Friday, 29 May 2009

Do Not Be Conned By "Moderate" Abbas


As Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, it is still distressingly common to hear Abbas and the Fatah party referred to as the "moderate" alternative to the more "unreasonable" Hamas. Yesterday, CNN tells us, Abbas "strongly advocated" the bogus and - from Israel's standpoint - suicidal two-state solution.

Let us remember that the constitution of Fatah, while written in milder, more secular language than that of Hamas, nevertheless still calls for the eradication of Israel as a Jewish state.

Article 1 says that "Palestine is part of the Arab World, and the Palestinian people are part of the Arab Nation, and their struggle is part of its struggle." Article 9 states: "Liberating Palestine and protecting its holy places is an Arab, religious and human obligation." There can be no total "liberation" of Palestine without eradicating Israel: "Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence." (Article 12) Another goal is: "Establishing an independent democratic state with complete sovereignty on all Palestinian lands, and Jerusalem is its capital city, and protecting the citizens' legal and equal rights without any racial or religious discrimination." (Article 13) Egyptian Jewish historian Bat Ye'or has aptly termed this clause the "Palestinian Dhimma", since Muslim definitions of religious discrimination only ever go one way.

"Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine." (Article 17) Finally, just in case we didn't get it already, "this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated." (Article 19)

There are over 30 Articles in the constitution which effectively call for the eradication of a Jewish state on "Palestinian" land. Mahmoud Abbas has emphasised this himself, ridiculing the idea of Israel as a Jewish state only last month.

Abbas is also an antisemite par excellence, saying in a speech in 2007 that in the Qur'an, “[t]he sons of Israel [that is, the Jews] are mentioned as those who are corrupting humanity on earth.” He was almost certainly referring to verse 5:64: “The Jews say: 'Allah's hand is tied up.' Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the (blasphemy) they utter. Nay, both His hands are widely outstretched: He giveth and spendeth (of His bounty) as He pleaseth. But the revelation that cometh to thee from Allah increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. Amongst them we have placed enmity and hatred till the Day of Judgment. Every time they kindle the fire of war, Allah doth extinguish it; but they (ever) strive to do mischief on earth. And Allah loveth not those who do mischief.” This same verse is quoted in the Hamas Charter to justify the jihad group's genocidal hatred not only of Israel, but of all Jews.

The Palestinian claim to Israeli land stems from classical Islamic law. All of historical Palestine was conquered by Islamic armies in the seventh century. According to the sharia, whenever a Muslim land is usurped by unbelievers, all Muslims must fight to reclaim it. Israel, as an infidel polity on such “Muslim land”, must be eradicated by jihad and reclaimed for Islam. Ibn Taymiyya (d.1328), the famous jurist of the Hanbali school, wrote: “If the enemy enters a Muslim land, there is no doubt that it is obligatory for the closest and then the next closest to repel him, because the Muslim lands are like one land.”

Both Hamas and Fatah want the same thing: the eradication of Israel. The only thing that makes Fatah more "moderate" is how guarded they are in expressing their desires.

That is all.

Delineating Sides

Monday, 25 May 2009

Antisemitic Jihadists In America

So, you will no doubt have seen that the FBI and NYPD busted a four-man homegrown Islamic terror cell last Wednesday that was plotting to blow up two Bronx synagogues while simultaneously shooting a plane out of the sky. One of the men is reported to have said: "I hate those mother-------, those f------ Jewish b------ .... I would like to get (destroy) a synagogue."

At least two of the suspects converted to Islam while in prison. The uncle of one of the plotters said: "He wasn't raised this way. All this happened when he became a Muslim in prison." Conversion to Islam, particularly radical Islam, is a growing problem in American prisons.

What might have caused this? What might these four men have learned while in prison, or elsewhere afterwards, that would cause them to hate Jews and become "interested in jihad" (wait a minute, isn't jihad an interior spiritual struggle?)?

Could they possibly have been indoctrinated with any of this:

Qur'an 2:191-193 – “And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers...And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.”

4:95 – “Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath Allah promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward.”

8:12 – “Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): 'I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”

8:38-39 – “Say to the Unbelievers, if (now) they desist (from Unbelief), their past would be forgiven them; but if they persist, the punishment of those before them is already (a matter of warning for them). And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere; but if they cease, verily Allah doth see all that they do.”

8:41 – “And know that whatever ye take as spoils of war, lo! a fifth thereof is for Allah, and for the messenger and for the kinsman (who hath need) and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, if ye believe in Allah and that which We revealed unto Our slave on the Day of Discrimination, the day when the two armies met. And Allah is Able to do all things.”

8:60 – “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies”.

9:5 – “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”

9:19-20 – “Do ye make the giving of drink to pilgrims, or the maintenance of the Sacred Mosque, equal to (the pious service of) those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and strive [jihad] with might and main in the cause of Allah? They are not comparable in the sight of Allah: and Allah guides not those who do wrong. Those who believe, and suffer exile and strive [jihad] with might and main, in Allah's cause, with their goods and their persons, have the highest rank in the sight of Allah: they are the people who will achieve (salvation).”

9:29 – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizya [non-Muslim poll tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

– “O Prophet! strive hard [jihad] against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites [Muslims of insufficient faith], and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell, an evil refuge indeed.”

9:111 – “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth”.

9:123 – “O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).”

2:61 – “And when ye said: O Moses! We are weary of one kind of food; so call upon thy Lord for us that He bring forth for us of that which the earth groweth – of its herbs and its cucumbers and its corn and its lentils and its onions. He said: Would ye exchange that which is higher for that which is lower? Go down to settled country, thus ye shall get that which ye demand. And humiliation and wretchedness were stamped upon them [the Jews] and they were visited with wrath from Allah. That was because they disbelieved in Allah's revelations and slew the prophets wrongfully. That was for their disobedience and transgression.”

2:65 – “And ye know of those of you who broke the Sabbath[the Jews], how We said unto them: Be ye apes, despised and hated!”

3:112 – “Ignominy shall be their [the Jews'] portion wheresoever they are found save (where they grasp) a rope from Allah and a rope from men. They have incurred anger from their Lord, and wretchedness is laid upon them. That is because they used to disbelieve the revelations of Allah, and slew the prophets wrongfully. That is because they were rebellious and used to transgress.”

4:157 – “That they [the Jews] said in boast, ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not.”

5:60 – “Say: 'Shall I point out to you something much worse than this, (as judged) by the treatment it received from Allah? those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath, those of whom some He transformed into apes and swine, those who worshipped evil [the Jews];- these are (many times) worse in rank, and far more astray from the even path!'”

– “The Jews say: Allah's hand is fettered. Their hands are fettered and they are accursed for saying so. Nay, but both His hands are spread out wide in bounty. He bestoweth as He will. That which hath been revealed unto thee from thy Lord is certain to increase the contumacy and disbelief of many of them, and We have cast among them enmity and hatred till the Day of Resurrection. As often as they light a fire for war, Allah extinguisheth it. Their effort is for corruption in the land, and Allah loveth not corrupters.”

5:78 – “Those of the Children of Israel who went astray were cursed by the tongue of David, and of Jesus, son of Mary. That was because they rebelled and used to transgress.”

5:82 – “Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans...”

7:166 – “So when they [the Jews] took pride in that which they had been forbidden, We said unto them: Be ye apes despised and loathed!”

58:8 – “Hast thou not observed those [the Jews] who were forbidden conspiracy and afterward returned to that which they had been forbidden, and (now) conspire together for crime and wrongdoing and disobedience toward the messenger? And when they come unto thee they greet thee with a greeting wherewith Allah greeteth thee not, and say within themselves: Why should Allah punish us for what we say? Hell will suffice them; they will feel the heat thereof – a hapless journey's end!”

I don't suppose anybody will think to ask. But then again, why would they? After all, Islam is a Religion of Peace. The vast majority of American Muslims are totally committed to Western democracy and pluralism and the American Constitution. And besides, Obama has said he wants to be friends with the Muslim world.

So what are you worried about?

Golden Oldies

"I don't like the look of those boats - help me pick this bench up."

In a story that's bound to warm the cockles of those depressed by the sinister creep of Islam into British public life, British pensioners on a cruise ship bravely fought off machine gun-armed Somali pirates by hurling deckchairs and tables at them.

The holidaymakers were enjoying a midnight Mozart concert onboard MSC Melody when pirates armed with Kalashnikovs attempted to board it using grappling hooks and ladders. But passengers forced them back to their boats by throwing chairs and tables over the stern of the ship as Israeli security guards onboard the cruise liner fired warning shots.

Can we get these OAPs into the House of Commons somehow?

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Taqiyya: Islamic Religious Deception

There are many doctrines of Islam which are little known in the West, including many which are profoundly important in order to better understand the nature of the religion, and the nature of our enemies in the current conflict. We need to shake off our ignorance and work to comprehend these important doctrines if we are to be the victors in this fight.

For instance, consider the concept of taqqiya, or religious deception. Muslims are generally encouraged to tell the truth – but this apparently only extends among other believers, for the idea of lying to non-Muslims is a key part of traditional Islam. This deception is called taqiyya, and it stipulates that under certain circumstances, lying to unbelievers is permissible. It was invented by Shi'ites so that they could live among Sunnis without fear of persecution, but its roots remain in texts that Sunnis also consider sacred.

The main Qur'anic basis for taqiyya is this verse of the Qur'an: “Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them.” (3:28)

So Muslims are not to befriend unbelievers, "except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them." What does this mean? The prominent Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir (d.1373) explains that “believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers” may “show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly.” He goes on to quote an authority who says: “We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.” But what constitutes a situation where Muslims may “fear for their safety” among unbelievers? Qurtubi (d.1273) says that such deception should only be exercised if a Muslim fears physical harm or violence, but other scholars are not so clear. Might a Muslim who supports violent jihad and Islamic supremacism fear the consequences of his beliefs, such as arrest, thus causing him to downplay or dissemble about his true views when among non-Muslims? The great Muslim historian and exegete Tabari (d.923) says that this deception can be practised “when they [Muslims] are clearly outnumbered by the infidels” – exactly the situation most Muslims in the West find themselves in today.

This may seem purely hypothetical, but it has been put into practice numerous times in recent years. An important example of this comes from America. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is just one of the many Islamic advocacy groups in the US that claims to be moderate and devoted to spreading a message of peace and inter-faith tolerance. And yet, a 1991 Muslim Brotherhood memorandum states that the Brotherhood is engaged in “a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions.” It then lists its friends and allies in the US who are helping it achieve this goal – including none other than CAIR, which also has numerous other private ties to terror groups, all the while outwardly feigning moderation.

This would tie in with another dictum of Muhammad's: “War is deceit.” (Bukhari v.4, b.56, no.3030, and others) Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (d.852), who wrote an authoritative commentary on Sahih Bukhari, the most sacred collection of the traditions of Muhammad, explains: “Revealing one thing while secretly planning another is the essence of deception; moreover, the hadith incites [Muslims] to take great caution in war, while [publicly] lamenting and mourning in order to dupe the infidels.” As such, the shady manipulations of the Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR and other groups and individuals should be seen as part of a deliberate campaign of deception aimed at “destroying the Western civilisation from within” and ensuring that Islam “is victorious over all other religions.”

Aside from CAIR and the Brotherhood, there may be no more important example of "war is deceit" in action than the words of Osama bin Laden himself. When he sends out messages to the West, he says that all the actions of al-Qaeda are simply retaliation for a whole host of injustices that the West, and the United States in particular, have brought upon the Islamic world. He has said, for example: “Therefore, I am telling you [Americans], with Allah as my witness, whether America escalates or de-escalates the conflict, we will reply to it in kind…” Bin Laden, of course, often begins every message directed at the West by saying “reciprocal treatment is part of justice” – that is, if we would just leave the Muslims alone and stop “oppressing” them in any number of ways with our offensive foreign policy, they would leave us alone also. As such, many in the West feel that they can sympathise with al-Qaeda's ultimate worldview, even if they disapprove of the physical violence that the group uses to express it.

However, these Westerners (often liberal) remain largely unaware of al-Qaeda's theological treatises, which are disseminated in the Muslim world and are not intended for a Western audience. These writings say little to nothing about US foreign policy, capitalism, or Western imperialism as the cause for their actions, but instead justify violence strictly within the framework of Islamic theology. In these theological essays, al-Qaeda's leaders give reasons for why Muslims should hate and fight the West that differ from those they offer to the West itself. While in their political propaganda they state that they are waging a defensive war against hostile and oppressive Western powers, in their theological tracts to Muslims, they state that non-Muslims are to be hated and fought simply for being non-Muslims.

For example, here is what bin Laden said in a letter to some Saudi theologians a few years ago, regarding the “correct” relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims:

“As to the relationship between Muslims and infidels, this is summarized by the Most High’s Word: “We renounce you. Enmity and hate shall forever reign between us – till you believe in Allah alone” [Qur’an 60:4]. So there is an enmity, evidenced by fierce hostility from the heart. And this fierce hostility – that is, battle –ceases only if the infidel submits to the authority of Islam, or if his blood is forbidden from being shed [i.e. a dhimmi], or if Muslims are at that point in time weak and incapable [in which case, bin Laden later clarifies, they should dissemble before the infidels by, say, insisting the conflict is about 'foreign policy', nothing more]. But if the hate at any time extinguishes from the heart, this is great apostasy!…Such, then, is the basis and foundation of the relationship between the infidel and the Muslim. Battle, animosity, and hatred – directed from the Muslim to the infidel – is the foundation of our religion.”

Note that at no point in his exchange with his fellow Muslims does bin Laden suggest that this enmity and war has anything to do with external causes such as US foreign policy. Instead, it is a purely theological argument that transcends time, space and circumstance.

In another part of his long letter, bin Laden explains why Muslims must wage war on infidels:

“Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually? Yes. There are only three choices in Islam: either willing conversion; or payment of the jizya [non-Muslim poll tax], through physical though not spiritual submission to the authority of Islam; or the sword – for it is not right to let him [an infidel] live.”

Again, nothing is said about retaliation or self-defence here. Bin Laden simply believes that Muslims must wage war on non-Muslims, unconditionally, in order to either convert them or subjugate them under Islamic law – because he believes that the Qur'an tells them to.

Thus it would befit us to consider the fact that, just maybe, when al-Qaeda sends messages to the West that say they hate us because of American and British foreign policy, we are in fact seeing "war is deceit" in action. These sentiments are designed to provoke a particular response, tapping in to inherent Western liberal constructs of post-colonial guilt, thus demoralising many Westerners and making them think twice about supporting the War on Terror – which, of course, plays straight into the hands of the jihadists themselves.

As I stated earlier, although taqiyya is technically a Shi'ite doctrine, Sunnis also practise it, and it is in fact a mainstream doctrine. Indeed, one of the few Arabic books dedicated entirely to the subject of taqiyya, “Taqiyya in Islam” by Islamic studies professor Sami Makarem, unequivocally states: “Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Nearly every Islamic sect has agreed to it and practices it...Indeed, we can go so far as to say that mainstream Islam practices taqiyya, and that those few sects that do not practice it are aberrant, diverging from the mainstream.”

Terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp, who has briefed US and European investigators on the background of al-Qaeda's recruitment and development in Europe, says that understanding taqiyya “is at the heart of understanding why law enforcement has not fully laid bare the European staging area for the Sept. 11 attacks.” And those attacks were, of course, committed by Sunnis, not Shi'ites.

So next time you see a Muslim spokesman on TV saying that Islam is a religion of peace and that he doesn't support jihad, think about taqiyya and ask yourself if he seems so sincere. Of course, he may be telling the truth – or he may be lying, knowing that it is entirely permitted by his religion. The fact that there is no reliable way to tell should give us pause in defining what constitutes a “moderate Muslim”. And it should also give us pause in determining how many Muslims really abhor the ideology and actions of jihadists - and how many are just pretending they do.

N.B. Credit must go to Raymond Ibrahim of Jihad Watch for some of the quotes and information presented above. For more information and analysis on taqiyya, via Ibrahim, see here.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Crusaders in the White House?

Much has been made in the past week of the fact that US government briefings on the Iraq war carried quotes from the Bible. Naturally, some have tried to use this as leverage to push the line that the Bush administration is waging a holy war in Iraq, making them no better than al-Qaeda.

Such misguided sentiments are typical of the sheer ignorance of most people about the nature of current global conflicts.

The war in Iraq is NOT a holy war. The American army has not been converting Iraqis to Christianity, and nor has it done anything to prevent the continued persecution and harassment of Christians in the country since the invasion. They have also overseen the implementation of Iraqi and Afghan constitutions which enshrine not "Biblical law" (whatever that is), but Islamic sharia law as the law of the land. If the Iraq venture was intended to serve covert Christian theocratic interests, the emphasis must fall heavily upon the word "covert".

It's also important to note the actual Bible verses that were used. Verses from Ephesians, Psalms, etc, pretty lukewarm and vague "morale-boosters" about righteousness and defeating evil. It is instructive to compare this with a few examples of how Islamic jihadists quote Qur'anic verses and Islamic traditions to understand the silliness of some of the comparisons being made in the media.

In 2002, Osama bin Laden wrote a scathing response to a group of Saudi theologians who had written letters advocating peaceful coexistence with the West. In the letter, he quoted Qur'an 9:29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizya [non-Muslim poll tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

He also quoted the following hadith:

“When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them...If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them.” (Sahih Muslim b.19, no.4294)

He then summarised his argument: “There are only three choices in Islam: either willing submission [i.e. conversion to Islam]; or payment of the jizya, through physical though not spiritual submission to the authority of Islam; or the sword – for it is not right to let him [an infidel] live. The matter is summed up for every person alive: either convert, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die.”

Bin Laden's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, does the same thing. In one of his treatises to the Muslim world, he quotes the following Qur'anic passage: "Say to the Unbelievers, if (now) they desist (from Unbelief), their past would be forgiven them; but if they persist, the punishment of those before them is already (a matter of warning for them). And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere; but if they cease, verily Allah doth see all that they do." (8:38-39). He explains: “Allah Most High has obligated believers to battle all those who reject Him, the Exalted, until all chaos ceases and all religion belongs to Allah."

Finally, the 1988 Hamas Charter quotes the following hadith:

“The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.” (Sahih Muslim b.41, no.6985, and others)

The Charter adds: “the Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes.”

The difference should be clear to anyone of reasonable intellect. Al-Qaeda and Hamas use violent Qur'an verses and hadith to justify their murderous actions. The Bush administration, on the other hand, quoted a handful of non-violent Bible verses to illustrate their belief that what they are doing is righteous. They weren't waging a scripturally justified holy war against infidels, as the jihadists are. There really is a difference, and it is a significant one.

Of course, secularists (of which I am one) may argue that that religious sentiments should be kept away from government. I sympathise with this, but I urge everyone of sound mind not to over-react to these really rather unsurprising revelations. George Bush is not, and never will be, comparable to bin Laden, despite the self-loathing hysteria that buffoons like Michael Moore constantly feed to the masses.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Inhuman Rights

David Littman: Just one victim of the Islamised UNHRC

Here is a brilliant piece by Ibn Warraq and Michael Weiss on the subversion of the UN Human Rights Council, which has become a friend of and a tool for the Islamic jihad everywhere. It's a must-read.

One particularly worrying example they cite is the following:

Another person harassed was David Littman of the Association for World Education. This past June, during the eighth session of the HRC, Littman was scheduled to discuss the human rights of women in certain countries, including Islamic ones. Among other things, Littman’s testimony criticized human rights abuses resulting from the implementation of sharia—in particular, the forced marriage of Muslim girls as young as nine and the stoning of women for adultery, practices that cannot be adequately described without reference to the Koran. In stark violation of the rules, which state that no delegate can receive transcripts of forthcoming testimony, Amr Roshdy Hassan of Egypt had somehow obtained an advance copy of Littman’s speech. Hassan and others interrupted Littman a total of 16 times. The testimony, which should have taken only a few minutes to give, was prolonged to about two hours by various points of order and an extended 40-minute recess.

Backing up Hassan was Siddiqui, who claimed that Littman’s statement would “amount to spreading hatred against certain members of this Council.” Upon returning from the 40-minute recess, Costea ruled that the “Council is not prepared to discuss . . . religious matters in depth,” and reiterated with strange grammar and even stranger logic a ruling from an earlier session: “As long as a statement is made with restraint from making a judgment or evaluation of a particular set of legislation which is not in the point of our discussion, the speaker may continue.”

Littman did continue—by pointing out that in Iran and Sudan, women are buried up to their waists in pits and pummeled to death with blunt stones for the crime of infidelity, and that 96 percent of Egyptian women are still subjected to female genital mutilation, despite state legislation formally banning the practice (note that the HRC does permit a “judgment” or “evaluation” of secular legislation pertaining to human rights abuses). But the instant Littman suggested that only a fatwa issued by Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, an influential Egyptian cleric, could reverse this ghastly trend, Hassan once more interjected, demanding a vote on Littman’s testimony. “I will not see Islam crucified in the Council,” he declaimed. But asking an Islamic cleric to intervene to stop a human rights abuse is hardly a crucifixion of Islam.

They conclude the piece as follows:

"At the close of World War II, Bertrand Russell observed that the human species was historically unwilling to acquiesce to its own survival. An intellectual accomplice in this ongoing suicide pact is surely cultural relativism, an invention of Western liberalism that non-Western reactionaries have taken up as a license to kill and butcher people in peace and quiet. There has been no worse exemplar of this fatal tendency than the UN Human Rights Council."
Read it all.

A Follow-up

Last week I discussed a piece in the New York Times about the decline of Christianity in the Middle East.

Today, I have seen this piece which is a vital follow-up to the NYT story. Turns out that the Times weren't quite as honest as they should have been, downplaying the role of Islamic persecution of Christians in their exodus, and distorting the figures so as not to mention that while Christianity has declined throughout the Middle East overall, it has thrived in Israel. Below are a couple of key extracts, but be sure to read it all.

As documented in the Central Bureau of Statistics' Statistical Abstract of Israel 2008 (Chart 2.2), in the last dozen years, Israel's Christian population grew from 120,600 in 1995 to 151,600 in 2007, representing a growth rate of 25 percent. In fact, the Christian growth rate has outpaced the Jewish growth in Israel in the last 12 years! In 1995, there were 4,522,300 Jews in Israel, and in 2007 there were 5,478,2000, representing a growth rate of 21 percent – 4 percent less than the Christian population grew during the same time.

Since 1949, when there were 34,000 Christians in Israel, the population has grown 345 percent...

Why doesn't Bronner mention the Muslim theft of Christian lands? The reported involvement of Muslim employees of the Palestinian Authority in the theft of Christian lands contradicts the PA official quoted by Bronner who insists that the population decline is negative and that the authority is determined to stop it. Why does Bronner likewise ignore any other specific examples of Muslim intimidation of Palestinian Christians – sexual harassment, demands for "protection" money, and job discrimination? Why does he make do with the vague, euphemistic statement that "Islam is also playing an unprecedented role in defining identity?" Land dispossession is an unusual way of "defining identity."

Friday, 15 May 2009

The Qur'an Challenge

Some satire for a Friday afternoon.*

Some Qur'an and hadith quotes to supplement the points made in the video:

“[The Prophet] married 'Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consummated that marriage when she was nine years old.” (Bukhari v.5, b.58, no.234, and many others)

“[Aisha said:] He [Muhammad] struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you?” (Muslim b.4, no.2127)

"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all). (Qur'an 4:34)

"He [Muhammad] married thirteen women." ("Ibn Hisham's Notes" in The Life of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq)

"Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for [the men of Banu Qurayza] and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches...There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900...This went on until the apostle made an end of them..." (Ibn Ishaq)

Some of Muhammad's last words: "Allah's curse be on the Jews and the Christians, as they took the graves of their prophets as (places of worship)..." (Bukhari v.5, b.59, no.727)

Note the final challenge in the video: "So to all the Muslims out there - if I'm using the wrong book, or I've said anything that isn't true, please leave a comment; I wanna learn."

This is a challenge that many have issued in recent years. To date, no Muslim has ever successfully answered it.

*By the way, I'm not the guy in the video.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Mideast's Christians Losing Numbers and Sway

On the wane

A couple of days ago the New York Times published this sobering piece on the decline of Christianity in the Middle East due to the ravages of Islamic infidel-hatred in the region. It contains a number of sad demographic figures that deserve greater attention among the mainstream media and policy-making elites:

"A region [the Middle East] that a century ago was 20 percent Christian is about 5 percent today and dropping."


"A century ago there were millions of Christians in what is today Turkey; now there are 150,000."


"The story has been similar in Iraq. Of the 1.4 million Christians there at the time of the American invasion in 2003, nearly half have fled, according to American government reports and local Iraqi Christians."

In almost every Islamic country, we can see regular examples of the persecution of Christians by Muslims. For example: Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia.

The source of this persecution is the sacralised hate enshrined in the Qur'an and related Islamic texts.

The NY Times article also contains some other telling nuggets of information.

"There is a house in Turkey where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last days, yet the country’s National Assembly and military have no Christian members or officers except temporary recruits doing mandatory service."

According to traditional Islamic law, non-Muslims cannot hold authority above Muslims. On occasions that unbelievers have been given positions of authority, this has led to Muslim outrage and even mass slaughter. For example, in "tolerant" medieval Muslim Spain, 4000 Jews were killed in Muslim riots in protest against the appointment of a Jew, Joseph b. Samuel Naghrela, to the position of vizier.

"Many left early in the war when they were attacked for working with the Americans, but the exodus gained speed when Christians became targets in Iraq’s raging sectarian war. Churches were bombed, and priests as well as lay Christians were murdered. As recently as March 2008, an archbishop was kidnapped and killed outside the northern city of Mosul."

This article doesn't mention it, but Iraqi Christians have also been forced to make jizya payments on pain of death.

"In Saudi Arabia, churches are illegal."

According to Umdat al-Salik, a popular manual of Islamic law which has been endorsed as an accurate guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Egypt's Al Azhar University, Christians living in Muslim lands are "forbidden to build new churches."

The treatment of Christians - and non-Muslims in general, is one of the greatest human rights outrages in the world today. And yet, mainstream human rights organisations have said and done almost nothing about it.

What's also telling is that there is very little outrage from Muslims around the world over the hateful atrocities committed against other religious groups by their co-religionists in the name of their supposedly "tolerant" faith. They're too busy protesting imaginary Israeli "apartheid" and "Islamophobic" Danish cartoons.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

The Sword of the Prophet: Muhammad As The Prototype Jihadist (Part 3)

Follows on from part 1 here and part 2 here.


The stage was now set for Muhammad to become the undisputed master of Arabia. Two years after Khaybar, he marched on Mecca with as many as ten thousand Muslims. The attack came by surprise; Ibn Ishaq emphasises that the Meccans did not even know they were at war with Muhammad until he had nearly arrived: “When the apostle had reached Marr al-Zahran Quraysh were completely ignorant of the fact and did not even know what he was doing.” Knowing that they could not possibly win, the Meccans surrendered the city with little to no resistance. Very soon the last few Arab tribes who did resist the Muslims were defeated and converted to Islam.

Unsatisfied with mere control of Arabia, the Prophet soon set his sights on the adjacent lands. He wrote letters to the rulers of the neighbouring Byzantine and Persian empires, inviting them to embrace Islam. The letter he wrote to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius read:

“In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful (This letter is) from Muhammad the slave of Allah and His Apostle to Heraclius the ruler of Byzantine. Peace be upon him, who follows the right path. Furthermore I invite you to Islam, and if you become a Muslim you will be safe, and Allah will double your reward, and if you reject this invitation of Islam you will be committing a sin by misguiding your Arisiyin (peasants).” (Sahih Bukhari v.1, b.1, no.6)

Heraclius did not embrace Islam. According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad then “ordered his companions to prepare to raid the Byzantines” at Tabuk. One of his followers stated that in attacking Tabuk, Muhammad “had in his mind (the idea of threatening the) Christians of Arabia in Syria and those of Rome.” (Sahih Muslim b.37, no.6670) It was during and around the time of this expedition that the most warlike and hostile of all the chapters of the Qur'an – sura 9 – was revealed.

The expected battle did not occur, but Muhammad still accepted the submission of some of the local Christian rulers, who paid him the jizya, the non-Muslim poll tax mandated in Qur'an 9:29. Muhammad tempted his men with the promise: “The first army amongst my followers who will invade Caesar's city [Constantinople] will be forgiven their sins.” (Sahih Bukhari v.4, b.56, no.2924)

This promise was only fulfilled long after Muhammad's death, as not long after the Tabuk raid, he fell terminally ill. But even then, even from his deathbed, he did not relent on his imperial ambitions. According to a hadith, he ordered his followers, “Turn al-Mushrikun [unbelievers] out of the Arabian Peninsula,” (Sahih Bukhari v.5, b.64, no.4431) – an order which the government of Saudi Arabia are still doing their best to honour to this day:

Another tradition reported by Ibn Ishaq renders the Prophet's words as: “Let not two religions be left in the Arabian Peninsula.”

One of the last – and most telling – things Muhammad ever said before he died is recorded in the hadith: “I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy)” (Sahih Bukhari v.4, b.56, no.2977). Of course, in this he was not referring to terror in the sense of modern terrorism. Rather, he meant the terror that Allah cast into the hearts of His enemies (see Qur'an 8:60 and others). But he saw himself and his armies as the instruments of Allah, the means by which Allah's wrath was implemented. So it might be argued that his view of himself was not that different from the way modern jihad terrorists see themselves – as a warrior of Allah terrorising the enemies of Islam.

In summary, the earliest biographies of Muhammad – which were written by pious Muslims who revered him – and related Islamic texts debunk the notion that he was a peaceful man, or that he only ever waged war in self-defence. Moreover, the behaviour of his closest friends and companions – who in the years following his death launched devastating invasions of Persia and Byzantium – clearly indicates that he did not foresee the jihad ending in Arabia; rather, he had plans to Islamise the whole world in time. Indeed, the hadith records this saying of the Prophet: “[The] jihad will be performed continuously since the day Allah sent me as a prophet until the day the last member of my community will fight with the Dajjal (Antichrist).” (Sunan Abu Dawud b.14, no.2526). It seems unlikely that his followers – those who knew him best, such as Umar, the second caliph – would so dramatically misunderstand his message. If he truly wanted the Muslims to be non-violent, or to understand jihad as primarily a peaceful interior struggle, then he did a catastrophically bad job of making this clear to them. Their actions, committed in reverence to him, demonstrate best what he wanted of them.

The words and deeds of Muhammad have been moving Muslims to commit acts of violence for fourteen hundred years. They are not going to disappear in our lifetimes; nor can they be negotiated away. The best thing that can be done is to recognise their character and move to limit their influence around the world, calling upon moderate Muslims to definitively renounce these elements of Islam. The sooner this is done, the closer we will be to genuine peace. But as long as this manifold problem continues to be ignored, Muhammad will continue to inspire his followers to wield the sword in his name.

Friday, 8 May 2009

What A "Truce" Means to Muslims

Biding his time

A few days ago, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal made a statement whose significance has, not surprisingly, eluded the vacuous hive mind of the mainstream media.

Speaking of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mashal said that his ideal solution would be "a state on the 1967 borders, based on a long-term truce. This includes East Jerusalem, the dismantling of settlements and the right of return of the Palestinian refugees.” Asked what “long-term” meant, he said 10 years.

Mashal admitted, however, that he "would not recognize Israel", saying to fellow Arab leaders, “There is only one enemy in the region, and that is Israel.”

It is understandable that gullible Western readers who know nothing of the ideology that drives Hamas would fall for this ploy, but fact-based analysis reveals this for the time-biding deception that it is. For starters, the stipulation of a "two-state" solution where Israel withdraws to 1967 armistice lines is only a temporary, and not a permanent, solution. Previously, Mashal has stated that “our long-term goal is the liberation of Palestine [i.e. even the parts within the 1967 borders!]. Israel and the U.S. are deluding themselves if they think that we are not capable of doing this.” Coupled with his insistence that Israel has no right to exist, as well as the annihilationist sentiments of the 1988 Hamas Charter (which, in the article above, Mashal conveniently asks us to ignore), this indicates therefore that a "two-state" solution and a ten-year truce are only temporary policies of political opportunism.

This is not the first time that Hamas have called for a truce. The last one was concluded in June of last year. Only a few months later, it was revealed that Hamas had been building a number of tunnels for the purpose of kidnapping Israeli soldiers, even while the truce was in effect. When Israel attacked one of those tunnels, Hamas responded with Kassam rockets and accused Israel of breaking the truce.

Khaled Mashal's very specific mention of a ten-year truce is important because it indicates the standard Islamic religious orthodoxy underlying the ideology of Hamas. It also demonstrates why such truce offers should not be taken seriously.

In Islamic law, truces are viewed not as documents of lasting peace, but as expedient ways to cease hostilities while weak Muslim forces regroup (“Be not weary and faint-hearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost...” – Qur'an 47:35), which can be ditched as soon as the Muslims feel like it. For example, the classic Islamic legal manual Umdat al-Salik, which has been endorsed by Islam's highest spiritual authority, Al Azhar University in Cairo, as conforming to Sunni orthodoxy, states regarding truces:

“There must be some interest served in making a truce other than mere preservation of the status quo...Interests that justify making a truce are such things as Muslim weakness because of lack of members or materiel, or the hope of an enemy becoming Muslim...If the Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made a truce with Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud. It is not permissible to stipulate longer than that, save by means of new truces, each of which does not exceed ten years. [emphasis added]”

Another legal manual, the Hedaya, reiterates this, and adds: “If the Imam make peace with the aliens [literally, harbis, i.e. unbelievers] for a single term (namely, ten years [emphasis added]) and afterwards perceive that it is most advantageous to the Muslim interest to break it, he may in that case lawfully renew the war, after giving them due notice...”

Muhammad himself elucidated this in no uncertain terms: “If you ever take an oath to do something and later on you find that something else is better, then you should expiate your oath and do what is better.” (Bukhari v.9, b.89, no.260) The entire basis for the above legal rulings also rests on an incident in Muhammad's life, in which he broke a ten-year treaty he had concluded with his enemies, the Quraysh.

The consequences of this principle have played out throughout history, as Byzantine Emperors made short-sighted truces with the Ottomans and paid the price when the Muslims unilaterally revoked those truces. We have also seen it come into play in numerous contemporary conflicts, most notably in Gaza.

The lesson here is that jihadists cannot be negotiated with. Islamic law treats truces as temporary cessations of hostilities whose only purpose is to serve Muslims. Jihadists are unlikely to accept any kinds of peace deals at all unless they have a greater strategic role to play in the overall war effort. The only thing that can bring lasting “peace” is submission of the infidels under Islamic law. In this light, no one should give Khaled Mashal even an inch of wiggle room to peddle his propaganda.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The Sword of the Prophet: Muhammad As The Prototype Jihadist (Part 2)

Follows on from part 1 here.


The Quraysh weren't the only enemies of the early Muslim community. Muhammad also had troubles with some of the Jewish tribes and Christian groups who lived in Medina. He had originally tried to win them over to his new religion, as he had attempted with the Quraysh, but like Muhammad's former tribe, they largely mocked him and cast aspersions upon his prophetic claims. Eventually, the Jewish Banu Qaynuqa were besieged under a dubious pretext and expelled by the Muslims. Another Jewish tribe, the Banu Nadir, were also banished after some of them allegedly attempted to assassinate Muhammad. In response, Muhammad had the whole tribe exiled to the Khaybar oasis.

The last remaining Jewish tribe in Medina was the Banu Qurayza. During the Battle of the Trench (627 AD), when the Quraysh and their allies had besieged Medina, the Qurayza contributed to the city’s defense, but on the whole remained neutral. After a fortuitous storm helped break the siege, the loyalty of the Qurayza was questioned, and Muhammad, inspired by another divine revelation, moved against them. A hadith records that after the Battle, the angel Gabriel – who always dictated Allah's revelations to the Prophet – came to Muhammad, who asked, “Where (to go now)?” Gabriel replied, “This way,” pointing towards the Banu Qurayza, and Muhammad marched against them. (Sahih Bukhari v.4, b.56, no.2813) As the Prophet began his attack on the Qurayza, he addressed them with hateful derision, calling them “You brothers of monkeys”, echoing the Qur'an's descriptions of Jews being transformed into apes and pigs (2:65; 5:60; 7:166).

The tribe were easily subdued, at which point Muhammad gave his men the responsibility of deciding what to do with them. It was eventually decided that the men of the Qurayza would all be put to death, while the women and children would be enslaved. Ibn Ishaq describes the grizzly scene: “Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for [the men of Banu Qurayza] and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches.” Ibn Ishaq puts the number of men that Muhammad beheaded in this way at “600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900.” Another Muslim biographer of Muhammad, Ibn Sa'd (d.845), also claims that “they were between six hundred and seven hundred in number”, and this mass killing is attested to in numerous hadith.

The Muslims decided who qualified as a “man” and who didn't by checking pubic hair, and “those who had begun to grow hair (pubes) were killed, and those who had not were not killed.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, b.38, no.4390) This makes it likely that many of the “men” killed on this day were in fact little more than boys who had just reached puberty.

Shortly afterwards, Muhammad moved against the Jews of Khaybar, some of whom were members of the Banu Nadir he had previously expelled from Medina. The Khaybar Jews were an innocent farming community and had not threatened or provoked Muhammad in any way. Even Ali, Muhammad's close companion and the revered figure of Shi'a Islam, did not know why the Muslims were attacking Khaybar. When he inquired as to the purpose of the attack, Muhammad replied: “Fight with them until they bear testimony to the fact that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger, and when they do that then their blood and their riches are inviolable from your hands but what is justified by law and their reckoning is with Allah.” (Sahih Muslim b.31, no.5917)

Indeed, the riches of the Jews of Khaybar were plundered and stolen during the subsequent raid. Ibn Ishaq explains that “[t]he apostle seized the property piece by piece and conquered the forts one by one as he came to them.” Ibn Sa'd reports that “[h]e killed ninety-three men of the Jews.”

In order to obtain the treasure of Khaybar, Muhammad had one of the Jewish leaders tortured. Ibn Ishaq describes this brutality as follows:

“Kinana b. al-Rabi, who had the custody of the treasure of Banu Nadir, was brought to the apostle who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came (T. was brought) to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, 'Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?' he said Yes. The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr b. al-'Awwam, 'Torture him until you extract what he has,' so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.”

Eventually, Muhammad ended up with the booty – and more besides. He later selected Safiyya bint Huyayy, the wife of the man he had just had tortured to death, to be his wife. (Sahih Muslim b.8, no.3329)

The siege of Khaybar still finds a fond resonance in the hearts of jihadists. Following a series of retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza by the Israeli Defence Forces in early 2009, thousands of Muslims took to the streets of America and Europe in protest, some of them chanting the popular jihadist warcry, “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!” And in 2006 the Lebanese Shi'ite cleric Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah praised the terror group Hizballah for waging “a new battle of Khaybar” against Israel (see "Shiite cleric hails Hezbollah militants" at the link provided). Clearly, he views the siege as a great and noble act, to be emulated by Muslims in their conflicts with Jews today.

Stay tuned for the third and final part, coming soon.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Carol's Conundrum

I'd rather listen to HER advice on foreign policy

Recently, Jeffery D. "Carol" (see picture above) Vordermark, a former US Army Colonel, published this self-righteous piece of vacuousness for the Small Wars Journal, regarding what he terms the "clueless" habit of the mainstream analysts of falling into the "jihad trap" - that is, using the word "jihad" to describe the actions of Islamic terrorists. Vordermark argues that Western use of this term is incorrect from an orthodox Islamic standpoint, and therefore can only be self-defeating when used to fight the War on Terror. The piece is full of serious errors that have become distressingly common, particularly among liberals, and warrants further examination.

One of the most important points that needs to me made is one that Carol Vordermark himself actually acknowledges: that Islamic terror groups themselves use the word "jihad" to describe their actions. One problem in his thesis is that Muslims will not remotely be influenced by whatever non-Muslims call the jihadists, and simply changing our language will not make any difference to how the jihadists perceive themselves or are perceived by others at all. Another is the assumption that the jihadists' view of Islam and jihad has no legitimacy within traditional Islam, and can easily be exposed as such, which has no basis in fact at all, as can clearly be demonstrated by the teachings of all the schools of jurisprudence and the writings of the traditional, mainstream Muslim scholars who the jihadists actually quote in their own writings. Trying to avoid using the word "jihad" would have the effect of obscuring the traditional nature of the appeal that the jihadists so effectively make within Muslim communities, and thereby obscuring our proper response and the response that peaceful Muslims should make. This would be comparable to refusing to refer to the Nazis by the name they used for themselves, thereby effectively rendering irrelevant the ideology that drove them and all of which was symbolised by their very name. Such a tactic would not have been remotely productive in determining how to fight Hitler during World War II.

In any case, the notion that jihad doesn't really mean what the terrorists say it means simply isn't true. It is correct that the word itself does not mean “holy war”, but “struggle” or “striving”. However, the use of this word in the Islamic holy book, the Qur'an, is telling. The Arabic root word of jihad, jahada, appears in the Qur'an forty times, and thirty-six of these occurrences use derivations of the verb form jahida, which refers to physical fighting. Similarly, the canonical hadith collection known as Sahih Bukhari, which is considered by Muslims to be the most authoritative of all the collections of traditions attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, contains approximately two hundred references to jihad, and only a tiny handful could even conceivably be read as referring to any kind of spiritual endeavour. In fact, some hadith collections contain entire chapters called "The Book of Jihad", which are filled with stories about Muhammad's wars. Is Vordermark really going to try telling Muslims that the revered collectors of hadith actually got it all wrong? There is no doubt that the dominant understanding of jihad among Muslim jurisprudents since the inception of Islam has been that of literal holy war against unbelievers.

Vordermark suggests that instead of using the word jihad from now on, we should use the word hiraba, which he defines as "killing by stealth and targeting a defenseless victim in a way intended to cause terror in society.” He adds that "[t]his is the Islamic definition of terrorism", and "is the very opposite of jihad."

Unfortunately for Mr. Vordermark, however, he may be falling for a bit of jihadist (boo!) propaganda. According to terrorism expert Professor Walid Phares, the whole hiraba theory was actually concocted by the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Wahhabis, as a plan to prevent jihad from being depicted by the West and the international community as an illegal and therefore sanctioned activity. It was then forwarded to American and Western-based interest groups to be spread within the United States, particularly within the defence and security sectors. As Phares says: “Such a deception further confuses U.S. national security perception of the enemy” and only plays into the hands of the jihadists.

The suspicion that such policies are actually being advocated as part of a Muslim Brotherhood deception campaign is reinforced by another detail that Vordermark mentions a little bit further on. He approvingly cites Jim Guirard, the founder and president of the Truespeak Institute, who has been arguing for many years that U.S. officials should stop using the word jihad, and attributes this policy to his consultations with a number of Muslim "scholars". However, almost all of the Muslim individuals he has consulted have links of some kind to the Muslim Brotherhood. This includes Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who endorses suicide bombings against Israeli civilians and refers to sharia finance as "jihad with money". It must be remembered also that the Brotherhood is dedicated, in its own words, to "eliminating and destroying Western civilisation from within". Confusing Western intelligence agencies is definitely a good place to start with that.

Moving on, Vordermark then says of jihad: "Historically the term applied to the concept of either a 'greater Jihad' or a 'lesser Jihad'. The former denoting the daily struggle of the believer to overcome 'self' in the pursuit of Allah’s will, and the latter traditionally meaning defense of religion, family, or homeland. Both of these terms are seen in a positive light within Islam, and conjure up images that are meaningful in the same sense for Westerners."

Again, this presentation is whitewashed and inaccurate. Aside from the false depiction of military jihad as only defensive in nature, it must be made clear that this marginal doctrine is based on a putative saying of Muhammad, but unfortunately many Muslims deny the authenticity of this saying. For starters, it does not appear in any of the Sahih Sittah – that is, the six hadith collections that Muslims consider to be most reliable.

Various modern jihadists (boo again!), such as Osama bin Laden's close friend Abdullah Azzam, and Hasan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, defer to traditional Islamic authorities to assert that this tradition was narrated by a man who was known to invent sayings and attribute them to Muhammad. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (d.1448), who wrote the definitive commentary on Sahih Bukhari, stated simply, “He was accused of forging hadith.” The Hanbali jurist Ibn Taymiyya likewise said that this tradition “has no source, nobody whomsoever in the field of Islamic Knowledge has narrated it. Jihad against the disbelievers is the most noble of actions, and moreover it is the most important action for the sake of mankind.” Azzam ultimately asserts that this hadith “is in fact a false, fabricated hadith which has no basis...and it contradicts textual evidence and reality.” Al-Banna concurs: “This narration is not a sahih (sound) tradition”.

The classic Islamic legal manual Umdat al-Salik only devotes a few lines to explaining the “greater jihad”, before dismissing it and devoting eleven pages to jihad as literal warfare. In Islamic jurisprudence, jihad is strictly a military action. Umdat al-Salik, which, remember, has been endorsed as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Islam's most sacred authority, Al-Azhar University, defines jihad simply as “warfare against non-Muslims”, noting that the word itself “is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.”

In other words, while the word jihad itself does not mean “holy war”, there is no doubt that the dominant understanding of it in Islamic theology and law has been of exactly that. This is actually sort of confirmed in a much more authoritative hadith, where Muhammad says: “He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue, and if he has not strength enough to do it, (even) then he should (abhor it) from his heart, and that is the least of faith.” (Sahih Muslim b.1, no.79) So physical action is greater than words or thoughts when it comes to dealing with “injustice”.

None of this means, of course, that opposing views are wrong. But jihadists have been very successful in convincing their fellow Muslims that the traditions referring to “greater” and “lesser” jihad are unreliable and false. Whether this is true or not, it should not obscure the fact that even if jihad does have multiple meanings, this is of little importance. Violent jihad still exists, and people are suffering because of it every day. It might be comforting to believe that there can also be peaceful jihad, but that does nothing to prevent people being killed by Muslims with bombs and bullets.

And if Western intelligence agencies adopt the confused, dishonest policies advocated by Jeffery Vordermark, such killing will continue, regardless of how he wishes us to label it.

The Sword of the Prophet: Muhammad As The Prototype Jihadist (Part 1)

Although the Islamic Prophet Muhammad lived 1400 years ago, the details of his life, as recorded by the earliest Muslim biographers, are still important today, because he is held up by Muslims as al-insan al-kamil: the Perfect Man. The Islamic holy book, the Qur'an, says he presents a “beautiful pattern of conduct” for Muslims (33:21), and displays an “exalted standard of character” (68:4). The renowned Sufi mystic Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d.1111) declared that “the key to happiness is to follow the Sunnah [Muhammad's words, deeds, and even unspoken gestures] and to imitate the Messenger of God in all his coming and going, his movements and rest, in his way of eating, his attitude, his sleep and his talk." Muslims are encouraged to admire and emulate everything he said and did.

But what was Muhammad really like?

This question becomes more pressing every day. If he was a man of peace, as many Western Muslims claim, one may reasonably hope that his example would become the linchpin of reform efforts in the Islamic world that would eventually roll back the influence of jihad terrorism. If he really championed non-violence, one could profitably invoke his example among Muslims, who revere him as the highest example of human behaviour, to work for peace in the Islamic world.

And yet, modern jihad terrorists regularly invoke the Prophet's example to justify their deeds. If they are correct in doing so, then Islamic reformers will need to initiate a respectful but searching re-evaluation of the place Muhammad occupies within Islam – a vastly more difficult undertaking.

The purpose of this essay is to examine some aspects of Muhammad's life that non-Muslims may find problematic, and that are used today by Muslims to justify violent actions, which will serve to explain why moderate Muslims appear so weak and marginalised compared to jihadist movements in the Islamic world.

There is no doubt that Muhammad's life was filled with violence. The Prophet's earliest biographer Ibn Ishaq (d.773) – who, according to the translator of his work, Alfred Guillaume, “had no serious rival” in this field – estimated that “the apostle took part personally in twenty-seven (T. six) raids...He actually fought in nine engagements”. But were these aggressive, expansionist wars, or were they fought to defend the young Islamic umma from enemies bent on destroying it, as Muslims often claim?

The evidence of the sira, the early pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad, suggests the former. Muhammad began publicly preaching Islam in Mecca in around 613 AD. For many years he faced frustration as his own tribe, the Quraysh, rejected and mocked him. He had a small band of followers who became Muslims, but most of the Meccans were quite happy to continue praying to their pagan goddesses. Although Muslims frequently assert that Muhammad and his men were persecuted by the Quraysh simply for being Muslims, Ibn Ishaq writes that the Meccans only began to seriously oppose Muhammad after he started insulting their gods and attacking their heritage:

“When the apostle openly displayed Islam as God ordered him, his people did not withdraw or turn against him, so far as I have heard, until he spoke disparagingly of their gods. When he did that, they took great offence and resolved unanimously to treat him as an enemy...he would not yield to them and withdrew from them and insulted their gods...”

One early Muslim traditionist remarked:

“They [the Quraysh] said that they had never known anything like the trouble they had endured from this fellow; he had declared their mode of life foolish, insulted their forefathers, reviled their religion, divided the community, and cursed their gods. What they had borne was past all bearing, or words to that effect.”

The Quraysh tried on several occasions to negotiate an amicable resolution to the troubles:

“[Quraysh leader] Abu Sufyan and sundry other notables went to Abu Talib [Muhammad's uncle] and said: '...You know the trouble that exists between us and your nephew, so call him and let us make an agreement that he will leave us alone and we will leave him alone; let him have his religion and we will have ours.'”

Muhammad consistently declined a relationship of mutual respect, demanding that the Quraysh convert to Islam.

After many years of tensions, Muhammad migrated from Mecca with a band of loyal followers, and they made for another town, Medina.

In Medina, the Muslims found new converts, and within two years their numbers had swelled significantly. From this position of new strength, says Ibn Ishaq, “the apostle prepared for war in pursuance of God's command to fight his enemies and to fight those polytheists who were near at hand whom God commanded him to fight.” The Muslims began launching raids against Quraysh trading caravans at Muhammad's behest. Not only did this serve as revenge against the Quraysh who had rejected Muhammad, but the wealth and goods the Muslims stole from the caravans also financed the burgeoning Muslim movement.

All of this culminated in the Muslims' first major military engagement, the Battle of Badr, in 624. Muhammad heard of another Quraysh caravan coming from Syria, and he instructed his warriors, “This is the Quraysh caravan containing their property. Go out to attack it, perhaps God will give it as a prey.”

But this time the Quraysh defended themselves, taking an army with them to protect their caravan, although they still did everything they could to avoid a conflict. Eventually, however, Muhammad forced them into one by blocking up all of the water wells the Quraysh relied upon for their journey home to Mecca, and then positioning his forces between these wells and the Meccans. This made the battle unavoidable. Three hundred Muslims supposedly fought a thousand Quraysh, and were victorious.

The battle won, Muhammad turned his attention to the prisoners. One Quraysh leader, Abu Jahl, was beheaded by a Muslim soldier, who carried the grizzly trophy to Muhammad – he was delighted, giving thanks to Allah for the man's death. Another enemy, Uqba, asked, “But who will look after my children, O Muhammad?” The Prophet replied: “Hell”, and had Uqba killed.

These events serve as inspiration for jihadists today, who imitate them with relish. When the American Nick Berg was captured and beheaded by terrorists in Iraq in 2004, the jihad leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi justified the act by saying: “The Prophet, the most merciful, ordered his army to strike the necks of some prisoners in the Battle of Badr and to kill them...And he set a good example for us”. This is just one example of how a seventh-century Arabian warlord's divinely sanctioned status as a “beautiful pattern of conduct” can be problematic when applied stringently by pious followers in the modern day.

In the following years, a weary give-and-take ensued between the Muslims and the Quraysh. The Meccans sought revenge at the Battle of Uhud, and were victorious. The Battle of the Trench ended in a Meccan retreat. Eventually, however, the Muslims prevailed and the Quraysh were defeated and subdued by the end of Muhammad's career.

Stay tuned for part 2, coming soon...