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Commentary ::
Letter re: Islam to Can. Foreign Minister Bill Graham
14 May 2004
What does Jihad really mean? Is there a global jihad? How do Turkey and Singapore regulate Islam?
Via Regular Mail

14 May 2004

The Honourable Bill Graham, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
418-N, Centre Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Re: "Now is the time to reach out to the Muslim world"

Dear Mr. Graham:

I read with great interest your comment in the May 14, 2004 issue of the Globe and Mail entitled, "Now is the time to reach out to the Muslim world". You state: "... the impact of terrorists exploiting Islam as a pretext for violence has shaken the world and cast unwarranted suspicion on hundreds of millions of peaceful Muslims around the globe." Unfortunately, you are mistaken when you state that terrorists are “exploiting Islam as a pretext for violence.” The terrorists are doing actually doing just what Islam tells them to do. Offensive, violent jihad against non-Muslims is an accepted and respected part of orthodox (i.e. mainstream) Sunni Islamic beliefs. A belief in offensive, violent jihad against non-Muslims is not something just extremists believe. A majority of Sunni Muslims accept these beliefs; they just do not act on them.

You don’t believe me? Islam is impossible to understand without reading the Islamic sacred law, the Shariah. What does the Shariah say about Jihad? I will let the Shariah speak for itself. I excerpt below passages on Jihad from the Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law (Shariah). This English translation was edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller. The book is published by Amana Publications, Beltsville, Maryland, U.S.A.. I will be excerpting from the revised 1994 edition. The book is available for sale at It is also available at The book is self-described as follows:

This work is the first translation of a standard Islamic legal reference in a European language to be certified by al-Azhar, the Muslim world’s oldest institution of higher learning. It presents an explanative interpretation of ‘Umdat as-salik, a classic Sunni manual of Sacred Law by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 769/1368) that comprises the legal work of Imam Nawawi, the great thirteenth-century Shaf’I hadith scholar and jurisprudent. Ibn Naquib’s famous handbook carefully summarizes the conclusions of Nawawi’s legal encyclopedia al-Majmu’ on all aspects of practicing Islam, from prayer, marriage, jihad, and inheritance to the other facets of Islamic life. [from the rear cover of the book – letter writer’s note]

The above-mentioned book is a classic version of Shariah law. The information contained therein would be familiar to any Sunni Muslim.

What does the University of al-Azhar, the most prestigious institute of Islamic learning in the world, have to say about this book: "... we certify that the above-mentioned translation corresponds to the Arabic original and conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community (Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'a). There is no objection to printing it and circulating it." (p. xx)

The translator confirms the above remarks by the representative of al-Azhar: “… the authors of the present volume and their positions do represent the orthodox Muslim intellectual and spiritual heritage that has been the strength of the Community for over a thousand years, and the means through which Allah has preserved His religion, in its purest and fullest sense, to the present day.” (p. viii)

The following are excerpts from that book on the subject of Jihad:

pp. 599-603


(O [the following is an excerpt from the commentary of Sheikh ‘Umar Barakat]: Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion. And it is the lesser jihad. As for the greater jihad, it is spiritual warfare against the lower self (nafs), which is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said as he was returning from jihad,

“We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.”
The scriptural basis for jihad, prior to scholarly consensus is such Koranic verses as:

(1) “Fighting is prescribed for you” (Koran 2:216);

(2) “Slay them wherever you find them” (Koran 4:89);

(3) “Fight the idolaters utterly” (Koran 9:36);

and such hadiths as the one related by Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

“I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And their final reckoning is with Allah”;

and the hadith reported by Muslim,

“To go forth in the morning or evening to fight in the path of Allah is better than the whole world and everything in it.”

Details concerning jihad are found in the accounts of the military expeditions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), including his own martial forays and those on which he dispatched others. The former consist of the ones he personally attended, some twenty-seven (others say twenty-nine) of them. He fought in eight of them, and killed only one person with his noble hand, Ubayy ibn Khalaf, at the battle of Uhud. On the latter expeditions he sent others to fight, himself remaining at Medina, and these were forty-seven in number.)


09.1 Jihad is a communal obligation. When enough people perform it to successfully accomplish it, it is no longer obligatory upon others (O [the following is an excerpt from the commentary of Sheikh ‘Umar Barakat]: the evidence for which is the Prophet’s saying (Allah bless him and give him peace),

“He who provides the equipment for a soldier in jihad has himself performed jihad,”

and Allah Most High having said:

“Those of the believers who are unhurt but sit behind are not equal to those who fight in Allah’s path with their property and lives. Allah has preferred those who fight with their property and lives a whole degree above those who sit behind. And to each, Allah has promised great good” (Koran 4:95)

If none of those concerned perform jihad, and it does not happen at all, then everyone who is aware that it is obligatory is guilty of sin, if there was a possibility of having performed it. In the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) jihad was a communal obligation after his emigration (hijra) to Medina. As for subsequent times, there are two possible states in respect to non-Muslims.

The first is when they are in their own countries, in which case jihad is a communal obligation, and this is what our author is speaking of when he says, “Jihad is a communal obligation,” meaning upon the Muslims each year.

The second state is when non-Muslims invade a Muslim country or near to one, in which case jihad is personally obligatory upon the inhabitants of that country, who must repel the non-Muslims with whatever can.

0.9.2 Jihad is personally obligatory upon all those present in the battle lines (A[comment by Sheikh ‘Abd al-Wakil Durubi]: and to flee is an enormity) (O[the following is an excerpt from the commentary of Sheikh ‘Umar Barakat]: provided one is able to fight. If unable, because of illness or the death of one’s mount when not able to fight on foot, or because one no longer has a weapon, then one may leave. One may also leave if the opposing non-Muslim army is more than twice the size of the Muslim force).

0.9.3 Jihad is also (O[the following is an excerpt from the commentary of Sheikh ‘Umar Barakat]: personally) obligatory for everyone (O[the following is an excerpt from the commentary of Sheikh ‘Umar Barakat]: able to perform it, male or female, old or young) when the enemy has surrounded the Muslims (O[the following is an excerpt from the commentary of Sheikh ‘Umar Barakat]: on every side, having entered our territory, even if the land consists of ruins, wilderness, or mountains, for the non-Muslim forces entering Muslim lands is a weighty matter that cannot be ignored, but must be met with effort and struggle to repel them by every possible means. All of which is if conditions permit gathering (A[comment by Sheikh ‘Abd al-Wakil Durubi]: the above mentioned) people, provisioning them, and readying them for war, then whoever is found by a non-Muslim and knows he will be killed if captured is obliged to defend himself in whatever way is possible. But if not certain that he will be killed, meaning that he might or might not be, as when he might merely be taken captive, and he knows he will be killed if he does not surrender, then he may either surrender or fight. A woman too has a choice between fighting or surrendering if she is certain that she will not be subjected to an indecent act if captured. If uncertain that she will be safe from such an act, she is obliged to fight, and surrender is not permissible.


Those called upon (O[the following is an excerpt from the commentary of Sheikh ‘Umar Barakat]: to perform jihad when it is a communal obligation) are every able-bodied man who has reached puberty and is sane.



0.9.8 The caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians (N[comment by Sheikh Nuh ‘Ali Salman]: provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya) – which is the significance of their paying it, not the money itself – while remaining in their ancestral religions) (O[the following is an excerpt from the commentary of Sheikh ‘Umar Barakat]: and the war continues) until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax (O[the following is an excerpt from the commentary of Sheikh ‘Umar Barakat]: in accordance with the word of Allah Most High,

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden – who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book – until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled” (Koran 9:29),

the time and place for which is before the final descent of Jesus (upon whom be peace). After his final coming, nothing but Islam will be accepted from them, for taking the poll tax is only effective until Jesus’ descent (upon him and our Prophet be peace), which is the divinely revealed law of Muhammad. The coming of Jesus does not entail a separate divinely revealed law, for he will rule by the law of Muhammad. As for the Prophet’s saying (Allah bless him and give him peace),

“I am the last, there will be no prophet after me.”

this does not contradict the final coming of Jesus (upon whom be peace), since he will not rule according to the Evangel, but as a follower of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)).

0.9.9 The caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim (O: [the following is an excerpt from the commentary of Sheikh ‘Umar Barakat]: because they are not a people with a Book, nor honored as such, and are not permitted to settle with paying the poll tax (jizya)) (n [remark of the translator]: though according to the Hanafi school, people of all other religions, even idol worshippers, are permitted to live under the protection of the Islamic state if they either become Muslim or agree to pay the poll tax, the sole exceptions to which are apostates from Islam and idol worshippers who are Arabs, neither of whom has any choice but becoming Muslim (al-Hidaya sharh Bidaya al-mubtadi (y21), 6.48-49)).

As you can see, violent jihad against non-Muslims is a communal religious obligation. If you do not actively participate in violent jihad yourself, you can contribute money towards the jihad via the Zakat (the charitable donations that Muslims are legally bound to contribute to the furtherance of their religion and charity towards other Muslims) to buy arms and equipment.

What we are faced with here in the West and around the world is simply a return of the violent jihad that we in the West fought off in 1683 at the gates of Vienna and so on (you can provide your own historical examples, I am sure). The jihad has returned because Muslims only recently again had access to money with which to promote jihad and buy arms. Where did this money come from? From fossil fuel sales of course! And now more money comes from the Muslim Diaspora. Why do you think we constantly have to shut down Islamic charities for funding terrorist activities? Because Muslims knowingly contribute to charities that fund violent jihad out of religious duty! They know what they are doing. The jihad went into a lull for a short time because of a lack of funds but now it has returned.

If you do not believe that a global jihad is ongoing, I invite you to read the following article by Caroline Glick, entitled, Column One: Stop Navel Gazing (Jerusalem Post,, online edition, 14 May 2004)

We are in a world war and yet we do not notice it.

Over the past few weeks reports have abounded about the widening berth of the forces of global jihad. On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that al-Qaida linked groups are operating in Africa from the Western Sahara to the Horn of Africa. The jihadis in countries like Niger, Chad and Mali are being financed, trained and indoctrinated by religious authorities from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The recent elections in Indonesia ended with neither major party receiving much more than one fifth of the popular vote. In Indonesia's parliamentary system this means that the small Islamic parties will be able to exert great influence over the new government which will need to bring them into the governing coalition to rule.

In Nigeria this week Muslim mobs brandishing machetes butchered some thirty Christians in the streets of the city of Kano. The panicked Christians ran for shelter in police stations as they watched their co-religionists butchered and set aflame before their eyes.

The problems in Nigeria began in 1999 after elections brought an end to military rule in the oil rich country. Today 11 of Nigeria's 36 states are governed by Sharia law. Rights of women and non-Muslims in these areas have been summarily destroyed. Nigeria's turn to jihad has been spurred on by foreign Arabs. Palestinians, Saudis, Syrians and Sudanese have all been acting as advisers to the mullahs in Nigeria and have been actively funding and training the Muslim militias that have killed thousands of Christians there over the past few years.

In the Philippines, President Gloria Arroyo has given de facto autonomy over large swathes of the country to an al-Qaida linked group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front operating in the southern parts of the archipelago dominated by the country's Muslim minority. The MILF too is supported by the Saudis and other Arab states with money, arms and jihad indoctrination.

Both western intelligence agencies and casual observers are casting worried glances at Europe itself. With Western Europe's large and increasingly extremist Muslim minorities demanding cultural autonomy while preaching and funding and training men for jihad, many EU member states are looking more and more like Islamic countries everyday.
All of this should be taken into account when we look at the bloody toll of the Palestinian offensive in Gaza and when we observe American confusion in Iraq today. It should be taken into account because we must realize that our enemies are engaged in a world war against the non-Muslim world. When we consider our daily battles on our limited terrain we must not allow our perceptions to be distorted by that directly before us.

Yet undermine our perceptive powers we have. Although the Palestinians, like their Iranian and Hizbullah overlords have consistently stated that their aim is to destroy Israel in stages, we Israelis refuse to see the overall picture of their strategy. They execute Tali Hatuel and her daughters on the day of the Likud poll and we fail to understand the message. It is not, "Get out of Gaza, or else." It is, "Regardless of what you desire, we will push you out of Gaza as we pushed you out of Lebanon and as we will push you out of the rest of Palestine that you refer to as Israel."
But we don't see it that way. Our press, like our beleaguered and vain politicians, pushes a different story. In their story, there is no enemy, only Israel. There is no jihad, only settlers provocatively daring to live in their homes and soldiers carrying too much explosive material in their armored personnel carriers and tanks. It is the settlers who "endanger" their children and the soldiers who placed too much TNT in their APCs who are responsible for their deaths.

We do not see news analyses of Palestinian societal derangement that manifests itself in cannibalism. We do not see debates of what an Israeli defeat in Gaza means to a society bred from the cradle to the grave on global jihad and its requisite genocide of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel and beyond.

Indeed, we see no discussion of Gaza as part of a larger whole – whether that whole be the entire Land of Israel or the entire non-Muslim world. Because we limit our gaze with super telephoto lenses to see only that immediately before us, our picture of the war being waged against us is taken up almost entirely by ourselves with the enemy barely visible at the outer edges of the frame.

Rather than learning from our mistakes, over the past month or so we have seen our American allies repeat them in Iraq. There, the US has limited its gaze to itself. Can the US forces enter into sacred Shiite towns or not? Can US forces engage in house to house battles, risking civilian casualties in Fallujah or not? Can the US empower its allies and weaken its enemies in Iraq without being perceived (by itself) as imperialistic? Can the US continue its occupation of Iraq and campaign to bring freedom to this malformed Arab state when a handful of its soldiers besmirch the honor of their uniforms by abusing Iraqi enemy prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison?
The questions here are not turned to the enemy that transforms sacred cities into armed camps and hides behind civilians, rendering them either fellow terrorists or hostages. The question, why would the US send 135,000 US troops to liberate Iraq only to have them turn it over to the same UN supported Ba'athist forces they were brought to Iraq to defeat is resoundingly ignored.

The confused Bush administration is not asked why the president should seek the approval of the Arab world for America's actions or forgiveness for its failings. It is not asked this even though, as the American scholar Fuad Ajami pointed out this week in The Wall Street Journal, the Arabs preferred Saddam's butchers to the American liberators and prefer to see Iraq revert to pan-Arab fascism and tyranny to its emerging as a secular democracy.

Indeed in the recent weeks of American Israeli-style navel gazing on Iraq, we see little questioning of what US retreats in Fallujah and hesitancy in Najaf do to the forces of jihad throughout the world. There is little note paid to the fact that in the attack on foreign workers in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia and the beginning of the month, the body of one of the American victims was tied to the terrorists' vehicle and dragged through the streets of the city as the terrorists invoked the lynching of US contractors in Fallujah in late March to the crowd that formed around them.

In the US tendency towards Israeli style self-obsession, we see them like us, buying into the psychological warfare of the enemy aimed at forcing their retreat. So it is that in the barbaric butchering of Nick Berg, the American press reports as fact the terrorists' contention that Berg's beheading was retribution for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib.
Of course this is a lie. Daniel Pearl was beheaded before the US invaded Iraq. The workers in Yanbu were murdered a year after the US pulled its military forces out of Saudi Arabia. The US contractors were lynched before the Marines went into Fallujah.

When we pay attention to our enemies and see the scope of their ambitions and depth of their hatred we must come to a revolutionary conclusion. We, Israelis, Americans, and indeed all non-fascistic Muslims constitute the frontline in the war wherever we are. It was not US military deployment in Saudi Arabia that precipitated the September 11 attacks anymore than it was the Israeli presence in Lebanon or in Gaza or Judea and Samaria or Jerusalem that precipitated the Palestinian-led jihad against Israel. It is our existence that provokes our enemy.

Our enemies, the forces of global jihad, be they Palestinian or Jordanian, Saudi, Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian or Iraqi use all the means at their disposal to wage their war against us. From their television and radio stations and newspapers they incite for our destruction and feed us fictions of our own culpability to both strengthen their forces' will to fight us and weaken our will to defend ourselves.

In the UN, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and on countless other international stages they seek to criminalize us for our crime of defending our existence. In this they find accomplices among our own self-absorbed elites who are only too happy to blame the war being waged against us on ourselves.

When we limit our gaze to ourselves not only do we fail to take notice of the nature of the war, we craft national policies that harm both ourselves and our allies. In Israel, our self-obsession has brought about plan after plan all of which have weakened us and our allies in the global struggle. From the Oslo initiative to the retreat from Lebanon to Sharon's pullout plan from Gaza and parts of Samaria we have hurt ourselves and our allies.

We have hurt ourselves by weakening our ability to recognize our enemies as such seeing them rather as erstwhile peace partners. We have hurt ourselves by discrediting our own right to live unmolested as large swathes of our elites have preferred our enemies the Palestinians to our own citizens in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

In behaving as though the Palestinian branch of the global jihad is engaging in a war over a few kilometers in Gaza, Judea and Samaria rather than playing a central role in the global jihad against non-Muslims, we are making it harder for our allies, first and foremost the Americans, to see the true nature of the war they too are fighting. If it is only Israeli settlers who are preventing peace by living in mobile homes in Judea and Samaria then perhaps it is only America in its "arrogance" that is preventing the jihadis from coming to a meeting of the minds with the West.

As the jihad spreads throughout the world, we must stop finally with our self-destructive self-absorption. The butchers in Zeitoun who kicked the remains of our soldiers like footballs on Tuesday, like the butchers in Baghdad, Karachi, Riyadh and beyond who kill with barbaric ecstasy and primordial hatred do so not because of anything we have done. They do so because they are barbarians. And if we do not wish to be destroyed, we must do everything to destroy them and nothing to give them hope for victory against us.

I would further note that an arm of the Saudi Arabian government, the Islamic Development Bank, just recently gave 1.03 million Saudi Riyals for the “…expansion and renovation of the Islamic Society of North America elementary school in Ontario.” (§ion=0&article=44576&d=9&m=5&y=2004&p, Arab News, 9 May 2004) The Saudis and others are funding Madrassas and schools all over the world, not just in Canada. And what do you think is being taught in those schools? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” No! They are teaching, “Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given as believe neither in Allah nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what Allah and His apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the true faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued.” (Surah 9:29)

Why is it that the French Interior Minister feels it is necessary do as follows:

“We must face the issue of training imams," Villepin told a meeting of prefects, who oversee the application of government policy in departments across France.
"I ask you to help the Muslim faith get organized better and more quickly so a real French Islam can emerge," he said, adding that training programs would help the official French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) to supervise imams., (“Villepin targets non-French imams”, Reuters, April 22, 2004)

Why is it that in Turkey all the clerics are employees of the state? Why is it that in Turkey all religious schools are regulated by the state? Why is it that in Turkey the imams are even told by the state what to preach?

Turkey's young governing party, with roots in political Islam, has confounded critics and some supporters alike by transforming the nation's 70,000 mosques into bully pulpits from which preachers advocate women's rights and other democratic reforms.

The government's Directorate of Religious Affairs, which dictates the all-important Friday sermons, has instructed the nation's imams to turn their spiritual guidance to the arena of human rights and ridding Turkey of unwanted vestiges of traditional society.,1,781, (“Turkey orders sermons on women’s rights”, Catherine Collins, Chicago Tribune, 9 May 2004, online edition)

Furthermore, Singapore has a large Muslim population but we never hear anything about how it is causing a problem. Why is that? I have the answer for you: Singapore’s Administration of Muslim Law Act. . Here is a link to it:

You will note that the government appoints or approves all the Muslim hierarchy, decides where and if a mosque should be built, regulates Muslim schooling including curricula, regulates all aspects of the application of Muslim law and keeps track of Muslims so closely that it even requires every single, individual conversion to be reported to the state:

Register of converts
126. The Majlis shall maintain a register of the names of all persons converted to the Muslim religion within Singapore, together with such particulars in respect of their conversion as may be prescribed by rule.
Control of conversion
127. No person shall be converted to the Muslim religion otherwise than in accordance with the Muslim law and the provisions of this Act or any rules made thereunder.
Report of conversion
128. Any Muslim who converts any person to the Muslim religion shall forthwith report such conversion to the Majlis with all necessary particulars.

A conversion that is not reported receives the following punishment:

Neglect or failure to report conversion
138. Whoever, being under a duty to report to the Majlis a conversion to the Muslim religion under the provisions of this Act, wilfully neglects or fails to do so shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.

It is especially fascinating to me that the state even decides, for the Muslims, what false doctrine is:

False doctrine
139. —(1) Whoever shall teach or publicly expound any doctrine or perform any ceremony or act relating to the Muslim religion in any manner contrary to the Muslim law shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.

(2) In any prosecution for an offence under this section, where evidence is given by the President that any doctrine, ceremony or act is contrary to the Muslim law, the court shall presume that such doctrine, ceremony or act is contrary to the Muslim law.

Please note, because this bears repeating: "where evidence is given by the President that any doctrine, ceremony or act is contrary to the Muslim law, the court shall presume that such doctrine, ceremony or act is contrary to the Muslim law." In other words, the Muslims don't have a choice in Singapore about what their doctrine is. The President decides what it is for them.

Do you not think that this legislation is highly instructive? Can you not see the implications for Canada?

With all due respect, Mr. Graham, you are wrong about Islam. You are wrong to think that policies of appeasement will mollify Muslims. I remind you what Winston Churchill had to say about appeasement: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

Yours sincerely,

A Defender of Western Civilization

This work is in the public domain