We often hear what we want to hear when another person speaks. Specifically, in the Fatwah Against Terror, we hear the condemnation of targeting innocent civilians. But what does innocent mean?
Al-Zarqawi has provided a definition in Islam permits killing of “infidel" civilians, Zarqawi tape, (AFP)8 October 2005:
"DUBAI - Al Qaeda frontman in Iraq Abu Musab Al Zarqawi has said Islam permits the killing of 'infidel' civilians, according to an audiotape broadcast on the Internet early Saturday.Zarqawi's words indicate a definition which differs from a Western one and help to explain why after 9/11 many Muslims literally danced for joy. Those who died here on 9/11--the men, women, and children we perceived to be innocent victims, were not innocent in the eyes of Islam.
“'In Islam, making the difference is not based on civilians and military, but on the basis of Muslims and infidels,' said the voice attributed to the fugitive leader who has a 25-million-dollar price on his head.
“'The Muslim’s blood cannot be spilled whatever his work or place, while spilling the blood of the infidel, whatever his work or place, is authorized if he is not trustworthy,' said the tape, whose veracity could not be determined.
"The recording comes a day after US officials claimed to have seized a letter allegedly sent to Zarqawi by Al Qaeda number two Ayman Zawahiri, in which he raised concerns over the impact on Arab opinion of videotaped executions.
"Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Islamist extremist, is Iraq’s most wanted man.
"His Al Qaeda Group of Jihad in the Land of Two Rivers has claimed responsibility for some of the most gruesome attacks in Iraq, including the beheadings of foreign hostages and Iraqis."
[Read more commentary about Zarqawi's words from Pastorius and at Jihad Watch. The latter has extensive comments.]
Certainly, Islamic extremists define innocent in the same way as Zarqawi. According to Ali Hussain, investigative reporter for London's Sunday Times, as reported by Daniel Pipes:
"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 [infidels],' '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.'In an interview about a month later, Omar Bakri Mohammed elaborated on the his interpretation of innocence when he was interviewed in Lebanon:
"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.'"
"(Q) You said that you are against killing innocent people and have nothing to do with the Al-Qaeda Organization. Now you are calling for jihad. How do you explain your position?If innocent has a different definition, does peace also have another meaning? According to Robert Spencer's The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), as found on page 25:
"(A) I have often repeated that I am against the killing of innocent people anywhere in the world but who are the innocent? I keep the answer to myself.
"(Q) Who do you define as innocent?
"(A) The innocent people are specified by Islam. I denounce killing innocent people regardless of who kills them. However, who are the innocent? I do not have to explain this issue.
"(Q) Does this mean that you support killing those whom you consider guilty and those whom Islam as you understand it describes as not innocent?
"(A) I support what the Sunni Muslim youths in Lebanon believe in.
"Mainstream and respected Qur'an commentator, Isma'il bin Amr bin Kathir al Dimashqi (1301-1372), known popularly as Ibn Kathir, declares that sura 9:5 [the last section of the Qur'an to be revealed] 'abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolater, every treaty, and every term....No idolater had an more treaty of promise of safety ever since Surah Bara'ah was revealed.'"Spencer also points out the following important information (pages 41-42):
"...Sayyid Qutb, one of the twentieth century's foremost adocates of violent jihad, taught (without a trace of irony) that Islam is a religion of peace. However, he had a very specific kind of peace in mind: 'When Islam strives for peace, its objective is not that superficial peace which requires that only that part of the earth where the followers of Islam are residing remain secure. The peace which Islam desires is that the religion (i.e., the law of the society) be purified for God, that the obedience of all people be for God alone, and that some people should not be lords over others. After the period of the Prophet--peace be on him--only the final stages of the movement of Jihaad are to be followed; the initial or middle stages are not applicable.'A few additional quotations from the mouth of the enemy:
"In other words, Islam is a relgion of the peace that will come when everyone is Muslim or at least subject to the Islamic state. And to establish that peace, Muslims must wage war."
"We have the right to kill 4 million Americans, two million of them children."Words matter. Pay attention to what the enemy has said. And know the enemy's definitions of the words.
-Abu Gheith, Al-Qaeda spokesman
"If a bomb was dropped on them that would annihilate 10 million and burn their lands…this is permissible."
-Sheikh Nasir bin Hamid al-Fahd, prominent Saudi cleric close to Al-Qaeda
"Our march has just begun and Islam will end up conquering Europe and America. . . And let no one think that we are Utopian dreamers."
-Sheikh Saeed Shaaban, quoted in L'Orient le jour, Beirut, 19 October 1983
"A believer...who takes up a gun, a dagger, a kitchen knife or even a pebble with which to harm and kill the enemies of the Faith has his place assured in Heaven. An Islamic state is the sum total of such individual believers. An Islamic state is a state of war until the whole world sees and accepts the light of the True Faith."
-Ayatollah Fazl-Allah Mahalati, On the Path of Justice, Tehran, 1980, pp. 70-71
Once you are aware of the subtleties of definitions and of the concept of Sura 9:5, you just might have a different take on this statement from CAIR , posted in 2001, and on the 2005 Fatwah Against Terror.