The largely failed (and/or thwarted) acts of jihad terrorism at the end of this past week in London and Glasgow show once again that the aim of the current Islamic crusade against the West is global in scope, is not about Iraq and is not a fringe development in Islam itself.
What Samuel Huntington aptly termed “Islam’s bloody borders” around the globe—flow from the timeless logic of jihad. Franz Rosenthal, the late (d. 2002) Yale University scholar of Islam, who, 50 years ago, translated Ibn Khaldun's classic Introduction To History, also wrote a seminal essay entitled “On Suicide in Islam” in 1946. Rosenthal’s research confirmed how Islam extolled “suicidal” martyrdom attacks:
While the Qur’anic attitude toward suicide remains uncertain, the great authorities of the hadith leave no doubt as to the official attitude of Islam. In their opinion suicide is an unlawful act....On the other hand, death as the result of “suicidal” missions and of the desire of martyrdom occurs not infrequently, since death is considered highly commendable according to Muslim religious concepts. (Emphasis added.) However, such cases are no[t] suicides in the proper sense of the term.
These orthodox Islamic views have been reiterated by Yusuf Al Qaradawi—“spiritual” leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, head of the European Fatwa Council, and immensely popular Al-Jazeera television personality, as well as Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, the most prestigious center of Muslim learning in Sunni Islam. Sheikh Qaradawi openly endorsed murderous Palestinian homicide bomber “martyrdom” operations against innocent Israeli citizens (all of whom are considered “combatants” who obstruct the “call to Islam”) during a fatwa council convened in the heart of Europe (in Stockholm, July, 2003). For the past decade, Sheikh Tantawi, who is the nearest equivalent to a Muslim Pope, has also confirmed the legitimacy of homicide bombing of Jews, characterizing these grisly attacks as
…the highest form of Jihad operations…the young people executing them have sold Allah the most precious thing of all…every martyrdom operation against any Israeli, including children, women, and teenagers, is a legitimate act according to [Islamic] religious law, and an Islamic commandment, until the people of Palestine regain their land
On July 25, 2005, historian David Littman attempted to deliver a prepared text in the joint names of three international NGOs, but was prevented from doing so by the intervention of Islamic members of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Human Rights. Following repeated interruptions he was unable to complete his speech. Littman was simply trying to support the argument that those who issue fatwas to kill innocent people in the name of Islam are not real Muslims and should be treated as apostates. But as he noted, just before the 7/7/05 London bombings a major conference of 170 Muslim scholars from 40 countries meeting in Amman, Jordan gave an opinion in a Final Communiqué, dated July 6, 2005:
It is not possible to declare as apostates any group of Muslims who believes in Allah the Mighty and Sublime and His Messenger (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) and the pillars of faith, and respects the pillars of Islam and does not deny any necessary article of religion.
This unfortunate communiqué clearly provides immutable protection to authentic Islamic advocates of homicide bombing—like the “esteemed” clerics Yusuf Qaradawi and Al-Azhar Grand Imam Tantawi.
The most recent attempted atrocities in London and Glasgow are contemporary manifestations of foundational Islamic imperatives, rooted in jihad. Denial of this intimate relationship is untenable and dangerous, given the weight of confirmatory evidence, past and present.
Umar Ibn al-Khattab (d. 644), was the second “rightly guided caliph” of Islam, the word caliph deriving from Koran 2:30, and the Muslim notion of the successor to Islam’s prophet Muhammad, a vicegerent of Allah, on earth. During his reign, which lasted for a decade (634-644), Syria, Iraq and Egypt were conquered. Umar was responsible for organizing the early Islamic Empire into a supranational Muslim Caliphate. Alfred von Kremer, the seminal 19th century German scholar of Islam, described the “central idea” of Umar's regime, as being the furtherance of “...the religious-military development of Islam at the expense of the conquered nations.” The predictable and historically verifiable consequence of this guiding principle was a legacy of harsh inequality, intolerance, and injustice towards non-Muslims observed by von Kremer in 1868 (and still evident in Islamic societies at present):
It was the basis of its severe directives regarding Christians and those of other faiths, that they be reduced to the status of pariahs, forbidden from having anything in common with the ruling nation; it was even the basis for his decision to purify the Arabian Peninsula of the unbelievers, when he presented all the inhabitants of the peninsula who had not yet accepted Islam with the choice: to emigrate or deny the religion of their ancestors. The industrious and wealthy Christians of Najran, who maintained their Christian faith, emigrated as a result of this decision from the peninsula, to the land of the Euphrates, and ‘Umar also deported the Jews of Khaybar. In this way ‘Umar based that fanatical and intolerant approach that was an essential characteristic of Islam, now extant for over a thousand years, until this day [i.e., written in 1868]. It was this spirit, a severe and steely one, that incorporated scorn and contempt for the non-Muslims, that was characteristic of ‘Umar, and instilled by ‘Umar into Islam; this spirit continued for many centuries, to be Islam's driving force and vital principle.
Umar waged devastating jihad campaigns, and imposed severe limitations upon the vanquished non-Muslims aimed at their ultimate destruction by attrition. He also introduced fanatical elements into Islamic culture that became characteristic of the Caliphates which succeeded his. Indeed, the complete absence of basic freedoms of conscience and expression in these early Islamic Caliphates—while entirely consistent with mid-7th century mores—has remained a constant, ignominious legacy throughout Islamic history, to this day.
C. Snouck Hurgronje, the great Dutch Orientalist observed in 1916 (p.99) that even at the nadir of Islam's power following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the jihad imperative to complete the unfulfilled task of world Islamization, via the re-creation of a supranational Islamic Caliphate, remained a potent force among the Muslim masses:
…it would be a gross mistake to imagine that the idea of universal conquest may be considered as obliterated…the canonists and the vulgar still live in the illusion of the days of Islam’s greatness. The legists continue to ground their appreciation of every actual political condition on the law of the holy war, which war ought never be allowed to cease entirely until all mankind is reduced to the authority of Islam—the heathen by conversion, the adherents of acknowledged Scripture [i.e., Jews and Christians] by submission.
…the common people are willingly taught by the canonists and feed their hope of better days upon the innumerable legends of the olden time and the equally innumerable apocalyptic prophecies about the future. The political blows that fall upon Islam make less impression…than the senseless stories about the power of the Sultan of Stambul [Istanbul], that would instantly be revealed if he were not surrounded by treacherous servants, and the fantastic tidings of the miracles that Allah works in the Holy Cities of Arabia which are inaccessible to the unfaithful. The conception of the Khalifate [Caliphate] still exercises a fascinating influence, regarded in the light of a central point of union against the unfaithful (i.e., non-Muslims).
Nearly a century later, the preponderance of contemporary mainstream Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia, apparently share with their murderous, jihad terror waging co-religionists from al-Qaeda the goal (if not necessarily supporting the gruesome means) of re-establishing an Islamic Caliphate. Polling data released April 24, 2007 from a rigorous face-to-face University of Maryland/ WorldPublicOpinion.org interview survey of 4384 Muslims conducted between December 9, 2006 and February 15, 2007-1000 Moroccans, 1000 Egyptians, 1243 Pakistanis, and 1141 Indonesians-reveal that 65.2% of those interviewed-almost 2/3, hardly a "fringe minority"-desired this outcome (i.e., “To unify all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state or Caliphate”), including 49% of "moderate" Indonesian Muslims. The internal validity of these data about the present longing for a Caliphate is strongly suggested by a concordant result: 65.5% of this Muslim sample approved the proposition “To require a strict [emphasis added] application of Shari'a law in every Islamic country.” Moreover, an earlier survey of British Muslims indicated that up to 40% of them wished to replace Britain’s current liberal democratic system with the Shari’a.
Notwithstanding ahistorical drivel from Western Muslim “advocacy” groups such as the Muslim Association of Britain, which lionizes both the Caliphate and the concomitant institution of Shari'a—despite their legacy of brutal, often genocidal aggression, and imposition of a blatantly discriminatory, totalitarian system of rule devoid of the most basic human rights—as promulgators of “a peaceful and just society”, the findings from these polls of Muslims across the Islamic world, and within the United Kingdom, are ominous.
Ibn Warraq has observed aptly that the most fundamental conception of a Caliphate, “...the constant injunction to obey the Caliph-who is God's Shadow on Earth”, is completely incompatible with the creation of a “rights-based individualist philosophy.” Warraq illustrates the supreme hostility to individual rights in the Islamic Caliphate, and Islam itself, through the writings of the iconic Muslim philosopher, jurist, and historian, Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), and a contemporary Muslim thinker, A.K. Brohi, former Pakistani Minister of Law and Religious Affairs:
[Ibn Khaldun] All religious laws and practices and everything that the masses are expected to do requires group feeling. Only with the help of group feeling can a claim be successfully pressed,...Group feeling is necessary to the Muslim community. Its existence enables (the community) to fulfill what God expects of it.
[A.K. Brohi] Human duties and rights have been vigorously defined and their orderly enforcement is the duty of the whole of organized communities and the task is specifically entrusted to the law enforcement organs of the state. The individual if necessary has to be sacrificed in order that that the life of the organism be saved. Collectivity has a special sanctity attached to it in Islam.
In contrast, Warraq notes, “Liberal democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom and attaches all possible value to each man or woman.” And he concludes,
Individualism is not a recognizable feature of Islam; instead the collective will of the Muslim people is constantly emphasized. There is certainly no notion of individual rights, which developed in the West, especially during the eighteenth century.
Almost six decades ago (in 1950), G.H. Bousquet (pp. 104-5), a pre-eminent modern scholar of Islamic Law, put forth this unapologetic, pellucid formulation of the twofold totalitarian impulse in Islam:
Islam first came before the world as a doubly totalitarian system. It claimed to impose itself on the whole world and it claimed also, by the divinely appointed Muhammadan law, by the principles of the fiqh, to regulate down to the smallest details the whole life of the Islamic community and of every individual believer....the study of Muhammadan law (dry and forbidding though it may appear to those who confine themselves to the indispensable study of the fiqh) is of great importance to the world today.
And sowing terror in order to promote the Islamization of infidel territories, is consistent with jihad tactics that date back well over a millennium.
Ibn Hudayl, a 14th century Granadan author of an important treatise on jihad, explained the original methods which facilitated the violent, chaotic jihad conquest of the Iberian peninsula, and other parts of Europe, during the prior six centuries (p. 40):
It is permissible to set fire to the lands of the enemy, his stores of grain, his beasts of burden — if it is not possible for the Muslims to take possession of them — as well as to cut down his trees, to raze his cities, in a word, to do everything that might ruin and discourage him, provided that the imam (i.e. the religious 'guide' of the community of believers) deems these measures appropriate, suited to hastening the Islamization of that enemy or to weakening him. Indeed, all this contributes to a military triumph over him or to forcing him to capitulate.
The 20th century historian Charles Emmanuel Dufourcq—who studied the Islamization of Spain, Portugal, and North Africa in the Middle Ages—characterized (p. 40) the impact of these repeated attacks, indistinguishable in motivation from modern acts of jihad terrorism, such as the Madrid bombings on 3/11/04, the London bombings of 7/7/05, or the (mostly) foiled attacks in London and Glasgow of 6/29 and 6/30/07:
It is not difficult to understand that such expeditions sowed terror. The historian al—Maqqari, who wrote in seventeenth—century Tlemcen in Algeria, explains that the panic created by the Arab horsemen and sailors, at the time of the Muslim expansion in the zones that saw those raids and landings, facilitated the later conquest, if that was decided on: 'Allah,' he says, 'thus instilled such fear among the infidels that they did not dare to go and fight the conquerors; they only approached them as suppliants, to beg for peace.'
Writing in 1978, Dufourcq (d. 1982), worried (even then) that historical and cultural revisionism of this established legacy of jihad (in particular, the Muslim conquest and colonization of the Iberian peninsula) might precipitate a recurrence of,
...the upheaval carried out on our continent (i.e., Europe) by Islamic penetration more than a thousand years ago
Less than a decade after Dufourcq's death in 1982, the historian Bat Ye'or (from a 1991 French interview, published in English translation in 1994) echoed his intuitive concerns about Europe's re-Islamization, and warned more broadly,
I do not see serious signs of a Europeanization of Islam anywhere, a move that would be expressed in a relativization of religion, a self—critical view of the history of Islamic imperialism...we are light years away from such a development...On the contrary, I think that we are participating in the Islamization of Europe, reflected both in daily occurrences and in our way of thinking...All the racist fanaticism that permeates the Arab countries and Iran has been manifested in Europe in recent years...
Myriad intellectuals in denial might now, at last, wish to study with care the continuing legacy of jihad war, and pay serious attention to its modern Muslim proponents—including the jihadist cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has been lionized—with tragic irony—by London's own current mayor as a “progressive.” Here are some more of Qaradawi's apposite views on jihad and jihad terrorism:
It has been determined by Islamic law that the blood and property of people of Dar Al—Harb [the Domain of Disbelief where the war for the domination of Islam should be waged, i.e. including within Western Europe and America] is not protected. Because they fight against and are hostile towards the Muslims, they annulled the protection of his blood and his property... in modern war, all of society, with all its classes and ethnic groups, is mobilized to participate in the war, to aid its continuation, and to provide it with the material and human fuel required for it to assure the victory of the state fighting its enemies. Every citizen in society must take upon himself a role in the effort to provide for the battle. The entire domestic front, including professionals, laborers, and industrialists, stands behind the fighting army, even if it does not bear arms.
Allah has also made the prophet Muhammad into an epitome for religious warriors [Mujahideen] since he ordered Muhammed to fight for religion... the first assignment is to prepare the hero who is willing to put his life in his own hands for Allah's sake, and he who does not care whether he encounters death or death encounters him...He [i.e., a self—immolating bomber] kills the enemy while taking self—risk, similarly to what Muslims did in the past... He wants to scare his enemies, and the religious authorities have permitted this. They said that if he causes the enemy both sorrow and fear of Muslims... he is permitted to risk himself and even get killed.
Qaradawi stated his ultimate goals explicitly—consistent with orthodox jihad ideology—at a Muslim youth convention in 1995 in Toledo, Ohio: “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America!”. Subsequently Qaradawi issued a public fatwa on December 2, 2002, calling on Muslims to conquer Europe, stating, “Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and a victor after being expelled from it twice – once from the south, from Andalusia, and a second time, from the east, when it knocked several times on the doors of Athens.” Qaradawi’s fatwa ruled, in addition, that Muslims should re-conquer, “former Islamic colonies to Andalus (Spain), southern Italy, Sicily, the Balkans and the Mediterranean islands.”
In light of the most recent attacks in London and Glasgow will the West's intellectuals finally awaken to this threat—the jihad? Will they study with seriousness and urgency the theological-juridical underpinnings of the Islamic jihad, and its 14 centuries of brutal, imperialistic conquests, continuing through the present, whose ultimate goals are the re-establishment of a supranational Muslim Caliphate, and imposition of Shari’a totalitarianism across the globe?
Julien Benda in his classic 1928 La Trahison de Clercs (The Treason of the Intellectuals) decried with prophetic accuracy how the abandonment of objective truth abetted totalitarian ideologies, which lead to the cataclysmic destruction of World War II. Ignoring, dismissing, or worse, continuing to vilify thoughtful and intrepid scholars such as Dufourcq and Bat Ye'or reflects the broader La Trahison de Clercs of our time: the complete failure of Western intellectuals to study, understand, and acknowledge the heinous consequences of the living Islamic institution of jihad war.
Finally, in an ironic but hopeful turn of events, perhaps this impassioned mea culpa from former British jihadist Hassan Butt will at last prove clarifying for the willfully blind and timorous non-Muslim elites in the West:
…it isn't enough for Muslims to say that because they feel at home in Britain they can simply ignore those passages of the Koran which instruct on killing unbelievers. By refusing to challenge centuries-old theological arguments, the tensions between Islamic theology and the modern world grow larger every day. It may be difficult to swallow but the reason why Abu Qatada - the Islamic scholar whom Palestinian militants recently called to be released in exchange for the kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston - has a following is because he is extremely learned and his religious rulings are well argued. His opinions, though I now thoroughly disagree with them, have validity within the broad canon of Islam. [emphasis added]
The Muslim community in Britain must slap itself awake from this state of denial and realise there is no shame in admitting the extremism within our families, communities and worldwide co-religionists…Muslim scholars must go back to the books and come forward with a refashioned set of rules and a revised understanding of the rights and responsibilities of Muslims whose homes and souls are firmly planted in what I'd like to term the Land of Co-existence. And when this new theological territory is opened up, Western Muslims will be able to liberate themselves from defunct models of the world, rewrite the rules of interaction and perhaps we will discover that the concept of killing in the name of Islam is no more than an anachronism.