It was reported in The Times on Thursday January 17 2002 that the alleged British shoe bomber Richard Reid, a suspected agent of al-Qa'eda, managed to stay safe by deception.
The report said that one of his tricks was to hide his religious fanaticism by scavenging empty alcohol bottles (Muslims generally do not drink alcohol) and cigarette ends from rubbish bins to leave in his hotel rooms. Another was putting his passport through the washing machine to remove a Pakistani visa stamp that might have posed difficulties when he travelled to Israel.
Why would someone do what is a betrayal of his own belief system, and be deceptive about it? Was it his own idea? Is it what he was taught and, if so, by whom and why? Could it be part of the Islamic belief system?
To understand Richard Reid's behaviour one needs to have grasped the basics of Islamic teaching: its maxim is that Islam should dominate the world. Whatever means are required to achieve this objective will be used, including deception. Of course, if Richard Reid was part of an Islamic radical movement, he did not act alone.
Islam is socio-political
The majority of people hold the view that Islam is one of the world's major religions, but they know hardly anything about it. Since September 11 it has received a lot of media attention, and is portrayed as a peace-loving, peace-preaching religion. That may be true of many Muslims, but is it true of the ideology and doctrines of Islam itself?
Indeed, Islam is a religion but it would be most misleading to stop at that. The heart of Islamic teaching is that religion is not just a part of life, but life is a tiny part of religion. Thus everything in life is dominated by this religion. As such, Islam is a system. It is a socio-political, socio-religious, socio-economical, educational, legislative, judicial, and militaristic system garbed in religious terminology.
The Qur'an teaches that Muhammad was sent not only to all mankind but to the demonic world too, many of whom have submitted and become Muslims according to Sura 72 of the Qur'an.
His mission was universal, and with the declaration that 'the religion before Allah is Islam' (Sura 3.19), it was his mission not only to preach, but to change the existing society into an Islamic society governed by the revealed laws of Allah, the Shari'ah, and also by his personal example, known in Islam as Sunnah (sometimes spelt Sunna).
As such, Islam grants radical Muslims a mandate. It is a mandate to change the existing society into an Islamic society. This isn't about building a few mosques for the needs of Muslim congregations, or schools, or a few cultural centres. It is to make Islam supreme, and thus dominate every aspect of society. This is not only the desire of fundamentalists like Osama bin Laden, but, from their teaching, preaching and publications, would seem to be the desire of a large number of Muslims all over the world.
One such document, authored by Khurram Murad as far as back as 1980, was entitled The Islamic Movement in the West. The late Khurram Murad was then the head of the Islamic Foundation with branches around the world. He outlined his Islamic revolution and the blueprint of how to bring it about in the West.
On page three of his document he posed the question: What is an Islamic movement? He goes on to answer: An Islamic movement is an organised struggle to change the existing society into an Islamic society based on the Qur'an and the Sunna, and make Islam, which is a code for en-tire life, supreme and dominant, especially in the socio-political spheres.
Further he says: The idea of the Islamic movement is inherent in the very nature of Islam. The chilling fact is made clearer by saying: It is not necessary to give any arguments about this here but innumerable Qur'anic verses amply bear it out, like those laying down the concepts and objectives of Jihad.
You can find some of the Qur'anic verses that Murad quotes: Sura 9.19-21, 40; Sura 48.28; Sura 2.216 says: Fighting is prescribed upon you, and you dislike it, but it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, that you love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows and you know not.
As distinct from other forms of Islamic activities, in an Islamic movement, the emphasis is clearly on the four elements:
The Islamic Foundation and similar Islamic institutions are not just concerned about their community needs, for that very matter is addressed on page 9 of Murad's document. He states: But it would be equally tragic if the tall and noble claims to the objective of a world-wide Islamic revolution and the ushering in of a new era are reduced to mere fulfilment of religious and educational needs. After all, these needs have always been catered for in varying degrees and by various people. There was no need to launch an Islamic movement for merely meeting community needs.
I have no hesitation in suggesting that, despite its seeming unattainability, the movement in the West should reaffirm and re-emphasise the concept of total change and supremacy of Islam in the Western society as its ultimate objective and allocate to it the highest priority.
His writing goes on to deliberate on a range of issues from terminology to Islamic missions and strategy.
Under strategy he considers various kinds of literature: from special literature for non-Muslims to literature for the elite in the West, like journalists, politicians, academics and writers whose opinions usually have an important impact.
He continues to talk about the various forms of organisations, internal structures, recruiting various kinds of people for the movement such as immigrant youth and foreign students.
What is interesting is the points he lists under Other Objectives: Worldwide Islamic Movement:
As a part of the same ultimate objective of an Islamic movement, that is, to change the society into an Islamic mould and make Islam supreme, we need to pursue three more objectives at three different levels of operation, which relate to the world-wide Islamic movement:
- Support and reinforcement of the home movement.
- Growth of an international Islamic movement.
- Support of the movements in all other countries, specially Muslim.
The Muslim Parliament
Further to this The Muslim Manifesto, dated June 15 1990, was published by the late Dr. Kalim Siddiqui, then the head of the Muslim Institute, now the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain.
On page 16 paragraph 7 it states: Jihad is a basic requirement of Islam and living in Britain or having British nationality by birth or naturalisation does not absolve the Muslim from his or her duty to participate in Jihad: this participation can be active service in armed struggle abroad and/or the provision of material and moral support to those engaged in such struggle anywhere in the world. Of course, this includes Britain.
According to Omar Ahmed, Chairman of the Board of CAIR (Council of American Islamic Relations): Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Qur'an should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth (Report in the San Ramon Valley Herald of a speech to California Muslims in July 1998; quoted by Daniel Pipes in CAIR: Moderate Friends of Terror, New York Post, April 22, 2002)
The issue of the supremacy of Islam leads us back to the basics of the Islamic worldview, that is by seeing the world either as Dar al-Islam - the abode of Islam, or Dar al-Harb - the abode of war. All those countries and societies not dominated by Islamic supremacy are the abode of war and thus Jihad is justified.
Two kinds of obligations
To understand Jihad in its simplest form one must go back to the issue of obligation or Fard in Islamic teachings. There are two kinds of obligations: Fard al-Ayn and Fard al-Kifaya.
Fard al-Ayn is obligatory on all (except those who are exempt), such as prayer, fasting, Zakat (or almsgiving).
However, Fard al-Kifaya is an obligation by consensus to those who volunteer and join a particular mission force to carry out their Islamic duties.
In that sense the rest of the Muslims can claim that Islam is a religion of peace and brotherhood, while the radicals who have volunteered under the same system would be the only ones who are branded as anti-Islamic. Therefore the issue of Fard al-Kifaya - obligation by consensus - means that Richard Reid was not alone, as the authorities are discovering. He and others like him belong to a network, both in this country and the world at large.
As for Richard Reid and his lies, this too needs a bit of understanding, because deception is legitimatised in Islam, both in the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
There goes a saying of the prophet of Islam that to lie is one of the major sins and Allah will hold you accountable, with the exception of these three (in other words, in these three situations you can lie as much as you need to and Allah will not even blink): (1) with your women; (2) in espionage jihad when you are a minority; and (3) in maintaining peace. Thus the end justifies the means. (References)
Interestingly enough, there are all sorts of fatwas issued by the Islamic hierarchy. They have condemned people to death for the most trivial things, some even just for expressing their personal opinion, such as Abu Zaid, and Dr. Nawal ASadawi, the famous Egyptian author and champion of women's rights in the Islamic world.
Yet we have not had, as far as I know, a single Muslim authority anywhere issuing a fatwa declaring the 19 terrorists of September 11 (or the subsequent ones) to be Kafirs or apostates. It is time that it was done to prove that they are different from the so-called terrorists. Otherwise it seems they are all one and the same, but just under a different disguise.
For an open and free society like ours which is based on Judaeo-Christian principles and values of democracy, such threats must be taken very seriously.
The broad distinction between radical fundamentalists and peaceable law-abiding Muslims is valid, but it must not be allowed to cripple the effort that is needed to preserve our society, and our Judaeo-Christian heritage.
We must be vigilant, pursue the arrest and prosecution of those who support or preach violence. We must make every effort to see that Islam is not given any special status that differs from the status given to other minority religious or ethnic groups, and by all means not at the expense of the Christian gospel.
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