Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Can Infidels be Innocents?

August 7, 2005
Weblog] - Daniel Pipes

Can Infidels be Innocents? Three so-called fatwas (even a novice in Islam knows they do not fulfill the definition of a fatwa, which has to be in response to a query) came out in July condemning the 7/7 attacks in London.

* British Muslim Forum: "Islam strictly, strongly and severely condemns the use of violence and the destruction of innocent lives." (July 18, 2005)
* 120 Canadian imams: "Any one who claims to be a Muslim and participates in any way in the taking of innocent life is betraying the very spirit and letter of Islam." (July 21, 2005)
* Fiqh Council of North America: "Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives." (July 28, 2005)

Non-Muslims can be forgiven if they assume the reference to "innocent lives" includes those traveling on the Underground and bus lines in London earlier in the month. But the term "innocent lives" can be much more restricted in application, as a fascinating article in today's Sunday Times (London) makes clear.

Titled "Undercover in the academy of hatred," it is based on the covert research by Ali Hussain of the newspaper's Insight team. Ali joined the Saviour Sect in June, a few weeks before the 7/7 bombings and took along his tape recorder. What he heard is hair-raising – it is imperative for Muslims to "instil terror into the hearts of the kuffar," "I am a terrorist. As a Muslim, of course I am a terrorist," "They will build tall buildings and we will bring them down," the bombings were "a good start" and Allah should "bless those involved"

He also heard two speakers discuss whom they consider to be innocent.

* Zachariah, referring to the London passengers: "They're kuffar [infidels]. They're not people who are innocent. The people who are innocent are the people who are with us or those who are living under the Islamic state."
* Omar Bakri Mohammed, the sect's leader, who publicly condemned the deaths of "innocents," but at the Selby Centre in Wood Green, north London, on July 22 referred to the 7/7 bombers as the "fantastic four" and explained that his grief for the "innocent" applied only to Muslims. "Yes I condemn killing any innocent people, but not any kuffar."

Comments: (1) Muslim statements condemning the killing of "innocents" cannot be taken at face value but must be probed to find out who exactly are considered innocent and who not. In brief, Can infidels be innocents?

(2) For other assessments of the U.S. "fatwa," see the critiques of Abul Kasem, Yehudit Barsky, Steven Emerson, Christopher Orlet, Steven Stalinsky, and the United American Committee, as well as the interesting quotations in an Associated Press report. For an analysis of the Canadian one, see the one by David Ouellette. (August 7, 2005)

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