Qur’anic Ideas Have Consequences

Hate preacher loses appeal: Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, a London-based imam, has lost an appeal of his conviction for soliciting murder and making threats during his taped lectures. The BBC reports that in the lectures he was “urging followers to kill non-believers, Jews, Hindus and Americans.” He also “told young British Muslims they would be rewarded with 72 virgins in paradise if they died in a holy war.”

At his trial, el-Faisel argued that “he was interpreting and updating the words of the Qur’an, the Islamic holy book.” Interesting defense. Did he think that if he could convince the Court that his hatred and incitement to murder was merely religious instruction, he would get a pass? After all, another radical British Muslim, Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, has boasted openly about exploiting the contradiction between freedom of speech and self-preservation. He openly speaks of his intention to “transform the West into Dar Al-Islam” and establish the Sharia on British soil. “I want to see the black flag of Islam flying over Downing Street,” he has said, and his al-Muhajiroun group is dedicated to this goal.

When asked how he could say such things while holding British citizenship, Bakri was dismissive. “As long as my words do not become actions, they do no harm. Here, the law does not punish you for words, as long as there is no proof you have carried out actions. In such a case you are still on the margins of the law, and they cannot punish you. If they want to punish you, they must present evidence against you, otherwise their laws will be in a state of internal contradiction.”

El-Faisel, meanwhile, is being punished for his words. He was originally sentenced to nine years in prison; last week this was reduced to seven. He is also liable to be deported back to his native Jamaica.

Mufti claims Australia for Islam: The Mufti of Australia and New Zealand, Taj Al-Din Hamed Abdallah Al-Hilali, has earned criticism this week from Australian Prime Minister John Howard and other Australian officials for his remarks calling for jihad in Israel — but they might have had even more reason to be concerned about remarks Hilali made about Australia itself. Evidently, before shrimp on the barbee, Foster’s Lager, and Crocodile Dundee, there was the burqa, the book, and the Prophet. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, Hilali claimed that Australia was originally Muslim land, settled by Afghans. The Aborigines, or at least some of them, are their descendants.

Hilali reportedly said: “The strange thing was that when our muezzin [who accompanied Sheikh Al-Hilali on his visit to Alice Springs] stood up to call for prayer, the old people of the town came out, and so did men and youths, and they looked different than the black Aborigines. They were a mixture of Afghan and Aborigine, as a result of marriages of Afghan men and Aborigine women. When the muezzin called ‘Allahu Akbar,’ they said, ‘We have heard this song from our ancestors…’ When they asked us ‘What is this song you are singing?’ we told them that this was an announcement of prayer time. When we asked them their names, they answered John, or Steve, but their names ended with Saraj Al-Din, Abdallah, or Muhammad. . .”

Hilali may or may not know that there are indeed Afghans among the Aborigines, but they’re far from the land’s first settlers: they were brought over as workers by the British in the nineteenth century. His statements may just seem silly, or even cute, until one realizes that to anyone who takes the Sheikh’s claim seriously, Australia is now Muslim land. Islamic law stipulates that Muslims possess by right any land that once formed part of the House of Islam; this is a key element of the claim to Israel put forward by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The same claim has been advanced by other Muslim spokesmen, by the way, for America. The Muslim writer Hisham Zoubeir asserted in 1998 that “we [Muslims] were in the Americas, hundreds of years before Columbus, and of that we can be sure.” He even invokes the great explorer as a witness: Columbus, according to Zoubeir, “admitted that on October 21st, 1492, as he was sailing past Gibara on the coast of Cuba, he saw a mosque, and remnants of other [mosques] have been found in Cuba, Mexico, Texas and Nevada.” Harmless fantasies? In an age of the global diffusion of political Islam, it may be naà ¯ve to assume so.

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