A detailed look at the problems of fundamentalist Islam.
Yes, There Is A Problem
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece that talked about the danger of fundamentalist Islam in the world. As expected people weren’t happy, which is understandable. Religion is something that people’s dreams, hopes, and lives hinge on. And maybe I didn’t word it exactly like I meant to, so I will start this article by saying: Not every Muslim is bad, and there are many peaceful Muslims. So that being said, and with me trying to make it perfectly clear that I am not hate mongering, let me explain again why fundamentalist Islam is so incredibly dangerous. (And yes, before I continue, I know there are fundamentalist and extremists in every religion.) My intention is to show a pattern of ideological warfare predicated on what many radicals perceive to be Islamic law, and then try to understand how they came to their conclusion that to be a good Muslim is to “Make war on the unbelievers who dwell around” them.
Let’s start by asking who, according to the state department, provided the largest amount of fiscal funding to terrorism around the world in 2004. That would be… drum-roll please… The Islamic Republic of Iran. Is it a coincidence that they are also a country governed by the Law of Shari’a, which in itself states that the life of a non-Muslim is worth less than that of a Muslim . The Mullahs of Iran have implemented a culture of systematic violence based on these rules and interpretations of the Koran, much the way the Wahhabi’s did in Saudi Arabia. One such law is for adultery. “The penalty for adultery under Article 83 of the penal code, called the Law of Hodoud is flogging (100 lashes of the whip) for unmarried male and female offenders. Married offenders may be punished by stoning regardless of their gender, but the method laid down for a man involves his burial up to his waist, and for a woman up to her neck (article 102). The law provides that if a person who is to be stoned manages to escape, he or she will be allowed to go free. Since it is easier for a man to escape, this discrimination literally becomes a matter of life and death.”. Is it any wonder that these people would fund the killing of thousands of innocent civilians all over the world? Life means nothing to them.
Let’s now take a look at the major terrorist attacks over the past twenty or so years and what their perpetrator's religious affiliation was.
’83 Bombing of U.S. Embassy in Lebanon: Muslim
’83 U.S. Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon that killed 220 marines and 21 other service members: Muslim
’86 Bombing of La Belle discotheque in Berlin: Muslim
’88 Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland: Muslim
’93 World Trade Center Bombing: Muslim
’95 Oklahoma City Bombing: non-Muslim atheist
’98 U.S. Embassy Bombings in Kenya and Tanzania (258 dead- 5,000+ injured): Muslim
’00 U.S.S. Cole Bombing in Yemen: Muslim
'01 9/11 Attacks (Twin Towers, Pentagon- over 3000 dead): Muslim
’02 Bali Nightclub Bombing: Muslim
’03 Madrid Train Bombing: Muslim
’04 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Suicide Bombing of Housing Units for Westerners: Muslim
’04 Beslan Massacre- 330 Elementary School Children killed: Muslim.
’67-’04- 1,773 Israeli deaths from Palestinian terror attacks : Muslims
The argument is often that terrorist acts aren’t committed solely by Muslims, and while this is certainly true, it is also just as certain that they account for nearly all of the major terror acts over the last 20+ years. To deny this would be asinine, and to admit this would be a step in an intelligent direction. It would force one to question why it is that this religion spawns off so many violent fundamentalists. Al Qaeda, Ansar Al Islam, Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, Hamas, Hezbollah, Jund-al Islam, Al-Jihad, and the list goes on and on, all perceive themselves to be waging a war against Allah’s enemies. There can be no denying this to be their true perception, and to say otherwise would be lying to oneself.
Where do the Osama bin Laden’s, al-Zarqawi’s, and Mohammed Atta’s get this idea? Why do they feel it their absolute duty to fight anyone they believe to be infidels; to kill anyone who associates with the Zionists? Could this come from the very source of Islam itself? Could Mohammed himself have waged similar wars?
Initially peaceful in his teachings, Mohammed converted few peers in Mecca, and was then driven out by the citizens, whereupon he fled to Medina. It was here that his luck changed. He converted the masses, became powerful, and it was here that his teachings (suras) were to change as well.
Mohammed became a warrior and a conqueror:
In his book, The Sword of the Prophet, historical author Serge Trifkovic writes about a battle in the city of Medina at the time of Mohammed. The Muslims were victorious and "Mohammed offered the men conversion to Islam as an alternative to death; upon their refusal, up to 900 were decapitated at the ditch, in front of their women and children." The revelations in the Koran were changing at this time, and they justified the destruction of the Jews.
What does this have to do with 21st century terrorism?
“Beheadings”- When you meet unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads and when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly.
“…up to 900 were decapitated…”
Now in modern times: The beheading of Nick Berg, the beheading of Paul Johnson, the beheading of Daniel Perl, the Armstrong beheading, the Korean hostage beheaded, the Pakistani captives decapitated, and all of these on lovely video to be shown around the world on the internet . Could they possibly have been influenced into the beheading method of murder?
“Suicide Bombings”- If you should die or be killed in the cause of Allah, His mercy and forgiveness would surely be better than all the riches that amass. If you should die or be killed, before Him you shall all be gathered.
And while it is true that the Koran says not to kill oneself, it is also true that human nature allows for a little bit of fudging from time to time. So when little Ali from Riyadh is disappointed with life anyway, and is reminded that much better lay after his poor little life has ended, especially if he dies in the “cause of Allah”, don’t you think that maybe he’s more likely to strap a bomb on and “Make war on the unbelievers who dwell around him” ? This isn’t brain surgery, this isn’t rocket science; it’s simply understanding human nature and its innate desire to have something better. Wouldn’t that idea make it easier for little Ali to be fearless about killing himself to take out non-believers?
Now of course I understand that a lot of Muslims think that it is absurd to kill themselves; they find the idea of beheading somebody disgusting; but for the destitute and broken of the middle-east, is it not a possibility that they could be easily influenced by somebody quoting only certain passages from the Koran and being promised so much if they would only sacrifice themselves?
But why would this be so easy? Maybe it’s because the Koran is accepted by all Muslims as the unfaltering and absolute word of God (Allah). If the creator of the universe picked up pen and paper and wrote it down then how could it be wrong? I suppose that it wouldn’t be, but Allah didn’t pick up a pen and paper, and Mohammed didn’t either for that matter. The Koran was finished and written mostly by Abu Bakr, Mohammed’s successor. So, one may ask, what does that matter? Well, other than the fact that Allah didn’t write it and neither did his prophet, which kind of makes it hard to imagine it as God’s word verbatim, there are plenty of contradictions in the text. Some verses are about peace and self sacrifice for the poor, some are about acceptance of others, and then there are the violent and intolerant versus. So which ones are right? More important, which ones are accepted and practiced? Well, that of course depends on the Muslim. Some are peaceful in the name of their religion and others obviously are violent in the name of their religion. That being said, there is the accepted Muslim Scholar approach:
“The head religious men of Islam have an official policy for handling the many conflicting passages in the Koran, according to Mark Gabriel (who was at one time a teacher of Islamic history in Egypt). The Islamic religious leaders don't deny that there are conflicting passages in the Koran. They say, "Where two passages conflict, the later one overwrites the earlier one." That is the consensus of the Islamic scholars. If this is true, it is bad news for people who don't want to be Muslims, because it means that the authorities have said essentially, the intolerant, jihad-oriented passages overwrite the verses you hear quoted by the moderate Muslims in the media.”
So, since some of these later violent passages can be accepted as the absolute word of God and since there are a number of mullahs and clerics who hold them to be more important than the first peaceful messages, then isn’t it possible that a passage such as “Let those fight in the cause of Allah who barter the life of this world for that which is to come; for whoever fights on Allah's path, whether he is killed or triumphs, we will give him a handsome reward” could prod some of these impoverished Muslims into terrorist groups and acts? The logical answer is yes.
Where can this cycle end? It can only end with a large majority of Islam’s leaders standing up and telling all of their brothers and sisters that terrorism is inherently wrong and that the Koran, while indeed being a holy book, is not the absolute word of God and can’t be since it was penned by a man, and a large portion penned by someone other than the prophet himself.
The first step is the easier of the two to take, and yet many Islamic organizations won’t do it. Yes there are some organizations such as Free Muslims Coalition who organized a recent "Free Muslims March against Terrorism" that vocally oppose terrorism, but why wouldn’t the Council on American-Islamic Relations join them? Where was the Muslim Public Affairs Council? Why wouldn’t they support an anti-terrorism march, after they so strongly claim to be moderate Muslim organizations? Why has the Council on American-Islamic Relations refused to condemn terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah? When confronted with a 1991 fund-raising flier from convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian that read, in part, “Jihad is our path! Victory to Islam! Death to Israel and victory to Islam!” why did former communications director at the Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Hussein Ibish pass off the violence of such a statement by saying, “‘Death to Israel’ does not necessarily mean violence. Jihad can mean a lot of things…”? Why did he refer to Free Muslims Coalition’s invitation for Muslim leadership to denounce terrorism as a "crude ploy"? Why did the Muslim American Society agree with him? 
If a majority of Muslim leadership won’t march against or denounce terrorism, then what does that tell the everyday Muslim; the person that turns to them for leadership, for council, for empowerment? How can anything change if there isn’t a call for it? The answer is that it can’t and it won’t. Things will only escalate until the rest of the world, i.e. the non-Muslims grow tired of trying to understand, and resort to violence of their own. Human nature can only take so much of one thing before there is a definable backlash, and there is no telling how bad it could get. So it’s time for Muslim leadership to stop talking and preaching about Jihad, in fact it’s time for them to denounce it. (Yes peaceful Muslims, I know that there are different forms of jihad, but I am obviously talking about the suicide bomber type, so settle down.) It’s time for nations to renounce barbaric law predicated on ferocious 7th century ideals. It’s time to let people govern themselves. And it’s certainly time for us to get along and accept each other’s beliefs.
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•  Iran is number one sponsor of terror 2004
•  Muslim life is more valuable than non-believer-
…and the law that no Muslim should be killed in Qisas (equality in punishment) for the killing of (a disbeliever).
•  Stoning
•  Israeli deaths
•  Terrorist groups
•  Beheading videos
•  Islamic Scholars beliefs on interpreting the Koran
• Islam’s leaders refuse to march against terrorism