ENEMY AT THE GATE
Date: 26 May 2008
On September 11, 2001, self-described devout Muslims carried out an
act of brutal terrorism and murdered some 3000 people in America and
caused over 100 billion in property damage. They hijacked 4 planes,
slit the throats of stewardesses, and destroyed the World Trade Center
and part of the Pentagon. Remaining Americans were impacted by the
trillion dollars in capital and millions of jobs lost. The victims of
the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the crashing airliners were
not armed and did not fall in pitched battle. Of the three thousand
dead, none expected their fate, but were nonetheless combat casualties
of self-described religious warriors.
On March 11, 2004 hundreds in Madrid, Spain experienced the same fate,
at the same hands, for the same reasons, with thousands left wounded
and maimed. The Israelis know intimately the nature and intents of
Islam, while the children of Beslan had their up-close and personal
introduction to `real Islam' Sept 2004. Londoners received their
bitter taste of reality on 7/7/05. Today, many not directly affected
by these attacks seek to forget those terrible days, to push it out of
relevance, but the orphans of those causalities, and children of
orphans not yet born, can never forget.
America and other nations responded and went after culpable
Muslim terrorist groups in Afghanistan, with a follow-on campaign
against a major sponsor of terror in Iraq. Elsewhere in the world,
some governments arrested men associated with Islamic extremist
groups. Those arrested were members of organizations participating in
terrorism, but whether convicted or not, they always claimed to be
good devout Muslims badly treated and misunderstood. As it turns out,
various terrorist cells, networks, and organizations stretch far and
wide. The enemy we pursue has proved to be adept at using false
identities and cloaks of privacy to hide. To conceal themselves, their
efforts, and their plans, they also make use of our own freedoms of
speech, movement, and religion, along with the seemingly always
available grass-root support from fellow Muslims.
Following September 11th, many Muslims living in the West
defended Islam, stating that it is a religion of peace. At the same
time there were many other Muslims in Islamic lands, and even some in
America (living in predominately Muslim communities as well as Muslim
students on American campuses) who openly celebrated the deaths and
destruction. Many throughout the Islamic world were observed rejoicing
and calling for the continuing destruction of America chanting "Death
to America", and "America is the Great Satan". Huge numbers openly or
quietly rejoiced, with the absence of sincere and coherent outrage
palpable. In the West, Muslim spokesmen were much more muted; some
proclaimed that "the Muslim terrorists have hijacked our faith" and
that real Islam is a kind, tolerant religion not associated with
terrorist individuals or events.
A claim oft repeated in defense of Islam was that "Islam' is a word
which literally means 'Peace'". In response it was pointed out that
the Arabic word for peace is salaam, and that Islam is Arabic for
surrender or submission, quite a different concept than peace, and
that even Muslim means one who submits. Now the official line from
Islam is that "Islam' means Peace through submission to Allah's will",
but the opposite camp points out that the newly created definition is
illusory in that it does not mention what 'Allah's will' is with
respect to Jihad and its role in the advancement of Islam. The two
camps often seem to completely contradict each other. Obviously, they
both cannot be correct.
Those in the West are left to divine, what's the bottom line according
to real Islam? Out of an overabundance of prudence, it would be wise
to first fortify ourselves with knowledge. If we fail to thoroughly
investigate what Islam is truly all about, there is a danger we might
inadvertently invite even more horrific sequels to the disasters that
have already been perpetrated upon us.
Since that dastardly attack the topic of Islam seems always in
the news, and there has been much more discussion about terms like
"Jihad". One question commonly asked is "why are so many associated
with this religion so violent?" Giving the benefit of the doubt to a
poorly understood religion, and to secure the support of the Islamic
world, the American political machine has gone out of its way to
stress that America and her allies are not fighting Islam, but rather,
they are fighting terrorists who have perverted the true teachings of
Islam. On the other hand, other voices have raised concerns that
indeed there is a violent component within the religion, and that
Islam itself is part of the problem.
Thus far those expressing concerns about fundamental Islam have been
largely muted, out of an excess of political correctness. But this
overwhelming desire to view the Islamic world through rose-colored
glasses has resulted in significant resistance to critical analysis of
Islamic writings, practice, and history.
In addition, there is the problem that most Americans are
generally a busy people caught up in various pursuits, who have little
time nor inclination to dive into a foreign religious philosophy
filled with strange new words. Most of us are too lazy or distracted
to learn even our own religious heritage in any depth, let alone one
that is as different as Islam. Indeed, almost half of Americans have
no interest in religion at all, if not an aversion to studying or
understanding any religious culture or philosophy. Of the rest who
consider themselves religious, few study with the intent of
understanding the details and nuances of a doctrine.
Most are content to read their sacred texts occasionally, learn a few
key concepts, listen to their appointed leaders, and then go home
after church to catch the football/basketball game. The average
American needs to understand quickly is that the benefits for
non-believers to understand Islam in some detail are tremendous,
especially if there are Muslims making Jihad headed your way.
Unfortunately many might not be able to appreciate that warning,
because many of us have a convoluted perception of what Jihad means.
For us to truly understand "Jihad" and Islamic violence in
today's time frame, we must start by examining the revered Islamic
texts in some detail. A sixty-second sound byte from some "expert" (be
they Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or otherwise) is not sufficient. To
gain a knowledge base sufficient for fair judgment one must more
deeply investigate the three sources of religious philosophy related
to Islam in their holy texts … the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira.
These texts form the foundation of Islamic beliefs and philosophy. But
quoting verse is not enough, we will also have to acquaint ourselves
with other sources of history surrounding the period to understand the
context, background, scope, and applicability of the various passages
related to Jihad and violence in Islam. Otherwise, one would be left
with many passages that seemingly contradict each other, and be no
closer to truly understanding "Jihad", and the application of Islamic
violence today. A complete picture must be drawn. A mere phrase such
as "Islam means peace", or "Jihad is an internal struggle against
internal, sinful desires" or, "Islam is violent", has little support
if one does not know the actual teachings of Islam.
Since the death of thousands of Americans has occurred at the
hands of self-proclaimed devout Muslims, and since scores of similarly
disposed Muslims have vowed to continue to murder Americans, be they
men, women, or children, it is incumbent upon us to examine the
fundamental teachings of Muhammad, found in the afore mentioned texts,
to see how they are being applied or misapplied today. This
investigation and study has become all the more urgent because of what
is at stake. It is not just American lives (and way of life), which
may be at risk, but the lives of anyone living in free, democratic
societies, all non-Muslim peoples are at issue. Therefore, readers
should understand that when "America", or "American" is referenced, we
are also including Britons, Mexicans, French, Germans, Japanese,
Brazilians, Russians, Poles, Chinese, Australians, Canadians, and so
For a start, the sometimes-elusive Islamic concept of Jihad must
be clearly understood. In particular, we need to determine exactly how
it is understood, accepted and supported by a majority (or a large
minority) of Muslims today. If it is accepted as it is practiced by
the many militants, then by western standards it would really be
incorrect to call Islam a religion at all; rather it would represent
more a military, political and cultural threat.
These hard questions need to be asked to know if the actions of the
many devoted murderous Muslims in various organizations and lands
today can be identified as truly Islamic and if their violent acts are
done in the spirit of real Islam, or if they (and their active and
passive supporters) represent a fringe minority. Many prefer to
believe that the threat to America comes not from Islam itself, but
from an extremist form of the religion espoused by a few terrorists
and their small but vocal band of supporters. If they are a tiny
insignificant minority, they may be manageable by typical diplomatic,
military, and law enforcement methods designed to marginalize,
isolate, discredit, and destroy.
But a majority (or even a large minority) from a population of about 2
billion is still a huge number of people virtually impossible to
manage by those methods, because if millions or billions intend to
kill and destroy a particular people or nation, there is very little
that society can do to protect itself short of extreme protective
self-defensive and even offensive measures.
Now, by observation of various Muslim and Western scholars, up to 50%
of all Muslims worldwide sympathize with the Jihadist message, …if
this is accurate were talking many hundreds of millions of people, a
number much too large to monitor and impossible to police.
The task of critically analyzing Islam is not a particularly
difficult task, as the writings and history of the 1400 year Islamic
movement are quite extensive and prolific. The difficulty arises when
anyone identifies any possible fault or point of critics whatsoever.
You see Muslims are what you would call hyper-sensitive to any
criticism or observation that does not glorify and honor their `best'
religion and in particular their prophet, `Muhammad'.
Whereas all other religions seem to be able to survive all sorts of
arguments and disparaging comments, Islam tolerates no such dissent or
discussion of any kind. In Islamic lands the punishment for insulting
the prophet is the same as it has always been …death. This sort of
intimidation has proven to be very effective in lands which are fully
Islamic. Muslims yesterday and today are terrified of the response by
Islamic fanatics should they accidentally disrespect the Qur'an or say
something negative about the prophet or accepted teachings.
You can criticize leaders and lay alike only by saying they are not
Islamic enough, but suggest that the theology is flawed or needs
reforming, and be prepared to be dispatched to hell very quickly.
Non-Muslims have also suffered at the hands of `believers' by making
`insensitive' comments about the religion or their prophet. The first
documented violent acts of the religion were when Muhammad attacked
and killed several of his critics, which seems to provide Muslims
today all the justification they need to continue that practice.
Though potentially dangerous, we are keenly interested in cutting
through all fog and spin to ascertain what is genuine, authentic, and
indisputable. It is much more dangerous to continue to give the
religion and its fanatic followers cover through our fear and silence.
This series of posts will be completely frank, with no deference given
to any group's delicate sensibilities. For the future of our families
and country, we need clear understanding and honest answers to the
following three questions:
#1 - What are the correct scriptural teachings of Islam with respect
to the application of violence to further its cause both yesterday and
#2 - Is real Islam behind and does it condone the Sept 11th attack
(and others claimed in its name), or were those terrorists doing
something outside Muhammad's religion? And…
#3 - What does the future hold for Islam and America (and all other