Liberty and Islam cannot coexist. Free Speech and Islam cannot coexist. Women’s Rights and Islam cannot coexist. Human Rights and Islam cannot coexist. Critical Thinking and Islam cannot coexist. Weapons of Mass Destruction and Islam cannot coexist. The future and Islam cannot coexist.
Frontpage, April 15, 2015 by
To order David Horowitz’s “The Black Book of the American Left: Volume IV: Islamo-Fascism and the War Against the Jews,” click here.
In this spirited and savvy collection of recent essays and speeches, David Horowitz argues that progressives, that is, left of center politicians, journalists and intellectuals have contributed to “undermining the defense of Western civilization against the totalitarian forces determined to destroy it.” Specifically, the threat comes from “the holy war or jihad waged by totalitarian Islamists in their quest for a global empire.” (p.1) These essays, many of which are lectures at university campuses or reports about those lectures, will reinforce the views of those who already agree that “Western civilization” is a good thing, that Islamism is a form of totalitarianism and that its Jihad is quest for a “global empire.” They may not convince those who think Western civilization is another name for racism, imperialism and war, that totalitarianism is an ideological relic of the Cold War and that an otherwise peaceful and tolerant Islam has been “hijacked” by violent extremists who misconstrue its texts and their meanings. Yet they may strike a nerve with those liberals who think it is absurd to deny the clear links between Islamism and terror and who, especially after the murders in Paris in January, understand that Islamism is a threat to the liberal traditions of Western politics and culture.
This volume addresses a by now much discussed paradox of our political and intellectual life. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks of 9/11, the liberal intellectual Paul Berman in Terror and Liberalism made the compelling case that the Islamist ideology that inspired the Al Qaeda terrorists emerged from a profoundly reactionary set of ideas which had lineages to Nazism and fascism. In Germany, Matthias Kuentzel, in his Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Nazism, Islamism and the Roots of 9/11 examined in more detail the illiberal views of the 9/11 terrorists as well as the political and ideological connections between Islamism and Nazism. A number of us historians have documented those connections. The irony of the years since 2001, and especially of the Obama years, is that, with some exceptions, much of the sharpest criticism of the reactionary nature of Islamism and defense of classically liberal values has not come from the historic home of anti-fascism among leftists and liberals. Rather, as the 55, mostly short essays in this collection indicate, that critique has migrated to centrists and conservatives or those who are now called conservatives.
“Islamophobia,” the longest essay in the collection is co-written with Robert Spencer, also importantly draws attention to the international connections of Islamist organizations in the United States. The authors write that “the purpose of inserting the term ‘phobia’ is to suggest that any fear associated with Islam is irrational” and thus to discredit arguments that suggest a connection between Islamism and terror as themselves forms of bigotry. Horowitz and Spencer connect this criticism of the concept to discussion of the organizational connections between the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2005, the FBI seized the Northern Virginia headquarters of the Holy Land Foundation, then the largest Islamic “charity” in the United States. In a trial in 2007 that led to the conviction of the Foundation’s leaders on charges of supporting a terrorist organization, the prosecution entered a seized a remarkable document entitled “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.”(18) The group’s goal was the establishment of “an effective and stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood, which adopts Muslim causes domestically and globally, and which works to expand the observant Muslim base, aims at directing and unifying Muslim’s efforts, presents Islam as a civilizational alternative, and supports the global Islam state wherever it is.” Muslims, it continued “must understand their work in American is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” Horowitz and Spencer perform an important service in drawing attention to this document and to the political campaign that it has inspired.
The memo called for the creation of front organizations including the Muslim American Society, the Muslim Students Association, and the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Association for Palestine and the parent group of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR. Another front group identified in the Holy Land memo was the International Institute for Islamic Thought, said to have invented the term “Islamophobia.” Horowitz and Spencer’s discussion of CAIR’s “Islamophobia campaign” is particularly interesting. In the Holy Land case, the US Department of Justice named CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator and produced evidence that it has received $500,000 dollars from the Holy Land Foundation to set itself up. CAIR was created in 1994 as a spinoff of a Hamas front group, the Islamic Association for Palestine, a group that the US government shut down in 2005 for funding terrorism. CAIR has defined Islamophobia as “closed minded prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims” and has described anti-terror measures adopted by the US government as forms of “prejudice” and “hatred.” The authors argue that the use of such terms has been an effective instrument in blunting or stifling criticism of Islamism.
On American university and college campuses, the Muslim Students Association and “Students for Justice in Palestine” have sponsored “Israel Apartheid Weeks.” In recent years, the MSA has been particularly active at the campuses of the University of California in Davis, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles in the anti-Islamophobia campaigns. Remarkably, such efforts have received support from coalitions of leftwing student groups active in student governments. The authors write that “perhaps the chief asset possessed by the jihadists is a coalition of non-Muslims-European and American progressives—who support the anti-Islamophobia campaign,” one that “had a venerable antecedent in the support that progressives provided to Soviet totalitarians during the Cold War.” (p.48) Again, the remarkable aspect of the current coalitions between Islamists and leftists was that these leftists were making common cause with organizations famous for anti-Semitism, subordination of women to second class status or worse and deep religious conviction, a set of beliefs at odds with some of the classic values of the radical left in the twentieth century. Then again, in view of the anti-Zionist campaigns of the Soviet Union and its allies during the Cold War and the hostility of the global radical left to Israel in recent decades, such “Red-Green” leftist-Islamist coalitions of recent years are not so surprising.
Horowitz sees a parallel between the “secular messianic movements like communism, socialism and progressivism” and the religious creeds they replaced. “It is not surprising therefore, that the chief sponsors of the blasphemy laws and the attitudes associated with them have been movements associated with the political left. It is no accident that the movement to outlaw Islamophobia should be deeply indebted to the secular left and its campaign to stigmatize its opponents by indiscriminately applying repugnant terms to them like ‘racist.’” The invention and application of the concept of Islamophobia “is the first step in outlawing freedom of speech, and therefore freedom itself, in the name of religious tolerance.”(55)
The remainder of this volume elaborates on these themes with twenty essays on Islamo-fascism, thirteen on the Middle East Conflict and eleven on “the Campus War against the Jews.” Horowitz’ reports on his many speeches at various campuses where some of the above mentioned Islamic organizations turn up to protest. There the front organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood, especially the Muslim Students Association, emerged to challenge his arguments about the links between Islamism and fascism. Two essays are particularly important—and depressing. In “Suicidal Jews” and “”Hillel”s Coalitions with Israel’s Enemies,” Horowitz describes instances in which liberal and left-leaning Jewish undergraduates turn their criticism towards him rather than towards the anti-Israeli activists on campus.
This fourth volume of Horowitz’s essays depicts the bizarre nature of our contemporary political culture in which leftists make common cause with Islamists, Israel is denounced as a racist entity while the anti-Semitism of the Muslim Brothers, Hamas and the government of Iran are non-issues for leftists, and the United States government refuses to state the obvious about the connection between Islamist ideology and the practice of terrorism. The defense of liberal principles has liberal advocates but as this valuable collection indicates the core of the defense has become a preoccupation of the center and right of American intellectual and political life. This volume is an important document of that endeavor.
Jeffrey Herf, Distinguished University Professor, Department of History, University of Maryland, College Park. His most recent book is Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World. His work in progress is entitled “At War with Israel: East Germany and the West German Radical Left, 1967-1989.”
Barack Hussein Obama is the most powerful friend Islam has ever known. Islam means “submission”. And Islam has been at war with the world for the past 1,400 years. The goal is Islam is to force the world to submit to Islam.
Religious Freedom Coalition, By Andrew Harrod, PhD, April 13, 2015:
Armenian-Canadian writer Raffi Bedrosyan sees Middle Eastern “history repeating itself” in modern Christian suffering in the centennial of the Ottoman Empire’s 1915 genocide of Armenians and other Christian populations. Bedrosyan and other participants of an all-day, March 28 Institute of World Politics (IWP) conference concerning the Ottoman 1915 genocides showed a disturbing continuity of Islamic human rights violations by various actors across a century.
Before over 50 audience members filling IWP’s conference room, Institute of World Politics Professor Marek J. Chodakiewicz indicated the confessional nature of 1915’s slaughter in his presentation on forms of “democide” or governmental mass murder. Descended from “Christendom’s eldest kingdom,” most Armenians in 1915 had a pre-modern understanding of nationality, he said. Despite recent secular legal reforms in the Islamic Ottoman Empire, Armenians still suffered the “scourge of sharia and the whims of the caliphate.”
The East Coast premiere of Turkey, the Legacy of Silence, a French documentary about Turkish citizens uncovering their hidden Armenian heritage, also featured a Christian-Islamic confessional divide. A Turkish man, for example, recounted how authorities in 1915 told one man concerning Armenians that “kill seven and you will go to heaven,” but instead he hid a boy who was later raised a Muslim under the name Abdullah. After another woman’s death, relatives found a Bible in a ceremonial case that usually contains a Quran in Turkish homes. Such individuals, the film noted, were hidden survivors of a brutal attempt to create the fiction of Turkey as a land that has been purely Turkish for millennia.
Concerns for physical survival and social acceptance caused many of these individuals to keep secret their Armenian ancestry even if they knew about it. A woman in the film narrated how Turkish nationalists in the army killed her son on April 24, the day commemorating since 1915 the genocide, 17 days before he completed his military service. Another man whose Armenian heritage became known faced the animosity of his school classmates who read in Turkish textbooks that Armenians betrayed the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Some individuals nonetheless embraced their heritage like the man who accepted baptism and rejected being an “Islamicized Armenian” after learning of his true origins.
Bedrosyan elaborated upon “The Hidden Armenians of Turkey” following the screening and during a subsequent interview. Islamization of Armenians began in 1915 when the Ottoman government initially allowed Armenians to convert to Islam and avoid ultimately deadly deportations. Turkish army orphanages transformed orphan boys of Armenian genocide victims into rabid Muslim Turks while orphan girls became sex slaves or entered forced marriages. One Kurdish chieftain took as his child bride a girl from among the 13 survivors of over 10,500 massacred Armenians from a suburb of southeastern Turkish town Diyarbakir. Bedrosyan expressed amazement at how jihadists in the Islamic State (IS) or Nigeria’s Boko Haram displayed today the same patterns of behavior.
Ottoman efforts to obliterate Armenian culture encompassed property as well as persons. Bedrosyan cited 4,000 churches in Turkey that after 1915 were destroyed or converted to other uses, including one that became a brothel. He noted a destroyed Diyarbakir church used as a government warehouse until its 2011 restoration by private groups as a genocide memorial. Its official opening saw many individuals disclose their Armenian ancestry.
An earlier presentation by stolen property expert Dr. Tania C. Mastrapa elaborated that the Turkish government had closed certain archives as a “national security threat.” Their publication could facilitate property claims by Armenians and others stemming from 1915 calculated in the trillions of dollars. Her co-panelist Kate Nahapetian from the Armenian National Committee of America stated that police today will investigate in certain Turkish villages visitors suspected of searching for lost Armenian property.
Bedrosyan explained that Turkish government actions demonstrated how the Turkish republic throughout its history has assiduously upheld the myth of a homogenous Turkish and Sunni Muslim population. An interviewed Genocide Watch PresidentGregory H. Stanton, whose morning presentation concerned genocide denial, analogized between the Khmer Rouge and Turkish Republic founding father Kemal Ataturk. Like Cambodia’s genocidal Communists who “wanted to start at year zero,” Ataturk’s “utopian vision for a new Turkey” sought cultural erasure of even Christian populations like the Assyrians who predated Turkish presence in Anatolia.
In this environment, Bedrosyan stated, Armenian/Christian affiliations entail discrimination, meaning that many of Turkey’s estimated 2.5 million people with Armenian descent do not recognize or reveal their heritage and remain “Islamicized.” Christians de facto “cannot even become a garbage man” in the public sector, he stated while discussing one public school teacher who broke a taboo by accepting baptism after discovering Armenian roots. Individuals serving in the military sometimes learn of the ineligibility for sensitive positions such as fighter pilots when the government suddenly reveals records of Armenian descent.
Individuals who know of their Armenian heritage therefore often resort to subterfuge in a society where Armenian is a swear word and graffiti like “1915 was a blessed year” vandalizes Istanbul churches. Bedrosyan recounted how one hidden Armenian prayed to Jesus at home while serving as a Muslim imam, while others secretly accepted baptism in Europe before returning to Turkey. Amongst themselves, hidden Armenians often know, and marry their children to, each other.
Steven Oshana, executive director of the Middle East minority advocacy group A Demand for Action, reflected during an interview on the historic continuity of Muslim repression suffered by his Armenian and Assyrian ancestral communities. Assyrians, for example, fled Ottoman genocide to areas of modern Iraq, only to endure the August 1933 Simele massacre by Iraqi troops and another flight to Syria, where Assyrians today are targets of IS. “The genocide just keeps following,” the “methods are the same, the brutality is the same,” stated Oshana.
Oshana and other conference speakers noted how Islam played a role among pious and non-pious alike in conflicts with Christian and other minorities. While IS differed from the Ottomans in publicly claiming credit for atrocities against non-Muslims, he stated that “faith is always a pretext” for political calculations seeking to stimulate violence against non-Christians. Bedrosyan concurred that Ottoman leaders who saw during World War I threats in Armenians and other Christians “were using Islam as an instrument” of mobilization among Muslims like Kurds. This role of Islam was “very, very direct” in the actions of Ottoman leaders, Stanton noted. They cynically urged Muslim authorities such as muftis to call for the killing of Christians considered allied with the Ottoman Empire’s “infidel” enemies.
Institute of World Politics’ Armenian genocide conference instructively brought to light a past that has not passed, but rather remains depressingly relevant today. Time and again Islamic doctrines have repeatedly incited the same patterns of death, destruction, and cultural cleansing against Christians and other non-Muslims. George Santyana’s dictum that “[t]hose who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” is hardly more relevant than here. Forewarning of these past lessons is necessary for policymakers who want to be forearmed against future dangers.
The International Christian Union, a Christian human rights organization, commissioned this article.
April 10, 2015:
When President-elect Obama declared that he was going to “fundamentally transform” America, not many Americans understood what that meant. They certainly did not understand that he did not believe in America’s exceptionalism and greatness. They were also unaware of his past Marxist indoctrination, blaming America for many of the world’s problems. Therefore, anything that undercuts and withdraws America’s power and influence is seen as being objectively progressive. This is fundamental to understanding why President Obama shows empathy with American’s enemies, e.g., Iran, Cuba, Russia, and China.
It is also key to understanding our precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, as well as the loss of our influence in the region with the rise of Islam. President Obama apparently shares the view that the colonial powers unjustifiably suppressed Islam for the better part of two centuries. Therefore, the best way to rectify that situation is to withdraw the U.S. and let Islam rise again. Of course, this actually started under the Carter administration with the rise of Islamic fundamentalism when the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah of Iran in 1979.
Complicating the current Mid-East chaos is the fact that the administration has great difficulty in identifying the enemy. The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said it best, “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” Make no mistake – ISIS is Islam. The barbarism and atrocities they commit are sanctioned by the Quran and Islam’s Shariah law. We must face facts, ISIS is impervious to any rational dialogue. They must be killed into submission.
As I have previously stated, symbols matter throughout the world, but no more so than in the Middle East. When President Obama delivered his June 4, 2009 Cairo “Outreach to Muslims” speech, with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood leadership sitting in the front row, and declared that it was part of his responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear – that said it all!
Furthermore, there should have been no doubt remaining after his September 2012 UN General Assembly speech when he stated in reference to the Benghazi tragedy, “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet Islam.” No matter how many excuses President Obama makes for Islam and Muslim sensitivities, freedom of speech for the civilized world will not be silenced.
In yet another indication, the Obama Administration continues to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood even though their creed is to destroy the United States from within (silent jihad) by our own hands and substitute our Constitution with Islam’s Shariah law. The Muslim Brotherhood have been able to successfully penetrate all our national security and intelligence agencies. They are now institutionalized. Their impact on our policies cannot be overstated.
The Kabuki dance just completed in Switzerland produced a “framework” of “understandings” which is supposed to limit Iran’s nuclear weapons program is already being disputed by Iran. Of course, this is to be expected with no agreed upon text.
According to Fred Fleitz of the Center For Security Policy, the framework as now understood legitimizes and actually advances Iran’s uranium-enrichment program. All the core elements of Iran’s program remain in place. They do not have to dismantle anything and be allowed to keep their heavily fortified Fordow underground enrichment facilities — a major, unbelievable, concession by the United States. In effect, we have rewarded Iran for ignoring (plus lying and cheating) UN Security Council resolutions for a decade. They do not have to destroy any of their ICBMs nor stop their aggression throughout the Middle East. More importantly, the Obama administration has dismissed the fact that the Iranian government has caused the loss of life of thousands of Americans. At the end of the day, there is only one option that guarantees Iran will not achieve a nuclear weapon capability, and that is a military strike.
To show their disdain for President Obama, an Iranian spokesperson stated that the destruction of Israel is “non-negotiable.” So much for the two state peace process! Of course, death to America is a recurring theme.
The Middle East is not the only place our influence is being challenged. We are being challenged by China in the Western Pacific. In Europe, we are standing idly by as NATO is being emasculated by Putin’s aggression in the Ukraine. Many believe the “reset button” with Russia has failed. Actually, it is working quite well – for Russia.
The Obama administration has allowed the KGB thug Putin to conduct a policy of aggression in the Ukraine unopposed. President Obama’s refusal to provide legitimate defensive military equipment to Kiev appears to be part of the reset button “understanding.” It is the same understanding that applies to the withdrawal of our commitment to place anti-ballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. Furthermore, President Obama’s refusal to meet with NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (during his 3 days visit to Washington) was another signal to Putin.
There is no doubt our influence and status as a great power and reliable ally is being challenged. Our enemies don’t fear us and our allies don’t trust us – a formula for disaster. President Obama’s refusal to call for a reformation of Islam, plus his empathy with our enemies, combined with our unilateral disarmament, place our national security in jeopardy. The greatest threat to our national security today clearly is the Obama administration policies, which must be reversed. Americans must stand up and demand that Congress act now.
James A. Lyons, U.S. Navy retired Admiral, was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.
Philos Project, by Andrew Harrod, April 8, 2015:
Critical observers should be cautious when presented with the idea of a moderate Islam. While keynote speakers at a recent Washington Institute for Near East Policypresentation asked their audience to believe that this ideal is not only attainable, but already a reality, their articulation of a true Islamic religion of peace fell short of convincing the crowd – and rightly so.
“Fighting for Moderate Islam: Ideas and Activism on the New Front Line” was headlined by The Washington Institute’s David Pollock, who opened the event by explaining that would-be Islamic reformers like Washington Institute colleague Mohammed Dajani are in considerable danger because of their beliefs. Assailants torched Dajani’s car at his Jerusalem home the day his article “A Plea for Moderate Islam” appeared, and this was only one of many threats to the man’s life. Dajani described the about-face he made after witnessing the generous humanity of his “perceived enemy,” Israel, and recounted how ill-received his Saul-to-Paul-like conversion was from his fellow Palestinians.
During his tenure as a professor at Jerusalem’s Al Quds University, Dajani faced accusations of CIA recruitment and the teaching of “American Islam.” Experiences he faced while leading a 2014 student trip to the Nazi death camp memorial at Auschwitz, a topic of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories among majority-Muslim communities, finally forced his resignation.
American Islamic Congress co-founder and executive director Zainab Al-Suwaij said that she is constantly worried about threats similar to Dajani’s – not just abroad, but here at home. Al-Suwaij, the Iraqi granddaughter of a Shiite ayatollah, fled Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship after participating in the 1991 post-Gulf War revolt to overthrow Hussein before establishing her career and family in the United States. Soberly, she said that Al-Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States made her realize that “the terror I had left behind is not always back there.”
Al-Suwaij said that extremism within the American Muslim community is dehumanizing and is “spreading like a cancer – quietly.” She pointed out that this form of jihadism in America has often been masked by moderation since the events of 9/11, giving the false illusion that “we are now in a safer place.”
An attendee at President Barack Obama’s Countering Violent Extremism summit, Al-Suwaij said that she would have preferred that the event be titled “Countering Radical Islamism,” which was the actual focus of the president’s summit. Although Al-Suwaij said that “Muslims and Islam – their religion – are the first victims of this dangerous ideology,” she was reticent to give specifics about the Islamist backgrounds of groups like theCouncil on American-Islamic Relations or the Islamic Society of North America.
Al-Suwaij said that what she sought most of all was “a voice of moderate Islam” that involved a reinterpretation of Islamic canonical texts. She said that this was not unheard of, but had occurred fairly often in Islamic history – albeit mostly due to pressure from Islamic regimes, not from the Muslim grassroots. She accused groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria of their own kind of brutal revisionism.
In all, Al-Suwaij said that she was optimistic that the social climate within Islamic communities would change for the better. Although extreme groups like ISIS have limited appeal among Muslims, she attributed deficient American Muslim anti-extremism efforts to the widespread desire of those who simply want to live a “normal life” without political fights. After all, many American Muslims simply do not care to air their dirty laundry for the world to see.
Seconding Al-Suwaij’s call for ideological warfare, Dajani said that another “version of Islam” is needed, in the face of groups like the Islamic State. He said that it was wrong for struggles against jihadist threats to consume so much military attention while “soft messages” that can influence Islam get little notice. Hence his assertion that Israel’s anti-terrorism barrier (the “wall”) was ineffective and consumed resources that would be better spent winning Palestinian friendship with development aid. His overgenerous spirit also included former ISIS fighters who were disillusioned when they returned to their home countries. His prescription: “Don’t treat them like criminals; embrace them.”
Dajani’s devil came in his theological details. To promote his vision of Islam, he founded the Wasatia Reconciliation Center, an organization whose name is derived from the Arabic word wasat from Quran 2:143, a word that can mean “middle ground.” Although Dajani said that he seeks to avoid extremes, his online explanatory documents note that, in the “Holy Quran,” wasat also “means justice, righteousness and goodness,” as various English Quran translations indicate. A writer at Islamic Revival argued that wasat “is unrelated to being extreme or moderate,” but requires the Muslim community to “resume the Islamic way of life by re-establishing the true State of Islam.”
Similarly shallow canonical foundations can also be found in Dajani’s rejection of Islamic anti-Semitism. He failed to counter copious instances of Islamic anti-Semitism such as a well-known, infamous canonical saying – or hadith – of Muhammad that predicted a genocidal end-times battle with the Jews. While Dajani called this hadith “fabricated,” Islam scholar Martin Kramer countered by saying its authenticity is “rated triple-A.”
Dajani also cited a hadith that described the Prophet Muhammad’s standing in respect for the funeral bier of a Jew, but more detailed Islamic interpretations explained that the prophet had merely stood for the angels who were receiving that Jew’s soul.
In a later interview, Dajani clarified that he hopes most of all to build “bridges of understanding” between people of various faiths whose values are common among religions. He rejected a “radical school” that believes “Islam has come to correct the other religions, rather than to complement other religions,” even though such correction is standard Islamic dogma. “Taken as a whole, the Quran’s moral message is consistent,” he said, but his evaluation rejects Islam’s abrogation doctrine, under which chronologically later, aggressive Quran verses replace earlier, tolerant passages.
Dajani’s presentation expressed optimism in winning over the Muslim people, but conceded that “people tell me that this is a one-man effort.” He and Al-Suwaij undoubtedly mean well, but Islam’s often violent, intolerant canons present steep theological hurdles to developing an Islam with a human face. Al-Suwaij and Dajani’s well-wishers should look before they make any leap of faith on the basis of an Islamic reform project.
April 6, 2015
A new video produced by an Iranian opposition group documents how the Ayatollah’s regime in Tehran has proliferated its Khomeinist revolution into 60 countries, graduating 50,000 Mullahs at its Al Mustafa International University in the past seven years.
The Iranian-American Forum–which in the past has helped expose alleged pro-Tehran groups such as the National Iranian American Council (NIAC)–produced the video, which shows how Iran has been exporting its violent ideology worldwide.
“Al Mustafa [University] was founded by the Iranian regime in 2007. The Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei holds the highest authority in the University,” the video explains.
Al Mustafa has branches throughout the world, and trains “foreign Mullahs who then spread the Iranian regime’s ideology throughout the world,” says the video narrator. “Graduates of al-Mustafa are selected by the Iranian regime to direct religious and cultural centers in many countries. These centers recruit among local populations, thus, are part of the Iranian regime’s influence” operations, the narrator adds.
The video then cuts to a speech that showed the Ayatollah welcoming non-Iranian students and foreign Mullahs to Al Mustafa’s main campus in Qom, Iran, where he encourages them to continue spreading Iran’s ideology throughout the world.
“Since the Islamic Republic was established in Iran in 1979, exporting the Islamic revolution has been a main pillar of this regime,” the narrator explains. “From the earliest years of the revolution, the regime began sending Iranian mullahs to other Islamic countries to propagate its fundamentalist revolutionary ideology. Later, foreign candidates were brought to Iran to be educated, then sent back to their native countries,” he adds.
In 2007, the Islamic Republic merged the fundamentalist organizations under the umbrella of Al Mustafa University, the video explains.
Al Mustafa now has branches all over the world, including much of the West. It even has a branch in London.
Moreover, there are at least 80 Iranian cultural centers throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, according to a recent U.S. Southern Command report.
The video concludes with a stark warning: “This vast network notably in Western countries could also provide the Iranian regime with an extraordinary tool to carry out terrorist activities.”
PJ Media, by Davis Solway, March 25, 2015:
We have heard much of late of the slash-and-burn frenzies of the Muslim hordes pillaging and slaughtering their way through parts of Africa and the Middle East. It is not only Christians, lapsed communicants, perceived heretics and foreigners who are the victims of their confessional ferocity and predatory aims, but the architecture and muniments of civilization itself. The threat which Islam poses to the life of the West should be obvious to anyone who is not complicit, gullible or mentally defective. To fully understand the menace, we must recognize that the Islamic attack is multi-pronged, taking place on a number of levels or fronts all working in concert, and gaining traction with every passing day.
Terror is the preferred means of those we call “extremists,” “radicals,” or (the new favorite) “gunmen,” whether “lone wolves” (who often seem to roam in packs) or established, heavily armed organizations the media like to refer to as “militants.” The warrant for their habitual violence is rooted squarely in the Koran and the Hadith, not in poverty or unemployment despite assurances from their sympathizers and appeasers. As the Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, cited by Raymond Ibrahim in a penetrating article for PJ Media, makes clear:
Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.
Jihad, Ibrahim points out, “is integral to Islam, doctrinally and historically,” located prominently within the founding scriptures and ancillary texts.
More potent in the long run than the tactic of terror is the strategy of massive immigration, enabling the metastasizing growth of Muslim populations in the progressively febrile democracies of the West. Once Islam in any of myriad forms is allowed into the body social, and in light of the agenda articulated in the Muslim Brotherhood’s “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” a zymotic future is foreordained as societies begin to unravel and countries to lose their national character. Ten percent of the census is the tipping point. Scholars like Peter Hammond and the aforementioned Raymond Ibrahim have canvassed approximately 50 countries on four continents and done the math, and the results are indisputable.
The consequences of this covert invasion are glaringly evident in many European nations where Islamic no-go zones have proliferated, Sharia law has been incrementally introduced, thoroughfares have become prayer venues, welfare rolls have been depleted, jihadist recruitment has escalated, rape has acquired the magnitude of an epidemic (the true “rape culture”), and Muslim voting blocs determine the outcome of elections, as conniving politicians are well aware. Such are the conditions that Western compromisers, accommodationists and tolerists, priding themselves on their putatively enlightened ideas, are ensuring for their progeny, if not for themselves.
Additionally, the Iranian march toward nuclear status is part of the Shi’ite plan for world domination, which in the Twelver version of the faith requires a universal conflagration and bloodletting to hasten or welcome the arrival of the Twelfth Imam, aka the Hidden Mahdi. The Middle East is already heating up to a higher temperature than we have seen before, civil wars erupting everywhere, nations falling apart, Israel bracing for nuclear annihilation, Saudi Arabia signing a nuclear development pact with South Korea — as the administration of Barack Obama continues to stoke the flames. Indeed, U.S. National Intelligence has just dropped Iran, the world’s most tentacular terror state, and Hezbollah, its largest and most lethal terror proxy, from its list of terrorism threats.
As we have been warned repeatedly by the most astute observers and critics among us — Robert Spencer, Steven Emerson, Andrew Bostom, Bruce Bawer, Raymond Ibrahim, Emmanuel Sivan, Serge Trifkovic, Geert Wilders, Peter Hammond, David Horowitz and others — we are under siege by the armies of a supremacist faith operating through terror (the latest such atrocity occurred on March 18 in the Bardo museum in Tunis where twenty European tourists were killed), unfettered immigration and nuclear capability. To this triple array of hostile forces, we must add a fourth front opened (or re-opened) by the warriors of Muhammad — the offensive against the past.
The Taliban demolition of the 1,700-year old Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001 should have sounded the alarm loud and clear. The systematic destruction of Hebrew/Israeli artifacts attesting to the millennial sojourn of the Jewish people in the Holy Land, a project carried out by the Islamic waqf in control of the Temple Mount, is an undeniable attempt to erase the signs and proofs of the historical presence of an entire nation in what was always its natal homeland. And today we see Islamic militias rampaging through the Middle East demolishing synagogues, churches, temples, palaces, statues, biblical tombs, historical monuments, remnant cities like Hatra and Nimrud, and inestimable cultural treasures anchoring antiquity to the living present.
What we are witnessing here, working in tandem, as noted, with terror, social infiltration and the imminent nuclear and ballistic capability of a deranged and religiously dedicated rogue regime, is the deliberate and ongoing effacement of the historical, cultural and architectural record of Judeo-Christian civilization and its ancient precursors. The attack on ancient artifacts amounts to a surgical operation on the cultural psyche of the occident, a kind of chronosectomy, or removal of the temporal organ, leading ultimately to the gradual elimination of communal memory.
According to Daniel Pipes, the motive for this orgy of destruction is to “confirm the superior power of Muslims and, by implication, the truth of Islam.” There is something to this, of course — a platitude need not be untrue. One will also agree with Robert Spencer’s unexceptionable thesis that for the Muslim sensibility, the relics and shrines of “pre-Islamic civilizations, and non-Islamic civilizations, are all jahiliyya — the society of unbelievers, which is worthless,” as stipulated in the Koran (3:137). But the real quarry is the historical logbook of the West and the material ledger of its antecedents. And the goal is their extirpation.
This initiative against the collective memory of the West, tantamount to the razing of a world-historical library, is nothing less than an auto-da-fé of astronomical significance. As London mayor Boris Johnson writes regarding the “moronic demolition of the past” and the unmaking of our “common story,” “I simply cannot understand the sickening silence and complacency with which we are absorbing news of this tragedy.” But it is not entirely unexpected. For the barbaric iconoclasts of Islam have profited greatly from a tribe of elite Western academics. Looked at from the perspective of a mordant irony, it is as if these Islamic marauders constitute the activist arm of the Western university and its curricular reduction of the magisterial pageant of Western history in favor of a postmodern pastiche of marginal cultures, dubious movements and anti-Western polemics. The ground of desecration has been well prepared by a legion of witting and unwitting collaborators. This malignant tillage is now being pursued to its desired harvest by a host of beneficiary savages.
The four-front assault is what the West is currently up against, but it remains plainly incapable of understanding or resisting the combined onslaught upon its cultural integrity, social consensus, political cohesion, and — Islam’s renewed foray against the mind of the West — the retention of the traditional armature of its past, that is, the glue of retrocognition. A person without memory is a hollow shell, living from moment to moment, unable to plan for the future or survive without help. A civilization that loses its heritage, whose evolutionary development is wiped out, and that no longer knows where it has come from or the identity of its parentage enjoys an aimless and frivolous existence until it eventually collapses and disappears. It survives paradoxically only in the triumphant if sketchy memory of the civilization that has replaced it. The eclipse of memory, the decoupling of the archive from the present, is nothing short of death by other means. When, owing to the eradication of memory, time no longer functions as a sustaining medium, the will to persist is paralyzed and life becomes meaningless. The murder of the past is a particularly effective form of cultural homicide.
“It makes me weep with fury even to think of it,” says Johnson. So should we all. Weeping, however, will get us nowhere. “We cannot allow these people to smash our history,” Johnson concludes. “They must be defeated.” He is right — presuming, of course, that we still remember how to fight.
David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity, and is currently working on a sequel, Living in the Valley of Shmoon. His new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, was released by Mantua Books. His latest book is The Boxthorn Tree, published in December 2012. Visit his Website at www.davidsolway.com and his Facebook page here.
Published on Dec 3, 2012 by Vandoren333
Allah Islam, also known as Islam in Europe, is a documentary series about the rise of Islam by Israeli film makers Zvi Yehezkeli and David Deri. The 4-part series was first broadcast by Israel’s Channel 10 in September, 2012, and looks at the effect of the rise of the Islam religion in Europe, and the growth in numbers of Muslim migrants. The filmmakers go into Muslim immigrant neighborhoods in European nations to investigate the conditions and culture. The film documents a rise in jihadism and antisemitism.
Part 1 – Isolation
Part 2 – Sharia law or State law 0:44:02
Part 3 – Terror 1:23:23
Part 4 – Europe\’s Jews 2:06:55
“Islam’s borders are bloody,” wrote the late political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1996, “and so are its innards.” Nearly 20 years later, Huntington looks more right than ever before. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims. In 2013, there were nearly 12,000 terrorist attacks world-wide. The lion’s share were in Muslim-majority countries, and many of the others were carried out by Muslims. By far the most numerous victims of Muslim violence—including executions and lynchings not captured in these statistics—are Muslims themselves.
Not all of this violence is explicitly motivated by religion, but a great deal of it is. I believe that it is foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself. For more than a decade, my message has been simple: Islam is not a religion of peace.
When I assert this, I do not mean that Islamic belief makes all Muslims violent. This is manifestly not the case: There are many millions of peaceful Muslims in the world. What I do say is that the call to violence and the justification for it are explicitly stated in the sacred texts of Islam. Moreover, this theologically sanctioned violence is there to be activated by any number of offenses, including but not limited to apostasy, adultery, blasphemy and even something as vague as threats to family honor or to the honor of Islam itself.
It is not just al Qaeda and Islamic State that show the violent face of Islamic faith and practice. It is Pakistan, where any statement critical of the Prophet or Islam is labeled as blasphemy and punishable by death. It is Saudi Arabia, where churches and synagogues are outlawed and where beheadings are a legitimate form of punishment. It is Iran, where stoning is an acceptable punishment and homosexuals are hanged for their “crime.”
As I see it, the fundamental problem is that the majority of otherwise peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are unwilling to acknowledge, much less to repudiate, the theological warrant for intolerance and violence embedded in their own religious texts. It simply will not do for Muslims to claim that their religion has been “hijacked” by extremists. The killers of Islamic State and Nigeria’s Boko Haram cite the same religious texts that every other Muslim in the world considers sacrosanct.
Instead of letting Islam off the hook with bland clichés about the religion of peace, we in the West need to challenge and debate the very substance of Islamic thought and practice. We need to hold Islam accountable for the acts of its most violent adherents and to demand that it reform or disavow the key beliefs that are used to justify those acts.
As it turns out, the West has some experience with this sort of reformist project. It is precisely what took place in Judaism and Christianity over the centuries, as both traditions gradually consigned the violent passages of their own sacred texts to the past. Many parts of the Bible and the Talmud reflect patriarchal norms, and both also contain many stories of harsh human and divine retribution. As President Barack Obama said in remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast last month, “Remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”
Yet today, because their faiths went through a long, meaningful process of Reformation and Enlightenment, the vast majority of Jews and Christians have come to dismiss religious scripture that urges intolerance or violence. There are literalist fringes in both religions, but they are true fringes. Regrettably, in Islam, it is the other way around: It is those seeking religious reform who are the fringe element.
Any serious discussion of Islam must begin with its core creed, which is based on the Quran (the words said to have been revealed by the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad) and the hadith (the accompanying works that detail Muhammad’s life and words). Despite some sectarian differences, this creed unites all Muslims. All, without exception, know by heart these words: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah; and Muhammad is His messenger.” This is the Shahada, the Muslim profession of faith.
The Shahada might seem to be a declaration of belief no different from any other. But the reality is that the Shahada is both a religious and a political symbol.
In the early days of Islam, when Muhammad was going from door to door in Mecca trying to persuade the polytheists to abandon their idols of worship, he was inviting them to accept that there was no god but Allah and that he was Allah’s messenger.
After 10 years of trying this kind of persuasion, however, he and his small band of believers went to Medina, and from that moment, Muhammad’s mission took on a political dimension. Unbelievers were still invited to submit to Allah, but after Medina, they were attacked if they refused. If defeated, they were given the option to convert or to die. (Jews and Christians could retain their faith if they submitted to paying a special tax.)
No symbol represents the soul of Islam more than the Shahada. But today there is a contest within Islam for the ownership of that symbol. Who owns the Shahada? Is it those Muslims who want to emphasize Muhammad’s years in Mecca or those who are inspired by his conquests after Medina? On this basis, I believe that we can distinguish three different groups of Muslims.
The first group is the most problematic. These are the fundamentalists who, when they say the Shahada, mean: “We must live by the strict letter of our creed.” They envision a regime based on Shariah, Islamic religious law. They argue for an Islam largely or completely unchanged from its original seventh-century version. What is more, they take it as a requirement of their faith that they impose it on everyone else.
I shall call them Medina Muslims, in that they see the forcible imposition of Shariah as their religious duty. They aim not just to obey Muhammad’s teaching but also to emulate his warlike conduct after his move to Medina. Even if they do not themselves engage in violence, they do not hesitate to condone it.
It is Medina Muslims who call Jews and Christians “pigs and monkeys.” It is Medina Muslims who prescribe death for the crime of apostasy, death by stoning for adultery and hanging for homosexuality. It is Medina Muslims who put women in burqas and beat them if they leave their homes alone or if they are improperly veiled.
The second group—and the clear majority throughout the Muslim world—consists of Muslims who are loyal to the core creed and worship devoutly but are not inclined to practice violence. I call them Mecca Muslims. Like devout Christians or Jews who attend religious services every day and abide by religious rules in what they eat and wear, Mecca Muslims focus on religious observance. I was born in Somalia and raised as a Mecca Muslim. So were the majority of Muslims from Casablanca to Jakarta.
Yet the Mecca Muslims have a problem: Their religious beliefs exist in an uneasy tension with modernity—the complex of economic, cultural and political innovations that not only reshaped the Western world but also dramatically transformed the developing world as the West exported it. The rational, secular and individualistic values of modernity are fundamentally corrosive of traditional societies, especially hierarchies based on gender, age and inherited status.
Trapped between two worlds of belief and experience, these Muslims are engaged in a daily struggle to adhere to Islam in the context of a society that challenges their values and beliefs at every turn. Many are able to resolve this tension only by withdrawing into self-enclosed (and increasingly self-governing) enclaves. This is called cocooning, a practice whereby Muslim immigrants attempt to wall off outside influences, permitting only an Islamic education for their children and disengaging from the wider non-Muslim community.
It is my hope to engage this second group of Muslims—those closer to Mecca than to Medina—in a dialogue about the meaning and practice of their faith. I recognize that these Muslims are not likely to heed a call for doctrinal reformation from someone they regard as an apostate and infidel. But they may reconsider if I can persuade them to think of me not as an apostate but as a heretic: one of a growing number of people born into Islam who have sought to think critically about the faith we were raised in. It is with this third group—only a few of whom have left Islam altogether—that I would now identify myself.
These are the Muslim dissidents. A few of us have been forced by experience to conclude that we could not continue to be believers; yet we remain deeply engaged in the debate about Islam’s future. The majority of dissidents are reforming believers—among them clerics who have come to realize that their religion must change if its followers are not to be condemned to an interminable cycle of political violence.
How many Muslims belong to each group? Ed Husain of the Council on Foreign Relations estimates that only 3% of the world’s Muslims understand Islam in the militant terms I associate with Muhammad’s time in Medina. But out of well over 1.6 billion believers, or 23% of the globe’s population, that 48 million seems to be more than enough. (I would put the number significantly higher, based on survey data on attitudes toward Shariah in Muslim countries.)
In any case, regardless of the numbers, it is the Medina Muslims who have captured the world’s attention on the airwaves, over social media, in far too many mosques and, of course, on the battlefield.
The Medina Muslims pose a threat not just to non-Muslims. They also undermine the position of those Mecca Muslims attempting to lead a quiet life in their cultural cocoons throughout the Western world. But those under the greatest threat are the dissidents and reformers within Islam, who face ostracism and rejection, who must brave all manner of insults, who must deal with the death threats—or face death itself.
For the world at large, the only viable strategy for containing the threat posed by the Medina Muslims is to side with the dissidents and reformers and to help them to do two things: first, identify and repudiate those parts of Muhammad’s legacy that summon Muslims to intolerance and war, and second, persuade the great majority of believers—the Mecca Muslims—to accept this change.
Islam is at a crossroads. Muslims need to make a conscious decision to confront, debate and ultimately reject the violent elements within their religion. To some extent—not least because of widespread revulsion at the atrocities of Islamic State, al Qaeda and the rest—this process has already begun. But it needs leadership from the dissidents, and they in turn stand no chance without support from the West.
What needs to happen for us to defeat the extremists for good? Economic, political, judicial and military tools have been proposed and some of them deployed. But I believe that these will have little effect unless Islam itself is reformed.
Such a reformation has been called for repeatedly at least since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent abolition of the caliphate. But I would like to specify precisely what needs to be reformed.
I have identified five precepts central to Islam that have made it resistant to historical change and adaptation. Only when the harmfulness of these ideas are recognized and they are repudiated will a true Muslim Reformation have been achieved.
Here are the five areas that require amendment:
1. Muhammad’s semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran.
Muhammad should not be seen as infallible, let alone as a source of divine writ. He should be seen as a historical figure who united the Arab tribes in a premodern context that cannot be replicated in the 21st century. And although Islam maintains that the Quran is the literal word of Allah, it is, in historical reality, a book that was shaped by human hands. Large parts of the Quran simply reflect the tribal values of the 7th-century Arabian context from which it emerged. The Quran’s eternal spiritual values must be separated from the cultural accidents of the place and time of its birth.
2. The supremacy of life after death.
The appeal of martyrdom will fade only when Muslims assign a greater value to the rewards of this life than to those promised in the hereafter.
3. Shariah, the vast body of religious legislation.
Muslims should learn to put the dynamic, evolving laws made by human beings above those aspects of Shariah that are violent, intolerant or anachronistic.
4. The right of individual Muslims to enforce Islamic law.
There is no room in the modern world for religious police, vigilantes and politically empowered clerics.
5. The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war.
Islam must become a true religion of peace, which means rejecting the imposition of religion by the sword.
I know that this argument will make many Muslims uncomfortable. Some are bound to be offended by my proposed amendments. Others will contend that I am not qualified to discuss these complex issues of theology and law. I am also afraid—genuinely afraid—that it will make a few Muslims even more eager to silence me.
But this is not a work of theology. It is more in the nature of a public intervention in the debate about the future of Islam. The biggest obstacle to change within the Muslim world is precisely its suppression of the sort of critical thinking I am attempting here. If my proposal for reform helps to spark a serious discussion of these issues among Muslims themselves, I will consider it a success.
Let me make two things clear. I do not seek to inspire another war on terror or extremism—violence in the name of Islam cannot be ended by military means alone. Nor am I any sort of “Islamophobe.” At various times, I myself have been all three kinds of Muslim: a fundamentalist, a cocooned believer and a dissident. My journey has gone from Mecca to Medina to Manhattan.
For me, there seemed no way to reconcile my faith with the freedoms I came to the West to embrace. I left the faith, despite the threat of the death penalty prescribed by Shariah for apostates. Future generations of Muslims deserve better, safer options. Muslims should be able to welcome modernity, not be forced to wall themselves off, or live in a state of cognitive dissonance, or lash out in violent rejection.
But it is not only Muslims who would benefit from a reformation of Islam. We in the West have an enormous stake in how the struggle over Islam plays out. We cannot remain on the sidelines, as though the outcome has nothing to do with us. For if the Medina Muslims win and the hope for a Muslim Reformation dies, the rest of the world too will pay an enormous price—not only in blood spilled but also in freedom lost.
This essay is adapted from Ms. Hirsi Ali’s new book, “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now,” to be published Tuesday by HarperCollins (which, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp). Her previous books include “Infidel” and “Nomad: From Islam to America, A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations.”
For insight into the workings of Muhammad’s mind, consider Chapter 33 of his Koran, entitled “The Confederates.” This is one of the chapters Muhammad composed in Yathrib (later called Medina) where he fled after his Meccan compatriots determined they needed to kill him to preserve their way of life.
The chapter is like a wild theme park ride that races in and out of numerous topics. In the 73 verses that make up the chapter, Muhammad covers the following, using the God-voice he adopted for the Koran: He recaps a recent battle with the Meccans and excoriates people who were afraid to fight and die for him; he gloats about his extermination of the men and boys of one of the Jewish tribes of Yathrib, the confiscation of their property, and the enslavement of their women and children; he authorizes himself to take as many wives as he likes, permits himself to marry the wife of his adopted son, forbids himself from taking any more wives after he has taken as many as he likes, but allows himself sex slaves.
As the verses of this “revelation” continue, Muhammad imposes full body and face cover for women when outside the home, threatens people with humiliating punishment in the afterlife for annoying him, threatens to murder his critics, prohibits the practice of adoption, and dishes up images of sadistic torture in Hell awaiting people who don’t believe in him. He also praises himself as a “lamp spreading light,” and holds his behavior as a “beautiful pattern” for people to follow if they want to score well with Allah.
Among the verses is a celestial advisory that he must be obeyed:
“It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.” (Koran 33:36) [All of the Koran quotes in this article are taken from the Yusuf Ali translation.]
Despite their tediousness, it is worth exploring some of these verses because, in addition to providing evidence of his strange mentality, they also show that his Koran was like a blog in which he commented on the happenings of the moment. The happenings of the moment recorded in Chapter 33 had to do with war, sex, and Muhammad’s betrayal of his adopted son.
In the war part of these verses, Muhammad covers the Meccan assault on Yathrib that came to be known as the Battle of the Trench, so named because of a three-mile defensive trench he dug around vulnerable parts of the valley to fend off the attackers. By the time of this battle, he had been waging war on the Meccans for almost five years. The two major battles of Badr and Uhud had already been fought.
The Battle of the Trench was the third major fight, which took place in A.D. 627. The Meccans attacked with an army of 12,000 warriors, drawn from numerous tribes who were itching for payback for all the harm Muhammad had caused them. But they were unable to get beyond the trench and finally gave up after a fierce windstorm leveled their encampments.
Verses 9 to 25 recap the action, but most are Muhammad’s diatribe against cowardly or fake believers who he was certain would have betrayed him had been given the opportunity. But he declares that Allah did not provide them with the opportunity because he sent the windstorm that disheartened the invaders and sent them packing. The battle was a test of faith of the believers who held firm, and Allah knows how to reward those who hold firm in their faith.
And rewarded they were: After the invaders left, Muhammad attacked the only remaining Jewish tribe of Yathrib and ended up distributing their wealth to the faithful. When he arrived in the valley, half of its 20,000 population was Jewish, divided among three major tribes. By the time of the Battle of the Trench, Muhammad had forced out two of the Jewish tribes. Hoping to escape the same fate, the remaining tribe at first insisted on not taking sides during the Meccan attack, then agreed to aid the invaders, but then backed out of it. Muhammad used this as an excuse to behead all of the men and boys.
Read more at American Thinker
PJ Media, by Robert Spencer, March 20, 2015:
When is it permissible to break moral laws?
That is the impact of the small, easily overlooked phrase “fitnah is worse than killing,” or “persecution is worse than slaughter,” which appears in Qur’an 2:191 (and 2:217).
Allah devotes a large section of “The Cow” (vv. 189-242) to answering various questions that the Muslims had ostensibly asked Muhammad. Allah begins his answers to Muhammad with “They ask you” (vv. 189, 215, 217, 219, 220, 222).One of these questions was whether or not fighting was permissible during the sacred month, which Allah takes up in v. 217.
Muhammad’s first biographer, an eighth-century Muslim named Ibn Ishaq, gives the background of this verse. After the Hijrah, Muhammad’s move from Mecca to Medina, the Muslims began raiding caravans of the pagan Quryash — Muhammad’s own tribe, which had rejected him.
Muhammad himself led many of these raids.
These raids served a key economic purpose: keeping the Muslim movement solvent. At one point Muhammad sent one of his most trusted lieutenants, Abdullah bin Jahsh, along with eight other Muslims out with orders to watch for a Quraysh caravan at Nakhla, a settlement not far from Mecca, and to “find out what they are doing.”
Abdullah and his band took this as an order to raid the Quraysh caravan, which soon came along, carrying leather and raisins. But it was the last day of the sacred month of Rajab, during which — by longstanding Arab custom — fighting was forbidden. This presented them with a dilemma: if they waited until the sacred month was over, the caravan would get away, but if they attacked, they would sin by killing people during the sacred month.
They finally decided, according to Ibn Ishaq, to “kill as many as they could of them and take what they had.”
On the way home to Medina, Abdullah set aside a fifth of the booty for Muhammad (as per Qur’an 8:41). But when they returned to the Muslim camp, Muhammad refused to share in the loot or to have anything to do with them, saying only: “I did not order you to fight in the sacred month.”
But then Allah revealed v. 217, explaining that the Quraysh’s opposition to Muhammad and supposed persecution of the Muslims was more offensive in his eyes than the Muslims’ violation of the sacred month.
The raid was therefore justified: “for persecution is worse than slaughter.”
Whatever sin the Nakhla raiders had committed in violating the sacred month was nothing compared to the Quraysh’s sins.
Ibn Ishaq explained this verse:
They have kept you back from the way of God with their unbelief in Him, and from the sacred mosque, and have driven you from it when you were with its people. This is a more serious matter with God than the killing of those whom you have slain.
Once he received this revelation, Muhammad took Abdullah’s booty and prisoners. Abdullah was considerably relieved, and asked: “Can we hope that it will count as a raid for which we shall be given the reward of combatants?”
Here again Allah answered in a revelation, saying:
Indeed, those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah — those expect the mercy of Allah (v. 218).
“Fought” here is jahadu (جَاهَدُو), which is a form of jihad, and “jihad for the sake of Allah” or “jihad in the way of Allah” (جَاهَدُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ) in Islamic theology always refers to jihad warfare, not to more spiritualized understandings of jihad.
Ibn Kathir, following Ibn Ishaq, also recounts this incident, which was a momentous one: good became identified with anything that was to the benefit of Muslims, and evil with anything that harmed them, without reference to any larger moral standard.
Moral absolutes were swept aside in favor of the overarching principle of expediency.
Sayyid Qutb explains that “Islam is a practical and realistic way of life which is not based on rigid idealistic dogma.” Islam “maintains its own high moral principles,” but only when “justice is established and wrongdoing is contained” — i.e., only when Islamic law rules a society — can “sanctities be protected and preserved.”
So evidently they need not be or cannot be protected before that point.
Like a rejected suitor, Allah then returns to the Jews, again reminding them of all of his spurned favors toward them (v. 211). He notes how the unbelievers scoff at the Muslims (v. 212) and then reveals in capsule form the Islamic view of salvation history:
Mankind was one religion; then Allah sent the prophets as bringers of good tidings and warners and sent down with them the Scripture in truth to judge between the people concerning that in which they differed. And none differed over the Scripture except those who were given it — after the clear proofs came to them — out of jealous animosity among themselves (v. 213).
The people who were given the Scripture are the Jews and the Christians.
And Allah guided those who believed to the truth concerning that over which they had differed, by His permission. And Allah guides whom He wills to a straight path (v. 213).
That is, Allah guided the Muslims to the truth about the things the People of the Book disagreed about. Ibn Kathir explains that they disagreed about the “day of Congregation”:
The Jews made it Saturday while the Christians chose Sunday. Allah guided the Ummah [community] of Muhammad to Friday.
They also disagreed about the direction to face when praying (qiblah), postures of prayer, fasting, and the true religion of Abraham: “The Jews said, `He was a Jew,” while the Christians considered him Christian. Allah has made him a Haniyfan Musliman” — that is, a pre-Islamic monotheist.
Don’t like the idea of waging war for Allah? Tough.
Allah exhorts the believers to fight, even though they “dislike it” (v. 216).
Maulana Bulandshahri explains the traditional view:
While the Muslims were in Makkah, they were weak and few in number, never possessing the capability nor the divine permission for Jihad (religious war). After migrating to Madinah, they received the order to fight their enemies in defense, as a verse of Surah Hajj [chapter 22 of the Qur’an] proclaims: “Permission (to fight) has been granted to those being attacked because they are oppressed” [22:39]. Later on the order came to fight the Infidels (kuffar) even though they do not initiate the aggression.
Bulandshahri was a modern-day theologian, but this view of the three stages of development of the Qur’an’s teaching on warfare is found in Ibn Ishaq’s Eighth Century work, and in the writings of mainstream Islamic theologians throughout the ages, including Ibn Kathir, Ibn Qayyim, Ibn Juzayy, As-Suyuti, and many others.
Besides essentially destroying the idea of moral absolutes, v. 217 is also important for those who leave Islam, or wish they could:
And whoever of you reverts from his religion and dies while he is a disbeliever – for those, their deeds have become worthless in this world and the Hereafter, and those are the companions of the Fire, they will abide therein eternally (Qur’an 2:217).
The Tafsir al-Qurtubi, a classic and mainstream exegesis of the Qur’an, explains:
Scholars disagree about whether or not apostates are asked to repent. One group says that they are asked to repent and, if they do not, they are killed. Some say they are given an hour and others a month. Others say that they are asked to repent three times, and that is the view of Malik. Al-Hasan said they are asked a hundred times. It is also said that they are killed without being asked to repent.
After that, Allah also forbids alcoholic drinks and gambling (v. 219). Several early authorities — Ibn `Umar, Ash-Sha`bi, Mujahid, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and `Abdur-Rahman bin Aslam — say it was the first of three verses to be revealed on this subject, and that would mean that the other two would take precedence over it. Here Allah says that there is “some benefit” in alcohol, but in 5:90 he says that it is “Satan’s handiwork,” which would rule out the ol’ demon rum as being beneficial at all.
Then Allah forbids Muslims to marry “unbelieving women” (v. 221). Ibn Kathir records a large amount of disagreement among Islamic authorities over whether this prohibition applies to Jewish and Christian women, or just to polytheists. However, he notes that there is Ijma — consensus — among Islamic jurists that such marriages are allowed, although of course Muslim women are not allowed by any school of Islamic law to marry Jewish or Christian men.
In a culture that requires women to be utterly subservient to men, these unequal laws ensure that non-Muslim communities remain subjugated, not enjoying equality of rights or equality of dignity with Muslims.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We’re In. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.
Reading the Qur’an to understand why Obama keeps failing with the world’s Muslim states. (Read the prior post here.)
PJ Media, by Robert Spencer, March 18, 2015:
How much is your life worth?
In Islamic law, a Muslim woman is worth half of a man, and a Jew or Christian is worth one-third of what a Muslim is worth.
Skeptical? Read on.
Continuing our tour through “The Cow,” the second and longest sura of the Qur’an, we encounter in verses 141-150 a discussion of the qibla, the direction for prayer. Allah tells the Muslims to face the sacred mosque in Mecca when they pray (v. 150), when previously they had joined the Jews in facing Jerusalem. According to Islamic tradition, this came at the end of Muhammad’s attempts to convince the Jews that he was a prophet in the line of the Jewish prophets.
Allah tells Muhammad that only “the foolish among the people” (v. 142) will protest the change. And who are they? You guessed it: the Jews. On that identification the relatively moderate commentator Muhammad Asad and the comparative hardliner Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Ilahi Bulandshahri agree.
Asad says: “This ‘abandonment’ of Jerusalem obviously displeased the Jews of Medina, who must have felt gratified when they saw the Muslims praying towards their holy city; and it is to them that the opening sentence of this passage refers.”
Allah further criticizes the Jews and Christians for following “their desires” even though they knew Muhammad’s qibla is from Allah (vv. 144-6).
We already saw that Allah’s announcement that when he abrogated a verse, he would replace it with a better one (v. 106), and that some Muslims believe that refers to things in the Qur’an, and others think it applies only to the Bible’s having been superseded by the Qur’an. The change in the qibla has some bearing on this.
Ibn Abbas, Muhammad’s cousin and an important early Islamic authority, says that “the first abrogated part in the Qur’an was about the Qiblah.” However, there is nothing in the Qur’an directing Muslims to pray facing Jerusalem, so this is an abrogation of an extra-Qur’anic regulation. Abrogation, as we shall see, is far more important in other contexts.
The qibla change is also the first time that we encounter a running theme in the Qur’an: Allah’s solicitude for Muhammad. An attentive reader of the Qur’an will come away thinking that in the eyes of the Supreme Being, Muhammad is the most important person who ever lived — or the authors of the book wanted to make sure that readers thought so.
Allah presents the new qibla as if it is a gift especially for Muhammad, who “will be pleased” by the new direction for prayer (v. 144). Several other passages in the Qur’an show Allah’s special concern for Muhammad; another is Allah’s gently rebuking him for initially declining to marry his former daughter-in-law (a legendary beauty) when Allah wanted him to do so (33:37).
Such passages have led unbelievers to think that Muhammad was enjoying the personal perks of prophethood, but for Muslims they only underscore Muhammad’s special status: the details of his life, and even his desires — in longing to pray facing the Ka’ba — are vehicles through which Allah reveals eternal truths and divine laws. And his example is normative.
Muqtedar Khan of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy explains:
No religious leader has as much influence on his followers as does Muhammad (Peace be upon him) the last Prophet of Islam. … So much so that the words, deeds and silences (that which he saw and did not forbid) of Muhammad became an independent source of Islamic law. Muslims, as a part of religious observance, not only obey, but also seek to emulate and imitate their Prophet in every aspect of life. Thus Muhammad is the medium as well as a source of the divine law.
Allah then encourages the believers to be steadfast (vv. 151-157) and approves of a pre-Islamic practice during the Hajj (v. 158), the pilgrimage to Mecca, before returning to one of favorite themes: the perversity of the unbelievers (vv. 159-177). Those who reject Islam will incur the curses of Allah, the angels, and all mankind (v. 161), and will dwell in hell (v. 162).
Meanwhile, the burden of the believers is not heavy. They only need abstain from certain foods, including pork (v. 173). There are among the unbelievers those who stubbornly conceal what they know Allah has revealed (v. 174).
Those who argue about what Allah has revealed in the Qur’an are in “open schism” (v. 176). The Tafsir al-Jalalayn says that these are — yet again — the Jews.
After that, Allah legislates on various matters: zakat (almsgiving), the Ramadan fast, the Hajj, and jihad (vv. 178-203). He establishes the law of retaliation (qisas) for murder (v. 178): equal recompense must be given for the life of the victim, which can take the form of blood money (diyah): a payment to compensate for the loss suffered. In Islamic law (Sharia) the amount of compensation varies depending on the religion of the victim: non-Muslim lives simply aren’t worth as much as Muslim lives.
Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller), a Sharia manual that Cairo’s prestigious Al-Azhar University certifies as conforming to the “practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community,” says that the payment for killing a woman is half of that to be paid for a man and for killing a Jew or Christian one-third that paid for killing a male Muslim (o4.9).
For an explanation of this, see the Sufi Sheikh Sultanhussein Tabandeh’s statement here.
The following are among the Qur’an’s most important words about jihad warfare (vv. 190-193).
“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress” (v. 190) is often invoked today to show that jihad can only be defensive. Asad says that “this and the following verses lay down unequivocally that only self-defence (in the widest sense of the word) makes war permissible for Muslims.”
However, the Tafsir al-Jalalayn says that this verse was abrogated by 9:1, which voids every treaty between the Muslims and nonbelievers. On the other hand, Ibn Kathir rejects the idea that the verse was abrogated.
What constitutes a defensive conflict? A clue to that comes in v. 193: “Fight them until there is no fitnah and worship is for Allah.” Fitnah is persecution or unrest. Ibn Ishaq explains that this means that Muslims must fight against unbelievers “until God alone is worshipped.”
Says Bulandshahri: “The worst of sins are Infidelity (Kufr) and Polytheism (shirk) which constitute rebellion against Allah, The Creator. To eradicate these, Muslims are required to wage war until there exists none of it in the world, and the only religion is that of Allah.”
That amounts to a declaration of perpetual war against all non-Muslim religions.
Nonetheless, this conflict would be essentially defensive, against the aggressions of unbelief: if Muslims must fight until unbelief does not exist, the mere presence of unbelief constitutes sufficient aggression to allow for the beginning of hostilities.
This is one of the foundations for the supremacist notion that Muslims must wage war against unbelievers until those unbelievers are either converted to Islam or subjugated under the rule of Islamic law, as Qur’an 9:29 states explicitly.
As the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, puts it in a hadith:
“I have been commanded to fight against people, till they testify to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and believe in me (that) I am the messenger (from the Lord) and in all that I have brought. And when they do it, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my behalf except where it is justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah.” (Sahih Muslim 31)
Thus one may reasonably assume that if one does not accept him as a prophet, one’s blood and riches are not safe from those who read these words as the words of a messenger from the one true God.
In keeping with the theme of war, Allah then warns believers not to doubt, backslide, or follow Islam half-heartedly (vv. 204-210):
“O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy” (v. 208).
This kind of statement makes reform difficult, for the reformer is always vulnerable to the charge that he is not entering Islam completely.
The enemy of Islamic brutality is information, shared on social media. Carpet bomb the internet with this information. Spread it far and spread it wide. Spread it like Napalm. – Eric Allen Bell
Many people are confused by jihad. If Islam is a religion of peace, why is there a persistent problem of radicalism in the Muslim world? If Islam is the problem, why are there so many peaceful Muslims? In this video, David Wood explains that jihad isn’t the product of a single factor, but of three factors: belief, knowledge, and obedience. These three factors come together in what we’ll call “The Jihad Triangle.”