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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Jihad Seminar of Major Nidal M. Hasan

The contents of a two-year old seminar presented by Major Nidal M. Hasan, the medico believed responsible for the Fort Hood massacre, were apparently recorded in the form of powerpoint slides.

These slides are in one sense nothing new.  They review the basics of Islam: the pillars and core beliefs,  the Koran, abrogation ('later verses abrogate former ie: peaceful verses no longer apply' – slide 35), the rewards for believers in paradise and punishments of hell for those who do not submit to Allah's will, defensive and agressive jihad.  However, in addition, Major Hasan  explains the implications of this theological material for the lived situation of Muslims in the US armed forces.  He is saying  that Muslims can experience problems in  the  military for two reasons.

One reason is the prohibition against Muslims killing other Muslims ('whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell' – slide 12).

The other is the requirement that Muslims wage war against non-believers in both defensive jihad (slides 37-41) and aggressive jihad (slides 42-48).  This command, he is saying, can be expected to be followed by devout, God-fearing Muslims ('Allah expects full loyalty' – slide 49), especially if they are persuaded that in so-doing they would be 'fighting against the injustices of the "infidels,"' (slide 48). His point is that if US Muslim soldiers can be persuaded that fighting against fellow-Muslims is an injustice, this could trigger a deadly attack against fellow US soldiers instead, e.g. by means of 'suicide bombing, etc' ('We love death more than you love life!' – slide 48).

The Major was explaining that when Muslims in the military are ordered to fight against other Muslims (such as in Iraq or Afghanistan) this can trigger their religious convictions to such effect that they will seek to be discharged from their combat duties.  Otherwise they could feel compelled to attempt to kill fellow US soldiers in a personal jihad.  Major Hasan refers to this possibility as 'adverse events'. He cites the case of convert to Islam and US soldier Hasan Akbar (slide 13), who killed two US officers in a grenade attack during the Gulf War, and had written prior to the attack: 'I may not have killed any Muslims, but being in the Army is the same thing. I may have to make a choice very soon on who to kill.'

Major Hasan was right to present this material in the context of psychiatric care of soldiers.  It is tragic that his superiors apparently did not take his message seriously. Those responsible for the psychological well-being of US soldiers in the armed forces should indeed be made aware that asking Muslims to fight against and kill other Muslims can lead to intense theological pressure upon them which drives them toward two outcomes, either that they could seek to avoid active combat duties, or else they could be incited to attack fellow soliders in the US military.  This will happen, Hasan argues, in accordance with deeply held religious beliefs about the Koran, abrogation, jihad, paradise, hell and the will of Allah.

I admire the honesty of Major Hasan's attempt to accurately delineate a serious issue for the US military.  In the light of subsequent events, his presentation could also be regarded as a cry for help.  In the face of such candour and seeming foresight it would seem to be sterile and callously irresponsible  to hide behind the mantra that no genuine religion endorses violence. 

In the face of the evidence of Major Hasan's powerpoint slides, denial is bankrupt.  It cannot offer security to US military personnel, and it will put US Muslim soldiers under continued unreasonable intense pressure.

What the US military has to accept is that some Muslims in the armed forces could be poor soldiers in wars against Muslims.  In a sense what Major Hasan was arguing was that Muslim soldiers can only be relied upon to kill non-Muslims.

Underlying this world view, fed by the streams of centuries of Islamic theology, is the distinction that a Muslim's blood is sacrosanct, but an infidel's blood is not.

The US military is between a rock and a hard place.  It could  a) choose to discriminate and refuse to recruit  Muslims, b) not use Muslims against Muslim enemies, or  c) obtain a rock-solid fatwa declaring that the Muslim enemies of the US are not true Muslims at all, so they can lawfully be killed.

Will clear-thinking prevail? Not likely.  It is a tragic irony that Major Hasan may well have acted in accordance with his own training material.  Sadly the US armed services did not heed his message two years ago.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Abduction and Islamization of Christian Women in Egypt

This Report Comes from Christian Solidarity International. 
The Abduction and Islamization of Christian Women in Egypt

A Report: The Disappearance, Forced Conversions and Forced Marriages of Christian Women in Egypt

Click Here to View and Download Full Report      

A pioneering new report released by Christian Solidarity International and The Coptic Foundation for Human Rights details the abduction, rape, forced marriage and forced islamization of Coptic women and girls in Egypt.

Despite their significant numbers in Egypt (8-12%), the Christian community, known as the Copts, is frequently subject to widespread marginalization from society and even violent forms of abuse. According to the Egyptian Constitution, Islam is the “religion of the state” and its “principle source of legislation”.

While the hardship of minority communities in the Middle East is well documented, the abuse detailed in this report reveals a disturbing union of religious oppression, gender-based sexual and physical violence and forced marriage that corresponds with international standards of human trafficking. There have been fifty such cases in the previous year in one Egyptian parish alone.

Among the dozens of cases documented in the report:

Seventeen year old R. received a call, the polite young man introduced himself as Amir and said that he was an admirer of hers. He wanted to meet her in a church. She was drugged, kidnapped, and when she woke up,“Amir” told her that he was in reality Wali … She was given the name Fatima, beaten every day, forced to wear a black veil, and marry a man named Mahmoud whom she had never met. When she refused to have sex with Mahmoud, his family held her down while he raped her. She began bleeding profusely. She is unable to have children as a result of the rape.

The tactic complicity of the Egyptian Government is apparent in its systematic lack of investigations and prosecutions, suspension of programs designed for protection, and virtual absence of social services for survivors of this abuse.

Speaking in Cairo in June, President Obama called on the Arab world to defend the fundamental human rights of women and religious minorities in the Middle East. Although the US Government and Pope Shenouda III, the Patriarch of the Coptic Church, have protested this specific phenomenon, there has been negligible action on Capitol Hill or by the international human rights field in response.

This report demonstrates consistent patterns used by perpetrators, their victims, government and law enforcement, and members of Egypt’s faith communities. Also valuable, the report concludes with a set of recommendations for the international community, the Government of Egypt, the Coptic community in Egypt and the Christian community abroad.

American anti-trafficking specialist Michele Clark and Egyptian women’s rights activist Nadia Ghaly conducted research for the report in Egypt and published their findings in Washington, D.C.

Mark's Comment:

The phenomenon of abduction of non-Muslim women is reported in many sources, present and past, from all over the Muslim world.  It is connected to the teachings of Islam, as discussed in my new book The Third Choice.  Sadly a hadith appears to support the use of deceit in arranging marriage with a young woman, because she can be considered to have given consent by "her silence":

Narrated 'Aisha: Allah's Apostle said, "It is essential to have the consent of a virgin (for the marriage). I said, "A virgin feels shy." The Prophet; said, "Her silence means her consent." Some people said, "If a man falls in love with an orphan slave girl or a virgin and she refuses (him) and then he makes a trick by bringing two false witnesses to testify that he has married her, and then she attains the age of puberty and agrees to marry him and the judge accepts the false witness and the husband knows that the witnesses were false ones, he may consummate his marriage."  (Bukhari: Volume 9, Book 86, Number 101)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Announcing the Third Choice


The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom, by Mark Durie, published by Deror Books.

Foreword by Bat Ye'or.

Endorsements of The Third Choice

Expected release date:  February 15, 2010

In the classical Islamic ideology of conquest, the first choice offered to non-Muslims was conversion to Islam; the second choice was the sword; and the third was surrender. Mark Durie’s innovative book exposes the history and ideology of surrender - the ‘third choice’ - which determined the lived reality of dhimmis (non-Muslims) under Muslim rule. Durie bases his analysis of the dhimmi condition in the teachings of Islam and the life of Muhammad. His ground-breaking analyses show how the ideology of the terms of surrender – known as a dhimma pact – determined life for non-Muslims under Islamic dominance.  The worldview of dhimmitude, Durie argues, offers indispensable keys for understanding current trends in global politics, including the widening impact of sharia revival, deterioration of human rights for non-Muslims in Islamic societies, jihad terrorism, recurring patterns of Western appeasement, and the often fraught relationship between migrant Muslim communities in the West and their host societies.

About the Author
Dr Mark Durie is a theologian, human rights activist and pastor of an Anglican church. He has published many articles and books on the language and culture of the Acehnese, Christian-Muslim relations and religious freedom. A graduate of the Australian National University and the Australian College of Theology, Mark Durie has held visiting appointments at the University of Leiden, MIT, UCLA and Stanford, and was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1992.

About the Cover

The Third Choice will be widely available from internet bookstores throughout the world. 
It will be distributed internationally by Ingram Books. 
RRP US$24.