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There was a good (in the sense of “informative while disturbing”) post at Power Line yesterday by John Hinderaker about the words spoken by convicted Times Square bomber Feisal Shahzad at his sentencing about Islam’s jihad against the West and his oath as an American citizen:
Much could be said of yesterday’s events, but I will note just two points. First, this exchange about Shahzad’s naturalization as an American citizen:
- The judge cut him off at one point to ask if he had sworn allegiance to the U.S. when he became a citizen last year.
- “I did swear, but I did not mean it,” Shahzad said.
I believe the Koran approves of such oath-taking with one’s fingers crossed.
John’s right: the Qur’an does approve of such deception to protect oneself while in “infidel” lands. It’s called “taqiyya,” the religiously sanctioned deception of unbelievers. Raymond Ibrahim has written an article explaining taqiyya that should be must-reading:
Taqiyya offers two basic uses. The better known revolves around dissembling over one’s religious identity when in fear of persecution. Such has been the historical usage of taqiyya among Shi’i communities whenever and wherever their Sunni rivals have outnumbered and thus threatened them. Conversely, Sunni Muslims, far from suffering persecution have, whenever capability allowed, waged jihad against the realm of unbelief; and it is here that they have deployed taqiyya—not as dissimulation but as active deceit. In fact, deceit, which is doctrinally grounded in Islam, is often depicted as being equal—sometimes superior—to other universal military virtues, such as courage, fortitude, or self-sacrifice.
Yet if Muslims are exhorted to be truthful, how can deceit not only be prevalent but have divine sanction? What exactly is taqiyya? How is it justified by scholars and those who make use of it? How does it fit into a broader conception of Islam’s code of ethics, especially in relation to the non-Muslim? More to the point, what ramifications does the doctrine of taqiyya have for all interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims?
Ibrahim has written two other articles I commend to your attention: “Nidal Hasan and Fort Hood: A Study in Muslim Doctrine,” part one and part two. Not only does he discuss taqiyya, but also concepts we need to understand such as “loyalty and enmity” (who exactly Muslims can be friends with), and Da’wa (active proselytizing), one of only two reasons pious Muslims are allowed to live among infidels. (The other is jihad.)
This is far from saying all Muslims are secret jihadists or want to implement sharia law (though the number of the latter is larger than apologists want to admit). But, with committed enemies who feel it is fine to lie and practice deceit in order to hide among the larger population that simply wants to lead a quiet life, we are engaging in a fight with one eye shut when we refuse to understand the doctrines by which they justify their actions.
And, until we (and, especially, those charged with protecting us) do acknowledge and understand these doctrines, we will keep on being surprised and puzzled again and again by declarations like Shazad’s.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)