Al-Qaeda Justifies Terrorism and Genocide
is the religion of Infidels - all of whom must be killed.
26.....As the US enters into a heightened Code Orange security alert,
as thousands of police and military personnel test the air of major cities
for traces of biological and radioactive substances, search bridges for
wires and ground incoming Air France flights one has to wonder - why does
al-Qaeda want to murder millions of innocent people?
According to Israeli
researcher Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi the answer is simple - al-Qaeda
believes that both Jews and Christians want to destroy the Islamic religion
and it is far better for al-Qaeda to kill us before we do any harm to
victory over the USSR in Afghanistan, the creation of the al-Qaeda global
network, and the spread of Islam in many Western countries are seen as
signs of an Islamic awakening that from the radical Islamist perspective
may lead to the restoration of Islam as the world's most dominant power,"
Halevi, who prepares
research papers for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, says
that in this new emerging world order, Christians and Jews are no longer
protected minorities under Islam. As a result, there is a dangerous trend
among militant Islamist clerical authorities, especially from Saudi Arabia,
justifying not only acts of terrorism against individuals, but also mass
murder against whole groups of people regarded as infidels. Their call
for the complete extermination of peoples means they have moved ideologically
toward the justification of genocide.
America is the realization of "the right of self-defense" in
retaliation for the terrorist war waged by the United States against the
nation of Islam," Halevi told the Israel News Agency. "Based
on the Islamic principle, one al-Qaeda leader argues that Muslims have
the right to kill four million Americans, while a Saudi scholar argues
for killing ten million."
in democratic Western countries become full participants in governmental
decision-making by voting in elections and therefore they are no longer
considered 'non-combatants.' Democracy is a prohibited innovation that
contradicts Islamic values and embodies a new heretical religion,"
Halvei makes the following
observations in his research:
- An official al-Qaeda
publication presents a new, comprehensive concept of total extermination
of Islam's enemies. Al-Qaeda's Saudi clerics are also having a growing
influence on other militant groups, from Hamas to Chechen groups to
the mujahideen in western Iraq: their legal rulings appear on the Websites
of these organizations in Arabic.
- There has only
been a partial moderation of these trends as a byproduct of Saudi Arabia's
internal struggle with al-Qaeda since May 12, 2003; some clerics have
called for discontinuing the practice of takfir - branding Muslims as
infidels worthy of destruction. But they have not altered their harsh
doctrine against Christians and Jews.
- Seeing the
West as "God's Enemy"
Global terrorism sprouted and thrived in the strongholds of radical
Islam. Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis, in "The Roots of Muslim Rage,"1
explains the rise of Islamic radicalism and the increasing hatred of
the West as a response to Western superiority and to the undermining
of Islam's authority by Western culture. The Islamic hatred is, according
to Lewis, an outcome of the collision between the Western and Islamic
civilizations and "an Islamic historical response to secularism
and the Jewish-Christian heritage." Lewis' approach provides an
essential interpretation of the roots of the current clash of civilizations,
but it lacks a reference to the implications of the accumulating hatred
for the West, which is viewed by many Muslims as "God's enemy."
- The present-day
radical Islamic outburst against Western civilization's hegemony emanates
from a perception of achievement: the Islamic victory over the USSR
in Afghanistan, the establishment of Taliban rule, the creation of the
al-Qaeda global network, and the spread of Islam in many Western countries.
These are seen as signs of an Islamic awakening that may lead in the
twenty-first century to the restoration of the glory of Islam as the
world's most dominant power.
- In this context,
the radical Islamic struggle against "God's enemies" has brought
about a significant change in traditional Islamic attitudes toward the
protected religions - Christianity and Judaism. During the golden age
of Islam, in most cases Islamic regimes treated Christians and Jews
with tolerance for being monotheists like themselves. They were considered
ahl al-dhimma, non-Muslim monotheistic believers who had the privilege
to be under the protection of Islamic rule, although some humiliating
laws were imposed on them (payment of a head tax; synagogues and churches
had to be built lower than mosques, etc.). The destiny of infidels and
polytheists (those who attribute associates to God) under Islamic rule,
however, was either conversion to Islam or execution.
- The End of
Protected Status for Christians and Jews.
In recent years, radical Islamic scholars have renounced the privileges
that Christians and Jews had enjoyed under Islamic rule and denied their
status as ahl al-dhimma, accusing them of crimes against Islam and deviation
of faith in God by attributing associates to God. This opened the way
to justifying mass killing of Christians and Jews under the flag of
jihad for the sake of Allah.
- The roots of radical
Islam's denial of protected status for Christians may be found in the
long-standing, accumulated hatred of the U.S. and other Western countries
as leaders of the Christian world. The U.S. is viewed as a global infidel
force menacing Islam with its ideology, social and economic values,
and hostile policy, seen in terms of a modern Crusader war against Islam.
Abd al-Aziz al-Jarbou', a prominent radical Saudi scholar, lashed out
at the U.S. in his book The Foundations of the Legality of the Destruction
That Befell America, presenting a thesis that was publicly lauded by
many Saudi scholars, headed by Hamud bin Uqla al-Shuaibi and Ali al-Khudeir.
Describing the U.S. as "the source of evil, moral corruption, oppression,
despotism, and aggression," al-Jarbou' explained that the U.S.
"spreads abomination and corruption in the world," "is
the biggest source heretical movies," "has more sex channels
and wine and cigarette companies than any other country," "wages
war against Allah's religion...and strives to impose its heresy and
values out of arrogance and a desire to dominate." "Even Satan
does not behave like America does," he wrote.
- On May 6, 2002,
fourteen Saudi scholars published a special announcement claiming that
the escalation in tensions between Islam and the West stemmed from American
and European foreign and economic policies reflected in their siding
with Israel, supporting globalization, and waging war on global terrorism.
They asserted that, "observing this conflict...between Islam and
the Muslims who follow righteousness, on one side, and heresy and its
forces, on the other side, will expose the identity of the enemy and
its flag [ideology], which developed after the rise of what is called
the new world order, the Madrid and Oslo conventions, other conventions
held in America and Sharm Al-Sheik [Egypt], and the criminal war against
Muslims called the war on terror. Thus, the genuine hatred and the nature
of this conflict between the camp of Islam and the camp of ahl al-dhimma
- the Jews and Christian Crusaders, and the hypocrites who follow them
[Arab leaders] - becomes clear."
- The confrontation
between Islam and the West is considered a zero-sum game, the outcome
of which is to be the absolute and total victory of Islam in the twenty-first
century. In his public message to the Muslim world on the occasion of
the holiday of Eid al-Adha (February 19, 2002), Hamas leader Ahmad Yassin
clearly justified the jihad against the U.S. in Muslim and Arab countries
on the basis of Islamic law. Jihad against America is a positive commandment
in every respect and is the realization of "the right of self-defense"
against "the Crusaders' war" and the terrorist war waged by
the United States against the nation of Islam in Afghanistan and against
the Islamic jihad movements in the world. Yassin emphasized that jihad
has a defined goal, which is to "bring Islam to a dominant global
position and release it from the hegemony of America and its Zionist
allies." He encouraged Muslims to perform jihad and to prepare
for an extended battle against the U.S., promising that the current
century, the twenty-first, is the "Islamic century, the century
of liberation, victory, and the fulfillment of potential."
- The Future
Conquest of Rome and All of Europe.
Similarly, the prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the
Qatari-based spiritual authority for the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood,
issued an Islamic ruling that, despite the pessimism among Muslims,
Islam will definitely prevail and eventually become master of the entire
world. One of the signs of Islamic victory will be the conquest of the
Italian capital, Rome, by the Muslims. Occupying Europe and defeating
Christianity will become possible, according to al- Qaradawi, with the
spread of Islam inside Europe until it becomes strong enough to take
over the whole continent. Al-Qaradawi asserts that "the signs of
salvation are absolute, numerous, and as plain as day, indicating that
the future belongs to Islam and that Allah's religion will defeat all
other religions." He relies on ancient Islamic traditions quoting
the Prophet Muhammad, who allegedly argued that the conquest of Constantinople
(Istanbul) and then Romia (Rome) are considered signs of the victory
of Islam. Al-Qaradawi wrote:
- And Romia is the
city we name Rome, the capital of Italy. The city of Herqel [Constantinople]
was conquered in 1453 by the young Ottoman, aged 23, Muhammad Ibn Mourad,
known by his nickname Muhammad the Conqueror. Nowadays, the conquest
of the other city Romia [Rome] remains unfulfilled. Namely, Islam will
return once more to Europe as a conqueror and as a victorious power
after it was expelled twice from the continent....I assume that next
time the conquest [of Europe] will not be achieved by the sword [i.e.,
war] but by preaching (daawa) and spreading the ideology [of Islam]....The
conquest of Romia [Rome] and the expansion of Islam will reach all the
areas where the sun shines and the moon appears [i.e., the entire world]....That
will be the result of a planted seed and the beginning of the righteous
Caliphate's return....[The Islamic Caliphate] deserves to lead the nation
to the plains of victory.
- Al-Qaradawi's influence,
it should be stressed, is widespread. His religious rulings not only
appear on the websites of Muslim Brotherhood subsidiaries, like Hamas,
but also on the websites of Saudi-inspired groups fighting the U.S.
in western Iraq and on the websites of Chechen Islamists.
- The State
of Confrontation with the West.
The state of confrontation with the West is considered by radical Muslim
scholars not as something predestined from God, which Muslims have to
endure until salvation, but as an opportunity to promote Islamic awareness
and to release themselves from Western dominance and values. The first
step to be taken from a religious perspective is to define the United
States, the leader of the free world, as an "enemy" that is
waging a "religious war" against Islam, and on this basis
to issue Islamic rulings that the U.S. and its allies belong to dar
al-harb (the realm of war). The command of jihad applies not only to
Muslims on the confrontation lines in the Muslim and Arab worlds, but
to all Muslims living in the areas of the enemy as well. Al-Jarbou'
has ruled that the current state of relations between Islam and the
West is to be expressed as one of total war against the infidels. America,
according his viewpoint, is not a regime with which Islam can maintain
normal relations until Islam becomes strong enough to launch a jihad
against it. Nor is it a regime that deserves the tolerant and peaceful
attitude from Islam accorded to Christians and Jews as protected minorities
under Islamic rule (ahl al-dhimma). Criticizing other Muslim scholars
who "neglected their duty" to define the state of relations
with America as one of all-out war, al-Jarbou' unequivocally ruled that
the definition of the U.S. as dar al-harb obliges all Muslims to prepare
in practice for the war against the infidels.
- Another Saudi scholar,
Salman bin Fahed al-'Auda, in his book The End of History, asserts that
the solution to Islamic distress - that may bring about the fall of
America and the Western world - "exists in one word which is Jihad"
(emphasis in original). According to al-'Auda, the meaning of jihad
is much broader than fighting with a sword (the Islamic symbol of jihad).
Appealing to Muslims throughout the world, he wrote: "We should
not simplify this issue and narrow its meaning to a restricted military
battle in one of the Islamic regions or even to an all-out war against
the West, which is possible and predicted and we assume is arriving
[emphasis added]." He continues: "Life as a whole is a battlefield.
The weapons are not only the rifle, the bullet, the airplane, the tank,
and the cannon. Not at all! Thinking is a weapon, the economy is a weapon,
money is a weapon, water is a weapon, planning is a weapon, unity is
a weapon, and so there are many types of weapons." In The End of
History, al-'Auda concluded that the West by itself was already in an
advanced state of decay: "The West, and above all the United States,
and Western culture, in general are undergoing a historical process
that is deterministic. This process leads to its total collapse, sooner
or later." His jihad was intended to accelerate that collapse.
During the 1990s, he was regarded as the most influential preacher in
in Infidel States Deserve to Die.
Islamic law concerning the state of war between Islam and the West also
requires Islamic scholars to deal with issues regarding the laws of
war and the definition of "combatants" and "non-combatants."
The innovation observed in Islamic religious rulings issued by radical
Muslim scholars in recent years refers to a broadening of the definition
of "combatants" who deserve death in jihad to all residents
living in infidel states. The laws of war are considered to apply to
all civilians and they are perceived in the same way as soldiers fighting
on the battlefield. Such a position cancels the right of Jews and Christians
to receive protection under Islam and from a religious perspective turns
all Western civilians into "combatants." It relies on various
religious arguments: Imitating the way of life and behavior of the Prophet
Muhammad in his policy toward ahl al-dhimma, reacting on the basis of
retaliation, and excluding Jews and Christians from the definition of
monotheism and re-defining them as polytheists.
- On June 28, 2002,
28 scholars from the Al-Azhar Institute in Egypt determined that killing
large numbers of Israeli civilians in Palestinian suicide bombing attacks
was the "noblest act of jihad." They justified killing Jews
by arguing that Israel is a racist, military state that took Muslim
land illegally by force. Muslims have, therefore, the right under Islamic
law to rise up in jihad against the occupation in order to liberate
their lands. The Al-Azhar scholars argued that in conducting jihad there
is no need to make any distinction between soldiers and civilians. The
correct distinction has to be made between peace-seekers (Muslims) and
warmongers (Jews), and between the attackers (Jews) and the attacked
(Muslims). Following this religious outlook, the Jews are robbers of
Islamic land who contaminate the sacred sites of Islam and, therefore,
they have been defined as "combatants, no matter what kind of clothes
- In April 2002,
Sheikh Hamed al-Ali, a lecturer on Islamic culture in Kuwait and one
of the leaders of the radical Salafi stream, clarified in a religious
ruling the circumstances in which it is permitted to kill civilians
in the cause of jihad without violating the Prophet Muhammad's command
prohibiting the murder of women and children. These include: Participation
in war - For civilians "who knowingly take part in combat or advise
and encourage others to do so, etc., the prohibition against killing
them does not apply and it is permitted to kill them in war....It should
be noted that an army involved in modern warfare also includes soldiers
who are non-combatants, some of whom serve in combat support roles and
without whom conducting a war would not be possible. For example there
are those who operate computers which manage military activities; military
personnel involved in strategic planning; reserve forces who supervise
mobilization of soldiers and prepare them for battle, if only on an
administrative level; intelligence personnel, etc. All are included
in the fate of those who encourage war against Muslims, and it is permitted
to intentionally kill them in battle." According to al-Ali, all
citizens of Israel are to be considered combatants because of Israel's
compulsory military service law, which includes women, in addition to
the fact that its general population is party to government policy due
to the taxes it pays and its participation in elections.
- Collateral damage
to civilians during attacks on military targets - "When Muslims
are forced to launch an all-out attack on enemies or bomb them from
a distance and this may cause the death of women, children, and other
civilians, it is imperative to ensure that they are not killed intentionally.
However, if they are killed during such attacks, killing them does not
constitute a sin."
- In a similar vein,
Sheikh Suliman bin Nasser al-Ulwan, a Saudi scholar, issued a ruling
on May 18, 2001, which defined the suicide attacks against the "exploitive
Jews" in "Palestine" and against the "aggressive
Christians" in Chechnya as "acts of self-sacrifice according
to the way of Allah," and are therefore legitimate means of warfare
from a religious perspective." He is cited in a December 2001,
al-Qaeda videotape when a visiting Saudi tells Osama bin Laden that
he is bringing "a beautiful fatwa" from al-Ulwan.
- Sheikh al-Ulwan
argued that it is not prohibited to kill children as a consequence of
suicide actions if the perpetrator of such an action had no premeditative
intent to kill them. Nevertheless, al-Ulwan includes "all the Jews
in Palestine" in his definition of "combatants," adding
that, "If jihad fighters are not able to kill combatants [only]
without [also] killing children [who are with them], there is no problem
in such cases if they [the children] are killed." In this context,
al-Ulwan provides religious legitimacy for blowing up buildings "on
the Jews' heads" indiscriminately and permitting the murder of
Jewish women, who serve in the military and take part in the "aggression"
by the very fact of being part of the "plundering" of Muslim
lands, and because of their "moral corruption." His impact
has reached beyond the borders of Saudi Arabia. For example, al-Ulwan's
writings have been found in schools belonging to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Thus, one of the major al-Qaeda spiritual leaders has been influencing
the development of religious and political thinking of the Palestinians
- A more decisive
approach to ordering the indiscriminate killing of Jews is presented
by the learned Saudi cleric Muhammad Saleh al-Munajjid in a fatwa issued
in April 2003: "The Jews distorted the religion of Allah...murdered
the prophets and denied the existence of Allah; they are intriguers,
frauds, and traitors...bringing corruption to Muslim communities...set
fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque...desecrated the Quran...committed massacres;
so how is it possible for Muslims not to rejoice at murdering the infidel,
thieving Jews? Moreover, Allah will satisfy his believers by destroying
and exterminating them all. This is our right as Muslims as was promised
by our Prophet....Allah will bring us to defeat and master them according
to the Islamic tradition: Fight the Jews and defeat them until the rock
says: 'O Muslim, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!'"
- All those involved
in fighting Muslims, both Christians and Jews, are regarded as "combatants"
in Muslim eyes. However, a particularly negative status is reserved
for Jews, who are regarded as the source of all evil not only in the
context of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict but due to their
"inherent characteristics" and the "danger they embody
to mankind." In a statement issued in December 2002 to "enlighten
young Muslims," the Hamas movement describes Jews in wholly anti-Semitic
terms in a way that divests them of any vestige of humanity. Jews are
described as a nation of "despicable lowlifes," "traitors,"
and "liars" who are "arrogant," "corrupt,"
and "cursed," who include other gods in their beliefs and
distort the Holy Scriptures." The Jews are accused of attempting
to murder the prophet Muhammad, of seditiously creating the religious
conflict that resulted in the split between the Shia and the Sunni,
of the murder of Ali (founder of the Shia), and of supporting the collapse
of the Ottoman Caliphate. The document ends with an appeal to Muslim
youth warning that "the Jews control the centers of power in the
world," "spread lechery and abomination," "are behind
all current and past wars," and are responsible for "almost
all corruption and perversion that occurs in the Muslim world."
- A similar description
of the characteristics of the Jewish nation can be found in a sermon
given by the imam of the central mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Abd al-Rahman
al-Sudays, in May 2002, describing the Jews as "infidels,"
"calf-worshippers," "prophet-murderers," who even
"tried to kill the prophet Muhammad," "distorters of
prophecies," the "scum of humanity," "corrupt,"
'treacherous," and "conniving." He prayed to God saying:
"I wish the enemies of Islam and Muslims, the Jews, the pagans
and other corrupted people, will be humiliated....Allah, exercise your
power against the Jews. Allah, destroy them with sharpened tools and
take them out of Al-Aqsa Mosque."
- One of al-Qaeda's
leaders, identified by his nickname, Abu Ayman al-Hilali, in an article
published in the periodical Al-Ansar, defined the U.S., Britain, France,
Italy, Canada, Germany, and Australia as "enemies," while
praising the mass-murder attacks committed by al-Qaeda operatives in
the U.S., Tunisia, Yemen, Bali, Moscow, and elsewhere. He justified
killing Western civilians in these attacks for the following reasons:
The citizens in democratic Western countries become full participants
in governmental decision-making by voting in elections and therefore
they are no longer considered "non-combatants" as in past
wars. The citizens in Western countries are full participants in the
war their governments are waging against Islam. Their designation by
al-Qaeda as "targets" was a reaction to the aggressive policies
of their governments. Al-Hilali asserted that even those in the West
who oppose their governments' policies have no immunity from al-Qaeda's
jihad since they are a small minority without real influence and cannot
be distinguished during the commission of attacks.
The Religion of the Infidels
Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, leader of the Bayat al-Imam extremist group
whose operatives were arrested in Jordan in 1995, takes a further step
in his book Democracy is a Religion in denying the traditional protection
given by Islam to Jews and Christians. They become "combatants"
and infidels and lose their status of ahl al-dhimma not only because
of their participation in elections, but as a result of their endorsement
of democracy and its values. For al-Maqdisi, democracy is a prohibited
innovation that contradicts Islamic values and embodies a new heretical
religion. Its followers are "infidels" and "polytheists,"
even if they consider themselves as Jews or Christians by religion.
Al-Maqdisi based his claim on the following arguments: "Democracy
gives legitimacy to the legislation of the masses or to the despotic
regime. It is not [the expression of] the rule of Allah....Allah ordered
his Prophet to execute the commands given to him and forbade him to
follow the emotions of the nation, the masses, and the people."
is the rule of the masses or the rule of paganism, which is conducted
according to a constitution [written by humans] and not according Allah's
laws....It [democracy] has become the mother of laws and is considered
[by the masses] as a holy book. The religion of democracy has no relation
to Quranic verses or the Prophet's way of life and it is not possible
to legislate according to them unless they are compatible with the holy
book [the constitution]."
is an outcome of despicable secularism and its illegitimate daughter,
since secularism is a heretical school striving to separate religion
from state and government."
- Al-Maqdisi concludes:
"Democracy is a religion that is not Allah's religion....It is
the rule of paganism...it is a religion which includes other gods in
its belief...the people represented in the religion of democracy by
its delegates in the parliament...who are actually standing idols and
false gods placed in their chapels and their pagan fortresses, namely,
their legislative councils. They and their followers rule according
to the religion of democracy and the constitution's laws upon which
the government is based, and according to the paragraphs of their legislation....Their
master is their God, their big idols who approve or reject legislation.
He is their emir, their king, or their president."
Islamic Retaliation: 4 Million or 10 Million American Deaths?
As noted, radical Islamic scholars rely in their rulings on
the principle of retaliation while justifying indiscriminate mass murder
of Christians. Suliman Abu Ghaith, a prominent al-Qaeda leader, in his
famous series of public letters entitled Under the Shade of the Lances
and directed at Muslim youth, listed the crimes of the U.S. against
the Arab and Muslim world. He argued that the U.S. is responsible directly
and indirectly, in its long-lasting war on Islam, for the death of four
million Muslims, including 1.2 million Iraqis, 260,000 Palestinians
(as a result of its support for Israel), 12,000 Afghans and Arab fighters,
13,000 Somalis, and millions more throughout the world. From his perspective,
al-Qaeda's attacks in Washington and New York in September 2001 are
not enough to balance the equation of killing. Basing his claims on
the Islamic principle of retaliation, Abu Ghaith argues that Muslims
have the right to kill four million Americans, including one million
children, to displace eight million Americans, and to cripple hundreds
of thousands more. Moreover, Abu Ghaith asserts that Muslims are religiously
entitled to use chemical and biological weapons in their war against
- Nasser bin Hamed
al-Fahd, another prominent Saudi Salafi scholar, in an Islamic ruling
published in May 2003, approved the use of weapons of mass destruction
against America. He also based his indictment on the principle of retaliation,
but argued that Muslims have the right to kill ten million Americans
in response to the crimes of their government against the Muslim nation.
Al-Fahd elaborated the circumstances under which it is religiously permitted
to kill non-combatant Americans: During a military operation when it
is hard to distinguish between soldiers and civilians and according
to military needs or considerations. Ascribing great importance to the
military considerations, he asserted that the military leaders who are
responsible for the execution of jihad have the authority to make the
decisions concerning what types of weapons to use against the infidels.
If they decided to use weapons of mass destruction based on military
need, it would be an obligation under Islamic law.
- Similarly, radical
Muslim scholars have justified the killing of 2,750 civilians in al-Qaeda's
September 2001 attacks. A senior al-Qaeda operative named Saif al-Din
al-Ansari argued in his book The September 11th Attack that the killing
of thousands of civilians in the suicide attacks did not go beyond the
"special circumstances" in which Muslims are religiously permitted
to kill infidel civilians. These attacks were justified because they
were conducted according to the principle of retaliation as well as
the Islamic religious principle that permits the killing of civilians
when necessary in order to destroy the enemy's fortresses, when it is
impossible to differentiate between military and civilians. Support
for this position has also been expressed by Saudi Islamic scholars
Hamud bin Uqla al-Shuaibi and Ali al-Khudeir.
- Hamud bin Uqla
al-Shuaibi referred to the September attacks in his Islamic ruling as
follows: "Any decisions taken by the American infidel state, particularly
those dealing with war and other critical decisions, are taken based
upon public opinion surveys or representatives' voting in their infidel
legislatures. These legislatures represent primarily the people's opinion....Therefore,
any American citizen who voted for the war is considered a combatant
or at least an accessory [to the war]."
- The Saudi Sheikh
Ali al-Khudier wrote in another Islamic ruling: "We should not
regret the deaths of civilians in the Twin Towers attack since the American
is an infidel because of his connection to his government. He fights
for it, supports it with money, opinions or advice, and this is the
type of their political regime. Therefore, they deserved what they experienced,
since their fighting, support, and opinions deserve punishment."
Total Extermination of Islam's Enemies
Al-Qaeda has adopted a broader interpretation of the religious command
concerning the killing of infidels. It is considered an absolute command
that does not depend on political circumstances, the need or will to
take revenge, or a wish to liberate Muslim lands from infidel rule.
Saif al-Din al-Ansari, in an article in al-Qaeda's official periodical,
presented the new, comprehensive concept of total extermination of Islam's
enemies based on the Quranic verse: "And that He may purge those
who believe and deprive the unbelievers of blessings" (Al-Imran,
142). According to al-Ansari, this is the way Allah deals with infidels,
who are doomed throughout history to total extermination through various
types of death, as was the fate of the people of Noah, Hod, Saleh, Lot,
Midian, and Pharaoh. Al-Ansari asserted that the extermination of infidels
is a permanent Islamic law and unchangeable fate for infidels that is
as relevant today as it was in past generations. According to al-Ansari,
"Just as the law of extermination was applied to the infidel forces
among the nations in previous days and no one could escape it, so it
will be applied to the infidel forces in our day and no one will escape
it. Namely, similar to the fate of the Thamoud and 'Ad peoples [two
pagan Arab peoples which, according to Islamic tradition, were exterminated
due to their rejection of the words of the Prophet], so the American
state, the Jewish state, and all other infidel countries will certainly
- Al-Ansari further
developed his concept of total extermination in a subsequent article.
First, he firmly criticized the Islamic movements that raise the banner
of daawa (Islamic preaching) and support the gradual spread of Islam
through education, social organizations, and the economy as the preferred
means to bring about the victory of Islam over other religions. He asserts
that Allah has the power and might to subdue the infidels and to exterminate
them by his will. However, He has not done so because of His wish to
designate this task to Muslims.
- Al-Ansari relies
on the Quranic verse: "Fight them, Allah will punish them by your
hands and bring them to disgrace [meaning that Allah will kill the infidels],
and assist you against them and heal the hearts of a believing people"
(Al-Tawba, 14). The key word in this verse is "by your hands,"
which indicates the great importance Allah attributes to the physical
action of the infidels' extermination. This is even more substantial
than the daawa in executing the command of jihad, since the daawa, as
important as it might be, could not fulfill God's commandment for extermination.
- Al-Ansari wrote:
"Allah is capable of exterminating his enemies with no need for
intermediaries or the help of anyone. His might is infinite...therefore,
when He [Allah] designates the task of extermination of infidels to
his believers, He does so as a hidden expression of His power...the
infidels' extermination is part of Islamic law, which is operative until
the Day of Judgment. Its principal element will be fulfilled only at
the hands of the believers, meaning through jihad, which is also to
be operative until the Day of Judgment.