How the Palestinian Authority Encourages Terrorism

dalalThe Palestinian Authority (PA) is the interim “self-governing authority” that represents the Palestinian residents of the West Bank.1 In March 2017, the PA honored Dalal Mughrabi by naming a youth camp in Jericho the “Brothers of Dalal.”2 This is shocking because Mughrabi was a terrorist. By celebrating her as a national hero, the PA is encouraging acts of terrorism.

Dalal Mughrabi took part in the worst terrorist attack in Israeli history. As reported by the Times of Israel, “On March 11, 1978, Mughrabi and several other Fatah terrorists landed on a beach near Tel Aviv, hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Road and killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children, and wounded over 70.”3 Mughrabi was killed by Israeli forces, and following her death, many buildings and streets in the West Bank have been named after her.4

Naming a youth camp after a dead terrorist is an example of moral inversion: declaring evil to be good. A Palestinian Authority official, Ramallah Laila Ghannam, praised the initiative for “remembering the pure-hearted Martyrs.”5 The PA should be condemned by the International Community for honoring Mughrabi. She was a criminal, not a martyr.

Unfortunately, honoring dead terrorists is common practice by the PA. A 2010 report by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) included “100 examples of places and events named after 46 different terrorists.”6 Instead of condemning Palestinian terrorists for killing Israeli citizens, the PA celebrates them as heroes, even though they killed innocent people.

Honoring and celebrating terrorists sends a message to Palestinians that if you carry out acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens, the PA may one day honor and celebrate you. Naming a youth camp after Mughrabi is a tacit endorsement of terrorism by the PA. They are encouraging Palestinians to follow her example, and do what she did. Further, by calling a dead terrorist a “martyr”, the current leadership of the Palestinian Authority stands for radical Islam. And the goal of radical Islam is to destroy the state of Israel.

Notes

  1. “Palestinian Authority,” The Reut Institute, accessed March 12, 2017, http://reut-institute.org/Publication.aspx?PublicationId=563
  2. Brooke Singman, “PLO names youth camp after terrorist who murdered 37,” Fox News, March 7, 2017, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/03/07/plo-names-youth-camp-after-terrorist-who-murdered-37.html
  3. “Palestinian Authority holds youth camp in terrorist’s honor,” Times of Israel, March 6, 2017, http://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinian-authority-holds-youth-camp-in-terrorists-honor/
  4. “Israel Balks as Palestine Honors Militants,” CBS News, March 24, 2010, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/israel-balks-as-palestine-honors-militants/
  5. Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “PLO names youth camp after terrorist who led murder of 37,” Palestinian Media Watch, March 5, 2017, http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=20557
  6. Itamar Marcus, “From Terrorists to Role Models: The Palestinian Authority’s Institutionalization of Incitement,” Palestinian Media Watch, May 2010, http://palwatch.org/STORAGE/special%20reports/PA%20honors%20terrorists%20Final%20Eng.pdf

Two Reasons Why ISIS Practices Beheading

isis-daily-mailIf there is a top 10 list of the most shocking crimes of the 21st century, the beheading of people by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) should be on that list. There are two primary reasons why ISIS practices such barbaric cruelty: as a means of psychological warfare, and because they believe it is the will of Allah.

The first reason ISIS beheads people is to instill fear and terror in the Iraqi army. According to Shashank Joshi, “the Islamic State’s fighters have used their reputation for terror to dissuade Iraqi forces from ever seeking battle. Which poorly paid soldier wishes to risk decapitation, impalement, or amputation for the sake of a distant, crumbling government? Fear is a uniquely effective weapon.”1 Every soldier who goes to war knows that he may die in battle, but the thought of having your head chopped off is much more terrifying than to die from a bullet to the head or heart.

The second reason ISIS beheads people is because they believe it is the will of Allah. There are two verses in the Qur’an that command Muslims to chop off the heads of “those who disbelieve”:

  • Qur’an 8:12 – When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.2
  • Qur’an 47:4 – So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates.3

To argue that the Qur’an does not command beheading is disingenuous. There is nothing figurative or symbolic about smiting someone on the neck. As Timothy R. Furnish makes clear, “Mahmud b. Umar az-Zamakhshari (d. 1143 C.E.), in a major commentary studied for centuries by Sunni religious scholars, suggested that any prescription to ‘strike at the necks’ commands to avoid striking elsewhere so as to confirm death and not simply wound.”4 During the 7th century, Muhammad and his followers waged war with the sword. If you “smite” a person’s neck with a sword, the obvious will happen: Their head will come off.

The historical record shows that Muhammad approved of, directly ordered, and possibly participated in numerous beheadings.5 The most horrific example is the Raid on the Banu Qurayza in 627 A.D. Ibn Ishaq, the 8th century Muslim historian, records that after the Jewish tribe “surrendered to the apostle’s judgement”6, Muhammad appointed Sa’d b. Mu’adh “umpire in the matter”7 who ruled that “the men should be killed.”8 Muhammad declared it was “the judgement of Allah”, and “then he sent for them and struck off their heads.”9 The total number of men beheaded was “600 or 700 in all.”10 If the historical record is accurate, then Muhammad has at least one thing in common with ISIS: He had no objections to beheading his enemies.

It must be emphasized that the beheading of people by ISIS does not reflect the views of the vast majority of Muslims today. Moderate Muslims have strongly condemned the actions of ISIS.11 However, to argue that beheading people is un-Islamic is false. This is because there is no such thing as one “true” form of Islam, or any other religion. All religions have doctrines that are based on human argument and interpretation of their sacred texts. Determining the “true” interpretation of Islam will always be a matter of debate.

The leader and founder of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has a doctorate in Islamic studies12, believes that his version of Islam is the correct interpretation. Further, as the self-proclaimed caliph, he believes he is on a divine mission from Allah, declaring in a 2015 speech, “O Muslims, indeed we fight in obedience to Allah and as a means of coming closer to Him.”13 Baghdadi’s leadership in directing his followers to behead people is not un-Islamic. It is simply the belief and practice of radical Islam.

Notes

  1. Shashank Joshi, “Where does the Islamic State’s fetish with beheading people come from?,” The Telegraph, September 14, 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11071276/Where-does-the-Islamic-States-fetish-with-beheading-people-come-from.html
  2. Qur’an 8:12 (Shakir). http://quran.com/8
  3. Qur’an 8:12 (Shakir). http://quran.com/47
  4. Timothy R. Furnish, “Beheading in the Name of Islam,” Middle East Quarterly 12, no.2 (Spring 2005), 51-57, http://www.meforum.org/713/beheading-in-the-name-of-islam
  5. “List of Killings Ordered or Supported by Muhammad,” accessed October 9, 2016, https://wikiislam.net/wiki/List_of_Killings_Ordered_or_Supported_by_Muhammad
  6. Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, trans. Alfred Guillaume (Pakistan: Oxford University Press, 1955), 463, https://archive.org/details/TheLifeOfMohammedGuillaume
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, 464.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Matt Payton, “More than 30,000 Muslims from across the world meet in the UK to reject Isis and Islamic extremism,” Independent, August 15, 2016, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/more-than-30000-ahmadiyya-muslims-from-across-the-world-meet-in-the-uk-to-reject-isis-and-islamic-a7191306.html
  12. William McCants, “Who Exactly is Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the Leader of ISIS?”, Newsweek, September 16, 2015, http://www.newsweek.com/who-exactly-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-leader-isis-368907
  13. S.J. Prince, “READ: Full English Translation of ISIS ‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s New Speech,” Heavy, December 28, 2015, http://heavy.com/news/2015/12/new-isis-islamic-state-news-pictures-videos-so-wait-indeed-we-along-with-you-are-waiting-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-speech-english-translation/

Why Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is a not a Moderate

 U.S. President Obama participates in joint news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at Muqata Presidential Compound in RamallahMahmoud Abbas was elected President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) on January 9, 2005.1 Although his four-year term expired on January 8, 2009, 2 he is still serving as President. Not only has he usurped democracy by suspending elections, but he recently endorsed acts of terror against Israeli citizens. The West views Abbas as a moderate,3 but in reality, he is a radical Muslim.

On February 3, 2016, Abbas met with 11 families of Palestinian terrorists who carried out attacks against Israel.4 As reported by The Times of Israel, the 11 terrorists included “Baha Alian, who killed three Israelis on a bus” and Alaa Abu Jamal who “careened his car into Israeli pedestrians, exited the vehicle and stabbed the victims.”5 Abbas showed his support for the dead terrorists by telling the families, “Your sons are martyrs.”6

To call a terrorist a martyr is to endorse the killing of innocent civilians. This is not the view of moderate Islam—it is radical Islam. The Islamic teaching of martyrdom is based on verses in the Qur’an including 4:74 – “So let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. And he who fights in the cause of Allah and is killed or achieves victory – We will bestow upon him a great reward.”7 By calling 11 dead terrorists “martyrs”, Abbas is suggesting that they will be rewarded by Allah for their actions.

Terrorists who kill civilians are not martyrs—they are criminals. To intentionally kill an innocent civilian is an act of evil. Abbas is guilty of moral inversion: declaring that evil is good. He should be condemned by the International community for his support of terrorism. If he were the leader of a Western nation, he would be forced to resign.

Notes

  1. “Abbas achieves landslide poll win,” BBC News, January 10, 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4160171.stm
  2. “PLO elects Abbas ‘Palestinian president’,” The Sydney Morning Herald, November 24, 2008, http://www.smh.com.au/world/plo-elects-abbas-palestinian-president-20081123-6eza.html
  3. Uri Savir, “The end of Abbas, the end of moderation,” Al-Monitor, October 7, 2015, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/10/israel-abbas-moderate-leader-true-partner-peace-end-era.html
  4. Elior Levy, “Abbas meets with terrorists’ families hours after attack,” Ynetnews, February 4, 2016, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4761949,00.html
  5. “Abbas meets families of terrorists just after deadly Jerusalem attack,” The Times of Israel, February 4, 2016, http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-meets-families-of-terrorists-just-after-deadly-jerusalem-attack/
  6. Ibid.
  7. Qur’an 4:74 (Sahih International). http://quran.com/4

The Doctrine of Jihad: Dracula Untold (2014)

dracula-untold-posterIn Gary Shore’s Dracula Untold (2014) Vlad (Luke Evans) must defend his kingdom against the invading Turks led by Mehmed (Dominic Cooper). Mehmed is driven by a desire to conquer other lands and expand his empire. For the real Mehmed of history, the desire for conquest was rooted in the doctrine of jihad.

Mehmed II, also known as Mehmed the Conqueror, was the sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1444 to 1446 and from 1451 to 1481.1 In 1453, he conquered Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, and renamed it Istanbul.2 Mehmed boasts that after he kills Vlad he will take his son on his “march into Europe.” This is true to history: He undertook many campaigns and expeditions including the Balkans and southern Italy.3 Although he failed in his siege of Belgrade in 1456, he later conquered Serbia and Athens, Greece.4 The military ambitions of Mehmed II ended with his death in 1481.5

Mehmed II was a conqueror because he believed in violent jihad. For Mehmed, “the non-Muslim world was ‘war territory’ ordained by the Koran to be subjected.”6 He said that “the ghaza (Holy War) is our basic duty, as it was in the case of our fathers.”7 The doctrine of jihad is based on verses in the Qur’an. Four of these verses include

  • Qur’an 8:12 – I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.8
  • Qur’an 8:39 – And fight them until there is no fitnah and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah.9
  • Qur’an 9:5 – Kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way.10
  • Qur’an 9:29 – Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth.11

For moderate Muslims, violent jihad is only permitted “in self defense, when other nations have attacked an Islamic state, or if another state is oppressing Muslims.”12 Moderate Muslims believe Islam is a religion of peace. They have no desire for conquest, and want to live in peace with non-Muslims. However, radical Muslims believe the “sword verses have abrogated (revoked or annulled) the verses that permit warfare only in defense. They [use the] sword verses to justify war against unbelievers.”13 As David Bukay explains, “The Qur’an is unique among sacred scriptures in accepting a doctrine of abrogation in which later pronouncements of the Prophet declare null and void his earlier pronouncements.”14 Radical Muslims believe the Qur’an teaches them to conquer other nations because of the doctrine of abrogation.

The doctrine of abrogation is based on verses in the Qur’an including 2:106: “We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it.”15 Abrogation explains the apparent contradictions in the Qur’an. Earlier verses advocate peace, while later verses call for holy war. As circumstances in Mecca and Medina changed, Allah gave Muhammad new revelations that cancelled and replaced earlier commandments.

While Dracula Untold reveals many aspects of Vlad’s Christian faith and culture, there is no mention of Mehmed’s Muslim faith. This appears deliberate to avoid the controversy of suggesting that Islam is a religion of conquest. The historical reality, however, is that Muslim rulers, acting on their faith, have conquered other cities and nations. In the 15th century, Mehmed II believed the teachings of the Qur’an justified the expansion of the Ottoman empire throughout Europe and Asia. If he were alive today, he would be considered a radical Muslim.

Notes

  1. Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. “Mehmed II”, accessed December 28, 2015, http://www.britannica.com/biography/Mehmed-II-Ottoman-sultan
  2. Encyclopedia of World Biography, s. v. “Mehmed the Conqueror,” accessed December 28, 2015, http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Sultan_of_Ottoman_Empire_Mehmed_II.aspx
  3. Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. “Mehmed II”, accessed December 28, 2015, http://www.britannica.com/biography/Mehmed-II-Ottoman-sultan
  4. Encyclopedia of World Biography, s. v. “Mehmed the Conqueror,” accessed December 28, 2015, http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Sultan_of_Ottoman_Empire_Mehmed_II.aspx
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Qur’an 8:12 (Sahih International). http://quran.com/8
  9. Qur’an 8:39 (Sahih International). http://quran.com/8
  10. Qur’an 9:5 (Sahih International). http://quran.com/9
  11. Qur’an 9:29 (Sahih International). http://quran.com/9
  12. “BBC – Religions – Islam: War,” accessed December 30, 2015, http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/islamethics/war.shtml
  13. Ibid.
  14. David Bukay, “Peace or Jihad? Abrogation in Islam,” Middle East Quarterly 14, no. 4 (Fall 2007): 3, http://www.meforum.org/1754/peace-or-jihad-abrogation-in-islam
  15. Qur’an 2:106 (Sahih International). http://quran.com/2