Reader “my.joy18” has kindly forwarded to me an Arab News question and answer piece entitled “Sept. 11 Attacks Nothing but Terrorism.” Alas, I have been occupied with many other things the last few days, and didn’t immediately put it up. Now it is gone without a trace. I wonder if that has anything to do with its content: it declares that while the September 11 attacks were terrorism because they targeted innocent people, in Israel it’s a different story. “To resist Israel by all means available to us is justified under divine and human law.” Including, evidently, blowing up innocent people on buses and in restaurants, and gunning down little babies.
As ghastly as this sounds, it is in accord with Islamic law, which does indeed forbid the killing of the innocent — provided that they are not aiding the war effort. Apparently the author of this answer shares the widespread view among Islamic scholars that there are no innocent non-combatants in Israel: by virtue of simply being there, everyone in the country is a kafir harbi, an unbeliever at war with Islam. Thus everyone in the country is fair game.
As a favor to the folks at Arab News, I’ll preserve the article for posterity in its entirety here:
“Edited by Adil Salahi
“Q. Could you please tell me whether the Sept. 11 attacks were acts of jihad or terrorism? Would those who were killed in them be martyrs? What about other acts such as those done by Hamas and similar groups?
“A. Islam does not approve of indiscriminate killing in any situation. When Muslim armies went out to war in the early period of Islam, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his successors like Abu Bakr and Umar gave them clear instructions.
“They ordered the army not to kill a child, a woman, an elderly person, a priest or anyone who is not engaged in the fighting or helping the enemy fighters. The attacks on the US that took place on Sept. 11 involved hijacking planes and flying them into buildings.
“The passengers in the planes were innocent bystanders and the people in those buildings were the same. Those who launched this attack did not consider them so, because they followed a mistaken view that everyone who pays taxes to the US government is aiding war against Islam. This view is seriously defective, because people have to pay taxes or they will be in great trouble with their government. Besides, to ask every citizen in the world to have an informed opinion on the justice of our cause and then to take an attitude of peaceful disobedience to their government is to live in a dreamland. Had people been able to judge things in this way, they would all be very religious. God says in the Qur’an that He could have made all mankind a single community, but He has not done so. So, how can we impose our views or beliefs on people?
“I cannot understand how a Muslim could justify boarding a plane, intending to kill all its passengers by flying it into a building used by thousands of civilians. This is simply terrorism and cannot be justified under Islamic law. The operations launched against Israeli occupation are totally different. They are undertaken against occupiers who have turned the local people, Muslims and Christians, from their homes and lands, desecrated mosques and terrorized the population into leaving their land. To resist Israel by all means available to us is justified under divine and human law. It is indeed Israel and its supporters that are engaged in a gigantic and continuous act of terrorism.”