People were bused in daily from the provinces and villages who didn't even know where America was, and sometimes thought they were actually being taken to America. They were given food and money, and they could stay and joke and picnic with their families in front of the nest of spies [the American embassy in Tehran Iran] - in exchange, they were asked to demonstrate, to shout, `Death to America,` and every now and then to burn the American flag.
[Near the embassy] three men sit in a semicircle talking eagerly, ... If you move a little closer to this small group, you can hear their conversation. ... One of them has heard that the American are becoming Muslims by the thousands and that Jimmy Carter is really scared. He should be scared, another one says as he bites into his sandwich. I hear the American police are confiscating all portraits of the Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini]. Truth is mixed with wild rumors, rumors of the Shah's mistreatment by his former Western allies, of the imminent Islamic revolution in America.- Author Azar Nafisi observing Iranians outside the American Embassy where Americans had been taken hostage. From her book Reading Lolita in Tehran : a Memoir in Books. (Italics added.)
Those youth who conducted the [9-11 terrorist] operations ... said in deeds, in New York and Washington, speeches that overshadowed all other speeches made everywhere else in the world. The speeches are understood by both Arabs and non-Arabs, even by Chinese. It is above all [what] the media said. Some of them said that in Holland, at one of the centers, the number of people who accepted Islam during the days that followed the operations were more than the people who accepted Islam in the last eleven years. ....
- Osama bin Laden in Videotape found in Afghanistan by U.S. allied troops and released December 2001, http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Dec2001/d20011213ubl.pdf (Italics added.)
So are you one of those people who was brought to Islam by 9/11?- Smiling Egyptian-American woman talking to author in early 2002 at Mosque in an American city.
For many a non-Muslims, even creeper and more startling than the 9/11 killings or Khomeini-supporter hostage takings 23 years before, was this belief that it wouldn't lead to anger, retaliation, and more bloodshed, but to a sort of mass religious surrender. The enemy would convert to the religion in whose name the deeds were done. (Few Dutch nationals were killed on 9/11 it's true, but the fatwa that led to the 9-11 attacks: "we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims: The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military ..." [italics added] applies to them and people of many other countries.)
The weirdness of the idea is compounded by the fact that many millions of Muslims know the West much better than the West knows them -- or so you would think. Millions study or work in Europe and North America, and many more in North Africa and Asia have a working knowledge of English and are in daily contact with Western products, entertainment, culture. The woman mentioned above who asked me if I had converted, spoke English without an accent. So why did she and other Muslims believe something was going on in the U.S. and Europe (wide-scale conversion to Islam) that wasn't happening? In fact was essentially the opposite of what was happening -- the overwhelming reaction of Americans to 9/11 (and the hostage-taking before it) was beligerent, flag-waving proclamations of patriotism.
I didn't press the Egyptian-American on why as I didn't want to arrouse her suspision as to my sympathy, but also because I'm pretty sure I knew the answer: She had "heard" it happened. All over the internet you can hear the same rumours with little or no followup in the form of hard numbers, etc.
Rumours spread because people want to believe them and think they are half-way plausible. Why did she and other think this was the case? Some ideas:
Fight them and God will punish them at your hands ... God will make you victorious over them - Sura 9:14And especially that victory will lead not just to sullen acceptance by the defeated but conversion to the victors religion:
When come the help of Allah, and Victory. And thou dost see the People enter Allah's Religion in crowds - Sura 110:1-2
This was spelled out more in Sawt Al-Jihad, "an Internet journal affiliated with the branch of Al-Qa'ida" Sawt Al-Jihad
NOTE:quoted in English on Memri.org's Special Dispatch Series - No. 804
which urges Jihadis to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan by killing
GET THE FUCKING BEGINNING OF THIS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and goes on to offer some inspiring worlds
The Prophet Muhammad - in a prophetic tradition related on the authority of Abu Hurayra, [explaining] God's words, 'You are the best community ever raised for mankind' [ Koran 3:110] - said: 'That means you are the best people for mankind [because] you lead them, with chains on their necks, so that they accept Islam.' This tradition is related by Al-Bukhari. Ahmad [Ibn Hanbal] relates a tradition, with a proper line of transmitters, on the authority of Anas, that the Messenger of Allah said to someone: 'Embrace Islam!' The man answered: 'I find myself reluctant.' So [the Prophet] said: 'Even if you are reluctant.' [Sheikh Aamer Bin Abdallah Al-Aamer]
To Westerners, even thoroughly secular ones, there is likely to be a vague feeling that things like humility, sacrifice, kindness (even toward enemies), if not "turning the other cheek," are universal spiritual/religious values. Power, killing, and putting "chains on necks" may be a necessary part of life, but are more likely temptations to be resisted than divine rewards.
But even before the great conquests of Persia and Roman territory that built its empire the Muslim community grew through force, and celebrated force. An early breakthrough for the prophet Muhammad was the killing of the poetess (and mother of five) bint Marwan by a Muslim at his request. "The day after Bint Marwan was killed the men of B. Khatma became Muslims because they saw the power of Islam." [source: Ibn Ishaq Sirat Rasul Allah (translated by A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, page 675, 676)] Note that Bint Marwan's crime was not physically harming Muslims but verbally ridiculing the Prophet.
Another famous "tradition" of Islam is this telling exchange between an early Muslim (Muhayyisa b. Mas`ud) who had just killed a Jewish merchant and former business associate (Ibn Sunayna) on orders of the Prophet, and Muhayyisa's elder brother Huwayyisa. Huwayyisa berates his murderous brother saying
'You enemy of God, did you kill him when much of the fat on your belly comes from his wealth?' Muhayyisa answered, 'Had the one who ordered me to kill him ordered me to kill you I would have cut your head off.' ... The other replied, 'By God, if Muhammad had ordered you to kill me would you have killed me?' He said, 'Yes, by God, had he ordered me to cut off your head I would have done so.'Instead of making big brother Huwayyisa even madder this causes him to exclaim, "`By God, a religion which can bring you to this is marvelous!` and he became a Muslim." [source: Ibn Ishaq Sirat Rasul Allah (translated by A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, p.369)] [Note: the context of Huwayyisa's enthusiasm was the stateless tribal society he lived in. With no ruler, courts, police, membership in a tribe was literally the only means a person had to protect themselves from theives, rapists, murderers. His brother's willingness to kill was proof to him that the Muslim community was better, surer protection than any tribe. (Sword of the Prophet : Islam: History, Theology, Impact on the World, by Serge Trifkovic, Regina Orthodox Press, 2002, p.40-1) ]
The obvious conclusion from all this is that just as winning the hearts and minds of Muslims is crucial in the war against terrorism, so is making it clear to them that 9-11 was not a victory. Seeing buildings full of people collapse in fire, or hostages helpless will NOT make non-Muslims realize God is "on the side of the Muslims". Non-Muslims will NOT convert "in crowds"? Attacks will lead to counterattacks NOT to the growth and glory of Islam. Conversion and the expansion of Islam being the fondest wish of most pious (and even not-all-that-pious) Muslims, it follows that there is a inbuilt sympathy (maybe even subconcious sympathy but sympathy none-the-less) for killing non-Muslims by the rumour believers. It might even be that belief in the imaginary mass conversion is a way of expressing support for killing without actually comeing out and saying it.
So modern day Jihadis are following in the footsteps of the early Muslims (the ultimate role models for Islamic fundamentalists). The victories of Muhammad's companions over the Quraish (a powerful tribal group that had once lorded it over the early Muslims), led to mass conversion not counterattacks. So to will the victories of the Islamic Republic and Al Qaeda.
Christianity wins converts by impressing pagans with its unselfish love for others. Islam wins converts by showing its power and success so that others will want to be a part of its community. Is this this just that principle pushed too far?
If there's one positive side to this it may be that this is a belief that can be proven wrong. Given the love belief based on fantasy and rumour it may not be as easy as we think to correct this misconception.
9-11 is receding into the past. But aren't Muslim-non-Muslim relations healing to some degree? [insert poll on declining Muslim popularity] Why? I wonder if it's because what Muslims consider righteous and ineviable, non-Muslims (at least Western non-Muslims) consider breathtaking arrogance and ignorance.
Haneef, Suzanne, Text of Osama bin Laden Tape, (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 4:56 p.m. ET December 13, 2001),OBL: ]
When the apostle heard what she had said he said, "Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?" Umayr b. Adiy al-Khatmi who was with him heard him, and that very night he went to her house and killed her. In the morning he came to the apostle and told him what he had done and he [Muhammad] said, "You have helped God and His apostle, O Umayr!" When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, "Two goats won't butt their heads about her", so Umayr went back to his people.FROM THE SIRAT RASUL ALLAH, by Ibn Ishaq (A. Guilaume's translation The Life of Muhammad page 675, 676.
Now there was a great commotion among B. Khatma that day about the affair of bint [girl] Marwan. She had five sons, and when Umayr went to them from the apostle he said, "I have killed bint Marwan, O sons of Khatma. Withstand me if you can; don't keep me waiting." That was the first day Islam became powerful among B. Khatma; before that those who were Muslims concealed the fact. The first of them to accept Islam was Umayr b. Adiy who was called the "Reader", and Abdullah b. Aus and Khuzayma b. Thabit. The day after Bint Marwan was killed the men of B. Khatma became Muslims because they saw the power of Islam."
HADITH TO WORK ON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Following the Muslim victory at Badr and the return of the victorious warriors to Medina, the Prophet clamped down on his former detractors and enemies. When poetess Asma bint Marwan called for vengence against Muhammad for the killing of another critic of the Prophet, the very elderly al-Harith b. Suwayd b. Samit, Muhammad explaimed "Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?" One Umayr b. Adiy al-Khatmi volunteered and killed her that night.
"Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?" Umayr b. Adiy al-Khatmi who was with him heard him, and that very night he went to her house and killed her. In the morning he came to the apostle and told him what he had done and he [Muhammad] said, "You have helped God and His apostle, O Umayr!" When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, "Two goats won't butt their heads about her", so Umayr went back to his people. Now there was a great commotion among B. Khatma that day about the affair of bint [girl] Marwan. She had five sons, and when Umayr went to them from the apostle he said, "I have killed bint Marwan, O sons of Khatma. Withstand me if you can; don't keep me waiting." That was the first day Islam became powerful among B. Khatma; before that those who were Muslims concealed the fact. The first of them to accept Islam was Umayr b. Adiy who was called the "Reader", and Abdullah b. Aus and Khuzayma b. Thabit. The day after Bint Marwan was killed the men of B. Khatma became Muslims because they saw the power of Islam." (FROM THE SIRAT RASUL ALLAH, by Ibn Ishaq (A. Guilaume's translation "The Life of Muhammad") page 675, 676. "UMAYR B. ADIYY'S JOURNEY TO KILL ASMA D. MARWAN )
(CHECK DOCUMENTATION OF THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MAY BE IN IBN WARRAQ)
THE AFFAIR OF MUHAYYISA AND HUWAYYISA The apostle said, 'Kill any Jew that falls into your power.' Thereupon Muhayyisa b. Mas`ud leapt upon Ibn Sunayna, a Jewish merchant with whom they had social and business relations, and killed him. Huwayyisa was not a Muslim at the time though he was the elder brother. When Muhayyisa killed him Huwayyisa began to beat him, saying, 'You enemy of God, did you kill him when much of the fat on your belly comes from his wealth?' Muhayyisa answered, 'Had the one who ordered me to kill him ordered me to kill you I would have cut your head off.' He said that this was the beginning of Huwayyisa's acceptance of Islam. The other replied, 'By God, if Muhammad had ordered you to kill me would you have killed me?' He said, 'Yes, by God, had he ordered me to cut off your head I would have done so.' He exclaimed, `By God, a religion which can bring you to this is marvelous!` and he became a Muslimsource: Ibn Ishaq Sirat Rasul Allah (translated by A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, p.369)
COMMENT: How about that! Not "God you Musilms are assholes!," but By God, a religion which can bring you to this is marvelous!`
Trif goes on to explain that what amazed older brother Huwayyisa, was that now the Muslims were an alternative, probably a superior alternative, to the tribe as a community of self-protection and solidarity in stateless Arabia. "This was the true meaning of the Islamic iman, usually translated as `personal faith` ... It can be described as `sanctuary` or place of safe refuge. In Arabia, an outlaw would seek iman after being expelled from his tribe. Muhammad trusted the Medinans to protect him as one of their own. For an early Arab believer in Muhammad's faith, this meant nothing less than a complete change of identity. He did not belong any longer to his blood-tribe but to the Islamic umma, and would seek protection from Allah and his prophet. Those who did so and changed their minds were doomed ..." as apostates. (p.40-1)
************************************************** The people converted well outside the social mainstream. In effect, not just surrender but join the side of the attackers. will respond to attack outside of international law by joining the other side seems to add yet another level of insult. [TOO LONG] It seems to say if only we are cruel enough, audacious enough, insulting enough, the enemy will not just collapse, not just surrender, but fall all over themselves to become like us.
Needless to say any wave of conversion to Islam in 1978 and 2001 was small enough to be disappear under the radar. The rumors heard by bin Laden and the picnicking Iranians were projections of what they wanted to believe. [needs work] It's bad enough that thousands of innocent people are killed or that hostages are taken in a sort of national spitting in the face of another country, but the fantasy that the result will be the victims joining the other side seems to add yet another level of insult. It seems to say if only we are cruel enough, audacious enough, insulting enough, the enemy will not just collapse and surrender, but fall all over themselves to become like us.
Nor does taking a closer look at the attacks and the people doing the attacking soften the image. What ever the justice of bin Laden's group's "greivances" they have been so eager to kill Americans and destroy symbols of America they seem not to care how many non-Americans they kill. In a previous bombing of two American Embassies in Africa, the African fatalities (many of them Muslim) outnumbered Americans killed by more than 16 to one.
In the case of the Iranian hostage taking, the official reason for it was to stop enemy espionage and punish those spying (the embassy was a "nest of spies"). But the Islamic Republic's leaders made it clear their goal was not prosecution and conviction of the hostages, but a swap - US citizens in exchange for the exiled former Shah, now old, sick and powerless. He would return to Iran to share the fate of hundreds of others sent to the firing squad.
Not only were the terrorists saying "it is right and just that we kill thousand of your civilians until you do as we say" or "that we take your diplomats hostage and taunt you until you return a powerless, terminally ill old man for us to execute." They were telling us "you are so cowardly and uninterested and/or incapable of defending yourself that if we are cruel enough, audacious enough, insulting enough, you will not just surrender but want to become like us."
It suggests conversion is a natural result of jihad and the killing infidels, with defeated enemy prisoners "with chains on their necks so that they accept Islam," and the Prophet pressuring someone to convert "even if you are reluctant."
Islam by the losers who gave up their (polytheist) religion. New victories will lead to the same result among the new group of infidels who had hithertu .
bin Laden and the Iranians,
Two major attacks on the world's most powerful country done in the name of Islam, two decades apart. In both cases the attackers or their supporters, thought large masses of the people in the attacked country (or one of its allies) weren't becoming angry and itching to fight back against the hostage-takers or killers, but converting to Islam, the religion in whose name the deeds were done.
In a way this belief is more startling than the original aggression, making up in insult ("you are cowards, incapable of defending your right to live or be free"), what it lacks in bloodshed or lawlessness. Even the wierd lack of understanding of its victims (a reflection of their lack of interest or concern for the kuffar and how they think) seems an insult.
2001. Two huge buildings are destroyed and over 2000 civilians are killed. No warning is given. Civilians are fair game for killing - they don't even have to be citizens of the country being attacked. (After all, the buildings were part of the World Trade Center).
1978. 60 Hostages are taken. The hostages are diplomats and embassy staff, who under international law can't be kept as prisoners only expelled. Militants make sure their message gets through to the home country of diplomats, America, by chanting and demonstrating for the benefit of TV cameras, using the American flag to collect garbage, and posting slogans AMERICA CAN'T DO A DAMN THING AGAINST US! In a way, the message the events send to Americans and other Westerners is more startling than the original attacks
OUTTAKES the idea the 9-11 attack would lead to conversion to Isla
For me personally, the notion that many Muslmis belive killing leads to conversion was not restricted to a terrorist cult members or uneducated peasant provincials was brougth home while taking a class on Islam, where I was one of the few non-immigrants. On the first day, an American Egyptian woman in hijab peered closely into my face and asked with an almost preditory grin of delight if I was "one of the converts to Islam" she'd heard about who'd been brought to Allah by 9-11.
There's reason to believe this idea goes well beyond the confines of terrorist cult members and uneducated pious provincials, too. My own personal experience with it came while taking a class on Islam at a local mosque. During the pre-class chit-chat an American Egyptian woman in hijab peered closely into my face (I was one of the few non-immigrants) and asked with an almost preditory grin of delight if I was "one of the converts to Islam" she'd heard about who'd been brought to Allah by 9-11.