HOME March-April 2010 Featured Stories Background Information News On The Web



by Robert Spencer


Barack Obama has removed all mention of Islam from the National Security Strategy document, which during the Bush Administration said: "The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century." Obama apparently agrees with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said Monday: "Islam and terrorism cannot be mentioned together, because they are contradictory to each other."

Erdogan, incidentally, also famously said this about "moderate Islam": "These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that's it." And that statement itself demonstrates one of the key fallacies of the Obama Administration's stance that Islam has nothing to do with, uh, Islamic terrorism.

Now that the idea that Islam and terrorism have anything to do with one another has been relegated to the dustbin of history, it's worth asking why anyone got this idea in the first place. Was it sheer bigotry? Racism? Let's see. Could it have been from Osama bin Laden, who once praised Allah for the Qur'an's "Verse of the Sword" (9:5), which instructs Muslims to "slay the unbelievers wherever you find them"? Or maybe it was from Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, who once thundered: "Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you!...There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim."

Maybe it was from the British Muslim Omar Brooks, who said in 2005 that it was imperative for Muslims to "instill terror into the hearts of the kuffar" and added: "I am a terrorist. As a Muslim of course I am a terrorist." Or maybe it was from the Qur'an itself, which tells Muslims to "strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah" (8:60). Maybe it was from the perpetrators of the 15,000-plus terror attacks committed in the name of Islam since 9/11.

But a recent conference of Islamic scholars in Mardin, Turkey, has given apparent intellectual heft to the Obama/Erdogan contention. Discussing a fourteenth-century fatwa by the Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyya, a favorite of contemporary Islamic jihadists, the scholars declared: "anyone who seeks support from this fatwa for killing Muslims or non-Muslims has erred in his interpretation and has misapplied the revealed texts."

That sounds great. It is unequivocal. But what it is unequivocal about is the use of Ibn Taymiyya's fatwa to justify killing Muslims or non-Muslims. It unequivocally declares that illegitimate. It does not declare illegitimate the killing of Muslims or non-Muslims itself.

I am not saying that these scholars did not mean to condemn the killing of Muslims and non-Muslims in the name of Islam. Maybe they did. But they did not do so by condemning the use of Ibn Taymiyya's fatwa, for there are plenty of other Islamic sources that justify the killing of unbelievers.

The scholars issued what they called the "New Mardin Declaration," saying: "Ibn Taymiyya's fatwa concerning Mardin can under no circumstances be appropriated and used as evidence for leveling the charge of kufr (unbelief) against fellow Muslims, waging revolt against rulers, deeming their lives and property freely accessible to Muslims, terrorizing those who enjoy safety and security, acting treacherously towards those who live (in harmony) with fellow Muslims or with whom fellow Muslims live (in harmony) via the bond of citizenship and peace."

Here again, the focus is very narrow: the New Mardin Declaration seems to discuss only Ibn Taymiyya's fatwa, not the larger question of the Islamic justification for these things outside of that fatwa. But in any case, the part of the Declaration quoted above offers no comfort to unbelievers concerned about being targeted by jihadists. It is only concerned that Muslims do not declare other Muslims to be unbelievers — which is indeed a favorite practice of Salafis in general — and that they do not revolt against rulers (which is probably a slap to Al-Qaeda for waging jihad against the House of Saud, etc.).

It does also rule out "acting treacherously towards those who live (in harmony) with fellow Muslims or with whom fellow Muslims live (in harmony) via the bond of citizenship and peace," but leaves unclear what exactly might constitute this treachery. This may forbid Muslims in West to commit violent jihad attacks against non-Muslims in their adoptive countries, but it remains unclear whether Muslims in Western countries would be "acting treacherously" by working in non-violent ways to impose elements of Sharia. Would CAIR's efforts to smear and defame anti-jihadists, and intimidate Americans into being afraid to report suspicious activity by Muslims, constitute "acting treacherously"? Would efforts to secure special privileges for Muslims in workplaces, schools, and public places like airports constitute "acting treacherously"?

The New Declaration said that the distinction in Islamic theology between the dar al-harb, the house of war, and the dar al-Islam, house of Islam, as outmoded, "based on ijtihad (juristic reasoning) that was necessitated by the circumstances of the Muslim world, then and the nature of the international relations prevalent at that time." The Declaration said that in the modern age, circumstances "had changed with international treaties and nation states."

That's reasonable, but it raises another question: if circumstances change again, might all this "reform" be out the window? Is the New Mardin Declaration a matter of an evolved understanding of core principles — i.e., a genuine reform — or is it simply a temporary expedient?

On jihad, the New Declaration stated: "Muslim scholars, throughout the ages, have always stressed and emphasized that the jihad that is considered the pinnacle of the religion of Islam, is not of one type, but of many, and actually fighting in the Path of God is only one type. The validation, authorization, and implementation of this particular type of Jihad is sanctioned by the Shariah to only those who lead the community (actual heads of states).

Great. There are many types of jihad. But there is no rejection of the supremacist character of jihad — i.e., its goal to impose Sharia upon non-Muslims polities. All this is saying is that there are many ways to do that. And that "this particular type of Jihad" — i.e., not all types — is the province of the state to sanction. Thus Osama bin Laden, who couches his jihad as defensive, which he must do since he recognizes that the office of caliph, the only person authorized in Sunni Islam to declare offensive jihad, is vacant, would find nothing in the New Mardin Declaration that would stop him. Defensive jihad in traditional Islamic theology does not need the sanction of the state, but becomes the obligation of every individual Muslim as soon as an Islamic land is attacked.

And the New Mardin Declaration goes on to say just that:

This is because such a decision of war is a political decision with major repercussions and consequences. Hence, it is not for a Muslim individual or Muslim group to announce and declare war, or engage in combative jihad, whimsically and on their own. This restriction is vital for preventing much evil from occurring, and for truly upholding Islamic religious texts relevant to this matter.

The basis of the legitimacy of jihad is that it is either to repel/resist aggression: "Fight in the Way of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah likes not the transgressors." (Qur'an, 2:190), or to aid those who are weak and oppressed: "And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?" (Qur'an, 4:75), or in defense of the freedom of worshiping: "To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged; — and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid." (Qur'an, 22:39). It is not legitimate to declare war because of differences in religion, or in search of spoils of war."

Osama has quoted Qur'an 22:39 in his communiques. He is waging defensive jihad, not "war because of differences in religion, or in search of spoils of war." The problem is that with unbelief itself constituting aggression for some Islamic authorities, and given the Qur'anic command to fight unbelievers until "religion is all for Allah" (8:39), it is cold comfort to unbelievers, and no restraint for jihadists, to remind them that they should only be fighting aggression.

There is here no simple and straightforward declaration that Muslims should not fight non-Muslims and attempt to subjugate them under Sharia. And that is still the problem. Obama and Erdogan and the rest are demanding that Islam be separated from terrorism, and yet the conceptual apparatus establishing a peaceful Islam has never been presented. We are all supposed to take it on faith. But the stakes are too high for that.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Aside from comments equating limited commands in the Bible to the all-encompassing decree that Islam must wage war until everyone is subjugated to Allah, there were several that amplified some of Spencer's points.

Alexander Gofen

Terrorism and Islam are inseparable. Indeed, Islam encourages and promotes violent submission of the enemies (i.e. us). But why should we care at all about "fine details" in that absolutely hostile back dropped "religion"?

Not everything in the world belongs within our Borders and Culture. And if there is anything that absolutely does not belong here, it is exactly Islam!

Moslems do not belong to a Judeo-Christian nation, period. What business may have "good Moslems" in a Christian nation but to undermine the Judeo-Christian foundations of this nation?!

"So long as there is this accursed book [Koran], there will be no peace in the world." William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898)

See also a brilliant Churchill's quote here in the end
explaining why Islam became the main threat to the civilization.


Mohammad Sidique Khan (20 October 1974 — 7 July 2005) was the oldest of the four suicide bombers responsible for the 7 July 2005 London bombings, in which bombs were detonated on three London Underground trains and one bus in central London suicide attacks, killing 52 people excluding the attackers and injured over 700. Khan bombed the Edgware Road train in which six people died, plus himself.

On 1 September 2005, a videotape emerged featuring Khan. ....In the film, Khan declares "I and thousands like me have forsaken everything for what we believe. Your democratically elected governments continually perpetrate atrocities against my people all over the world. Your support makes you directly responsible. We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation."


Politicians, the press, and academics have rushed to declare that this is not a war between Islam and the West. Islam, we have been told again and again, is really "a religion of peace." Perhaps the reason we have to be told this so many times is because it so obviously contradicts the facts. As of late, we have a shameful betrayal of Israel, and an open attempt to sacrifice the Jews to appease the religious hatred of the Muslims. And worse, our refusal to recognize Islam as the enemy is preventing us from waging a wider war against all Islamic terrorist states and their proxy terrorists.

If we want to win this war, we must begin by recognizing that it is a war against Islam -- or to be more exact, this is Islamic fundamentalism's war against the "infidel" secularism of the West. Our goal in this war should be to beat down, to curtail, to drive out Islamic fundamentalism completely.


To Justin:

The prophet Muhammad said the following:

8:39. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshiping others besides Allah) and and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah alone (in the whole of the world). But if they cease (worshiping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do.

8:57. It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war (and free them with ransom) until he had made a great slaughter (among his enemies) in the land. You desire the good of this world (i.e., the money of ransom for freeing the captives), but Allah desires (for you) the hereafter. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.

9:29. Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the last day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

9:33. It is He (Allah) Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it superior over all religions even though the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) hate (it).

The Qu'ran's commandments to Muslims to wage war in the name of Allah against non-Muslims is unmistakable. They are, furthermore, absolutely authoritative as they were revealed late in the Prophet's career and so cancel and replace earlier instructions to act peaceably. Without knowledge of the principle of abrogation, westerners will continue to misread the Qu'ran and misdiagnose Islam as a "religion of peace."

We all see through taqiyya!

Martin K.

Look Dude, it is not only food, one can't go to a public swimming pool, if muslim girls are there, and they demand to leave, because they requested the pool to be closed for male users. Never mind the fact that even if only woman are there, they use the silly burkinni. A woman friend of mine a "naturist" (those people who enjoy outdoor life in the nude) made the big joke to take off her swimmsuit on such a "only woman afternoon" They got angry in a hurry at her.

It's the removing of crucifixes in public buildings, banning a figure called "Nikolaus" visiting children in Kindergarden on the 6.of December giving them presents. Banning Pork meat in Schools/Kindergarten. Banning "Christmas-plays" (Nativity Scenes) in Schools, because some muslim kids (who know NOTHING about their religion) could be offended! It's about elderly people being forced off the sidewalk because muslim youth "claim" this as their property. Its about young woman threatened to forfeit their seats in public buses, because a muslim youth wants to sit, while a "kaffir whore" should stand. You know, a "kaffir whore" is ANY woman who doesn't wear a islamic veil. Its sexually attacking "kaffir whores" just because they look sexy!

It's about REMOVING the Bible from Hotel-rooms because if there is no "koooran" a Muslim could get offended. Hey whats wrong with the Bible after all you Muslims claim that it was revealed by the same god? Want more? It's about teenagers chasing other children from public playgrounds because the muslims claim it to be theirs ONLY! It's about a Church in Vienna being vandalized by muslims thugs and the churchgoers being threatened. So don't you talk to me about the religion of peace. But you know what? Why don't you convince YOUR OWN Brothers in faith, to stop killing others, and really show THEM THE RELIGION OF PEACE. If you have done that then only maybe then have you a right trying to convert people to your religion. You have your work cut out for you,. You don't need to reply, because to convince your own brothers of faith that suicide-killing is wrong is much more difficult. Heck there was a 600 page fatwa against Suicide-killings published, and still people are being killed. So better get going and SHOW THEM THEIR errors of their ways. Good luck to you from the bottom of my heart. :-)

In reply to Justin writing:

Here's another Bible verse commanding the killing of infidels:

They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13)

There is more where that came from. It is hypocritical of you to invoke context when reading the Bible but to ignore context when reading the Quran. The Quran very clearly restricts fighting to self-defense, as 9:6 and 8:61 show. See also 60:8-9, 2:62, 5:69, 25:63, etc. Here's a typical passage restricting war to self-defense:

For this reason, mainstream Muslims have overwhelmingly endorsed the UN charter and the international rules of war. Mr. Spencer will never mention this plainly obvious fact.

Adam responded to Justin:

There is absolutely no parallel in Christianity, vis-a-vis warfare, with Islam. And I say that as an atheist.

The verse you quoted has never, ever been taken as a presently binding order upon all Jews, nevermind Christians, to commit genocide. They are simply examples of the god of Israel commanding his servants to kill his enemies.

That's pretty repulsive, but Jews and Christians do not use these passages to justify, in the modern day, acts of mass-murder. It is not the same scenario with Muslims and the verses of the Qur'an.

If you listen to the lectures given by the likes of al-Awlaki, you'll realise that they quote these Qur'anic verses to justify their belief in the legitimacy of offensive warfare against the 'kuffar.' If you could find Christians or Jews that did the same, and to the same extent, you might have a point.

The thing is, there is a well-established and mainstream tradition within Islam of offensive warfare, which has been espoused by highly influential Islamic scholars like: Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Qayyim, Ibn Kathir, al-Ghazali, Maududi, etc.

The verses you cite are regarded as 'provisional.' That is, they are not regarded as the final approach to warfare that Muslims are to take (Sayed Qutb on Surah 9). Those verses were revealed to give justification for defensive warfare, but later verses, like 9:29, have been interpreted as being commands to wage offensive Jihad in order to spread the territorial boundaries of the Islamic state.

But I do think it's interesting that apologists for Islam always end up attacking Christianity when their own religion is criticised, as if the fact that there are violent verses in the Bible somehow proved that Islam truly is a peaceful religion.

You people need to stop resorting to this tu quoque fallacy. It just makes you look like you don't really have an argument.


Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of ten books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran, is available now from Regnery Publishing, and he is coauthor (with Pamela Geller) of the forthcoming book The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War on America (Simon and Schuster). This article appeared in Front Page Magazine separating-islam-from-terrorism/


Return_________________________End of Story___________________________Return

HOME March-April 2010 Featured Stories Background Information News On The Web