From the Hate Mail Bag: this guy sent me several messages this morning from an IP address that traces to Damascus. This was the best one:
What is the guilt of all those innocent people who were killed with F-16 in Gaza; you will pay the price no doubt one day. Muhammad’s Army will return
Of course, in this fellow’s world, all the Israelis are guilty, so it doesn’t matter what the Muslims do to them — they have carte blanche. Meanwhile, “Muhammad’s Army will return” is an echo of the familiar slogan “Khaybar, Khaybar, ya Yahoud, jaish Muhammad sa yaoud” — that is, “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.”
Khaybar. As I explain in my book The Truth About Muhammad, Muhammad led a Muslim force against the Khaybar oasis, which was inhabited by Jews — many of whom he had previously exiled from Medina. When he did so, he was not responding to any provocation. One of the Muslims later remembered: “When the apostle raided a people he waited until the morning. If he heard a call to prayer he held back; if he did not hear it he attacked. We came to Khaybar by night, and the apostle passed the night there; and when morning came he did not hear the call to prayer, so he rode and we rode with him”¦.We met the workers of Khaybar coming out in the morning with their spades and baskets. When they saw the apostle and the army they cried, “˜Muhammad with his force,” and turned tail and fled. The apostle said, “˜Allah Akbar! Khaybar is destroyed. When we arrive in a people’s square it is a bad morning for those who have been warned.– 
The Muslim advance was inexorable. “The apostle,” according to Muhammad’s earliest biographer, Ibn Ishaq, “seized the property piece by piece and conquered the forts one by one as he came to them.”  Another biographer of Muhammad, Ibn Sa”˜d, reports that the battle was fierce: the “polytheists”¦killed a large number of [Muhammad’s] Companions and he also put to death a very large number of them”¦.He killed ninety-three men of the Jews”¦”  Muhammad and his men offered the fajr prayer, the Islamic dawn prayer, before it was light, and then entered Khaybar itself. The Muslims immediately set out to locate the inhabitants” wealth. A Jewish leader of Khaybar, Kinana bin al-Rabi, was brought before Muhammad; Kinana was supposed to have been entrusted with the treasure of on of the Jewish tribes of Arabia, the Banu Nadir. Kinana denied knowing where this treasure was, but Muhammad pressed him: “Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?” Kinana said yes, that he did know that.
Some of the treasure was found. To find the rest, Muhammad gave orders concerning Kinana: “Torture him until you extract what he has.” One of the Muslims built a fire on Kinana’s chest, but Kinana would not give up his secret. When he was at the point of death, one of the Muslims beheaded him.  Kinana’s wife was taken as a war prize; Muhammad claimed her for himself and hastily arranged a wedding ceremony that night. He halted the Muslims” caravan out of Khaybar later that night in order to consummate the marriage. 
Muhammad agreed to let the people of Khaybar to go into exile, allowing them to keep as much of their property as they could carry.  The Prophet of Islam, however, commanded them to leave behind all their gold and silver.  He had intended to expel all of them, but some, who were farmers, begged him to allow them to let them stay if they gave him half their yield annually.  Muhammad agreed: “I will allow you to continue here, so long as we would desire.”  He warned them: “If we wish to expel you we will expel you.”  They no longer had any rights that did not depend upon the good will and sufferance of Muhammad and the Muslims. And indeed, when the Muslims discovered some treasure that some of the Khaybar Jews had hidden, he ordered the women of the tribe enslaved and seized the perpetrators” land.  A hadith notes that “the Prophet had their warriors killed, their offspring and woman taken as captives.” 
Thus when modern-day jihadists invoke Khaybar, as this hate mailer did indirectly by echoing the familiar chant about Muhammad’s Army, they are doing much more than just recalling the glory days of Islam and its prophet. They are recalling an aggressive, surprise raid by Muhammad which resulted in the final eradication of the once considerable Jewish presence in Arabia. To the jihadists, Khaybar means the destruction of the Jews and the seizure of their property by the Muslims.
That is the context in which today’s Hate Mailer would dare to lecture us about justice and guilt and innocence.
 Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, translator, Oxford University Press, 1955. P. 511.
 Ibn Sa”˜d, Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, S. Moinul Haq and H K. Ghazanfar, translators, Kitab Bhavan, n.d. Vol. II, pp. 132-133.
 Ibn Ishaq, p. 515.
 Muhammed Ibn Ismaiel Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari: The Translation of the Meanings, translated by Muhammad M. Khan, Darussalam, 1997, vol. 1, book 8, no. 371.
 Ibn Sa”˜d, vol. II, p. 136.
 Ibn Sa”˜d, vol. II, p. 137.
 Bukhari, vol. 4, book 57, no. 3152.
 Imam Muslim, Sahih Muslim, translated by Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, Kitab Bhavan, revised edition 2000. Book 10, no. 3761.
 Ibn Ishaq, p. 515.
 Ibn Sa”˜d, vol. II, p. 137.
 Bukhari, vol. 5, book 64, no. 4200.