Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

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The Ceasefire

The latest flare-up in a 59 years long war to wipe the Jewish state off the map of the world is fast approaching its expected closure. Israel is once again being forced to leave the job of eliminating the Islamist threat unfinished. The world's powers, blinded by their anti-Semitism, politico-commercial considerations, and regional agendas, want Israel to stop  pursuing its legitimate campaign to secure itself by eradicating the Islamist threat from its door steps: they want an immediate ceasefire.

They are not ready to accept that in case of political Islam, ceasefires are nothing but tactical pauses which are used as tools to gain time in order to recoup losses, re-arm forces, and rebuild terrorist infrastructure. For example, the world thought that the Oslo Accord was a step in the right direction – peace. But for Yasser Arafat who signed it on September 13, 1993, it was just a tactical ceasefire “Hudna” that could be broken at any time.

Political Islam finds a number of examples in the life of Prophet Muhammad that sanction the use of treaties as a tactical necessity. In explaining why he signed the Oslo Accord, Yasser Arafat cited a truce signed by Prophet Muhammad with the Meccan tribe Quraish at Hudaybiyah in 628 C.E. According to the PLO leader, Prophet Muhammad had signed the truce when he was not strong enough to win a war and it was to last for ten years. But when, within two years of the signing, the Muslims felt that they have gained enough strength to defeat the Quraish, they broke the truce, attacked the Quraish and captured Mecca.

A prominent Saudi sheikh, ‘Abd Al-Muhsin Al-‘Obikan, also referred to the same treaty while condemning Hezbollah’s actions in Lebanon. He issued the edict against Hezbollah’s actions not because he considered them wrong but because in his view Muslims, at the moment, are not strong enough to defeat Israel. He said that since the Muslims have no chance of winning this campaign against the Jews, a temporary solution is necessary - a truce similar to the temporary truce of Hudaybiyya.

According to the Saudi Sheikh, Islamic laws (Shari’a) also “place preconditions and constraints on the declaring of jihad, which must be considered in order to ensure the greatest gain for the nation and spare it loss - [that is,] in order to ensure the minimum possible damage and avoid greater damage. One of the preconditions regarding jihad [states] that the [the jihad fighters] must have [sufficient] capability to inflict harm on the enemy and to repulse its evil, so as to ensure the lives, the property, and the honor of the Muslims and to safeguard them from aggression or harm, that is, [from] destruction of property, from violation of honor, and from bloodshed.” 

Those who understand the Islamist ethos know that for political Islam, disengagement, a ceasefire, or a pull back on the part of the “enemy” is a sign of its weakness. No one has more experience with this treacherous mindset than the Israelis. It was Israel’s unwillingness to escalate a raid into a full scale battle in 1968 that helped the Palestinian terrorists to win the support of the masses. 

In March 1968, a party of school children from Tel Aviv was being taken by bus on an outing to the Nejev desert. The bus hit a mine planted in the road and two children were killed and twenty-eight injured. The enraged Israelis determined on a once-and-for-all punitive raid: they set out to destroy the Fatah base at Karameh, a village taken over by the Palestinians on the East Bank of the Jordan River. The Israelis gambled on the Jordanian army staying out of the fight. But they lost their bet and the Jordanians came to the help of the Guerrillas who, though putting up a spirited resistance, were being badly mauled. 

The Israelis, taken in the rear by a Jordanian armored force and unwilling to escalate the raid into a full-scale battle, pulled back, leaving wrecked armor behind. Arafat, ignoring the Jordanian army’s role, immediately claimed Karameh as a great victory for the Palestinians. Fatah had taken on the might of Israel and defeated the vaunted Israeli army- that was the message that rang round the refugee camps. The Arabs, anxious to grasp at any crumb of military comfort after the defeat of 1967, swallowed it whole. The guerrillas became the standard bearer of the Arab world. The recruits anxious for glory, hurried to Jordan to join the fight.”[1]

Since July 21, 1798, when Napoleon’s army defeated the Mamelukes of Egypt who had ruled Egypt in the name of the Ottoman Caliphate for seven centuries, Muslims have been dreaming of a day when someone from the Muslim Ummah will have enough faith, courage and dedication to stand up to the advancing armies of infidels. They have been yearning for a Salah din Ayubi who had defeated the crusaders in 1187 A.D., to rise from among the faithful and restore Islam’s honor. There is no doubt in my mind that the ceasefire at this stage when Hezbollah is still seems to posses enough rockets and other armament to continue to terrorize the Israeli civilians for some time, will be perceived as a total victory of Hezbollah by the Muslim world. The terrorist group will be transformed instantly into a standard bearer of global jihad and Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah will certainly become a leader worth emulation.

In Egypt, protesters and opposition newspapers compare him with the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Arab nationalist champion against Israel. “Nasser 1956, Nasrallah 2006: We will fight and never surrender,” read one headline in a weekly newspaper run by the Nasserist party in Egypt — referring to Nasser’s 1956 war with Israel, France and Britain. Nasrallah means “victory from God” and Nasser is “the victorious.”

The happenings on the Muslim street in the aftermath of Hezbollah’s attack on Israel leave no doubt in my mind that the Islamists are certain that they have found their Saladin in Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah. The masses are gathering in Cairo, Baghdad, Islamabad, Dhaka and other cities to celebrate the birth of a new Muslim hero. Even in Saudi Arabia, where demonstrations are rare, hundreds of Shiites waved posters of Nasrallah, chanting, “Oh Nasrallah; oh beloved one; destroy, destroy Tel Aviv.”

This war has already laid the foundations of a revolutionary change in the region. The Muslim world will never be the same. Observers watching the recent developments on the Muslim street have no doubt that a new Middle East is being born. But if a premature ceasefire is imposed on the Middle East, it will be very different from what U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has in mind.