Bloody Roots Of Jihad

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    Bloody Roots Of Jihad

    The Free Congress Commentary
    By Paul M. Weyrich

    Uninformed Westerners could hardly be blamed for taking comfort in the
    words spoken by an Islamic television newsman shortly after the massacre
    that took place at the Russian school in Beslan. \"It is a certain fact
    that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and
    exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims,\" asserted
    Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, General Manager of a popular satellite television
    station, Al-Arabiya.

    Rashed cited terrorist incident after terrorist incident perpetrated by
    Muslims. \"The majority of those who manned the suicide bombings against
    buses, vehicles, schools, houses and buildings all over the world were
    Muslim,\" he stated in a commentary.

    That\'s not the only vigorous condemnation expressed in the Arab news
    media about the tragedy in Beslan. Khaled Hamed al-Suleiman, a columnist
    in the Saudi Arabian daily Okaz, presented a strong indictment of the
    Beslan killers for having \"turned today\'s Islam into something having to do
    with decapitations, the slashing of throats, abducting innocent civilians
    and exploding people. The time has come for Muslims to be the first to
    come out against those interested in abducting Islam in the same way they
    abducted innocent children. This is the true jihad these days, and this is
    our obligation, as believing Muslims, toward our monotheistic religion.\"

    Many Westerners will welcome those statements. They should, in fact, do
    so. They should also realize the limits of those sentiments in a world
    where technology combined with the sentiments of jihad can empower a very
    small number of people to do a great deal of damage.

    Free Congress Foundation Adjunct Fellow Robert Spencer, the author of two
    books about Islam and the monographs An Introduction to the Qur\'an and
    Jihad in Context: Beyond Political Correctness, What the Qur\'an Really
    Says, does not cast doubt upon the sincerity of the opinions expressed by
    these commentators, but argues that such statements are nothing more than a
    palliative aimed at reassuring Westerners that everything will soon be
    fine. Spencer readily admits that many Muslims are indeed peaceful souls
    who harbor goodwill to their fellow man. However, in their willingness to
    recast their religion and its history toward one that reflects their own
    personal outlook, they end up overlooking or not understanding the true
    meaning of jihad.

    \"No one talks about the root causes, the ideology that gives rise to the
    terrorism. No one addresses why this is happening,\" says Spencer whose
    works expose the bloody roots of the word jihad in the Islamic world.

    Spencer notes that the Qur\'an, the Holy book of Islam, is vested by
    Islamic scholars with even more authority than most Jewish or Christian
    scholars would accord the Bible. Why? Islamic scholars believe the words
    spoken in the Qur\'an were dictated by Allah himself, and filtered through
    no human element whatsoever. Allah himself, in Sura 41:41-2, states:
    \"This is a mighty scripture. Falsehood cannot reach if from before or from
    behind.\" Muslims regard the Qur\'an on earth as a copy of the book that has
    existed with Allah for all eternity.

    There are passages in the Qur\'an that emphasize the importance of peace
    and tolerance, but a broad tradition within Islamic theology maintains that
    when there is contraction between verses, the chronologically later one
    will take precedence. Disturbingly, then, the most violent of the Qur\'an\'s
    chapters is Sura 9, which Spencer notes \"was the very last Sura to have
    been revealed.\" It is the only Sura that does not commence by stating \"In
    the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.\" Sura 9:29 states:
    \"Fight those who believe not Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that
    forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor
    acknowledge the religion of Truth (even if they are of the People of the
    Book, until they pay the Jizya [the special tax on non-Muslims] with
    willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.\"

    There also is Sura 9:5. It states in unequivocal terms: \".when the
    sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and
    take them [captive], and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush.
    But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave
    their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.\" This indicates that
    only non-believers must abandon their beliefs to embrace Islam or else
    suffer the consequences, clearly violent, as indicated in this Sura.

    Sahih Bukhari [Vol. 1, Book 2, No. 25], an influential and respected
    source of traditions about Muhammad, quotes Muhammad saying: \"I have been
    ordered [by Allah] to fight against the people until they testify that none
    has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger
    of Allah, and perform As-Salat [prayers] and give Zakat [obligatory
    charity], so if they perform all that, then they save their lives and
    properties from me except for Islamic laws, and their reckoning will be
    with Allah.\"

    The statements from the Qur\'an and Muhammad represent the fuel that
    powers Islamic extremism today. Some within Islam have mustered up the
    courage to denounce what is happening; indeed, one leading French
    journalist, Gilles Kepel, has just published a book, The War for Muslim
    Minds, arguing that the jihadists are faltering, their tactics proving to
    be counterproductive. Spencer argues to the contrary, \"Kepel was saying it
    in 2002 in a book then, and now he is saying it again in another.
    Unfortunately, the facts don\'t bear him out. He doesn\'t mention the many
    places where jihadists are advancing, including Indonesia, the Philippines,
    Thailand, Kashmir, Chechnya and Nigeria. He may be right that the Muslim
    masses are alienated, but they have no spokesman and no leg to stand on in
    Islamic theology.\"

    Even if there were a reformation of sorts within the Islamic world, it
    would not mean an end to strife against the West. It would not bring about
    peace. It would only increase this strife as the differences between Islam
    and the West would be thrown into even greater relief. Islamic extremists
    would only increase in hatred for the West for diluting what they view to
    be the purity of their religion. It\'s good that respected media
    commentators within the Islamic world are starting to acknowledge the truth
    about what is occurring. Even if they acknowledged the truth that lies
    behind the surface, it does not guarantee any decisive turning point in
    relations between the Islamic world and the West. That means the incident
    in Beslan may be only the most recent of more such bloody events to come.

    Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.

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