Hugh Fitzgerald: A Review of Ibn Warraq’s The Islam In Islamic Terrorism

Jihad Watch, by Hugh Fitzgerald, May 12, 2017:

Ibn Warraq, the celebrated apostate, author of Why I Am Not A Muslim and of scholarly works on the Koran, Muhammad, and early Islam, as well as polemical works in defense of the West, has now written The Islam in Islamic Terrorism, showing, in the words of the Islamic fundamentalists (or, more exactly, revivalists) themselves, what really motivates Islamic terrorists today, and what has motivated them since the time of the Kharijites in the first century of Islam: the belief in the need to recover the pristine Islam of the time of Muhammad, by removing all innovations (bid’a), the further belief that it is the duty of Muslims to wage Jihad against all Unbelievers until Islam everywhere dominates, and to bring about the resurrection of the caliphate, and the imposition of Islamic Law, or Sharia, all over the globe.

Ibn Warraq’s The Islam In Islamic Terrorism is a brilliant series of reported echoes down the corridors of Islam, where the same complaints about bid’a, the same insistence on regulating every area of a Believer’s life, the same refusal to allow freedom of religion or thought, the same duties of violent Jihad and Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong, the same demands for a return to the same pristine Islam of Muhammad, the same virulent antisemitism, the same quotes from the Koran and Hadith, the same hatred of Infidels, the same insistence that “we love death more than you love life,” the same call for bloodshed and Muslim martyrdom, the same dreary fanaticism, are thoroughly described and dissected, and above all the various violent manifestations of this revivalism over the centuries are linked to one another, as Ibn Warraq brings to bear the massive research he has been conducting over many years, in primary and secondary sources, and here deploys to splendid effect.

Ibn Warraq has performed a service for all those who are at last ready to look beyond the present platitudes about socioeconomic and other putative “root causes” of Islamic terrorism — Israel, the Crusades, European colonialism, American foreign policy, all held up for dissection and dismissal one after the other. He cites the studies that reveal Muslim terrorists to be both better off economically, and better educated, than the average Muslim. Most of the terrorist leaders have received solid educations in Islam, giving the lie to those apologists who claim that only those “ignorant of the true Islam” become terrorists.

He notes that Jihad against the Infidels started more than 1300 years before Israel came into existence, that the Muslims paid little attention to the Crusades until very recently, and that American foreign policy has often favored the Muslim side, rescuing Arafat from Beirut when he was besieged by the Israelis, supporting Pakistan despite its collusion with terrorists, looking away when Turkey invaded Cyprus, putting troops in Saudi Arabia to protect that kleptocracy from Saddam Hussein, and lavishing hundreds of billions in foreign aid on Muslim countries, and more than four trillion dollars on military interventions and “reconstruction” in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the hope, likely forlorn, that those countries could be made less barbarous than before.

Having dispatched these factitious “root causes,” Ibn Warraq returns us to the o’erweening fact of Islam, and begins commonsensically with the Koran, hadith, sunna, and sira, showing how violent Jihad, including the weapon of terrorism, is deeply rooted in the texts of Islam and the example of the Prophet. Muhammad was the first Islamic terrorist. Ibn Warraq then introduces readers to a course in Islamic history, bringing to bear an enormous amount of research — every vein is mined with ore — on a succession of violent revivalist movements that wished to return Islam to its pristine state, ridding it of any innovations (bida’). He begins this story in the first century of Islam with the Kharijites, with stops in ninth and tenth century Baghdad, sixteenth century Istanbul, and eighteenth-century Arabia, right up to those ideologues and thinkers who inspire the terrorists today, including Mawdudi, Qutb, Azzam, Faraj, and Khomeini. He gives considerable attention to the other duty of Muslims, that of Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong (he tentatively suggests that “Jihad” might be considered as coming under the duty of “Commanding Right”), and what that duty has meant for activists and terrorists. His account of Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong appears to be the most extensive treatment to date of this duty outside of the specialist literature.

He is a Great Debunker. He calls into question the “greater Jihad” of spiritual struggle, so beloved of Muslim apologists, quoting extensively from the modern ideologues who insist it is based at most on a single weak hadith (and some claim even that does not exist), but in any case, the non-spiritual kind of Jihad remains a duty incumbent on all Muslims. He debunks, too, the common perception of Sufis as pacific, showing how, both in Safavid Persia and, later, in India, Sufis eagerly promoted, and participated in, violent Jihad. This matters, because the myth of the “peaceful Sufis” holds out a false hope — a peaceful sect of Muslims! Maybe they can all become Sufis! — that gets in the way of recognizing a much grimmer reality.

His detailed treatment of Haj Amin Al-Husaini is an example of his thoroughness, and his ability to see what others have overlooked. He shows how Al-Husaini’s fanatical antisemitism had nothing to do with the Nazi version, but was rooted in Koran and hadith. He rejects, that is, Matthias Kunzel’s claim that Al-Husaini learned his antisemitism from the Nazis. Ibn Warraq insists that there was no need; Islamic antisemitism predated that of Hitler by 1350 years. He does offer new revelations about Al-Husaini’s role in the Holocaust. It was he who convinced Hitler not to let German Jews leave Germany, because he was afraid they would move to Palestine. Several hundred thousand Jews were thus condemned to die because of Al-Husaini. Furthermore, in order to keep Jews from elsewhere in Europe entering Palestine, Al-Husaini pressed the British to undertake a blockade so that Jewish refugees could not land in Palestine. The British, wanting to curry favor with the Arabs, agreed to this demand. How many Jews from all over Europe, who might have been saved, died as a result of Al-Husaini’s action? Possibly a million might have escaped Europe through the Black Sea port of Costanza, that remained open during the war, but only if they had a place – Palestine – that would take them in. Haj Amin Al-Husaini made sure they would not be allowed to land in Palestine.

The discussion of this is unique to Ibn Warraq. Also unique is his suggestion that it was Al-Husaini who, from 1948 to his death in 1973, kept the Islamic fundamentalist movement alive. He was the key figure linking the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to other Islamist groups. He helped organize the assassination of government officials deemed too secular. He also brought 4000 Nazi war criminals to the Middle East, helping them find jobs in the security and intelligence apparatus of several Arab states, and even converted some to Islam. It is both his role in the Holocaust, cutting off an escape route for Jews, and in his postwar work at the very center of the Islamist movement for 25 years, that only Ibn Warraq has discussed.

The book is well-sourced, with copious citations from Koran, hadith, sunna, and sira. Ibn Warraq allows the terrorist ideologues to speak for themselves, and at length. Everyone will have his own favorite examples of fanaticism: two of mine were the rant of Sayyid Qutb about American decadence, prompted by his 1951 attendance at a distinctly modest church square dance, and Khomeini’s remarkable speech about how he “spit on those” who denied the centrality of bloodshed in Islam. Finally, Ibn Warraq has read, thoroughly assimilated, and fittingly deployed, excerpts from dozens of scholars of Islam, from C. Snouck Hurgronje and Joseph Schacht to Michael Cook and Patricia Crone. The comprehensive bibliography is divided into primary and secondary sources, for those who wish to pursue the subject further.. It will be impossible for Muslim apologists to rebut any part of this incredible work. What they will do is try to have it ignored, or to dismiss a work of solid scholarship as merely an apostate’s “Islamophobia.” We must not let those efforts succeed. Buy and read this book, see that libraries order it, that those in the media and the government who make or influence policy are sent copies. For Ibn Warraq’s sake, and for our own.

Are Islamists Conducting a New Jihad against the West?

Gatestone Institute, by William DiPuccio, May 12, 2017:

  • “But, as regards the reward and blessing, there is one deed which is very great in comparison to all the acts of worship and all the good deed­[s] — and that is Jihad!” — Saudi publisher’s prefatory note, Jihad in the Qu’ran and Sunnah by Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid.
  • The rewards of Paradise are also promised to the observant Muslim, but the highest grades of Paradise, of which there are 100, are reserved only for those who perform jihad.
  • Jihad is, by all appearances, first and foremost an act of religious devotion and only secondarily an act of economic and political rebellion.

About four decades have passed since Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid (1908-1981), ex-Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia, published his lengthy, impassioned, essay on jihad.[1] This essay, still available on the Internet, is the only one that Saudi religious scholars chose to include with the Noble Quran — a modern, nine volume, English translation of the Quran, which includes ancient commentary.[2]

A cursory reading of Sheikh bin Humaid’s essay should forever silence any fantasies regarding traditional Islam’s peaceful disposition toward the non-Muslim world.[3] As the Saudi publisher says in his prefatory note:

“But, as regards the reward and blessing, there is one deed which is very great in comparison to all the acts of worship and all the good deed­[s] — and that is Jihad!”

The publisher continues:

“Never before such an article was seen, describing Jihad in its true colours­ — so heart evoking and encouraging!… We are publishing this article and recommend every Muslim not only to read it himself but to offer every other Muslim brother within his read.”

To be clear, Sheikh bin Humaid defines “jihad” as “holy fighting in Allah’s Cause.” This is not, in other words, the “lesser jihad,” or “spiritual struggle,” that some Muslim apologists cite, possibly to obfuscate the primary historical usage of the word. Jihad is war fought with “the heart,” “the hand (weapons, etc.),” and “the tongue” (2).

Why Do Muslims Take Up Arms?

According to Sheikh bin Humaid, Allah sent Muhammad to fight against the mushrikun of Mecca — the “polytheists, pagans, idolaters, and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger Muhammad” (2). Muhammad patiently invited the Meccans to Islam for 13 years, warning them of Allah’s judgement. But they refused the invitation.

This refusal, by itself, was not the justification for jihad. Allah’s mercy was not yet exhausted. Sheikh bin Humaid tells us, in storied detail, that Muhammad and his followers were oppressed and persecuted by the Meccans. They were “imprisoned, made to suffer from hunger and thirst and by being beaten (in a horrible manner)” (3). Moreover, Muhammad himself was physically accosted more than once.[4]

The portrayal of cruelty on the part of the Meccans is enough to evoke sufficient anger in the reader, setting the stage for retaliation and jihad. At first Allah permitted the Muslims to defend themselves, but jihad was not obligatory. Allah can certainly defend the Muslims without fighting, according to the Sheikh, “but Allah wants from His worshippers obedience with all their efforts” (4). Consequently, he calls them to jihad as an act of obedience and devotion, not simply as an act of self-defense. This appears to be the birth of the Islamic doctrine of war.

Who is the Enemy of Islam?

Bin Humaid views jihad as a perpetual war that is to be waged against the world until submission to Islam is secured. The time for patience is over; the time for judgment has come. He cites the famous “verse of the sword”:

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.” (Quran 9:29, Sahih International)

Bin Humaid tells us that Allah ordered the Muslims

“to discard (all) the obligations (covenants, etc.) and commanded the Muslims to fight against all the Mushrikun as well as against the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) if they do not embrace Islam, till they pay the Jizya (a tax levied on the non-Muslims who do not embrace Islam and are under the protection of an Islamic government) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” (4).

Peace with pagans, Jews, and Christians is not an option as long as they resist Muslim rule. And, as long as the Muslims were capable of fighting, says Sheikh bin Humaid, they “were not permitted to abandon ‘the fighting’ against them… and to reconcile with them and to suspend hostilities against them for an unlimited period” (4).

What is the Reward for Jihad?

Muslims, according to the Qur’an, disliked the call to jihad at first, but Allah insisted upon it:

“Jihad (holy fighting in Allah’s Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it maybe that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know” (2:216): (5).

Jihad, then, was not a fabrication of Muhammad; it was, we are told, a direct command from Allah himself.

According to Bin Humaid, Muslim resistance to jihad soon turned to a love for the fight. The motivation, in this case, is the reward, which far exceeds the hardships of fighting. These warriors (Mujahidin) “fight against the enemies of Allah in order that the worship should be all for Allah… and that the Word of Allah… should be superior” (5).

This alone, he tells us, should be sufficient compensation for the warrior, but Allah goes farther. “He will forgive your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow and pleasant dwellings in Gardens of Eternity” (6).

Allah, says the Sheikh, also assists the Muslims in their battles against the enemies to give them victory. Although not specifically mentioned in the essay, Muslims find a celebrated example of this divine intervention in Islam’s first major conflict, the Battle of Badr. In it, a relatively small army of Muslims defeated the well-equipped Meccan army. This was acclaimed as a certain sign of divine favor.

Sheikh bin Humaid spends several pages (6-10) discussing the superiority of the mujahidin (the warriors) over every other ministry and occupation in Islam, including those who maintain the mosque. The “believers who fight in Allah’s Cause (mujahidin) are far superior in grades before Him” (7).

He describes the rewards of Paradise that await them (although he never mentions the fabled virgins). The rewards of Paradise are also promised to observant Muslims, but the highest grades of Paradise, of which there are 100, are reserved only for those who perform jihad (8).

Sheikh bin Humaid places virtually no emphasis on the spoils of war as a reward (see 16). Yet, we know from the many battles chronicled in the hadith, that booty was a major motivation for some of Muhammad’s men.[5] Sheikh bin Humaid’s idealism seems intended to appeal to the “true believer,” and to the purest and most exalted motives to which devout Muslims aspire.

Is Jihad an Act of Worship?

Jihad, according to Sheikh bin Humaid, is spiritual warfare as well as armed conflict. The Quran says (4:76): “Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghut (Satan etc.).” By battling the friends of Satan, Muslims are, according to him, protecting the weak and rescuing the oppressed from this evil (10). They are fighting to bring mankind “from the darkness into the light,” from idolatry to the worship of Allah alone, and “from the injustices of the religions to the justice of Islam” (17).

Jihad, bin Humaid tells us, is also connected deeply to prayer and fasting — all three of which are ordained by Allah. “All the Muslim religious scholars unanimously agree” that it is superior to non-obligatory prayer, as well as to the Hajj (the required pilgrimage to Mecca) and the Umra (a voluntary pilgrimage to Mecca) (11).

The Prophet Muhammad’s lofty aspiration for Jihad is captured in this hadith from Sahih Al-Bukhari (2797). “I would love to be martyred in Allah’s Cause, and then come back to life, and then be martyred, and then come back to life again, and then be martyred, and then come back to life again, and then be martyred” (11).

“Anyone”, said Muhammad, “whose both feet get covered with dust in Allah’s Cause will not be touched by the Hell-fire” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 2811) (16). This quest for martyrdom was echoed by the Fort Hood killer, Major Nidal Malik Hasan. Two years before he killed 13 people in 2009, he told an audience of his fellow Army doctors, “We love death more than you love life!”[6]

What are the Punishments for Refusing to Participate in Jihad?

If the rewards of jihad are great, then so, it seems, are the punishments for able-bodied Muslim men who refuse to participate, or who withdraw. According to Sheikh bin Humaid:

“Allah (swt) disapproved of those who abandoned Jihad (i.e. they did not go for Jihad) and attributed to them hypocrisy and disease in their hearts, and threatened (all) those who remain behind from Jihad and sit (at home) with horrible punishment” (12).

Punishment, says the Sheikh, is not limited to temporal justice: “whosoever turns his back to the unbelievers on the field of battle…has drawn upon himself the wrath from Allah. And his abode is Hell, worst indeed is that destination!” (Quran 8:16) (16). In the event that the Muslim people “march not forth,” and forsake their duty to jihad, Allah has threatened to replace them with another people (12).

The severity of punishment for those who forsake jihad has been graphically demonstrated by ISIS during the last few years. ISIS cruelly executed dozens of their own soldiers who fled the battlefield. News reports indicate that these fighters were either burned alive, gassed, beheaded, or buried alive. [7]

How is Jihad Carried Out?

The call to jihad requires the support of the entire Muslim Ummah or people. It involves the transformation of a religious community into a military machine. Sheikh bin Humaid states:

“And you will not find any organization past or present, religious or non-religious…(ordering) the whole nation to march forth and mobilize all of them into active military service as a single row for Jihad in Allah’s Cause so as to make superior the Word of Allah…as you will find in the Islamic Religion and its teachings” (13).[8]

The jihad must be fought with “true bravery,” faith, and utter confidence (of which the author cites numerous historical examples). Allah assisted the prophet and his fighters, “with victory” and “helped them with angels and… cast terror into the hearts of their enemies” (16). Against those who disbelieve, jihadists are instructed to “smite at their necks[9] till you have killed and wounded many of them.” If the enemy does not capitulate, captives may be ransomed, or freed without ransom, “according to what benefits Islam” (14).

Mercifully, women, children, and the elderly, should not be killed in battle (Sahih Al-Bukhari 4:52, 257) (16). Although this rule of engagement was generally followed by Muslim armies on the battlefield, it does not prevent Muslims from engaging in mass destruction (such as setting fire to habitations, using catapults or bombs) that may entail the death of innocents.[10] Muhammad, moreover, appears not to have spared his personal enemies, regardless of age or sex, according to the historical traditions.[11]

Why did 20th Century Islam Forsake Jihad?

Having set before his readers the high calling of jihad, Sheikh bin Humaid turns his attention to the plight of 20th century Islam. The success of jihad has always depended on the ability of Muslims to maintain a pure faith. This entails the fear of one’s own sins, and the fear of disobedience to Allah. Muslims are victorious, despite their small numbers, because, according to bin Humaid, their enemies disobeyed Allah. Should the Muslims fail in this one point, they will be overpowered by their enemies (18).

By Allah’s might, bin Humaid continues, the Muslims became “the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind” — enjoining true monotheism and forbidding polytheism. But today they “are leading a life of the one who knows not any Prophet, nor believes in any Divine Message or Divine Revelation,[12] nor expects any reckoning nor is afraid of the Hereafter.” They have, in some ways, he laments, reverted to the pre-Islamic ignorance of Arabian polytheists (19).

In response, Allah has sent them trials through the imposition of Western civilization and Soviet communism (this was written before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991). “So their land,” says the Sheikh, “became ‘a free wealth’ with no protector.” Fulfilling Muhammad’s prophecy, Allah has removed fear from the hearts of those who hate Islam, while casting a love for this world and a hatred of death into the hearts of Muslims.[13] Allah has covered the Muslims in humiliation for cheating one another, abandoning their nomadic lifestyle to indulge their own comforts,[14] and deserting their call to jihad (19).

Having fallen so far, Muslims, he adds, have added yet another sin to their apostasy: They have asked for help from their enemies, and asked unbelievers to protect them, “begging them; turning towards them, expecting good from them” (19). Sheikh bin Humaid does not link this charge to any specific historical events. He was probably referring to numerous Saudi-American ventures including oil exploration in the 1930s, the permanent establishment of U.S. air bases in Saudi Arabia near the end of the WWII, and the military protection the U.S. has afforded Saudi Arabia since the 1940s.

Despite maintaining an outward appearance of Islamic religion and culture, Muslims, he says, have “become mean, despised before Allah.” They have immersed themselves in luxury, the worship of wealth, and a love for this world. They have succumbed to their enemies without so much as raising a hand. They have abandoned Islamic law (sharia) in favor of man-made laws which are in conflict with Allah’s judgement (19-20).

There is, in the Sheikh’s exhortation, a complete absence of the usual refrains against Western imperialism and economic oppression that we are accustomed to hearing today. With some notable exceptions, Muslims have not suffered economically under Western influence; rather they have thrived, especially those who live in the oil-rich Gulf states. The guilt for abandoning their religion is the result of indulgence rather than want or oppression.

With some notable exceptions, Muslims have not suffered economically under Western influence; rather they have thrived, especially those who live in the oil-rich Gulf states. Pictured above: The skyline of Dubai. (Image by Francois Nel/Getty Images for XCAT)

In his final appeal, Sheikh bin Humaid exclaims that it is “absolutely obligatory” for the Muslim people, and especially for Islamic scholars, to obey Allah, settle their differences, invite Muslims and non-Muslims alike to Islam, “publish its good aspects,” and instruct the people in the laws and wisdom of Islam, “as did Muslim nobles of early days.” Failure to do so is an invitation to Divine judgement (20-21).

The New Jihad

Since Sheikh bin Humaid penned this essay, evidently between 1974 and 1981, we have seen a resurgence of traditional faith in much of the Muslim world. With that renewal has come, predictably, an increase in violence as Muslims subdue unbelievers and seemingly attempt to purify their own ranks by punishing and killing apostates. Whether Sheikh bin Humaid would have approved of the brutality of ISIS and the use of suicide bombers is open for debate. But we can be certain that he would have lauded the willingness of many Muslims to spread the message of Islam and sacrifice their lives for the cause.

The new jihad is not primarily a reaction to Western economic oppression, as if more wealth in the hands of the many would arrest the problem.[15] To view this in neo-Marxist terms as an economic class struggle would be misleading. Muslim countries, as noted above, have largely prospered under Western influence and some have invited the protection of Western powers.[16] Rather, the new jihad evolves naturally from traditional Islamic doctrine which seeks to emulate Muhammad and his historical successors. Jihad is, by all appearances first and foremost an act of religious devotion, and only secondarily an act of economic and political rebellion.

Whereas Western nations generally seek peace and view it as a corollary to prosperity and the development of a high culture, Muslim traditionalists such as Sheikh bin Humaid believe that jihad is indicative of a vigorous and pure Islamic faith. Peace, according to him, can only be achieved when unbelief is subdued or vanquished from the earth. An Islam at perpetual war with the unbelieving world is the highest aspiration of faith and obedience. By contrast, the peace, prosperity, and culture so prized by the West has corrupted traditional Islam from within, posing a threat to its existence. This, evidently, is why the new call to jihad against the West has become more urgent for Islamists than ever.

William DiPuccio holds a Ph.D. in religious studies and has authored numerous articles and essays on both religion and science. He has also worked and taught in both fields. You can find his blog, Science Et Cetera, at http://scienceetcetera.blogspot.com

 

Free Speech and Islam: Fired for Reporting the Truth

Simply tweeting video of a Muslim student characterizing his religion on an interfaith panel cost me my job.

National Review, By Andy Ngo — May 12, 2017:

Last month, I attended an interfaith panel discussion, “Unpacking Misconceptions,” at Portland State University, where I’m a political-science graduate student. I ended up being fired as the multimedia editor of our student newspaper, the Vanguard, for tweeting about what was said there.

Much of the discussion was uncontroversial. The students on the panel mainly shared complaints of what they perceived as misconceptions about their religions. A Hindu student lampooned author Reza Aslan for his depiction of Hinduism on CNN’s Believer, which showed a minority sect’s practice of eating human flesh. A Jewish student said most Jews don’t have payot, the side curls worn by some Orthodox Jewish men. An atheist student spoke on behalf of a secular-humanist worldview and challenged the audience to think about how we as a society can develop our own moral framework without religion.

At one point, a woman in the audience asked the Muslim student if a specific verse in the Koran actually permitted the killing of non-Muslims. “I can confidently tell you, when the Koran says an innocent life, it means an innocent life, regardless of the faith, the race, like, whatever you can think about as a characteristic,” he began.

At this point, I took out my mobile phone and began recording as he continued:

And some, this, that you’re referring to, killing non-Muslims, that [to be a non-believer] is only considered a crime when the country’s law, the country is based on Koranic law — that means there is no other law than the Koran. In that case, you’re given the liberty to leave the country, you can go in a different country, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. So you can go in a different country, but in a Muslim country, in a country based on the Koranic laws, disbelieving, or being an infidel, is not allowed so you will be given the choice [to leave].

Although I was not there officially as a reporter to cover the event, I shared a 40-second snippet of the video on my personal Twitter account, with a message that conveyed my understanding of the speaker’s meaning — namely, that non-Muslims would be killed or banished in a state governed by Koranic law:

At @Portland_State interfaith panel today, the Muslim student speaker said that apostates will be killed or banished in an Islamic state. pic.twitter.com/YpsVSB1w9P

— Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) April 27, 2017

I later posted a longer version of the video in a follow-up tweet to provide more context:

.@Portland_State Here is full clip that I recorded. An audience member asked about Quran 5:51 & “infidels.” He summarizes Quran 5:32 just before video starts pic.twitter.com/7FMgsPbFR6

— Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) April 27, 2017

This longer video includes a response by someone in the audience who disagreed with the speaker, saying it was “perfectly okay for non-Muslims to live in Muslim lands.” The audience member cited the existence of religious-minority communities in the Middle East as an example of Islamic tolerance.

Four days later, the editor-in-chief of my school newspaper called me into a meeting. The paper’s managing editor was also present. They asked me about a Breitbart piece describing the event. It was the first time I’d seen the piece, which included my tweets and a tweet from one of the panelists.

My editor, whom I deeply respected at the time, called me “predatory” and “reckless,” telling me I had put the life and well-being of the Muslim student and his family at risk. She said that my tweets implied the student advocated the killing of atheists. Another person in the meeting said I should have taken into account the plight of victimized groups in the “current political climate.” The editor claimed I had “violated the paper’s ethical standards” by not “minimizing harm” toward the speaker.

As far as I’m concerned, the job of any reporter is to report facts, and that’s what I was doing when I tweeted about the panel.

All these accusations were shocking to me. Moments after publishing the original video, I shared the tweet with the editor and a Vanguard reporter who was at the event. Neither of them expressed any outrage in response back then. The tweets apparently only became “predatory” and “reckless” when conservative sites picked up on them.

In my defense, I told the two editors that I had simply been relating the speaker’s words. While dozens of Muslim states do not consider apostasy or blasphemy a crime, 13 Muslim-majority countries punish these actions with death. The speaker was admitting as much, and as someone who has covered the persecution of atheists and apostates in Muslim countries, I considered that newsworthy.

Nevertheless, my editor turned to me and said, “We have to ask you to step aside.” She said I had “a history” of affiliation with conservative media, and argued that that history was toxic to the “reputation of the Vanguard.”

The Vanguard rejected my original idea for this piece when I pitched it to them, citing concerns that it would cause the unnamed Muslim panelist further distress. For my own part, I remain baffled by my former editors’ reasoning. As far as I’m concerned, the job of any reporter is to report facts, and that’s what I was doing when I tweeted about the panel. I find it distressing that I could be fired for continuing to uphold that mission when the facts in question are liable to make people uncomfortable, as facts often are. Much like the student I spoke to that evening at the panel, I was disinclined to sugarcoat the truth. I just couldn’t have imagined it would cost me so dearly.

— Andy Ngo is a graduate student in political science at Portland State University. He is the former multimedia editor of the Portland State Vanguard.

Links Between Islamism and Executions

Gatestone Institute, by Majid Rafizadeh, May 10, 2017:

  • People have, it seems, often been arrested or detained on the basis of a rumor; then convicted without trial, counsel or often even the chance to mount a defense.
  • As Amnesty International points out, “In many countries where people were sentenced to death or executed, the proceedings did not meet international fair trial standards. In some cases, this included the extraction of ‘confessions’ through torture or other ill-treatment”.
  • The laws under which these people are sentenced to death are often not only vague and open to interpretation. Charges that warrant the death penalty, for instance, include being “corrupt on earth”, “enemies of Allah on Earth”, or alleged “crimes against chastity”. What exactly does “corrupt on earth” or “enemies of Allah on Earth” mean?

Just how strict and brutal it is to enforce Islamic law, sharia, has now been revealed by Amnesty International.

Amnesty’s study, which details the number of reported executions around the world, clearly maps out the most at-risk populations. Lands ruled predominantly by sharia are apparently the most vulnerable to multitudes of executions without fair trials. At the top of the list, with the most executions, are those nations that enforce Islamic sharia law. Despite many human rights violations, these nations, apparently undeterred, continue to execute their citizens.

Sharia makes those in authority infallible and untouchable. Therefore, whatever the government or those in power deem to be “just” can be carried out without question or consequence. Under sharia law and the Islamic penal code, executions can be carried out in sickening forms. Those convicted may be beheaded, hanged, stoned, or shot to death.

As disturbing as the numbers in the report may be, they do not represent the reality that the citizens in these nations across the world face every day. There is, evidently, a connection between radical Islamist governments and extremist groups. The report does not include the gruesome executions that are carried out on a regular basis by extremist Islamist groups and non-state fundamentalists, such as members of the Islamic State (ISIS) and their affiliated groups.

These executions include, as we have seen, slitting throats, burning alive, drowning alive and crucifixion.

If these acts were included in the Amnesty International report, the total number of executions committed under the authority of Islamist law would be far higher. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, for example, pointed out that the Islamic State executed 33 people in the first week of April alone.

The report also did not include the number of Westerners being shot, executed and terrorized by Islamist groups. Many of these, such as ISIS, Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH), the Badr Organization, Or Kata’ib al-Imam Ali (the Imam Ali Battalions), are funded and trained by Islamist governments and oil-rich, unaccountable leaders.

Mass executions are evidently also being carried out by both extremist Islamist governments and Islamist groups. A culture of executions, often extra-judicial, as in Pakistan, seems to run rampant within the borders of these countries. Without any consequences for this horrifying disregard for human life, the numbers will only increase.

In Pakistan, Asia Bibi (pictured with two of her five children), a Christian, sits on death row for “blasphemy.” Asia’s “crime” was to use the same water glass as her Muslim co-workers. “You defiled our water,” the Muslim women told her.

Both Islamist governments and Islamist groups justify their brutal acts by referring to the “religious” Islamist legitimacy of their murders. Members of fundamentalist Islamist governments, to legitimize these types of atrocities, also exploit the right of “sovereignty”: they point out that they belong independent state with a fully operating and “legal” judiciary.

In the Amnesty International report, the Iran ranked number one, per capita, in executing people. It also accounted for 66% of all officially recorded executions in the region. Again, this amount only represents those executions that were officially registered.

It is also critical to point out that the statistics Amnesty International provides were given by the very governments that carried out the executions. This method means that those in power were the ones to calculate and decide what number should officially represent their country. The unofficial number is thought to be even higher. There is nothing to stop governments from simply keeping the true number to themselves.

Executions carried out under the strict governmental laws of sharia and Islamist judicial systems can have even more grotesque characteristics. The high number of executions included children, some convicted before the age of 18. Death sentences may frequently have lacked due process and what many would consider acceptable standards of proof. People have, it seems, often been arrested or detained on the basis of a rumor; then convicted without trial, counsel or often even the chance to mount a defense. As Amnesty International points out, “In many countries where people were sentenced to death or executed, the proceedings did not meet international fair trial standards. In some cases, this included the extraction of ‘confessions’ through torture or other ill-treatment”.

Prisoners’ vulnerabilities also had no bearing on their executions. Even those seriously ill were executed. Mass executions or stoning could be ordered and then carried out within a very short time, sometimes within days, giving those convicted no time to mount any form of appeal.

The laws under which these people are sentenced to death are often not only vague and open to interpretation. Charges that warrant the death penalty, for instance, include being “corrupt on earth”, “enemies of Allah on Earth”, or alleged “crimes against chastity”. What exactly does “corrupt on earth” or “enemies of Allah on Earth” mean? There are no guidelines to establish guilt or innocence. Those in power are therefore able to decide who has violated what laws on what can only be a capricious basis. Islamist sheikhs, imams, or judges can subjectively interpret charges any way they like. A charge of being “corrupt on earth” can apply to having fun at a party or writing poetry that government decides is critical of it. A charge of being “corrupt on earth” can apply to someone who is homosexual, someone who is claimed to have committed adultery, or who has simply declined to accepted an unwanted advance. It can mean anyone who has done anything that the ruling leaders dislike.

These Islamist laws, moreover, also serve as a perfect tool for exploitation. A woman finding herself accused of breaking a law may be assured that if she agrees to sleep with a judge, for instance, he will interpret the law in a lenient way and protect her from the death penalty. After a woman submits to this, she can be executed nevertheless. Sometimes girls are forced into sighah — the Shiite Islamist law of temporary marriage — with a cleric, or a governmental official; after “consummating” it, they can also be put to death.

What does a charge such as “crimes against chastity” mean under sharia? This accusation can apply to a girl who has been raped. Instead of the law providing protection for the victim and consequences for the rapist, the victim is accused of the crime of “adultery”, convicted without a fair trial, and swiftly executed.

When Islamist laws enter a land, it seems the number of stonings, beheadings, and executions goes up.

Leaders of these nations can use this flexibility to terrorize and control entire societies, expand their power, export their ideology, and ensure that there is no opportunity to resist. More disturbing is that those numbers are just a portion of the truth.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, political scientist and Harvard University scholar is president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He is author of “Peaceful Reformation in Iran’s Islam“. He can be reached at Dr.rafizadeh@post.harvard.edu.

The Problem Is Not The Islamic State But Islamic Hate

Forget the symptom and consider the source for a moment.

Front Page Magazine, by Raymond Ibrahim, May 10, 2017:

A lie conceals the truth.  And ugly but hidden truths never have a chance of being acknowledged, addressed, and ameliorated.  Because of this simple truism, one of the greatest lies of our age—that violence committed in the name of Islam has nothing to do with Islam—has made an intrinsically weak Islam the scourge of the modern world, with no signs of relief on the horizon.

It is, therefore, useful to expose the main strategy used by liars in government, media, and academia: 1) to ignore the generic but chronic everyday reports of Muslim violence against non-Muslims around the world; 2) to address only spectacular Muslim violence, which, because it is almost always committed by professional jihadi groups can be portrayed as a finite, temporal, localized problem: defeat that particular “terrorist group” and the problem vanishes.

By way of example, consider the Islamic targeting of Christian churches.  Last month, after two Egyptian churches were bombed, leaving 51 worshippers dead, everyone was quick to point out that something called “ISIS”—which of course “has nothing to do with Islam”—was responsible.

On Easter Sunday, 2016, more than 3,000 miles away from Egypt, in Pakistan, approximately 70 Christians were killed in a bomb attack, also specifically targeting Easter celebrations.  Then we were told that something called “Taliban”—also “nothing to do with Islam”—was responsible.

Meanwhile, some 3,000 miles west of Egypt, in Nigeria, Christians are also under attack.  There, 11,500 Christians have been killed and 13,000 churches destroyed.  According to the official narrative, something called “Boko Haram” is responsible.  This is another group that habitually bombs churches during Christmas and Easter; another group that, we are told, “has nothing to do with Islam,” but rather is a finite, temporal, localized problem: defeat it, and the problem vanishes.

About 5,000 miles west of Nigeria, in the U.S., Americans were told that something called “al-Qaeda” attacked and killed 3,000 of their countrymen on 9/11; defeating that finite group would cease the terror.  Its leader, Osama bin Laden, was reportedly killed, and victory loudly proclaimed—until, that is, an even more savage manifestation called the “Islamic State” came on the scene and went further than al-Qaeda could’ve ever dreamed.

The problem is not merely that the liars in media, government, and academia refuse to connect the dots and insist on treating each of the aforementioned groups as disparate, finite groups with different “political” or “territorial” motivations—none of which has anything to do with Islam.  The greater issue is that regular Muslims who are not called “ISIS,” “Taliban,” “Boko Haram,” or “al-Qaeda,” commit similar acts—and much more frequently—though this is rarely mentioned by big media.

Thus, although ISIS claimed the Egyptian church bombing before Easter, it is everyday Egyptian imams who “preach hatred and violence against Christians to the public over loudspeakers”;  it is everyday Muslims who persecute Christians “every two or three days”;  every day Muslims who riot and kill whenever a rumor surfaces that a church is going to be built, or that a Coptic kid “blasphemed” against Muhammad, or that a Christian man is dating a Muslim woman.  In short, it is every day Muslims—not “ISIS”—who cause Egypt to be the 21stworst nation in the world in which to be Christian.

Similarly, though the Taliban claimed 2016’s Easter bombing, it is everyday Muslims who discriminate against, persecute, enslave, rape and murder Christians almost every day in Pakistan.  Thus it is everyday Muslims—not the Taliban—who make Pakistan the fourth worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, that is, a non-Muslim infidel.  And, though Boko Haram is always blamed for the more spectacular attacks on Christians and their churches, it is everyday Muslims, including the Muslim Fulani herdsmen, who make Nigeria the 12th worst nation in which to be Christian.

This is the real issue.  While the media may name the terrorist groups responsible for especially spectacular attacks, few dare acknowledge that Muslims in general engage in similar acts of violence and intolerance against non-Muslims all around the world.  Indeed, Muslims—of all races, nationalities, languages, and socio-political and economic circumstances, hardly just “terror groups”—are responsible for persecuting Christians in 40 of the world’s 50 worst nations in which to be Christian.  Accordingly, what “extremist” “terrorist” and “militant” groups are doing is only the notable tip of the iceberg of what Muslims are doing all around the world.  (See “Muslim Persecution of Christians,” reports which I’ve been compiling every month since July 2011 and witness the nonstop discrimination, persecution, and carnage committed by “everyday” Muslims against Christians.  Each monthly report contains dozens of atrocities, most of which if committed by Christians against Muslims would receive 24/7 blanket coverage.)

It bears repeating: Media aren’t just covering up for Islam by pretending that the spectacular attacks committed by Islamic groups on non-Muslims are finite, localized, and most importantly, “have nothing to do with Islam.” They are covering up for Islam by failing to report the everyday persecution non-Muslims experience at the hands of everyday Muslims—Muslim individuals, Muslim mobs, Muslim police, and Muslim governments (including America’s closest “friends and allies”)—and hardly just Muslim “terrorists.”  They dare not connect the dots and offer a holistic picture.

Accordingly, the world must continue to suffer from Islamic terror.  Not only have these lies allowed countless innocents to be persecuted into oblivion in the Muslim world, but they have allowed the same persecution to enter America and Europe, most recently via mass immigration.

The fact remains: an ugly truth must first be acknowledged before it can be remedied.   It may be hard to acknowledge an ugly truth—that Islam, not “radical Islam,” promotes hate for and violence against non-Muslims—but anything less will just continue to feed the lie, that is, continue to feed the jihad and terror.

In short, the problem is not so much the “Islamic State” as it is Islamic hate.  The former is but one of many temporal and historical manifestations of the latter, which, as an integral part of Islam, transcends time and space.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the Preaching of Islam and the Left’s Alliance with Islamists (Pt. 1)

Published on May 8, 2017 by The Rubin Report

Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Human Rights Activist) joins Dave Rubin to discuss the challenge of Dawa (the preaching or proselytizing of Islam), the left’s alliance with Islamists, intersectionality, the indoctrination occurring on college campuses, and more. *This episode was filmed on location, not in The Rubin Report studio.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Sharia Law and Political Islam (Pt. 2)

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Female Genital Mutilation and “Islamophobia” (Pt. 3)

Ignoring Former Muslims To Our Detriment

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, April 30, 2017:

Many men and women have left Islam and courageously speak truthfully about what Islam teaches and the threat it poses to the civilized world.

These are people grew up being taught about the obligation to wage jihad, that taking Jews and Christians for friends is unlawful because it is prohibited by Allah in the Koran, that non-Muslims are the “worst of all creatures” (Koran 98:6), and that the purpose of Islam is to impose sharia (Islamic Law) on the entire world.

We in the non-Muslim world can learn a lot from these people.  Are we hearing them?

As a Special Agent in the FBI (1996-2008), UTT Founder/President John Guandolo worked with muslim assets/informants who did dangerous and difficult work on behalf of our nation and the FBI.  While they did not adhere to sharia, they identified themselves as “muslims.”

Through this work, Mr. Guandolo came to know about an Imam from Uganda who converted to Christianity. The Imam wrote his story in March of 2007, and it included details of growing up in Islam, training to become an Imam, and what Islam teaches.  John Guandolo had this story translated into English and then disseminated it inside the FBI as well as to Christian organizations to support their work in Islamic nations.

A brief summary of the story is below which gives readers an insight into the true intentions of Islam.  It reveals Islam is a totalitarian system which enslaves people who are a part of it.

“My name is Mayanja Yiusf.  I was born into a Muslim family in Uganda…When I came of age, I enrolled for studies in Islam and Arabic which took six years:  three years of Islam and three years of Arabic.  I trained in Uganda and Sudan and I became a prominent Imam and spoke at many mosques in and outside Kampala.  I was a leader of a Muslim Association called Al-Dawahti…I was on the council of Tabliqs and my paternal uncle is the leader of that sect in Uganda.

“I was born and raised a Muslim, but now I have left that life behind…In light of the crisis in the world today, and because of the ongoing strategies to attack Christians at every level, may this also be a warning to all peoples everywhere, that Islam is obtaining dominance and is arming itself for continued war on all things not of Islam.  There is little time left to reach the many innocent Muslims who wish they could escape from the violent slavery of Islam.

“I tell you my story while I am still alive.  You see, as a Muslim who has left the faith, my days may be numbered.  I have lived under the threat of death since I left my father’s household, only until now, they have not succeeded.

“Lest you think that the religion of Islam is promoting the love of God and fellow man, here are just a few of the works that Islam engages in today:

“It is not just the “radical fundamentalists” or jihadis who participate in the terror of today.  Do you not know that it is against the Koran to refuse help to those who are in Jihad?

“There is a strategy called the “New Mosque Movement” which seeks to begin building mosques and schools and clinics all over the world.  Just look around and you can see, in Africa, South America, England, and France, and even in America.  The mosques are the centers of political thought as well as religious practice, but then again, those two are inseparable in Islam.

“Muslim fathers will gladly kill their sons and daughters if they disobey or leave the religion.

“Muslim groups are sending Muslims to Christian places for information.  They spy everywhere, especially where there is freedom of movement…They start non-profits and organizations everywhere, many with the purpose to intimidate Western societies.  In the US, CAIR and organizations like them are funded to push the free countries to accept them and their religion and practices.  They threaten to sue and intimidate if they don’t get their way.

“Wherever they begin to operate in villages, towns, etc they threaten others, especially moderate Muslims, and even other Imams who are not as aggressive as the jihadists…Peace in Islam means that the countries are operating under the rule of Islam, Sharia Law, and with religious leaders in charge.  That is their peace.

“There are no innocent civilians for the jihadist.  All may be killed because they are merely part of the evil societies to be cleansed.

“I am proud to be a Christian now because the Almighty God of the Christians fights for himself.  he doesn’t request or persuade anybody to fight, but instead reconciles people to Himself.  He says that vengeance should be left to him alone.  I hope the reader is able to distinguish between the God of Christians, Jehovah, and Allah…You are hereby invited to think about this:  the Islamic faith does not encourage any believer to reason out who Allah is.  The day you will reason about what you were taught in Islam, will be the day you are released from bondage and you will see the light of Christ.”

UTT believes there is a lot to learn from individuals who leave Islam and speak truthfully about the threat it poses to those inside and outside Islam who do not adhere to the sharia and all of its obligations.

To defeat an enemy we must clearly identify the threat.  The threat the civilized world faces today is not from “violent extremists” or “radical Islam” or any other euphemism we put on the face of it.  The threat, as 100% of the enemy clearly states, comes from Islam which commands its adherents to impose sharia on the earth through all means necessary.

Speaking truth is never wrong.  For the sake of those enslaved by Islam, it is the loving thing to do.