Violence and Terror: Fundamental to All Islam


What drives a young man to sacrifice his life in order to take others with him? How do you explain a mindset where this happens routinely?

A Palestinian home video has recently received wide television coverage throughout the Western world:

The woman is a typical Palestinian Muslim, dressed in black from head to foot, but with exposed face. She is middle age, perhaps in her forties, short, a bit on the plump side - very motherly. Her name is Miriam Farhat. Nineteen-year-old Mohamed Gasa walks at her side. Tall and handsome, he is the fifth of ten children in Miriam's brood. She hugs and kisses him - and sends him on his way. Several hours later, Mohamed blows himself up along with five Israeli teenagers. Miriam's only comment is that she wishes she had a hundred more, so she could help kill all the Jews in Palestine.

Explain it if you can: This is a mother; the boy she sends off is the fruit of her womb. A mother's instinct is powerful - the drive is one of the strongest of human emotions. We all have heard stories of a mother sacrificing herself for her child - and these stories are not limited to our country or our culture. They come from the world over - throughout history.

What overcame this mother's basic instinct? What could possibly usurp a mother's most fundamental drive, an instinct stronger than self-preservation, stronger than life itself?

The short answer is: Religion.

But what kind of a religion can make this happen? What kind of radical, extreme, over-the-edge religious faith can inspire a mother to sacrifice not only one son, but be willing to offer all her sons?

Judaism reveres life. While no one doubts that Israeli fighters have taken a lot of life in the past months, it is equally clear to most observers that Israeli sorties have been in response to blind terrorist killings by Palestinians. The key word is: Response. Israel is fighting a defensive war, where even preemptive strikes are ultimately defensive.

Christianity "turns the other cheek" to violence. Christian philosophy is fundamentally non-violent. Yes, Christianity has a violent past. But the operative word is: past. Modern Christianity uses violence as a last resort, when everything else has failed.

Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Ba'hai and many other world religions all eschew violence.

All, that is, except Islam. That's right, Islam - not radical Islam - just plain, simple, generic, vanilla-flavored Islam.

American based Mullahs and Imams - Islamic clerics - have been preaching a mellow version of Islam ever since 9/11. Jihad, they tell us and their faithful, is an internal struggle, that it has nothing to do with real killing and - heaven forbid - real war.

While it is true that the Qur'an teaches that it is evil to do violence to innocent people, the Qur'an also contains a general call to arms against Infidels. Unlike any other world religion, Islam encourages the Jihad - the Holy War. Only Islamic clerics can call the faithful to arms in defense of the faith. Jewish rabbis cannot do this, Catholic priests and Protestant ministers cannot do this, Buddhist monks cannot do this, nor Hindu holy men, nor any of the others. Only in Islam can this happen.

But this is all medieval stuff, right? Like the Christian Crusaders 1,200 years ago; modern Islam is modern, right? Like Christianity?

Is it?

Islam is based on two writings, the Qur'an, revealed by Allah to Mohammad during the 7th century, and the Sunnah, which records the Prophet's life. Taken together, the Qur'an and Sunnah form the basis for Islamic jurisprudence, very much like our Constitution forms the basis for our secular laws.

The Shari'ah, which is analogous to codified law in Western society, consists of the Qur'an, Sunnah, and a constantly evolving collection of Fatwas or rulings that deal with every aspect of Islamic life from ideology to practical daily matters. Throughout Islamic history, Imams and Mullahs have issued Fatwas, which have the force of law among Muslims, similar to a ruling by a Western court. As in the West, these rulings can be confirmed or overturned by a higher authority, by issuing a Fiqh.

This is the gist of why the Osama bin Laden tape that was released to the world on Dec. 21 is so important. The tape contained several significant Fatwas, and made reference to several well-established Fiqhs, in effect linking them to the Fatwas. If unchallenged by higher Islamic authority, these Fatwas become part of Islamic law, and must be observed by all Muslims.

And this is also why mothers like Miriam Farhat so willingly sacrifice their sons. They have been told with absolute authority that by taking this action, a suicide bomber is guaranteed an exalted position in Paradise - no ifs, ands, or buts. A Fatwa not only unchallenged by a Fiqh, but reinforced by one is better than money in the bank.

Andrea Pia Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her children in a bathtub last summer in order to save their souls, is obviously insane by any Western standard. She is a tragic exception to the rule of life and reason that generally prevails in Western Society.

Miriam Farhat did virtually the same thing, although with more tragic consequences, since five uninvolved youngsters were also killed. The big difference, however, is that Miriam is completely sane, in full possession of her faculties. She is but one of thousands upon thousands (perhaps even millions) of mothers throughout a Muslim world that consists of 1.2 billion followers.

That is five times the total population of the United States, and - with a few small exceptions, mostly here in the United States - all unquestionably accept Shari'ah Law as absolute and immutable.

Already in mosques across the Islamic sphere of influence, literally thousands of Mullahs and Imams are exhorting to Jihad, confirming bin Laden's Fatwa that Sept. 11 was ordered by Allah (see http://www.sftt.org/dw12262001.html - 3). Moderate Islamic clerics in America are preaching that Jihad takes place inside the heart and soul of a Muslim - a basic struggle between good and evil - but this message pales in the face of Islam's universal call to arms to approximately 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide.

Unless the Imams and Mullahs of worldwide Islam unite to discredit violence in Islam, Medieval Islam - the Islam of bin Laden and the Prophet himself - will prevail, and the world will be headed towards a disastrous world-encompassing Jihad for which there can be only one possible outcome: the total destruction of Islam and Islamic culture and society everywhere.