What an Arabian Oasis Can Teach Us about 9/11

An anti-Semitic Arabic chant favored by Muslim mobs goes like this:

Khaybar, Khaybar, ya Yahud, jaysh Muhammad sawf ya’ud!

Translated literally into English, it says: “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.” But in keeping with the Arabic meter and rhyme we might better render it, “Khaybar, Khaybar, O you Jews, Muhammad’s army will abuse.” The video above comes from one of many similar demonstrations on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

As all Muslims know, Khaybar was a wealthy Jewish farming settlement roughly 100 miles NNW of Medina. Its date production was legendary. In 625 AD, the community had absorbed a Jewish tribe banished from Medina by Muhammad, the Banu Nadir, so the Khaybar community was familiar with Muhammad’s growing antipathy toward his Jewish neighbors. Related imageYet they were not overconcerned with their safety and independence until 628, when Muhammad and his army swept down upon them in a surprise attack and ultimately routed the inhabitants. Instead of enslaving or killing all his captives, Muhammad agreed to a proposal from the Khaybar Jews to allow them to live and farm their orchards under stipulation that they hand over to him fifty percent of the harvests annually, with the understanding that should they default on this arrangement, their lives and personal property would be forfeit to the Islamic community. (This arrangement became the forerunner of the practice of jizya, a head-tax levied on all conquered peoples who escaped execution or slavery by agreeing to live in subservience to Islamic law and Muslim authorities, and by paying the tax annually. Such people became known as dhimmis.)

The Khaybar chant utilized today is a reminder and warning to Jews (and by extension to all those resisting the imperial advance of Islam over the non-Muslim world) that there will come a day when Muhammad’s armies conquer and subdue those now living in freedom outside the sway of Islam. The nation of Israel must one day fall, and its land return to the caliphate of Allah. According to Sunni Islamic eschatology,

Allah’s Messenger said, “The Hour [Day of Judgment] will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”  — Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 52, Hadith 177.Image result for O Muslim, o slave of Allah, there is a Jew behind me

Likewise, in another passage about the endtimes we are told,

Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, surely (Jesus) the son of Mary will soon descend amongst you and will judge mankind justly (as a Just Ruler),
he will break the Cross and kill the pigs and there will be no Jizya (i.e. taxation taken from non-Muslims). Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it, and a single prostration to Allah (in prayer) will be better than the whole world and whatever is in it.” — Ibid., Vol. 4, Book 55, Hadith 657.

The reference to the abolition of jizya means that no longer will non-Muslims be allowed to maintain their own religious identities (even as dhimmis), but all conquered peoples will face a stark choice: become Muslims or face execution.

This mindset, rooted in Islamic supremacism, fuels Islam’s hope for world conquest, and underlies the continued waves of Muslim attacks on the unbelieving world. As Americans have just observed the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 assault on our country, the Khaybar attack may provide us some insight into how to avoid another terror-inspired calamity. In answering why Khaybar fell, we can prepare better for the coming attacks of Islamic radicals. Here are some pertinent observations:

  • Muhammad was highly motivated to conquer and plunder a weak opponent.
    • Having just concluded a treaty of non-aggression with the pagan leaders of Mecca in which it seemed to many of his more sanguinary troops that he had “given away the store” with little to show for it, Muhammad sensed the dissatisfaction of his army as they marched home to Medina. Likewise, as the number of his followers continued to mushroom, the Muslim community’s scant resources were stretched to the limit. The prospect of unleashing his forces against a prosperous and militarily anemic foe such as Khaybar was too good to pass up.
  • Khaybar was complacent. Even though the Jews knew by first-hand experience or by report from other tribes that Muhammad and his armies were a growing threat, they took no proactive steps to secure their community.
    • They may have felt that the 100 miles between them and Medina was a daunting enough deterrent for any large army to undertake
    • They certainly believed that the five well-placed fortress complexes within which most of the inhabitants lived were impregnable.
    • They believed the alliances with neighboring Arab tribes they had bought with their wealth would add a protective hedge around them should the Muslims attack.
    • As a result, they made no particular preparations to endure a prolonged siege, should enemy armies encamp around their fortresses. When Muhammad did lay siege around the encampments of Khaybar, the inhabitants quickly ran out of food and water.
  • The people of Khaybar were not unified in their allegiance to one another and their opposition to Muhammad.
    • The first two fortresses were breached when certain Jews betrayed their compatriots after securing promises from the Muslims that they would be protected from the invaders’ swords if they would provide the army a secret means of access to the fortress interior.
    • After these two fortresses fell, a loss of morale among the rest of the Jews led to swift surrender of the other three.
  • The Arab allies from whom the Khaybar Jews expected help proved to be unreliable.
    • In some cases, they had been paid off by Muhammad not to interfere. In other cases, the news of Muhammad’s growing power and conquests instilled such fear that they refused to honor their alliance with Khaybar.

What lessons can we learn from Khaybar?

First, the drive for conquest and plunder still shapes the heart of Islam, enshrined as it is in the example of Muhammad. The land and possessions of the kuffar (infidels) are fair game for the armies of Islam (or for individual Muslims, if they are able to take and hold them). In a notable hadith, Muhammad declared,

“I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.” — Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 1, Book 2, Hadith 25.

According to the Arabian prophet, fighting is prescribed for Muslims against non-Muslims until the latter surrender and become Muslims (affirm the Muslim creed, perform the five required daily prayers, and offer the mandatory alms). Only if and when non-Muslims do this will they “…save their lives and property from me.” In other words, if they do not become Muslims, their lives and property are in jeopardy from Muhammad and his followers.

One of the primary reasons Islam expanded so quickly beyond the Arabian peninsula was because there were no more conquests to be made in Arabia — the population had overwhelmingly become Muslim, at least in name, and  it was not permissible to plunder other Muslim tribes. New conquests were needed in order to feed the economic needs of the growing Muslim nation. Between plunder and jizya, the Muslim overlords lived off the resources of those they subjugated.

Those inspired by Muhammad look today at the inestimable riches and freedoms of the West and can’t help but compare them to the relative poverty and impotence of the Muslim world. Believing that Allah intends them to enjoy all this bounty by subjugating the West and plundering its resources, radical Muslim leaders are always plotting ways to defeat the Great Satan and occupy their “rightful place” as the favored people of Allah. This religiously-stoked belief will not be assuaged by Western kindness or generosity — only the victory of Islam over the West will satisfy the Muslim hunger for conquest and plunder, because, after all, the entire riches of the world belong to Allah and to those he has chosen, i.e., the Muslims.

Second, the 9/11 attacks revealed our complacency. Even though we had almost two decades of warnings, from the Marine barracks attack in Beirut back in 1983 to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, to the various embassy attacks in the mid and late 90s, to the assault on the USS Cole in 2000, yet we seemed to shrug all these off like a lion lazily tossing its mane at random flies. We felt we were invincible. Image result for tossing maneTerrorism might break out “over there” across the oceans, but our mainland was safely insulated by two oceans. Our armed forces were and remain the best trained and equipped in the world, so who would dare attack us? And we paid our allies well (Egypt, Pakistan, the Gulf nations, etc.) to combat radical Muslims so we wouldn’t have to. Because of our complacency, we never expected a surprise attack utilizing non-military means to deal an almost incapacitating blow to our nation. After 9/11, vigilance replaced complacency, and more planned attacks have been thwarted in the last 17 years than most of us will ever know. Yet success in this area has a way of breeding newfound complaceny, and this we must guard against. The world of radical Islam never sleeps in its quest to find fresh ways to spawn terror in our midst.

Third, in the same way as the Khaybar Jews were not united in the defense of their community, so America as a whole is not united in the belief that we are a culture and society worth defending, nor in the conviction that orthodox Islam poses a clear and present danger to Western democracy and Judeo-Christian values. On the far left politically, there are groups actively working to subvert our democracy and free enterprise system in favor of a globalist, socialist world. Like the traitors of Khaybar, they are trying to open as many gates as possible to destroy the fortress of America from within. They apparently don’t care what damage the Muslim radicals may do, as long as it destroys the old America which they then hope to rebuild as a socialist utopia. How they will deal with the unleashed army of Islam is a question that hasn’t yet formed in their minds. Oh, well, first things first, I guess.

Then there are those individuals and groups who aren’t consciously out for the destruction of America, but who march to the drumbeat of “Diversity is our strength,” and “Islam means peace.” They truly believe that it is unjust to exclude any who wish to live in America, and nod approvingly when representatives from CAIR, ISNA or even the US government speak about the wonders of Islam, how it champions the rights of women, how it elevates human dignity and inspires love for others. In spite of the 33,800 documented terror attacks carried out around the world by self-professed Muslims over the last 17 years since 9/11, these useful idiots blind themselves to the bloodshed and mayhem trailing in the wake of a million Allahu akbars, and bleat like hypnotized sheep, “Islam has nothing to do with terror. It is a religion of peace.”

Until the citizens of the USA come to a united understanding of the threat posed by Muhammad’s Islam, until we are able to educate the useful idiots and evict the quislings who cynically wish to use jihadi Islam as a tool to destroy America, until we find the same passion for our country and its future that we felt in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 barbarities, we will be vulnerable to the same fate that Khaybar suffered at the hands of Muhammad in 628.

Let’s learn a lesson from history, lest we repeat it.

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Elon Musk Tilting at the Wrong Windmill

In June and July of this year, when a youth soccer team was trapped in flooding caves in Thailand, billionaire Elon Musk offered to help by using his tech firms to create a special mini-sub capable of maneuvering through the flooded serpentine caves to reach the desperate boys and their coach. Though the device was never used, the Thai government ultimately thanked Elon Musk for his widely publicized efforts.

One British caver/diver, Vern Unsworth, who was not part of the actual rescuers but provided invaluable logistical support at the site, spoke critically of Musk and his mini-sub after the successful rescue operations, calling Musk’s efforts “a PR stunt” that “had no chance of working,” and claiming that Musk was asked to leave the area as he was presumably “in the way” of ongoing rescue efforts. Image result for vernon unsworth

The billionaire responded to Unsworth’s words in a fit of self-acknowledged rage, unleashing a storm of tweets. In one of them he addressed Unsworth as “pedo guy”, apparently assuming that since the 63 year-old Unsworth spent much of his life in the Chiang Rai area of Thailand known for its child sex-trafficking he must be guilty of such practice. After an immediate backlash on social media, Musk, to his credit, quickly apologized for his overreaction, tweeting on July 18th, “The fault is mine and mine alone.”

Last week, however, the issue erupted once again, when Musk intimated there was truth to his initial claims since Unworth had not sued him for libel. The organization BuzzFeed News contacted him with follow-up questions, and in one of two email responses, Musk wrote:

““I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you f**ing a**hole. He’s an old, single white guy from England who’s been traveling to or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years, mostly Pattaya Beach, until moving to Chiang Rai for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time….”

Musk has provided no corroboration for this latest charge. For the record, Unsworth has been in a long-term (seven plus years) romantic relationship with a 40 year-old Thai woman named  Woranan Ratrawiphukkun.Image result for vernon unsworth

It seems clear that Elon Musk has an axe to grind with Vern Unsworth, and is seeking to tar and feather the latter with the reprehensible crime of  child rape/pedophilia. If these unsubstantiated charges somehow prove to be true, then Mr. Unsworth will deserve the full legal and moral judgment appropriate for his base behavior. If not, Mr. Musk will deserve to be excoriated for his heinous defamation of another human being.

What interests me most about this whole seedy affair is that there is near universal agreement that the sexual predation by an older male of a pre-pubescent or pubescent girl (or boy) is an abhorrent evil, and those who commit such acts, when proven, should face legal punishment as well as the moral opprobrium of the civilized world.

Yet today there are some one and a half billion people on the planet who revere as a prophet the man Muhammad, about whom there is no question that he took his best friend’s nine-year old daughter A’isha to be his “wife” when he was fifty-three. Apologists will say that back in 7th C. Arabia, such practices were common, or at least not considered immoral, so we should give Muhammad a pass. Even worse, Muslim theologians argue that according to the Qur’an Muhammad is the perfect paradigm for human life and his practices are to be emulated by all Muslims as closely as possible. Hence, marriage of old men to young girls is a good practice. Worst of all, the idea that people are capable of believing that a man engaged in such practices could somehow be a true prophet of a morally perfect God is frightening beyond measure. Yet, such is commonplace in the Muslim world. Even such a well-schooled  Islamic scholar as the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini could (and did) say:

“A man can have sexual pleasure from a child as young as a baby. However, he should not penetrate vaginally, but sodomising the child is acceptable. If a man does penetrate and damage the child then, he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life. This girl will not count as one of his four permanent wives and the man will not be eligible to marry the girl’s sister… It is better for a girl to marry at such a time when she would begin menstruation at her husband’s house, rather than her father’s home. Any father marrying his daughter so young will have a permanent place in heaven” (from his book Tahrir al Wasilah).

How is it possible in this day and age that anyone could excuse a mindset approving such evil behavior? While it is true that sexual predation occurs in all cultures and societies, only in the Islamic world is it given a religious stamp of approval. Where are today’s human rights activists calling out child rape masquerading as holy marriage? Image result for muslim child bridesWhere are the Western feminists taking on Shari’ah laws which enslave helpless girls to Muslim men who buy them from destitute parents for a paltry dowry? Where are the ethicists and theologians and statesmen of the world to denounce the behaviors and teachings of Muhammad regarding child marriage and sex slavery, and to demand that Islam renounce such practices?

Elon Musk may or may not be right about the particular case of Vern Unsworth (to date, he has presented no objective evidence).  But if he really is concerned about child sex-trafficking and pedophilia, he would make a much bigger impact were he to use his vast resources to expose and publicize the undeniable, religiously-approved child rape practiced throughout wide swathes of the Muslim world all because of Muhammad’s perverse example fourteen centuries ago.

Sadly, Musk seems more concerned with the personal destruction of Vern Unsworth than with ending the sexual abuse of children wherever it is found. Granted most sexual predators hide what they do very carefully, knowing that such acts are reprehensible to the ordinary conscience, and as such they are difficult to find and prosecute. But where such behaviors are openly practiced and provided “religious sanction,” we have no excuse to turn a blind eye. To say, “It’s just their culture.” or “It’s their religion,” just doesn’t cut it for a civilization that believes in universal human rights. Image result for muslim child bridesTry looking into the eyes of a frightened 9 year-old girl, who is about to be violated day after day by a 50 year-old “husband” whom she does not know, and telling her that she must accept her lot in life — because after all that’s the way of her culture or religion.

Some people may be able to do that.

I can’t.

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A Saudi Snake in the Grass, or Its Savior?

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) is the young (turning 33 in two days), favorite son of King Salman. The king, now 82, is rumored to have been in the grip of dementia for at least three years, making MbS the power behind the throne. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the effective leader of the kingdom, has pushed a reform agenda with a strong authoritarian flavor.

And indeed Muhammad bin Salman has not been reticent to use his power to consolidate his position among the royal family and leading influencers in the Kingdom. In an effort ostensibly to combat “corruption in all its forms,” MbS ordered the arrests of dozens of princes, government officials and business moguls for stealing from the State. Most were eventually released after “repaying” the government what they had embezzled. Some 380 were detained during these crackdowns, and the government recouped around 106 billion dollars. Even more important than this, however, is that many of MbS’s potential rivals to power are now cloaked in shame and stripped of influence.

The Crown Prince is being touted in the West as a welcome reformer intent on modernizing and opening the desert kingdom to the wider world. He has claimed his desire to “restore” to prominence the “moderate Islam” Saudi Arabia once was known for, though Middle East historians privately laugh at this charade. Even hardline Turkish President Erdogan has pilloried MbS for pushing this canard.

Muhammad bin Salman has made good on some of his reform promises, however. Last year he announced that women would be granted the right to drive, beginning in June 2018. Image result for women driving in saudiThis indeed happened, though not quite as the West thought. Saudi women can now get official drivers licenses, but whether they can actually drive on their own depends on what the male leader (mahram) of their family decides. The government will not overrule the family patriarch’s decision concerning women in the home.

Likewise, MbS has given permission for women to attend certain public sporting and entertainment events, provided there is segregated seating. A deal has been struck with a major movie theater franchise to build dozens of cinemas around the country. And for the first time, Saudi Arabia has begun to issue tourist visas so that non-Muslims can visit the land (and spend their money) without having to be invited formally by legal residents or citizens, businesses or the government.

There is no doubt that these changes are causing waves of discontent among clerics and traditionalists, but the Crown Prince refuses to relent. While some observers believe Muhammad bin Salman truly seeks religious reform, others argue that he is driven by economics — the Kingdom is running a deficit since the worldwide oil and gas industry took a nosedive within the last decade, and the long-term future does not bode well for Arabia as its crude reserves diminish, so Muhammad is intent on building a better economic infrastructure that will generate significant future income to replace vanishing petrodollars. Perhaps, in the end, both religious and economic reform play important roles in his motivation.

However, in the midst of all the Western fanfare over MbS as a darling of Saudi moderation, one of the negatives being swept under the carpet by the American media is the ruthlessness with which the Crown Prince treats his in-house critics. At least eight Saudi journalists and bloggers have been incarcerated since last year for “insulting the royal court” or criticizing governmental policies.

Two weeks ago (August 14th), news was quietly released by an online Arabian Gulf news service (www.alkhaleejonline.com) that prominent Saudi religious scholar Sheikh Suleiman Dweesh died in prison after succumbing to injuries from torture. The Saudi authorities had summarily arrested him on April 22, 2016, a day after he had criticized MbS on social media (I believe he essentially called the Crown Prince a spoiled brat).

Last May at least ten women’s rights activists were arrested roughly one month before the ban on women drivers was set to be lifted. Labeled as traitors, they were accused of wanting more than the right to drive, of trying to undermine the guardianship system of Saudi Islam, whereby girls and women must always be under the authority of a male relative. MbS did not go far enough, they declared; and so they disappeared into the prison system.

Many critical clerics who have lambasted MbS for his reforms or for pursing positive ties with Israel have been arrested over the last three years. Notable among them are Sheikh Salman al-Awda, Sheikh Awad al-Qarni, Sheikh Muhammad al-Munajjid and Sheikh Abdul Aziz at-Tarefe. Last month, influential scholar and Sahwa (“Awakening”)  movement leader Safar al-Hawali and four of his sons were arrested within two days of the publication of his book critical of the royal family. Crackdowns continue on anyone of prominence who speaks against the autocratic rule of MbS.

In the words of the Middle East Monitor,

“Ever since he was appointed as Crown Prince, Bin Salman has had thousands of political and religious opposition figures arrested. They include hundreds of Sharia scholars, intellectuals and prominent Sheikhs and university professors.”

While the Saudi royal family has never been known for great tolerance of dissent, Muhammad bin Salman seems to be setting a new record for thin-skinned vengeance. But in this regard he is merely following the example of the Arabian prophet for whom he was named.

Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was also known to be thin-skinned, and quick to react when opponents made fun of him or his plans. According to early Muslim sources, he ordered assassinations or merely “wished” publicly for enemies to be removed from this world, after which his loyal followers would hasten to fulfill his desires. For example:

‘Asma bint Marwan, a sharp-tongued Medinan poetess, composed verses mocking Muhammad. One day he exclaimed, “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?” A man named Umayr volunteered and, according to early Muslim historian Ibn Sa’d:

“[Umayr] came to her in the night and entered her house. Her children were sleeping around her. There was one whom she was suckling. He searched her with his hand because he was blind, and separated the child from her. He thrust his sword in her chest until it pierced up to her back. Then he offered the morning prayers with the prophet at al-Medina. The apostle of Allah said to him: ‘Have you slain the daughter of Marwan?’ He said: ‘Yes. Is there something more for me to do?’ He [Muhammad] said: ‘No two goats will butt together about her.'” (I.e, no one will care about her passing.)

Abu ‘Afak, a Jewish poet reputed to be 120 years old, was assassinated roughly one month later, also for composing and reciting poetry critical of Muhammad. The prophet bemoaned publicly, “Who will rid me of this rascal?”, and a Muslim named Salim volunteered (again according to Ibn Sa’d):

“‘”I take a vow that I shall either kill Abu ‘Afak or die before him.’  He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came, and Abu ‘Afak slept in an open place.  Salim Ibn Umayr knew it, so he placed the sword on his liver and pressed it till it reached his bed.  The enemy of Allah screamed and the people who were his followers, rushed to him, took him to his house and interred him.”

Al Nadr ibn al-Harith was an unbelieving Meccan captured during the battle of Badr in March 624. Muhammad could not forgive or forget that this man had mockingly labeled the Qur’anic accounts as “tales of the ancients.” As a result, Muhammad ordered him beheaded by ‘Ali, the prophet’s young cousin.

‘Uqba bin Abu Muayt was another Meccan captured in the same battle. In earlier years while Muhammad still lived in Mecca, ‘Uqba had ridiculed and shamed Muhammad repeatedly. One day, when Muhammad was bowing in prayer at the Ka’aba, ‘Uqba came with a pile of camel intestines and threw them on Muhammad’s back, immobilizing him and giving his detractors a good laugh. The prophet, though, had the last laugh, ordering ‘Uqba’s beheading instead of allowing his tribe to ransom him and set him free.

Ka’b bin al-Ashraf was a powerful Medinan Jew who mocked Muhammad and concocted lewd poems about Muslim women. Muhammad again publicly whined, “Who is willing to kill Ka’b bin al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His apostle?” A man named Maslama volunteered, with the stipulation that he would have to deceive Ka’b to place him in a position of vulnerability. Muhammad gave him permission. After the deed is done in the dark of night, Maslama and his henchmen return to the prophet to report their success. According to historian Ibn Sa’d, they decapitated Ka’b and “…cast his head before him [Muhammad]. He (the prophet) praised Allah on his being slain.”

Abdullah ibn Khatal was a Muslim who apostatized after killing a slave, and fled to live among the pagan Quraish in Mecca. He had two slave girls who composed satirical songs about Muhammad and often entertained audiences with their mocking verses. Ibn Khatal was known for his derisive poetry as well. When Muhammad conquered Mecca, he ordered the execution of Ibn Khatal and his two slave girls. Khatal was found clinging to the curtains of the Ka’aba (an action seeking sanctuary from harm), but he was killed anyway. One of the slave girls, Fartana, was likewise caught and executed. The other was able to successfully hide from the prophet’s wrath. She later converted to Islam in order to receive pardon from her death sentence.

The above is a representative but not exhaustive list of those the prophet of Islam deemed worthy of death because they spoke disparagingly of him. The thin skin of an insecure dictator is a dangerous thing, as Muhammad’s enemies found out all too often. Even after the prophet’s death, this insecurity is enshrined in Islamic culture and law, teaching that those who dishonor Muhammad’s name commit a sacrilege worthy of capital punishment.

Unfortunately, today’s Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia seems to be cut from the same cloth as his more famous namesake. Obsessed with consolidating his royal power and weakening his opponents, Related imageMuhammad bin Salman flexes his autocratic muscles to dismantle his nemeses, using the shadowy and labyrinthine legal system of his Kingdom to first sequester and then quietly stamp them out.

Many in the West are lauding the signs of increased freedoms and rights emanating from Saudi Arabia. But these are superficial changes with little impact on the intractable authoritarian structures anchored religiously in Islam and politically in the royal family. In fact, one might argue that MbS has moved the country even more dangerously toward tyranny because he is systematically neutralizing any voices other than his own. In the past, the royal family would discuss matters and often come to some kind of consensus before acting. But now, those who disagree with MbS, even powerful princes, find themselves stripped of responsibilities or worse, sitting in prison.

America would be wise to watch the actions of Muhammad bin Salman very closely, much as a mongoose studies the cobra swaying before it.




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Islamic Terrorism Will End — When Islam Has Conquered the World

Will Islamic terrorism end any time soon?


Here’s why:

  1. Allah commands his followers to fight until the world is subdued under Islam.
  2. He promises them victory (with supernatural help) even when the odds are stacked against them.
  3. He lures jihadis with visions of eternal rewards replete with virgins galore and sensual pleasures beyond measure.
  4. He threatens the punishment of hellfire for Muslims who don’t “walk the talk,” who claim to be faithful but shrink from fighting and dying for Allah.
  5. He reassures Muslims that the kuffar (unbelievers) deserve death because they will roast in hell for eternity, hated by Allah; Muslims therefore should have no pangs of conscience for dispatching them to their eternal destiny post-haste.

One would think in light of this that Muslim armies would be rising up all over the world, trusting in the promises of Allah, to engage and defeat the forces of the infidel West, as well as the Communist world, the countries of Africa and Central/South America. After all, the Qur’an (Allah’s inerrant word) says:

“O Prophet, urge the believers to battle. If there are among you twenty [who are] steadfast, they will overcome two hundred. And if there are among you one hundred [who are] steadfast, they will overcome a thousand of those who have disbelieved because they are a people who do not understand.” (8:65)

In the next verse, Allah ratchets down the odds, recognizing that the Muslims are weak even with his angelic help:

“Now, Allah has lightened [the hardship] for you, and He knows that among you is weakness. So if there are from you one hundred [who are] steadfast, they will overcome two hundred. And if there are among you a thousand, they will overcome two thousand by permission of Allah. And Allah is with the steadfast.” (8:66).

Nevertheless, the Muslims are to fight under Muhammad and his generals, expecting victory even against stronger forces. And indeed, in the first major battle the Muslims fought against the unbelievers of Mecca, they were outnumbered at least two to one, and earned a convincing victory. Feeling that Allah was certainly on their side, they bought into the idea they were invincible. Until the next battle. The Meccans returned to Medina the next year better prepared, and inflicted serious losses on Muhammad’s army. Many believers were shaken by the fact that Allah had not given them victory, and wondered if Islam was a sham. But Allah soon revealed through his prophet that they had not succeeded for two reasons: 1) he was testing their resolve; and 2) among their ranks were numbers of hypocrites (whose hearts were not in fighting, and who refused to engage the enemy). Only if his army showed itself fully committed to him would he assure them victory.

This same perspective has given rise to modern Islamic “radicalism” or reformation (i.e., a return to the faithful beliefs and practices of the original Muslim community under Muhammad). When the last Caliphate fell into the dustbin of history (the Ottoman Empire, which was dismembered in 1924), some Muslim intellectuals began to ask why the non-Muslim world was now calling the shots, and the Muslim world lay supine and feeble before them. Their answer: we have drifted from our center; we are not truly committed to Allah and his prophet; but if we return to serious obedience, Allah will once again grant us supernatural help to regain our position of superiority in the world. From this mindset, the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 and its movement spawned like-minded organizations around the Muslim world. The radical and terrorist organizations we see today are the fruit of this perspective.

So once again the world is faced with a resurgent Islam whose goal is to rule the human race. But Muslims by and large are not ignorant of the huge discrepancy between their relatively meager military resources and the vast destructive capabilities of the technologically advanced US armed forces together with its allies, not to mention atheistic China and Russia who also would swat down any frontal assaults by Muslim armies. Recognizing this, Muslim countries are biding their time, buying weaponry and technology, seeking as rapidly as possible to achieve parity with infidel superpowers.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a perfect case in point. The fastest way to challenge Western power is to become a cardholder in the nuclear missile club, so Iran has worked hard in secret to develop that capability, while not neglecting their conventional armament upgrades. For example, yesterday the theocracy announced they were unveiling the “first 100% indigenously made” fighter jet, named “the Kowsar” (Kawthar, in Arabic). The name is significant, for it is the title of a short chapter of the Qur’an containing this promise from Allah:

“Indeed, your enemy is the one cut off.” (108:3)

Western military experts report that the Kowsar appears to be a remake of the USA’s F-5 fighter, numbers of which were shipped to Iran in the mid-1970s when Iran under the Shah was an ally. Even with massive upgrades imagined, such a jet would be no match for most modern air forces today.

But Iran’s tactic in announcing this new addition to its armaments is instructive of the general Muslim mindset when it comes to enemies who have superior forces. It turns to boasting and bluster as an attempt to plant doubt into the minds of those it considers its enemies in a ploy to dissuade them from mounting an attack which it rightly fears would bring overwhelming defeat. So, Iran’s President Rouhani declared, “Why does the US not attack us? Because it is aware of our power and the cost [that it will entail].”

Everyone recalls Saddam Hussein’s warnings to the Coalition Forces gathering before Desert Storm that if attacked Iraq would unleash the “mother of all battles” and inflict huge losses on its enemies. His bluster was quite convincing to the military layman, backed up as it was with reports that Iraq had the world’s fourth largest standing army at the time. But after 42 days of aerial bombardment of Iraq’s military and civilian infrastructure, the ground offensive to defeat the Iraqi army lasted only 100 hours. It was indeed a massive display of “shock and awe” which all who witnessed, including the Muslim world, have not forgotten. So, while not wanting to go face to face with infidel armies, radical Muslim governments and insurgent groups shake their fists at the West and continue their bluster, hoping to cower a vastly superior enemy.

But there is another strategy as well, known among military thinkers as “asymmetric warfare,” and defined well by the Encyclopedia Britannica as:

unconventional strategies and tactics adopted by a force when the military capabilities of belligerent powers are not simply unequal but are so significantly different that they cannot make the same sorts of attacks on each other.

This includes things like guerilla warfare, and the many tactics of terrorism: assassinations, hijackings, kidnappings, suicide bombings, civilian attacks and so on. Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster astutely commented on this matter that “There are only two ways to fight the US: stupidly [conventionally] or asymmetrically.”

Because the Muslim world understands itself to be no match with the West today in a face-to-face war (despite Allah’s promises), and because it seeks to walk in the shoes of its prophet Muhammad who said, “War is deceit” (Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 52, Hadith 268) and “I have been made victorious through terror [cast into the hearts of the enemy]” (Bukhari,  Vol. 4, Book 52, Hadith 220), the predominant warfare strategy of jihadis today is that of terrorism. Their hope is that this strategy will weaken both the resolve and resources of the infidel world, until that day when either the West collapses from within or the Muslim world has grown strong enough to challenge and defeat the West militarily.

Until that day, which all who love freedom hope never comes, Islamic terrorism will remain the primary strategy of the jihadi movement within Islam. In my opinion, “moderate Islam” offers no hope of ending this evil virus which lives deep in the heart of Allah, Muhammad and the Qur’an.

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Not Religious Enough to Be a Terrorist?

Three days ago, on August 14th, at 7:37 am local time in London, a driver rammed his Ford Fiesta into cyclists and pedestrians waiting at a light before speeding the wrong direction over curbs into a security lane next to British Parliament buildings. Witnesses reported that the driver had both hands on the steering wheel, was looking straight ahead and accelerated to almost 50 mph before ramming a security barricade, where he was quickly apprehended by police and taken into custody. Authorities quickly announced they were treating this as a terrorist incident.

The accused is a 29 year-old Sudanese-born, recently naturalized British citizen named Salih Khater, a Muslim residing in Birmingham. Image result for Salih KhaterLate in the evening of the 13th, he drove from his home to London, arriving just after midnight. After meandering around Tottenham Court Road and Whitehall in the early morning hours, he continued to the area of Westminster, which he circled for about an hour and a half before initiating his presumed attack.

Friends, family and the local Muslim community in Birmingham are shocked by the news that the Salih they know could be a terrorist. They refuse to believe it, offering explanations like, “It must have been an accident;” “He was spooked by ambulance lights behind him and panicked;” “He’s a good guy, a normal guy, a stable person;” “So polite, a decent chap;” and the kicker: “There is no sign that he had been radicalised (sic). He was not a fervent worshipper…; he was not deeply religious.”

The Metropolitan Police, however, have reported that Salih is refusing to cooperate with their investigation, and have received court approval to hold him in custody until Monday, when they must either charge or release him.

Image result for Salih Khater

Note the growth of a Salafi-style beard by Salih Khater

That doesn’t sound like the action of an innocent man who was spooked into an accident, nor does the fact that he sports the Salafi-style beard common to Sunni extremists  (see arrest photo) bode well, but time will tell as we await further information.

What interests me more at the moment are the implications behind the protests of innocence made by the Muslim family members and friends of Mr. Khater. The first defense is that Salih Khater is a normal guy, a good guy, a stable person. If it turns out that he has intentionally carried out a terrorist attack, the “Islam means peace” apologists will be in a bind. One of their favorite tactics to separate “true Islam” from the violence of Muslim terrorists is to claim that the perpetrators are mentally ill and thus Islam is not responsible for their atrocities. There is no hint of mental instability in Salih Khater.

The second defense is even more damning, regardless of whether Mr. Khater turns out to be a terrorist or not. The Muslim community around him is arguing that he can’t be a terrorist because he was “not a fervent worshiper,” he was “not deeply religious” — that is, he showed no signs of radicalization. What this directly implies is that for the Muslim community at large signs of deep religiosity and fervency in mosque attendance are red flag indicating a fellow Muslim may be on the road to extremism and terrorism.

Another way of saying this is that Muslims themselves understand that the more committed a Muslim becomes to the core teachings of Allah and his prophet, the more likely that individual is to be drawn to the use of violence and persecution of “the enemies of Allah.” Salih’s Muslim family and friends can’t believe he could be guilty of terrorism because in their opinion he’s not that committed to Islam! If he had been a regular fixture in the mosque, if he kept the five mandatory daily prayers and engaged in further dua (voluntary prayers of intercession), if he studied the Qur’an, Hadith traditions and Sira biographies of the prophet assiduously, if he spoke out about the sins of the West against the aggrieved Muslim community worldwide, then it would be understandable that his passion for Islam would lead naturally to such a terrorist attack — because Muslims know that hatred for the infidel and violent jihad is commanded by their prophet until the whole world cowers in subjection to Islam.

By their very defenses, Salih Khater’s Muslim supporters indict Islam as a religion. Fortunately, most Muslims ignore the militant, misanthropic calls of their god and prophet to bloodshed against the non-Muslim world (named Dar al-Harb in Islamic theology), which means the “Encampment of War,” Image result for dar al harband instead wish to find ways to get along with their non-Muslim neighbors — inspired more by the teachings of Jesus than Muhammad, whether conscious or not. Only the most committed Muslims (in the eyes of other Muslims) earn the accolades of Allah and his prophet by picking up the sword of jihad for the sake of Allah and mowing down Islam’s opponents.

Salih, according to those who think they know him, was not that committed.

He couldn’t be a true jihadi because he was not truly devoted to Islam.

What a sad defense! In seeking to get Salih off the hook, the Muslim community condemns true Islam as a religion which preaches and expects violence and conquest.

Whether or not Mr. Khater in the end is found guilty of creating a path of mayhem and wanton destruction, there is no question about the path that Islam has taken over the last 1400 years, and to which it is committed for its foreseeable future. Its guilt is undeniable.

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The Jugger-Not of Islam — Don’t Be Fooled!

Popular wisdom today portrays Islam as a juggernaut whose world domination is inevitable. “It’s the world’s fastest growing religion,” we’re told. “By 2060 it will surpass Christianity as the world’s largest faith,” futurists predict. Imams regularly gloat over Islam’s inroads into Western society and promise that America and Europe will bow to Islamic rule. Image result for "Islam will rule the world"Many signs seem to confirm this assessment. But things are not always what they seem.

While it is true that statisticians measure Islam’s worldwide growth at 1.9% annually and Christianity’s at 1.2%, in the case of Islam that figure is calculated largely on the basis of birth rates in Muslim majority nations (which as second and third world countries grow significantly faster than Western populations). In Islam, children born to Muslim parents are automatically Muslims according to Shari’a law. The same is not true in Christianity, where “membership” is based on the personal profession of faith by its adherents. Thus, of the total numerical growth of Islam in any one year, some 96% of that number is due to “biological reproduction,” not conversion.

In addition to this, statisticians pay little or no attention to attrition from the ranks. Of course, Islam makes apostasy a capital crime, so it takes immense courage for former Muslims to openly declare their departure from the faith. However, where Muslims live in free societies, increasing waves are leaving for atheism, Christianity or  Western-style hedonism. According to indigenous Christian leaders and foreign missionaries among Muslim people groups around the world, tens of millions of Muslims in the last three decades have become followers of Christ. Since most of this happens below the radar, it does not get factored in to the statistical reports.

Even more revealing is the fact that across the world (according to the 2000 edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia) roughly 950,000 people convert to Islam annually from some other belief system. In contrast to this, roughly three times that number (2.7 million) leave their former belief systems to become followers of Christ. In many of these cases, converts face serious persecution and hardship for their newfound commitment to Christ, yet they persevere. Converts to Islam, on the other hand, typically see little persecution by their communities and instead are folded into the majority Muslim culture around them.

Lastly, though firm statistics are hard to come by, Pew Research estimates that in America roughly the same number leave Islam as convert to Islam annually, so that the Muslim population remains static. A number of American imams, however, challenge that figure, stating that according to their experience many converts leave Islam (or simply become “non-practitioners” within five years) — with percentages varying from 50-75% depending on the imam (see here, for example).

What does all this mean?  Though Islam is bringing lots of babies into the fold, it is not attracting a high percentage of new converts, and even among those converts not many remain Muslims over the long haul. Likewise, the “back door” of the house of Islam is wide open, and many of those born into Islam are finding in adulthood that life outside the house is more appealing or fulfilling than life inside. Further, the vast majority of those born within Islam who remain Muslim are laid-back, irregular or “relaxed” in their practice of Islam and so not inclined to fuel the jihad mandate of the Qur’an and Sunnah (the example of Muhammad). Only a relatively small segment of the Muslim world is active in jihadi campaigns, and it could be argued that the admittedly horrific terror and bloodshed they inflict actually does more to harden the non-Muslim world against the message of Islam than to cause its knees to bow in abject surrender.

So, while Islam worldwide is still a force that needs to be reckoned with, it is by no means a juggernaut of inexorable destiny. Its religious foundations are crumbling as the Qur’an and Islam’s early history are coming under intellectual scrutiny; Image result for crumbling mosqueits formerly cocooned adherents are being liberated to seek truth beyond the confines of the Qur’an through the Internet, social media, satellite TV and radio, as well as the business and cultural effects of globalization; the Spirit of God is bringing dreams, visions, healings and supernatural encounters to Muslims, pointing them to the love and lordship of Jesus Christ, such that in many Muslim-majority countries the house church movement is sweeping through regions like wildfire.

While we must maintain our vigilance against the real threat of jihadi terrorism and the ideology which inspires it, we must not fall prey to the myth that Islam’s advance across the world is inevitable. Quite the contrary!

Things are not what they seem. Become informed. Take heart. The gospel advances. Jesus remains on the throne (Acts 2:34-36). All will be well in the end.


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Mulling the End of the Mullahs

Last week at the end of a hope-filled gathering of Christian academics in Dallas, I took an Uber to DFW. My very friendly driver, whose name is ‘Ali (name changed for purposes of protection), had a very strong accent, so I asked him where he was from.Image result for uber

“Persia,” he answered, and went on to explain that he refuses to use the term “Iran” because in America it automatically links him in most people’s minds with the Islamic Republic which he detests. Over the next half-hour we talked nonstop about present happenings in Iran. He is even more hopeful than I that soon the repressive Shiite regime will collapse and be replaced with a secular democracy in some form.

We talked about unemployment (around 40% of the population), drug addiction (over 40%  — the poppy fields of Afghanistan are right next door), people living below the poverty level (over 50%), unchecked inflation (while the government sets an “official” exchange rate — right now 42,625 rials to one US dollar — the actual exchange rate on the street is closer to three times that amount because of America’s renewed economic sanctions), industry sector strikes (truck and bus drivers, leather products, farmers, to name a few), protests and riots in the streets of scores of Iranian cities with chants Image result for unrest in iranopenly calling for the deaths of the Supreme Leader, President Rouhani, and the mullahs generally, and the now commonly quoted statistic that over 80% of the population favors the overthrow of the present theocracy and its replacement by a secular government. Even nature seems to be punishing the country with long-standing, extensive drought conditions. ‘Ali was exercised over what the mullahs have done to his country. He remembers Iran in the latter days of the Shah, which while far from perfect were in his opinion a paradise compared to today.

As we talked, ‘Ali was astonished that I knew so much about Iran, its history and Shiite practices. Naturally, he asked me what I do for a living. So I told him that I teach Christian and civic groups about Islam and the challenges it presents. His response: “I still believe in God, but I want nothing to do with the Islam of the mullahs. Jesus is good,” he said. “Muhammad not so good.”

‘Ali knows nothing of the exploding house church movement in Iran, where some four million Muslims have become followers of Christ in the last four decades. And according to those on the inside, these numbers are only going to rise exponentially as Muslims fed up with the mullahs look elsewhere for spiritual answers. I wondered to myself whether ‘Ali, if he were living in Iran today, would have become part of the house church movement. But here in the USA, he is happy simply not being forced to practice Islam.

For some mysterious reason, ‘Ali and I formed a quick bond of friendship, and found we had some unexpected connections. I had asked him when he first came to the US, and he told me it was for grad school in engineering in the late 1970s. “Where,” I inquired. “Oklahoma City area,” he answered. “Which school?” “Oh,” he said,” a small university in a small town called Edmond — Central State University.” Image result for uco edmond

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I blurted out. “Central State University is now University of Central Oklahoma! I lived and worked only a few miles from there just three years ago in Edmond!”

Well, the trip to DFW ended far too soon. As Ali removed my bags, I thanked him and told him how grateful I was to God for arranging our meeting. As we shook hands, our eyes met in one of those gazes where soul speaks to soul. I may never see Ali again in this life, but I count him as a friend. I am confident he feels the same way.

More than ever, I pray for Ali and all who yearn for a free Iran that God will answer their cries soon. Even more I pray that Ali and millions of Muslims will discover the deeper freedom that comes from knowing the true Jesus as opposed to the ‘Isa of Islam.

I’m asking God to use last Friday’s brief Uber ride to haunt Ali (in a good way) with a hunger for this Jesus whom he knows now only by hearsay, and to answer that hunger with a personal encounter where He reveals His saving love to Ali and brings him into His Kingdom of never-ending life and joy. “Whom the Son sets free will be free indeed!”

Will you join me in this prayer?


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