Are We at War with Islam?
by Randall Price
World of the Bible News & Views
Nov. / Dec. 2002 Newsletter Excerpt
With this New Year comes the continuing war in the Middle East - a war which this year came to America and will occupy the West for many new years to come. While most of us begin this New Year with our normal routine, we do so with the realization that our world has changed and our future is being determined by foreign affairs. Many also enter this New Year with old questions concerning the nature of this unprecedented war on terrorism. When we examine global terrorism we discover that one half of all terrorist organizations in the world are united by the religion of Islam. The U.S. war on terrorism is a war with radical Islamic organizations such as Al-Qaeda, which is resident in 60 countries, and the U.S. has declared war against any state or country that harbours terrorism, which will largely be Islamic states (like Afghanistan). This course of action has put the U.S. in a direct confrontation with Islam and has provoked the question "Is the U.S. at war with Islam? The White House has repeatedly denied this stating that its new war is not an attack on any religion, race, or country. And although the "enemy" has been called a "global menace," it has not been identified with any global entity but simply dubbed the "war on terrorism." However, if we look at a definition of "terrorism" we can see why such identification is unclear. "Terrorism" is "the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons." Based on this definition it is apparent that terrorism is a tactic used by an enemy and not the enemy itself. Then, who or what is the enemy? The President has stated that the enemy is "evil." But, "does this "evil" have a name?
In late November the reverend Franklin Graham (who had given the address at the National Prayer Service in Washington D.C.) said: "Islam as a whole is evil." This has been born out during the past two decades as Islamic terrorists have attacked and murdered thousands of people, and bombed and destroyed buildings, planes, and vehicles. Their terrorism has literally covered the globe: Kenya, Algeria, Indonesia, Tanzania, Egypt, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, France, South America, and America. For this reason (and the evidence from the September 11 attack), the first terrorists targeted by the U.S. were Muslims.
Therefore, despite the U.S. administration's desire to separate the religion of Islam from the tactic of terrorism, the religion of Islam is the common denominator for all of the groups with which we are at war. While terrorism can be separated from Islam, there is a question as to whether Islam can be separated from terrorism. The name synonymous with terrorism thus far has been Osama bin Laden, the Muslim warlord who heads the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda and who supported the former Taliban government in Afghanistan. Even though the U.S. government denies that it is at war with Islam, Osama bin Laden has stated that Islam is at war with America and that he believes religion is essence of the conflict. In his Al-Jazeera television message, broadcast internationally by the media, he declared: "They came out to fight Islam with the name of fighting terrorism Ö I say these events have split the whole world into two camps: the camp of belief [Muslims] and disbelief [non-Muslims]." In like manner an Islamic website which boasted it was the "ears, the eyes, and the voice of Muslims" posted on its homepage the words: "World War III - America against Islam!" Furthermore, the Islamic terrorists who attacked the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon proclaimed their actions as a Jihad (holy war) against America. Therefore, whether or not America and the West interpret this war as one with Islam, the radical element in Islam has avowed it is such.
Islam exists today as a religion comprised of the major orthodox divisions of Sunni and Shi'ite, although scores of other minor sects also exist. Muslims that employ terrorism have been called "Fundamentalist," "Militant," "Fanatical," "Extreme" and "Radical". All of these titles describe followers of Islam who operate on the basis of the Islamic tenet of Jihad. Moderate Muslims have attempted to downplay the number of Jihadi Muslims by stating that they comprise only 1% of all Muslims worldwide. Such a statistic (which cannot be supported by fact), is hardly comforting, since it amounts to 18 million terrorists - enough to take over any country, especially with nuclear and biochemical weapons at their disposal! The teachings of the Islamic holy books, the Qur'an and Hadith, are absolute and authoritative and contain commands for external Jihad in its two forms of offensive and defensive military action. Offensive Jihad is the means commanded by Muhammad to spread the religion of Islam through the conquest of non-Muslim lands). Defensive Jihad must be employed to take back any Muslim land that has been conquered by non-Muslims (such as Israel. This basic understanding refutes the claim being made today that that the terrorists' religion is not that of Islam, that the radicalís religion is a perversion of Islam, and that the terrorists are vengeful or politically motivated, while the religion of Islam is peaceful and loving. Throughout the history of Islam, from its emergence in the Arabian Peninsula to its assault of the Iberian Peninsula, the religion has been spread by conquest from the Fertile Crescent to Western Europe. Most of these conquests were by the sword, but other forms of conquest were also exercised. In some cases Islam simply stepped into the political vacuum created by the weakening of other empires (such as the Byzantine Empire) and in other cases (such as Serbia) the higher birthrate of Muslims altered the demographics and permitted Islam to dominate. Historically, wherever Islam has come overtaken a culture it has been almost impossible to reverse its dominance, and although Muslims were expelled from Western Europe but it took half a millennium to do so.
The belief system of radical Islam combines the Islamic call to external Jihad with the virtues of martyrdom, exegeting Qur'anic texts to justify terrorism and suicide bombing with the reward of eternal hedonism. Radical Muslims believe they are Mujahideen ("holy warriors [of Allah]"). They believe they must establish a purely Islamic state, the Khalifah, a fusion of religion and state which rigidly conforms to the laws (Shari'ah) set down by Prophet Muhammad. The radical Muslim believes that the solution for the problem of the Ummah (the international Muslim community) is through the establishment of a righteous Khalifah (a single state fusing together religion and politics governed by Islamic law) that will unite all Islamic lands and peoples and subjugate the rest of the world (non-Muslims) to Allah. Radical Islam believes that the U.S., as the leader of the West, is an enemy of the Muslim world. As one rabbi put it: "Most Americans don't realize that what the Moslem fundamentalists think is that Americans are the evil demented monsters and the terrorists are holy heroic martyrs who are making the world safe for mankind under the sanctity of Islam." The West is depicted as "the Great Satan" who wants to conquer true believers (Muslims) as did the Crusaders of old and conform the world to infidel idolatry. The Islamic idea of Dar Islam binds all Muslims in a solidarity that constitutes any attack on a Muslim country (such as Afghanistan) as an attack on the whole of the Muslim world. Radical Muslims capitalize on this religious solidarity while under the guise of social justice tell crowds of economically repressed Muslims that U.S. colonialism and imperialism is responsible for their poverty. Even the aid given by the U.S. to Third World Muslim countries is said by the radicals to be a "deception" to lure the weak away from Islam. Thus, as we have witnessed in the case of Afghanistan, the $177 million the U.S. gives to this poor country is used by the radicals to teach its people to hate the hand that feeds them. However, while the U.S. is building its coalition of Islamic countries it has been careful to state that attacks on terrorism are not attacks on Islam and that it intends no attacks on Arab states.
However, the U.S. is quite aware that Iraq is also to blame for the attacks of September 11 and is a threat in the area of bioterrorism for both the U.S. and Israel and will surely has been targeted for attack. However, despite the plans for Iraq, unless the U.S. is able to get Israel to make progress toward peace with the Palestinians, as the Arab states demand, the delicate coalition will fall apart. Radical Muslims believe that the U.S. is allied with Israel against Islam so that it can take over the world and establish a Jewish-Christian kingdom. They continually refer to the U.S. as "Zionist-controlled America." The presence of the Jewish State of Israel in the midst of the Islamic empire and on land formerly ruled by Muslims is the greatest offense to Islam. America's support of Israel has linked the two together in Muslim thinking and preaching respectively as "The Great Satan" and "The Little Satan."
Despite the religious motivation of radical Muslims in the war, the U.S. administration maintains its official position that its war has nothing to do with religion, and is not a war with Islam. If America viewed itself as a "Christian" (rather than secular) country, it might interpret an attack by another religion, for religious reasons, as a religious war. This is the way Islam's aggression is interpreted in other countries. For example, even as the terrorists were attacking the U.S., radical Muslims in northern Nigeria were massacring Christians in the city of Jos after the Nigerian government imposed Islamic law on its majority Christian population. The violence included three days of mass murders and the burning of churches. Muslims are likewise engaging in a holy war against other religions, from Coptic Christians in Egypt and East Timor, Catholics in the southern Philippines, to Hindus in Kashmir and Bahais in Iran. For the past 18 years an external Jihad has been demonstrated in Sudan for the entire world to see. The Sudanese government in the north imposed a genocidal policy of Islamization and Arabization upon the African people of the south who are forced to convert to Islam or suffer massacres, multilations, gang rapes, bombing, pillaging, blockade of humanitarian aid, and slavery on captured Dinkas. For this reason The Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights, an organization supporting those persecuted by militant Islam, states that 'radical Islamism is a world ideology, fielding a world terror-army, which oppresses millions with a racist ideology' that deems non-Muslims less than fully human."
(More information on Islam and its conflict with Israel and America can be found in Dr. Price's new book "Unholy War".)