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Why So Many Muslims Want To Convert Or Kill The Rest Of Us
Hassan Butt, a former member of radical group Al-Muhajiroun, raising funds for extremists and calling for attacks on British citizens, explains why he was wrong, why fellow Muslims must renounce terror, and, in turn, straightens out a few points about the reason many Islamists are terrorists. Butt writes in the London Observer:

...Yesterday on Radio 4's Today programme, the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: 'What all our intelligence shows about the opinions of disaffected young Muslims is the main driving force is not Afghanistan, it is mainly Iraq.'

He then refused to acknowledge the role of Islamist ideology in terrorism and said that the Muslim Brotherhood and those who give a religious mandate to suicide bombings in Palestine were genuinely representative of Islam.

I left the BJN in February 2006, but if I were still fighting for their cause, I'd be laughing once again. Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the 7 July bombings, and I were both part of the BJN - I met him on two occasions - and though many British extremists are angered by the deaths of fellow Muslim across the world, what drove me and many of my peers to plot acts of extreme terror within Britain, our own homeland and abroad, was a sense that we were fighting for the creation of a revolutionary state that would eventually bring Islamic justice to the world.

How did this continuing violence come to be the means of promoting this (flawed) utopian goal? How do Islamic radicals justify such terror in the name of their religion? There isn't enough room to outline everything here, but the foundation of extremist reasoning rests upon a dualistic model of the world. Many Muslims may or may not agree with secularism but at the moment, formal Islamic theology, unlike Christian theology, does not allow for the separation of state and religion. There is no 'rendering unto Caesar' in Islamic theology because state and religion are considered to be one and the same. The centuries-old reasoning of Islamic jurists also extends to the world stage where the rules of interaction between Dar ul-Islam (the Land of Islam) and Dar ul-Kufr (the Land of Unbelief) have been set down to cover almost every matter of trade, peace and war.

What radicals and extremists do is to take these premises two steps further. Their first step has been to reason that since there is no Islamic state in existence, the whole world must be Dar ul-Kufr. Step two: since Islam must declare war on unbelief, they have declared war upon the whole world. Many of my former peers, myself included, were taught by Pakistani and British radical preachers that this reclassification of the globe as a Land of War (Dar ul-Harb) allows any Muslim to destroy the sanctity of the five rights that every human is granted under Islam: life, wealth, land, mind and belief. In Dar ul-Harb, anything goes, including the treachery and cowardice of attacking civilians.

This understanding of the global battlefield has been a source of friction for Muslims living in Britain. For decades, radicals have been exploiting these tensions between Islamic theology and the modern secular state for their benefit, typically by starting debate with the question: 'Are you British or Muslim?' But the main reason why radicals have managed to increase their following is because most Islamic institutions in Britain just don't want to talk about theology. They refuse to broach the difficult and often complex topic of violence within Islam and instead repeat the mantra that Islam is peace, focus on Islam as personal, and hope that all of this debate will go away.

This has left the territory of ideas open for radicals to claim as their own. I should know because, as a former extremist recruiter, every time mosque authorities banned us from their grounds, it felt like a moral and religious victory.

Outside Britain, there are those who try to reverse this two-step revisionism. A handful of scholars from the Middle East has tried to put radicalism back in the box by saying that the rules of war devised by Islamic jurists were always conceived with the existence of an Islamic state in mind, a state which would supposedly regulate jihad in a responsible Islamic fashion. In other words, individual Muslims don't have the authority to go around declaring global war in the name of Islam.

...However, it isn't enough for Muslims to say that because they feel at home in Britain they can simply ignore those passages of the Koran which instruct on killing unbelievers. By refusing to challenge centuries-old theological arguments, the tensions between Islamic theology and the modern world grow larger every day.

Posted by aalkon at July 2, 2007 10:12 AM

Comments

...we were fighting for the creation of a revolutionary state that would eventually bring Islamic justice to the world.

Islamic justice? That's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one.

Posted by: Rebecca at July 2, 2007 11:19 AM

I find this very interesting. Here's someone who isn't telling us, "Not all Muslims are like that." Instead, he's candidly stating that those who commit suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism are in fact, representative.

Repulsive as it is, there is some encouragement, at least, in finding someone willing to admit this, rather than resort to apologetics. Is there hope? Time will tell, because I sure as hell can't.

Posted by: Patrick at July 2, 2007 5:43 PM

Hassan Butt? Now that sounds like a Muslim I could chill with.

Posted by: Lena Cuisina, Wanton Sodomite at July 2, 2007 6:14 PM

While we're on the subject, Hitch has a new piece out, starting with the car bombs but going on to much more. Click on my name to read. A good companion to this one.

Posted by: marion at July 2, 2007 9:41 PM

An interesting article, this one. I'm motivated to find some Muslim chat groups and find out more.

Posted by: Norman at July 2, 2007 11:31 PM

Marion, thanks for the link to that excellent and insightful article.

Posted by: kishke at July 3, 2007 9:14 AM

"I'm motivated to find some Muslim chat groups and find out more."

An excellent idea! Non-Muslims spend too much time arguing with each other over what Muslims do and don't believe and not enough time asking Muslims themselves.

Get them to explain "dhimmi" to you. That's usually a real eye-opener.

Posted by: winston at July 3, 2007 9:26 AM

I know quite a few chat rooms, but they are all in transliterated Arabic. Sorry. You can check the YT sessions between Atheists and Muslims. They are quite informative on the culture of Islam and its apparent conflicts with the West. You will notice a typical formula of criticism used by the devout and the eventual breakdown of dialogue between the 2 parties.

Muslim men will not directly debate with Western women in chat rooms. Early sessions of the debate, they may engage a Western woman, but as it progresses... they will use intermediaries via email and personal messages. One of my harshest critics was a young woman who was a devout Muslim. She attacked me for critiquing a cleric-wannabe on a message board. What was the cleric-wannabe's response? A public sign of religious solidarity? Nope. He attacked the Muslim woman in his response. Why? A Muslim woman was not acting properly in engaging a debate amongst men, even in criticizing a male infidel.

A word of warning though... you will get death threats if you are open in your criticism of Islam. On a weekly basis, I get a minimum of 118 death threats spammed on one of my email accounts. They are quite creative and very sexual in content. You know the typical routine: Slitting my throat. The raping of my wife or girlfriend and ejaculating all over her face before slitting her throat. Finding out where I live and slitting my throat. Facial mutilations. Burning me alive fantasies. Raping all the female relatives in my family. Forcing me to watch the mass rapings before killing me and so on.

Many of them are convinced that I am a former Muslim or an Arab (Middle Easterner), because of my knowledge of the region and religion in Arabic. They cannot believe an American can possess such knowledge and expertise without being a native or a CIA spook. So a great many of my fan letters are quite intense and personal in Arabic. Plenty of diatribes on the whole Iraq disaster too. Some of my responses are quite creative and exhibit my invisible hand approach in dealing with extremism.

Of course, most of my Muslim "critics" are from the U.K. Anyone surprised?

Posted by: Joe at July 3, 2007 2:01 PM

Sorry. I meant she is a devout Muslim, not was a devout Muslim.

Posted by: Joe at July 3, 2007 2:03 PM

Joe - Of course, most of my Muslim "critics" are from the U.K. Anyone surprised?

Should we be?

Posted by: Norman at July 3, 2007 2:55 PM

Norman,

I'm finding out more of the aggressive activist types are from the UK. There have been plenty of people warning about the threat of the unassimulated Muslims in the UK. Personally, I prefer to communicate through their native language, because you will run accross the annoying 17 to 19 year old Muslims who lacks any world experiences. The older they are the interaction will improve over time.

I'm curious about your experiences with Islam, Arabic or the Middle East region?

Posted by: Joe at July 3, 2007 4:21 PM

Glad you enjoyed Hitch's piece, kishke.

This week is reminding me that "May you live in interesting times" is a curse...

Posted by: marion at July 3, 2007 6:04 PM

My experiences have not been as harsh as joe's. Possibly because the message boards I've been to are usually moderated. Lot's of general threats to my culture, nation, "kaffirness" etc. But no threats of personal harm.

But I have also noticed the most extreme posters tend to be British.

Posted by: winston at July 3, 2007 6:08 PM

Winston,

I hang out at a variety of message boards and chat rooms since residing state side. My personal favorite is a forum in Arabic full of Middle Easterners who would like to see a strong secular movement within the region.

Personally, I like to poke the crazies so we are well aware of their presence. I did it over in the M.E. in a more subtle fashion.

I bought my Arabic translated versions of Mein Kampf and The Protocols at a bookstore in south London. At the time, I was informed by the clerk that they were the store's favorites among their customers.

Posted by: Joe at July 3, 2007 6:31 PM

Joe-

I was about to say "no experience" but when I think about it I do have several connections. Not enough to affect me in my daily life, but enough to get me killed in different circumstances.

My mother was Jewish, brought up in Egypt of German/Rumanian parents. (My father was Scottish.) I've visited North Africa from Morocco to Egypt, but only as a tourist; I did start learning Arabic once from my uncle but didn't get far. I don't remember seeing the outside of a synagogue, let alone the inside. That's the extent of my connection. I've been consciously atheist for most of my life.

You asked "anyone surprised" which I took to be rhetorical. Winston also says the more extreme responses are from the UK. Why should that be? British society over the last 20-30 years aimed at "multiculturalism." We hoped that different life styles would be able to co-exist peacefully; demanding that immigrants give up their own culture was felt to be unnecessary and insensitive. Equality in diversity was the goal. However, what happens sometimes is Balkanisation. Different communities form, and they don't speak to each other. Schools, which should bring people of different backgrounds together, become polarised and parents who don't fit the pattern will move house if necessary to get thei children into a school where they are not in a minority - which makes things worse. This was an unintended consequence of Tory government policy to give people more choice in schools etc; the inended consequence was that schools etc would improve because they would have to compete with each other.

Of course this does not lead inevitably to terrorism, but it sometimes led to race riots, and the direction it leads is not good. Recently things have been improving. We now have a ceremony for people adopting UK citizenship, and discussion on what constitutes "Britishness." The discussion gets absolutely nowhere; to my rather legalistic mind, we need a written constitution, and then anyone who wants to be "British" can swear to defend & uphold it. With Gordon Brown now on the throne, this may even come to pass. There is also a growing understanding that for people to live together in these islands we need more than just a common currency.

Newsflash - I've just heard that Alan Johnston has been freed from kidnap in Gaza.

And happy 4th July to all my readers!

Posted by: Norman at July 3, 2007 11:33 PM

Posted by: Crid at July 4, 2007 3:23 AM

There is also a growing understanding that for people to live together in these islands we need more than just a common currency.

A growing understanding by whom? Ordinary Brits or Muslims? The latter are the problem and their tolerance for others does not seem to be growing.

Posted by: kishke at July 4, 2007 7:11 AM

Kishke-

A growing understanding among people who write articles and letters in the press, etc.

Posted by: Norman at July 4, 2007 9:01 AM

In other words, among the people who are the least part of the problem. What's needed, though, is for those who constitute the problem - i.e. the radical Muslims and their enablers - to get the message. That is unlikely to occur without beating them about the head some.

Posted by: kishke at July 4, 2007 1:20 PM

Kishke-

Perhaps the radical Muslims and their enablers understand all too well, and that's why they advocate keeping apart. Though that's hard to square with attacks by people who seemed, before they attacked, to be perfectly normal and well integrated into British society - eg doctors and teachers.

Posted by: Norman at July 5, 2007 1:30 AM

Norman, in my opinion what's needed is not more niceness but less. They need to get the message that their antisocial, violent behavior won't be tolerated. This should be accompanied by changes to immigration law designed to slow the inflow, and by deportation of undesirables, defined as those who promote the violence. There should also zero tolerance for Muslim abuse of women, which seems to be some kind of third rail for liberals, who are loath even to recognize that it exists. I'm no expert, but from what I read about Britain, none of this is about to happen.

Posted by: kishke at July 5, 2007 8:22 AM

"British society over the last 20-30 years aimed at "multiculturalism." We hoped that different life styles would be able to co-exist peacefully; demanding that immigrants give up their own culture was felt to be unnecessary and insensitive. Equality in diversity was the goal. However, what happens sometimes is Balkanisation. Different communities form, and they don't speak to each other. Schools, which should bring people of different backgrounds together, become polarised and parents who don't fit the pattern will move house if necessary to get thei children into a school where they are not in a minority - which makes things worse."

This is happening in the US around minority communities right now, and their schools are failing regardless of funding.

Posted by: Radwaste at July 9, 2007 2:42 AM

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