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The PJ Tatler

Andrew G. Bostom


September 3, 2013 - 2:11 pm

During a Tuesday (9/3/13) morning appearance on Fox News Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) took umbrage (hat tip Ben Shapiro) at Fox News host Brian Kilmeade’s disgust with Syrian anti-Assad opposition groups shouting “Allahu Akhbar! Allahu Akhbar!” when their rockets apparently shot down a Syrian jet.

To Kilmeade, appropriately, such outcries illustrated the predominant jihadist influence within the coalition of groups opposing the Assad regime. Kilmeade stated,

I have a problem helping those people screaming that [Allahu-Akbar!] after a hit.

A perturbed, if typically feckless McCain replied, without any basic linguistic understanding, or supportive evidence of the rocket launchers’ alleged “moderation,” by making an immoral equivalence to Christianity:

Would you have a problem with an American or Christians saying “thank God? Thank God?” That’s what they’re saying. Come on! Of course they’re Muslims, but they’re moderates and I guarantee you they are moderates.

One of the English translators of the great 14th century Muslim jurist (d. 1350) Ibn Qayyim’s “The Way to Patience and Gratitude” opts for “Allah is Greater” as the specific translation of Allahu Akbar. On page 463, the following explanation is provided:

…I preferred using “the Greater” to “the Greatest”… Allahu Akbar literally means, “Allah is Greater” with the comparative mode. Yet, this does not mean that He (Glory be to Him) is not the Greatest, nor does it mean that there is anything that is put in comparison with Him. This is because when the Muslim says it, he means He is “Greater” than anything else, which, consequently, means He is the Greatest. This use gives more influence. This may be why it is used in Arabic this way, otherwise it should have been used as “Allahu al-Akbar”, in the superlative mode. Surely, Allah Knows best.

E. W. Lane’s classical 19th century Arabic English Lexicon, (p. 2587) elaborates on the preferred “elliptical” meaning:

[Allah] is the greatest great [being] or [Allah] is greater than every other great [being]

“Allahu Akbar” has been employed by Muslims as a jihadist war cry dating from its declaration by Islam’s prophet Muhammad when he made an aggressive proto-jihadist foray on the Jews of the Khaybar oasis. Here is how the phrase has been rendered into English by pious Muslims from the canonical hadith collection (Sahih Bukhari 4:52:195):

Narrated Anas: The Prophet set out for Khaibar and reached it at night. He used not to attack if he reached the people at night, till the day broke. So, when the day dawned, the Jews came out with their bags and spades. When they saw the Prophet; they said, “Muhammad and his army!” The Prophet said, “Allahu-Akbar! (Allah is Greater) and Khaybar is ruined, for whenever we approach a nation (i.e. enemy to fight) then it will be a miserable morning for those who have been warned.”

The willful intellectual and moral blindness of U.S. political and military leaders to the doctrine of jihad—epitomized by John McCain—continues to engender self-destructive “solutions” to global jihad depredations, in Syria, and across the globe.

Andrew Bostom ( is the author of The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims (2005/2008) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History (2008).

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All Comments   (9)
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McCain is a moron who spouts whatever will get him re-elected.

The Brits shouted ST GEORGE the French shouted ST DENNIS
The Berserkers shouted horrible things about your mother.

I don't really care that Islamists shout that their demon pig god is greater.
Who cares?
Who cares is their idea of swearing is to enthusiastically state that there is only one god and Muhammad is his prophet or to call out ollie ollie umphantree or whatever.
I don't care.

Islam is Not a religion anyway. It's an early WMD. There is no god Allah. Islam was created by Muhammad after he observed the Christian martyrs and brilliantly calculated that an army of warrior martyrs would be something to put on any battlefield.
So he made the whole thing up: Muhammad was the ONLY prophet and to get to god you had no choice but to go through Muhammad (wasn't that convenient), Stark male dominance, warrior class perks, Warrior-fanatic super class as a higher order of men, suppression of all infidels, and of course martyrdom and a slew of virgin boys to play with.

Muhammad made the whole thing up to manipulate weaker minds into becoming his willing death commandos. Anyone who calls themselves muslim is a fool whose religious inclinations have been hijacked by a murderous but brilliant sociopath. Even Ron Hubbard couldn't have done it better.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I heard somebody make a great comment on talk radio yesterday. Just walk into any McCain HQ or Senate office, and start screaming "Allahu Akbar!" at the top of your longs, and see if how they react.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Whether or not McCain knows the actual translation of "allahu akbar", he does know how it is frequently used by adherents of that belief system. It is massively disingenuous to suggest that it is equivalent to "thank God".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Before everybody goes off half cocked -- I was an Arabic linguist in the US Army in the mid-Eighties. During my stint at DLI, I came across numerous Muslim language instructors. They all said "Allahu Akbar" all the time. If you crack a joke and they get it, they might laugh and clap their hands while saying "Allahu Akbar". If you tell them something remarkable, they might respond with "ajeeb!" (amazing!) or "Allahu Akbar!" It's as common as an old school evangelical Christian saying "Glory be!" So the mere fact that someone is crying out "Allahu Akbar" while shooting off a mortar round doesn't mark him as Al Qa'idah. Any Sunni who has been oppressed by the Alawi (which they ALL view with deep suspicion) regime of the Asad's could have said that

But, like everybody else, I take issue with McCain's inept (and probably inadvertent) equivalence between shouting "Allahu Akbar" while firing off a artillery shell that may kill someone and a Christian saying "Thank God" When's the last time any Christian said that or "In the name of Jesus"while in the process of killing someone. That part was unforgiveable
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yeah John, like every Christian in combat I have ever known yelled "God is great" or "Thank God" for letting me kill someone. How can any human get to be this stupid?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
McCain is a disgrace as is Kerry to America. Fools like these will destroy what's left of America.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Juan McCain, and Faux News: Allah means the god. The god of what? The god of the Kaaba. One of 360 gods at the time of Muhammad Islam's perfect man.

Allah Akbar menas the god is greater than all the other gods of the Kaaba. The god is known to History as the moon god Sin. Muhammad's Uncle is named after it.

Now Juan, when Christians say thank G-d, they are referring to the G-d of Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Not the god of the Kaaba. OK?

There are no Islamic fanatics, it is Muslims following Muhammad. A mad man who raped, and murdered. The only extremists within Islam are called Apostates.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just cut to the chase: it's the war cry of the Islamist fanatics.

How often you you see pro-regime elements crying out AA when they put the hammer down on the jihadis?

I've yet to see it.

But, they're Muslims, too.

It's as a unique identifier as currently available for an un-uniformed crowd.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I can guarantee John McCain is a useful idiot. And it matters not one wit to me what the jihadies yell out, I only care that it be the last words they utter, EVER...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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