Western religious leaders as well as liberal politicians and “westernized Muslim spokespersons” continue to trot out the fabrication that Islam is “a religion of peace” and that violence and terrorism have nothing to do with the real religion. I don’t doubt some actually believe the words coming out of their mouths, but others (especially the Muslim leaders) should be ashamed of their deceptions.
President Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry are all on record spouting this talking point, as are more minor Democratic luminaries such as Howard Dean who last month declared that there is nothing Islamic about Iran and that its religious leaders (who stand at the pinnacle of Shiite Islam) are nothing but thugs and murderers, not true Muslims. His measurement for this determination? “I don’t know Muslims who behave like that who I respect.” To be fair, some Republicans have also drunk the politically correct Kool Aid. Immediately after 9/11 George W. Bush and other GOP leaders rushed to declare that Islam itself was a religion of peace, and that the USA was not and would not be at war with Islam proper.
Most recently (July 31), Pope Francis broke papal tradition (which long recognized the antipathy of Islam toward Catholicism, not to mention the rest of the Christian world) by declaring that “…it can’t be said, it’s not true, and it’s not fair, that Islam is terrorist.” A few days earlier, on the papal plane to Krakow he shared the basis for this belief. There is a worldwide war, he acknowledged. “…it’s a real war, not a religious war.” Evidentially it is an a priori truth that no religion engages in war against others. Instead, the cause of this globe-spanning turmoil is really economic inequality and the quest for secular power. In the Pope’s own words,
“It’s a war of interests, a war for money. A war for natural resources and for the dominion of the peoples. Some might say it’s a religious war. Every religion wants peace. The war is wanted by the others. Understood?”
So there it is, in all its stark simplicity — Islam is a religion of peace, because every religion wants peace. End of discussion. Those who claim to be Muslim and are engaged in terrorism are simply abusing religion as a pretext for their real gripes: poverty, powerlessness, social inequality….It can’t be due to their religious beliefs rooted in the Qur’an and Sunnah (the divinely sanctioned traditions concerning Muhammad’s teachings and behaviors). Again, from Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), para. 253:
“Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations [sic], for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” (italics mine).
But, not so fast, say the leaders of ISIS. You Western politicians, apostate Muslims (moderate Muslim leaders in the West) and Christian leaders have misunderstood us, and we want to set the record straight.
So, a few days ago, ISIS released its fifteenth issue of Dabiq, its glossy, monthly propaganda magazine. I’ve just finished carefully reading its 82 pages. Entitled Break the Cross, the purpose of this issue is to deny that the motivations of ISIS (and all “true Muslims,” in its estimation) are economic, social, or political in origin. In fact, they are completely religious, based on the Qur’an and Sunnah (the very thing Western leaders vehemently deny). The title, Break the Cross, is based on a widely accepted Hadith tradition declaring that when the Islamic version of Jesus returns, he will disavow Christianity with its cardinal doctrines of crucifixion, atonement and resurrection, and in demonstration of this rejection of Christianity he will break all crosses around the world:
“When the Messiah, Jesus Son of Mary, returns in the end days to battle the Antichrist – the false Messiah – and his army, of the myths he will debunk once and for all are those of his crucifixion and divinity. This will be when he breaks the cross, as was foretold by the Prophet Muhammad, who said, ‘By the One in whose Hand is my soul, very soon shall the Son of Mary descend in your midst, being an equitable judge. He shall break the cross, kill the swine, and put aside the jizyah. Wealth shall flow until no one accepts it, and until a single prostration will be more beloved than the world and all that it contains’ (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).” — Dabiq, pp. 48-49.
Just to be clear, “jizyah” is the punitive tax which the Caliphate allows subjugated Christians and Jews (known as dhimmis) to pay to avoid being killed, living instead as third class subjects under Shari’a law. The triumphant Islamic Jesus will “put aside the jizyah” not out of compassion for these religious minorities, but because he will not suffer any religious minorities to exist any longer. Under his rule, Jews and Christians must convert to Islam or be put to death. The category of dhimmitude will be abolished. Ironically, in Islam it will be Jesus who executes Christians unwilling to recant their Christian faith!
In an article entitled, Why We Hate You and Why We Fight You, ISIS lists six reasons demonstrating the religious basis behind its violence toward the non-Muslim world:
- “We hate you because you are disbelievers.” Quoting Sura 60:4, which purports to be Abraham speaking against his idolatrous father and tribe [“We are clear of you and of whatever ye worship besides Allah: we have rejected you and there has arisen between us and you enmity and hatred forever unless ye believe in Allah and Him alone”], they believe they are following the righteous example of the patriarch. Likewise, they quote 2:193, which reads, “And fight them until there is no fitnah
[paganism] and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah.” In other words, Islamic war against infidels must continue until the only religion on the face of the earth is Islam.
- “We hate you because your secular, liberal societies permit the very things that Allah has prohibited while banning many of the things He has permitted.” This complaint has to do principally with Western democracy, which ISIS sees as idolatry — the human attempt to displace Allah and his Shari’a with man-made legal systems, which inevitably deviate from Allah’s perfect will. “Legislation is not but for Allah” (12:40).
- “We hate you and wage war against you because you disbelieve in the existence of your Lord and Creator.” Unlike complaint #1, which is directed at believers in the false Trinitarian religion of Christianity (America is seen by and large as a “Christian nation” by the followers of Islam), this diatribe is directed against secularists and professing atheists. Two Qur’anic passages are cited in support of this hatred: 52:35 and 64:7).
- “We hate you for your crimes against the Muslims.” ISIS sees its cause as ending the murder of Muslims by Western forces, stopping the oppression and torture of Muslims by the “puppet” rulers in “usurped Muslim lands,” and taking revenge on the non-Muslim powers for all the suffering of “countless Muslims” at the hands of the infidels.
- “We hate you for invading our lands and fight you to repel you and drive you out.” The Islamic doctrine of the Kingdom of Allah does not allow for land once conquered to be surrendered to unbelievers ever again (known in Arabic as waqf). Should that happen (as it has in the case of Iberia, the Balkans, Ethiopia, India, Turkistan, Israel…), it is the responsibility of every able-bodied Muslim to engage in jihad to win those lands back. Likewise, when any Muslim land is invaded by infidels, every Muslim is responsible to rush to the defense of the imperiled territory.
The article is quick to correct any potential misunderstanding that ISIS has arisen simply or primarily due to US and European foreign policies:
“…although some might argue that your foreign policies are the extent of what drives our hatred, this particular reason for hating you is secondary, hence the reason we addressed it at the end of the above list. The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam. Even if you were to pay jizyah and live under the authority of Islam in humiliation, we would continue to hate you. No doubt, we would stop fighting you then as we would stop fighting any disbelievers who enter into a covenant with us, but we would not stop hating you.”
This hateful perspective blossoms directly out of the pages of the Qur’an. Sura 9:153, for example, says: “O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).”
Yet, ISIS sees one potentially positive result for the objects of their hatred and terrorism:
- “…we fight you, not simply to punish and deter you, but to bring you true freedom in this life and salvation in the Hereafter.” Though many will be tortured, maimed, raped, crucified, terrified, and even killed, perhaps such evils mandated by Allah will result in infidels coming to their senses either out of fear or out of admiration for the cold, iron will of the soldiers of Allah who do Allah’s bidding no matter how inhuman it may be. This is the meaning behind a statement found on p. 28 of this issue of Dabiq:
- “Do not be taken in by claims that the “real jihad” is giving da’wah – rather, the real da’wah is waging jihad! Most of the world is very aware of Islam’s existence and even its tenets, and the time for showing them that actions speak louder than words is ever so present. The blood of the disbelievers is obligatory to spill by default. The command is clear. Kill the disbelievers, as Allah said, “Then kill the polytheists wherever you find them” (At-Tawbah 5).”
Da’wah means literally “invitation,” and would be roughly equivalent to the Christian practice of inviting sinners to come to Christ. In Islam the invitation is to submit to Allah and his prophet. Westernized Muslim leaders may say that “real jihad” is simply inviting non-Muslims to come to Islam. But ISIS is saying the real invitation to non-Muslims only hits home after they become victims of militant jihad!
One last comment. This issue of Dabiq mentions people like me in an almost complimentary way when contrasted with the Pope, liberal politicians, academes and pacifist Muslims! Here’s their statement on p. 31:
“There are exceptions among the disbelievers, no doubt, people who will unabashedly declare that jihad and the laws of the Shari’ah – as well as everything else deemed taboo by the Islam-is-a-peaceful-religion crowd – are in fact completely Islamic, but they tend to be people with far less credibility who are painted as a social fringe, so their voices are dismissed and a large segment of the ignorant masses continues believing the false narrative.”
May the true Lord bring all such sentinels of truth out of the woodwork and imbue them with the credibility needed to keep them from being dismissed to the fringes of society, so that we may break the spell of the false narrative, the already-clanging alarm bells may be heeded, our civilization’s freedoms protected, and the gospel given full right to compete for minds and hearts in the public square of ideas, peacefully and reasonably.