“Islam is a religion of beheading,” said an extremist Muslim cleric last week in an attempt to justify the horrifying video showing the apparent decapitation murder of U.S. journalist James Foley by an Islamic State militant. The statement by the writer calling himself Sheikh Hussein bin Mahmoud appeared August 21 on an internet forum popular with jihadists, Shumoukh Al-Islam.
Hussein bin Ahmoud has been a frequent contributor to Islamic extremist internet forums, where he presents theological justifications for various atrocities committed by groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
“My mind is perplexed by words I have read and heard from people whom I do not know how to describe!!” wrote bin Mahmoud, in an article translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute. “Millions of Muslims have been killed, tortured and driven from their homes; tens of thousands of Muslim women have had their honor violated and have been sexually abused by the Americans — yet people are weeping over a Christian American ‘harbi’ infidel who entered the Islamic State, knowing full well what the Islamic State is, and without a pact [of protection].”
“Harbi” is a term referring to non-Muslims who live outside of Muslim-run territories.
Bin Mahmoud went on to say that a harbi who enters into a Islamic-ruled territory without a formal pact of protection from the ruling Muslims is fair game for robbery, kidnapping, and murder.
The Islamic cleric condemns the “West’s false views” that have attempted to create a generation of young Muslims that “does not know fighting or the cutting of necks.”
Chopping off heads is a sacred act, according to bin Mahmoud, who wrote, “Beheading a harbi infidel is a blessed act for which a Muslim is rewarded.”
In fact, bin Mahmoud continues, beheading other human beings is a Muslim tradition extending back to the religion’s founder, the Prophet Muhammad himself.
“The Prophet did not condemn the striking of necks,” he wrote in the forum article. “Striking necks was a well-known matter that did not elicit any condemnation in the eras of the Prophet, the rightly-guided caliphs and their successors,right until the time of the Christian occupation of the Muslims’ lands in the 20th century.”
Most mainstream Islamic clerics say that the Muslim religion endorse peace and contains strict and well-defined rules for when violence may be used, and that “jihad’ refers mostly to a human being’s internal battle for spiritual purity.
But bin Mahmoud in his essay gives an entirely different view of the religion.
“What distorts the image of Islam is not the beheading and terrorizing of infidels, but rather those who want [Islam to follow the path of] Mandela or Ghandi, with no killing, fighting, brutality, bloodshed or the striking of heads or necks. That is not the religion of Muhammad,” wrote bin Mahmoud. “Islam is a religion of power, fighting, jihad, beheading and bloodshed, not a religion of turning the left cheek to whoever slapped you on the right cheek. On the contrary, it is a religion of breaking the hand that is stretched out to humiliate the Muslim.”