Oct. 12, 2001
As tiny Israel tries to shake off accusation that it is somehow to blame for the WTC attacks, some reporters are trying to show that suicide bombers -- and Bin Laden's men in particular -- have no connection to the Islamic religion, even a crazed fundamentalist version of it.
The danger in denying the Islamic roots of the terrorists is that it obscures the quest of the free world to find and fight the terrorist enemy. Furthermore, this denial gives license to columnists to falsely blame Israel, by default, for the world's woes.
The purpose of this report is not to criticize the Islamic religion or to vilify Muslims. Rather the purpose is to present facts and information, to enable intelligent response to media reports claiming that Islamic terrorists have no connection to Islamic teachings.
------- MISINFORMATION --------
(1) One example of misinformation is a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, which quotes Muslim doctor Al-Hazmi as saying that the September 11 attacks were "insane" crimes which have "nothing to do with any religion and it has nothing to do with Islam. The teaching of Islam is totally against violence." The Times also writes that the concept of Jihad (holy war) is really a personal battle for self-mastery, having nothing to do with waging war against others.
The following appeared on website of the Palestine Times (Sept. 2001):
As many as 350 Muslim religious scholars meeting in Baghdad have confirmed in the strongest terms the legitimacy of martyrdom operations as one of the highest forms of Jihad against oppression. The scholars unanimously concluded after three days of deliberations that Palestinian Mujahideen, or freedom fighters, who blow themselves up at enemy targets are not suicidal but are bona fide martyrs whose acts are totally compatible with Islamic teachings. The edict reaffirmed previous edicts by such prominent Islamic jurists as Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, who ruled that freedom fighters who detonate explosives strapped to themselves sacrifice their lives to attack the "enemies of God and Islam."* * *
A few months ago, the U.S. exerted behind-the-curtain pressure on the Saudi government to instruct the Saudi religious establishment to issue edicts opposing martyrdom operations. However, many Saudi scholars rejected American pressure to that effect, describing American intervention in "Islamic theological matters as brazen and shameless."
(2) More misinformation appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution
(http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/), in an article from the Knight-Ridder news syndicate. In responding to a segment on "60 Minutes" which claimed that Islam encourages martyrdom by promoting a heavenly reward of 70 virgins, the Knight-Ridder article states:
Maher Hathout, a Muslim scholar with the Islamic Center of Southern California, said... "There is nothing in the Koran or in Islamic teachings about 70 virgins or sex in paradise. This is ridiculous, and any true Muslim knows that," he said. The leaders asked that CBS air a correction and provide time for Muslim scholars on the show to explain Islam's teachings about violence and martyrdom.
In response to the Atlanta Journal Constitution article, Sheik Abdul Hadi Palazzi of the Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community (email@example.com) wrote to media watcher Yisrael Medad:
Islam says there are 72 wives for every believer who is admitted to Heaven, and not only for a martyr. The proof is a hadith which is collected by Imam at-Tirmidhi in "Sunan" (Volume IV, Chapters on "The Features of Heaven as described by the Messenger of Allah", Chapter 21: "About the Smallest Reward for the People of Heaven", hadith 2687) It is also quoted by Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir (Koranic Commentary) of Surah ar-Rahman (55), ayah (verse) 72:
"It was mentioned by Daraj Ibn Abi Hatim, that Abu al-Haytham 'Abdullah Ibn Wahb narrated from Abu Sa'id al-Khudhri, who heard the Prophet Muhammad (Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) saying, 'The smallest reward for the people of Heaven is an abode where there are 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine and ruby, as wide as the distance from al-Jabiyyah to San'a."
Ibn Kathir's Commentary on Surah al-Waqi'ah (56), ayat (verses) 35-37, quotes the hadith according to which "The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's blessings and peace be upon him, was asked: 'Will we have sex in Paradise?' He answered: 'Yes, by Him Who holds my soul in His hand, and it will be done with a strong shove. When it is finished, she will return untouched and virgin again."
------- FIFTH COLUMNISTS --------
(1) A variety of columnists, led by Robert Fisk, could not bring themselves to place any blame for the WTC attacks on Islamic terrorists. Writing in The Nation, Fisk faulted American foreign policy and support for Israel:
Our broken promises, perhaps even our destruction of the Ottoman Empire, led inevitably to this tragedy. America has bankrolled Israel's wars for so many years that it believed this would be cost-free. No longer so. But, of course, the United States will want to strike back against 'world terror.' Indeed, who could ever point the finger at Americans now for using that pejorative and sometimes racist word 'terrorism'?
Fisk, a self-appointed authority on Islam, raised doubts whether Islamic terrorists were behind the bombing. Writing in The Independent (UK), Fisk suggests that a hand-written note from one of the suicide pilots was not genuine. If it is "genuine," Fisk wrote, "then the men who murdered more than 7,000 innocent people believed in a very exclusive version of Islam -- or were surprisingly unfamiliar with their religion."
Read Fisk's Nation article at:
Read Fisk's Independent article at:
* * *
(2) Author Susan Sontag also tried to deflect fault from the Islamic terrorists. Writing in The New Yorker Magazine's "Talk of the Town," Sontag blamed American policies, and asked:
Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a 'cowardly' attack on 'civilization' or 'liberty' or 'humanity' or 'the free world,' but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions? How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq? And if the word 'cowardly' is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others.
Read Sontag's comments at:
To respond, sent comments to:
or FAX: 212-286-5047
------- EXPOSING THE THREAT --------
Other columnists gave an honest and sobering picture of the threat presented by Bin Laden, and warn that the West faces a totalitarian threat comparable to the major 20th century ideological threats of fascism and Marxism-Leninism.
(1) Paul Johnson is a best-selling historian, renowned for his objectivity and thorough fact checking. In the current edition of the conservative "National Review," Johnson's analysis of Islam argues that "mainstream Islam is essentially akin to the most extreme form of Biblical fundamentalism."
Johnson warns that "...appeasement is so tempting to Western governments" because by attacking terrorism they come into conflict with "the second-largest religious community in the world." Johnson discounts the "...the assertion that Islam is essentially a religion of peace and that the very word 'Islam' means 'peace.' Alas, not so. Islam means 'submission,' a very different matter, and one of the functions of Islam, in its more militant aspect, is to obtain that submission from all, if necessary by force. Islam is an imperialist religion, more so than Christianity has ever been, and in contrast to Judaism."
Read Johnson's analysis at:
* * *
(2) Also in the "National Review," author David Pryce-Jones explains that the Moslem world has never reconciled itself with the West -- "whether to adopt its values or to reject them." He writes:
Khomeini crystallized a mindset with revolutionary implications: Muslims were not responsible for their plight, it was all the fault of the West, to be rectified by war. So mosques in Iran, and then elsewhere, began to resound with cries that America was the Great Satan, and crowds burned the Stars and Stripes. The emotional logic hardened into a series of syllogisms: Islam is righteous; America is imperialist; therefore unrighteous America is uprooting Islam. Or again: Good Muslims must kill Jews; America helps Jews; therefore America is killing good Muslims. Yet again: America is arrogant; Muslims are proud; therefore suicide bombers are giving America what she deserves.
Read Pryce-Jones' article at:
We present below additional background information on Islamic fundamentalism. You may want to bring this info to the attention of local newspaper, TV and radio editors. Cite authorities like Paul Johnson and Shaykh Abdul Hadi Palazzi in your letters to the editors. Request that the media seek out Muslim leaders willing to denounce terrorism, mass killing, and jihad against Western civilization.
------- BACKGROUND INFO --------
The ideology of Islamism is a fanatical fundamentalist revivalist movement seeking to establish a theocratic Islamic Nation over all Moslems, one nation at a time. The first was Iran in 1979, when an Islamic fundamentalist religious revolt toppled the pro-western Shah in reaction to his "White Revolution" which allowed women to vote and hold jobs, built large cities, and created a more secular society with Western freedoms, much as Kemal Attaturk had done in Turkey beginning in the 1920's. After the Shah, an Islamic Republic under the Ayatollah was created; he promptly called the U.S. "The Great Satan," and Western-type freedoms disappeared. Shortly thereafter, mobs seized the U.S. embassy and its staff, holding them hostage for two years.
This ideology finds expression through many organizations whose names have become all too familiar to watchers of the Palestinian war against Israel -- Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood -- and a host of others less well known but with similar objectives in every Muslim country. In 1996, Afghanistan followed a similar path under the Taliban.
The enemy of Islamic fundamentalists is secular society, secular governments, and Western civilization, which they see as corruptive and destructive of Islamic values. They scorn "moderate" or secular Moslem governments such as Turkey, Egypt and even Saudi Arabia.
What is the historical background? Within 100 years of Mohammed's death in 632 AD, Muslim armies had swept across North Africa, the Middle East, and India, bloodily conquering from the Atlantic almost to the Pacific, and into Spain and France where they were finally stopped at the battle of Poitiers. At that time, the Muslim empire was the largest the world had ever known. They remained in control of Spain until the 15th century, and, under the Ottoman Turks, laid siege to Vienna as late as the 17th century after the fall of Constantinople and occupation of the Balkans in the 15th and 16th centuries.
This military conquest, arising out of Arabia over centuries, was done in the name of religion. As Ibn Khaldun, the great Islamic historian of the 14th century wrote: "In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force."
As for tolerance toward Christians and Jews, Ibn Khaldun wrote: "It is for them to choose between conversion to Islam, payment of the poll tax, or death." And the 14th century Imam and Islamic scholar Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya wrote, "...Jihad is obligatory until the word of Allah reigns supreme, and until all are of the religion of Allah, until the religion of Allah triumphs over all religions and until they pay the poll tax while in a state of inferiority." Those in this state of inferiority were called dhimmis (protected minority), and were required to wear a distinctive garb so Muslims would know not to treat them as equals.
As the Ayatollah Khomeini stated: "We shall export our revolution to the whole world. Until the cry 'Allahu Akbar' resounds over the whole world. There will be struggle. There will be Jihad... Islam is the religion of militant individuals... Islam will be victorious in all the countries of the world, and Islam and the teachings of the Koran will prevail all over the world... This is the duty that all Muslims must fulfill..."
(source material courtesy of C. Pearlston)