|By Dr. Labib Mikhail - September 2001
The barbaric, horrific terrorist attacks on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC have caused every American to ask why did it happen? Who did it? And why do they hate us?
The investigation of the CIA and FBI has concluded that the attackers were Muslims. Does that mean that every Muslim is a terrorist? By no means. There are many decent Muslims. But while many news commentators and politicians are proclaiming that Islam is a peace-loving religion, others are warning of Islamic Jihad, or Holy War.
These conflicting descriptions of Islam can be explained by examining the three types of Muslims: Secularists, Moderates, and Fundamentalists. The Koran, the holy book of Islam, is used by each group to justify their way of thinking.
THREE TYPES OF MUSLIMS
Secularists are Muslims who do not have a knowledge of the contents of the Koran and only know a verse or two to justify enjoying their life such as: "Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world" (Surat Al-Kahf 18:46).
Moderates know the Koran but seek to make their faith relevant to modern life. They try to reconcile the contradicting verses in the Koran in such a way that Muslims may tolerate Jews and Christians living among them. They emphasize the verses that came to the Prophet Muhammad when he was weak militarily and in need of the support of Jews and Christians. These verses which are kind to Jews and Christians are: "So, if you (Muhammad) are in doubt concerning that which We have revealed unto you then ask these who are reading the Book (the Torah and the Injeel [Gospel]) before you. Verily the truth has come to you from thy Lord. So be not of those who doubt" (Surat Yunus 10:94).
"Verily, you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers (Muslims) the Jews and those who are Al-Mushrikun, and you will find the nearest in love to the believers (Muslims) those who say: "We are Christians." That is because amongst them are priests and monks, and they are not proud" (Surat Al-Maidah 5:82).
Verily, those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve" (Surat Al-Baqarah 2:62).
Barnabas Fund in England wrote: The Muslim Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was a complex character whose attitudes and opinions changed and evolved during his lifetime in response to events around him. It is not surprising to find that Islam is a complex faith."
When needed, Muslim clerics use Koranic verses including those kind to Jews and Christians to paint a glowing picture of Islam as a religion of peace, brotherhood, modesty, morality, self-discipline and family values. But, the true face of Islam is revealed in the Koranic verses calling Muslims to "Jihad," which means holy war against all non-Muslims. We will quote again from the article by Barnabas Fund. "It is true that many individual Muslims are peace loving and law-abiding. But, it is not true that peace is the main characteristic of the faith of Islam."
Fundamentalists are those who want to apply the more extreme verses of the Koran to the letter. These verses came to Muhammad after he was strong militarily and after he realized that the Christians and Jews were not becoming followers of his new religion. Muhammad"s anger in the following Koranic verses, which abrogate the nice verses in the Koran, is the root of violence which saturates and captures the minds of these fundamentalist Muslims:
The Prophet Muhammad urges Muslims to fight in the cause of Allah "O prophet Muhammad urge the believers (Muslims) to fight" (Surat Al-Anfal 8:65).
"Jihad (holy fighting in Allah"s cause) is ordained for you" (Surat Al-Baqarah 2:216).
The Koran commands Muslims not to befriend Jews or Christians "O ye who believe (Muslims) take not the Jews or the Christians for your friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he among you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them" (Surat Al-Maidah 5:51).
The Koran commands Muslims to fight Jews and Christians" Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued" (Surah At-Taubah 9:29).
Jizyah is a special high tax to be paid only by Jews or Christians who do not want to renounce their religion and convert to Islam.
The Koran commands Muslims to fight non-Muslims until they exterminate all other religions and Islam would be the only religion in the world. "And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and (all and every kind of) worship is for Allah (alone). But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against As-Zatimun (the polytheists and wrong doers)" (Surat Al-Baqarah 2:193).
This verse is mentioned also in Surat Al-Anfal 8:39. Because of the misunderstanding and ignorance of Christianity, Muslims believe that Christians are polytheists, because they believe in a Triune God. Fundamentalists look at Jews and Christians and all non-Muslims as infidels who must be killed because they have no value as human beings and must be exterminated from the face of the earth.
Fundamentalists divide the world into two camps, Dar Al-Harb (Camp of war) where Jews and Christians live, and Dar Al-Sallam (Camp of peace) where Muslims live. They believe that Holy war against those who live in the camp of war should continue until they are exterminated.
Fundamentalists dream of a global Islamic empire. They believe that if they destroy America and the western countries, that they will achieve this dream.
The Koran declares that Muslims who fight and die in battle are promised forgiveness and a sensual luxurious life in Paradise. "And if you are killed or die in the Way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all that they amass (of worldly wealth)" (Surat Al-Imran 3:157). "Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties for (the price) that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah"s Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him" (Surat At-Taubah 9:111).
What can martyrs expect in paradise? The Koran describes life in paradise in the following words: "Eat and drink with happiness because of what you used to do. They will recline (with ease) on thrones arranged in ranks. And We shall marry them to Hur (fair females) with wide lovely eyes. And We shall provide them with fruit and meat such as they desire" (Surat At-Tur 52:17-20,22).
"Water flowing constantly and fruit in plenty whose supply is not cut off and reclining on couches raised high, verily we have created them (women) of special creation and made them virgins of equal age" (Surat Al-Waqiah 56:31-37).
"Gardens and vineyards and young full-breasted virgins of equal age and a full cup of wine" (Surat An-Naba 78:32-34).
Some prominent Muslim clerics call the suicide bombers martyrs because in the Koran, a martyr is guaranteed total forgiveness of his sins and eternal life in paradise where he can drink wine and will be married to a great number of beautiful sensual virgins. While in fact, these martyrs are nothing more than murderers.
Nineteen educated Muslims committed suicide and killed thousands of innocent men, women and children in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the four planes they flew on that black Tuesday. Those nineteen Muslims did that because of their deep conviction that they will go directly to paradise to enjoy sensual pleasures, and because of their terrible hatred for America; a country populated by a Christian majority.
Muhammad Atta, who flew the first plane into the World Trade Center, was a devout Muslim. He was born in Egypt to a lawyer and was a highly intelligent person who communicated with ease with children, old men, professors and people in government. As a student in Germany he was known to be quiet, and very religious. Atta regularly prayed on the floor of his office and founded an Islamic prayer and study group at the University in January 1999.
Atta lived and moved easily in Western society while secretly hating it. He was a man on a mission and on the front of his thesis, presented in October 1999, he wrote the following verse from the Koran: "My Prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death belong to Allah, the Lord of the worlds" (Washington Post 09/22/01). The West needs to know that many other Muhammad Attas may quietly be living amongst us.
The Koran commands Muslims to terrorize and torture and kill anyone who disobeys Allah and the Prophet Muhammad: "(Remember) when your Lord revealed to the angels, "Verily I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks and smite over all their fingers and toes. This is because they defied and disobeyed Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad). And whoever defies and disobeys Allah and His Messenger, them verily, Allah is Severe in punishment. This is (the torment), so taste it; and surely, for the disbelievers is the torment of the Fire" (Surat Al-Anfal 8:12-14).
"The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad) and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter" (Surat Al-Maidah 5:33).
The Koran declares that Allah loves those who fight in His cause. "Verily, Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in rows as if they were solid structures" (Surat As-Saff 61:4).
The Koran commands Muslims to convert non-Muslims to Islam by force. "Kill the Mushrikun (polytheists, Christians and non-Muslims), wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush. But, if they repent and perform As-salat (public prayer with Muslims) and give Zakat (Islamic alms), then leave their way free. Allah is oft-forgiving, most merciful" (Surat At-Taubah 9:5).
Mathematician Blas Pascal who lived in 1670 said, "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." The heart of man is naturally evil. You can ignite that evil with religious gasoline. The Koran"s verses ignited that evil in the hearts of those terrorists and will ignite evil in many more Muslims" hearts.
While violence committed by militant Muslims is sanctioned and commanded by the Koran, any atrocities committed by Christians were never sanctioned by the New Testament commandments. For Jesus Christ commanded His apostle Peter, "Put your sword in its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword" (Matthew 26:52).
FREEDOM OF THOUGHT IN ISLAM
Islam is a prison with no way out. Once a person enters that prison, he cannot leave it alive. "Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the apostates? Allah has cast them back (to disbelief) because of what they have earned. Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made to go astray? And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him any way (of guidance). They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So take not Aouliya (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the Way of Allah (to Muhammad). But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold of) them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Aouliya (protectors or friends) nor helpers from them" (Surat An-Nisa 4:88,89).
This verse means that if a person says the Islamic Shahada (creed): "I testify that there is no God but Allah, I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah," he cannot change his mind. If he does change his mind, he will be executed or beheaded as has happened many times in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and other Islamic countries.
Islam is a religion of intellectual censorship. In Islam the democratic right to free thought and individual decision concerning religious matters is totally denied. We have more than one example of that intellectual censorship.
The first is Salman Rushdie. Salman Rushdie was born to a Muslim family in Bombay but has spent much of his life in London, England. He wrote a book entitled The Satanic Verses. Muslims thought this book was an insult to the Prophet Muhammad and Islam so Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini issued an order to assassinate Rushdie and promised $5 million to the one whom would kill him. Khomeini, Iran"s spiritual leader at that time, said in a statement read for him on the radio in 1989: "Anyone who died attempting to kill Rushdie, he promised, would go straight to paradise."
The second is Dr. Farag Foda, the great author who was assassinated in Cairo, Egypt in 1993 because he wrote many books exposing the true face of Islam and Islamic society. He was accused of being an apostate Muslim and was shot and killed in front of his son.
The third is Professor Nasr Hamid Abu Zeid, who was accused of being an apostate Muslim because of his books about the Koran. The court in Egypt ruled that he must divorce his wife, Ibtihal Younes. He fled from Egypt and is now living with his wife in Holland.
The fourth is the well-known Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz, who became the first Egyptian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Muslims stabbed him in front of his house in an attempt to kill him. The man is over 80 years old. They wanted to kill him because they thought that he insulted Muhammad in his novel, "The Children of Gabalawi."
It is of great importance for any American or any secular Muslim to know what kind of society he or she will live in if fundamentalist Muslims rule. The Taliban, Afghanistan"s ruling Islamic movement, is an example of this extremist militant faith, which is based on a literal interpretation of the Koran, and it shows in their way of life.
In Afghanistan any woman who will show more than her eyes will be flogged. In Saudi Arabia, a woman is banned from driving a car or from walking down the street without covering all of her body except for her eyes.
Christians who went to Afghanistan to help the poor and the sick with food and medicine were arrested and jailed because they had Bibles and Christian cassette tapes. In Saudi Arabia Christians are banned from holding worship services let alone building a church. In the meantime, Muslims are taking advantage of the American freedom and building hundreds of mosques on American soil.
In Sudan more than one million Christians were killed by the Islamic government in Khartoum. In Algeria, thousands of Muslims were slaughtered by militant Muslims with no regard for life.
Today we are hearing on radio and television many Muslim clerics saying that Islam means peace. But the word Islam means "submission" and a Muslim is one who is in submission to Allah. Their goal as stated in the Koran is to bring the entire world into submission to Allah and the Koran and have a global Islamic empire.
The author has written more than 60 books and hundreds of articles on Islam and Christianity in both Arabic and English. He has produced or been a guest of many radio and television programs. He holds a doctorate i