BBC News – How do you define Islamist extremism?

BBC News – How do you define Islamist extremism?.

From the opening paragraph:

Today, the government defines extremism as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”.

Off the top of my head that definition probably needs working through. Governments publish these definitions without realising how it could be used. For example (can’t remember the exact words) yesterday on Radio 4’s Today programme David Blunkett (MP) was interviewed about the same issue but included in his description of extremism ‘Crazy Creationists’. How he would describe a Creationist is not known but the point is this definition will (I hope and pray it won’t) be used to go after Christians that believe the Bible – how crazy is that!

The West & Islam – something to consider

I’m almost at the end of ‘God’s Battalions‘ by Rodney Stark and it’s a really good read. The following quotation, I think, sums up the difficulty that faces the West. As said before, thankfully, most Muslims live in contradiction to their violent founder. Here’s the quote:

The Crusader Kingdoms were never at peace, nor could they have been. As Jonathan Riley-Smith explained, “for ideological reasons, peace with the Muslim world was unattainable.” Temporary treaties were possible, but, given the doctrine of jihad (holy war), no lasting peace could be achieved except by surrender. p.184.

Western governments ought to ponder this ideology very carefully because this is still the aim of Islam – surrender.

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Pray for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

There is an email going round urging Christians to pray for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Much of the email follows. Please find a moment to pray for this man.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani never practiced the Muslim faith and converted to Christianity at age 19, becoming a pastor later. But the courts say that since his mother and father were practicing Muslims, he must recant his Christian faith or die. So far, in three court appearances, he has refused to do so – RISKING EXECUTION AT ANY MOMENT.   The Iranian Supreme Court often acts quickly in administering the death penalty.

According to a report, when asked by judges to “repent,” Yousef replied: “Repent,  What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?”

The judges replied: “To the religion of your ancestors – Islam.” To which Yousef replied: “I cannot.”

I was going to comment but instead I’ll simply let it speak for itself – Please Pray.

Ten years on – Jihad is not, and was not new

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Over the last few years the concept of Jihad has regularly been the subject of discussion – especially since the terrible events of 9/11. Today, we do remember those events. To be honest I can’t really remember the word being used before 9/11 but that’s my ignorance and not a reflection of the facts. Islamic apologists are doing a good job. Or at least I get the sense they are, because anything anti-Islamic has pretty much been successfully labelled as ‘Islamophobia’. And we know that anything with a phobia on the end must be really bad. Basically what this means in terms of practicalities is this: any criticism of Islam will bring a resounding boo hiss from the audience – especially from a BBC Question Time audience.

But the point of this post is to bring to your attention an article I came across via a link in a comment over at Jihad Watch. It’ a lengthy piece – including footnotes – for a blog post but is worth reading because it puts to bed the idea that attacks on the West are primarily due to our foreign policy. It’s just not true but as in many things it’s much easier to believe the lie. What you need to note especially is the date it was written. The article is copied from HERE. Any comments are of course are welcome.

Here’s the complete article:


Despite the much celebrated Israeli/Palestinian settlement, Yasser Arafat recently made some curious statements during a trip to South Africa, especially for a man supposedly promoting authentic peace in the Middle East. First, he called for “a jihad [i.e. an Islamic Holy War] to liberate Jerusalem.”[1] After vehement protests by the Israelis and Americans, he “clarified” that comment by saying he meant a “peaceful” jihad. Second, he described the PLO/Israeli agreement as of no more significance than the Pact of Hudaibiya (a treaty signed between the Prophet Muhammad and the Quraish tribe of Mecca in 628 A.D.).[2] That agreement was supposed to last ten years, but it soon proved to be a Carthaginian peace for the Quraish and it was abrogated the next year by the Muslims at the first opportunity, leading to the fall of Mecca and the victory of Islamic forces in Arabia.[3] “Hudaibiya” is especially noteworthy because “[i]n later times, the agreement … served as the prophetic precedent, to determine the Shari`a [Divine Law] rules governing the interruption of the jihadfor negotiation and truce.”[4] The lesson of Hudaibiya referred to by Arafat, then, was that no “peace” with non-Muslims could be final.[5]

What must be realized about Arafat’s statements is that they are specifically relevant and meaningful on an important, objective level and are not mere hyperbole or fundamentalist cant. The references to jihad and the Pact of Hudaibiya are compass headings to the heart of traditional Islam. They are not decipherable as such, however, without adopting an attitude of respect for Islam itself as a proclaimed world faith and candidate guide to ultimate truth, which also involves a similar respect for the factual history of Islam, its internal development and its interactions with the world of the West. If American policymakers are to properly understand Islam they must strive to overcome the dominant Western prejudice of “modernism” which sees all religions as mere irrational, personalist and primitive superstition, functionally irrelevant to public affairs (except, perhaps, as psychologically symptomatic). Functional and philosophical modernism is an attitude of intellectual immaturity or carelessness which has blinded American policy decisions in the Middle East and elsewhere in this century.[6] To deal effectively with Muslims and Islam, Americans must first respect Islam and come to know it as it really is – especially the history and meaning of jihad.

There are five especially critical aspects about Islam’s doctrine of jihad which must be brought out to properly understand the significance of Islam as it relates to the United States and the West.[7] In summary, the meaning of jihad in its primary sense is military and coercive; it is central to the universalist doctrine of the Islamic belief system; its operational aim is political domination of non-Islamic territories (i.e. rather than forced conversion); it is offensive or aggressive in nature in the first instance (and not merely “defensive”); and, finally, jihad is continuous in character (i.e. pending the ultimate victory of the forces of Islam).

jihad is primarily “military” in character. The term jihad has both a common and a legal meaning – but its legal meaning has become the primary definition. In its common (rather than technical) meaning it describes a state of effort or striving, in the sense of “exerting oneself as much as one can.” However, jihad in its legal sense (as adopted by Islam in application to the formal relations between Muslim and non-Muslim peoples) is defined (according to historically attested Islamic authorities) as, e.g. “fighting the unbelievers by striking them, taking their property, demolishing their places of worship, smashing their idols and the like.” Whenever the term jihad is used without qualification (as when Arafat first used it in his un-“clarified” comments in South Africa) it always means the “jihad of the Sword,” i.e. “fighting the unbelievers for religion’s sake.”[8] Some modern Islamic apologists (as with the waffling Arafat), try to deflect or redirect attention from the traditional Islamic, military meaning of the duty of jihad by equivocating, ignoring or minimizing its legal meaning in favor of its common or informal meaning of “spiritual striving.”[9] The effort simply does not square with the historical evidence and juridical teachings over the centuries. Although the term originally contained a non-military significance, it has historically been defined by the Islamic authorities of note in its doctrinally military and combative sense.[10] (Additionally, jihad is not the same as “just war,” as defined in the Western tradition of that name, although some try to say so or imply it.[11] Not every just war is a Christian holy war or Crusade.[12] Just War, in the first and Western sense, has always meant a morally “permissible” rather than a holy, laudatory or mandatory war. Just Wars may be fought while Holy Wars or Crusades should be fought. On the other hand, all jihad is “holy war” by inherent meaning as a term in religious law or fiqh. In Islam, it is only religious war which is licit—i.e. jihad[13].)

Furthermore, jihad is not a peripheral or subsidiary doctrine of Islam (as is the “Just War” theory of Christendom). jihad is actually at the active center, the core, the ratio and raison d’etre of Islam. It has sometimes been called the “sixth” pillar of Islam, the unnamed key-stone resting on the explicitly named “five pillars” or essentials, i.e.: profession of the faith (Shahada), ritual prayer (Salat), fasting in Ramadan (Sawm), pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) and almsgiving (Zakat).[14] Above all, jihad is the enabling mechanism, the method of choice, for the announced goal of Islamic universalism. It is the “name” for the duty of a striving Islamic universalism itself. jihad, in its primary military/ideological sense, is the mandated vehicle of Islamic “universalism” (i.e. the religious claim that Islam is the true faith to whose temporal as well as spiritual authority the whole world must submit).[15]

Islam itself means “submission” while “Muslim” means one who has submitted” to the will of Allah.[16] The initial operational goal of Islamic universalism, its missionary extension into the lands of unbelief, is the political subjugation of the non-Islamic world.[17] Islam requires Muslims to strive to impose Muslim rule on the non-Muslim world in order to, in effect, make the world safe for Islam—i.e. the enforcement of Shari`a or divine law. jihad should not mistakenly be confused with forced conversion— which is not allowed under Islam.[18] Forced conversion is not the purpose of jihad, but rather its aim is political conquest and control. “The warriors of Islam had as their immediate concern the subjugation, rather than conversion, of the unbelievers.”[19]

Historical Islam sees jihad as an affirmative duty which is operationally offensive or aggressive (in the traditional military sense) and not merely “defensive.” Modern Islamic apologists sometimes assert that jihad is now only “defensive,” but their definition of that concept is highly questionable.[20] As one commentator noted: “[J]ustifications for launching an Islamic ‘defensive’ war may include “justifications for war that are not recognized in public international law” and “assertions that Islam allows wars only in self-defense must be subjected to scrutiny to ascertain whether the Islamic concepts of self-defense being used do in fact correspond to the concepts of international law.”[21] For instance, cited Islamic causes for initiating war include showing hostility, opposition to the mission of Islam or contempt for it (which are all religious reasons in the nature of refusing a call to convert or submit to the forces of Islam or failing to treat Islamic missionaries with respect) and, therefore, resistance to Islamic universalism or lack of respect for the Islamic faith or its mission is classically considered a casus belli or aggression against Islam.[22]

The Islamic “modernist” interpretation of so-called defensive restrictions on jihad actually arose within Islam after the failure of the Great Mutiny in India in 1857 which left the Indian Muslims (reputed to have strongly supported the rebellion) socially, politically and militarily isolated and exposed to British retribution. Some Indian Muslim intellectuals endeavored to redefine the classical doctrine of Islam so as to avoid a direct, religious/ideological confrontation with the superior colonial might of the British Empire. A similar effort was involved in Egypt, but there the Islamic revisionists insisted that “defense” included opposition to colonial administrations as well. Both positions were not in accord with the fundamentalist or orthodox opinion of the majority of Muslims who saw the duty of jihad in the primary, classical sense of expansionary geopolitical struggle to dominate non-Muslim territories whenever feasible.[23]

The bedrock doctrine of Islam which impels the duty of jihadic universalism is that one must “command the good and forbid evil.”[24] Compare this to the critical (and less geopolitically compelling) foundation of Christianity which says that one should strive to do good, and avoid that which is evil.[25] Similarly, Islam commands the faithful to “slay them [i.e. the unbelievers] wherever ye find them”[26] while Christianity merely enjoins “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations … .”[27] The difference is not just academic. Under the belief system of classical, orthodox Islam, a Muslim cannot be genuinely free or exercise “freedom of religion” unless he is in command of society.[28] Therefore, the duty of the Muslim is to strive in all ways to expand Islam and to subjugate the non-Islamic world to Islamic power.[29] “Until that happens, the world is divided into two: the House of Islam (dar al-Islam), where Muslims rule and the law of Islam prevails; and the House of War (dar al-Harb), comprising the rest of the world. Between the two there is a morally necessary, legally and religiously obligatory state of war, until the final and inevitable triumph of Islam over unbelief.”[30] Offensive (expansionary) military jihad is the constant duty of the community as a whole while strictly defensive jihad becomes a personal and particular obligation as well.[31] Even when it is defensive, however, it is not always so in the sense we have come to define that word.[32]

Finally, jihad is and must be permanent. jihad is “a permanent obligation upon the entire Muslim community.”[33] It may pass into periods of dormancy,[34] but the obligation of jihad can never end short of the complete subjugation of the non- Muslim world.[35] This is the principle implied in the precedent of Hudaibiya as alluded to by Yasser Arafat (a principle which is the operational expression of strict Islamic universalism). Treaties can never be more than truces.[36] Always and at some level, Islam is at war with the non-Islamic world. While there may be an interruption of open hostilities between the West (or any other non-muslim territory) and Islam in specific cases, or even a “peace” with Muslims who choose not to adhere to traditional Islamic teaching in this regard, there can never be peace between unbelievers and Islam, i.e. orthodox, historical Islam.[37] In fact, under the orthodox Islamic doctrine of jihad, relations between the House of Islam (Islamic territory) and the House of War (territories of unsubjugated unbelievers) can never ameliorate past the level of low- intensity conflict or Islamic “insurgency” against the infidels.[38]

To so describe the authentic Islamic doctrine of jihad is not to in anyway malign Islam or Muslims, no more so than describing the orthodox Catholic teachings on an all male clergy, divorce and artificial birth control would be to insult Roman Catholics. All it says is that those teachings and doctrines are, in fact, what they are. The orthodox doctrine of jihad has been historically announced and defined.[39] Those who would argue that it has changed (contrary to the historical record of thirteen centuries) bear a serious and heavy burden of proof to establish that proposition, especially to the satisfaction of Islam’s rank and file. There is great pressure on modern Islam to “get with it” and dispense with its less “modern” or fashionable doctrines.[40] As one traditional Islamist put it: “In order to be strong, we are told, we must reject ‘traditional’ interpretations of the Quran and read it ‘rationally’ in the light of modern life.”[41] However, as the encyclopedist D. B. Macdonald said: “Islam must be completely made over before the doctrine of djihad [sic] can be eliminated.”[42]

Individual Muslims will, of course, make their own decisions in the world of everyday life, but it is no small thing to remember that, while they are free to ascribe to something other than the orthodox, classical doctrine of jihad, what they espouse will not be genuine, mainstream Islam. A Catholic who supports a right to procure an abortion is not promoting a Roman Catholic doctrine. A Muslim denying the duty of jihad would be in a similar situation. They may so profess, but they are no longer professing historical, orthodox Islam.[43]

Islam is a strong and robust religion driving a rich family of cultures which, for good or ill, are not the same as ours in the West. Islamic values and beliefs are often different from Western values and beliefs which are based on a competing Judaeo/Christian and Classical heritage, despite certain common origins and roots. To gloss over those differences is irrational and potentially dangerous.[44] For American policy makers to ignore the unique character of Islam and its tenets could be catastrophic. Someone once said, apparently in a hurried fit of summary, that “Communists” were, after all, only “Democrats in a hurry.” How tragically wrong he was. It would be foolishness on a similar scale to assume that Muslims are merely ethnic or colorful “Unitarians” whose core beliefs may be blithely disregarded for reasons of ignorance, political correctness or Modernist insensitivity to the power of religious conviction. Failure to properly understand the historically-based meaning of jihad in orthodox Islam would also de-emphasize or derail investigation into the valid avenues of possible change in Islamic doctrine, thus foregoing the real chance of engaging in honest dialogue with the Muslim world to encourage an authentic development of doctrine (when and if feasible) so as to soften or defuse the import of jihad in Western-Islamic relations.[45] To do so, however, would again require an appreciation or sensitivity for religious issues and beliefs, and a long-term commitment or consistency in expressing Western values and interests, which traits have not been demonstrated qualities in recent American foreign policy.

Few chroniclers of recent history have noted that Spanish Christians had a distinctive name for the continuing low-intensity warfare separating the periods of active, full-scale operations which punctuated the eight hundred year Reconquista, or reconquest of the Iberian peninsula. They called their continuing struggle to push back Islam the Guerra Fria—or as we would say it, the “Cold War.”[46] Only intelligent respect for religion in general and Islam in particular will afford us the chance to realistically confront and assess the practical role of the historically-derived, anti-Western concept of jihad in Muslim thought and policy and thus avoid potential default in, or exacerbation (through ignorance) of, another ideological “cold war.”


1. Charles Krauthammer, “Israel is taken in by Arafat’s deadly zero-sum game,” THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, May 20, 1994.

2.”Arafat’s Parable,” THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, May 27, 1994.

3. H. U. Rahman, A CHRONOLOGY OF ISLAMIC HISTORY: 570-1000 C.E. (Boston, 1989), p. 15-17.

4. Bernard Lewis, THE ARABS IN HISTORY (9th ed. Oxford, 1993), p. 43.

5. “Muslim jurists conclude that treaties of friendship should not be concluded with non-Muslims in perpetuity. Generally the jurists agree that ten years should be the maximum period.” Muhammad Hamidullah, THE MUSLIM CONDUCT OF STATE, 7th rev’d. ed. (Lahore, 1977), p. 266.

6. See e.g., Angelo Codevilla, INFORMING STATECRAFT: INTELLIGENCE FOR A NEW CENTURY (New York, 1992), p. 7; and Adda B. Bozeman, “U.S. Conceptions of Democracy and Security in a World Environment of Culturally Alien Political Thought: Linkages and Contradictions” in U.S. DOMESTIC AND NATIONAL SECURITY AGENDAS: INTO THE 21ST CENTURY, ed. Sam C. Sarkesian and John Mead Flanagin (Westport, CT 1994) p. 54.

7. For a more detailed description of the strategic ideology of jihad, see Patrick L. Moore, “Jihad” and Conflict in the World of Islam, CJ INTERNATIONAL, Office of International Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, (January- February, 1994).


9. E.g., Suzanne Haneef, WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ISLAM AND MUSLIMS (Lahore, 1985), p. 118-19.

10. Bernard Lewis, THE POLITICAL LANGUAGE OF ISLAM (Chicago, 1988), p. 72.

11. E.g., “the jihad – holy war, or bellum justum as later European jurists would have called it … .” Philip C. Jessup, Judge, International Court of Justice in his forward to Majid Khadduri, THE ISLAMIC LAW OF NATIONS: SHAYBANI’S SIYAR (Baltimore, 1966), p. ix. “Thus in Islam, as in Western Christendom, the jihad is the bellum justum.” Majid Khadduri, id. at 59.

12. William V. O’Brien, LAW AND MORALITY IN ISRAEL’S WAR WITH THE PLO (New York, 1991), pp. 285 and 311.

13. “Islam prohibited war in every form save in the fulfillment of a religious purpose, the jihad.” Majid Khadduri, THE ISLAMIC LAW OF NATIONS: SHAYBANI’S SIYAR (Baltimore, 1966), p. 16.

14. Cyril Glasse’, The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam (San Francisco, 1991), p. 132; and Ian Richard Netton, A Popular Dictionary of Islam (London, 1992), p. 39.

15. Bernard Lewis, Islam and the West (New York, 1993), pp. 46-47; Majid Khadduri, WAR AND PEACE IN THE LAW OF ISLAM (Baltimore, 1955), p. 64.

16. Ian Richard Netton, A Popular Dictionary of Islam (London, 1992), pp. 126 and 182.

17. Bernard Lewis, Islam and the West (New York, 1993), p. 47.

18. Speaking of the falsely ascribed tenet of “forced conversion” Edward Gibbon said it was a “charge of ignorance and bigotry” but he also noted the well-known Islamic drive for universal political domination in that “it cannot be denied that … in peace and war, they assert a divine and indefeasible claim of universal empire; and that, in their orthodox creed, the unbelieving nations are continually threatened with the loss of religion or liberty.” Edward Gibbon, DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, vol. 7, ch. LVIII, J.B. Bury ed. (1912), p. 277.

19. Ignaz Goldziher, Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law, translated by Andras and Ruth Hamori (Princeton, N.J. 1981), p. 27.

20. A popular source for the “defensive”-only theory of jihad is the work of the 13th century jurist/theologian Taqi al-Din ibn Taymiyah (1263-1328). He reportedly “reinterpreted” the doctrine of jihad so as to restrict war against non-believers so that “[r]esort to force is allowed only as a defensive or self-protective measure.” Qamaruddin Khan, THE POLITICAL THOUGHT OF IBN TAYMIYAH (Islamabad, Pakistan 1985), p. 157. Reliance on Ibn Taymiyah’s opinions as an authoritative revision of Islamic jihad doctrine, however, is highly dubious. He was definitely and directly at odds with the majority Sunni religious authorities, receiving “colossal opposition” from them. Id. at p. Ibn Taymiyah was supposedly convinced of the need to redefine jihad as solely defensive by a realistic assessment of the decline of Islamic power, especially in the wake of the Mongol invasions. But mainstream Islam clearly did not agree with him. “[T]he Muslim jurists were not prepared to be convinced by these facts. They continued to preach the theory of undiluted jihad.” Id. at 158. Ibn Taymiyah’s attempt to reinterpret jihad was thus a failure. “Unfortunately Ibn Taymiyya’s approach was not accepted.” Tamara Sonn, Irregular Warfare and Terrorism in Islam: Asking the Right Questions in CROSS, CRESCENT, AND SWORD: THE JUSTIFICATION AND LIMITATION OF WAR IN WESTERN AND ISLAMIC TRADITION, ed. by James Turner Johnson and John Kelsay (Westport, Ct. 1990), p. 135. His signal lack of success bolsters the durability of the historical, orthodox teaching of permanent, unremitting jihad which may descend into low-intensity conflict (or “dormancy”) but which may never end until the universal triumph of Islam over unbelief. Then again, Ibn Taymiya’s theory of jihad might also be seen, as a practical matter, as more on a par with Stalin’s tactical retreat from “world revolution” in his concept of “socialism in one country,” i.e. concentrating on internal development and buildup pending remergence of world-contesting power. E.g., “Ibn Taymiya legitimated what has been called ‘jihad within the commnity’ … .” Gilles Kepel, MUSLIM EXTREMISM IN EGYPT: THE PROPHET AND PHAROAH (Berkeley, 1993), p. 199. In any event, Ibn Taymiya’s ideologically iconoclastic ideas eventually became the intellectual and religious basis for the significantly unorthodox, puritanical and “steadfastly fundamentalist interpretation of Islam” in the Wahabi sect which holds sway in Saudi Arabia. Cyril Glasse’, THE CONCISE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ISLAM (San Francisco, 1991), p. 414. At best, Ibn Taymiyah’s view was a distinctly minority, non-mainstream theory of jihad.

21. Ann Elizabeth Mayer, “War and Peace in the Islamic Tradition and International Law” in JUST WAR AND JIHAD: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES ON WAR AND PEACE IN WESTERN AND ISLAMIC TRADITIONS, ed. by James Turner Johnson and John Kelsay (Westport, Ct., 1991), pp. 203-05.

22. E.g., Opposition to or placing obstacles in the way of the “call” to Islam could give rise to a “defensive” jihad. Ayatullah Murtada Mutahhari, Jihad in the Quran in Jihad and Shahadat: Struggle and Martyrdom in Islam, Essays and Addresses by Ayatullah Mahmud Taleqani, AYATULLAH MURTADA MUTAHHARI AND DR. ALI SHARI’ATI, ed. by Mehdi Abedi and Garry Lagenhausen (Houston, Texas 1986), pp. 109-113. “When a Muslim State is free from internal commotion and strife, and has sufficient power …, then it is its duty to invite the neighboring non-Muslim sovereigns to accept the unity of God … in short to embrace Islam. If they do, they will retain their power … . If the invitation is rejected, the non-Muslim chief [outside Arabia, may, in the alternative] pay yearly jizyah or protection tax … . If both these alternatives are rejected and all peaceful persuasion and reasoning fail, then it is the duty of the Muslim State to declare war in the name of God until it conquers or receives the jizyah … .” Muhammad Hamidullah, THE MUSLIM CONDUCT OF STATE, 7th rev’d. ed. (Lahore, 1977), p. 171-172.

23. See generally, Rudolph Peters, Islam and Colonialism: The Doctrine of Jihad in Modern History (The Hague, 1979), especially pp. 151-165. As Peters describes it, the Modernist gloss is “A new interpretation of the jihad-doctrine” which is put forth in writings of a “highly apologetic character” wherein “[t]he classical doctrine of jihad has been stripped of its militancy … .” Id. at p. 150.

24. E.g., Koran, 3:104, 110, 114; and 9:71.

25. E.g., KJV, Psalms 34:14; Luke 6:35; Romans 13:4 and 1 Peter 3:11.

26. Koran II:191; and see James J. Busuttil, “Slay Them Wherever You Find Them”: Humanitarian Law in Islam, Military Law & Law of War Review (1991), p. 112.

27. KJV, Matthew 28:19. While proper provision of armed force is not forbidden by Christ, it is strictly limited (e.g. Luke 22:36-38, where “they said, Lord, behold, here [are] two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.”).

28. “[R]eforms which Islam wants to bring about cannot be carried out by sermons alone. Political power is also essential to achieve them.” Sayyid Abul A’La Maududi, The Islamic Law and Constitution (Lahore, 1990), p. 5. “Similarly [quoting Ibn Taymiya], all the obligations of religion, like jihad, justice, arrangement for hajj and Id and Friday congregations, extending help to the oppressed and the enforcement of the penal provisions of the Quran, cannot be fulfilled without power and authority.” Qamaruddin Khan, THE POLITICAL THOUGHT OF IBN TAYMIYAH (Islamabad, Pakistan 1985), p. 3 Also, Bernard Lewis, ISLAM AND THE WEST (New York, 1993), pp. 52-53.

29. “Islamic rule is to be established by all means.” Muhammad Hamidullah, The Muslim Conduct of State, 7th rev’d. ed. (Lahore, 1977), p. 170.

30. Bernard Lewis, The Political Language of Islam (Chicago, 1988), p. 73.

31. Bernard Lewis, The Political Language of Islam (Chicago, 1988), p. 73.

32. It should also be noted by way of comparison that the “Crusades”—one of the isolated instances of Western “Holy War” – have long been recognized as being in the nature of a counter-offensive while, without doubt, the successive Islamic waves of conquest were entirely aggressive in character. E.g., Bernard Lewis, Islam: from the Prophet Muhammed to the Capture of Constantinople, Vol. 1: Politics and War, ed. and translated by Bernard Lewis (Oxford, 1977), p. xiv; J. J. Saunders, A HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL ISLAM (London, 1965), ch. X, “The Christian Counter-attack.”

33. Majid Khadduri, War and Peace in the Law of Islam (Baltimore, 1955), p. 64.

34. Majid Khadduri, The Islamic Law of Nations: Shaybani’s Siyar (Baltimore, 1966), pp. 17 and 15.

35. “The basis of the Islamic attitude towards unbelievers is the law of war; they must be either converted or subjugated or killed (excepting women, children, and slaves); the third alternative, in general, occurs only if the first two are refused.” Joseph Schacht, AN INTRODUCTION TO ISLAMIC LAW (Oxford 1964) pp. 130.

36. There is at least “uncertainty” about “the binding force of some treaties, such as ones that would permanently fetter Muslims’ ability to conduct a jihad.” Ann Elizabeth Mayer, “War and Peace in the Islamic Tradition and International Law” in Just War and Jihad: Historical Perspectives on War and Peace in Western and Islamic Traditions, ed. by James Turner Johnson and John Kelsay (Westport, Ct., 1991), p. 201.

37. Compare the Marxist-Leninist concept of “peaceful coexistence” which ultimately aims at neither peace nor mutuality, but rather is a reduction of tensions until the “correlation of forces” once again favors the Socialist Camp. See e.g., John P. Roche, THE HISTORY AND IMPACT OF MARXIST-LENINIST ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY (Cambridge, Mass., 1984); Roberta Goren, THE SOVIET UNION AND TERRORISM (ed. by Jillian Becker), introduction by Robert Conquest (Boston, 1984); SOVIET PERCEPTIONS OF WAR AND PEACE, ed. by Graham D. Vernon (Washington, D.C. 1981); John Norton Moore and Robert F. Turner, INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE BREZHNEV DOCTRINE (Lanham, Md. 1987); J. A. Emmerson and Hans Bax, The Soviet Concept of “Peace,” STRATEGIC REVIEW (Fall, 1983); and Patrick L. Moore, A Dictionary of Soviet Double-Talk and Gulag Glossary Reveals Some Unusual Etymologies, NEW YORK CITY TRIBUNE, June 18 and 19, 1986.

38. “Consequently, one may view a Muslim’s entire life as ‘a continuous process of warfare, psychological and political, if not strictly military,’ [quoting Majid Khadduri] and conclude that Islamic precepts advance a doctrine of permanent war regardless of whether or not believers are actually engaged in military activities. And, in fact, as the power of the Arabized and Islamized states declined, this doctrine became largely dormant, leaving Muslims in a condition roughly comparable to what is known in international law as a “state of insurgency [emphasis added].” Adda B. Bozeman, “War and the Clash of Ideas,” in CONFLICT, CULTURE, AND HISTORY: REGIONAL DIMENSIONS (Air University Press, Maxwell Air Force Base, Al., 1993) pp. XLIV-XLV.

39. It is the historical record which must demonstrate what such religious doctrines are. See e.g., Bernard Lewis, Islam and the West (New York, 1993), p. 194, ch. 8, n. 1.

40. See, e.g. Bassam Tibi, Islam and the Cultural Accommodation of Social Change, trans. by Clare Krojzl (Boulder, Co. 1990) and Milton Viorst, Sandcastles: The ARABS IN SEARCH OF THE MODERN WORLD (New York, 1994).

41. Maryam Jameelah, Islam and Modernism (Lahore, 1988), p. 48.

42. D. B. MacDonald, “djihad” in Shorter Encyclopedia of ISLAM, ed. by H. A. R. Gibb and J. H. Kramers (Leiden, 1991), p. 89.

43. “The largest group of Muslims are the Sunnis, often known as ‘the orthodox’, who recognize the first four Caliphs, attribute no religious or political functions to the descendants of the Prophet’s son-in-law `Ali, and adhere to one of the four Sunni Schools of Law.” Cyril Glasse’, The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam (San Francisco, 1991), p. 382. The Sunnis comprise about ninety percent of all Muslims. Id., at 449. It is the Sunni or orthodox doctrine of jihad which is treated here.

44. “[T]he intellectual and religious background of the world of Islam is very different from that of the West and as such it becomes difficult for the Western and the West- oriented observers to grasp and appreciate the situation. It is, therefore, necessary that the Islamic concept of religion and the Muslim outlook on politics should be clearly understood at the very outset.” Sayyid Abul A’La Maududi, THE ISLAMIC LAW AND CONSTITUTION (Lahore, 1990), p. 2.

45. See e.g., Ignaz Goldziher, Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law, translated by Andras and Ruth Hamori (Princeton, N.J. 1981), especially chapters II and III, The Development of Law and The Growth and Development of Dogmatic Theology; Joseph Schacht, AN INTRODUCTION TO ISLAMIC LAW (Oxford 1964), chapters 6 through 15, especially chapter 10, The ‘Closing of the Gate of Independent Reasoning’ and the Further Development of Doctrine; and articles or entries on such as Fiqh, Hadith, Ijma, Ijtihad, Koran, Qiyas, Sunnah, Usul in, e.g., Cyril Glasse’, THE CONCISE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ISLAM (San Francisco, 1991), SHORTER ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ISLAM, ed. by H. A. R. Gibb and J. H. Kramers (Leiden, 1991), and Ian Richard Netton, A POPULAR DICTIONARY OF ISLAM (London, 1992). A genuine development of doctrine of such magnitude would be a long and difficult process at best and largely conducted, of course, by Muslims themselves within Islam.

46. Adda B. Bozeman, “U.S. Conceptions of Democracy and Security in a World Environment of Culturally Alien Political Thought: Linkages and Contradictions” in U.S. DOMESTIC AND NATIONAL SECURITY AGENDAS: INTO THE 21ST CENTURY, ed. Sam C. Sarkesian and John Mead Flanagin (Westport, Ct. 1994) p. 53.

Islam, Shari’ah & Human Rights

In a previous post I indicated a further update on Human Rights – well here it is. This is still in the context of the book Freedom to Believe by Dr Patrick Sookhdeo.

Human Rights

To make the differences between a Western and an Islamic understanding of  ‘human rights’ clearer it was quite revealing in the book to compare the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Appendix 3, p. 129) with the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (Appendix 4, p. 137). My comments are going to be brief but you can follow the links, read both declarations and make up your own mind.

Article 1 of the Islamic Declaration states:

(a) All human beings form one family whose members are united by their subordination to Allah and descent from Adam. All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any discrimination on the basis of race, colour, language, belief, sex, religion, political affiliation, social status or other considerations. The true religion is the guarantee for enhancing such dignity along the path to human integrity.

(b) All human beings are Allah’s subjects, and the most loved by Him are those who are most beneficial to His subjects, and no one has superiority over another except on the basis of piety and good deeds.

It seems clear to me – if I have understood it correctly – that every person on the planet is born a Muslim. I can’t quote it but I have heard this before. I’m not sure how else to take it – ‘All human beings are Allah’s subjects’. This must therefore mean that everyone that is not a Muslim is an Apostate. And we know what that means – anyone is a legitimate target for the death penalty.

Article 2c states:

(c) The preservation of human life throughout the term of time willed by Allah is a duty prescribed by Shari’ah.

The allotted time willed by Allah is contingent on The Koran and Shari’ah Law. All the way through the declaration Shari’ah is introduced as normative. In other words there are many ‘get out’ clauses that have the ring of ‘we were only obeying orders’ – that is obeying the will of Allah by killing apostates.

Just in case you miss it the last two articles, 24 & 25 say this:

ARTICLE 24: ‘All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah.’

ARTICLE 25: ‘The Islamic Shari’ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.’

At least the Islamic declaration is honest, nothing is hidden, yet Western governments, including my own just don’t seem to get it. I have no way of telling if every Muslim wants to see the whole world dominated by Islam. However, if not, they will be at odds not only with  the Islamic Human Rights Declaration but with The Koran. I’m left scratching my head and wondering just how Blair, Brown and now Cameron in the UK and Bush & Obama in the US can miss this – that is unless it’s intentional.

Buy or borrow the book and read for yourself.

More on the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.

Islam, Freedom & Apostasy

This week I finished reading ‘Freedom to Believe: Challenging Islam’s Apostasy Law‘ by Dr Patrick Sookhdeo. There are four chapters: 1) What Classical Islam Teaches About Apostasy. 2) Muslims Debate and Interpret the Apostasy Law. 3) The Application of the Apostasy Law in the World Today. 4) Conclusion. There follow 4 Appendices and a helpful Glossary of Islamic Terms that occur in the text.

Dr Sookhdeo in the penultimate sentence concludes, ‘The Muslim voices calling for reform of the law represent only a small proportion of the world’s Muslims’. And the final sentence of his conclusion ‘The only hope for real freedom of religion within Islam lies in the abolition of all penalties for apostasy and permission for those who want to leave Islam to do so’ (p. 100).

Islam & The State

These conclusions follow a fairly detailed discussion of the Apostasy laws within Islam and how these laws are applied  in the context of the State. It is vital to understand that within Islam there is no separation between Islam and the State. To apostatise from Islam is seen as State treason. The State is Islam and Islam is the State. Some might liken the Church & State situation here in the UK but it’s worth pointing out that if a person decides to leave the Church of England they will not find themselves in court for treason against the UK Government. Let’s be honest no one would blink an eye – if it was a ‘personality’ it might be newsworthy for a couple of days but that would be it. Not so within Islam, Apostasy is Treason.

Hadd or Ta’zir

To be fair Dr Sookhdeo does point out that penalties do vary and the severest penalties are not necessarily carried out in practice. Penalties are also dependent on which category they might fall into. There are two categories. The first is the hadd offence and these are specifically laid down in the Koran and are mandatory. The second is ta’zir – here the judge has some discretionary powers. However  ‘though not all schools of [Shari’a] law identify apostasy (that is for adult male apostates) as a hadd offence, they all prescribe the death penalty for it.’

Human Rights

To make the differences between a Western and an Islamic understanding of ‘rights’ clearer it was quite revealing to compare the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Appendix 3, p. 129) with the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (Appendix 4, p. 137). I will do this in a separate post and possibly update this one.