“slay the unbeleivers wherever you find them” Qur’an 9:5
Before we address the historical and present deeds of Islam, I will look in depth at some of the things that “moderate” muslims are saying. The Fiqh council of North America, a group of Islamic scholars, issued a fatwa, which is a religious ruling, that supposedly condemned terrorism. Many groups endorsed this ruling, including the Council on American-Islamic relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council. This ruling was issued in 2005 and gave ammunition to the media to declare that the 9/11 attacks were carried out in violation of the principles of Islam. How soon they forgot the specter of Palestinian Arabs dancing in the streets as the smoke from the towers settled. The Fiqh ruling declared that
- All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are harem [forbidden] in Islam.
- It is haram for a muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence.
- It is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians.
Further, just before this statement was issued, a large number of Canadian Imans [muslim spiritual leaders] stated that “anyone who claims to be a Muslim and participates in the taking of innocent life is betraying the very spirit and letter of Islam. At the same time, the leaders of 150 mosques in Birmingham, England, stated that “the killing of innocent civilians is absolutely forbidden in Islam and anyone who contemplates or commits any such act, does so against the teachings of Islam.”
It is important to note that they did not condemn terrorism itself. We also need to look at statements such as “civilians”, “terrorism”, and “innocent lives”, which are all terms that are hotly debated in the Islamic world. Anjem Choudary [a member of a British jihadist group] stated that: “When we say innocent people, we mean Muslims. As far as non-Muslims are concerned, thay have not accepted Islam. As far as we are concerned, that is a crime against God…As far as Muslims are concerned, you’re innocent if you are a Muslim. Then you are innocent in the eyes of God. If you are a non-Muslim, then you are guilty of not believing in God.”
A palestinian jihadist regarding Israeli victims of bombing attacks stated: “There are no civilians in Israel. All the Israelis are military, all of them.” Rashid al-Ghannushi [a Tunisian jihadist] issued a fatwa saying that: “There are no civilians in Israel. The population- males, females, and children- are the army reserve soldiers, and thus can be killed.”
As far as their “condemnation” of terrorism or violence, I will let Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi tell you what he thinks of terrorism and violence when he was asked about the homicide bombings in Israel: “It’s not suicide, it is martyrdom in the name of God, Islamic theologians and jurisprudents have debated this issue. Referring it to a form of jihad, under the title of jeopardizing the life of the mujahideen. It is allowed to jeopardize your soul and cross the path of the enemy and be killed.”
Do all muslims agree with these perspectives? No, but the fact that a significant number of Muslims including high profile people like Sheikh al-Qaradawi hold such views is telling. In light of understanding the terms, mainly what terms such as civilian, innocent, and terrorism mean to the Muslim world; it makes me wonder if the statements issued by the fiqh council and the imans of Birmingham and Canada were really trying to convince their fellow Muslims that jihad terrorism is wrong. It is not enough to condemn “terrorism” if you are trying to sway people that don’t believe what they are doing constitutes terrorism at all. It is not enough to condemn killing innocent civilians when the jihadist don’t believe their victims are innocent or civilian.