Recently I had the privilege of participating in a FrontPage Symposium with the estimable Ali Sina of FaithFreedom.org. Around the same time I was contacted by a Muslim spokesman, challenging me to a debate. I’ll speak with anyone, so I accepted; however, it became increasingly clear that this was no ordinary debate challenge. One indication was that the spokeman and several of his associates seemed full of anxiety about Ali Sina, anxious in particular to get me to sever any association with him. I received a few bizarre messages to this effect, one a profanity-laden message from a man posing as a Catholic who turned out to be an associate of the Muslim spokesman, and the one Ali reproduces below.
Ali’s analogy is apt. I think it is quite likely that, as I pointed out in the Symposium, these people are following the playbook of the man who taught that “war is deceit.” And the attempt to alienate enemies from one another is a time-honored jihadist practice. It was practiced with particular effectiveness in the run-up to the fall of Constantinople, when various Byzantine factions were all too eager to conclude alliances of convenience with Muslim forces — alliances that only weakened the overall position of the non-Muslims. But Ali Sina and I are not so willing.
Here is Ali Sina’s piece “The Game of Deception“:
I am pleased to announce that Robert Spencer of jihadwatch.org is added to the list of the pundits of FFI and from now on, his articles will be featured regularly in this site.
Actually we have to thank the Islamists for this serendipity. Recently Robert and I teamed up in a Symposium organized by Frontpage Magazine and responded to two Islamists about Gender Apartheid and Islam. This alliance was not to the liking of the Islamists and they, inspired by their prophet’s cunningness, tried to drive schism between the two of us. We discovered the plot and decided to increase our cooperation.
The following is the email one of these Muslims wrote to Robert Spencer:
From: “Sharukh Iqbal” firstname.lastname@example.org
I regret to inform you that one of your proteges is a two faced hypocrite and is actually using your trust for his own gain. This man’s name is Ali Sina. I was a regular on his forum and he is exploiting your endeavors. Since you are exposing Jihad and he is trying to destroy all religions, Islam being is 1st target, he supports you. Not only is he an Anti Muslim, he is an Anti christian and semite. After facing him in a debate on his forum he equivically stated that your actions and work is pointless and that you are deceived by your faith. Somehow that entire thread disappeared and he has threatened me with legal action if I ever try to contact him or his affiliates again. Therefore please Mr. Spencer let the world know about this devious man, who is willing to sacrifice honor and trust just for his dollars and cents.
Just to let you know that he has made a pretty penny due to his work and you are adding to his forune.
Both Robert and I had a good laugh over it and remembered how Muhammad had used the exact same ploy to cause suspicion among his opponents and after driving schism among them, annihilated them one by one.
One such incident took place during the war known as Khandaq and this is the story taken from my upcoming book From Mecca to 9/11:
Siege of Medina , March, A.D. 627.
By Ali Sina
Huyeiy Ibn Akhtab the chief of the Bani Nadir, whose tribe was banished from their ancestral town and whose properties confiscates, visited the Meccans and other tribes warning them of what is awaiting them. Many of these tribes were already victims of Muhammad’s marauding army and had lost men and property to this new religion. Several clans of Ghatafan, Bani Ashja, Murra, Bani Fezara, Bani Sulaim, Bani Sa”d and Bani Asad came together, each contributing with warring men and they all joined the Quraish who also contributed four thousand soldiers, including three hundred horses, and fifteen hundred riders upon camels, into the field. In total an army of ten thousand men thus came under the general leadership of Abu Sofian. The leadership of the army was alternated among the chiefs of the confederates.
Muhammad was forewarned of this preparation and not knowing what to do, he sought the advice of Salman the Persian, who was familiar with the mode in which camps and cities were defended in other countries. It is interesting to note that Muhammad’s God who would come to his help anytime he needed to breach a social and ethical rule, e.g. to marry a new woman or to sleep with his daughter in law or a slave girl, or would always inform him that his opponents are about to beach their term of the agreement so he should raid them preemptively, was often silent when it came to matters of importance were a knowledge beyond Muhammad’s personal experience was required. Salman was a Christian slave of a Jew. This opportunist man professed his faith in Islam so he could be ransomed by the Muslims.
He suggested entrenching the town, a stratagem hitherto unknown in Arabia . For a considerable distance, the stone houses of Medina were built so compactly together that, they presented a high and nearly unbroken wall, of itself a sufficient protection. These walls were then connected with a deep ditch and a rude earthen dyke. Muhammad himself took part in these works encouraging his men by chanting to them verses that he claimed were revelations and promising them victory.
Provoking the sentiment of victimization is what Islam thrives upon. This attack on the Muslims gave an excellent opportunity for Muhammad to foster this sentiment. He completely neglected that the invaders had gathered to retaliate for all his lootings, assassinations and senseless wars.
Up to this day Muslims feel that it is perfectly justifiable to kill the non-Muslims, through terrorist activities to advance their religion and make Islam dominant but if their victims rise to retaliate they claim to be victimized for their faith.
In six days, the trench was finished, and the three thousand men of Medina , stood behind it. The enemy arrived and formed their several camps in front of the Muslim army with the trench in between them. The Meccans surprised by this new tactic and unable to cross the ditch contented themselves for sometime with a distant discharge of archery.
Huyeiy Ibn Akhtab visited the fortress of the Jews of Bani Quraizah and sought their allegiance. He reminded them of what happened to the other two Jewish tribes and warned them of their own fate if Muhammad is not defeated. The Bani Quraizah at first were reluctant to associate themselves with the Meccans for the fear that should they retreat, Muhammad would crush them mercilessly. But they finally agreed as it was obvious to them that as long as they remain faithful to their Judaic beliefs, they are not going to have peace if the new religion becomes dominant.
So they agreed to assist the Meccan army. According to a tradition Muhammad sent Hudhaifa, to spy the camp of the Meccans and he overheard of the news. Thereupon Muhammad sent Sa”d ibn Muadh and Sa”d ibn Ubada, two chiefs of the Aus and Khazraj, to ascertain the truth of the report. The Bani Quraizah received these men coldly and in a sullen mood. The two messengers reported to Muhammad that the temper of the Jews was even worse than he had feared.
Muhammad had good reasons to be apprehensive of the Bani Quraizah for he was mindful that his cruel treatment of the other Jewish tribes may drive the Bani Quraizah to side with the enemy.
Muslims often claim that the massacre of the Bani Quraizah was justifiable because they broke their treaty with Muhammad. However it is not clear in what ways the Jews broke their treaty. But we can see that Muhammad had already broken his treaty when he assassinated Asma bint Marwan, Abu Afak and Ka”b ibn Ashraf and when he besieged the Bani Qainuqa and Bani Nadir, confiscated their wealth and expelled them from the town.
The south-eastern entrance of the city, where the fortress of Bani Quraizah was built at a distance of two or three miles, was the most vulnerable part. The Jews had still many friends and adherents among the citizens and when the siege prolonged and the weakness of the Muslims became apparent, disaffection lurked everywhere and talks of desertion were being heard even among the professed followers of Muhammad. Muhammad was fearful of his own life and while the soldiers were camped along the ditches, he stayed in the mosque amidst the women and children with a strong guard to keep vigil over him.
The enemy, notwithstanding their number was unable to cross the ditch reach and the vigilance of the Muslim outposts. Although they dismissed the trenches as an unworthy subterfuge, “a foreign artifice, to which no Arabs have ever yet descended” it were those trenches that hold them back from marching into the city.
After a few days of frustrating wait, a cavalry of four men including Ikrima, the son of Abul Hakam, and Amr ibn Abd Wudd discovered a rocky point where the trench was not too wide. They spurred their horses from it, and succeeded in clearing the crevice!
Cut off from their own army and in the perimeter of Medina , they boldly advanced into the Muslim camp, and challenged them to fight in a single combat. Ali with a few others rose to move out against them. Muhammad, fearful that Ali, who was now also his son in law, might be killed stopped him hoping that someone else would rise to the challenge. But no other man dared to respond to Amr’s challenge, who despite his advanced age was still considered to be a formidable warrior.
Finally Muhammad had to let Ali meet the challenger. As for himself, Muhammad never fought in any war personally nor he ever took risks with his life. Ali and old Amr closed in and for a while they were lost in the dust. An unconfirmed tradition says that the fight lasted for a long time when Ali, who was wounded, suddenly exclaimed: “See thy brother is coming behind thee.” Amr looked round and Ali taking advantage of his distraction slew him at once. Then he stood up and shouted Allahu Akbar announcing his victory over his aging opponent.
Upon seeing the death of Amr, the rest of the Meccan party spurred their horses over the trench and managed to leap back to the other side, excepting Nowfal, who fell and Zobeir jumped on the wounded man and dispatched him.
The trench was guarded intensely and the Meccans were not able to cross it. To protect the trench Muslims did not say their prayers and Muhammad is reported to have cursed the pagans for that.
“They have diverted us from (offering) the middle prayer. i. e. the ‘Asr prayer. May Allah fill their bellies and their graves with fire,!” Muslim 4:1315
In this war Muslims lost only five men and Sa”d ibn Muadh, was wounded severely by an arrow in the shoulder. The confederates had but three men killed. Despite this low rate of casualties, the army of Medina was exhausted of the continuous watch and duty. The siege seemed endless. Those who lived outside the town wanted to leave, bring the excuses to fear that their houses would be plundered, and many inside the town showed the signs of disaffection. Muhammad was wary of not only his followers who were wondering, “Where is the Divine assistance that he had promised”, but also of the Jews who he feared could attack him from the rear.
He now appeared weak and helpless in the eyes of his people. Muhammad recalls these dreary tiring days in the Quran: – “Behold! they came on you from above you and from below you, and behold, the eyes became dim and the hearts gaped up to the throats, and ye imagined various (vain) thoughts about Allah!” Quran 33.10
Such was the state of panic that once Safiya, Muhammad’s aunt, saw a Jew prowling, or so she thought, and fearing that he is spying on the state of the Muslims and might report their disappointment and defenseless state to the enemy, she asked Hasan the Poet, who was present, to go and kill him. Hasan thought her fears are unfounded and declined to commit the murder. So Safiya herself went down and slew that Jew taking him by surprise. Sira p. 292.
At this point Muhammad tried to break the confederates by bribing the Ghatafans. He offered them a third of the dates of Medina if they withdrew from the confederates. The Ghatafan responded that they would agree if they were given half of the proceeds. Muhammad consented but he had overestimated his authority over his followers. Sa”d ibn Muadh was consulted and he vehemently declined this humiliating treaty and the deal fell through. Sira p.291.
Failing to drive rift among his enemies through bribery, the Prophet resorted to deceit. A man called Nueim, approached him and offered his services. Muhammad asked him whether he could break up the confederacy against him, by deceiving the Jews and the Quraish and he added “for War verily is a game of deception”, He said.
Nueim went first to the Bani Quraizah, and representing himself as a concerned friend, cunningly told them that the Quraish had no intention to attack Medina and if they, (the Jews) supported them, this would make Muhammad furious of them and they would be killed once the confederates leave. He then suggested that the Quraizah should demand hostages from the Quraish as a guarantee against being deserted.
After that he went to the chiefs of the confederates and cautioned them against the Jews: – “I have heard;” he said, ” that the Bani Quraizah intend to ask for hostages; beware not to be taken by their plot for they have already reneged on their agreement with you, and promised Muhammad to give up the hostages to be slain, and then to join in the battle against you.”
Muhammad’s plot worked. When the Quraish asked the Quraizah to join the general attack on the following day, they brought the excuse that it is their Sabbath and refused to fight. Acting upon Nueim’s advice, they also demanded that the Quraish leave a few men as hostages in guarantee of being deserted. The Allies regarded this as a confirmation of Nueim’s intelligence, and were so persuaded of the treachery of the Quraizah that they even feared an attack from them.
After fifteen days of fruitless wait, and this perceived treachery of the Jews the confederates were disheartened. Their provisions were running out, their camels and horses were dying. The weather was cold and gusty. The rain had left them soaked and dampened their spirits. The winter night was tempestuous and the wind and rain beat on the camp mercilessly, blowing apart their tents, extinguishing their fires and overthrowing their cooking vessels and other equipment. Storm rose to a hurricane. This kind of weather is common at winter in Medina . All these harsh conditions, accompanied with their inability to cross the ditch and the perceived treachery of the Jews made the allies restless.
Abu Sofian was not always the General of the Army. The chiefs alternated the leadership in successive days. This system had also paralyzed their energies and had virtually left the army without a powerful man in command. Finally Abu Sofian who did not have the doggedness and single-mindedness of his opponent, resolved to withdraw his men and told the rest of the confederate chiefs that he is breaking up the camp. He would not stay to argue with them or change his mind. Thus the army broke apart, the tribes retired to their homes and the siege ended.
When the morning broke, none of the army of the allies was left. Hudhaifa, who had gone in the dark to spy on the enemy brought the glad tiding to Muhammad who soon attributed this happy issue to the divine interposition, and took full credit for it claiming that it was Allah who had “sent against them a hurricane and forces that ye saw not: but Allah sees (clearly) all that ye do” [Quran. 33:9]
The very day the confederates left, Muhammad decided to annihilate the Bani Quraizah. He pretended that Gabriel appeared to him and rebuked him for setting aside his arms and told him that the angels are ready to wage war against the Bani Quraizah. Bukhari 5:59:443
Two weeks later, the Bani Quraizah was forced to surrender and all their men were beheaded, their wives and children were enslaved and their belongings went to the coffers of Muhammad alone who gave some to the immigrants and his close supporters. Eventually all the confederates were subdued.