August 28, 2008
The Cart before the Horse - Terrorism and Violence in Islam
By Sam Solomon
Baquba... Abu-Ghraib... Takrit... Al-Qaeda... Bint-Jubail... Fallaujah... Hamidi ... Samarra... Hamed Al-Suaidi... Al-Zarqawi... Bin Ladin... Ahmadinejad!
During the half-decade since 9/11 in New York City, this generation of reporters has quickly mastered the pronunciation of such previously unfamiliar place names & surnames as the above. And many of these have practically become household words - words which now roll off the tongues of reporters as smoothly as if they were born to it.
It's all a part of what is termed the "new normal'. In essence, we have a new reality and a new vocabulary - a vocabulary of terror
.We have mastered this new vocabulary as well as the necessary related geography of their lands, lands about which we never dreamed we would need to know, at least not to this level of detail.
But what we haven't mastered is why and when, if ever, will it be over? Will winning the war in Iraq and solving the Hezbollah- Israeli problem put an end to it? Would this provide the basis for a sustainable peace?
Speculation is rife about these issues
, from the White House, down to the street level. We heard first that Islam is a religion of peace
, but, after five years, that theory is being challenged
and President Bush has finally moderated his rhetoric to feature the term Islamic Fascism to be able to deal more truthfully with the reality of what we are facing.
There are documentaries, round tables and even entire conferences which are given over exclusively to what is happening and what to do about it. But what do the Muslims themselves think?
When one attempts to dialogue with any Muslim, moderates included
, endeavouring to understand the relationship between terrorism and Islam, one is confronted with a response that, in effect, puts the cart before the horse by reversing the order of cause and effect in a defensive barrage of unrelated events and injustices - all the while admitting no wrongs - which ends up in a form of self-justification of the works of terror.
Though the person speaking may, in fact disavow terror as a tactic to achieve redress, their opinion remains as follows:
"Look what happened in Bosnia, and Herzegovina! See the brutality in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, and now, Lebanon!
Look at the vicious and violent acts that are perpetuated even by the American forces and the other occupational forces in Iraq and Afghanistan! Look at the atrocities of Abu Ghuraib Prison!
And how about the Crusades?
The Europeans invaded us and caused conflict for over two hundred years. Conflict that included massive bloodshed and brutality! And, don't forget what Hitler did to the Jews?
Are we responsible for that?
And... all those injustices to the Arabs in general, and the Palestinians in particular!
For example, look at the American support for Israel despite the latter's violations and rape of the human rights of the Palestinians, and its defiance of all international pronouncements! Israel that occupies almost the whole of Palestine, after snatching it from its rightful owners following World War II, then making its women and children homeless, and scattering them all over the world or condemning them to a meagre existence in refugee camps!
And, what about the practice of violating Islamic holy sites and its historical monuments?
You see all these injustices naturally lead to violent reactions, and are the reasons for the retaliation and the terrorism with which Islam gets falsely accused and of which it is fully innocent! And so, we ask, "Is self defence a crime? Is the Arab and Islamic blood cheap?'"
But, they are neglecting to look at the past history of Islam, and at the root of terrorism within the pages of the Qur'an and the related holy books
that define and empower Islam - a root which has born bitter fruit throughout the history of Islamic conquest, and would have done the same in our day and age even if there were no Israel, and even if there were no American forces in Muslim lands.
Was the forced expulsion of the Jews and the Christians in 635AD from the Arabian Peninsula
- by the "Just' and so-called "Rightly Guided' Khalifa Omar Ibn Al Khattab - caused by the Israeli occupation of Palestine?
Was the continuous march of Islamic armies to conquer and occupy neighbouring lands, country after country between the 7th and 17th centuries
- all the way to the gates of Vienna - caused by the USA's invasion of Iraq?
Where was Israel at that time? Where was the United States? Why do the Arabs and the Muslims overlook their own history and their own sacred writings when asked to find a "cause' for terrorism? Especially in view of the established fact that their "holy Jihad' is found recorded in the Qur'an?
Let's face it, terrorism and violence in Islam is NOT as a result of economic and political injustices
from which the nations of those regions suffer - as is propounded and perpetuated by wellmeaning Westerners, "moderate' Muslim political advisors, and possibly, some think-tank experts.
No, honourable pundits! Terrorism and violence in Islam are phenomena due to neither political nor economic injustices.
However, although the "injustices' suffered are not the actual "causes' of the terror, they are in every sense very real
, and one can easily establish that all these injustices of every kind - be they political, economic, or social - are tools, ingredients, and ammunitions, which are being utilized most effectively by the overseers and the recruiters of Islamic terror, to motivate, train, manipulate, and launch new Jihadists for the cause of Allah.
Both real and perceived "injustices' are employed by the terror managers within the various organizations like Al Qaeda and the others to pollute and brainwash the minds of the Muslim youth, for the purpose of "bringing them back' to the true Islam of the Qur'an - which is then able to turn them into self exploding suicidal martyrs.
What do these young men and women find when they return to the Qur'an with the newly awakened desire and determination to "play their part' in the Islamic "struggle'? They find - Islamically speaking - that enmity with the Jews and the Christians and the call for their killing is quite normal, and is actually a divinely ordained obligation which is placed on all Muslims by Allah.
And they are further buttressed in their new resolve by the Qur'anic promise that death in the cause of Islam transports one instantly to Paradise. This is the formula for a suicide bomber.
These divine, legally-binding decrees
(see below) have been in the Qur'an for nearly 1,400 years
, empowering and sustaining Jihadists during the first emergence of Islam centuries ago, and now guiding, teaching, unifying and empowering the Jihadists of Al Qaeda and the likes of it, in their current bid for a global resurgence.
says: "Fight (slay and kill) those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the last day (judgement day), nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor they follow the religion of truth (the religion of Islam) out of those who have been given the Book (Jews and Christians), until they pay the tax, in acknowledgment of superiority and (recognition that) they are in a state of subjection (to Islam)."
says: "Worst among men in enmity to the believers (Muslims) wilt thou find the Jews and pagans." Sura 5:51 says:"O ye who believe. take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other, and he amongst you that turns to them for friendship is one of them Verily, Allah guideth not a people unjust (Jews and Christians)."
says: "O ye who believe (Muslims) take not my enemies and yours as friends, offering them love." Sura 98:6 says: "Those who reject Islam among the people of the book (Jews and Christians) and among the polytheists (all other religions) will be in hell fire to dwell in there for ever and they are the worst of creatures."
It wasn't always this way - because in the initial revelations of the Qur'an during those early to middle years of Mohammad's governance of the nascent Islam, there were benevolent references to Jews and Christians. They were nullified, abrogated and long before his death
, the operative Suras, as quoted above, were already in full force.
So, one could wonder, if, in obedience to the (above stated) words of the Qur'an, they, the Muslims, are enjoined by their sacred text to "enmity' toward Jews as an Islamic "obligation', why would they be surprised to find that the Jews find it hard to trust them?
In the light of these Qur'anic directives, can it still be said that the Islamic hostility and animosity towards the Jews is engendered only because of their occupation of Palestine? Or is it openly and clearly rooted in the religion itself?
If we were to suppose the possibility that the political, social and economic injustices listed in the beginning of this article, were to be addressed, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolved, and Iraq stabilized, along with the withdrawal of all of the international forces from that country, and all Muslim lands - then, would the Qur'anic "Jihad obligation" be rescinded?
And if so, then would the Qur'anic verse quoted above
- Sura 5:51-52 - be changed
to read, "O ye who believe, go ahead and take the Jews and the Christians as your friends?" And Sura 5:82, be changed to read:"...the closest to those who have believed (the Muslims) are the Jews?"
In other words - does Jihad in Islam come to an end when the injustices are addressed and put right? Would we then under these ideal conditions have a truly "sustainable peace?' Or, could it be that Jihad can only end when all the peoples of the earth have submitted, surrendered and been converted to Islam?
Sam Solomon is the executive director of FFM (Fellowship of Faith for the Muslims) which is a prayer fellowship that seeks to encourage Christians to pray for the Muslim world and so to this end publishes a regular prayer bulletin.