Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Terrorism Is A Long Established Part Of Jihad

Allah thus instilled such fear among the infidels that they did not dare to go and fight the conquerors; they only approached them as suppliants, to beg for peace.
The 17th century Muslim historian al-Maqqari

Andrew Bostom quotes al-Maqqari--and others--in his article on The Global Jihad, where he reviews Efraim Karsh's book, Islamic Imperialism—A History, and claims that Karsh does not go far enough in following the evidence from the primary sources. In particular, Bostom criticizes Karsh's formulation of jihad as a form of "generic desacralized imperialism."

One aspect of jihad that Bostom details is the use of fear and intimidation. One of his sources is Ibn Hudayl, a 14th century Granadan author of a treatise on jihad:
It is permissible to set fire to the lands of the enemy, his stores of grain, his beasts of burden – if it is not possible for the Muslims to take possession of them – as well as to cut down his trees, to raze his cities, in a word, to do everything that might ruin and discourage him…[being] suited to hastening the Islamization of that enemy or to weakening him. Indeed, all this contributes to a military triumph over him or to forcing him to capitulate.
Bostom writes that these acts are have the same motive as the Islamist terror attacks on New York, Spain, and London.

But this applies to the Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israel as well, which in truth are not just guerilla warfare or terrorist attacks but jihad with the goal to intimidate and weaken Israel. Maybe one can argue whether Islamic law allows for the murder of civilians as part of jihad--Bernard Lewis claims no; plenty of Imams disagree--but clearly that is what jihad means today.

But the reality of it has still not set in.

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