My latest Malaysia Today column. Apologies for the length:
From the Anti Jihadist--Calling a Spade a Spade
In one of my past columns at Malaysia Today, I quoted one Ghazi al-Qusaibi, a former Saudi ambassador to London, and who is now a senior minister in the Saudi government. If you recall, he said:
“…flogging, stoning, and amputations are, in Muslim eyes, the core of the Islamic faith.”
Of course, as frequent Malaysia Today writer Mr. Farouk Peru would have it, this minister’s opinion on his own religion is simply the mad, misguided ravings of a lone nut case. Certainly, says Mr. Farouk, how could Mr. al-Qusaibi ever get such quaint, misguided ideas about Islam?
Very well then. Let’s consult the opinions of other well-known and respected authorities in Islam, and see what they have to say about their own religion.
Let’s start with Ayatollah Khomeini, revered and beloved by millions of Muslims.
“We are at war against infidels. Take this message with you. ‘I ask all Islamic nations, all Muslims, all Islamic armies, and all heads of Islamic states to join the Holy War. There are many enemies to be killed or destroyed. Jihad must triumph… Muslims have no alternative… to an armed Holy War against profane governments… Holy War means the conquest of all non-Muslim territories. It will be the duty of every able-bodied adult male to volunteer for this war of conquest, the final aim of which is to put Quranic law in power from one end of the earth to the other.’”
Khomeini, if you remember, was the supreme leader of Islamic Republic of Iran from 1979 until his death in 1989. This is the country where ‘Death to America’ is not just a catchy slogan, it’s official policy. And how many times has the OIC, the Arab League, or any other Muslim organization censured Iran for their decidedly ‘extremist’ positions and rhetoric? Zip, zero, zilch, nada. Quite the opposite, actually.
Now consider this quote from the Saudi ruling family’s favorite imam, al Buraik. He’s a prominent Muslim cleric who, among other things, helps to raise money for the families of terrorists. Prior to a recent telethon hosted to enrich the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, this esteemed cleric said:
“I am against America. She is the root of all evils and wickedness on earth. Muslims, don't take Jews and Christians as allies. Muslim brothers in Palestine, do not have any mercy or compassion on them, their blood, their money, or their flesh. Their women are yours to take, legitimately. Allah made them yours. Why don't you enslave their women? Why don't you wage jihad? Why don't you pillage them?”
This distilled hatred was spewed by a senior licensed cleric in Saudi Arabia, the home of the Two Holy Mosques. Do you think he’s misunderstanding his holy book, his religion as well?
And then there’s Dr. Ahmad Bahar, the acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, who had this to say earlier this year on official Palestinian TV:
“… our people was afflicted by the cancerous lump, that is the Jews, in the heart of the Arab nation… Be certain that America is on its way to disappear, America is wallowing [in blood] today in Iraq and Afghanistan, America is defeated and Israel is defeated, and was defeated in Lebanon and Palestine… Make us victorious over the infidel people… Allah, take hold of the Jews and their allies, Allah, take hold of the Americans and their allies… Allah, count them and kill them to the last one and don’t leave even one.”
Let’s hear from Dr. Ahmad Abu Halabiya, Rector of Advanced Studies at the Islamic University in Gaza and a member of the Sharia Rulings Council. Surely this man, so educated in the ways of the Quran and Islam, would agree with Mr. Farouk, yes? In an official televised sermon in October 2000, Dr. Halabiya said:
“The Jews are Jews, whether Labor or Likud, the Jews are Jews… They do not have any moderates or any advocates of peace… They are all liars… They must be butchered and must be killed… The Jews are like a spring as long as you step on it with your foot… it doesn’t move but if you lift your foot from the spring, it hurts you and punishes you.”
So, I ask you, have *all* of these well-known and learned Islamic scholars, leaders, and clerics somehow misinterpreted their own religion, Islam? Have they all somehow tragically misunderstood the teachings of their purported holy book and prophet? Mr. Farouk would certainly like you to think so.
Are there any Muslim leaders, or organizations, anywhere, that are willing to go on the record to condemn these statements or confront the barbarous, retrograde and primitive ideology behind these statements? Is there any organized Muslim opposition to armed jihad?
MR. FAROUK: I hereby, clearly and unequivocally condemn all acts of terrorism by Muslims… I even go further to say that, Quranically, these people are not muslims (sic).
Yes, there are *so many* misunderstanding Muslims out there. And not just the average “Mohammeds” in the streets of Gaza, Cairo, or Karachi, but learned and powerful Muslim leaders too. What would happen if Mr. Farouk went to his Palestinian brothers and tried explaining to them that their lust to kill Jews and other sundry infidels is “against the Quran”? Do you think the Palestinians would suddenly ‘see the light’ and change their minds about armed jihad? Regardless, I’m not expecting Mr. Farouk to jump on a plane to go enlighten his wayward Muslim brothers in the Middle East anytime soon.
Strangely enough, Mr. Farouk has found ample time in his writing here at Malaysia Today to criticize, in his words, the ‘Bush Regime’ (the use of that word, ‘regime’, tips his hand as to where his real sympathies lie) and other foreign policy decisions of the US that he disagrees with (i.e. Iraq). But there’ve still been no words from him at all against any terrorists by name—i.e. Bin Laden and his ilk. None! And 9-11 happened almost six years ago.
So, Mr. Farouk, are you only NOW going to finally get around to condemning specific Muslim terrorists and terror groups? Do you mean to tell me (and the readers) that you, with all your education and study and debating others with similar viewpoints to mine, that the idea of you publicly condemning specific ‘misguided’ Muslims never, ever occurred to you before now? Not even once? Well, no need to rush to do it now on my account!
Why is Mr. Farouk so quick to criticize, nay, insult questioning sceptical infidels (i.e. yours truly), or infidel leaders, but only reluctantly promises to condemn his murderous Islamic brethren by name? Well, once you yourself have confronted the uncomfortable and unpleasant truth about Islam, you’ll stop wondering.
I say Mr. Farouk should put his money where his mouth is. After all, talk is cheap! Here’s an idea for Mr. Farouk. The next time an apostate risks appearing in one of Malaysia’s civil courts--or worse yet, one of the Shariah courts--to beg for permission to be recognized as a non-Muslim, Mr. Farouk should show up at the trial himself to speak on behalf of the apostate’s rights. Or better yet, he should do not only that, but also contribute generously to help pay for the apostate’s legal costs, all openly and publicly. Of course, Mr. Farouk and his pals somehow missed the chance to do this with Lina Joy during her *seven year* legal battle… but rest assured, other apostate cases are already wending their ways through Malaysia’s convoluted legal system. So fear not, Mr. Farouk, there will be other opportunities for you to tangibly demonstrate your bona fides. Actions, as we all know, speak louder than words.
MR. FAROUK: What we should wonder is why this SEEMS SO to you. The day after 9/11, there was a rally for ‘peace and justice’ by Muslims in the town where I work. The day after 7/7, there was a protest by a local mosque near where I live… I actually witness Muslim anger at terrorism.
A rally for “peace and justice”? Is this the best you can do? Is this supposed to be how Muslims demonstrate against Islamic terrorism, against armed jihad? Unlike the low-key Muslim ‘anger at terrorism’ (assuming it’s genuine) I clearly recall the many well-publicized and well-attended Muslim demonstrations against whatever mischief the evil infidels were supposedly up to--the American intervention in Iraq, for instance. And we cannot forget the worldwide rage Muslims everywhere rapidly mobilized against the Motoons, Abu Ghraib, the alleged Quran flushings, etc. etc.
But perhaps Mr. Farouk is right, and that there really is Muslim anger at ‘terrorism’. The better question to ask here is how do Muslims define ‘terrorism’?
For a clue to the answer to this question, let’s examine the record of the “Perdana Global Peace Organisation”, a Malaysian-Muslim-leftist ‘anti-war’ group that enjoys favorable publicity and quasi-official backing from the Malaysian authorities. Perdana has had lots of things to say about Western leaders like Bush, Blair, and Howard—calling them ‘war criminals’ and worse. Well, fair enough, I cannot deny them the right to say these things. So, have the Perdana folks condemned anything done by Bin Laden, Mullah Omar, or Ahmadinejad? Bin Laden’s deliberate targeting and mass murder of civilians? The Taliban’s deliberate destruction of schools and use of civilian shields? Ahmadinejad’s repeated calls for genocide? In response to these heinous acts, Perdana has only silence… not uttering one word against them, not even one perfunctory public statement. But don’t take my word for it…go to their website and look for yourself.
In fact, Perdana has a curious one-way slant to their ‘anti-war views’. If Muslims commit an atrocity (i.e. terrorism, persecution of the kuffir, armed jihad, etc.), Perdana not only doesn’t talk about it, it’s completely off their moral radar. Some nearly 10,000 Muslim terrorist attacks in the past six years (by one estimate), and this doesn’t worry Perdana in the slightest! As far as they’re concerned, it seems that Muslims can do no wrong…and even when they do, it’s the infidels’ fault. And it’s not just Perdana that has these myopic views, but many other ‘anti-war’ or so-called ‘peace’ groups as well. ‘Terrorism’, according to these people, is an exclusively infidel activity.
Now, Mr. Farouk refers to the Muslim quest for ‘peace’. So, naturally, one wonders what the Islamic notion of ‘peace’ may be. To shed some light on this, I will quote the following from an anonymous writer, a long-time resident of the Islamic world who (wisely) wishes to remain anonymous:
After much research and thought, I have come to understand the Islamic concept of peace as something like this:
Peace comes through submission (Islam). This submission, of course, is submission to Muhammad and his concept of Allah in the Quran, in other words, Islam.
Theoretically, peace exists inside Dar ul-Islam, the House of Submission. I say theoretically, because we all know that Muslims, even though they are not supposed to, do fight fellow Muslims… recent examples are the civil war in Afghanistan between the Pushtuns on one side and the Northern Alliance (Uzbeks, Tajiks, etc.) on the other… the Iraqi attack on Iran, the Iraqi attack on Kuwait, the West Pakistani attack on East Pakistan which subsequently became Bangladesh, the Yemeni Civil War with Egypt and Saudi Arabia interfering, the civil war in Algeria, the war between Morocco and Algeria over the Saharan Republic, etc.
To say that Islam is a religion of peace is not true. Islam is committed to war by both the example of Muhammad who fought on until he subdued Mecca and then other tribes, and by the Quranic teaching itself, plus numerous references in the Hadith.
The Quran, by the way, teaches that Muslims are never to initiate war. But Islam has a strange way of explaining this. For example, Muslims are supposed to offer non-Muslims an opportunity to embrace Islam. If the non-Muslims refuse, the Muslim thinking is that they have committed aggression against Allah and Islam. Therefore, the Muslim is allowed to fight these aggressors against Allah and Islam until they become Muslims or are killed.
Perhaps the greatest proof that Islam is not a religion of peace is the interpretation of Quran 4:89 that says if anyone wants to leave Islam (turns renegade) he is to be put to death. This makes it the religion of fear, not peace.
There will be war in the world as long as people believe in Muhammad, his example and his teaching.The Islamic concept of peace, meaning making the whole world Muslim, is actually a mandate for war.
Now that we all have a better idea what the Islamic notion of ‘peace’ is, is that really peace? Is that the kind of peace you want for yourself, or for your family?
MR. FAROUK: Why do you then keep saying Islam and Muslims without mentioning these exceptions to that opinion? Isn’t that like saying ‘all members of a race are so and so’ without mentioning exceptions?
Islamic apologists like Mr. Farouk frequently point out that Islam is not a monolith and that there are differences of opinion. That is true, but, while there are differences, there are also common elements. Just as Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Christians differ on many aspects of Christianity, still they accept important common elements. So it is with Islam. One of the common elements to all Islamic schools of thought is jihad, understood as the obligation of the Ummah to conquer and subdue the world in the name of Allah and rule it under Sharia law. The four Sunni Madhhabs (schools of fiqh [Islamic religious jurisprudence]) -- Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, and Hanbali -- all agree that there is a collective obligation on Muslims to make war on the rest of the world. Furthermore, even the schools of thought outside Sunni orthodoxy, including Sufism and the Jafari (Shia) school, agree on the necessity of jihad. When it comes to matters of jihad, the different schools disagree on such questions as whether infidels must first be asked to convert to Islam before hostilities may begin (Osama bin Laden asked America to convert before Al Qaeda’s attacks); how plunder should be distributed among victorious jihadists; whether a long-term Fabian strategy against Dar al-Harb is preferable to an all-out frontal attack, and so on.
MR. FAROUK: …‘al-kaafiroon’… refers to people who create mischief in the land… These individuals are not people do not call themselves Muslims but rather criminals, troublemakers etc.
What exactly is the meaning of ‘mischief’ and who, to Muslims, are ‘troublemakers’ or ‘criminals’ exactly? This is left unsaid. So, let us look at the Islamic world today, and see what sort of acts that Muslim countries have deemed illegal. What sort of ‘mischief’ do Muslim countries consider a crime? What sort of ‘troublemakers’ do Muslims fight?
In Malaysia, it’s illegal for non-Muslims to proselytize to Muslims. In Iran, it’s unlawful for non Muslims to hold most positions in government. In Pakistan, blasphemy against the Quran is a capital crime. In Egypt, the government has essentially banned all repairs on churches. The mere holding of a passport issued in Israel is enough to be banned from entering most Muslim countries. In Saudi Arabia, Christianity is forbidden. Even trying to take a Bible into the Saudi kingdom is a crime. In Turkey, converts from Islam to other faiths face up to three years in jail. Algeria punishes proselytizing to Muslims with fines of US$7,000 to $14,000, and prison terms of two to five years.
Then there’s Sudan. Sudan’s Islamic government engages in ruthless oppression of Christians and animists, the widespread destruction of hundreds of churches, the forced conversions of Christians to Islam, placing non Muslims in concentration camps, the systematic rape of women, enslavement of children, torture of priests and clerics, burning alive of pastors and catechists, and the crucifixion and mutilation of priests. The governing Sudanese jihadists are so systematically brutal, that they make their Sunni terrorist brethren in Iraq look like mere amateurs.
How many Muslims have even known about these atrocities, these miscarriages of justice, let alone protested them? Why are no Muslims objecting to any of this? When is the next scheduled protest going to be held at the embassies of any of the above mentioned offending countries? Funny how Muslims in Malaysia keep going to the same embassies on Fridays to protest one thing or another—but their destination is almost always the American one, the Australian one, or the British one. You think Mr. Farouk would be able to scrape together at least a few friends to go stand outside (for example) the Saudi embassy on Jalan Ampang to protest that country’s barbarism in the name of his religion. But alas, Mr. Farouk, or any other Muslims, can never seem to get around to doing it, for one excuse or another.
So, isn’t it obvious who Muslims collectively consider the real ‘troublemakers’ and ‘criminals’ to be?
MR. FAROUK: It is sad that from your little hole, you only spout what the hate-mongers tell you.
If there’s one piece of evidence in this whole exchange that I find particularly damning, it’s Mr. Farouk himself. Mr. Farouk’s whole attitude in his columns against me can only be summed up as patronizing, arrogant, and defensive. He has labeled me personally, and repeatedly, ‘a racist’, ‘a hatemonger’, ‘a fascist’, and so on, and has insinuated less than charitable things about my intelligence. You might think, since Islam is supposedly tolerant and peaceful, that Mr. Farouk would welcome any and all such questions such as mine, that he would relish the opportunity to prove his benevolence and the goodwill of his faith. Instead, there is an unmistakable whiff of condescension about Mr. Farouk in his dealings with me. Can you imagine a senior religious leader of, say, the Catholic Church acting like Mr. Farouk? Can any of you visualize (for instance) the Pope viciously calling someone a ‘racist, fascist, hatemonger’ etc. etc. because that person did not agree with Catholicism or Christianity? The very idea is laughable. A Christian, when confronted with such a person who disagrees with them, will most likely say something to the effect of, “I’ll pray for you,” and leave it at that.
But Muslims get away with Mr. Farouk’s kind of name-calling and ad hominem attacks, time and time again. Not only do they get away with it, but when Muslims act like Mr. Farouk does, they are proclaimed to be ‘moderate’ and ‘peace-loving’. I think not!
At least I’m one ‘najis kufir’ who is willing to call a spade a spade.