Oklahoma Beheading Trial: Is Obeying the Qur’an a Form of Mental Illness?

The trial of Alton Alexander Nolen -- a.k.a. Jah’Keem Yisrael, who beheaded a coworker, Colleen Hufford, and tried to behead another, Traci Johnson, at Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma in September 2014 -- has revealed anew the incoherence and inconsistency of our official response to the jihad threat.

Nolen insists he was merely following the Qur’an. In statements he made days after the attack that have just been revealed during his trial, Nolen couldn’t have been clearer about his mindset, worldview, and motivations. When he was read his rights, he responded:

I’m a Muslim.

When asked why he beheaded Hufford, he answered:

I just feel like ... I did what I needed to do. What Allah ... says in the Qur’an to do. Oppressors don’t need to be here.

Nolen has a case. The Qur’an says:

When you meet the unbelievers, strike the necks (47:4).

Nolen thought Colleen Hufford was not just an unbeliever, but something even worse: she was, he explained, a “slave to the devil.” Nolen himself, on the other hand, was a “slave to Allah.” He told police:

You know the Muslim is somebody who submits their will to Allah … Whatever he wants done, that’s what we do … And you know he wants us to get the oppressors out of this place.

When asked if he regretted murdering Hufford, Nolen answered:

This wasn’t nothing but a trial for me. I passed it ... because, like I said, I felt oppressed. ... I knew for sure that ... if I was to die right then ... I was going to heaven.

He added:

I feel, you know, you know what I’m saying, if I was to die in five or 10 minutes I’m going to Heaven. That’s all that matters to me.

Here again, Nolen has a case. The Qur’an promises Paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah (9:111). Nolen is, of course, still alive, but like the Fort Hood jihad mass murderer Nidal Malik Hasan, he likely believes that if he were to be executed, it would complete the requirements of the passage, and ensure his ticket to Paradise.

When asked if anyone had told him to behead unbelievers, he was quite clear about where he got the idea:

Uh, no. I read the Qur’an. Like I say, the Qur’an is easy to understand. … No one guides me but Allah.

Nolen also confirmed that he screamed “Allahu akbar” as he beheaded Hufford.

Both prosecuting and defense attorneys, however, seem to be discounting Nolen’s statements. The Oklahoman reported:

[H]is court-appointed defense attorneys are asking the jury to find him not guilty by reason of insanity. They have told jurors he is mentally ill and believed what he was doing was right because of delusional misinterpretations of Islamic teachings.

Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn, meanwhile, went even farther, saying:

[Nolen] didn’t know the difference between right and wrong, and didn’t know the consequences of his actions.

Nonsense. He knows very well the difference between right and wrong. The Qur’an says: “When you meet the unbelievers, strike the necks,” and as far as he is concerned, that is right, and he knows that as a consequence of his actions, he will go to Paradise.

Mashburn is saying that standard Islamic belief is tantamount to insanity. Does he have any idea of how “Islamophobic” he is being?

We have seen this before. In Montreal last March, a police complaint was filed against the Dar Al-Arqam Mosque in Montreal for hosting an imam, Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr, who preached:

O Muslim, O servant of Allah, O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.

But this is a quotation that is attributed to Muhammad. Are the Canadian police really going to stop imams from quoting Muhammad? Are Oklahoma authorities really going to ascribe obedience to Qur’anic commands to insanity?

At some point, Western officials are going to have to face the contents of Islamic teaching, and recognize that bringing large numbers of Muslims into the West is only going to increase the number of beheadings and exhortations to kill Jews, as both those things are taught in Islamic texts.

Right now it is “Islamophobic” to point this out, as I detail in my forthcoming book Confessions of an Islamophobe. But this enforced fantasy cannot forever obscure unwelcome facts. Before too long, the contents of Islamic teachings will be abundantly clear to everyone.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies). Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.