So many analysts who know little or nothing about Islam aren’t aware of how little they know, and make all sorts of false assumptions, some of which have disastrous policy consequences, as a result. From “Bergen: Bin Laden, CIA links hogwash,” from CNN, with thanks to k1911m:
…CNN.com asked users to send questions to Bergen as part of an upcoming documentary, “In the Footsteps of bin Laden,” which premieres on August 23 at 9 p.m. ET. Here are his answers:
QUESTION: If you could see bin Laden face-to-face again, what one question would you ask him?
From Donna Salley, Shreveport, Louisiana
BERGEN: Where in the Quran can you find justification for killing innocent civilians?
Peter, Osama answered this in his November 24, 2002 letter to the American people:
Allah, the Almighty, legislated the permission and the option to take revenge. Thus, if we are attacked, then we have the right to attack back. Whoever has destroyed our villages and towns, then we have the right to destroy their villages and towns. Whoever has stolen our wealth, then we have the right to destroy their economy. And whoever has killed our civilians, then we have the right to kill theirs.
Where did bin Laden get the idea that Allah, the Almighty, ever allowed such a thing? “We ordained therein for them: “Life for life, eye for eye, nose or nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal” (Qur’an 5:45). “The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree)” (Qur’an 42:40).
Therefore, once bin Laden establishes, at least to his and his coreligionists’ satisfaction, that Western governments are targeting Muslim civilians, he has a free hand against Western civilians — as mandated by the Qur’an.
But Peter Bergen and so many others will no doubt continue to assume that what they are doing is contrary to the Qur’an. Why does this matter? Because if bin Laden’s Qur’anic case is full of holes, we may reasonably assume that he will ultimately find scant support among Muslims worldwide. But if he has an arguable case, it is likely that support for him will be much greater. Western analysts continue pollyannishly to assume that they are dealing with a marginal, already discredited fringe group within the Islamic world. Would that it were so.