Despite how unsavory and barbaric Islamic groups and persons around the world have been behaving—whether Nigeria’s Boko Haram, Mesopotamia’s Islamic State, Somalia’s Shabaab—perhaps few things are as disgusting and cowardly as the Muslim rape of nuns: defenseless Christian women who sacrifice much of their lives to help sick and needy Muslims.
The latest such attack comes from Bangladesh, which is over 90% Muslim in population. In early July, dozens of men armed with machetes, knives and iron rods attacked the convent of PIME (Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions nuns in Boldipuku), a village mission in north Bangladesh.
“The nuns were beaten and molested, ending when police arrived,” reported Bishop Sebastian Tudu.
Catholic Online has the complete story:
[S]ome 60 men attempted to loot the building and rape the nuns… The attackers first tied the hands and legs of the mission’s two night watchmen and gagged them in the early morning hours. They then broke down the door of the room where the assistant pastor Father Anselmo Marandy was sleeping. They then raided the convent located in the mission campus…. Three PIME nuns suffered attempted rape and were sent to their provincial house in Dhaka, the national capital where they are trying to overcome the shock and mental suffering. “It’s very sad that the sisters cannot continue to work for the people, but our sisters are no longer safe,” Rosaline Costa, a Catholic human rights activist lamented. Local Christians are currently living in fear since the attack. Christians form only 0.8 percent of Dinajpur district’s three million people.
Although some of those quoted in the Catholic Online report portray this attack is “unprecedented,” the fact is, nuns raped by Muslims is a phenomenon that goes back centuries. According to Muslim historian Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi (1364-1442), during his raids on then Christian-majority Egypt, Caliph Marwan II (r.744–50) “made captive a number of women from among the nuns of several convents. And he tried to seduce one of them.”
The account describes how the enslaved nun tricked him into killing her, by claiming she had a magic oil that make skin impenetrable: “She then took some oil and anointed herself with it; then stretched out her neck, which he smote with the sword, and made her head fly. He then understood that she preferred death to defilement.”
Writing in the tenth century, the Coptic chronicler Severus ibn Muqaffa records that “the Arabs [i.e., Muslims] in the land of Egypt had ruined the country…. They burnt the fortresses and pillaged the provinces, and killed a multitude of the saintly monks who were in them [monasteries] and they violated a multitude of the virgin nuns and killed some of them with the sword.”
After the Islamic conquest of Constantinople in 1453, according to eyewitness accounts, “Monasteries and Convents were broken in. Their tenants were killed, nuns were raped, many, to avoid dishonor, killed themselves. Killing, raping, looting, burning, enslaving, went on and on according to tradition.”
Such is history—expunged as it is in the modern West—even as it repeats itself today. Thus, in August 2013, after torching a Franciscan school in Egypt, “Islamists,” in the words of the AP, “paraded three nuns on the streets like ‘prisoners of war’” and “Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.”
Indeed, the rise in attacks on Christian nuns throughout the Islamic world further demonstrates that they are no more inviolable than other “infidel” women:
- Somalia: In response to Pope Benedict’s historical quotes which, like so many other things so enraged the Islamic world, Muslims in Somalia shot Leonella Sgarbati—a 66-year-old nun who had devoted 30 years of her life working in Africa—in her back. Her last words before dying in hospital were: “I forgive; I forgive.”
- Pakistan: In September 2012, gunmen on motorbikes dressed in green (Islam’s color) opened fire on the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cathedral in Hyderabad, murdering at least 28 people. Their immediate target was a nun, Mother Christina.
- Libya: In February 2013, after the fall of Col. Gaddafi, Islamic rebels threatened nuns into fleeing the nation. They had been there since 1921, focused primarily on helping the sick and needy.
- Palestinian Authority: Last year, nuns of the Greek-Orthodox monastery in Bethany sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urging him to respond to the escalation of attacks on the Christian house, including the throwing of stones, broken glass, theft and looting of the monastery property.
- Philippines: In an article discussing a Christmas Day church bombing in a Muslim-majority region, we learn that the jihadi group responsible “has been blamed for several bomb attacks on the Roman Catholic cathedral in Jolo since the early 2000s and for kidnapping priests and nuns.”
- Guinea: In June 2013, during a mob-led frenzy, Christians and their churches were savagely attacked in the Muslim-majority nation—with some 95 Christians slain and 130 wounded—including “the quarters of the nuns, [which] was looted before being torched.”
- Syria: Islamic rebels forcibly abducted 13 Christian nuns and three maids, holding them captive for three months. They were finally released after the Bashar government agreed to release some 150 female criminals in exchange.
The above examples come from several countries that have little in common with one another—neither race, language, culture, nor economics—only Islam.
That alone should say something.
But no matter. Far from discussing Islamic history and doctrine, and how they tie to current events—especially the subhuman treatment of non-Muslim “infidels”—the predominant Western mentality simply dismisses Muslim violence as the West’s fault, or, in the words of ex-nun Karen Armstrong and Islamic apologist extraordinaire, “We did this.” Armstrong—who quit the nunnery only to engage in pro-Islamic mummery—insists that what’s needed is for us to focus more on “Muslim pain, Muslim suffering.”
Such, according to the leftist mentality, are the “real” reasons why, wherever Muslim-majorities live near non-Muslim minorities, from the dawn of Islam till today, the latter are being attacked into extinction.
Nearly three-and-a-half years ago, before the “Arab Spring” and the plight of Christians became much of a topic, I wrote an article titled “The Silent Extermination of Iraq’s ‘Christian Dogs.’” Revisiting it is useful, as it highlights some important points. The article follows below in italics, with new observations interspersed in regular font:
Last week [April, 2011] an Iraqi Muslim scholar issued a fatwa that, among other barbarities, asserts that “it is permissible to spill the blood of Iraqi Christians.” Inciting as the fatwa is, it is also redundant. While last October’s Baghdad church attack which killed some sixty Christians is widely known—actually receiving some MSM coverage—the fact is, Christian life in Iraq has been a living hell ever since U.S. forces ousted the late Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The important point here is that the plight of Iraq’s Christians did not just begin under the Islamic State, as many seem to believe, but rather from the very first day the (secular) autocrat was removed.
Among other atrocities, beheading and crucifying Christians are not irregular occurrences; messages saying “you Christian dogs, leave or die,” are typical. Islamists see the church as an “obscene nest of pagans” and threaten to “exterminate Iraqi Christians.” John Eibner, CEO of Christian Solidarity International, summarized the situation well in a recent letter to President Obama:
“The threat of extermination is not empty. Since the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, more than half the country’s Christian population has been forced by targeted violence to seek refuge abroad or to live away from their homes as internally displaced people. According to the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, over 700 Christians, including bishops and priests, have been killed and 61 churches have been bombed. Seven years after the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Catholic Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk reports: ‘He who is not a Muslim in Iraq is a second-class citizen. Often it is necessary to convert or emigrate, otherwise one risks being killed.’ This anti-Christian violence is sustained by a widespread culture of Muslim supremacism that extends far beyond those who pull the triggers and detonate the bombs.”
Again, more confirmation that the savage persecution of Christians in Iraq—including recent acts of genocide and expulsions—is not a product of the Islamic State, but rather something more homegrown, more—how shall we say?—integral to Muslims unloosed from the grips of secularized dictators?
The grand irony, of course, is that Christian persecution has increased exponentially under U.S. occupation. As one top Vatican official put it, Christians, “paradoxically, were more protected under the dictatorship” of Saddam Hussein.
What does one make of this—that under Saddam, who was notorious for human rights abuses, Christians were better off than they are under a democratic government sponsored by humanitarian, some would say “Christian,” America?
Although I first suggested over three years ago that Christian minorities are the first to suffer whenever the U.S. intervenes in Islamic nations—evincing the types of people the U.S. ends up empowering—this notion is now an ironclad fact, with other examples to add to Iraq, including Libya, Syria, and Egypt under Obama allies, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Like a Baghdad caliph, Saddam appears to have made use of the better educated Christians, who posed no risk to his rule, such as his close confidant Tariq Aziz. Moreover, by keeping a tight lid on the Islamists of his nation—who hated him as a secular apostate no less than the Christians—the latter benefited indirectly.
Conversely, by empowering “the people,” the U.S. has unwittingly undone Iraq’s Christian minority. Naively projecting Western values on Muslims, U.S. leadership continues to think that “people-power” will naturally culminate into a liberal, egalitarian society—despite all the evidence otherwise. The fact is, in the Arab/Muslim world, “majority rule” traditionally means domination by the largest tribe or sect; increasingly, it means Islamist domination.
Either which way, the minorities—notably the indigenous Christians—are the first to suffer once the genie of “people-power” is uncorked. Indeed, evidence indicates that the U.S. backed “democratic” government of Iraq enables and incites the persecution of its Christians. (All of this raises the pivotal question: Do heavy-handed tyrants—Saddam, Mubarak, Qaddafi, et al—create brutal societies, or do naturally brutal societies create the need for heavy-handed tyrants to keep order?)
Again, a reminder that it is not just the Islamic jihadis and other U.S. sponsored “rebels” that persecute Christians, but even the U.S. installed government of Iraq. Moreover, a few months after the above was written, the government of “liberated” Afghanistan destroyed the last Christian church—entirely under U.S. auspices.
Another indicator that empowering Muslim masses equates Christian suffering is the fact that, though Iraqi Christians amount to a mere 5% of the population, they make up nearly 40% of the refugees fleeing Iraq. It is now the same in Egypt: “A growing number of Egypt’s 8-10 million Coptic Christians are looking for a way to get out as Islamists increasingly take advantage of the nationalist revolution that toppled long-standing dictator Hosni Mubarak in February.”
At least Egypt’s problems are homegrown, whereas the persecution of Iraq’s Christians is a direct byproduct of U.S. intervention. More ironic has been Obama’s approach: Justifying U.S. intervention in Libya largely in humanitarian terms, the president recently declared that, while “it is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs… that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right.”
Indeed, and we have since seen what Obama’s “humanitarian” actions in Libya have led to—the empowerment of Islamists and jihadis, evinced from things like the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the dramatic rise of Christian persecution. Since Obama “liberated” Libya, Christians—including Americans—have been tortured and killed (including for refusing to convert) and churches bombed. And it’s “open season” on Copts, as jihadis issue a reward to Muslims who find and kill Christians. This was hardly the case under Gaddafi.
True, indeed. Yet, as Obama “acts on behalf of what’s right” by providing military protection to the al-Qaeda connected Libyan opposition, Iraq’s indigenous Christians continue to be exterminated—right under the U.S. military’s nose in Iraq. You see, in its ongoing bid to win the much coveted but forever elusive “Muslim-hearts-and-minds™”—which Obama has even tasked NASA with—U.S. leadership has opted to ignore the inhumane treatment of Islam’s “Christian dogs,” the mere mention of which tends to upset Muslims.
And now the job is largely done, as Christians and other religious minorities are being cleansed from large parts of Iraq, not to mention much of the Islamic world.
I recently spent some time watching Shark Week on television. Being fascinated with large predatory fish, I’ve watched many shark programs throughout the years. And I’ve reached one conclusion: the “liberal” response one is accustomed to when the topics of Islam, Islamists, and their law, Sharia, come up—that they are misunderstood, that we need to respect their ways and be tolerant, that it’s our fault we get attacked—has become so embedded in the Western psyche that it now colors our understanding of the animal world as well.
Almost every shark program follows the same pattern: the large predators are portrayed in all their grandeur, roaming the seas; then we hear of several anecdotes of shark attacks on humans, often with the survivors recounting their experience.
The prevalent theme is this: it’s not the shark’s fault that it attacked and maimed this or that surfer, swimmier, or kayaker. Rather, humans are responsible for entering the shark’s domain, the ocean. If anything, then, it’s the human’s fault for getting attacked. Even great whites, so we are assured, only attack humans by mistake, never intentionally. Finally we get the speech about how sharks are in fact the one’s being mistreated by humans, etc.
To those familiar with the way liberal talking heads constantly whitewash the violence and intolerance of Islam, does this not all sound familiar? From the notion that “it’s our fault” we got attacked, and we “had it coming,” to the idea that we need to be more “understanding and respectful,” the “progressive” memes are all there.
Similarly, two types of survivors often recount their experiences. Most explain how they do not at all blame the shark that attacked them; more magnanimously, others say that, since they lost this or that appendage, they have dedicated their lives to protecting sharks.
The second, more atypical kind of survivors openly demonize sharks and come off less “enlightened.” Such was this one Australian survivor I watched, who seemed the quintessential “hillbilly”—missing teeth and all. He appeared on one of the programs emphatically declaring that all sharks are “evil.” In other words, he was something of an ignorant, bigoted “sharkaphobe.”
One important caveat: I am not “hating on” sharks, suggesting they are “evil,” or siding with this or that perspective. But as a rational person, I know that sharks—especially great whites, bulls, and tigers—are dangerous creatures. As animals of instinct, I do not believe they have the capacity to act “good” or “evil,” but I do not doubt that, given the chance and especially if hungry, they will attack and eat humans. (See this atypical article, for example, which suggests that “thousands of missing drowning victims actually die of shark attacks.”)
Rather, the point here is that this business of always apologizing for Islamic violence, insisting that it is some sort of misunderstanding, which “enlightened” Western persons should be patient of if not completely overlook, has so penetrated society that it has metastasized to almost anything and everything that is potentially dangerous, including ravenous sharks.
Nor does the analogy end here. When Western liberals hold Muslims to a lower standard than the rest of humanity—ignoring the beheadings, massacres, rapes, enslavements, and church burnings habitually committed by the likes of the Islamic State, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, et al.—are they not, in essence, placing such Muslims on a “subhuman” level? Are they not, in essence, saying that they are like brute and instinctive animals—sharks for instance—not to be held responsible for their actions?
In the end, however, the shark analogy fails. After all, sharks attack and kill for survival—like the rest of us carnivores—whereas the Islamists intentionally attack, torture, rape, massacre, mutilate, and incinerate humans simply for not being Muslim.
That is the definition of evil.
Raymond Ibrahim was recently interviewed by Fronda, a leading website in Poland. The English-language version of the Polish interview, originally titled “Raymond Ibrahim: Prostration before Islam,” follows:
Who is Raymond Ibrahim? A scholar, a writer, an activist? What is his mission and the main goal?
I am a little of all that and more. Due to my background, academic and personal, I have had a long interest in the Middle East and Islam, especially the historic and contemporary interaction between Islam and Christianity. After the strikes of September 11, 2001, I took an interest in the current events of the region vis-à-vis the West, and what immediately struck me was how, on the one hand, the conflict was almost identical to the historic conflict, one of continuity—at least that is how many Muslims were portraying it.
But on the other hand, in the West, the narrative was very different and based on a “new paradigm,” one that saw Islam and Muslims as perpetual victims of all sorts of outside and material pressures, mostly from the West. Thus the analyses that were being disseminated through media and academia were to my mind immensely flawed and, while making perfect sense to people in the West—for they were articulated through Western, secular, materialistic paradigms—had little to do with reality as I saw and understood it.
That was one of the reasons I left academia and began writing for more popular audiences, to try to offer a corrective to these flawed narratives. My first book, The Al Qaeda Reader (2007), was meant to do precisely this—to compare the words of al-Qaeda as delivered to the West and as delivered to fellow Muslims, and to show how when speaking to the West, al-Qaeda and other Islamists used Western arguments, claiming any number of grievances, political and otherwise, as being the source of their jihad. Obviously such arguments, widely disseminated by Western mainstream media, made perfect sense to the West.
But al-Qaeda’s Arabic writings that I discovered when I was working at the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., and which I translated for the book, made completely different arguments, basically saying that, irrespective of all grievances, Muslims must hate and wage jihad on all non-Muslim “infidels” until they come under Islamic authority, according to the worldview of Sharia, or Islamic law.
So in a way, you can say my mission since then has been to open Western eyes to the truths and reality of Islam—at least the reality of how it is understood and practiced by many Muslims—for Western eyes have been closed shut in recent times.
You have a dual background. You were born and raised in the U.S. by parents who were born and raised in a Coptic community in Egypt. Are you the ‘clash of civilizations’ personified? What kind of advantages and disadvantages does such an identity and upbringing lead do?
That’s an interesting way of putting it. Along with obvious benefits—being bilingual (Arabic and English), for example—yes, I do believe my background gives me more subtle advantages. Growing up cognizant of both worlds and cultures has, I believe, imparted a higher degree of objectivity to my thinking. Most people’s worldviews are colored by whichever culture they are immersed in—hence exactly why so many Western people tend to project their own values on the Islamic world, convinced that any violence and intolerance that comes from that region must be a product of some sort of socio-political or economic “grievance”—some sort of material, not religious, factor. While I understand, appreciate and participate in Western values and norms, because of my “dual” background, I also cannot project such values and norms on non-Western peoples (and vice-versa, of course).
This has caused my worldview to be, I believe, more neutral and objective, less colored by cultural values and references. Conversely, I have, so far, not encountered any notable disadvantages from such a background—other than perhaps being overly objective and not always able to participate in the common.
In addition to numerous articles in a variety of media, you are also the author of two books. The last one, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians argues that martyrdom is not a thing from the past. It is not a book with a happy ending, is it?
I prefer to think of it as a dire wake up call to the West. The topic of Muslim persecution of Christians is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. In Crucified Again, I look at the history of this phenomenon, the Islamic scriptures that support it, and the modern era. And what I find and document is unwavering continuity. According to Islamic teaching, Christians and other non-Muslims are “infidels,” and as such, they are seen as at best third class subjects in Islamic states. They cannot build or renovate churches, display crosses or Bibles; they have to pay tribute with humility, according to Koran 9:29; they cannot speak well of Christianity or criticize Islam. They are even required to give up their seats to a Muslim if he demands it, according to strict Islamic teaching (and as found in the “Conditions of Omar,” an important text that discusses how Christian minorities are to be treated under Islam).
Now if you look at history—as recorded by early Arabic/Islamic historians—you will see that that is exactly how Christians were treated under Islam for centuries; that is exactly how nations like Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and all of north Africa, went from being Christian majority to Muslim majority over the centuries: most Christians opted to convert to Islam rather than constantly suffer from third-class status as well as sporadic persecution.
And today, what we are seeing is simply the ongoing continuation of history, as Christians continue to be persecuted, continue to dwindle in numbers in lands that were Christian centuries before Western Europe embraced the faith. Yet, according to Western analysts, etc., all of this is some sort of “misunderstanding” or because Muslims are angry about Israel—anything and everything but codified religious intolerance, even though the latter is so well documented, doctrinally, historically, and in current events.
There are many initiatives aimed at bringing the ‘spirit of dialogue’ between the religions. In the Catholic Church we even celebrate a Day of Islam. What is your opinion on this kind of inter-faith outreach? Will it be successful in decreasing the persecution of Christians or helping individuals like Asia Bibi?
No, it will exacerbate Christian persecution. From my perspective, the more the West and/or Christianity kowtow to Islam—and that is what modern day “interfaith outreach” often amounts to—the more aggressive that religion becomes.
Here, again, is another example of Westerners projecting their norms onto others, namely, Muslims. In the Western paradigm, itself an offshoot of Christianity, showing tolerance and forgiveness will supposedly cause some sort of reciprocation from the one being forgiven and tolerated—since everything is always supposedly a “misunderstanding.” Yet in Islam, might has always made right, and “tolerance” has always been seen as sign of equivocation or weakness—a lack of conviction. If Christians praise Islam, so many Muslims conclude, that is because they feel it is the truth—not because they are trying to find commonalities, a paradigm that is foreign to classical Islam, which sees the world in terms of right (Islam) and wrong (non-Islam).
Again, history sheds some light on this. In the medieval era, there were Christians like Francis of Assisi who tried to have dialogue with Muslims—but in order to get to the truth, including by asking hard questions about Islam often in the context of Christian teaching. Such dialogue is of course admirable because it is sincere. But trying to have dialogue in order to find and parade some minor “commonalities”—while overlooking and ignoring the fundamental differences, which are much more immense and the true sources of conflict—is simply a game of wasting time.
In your writings regarding the Muslim persecutions of Christians, two themes are constantly recurring. Firstly, you claim that it constitutes “an elephant in the room” and secondly you believe that liberal academia and media are biased “whitewashing Islam and blaming the West” for Islamic attacks against non-Muslims. Can you explain the reasons for such arguments?
It’s the “elephant in the room” because few things show such remarkable continuity between the past and the present—while still being thoroughly ignored and treated as an aberration by academia, media, and government—as Muslim persecution of Christians. If you look at the true history recorded by both Muslims and Christians during the Medieval era—one Muslim historian tells of how one caliph destroyed 30,000 churches—you will see that the persecution and subjugation of Christians is an ironclad fact of history.
Today, not only do we see Christians persecuted from one end of the Islamic world to the other, but we see the same exact patterns of persecution that Christians experienced centuries ago, including hostility for and restrictions on churches, hostility for the crucifix and other Christian symbols and icons, restrictions on Christian worship and freedom. (I discuss this in more depth here and here.) As for academia and media, they reject modern day persecution of Christians for a plethora of reasons—not least because they tend to be ideologically anti-Christian—but primarily because it contradicts their entire narrative, specifically the notion that, far from being persecuted, Christians themselves are the most intolerant groups, and that Muslims are “misunderstood others” who have been oppressed by the West.
These themes are today so predominant in the West that few can believe they are almost entirely fabricated—but so they are, according to both history and current events, both of which are naturally suppressed or distorted by academia and media in the interest of keeping their ideologically-charged narrative alive.
In her book, Tenth Parallel, Eliza Griswold writes that religion becomes means of political emancipation, especially between the equator and the tenth parallel, where Christianity and Islam meet. So perhaps it is not about spirituality but power?
Again, one need only turn to history, followed by doctrine, to see that mainstream Islam has always been about power. Its founder and prophet, Muhammad, was a warlord, who went on caravan raids and incited his followers to attack and plunder other tribes that rejected his “prophecy,” seizing their property and women and children—and all in the context of “God told me so.” After his death, his followers did the same, giving people three choices: be part of their “team” by converting, or else keep their religious beliefs, but pay tribute and live as third class subjects, or else die. In this context, and over the course of several centuries of jihadi conquest, the Islamic world was forged.
All this is well justified by the Koran and Islamic Sharia. Compare and contrast this with Christianity’s founder, Jesus Christ: far from a warlord, he preached mercy, peace, and spirituality. And that’s one of the problems: Westerners are so well acquainted with Christianity that they tend to project its approach to Islam—naively thinking that all religions must be the same, primarily spiritual, not concerned with the temporal. But Islam is immensely concerned with the temporal—with power.
You have written about conceptual failures dominating the Western discourse on Islam. What are the main fallacies and why are they dangerous?
Along with the aforementioned fallacy of projecting Christian/Western worldviews onto a distinctly different religion/civilization like Islam, secular Westerners almost always try to understand Islam through secular and materialistic paradigms—the only paradigms they themselves are familiar with. Thus the mainstream interpretation in the West is that “radical Islam” is a byproduct of various sorts of material discontent (economic, political, social) and has little to do with the religion itself.
Westerners apparently think this way because the secular, Western experience has been such that people respond with violence primarily when they feel they are politically, economically, or socially oppressed. While true that many non-Western peoples fit into this paradigm, the fact is, the ideologies of Islam have the intrinsic capacity to prompt Muslims to violence and intolerance vis-à-vis the “other,” irrespective of grievances.
Conceptually, then, it must be first understood that many of the problematic ideologies associated with radical Islam trace directly back to Sharia, Islamic law. Jihad as offensive warfare to subjugate “infidels” (non-Muslims); mandated social discrimination against non-Muslim minorities living in Muslim nations (the regulations governing ahl al-dhimma); the obligation to hate non-Muslims—even if a Muslim is married to one—all of these are clearly defined aspects that have historically been part of Islam’s worldview and not “open to interpretation.”
For example, the obligation to wage expansionist jihad is as “open to interpretation” as the obligation to perform the Five Pillars of Islam, including praying and fasting. The same textual sources and methods of jurisprudence that have made it clear that prayer and fasting are obligatory, have also made it clear that jihad is also obligatory; the only difference is that, whereas prayer and fasting is an “individual” duty, jihad is understood to be a “communal” duty (a fard kifaya). All these intricacies must be understood before Westerners can understand Islam on its own terms.
One of the most popular views as to the reasons of Islamic terrorism is that it is based on political and economic grievances. The recipe to achieve the peaceful world would be then to remove the factors contributing to poverty or oppression and this way disarm the ‘relative deprivation’ bomb. Do you think it is feasible?
Again, as mentioned, political and economic grievances may be a reality; yet it is a distinct fact that, wherever Islam is—including in immensely rich nations like the Gulf nations—violence and intolerance of non-Muslims exist. For example, Christian persecution around the world today is being committed at the hands of Muslims of all races, languages, cultures, and socio-political circumstances: Muslims from among America’s allies (Saudi Arabia) and its enemies (Iran); Muslims from economically rich nations (Qatar) and from poor nations (Somalia and Yemen); Muslims from “Islamic republic” nations (Afghanistan) and from “moderate” nations (Malaysia and Indonesia); Muslims from nations rescued by America (Kuwait) and Muslims claiming “grievances” against America. Moreover, much of the underdeveloped world is suffering from economic, political, and social problems—and yet it is the Islamic world where terrorism in the name of God (Allah) is rampant. One does not hear of, say, disenfranchised Cuban dissidents crashing explosive-laden vehicles into government buildings—while screaming Jesus is great. Yet sceams of Allah is great in the context of terror attacks are ubiquitous.
You have devoted one of your publications to the concept of taqiyya. Can you explain what taqiyya is and why is it important to know it in the West?
Although Muslims are exhorted to be truthful, taqiyya is an Islamic doctrine that permits them to deceive non-Muslims, who by nature are deemed enemies. Some Western scholars and apologists for Islam insist that taqiyya is a very arcane teaching developed by Shi’a and to be used only when their lives are in danger. In reality, however, taqiyya—as well as its sister teaching, tawriya—is used by mainstream Islam (Sunnism) and gives Muslims great freedom to deceive infidels if the deception can be rationalized as a way to help empower Islam over non-Muslims.
Normative Islamic teaching is so that, almost anything can be rationalized as permissible—for example “martyrdom operations” (even though suicide is banned by Islam)—as long as they can be perceived as helping empower Islam. Islamic prophet Muhammad himself permitted deceit, including to one’s wife. One of the few Arabic language books devoted to the subject, At-Taqiyya fi’l-Islam (Dissimulation in Islam) makes it clear that taqiyya is hardly limited to Shi‘a dissimulating in fear of persecution. Written by Sami Mukaram, a former Islamic studies professor at the American University of Beirut and author of some twenty-five books on Islam, the opening sentences of the book clearly demonstrate the ubiquity and broad applicability of taqiyya: “Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it … We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream … Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.”
Do you have any words of advice to countries like Poland where the influence of Islam is still relatively weak but increasing due to immigration and certain radicalization of indigenous Muslim groups (e.g. Polish Tatars stopped their traditional prayers for Poland which used to be their custom)?
My advice is to take heed of what I call “Islam’s Rule of Numbers,” which is basically the unwavering, statistical fact that, the more Muslims grow in numbers (and thus strength), the more aggressive they become. In the U.S., for example, where Muslims are less than 1% of the population, acts of Islamic intolerance are relatively uncommon. Islamic assertiveness is limited to political activism dedicated to portraying Islam as a “religion of peace,” the painting of any and all critics as “Islamophobes,” and sporadic, but clandestine, acts of terror.
In some Western European nations, where Muslims make for much larger minorities—for example, the UK and France—open violence and religious intolerance is common. But because they are still a vulnerable minority, Islamic violence is always placed in the context of “grievances,” a word that, as we have seen, pacifies Westerners.
Where Muslim numbers reach 35-50% of a population, the full-blown jihad is often declared, as in Nigeria, which although is half Christian half Muslim is also one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. In short, Islamic aggressiveness is very much a product of Islamic strength in numbers. I discussed this at length here.
Inevitably one stumbles upon the ‘so what?’ question. Nobody persecutes Christians in France and churches are not burnt in Germany. It is doubtful that Europe will be washed away with the waves of Islam. To the contrary, it looks like Europe wants to leave religions behind. Would you not say so?
Much of this view is based on selfishness, of the modern West’s egoistic and highly individualistic worldview. What such people are really saying is that, by and large, if nothing changes and people remain indifferent, they themselves and their generation will go through life fine without much worry from the Islamic question. But this position also shows absolute indifference to future generations and the world they will inherit. In short, yes, most Europeans today may not personally suffer from Islam. But they are opening the floodgates wide to the potential suffering of their descendants.
Is jizya—the money non-Muslims historically paid their Muslim conquerors—meant to buy them “protection,” including from outside enemies, as modern Western academics maintain? Or was it simply extortion money meant to buy non-Muslims their lives, as Islam’s scriptures mandate?
The word jizya appears in Koran 9:29: “Fight those among the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth, until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued(emphasis added).”
In the hadith, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, regularly calls on Muslims to demand jizya of non-Muslims: “If they refuse to accept Islam,” said the Islamic prophet, “demand from them the jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay jizya, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”
Keeping the above in mind, consider the following July 18 report from Reuters:
Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq’s dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul….
It said Christians who wanted to remain in the “caliphate” that the Islamic State declared this month in parts of Iraq and Syria must agree to abide by terms of a “dhimma” contract—a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as “jizya.”
“We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword,” the announcement said.
“After this date [July 19], there is nothing between us and them but the sword,” it said.
The Nineveh decree echoes one that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the former name for the Islamic State, issued in the Syrian city of Raqqa in February, demanding that Christians pay the jizya levy in gold and curb displays of their faith in return for protection.
Note how straightforward the Islamic State’s words are—jizya, conversion, or death—compared to the language of Reuters, which twice invokes the concept of “protection” without explaining from whom: 1) “a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as “jizya”; 2) “demanding that Christians pay the jizya levy in gold and curb displays of their faith in return for protection.”
Reuters doesn’t bother to clarify this notion of “protection,” but rather leaves it vague, implying that the protection Christians receive is against some random elements.
The reason for this obfuscation is that Mideast academics in the West have been whitewashing the meaning of jizya for decades. After all, the concept of jizya is one of the most ironclad proofs that Islam is innately intolerant of non-Muslims.
A very typical Western definition for jizya can be found in the Encyclopaedia Britannica: “The Muslim rulers tolerated the dhimmis [conquered non-Muslims] and allowed them to practice their religion. In return for protection [from whom?] and as a mark of their submission, the dhimmis were required to pay a special poll tax known as the jizya.”
Other academics have gone so far as to claim that non-Muslims paid jizya to buy Muslim protection against outside forces. Consider the following excerpt from John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. It essentially makes the idea of being subjugated to Islamic overlords and paying them tribute appear as an enviable position for non-Muslim minorities:
In many ways, local populations [Christians, Jews, and others] found Muslim rule more flexible and tolerant than that of Byzantium and Persia. Religious communities were free to practice their faith to worship and be governed by their religious leaders and laws in such areas as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In exchange, they were required to pay tribute, a poll tax (jizya) that entitled them to Muslim protection from outside aggression and exempted them from military service. Thus, they were called the “protected ones” (dhimmi). In effect, this often meant lower taxes, greater local autonomy (emphasis added) …
The idea that jizya was extracted in order to buy “Muslim protection from outside aggression” is an outright lie—one that, as the equivocal tone of the aforementioned Reuters report indicates, has taken root in the West.
Equally false is Esposito’s assertion that jizya was paid to “exempt them from military service”—as if conquering Muslims would even want or allow their despised “infidel” subjects to fight alongside them in the name of jihad without first converting to Islam.
The root meaning of the Arabic word “jizya” is simply to “repay” or “recompense,” basically to “compensate” for something. According to the Hans Wehr Dictionary, the standard Arabic-English dictionary, jizya is something that “takes the place” of something else, or “serves instead.”
Simply put, conquered non-Muslims were to purchase their lives, which were otherwise forfeit to their Muslim conquerors, with money. Instead of taking their lives, they took their money. As one medieval jurist succinctly puts it, “their lives and their possessions are only protected by reason of payment of jizya” (Crucified Again, p. 22).
So jizya was, and is indeed, protection money—though protection, not from outsiders, as Esposito and others claim, but from surrounding Muslims themselves. Whether it’s the first caliphate from over a millennium ago or whether it’s the newest caliphate, the Islamic State, Muslim overlords continue to deem the lives of their non-Muslim subjects forfeit unless they purchase it, ransom it with money.
There is nothing humane, reasonable, or admirable about demands for jizya from conquered non-Muslim minorities, as the academics claim. Jizya is simply extortion money. Its purpose has always been to provide non-Muslims with protection from Muslims: pay up, or else become one of us and convert to Islam, or else die.
And it is commanded in both the Koran and Hadith, the twin pillars of Islam.
In short, jizya is an ugly fact of Islam—one that, distort as they may, the academics can’t whitewash away, even as the world stands idly by watching its resumption in the twenty-first century.
Days before the recent Israel/Hamas conflict erupted, the Presbyterian Church USA withdrew $21 million worth in investments from Israel because, as spokesman Heath Rada put it, the Israeli government’s actions “harm the Palestinian people.”
Soon after, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and was asked if he was “troubled” by the Presbyterian Church’s move. Netanyahu responded:
It should trouble all people of conscience and morality because it’s so disgraceful. You know, you look at what’s happening in the Middle East and I think most Americans understand this, they see this enormous area riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions. Then you come to Israel and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians—Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. So most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation. You know I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice, one is, make sure it’s an armor plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christians.
It’s difficult—if not impossible—to argue with Netanyahu’s logic. Indeed, several points made in his one-minute response are deserving of some reflection.
First, the obvious: why is it that self-professed Christians completely ignore the horrific Islamic persecution of fellow Christians in the Middle East, while grandstanding against the Jewish state for trying to defend itself against the same ideology that persecutes Christians?
And he is absolutely right to say that the persecution of Christians in the Mideast has reached a point of “savagery of unimaginable proportions.” Perhaps the only thing more shocking than the atrocities Mideast Christians are exposed to—the slaughters, crucifixions, beheadings, torture and rape—is the absolute silence emanating from so-called mainline Protestant churches in the U.S.
Note also the nations Netanyahu highlighted for their brutal persecution of Christian minorities: Libya, Syria, and Iraq. Indigenous Christians were markedly better off in all three nations before the U.S. got involved, specifically be empowering, deliberately or not, Islamist forces. Now,according to recent studies, Christians in all three nations are experiencing the worst form of persecution around the globe:
- Libya: Ever since U.S.-backed, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists overthrew Gaddafi, Christians—including Americans—have been tortured and killed (including for refusing to convert) and churches bombed. It’s “open season” on Copts, as jihadis issue a reward to Muslims who find and kill Christians. This was not the case under Gaddafi.
- Syria: Christians have been attacked in indescribable ways—wholesale massacres, bombed and desecrated churches, beheadings, crucifixions, and rampant kidnappings—since the U.S.-sponsored “Arab Spring” reached the Levant.
- Iraq: After the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein, Christian minorities were savagely attacked and slaughtered, and dozens of their churches were bombed (see here for graphic images). In the last decade, Christians have been terrorized into near-extinction, with well over half of them fleeing Iraq.
If the Presbyterian Church has problems with governments that persecute people—in this case, the Israeli government’s purported treatment of Palestinians, hence the Presbyterian Church’s divestment from Israel—perhaps it should begin by criticizing its own government’s proxy war on fellow Christiansin the Middle East.
Christians are also being targeted in the P.A. territories—by the very same elements the Presbyterian Church is trying to defend.
In 2012, for example, a pastor noted that “animosity towards the Christian minority in areas controlled by the P.A. continues to get increasingly worse. People are always telling [Christians],Convert to Islam. Convert to Islam.” And in fact, the kidnapping and forced conversions of Christians in Gaza is an ugly reality.”
More recently, nuns of the Greek-Orthodox monastery in Bethany sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urging him to respond to the escalation of attacks on the Christian house, including the throwing of stones, broken glass, theft and looting of the monastery property. “Someone wants to send us away,” wrote Sister Ibraxia in the letter, “but we will not flee.”
Sadly, the hypocrisy exhibited by the Presbyterian Church is not limited to that denomination. Some time back, fifteen leaders from various U.S. Christian denominations—mostly Protestant, including the Lutheran, Methodist, and UCC Churches—asked Congress to reevaluate U.S. military aid to Israel, again, in the context of supporting “persecuted” Palestinians.
Yet nary a word from these same church leaders concerning the rampant persecution of millions of Christians at the hands of Muslims in the Middle East—a persecution that makes the Palestinians’ situation pale in comparison.
Other “leftist” Protestants do find time to criticize Muslim persecution of Christians—but only to blame Israel for it. Thus, Diarmaid MacCulloch, a Fellow of St. Cross College, wrote an article in the Daily Beast ostensibly addressing the plight of Mideast Christians—but only to argue that the source of Christian persecution “ in the Middle East is seven decades of unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine.”
In reality, far from prompting the persecution of Christians, the Arab-Israeli conflict is itself a byproduct of the same hostility Islamic supremacism engenders for all non-Muslims. The reason hostility for Israel is much more viral is because the Jewish state holds a unique position of authority over Muslims unlike vulnerable Christian minorities who can be abused at will (as fully explained here).
Little wonder, then, that more Arab Christians—double the number of each of the preceding three years—are now joining the Israel Defense Forces.
They know they can count on basic human rights protection from Israel than from many of their fellow Christians in the West. After all, beyond the sophistry, distortions, and downright lies emanating from some of these Christian denominations, the fact remains: both Jews and Christians are under attack from the same foe and for the same reason: they are non-Muslim “infidels” who need to be subjugated
World leaders are increasingly pointing to U.S. President Obama’s failures in the Middle East.
Some are direct and blunt. For example, during his recent visit to Brazil, Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked by journalists about U.S. sanctions against Russia due to the Ukrainian crisis. While naturally condemning such moves, part of his response was to accuse the Obama administration of “encouraging war between neighboring states.” In the same context, Putin added:
American objectives have not been realized, nor have they accomplished anything, because everything has collapsed. Afghanistan faces problems, and Iraq and Libya are falling apart. Egypt also was going to collapse had President Sisi not taken matters in hand. And all this demonstrates the failures of the Obama administration.
In fact, and as I have pointed out in several articles, every Muslim nation the U.S. has interfered in—whether to promote “democracy,” as in the much ballyhooed “Arab Spring,” or to defeat “terrorism” and/or eliminate “WMDs”—has seen two results: the empowerment of Islamists, followed by chaos, conflict, and constant atrocities.
Other leaders, such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, indirectly point to the Obama administration’s failures in the Middle East. This occurred during an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, in the context of the Presbyterian Church of the USA’s recent decision to divest from Israel in the name of the Palestinian people.
After pointing out that “Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East”—and nary a word of condemnation or concern from the Presbyterian Church—Netanyahu said:
You know, I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice, one is, make sure it’s an armor-plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christians.
While not directly mentioning the U.S.’s role in these three nations—Netanyahu, after all, is on better terms with America than Putin—the obvious is clear: 1) the U.S. played a major role “liberating” two of these countries—Iraq and Libya—and is currently supporting the freedom fighters/terrorists trying to “liberate” Syria; and 2) in all three nations, the human rights of non-Muslims, specifically Christians, have taken a dramatic nosedive, evincing the nature of those the U.S. helped empower.
Consider Iraq today, one decade after the U.S. took down Saddam Hussein, bringing “freedom” and “democracy” to the Iraqi people: now an Islamic caliphate exists, enforcing the savageries of Sharia—from stoning women accused of adultery to crucifying others, burning churches and forcing Christians either to convert to Islam, pay “taxes” (jizya) and embrace third class status, or face the sword.
Libya, Afghanistan, and rebel-controlled areas of Syria are little better.
As Putin pointed out, the only nation still trying to hang in there is Egypt, thanks to the anti-Muslim Brotherhood revolution—which, of course, was criticized by the U.S. government, including by people like John McCain.
To recap Egypt: the Obama administration turned its back on 30-year-long U.S. ally, the secularist Mubarak, embraced the Islamist Morsi, and some of the worst Muslim persecution of Christians—the litmus test of “radicalization”—took place against the Copts during Morsi’s one year of rule, from an unprecedented attack on the most important Coptic building and seat of the pope, the St. Mark Cathedral, to a dramatic rise in the imprisonment of Christians accused of “insulting” Islam.
As for Egypt’s current president, Sisi, he too made some observations that comport with those of Putin’s (that “someone” is fueling conflict between neighboring states) and Netanyahu’s (that the region is a mess, thanks to the empowerment of Islamists).
During his televised speech in early July, Sisi warned that “religion [code for 'Islam'] is being used to destroy neighboring countries”—a clear reference to the empowerment of Islamists in the same failed nations highlighted by Putin and Netanyahu, namely, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan—all the handiwork of U.S. leadership in general, Obama’s administration in particular.
The Ridda wars against “apostates and hypocrites”
The new “caliphate” of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—the Islamic State, formerly “ISIS”—recently made clear that it means to follow in the footsteps of the original caliphate of Abu Bakr al-Sadiq (632-634), specifically by directing its jihad against fellow Muslims, in Islamic parlance, the “hypocrites” and “apostates,” or in Western terminology, “moderates.”
This came out in the context of the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, with some Muslims asking the newly formed “caliphate” when it would launch a jihad on the Jewish state.
The Islamic State’s response? “Allah in the noble Koran does not command us to fight Israel or the Jews until we fight the apostates and hypocrites.”
On one of the Islamic State’s question-and-answer websites, some asked why it was “not fighting Israel but instead shedding the blood of the sons of Iraq and Syria.” The new caliphate responded:
The greater answer is in the noble Koran, when Allah Almighty speaks about the near enemy. In the majority of verses in the noble Koran, these are the hypocrites, for they pose a greater danger than the original infidels [born non-Muslims, e.g., Jews and Christians]. And the answer is found in Abu Bakr al-Sadiq, when he preferred fighting apostates over the conquest of Jerusalem [fath al-Quds], which was conquered by his successor, Omar al-Khattab.
There’s much to be said about this response, rife as it is with historical allusions.
First, it is true. After the prophet of Islam died, a great number of Arabian tribes that had submitted to his rule by becoming Muslims—the word muslim simply means “one who submits”—thought they could now renege, and so they apostatized in droves. This sparked the first Ridda, or “apostasy wars,” waged by Abu Bakr al-Sadiq, who became the first caliph on Muhammad’s death in 632. For nearly two years, till his own death in 634, his caliphate’s entire energy was focused on waging jihad on all the recalcitrant Arab tribes, forcing them by the edge of the sword to return to the fold of Islam.
Tens of thousands of Arabs were burned, beheaded, dismembered, or crucified in the process, according to Islamic history, especially by the “Sword of Allah.” It was only afterwards, under the reign of the second caliph, Omar al-Khattab (634-644), that the great Islamic conquests against the “original infidels”—those non-Arab peoples who had never converted to Islam, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, etc.—took place.
Islam’s war on the apostate, so little known in the West, figures prominently in Islamic history. Indeed, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most influential Islamic clerics today, while once discussing the importance of killing any Muslim who apostatizes from Islam on Al Jazeera, correctly stated that “If the [death] penalty for apostasy was ignored, there would not be an Islam today; Islam would have ended on the death of the prophet.”
In short, and as the Islamic State is now arguing, the first and greatest enemy of Islam—the “nearest” enemy—is the “apostate” and “hypocrite,” for they are the most capable of subverting Islam from within.
This phenomenon of “pious” Muslims fighting and killing “lukewarm” Muslims, or Shia and Sunnis fighting one another—while the original infidel stands by or gets away—has many precedents throughout history. For example, in its response, the Islamic State further justifies not fighting Israel by saying:
The answer is found in Salah ad-Din al-Ayubi [Saladin] and Nur ad-Din Zanki when they fought the Shia in Egypt and Syria before [addressing] Jerusalem. Salah ad-Din fought more than 50 battles before he reached Jerusalem. And it was said to Salah ad-Din al-Ayubi: “You fight the Shia and the Fatimids in Egypt and allow the Latin Crusaders to occupy Jerusalem?” And he responded: “I will not fight the Crusaders while my back is exposed to the Shia.”
All of this history quoted by the Islamic State is meant to exonerate the new caliphate’s main assertion: “Jerusalem will not be liberated until we are done with all these tyrants, families, and pawns of colonialism that control the fate of the Islamic world.”
- Although the Islamic State is trying to suggest that only autocrats like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad are “apostates” and “hypocrites,” and that most average Muslims are eager for Sharia, the fact is, a great many of the world’s Muslims fit under this rubric. The largest revolution in history, Egypt’s June 2013 anti-Brotherhood revolution, attests to this. Thus the new caliphate’s jihad is not just against “tyrants,” but many average Muslims as well, as the organization’s carnage in Iraq and Syria attests.
- The Islamic State’s declaration justifying non-confrontation with Israel is not winning it much popular support in the Arab world and is naturally portrayed as a copout. It further validates the popular Arab narrative that the United States is siding with the Islamists to create havoc in the region; to have the various sects (Sunni vs Shia, Moderate vs. Islamist) fight each other in order to divide and weaken the region. Thus Dr. Ahmed Karima, a leading professor of Islamic jurisprudence in Al Azhar, said that the Islamic State’s position concerning Israel proves that “it is a creation of U.S. and Israeli intelligence” and that the new caliphate “is the biggest of all hypocrites.”
- Alternatively, others, especially Islamists, appreciate that the Islamic State is patterning itself after the first caliphate of Abu Bakr—hence why its first caliph chose that name—because it finds itself operating in the same circumstances. Nascent and without much support, it first mission, like Abu Bakr, is to re-subjugate Muslims to Islam. Only then can it focus on the “original infidels.”
- While this approach may be temporarily good for Israel (and all infidel states), in the long run, a fully functioning and unified caliphate with “reformed” Muslims next door is not a pretty picture. After all, the Islamic State is not exonerating the infidel, but rather saying his turn will come once the caliphate is capable of an all-out assault. At best, it’s a temporary reprieve.
I just spent the better part of the day reading and listening to sermons by the leaders and jihadis of the new “caliphate” in Mesopotamia, the Islamic State (formerly “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”).
I did so in the vain hopes of learning something “new.”
But it was absolute déjà vu—taking me back to a decade ago, when I was reading and translating the Arabic writings and speeches of al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, as collated inThe Al Qaeda Reader.
Now as then, it’s the same Koran verses; the same hadiths of Islamic prophet Muhammad waging and praising jihad; the same threats of hellfire for the munafiqun (hypocrites or lukewarm Muslims); the same carnal rewards in the now or hereafter for those who join the “caravan” of jihad.
Consider for instance the following opening words of a recently released short video from the Islamic State titled, “There is No Life Without Jihad”:
If you wish to know the way to glory and power, to goodness, security and joy, you must learn that there are no rights without jihad, no justice without jihad, no dignity without jihad, no security without jihad, no future without jihad, no life without jihad, no life without jihad.
After this rather hackneyed opening, one Abu Muthana, a jihadi from Britain, appears quoting some more of the usual Koran verses, hadiths, and ulema, in this case, Imam Qurtubi, who wrote that “jihad gives life.” Finally he summarizes the goal of the jihad—in case anyone is still not sure—namely, to fight until “the law [Sharia] of Allah is implemented and the caliphate restored.”
To reiterate, there is little new or original in the videos and communiques from the Islamic State. Just static Islamism.
If one turns to the speeches of other Islamic and jihadi groups around the world—from the African groups such as Boko Haram (Nigeria) and al-Shabaab (Somalia), to Asian groups such as Abu Sayyaf (Philippines) and the Islamic Movement (Uzbekistan)—it’s the same thing, same themes, same scriptures, same quotations, same exhortations, same condemnations. Only their temporal circumstances and vicissitudes of victory or defeat differ.
While the Western mentality, so used to seeing and hearing about the “latest” or “newest” fad, may deem the Islamist approach as static or insipid, it is, quite the contrary, immensely effective for its purposes, and thus dangerous.
Consider: It’s the same exact message—of supremacism, hate, and violence, capped off with divine sanctioning—repeated over and over again, from a myriad of sources and organizations, all of which claim authority.
One can think of few better ways to brainwash and indoctrinate young and impressionable minds—to the point that they eagerly embrace death, including through suicide (AKA “martyrdom operations”).
Nor is this message of jihad, conquest, and death-to-the-infidel, limited to the verbiage that transpires among terrorist organizations; instead, this sort of rhetoric has spread far and wide, thanks to modern technology—including the Internet and social media—and the rich Gulf States, chief among them Saudi Arabia, which have seen to it that the jihadi books and passages being quoted are available to all and sundry.
Indeed, and has been demonstrated repeatedly, such jihadi rhetoric is regularly used in mosques all throughout Europe and America—explaining why an inordinate amount of jihadis in Syria and Iraq, such as Abu Muthana, the aforementioned “Brit,” are in fact from the West.
If the West, in the name of “religious freedom,” is still too fretful to monitor and ban such sermons, in Egypt—a Muslim nation in the heart of the Islamic world—the post Muslim Brotherhood government has come to understand the necessity of outlawing “certain” kinds of sermons and preachers from the mosques, specifically, those about jihad against infidels and apostates.
Of course, such a move sounds extremely “anti-freedom” to the liberal mentality; the New York Times bemoaned it, without considering that such a clampdown on sermon topics actually combats terrorism and saves human lives. For example, the overwhelming majority of attacks on Egypt’s Christian Copts occur on Friday—the one day of the week Muslims congregate in mosques to hear sermons.
Ultimately, however, such a move from Egypt—an Islamic nation—is an indicator of just how problematic unregulated (i.e., jihadi) sermons can be: if “moderate” Muslims are fearful from the repercussions of “radicalized” sermons, shouldn’t we “infidels” be even more wary of them?
In the end, there’s good news and bad news in all this: the good news is that one need not be familiar with the constant communiques, videos, and messages emanating from this or that jihadi group—for they are all recycled, all the same. To hear one, is to hear them all.
The bad news is that, due to the severe lack of common sense and censorship in the form of political correctness that plagues the West, the rhetoric of jihad and its unvarying message of hate remains wholly unintelligible.
If the jihadis, like parrots, are forever repeating each other—and luring other parrots to join them—Western leaders and politicians, like ostriches, are forever sticking their heads in the sand, lest they acknowledge the cacophony of hate surrounding them, and us.
In order to expose the Islamist and Salafi mindset, Egyptian journalists continue posting and commenting on the assertions and observations made by the various clerics during former President Morsi’s one year reign and earlier, when the “radicals” felt especially free to speak their mind.
One of these, Sheikh Yusuf al-Huwaini—who earlier justified buying and selling captured “infidel” women for sex and said the face of a woman “is like her vagina”—was recently shown on video giving his thoughts on women, intelligence, and knowledge.
After he mocked women who, although wearing proper Islamic attire—including the niqab—still appear on television, including as authoritative hosts, he said the following:
On what basis does a woman appear on a satellite station facing millions of people all around the world? And what sort of knowledge could this woman have to offer? Knowledge belongs to men—knowledge belongs to men alone. Any woman—with all due respect, lest some woman think I’m attacking all—any woman, no matter how high and advanced she appears, is unoriginal and common.
I was recently interviewed by CBN News’ George Thomas on the rise of the Islamic State, its aspirations for caliphate, and what all that means for free peoples around the world:
A recent Gulf News report sheds some light on how and why the United States helped bring the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies to power, followed by all the subsequent chaos and atrocities in the Mideast region.
Large portions of the report follow with my commentary interspersed for added context:
Dubai: For the past decade, two successive US administrations have maintained close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Libya, to name just the most prominent cases.
The Obama administration conducted an assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2010 and 2011, beginning even before the events known as the “Arab Spring” erupted in Tunisia and in Egypt. The President personally issued Presidential Study Directive 11 (PSD-11) in 2010, ordering an assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood and other “political Islamist” movements, including the ruling AKP in Turkey, ultimately concluding that the United States should shift from its longstanding policy of supporting “stability” in the Middle East and North Africa (that is, support for “stable regimes” even if they were authoritarian), to a policy of backing “moderate” Islamic political movements (emphasis in bold added throughout).
And we have certainly witnessed this shift. Chaos and the Islamic ascendancy in the Middle East and North Africa never flourished as under the Obama administration—and precisely because the administration shifted from supporting stability under secular-minded autocrats.
The most significant example of this is how the Obama administration threw Hosni Mubarak—a U.S. ally for three decades—under the bus in order to support the Islamists, most specifically the Muslim Brotherhood. And we saw how that ended—with another revolution, hailed as the largest revolution in human history, with the average Egyptian accusing Obama of being a terrorist supporter.
To this day, PSD-11 remains classified, in part because it reveals an embarrassingly naïve and uninformed view of trends in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.
“Embarrassingly naïve and uninformed view” is synonymous with the “orthodox and mainstream view pushed forth by Mideast studies professors and academics,” especially those with political influence, such as the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies of Georgetown University, in Washington D.C. Such programs, which I’m only too well acquainted with, begin with false—that is, “embarrassingly naïve and uninformed”—premises, namely: that the source of all the region’s woes are (formerly) U.S.-propped autocrats (reality is that dictators don’t create such societies but rather are the natural outcome of Islamic societies and are the ones most prone to keeping law and order—compare Iraq under Saddam and Iraq now, as a “democracy,” with “ISIS” proclaiming a caliphate).
Mideast academics have also long spearheaded the idea that there are “moderate” Islamists and “radical” Islamists, and that the U.S. should work with the former (in reality they are all radical—to be an Islamist is to be radical—the only difference is that the “moderate” Islamists don’t wear their radicalism on their sleeves, even as they work toward the same goals that the more open “radicals” work for, namely, a Sharia-enforcing caliphate)… Keep reading
Does Islam need a “Protestant Reformation?” What if the jihad is it?
People worldwide embrace Christianity more than any other religion, and Christians are the most persecuted. Mideast expert and PJM contributor Raymond Ibrahim recently appeared on The 700 Club warning that such persecution happens most often in the Muslim world.
Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers recently went on a sexual assault and rape spree in Egypt as a way of “getting even” with those women who dared to celebrate the presidential victory of Abdel Fatteh al-Sisi—the former army chief who overthrew Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt.
On June 8, when tens of thousands of Egyptians congregated in Tahrir Square to celebrate Sisi’s inauguration, dozens of women were sexually assaulted and many more harassed. According to a statement later released by the Ministry of Interior, seven men between the ages of 15 and 49 were arrested for sexually assaulting “a number of women.”
One 19-year-old female student was especially brutalized—and videotaped as she was stripped naked and sexually assaulted by a throng of men. (I saw the graphic video on YouTube, though it has since been removed; a much less graphic clip of the initial assault appears here.) A gun-waving police officer eventually managed to rescue the woman from her ordeal, though after sustaining injuries himself.
Sexually harassing or raping those supportive of Sisi by way of “retribution” is not uncommon in Egypt. Earlier, a six-year-old boy was raped by a Muslim Brotherhood member who was “angered” at the child for singing praises to Sisi. He lured the boy into a shed, locked the doors, and proceeded to rape him, while saying, “You’re always holding pictures of this Sisi and singing his praises. Come, I’ll humiliate and break you—and your Sisi.”
Although Western media never specify who is behind these sexual assaults—often citing “the mob”—Hala Sarhan, a popular TV host in Egypt alluded to the ultimate source that legitimizes sexual harassment and rape in Egypt, namely, Islamist preachers and leaders:
What was said to these people [rapists] to brainwash them into think that such violations on the person and body of this young girl [the aforementioned rape victim] were permissible? … I’ll tell you. The one in parliament who said this, is the same as the man who did that… And the one who told that girl that she is an infidel, is the same as the one in parliament who said that it’s permissible to marry a 9-year-old girl [based on the prophet of Islam’s example when he married the girl-child Aisha]. The ones who in the mosques told him that they [women] are in the pits of hell and the lures of Satan—adulteresses, that Satan lives in their bodies… This is what they tell them in the mosques! And they’re so upset now [Islamist preachers] because they can no longer continue to preach like this in the mosques! We thank you minister of religious endowments for stopping this mockery! [The new Egyptian government has cracked down on radical preachers.] Before [under Morsi], every guy that yelled and stomped got himself a pulpit to preach such thoughts into the minds of the youth—and then they went out thinking they are doing jihad. You see, they have this thing in their mind that says “If we curse or attack an infidel, that is jihad”…. Concerning the previous cases of sexual harassment, they [Islamist authorities] told people, “Why did she [any violated woman] leave her house in the first place? She deserves what she got!” They told them, “Your sister needs to be circumcised”; told them, “In the house, beat her and discipline her, break her bones; and if she refuses to have sex with you, saying she’s tired or sick, curse her with the angels till the sun rises.” We allowed these people to fill their minds with such ideas!
Such honesty is reminiscent of an Egyptian op-ed that appeared after a young Coptic woman was murdered by a pro-Brotherhood mob because they identified her as a Christian:
Those who killed the young and vulnerable Mary Sameh George, for hanging a cross in her car, are not criminals, but rather wretches who follow those who legalized for them murder, lynching, dismemberment, and the stripping bare of young Christian girls—without every saying “kill.” [Islamic cleric] Yassir Burhami and his colleagues who announce their hate for Christians throughout satellite channels and in mosques—claiming that hatred of Christians is synonymous with love for Allah—they are the true killers who need to be tried and prosecuted.
At any rate, using sexual harassment and rape to force people to comply with Islamist agendas has a long history, especially in Egypt. In 2011, during the “Arab Spring,” when the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists were released from prison, legitimized and eventually rose to power, sexual harassment skyrocketed, as one graph showed. Moreover, UN research done in 2013, when Morsi was president, suggested that 99.3% of Egyptian women had experienced sexual harassment.
Indeed, in February, 2013, hundreds of Egyptian women took to the streets of Tahrir Square to protest this nonstop harassment. They held slogans like “Silence is unacceptable, my anger will be heard,” and “A safe square for all; Down with sexual harassment.” “Marchers also shouted chants against President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood group from which he hails,” wrote Al Ahram Online.
The response was more sexual harassment and rapes. One woman was gang-raped for approximately 20 minutes and nearly died. And as Hala Sarhan pointed out, elements from the then Islamist-heavy government under Morsi blamed the women themselves, saying that:
women taking part in protests bear the responsibility of being sexually harassed, [and] describing what happens in some demonstrators’ tents as “prostitution.” Major General Adel Afify, member of the committee representing the Salafi Asala Party, criticized female protesters, saying that they “know they are among thugs. They should protect themselves before requesting that the Interior Ministry does so. By getting herself involved in such circumstances, the woman has 100 percent responsibility.”
Likewise, popular Salafi preacher Abu Islam sarcastically blamed the victims:
“They tell you women are a red line. They tell you that naked women [i.e., not wearing veils or hijabs]—who are going to Tahrir Square because they want to be raped—are a red line! And they ask Morsi and the Brotherhood to leave power!” Abu Islam added that these women activists are going to Tahrir Square not to protest but to be sexually abused because they had wanted to be raped. “They have no shame, no fear and not even feminism. Practice your feminism, sheikha! It is a legitimate right for you to be a woman,” he said. “And by the way, 90 percent of them are crusaders [i.e. Christian Copts] and the remaining 10 percent are widows who have no one to control them. You see women talking like monsters,” he added.
The only silver lining in this cloud of Islamist rape that hovers over Egypt is that the differences between Morsi and his Brotherhood government, and Sisi and the post-Brotherhood government, are already apparent. In response to the endemic sexual harassment in Egypt, the new government
passed a law criminalizing all forms of sexual harassment… A new article, which has been issued into power, adds a harsh punishment to those found guilty of unwanted sexual contact…. Other amended laws, under article 306, declare that those found guilty of verbal sexual harassment in a private or public place will be sentenced to a minimum of six months in prison and fined no less than EGP 3,000 ($US 420).
When I recently asked some analyst colleagues in Egypt if Morsi ever took any such measures against sexual harassment, the quip I received most was along the lines of “Take measures? He was the one ordering sexual harassment against his female critics.”
Still, and in keeping with Western MSM journalism, Sisi, who at least appears to be trying to take some measures against sexual harassment, is now being portrayed by the Guardian in a cynical light—while Morsi who did nothing and whose Islamist allies were responsible for inciting violence against women got a free pass—just like the New York Times recently tried to blame Sisi for the plight of Egypt’s religious minorities, without mentioning that it was often Morsi and the Islamists who put them there in the first place.
Overlooked in the midst of all the celebrations in Egypt concerning the presidential victory of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, his predecessor, President Adly Mansour—who very much shares in Sisi’s worldview and politics—made a strange comment about the place of the nation’s Christian minority, the Copts. (Sisi installed Mansour as acting president of Egypt on July 4, 2013, after ousting former President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party during the June 30 Revolution, which was supported by the Coptic Church.)
In a televised speech delivered a few days ago, Mansour addressed the Copts in a very inclusive way, one much welcomed and appreciated by Egypt’s Christians. Among other things, he indicated that they were equal citizens, “brothers” to the Muslims; that they have been an integral part of Egypt’s history; that both Copts and Muslims are victims of and enemies to “terrorism” (a reference to the Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations).
Then he said:
I speak to you [Copts] today through the true spirit of Islam—the spirit whose values appeared in the Pact of Omar, wherein the righteous Caliph, Omar bin al-Khattab, made a covenant with the Christians of Jerusalem, after Medina opened [conquered] it in the year 638; the Pact which preserved for the Christians their churches, monasteries, and crosses, and their religion and possessions. Egypt again renews the spirit of this pact and its principles with you; Egypt, the Muslim state, which takes from the values and principles of the tolerant and true Islamic Sharia for its legislation.
To those familiar with the actual text of the Pact of Omar—also known as the shurut, or “the conditions,” of Omar—the above speech is a strange contradiction. After all, whereas Koran 9:29 provides divine sanction to fight the “People of the Book” (namely, Christians and Jews) “until they pay the jizya [monetary tribute] with willing submission and feel themselves subdued,” the Conditions of Omar lay out in detail how Christians are to feel themselves subdued.
Below are excerpts from the Conditions (see Crucified Again for my complete translation and historical discussion of the text). The conquered Christians appear to be speaking and agree:
Not to build a church in our city—nor a monastery, convent, or monk’s cell in the surrounding areas—and not to repair those that fall in ruins or are in Muslim quarters;
Not to clang our cymbals except lightly and from the innermost recesses of our churches;
Not to display a cross on them [churches], nor raise our voices during prayer or readings in our churches anywhere near Muslims;
Not to produce a cross or [Christian] book in the markets of the Muslims;
Not to congregate in the open for Easter or Palm Sunday, nor lift our voices [in lamentation] for our dead nor show our firelights with them near the market places of the Muslims;
Not to display any signs of polytheism, nor make our religion appealing, nor call or proselytize anyone to it;
Not to prevent any of our relatives who wish to enter into Islam;
Not to possess or bear any arms whatsoever, nor gird ourselves with swords;
To honor the Muslims, show them the way, and rise up from our seats if they wish to sit down;
We guarantee all this to you upon ourselves, our descendants, our spouses, and our neighbors, and if we change or contradict these conditions imposed upon ourselves in order to receive safety, we forfeit our dhimma [protection], and we become liable to the same treatment you inflict upon the people who resist and cause sedition.
To “become liable to the same treatment you inflict upon the people who resist and cause sedition” simply meant that, if any stipulation of the Conditions was broken, the Christians would resume their natural status as non-submitting infidels who “resist and cause sedition” against Islam—becoming, once again, free game for killing or enslavement.
That other Muslims read the Conditions to mean what they plainly say—as opposed to Mansour’s portrayal of them as indicative of Islamic tolerance—consider how just a few months ago, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) tried to enforce the Conditions to a tee, when it issued a directive calling on “Christians in the city to pay tax of around half an ounce (14g) of pure gold in exchange for their safety.”
It [ISIS’ statement] says Christians must not make renovations to churches, display crosses or other religious symbols outside churches, ring church bells or pray in public. Christians must not carry arms, and must follow other rules imposed by ISIS on their daily lives. The statement said the group had met Christian representatives and offered them three choices—they could convert to Islam, accept ISIS’ conditions [based on Conditions of Omar], or reject their control and risk being killed. “If they reject, they are subject to being legitimate targets, and nothing will remain between them and ISIS other than the sword,” the statement said.
To be sure, ISIS’s interpretation of the Conditions of Omar is more orthodox than Mansour’s—certainly more in accordance with Islamic history and doctrine. Consider, for instance, the words of Saudi Sheikh Marzouk Salem al-Ghamdi—an Islamic cleric, not a politician like Mansour—once spoken during a Friday mosque sermon:
If the infidels live among the Muslims, in accordance with the conditions set out by the Prophet—there is nothing wrong with it provided they pay Jizya to the Islamic treasury. Other conditions [reference to Conditions of Omar] are … that they do not renovate a church or a monastery, do not rebuild ones that were destroyed, that they feed for three days any Muslim who passes by their homes … that they rise when a Muslim wishes to sit, that they do not imitate Muslims in dress and speech, nor ride horses, nor own swords, nor arm themselves with any kind of weapon; that they do not sell wine, do not show the cross, do not ring church bells, do not raise their voices during prayer, that they shave their hair in front so as to make them easily identifiable, do not incite anyone against the Muslims, and do not strike a Muslim…. If they violate these conditions, they have no protection.
What, then, do we make of Mansour’s reference to these medieval Conditions—in a speech meant to reassure Egypt’s Christians of their equality as citizens of a modern nation?
What do we make of the fact that Mansour’s views on the Copts—often seen as inclusive and moderate—are shared by Sisi, Egypt’s new president, who is believed to be more of a pious Muslim than his predecessor?
Was Mansour employing a bit of Islamic tawriya, mentioning seemingly tolerant aspects of theConditions—that Christians are allowed to “preserve” their existing churches, monasteries, and crosses—while ignoring the “conditions” Christians must obey in exchange for such “tolerance,” namely, that they not build new or repair old churches and monasteries and to keep their crosses out of sight—otherwise they lose all “protection”?
Through such double-talk, was Mansour trying to placate, on the one hand, the Copts, many of whom do not know much about the Conditions, and, on the other, hardline Salafis who do—with words and references that convey different notions to different people?
Indeed, from a Salafi point of view, Mansour’s declaration to the Copts that “Egypt again renews the spirit of this pact [Conditions] and its principles with you; Egypt, the Muslim state,” is tantamount to telling the Copts to remember their place in a medieval Muslim society and embrace their lot as dhimmis, third-class citizens.
Nor does Mansour’s use of abstracts like “the spirit” or “values and principles” (of theConditions) lessen the significance of his words. For however one spins it, the only meaning of the Conditions is that Christians—because they are Christian, not Muslim—must uphold discriminatory and humiliating conditions in order to experience tolerance in an Islamic state.
Then again, could Mansour himself, a judge and former head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, be ignorant or incredulous of the truth concerning the Conditions?
In fact, a few days before Mansour’s speech, I wrote the following words which may be applicable to him:
This is the fundamental problem facing all moderate Muslims: despite what they like to believe and due to a variety of historical and epistemological factors, they are heavily influenced by Western thinking … so whenever they come up against Islamic teachings they cannot fathom [such as the discriminatory Conditions], they collectively behave as if such teachings don’t really mean what they mean.
Yet the Salafis know exactly what they mean.
At any rate, despite Mansour’s disturbing references to a medieval text that historically justified Christian subjugation, most Copts believe that Egypt’s government, first under Mansour and now Sisi, is preferable to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
And most remain optimistic about Sisi.
Time will tell if such optimism is warranted, or if Egypt’s Christians will again be fated to watch their nation take one step forward only to take another one right back—the inevitable outcome of a worldview that always tries to articulate itself through Islamic terms.
Very graphic videos recently appeared on Arabic-language media portraying Islamic jihadis in Syria slaughtering donkeys in order to consume them.
The main point made by some of these websites is that the jihadis are hypocrites for (again) violating Islamic law, which bans the eating of domesticated donkeys.
In the words of a fatwa, or Islamic decree, titled “Is it permissible to eat donkey meat?”
Praise be to Allaah.
It is permissible to eat the meat of onagers (“wild donkeys”) and it is haraam [forbidden] to eat the meat of domesticated donkeys. The first is permitted because of the report narrated by al-Bukhaari (5492) and Muslim (1196) from Abu Qataadah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who hunted an onager and brought a piece of it to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he ate some of it, and he said to his companions: “It is halaal [permissible], eat it.”
With regard to domesticated donkeys, their meat was permitted at first, then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) declared it to be haraam [forbidden] on the day of Khaybar.
Questions of wild or domesticated aside—and the donkeys do appear to be domesticated—this is yet another example of the fact that, for those waging jihad to empower Allah’s word, dispensations are always available.
As discussed here, it is precisely because the strictures of Islamic law are relaxed for the jihadi—often permitting the indulgence of depraved behavior—that the jihad has always been an appealing option.
While killing animals for consumption is commonplace, what is notable about these videos is the “supremacist” demeanor of the jihadis towards the donkeys—as if the animals are also “infidels” to be treated with contempt and brutality.
Watching them slaughter the donkeys is like watching them slaughter human “infidels”—with all the triumphant theatrics.
In one video, “Allahu Akbar!” is heard while a donkey is being decapitated.
Jihadis habitually cry “Allahu Akbar” (Islam’ supremacist war-cry, which literally means Allah is “greater”) whenever striking down infidels—especially when ceremoniously beheading them.
But why say it while slaughtering a donkey—an animal—for consumption?…Keep reading
Islam permits Muslim husbands to abandon their wives to rapists in order to save their own lives—so says Dr. Yassir al-Burhami, vice president of Egypt’s Salafi party, the nation’s premiere Islamist party since the Muslim Brotherhood was banned.
Burhami’s fatwa, or Islamic decree, is not altogether surprising. Earlier the Salafi sheikh said that, although a Muslim man may marry non-Muslim women, specifically Christians and Jews, he must hate them—and show them that he hates them—because they are “infidels” (even as he enjoys them sexually).
Indeed, the many fatwas of Dr. Burhami, a pediatrician by training, include banning Muslim cab and bus drivers from transporting Coptic Christian priests to their churches, which he depicted as “more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar”; permitting marriage to minor girls;banning Mother’s Day—“even if it saddens your mother”—as a Western innovation; and insisting that Muslims cannot apostatize from Islam—a phenomenon often in the news.
Now in his most recent fatwa—that husbands are permitted to forsake their sexually-assaulted wives in self-interest—Burhami relies on qiyas, or analogy, based on the rulings of a prominent twelfth century jurist: according to Imam ‘Azz bin Abdul Salaam, a Muslim should abandon his possessions to robbers if so doing would safeguard his life.
Based on this logic, Burhami analogizes that the Muslim husband should abandon his wife if defending her jeopardizes his life—as she is just another possession that can easily be replaced.
In the words of a critical Arabic op-ed titled “Manhood according to Burhami!” and written by one Amani Majed, a Muslim woman:
So that which applies to abandoning one’s possessions to thieves and fleeing in fear of one’s life, applies—in Burhami’s view, sorry to say—to one’s wife and daughter. So if the wife is ever exposed to rape, she is seen as a possession. The husband is to abandon her to the rapists and escape with his life. And why not? For if he loses his possessions, he will replace them; and if his wife is raped, he will marry another, even if she remains alive!
The op-ed goes on to consider the ramifications of Burhami’s logic should every Muslim man follow it: if a policeman patrolling the streets sees a woman—a stranger, not his wife or daughter—being gang-raped, should he intervene, as his job entails, and risk his own person, or should he think only of himself and flee? Should the Egyptian soldier stand his ground and defend his nation against invaders, or should he flee to preserve his own life?
First: Salafis like Burhami, who try to pattern their lives as literally as possible after Islam’s prophet Muhammad and his original companions—hence the ubiquitous beards and white robes—deserve attention for they are a treasure trove of information on literal Islam. It’s always the Salafi-minded Muslims who evoke and uphold any number of things deemed absurd or evil in a Western context—from trying to enforce a canonical hadith that compels women to breastfeed adult men (ironically, to protect their “chastity”), to drinking camel urine for good health, to calling for the destruction of all churches.
Of course, even this honesty is contingent on Muslim capability and advantage. Thus Dr. Burhami himself once said that peace treaties with Israel and other infidels should be respected—that is, until Muslims are capable of reneging and going on a successful offensive.
Still, Salafis are much more frank and honest than other, less overt Islamists, namely the two-faced Muslim Brotherhood, which, now that it has been overthrown in Egypt, has shown its true face—terrorism—causing it once again to be banned in Egypt.
Second: To be sure, many Muslims—perhaps the majority—reject Burhami’s latest “cowardly husband” fatwa, in agreement with the aforementioned op-ed. The problem, however, and as usual, is that while they agree that such behavior is unbecoming of a husband, in the realm of Islamic jurisprudence, it is difficult to argue with the Salafi cleric’s logic. He used qiyas, a legitimate tool of jurisprudence; and the imam whose logic he analogized is widely recognized as an authority in Sunni Islam.
Moreover and despite the sneering tone of the op-ed, women are, in fact, often depicted as little more than chattel for men in Islamic scriptures.
This is the fundamental problem facing all moderate Muslims: despite what they like to believe and due to a variety of historical and epistemological factors, they are heavily influenced by Western thinking—protecting women and the weak in general, or chivalry, is a Christian “innovation”—so whenever they come up against Islamic teachings they cannot fathom, they collectively behave as if such teachings don’t really mean what they mean.
Yet the Salafis know exactly what they mean.
Third: This latest fatwa exemplifies the lure of Salafism. This brand of literal Islam does not offer anything profound or spiritually satisfying, but it does offer divine sanctioning for unabashed egoism—in this case, forsaking one’s wife to rape in self-interest.
Justifying egoism is not limited to preserving the self but also gratifying it—especially in the context of jihad. One can go on and on about the other Salafi fatwas permitting rape, incest, and prostitution for those fighting to empower Islam. Even renowned heroes like Khalid bin al-Walid—the “Sword of Allah”—celebrated in the Muslim world for his jihadi conquests, was, from a less hagiographic perspective, little more than a mass murdering, sadistic rapist.
More generally, Salafi-minded Muslims believe that all non-Muslims can be deceived, cheated, robbed, exploited, enslaved and/or killed—all in the self-interest of the Muslim, seen as one with the self-interest of Islam.
Why do they believe this? Because from a Salafi point of view, all free non-Muslim “infidels” who do not submit to Islamic law, or Sharia—Americans and Europeans for example—are natural born enemies, or harbis, and thus free game.
Raymond Ibrahim recently appeared on “Embracing New Life,” a satellite television show hosted by Isik Abla, a former Muslim woman who fled Turkey and Islam and converted to Christianity. Ibrahim’s book, Crucified Again, and the phenomenon of Muslim persecution of Christians were the primary topics of discussion in the half-hour episode:
A recent New York Times article exemplifies why the Times simply cannot be trusted. Written by one David Kirkpatrick and titled “Vow of Freedom of Religion Goes Unkept in Egypt,” the article disingenuously interprets general truths in an effort to validate its thesis.
Much of this is done by omitting relevant facts that provide needed context. For example, Kirkpatrick makes Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the military—widely recognized as the heroes of the June 2013 revolution that toppled former President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood—appear responsible for the poor state of religious freedom in Egypt, when in fact the military has no authority over the judicial system, which is independent.
Even so, there is much evidence that Egypt, while far from becoming a Western-style democracy, is on a better path—certainly than under the Muslim Brotherhood. But these are seldom mentioned in the NYT report. Most recently, for example, the military-backed government jailed a popular Islamic scholar for contempt against Christianity—something that never happened under Morsi, when clerics were regularly and openly condemning and mocking Christians.
Similarly, Sheikh Yassir Burhami, the face of Egypt’s Salafi movement, is facing prosecution for contempt against Christianity for stating that Easter is an “infidel” celebration and that Muslims should not congratulate Christians during Easter celebrations. Previously under Morsi, Burhami was free to say even worse—including issuing a fatwa banning taxi drivers from transporting Christian priests to their churches.
Some positive developments are twisted to look as attacks on religious freedom. Kirkpatrick complains that “The new government has tightened its grip on mosques, pushing imams to follow state-approved sermons,” as if that is some sort of infringement on their rights, when in fact, mosques are the primary grounds where Muslims are radicalized to violence, especially against religious minorities like Coptic Christians. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that the overwhelming majority of attacks on churches and Christians occur on Friday, the one day of the week when Muslims congregate in mosques and listen to sermons.
“State-approved sermons” are much more moderate and pluralistic in nature and the government’s way of keeping radicals and extremists from mosque podiums.
If Kirkpatrick truly cared about the religious freedom of Egypt’s minorities, he would laud this move by the government, instead of trying to portray it as an infringement of the rights of the radicals to “freely” preach hate.
Another positive development overlooked by the article is that Egypt’s native church, the Coptic Orthodox Church, was involved in drafting the new, post-Morsi constitution, and was allowed to voice its opinion over controversial Article Two, which deals with how influential Islamic Sharia will be in governing society. The Church accepted a more moderate version than the previous one articulated under Morsi, which the Church as well as millions of Egyptian Muslims, were against due to its draconian, Islamist nature.
Speaking of the Copts—who are Egypt’s litmus test concerning religious freedom—a closer examination of them alone demonstrates the disingenuous nature of Kirkpatrick’s observations.
Early in the report, and in the context of stating that “the new military-backed government has fallen back into patterns of sectarianism that have prevailed here for decades,” Kirkpatrick asserts that “Prosecutors continue to jail Coptic Christians …. on charges of contempt of religion.”
Interestingly, while this suggests Christians are being jailed under the current government on charges of blasphemy, a close reading reveals that that is not the case. Rather, Kirkpatrick is referring to the many Copts who were incarcerated under Morsi’s reign, some of whom still remain in jail.
Kirkpatrick seems to think that those not yet freeing Christians—due to the chaos it would likely cause among the already highly aggrieved Islamist/Salafi population—are as religiously intolerant as those who threw them in prison in the first place.
Of course, back then under Morsi, when the full extent of “legal” persecution of Christian Copts in the context of “blasphemy” was revealed, the NYT and Kirkpatrick were remarkably silent.
The dissembling continues. Writes Kirkpatrick: “Many Coptic Christians and other religious minorities cheered the military takeover because they feared the Muslim Brotherhood, a religiously exclusive movement whose leaders have a history of denigrating non-Muslims” (emphasis added).
Christians did not “fear” the Brotherhood because their leaders have a long “history of denigrating non-Muslims,” but rather because their leaders have a long history of inciting violence and hate against Christians, leading to countless attacks and atrocities on Copts and their churches over the decades.
Under Morsi, Coptic Christianity’s most symbolic church and papal residence, St Mark Cathedral, was savagely attacked by an Islamist mob, aided and abetted by state security. Then, Coptic Pope Tawadros said that Morsi had “promised to do everything to protect the cathedral but in reality we don’t see this…. We need action not only words… There is no action on the ground… This flagrant assault on a national symbol, the Egyptian church, has never been subjected to this in 2,000 years.”
Kirkpatrick also fails to inform his readership that due to Muslim Brotherhood incitement against the Copts for “daring” to participate in the June revolution against Morsi, in “retaliation,” some 80 churches in Egypt were bombed, burned, or simply attacked by Brotherhood supporters.
Also left unsaid by the NYT is that it was Sisi who pledged that the armed forces would rebuild and renovate the destroyed churches. According to church officials, the army will be done renovating and rebuilding 16 of the churches destroyed by the Brotherhood by the end of June, at which point they will begin phase two of renovating the rest of churches.
Far from pointing this out, Kirkpatrick implies Sisi is indifferent to the Copts, writing for example that “unlike a rival presidential candidate, [Sisi] declined to attend Mass” at the Coptic cathedral during Easter. The fact is, due to Brotherhood assassination attempts—which the rival presidential candidate need not worry from—Sisi has had to decline many public events, not just Easter.
From here one can understand why Kirkpatrick’s next assertion makes perfect sense, even as he offers it with some puzzlement: “But the complaints about continued sectarianism have not deterred church leaders from firmly supporting Mr. Sisi as their protector against worse treatment by the Muslim majority. The Coptic pope, Tawadros II, has hailed Mr. Sisi as overwhelmingly popular, ‘a competent patriot’ on ‘an arduous mission,’ and ‘the one who rescued Egypt.’”
In short, when it comes to religious freedom and tolerance, the current government, although far from perfect, is also better than its Brotherhood predecessor. Hence why, not only the Coptic Church, but the majority of Egypt’s millions of Christians, support Sisi.
Needless to say, that is not the impression that Kirkpatrick gives, as he quotes an unknown Copt calling the pope’s statements which were supportive of Sisi “stupid and myopic.”
Thus it is only in the most general of ways that Kirkpatrick’s NYT article is accurate—in that, yes, religious freedom is still very problematic in Egypt, especially for minorities such as the Copts. It is true that police and security often do little to protect the Copts and their churches from Islamists–but this is partially because police stations are also under attack. Pope Tawadros recently confirmed that, in light of the circumstances, the police and government in general are doing better than under Morsi.
Overlooked and ignored are the true culprits of radicalization—the Muslim Brotherhood and allied Islamists, who, through the mosques and satellite stations, have been radicalizing Egypt for decades. It will take a long time, if ever, to eradicate their influence, but the post-Brotherhood government is a first step in the right direction—despite the NYT’s nonstop propaganda to whitewash the Muslim Brotherhood and sometimes even al-Qaeda.
A few days ago in Sudan, an eight-month pregnant wife and mother was sentenced to death by hanging for refusing to renounce Christ and embrace Islam. According to the LA Times:
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, who has a young son and is married to a Christian from South Sudan, violated Islamic sharia law, the court said. She insists she was raised Christian, not Muslim.
The court also ordered Ibrahim to be flogged for having sexual relations with her husband, since her marriage is not recognized by officials.
Ibrahim refused a court order Sunday giving her several days to renounce her Christian faith, which resulted in the sentencing Thursday….
Ibrahim, currently jailed with her son, will be allowed to give birth and raise her second child until the age of 2 years but then faces execution. Sudanese authorities refuse to allow Ibrahim’s son to reside with her husband because the husband is Christian.
Tragic as this story is, it is also immensely commonplace in Islamic countries. Why? Because Islamic law does in fact punish the apostate from Islam—including with death—in accordance with the commands of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Indeed, many Muslim clerics believe that “If the [death] penalty for apostasy was ignored, there would not be an Islam today; Islam would have ended on the death of the prophet,” as top Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi once declared on live television.
Of more significance is the Amnesty International statement concerning Meriam Ibrahim’s plight. While its criticism is aimed at Sudan’s legal system, the statement unwittingly provides a glimpse of how the international community would view Islam if it could actually understand that these human rights abuses are not products of this or that government or regime, but of Islam itself.
According to the Amnesty International statement:
The fact that a woman has been sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion is appalling and abhorrent.
Adultery and apostasy are acts which should not be considered crimes at all. It is flagrant breach of international human rights law. The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, which includes the freedom to hold beliefs, is far-reaching and profound; it encompasses freedom of thought on all matters, personal conviction and the commitment to religion or belief (emphasis added).
If, as Amnesty International declares, flogging and executing a person, in this case a pregnant woman, because of her “religious choice” and marrying a man of a “different religion” are “appalling and abhorrent”; if they are a “flagrant breach of international human rights law”—what do we make of the fact that Muslim converts to Christianity are punished and sometimes killed all across the Islamic world?
Consider the following anecdotes, a few examples, most from 2013 alone (culled from my monthly “Muslim Persecution of Christians” series and listed in country alphabetical order):
Afghanistan: A member of Afghanistan’s Parliament said that all Afghans who convert to Christianity should be executed. His exact words: “Afghani citizens continue to convert to Christianity in India. Numerous Afghanis have become Christians in India. This is an offense to Islamic Laws and according to the Quran they need to be executed.” As one of many live examples, Said Musa, an amputee and father of six young children, was once charged with apostasy and pressured to renounce Christianity, but he refused. So he was imprisoned, suffering “sexual abuse, beatings, mockery, and sleep deprivation because of his faith in Jesus.”
Algeria: The wife of Ali Touahir, a 52-year-old Muslim convert to Christianity, left him, taking their seven-year-old daughter, and is divorcing him in court. One of his wife’s brothers openly threatened to kill apostate. The wife’s lawyer asserted: “It is not possible that my client [the Muslim wife] still remain under the same roof with a man who has renounced his religion, as he became apostate; and we are not ignorant of the punishment that is due an apostate under sharia [death].”
Cameroon: Two Muslim converts to Christianity were shot dead and two others wounded, in the Christian-majority African nation where Muslims make approximately 20 percent of the population. One of them was previously threatened by the Nigerian Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram to return to Islam or “face Allah’s wrath.”
Egypt: A court sentenced an entire family—Nadia Mohamed Ali and her seven children—to fifteen years in prison for converting to Christianity. A born Christian, Nadia had earlier converted to Islam and married a Muslim man; reconverting back to Christianity after the death of her husband, she attempted to reflect this change formally on her identity card and her children’s, which created suspicions among security, who arrested the family. Separately and days ago in Egypt, after a former Muslim woman on live television announced her apostasy and lack of faith in Muhammad as the “Messenger of Allah,” she was insulted, ridiculed, and thrown off the set by the host.
Iran: Imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini was reported as “facing physical and psychological torture at the hands of captors demanding he renounce his beliefs.” The 32-year-old married father of two, who left his home in Boise, Idaho, to help start an orphanage in his former country, once detailed “horrific pressures” and “death threats” in a letter to family members: “My eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky… They are only waiting for one thing…for me to deny Christ. But they will never get this from me.” The imprisonment and torture of Muslim converts to Christianity in Iran is quite common (recall the plight of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani). According to Adnkronos News, “renouncing the Muslim faith is punishable with the death penalty [in Iran]. Over 300 Iranian converts to Christianity have been arrested over the past two years, according to opposition websites.”
Kyrgyz: After a young Muslim girl converted to Christianity, her parents “wanted her to recant and renounce her faith in Christ, so they began to beat her systematically till she lost consciousness… It was winter when all of this happened, so her parents put her into a cold room and kept her there for several days. Still they were unable to break her spirit. They then started pulling her hair and put her face against the stove, burning her face. In spite of this, she remained faithful.”
Morocco: A fatwa, or Islamic decree, by the government’s top religious authority, calls for the execution of those Muslims who leave Islam, causing many Christian converts to live in fear. Lamented one Christian: “The fatwa showed us that our country is still living in the old centuries—no freedom, no democracy. Unfortunately, we feel that we aren’t protected. We can be arrested or now even killed any time and everywhere. The majority of the Christian Moroccan leaders have the same feeling. We are more followed now by the secret police than before. Only the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ gives us courage and peace.”
Pakistan: A 16-year-old Muslim boy who converted to Christianity was abducted in Peshawar by Taliban-linked Islamic militants “and his fate may already be marked, as he is considered ‘guilty of apostasy.’” As one Pakistani pastor explained, “If a young Muslim converts to Christianity in Pakistan, he is forced to live in hiding. Every Muslim might feel compelled to kill him. The change of religion is not punished by the civil law, it is punishable by Islamic law. For this reason cases of Muslim conversion to Christianity are very rare and some convert in secret.” Muhammad Kamran, a Muslim convert to Christianity, exemplifies the pastor’s words. After he told his wife of his conversion, she abused and exposed him, resulting in his being severely beaten by local Muslims. In his words: “No one was willing to let me live the life I wanted [as a Christian]—they say Islam is not a religion of compulsion, but no one has been able to tell me why Muslims who don’t find satisfaction in the religion [such as myself] become liable to be killed.”
Saudi Arabia: After a woman was exposed as having converted to Christianity, she was sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes. Although she managed to flee the nation and went into hiding, the Christian Lebanese man accused of introducing her to Christianity received six years in prison and 300 lashes.
Somalia: The Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabaab (“The Youth”), which has vowed to cleanse the Horn of Africa of all Christian presence, has slaughtered countless Muslim converts to Christianity—men, women, and children—in the last few years. Most recently, Al Shabaab shot to death 42-year-old Fartun Omar, a widow and mother of five, for converting to Christianity. Months earlier, they had killed her husband for the same “crime,” and had been hunting for the wife. In a separate incident, Al Shabaab publicly executed a 28-year-old man after determining that he had in fact become a Christian. Al Shabaab Muslims also seized Hassan Gulled, 25, for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity, and imprisoned him, and tortured him. According to local sources, “Al Shabaab have been torturing him to see whether he would deny his Christian faith. Since last week, no information has surfaced concerning Gulled. There is a possibility that he could have been killed.”
Tanzania: At the time pregnant and with three children, Lukia Khalid explained how when she told her Muslim husband that she had converted to Christianity, “He threatened to kill me if I was to stay with him. I then decided to escape that night with my three children to a neighbor’s house…. We left only with the clothes that we were wearing. The command was so urgent that we could not wait any longer. We had to leave immediately.” Last heard, they were living in destitute conditions.
One can go on and on with examples (see Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, pages 96-135, for a more thorough expose, including on the doctrine and history of apostasy in Islam, and dozens of more recent examples).
Returning to Meriam Ibrahim, the pregnant Sudanese mother set to be executed for refusing to recant Christ and embrace Islam, some questions and observations are in order:
Are all the other anecdotes listed above not equally “appalling and abhorrent”—to use Amnesty International’s words describing Meriam’s specific plight? Are they not all a “flagrant breach of international human rights law”?
If so, and if the international community is actually serious about putting a stop to them, should it not try to ascertain the true source behind them?
After all, considering that Muslim converts to Christianity are being attacked all throughout the Islamic world—including in nations as diverse as Algeria, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, and Kyrgyz—surely the source is not something as simple as “Sudan’s legal system.”
The fact is, Muslim converts to Christianity are even under attack in Europe. In Norway alone, for example, two Iranian converts out for a walk were stabbed with knives by masked men shouting “infidels!” One of the men stabbed had converted in Iran, was threatened there, and immigrated to Norway, thinking he could escape Islam’s apostasy penalty. Earlier, an Afghan convert to Christianity was scalded with boiling water and acid at a Norwegian refugee processing center: “If you do not return to Islam, we will kill you,” his attackers told him.
Of course, the true source for all these attacks on Muslim converts to Christianity—in nations that do not share race, language, culture, politics, or economics—is Islam itself. Anyone with common sense, anyone with the ability to be honest with oneself, must concede as much. There is no other reasonable way to explain such identical patterns of abuse in such a wide array of nations.
But so long as the international community and human rights organizations fail to employ some common sense and honesty—fail to call a spade a spade—so will they ensure that countless more innocent humans like Meriam Ibrahim continue to suffer “appalling and abhorrent” treatment, simply for trying to exercise their “right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” under Islam.
Islamic law permits the possession of concubines, or sex slaves. This has been demonstrated countless times, including through Islamic clerics quoting Islamic scriptures, and through ordinary Muslims, past and present, acting on it.
That said, Islamic sanctioned sex-slavery does not perturb the Western world simply because the powers-that-be—specifically academia, media, and government—ignore it, and all other unsavory phenomena associated with Islam, out of existence.
Interesting, therefore, are the responses from the authorities—comical one might even say—when one of these everyday anecdotes actually does surface to the general public.
Enter the recent abduction of nearly 300, mostly Christian, teenage schoolgirls in Nigeria at the hands of Boko Haram, yet another Islamic terrorist organization plaguing mankind. As expected, the group justified its actions in Islamic terms, with its leader declaring on video, “I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah….There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell.”
Of course, for those in the know, none of this is surprising. In March 2012, Boko Haram warned that it would do just this, declaring that it was preparing to “strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women.”
Moreover, of all the human rights abuses I catalog in Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians—and these are depressingly many—Boko Haram’s has resulted in more Christians killed than in the rest of the world combined.
The group has bombed or burned hundreds of Christian churches in the last several years, most when packed for service, including on Christmas Day and Easter Day, leaving countless worshippers dead or dismembered. In its bid to cleanse northern Nigeria of all Christian presence—a repeatedly stated goal—it has threatened to poison the food eaten by Christians and stormed areas where Christians and Muslims were intermingled, singling the Christians out before slitting their throats.
Go to my monthly “Muslim Persecution of Christians” series (currently 31 in all), and see the innumerable atrocities that Boko Haram has been responsible for in the last two-and-a-half years—many of which make the recent Nigerian girls’ abduction pale in comparison.
The real news here is that the so-called mainstream media, which generally downplays or ignores Boko Haram’s terror campaign (see here for example), actually reported on this particular atrocity, prompting both Western and Muslim authorities—who are much more accustomed to, and comfortable with, pretending these sorts of things don’t exist—to respond in awkward, hypocritical and, in a word, foolish, ways. Thus,
Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. had been in touch with Nigeria “from day one” of the crisis. But repeated offers of U.S. assistance were ignored until Kerry got on the phone Tuesday with [Nigerian president] Jonathan amid growing international concern and outrage over the fate of the girls in the weeks since their abduction…. “I think now the complications that have arisen have convinced everybody that there needs to be a greater effort,” Kerry said at a State Department news conference. “And it will begin immediately. I mean, literally, immediately.”
“Convinced everybody”? Is Kerry referring to himself? After all, there might not have been any need for “greater effort,” the need to act “immediately. I mean, literally, immediately” had Kerry only let the Nigerian president and government do their job one year ago, when they were waging a particularly strong and successful offensive against Boko Haram in the very same region that the schoolgirls were recently kidnapped.
Back then, in May 2013, soon after Nigerian forces killed 30 Boko Haram members, Reuters reported that “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a strongly worded statement [to the Nigerian president] saying: “We are … deeply concerned by credible allegations that Nigerian security forces are committing gross human rights violations, which, in turn, only escalate the violence and fuel extremism” from Boko Haram.
Perhaps this sheds more light on why “repeated offers of U.S. assistance [regarding the kidnapped girls] were ignored” by Nigeria, “until Kerry got on the phone” (whatever that means).
As for Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Clinton, who is now bemoaning the lot of the kidnapped girls in Nigeria—saying it’s “abominable, it’s criminal, it’s an act of terrorism and it really merits the fullest response possible”—when she was Secretary of State, and in a position to help offer “the fullest response possible” she repeatedly refused to designate Boko Haram as a “foreign terrorist organizations,” despite the countless atrocities it had already committed, despite the fact that it had boasted it would “strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women,” as it just has, and despite urging from the CIA, FBI, Justice Department, and several congressmen and senators.
Her logic was once voiced by her husband, former U.S. president Bill Clinton. Back in February 2012, in a speech in Nigeria, Clinton declared that “inequality” and “poverty” are “what’s fueling all this stuff”—a reference to Boko Haram’s terror—and warned the government that “It is almost impossible to cure a problem based on violence with violence”—a precursor to Kerry’s May 2013 condemnation of the Nigerian government’s tough offensive against Boko Haram, which would supposedly “only escalate the violence and fuel extremism.”
In short, just like the Obama administration has been a thorn in Egypt’s war with the Muslim Brotherhood, so too has it been a thorn in Nigeria’s war with Boko Haram—despite all its current handwringing and “outrage” over this latest—that is, known—atrocity.
As for the “Islam” aspect of Boko Haram’s violence and Christian persecution, needless to say the Obama administration rejects it outright. Thus, after the 2012 Easter Day church bombings by Boko Haram that killed dozens of worshippers, U.S. Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson was quick to insist that “religion is not driving extremist violence”—or, in the aforementioned words of Bill Clinton, “inequality” and “poverty” are “what’s fueling all this stuff.”
Still, because this latest kidnapping anecdote has received sufficient media attention, including in the Arab and Muslim worlds, some Muslim leaders have been forced out of their comfort zone to respond.
Thus, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayib, the Grand Sheikh of Egypt’s Al Azhar—regularly touted as the Muslim world’s most prestigious institution of Islamic learning—was quick to condemn Boko Haram’s actions of kidnapping and selling “infidel” women, saying, “these actions have no connection to the tolerant and noble teachings of Islam.”
As for Egypt’s minister of endowments, Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar al-Gum‘a, he too released a statement saying that “the terrorist deeds of Boko Haram have nothing to do with Islam, especially this latest deed of kidnapping girls. Instead, they are terroristic, criminal actions, and Islam is clean of them.” He then went into White House spokesperson mode, saying that poverty, economics, and the rest were the true motivators for Boko Haram’s savagery.
One can sympathize with Egypt’s state sheikhs—after all, they are busy fighting their own brand of Islam misunderstanders, the Muslim Brotherhood and their fellow ideologues, who have been abducting male Coptic Christians for ransom and females for sexual abuse, slavery, and/or conversion to Islam.
Happily for these moderate clerics, few are openly challenging their assertions that Islam is clean of Boko Haram’s actions. Based on precedent, they often have no response and can become hostile.
For example, some years back, when Sheikh Gamal Qutb, a one-time Grand Mufti of Al Azhar, was asked on live Arabic-language TV if Islam permits sex slaves, he refused to give a direct answer, preferring to prevaricate. When pressed for a clear answer by the Muslim female host, he became hostile and stormed off the set. He eventually returned, only to be implored again by the host, who said, “Ninety percent of Muslims, including myself, do not understand the issue of sex slavery in Islam and are having a hard time swallowing it,” to which he gruffly responded, “You don’t need to understand!”
And there you have it. From Obama administration officials who helped empower Nigeria’s Islamic terrorists, only to wring their hands and feign outrage at their behavior, to Islamic clerics who confidently dispel accusations against Islam, only to put their heads in the sand and hope no one calls them out—here is just a small example of what officialdom would have to deal with if the full totality of crimes committed in the name of Islam were to become common knowledge.
Several are the important lessons learned from last year’s “Brave German Woman” incident.
Context: On November 10, 2013, a Muslim imam was invited to give the Islamic call to prayer inside the Memorial Church of the Reformation in the city of Speyer, Germany—a church dedicated to honoring Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.
“When the brave German woman, whose real name is Heidi Mund, heard about the event, she prayed,” reports CBN News. Not sure what she would do upon arrival, she grabbed her German flag emblazoned with the words “Jesus Christ is Lord” and headed for the concert:
“Until the imam started with his shouting [“Allahu Akbar!”], I did not really know what to do. I was just prepared for what God wants me to do,” she told CBN News.
Then the Muslim call to prayer began, and Heidi said she felt something rising up inside her.
“I would call it a holy anger,” she recounted. “And then I rose with my flag and I was calling and proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord over Germany”…
And she repeated the words of Martin Luther in 1521 after he refused to recant his faith in scripture alone: “Here I stand. I can do no other” and “Save the church of Martin Luther!”
Video shows another concert-goer trying to calm her by saying, “This is a concert for peace.”
Mund can be heard responding in German, “No it’s not! Allahu Akbar is what Muslims scream while murdering people! Don’t be fooled! Don’t be fooled! This is a lie!”
She was thrown out of the church.
“They should have thrown the imam out and not me because I am a believer in Jesus Christ, but he serves another god. This Allah is not the same god. And this is not the truth.”
“This ‘allahu akbar,’ they use it when they kill people,” she argued. “This is, for me, worship to an idol, to their god. And when a Muslim calls ‘allahu akbar’ in a church, that means this church is not a church anymore, it’s a mosque.”
Now for some lessons concerning the significance of this anecdote:
Mund’s observations about the phrase “Allahu Akbar” are spot-on. Islam’s war cry, signifying the superiority of Muhammad’s religion over all things, the takbir (“Allahu Akbar”), is habitually proclaimed in violent contexts, specifically attacking and slaughtering non-Muslims, whether beheading “infidels” or bombing churches.
Muhammad himself used to cry it aloud prior to attacking non-Muslim tribes that refused to submit to his authority and religion.
Accordingly, Mund’s outrage at hearing an Islamic imam hollering out Islamic supremacist slogans is justified. Proclaimed in a church, “Allahu Akbar”—which in translation literally means “Allah is greater [than X]”—means “Allahu is greater than the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible, and Father of Christ.”
And assuming the imam proclaimed Islam’s credo or shehada as is standard in the Muslim call to prayer (that “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger”) that too is tantamount to declaring that the biblical God is false, and the message (or Koran) delivered by Muhammad—which includes a denunciation of Christ’s divinity, death, and resurrection—is true (see for examples Koran 4:157, 4:171, 5:17, 5:116, 9:30-31, 19:35).
This is precisely what the vandal who earlier painted in Arabic the phrase “Allahu Akbar” across the door of another German church likely had in mind.
Yet despite all this, despite the fact that only two or three generations ago, almost every Christian would have been incensed to hear a Muslim shouting Islamic slogans that by nature contradict Christianity inside a church, Mund was chastised by fellow Christians for her stand and kicked out.
This speaks volumes about how far Western European nations have plummeted into a cesspool of moral relativism, where even in prominent churches Christian truths are attacked, and those who take a stand are ostracized for being “intolerant”; it speaks of the naivety and nihilism that predominate in the West; of the effects of years of brainwashing and indoctrination in the name of “multiculturalism,” crippling the ability to think rationally; of how political correctness has censored not only words but the ability for people to connect-the-dots in the quiet of their own minds.
There is, however, a flipside to all this: Mund’s video denouncing the imam “went viral,” says CBN News, signifying its appeal; and many who saw it interpreted her actions as “brave”—hence the appellation. “Bravery” often refers to an act that, while laudable, few have the courage to do. That this title is so naturally and widely applied to Mund suggests that there are many who agree with her; they just lack the same courage, or conviction, to take a vocal stand—hence why she is the “Brave German Woman.”
The fact is, beneath Western Europe’s nihilistic veneer, many there would agree with Mund’s sentiments. Not all are sheep. But due to the aforementioned forces—decades of indoctrination in militant secularism/atheism, multiculturalism, Christian-bashing, and political correctness—they are unable to articulate their grievance.
Yet, whether they are able to express it or not, they remain disgruntled at Muslim affronts and weak responses from European elites.
After all, Muslims hollering Islamic slogans inside European churches is not quite an infrequent phenomenon. Last Christmas, the Chaplain of Royal Holloway University invited a veiled Muslim woman to read Koran verses during church service, again, despite the fact that the Koran contradicts the key tenets of Christianity.
Sometimes Muslims “invite” themselves to churches. Thus, days ago, also in the UK, a Muslim man—“dressed like a terrorist” and wearing a bandana with the Arabic phrase, “Allahu Akbar”—entered a church during service and started yelling things like “this is rubbish, you should be preaching Allah, turn to Islam, we send boys of 10 to war.”
And last Easter in France saw a Muslim man dressed in traditional Islamic attire enter a church during mass, set up his carpet next to the altar and start reading the Koran.
The point is, more and more Western Europeans are becoming disgruntled, even if most are not yet “brave” enough to show it, and even if the powers-that-be, including media and government, continue to downplay and suppress them.
Days ago, for example, Britain’s Liberty GB party leader Paul Weston was arrested and is facing up to two-years’ jail time simply for quoting Winston Churchill’s unflattering observations about Islam in public.
In short, time will tell whether the powers-that-be will allow legitimate criticism of Islam to vent in Europe, or whether they will continue to suppress it—until the simmering cauldron of discontent spills over in ways much more dramatic than quoting Luther or Churchill, as has happened all too often in European history.
To the awe of its readership, a recent Daily Mail article reports that the “jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Levant [ISIL],” which is currently entrenched in Raqqa, Syria, “publicly crucified two Syrian rebels in northeastern Syria in revenge for a grenade attack on members of their group.”
While the Daily Mail is to be commended for exposing these barbaric acts—along with posting photos of the crucified—it nonetheless minimized their significance, in two important ways: 1) by repeatedly saying things like “even al-Qaeda is distancing itself from ISIL,” and so implying that the act of crucifixion is some wild aberration that even the poster-child of jihadi terror, al-Qaeda, wants nothing to do with it; and 2) ignoring the much “sexier” story that Christians in Syria are also being crucified simply for refusing to embrace Islam (as opposed to the rather mundane but politically more correct story of jihadis crucifying each other in the context of vendetta killings).
Consider the atrocities earlier committed in Ma‘loula, Syria, an ancient Christian village where the inhabitants still spoke Aramaic, the language of Christ.
According to recent Arabic news media, “a Syrian nun testified to the Vatican news agency that some Christians in Ma‘loula were crucified for refusing to convert to Islam or pay jizya” (tribute subjugated Christians are required to pay to their Islamic conquerors in order to exist as Christians, per Koran 9:29).
Incidentally, they were crucified by the al-Qaeda linked Nasra Front (so much for Daily Mail’s portrayal of al-Qaeda “distancing” itself from the apparently “extra-extremist” ISIL for crucifying its victims).
Sister Raghad, the former head of the Patriarchate School in Damascus who currently resides in France, told Vatican Radio how she personally witnessed jihadi rebels terrorize Ma‘loula, including by pressuring Christians to proclaim the shehada—Islam’s credo that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger—which, when uttered before Muslim witnesses transforms the speaker into a Muslim, with the death penalty for apostasy should the convert later “renege” by returning to Christianity.
According to the nun, those Christians who refused to embrace Islam were
killed in atrocious and violent ways that cannot be described. If you want examples, they crucified two youths in Ma‘loula for refusing to proclaim Islam’s credo, saying to them: “Perhaps you want to die like your teacher [Christ] whom you believe in? You have two choices: either proclaim the shehada or else be crucified.” One of them was crucified before his father, whom they also killed.
In fact, according to earlier media reports from October 2013, soon after Ma‘loula fell to the jihadis, one “shaky voiced” elderly Christian man had reported that he heard the invading jihadis shouting, “Convert to Islam, or you will be crucified like Jesus.”
It is, of course, a documented fact that some Christians in Ma‘loula were put to death for refusing to convert to Islam, such as Minas, an Armenian man, while other families succumbed to pressureand converted to Islam.
But it is not clear whether the two crucified Christians mentioned by the nun are among the three men in Ma‘loula who, according to Asia News, “refused to repudiate their religion” and thus “were summarily executed in public”—so many and varied were the barbaric acts, including beheadings, rape, and infanticide during the rebel occupation, not to mention the other massacres in other Christian regions the mainstream media failed to report on.
These three were declared martyrs by the Syrian Greek-Catholic Church, or as Patriarch Gregorios III explained to Pope Francis in a meeting: “Holy Father, they are true martyrs. Ordered to give up their faith, they proudly refused. Three others however gave in and were forced to declare themselves Muslim, but later returned to the faith of their ancestors.”
For his part, and according to a May 3rd Arabic report, Pope Francis recently said, “I wept when I saw reports saying that Christians were being crucified in some non-Christian countries.”
The fact is, crucifixion is a prescribed form of punishment in the Koran (5:33) and occurs throughout the Islamic world with much greater frequency than suggested by the Daily Mail. For example… Keep reading
Last year, according to Arabic media accounts, “Saudi cleric Nasser al-‘Umar issued a fatwa permitting mujahidin [jihadis] in Syria to have sex-jihad with their sisters [muharamhum] if no one else is available. The Saudi preacher also praised the mujahidin for their ongoing fight against, in his words, the machine of infidelity and oppression, that is, the Syrian and Iranian regimes.”
The cleric issued his fatwa on “one of the channels associated with the radical jihadi movements” where he also reportedly said: “Some today are opposing the fatwas being issued by the clerics which serve our mujahidin brethren fighting in Syria [a likely reference to Muslim criticism—as opposed to Western denial—of thesex-jihad fatwas], without criticizing the killing of children and women in Syria.”
As shocking as this report may seem, it is not the first of its kind. For example, according to this Arabic documentary video (click “cc” for English subtitles), “The new jihad allows brothers and sisters in Syria belonging to the [al-Qaeda linked] al-Nusra Front to marry each other under the name of jihad because of the lack of girls among fighters of that organization.”
One man appears on video saying, “At the Zawia mountain there is an imam called Imam Hussein. They bring him a brother and a sister, he says ‘Allahu Akbar’ on them three times to have sex together and make them husband and wife.”
The rationale and justification of these fatwas is based on the Islamic maxim, “necessity makes the prohibited permissible,” not unlike the more familiar adage, “the ends justify the means.”
In other words, because fighting to make the “word of Allah,” or Sharia, supreme is the greatest good, and because sexually-deprived jihadis fighting to do just that may lose morale and quit the theatre of war for lack of women, it is permissible, indeed laudable, for Muslim women—including apparently relatives—to volunteer to give up their bodies to these men so that they can continue the jihad to empower Islam, in accordance with the Koran: “Allah has 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” (Yusuf Ali trans. 9:111).
This verse has been traditionally understood as Muslim men selling “their persons,” that is, their bodies, to the jihad in exchange for paradise. In the context of sex jihad, however, Muslim women—including sisters—are also selling “their persons” (their bodies for sex) to indirectly empower the jihad, also in exchange for paradise.
The fact is, the maxim, “necessity makes the prohibited permissible,” is responsible for any number of seeming contradictions: Muslim women must chastely be covered head-to-toe—yet, in the service of jihad, they are allowed to prostitute their bodies. Homosexuality is forbidden—but permissible if rationalized as a way to kill infidels. Lying is forbidden—but permissible to empower Islam. Suicide is forbidden—but permissible during the jihad—called “martyrdom.” Stealing is forbidden—but the rightful booty of the jihadi who conquers infidels.
The moral of the story? Sharia is only draconian and rigid for those who find themselves living under its jurisprudence. But as for those who work to empower Allah’s law—chief among them, the jihadis—not only are they permitted to ignore Sharia, they are permitted to ignore basic standards of morality.
Hence the ancient and widespread appeal of the jihad.
A new Danish statistical study finds that “Muslims [are] 218 percent more criminal in second generation than first.” While some of these crimes are clearly related to Islam—such as attacks on Muslim apostates to Christianity—others, such as rampant theft of non-Muslims, would appear banal, until one realizes that even robbery and plunder is justified by Islamic doctrine—as one UK Muslim cleric once clearly said.
The interesting question here is why are second generation Muslims, who are presumably more Westernized than their Muslim parents, also more “radical”? Lest one dismiss this phenomenon as a product of economics or some other “grievance” against European host nations, the fact is, even in America, where Muslims are much better assimilated than in Europe, they too are turning to “radicalism.”
For example, some time back, Attorney General Eric Holder said that “the threat [of terrorism] has changed … to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens—raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born.”
Around the same time, Sue Myrick, then a member of Congress, wrote a particularly candid letter on “radicalization” to President Obama:
For many years we lulled ourselves with the idea that radicalization was not happening inside the United Sates. We believed American Muslims were immune to radicalization because, unlike the European counterparts, they are socially and economically well-integrated into society. There had been warnings that these assumptions were false but we paid them no mind. Today there is no doubt that radicalization is taking place inside America. The strikingly accelerated rate of American Muslims arrested for involvement in terrorist activities since May 2009 makes this fact self-evident.
Myrick named several American Muslims as examples of those who, while “embodying the American dream, at least socio-economically,” were still “radicalized,” astutely adding, “The truth is that if grievances were the sole cause of terrorism, we would see daily acts by Americans who have lost their jobs and homes in this economic downturn.”
Quite so. Yet, though Myrick’s observations were limited to the domestic scene, they beg the following, more cosmic, question: If American Muslims, who enjoy Western benefits—including democracy, liberty, prosperity, and freedom of expression—are still being radicalized, why then do we insist that the importation of these same Western benefits to the Muslim world will eliminate its even more indigenous or authentic form of “radicalization”?
After all, the mainstream position evoked by most politicians maintains that all U.S. sacrifices in the Muslim world (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) will pay off once Muslims discover how wonderful Western ways are, and happily slough off their “Islamist” veneer, which, as the theory goes, is a product of—you guessed it—a lack of democracy, liberty, prosperity, and freedom of expression.
Yet here are American and European Muslims, immersed in the bounties of the West, and still do they turn to violent jihad. Why think their counterparts, who are born and raised in the Muslim world, where Islam permeates every aspect of life, will respond differently?
In fact, far from eliminating “radicalization,” Western values can actually exacerbate Islamic tendencies—hence why second generation, “Westernized” Muslims are also becoming more “radicalized” than their parents.
Some already known that Western concessions to Islam—in the guise of multiculturalism, “cultural sensitivity,” political correctness, and self-censorship—only bring out the worst of Islam’s “schoolyard bully.” Yet even some of the most prized aspects of Western civilization—personal freedom, rule of law, human dignity—when articulated through an Islamic framework, have the capacity to “radicalize” Muslims.
Consider: the West’s commitment to the law as supreme arbitrator, for the Westernized Muslim becomes a commitment to establish and enforce Islamic law, Sharia; the West’s commitment to democracy, for the Westernized Muslim becomes a commitment to theocracy, including an anxious impulse to resurrect the caliphate; Western notions of human dignity and pride, when articulated through an Islamic paradigm (which sees only fellow Muslims as equals) induces rage when Muslims—Palestinians, Afghanis, Iraqis, etc.—are seen under Western, infidel dominion; Western notions of autonomy and personal freedom have even helped “Westernize” the notion of jihad into an individual duty, though it has traditionally been held by Sharia as a communal duty.
In short, a set of noble principles articulated through a foreign paradigm can lead to abominations. In this case, the better principles of Western civilization are being devoured, absorbed, and regurgitated into something equally potent, though from the other end of the spectrum.
Put differently, just as a stress on human freedom, human dignity, and universal justice produces good humans, rearticulating these same concepts through an Islamic framework that qualifies them with the word “Muslim”—Muslim freedom, Muslim dignity, and Muslim justice—leads to what is being called “radicalization.”
On April 24, CBN News Senior International Reporter Gary Lane interviewed me about Egypt. Lane’s write-up, “Will Egypt’s el-Sisi Protect Christians?” as well as the three part interview, follow:
With only one month to go before Egyptians elect a new president, it looks like former Army Chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will be the likely winner. The interim government says international observers will monitor the polling to assure the integrity of the electoral process.
But who will give assurances that violent acts against Christians will be minimized in the months ahead?
Not el-Sisi, CBN News contributior Raymond Ibrahim said. Not the Egyptain military, police, or any other political candidate who may become president.
Ibrahim says that’s because a mob mentality dominates Egypt. This is most apparent on Fridays, after prayers in the mosque. That’s when radical imams preaching an extremist intepretation of the Koran incite their followers to attack the “infidels.”
Watch my interview with Raymond Ibrahim, presented here in three parts.
Part #1–Raymond discusses the Egyptian mob mentality:
Part #2–Raymond shares his thoughts on the upcoming election:
Part #3– Raymond talks about the vacant U.S. Ambassador to Egypt position:
A young boy in Egypt, apparently no more than six-years-old, was recently raped by a Muslim Brotherhood member “angered” at the child for singing praises to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, widely seen in Egypt as the hero of the revolution that saw the ousting of Muhammad Morsi and the Brotherhood in July 2013, and likely Egypt’s next president.
The details, including video interviews with the boy (whose face appears alternatively blotted out or hidden by his hands to protect his identity and dignity) and his father and mother, recently appeared on Egyptian journalist Wael Ibrashi’s television program (the same program that exposed Egypt’s “first sex-slave marriage” and how women were drinking camel urine in connection with Islamic teachings).
The story goes as follows: One day when the boy was singing praises to Sisi near his home, a neighbor, Ahmed Abu Sa ‘id (the Brotherhood member), called him over and took him to a nearby shed, saying he needed help with something. Once inside, Sa‘id locked the door, began tearing the boy’s pants off and raped him, saying, “You’re always holding pictures of this Sisi and singing his praises. Come, I’ll humiliate and break you—and your Sisi.”
The boy started screaming aloud, until the man was finished and released him. According to his mother, “I heard him crying and left my work [in the field] and ran up to meet him. He was holding his pants up. I thought some kids had beaten him!”… (She bursts into inarticulate tears when describing what actually did happen to him.)
When the mother tried to confront her son’s rapist, he and his crew beat her on the head with iron rods.
According to the boy’s father, Ahmed Abu Sa‘id is a well-known Brotherhood member, living in the neighborhood, who often appeared with leading MB members back when Morsi was in power. Sa‘id often tried to enlist the support of the boy’s father but he refused.
Similarly, the raped boy’s mother said that Sa‘id’s wife also tried to buy her support, and once offered her a considerable amount of money—much more than she was earning working in the field—to go and support the Brotherhood “sit ins” in Rabia (where rape, torture, and mass murder were taking place).
In other words, constant refusals from the boy’s family to join and/or support the Brotherhood earned the Sa‘id family’s wrath—culminating with the boy’s rape and degradation, for daring to sing songs in praise of Sisi and the anti-Brotherhood revolution. And now Sa‘id and his Brotherhood allies are threatening the boy’s family to keep silent about the rape, or else.
Of course, none of this should be surprising, as it conforms to earlier Brotherhood patterns. For example, back in December 2012, when Egyptians in mass first rose against Muhammad Morsi, Fox News reported that “Egypt’s embattled Muslim Brotherhood regime is paying gangs of thugs to rape women and beat men who gather in Tahrir Square to protest the power grab of President Mohamed Morsi, say activists.”… Keep reading
According to Sham Times and other Arabic websites, jihadi social media networks posted the above picture of a child sitting on the ground while surrounded by armed men pointing their rifles at him. The caption appearing with the picture, purportedly posted by a supporter of the Free Syrian Army, is “Our youngest hostage from among the hostile sects of Kessab.”
Kessab is a predominantly Christian Armenian village in Syria near the Turkish border. Earlier it was invaded by jihadis, who terrorized, pillaged churches, and prompted some 2000 residents to flee. Initial reports had stated that about a dozen families remained as hostages.
Since the picture appeared on Arabic social media, many have expressed shock and outrage, condemning the Syrian “rebels,” while others cast doubt on the authenticity of the picture.
Of course, those wondering what the jihadis have to gain from taking such a picture and making it public would do well to remember that these are the same people who decapitate people and wave their severed and bloodied heads in front of cameras while smiling; these are the same people who literally eat their victims on camera.
Surely “teasing” an infidel toddler — a subhuman — with their rifles and sharing it with their sadistic comrades via the Internet for a “laugh” should not be too surprising?
At any rate, the fact remains: the “Free Syrian Army,” along with other “rebel” groups operating in Syria, are guilty of countless barbaric crimes against humanity — including against women and children.
Who is ultimately responsible for the ongoing attacks on Christians and their churches throughout the Islamic world?
Focusing on one of the most obvious nations where Christians are regularly targeted—Egypt’s Coptic Christians—one finds that the “mob” is the most visible and obvious culprit. One Copt accused of some transgression against Muslim sensibilities—from having relations with a Muslim woman, to ruining a Muslim man’s shirt—is often enough to prompt Muslim mobs to destroy entire Christian villages and their churches.
Recently, for example, after her cross identified Mary Sameh George as a Christian, a pro-Muslim Brotherhood mob attacked, beat, and slaughtered her.
However, a recent Arabic op-ed titled “Find the True Killer of Mary” looks beyond the mob to identify the true persecutor of Christians in Egypt. According to it:
Those who killed the young and vulnerable Mary Sameh George, for hanging a cross in her car, are not criminals, but rather wretches who follow those who legalized for them murder, lynching, dismemberment, and the stripping bare of young Christian girls—without every saying “kill.” [Islamic cleric] Yassir Burhami and his colleagues who announce their hate for Christians throughout satellite channels and in mosques—claiming that hatred of Christians is synonymous with love for God—they are the true killers who need to be tried and prosecuted… The slayers of Mary Sameh are simply a wretched mob, with the body of a bull but the brain of a worm. It’s not the puppets on the string who need punishing, but rather the mastermind who moves the puppets with his bloody fingers behind closed curtains that needs punishing.
One fact certainly validates this Arabic op-ed’s assertions: the overwhelming majority of attacks on Christians in Egypt and other Muslim nations—including the slaughter of Mary Sameh George—occur on Friday, the one day of the week that Muslims congregate in mosques for communal prayers and to hear sermons.
The significance of this fact can easily be understood by analogy: what if Christians were especially and consistently violent to non-Christian minorities on Sunday—right after they got out of church? What would that say about what goes on in Christian churches?
What does it say about what goes on in Muslim mosques?
The Arabic op-ed also does well to name Sheikh Yassir al-Burhami as one of those who “announce their hate for Christians throughout the satellite channels and in mosques, claiming that hatred of Christians is synonymous with love for God.”
For example, Dr. Burhami—the face of Egypt’s Salafi movement—once issued a fatwa, or Islamic edict, forbidding Muslim taxi- and bus-drivers from transporting Coptic Christian priests to their churches, which he depicted as “more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar.”
As for hating non-Muslim “infidels,” many Islamic clerics, especially Salafis, believe that the doctrine of “Loyalty and Enmity” (or wala’ wa bara’) commands Muslims never to befriend or be loyal to non-Muslims.
Burhami himself appears on video asserting that if a Muslim man marries a Christian or Jewish woman (known in Islamic parlance as “People of the Book”)—even he must still hate his wife, because she is an infidel… Keep reading
News recently emerged that “the Obama administration is imposing sanctions on an Egypt-based group that has claimed responsibility for attacks against Egyptian officials, Israeli interests and foreign tourists in Cairo and the Sinai peninsula. The State Department said Wednesday [4/9/14] it has designated Ansar Bayt al-Muqadis a ‘foreign terrorist organization.’”
While ostensibly a laudable move, some—many in Egypt—think this announcement is a ruse to portray the Obama administration as committed to combating terrorism, even as it supports the head of the terrorist-snake, the Muslim Brotherhood.
For instance, according to Mustafa Zayid, the Coordinator of the Sufi Coalition Forces in Egypt, “The expectation was for the United States of America to announce its designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization—as opposed to Ansar Bayt al-Muqadis, which takes its lead from it [Brotherhood].”
The Sufi leader further added in published comments to Watan “that Ansar Bayt al-Muqadis is a pseudonym for the terrorist Brotherhood organization, clarifying that what the U.S. State Department did was one of the administration’s tricks to deceive the world, mocking it into believing that the U.S. is combating terrorism.”
He further added that “the U.S. supports the Muslim Brotherhood and sponsors its terrorist activities throughout Egypt.”
Nor is the Sufi the only one making such charges. According to Nabil Na’im, a Salafi, former member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and confidante of al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri, Ansar Bayt al-Muqadis is funded by Khairat al-Shatter, the currently imprisoned, multi-millionaire Brotherhood leader.
I was recently involved in an interesting exercise—examining taqiyya about taqiyya—and believe readers might profit from the same exercise, as it exposes all the subtle apologetics made in defense of the Islamic doctrine, which permits Muslims to lie to non-Muslims, or “infidels.”
Context: Khurrum Awan, a lawyer, is suing Ezra Levant, a Canadian media personality and author, for defamation and $100,000. Back in 2009 and on his own website, Levant had accused Awan of taqiyya in the context of Awan’s and the Canadian Islamic Congress’ earlier attempts to sue Mark Steyn.
For more on Levant’s court case, go to www.StandWithEzra.ca.
On behalf of Awan, Mohammad Fadel—professor of Islamic Law at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law—provided an expert report to the court on the nature of taqiyya, the significance of which he portrayed as “a staple of right-wing Islamophobia in North America.”
In response, Levant asked me (back in 2013) to write an expert report on taqiyya, including by responding to Fadel’s findings.
I did. And it had the desired effect. As Levant put it in an email to me:
It was an outstanding report, very authoritative and persuasive. Of course, we don’t know what the plaintiff’s [Awan’s] private thoughts about it were, but we do know that after receiving the report, he decided to cancel calling his own expert witness [Dr. Fadel]—who happens to be a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer. After reading your rebuttal, he decided he would rather not engage in that debate.
My expert report follows. In it, I quote relevant portions of Fadel’s expert report (which can be read in its entirety here). Most intriguing about the professor’s report is that it’s a perfect example of taqiyya about taqiyya. By presenting partial truths throughout the report, Fadel appears to have even employed taqiyya’s more liberal sister, tawriya.
Accordingly, readers interested in learning more about the role of deception in Islam—and how to respond to those trying to dismiss it as an “Islamophobic fantasy”—are encouraged to read on… Keep reading
As happens at Christmas every year throughout the Muslim world, Christians and their churches were especially targeted—from jihadi terror strikes killing worshipers, to measures by Muslim authorities restricting Christmas celebrations. Some incidents follow:
Iraq: “Militants” reported the Associated Press, “targeted Christians in three separate Christmas Day bombings in Baghdad, killing at least 37 people, officials said Wednesday. In one attack, a car bomb went off near a church in the capital’s southern Dora neighborhood, killing at least 26 people and wounding 38, a police officer said. Earlier, two bombs ripped through a nearby outdoor market simultaneously in the Christian section of Athorien, killing 11 people and wounding 21.”
Iran: Five Muslim converts to Christianity were arrested from a house-church during a Christmas celebration. Plain clothes Iranian security authorities raided a house where, according to Mohabat News, “a group of Christians had gathered to celebrate Christmas on Tuesday, December 24.” Before arresting the five apostates, authorities “insulted and searched those in attendance, and seized all Christian books, CDs, and laptops they found. They also took the Satellite TV receiver.” The original report received by Mohabat stated: “These Christians had gathered to worship and celebrate [the] birth of Jesus.”
Indonesia: Muslims in the Aceh province protested against Christmas and New Year celebrationsand called on authorities to ban them. Days earlier, an influential Islamic cleric organization, the Ulema Consultative Assembly, issued a fatwa, or edict, “prohibiting Muslims from offering Christmas wishes or celebrating on New Year’s Eve,” said the Associated Press. Aceh is the “only province in predominantly Muslim Indonesia that is allowed to implement a version of Islamic Shariah law.”
Kenya: “Youths,” reported Reuters, “threw petrol bombs at two Kenyan churches on Christmas day … in the latest bout of violence against Christians on the country’s predominantly Muslim coast.” The attacks occurred “in the early hours of December 25 after churchgoers held services to usher in Christmas.” The churches were located in Muslim-majority regions. One church was “completely destroyed.”
Somalia: The more “moderate” government—as it is often portrayed in comparison to Al Shabaab (“The Youth”) opposition—banned Christmas celebrations. Hours before Christmas Day, the Ministry of Justice and Religious Affairs released a directive banning any Christian festivities from being held in the east African nation. In the words of one ministry official: “We alert fellow Muslims in Somalia that some festivities to mark Christian Days will take place around the world in this week. It is prohibited to celebrate those days in this country.” All security and law enforcement agencies were instructed to quash any Christian celebrations.
Pakistan: During Christmas Eve services, “Heavy contingents of police were deployed around the churches to thwart any untoward incident.” In some regions, “prayer service at major churches focused on remembering the Pakistani Christians who lost their lives in terror attacks.” For example, three months earlier, Islamic suicide bombers entered the All Saints Church compound in Peshawar following Sunday mass and blew themselves up in the midst of some 550 congregants, killing some 130 worshippers, including many Sunday school children, women, and choir members, and injuring nearly 200 people.
Even in Western nations like Denmark, Christmas Eve witnessed Islamic demonstrations and cries of “Allahu Akbar” (or “Allah is greater”).
Also in December, Syria’s Greek-Catholic Church declared that it had three “true martyrs”—men from the small town of Ma’loula, an ancient Christian site where the inhabitants still spoke the language of Christ. According to Asia News, “When the town fell [in September, to al-Qaeda linked rebels], a climate of fear was imposed… When three men refused to repudiate their religion, they were summarily executed in public, and six more were taken hostage. This was followed by a failed attempt by Syrian government forces to retake the town.” In the words of Patriarch Gregorios III to Pope Francis in a meeting: “Holy Father, they are true martyrs. Ordered to give up their faith, they proudly refused. Three others however gave in and were forced to declare themselves Muslim, but later returned to the faith of their ancestors.” According to the families who fled from Ma’loula, “some of their Muslim neighbors took part in the attack that devastated this historic village where people still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Muslims are approximately one third of the population of the village…” Keep reading
The Board of Inquiry in Cairo monitoring the “sectarian violence that continues to cross Egypt after the overthrow of President Morsi, has documented in a report released on Tuesday, March 25 the endemic forms of violence and abuse that continue to be perpetrated against Coptic Christians in many parts of the country, particularly in the governorates of Luxor, Sohag and Aswan.” According to this report, “reference is made to abductions [almost always for ransom], expropriation of houses, shops looted where Egyptian Copts continue to be targeted victims.”
In other words, Egypt’s Christians are increasingly being seen and treated, in the words of some early caliphs, as “milk camels” to be milked dry of their money and possessions. (Crucified Again, p. 200)
Even the most remote, modest, and apolitical Copts are being targeted so. Late last month, Coptic activists in Egypt called on the Interior Ministry and its organs in the Fayum district to move and rescue the monks, workers, and visitors of the ancient Monastery of Saint Makarius, which is located in the desert between Alexandria and Cairo.
Arab Bedouins have been raiding, plundering, and keeping the monastery in a constant state of duress. Among other depredations, these raiders have especially taken up the practice of waylaying Christian travelers from and to the monastery, including those in vehicles, and robbing them under threat of gunfire.
In one incident, a monk was stopped, seized, and had gun shots fired near his ear, before he was robbed of all the money in his possession, which was meant to be used to purchase much needed building materials for the monastery. In another incident, the monastery’s car was stolen and returned in exchange for a large sum of money.
Considering that the Western media is silent about the most horrific abuses the Copts suffer in Egypt—such as the brutal slaughter of a young woman identified as a Christian by her cross—it is little wonder that the oppression of these remote monks is seen as beyond irrelevant.
Within the context of keeping the Syrian jihad alive, it seems there is no end to the attempts of some Islamic clerics to legitimize otherwise forbidden behavior in order to gratify the sexual urges of the jihadis and keep them fighting Syrian president Bashar Assad.
First, there was the now infamous “sex-jihad” fatwa, which holds that any Muslim woman who willingly allows her body to be used by the sexually-deprived jihadis becomes herself a jihadi, if not a “martyr,” deserving of all the honor and rewards associated with those titles. (Much has been written about the sex jihad, including videotaped testimonials—and how one teenage girl, after copulating with countless jihadis, got pregnant and contracted aids—even as pro-Syrian war Western entities like Foreign Policy try to deny it.)
Another fatwa permitted the jihadis in Syria to enslave and rape any non-Sunni women—including Alawites (Assad’s sect), Christians, Druze, and all Shia—in the context of their status as melk al-yamin or “right hand possessions,” per Koran 4:3 (a verse that permits the enslavement and sexual use of conquered “infidel” women).
Now, the same Islamic cleric who issued this last “rape fatwa” has issued another fatwa urging destitute women in war torn Syria to become the “right hand possessions” of any man willing to support them—basically, to sell themselves into sex-slavery.
In a video that appeared in December 2013, Jordanian Sheikh Yassin al-Ajlawni, who says he lived in Syria for 17 years, asserted that “the needy, disenfranchised Syrian woman is permitted to ask the Muslim man who is capable of supporting her, to enter into a “right hand possession” contract with him, whereby she becomes his right hand possession.”
Ajlawni’s logic is that, because Syria is in a state of war, and the numbers of men are dropping, needy and displaced women are permitted to seek out support by selling themselves into concubinage.
In the Muslim sheikh’s own words:
We hereby give fatwa permitting the Syrian woman who desires to be married to a Muslim man, via a “right hand possession” contract—whereby he becomes her master and she becomes his slave—that all this contract needs is for the woman be clean of her menstruation period, and that this contract be registered with the sheikhs or other authorities, either in a Sharia or civil court… Afterwards, once the woman says, “I give you possession over myself,” via contract of “right hand possession,” this woman becomes his loyal servant, and he her lord; she becomes a slave and concubine to him, and he must support her according to a previously agreed upon monetary fee … thus they become governed by the rulings of “right hand possession,” and there is no problem with this, Allah willing.
To bolster his fatwa, al-Ajlawni referred to a few hadiths (recorded words and teachings of Islam’s prophet Muhammad), including: “One of the signs of the [final] hour is that knowledge will decrease, ignorance will increase, adultery will appear, women will grow in numbers, while men will grow less, so that fifty women will be worth one [man].”
Al-Ajlawni also cited a hadith from the canonical Sahih Bukhari, which has the prophet saying: “whenever fitna [sedition from Islam] becomes widespread, Allah distinguishes his followers, so that 50 women follow one man, saying, ‘Oh Abdullah [“slave of Allah”], take care of me,’” adding that in the same narrative the woman says, “O Abdullah, have sex with me.”… Keep reading