In FrontPage I explain why it is still never wise to negotiate with terrorists.
Having murdered one of its Japanese hostages, Haruna Yukawa, the Islamic State issued an audio recording purportedly of the other, Kenji Goto, pleading for his life and making a new demand. Yukawa had been “slaughtered,” said the man claiming to be Goto. He reminded the Japanese that “you were given a deadline” of Friday to give the Islamic State $200 million to save Yukawa’s life.
But now the jihadis had changed their demand. “They no longer want money,” said the voice. “You bring them their sister from the Jordanian regime, and I will be released immediately. Me for her. Don’t let these be my last words you ever hear. Don’t let Abe also kill me.”
“Their sister from the Jordanian regime” was Sajida Mubarak al-Rishawi, whom CNN identified as “an Iraqi woman facing the death penalty in Jordan for her role in a series of bombings in 2005 that killed dozens of people at hotels in the Arab kingdom.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reacted with “strong indignation” to the murder of Yukawa: “Such act of terrorism is outrageous and impermissible, which causes me nothing but strong indignation.” However, he did not say whether he planned to work with the Jordanian government to release Sajida al-Rishawi and hand her over to the Islamic State. According to CNN, “Japanese officials declined to explicitly rule out paying a ransom but said they wouldn’t yield to terrorism.”
“I would be surprised if the Jordanian government or Japan really pushed forward and released this female suicide bomber as ISIS has requested,” said CNN global affairs analyst David Rohde, and we can only hope that he is right. If Abe accedes to the Islamic State’s demand in this, he will only encourage more kidnappings, and more and more demands from the jihadists to the free world.
The Islamic State has plenty of reason to think that the Japanese are going to give them what they want. The New York Times reported last July that “kidnapping Europeans for ransom has become a global business for Al Qaeda, bankrolling its operations across the globe.” European officials denied paying ransoms to jihadists, said the report, but “ an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have taken in at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just last year. In news releases and statements, the United States Treasury Department has cited ransom amounts that, taken together, put the total at around $165 million over the same period….Put more bluntly, Europe has become an inadvertent underwriter of Al Qaeda.”
With non-Muslim governments financing al-Qaeda’s jihad through ransom payments, why not the Islamic State? Yet this is, of course, why we continue to see kidnappings of Westerners, and these kidnappings will continue into the indefinite future. For the jihadists, they are lucrative.
They’re also in complete accord with Islamic law:
“As for the captives, the amir [ruler] has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale and manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them. Allah, may he be exalted, says, ‘When you encounter those [infidels] who deny the Truth [Islam] then strike [their] necks’ (Qur’an sura 47, verse 4)” — Al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah (The Laws of Islamic Governance).
Everything the Islamic State has done is in accord with this: it demanded ransom for Yukawa; when it didn’t get it, it killed him. It could also have enslaved him or freed him outright. For Goto, it is demanding a prisoner exchange – for a trained killer who would almost certainly kill again in the name of Islam and jihad.
It would be terrible indeed if the Islamic State murders Kenji Goto. If the Japanese give in to the Islamic State’s demands and give them money or Sajida al-Rishawi, many, many other innocent people will be murdered as well.