After posting a report regarding the U.S. Army War College’s failure to examine Islam’s war doctrines, including a faculty member’s (Sherifa Zuhur’s) assertions that Hamas has been “villainized” by the media, I received several e-mails from concerned people questioning Ms. Zuhur’s “credentials” — some alluded to her sincerity and intentions, or lack thereof — to teach at the War College. One e-mail sent the following, rather telling, response made by Zuhur, after being asked to, “Tell us about your recent monographs on Islamic Rulings on Warfare and on Saudi Arabia”:
I wrote Islamic Rulings on Warfare with my co-author Youssef Aboul-Enein to counteract the idea that Islam promotes kidnappings, beheadings and other unlicensed hostile actions as a matter of course.
We explored the literature on jihad and other forms of fighting, their ethical and tactical aspects, how these appear in modernist, revisionist views and are manipulated by extremists. My monograph, Saudi Arabia: Islamic Threat, Political Reform, and the Global War on Terror, examines the factors leading up to calls for political reform in the Kingdom, and the campaign against al-Qa`ida fi Jazirat al-`Arabiyyah which has been operating there. I call into question the grand strategy of the global war on terror, but conclude that its recommendation of increasing freedom and political participation has value.
Interesting. One must wonder, however, about some of her blanket assertions: Islam does not “promote” kidnappings? What about the inconvenient fact that the founder of Islam, Muhammad, whose sunna, or “example,” must be literally adhered, regularly kidnapped people — particularly women? As Serge Trifkovic reminds us:
Having established himself as the ruler of Medina, Muhammad attacked the Jewish tribe of Banu-“˜l-Mustaliq in December of A.D. 626. His followers slaughtered many Jewish tribesmen and looted thousands of their camels and sheep. They also kidnapped 500 of their women. The night after the battle Muhammad and his brigands staged an orgy of rape. As one of the brigands, Abu Sa”id Khudri, later remembered, a legal problem needed to be resolved first: In order to obtain ransom from the surviving Jews for the captive women, Muslims had pledged not to violate them:
We were lusting after women and chastity had become too hard for us, but we wanted to get the ransom money for our prisoners. So we wanted to use the Azl [coitus interruptus]. We asked the Prophet about it and he said: “You are not under any obligation not to do it like that [contained in Sahih Bukhari, second only to the Koran in authority].”
More to the point, Koran 4:3 legitimizes forceful concubinage — that is, forcefully kidnapping women and making them sex-slaves — slaves who are counted as animals at that.
As for beheadings, perhaps Zuhur is not familiar with Koranic verses 5:33, 8:12, and 47:4 — all of which sanction beheading the infidel? Koran 47:4 simply states “Therefore, when ye meet the infidels, strike off their heads; then when you have made wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives.”
As for “other unlicensed hostile action,” where does one begin? Here’s one: Muhammad had assassins go to the home of a matron figure named Umm Qirfa, tie each of her legs to a different camel, and then drive the camels in separate directions until the old woman was split asunder (see Ibn Ishaq and al-Tabari). He also ordered the assassination of an old poet, and legitimized lying and deception to do so — whence the famous Islamic maxim, “War is Deceit.”
One therefore has no choice but to conclude that Ms Zuhur is being either disingenuous (taqiyya/kitman) or ignorant (sign of the times), or blindly utopian (typical academic) or all of the above — either way, not fit to instruct post-9/11 America’s forthcoming guardians. It’s bad enough that this sort of fluff counts as “authoritative” around government types; but that it has also come to permeate one of the last bastions of American security, the U.S. Army War College — just consider its name — is beyond ominous.