By Nonie Darwish
With the explosive current events in Gaza, the world needs to understand the roots of this eternal conflict, otherwise we are all kidding ourselves with hopes of peace.
For decades, Arabs had demanded that Israel end the "occupation," and in 2005, Israel did so, disengaging unilaterally from Gaza. With their demands met, there was no ‘cycle of violence’ to respond to, no further justification for anything other than peace and prosperity. With its central location and beautiful beaches on the East Mediteranean, a peaceful and prosperous Gaza could have become another Hong Kong; a shining trade and commerce center. But instead of choosing peace, the Palestinians chose Islamic jihad. They rolled their rocket launchers to the border and started bombing Israeli civilians.
Understanding the reasons why the Palestinians chose violence over peace requires connecting the dots from the behavior of Muslim states back to the laws of Islam: Sharia. Mainstream Sharia books define Jihad as: "to war against non-Muslims to establish the religion." (Shafi’i Sharia o9.0). Jihad is not just the duty of the individual Muslim, but it is also the main duty of the Muslim head of State (the Calipha):
"A Muslim calipha is entrusted to take his people into war and command offensive and aggressive Jihad. He must organize Jihad against any non-Muslim government, which prevents Muslim da’wah (meaning preaching and spreading Islam) from entering its land." (Shafii Law o25.0 to o25.9).
Sharia law# o25.9 states:
"(When the caliph appoints a ruler on a region, his duty includes) if the area has a border adjacent to enemy lands, (he will) undertake Jihad against enemies, dividing the spoils of battle among combatants and setting aside a fifth for deserving recipients."
"The Caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax provided he has first invited them to enter Islam or pay Jizya, the non-Muslim poll tax, (in accordance with the word of Allah Most High Chapter 9 verse 29)."
Zia-Ul-Haq, former President of Pakistan, said "jihad in terms of warfare is a collective responsibility of the Muslim Ummah."
One of Islam’s eminent 20th century scholars, Sheikh Maolana Maududi said:
"Islam wishes to destroy all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and program of Islam regardless of the country or the nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a state on the basis of its own ideology and program … the objective of Islamic jihad is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish instead an Islamic system of state rule. Islam does not intend to confine this revolution to a single state or a few countries; the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution."
Some people seem to think that such laws are just historical relics, on the books but not in practice or in control of the minds of Muslims. But that is the kind of denial we cannot afford; these laws rule the hearts, minds and actions of a majority of Muslim individuals and states around the world today. These scriptures are taught, preached and promoted as the incontrovertible and eternal word of God and funded by Saudi petrodollars throughout the world, including Western nations such as the U.K. and the United States.
No Muslim leader can survive in a Muslim country if he announces the end of Jihad against non-Muslim countries and states that all references to Jihad in Islamic law do not apply today. Treating non-Muslim neighboring countries and individual as equals, with respect and in peace without trying to convert them to Islam, is simply against Islamic Law.
Muslim leaders who dare to go against this theology are called traitors and puppets of the ‘Great Satan’ West. That is a description that no Muslim leader wants to be labeled with. When president Anwar Sadat of Egypt signed the peace treaty with Israel in 1979, he told his confidants that he knew he was signing his own death warrant. He understood that under Sharia he must have permanent war with non-Muslim Israel.
How can a Muslim leader or individual avoid the hundreds of Quran and Hadith commandments to Muslims to kill Jews and Christians? Q 9:29: "Fight those who believe not in Allah until they pay the Jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued." Q 9:5: "Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them". Q47.4: "When you encounter the unbelievers, Strike off their heads."
A Muslim leader cannot face his devout Muslim subjects after making a decision to engage in friendship and peace with Jews. Mosques all over the Middle East, after all, recite Mohammed’s commandment to Muslims:
"The Hour [Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and kill them. And the Jews will hide behind the rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, this is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!" (Sahih Muslim 41:6985, also Sahih Bukhari 4:52:177)
This Hadith, issued by Mohammad, makes a whole group of people illegal to exist. It was issued in the 7th century, not after the 1948 creation of the State of Israel. It is not a response to modern-day grievances; it is a permanent commandment.
Many Muslims claim that Arabs and Jews lived well together for many years before 1948. But that claim ignores the fact that Jews had to live as ‘dhimmies’ under Islamic Law and were never allowed to rule themselves separate of the Islamic Sharia. When Muslims were weak they often treated their dhimmi subjects well and ignored the commandments to kill, subjugate and humiliate them. But Jew hatred is intrinsic to Islamic scriptures that do not permit reformation under the penalty of death.
This is the real basis of the Arab/Israeli conflict: not a conflict over land or occupation, but a divine obligation to destroy neighboring (non-Muslim) Israel, where Jews are no longer dhimmis but are free to rule themselves. We cannot ignore the root of the problem in Muslim scriptures. That is the true force behind the hate and propaganda Jihadist machine against Jews in the Muslim world.
Some Muslims tell me that they don’t believe in Sharia and question why am I making a big deal about it. My answer is that Sharia is the law of the land in 54 Muslim countries and many Muslim groups are demanding Sharia in the West. In 1990, 45 Muslim countries signed the Cairo Human Rights Declaration which stated that Sharia has supremacy over the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Muslim world must look within to its sacred laws, scriptures, sermons, teaching and preaching, and reform the obstacles for peace that have condemned them to a permanent state of jihad. The non-Muslim world must have no illusions.