Commentary Magazine


Topic: Koran

Iran Justifies Israel’s Annihilation in Islamic Law

If Iran became a nuclear power, would it risk its own regime survival to strike at Israel? Such questions remain at the heart of the current debate. Those who argue either President Obama should try diplomacy again or that containment can work argue that Iran would not launch their weapons in a first strike against Israel, never mind what Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said during his term as president.

A recent article in the Iranian press written by Ali Reza Forqani, an ally of the Supreme Leader,  however, should re-inject concern about what Iran’s true intentions are. Entitled, “The Fiqh [Islamic Jurisprudence]-Based Reasons for the Need for Israel’s Annihilation,” the Open Source Center recently provided a full translation. The article begins by recalling Ayatollah Khomeini’s views:

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If Iran became a nuclear power, would it risk its own regime survival to strike at Israel? Such questions remain at the heart of the current debate. Those who argue either President Obama should try diplomacy again or that containment can work argue that Iran would not launch their weapons in a first strike against Israel, never mind what Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said during his term as president.

A recent article in the Iranian press written by Ali Reza Forqani, an ally of the Supreme Leader,  however, should re-inject concern about what Iran’s true intentions are. Entitled, “The Fiqh [Islamic Jurisprudence]-Based Reasons for the Need for Israel’s Annihilation,” the Open Source Center recently provided a full translation. The article begins by recalling Ayatollah Khomeini’s views:

The first Qibla of Muslims has today fallen into the hands of Israel, this cancerous tumor in the Middle East. Today, Israel is using all satanic means cause divisions. Every Muslim has the obligation to equip himself against Israel. I have been warning about the dangers of international Zionism for about 20 years and now do not consider that danger for all the liberation movements in the world and for Iran’s recent Islamic revolution to be any less than what it was in the past. I have already warned that the usurping government of Israel, with the designs and ideas that it has for Islam and Muslim countries, presents a great danger and the fear is that should the Muslims grant them the opportunity time would be lost and then it no longer would be possible to stop them. Since the very foundation of Islam is facing a potential danger, it is necessary for all the Muslims in general and the Islamic governments in particular to act to remove this corrupting material by any means possible. All our troubles are due to Israel!

The article continues to cite two Quranic verses to justify an Iranian military strike on Israel:

“And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight against you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not favor those who exceed the limits” [Qur. 2:190]. “And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter; and do not fight with them at the sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them for such is the recompense of the unbelievers” [Qur. 2:191].

And then it embarks on a discourse about jihad. While U.S. diplomats and academics preach that jihad is misunderstood and is not violent, no one told the Islamic Republic that. “The philosophy behind primary jihad is to fight those who fight against the dissemination of Islam and the goal of this jihad is to liberate the people from mental and social captivity and slavery and to lead them to Islam,” Forqani explains. He cites Imam Ali: “I said fight them before they fight against you. I swear to God, no people were attacked in their own house unless they became meek first,” and concludes, “Iran’s military attack on Israel would fit the definition of defensive jihad and as such would not be an example of primary jihad. However, even if we consider such attack as primary jihad… it still would be permissible to wage such jihad with the permission and order of a competent vali-ye faqih (Guardian Jurist) in the age of absence of infallible Imam.” He elaborates:

Defensive jihad is a religiously mandated obligation and all Muslims must participate in it. Addressing this subject, the late Imam Khomeini (may peace be upon him) indicated in his collection of fatwas…that ‘if the enemy attacks the lands of Muslims, it is mandatory for all Muslims to defend their lands by any means possible and not to refrain from giving their lives or assets in the process and they need not obtain permission from the religious ruler in this affair…’ Now, considering the aggression that the fabricated government of Israel has committed against the land of Palestine as a part of Islamic lands and the land that houses the first Qiblah of Muslims, all Muslims are obligated to defend the Muslim people of Palestine and defend this sacred part of Islamic lands by any means possible and to do so they need not obtain permission from the religious ruler either.

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Libyan Mob Desecrates WWII Graves

So aside from detainees getting tortured and killed, at least the rest of the situation in Libya is going well:

Fury over the accidental burning of Korans in Afghanistan seemed to spill into Libya last month when an angry mob descended upon Benghazi Military Cemetery and smashed dozens of Christian and Jewish graves… Libya’s National Transitional Council has condemned the actions of the mob and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice.

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So aside from detainees getting tortured and killed, at least the rest of the situation in Libya is going well:

Fury over the accidental burning of Korans in Afghanistan seemed to spill into Libya last month when an angry mob descended upon Benghazi Military Cemetery and smashed dozens of Christian and Jewish graves… Libya’s National Transitional Council has condemned the actions of the mob and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The desecrated WWII cemetery contained the graves of Jewish and Christian troops from the U.S. and the U.K. The Daily Mail declared it an “insult to WWII heroes” before exploring – at length – what America did to trigger all the rioting. They even managed to rope in the on-going domestic controversy about FBI counter-terrorism materials, for completion’s sake. No one has yet investigated whether the crowd would have been placated had we hanged the U.S. officers and burned down the White House in penance, as Iranian Basij Commander Brig.-Gen. Muhammad Reza Naqdi ordered us to do.

Late last year, Reuters FaithWorld blogger Tom Heneghan mused aloud about “which kind” of Islamism would take hold in the post-Arab Spring countries. Islamism was now undeniably sweeping the region – in sharp contrast to the gratingly condescending predictions of Middle East experts – but maybe it would be the kind of Islamism that didn’t involve desecrating the graves of Christians and Jews in Libya when Korans are burned in Afghanistan.

Turns out, not so much.

It’s not a total loss though. The administration has been demagoguing Republicans for criticizing the president and thereby “inflam[ing]” the issue – an unfortunate choice of verbs, but there you have it – so this graveyard desecration will at least give them an additional talking point.

Here’s the video:

http://youtu.be/ZawXJANkL-A

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Gingrich’s Criticism of Obama Response to Koran-Burning Is Way Off-Base

Newt Gingrich is way off-base in his criticism of President Obama’s response to the Koran-burning controversy in Afghanistan. The president sent an entirely proper letter of apology for the insensitive actions of American personnel who improperly disposed of Korans in a way that offends Muslim sensitivities. President Karzai responded properly too, criticizing the American actions but then accepting the American apology and trying to tamp down protests which have turned violent. For these actions, both men have gotten a double-barreled blast from the former House speaker and current presidential candidate. Politico quotes him as follows:

“It is an outrage that President Obama is the one apologizing to Afghan President Karzai on the same day two American troops were murdered and four others injured by an Afghan soldier,” the Republican candidate said in a statement. “It is Hamid Karzai who owes the American people an apology, not the other way around.”

The former House speaker continued his attack at a campaign rally in Spokane, Wash., charging that Obama had “surrendered twice” in one day, and demanded that the president request an apology from the Afghan government.

“Candidly, if Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, doesn’t feel like apologizing then we should say good bye and good luck, we don’t need to be here risking our lives and wasting our money on somebody who doesn’t care,” Gingrich said.

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Newt Gingrich is way off-base in his criticism of President Obama’s response to the Koran-burning controversy in Afghanistan. The president sent an entirely proper letter of apology for the insensitive actions of American personnel who improperly disposed of Korans in a way that offends Muslim sensitivities. President Karzai responded properly too, criticizing the American actions but then accepting the American apology and trying to tamp down protests which have turned violent. For these actions, both men have gotten a double-barreled blast from the former House speaker and current presidential candidate. Politico quotes him as follows:

“It is an outrage that President Obama is the one apologizing to Afghan President Karzai on the same day two American troops were murdered and four others injured by an Afghan soldier,” the Republican candidate said in a statement. “It is Hamid Karzai who owes the American people an apology, not the other way around.”

The former House speaker continued his attack at a campaign rally in Spokane, Wash., charging that Obama had “surrendered twice” in one day, and demanded that the president request an apology from the Afghan government.

“Candidly, if Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, doesn’t feel like apologizing then we should say good bye and good luck, we don’t need to be here risking our lives and wasting our money on somebody who doesn’t care,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich’s statements are ignorant and irresponsible. Obama deserves plenty of criticism for his actions in Afghanistan, namely his premature drawdown of U.S. forces and cutting funding for the Afghan Security Forces (see, e.g., my Los Angeles Times op-ed today) but not for this. It is hardly a “surrender” to apologize for insensitive actions by American personnel. As for Karzai, I don’t know what he should be apologizing for in Gingrich’s opinion–it’s not as if Karzai applauded the attacks on American troops which resulted from the Koran-burning controversy. In this incident his actions seem to me fairly proper, and the accusation that Karzai doesn’t “care” about the future of his own country is ludicrous.

Overall, Karzai has been a disappointing leader, but U.S. troops are not in Afghanistan as a favor to him–they are there to protect our national interest in not having Afghanistan once again become a safe haven for terrorists. That’s something that Gingrich, for all his background in national security policy, doesn’t seem to get.

 

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Obama Needs to Take the Offensive on Koran Burning

President Obama is absolutely correct to apologize for the apparent Koran burning at the Bagram Air Base. (See Alana’s earlier post. ) The incident should not have happened. His apology shows goodwill which Afghans appear to accept. After all, in Kabul–a city of five million people–only 1,000 protesters took to the streets. That’s hardly respectable even for a rent-a-mob.

Still, Obama’s apology fumbles the opportunity to go on the offense. Incidents in which Americans desecrate the Koran–or any holy book–are few and far between and are punished. But, not so the Taliban. Every time the Taliban bomb a mosque–something they do with frequency when they disagree with those mosque’s traditional, moderate mullahs–they desecrate the Koran. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is two-faced in his refusal to hold the Taliban to account for their actions. Why Obama refuses to engage adeptly in the battle to win hearts and minds is a question which still stumps.

President Obama is absolutely correct to apologize for the apparent Koran burning at the Bagram Air Base. (See Alana’s earlier post. ) The incident should not have happened. His apology shows goodwill which Afghans appear to accept. After all, in Kabul–a city of five million people–only 1,000 protesters took to the streets. That’s hardly respectable even for a rent-a-mob.

Still, Obama’s apology fumbles the opportunity to go on the offense. Incidents in which Americans desecrate the Koran–or any holy book–are few and far between and are punished. But, not so the Taliban. Every time the Taliban bomb a mosque–something they do with frequency when they disagree with those mosque’s traditional, moderate mullahs–they desecrate the Koran. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is two-faced in his refusal to hold the Taliban to account for their actions. Why Obama refuses to engage adeptly in the battle to win hearts and minds is a question which still stumps.

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Obama Apologizes for Koran Burning

Protests have been raging in Afghanistan for the past few days, after the U.S. military reportedly burned Korans – along with other confiscated religious materials – taken from detainees at Bagram Airfield. In an effort to restore peace, Obama sent a note of apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai today, assuring him the Koran burning was unintentional:

“I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident,” Obama wrote. “I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies.”

The president concludes the letter: “The error was inadvertent; I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.”

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Protests have been raging in Afghanistan for the past few days, after the U.S. military reportedly burned Korans – along with other confiscated religious materials – taken from detainees at Bagram Airfield. In an effort to restore peace, Obama sent a note of apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai today, assuring him the Koran burning was unintentional:

“I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident,” Obama wrote. “I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies.”

The president concludes the letter: “The error was inadvertent; I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.”

After a fringe pastor in Florida nearly sparked an international security incident by threatening to burn a pile of Korans, you’d think the U.S. military would at least have the proper safeguards in place to ensure this didn’t happen on their bases. As frustrating as it is to indulge the violent tantrums of religious fundamentalists by tiptoeing around their holy laws, if that’s going to be U.S. national security policy then at least make sure it’s carried out properly.

There actually apparently are exceptions under Islamic law permitting Korans to be disposed of through burning, though it’s usually discouraged, reports Slate. Typically, defaced Korans are buried in the ground or in water. I’m not sure how the U.S. military usually does it, though I imagine ritual or water burial aren’t always possible on military bases.

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