Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Why You CAN (And Should) Choose Your Friends

"War is deceit", the warlord named Muhammad once said, and who would have thought back then, in the seventh century, that those words would still find such fond resonance in the twenty-first century?

There are many lessons to be learned from today's news that three British soldiers have been killed and four injured by a "renegade" Afghan soldier - who was supposed to be on our side - in Afghanistan. That these lessons need to be learned at all is disturbing given that, as the curiously brief "analysis" on the BBC website notes:

This is not the first time this kind of incident has happened.

Last November a member of the Afghan National Police opened fire on British soldiers he was serving alongside. He killed five and seriously injured half a dozen others.

And it's not just us dopey Brits who have sacrificed the lives of our soldiers in this way. In December, Jordanian suicide bomber Humam Khalil al-Balawi killed seven Americans at a CIA base in Afghanistan. The CIA had believed that Balawi was a double agent who was working for them in order to help them infiltrate al-Qaeda. However, it turned out that Balawi was actually infiltrating them instead, and people died as a result. And then, of course, there is Nidal Malik Hassan, a Muslim psychiatrist in the US army who went on a gun-toting jihad rampage at Fort Hood late last year.

These horrible incidents happened, and will continue to happen, because so many Western leaders assume that they know which Muslims are "moderates" and which are "extremists". And yet, as these and other incidents have highlighted, there is actually virtually no reliable way to tell the difference between a genuine moderate Muslim who will never take up arms against you, and a Muslim who may well do such a thing, but just tells you - very convincingly - that he won't.

The Qur'an instructs Muslims not to befriend unbelievers, "except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them.” (3:28) The renowned Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir, who represents a broad strain of mainstream Islamic tradition, explains that this clause refers to “those believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers. In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly.” He goes on to quote a companion of the Prophet Muhammad, who says: “We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.” A more modern scholar, Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi, interprets the verse as follows: “This means that it is lawful for a believer, helpless in the grip of the enemies of Islam and in imminent danger of severe wrong and persecution, to keep his faith concealed and to behave in such a manner as to create the impression that he is on the same side as his enemies.”

Almost a decade of being in Afghanistan has shown us the folly and the futility of trying to get Muslims to like us. After all, their own holy book militates against it, and the ignorance of the British military and its leadership over how many of its Muslim allies are, in the words of Ibn Kathir, smiling in our faces while in their hearts cursing us, is killing our soldiers needlessly and without justification.

Cameron, Obama and all their flunkies like to believe that the Afghans are willing, on the whole, to fight alongside us against the Taliban, despite evidence to the contrary.*

What they fail to see, to the detriment of our soldiers and to us all, is that all the Muslims of Afghanistan read the same Qur'an, and revere the same Prophet, as the Taliban. That is where the problem lies, and it is in combating this problem that the most decisive action must be taken.


* For example, see this AP article which contains the following details:

Neither are the Taliban regarded as an alien force. For many in Kandahar, they are neighbors, friends and relatives.

Haji Raaz Mohammad, a 48-year-old farmer from Kandahar, said he has never understood why the U.S. is trying to drive out the militants.

“I don’t know why they are doing it,” he said. “The Taliban are not outsiders. They are our own people.”

And do not forget, of course, how despite all our efforts to make friends with Afghans by giving them everything they want, they still weren't grateful enough to abstain from violently rioting - in their thousands - over a mere unsubstantiated RUMOUR that infidels had desecrated a Qur'an.

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