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War is not desirable, and never pleasing to the living almighty God of the Holy Bible. The reality of the darkest horrors of the scourge of war is found in fear, death, destruction, lawlessness and human suffering. It has been estimated that twenty-five million soldiers and twenty-four million civilians were killed in World War II. Technically, war is a function of the state. War is, nevertheless, simply a large scale manifestation of the fallen nature of man (James 4: 1). Alienation between man and God leads to alienation between man and man. War is one manifestation of alienation between man and man. However, God may permit wars, to work out his purpose of judgment and redemption through it.
The analysis herein deals with the doctrine of Jihad (holy war) in Islam to spread the religion of Islam, and force the laws of the god of Islam (Sharia) throughout the earth. The doctrine of forced religion is unique to Islam. No other religion proclaims it. Historical examples of Islamic jihad are presented from late antiquity to modern times. In addition, a brief analysis is provided on the fundamental differences between Islamic jihad on the one hand, and the ancient biblical wars and Christian wars on the other hand. This includes a presentation of the Christian doctrine that some wars are not only just and justifiable, but also virtuous and good moral actions. The Christian crusades of the Middle Ages are discussed with emphasis on its historical milieu.
Islamist apologists, liberal academicians and the media in the West have undertaken to sanitize Islamic jihad by distorting Islamic history and doctrine. The revised polished version of Islam they preach in order to deceive the innocent Westerner is considered heretical Islam in Islamic countries. It is falsification of traditional Islam. The result is to becloud reality, obstructing the possibility of achieving a clear understanding of what the West is confronting, and why? Islamist individuals and organizations usually cloak the truth in moderate public language when referring to jihad in order not to arouse fears and not to isolate themselves. Their talk is pure disinformation, reminiscent of the language of Soviet propagandists in decades past.
Western academicians who avoid or whitewash the primary meaning of jihad in Islamic law and history are motivated by political correctness and the multiculturalist urges to protect non-western civilization from criticism. In addition, some of them do not want to lose the petrodollar funding they get from oil-rich Arab countries for their academic programs.
II. JIHAD: ISLAMIC HOLY WAR
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Two variant forms of jihad are distinguished in Islam: a spiritual mode (inner struggle), and a violent mode of striving in holy war to spread Islam and expand the Islamic state domain by force. Only 2% of the Bukhari hadiths that relate to jihad refer to the spiritual mode. The other 98% of the hadiths devoted to jihad claim that the violent mode of jihad is the supreme Islamic religious act. The small marginalized heretical Sufi sect adheres to the first mode of jihad. However, the paramount mainstream understanding and usage of Islamic jihad throughout fourteen centuries of Islamic history has been striving in offensive military conflict to expand the territory of Islam, conquer new populations for Islam, and establish Islamic law (Sharia). This is the classic primary meaning of jihad codified in Islamic law (Sharia) and attested in Islamic history. Contemporary Islamists are striving to impose Sharia globally and restore the totalitarian Islamic caliphate which Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, abolished in 1924 in order to modernize Turkey.
There is no doubt from the historical record of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, and his followers that he meant the jihad verses in the Qur’an to be understood literally, not spiritually (an-Nisa’ 4: 95; al-Anfal 8: 65; etc). In fact, the Islamic scholarly consensus on the definition of jihad as aggressive warfare against non-Muslims was achieved over a thousand years ago. Muhammad was born into a culture of tribal conflict and bloodshed. Instead of improving it, he incorporated it into Islam through the concept of violent jihad. He retained the tribal warring culture as the basis for Islamic survival. Jihad warfare is a central doctrine of Islam. It helped define Islam from its very dawn. Islam was born as an ideology of totalitarian terror.
Islamic ideology divides the world into two parts: the Islamic territory called Dar-al-Islam (House of Islam), and the non-Islamic territory called Dar-al-Harb (House of War). While wars are the exception to the norm in the history of any civilization, it is the norm in the Islamic civilization in Dar-al-Harb (House of War), which is the territory of the non-Muslim populations. A state of perpetual conflict exists between the Islamic world and the rest of the world. Genuine peace can never exist between Dar-al-Islam and Dar-al-Harb. Jihad warfare is an Islamic institution, not a mere isolated event in Islamic history. The long bloody history of Islam reflects these teachings. It is rife with continuous harassment, persecution, subjugation and killing of non-Muslim infidels. All the battles of Muhammad were offensive except for the battles of Uhud (625 AD) and the ditch (627 AD) which were defensive.
Although Muhammad proclaimed in the Qur’an, al-Baqarah 2: 256 and al-Kafirun 109: 6 that there is no compulsion in religion, he abrogated that concept in al-Baqarah 2: 193; Al-‘Imran 3: 83, 85; an-Nisa’ 4: 89, 101-102; al-Anfal 8: 9, 12-13; al-Tawbah 9: 5, 29; Muhammad 47: 4; al-Hashr 59: 7; etc. In fact, the verse of the sword (al-Tawbah 9: 5) commanding Muslims to fight all who choose not to convert to Islam, whether they are inside or outside Arabia, abrogated at least 124 verses in the Qur’an that speak about love, peace, and forgiveness. Muhammad taught and practiced persecution, military conquest, subjugation, coercion and killing of non-Muslims. While Islam prohibits Muslims from paying or charging interest, it permits them to extort money from infidels and suppress them with usury to gain the upper hand.
At the end of his life, Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, said: “… I have been made victorious with terror, and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand …” (Bukhari 4.52.220). On his deathbed, he commanded his followers to purge Arabia of non-Muslims (Bukhari 4.52.288; 5.59.716; 4.53.392, 380). He started the process (Muslim 19.4366), and his followers completed it (Bukhari 3.39.531; Muslim 10.3763). In fact, till this day, it is illegal to build a church in Saudi Arabia. In addition, the religious police will raid a house where Christians are gathered to worship, will arrest the leader of the worship service and torture him in prison.
A. THE ISLAMIC DOCTRINE OF JIHAD
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Islam is not a religion of peace. It is a political ideology that provides a recipe for perpetual war. It is the only major religion in the world of today that institutionalizes violence against non-Muslims, which it calls jihad (normally translated “holy war,” as it is usually used in that context. The literal translation is “struggle” or “strive”). Many verses in the Qur’an exhort Muslims to wage jihad against those who reject Islam, and against Muslims who do not practice Islam to its fullest. An entire sura 8 is called al-Anfal which means “spoils of war.” There is no sura called “peace.” Only 56 verses in the entire Qur’an mention peace, and most of them occur in the context of the Islamic greeting of “peace be upon you.” Others deal with the peace that occurs after a military battle. The most vivid and repeated themes in the Qur’an are on jihad and the punishment of hell. These teachings put vengeance against the enemies of the god of Islam into the hands of Muslims. It gives Muslims a license to kill the infidels.
The Arabic word “jihad” appears in its various forms about thirty-five times in the Qur’an: nine times in the Meccan chapters (suras), and twenty-six times in the Medinan ones. The Arabic word “qatal,” means “kill” (it does not mean inner struggle against vices). It appears in its various forms, meaning “kill” or “fight,” about one hundred and twenty-three times in the Qur’an: thirty-four times in the Meccan chapters (suras), and eighty-nine times in the Medinan suras. The increase of these words in the Medinan Qur’an reflects the rise of the military power of the prophet of Islam after he immigrated to Medina, though a few uses of these words are not in a military context. In sura 9, al-Tawbah of the Qur’an, thought to be one of last suras given, each of these two words appear ten times in the context of war. In fact, verses al-Tawbah 9: 111 and an-Nisa’ 4: 74 each contains three words rooted in the Arabic word “qatal” (meaning to kill): “God has bought of the believers their lives and their possessions, promising them paradise in return, so they fight (from “qatal”) in God's cause, and kill (from “qatal”), and are killed (from “qatal”)…” (al-Tawbah 9: 111).
In contrast with that, the Holy Bible (KJV) provides 420 verses on the subject of peace. Man strove for peace since ancient times (Isaiah 52: 7). Deep inner peace is the gift of the living God. Man cannot create his own peace. “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4: 7); “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way” (2 Thessalonians 3: 16; James 3: 17-18); “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked” (Isaiah 48: 22; 57: 20-21; 59: 1-4, 7-11; etc). "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12: 21).
In fact, the whole of the Qur’an and Islam support jihad in its various forms: jihad with money, with the written and spoken word and with the sword. The verses that do not refer to jihad directly or indirectly marshal the Muslims into a militant fraternity (ummah) on the basis of a common belief system, a common set of rituals, and a common code of conduct. A person forced to convert to Islam is obliged to engage in the daily Islamic religious rituals to project the semblance of Islamic unity (reciting the Qur’an, daily prayer ritual, etc.). However, he is conscientiously believing all the time that Islam is a false religion and even heartily hating it. Jihad in any form can be practiced only when there is an organized and disciplined community to practice it. The Qur’an marshals and motivates the ummah to impose Islam on the rest of mankind by every possible means, including the sword.
The purpose of jihad is the islamization of the conquered populations either by pressuring them to convert to Islam, or by forcing them to submit to Islamic rule. The main purpose of jihad is political, not religious. It is an instrument for both the universalization of the Islamic religion, and the establishment of an imperial world state. Islamic jihad must continue until the whole world is under the rule of Islamic law. All the Sunni and Shia Islamic schools of jurisprudence command waging war against unbelievers in order to establish the rule of Islamic law over them. War is the main vehicle of Islamic religious expansion. Without the sword of Muhammad and his followers after him, Islam will not exist today. Over a thousand years of unprecedented military expansion, the Islamic armies invaded vast territories in the Middle East, North Africa and even Europe. Muslim Arabs and Moors had controlled Spanish territory for eight hundred years, Portugal for six hundred years, Greece and Bulgaria for five hundred years, Romania and Serbia for four hundred years, Sicily for three hundred years, and Hungary for one hundred fifty years.
Authoritative Muslim historians, such as Ahmad ibn Yahya al-Baladhuri (d. 892) and al-Tabari (838-923), attest the fact that Islam was spread by the sword.
1. Jihad in the Qur’an, Hadith and Sharia
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Violent jihad is a central Islamic doctrine. The prophet of Islam repeatedly stressed that there is nothing better and nobler for a Muslim to do than to engage in jihad warfare (Bukhari 1.2.26; Muslim 20.4642). He claimed that engaging in jihad warfare is more meritorious than prayers, fasting, pilgrimage, etc. He warned Muslims who did not participate in jihad warfare of punishment (Abu Dawud 14.2497). He taught that Muslims who fight in jihad would be rewarded with a higher level in the Islamic paradise (an-Nisa’ 4: 95; Muslim 20.4645).
Muslims are called upon to proclaim Islam by subduing and conquering non-Muslims, murdering them, destroying their temples, and looting their possessions. In general, the obligation to participate in violent jihad is a collective one. It becomes a personal imperative one for every Muslim when Muslim lands are invaded by uninvited non-Muslim forces (Reliance of the Traveler, o9.3). The violent activities of the Muslim zealots are fully supported and encouraged by the Islamic teachings. Muhammad said: “I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah …” (Bukhari 4.52.196; 1.2.25; etc). Jihad is a Muslim religious duty and obligation, like pilgrimage (al-Baqarah 2: 216). Rejecting jihad amounts to rejecting a fundamental Qur’anic dogma. The Qur’an condemns Muslims who refuse to fight in jihad (al-Anfal 8: 20, 47, 49; al-Tawbah 9: 24, 39, 81-82). Some Islamist groups consider Muslims that do not participate in jihad infidels. Those who wage jihad rank highest in Islam.
References to jihad, and killing of infidels who reject Islam and of apostates who leave Islam abound in the Qur’an. It contains about 164 verses that refer to jihad warfare against non-Muslims and distributing the spoils of war. 24% of Medinan Qur’an is devoted to jihad.
“Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given (Christians and Jews) as believe in neither god (the god of Islam) nor the last day, who do not forbid what god and his apostle (Muhammad) have forbidden, and do not embrace the true faith (Islam), until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued” (al-Tawbah 9: 29)
“When the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem; but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (al-Tawbah 9: 5, 12, 14, 19, 20, 29, 36, 38, 39, 41, 73, 81, 86, 88, 111, 123; al-Baqarah 2: 190, 193, 216, 244; Al-Imran 3: 169; an-Nisa’ 4: 47, 74, 76, 77, 84, 89, 95; al-Ma’idah 5: 33, 51; al-Anfal 8: 12-17, 39, 59-60, 65, 67, 74; al-Anbiya’ 21: 44; Muhammad 47: 4-6, 35; al-Fath 48: 16; al-Hujurat 49: 15; al-Mumtahanah 60: 1, 11; as-Saff 61: 4; at-Tahrim 66: 9; etc).
The Qur’an urges Muslims to kill, even those willing to surrender (al-Anfal 8: 67). The Qur’an claims that Islam is superior to all other religions (Al-Imran 3: 85; al-Tawbah 9: 33; al-Fath 48: 28; as-Saff 61: 9; etc). The jihad warfare commands for waging offensive, aggressive and unjust wars to Islamize all the non-Muslim populations are open-ended, perpetual, global, and generic in nature. That is what motivates Islamists to terrorize and kill non-Muslims following the example of Muhammad, the architect of Islam.
It is shocking indeed to read such blood thirsty injunctions in the Qur’an, the holiest book of Islam. It grants Muslim jihadists a license to kill in the name of the Islamic god in the Islamic jihad. Extreme hatred and bloody violence against the non-believers are built into the religion of Islam. This amounts to offering the non-Muslims as human sacrifices to please the god of Islam, as pagan barbarians used to do in the ancient times of darkness. It is a historical fact that, with the exception of some Indonesian islands, no nation has ever willingly converted to Islam. On the other hand, no nation has ever unwillingly been converted to Christianity in the first three centuries of the Christian era.
In addition, the Hadith collections of Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim include hundreds of references to jihad warfare. A sampling of the Islamic teaching on violence is provided herein from the Hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari which is second in authority only to the Qur’an in Sunni Islam. It contains about 199 references to jihad in the sense of armed warfare against non-Muslims. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, said:
“The example of a Mujahid in Allah's Cause-- and Allah knows better who really strives in His Cause----is like a person who fasts and prays continuously. Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty" (Bukhari 4.52.46; 1.2.35);
“Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah's Cause)” (Bukhari 4.52.53);
“There is no migration (after the Conquest of Mecca), but Jihad and good intentions, and when you are called for Jihad, you should immediately respond to the call” (Bukhari 4.52.42; etc).
All the four principal Sunni schools of jurisprudence, the Maliki, Hanbali, Hanafi, and Shafi’i, agree on the importance of jihad. Prominent Islamic scholars of antiquity from each of the four major schools of jurisprudence in historical Islam clearly understood the Qur’anic injunctions of jihad to command holy war. This includes al-Tabari (838-923), al-Biadawi (d. 1286), Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), Ibn Kathir (1301-1373), Ibn Taymiyya (1263-1328), al-Ghazzali (1058-1111) who was a peaceful Sufi, etc.
Reliance of the Traveler (Undat al-Salik), the Shafi’i manual of Islamic law, devotes three sections o9, o10, o11 (eleven pages) to jihad. Making war on unbelievers is one of the responsibilities of the Muslim nation. The Islamic umma (nation) must exist in a state of perpetual war, interrupted only by temporary truces, with the non-Muslim world that rejects Islam in order to compel either conversion to Islam, or subjugation to its rulers. When the Islamist regime is militarily weak, it reaches out for truce and peace simply in order to buy time to build up its strength (Muhammad 47: 35). Those that reject the invitation to convert to Islam are required to pay the poll tax (jizya) in humiliation and subjugation in their homelands. Should they refuse, war is to be declared against them (Muslim 19.4294; etc). In addition, Shia Islam calls for the necessity of jihad. Islam lacks any doctrine of equal coexistence. Islam lacks any doctrine of coexistence with non-Muslims in equality. In fact, peaceful coexistence as equals in a pluralistic society is not an option in Islam.
Islam divides humanity into two classes: a superior class of Muslims (Al-‘Imran 3: 110; at-Tawbah 9: 33), and an inferior class of non-Muslims (infidels). There are more than four hundred verses in the Qur’an that describe the torment of hell that the god of Islam has prepared for the infidel. There are approximately seven hundred verses in more than fifty Qur’anic suras that have explicit negative references to the Jews (an-Nisa’ 4: 47; al-Ma’idah 5: 13; etc.). The Qur’an dehumanizes and demonizes the non-Muslim infidels and calls them “… the vilest of animals …” (al-Anfal 8: 55; al-A’raf 7: 179), and the vilest of all creatures (al-Bayyinah 98: 6; al-Mujadilah 58: 20). It claims that Jews were transformed into apes (al-Baqarah 2: 65 and al-A’raf 7: 166), and Jews and Christians into swine (al-Ma’idah 5: 59-60)? It likens Jews to asses (al-Jum’ah 62: 5). It tells Muslims that Jews are cursed because of their unbelief (al-Ma’idah 5: 78), and they are the enemies of Muslims (al-Ma’idah 5: 82). Muhammad claimed that Muslims will eventually exterminate the Jews in a global holocaust. “Allah's Apostle said, The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him” (Bukhari 4.52.177; Muslim 41.6981-5).
The Qur’an goes as far as commanding Muslims to eschew friendships with infidels, including Christians and Jews (Al-‘Imran 3: 28, 118; an-Nisa’ 4: 89, 101, 144; al-Ma’idah 5: 51, 82), even if they be their fathers, sons, brothers, or kin (al-Tawbah 9: 23; al-Mujadalah 58: 22). Abu Obaida, son of Garah, who was praised by the prophet of Islam, killed his own father who refused Islam. Musaab, son of Omair, never listened for his mother’s cries for help and left her to die because she rejected Islam. Abu Bakr, the first guided caliph, told his father he would kill him if he refused Islam.
Traditional orthodox Islam promises the jihadist that if he dies fighting for the god of Muhammad in Islamic jihad, he is guaranteed to be rewarded with the sinful Islamic paradise of sexual promiscuity and gluttony (as-Saff 61: 10-13; ad-Dukhan 44: 51-56; at-Tur 52: 17-29; ar-Rahman 55: 46-78; al-Tawbah 9: 111; Al-Imran 3: 157-8, 169; an-Nisa’ 4: 74; al-Fatir 35: 50; Muhammad 47: 6; etc). Muhammad said: “Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords” (Bukhari 4.52.73, 72, 46, 48, 53; 4.53.386). Muhammad promised these fictitious rewards, which are merely a desert mirage, in order to motivate his fighters. Unable to give them a reason to live, he gave them a reason to die.
On the other hand, should the jihadist survive and live, he gets a share from the spoils of war, which enriches him (al-Anfal 8: 41, 60). In addition, he obtains forgiveness of his sins (as-Saff 61: 11-12), and the love of the Islamic god (an-Nisa’ 4: 95; al-Anfal 8: 16). And if he killed a non-Muslim, he is assured of the Islamic paradise (Muslim 20.4661). According to orthodox Islamic belief, martyrdom in Islamic jihad is the only sure way a Muslim could take to avoid the horrifying torments of the grave and hell, and to get into the Islamic paradise. In fact, when a Muslim dies in jihad, his corpse is not washed or dressed in clean clothes. It goes in his coffin just as he died. The stains of blood on it are a witness for him before the Islamic god. It is a sign of honor that would prompt the angels to treat him in a special distinguished way.
2. The Example of the Prophet of Islam
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The history of Islam to-date has been one long jihad (holy war) against non-Muslims. Muslims are exhorted to emulate Muhammad’s pattern of behavior (al-Ahzab 33: 21). In the ten years that he lived in Medina (622-632 AD), Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was the aggressor in seventy-three of seventy-five raids and conflicts he got involved in. He initiated seventy-three raids, military expeditions, full-scale military campaigns, and small assassination hit bands to kill his opponents. This adds up to more than seven slayings, raids or battles for each of the ten years he ruled in Medina in the beginning of the Islamic era. There is a lot of blood on his hands. He did not personally participate in forty-eight of those raids. He personally accompanied his Muslim fighters in twenty-seven raids. In eight of them, he was in the battlefield fighting alongside with them. Muhammad used to order his followers and commanders to kill those who disbelieved in his god, not making any distinction between combatants, and civilians.
The prophet of Islam financed his military expeditions through a variety of avenues. His economic lifeblood was the plunder usurped from defeated enemies, and the jizya tax levied on unbelievers. The majority of the Arabs who adopted Islam and fought in the military battles of jihad did so in order to acquire booty usurped from the conquered tribes and peoples who did not submit to Islam. The Muslim fighters were motivated mainly by their greed for the booty of wealth and women (al-Fath 48: 19-20). Four-fifths of the booty went to them, and one-fifth to Muhammad, or to the caliph after him (al-Anfal 8: 41). That was how the god of Islam made Muhammad and his followers wealthy (ad-Duha 93: 8; al-Tawbah 9: 74; Bukhari 3.37.495). Muhammad distributed his share of the booty as he wished to close relatives, orphans, the needy, travelers, and new converts to Islam to coax them to stay in Islam (al-Tawbah 9: 60; Bukhari 4.53.373; 4.55.558; Muslim 5.2313).
Sura 8 is titled “al-Anfal,” which means “the spoils of war.” The entire book no. 53 of Bukhari is called “One-fifth of Booty to the Cause of Allah (Khumus).” The battle plunder included captive women and children who were sold as slaves for profit. Slave trading flourished in Arabia in the early Islamic era. The Qur’an describes the loot as “…lawful and good…,” and supports pillaging and plundering infidels, enslaving their children, and placing their women in concubinage (al-Anfal 8: 69; an-Nisa’ 4: 24; etc). In fact, the first Islamic raid on the peaceful Meccan merchant caravan at Nakhlah was to loot and rob the caravan. This is what motivates bandits and pirates.
3. The Rules of Jihad
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Based on Islamic jurisprudence derived from the Qur’an, the Hadith, and classical Islamic legal opinions, the principal rules of Jihad are summarized herein. These rules are immoral and exploitative:
1. Muslims may enslave women and children of the conquered non-Muslim populations (Reliance of the Traveler, #o9.13). Islam codifies slavery in its religious law (Sharia). Selling humans into slavery produced a lot of wealth for Muhammad and his followers. Slaying women and children is prohibited, not for mercy, but for profit. However, if a Muslim slays them, he is not censured.
2. The marriages of those women are annulled upon their capture. They may be forced to marry their Muslim masters and added to their harim (an-Nisa’ 4: 24).
3. Worse off, Muslim jihadists are allowed to rape the captured female prisoners of war. Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, did this abomination, and Muhammad defended him (Bukhari 5.59.637). Islam codifies and legalizes rape for conquering jihadist Muslim men (Muslim 8.3371, 3373-7, 3432). Islam is the only religion in the world that condones and encourages the crime of raping female captives of war as a reward to victorious Muslim soldiers for conquering the infidels.
4. Muslim jihadists are allowed to kill old men and Christian monks (Reliance of the Traveler, #o9.10), and women and children in night raids (Bukhari 4.52.256; Muslim 19.4321-4323).
5. The non-Muslim prisoners of war may be killed, enslaved, ransomed (exchanged for money or a Muslim captive), or released (al-Ahzab 33: 26; Muhammad 47: 4; Reliance of the Traveler, #o9.14).
6. Pagan Arabs were pressured to convert to Islam on pain of death. Enemy men who converted to Islam were allowed to keep their property and children (al-Tawbah 9: 5, 11, 14, 33; Bukhari 4.52.263).
7. The Muslim jihadist invaders may confiscate or destroy non-Muslim civilian property, including homes and groves (al-Ahzab 33: 27; al-Hashr 59: 5, 2; Bukhari 4.52.262, 263; Muslim 19.4324).
8. A Muslim jihadist who kills a non-Muslim in jihad gets his belongings. This is called personal booty. In addition, he gets his share from the four-fifths of the collective spoils of the battle.
9. The Muslim jihadist invaders give the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) three options (al-Tawbah 9: 29) either to convert to Islam, to keep their faith and pay the submission tax of jizya (poll tax) while living under Islamic rule, or to get killed fighting if they refused the first two options. However, Muslims can mount surprise attacks on the infidels, slay them and usurp their property. This is not censured because the victims are not Muslims, and they are not protected in the Islamic state.
Although Islam permits Jews and Christians to remain in their faiths as dhimmis under Islamic rule (second class citizens in their homelands), from the dawn of Islamic history till the present, forced conversions are widely practiced in the Islamic world. This is because Islamic teachings scorn non-Muslim infidels who are, according to Islamic culture, bound to the Islamic hell. Battle, animosity and hatred directed towards the non-Muslim infidels are part of Islamic mindset.
4. The Dhimma
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The concept of the dhimma was first introduced by the prophet of Islam. After conquering the Jews of the oasis of Khaybar in 628, he agreed to let them continue to cultivate their oasis only if they gave him half their produce. He reserved the right to cancel out this treaty and expel the Jews whenever he liked (Bukhari 4.53.380). This type of treaty is called a “dhimma.”
Peoples that came under Islamic rule and agreed to pay tribute (jizya) in return for Muslim protection are referred to as “dhimmis.” They were ultimately reduced to the status of a tiny culturally derivative marginalized minority in their homelands. The only peoples that escaped Islamic dhimmitude were those who were successful in resisting and eventually, after centuries of armed struggle, defeating Islamic imperialistic jihad: the Christians of Europe and the Hindus of India.
The dhimmis (Jews, Christians, etc. under Islamic rule) were not equal to Muslims in dignity and rights. They lived in subjugation to Islamic rule. The terms of the dhimma were first articulated by the second guided caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab (634-644). The dhimma was an agreement imposed on conquered populations. It required them not to build churches, monasteries, and synagogues, nor restore them. It also required them to wear clothes different from those worn by Muslims, not to acquire weapons, not to ride horses, to refrain from using church bells and from erecting crosses on top of the churches, not to proselytize Muslims, to pay the poll tax (jizya), etc. The jizya indicated the dhimmis submission and inferiority to Islamic rule (at-Tawbah 9: 29). It led to the overall humiliation and abasement of non-Muslims. Payment of the jizya often took place in a demeaning ceremony to ensure the belittlement and humiliation of the dhimmi. The Muslim tax-collector slapped the Christian man on the back of his neck or on his head telling him: ‘O unbeliever, pay al-jizya.’ This was followed by the Christian man handing him the tax money with his head bowed down and his back bent while the tax-collector held him by the beard. The dhimmi was not allowed to marry a Muslim woman. The penalty for such marriage was death. The dhimmi was barred from public office. The history of Muslim dealings with the dhimmis is one of oppression, random massacres, avaricious greed and plunder, extortion under the threat of persecution, rape, systematic degradation and slavery.
According the Shafi’i school of Islamic Sharia, the dhimma pact is broken if the dhimmi fights the Muslims, refuses to pay the jizya, or disobeys Muslim laws. It is also broken if the dhimmi violates the dhimma’s additional stipulations, if any, by having relation with a Muslim woman, leading a Muslim away from Islam, killing a Muslim, or slandering Muhammad and his god. When the dhimma is broken, the rules of the prisoners of war will apply on the dhimmi subjecting him to either death, slavery, ransoming, or release. By denying basic human rights to non-Muslims in Islamic controlled lands, Islam has sanctioned slavery on an unprecedented scale. Jihad slavery in its various forms (slave soldiers, harem slavery, child slavery, etc.) became a powerful tool to both expansive islamization and the support of Muslim society.
The dhimma terms and requirements are codified in Islamic Sharia (Reliance of the Traveler, #o11). Under Western pressure on the weakened Ottoman Empire, the dhimmis were emancipated in the mid-nineteenth century. Although Islamic Sharia is enforced at this time only in a few countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Sudan, many of its elements are practiced in Islamic countries. It is surprising indeed that the dhimmi communities have survived at all despite the Islamic pressures on them throughout centuries of Islamic rule.
B. HISTORICAL EXAMPLES OF JIHAD
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With the exception of the battle of Uhud in 625 and the battle of the ditch in 627, all the battles of the prophet of Islam were offensive. All jihad wars undertaken after his death were offensive expansive wars. The Persian and Byzantine empires bordering Arabia were not a threat to the Muslim Arabs. In the West, Islamic armies conquered the Levant, North Africa, and finished the conquest of most of Spain by 715. Christians completed the liberation of Spain in 1492. In the East, the Muslim invaders conquered the Persian Empire. By 1206, they had invaded the Punjab, Sindh, Delhi, and beyond. Muslims stopped waging large scale jihad wars after 1683 because the Islamic world had grown too weak. Examples of jihad wars and the atrocities associated with it abound in Islamic history. We cite a few of them herein.
Wherever the Islamic armies invaded, they caused massive destructions, countless systematic massacres of extermination, enslavement and exile of a great portion of the population, and great human suffering. Looting and pillaging the wealth of conquered lands, periodic ransoms, and the jizya tax impoverished and ruined the conquered populations. Economic decline and general impoverishment followed in the conquered territories. More blood has been shed for Islam than for any other cause in history. Some historians estimate that in India alone, more than 80 million people were massacred by the sword of Islam. In addition, 10 million Buddhists, 120 million Christians and African Animists, and many Zoroastrians in Persia were killed by marauding Islamic armies, both during their conquests and in the centuries that followed. The sword of Islam spread death, devastation and dark terror over many lands.
Examples of violent Islamic jihad in modern times are the civil wars in South Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, the Russian war in the Caucasus, and the attacks in the West. To the Muslim fundamentalist, a Muslim terrorist who kills unarmed innocent non-Muslim men, women, and children in the predominantly non-Muslim West is a war hero. What the Islamists could not accomplish by military conquest in the world of today, they are attempting to accomplish peacefully by proclaiming the religion of Islam. The problem is that they do not tell the truth about Islam in their proclamations. Instead, they sugarcoat it in their attempts to sell it dishonestly to unwary Westerners.
1. The Early Islamic Era
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Banu Qurayza, the last Jewish tribe in Medina, rejected Islam. They remained neutral in the battle of the trench (627). Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, questioned their loyalty, and besieged them. They surrendered. Muhammad appointed Sa’d ibn Muadh, one of his most fanatic followers, to decide their fate. Sa’d was wounded in the battle of the trench and lusted after revenge. He died soon after issuing his verdict. His verdict was that all the men of the tribe were to be killed, and the possessions of the tribe were to be divided among the Muslims. Muhammad ratified this unjust horrific judgment, and in order to justify the bloodbath, he claimed that his god sanctioned it (al-Ahzab 33: 26-27).
Muhammad ordered that a trench be dug in the night across the market place in Medina, and commanded that the male captives be brought forth to the trench in companies of five or six at a time, where they were beheaded and buried in the trench. This continued all day long into the evening till all the men of the tribe, numbering 800-900, were killed. Muhammad observed in person the horrific killings. If is important to stress that these tribesmen were not armed, and were not a threat to Muhammad and his followers. They were murdered in cold blood. Muhammad was responsible for the first Islamic massacre of 627 in the long bloody history of Islam.
The women and children of the tribe were sold into slavery, and its possessions were looted. Muhammad took for himself Rihana whose husband and all her male relatives had just perished in the massacre. Muhammad wanted to remove non-Muslims from Medina and Arabia by the sword, if necessary (Bukhari 4.52.288; 5.59.716; 4.53.392, 380). He started the process, and his followers completed it (Muslim 19.4366). In fact, till this day, it is illegal to build a church in Saudi Arabia. In addition, the religious police will raid a house where Christians are gathered to worship, will arrest the leader of the worship service and torture him in prison.
Muhammad warned the people who harassed him in the market place of Mecca saying that he would come back as slaughterer. The army that Muhammad led in his invasion of Mecca years later had a black flag signifying death with the word “punishment” written on it. Upon conquering Mecca, Muhammad ordered the killing of several persons for making satirical songs against him. In conquering Mecca, Muhammad brought to it death, not salvation. This contrasts with the peaceful triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem riding a donkey, not bearing a sword and without an army.
After the death of Muhammad, the caliph Abu Bakr invaded Syria. During the campaign of 634, the entire region between Gaza and Caesarea was devastated. Four thousand Christian, Jewish and Samaritan peasants were massacred. In May, 633, after the battle of Ullais (called the battle of bloodriver) Khalid ibn al-Walid, the military hero of early Islam, beheaded 70,000 Persian prisoners of war. During the military campaigns of caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second guided caliph, in Mesopotamia between 635 and 642, monasteries were sacked, the monks were killed, and Christian Arabs executed or forced to convert. In Elam, the population was put to the sword. The Arab invasion of the Middle East was not by any means a joyous liberating experience. It brought a great deal of death and destruction. The inhabitants of towns taken by storm were either killed or led into captivity, and their property was looted. Umar ibn al-Khattab was so brutal and despotic in his retaliation against the Persians for opposing Islam’s spread that to this day the Iranians celebrate the anniversary of his assassination with great festivities.
Amr ibn al-As conquered Egypt in 639-642. As he advanced in it, he captured the town of Bahnesa near Fayum and put to the sword its inhabitants, including old men, women and children. He committed the same atrocities in other towns in Egypt. Similar atrocities occurred in North Africa. Tripoli was pillaged in 643. Carthage was razed to the ground and most of its inhabitants killed. The same pattern was followed in Anatolia, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
In 705, the Omayyad caliph al-Walid I (705-715) assembled the nobles of Armenia in the churches of St. Gregory (in Naxcawan) and Xrain (on the Araxis), and burned them to death. Others were crucified and decapitated, and their wives and children taken into captivity. A violent persecution of Christians in Armenia took place in 852-855.
The Hindus and Buddhists of the Indian subcontinent suffered merciless slaughter and enslavement on a completely unprecedented scale. Al-Hajjaj, the governor of Iraq (694-714), instructed his commander Muhammad ibn Qasim in 712 to invade India and destroy the unbelievers. After the capture of the port of Debal, the Muslim army took three days to slaughter many of its inhabitants. In the town of Brahminabad, the Muslim army killed more than 6000 men. In subsequent invasions, Islamic armies targeted the Hindu temples and monasteries in an orgy of pillage and arson. Those not killed were captured and sold as slaves. Mahmud of Ghazni (971-1030), the head of a Turco-Afghan dynasty, invaded India destroying, pillaging and massacring. He justified his actions by constantly referring to Qur’anic injunctions to kill the idolaters. At the battle of Somnah, the site of a celebrated Hindu temple, he killed about 50,000 inhabitants.
Beginning in the year 1000 and lasting for the following 500 years, Islam attempted to depopulate India. As a result, the overall population of the Indian subcontinent dropped by an estimated 80 million persons in that period despite the very high Indian birthrate. A long-term consequence of these brutal invasions was the virtual disappearance from Northern India of the hitherto prevalent pacifist Buddhism, and its replacement with a form of militant Hinduism and a military-inclined Sikh movement.
2. The Middle Ages
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This page provides a summary of Islamic persecution of the Christians of Egypt.
The Jews of North Africa and Spain suffered several massacres under the Islamic rule, such as the massacre of more than 6000 Jews in the town of Fez (Morocco) in 1033, the massacres of Cordoba and other places in Spain in 1010-1013, the massacre of the entire Jewish community of about 4000 in Granada, Spain on Dec. 30, 1066, etc.
From its beginning, the Islamic rule in Spain was characterized with barbarism and savagery such as Europe had not experienced since pre-Roman times. The history of the Islamic Spanish caliphate is strewn with severed heads and crucified corpses. Throughout the entire period of Muslim domination, twice a year, in the spring and autumn, an Islamic army went from Cordoba to raid, pillage and loot the Christian territories in the north destroying their villages, monasteries and churches. Thousands of women and children captured in these raids were sold in the slave markets by auction. This ruined whole regions in Spain. The Muslim Berbers Almoravids (1056-1147) arrived in Spain in 1086, followed by the more fanatic and violent Almohad Muslim Berbers who arrived in Spain in 1146-47. Almoravids deported from Spain a large number of Christians to Morocco in 1106, 1126 and 1138. The Almohads (1130-1269) wreaked enormous persecution on both the Jewish and Christian populations in Spain and North Africa, including massacres, slavery and forced conversions.
The Muslim Seljuk Turks invaded Asia Minor over a period of four centuries from the middle of the eleventh century. These invasions were accompanied with extermination of local populations or their precipitate flight. Entire cities, and whole provinces fell into decay. Some fertile districts were laid waste. Impenetrable thickets sprang up in vast areas replacing fertile fields and pasture. This was followed by Ottoman jihad campaigns in the European Balkans. The Turks practiced wide-spread forced conversions which persisted throughout the sixteenth century.
In the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, Timur the Lame (known as Tamerlane) launched jihad wars against both non-Muslims and Muslims accusing the latter of lukewarmness towards Islam. He combined Mongol barbarity with Islamic fanaticism. He massacred in the thousands out of Qur’anic piety, as a duty and sacred mission. The following is a sampling of his massacres: his cold-blooded slaughter of 100,000 captive Indians near Delhi in December, 1398, his burying alive of 4000 Armenians in 1400-1, his erecting more than 120 towers of severed human heads at Aleppo and Baghdad in the same year, his massacre of 70,000 of the inhabitants of Isfahan in November 1387, etc.
The Wahhabis of Arabia condemned most non-Wahhabi Muslims as infidels, and waged jihad against them. In 1801 and 1802, the Saudi Wahhabis under the leadership of Abdul Aziz ibn Muhammad ibn Saud attacked and captured the holy Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq, massacred parts of the Muslim population and destroyed the tombs of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, and Ali ibn abi-Talib.
In response to the Greek revolution of liberation (1821-1832), the Ottomans massacred tens of thousands of unarmed Christian civilians. This culminated in the slaughter of 1822 on the Greek island of Chios where about twenty thousand Christians were killed. This provoked Britain, France, and Russia to intervene militarily. They crushed the Turkish-Egyptian navy in the naval battle of Navarino in Oct. 20, 1827. In 1860, Druze and Muslim forces massacred about ten thousand Maronite Christians in Lebanon.
3. The Armenian Genocide
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In the nineteenth century, the Armenians demanded their equal rights and attempted to break out of their Ottoman Islamic dhimmitude peacefully. They sought reforms in the Turkish/Ottoman system of government. As a result, the Armenian genocide began. The Muslim Ottoman Turks massacred more than 200,000 unarmed Armenian civilians in 1894-96 during the reign of sultan Abdul Hamid II (the Sassoun massacre). That was followed, under the young Turks regime, by the Adana massacres of 25,000 Armenians in 1909. This climaxed in the 1915 genocide when additional 600,000-800,000 unarmed Armenian civilians were massacred. The Muslim perpetrators who committed these bloody atrocities were guided by Islamic Sharia prescriptions providing that if the dhimmi requested his equal rights, and freedom from his bondage, he forfeited the protection of the caliph.
The genocide of the Armenian Christians in World War I was an ethnic cleansing of central Turkey by an Islamic jihad wherein Muslim Turks systematically murdered unarmed civilian Christian Armenian males over the age of twelve en masse in 1915. Women and children were deported from their centuries-old Armenian villages. Many of them died or were killed in their arduous journey. Others were given out as slaves, or forced to convert to Islam. The Armenian properties were looted. At the end, about one and a half million Armenian civilians died and were killed in those atrocities. Turkish Armenia ceased to exist. The four elements of the Armenian liquidation in central Turkey—deportation, enslavement, forced conversion, and massacre—reproduced the historic conditions of Islamic jihad carried out from the seventh century on. Successive Turkish governments have consistently refused to acknowledge the historic fact of the Armenian genocide, and to pay compensations to the Armenians.
The ethnic cleansing campaign reached its horrifying peak in the destruction of the town of Smyrna in 1922. This massacre resulted in the death of about a hundred thousand Greek and Armenian Christians.
4. The Sudanese Genocide
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During the brutal civil war between the Muslim Arab North of the Sudan, and the Christian and animist black South (1955-72, 1983-2005), Sudan was the site of the most vicious anti-Christian persecution raging in the world. The Islamist government of the Sudan committed genocide in the South and the Nubba mountains, including massacres, rape, looting, and slavery. Hundreds of Christian villages were razed to the ground. The end result was a devastated economy, a divided country, the death of approximately two million people, and the displacement of over five million people. South Sudan seceded from the Sudan, and became an independent state on July 9, 2011.
Despite the relentless cruel Islamic persecution, the Sudanese Church grew very fast in that period. Many Muslims and animists came to Christ in the Sudan than anywhere else in the world. In twenty years, Christians grew from 5% to over 20% of the Sudanese population (and 80% of South Sudan). South Sudan is the Christian bulwark against the southward advance of radical Islam into central Africa.
In the late nineteenth century, the British General Charles Gordon succeeded in breaking the back of the slave trade in the Sudan. However, the Muslim Sudanese Mahdi, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, that succeeded him in 1885 declared jihad warfare, and restored the slave trade in the Sudan. During the civil war, the soldiers of the Islamic government of the Sudan and the Arab militias armed by the government attacked African villages, kidnapped and sold as slaves tens of thousands of Sudanese Christian and animist men, women and children. There is no doubt that slavery is still widespread in the Sudan, including exporting slaves to Muslim countries in the Persian Gulf.
5. Jihad Atrocity in the U.S.A.
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On Sept. 11, 2001, the Islamist organization of al-Qaeda attacked the U.S.A. this resulted in the death of about 3000 innocent civilians. None of the leading Islamic clerics in the Muslim world condemned the 9/11 atrocities. In fact, some praised it?! Misguided Muslim crowds celebrated it in the streets of the Middle East. Muslim governments, who call for tolerance of Muslims in the West, have never apologized for 9/11 atrocities. The U.S. military was able to locate the leadership of al-Qaeda and destroy it.
C. VARIANT FORMS OF JIHAD
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The variant forms of jihad contain two modes of operation: violent and non-violent. The goal of both is identical: to subjugate he non–Muslim population to the Islamic rule of Sharia. The violent mode includes assassinations, devshirme, vigilante justice, torture, etc. Islamists call the non-violent mode “civilization jihad,” more appropriately called “stealth jihad.” It is a pre-violent jihad. It includes infiltrating the legal system, and the educational, financial, government, intelligence, and military institutions of the West.
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Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was the one who started in the seventh century the trail of blood of Islamic atrocities in Arabia. Muhammad urged his Muslim followers to kill his critics for him in order of silence them, and praised them for doing it afterwards. This led to the assassination of Asma’ bint Marawan while she was nursing her baby home (A. Guilaune, The Life of Muhammad, pp. 675-676), 120-year-old Abu Afak (Ibn-Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol. 2, Trans. S. Moinul, p. 31), Kaab ibn al-Ashraf (Buchari 5.59.369; Muslim 19.4436), Abu Rafi Salaam (Bukhari 5.59.371), etc. That practice has been codified in Sharia. Blasphemy, criticizing or defaming Islam, its prophet, the Islamic god, the Qur’an, the Hadith or Sharia are punishable by death in all the schools of Sharia.
In the West, we can critically study Christianity and Judaism. In Islamic countries, Islamist writers attack Christianity. However, Christians are not allowed to criticize and refute Islam objectively. Intimidation and censorship express lack of confidence and weakness in the Islamic religion and its teachings. It cannot defend itself by reason. Therefore, Islamists resort to violence to protect it. Respect should be earned, not forced by intimidation.
Islam forbids anything critical about Muhammad or his god, and condemns any one that originates the criticism, such as Salman Rushdie—the author of a 1988 book on the Satanic Verses of the Qur’an, the Danish cartoonists depicting Muhammad with a bomb in his bonnet (2005-2006) that precipitated mob violence in Islamic countries resulting in destruction and deaths, Theo Van Gogh who was murdered on Nov. 2, 2004 for producing a short documentary on the oppression of women under Islam, the anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders who has made a truthful 15-minute documentary on the violence in Islam and the Qur’an, etc. Islamist restraints on criticism of Islam are not directed only to states, but also against individuals.
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Abduction of children in late antiquity was a routine practice of tribes in conflict. These children were released after their relatives paid ransom. Those not ransomed, were sold as slaves.
The abduction of Jewish and Christian Dhimmi children also represented a form of forced conversion. Although illegal, there is substantial evidence that it occurred throughout the course of history, either sporadically -- ransoming, supplying harems or as a contribution to the tribute -- or in an institutionalized way, as in the devshirme system that functioned over three centuries in the Balkans for Christian children (Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam, p. 91).
The Ottoman sultan Orkhan (1326-59) introduced the practice of devshirme in 1330. It was a regular tribute (blood tax) of a fifth of the 7-15 year-old Christian children from conquered Balkan regions exacted every about four years initially. This periodic tribute eventually became an annual tribute. The cruel Muslim Ottoman soldiers literally wrenched the children from their weeping mothers’ arms. Those who refused to surrender their sons were put to death on the spot by hanging. Those children were sent in the thousands to remote areas to discourage their escape. They were forcibly converted to Islam and given military training in the janissary corps. The heartless recruiters used to take a surplus of children in the hope of selling them back to their families. If their families were too poor to redeem them, they remained slaves.
The devshirme system enslaved and forcibly converted to Islam an estimated five hundred thousand to one million primarily Balkan Christian adolescent boys. The janissaries became the Muslim power’s elite troops, the cruelest soldiers against Christianity and their own people because of the fanaticism taught to them, and the cruelty they lived through.
This regular bloodletting from the conquered peoples increased the Muslim population and correspondingly reduced that of the Christians. The devshirme was theoretically abolished in 1656, but recruitment of ichoghlani continued until the mid-eighteenth century (Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam, p. 115).
3. Vigilante Justice
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Islamic Sharia encourages vigilante justice under certain conditions, because a Muslim is not only required to follow the laws of the Islamic god, but is also entrusted to enforce them on earth without needing authorization from the state. Examples on that abound: the 1994 Islamist attempt in Egypt to assassinate Dr. Nagib Mahfouz, a moderate Muslim, who won the 1988 Nobel Laureate in literature for his novel of “Children of Gebelawi” which islamists considered blasphemous; killing Dr. Farag Foda, a liberal Muslim Egyptian professor, in 1992 in Egypt by Islamist fundamentalists; the death fatwa of Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran against the Indian writer Salman Rushdi for his 1988 novel on the Satanic Verses of the Qur’an supported with a million-dollar reward (doubled in 1997) for his death; the killing of the Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam by an Islamist for producing a twelve-minute film called Submission decrying the mistreatment of Muslim women; etc.
Every Muslim is required to correct the conduct of his fellow Muslims. A killer of an apostate who left Islam, a robber, or an adulterer is forgiven and exempted from punishment for murder under Sharia law. Muslims who commit genocide are spared from punishment if they repent. Individual fatwas issued by Islamic clerics for killing apostates, while not binding on the Islamic state, can be acted upon by any Islamist without getting punished for his crime. Radical Islamists brand all who disagree with them as enemies of Islam and apostates. The violators of Sharia fear vigilante justice by the Islamist public, such as their friends, neighbors, relatives, parents, brothers, or sisters.
Vigilante justice has no restraints and is bound to be abused. It results in relationships between Muslims based on fear and arrogance. It leads to a chaotic society. Death squads or street mobs take justice into their own hands. Mobs stone women accused of adultery. Boys throw acid at girls because they do not like their dress, etc. Muslims are turned against each other. They have to watch their backs. Many of the accusations of apostasy and blasphemy are the result of personal grudges borne by the accusers against the defendants to settle personal scores, or are tools for Islamic governments to silence opposition. Deep-seated distrust plagues Islamic society. Vigilante justice is where Islam gets its power. It is not the power of conviction, but the power of fear.
Many Muslim converts to Christianity in Europe live in hiding fearing for their lives from Islamist violence. However, some European ex-Muslims are summoning the courage to stand up in defense of their rights. They have formed organizations of ex-Muslims in Germany, Britain, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands. They no longer tolerate the intolerance of Islam. Mr. Ehsan Jami, the founder of the Netherlands Central Committee for Ex-Muslims (9/11/07) was violently attacked by Muslim fundamentalists on three separate occasions between May 2007 and Aug. 2007. This forced him into hiding.
The Islamists launched a campaign of intimidation including threats of destructive bloody Islamic riots in an attempt to prevent the anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders from releasing his 15-minute documentary, Fitna, which presented some hate verses of the Qur’an, followed by destructive actions in accord with them carried out by Islamists in the West in recent years. However, Wilders was strong enough not to succumb to pressure, and published his documentary. After 3.6 million visitors had viewed his film on the British website LiveLeak.com, the company announced that “Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, LiveLeak has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers.” However, Two days later, LiveLeak posted the film again. Wilders has been living for years under state-provided round-the-clock police protection, because of Islamist threats.
4. Legal Jihad
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Islamist organizations call for censorship of any criticism of Islam on the grounds of being insulted. This is a common trick of totalitarian movements and governments. They label any objective truthful critique as an insult, and attempt to punish its source. Totalitarian tyrants and movements must not be appeased. Islamic organizations in the West attempt to intimidate people who speak out objectively against Islam by threats of lawsuits in order to silence them. They are well funded by petrodollars. Should the voices of anti-Islamist researchers and activists be silenced, the criticism of radical Islam may end within this generation. This poses a serious threat to the liberty and security of the West. It is becoming rather common in the West that a citizen be dragged to court for his negative views about Islam and Islamists.
5. Controlling the Educational System
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Before the newly found oil wealth in Arabia, Islam around the globe was in a state of depression. The discovery of oil in Arabia animated the sleeping giant. Using their vast oil wealth, the Arabs of Arabia are funding mosques, Islamic schools, libraries, and academic centers worldwide. They are attempting to make their extreme version of Islam, Wahhabism, the Islamic norm that will eventually dominate the world. Wahhabism calls for enforcing the extreme cruel measures of Islamic Sharia, such as the killing of Islamic heretics and apostates, amputation of limbs, stoning, and decapitation.
An American survey conducted early 2012 by Faith Communities Today (affiliated with the Hartford Seminary) shows that the number of mosques in the United States has grown by 74% in the past eleven years, from 1209 in 2001 to 2106 in 2011. The Greater New City area ranked No. 1 with 192 mosques. According to a Barnabas Fund report, as of 2006, 210 Saudi-funded large mosques and Islamic centers have been built in the key cities of the world, including Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles, London, Brussels, Geneva, Paris, Bonn, and Rome. It is believed that about half of America’s small and large Islamic centers and mosques and six schools of Islamic higher learning have been built, at least in part, with petrodollars. In addition, 1500 small mosques, 202 colleges and about 2000 Islamic schools have been built in the West with petrodollars. In 2007, the university of Michigan installed ritual foot baths to accommodate the Islamic beliefs of the Sharia-adherent Muslims. A publicly-funded charter school in Minnesota was sued by the ACLU on the grounds that it promotes Islam.
The Saudis are buying campus presence by funding programs of Islamic studies and establishing Islamic academic chairs in prestigious academic centers and universities in the West, such as the universities of Georgetown, Harvard, Duke, Berkeley, California, Cambridge, London, Moscow, and Edinburgh. This is creating bastions of non-critical pro-Islamic scholarship within Western academia. In order to retain its Saudi funding, these academic Islamic studies centers are under pressure not to maintain its academic impartiality and integrity of scholarship. That is how the Islamists attempt to control the Western intellect and soul.
Saudi petrodollars provide scholarships for thousands of non-Muslims from the West to study at Islamic universities in Saudi Arabia. The obvious goal is to introduce the Islamic faith to prospective converts.
The American Textbook Council and The Textbook League have reviewed the top-selling textbooks used by thousands of American public schools to teach about Islam. These two highly respected American organizations found those textbooks severely distorted and compromised in their discussion of Islam and Islamic history. They blatantly glorify and promote Islam, while demonize Christianity. They white-wash the violent bloody history of Islam by omitting the fact that it spread out of Arabia primarily through the military conquests of jihad (holy war). They decouple Islam and Islamist terrorism. They present Islamic beliefs as facts instead of religious beliefs. And they deny the fact that Islam oppresses and subordinates women. In addition, homework assignments involve exercises that make the students act as if they were already Muslims. This amounts to proselytizing 12-year-old Americans to convert them to Islam stealthily.
Islamic propagandists operating in America influence public school textbooks by threatening charges of racism and xenophobia against textbook publishers. Revising history and leaving out important facts are thought-control brainwashing techniques that were used by the Nazis and the communists in their quest for world dominion. These techniques are used today extensively in the Islamic world.
6. Financial Jihad
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Islamic finance and banking is called financial jihad—jihad with money instead of violence. It is going after the lifeblood of the economy of the West. The oil rich Islamic Arab countries are attempting to take control of the American economy through buying real estate and stocks of American corporations. As of 2008, Sharia finance sector managed assets of more than $800 billion. Standard and Poor estimated that this sector could reach $4 trillion before long. The probable locations for future expansion are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Turkey, Singapore, and some Western countries. Britain has a bigger Sharia finance sector than the Islamic countries of Egypt and Pakistan. At least, twenty-two financial institutions offer Sharia-compliant services in Britain, compared with nine in the United States. The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared in 2006 that London was going to be the Islamic banking capital of the world.
Some U.S. financial institutions and businesses are engaging in Sharia-compliant financing by accommodating Sharia law (Islamic law) in order to attract Islamic investments and tap into petrodollars. They structure investments and transactions that comply with Sharia requirements that prohibit financial transactions involving interest, excessive risk, or certain assets such as alcohol, tobacco, pork, gambling, or non-Muslim religious entities.
In order to conform to the Sharia (Islamic law) requirements, Western financial companies must submit to “Sharia advisers.” Almost all of those advisers are Islamists dedicated to the destruction of the West. Those advisers certify that the subject financial products have been modified to comply with Sharia requirements. Supporters of Sharia-compliant finance see a golden opportunity for expansion in an economic downturn.
Oil rich Arab Islamists have bought into financially troubled banks, and then demanded that an approved Muslim Imam be installed on their boards of directors to assure that financial products offered to Muslims are “halal”—kosher. Halal finances provide preferential treatment to Muslims, including interest free loans and credit cards.
Sharia finance is an extension of Islamic law. It is a tool of political Islam to control global economies, and to fund violent jihad. Embracing Sharia finance leads to the eventual enforcement of the brutal oppressive Sharia law. Islamic financial institutions are involved in funding Islamist terrorism worldwide. From 1988 to 2001, Bank al-Taqwa (registered in the Bahamas) transferred tens of millions of dollars to the Islamist terrorist organizations of Hamas, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and others. Bank Meli of Iran is under U.S. and EU sanctions for facilitating Iran’s support of Hamas and Hesbollah and funding Iran’s Uranium enrichment program. In fact, as of 2010, Iran had six of the ten biggest Sharia-compliant financial institutions.
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Other forms of jihad include suppression of freedom of religion and speech, the Islamic taqiyya, torture, breaking oaths and treaties, the higher Islamic fertility rates, Islamic immigration into Christian lands, etc.
III. ANCIENT BIBLICAL WARS
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Religious wars are initiated and carried out within the context of religion. In the ancient world, war was a holy war linked with religion. It was started at the command of the gods, or their approval. It was accompanied by sacrifices, and conducted with the help of the gods who insured victory. Afterward, the gods were thanked by an offering of part of the booty.
The wars of ancient Israel had a definite religious character to them. Before the Hebrew tribes of Israel went to battle, they consulted the Lord God for guidance (Judges 20: 23, 28; 1 Samuel 14: 37; 23: 2, 4; etc.). The warriors who marched into battle had to be consecrated to God, putting aside anything impure. In the battlefield, they brought the Ark of the Covenant that symbolized the presence of God with them. The visible sign of the direct divine intervention in battle was the Ark of the Covenant which the Levites carried. Therefore, the combatants were certain of victory. “The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you” (Deuteronomy 1:30a). After winning victory, they celebrated the victory by singing songs praising the Lord God. They executed the judgment of God upon the Canaanites for their corruption and decadence. The Canaanites were sinful beyond redemption.
War in ancient Israel was undertaken at the direct command of God. It was not for man’s personal advantage or profit. Although ancient Israel was a human state, it was the manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth. God’s participation in its historical experience made it his kingdom. Ancient Israel did not fight for its faith, but for its existence.
Following the exodus from the land of Egypt around 1450-1440 B.C., aggressive warfare became virtually a way of life for the Hebrews for several generations. This climaxed under king David (~1010-970 B.C.). The Hebrew nation had reached its zenith. Afterwards, defensive warfare became the norm, as the Hebrew kingdoms sought to protect their boundaries from foreign invaders. The Hebrew kingdoms were required to give their total allegiance to the Lord God. To be a vassal to another state was tantamount to a national breach of the first commandment of the Decalogue. The end of ancient Israel came in war as a result of the sins and apostasies of the Israelites. God judged the evil of his people. The Assyrian army defeated the Northern Kingdom of Israel and captured its capital city, Samaria, in 722/1 B.C. (Hosea 13: 16). In 586 B.C., the Babylonian army defeated the Southern Kingdom of Judah and destroyed its capital city, Jerusalem.
The ancient Hebrew wars of Joshua (~1400 B.C.), Judges (~1380-1050 B.C.) and King David (~1010-970 B.C.) were not undertaken to spread the Jewish religion, or to defend its doctrines and teachings against foreign pagan religions. The God of the Holy Bible never commanded or supported a war to spread faith in Him. The god of Islam is very different in this respect. He instituted the doctrine of the Islamic holy war (jihad), and made it a duty incumbent upon every Muslim to spread his faith by force of arms, and conquer the world for Islam.
About 3000 years have passed since the last battle endorsed by the Biblical God. Those wars have had their day, and have since passed into the dusty pages of the history of antiquity. Those wars took place in the ancient world more than ten centuries before Christ. It was a very different world then in a primitive stage of moral development and evolution. The Christians of the twenty-first-century are not ancient Israel. It is disingenuous to try to use the ancient discontinued practice of Biblical wars to justify the present and continued reality of Islamic jihad. Nevertheless, some Islamists protest that the Old Testament of the Holy Bible allowed religious wars similar to Islamic jihad (al-Baqarah 2: 246-251). They have to contend with a time lag of three millennia. In fact, they choose to ignore the vast differences between the Old Testament ancient wars and Islamic jihad:
1. In the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, God commanded, in divine judgment (Deuteronomy 9: 5), the annihilation of certain tribes, like in the cases of the great flood of Noah, the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 6: 1-8: 14; 18: 16-19: 29) and cities in ancient Canaan (1 Sam. 15: 3; Numbers 31: 14-18; Deuteronomy 20: 10-17; Joshua 6: 21; 8: 24, 29; 10: 28, 40; 11: 11). In the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, God did not find even ten righteous persons for whose sake He would not have destroyed the cities by fire. The Canaanite societies around 1500 B.C.-1000 B.C. were irreversibly corrupt, degenerate and decadent. They practiced child sacrifice to please their pagan gods, male and female temple prostitution, snake worship and witchcraft in their religious rites and rituals (Deuteronomy 12: 31; 18: 9-12). This was far worse than the moral condition of the surrounding nations in the ancient Middle East. No population that had a hope of repentance, regeneration and righteousness was ever destroyed.
These extreme corrupt pagan practices did not exist in Arabia and the surrounding countries in the seventh century A.D. and subsequent centuries. In addition, Arab polytheists, that Muhammad slaughtered, were not beyond hope of gradual conversion peacefully. In fact, some of them had already believed in Judaism and Christianity. Therefore, the historical milieu, context and culture were very different from those of ancient Canaan. The pagans of Arabia were not so irreversibly degenerate. This is in addition to the fact that Muhammad also attacked Jews and Christians who were ethical monotheists (at-Tawbah 9: 29), and whom the Qur’an had claimed to have worshiped the same God (al-‘ankabut 29: 46; al-Baqarah 2: 139).
2. In addition to inflicting His divine judgment on the Canaanites, God wanted to preserve the purity of the Hebrew religion from the corrupt practices of the Canaanites (Deuteronomy 20: 16-18). Sadly, the religious practices of the remaining Canaanite communities that were not destroyed gradually pervaded the Hebrew religion, which brought God’s wrath and punishment upon ancient Israel.
3. The twelve tribes of Israel lived in Egypt in bondage and servitude as a nation of refugees for about 400 years (Genesis 15: 13; Acts 7: 6). Their fighting against the Canaanites was to gain sanctuary for the twelve Jewish tribes—a nation of refugees who had no place to live with dignity. Their settling Canaan fulfilled the divine promise God had made to their forefather Abraham (Genesis 15: 18; Deuteronomy 6: 18-19). As God settled the refugee tribes in the land of Canaan, he commanded them to care for other refugees who came to their land (Leviticus 19: 13).
4. The true living God never commanded the Israelites to spread the religion of the ancient Hebrews by force, or to conquer militarily vast territories far beyond the small territory of Israel/Palestine. The Biblical God gave the Israelites sovereignty only over a specific limited geographical area (Exodus 23: 31; Deuteronomy 11: 22-24). In addition, he commanded the Israelites not to attack certain tribes, such as the tribes of Esau, the Moabites, the Ammonites, etc. (Deuteronomy 2: 5, 9, 19, 37; etc.). In fact, God sent the prophet Jonah, without an army, to preach peacefully in Nineveh, hundreds of miles away. The Hebrew Jewish religion was spread by proclamation, not by the sword. This is very different from what Islam did. It waged wars on nations of distant lands, far beyond Arabia. It sought worldwide military conquest for Islam. This was started by Muhammad and the four guided caliphs after him attacking their neighboring countries which had never threatened them (Bukhari 4.52.267; 4.53.349, 350; etc.).
5. The Qur’anic commands to fight the unbelievers are not restricted to specific time periods in history, locations, or certain populations or tribes. They transcend time and space (Abu Dawud 8.2526). These commands are standardized in Islamic law (Sharia), and are universal and applicable to all times, places and peoples worldwide. This is very different from the divine commands found in the Books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, etc. of the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, which were very specific and restricted to certain times, localities, and tribes within the promised land (Palestine). These commands were intended for the immediate situation of that period of ancient history only. They were not directed to all future generations to follow. This violence never became standardized and codified in Jewish law. It is a mere history, not theology and doctrine. This violence took place in the ancient world more than ten centuries before Christ. It was a very different world then in a primitive stage of moral development and evolution. The Christians of the twenty-first-century are not ancient Israel. Biblical accounts of violence of ancient Israel are descriptive, not prescriptive.
6. The ancient Hebrews were expressly forbidden from taking booty. When the walls of Jericho fell and they conquered it, its storehouses remained filled. Its children were not sent off into slavery. Its women were not raped as if they were part of the battle’s booty. In contrast with that, one of the main motivations of Islamic invasions was taking spoils of war, which included looting, enslaving women and children, raping women, etc.
The true living God of the Bible was clear, precise, and stable in His severe divine judgments of the wicked practices of the Canaanites, and was not dependent on the military strength of the Israelites (Deuteronomy 20: 1). However, the god of Muhammad changed his mind depending on the situation. Muhammad did not fight polytheists sometimes because he was too weak militarily. Therefore, he settled for a treaty. But when he gained military strength, he terminated the treaties unilaterally (at-Tawbah 9: 1-5).
IV. WARS OF CHRISTENDOM
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In contrast with the Islamic doctrine of jihad, the biblical God condemns unjust violence, saying: “When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you. Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1: 15; Psalm 5: 6b). Jesus has instructed his disciples to proclaim the Gospel peacefully: “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10: 7-8; 28: 18-20; Mark 16: 20). As part of their mission to proclaim the Gospel of Christ, Christians are to perform acts of charity and compassion as Jesus had done. Christians are motivated to share the Gospel by their love of God and neighbor.
It is important to emphasize the great difference between the spread of Christianity in the first three centuries of the Christian era, and the process of Islamization under pressure throughout Islamic history. Unlike Islam, early Christianity was not dependent on an earthly state to propagate it by armed expansion. Christ refused to be crowned a king over an earthly kingdom (John 6: 15; 18: 36). He did not incarnate to establish an earthly empire in this dispensation, but to inaugurate the spiritual kingdom of God, the beginning of the new creation. People converted to Christianity out of deep conviction, commitment and love to Christ. He and his apostles after him did not send out invading armies to conquer, rule, and pressure people into Christianity. Instead, he sent unarmed peaceful evangelists to preach his gospel.
In its first three centuries, Christianity spread by preaching the gospel and supportive miracles following the teaching and example of Jesus. The apostles of Christ used words, not swords, in preaching Christianity. Their martyrdom was a living testament of their faith. Some Islamists claim that the verses of Matthew 10: 34-35 and Luke 22: 36, 38 seem to point to holy war. This is the wrong understanding of these verses. Matthew 10: 34-35 speaks allegorically about divisions and disputes arising within the one family from disagreements on Jesus message. These disputes might lead to attacks on those that chose to follow him. Luke 22: 36, 38 refers to a dagger or short sword travelers used for protection against bandits and wild animals. In fact, on the night of his arrest, when Peter struck the servant of the high priest cutting off his ear, Jesus responded by saying: “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” (Matthew 26: 52-54).
When Jesus was threatened, he did not fight back physically. He simply walked away from the threat (John 7: 1; 8: 59; Matthew 12: 14-15; Luke 4: 28-30). He instructed his disciples to do the same when threatened (Matthew 10: 23). They followed his instructions (Acts 8: 1, 4; 9: 28-30; 13: 50-51; 14: 5-7). Jesus refused to punish people for rejecting him (Luke 9: 55-56). He prophesied about the persecution of Christians saying: “They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service” (John 16: 2; Revelation 12: 7, 8, 17).
Christianity teaches to live at peace with all (Romans 12: 18; 1 Peter 3: 8-12). It prohibits violence unless it is absolutely necessary for self-defense. In fact, Christ taught that anger is a sin: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5: 21-22). Additionally, Christianity prohibits revenge: “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12: 19-21).
Christ also commanded saying: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5: 43-48).
A. THE CHRISTAN DOCTRINE ON WAR
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Eastern Orthodox Christianity provides two moral options pertaining to war: Justifiable War, and absolute pacifism. Absolute pacifism is the spiritual moral ideal that is fully realized in the age to come. Mercy is its virtue. The mainstream Orthodox justifiable war doctrine is considered a lesser good. Its virtue is justice. Both the absolute pacifism and the justifiable war doctrines insist on the moral principle that we never do evil that good might come. The end does not justify the means.
The doctrine of Absolute Pacifism prohibits violent resistance. It calls for non-violence, non-resistance and universal forgiveness. Pacifists witness to the world around them in the hope of assisting the transformation of its violent sinful kingdoms into the non-violent peaceful eschatological kingdom of God. Absolute pacifists pay more heed to the principle than to consequences. The clergy and monastics are forbidden to participate in any military activity because it is inconsistent with their religious service commitments.
The doctrine of justifiable war provides that a justifiable war may be engaged as a virtuous and righteous act. It is a war undertaken by a legitimate political authority in order to defend the people of God. Its goal is to prevent evil and protect the other. It strives to minimize physical harm to combatants and non-combatants alike, and to achieve its victorious end speedily and efficiently. A justifiable war is based on the proper spiritual intent. It should not be vengeful, self-righteous or bent on conquest. It should have in view the ultimate goals of forgiveness and rehabilitation of the enemy.
Western Christianity (Roman Catholicism and traditional Protestantism) adhere to the Just War tradition. A Just War must comply with six criteria:
1. Competent political authority commanding the
war. The political authority should express the will of the
people in a just political system (e.g. the sovereign authority of a
democratic state, a revolutionary political authority, etc.).
2. Just cause for waging the war. This includes self-defense, defense of the innocent weak neighbor from unjust aggression, preventing massacres, etc.
3. Right intention; such as securing the common good, correcting a suffered wrong, etc.
4. Last resort. War is the only reasonable means to right the wrong. All other peaceful means are impractical or ineffective.
5. Serious prospects of success.
6. A Just war must not produce evils graver than the evil to be eliminated. The anticipated benefits must be proportionate to the expected evils of war.
The doctrine of Just War imposes certain rules of conduct to be observed in war. It prohibits unnecessary violence, needless destruction, looting, raping, large-scale massacres, and acts of vengeance and reprisal. Prisoners of war should not be tortured or otherwise mistreated. A just war is a work motivated by the virtue of the love of God and neighbor. It restrains evil and protects the innocent. The just warrior desires to protect his neighbor from the unjust aggressor because he loves him, and because God hates injustice. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15: 13). A just warrior never intends to harm non-combatants. Every effort is made in just wars to minimize civilian casualties, which are unintended if they occur. Just warriors regret that they live in a fallen world where they have to kill the enemy combatants in the battlefield in order to restrain evil. However, it is more upsetting for just warriors to watch others being abused and killed unjustly when they can put an end to that injustice.
B. EXAMPLES OF JUST WARS
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The sword of Islam was broken in several just wars in history. The following are a few examples:
1. The battle of Tours (southern France). On Oct. 11th, 732, one hundred years after the death of Muhammad, a massive Islamic army led by Abd al-Rahman Al Ghafiqi attacked southern France from Spain. The defending Christian army under the leadership of Charles Martel was outnumbered at least four-to-one. However, Charles Martel defeated the Islamic army in that most decisive battle in history, and thereby stopped the advance of the Muslim armies in Western Europe. The Muslim army’s leader and many of its top commanders were slain in battle.
2. The battle of Kulikovo (Russia). 60,000 Russian troops commanded by Prince Dimitri of Moscow defeated an invading Muslim Mongol force of about 125,000 troops commanded by Mamai on Sept. 8th, 1380 at the Kulikovo field in Russia. The battle had been blessed by St. Sergius of Radonezh, who sent two of his monks, former warriors, to join Dimitri’s forces, and prophesied that he would win the battle. The Islamic advance in Eastern Europe was stopped.
3. The battle of Vienna (Austria). It took place in two sieges in 1529 and 1683. In the siege of 1529, a huge army led by Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent attacked Vienna. The vastly outnumbered Christian forces defeated the attacking Muslim Turkish troops, and broke the siege. In 1683, for the second time, a huge Ottoman army of approximately 150,000 soldiers besieged Vienna for two months. The defending Christian armies were outnumbered about two-to-one. However, they won a decisive victory in the final battle of Vienna on 11 and 12 September, 1683. The battle of Vienna stopped the Islamic advance in central Europe.
4. The battle of Malta. In 1565, the Ottoman Empire attacked the island of Malta in order to gain control over the Mediterranean Sea with a huge fleet of 193 war ships. The Christian defense force was outnumbered more than three-to-one. It withstood a siege that lasted more than four months. At the end, the Christian defense force repelled the massive Turkish attack. The Turkish forces retreated after suffering heavy casualties.
C. THE CRUSADES
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Some Islamists attempt to draw a parallel between Islamic jihad (Islamic crusades) and the Christian medieval crusades. In fact, the differences between them are vast and extensive:
1. Christ has invited all to follow him willingly, not forcibly. He never taught his disciples to convert any one to Christianity by force. In fact, he exhorted them to love their enemies (Mt. 5: 44). In the first three centuries of Christianity following his resurrection, his disciples spread Christianity by preaching the Gospel in the face of brutal Roman and pagan persecutions. Jesus and the early Christians did not raise armies to attack non-Christians and force them to convert to Christianity. Christianity spread on the ashes and blood of its peaceful faithful martyrs in its first three centuries. The true almighty God supported his divine Messiah and his message.
The Christian crusades of the Middle Ages were violent and led to atrocities under the banner of the cross and in the name of Christianity. The crusaders did not follow the teachings and example of Christ in conducting their military campaigns. Christ would certainly denounce their atrocities. Instead, they followed the example of the Islamic armies in their conquests. The concept of holy war in Medieval Europe rose as a result of Islamic influence. It was a concept copied by Christendom from Islamic ideology. It is not an authentic Christian doctrine. That is why it died away centuries ago.
However, Muslim jihadists, who resort to violence and terror in the name of their Islamic god (Islamic jihad), find a lot of support for their actions in the teaching of the Qur’an and the sayings and example of Muhammad himself, the prophet of Islam. After all, he launched Islamic jihad in the seventh century. Islam spread through violent military conquests since it began in Arabia. In fact, Islamic history is a story of violence and bloodshed from the time of Muhammad to the present day. If the Christian West has anything to apologize for in the crusades, the Islamic world has a lot more for which it should apologize in its jihad wars that had started many centuries before the crusades and still have not ended.
2. The history of the crusades spans about two centuries (1095-1291). We will not get into it here. The initial goal of the crusades was not to force Christianity on any one, and was not to gain booty. Its goal was to protect Christian holy sites in the holy land from Islamic destruction and desecration, and to protect Christian pilgrims from Islamic aggression. Islamic persecution of Christians included plundering monasteries, destroying churches, and killing and extorting Christian pilgrims. The crusades were defensive wars started for a just cause. However, they were conducted unjustly. It was a delayed limited response to centuries of ongoing Islamic aggression which began more than 450 years before the first crusade was launched, and grew fiercer than ever in the eleventh century. It was a belated unsuccessful effort to liberate Christian lands from Islamic imperialism. The Christians fought to defend and liberate their holy land form Islamic conquest, while the Muslims fought to continue conquering and occupying Christian lands. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, began the international jihad by his veiled threat in the letter he sent to neighboring non-Muslim leaders telling them to “…embrace Islam and you will be safe…”
The first call for a crusade took place in 846 in response to an Arab Islamic expedition that sacked St. Peter’s cathedral in Rome. A synod in France issued an appeal to rally Christendom against the enemies of Christ, and Pope Leo IV offered a heavenly reward to those who died fighting the Islamist aggressors. Two centuries later, after seizing control of Christian territories larger than France, the fanatical Islamist Seljuk Turks threatened Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium. Therefore, the Byzantine emperor Alexius I (1081-1118) appealed for military help from the West. That was what set in motion the first crusade.
After a five-week siege, the crusaders entered Jerusalem on July 15, 1099. They killed many of its inhabitants. The crusaders sack of Jerusalem was a heinous act. It was unchristian. They followed the example and the historical record of Muslim armies that had committed similar atrocities when entering a conquered city. This is not to excuse the crusaders conduct, because one atrocity does not justify the other.
Examples of Islamic atrocities of the same historical period abound. In 1077, after conquering Jerusalem, the Muslim Seljuk Turks murdered three thousand Christians and Jews. In 1148, the Muslim commander Nur ed-Din ordered the killing of every Christian in Aleppo. After defeating the crusaders in the battle of Hettin on July 4, 1187, Salah ed-Din ordered the beheading of all the Christian captives. In 1268, after conquering Antioch, the Mamluk sultan Baybars massacred 16,000 Christians, including monks and priests, and sold their women and children into slavery. On May 29, 1453, the Ottoman forces entered Constantinople (Istanbul). The Muslim soldiers slew everyone they met in the streets, men, women and children without discrimination. The blood ran into rivers down the steep streets of the city.
In general, the crusaders let the local Muslims in their territories live in peace and practice their religion freely. In fact, Muslims preferred to live under the rule of the crusaders who treated them justly, than under the Muslim rulers who treated them unjustly. The general level of taxation was lower under the crusaders than under the neighboring Muslim lords. It was not the crusades that put an end to Arab glory; it was the Islamist Turks who turned the Arabs into second-class citizens in the Islamic world. Political and commercial influences on the crusades increased as the years passed by. Christians in both the Middle East and Europe suffered from the latter crusading armies. In fact, the fourth crusade (1202-1204 AD) did not fight Muslims. It fought the Christian Byzantine Empire, and sacked its capital Constantinople (Istanbul now).
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The three major branches of traditional Christianity (Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism) are all united on the issue of war. They all concur that some wars are just, justifiable and virtuous. In addition, Christianity provides the option of absolute pacifism. However, the Islamic doctrine of Holy War (Jihad) to spread religion by force does not exist in Christianity. In fact, this doctrine does not exist in any other major world religion. All major world religions were founded by peaceful men, with the exception of Islam which was founded by Muhammad who was a warrior. The true living Almighty God is not pleased by bloodshed, “When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you. Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1: 15). Helping someone to believe in Him is by proclaiming and reasoning without violence, pressure and threats of death.
It is important to make a distinction between the teachings of a religion and the actions of its followers. So, despite the fact that Christ teaches purity of heart, love, mercy and forgiveness, many nominal Christians do not follow his teachings. On the other hand, despite the fact that Muhammad teaches polygamy, jihad, violence, bloodshed and killing, many Muslims do not follow his teachings. Christ’s way leads to new life and salvation. Muhammad’s way leads to death and destruction.
Christianity is the religion of peace. It has no violent jihadist movement. There is no group anywhere in the world today who is committing violent acts and justifying them by quoting the Holy Bible and Christian teachings. On the other hand, many groups are committing violent acts and justifying them by quoting the Qur’an and Islamic teachings.
Some Islamists argue that Islamic jihad is only for self-defense, and fighting against oppression. The problem with this is that the Islamic definitions for self-defense and oppression are very broad. For instance, rulers that do not acknowledge the rule of Islam are considered oppressors. This is in addition to the fact that all the battles of Muhammad, except for the battles of Uhud (625) and the ditch (627), were offensive. Jihad may be waged defensively to battle tyranny. However, the Islamic definition of tyranny is anything that stands in Islam’s way?
The success of building a large Islamic empire in the first century of Islam does not indicate divine endorsement for its ideology and religion. Great ancient empires, such as the Greek, Persian and Roman empires, rivaled it in size, despite the fact that they were pagan who worshipped idols. The Roman Empire was pagan and persecuted Christianity till the edict of Milan in 313 AD. Alexander the Great, the king of Macedonia (336-323 BC), established a vast Greek Empire in thirteen years, much larger than the empire Muhammad established in twenty two years in the Arabian Peninsula. He died at the young age of thirty two. Contrary to the Qur’anic claims in Sura of al-Kahf 18: 83-93, he did not worship God. He was a licentious, belligerent idolatrous man. He committed the worst apostasy by claiming to be god and by seeking to be revered as a god. In modern history, within five years, Nazi Germany under the leadership of Hitler built an empire equal to the size of the empire Islam built in one hundred years of bloody conquests. The Nazi were ungodly. They committed many atrocities. In this respect, we need to remember the long decline of the political power of the Islamic nations over the past few centuries with no end in sight, and the repeated military victories of the small nation of Israel over large Islamic armies, which represent a serious challenge to the claims of Islamic supremacy.
The truth is not to be gauged by the number of its followers. Buddhism and Hinduism rival Islam in the number of its followers. But they are pagan religions. Divine success does not necessarily coincide with human expectations and rationality, and is not to be judged by human standards. For instance, king David, the greatest king of ancient Israel, was a successful warrior. He expanded the territory of his kingdom greatly, conquered Jerusalem and made it his capital (2 Samuel 5: 6-10). He wanted to build a temple for the Lord, but God forbade him saying: “You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight” (1 Chronicles 22: 8; 28: 3).
The importance of religious war (jihad) against unbelievers is repeatedly affirmed and emphasized in the Qur’an, the Hadith, the example of Muhammad, Islamic history and the ruling of every school of Islamic jurisprudence. The final goal of jihad is that Islamic rule prevails by military force (Bukhari 4.52.65, 196). The purpose of jihad is chiefly political, not religious. It is a historical fact that, with the exception of some Indonesian islands, no nation has ever willingly converted to Islam. Islam was spread with the Qur’an in one hand and the sword in the other. Historically, moderate Islam has never existed. Islam claims superiority over other religions (al-Tawbah 9: 33). It also claims that the Islamic nation is superior over all other nations on the face of the earth (Al-Imran 3: 110). However, the long series of military defeats at the hands of Christians and Jews from Europe and America undermine that claim of superiority. Islam is the religion of the sword. The god of Islam commands jihad warfare to conquer the world for Islam. Therefore, military defeats of Islamic armies in the battlefields, which abound, amount to defeats of the god of Islam? It brings into doubt the truth of the claimed Islamic revelation itself in its entirety?
According to statistics compiled by Bill Warner, the director of the Center for the Study of Political Islam, only a small part of the Islamic foundational texts (the Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sunnah (life of Muhammad)) is dedicated to religion. The rest of it deals with Political Islam (unbelievers (non-Muslims), politics, and violent jihad). According to Warner, even the Islamic hell is political. There are 146 references to it in the Qur’an. Only 6% of these references are on Muslims in hell for moral failings (murder, theft, etc.). The other 94% of the references to hell are on those in it for disagreeing with Muhammad, which is a political crime. This makes Islamic hell a political prison for those who oppose Islam. The small religious part of Islam serves the function of unifying and mobilizing the Islamic ummah (nation) to launch aggressive warfare against non-Muslims (violent jihad) in order to establish an Islamic Empire that dominates the entire world. This is demonstrated most vividly by the violent Muslim mob demonstrations in Islamic countries, which often follow the Friday mosque prayer. Therefore, Islam could not be classified as a religion. It is a political ideology of predatory imperialism.
Islam is more of a political ideology, than a religion. It is a political ideology hidden under a thin deceptive cover of barren religious rituals, which do not renew the human heart and do not uplift the human spirit. Right after praying the obligatory ritual prayer, a person may do evil because his heart is not touched by the prayer. Islam is a fascist political movement akin to Communism and Nazism invented by the prophet of Islam and his followers. It is a powerful tool of domination and control because, unlike Communism and Nazism, it claims divine authority, which makes it a lot more potent than them. In fact, striking similarities exist between the teachings of Hitler’s Mein Kampf (1924) and the teachings of Islam. Tyrants claimed that there can be no true peace without the creation of society that follows their ideologies. For Lenin, everyone had to submit to Communism; for Hitler, to Nazism; for Muhammad, to Islam. They defined peace only in terms of their own ideology. Islam exists not to enhance morality or to improve the life of Muslims. It exists only to perpetuate itself. Islam is not about saving souls. It is about building a world empire.
Stripped of the deceptive veneer of Islam’s divine claims, the history of Islam is the history of a warlord (Muhammad) and his followers who conquered and plundered much of the ancient world claiming that their false god wanted them to do so. They devised and used Islam as a tool for conquest and plunder. When Muslims stopped violence against non-Muslims, they turned and started violence against each other. Declaring other Muslims infidels due to insufficient piety is widely practiced by Salafists and Wahhabis to justify the use of violence against them (al-Tawbah 9: 73; etc.).
Islam was born out of violence, propagated by violence, and still practices violence till this day. Although Muslims constitute about a fifth of the world’s population, they are responsible for over four-fifths of the world’s armed conflicts. More blood has been shed for Islam than for any other cause in history. Some historians (Bill Warner, etc.) estimate that approximately a total of 270 million non-Muslims were massacred by the sword of Islam, both during the conquests of the marauding Islamic armies, and in the centuries that followed. This amounts to offering the non-Muslims as human sacrifices to please the god of Islam, as pagan barbarians used to do in the ancient times of darkness. The wounds inflicted by Muhammad and his followers on humanity have been bleeding for about 1400 years.
Muhammad had succeeded in numbing and desensitizing the conscience of his followers by claiming that an imagined divine authority approved, encouraged and commanded the atrocities they committed, and by promising a fictitious fleshly paradise as a reward. The Qur’an has given them a clean conscience for committing the most heinous crimes and cruelties on their helpless innocent victims. As a result, they have killed, maimed, raped, and looted without heeding the cries of their victims, without feeling regret and remorse, and without feeling ashamed and guilty about it. Islam corrupts men so thoroughly that they believe it is good to commit these wicked crimes. Pascal, the French philosopher and mathematician, wrote: “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction” (Sina, Ali, Understanding Muhammad, 2007-2008, p. 208). Lord Acton, a famous nineteenth century historian, said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
VI. Selected Bibliography
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The New Scofield Study Bible, New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1989.
Bostom, Andrew G. The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2005.
Craigie, Peter C. The Problem of War in the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1978.
Dawood, N. The Koran. New York, N. Y.: Penguin Books, 1997.
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