Unwitting Invitations

Making Bad Look Good

The word Da'wah in Arabic means to invite to something. When used in conjunction with Islam it is understood to mean "Inviting to the Way of submission and surrender to Allah."


Whenever a terrorist act is committed in Allah's name, here and abroad, mosques in Canada (the same phenomenon has been noticed in Britain) often experience a conversion bonanza. This has some imams concerned, and that is a good thing.

The leader of one of Ottawa’s largest mosques says he’s concerned about the spike in the number of young men who have wanted to convert to Islam since October’s terrorist attack in the nation’s capital.

Ottawa Citizen, Jan 15, 2014

One reason I suspect for the heightened interest in Islam after innocent people have been massacred for worshipping the wrong god, the wrong variation of the same god or not worshipping the right god hard enough is that mainstream news outlets, after each massacre, rush to publish opinions about Islam not being a religion that encourages violence, but exactly the opposite.

By portraying Islam as something it is not, as "Christianity with a towel on its head", to quote the former Chairman of the British National Party, the Western press invites interest from people who would not normally consider worshipping a variation of their god but like Islam's tough and unyielding message and have a yearning to kill and not go to Hell.

The Ottawa Citizen does this all the time, unwittingly, I have to assume, inviting people to what George W. Bush publicized as The Religion of Peace after 9/11. It was his way of distancing the religion from the act and part of the reason why it is now assumed by many non-Muslims to be exactly that, The Religion of Peace. And it is, if your idea of a perfect peaceful world is Saudi Arabia.

The Ottawa Citizen is of course not alone in making unwitting invitations to submit to the Will of Allah. The Globe and Mail issued a very persuasive invitation, as it often does after most newsworthy massacres, in a contrived interview with Sheema Khan, a regular contributor on Islamic Affairs, following the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo.

Khan quickly took control of the discussion from a hapless Lorna Dueck, host of Context TV, a program which, to quote the producer "explores news and current affairs stories from a Christian world view."

Like so many others who would explain to the layperson why believers kill, Khan begins by shifting some of the blame to the so-called Islamophobes (see The Sincere Deceivers for another example of this) and accuses these nameless entities of misinterpreting what the Koran teaches.

Bracketed "()" text, which you find in the transcript of the interview, may indicate that information was added for emphasis prior to publication by the Globe and Mail.

Lorna Dueck: These are difficult days to be a Muslim, and I want to go public with some private conversations you and I have been having on the trouble of radicalization in Canada … What are the core beliefs in Islam that are being used to justify violence?

Sheema Khan: These are indeed, very trying times … So, let us begin our dialogue from a place of strength, power and courage. Muslim extremists and Islamophobes are two sides of the same coin – in their exclusivist vision based on hatred. Thus it is not surprising that both quote (or should I say, misquote) the same Koranic passages as justification for their views. Violence is not a “core belief” of Islam. Violence has a role in armed conflict, but with strict conditions.

Khan gives examples of verses condoning violence, which she says are misquoted by extremists and the nameless Islamophobes. The fact that they both agree on the meaning should give you pause. She only provides the verse numbers. Following are the revelations referenced in their entirety:

2:190 And fight for the Cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not be aggressive. Surely Allah does not like the aggressor.

2:191 Kill them wherever you find them and drive them out from wherever they drove you out (from Mecca). Sedition is worse than slaughter. Do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight you at it. If they fight you there kill them. Such is the reward for the unbelievers.

2:192 But if they desist, Allah is truly All-Forgiving, Merciful.

2:193 Fight them until there is no sedition and the religion becomes that of Allah. But if they desist, there will be no aggression except against the evildoers.

In the Koran, unbelievers and evildoers are generally synonymous, and against evildoers aggression is not only permitted, but encouraged.

In any event, as revelation 2:193 makes clear to both extremists and Islamophobes, it is "fight them until the religion becomes that of Allah" i.e. fight them until we are all Muslims.

Often it is what is in not said by those who would defend scriptures where violent passages are omnipresent that is the most telling.

In her accusation about people misquoting verses from the Koran about killing those who don't believe what you do, Khan conveniently omits the Verse of the Sword, verse 9:5, and the Verse of the Covenant, verse 9:111 which are the overriding verses for Muslim extremists.

The Verse of the Sword is said to supersede all other verses on the subject of war and peace, and the Verse of the Salvific Covenant (do this for me and I will do this for you, save you, give you Paradise) as announcing a universal war, a jihad against all unbelievers.

9:5 Then, when the Sacred Months (these are the four months during which war was prohibited in pre-Islamic times) are over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them, take them [as captives], besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every point of observation. If they repent afterwards, perform the prayer and pay the alms then release them. Allah is truly All-Forgiving, Merciful.

9:111 Allah has bought from the believers their lives and their wealth in return for Paradise; they fight in the Way of Allah, kill and get killed. That is a true promise from Him in the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur’an; and who fulfills his promise better than Allah? Rejoice then at the bargain you have made with Him; for that is the great triumph.

One argument made for Islam's failure to conquer all of Europe was the Ottoman Caliphs placing a limit on converts from the conquered people of the Balkans.

Muslim rule was much preferable to the rule of the Christian feudal lords from which the Ottomans had liberated them. But, what the Ottomans needed was people to tax which is why they placed strict quotas on how many Christians could convert to Islam in any given year.

Allah with his imposition of the jizya on Christians and Jews not only made a ready source of income available to the Prophet, and all the subsequent leaders of the believers (the meaning of caliph), but in the process made Christians and Jews de-facto second-class citizens.

Lorna Dueck: What about all the Koranic injunctions, and the other sayings, that say non-believers should be second class citizens?

By non-believing second-class citizens Dueck means Christians, for in the Koran there are only two classes of non-believers: People of the Book (Christians and Jews) and polytheists. Unlike People of Book, people who believe in more than one god cannot keep on breathing by paying a tax but must be put to death on the spot if they refuse to convert to Islam when asked to do so.

Khan has to know that the jizya and other inequities against Christians is what the compliant host of Context TV wants to talk about. No matter…

Sheema Khan: When you speak of second-class “citizens”, you are talking about a state. In the past, members of “states” were primarily defined by religious affiliation, and governance of the state was based on interpretations of the Koran in that time and age. Within that paradigm, Muslims and non-Muslims had different rights and obligations within the state. That still holds true today, for example, in Saudi Arabia. Today, governance of nation-states has changed in many parts of the world, where citizenship is based on individual human rights and obligations to the state – irrespective of religious affiliation. Modern nation states with Muslim majorities have a range of statutes regarding minorities.

At a personal level, the Koran, and the life example of the Prophet, make it very clear that we are to treat people with kindness and respect, for we are all part of the human family. He was a mercy to humanity, and Muslims are to carry forth his legacy of compassion.

The Koran is clear on the concept, only believers are worthy of compassion. This may explain Khan associating mercy with Allah’s Messenger and not Allah Himself. You don’t even have to read between the lines; but is she here also being disingenuous?

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror, and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand."

Bukhari 52.220

Sheema Khan: Extremism is often accompanied with harshness, rather than compassion and mercy (which were the hallmarks of Prophet Mohammed)

Murder is completely antithetical to the Prophet’s life example.

It is true that there is no account, to my knowledge, of the Prophet personally killing someone in cold-blood; but there are authenticated accounts of his asking for volunteers to kill people for whom he developed an animosity such as the poets who satirized him in rhyme.

At the surrender of Mecca he discretely ordered the assassination of six defenceless men and four defenceless women, while pardoning the well-armed.

When the remaining Jews of Medina asked for mercy, he let a mortally wounded warrior make the decision knowing full well that it would be death for the men, and slavery for their wives, sons and daughters.

Khan's solution to the problem of extremism is "reformation while remaining authentic to the spirit of the Koran and the example of the Prophet." Go figure!

Only an honest dialogue on the Koran, which both the Canadian media and the Islamic establishment seem determined to avoid, offers any hope.

Bernard Payeur