made you heirs to their land and their dwellings and their property, and (to) a land which you have not yet trodden, and Allah has power over all things. (33:27, See also Bukhari 53:392)
Allah provides instructions to Muslims for dealing with unbelievers who are unwilling to accept Islamic rule:
Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them." This because they contended against Allah and His Messenger: If any contend against Allah and His Messenger, Allah is strict in punishment. (8:12-13)
Other verses of violence may be found here.


The pattern of violence and aggressive disregard for human suffering that is persistent in Muslim history and contemporary attitude toward non-believers reflects the message of the Qur'an, which is one of personal superiority and arrogance.
In our modern world, Muslim dominance is characterized by the oppression and discrimination of non-Muslims, while Muslim minorities within larger societies are distinguished by varying degrees of petulant demand, discord and armed rebellion. Few Muslims are uncomfortable with this blatant double standard, in which Islam either plays the victim or unapologetically victimizes others, depending on its position - and the reason is obvious.

Islam is a supremacist ideology in which the role of non-believers is subordinate to the position of Muslims. Those who resist Islamic rule are to be fought until they are fully humiliated and forced to acknowledge their inferior status either by converting to Islam or by paying a poll-tax and otherwise accepting the subjugation of their own beliefs.
There is simply no other religion on earth that draws such sharp distinction between its own members and others, or spends as much time condemning and dehumanizing those who merely choose not to follow its dogma.

So much about Islamic terrorism and the general indifference of the broader Muslim community toward the violence makes sense only against this dual nature of Islam. Yes, the apologists are correct in saying that Islam teaches love and kindness, but they fail to add that this applies only within the Muslim community. Loyalty to one's own identity group is valued above all else and empathy for those outside the faith is optional at best and even discouraged.

The Qur’an meets every criterion by which we define hate speech. Not only does the message inspire loathing and disregard for others, but the Qur'an mandates the superiority of Islam, even if the means of establishment are by force.

If this is a "misunderstanding" of Islam by modern-day "radicals," then it is an error that the founder of Islam made as well. In his later years, Muhammad directed military campaigns to subjugate other tribes and religions, "inviting" them to Islam at the point of a sword and forcing them to pay tribute nonetheless. He set in motion the aggressive military campaigns that made war against all five major world religions in just the first few decades following his death.

Islam incorporates the ultimate devaluation of non-Muslims by teaching that while a Muslim may be punished with death for murdering a fellow Muslim (Bukhari 83:17), no Muslim can be put to death for killing a non-Muslim (Bukhari 83:50). The Qur’an’s "Law of Equality," which assigns human value and rights based on gender, religion and status, is the polar opposite of equality in the Western liberal tradition, which ideally respects no such distinction.

One can always find apologists willing to dismiss the harsh rhetoric of the Qur'an with creative interpretation, torturous explanation or outright denial, but their words and deeds almost always belie a concern for Islam's image that does not extend to Islam's victims - at least not with the same sense of urgency - thus proving the point.

Of course, there are also exceptional Muslims who do not agree with Islamic supremacy and sincerely champion secularism and respect for all people. Some even find verses or fragments of such to support their independent beliefs. But, for these people, the Qur’an as a whole will always be a constant challenge, since it explicitly teaches the distinct and inferior status of non-Muslims.
O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

Last edited by Paparock; 02-05-2008 at 04:29 AM..
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Exclamation Slavery, Christianity, and Islam

Slavery, Christianity, and Islam

It has become a feature of today’s atheist chic to shy bricks at Christianity for its record on slavery. This is part of a larger assault on Western history and society, which, by accident or design, plays into the hands of those who are today mounting on a global scale a sweeping and explicit cultural challenge to Judeo-Christian as well as post-Christian values. The fundamentally most misunderstood and overlooked aspect of today’s defense against the global jihad is this challenge that Jihadists make to Western values, which are in large part Judeo-Christian. Combine this with a historical critique that relentlessly portrays the West as the aggressors against the rest of the world, and as uniquely responsible for its evils, and Westerners’ will to defend something as rotten as Western civilization begins to ebb away.

This is the concern of my book Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t—which I wrote in order to counter these tendencies and answer the Islamic cultural critique. For in fact, taken at face value, the Bible condones slavery. The Apostle Paul says flatly: “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ” (Eph. 6:5). He wasn’t saying anything remotely controversial (and of course has been criticized for apparently accepting the cultural status quo instead of challenging it). No culture on earth, Christian or otherwise, ever questioned the morality of slavery until relatively recent times.

But in the popular mind the onus for slavery is squarely on the West. When Britain commemorated the two hundredth anniversary of its abolition of the slave trade in March 2007, Prime Minister Tony Blair called it “an opportunity for the United Kingdom to express our deep sorrow and regret for our nation’s role in the slave trade and for the unbearable suffering, individually and collectively, it caused.” Britain’s role in the slave trade? Some Americans might be surprised to learn that the British, or anyone besides American southerners, ever owned slaves, since after coming through American schools as they stand today many people no doubt have the impression that slavery was invented in Charleston and Mobile. “The American education system,” observes Mark Steyn, “teaches it as such—as a kind of wicked perversion the Atlantic settlers had conjured out of their own ambition.”

However, as Steyn details, it was a cross-cultural fact of life for centuries: “In reality, it was more like the common cold—a fact of life. The institution predates the word’s etymology, from the Slavs brought from eastern Europe to the glittering metropolis of Rome. It predates by some millennia the earliest laws, such as the Code of Hammurabi in Mesopotamia. The first legally recognized slave in the American colonies was owned by a black man who had himself arrived as an indentured servant. The first slave owners on the North American continent were hunter-gatherers. As Eric Metaxas puts it, ‘Slavery was as accepted as birth and marriage and death, was so woven into the tapestry of human history that you could barely see its threads, much less pull them out. Everywhere on the globe, for 5,000 years, the idea of human civilization without slavery was unimaginable.’”

Likewise unacknowledged has been the role that Christian principles played in the abolition of slavery in the West, which was an enterprise unprecedented in the annals of human history. The roots of abolitionism can be traced to the Church’s practice of baptizing slaves and treating them as human beings equal in dignity to all others. St. Isidore of Seville (560–636) declared that “God has made no difference between the soul of the slave and that of the freedman.” His statement was rooted in what St. Paul told the slaveowner Philemon about his runaway slave Onesimus: “Perhaps this was why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but as more than a slave, as a beloved brother” (Phil. 15–16).

Once it was recognized that the slave had a soul just as did the master, it could not forever be justified that he be another person’s chattel. In the year 649, Clovis II, king of the Franks, married a slave—who later began a campaign to halt the traffic in slaves. The Catholic Church now honors her as St. Bathilda. Charlemagne and others later also opposed the practice in Christian Europe. According to historian Rodney Stark, “slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition.” And in the New World, when the Spanish conquistadors were energetically enslaving South American Indians, and importing black Africans as slaves as well, their chief opponent was a Catholic missionary and bishop, Bartolome de las Casas (1474–1566), who was instrumental in compelling the Spanish crown to enact a law in 1542 prohibiting the enslavement of the Indians.
Still, there was no consensus about slavery within Christendom. Slavery persisted, and was at times even given ecclesiastical sanction. In the antebellum United States, there was no shortage of Southerners who used Scripture to support the morality of slavery. Typical of such expositions was one delivered in 1822 by the Rev. Dr. Richard Furman, President of the South Carolina Baptist State Convention, to South Carolina Governor John Lyde Wilson. Although slavery was not in 1822 the nation-rending controversy it would become in the succeeding decades, Furman was already feeling pressure from the arguments against slavery that abolitionists were advancing on Christian principles. He complained that “certain writers on politics, morals and religion, and some of them highly respectable, have advanced positions, and inculcated sentiments, very unfriendly to the principle and practice of holding slaves,” and had even attributed those positions “to the Holy Scriptures, and to the genius of Christianity.” On the contrary, Furman affirmed that “the right of holding slaves is clearly established by the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were directed to purchase their bond-men and bond-maids of the Heathen nations; except they were of the Canaanites, for these were to be destroyed. And it is declared, that the persons purchased were to be their ‘bond-men forever;’ and an ‘inheritance for them and their children.’”

Furman goes on to assert that “had the holding of slaves been a moral evil, it cannot be supposed, that the inspired Apostles, who feared not the faces of men, and were ready to lay down their lives in the cause of their God, would have tolerated it, for a moment, in the Christian Church.” And moreover, “in proving this subject justifiable by Scriptural authority, its morality is also proved; for the Divine Law never sanctions immoral actions.”

Such arguments held no water for the abolitionists, who read from the same Bible as did the slaveholders. The abolitionist movement was predicated upon the Christian principle of the dignity of all the redeemed in Christ. The pioneering English abolitionists Thomas Clarkson (1760–1846) and William Wilberforce (1759–1833) were both motivated to work for an end to slavery by their deep Christian faith; so was the American anti-slavery crusader William Lloyd Garrison (1805–1879), who remarked in a speech in Charleston, South Carolina on the day Abraham Lincoln was shot: “Abolitionism, what is it? Liberty. What is liberty? Abolitionism. What are they both? Politically, one is the Declaration of Independence; religiously, the other is the Golden Rule of our Savior.”

Abraham Lincoln was himself much preoccupied with Genesis 3:19, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.” In May 1864, he wrote to a delegation of Baptists, “To read in the Bible, as the word of God himself, that ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,’ and to preach there–from that, ‘In the sweat of other mans faces shalt thou eat bread,’ to my mind can scarcely be reconciled with honest sincerity.” Later that same year he replied to the wife of a Confederate prisoner who had appealed to him for the release of her husband: “You say your husband is a religious man; tell him when you meet him, that I say I am not much of a judge of religion, but that, in my opinion, the religion that sets men to rebel and fight against their government, because, as they think, that government does not sufficiently help some men to eat their bread on the sweat of other men’s faces, is not the sort of religion upon which people can get to heaven!” He gave this theme its most lapidary formulation in his Second Inaugural Address, saying of the opposing sides in the Civil War:

Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.

This is, of course, the view that has prevailed in the Christian world: that it is indeed “strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces.” And this was the view that was instrumental in the global abolition of slavery.

Islamic Slavery

In the Islamic world, however, the situation is very different. The Muslim prophet Muhammad owned slaves, and like the Bible, the Qur’an takes the existence of slavery for granted, even as it enjoins the freeing of slaves under certain circumstances, such as the breaking of an oath: “Allah will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom” (5:89). Jihad theorist Sayyid Qutb adduces this as evidence that in Islam “there is no difference between a prince and a pauper, a seigneur and a slave.” Nevertheless, while the freeing of a slave or two here and there is encouraged, the institution itself is never questioned. The Qur’an even gives a man permission to have sexual relations with his slave girls as well as with his wives: “The believers must (eventually) win through, those who humble themselves in their prayers; who avoid vain talk; who are active in deeds of charity; who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess, for (in their case) they are free from blame” (23:1-6). A Muslim is not to have sexual relations with a woman who is married to someone else—except a slave girl: “And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you” (4:24).

Why should such passages be any more troubling to anyone than passages in the Bible such as Exodus 21:7–11, which gives regulations for selling one’s daughter as a slave? Because in Islam there is no equivalent of the Golden Rule, as articulated by Jesus: “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets” (Matt. 7:12). The closest Islamic tradition comes to this is one hadith in which Muhammad says, “None of you will have faith till he likes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself.” The parenthetical “Muslim” in that sentence was added by the Saudi translator, and does not appear in the original Arabic; however, “brother” is generally not used in Islamic tradition to refer to anyone but fellow Muslims. Also mitigating against a universal interpretation of this maxim is the sharp distinction between believers and unbelievers that runs through all of Islam. The Qur’an says that the followers of Muhammad are “ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another” (48:29), and that the unbelievers are the “worst of created beings” (98:6). One may exercise the Golden Rule in relation to a fellow Muslim, but according to the worldview presented by such verses and others like them, the same courtesy is not properly to be extended to unbelievers.

That is one principal reason why the primary source of slaves in the Islamic world has been non-Muslims, whether Jews, Christians, Hindus or pagans. Most slaves in Islam were non-Muslims who had been captured during jihad warfare. The pioneering scholar of the treatment of non-Muslims in Islamic societies, Bat Ye’or, explains the system that developed out of jihad conquest:

The jihad slave system included contingents of both sexes delivered annually in conformity with the treaties of submission by sovereigns who were tributaries of the caliph. When Amr conquered Tripoli (Libya) in 643, he forced the Jewish and Christian Berbers to give their wives and children as slaves to the Arab army as part of their jizya [tax on non-Muslims]. From 652 until its conquest in 1276, Nubia was forced to send an annual contingent of slaves to Cairo. Treaties concluded with the towns of Transoxiana, Sijistan, Armenia, and Fezzan (Maghreb) under the Umayyads and Abbasids stipulated an annual dispatch of slaves from both sexes. However, the main sources for the supply of slaves remained the regular raids on villages within the dar-al-harb [House of War, i.e., non-Islamic regions] and the military expeditions which swept more deeply into the infidel lands, emptying towns and provinces of their inhabitants.

Historian Speros Vryonis observes that “since the beginning of the Arab razzias [raids] into the land of Rum [the Byzantine Empire], human booty had come to constitute a very important portion of the spoils.” The Turks, as they steadily conquered more and more of Anatolia, reduced many of the Greeks and other non-Muslims there to slave status: “They enslaved men, women, and children from all major urban centers and from the countryside where the populations were defenseless.” The Indian historian K. S. Lal states that wherever jihadists conquered a territory, “there developed a system of slavery peculiar to the clime, terrain and populace of the place.” When Muslim armies invaded India, “its people began to be enslaved in droves to be sold in foreign lands or employed in various capacities on menial and not-so-menial jobs within the country.”

Slaves faced pressure to convert to Islam. Patricia Crone, in an analysis of Islamic political theories, notes that after a jihad battle was concluded, “male captives might be killed or enslaved…Dispersed in Muslim households, slaves almost always converted, encouraged or pressurized by their masters, driven by a need to bond with others, or slowly, becoming accustomed to seeing things through Muslim eyes even if they tried to resist.” Thomas Pellow, an Englishman who was enslaved in Morocco for twenty-three years after being captured as a cabin boy on a small English vessel in 1716, was tortured until he accepted Islam. For weeks he was beaten and starved, and finally gave in after his torturer resorted to “burning my flesh off my bones by fire, which the tyrant did, by frequent repetitions, after a most cruel manner.”

Slavery was taken for granted throughout Islamic history, as it was, of course, in the West as well up until relatively recent times. Yet while the European and American slave trade get lavish attention from historians (as well as from mau-mauing reparations advocates and their marks, guilt-ridden contemporary politicians), the Islamic slave trade actually lasted longer and brought suffering to a larger number of people. It is exceedingly ironic that Islam has been presented to American blacks as the egalitarian alternative to the “white man’s slave religion” of Christianity, since Islamic slavery operated on a larger scale than did the Western slave trade, and lasted longer. While historians estimate that the transatlantic slave trade, which operated between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, involved around 10.5 million people, the Islamic slave trade in the Sahara, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean areas began in the seventh century and lasted into the nineteenth, and involved 17 million people.

Also, the pressure to end it moved from Christendom into Islam, not the other way around. There was no Muslim Clarkson, Wilberforce, or Garrison. In fact, when the British government in the nineteenth century adopted the view of Wilberforce and the other abolitionists as its own and thereupon began to put pressure on pro-slavery regimes, the Sultan of Morocco was incredulous precisely because of the audacity of the innovation that the British were proposing: “The traffic in slaves,” he noted, “is a matter on which all sects and nations have agreed from the time of the sons of Adam . . . up to this day.” He said that he was “not aware of its being prohibited by the laws of any sect” and that the very idea that anyone would question its morality was absurd: “no one need ask this question, the same being manifest to both high and low and requires no more demonstration than the light of day.”

However, it was not the unanimity of human practice, but the plain words of the Qur’an and Muhammad that were decisive in stifling abolitionist movements within the Islamic world. Slavery was abolished under Western pressure; the Arab Muslim slave trade in Africa was ended by the force of British arms in the nineteenth century.

There is evidence that slavery still continues beneath the surface in some majority-Muslim countries as well—notably Saudi Arabia, which only abolished slavery in 1962, Yemen and Oman, both of which ended legal slavery in 1970, and Niger, which didn’t abolish slavery until 2004. In Niger, the ban is widely ignored, and as many as one million people remain in bondage. Slaves are bred, often raped, and generally treated like animals.

Some of the evidence that Islamic slavery still goes on consists of a spate of slavery cases involving Muslims in the United States. A Saudi named Homaidan Al-Turki was sentenced in September 2006 to 27 years to life in prison, for keeping a woman as a slave in his home in Colorado. For his part, Al-Turki claimed that he was a victim of anti-Muslim bias. He told the judge: “Your honor, I am not here to apologize, for I cannot apologize for things I did not do and for crimes I did not commit. The state has criminalized these basic Muslim behaviors. Attacking traditional Muslim behaviors was the focal point of the prosecution.” The following month, an Egyptian couple living in Southern California received a fine and prison terms, to be followed by deportation, after pleading guilty to holding a ten-year-old girl as a slave. And in January 2007, an attaché of the Kuwaiti embassy in Washington and his wife were charged with keeping three Christian domestic workers from India in slave-like conditions in al-Saleh’s Virginia home. One of the women remarked: “I believed that I had no choice but to continue working for them even though they beat me and treated me worse than a slave.”

Slavery is still practiced openly today in two Muslim countries, Sudan and Mauritania. In line with historical practice, Muslim slavers in the Sudan primarily enslave non-Muslims, and chiefly Christians. According to the Coalition Against Slavery in Mauritania and Sudan (CASMAS), a human rights and abolitionist movement founded in 1995, “The current Khartoum government wants to bring the non-Muslim Black South in line with Sharia law, laid down and interpreted by conservative Muslim clergy. The Black animist and Christian South remembers many years of slave raids by Arabs from the north and east and resists Muslim religious rule and the perceived economic, cultural, and religious expansion behind it.”

One modern-day Sudanese Christian slave, James Pareng Alier, was kidnapped and enslaved when he was twelve years old. Religion was a major element of his ordeal: “I was forced to learn the Koran and re-baptised Ahmed. They told me that Christianity was a bad religion. After a time we were given military training and they told us we would be sent to fight.” Alier has no idea of his family’s whereabouts. The BBC reported in March 2007 that slave raids “were a common feature of Sudan’s 21-year north-south war, which ended in 2005. . . . According to a study by the Kenya-based Rift Valley Institute, some 11,000 young boys and girls were seized and taken across the internal border—many to the states of South Darfur and West Kordofan. . . . Most were forcibly converted to Islam, given Muslim names and told not to speak their mother tongue.” Yet even today, while non-Muslims were enslaved and often forcibly converted to Islam, their conversion does not lead to their freedom. Mauritanian anti-slavery campaigner Boubacar Messaoud explains that “it’s like having sheep or goats. If a woman is a slave, her descendants are slaves.”

Anti-slavery crusaders like Messaoud have great difficulty working against this attitude, because it is rooted in the Qur’an and Muhammad’s example. Particularly when the slaves are non-Muslims, there is no verse of the Qur’an corresponding to Lincoln’s favored Bible verse, Genesis 3:19, that anti-slavery Muslims can invoke against those who continue to approve of and even to practice slavery.

Most Westerners have not troubled to learn this history, and no one is telling them about it. If they did, the entire slavery guiltmongering industry would collapse. And we can’t let that happen, now, can we?
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of seven books about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad.

• Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t.
• “Slave Trade Shameful, Blair Says,” BBC News, March 25, 2007.
• Mark Steyn, “The Man Who ‘Murdered’ Slavery: Two Centuries Ago, a British Backbencher Changed an Entire Way of Seeing the World,” McLeans, March 19, 2007.
• John B. O’Connor, “St. Isidore of Seville,” The Catholic Encyclopedia.
• Richard Furman, Rev. Dr. Richard Furman’s Exposition of The Views of the Baptists, Relative to the Coloured Population in the United States in a Communication to the Governor of South-Carolina.
• William Lloyd Garrison, speech at Charleston, South Carolina, April 14, 1865.
• Abraham Lincoln, “Reply to Delegation of Baptists on May 30, 1864,” in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Roy P. Basler, editor, Vol. VII, Rutgers University Press, 1953.
• Abraham Lincoln, “Story Written for Noah Brooks,” December 6, 1864, in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Roy P. Basler, editor, Vol. VIII, Rutgers University Press, 1953.
• Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address.
• Social Justice in Islam.
• Bukhari Hadith, vol. 1, book 2, no. 13.
• The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude.
• The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century.
• Muslim Slave System in Medieval India.
• God’s Rule: Government and Islam.
• White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and Islam’s One Million White Slaves.
• The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic War and the Fate of Non-Muslims.
Race and Slavery in the Middle East
• Hilary Andersson, “Born to Be a Slave in Niger,” BBC News, February 11, 2005.
• Barbara Ferguson, “Saudi Gets 27 Years to Life for Enslaving Maid,” Arab News, September 1, 2006.
• “Egyptians Who Enslaved girl, 10, Get U.S. Prison,” Reuters, October 24, 2006.
• “Kuwaiti Diplomat Accused of Domestic Slavery,” ABC7 News, January 17, 2007.
• Coalition Against Slavery in Mauritania and Sudan, “Sudan Q & A.”
• Aid to the Church in Need, “Religious Freedom in the Majority Islamic Countries 1998 Report: Sudan.”
• Joseph Winter, “No Return for Sudan’s Forgotten Slaves,” BBC News, March 16, 2007.
• Pascal Fletcher, “Slavery Still Exists in Mauritania,” Reuters, March 21, 2007.

O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

Last edited by Paparock; 01-04-2009 at 01:12 AM..
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Old 02-05-2008, 03:20 PM
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Slavery still exists in Mauriania alright.

However it is always blamed primarly on the white maures Berber poeples.
They did have slaves, many of them were freed, Messaoud Boulker mentioned in the above post is known as a Haratine or freed slave, is what it means in Hasaniya a dialect of arabic.

However the so called innocent black africans like the pulaar people who make the majority of the Mauritanian people have more slaves right now then the Maures and yet they pretend it is the opposite. Until you vist their fields and find their own peolple litterally slaves, who come from slave trobes.

all slaves in Mauritania are 100% muslim. They pray at the same mosques but their duties are to be slaves.

and nevertheless slaves or not when it comes to Israel, Black and "white" muslims all unite agaisnt Israel.

You will see more blacks actually in the Pulaar and Haratin parties against Israel then with the Berbers.
Some how when an african becomes muslim he needs to become more Arab then his arab "brothers"

Just take what happened with the Nation of Islam (in the US) as an example.
Shalom to everyone!
No extreme is good. Neither in religion, nor in science.

"If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence.. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel."
~ Golda Meir~

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Lightbulb Religion is Fire

Religion is Fire

by Amil Imani
06 Feb, 2008

Fire, arguably, is important to life after air, water, and food. Fire, broadly defined, is energy. And energy runs the world. It fuels the body, operates the mind, heats homes, and runs endless machines and instruments.
When energy is put to good use, it is the boon of mankind. And when it is misused or abused it is the bane of humanity. Therefore, credit or blame rests with the user of energy.
Religion is a special case of energy in the same way that steam is a derivation of fire. Steam engines move mass in physical space. Religion, emotional energy, propels people’s mind in the metaphysical realm.

Civilized societies have rules and regulations, albeit many of them flawed and imperfect, which regulate energy use. The fire of religion must also be contained in such a manner to do whatever good it may be able to do and prevent it from becoming a consuming wildfire.

There are those who have no use for religion. These people have perhaps seen so much burning and scorching by religion that they have abandoned it or have even taken active positions fighting it.

There are also those who don’t seem to be able to make do without a religion of some sort, preferably a “divine” religion. These people value the warmth that the religious fire gives them, the assurance it provides that the cold earth is not their end, and the promise that there is an eternal life of bliss after death. It is only fair that the “fire” that keeps the religionist warm not set ablaze the home of the non-religious.

Some questions for religionists:
* A belief qualifies as “divine” religion because someone claims it is?
* A belief becomes religion because millions believe in it?
* Should religion and state interlace? Which religion? The religion of the majority in any given country?
* Should being a religionist confer the person preferential status over the non-religious?
* Should religionists have complete freedom to practice their belief, even when they infringe on the rights of others?
* Should religionists have the right to vilify as heathen the people of other persuasions and those of no religious belief?
* Should religionists have the right to force their belief on others?
* Should religionists actively engage in the subjugation or elimination of the non-religious?
In civilized societies, it is granted that what is good for one person must also be good for the next. This is egalitarianism. Egalitarianism levels the playing field, where every human being must abide by the same rules of fair play. No one has a claim to special privileges for himself and his group.

With respect to religion, it matters not that someone claims that he is the emissary of the Creator; that he is bringing binding teachings from the Lord. There is no objective way of ascertaining the truth or falsehood of the claim. The claimant may be a charlatan, mentally disturbed, or indeed an emissary of the divine. What really matters is that the claimant and his claim serve the cause of the good for all of mankind and completely shun causing contention and strife among people.

The moment a religious founder begins claiming special privileges for himself and his followers, he launches a discriminating totalitarianism. This is indeed the case with Islam. Even a cursory glance at Islam’s past, as well as its present, establishes unequivocally its discriminating totalitarianism nature.

Islam is out of control fire and the jihadists are its arsonists. The generality of Muslims do their part by spreading throughout the world and setting up the conditions that would welcome the arsonists, feed and shelter them, and support them in igniting the Islamic fire.

This is exactly what is happening all over Europe where the naïve natives have deluded themselves into the fraud of multiculturalism. A generous social entitlement system in Europe, well-paying job opportunities, and higher standards of living are magnets to the horde of Muslims fleeing Islamic failed states. Ironically, these same Muslim expatriates quickly forget why they had to leave their miserable plights in their homelands and what the main cause of their misery is. The culprit is the pathological nihilistic belief of never-mind-this-world and do Allah’s biding for gaining admission to his unimaginably magnificent pleasure paradise of the afterlife.

Islam believes in the rule of Islam, Caliphate to the Sunnis and Imamate to the Shias. Hence, to Muslims, all other forms of governments represent the handiwork of the Satan and the infidels. Therefore, one and all non-Islamic systems of government must be purified by the Islamic fire.

But marrying religion with government is stoking fire with explosive. In free democracies, governments are accountable to the people and serve at people’s pleasure. In Islamic theocracy, governments are accountable only to Allah and the people must serve at the pleasure of the government. And one can see the result of Islamic total or partial rule in eighteen or so countries which rank among the highest nations of the world on every index of misery.

The Islamic fire fueled by immense oil income is raging in certain regions of the world, smoldering in others, and ready to ignite in yet other parts of the world. It is imperative for the free people of the world to abandon all illusions about Islam and put out its fire, once and for all. Multiculturalism, let-and-let live, is a delusion of kind-hearted naïve people. Islam, as fractured as it is, is a non-compromising mono-culture: a cruel culture of a primitive people handed down to Muhammad some 1400 years ago.

Secularists and most non-Muslim religious people respect the legitimate rights of the religionists, whereas Muslims recognize little or no rights for others. You can readily establish the validity of this assertion by looking at some eighteen or so Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and so on.

Warning to free men and women: remain a spectator at your own peril. It is imperative that you take a stand and do your part at falsifying the fraud of Islam and do all you can to prevent the Islamic fire from devouring our civilized democratic secular system.
O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Muslim Responses to Unpleasant Islamic Facts

by Kaktuzkid

02 Feb, 2008

When Muslims are told about scores of horrendous facts contained in the Quran, Sunnah and the Sharia, they will typical respond as follows:

1. Accuse the person of lying and ignorance. Tell him/her to read "authentic" Muslim websites and texts. Say that critics of Islam are "so-called" experts. Say that once a person "learns" about the "real" Islam, he/she will understand how beautiful and peaceful it is. 2. Accuse the person of racism or Islamophobia (This is one of the best tactics!). Say they are "filled with hate" (this works really well with Liberals!). Restrict your arguments to a specific subject (How Muslims are persecuted and misunderstood). Generalize a lot. Never suggest that a person examine both sides of the issue (that is, compare arguments from anti-Islamic sites with those from Muslims experts). Never refer to the hate and violence Muslims do. Say that the actions of Muslims have nothing to do with Islam. 3. Say that the problem is that Muslims today are not practicing the "Original Islam" of Mohammed and the glorious era of the 'Four Righteous Caliphs' that followed him (Do not mention the hate and violence that Mohammad preached and practiced and do not mention that 3 out of the 4 so-called Righteous Caliphs were murdered by Muslims in a fifty year orgy of conquest, greed, violence and rivalry that ended at battle of Kerbala - called the Ashura ─ with Muslims fighting Muslims and the heads of Mohammad's grandson and even infant great-grandson and 70 others being carried in bags as trophies by the victorious Muslim army). Tell them that Islam is really peaceful!
4. Say that any verse from the Koran that portrays Islam negatively is "out of context". Tell them it doesn't really mean what it says. Also, insist that any tradition that says that Mohammad did very bad things is "weak" or forged, or that it has no isnad (chain of narration) even if it has a long isnad and Muslims constantly quote from this same source.
5. Tell people that any 'nice' or 'peaceful' (or earlier) verse in the Koran is valid for everywhere and all time. Any 'kill' and 'hate' verse has limited application and can only be understood by an expert or in relation to another verse 56 pages away.
6. Accuse Christianity and other religions as being "just as bad" (mention the Crusades). Say that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Say that Islam is the fastest growing religion on Mars too, and the rest of the universe.
7. Claim that Muslims are unjustly persecuted (never mention 1200 years of jihad against infidels, the treatment of non-Muslims in Islamic societies or current events). Mention the classical era when Islamic societies led the world in science, medicine and philosophy (Do not mention this was 700 years ago and that much of it was based upon ancient Greek works or influenced by the hated Jews living in those countries)
8. Explain that jihad means "inner struggle" (like a diet plan or giving up smoking!) and not "holy war". Tell them that Islam says fighting can only be in self-defense. If they ask about all those raids, explain that Mohammad went on 26 self-defense expeditions, captured a lot of self-defense loot and self-defense slaves and killed a lot of people in self-defense in the early morning and night self-defense attacks. He even let his men rape women in self-defense at Banu-Mustaliq. If they question that last statement, suggest that maybe the women accused Mohammad's men of being 'gay' and they had to prove themselves. (Note: It may be wise to work more on this answer!)
9. Blame all current problems in Islamic societies on (choose one or more...) the Jews, Christians, the Crusades, the USA, Atheism, Israel, Colonialism, Hollywood, Bush, the Pope, Vatican, Capitalism, racism, poverty, sexuality, discrimination, translations, the media, the Neocons, Right-wing radio talk shows, Communism, the Romans, women, Zionists, culture, Imperialism, Islamophobes, stereotypes, fascism, the Cold War, the War on Terror, ignorance, education, lack of education, misguided education, despair, lack of hope, the suffering of the Palestinian people, bad hair, cartoons, teddy bears and Bugs Bunny. Stress that Muslims are innocent victims of circumstances, always. Say the US, Europe and West support brutal, corrupt Arab regimes (Do not mention that all regimes in Muslim Middle East are undemocratic, brutal and corrupt).
10. Say that Islam "protects and honors" women. Say that "Islam has given women all her rights". Point out the immorality in Western culture. Say that most of the people that convert to Islam are women. (Never talk about what the Quran and hadith say about women, except for 4 specific verses and do not mention that Mohammad himself said women are 'deficient in intelligence' and beat his wife). If they talk about the status of Muslim women everywhere, say that it is because Muslims do not follow Islam. Tell them it is "cultural".
11. Say that a small minority of extremists have hijacked Islam, and they are not 'real' Muslims. Explain that just because a person says the shahada (profession of faith), observes the 5 pillars of Islam, goes to the mosque every Friday, has memorized half of the Quran, wears a beard, and is named 'Mohammad' - this does not mean that he is a 'real' Muslim. (Suggest that the terrorist― who knows,― may really be a Scientologist, a Presbyterian, a Rotarian or even a vile Jew pretending to be a Muslim). Oh yes, if Muslims do hate and violence, say that they are being 'used' and 'manipulated' by (see list in #9 of candidates to blame for manipulating innocent Muslims) and anything that Muslims do was caused by the interference of (pick another name from item #9). This is a good time to bring up Uncle Benny and say he was created in a CIA lab (Use the name "Bin Laden" which is what infidels call him).
12. If the person brings up issues relating to words and actions of Mohammad, say that you are offended. Say that we should not apply contemporary standards of morality and conduct to the teachings of the 'eternal' Quran and the actions of Islam's prophet. Say that Mohammad was "a mercy for all mankind". If he/she continues to ask about those deeds, make a few threats. Another possible idea is to ask the person to draw a picture of Mohammad on an old piece of paper, then say you are offended and attack the vile kafir infidel!
13. Use a lot of cute Arabic words to confuse the person. It also makes the Muslim seem smarter and/or an expert on Islam. See tip #2 above.
14. Quote the verse "who kills a single person, it is as if he killed all of mankind" to prove how peaceful Islam really is (Do not mention that the phrase is incomplete and you have omitted the first five words).
15. Once again, remember that Muslims "are the best of people" and Mohammad is a "Mercy for all mankind". Keep thinking this. Never doubt; never question. If there is an issue it must be understood in light of these two sacred and eternal truths. Don't let facts get in the way of feelings. If something appears to be wrong or bad, it can only be a conspiracy or a misunderstanding. There must be an explanation even if it is weird, really weird. The problem cannot be Islam's fault so it must be the work of (insert name of evil non-Muslim group here). Explain that the rules of conduct that Muslims demand for others do not apply to Islam, because it is "special".
16. If all else fails, assume a zombie-like attitude and start saying the Qanoot-e-Naazilah prayer in a low, intense voice (in Arabic!). Hiss a little between lines. Let the infidel know you are more than just a little crazy. If you have a knife take it out and start testing the blade with your thumb. Roll your eyes, foam at the mouth (twitching is good, too!). Stand up suddenly and start yelling "Allah Akhbar". Do this ten times as loud as possible……… You have won the argument!
O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Exclamation Which Qur’an is the Final Word of Allah?

Which Qur’an is the Final Word of Allah?

by Ibn Kammuna

Most, if not all Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the final word of Allah, the god of the Arabs. Well, let me start by saying I’ll fully accept that. Please, just tell me which Qur’an is Allah’s final word. My goal in this article is to present to the reader, hopefully a Muslim, the different Qur’ans available out there. My hope is that a good Muslim reader will guide me and show me the light!

When Muhammad died (A. D. 632), his revelations were not collected. Some of his followers tried to collect those known revelations and put them in a codex form. So, we had codices of scholars like Ibn Masud, Abu Bakr, Al-Asha’ri, ..etc. When Islam spread, we had codices in centers like Mecca, Medina, Kufa, Damascus, and Basra. The situation was chaotic because there were literally many Qur’ans. Uthman, bless his heart, tried to fix matters by canonizing the Medina Codex, and destroying all other “Qur’ans”. He sent copies of the one he chose to all places, and ordered the destruction of all other codices. Uthman tried to standardize the consonantal text of the Qur’an.

However, some variant traditions of the consonantal texts survived a few hundred years after that. Another problem was that the letters in the Qur’an were “unpointed”. Many Arabic letters have “points” or “dots” above or below them. For instance a “b” has one dot below it. The same letter is a “t” if it had two dots on top. The same letter is a “th” if it had three dots on top. The situation is similar for many other letters. There were also problems with the short vowels since early Arabic has no sign for short vowels during the time of the Qur’anic collection. Different variant traditions were in development to ascertain how the Qur’an should be pointed and vowelized. In the words of Charles Adams: “ It must be emphasized that far from being a single text passed down inviolate from the time of Uthman’s commission, literally thousands of variant readings of particular verses were known.” [Source: Adams, C. E. “Quran: The Text and Its History.”]

This whole “mess” continued till Ibn Mujahid (died A. D. 935) came along and a definite canonization of consonants and a limit on the variations of vowels was placed. This resulted in the acceptance of seven systems. Each of the seven systems was traced by two different transmitters, providing in all, fourteen readings ! (it is amazing to me that Muslims still talk about “one Qur’an”, whatever that nonsense means):
  1. Nafi of Medina (d. A. D. 785)
  2. Ibn Kathir of Mecca (d. A. D. 737)
  3. Ibn Amir of Damascus (736)
  4. Abu Amr of Basra (770)
  5. Asim of Kufa (744)
  6. Hamza of Kufa (772)
  7. Al-Kisai of Kufa (804)
However, other scholars accepted ten readings and others accepted fourteen reading. I won’t go into the details much longer. A note from Charles Adams is appropriate here:
“It is of some importance to call attention to a possible source of misunderstanding with regard to the variant readings of the Quran. The seven [versions] refer to actual differences in the written and oral text, to dictinct versions of Quranic verses, whose differences, though they may not be great, are nonetheless real and substantial.” (bolded part is my emphasis)
What I just discussed is a dilemma to the Muslim. There is not “one Qur’an” at all. In fact, it is a very live possibility that the “real” Qur’an is no longer with us. “. In fact, it is a very strong possibility considering all the mess that the Qur’ans went through.
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The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Default Islam


The Religion of True Hate: Blaming the Jews - Part 1

The Religion of True Hate: Blaming
the Jews - Part 2

The Religion of True Hate: Blaming the Jews - Part 3

The Religion of True Hate: Blaming the Jews - Part 4
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Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Question Islam: No Compulsion in Religion???

Islam: No Compulsion In Religion? Part 1of 3

Part One: Apostasy

Perhaps the most quoted verse of the Koran is from Sura Al-Baqarah (The Cow). This verse - Sura 2: 256 begins with the words: " Let there be no compulsion in religion." This statement has been quoted by Muslim scholars and their apologists perhaps more than any other. As Pope Benedict XVI noted, it is an early Sura, from the time when Mohammed was still trying to gain acceptance from his peers. Unfortunately for some Muslims such a notion of religious freedom means nothing.

Daniel Pipes has discussed the meaning of this verse, and states that for some, Sura 2: 256 has been "abrogated" or replaced by the historically later verse, Sura 9:73: "O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them." There are certainly Hadiths, which document oral testimonies of Mohammed's life and deeds, which clearly state that the founder of Islam believed that those who left Islam (apostates) should be killed.

Forced conversions still happen in parts of the Islamic world, made worse by the fact that in cultures where this happens, those who become converts are forbidden from leaving Islam. In the West, Muslims freely carry out "dawah" or missionary activities, yet few Muslim spokespeople publicly condemn those who react violently to attempts at conversion of Muslims to another faith.

At the weekend, 19 South Korean Christians returned home. Reunions with their families were tearful. They had been among a group of 23 people who were kidnapped by the Taliban, south of Khandahar in Afghanistan, on July 19. Two women had been freed in August when negotiations began. The kidnappers claimed that the Christians, most of whom were women, had been conducting missionary activities. For this "crime", the Taliban had slaughtered Bae Hyung-kyu, the group's 49-year old pastor, on Wednesday, July 25. In addition to riddling the pastor with bullets the Taliban also shot dead Shim Seong-min, a 29-year old man with the group.

The hostages returning to South Korea were unaware of the killings until they arrived at Seoul airport from Dubai. Upon their return they were publicly condemned for putting themselves "at risk" by traveling to a region where Christian missionary work is regarded as a heinous crime. They were forced to make public apologies. The Saemmul Church, the Seoul-based Protestant community which had sent the missionaries to Afghanistan, agreed not to send more Christians to the region, and the government agreed to troop withdrawals.

Last August, aid workers from South Korea who were working in Afghanistan were threatened with violent reprisals by fanatical Muslims. These fanatics were not the Taliban, but 500 Afghan imams who had convened at Mazar-i-Sharif in the north of the country. Workers from the Institute of Asian Culture and Development who had planned to stage a Peace Festival on August 5, 2006 were accused of trying to spread "Christianity" as part of their aid work, though there was no evidence to support this.

In March 2006, the Western world was shocked by the case of Abdul Rahman. Even the Washington Post voiced concerns. 41-year old Mr Rahman had left Islam 16 years previously, and had spent most of his time away from his home country of Afghanistan. He had returned in 2002, hoping to gain custody of his two children. He was found to be a Christian, and for this he was put on trial.

Abdul Rahman's trial began on Thursday March 16, 2006. He was officially charged with "rejecting Christianity". Initially the prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, offered Mr Rahman the chance to convert back into Islam, in exchange for having charges dropped. When this offer was rejected, Wasi insisted on demanding the death penalty. The judge in the case, Ansarullah Mawlavezada, announced: "We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law. It is an attack on Islam."

As Mark Steyn caustically observed: "We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die," says Abdul Raoulf of the nation's principal Muslim body, the Afghan Ulama Council. "Cut off his head! We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so there's nothing left. Needless to say, Imam Raoulf is one of Afghanistan's leading 'moderate' clerics." Even Rahman's own father added his voice to those calling for his death, and a leading Shia cleric in Kabul agreed that Rahman "must be hanged".

The judge in his case stated that Rahman appeared to be mentally disturbed and his family, who had originally reported that he was a Christian, agreed that he should be spared because of his "insanity". The case was dropped due to "gaps in evidence". On March 25, 2006, Rahman was moved to maximum security Policharki prison, after receiving death threats from other prisoners. In Mazar-i-Sharif, a protest was held to voice anger at Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada's decision to drop the case. Mr Rahman was smuggled out of Afghanistan on March 29, and was given asylum in Italy, where he adopted the name "Joel".

It later transpired that Rahman did have a history of mental problems, but this does not alter the fact that even today, after hundreds of Western soldiers have died to support Afghanistan's fragile government, apostasy from Islam can still invoke the death penalty. Afghanistan is one of many Muslim countries that in 1948 signed the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 18 of this declaration states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

In April, 2006, the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus held a Congressional forum in Washington DC. This heard that 14 Islamic countries have laws outlawing apostasy. Nina Shea of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom said that in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Mauritania and Comoros, apostasy can be punished by death. In Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Maldives, Oman and Qatar, apostasy is a crime.

There are thirteen verses in the Koran that refer to apostasy, but in these the punishments for apostates are those of hellfire, meted out in the afterlife. However, in the Hadiths, which document the deeds and sayings of Mohammed, passed on by chains of oral transmission from the time of his life, there is mention that the founder of Islam had claimed that anyone who left Islam should be killed. The most authentic (Sahih) collection of Hadiths is by al-Bukhari, who lived from 810 - 870 AD. His collection is revered by Sunni Muslims, and forms one of the sources of Islamic jurisprudence (sharia law).

In Volume Four, Book 52 (Jihaad or Fighting for the cause of Allah), no. 260, Bukhari stated: "Narrated Ikrima: Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn 'Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment (fire).' No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' "

Virtually the same statement appears in Volume Four, Book 84 (Dealing with Apostates), number 57: Narrated 'Ikrima: Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to 'Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn 'Abbas who said, "If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah's Apostle forbade it, saying, 'Do not punish anybody with Allah's punishment (fire).' I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'"

In Volume Nine, Book 83 (Ad-DIyat or Blood Money), number 17, Bukhari wrote: "Narrated 'Abdullah: Allah's Apostle said, "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims."

Ibn Warraq, famous apostate and author of Leaving Islam, has discussed other Hadiths that support Bukhari's statement. Warraq also mentions Islamic scholars who have taken the Koranic verses describing punishments to apostates as an injunction to kill apostates in this life. One of the founders of modern Islamism, Syed Ala Maududi (1903-1979), also claimed that the Koran (Sura 10: 11-12) advocates the killing of apostates.

NYPD chief Raymond Kelly last month described the internet as the "new Afghanistan", a tool by which vulnerable people could become radicalized to the point of committing atrocities. The internet is certainly a vehicle by which Islamic preachers state plainly that apostates should be killed. One website, run by Shahid Bin Waheed explains that apostates from Islam deserve to die, citing Hadiths, and even the Old Testament as justifications. This man apparently is based in Pasadena, Texas.

Another internet advocate of the killing of apostates is Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, who uses Bukhari to claim: "The one who has known the religion which Allaah revealed, entered it and practised it, then rejected it, despised it and left it, is a person who does not deserve to live on the earth of Allaah and eat from the provision." As Joe Kauffman has pointed out, though Munajjid lives in Saudi Arabia, he appears to have close contacts with Islamic groups in Florida. By means of "justification" for killing apostates, Munajjid states: "Is espionage or shedding blood worse than leaving the religion of the Lord?"

Since the beginnings of Islam, apostates have been killed and attacked. An interesting historical account from 1924 (pdf document) by Samuel M Zwemer describes how apostates have been killed and persecuted by upholders of Sharia law. More on the way apostasy is dealt with under Islamic jurisprudence can be found here.

Judaism and Christianity may have abandoned their previous persecutions of apostates, but in the Islamic world, this tradition shows no sign of disappearing. In April 2007, Pope Benedict XVI visited the city of Vigenavo in the north of Italy. Shortly before his arrival at this center of the shoe-manufacturing industry, local papers were carrying the story of a Moroccan man who had beaten up by Muslims in Vigenavo. He needed hospital attention. This man's "crime" had been to convert to Christianity.

Last month, on August 6, a young politician was physically attacked by Muslims in the Netherlands. It was the third time that he had been subjected to beatings. 22-year old Ehsan Jami is a member of the Leidschendam-Voorburg city council, representing the Labour PvdA party. He is also an apostate, chairman of the Committee for Ex-Muslims which began in May 2007. This group will be officially inaugurated this month. Ehsan Jami had said in interview that Mohammed was a "horrible man". Fortunately for Mr Jami, the Dutch government is now offering him protection.

The Dutch council for former Muslims began life after a 50-year old woman apostate in Germany, Mina Ahadi, founded the "Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany" in February this year. Iranian-born Ms Ahadi received death threats for forming this organization. She said: "We have received more than 100 membership applications in recent days. We want to create a new movement, in other European countries too. We hope that soon there will be 10,000 of us representing many more people... I don't think it's possible to modernize Islam. We want to form a counterweight to the Muslim organizations. The fact that we're doing this under police protection shows how necessary our initiative is."

Similar groups were subsequently formed in FInland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden with the same aim - to challenge the influence that Islamist groups exert upon governments and and the media. In the United Kingdom, a Council of ex-Muslims of Britain was formed on June 21, 2007, inspired by the German group. The founder of the British group is Maryam Namazie (right), who was born in Iran. She has received death threats for taking this stand. She claims that her group exists to counter the Islamist dogma peddled by groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain. This extremist organization has had the support of the Labour government, and has influenced their policy decisions.

Ms Namazie said: "Those of us who have come forward with our names and photographs represent countless others who are unable or unwilling to do so because of the threats faced by those considered 'apostates' – punishable by death in countries under Islamic law. By doing so, we are breaking the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam but also taking a stand for reason, universal rights and values, and secularism. We are quite certain we represent a majority in Europe and a vast secular and humanist protest movement in countries like Iran."

Maryam Namazie is a "secular humanist", being awarded the National Secular Society's "secularist of the year" award in 2005. She now frequently appears on UK televisioncondemning the intolerance of Islamism. She has said that she has a "duty" to criticize Islam, and such forthrightness has led to her receiving death threats. The emerence of these councils of ex-Muslims in Europe are a reaction to the pandering to Islamism practiced by many European governments.

In the Netherlands, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a famous and beautiful Somali-born apostate who also served as a member of parliament. On November 2, 2004, her friend Theo van Gogh was assassinated on an Amsterdam street by a Moroccan Islamist, Mohamed Bouyeri. Van Gogh had collaborated with Hirsi Ali on a TV documentary about Islam's repression of women, entitled "Submission". Pinned to Mr van Gogh's chest was a "hit list" of those who were to be killed. Ayaan Hirsi Ali's name was on the list. She was forced to live in seclusion, accompanied outside by armed bodyguards. By March 2006, Hirsi Ali and another politician who criticizes Islam - Geert Wilders - had notched up the receipt of more than 100 death threats in 12 months. Ms Ali left the Netherlands in 2006 to work at the American Enterprise Institute.

The issue of punishing apostasy in Islam is rarely discussed by Muslim "spokespeople" such as the members of CAIR and MCB. These seek to change Western societies to accommodate Islam without questioning its pre-medieval aspects, which are incompatible with modern democracy. Such spokespeople attack critics of their ideology as "Islamophobes", comparing freedom of expression to racism. Despite its whinings about the victimization of Muslims, CAIR itself has been accused of responsibility for death threats which were made against Moroccan/German (and Muslim) academic Khalid Duran in 2001. This man had been publicly vilified by CAIR. In a Jordanian publication, a radical Sheikh consequently declared him to be a "murtad" - an apostate.

In the West, Muslim fanatics have been free to call for the death of apostates. In Britain, when Salman Rushdie was labeled as an "apostate" and given a death fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini on February 14, 1989, numerous British Muslims called for his death, holding public demonstrations to this end. No-one was prosecuted. In summer 2006, Omar Bakri Mohammed, spiritual leader of several British Islamist groups, announced from his base in Lebanon that Muslims should kidnap a British soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq, denouncing Muslims who serve in coalition forces as "non-believers" (apostates).

In February 2007 Abu Izzadeen, one of Omar Bakri Mohammed's followers, was revealed in a video calling for the death of Muslim soldiers who served in the army. The video was made in the Saudi-funded Regents Park Mosque in 2004. Izzadeen said: "Whoever allies himself with the Kaffirs (non-believers) against the believers - he is one of them. So those so-called enemies to Allah who join the British Government - 'cos remember the British Government, my dear Muslim brothers, are crusaders... crusaders come to kill and rape Muslims. Whoever joins them - he who joins the British Army, the American Army, he is a mortal kaffir and his only hukum (punishment) is for his head to be removed. Indeed, whoever changes his deen (Muslim code of life); kill him."

Such extremist views are not the exclusive preserve of media-hungry fanatics. A poll, commissioned by Britain's Policy Exchange think-tank, was published in February 2007. This found that among young Muslims, 36% thought that those who left Islam should be "punished by death". The author of the poll blamed Britain's government policies of imposing multiculturalism, rather than fostering an inclusive concept of "being British", for encouraging such radical views among Britain's young Muslims.

In British prisons, there are reports of forced conversions. Belmarsh prison is notorious for holding some of the country's worst Muslim extremists. In April 2006 it was reported that in this prison, a young black Muslim was severely beaten by an Islamic gang calling itself "The Muslim Boys". On the streets of south London these individuals have used violence to forcibly convert recruits. On Good Friday (April 14), eight members of the gang had pounced on a man in the toilets and beaten him severely. The man had expressed a desire to become an apostate from their brand of Islam.

I have written on Muslim honor killings - in many of these cases, the victim has been classed as an "apostate" from Islam by their family members. In the way that Salman Rushdie was labeled as an apostate, recent history is full of cases of Muslims who criticize aspects of Islam, or Muslims who follow certain brands of Islam, becoming denounced as "apostates". Some of these individuals have been subsequently killed.

One such critic of Islamic oppression is the feminist Taslima Nasreen, whose writings have found her labeled as an apostate and subjected to death threats both in her native Bangladesh and now in India, her adoptive country. An Indian born Muslim who chose to leave Islam was Anwar Shaikh (lelft), who died in Wales on November 25, 2006. For the last decade of his life, he lived under constant fear of attack, after he received death fatwas from Pakistani clerics, for his written criticisms of Islam.

In Iran, film maker Tahmineh Milani was arrested from her home on August 27, 2001. Her sixth movie, entitled "The hidden half" was about women's position in Iranian society at the time of the 1979 revolution. For this, she was accused of "supporting those waging war against God." She was thrown in prison, but international support saw her released a fortnight later. Ali Dashti (1894-1982), a former Iranian foreign minister, was not so fortunate. When his book 23 years was published in the 1970s, he incurred the wrath of Khomeini's revolutionaries. The book had questioned so-called miracles ascribed to Mohammed (such as splitting the moon in two). He was charged with apostasy, imprisoned and subjected to torture, even though he was in his eighties. After three years of such treatment, he died in his jail on January 16, 1982.

In June 1992 in Egypt, a liberal secularist called Farag Foda - a critic of Islamist fundamentalists - was murdered. At the trial of his attackers, the defense was led by Sheikh Ahmad Ghazali, who was a theologian at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. This institution is the largest Sunni center of learning in the world. Ghazali argued that Farag Foda "and secularists like him are apostates who should be put to death. He added that if the government failed to carry out that 'duty', individuals were free to do so."

Mahmoud Muhammad Taha was an Islamic scholar from Sudan, born in 1909. He advocated reform of Islam including rights for women, and for this, he was sentenced to death by the Numeiri government. He was hanged as an apostate at Kober prison in Khartoum on January 1985, two years after Sharia law was officially ratified in the country. In June 1998 a Sudanese primary school teacher and convert to Christianity , Mekki Kuku, was arrested for "apostasy". He was subjected to torture in prison, and offered financial rewards if he should return from Christianity. He eventually suffered a stroke, and was freed from prison. He fled the country. His case and several others are described in a report by the Barnabas Fund.

The Barnabas Fund is a group that highlights the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities within Muslim nations. It is managed by British-based Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, who is an apostate from Islam. He was born in Guyana to a Muslim family. He became an convert to Christianity in 1969, and eventually became an Anglican priest. Dr Sookhdeo is an outspoken critic of Islamism, and though he has a PhD in Islamic Studies, he is accused by Muslim critics of "cherry-picking" from Islamic texts. On February 19, 2006 the Telegraph published an article in which Dr Sookhdeo was interviewed. Fiercely critical of government policy of appeasing Islamists, he said: "But in Islam, choice is not allowable: there cannot be free choice about whether to choose or reject any of the fundamental aspects of the religion, because they are all divinely ordained. God has laid down the law, and man must obey. Islamic clerics do not believe in a society in which Islam is one religion among others in a society ruled by basically non-religious laws. They believe it must be the dominant religion - and it is their aim to achieve this."

The article was withdrawn from the newspaper's website, and Sarah Sands, the editor who approved the article for publication, was fired. In Britain, the government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office supports a policy of "engagement" with the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood. The spiritual leader of this group is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. In July 2006, the UK government sponsored this individual's participation at an Islamic conference in Turkey. A spokesman from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said "It is our view that you have got to engage in discussion with individuals with whom you don't necessarily agree." In 2004, London's leftist mayor Ken Livingstone welcomed Qaradawi to Britain's capital city. In 2005, Qaradawi argued that apostates should be killed.
O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Exclamation Islam: No Compulsion In Religion? Part 2 of 3

Islam: No Compulsion In Religion? Part 2 of 3

Part Two: Heresy And Blasphemy

The kidnapping of South Korean Christian missionaries by the Afghan Taliban was almost inevitable. Islam has traditionally protected itself from outside influences and deviations of ideology by imposing strict prohibitions against apostasy. In March 2006, Algeria passed a law banning the "urging or forcing or tempting, to convert a Muslim to another religion." Penalties included a fine of $6,000 to $12,000 and imprisonment from two to three years.

Morocco under King Mohammed VI purports to be moderate, yet in November, 2006, a German man was jailed for six months for trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. He was found guilty under legislation which outlaws "anyone who employs incitements to shake the faith of a Muslim or to convert him to another religion."

In May this year, Pakistan's parliament allowed a draft law to be passed to a committee for possible , called the Apostasy Act 2006. Should this act become law, anyone who adopts a faith other than Islam would (if male) receive the death penalty if he does not "repent" and return to Islam. All property and children of an apostate would be confiscated. Such a law would contradict Pakistan's already meaningless constitution, which claims that "every citizen shall have the right to profess, practise and propagate his religion."

For a religion that claims to be the "true" faith, such measures suggest that its followers are easily threatened. In Malaysia since 1988, no issue of Islamic law can be countermanded by the judicial courts. Apostates from Islam are simply not allowed to be recognized as such. The only Muslims who have been allowed to officially leave Islam have only succeeded after their deaths. On August 11, Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah, a Chinese former convert to Islam who tried to have her official status as "Muslim" removed was ordered to attend counseling.

Lina Joy, who became a Christian in 1986, has tried without success to have her status as a Muslim removed from her identity card. She took her case to the Supreme Court last year, but on May 30 this year, her appeal failed. She cannot legally marry her Christian fiance while she is classed as a Muslim. She and her lawyer have received death threats. 40% of Malaysia's population are not Muslim. These are regarded as second class citizens by the ruling UMNO party, who uphold a policy called "ketuanan Melayu", which claims Malays (who are automatically classed as Muslims on their identity cards) are the original inhabitants of Malaysia, and deserving of special privileges.

The true original inhabitants of Malaysia, called the Orang Asli, are subjected to policies of Islamic conversion, whereas in most of Malaysia's 13 states, anyone guilty of "persuading, influencing a Muslim to leave Islam for another religion." can receive a fine of $2,653 and a one year jail sentence. Despite its false claims to be "moderate", Malaysia appears close to implementing sharia law universally. The Chief Justice, Ahmad Fairuz, said last month that sharia law should fill in the "gaps" created by abolishing common law.

Indonesia is the nation with the largest population in the world, and non-Muslims account for only 15% of the population. After the tsunami killed 170,000 Indonesians on December 24, 2004, aid workers from around the world arrived to assist the victims, who were mostly from Aceh province. Members of the Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam or FPI) also arrived, and according to one report, threatened Christian aid workers:

"Hasri Husan, a leader of the Islamic Defenders Front, a militant Muslim group that is operating a refugee camp in Banda Aceh, made his feelings clear. 'We will chase down any Christian group that does anything beyond offering aid,' he said before making a slashing motion across his throat."

The leader of this group, Habib Muhammad Riziek Syihab, was educated in Saudi Arabia. This group, along with Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Anti-Apostasy Movement and others, has been involved in campaigns of harassment against Christians and their churches. FPI has also been involved in pressuring local city and regional councils to introduce strict Islamic bylaws. These laws have been used to forbid women from being out alone at night, lest they be convicted as prostitutes.

Three Christian women who acted as Sunday school teachers discovered how vicious Indonesian Islamic fanatics can be, when they were arrested on May 13, 2005. Dr Rebekka Loanita Zakaria, Eti Pangesti and Ratna Mala went on trial in in Indramayu, West Java in July, 2005. Their case which had been brought by the Indonesian Council of Mullahs. The three women were accused of trying to convert Muslim children to Christianity, by inviting them to a "Happy Weekend" event. Even though the children's parents had approved their offsprings' participation, the women were found guilty of breaching the 2002 Child Protection Act, and they were jailed for three years on September 1, 2005. The women lost their appeal on January 19, 2006.

The three women were finally released on June 8 this year. What makes this case more disturbing is the way the court was pressured by Islamists. Three truckloads of angry Muslims had arrived and surrounded the court building, issuing calls for the women to be hanged. They also chanted that apostasy is a crime against Islam. The Islamic protesters had even brought an empty coffin to lay outside the courtroom, which bore the name "Rebekka". A video, showing the protesters calling for the deaths of the Christian women, can be found on YouTube.

When inter-faith violence has broken out in Indonesia, the results have been ugly. The Moluccan War took place in the Spice Islands and Sulawesi from 1999 to 2002. 9,000 people, most of them Christians, died. The conflicts on Poso, Sulawesi saw 1,000 people killed in the war, and have continued sporadically until the fall of last year and again in January 2007.

In July 2006 the results of a poll conducted by the Center for Islamic and Social Studies (PPIM) were published. The study found that 43.5 % of Muslim respondents said they would be prepared to wage war on threatening non-Muslim groups, while 40% said they would use violence against anyone seen to be blaspheming against Islam. 14.7% said they would be prepared to destroy Christian churches which did not have official permits.

One Muslim sect that continues to receive persecution from "traditional" Muslims is the Ahmadi or Ahmadiyah sect. This group is peaceful, to the extent that to become an Ahmadi, one must swear not to harm any living person. Despite this, the group is banned from attending the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. In Pakistan, the group is preventing from preaching under the penal code's blasphemy laws, articles 298-B and 298-C. The sect, founded in India in 1898, follows the teachings of Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani (1835 - 1908). For traditional Muslims there is "no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his last prophet". As the Ahmadi believe their founder is a prophet, and also the Messiah or Mahdi predicted by Mohammed, they suffer persecution.

In Indonesia there are an estimated 200,000 Ahmadi living in the archipelago. On the morning of Tuesday, September 20, 2005, a mob of 1,000 fanatical Muslims descended upon an Ahmadi community in Sukadana, West Java. Armed with swords and sharpened bamboo staves, the mob damaged 70 homes and six mosques. Only five people were arrested. In March last year, Indonesia's religious affairs minister, Maftuh Basyuni, announced that the Ahmadi should declare themselves to be non-Muslim. In February 2006 on the island of Lombok, adjacent to Bali in Nusa Tenggara Barat province, homes belonging to Ahmadis were burned down. 187 Ahmadis fled as refugees to Mataram. Some sought asylum in Canada and Australia.

In Bangladesh, persecutions of the Ahmadi have been led by two parties which were in the last coalition government, the Jamaat-i-Islami and also the Islami Oikya Jote. Mosques have been violently attacked, communities have been boycotted, and their opponents have tried to blockade the main national airport. On January 8, 2004, the Islamist parties caused the corrupt government, led by Khaleda Zia, to ban all publications by the Ahmadis.

In February 2006, US Congressman Joseph F Crowley condemned the Bangladesh government's failure to protect its minorities, including the Ahmadis. Article 28 of Bangladesh's constitution outlaws any discrimination against "any citizen on grounds only of religion, race caste, sex or place of birth," and Zia's government effectively ignored this to appease rioting Islamists. Khaleda Zia was arrested last week on corruption charges. Her government's mismanagement of the country and support for terrorism has led to democracy being suspended at least for the next year.

In Pakistan, the Jamaat-e-Islami party has been involved in numerous attempts to destroy democracy and forcibly impose Sharia law. When the dictator Zia ul-Haq ruled the country from 1977 until his death in a plane crash in 1988, the Jamaat encouraged him to introduce strict Islamist laws. These included the Blasphemy Laws, introduced in 1986. These laws have been used to persecute religious minorities, particularly Ahmadis and Christians.

The Ahmadis can be directly prosecuted under the Blasphemy Laws, as happened in July last year to four members of the sect (sometimes called Qadiani) in the village of Mianwali Bangla near Sialkot city, adjoining India. The four were accused of preaching their faith to a Muslim villager, a breach of article 298-C. Under article 298-B, no Ahmadi can call him or herself a Muslim. Penalties for such "crimes" can invoke jail sentences of up to three years. More than 2000 Ahmadis have been sentenced under the blasphemy legislation.

There is little need for Islamists to legislate against Ahmadis in Pakisitan, as the local populace in rural areas can enact assaults against them with virtual impunity. A month before the charges were made, a village in the same district as Mianwali Bangla was attacked, and houses and stores were set on fire. The entire community of Ahmadis from Jhando Shahl village, comprising 60 to 70 individuals, was forced to leave the village.

Even in death, Ahmadis can still be vilified. On March 8, 2006, a 17-year old Ahmadi girl died, and was buried in a Muslim graveyard. The local imam had refused to conduct funeral oratories for her, even though she had taught schoolchildren the Koran. 10 days later following pressure from Islamists and cleric, her body was dug up and re-interred in an Ahmadi cemetery. A local madrassa leader issued a fatwa declaring it "permissable" to dig up the body, and Ahmadis must not buried with Muslims. Between 1988 and 2006, there have been 28 similar exhumations, and 36 Ahmadis' bodies have been refused Muslim burial.

The Muslim blasphemy legislation in Pakistan has led to lynchings and deaths. Muslims have been among the victims, including imams, as have Christians. Article 295-B of the penal code states that anyone who willfully desecrates a Koran can be jailed for life. Merely to be accused of any of the blasphemy statutes means that an individual is imprisoned until completion of his or her trial. As well as seeing a person remanded on the strength of an accusation, charges often trigger riots against Christians, who number only 3% of the entire population.

On November 12, 2005, a rumor was spread that a Christian man had burned pages from a Koran at Sangla Hill in Punjab. A 1,000 strong mob, encouraged by loudspeaker announcements from mosques, rampaged against Christian community. The home of Father Samson Dilawar, a Catholic parish priest, was set ablaze, forcing him to flee through a window. His church, a convent, the convent's boarding house, a primary school, a medical center, and a Presbyterian church were also torched. In the Catholic Nazooli-i-Rooh church, statues of Christ had feet snapped off, and crucifixes were bent. The accused man was innocent, but was only freed on Februuary 23, 2006. Though 88 Muslims had been charged with the arson attcks, none were convicted. By this time, Islamists from Lashkar-e-Jhvangi had threatened Christian leaders with death.

The violence of mobs incensed by claims of blasphemy is shocking. On June 15, 2006 an imam, Hafiz Qamar Javed, was lynched to death in Bahawalpur after members of a rival Sunni sect accused him of burning pages from a Koran. After his death, police filed blasphemy charges against him. Days later in Punjab province, another Muslim who had been accused of blasphemy was killed. When Abdul Sattar Gopang was being brought into the court compound at Muzaffargah District and Sessions Court, two men stabbed him ten times. When he was buried, no Muslim cleric would deliver funeral rites for him. On June 7, 2006, a 38-year old mentally ill Muslim man from Karachi was placed in jail after being accused of trying to burn a Koran. His arrest probably saved him from a lynch mob which had set out to attack him.

On February 19, 2006, in response to the "blasphemy" of Danish cartoons of Mohammed, two churches in Sukkur in Sindh province were burned down. St Mary's Catholic Church and St Saviour's church were burned. Four other churches in Pakistan were burned in response to the cartoons.

In November last year, two Christians who had been accused of burning pages of the Koran were sentenced to 15 years' jail, and were fined 25,000 rupees each ($411). In June 2006 the chairman of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance appealed to the chief justice to acknowledge the widespread misuse of Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Shahbaz Bhatti stated: "Blasphemy law is used as a weapon to settle personal scores. Many innocent people are killed and incarcerated due to its misuse of blasphemy laws. Similarly, in the cases of blasphemy the families of the accused are also threatened and they faced harassment and victimization".

In September 2005 a Christian in Chungi Amer Sidhu, Lahore in Punjab province, was accused of blaspheming against the prophet of Islam, breaching article 295-C of the Pakistan penal code. Originally, the penalty for this "crime" was a possible death sentence. After 1990 the death penalty became compulsory, when the Federal Shariat Court ruled that "The penalty for contempt of the Holy Prophet... is death and nothing else."

The man was eventually arrested, but only after violent mobs had caused 50 Christian families to flee their homes. On May 30, 2007, Younis Masih, the Christian man originally accused of "making derogatory remarks about Prophet Mohammed" was given a death sentence at Lahore Sessions Court. Because of the risk of violence from fanatics, his court appearance was made via a video link from Lakhpat jail. Mr Masih was also fined 100,000 rupees ($1,647).

Pakistan, a so-called ally in the war on terror, has a religious affairs minister - Ajaz ul-Haq - who holds views that would be repugnant to any decent human being. Last year he said that even if 100,000 Christians lost their lives, the laws on blasphemy would never be repealed.

Mohammed Ajaz ul-Haq (also spelled Ijaz) is a son of the dictator who originally introduced the blasphemy laws. In June this year, he responded angrily to Britain's knighting of Sir Salman Rushdie. He said in the National Assembly: "The West is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism. If someone exploded a bomb on his body, he would be right to do so unless the British government apologizes and withdraws the 'sir' title." If such an individual is the minister responsible for religious affairs, it is small wonder that Al Qaeda thrives in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province.

In Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan, the death sentence has been applied for apostasy, though in Saudi Arabia, the last known execution for apostasy happened in 1992. More generally, such cases are charged as blasphemy. In Saudi Arabia, blasphemy has been punished with sentences of decapitation or imprisonment for up to eight years with 2,000. The latter sentence was imposed in 2002 on a man who had said he found the Koran "boring". On January 7, 2003 Hail Al Masri, a Yemeni fruit seller living in Jeddah was sentenced to death by decapitation. His "crime" had been to refuse his roommate's entreaties to engage in morning prayers. Masri had been sentenced to two years' jail and 600 lashes, but this had been overturned by a Jeddah court, which had imposed the death penalty.

Indonesia is said to be "moderate", but the blasphemy laws allow a person to be jailed for up to five years. In July last year, an eccentric leader of a sect was jailed for two years. The Kingdom of Eden Sect was led by a woman, Lia Aminuddin. This sect was neither Christian nor Muslim, and was based in Jakarta. Ms Aminuddin had preached her beliefs with impunity for a decade until she declared that she was the spirit of the Archangel Gabriel. Islamists from the Indonesian Council of Ulemas surrounded her compund in Jakarta for two days in December 2005, until Ms Aminuddin and 48 others were arrested and charged. The prosecution sought the 5 year penalty against Ms Aminuddin, and launched an appeal against her "lenient" sentence. Article 29, b, of Indonesia's constitution states: "The State guarantees all persons the freedom of worship, each according to his/her own religion or belief." Unless one offends Islam, of course.

Countries such as India and Egypt have general laws against "offending religion". In Egypt, the maximum penalty for committing this offense is five years' jail. Recently, Taslima Nasreeen was charged in Hyderabad for "offending religion".

It is easy to document cases of human rights abuses where Muslim countries have enacted draconian blasphemy laws. What becomes more problematic is that though penalties rarely invoke jail sentences, plenty of Western nations have blasphemy laws of their own. These laws protect Christianity from abuse, but they blatantly contradict these nations' professed notions of "freedom of expression" and thus deny basic rights. The US is fortunate. In 1952, the Supreme Court ruled that New York's state statutes against blasphemy were unconstitutional, setting a precedent in legal interpretation. In recent times when any blasphemy laws have been enacted in Western countries, there has been moral outrage, and sentences are usually thrown out on appeal.

This has not stopped Muslim activists attempting to widen these virtually obsolete laws, so that any slur against Islam or its prophet becomes a criminal offense. Such measures have been attempted in France last year. Though supported by the Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF), this proposal never got out of the starting gate, as France is rigidly secular and had no blasphemy law to begin with. In Norway last year, in response to the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, Muslims claimed that the country needed a blasphemy law.

In Britain, which has a law against "blasphemous libel", Blair's Labour Party tried to outlaw blasphemy against Islam in 2005. The Racial and Religious Hatred Bill was introduced after lobbying by the Muslim Council of Britain, an Islamist group which was co-founded by Muslim Brotherhood member Kemal el-Helbawy whose senior members have supported Hamas and Osoma bin Laden. The bill was passed by the House of Commons but was defeated in the House of Lords on October 25, 2005. The law had controversial passages removed, and it became law. In its original form, it would have criminalized any behavior or speech which could have incited religious hatred, invoking a possible 7-year jail term, even if no intention to stir up hate had been intended.

In the state of Victoria, Australia, legislation outlawing any "religious vilification" was introduced in 2004. This law, the "Racial & Religious Tolerance Act" has caused chaos. A Christian Ministry called "Catch the Fire" was singled out for legal persecution by the Islamic Council of Victoria. The ministry's two pastors, Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot fought their case since it began in December 2004. In June 2005 they refused to acknowledge the court's order for them to apologize and pay a fine. Outside the court Pastor Danny claimed he would not submit "freedom of speech to a law which is sharia law by stealth. We will not bow down to pressure, and if it means we go to prison we will go to prison."

Though the issue of the Danish cartoons is beyond the scope of this article, the global protests which happened in February 2006, which saw at least 30 people killed, have highlighted the real differences between Islam and the West. In the West, we have become accustomed to comedians and others lampooning religious figures. Such jesting cannot harm a faith if it based upon strong and true values. In the West, the days of burning people alive for heresy and witchcraft have long passed.

Islam, for all the rhetoric of reacting with strength to attack, appears to be very vulnerable if in a city like London a few drawings could draw thousands of people to demonstrate their anger in Trafalgar Square, whereas an Islamist bombing which killed 52 people in one day could not rouse Muslims to make a similar response.

An earlier protest, held on February 3, 2006, saw Muslims from Abu Izzadeen and Anjem Choudary's Islamist group Ahlus Sunna Wal Jammah waving placards and calling for the death of people who insulted Islam. At that time, Choudary and Izzadeen ran another group called Al Ghurabaa. Only four people from the February 3 demonstration have been convicted for calling for death to blasphemers. Slogans emblazoned on placards read: ""Behead those who insult Islam", "Europe. Take some lessons from 9/11", "Europe you will pay. Demolition is on its way", "Europe you will pay. Your extermination is on its way," "Slay those who insult Islam," "Butcher those who insult Islam." In Sloane Square, at the top end of Chelsea's fashionable King's Road, Samuel P. Hungtington's "Clash of Civilizations" was displayed in sharp focus.

The Islamists of Ahlus Sunna Wal Jammah and Al Ghurabaa are clear in their conviction that anyone who offends their religious sensibilities should be executed. Before Al Ghurabaa's website vanished when the group was made illegal last year, I extracted an article from the site, entitled "Kill those who insult the Prophet Muhammad." This is an extract, but it shows their reasoning:

"At the time of the Messenger Muhammad (saw) there were individuals like these who dishonoured and insulted him upon whom the Islamic judgement was executed. Such people were not tolerated in the past and throughout the history of Islam were dealt with according to the Shariah. Ka'ab ibn Ashraf was assassinated by Muhammad ibn Maslamah for harming the Messenger Muhammad (saw) by his words, Abu Raafi' was killed by Abu Ateeq as the Messenger ordered in the most evil of ways for swearing at the prophet, Khalid bin Sufyaan was killed by Abdullah bin Anees who cut off his head and brought it to the prophet for harming the Messenger Muhammad (saw) by his insults, Al-Asmaa bintu Marwaan was killed by Umayr bin Adi' al-Khatmi, a blind man, for writing poetry against the prophet and insulting him in it, Al-Aswad al-Ansi was killed by Fairuz al-Daylami and his family for insulting the Messenger Muhammad (saw) and claiming to be a prophet himself.

Shortly after these incidents the people began to realise that insulting the Messenger of Allah (saw) was not something to be taken lightly and that by doing so would mean that you would be killed for it, a concept that many have seem to forgotten."

Ahlus Sunna Wal Jammah, which contains the same membership as Al Ghurabaa, and which was behind the February 3, 2006 protest, is still operating legally in Britain, influencing young Muslims to espouse extremist views. Whether this group represents an authentic and form of "original" Islam, a claim also made by the Taliban and Al Qaeda, is not for me to judge.
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The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Exclamation Islam: No Compulsion In Religion? Part 3 of 3

Islam: No Compulsion In Religion? Part 3 of 3

Part Three: Forced Conversions

Some of the South Korean Christian missionaries who were recently kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan were subjected to beatings during their captivity. According to the pastor of the Saemmul Church, the beatings had been administered when they refused to convert to Islam. Five of the 19 captives who returned home at the weekend were male. According to hospital chief Cha Seung-Gyun: "We found through medical checks that some male hostages were beaten. They said they were beaten at first for refusing to take part in Islamic prayers or for rejecting a demand to convert."

The statement from the Koran (Sura 2: 256) that there should be "no compulsion in religion" has been cited as proof that Islam does not employ force to maintain its numbers. Perhaps this is true if one only judges the Koran, and ignores verses such as Sura 8: 12: "Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them," or Sura 2: 191 which states: "And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out". Compulsion is certainly implied in Sura 9: 29: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya (a tax paid by Christians and Jews) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."

Quoting small segments of a book, out of their original context, can be construed as misrepresentation. However, despite all arguments that Islam does not sanction the imposition of force upon others, the Koran does sanction the worst kind of compulsion - slavery. Sura 33: 50 sanctions sexual intercourse with women who become slaves as prisoners of war. Slavery was practiced by Mohammed and his companions, and has continued to this day in regions such as Mauritania and Sudan. Slaves were often "encouraged" to become Muslim. Egypt was ruled between the 13th century and 1517 by a dynasty of captured slaves who had been converted to Islam, called Mamluks. When the Ottoman Empire absorbed Egypt, Mamluks continued to administer Egypt until 1811. The tradition of enslaving Mamluks (slave-soldiers) had started in the 9th century under the Abbasid empire.

In North Africa, the Barbary Corsairs terrorized Christian coastal communities and seafarers from the 16th century until 1815. The Barbary pirates would take captives who would become slaves. Many of these would be forced to convert to Islam, though this did not alter their status as slaves. Thomas Pellow was one of the countless Europeans who was captured at sea by Barbary Corsairs in 1715. Aged only 11 at the time of his capture, his youth and speed in learning his Moroccan captors' language offered a chance to avoid the back-breaking labor imposed on older captives. As Giles Milton described in White Gold, Pellow was beaten on his body and upon the soles of his feet until he finally agreed to become a Muslim.

The slave centers of the Barbary coast were in Morocco, Tunis, Algiers and Tripoli. The German historian Egon Flaig wrote: "In 1159 all the Christians in Tunis had to chose between conversion or death. At this time, the vital Christianity of North Africa was completely wiped out." (full translation here).

Andrew Bostom, author of The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims, has written: "Orders for conversion were decreed under all the early Islamic dynasties - Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, and Mamluks. Additional extensive examples of forced conversion were recorded under both Seljuk and Ottoman Turkish rule (the latter until its collapse in the 20th century), the Shi'ite Safavid and Qajar dynasties of Persia/Iran, and during the jihad ravages on the Indian subcontinent, beginning with the early 11th century campaigns of Mahmud of Ghazni, and recurring under the Delhi Sultanate, and Moghul dynasty until the collapse of Muslim suzerainty in the 18th century following the British conquest of India."

When Thomas Pellow was a slave under the Moroccan despot Moulay Ismail (ruled 1672-1727), he noted that the sultan had an elite guard. These black slaves and converts to Islam were called "Bukhari". These captives gained their title as they were forced to swear their allegiance to Moulay Ismail upon a copy of Bukhari's Hadiths. This book legitimizes forced conversions, as in Vol 1, Bk 8, 378: " Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah's Apostle said, "I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.' And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah."

Another Bukhari Hadith on this subject is Vol 1, Bk 2, 24. Another author of Hadiths who is regarded by Sunnis as "sahih" or "authentic" is Imam Muslim (Abul Husain Muslim bin al-Hajjaj al-Nisapuri) who lived from 817 - 874 AD. In his Hadith collection, (Book 1, 33) it is written: "It has been narrated on the authority of Abdullah b. 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer, and pay Zakat and if they do it, their blood and property are guaranteed protection on my behalf except when justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah."

Book 19, 4294 specifies exactly how Muslims should fight disbelievers until they submit or convert: "If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them." Thus, through the Hadiths, policies of forcing Christians and Jews into submission and paying a tax, or becoming converts to Islam, clearly lay out a means by which Muslims have historically conquered others. Forced conversion, which Muslim apologists state is in denial of Sura 2: 256, is sanctioned within these Hadiths. Some Muslims claim to be "Koran-only", but if the "sahih" Hadiths are to be believed, "compulsion in religion" is legitimized.

In Pakistan, forced conversions are common and most of the victims are members of the minority Christian communities. Sometimes, Christian boys are abducted to be used as slaves. The Islamist group called Jamaat ud-Dawa (Jama'at-ud Da'awah) was founded in 2001 by Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, who also founded the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Though Jamaat-ud-Dawa has been listed by the US as a terrorist organization since April 28, 2006, Pakistan has refused to outlaw it. Its HQ is at Mudrike in Punjab province. In May 2006, the Sunday Times reported that the Mudrike HQ of this group was used by Gul Khan, a militant based at the center, to trade in kidnapped Christian boys aged 6 to 12. These were to be sold on to criminal gangs as beggars, or for the sex trade. According to the Sunday Times, undercover Christian missionaries negotiated the release of 20 boys, after paying Khan. The boys had been kept in captivity for five months. The boys were returned to their homes.

Punjab province has one of the largest concentrations of Christians in Pakistan, though there are no more than 3% in the nation as a whole. On May 2, 2004, an 18 year old Catholic university student called Javed Anjum died of his injuries at a hospital in Faisalabad. His body bore 26 wounds - his fingernails had been pulled out, an arm was broken, he had broken fingers and burns to his skin. He had been electrocuted. His bladder and kidneys were also damaged, and he had lost his sight. Anjum, who had been studying commerce, had the misfortune to feel thirsty as he passed the Jamia Hassan bin Almurtaza Madrassa at Toba Tek Singh on April 17. The student drank from a faucet and was abducted by staff and students from the madrassa. These took him into the seminary and tortured him for five days. Then he was dumped at a police station, where they claimed he was a thief. He remained in police custody for two days before being taken to hospital, where he eventually died. Anjum had been tortured as part of a process to force him to convert to Islam.

In March 2006 a leader of the madrassa, Maulvi Ghulam Rasool and Mohammed Tayyab were sentenced to 25 years' jail. While he had been tortured, Javed Anjum had finally succumbed and said his "shahada" of declaration of faith as a Muslim. His father became so disraught during the trial that he was ordered to leave the courtroom. After Anjum's death, the Pakistan Catholic Bishop's Commission of Justice and Peace sponsored legal proceedings to deal with his tormentors. The Commission noted in 2004: "Religious intolerance and discrimination is the reason behind the recent incidents where young non-Muslims were forcibly converted and circumcised." In November 2003, another Catholic youth aged 15 had been abducted by a Muslim classmate. He had been forced to convert to Islam after being beaten by Islamic clerics who forced him to attend the Madrassa Jamia al Qasim al Aloom. Though the boy escaped, his mother and brother had to go into hiding.

The experience of the two youths is a model followed in numerous instances. When Christian girls are forced to convert, they are usually raped or forced to marry against their will. The All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) has documented some of these cases. The group reported that in September 2005 a 12-year old Christian girl, Sara Tabasum, had been abducted by neighbors near Rawalpindi. She was raped by three men in the neighbors' home, and told she could be "saved" if she agreed to convert to Islam and married one of the sons of the neighbors. Sara was reportedly raped by a total of 16 men, and as she had not recanted her faith her captors arranged to sell her to a gang. While being taken away in a truck, she jumped out and fled back to her family.

Shahbaz Bhatti, chairman of the APMA, later said that the 16 men should be prosecuted. He claimed that "This horrific, brutal and shameful act is continuously ignored by government authorities despite of the protests and demands from different organizations and victim family. Even no government authority condemned the incident nor visited the victim's family, which shows insincere and irresponsible behavior of the government to tackle issues of women. As a result of this negligence, incidents of rape, kidnapping, torture, and gang rape are on the rise and the victimized women are begging for justice and protection to save their dignity and honor." He added that Sara's family had been threatened by some of the suspects, to make them withdraw their charges.

In September 2, 2005 a 22-year old Christian woman, Riqba Masih, was abducted at a bus stop in Faisalabad by two men. She was taken to Lahore and raped and threatened with death, as her assailants ordered her to convert. The two men were charged, but only one appeared in court. Because of the incident, Riqba's six sisters had to leave their school because their classmates labeled them as "prostitutes". Riqba still has not received justice.

In September 2006, APMA reported that a 40-year old Christian woman and her 13-year old daughter had been abducted near Sialkot in northeastern Punjab province. After the death of her husband, Nasreen Pervez had gone with her daughter to work as servants at the home of their Muslim neighbor. After a month, the man refused to pay them and kept them prisoners. The two were subjected to torture with shards of glass and burns when they refused to convert to Islam. The man had even brought a bottle of acid and a syringe and threatened to inject them if they did not convert. Their captor also threatened to kill their relatives if they did not become Muslim. The pair were released by a bailiff, on the orders of a court, after another daughter discovered what had happened to them.

On August 5 this year Zunaira, an 11 year old Christian girl, was abducted by a Muslim and his sister from the girl's home in Warispura, near Faisalabad in Punjab province. The girl was forced to convert to Islam and marry her kidnapper, Muhammad Adnan. Zunaira's mother spent all her money trying to trace her daughter's whereabouts. She said she had contacted the police when she discovered her daughter had been married. Police told her that the illegality of an underage marriage was "not a matter for the police".

On August 16 this year, a 16-year old girl was abducted after being told her father was in hospital, and was said to have been forced to convert and marry. Her father said that "cases such as these are on the increase: Christian girls abducted, forcibly converted and subjected to becoming the wives of complete strangers." It was later confirmed that the 16-year old had been married to a Muslim man 12 days after her abduction.

Christians are not the only targets for forced conversion in Pakistan. In December 2005, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered that three sisters from a Hindu family who were staying at a madrassa in Karachi, Sindh province, be moved to a hostel. A charge had been made that the three girls, who had been found studying Islam at the seminary, had been forced to convert and also raped. The girls' father claimed that the administration at the madrassa would not allow him to see his daughters.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) claimed in a 2006 report (pdf document) that in Sindh province in southeastern Pakistan in 2006, 25 Hindu girls were forced to convert to Islam, according to APMA statistics. Police in the province appear reluctant to deal with these cases. Some of those involved in forcing conversions in Pakistan are said to belong to militant groups. Madrassas are also said to be involved in assisting some of the forced conversions. On New Years' Eve, 2006, a 17 year old Hindu girl from a village in Sindh was abducted by her Muslim tutor. AHRC stated that the girl was taken to a madrassa where the man taught. The seminary owner, who was providing shelter to the "couple", claimed that the girl had willingly converted to Islam, though her parents believed she had been forced. Though there were 25 cases of forced conversion of Hindu girls in 2006, the average figure is about 15 per year in Sindh province.

There is even a report of a Christian male being gang-raped and seriously injured in an attempt to force him to convert to Islam.

I wrote in Part Two about Pakistan's blasphemy laws, and how they have been used to discriminate against Christians and other religious minorities. On May 9, 2007, an 84-year old Christian man, Walter Fazal Khan, was accused by his driver of setting fire to a Koran. The driver, a convert from Christianity to Islam, was a nephew of Mr Khan's 86-year old wife Gladdis. When Mr Khan was arrested and automatically detained in custody, a Muslim cleric took over his house and forced Gladdis to convert to Islam. The cleric claimed he wanted to turn the house into a madrassa.

A convention was held in Lahore, Punjab on May 26 this year on the subject of forced conversion. Attended by representatives of human rights groups, the conference noted that around 500 to 600 people a year are forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan. Only a fifth of these cases are taken up by the press and media.

In May this year, reports came that Christian communities in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), which lies next to the Afghan border, were being threatened by Islamists to convert to Islam or die. The Christians came from the town of Charsadda near Peshawar, the capital of NWFP. About 500 had received letters demanding that they convert by May 17 or they would suffer from a campaign of "bomb explosions". NWFP is the home of the Pakistan Taliban, and numerous Al Qaeda members live in the borderlands of the province. Many Christians took fright and fled from their homes.

The letters continued, and though the deadline had passed, by late August three communities of Christians, at the neighborhoods of Tailgodom, Sandagodom and Goalgodom, still lived in a climate of fear. The later letters had contained the threat: "We will wipe out your slum on next Friday, August, 10th, 2007. And you, yourself would be responsible for the destruction of your men and material. Get ready! This is not a mere threat, our suicide bombers are ready to wipe out your name and signs from the face of earth. Consider it be the Knock of Death... Our suicide bombers, lovers of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) are ready to strike churches, to protect the sanctity of Mecca and Medina, and pride of Islam. These suicide bombers would strike at any time or day. It is our first and foremost Jihad to assassinate and eradicate the infidels from the face of earth."

In southeast Asia, during the Moluccan conflict between Indonesian Islamists and Christians living in the Spice Islands and Sulawesi, one Islamist group led the atrocities against Christians. This group, Laskar Jihad, was led by a veteran of the Afghan Mujahideen and associate of Osama bin Laden, called Jafar Umar Thalib. This individual had been "educated" in Saudi Arabia. He had organized a horrific attack upon Christian villagers of Soya on the island of Ambon on April 28, 2002, where even babies had been hit with machetes. People were clubbed to death, some were burned alive in their homes, and several people were decapitated. 21 died, and many more were injured. Despite organizing this, and many other atrocities, Thalib was acquitted of incitement on January 30, 2003.

During the Moluccan conflict, which lasted from 1999 to 2003 and claimed 9,000 lives, six islands with large Christian populations were attacked by Laskar Jihad. On January 27, 2001, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that 3,928 villagers on these islands were forced to convert to Islam. Men were forcibly circumcised, and women were made to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), even though Muslim women from the islands do not follow this custom. The circumcisions and FGM were done without anesthetic, mostly by Muslim clerics. Elderly women in their seventies and young girls as young as babies were subjected to this excruciatingly painful indignity. As a result of the Islamists' campaign, the eastern half of Ceram island became entirely "Islamic".

In Muslim countries, conversions into Islam are encouraged, but to convert out of Islam can be deadly. In Iran, three people have been sentenced to death for converting to Christianity since 1987. One Iranian man who converted to Christianity in 1980 and became a pastor, Hamid Pourmand, was accused of apostasy and trying to convert Muslims in 2005. He was acquitted of these charges on May 28, 2005, but during his trial hearings he had been forced to convert back to Islam. Members of the Bahai faith in Iran have been reported to be subject to forced conversions to conventional Islam. Jews in Iran have historically been subjected to forced conversions to Islam.

Forcible conversions in the Middle East are becoming more common. In Iraq, members of the Chaldean (Assyrian) church have been subjected to some appalling atrocities and over the past two years, attacks and threats have caused many to flee. In Mosul, Christians have been threatened with violence in extortion attempts, forced to pay a "jizyah tax". In April 14 this year, Christian families in the Dora district of Baghdad fled from their homes after Islamists gave them a 24-hour deadline to convert to Islam or be killed.

In Egypt, there has long been tension between the majority Muslim population and the Coptic Christians, who number 10% of the nation's population. Officially, all conversions to Islam in Egypt must be registered with the state-sponsored Al-Azhar University in Cairo, and validated by security police, but such procedures are rarely followed in cases of forcible conversion. It is illegal for Egyptian Muslims to convert out of Islam, but Christians are legally allowed to convert into Islam. About 10,000 Christians are said to annually convert to Islam each year. There have been several cases of forced conversions of Coptic women.

Some of these reports are disturbing. In April 2004, Heidi Hakim Mankerious Salib was a 17-year old schoolgirl. She was abducted, drugged, raped, forced to wear a veil. A Christian cross was tattooed on her wrist. Her abductor tried to remove this with scissors. She was taken to a police station and made to sign a document claiming she had converted to Islam, even though she was not yet 18. The family had their car rammed when they tried to protest, and on June 2, 2004, Heidi went missing again.

In 2004, the abduction of Wafaa Constantine Messiha, the wife of a Coptic priest, caused consternation among the Christian community. Shenouda III, the Coptic Pope, spoke of the widespread anxiety about foced conversions. He said: "I have received so many letters about what's happening to the Christian girls who go to supermarket stores to shop. At the store they tell them that they have won and have to go upstairs to receive their award or prize. After that we don't know what's happening to these girls upstairs. There is a lot of talking going on about this matter, and I see that what's happening will create a religious clash in the country. I'm urging the police to take a serious action against what's happening."

The wife of the priest later claimed that she had converted voluntarily. She said: "I want to say to Christians that I willingly took this decision and I am not an immature girl who can fall under pressure from anyone."

Despite this, there were four days of protests and the woman was taken by police and handed her back to her community. She later resumed her Christian practices. Bishop Abanob of Assuit claimed that Coptic Christians were being offered money, homes and jobs if they converted to Islam.

The issue of conversion is sensitive for Muslims as well as Christians. A play about a Christian man who converts to Islam but then returned to his faith, called "I once was blind but now I see" sparked riots at St George's church in Alexandria in October 2005. DVDs of a 2003 performance of this play (which had taken place in the church) were circulating, and Muslims went on the rampage. A nun at the church was subjected to a knife attack in the church, and lost fingers.

In January 2006, Theresa Ghattass Kamal was abducted from Wadi El-Natroun, south of Cairo. She was able to phone her aunt to say that her captors had tried to force her to convert to Islam, but she claimed that she had resisted. Three months later, Theresa was found by her brother, living in a Muslim home and wearing a face-veil. "I have converted to Islam. I have found the right path," she said, even though her conversion had not been registered and she had not visited a Coptic priest, one of the conditions of official conversion to Islam.

In June this year, a 38-year old Egyptian under threat of deportation from the US said that he was under threat of being forced to convert to Islam if returned to Egypt. Sameh Khouzam's supporters claimed that he had left Egypt eight years previously because of similar attempts.

My fellow FSM contributing editor Patrick Poole has reported that in June this year, an Egyptian Christian named "Omar" was in a similar position. He had "illegally" converted from Islam to Christianity, and had twice been arrested and tortured by police. He had been threatened by members of the Muslim Brotherhood who claimed they would kill him, causing him to flee Egypt in October 2005. He was granted asylum by a judge in Texas.

In 2006 in Gaza, two journalists with Fox News who had been held hostage for two weeks were freed on August 27. 60-year old correspondent Steve Centani and 36-year old photographer Olaf Wiig had been captured by Islamists who called themselves the "Holy Jihad Brigades". During their captivity, the two men had been forced at gunpoint to convert to Islam. Mr Centani said that "it was something we felt we had to do because they had guns and we didn't know what the hell was going on."

Last month, officials from Fatah claimed that a Christian woman, Professor Sana al-Sayegh, of Palestine Inernational University in Gaza, had been forced to convert to Christianity by members of the terrorist group Hamas. The claimed: "She was kidnapped and held for two weeks during which time she was not allowed to contact her family." The professor reappeared after her absence at the home of a Hamas member and, in the presence of Hamas gunmen, claimed that she had become a Muslim. Her mother said that she had only announced her "conversion" because of the armed Hamas officials. Hamas accused the Fatah officials of lying. After Hamas forcibly took control of Gaza, Islamist group Jihadia Salafiya told WorldNet Daily that Gaza's 2,000 Christians could continue to live safely, as long as women wore Islamic head coverings.

In Britain, where Muslim immigration has taken place at high rates, there have been problems with attempts to convert Sikh girls in Birmingham since the late 1990s. Muslims have counter-claimed that Sikh boys in the city's suburbs have tried to get Muslim girls drunk. In February this year the head of London's Metropolitan Police announced that Muslims who tried to forcibly convert Sikh and Hindu girls were being targeted. At universities, Sikh and Hindu girls have been threatened and attacked, sometimes forced to abandon their studies, in such conversion attempts.

So far, the most violent attempts at forced conversion have involved members of the south London gang called "The Muslim Boys". At an inquest at Southwark Coroner's Court on January 4, 2006 Ruth Marriott described how her 21-year old son Adrian had died on June 8, 2004, shot five times through the head. She had heard the shots. She said: "The thought did strike me that Adrian could be involved, but it was a fleeting thought. Then we heard from police the following evening what had happened. Adrian was told on the Sunday prior to his death that he would be killed if he did not become a Muslim by the Wednesday, which was the day he died."

Islam literally means "submission". Though many Muslims proclaim that there is no compulsion in religion, it is a sad fact that for some others, particularly those affiliated with extremist groups, "submission" means not just the submission of oneself to God, but also the forcible submission of others.
O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Arrow Al Qaradawi on Violent Jihad and Revolts Against Governments

Al Qaradawi on Violent Jihad and Revolts Against Governments

By Douglas Farah
February 15, 2008

In a recent appearance al Jazeera, Muslim Brotherhood theologian Yousef al-Qaradawi took an interesting, but not unusual line on violent jihad-it is not wrong, but it is ineffective.

In the midst of a discourse on the Caliphate, the need to rotate leaders out of power (and why the Muslim Brotherhood does not, by his own admission, despite the preference of four to six year terms for the leader), al-Qaradawi turns his attention to violent jihad and armed revolution, which I put here as a lengthy excerpt, so that the full context is available. Each can choose their interpretation.
Al-Qaradawi says that "all the rules and laws of Islam contain all that is in favour of people in this life and the hereafter." He adds: "The Islamic shari'ah serves the interests of mankind in their life and religion." He says: "Among these are the political interests. What God decreed in the political field in terms of laws is aimed at establishing the truth and justice, safeguarding dignity, and taking care of people's rights. This is why it was very strict on the issue of revolting against the ruler. By revolting here I mean armed revolt. This is because this will pave the way for sedition and indiscipline. As a result, perhaps blood might be shed, people might be killed, and houses and property might be destroyed."
Al-Qaradawi adds: "The issue is not that if anyone becomes angry at a ruler he then should brandish his sword and revolt against him. No. It is true that Islam does not accept the culture of submissiveness and humiliation by the rulers, but it is also does not accept that if anyone becomes angry at another one he then should carry out an armed revolution, especially since this will lead to instability and pave the way for interference by others and foreigners in the country's affairs." Al-Qaradawi then gives examples of revolts against rulers from the Islamic history.
Al-Qaradawi says: “In our age, we have seen the violence used by the Islamic groups which hold all modern rulers to be infidels and therefore they should be fought. To achieve their objectives, these groups resorted to violence and used weapons to shed blood and to confront these rulers, such as the Jihad Group in Egypt, Al-Jama’ah al-Islamiyah [Islamic Group], the Salafi Jihadist Movement, Al-Qa’idah, and the like.

However, have they achieved what they wanted? They have not achieved anything.
It is interesting that armed revolt is not accepted primarily because it will lead to instability and pave the way for foreign intervention. However, as al-Qaradawi himself has made amply clear in blessing suicide bombings as “martyrdom” operations, if there interference in an area, then violent jihad is accepted.
There is no indication that armed revolt against corrupt leadership would be considered morally wrong. Only that, at this point, it is ineffective.

This is, to me, the fundamental difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist/jihadists. The theological and political architecture and underpinning to support the final objective (in this case, the creation of the Caliphate) are virtually the same.

Where the groups differ is in the effective tactics one should use to achieve that goal.

Al-Qaradawi and other Brotherhood leaders, while supporting “defensive” jihad, argue that the most effective way to create a pan-Islamist union is through sustained political action to hollow out host government from within. One need look no farther than the Holy Land Foundation trial documents for a clear statement of this principle.

This includes the slow, deliberate process of carving out small but ever-growing areas under sharia law, and outside the national laws. Al-Qaradawi has publicly outlined the plan of moving sharia law from neighborhoods to municipalities to local government and on to national government.

Hence, when Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, said that the imposition of sharia law on some parts of British society was inevitable it was a tremendously important concession.

The Islamists view the demographic trends and softening of civil society in Europe as making terrorist attacks unnecessary. But, in the end, all will be worshipping Allah or dead if the Brotherhood has its way.

The Archbishop of Canterbury missed a very important point in his interview….

He did not challenge the definition of usery…Rowan Williams accepted the Sharia definition that all interest on money is usary….He then proceeded to explain the biblical precepts on Usary.

It is from accepting that Usary under Sharia and Usary in the bible mean the same things.

It is from this fuzzy definition that he made the statement that the imposition of sharia was inevitable.-He did firly state that it could not be paralell to English law, but under the transparent oversight-and this the Muslim Brotherhood will never willingly accept.

There is great ground to be gained in understanding defintition differences in this case.

The Arhcbishop (or his researchers)completely missed that point….
O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Exclamation Jihad in Islam: Is Islam Peaceful or Militant? and An Initial Christian Response

Jihad in Islam: Is Islam Peaceful or Militant? and An Initial Christian Response

by Ernest Hahn


In the past months, especially after September 11, 2001, how often you may have read or heard that:
Islam means peace.
Islam is a religion of tolerance. It rejects violence and promotes religious and racial harmony.

The word "jihad" does not mean holy war. Our enemy is fanaticism, not Islam.
Or how often you may have heard or read that
Islam is intolerant, militant, supports terrorism.
The claims differ greatly. Our intention here is to consider these claims, especially on the basis of Islam’s sources, and to provide an initial Christian response to them.

Jihad literally means "to strive", "to struggle". Muslims have recognized the following kinds of jihad:

1. The greater jihad: the struggle of the self with evil; the struggle to control the body’s members.

2. The lesser jihad: physical struggle, often associated with fighting and killing. It occurs in the Qur’an most frequently with the meaning of "warfare", often coupled with "fi sabil Allah" (in the way of Allah).[1]

Technically, it is war against non-Muslims only, since Muslims are forbidden to fight Muslims.

This statement seeks to focus on jihad as warfare in Islam and, at least, to touch on its significance for the Muslim community throughout the history of Islam. To accomplish this, we turn to Islam’s source materials (which virtually the total Muslim community has recognized as foundational for any serious formulation and understanding of Islam, its beliefs and its practices, including jihad): the Qur’an (God’s eternal and inspired Word revealed through Muhammad), the Hadith (Muslim Canonical Tradition, the Way of the Prophet Muhammad, who is the recipient of the Qur’an and its primary interpreter) and the Shari‘ah[2] (Islamic Law as shaped especially by the Qur’an and the Hadith). Jihad as warfare is a pivotal concern for the Qur’an, the Hadith and the Shari‘ah. All Islamic legal schools deal with it.

But before we turn to Islam’s source materials, let us grasp two fundamental assumptions with which traditional Islam has operated throughout its history and which will provide us with an Islamic context for a clearer understanding of jihad’s significance:
  1. Islam is a total way of life. It knows no separation of church and state, of sacred and secular.
  2. Islam condemns all polytheism and idolatry, affirming that God alone is God. It is the culmination of all God’s previous revelations (Judaism and Christianity included), it supersedes them and virtually renders them obsolete. Islam is now God’s sole revelation and religion for all humanity, Muhammad is God’s final prophet and the Qur’an is God’s final book. World sovereignty is the sole prerogative of Islam.
Jihad in the Qur’an
Bearing in mind these fundamental assumptions of Islam, we move on to the Qur’an’s presentation of jihad as warfare, particularly as it is portrayed in the ministry of Muhammad.

Muhammad’s Ministry in Mecca

Generally Muslims have recognized that Muhammad began his ministry among his own people (the Arabs) in and around Mecca in A.D. 610. For thirteen years he faithfully proclaimed that God alone is God. Yet his followers were few and mostly of lower status. With Muhammad they endured opposition, ridicule and even persecution. Still, throughout this period he responded with restraint. In fact, the Qur’an itself documents how he was to respond to rejection and abuse. The following are a few examples:
I (Muhammad) am but a plain warner. (67:2; passim)[3]
We have not sent thee (Muhammad) as a warden over them. (17:54)

So proclaim that which thou art commanded, and withdraw from the idolaters. (15:94; cf. 15:94-99)

And bear with patience what they utter, and part from them with a fair leave taking. (73:10)

... And to be of those who believe and exhort one another to perseverance and exhort one another to pity! (90:17)

Call unto the way of the Lord... and reason with them in a better way.... Grieve not for them and be not in distress because of that which they devise. (16:125-127)

Repel evil with that which is better. (23:96)
All of the above passages are Meccan passages, i.e., passages Muhammad received while he proclaimed Islam in Mecca. As long as he remained in Mecca, he responded to his enemies peacefully and with restraint. He never responded militantly. What a fine resource of Quranic references to demonstrate that Islam is peaceful, non-violent!

Muhammad’s Ministry in Medina
In A.D. 622 Muhammad moved from his home in Mecca to Medina, where Arab tribes had invited him to reside and where they became members of the new Islamic movement. So important is this event in Islamic history – it is called the hijrah ("emigration") – that it actually marks the beginning of the Islamic era.[4]

In Medina Muhammad quickly assumed both religious and political leadership over the whole Medinan community. Soon after he arrived in Medina, he received the first of many Quranic passages (called Medinan passages) which directed him and the Muslim community to fight in the cause of Allah against their enemies. The Qur’an alludes to Muhammad’s conflicts with the Arab polytheists throughout Arabia, with the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) and with the hypocrites (Arab polytheists who feigned conversion to Islam: cf. 49:14). The earliest extant Muslim biographies of Muhammad detail Muhammad’s military struggles.[5] It is these conflicts which serve as the seeds for the traditional Islamic divisions of society into 1. the House of Islam and the House of War and 2. the Muslim Community; the People of the Book (Jews and Christians, cf. 9:29,30); the Polytheists (who could become Muslim or accept death or slavery).

The following are a few of the Medinan passages which refer to jihad as military struggle in the Qur’an:
Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged... (22:39; cf. 22:39-41)[6]

The (true) believers are those only who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such are the sincere. (49:15; 22:78; 25:52)

Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors.
And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.

But if they desist, then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers.

The forbidden month for the forbidden month, and forbidden things in retaliation. And one who attacketh you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you. Observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is with those who ward off (evil).

Spend your wealth for the cause of Allah.... (2:190-195; cf. 2:216-218; 2:244; 8:38-40; 8:65,66; 4:84; 5:33-35; 61:4)
Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free.... (9:5)

Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they! (9:29,30)

O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey’s end. (9:73)

O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him). (9:123)
As for Jihad’s motivation and benefits:
O ye who believe! Shall I show you a commerce that will save you from a painful doom?

You should believe in Allah and His messenger, and should strive for the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives. That is better for you, if ye did but know.

He will forgive you your sins and bring you into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, and pleasant dwellings in Gardens of Eden. That is the supreme triumph.

And (He will give you) another blessing which ye love: help from Allah and present victory. Give good tidings (O Muhammad) to believers. (61:10-13; cf. 9:19-22; 9:111; 2:154; 2:243-245; 47:4-6; 3:195)

... Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than those who sit (at home). (4:95)
From the above Meccan and Medinan verses Muslims have understood that there is a chronological progression in Muhammad’s ministry from peaceful proclamation only in Mecca to peaceful proclamation supported, if needed, by the sword in Medina. This was not to suggest that God had changed His mind and that peaceful proclamation of Islam had ceased. It simply meant that when Muhammad entered Medina, initially he was allowed to defend himself against his enemies with the same weapons they used to attack him and eventually was ordered even to fight all idolaters.

The well known Egyptian scholar, Sayyid Qutb, notes four stages in the development of jihad: 1. While the earliest Muslims remained in Mecca before fleeing to Medina, God did not allow them to fight; 2. Permission is given to Muslims to fight against their oppressors; 3. God commands Muslims to fight those fighting them; 4. God commands the Muslims to fight against all polytheists. He views each stage to be replaced by the next stage in this order, the fourth stage to remain permanent.[7] To justify the universal and permanent dimensions of jihad he cites the following passages:
They ought to fight in the way of God who have sold the life of this world for the life of the Hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of God and is killed or becomes victorious, to him shall We (God) give a great reward.... (4:74-76)

... and fight them until there is no oppression and the religion is wholly for God.... (8:38-40)

Fight against those among the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) who do not believe in God and the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and His messenger have forbidden, until they are subdued and pay jizyah (tax on non-Muslims) ... (9:29-32)
But, as we sometimes hear, does not Islam teach that jihad as physical warfare is solely defensive? True, a few voices in earlier Islamic history and even more voices from the nineteenth century onwards have held this opinion. No doubt, today also many Muslims in the West espouse this opinion, though one might wonder how familiar some of them are with the source materials and history of Islam. Sayyid Qutb, however, pours scorn upon those who view jihad as solely defensive:
... They are ignorant of the nature of Islam and of its function, and that it has a right to take the initiative for human freedom.

Thus wherever an Islamic community exists which is a concrete example of the Divinely-ordained system of life, it has a God-given right to step forward and take control of the political authority so that it may establish the Divine system on earth, while it leaves the matter of belief to individual conscience.
He then cites, during the early advance of Islam, the Muslim response to the Persian general, Rustum, after Rustum enquired why the Muslim leaders had come to Persia with their army:
God has sent us to bring anyone who wishes from servitude to men into the service of God alone, from the narrowness of this world into the vastness of this world and the Hereafter, and from the tyranny of religions into the justice of Islam. God raised a Messenger for this purpose to teach His creatures His way. If anyone accepts this way of life, we turn back and give his country back to him, and we fight with those who rebel until we are martyred or become victorious.[9]
Likewise the popular Pakistani Muslim revivalist Abu’l Ala Mawdudi rejects any distinction between offensive and defensive jihad. So also the distinguished contemporary Pakistani scholar, Fazlur Rahman, while recognizing the extensive presence of jihad in the Qur’an, rejects the stand of those modern Muslim apologists who have tried to explain the jihad of the early (Muslim) Community in purely defensive terms.[10]

According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, "the fight is obligatory even when the unbelievers have not started it."[11] In the words of Rudolph Peters the "ultimate aim of jihad is ‘the subjection of the unbelievers’ and ‘the extirpation of unbelief’".[12] All of these authorities simply echo Islam’s fundamental assumption that world sovereignty must be in the hands of Muslims.

Still, others may ask, is there not a possible conflict in the Qur’an between its peaceful and militant passages? Or, at least, cannot Muslims choose, between the two, which to follow? In fact, the Qur’an itself addresses the problem of change or conflict in general:
Such of Our revelations as We (Allah) abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring (in place) one better or the like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah is Able to do all things? (2:106)
And when We put a revelation in place of (another) revelation, – and Allah knoweth best what He revealeth – they say: Lo! thou art but inventing. Most of them know not. (16:101)
On the basis of these verses there arose within the Muslim community the principle of Quranic interpretation, called naskh ("abrogation") which stipulated that earlier peaceful verses could be abrogated by later militant verses, i.e., in the case of jihad the Meccan verses were abrogated by the Medinan verses. It is well known that many Muslim scholars in the early history of Islam contended that Qur’an 9:5, sometimes called "the verse of the sword", abrogated a host of peaceful passages in earlier portions of the Qur’an. The nineteenth century Indian Muslim leader, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, and a few others have rejected this contention.
Finally we should note here also that at the time of Muhammad’s death most of Arabia had submitted to Islamic sovereignty. With logical consistency his earliest successors dutifully carried on Islam’s expansion beyond the borders of Arabia. Within a century following Muhammad’s death Islam had moved westward across North Africa into Europe and eastward as far as present day Pakistan, a military accomplishment that perhaps remains unparalleled up to that time in history. The enterprise itself was in accordance with the Qur’an’s direction, implemented by Muhammad in Arabia, initiated beyond Arabia by his faithful caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar, and continued by their successors.[7] Here is a portion of a poem in praise of Muhammad, his army and jihad, composed by Ka’b b. Malik prior to the siege at Ta’if (in Arabia), about two years prior to Muhammad’s death:
Our leader (Muhammad) the prophet, firm,
Pure of heart, steadfast, continent,
Straightforward, full of wisdom, knowledge, and clemency;
Not frivolous nor light minded.
We obey our prophet and we obey a Lord
Who is the Compassionate, most kind to us.
If you offer peace we will accept it
And make you partners in peace and war.
If you refuse we will fight you doggedly,
‘Twill be no weak faltering affair.
We shall fight as long as we live
Till you turn to Islam, humbly seeking refuge.
We will fight not caring whom we meet
Whether we destroy ancient holdings or newly gotten gains.
How many tribes assembled against us
Their finest stock and allies!
They came at us thinking they had no equal
And we cut off their noses and ears
With our fine polished Indian swords,
Driving them violently before us
To the command of God and Islam,
Until religion is established, just and straight, and
Al-Lat and al-‘Uzza and Wudd are forgotten[14]
And we plunder them of their necklaces and earrings.
For they had become established and confident,
And he who cannot protect himself must suffer disgrace.[15]
Jihad in the Hadith
Islam’s Hadith collections too, the second important source of Islam, devote considerable space to jihad. Almost one-third of the fourth of nine volumes of Bukhari, Islam’s principal collector of Hadith, focus on jihad as physical war. The following are a few examples:
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Apostle said: "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform all that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws, and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah."[16]

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle was asked, "What is the best deed?" He replied, "To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad)." The questioner then asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah’s cause...."[17]

Abu ‘Abs reported God’s messenger as saying, "No man whose feet become dusty in God’s path will be touched by hell." Bukhari transmitted it.[18]

Al-Miqdam b. Madikarib reported God’s messenger as saying, "The martyr receives six good things from God: he is forgiven at the first shedding of his blood, he is shown his abode in paradise, he is preserved from the punishment in the grave, he is kept safe from the greatest terror, he has placed on his head the crown of honour a ruby which is better than the world and what it contains, he is married to seventy-two wives of the maidens with large dark eyes, and is made intercessor for seventy of his relatives." Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah transmitted it.[19]

Jabir b. Samura reported God’s messenger as saying, "This religion will not cease to endure with a company of the Muslims fighting on its behalf till the last hour comes." Muslim transmitted it.[20]
Worth noting here also is the fact that 66 page Introduction to the nine volumes of the widely distributed The Translation of the Meanings of Sahih al-Bukhari contains a 19 page essay "The Call to Jihad (Fighting for Allah’s Cause) in the Holy Qur’an" by Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Hamid, Sacred Mosque of Mecca. The author writes in his concluding appeal to his readers:
So it is incumbent upon us (Muslims) to follow the path which Allah’s Messenger (Muhammad) adopted to avoid polytheism and heresy in all its shapes and to take the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s Traditions as torches in front of us to guide us. We have to teach our brethren and convey the Message to non-Muslims all over the world as much as possible in order to save them from the Hell-fire. We have to prepare ourselves to stand in the face of our enemy and to possess the means of power and to participate in the progress of useful industries in order to protect our religion and be powerful enough to face our enemy, as Allah, the Elevated says in Surat al-Anfal (8:60):
And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, places, missiles and other weapons, etc.) to strike terror into the (hearts of) the Enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others beside, whom you may not know, but whom Allah does know. Whatever you shall spend in the Cause of Allah, shall be repaid to you, and you shall not be treated unjustly.[21]
How many terrorists would appeal to this verse "to strike terror into the hearts of the enemy"?

Jihad in the Shari‘ah
From the Qur’an and the Hadith we move to the Shari‘ah. The Shari‘ah is God’s Law, distinct from all human codes of law. It is God’s indispensable link between Himself and His people (ummah), the manifestation of His divine will for Muslims and for those non-Muslim minorities (or majorities) under the domination of the Muslim community. All Muslim schools of Shari‘ah acknowledge the presence and importance of jihad as warfare. Since, however, the Shari‘ah essentially reflects what its principal sources (Qur’an and Hadith) have pronounced, we limit our quotations from the Shari‘ah to the following:
The sacred injunction concerning war is sufficiently observed when it is carried on by any one party or tribe of Mussulmans; and it is then no longer of any force with respect to the rest. It is established as a divine ordinance, by the word of God, who has said, in the Koran, "slay the infidels", and also by a saying of the prophet, "war is permanently established until the day of judgement," (meaning the ordinance respecting war)....

The destruction of the sword is incurred by infidels, although they be not the first aggressors, as appears from various passages in the sacred writings which are generally received to this effect.[22]

When the Mussulmans enter the enemy’s country, and besiege the cities or strongholds of the infidels, it is necessary to invite them to embrace the faith, because Ibn Abbas relates of the prophet that "he never destroyed any without previously inviting them to embrace the faith." If, therefore, they embrace the faith, it is unnecessary to war with them, because that which was the design of the war is then obtained without war. The prophet, moreover, has said, "we are directed to make war upon man until such time as they shall confess THERE IS NO GOD BUT ONE GOD; but when they repeat this creed, their persons and properties are in protection." – If they do not accept the call to the faith, they must then be called upon to pay Jizyat , or capitation-tax; because the prophet directed the commander of his armies so to do; and also, because by submitting to this tax, war is forbidden and terminated, upon the authority of the Koran. (This call to pay capitation tax, however, respects only those from whom the capitation tax is acceptable; for as to apostates and the idolaters of Arabia, to call upon them to pay the tax is useless, since nothing is accepted from them but embracing the faith, as it is thus commanded in the Koran.)[23]

Numerous Meccan passages from the Qur’an uniformly indicate that while Muhammad resided in Mecca, he preached Islam patiently and peacefully, avoiding physical warfare with his enemy. Probably few would challenge this fact. Given this fact, then, it becomes understandable that some Muslims, claiming that Islam means peace and avoids violence, are able to substantiate their claims with Meccan passages from the Qur’an. So let all, Muslims and non-Muslims, recognize this thirteen year period of peace which endured until the Hijrah.

It is just as clear, however, as Muslims generally have understood, that after the Hijrah Muhammad resorted to the sword in support of his ministry, at first by the permission and later by the command of God. True, a few Muslims in the past, and more at present, have described this warfare as defensive only. On the other hand, all the recognized source materials for jihad have led their traditional Muslim expositors to acknowledge a development of jihad by stages during the ministry of Muhammed, a jihad which is both defensive and offensive, a jihad which the Muslim community is to pursue until the end of time. What it has signified in the past and signifies at present for masses of Muslims is well summarized in a statement by the world renowned Ibn Khaldun (A.D. 1332-1406), Islam’s great historian, sociologist and philosopher:
In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the (Muslim) mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. Therefore, caliphate and royal authority are united in (Islam), so that the person in charge can devote the available strength to both of them at the same.[24]
It is also reflected in the Muslim salutation at the tomb of Muhammad:
Peace be upon thee, O Apostle. We witness that thou hast truly delivered the message, that thou hast striven in the way of God until God glorified His religion and perfected it.[25]
Herein lies the Islamic priority of the peaceful proclamation of God’s unity and sovereignty and, if circumstances demand it, the enforcement of the peaceful proclamation through "striving in the way of Allah" upon those who resist the peaceful proclamation.

Is this, then, to say that Islam is intrinsically violent and supportive of violence?[26] Is one to attribute the New York Trade Centre catastrophe directly to Islam? Surely there are masses of Muslims who, consciously or unconsciously, reject terrorism and even the military face of Islam associated with jihad in Islam.[27] And surely even if they recognize the historical reality of jihad in traditional Islam, it is still theirs to reject its present validity because, they feel, jihad ought to have been a temporarily imposed duty only and is now obsolete and in need of reinterpretation.[28] In any case, it is ultimately God’s prerogative to judge the terrorist and his act, as well as his intention and source of inspiration.
Yet, at the same time, if jihad is a concern for society (Muslim and non-Muslim), it is imperative that society examine Islam’s source materials and the understanding of the great expositors on the subject. The majority of the Qur’an’s texts themselves clearly identify jihad as physical warfare in Islam and, Islamically, God’s way of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth. They hardly require to be interpreted metaphorically. Likewise, from the Hadith and the earliest biographies of Muhammad it is just as evident that the early Muslim community understood these Quranic texts to be taken literally. Historically, therefore, from the time of Muhammad onwards, jihad as physical warfare in support of the message of Islam has been a reality for the Muslim community. Hence it comes as no surprise when even terrorists easily appeal to these source materials to justify their actions, not to speak of their teachers who teach the theory and the art of terrorism.

Nor, it may be added, should it cause surprise that many other Muslims today seriously oppose its violent implications and seek out new interpretations. For this we may be grateful.

Then, what about the Muslim claims that Islam means peace, that it is in harmony with other religions, that it rejects violence? No doubt, for Muslims Islam may mean peace in its traditional Muslim sense, i.e., in so far as they have submitted to the conditions Islam imposes upon them. However, Islamically speaking, Islam has never meant peace for idolaters unless the idolaters abandon idolatry and embrace Islam. Nor, Islamically, has Islam meant peace for the People of the Book (Jews and Christians), unless the People of the Book submit to Islamic political rule and the dhimmi conditions which the Shari‘ah imposes upon them as the People of the Book. Thus, Muslims must clarify the nature of Islam’s peace, for whom and under what conditions Islam means peace, and how Islam promotes racial and religious harmony with other races and religions. Likewise, if jihad does not mean holy war, let Muslims explain why not and what it does mean. Surely, if by Islamic definition the primary purpose of jihad is the extension and defence of Islamic dominion, it also includes, under the shadow of war, the invitation to the enemy to submit to Islamic rule, perhaps even to embrace Islam itself, or to fight. Islamically, the invitation is compulsory and naturally precedes any battle. Truly, both word and sword are integral to jihad, yoked equally and working in harmony.

A Christian Response
But, as conversation on the topic frequently continues, who are the Christians to complain about jihad when they themselves have engaged in their own forms of jihad throughout their history, and that not only against non-Christians but also, on occasions, even against other Christians! Have they forgotten the Crusades? Contrast how Jews and Christians thrived under Muslim rule in Spain with how the Christians later drove Muslims and Jews out from Spain. And what about European imperialism, colonialism and the occupation of Muslim lands?

Whatever Muslim and non-Muslim response to the above episodes of history may be, there is no doubt that both Muslims and non-Muslims can compile their own long lists of shameful actions by Christians, perpetrated in the name of the Messiah.

That these actions were shameful, yet perpetrated in the name of the Messiah, makes them that much more reprehensible. Hence, finally, measured by the standards of the New Testament and by the teachings and actions of Jesus Himself, such actions cannot be deemed truly Christian!

What, then, does the New Testament teach about physical warfare and the Kingdom of God?[29]

Initially, we note that Jesus Himself clearly distinguishes between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Caesar: "Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s." (Matthew 22:21)

With the coming of Jesus the Messiah the Kingdom of God has come. He comes not to abolish God’s Law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). He summarizes the Law as love for God and love for the neighbour:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbour as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus elaborates on what it means to love one’s neighbour:
You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy." But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 6:43-48)
Jesus as the Messiah sets an example of love when He Himself washes the feet of His disciples (John 13:1-17):
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12,13)
The disciples of Jesus are to love with the greater love, even as Jesus has loved His disciples by dying for them. He also says:
If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24,25; Matthew 10:39; Mark 8:35; Luke 17:33; John 12:25)
Especially relevant to our whole concern here is Jesus’ own definition of His Messiahship in terms of servanthood and self-sacrifice, and His rejection of resorting to the sword against those who reject Him and His message when
  1. He (a Jew) rebuked His disciples (Jews) for suggesting that He destroy the Samaritans (the enemy) who rejected them (Luke 8:51-56). No doubt, the angry disciples were aware of His power! How effective – and sweet – even a small dosage of revenge, clinically executed! More so when executed against the Samaritans, Israel’s despised enemy! It is this context of mutual contempt between Samaritans and Jews which lends deeper significance to Jesus’ "Good Samaritan" parable, i.e., for the Jew how could any Samaritan be good, even better than a Jew?
  2. He rebuked His disciple Peter for rejecting His prophecy that He, as the Messiah, must suffer, be killed and rise from the dead. (Mark 8:27-33)
  3. He told His power-hungry disciples that "the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). Here, clearly, Jesus suggests His death has redemptive meaning for others.
  4. He, in the Garden of Gethsemane, rebuked Peter for defending Him with his sword:
    Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me? (John 18:11)
  5. Jesus, during His trial before the Roman governor Pilate, stated:
    My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here. (John 18:36)
The New Testament testifies to Jesus’ resistance to constant temptations throughout His ministry, whether from Satan (Matthew 4:1-11), from "the people" (John 5) or even from Jesus’ own disciples (Mark 8:31-33), to abandon His Heavenly Father’s will for Himself as Messiah and for the advent of the Kingdom of God. Do we see all these temptations coalescing and culminating as He, the Messiah, actually hangs naked on a cross, a spectacle of pathos, shame and derision?
Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!" In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, "He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe." Those who were crucified with him also taunted him (Mark 15:29-32).[30]
Yet, given His power, who would doubt that He could have come down from the cross! His disciples clearly understood His power. What they misunderstood was how His power was to be used! It was His Father’s will that He so be baptized (= drowned) and drink the cup (of suffering and death) for which He had come: He had come to heal the sick, to be the friend of sinners. He had come not to destroy but to save, to redeem. How often it has been said – and how often it bears repeating! – that God’s love, not nails and ropes, held Jesus on the cross! To lay down one’s life for one’s friends: Greater love has no one than this. What Jesus taught, He lived, and what He taught and lived, He taught His disciples to live and to teach. How much Christians, too, need to remember that Christian ethics are inextricably connected with Jesus’ Cross! Who Jesus is, what He has done and the manner of His invitation to us to follow Him are wonderfully summarized in the New Testament’s early hymn of praise:
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,
But emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,
So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
Truly, both sovereignty and service characterize the Messiah’s person and are equally yoked in His ministry on earth. The motivating power is God’s love and holiness.

For Jesus’ bewildered disciples it all came together when they saw Jesus risen from the dead, when they experienced that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, death had lost its sting, had died. Everything in the New Testament points to the death and resurrection of the Messiah and the coming of God’s Holy Spirit as the source of the disciples’ conversion, their new understanding, their new hope and unflagging courage in proclaiming the Christian Gospel. These same Gospel events became the heart of the disciples’ message which changed the hearts of so many others throughout the Roman Empire. Even with all the weaknesses and flaws within the early Church, the early Church rapidly spread throughout the Empire, with little or no support from the Empire’s political, economic or social institutions and, in fact, despite the Empire’s continual persecution of the Church for about three hundred years. There is no other explanation for its spread. For our purposes here it is significant that throughout the New Testament’s account of the Acts of the Apostles and the spread of the Church no disciple of Jesus appeals to the sword in support of the defence or advancement of the Kingdom of God and the Church.

In brief, Jesus’ disciples are to follow the way of Jesus. They are to have the mind of Jesus the Messiah, to look at the world, the people of all nations, and even their own enemies through the eyes of Jesus. They will share God’s message of reconciliation, forgiveness of sin, new life and eternal peace through Jesus with all. Their motivation will be His love and their means His means.

On the basis of the New Testament there is no place for the sword for advancing the Kingdom of God!

A Prayer
O God, pour out Your blessing on the people of Islam.
Grant that these, who always proclaim Your greatness, may know the greatness of Your love revealed in Jesus the Messiah.
Forgive us that so little of Your love has reached the Muslims through us.

Take away from us our pride and our coldness.
Teach us to love our Muslim neighbor as ourselves.
Help us to understand them and to help them understand Your Gospel.

And if any of us should suffer at the hands of Muslims, teach us to overcome evil with good,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.[31]


1 Or “on the path of Allah” or “for the cause of Allah”.

2 To understand Islam it is imperative that one understands the Shari‘ah, Muslim Law. Perhaps nothing so engages the scholars and their differing interpretations of Islam in our rapidly changing world today as the status and interpretation of the Shari‘ah and its application for contemporary society. For a detailed exposition of the manifold aspects of jihad see Majid Khadduri, War and Peace in the Law of Islam (Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1966). He also discusses Shi‘ah and Kharaji understandings of jihad.

3 Quranic quotations are taken from M.M. Pickthall, The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: The New American Library, n.d.). Pickthall was an English convert to Islam.

4 Why does the hijrah mark the beginning of the Islamic calendar? Does it help define Islam?

5 See especially Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah (London: Oxford University Press, 1955).

6 Guillaume, Ishaq’s Sirat (Biography) Rasul Allah, 212, 213 identifies these verses as the first verses in the Qur’an to sanction jihad.

7 See especially Sayyid Qutb, Milestones, Revised Edition, especially ch. 4, “Jihaad in the Cause of God” (Cedar Rapids: Unity Publishing House, n.d.) 53-76, in which Sayyid Qutb also acknowledges his debt to Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya. The following Quranic translations are by the author.

8 Sayyid Qutb 76; see also 73. His rationale and a resolution to the tension between Islamic world sovereignty and the often cited Qur’an 2:256 (“There is no compulsion in religion”): Only Islamic sovereignty and the Shari‘ah can offer the requisite justice that allows all people genuine freedom of conscience and choice. It might well be noted here that Muslims frequently quote Qur’an 2:256 as Islam’s declaration of freedom in religion. But how absolute is this freedom? From our discussion on jihad it should be clear how Islam through jihad imposes severe limitations on the freedom of both non-Muslims and Muslims. On the other hand, it should be clarified also that traditional Islam does not limit Jews and Christians to choose either to become Muslim or to fight/die; it also allows them a third choice: to remain what they are (i.e., Jew or Christian) but to come under Islamic rule. Need we add also that Muslim traders and brotherhood movements have also spread Islam peacefully?

9 Sayyid Qutb 71.

10 Fazlur Rahman, Islam (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979) 37.

11 E. Tyan, “Djihad”, Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed. (Leiden: Brill, 1965).

12 Rudolph Peters, “Jihad”, The Encyclopedia of Religion (NewYork:
Macmillan, 1987) Vol. 8:88-91. One wonders, in the light of the immediately above cited evidence, how Jamal Badawi, a prominent Canadian Muslim leader, teacher and debater is able to contend that jihad is “permitted only in self-defence or against tyranny and oppression – not as a tool to promote Islam” (Macleans, “The Will to Fight and Die,” Feb. 11, 1991, 39). Or how Dr. Abdelwahab Boase is able to state “that jihad in the military sense does not have as its object the propagation of religion” (Arabia “Distorting the Image of Islam,” July, 1986, 78). See also “Jihad in the Shari‘ah” and Ibn Khaldun’s comments in this essay.

13 According to the great Muslim jurist, Shaybani (Kitab al-Siyar al-Kabir, 1,14,15), “Allah gave the Prophet Muhammad four swords (for fighting the unbelievers): the first against polytheists, which Muhammad himself fought with; the second against apostates, which Caliph Abu Bakr fought with; the third against the People of the Book, which Caliph Umar fought with; and the fourth against dissenters, which Caliph Ali fought with” (Majid Khadduri 74). All students of early Islamic history are familiar with the Wars of Apostasy in Arabia, in which Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s successor, crushed the Arab tribes who insisted on apostatizing from Islam immediately after the death of Muhammad. It is also well known that when Muslims invite non-Muslims to embrace Islam, they are to warn them that according to the Shari‘ah the punishment of apostasy from Islam is death.

14 Pagan deities in Arabia.

15 Guillaume 587,588.

16 The Translation of the Meanings of Sahih al-Bukhari, Muhammad M. Khan (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 1984) Vol. 1:25,26.

17 The Translation of the Meanings of Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 1:26.

18 Mishkat al-Masabih, trans. by James Robson (Lahore: Ashraf, 1975) Vol.

19 Mishkat al-Masabih, Vol. 1:814.

20 Mishkat al-Masabih, Vol. 1:808.

21 The Translation of the Meanings of Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 1:xxiv-xliii.

22 The Hedaya, Commentary on the Islamic Laws, trans. by Charles
Hamilton (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 1985) Vol. 2:140,141.

23 The Hedaya, Commentary on the Islamic Laws, Vol. 2:143,144. Those who pay the tax jizya(t) are the Dhimmis (The People of the Book: Jews and Christians). For their low status under Muslim rule, see “Dhimma,” Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam (Ithica: Cornell University, 1953).

24 Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, trans. by Franz Rosenthal (New York: Pantheon Books Inc., 1958) Vol. 1:473. According to Ibn Khaldun Islam’s universality and “obligation to gain power over other nations” distinguishes Islam’s jihad from the holy war of other religions. As to the importance of jihad he states: “Although the personal exercise of the office of judge was to have been the task of (the caliphs), they entrusted others with it because they were too busy with general politics and too occupied with the holy war, conquests, defense of the border regions, and protection of the center. These were things which could not be undertaken by anyone else because of their great importance...” (Vol. 1:454). For further observations on jihad, including his assertion that revenge is man’s motive for war, see Vol.2:70-73.

25 Kenneth Cragg, Muhammad and the Christian (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1984) 26. A very useful volume, not least for its discussion on jihad. See especially “The Political Equation” 33-52.

26 For a provocative discussion in the form of a “case history” (Islam in Iran at the time of the Shah and the Revolution vs. the Church in Iran, the assassination of converts from Islam, and the status of Christian mission activity) see Kenneth Cragg’s “Editor’s Postscript” in Bishop Dehqani Tafti’s The Unfolding Design of My World (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2000) 257-266. During the revolution the son of the Bishop was murdered and, on one occasion, the Bishop himself narrowly escaped being killed.

27 For the Ahmadiyya Movement, which virtually dissociates jihad from its traditional Islamic meaning of warfare and its history, see “Ahmadiyya,” Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam (Ithica: Cornell University, 1953). Many Muslims and some Muslim nations consider this movement to be non-Islamic.

28 Thus the moderate Muslim Sa‘id al-Ashmawy, former chief justice of Egypt’s supreme court, in his popular article in Readers Digest, Jan. 1996, 25-28. He says: “Actually, the Koran’s call to arms, or jihad, relates to a specific episode when the Prophet prepared to attack his enemies from the city of Mecca. It was never intended as a prescription for permanent warfare...” Another contemporary Egyptian scholar, Mahmud Shaltut, criticizes the traditional Islamic doctrine of abrogation as a valid principle for Quranic interpretation. For this latter comment see Rudolph Peters, Jihad in Medieval and Modern Islam (Leiden: Brill, 1977) 26. The Sudanese scholar, Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, has contended that Meccan Islam alone (not Medinan Islam) qualifies to be the substance of a relevant and universal religion today. He understands the Medinan textual abrogations (naskh) of Meccan texts to be temporal only. Given this understanding, he says, Muslims can develop a new Shari‘ah which is based on the morality of Meccan (earlier) Islam and which would abandon the various forms of discrimination that characterize Islam’s present Shari‘ah, including discrimination against women (Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, The Second Message of Islam, Translation and Introduction by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na‘im [Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1987] 21-25). For his comments on jihad see 132-137. His stance, considered by the Sudanese government as blasphemy, eventually cost him his life.

29 This is not to forget the indications of violence in the Old Testament.

30 The Qur’an’s principal reference to the crucifixion of Jesus reads: “And because of their (the Jews) saying: We slew the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them...; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself” (4:157,158). Though Muslim interpretations of these verses widely differ, generally Muslims have accepted that God rescued Jesus: Before Jesus was put on a cross, God took him to heaven and someone else, made to look like Jesus, was crucified. The rationale: How could God allow Jesus’ enemies to triumph over Jesus, His faithful prophet, let alone allow him to suffer and die the shameful and accursed death of crucifixion! How vivid here the difference between Muslim and Christian understanding of “the power and wisdom of God”! (See Kenneth Cragg, Muhammad and the Christian, 46.)

31 Christian Witness among Muslims, 1994 (Bartlesville: Living Sacrifice Book Company) 118.
O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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Peace or Jihad? Abrogation in Islam

by David Bukay

That there is no compulsion in Islam and that Islam is a religion of peace are common refrains among Muslim activists,[1] academics,[2] officials,[3] and journalists.[4] In an age of terrorism and violent jihad, nowhere, they argue, does the Qur'an allow Muslims to fight non-Muslims solely because they refuse to become Muslim.[5] Proponents of Islamic tolerance point to a number of Qur'anic verses which admonish violence and advocate peace, tolerance, and compromise.[6]

But not all verses in the Qur'an have the same weight in assessment. Unlike the Old or New Testaments, the Qur'an is not organized by chronology but rather by size of chapters.[7] Even within chapters, chronology can be confused. In sura (chapter) 2, for example, God revealed verses 193, 216, and 217 to Muhammad shortly after he arrived in Medina. God only revealed verses 190, 191, and 192 six years later.[8] This complicates interpretation, all the more when some verses appear to contradict.

Abrogation in the Qur'an

The Qur'an is unique among sacred scriptures in accepting a doctrine of abrogation in which later pronouncements of the Prophet declare null and void his earlier pronouncements.[9] Four verses in the Qu'ran acknowledge or justify abrogation:
  • When we cancel a message, or throw it into oblivion, we replace it with one better or one similar. Do you not know that God has power over all things?[10]
  • When we replace a message with another, and God knows best what he reveals, they say: You have made it up. Yet, most of them do not know.[11]
  • God abrogates or confirms whatsoever he will, for he has with him the Book of the Books.[12]
  • If we pleased, we could take away what we have revealed to you. Then you will not find anyone to plead for it with us.[13]
Rather than explain away inconsistencies in passages regulating the Muslim community, many jurists acknowledge the differences but accept that latter verses trump earlier verses.[14] Most scholars divide the Qur'an into verses revealed by Muhammad in Mecca when his community of followers was weak and more inclined to compromise, and those revealed in Medina, where Muhammad's strength grew.

Classical scholars argued that anyone who studied the Qur'an without having mastered the doctrine of abrogation would be "deficient."[15] Those who do not accept abrogation fall outside the mainstream and, perhaps, even the religion itself. The Ahmadiyah sect, for example, today concentrated in Pakistan, consistently rejects abrogation because it undercuts the notion that the Qur'an is free from errors.[16] Many Muslims consider Ahmadis, who also see their founder as a prophet, to be apostates.

Because the Qur'an is not organized chronologically, there has been a whole subset of theological study to determine which verses abrogate and which are abrogated. Muslim scholars base their understanding of theology not only upon the Qur'an but also upon hadiths, accounts of the Prophet Muhammad's life. One hadith in particular addresses abrogation. It cites Abu al-A‘la bin al-Shikhkhir, considered by theologians to be a reliable source of knowledge about the Prophet's life, as saying, that "the Messenger of God abrogated some of his commands by others, just as the Qur'an abrogates some part of it with the other."[17] Muhammad accepted that God would invalidate previous revelation, often making ordinances stricter.[18]

Abrogation occurs not only within the Qur'an, but also by the Qur'an toward earlier revelations, such as those passed on by Jesus or Moses. Sura 2:106 refers to commandments sent to prophets before Muhammad.[19] ‘Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali, commentator and translator of the Qur'an, interpreted the verse to mean that God's message is the same across time, but its form may differ according to the exigencies of time.[20] ‘Abd al-Majid Daryabadi, a Pakistani Qur'an commentator, suggested, however, that the laws might differ across time but that there should be no shame in the same lawgiver replacing temporary laws with permanent ones.[21]
Also cause for discussion among scholars is the question of whether God withdrew revelations from the memory of Muhammad and his followers, causing such revelations to disappear like some of those mentioned in the Qur'an about which little is known today.[22]

This leads to the classical theological dispute about whether such interpretations dilute the idea that the Qur'an is eternal.[23] Those who discount or downplay abrogation interpret the verses revealed by Muhammad in Mecca to address spirituality and see those revealed later in Medina not as abrogation but rather expanding context to understand the whole.[24]

Abrogation in Classical Scholarship

Muslim scholars in the classical period agreed about the principle of abrogation in the Qur'an. In the eleventh century, Abu Muhammad ‘Ali bin Ahmad bin Sa‘id Ibn Hazim (d. 1064), an Andalusian theologian, philosopher, historian, and jurist, examined the Qur'an chapter by chapter to show which verses supplanted other verses.[25]

Classical scholars also examined the pattern in which Muhammad engaged in abrogation during revelation because Qur'anic laws were brief and insufficient for the needs of the huge Muslim community.[26] Muhammad changed his rules according to the circumstances. Within the hadith, there are a number of examples. Muhammad, for example, revealed verse 2:187 regulating sex during Ramadan after ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab questioned him.[27] Likewise, Muhammad abrogated another verse encouraging all believers to fight militarily for God (4:95) after he was challenged by a blind man who could not.[28]

Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir al-Tabari (d. 923), a Sunni famous as a historian, argued that "abrogation can only be done with regard to commands and prohibitions."[29] Debate continued over the following centuries, however, giving rise to the science of Asbab an-Nuzul (The reasons of revelations). The father of the field, Abu al-Hassan Ali bin Ahmad al-Wahidi an-Naisaburi (d. 1075), argued that understanding the reasons for revelations was crucial to resolve apparent inconsistencies.[30] Context underpins the field. Some revelations were, for a time, forgotten,[31] altered,[32] or eliminated by Satan's influence.[33] Scholars argue about whether God first revealed chapters 74 or 96.[34]
Abu al-Kasim Hibat-Allah bin Salama (d. 1019) argued that the starting point of any investigation of the Qur'an is the science of abrogating and abrogated verses.[35] He identified four categories of abrogation: 43 chapters unaffected by abrogation;[36] six chapters that augmented the concept of abrogation but were themselves not abrogated;[37] 40 chapters with abrogated wording but authority intact;[38] and 25 chapters with both their wording and authority abrogated.[39] (See Table 1: Abrogation in Practice, below)

Table 1: Abrogation in Practice
Verse Abrogating Verse Abrogated Issue2:185 2:184 Fasting2:234 2:240 Divorced Women
2:285 2:284 Revelations3:85-6; 9:73 2:62; 2:256; 5:69 Tolerance - Ahl al-Kitab4:11-12 2:180; 2:240 Bequest-Inheritance5:90 2:219; 4:43 Wine drinking8:66 8:65 Fighting abilities9:29 2:109; 60:8-9 People of the Book9:36 2:217; 45:14 rohibition of fighting22:52 53:19-23 atan and his daughters24:2 4:15-7 Adultery and fornication33:50 33:52 Muhammad's wives58:13 58:12 Money for conferring64:16 3:102 Fear of God73:20 73:2-3 Night prayer

Muhammad's ability to add or delete verses according to questions or contemporary issues also demonstrates the flexibility of the Qur'an.[40] Classical theologians accepted that Medinan chapters supersede Meccan, not only for chronological reasons, but also because the Medinan verses represent Islam during a period of strength.

Still, there are internal debates about various manners of abrogation. Among Sunni theologians, there are disputes about whether sunna (the rules for life as shown by Muhammad, as opposed to the hadith which are prescripts traced to Muhammad through his conversations with other people) can abrogate the Qur'an. The Maliki and Hanafi schools suggest that the sunna and the Qur'an can abrogate each other while Shafi'is do not.[41] Ahmad bin Muhammad an-Nahhas, an Egyptian Shafi'i exegete, (d. circa 1515) catalogues the opinions:
  • The Kufans agree that the Qur'an may abrogate both the Qur'an and the sunna;
  • The Shafi‘i say that the Qur'an can only abrogate other passages of the Qur'an but disagree that the sunna can abrogate the Qur'an;
  • Others, according to Nahhas, argue that the sunna can abrogate both the Qur'an and the sunna;
  • While still others say that the sunna abrogates the sunna but not the Qur'an;
  • And a last set prefer not to set such rules but rather judge on a case-by-case basis.[42]
The Egyptian theologian Abu al-Fadl ‘Abd ar-Rahman Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuti (d. 1505) related comments by Muhammad's cousin Ibn ‘Abbas who explained, "Sometimes the revelation used to descend on the Prophet during the night, and then he forgot it during daytime. Thus God sent down this verse [2:106]." Suyuti continued to cite one verse whose end abrogated its beginning.[43] In another case, a hadith abrogates the Qur'an. While the Qur'an talks only about scourging and exiling the adulterer;[44] Muhammad stoned some adulterers to death, establishing it as the penalty.[45] Here, though, Suyuti focuses not only on the abrogation itself but also on determining the wisdom behind it.[46]

Contemporary theologians and populists have reopened the debate about the legitimacy of abrogation. Ali Dashti (1894-1982), a traditionally-trained Iranian scholar who served sporadically in parliament during the first half of the twentieth century, accepted the explanation that revelation of the Qur'an was linked to Muhammad's need to answer queries and his need to respond to random incidents.[47] He also suggested that abrogation implied human rather than divine provenance for the Qur'an.

Ahmad von Denffer (1949-present), a convert to Islam who writes about religion, argues that understanding of abrogation is important to understand the correct application of God's laws and is among the most important preconditions for interpretation of the Qur'an.[48]

Other Muslim commentators, however, are more dismissive about abrogation, citing verses—all Meccan—to argue that God's laws are immutable.[49] Many contemporary Islamic propagandists fear how abrogated verses might affect proselytizing. On one Islamist Internet site, one participant sought to refute the abrogation principle by attacking "corrupted interpretation" of two verses (2:106 and 16:101).[50]

Muhammad Asad (1900-92), born Leopold Weiss—who converted from Judaism to Islam, after which he worked with the Pakistani theologian Muhammad Iqbal and later became Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations—argued that classical theologians misinterpreted passages relating to abrogation and cited another verse (10:64) to reinforce the idea of immutability. "In short," he argued, "the ‘doctrine of abrogation' has no basis in historical fact, and must be rejected."[51]

Abrogation and Jihad

How does the theological debate over abrogation impact contemporary policy formulation? While not all terrorism is rooted in Islam, the religion is an enabler for many. It is wrong to assume that more extreme interpretations of religion are illegitimate. Statements that there is no compulsion in religion and that jihad is primarily about internal struggle and not about holy war may receive applause in university lecture halls and diplomatic board rooms, but they misunderstand the importance of abrogation in Islamic theology. It is important to acknowledge that what university scholars believe, and what most Muslims—or more extreme Muslims—believe are two different things. For many Islamists and radical Muslims, abrogation is real and what the West calls terror is, indeed, just.
During the lifetime of Muhammad, the Islamic community passed through three stages. In the beginning from 610 until 622, God commanded restraint. As the Muslims relocated to Medina (623-26), God permitted Muslims only to fight in a defensive war. However, in the last six years of Muhammad's life (626-32), God permitted Muslims to fight an aggressive war first against polytheists,[52] and later against monotheists like the Jews of Khaybar.[53] Once Muhammad was given permission to kill in the name of God, he instigated battle.

Chapter 9 of the Qur'an, in English called "Ultimatum," is the most important concerning the issues of abrogation and jihad against unbelievers. It is the only chapter that does not begin "in the name of God, most benevolent, ever-merciful."[54] Commentators agree that Muhammad received this revelation in 631, the year before his death, when he had returned to Mecca and was at his strongest.[55] Muhammad bin Ismail al-Bukhari (810-70), compiler of one of the most authoritative collections of the hadith, said that "Ultimatum" was the last chapter revealed to Muhammad[56] although others suggest it might have been penultimate. Regardless, coming at or near the very end of Muhammad's life, "Ultimatum" trumps earlier revelations.

Because this chapter contains violent passages, it abrogates previous peaceful content. Muhsin Khan, the translator of Sahih al-Bukhari, says God revealed "Ultimatum" in order to discard restraint and to command Muslims to fight against all the pagans as well as against the People of the Book if they do not embrace Islam or until they pay religious taxes. So, at first aggressive fighting was forbidden; it later became permissible (2:190) and subsequently obligatory (9:5).[57] This "verse of the sword" abrogated, canceled, and replaced 124 verses that called for tolerance, compassion, and peace.[58]

Suyuti said that everything in the Qur'an about forgiveness and peace is abrogated by verse 9:5, which orders Muslims to fight the unbelievers and to establish God's kingdom on earth.

Prior to receiving "Ultimatum," Muhammad had reached agreements with various Arab tribes. But when God gave Muhammad a revelation (2:190-2), Muhammad felt justified in breaking his cease-fire. For Isma'il bin Kathir (1301-73), a student of Ibn Taymiyya and an influential Qur'an interpreter in his own right, it is clear: As jihad involves death and the killing of men, God draws attention to the fact that disbelief, polytheism, and avoidance of God's path as shown by the Qur'an are worse than killing them.[59] This creates license for future generations of Muslims to kill non-Muslims solely on the basis of their refusal to accept Islam.

According to Ibn Kathir in his commentary on Chapter 9:5, Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the first caliph, used this and other verses to validate fighting anyone who either did not pay religious taxes to the Muslims or convert to Islam. Ibn ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, one of the hadith transmitters, quoted Muhammad as saying, "I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God." He testified that Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim, an authentic transmitter of hadiths, said that the verse of the sword "abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolater, every treaty, and every term." ‘Awfi cited Ibn ‘Abbas, who argued that "Ultimatum" obviated earlier peace treaties.[60] The Shafi‘i school took this as a justification for killing anyone who abandoned prayer and for fighting anyone who refused to pay increased religious minority taxes.[61]

Such interpretations resonate. Muhammad Sa‘id Ramadan al-Buti, a contemporary Al-Azhar University scholar, wrote that "the verse (9:5) does not leave any room in the mind to conjecture about what is called defensive war. This verse asserts that holy war, which is demanded in Islamic law, is not a defensive war because it could legitimately be an offensive war. That is the apex and most honorable of all holy wars. Its goal is the exaltation of the word of God, the construction of Islamic society, and the establishment of God's kingdom on earth regardless of the means. It is legal to carry on an offensive holy war."[62]

Defensive warfare in Islam is nothing but a phase of the Islamic mission that the Prophet practiced. After that, it was followed by another phase, that is, calling all people to embrace Islam. Even for People of the Book, there can be no role except conversion to Islam or subjugation to Muslim rule. Hence, Muhammad's statement, "They would not invade you, but you invade them."[63]

Modern Revisionism of Jihad

David Powers, a well-known researcher of classical Islam, agreed that 9:5 abrogates no less than 124 verses that command or imply anything less than a total offensive against the non-believers. However, he says the verse is itself considered to be abrogated by the conditional clause with which it concludes: "But if they repent and perform the prayer and pay the alms, then let them go their way."[64] But such a condition is not magnanimous: When infidels repent and perform the Muslim prayer and pay alms, it means they have become Muslims. Once they are Muslims, there is no need to slay them. The clause thus becomes more coercive than conditional. It suggests than a non-Muslim must convert to Islam or be slain.

Still, no verse is more frequently cited by contemporary Muslims preachers and analysts to depict Islam as peaceful and compassionate as 2:256, "Let there be no compulsion in religion." For Sheikh Abdur Rahman, the chief justice of Pakistan, this verse is one of the most important, containing a charter of freedom of conscience unparalleled in the religious annals of mankind.[65]

Muhammad offered this verse in his first year of residence in Medina when he needed the Jews' support. Nahhas, with the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas, said: "Scholars differed concerning 2:256. Some said it has been abrogated by 9:73 for the Prophet compelled the Arabs to embrace Islam and fight those that had no alternative but to surrender to Islam. Other scholars said that 2:256 had not been abrogated concerning the People of the Book. It is only the infidels who are compelled to embrace Islam."[66]

Suyuti does not see 2:256 abrogated by 9:73 but rather interprets 9:73 as a case of postponing the fight until Muslims become strong. He argues that when Muslims were weak, God commanded them to be patient.[67]

This is also the case of sura 9:29, which deals with Jews and Christians. Fighting them is mentioned after the clarification regarding fighting the idolaters (9:5). This verse (9:29) was revealed when Muhammad was commanded to fight the Byzantines and prepared the expedition to Tabuk. Ibn Kathir declared: The order is to fight the People of the Book until they pay the jizyah (protection tax) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued. Had they been true believers in their religions, that faith would have directed them to believe in Muhammad because all prophets commanded them to obey and follow him. Yet when he was sent, they disbelieved in him even though he is the "mightiest of all messengers because it suits their desires and lusts, and because they disbelieved in the master, the mightiest, the last and most perfect of all prophets."
Ibn Kathir continues: "This honorable verse was revealed with the order to fight the People of the Book. After the pagans were defeated, the people entered God's religion in large numbers, and the Arabian Peninsula was secured under the Muslims' control."[68]


The issue of abrogation in Islam is critical to understanding both jihad and da'wa, the propagation of Islam. Some Muslims may preach tolerance and argue that jihad refers only to an internal, peaceful struggle to better oneself. Western commentators can convince themselves that such teachings are correct. However, for learned Muslim scholars and populist leaders, such notions are or should be risible. They recognize that, in practice, there is compulsion in Islam. They take seriously the notion that the Qur'an teaches not just tolerance among religions, but tolerance among religions on the terms of Islam. To understand the challenge of the current Islamist revival, it is crucial for non-Muslims and moderate Muslims alike to recognize that interpretation of Islamic doctrine can have two faces, and that the Medinan face may very well continue to overshadow the Meccan face for a major portion, if not the majority, of contemporary Muslims.
David Bukay is a lecturer in the school of political science at the University of Haifa.
[1] Mustafa Akyol, "Terror's Roots Not in Islam," FrontPage Magazine, Oct. 20, 2004; "Islam: The Religion of Peace" and "Status of Human Beings in Islam," Islam: Beginner's Introduction, Bihar Anjuman Foundation, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 29, 2006.
[2] John L. Esposito, What Everybody Needs to Know about Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 61-4, 70-3, 117-27, 132-6; Natana Delong-Bas, "New Opinion of Ibn Abdel Wahhab," Al-Ahram Weekly Online, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2006; Noah Feldman, After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003), pp. 221-6.
[3] George W. Bush, address to joint session of Congress, Sept. 20, 2001; idem, remarks, White House, Oct. 23, 2001; Tony Blair, British prime minister, statement to Parliament on the London bombings, July 11, 2005.
[4] Karen Armstrong, "The True, Peaceful Face of Islam," Time, Sept. 23, 2001.
[5] Jamal Badawi, "Islam, World Peace and September 11," video clips, accessed May 16, 2007; idem, "Jihad, A Call to Humanity,", accessed May 16, 2007.
[6] Qur. 2:256; 2:285; 3:64; 4:134; 5:5; 5:8; 5:48; 11:118; 29:46; 49:13; 60:8-9. All references are from Ahmed Ali, Al-Qur'an: A Contemporary Translation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).
[7] For further discussion, see Richard Bell, Introduction to the Qur'an (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1953), pp. 57-61; A.T. Welch, The Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. 5 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1960), s.v. "kur'an," pp. 409-11.
[8] For more concerning the construction of the Qur'an, see Bell, Introduction to the Qur'an, chaps. 6-8.
[9] Bell, Introduction to the Qur'an, pp. 86-107; Arthur Jeffery, Islam: Muhammad and His Religion (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1958), p. 66.
[10] Qur. 2:106.
[11] Qur. 16:101.
[12] Qur. 13:39.
[13] Qur. 17:86.
[14] John Burton, The Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. 7, s.v. "Naskh," p. 1010.
[15] Abu al-Kasim Hibat-Allah Ibn Salama, An-Nasikh wal-Mansukh (Cairo: Dar al-Ma'arif, 1966), pp. 4-5, 123. On pp. 142-3, he lists the abrogated verses. See also pp. 7, 11, 26-7, 37, 46.
[16] Maulana Muhammad Ali, The Religion of Islam (Lahore: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam, 2005), p. 32; Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Nahhas, An-Nasikh Wal-Mansukh (Cairo: Maktabat ‘Alam al-Fikr, 1986), pp. 2-3.
[17] Muhammad Abu al-Husain Muslim bin al-Hajjaj al-Nisapuri, Sahih Muslim (Riyadh: International Islamic Publishing House, 1971), book 003, no. 0675.
[18] ‘Abdallah Ibn ‘Umar al-Baydawi, Anwar at-Tanzil wa-Asrar at-Ta'wil (Riyadh: Dar at-Tiba‘ah, 1997), pp. 116-7.
[19] Abu al-A'la al-Mawdudi, The Meaning of the Qur'an, vol. I (Lahore: Islamic Publications, Ltd., 1967), p. 102, fn. 109; Ali, Al-Qur'an: A Contemporary Translation, p. 24.
[20] Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Glorious Qur'an: Text, Translation, and Commentary (Leicester: The Islamic Foundation, 1978), pp. 46-7.
[21] Abdul Majid al-Daryabadi, Tafsir al-Qur'an (Lahore: Idara Islamiyyat, 1985), p. 36; see also Mustansir Mir, Dictionary of Qur'anic Terms and Concepts (New York: Garland Publishing, 1987), pp. 5-6.
[22] Badr al-din Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah al-Zarkasi, Al-Burhan fi ‘Ulum al-Qur'an, vol. 1 (Cairo: Matba'at al-Halabi, 1957), p. 235; Abu al-Fadl ‘Abd al-Rahman Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fi ‘Ulum al-Qur'an (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi, 1973), part 1, p. 47.
[23] Richard C. Martin, Mark R. Woodward, with Dwi S. Atmaja, Defenders of Reason in Islam: Mu‘tazilism from Medieval School to Modern Symbol (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1997), pp. 25-6, 47-8, 126-8, 210-7; Louis Gardet, The Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. 4, s.v. "Kalam," pp. 468-71; Daniel Gimaret, The Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. 7, s.v. "Mu‘tazila," pp. 788-9.
[24] Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, At-Tafsir al-Kabir, vol. 1 (Cairo: Maktabat ‘Alam al-Fikr, 1956), p. 446.
[25] Abu Muhammad ‘Ali bin Ahmad bin Sa'id Ibn Hazim, An-Nasikh w'al-Mansukh (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyah, 1986).
[26] Ali Dashti, 23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad (Costa Mesa, Calif.: Mazda, 1994), p. 54.
[27] Muhammad Ibn Isma'il al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 6 (Lahore: Kazi, 1979), book 60, p. 31; Mahmud bin ‘Umar al-Zamakhshari, Al-Kashshaf ‘an Haqa'iq at-Tanzil wa-'Uyun al-Aqawil fi Wujuh at-Ta'wil (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi, 1967), part I, pp. 337; Abu al-Fadl ‘Abd al-Rahman Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuti, Lubab an-Nuqul fi Asbab an-Nuzul (Cairo: Maktabat ‘Alam al-Fikr, 1964), p. 31; Baydawi, Anwar at-Tanzil wa-Asrar at-Ta'wil, pp. 39.
[28] Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 6, part 6, p. 227; Zamakhshari, Al-Kashshaf, part I, p. 555; Suyuti, Al-Itqan fi ‘Ulum al-Qur'an, p. 98.
[29] Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Jarir al-Tabari, Tafsir: The Commentary on the Qur'an, vol. 2 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 471-2.
[30] Abu al-Hassan Ali Ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi al-Naisaburi, Kitab Asbab nuzul al-Qur'an (Cairo : Dar al-Kitab al-Jadid, 1969), p. 4.
[31] Qur. 87:6-7.
[32] Qur. 2:106.
[33] Qur. 22:52.
[34] Bell, Introduction to the Qur'an, pp. 108-9; Welch, The Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. 5, s.v. "Kur'an," pp. 414-9.
[35] Salama, An-Nasikh wal-Mansukh, pp. 4-5, 8; Nahhas, An-Nasikh wal-Mansukh, pp. 4-12.
[36] Qur. 1, 12, 36, 49, 55, 57, 61-2, 66-9, 71-2, 77-9, 82-5, 89-94, 97-102, 104-10, 112-4.
[37] Qur. 48, 59, 63, 64, 65, 87.
[38] Qur. 6-7, 10-1, 13, 15-8, 20, 23, 27-31, 34-5, 37-9, 43-7, 51, 53-4, 60, 68, 70, 74-7, 80, 86, 88, 109.
[39] Qur. 2-3, 5, 8-9, 14, 18-9, 21-2, 24-6, 33-4, 40, 42, 51-2, 56, 58, 73, 103, 108.
[40] Suyuti, Al-Itqan fi ‘Ulum al-Qur'an, part I, p. 82.
[41] On the Shafi'i school, see Majid Khadduri, Islamic Jurisprudence. Shafi'i's Risala (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1961), pp. 123-7, 195-205.
[42] Nahhas, An-Nasikh W'al-Mansukh, pp. 5-6.
[43] Qur. 9:5 (the sword verse).
[44] Qur. 24:2.
[45] Suyuti, Al-Itqan fi ‘Ulum al-Qur'an, part 3, pp. 59-60, 69-70, 74; Qur. 4:15-16.
[46] Ibid., pp. 60, 69, 72. For further examples of Muhammad changing his mind, see Nisapuri, Sahih Muslim, 15:4044–62.
[47] Dashti, 23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, p. 54.
[48] Ahmad Von Denffer, "Asbab al Nuzul" and "Al-Nasikh wal-Mansukh," Ulum al-Qur'an: An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'an (Leicester: The Islamic Foundation, 1989), chap. 5.
[49] Yusuf Ali, The Glorious Qur'an, pp. 46, 47; Qur. 6:34, 115; 10:64; 18:27.
[50] A. Muhammed, "The Lie of Abrogation: The Biggest Lie against the Qur'an," accessed May 7, 2007.
[51] Muhammad Asad, Message of the Qur'an (Gibraltar: Dar al-Andalus, 1993), pp. 22-3, fn. 87; see also Ernest Hahn, "Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan's Controversy over Abrogation" The Muslim World, Apr. 1974, p. 126.
[52] James Robson, trans., Mishkat al-Masabih, vol. 2 (Lahore: M. Ashraf, 1963-5), book XV, chap. 5, pp. 752-5, book XVIII, chap. 1, pp. 806-16; idem, Mishkat al-Masabih, vol. 3, book XVIII, chap. 5, pp. 836-9.
[53] L. Veccia Vaglieri, The Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. 4, s.v. "Khaybar," pp. 1137-43.
[54] See explanations, Suyuti, Al-Itqan fi ‘Ulum al-Qur'an, part 1, pp. 60, 65, 164.
[55] Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1955), pp. 617-9; Yusuf Ali, The Glorious Qur'an, p. 435; Tabari, The History of Al-Tabari, vol. 8, pp. 160-87.
[56] Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 6, book 60, no. 129.
[57] Muhsin Khan, "Introduction," in ibid., pp. xxiv-xxv.
[58] Ibn Hazm, An-Nasikh wal-Mansukh, pp. 19, 27; Muhi al-Din Ibn al-'Arabi, Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Krim (Beirut: Dar al-Andalus, 1978), p. 69; Burton, The Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. 7, s.v. "Naskh," p. 1010; Salama, An-Nasikh wal-Mansukh, p. 130, mentioned only 114.
[59] Ibn Kathir, Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, vol. 4, pp. 375-7.
[60] Ibid., pp. 375, 377.
[61] Khadduri, Islamic Jurisprudence: Shafi'i Risala, pp. 333-52, notes, pp. 33-9.
[62] Muhammad Sa'id Ramadan al-Buti, Jurisprudence in Muhammad's Biography (Damascus: Dar al-Fikr, 2001), pp. 323-4.
[63] Ibid., p. 242.
[64] David S. Powers, "The Exegetical Genre nasikh al-Qur'an was mansukhuhu wa-mansukhuhu," in Approaches to the History of the Interpretation of the Qur'an, Andrew Rippin, ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), pp. 130-1.
[65] Sheikh Abdur Rahman, Punishment of Apostasy in Islam (Lahore: Institute of Islamic Culture, 1972), pp. 16, 18-9.
[66] Nahhas, An-Nasikh wal-Mansukh, p. 80; Ibn Hazm, An-Nasikh wal-Mansukh, pp. 12-9, 27, 42.
[67] Suyuti, Itqan fi ‘Ulum al-Qur'an, pp. 25-6.
[68] Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, pp. 404–9, 546-7; Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 4, book 53, no. 388; Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, p. 620.
O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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