Archive for AlQaeda

The Young Turks: How Drone Strikes Help AlQaeda

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on June 3, 2012 by loonwatch

Why_do_they_hate_us_Muslims

The drone strikes are killing civilians and causing anger and a thirst for vengeance. This has been quite obvious to anyone who has cared to pay attention.

We’ve been reporting on this for quite some time now, but with the recent reports on how the Obama administration fudge’s the facts about civilian deaths there is renewed discussion on the effectiveness of the drone attacks:

How drone strikes help AlQaeda:

Mohammed Merah: Al-Qaeda Linked Terrorist is Chief Suspect Behind French Murders

Posted in Feature, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2012 by loonwatch

French_Shooting

The chief suspect in the murders of three French soldiers (2 North Africans, 1 Caribbean), and four Jews, including three children, is a 23 year old man named Mohammed Merah we are being told. The French interior minister, Claude Gueant alleges that the motive behind the attack was to,

“take revenge for Palestinian children” killed in the Middle East, and [he] was angry at the French military for its operations abroad.

The explanation of a motive will give little comfort to the bereaved families. How can Merah purport to be acting in the cause of Palestine when he TARGETED innocents? What demented, twisting acrobatics enabled him to let go of the innate morals within his humanity and kill children? Did he not realize he was betraying Islam, its core principles and the causes he claimed to be fighting for when he went on this killing spree?

The sort of callousness and cold precision with which he operated reveals the mind of a sickening sociopath.

Islamophobes in their haste had pinned their hopes on this murderer being a Muslim, so that they could once again smear and condemn Islam and Muslims. They attempt to minimize and cover for the role that occupation, war, invasion and murder plays in producing anger and…terrorists.

The double standards from them are expected, when an Anders Behring Breivik exterminates 60+ children he is, according to them, a “lone gunman,” a “nutter.” No discussion about the ideology, the anti-Muslim Islamophobic extremism that inspired Breivik’s terrorist Crusade, and which they propagate daily, is mentioned. When a US soldier goes on a rampage and eliminates 16+ civilians as they sleep, including 9 children we do not even learn their names and the soldier is treated with sympathy in the media and PRAISE amongst the Muslim haters.

If the allegations against Mohammed Merah are true, and they likely are, he should face the full brunt of the law for his crimes, but lets hope that the anti-Muslims do not attempt to use these horrific incidents to shift the focus from the true enemy, radical violent extremism whether Islamist (AlQaeda) or Radical Right (Anders Breivik, EDL, etc.). Life in Europe and particularly France, which is already seeing a campaign feeding off of right-wing populism and anti-Muslim rhetoric, will most likely get more difficult now.

What will be missing from all this is the fact that as long as wars of occupation, daily bombing and hate-mongering persist against Muslim majority nations you can rest assured that you will create more Mohammed Merah’s.

*Update I: If it’s not abundantly clear from the above, let me say it, Merah and the AlQaedah ideology is responsible for this crime, no one else, he stands completely condemned by Loonwatch as he does by nearly every honest and humane person. There is no apology above or blame shifting, just stating the facts. Merah himself claims to be acting out in revenge due to the killing of Palestinians and Afghans, I didn’t say this, the French Interior Minister did. Many seem to think we can’t even discuss the motives of these attacks?

Update II (via B-Boy Blue): Having tracked live updates on various online news outlets all day the contraditory information being released is painting a confusing picture of Merah’s background & history.

It was stated with some authority that he has been to Afghanistan & Pakistan to fight for the Mujehadeen. It was claimed that he’d actually been arrested, jailed & then escaped from prison in a Taliban jailbreak. Here are some excerpts:

“Reuters report that the suspect had been serving a three year sentence when he escaped from jail, quoting the director of Kandahar prison.”

“According to Reuters news agency, the head of Kandahar prison in Afghanistan, says the suspect Mohammed Merah, escaped from the prison in a mass Taliban jailbreak.”

“Details of the suspect’s time in Afghanistan are still sketchy, but Le Monde is reporting that he went twice to Pakistan, once in 2010 and again 2011, to speak with groups of fighters based in the tribal regions near the border with Afghanistan. The paper claims that he trained in the camps there alongside the Pakistani Taliban, foreign jihadis and members of the Haqqani network — and that he even crossed the border into Afghanistan as part of groups sent to fight Nato troops.

It says he is understood to have stopped off in Waziristan before heading to Kandahar and Zabul in the south of Afghanistan. Interestingly, it also says that he was stopped by police on the outskirts of Kandahar city. Although he was not arrested, his presence in the region as a foreign national was unusual enough for the police to report him to the Afghan intelligence services, who reportedly then passed on the information to western intelligence services.”

Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the Kandahar provincial government, said:

I can’t confirm it was the same person but there was someone in Kandahar prison with the name Mohammed Merah, who was famous as ‘the French guy’. His father and grandfather had Afghan names, and he could pass as an Afghan. His father’s name was Mohammad Seddiq, grandfather was Mohammad Shah.

“His crime was that he was captured laying IEDs, and he was sentenced to three years in jail, but only served five months of it when the prison break happened and he escaped.

“We don’t know which part of Kandahar province he was caught in.”
Faisal added that he didn’t know how long Merah had been in Afghanistan or how long he stayed after prison break.

Lt Col Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for the Nato-led coalition, said he was aware of reports that Merah had been held in an Afghan prison, but refered all questions to Afghan officials.”

This is all extremely detailed & seemingly conclusive. If it wasn’t for the fact the official twitter account of the Kandahar Governor’s Media office refuted the claim that he had been imprisoned there.

https://twitter.com/#!/KandaharMediaOf

@KandaharMediaOf
Security Forces in Kandahar have never detained a French citizen named Mohammad Merah.

@KandaharMediaOf
@SkyNewsBreak He wasn’t the 1 responsible for the school shooting, but another 1 responsible for bomb blasts in Kandahar. 2 separate cases.

@KandaharMediaOf
@MaryFitzgerldIT Toulouse gunman wasn’t arrested in Kandahar, he is not the one that escaped from Kandahar prison, perhaps names r the same.

It appears that a man with the same name was but not a French national. This fact calls into question many of the previous assertions & casts doubt on much of the official narrative up until this point.

Some other pertinent quotes to consider.

“As for political or religious beliefs, he was very discreet. He never said anything that might lead one to believe he had these views.”

“He didn’t have a dad. This has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, or with us, and I really hope that all the young people of our type of neighbourhood won’t be sullied by this.”

“He wasn’t into having fun, he became harder. He didn’t really go to the mosque, he seemed more likely to meet people in obscure flats.”

“The North African community is doubly hit, first by the grief for the victims and what happened, and also that we’re from the Magreb and people will be pointing fingers at us. I appeal to the French, don’t mix up the whole community with what has happened. Never never has Islam said to kill people.”

A group of four 24-year-old men who said they were friends of Merah tried to go to his apartment block on Wednesday to persuade him to surrender but were stopped at a police roadblock.

“All told a Reuters reporter he had never talked to them about religion and they had no idea he had been to Afghanistan.”

“He never spoke about Islam but he did pray. But we all pray five times a day. There’s nothing strange about that.”

Another friend of Moroccan origin said Merah had tried to enlist in the French army but had been rejected. He said he had seen Merah in a city centre nightclub just last week.

Merah did not drink “but I don’t think he is any more religious than I am. I think he has just lost the plot,” Danny Dem said.

A third contemporary, who declined to give his name, said he went to primary school with Merah and they had remained friends.

“He likes football and motor-bikes like any other guy his age,” said the man, dressed in a blue French national soccer shirt. “I didn’t even know he prayed.”

The head of the French Muslim Council, Mohammed Moussaoui, says: “These acts are in total contradiction with the foundations of this religion”. In remarks quoted by AFP he added: “France’s Muslims are offended by this claim of belonging to this religion.”

A little more background via AFP on the suspected gunman’s attempts to join the French military. The news agency reports that Merah “twice tried and failed to join the French army”.

It quotes the country’s defence ministry saying that Merah first tried to enlist at the age of 19 in the northern city of Lille in January 2008.

The French prosecutor, Francois Molins, has been giving more information on Merah. He told a press conference the suspect in the shooting attacks had been to Afghanistan twice and trained in Pakistan’s Waziristan, a militant stronghold. He said Merah’s brother had been implicated in a network that sent militant fighters to Iraq.

The French interior minister, Claude Gueant, said Merah had told police he belonged to al-Qaida and wanted to take revenge for the deaths of Palestinian children. Gueant said Merah was also angry against French military intervention overseas.

“The mystery here is that he was found to have quite a good arsenal of weapons, war weapons, and given that he was under surveillance it’s not clear how this could have escaped the attention of the authorities.” – Pierre Haski

Was he ever in Afghanistan or Pakistan? If not, why the claims of being under surveillance since returning? Who’s lying? The Government official or Kandahar Media Dept? With his Mother & siblings in precautionary custody surely they can establish his whereabouts during this period.

He has a history of petty theft & thuggery and no overt signs of religious or political militancy. Between 2007 and 2012 he attempted to join the French army twice & visited Pakistan & Afghanistan twice. He supposedly served 5 months in a Kandahar jail yet found his way back to France and was allowed to settle back into society whilst stockpiling weapons under surveillance. Despite being under suspicion for the murder of the soldiers, he was able to carry out the atrocity at the Jewish school.

As I write the siege is still in progress. If Merah doesn’t survive we’ll probably never find out exactly what is fact or fiction, which will no doubt fuel conspiracy talk. The web is already awash with speculation about false flag operations, inside jobs etc allowing Sarkozy to play the hero running up to the election.

What is certain, is that the only people who will suffer due to the actions of Merah and any repercussions are more innocents.

My thoughts are with the victims and their families.

President Obama: Judge, Jury and Executioner for Anwar al-Awlaki

Posted in Feature, Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2011 by loonwatch

The title may offend some, but here at Loonwatch we do not believe in any sacred cows. By now we have all heard reports about the killing of accused terrorist and mastermind behind the “underwear bomber” and “Fort Hood shootings,” US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. The fact that he was on a “hit list” that included other US citizens was reported back in January:

It was first reported in January of last year that the Obama administration had compiled a hit list of American citizens whom the President had ordered assassinated without any due process, and one of those Americans was Anwar al-Awlaki.

After several unsuccessful attempts by the US government Anwar al-Awlaki is finally dead. The indefatigable Glenn Greenwald spells out the tendentious nature of the hunt for Awlaki and all the resultant shadiness:

No effort was made to indict him for any crimes (despite a report last October that the Obama administration was “considering” indicting him).  Despite substantial doubt among Yemen experts about whether he even has any operational role in Al Qaeda, no evidence (as opposed to unverified government accusations) was presented of his guilt.  When Awlaki’s father sought a court order barring Obama from killing his son, the DOJ argued, among other things, that such decisions were “state secrets” and thus beyond the scrutiny of the courts.  He was simply ordered killed by the President: his judge, jury and executioner.  When Awlaki’s inclusion on President Obama’s hit list was confirmed, The New York Times noted that “it is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing.”

Awlaki once was a marginal figure, on the run in the mountains of Yemen, his operational role in AlQaeda was nill, now he has been transformed into a martyr with a little help from our brutal friend, the President of Yemen:

After several unsuccessful efforts to assassinate its own citizen, the U.S. succeeded today (and it was the U.S.).  It almost certainly was able to find and kill Awlaki with the help of its long-time close friend President Saleh, who took a little time off from murdering his own citizens to help the U.S. murder its.  The U.S. thus transformed someone who was, at best, a marginal figure into a martyr, and again showed its true face to the world.  The government and media search for The Next bin Laden has undoubtedly already commenced.

The implications for our civil liberties and checks and balances on the power of the Executive are clear:

What’s most striking about this is not that the U.S. Government has seized and exercised exactly the power the Fifth Amendment was designed to bar (“No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law”), and did so in a way that almost certainly violates core First Amendment protections (questions that will now never be decided in a court of law). What’s most amazing is that its citizens will not merely refrain from objecting, but will stand and cheer the U.S. Government’s new power to assassinate their fellow citizens, far from any battlefield, literally without a shred of due process from the U.S. Government.  Many will celebrate the strong, decisive, Tough President’s ability to eradicate the life of Anwar al-Awlaki — including many who just so righteously condemned those Republican audience members as so terribly barbaric and crass for cheering Governor Perry’s execution of scores of serial murderers and rapists — criminals who were at least given a trial and appeals and the other trappings of due process before being killed.

From an authoritarian perspective, that’s the genius of America’s political culture.  It not only finds way to obliterate the most basic individual liberties designed to safeguard citizens from consummate abuses of power (such as extinguishing the lives of citizens without due process).  It actually gets its citizens to stand up and clap and even celebrate the destruction of those safeguards.

Greenwald’s evaluation is dark because of the uncomfortable truth he relates: we are cheering the destruction of the very liberties that safeguard us from the abuses of power.

This is all being done under the guise of defending our “freedom” and “security.” In reality, as terror expert Professor Charles Kurzman points out, very few Muslims were interested in Awlaki’s message:

Given that Awlaki’s messages is sitting on the internet, easily accessible to millions of English speaking Muslims, it’s very interesting how few have taken him up on his demand that Muslims join the revolutionary movement.

It is time that US citizens stand up for their rights and say we will not allow the government to take the life of our citizens without due process. We are not going to buy the line that our civil liberties and freedoms must be bargained in the interest of “security,” especially from a threat that is overblown in the first place.

9/11: A Day of Remembrance

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2011 by loonwatch

10 years have passed since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Let this day be one of remembrance for the victims, their families and loved ones. Let it not be a day used as political football to divide, fear-monger and justify war and aggression.

Osama Bin Laden Killed

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2011 by loonwatch

The USA got Osama!

Today people are celebrating but there will be a tomorrow to think about. Are we going to scale back our wars, drone attacks and support for occupations; issues which breed hundreds of Osama’s or will we continue to ignore them?

Osama bin Laden killed in Pakistan

(AlJazeera)

US president Barack Obama said bin Laden, the most-wanted fugitive on the US list, has been killed on Sunday in a US operation in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, about 150km north of Islamabad.

“Tonight, I can report to the people of the United States and the world, the United States had carried an operation that has killed Osama Bin Laden, a terrorist responsible for killing thousands of innocent people,” Obama said in a statement.

“Today, at my direction, the United States carried out that operation… they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

“The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date against al-Qaeda.

“We must also reaffirm that United states is not and will never be at war against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader, in fact, he slaughtered many Muslims,” Obama said.

US celebrations

Barack Obama called bin Laden’s death the ‘most significant achievement’ against al-Qaeda [EPA]

As the news of bin Laden’s death spread, crowds gathered outside the White House in Washington DC to celebrate.

Former US president George Bush called his death a “momentous achievement”.

“The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done,” Bush said in a statement.

According to Al Jazeeera’s Rosalind Jordan in Washington, the operation had been in the making for the last nine or 10 months.

“The fact that it happened inside Pakistan, there have been suggestions that Pakistani intelligence may have been protecting them,” she said.

Patty Culhane, another Al Jazeera correspondent, said the US authorities got intelligence last September and were able to track bin Laden down through his couriers. They followed them to his compound which is reported to be worth over a million dollars.

Reporting from Pakistan, Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder said the development had caught a lot of people by surprise .

“He was considered by many as a hero, but not to the extent that people would come out on the streets. The reaction so far not likely to be strong on the streets, perhaps a protest here or there by the religious parties,” he said.

‘Symbolic victory’

Qais Azimy, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Kabul, said Afghan officials described bin Laden’s killing as a “symbolic victory”, since he was no longer directly connected to the group’s field operations.

“This organisation (Al Qaeda) is more than Bin Laden, it may be symbolised by Bin Laden, but it definitely is more than Bin Laden”

Mark Kimmit, US military analyst

Mark Kimmit, a US military analyst, said bin Laden’s death “was not the end of terrorism, but an end of a chapter.”

“Capturing or killing bin Laden has more iconic value. It will have symbolic value, because it has been a number of years since bin Laden has exercised day to day control over operations. We still have an al-Qaeda threat out there and that will be there for a number of years.

“This organisation (al-Qaeda) is more than bin Laden, it may be symbolised by bin Laden, but it definitely is more than bin Laden,” he said.

It is, however, a major accomplishment for Obama and his national security team. Obama’s predecessor, George Bush, had repeatedly vowed to bring to justice the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, but never did before leaving office in early 2009.

He had been the subject of a search since he eluded US soldiers and Afghan militia forces in a large-scale assault on the Tora Bora mountains in 2001. The trail quickly went cold after he disappeared and many intelligence officials believed he had been hiding in Pakistan.

While in hiding, bin Laden had taunted the West and advocated his views in videotapes spirited from his hideaway.

Besides September 11, Washington has also linked bin Laden to a string of attacks – including the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in Yemen.

Having the body may help convince any doubters that bin Laden is really dead.

Three questions: Egypt’s transition

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2011 by loonwatch

(AlJazeera English)

Three questions: Egypt’s transition

by Marwan Bishara

As change sweeps Egypt and becomes imminent in Arab political life, Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, evaluates the speed and efficacy of the transition to democracy.

What are the chances that the transition could still go wrong in Egypt?

New decisions of the supreme military council such as dissolving the country’s unrepresentative parliament that came after rigged elections, bodes well for the dismantlement of the old regime and erecting a new one.

However, the military’s insistence to keep the Mubarak appointed Ahmad Shafiq government for the transitional period has raised concern. Likewise, freezing the constitution is a double edge sword.

While it allows for writing a new more democratic constitution, it could also enable the military leaders to act according to its own interest, rather than the interest of the revolution.

It also begs the question, why hasn’t the military command cancelled the emergency laws nor freed those arrested during the last three weeks, not to mention the political prisoners.

All of which underlines the importance of continued pressure on the military until the regime is completely dismantled and its calls for a new temporary government to oversee the transition to democratic elections are heeded.

Today, public pressure is crucial to maintain the momentum towards positive change. While working with the military is indispensable for peaceful change, progress can’t be held hostage to its prerogatives.

Those with leverage over the Egyptian military, such as the Obama administration, need to keep the pressure on the generals to act as the true guardians of the revolution and its transition to republican democracy.

Otherwise, matters could get out of hand once again if the military falls back to old way of doing business, as pressure builds up against the spirit and of the revolution and its potential to spread throughout the region as a whole. After all many are bound to lose because of the historic changes taking place in Egypt.

Who are the potential losers from the Egyptian revolution?

In the short term, the foremost  loser are the region’s  autocrats who most likely will face serious pressure as the spirit of peoples’ power spread around the Arab and even Muslim world. So will al-Qaeda and its ilk that preferred violence to peoples’ power.

In the long run, the three theocracies, or theocracy-based regimes – Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran – could see their religious-based legitimacies falter in favour of civic and democratic legitimacy as more people rise and claim their governments as citizens and people not subjects and sects.

A united, democratic and strong Egypt can regain its long lost regional influence as an Arab leader. It will eclipse Saudi Arabia, put the belligerent Israeli occupation on notice, and curtail the Iranian Ayatollahs’ ambition for regional influence.

In reality none of these regimes would like to see the Egyptian revolution succeed, regardless of what they might say publicly. And if they can help reverse it or contain it, they will without any hesitation. Fortunately however, their conflicting agendas, animosity and differences will prevent these autocrats and theocrats from jointly conspiring against the young revolution.

How will the revolution attain its goals?

If the foremost winners from the revolution, peoples’ power and democracy, are to succeed, the revolutionaries must stay steadfast and continue to apply pressure for change.

Future praise of the military should be conditional on its performance.

The revolution has accomplished so much, but serious challenges lie ahead. It’s no picnic reversing decades of stagnation, corruption and nepotism.

They need to convince the military that they seek not merely cosmetic reform that encourages passivity and defuse the revolutionary spirit for change, nor mere change of faces and titles. Rather, they seek to wipe the table clean of the old ways and means.

It’s this only their revolutionary spirit and yearning for radical change that will insure their achievements are not lost or compromised. In the words of one American republican: Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Egyptian revolutionaries have at last changed their and the Arab long held Arab motto “In-shallah” or “God willing” that presumes lack of action and indecision. Today’s spirit is in the realm of Ma-shallah, or “God wills it”, and it’s up to the people to make it happen.

As the Egyptian military command tries to bring back “normalcy” – which invokes stagnation in the minds of many – Egyptians are seeking extraordinary.

 

Spencer Distorts Egyptian Society; Spreads Interfaith Bigotry

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2011 by loonwatch

(Published originally at Spencerwatch)

Egypt’s majority Muslim population spoke loudly against extremism and terrorism when they served as “human shields” in protection of their Christian neighbors on Christmas eve. “We either live together, or we die together,” was the slogan of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon. Indeed, it was a teachable moment: a ray of hope in a sectarian torn world. But fake scholar Robert Spencer is determined to squander any chance at peaceful interfaith coexistence.

Spencer notes that Al-Azhar University condemned the recent attacks on Egyptian Churches:

Al-Azhar is the foremost authority in Sunni Islam, and a case can be made from the Qur’an for what they say: “For had it not been for Allah’s repelling some men by means of others, cloisters and churches and oratories and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft mentioned, would assuredly have been pulled down.” — Qur’an 22:40

Of course, the citation of Quran 22:40 is black-and-white proof that Islam does not sanction attacks on houses of worship. However, Spencer as usual turns the Quran upside down:

Thus Muslims should not be among those who “pull down” churches, right? So why, then, would any jihadists target a church, given that they consistently proclaim themselves to be the true and pure Muslims, following scrupulously everything commanded in the Qur’an and Sunnah? Or have they really “hijacked” Islam, as is endlessly claimed?

Well, it is worth noting that ’Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller), a manual of Islamic law that Al-Azhar certifies as conforming “to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Community,” contains a section (o9.10-o.9.15) entitled “Rules of Warfare” that says nothing about any prohibition on attacking a non-Muslim house of worship. And Islamic law generally takes a negative view of non-Muslim houses of worship, forbidding non-Muslims in Islamic states from building new houses of worship or repairing old ones.

Suggesting the Quran doesn’t mean what it says, Spencer cites as proof his favorite piece of evidence: Umdat al-Salik, a 14th century medieval Muslim law manual. Spencer assumes the certification of the translation into English by Al-Azhar means that Muslim legal thinking hasn’t moved beyond the 14th century. What he fails to disclose is that these manuals are studied in their historical contexts. Serious Egyptian religious intellectuals do not take the rules of warfare from Umdat al-Salik but from the Geneva Conventions and U.N. treaties, as stated clearly by Egypt’s Grand Mufti, Dr. Ali Gomaa:

“Fight in the way of God against those who wage war against you, but do not commit aggression – for, verily, God does not love aggressors,” (Quran, 2:190)

This verse summarizes everything that has been agreed upon concerning guidelines of warfare, including the first and second Geneva Conventions.

Nonetheless, reading in translation (since we know he is not proficient in Arabic), Spencer doesn’t find any suggestion in Umdat Al-Salik that houses of worship should be protected; therefore, he concludes Islamic law in its totality must not have any precedent about protecting houses of worship. What he failed to mention, even in the very piece of evidence he cited, is this:

09:11 It is unlawful to kill a non-Muslim to whom a Muslim has given his guarantee of protection.

[Ibn, al-Naqīb A. L, and Noah H. M. Keller. Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law ʻumdat Al-Salik. Beltsville, MD, U.S.A: Amana Publications, 1999. P. 603]

Most Muslims reinterpret such clauses in the modern sense of citizenship. The Christians are Egyptian citizens and therefore deserve the protection of the government. Hence, the overwhelming demonstration by Muslims in support of the Christian community. Of course, even in a time of warfare, Islamic law laid down strict rules of combat. Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, told his armies:

“I advise you ten things: Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the booty, and do not be cowardly.”

[Muwatta, Book 21, Number 21.3.10:]

“Inhabited places” include houses of worship. But the Egyptian Christians aren’t combatants; they’re citizens. They’re even more deserving of scrupulous protection. In this regard, Muhammad himself sanctified the lives of those who made peace treaties with Muslims:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr: The Prophet said, “Whoever killed a Mu’ahid (a person who is granted the pledge of protection by the Muslims) shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of traveling).”

[Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 83, Number 49]

Apparently, Spencer feels no need to check any Islamic sources other than Umdat al-Salik before he makes sweeping claims about Islamic law. In any case, Spencer would like us to think that Al-Qaeda, who bombs houses of worship, is acting in accordance with Islamic law better than the majority of Egyptian Muslims. He gives us his “expert” interpretation:

Also, it is likely that al-Qaeda understands Qur’an 22:40 as referring to churches that teach the true Christianity of Jesus the Muslim prophet as he is depicted in the Qur’an. Those Christians who consider Jesus divine — that is, virtually all of them — are “unbelievers” according to the Qur’an (5:17, 5:72), and the Qur’an commands Muslims to make war against those who associate partners with Allah (9:5), which Christians are explicitly accused of doing by proclaiming Jesus to be the Son of God (9:30). Thus they would likely believe that Qur’an 22:40 just doesn’t have anything to do with “pulling down” the assemblies of renegades such as those who were gathered in the church in Alexandria last night.

Notice that Spencer thinks it is “likely” al-Qaeda understand the verse exactly the way he does, although he can produce no such evidence. Maybe because he’s not too good at translating Arabic documents? He then cites his favorite handful of verses (out of context); for example, citing:

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)… (Quran 9:5)

But without citing the following verses (interpreted in Tafsir Jalalayn as follows):

“How can polytheists [that were treacherous and violated their treaties] have a covenant with Allah and His Messenger? Except for those with whom you entered covenants [i.e., the polytheists who did not break them and hence were not treacherous] in the Sacred Mosque. So as long as they are true to you [with their covenants and do not breach them] then be true to them [by also fulfilling your covenants]; verily, Allah loves those who fear Him [i.e., He loves those who fulfill covenants, since whoever fears Allah will fulfill his covenants, and the Prophet kept his word and upheld his side of the treaty until his enemies broke theirs].”

[Tafsir Jalalayn, Quran 9:7]

Spencer takes verses that refer specifically to a handful of Arab tribes who broke their peace treaties with Muhammad and extrapolates them out to apply to all Jews, Christians, and people everywhere. Spencer ignores key verses of the Quran that make clear distinctions between those who war against Muslims and those who make peace:

Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong. (Quran 60:8-9)

Finally, Spencer ends by repeating his keynote fallacy:

If Al-Azhar backs up this statement with consistent calls on Egyptian authorities to protect Egypt’s Christians, and consistent teaching against the Islamic texts and teachings that provide justification for attacks against them, we will be making real progress.

Spencer thinks we’ll “make progress” when Al-Azhar teaches against Islamic texts and teachings, while we have shown here that Al-Azhar’s condemnation of Al-Qaeda is not against Islamic texts and teachings, but is perfectly in line with them. Spencer pretends that only his spurious self-serving interpretation of Islam is correct and therefore Islam is the problem, rather than extremism fostered by military occupations. Would Spencer find it sensible for me to likewise demand Christians speak out against the Christian texts and teachings that justify terrorism?

As our country starts debating the violent political rhetoric in our nation’s discourse, let people know that fraudsters like Robert Spencer add fuel to the fire by pushing communities apart, dividing nations along religious lines, and hindering any hope of interfaith understanding. His anti-Muslim bigotry and rejection of Muslim/Christian harmony is poisonous to the best of American traditions: E pluribus unum.