Once again, Americans are being told they have nothing to fear from Islam. Unfortunately, these reassuring words do not come from prominent Islamic clerics or the Qur'an. They come from American academics. On July 9, 2012, several "highly respected" researchers at the University of Arizona released a Defense Department funded study of Islamic violence. The study concluded that Muslim extremists are seeking social justice, not world domination. The authors of the study want us to believe that Muslim violence against non-Muslims has nothing to do with making Islam supreme over all other religions, as Muslims are commanded in the Qur'an. It is only a natural reaction to poverty, political oppression and lack of opportunity. Muslims are victims of hostile, outside forces and only seek to protect their own families, homes and nations.
We are advised to "seek to counteract claims of victimhood" and stop using the "Western approach of claiming extremists are seeking world domination." One might wonder if the authors of the study would advise us to pay no attention when Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says, "Have no doubt... Allah willing, Islam will conquer what? It will conquer all the mountain tops of the world."
The Obama Administration, Israel bashers, left wing politicians, Muslim imams and even the Occupy Movement, are happily citing the study as proof that Islam has only peaceful intentions towards the non-Muslim world and that it is all about Palestine, poverty and oppression.
Supporters of Israel, critics of Islamic supremacy and people who fled from the realities of life in Muslim dominated nations, are saying that the study is totally off base, deliberately misleading and completely naive. They are questioning the impartiality of the study as well as its conclusions.
As is usually the case, the vast majority of people commenting on this volatile subject have never read the Qur'an or the Hadiths. They have absolutely no knowledge of Arabic and they have never visited a Muslim majority nation. They make pronouncements that may have serious effects on the lives of millions without any first hand knowledge of the Islamic world.
Non-Muslims need to know the true intentions of Islam. They need to know why Islam continues to refer to them as "Infidels" and "Kafir" and openly condemns every non-believer to eternal hellfire. They need opinions that are based on an accurate reading of the Qur'an in the original Arabic and a correct translation of the speeches of today's prominent Islamic clerics. Inquisitr. com welcomes Raymond Ibrahim, an Arabic speaking expert on Islam, for a question and answer session on this life and death issue.
INTERVIEW WITH RAYMOND IBRAHIM:
Raymond Ibrahim is a Middle East and Islam specialist. He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. A widely published author, best known for The Al Qaeda Reader (Doubleday, 2007), he lectures at universities, including the National Defense Intelligence College, briefs governmental agencies, such as U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency and has testified before Congress regarding the conceptual failures that dominate American discourse concerning Islam and the worsening plight of Egypt's Christian Copts.
He has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al- Jazeera, CBN, and NPR. His writings have appeared in the Financial Times, Jerusalem Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times Syndicate, United Press International , USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, and the Weekly Standard.
Raymond is the son of Egyptian Coptic Christians, he speaks classical and modern Arabic and he has spent years studying the Qur'an and the Hadiths in the original Arabic. You can find Raymond's latest writings and articles at http://www.raymondibrahim.com.
Raymond, recently a study for the the U.S Office of Naval Research entitled "Identifying Terrorist Narratives and Counter-Narratives: Embedding Story Analysis in Expeditionary Units," was published by several scholars at Arizona State University. They concluded that "Islamist extremists stress self-defense, not world domination." After decades of violent terrorism and calls for the re-establishment of the caliphate, beginning in the modern era with the establishment of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 and the racist, antisemitic brutality of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti Of Jerusalem and his followers, non- Muslims still cling to the idea that Islam is a religion of peace. They hold to a demeaning belief that all the problems would disappear if we just helped the "poor Muslims" overcome their poverty and oppression.
Despite all the claims of Islam's peaceful intentions, the Muslim Brotherhood now rules the Arab world's most populous nation, Egypt, and its leader, Dr. Muhammad Badi had this to say, "The Imam (M.B. founder, Hassan al-Banna) delineated transitional goals and detailed methods to achieve this greatest objective, starting by reforming the individual, followed by building the family, the society, the government, and then a rightly guided caliphate and finally mastership of the world."
The Muslim Brotherhood, who speak for the majority of Egyptians, as well as having great influence throughout the Muslim world, have been quite open, when speaking in Arabic, about their desire to make Islam the only religion in the world and that Islam should rule the entire planet under a new caliphate.
Who is telling the truth?. The leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that gave birth to Hamas and al-Qaeda or the so called "experts at the University of Arizona? Is Islam about social justice or world domination?
Let me just offer you some facts, Wolff: In their voluminous literature—in their fatwas, treatises, books—these groups are unequivocally clear that their objective is domination—Islamic domination, the enforcement of Sharia law, and the subjugation of all infidels. Moreover, this domination is rooted in Islamic law, which commands that jihad be upheld in perpetuity until, in the words of the Koran, "all religion is for Allah" (8:39). For example, as the editor and translator of The Al Qaeda Reader, I am extremely well acquainted with the writings of Al Qaeda, especially the writings of the current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri (formerly of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood). In Al Qaeda's Arabic writings that are directed to fellow Muslims, they make absolutely clear that hostility for all non-Muslims, including Americans and Israel, is a doctrinal matter decreed from on high for Muslims. It has nothing to do with whether non-Muslim nations are "fair" or "unfair" to Muslims; it has everything to do with the fact that they are non-Muslims—infidels, whom Muslims are doctrinally obligated to subjugate and humiliate. Indeed, Koran 9:29 even names the Christians and Jews, the "People of the Book," as needing to be fought until they "pay tribute [jizya] and feel themselves utterly subdued." Of course, Al Qaeda drops this rhetoric in its writings and communiqués directed to Western nations. Then, the theme is the one that the "experts" you cite have swallowed hook-line-and sinker—that Al Qaeda's terror is in "retaliation" to Western foreign policy.
In fact, some years back, I juxtaposed the writings of Al Qaeda—primarily the late Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri—to show how they contradict themselves depending on whether they were talking to the West ("we attack you because you are unjust") or whether they were talking to fellow Muslims ("we must attack the West because our religion commands it"). My findings, which I titled "An Analysis of Al-Qaeda's Worldview: Reciprocal Treatment or Religious Obligation?" can be read here. At one point, bin Laden even asserts that "Our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately revolve around one issue… Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually? Yes. There are only three choices in Islam... Either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die."
As for the Muslim Brotherhood, it must be acknowledged that, if their tactics differ from Al Qaeda—the former primarily relies on non-violent propaganda, the latter on sheer violence—their goal is identical: the enforcement of Sharia law, with all the whippings, beheadings, amputations, sexual segregation, religious discrimination, death for apostates, and international hostility that entails. Western analysts and leaders seem to have fallen for the Muslim Brotherhood as the "alternative" to the "extreme radicals," the Salafis like Al Qaeda, without realizing that the Muslim Brotherhood works incrementally, step by step, phase by phase, decade after decade to achieve its goal of Islamic domination. And just like Al Qaeda, the Brotherhood also has been vocal about its ultimate goal, "mastership of the world."
Another popular opinion, especially among the political left and critics of Israel, is that the issues between Israel and the Arab world are about land and social justice and not about religion.
The PLO has stated the following four principals, which have been used in PLO documents and in sermons by PLO affiliated Muslim clerics: 1. Jews are the enemy of Allah. 2. Islam is fighting a continuous religious war against the Jews. 3. The killing of Jews is a religious obligation. 4. Palestinians are the vanguard in this war against the Jews, and all Islamic nations are obligated to assist in this war.
Despite the fact that the PLO openly made those four genocidal verses part of its founding charter, critics of Israel insist that it is all Israel's fault and demand even more suicidal concessions of land from Israel. The Western supporters of the Palestinians believe that despite decades of failure and constant terror attacks against Israeli civilians, all Israel has to do is give up more land, accept 5 million Arab Refugees into a country the size of New Jersey, divide its 3300 year old capitol of Jerusalem in half and there will be peace. They portray the Palestinians as helpless victims of the genocidal, apartheid enforcing Jews and some even go as far as to call the terrorists who kill 3 month old Jewish children, freedom fighters.
Is the Israeli - Arab conflict about land and social justice or is it a continuation of 1400 years of Islamic warfare against the Jewish people. Is this simply a modern territorial dispute or is it based on explicit teachings in the Qur'an and the Hadiths that portray Jews as "apes and pigs? Teachings that portray Jews as the eternal enemy of Islam and Muslims.
Wolff, you already answered that question by quoting the PLO, which says nothing about temporal territorial disputes, and everything about the fact that Jews are the "enemies of Allah," because the Koran says so. And mind you, the Koran was written well over a millennium before the creation of modern Israel—thereby dispelling any notions that the hostility has to do with recent history or politics.
We are dealing with a philosophical—specifically, epistemological—problem that plagues the West: no matter what Muslims say or do, if it does not jibe with the Western mentality—which is secular and liberal—it tends to be dismissed outright. And then, the only alternative is to articulate Muslims actions through a Western paradigm—a paradigm that believes all violence and intolerance is a byproduct of sincere grievance, poverty, oppression, etc. From here, you can see why, the more Israel is attacked, the more Western elitists will call on Israel to make concessions to the Islamic world.
To give you another example of the intellectual problems plaguing the West: because I read Arabic, I often report on stories emanating from the Arab world. Although these reports—including calls to legalize "sex-slave marriages" and destroy the Pyramids, and fatwas legalizing sodomy for jihad—are well documented and attested to in the Arabic media, all the dissemblers have to do is cry "hoax" to cast doubt on these reports. Why? Because, regardless of how legitimate my sources are, the stories simply do not conform to the Western mentality—a mentality that is unable to transcend (or descend) its own weltanschauung (world view) and so is especially receptive to the "hoax" charge, even when the hoax charge itself is a hoax.
Every day, we hear Western political and religious leaders claim that Islam is the "Religion of Peace." They state that "true Islam" has been "hijacked" by a handful of misguided extremists, who do not speak for the vast majority of Muslims. They say that Osama Bin Ladin, Khaled Meshaal of Hamas, Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, are all extremists who are completely out of step with the actual teachings of Islam.
Why are Western Leaders so determined to avoid all criticism of Islam and so willing to support organizations with genocidal intentions towards the Jewish people and the West?
Do people like Badi, Bin Ladin, Nasrallah Meshaal and Ahmadinejad speak for most Muslims or are they just on the fringe of true Islam, as the "scholars" of Arizona State University claim?
When it comes to Islam, it does not matter what the people you cite—whether Badi, Bin Ladin, Nasrallah Meshaal and Ahmadinejad, and certainly not the Western "scholars—have to say. All that matters is what Islam has to say—and this is easily discerned, for the teachings of Islam are well codified in its Sharia. One of the most fundamental problems between Islam and the rest of the world, is that mainstream Islam does teach that jihad is obligatory until the whole world submits. Consider the words of the most authoritative reference work on Islam in the West, the multi-volume Encyclopaedia of Islam, written in a day before political correctness and the other philosophical plagues I mentioned infiltrated academia. In its "jihad" entry, it states that the "spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general … Jihad must continue to be done until the whole world is under the rule of Islam … Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad can be eliminated." Likewise, renowned scholar Majid Khadurri (1909-2007), after defining jihad as warfare, writes that jihad "is regarded by all jurists, with almost no exception, as a collective obligation of the whole Muslim community."
Undoubtedly there are Muslims who, for various reasons, do not agree—just like there are Christians and Jews whose interpretations of Christianity and Judaism vary from the mainstream. But this does not change the hard fact that Islam proper—Islam itself—does teach hostility for and militancy against all non-Muslims. This fact ensures that, even if not all Muslims are committed to the jihad, some always will be. And in a technologically advanced world where numbers count for nothing, where 19 jihadis managed to kill nearly 3,000 people on 9/11—saying that only a "fringe" of Muslims accept Islam's jihad duty is hardly reassuring. It takes only a "fringe"—say, the Iranian regime—to acquire and detonate weapons of mass destruction, killing millions or committing genocide.
FINAL COMMENTS BY WOLFF BACHNER
Raymond Ibrahim has presented a view of Islam that is not based on his opinion or the opinions of university researchers, politicians or journalists. His understanding of Islam is taken directly from the pages of the Qur'an, the Hadiths and from Islamic law. Islam teaches that the Qur'an was written by Allah in the "Mother Book" before time began, and therefore its perfect. Not one word or punctuation mark can ever be changed. To do so would be a mortal sin against God himself.
Unlike the Bible and the Torah, which Jews and Christians believe was inspired by God and written by man, the Qur'an is immutable and will not conform to changing values or ethics. Christianity and Judaism have evolved over time. Dietary laws have changed. Adulterers are no longer stoned and the Crusades ended hundreds of years ago. Non-Muslims may drink alcohol without fear of being executed, unlike Iran, where two gentlemen were recently sentenced to death for drinking by an Islamic court.
Islam still follows the exact same religious doctrine that it followed in the 7th century, including Jihad, imposing Islam by the sword, killing those who leave Islam, cutting the heads off witches and stoning women who engage in premarital or adulterous sex. Honor killings, arranged marriage and child marriage are still common in the Islamic world. In Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood has endorsed female genital mutilation on religious grounds, 85% of Egyptian woman are subjected to this dangerous practice. While these things tend to horrify Western society, they are accepted as part of God's eternal law by Muslims.
What is even more important for non-Muslims to understand is that most Muslims find our Western social justice definition of Islam to be insulting. Muslims freely accept the teachings of the Qur'an and their clerics. While they may engage in Taqiyya and hide their true beliefs from non-Muslims, the vast majority of Muslims willingly follow their faith. The West is not gaining any respect from Muslims by trying to redefine Islam as a social justice movement.
As long as non-Muslims cling to their false and misguided definition of Islam, there is no hope that Jews, Christians and Muslims will be able to co-exist as true equals. Instead, the West will be seen as weak, spineless and faithless and that certainly makes us an appealing target for Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood, who are convinced "that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands so that God's religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions."