Raymond Ibrahim on TruNews with Rick Wiles

ibrahimbook_s640x427Raymond Ibrahim:

Last week I was interviewed by Rick Wiles on TruNews. Topics dealt with the Islamic State, Christian persecution, and the Obama administration. The interview can be heard below; it starts around the 9:30 mark:

Exposed: Obama Helped Decade-Old Plan to Create IS


Frontpage, By Raymond Ibrahim:

Although the birth of the Islamic State and the herald of the caliphate are often regarded as some of 2014’s “big shockers,” they were foretold in striking detail and with an accurate timeline by an al-Qaeda insider nearly one decade ago.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

On August 12, 2005, Spiegel Online International published an article titled “The Future of Terrorism: What al-Qaeda Really Wants.”  Written by Yassin Musharbash, the article was essentially a review of a book written by Fouad Hussein, a Jordanian journalist with close access to al-Qaeda and its affiliates, including the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who pioneered the videotaping of beheadings “to strike terror into the hearts” of infidels (Koran 3:151).

As Hussein explained in the introduction of his book Al Zarqawi: Al Qaeda’s Second Generation: “I interviewed a whole range of al-Qaeda members with different ideologies to get an idea of how the war between the terrorists and Washington would develop in the future.”

And in fact the book details the master plan of al-Qaeda—in its “second generation” manifestation known as the “Islamic State” which follows much of Zarqawi’s modus operandi—to resurrect a caliphate.  This plan is sufficiently outlandish that Yassin Musharbash, the author of the Spiegel article reviewing Hussein’s book, repeatedly casts doubt on its feasibility.  Thus al-Qaeda’s plan is “proof both of the terrorists’ blindness as well as their brutal single-mindedness”; there is “no way” al-Qaeda can follow the plan “step by step”; “the idea that al-Qaeda could set up a caliphate in the entire Islamic world is absurd”; and the following “scenario should be judged skeptically.”

Yet it is all the more remarkable that much of this plan—especially those phases dismissed as infeasible by Musharbash (four and five)—have come to pass.

In what follows, I reproduce the seven phases of al-Qaeda’s master plan as presented in Musharbash’s nearly ten-year-old article (in bullet points and italics, bold for emphasis), with my commentary interspersed for context.  Phases four and five are of particular importance as they describe the goals for recent times, much of which have come to fruition according to plan.

An Islamic Caliphate in Seven Easy Steps

•The First Phase Known as “the awakening”—this has already been carried out and was supposed to have lasted from 2000 to 2003, or more precisely from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington to the fall of Baghdad in 2003. The aim of the attacks of 9/11 was to provoke the US into declaring war on the Islamic world and thereby “awakening” Muslims. “The first phase was judged by the strategists and masterminds behind al-Qaeda as very successful,” writes Hussein. “The battle field was opened up and the Americans and their allies became a closer and easier target.” The terrorist network is also reported as being satisfied that its message can now be heard “everywhere.”

Much of this is accurate and makes sense.  Sadly, if any eyes were opened after the 9/11 attacks on American soil, they weren’t Western eyes—certainly not the eyes of Western leadership, mainstream media, and academia.  But to many Muslims, the strikes of 9/11 were inspiring and motivating, giving credence to Osama bin Laden’s characterization of America as a “paper tiger.” A few years after the Islamic strikes of 9/11, Americans responded by electing a man with a Muslim name and heritage for president, even as he continuously empowers in a myriad of ways—including banning knowledge of Islam—the same ideology behind the strikes of 9/11. Meanwhile, the average Muslim relearned the truths of their religion, namely that the “infidel” is an existential enemy and jihad against him is a duty, as al-Qaeda and others had successfully shown.

•The Second Phase “Opening Eyes” is, according to Hussein’s definition, the period we are now in [writing in 2005] and should last until 2006. Hussein says the terrorists hope to make the western conspiracy aware of the “Islamic community.” Hussein believes this is a phase in which al-Qaeda wants an organization to develop into a movement. The network is banking on recruiting young men during this period. Iraq should become the center for all global operations, with an “army” set up there and bases established in other Arabic states.

This too is accurate.   Among other things, the “Islamic community,” the umma, began to be more visible and vocal during this time frame, including through a rash of attacks and riots following any perceived “insult” to Islam, growing demands for appeasement, and accusations of “Islamophobia” against all and sundry.  If there weren’t any spectacular terror attacks on the level of 9/11, young Muslim men were quietly enlisting and training in the jihad—or in western parlance, “radicalizing.”  Al-Qaeda went from being an “organization” to a “movement”—international “radicalization.”  Most importantly, Iraq, as the world now knows, certainly did become the “center for all global operations” with an “army” of jihadis set up there.

•The Third Phase This is described as “Arising and Standing Up” and should last from 2007 to 2010. “There will be a focus on Syria,” prophesies Hussein, based on what his sources told him. The fighting cadres are supposedly already prepared and some are in Iraq. Attacks on Turkey and—even more explosive— in Israel are predicted. Al-Qaeda’s masterminds hope that attacks on Israel will help the terrorist group become a recognized organization. The author also believes that countries neighboring Iraq, such as Jordan, are also in danger.

Much of this third phase as described and transpired seems to have been an extension of phase two.  In retrospect, there certainly appears to have been a focus on Syria, even if the jihad started there one year behind schedule (2011).  And many of the jihadis were “already prepared” and “some are in Iraq.”   None of this was a surprise, of course, as U.S. intelligence always indicated that if American forces withdrew from Iraq, the jihadis would take over.

•The Fourth Phase Between 2010 and 2013, Hussein writes that al-Qaeda will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments. The estimate is that “the creeping loss of the regimes’ power will lead to a steady growth in strength within al-Qaeda.” At the same time attacks will be carried out against oil suppliers and the US economy will be targeted using cyber terrorism.

This is immensely prophetic.  Recall that the timeline given (2010-2013) coincides remarkably well with the so-called “Arab Spring,” which culminated with Islamic terrorists and their allies taking over the leadership of several Arab countries formerly ruled by secularized autocrats: Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood (which plays Dr. Jekyll to al-Qaeda’s Mr. Hyde); Libya, al-Qaeda/Islamic jihadis; ongoing Syria, al-Qaeda/Islamic jihadis (or their latest manifestation, the Islamic State, al-Qaeda’s “second generation”), etc.  It should be remembered that in each of these nations—Egypt, Libya, Syria—the Obama administration played a major role in empowering the jihadis, though in the name of “democracy.” 

•The Fifth Phase This will be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, can be declared. The plan is that by this time, between 2013 and 2016, Western influence in the Islamic world will be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al-Qaeda hopes that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order.

Again, right on time: the “Islamic State” declared itself the “caliphate” in 2014, with many Muslim organizations and persons around the world pledging their allegiance, if not imitating their slaughter, with inspired “lone wolves” already beheading “infidels” in Western nations.   And if the administration helped empower jihadis during the “Arab Spring” and in the name of “democracy” in Egypt, Libya, and Syria, it helped the creation of the Islamic State by withdrawing U.S. military forces that were keeping al-Qaeda at bay in Iraq.  Recall that in 2007 George W. Bush said that “To begin withdrawing [military forces] before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States.  It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaeda.  It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale.  It would mean we allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan.  It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.” All of these predictions have proven remarkably prescient—not because Bush was a prophet but because U.S intelligence clearly understood the situation in Iraq, and briefed Obama on it just as it did Bush. Yet, in 2011, Obama declared the Iraq war a success and pulled out American troops, leaving the way wide open for the jihadi master plan of resurrecting the caliphate to unfold.

•The Sixth Phase Hussein believes that from 2016 onwards there will a period of “total confrontation.” As soon as the caliphate has been declared the “Islamic army” it will instigate the “fight between the believers and the non-believers” which has so often been predicted by Osama bin Laden.

This needs clarification.  While many assume that the “fight between the believers and the non-believers” is between Muslims and non-Muslims, this is not always the case.  Soon after the announcement of the caliphate, the Islamic State made clear that it was in the phase of waging jihad on “apostates” and “hypocrites,” meaning all the “apostate” or “infidel” Arab leaders like Bashar al-Assad, as well as Muslim populations that are insufficiently “Islamic.”  It is for this reason that the new caliph took on the name of “Abu Bakr”—the name of the first historic caliph (632-634) whose caliphate was characterized by fighting and bringing back into the fold of Islam all those Arabs who broke away after Muhammad died.   Afterwards, when all the Arab tribes were unified under the banner of Islam, the great historic conquests, or jihads against neighboring “infidels,” took place.

•The Seventh Phase This final stage is described as “definitive victory.” Hussein writes that in the terrorists’ eyes, because the rest of the world will be so beaten down by the “one-and-a-half billion Muslims,” the caliphate will undoubtedly succeed. This phase should be completed by 2020, although the war shouldn’t last longer than two years.

Phase seven remains to be seen, as it is has another five years to go.  As for the world being “so beaten down by the one-and-a-half billion Muslims,” actor Ben Affleck reflected this sentiment recently when he kept apologizing for Islam by saying Muslims “are a billion and a half.”   At any rate, considering that the preceding phases have all largely come to pass—with a passive West doing nothing to prevent them, that is, when not actively aiding them—there is certainly no good reason to think Western leadership will stop the final phase from occurring: a unified, aggressive, expansionist, and eventually possibly even nuclear armed caliphate preparing to terrorize its neighbors on a grand scale—just like its historic predecessor did for centuries.

“We Need Your Head”: Muslim Persecution of Christians, July 2014

By Raymond Ibrahim:

“The United States did not come out to say anything about Boko Haram. They kept talking about economic problem. That is not true… The United States deliberately ignored the fundamental issues of religious ideology.” — Nicholas Okoh, Primate, Church of Nigeria

A judge in Iran sentenced a Christian man to have his lips burnt with a cigarette for eating during the day in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

A church member added that members of the Muslim group had said they wanted to transform Uganda into am Islamic nation and would kill anyone who refused to convert.

The purge of ancient Christian communities throughout Iraq that started in June culminated in great intolerance in July.

Among other Islamic attacks, a Christian church that had stood Iraq for 1,800 years — a church that was erected less than 200 years after Christ — was reportedly torched by the Islamic State, according to countless news agencies, including Al Arabiya.

A fire rages in the compound of Mosul’s 1800 year-old church, July 2014.

Islamic State jihadis also stormed and took over an ancient monastery in northern Iraq. St. Behnam monastery had stood since the fourth century and was one of Iraq’s best-known Christian landmarks. It was built by an Assyrian king as a penance for executing his children Behnam and Sarah for converting to Christianity.

The jihadis expelled its few monks; they said, “You have no place here anymore, you have to leave immediately.” The monks pled to be allowed to save some of the monastery’s ancient relics, but the jihadis refused and ordered them to walk miles along a deserted road with nothing but their clothes.

The Islamic State issued a July 19 deadline for Mosul’s Christians either to convert to Islam or face execution. Islamic State members also singled out Christian homes by placing the Arabic letter for “N” — based on the Arabic word Nasara, or “Nazarenes,” the Koran’s pejorative for Christians — on the sides of their homes. The result, in the words of Patriarch Louis Sako, is that, “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians.”

In response to the Islamic State’s latest atrocities against Iraq’s Christian minorities, the Syriac Orthodox Bishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, George Saliba, denounced not just the Islamic State but Muslims in general for their long “history of violence and oppression against Christians”:

What is happening in Iraq is a strange thing, but it is normal for Muslims, because they have never treated Christians well, and they have always held an offensive and defaming stand against Christians…. We used to live and coexist with Muslims, but then they revealed their canines [teeth]…. [They don't] have the right to storm houses, steal and attack the honor of Christians. Most Muslims do this; the Ottomans killed us and after that the ruling nation-states understood the circumstances but always gave advantage to the Muslims. Islam has never changed…

Islamic organizations responded by denouncing the Syriac bishop’s words as “hateful” and Islamophobic, demanding an apology.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also made some telling remarks concerning the plight of Christians, especially in those Mideast countries the U.S. is involved in. When asked if he was “troubled” by the Presbyterian Church USA’s decision to withdraw $21 million worth of investments from Israel on behalf of the Palestinian people, the prime minister said:

You know I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice; one is, make sure it’s an armor plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christians.

The rest of July’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity.

Read it all at Gatestone Institute

Islam and the Mafia: ‘Making An Offer You Can’t Refuse’

mgf-450x253Front Page, by Raymond Ibrahim:

Editor’s note: The following is Part Three a three-part series examining the many parallels between Islam and the mafia following Bill Maher’s recent exclamation that Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will f***ing kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.” Click for Part One and for Part Two.

Coercion and Death Threats

Although the novel turned movie, The Godfather, is fictitious, it also captures much of the mafia’s modus operandi. Consider, for example, that most famous of lines—“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse”—spoken by the Godfather to one of his “godsons,” an aspiring actor and singer, who, after being turned down by a studio director for a role that he desperately wanted, turns to his Godfather for aid.

As the movie progresses, we discover that the offer that the director can’t refuse is nothing less than violence and the threat of death: after the Godfather’s messenger to the director asking that the actor be given the role is again rejected, the studio head awakes to find the bloodied and decapitated head of his favorite stallion in bed with him. The godson subsequently gets the movie role.

Throughout the context of the entire Godfather trilogy—and indeed, in the context of the mafia—making someone “an offer they can’t refuse”—comes to mean “do as I say or suffer the consequences,” possibly death.

Compare this to Islam’s threefold choice. On Muhammad’s orders, whenever Islamic jihadis conquer a territory, they are to give the non-Muslim inhabitants three choices: 1) convert to Islam, 2) maintain your own religion (an option technically only available to Christians and Jews) but pay tribute and live as a subdued third-class citizen, a “dhimmi,” or 3) die.

Not only do the primary historical texts written by authoritative Muslims record this aspect of Islam, but to this very day, Islam’s threefold choice is making headlines, most recently at the hands of the Islamic State.

The ‘Protection Racket’

Once the mafia gains a “territory,” one of the primary ways it profits is by collecting “protection money” from the inhabitants. While the protection racket has several faces, one in particular is akin to an Islamic institution: the idea of coercing people in the mafia’s territory to pay money for “protection,” ostensibly from outside forces, when in fact the protection bought is from the mafia itself—that is, extortion money, or pizzo. Potential “clients” who refuse the mafia’s “protection” often have their property vandalized and are routinely threatened and harassed.

Compare pizzo with the Islamic concept of jizya: The word jizya appears in Koran 9:29: “Fight those among the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth, until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (emphasis added).”

In the hadith, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad—in our analogy, the “underboss”—regularly calls on Muslims to demand jizya of non-Muslims:  “If they refuse to accept Islam,” said the Islamic prophet, “demand from them the jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay jizya, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”

The root meaning of the Arabic word “jizya” is simply to “repay” or “recompense,” basically to “compensate” for something.  According to the Hans Wehr Dictionary, the standard Arabic-English dictionary, jizya is something that “takes the place” of something else, or “serves instead.”

Simply put, conquered non-Muslims were to purchase their lives, which were otherwise forfeit to their Muslim conquerors, with money. Instead of taking their lives, they took their money.  As one medieval jurist succinctly puts it, “their lives and their possessions are only protected by reason of payment of jizya” (Crucified Again, p. 22).

Interestingly, just as the mafia rationalizes its collection of “protection money” by portraying it as money paid to buy mafia protection against “outsiders”—when, as mentioned, the money/tribute serves only to protect the client from the mafia itself—so too do Islam’s apologists portray the collection of jizya as money meant to buy Muslim protection from outsiders, when in fact the money/jizya buys protection from Muslims themselves.

Conclusion: Mafia—What’s In a Word?

What accounts for all these similarities between Islam and the mafia? It is further telling that the word mafia itself,which means “hostility to the law, boldness,” is believed to be derived from the Arabic slang word, mahya, which in translation means “bragging, boasting, bravado, and swaggering.”

This etymology is a reminder that Sicily, birthplace of the mafia, was under Arab/Islamic domination for over 200 years. Aside from a borrowed etymology, could much of the mafia’s modus operandi also have been borrowed from Islam? Could native Sicilians, over the centuries, have co-opted the techniques of social controls that they had lived under and learned from their former overlords—albeit free from its Islamic trappings?

Either way, when HBO personality Bill Maher recently proclaimed that Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will f***ing kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book”—he was barely touching the tip of the iceberg of similarities between Islam and the mafia.

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Don’t miss Raymond Ibrahim on The Glazov Gang discussing ISIS’s Islamic Inspirations:

 

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Ben Affleck: Portrait of Islam’s Clueless Apologists

AP REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER A ENT USA CABy Raymond Ibrahim:

The value of actor Ben Affleck’s recent outbursts in defense of Islam [1] on HBO’s Real Time is that here, in one 10-minute segment [2], we have all the leftist/liberal bromides used whenever Islam is criticized.

In what follows, Affleck’s main arguments are presented and then discredited.

Relativism and the Islamic Heterogeneity Myth

At the start, when author Sam Harris began making some critical remarks concerning Islam, a visibly agitated Affleck interrupted him by somewhat sarcastically asking, “Are you the person who understands the officially codified doctrine of Islam?  You’re the interpreter of that?”

Affleck was essentially arguing that really no one is qualified to say what is or is not Islamic, since all Muslims are free to interpret Islam anyway they want.   This notion has less to do with how Islam is practiced and more to do with Western relativism, specifically the postmodern belief that there are no “truths,” that everything is open to individual expression.  Thus even if an Islamic sheikh from Al Azhar University were to tell Affleck that the criticism leveled against Islam were true, the actor would no doubt reply, “Fine, that’s your opinion, but I know that most other Muslims disagree.”

The fundamental mistake in this position is that it places Muslims on a higher pedestal of authority than Islam itself (even though muslims are by definition “one’s who submit” to islam, which is “submission” to Allah’s laws).  Islam is based on the law, or Sharia — “the way” prescribed by Allah and his prophet.  And Sharia most certainly does call for any number of things — subjugation of women and religious minorities, war on “infidels” and the enslavement of their women and children, bans on free speech and apostasy — that even Affleck would normally condemn.

In short, Sunni Islam, which approximately 90% of all Muslims follow, is far from heterogeneous.  It has only four recognized schools of jurisprudence, and these agree over the basics, with only minor differences over detail.  Even in the other 10% of Islamic sects, most of which are Shia or Shia offshoots, one finds that when it comes to intolerant aspects, they too are in agreement.  For example, while all Islamic schools of law prescribe the death penalty for leaving Islam, some argue that female apostates should “only” be imprisoned and beat until they embrace Islam again.

The ‘Racism’ Card

When Bill Maher, the host of Real Time, asked “But why can’t we talk about this [Islamic issues]?” Affleck shot back with, “Because it’s gross, it’s racist.”

This meme is as common as it is absurd and does not deserve much rebuttal.  Suffice to say that Muslims are not a race.  There are Muslims of all nations, races, ethnicities — from sub-Saharan Africans to blonde haired, blue-eyed Europeans.   Yet many apologists for Islam, including congressmen and congresswomen [3], habitually rely on this lie — I won’t even deign to call it an “apologetic” — simply because accusing someone of being “racist,” in this case, critics of Islam, is one of the surest way of shutting them up.

Conflating Muslim Teachings with Muslim People

At one point, after the other speakers made certain statistical points, Affleck made the following outburst, to much applause: “How about the more than a billion people [Muslims], who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punish women, who wanna go to school, have some sandwiches, pray five times a day, and don’t do any of the things you’re saying of all Muslims. It’s stereotyping.”

Again, Affleck conflates the actions of people — Muslims — with the teachings of a religion — Islam.  Going back to the apostasy example, Islamic law clearly teaches that those who abandon Islam — including as the world recently saw, one pregnant Christian woman, Meriam Ibrahim [4] — are to be executed.   One can therefore say that Sharia calls for the death of apostates.

But can one say with similar certainty  that every single Muslim alive today believes that the apostasy penalty should be upheld?  Obviously not.  Yet this is not a reflection of Islam; it is a reflection of individual human freedom — a freedom that ironically goes against Islamic teaching.

Nonetheless, this conflation of Islam with Muslims is an all too common approach used to shield the former from criticism.  (See this 2007 video [5] where I respond more fully to this question from a concerned reporter.)

Read more at PJ Media

Is the Islamic State a Good Thing?

iraq-shiite-isis-423x350Frontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim:

The following is an envisioning of what might eventually unfold if the Islamic State is left to flourish.  Although it is only one of several scenarios, due to its ostensibly implausible nature, it deserves some delineation.

The Islamic State (IS) continues expanding its territory and influence through jihad.   Religious minorities that fall under its sway—at least the fortunate ones—continue to flee in droves, helping make the Islamic State what it strives to be: purely Islamic.

Left unfettered, with only cosmetic airstrikes by an indecisive Obama administration to deal with, IS continues growing in strength and confidence, as Western powers again stand idly by.

More and more Muslims around the world, impressed and inspired by what they see, become convinced that the Islamic State is in fact the new caliphate deserving of their allegiance.  Such Muslims—the most “radical” kind, who delight in the slaughter and subjugation of “infidels”—continue leaving Western nations and migrating to the Islamic State to wage jihad and live under Sharia.

In other words, a sizable chunk of the world’s most radicalized/pious Muslims all become localized in one region.  There they openly and proudly display their anti-infidel supremacism.

Throughout, Western media have no choice but to report objectively—so thoroughly exposed for its barbarity has IS become that it is an insurmountable task to whitewash its atrocities.  The world has seen enough about IS to know that this is a savage, hostile, and supremacist state without excuse.   Even Obama, after originally citing “grievances”as propelling the Islamic State’s successes, recently made an about face, saying “No grievance justifies these actions.”

Put differently, the “Palestinian card” will not work here.  Western media, apologists, and talking heads cannot portray IS terror—including crucifying, beheading, and raping humans simply because they are “infidels”—as a product of “grievances” or “land disputes.”

Indeed, the Islamic State itself, which is largely composed of foreigners, is the one invading other territories (Iraq, Syria), massacring and driving out their most indigenous inhabitants, from Christians to Yazidis.

In time, the Islamic State’s borders are fully consolidated and the “caliphate” is a fact of reality.  Its war on fellow Muslim “apostates”—its current excuse for not engaging the greatest of all “infidels” in the region, Israel—eventually comes to a close or stalemate.

Then the inevitable happens: another conflict erupts between Israel and Hamas; Muslims around the word, including those under IS authority, drunk with power and feelings of superiority, demand that the time to wipe out the Jewish infidel has finally come; that the second phase of the caliphate is now or never—conquest of “original infidels.”

As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu recently declared during his U.N. speech, “ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree. ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control.”

Thus the Islamic State will eventually be compelled to start saber rattling and worse against Israel.  After all, its entire legitimacy is founded on its namesake—that it is the“Islamic state,” the state that magnifies and protects Islam and Muslims.   It must eventually confront Israel or else be proven the greatest of all hypocrites or munafiqun—a term of great rebuke in the Koran, which some Muslim authorities are already applying to IS for not confronting Israel now.

Conflicts inevitably ensue between Israel and its neighboring Islamic State.   But unlike the Jewish state’s war on Hamas—which the mainstream media can manipulate and portray as a war on innocent Palestinian women and children—world governments and media will find it exceedingly difficult to criticize Israel should any conflict between it and IS arise.

Unlike sympathy for the Palestinians, non-Muslims around the world vacillate between hate for and fear of the Islamic State; even Karen Armstrong, John Esposito and their ilk cannot apologize for this particular group of Islamic savages—other than to insist that theirs is not true Islam (an irrelevant point for the purposes of this scenario).

Moreover, the argument habitually used against Israel—that its war on Hamas creates innocent Palestinian casualties—loses all legitimacy in any war on the Islamic State.

After all, IS, the state itself—not some terrorist organization ensconced within the state—is beheading, massacring, and enslaving humans solely on the basis of their religious identity.  Its citizens—who went there of their own accord, unlike “displaced” and “trapped” Palestinians—are fanatical, extremist Muslims, whose greatest aspiration is to decapitate an infidel.

No one can apologize for this.   The best that can be said is that this is not “true” Islam.

This is why, even now, the pro-Islamic Obama administration is forced to condemn IS and even (if perfunctorily) militarily engage it.

In short, conventional war becomes very justifiable against IS—especially because there is no longer any worry of accidentally killing this or that moderate or non-Muslim, as they have all been driven away, replaced by Islamic terrorists from around the world.

And conventional war has traditionally been the bane of Islamists, who prefer terrorism, hiding among civilians, using them as shields, and playing the victim.

Safe from international censure and pushed to the edge, Israel eventually obliterates the Islamic State, while even Islam’s greatest apologists in the West must hold their tongue or else be seen as defenders of the state responsible for the greatest atrocities—crucifixions, beheadings, rapes, slavery, and wholesale massacres—so far committed in the 21st century.

Three positive consequences emerge from all this:

1. Not only is the Islamic State destroyed, but with it, some of the world’s most supremacist and hate-filled Muslims—those who quit their home countries, including from the West, to persecute and kill the “infidels.”

2. The rest of the world’s Muslims get a major and much needed wakeup call.  Some may start to rethink the notion of “jihad” and eternal enmity for the rest of the world.  Some may start to rethink Islam altogether.

3. The non-Muslim world also gets a much needed wakeup call, another lesson to add to the major wars and conflicts of the 20th century, this time about Islamic fascism, which, finally, becomes catalogued as the danger it is.

Note: I am not advocating for this scenario—admittedly, one of many different kinds of scenarios that can develop if the Islamic State is left to flourish—and would prefer to see IS made extinct now. For even if this scenario comes to pass, matters must first get significantly worse before they can begin to get better.

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Don’t miss Raymond Ibrahim on The Glazov Gang discussing ISIS’s Islamic Inspirations:

Beheading Infidels: How Allah ‘Heals the Hearts of Believers’

by Raymond Ibrahim
FrontPage Magazine
September 11, 2014

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW

taliban-sword-11052007To understand why the Islamic State not only decapitates its “infidel” captives, but also mutilates and mocks their corpses—and all to sadistic laughter—one need only turn to the Koran and deeds of Islamic prophet Muhammad.

The Koran exhorts believers to “Fight them [those who oppose Islam], Allah will torment them with your hands, humiliate them, empower you over them, and heal the hearts of the believers, removing the rage from their hearts” (Koran 9:14-15).

As usual, to understand the significance of any Koran verse, one must turn to the sira and hadith—the biography and anecdotes of Muhammad, respectively—for context.

Thus we come to the following account concerning the slaughter of ‘Amr bin Hisham, a pagan Arab chieftain originally  known as “Abu Hakim” (Father of Wisdom) until Muhammad dubbed him “Abu Jahl” (Father of Stupidity) for his staunch opposition to Islam.

After ‘Amr was mortally wounded by a new convert to Islam during the Battle of Badr, Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud, a close companion of Muhammad, saw the “infidel” chieftain collapsed on the ground.  So he went to him and started abusing him.  Among other things, Abdullah grabbed and pulled ‘Amr’s beard and stood in triumph on the dying man’s chest.

According to Al-Bidaya wa Al-Nihaya (“The Beginning and the End”), Ibn Kathir’s authoritiative history of Islam, “After that, he [Abdullah] cut his [‘Amr’s] head off and bore it till he placed it between the hands of the Prophet. Thus did Allah heal the hearts of the believers with it.”

This, then, is the true significance of Koran 9:14-15: “Fight them, Allah will torment them with your hands [mortally wounding and eventually decapitating ‘Amr], humiliate them [pulling his beard], empower you over them [standing atop him], and heal the hearts of the believers, removing the rage from their hearts [at the sight of his decapitated head].”

The logic here is that, pious Muslims are so full of zeal for Allah’s cause that the only way their inflamed hearts can be at rest is to see those who oppose Allah and his prophet utterly crushed—humiliated, mutilated, decapitated.  Then the hearts of the believers can be at ease and “healed.”

This is surely one of the reasons behind the Islamic State’s dissemination of gory videos and pictures of its victims: the new “caliphate” is trying to heal the hearts of every believer inflamed for the cause of Allah.

If this sounds too farfetched, consider the following picture of a decapitated “infidel” from the Islamic State’s websites.  The Arabic caption to the left says “healing for hearts”—a clear reference to the aforementioned Koran verse:

1 (1)

Koran 96:15-16 also alludes to the fate of ‘Amr and offers more context applicable to the Islamic State: “No! If he does not desist, we will surely drag him by the forelock—a lying, sinning forelock.”

According to al-Alusi’s tafsir, or exegesis, after Abdullah placed his foot on the dying foe of Islam, ‘Amr opened his eyes and recognized him.  The once proud chieftain lamented that he was being killed by a common “goat herder,” to which Abdullah replied, “Islam elevates and nothing is elevated above it.”  He then sheared his head off.  “But he could not carry it, so he made holes in the ears and put thread through them and dragged the head to the prophet.  Then Gabriel, peace be upon him, came laughing and saying, “O prophet, you got an ear and an ear—and the head between for a bonus!”

Based, then, on the treatment of ‘Amr bin Hisham (AKA “Abu Jahl”) as recorded in Islam’s core texts—Koran, hadith, sira, and tafsirs—all sadistic acts being carried out by the Islamic State were in fact committed by the earliest Muslims and all to the complete approval of Muhammad (and apparently the “angel” Gabriel, too).  They include:

•Beheadings and mutilations (e.g., holes in ears of ‘Amr)

•Humiliation and gestures of triumph (feet on chest of fallen victim, dragging his body, or head, on the ground)

•Laughter, mockery, and celebration (for the hearts of the believers are now “healed”)

Indeed, along with the “healing for hearts” image above, consider some other pictures taken from the Islamic State’s websites and how well they conform to the above accounts describing the slaughter of ‘Amr#:

Note how in the following four pictures, to demonstrate that the enemies of Islam have been brought low, as Koran 9:14-15 promised, Islamic State members make it a point to place their feet atop their fallen corpses, most of which were first decapitated.  Note also how the ubiquitous black flag of Islam is always raised above the fallen “infidels”—a reminder that “Islam elevates and nothing is elevated above it,” as Abdullah told ‘Amr, with his foot on his chest, before beheading him.

4 (1)

3 (1)

2

51

Note the jocularity in the following picture—reminiscent of the “angel” Gabriel laughing and joking about the mutilated head of ‘Amr.  (If Allah’s angel finds such human carnage amusing, shouldn’t Allah’s jihadi servants as well?)

9

The following picture is reminiscent of how ‘Amr’s head was treated: mutilated and dragged on the ground.  In this case, it is a decapitated body that is being degraded:

8

The next two pictures are of especial interest because they actually use the relatively arcane Arabic word haz (bottom left-hand corner), which literally means “to make an incision,” to describe the beheading of Islam’s enemies.  The standard Arabic word for “cut” generally used to describe a beheading isqata‘.  That the word used (haz) is the same word found in the early jihad literature is no coincidence and indicative of the source of inspiration: Islam’s scriptures.

7

6

In short, not only are the members of the Islamic State closely patterning themselves after Muhammad—whom Koran 33:21 exhorts believers to emulate in all ways—but even in the most sadistic of details are they finding support in their prophet.

Nor should it come as any surprise that Muslims are aware of these accounts from early Islamic history.  After all, the near hagiographic Battle of Badr, including the story of ‘Amr’s slaughter, is routinely glorified worldwide in mosque sermons, on Islamic satellite stations, and in Islamic texts.  It is a source of great pride.

Thus when young Muslims express their anger and frustration at the state of affairs of the Islamic world, their clerics council them to go to the jihad in Iraq and Syria and decapitate themselves an infidel—which, according to the Koran, should “heal their hearts.”

(Perhaps that’s why one former British rock star and convert to Islam is so eager to decapitate Christians?  Perhap that’s why a jihadi savagely pulled out and bit into the heart of a fallen Syrian soldier—to heal his own heart by sating his rage against Allah’s “enemies”?)

Such Muslims join the jihad, and not only do they decapitate, but they mutilate, humiliate, and laugh at the disgraced enemies of Allah—in perfect emulation of the Islamic glory/gory stories they grew up on.

This is the true cult of jihad which few non-Muslims can begin to comprehend—and little wonder, considering that their political leaders, professors, and media continue to babble foolishly about how Islam is the “religion of peace.”

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. He is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007).

Don’t miss Raymond Ibrahim on The Glazov Gang discussing ISIS’s Islamic Inspirations:

Salafis Return to Egypt’s Mosques and Media

by Raymond Ibrahim:

In a move that has many anti-Islamist Egyptians concerned, the government has again allowed the Salafis to return to preaching in mosques and on television.

They’re back

They’re back

Soon after the June 2013 revolution in Egypt, which saw the ousting (and subsequent imprisonment) of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic supremacist groups—chief among them the Salafis—were banned from preaching.Salafis are Muslims who profess to follow as literally as possible the teachings and habits of Islam’s prophet and his companions.

The logic was that they were the primary actors responsible for inciting the nation’s more zealous Muslims to attack government targets, Coptic Christian churches, etc.

Accordingly, their access to mosques and other outlets were severely curtailed.

According to Nabil Zaki, the former spokesman for Assembly Party of Egypt, this new  move allowing the Salafis, particularly the Nour party, to make a comeback

is a major setback that will make it that much harder for the government to combat reactionary thinking—and this, after the Egyptian public had made great strides against such thinking….  Permitting the Salafi sheikhs to ascend to the pulpits again revives the bitter experiences of confronting this form of thinking, bringing us back to square one.

Zaki and others also warned that this decision coincides with parliamentarian elections, meaning that the Salafi clerics will again use their influence and religious rhetoric to sway voters towards a more “reactionary,” that is, Islamic, agenda.

World Ignores Christian Exodus from Islamic World

by Raymond Ibrahim:

“They were trying to kill us… because we were Christians.” — Teenage girl from Homs, Syria.

There have been house-to-house searches in Mali for Christians who might be in hiding, and people tortured into revealing Christian relatives. At least one pastor was beheaded.

It is to the media’s shame that those who slaughter, behead, crucify and displace people for no other reason than that they are Christian rarely get media coverage, while Israel, which kills only in the context of trying to defend itself from rocket attacks and terrorism, and not out of religious bigotry, is constantly demonized.

Paying jizya [special poll tax for non-Muslims] is not only about money. It is about subjugation.

While the world fixates on the conflict between Israel and Hamas—and while most mainstream media demonize Israel for trying to survive amid a sea of Arab-Islamic hostility—similar or worse tragedies continue to go virtually ignored.

One of the most ancient Christian communities in the world, that of Iraq—which already had been decimated over the last decade, by Islamic forces unleashed after the ousting of Saddam Hussein—has now been wiped out entirely by the new “caliphate,” the so-called Islamic State, formerly known by the acronym “ISIS.”

As Reuters reported:

Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq’s dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul….

It said Christians who wanted to remain in the “caliphate” that the Islamic State declared this month in parts of Iraq and Syria must agree to abide by terms of a “dhimma” contract—a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as “jizya.”

“We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword,” the announcement said.

The amount of jizya-money demanded was $450 a month, an exorbitant sum for Iraq.

Hours after the demand for jizya was made, Islamists began painting the letter “n” on Christian homes in Mosul—in Arabic, Christians are known as “Nasara,” or “Nazarenes”—signaling them out for the slaughter to come.

Most Christians have since fled. A one-minute video in Arabic of their exodus appears here—women and children weeping as they flee their homes—a video that will not be shown by any Western mainstream media outlet, busy as they are depicting instead nonstop images of Palestinian women and children.

Christian refugees, who fled or were expelled from Mosul, crowd around a truck distributing food aid. (Image source: Facebook video screenshot)

The Syrian Orthodox bishop of Mosul said that what is happening to the Christians of Mosul is nothing less than “genocide… not to mention the slaughters and rapes not being reported… Forcing more than a thousand Christian families out of Mosul, and turning Christian churches into Muslim mosques, is equivalent to genocide.” Of course, the word genocide means to kill or make extinct a people.

Others were not as lucky to flee. According to Iraqi human rights activist Hena Edward, a great many older and disabled Iraqis, unable to pay the jizya or join the exodus, have opted to convert to Islam.

Meanwhile, the jihadis continue destroying churches and other ancient Christian holy sites in the name of their religion, and murdering any Christians they can find. Among other acts, they torched an 1800 year old church in Mosul, stormed a fourth century monastery—formerly one of Iraq’s best known Christian landmarks—and expelling its resident monks.

Most recently, in Syrian regions under the Islamic State’s control, eight Christians were reportedly crucified.

The Islamic State’s call for Christians to pay jizya is not simply about money. It is about subjugation. Most Western media reporting on this recent call for jizya have failed to explain the accompanying dhimma contract Christians must also abide by. According to the Islamic State, “We offer them [Christians] three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”

The “dhimma contract” is a reference to the Conditions of Omar, an Islamic text attributed to the caliph of the same name that forces Christians to live according to third class citizen status.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

The Watchman: Jihadists on the March

Published on Jul 8, 2014 by The Christian Broadcasting Network

On this week’s edition of The Watchman, we sit down with Middle East experts Raymond Ibrahim and Tawfik Hamid to discuss the latest developments with the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Iran and what can be done to counter the jihadist.

The Glazov Gang-Raymond Ibrahim on ISIS’s Islamic Inspirations

Raymond Ibrahim and Jamie Glazov discuss how the jihadist terror we see in Iraq today, and throughout the world, is founded on Islamic theology. Raymond also discussed Jamie’s Battle on Hannity against the Unholy Alliance, Jihad Denial, Obama’s Enabling of Jihad, Jihadi Foreign Travelers, and much more:

 

Raymond Ibrahim, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Middle East and Islam specialist, and the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007).

 

Jihadi Rhetoric: Tiresome but Deadly

by Raymond Ibrahim:

I just spent the better part of the day reading and listening to sermons by the leaders and jihadis of the new “caliphate” in Mesopotamia, the Islamic State (formerly “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”).

I did so in the vain hopes of learning something “new.”

But it was absolute déjà vu—taking me back to a decade ago, when I was reading and translating the Arabic writings and speeches of al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, as collated inThe Al Qaeda Reader.

Now as then, it’s the same Koran verses; the same hadiths of Islamic prophet Muhammad waging and praising jihad; the same threats of hellfire for the munafiqun (hypocrites or lukewarm Muslims); the same carnal rewards in the now or hereafter for those who join the “caravan” of jihad.

Consider for instance the following opening words of a recently released short video from the Islamic State titled, “There is No Life Without Jihad”:

If you wish to know the way to glory and power, to goodness, security and joy, you must learn that there are no rights without jihad, no justice without jihad, no dignity without jihad, no security without jihad, no future without jihad, no life without jihad, no life without jihad.

After this rather hackneyed opening, one Abu Muthana, a jihadi from Britain, appears quoting some more of the usual Koran verses, hadiths, and ulema, in this case, Imam Qurtubi, who wrote that “jihad gives life.”  Finally he summarizes the goal of the jihad—in case anyone is still not sure—namely, to fight until “the law [Sharia] of Allah is implemented and the caliphate restored.”

To reiterate, there is little new or original in the videos and communiques from the Islamic State.   Just static Islamism.

If one turns to the speeches of other Islamic and jihadi groups around the world—from the African groups such as Boko Haram (Nigeria) and al-Shabaab (Somalia), to Asian groups such as Abu Sayyaf (Philippines) and the Islamic Movement (Uzbekistan)—it’s the same thing, same themes, same scriptures, same quotations, same exhortations, same condemnations.   Only their temporal circumstances and vicissitudes of victory or defeat differ.

While the Western mentality, so used to seeing and hearing about the “latest” or “newest” fad, may deem the Islamist approach as static or insipid, it is, quite the contrary, immensely effective for its purposes, and thus dangerous.

Consider: It’s the same exact message—of supremacism, hate, and violence, capped off with divine sanctioning—repeated over and over again, from a myriad of sources and organizations, all of which claim authority.

One can think of few better ways to brainwash and indoctrinate young and impressionable minds—to the point that they eagerly embrace death, including through suicide (AKA “martyrdom operations”).

Nor is this message of jihad, conquest, and death-to-the-infidel, limited to the verbiage that transpires among terrorist organizations; instead, this sort of rhetoric has spread far and wide, thanks to modern technology—including the Internet and social media—and the rich Gulf States, chief among them Saudi Arabia, which have seen to it that the jihadi books and passages being quoted are available to all and sundry.

Indeed, and has been demonstrated repeatedly, such jihadi rhetoric is regularly used in mosques all throughout Europe and America—explaining why an inordinate amount of jihadis in Syria and Iraq, such as Abu Muthana,  the aforementioned “Brit,” are in fact from the West.

If the West, in the name of “religious freedom,” is still too fretful to monitor and ban such sermons, in Egypt—a Muslim nation in the heart of the Islamic world—the post Muslim Brotherhood government has come to understand the necessity of outlawing “certain” kinds of rhetoric  from the mosques, specifically, those about jihad against infidels and apostates.

Read more

Raymond Ibrahim was recently interviewed by CBN News’ George Thomas on the rise of the Islamic State, its aspirations for caliphate, and what all that means for free peoples around the world:

Islam’s ‘Protestant Reformation’

Raymond Ibrahim, July 1, 2014:

Editor’s note: The following article originally appeared in two parts but is being published again as one article due to some confusions prompted by its original appearance as two parts.

In order to prevent a clash of civilizations, or worse, Islam must reform.   This is the contention of many Western peoples.  And, pointing to Christianity’s Protestant Reformation as proof that Islam can also reform, many are optimistic.

Overlooked by most, however, is that Islam has been reforming.  What is today called “radical Islam” is the reformation of Islam.  And it follows the same pattern of Christianity’s Protestant Reformation.

The problem is our understanding of the word “reform.”  Despite its positive connotations, “reform” simplymeans to “make changes (in something, typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice) in order to improve it.”

Synonyms of “reform” include “make better,” “ameliorate,” and “improve”—splendid words all, yet words all subjective and loaded with Western references.

Muslim notions of “improving” society may include purging it of “infidels” and their corrupt ways; or segregating men and women, keeping the latter under wraps or quarantined at home; or executing apostates, who are seen as traitorous agitators.

Banning many forms of freedoms taken for granted in the West—from alcohol consumption to religious and gender equality—can be deemed an “improvement” and a “betterment” of society.

In short, an Islamic reformation need not lead to what we think of as an “improvement” and “betterment” of society—simply because “we” are not Muslims and do not share their reference points and first premises.  “Reform” only sounds good to most Western peoples because they, secular and religious alike, are to a great extent products of Christianity’s Protestant Reformation; and so, a priori, they naturally attribute positive connotations to the word.

—–

At its core, the Protestant Reformation was a revolt against tradition in the name of scripture—in this case, the Bible.  With the coming of the printing press, increasing numbers of Christians became better acquainted with the Bible’s contents, parts of which they felt contradicted what the Church was teaching.  So they broke away, protesting that the only Christian authority was “scripture alone,” sola scriptura.

Islam’s reformation follows the same logic of the Protestant Reformation—specifically by prioritizing scripture over centuries of tradition and legal debate—but with antithetical results that reflect the contradictory teachings of the core texts of Christianity and Islam.

As with Christianity, throughout most of its history, Islam’s scriptures, specifically its “twin pillars,” the Koran (literal words of Allah) and the Hadith (words and deeds of Allah’s prophet, Muhammad), were inaccessible to the overwhelming majority of Muslims.  Only a few scholars, or ulema—literally, “they who know”—were literate in Arabic and/or had possession of Islam’s scriptures.  The average Muslim knew only the basics of Islam, or its “Five Pillars.”

In this context, a “medieval synthesis” flourished throughout the Islamic world.  Guided by an evolving general consensus (or ijma‘), Muslims sought to accommodate reality by, in medieval historian Daniel Pipes’ words,

translat[ing] Islam from a body of abstract, infeasible demands [as stipulated in the Koran and Hadith] into a workable system. In practical terms, it toned down Sharia and made the code of law operational. Sharia could now be sufficiently applied without Muslims being subjected to its more stringent demands…  [However,] While the medieval synthesis worked over the centuries, it never overcame a fundamental weakness: It is not comprehensively rooted in or derived from the foundational, constitutional texts of Islam. Based on compromises and half measures, it always remained vulnerable to challenge by purists (emphasis added).

This vulnerability has now reached breaking point: millions of more Korans published in Arabic and other languages are in circulation today compared to just a century ago; millions of more Muslims are now literate enough to read and understand the Koran compared to their medieval forbears.  The Hadith, which contains some of the most intolerant teachings and violent deeds attributed to Islam’s prophet, is now collated and accessible, in part thanks to the efforts of Western scholars, the Orientalists.  Most recently, there is the Internet—where all these scriptures are now available in dozens of languages and to anyone with a laptop or iphone.

In this backdrop, what has been called at different times, places, and contexts “Islamic fundamentalism,” “radical Islam,” “Islamism,” and “Salafism” flourished.  Many of today’s Muslim believers, much better acquainted than their ancestors with the often black and white words of their scriptures, are protesting against earlier traditions, are protesting against the “medieval synthesis,” in favor of scriptural literalism—just like their Christian Protestant counterparts once did.

Thus, if Martin Luther (d. 1546) rejected the extra-scriptural accretions of the Church and “reformed” Christianity by aligning it more closely with scripture, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (d. 1787), one of Islam’s first modern reformers, “called for a return to the pure, authentic Islam of the Prophet, and the rejection of the accretions that had corrupted it and distorted it,” in the words of Bernard Lewis (The Middle East, p. 333).

The unadulterated words of God—or Allah—are all that matter for the reformists.

Note: Because they are better acquainted with Islam’s scriptures, other Muslims, of course, are apostatizing—whether by converting to other religions, most notably Christianity, or whether by abandoning religion altogether, even if only in their hearts (for fear of the apostasy penalty).  This is an important point to be revisited later.  Muslims who do not become disaffected after better acquainting themselves with the literal teachings of Islam’s scriptures and who instead become more faithful to and observant of them are the topic of this essay.

—–

How Christianity and Islam can follow similar patterns of reform but with antithetical results rests in the fact that their scriptures are often antithetical to one another.   This is the key point, and one admittedly unintelligible to postmodern, secular sensibilities, which tend to lump all religious scripture together in a melting pot of relativism without bothering to evaluate the significance of their respective words and teachings.

Obviously a point by point comparison of the scriptures of Islam and Christianity is inappropriate for an article of this length (see my “Are Judaism and Christianity as Violent as Islam” for a more comprehensive treatment).

Suffice it to note some contradictions (which will be rejected as a matter of course by the relativistic mindset):

  • The New Testament preaches peace, brotherly love, tolerance, and forgiveness—for all humans, believers and non-believers alike.  Instead of combatting and converting “infidels,” Christians are called to pray for those who persecute them and turn the other cheek (which is not the same thing as passivity, for Christians are also called to be bold and unapologetic).  Conversely, the Koran and Hadith call for war, or jihad, against all non-believers, until they either convert, accept subjugation and discrimination, or die.
  • The New Testament has no punishment for the apostate from Christianity.  Conversely, Islam’s prophet himself decreed that “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”
  • The New Testament teaches monogamy, one husband and one wife, thereby dignifying the woman.  The Koran allows polygamy—up to four wives—and the possession of concubines, or sex-slaves.  More literalist readings treat women as possessions.
  • The New Testament discourages lying (e.g., Col. 3:9).  The Koran permits it; the prophet himself often deceived others, and permitted lying to one’s wife, to reconcile quarreling parties, and to the “infidel” during war.

It is precisely because Christian scriptural literalism lends itself to religious freedom, tolerance, and the dignity of women, that Western civilization developed the way it did—despite the nonstop propaganda campaign emanating from academia, Hollywood, and other major media that says otherwise.

And it is precisely because Islamic scriptural literalism is at odds with religious freedom, tolerance, and the dignity of women, that Islamic civilization is the way it is—despite the nonstop propaganda campaign emanating from academia, Hollywood, and other major media that says otherwise.

—–

Those in the West waiting for an Islamic “reformation” along the same lines of the Protestant Reformation, on the assumption that it will lead to similar results, must embrace two facts: 1) Islam’s reformation is well on its way, and yes, along the same lines of the Protestant Reformation—with a focus on scripture and a disregard for tradition—and for similar historic reasons (literacy, scriptural dissemination, etc.); 2) But because the core teachings of the scriptures of Christianity and Islam markedly differ from one another, Islam’s reformation has naturally produced a civilization markedly different from the West.

Put differently, those in the West uncritically calling for an “Islamic reformation” need to acknowledge what it is they are really calling for: the secularization of Islam in the name of modernity; the trivialization and sidelining of Islamic law from Muslim society.

That would not be a “reformation”—certainly nothing analogous to the Protestant Reformation.

Overlooked is that Western secularism was, and is, possible only because Christian scripture lends itself to the division between church and state, the spiritual and the temporal.

Upholding the literal teachings of Christianity is possible within a secular—or any—state.  Christ called on believers to “render unto Caesar the things of Caesar (temporal) and unto God the things of God (spiritual)” (Matt. 22:21).  For the “kingdom of God” is “not of this world” (John 18:36).  Indeed, a good chunk of the New Testament deals with how “man is not justified by the works of the law… for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Gal. 2:16).

On the other hand, mainstream Islam is devoted to upholding the law; and Islamic scripture calls for a fusion between Islamic law—Sharia—and the state.   Allah decrees in the Koran that “It is not fitting for true believers—men or women—to take their choice in affairs if Allah and His Messenger have decreed otherwise. He that disobeys Allah and His Messenger strays far indeed!” (33:36).   Allah tells the prophet of Islam, “We put you on an ordained way [literarily in Arabic, sharia] of command; so follow it and do not follow the inclinations of those who are ignorant” (45:18).

Mainstream Islamic exegesis has always interpreted such verses to mean that Muslims must follow the commandments of Allah as laid out in the Koran and Hadith—in a word, Sharia.

And Sharia is so concerned with the details of this world, with the everyday doings of Muslims, that every conceivable human action falls under five rulings, or ahkam: the forbidden (haram), the discouraged (makruh), the neutral (mubah), the recommended (mustahib), and the obligatory (wajib).

Conversely, Islam offers little concerning the spiritual (sidelined Sufism the exception).

Unlike Christianity, then, Islam without the law—without Sharia—becomes meaningless.   After all, the Arabic word Islam literally means “submit.”  Submit to what?  Allah’s laws as codified in Sharia and derived from the Koran and Hadith.

The “Islamic reformation” some in the West are hoping for is really nothing less than an Islam without Islam—secularization not reformation; Muslims prioritizing secular, civic, and humanitarian laws over Allah’s law; a “reformation” that would slowly see the religion of Muhammad go into the dustbin of history.

Such a scenario is certainly more plausible than believing that Islam can be true to its scriptures in any meaningful way and still peacefully coexist with, much less complement, modernity the way Christianity does.

Islam’s ‘Protestant Reformation’ (Part 1)

By Raymond Ibrahim, June 22, 2014:

In order to prevent a clash of civilizations, or worse, Islam must reform.   This is the contention of many Western peoples.  And, pointing to Christianity’s Protestant Reformation as proof that Islam can also reform, many are optimistic.

Overlooked by most, however, is that Islam has been reforming. What is today called “radical Islam” is the reformation of Islam.  And it follows the same pattern of Christianity’s Protestant Reformation.

The problem is our understanding of the word “reform.”  Despite its positive connotations, “reform” simply meansto “make changes (in something, typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice) in order to improve it.”

Synonyms of “reform” include “make better,” “ameliorate,” and “improve”—splendid words all, yet words all subjective and loaded with Western references.

Muslim notions of “improving” society may include purging it of “infidels” and their corrupt ways; or segregating men and women, keeping the latter under wraps or quarantined at home; or executing apostates, who are seen as traitorous agitators.

Banning many forms of freedoms taken for granted in the West—from alcohol consumption to religious and gender equality—can be deemed an “improvement” and a “betterment” of society.

In short, an Islamic reformation need not lead to what we think of as an “improvement” and “betterment” of society—simply because “we” are not Muslims and do not share their reference points and first premises.  “Reform” only sounds good to most Western peoples because they, secular and religious alike, are to a great extent products of Christianity’s Protestant Reformation; and so, a priori, they naturally attribute positive connotations to the word.

—-

At its core, the Protestant Reformation was a revolt against tradition in the name of scripture—in this case, the Bible.  With the coming of the printing press, increasing numbers of Christians became better acquainted with the Bible’s contents, parts of which they felt contradicted what the Church was teaching.  So they broke away, protesting that the only Christian authority was “scripture alone,” sola scriptura.

Islam’s reformation follows the same logic of the Protestant Reformation—specifically by prioritizing scripture over centuries of tradition and legal debate—but with antithetical results that reflect the contradictory teachings of the core texts of Christianity and Islam.

As with Christianity, throughout most of its history, Islam’s scriptures, specifically its “twin pillars,” the Koran (literal words of Allah) and the Hadith (words and deeds of Allah’s prophet, Muhammad), were inaccessible to the overwhelming majority of Muslims.  Only a few scholars, or ulema—literally, “they who know”—were literate in Arabic and/or had possession of Islam’s scriptures.  The average Muslim knew only the basics of Islam, or its “Five Pillars.”

In this context, a “medieval synthesis” flourished throughout the Islamic world.  Guided by an evolving general consensus (or ijma‘), Muslims sought to accommodate reality by, in medieval historian Daniel Pipes’ words,

translat[ing] Islam from a body of abstract, infeasible demands [as stipulated in the Koran and Hadith] into a workable system. In practical terms, it toned down Sharia and made the code of law operational. Sharia could now be sufficiently applied without Muslims being subjected to its more stringent demands…  [However,] While the medieval synthesis worked over the centuries, it never overcame a fundamental weakness: It is not comprehensively rooted in or derived from the foundational, constitutional texts of Islam. Based on compromises and half measures, it always remained vulnerable to challenge by purists (emphasis added).

This vulnerability has now reached breaking point: millions of more Korans published in Arabic and other languages are in circulation today compared to just a century ago; millions of more Muslims are now literate enough to read and understand the Koran compared to their medieval forbears.  The Hadith, which contains some of the most intolerant teachings and violent deeds attributed to Islam’s prophet, is now collated and accessible, in part thanks to the efforts of Western scholars, the Orientalists.  Most recently, there is the Internet—where all these scriptures are now available in dozens of languages and to anyone with a laptop or iphone.

In this backdrop, what has been called at different times, places, and contexts “Islamic fundamentalism,” “radical Islam,” “Islamism,” and “Salafism” flourished.  Many of today’s Muslim believers, much better acquainted with the often black and white words of their scriptures than their ancestors, are protesting against earlier traditions, are protesting against the “medieval synthesis,” in favor of scriptural literalism—just like their Christian Protestant counterparts once did.

Thus, if Martin Luther (d. 1546) rejected the extra-scriptural accretions of the Church and “reformed” Christianity by aligning it more closely with scripture, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (d. 1787), one of Islam’s first modern reformers, “called for a return to the pure, authentic Islam of the Prophet, and the rejection of the accretions that had corrupted it and distorted it,” in the words of Bernard Lewis (The Middle East, p. 333).

The unadulterated words of God—or Allah—are all that matter for the reformists.

Note: Because they are better acquainted with Islam’s scriptures, other Muslims, of course, are apostatizing—whether by converting to other religions, most notably Christianity, or whether by abandoning religion altogether, even if only in their hearts (for fear of the apostasy penalty).  This is an important point to be revisited later.  Muslims who do not become disaffected after better acquainting themselves with the literal teachings of Islam’s scriptures and who instead become more faithful to and observant of them are the topic of this essay.

Part 2 will appear later this week

An American’s Experience with Islamic Apostasy

by Raymond Ibrahim:

Editor’s note: The following was written by an anonymous American teacher living in the Muslim world

At a recent dinner party, the death sentence of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim for the crime of apostasy by a Sudanese Islamic court came up as a topic of discussion.  Not surprisingly, the progressive elements of the group did their best to defend Islam, claiming that her sentence to die by hanging was handed down by religious fanatics (not Muslim fanatics) who don’t understand the peaceful nature of Islam.

With my wife by my side, I firmly disagreed with them, stating that my three years’ experience working in the Middle East has taught me that Meriam’s hanging sentence fits perfectly well within the Islamic culture.  To further my point, I mentioned a past interaction I had with a group of Sudanese Muslims who wanted to kill my wife for leaving Islam.

This event occurred a few years ago while I was working as an ESL instructor in a Saudi Arabian University.  Many of my colleagues were Sudanese Muslims and my first impression of them was very positive.  I admired them because they were hardworking and forward looking.  They were in Saudi Arabia to earn enough money to either start a family, buy a home, or invest in a business.  For many months, we shared stories regarding our families and dreams.

Knowing that I have a Thai wife who remained in Thailand while I worked in Saudi Arabia, my Sudanese co-workers would regularly ask me why I didn’t bring her to live with me in Saudi Arabia, to which I always responded, “She doesn’t like the idea of wearing the hijab in the Saudi heat nor the idea of remaining in our apartment all day while I am at work.”

To that, they would reply, “She must live that way in Saudi Arabia; that is our culture,” to which I responded, “She doesn’t like that aspect of this culture which is why she refuses to move to Saudi Arabia.”

One day, to get them of my back for good regarding that issue, I told them the whole truth about my wife not moving to Saudi Arabia.  I confided in them that my wife was a Muslim and that she converted to Buddhism in her early twenties, years before I met her, and that Saudi Arabia could be dangerous for her.

Considering these men my friends, I was hoping they would be understanding and change the topic of conversation.  After a long minute of silence, one of Sudanese looked at me and said, “Your wife must be put to death!”

I could not believe that the man whose desk was in front of mine and with whom I had numerous great conversations would say that to my face.  So, I burst out laughing and said, “You can’t be serious!” to which he replied, “Our culture requires us to kill her.”

While this exchange went on for another minute, I noticed that the other six Sudanese teachers remained very quiet.  I wondered whether they agreed or not with their colleague.  The next morning, my question was answered.  While shaking hands with all my co-teachers, I refused to shake the hand of the Sudanese who threatened my wife. He felt insulted and was furious, so I said, “How can I shake the hand of a man who wants to kill my wife.”

He replied: “But they all think like me—so why do you shake their hands.”

I responded: “They were smart enough not to say it to my face, but in your defense, you are the most honest among them.”

They stared at me in shock and awe and from that time, I rarely spoke to them.  A month later, my contract was over and I left Saudi Arabia.  From Saudi Arabia, I moved to another Muslim country and asked a female co-worker if the country would be safe for my wife because she left Islam.

She looked at me and said, “Do not bring your wife here.”

After finishing my story, I looked at the progressives at the dinner party and said, “That is what Muslims do to apostates because it is their religious duty to do so.  My friendship with my Sudanese co-workers meant nothing to them once they found out my wife left Islam.  So Meriam’s verdict and eventual hanging, if the West does not interfere, should come as no surprise to anyone who understands Islam.”

They looked at me with infuriating eyes.  I dared to break their PC rules regarding Islam and they couldn’t fight back with my wife, a potential victim, by my side.