View Full Version : Islam longs for its lost Empire

Wednesday, May 5th, 2004, 12:50 AM


It is high time that the ordinary people of the Western democracies understood what is really eating at Islam, what is generating the Muslim discontent and their intense hostility towards the West. It is high time that the elected leaders of the democracies, who order the men and women of their armed forces into harm’s way in what can be reasonably characterized as the seething cauldron of the Muslim world, acknowledge what the fight is about and against whom the fight is being waged.

Since the attack on 11 September, 2001, only a few scholars and journalists have identified Islam itself as our enemy. Our political leaders and statesmen have not dared to inform citizens publicly of that fact. They stubbornly maintain that the West is fighting only against terrorists, allowing only that there might be liaison and occasional co-operation between various terrorist groups, and that some of the terrorist groups are motivated by antiquated Islamic fundamentalism.

So long as the official government message to the average citizen continues to misidentify the enemy as being merely amorphous “terrorism,” the citizenry cannot be fully united and mobilized to fight the actual enemy.

It is difficult to persuade the citizens of democracies that any war is worth the sacrifice: In a democracy there are always legitimate arguments against war and for negotiated resolution of conflicts. It is even more difficult to persuade them to fight a war on ideological grounds, such as was the case with the wars fought during most of the 20th century, because in a democracy there will always be many people who either do not see the aggressive ideology as threatening their own democracy, or they themselves believe in the rightness of that ideology and would actually prefer to have it supplant the system they are living under at present. Considering, then, that it is very difficult to mobilize a democracy to fight against an ideology, perhaps the leaders of liberal Western democracies are fearful that their citizens would be even more unwilling, and very likely outraged, if they were asked to go to war against a religion, because freedom of religion is, next to freedom of speech, a sacrosanct article of every charter of human rights and of every constitution in the West. The citizens could scarcely countenance the thought of engaging in a religious war in this the 21st century, and therefore their leaders avoid using the term “religious war” like the plague, although they know full well in their heart of hearts that that is indeed the kind of conflict they are engaged in at present.

In the Western democracies, religion – any religion – is to be respected and not to be spoken ill of. That is why there are not supposed to be any religious wars; the most that can be admitted to is “sectarian violence,” which occurs between adherents of the same religion with differing opinions about dogma. The facile (and false) explanation usually offered for wars between adherents of different religions is that the wars are never over religion as such; we are told that the reasons for these conflicts are mostly socio-economic. Thus we continue to tiptoe around the rosebush of political correctness. As Robert Spencer puts it:

In Western Europe and North America, the fact that Islam at its core contains elements that are not peaceful or benign has become the truth that dares not speak its name. Instead, the news media indulges in puerile and outrageously inaccurate comparisons [of Islam and Christianity]. . . . Such statements and intentions betray an appalling ignorance both of Islam and of our own culture and heritage. [7] p. 174.

These days it’s considered bad taste to point out that the Qur’an and the Bible do not teach identical moral precepts, or that the Muhammad of Islam and the Jesus of Christianity are not interchangeable. [7] p. 175.

In this essay I intend to break both taboos. I will discuss the rather brutal characteristics of the religion of Islam and the blunt historical truth that the Muslims have waged a religious war against the rest of the world since the days of Muhammad. That war has at times intensified and at times abated during the course of its 1300-year duration; its character has varied from battles between large massed armies to ignominious acts of blatant piracy and brigandage; its latest current manifestation is as global terrorism.

The Nature of Islam

1. Islam is a fusion of religion and ideology

Quite a few scholars and historians who have studied Islam at depth have concluded that it is not just a religion in the conventional sense of the word. Islam appears to be a mix of a very stringent religious dogma and an aggressive political ideology. The goal of Islam’s founder, Muhammad, was primarily geo-political. What makes Muhammad exceptional among the founders of religions is that he conceived of the truly brilliant (and practical) idea to interweave into one bundle of beliefs religious tenets (mostly rehashed Judeo-Christian ones) with the politics of brute conquest.

As Paul Fregosi describes Muhammad,

He was a man of his times, with its faults and qualities. He was a brave warrior but also a devoted husband (to his eleven wives), a loving father, and a charismatic political leader of the Arab people. Muhammad was a great Arab patriot, highly intelligent, undoubtedly cruel and brutal, too. In our day and age, like other great men whatever their religion or nationality, he might have been regarded as a criminal, perhaps a war criminal or a mass murderer. . . He is also an ideological leader, a conqueror, and the founder of one of the world’s great accredited religions. It makes any objective examination of the person a difficult task . . . [8] p. 26.
Significantly, Maxime Rodinson, includes the term “totalitarian” in his characterization of Muhammad and his new religion:

In Medina the Prophet had found himself in a position which enabled – indeed even compelled – him to play a part in the struggle for power within the oasis. He found himself the leader of a party. Little by little this party, partly religious and partly political, had grown. By nature and by origin, it was bound to become a totalitarian party. It had acquired an independent army and its own treasury while at the same time eliminating those elements it was unable to assimilate and silencing opposition within the fold. [4] p. 215.

Sometimes the ideologist or the religious leader has had to run in harness with a man of action familiar with the difficult art of manipulating people and making things happen. But Muhammad found within himself all the resources necessary to fulfillment of this dual role. [4] p. 216.

In Medina . . . What was needed above all was to mobilize men’s energies for immediate action, to denounce the enemy, reassure the armies of the faithful, justify the decisions taken, brand traitors and irresolute people for what the were, and give the community of the Faithful some rules by which to live. . . . the Koran became a kind of newspaper, publishing the orders of the day to the troops, passing judgments on domestic affairs and explaining the ups and downs of the conflict. [4] p. 217.

. . . and Fregosi notes throughout Jihad the religious and ideological mix that is Islam; for example,

. . . one cannot stress enough the importance of the ideological side of Islam, with which this religion is permeated as is none of the other great religions. It infiltrates, and even sometimes governs, often down to the tiniest detail of everyday life, the way of life of its millions of adherents in the world of today. [8] p. 27.

The teachings of the Prophet have spread far beyond the worship of Allah to Muhammad’s own political and imperial vision which has been given, in the Koran, the divine imprimatur. Islam was already more than a religion. It was already an international political force, as it still is today . . . [8] p. 91.

It is not possible to dissociate the Jihad from its political environment, for politics and religion form one in Islamic life. [8] p. 123.

Let us never forget the ideological dimension of Islam. [8] p. 411.

2. Islam is a totalitarian system

Since the dawn of mankind, all religions have maintained an elite priestly class who control and administer the religion’s dogma and often manipulate it for their own material gain and perhaps that of their secular rulers. The mass of the gullible subject people receive continuous mental conditioning by the priestly elite to ensure that they live by, and carry out, the dictates of the dogma. In most societies, however, the domains of the priestly class and of the secular ruling class have usually been kept separate, at least in the appearance. In Western societies, separation of church and state has been one of the dictums of democracy for a long time.

Muhammad’s innovative concept of fusing the religious and secular powers into an indivisible whole and placing it in the hands of a single authority proved to be a spectacularly successful recipe for the exercise of power and for conquest. It is also this fusion of religion and will to power that makes Islam a totalitarian political ideology. In Arabic, “Islam” means “submission”. The name is very appropriate, because a totalitarian ideology demands complete submission and compliance from its followers. Faithful obedience to orders and unquestioning loyalty to the supreme commander (the caliph) in attaining his political goals was precisely what Muhammad demanded from his followers. In Muhammad’s totalitarian system there are only two classes of people. There are the rulers, who exercise their own free will and discretion to interpret Islam’s religious dogma and to order their subjects into war against other people and states. The rest of the Muslim population belong in the lower class, subservient to the rulers.

Of necessity, totalitarian rule requires thorough indoctrination of the masses. The individual must be relieved of the need to make decisions and choices of his or her own free will as much as possible, down to even the smallest details of everyday existence. Muhammad’s system more than fits the pattern. Whether by conscious design or not, already in the early days of Islam, the Prophet and his newly-formed ruling elite, the “Companions of the Prophet,” started to compile what eventually grew into a large body of “Islamic sacred law.” It has been translated from the Arabic into English; the title of it is Reliance of the Traveller [sic]: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law [9]. It literally dictates the daily life of a Muslim down to the most ridiculous (to an un-believer) details. While the Sacred Law covers the traditional (secular) areas of law as we understand it, it also deals in great detail with things like, for instance, the correct procedures to be used by men and women when defecating and urinating. ([9] Section e9.0).

Sections of the Reliance of the Traveller read like a manual of conduct for a military organization, and that is precisely one of its uses: to indoctrinate, discipline and condition the mass of Muslims in order to make them into soldiers for Jihad in the service of Allah.

This is what Reliance has to say about Jihad in Book “O” - Justice:

o9.0 Jihad

(O: Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion. And it is the lesser jihad. As for the greater jihad, it is spiritual warfare against the lower self (nafs), which is why the Prophet said as he was returning from jihad,

“We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.”

The scriptural basis for jihad, prior to scholarly consensus (def: b7) is such Koranic verses as:

“Fighting is prescribed for you” (Koran 2:216);

“Slay them wherever you find them” (Koran 4:89);

“Fight the idolators utterly” (Koran 9:36)

and such hadiths as the one related by Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet said:

“I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And their final reckoning is with Allah”;

and the hadith reported by Muslim,

“To go forth in the morning or evening to fight in the path of Allah is better than the whole world and everything in it.”

Details concerning jihad are found in the accounts of the military expeditions of the Prophet, including his own martial forays and those on which he dispatched others. The former consist of the ones he personally attended, some twenty-seven (others say twenty-nine) of them. He fought in eight of them, and killed only one person with his noble hand, Ubayy ibn Khalaf, at the battle of Uhud. On the latter expeditions he sent others to fight, himself remaining at Medina, and these were forty-seven in number.

The obligatory character of jihad

o9.1 Jihad is a communal obligation (def: c3.2). When enough people perform it to successfully accomplish it, it is no longer obligatory upon others (O: the evidence for which is the Prophet’s saying,

“He who provides the equipment for a soldier in jihad has himself performed jihad,”

and Allah Most High having said:

“Those of the believers who are unhurt but sit behind are not equal to those who fight in Allah’s path with their property and lives. Allah has preferred those who fight with their property and lives a whole degree above those who sit behind. And to each, Allah has promised great good” (Koran 4:95).

If none of those concerned perform jihad, and it does not happen at all, then everyone who is aware that it is obligatory is guilty of sin, if there was a possibility of having performed it. In the time of the Prophet jihad was a communal obligation after his emigration (hijra) to Medina. As for subsequent times, there are two possible states in respect to non-Muslims.

The first is when they are in their own countries, in which case jihad (def: o9.8) is a communal obligation, and this is what our author is speaking off when he says, “Jihad is a communal obligation,” meaning upon the Muslims each year.

The second state is when non-Muslims invade a Muslim country or near to one, in which case jihad is personally obligatory (def: c3.2) upon the inhabitants of that country, who must repel the non-Muslims with whatever they can).

o9.2 Jihad is personally obligatory upon all those present in the battle lines (A: and to flee is an enormity (dis: p11)) (O: provided one is able to fight. If unable, because of illness or the death of one’s mount when not able to fight on foot, or because one no longer has a weapon, then one may leave. One may also leave if the opposing non-Muslim army is more than twice the size of the Muslim force).

o9.3 Jihad is also (O: personally) obligatory for everyone (O: able to perform it, male or females, old or young) when the enemy has surrounded the Muslims (O: on every side, having entered our territory, even if the land consists of ruins, wilderness, or mountains, for non-Muslim forces entering Muslim lands is a weighty matter that cannot be ignored, but must be met with effort and struggle to repel them by every possible means. All of which is if conditions permit gathering (A: the above-mentioned) people, provisioning them, and readying them for war. If conditions do not permit this, as when the enemy has overrun the Muslims such that they are unable to provision or prepare themselves for war, then whoever is found by a non-Muslim and knows he will be killed if captured is obliged to defend himself in whatever way possible. But if not certain that he will be killed, meaning that he might or might not be, as when he might merely be taken captive, and he knows that he will be killed if he does not surrender, then he may either surrender or fight. A woman too has a choice between fighting or surrendering if she is certain that she will not be subjected to an indecent act if captured. If uncertain that she will be safe from such an act, she is obliged to fight, and surrender is not permissible.

Who is obliged to fight in jihad

o9.4 Those called upon (O: to perform jihad when it is a communal obligation) are every able-bodied man who has reached puberty and is sane.

o9.5 The following may not fight in jihad:

someone in debt, unless his creditor gives him leave;

or someone with at least one Muslim parent, until they give their permission;

unless the Muslims are surrounded by the enemy, in which case it is permissible for them to fight without permission.

o9.6 It is offensive to conduct a military expedition against hostile non-Muslims without the caliph’s permission (A: though if there is no caliph (def: o25), no permission is required).

o9.7 Muslims may not seek help from non-Muslim allies unless the Muslims are considerably outnumbered and the allies are of goodwill towards the Muslims.

The objectives of jihad
o9.8 The caliph (o25) makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians (N: provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invite them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya, def: o11.4) – which is the significance of their paying it, not the money itself – while remaining in their ancestral religions) (O: and the war continues) until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax (O: in accordance with the word of Allah Most High,

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden – who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book – until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled” (Koran 9:29),

the time and place for which is before the final descent of Jesus. After his final coming, nothing but Islam will be accepted from them, for taking the poll tax is only effective until Jesus’ descent, which is the divinely revealed law of Muhammad. The coming of Jesus does not entail a separate divinely revealed law, for he will rule by the law of Muhammad. As for the Prophet’s saying,

“I am the last, there will be no prophet after me,”

this does not contradict the final coming of Jesus, since he will not rule according to the Evangel, but as a follower of our Prophet.

o9.9 The caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim (O: because they are not a people with a Book, nor honored as such, and are not permitted to settle with paying the poll tax (jizya)) (n: although according to the Hanafi school, peoples of all other religions, even idol worshippers, are permitted to live under the protection of the Islamic state if they either become Muslim or agree to pay the poll tax, the sole exceptions of which are apostates from Islam and idol worshipers who are Arabs, neither of whom has any choice but becoming Muslim (al-Hidaya sharh Bidaya al-mubtadi’ (y21), 6.48-49)).

The Muslim soldier is also indoctrinated into believing that if he dies in battle against the infidels he will immediately go to Muslim paradise. The Koran describes this paradise (most often called a “garden”) in several Suras; here are examples from three of them:

But the sincere (and devoted) servants of Allah, for them is a sustenance determined, fruits (delights); and they (shall enjoy) honor and dignity, in gardens of felicity, facing each other on thrones (of dignity); round will be passed to them a cup from a clear-flowing fountain, crystal-white, of a taste delicious to those who drink (thereof), free from headiness; nor will they suffer intoxication therefrom. And besides them will be chaste women, restraining their glances, with big eyes (of wonder and beauty), as if they were (delicate) eggs closely guarded.

Then which of the favors of your Lord will ye deny? In them will be fruits of every kind, two and two. Then which of the favors of your Lord will ye deny? They will recline on carpets, whose inner linings will be of rich brocade: the fruit of the gardens will be near (and easy of reach). Then which of the favors of your Lord will ye deny? In them will be (maidens), chaste, restraining their glances, whom no man or Jinn before them has touched; as though they were rubies and pearls.

And ye shall be sorted out into three classes. Then (there will be) the Companions of the Right Hand; what will be the Companions of the Right Hand? And the Companions of the Left Hand; what will be the Companions of the Left Hand? And those foremost (in faith) will be foremost (in the hereafter). These will be those nearest to Allah: in gardens of bliss; a number of people from those of old, and a few from those of later times. (They will be) on thrones encrusted (with gold and precious stones), reclining on them, facing each other. Round about them will (serve) youths of perpetual (freshness), with goblets, (shining) beakers, and cups (filled) out of clear-flowing fountains. No after-ache will they receive therefrom, nor will they suffer intoxication. And with fruits, any that they may select, and the flesh of fowls, any that they may desire. And (there will be) Companions with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes, like unto pearls well-guarded, a reward for the deeds of their past (life). Not frivolity will they hear therein, nor any taint of ill, only the saying, "Peace! Peace". The Companions of the Right Hand, what will be the Companions of the Right Hand? (They will be) among Lote-trees without thorns, among Talh trees with flowers (or fruits) piled one above another, in shade long-extended, by water flowing constantly, and fruit in abundance, whose season is not limited, nor (supply) forbidden, and on thrones (of dignity), raised high. We have created (their Companions) of special creation and made them virgin - pure (and undefiled), beloved (by nature), equal in age, for the Companions of the Right Hand. A (goodly) number from those of old, and a (goodly) number from those of later times.

As is evident in the Suras above, the Koran promises the fallen Muslim warrior all imaginable pleasures that he will enjoy in paradise, including perpetually virgin women companions. The Koran and the Islamic sacred laws thus ensure that every Muslim is totally devoted to the dictates of Islam through every hour of every day, and seeks death joyfully in battle against the infidels.

It was explained above that the ruling class in the two-class Islamic system is not subject to any of the strictures imposed on the lower class by the Koran and Islamic sacred laws. The rulers can and always have acted amorally and pragmatically, solely in the interests of their self-preservation. They compete among themselves ruthlessly for power and leadership, just like the individuals who competed for the top position in totalitarian states in the 20th century. Muhammad himself was not at all squeamish about eliminating his opposition by less than honorable means:

Muhammad desired to have his implacable Umayyad enemy Abu Sufyan assassinated. The task was assigned to a disciple, a semi-professional part-time executioner whom Muhammad sent to Mecca to carry out the killing. [8] p. 54.

[Muhammad’s] enemies sometimes had their hands and feet cut off and their eyes gouged out. We read of torture and enemies impaled. . . He ordered political opponents, even young women who wrote mockingly about him, to be executed. [8] p. 57.

The murderous struggle for power started immediately after Muhammad’s death, and has continued in similar fashion to present times. The following are samples of the early, pre-Ottoman, struggles for the Caliphate:

. . Muawiya is the man who deprived Muhammad’s descendants of what they considered their hereditary right to the caliphate and passed it on instead to his own Umayyad dynasty that, in the early days of Islam, originally had been, through Abu Sufyan, the most bitter enemy of Muhammad and Islam. . . the clash between Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law, and Muawiya, Abu Sufyan’s son . . . set the course Islam has followed ever since. . . Three of the first four caliphs were murdered. They all had been disciples and personal friends of Muhammad, and they are known in Muslim history as “the rightly guided.” Their assassinations set a pattern that has never diverged and still continues today. [8] p. 77.

After the Prophet's death his ahl al-bayt and their supporters suffered oppression. Fatima was denied her right to inherit from the Prophet. 'Ali's right to the caliphate was denied until later. Hasan was poisoned. Husayn b. 'Ali, his family and companions, were killed at Karbala and the survivors of the tragedy were taken prisoner. Muslim b. 'Aqil and Hani b. 'Urwa were killed mercilessly after being granted amnesty. Abu Dharr Ghiffari was deported to Rabdha. Hujr b. 'Adi, 'Amr b. Humq, Maytham Tammar, Sa'id b. Jubayr, Kumal b. Ziyad, and hundreds of other supporters of the Prophet's family were executed. Under orders received from Yazid, the Ummayad, Madina was sacked and hundreds of its residents killed. [11] p. 50.

The Abbasids believed that as descendants of the Prophet’s family, they had more right to the Muslim throne than the descendants of the Prophet's long and stubborn enemy Abu Sufyan. At the same time they also disregarded whatever right the descendants of Muhammad’s daughter Fatima and Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali might have had. . . It is not possible to dissociate the Jihad from its political environment, for politics and religion form one in Islamic life. . . . the passing of the century-old Umayyad caliphate (651 – 750) in Damascus to the Abbasids in Baghdad . . . was an operation that was carried out in a massive blood-bath by the first Abbasid ruler, Abu al-Abbas [descendant of Abbas, Muhammad’s uncle] . . . [8] p. 123.

During the Ottoman caliphate it became standard practice for the son who succeeded to the throne to have all his rival siblings and closest male relatives murdered as quickly as possible. Fregosi recounts one of the most horrid of these murders:

The acme of atrocity was reached with Mahomet II who, when he became sultan in 1595, ordered his nineteen brothers to be immediately strangled; and three concubines, pregnant with his brothers’ children, to be summarily decapitated and their bodies thrown into the Bosphorus. [8] p. 229.

3. Jihad: Muhammad’s blueprint for conquest
In the 20th century we became accustomed to the fact that all totalitarian ideologies are unremittingly aggressive towards their neighbors. The same can be said for totalitarian Islam, which came into existence already in the 7th century.

There can be no doubt that Islam was conceived as a conquering and empire-building force. Its followers have been imbued with the sense that they are destined by Allah to rule the entire world. In Jihad, Paul Fregosi repeatedly stresses that Islam is a mix of politics, ideology, and religion, and that it was basically designed as an enterprise to conquer and to rule the entire world. For example,

As much as a religion, Islam is an ideological (or call it political) movement built on a religious foundation. The Jihad is there to spread the message, whatever it might be, with the aid of the sword. [8] p. 186.

The purpose of the Jihad became, and basically still is, to expand and extend Islam until the whole world is under Muslim rule. The Jihad is essentially a permanent state of hostility that Islam maintains against the rest of the world, with or without fighting, for more sovereignty over more territory. . . The Muslims make no distinction between religion and the state, hence the “holy” tinge that the imperialist wars have acquired. Let us not be deceived by the religious coloring Muslims gave to their territorial conquests. The Jihad wars were sheer imperialism, just as ours [European] were. [8] p. 20.

The Jihad made the war permanent and natural between Islam and Christendom, even when they were not actually fighting. Whatever the reasons for its existence at any particular time, as long as the Jihad continued to be the policy of Islam, the enmity and distrust inevitably also continued. [8] p. 337.

There are still many Muslims who believe that it is Islam’s manifest destiny to conquer the whole world. Obliged to face the realities of the modern world, many more may not be too sure about this article of their faith. But, just the same, many still ardently cling to it . . . [8] p. 21.

It needs to be said: Islam considers itself doctrinally a religion whose destiny is to dominate the world. In the spiritual sphere it believes that it has taken over from the older Jewish and Christian religions. It considers them outdated and itself therefore entitled to the recognition of its true and superior status, and to their deference. [8] p. 411.

Samuel P. Huntington makes similar observations:

The overwhelming majority of fault line conflicts ... have taken place along the boundary looping across Eurasia and Africa that separates Muslims from non-Muslims. While at the macro or global level of world politics the primary clash of civilizations is between the West and the rest, at the micro or local level it is between Islam and the others. [1] p. 255.

Wherever one looks along the perimeter of Islam, Muslims have problems living peaceably with their neighbors. [1] p. 256.

The Koran and other statements of Muslim beliefs contain few prohibitions on violence, and a concept of nonviolence is absent from Muslim doctrine and practice. [1] p. 263.

. . . Confucians, Buddhists, Hindus, Western Christians, and Orthodox Christians have less difficulty adapting to and living with each other than any one of them has in adapting to and living with Muslims. [1] p. 264.

Indeed, Muhammad’s Jihad idea proved to be as spectacularly successful as was his idea of making politics and ideology parts of his religion which he called Islam. Islam conquered vast territories in the first hundred years of Jihad warfare and

. . . the Arabs were lords of an empire larger than that of Alexander and of the Romans. It included Spain and Morocco, the entire shore of North Africa to Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Transoxiana, and the Indus valley. [3] p. 36.

Let it also be noted well that Islam has seldom, if ever, won over a people to itself by friendly persuasion. In most of the territories that it overran it displaced by merciless means religions that had prevailed there for centuries:

Islam originated in Arabia in the seventh century. At the time Egypt, Libya and all of North Africa were Christian and had been so for hundreds of years. So were Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Asia Minor. The churches that St. Paul addressed in his letters collected in the New Testament are located in Asia Minor (now Turkey) as well as Greece. North of Greece, in a buffer zone between Eastern and Western Europe, were lands that would become the Christian domains of the Slavs. . . Antioch and Constantinople (Istanbul), in modern Turkey, and Alexandria, in modern Egypt, were three of the most important Christian centers of the first millennium. [7] p. 132.

Moreover, the Jihad was waged on quite practical terms. The Jihad offered material rewards for both the ruling class and the ordinary (and often poor) Muslim soldiers in the ranks. It was designed to reward its soldiers with property, wealth and sexual pleasures which they took by force from the defeated peoples. If one were to cynically view the Jihad as a business enterprise, one could say that it yielded lucrative returns for its shareholders for some 900 years.

[The invasion of Spain in 710]. . . was just a magnificent illustration of . . . planned mass abduction and mass robbery . . . The Jihad, through these ages, inspired from its pre-Islamic tradition of Arabian tribal raids, was already a mighty instrument of what in the twentieth century we could bluntly call white slave traffic. [8] p. 91.

. . . the Muslim conquerors were not anxious to win too many converts. Converting infidels meant losing taxpayers or potential slaves, both valuable commodities. The non-Muslim citizens of these new Muslim lands were setting the pattern for the future lucrative Islamic rule in conquered territories . . . Although many Muslims would have denied it, and probably still do, more money, more slaves, and more tax-payers were more important to the Islamic rulers than more Muslims. [8] p. 108.

The Muslim rulers needed money more than they needed converts. . . The Jihad was largely a fraud. It fought for the Treasury as much as for Allah. Throughout the centuries it was one of the great triumphs of hypocrisy. [8] p. 109

Islam provided suitable motives to its soldiers for the pursuit of the Jihad, plunder and travel among them. The Muslims were great travelers, as their far-flung conquests indicate. The Jihad also had much to offer those who loved power and adventure. [8] p. 133.

. . . [the sultan’s] loyal Islamic subjects never asked any questions. Some perhaps wondered whether the Jihad was not simply a vast freebooting enterprise, but the human race being what it is, most were happy to keep quiet, praise Allah, and count the loot as it came pouring in. [8] p. 259.

Recall, also, that for the ordinary man in the ranks of Islam’s armies Jihad offered a win-win situation: plunder if he won the fight, paradise with all imaginable earthly pleasures if he was killed. Fregosi writes:

Even more than Allah, the prime motive for fighting that inspired the Arabs were plunder, slaves, women, and eagerness for death fighting for Islam, which meant immediate entry into Paradise with all joys and pleasures for those who died in battle. Dying for Islam made them “martyrs” (it still does) and an eternity of sexual pleasure awaited them. Hence, death in action was a highly sought privilege and the best way to die in battle was to charge and fight fearlessly. It made the Arabs the most terrifying enemies, eager for death . . . [8] p. 66.

4. Islam’s nasty side
Up to this point, one can view Islam as a very cleverly conceived enterprise for conquest. That would make Islam’s designers ingenious but not necessarily sinister, nor any more avaricious than the run-of-the-mill conquerors throughout mankind’s history. After all, famous conquerors have come along and empires have risen and fallen with the passing of time. But there are several things that I find distasteful about Muslim imperialism, things that go beyond mere physical subjugation of the vanquished.

I have done my fair share of reading about Islam, as the list of references will bear out. During my reading I have frequently been struck by what I can only describe as echoes in my mind of times and events I experienced in my own lifetime. It was weird to sense the strains of a very stirring and simultaneously menacing melody, “Die Fahne Hoch,” which had a very symbolic meaning for Europeans in the 20th century, frequently course through my mind while I was reading about Islam. These echoes were particularly strong while reading Fregosi’s excellent history of the Jihad.

Nazism is an ideology that comes very close to being a religion. As Baigent et al. write: “Nazism did not just adopt the accoutrements of a religion. It quite literally became a religion in its substance as well” ([10]p.197). Nazism is grounded in ancient Teutonic myths and a belief in the racial superiority of the Aryans, wherefrom it derives the justification and right to kill, conquer, and subjugate less worthy people. Nazism glorifies and holds akin to divine the strong Aryan conqueror – the “Overman.” Nazis believed (perhaps some still do, as do many Muslims) that they were destined to rule the world.

What have I learned about Islam that would lead me to regard it as historically a precursor of Nazism?

Both Nazism and Islam set out to conquer the world in lightning manner. Although it took the Muslims longer than it took the Nazis to attain their respective territorial conquests, the Muslims held theirs for much, much longer. After invading Spain in 711, it took the Arabs only three years to cross the Pyrenees into France. I found it more than just interesting to see Paul Fregosi remark that,

The Arab conquest of Spain had been one of history’s blitzkriegs.[8] p. 109.

However, it was not merely daring military tactics by the Muslims and the speed of their conquests that reminded me of the Nazi war machine. What truly impressed me was that the Ottoman sultans were centuries ahead of the Nazis when they created a fanatical and ruthless elite fighting force – the Janissaries - which would follow the orders of their commanders even if that meant going to the ends of hell itself:

The Janissaries were for centuries the fer-de-lance of the Jihad. . . Originally recruited by force, usually as teen-aged boys from the Christian villages of occupied Europe, they were forcibly (but often willingly) converted to Islam . . . and turned into the finest fighting force of the age. . . They were heavily indoctrinated into the Muslim faith and ideology, and taught, above all, to be loyal to the sultan and to him alone. The Janissaries were the most formidable fighting force in Europe and Asia. They were considered by those who fought them, and those in whose service they fought, rather like the French Foreign Legion or the U.S. Marines; or, perhaps more fittingly, like the Waffen SS. [8] p. 217.

As Baigent et al. describe Hitler’s elite fighters, “If Hitler was the Messiah of a new religion, his priesthood was the elite black-clad Schutzstaffel, or SS" ([10]p.201). The methods of indoctrination and conditioning of the elite fighters of Islam and of the Third Reich had much in common.

5. Islam’s cultural barbarism
What really made me see Islam as an ideology comparable to Nazism was the wicked abasement by the Muslim conquerors of the dignity of the vanquished peoples, and their systematic effort to eradicate the cultural heritage of the vanquished.

It is a fact that all Muslims, not just Arabs, must learn to read the Koran and other religious texts, such as the hadiths, in Arabic. The Arabic language and culture have been imposed on the subjugated nations, along with the religion of Islam, by the conquerors. This was noted by V.S. Naipaul during his travels through the non-Arab Muslim countries, from Iran to Indonesia, where Islam had arrived along with Arab or Mogul rulers and colonizers.

What was there in the subject [Islam] that called for so much study? Well, there was Arabic itself; there was grammar in all its branches; there was logic and rhetoric; there was jurisprudence, Islamic jurisprudence being one course of study and the principles of jurisprudence being another; there was Islamic philosophy; there were the Islamic sciences – biographies, genealogies, “correlations,” traditions about the Prophet and his close companions. [5] p. 46.

It turns out now that the Arabs were the most successful imperialists of all time, since to be conquered by them (and then to be like them) is still, in the minds of the faithful, to be saved. [5] p. 142.

In Iran, as noted by Amir Taheri, this has led to a cultural schizophrenia; I would suggest a stronger term – cultural genocide.

The advent of Islam nearly fourteen centuries ago led to what some Iranian thinkers describe as “our national multiple schizophrenia.” Nowhere is the schizophrenia more evident than in the Persian language. An Indo-European language, Persian is, nevertheless, written in the borrowed Arabic alphabet. [6] p. 59.

Most Iranians had all but forgotten their pre-Islamic past and had little or no chronological notion of history. Persepolis, whose majestic ruins dominated the plain of Morghab near Shiraz, was not recognizable to the average Iranian as the once glorious capital of the Achaemenean empire. It was called Takht-e-Jamshid (Jamshid’s Throne) and believed to be a relic of a mythological past. The tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae was believed to be the resting place of King Solomon’s mother. Outside the small Zoroastrian community all ancient Persian names had been replaced by Arab Islamic ones. Even Shahnameh (Book of Kings), Iran’s national epic, subsequently adopted as the holy book of Persian nationalism, was recited in public in praise of Ali, the first Imam. Darius the Great’s famous edict, engraved on the face of a rock near the western city of Kermanshah, had been discovered and deciphered by the British archaeologist Sir Henry Rawlinson [in1839] and later translated into both English and Persian. But most Iranians did not know of its existence and were therefore unaware of the King of King’s great exploits. Over some four hundred years the mullahs had succeeded in effacing the nation’s collective memory of its pre-Islamic past. Iran’s ancient history was considered a tragic tale of ignorance and damnation that was best bequeathed to oblivion. [6] p. 75.

History, in the Pakistan school books I looked at, begins with Arabia and Islam. In the simpler texts, surveys of the Prophet and the first four caliphs and perhaps the Prophet’s daughter are followed, with hardly a break, by lives of the poet Iqbal, Mr. Jinnah, the political founder of Pakistan, and two or three “martyrs,” soldiers or airmen who died in the holy wars against India in 1965 and 1971. . . History as selective as this leads quickly to unreality. Before Mohammed there is blackness: slavery, exploitation. After Mohammed there is light: slavery and exploitation vanish. [5] p. 142.

Irshad Manji suggests that the continued imposition of Arabic culture and language on all Muslims is due to Islam’s roots in “desert tribalism,”

Suppose we [Muslims] are not really joined by faith in God but by submission to a particular culture. Could it be that Islam, even of the passive sort, is more a faith in the ways of the desert than it is the wisdom of the divine, and that Muslims are taught to imitate the power dynamics of an Arabian tribe . . . [12] p. 145.

I do not agree with Manji’s reasoning. I think that Muhammad (and if not he, then his immediate successors, the “Companions of the Prophet”), recognized the necessity that the conqueror, besides maintaining a superiority of arms over the subjugated enemy, also distances and removes himself from the mass of the subjugated people by maintaining an air of linguistic and cultural superiority. This kind of cultural domination has been practiced often throughout history by the conquering peoples over the defeated peoples. Muhammad’s Arabs certainly respected the dominant cultural influences that accompanied the Greek and Roman conquests in their own part of the world. However, the Greco-Roman cultures actually brought enlightenment and advances in knowledge to the conquered people and did not impose on them a stifling religion.

Unfortunately, the Arabs had nothing like an enlightening culture to bring with them that the defeated could absorb and learn from. They really did not have a written language or culture that would impress the peoples they eventually conquered. Raphael Patai writes:

In 622 the Arabs were nothing more than a number of disunited tribes making a living either as nomadic herders, or, mainly in the south and on the northern fringes of the peninsula, as agriculturalists settled in villages, or again as traders or merchants in a few oasis towns, such as Mecca and Yathrib (later Medina) near the west coast. They were torn by centuries-old strife and feuding. They were almost totally illiterate, and the very few who could read and write had only a very defective script at their disposal which was little more than a reminder. [3] p. 35.

The budding conquerors (it doesn’t matter whether it was Muhammad himself or his successors) came up with a brilliant idea of how to get around their cultural deficiency vis-à-vis the people who they were about to conquer. They simply stipulated that the Koran was not written by man; it was quite literally Allah’s words spoken through the mouth of His Prophet Muhammad. Because Allah dictated his words to Muhammad in Arabic and that is the language in which Allah’s words were written down by Muhammad’s scribes, it was sacrilege of the highest order to translate the Koran into any other language. Furthermore, since the hadiths were explanations and elaborations on the Koran, they, too, had to be read and studied in the original Arabic language in which they were written. Thus, wherever Islam and the Koran went, so did the Arabic language and Arabic customs.

There is a further argument to dispute Manji’s claim that Islam is the way it is because it is a “faith in the ways of the desert.” If that was all there was to the code of Islam, it is incomprehensible why other races and cultures, such as the Turks or Moguls, would subscribe to it for centuries after the Arabs had lost their hold of the Muslim empire. I think the reason is as I have suggested, that every Muslim conqueror, of whatever race or nationality, understood the utility of the Arabic language and attendant Arabic cultural mores which distinguished and distanced the victorious Muslim conquerors from the alien conquered people. It was only in the 20th century, when the Ottoman Turks finally ran out of will and energy to conquer in the name of Allah and Muhammad, that Turkey’s renowned modernizer, Kemal Attaturk could admit:

“Cruel and criminal laws in Turkey have been fixed for more than five hundred years on the rules and theories of an old Arab sheik, and through the abusive interpretation of ignorant and filthy priests. . . Islam, this absurd theology of an immoral Bedouin, is a rotting corpse which poisons our lives.” [8] p. 407.

Again, I see a similarity in the philosophies about history and culture between Islam and modern-day totalitarian Communism and Nazism: nothing that preceded them historically or culturally has any meaning or value. As Raphael Patai writes:

Before long the period which preceded Muhammad’s appearance came to be called the jahiliyya, literally “(time or state of) ignorance.” This designation implied a negative view of everything that had gone before Muhammad . . . For the believing Muslims Arab history began with Muhammad, and what preceded him was either negligible or, better, to be forgotten. [3] p. 6.

In a similar vein, Robert Spencer quotes two other writers:

Philip Hitti explains that Muslims “call the era before the appearance of Muhammad the Jahiliya period, a term usually rendered as ‘time of ignorance’ or ‘barbarism.’ . . . For many Muslims, [V.S. Naipaul] observes, “The time before Islam is a time of blackness: that is part of Muslim theology. History has to serve theology.” [7] p. 172.

These demented views on culture, tradition and language of other civilizations and peoples are those of crude uncivilized barbarians. Measured by their behavior during the foregoing thirteen centuries, it is regrettable to conclude that Muslims are precisely that: uncivilized barbarians.


Wednesday, May 5th, 2004, 12:54 AM

6. Islam’s Untermenschen
Of all the bad things noted in Islam the worst, without a doubt, is how Muslims have treated (and still do) the un-believers under their rule. In this respect they come closest to resembling the Nazis’ treatment of people who they considered to be racially or culturally inferior.

Quoting Fregosi:

[In countries conquered by the Muslims] . . . the original inhabitants, Christians and Jews, became legally the inferior citizens inside the country, subject to the imposition of special taxes and to a lifetime of humiliations.

The Christians and Jews were called “dhimmis” (in the east European and Balkan lands later conquered by the Turks, they were known as “rayahs”) and they had to acknowledge the superiority of the Muslims in their daily life, which was to become one of constant humiliations. They could not carry a weapon or ride a horse, only a donkey. They were not allowed to wear shoes but had to walk barefoot. A Christian who claimed Jesus was divine was automatically executed. A Muslim who became a Christian or a Jew was also executed. The ringing of church bells was forbidden. Christian religious processions were banned. Non-Muslims had to stand aside if a Muslim passed them in the street. They could not wear anything which had green in it, as that was the color of Islam. If a Muslim assaulted them, they were not allowed to fight back but were only permitted to ask their aggressor to stop hitting them. Their status in many ways resembled that of the Untouchables in Hindu society. The dhimmis were the dregs, the people at the bottom of the pile. If they failed to pay the tribute due their conquerors, they were enslaved or executed. [8] p. 107-108.

Raphael Patai presents a full account of Muslim behavior towards non-Muslims:

Muhammad’s turning against the Jews decisively influenced the attitude of Islam toward them once and for all. [3] p. 41.

[the Koran says] the Jews were cursed by God, metamorphosed into apes, punished, and doomed to humiliation in this world, and destined to burn in Hell after they died. . . . this portrait of the Jews is strongly colored by Muhammad’s resentment of his Jewish contemporaries who rejected his teachings and refused to recognize him as the last of the great prophets, or, . . . the khatim, or seal, of the prophets. [3] p. 42.

[The Arabs] conquered many peoples. . . their attitude to the vanquished [was guided] by the same Koranic principle which Muhammad applied to the Jews of Arabia: “Fight those to whom the Scriptures were given, who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and [who] forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute (jizja) readily, being brought low.” (Koran 9: 29) . . . the heathens had to be fought, without condition, until they accepted the din of Muhammad; hence the famous Arab saying, Din Muhammad bi al-sayf, “The religion of Muhammad with the sword.” . . . Where the Muslims had the power, as in North Africa, they proceeded ruthlessly against the idol worshippers in the conquered populations. If they adopted Islam, they were spared; if not, they were put to death. . . . It was the result of this Muslim policy that with the Arab conquests in Asia and Africa, large numbers of native populations converted to Islam. [3] p. 43.

The first caliph to issue discriminatory laws against the dhimmis was Umar II, a religious fanatic, who ruled from 717 to 720. He ordered the governor of Khurasan (eastern Iran) to prohibit the building of new synagogues and churches, to compel the Jews and the Christians to wear special hats and mantles so as to make them easily distinguishable from the Muslims, and to prohibit them from using a saddle and employing Muslims in their service. These items, added to the Koranic obligation of exacting a poll tax from the dhimmis, and of bringing them low, had as their objective the separation or segregation (ghiyar) of the members of the other religions from the Muslims. This endeavor remained a basic feature of the Muslim attitude to the dhimmis for all times.

At a much later date the anti-dhimmi regulations . . . were collected into a document which was given the name Covenant of Umar, and attributed to the Caliph Umar I (reigned 634-644). . . The main points in the Covenant of Umar can be summarized . . . as follows:

1. The dhimmis are prohibited from building synagogues and churches in addition to those which had existed in pre-Islamic times.

2. They must not be taught the Koran.

3. They must not shelter spies.

4. They must not buy male or female Muslim slaves, nor slaves formerly owned by Muslims.

5. They must not sell intoxicating beverages to Muslims, nor pork; nor the carcasses of animals not ritually slaughtered.

6. They must not employ Muslims in their service.

7. They must honor Muslims and stand in their presence.

8. They must not hit or deceive a Muslim.

9. They must put up Muslim travelers in their houses for three days.

10. They must not prevent anyone from converting to Islam.

11. They must not dress or wear their hair in a manner resembling that of the Muslims. They must not wear silk girdles, nor shoes of the colors worn by Muslims.

12. They must not be called by Muslim names or appellations.

13. Dhimmi men while in bath houses must wear a special sign around their necks. Dhimmi women must not use the same bath house used by Muslim women, but special baths must be built for them.

14. The dhimmis are forbidden to carry arms.

15. They must not ride on horses or mules, but only on asses, and must not use riding saddles but only unornamented pack saddles, on which they must ride side-saddle.

16. Their houses and tombs must not be higher than those of the Muslims.

17. They must not raise their voices in their places of worship, and the Christians must not be seen in public with crosses.

18. They cannot be employed as government officials, nor in any capacity which would give them authority over Muslims.

19. If a dhimmi dies, his estate becomes the property of the authorities until his heirs can prove their right to it under Islamic law. If there is no legal heir, the estate remains the property of the authorities. [3] p. 44-46.

I will conclude this section on Islam’s “untermenschen” with a trenchant statement from Irshad Manji:

In North Africa, Jews and Christians wore shoulder patches with pictures of pigs and monkeys respectively. They had to slap these symbols on their homes, too. In Baghdad, seat of Islamic enlightenment, the dimmi people dressed in clothes bearing yellow symbols – a marker resuscitated by the Nazis. . . I began to grasp how Islam has come to be an insular, often hateful religion. [12] p. 72.

7. Islam’s attraction to Nazism
Curiously enough, in the 19th century, long before the rise of Nazism, in Europe the attraction flowed the other way: many German and English intellectuals admired and romanticized Islam and the Arabs; they were known as “Arabists.” Many of these Europeans also tended to favor fascistic or “Prussian” systems of government. Perhaps it was the theocratic absolutism of Islam that attracted them.

The ideological magnet that seems to draw Muslims to a sympathetic view of Nazism has been quite evident in the 20th century. It is well known that during WW II the Allies could not count on the loyalty of any of the Muslims in the Near and Middle East. No doubt, during the Nazi period, it was the shared hatred of everything Jewish that made Nazism attractive for the Muslims and vice-versa. But even before Hitler’s ascension to power, Muslim rulers, including Reza Shah Pahlevi, admired the authoritarian and disciplinarian characteristics of the Prussians.

Amir Taheri reports that sympathies in the Muslim countries for the Nazis were strong already in the mid-1930s and continued during the war years:

The second major political current with which Khomeini came into contact in Najaf was Nazism which, with its star rising in Europe, was proving very attractive to some sections of Muslim society in the Middle East. In Mesopotamia an anti-British movement led by Rashid Ali Guilani was openly pro-Nazi. In Egypt the movement called Young Egypt harbored similar sentiments. In Iran Reza Shah shared with many of the mullahs a deep admiration for Adolf Hitler. [6] p. 97.

[During WW II] on a number of visits to Tehran [Khomeini] made contact with Ayatollah Abol-Qassem Husseini Kashani, an openly political mullah who had been exiled by the British to Palestine in 1941 because of his pro-Nazi activities. Also in Tehran he deepened his relations with the Fedayeen of Islam’s network of “holy killers.” [6] p. 107.

and Irshad Manji writes that,

In 1943, Haj Amin [Mufti of Jerusalem] addressed imams in the Bosnian SS, assuring them that Islam and Nazism shared a commitment to social order, family structure, hard work, and a perpetual struggle – especially against the Americans, the English, and the Jews. From the capital of the Reich, Haj Amin broadcast Nazi propaganda to the Arab world. “Kill the Jews wherever you find them,” he hissed into a microphone at Radio Berlin on March 1, 1944. “This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you.” [12] p. 112

Islam’s Attack Against the West

1. Islam’s festering grievances

Now it is time to ask why Islam is so mad at the West today. The short answer is that Muslims hold the West responsible for destroying their empire, and they want it back.

It is not uncommon for a people who at some time in history have possessed an empire and then lost it to express a nostalgic longing for its resurrection in all its past glory. Along with this nostalgia and a wish to turn back the clock many such people also harbor a deep resentment and even hatred for some external powers or foreign states whom they perceive as having been the agents responsible for their loss of empire.

The French still consider the British (“perfidious Albion”) to be largely responsible for the demise of the Napoleonic empire; quite a few Britons still rue the passing of their own empire, on which, once upon a time, “the sun never set.” A few of them still remember with bitterness that the policies and actions of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower hastened the dismantling of the British empire in the name of de-colonization.

In Europe, the Germans have been the angriest about the loss of their empire and the most insistent on re-establishing it. They consider the Holy Roman Empire, which existed from about the year 900 to 1806, to be their First Reich; the Second Reich was proclaimed by Kaiser Wilhelm I in 1871 and lasted until Germany’s defeat in 1918. The Third Reich was proclaimed by Adolf Hitler in 1933 and lasted until 1945 when Germany was once again defeated.

The Muslim empire was once one of the largest in the world and it lasted from the 7th until the early 20th century. The ruler of the Islamic empire was the Caliph, who wielded absolute power comparable to the combined powers of both the Pope and Caesar of Christendom. Beginning with their conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Muslim empire was ruled by the Ottoman sultans who also fulfilled the role of the caliph.

The Ottoman empire went into a decline already in the 19th century. Then, in the first World War, the Ottoman sultan unfortunately chose to side with Germany and Austria. At the end of that war the Ottoman empire was dismembered by the victorious allies – the United States, Britain, and France. In the remnant of the Ottoman empire – Turkey, Kemal Attaturk seized power and abolished both the sultanate and the caliphate.

There is a corollary to the Muslim belief that they are destined by Allah to eventually rule the whole world: if a territory has at some time come under Muslim rule they claim it as theirs forever after, even if they have been subsequently evicted from it. Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda associates have declared that all territories which have been under Muslim rule at some time in the past are rightfully theirs today. In Europe that would include Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, and most of the Balkan region.

The Muslim obsession to reclaim lost territories, i.e. to reconstitute the Islamic empire, may be even stronger than what inspired the German people to try to reconstitute the Reich. In light of their glorious past, the Muslims have found defeat particularly hard to accept, and their thirst for renewed triumph so much the stronger. Fregosi observes that,

. . . for many of the faithful, whose history and lives had flourished in perpetual victories, the experience was an emotionally shattering one that many Muslim minds were not able to accept. Defeat and humiliation was not the stuff of which Islam was made. It had always triumphed in the past, and it awaited triumph in the future. Today, with de-colonization and with the backing of its immense oil riches, the hour of Islam has perhaps come around again. The Jihad, begun by Mohammed in the seventh century, is required to persist until the whole world belongs to Islam. [8] p. 379.

Furthermore, the Islamic empire can only be an empire if ruled by a caliph. Therefore, the Muslims make the additional demand that the caliphate be restored. The Western public remains woefully ignorant of these Muslim demands. Paul Berman is one of very few in the West to understand what feeds the Muslims’ anger and fury. He says:

. . Al Qaeda [is] not a political movement in any conventional sense. It [is] a chiliastic movement, and its goal [is] the Caliphate or nothing. [2] p. 116.

He caught the nuances in the following statement by Bin Laden:

. . in that first video after 9/11 . . . Some of Bin Laden's comments were, to anyone without a background in Islamic thought, incomprehensible. Bin Laden said that America, as a result of the attacks, was "filled with horror," which was certainly true. But he added a puzzling remark. He said, "Our Islamic nation has been tasting the same for more than eighty years, of humiliation and disgrace, its sons killed and their blood spilled, its sanctities desecrated." But what was the terrible thing that had taken place more than eighty years before - the terrible thing that had continued ever since, humiliating and disgracing what he called "the Islamic nation"? An event from 1921 or before - what could that have been? I think that television viewers around the world, staring at CNN or even at Al Jazeera, wondered about that remark and silently surmised that bin Laden was raving incoherently. But the readers of Sayyid Qutb would have understood. Bin Laden was speaking about the crimes of Kemal Ataturk - the plunge into secular modernity that culminated in 1924 in the abolition of the Caliphate. Bin Laden was speaking about that initial, devastating attack on the Islamic nation - the attack that signaled the beginning of Islam's "extermination," in Qutb's fearful words. [2] p. 117.

In the eyes of Muslims, and the Arabs in particular, the West inflicted a further humiliation on them when it dismembered the Ottoman lands of the Middle and Near East in a quite arbitrary manner. Entirely new states were created and boundaries drawn without consulting the will of the inhabitants. Muslims consider these states to be illegitimate entities and their rulers apostates from Islam. Among the Muslims of the world the desire to eradicate these illegitimate regimes is as strong as the desire to restore the Islamic caliphate.

2. Islam’s resurgence
Organized Muslim underground resistance movements against the Western colonial powers began soon after the dismemberment of the Ottoman empire and abolition of the caliphate. There were also public protests in newspapers and street demonstrations against the Western powers in many Muslim countries.

It is well documented by history, and already mentioned above, that Muslim hostility towards the Western powers festered in more or less muted fashion during the inter-war years and throughout the Second World War. Sometimes a short statement serves to make the point just as well as lengthy commentaries:

[In the 1920s] . . an Egyptian founded the Muslim Brotherhood, the Al Qaeda of his generation. Rites of initiation into the brotherhood’s terror cells featured two props: the Koran and a revolver. [12] p. 74.

As should have been foreseen (but was not), Islam’s opportunity to reassert itself on the world’s stage came in Iran – a quasi-democratic ally of the West, but never a colonial servant of Western imperialism, during the then prevailing Cold War with the Soviet Union. In Iran there were just enough democratic freedoms, honored by Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlevi, to provide wiggle room for an Islamic insurrection to flourish. And Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who we have met before, took full advantage of this opportunity. He overthrew the shah in 1979 and established in Iran the first Islamic republic of modern times. From then on Islam has been on the offensive again. Some insightful observers have noted this fact; for example,

Iran's Islamist revolutionaries spread their inspiration across wide regions of the Arab and Muslim world, even where the majority of people were Sunni and not Shiite. For the Iranian revolution was large and deep and inspiring, and, with the Iranian example in everyone's eyes, the Islamist movement became a greater phenomenon than ever before, and the newly mass movement began to achieve success across the wide arc from Afghanistan to Algeria, and beyond. [2] p. 110

The terrorist Jihad that exists today is a topical, political reality. The advent of the Ayatollah Khomeini on the international scene has strikingly heralded the return to the world of an aggressive Islam after more than a century of quiet: Western imperialism and colonial domination shackled Islam to the West for a century and stifled the Jihad until the mid-twentieth century. [8] p. 20.

. . . the Islamic Revolution was to end liberties taken with the divine law and to restore men to their bondage with Allah. The Islamic Revolution also rejected the notion that men of all creeds could be equals and brothers. Women can never be treated as equals under Islam and non-believers can never enjoy the same rights as believers. The very concept of human rights was “a Judeo-Christian invention” and inadmissible in Islam. [6] p. 20

The objective of the Imam [Khomeini], who considers all existing governments in Muslim countries to be illegitimate, is the creation of a single universal Islamic state which can emerge as a world power . . . [6] p.22

Many of his supporters called for Khomeini to be elected Caliph soon after he came to power in Iran:

In August 1983 an international Islamic seminar financed by the Islamic Republic in London called on Muslims throughout the world to follow Khomeini as their sole leader, but stopped short of declaring him Caliph as some delegates had apparently demanded. [6] p. 283.

Khomeini echoed the Prophet Muhammad in his inspirational sermons and messages. Robert Spencer gives an example of Khomeini’s fiery language:

Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world. . . . But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. . . . Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. Does this mean sitting back until [non-Muslims] overcome us? Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! Does this mean that we should surrender [to the enemy]? Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Qur’anic] psalms and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim. [7] p. 35.

Although the Islamic revolution in Iran was carried out by Shi’ite Muslims, their revolution inspired all Muslims everywhere to raise the flag of Jihad; Islam was on the march once again:

Iran's Islamist revolutionaries spread their inspiration across wide regions of the Arab and Muslim world, even where the majority of people were Sunni and not Shiite. For the Iranian revolution was large and deep and inspiring, and, with the Iranian example in everyone's eyes, the Islamist movement became a greater phenomenon than ever before, and the newly mass movement began to achieve success across the wide arc from Afghanistan to Algeria, and beyond. And what was the mark of that success? . . . Piety spread. Religious devotion deepened. Women hid behind their veils. And as piety, devotion, and patriarchy bloomed, in every country a new kind of politics came into flower. It was the politics of slaughter - slaughter for the sake of sacred devotion, slaughter conducted in a mood of spiritual loftiness, slaughter indistinguishable from charity, slaughter that led to suicide, slaughter for slaughter's sake. It was a flower of evil. And this new politics, in its bright green Islamic color, proved to be sturdy. [2] p. 110.

Ayatollah Khomeini sounded the trumpet for a new Jihad against everything Western. Iran became an exporter of revolutionary fighters, such as the Hezbollah, to other Muslim countries. On the ideological front, the teachings of men like Sayyid Qutb also started to spread through the Muslim world and helped to recruit large numbers of new fighters. Paul Berman writes:

The single most influential writer in the Islamist tradition, at least among the Sunni Arabs, is generally recognized to be Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) of Egypt, a formidable person. [2] p. 60.

Saudi Arabia embraced Sayyid Qutb's younger brother, Muhammad, and the other exiles from Nasser's repression because Islam in its Sunni branch, rather like Judaism, is a scholarly religion: there is no priesthood, only the scholarly interpreters of Islamic law. But Saudi Arabia was not brimming with scholars. The Egyptian scholars could do a lot for Saudi Arabia's religious credentials, then, and they could do so at a moment when, because of the oil boom, Saudi wealth was creeping upward into the realms of the spectacular. The Saudis established a missionary program abroad, which eventually constructed a full 1500 mosques around the world. . . . And from the pullulating mosques, a new mix of ideas, the traditional puritanical doctrines of Saudi Wahhabi Islam, reinforced now by the dynamic new Koranic readings from Qutb and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, radiated outward.[2] p. 104.

And from all this al Qaeda emerged - from the early example of the Ayatollah in Iran, from the jihad in Afghanistan, from King Abdul Aziz University in Saudi Arabia, and from the Egyptian theologians.[2] p. 114.

3. Islam declares war

Islam’s declaration of war against the West was delivered in a spectacular fashion, on September 11, 2001. In psychological shock value on the American population, the surprise attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon exceeded that of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

At the time of this writing, we have been at war with Islam for two and a half years. During that interval conventional warfare has been going on in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq; let us also not forget the war in Palestine between Islam and the Jews of Israel. In addition, there have been bombings by Islamist agents in too many places in the world to count them all; the most effective of these was carried out in Madrid, Spain not long ago.

Islam’s resumption of open warfare against the West should not come as a surprise, nor be seen as unusual. Islam, being what it is, could not act otherwise; many centuries of past behavior testify to that fact. Here are comments from writers who are aware of the nature of Islam:

The jihad that aims to increase the size of the dar-al-Islam at the expense of dar-al-harb is not a conventional war that begins at a certain point and ends at another. Jihad is a “permanent war” that “excludes the idea of peace but authorizes temporary truces related to the political situation (muhadana).” [7] p. 169.

No one seems to have told the modern-day warriors and apostles of Islam from Bosnia to the Philippines that jihad is a dead letter, and that Islam isn’t doing any more expanding. . . Jihad will no more end with Osama bin Laden than it began with him. As the Encyclopedia of Islam put it in 1913, “Islam must be completely made over before the doctrine of jihad can be eliminated.” If anything about the future is certain, it is that whatever the ultimate outcome of the war on terrorism may be, there will be more jihads as long as there are people who take the Qur’an as the word of Allah and the Sunnah as second only to the Qur’an as a reliable guide to behavior. [7] p. 170.

So long as Islam remains Islam (which it will) and the West remains the West (which is more dubious), this fundamental conflict between two great civilizations and ways of life will continue to define their relations in the future even as it has defined them for the past fourteen centuries. [1] p. 212.

Western political leaders, including the German chancellor and the French prime minister, expressed ... concerns, with the secretary general of NATO declaring in 1995 that Islamic fundamentalism was "as least as dangerous as communism" had been to the West, and a "very senior member" of the Clinton administration pointing to Islam as the global rival of the West. [1] p. 215.

If the Muslims allege that the West wars on Islam and if Westerners allege that Islamic groups war on the West, it seems reasonable to conclude that something very much like a war is underway. ... During the fifteen years between 1980 and 1995, according to the U.S. Defense Department, the United States engaged in seventeen military operations in the Middle East, all of them directed against Muslims. No comparable pattern of U.S. military operations occurred against the people of any other civilization.
The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power. The problem for Islam is not the CIA or the U.S. Department of Defense. It is the West, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the universality of their culture and believe that their superior, if declining, power imposes on them the obligation to extend that culture throughout the world. [1] p. 217.

The West Refuses to Recognize Islam as the Enemy

In spite of its technological and military superiority, the West may lose and it certainly cannot win the current war. You do not defeat the enemy if you pretend that he does not exist. The official line, maintained by virtually all the statesmen, political leaders and the religious establishment in Western countries, is that we are being attacked by “terrorists.” Most of the time no clear ideological or religious affiliation of the “terrorists” is given. Yes, there is the nebulous Al Qaeda and its even more nebulous leader Osama Bin Laden, who are sometimes called “Islamic fundamentalists,” and lately we are also told that “insurgents” are causing trouble in Iraq. But we really have not moved much beyond how President Bush identified the attackers on September 11, 2001; he called them simply your no-name, generic brand “terrorists.” This is how Robert Spencer remembers it:

“Islam is peace.” George W. Bush went to a mosque to say it late in 2001. The September 11 terrorist attacks, he averred, “violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith.” In his September 20 address to Congress, he elaborated: “The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics – a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam.” . . .

Is George Bush right in saying that the terror of September 11 represented only a “fringe form of Islamic extremism”? [7] p. 7.

Besides the now-infamous Palestinians dancing in the streets for CNN’s cameramen at the news that the World Trade Center towers had collapsed, demonstrators around the world chanted their approval. These people were not all Wahhabis or uneducated mobs. “Reporters from Arab shores,” according to Johns Hopkins University professor Fouad Ajami, “tell us of affluent men and women, some with years of education in American universities behind them, celebrating the cruel deed of Muhammad Atta and his hijackers.” A Libyan told the New York Times: “September 11 was the happiest day of my life.” [7] p. 16.

Not only George Bush and Tony Blair, but Westerners in general misunderstand Islam on a massive scale because they persist, probably without realizing it, in viewing the religion of Muhammad in light of Christian categories and experience. The most prominent indication of this is the constant reference to Islamic “fundamentalists.” . . . Inside and outside the umma (the worldwide community of Muslim believers), Muslims agree that [the Five Pillars] are at the heart of their religion: the confession of faith, daily prayer, almsgiving, fasting during Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Mecca. In this sense, virtually all Muslims are fundamentalists. [7] p. 22.

and Paul Berman makes the same observation:

It ought to have been obvious that, sooner or later, the United States and its allies were going to look into the Lebanese Hezbollah, which meant looking into the Syrian government and the Iranian mullahs. It ought to have been obvious that something would have to be done about Saudi Arabia – the biggest problem of all, arguably. Peace and safety may not be compatible, in the end, with the existence of a fanatical, obscurantist, intolerant, anti-Semitic, obsessively patriarchal, polygamous, terror-minded, theocratic, supremely wealthy petro-monarchy that insists on spreading its missionary message to the world. But in Bush’s discussions of the Terror War, none of this was even broached. [2] p. 200.

This absolutely insane refusal to acknowledge that on September 11, 2001, America was not attacked by just a gang of “terrorists,” but that on that date Islam itself renewed the Jihad against the West, leads to a very dangerous underestimate of the potential number of fighters Islam can mobilize for this war. Robert Spencer writes:

Middle East analyst Daniel Pipes estimates [the number of terrorist sympathizers in Muslim countries] as between 100 million and 150 million people. This doesn’t mean that the remaining 850 to 900 million Muslims around the world are all peace-loving. [7] p. 36.

In this light, the number of terrorists and their sympathizers is likely to grow beyond Pipe’s 100 to 150 million. . . . “When liberal Muslims declare that Sept. 11 was an atrocity contrary to the Koran,” observes Farrukh Dhondy, “the majority of Muslims around the world don’t believe them. They accept the interpretation of fundamentalists, whom liberal Muslims have allowed to remain unchallenged.” That is why the Bush/Blair cure for terrorism may end up being worse than ineffectual. The Islam that the West embraces in order to co-opt bin Laden today may be the Islam that assaults the West tomorrow. [7] p. 37.

The United States (with the other Western countries reluctantly in tow) has responded to Islam’s challenge by setting off on a fool’s errand into fantasy land. President Bush stormed into Afghanistan and Iraq not so as to compel Islam to live by the civilized norms of the Western world. Rather, Bush’s intention in Afghanistan and Iraq is to embrace Islam and - of all things - to democratize it!

All over the Muslim world, the ayatollahs, imams, and mullahs must be having a good laugh in private over Bush’s idiotic notion, even as they continue to preach to their followers the vilest sermons of hate imaginable against the West in their mosques. In the countries of the West, where they enjoy the luxury of religious freedom, their message to the faithful Muslims is more subdued, more muted, but it is there.

Exactly how ridiculous the situation has become is illustrated by a recent incident (26 March, 2004) in Iraq. While U.S. troops (who ostensibly are there to fight for Iraqi “democracy”) were engaged in a full-scale fire-fight with “insurgents” in the town of Fallujah, an influential Shiite cleric in Iraq called Israel's targeted killing of the spiritual leader of Hamas a "dirty crime against Islam" and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, "a miracle from God." Moqtada al-Sadr delivered a charged sermon Friday at a mosque near the holy city of Najaf, blasting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas.

Here we are: the Shi’ite cleric, who Americans liberated from Sadam Hussein’s brutal oppression at the cost of their own lives, calls the attacks of September 11, 2001, “a miracle of God.” That brings us up to date as of this writing. If the West remains on the idiotic course it is on now, it cannot win the war with Islam, but it can surely lose it.

The End


[1] The Clash of Civilizations, by Samuel P. Huntington, Simon &Schuster, 1997

[2] Terror and Liberalism, by Paul Berman, W. W. Norton & Co., 2003

[3] The Seed of Abraham, by Raphael Patai, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1987

[4] Mohammed, by Maxime Rodinson, Pantheon Books, 1971

[5] Among the Believers, by V.S. Naipaul, Vintage Books, 1982

[6] The Spirit of Allah, by Amir Taheri, Adler & Adler, 1986

[7] Islam Unveiled, by Robert Spencer, Encounter Books, 2002

[8] Jihad, by Paul Fregosi, Prometheus Books, 1998

[9] Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, translated from Arabic by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Amana Publications, 1994

[10] The Messianic Legacy, by Michael Baigent et al., Corgi Books, 1993

[11] Al-Imam al-Mahdi, by Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini, translated by Dr. Abdulaziz Sachedina, Ansariyan Publications, 1999

[12] The Trouble With Islam, by Irshad Manji, Random House, 2003

Monday, June 7th, 2004, 09:07 PM
Islam will never take place as the top world religion. I will kill myself and burn in hell for all eternity before that will happen(not likely) The only way to greatness is through Jesus. Islam may be number 2 right now, but it will fall. Christianity will eventually incompass all the earth when Revelation comes and Judgement comes upon all people of the earth.

Gorm the Old
Saturday, November 6th, 2004, 04:29 AM
Congratulations, Jack the Ripper! You have said what needed to be said, but, alas, only in this small forum. How can the truth be proclaimed to the West that ISLAM IS THE ENEMY ! ?

Saturday, November 6th, 2004, 12:40 PM
There's much to be done. We need the media to be on our side. That would be a start, and a very good start it would be.

Saturday, November 6th, 2004, 12:59 PM
There's much to be done. We need the media to be on our side. That would be a start, and a very good start it would be.
It ain't gonna happen any time soon