The Tribune reported the series, which ended this month, to answer some simple questions posed by readers in the wake of Sept. 11: Why are people from faraway lands attacking America and Americans? Why do they happen to be Muslims? Is there something about Islam that promotes violence?
Reporters found little to suggest that Islam encourages violence, despite the impression Westerners might have because of exposure mostly to extremists. In fact, its venerable history suggests that Islam, like most religions, promotes peace and charity.
Now there is a load of taqiyya of which Ibrahim Hooper himself would be proud. If the Tribune reporters had done any research, or had any integrity, they might have stumbled over Qur’anic verses like these:
“And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.” (2:191)
“But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (9:5)
“Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain…” (9:111)
“Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens.” (47:4)
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter…” (5:33)
And there are so many others where those came from, and so many ahadith on the order of Sahih Muslim 1:33, in which Muhammad says: “I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah…”
I am not making all this up. There is no question that such passages exist, and many other similar ones. There is no question that Islam in history built an entire doctrinal system of religious warfare around them. There is no question that there is nothing genuinely comparable to such verses anywhere in the Bible or in any other religious text of any major religion.
These texts exist, and they show the Tribune to be engaged in a major whitewash. These texts exist, and they encourage violence: these verses and others are not only routinely cited by the “extremists” themselves; they are also used by the “extremists” to recruit new terrorists from among the moderates. The case of the Lackawanna 6 illustrates this. One may question whether these verses are known and obeyed by Muslims in one place or another — and there is evidence that they were essentially dead letters in various places where Islamic culture settled into a reasonably comfortable arrangement with its neighbors, but that arrangement was always temporary, and dissolved when Muslims rediscovered their fervor.
This relaxation and deemphasis of jihadist sensibilities among cultural Muslims in Southern Europe and Central Asia is often mistaken nowadays for a “genuine,” peaceful Islam that will ultimately triumph over the “extremists.” But because the Islamic texts are not on their side, these cultural moderates are everywhere today in intellectual retreat in the Islamic world.
The Trib could have tried to argue that no Muslim takes these passages seriously — but that contention would have foundered on the plain fact that so many do. So instead they try to pretend they simply aren’t there, although there is no real question about their existence itself except for those who are ignorant or wish to deceive others. Which is it, Tribune?
But of course for the Trib, it’s all America’s fault:
But the Tribune series also showed how American foreign policy has angered Islamic radicals and moderates alike, from the suburbs of Chicago to the refugee camps of Gaza, from the dusty streets of Pakistan to the winding warren of stalls in Egypt’s colorful bazaars.
Those who take action against America, such as the men who flew the planes into the World Trade Center, are a relatively small band.
But this radical fringe shrewdly capitalizes on the legitimate grievances of many moderate Muslims against American government policies, enabling the militants to extend their influence far beyond their numbers.