Apologizing for Stating What 'Jihad' Really Means

Hooper hits Harvey: On December 5 the New York Times ran an interview with a jihad fighter in Iraq, who declared: “We are fighting for freedom and because the Americans are Jews. . . . The Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, said, ‘Hit the infidels wherever you find them.'” What he represents as a saying of Muhammad is actually the Qur’an’s “Verse of the Sword”: “Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them . . .” (Sura 9:5).

Two days later, the chief of a banned radical Muslim group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Maulana Masood Azhar, said: “In Islam the only meaning of jihad was killing,” and as if that weren’t enough, “it was a conspiracy against Islam to say that Jihad was not killing.”

Around the same time, Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) demanded that radio giant Paul Harvey apologize for saying that Islam was “a religion which encourages killing.” Harvey obliged by affirming that Islam is a “religion of peace” which terrorists have “hijacked.”

What, however, is Hooper doing to bring these “hijackers” back to what he would apparently consider a correct understanding of their faith? While bullying Harvey, he didn’t demand an apology or retraction from Azhar (who may regard him as a conspirator against Islam) or the jihadist interviewed by the Times.

Instead of trying to intimidate Harvey, Hooper would make better use of his time by trying to craft a viable peaceful understanding of the passages of the Qur’an and Islamic tradition that radical Muslims like Azhar are using around the world today to “encourage killing.” He might also consider lifting a finger to help root out terrorist activity from America’s mosques. Until he does, and until he comes clean about CAIR’s true goals and intentions (especially in light of the recent terrorism-related arrests of three of its employees), it is Hooper with his threats, bluster, and disingenuousness, who should apologize – not Paul Harvey.

Saudi official: embassy Islamic centers not closing: According to a statement from the Saudi Press Agency, the Islamic Centers in Saudi embassies are not closing down after all – contrary to a December 7 Washington Post report. The Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance, Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdulaziz Bin Mohammed Al Al-Sheikh said that “this news item is incorrect, adding that the centers are working and they are part of the Kingdom’s message.”

These Islamic centers have been discovered to be hotbeds of Islamic extremism. The one in Washington’s embassy openly espoused violence. According to a statement on its website (since removed), “the Muslims are required to raise the banner of Jihad in order to make the Word of Allah supreme in this world, to remove all forms of injustice and oppression, and to defend the Muslims. If Muslims do not take up the sword, the evil tyrants of this earth will be able to continue oppressing the weak and [the] helpless???”

Sheikh Saleh also “pointed out that the eighth session of the Executive Council of Endowments and Islamic Affairs Ministers due to start here on Wednesday will focus on significant topics topped by terrorism and occupation of parts of the Arab and Muslim World. In an arrival press statement here today, he said that it is improper to attribute terrorism to Islam and other divine religions since Islam’s emblem is peace, indicating that all religions lay stress on mercy, peace and amicability. He affirmed that divine messages have nothing to do with any call for terrorism, extremism and violence, stressing that Islam calls for moderation.”

I trust then that he will he renounce the theology of jihad as explained by a man who has served as Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid. I quote him in Onward Muslim Soldiers. He says that for Muslims, fighting (with weapons, that is) is “obligatory” against “all those who worship others along with Allah.” In the Muslim view that would include Christians and Jews (cf. Sura 9:30: “And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah Himself fighteth against them. How perverse are they!”). It also, of course, includes virtually all other non-Muslims. Sheikh ‘Abdullah cites three chapters of the Qur’an in support of this view: suras 2, 3, and 9. What would Sheikh Saleh – or Ibrahim Hooper – say to him?