Friday, January 14, 2005

Islamic Legends of Beheading and Terrorism

The role of myth and legend, and other forms of sacred story, is to record an ideal image of the real and righteous that can be used as a pattern for action in the material world. For example, when Jesus drove demons out of a possessed man, that recorded a pattern for Christians to exorcise demons. For another Christian example, all the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church are based on Jesus' actions and words as they have passed into Church Tradition and thence into the actual text of the Gospels. And it is the same with other religions. The Truth of the Religion (what students of comparitive religion call Myth or Legend) holds a matrix of patterns that the Religion's believers will use to inform or guide their actions and to give meaning to their acts and experiences.

Q: All well and good, but what does this have to do with anything?

A: I'll get to it. That was just to state the assumptions I work with.

One of the most bizarre horrors to come to light in the post-9/11 world is ritual beheading. Apologists for Islam insist that ritual beheadings are as foreign to true Islam as they are to true Christianity or true Judaism. This, however is not exactly true. For the stories about Muhammad and other prominent Muslim leaders describe plenty of beheadings. Check these, originally from Andrew G. Bostom in FrontPage Magazine, out.
According to Muhammad’s sacralized biography by Ibn Ishaq [1, 2], Muhammad himself sanctioned the massacre of the Qurayza, a vanquished Jewish tribe. He appointed an "arbiter" who soon rendered this concise verdict: the men were to be put to death, the women and children sold into slavery, the spoils to be divided among the Muslims. Muhammad ratified this judgment stating that it was a decree of God pronounced from above the Seven Heavens. Thus some 600 to 900 men from the Qurayza were led on Muhammad’s order to the Market of Medina. Trenches were dug and the men were beheaded, and their decapitated corpses buried in the trenches while Muhammad watched in attendance. Women and children were sold into slavery, a number of them being distributed as gifts among Muhammad’s companions, and Muhammad chose one of the Qurayza women (Rayhana) for himself. The Qurayza’s property and other possessions (including weapons) were also divided up as additional "booty" among the Muslims, to support further jihad campaigns.


For centuries, from the Iberian peninsula to the Indian subcontinent, jihad campaigns waged by Muslim armies against infidel Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and Hindus, were punctuated by massacres, including mass throat slittings and beheadings. During the period of “enlightened” Muslim rule, the Christians of Iberian Toledo, who had first submitted to their Arab Muslim invaders in 711 or 712, revolted in 713. In the harsh Muslim reprisal that ensued, Toledo was pillaged, and all the Christian notables had their throats cut. On the Indian subcontinent, Babur (1483-1530), the founder of the Mughal Empire, who is revered as a paragon of Muslim tolerance by modern revisionist historians, recorded the following in his autobiographical “Baburnama,” about infidel prisoners of a jihad campaign:

"Those who were brought in alive (having surrendered) were ordered beheaded, after which a tower of skulls was erected in the camp." (The Baburnama -Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor, translated and edited by Wheeler M. Thacktson, Oxford University Press,1996, p. 188. Emphasis added.)

Someone named Hugh comments in a response to an extract of this article at Dhimmi Watch.
Muhammad often had his enemies, once they had surrendered, murdered. The most famous example is that offered by in the posting: hundreds of members of the Bani Qurayza tribe were killed, their throats slit. Muhammad is the model for all Muslims, the perfect man. He married Aisha when she was 6, and consummated the marriage when she was 9; therefore, Ayatollah Khomeini's first act was to reduce the marriageable age for girls to nine years. Muhammd slit the throats of those he captured; Muslims everywhere believe that they can do the same. No Geneva Convention, no Universal Declaration of Human Rights, no innate sense of what is right, can overcome the model of Muhammad, the teachings of Qur'an, hadith, and sira.

To which USAgirl replied
Ahh thats where the US MPs went wrong...unacceptable to make a pyramid of nude criminals..but totally acceptable to make a pyramid of skulls...bunch of sickos
USAgirl has it more correct than she knew.

One of the ways that apologists justify beheading is by pointing to public executions in western countries, or even to the death penalty itself. This is ridiculous. There happens to be a difference between lethal injection in a solitary chamber and a beheading. It's like the difference between a Moped and a Hummer. One can be against Hummers without being against all gas-burning vehicles. So can one be against beheading performed by modern-day assassins [1, 2] without being against all executions, especially those performed by a state or nation.

Beheading is different. Lethal injection or electric chair or even the hanging scaffold doesn't carry the same mortal dread as the Guillotine or a masked executioner with a head-chopping axe. There was a reason that the Reign of Terror that followed the French Revolution was so named: Terror of the Guillotine. Dr. Guillotine's invention, which chopped heads off necks snicker-snak all over the country, was a tool to terrorize and pacify people. Napoleon, one of the greatest and most terrifying tyrants in Europe after the Reformation, came out of the Reign of Terror. Even a tyrant like Napoleon was preferable to the rule of the Guillotine.

Now let's go in another direction, and explore the legendary pattern for Al Quaeda and its allied groups.

I mentioned the assassins a few paragraphs back. The Encyclopedia of the Orient states:
From the original sources, we learn that the Assassins changed the original Isma'ili doctrine, so that terrorism became a religious duty. Growing out from their centre in Kazvin, the Assassins built a number of strongholds all over Iran and Iraq.

Imagine that, a criminal gang of islamic murderers who warped doctrine to state that terrorism is a religious duty...
They had a system of terrorists as well as secret agents positioned in enemy camps and cities. The Assassins worked often closely with certain state leaders of Muslim states, as their services were attractive: no one else were better able to kill important persons in enemy states. They were for long periods allied with the Christian crusaders, not because the Christians sympathized with them, but because they had common enemies.
Compare to indirect support of terrorists to spite a common enemy, the Soviet Union who had invaded Afghanistan...
One of the most imporatant Muslim allies of the Assassins was the Seljuq ruler of Aleppo, Ridwan. Through this cooperation, they were able to establish themselves in the Syrian mountains, where several fortresses were erected. Without being declared in the same terms of other temporary states, the Assassins had in reality their own state here. But the Assassins's influence over Aleppo came to be immense, and they effectively ruled the politics and economy of the city and its surroundings for a couple of decades.
Just like Afghanistan under the Taliban...
Even Saladin came to treat the Assassins as allies, even if he started off with a campaign aimed at eliminating them. The reason for this alliance, was that Saladin, following two assassination attempts, feared for how own life, and that he had more imminent enemies.
Just like the Saudis have been paying off Al Quaeda for years to stop bothering them
The Assassins were ranked according to intelligence, courage and trustworthiness. The underwent intense education as well as physical training.
Now that sounds just like those videos of Al Quaeda training camps if you leave out the monkey-bars and tires.
When the Assassins were out on mission, they generally worked alone, it was rare that there were two or more of them working together. They dressed up as tradesmen or aschetic religious men, and use plenty of time around town, in order to get well aquainted with the houses and streets, as well as the daily routines of the future victim. But the actual murder was performed with a dagger and in public, often inside the mosque on a Friday. By doing it all in public, the information on the act was soon well known, and people were scared. In general, the Assassin murderer himself was killed immediately after by guards of the victim.
And the awful act itself was performed by suicidal murderers cloaked in a religious disguise, maybe or maybe not actually filled with religious fervor.

If we endeavor to learn from history how the Assassins were defeated the first time (by the Mongols, who were by no means gentle conquerors), perhaps we can learn how to defeat Al Quaeda and the other islamofascist fanatics who have resurrected an abominable, ancient sect and hope to crush the world under their iron boot and convert it to their twisted version of Islam by the sword, the book, and WMD.


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