Why Muslim Rapists Prefer Blondes: A History

swedish_rape_victimFrontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim, July 30, 2015:

The Muslim penchant to target “white” women for sexual exploitation—an epidemic currently plaguing Europe, especially Britain and Scandinavia—is as old as Islam itself, and even traces back to Muhammad.

Much literary evidence attests to this in the context of Islam’s early predations on Byzantium (for centuries, Christendom’s easternmost bulwark against the jihad).  According to Ahmad M. H. Shboul (author of “Byzantium and the Arabs: The Image of the Byzantines as Mirrored in Arabic Literature”) Christian Byzantium was the “classic example of the house of war,” or Dar al-Harb—that is, the quintessential realm that needs to be conquered by jihad.  Moreover, Byzantium was seen “as a symbol of military and political power and as a society of great abundance.”

The similarities between pre-modern Islamic views of Byzantium and modern Islamic views of the West—powerful, affluent, desirable, and the greatest of all infidels—should be evident.  But they do not end here.  To the medieval Muslim mind, Byzantium was further representative of “white people”—fair haired/eyed Christians, or, as they were known in Arabic, Banu al-Asfar, “children of yellow” (reference to blonde hair).

Continues Shboul:

The Byzantines as a people were considered as fine examples of physical beauty, and youthful slaves and slave-girls of Byzantine origin were highly valued….  The Arab’s appreciation of the Byzantine female has a long history indeed.  For the Islamic period, the earliest literary evidence we have is a hadith (saying of the Prophet).  Muhammad is said to have addressed a newly converted [to Islam] Arab: “Would you like the girls of Banu al-Asfar?”  Not only were Byzantine slave girls sought after for caliphal and other palaces (where some became mothers of future caliphs), but they also became the epitome of physical beauty, home economy, and refined accomplishments.   The typical Byzantine maiden who captures the imagination of litterateurs and poets, had blond hair, blue or green eyes, a pure and healthy visage, lovely breasts, a delicate waist, and a body that is like camphor or a flood of dazzling light.[1]

While the essence of the above excerpt is true, the reader should not be duped by its overly “romantic” tone. Written for a Western academic publication by an academic of Muslim background, the essay is naturally euphemistic to the point of implying that being a sex slave was desirable—as if her Arab owners were enamored devotees who merely doted over and admired her beauty from afar.[2]

Indeed, Muhammad asked a new convert “Would you like the girls of Banu al-Asfar?” as a way to entice him to join the jihad and reap its rewards—which, in this case, included the possibility of enslaving and raping blonde Byzantine women—not as some idealistic discussion on beauty.

This enticement seems to have backfired with another Muslim who refused Muhammad’s call to invade Byzantine territory (the Tabuk campaign).  “O Abu Wahb,” cajoled Muhammad, “would you not like to have scores of Byzantine women and men as concubines and servants?” Wahb responded: “O Messenger of Allah, my people know that I am very fond of women and, if I see the women of the Byzantines, I fear I will not be able to hold back. So do not tempt me by them, and allow me not to join and, instead, I will assist you with my wealth.”[3]  The prophet agreed but was apparently unimpressed—after all, Wahb could have all the Byzantine women he desired if the jihad succeeded—and a new Sura for the Koran (9:49) was promptly delivered condemning the man to hell for his reported hypocrisy and failure to join the jihad.

Thus a more critical reading of Shboul’s aforementioned excerpt finds that European slave girls were not “highly valued” or “appreciated” as if they were precious statues—they were held out as sexual trophies to entice Muslims to the jihad.

Moreover, the idea that some sex slaves became mothers to future caliphs is meaningless since in Islam’s patriarchal culture, mothers—Muslim or non-Muslim—were irrelevant in lineage and had no political status.   And talk of “litterateurs and poets” and “a body that is like camphor or a flood of dazzling light” is further anachronistic and does a great disservice to reality:  These women were—as they still are—sex slaves, treated no differently than the many slaves of the Islamic State today.

For example, during a recent sex slave auction held by the Islamic State, blue and green eyed Yazidi girls were much coveted and fetched the highest price.  Even so, these concubines are being cruelly tortured.  In one instance, a Muslim savagely beat his Yazidi slave’s one year old child until she agreed to meet all his sexual demands.

Read more

U.S. State Dept. Blocks Christians from Testifying about Islamist Persecution

Middle East Forum Blog, by Raymond Ibrahim  •  Jul 27, 2015
Cross-posted from The Gatestone Institute

Excerpt from Raymond Ibrahim’s monthly roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world.

The State Department initially refused to give a visa to Sister Diana Momeka of Iraq when she planned a visit to Washington earlier this year to advocate on behalf of Iraqi Christians.

The State Department initially refused to give a visa to Sister Diana Momeka of Iraq when she planned a visit to Washington earlier this year to advocate on behalf of Iraqi Christians.

Sister Diana Momeka, an influential Iraqi Christian leader, who was scheduled to visit the U.S. to advocate for persecuted Christians in the Mideast, was denied a visa by the U.S. State Department even though she had visited the U.S. before, most recently in 2012.During the height of one of the most brutal months of Muslim persecution of Christians, the U.S. State Department exposed its double standards against persecuted Christian minorities.

She was to be one of a delegation of religious leaders from Iraq — including Sunni, Shia and Yazidi, among others — to visit Washington, D.C., to describe the situation of their people. Every religious leader from this delegation to Washington D.C. was granted a visa — except for the only Christian representative, Sister Diana.

After this refusal became public, many Americans protested, some writing to their congressmen. Discussing the nun’s visa denial, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said:

This is an administration which never seems to find a good enough excuse to help Christians, but always finds an excuse to apologize for terrorists … I hope that as it gets attention that Secretary Kerry will reverse it. If he doesn’t, Congress has to investigate, and the person who made this decision ought to be fired.

The State Department eventually granted Sister Diana a visa.

This is not the first time the U.S. State Department has not granted a visa to a Christian leader coming from a Muslim region. Last year, after the United States Institute for Peace brought together the governors of Nigeria’s mostly Muslim northern states for a conference in the U.S., the State Department blocked the visa of the region’s only Christian governor, Jonah David Jang.

According to a Nigerian human rights lawyer based in Washington D.C., Emmanuel Ogebe, the Christian governor’s “visa problems” were due to anti-Christian bias in the U.S. government:

The U.S. insists that Muslims are the primary victims of Boko Haram. It also claims that Christians discriminate against Muslims in Plateau, which is one of the few Christian majority states in the north. After the [Christian governor] told them [U.S. authorities] that they were ignoring the 12 Shariah states who institutionalized persecution … he suddenly developed visa problems…. The question remains — why is the U.S. downplaying or denying the attacks against Christians?

The testimony of another nun, Sister Hatune Dogan, also made in May, indicates why the State Department may not want to hear such testimonials: they go against the paradigm that “Islam is peace.” According to Sister Hatune:

What is going on there [Islamic State territories], what I was hearing, is the highest barbarism on earth in the history until today… The mission of Baghdadi, of ISIS, is to convert the world completely to the Islamic religion and bring them to Dar Al Salaam, as they call it. And Islam is not peace, please. Whoever says ISIS has no connection to Islam or something like this is, he’s a liar. ISIS is Islam; Islam is ISIS… We know that in Islam, there is no democracy. Islam and democracy are opposite, like black and white. And I hope America will understand. America today has the power that they can stop this disaster on the earth, with other Western countries.

For the rest of Ibrahim’s monthly roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world, click here.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum

When Muslims Betray Non-Muslim Friends and Neighbors

raqFrontPage MagazineBy Raymond Ibrahim, July 9, 2012:

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz freedom Center.

Let believers not take for friends and allies infidels rather than believers: and whoever does this shall have no relationship left with Allah—unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions – Koran 3:28

Days ago, after the Islamic State [IS] entered the Syrian city of Hassakè, prompting a mass exodus of Christians, a familiar, though often overlooked scene, took place: many otherwise “normal” Muslims joined ranks with IS, instantly turning on their longtime Christian neighbors.

This is the third category of Muslims that lurks between “moderates” and “radicals”: “sleepers,” Muslims who appear “moderate” but who are merely  waiting for circumstances to turn to Islam’s advantage before they join the jihad; Muslims who are waiting for the rewards of jihad to become greater than the risks.

There is no lack of examples of these types of Muslims.  The following are testimonials from non-Muslims, mostly Christian refuges from those regions of Iraq and Syria now under Islamic State (or other jihadi) control.  Consider what they say about their longtime Sunni neighbors who appeared “moderate”—or at least nonviolent—but who, once the jihad came to town, exposed their true colors:

Georgios, a man from the ancient Christian town of Ma‘loula—one of the few areas in the world where the language of Christ was still spoken—told of how Muslim neighbors he knew all his life turned on the Christians after al-Nusra, another jihadi outfit, invaded in 2013:

We knew our Muslim neighbours all our lives. Yes, we knew the Diab family were quite radical, but we thought they would never betray us. We ate with them. We are one people.

A few of the Diab family had left months ago and we guessed they were with the Nusra [al-Qaeda front]. But their wives and children were still here. We looked after them. Then, two days before the Nusra attacked, the families suddenly left the town. We didn’t know why. And then our neighbours led our enemies in among us.

The Christian man explained with disbelief how he saw a young member of the Diab family whom he knew from youth holding a sword and leading foreign jihadis to Christian homes.  Continues Georgios:

We had excellent relations. It never occurred to us that Muslim neighbours would betray us. We all said “please let this town live in peace — we don’t have to kill each other.”  But now there is bad blood. They brought in the Nusra to throw out the Christians and get rid of us forever. Some of the Muslims who lived with us are good people but I will never trust 90 per cent of them again.

A teenage Christian girl from Homs, Syria—which once had a Christian population of approximately 80,000, but which is now reportedly zero—relates her story:

We left because they were trying to kill us. . . . They wanted to kill us because we were Christians. They were calling us Kaffirs [infidels], even little children saying these things. Those who were our neighbors turned against us. At the end, when we ran away, we went through balconies. We did not even dare go out on the street in front of our house. I’ve kept in touch with the few Christian friends left back home, but I cannot speak to my Muslim friends any more. I feel very sorry about that. (Crucified Again, p. 207)

When asked who exactly threatened and drove Christians out of Mosul, which fell to the Islamic State a year ago, another anonymous Christian refugee responded:

We left Mosul because ISIS came to the city. The [Sunni Muslim] people of Mosul embraced ISIS and drove the Christians out of the city. When ISIS entered Mosul, the people hailed them and drove out the Christians….

The people who embraced ISIS, the people who lived there with us… Yes, my neighbors. Our neighbors and other people threatened us. They said: “Leave before ISIS get you.” What does that mean? Where would we go?…  Christians have no support in Iraq. Whoever claims to be protecting the Christians is a liar. A liar!

Nor is such Muslim treachery limited to Christians.  Other “infidels,” Yazidis for example, have experienced the same betrayal.  Discussing IS invasion of his village, a 68-year-old Yazidi man who managed to flee the bloody offensive—which included the slaughter of many Yazidi men and enslavement of women and children—said:

The (non-Iraqi) jihadists were Afghans, Bosnians, Arabs and even Americans and British fighters….  But the worst killings came from the people living among us, our (Sunni) Muslim neighbours….  The Metwet, Khawata and Kejala tribes—they were all our neighbours. But they joined the IS, took heavy weapons from them, and informed on who was Yazidi and who was not. Our neighbours made the IS takeover possible.

Likewise, watch this 60 Minute interview with a Yazidi woman.  When asked why people she knew her whole life would suddenly join IS and savagely turn on her people, she replied:

I can’t tell you exactly, but it has to be religion.  It has to be religion.  They constantly asked us to convert, but we refused.  Before this, they never mentioned it.  Prior, we thought of each other as family.  But I say, it has to be religion.

Lest it seem that this phenomenon of Sunni betrayal is limited to Islamic jihad in Mesopotamia, know that it has occurred historically and currently in other nations.  The following anecdote from the Ottoman Empire is over 100 years old:

Then one night, my husband came home and told me that the padisha [sultan] had sent word that we were to kill all the Christians in our village, and that we would have to kill our neighbours. I was very angry, and told him that I did not care who gave such orders, they were wrong. These neighbours had always been kind to us, and if he dared to kill them Allah would pay us out. I tried all I could to stop him, but he killed them — killed them with his own hand. (Sir Edwin Pears, Turkey and Its People, London: Methuen and Co., 1911, p. 39)

And in Nigeria—a nation that shares little with Syria, Iraq, or Turkey, other than Islam—a jihadi attack on Christians that left five churches destroyed and several Christians killed was enabled by “local Muslims”:

The Muslims in this town were going round town pointing out church buildings and shops owned by Christians to members of Boko Haram, and they in turn bombed these churches and shops.

Such similar patterns of traitorous behavior—patterns that cross continents and centuries, patterns that regularly appear whenever Muslims live alongside non-Muslims—are easily understood by turning to Koran 3:28:

Let believers [Muslims] not take infidels [non-Muslims] for friends and allies instead of believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with Allah—unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions.  But Allah cautions you [to fear] Himself. For the final goal is to Allah.

Here is how Islam’s most authoritative ulema and exegetes explain Koran 3:28:

Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari (d. 923), author of a standard and authoritative commentary of the Koran, writes:

If you [Muslims] are under their [non-Muslims’] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them with your tongue while harboring inner animosity for them … [know that] Allah has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels rather than other believers—except when infidels are above them [in authority]. Should that be the case, let them act friendly towards them while preserving their religion.

Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), another prime authority on the Koran, writes:

The Most High said, “[U]nless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions”—that is, whoever at any time or place fears their evil may protect himself through outward show—not sincere conviction. As al-Bukhari records through Abu al-Darda the words [of the Prophet], “Truly, we grin to the faces of some peoples, while our hearts curse them.”

In other words, Muslims are not to befriend non-Muslims, unless circumstances are such that it is in the Muslims’ interests to do so.  For example, if Muslims are a minority (as in America), or if their leaders  brutally crack down on jihadi activities (as in Bashar Assad’s pre-Islamic State Syria): then they may preach and even feign peace, tolerance and coexistence with their non-Muslim neighbors.

However, if and when circumstances to make Islam supreme appear, Muslims are expected to join the jihad—“for the final goal is to Allah.”[1]


[1]For more on Islamic sanctioned forms of deception, read about taqiyyatawriya, and taysir.  For more on how Muslims are never to befriend non-Muslims—except when in their interest—see Ayman al-Zawahiri’s “Loyalty and Enmity,” The Al Qaeda Reader, pgs., 63-115.

The Glazov Gang-Islamic Hate for the Christian Cross

pp[The Glazov Gang is a fan-generated program so please Donate to keep it alive, Subscribe to its YouTube Channel and LIKE it on Facebook.]

This episode of the Glazov Gang was joined by Raymond Ibrahim, Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.  He came on the show to discuss Islamic Hate for the Christian Cross, unveiling what really lies behind Muslim hatred of the Crucifix:

What Will Happen When Islam Becomes the Majority Religion?

Image source: Shutterstock.com

Image source: Shutterstock.com

The Blaze, by Raymond Ibrahim, June 16, 2015:

Times have changed. According to the findings of a Pew Research Center in America:

The number of Muslims will increase at more than double the rate of the world’s population, which is expected to rise by 35 percent in the next four decades.

There will be more Muslims than Christians in the world in less than sixty years, new research revealed.

The [Islamic] religion’s share of the world’s population will equal the Christian share – at roughly 32 per cent each – in 2070, analysis by the Pew Research Center showed.

[…]

By 2050 Muslims will make up around ten percent of Europe’s population.

For a better idea of what is in store for Europe, simply look to the United Kingdom’s “Londonistan”—the apt name for London and other regions with a notable Islamic presence: Already with a 10 percent Muslim population, Londonistan is a reflection of Europe 35 years from now when it too is projected to be 10 percent Muslim (and by which time the U.K. will likely have an even much larger Muslim population).

The same sorts of anti-infidel violence and sexual abuse that is a daily fixture in Muslim majority nations is already a normal feature of Londonistan with its mere 10 percent Muslim minority.

Put differently, if Islamic State and other Islamic groups regularly behead “infidel” men and sexually enslave “infidel” women in the Middle East—so are “average” Muslims doing so in the U.K.:

Recall how in 2013, two Muslim men shouting “Allahu Akbar” beheaded a British soldier with a cleaver—in a busy intersection and in broad daylight no less. They even boasted in front of passersby and asked to be videotaped.

Or recall how Muslims were recently busted for running a sex ring in Rotherham, England: 1,400 British children as young as 11 were plied with drugs before being passed around and sexually abused in cabs and kabob shops.

It was at least at least the fifth sex abuse ring led by Muslims to be uncovered in England—Muslims who only make 10 percent.

During the trial of an earlier Muslim-run sex ring “Several of the men on trial in Liverpool apparently told their victims that it was all right for them to be passed around for sex with dozens of men ‘because it’s what we do in our country.’”

Pakistani Christians chant slogans during a demonstration demanding that the government rebuild their homes after they were burned down following an alleged blasphemy incident, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, March 10, 2013. The incident in Lahore began on Friday, March 8, 2013 after a Muslim accused a Christian man of blasphemy, an offence that in Pakistan is punished by life in prison or death. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Pakistani Christians chant slogans during a demonstration demanding that the government rebuild their homes after they were burned down following an alleged blasphemy incident, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, March 10, 2013. The incident in Lahore began on Friday, March 8, 2013 after a Muslim accused a Christian man of blasphemy, an offence that in Pakistan is punished by life in prison or death. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

In fact, when a Muslim man savagely raped a 9-year-old Christian girl in Pakistan, he told her “not to worry because he had done the same service to other young Christian girls.” Commenting on this case, local human rights activists said, “It is shameful. Such incidents occur frequently. Christian girls are considered goods to be damaged at leisure. Abusing them is a right. According to the community’s mentality it is not even a crime. Muslims regard them as spoils of war.”

Seemingly not a day goes by without Christian girls in Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, and any number of other Muslim majority nations being abducted, enslaved, raped, and/forced to convert (See “Crucified Again,” pgs. 186-199 for a sampling, plus the doctrinal justification.)

Indeed, there is no end of patterns of abuse against Christian minorities in the Muslim world that are now occurring in the West. While many are now aware that Islamic State destroys churches and Christian cemeteries, few realize that Muslims—not Islamic State—just average Muslims—are doing the same thing in the West.

Days ago in Canada, which has a small Muslim minority, a Muslim man vandalized and desecrated a church on several different occasions. Among other things, he covered the Christ statue in front of the church with black paint and broke its fingers and tore up Christian books inside the church.

Weeks earlier in France, 215 Christian gravestones and crosses in the cemetery of Saint-Roch de Castres (Tarn) were damaged and desecrated by a Muslim man who “repeats Muslim prayers over and over, he drools and cannot be communicated with.”

And last March in Germany, a potential jihadi attack on the cathedral and synagogue in Bremen was averted following action by police.

In short, along with all the other forms of jihad to be wary of—the sword jihad (“terrorism”), the tongue jihad (deceit/propaganda), the money jihad (financial support to jihadis)—the West should also be aware of the baby jihad.

If the same sorts of crimes being committed against Christian minorities in Muslim majority nations are already being committed in Europe and North America—despite the fact that Muslims are currently minorities—how then when, as projected, Islam becomes the most adhered to religion in the world?

Islam’s ‘Baby Jihad’

islam-will-dominate-the-world-450x295
Frontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim, June 12, 2015:

Islamic aspirations to dominate the world are set to happen—if not through might of arms, then apparently through sheer numbers.

In 1900, the Muslim population of the world was less than 200 million.  Conversely, the Christian population of the world was almost 560 million—almost three times the number of Muslims.

Times have changed.  According to the findings of a Pew Research Center in America:

The number of Muslims will increase at more than double the rate of the world’s population, which is expected to rise by 35 per cent in the next four decades.

There will be more Muslims than Christians in the world in less than sixty years, new research revealed.

The [Islamic] religion’s share of the world’s population will equal the Christian share – at roughly 32 per cent each – in 2070, analysis by the Pew Research Center showed.

[…]

By 2050 Muslims will make up around ten per cent of Europe’s population.

For a better idea of what is in store for Europe, simply look to the UK’s “Londonistan”—the apt name for London and other regions with a notable Muslim presence: Already with a 10 percent Muslim population, Londonistan is a reflection of Europe 35 years from now when it too is projected to be ten percent Muslim (and by which time the UK will likely have an even much larger Muslim population).

The same sorts of anti-infidel violence and sexual abuse that is a daily fixture in Muslim majority nations is already a normal feature of Londonistan with its mere 10 percent Muslim minority.

Put differently, if “ISIS” and other Islamic groups regularly behead “infidel” men and sexually enslave “infidel” women in the Middle East—so are “average” Muslims doing so in the UK:

Recall how in 2013, two Muslim men shouting “Allahu Akbar” beheaded a British soldier with a cleaver—in a busy intersection and in broad daylight no less.  They even boasted in front of passersby and asked to be videotaped.

Or recall how Muslims were recently busted for running a sex ring in Rotherham, England: 1,400 British children as young as 11 were plied with drugs before being passed around and sexually abused in cabs and kabob shops.

It was at least the fifth sex abuse ring led by Muslims to be uncovered in England—Muslims who only make 10 percent.

During the trial of an earlier Muslim-run sex ring “Several of the men on trial in Liverpool apparently told their victims that it was all right for them to be passed around for sex with dozens of men ‘because it’s what we do in our country.’”

In fact, that is exactly what some Muslim men do to infidel girls in their country.  Seemingly not a day goes by without Christian girls in Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, and any number of other Muslim majority nations being abducted, enslaved, raped, and/forced to convert (See Crucified Again, pgs. 186-199 for a sampling, plus the doctrinal justification.)

When a Muslim man savagely raped a nine-year-old Christian girl in Pakistan, he told her “not to worry because he had done the same service to other young Christian girls.”  Commenting on this case, local human rights activists said,  “It is shameful. Such incidents occur frequently. Christian girls are considered goods to be damaged at leisure. Abusing them is a right. According to the community’s mentality it is not even a crime. Muslims regard them as spoils of war.”

Indeed, there is no end of patterns of abuse against Christian minorities in the Muslim world that are now occurring in the West.  While many are now aware that “ISIS” destroys churches and Christian cemeteries, few realize that Muslims—not “ISIS”—just average Muslims—are doing the same thing in the West.

Days ago in Canada, which has a miniscule Muslim population, a Muslim man vandalized and desecrated a church on several different occasions.  Among other things, he covered the Christ statue in front of the church with black paint and broke its fingers and tore up Christian books inside the church.

Weeks earlier in France, 215 Christian gravestones and crosses in the cemetery of Saint-Roch de Castres (Tarn) were damaged and desecrated by a Muslim man later described as follows:  “The man repeats Muslim prayers over and over, he drools and cannot be communicated with: his condition has been declared incompatible with preliminary detention.”

And last March in Germany, a potential jihadi attack on the cathedral and synagogue in Bremen was averted following action by police.

In short, along with all the other forms of jihad to be wary of—the sword jihad, the tongue jihad (deceit/propaganda), the money jihad (financial support to jihadis)—the West should also be aware of the baby jihad.

If the same sorts of crimes being committed against Christian minorities in Muslim majority nations are already being committed in Europe and North America—despite the fact that Muslims are currently minorities—how then when, as projected, Islam becomes the most adhered to religion in the world?

Islamic Jizya: Fact and Fiction

Jizya (1)Frontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim, May 29, 2015:

 The Return of Jizya

Muslim demands for non-Muslim “infidels” to pay jizya on pain of death are growing, even as the West fluctuates between having no clue what jizya is and thinking that jizya is an example of “tolerance” in Islam.

In the video where the Islamic State slaughters some 30 Christian Ethiopians in Libya last April, the spokesman repeatedly pointed out that payment of jizya (which the impoverished Ethiopian migrant workers could not render, nor the 21 Copts before them) is the only way for Christians around the world to safeguard their lives:

But whoever refuses [to pay jizya] will see nothing from us but the edge of a spear. The men will be killed and the children will be enslaved, and their wealth will be taken as booty. This is the judgment of Allah and His Messenger.

When the Islamic State invaded ancient Christian regions around the Ninevah Plain last June,  it again declared: “We offer them [Assyrian Christians] three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”

The Islamic State—which most Western politicians ludicrously insist “has nothing to do with Islam”—is not alone in calling for jizya from Christian “infidels.”  In 2002, Saudi Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman, discussing the Muslim prophet’s prediction that Islam will eventually conquer Rome, said, “We will control the land of the Vatican; we will control Rome and introduce Islam in it. Yes, the Christians . . . will yet pay us the jizya, in humiliation, or they will convert to Islam.”

And in a video recently posted, Sheik ‘Issam Amira appears giving a sermon in Al Aqsa Mosque where he laments that too many Muslims think jihad is only for defense against aggressors, when in fact Muslims are also obligated to wage offensive jihad against non-Muslims:

When you face your pagan enemy, call them—either to Islam, jizya, or seek Allah’s help and fight them.  Even if they do not fight [or initiate hostilities], fight them!… Fight them!  When?  When they fight you?  No, when they refuse to convert to Islam or refuse to pay jizya….  Whether they like it or not, we will subjugate them to Allah’s authority.

In short, if the Islamic State is enforcing jizya on “infidels,” demands for its return are on the increase all around the Muslim world.  Put differently, if Abu Shadi, an Egyptian Salfi leader, once declared that Egypt’s Christians “must either convert to Islam, pay jizya, or prepare for war,” Dr. Amani Tawfiq, a female professor at Egypt’s Mansoura University, once said that “If Egypt wants to slowly but surely get out of its economic situation and address poverty in the country, the jizya has to be imposed on the Copts.”

The Doctrine and History of Jizya

So what exactly is jizya?

The word jizya appears in Koran 9:29, in an injunction that should be familiar by now: “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, regularly calls on Muslims to demand jizya of non-Muslims:  “If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay jizya, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”

The second “righteous caliph,” Omar al-Khattab, reportedly said that any conquered “infidel” who refuses to convert to Islam “must pay the jizya out of humiliation and lowliness. If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency.”

This theme of non-Muslim degradation appears regularly in the commentaries of Islam’s authorities.  According to the Medieval Islamic Civilization Encyclopedia, Muslim “jurists came to view certain repressive and humiliating aspects of dhimma as de rigueur. Dhimmis [subjugated non-Muslim Christians and Jews] were required to pay the jizya publicly, in broad daylight, with hands turned palm upward, and to receive a smart smack on the forehead or the nape of the neck from the collection officer.”

Some of Islam’s jurists mandated a number of other humiliating rituals at the time of jizya payment, including that the presiding Muslim official slap, choke, and in some cases pull the beard of the paying dhimmi, who might even be required to approach the official on all fours, in bestial fashion.

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 put it, “their lives and their possessions are only protected by reason of payment of jizya.”

Past and increasingly present, Muslims profited immensely by exacting jizya from conquered peoples.

For instance, Amr bin al-As, the companion of Muhammad who conquered Christian Egypt in the early 640s, tortured and killed any Christian Copt who tried to conceal his wealth. When a Copt inquired of him, “How much jizya are we to pay?” the Islamic hero replied, “If you give me all that you own—from the ground to the ceiling—I will not tell you how much you owe. Instead, you [the Christian Copts] are our treasure chest, so that, if we are in need, you will be in need, and if things are easy for us, they will be easy for you.”

Yet even that was not enough. Caliph Uthman later chided Amr bin al-As because another governor of Egypt had managed to increase the caliphate’s treasury double what Amr had. In the words of Uthman, the “milk camels [Egypt’s Christians, that is] . . . yielded more milk.”  Years later, yet another caliph, Suliman Abdul Malik, wrote to the governor of Egypt advising him “to milk the camel until it gives no more milk, and until it milks blood.”

Little wonder Egypt went from being almost entirely Christian in the seventh century to today having a mere 10%—and steadily dwindling, thanks to ongoing persecution—Christian minority.

Related to the idea of institutionalized jizya is the notion that non-Muslims are fair game to plunder whenever possible.  The jizya entry in the Encyclopaedia of Islam states that “with or without doctrinal justification, arbitrary demands [for money] appeared at times.” Even that medieval traveler, Marco Polo, whose chronicles appear impartial, made an interesting observation concerning the Muslims in Tauris (modern day Iraq) in the thirteenth century:

According to their doctrine [Islam], whatever is stolen or plundered from others of a different faith, is properly taken, and the theft is no crime; whilst those who suffer death or injury by the hands of Christians [during the course of a plunder-driven raid], are considered as martyrs….  These principles are common to all Saracens [Muslims].

All this is echoed in recent times by the words of  Sheikh Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini, spoken a few years ago, concerning what the Muslim world should do to overcome its economic problems:

If only we can conduct a jihadist invasion at least once a year or if possible twice or three times, then many people on earth would become Muslims. And if anyone prevents our dawa [invitation to conversion] or stands in our way, then we must kill or take them as hostage and confiscate their wealth, women and children. Such battles will fill the pockets of the Mujahid [holy warrior] who can return home with 3 or 4 slaves, 3 or 4 women and 3 or 4 children. This can be a profitable business if you multiply each head by 300 or 400 dirham. This can be like financial shelter whereby a jihadist, in time of financial need, can always sell one of these heads.

So it was for well over a millennium: Muslim rulers and mobs extorted money from “infidels” under their sway as a legitimate way to profit.

Much of this financial fleecing came to an end thanks to direct European intervention. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, one Muslim region after another abolished the jizya and gave non-Muslims unprecedented rights—originally to appease Western powers, later in emulation of Western governance. The Ottoman Empire’s Hatt-i Humayun decree of 1856 abolished the jizya in many Ottoman-ruled territories. Elsewhere in the Muslim world, the jizya was gradually abolished wherever Western powers were present.

Today, however, as Muslims reclaim their Islamic heritage—often to the approval and encouragement of a West, now under the spell of “multiculturalism”—jizya, whether institutionalized as under the Islamic State, or as a rationale to plunder infidels, is back.

Even in the West, in 2013, a UK Muslim preacher who was receiving more than 25,000 pounds annually in welfare benefits referred to British taxpayers as “slaves,” and explained:  “We take the jizya, which is our haq [Arabic for “right”], anyway. The normal situation by the way is to take money from the kafir [infidel], isn’t it? So this is the normal situation. They give us the money—you work, give us the money, Allahu Akhbar [“Allah is Great”]. We take the money.”

Academic Lies about Jizya

Yet if Muslims—from Islamic State jihadis to Egyptian university professors—know the truth about jizya, the West is today oblivious, thanks to its leading authorities on Islam: Western academics and other “experts” and talking heads.

Consider the following excerpt from John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and a widely acknowledged go-to source for anything Islamic:

In many ways, local populations [Christians, Jews, and others] found Muslim rule more flexible and tolerant than that of Byzantium and Persia. Religious communities were free to practice their faith to worship and be governed by their religious leaders and laws in such areas as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In exchange, they were required to pay tribute, a poll tax (jizya) that entitled them to Muslim protection from outside aggression and exempted them from military service. Thus, they were called the “protected ones” (dhimmi). In effect, this often meant lower taxes, greater local autonomy (emphasis added) …

Despite the almost gushing tone related to Muslim rule, the idea that jizya was extracted in order to buy “Muslim protection from outside aggression” is an outright lie.  Equally false is Esposito’s assertion that jizya was paid to “exempt them [non-Muslims] from military service”—as if conquering Muslims would even want or allow their conquered “infidel” subjects to fight alongside them in the name of jihad (holy war against infidels) without first converting to Islam.

Yet these two myths—that jizya was for “Muslim protection from outside aggression” and exemption from military service—are now widely accepted.  In “Nothing ‘Islamic’ About ISIS, Part Two: What the ‘Jizya’ Really Means,” one Hesham A. Hassaballa recycles these fabrications on BeliefNet by quoting Sohaib Sultan, Princeton University’s Muslim chaplain, who concludes: “Thus, jizyah is no more and no less than an exemption tax in lieu of military service and in compensation for the ‘covenant of protection’ (dhimmah) accorded to such citizens by the Islamic state.”

In reality and as demonstrated above via the words of a variety of authoritative Muslims, past and present,  jizya was, and is indeed, protection money—though protection, not from outsiders, as Esposito and others claim, but from surrounding Muslims themselves.  Whether it is the first caliphate from over a millennium ago or whether it is the newest caliphate, the Islamic State, Muslim overlords continue to deem the lives of their “infidel” subjects forfeit unless they purchase it, ransom it with money.  Put differently, the subjugated infidel is a beast to be milked “until it gives no more milk and until it milks blood,” to quote the memorable words of an early caliph.

There is nothing humane, reasonable, or admirable about demands for jizya from conquered non-Muslim minorities, as the academics claim. Jizya is simply extortion money. Its purpose has always been to provide non-Muslims with protection from Muslims: pay up, or else convert to Islam, or else die.

And it is commanded in both the Koran and Hadith, the twin pillars of Islam.  In short, jizya is yet another ugly fact of Islam—add to offensive jihad, imperialism, misogyny, slavery, etc.—one that, distort as they may, the academics cannot whitewash away, even as the world stands idly by watching its resumption in the twenty-first century.

Note: Most quotations not hyperlinked are sourced from Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians.  Full references can be found there.

The Ongoing War between Islam and Europe

6327503WavesofArabConquestBy Raymond Ibrahim, May 21, 2015:

In the following video, Hanne Nabintu, historian of religions, interviews me on a number of topics dealing with the history of Islam and the West – including such topics as the original Arab conquests and Crusades — and why the modern West’s notion of history is immensely skewed:

***

Bill Warner, PhD: Jihad vs Crusades:

Islamic Supremacism: The True Source of Muslim ‘Grievances’

Islam_Dominate_55Frontpage, May 15, 2015 by Raymond Ibrahim:

In the ongoing debate (or debacle) concerning free speech/expression and Muslim grievance—most recently on exhibition in Garland, where two “jihadis” opened fire on a “Prophet Muhammad” art contest organized by Pamela Geller—one thing has become clear: the things non-Muslims can do to provoke Islamic violence is limitless—and far exceeds cartoons.

Writes Victor Davis Hanson for example:

[Pamela] Geller, and not the jihadists who sought to kill those with whom they disagreed, was supposedly at fault. Her critics could not figure out that radical Muslims object not just to caricatures and cartoons, but to any iconographic representation of Mohammed. Had Geller offered invitations to artists to compete for the most majestic statue of the Prophet, jihadists might still have tried to use violence to stop it. Had she held a beauty pageant for gay Muslims or a public wedding for gay Muslim couples, jihadists would certainly have shown up.  Had she offered a contest for the bravest Islamic apostates, jihadists would have galvanized to kill the non-believers. Had she organized a support rally for Israel, jihadists might well have tried to kill the innocent, as they did in Paris when they murderously attacked a kosher market.

But it’s even worse than that.  The list of things that non-Muslims can do to provoke Islamic violence grows by the day and accords with the list of things subjugated “infidels” must never do, lest they provoke their Islamic overlords as laid out by Islamic law, or Sharia.

As such, the West needs finally to come to terms with the root source of these ubiquitous, easily sparked “Muslim grievances.”

Enter Muslim supremacism.

Islamic doctrine—which teaches that Muslims are superior to non-Muslims,  who are further compared to dogs and cattle—imbues Muslims with this sense of supremacism over the rest of mankind.  And a good portion of Islamic history—when Muslims were for centuries on the warpath, subjugating large swathes of the Old Word—further enforced it.

This sense of Islamic supremacism was dramatically humbled after European powers defeated and colonized much of the Muslim world.  Bred on the notion that “might makes right,” Muslims, for a time, even began emulating the unapologetic and triumphant West.  Turkey, for example, went from being the epitome of Islamic supremacy and jihad against Christian Europe for five centuries to desperately emulating Europe in all ways.  By the mid-1900s, Turkey became perhaps the most Westernized/secularized “Muslim” nation.

Today, however, as Western peoples willingly capitulate to Islamic mores—in the name of tolerance, multiculturalism, political correctness, or just plain cowardice—Muslims are becoming more emboldened, making more demands and threats, as they realize they need not militarily defeat the West in order to resuscitate their supremacist birthright.  (More appeasement from the bullied always brings about more demands from the bully.)

To understand all this, one need only look to Muslim behavior where it is dominant and not in need of pretense, that is, in the Muslim world.  There, non-Muslim minorities are habitually treated as inferiors.  But unlike the many Western appeasers who willingly accept a subservient role to Islam, these religious minorities have no choice in the matter.

Thus in Pakistan, as Christian children were singing carols inside their church, Muslim men from a nearby mosque barged in with an axe, destroyed the furniture and altar, and beat the children.  Their justification for such violence?  “You are disturbing our prayers…. How dare you use the mike and speakers?”

And when a Muslim slapped a Christian and the latter reciprocated, the Muslim exclaimed “How dare a Christian slap me?!” Anti-Christian violence immediately ensued.

All of this revolves around what I call the “How Dare You?!” phenomenon.  Remember it next time “progressive” media, politicians, and other talking heads tell you that Muslim mayhem and outbursts are products of grievances against the West. Missing from their rationale is the supremacist base of these grievances.

The Conditions of Omar, a foundational medieval Muslim text dealing with how subjugated “infidels” must behave, spells out their inferiority vis-à-vis Muslims.  Among other stipulations, it commands conquered Christians not to raise their “voices during prayer or readings in churches anywhere near Muslims” (hence the axe-attack in Pakistan).  It also commands them not to display any signs of Christianity—specifically Bibles and crosses—not to build churches, and not to criticize the prophet.  (See Crucified Again:Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians for my translation of “The Conditions of Omar.”)

If the supremacist nature of Islamic law is still not clear enough, the Conditions literally commands Christians to give up their seats to Muslims as a show of respect.

By way of analogy, consider when Rosa Parks, a black woman, refused to give up her bus seat to white passengers.  Any white supremacist at the time had sincere grievances: how dare she think herself equal?

But were such grievances legitimate? Should they have been accommodated?  Are the endless “grievances” of Muslims legitimate and should they be accommodated?  These are the questions missing from the debate about easily bruised Muslim sensitivities.

One can go on and on with examples from all around the Islamic world:

In Turkey, a Bible publishing house was once stormed and three of its Christian employees tortured, disemboweled, and finally murdered.  One suspect later said: “We didn’t do this for ourselves, but for our religion [Islam]…. Our religion is being destroyed.”

In Egypt, after a 17-year-old Christian student refused to obey his Muslim teacher’s orders to cover up his cross, the teacher and some Muslim students attacked, beat, and ultimately murdered the teenager.

These Turkish and Egyptian Muslims were truly aggrieved: Islamic law makes clear that Christians must not “produce a cross or Bible” around Muslims. How dare the Egyptian student and Turkish Bible publishers refuse to comply—thus grieving their Muslim murderers?

In Indonesia, where it is becoming next to impossible for Christians to build churches, Christians often congregate outside to celebrate Christmas—only to be attacked by Muslims hurling cow dung and bags of urine at the Christians as they pray.

These Muslims are also sincerely aggrieved: how dare these Christians think they can be a church when the Conditions forbid it?

In short, anytime non-Muslims dare to overstep their Sharia-designated “inferior” status—which far exceeds drawing cartoons—supremacist Muslims will become violently aggrieved.

From here, one can begin to understand the ultimate Muslim grievance: Israel.

For if “infidel” Christian minorities are deemed inferior and attacked by aggrieved Muslims for exercising their basic human rights, like freedom of worship, how must Muslims feel about Jews—the descendants of pigs and apes, according to the Koran—exercising power and authority over fellow Muslims in what is perceived to be Muslim land?

How dare they?!

Of course, if grievances against Israel were really about justice and displaced Palestinians, Muslims—and their Western appeasers—would be aggrieved by the fact that millions of Christians are currently being displaced by Muslim invaders.

Needless to say, they are not.

So the next time you hear that Muslim rage and terrorism are products of grievance—from cartoons to territorial disputes and everything in between—remember that this is absolutely true.  But these “grievances” are not predicated on any human standards of equality or justice, only a supremacist worldview.

Islam’s ‘Reformation’ Is Already Here—and It’s Called ‘ISIS’

vcBy Raymond Ibrahim, May 7, 2015:

The idea that Islam needs to reform is again in the spotlight following the recent publication of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new book, Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.  While Ali makes the argument that Islam can reform—and is in desperate need of taking the extreme measures she suggests to do so—many of her critics offer a plethora of opposing claims, including that Islam need not reform at all.

The one argument not being made, however, is the one I make below—namely, that Islam has already “reformed.”  And violence, intolerance, and extremism—typified by the Islamic State (“ISIS”)—are the net result of this “reformation.”

Such a claim only sounds absurd due to our understanding of the word “reform.”  Yet despite its positive connotations, “reform” simply means 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 connotations.

Muslim notions of “improving” society can include purging it of “infidels” and “apostates,” and segregating Muslim men from women, keeping the latter under wraps or quarantined at home. Banning many forms of freedoms taken for granted in the West—from alcohol consumption to religious and gender equality—is an “improvement” and a “betterment” of society from a strictly Islamic point of view.

In short, an Islamic reformation will 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 first premises and reference points.  “Reform” only sounds good to most Western peoples because they naturally attribute Western connotations to the word.

Historical Parallels: Islam’s Reformation and the Protestant Reformation

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 current 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—including every atrocity ISIS commits, such as beheading, crucifying, and burning “infidels,” even mocking their corpses—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 teachings 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 exclusively 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” (Bernard Lewis,The Middle East, p. 333).

The unadulterated words of God—or Allah—are all that matter for the “reformists,” with ISIS at their head.

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 becoming better acquainted 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.

Christianity and Islam: Antithetical Teachings, Antithetical Results

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 scriptures 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 naturally 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 all 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.

The Islamic Reformation Is Here—and It’s ISIS

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 founders and scriptures of Christianity and Islam markedly differ from one another, Islam’s reformation is producing something markedly different.

Put differently, those in the West 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 is precisely what Ayaan Hirsi Ali is doing.  Some of her reforms as outlined in Heretic call for Muslims to begin doubting Muhammad (whose words and deeds are in the Hadith) and the Koran—the very two foundations of Islam.

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

Habitually 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 the example of Muhammad as laid out in the 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 very three things Ali is asking Muslims to start doubting.

The “Islamic reformation” some in the West are calling 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 and history in any meaningful way and still peacefully coexist with, much less complement, modernity the way Christianity does.

Note: An earlier version of this article first appeared on PJ Media in June 2014

Christians Pay Islam’s Price for Freedom

Gatestone Institute, by Raymond Ibrahim, April 19, 2015:

A pastor eventually helped the 12 year old to a “medical clinic, where she was treated for two weeks, while her father began organizing area Muslims to kill her.”

“The intention was to torch all the churches with us inside them” and thus “burn us alive.” — A nun in Niger.

Before we put on a show of unity with the Muslims, let’s have them begin by respecting our civilization and our culture.” — Giuseppe Berlin, Councillor, Cinisello Balsamo, Italy.

The New Year began with Muslim gunmen killing a dozen people at the offices of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris on January 7, 2015. The attack was motivated by the publication of unflattering caricatures of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.

Less known is that all throughout the Islamic world, the magazine’s caricatures of Muhammad were blamed on Christianity by Muslims, who seemed not to realize that the magazine habitually pokes fun at Christ, Moses, and all other religious figures. In the Palestinian territories, for example, protesters held up a sign with images of the Muslim killers behind theCharlie Hebdo massacre; the caption below said “Expect more from the champions of Islam, O you slaves of the Cross” (bold in original Arabic).

Palestinians waving Islamic State flags attempt to storm the French Cultural Center in Gaza City, in January. Some in the crowd carried posters glorifying the terrorists who carried out the attacks in Paris that month, such as this poster with photos of the terrorists and the caption “Expect more from the champions of Islam, O you slaves of the Cross”. (Image source: ehna tv YouTube screenshot)

Accordingly, Muslims around the Islamic world attacked Christian minorities by way of “collective punishment.”

In Niger, in response to the Muhammad cartoons, Muslim mobs, reportedly spurred on by the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, torched approximately 45 Christian churches, a Christian school and orphanage, pastors’ homes and two nuns’ convents. At least 10 people were killed in the clashes; pastors in the capital, Niamey, said that anyone associated with churches — anyone exposed as Christian — was targeted.

According to a nun who escaped the violence, “The intention was to torch all the churches with us inside them” and thus “burn us alive. Boko Haram students believe they must kill Christians in order to take their place in paradise but we won’t surrender to fear because love must prevail over hatred.”

In Pakistan, some 300 Muslim students armed with iron bars and sticks and shouting anti-Christian slogans, attacked a Christian boys’ school in “retaliation” for the Muhammad cartoons. Four Christian students were injured. According to eyewitnesses, the three officers hired to guard the school stood by and watched.

“It is very sad that Islamic radicals attack Pakistani Christians because of Charlie Hebdo,” said Nasir Saeed, director of the NGO Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement, of the attack. “Christians condemn the blasphemous cartoons. It is a shame that even after 67 years since the birth of Pakistan, Christians have not yet been considered Pakistani citizens, but are seen as “Western allies”…. Whenever incidents occur in western countries, the faithful Pakistanis are attacked. Christians, who are already living under constant fear for their lives, become even more vulnerable.”

From an Islamic perspective, in fact, people are not classified according to nationality, but religion. It is irrelevant that those who insult the prophet of Islam are French, or European, or American. To Muslims around the world, all those terms are synonymous with “Christian.” Thus, years before the world heard of “ISIS,” Christian minorities in Iraq were being targeted and killed “over their religious ties with the West.”

The rest of January’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.

Death and Destruction at Christian Churches

Egypt: The courtyard of St. George the Martyr, a partially constructed Catholic church in Hijazh village, was set on fire by unknown persons on Christmas day (January 7 for Egyptian Christians). Christian worshipers, who had been planning to pray in the church’s courtyard — due to Muslim protests, the church had been left unfinished for 23 years — had furnished it with chairs and tents. They “were surprised” to find “flames” engulf much of the courtyard. In 2010, a wooden church building beside the unfinished church had also been burned down, although at that time faulty electrical wiring was blamed. Pictures can be seen here.

Separately, on January 25 — the anniversary of Egypt’s “Arab Spring” — gunshots were fired at the church of St. Raphael the Archangel in Maadi. Several Coptic Christians were killed, including a child, Mina Rifa’at. In other areas, such as Beni Suef, security forces closed the streets around the churches to prevent attacks by gangs affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.According to the local bishop, Antonios Aziz Mina, “clashes occurred between the police and groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood…”

Italy: Churches, crosses, and religious statues were attacked in the European, Catholic-majority nation: On New Year’s Day, a 67-year-old Moroccan man, seen mumbling verses from the Koran, used an iron rod to hurl to the ground and severely damage five statues and other religious objects in the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta in Cles, Trentino. He threw to the ground the statue of the Madonna and Child, the Immaculate, those of Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows and the statue of St. Joseph with the Child. He also targeted the marble altar and the baptistery, which shattered, two altars and a large painting of the Assumption. He was arrested by police on the charge of aggravated damage.

Then, on January 9, in the chapel of St. Barnabas in Perugia, as a man holding the photograph of a loved one was kneeling in prayer before a St. Mary statue, five “foreigners,” described as being of North African descent, attacked him. “The first thing they did was rip the photo from his hands. Next they unleashed their hatred against the image of the Virgin Mary. They broke the statue to pieces and then urinated on it,” said the Italian language report.

Finally, on January 17, a crucifix was destroyed in Cinisello Balsamo, a municipality in the Province of Milan, near a popular mosque. The municipality’s Councillor, Giuseppe Berlin, did not mince words concerning the identity of the culprit(s): “It’s time to put an end to the do-gooders’ policies of welcoming and integrating by a certain political party. Before we put on a show of unity with Muslims, let’s have them begin by respecting our civilization and our culture. We shouldn’t minimize the importance of certain signals; we must wake up now or our children will suffer the consequences of this dangerous and uncontrolled Islamic invasion.”

Kenya: An unknown gunman shot a Christian dead at the gate leading to a church on Sunday, January 11 in Mombasa. As George Muriki, 25, arrived with two other church members at the gate leading to Maximum Revival Ministries Church, one of two men who had been following him shot him three times in the back, apparently after mistaking him for the church pastor. According to the pastor, “The two other church members, who happened to be ladies, were pushed aside and one of the attackers said, ‘This is the church pastor,’ and there and then the attackers fired three times right at the back of George, who died at the spot…. My life is in danger — I know I was the target, but God protected…. Someone has been following me for the last one month.” The pastor later named his stalker as “Mohammed.” “The school hall also is not safe,” he added. “We have to move to another location; otherwise we are going to lose many members who are now afraid to come to church.”

Nigeria: During a New Year church service, an Islamic suicide bomber blew himself up at the gates of a church in the city of Gombe. Eight people were wounded. In the words of a Red Cross official: “This morning [January 1] while people were in church for the New Year worship, a suicide attacker rode on a motorcycle trying to gain entrance to the premises of the church. When he was stopped at the gates by the church guards … he blew himself up and injured eight people.”

Separately, after several Western mainstream media reported that Nigeria’s Muslims protected Christian churches during Christmas Day celebrations, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) debunked such claims. “It has,” they said, “become imperative for us to clarify this falsehood and confusion in local and international media. Many of our members have been calling and asking questions whether a Church was protected from being attacked by Muslims in [the] Sabo area on Christmas day? And we said it is not true.” CAN added that, contrary to Western media reports, not one of 600 churches was protected by Muslims on Christmas.

Pakistan: On December 29, a Protestant Christian church was set on fire, leaving the Christian community in “dismay and terror.” According to Pastor Qamar Zaman, in charge of the pastoral care of the affected community, “it is an act of intimidation to spread terror and create enmity between Christians and Muslims.” Responding to this incident, lawyer and activist Sardar Mushtaq Gill said: “Christians in Pakistan suffer from a sense of distrust and fear. Extremists continue to sow terror in the minds of citizens and have no regard either towards the people or the holy places. They want to create disharmony among the faiths in Pakistan and create unrest in the country. Our answer can only be a response of faith and prayer.”

Syria: On January 9, a number of Christian churches in Aleppo, some around 200 years old, were bombed by Islamic rebels. Among them was the Armenian Catholic Cathedral, St. Rita — or, “Our Lady of Pity,” built in 1830 — which was left partially destroyed (pictures here). According to Rev. Fr. Krikor Milad, based in Aleppo, the bombing took place around 5:30 a.m., while everyone slept: “If the bombing had taken place just two hours later, the church would have been full of worshippers. God saved them.” Four months earlier, the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Church of Der Zor was destroyed by the Islamic State.

On January 30, two pickup trucks, carrying twenty armed members of the Islamic State, entered the Assyrian town of Tel Hormizd in Hassaka and forced the residents to remove the cross from the church tower. The leader threatened to bomb the church if the cross were not removed. Unable to defend themselves, the residents complied.

The aftermath of the March 2014 Islamist takeover of the Armenian town of Kessab was detailed in a Telegraph report after government forces liberated the Christian town. The report tells of the many churches destroyed, crosses broken, and images of Christ and Virgin Mary defaced: “The perpetrators had shown both purpose and glee in their destruction of Christian sites in this ancient Armenian town. Statues were riddled with bullets and Islamist slogans were scrawled across the walls of homes and shops…. Nearby, the Holy Trinity Armenian Evangelical church was little more than a burned shell. Walls were blackened by smoke; wooden pews, tapestries, Bibles and kneeling cushions had all been incinerated in a fire that appeared to have raged until there was nothing left to burn.” “I was at home with my husband when they raided the house,” Zavinar Sargdegian, a 58-year-old resident, explained her ordeal. “They broke down the front door. They pushed us on to the street. We were on our knees and they put a gun to our heads. From the road I saw the Angelic Church burning. Fire was coming out of the doors and windows.”

Death to Apostates

Uganda: A Muslim father and imam, or prayer leader, beat his 15-year-old daughter to death for converting to Christianity and was reportedly trying to kill her hospitalized 12-year-old sister, also for abandoning Islam for Christ. According to a local source, around mid-December,

“Their father got the information that his daughters have converted, and he organized a small group of fellow Muslims, about 17 people, to go and attack the Christians. He found the [church] campaign had finished but went back to his home and waited for the daughters. When they went back home, the father picked up the club and started beating them badly till one called Jamirah died.”

The younger, Saidah, described her ordeal as follows: “My father took us to the house and then locked the house. He questioned us why we attended a Christian meeting and started beating us up with a club. My sister was hit on the forehead and fell down. I tried to hide myself in the bed, but he got me out and began beating me up as my sister lay down bleeding.” Saidah began shouting for help, but her father covered her mouth with such force that she nearly suffocated. She fell down, unconscious. A pastor eventually helped her to “a medical clinic, where she was treated for two weeks, while her father began organizing area Muslims to kill her.”

Murder and Dhimmitude

Egypt: On January 13, a Christian man was shot to death in broad daylight “for what family members believe was their refusal to drop charges against the suspect’s relatives in other religiously motivated killings in 2013.” The gunman, Hasan Baghdadi, was arrested the following day. He and his brother, Mohamed, ambushed 38-year-old Shaheed Nesemis Saroufeem — a cousin of a Christian who was killed along with three other Copts in July 2013. The Baghdadi brothers are related to at least one of those accused in the 2013 killing. Mohamed Baghdadi, said local Copts, is an Islamist who regularly incites violence against Christians in the area.

Separately, a young Coptic Christian girl, Sabrine Mushir, was kidnapped in the village of Dalga. Coptic activists complained that not a single person from among the authorities and security forces did a single thing to try to find the girl. As one family member said, “If this were the daughter of one of the local authorities, she would have been retrieved in seconds.” Dalga, where the young Christian girl was kidnapped, is the same Upper Egyptian village where, in September 2013, Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers forced the Christian inhabitants to pay Islamic jizya — the money, or tribute, that vanquished non-Muslims historically had to pay to their Islamic overlords “with willing submission and while feeling themselves subdued,” in the words of Koran 9:29. In some cases, those not able to pay were attacked, and their wives and children beaten or kidnapped.

Iraq: The Islamic State expelled 10 elderly Christians from Mosul after they refused to renounce their Christian faith and convert to Islam. On Wednesday, January 7, the group of elders — some with serious health problems — was welcomed in Kirkuk, after spending two days in the cold and traveling in no man’s land. “They had thrown us out from our villages and our homes to occupy them,” said Rachel, “and then we were all clumped together in a residence in Mosul.”

Kazakhstan: Nikolai Novikov, a devoted Baptist church member, was banned from leaving the country, and faced other charges, because he refused to pay fines equivalent to a monthly wage for attending a Christian worship meeting without state permission: “I didn’t pay because I don’t consider myself guilty,” said the Christian, who was also jailed for five days. Novikov, a 34-year-old married father of four living in the city of Oral (Uralsk), is among the most vocal voices against a government crackdown on Christians who express their faith openly or gather without state permission.

About this Series

While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians is expanding. “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some — by no means all — of the instances of persecution that surface each month.

It documents what the mainstream media often fails to report.

It posits that such persecution is not random but systematic, and takes place in all languages, ethnicities and locations.

Raymond Ibrahimis author ofCrucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War in Christians(published by Regnery in cooperation with Gatestone Institute, April 2013).

Also see:

Pentagon: Bible and U.S. Founding Documents Promote ‘Sexism’

By Raymond Ibrahim, April 14, 2015:

Here again we see why Western “elites,” including the highest echelons of the U.S. military, are clueless and incapable of acknowledging — much less responding to — Islam:

Modern sexism is rooted in the Bible, U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, according to a Pentagon-approved seminar.

In a presentation prepared by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI), a Department of Defense joint services school based in Florida, the Bible, U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, along with Great Man theory, are to blame for “historical influences that allow sexism to continue,” The Daily Caller reported.

“Quotes from the Bible can be misinterpreted as having a sexist influence when brought out of context and not fully understood,” the course says. “In 1776, ‘We the people…’ only included white men: Slaves and women were not included until later in history.”

The course also cites the Declaration of Independence as a historical cause of sexism for referring to only “all men” being created equal.

[…]

“While there is no DoD Policy that requires persons to take these online courses,” the spokesman told The Daily Caller, 2,075 Department of Defense personnel have taken the “Sexism” course since 2011.

Meanwhile, to even hint that Islam’s core texts promote sexism — if not downright misogny — can get one fired.  Yet the Koran declares that women are inferior to men, that men have authority over them and are permitted to beat them, that polygamy is permissible — each man can have four wives — that females only inherit half of males’ inheritance, that female testimony in an Islamic court of law is equivalent to half a man’s.

And every day, in every Muslim country, every woman experiences these very real, “non-abstract” distinctions.

Islamic prophet Muhammad himself likened females to dogs and other animals — “for all are ridden” —  and said that women are deficient in intelligence and make up the majority of hell’s denizens.

Yet, it’s the Bible, U.S. Constitution, and Declaration of Independence that women need fear, says the Pentagon.

Obama Cites Ayatollah’s Fatwa on Road to Nuclear War

354x199xobama-iran2Frontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim, March 26, 2015:

As Iran continues edging closer to developing nuclear weapons—a major threat to the entire Mideast region, especially longstanding U.S. ally Israel—U.S. President Obama has come to the aid of the Islamic Republic, by citing an Islamic fatwa no less. In a video recording posted on the White House’s website, Obama said, “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons, and President Rouhani has said that Iran would never develop a nuclear weapon.”

This is the same Rouhani who, after recently showcasing Iran’s newly developed missiles, described his nation’s diplomatic talks with the U.S. as an active “jihad”: “Our negotiations with the world powers are a source of national pride. Yesterday [during the Iran-Iraq War], your brave generals stood against the enemy on the battlefield and defended their country. Today, your diplomatic generals are defending [our nation] in the field of diplomacy–this, too, is jihad.”

Other administration officials—such as Secretary of State John Kerry and Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes—have previously referred to the ayatollah’s reported fatwa in the context of the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran.

The Obama administration’s citation of this fatwa is utterly wrongheaded on many levels.

First, the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya permits Muslims to deceive non-Muslims. Islamic prophet Muhammad himself regularly lied to his infidel enemies, often resulting in their murder (such as the case of Ka‘b ibn Ashraf). He also proclaimed that lying was permissible in three contexts, one being war. Moreover, throughout the centuries and due to historic circumstances (discussed here), taqiyya became second nature to the Shia—the sect currently ruling Iran.

Then there is the fact that Islamic law takes circumstance into account. When Muhammad was weak and outnumbered in Mecca, he preached peace and tolerance (hence why Meccan Suras appear peaceful); when he became strong in Medina, he preached war and went on the offensive (hence why Medinan Suras are violent and intolerant). This dichotomy—preach peace when weak, wage war when strong—has been Islamic modus operandi for centuries.

Speaking of fatwas, Dr. Yusuf Burhami, a prominent Islamic cleric in Egypt, recently said that destroying churches in Egypt is permissible if not advisable—but not if doing so prompts Western infidels to intervene and occupy Egypt, which they could do “because the condition of Muslims in the current era is well known to the nations of the world—they are weak.” Burhami further added that circumstance is everything, “just as the prophet allowed the Jews to remain in Khaibar after he opened [conquered] it, once Muslims grew in strength and number, [second caliph] Omar al-Khattab drove them out according to the prophet’s command, ‘Drive out the Jews and Christians from the Peninsula.’”

And who can forget Yasser Arafat’s reference to Muhammad’s Hudaybiya pact? In 1994, soon after negotiating a peace treaty criticized as conceding too much to Israel, Arafat addressed an assembly of Muslims and said: “I see this agreement as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the [infidel] Quraysh in Mecca.” In other words, like Muhammad, Arafat gave his word only to annul it once his ranks became strong enough to go on the offensive.

In short, it’s all very standard for Islamic leaders to say they are pursuing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes while they are weaker than their infidel foes—as Iran is today—but once they acquire nukes the jihad can resume in earnest.

Then there is the fact that Shia theology is rife with apocalyptic aspirations. An August 2007 report compiled by the Congressional Research Service said: “Ahmadinejad [previous president of Iran] believes his mission is to prepare for the return of the 12th ‘Hidden’ Imam, whose return from occultation [i.e., “hiding”] would, according to Twelver Shi’ite doctrine, be accompanied by the establishment of Islam as the global religion.”

Like other Iranians, Ahmadinejad cited the eschatological (and canonical) hadith wherein Muhammad said: “The Hour [Judgment Day] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and until the Jews hide behind the trees and rocks and the trees and rocks will say, ‘O Muslim, O Servant of God! Here are the Jews! Come and kill them!”

Indeed, during a recent speech, supreme leader Khamenei—whose fatwa Obama is now citing—boasted about Iran’s uranium enrichment, even as his military commanders shouted, “Allah Akbar. Khamenei is the leader. Death to the enemies of the leadership. Death to America. Death to England. Death to hypocrites. Death to Israel.”

Yet despite all this—despite the fact that Islamic doctrine mandates lying to infidels; despite the fact that the Shia—Iran’s leadership—have perfected taqiyya into an art; despite the fact that Islamic law holds that Muslims should preach peace when weak, war when strong; despite the fact that Iranian leadership openly boasts that its nuclear negotiations are a “jihad” against the infidel; despite the fact that Iran has previously been exposed developing uranium enrichments suitable for nuclear warheads—here is Obama and his administration relying on the “word” of the ayatollah of Iran.

Jihadis Seek to Cleanse Pakistan of Christians

by Raymond Ibrahim
PJ Media
March 21, 2015

Originally published under the title, “Jihadis Cleansing Pakistan of Christians.”

Pakistani Christians mourn the victims of two March 15 suicide bombings of churches in Lahore.

Pakistani Christians mourn the victims of two March 15 suicide bombings of churches in Lahore.

The two churches (located in Youhanabad, Lahore’s Christian quarter) were St. John’s Catholic Church and Christ Church (Protestant).On Sunday, March 15, as Christian churches around the world were celebrating morning mass, two churches in Pakistan were attacked by Islamic suicide bombers. At least 17 people were killed and over 70 were wounded.

The Taliban claimed responsibility. It is believed that the group had hoped for much greater death tolls, as there were almost 2,000 people in both churches at the time of the explosions.

According to eyewitnesses, two suicide bombers approached the gates of the two churches and tried to enter them. When they were stopped — including by a 15-year-old Christian who blocked them with his body — they self-detonated. Witnesses saw “body parts flying through the air.”

Thus did the jihadis “kill and be killed,” in the words of Koran 9:111, the verse most often cited to justify suicide attacks.

According to an official statement of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Pakistan, despite all the threats received by the churches, authorities only provided “minimal” security:

Agents present at the time of the attack were busy watching the cricket match on TV, instead of carrying out their duty to protect churches. As a result of this neglect, many Christians have lost their lives.

The statement further urged:

the government to adopt strong measures to protect churches and other religious minorities in Pakistan [since] the Christian community of Pakistan was targeted by extremists in the past.

Nearly 90 Christian worshippers were killed in the September 2013 suicide bombing of All Saints Church in Peshawar.

Nearly 90 Christian worshippers were killed in the September 2013 suicide bombing of All Saints Church in Peshawar.

One parishioner recalled how “human remains were strewn all over the church.” (For an idea of the aftermath of suicide attacks on churches, see these graphic pictures.)Less than a year-and-a-half earlier, on September 22, 2013, in Peshawar, suicide bombers entered the All Saints Church right after Sunday mass and blew themselves up in the midst of approximately 550 congregants, killing nearly 90 worshippers. Many were Sunday school children, women, and choir members. At least 120 were injured.

In 2001, Islamic gunmen stormed St. Dominic’s Protestant Church, opening fire on the congregants and killing at least 16 worshippers, mostly women and children.

Less dramatic attacks on churches occur with great frequency. Days before last Sunday’s twin attacks,three armed men entered Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Kasur district, Punjab, and took church personnel, the assistant parish priest, and congregation hostage. Before leaving the premises, the terrorists stole mobile telephones, cameras, and a computer.

Earlier, Father Leopold, the ailing parish priest, was robbed by thieves:

[They] pretended to be ordinary members of the faithful wanting to enroll some children at the parish school. Then they suddenly pulled out guns.

Christmas season is an especially dangerous time for Christians meeting in churches. On lastDecember 25:

Heavy contingents of police were deployed in and around the churches … citizens were allowed only after [a] thorough body search … while the entry points leading to the churches had been closed by placing cemented blocks and barbed wire.

During another Christmas, the following attack came in response to fatwas condemning Christmas celebrations:

When Christian worshipers were coming out of different churches after performing Christmas prayers, more than one hundred Muslim extremists equipped with automatic rifles, pistols and sticks attacked the Christian women, children and men.

There have also been general attacks on Christians, especially in the context of accusing them of “blaspheming” against Islam. Last November, a mob — not the “Taliban,” and not “terrorists” — consisting of at least 1,200 Muslims tortured and burned to death a young Christian couple (the wife was pregnant) in an industrial kiln in Pakistan. Someone had accused the Christian couple of desecrating the Koran.

Even when not in church and not accused of blasphemy, Christian minorities are always in danger. Last December, Elisabeth Bibi, a 28-year-old pregnant Christian mother of four, was “beaten, scorned and humiliated, deprived of her dignity [and] forced to walk naked through the town” by two Muslim brothers — the pregnant woman’s employers — following an argument. In the ordeal, she lost her baby. Rights activists say the attack “was motivated because of Bibi’s [Christian] religious beliefs.”

Speaking last Sunday from Rome, Pope Francis said:

It’s with pain, much pain that I was told of the terrorist attacks against two Christian churches in Lahore in Pakistan, which have caused numerous deaths and injuries. These are Christian churches and Christians are persecuted, our Christian brothers are spilling their blood simply because they are Christians. I implore God … that this persecution against Christians — that the world seeks to hide — comes to an end and that there is peace.

Pope Francis is often criticized for his apologetic approach towards Islam. Even here, he does not note who is persecuting these Christians, leading to confusing assertions (“our Christian brothers are spilling their blood” sounds like Christians are killing Christians). But the pope is forthright as to why Christians are being killed: “simply because they are Christians.”

Others, such as the U.S. government, will not even concede that much. When the world heard and saw how 21 Coptic Christians had their heads sawed off by Islamic jihadis in Libya, the White House issued a statement condemning the beheadings — but referred to the beheaded only as “Egyptian citizens.” Not Christians, or even Copts, even though that is the sole reason they were slaughteredaccording to statements issued by their executioners.

Such obfuscation ensures the Muslim persecution of Christians “that the world seeks to hide” will continue indefinitely.

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

CIA Chief John Brennan: Deceptions About Islam

John_Brennan-450x253Frontpage, March 17, 2015 by Raymond Ibrahim:

By constantly projecting Western standards on Islamic jihadis, CIA head John Brennan has come to epitomize the U.S. intelligence community’s intellectual failures concerning the true sources of the jihad.

Last Friday, March 13, Brennan insisted that Islamic State (IS) members are not Islamic. Instead, “They are terrorists, they’re criminals. Most—many—of them are psychopathic thugs, murderers who use a religious concept and masquerade and mask themselves in that religious construct.”

Note his usage of terms familiar to Western people (“terrorists,” “criminals,” etc.). Islamic State jihadis may be all those things—including “psychopathic thugs”—from a Western paradigm, but the fact left out by Brennan is that, according to Islamic law and history, savage and psychopathic behavior is permissible, especially in the context of the jihad.

But perhaps Brennan knows all this and is simply being “strategic”? After all, the CIA head also “warned against ascribing ‘Islamic legitimacy’ to the overseas terrorist group, saying that allowing them to identify themselves with Islam does a disservice to Muslims around the world.”

Brennan of course is following Barack Obama’s lead; a month earlier the president said:

We must never accept the premise that they [Islamic State] put forward, because it is a lie, nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders, they are terrorists. And we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.

The problem is that, according to Western norms—built as they are atop Judeo-Christian principles—Islam has been “perverted” from day one. As far back as the 8th century, mere generations after Islam was born, Byzantine chronicler Theophanes wrote in his Chrongraphia:

He [Islamic prophet Muhammad] taught those who gave ear to him that the one slaying the enemy—or being slain by the enemy—entered into paradise [e.g., Koran 9:111]. And he said paradise was carnal and sensual—orgies of eating, drinking, and women. Also, there was a river of wine … and the woman were of another sort, and the duration of sex greatly prolonged and its pleasure long-enduring [e.g., Koran 56: 7-40, 78:31, 55:70-77]. And all sorts of other nonsense.

More to the point, every atrocity IS has committed—beheading, crucifying, raping, enslaving, or burning people alive—is legitimate according to Islamic lawand the teachings and deeds of Muhammad, that most “perfect” and “moral” man (Koran 33:21, 68:4), as documented here.

Based on Islamic historical texts, Muhammad sent assassins to slaughter his critics—including poets and one old woman whose body was dismembered by her Muslim assailants; he had an “infidel” tortured to death with fire in order to reveal his tribe’s hidden treasure; he “married” that same man’s wife hours later (the woman, Safiya, later confessed that “Of all men, I hated the prophet the most—for he killed my husband, my brother, and my father”); and he reportedly used to visit and have sex with his nine wives in a single hour. (For more, read “The Perverse Sexual Habits of the Prophet.”)

Again, all this information is based on Islamic texts deemed reliable and regularly quoted by Muslim scholars and theologians—not fabrications by “Islamophobes.”

Even so, the point here is that, whatever the “truth” about Islam, its origins and founder, the premise that Brennan, Obama, etc., constantly put forth—that it would be counterproductive for “us” to confer any Islamic “legitimacy” on groups like the Islamic State—is fatuous at best. As I explained in a 2009 article titled “Words Matter in the War on Terror”:

Muslims are not waiting around for Americans or their government — that is, the misguided, the deluded, in a word, the infidel — to define Islam for them; much less will subtle word games and euphemisms emanating from the West manage to confer or take away Islamic legitimacy on the Islamists of the world. For Muslims, only Islamic law, the antithesis of international law, decides what is or is not legitimate, or in legal terminology, what is mubah or mahrum.

Furthermore, the U.S. government would do well to worry less about which words appease Muslims … and worry more about providing its own citizenry with accurate and meaningful terminology.

Words matter. Whom those words are directed at matters even more. The world’s Muslims aren’t holding their breath to hear what sort of Islamic legitimacy the U.S. government is about to confer on any given Islamist group, since it is not for non-Muslims — the despised infidels — to decide what is and is not Islamic in the first place. Americans, on the other hand, who still wonder “why they hate us,” are in desperate need of understanding. Using accurate terminology is the first step.

Indeed, for all of U.S. leadership’s fear that we “infidels” not “legitimize” the Islamic State, Al Azhar—perhaps the most “legitimate” of all Islamic institutions—refuses to delegitimize the jihadi terrorists. And little wonder, since Al Azhar’s curriculum teaches everything that IS is doing—including burning people alive.

Meanwhile, Brennan whitewashes and praises the jihad. Speaking back in 2010, the politically correct CIA chief said:

Nor do we describe our enemy as “jihadists” or “Islamists” because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.

Inasmuch as he is correct that “jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community”—he greatly errs by again projecting Judeo-Christian notions of what constitutes “holy,” “legitimate,” and “innocent” onto Islam.

Jihad is nothing less than offensive warfare to spread Islamic rule, a cause seen as both “legitimate” and “holy” in Islam. (Read this “moderate” Muslim scholar’s “logic” on the (invisible) differences between jihad and terrorism.) Moreover, jihadis regularly seek to “purify” their communities by purging them of “infidels” and their influences.  As for “innocence,” by simply being a non-Muslim, one is already guilty in Islam.  And when Muhammad’s disciples warned him about attacking non-Muslim tribes in the night, since women and children might get killed accidentally, the prophet replied, “They are from among them” and proceeded with the raid.

All this leads to the following question: If the Islamic State and other jihadi organizations are not animated by Islam, then what, according to the CIA chief, is really fueling their jihad? Brennan spelled this out very clearly back in 2010 when he described Islamic terrorists as victims of “political, economic and social forces.”

In other words, the way to defeat the Islamic State is by offering its members better “job opportunities”—as so eloquently expressed by the State Department recently in the person of Mary Harf.

Ironically enough, Brennan’s invocation of “political, economic and social forces” brings to mind the fact that I warned against precisely these three pretexts, and in the same order, in the opening paragraph of my written testimony submitted to the US House of Representatives on February 12, 2009—since removed from their website—a year before Brennan invoked “political, economic and social forces” as the true sources of Islamic jihad.

I close with that opening paragraph as it appears more relevant now than it was over six years ago when I wrote it:

The greatest hurdle Americans need to get over in order to properly respond to the growing threat of radical Islam is purely intellectual in nature; specifically, it is epistemological, and revolves around the abstract realm of ‘knowledge.’ Before attempting to formulate a long-term strategy to counter radical Islam, Americans must first and foremost understand Islam, particularly its laws and doctrines, the same way Muslims understand it—without giving it undue Western (liberal) interpretations. This is apparently not as simple as expected: all peoples of whatever civilizations and religions tend to assume that other peoples more or less share in their worldview, which they assume is objective, including notions of right and wrong, good and bad. …. [T]he secular, Western experience has been such that people respond with violence primarily when they feel they are politically, economically, or socially oppressed. While true that many non-Western peoples may fit into this paradigm, the fact is, the ideologies of radical Islam have the intrinsic capacity to prompt Muslims to violence and intolerance vis-à-vis the ‘other,’ irrespective of grievances…. Being able to understand all this, being able to appreciate it without any conceptual or intellectual constraints is paramount for Americans to truly understand the nature of the enemy and his ultimate goals.

***

Here is the entire interview with Charlie Rose where John Brennan made those comments during the question and answer period. (Go here for the transcript)

CIA’s Global Mission: Countering Shared Threats

QUESTION: Thank you. Chris Isham with CBS. Could you explain a little bit about the ideological dimension of the war on terrorism. You mentioned ideology fuels many of the organizations we see today. But this administration continues to be very reluctant to identify Islamic extremism as that fuel. I wonder, do you think that’s a good idea to continue to resist that?

BRENNAN: Well, quite frankly, I’m amused at, you know, the debate that goes on about, boy, you know, unless you call it by what it is you don’t know what you’re fighting. And let’s make it very clear that the people who carry out acts of terrorism, whether it be al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant, are doing it because they believe that it is consistent with what their view of Islam is.

It is totally inconsistent with what the overwhelming majority of Muslims throughout the world. And so by ascribing it as, you know, Muslim terrorism or Islamic extremism, I think it really does give them the type of Islamic legitimacy that they are so desperately seeking, but which they don’t deserve at all.

They are terrorists, they’re criminals, many of them are psychopathic thugs, murderers, who use a religious concept and masquerade and mask themselves in that religious construct—and I do think it does injustice to the tenets of religion when we attach a religious moniker to them.

The Muslims I know and people I have worked with throughout the Middle East throughout most of my career find it just disgraceful that these individuals present themselves as Muslims.

So I think we have to be very careful also in the characterization, because the words that we use can have resonance. And so if things that we talk about publicly, you know, this is, you know, Islamic extremist, a lot of these individuals are proud of being referred to as Islamic extremists. We don’t want to give them, again, any type of religious legitimacy because what they do has no basis in any upstanding religion.