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Nihad Awad of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has claimed that “research has shown that anti-Islam prejudice goes down when people interact with ordinary Muslims and have greater knowledge of Islam.” Accordingly, he says, “it might also be a good idea for Americans of other faiths to borrow a Quran from a Muslim friend, neighbor or co-worker. In that way, knowledge may be increased as bonds of friendship are formed.”

Awad is right. Americans should read the Quran. If they did, they would find that it makes sense of a great many recent events that might otherwise remain inexplicable, bereft of clear motive or purpose.

5. The kidnapped aid workers in Syria.

It was revealed Thursday that two young aid workers from Italy, Greta Ramelli, 20, and Vanessa Marzullo, 21, were kidnapped in Aleppo by Islamic jihadists. Western non-Muslim analysts routinely cite such stories as evidence of the evil of the jihadis — or else as evidence of how self-defeating their jihad is, if they would even try to drive out of their lands the people who have come there to help.

But the Quran makes the reasoning behind the abductions clear. Islam’s holy book directs Muslims to wage war against unbelievers, killing them by beheading and taking captives who may then be freed or ransomed: “Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when ye have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the war lay down its burdens” (47:4).

Islamic law has elaborated from these passages four options for the treatment of captives:

As for the captives, the amir [ruler] has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first, to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale and manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them. Allah, may he be exalted, says, “When you encounter those [infidels] who deny [Islam] then strike [their] necks” (Qur’an sura 47, verse 4) (Abu’l-Hasan al-Mawardi, The Laws of Islamic Governance).

The decision as to what is “most beneficial” is made on the basis of what is most beneficial for Islam. But whatever decision is made, under Islamic law, the abductions themselves are not crimes. Two naïve young Italian girls in a jihadist-controlled area of Syria – from the jihadist perspective, there would be no downside to abducting them. The only possible negative effect could be a suspension of Western aid, but jihad groups watch the West closely, and know by now that there is essentially nothing they can possibly to do stop that aid from flowing.