Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Pirates, Thomas Jefferson, Jihad and Pakistanis

You will have undoubtedly heard about the recent crisis involving the capture and resulting hostage crisis of an American ship's captain by Somali pirates - a crisis, by the way, which is still ongoing.

If you have been covering the events via the mainstream media, however, you will probably not have heard about the Islamic component of the whole affair.

Reuters reports that during the hostage situation, one of the pirates said: "We never kill people. We are Muslims. [emphasis added] We are marines, coastguards - not pirates." Even before this most recent flair-up, it was a known fact that the plunder from Somali piracy was being funneled to Islamic jihad groups on the mainland. Some of the pirates are even thought to have links to al-Qaeda.

Islamic piracy of this kind, directed against the US - and inspired specifically by Islamic ideals - is nothing new. In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, then serving as American ambassadors to France and Britain, respectively, met in London with the Tripolitan Ambassador to Britain. They were attempting to negotiate a peace treaty which would end piracy raids on America emanating from the Barbary States (modern Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya). During their discussions, they asked the Tripolitan Ambassador why the Barbary States were directing their aggression, unprovoked, at the U.S. Jefferson and Adams later summed up the Ambassador's response in their report to the Continental Congress:

“…that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Qur'an, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Muslim who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

The Barbary jihadists' understanding of Islam was perfectly in line with traditional Qur'anic exegesis and Islamic jurisprudence. Moreover, the recent hostage situation, in which the Somali jihadists demanded a ransom in exchange for Captain Richard Phillips' release, was also perfectly in line with Islamic law. For example, according to the great Muslim philosopher Averroes (d.1198), who was also an important legal theorist: “Most scholars are agreed that, in his dealings with captives, various policies are open to the Imam [Muslim leader]. He may pardon them, kill them, or release them...on ransom. [emphasis added]”

Finally, as I followed this story via the mainstream news wires, I was struck by their utter ignorance not only of the ideology of the Somali pirates, but also of the fact that they may well have shared this ideology with another group that was also in the news at the same time - the twelve Pakistanis arrested in Manchester on suspicion of plotting acts of terror against British citizens. These alleged terrorists are undoubtedly motivated by Islamic concepts of jihad, just as the Somali pirates are. The BBC news ran both stories one after another on TV, without ever consciously making the connection between the two.

How long can such ignorance continue?

UPDATE: Confirming the above observations, we have this from an MSNBC report on the piracy affair today:

Sometime Thursday, a desperate Phillips jumped from the lifeboat in an attempt to swim to the USS Bainbridge, only to be hauled back on board after the pirates opened fire. From then on, Phillips was tied up.

One pirate radioed the Navy destroyer and demanded to know how far they were from the sanctuary of Somalia's coast.

"Very far," came the reply from the Bainbridge.

"Thank you," the pirate negotiator responded, according to a U.S. military timeline, his politeness masking menace. "If we cannot [reach the] Somali coast, we will kill the infidel. [emphasis added]"


  1. what a load of bullshit and if you believe it you are a lost man

  2. History confirms that Jefferson realized the only way to deal with Islam is to FIGHT it.

    After all, it is the only thing Muslims today truly understand!