Friday, 31 July 2009

Strictly Bum Journalism

This BBC article epitomises the clueless political correctness of the Leftist mainstream media when it comes to reporting on Islam. It concerns the death of a jihadist leader in Nigeria. Mohammed Yusuf was the leader of the Boko Haram group, which has been wreaking havoc in the country over the last few days, starting riots that have killed hundreds. According to the BBC, the group "wants to overthrow the Nigerian government and impose a strict version of Islamic law."

Excuse me? A "strict version" of Islamic law? Does this mean that the BBC can point to a school of Islamic law that does NOT teach, for example, that apostates from Islam should be put to death? Can they point to any school that does NOT teach jihad against, and the subjugation of, unbelievers? What about a school that does NOT consider the selling of alcohol to be unlawful and a punishable offence?

Can the BBC name such schools or can't they? If they can't, then why are they referring to a "strict version of Islamic law"?

The reality is that all of the above must either be sanctioned by Islamic law - STANDARD Islamic law, not some aberrant "strict version" of it - or not. Anyone who knows of any school of jurisprudence that does not teach this "strict version" is welcome to let me know in the comments field or by email.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Why Islam Is Responsible For Honour Killings

In the past month alone, there have been dozens of cases from around the world of so-called "honour killings", where men, often explicitly in the name of Islam, have murdered or attempted to murder female relatives over matters of religious and cultural honour.

Today, the Jerusalem Post reports that a Gaza man is being held on suspicion that he bludgeoned his daughter to death with an iron chain because he discovered she owned a mobile phone.

Also reported today, a Maghrebi Muslim in Spain stabbed his daughter 20 times because he allegedly believed that she had a non-Muslim boyfriend.

On the 21st of the month, it was reported that a German man of Afghan origin stabbed his daughter "in the name of the Koran".

Also this month, an Afghan family is believed to have plotted an honour killing in Canada.

In Jordan recently, there has been a spree of honour killings.

In Saudi Arabia, two sisters were shot dead by their own brother.

And so on, and so on.

What does this have to do with Islam, you may ask? Isn't honour killing a cultural practice rather than an Islamic one?

There is no doubt that honour killing is not limited exclusively to Muslims. However, it is practised widely in Muslim societies today - even in the West. And as we can see from some of the articles above, many of the perpetrators imbue their acts with religious significance.

Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveler) is a classic manual of Islamic law from the Middle Ages. In 1991, it was authorised by Al-Azhar University, the highest spiriual authority in Sunni Islam, as conforming "to the
practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community”. And this manual says specifically that Muslim fathers who kill their children incur no penalty under Islamic law: "Retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right...The following are not subject to retaliation:...a father or mother (or their fathers of mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring..." Why would that be?

In 2003, the Jordanian Parliament rejected a new law which was designed to introduce harsher penalties for honour killings. And according to Al Jazeera, they did so on Islamic grounds: "Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values."

There is no denying the fact that the actual theological justification for honour killing in Islam is very slim. The general culture of shame and honour prevalent in the Arab world and perpetuated by Islam is a bigger driving force. However, the Islamic component is certainly there, and is almost certainly generating more cases of honour killing in Muslim communities than there would otherwise be. Until moderate Muslim communities begin to address these Islamic elements (which they are currently not doing), honour killing in the name of Islam will continue.

Monday, 27 July 2009

"Arafat would condemn [terror] operations by day while at night he would do honorable things"

Student and mentor

A close friend of Yasser Arafat has admitted that the jihadist leader publicly condemned acts of Islamic terrorism while privately approving of such acts. PA (Fatah) Member of Parliament Muhammad Dahlan made the confession on Palestinian TV recently. Speaking of the right to "violent resistance" against Israel, Dahlan said: "I lived with Chairman Yasser Arafat for years. Arafat would condemn [terror] operations by day while at night he would do honorable things. I don't want to say any more about this."

This "revelation" should not come as a surprise to anyone who has bothered to learn the facts of the case. Arafat was notorious for his duplicity. He sanctioned brutal jihads against Israel starting in the 1960s, and a led a brutal campaign against the Christians of Lebanon in the mid-70s and early 80s. Shortly after Khomeini's ascension to power, Arafat wrote the following to the Iranian leader:

I pray to Allah to guide your step along the path of faith and Holy War (Jihad) in Iran, continuing the combat until we arrive at the walls of Jerusalem, where we shall raise the flags of our two revolutions.

Notoriously, Arafat also compared the Oslo Peace Accords with Israel to the Treaty of Hudaybiyya, a truce the Prophet Muhammad concluded with his enemies the Quraysh in 628. Muhammad had conceived of the truce as a method of obtaining a strategic advantage over his enemies, and broke it as soon as he was able. Arafat's comparison of Oslo with this Treaty was his way of articulating the same goal: a temporary truce in order to give the PA more time to prepare further jihad attacks against the Jewish state.

We can see his same pattern reccuring in the current Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas. As the article linked at the beginning of this post notes: "Neither Arafat nor PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas ever condemned terror because it is wrong, but only because it is ineffective or because it damages Palestinian interests."

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Is There Equality of the Sexes in Islam?

A question that comes up a lot is whether men and women are considered equal according to the teachings of Islam. Apologists who would answer that they are tend to quote passages such as this one:
“O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you.” (4:1)
The assertion that men and women have been created “from a single soul” is sometimes pointed to as evidence that Islam recognises the full equality and dignity of women. Ayatollah Murtada Mutahhari says that “other religions also have referred to this question, but it is the Qur’an alone which in a number of verses expressly says that woman has been created of the species of man, and both man and woman have the same innate character.” He then quotes 4:1.

And yet traditional Islamic views of women have been overwhelmingly in favour of the idea that they are in almost all ways inferior to men. The noted scholar Baydawi sums up this attitude: “Men are the maintainers over women just as rulers are over their populous...due to the completeness of men’s brains over women’s deficiency, their management skills, and their extra requirement of worship; this is why men were chosen to be prophets, religious leaders, rulers, and enforcers of commandments, legal witnesses in a court of law, fighters in the cause of Allah, receivers of more share of the inheritance and in control of divorce.” Islamic tradition and law deny the equality of women in numerous ways: a woman's testimony is worth half that of a man (2:282); a son's inheritance is twice the size of a daughter's (4:11); Allah has made men the “protectors” of women because they are superior to them (4:34); and the majority of the people in Hell will be women (Bukhari v.1, b.2, no.28). Thus it is not surprising that another famous scholar, Qurtubi, even goes so far as to dehumanise women completely: “A woman may be likened to a sheep – even a cow or a camel – for all are ridden.”

The Sufi mystic Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d.1111), often lionised as the greatest ever Muslim after Muhammad himself, clearly did not believe that men and women were equal partners. Here is an excerpt from one of his works, in which he outlines a woman's role:

“She should stay at home and get on with her spinning, she should not go out often, she must not be well-informed...she must not leave her house without his [her husband's] permission and if given his permission she must leave surreptitiously...She should be clean and ready to satisfy her husband's sexual needs at any moment.”

Al-Ghazali also warns men that the guile of women “is immense and their mischief is noxious; they are immoral and mean-spirited.”

So much for equality.

I should also briefly address the other common claim that Islam made life better for women in Arabia. The Islamic texts explicitly say otherwise. Aisha herself, Muhammad's favourite wife, said it best, after witnessing her husband fail to do or say anything to criticise a Muslim man who had brutally beaten his wife: "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!" (Sahih Bukhari v.7, b.72, no.715)

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Apologists For Evil

Here is the latest video by noted British atheist Pat Condell - and in my opinion, it's his best rant ever. In it, he takes the Western Left - to whom he, by his own confession, used to belong - to task for their naive and disgraceful appeasement of Islam, their intellectual cowardice in smearing all those who disagree with them as racists, and their worryingly successful attempts at cultural suicide. It should be required viewing for every liberal.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Obama's "Puzzling" Approach to the Muslim World

Raymond Ibrahim has a thoughtful article on Barack Obama's appeasement of Islam and the dangers it presents, especially when one considers the President's Muslim background - in other words, he should know better.

I ought to head off any doubts by saying that I do not believe Ibrahim is here endorsing the view that Obama is a Muslim. If he is, I repudiate such a view. Obama is not a Muslim - that's a smear that won't quite go away - but on the other hand, the fact that he once was a Muslim is almost beyond dispute.

As I have stated here before, Obama's suicidal approach to the global jihad can be best explained by the fact that he is a classic Leftist - such liberals having a long track record of supporting and appeasing not only radical Islam, but other totalitarian ideologies, as well. The years he has spent imbibing radical Marxist doctrine from his self-loathing "progressive" friends was bound to make him a dangerous appeaser once he entered office. Next to this, his Muslim background really doesn't mean anything.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Speaking Gibberish

Over at The Religion of Peace, they have a good refutation of the common Islamic apologetic claim that the Qur'an can only be properly understood in Arabic. So the argument goes, the Qur'an doesn't really say anything about fighting unbelievers, hating their guts or oppressing women. In the original Arabic it says something perfectly benign; it's just that it comes across badly in translation. TROP expose this "argument" for what it really is: "Obviously, the real reason for this illogical myth is that, for the first time, the information age is making the full history and texts of the Islamic religion available to a broader audience, and it is highly embarrassing to both Muslim scholars and their faithful flock. Pretending that different meanings exist in Arabic is a way of finding solace and saving face." Do be sure to read it all.

The TROP refutation deals with this apologetic claim from a logical point of view. A few years back, Ibn Warraq refuted the same myth from a more practical perspective, in his series on How To Debate A Muslim:

However, the majority of Muslims are not Arabs or Arabic speaking peoples. The non-Arabic speaking nations of Indonesia with a population of 197 million, Pakistan with 133 million, Iran with 62 million, Turkey with 62 million, India with a Muslim population of about 95 million, out- number by far the total number of native Arabic speakers in about thirty countries in the world estimated as 150 million. Many educated Muslims whose native tongue is not Arabic do learn it in order to read the Koran, but then again the vast majority do not understand Arabic, even though many do learn parts of the Koran by heart without understanding a word.

In other words, the majority of Muslims have to read the Koran in translation in order to understand it.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Geert Wilders and the "Far Right"

Here is a decent article defending Geert Wilders from the common media charge (and insult) of being on the "far Right". As the author notes:

There are, indeed, some nationalist European politicians and parties that deserve these labels. Jean-Marie Le Pen in France and Jorg Haider in Austria come to mind. On the other hand, as Soeren Kern, writing in the Brussels Journal, shows, Wilders and his party are plainly not "far right" or "fascist." Neither, for example, is the Danish People's Party.

In Europe, the far right and the fascists are anti-semitic. But Wilders' Party for Freedom and the Danish People's Party are vehemently pro-Israel (Wilders spent part of his youth in Israel and visits it regularly). As such, they stand largely alone in Europe where anti-semitism has become respectable on the left and where the major parties range from hostile to lukewarm when it comes to Israel.

The author expresses some misunderstanding about Wilders' position on banning the Qur'an (he has never been in favour of censorship; his point was that since current Dutch law bans hate speech, and the Qur'an is itself hate speech, it would therefore only be consistent to ban it), but otherwise, it's a solid defense.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Borat Obama: The Appeasement Goes On

Andrew C. McCarthy has the details of Obama's recent moronic release of the “Irbil Five” — Quds Force commanders from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who were coordinating terrorist attacks in Iraq that have killed hundreds of American soldiers and Marines.

McCarthy's conclusion:

Finally, when it comes to Iran, it has become increasingly apparent that President Obama wants the mullahs to win. What you need to know is that Barack Obama is a wolf in “pragmatist” clothing: Beneath the easy smile and above-it-all manner — the “neutral” doing his best to weigh competing claims — is a radical leftist wedded to a Manichean vision that depicts American imperialism as the primary evil in the world.

I am in complete agreement. Obama is a dangerous Left-wing radical who is doing enormous harm to the security of the United States, and ultimately to all those who value freedom.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Barbarism In An Islamic Guise

Face of evil - Youssouf Fofana

It was announced yesterday that the leader of a French Muslim gang called "the Barbarians", who in 2006 tortured and murdered a Parisian Jew in an act of unspeakable cruelty, has been sentenced to life in prison (which, in modern parlance, means "a minimum of 22 years").

The Islamic religious character of this atrocity must be acknowledged. According to the France 24 article, "[Youssouf] Fofana, the son of Ivorian immigrants, raised his fist as he turned up in court at the start of the trial and proclaimed 'Allah will conquer!' Asked to state his name, he answered 'African Barbarian Armed Revolt Salafist [Salafism is a brand of Islam].'"

This squares with other information divulged previously. For example, during the horrific torture-murder of Ilan Halimi, his captors reportedly telephoned the victim's family and made them listen to recitations from the Qur'an while Ilan's agonised screams could be heard in the background.

This Islamic character needs to be recognised and acknowledged because a uniquely Islamic strain of antisemitism is on the increase in Europe. A number of studies, including this one last year, have shown that Muslims are now more responsible than any other group for antisemitic violence on the continent. Those who would deny the Islamic component, or attribute it solely to the fallout from the Arab-Israeli conflict, must deal with some harsh realities about the virulent antisemitism contained in the foundational Islamic texts (remember, the Barbarians recited from the Qur'an during the ordeal) and a long, sad history of anti-Jewish persecution and hatred in Muslim lands, all of which is dealt with in amazing depth by Andrew Bostom in his brilliant book The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism. For just one small example of how Qur'anic verses are used to incite hatred against Jews, see here.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Popeye Meets Ali Baba

Introducing a childhood favourite of mine from 1937 (no, I'm not that old; I just meant the show in general was a favourite, but I came to it a few generations late), "Popeye the Sailor and Ali Baba's 40 Thieves", in which an Arab (meaning, of course, Muslim) raiding party led by "Abu Hassan" (Brutus), who refers to himself as "the terror of every village and town", steal things from helpless villagers and then enslave Olive Oyl, just as their forefathers of old did. Can Popeye and his spinach save the girl and the day?

They don't make 'em like this anymore. If they did, CAIR would be rabid.

Islam And Terrorism (Part 3)


Many Muslims are quick to point out that suicide is a sin in Islam, and that therefore Muslims who commit suicide bombings are acting at variance with the teachings of their faith. For example, Muhammad said: “He who commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling himself in the Hell-fire forever, and he who commits suicide by stabbing himself shall keep on stabbing himself in the Hell-fire.” (Sahih Bukhari v.2, b.23, no.446)

And yet, the Qur'an also states that those who die in battle against the enemies of Islam are guaranteed a place in Paradise: “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, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” (9:111)

When modern jihadists commit suicide bombings, they are, in the words of this verse, slaying and being slain in the same act; therefore they believe they will receive the reward of a “martyr” in Allah's cause: the luxurious and highly sexualised delights of Paradise. Abu Abdel Aziz, a jihadist who fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia, said in a 1994 interview: “I have found that the best sacrifice we can offer for the sake of Allah, is our souls, then our possession[s].” He then quoted this verse.

The hadith are also full of praise for such martyrs:

“Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid [holy warrior] in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty.” (Sahih Bukhari v.4, b.52, no.46)

“The Prophet said...By Him in Whose Hands my life is! I would love to be martyred in Allah's Cause and then get resurrected and then get martyred, and then get resurrected again and then get martyred and then get resurrected again and then get martyred.” (Sahih Bukhari v.4, b.52, no.54)

“A man whose face was covered with an iron mask (i.e. clad in armor) came to the Prophet and said, 'O Allah's Apostle! Shall I fight or embrace Islam first?' The Prophet said, 'Embrace Islam first and then fight.' So he embraced Islam, and was martyred. Allah's Apostle said, 'A Little work, but a great reward.' (He did very little after embracing Islam, but he will be rewarded in abundance).” (Sahih Bukhari v.4, b.52, no.63)

In fact, not only are jihadists guaranteed a place in Paradise; they are also guaranteed to reach a higher level of Paradise than anyone else:

“It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Sa'id Khudri that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said (to him): Abu Sa'id, whoever cheerfully accepts Allah as his Lord, Islam as his religion and Muhammad as his Apostle is necessarily entitled to enter Paradise. He (Abu Sa'id) wondered at it and said: Messenger of Allah, repeat it for me. He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said: There is another act which elevates the position of a man in Paradise to a grade one hundred (higher), and the elevation between one grade and the other is equal to the height of the heaven from the earth. He (Abu Sa'id) said: What is that act? He replied: Jihad in the way of Allah! Jihad in the way of Allah!” (Sahih Muslim b.20, no.4645)

According to Islamic law, this is not suicide. Yusuf al-Qaradawi has defended suicide bombing on this basis: “Those who oppose martyrdom operations and claim that they are suicide are making a grave mistake. The goals of the one who carries out a martyrdom operation and of the one who commits suicide are completely different...The person who commits suicide kills himself for himself, because he failed in business, love, an examination or the like. He was too weak to cope with the situation and chose to flee life for death...In contrast, the one who carries out a martyrdom operation does not think of himself. He sacrifices himself for the sake of a higher goal...He sells himself to Allah in order to buy Paradise in exchange.” Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, the Grand Imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar University and the closest Muslim equivalent to a pope, has also endorsed suicide bombing against Israelis – although, bizarrely, he has also condemned it.

With such high-profile Islamic authorities endorsing this act of terrorism on the grounds of traditional Islamic belief regarding martyrdom, it will be difficult to convince Muslims otherwise. After all, what pious and dedicated Muslim would not want to guarantee themselves a place in Paradise?


Acts of terrorism, including the killing of innocent civilians, decapitation of prisoners of war, and suicide bombing, are sanctioned by Islam's foundational texts. The only way these destructive and murderous acts will cease to be a threat to civilised people is if the moderate Muslim community stands up and works towards a reform of the elements of Islamic theology and law that inspire them. Failure to do so will leave the theological legitimacy in the hands of the jihadists, and the killing will continue.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Does Obama Need A Brain Scan?

"I sincerely hope that when the president goes in for his annual check-up, the doctors at Bethesda will do a brain scan. Surely something must be terribly wrong with a man who seems to be far more concerned with a Jew building a house in Israel than with Muslims building a nuclear bomb in Iran." -- Burt Prelutsky

Islam And Terrorism (Part 2)

Following on from part 1 here.



Recent years have seen many cases in which Islamic jihadists have executed non-Muslim prisoners of war, often by beheading. Such actions, unfortunately, have direct support in Islamic law and in the example of Muhammad.

According to the earliest Muslim sources, the Prophet gloried in the decapitation of his enemies Abu Jahl and Uqba after the Battle of Badr. The now-deceased al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi justified the beheading of American businessman Nick Berg in 2004 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”.

Muhammad also supervised the mass beheading of at least six hundred men of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe in 627. Referring to this incident, Abu Yusuf (d.798), a jurist of the Hanafi school, wrote:

“Whenever the Muslims besiege an enemy stronghold, establish a treaty with the besieged who agree to surrender on certain conditions that will be decided by a delegate, and this man decides that their soldiers are to be executed and their women and children taken prisoner, this decision is lawful. This was the connection with the Banu Qurayza.”

Consequently, the brutal execution of prisoners – singly and in large numbers – is nothing new in Islam. Amir Timur, who led brutal jihad campaigns in India in the fourteenth century, bragged in writing how he had ordered the execution of 100,000 Hindu captives in a single afternoon, perhaps the largest massacre of war prisoners ever recorded:

“At this Court Amir Jahan Shah and Amir Sulaiman Shah, and other amirs of experience, brought to my notice that, from the time of entering Hindustan up to the present time, we had taken more than 100,000 infidels and Hindus prisoners, and that they were all in my camp...I asked their advice about the prisoners, and they said that on the great day of battle these 100,000 prisoners could not be left with the baggage, and that it would be entirely opposed to the rules of war to set these idolaters and foes of Islam at liberty. In fact, no other course remained but that of making them all food for the sword. When I heard these words I found them in accordance with the rules of war, and I directly gave my command for the Tawachís [drum-beaters] to proclaim throughout the camp that every man who had infidel prisoners was to put them to death, and whoever neglected to do so should himself be executed and his property given to the informer. When this order became known to the ghazís of Islam, they drew their swords and put their prisoners to death. 100,000 infidels, impious idolaters, were on that day slain.”

The legitimacy of killing prisoners of war is accepted by all the schools of jurisprudence, as summed up by the great Muslim philosopher Averroes (d.1198), who was also a 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.”

Beheading, specifically, is also sanctioned in the Qur'an:

“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.” (8:12)

“Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks [emphasis added]; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (he lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the way of Allah;- He will never let their deeds be lost.” (47:4)

A 2004 survey of Egyptian school textbooks revealed that the jihad-related beheading of unbelievers is explicitly sanctioned in the Egyptian educational curriculum.

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

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Islam And Terrorism (Part 1)


Holy war (jihad) against unbelievers in order to submit the world to Islamic rule is an established part of Islamic theology and tradition. All major schools of jurisprudence, Sunni and Shi'ite, agree on it. It is as far from a radical doctrine within Islam as can be found.

There is, however, a difference between sacralised warfare against non-Muslim societies, as delineated by the sharia, and the wanton murder of innocent people. And yet, despite the claims of Muslim and non-Muslim apologists, these acts also have justification within Islamic theology and law. This essay will examine the ways in which Muslims use the sacred Islamic texts to justify terror, focusing specifically on three aspects of Islamic terrorism: the killing of civilian non-combatants, the beheading of captives, and suicide bombing.

First, however, we must briefly examine the way terror is defined in an Islamic context. The Qur'an says: “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 [emphasis added], of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.” (8:60)

The fourteenth-century Spanish Muslim Ibn Hudayl, who wrote an important treatise on jihad, outlined the permissible tactics of jihad raids, or razzias:

“It is permissible to set fire to the lands of the well as to cut down his trees, to raze his cities, in a word, to do everything that might ruin and discourage him...[being] suited to hastening the Islamisation of that enemy or to weakening him. Indeed, all this contributes to a military triumph over him or to forcing him to capitulate.”

The former Pakistani brigadier S.K. Malik's 1979 book The Qur'anic Concept of War, which carried an endorsement by former Pakistani president Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, emphasises that terror is an important aspect of jihad: “Terror struck into the hearts of the enemies is not only a means, it is the end in itself. Once a condition of terror into the opponent’s heart is obtained, hardly anything is left to be achieved. It is the point where the means and the end meet and merge. Terror is not a means of imposing decision upon the enemy; it is the decision we wish to impose upon him.”

This is indistinguishable from the intentions of modern acts of jihad terrorism. There is no doubt that terror attacks such as those of September 11th, 2001 are designed to “strike terror into the hearts of the enemy”. A note in some written instructions left for the 9/11 hijackers read: “Shout Allah is great because this shout strikes terrors in the hearts of the infidels.”

With this background in mind, we will move on to the first major aspect of Islamic terrorism:


Since the devastating attacks of jihad terror on the World Trade Centre in 2001, much controversy has arisen regarding whether the killing of innocent civilians is permitted in Islam. In June 2006, the leaders of 150 British mosques issued a statement declaring that the “killing of innocent civilians is absolutely forbidden in Islam and anyone who contemplates or commits any such act does so against the teachings of Islam.”

At first glance, it would appear that this notion has some support in the Islamic texts, for Muhammad is reported to have “disapproved of the killing of women and children.” (Sahih Muslim b.19, no.4319)

However, to fully answer this question, it is important to bear in mind that the Islamic view of what constitutes an “innocent” person may not be the same as the Western view.

A chief reason for this is the well-developed concept in Islamic law of the division between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. Classical Islamic jurisprudence divides the world into two “Houses”: Dar al-Islam (the House of Islam: the Islamic world) and Dar al-Harb (the House of War: the non-Islamic world). One view of orthodox Islamic jurisprudence – as expounded by the Shafi'i jurist an-Nawawi (d.1278) – is that non-Muslims living in the Dar al-Harb, such as those working in the Twin Towers on 9/11, are muba'a – licit – targets for jihad attacks. A non-Muslim living in this House who is not protected by a treaty is called a harbi, an infidel alien, and his life and property are completely unprotected by law. He can therefore, according to an-Nawawi, “be killed with impunity”.

This view was reiterated in 2003 by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most influential Muslim clerics in the world:

“It has been determined by Islamic law that the blood and property of people of Dar al-Harb is not protected. Because they fight against and are hostile towards the Muslims, they annulled the protection of his blood and his modern war, all of society, with all its classes and ethnic groups, is mobilized to participate in the war, to aid its continuation, and to provide it with the material and human fuel required for it to assure the victory of the state fighting its enemies. Every citizen in society must take upon himself a role in the effort to provide for the battle. The entire domestic front, including professionals, laborers, and industrialists, stands behind the fighting army, even if it does not bear arms.”

Other Islamic legal authorities – as Qaradawi hints – allow for the killing of non-Muslims only so long as they are aiding the “war effort” against the Muslims, even by indirect means. The Hanbali jurist Ibn Taymiyya (d.1328) wrote:

“Those, such as women, children, priests, the old, the blind, the infirm, etc. – who cannot be considered 'resisters' or 'combatants' – will not be killed, according to generally acknowledged opinion, unless they have actually fought with either words [e.g. by propaganda] and deeds [e.g. by spying or otherwise assisting in the warfare].”

Osama bin Laden has used this line of reasoning to justify the 9/11 attacks: “The American people are the ones who pay the taxes which fund the planes that bomb us in Afghanistan, the tanks that strike and destroy our homes in Palestine, the armies which occupy our lands in the Arabian Gulf, and the fleets which ensure the blockade of Iraq. These tax dollars are given to Israel for it to continue to attack us and penetrate our lands. So the American people are the ones who fund the attacks against us, and they are the ones who oversee the expenditure of these monies in the way they wish, through their elected candidates.”

It should not be forgotten also that, according to the earliest Muslim sources, Muhammad himself engaged in attacks against non-combatants. In 628, he attacked the Jews of the Khaybar oasis, a peaceful farming community who had done nothing to threaten him or his followers. The raid seems to have been carried out just to steal the Jews' wealth. On another occasion, he was questioned as to the permissibility of mounting an attack against his enemies at a time which would put their women and children in danger. He replied simply, “They [i.e. the women and children] are of them [i.e. unbelievers]” (Sahih Bukhari v.4, b.56, no. 3012), which seemed to imply that because they were not Muslims, they could legitimately be killed, as long as the intended targets were unbelievers.

Muhammad is viewed by all Muslims as a supreme example of conduct (Qur'an 33:21), and thus it is not surprising that his example has been used time and time again to justify the actions of jihadists. Yusuf al-Qaradawi made this clear in 2001:

“Allah established in the life of the Prophet Muhammad general, eternal, and all inclusive characteristics, and he gave every human being the possibility to imitate him and take his life as a model...Allah has also made the Prophet Muhammad into an epitome for religious warriors, since he ordered Muhammad to fight for religion.”

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon...