Are American Muslims allowed to fight for the United States in a time of war? According to many Muslims within the Islamic world, the answer is emphatically “No.” While one can easily understand how this rhetoric can originate from our enemies overseas, it may come as a surprise to some that this line of thinking is found, as well, right here in America.
It is common knowledge that Muslim extremists use the religion of Islam to justify the unjustifiable. One of the ways they do this is through the use of what they call fatwas or legal rulings declared by Muslim “religious scholars.” These scholars dictate what Muslims are allowed to wear and how they are supposed to act, what they are permitted to look at and where they are allowed to go. No issue is off limits.
Recently the subject was broached on the Why Islam (WI) website, concerning the ramifications for an American Muslim who would enlist in the United States military. WI is a project of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), created to perform outreach (dawah) to non-Muslims (with the intent to convert). Many times, though, the site has been used to spread hatred against the very people it purports to reach out to.
In August of 2007, beginning a topic titled ‘Joining the US Army?,’ Naadir Muhammad posed the following query to the WI fatwa forum:
“I know a brother who is having a hard time. He is very adherent to the deen [Islam], but he is having marital issues. He has no money, and he is contemplating joining the Army. However, the crux of the matter is that he afraid of fighting against his Muslim brothers and sisters, and having to do immoral things. This dunya [world] isnt worth the loss of the next, but he is still tentative. What can be said to comfort him? Any fatwas in this area?”
Answering his question was WI forum moderator MARWAN. MARWAN, a staunch defender of Hamas who describes himself as a “virgin slayer,” in his response, provided a link to “an excellent fatwa” that he believed to be credible regarding the matter.
This had not been his first experience with this subject. Just five months earlier, in March, MARWAN stated his opinion to a WI member who said he was in the Army and was headed to Iraq. He told him: “I support you 100%. And since I’m far away, my support comes in the form of advice. If we were really good friends and trusted each other, my support would come in the form of breaking your limbs, including your trigger finger, before you made [sic] took regretable and unreversible actions.”
The link that he suggested to the WI member was to a page on Islam Online, one of the most popular sites in the American mainstream (i.e. radical) Muslim community. Islam Online has an extensive fatwa section (“Fatwa Bank”), headed by a team of respected scholars. Some of the group’s past rulings include support for: Palestinian suicide bombings, terrorist attacks against American troops, and the throwing of homosexuals from tall buildings (“Death Falls”).
The Islam Online page was actually a set of fatwas on the subject, titled “Ulama’s Fatwas on American Muslim Participating in US Military Campaign.” They were written by six top “scholars,” including the Chairman and co-founder of Islam Online, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.
Al-Qaradawi, referred to by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as “Theologian of Terror,” helped establish Islam Online in November of 1999. That is also the year he was banned from the United States for his extremist views and for having possible terror ties. He is a long-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun, the organization that spawned the vast majority of terrorist groups around the globe. He was asked to head the organization, in January of 2004, but turned it down.
Additionally, Al-Qaradawi is involved in a number of other militant Islamic entities. They consist of: the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), the International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS), the Union of Islamic Organizations in France (UOIF), the Hamas-affiliated Union of Good (UG), and the Islamic American University (IAU), an educational facility based in Southfield, Michigan that was created by the Muslim American Society (MAS).
As an authority figure, the statements that Al-Qaradawi makes are given much reverence, including those he has made in support of Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and suicide bombings. One could only assume that his fatwa regarding Americans serving in the U.S. military would be granted at least the same respect.
Al-Qaradawi stated, “Islam has prohibited a Muslim to fight his fellow Muslim brother to the extent that indulging in such a fight is considered a form of disbelief or kufr... [A] Muslim recruited in the army of a non-Muslim country that is at war with Muslims... may justify his position by asking for a leave or (a temporary) exemption from the military... [I]f a Muslim is forced to participate in fighting, he should avoid direct confrontation as possible as he can. Even while participating in such a war, a Muslim should have an innate feeling of resentment, as it is the case of the true believer who has no means to rectify the abominable by his hands or his tongue...”
Another of the scholars who participated in the U.S. military fatwa was Faysal Mawlawi. Mawlawi is the former Deputy Chairman of ECFR (serving under Al-Qaradawi). As well, he has been involved in UOIF, and he has served as the head of MB-Lebanon, a.k.a. Islamic Association (al-Jama’a al-Islamiya).
Much like Al-Qaradawi, Mawlawi’s words are greatly admired by those in the Muslim community. In a July 2007 fatwa on Islam Online, titled ‘Martyr Operations Carried Out by the Palestinians,’ he stated the following: “Martyr operations are not suicide and should not be deemed as unjustifiable means of endangering one’s life... [I]n martyr operations, the Muslim sacrifices his own life for the sake of performing a religious duty, which is jihad against the enemy... [T]he Palestinians resort to martyr operations, in which the martyr blows himself/herself up, sacrificing his life for the sake of his country... I believe that those missions are a sacred duty carried out in form of self-defense... So whoever is killed in such missions is a martyr, may Allah bless him with high esteem.”
Concerning Muslims fighting in the U.S. military, he stated, “[T]he American Muslim soldier is by and large a Muslim, who is required to abide by the ordinances of his religion (i.e. not to fight against his fellow Muslim brothers.)... If he manages to shift from being indulged in a direct military confrontation against his fellow Muslim brothers; i.e. to carry out any other non-military act, then he is obliged to do so... However, if the American Muslim soldier has no choice but to take part in a direct military actions against his fellow Muslim brothers, then he is considered overwhelmed beyond limit, and he will bear the responsibility of his choice both in this world and in the Hereafter.”
Another participant in the military fatwa was Muhammad Ali Al-Hanooti. Al-Hanooti is the ex-President of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), the former American propaganda wing of Hamas that was shut down after being found liable for the murder of an American teenager by the terrorist group. Al-Hanooti, himself, has been implicated in the financing of Hamas, to the tune of over six million dollars. Recently, he was named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” for the trial involving Hamas fundraising via the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF).
In the early ‘90s, Al-Hanooti was imam of the Islamic Center of New Jersey, located in Jersey City. There, he had contacts with a number of individuals involved in terror acts, including Mohammed Salemeh, who was convicted of renting and driving the bomb-laden Ryder van that blew up in a World Trade Center garage in February of 1993, and Sayyid Nosair, who was charged with the murder or Rabbi Meir Kahane. He has been named by the U.S. government an “unindicted co-conspirator” for the ‘93 bombing, as well.
Later, Al-Hanooti would become the imam of Dar Al-Hijra, located in Falls Church, Virginia – also a terrorist haven – where he said, “Dar Al-Hijra is the greatest example in sacrifice, execution and in carrying out the Jihad that Allah calls for. Allah will give us the victory over our tyrannical enemies in our country. Allah, the infidel Americans and British are fighting against you... [T]he curse of Allah will become true on the infidel Jews and on the tyrannical Americans.”
About Muslims in the U.S. military, Al-Hanooti stated, “Muslims can fight if they get legitimacy for what they are going to do, if a certain people... or country are judicially indicted. Up to this moment, I don't see any evidence or proof to tell me which is which, who is who, what is what... We cannot take action as we see without judicial indictment.”
Fatwa scholar number four is Taha Jabir al-Alwani. Al-Alwani is a founding member of the Muslim World League (MWL), an Al-Qaeda financier located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He is the former President of the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), whose Virginia offices were raided by the FBI in March of 2002, in connection to the funding of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) through Sami Al-Arian. Al-Alwani was named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” for the Al-Arian trial. He is also a member of the Fiqh Academy of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and he is the Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), the religious body that produced a phony fatwa against terrorism in July of 2005.
Al-Alwani stated that “Muslim soldiers, like other American citizens, [sic] has the right to become conscientious objectors to a war if they feel it is unjust.”
Another “scholar” that is featured in the U.S. military fatwa is Ahmad Ar-Raysouni, a professor at Moroccan Universities dealing with Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). Like the others, he is part of a long list of Islam Online religious scholars – 180 to be exact – who all seem to have a marked antipathy towards America.
In his fatwa from March of 2003, part of Islam Online’s ‘War on Iraq: New Crusade or imperialism?,’ Ar-Raysouni called on Muslims to commit violence against American troops. He stated, “The US-led war against Iraq is, no doubt, a flagrant aggression... The US aims at dominating the whole Arab region, destroying the emerging Islamic revival, and indirectly supporting the Zionist entity due to certain religious beliefs. In all cases, this aggression must be resisted by all possible means. Almighty Allah says: ‘And one who attacks you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you...’”
Given Ar-Raysouni’s feelings, it’s no surprise then, when he clearly states, “It is not permissible to launch any attacks against Muslims, to fight them or to carry out any transgression against them... [I]f Muslim American soldiers are called upon to participate in a war launched against their fellow Muslim brothers, then they should decline and apologize.”
The final participant in the military fatwa was Ali Ju’mah Muhammad, the Mufti of Egypt. Ju’mah Muhammad is a member of the Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, a member of the Fiqh Committee at the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA), an academic advisor for IIIT, and the Director of IIIT’s Cairo branch.
Ju’mah Muhammad is credited with writing the forward to a 2003 adaptation of a notorious anti-Semitic hate manual, titled ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and their Biblical and Talmudic Origins.’
About Muslims in the U.S. military, he stated, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. So he should neither oppress him nor hand him over to an oppressor... Now, it is not allowed for a Muslim who is currently recruited in the American army to fight against Muslims neither in Afghanistan nor in anywhere else... If a Muslim is forced to participate in the military campaign, then he should take care not to kill a Muslim, under any circumstances, either by offering help or by giving clues that might help capture his fellow Muslim brothers or ease killing them.”
With all of the Islam Online religious scholars, from whom this subject was touched upon, the theme was basically the same, that, first and foremost, a Muslim soldier is to hold a fellow Muslim in higher regard than his fellow troops, whether that Muslim is friend or foe. If he is asked to participate in a war against an Islamic nation, he must decline. If he does go ahead and participate, he is not permitted to do harm to a Muslim, even during a life and death situation (“under any circumstance”). Essentially, he is not allowed to be a U.S. soldier.
The set of U.S. military fatwas discussed here were published by Islam Online on October 16, 2001, a little over a month after the worst attack to ever take place on American soil occurred, where 3000 innocent people perished. Anyone taking to heart what these so-called scholars have stated to the extent that they turn their backs on their fellow soldiers and their nation by refusing to serve properly would understandably be considered traitorous.
Unfortunately, there are many individuals inside the United States that do take what is said on Islam Online seriously. That is evidenced by the fact that the largest “mainstream” American Muslim organizations, such as CAIR, ICNA, ISNA and MAS, continue to publicize the website and continue to place individuals connected to the site on a pedestal.
This fifth column obviously has no place in our upstanding military, which serves to provide protection for even them – our in-house enemies.
In all actuality, they have no place in our country to begin with.