Saturday, February 18, 2012

Does the Quran Really Sanction Murder?

Dear Madame L,

I heard on the news today (Thurs., Feb. 16) that Umar Farouk Abdulmutalla, the so-called Underwear Bomber, claimed that the Quran says it's okay for Muslims to kill non-Muslims. Is that really true?


Thought Muslims Were People of the Book

Dear Person of the Book,

Madame L is no expert on Islam or the Quran or its teachings. Quite the contrary, in fact. Therefore, Madame L doesn't want to get in an argument with anyone on either side of this issue, though Madame L would like to hear from anyone has any thoughtful, informed, and civil comments to make about this issue.

It is Madame L's understanding that Islam does not teach that killing people is acceptable except in war or self-defense.  Madame L has been told by Muslim friends that the "jihad" or "holy war" so often mentioned by terrorists refers in fact to the internal struggle every individual undergoes to subdue evil tendencies and replace them with thoughts and actions that are acceptable to God.

Madame L believes that in fact the terrorists who wage "jihad" against non-Muslims aren't doing this from any "holy" motivation, but rather are acting from anger and hatred and a misunderstanding of Islam. By the way, the word formed by the consonants "s-l-m," in a religious context,  means "voluntary submission to God," and  Allah, the God of the Quran, the same God worshiped by Jews and Christians, abhors murder.  So it's hard to accept the idea that that same God actually approves of any of His followers committing murder or any terrorist acts.

Madame L has read that many recruits to the various pseudo-Islamic terrorist groups are actually unschooled in Islam and are recruited for that very reason. While Madame L cannot find the source for her original reading on this, she has found this quote from the online journal Middle East Forum: "Among Islamists, conspiracy theories thrive, reinforced by influential preachers unschooled in the ways of the West."

Madame L recommends this article for those who want to understand more about the way that terrorists justify their terrorist acts. In fact, terrorism, including hostage-taking and murder, consists of a series of tactics used to gain political and social power. It has no actual religious justification, any more than any such act if it were committed by someone of another faith.

Finally, Madame L  notes that the term "People of the Book" ("Ahl al-Kitāb") refers to people of the non-Muslim monotheistic religions: Jews, Sabians, and Christians---all the people who believe in the God of Abraham and/or are descended literally or spiritually from Abraham. These people are supposed to be at least tolerated by Muslims, as these quotes indicate:  

"And there are, certainly, among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), those who believe in God and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before God. They do not sell the Verses of God for a little price, for them is a reward with their Lord. Surely, God is Swift in account." (Quran 3:199)

"And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit." (Quran 29:46) 

"Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in God and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." (Quran 2:62)

"Those who follow the Jewish (scriptures) and the Sabians, Christians, Magians and Polytheists — God will judge them On the Day of Judgement" (Quran 22:17).

Madame L prays that all of us will be tolerant of those of other faiths and let God judge everyone, rather than attempting to pass judgment and punishment on people who are different from us.


Madame L


AskTheGeologist said...

The source of the information that Salafists, who specifically seek out 'weak-minded' proxies to murder other people for the Salafists' political reasons, came from two sources.

The first is found in the investigation report on the terrorist attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba that killed 164 people in Mumbay in November 2008.

The LET indoctrinators - who assiduously avoided ever doing anything risky themselves - deliberately chose individuals (most were petty criminals) who knew little or nothing of the Qu'ran. The reason? They didn't want to have to argue with them over the Salafist doctrine that would justify murder, and they didn't want to find that they had suddenly gone "soft" when the actual carnage began. In fact in this effort they were very successful: all but one of the 10 assassins continued murdering men, women, and children until cornered and killed.

The second source:
For the same reason, the suicide bombers in Pakistan and Afghanistan are typically boys - some as young as 12 - who are turned over to a Madrasa or school by trusting parents too poor to feed them. Their "teachers" form their minds with hate, xenophobia, and a readiness to commit suicide before they are old enough to fairly reason things out themselves. It's all part of "the plan," and is outlined in some considerable detail in an Al-Qaeda manual captured in Arghanistan in early 2002, as the Taliban were driven out of power.

Incidentally, suicide is also very specifically proscribed by the Qu'ran, and it is only from some out-of-context sayings in the Hadiths (the sayings of the Islamic prophet Mohammed) that the justification can be tortuously contrived to allow suicide - but only if used to kill kaffir, the unbelievers who are supposedly trying to destroy Islam.

Part of the reason why Al-Qaeda is so marginalized right now is that many of the religious theorists who originally sanctioned the Salafist justification for suicide bombings have changed their minds. They have changed their minds so forcefully, in fact, publishing this anti-justification over the internet and in books, that Ayman al-Zawahiri has been forced to spend more than half his time refuting his original teachers and Islamic theoreticians.

One final note: to call murderers "Jihadis" is something done only by Al-Qaeda's minions and western writers of English... not by the vast majority of Muslims, one of whom is a former son-in-law who calls me "Dad" and whom I call Ibni (son). Mohamed Ashour is a highly moral, extremely honest example of what the OTHER 99.996% of Muslims are: extremely good people. These are the kind of upright, modest, non-drinking people we would all want for neighbors. Mohamed (one m) told me that using the word "jihadi" for the 9/11 murderers (قاتل - Khodhil)or any of the other suicide bombers is personally offensive to him, per Madame L's explanation of that word.

The term used by most western foreign policy specialists for an Islamic murder-suicide justifier is "Salafist".

AskTheGeologist said...

I've also heard him referred to as "The Panty Bomber."

Incidentally, there was a lot of chest-beating about the Predator strike last October that killed Anwar Al-Awlaki in Yemen. The chest-beating was because he was technically an American citizen (he was born in Albuquerque to a diplomat and his wife living there at the time) - and that there was no "due process." As if someone who was trying to kill Americans for being Americans, and who could not be brought to law, should be offered such civilized amenities.

The "Panty Bomber" just sentenced to life in prison actually carried 400 grams - about a pound - of PETN explosive. This was about 4 times the amount of explosive that the bomb designer, Ibrahim al-Asiri, used for the rectal bomb he gave his younger brother Abdullah, to infiltrate and try to kill Prince Naif, the Saudi Intelligence chief in Riyadh.

That bears repeating: Al-Asiri gave his own brother a device to blow himself up with.

400 grams of PETN definitely WOULD have brought that Christmas Day Delta flight down on Detroit, killing untold thousands of people. If it had worked. Abdulmutallab freely admitted that Anwar Al-Awlaki had recruited and trained him. This information was available to the FBI and CIA after Abdulmutallab's confession and conviction, and before the Predator attack last October. The bomb badly burned only Abduilmutallab's genitals because the PETN didn't ignite. Why didn't it ignite? Apparently Abdulmutallab wore the same underwear for three weeks before he could board the flight to Detroit. The bomb's failure was explained by an FBI bomb expert as being "due to wear and tear."

There are truly, unmeasurably evil people out there. And al-Asiri knows now exactly why each of his three bomb attempts on the United States failed. You can count on him using that knowledge to inform his next "creation".