The ethos of Islam

The ethos of Islam

Jerusalem Post
Apr. 12, 2004 22:46

In 1992, the socialist government in Madrid promoted legislation that
recognized Islam’s ancient tradition in the country, considering
Spanish identity harmoniously interwoven with the Koranic religion.

But the Muslim interpretation of Islam in Spain, beginning with
conquest in 711 and ending in 1492, had a more militant twist. Scholar
M. Amir Ali commented that Spain had actually been liberated by Muslim
forces and its tyrants removed. Reflecting on March 11, as Muslim
terrorism killed 200 and wounded1,400 in Madrid, one wonders whether
one day this event will also not be commemorated as a liberating

Central to the attitude in the West concerning Islam is the fear to
define global terrorism as Muslim terrorism. US President George
W. Bush’s reticence, a combination of caution and error, has been
representative of all Western leaders.

Islam’s conceptual lexicon and emotional code are radically different
from that conventionally understood and practiced in the West. Yasser
Arafat and Ahmed Yassin, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Hassan
Nasrallah, and Osama bin Laden, register as dramatic personae who
relentlessly link religion with war against Jews and Christians,
devoid of any remorse or shame.

The mind-set of Islam was etched into theological axioms with the
appearance of the Koran in the seventh century. This book is its
explicit and enduring guide.

The Koran is, among other things, a war tract calling upon “the
believers”- there are only Muslim believers – “to fight for the cause
of Allah”(4:74-76). This is a war for truth; God is One and Muhammad
his true prophet and messenger. The infidels must be punished
(16:126-8) for their haughtiness and stubbornness in rejecting
Muhammad (6:158), and will burn in the fire of Hell (4:55).

The Muslims must fight the infidels, primarily Jews and Christians,
with “the sword of Muhammad.” The religion of Muhammad will triumph
because the Muslims love death, accepting any individual sacrifice,
while the enemy loves life.

At Qadisiyya in 637, Arabs seeking paradise defeated Persians longing
for the earth below.

Yet more than the Muslim shahid (martyr) is willing to die, the Muslim
mujahid (fighter) has a passion to kill. This is his religious mission
and life’s purpose. There is no reason to pity the infidel or feel
culpable for his demise. The Koran commands the believer not to trust
or befriend the humiliated dhimmis, those Jewish and Christian
scriptuaries, who must suffer timorously the heavenly sanctioned rule
of Islam.

Islam’s supersessionary religious doctrine catalyzed relentless
destruction, oppression, and abuse of Christians in eastern
lands. While there were moments of laxity and civility in applying the
robust strictures of domination, Islam did not recoil from razing
churches in ancient Damascus and slaughtering Christians in
Mesopotamia, inflicting atrocities in Aleppo and exterminating
Armenians in their homeland.

Arab colonization of the Middle East and the Islamization of its
peoples were acts of conquest and conversions that define the region
until today.

The 14th-century Muslim theologian Ibn Taimiyya explained the root of
this sweeping campaign. “Infidels,” he wrote, “forfeit their persons
and their belongings which they do not use in Allah’s service to the
faithful believers who serve Allah and unto whom Allah restitutes what
is theirs; thus is restoredto a man [Muslim] the inheritance of which
he was deprived, even if he had never before gained possession.”

THE MUSLIM dehumanization of non-Muslims profoundly colors the
problematic relationship wherever the two sides meet.

People who innocently take a train in Madrid, a plane in Washington, a
bus in Jerusalem, or go to the theater in Moscow, can be wantonly
murdered with no Muslim afterthought.

The Koranic precept “to slay them [infidels] wherever you find them”
(2:191) is the religious gunpowder filling mosque sermons in Mecca,
Cairo, and Gaza. The believers call upon Allah to help the warriors
of Islam in Kashmir and Chechnya, Palestine and Kosovo.

The believer is fortified by the belief that any martyrdom operation
against haughty Jews and misguided Christians pleases Allah. It is
that act which brings honor to the martyr’s family.

This religious delirium, with the Muslim’s mental universe pining for
the heavenly whorehouse of 72 virgins awaiting him in paradise, cannot
be apprised through conventional categories of Western humanism.

The Muslim mosque, for prayer in Bradford, Rennes, and Granada,
potentially transforms faith into a closed herd mentality, and
spirituality into formulae for ineluctable conquest.

The socio-religious processes of demographic growth and conversion,
with more than 15 million Muslims inhabiting Western Europe today,
constitute alternative and non-violent modes for the Islamic
proliferation in Europe. In two generations, half of Holland will be
Muslim and a third of Denmark; more than a tenth of France already is.

During the history of Muslim takeover of the Christian lands in the
ancient Middle East – which is now being repeated in the Christian
lands ofEurope – public space was to be cleansed of infidel
presumption, if not presence.

This is a process whose signs are emerging in Western countries, as
police protect shoppers and travelers, as strategic targets are
endangered. Muslims and their sites are free of menace.

IT FOLLOWS, then, that mourning in Madrid and panic in Paris
constitute a thoroughly proper state of affairs. The infidel “domain
of war,” to use an Islamic legalism for non-Muslim lands, must
inevitably fall to Islam.

Sheikh Jamal Shakir, in a mosque harangue in Amman on March 5, said:
“O God destroy your enemies, the Jews and Crusader enemies of Islam.”

While Israel has fought tenaciously against Islamic terrorism, Europe
has adopted escapist routes: blaming Israel and its war with the
Palestinians as responsible for Muslim terror, and bowing submissively
as dhimmis must to Muslim violence, threats, and ultimatums. Witness
appropriate European cowardice and venality, with the rise of
anti-Semitism and the shameful Spanish election results.

Exhausted by two 20th-century continental wars and the long Cold War,
now confronting a multifaceted Islamic War, Europe is deluded and

That the Muslims take their religion seriously and literally appears
beyond the grasp of European comprehension. The Americans understand
better, and Israel smack in the eye of the storm hits back without
remorse or shame.

The writer teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His latest
book is Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and