Slaughter in Nigeria — Where Is the State Department?

unnamed1-450x286by :

An explosion devastated a busy bus station on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital of Abuja on Monday, April 14, 2014. It was the latest in a series of terrorist attacks on Africa’s most populous nation. No group had claimed credit for the attack as of Monday, but Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan laid the blame at the feet of Boko Haram, the Islamist terrorist group seeking the eradication of Christians and the Islamization of Nigeria.

The blast took place at 6:55 a.m. according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). Reuters reported at least 71 dead and 124 injured, but on Tuesday, Punch raised the numberdead to 89, including three perpetrators, with 257 injured. And this was not the week’s only attack.

Just days earlier, Boko Haram jihadists killed some 200 in Borno, a northeastern Nigerian state that has seen far more than its share of jihad terrorism. Punch reported that on April 9-10 attacks took place on communities in several towns, as well as on a teachers’ training college and a group of students traveling to their matriculation exams. Boko Haram seemed determined to show that “western education is forbidden.”

Rarer was Monday’s attack on Abuja’s Nyanya Mass Transit Park – demonstrating the terrorists’ brazenness, operating in the country’s capital, as well as the northern and middle state belts to which they have already laid claim. The blast destroyed 16 high-capacity buses and damaged another 24, as well as affecting smaller vehicles, a police spokesman told Reuters. Many of the buses were loaded with commuters, so the attack left a hellish scene of charred bodies, body parts, and twisted metal. In Tuesday’s report, Punch told of an eyewitness who said that the attack was carried out by four insurgents in a Volkswagen Golf.

According to NAN, many of the commuters in this transit point for the satellite communities of the Federal Capital Territory surrounding Abuja were on their way to work and their businesses. But Nigerian attorney and human rights activist Emmanuel Ogebe pointed out that this attack took place on the first day of Holy Week in a country in which Easter is a major holiday.

“Abuja is emptying out as people travel to their home states for the long holiday,” said Ogebe. He believes the bus station was targeted deliberately on the week of Easter. This would be no surprise, as a majority of Islamist attacks in Nigeria target Christians, Christian holidays (holy days), and have occurred at churches and Christian schools and universities.

When President Jonathan visited the scene of the carnage, Reuters said he denounced “the activities of those who are trying to move our country backwards,” mentioning Boko Haram by name. The Nigerian government has not been successful in stopping Boko Haram, nor in assisting those who have been victimized the jihadists. But even their efforts in that direction have been constantly criticized for heavy-handedness and/or unfairness by the US State Department. The State Department favors a more nuanced approach to northern Nigerian Islamists.

For years, in the face of aggressive advocacy by the Working Group on Nigeria, a coalition of Christian and human rights groups based in Washington, DC, along with some members of Congress, and even the Treasury and Justice Departments, the State Department resisted naming Boko Haram as terrorists, seeing them as victims of poverty and disenfranchisement. Then, a scant two hours before the start of a November 13, 2013 House Joint-Subcommittee hearing on “The Rising Global Threat of Boko Haram & US Policy Intransigence,” their policy suddenly became less intransigent and they announced the designation of Boko Haram and Ansaru (a Boko Haram splinter faction) as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).

But even on the very day on which they called Boko Haram terrorists for the first time, the State Department displayed mixed feelings and moral equivalence regarding the jihadists. Testifying at the House hearing, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that “Boko Haram’s activities call our attention not just to violence, but also to poverty and inequality in Nigeria.” It’s true that there is poverty and inequality in Nigeria. But none of it touches Boko Haram. They carried out their latest slaughter in two armored personnel cars and seven double cabin pickups, according to Punch.

In addition, the State Department is always loath to attribute religious motivation to Boko Haram (or any other Islamists). In her testimony, Thomas-Greenfield rolled out the typical State Department talking point that Boko Haram “had killed numerous Christians and an even greater number of Muslims.”

Read more at Front Page

Faith J. H. McDonnell directs the Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan and is the author of Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children (Chosen Books, 2007).

Why the Media Doesn’t Cover Jihadist Attacks on Middle East Christians

cufiThe Torch (Christians United for Israel’s Magazine, Winter 2014) by Raymond Ibrahim:

“To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace”—Hebrews 6:6

The United Nations, Western governments, media, universities, and talking heads everywhere insist that Palestinians are suffering tremendous abuses from the state of Israel.  Conversely, the greatest human rights tragedy of our time—radical Muslim persecution of Christians, including in Palestinian controlled areas—is devotedly ignored.

The facts speak for themselves. Reliable estimates indicate that anywhere from 100-200 million Christians are persecuted every year; one Christian is martyred every five minutes. Approximately 85% of this persecution occurs in Muslim majority nations. In 1900, 20% of the Middle East was Christian. Today, less than 2% is.

In one week in Egypt alone, where my Christian family emigrated, the Muslim Brotherhood launched akristallnacht—attacking, destroying, and/or torching some 82 Christian churches (some of which were built in the 5th century, when Egypt was still a Christian-majority nation before the Islamic conquests).  Al-Qaeda’s black flag has been raised atop churches.  Christians—including priests, women and children—have been attacked, beheaded, and killed.

Nor is such persecution of Christians limited to Egypt.  From Morocco in the west to Indonesia in the east and from Central Asia to the north to sub-Saharan Africa to the south; across thousands of miles of lands inhabited by peoples who do not share the same races, languages, cultures, and/or socio-economic conditions, millions of Christians are being persecuted and in the same exact patterns.

Muslim converts to Christianity and Christian evangelists are attacked, imprisoned, and sometimes beheaded; countless churches across the Islamic world are being banned or bombed; Christian women and children are being abducted, enslaved, raped, and/or forced to renounce their faith.

Far from helping these Christian victims, U.S. policies are actually exacerbating their sufferings.  Whether in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, or Syria, and under the guise of the U.S.-supported “Arab Spring,” things have gotten dramatically worse for Christians.  Indeed, during a recent U.S. congressional hearing, it was revealed that thousands of traumatized Syrian Christians—who, like Iraqi Christians before them are undergoing a mass exodus from their homeland—were asking “Why is America at war with us?”

The answer is that very few Americans have any clue concerning what is happening to their coreligionists.

Few mainstream media speak about the horrific persecution millions of people are experiencing simply because they wish to worship Christ in peace.

There, is of course, a very important reason why the mainstream media ignores radical Muslim persecution of Christians: if the full magnitude of this phenomenon was ever know, many cornerstones of the mainstream media—most prominent among them, that Israel is oppressive to Palestinians—would immediately crumble.

Why?  Because radical Muslim persecution of Christians throws a wrench in the media’s otherwise well-oiled narrative that “radical-Muslim-violence-is-a-product-of-Muslim-grievance”—chief among them Israel.

Read more at Raymond Ibrahim’s blog

The Double-Edged Sword of Jihad

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Islamic nations are again learning that the jihad is a volatile instrument of war that can easily backfire on those who preach it; that “holy war” is hardly limited to fighting and subjugating “infidels”—whether the West in general, Israel in particular, or the millions of non-Muslim minorities under Islam—but can also be used to fight “apostates,” that is, Muslims accused of not being Islamic enough.

In an unprecedented move and following Egypt’s lead, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain recently withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar, largely due to its Al Jazeera propaganda network which, since the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been inciting chaos in the region.

According to a March 7 Reuters reports, “Saudi Arabia has formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, in a move that could increase pressure on Qatar whose backing for the group has sparked a row with fellow Gulf monarchies….  Saudi Arabia and the UAE are fuming over Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, and resent the way Doha has sheltered influential cleric Yusuf Qaradawi, a critic of the Saudi authorities, and given him regular airtime on its pan-Arab satellite channel Al Jazeera.”

Qaradawi, of course, has been an Al Jazeera mainstay for many years, regularly preaching jihad against Israel and other “infidels”—telling millions of Muslim viewers to “obey the prophet, even if he tells you to kill.”

Back then, Qaradawi was not a problem for the Gulf States.

However, since the Egyptian June 30 Revolution saw the ousting and subsequent banning of the Muslim Brotherhood, and ever since the Brotherhood’s supporters—chief among them Qaradawi, through his Al Jazeera program—have been inciting violence in the region, especially in Egypt and Syria, the jihad is spinning out of control; and the Gulf monarchs know that, if not contained and directed, it can easily reach them.

Read more at Front Page

What U Penn Teaches Muslim Law Students

20140304_burkajusticeUSAby LANCE SILVER, ANDREW PALASHEWSKY:

Saturday evening, Feb. 22nd, University of Pennsylvania Law School hosted the “Eighth Annual Muslim Law Students Conference,” on the topic of “MUSLIM OBLIGATIONS IN PROMOTING JUSTICE IN AMERICA.” Our interest in Islamic law as American citizens is to learn first-hand exactly what Muslim American law students are being taught.

The fairly innocuous and well-meaning title of the program masked the true intent, which we believe is to lull the audience and our society into a false sense of complacency regarding the real aims and effects of Islamic incursion in our society – which Stephen Coughlin covers in his must-read thesis, ” To Our Great Detriment.”

We were greeted with “As-Salamu ‘ Alaykum” (Peace be upon you), upon entering the conference and by each speaker, prior to presentation. What a comforting greeting. I responded with “Aslim Taslam.”

As is typically the case, conference attendees were highly educated and polite. This is a high-end mix of people who are difficult to fault on any personal level.

The attendees, primarily American and foreign Muslim law students, as well as a few foreign lawyers, presented a mixed canvas racially, yet each person is culturally Islamic and a member of the ummah, the global body of believers. The speakers and each future American lawyer we spoke with advised us that Islam has been misinterpreted for 1,400 years. Isn’t that amazing? As if we had no ability to study the history of Islam from both Muslim and non-Muslim sources on our own.

We are authoring this report in response to what we believe is attempted hoodwinking, enabled by the practice of Taqiyya and Kitman, forms of lying encouraged in Islam, if such lying is to be useful for the spread of Islam. No other religion/culture encourages its adoption by lying. But, because Islam is also a political theory that embodies military notions, the ability to further aims by deception is enshrined in the Qur’an and in Shari’ah, as it would be on the battlefield. The intended recipients of this mendacity were not only us, but the attendees and the law school itself.

The first speaker, Professor Faisal Kutty, presented us with a bogus definition of the terms “jihad” and “Islamophobia.” He spoke of jihad, as if it were apple pie with vanilla ice cream, splitting the term jihad into its normative components – the “Lesser Jihad,” meaning defensive or offensive military struggle, and the “Greater Jihad,” meaning, personal struggle for good against evil. She downplayed the importance of Jihad’s military meaning to relative insignificance, ignoring the vast majority of references in the Qur’an on Jihad, compelling Muslims to wage a military struggle as the Sixth Pillar of Islam.

Jihad is offensive.  Duplicity and deception as tactics to throw off the opponent are inherent in Islam and that’s why Islam states that jihad is purely defensive. In fact, jihad was, and is still, used as the normative call to action in the military conquest of vast tracts of formerly Christian, Jewish ,Hindu lands within 100 years of its founding by Muhammad. That empire still stands in terms of the Islamic culture it forced on the conquered Nations and cultures.

The reality of jihad is that Islam considers itself to be supremacist and must triumph, be victorious, over all other religions and cultures. Islam compels Muslims to spread Islam to all corners of the earth, first by invitation, Aslim Taslam, which means, “Submit and Be At Peace.”

And, if that isn’t effective, then by the sword or forcing subject people to accept Dhimmi status.  Living in dhimmitude relegates subjects to second-class status, with vastly diminished rights, including no right for the Dhimmi peoples to defend themselves.  Muhammad conquered many with that simple statement, Aslim-Taslam, which was intended to strike terror into the hearts of those offered the choice, and it did. This is the beginning of the Muslim Mafia mentality, perfected by the Ikhwan, Wahhabis, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas etc.

Likening it to the Mafia is no facile rhetoric. Islam offered three choices to the people of the book; Convert, Pay the Jy’izia tax or lose the right to life and property. So when Islam characterized this choice as the benefit of protection, one must ask, protection from whom? Obviously, the answer is protection from Islam, which reserved the right to take life and property if the conditions of conversion or the payment of the Jy’izia tax were not met. How different is this from the Black hand extorting protection money from the neighborhood grocer?

If Islam does not succeed in becoming the world’s only true religion, then Muslims will not have fulfilled Allah’s commands in the Qur’an. Thus, Muslims are obligated to proselytize Islam throughout the world through da’wa and Jihad. Whether violently or nonviolently, this is accomplished with 100% impunity from Allah, as per the Qur’an. One could make the comparison with Christianity being a proselytizing religion, but Christianity as found in the Gospels does not allow the use of violence to spread the faith, whereas, Islam specifically does. Muslims may quote the Koran saying, “There is no compulsion in religion.” But, that statement is superseded and abrogated by later statements in the Koran that enthusiastically endorse violent compulsion in the spread of Islam.

Professor Faisal Kutty went on to make further incredible claims, saying that Terrorism had only killed 5 people in the last ten years. In this, presumably he was referring to within the US, and ignoring events like Major Hassan’s slaughter of fellow military personnel at Fort Hood, Texas. But, he also ignored the more than 10,000 terror attacks worldwide, in the last 10 years; almost all committed by Muslims and in which, ironically, many of the victims were fellow Muslims as well. Thousands of Christians, Jews and Hindus were victims as well.

He also claimed that the popular definition of jihad is only accepted by the Taliban and by al-Qaeda, stating that they had sought to reinterpret the historical meaning of jihad to support their violent means. In this, he ignored 1,400 years of written teaching on Islam readily available from Muslim sources, as well as established treatment of jihad in recognized Sharia sources like, “The Reliance Of The Traveller,”  Shafi’i Shari’ah , Section O9.1- Page 600 – Justice-jihad.

In reality, his analysis is Taqiyya and Kitman. Is this what the law students are taught about jihad by a respected law professor?

Read more: Family Security Matters

Islamic Jihad and the Doctrine of Abrogation

By Raymond Ibrahim:

While other scriptures contain contradictions, the Qur’an is the only holy book whose commentators have evolved a doctrine to account for the very visible shifts which occur from one injunction to another. No careful reader will remain unaware of the many contradictory verses in the Qur’an, most specifically the way in which peaceful and tolerant verses lie almost side by side with violent and intolerant ones. The ulema were initially baffled as to which verses to codify into the Shari’a worldview—the one that states there is no coercion in religion (2:256), or the ones that command believers to fight all non-Muslims till they either convert, or at least submit, to Islam (8:39, 9:5, 9:29). To get out of this quandary, the commentators developed the doctrine of abrogation, which essentially maintains that verses revealed later in Muhammad’s career take precedence over earlier ones whenever there is a discrepancy. In order to document which verses abrogated which, a religious science devoted to the chronology of the Qur’an’s verses evolved (known as an-Nasikh wa’l Mansukh, the abrogater and the abrogated).

Koran and Sword: Hand in Hand

Koran and Sword: Hand in Hand

But why the contradiction in the first place? The standard view is that in the early years of Islam, since Muhammad and his community were far outnumbered by their infidel competitors while living next to them in Mecca, a message of peace and coexistence was in order. However, after the Muslims migrated to Medina in 622 and grew in military strength, verses inciting them to go on the offensive were slowly “revealed”—in principle, sent down from God—always commensurate with Islam’s growing capabilities. In juridical texts, these are categorized in stages: passivity vis-á-vis aggression; permission to fight back against aggressors; commands to fight aggressors; commands to fight all non-Muslims, whether the latter begin aggressions or not.[1] Growing Muslim might is the only variable that explains this progressive change in policy.

Other scholars put a gloss on this by arguing that over a twenty-two year period, the Qur’an was revealed piecemeal, from passive and spiritual verses to legal prescriptions and injunctions to spread the faith through jihad and conquest, simply to acclimate early Muslim converts to the duties of Islam, lest they be discouraged at the outset by the dramatic obligations that would appear in later verses.[2] Verses revealed towards the end of Muhammad’s career—such as, “Warfare is prescribed for you though you hate it”[3]—would have been out of place when warfare was actually out of the question.

However interpreted, the standard view on Qur’anic abrogation concerning war and peace verses is that when Muslims are weak and in a minority position, they should preach and behave according to the ethos of the Meccan verses (peace and tolerance); when strong, however, they should go on the offensive on the basis of what is commanded in the Medinan verses (war and conquest). The vicissitudes of Islamic history are a testimony to this dichotomy, best captured by the popular Muslim notion, based on a hadith, that, if possible, jihad should be performed by the hand (force), if not, then by the tongue (through preaching); and, if that is not possible, then with the heart or one’s intentions.[4]

Read more

Al-Qaeda’s invasion of Syria

USalliesSyriaWalid Shoebat:

Powerful documentary made by Vice News that exposes what we have been relaying on Syria for many months. The take over of “rebel” held positions in Syria by people indoctrinated with Nazi-style propaganda by al-Qaeda.

Children Victimized by All Sides in Syrian Conflict

In Their Own Words

20140216_canada_train_largeFamily Security Matters, by CLARE M. LOPEZ:

In an unusual move, one of the suspects in the 2012-13 Via Railway terror plot has been allowed to give an interview to the Canadian National Post. That interview is remarkable because it explains the jihadist motivations behind the plot in clear and unambiguous language that leaves no room for doubt about “why they hate us.” Those who would confront and defeat this hate and the terror plots it inspires would do well to listen to the words of Chiheb Esseghaier.

Esseghaier was a Tunisian doctoral student at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, a branch of the Université de Quebec and a landed immigrant who’d come to Canada in 2008. His travel to Zahedan, in eastern Iran, caught the attention of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which launched a complex investigation that eventually led to the unraveling of a joint al-Qa’eda-Iran plot to blow up a passenger train over the Niagara River gorge. Esseghaier and fellow suspect, Raed Jaser (from the United Arab Emirates), were arrested in the conspiracy and now face terror charges in Canadian court. Over the months since their April 2013 arrest, Esseghaier has made a number of court appearances as well as public statements, of which the recent National Post interview includes just the latest.

Although thanks to good intelligence and police work, Canada to date has been spared the kind of horrific terror attacks that have made headlines elsewhere in the West (Burgas, London, Madrid, U.S.), there have been jihadist attempts, including the August 2010 Ottawa Parliament plot and the earlier 2006 Toronto 18 plot.  National Post coverage of the Via Railway terror plot has been extensive and its multiple reports quoting the very vocal Esseghaier are revealing, even though it is clear the Post itself doesn’t understand what he’s been trying to tell them. Faced with the reality that their country, too, is a target, Canadians have been struggling to make sense out of Esseghaier’s simple pronouncement: “I am a Muslim.” The so-called “experts on extremism” consulted by the National Post weren’t much help: Prof. Lorne Dawson, ex-director of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, opined that Esseghaier’s views were “very comparable to what one might hear from a strident anti-abortion activist coming from a Christian perspective.”

In fact, Esseghaier is nothing like a Christian pro-life activist. In his own words, he has explained that he sees himself as a faithful member of the global Islamic ummah. He calls Muslim Afghans his “brothers and sisters,” because according to Islamic doctrine, national borders and the world order that Canadian and other NATO members seek to defend in Afghanistan are meaningless. He believes it is his duty to follow the commands of Islam, which obligate every Muslim to wage jihad as an individual duty (fard ‘ayn) whenever non-believers (kufar) invade Islamic lands. In his court appearances, Esseghaier repeatedly has asserted his allegiance to Islamic Law (shariah) and rejected the authority of Canadian law. Challenged by the National Post to explain why he plotted to kill Canadian and American rail passengers, Esseghaier accused Canada of “[making] lawful what God made unlawful…”], which is an explicit reference to Qur’anic verse 9:29, which says

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, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

It is critical that national security experts and leadership grasp what Esseghaier is trying to tell us. Pretending that authoritative Islamic law and scripture are not the doctrinal source of justification for Islamic jihad (terrorism), as does A Guide to Refuting Jihadism, just out from the Henry Jackson Society, only serves to blind and neutralize our ability to confront the shariah threat. Likewise, getting hung up on group names and affiliations misses the point that Esseghaier describes so clearly: Islamic terrorism is conducted not just to kill people but to establish the pre-conditions for the ultimate objective which is the universal enforcement of Islamic Law. The 5 February 2014 War on Error from Foreign Policy offers another good illustration. Starting out by making a valiant effort at sorting out the many off-shoot franchises of Usama bin-Laden’s original al-Qa’eda, this piece unfortunately winds up taking an already muddled topic and compounding the muddling. Terming Islamic jihadis “violent extremists” or al-Qa’eda “nihilistic” with “an outlier interpretation of Islamic Law” is to miss the point entirely. Esseghaier is obviously both well-educated and well-versed in the doctrine of his faith; he is also representative of jihadis the world over who are indeed violent, but neither extremists nor nihilists within the parameters of authoritative Islam. They seek well-defined objectives based on widely-available Islamic scriptures and do not hesitate to declare them and pursue them both openly and by guile.

It is not often that a self-avowed Islamic jihadi like Esseghaier is given this sort of platform. It behooves us all to pay attention to what he says.

Response to A GUIDE TO REFUTING JIHADISM – Critiquing radical Islamist claims to theological authenticity

download (69)By Mark Durie:

The Henry Jackson Society had just launched a guide to rejecting jihadi theologies in Islam, A Guide to Refuting Jihadism by Rashad Ali and Hannah Stuart.  There are also forewords by two Sheikhs, including one from Al-Azhar University, and endorsements from other Muslim leaders.

Although the appearance of this guide as a welcome acknowledgement that jihadi violence is theologically motivated, its use of Islamic sources is flawed and unconvincing, and there are risks for secular governments in embracing its arguments.

It is good that the theological motivations for jihadi movements are being acknowledged and engaged with by peaceable Muslims.

This is not a new strategy.  It is necessary and the strategy has long been used by authorities as a counter to jihadi movements.  For example the British empire extracted fatwas from Mecca and Istanbul in the 19th century to declare that British India was not ‘Dar al-Harb’ [House of War], but Dar al-Islam [House of Islam]‘, which meant that it was forbidden for Muslims to engage in insurgencies against the British.  Muslim leaders have always asked their scholars to produce such rulings to counter violent rebellions.  This is also a traditional Islamic technique for controlling the undeniable tendency that Islamic theology has to generate violent rebel movements.

This project is also helpful because it acknowledges what is often denied – that the credibility of radical jihadism relies upon religious, theological claims.  It claims Islamic legitimacy and uses this to gain converts.  It is true that to counter this religious legitimacy it is necessary to use theological arguments.

However there are some dangers here for Western governments.  One is that there will be a cost to adopting theological positions on Islam.  Is a secular state really in a position to make an announcement that one particular form of Islam is ‘correct’ over others? This is like saying that catholicism is correct, but the baptist faith is not.  And if the state does canonize a “theologically correct” view on Islam, would it really be persuasive to the minds of young radically inclined Muslims that a secular government is teaching Islam to them, or would it just incite suspicion, and detract from the credibility of voices of moderation within the Muslim community?  Also where does combating radicalism start and promoting Islam start? (The al-Azar Sheikh in his introduction [in Arabic] to the report sees the report as an exercise in spreading Islam, not just in combating radicalism.)

The great weakness in the arguments offered is that they appear to be opportunistic and often ignore conflicting evidence. For example on the subject of suicide bombing, a wide range of modern Muslim scholars have endorsed martyrdom operations against Israel.  It is not just al-Qaradawi or Al-Qaida ideologues who say this: senior respected contemporary jurists such as the Syrian jurist Al-Bouti have endorsed these attacks. To counter this tactic a more whole-hearted acknowledgement of the weightof Islamic voices which have endorsed it.

There is also a tendency to cherry pick texts.  For example Al-Ghazali is cited to support an argument against killing women and children, but his justification of collateral damage against civilians is ignored:

‘[O]ne must go on jihad at least once a year… one may use a catapult against them when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them.’

Another example is the discussion of ‘perfidy’ or ‘subterfuge’ in warfare.  It is claimed on the basis of a hadith from [hadith collection] Sahih Muslim that Islam forbids the use of deception in warfare, a key point in the theology of the suicide attacks often referred to as ‘martyrdom operations’.  However the hadith is cited from a secondary source, and the translation is not accurate.  The actual Arabic in Sahih Muslim (translated more accurately here) forbids stealing booty and says that a Muslim is not supposed to break his ‘pledge’, so this is not about deception in warfare in general.  The authors also have ignored a very well-known hadith of Muhammad in which he said, ‘War is deceit’.   This approach sets up a straw man – a weakly argued jihadi position – only to knock it down. In Islam, support for deception in warfare is more resistant to re-analysis than this.

In the discussion on citizenship – which is a very important issue in Islamic law: can Muslims be loyal citizens? – the authors overlook important rulings collected by the International Fiqh Academy on this issue, which go against their position.

Furthermore, in discussions on the treatment of non-combatants, the authors ignore Muhammad’s command for several hundred non-combatant Jewish men from the Qurayza tribe to be beheaded after they surrendered to him unconditionally.  For radically inclined Muslims, Muhammad’s example would trump the musings of medieval theologians.

One of the problems with citing arguments from later jurists and commentators, which is the preferred approach of the Guide’s authors, is that most jihadis’ theology is Salafist, and as such it looks to the early sources on Islam – the Qur’an, the example of Muhammad and the testimony of the companions of Muhammad – to construct their war theologies.  Such people will not be persuaded by arguments based on later interpreters, which appears to be the main polemical tactic of this Guide.

Of course, as soon as one raises such objections, one runs the risk of being accused of supporting the jihadis.  Nevertheless, the fact is that the radical jihadis have more support than this document would acknowledge, especially in the canonical sources, and the arguments used against them would convince few.  Would these arguments be convincing to a well-trained Muslim scholar? I think not.

The strongest Islamic argument of all against jihadi theology is the ‘necessity’ argument: that it will harm Islam by causing its reputation to be destroyed among Muslims, and incite infidels to attack Muslims.  We are seeking such arguments being presented these days across the Middle East. General Sisi is being applauded in Egypt for ‘saving’ the reputation of Islam from the Muslim Brotherhood.  This argument is not based upon an appeal to theological legitimacy of specific positions, but pragmatic necessity, and what is in the best interests of the Muslim community.  Of course this argument would not have any traction at all if the militaries of Islamic states had the power to challenge those of non-Muslim countries.  Then it would probably be in the best interests of the Muslim world to pursue war.  The argument only works if it is not in Muslims’ interests to be at war.

What about the Al-Azhar Sheikh’s support?  This is political.  In the current political climate Al-Azhar must support the anti-jihadi cause.  The Brotherhood are being killed and wiped out due to their violent theologies.  The wind is blowing against the jihadi position.  It is significant that the Sheikh does not endorse specific arguments of the book – I suspect he knows better – but only the general intention of the project.

Works like this guide can back-fire.  On the one hand they acknowledge that the problem of jihadi violence is theological.  On the other hand, through the use of weak arguments relying on cherry-picked sources, they run the risk of validating the radicals’ position even more.  Perhaps their real function is to ‘save Islam’ in the eyes of moderately inclined Muslims and theologically illiterate secular people, who have an ideological preference  to embrace the narrative that the jihadis have ‘hijacked’ Islam.

But will this help to defuse Islamic jihadism?  I doubt it.

Revd Dr Mark Durie is an Anglican priest, Fellow of the Australian Academy for the Humanities, and a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum in the US.  He is the author of The Third Choice: Islam Dhimmitude and Freedom published by Deror Books.

A version of this review appears in Middle East Forum:

That was the polite review. Now read Rassooli’s refreshingly blunt “In a nutshell: BULL CRAP!” response:

Kelly File: 9/11 Twin Tower Survivor Reacts To release Of Manisfesto Of Terrorist Mastermind:

KSM2012-thumb-500xauto-4674

 

Robert Spencer elaborates further on the invitation to convert to Islam that must precede jihad at Jihad Watch:

9/11 mastermind says Qur’an “forbids” violence to spread Islam

AFP says: “In a major departure from his previous position, Mohammed said that ‘the Holy Quran forbids us to use force as a means of converting!’” This will no doubt be trumpeted everywhere as evidence that if “extremists” only read the Qur’an that they brandish in the air alongside rifles, they would become “moderates.”

In reality, it is nothing of the kind, and doesn’t represent a “major departure” from anything KSM has said before. Islamic law forbids forced conversion, in line with the Qur’anic dictum, “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256). Jihad is waged not to force non-Muslims to convert to Islam, but to bring them under the rule of Islamic law, in which they must “pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29), denied basic rights that Muslims enjoy and forced to live in a state of subservience to the Muslims.

In line with that, KSM and the other 9/11 plotters didn’t commit mass murder on September 11, 2001 in order to force Americans to convert to Islam, but to weaken and ultimately destroy American society and government, so that eventually Islamic law can be imposed.

AFP doesn’t know any of this, for it partakes of the same willful ignorance that blankets the mainstream media: to examine how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to incite and justify violence would be “Islamophobic.”

“Quran ‘forbids’ violence to spread Islam: 9/11 mastermind,” from AFP, January 15 (thanks to Block Ness):

WASHINGTON: The self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has released a manifesto claiming that the Quran forbids the use of violence to spread Islam. 

The document, published Tuesday by The Huffington Post and Britain’sChannel 4 News, marks Mohammed’s first public communication since 2009, when the US government officially accused him of terrorism.

Mohammed, the most high-profile of the five men accused over the 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on US soil, has been held at the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2006.

In a major departure from his previous position, Mohammed said that “the Holy Quran forbids us to use force as a means of converting!”

He also tried in the 36-page document to convince his American captors, prosecutors, lawyers and members of his military tribunal to convert to Islam.

“It is my religious duty in dealing with any non-Muslims such as the people in the court (the judge, the prosecution, attorneys, etc.) to invite them to embrace Islam,” Mohammed wrote.

“I realize very well that you have heard about Islam and know much about it. But it is my own belief that Allah will ask me on the Day of Judgment why I did not invite these people to Islam?”

He is doing this in accord with Islamic teaching, but the “people in the court” should take note that if the “invitation” is refused, then comes jihad. According to a hadith, Muhammad said: “Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war…When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them….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.” (Sahih Muslim 4294)

Mohammed said he was “very happy” in his cell, adding: “My spirit is free even while my body is being held captive.”

Mohammed said he has been “neither sad nor distressed” in his confinement “because I have been with the Only One True God.”…

Hamas Trains 13,000 Teens to Emulate ‘Suicide Martyrs’

Egypt’s interim president says some groups have misunderstood Islam, and have permitted the killing of people

egypt tweetJihad Watch, By Robert Spencer:

By “people” he probably means Muslims, since the Qur’an says: “And never is it for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake” (4:92). Otherwise he is claiming that these misunderstanders of Islam misunderstand Qur’anic verses such as these:

2:191-193: “And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is more grievous than slaying. But fight them not by the Holy Mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, slay them — such is the recompense of unbelievers, but if they give over, surely Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers.”

4:89: “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”

5:33: “This is the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off; or they shall be banished from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement.”

8:12: “When thy Lord was revealing to the angels, ‘I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast into the unbelievers’ hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!’”

8:60: “Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to terrify thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them that you know not; Allah knows them. And whatsoever you expend in the way of Allah shall be repaid you in full; you will not be wronged.”

9:5: “Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.”

9:29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book — until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.”

9:111: “Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon Allah in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran; and who fulfils his covenant truer than Allah? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph.”

9:123: “O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you; and let them find in you a harshness; and know that Allah is with the godfearing.”

47:4: “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads. So it shall be; and if Allah had willed, He would have avenged Himself upon them; but that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will not send their works astray.”

And not just the Qur’an. They’re also misunderstanding the authoritative sources in Sunni Islam, the schools of Sunni jurisprudence (madhahib):

Shafi’i school: A Shafi’i manual of Islamic law that was certified in 1991 by the clerics at Al-Azhar University, one of the leading authorities in the Islamic world, as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy, stipulates about jihad that “the caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians…until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax.” It adds a comment by Sheikh Nuh ‘Ali Salman, a Jordanian expert on Islamic jurisprudence: the caliph wages this war only “provided that he has first invited [Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians] to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya)…while remaining in their ancestral religions.” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.8).

Of course, there is no caliph today, and hence the oft-repeated claim that Osama et al are waging jihad illegitimately, as no state authority has authorized their jihad. But they explain their actions in terms of defensive jihad, which needs no state authority to call it, and becomes “obligatory for everyone” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.3) if a Muslim land is attacked. The end of the defensive jihad, however, is not peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims as equals: ‘Umdat al-Salik specifies that the warfare against non-Muslims must continue until “the final descent of Jesus.” After that, “nothing but Islam will be accepted from them, for taking the poll tax is only effective until Jesus’ descent” (o9.8).

Hanafi school: A Hanafi manual of Islamic law repeats the same injunctions. It insists that people must be called to embrace Islam before being fought, “because the Prophet so instructed his commanders, directing them to call the infidels to the faith.” It emphasizes that jihad must not be waged for economic gain, but solely for religious reasons: from the call to Islam “the people will hence perceive that they are attacked for the sake of religion, and not for the sake of taking their property, or making slaves of their children, and on this consideration it is possible that they may be induced to agree to the call, in order to save themselves from the troubles of war.”

However, “if the infidels, upon receiving the call, neither consent to it nor agree to pay capitation tax [jizya], it is then incumbent on the Muslims to call upon God for assistance, and to make war upon them, because God is the assistant of those who serve Him, and the destroyer of His enemies, the infidels, and it is necessary to implore His aid upon every occasion; the Prophet, moreover, commands us so to do.” (Al-Hidayah, II.140)

Maliki school: Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), a pioneering historian and philosopher, was also a Maliki legal theorist. In his renowned Muqaddimah, the first work of historical theory, he notes that “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.” In Islam, the person in charge of religious affairs is concerned with “power politics,” because Islam is “under obligation to gain power over other nations.”

Hanbali school: The great medieval theorist of what is commonly known today as radical or fundamentalist Islam, Ibn Taymiyya (Taqi al-Din Ahmad Ibn Taymiyya, 1263-1328), was a Hanbali jurist. He directed that “since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God’s entirely and God’s word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought.”

The Aftermath of Jihad: Invisible Women

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????by Raymond Ibrahim:

Massacres, beheadings, rapes and the rest often take place whenever and wherever Islamic jihadis take over.  Lesser known but no less eye-opening, however, is the aftermath of occupation—the everyday “rules” and laws the jihadis enforce once they’re in charge.

Consider the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’s (ISIL) recent occupation of Raqqah, a city in northern Syria.  First there was the overt violence.  Among other acts of savagery, the jihadi organization attacked two Christian churches—the Church of the Annunciation and the Church of Martyrs—broke their crosses, burned their Bibles, and raised the Islamic flag in triumph.  One video depicts a Muslim “freedom fighter” smashing a Virgin Mary statue to shouts of Islam’s victory cry, “Allahu Akbar!”

Now consider the rules that organizations like ISIL enforce on the people living in the territories they occupy—or the inevitable “talibanization” of societies where Islamic supremacists hold sway.  A Syrian news clip recounts the following new laws ISIL promulgated in a statement it issued soon after taking over Raqqah:

  • Women are banned from sitting on chairs (as reported verbatim).
  • All women are obligated to wear Islamic attire, such as the niqab and burqa (which cover the entire body and face); sweaters, jeans, and makeup of any kind are strictly banned.
  • Female clothing is not to be displayed in shop windows, and only women are allowed to work there; if a man is found on the grounds the shop faces closure.
  • Women are banned from seeing male gynecologists.
  • Smoking—cigarettes, water pipes, etc.—is banned.  Violators could face the death penalty; shops found selling cigarettes are to be burned to the ground.
  • All barbershops are to be closed down and men forbidden from having short hair, wearing modern hairstyles or using hair products; men are also forbidden from wearing low-waist jeans.
  • Anyone who uses the word “Daash” (an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Arabic) will receive 70 whippings; the organization is to be referred to by its proper name.

The punishments are indeed severe: swindling taxi drivers face repercussions ranging from chopped hands to chopped heads; the reason cited is that their swindling may somehow interfere with a passenger’s worship (e.g., a Muslim seeking to go to mosque at the proper time).  Likewise, shop owners who do not shut down during prayer times must face the consequences.

All this is a reminder that, while the Islamic jihad may lead to brief, spectacular forms of terror—massacres, beheadings, rapes, bombed churches—its aftermath and goal, purportedly the creation of a “perfect Islamic society,” is “spectacular” in its own way, especially for women, who become virtually invisible members of society.

Terror Wave in Russia

Members of the emergency services work at the site of a bomb blast on a trolleybus in Volgogradby :

There have now been three major jihad terror attacks in Russia in four days. The attacks are a grim reminder of how vulnerable crowded public places are worldwide to jihad mass murder — and an indication of what the United States could look like sooner or later.

The latest round of jihad mass murder began last Friday, when jihadists murdered three people with a car bomb in Pyatigorsk in southern Russia. Then on Sunday, a jihad/martyrdom suicide bomber murdered sixteen people at the train station in Volgograd – the city that, as Stalingrad, was the bloody site of the turning point of World War II. Then on Monday, a jihadist murdered fourteen more people on a trolley bus in the same city.

These were by no means the first jihad strikes in Russia in recent years. In September 2004, Islamic jihadists under the command of Chechen jihad leader Shamil Basayev took 1,300 hostages at a school in Beslan, a town in the Russian Republic of North Ossetia; ultimately the jihadists murdered well over 300 people.

Then in August 2009, jihadists claimed to have murdered over 24 people with a bomb at Siberia’s Sayno-Shushenskata hydro-electric plant in Siberia, although the Russian government claimed that there was no bomb at all, and that the explosion was an accident. On November 27, 2009, jihadists murdered 27 people with a bomb planted under the Nevsky Express train between Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Then in March 2010, Islamic jihad/martyrdom suicide bombers murdered 39 people on the Moscow subway. In February 2011, another jihad/martyrdom suicide bomber murdered 36 people at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow.

Another Chechen jihadist, Doku Umarov, the leader of a group that calls itself the Caucasus Emirate (Umarov styles himself the “Emir of the Caucasus”), told Russians in 2010: “I promise you that war will come to your streets and you will feel it in your lives, feel it on your own skin.” He later threatened that “more special operations” would soon follow, for “among us there are hundreds of brothers who are prepared to sacrifice themselves….We can at any time carry out operations where we want.”

He warned the Russians again last July, exhorting Muslims to wage jihad warfare against the Russians for daring to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi on the Black Sea coast. Umarov said that Muslims should “use maximum force on the path of Allah to disrupt this Satanic dancing” – by which Patrick Swayze-evoking locution he referred to the Games. The Russians, he said, “plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims buried on the territory of our land on the Black Sea, and we Mujahedeen are obliged not to permit that — using any methods allowed us by the almighty Allah.”

The Caucasus Emirate has not claimed responsibility for the jihad attacks this week, but given the threats Umarov has made against the Games, which are scheduled to begin February 6, it is understandable that suspicion has focused on this group. Vladimir Putin has tightened security, but Russian officials know that there is little he can do to prevent still more jihad terror. Alexei Filatov, whom Reuters describes as the “deputy head of the veterans’ association of the elite Alfa anti-terrorism unit,” observes: “We can expect more such attacks. The threat is greatest now because it is when terrorists can make the biggest impression. The security measures were beefed up long ago around Sochi, so terrorists will strike instead in these nearby cities like Volgograd.”

Read more at Front Page

Foreign Jihadists in Syria: Tracking Recruitment Networks

Syrian rebels2
BY AARON Y. ZELIN

Thu, December 26, 2013

Monitoring jihadist social-media networks reveals where fighters are coming from, where in Syria they are fighting, and how best to stem their continued recruitment in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Tunisia.

The clandestine nature of the various networks responsible for sending Sunni fighters into Syria makes it difficult to ascertain exactly how many foreigners have entered the war and from which countries. Yet social-media sources affiliated with jihadists often post death notices for slain fighters, providing a unique, though incomplete, picture of where they are being recruited and where in Syria they fought. Tracking and analyzing these notices can help broaden Washington’s understanding of foreign recruitment networks, the largest of which appear to operate in Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Tunisia.

HOW MANY HAVE BEEN KILLED?

Since the Syrian uprising turned into an armed rebellion, jihadists have announced the deaths of more than 1,100 fighters on their Twitter and Facebook accounts and, to a lesser extent, on password-protected forums. Although other foreigners have been killed in Syria, their deaths were reported by non-jihadist rebels, Western media, or Arabic media and are not included in this assessment. The figures below also exclude foreigners who have fought on the Assad regime’s side.

To be sure, the information gleaned from jihadist sources is self-reported, and some data might therefore be suppressed for political reasons, especially reports of Iraqi involvement. That said, it still offers a worthwhile snapshot of an otherwise murky world.

The most striking revelation in the latest data is the huge rise in overall death notices. Previously, jihadist sources had posted only 85 such notices as of February 2013, and only 280 as of June. In other words, the vast majority of the more than 1,100 notices have come in the past half year.

WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM?

Arabs dominate the list of foreign jihadists who have died in Syria, and nine of the top ten countries represented are from the Arab world.

Death notices have mentioned fifty different nationalities in all, including twenty in Europe or elsewhere in the West. Yet Westerners make up only a miniscule amount of the total.

One of the most important trends in the past half-year is the rise in both the total number of Saudi foreign fighters and the number of Saudis killed (which far outpaces all other national groups). Only some 20 percent of the 1,100 death notices state group affiliation, so this data provides only a small window into which groups foreigners are joining. Of these, however, the vast majority name Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham — the two militant opposition groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United States. Other fighters were also reported to be members of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya, Katibat Suqur al-Izz, Liwa al-Umma, and Harakat Sham al-Islam, among others.

More than 60 percent of the notices offered more specific information about the fighter’s town or province of origin, providing insight into certain foreign networks. For instance, fifteen fighters were described as hailing from the Saudi province of al-Qassim, and it is possible that they came from the provincial capital of Buraydah, as the notices for twenty-two other fighters indicated. The largest network in this data set is from Riyadh, however, raising questions about whether the Saudi government is being duplicitous and/or looking the other way regarding significant jihadist activity in its capital.

Read more at Clarion Project

Aaron Y. Zelin is the Richard Borow Fellow at The Washington Institute.