Savage Enemy: How ISIS Wants to Start Armageddon

Robert-Spencer-CBN-090215CBN, September 02, 2015

ISIS, or the Islamic State, is in the news every day. The brutal terrorist army burst on the scene in 2014 when it gobbled up huge swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Today, ISIS controls a land area the size of Great Britain and is the wealthiest jihadist organization in the world.

As ISIS expands, it brings with it chaos and savagery everywhere it goes, beheading its enemies, destroying cultural artifacts and treasures, and displacing millions of Christians and other non-Muslims.

Despite all that we do know about ISIS, the terror group remains shrouded in mystery. Who are they? What do they believe? Why do they hate America?

Robert Spencer, a leading terror expert, answers these questions and more while exposing the blood-drenched history and mysterious inner workings of the Islamic State in his latest book, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to ISIS. The book provides an essential primer to comprehending one of the world’s most dangerous enemies.

The brutality of ISIS is unquestioned; what remains misunderstood is their strength. Spencer expertly exposes deceptive propaganda and Western misunderstanding of an ever-present threat in an easily accessible and digestible format.

ISIS attracts staggering numbers of followers and commits unspeakable acts of violence. His book exposes the message behind the ever-cryptic ISIS machine, giving us a deeper look into the details of their terror campaign and unprecedented access to ISIS insiders.

In The Complete Infidel’s Guide to ISIS, Spencer reveals:

  • The significance of ISIS declaring itself a “caliphate and why that’s an especially dangerous sign for the West.
  • The ISIS timetable for conquering Rome by 2020 and witnessing Israel’s fall beginning in 2022.
  • How the Islamic State is working toward starting the battle of Armageddon now.
  • Why beheading victims remain calm in recruitment videos.
  • Why ISIS cares about health care.

With its social media presence, cyber knowledge, and false promises of glory, ISIS has a presence on the world stage unlike anything we’ve encountered before. Spencer’s sharp, in-your-face assessment of America’s newest enemy affirms they cannot be ignored any longer.

Robert Spencer appeared on The 700 Club, Wednesday, to discuss these points and more. Click play to watch the interview.

Relax: UK Government to Battle Islamist Violence by Fighting ‘All Forms of Extremism’

Theresa-MayPJ Media, By Robert Spencer On September 2, 2015;

British Home Secretary Theresa May announced last week:

[I]n the not-too-distant future we will be launching an anti-extremism, counter-extremism strategy as a Government. That will be looking across the board at all forms of extremism — yes, Islamist extremism, but also neo-Nazi extremism.

Is Dr. Strangelove patrolling the British countryside in his wheelchair? Has Oswald Mosley mysteriously reappeared and begun ranting on the BBC?

Do the handful of skinheads, convicts, and other idiots with swastikas on their necks sieg-heiling around the fringes of British society really constitute a threat equivalent to that of the international jihad? Hardly. And Theresa May certainly knows it.

She not only knows there is a global threat from Islamic jihadists, she also can’t help but be aware of the fact that there is a very severe and imminent jihad threat within Britain itself. To equate this with a minuscule threat from a handful of neo-Nazi nutjobs (who should of course be combated in any case, however much she exaggerates the threat they pose) shows how deeply May and the entire Conservative government of David Cameron are beholden to Islamic supremacists who will pillory the government as “racist,” “bigoted,” and “Islamophobic” if it speaks too forthrightly and honestly about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat.

The enlightened and multicultural home secretary is not, of course, speaking just about real neo-Nazis. She also almost certainly is lumping in with neo-Nazis the opponents of jihad terror that she and her government consider to be “right wing.”

In doing this, she has behind her a series of libels from groups such as the far-Left Hope not Hate, and the Marxist, Palestinian jihad-supporting One Law for All to abet this mischaracterization. Both groups, and others like them, have labored for years to brand those who dissent from their far-Left, anti-Israel stances as “right-wing extremists.”

In taking up these tendentious smears and giving them the imprimatur of the British government, May and her cohorts have ruled all honest discussion about how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism as being unacceptable discourse. In place of that honest discussion, the government has instituted the prevailing fantasies about how Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” and groups such as the Islamic State are not Islamic.

She is, in other words, smearing an honest and realistic response to the jihad threat as “neo-Nazi,” and is enforcing falsehoods about “Islamist extremism” that will hamstring, and ultimately doom to failure, her government’s attempts to combat it.

The same thing is happening in Obama’s America. The administration has published several statements and reports about the threat from “right-wing extremists” while consistently denying the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat. He even did so last Wednesday, after a gay, black man murdered two white journalists in a rage over injustices he believed he had suffered. Obama said:

What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism.

Just as with the recent “study” that purported to show that “right-wing extremists” were more of a threat than Islamic jihadists, in saying this Obama is probably leaving out the deaths from 9/11. And if even a fraction of the foiled jihad plots had come to fruition, this would be an even more risible claim than it is.

But this is the opinion of the powerful elites in both America and Britain today, and in both countries, innocent people are going to suffer as a result. Innocents will be unjustly tarred as “right-wing extremists,” and will be susceptible to the incomplete, faulty response to the very real jihad threat that the American and British governments would rather wish away than confront.

Unfortunately, the confrontation cannot and will not be avoided forever. The official denial ensures than when it comes, it will be worse than it could have been had more realistic and effective action been taken sooner. Future generations of free Britons, if there are any, will condemn Theresa May and her boss Cameron as naive fantasists, whose draconian measures against counter-jihadists and blind eye to jihad activity within Britain (except in the most egregious cases) doomed Britain to years of bloodshed and chaos.

In the meantime, British people can sleep easy knowing their government’s good efforts have kept them safe from the neo-Nazi scourge.

Curt Schilling and the Death of Free Speech

curtschilling-flickr-ucinternational-jpg

Frontpage, by Robert Spencer, August 27 2015:

“Curt Schilling’s tweet comparing Muslims to Nazis is even worse than it sounds,” howled Max Fisher in Vox – one of the many voices this week screaming for Schilling’s head for transgressing against America’s new and unwritten, but nonetheless frightfully draconian, speech codes.

Fisher professes ignorance of the perp’s illustrious career, semaphoring that he is a good Leftist elitist, ignorant of Schilling’s brutish, bourgeois athletic achievements: “Curt Schilling, whom Wikipedia informs me is a former baseball star and current ESPN commentator, sent a tweet on Tuesday that seems to have emerged straight from the internet nether-void of racist email forwards.”

“Racist”? Schilling tweeted a graphic that read, “It’s said only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?” So where is the “racism”? What race are “extremist Muslims”? What race are Muslims in the aggregate? What race is Islam? Or did Fisher mean that Schilling’s tweet was racist against Germans?

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Fisher compounds this muddled thinking by doubling down on the false claim in his headline, that Schilling likened Muslims to Nazis: “The argument here is pretty clear, even if the numbers are pure nonsense, but just so it’s not lost: Schilling is saying that the religion of Islam is akin to Nazi Germany, and that the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are responsible for the actions of a tiny minority of extremists in the same way that Nazi-era Germans were complicit in Nazi crimes.”

Actually, Schilling’s tweet does neither of those things. It likens not the religion of Islam, but “extremist Muslims,” to Nazis, and it doesn’t say a thing about all Muslims being responsible for the crimes of Islamic jihadists. And Fisher’s woolly logic is typical of the firestorm that has engulfed Schilling, as he has been removed from ESPN’s coverage of the Little League World Series and is being pilloried everywhere. Schilling himself is repentant and apologetic, but it may do no good: he may be facing more punishment, and is taking a beating in the mainstream media for being “insensitive.”

But what exactly is so offensive about his tweet? Is it that he compared “extremist Muslims” to Nazis? Surely that can’t be it. The Islamic State hasn’t murdered six million Jews, but surely would if it could, and meanwhile its gleeful bloodlust, sex slavery, terrorizing of non-Muslims and all the rest of it make the comparison reasonable.

Or was Schilling “insensitive” for daring to suggest that peaceful Muslims aren’t doing much to rein in their violent coreligionists? Well, let’s see. Last month, Muslims in Ireland held a demonstration against the Islamic State. How many Muslims showed up? Fewer than fifty. And in October 2014 in Houston, a rally against the Islamic State organized by the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) drew the grand total of ten people. In August 2013 in Boston, about 25 Muslims rallied against “misperceptions” that Islam was violent. About the same number showed up in June 2013 at a progressive Muslim rally in Toronto to claim that their religion had been “hijacked.”

And back in 2005, a group called the Free Muslims Coalition held what it dubbed a “Free Muslims March Against Terror,” intending to “send a message to the terrorists and extremists that their days are numbered … and to send a message to the people of the Middle East, the Muslim world and all people who seek freedom, democracy and peaceful coexistence that we support them.” In the run-up to the event it got enthusiastic national and international publicity, but it ended up drawing about twenty-five people.

Read more

Actually the number of radical Muslims is higher:

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Glazov Gang: Choudary, Spencer and Jasser Battle It Out On “Jihad in Chattanooga.”

free-672x372By Jamie Glazov July 31, 2015:

This special episode of The Glazov Gang was joined by Anjem Choudary, a London Imam, Robert Spencer, the Director of JihadWatch.org, and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, the Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.

The three guests came on the show to discuss “Jihad in Chattanooga.”

Don’t miss the fireworks:

Muslim Moderates Rally Against Terror in Ireland – All Fifty of Them

300x213xislam-peace-300x213.jpg.pagespeed.ic_.f7kjkwah12Frontpage, by Robert Spencer, July 28, 2015:

Everyone has been waiting for this for years, and at last it has happened. The historic happening took place in Ireland, a nation hitherto not distinguished for standing in the cultural vanguard, but all that will change now, thanks to a rally hosted by a group calling itself the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council, which has finally delivered to the world the desire of the ages: Muslims rallying against terrorism!

Surely tens of thousands of Muslims attended, right? You know, that vast majority of Muslims who abhor and reject terrorism? Those moderates upon whom the leaders of Western countries are betting the very futures of their nations turned out in droves, didn’t they?

Well, not exactly. RTE News reported this on Sunday about the blessed event: “Up to 50 people took part in a rally organised by the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council to protest over the actions of the so-called Islamic State.”

That’s right. I’m afraid the turnout was, uh, fifty people. Not fifty thousand. Fifty. And not only that, but according to the Irish Examiner, the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council “faced resistance from a few members of the Islamic community, while promoting the event.” Not just verbal resistance, either: “Organisers said that a member of the council was assaulted by someone at a mosque who claimed to support ‘ISIS’, while he was handing out leaflets to promote today’s protest against terrorism.”

So not only did the vast majority of moderate Muslims fail to show up, but the group protesting against jihad terror faced active resistance from other Muslims. When have we heard about a Muslim who wanted to join the Islamic State facing active resistance, even to the point of assault, from moderate Muslims? We have seen Muslims express bewilderment that they went, and anger at the government (whether of the U.S. or Britain) for not stopping them from going, but we have not generally seen Muslims doing anything themselves to prevent them from going.

What’s more, this is not the first time that attendance at a Muslim rally against terrorism has been decidedly underwhelming. In October 2014 in Houston, a rally against the Islamic State organized by the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) drew the grand total of ten people. In August 2013 in Boston, about 25 Muslims rallied against “misperceptions” that Islam was violent. About the same number showed up in June 2013 at a progressive Muslim rally in Toronto to claim that their religion had been “hijacked.”

And back in 2005, a group called the Free Muslims Coalition held what it dubbed a “Free Muslims March Against Terror,” intending to “send a message to the terrorists and extremists that their days are numbered … and to send a message to the people of the Middle East, the Muslim world and all people who seek freedom, democracy and peaceful coexistence that we support them.” In the run-up to the event it got enthusiastic national and international publicity, but it ended up drawing about twenty-five people.

Contrast those paltry showings to the thousands of Muslims who have turned out for rallies against cartoons of Muhammad or against Israel. Here are some headlines from the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre of Muhammad cartoonists in January 2015:

Chechnya: 800,000 Muslims protest Muhammad cartoons; protests also in Iran, Pakistan, Ingushetia, elsewhere

Pakistan: 10,000 Muslims protest against Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammad cartoons

Australia: 1,000 Muslims rally against Charlie Hebdo and the freedom of speech

Kyrgyztsan: 1,000 Muslims rally: “I am not Charlie, I love my Prophet.”

But given a chance to show how Muslims overwhelmingly reject “extremism,” only a handful show up.

This is just the opposite of what the situation should be if the mainstream narrative about Islam and jihad were true. We should be seeing pro-jihad terror Muslims opposed strenuously within their own community. Instead, those who oppose jihad terror are the real “tiny minority of extremists,” hounded and opposed by their fellow Muslims.

You’d think that some of the non-Muslim analysts who have been confidently telling us that moderate Muslims will any day now rise up against their “extremist” brethren and take back their religion from those who have “hijacked” it would get a clue from all this, and realize that the moderates have had almost fourteen years now since 9/11 to rein in the “extremists,” and have not done so, and are not going to do so.

But they won’t. They will be out there with their pom-poms again to cheerlead for the next “moderate Muslim rally against terror” – and they’ll not have to strain their pocketbook all that much to buy a nice halal dinner for everyone who shows up.

Why Sharia Should Have No Place in America

20150301_shariawilldominatetheworldsign (1)Family Security Matters, by Eileen F. Topansky, June 22, 2015:

There are still far too many Americans who do not perceive the terrifying Nazi-like intentions of Islamic jihadists either through their outright destruction of the infidel and/or the implementation of sharia law as Allah has ordained it to be.

The alphabet-soup-named groups’ ultimate goal of extermination of Jews, Christians and any others deemed infidels has still not penetrated the consciousness of the media or academia.  And no matter how many ardent efforts are made to educate and raise awareness of the Islamists’ goals, people either ignore or minimize the dangers.

And, yet, like Churchill, there are those of us who feel a moral obligation to continue the clarion call and not bend, dhimmi-like, to the whims and wishes of those who deliberately abuse the freedoms of this country in order to abolish those very freedoms for the rest of us.

Which is why, freedom loving Americans need to support Pamela Geller, Ayanna Hirsi Ali, Robert Spencer, Geert Wilders, Nonie Darwish and other courageous souls who refuse to cower before the appalling attacks on freedom of speech.  Given the opportunity, Islam swallows the whole body politic. Thus it has been in the past and thus it will be going forward.  After all, “Hijab Day was imposed on citizens in Minneapolis” in 2014.

Author/neuroscientist Sam Harris in his article entitled “Losing Our Spines to Save Our Necks” asserts that “[t]he position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we will kill you.”  Furthermore,” [o]nly Muslims hound and hunt and murder their apostates, infidels, and critics in the 21st century.”

Contrary to Muslims’ oft-repeated assertions of victimization, it is interesting to note that the latest FBI statistics indicate that Muslims are the least discriminated among groups in the United States.  In fact, “[t]here were 1,031 incidents inspired by religion last year, 625 (60.6 percent) of which were anti-Jewish” as compared to “anti-Islamic ones [which] constituted just 13.1 percent.”  Yet Muslims play the victim game with the result that “Muslim immigrants are systematically exempted from western standards of moral order in the name of paying ‘respect’ to the glaring pathologies in their culture.”

How many Americans understand the true import of the word “dhimmitude?”  Victor Sharpe describes it as the “parlous state of those who refused to convert to Islam and became the subjugated non-Muslims who were forced to accept a restrictive and humiliating subordination to a superior Islamic power and live as second-class citizens in order to avoid death.”

Secularists from India to Indiana must understand that “by being silent about the horrendous practices in Islam, they only help toward further subjugation of women.” The veil is but one of the many symbols of “a totalitarian political system and an ideology which declares war on the non-Muslims.”  It is as clear and potent as the Nazi swastika was in its declaration of war against civilization.  Yet, when Muslim women activists speak out against sharia and Islamic gender apartheid, they are ignored by the majority of so-called Western feminists.

One need only read the March 2015 report by Baroness Cox entitled “A Parallel World: Confronting the abuse of many Muslim women in Britain today” to see what jihadist ideology is doing to the land of Churchill who, in 1897, wrote “western civilization is face to face with militant Mohammedanism.”  Baroness Cox has written that the “suffering of women oppressed by religiously-sanctioned gender discrimination; and a rapidly developing alternative quasi-legal system which undermines the fundamental principle of one law for all” would “make the suffragettes turn in their graves.”

In 2014 in their publication entitled Sharia Law: Britain’s Blind Spot, Sharia Watch warned about the encroaching sharia law that was affecting “the treatment of women, freedom of speech, finance, and the marketplace.”

Yet the West continues to contort itself to ban Islamophobia, that completely false narrative that disguises and whitewashes the true intentions of the jihadists.  What every freedom-loving individual should be doing is demanding an “Islamist Apartheid Week” to show the “genocidal, totalitarian and racist states that operate under Islamic rule.”  In fact, it isChristianophobia and Judenphobia which are endemic across the Muslim world.

Is sharia law America’s blind spot as Joanne Moudy asserts? In her June 2014 article, Moudy explains that “. . . many states have already passed laws prohibiting the use of foreign religious law in their courts. Yet despite strong voter support for these measures, the ACLU is fighting to get them all overturned. Oklahoma was one such state and – sure enough – in 2013 a federal court struck down their efforts, ignoring 70% of the population’s wishes that the U.S. Constitution take precedence.”  Moreover, “[t]he ACLU claims it is necessary to consider religious law (Shari’a) when negotiating adoptions, custody of children, executing a will and/or settling disputes over private property rights, to name a few. What the ACLU fails to mention is that within Shari’a law, women are considered property and thus have no rights, which means they have no say in court.”

In addition, Bethany Blankley in her article entitled “What America Would Look Like Under Sharia Law” notes the disingenuousness and double standards that define Islamic organizations as they stealthily infiltrate American organizations.

Blankley’s most cogent point is that since Islamists say there is no conflict between sharia law and constitutional law, “why then [do these same Islamic groups] vigilantly advertise, lobby, award ‘educational grants,’ and fund political campaigns, to implement sharia compliant American law?”

In fact, one need only look at Saudi Arabia and other sharia-ordered countries to see that Jews and gays have no civil rights in Islam.  Thus, “like everyone else, they must either submit to Islam or die.  But they are especially forbidden and targeted for death — because the Qur’an instructs it.”  According to Uzay Bulut, born and raised a Muslim, “[t]he Muslim regimes, which do not know even the definition of liberty–and their systematic criminalization of free speech; their suppression of inquiry and creativity; and their unending intertribal fights–are the reason their people have remained in the seventh century.”

Amendment VIII in the Constitution states that “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”  Yet, in sharp contrast, “every day, arrests, trials, floggings, torture and the murder of journalists, poets, students and human rights activists are a routine practice” in the world of sharia law.

In fact, “[i]n Islamic Sharia law, a free mind is the most inexcusable crime in the Muslim world.”

Under “sharia, no free exercise of religion exists, especially for Muslims who choose to leave Islam.”  Additionally, “blasphemy laws exist worldwide to criminalize offensive speech or actions related to the Qur’an, Allah, and Muhammad.” Thus, anything that is deemed “offensive” is illegal.  And finally, “inequality, slavery and murder are enforced through the Islamic construct of dhimmitude.”

To further understand what life would actually be like for women under an Islamic state, it behooves readers to study the manifesto on women by the Al-Khanssaa Brigade in the February 2015 piece entitled Women of the Islamic State. A propaganda piece to recruit young girls to ISIS, some highlights include a “lengthy rebuttal of the ills of Western civilisation [.]”  ISIS has proposed a curriculum that would ‘begin when [girls] are seven years old and end when they are fifteen, or sometimes a little earlier.'” In essence, “the role of women is inherently ‘sedentary’, and her responsibilities lie first and foremost in the house [.] This role begins at the point of marriage which, . . . can be as young as nine years old. From this point on, it is women’s ‘appointed role [to] remain hidden and veiled and maintain society from behind.'” In actuality, “the ideal Islamic community should refrain from becoming caught up in exploring [science], the depths of matter, trying to uncover the secrets of nature and reaching the peaks of architectural sophistication.”  Consequently, “the implementation of sharia,” and doing “jihad” is paramount.

In Wisconsin and Ohio public school female students are now being asked to pretend to be Muslims.  This subtle propaganda is a first step to indoctrinating American youth.  In fact, much of American life is now being tainted with militant and violent Islamic ideology, be it in public schools, hospitals, and mosques.

Concerning actual sharia incursions into American life, on the one hand, Elizabeth K. Dorminey in her March 2012 article entitled “Sharia Law in American Courts” asserts that “[s]o long as U.S. courts and the federal and state legislatures adhere to the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, Sharia’s proscriptions and prohibitions cannot displace constitutionally-guaranteed rights in the United States.”  Likewise Eugene Volokh believes American jurists will halt sharia-like incursions.

But in reality, American courts are already using sharia to adjudicate cases; this is highlighted in the December 2014 booklet entitled Shariah in American Courts, which pdf is available here and whose blurb states that “[t]his monograph also suggests that the effort to invoke shariah in U.S. courts is expanding. Worse yet, the total number of such cases is surely far larger in light of the fact that the proceedings of the vast majority of them are not published.”

In fact, Frank Gaffney emphatically asserts the “need for state legislators to clearly define public policy related to foreign law and Shariah.”  Consequently, . . .  in every case where foreign law and Shariah emerge in the court of a state that has yet to define clearly this policy, it creates one more advance in the Islamists’ determined campaign to have us destroy ‘our house’ by ‘our own hands.'”

Moreover, Gaffney underscores that “Shariah is distinctly different from other religious laws, like Jewish law and Catholic Canon, and distinctly different from other secular foreign laws” because of the “fundamental Shariah doctrine that Islamic law must rule supreme in any jurisdiction where Muslims reside.”  This three minute you-tube is a short version of the article entitled “Shariah vs. Jewish Law and encapsulates the stark differences.

Most alarming is that in “146 cases found, the court upheld the use of Shariah in 27 cases. This means that, statistically, one out of five American judges fail[ed] to reject foreign law that violates U.S. and state public policy.”  Consequently, there is an “increasing effort to insinuate Shariah into American civilization.”  Multi-cultural tolerance is being turned on us. Being paralyzed by political correctness eliminates what self-preservation demands.

In the June 2014 booklet entitled “Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left” published by One Law for All, the authors explain that “[f]undamentalist terror is predicated on “. . . controlling all aspects of society in the name of religion, including education, the legal system, youth services, etc. When fundamentalists come to power, they silence the people — they physically eliminate dissidents, writers, journalists, poets, musicians, painters – like fascists do. Like fascists, they physically eliminate the ‘untermensch’ – the subhumans -, among them ‘inferior races’, gays, mentally or physically disabled people. And they lock women ‘in their place [.]'”he Campaign La All

Why would we want to import any part of this to our shores?

Eileen has been a medical librarian, an Emergency Medical Technician and a Hebrew School teacher.  She is currently an adjunct college instructor of English composition and literature.  Active in the 1970’s Soviet Jewry Refusenik movement, she continues to speak out against tyranny.  Eileen is also a regular contributor to American Thinker. She can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com

ISIS Is Following a Plan Laid Out Ten Years Ago by Al-Qaeda, and It’s All Working

-, -:  (FILES) -- A TV grab from the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel dated 17 June 2005 shows Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri delivering a speech at an undisclosed location with a machine gun next to him. Al-Zawahiri, in a video posted on the Internet 29 September 2006, called US President George W Bush a liar who had "failed in his war against Al-Qaeda", Al-Jazeera television reported. The previous day, Islamist websites on the Internet had said there would be a new video message posted by Zawahiri entitled " Bush, the pope, Darfur and the Crusades."  AFP PHOTO/AL-JAZEERA  -- QATAR OUT & INTERNET OUT --  (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

-, -: (FILES) — A TV grab from the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel dated 17 June 2005 shows Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri delivering a speech at an undisclosed location with a machine gun next to him. Al-Zawahiri, in a video posted on the Internet 29 September 2006, called US President George W Bush a liar who had “failed in his war against Al-Qaeda”, Al-Jazeera television reported. The previous day, Islamist websites on the Internet had said there would be a new video message posted by Zawahiri entitled ” Bush, the pope, Darfur and the Crusades.” AFP PHOTO/AL-JAZEERA — QATAR OUT & INTERNET OUT — (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

PJ Media, by Robert Spencer, June 19, 2015:

It has been almost a year since June 29, 2014, when the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) declared the formation of a new caliphate and dropped the second half of its name, rebranding itself as simply the Islamic State. It has survived nine months since Barack Obama vowed to “degrade and ultimately destroy” it.

It has survived, and has continued to attract Muslims from all over the world, even after virtually every major world leader and Islamic group has condemned it as un-Islamic. And it shows no sign of going anywhere anytime soon.

All this is well-known. What is less known is that the plan for the restoration of the caliphate was sketched out ten years ago by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and has been followed out more or less exactly by the Islamic State.

The claim to reconstitute the caliphate is the key to the Islamic State’s success — the importance of this cannot be overstated.

The revival of the caliphate is, in the eyes of those who support it and have longed for it all these years, a return to the form of government of the glory days of Islam. From Muhammad’s death through Islam’s Golden Age up until the breakup of the Ottoman Empire after the end of World War I, Muslims were ruled by a caliph, the successor to Muhammad as spiritual and political leader of Islam.

And the declaration of the caliphate, and its placement in and around Syria and Iraq, was not an invention of the Islamic State, or incidental to what it perceived as its mission from the beginning. In reality, a new caliphate had long been an aspiration dear to the hearts of many jihadi terrorists, including al-Qaeda.

Bin Laden’s lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri wrote to the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq (which ultimately became the Islamic State), Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, on July 9, 2005:

It has always been my belief that the victory of Islam will never take place until a Muslim state is established in the manner of the Prophet in the heart of the Islamic world, specifically in the Levant, Egypt, and the neighboring states of the Peninsula and Iraq; however, the center would be in the Levant and Egypt.

Zawahiri also heaped praise on Zarqawi for helping bring that state — the revived caliphate — closer to reality:

If our intended goal in this age is the establishment of a caliphate in the manner of the Prophet and if we expect to establish its state predominantly — according to how it appears to us — in the heart of the Islamic world, then your efforts and sacrifices — God permitting — are a large step directly towards that goal.

Zawahiri then offered Zarqawi his “humble opinion that the Jihad in Iraq requires several incremental goals,” the first of which was to “expel the Americans from Iraq.” The second stage, wrote Zarqawi, would be exactly what the Islamic State ended up doing nine years later:

The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or amirate, then develop it and support it until it achieves the level of a caliphate — over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq, i.e., in Sunni areas, is in order to fill the void stemming from the departure of the Americans, immediately upon their exit and before un-Islamic forces attempt to fill this void, whether those whom the Americans will leave behind them, or those among the un-Islamic forces who will try to jump at taking power.

Following the establishment of this state, the third stage would be to “extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq,” followed by the fourth stage, which “may coincide with what came before: the clash with Israel, because Israel was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity.”

Zawahiri wrote in an extremely deferential manner to Zarqawi, repeatedly assuring the Iraq commander that his analysis was not “infallible.” Nonetheless, he did not hesitate to give him direction, emphasizing that:

The mujahedeen must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, and then lay down their weapons, and silence the fighting zeal.

If they did that:

We will return to having the secularists and traitors holding sway over us. Instead, their ongoing mission is to establish an Islamic state, and defend it, and for every generation to hand over the banner to the one after it until the Hour of Resurrection.

Zawihiri summed up the “two short-term goals” as “removing the Americans and establishing an Islamic amirate in Iraq, or a caliphate if possible.” Attaining them, he wrote, would ensure possession of “the strongest weapon which the mujahedeen enjoy — after the help and granting of success by God,” which was “popular support from the Muslim masses in Iraq, and the surrounding Muslim countries.”

But al-Qaeda itself hesitated to declare a caliphate for fear that the Americans would nip it in the bud. A letter from Osama bin Laden, found in the trove of documents at the Abbottabad compound and declassified in May 2015, explained:

We should stress on the importance of timing in establishing the Islamic State. We should be aware that planning for the establishment of the state begins with exhausting the main influential power that enforced the siege on the Hamas government, and that overthrew the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan and Iraq despite the fact this power was depleted. We should keep in mind that this main power still has the capacity to lay siege on any Islamic State, and that such a siege might force the people to overthrow their duly elected governments. We have to continue with exhausting and depleting them till they become so weak that they can’t overthrow any State that we establish. That will be the time to commence with forming the Islamic state.

Bin Laden saw the restoration of the caliphate as the ultimate goal of al-Qaeda’s activities:

[T]he result that we deployed for … to reinstate the wise Caliphate and eliminate the disgrace and humiliation that our nation is suffering from.

But he argued against “insisting on the formation of an Islamic State at the time being” — and instead wanted his followers:

… to work on breaking the power of our main enemy by attacking the American embassies in the African countries, such as Sierra Leone, Togo, and mainly to attack the American oil companies.

Bin Laden was overcautious. The Islamic State established itself as the new caliphate and has thrived, and no one seems to have the will to do what is necessary to “degrade and destroy” it in any real sense. And so its first anniversary is unlikely to be its last.

Video: Robert Spencer vs. Imam on Hannity on Sharia and U.S. mosques

spencer vs imamJihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, June 3, 2015:

Last night I appeared on Fox’s Sean Hannity Show discussing the prevalence of a preference for Sharia over U.S. law among Muslims in the United States, and what mosques are doing (and not doing) about it. Appearing along with me was the Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. We were discussing the video by Ami Horowitz in which Muslims freely avow their preference for Sharia; Hannity’s overview of that video and interview with Horowitz begin this clip and give the context for my discussion with the imam, which begins at 3:56.

Assassin’s Veto: Our Muhammad Ad Spurs D.C. Metro Transit Authority to Ban All ‘Issue’ Ads

Screen-Shot-2015-05-26-at-9.57.21-AMPJ Media, By Robert Spencer On May 29, 2015:

The winner is clear, and to the winner be the laurels. There is one man only that all people — regardless of race, creed, color, political perspective, nationality, and whatever else — must respect: Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has moved to prevent our American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) ads, which feature a cartoon of Muhammad, from being featured on city buses. With this, Muhammad’s ascendancy is complete: he is the man of the hour.

On CNN, Chris Cuomo demonstrated the fealty we all owe to the messenger of Islam in a Thursday morning interview with my colleague, AFDI President Pamela Geller (I am vice president of AFDI). Cuomo repeatedly referred to “the prophet Muhammad.” As far as I know, Cuomo is not a Muslim and does not believe that Muhammad is a prophet. Also, CNN is not an Islamic organization, yet CNN’s chyron read: “PROPHET MOHAMMED ADS SUBMITTED TO BUSES, TRAINS.”

Cuomo and CNN are not the only ones offering this respect to Muhammad alone. Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, and Sean Hannity are not Muslims, yet during their coverage of the jihad attack on our Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest in Garland, Texas — Hannity and Kelly did defend our right to freedom of speech — they all referred to “the prophet Muhammad.”

How often do you hear the media refer to “the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?” Muhammad is the man whom all must respect, whether they actually accept that he is a prophet or not.

Now, the taxpayer-funded Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has shown us what that respect is all about. To avoid losing a First Amendment lawsuit over our ad featuring the winning Muhammed cartoon from Garland along with the caption “SUPPORT FREE SPEECH,” the MTA has chosen to no longer accept all “issue-related” ads.

The cartoon is not obscene or profane. It simply lampoons Muslims’ attempt to intimidate the West into submitting to Sharia blasphemy laws. The cartoon depicts Muhammad shouting: “You can’t draw me!” and the cartoonist responding, “That’s why I draw you.”

The MTA’s decision was motivated — solely — by fear. It was motivated by the kind of respect that Bob Dylan described in his film Masked and Anonymous: “I got a lot of respect for a gun.” The D.C. MTA recognizes that if they run ads featuring a Muhammad cartoon on their buses, the buses could be — and probably would be — targeted by murderous Islamic jihadists. Realizing that, they have two choices: a) protect the buses and their passengers, and in doing so protect freedom of speech as the cornerstone of a free society, or; b) refuse to run the ads, thereby signaling to murderous jihadists that being a murderous jihadist is a successful position in a growth industry.

The MTA has shown that its respect for Muhammad can be obtained at the point of a gun. This action ensures that other Islamic jihadists will be encouraged to press American non-Muslims to show more respect for Muhammad and Islam. They will press for that respect in exactly the same way they have before: with threats of more violence. The MTA, with the eager support of the mainstream media, has canonized the assassin’s veto and assured that the veto will be exercised more than ever.

Cuomo rambled on CNN about wanting to avoid causing offense. This never crossed his colleagues’ minds when they hailed “Piss Christ” as a monument to freedom of expression. Christianity has not earned their respect because Christians have not attempted to gain that respect at gunpoint.

Whatever we may actually think about him, Muhammad is now “the prophet Muhammad” for all of us. Like Orwell’s equally absent and lethal Big Brother, we had better love him — or else.

All this sums up the order of the day: now we must do the bidding of whoever declares that he will kill us unless we do his bidding. CNN is fine with that. O’Reilly, Laura Ingraham, Greta van Susteren, and others putatively on the right are fine with that.

Fittingly, in this superficial and secular age, the most superficial and secular of all are carefully referring to Muhammad as “the prophet.” Their homage to the man who proclaimed “I have been made victorious through terror” is a notable emblem of their submission to the cult of violence that overshadows this era.

***

Also see:

Failed analysis offered as remedy to “failed ad”

Islamic-Jew-hatredJihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, May 26, 2015:

While Pamela Geller lives under armed guard over a live and imminent threat from the Islamic State, Daniel Pipes seizes the opportunity to…defend the freedom of speech and decry the threats against her? No. He chose instead to attack her ad criticizing Islamic anti-Semitism.

More below, and Pamela Geller has additional important information here.

“SEPTA ad campaign a spectacular failure,” by Daniel Pipes, Philadelphia Inquirer, May 26, 2015:

Did a controversial, austere, black-and-white advertisement that ran for one month on Philadelphia buses achieve its goal of winning sympathy for Jewish victims of Muslims?

The ad was sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative and placed on buses operated by SEPTA, the regional-and state-run authority. The ad read: “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s in the Quran. Two thirds of all U.S. aid goes to Islamic countries. Stop the hate. End all aid to Islamic countries. IslamicJewHatred.com.” A November 1941 photograph ran with the caption, “Adolf Hitler and his staunch ally, the leader of the Muslim world, Haj Amin al-Husseini.” SEPTA received $30,000 to run the 30-by-80-inch ad on 84 buses out of SEPTA’s 1,400 buses during April.

No, the ad failed to achieve its goal, and spectacularly so. Count the ways:

To begin with, the text is factually inaccurate. Husseini was never “leader of the Muslim world.” He was a British appointee in the Mandate for Palestine, where Muslims constituted less than 1 percent of the total world Muslim population.

The term “leader of the Muslim world” is a perfectly reasonable summation of Husseini’s power and influence. Yes, he was appointed Mufti of Jerusalem by the British. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the end of the caliphate, by virtue of his position alone as Mufti of the third holiest city in the Muslim world, Husseini had as good a claim as anyone to being the foremost authority in the Muslim world as anyone.

What’s more, the British appointment is not remotely the whole story of the Mufti’s influence. While he lived in Berlin from 1941 to 1945, he made broadcasts from Berlin in Arabic, appealing to the entire Arabic-speaking world to support the Nazis, and raised up a Muslim SS division in Bosnia, where no one seems to have rejected his authority on the basis that he was a British appointment for Jerusalem only.

Even as National Socialist Germany collapsed in defeat and ruin, he didn’t lose his influence. In 1946, the Arab League appointed al-Husseini not just a member, but the chairman, of the Arab Higher Committee. The Arab League was founded in Cairo in 1945 by Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Transjordan (Jordan from 1946) and Yemen (North Yemen, later combined Yemen). Are those countries not the heart of the Muslim world?

The Arab Higher Committee, with Husseini as its chairman, wielded so much influence that it was given the same diplomatic status as the Jewish agency for Palestine in the partition of Israel in 1948. The political committee of the general assembly of the United Nations, without a dissenting vote, decided to invite the Arab Higher Committee to testify before it on the issue of Israel and the Arab Muslims.

Second, Husseini’s meeting with Hitler did not represent a permanent or universal alliance between Muslims and Nazis; it was a one-time, opportunistic consultation between a fugitive Palestinian figure and his patron.

Pipes reveals that there is a bit more going on in this photo than a “one-time, opportunistic consultation” by noting in passing that Hitler was Husseini’s “patron.” (Incidentally, Pipes’ reference to Husseini as a “Palestinian,” however, is anachronistic, as the Muslim Arabs of Palestine were not referred to as “Palestinians” until the Soviets and Arafat invented the “Palestinian” nationality in the 1960s, so as to defuse Israel’s image as a tiny Jewish state arrayed against numerous surrounding huge Arab states: an even smaller people was invented, menaced by the mighty Israeli war machine.)

In any case, “Husseini’s meeting with Hitler did not represent a permanent or universal alliance between Muslims and Nazis,” but the meeting was far more than a “one-time, opportunistic consultation,” either. Husseini was important enough in Berlin to play a role in the Third Reich’s extermination of Jews. SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Dieter Wisliceny, a close collaborator of Adolf Eichmann, testified that “the grand mufti, who had been in Berlin since 1938, played a role in the decision of the German government to exterminate the European Jews the importance of which must not be disregarded. He had repeatedly suggested to the various authorities with whom he had been in contact, above all before Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himmler, the extermination of European Jewry. He considers this as a comfortable solution of the Palestine problem. In his messages broadcast from Berlin, he surpassed us in anti-Jewish attacks. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and has constantly been cited him to accelerate the extermination measures. I heard say that, accompanied by Eichmann, he has visited incognito the gas chamber in Auschwitz.”

The statement referred to in the affidavit was made by Eichmann in his office in Budapest on June 4, 1944; the confirmation by Wisliceny was given some days later, also in Budapest.

Further, according to testimony at the Nuremberg trials, “the mufti was a bitter arch enemy of the Jews and had always been the protagonist of the idea of their annihilation. This idea the mufti had always advanced in his conversations with Eichmann.”

Eichmann had before all this been in charge of efforts to deport the Jews from Europe. After the Mufti weighed in, the Nazi efforts shifted from deportation to extermination — confirming Wisliceny’s account.

Third, the ad’s demand makes no sense: How does ending $10 billion in U.S. military assistance to Afghanistan “stop the hate” against Jews? How does continuing it encourage “Islamic Jew-hatred”?

As Dr. Pipes well knows, anti-Semitism is rampant in the Islamic world, including in Afghanistan. The ad is calling for U.S. aid to Muslim countries to be contingent upon their efforts to end anti-Semitism — efforts which are non-existent at this point. U.S. aid continues to encourage “Islamic Jew-hatred” (Pipes’ sneer quotes betray his unwarranted skepticism regarding the concept) by doing nothing whatsoever to counter it.

But more important to the ad’s failure was the hostile response it provoked. Rather than win support for Jews as victims of Muslims, it instead rallied the Philadelphia establishment to support Muslims as victims of Jews. A Jewish Exponent headline summed up the reaction: “Contempt for SEPTA Bus Ads Brings Groups Together.” Mayor Nutter convened an outdoor meeting under the city’s famous LOVE sculpture that brought together activists, clergy, journalists, and intellectuals, where he denounced the “misguided and opportunistic political tactics” behind the bus ad….

Pipes goes on in this vein for several paragraphs, detailing the opposition to the ad from various Leftist multiculturalists. It is surprising that he accords such respect to this opposition, since those he invokes — the Philadelphia mayor, Leftist Jewish groups, a Roman Catholic archbishop — have never shown any awareness of the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat or of Islamic anti-Semitism, or any indication that they have any will at all to oppose them, even with the most watered-down and empty of gestures. Nor will he ever win their love except by engaging in empty, toothless gestures of his own. One would think that he would have been tipped off to how clueless and compromised SEPTA is by the fact that it, as he puts it, “sent a long valentine to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)” — but he seems to think this is more our fault than SEPTA’s.

If the first rule of advertising is to make sure to convey your message effectively, this inaccurate, strange, and aggressive bus advertisement must rank as an all-time disaster, damaging the cause it meant to serve while helping those it intended to harm. It’s like a Coke ad that sends customers flocking to Pepsi.

In reality, the ad seems to have very neatly smoked out those who are compromised and unwilling to state unpopular and unwelcome truths from those who are willing to grasp the nettle and stand for the truth no matter what may come from the cowards, trimmers, and collaborators of the world.

But as an alternative, Pipes offers his “militant Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution” mantra, which stands out now as one of the most spectacularly failed analyses in the entire sorry history of the “war on terror”:

How might have the ad been more effectively composed? Simple: by distinguishing between the religion of Islam and the totalitarian ideology of Islamism, as in, “Radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution. Non-Muslims and patriotic Muslims must band together to fight ISIS, Boku [sic] Haram, CAIR, and ISNA. Islamist-Watch.org.” The picture might have featured novelist Salman Rushdie talking to television host Bill Maher, a liberal who criticizes radical Islam.

“Moderate Islam is the solution,” eh? Well, here we are almost fourteen years after 9/11, and where is it? There is Zuhdi Jasser, there is Tawfik Hamid, there is Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, there is a handful of others, but what they offer is a non-traditional Islam with no foundation in Islamic theology or history, and no significant backing among Muslims. There is no large-scale movement among Muslims to combat the Islamic State, Boko Haram, and other jihadis, much less CAIR and ISNA. There is no moderate Muslim organization with a large membership or influence among Muslims. I share Pipes’ hope that such an org eventually arises, but how long are we going to keep counting on it when it is so obviously not happening?

It’s a soothing solution for the ignorant and uninformed (such as Mayor Nutter, Catholic archbishops, liberal rabbis, etc.), but it is hardly a viable solution, and it is a manifestly failed analysis. Yes, Dr. Pipes, such an ad would have made everyone feel good. But it would have recruited absolutely no “new cadres for the battle against our common foe, the Islamists,” and would not have sparked the public debate that our ad sparked, that drew attention to numerous important issues, including the war against the freedom of speech, the nature of Islamic anti-Semitism, and more.

Failed analysis is not the solution; it’s the problem. Want proof? Run your ad, Dr. Pipes, and see what will happen: absolutely nothing.

Also see:

THE BEHEADING SURA: Robert Spencer’s Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 8, ‘Booty’

7468acb2fffb50d4983d0633b9844c348d13dbf35d2da353f65442bc8c9f460d_largePJ Media, by Robert Spencer, May 22. 2015:

As we all know, Islam is a Religion of Peace. Barack Obama and John Kerry and David Cameron and the New York Times and the Washington Post and CNN tell us that; political and media elites — left and right — take it as axiomatically true.

Now, we come to the Qur’an’s own evidence of that fact.

In Sura 8, “Al-Anfal” — “Booty,” or “The Spoils of War” – Allah speaks about Muhammad’s confrontation with the forces of the pagan Quraysh at Badr, during which the Muslim prophet … turns the other cheek! He exhorts his followers to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecute them! He begins a Gandhi-esque nonviolent protest!

Sura 8 dates from the second year of the Medinan period, the second part of Muhammad’s prophetic career. Islamic tradition holds that it was revealed not long after the Battle of Badr, the first great victory of the Muslims over their chief rivals of the time, the pagan Quraysh tribe.

The title of this sura is better known than most, since Saddam Hussein used Al-Anfal as the name for his genocidal 1988 campaigns against the Kurds, in which between 50,000 and 100,000 people were murdered.

At Badr, the Quraysh came out to meet Muhammad’s three hundred men with a force nearly a thousand strong. Muhammad had provoked the battle by sending his men out to raid a Quraysh caravan, telling them:

This is the caravan of Quraysh carrying their property, so march forth to intercept it, Allah might make it as war spoils for you.

As the battle loomed, according to Muhammad’s earliest biographer Ibn Ishaq, the Islamic prophet strode among his troops and issued a momentous promise, one that has given heart to Muslim warriors throughout the ages:

By Allah in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, no man will be slain this day fighting against them with steadfast courage advancing not retreating but Allah will cause him to enter Paradise.

One of the Muslim warriors, Umayr bin al-Humam, exclaimed:

Fine, Fine! Is there nothing between me and my entering Paradise save to be killed by these men?

He flung away some dates that he had been eating, rushed into the thick of the battle, and fought until he was killed.

The Quraysh were routed. Some Muslim traditions say that Muhammad himself participated in the fighting; others that it was more likely that he exhorted his followers from the sidelines. In any event, it was an occasion for him to avenge years of frustration, resentment, and hatred toward his people who had rejected him.

One of his followers later recalled a curse Muhammad had pronounced on the leaders of the Quraysh:

The Prophet said, ‘O Allah! Destroy the chiefs of Quraish, O Allah! Destroy Abu Jahl bin Hisham, Utba bin Rabi’a, Shaiba bin Rabi’a, Uqba bin Abi Mu’ait, Umaiya bin Khalaf (or Ubai bin Kalaf).

All these men were captured or killed during the battle of Badr. Ibn Ishaq says that one Quraysh leader named in this curse, Uqba, pleaded for his life:

But who will look after my children, O Muhammad?

In the confrontation, Uqba had thrown camel dung, blood, and intestines on the Prophet of Islam, to the great merriment of the Quraysh chieftans, while Muhammad prostrated himself in prayer. Muhammad had pronounced a curse on them, and now it was being fulfilled. Who would care for Uqba’s children?

“Hell,” Muhammad declared, and ordered Uqba killed.

The victory at Badr was the turning point for the Muslims. It became the stuff of legend, a cornerstone of the new religion. And Allah rewarded those to whom he had granted victory. In verses 1-4 he praises the true believers, who follow the Islamic rules concerning prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and address for the first time the question of the spoils of war from Badr. There was great booty for the victors — so much, in fact, that it became a bone of contention.

Muhammad was receiving questions about the disposal of the booty, and Allah tells the Muslims that that is entirely up to Muhammad (v. 1). This was in accord with a special privilege that Allah had granted to Muhammad. Muhammad explained: “I have been given five (things) which were not given to any amongst the Prophets before me.” These included the fact that “Allah made me victorious by awe (by His frightening my enemies)” and “the booty has been made Halal (lawful) to me (and was not made so to anyone else).”

Victorious with “awe” is often translated in other hadiths as “victorious through terror.”

Read more

The Jihadi Job Application

application3-438x350Frontpage, by Robert Spencer, May 21, 2015:

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf was widely ridiculed in February for saying of the Islamic State (ISIS): “We cannot win this war by killing them, we cannot kill our way out of this war. We need, in the longer term, medium and longer term, to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs.” Harf’s statement looks even more ridiculous now that it has come to light that the Islamic State’s parent group and semi-rival, al-Qaeda, treats potential recruits very much like job applicants.

The al-Qaeda application, released this week along with a large amount of other material found in Osama bin Laden’s compound, is an interesting transposition of contemporary Western workplace culture to the age of savagery: as matter-of-fact and routine as asking for references or people to contact in an emergency, it asks, “Who should we contact in case you became a martyr?”

The entire application is a similar blend of jihadist piety and bureaucratic officiousness. “In the name of Allah the compassionate and merciful,” it begins, “Important remarks before you fill in the application: 1. Please answer the required information accurately and truthfully. 2. Please write clearly and legibly.” It contains a uniquely Islamic confidentiality clause: “Please refrain from sharing the information you provide on the application with each other because it is a trust to Almighty Allah.” Any questions? “If you would like to discuss any further issue, please tell your direct brother supervisor.”

The form then asks for the applicant’s name, the date according to both the Gregorian and Hijri calendars, “Nickname/Alias,” “Father’s Occupation,” and other personal information, before getting down to brass tacks:

Date of your arrival in the land of Jihad:………………..

How long do you plan to stay in the (jihadi) theater?………

After asking about the applicant’s education level, the form asks: “When did Almighty Allah bless you with this gift?”

Then come questions about the level of the applicant’s knowledge of Islam – questions that John Kerry and Joe Biden and David Cameron and the others who insist that jihad terror groups have nothing to do with Islam must assume the applicants answered with “None,” “No,” and “No one”: “How much of the holy Qur’an have you memorized? Did you study Shari’a? Who was your instructor?” It also asks, “Which shaykhs do you listen to or read often?” and “Which shaykhs or Muslim dignitaries do you know?”

Clearly al-Qaeda was not looking for the poor, uneducated, misled, manipulated youths that fill jihad groups according to media myth. It asks: “Have you invented or researched anything in any domain?” Sounding like an application for summer camp but probably looking for young men who spent their summer days building homemade bombs, it asks, “Any hobbies or pastimes?” Other superficially innocuous questions have a clearly ominous edge, given the context: “Do you know anyone who travels to Western countries?” “Do you know any workers or experts in chemistry, communications, or any other field?” And above all: “Do any of your family or friends work with the government? If so, would he/she be willing to cooperate with or help us?”

“List the types of passports you possess,” the application directs. “Did you use a real or forged passport for your current travel? Provide details on how you arrived here. Did you encounter any difficulties on the road to this place?” Now that you’re here, when will you be going?: “Do you wish to execute a suicide operation? What objectives would you would like to accomplish on your jihad path? What ideas and views do you, your family, and your other acquaintances have about jihad in Allah’s sake here?”

And finally, after getting the name, address and phone numbers of those to be contacted after the applicant’s Islamic martyrdom, the application concludes: “Praise Allah, Lord of all worlds.” Not that this has anything to do with Islam, of course.

The application places the global jihad in a whole new light. It’s not just a vocation, it’s a job. Marie Harf and John Kerry are placing their hopes on the idea that those in the employ of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State will be willing to switch careers: from warrior for Allah to, say, Wal-Mart greeter. It is, unfortunately, unlikely that al-Qaeda’s pious applicants will find that a good career move.

Also see:

Robert Spencer’s Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 7, ‘The Heights’

quran_cover-800x480PJ Media, By Robert Spencer On May 14, 2015:

Did you know that you were born Muslim?

It’s right in Sura 7, “The Heights,” which also contains a number of Bible stories from the Qur’an, all designed to — you guessed it! — excoriate unbelievers.

“The Heights” is another Meccan sura, dating from around the same time as Sura 6: Muhammad’s last year in Mecca before the Hijra to Medina. It begins, as do several other chapters, with a first verse consisting of mysterious Arabic letters — the meaning of which, we’re told, is known only to Allah. Then follows Allah telling Muhammad not to doubt the Qur’an, for it is “a Book revealed to you, so let there not be in your breast distress therefrom” (v. 2). After thus consoling his prophet, Allah gives us yet another warning of the dreadful judgment (vv. 3-10), when those whose good deeds outweigh their evil deeds will enter Paradise, while others will go to hell “for what injustice they were doing toward Our verses” (v. 9)  — that is, ayat, or verses of the Qur’an. They will be condemned (vv. 3-10).

Allah boasts: “And how many cities have We destroyed, and Our punishment came to them at night or while they were sleeping at noon” (v. 4).

Such verses about divine judgment do not necessarily refer solely to thunderbolts from heaven. The Qur’an also says: “Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands” (9:14). Consequently, jihad terrorists consider themselves to be the instruments of Allah’s judgment, destroying cities and punishing unbelievers in accord with the Qur’an.

Then comes the story of Satan (verses 11-25).

It begins with the creation of Adam, and Allah’s command that the angels prostrate themselves before this new creation. A hadith has Muhammad informing us that when Allah created Adam, he made him 60 cubits tall — that is, about 90 feet. “People,” he said, “have been decreasing in stature since Adam’s creation” (Sahih Bukhari 4.55.543).

However, Muhammad is also depicted as telling us that the first inhabitants of Paradise will be Adam’s size: “The first group of people who will enter Paradise, will be glittering like the full moon and those who will follow them, will glitter like the most brilliant star in the sky. They will not urinate, relieve nature, spit, or have any nasal secretions. Their combs will be of gold, and their sweat will smell like musk. The aloes-wood will be used in their centers. Their wives will be houris. All of them will look alike and will resemble their father Adam (in statute), sixty cubits tall” (Sahih Bukhari 4.55.544).

He did not explain why they will sweat but not spit or urinate. The houris, of course, are the fabled virgins of Paradise.

Satan refused to prostrate himself before Adam (v. 11; we also saw this in 2:34). When Allah asks him why, he answers pridefully: “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.” (v. 12). Ibn Kathir explains that Satan was wrong about this. Satan, he says, “lost hope in acquiring Allah’s mercy” because “he committed this error, may Allah curse him, due to his false comparison. His claim that the fire is more honored than mud was also false, because mud has the qualities of wisdom, forbearance, patience and assurance, mud is where plants grow, flourish, increase, and provide good. To the contrary, fire has the qualities of burning, recklessness and hastiness. Therefore, the origin of creation directed Shaytan [Satan] to failure, while the origin of Adam led him to return to Allah with repentance, humbleness, obedience and submission to His command, admitting his error and seeking Allah’s forgiveness and pardon for it.”

Allah banishes Satan — from Paradise, according to most commentators — but allows respite, which Satan then says he will use to spend his time tempting the Muslims away from the straight path (vv. 16-17).

What exactly is Satan? That’s unclear.

Allah here groups him among the angels (v. 11), as he does elsewhere in the Qur’an (2:34; 15:28-31; 20:116; 38:71-74). However, Allah also says “he was one of the jinns” (18:50). The angels “do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded” (66:6).

Many of the jinns, however, “have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless.” (7:179).

This creates a difficulty. If Satan is an angel, how can he disobey Allah? But if he is a jinn, why does Allah blame him in Sura 7 and its cognate passages for disobeying a command Allah gave not to the jinns, but to the angels?

This has led to some ingenious explanations throughout Islamic history. The Tafsir Al-Jalalayn says that Satan was “the father of the jinn, who was among the angels.” Muhammad Asad identifies the jinns with the angels, but this contradicts the passages of the Qur’an that say the angels are not disobedient. The contemporary Islamic apologist Dr. Zakir Naik contends that while Satan is grouped with the angels, he is never actually called an angel, and so there is no contradiction. He says that Satan is nevertheless held responsible for disobeying a command that is addressed to the angels because Allah meant it collectively — all the angels as well as Satan should obey it. The problems with this interpretation are many [1].

Allah then recounts the temptation of Adam and Eve, their sin, and their banishment from the garden (vv. 19-25). Then he warns the Children of Adam to heed the commands and signs (ayat) of Allah, and to avoid sin (vv. 26-41).

He recounts a conversation between the “Companions of the Garden” and the “Companions of the Fire” (vv. 42-50). The Companions of the Garden will point out that Allah’s promises have proven true (v. 44); the Companions of the Fire will ask the Companions of the Garden to “pour upon us some water or from whatever Allah has provided you,” but the Companions of the Garden will reply: “Indeed, Allah has forbidden them both to the disbelievers” (v. 50). Allah reminds believers to acknowledge and obey him (vv. 51-58).

Then Allah tells some stories of other prophets (vv. 59-95): Noah (vv. 59-64); the extrabiblical figures Hud (vv. 65-72) and Salih (vv. 73-79); Lot (vv. 80-84); and another extrabiblical prophet, Shu’aib (vv. 85-95).

These stories all follow the same pattern: the prophets warn the people to whom they are sent in language much like Muhammad’s, and they are scorned and rejected in much the same way that Muhammad was by those who are characterized in the Qur’an as hypocrites and unbelievers.

For example, Shu’aib tells the arrogant people of the Madyan: “We would have invented against Allah a lie if we returned to your religion after Allah had saved us from it. And it is not for us to return to it except that Allah, our Lord, should will” (v. 89) — just as earlier Allah says to the Children of Adam: “And who is more unjust than one who invents about Allah a lie or denies His verses?” (v. 37).

Lot’s story bears traces of the Sodom and Gomorrah incident in the Bible, as Lot tells his people: “Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people” (v. 81). Allah warns again of the destruction that will come to towns that reject him (vv. 96-102) — yet their unbelief is Allah’s doing: “Those cities — We relate to you some of their news. And certainly did their messengers come to them with clear proofs, but they were not to believe in that which they had denied before. Thus does Allah seal over the hearts of the disbelievers.” (v. 101).

He sealed over their hearts, so how could they believe even if they wanted to?

Allah then spends a considerable amount of time telling the story of Moses (vv. 103-171). He begins with a retelling of the story of Moses and Pharaoh, told in a way that suggests the hearers have heard it before: for example, we see Moses telling Pharaoh to “send with me the Children of Israel” (v. 105), but it is assumed that the reader will know that the Israelites were at this time oppressed as slaves in Egypt.

Moses performs various miracles before Pharaoh, as in the Biblical account — although when Moses’ hand becomes “white for the observers” (v. 108), Ibn Abbas says this was “not because of leprosy,” which is contrary to Exodus 4:6. The Ruhul Ma’ani says that Moses’ hand shone brighter than the sun. Pharaoh, as in the Biblical story, is unimpressed.

But Pharaoh’s magicians are, and say: “We have believed in the Lord of the worlds, the Lord of Moses and Aaron” (vv. 121-122). Pharaoh then threatens to cut off their hands and feet on opposite sides and crucify them (v. 124) — the same punishment Allah prescribes for those who wage war against Allah and Muhammad (5:33). The magicians pray that Allah will “pour upon us patience and let us die as Muslims” (مُسْلِمِين, v. 126).

This is another reminder that the Qur’an considers the Biblical prophets all to have been prophets of Islam whose messages were later corrupted to create Judaism and Christianity.

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The lengths we will go to for free speech

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CSP, by Clare Lopez, May 11, 2015:

Beyond the sheer act of defiance in the face of tyranny that was the recent “Draw Muhammad” contest in Garland, TX, a deeper benefit is emerging: the swirl of controversy that erupted after two Muslim terrorists drove all the way to Texas from the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Cultural Center of Phoenix, intending to commit mass murder, is forcing us to consider what exactly it means to ‘defend free speech.’ And what we want it to mean…or are ready to accept that it should mean. Most Americans have no trouble defending the First Amendment – in the abstract, anyway. But now that defending the right to defy Islamic blasphemy laws comes with specifics like an art contest, with actual drawings of Muhammad, and prize money offered by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), and event organizers like AFDI co-founders Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, and death threats—now some aren’t quite so sure anymore that this is the kind of free speech or these exactly are the free speech champions they had in mind.

So, there are the artists and cartoonists who draw images of Muhammad: the Albanian-born ex-Muslim Bosch Fawstin (who won the AFDI contest), the Swedish artist, Lars Vilks, and the Danish cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard. And there is the Dutch political leader, Geert Wilders, who made a film that criticized shariah-sanctioned abuse of women. Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard is a free speech advocate who has been critical of Islam, too. These (and many more, including Americans who increasingly are labeled ‘Islamophobes’) are the champions of free speech who actually create the material shariah would label ‘blasphemous’ (essentially for daring simply to depict Muhammad in an image or criticize anything about Islam at all). Many have been targeted for death by the enforcers of shariah.

Then there is the Jyllands-Posten Danish newspaper that published Westergaard’s drawings and the satirical Parisian magazine, Charlie Hebdo, that generally takes swipes at everyone and everything, including Islam. These and a host of online sites (including this one) posted the articles and cartoons and images, thereby incurring the murderous wrath of shariah-adherent Muslims, whose doctrine and law explicitly enjoin them to attack such media and their staffs with intent to kill.

And finally, there are those like Pamela Geller who display and encourage and feature such material, whether in city bus ads, transit stations, or at the recent contest in Garland, TX.

The question that so many of the wobbly set now seem to be stumbling over is, At which point in the free speech process – creation, publication, or public promotion – does it become ‘provocation’ that ‘goes too far’? Does it ever? Is it even possible for speech to be ‘too free’—in America? Why is the abstract defense of free speech and the First Amendment so laudable, but when the abstract takes form in ways that boldly challenge Islam’s attempts to silence those who criticize, when the abstract is personified in a Fawstin, a Geller, Hedegaard, Vilks, Westergaard, or Wilders, then it’s called ‘incitement’ that ought to be toned down? If not their statements, then what would be an acceptable demonstration of defiance against Islam’s blasphemy codes? That is, if defiance itself isn’t just a bit too much these days…

The point is that unless we champion and defend the actual people who are the physical embodiment of those abstract principles we all claim to cherish, the principles won’t stand a chance.

My Winning Mohammad Contest DrawingBosch Fawstin’s winning drawing of Muhammad was neither crude, nor grotesque, nor tasteless. It was, in fact, the perfect depiction of the principle at the center of contention: the right to freedom of artistic expression. If the conquered civilizations of the Afghan Buddhists, Byzantium, Middle East Christianity and Judaism, Hindus, and Persians teach us anything, it must be that even the most determined defense over a span of centuries may not suffice to save a people targeted by Islam; anything less, never mind actual passivity in the face of jihad aggression, will lead inevitably to subjugation.

Some would say that Pamela Geller pushes the edges of the envelope. To the extent that this is true, it is because it is always out at the edges, at the frontiers, that the ghazi – the warriors of Islam – have probed and tested the defenses of their targets for any weakness. If no one confronts them at the frontier, they push onward, inward, to the soft centers of society. Those hardy defenders who hold firm out there on the frontiers stand between civilization and barbarism.

By all means, we need to have this discussion. Long overdue, actually. But let us understand that the debate is not about the principle of free speech, per se: we agree on that pretty unanimously. Rather, it’s about how far we are willing to go to support those who put that principle into action against an enemy that would shut it down completely if not stopped.

Also see:

Robert Spencer’s Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 6, ‘Cattle’

quran2PJ Media, by Robert Spencer, May 5, 2015:

After five chapters denouncing unbelievers, the Qur’an’s sixth sura, “Cattle,” spends most of its time … denouncing unbelievers.

Are you starting to notice a pattern?

“Cattle” dates, according to Islamic tradition, from Muhammad’s last year in Mecca, before the Hijra, or Flight, to Medina during the twelfth year of his prophetic career. In Medina he became for the first time a political and military leader as well as a religious one. At Mecca, he had been solely a preacher of his new and uncompromising monotheism in an atmosphere of increasing antagonism with his own tribe, the Quraysh, who were pagans and polytheists.

Sura 6 is preoccupied with that antagonism, and features, among imprecations against the unbelievers, Allah speaking to Muhammad to console him for the Quraysh’s rejection of his message.

Allah begins by reaffirming that the unbelievers have rejected the truth of their Creator (vv.. 1-12). He warns: “See they not how many of those before them We did destroy?” (v. 6). Allah mocks their unbelief, saying that if he had sent Muhammad a “a written message on parchment,” the unbelievers would have dismissed it as “obvious magic” (v. 7), and if he had sent an angel in the form of a man, they would have just been confused (v. 9). Nothing will satisfy the unbelievers: they are inherently perverse.

If you ever get into a discussion or debate with a devout and knowledgeable Muslim, you will see this contempt for unbelievers up close — it’s imbibed from the Qur’an.

Then Allah emphasizes his own oneness (vv. 13-32), and claims that “those to whom We have given the Book” — that is, the Jews and Christians — “know this” — that is, the truth of Muhammad’s message — “as they know their own sons” (v. 20).

This is because, says Ibn Kathir, “they received good news from the previous Messengers and Prophets about the coming of Muhammad, his attributes, homeland, his migration, and the description of his Ummah.” That is, their unbelief in Islam is not a sincere rejection based on honest conviction, but sheer perversity: they “lie against their own souls” (v. 24).

And there is nothing worse than this. Nothing. 

Allah asks, “And who is more unjust than one who invents about Allah a lie or denies His verses?” (v. 21). “Verses” here again, is ayat or signs, the name used for the verses of the Qur’an: they’re signs of the truth of Allah. Allah emphasizes here that there can be no greater sin than shirk, the association of partners with him. The Tafsir al-Jalalayn asks, “And who, that is, none, does greater evil than he who invents a lie against God, by ascribing to Him an associate, or denies His signs?”

In Islam, there is no greater evil. In 1997 the “Invitation to Islam” newsletter asserted [1]:

Murder, rape, child molesting and genocide. These are all some of the appalling crimes which occur in our world today. Many would think that these are the worst possible offences which could be committed. But there is something which outweighs all of these crimes put together: It is the crime of shirk.

Some people may question this notion. But when viewed in a proper context, the fact that there is no crime worse then shirk, will become evident to every sincere person.

There is no doubt that the above crimes are indeed terrible, but their comparison with shirk shows that they do not hold much significance in relation to this travesty. When a man murders, rapes or steals, the injustice which is done is directed primarily at other humans. But when a man commits shirk, the injustice is directed towards the Creator of the heavens and the earth; Allah. When a person is murdered, all sorts of reasons and explanations are given. But one thing that the murderer cannot claim, is that the murdered was someone who provided him with food, shelter, clothing and all the other things which keep humans aloft in this life.

Yet those who commit this worst of all sins are still doing so not out of their own free choice, but because Allah has “thrown veils on their hearts,” so that they do not understand Muhammad’s message (v. 25). Hellfire awaits them (vv. 26, 30).

Muslims should be careful not to value the things of this world, for “What is the life of this world but play and amusement?” (v. 32). Says the Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas, “Do you not comprehend that this world is evanescent and that the Hereafter is everlasting?”

Many do not. In verses 33-73 Allah consoles Muhammad for the unbelievers’ rejection of his message: “We know indeed the grief which their words do cause thee” (v. 33), but they are “deaf and dumb” (v. 39), and wouldn’t believe even if they witnessed great miracles (vv. 35, 37). The fact that Allah, in a perfect book that has existed from all eternity, is so solicitous of his prophet and concerned about his grief at being rejected, is for pious Muslims only further confirmation of Muhammad’s importance and exalted status. Allah’s solicitude for Muhammad became the springboard for an exaltation of Muhammad in the Islamic mystical tradition. The Persian Sufi mystic Mansur Al-Hallaj (858-922) said that Allah “has not created anything that is dearer to him than Muhammad and his family.” The Persian poet Rumi (Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, 1207-1273) said that the scent of roses was that of the sweat of the Prophet of Islam:

Root and branch of the roses is
the lovely sweat of Mustafa [that is, Muhammad],
And by his power the rose’s crescent
grows now into a full moon.

Likewise a modern Arab writer opined that Allah “created Muhammad’s body in such unsurpassable beauty as had neither before him nor after him been seen in a human being. If the whole beauty of the Prophet were unveiled before our eyes, they could not bear its splendor.”

In verses 40-49 Allah discusses how he has sent messengers all over the world, warning of punishment to those who disbelieve. He then instructs Muhammad to issue various warnings to the unbelievers (vv. 5-58). The he emphasizes his absolute sovereignty (vv. 50-59), with v. 59 making a succinct statement of his omniscience: “And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry but that it is in a clear record.” (Similarly, “We have neglected nothing in the Book,” v. 38, is believed by some Islamic interpreters to refer to theLawhul Mahfuz, the Protected Tablet, on which Allah has written everything that occurs in the universe, even the minutest actions of animals and birds.) Allah tells Muhammad to “leave alone those who take their religion to be mere play and amusement, and are deceived by the life of this world” (v. 70).

Then he discusses Abraham rejecting polytheism by noting the deficiencies of various pagan objects of worship: the stars, the moon, the sun (vv. 74-83). Those who glibly associate Allah with the moon-god — a pre-Islamic Arabian god of war — should note v. 77: “When he saw the moon rising in splendour, he said: ‘This is my Lord.’ But when the moon set, he said: ‘unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray.’”

Allah then expands upon the immediately preceding discussion of Abraham’s rejection of idolatry by enumerating the other prophets of Islam (remember, Abraham was a Muslim according to Qur’an 3:67): Noah before Abraham, then Abraham’s children Isaac and Jacob, and then after that David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Zechariah, John the Baptist, Jesus, Elijah, Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah, and Lot (vv. 84-90).

These are, of course, all Biblical figures, although we shall see later on that the Qur’an does discuss some prophets who don’t appear in the Bible. Nevertheless, the Qur’an situates Muhammad as the crown and perfection of the Biblical prophetic tradition, explaining the differences between what Jews and Christians understand Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the rest to have said and what Muslims believe they said to the Christian corruption of their own scriptures.

Allah then goes back to emphasizing his oneness, and the dependence of all creation upon him (vv. 91-103). He begins this with yet another accusation that the Jews are not obeying the revelations given to Moses: they display it (“make it into separate sheets for show”) but they don’t obey it (they “conceal much of its contents”) (v. 91). Allah chastises those who say that he has not revealed anything to any human being. According to As-Suyuti’s Ad-Durrul Manthur, this verse was revealed after Muhammad teased a “hefty” Jewish scholar named Malik bin Sayf. Muhammad asked him, “Did you see in the Torah that Allah detests a hefty scholar?” Malik bin Sayf was enraged and shouted: “By Allah! Allah has not revealed anything to any human being!” His outburst is quoted, and rebuked, in v. 91.

The Qur’an is the “most blessed book,” confirming previous revelations. It also equips Muhammad to warn the “Mother of Villages” — that is, Mecca — of the impending judgment upon those who do not accept Islam (v. 92) and “invent a lie against Allah” (v. 93). Everyone will appear before Allah alone on the Day of Judgment, with no help from family or friends (v. 94). Allah pens a stirring meditation (vv. 95-103) on how he makes all things grow, sends the rain, and oversees all things: “No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things” (v. 103). (لاَّ تُدْرِكُهُ الأَبْصَارُ وَهُوَ يُدْرِكُ الأَبْصَارَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِ) A beautiful verse in any language. He also attempts a reductio ad absurdum on the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation: “How can He have a son when He hath no consort?” (v. 101) Ibn Kathir asks: “How can He have a wife from His creation who is suitable for His majesty, when there is none like Him How can He have a child? Then Verily, Allah is Glorified above having a son.” The idea that fatherhood and sonship might not be conceived of in physical terms is not considered.

In verses 104-117 Allah tells Muhammad to “turn aside from those who join gods with Allah” (v. 106), for “had Allah willed, they had not been idolatrous,” and it’s not Muhammad’s problem: “We have not set thee as a keeper over them, nor art thou responsible for them” (v. 107). The Muslims should not revile the gods of the unbelievers, lest the unbelievers revile Allah (v. 108); according to As-Suyuti’s Lubabun Nuqul, Allah revealed this verse in response to an actual incident, when the pagans responded to the Muslims’ denigration of their gods by denigrating Allah. Every prophet has enemies — devils who are both humans and jinn (v. 112). The jinn (from which comes the English “genie”) are spirit beings who can see humans, but humans cannot see them. The messengers from Allah have come to them also (v. 130).

Allah then tells Muslims not to eat meat unless Allah’s name has been pronounced over it (vv. 118-121); this is the foundation for the halal preparation of meat, which dictates that the jugular vein, windpipe and foodpipe of the animal be severed after the butcher recites “In the name of Allah.” Then the blood is drained out. The Muslims would be “pagans” if they obeyed the advice of unbelievers in this matter (v. 121).

According to Ibn Kathir, this means that “when you turn away from Allah’s command and Legislation to the saying of anyone else, preferring other than what Allah has said, then this constitutes Shirk.” (Shirk, of course, is the greatest sin of all, the associating of partners with Allah.)

This is one reason why democracy has had such difficulty taking root in Islamic countries.

Then Allah returns to the perversity of the unbelievers who demand signs from Allah but wouldn’t believe even if they received them (vv. 122-134). Whether or not someone becomes a Muslim depends entirely upon whether Allah wills to lead him to Islam or to lead him astray (v. 125). By following the “straight path” (v. 126) of Islam, Muslims will make Allah their friend (v. 127). In verses 128-131 Allah addresses jinns as well as humans, warning them of the same Judgment. Ibn Jarir and Dhahak say that jinn prophets were sent to the jinn; however, Mujahid and Ibn Jurayj contend that the jinn listened to the human prophets. This is the more common view.

Allah then criticizes various pagan practices, notably the sacrifice of children (verses 137, 140). “Be not prodigal” (v. 141) refers, says Ibn Jurayj, to over-enthusiasm in charity: “This Ayah was revealed concerning Thabit bin Qays bin Shammas, who plucked the fruits of his date palms. Then he said to himself, ‘This day, every person who comes to me, I will feed him from it.’ So he kept feeding (them) until the evening came and he ended up with no dates.” Others, however, maintain that it simply directs Muslims not to be wasteful in general. In verses 142-144 Allah forbids various pagan customs regarding the usage of animals.

Then in verses 146 and 147 Allah details the specifics of Jewish food laws. Allah tells Muhammad that if the Jews accuse him of lying about this, he should respond: “Your Lord is full of mercy all-embracing; but from people in guilt never will His wrath be turned back.” Ibn Kathir observes that “Allah often joins encouragement with threats in the Qur’an.”

The sura ends with a final appeal to the unbelievers in verses 148-165. According to Ibn Mas’ud, verses 151-153, a summary of what is prohibited in Islam, constitute “the will and testament of the Messenger of Allah on which he placed his seal.” One should not kill, since Allah has made life sacred, “except by way of justice and law” (v. 151). What does that mean? Muhammad explained that the “blood of a Muslim … cannot be shed except in three cases: in Qisas [retaliation] for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.

So adultery, apostasy and revenge are the only justifications for taking a life. Verses 153 and 161 repeat that Islam is the straight path.

Allah will “try you in the gifts He hath given you” (v.165). Muhammad explained this also: “Verily, this life is beautiful and green, and Allah made you dwell in it generation after generation so that He sees what you will do. Therefore, beware of this life and beware of women, for the first trial that the Children of Israel suffered from was with women.