Islam and Terrorism An Address By: Dr. Labib Mikhail Symposium on Islam February 15, 2003 The Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill I was quite honored when the Christian Coalition of America invited me to be part of this symposium on Islam. My subject is “Islam and Terrorism.” To begin with, I have to define the word “terrorism”. According to Reader’s Digest Illustrated Encyclopedic Dictionary, the word terrorism means: “the use of terror, violence and intimidation to achieve a political end. To coerce or maintain control by intimidation or fear.” (p. 1707-1708) By this definition, we might ask: “Are Islam and terrorism related to each other?” To answer this question correctly, we have to understand the Two Phases of Islam. The First and Gracious Phase of Islam When the prophet Muhammad began to call people in Mecca to Islam, he was weak. He needed the help of the Jews and the Christians, so he praised them. Here is what the Koran, the holy book of Islam says about Jews and Christians at that time: Verily, those who believe [Muslims] 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) In this verse the Koran puts Jews and Christians at the same level and privilege as Muslims. There are many kind verses quoted in the Koran from this first and gracious phase of Islam. Muslim Clerics used such verses to establish that Islam is a religion of freedom and peace. However, these verses were abrogated lately, which means they were cancelled. The Second Phase of Islam The later phase of Islam, and I may say the permanent phase of Islam, according to the doctrine of abrogation in the Koran, came when the prophet Muhammad migrated to Medina and organized a strong army. When he saw that Jews and Christians rejected his prophethood and Islam, he commanded the Muslims to change the Kibla, the direction in which Muslims turn when they pray, from Jerusalem to the Kaaba in Mecca. At that time in history the Kaaba was a shrine for 360 idols. Then Muhammad exterminated Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula. He renounced Jews and Christians as polytheists, therefore impure and defiled. As
such, Muhammad commanded that they never come near the Kaaba in Mecca. To this day no Jew or Christian can enter the Mecca, or come near Al-Kaaba, the Holy shrine in Saudi Arabia. Here are the words of the Koran: O you who believe [Muslims] the Mushrikun [polytheists and unbelievers in Allah and the Message of Muhammad] are najasum [impure, defiled]. So let them not come near Al-Masjd Al Haram [the Kaaba in Mecca] after this year. (Surat Al-Tauba 9:28) This is the phase of Islam we encounter today. To be sure Islamic Terrorism was practiced in Muhammad’s days. The Koran commands Muslims to terrorize and strike the necks and smite the fingers and toes of the infidels [Jews and Christians]. The Koran says: I will cast terror into the hearts of those who are infidels, 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, then verily, Allah is severe in punishments. This is (the torment), to taste it; and surely, for the infidels is the torment of the fire. (Surat Al-Anfal 8:12-14) Before September 11th, we saw Islamic terrorism in Egypt—where many Egyptian Christians were murdered—in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and other parts of the world. When the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., occurred on September 11, 2001, Americans woke up, as from a nightmare. Their financial and military institutions had been attacked. And a third plane was aimed to destroy the White House, the executive institution. But, thank God, it crashed in Pennsylvania. On that day, Americans began asking three questions: First, “Who are those people who attacked us?” Second, “Why do they hate us?” Third, “What motivated them to commit these horrific attacks?” Before answering these three questions, I have to say that there are three kinds of Islamic Terrorism: First, physical terrorism, Second, intellectual terrorism, Third, psychological terrorism.
By discussing these three kinds of terrorism, we will have the answer for our three questions. Physical Terrorism Shortly after the barbaric attacks, the investigations of the CIA and FBI concluded that the attackers were deeply religious young men from Saudi Arabia and
Egypt, who dedicated their hearts, minds, and souls to the religion of Islam. Blas Pascal, a mathematician who lived in 1670 AD, said, “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” The hatred ignited by the teaching of the Koran, in the hearts of those young men who attacked us was so horrible. It blinded them from thinking or imagining the agony and suffering of those thousands of innocent men and women who were murdered in the attacks and the terrible grief of those loved ones who were left behind. The most horrible thing is that those attackers did not feel any sense of guilt. The Koran taught them that their acts are not acts of evil, but rather acts of a high level of righteousness intended to eradicate the infidel Christians from the face of the earth. The Koran taught them also that there is a great reward waiting for them in paradise if they die as martyrs. The Koran taught them that their sins will be forgiven, and each one of them will be married to one hundred virgins, with wide lovely eyes in paradise. These are the words of the Koran: 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]. (Sural Al-Imran 3:157) Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers [Muslims] 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 Al-Taubah 9:111) The Koran describes life in paradise in the following verses: 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 Al-Tur 52:17-20,22) Paradise is all sensual, nothing spiritual. Another picture of paradise is described in the following words: The second picture: Water flowing constantly and fruit in plenty whose supply is not cut off and reclining on couches raised high: verily we have created from them (women) of special creation and made them virgins of equal age. (Surat Al-Waqiah 56:31-37) The third picture: Gardens and vineyards and young full-breasted virgins of equal age and a full cup of wine. (Surat Al-Naba 78:32-34)
With these pictures of paradise—dreaming about one hundred virgins awaiting each one of them—those young people with their Egyptian leader Muhammad Atta committed suicide and died with their victims. Preparations for the September 11th attacks took many years. Ben Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahri with their associates of men of very evil minds began to test the Americans with terrorist attacks. They saw that Americans ran away from trouble in Beirut, Lebanon where 243 marines were murdered. Americans ran away from Somalia, and they did not do anything when they were attacked in Saudi Arabia, Nairobi, and Yemen. Ben Laden, who is from the radical Wahhabi Islamic sect established in Saudi Arabia in the 18th century, and with roots even well before that, concluded that America is a paper tiger. Hit Americans hard and they will collapse. Ben Laden thought, that the time had come to establish an Islamic Empire, where Islam would be the only recognized religion in the world, and the sharia (law) of the Koran will be the only law. Ben Laden and his followers were in great shock, when they saw what America did in a short time in Afghanistan. They saw that America is not a paper tiger but a fierce tiger. They are now living in hiding, somewhere in an Islamic country. That indicates that there are Muslim countries who harbor terrorists and sympathize with Ben Laden’s beliefs and terrorism. If Islam is a religion of peace and freedom, Ben Laden should be arrested by the Islamic country which gives him refuge. For Ben Laden and his associates to be given refuge, in any Islamic country is a declaration that Islam and terrorism are associated. Last November, Russian president Vladimir Putin made a strong statement. The London Telegraph reported on November 12, 2002, the following: Islamic radicals are pursuing the systematic annihilation of nonMuslims…president Putin said that western civilization faced a mortal threat from Muslim terrorists, and claimed that they had plans to create a world wide caliphate which means a world wide Islamic Empire. At this point I will mention but a few of the physical terrorist attacks committed by Muslims after the September 11th. On April 22, 2002, four Islamic fundamentalists kidnapped and killed Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter, in a barbaric, horrific way, just because he was an American Jew. On May, 12, 2002 a gas cylinder was set on fire under Milan’s huge Gothic cathedral in an apparent bid to cause an explosion. Police found a cloth scrawled with the Islamic cry “God is great” nearby (The Washington Times, May 13, 2002).
On October 23rd Chechen Muslim gunmen seized the Moscow Theater and took hundreds of people hostage. 129 hostages died and 41 hostage-takers were killed (The Washington Post, January 26, 2003). On November 28, 2002, suicide bombers destroyed an Israeli-owned beach resort in Mombassa Kenya, shattering lives of villagers outside Mombassa. The terrorists tried to attack an Israeli jet liner taking off from the airport nearby, but they failed. On December 30, 2002, gunman killed 3 U.S. missionaries at a hospital in Yemen. Those were medical doctors serving the Yemeni people for many years (The Washington Times, December 31, 2002). On January 7, 2003, British anti-terrorism police discovered traces of ricine, a highly toxic poison in a north London apartment. Six Africans, all of North African origin, were arrested. Prime Minister Tony Blair said after the arrest “this danger is present and real and with us now, and its potential is huge” (The Washington Post, January 8, 2003).
Time will not allow me to tell you about many other terrorist attacks around the world. The most recent ones are the murder of the American diplomat in Amman, Jordan, and the attack on the club in Bali, Indonesia. We have heard through the media, that the terrorists attacked us because we stand with Israel against the Palestinians. This is a totally false accusation. Many centuries before the existence of the state of Israel, in the year 1895, the Turkish Muslims massacred more than 60,000 Armenian Christians in many cities in Turkey and crushed them like grapes during the vintage in one night. There was no IsraeliPalestinian conflict during that time. Those butchers were motivated by their Koran. When we say that Islam and terrorism are related to each other, is this a false accusation? Is it to insult Islam? Or is it a fact based on the clear worlds of the Koran? Please listen carefully to these verses from the Koran: (1) 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) (2) 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 of each other. And he among you that turn to them [for friendship] is of them. (Surat Al-Maidah 5:51) (3) The Koran commands Muslims to fight Jews and Christians. Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, no 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. (Surat At-Taubah 9:29) We have to understand that Jizyah is a special high tax to be paid only by Jews and Christians who live in Islamic countries and who do not want to renounce their religion and convert to Islam. (4) The Koran declares that those who wage war against Allah and Muhammad must be crucified and tortured in a sadistic manner. 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 their feet be cut off from opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in the world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter. (Surat Al-Maidah 5:33) (5) The Koran commands Muslims to fight the infidels who are neighbors and close to them: O you who believe [Muslims]! Fight those of the infidels who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you; and know that Allah is with those who are pious. (Surat Al-Taubah 9:123) (6) 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) (7) The Koran commands Muslims to fight non-Muslims until they exterminate all other religions and make Islam the only religion in the world. And fight 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). (Surat Al-Bagarah 2:193) There are almost one hundred verses in the Koran calling Muslims to Jihad, holy war against Jews, Christians, and non-Muslims. Do these clear verses of the Koran indicate that Islam is a religion of peace? Intellectual Terrorism There is another kind of terrorism in Islam: intellectual terrorism. Islam is a prison with no way out. Once a person enters that prison, he cannot leave it alive. In Islam, the democratic right to free thought and individual decision concerning religious matters is totally denied. We have more than one example of this intellectual terrorism, I will mention but a few.
The first is Salman Rushdie. Salman Rushdie was born to a Muslim family in Bombay, but spent much of his life in London, England. He wrote a book entitled The Satanic Verses. Muslims though 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 who 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.” Rushdie’s head is very expensive!! 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, Ibihal 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. Psychological Terrorism That brings us to the third kind of terrorism in Islam: psychological terrorism. Instilling fear in the hearts of those who disobey the Koran is a vital factor in Islam. This psychological terrorism was practiced when the Taliban regime ruled Afghanistan. During that period of time any woman who would show more than her eyes was flogged in the street. Music, television, even sports were not allowed. In Saudi Arabia, a woman is banned from driving a car or from walking down the street alone, or without covering all her body with the hejab. Women in Islam live under constant fear of beating or divorce. The Koran says the following in Surat Al-Nisa Chapter 4:34: As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them, refuse to share their beds (which means do not have sex with them) and beat them. Add to all that the threat against any Muslim who apostates from Islam (renounces Islam). He or she is to be executed. Today we are hearing on radio and television many Muslim Clerics saying that Islam means peace. The truth is that the
word Islam means submission, not peace. A Muslim is one who is in submission to Allah. Since Allah is invisible, so submission should be to the sharia (law) of the clerics who interpret the Koran. Peace is granted only to Muslims. Islam divides the world’s population into two camps, Dar Al-Harb (House of War) where Jews and Christians live, and Dar Al-Islam (House of Islam) where Muslims live. They believe that Jihad, Holy War, should continue against those who live in the House of War until they are all exterminated or converted to Islam. Fundamentalists dream of a global Islamic empire. They believe that if they destroy America and western countries they will achieve this dream. Christianity and Islam Al-Shaab, the weekly News paper of the Labour Party, published in Egypt, wrote the January 27th issue, that this symposium of Christian Coalition of America is aimed to create hatred for Muslims in the US. Let me tell the Muslims, we cannot hate you, because we are commanded by Christ our Lord to love you, even after that horrible attack on the 11th of September. These are Christ’s words in Matthew 5:44-45: Love your enemies, bless those who curse your, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. Meantime, I would like to say to the Muslims that there are major differences between Christianity and Islam. Christianity created free societies, where freedom of religion is granted. Muslims took advantage of this freedom and built hundreds of Mosques in England, in Australia, in Canada, and in the United States of America. While in Saudi Arabia, they do not permit the construction of even one church. In Afghanistan, during the reign of King Zahir Shah the only existing church, which had been built by president Eisenhower’s request of King Zahir, was demolished on May 17, 1970. While the Saudis distribute thousands of copies of the Koran in the US and elsewhere, they do not permit even one Bible into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is one major difference between Christianity and Islam. The other major difference, which really should be the first, is the denial of the crucifixion of Christ in the Koran. We have the testimony of many witnesses, who saw with their own eyes the crucifixion of Christ, and the print of nails in his hands after his resurrection, and testified that he was crucified, and sealed their testimony with their blood, yet the Koran attacks the cross and denies the crucifixion of Christ. Listen to the words of the Koran, in Surat An-Nisa 4:157:
That they said, “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah,” but they killed him not, nor crucified him. Only a likeness of that was shown to them. And those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no [certain] knowledge. But only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they kill him not. Charles Haddon Surgeon, who was called the prince of the British preachers said the following: Leave out the cross and you have killed the religion of Jesus Christ. Atonement by the blood of Jesus is not an arm of Christian truth; it is the heart of it. The cross answers the question of every human being. Who will pay the penalty for my sins? Christ paid that penalty when he shed his blood on the cross. This is the greatest major difference between Christianity and Islam. Conclusion Now, how do we solve this problem of Jihad and Islamic Terrorism? I have two suggestions to the Muslims. First: It is the responsibility of the intellectual Muslims, and they are many, to join hands and declare to the Muslims and Muslim countries that the verses of the Koran calling for Jihad and killing of Jews and Christians were for Muhammad’s time. These verses should not be applied in our modern civilizations for they create havoc. Second: I would suggest to all Muslims, since they shout in every occasion, “Allah Hu-Akbar” (Allah is greater) to leave Allah to defend Islam. If Islam is the only religion He accepts, then let him defend it. Using young men and women to be suicide bombers is an insult to the greatness of Allah, if they really believe that Allah is great. I would advise Muslims to join the forces of freedom and advanced inventions, to make the planet earth a better place for human life instead of making it a jungle of beasts. To the Christians, I would repeat the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Preach the gospel to the Muslims, they most of all, are people who need to hear and know and understand the gospel of the love of God, demonstrated by the death of His son on the cross. May God bless you. May God bless America May He protect us all from evil.