Let's review. Get back to basics by parsing the infidelity of language. Let's start with an observation of Mark Twain, and dig into the “lies, damn lies, and statistics bureau” by way of the archives of Daniel Pipes...
Three so-called fatwas (even a novice in Islam knows they do not fulfill the definition of a fatwa, which has to be written by a Islamic jurisprudent in response to a specific query) came out in July condemning the 7/7 attacks in London.
British Muslim Forum: "Islam strictly, strongly and severely condemns the use of violence and the destruction of innocent lives." (July 18, 2005)
120 Canadian imams: "Any one who claims to be a Muslim and participates in any way in the taking of innocent life is betraying the very spirit and letter of Islam." (July 21, 2005)
Fiqh Council of North America: "Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives." (July 28, 2005)
Non-Muslims can be forgiven if they assume the reference to "innocent lives" includes those traveling on the Underground and bus lines in London earlier in the month. But the term "innocent lives" can be much more restricted in application, as a fascinating article in today's Sunday Times (London) makes clear.
Titled "Undercover in the academy of hatred," it is based on the covert research by Ali Hussain of the newspaper's Insight team. 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-raisingit is imperative for Muslims to "instil terror into the hearts of the kuffar," "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"
He also heard two speakers discuss whom they consider to be innocent.
Zachariah, referring to the London passengers: "They're kuffar [infidels, kafirs]. 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 on July 20 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."
(1) Muslim statements condemning the killing of "innocents" cannot be taken at face value but must be probed to find out who exactly are considered innocent and who not. In brief, Can infidels be innocents?
(2) For other assessments of the U.S. "fatwa," see the critiques of Abul Kasem, Yehudit Barsky, Steven Emerson, Christopher Orlet Steven Stalinsky, and the United American Committee, as well as the interesting quotations in an Associated Press report. See the fine analysis of the Canadian statement by David Ouellette.
(3) These documents fit a pattern of dissembling by Islamist organizations; for another example, see "CAIR's Phony Petition."
(August 7, 2005)
Aug. 10, 2005 update: Anjum Chaudry, a follower of Omar Bakri Mohammed and UK leader of the radical al Muhajiroun, appeared on the BBC program HARDtalk where the following exchange took place (at 4:20 minutes) with the host, Stephen Sackur:
Sackur: I just wonder why you won't condemn it when your own leader, Omar Bakri, said quite simply, "I condemn the killing of innocent people," on the 20th of July. Why won't you say what he said?
Chaudry: No, at the end of the day innocent peoplewhen we say innocent people we mean Muslims. As far as non-Muslims are concerned, they have not accepted Islam, and as far as we are concerned, that is a crime against God.
Sackur: I want to be clear about what you are sayingthis is very importantyou are saying that only Muslims can count as innocent people?
Chaudry: As far as far as Muslims are concerned , you are innocent if you are a Muslimthen you are innocent in the eyes of God. If you are a non-Muslim, then you are guilty of not believing in God.
Comment: "When we say innocent people we mean Muslims" – one cannot put it more clearly or starkly than that.
Aug. 30, 2005 update: In a bellicose interview in Lebanon (where he may feel he has nothing to lose in being more candid), Omar Bakri Mohammed publicly came close to confirming the above sentiments. He was questioned by Sanaa al Jack of Ash-Sharq al-Awsat:
(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?
(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.
(Q) What about killing in general?
(A) Sister, I do not say that I support killing in general. You said that.
(Q) But you alluded to a classification of innocent people. Does this mean that you support jihad in certain areas because of things that are being done against Islam?
(A) Do you think that the Palestinian resistance is not right?
(Q) I am not giving an opinion, I am asking about your point of view.
(A) I am against killing innocent people and I repeat this everywhere. This is my personal position.
Sep. 15, 2005 update: A Pakistani veteran of the jihad, Khalid Khawaja, explains his understanding of "innocents" this way to Steward Bell (as quoted in Bell's new book, The Martyr's Oath, p. 81): "We don't believe in killing innocent people but we would certainly like to send you into the Stone Age the same way you have sent us into the Stone Age."
May 19, 2006 update: MEMRI reveals today that Salah Sultan, a signatory of the above Fiqh Council of North America fatwa and a mainstay of the Islamist establishment in the United States, spoke two days ago on Al-Risala TV channel, where he blamed 9/11 on the U.S. government ("The entire thing was of a large scale and was planned within the U.S., in order to enable the U.S. to control and terrorize the entire world"). He also praised Abd Al-Majid Al-Zindani ("he is known worldwide for his refinement, virtue, and broad horizons"), although the U.S. government has categorized Al-Zindani as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" because of his loyalty to Osama bin Laden and his support of Al-Qaeda.
And thanks to Robert Spencer:
Let's fire off a brief note to those CAIR types, explaining that the coinage of the term "Islamophobia" is an exercise in blaming the victim, and that if Muslims want to end "Islamophobia" instantaneously, here's how they can do it:
- Focus their indignation on Muslims committing violent acts in the name of Islam, not on non-Muslims reporting on those acts.
- Renounce definitively not just "terrorism," but any intention to replace the U.S. Constitution (or the constitutions of any non-Muslim state) with Sharia even by peaceful means.
- Teach Muslims the imperative of coexisting peacefully as equals with non-Muslims on an indefinite basis.
- Begin comprehensive international programs in mosques all over the world to teach against the ideas of violent jihad and Islamic supremacism.
- Actively work with Western law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend jihadists within Western Muslim communities.
If Muslims do those five things, voila! "Islamophobia" will vanish. No UN program, and no action by European governments will be needed.