by Raymond Ibrahim
Islamist enmity for infidels, regularly manifested in the jihad, is by now moderately well known. Lesser known, however, but of equal concern, is the mandate for Muslims to be loyal to fellow Muslims and Islam — a loyalty that all too often translates into disloyalty to all things non-Muslim, including the American people and their government.
Islamic law's division of the world into the abode of war (deserving of enmity) and the abode of Islam (deserving of loyalty) — is founded on a Muslim doctrine called wala' wa bara' (best translated as "loyalty and enmity"). I first encountered this doctrine while translating various Arabic documents for The Al Qaeda Reader. In fact, the longest and arguably most revealing document I included in that volume is titled "Loyalty and Enmity" (pgs.63-115), compiled by Aymen Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's number two.
I say "compiled" because most of the words are direct quotes from the Koran, the Muslim prophet Muhammad, and Islam's jurists (i.e., this doctrine is not an "al-Qaeda" phenomenon but rather permeates the Islamicate worldview). Those interested are urged to read the whole treatise. For our purposes, however, a few key scriptures must suffice:
Koran 5:51 warns Muslims against "taking the Jews and Christians as friends and allies … whoever among you takes them for friends and allies, he is surely one of them," i.e., he becomes a non-believing "infidel," the worst thing in Islam. According to authoritative Muslim exegete, al-Tabari, Koran 5:51 means that the Muslim who "allies with them [non-Muslims] and enables them against the believers, that same one is a member of their faith and community." Similar scriptures include Koran 3:28, 4:89, 4:144, 5:54, 6:40, 9:23, and 58:22; the latter simply states that true Muslims do not befriend non-Muslims — "even if they be their fathers, sons, brothers, or kin." Conversely, according to Muhammad, "A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him…. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for his brother in faith: his blood, his wealth, and his honor" — precisely those three things Islamic law singles out as not being vouchsafed to free infidels.
The problem here is that these scriptures are not mere words; American Muslims act on them. Consider the ongoing case of Nasser Abdo, an infantryman assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, who refuses to deploy to Afghanistan: "I don't believe I can involve myself in an army that wages war against Muslims. I don't believe I could sleep at night if I take part, in any way, in the killing of a Muslim…. I can't deploy with my unit to Afghanistan and participate in the war — I can't both deploy and be a Muslim." And why is that? "Abdo cited Islamic scholars and verses from the Quran [no doubt such as the above] as reasons for his decision to ask for separation from the Army." Indeed, his loyalty to foreign Afghani Muslims is such that, if he does not get discharged, "he will, apparently, be facing a prison sentence."
Rather than going quietly to prison, major Nidal Hasan went on the infamous Fort Hood killing spree, slaying thirteen Americans. Maintaining that "Muslims shouldn't kill Muslims," he was, like Abdo, adamant about not being deployed to a Muslim nation, his "worst nightmare." He was also "very upfront about being a Muslim first and an American second," thereby showing where his true loyalty lay. Tabari's words come to mind: the Muslim who "allies with them [e.g., Americans] and enables them against the believers, that same one is a member of their faith and community," i.e., he too becomes an infidel.
And of course there was sergeant Hasan Akbar, who was convicted of murder for killing two American soldiers and wounding fourteen in a grenade attack in Kuwait: "He launched the attack because he was concerned U.S. troops would kill fellow Muslims in Iraq." Previous to the attack, he confessed to his diary: "I may not have killed any Muslims, but being in the army is the same thing. I may have to make a choice very soon on who to kill."
Nor is Muslim loyalty simply limited to the fear of killing fellow Muslims; rather, it is loyalty in the tribal sense (not surprising, since Islam transferred the tenacity of Arab tribal loyalty onto the umma, whereby Islam became a "super tribe," transcending race and language). Thus, for helping convict five Muslims who were plotting to kill American soldiers in the Fort Dix terrorism trial, Mahmoud Omar has been ostracized by the Muslim community. Why? Because "in a twisted way…their [the terrorists'] actions are understandable in the Muslim community." Omar adds, "For Muslims, we are all brothers, and I betrayed a brother"— echoing Muhammad's injunction: "A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim."
Prominent American Muslim jurists have further proclaimed that "It is forbidden to work for the FBI or for U.S. security services because these harm Muslims." Another Muslim jurist said it is permissible for Muslims to serve in the U.S. military — provided they are not "involved in fighting, harming, or even bothering Muslims at all." Similarly, the authoritative Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America issued a fatwa stating that it is "not permissible" for American Muslims to send aid, even food, to American troops serving in Muslim countries.
At this point, one may justly ask: if Muslim disloyalty to non-Muslims is a ubiquitous phenomenon, why are most examples limited to the military? Simple: Islam is primarily concerned with actual deeds; and the military is one of those rare institutions that requires people to demonstrate their loyalty through action, such as, by going to the frontlines and, if need be, combating America's enemies — even if they be one's coreligionists. It is therefore only natural that Muslim loyalty/disloyalty is primarily revealed in military related scenarios, including instrumental support via food or other aid. Concerning this latter, Muhammad said, "One [Muslim] who equips a person on his way to raid [the enemy's camps] in Allah's path [jihad] is considered to have the same status as the raider [jihadist]." The willing Muslim financial enabler of the infidel American soldier thus acquires the same infidel status.
As for all other instances that require Muslims to indicate their loyalty, the doctrine of taqiyya, which revolves around deceiving non-Muslims, offers relief, and is in fact essential for Muslim minorities living in America who want to uphold the doctrine of loyalty and enmity. Indeed, the Koran's primary justification for deception is in the context of loyalty: "Let believers not take for friends and allies infidels [non-Muslims] instead of believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with Allah — unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions" (Koran 3:28). Tabari explains this verse: "Only when you are in their [non-Muslims'] power, fearing for yourselves, are you to demonstrate friendship for them with your tongues, while harboring hostility toward them. But do not join them in the particulars of their infidelities, and do not aid them through any action against a Muslim."
In other words, when necessary, Muslims are permitted to feign friendship and loyalty to non-Muslims, or, in the words of Abu Darda, a pious companion of Muhammad, "We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them." Nearly fourteen-hundred years after these faithless words were uttered, American Muslim Tarik Shah, who was arrested for terrorist-related charges, echoed them in boast: "I could be joking and smiling [with infidels] and then cutting their throats in the next second."
At any rate, such is the symbiotic relationship that Islam's doctrines share: when the deceit, the charade is to no avail and the lives of fellow Muslims, whom are deserving of loyalty, become endangered, Muslims must then stand their ground, come what may. Thus an Akbar, Hasan, or Abdo may appear as perfectly loyal American citizens, until being required to prove their loyalty against Muslims. As Zawahiri puts it in his treatise, the Muslim may pretend, so long as he does "not undertake any initiative to support them [non-Muslims], commit sin, or enable [them] through any deed or killing or fighting against Muslims" (The Al Qaeda Reader, p.75).
The ramifications of this doctrine are clearly troubling, especially since far less than .1% of America's Muslims will ever be required to enlist in the U.S. military and deploy to Muslim nations. Yet this is the only scenario that determines whether Muslim loyalties lie with fellow Muslims or with fellow, albeit infidel, citizens. Moreover, it is one thing if the average American Muslim harbors loyalty to fellow Muslims, including terrorists such as al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah. It is quite another if that Muslim happens to be in a position of authority in the United States. This observation naturally leads to a president who up to 24% of Americans and many Muslims believe is a clandestine Muslim and who at least appears to have been raised a Muslim: Barrack Hussein Obama.
While there is no proof that he is a Muslim — indeed, no less an authority than Jeremiah Wright, the fellow who used to bellow "God damn America!" recently vouched for Obama's Christianity — the point here is simple: if an American president was a secret Muslim, and if he was lying about it, and even if he was secretly working to subvert the U.S. to Islam's advantage — not only would such an approach comport with Islam's doctrines on loyalty and deception, but it would have ample precedents, stretching back to the dawn of Islam. Such as when Muhammad commanded one Na'im bin Mas'ud, a convert from an adversarial tribe that refused to submit to Islam, to conceal his new Muslim identity, go back to his tribe — which he cajoled with a perfidious "You are my stock and my family, the dearest of men to me" — only to betray them to Islam.
Raymond Ibrahim is associate director of the Middle East Forum, author of The Al Qaeda Reader, and guest lecturer at the National Defense Intelligence College.