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

mgf-450x253Front Page, by Raymond Ibrahim:

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

Coercion and Death Threats

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

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

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

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

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

The ‘Protection Racket’

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion: Mafia—What’s In a Word?

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

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

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

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

 

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Ben Affleck: Portrait of Islam’s Clueless Apologists

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

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

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

Relativism and the Islamic Heterogeneity Myth

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

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

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

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

The ‘Racism’ Card

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

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

Conflating Muslim Teachings with Muslim People

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

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

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

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

Read more at PJ Media

Is the Islamic State a Good Thing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three positive consequences emerge from all this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Raymond Ibrahim
FrontPage Magazine
September 11, 2014

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 (1)

3 (1)

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

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

8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salafis Return to Egypt’s Mosques and Media

by Raymond Ibrahim:

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

They’re back

They’re back

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Ignores Christian Exodus from Islamic World

by Raymond Ibrahim:

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Reuters reported:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Gatestone Institute

The Watchman: Jihadists on the March

Published on Jul 8, 2014 by The Christian Broadcasting Network

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

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

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

 

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

 

Jihadi Rhetoric: Tiresome but Deadly

by Raymond Ibrahim:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more

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

Islam’s ‘Protestant Reformation’

Raymond Ibrahim, July 1, 2014:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—–

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

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

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

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

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

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

—–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Islam’s ‘Protestant Reformation’ (Part 1)

By Raymond Ibrahim, June 22, 2014:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2 will appear later this week

An American’s Experience with Islamic Apostasy

by Raymond Ibrahim:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Siege of Vienna: How The Ottoman Empire Was Defeated by Much Smaller Army

YouCruising1, Published on Sep 8, 2012

• During the siege, the defense of Vienna was led by a 70-year-old German mercenary name Nicolas von Salm. During the siege, he was wounded by a falling rock and died a few months later. Von Salm’s brilliant defense of Vienna was considered his greatest achievement.

• The spring and summer of 1529 were unusually wet, creating a nearly impossible journey for the Ottomans, used to a warm, dry climate. Thousands of Ottoman camels were lost when they broke their legs and had to be slaughtered. Suleiman’s Grand Vizier, Ibrahim Pasha urged the sultan to turn back; however, Suleiman pressed on, saying, “It is beneath my dignity to allow the weather to interfere with my plans.”

• The elite Ottoman Janissary corps were formed from prisoners of war and slaves, many of them kidnapped Christian young men.

• Dozens of Austrians wearing black cloaks and armed with homemade bombs, sneaked into the Ottoman camps, tossing their bombs into tents and making their escape. As a result, nearly 2,000 Turks died in their sleep. Some war historians believe this may have been the first use of the Molotov cocktail.

• When the Viennese raided the abandoned Turkish camps outside the city, they found bags filled with coffee beans – their first appearance in Europe – which were used by the Turks as a stimulant, since alcohol was forbidden. The drink caught on, and coffee soon became a European sensation.

• The failed Siege of Vienna is considered the beginning of the decline of the Ottoman Empire.

Video: Raymond Ibrahim on Islam, Dictators, and Christian Persecution

RaymondIbrahimFront Page:

Raymond Ibrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the Center, was recently interviewed on New Zealand’s Shine TV, a Christian station.  The ten-minute interview with host Allen Lee focuses on a wide range of topics, including Arab dictators versus Islamists and the phenomenon, historic and modern, of Christian persecution.

Taqiyya about Taqiyya

raqBy Raymond Ibrahim:

I was recently involved in an interesting exercise—examining taqiyya about taqiyya—and believe readers might profit from the same exercise, as it exposes all the subtle apologetics made in defense of the Islamic doctrine, which permits Muslims to lie to non-Muslims, or “infidels.”

Context: Khurrum Awan, a lawyer, is suing Ezra Levant, a Canadian media personality and author, for defamation and $100,000.  Back in 2009 and on his own website, Levant had accused Awan of taqiyya in the context of Awan’s and the Canadian Islamic Congress’ earlier attempts to sue Mark Steyn.

For more on Levant’s court case, go to www.StandWithEzra.ca.

On behalf of Awan, Mohammad Fadel—professor of Islamic Law at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law—provided an expert report to the court on the nature of taqiyya, the significance of which he portrayed as “a staple of right-wing Islamophobia in North America.”

In response, Levant asked me (back in 2013) to write an expert report on taqiyya, including by responding to Fadel’s findings.

I did.  And it had the desired effect.  As Levant put it in an email to me:

It was an outstanding report, very authoritative and persuasive. Of course, we don’t know what the plaintiff’s [Awan’s] private thoughts about it were, but we do know that after receiving the report, he decided to cancel calling his own expert witness [Dr. Fadel]—who happens to be a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer. After reading your rebuttal, he decided he would rather not engage in that debate.

My expert report follows.  In it, I quote relevant portions of Fadel’s expert report (which can be read in its entirety here).  Most intriguing about the professor’s report is that it’s a perfect example of taqiyya about taqiyya.  By presenting partial truths throughout the report, Fadel appears to have even employed taqiyya’s more liberal sister, tawriya.

Accordingly, readers interested in learning more about the role of deception in Islam—and how to respond to those trying to dismiss it as an “Islamophobic fantasy”—are encouraged to read on.

Raymond Ibrahim’s Expert Report on Taqiyya

Instructions: I have been asked to assess a report concerning the doctrine of taqiyya in Islam, written by one Mohammad Fadel; and, if I disagreed with any parts of it, to explain why—objectively, neutrally, and in a non-partisan manner.  My findings follow.

 Introduction

The Islamic doctrine of taqiyya permits Muslims to actively deceive non-Muslims—above and beyond the context of “self-preservation,” as is commonly believed.

One of the few books exclusively devoted to the subject, At-Taqiyya fi’l-Islam (“Taqiyya in Islam”) make this unequivocally clear. Written (in Arabic) by Dr. Sami Mukaram, a former Islamic studies professor at the American University of Beirut and author of some twenty-five books on Islam, the book demonstrates the ubiquity and broad applicability of taqiyya in its opening pages:

Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it … We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream … Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.[1]

The following report is written as a response to Mohammed Fadel’s report (henceforth referred to as MFR) which deals with the topic of taqiyya and its place and usage in Islamic jurisprudence.   Because MFR is written in a premises-conclusion format, the following report will follow MFR’s numbering schemata, pointing out which premises are agreeable and which are not—offering correctives to these latter resulting in an antithetical conclusion.

Numbers/Premises of MFR in Order:

1-3: Preliminary statements.

4: Agreed.

5:  Agreed, with the following caveat:  To many Muslims, jihad, that is, armed struggle against the non-Muslim, is the informal sixth pillar.   Islam’s prophet Muhammad said that “standing in the ranks of battle [jihad] is better than standing (in prayer) for sixty years,”[2] even though prayer is one of the Five Pillars, and he ranked jihad as the “second best deed” after belief in Allah as the only god and he himself, Muhammad, as his prophet, the shehada, or very First Pillar of Islam.[3]

All this indicates jihad’s importance in Islam—and thus importance to this case, since, as shall be seen, taqiyya is especially permissible in the context of jihad or struggle to empower Islam and/or Muslims over non-Muslims.

6: Agreed.  Qiyas, or analogical reasoning, the practice of finding antecedents in the teachings of the two revelatory sources (Qur’an and Hadith) and rationalizing their applicability to modern phenomena, also belongs to usul al-fiqh, or Islam’s roots of jurisprudence.  It gives more elasticity to Islam’s rules (a major theme throughout this report).  Qiyas, for example, is the way al-Qaeda and other jihadi organizations justify suicide attacks: although killing oneself is clearly forbidden in Islam, in the context of jihad—in the context of trying to empower Islam—suicide attacks are rationalized as legitimate forms of stealth warfare, since those giving their lives are not doing so out of despair but rather for Islam (as in Qur’an 9:111).[4]

7-19: Generally agreed (or indifferent to: some information in these numbers is not necessarily germane to the issue at hand and did not warrant confirmation).

20:  “Normative Islamic doctrine places strong emphasis on the obligation to speak the truth.”

This is the first of many statements/premises that are only partially true.

For starters, Islamic jurisprudence separates humanity into classes.  The rules concerning the relationship between a Muslim and a fellow Muslim differ from the rules concerning the relationship between a Muslim and a non-Muslim.

First there is the umma—the “Islamic nation,” that is, all Muslims of the earth, irrespective of national, racial, or linguistic barriers.  Many of the Qur’an’s and Hadith’s teachings that appear laudable and fair are in fact teachings that apply only to fellow Muslims.

For example, although the Qur’an’s calls for Muslims to give charity (zakat) appear to suggest that Muslims may give charity to all humans—in fact, normative Islamic teaching is clear that Muslim charity (zakat) can only be given to fellow Muslims, never to non-Muslims.[5]

As for legal relations between Muslims and non-Muslims—or kuffar, the “infidels” (kafir, singular)—within the Islamic world, these fall into two main categories: first, the harbi, that is, the non-Muslim who does not reside in the Islamic world; if at any time a Muslim comes across him in the Muslim world, according to classic Islamic doctrine, he is free to attack, enslave, and/or kill him (the exception is if he is musta’min—given a formal permit by an Islamic authority to be on Muslim territory, such as the case of the many foreigners working in the Arabian Peninsula).[6]

Second is the dhimmi, the non-Muslim who lives under Muslim domination (for example, all the indigenous Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Berbers, etc. whose lands were conquered by Muslims beginning in the 7th century).   By today’s standards, the rules governing the dhimmi, most of which are based on the so-called “Conditions of Omar” (sometimes the “Pact of Omar”) are openly discriminatory and include things such as commanding non-Muslims to give up their seats whenever a Muslim wants it.[7]

It is, then, in this divisive context that one must approach the Qur’an, keeping in mind that most of the verses discussing human relations are discussing intra-relations between Muslims, not Muslims and non-Muslims.  For examples of the latter, see Qur’an 9:5, 9:29, 5:17, and 5:73 for typical verses that discuss relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, verses which have further abrogated the earlier, more tolerant ones. [8]

As for the Qur’an verses listed in MFR 20—which are meant to support the statement that “Normative Islamic doctrine places strong emphasis on the obligation to speak the truth,” a close reading, supported by mainstream Islamic exegeses, demonstrates that the true function of those verses is to portray true believers (Muslims) and Islam’s prophets as the epitome of honesty and sincerity.  Significantly, none of the verses mentioned in MFR 20 actually exhort Muslims to be honest and truthful, including to fellow Muslims, in the same vein as, for example, unequivocal statements such as Do not lie to one another” (Colossians 3:9) and “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).

The fact is, other Islamic teachings and caveats have permitted Muslims to deceive even fellow Muslims.  For example, the doctrine of tawriya allows Muslims to lie in virtually all circumstances provided that the lie is articulated in a way that it is technically true.

The authoritative Hans Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary defines tawriya as, “hiding, concealment; dissemblance, dissimulation, hypocrisy; equivocation, ambiguity, double-entendre, allusion.” Conjugates of the trilateral root of the word, w-r-y, appear in the Quran in the context of hiding or concealing something (e.g., 5:31, 7:26).

As a doctrine, “double-entendre” best describes tawriya’s function. According to past and present Muslim scholars (several documented below), tawriya is when a speaker/writer asserts something that means one thing to the listener/reader, though the speaker/writer means something else, and his words technically support this alternate meaning.

For example, if someone declares “I don’t have a penny in my pocket,” most listeners will assume the speaker has no money on him—though he might have dollar bills, just literally no pennies.

This is legitimate according to Islamic law, or shari‘a—the body of legal rulings that defines how a Muslim should behave in all circumstances—and does not constitute “lying.”

In a fatwa, or Islamic decree, popular Sheikh Muhammad Salih al-Munajid asserts that, “Tawriya is permissible if it is necessary or serves a shari‘a interest.”  As mentioned, empowering Islam is one of the highest shari‘a interests [9] (hence why jihad, so lauded by Islam’s prophet as aforementioned, is sometimes seen as the “sixth pillar”).

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