Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Reminder On 9/11 That Al-Qaeda Is Un-Islamic

Readers of this blog probably do not need to be reminded of this, but given all the recent surge of anti-Islamic hyseria in the US, it is useful to remember how far off some of the claims being made now are. As is often the case, Juan Cole provides some perspective today at http://www.juancole.com. He lists five things that al Qaeda has done or attempted that are simply against clear statements in the Qur'an and the Hadith: 1) There is to be no attempt to coerce anyone into becoming a Muslim (free choice is crucial), 2) Aggressive war is forbidden, only defensive war is allowed, 3) A "civil engineer" cannot declare war, it must be declared by a recognized community leader, which today would be a president or prime minister or monarch, 4) Non-combatants are not to be killed or hurt, 5) Sneak attacks are not allowed, war must be announced well ahead of time.

Go in peace all of you on this sad day.

11 comments:

TequilaKid said...

Al Qaeda un-Islamic? Al Qaeda violates some precepts of Islam, but many precepts of Islam are the object of controversy. One of the rules for interpreting the Koran is that precepts are revoked by subsequent revelations that say the opposite. Juan Cole belongs to that school of thought that strives to make Islam look as immaculate as possible. He is not an impartial, reliable authority. In any case it is undeniable that Al Qaeda treads in the footsteps of many prior Islamic movements in its theory and tactics. I can't tell whether Al Qaeda is un-Islamic or not, but I do know that Al Qaeda's behaviour closely follows prior historical patterns in Islam. Consequently it is typically Islamic, although it represents an extreme within Islam.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

TK,

I would say you would need to provide some historical examples to back up your claims. Maybe the original Assassins?

FuzzyFace said...

It is not for non-Muslims to say what is or is not Islamic. The only standard that matters is how Muslims interpret their faith, and especially how they react when people claim to be acting in the name of Islam, as Al Qaeda does.

If it is truly un-Islamic, we should see massive numbers of leading Muslim clerics denouncing them; we should certainly not see Al Qaeda able to recruit easily. But in fact, we see no such denunciations; we saw Muslims in several parts of the Arab world celebrating the attack. That suggests that there must be some kind of error in Cole's analysis.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

FF,

Go look at the Juan Cole link. He makes clear that there has been massive condemnation of al Qaea and its acts by Muslim leaders all over the globe and certainliy in the US. This just does not get reported very much in the US media. The numbers of recruits out of the 1.5 billion Muslims remains miniscule, but in this time even small numbers can wreak much havoc. Keep in mind that Christianity, Judaism, and other "great world religions" generate their own lunatic fringes, some of which also engage in violence.

Even Iran supported the US after 9/11, including in our invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban. That they do not support us much anymore, well, at least they still officially condemn as Qaeda.

John Haskell said...

Probably need to add to this string: (a) pictures of people in the West Bank and Egypt celebrating as if they had won the World Cup and the Powerball on Mardi Gras; (b) polls showing how many more people in Islamic countries had faith in OBL to do the right thing than the President of the US or for that matter the heads of state of their own countries.

OBL is in fact a recognized Islamic leader and whenever he needs to go shopping for theological cover from one or another mullah he always gets it.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Haskell,

There is a lot of support for OBL as an underdog anti-US leader, but there are very few "mullahs" who provide him any "theological cover" outside of his immediate circle of supporters. Name any prominent one who is not himself actively involved in terrorist activities (yes, there are a few).

This is exactly the problem with these discussions in the US. We have lots of media that makes these general assertions like you just did or that TK did, but with no evidence. The vast majority of mullahs have disapproved of al Qaeda and its actions.

Peter H said...

Probably need to add to this string: (a) pictures of people in the West Bank and Egypt celebrating as if they had won the World Cup and the Powerball on Mardi Gras; (b) polls showing how many more people in Islamic countries had faith in OBL to do the right thing than the President of the US or for that matter the heads of state of their own countries.

The 2 phenomena have far more due to hostility to American policies (i.e. support for Israel) then with Islamic beliefs.

Don Levit said...

I am glad that you posted the tenets of Islam forbidding violence.
Is there any way you could post those tenets which Al Quaida uses to promote violence?
Don Levit

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Don,
Actually, the original arguments of bin Laden were not from tenets in particular, and many were straightforwardly political. So, he was upset about the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia, home of the "Holy Cities" of Islam, although there is nothing in the Qur'an or Hadith about such a matter. Other matters were directed at least as much at the Saudi royal family as at the US, and very little of it actually had to do with Islam, per se, more evidence of how little his movement really has to do with it, properly speaking.

It should be kept in mind that bin Laden is one of the youngest sons of Muhammed bin Laden, a Yemeni, who rebuilt the Grand Mosque in Mecca and became wealthy from construction projects. Osama's older brothers continue to run that empire, but they were from a Saudi mother, whereas his is a Syrian. Because of his links to his dad, Prince Turki bin Faisal bin Abdulazia al Sa'ud, who was then head of Saudi intelligence, selected him about 30 years ago to provide assistance to the anti-Soviet mujaheddin. He did so, which is a major reason why he knew all the caves along the Afghan-Pakistani border when he went back there. Life is such an ironic gas.

Don Levit said...

Rosser jb:
You seem to know a lot about Islam.
I belong to a Unitarian Universalist congregation.
Could I contact you by E-mail to see if you may have any material for an adult discussion at my church?
Don Levit

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Don,
I am at rosserjb@jmu.edu. But, I am not sure I have readily available materials for you that would be easily usable for your congregation. I have written on Islamic economics in some papers, as well as in the comparative economics textbook my wife and I coauthored (Comparative Economics in a Transforming World Economy, 2nd edition, 2004, MIT Press), and I have spent serious time in the Middle East. So, I know more than is in anything that I have written, and much of what I know comes from long and involved and somewhat scattered sources, some of them personal.