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June 11, 2007

Absurdity 101: 'Jose Padilla Trial Focusing On Meaning of 'Jihad''

Topics: Islam And The War On Terror

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I knew the idea would come back to haunt us: "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the--if he--if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not--that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement...." - Bill Clinton to Jim Lehrer on PBS.
Now it's the meaning of the word jihad!

Welcome to the journey to the absurd, deep in the twilight zone of "stultifying "Islamic correctness" among our academic, political and media elites," and of peace-loving jihadists caught on FBI wiretaps talking to and about their fellow loving brothers wanting to perform jihad in their sweet little hearts, with their "tongues," their pens and computers; you know, loving spiritual jihad, but never in their wildest dreams did they or would they have ever wanted to Islamic extremist support network or kill innocent Americans. It's all an FBI translation error, right?

Well, that's essentially what defense attorneys in the Jose Padilla terrorism support trial are going to great lengths to suggest to jurors - that jihad is not necessarily Muslim holy war and that mujahedeen could just as easily be freedom fighters as terrorists:

The legal battle about definitions goes to the heart of the defense argument that what Padilla, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi were doing from 1994 to 2001 was not supporting terrorism, but providing humanitarian aid to oppressed and persecuted Muslims worldwide.

Prosecutors, however, must show the trio were involved in violence--that the "jihad" they were fighting involved killing and armed struggle. Defense attorneys won one legal skirmish last week when U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke agreed to limit an FBI agent's testimony to references about "jihad" but not "violent jihad."

"That's the term the government has to prove (beyond) a reasonable doubt," said Hassoun attorney Jeanne Baker.

Hassoun and Jayyousi, both 45, were two of the principals of the jihadist support network, according to federal prosecutors, and Padilla was supposedly one of the recruits. All three face life in prison if convicted.

In one example of the language battle, Jayyousi attorney William Swor recently asked a witness who had once worked with Jayyousi at a San Diego Islamic charity whether Muslims could perform jihad in many ways other than violent conflict.

"You can perform jihad in your heart. You can perform jihad with your tongue. You can perform jihad with your pen, or your computer. Right?" Swor asked Jeremy Collins, a Muslim convert.

"Correct," Collins answered.

Incredible, simply incredible, and since the trial is being held in Miami - that's South Florida, the jury pool is made up of people too damned stupid to know how to use voting machines without screwing up, so they're liable to fall actually believe that jihad from the mouths of Islamic extremists means a peaceful, spiritual pursuit of spreading Islam. But that's just not the truth.

As Andrew Bostom, M.D., M.S., author of the book The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims who has published articles and commentarys on Islam in the Washington Times, National Review, Revue Politique, FrontPage Magazine.com, The American Thinker, Investor's Business Daily, and other print and online publications says of "jihad" - think of the ""mnemonic "MPED" and you gain a clue as to the meaning of jihad - Massacre, Pillage, Enslavement, and Deportation. For there is only one historically relevant meaning of jihad regardless of contemporary apologetics.

From The Legacy of Jihad:

The noted 19th century Arabic lexicographer E.W. Lane, who studied the etymology of the term, observed, "Jihad came to be used by the Muslims to signify wag[ing] war, against unbelievers". The origins of the Muslim institution of jihad are found in the Qur'an. Sura (chapter) 9 is devoted in its entirety to war proclamations. There we read that the Muslim faithful are to "slay the idolaters wherever you find them. . . . Fight against such as those who have been given the scripture as believe not in Allah. . . . Go forth, light-armed and heavy armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah. That is best for you, if ye but knew." From such verses in the Qur'an and in the hadith, Muslim jurists and theologians formulated the Islamic institution of permanent jihad war against non-Muslims to bring the world under Islamic rule (Sharia law). (...) ... the renowned 20th century Muslim ideologue Sayyid Qutb, perhaps the most brilliant Muslim scholar of the 20th century, who is demonized as a fomenter of "radical" Islam, has also referred to Islam as a "religion of peace". But Qutb's context is unapologetic and clear--he is referring to the Pax Islamica that would prevail when the entire world was submitted to Islamic domination, and the rule of Islamic law (i.e., the Shari'a), by jihad war.

(...) There is only one historically relevant meaning of jihad regardless of contemporary apologetics. The noted 19th century Arabic lexicographer E.W. Lane, who studied the etymology of the term, observed, "Jihad came to be used by the Muslims to signify wag[ing] war, against unbelievers". The origins of the Muslim institution of jihad are found in the Qur'an. Sura (chapter) 9 is devoted in its entirety to war proclamations. There we read that the Muslim faithful are to "slay the idolaters wherever you find them. . . . Fight against such as those who have been given the scripture as believe not in Allah. . . . Go forth, light-armed and heavy armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah. That is best for you, if ye but knew." From such verses in the Qur'an and in the hadith, Muslim jurists and theologians formulated the Islamic institution of permanent jihad war against non-Muslims to bring the world under Islamic rule (Sharia law). (...) ... the renowned 20th century Muslim ideologue Sayyid Qutb, perhaps the most brilliant Muslim scholar of the 20th century, who is demonized as a fomenter of "radical" Islam, has also referred to Islam as a "religion of peace". But Qutb's context is unapologetic and clear--he is referring to the Pax Islamica that would prevail when the entire world was submitted to Islamic domination, and the rule of Islamic law (i.e., the Shari'a), by jihad war.

(...) Furthermore, in a recent speech President Bush insisted that the "ideology" of the most notable Muslim terrorists, who he maintained "distort the idea of jihad," is "very different from the religion of Islam" and indeed "exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision." The President's even more specific and assertive comments regarding jihad were a profound disappointment. Indeed, such words could have been written and uttered by the most uninformed, or deliberately disingenuous apologists for this devastating, and uniquely Islamic institution, well over a millennium old, and still wreaking havoc today.

(...) The larger, pervasive political correctness in this country, has engendered a stultifying "Islamic correctness" among our academic, political and media elites that prevents frank and meaningful discussions of Islam, jihad, and their relationship to terrorism. Moreover, when Bin Laden criticizes America for its "debauchery and secularism", and seeks its replacement with an Islamic entity, he is simply arguing in accord with widely held, orthodox Islamic beliefs. That is why Bin Laden remains so popular in the Islamic world, and few so-called moderate or traditional Muslims have actively condemned Al-Qaeda, especially in Muslim societies, except when Muslims have been victimized by Al-Qaeda attacks (as for example in Jordan). And there are very disturbing trends evident among Muslims living in the West, particularly in Europe. For example, survey results from British Muslims polled shortly after the 7/7/05 London bombings. revealed that one-third were brazen enough to admit following 7/7/05, "Western society is decadent and immoral and ...Muslims should seek to bring it to an end", expressing ostensibly, their desire to replace Britain's current liberal democracy with a Shari'a-based theocratic model . Ultimately, the denial and intellectual cowardice that accompany "Islamic correctness" as practiced by elites across the political spectrum emboldens those Muslims most committed to jihad in all its manifestations, including jihad terrorism.

Planet earth calling the jurors in Miami: Jihad in today's world means one thing and one thing only: "MPED" - Massacre, Pillage, Enslavement, and Deportation of infidels like you and the rest of us Americans that the Islamist thugs in your courtroom prefer to kill.

In the way of a take home message, Daniely Pipes says of jihad:

Jihad did have two variant meanings through the centuries, one more radical, one less so. The first holds that Muslims who interpret their faith differently are infidels and therefore legitimate targets of jihad. (This is why Algerians, Egyptians and Afghans have found themselves, like Americans and Israelis, so often the victims of jihadist aggression.) The second meaning, associated with mystics, rejects the legal definition of jihad as armed conflict and tells Muslims to withdraw from the worldly concerns to achieve spiritual depth.

Jihad in the sense of territorial expansion has always been a central aspect of Muslim life. That's how Muslims came to rule much of the Arabian Peninsula by the time of the Prophet Muhammad's death in 632. It's how, a century later, Muslims had conquered a region from Afghanistan to Spain. Subsequently, jihad spurred and justified Muslim conquests of such territories as India, Sudan, Anatolia, and the Balkans.

Today, jihad is the world's foremost source of terrorism, inspiring a worldwide campaign of violence by self-proclaimed jihadist groups.

[...] Despite jihad's record as a leading source of conflict for 14 centuries, causing untold human suffering, academic and Islamic apologists claim it permits only defensive fighting, or even that it is entirely non-violent. Three American professors of Islamic studies colorfully make the latter point, explaining jihad as:

An "effort against evil in the self and every manifestation of evil in society" (Ibrahim Abu-Rabi, Hartford Seminary);

"Resisting apartheid or working for women's rights" (Farid Eseck, Auburn Seminary), and

"Being a better student, a better colleague, a better business partner. Above all, to control one's anger" (Bruce Lawrence, Duke University).

It would be wonderful were jihad to evolve into nothing more aggressive than controlling one's anger, but that will not happen simply by wishing away a gruesome reality. To the contrary, the pretense of a benign jihad obstructs serious efforts at self-criticism and reinterpretation.

The path away from terrorism, conquest and enslavement lies in Muslims forthrightly acknowledging jihad's historic role, followed by apologies to jihad's victims, developing an Islamic basis for nonviolent jihad and (the hardest part) actually ceasing to wage violent jihad.

Unfortunately, such a process of redemption is not now under way; violent jihad will probably continue until it is crushed by a superior military force. ... Only when jihad is defeated will moderate Muslims finally find their voice and truly begin the hard work of modernizing Islam.

Suggested reading: The Far Enemy: The New Definition of Jihad:
Among the five pillars, bin Laden ranked jihad second only to iman (belief), an astonishing judgment coming from a nonreligious authority. But we should not be surprised by that because the new ideologues of jihad contest the very foundation of the classical school, which laid more stress on the "defensive" and "collective" nature of jihad. The new ideologues claim that the old rules and regulations do not apply because Muslim lands are "occupied," by either local "apostates" or their American masters. Under such conditions, jihad becomes obligatory to all Muslims, to defend their religion and its sanctuaries. Thus the lines become blurred between "defensive" and "offensive" jihad as well as between "collective" and "individual" duty. The new ideologues portray jihad as an all-encompassing struggle that requires full and permanent mobilization of Muslim society against real and imagined enemies at home and abroad. In this context, bin Laden warns fellow Muslims against complacency and dereliction of duty:
Fighting is part of our religion and our Shariah. Those who love God and the prophet and this religion may not deny a part of that religion. This is a very serious matter. Whoever denies even a very minor tenet of religion would have committed the gravest sin in Islam. Such persons must renew their faith and rededicate themselves to their religion.
[...] ... since the mid-1990s, a small minority of jihadis, transnationalists led by Al Qaeda, a network composed of several tiny militant groups, launched a systemic onslaught to hijack the whole jihadist movement and strategically change its direction and destination.

Now the very same jihadis, who had made the fight against the near enemy a key operational priority, shifted gears and called for a new "jihad" against the far enemy, particularly the United States and its Western allies. The road to Jerusalem no longer passed directly through Cairo, Algiers, Amman, or Riyadh but rather through a double-lane highway, including stops in Washington, New York, Madrid, London, and other Western capitals. The same arguments marshalled in support of jihad against the near enemy were dusted off and remade to fit that against the far enemy. In other words, the definition of jihad did not change; what did change was the definition of the enemy. The jihadist caravan took a new sharp and dangerous turn that would bring it into a total confrontation with the world community.

Posted by Richard at June 11, 2007 2:25 PM



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