Tag Archives: Terrorism

Islamic Terrorism as a Genetic-Cultural Selective Pressure on Muslim Populations

On the origins of Islamic terrorism, the dangerous loophole within Sunni Islam that enables it (hadith-primacism), and the powerful new Sunni Criterionist position, already adopted by millions of educated Muslims, that uses the Quran to cripple extremist ideologies.

The Western Origins of the Islamic Terrorism Germ

The United States invented modern Islamic terrorism in 1979 as part of its efforts to fight the Soviet Union’s influence in Central Asia, that all-important part of the world, control of which is necessary for any would-be world hegemon.

The groundwork had been laid by the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that started out as a welfare and education society but grew too powerful for its own good. Its major political work was their helping in the war against an army of Jews eager to repeat the Hebrew Bible’s conquest of Canaan by systematically killing Palestinian men, women and infants1 in a poetic reenactment of the Book of Joshua.

From the perspective of Quranic law, the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in the war against these terrorists was justifiable, as the Brotherhood wasn’t acting independently, unlike today’s Islamic terrorists. It was helping in a conflict that involved existing sovereign states (Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, members of the Arab League). The Muslim Brotherhood’s war was exactly the opposite of conflicts launched by modern Islamic terrorists, it was an anti-terrorist force in the conflict, helping governments fight terrorists that were carrying out bombings and massacres, intent on terrorizing all Palestinians into leaving the territories that these Jews had decided belonged to them as God’s Chosen People.

The Brotherhood’s power grew to the point that it developed its own intelligence and covert operations arm, known as al-Jihaaz al-Sirri (The Covert Apparatus), which was involved in assassinations and bombings, such as the assassination of Ahmed El-Khazindar Bey, President of Egypt’s Court of Appeal, and Mahmoud El Nokrashy Pasha, Prime Minister of Egypt, both in 1948. Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Brotherhood, condemned both of these assassinations, but he had practically lost control over his organization, since powerful factions within it wanted violence, and they had the power to bypass al-Banna’s wishes.

The Egyptian intellectual Sayyid Qutb, well-known among Egypt’s intelligentsia and student of the famous Egyptian journalist Abbās Mahmūd al-Aqqād, reverted to Islam after a life of secularism and adopted the Brotherhood, while also, perhaps without realizing its true consequences, building the intellectual foundations necessary for the Brotherhood’s violent arm to carry out its insurgencies. If Sayyid Qutb’s highly partisan biographer is to be trusted2, his house was used as a meeting place for Gamal Abdel Nasser and his friends as they planned the 1952 July 23 Revolution in Egypt against the British occupation.

Once president of Egypt, Nasser wanted Qutb on his side, offering him high government positions, which Qutb always refused.3 Once he despaired of Qutb joining him, he started persecuting him and his associates, imprisoning him for a decade. Nasser ordered Qutb’s hanging on 24th of August, 1966, after a show trial. These events turned Qutb into the perfect martyr, a secular convert to Islam, a literary critic, a warrior for social justice, and a revolutionary who was stabbed in the back by Western-friendly seculars that he had supported into power.

The Brotherhood distanced itself from Qutb, going back to its early position of advocating peaceful activism (at least openly), but extremists around the world wishing for a resurgence of Islam continued to follow him as their primary source for both knowledge and for inspiration.4

By the 1970’s, the time was ripe for any would-be terrorist to launch his own holy war against whoever he disliked. The CIA jumped right into the action, training, arming and encouraging these terrorists as tools for protecting US interests abroad and fighting its major enemy, the Soviet Union. Operation Cyclone, conceived by the Jewish US foreign policy strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, armed and financed jihadi warriors in Afghanistan to use them as a buffer against Soviet influence from 1979 until after 1992, to the tune of $630 million per year in 1987.

What judgment to render on all this is a matter of perspective. Asked in 1998 if he had any regrets about having helped instigate Soviet intervention in Afghanistan5, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in many respects the god-father of Operation Cyclone, reacted with astonishment. “Regret what?” he replied. “That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?”

The interviewer pressed the point. Hadn’t subsequent rise of radical Islamism tranished that victory? Not in Brzezinski’s view. “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”6

Check out Edmonds’ interview with Pat Buchanan’s American Conservative magazine: Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds?

This brilliant program to manufacture Islamic jihadists to fight America’s enemies resulted in the creation of Operation Gladio B, the United States program to train al-Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates, exposed by the FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.

In her interview, Edmonds  insisted that after its initial exposé, the Times’ investigation had gone beyond such previous revelations, and was preparing to disclose her most startling accusations. Among these, Edmonds described how the CIA and the Pentagon had been running a series of covert operations supporting Islamist militant networks linked to Osama bin Laden right up to 9/11, in Central Asia, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

While it is widely recognised that the CIA sponsored bin Laden’s networks in Afghanistan during the Cold War, U.S. government officials deny any such ties existed. Others claim these ties were real, but were severed after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989.

But according to Edmonds, this narrative is false. “Not just bin Laden, but several senior ‘bin Ladens’ were transported by U.S. intelligence back and forth to the region in the late 1990s through to 2001”, she told this author, “including Ayman al-Zawahiri” – Osama bin Laden’s right-hand-man who has taken over as al-Qaeda’s top leader.

“In the late 1990s, all the way up to 9/11, al-Zawahiri and other mujahideen operatives were meeting regularly with senior U.S. officials in the U.S. embassy in Baku to plan the Pentagon’s Balkan operations with the mujahideen,” said Edmonds. “We had support for these operations from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, but the U.S. oversaw and directed them. They were being run from a secret section of the Pentagon with its own office”.

Edmonds clarified, “the FBI counterintelligence investigation which was tracking these targets, along with their links to U.S. officials, was known as ‘Gladio B’, and was kickstarted in 1997. It so happens that Major Douglas Dickerson” – the husband of her FBI co-worker Melek whom she accused of espionage – “specifically directed the Pentagon’s ‘Gladio’ operations in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan at this time.”

In testimony under oath, Edmonds has previously confirmed that Major Doug Dickerson worked for the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under the weapons procurement logistics division on Turkey and Central Asia, and with the Office of Special Plans (OSP) overseeing policy in Central Asia.

[…]

Edmonds said that the Pentagon operations with Islamists were an “extension” of an original ‘Gladio’ programme uncovered in the 1970s in Italy, part of an EU-wide NATO covert operation that began as early as the 1940s. As Swiss historian Dr. Daniele Ganser records in his seminal book, NATO’s Secret Armies, an official Italian parliamentary inquiry confirmed that British MI6 and the CIA had established a network of secret “stay-behind” paramilitary armies, staffed by fascist and Nazi collaborators. The covert armies carried out terrorist attacks throughout Western Europe, officially blamed on Communists in what Italian military intelligence called the ‘strategy of tension’.

“You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game” explained Gladio operative Vincenzo Vinciguerra during his  trial in 1984. “The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people… to turn to the State to ask for greater security.”

While the reality of Gladio’s existence in Europe is a matter of historical record, Edmonds contended the same strategy was adopted by the Pentagon in the 1990s in a new theatre of operations, namely, Asia. “Instead of using neo-Nazis, they used mujahideen working under various bin Ladens, as well as al-Zawahiri”, she said.7

The US tradition of spreading the American ideals of peace and liberty in the Middle East by funding and training Islamic terrorist groups continues to ISIS, also known as ISIL and Daesh.

James Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Emerging Threats at NATO – now that’s a lovely title – recently gave a talk at a private club in London on the Islamic State/Daesh. Shea, as many will remember, made his name as NATO’s spokesman during the NATO war on Yugoslavia in 1999.

After his talk Shea engaged in a debate with a source I very much treasure. The source later gave me the lowdown.

According to Saudi intelligence, Daesh was invented by the US government – in Camp Bacca, near the Kuwait border, as many will remember — to essentially finish off the Shiite-majority Nouri al-Maliki government in Baghdad.

It didn’t happen this way, of course. Then, years later, in the summer of 2014, Daesh routed the Iraqi Army on its way to conquer Mosul. The Iraqi Army fled. Daesh operatives then annexed ultra-modern weapons that took US instructors from six to twelve months to train the Iraqis in and…surprise! Daesh incorporated the weapons in their arsenals in 24 hours.

In the end, Shea frankly admitted to the source that Gen David Petraeus, conductor of the much-lauded 2007 surge, had trained these Sunnis now part of Daesh in Anbar province in Iraq.

Saudi intelligence still maintains that these Iraqi Sunnis were not US-trained – as Shea confirmed – because the Shiites in power in Baghdad didn’t allow it. Not true. The fact is the Daesh core – most of them former commanders and soldiers in Saddam Hussein’s army — is indeed a US-trained militia.

True to form, at the end of the debate, Shea went on to blame Russia for absolutely everything that’s happening today – including Daesh terror.8

The Cognitive-Psychological Stress of Terrorism on the Muslim Mind

Terrorism is an extremely stressful phenomenon for Muslims. It uses Islamic rhetoric to justify acts that disgust and horrify most Muslims. For Muslims, the problem with terrorism, and the reason they still haven’t figured out what to do about it, is that it is something entirely new. We Muslims are like the American Indians who were exposed for the first to time to European germs they had never faced before when Columbus discovered the Americas. Most of these native Americans had no defenses against these germs, and so they succumbed to them by the millions. Our societies, too, have no defenses against terrorism-supporting extremist ideologies because terrorism was never a threat before.

Terrorism, this new European-incubated germ (if we think of Americans as Europeans, for their European genes and culture), forces two choices on the average Muslim just trying to get on with their life. The first choice is to renew their allegiance to Islam, to convince themselves that these terrorists aren’t acting according to the true version of Islam. This argument feels weak, but they don’t know anything better, so they try not to think about it too much and instead direct their hatred at terrorist groups such as ISIS, to absolve themselves of the guilt they feel. Some of the kindest and most admirable people they know are fellow devout Muslims, so while they cannot consciously tell what the fundamental difference is between Muslim terrorists and peaceful, devout Muslims, they know in their hearts that the difference exists.

The second choice is to entirely abandon Islam as something evil, outdated and barbaric. Every major terrorist attack renews the pressure on Muslims to take this choice, and many do. And from their newfound post-Islam position, they attack Islam as the embodiment of all that is evil in this world.

We are caught between a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam that claims to be the only true version of Islam, and that provides the fuel that drives these terrorists into doing what they do, and a secularism that entirely abandons Islam. Evey new terrorist attack creates intense cognitive dissonance where we have to continually repeat to ourselves that this is not true Islam, hoping to preserve our faith until we can forget about the massacre and go on with our lives.

Terrorism is nothing but an intense genetic-cultural evolutionary pressure9. We are faced with two ways forward:

  • We remain in our present state of weakness, continuing to provide fertile ground for the FBI and the CIA to recruit terrorists among us and use them for their own purposes, becoming nothing but dehumanized tools of war among empires. More and more of us would feel pressured to abandon Islam, and in this way Islam fails and becomes extinct, as our children, deciding to be more enlightened than us, abandon Islam in favor of a secularism that feels much more sensible and civilized.
  • We evolve into a new type of Muslim population whose very foundations reject and cripple the terrorist ideology that has been so perfected by the peaceful and freedom-loving geniuses at the CIA.

If we are to evolve, this evolution has to happen at the level of our intellectuals, scholars and preachers, who are the midwives responsible for birthing Islam into the 21st century.

Hadith-Primacism: The Scholarly Pandora’s Box that Enables Terrorist Ideologies

The Islamic scholarly tradition is divided into two major turfs; the scholars of fiqh (jurisprudence, i.e. Islamic law), and the scholars of hadith (narrations relating to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and his tradition). The scholars of fiqh, among whom are such giants of Islamic scholarship as Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Khateeb al-Baghdadi, Fakhradeen al-Rarzi, Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim support a rationalistic approach toward hadith, believing that even if a hadith narration’s chain of narrators is entirely trustworthy, if the narration’s content is not supported by the wider context of the Quran and hadith, then that narration is subject to doubt and skepticism, and that it cannot be used to derive any laws or principles.10

Their policy toward singular but authentic hadith narrations is summarized by the scholar al-Shashi as follows:

شرط العمل بخبر الواحد ألا يكون مخالفا للكتاب والسنة المشهورة.

The condition for applying a singular hadith narration is that it should not go against Scripture [the Quran] and the well-known Sunnah [traditions of the Prophet.]

The rationalistic approach toward hadith is taken further by Abu Hanifah, who writes:

ونبي الله لا يخالف كتاب الله، ومخالف كتاب الله لا يكون نبي الله، فرد كل رجل يحدِّث عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بخلاف القرآن ليس ردًّا على النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ولا تكذيبا له، ولكن ردّ على مَن يحدث عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بالباطل، والتهمة دخلت عليه وليست على نبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم. (أبو حنيفة، رسالة العالم والمتعلم)

The Prophet of God does not defy the Book of God, and whoever defies the Book of God cannot be a Prophet of God. Refuting any man who mentions a narration of the Prophet peace be upon him which goes against the Quran is not a refutation of the Prophet peace be upon him, and is not an act of calling him [the Prophet] a liar, rather, it is a refutation of someone who speaks falsehood regarding the Prophet peace be upon him, and the accusation [of speaking falsehood] is against that man and not the Prophet peace be upon him.11

The Hanbali scholar Ibn al-Jawzi advocates this principle when handling hadith:

فكل حديث رأيته يخالف العقول وأن يناقض الأصول، فاعلم أنه موضوع فلا تتكلف اعتباره.

Any hadith that you can recognize as going against reason or contradicting principles, then know that it is a fabrication, therefore do not consider yourself compelled to act by it.

The rationalistic approach toward hadith is supported by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself, in an authentic narration included by Ibn `Asakir in his Tareekh Dimashq (History of Damascus). The narrators of this narration all have many narrations in Sahih al-Bukhari, meaning that they satisfy the highest standards of hadith authentication:

إنها تكون بعدي رواة يروون عني الحديث، فاعرضوا حديثهم على القرآن، فما وافق القرآن فخذوا به، وما لم يوافق القرآن فلا تأخذوا به.

There will be after me narrators of hadith. Expose their narrations to the Quran; any of them that agree with the Quran, then follow those, and those that do not agree with it, then do not follow them.

Scholars of hadith, on the other hand, reject this rationalistic approach toward hadith in favor of their processes of authentication, which entirely focuses on the form of hadith and ignores its content. As long as the chains of narration satisfy their criteria, they accept the hadith as authentic, even if it goes against the Quran and common sense. As an example, the hadith scholar al-Nasaa’i considers this narration authentic, in which the Prophet says:

لا يدخل الجنة ولد زنا

One who is born to adultery does not enter Paradise.12

Ibn al-Jawzi, who as mentioned belongs to the fiqh group, rejects this narration, despite the authenticity of its chain of narration, using the following verse of the Quran:

وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى

No one carries the burden of the sin of another person.13

The modern hadith scholar Ibn Baaz (of whom I think highly when it comes to most things) uses authentic hadith narrations to prove that the earth isn’t round. There are many hadith-primacist scholars in Saudi Arabia who use authentic narrations to prohibit women from driving cars or using the Internet without a man’s presence.

There is an intellectual battle raging between rationalism on the one hand, and hadith-primacism on the other (giving primacy to hadith at the Quran’s expense), with hadith-primacist scholars often entirely ignoring the Quran and reason if they can find authentic narrations to back up their claims. As an example, hadith scholars continue to consider as authentic narrations from Umar ibn al-Khattab and Abdullah ibn Umar in which they mention the Prophet saying that a dead person can be punished for the weeping of their relatives on them, even though there is an authentic narration by Aisha, wife of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, in which she refutes what Umar and Abdullah say using verses of the Quran, and saying that Umar has misremembered.

Ibn al-Qayyim and Ibn Taymiyyah reject an authentic narration of the Prophet (mentioned in Sahih Muslim) in which he describes the stages of the creation of the earth as seven days, saying that since the Quran says the earth was created in six days, this hadith must be false regardless of its authenticity. To hadith-primacist scholars this doesn’t matter; the narrators are trustworthy, so it must be true, even if it clearly contradicts the Quran.

Hadith-primacist scholars make up a loud minority among the scholarly tradition which viciously attacks anyone who dares to use rationalism and Quran-derived principles to justify skepticism toward particular narrations, since to them, once a narration has been given the stamp of authenticity, any questioning of it mounts to heresy.

By giving preference to hadith in their thinking and ignoring Quranic principles, hadith-primacist scholars create Islam’s Achilles’ heel; on the one hand, extremists can make up any interpretation of Islam they desire as long as they can find authentic narrations to support their views, and on the other, the rest of the population is prohibited from countering the views of these extremists using the Quran, because…all of the narrations these extremists use are perfectly authentic, and any attack on them amounts to an attack on the hadith-primacist scholars, the loud minority that is only too happy to assassinate the character of anyone who incurs their wrath.

It does little good that 500 scholars sign some declaration against terrorism, their feeble arguments can be trivially defeated by the seemingly bullet-proof reasonings of militant extremists, who are just as well-versed in the scholarly tradition. Our scholars continue trying to build anti-terrorism castles in the sand, incapable of withstanding the simplest attacks of extremists.

Once the hadith-primacist view is adopted and goes unchallenged, it becomes futile to mention verses like 5:32 that mention the infinite worth of human life, because there is always that one extremist who comes along and says “This verse is overruled by that [Quranic verse or hadith narration], so no, the infinite worth of human life only applies to Muslims, and even then, to a tiny minority of Muslims.” And if you mention a verse like 2:62 that promises paradise to pious Christians living today, they will always say “Nope, this is abrogated by 5:17, which says Christians are infidels.”

Hadith-primacism enables extremists to enforce almost any and all preconceived prejudices they may have on Islamic belief and practice, opening the way for terrorist bombings and massacres. All that an extremist needs to support terrorism is a few well-chosen hadith narrations that corrupt the Quran in a way that presents a view of the world as a battlefield between good and evil, and which presents all of humanity as infidels that can be destroyed at will if they get in the way of extending God’s rule.

The Criterion

The “Criterion” is one of the names that the Quran uses for itself14. The entire 25th chapter is known as al-Furqaan, “the Criterion”, and its first verse shows that this name refers to the whole Quran:

Blessed is He who sent down the Criterion upon His servant, to be a warning to humanity.

Our scholars can never win the ideological war against terrorism as long as hadith-primacism goes unchallenged. Until our scholars develop sufficient courage to admit that the Quran is superior to hadith, and to admit that the Quran is the criterion by which we can judge all other texts, the loophole would remain wide open for extremist thinkers to encourage youth to carry out terrorist atrocities.

Stoning: Over 1000 Years of Rejecting the Quran

The hadith-primacist view is so dominant that to this day only a handful of scholars can be found who give precedence to the Quran’s principles on sexual crimes over hadith. One such scholar is the great Egyptian Islamic scholar Muhammad Abu Zahra (d. 1974), who in a 1972 conference rejected the punishment of stoning, saying that he had kept has view secret for 20 years in fear of the backlash he would receive if he made it public.

The Quran’s overall philosophy is that when faced with two evils, one must choose the lesser evil. No one, except a sadist, enjoys hurting others, even if it is justified. For the crime of adultery (people cheating on their spouses), the Quran prescribes a punishment that will be explained. But first it is important to understand why punishment is necessary.

Islam’s view is that adultery is a matter of men’s, women’s and children’s rights. Islam wants to make adultery unthinkable within a devout Muslim society. By removing people’s freedom to cheat on their spouses, Islam creates a better freedom. It creates a society that is free from the stress and damage of flirtation, cheating and seduction. Husbands and wives can go about their days confident in the knowledge that their families are stable and that there are no threats to their family lives, either from lecherous men or seductive women.

From a men’s rights perspective, being harsh on adultery means that men can be sure children born to their wives are their own. They are also freed from the intense stress and turmoil of having to deal with a wife who is talking to other men behind their backs.

From a women’s rights perspective, it means that women can be sure there are no other women, anywhere, at all, eager to take their husbands away from them, and thus they can be confident that their social status and the father of their children is not threatened by other women.

From a children’s rights perspective, it means children are spared the turmoil and damage caused by either of their parents cheating on the other, and the possible divorce and broken family life that would come from it.

Punishing adultery harshly is the lesser evil that prevents the greater evils mentioned above. Islam doesn’t shy away from dealing with such matters, the way modern Christians do. Letting adultery go unchecked doesn’t mean it will not do damage. It just means the problem will continue to grow until more and more families break apart and birth rates go below replacement rates (i.e. the society starts to shrink in the long term) as people shy away from marriage and family life due to the cynical attitude promoted by rampant infidelity and sex outside of marriage.

Before we talk about the punishment, note that Islam places stringent requirements on proving adultery. Four witnesses to the act of copulation are necessary, it is not sufficient to find a man and woman naked in a room together. Only someone who shows the most flagrant contempt for society’s rules by carrying out adultery (or other sexual acts) in the view of many witnesses will be subject to this law, and even then, only if the witnesses are forthcoming and the case goes to court.

Also note that Islamic law is not something that is forced upon people, it is something that people democratically choose as their own law. Non-Muslims wouldn’t be subject to it, though in a multi-religious society, Muslim-majority cities and states would have the right to banish non-Muslims who commit mortal sins like adultery, as otherwise there would be a loophole allowing non-Muslims to run brothels in Muslim cities, the way the Jews did all over Christian Europe in the 19th century.15

For the crime of adultery, the Quran prescribes a hundred lashes:

The adulteress and the adulterer—whip each one of them a hundred lashes, and let no pity towards them overcome you regarding God’s Law, if you believe in God and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness their punishment. [Quran 24:2]

While flogging someone for a crime would seem uncouth and barbaric to the modern Western reader (who also can’t bear to watch a cow slaughtered, yet eats beef), Muslims voluntarily choose it as an acceptable punishment in certain cases because it is far more efficient than imprisoning people. Prisoners require food and care, which is a great waste on society, and a crime against the children and elderly who far more deserve that food and care. Instead of spending $50,000 caring for an imprisoned adulterer for a year, they are administered 15 minutes of public shaming and then let go, and if the money exists that was to be used for the care of prisoners, it would go toward helping the poor and the needy instead, who far more deserve it.16

Note that due to the rarity of adultery in a Muslim society, and the difficulty in proving it, actually floggings would be extremely rare. An entire country might only see a case or two in a decade. These would be ceremonial events, similar to the execution of traitors in the US, where the individuals in a society voluntarily choose to reassert that standards of manner and custom are being preserved. If flagrant adultery goes unpunished, within a decade or two the nature of the society would easily transform into a typical Western one, where people are cynical about marriage and relationships, and where birth rates are always below replacement.

Devout Muslims would never be guilty of adultery. The punishment is for freeloaders who want to enjoy the fruits of Islam (faithful wives and husbands, basic income, peaceful cities and very low crime rates) while flaunting their contempt for its rules. Such people are a threat to an Islamic society’s long-term survival, and they are dealt with as such. The flogging makes a lesson out of such people, teaching that they cannot enjoy the fruits of Islam while working to destroy the very foundations that enabled such fruits to exist in the first place.

If flogging seems unkind, it should, because it is meant to be unkind. It is an evil meant to prevent a greater evil. All that Islam asks of people, if they want to avoid this punishment, is to not have sex outside of marriage in the view of witnesses. And if someone really wants the right to have sex outside of marriage in the view of witnesses, they are free to leave Islam and enjoy this privilege.

To this day, the scholarly tradition has defended the idea of punishing people for leaving Islam, some even recommending the death penalty. This, above all, is a demonstration of the critical need for rationalism within the Islamic tradition, because the Quran says “There is no compulsion in religion,”17, and forcing people to stay Muslim is just as much compulsion as forcing people to become Muslims. Even a child should be able to see this, but thanks to the authoritarian doctrine of hadith-primacism, scarcely a scholar can be found with the spine and intelligence to support the Quran’s principle of religious freedom against apostasy-punishing hadith narrations.

While flogging is what the Quran prescribes for adultery, hadith narrations mention accounts of the Prophet ordering the stoning of adulterers, in accordance with Jewish law18 (at the beginning of his rule in the city of al-Madinah, the Prophet appears to have followed Jewish law if no Quranic law existed that could handle a particular case). So of course, our scholars follow the view of hadith instead of the Quran, considering stoning a valid punishment. Today, even Western-educated converts to Islam can be found who defend stoning.

Verse 4:25 of the Quran says this regarding women born to slavery:

When they are married, if they commit adultery, their punishment shall be half that of free women.

How exactly do you administer half a stoning to someone? Stoning is meant to be a form of execution, how do you half-execute someone? Would the Quran be foolish enough to prescribe a punishment that could never actually be applied in real life? The verse makes perfect since if it referred to the Quranic punishment for adultery, flogging.

As if that wasn’t sufficient evidence against stoning, the Quran goes on to supply this verse:

Those of your women who commit fahishah [“wantonness”, an umbrella term that includes adultery along with other sexual crimes], you must have four witnesses against them, from among you. If they testify, confine them to the homes until death claims them, or God makes a way for them. 19

If the punishment for adultery is execution by stoning, then what could this verse be talking about? How could God make a way for someone He Himself commands to be executed? This reminds me of Terry Pratchett’s novel Pyramids, in which a woman is sentenced to death for refusing to volunteer to be sacrificed.

From the Quranic point of view the point of the verse is clear. It is telling Muslims to be better than Christians, who as late as the 20th century would disown and throw out women who were convicted of adultery, along with their children, to become prostitutes and beggars. The verse requires that the woman’s family, clan, or tribe, instead of disowning her, should continue to care for her as one of their own. As is usual with the Quran’s system of checks and balances, this burden (of caring for an undesirable criminal) comes with added powers. The family is allowed to prevent the woman from going out until they age and die, or until “God makes a way for them”. This second clause provides for various possibilities in dealing with adulterers:

  • For adulteresses and unmarried women who have sex outside of marriage, they can be confined to their homes by the family, as the verse suggests, until they show repentance and agree to abide by Islamic society’s rules. There are fatwas (official rulings) by many respected scholars (Shaykh Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid, Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradhawi, Dr. Nizar Rayyan, Dr. Ali al-Sartawi) that require a husband to keep a cheating wife as his wife if she shows repentance. Once she is found to have truly given up the thought that sex outside of marriage is OK, then she is allowed to re-enter society. By giving the Muslim family the power to prevent such women from going out, the law closes an important loophole that would exist otherwise. If the family didn’t have this power, a woman could practice prostitution while having the legal power to force her family to accommodate her and provide for her. The law requires adulteresses to decisively choose their fates (repent or leave Islam), instead of existing within legal gray zones.
  • As mentioned, such people have the option of leaving Islamic society to live as non-Muslims, if they do not believe in repenting and re-entering Islamic society. By renouncing their Islamic duties, they also renounce their Islamic privileges (their families would no longer have any duties toward them), such as guaranteed basic income for women, and the earnings of the wealth and speculation tax (zakat earnings), though they would still have all basic rights and duties that the government’s constitution enforces for all of its citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim.
  • If there is an overseas nation that offers to accept all adulterers and adulteresses as refugees, they can be sent to that nation.
  • A male who is known to promote adultery (a lecherous person who constantly seeks to seduce women and is convicted of sexual crimes multiple times) or engages in prostitution (such as by running a brothel) can be banished using laws against the spreading of corruption.

The Quran goes on to supply this verse, laying down marriage rules for adulterers:

The adulterer shall marry none but an adulteress or an idolatress; and the adulteress shall marry none but an adulterer or an idolater. That has been prohibited for the believers. 20

If the punishment for adultery is execution by stoning, what could be the point of talking about marriage? While if the punishment is flogging, then the verse makes sense. The Quran is forbidding marrying an adulterer until they have shown clear repentance. And those who haven’t and will not show repentance, those cannot ever be married by Muslims.

The Quran itself contains sufficient evidence to nullify stoning once and for all. But our scholars, blinded by their education, continue to support the barbaric Jewish punishment. Luckily, Muslim rulers, the scholars of fiqh, and the Muslim populace, have often been very sensible regardless of the things written in books of law21, so that the cases of actual stoning in Islamic history are just a handful.22

For sexual crimes, the Quran never prescribes execution. That is a corruption introduced by the hadith-primacist tradition. No, it even ensures the rights of the adulteress, preventing her family from casting her out.

We can be thankful that we already have respected scholars who have taken steps toward restoring the Quran’s status as Islam’s principal authority, such as the Egyptian scholars and Azhar University professors Muhammad al-Ghazali (d. 199623) and Yusuf al-Qaradhawi24, widely known and highly respected figures in modern mainstream Islam in the Middle East. One of the important works in this field is al-Ghazali’s revolutionary 1989 book al-Sunnah al-Nabawiyyah baina Ahlal Fiqhi wa Ahlal Hadeeth (“The Prophetic Tradition Between the People of Jurisprudence and the People of Hadith”), in which he clarifies the division between the scholars of fiqh and scholars of hadith and calls for abandoning hadith-primacism in favor of rationalism.

The Quran: Ender of Terrorist Ideologies

Once we reject hadith-primacism and put Islam’s focus back on the Quran, it becomes practically impossible to justify terrorism on the one hand, and it becomes trivial to defeat extremist intellectuals and their ideologies on the other. The only cases in which violent conflict is justified in the Quran are in matters of statecraft, when a Muslim government had to deal with threats around it. In the Quran, there is not a single justification for groups of Muslims taking the law into their own hands and carrying out terrorist attacks.

In fact, the Quran advocates the exact opposite. It tells Muslims to follow the example of the prophets,

Those are the ones to whom We gave the Scripture and authority and prophethood. But if the disbelievers deny it, then We have entrusted it to a people who are not therein disbelievers. Those are the ones whom God has guided, so from their guidance take an example. Say, “I ask of you for this message no payment. It is not but a reminder for the worlds.”25

The major predecessor of Prophet Muhammad in the Quran is Prophet Moses (whose name is mentioned over 130 times, versus 5 mentions of Muhammad’s name). Moses, this rightly guided prophet that Muslims are encouraged to follow, had about 600,000 Israelites under his guidance in Egypt26. Did he encourage this army to launch a war against the Pharaoh, this killer of infants and enemy of God?

No, instead, he asked them to be patient in their suffering, without raising a hand against their oppressors:

127. The chiefs of Pharaoh’s people said, “Will you let Moses and his people cause trouble in the land, and forsake you and your gods?” He said, “We will kill their sons, and spare their women. We have absolute power over them.”

128. Moses said to his people, “Seek help in God, and be patient. The earth belongs to God. He gives it in inheritance to whomever He wills of His servants, and the future belongs to the righteous.”

129. They said, “We were persecuted before you came to us, and after you came to us.” He said, “Perhaps your Lord will destroy your enemy, and make you successors in the land; then He will see how you behave.”

130. And We afflicted the people of Pharaoh with barren years, and with shortage of crops, that they may take heed.

131. When something good came their way, they said, “This is ours.” And when something bad happened to them, they ascribed the evil omen to Moses and those with him. In fact, their omen is with God, but most of them do not know.

132. And they said, “No matter what sign you bring us, to bewitch us with, we will not believe in you.”

133. So We let loose upon them the flood, and the locusts, and the lice, and the frogs, and blood—all explicit signs—but they were too arrogant. They were a sinful people.

134. Whenever a plague befell them, they would say, “O Moses, pray to your Lord for us, according to the covenant He made with you. If you lift the plague from us, we will believe in you, and let the Children of Israel go with you.”

135. But when We lifted the plague from them, for a term they were to fulfill, they broke their promise.

136. So We took vengeance on them, and drowned them in the sea—because they rejected Our signs, and paid no heed to them.

137. And We made the oppressed people inherit the eastern and western parts of the land, which We had blessed. Thus the fair promise of your Lord to the Children of Israel was fulfilled, because of their endurance. And We destroyed what Pharaoh and his people had built, and what they had harvested.27

In the Abraham chapter of the Quran, Moses tells a story of previous prophets in his effort to encourage the Children of Israel to be patient:

11. Their messengers said to them, “We are only humans like you, but God favors whomever He wills from among His servants. We cannot possibly show you any proof, except by leave of God. In God let the faithful put their trust.”

12. “And why should we not trust in God, when He has guided us in our ways? We will persevere in the face of your persecution. And upon God the reliant should rely.” 28

The Quran encourages the Prophet to be patient in the face of the persecution he used to receive (for 13 years, in fact, even as his following continued to grow), and to follow the examples of the prophets before him, instead of becoming a terrorist and using his army of followers to violently take over his small city:

So be patient, as the messengers with resolve were patient, and do not be hasty regarding them. On the Day when they witness what they are promised, it will seem as if they had lasted only for an hour of a day. A proclamation: Will any be destroyed except the sinful people?29

The entire Quran is a call for peaceful resistance against oppressors. If you think otherwise, I encourage you to read the Quran 50 times in the original Arabic, like I’ve done, and then explain to me tell me how it is otherwise.

The Quran, among many other things, also acts a military manual for Muslims, since war requires law, and the Quran is the primary source for Islamic law. Casual readers of the Quran will be shocked at the numerous descriptions of violence it contains, not realizing that the Quran has to act like a military manual, and that every modern military has a similar manual containing descriptions of cases where killing can be done legally, and cases where it cannot be done.

Christians critics of Islam ignore the far more violent Old Testament, whose God approves of stoning30, killing innocent children for their father’s sins31 burning people alive, and killing hundreds of thousands of women and infants alongside men to make room for Israel32

When the Old Testament’s violence is mentioned by Muslims, the usual reply is that all Abrahamic religions are equally violent and horrible, so we should abandon them all. But the Quran has nothing to do with the evil and genocide in the Old Testament. An example of a “violent” verse of the Quran is this:

You will find others who want security from you, and security from their own people. But whenever they are tempted into civil discord, they plunge into it. So if they do not withdraw from you, nor offer you peace, nor restrain their hands, seize them and execute them wherever you find them. Against these, We have given you clear authorization. 33

This verse legalizes using deadly force against tribes who occasionally attacked the Prophet’s state when they saw an opportunity for gain, but who publicly declared allegiance to the Prophet to protect themselves from punishment34. A law was needed to deal with these people, and this verse provides that law. These people are publicly given a choice: Withdraw, offer peace, and restrain yourselves from violence, or continue doing what you do. If they agree to the verse’s offer, then they will be left alone, but if they break their word one more time like they’ve done countless times in the past, the law legalizes a decisive attack on them to end the menace once and for all.

A favorite passage of the Quran for Islam’s detractors is the following, from its second chapter:

190. And fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not commit aggression; God does not love the aggressors.

191. And kill them wherever you overtake them, and expel them from where they had expelled you. Oppression is more serious than murder. But do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque, unless they fight you there. If they fight you, then kill them. Such is the retribution of the disbelievers.

192. But if they cease, then God is Forgiving and Merciful.

193. And fight them until there is no oppression, and worship becomes devoted to God alone. But if they cease, then let there be no hostility except against the oppressors.
35

These “violent” verses rule that if a group attacks a Muslim state and conquers a part of it, then the state is allowed to launch a counter attack until the conquerors are entirely defeated and their laws and practices banished. They rule that, for example, if a conqueror takes up a part of Malaysia, and establishes a new constitution and official religion there, then, during the same conflict, once Muslims retake the land, they are required to restore Malaysia’s constitution and religious practices there (while respecting the right of individuals to choose their own religion, as ruled by 2:256). If the Muslim peasantry had been forcefully converted to another religion, they would be asked to embrace Islam again, and perhaps they will be offered gifts and support in return for converting back to Islam. Those who personally prefer the new religion will be left alone.

A fair-minded reader will see that these verses are actually placing limitations on violence instead of promoting it, by requiring that only aggressors be fought, and that if aggressors cease and offer peace in good faith, Muslims should accept their offer. Naturally, an enemy could abuse this law by offering peace when the war gets too hard for them, only to start it again once they are ready for another go. Other verses deal with such cases.

The Quran, taken as a whole, contains far more calls for patience, peace and co-existence than for violence, so that when it legalizes violence, it is always done as a matter of last resort, when all other avenues have been explored.

The United States government, compared to the type of government advocated by the Quran, is frankly Stone Age barbaric. In violation of the Quran’s laws, it arms, finances and trains terrorist groups that carry out wholesale slaughter throughout the world. It props up evil dictatorships throughout the world when it fits its interests. It finances bloody coup d’états against peaceful governments when it wants, like it did in Iran in 1953, Iraq in 1963, Ghana in 1966, Greece in 1967, the Dominican Republic in 1971, Fiji in 1987, Albania in 1991, Afghanistan in 2001 (the Afghan government asked for proof of Osama’s complicity in 9/11 before handing him over), Iraq in 2003, and Ukraine in 2014.36

America’s Christians will naturally absolve themselves of their government’s sins, since to them, atrocities that are far enough removed are not atrocities. They may even complain about what their government is doing abroad, just as they continue voting for the same congressmen and women who enabled and continue to enable their government’s worldwide campaign of terror. Who cares if their local congressman supports murdering millions to further the US government’s worldwide power grab, he is a nice Christian man from Kentucky!

And then certain Christian evangelicals have the audacity to talk about how the Quran is violent. Teach us about the way of Christ, of turning the other cheek, just as your chosen congress continues to support bombing our countries, financing murderous terrorists and assassinating the best of our leaders. Help us out of our barbaric ways with your civilized bombs!

Islam Evolves

And say, “The truth has come, and falsehood has withered away; for falsehood is bound to wither away.” —The Quran, 17:81

If today’s Muslim intellectual leaders are not brave enough to clean up Islam and reject the practice of discarding the Quran in favor of hadith, then their versions of Islam will not survive the terrorism germ. Their followers will either abandon Islam or move on to better versions of it.

From a Darwinian genetic-cultural perspective, it is guaranteed that Islam will adapt in such a way that makes terrorism nearly impossible, the question is not whether the adaptation will happen, the question is who will be brave enough to enable this adaptation, who will dare to go out of their comfort zones, put their careers on the line, and go against the millennium-old bureaucracy to rebuild Islam with the Quran at its foundation?

This evolutionary process has already progressed a great deal among the educated Muslim classes, who, supported by a few brave scholars, will eventually bring down hadith-primacism The good thing is that no one owns Islam. Time is the ultimate judge of truth and falsehood.

In an ecological system, germs and predators carry the important function of ensuring the fitness of species by killing off weak specimens and ensuring that species remain in a permanent state of renewal. The germ of terrorism, and the predation of the CIA and other evil Western organizations on Muslim populations, while causing great evil, also cause the creative destruction of Islam’s weaknesses, forcing our scholars to re-evaluate their practices and purify Islam from the rust it has accumulated over the centuries, so that a version of Islam can emerge that is fresh, relevant, more civilized than Judaism and Christianity, and capable of surviving the foreseeable future.

17. He sends down water from the sky, and riverbeds flow according to their capacity. The current carries swelling froth. And from what they heat in fire of ornaments or utensils comes a similar froth. Thus God exemplifies truth and falsehood. As for the froth, it is swept away, but what benefits the people remains in the ground. Thus God presents the analogies.

18. For those who respond to their Lord is the best. But as for those who do not respond to Him, even if they possessed everything on earth, and twice as much, they could not redeem themselves with it. Those will have the worst reckoning; and their home is Hell—a miserable destination.

19. Is he who knows that what was revealed to your from your Lord is the truth, like him who is blind? Only those who reason will remember.

20. Those who fulfill the promise to God, and do not violate the agreement.

21. And those who join what God has commanded to be joined, and fear their Lord, and dread the dire reckoning.

22. And those who patiently seek the presence of their Lord, and pray regularly, and spend from Our provisions to them, secretly and openly, and repel evil with good. These will have the Ultimate Home.

23. Everlasting Gardens, which they will enter, along with the righteous among their parents, and their spouses, and their descendants. And the angels will enter upon them from every gate.

24. “Peace be upon you, because you endured patiently. How excellent is the Final Home.”37

How Political Exploitation of Muslim Immigrants by America’s Liberal Elite is Endangering Lives

There is something strange going on with the liberal political elite in the United States. Clintonland liberals have no qualms about the wholesale slaughter of Muslims outside the United States. US-sponsored conflicts have resulted in the mass murder of one to two million Muslims over the past 15 years. The liberal president of hope and change, Obama, wins the award for being the first US president to approve the extra-judicial execution of a US citizen (through a drone strike), a citizen who was Muslim and 16 years old at the time.

As a Muslim I am glad Donald Trump won. Because Hillary is creepy. As if Obama’s continuation of the US policy of perpetual war in the Middle East wasn’t bad enough, Clinton was promising to escalate things further, even risking war with Russia in the process.

Despite liberal apathy toward the mass murder of Muslims around the world as a direct result of US policies, inside the US, the liberal elite are to be seen pretending to be protectors and representatives of Muslim interests. Clinton loved showing off her token Muslims during her rallies.

Why do the liberal elite love US Muslims so much? Because they think of Muslims as guaranteed Democratic voters. The Democrats are importing Muslims at an industrial scale, without proper screening, and without any thought to the possibility that some of the people they import may have no good intentions toward the United States. The Democrats are desperate to import voters as that is the only way they can maintain viability as a political force due to the simple fact that conservatives are growing faster than liberals in the United States.

Ohio State University stabbing attacker was imported through Obama’s voter importation policies.

Some of these imported Muslims then carry out attacks in the United States in the name of Islam. This increases resentment for Muslims in the country and leads to revenge attacks on Muslims who had nothing to do with the importation of the attackers and the ideologies said attackers believe in.

It is a testament to the tolerance of the American people (and to the power of the police state and corporate media) that there have been no pogroms against Muslims in the United States even though month after and month and year after year Muslim attacks on US citizens continue to mount.

And to make things even worse, liberals launch pathetic defenses of these terrorists in the media with no consideration for the poor victims of the attacks, not out of love for Muslims, but because they know they themselves are responsible for these people being in the country in the first place.

The Ohio State attacker himself seems to have been a victim of another liberal policy (besides the liberal policy of voter importation): The promotion of the White-racism narrative to attract voters to the Democratic side (which the liberals exploited in the 2012 congressional elections to their loss). He was taking a class that covered “micro-aggressions”, a theory that promotes anti-White paranoia among non-Whites by encouraging them to see White racism everywhere.

Liberals import hundreds of thousands of Muslims into the country every year, knowing that due to their poverty they will be dependent on government welfare (the thing that liberals use to attract the poor to their camp) for years and possibly decades. They then expose these imported voters to liberal propaganda designed to show them that the average White American hates them, to further push them toward the Democratic side. And as anyone with a functioning brain can predict, this practically ensures that the US will continue suffering terrorist attacks month after month. The people that are being imported are constantly being told that they deserve to fight back, that it is the fault of White Americans that their countries are poor and dysfunctional in the first place, and that they will continue suffering from White oppression while residing in the United States. They will believe all of this nonsense because it is other Whites (and White-looking Jews) saying it, at universities and political rallies, in newspapers, magazines and on TV.

Who suffers most from this insane policy of importing people and teaching them to hate the locals? It is the five to ten million Muslims who are already here trying to lead peaceful and normal lives, as hatred and prejudice against them increases despite the liberal media’s best efforts to censor the identities of terrorist attackers and blame the attacks on White people.

The liberal elite (in the US and Europe too) continue to test White people’s tolerance by importing refugees that are orders of magnitude more criminal than the local populations. There is only so much rape and murder that White people can suffer before they decide enough is enough.

Muslims will be blamed for all of this, even though they have been nothing but tools used by the liberal elite to ensure perpetual rule over the population through inflating the number of liberal-leaning voters and weakening and dividing the native population by pushing them into corners (either you support liberal policies, or you are a conservative racist).

Why there are so few Christian terrorists

Color me curious. Raised Protestant, joined American Navy and saw the world, the Dome of the Rock is a supremely beautiful building. Such beauty, why NO COMPASSION! by radicals? I don’t understand the mindset. .. Beauty and hate

The issue is not religion, but politics. Radical Muslims are no different from radical communists. They believe their countries are being controlled and oppressed by evil capitalist tyrants, and that superpowers like the US are supporting the most evil governments on earth (such as in Saudi and Egypt), and that the US is against freedom and democracy if tyrants fit its needs better, all of which are true. For example, the US orchestrated a coup that ended democracy in Iran in the 50′s.

Religion just happens to be a useful tool for these groups, as it gives their followers the courage to die for their cause.

You should also not forget that many terrorist groups are funded by intelligence agencies, both Western and otherwise. If you are an intelligence agency looking to create havoc anywhere in the world, Islamism provides a great tool for this, since Islamist soldiers are brave and do not require the payments needed for hiring non-religious mercenaries.

Many in the Middle East consider ISIS a US-Israeli creation made to perpetuate war in the Middle East and prevent any Muslim country in the area from getting too strong or stable. For all we know, this might be true.

Radical Muslims could just as easily have been Radical Christians. It just so happens that the political situation in the world today has made Muslims the underdogs controlled and stepped on by mostly Christian superpowers. Christians too have a long history of justifying mass violence and murder for their own ends, but since Christians acquired supremacy over the earth after the Middle Ages, and as Christian belief weakened, Christianity stopped being an effective tool for carrying out political goals. A hot-headed Muslim is easy to convince that he is being oppressed, while it is a lot more difficult to convince a Christian, since he knows Christians rule most of the world.

Terrorism is not common among Muslims. A few in 100,000 might condone violence. But everyone ignores the remaining 99999. Why aren’t they terrorists also? Because terrorism is based on political ideas that most Muslims do not support.

Christianity can just as easily be used to create terrorism. But since modern Islamic terrorism was created by Christians (such as in Afghanistan in the 80′s) to accomplish the goals of Christian countries like those of the US in the Middle East, it is Muslims who die for it and Muslims who are mostly killed by it.

Muslim countries do not have the intelligence capacities to organize and support Christian terrorist groups in Christian countries to weaken such countries and create markets for their defense and intelligence industries. It is extremely easy to use Christianity to create terror groups, it just so happens that there is not enough money and power to be gained by the world’s superpowers through Christian terrorism, therefore they are instead spending their billions organizing and supporting Muslim terrorist groups.

And if Islamic belief weakens in the Middle East and stops being an effective terrorist-recruitment tool, the superpowers will simply switch to another ideology, such as communism or a modern incarnation of it. They would then create and organize communist terror groups to perpetuate war inside the countries they want, and Fox News will start talking about the dangerous communists next door who hate you because of your freedom.

Muslims and their stance on terrorism and ISIS

I noticed a difference between how moderate Christians and Muslims discuss extremists. Christians will say that fundamentalists like the members of the Westboro Baptist Church are not “True Christians.” Muslims, from what I’ve seen, say that violent extremists are un-Islamic. I asked an Imam about this, and he said that the terrorists are still Muslims even though they are acting in a violent way. Would you agree with that statement? If they are Muslim, what can the community of Islam do to reach out to them?

Mainstream Islam is a very decentralized religion. There is no single authority that people follow, and the leaders of the mosques have no authority, they are simply people who serve the community, and ultimately people feel free to ignore them and think differently. Mosques are not centers of power, they are public service institutions very much like public libraries.

This decentralized nature of mainstream Islam is very important to take into consideration when thinking of anything that Muslims say or do. The various communities in an area all operate independently, and even the community that gathers inside the same mosque. There are no consensuses to be reached, no power plays or efforts to make one’s opinion or agenda supreme over others. Everyone is free to build their own community and to focus on the things they like and to fit the religion to the concerns of their time and culture. Thus the Muslims of Turkey may live and act very differently from those of Malaysia, and in a way every man and woman is his/her own sect and community, free to apply the religion in ways that make the most sense to them. Islam provides a skeleton or framework that anyone can flesh out in the way they like.

In Islam saying someone “is not a true Muslim” is like saying a professor “is not a true academic”. There is no hard definition, and no authority that gives and takes the “Muslim” label from people. Anyone that states the testimony of faith is a “Muslim”, and if they do something un-Islamic, they may always repent. If they break the law, it is job of law enforcement to deal with them.

No pious person will freely make statements about whether a certain person is a Muslim or not, or if their deed causes them to stop being Muslim. It is not our job to judge people, it is God’s job, and the mainstream Muslim community is rightfully suspicious and mistrustful toward Muslims who involve themselves with the job of judging people.

Whether someone is a Muslim or not is a matter of the heart, and we cannot see inside a person’s heart. A person who appears to be the best Muslim may actually not be Muslim at all and may be pretending to be so for his/her own personal benefit.

The common Muslim belief about terrorists is that they are usually foolish youth enamored by promises of glory and greatness. Their leaders or inciters are often or always people working for intelligence services, whether Western or Iranian or Saudi (etc.), using Islamic rhetoric to motivate these youth into carrying out their dirty work for them. Are these youth guilty or innocent, or a mixture of both? I cannot say. They often believe themselves to be the purest in faith and to be doing things that the average mainstream Muslims are too lazy or cowardly to do.

I expect some time in the 80’s or 90’s intelligence services realized that Muslim jihadists are perfect soldiers, as they do not require payment and are fearless, wishing for death. The US made use of them against Russia in Afghanistan, and somebody made use of them to carry out 9/11 and other terrorist attacks, to justify the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. War is very profitable for some people (especially lenders), and jihadists make great soldiers, I expect there are enough people around the world ready to make use of them for their own economic and political ends.

Terrorists are extremely rare, media hyperbole notwithstanding. Even if there currently are 100,000 Muslims in the world subscribing to terrorist ideas, that makes up 0.00006% of Muslims, or 6.6 out of 100,000 (while there are 354 Americans with AIDS out of 100,000). We can say that Muslims have been extremely successful at curbing terrorism. In the mainstream Muslim community terrorists are extremely rare and foreign beings. I have never met someone in my entire life who went on to join a terrorist group. We sometimes hear stories of the type “this person’s friend’s cousin knew a guy who went on to join a terrorist organization”, the stories are usually similar to stories of ghost sightings.

This is not to say that Islamic terrorism should be ignored. We Muslims have double the reason to dislike terrorists and wish for an end to them: their crimes, which cause suffering for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike (the vast majority of victims who have died because Islamic terrorism have been other Muslims), and secondly, the effect of their deeds on the way non-Muslims see us and treat us. While to a non-Muslim terrorism is a distant threat similar to hurricanes, a Muslim living in the West has to suffer daily persecution when he or she is looked upon as a potential terrorist by many.

How do more moderate Muslims attempt to change the minds of terrorists and the “foolish youth” that follow them? Is there an effort to use Islamic doctrine to convince them that violent acts are not acceptable in Islam?

The issue is complicated, therefore many speakers and scholars are silent on the extremist doctrines, except when those who subscribe to such doctrines carry out actual terrorist acts, in which case there is usually widespread denouncement of the act. The main issue is that if someone speaks out against ISIS, for example, he can be easily misconstrued to be supporting the Iraqi or Syrian governments, which are equally evil. Therefore they often see the safe route as simply not speaking on it, or only speaking of particular acts instead of attacking the doctrine.

Another issue is that of jihad, when is the use of violence justified? There are various opinions on this, and many speakers/scholars are afraid to come up with anything new as it makes them easy targets for personal attacks and character assassination (i.e. “this new scholar seemingly disagrees with this respected ancient scholar, therefore the new scholar must have strayed from the right path”).

Scholars are increasingly under pressure to clarify and modernize jihad doctrines to make them fit the modern context. The correct and sensible doctrine is that jihad is simply a matter of states. If the US comes under attack, jihad would be to join the US army and defend the country. During the time of the Prophet when the Muslims did not have a state of their own, there was no fighting, no violence, even when their antagonists did violence toward them. Eventually the Prophet was democratically elected to be the leader of the city-state of Medina, and thus, like any state, it had to engage in wars to defend itself, and thus the Quranic verse (22:39) was sent down that permitted the Muslims to engage in fighting against another state.

Modern jihadists ignore these facts, aided by ambiguous texts on jihad, and say that jihad means to engage in violence against any oppressor, at any time. Luckily the vast majority of Muslims consider this false and corrupt, and thus we see that Muslims around the world follow the law and go about their daily lives. Eventually the texts of jihad are going to be properly codified to outlaw terrorism, but it is a slow process, as scholars do not want to be seen to be breaking away from tradition.

As for how we “convince” people that terrorism is wrong, there is no standard practice. As said earlier, there might be 6.6 militant individuals per 100,000 Muslims. There are 15.5 would-be murderers among a population of 100,000 blacks. We do not ask blacks how the “moderate” among them try to convince their fellow blacks not to commit murder, and we do not ask parents how they convince their children not to have incestuous sex with each other. The question is wrong because it implies categorical guilt and responsibility upon the people we are questioning, for something extremely rare and exceptional. A father is not responsible for convincing his son to not have sex with his daughter, and a Muslim father is not responsible for convincing his son not to be a terrorist, because in both cases it is assumed that the son has learned, throughout his entire life, that incest/terrorism is wrong.

Muslims do not have to teach that terrorism is wrong, any more than they need to teach that the sky is blue. Non-violence is the assumption that governs all our interactions with each other. The overwhelming majority of Muslims never come in contact with a militant person, and so they do not have any experience in convincing people not to be terrorists, the same way that most people do not have any experience in trying to convince a man with a very rare mental illness that he is not a duck.

Muslim children are raised to be productive members of society, to be doctors, engineers and firefighters. They do not have to be taught not to be terrorists, any more than black children need to be taught not to be murderers. The entire fabric of the Muslim community is based on the assumption of peace and prosperity, and children grow up wanting a peaceful and productive life.

Therefore Muslims do not have anti-terrorism strategies the same way parents generally do not have anti-incest strategies. If a person shows militant tendencies, similar to a person showing pedophilic tendencies, family and relatives may seek help from community leaders or therapists. If that fails, if they think there may be a danger to the public from said individual, they may alert the authorities, like Muslims have done on a number of occasions in the US in cases of terrorism.

I hope this answers your question. There is no need for an “effort” to convince people that terrorism is wrong, the same way there is no need for an effort to convince people that incest or pedophilia are wrong. It is taught everywhere in society, every day. We cannot blame society for a pedophile’s crime, saying he did not get the memo that it is wrong. It is the same with Muslim society and terrorism. Pedophiles and terrorists are deviants, and an effort to convince them that what they do is wrong is completely ridiculous, since their entire lives they have been learning that what they do is wrong and unacceptable.

Still, due to the collective blame that Muslims receive, most Muslim writers, journalists, speakers and bloggers have spoken out against terrorism. But they are simply repeating what the general Muslim population says; at dinner tables, classrooms and mosques, and their writings and speeches are less for the benefit of the Muslim community than they are for the benefit of non-Muslims who may be wondering what Muslims think about the issue of terrorism.