THE FALLACY OF GRIEVANCE-BASED TERRORISM:
From Barbary Wars to Somali Pirates, the "Water Jihad" Has a Long Lineage
By Raymond Ibrahim
In fact, the only good news is that Richard Phillips has been rescued. The bad news is that what appears to have been a bunch of lawless, plunder-seeking Somalis "yo-hoing" on the high seas may well in fact be related to the jihad — as attested to by both Islamic history and doctrine.
Indeed, the first jihad a newborn U.S.A. encountered was of a pirate nature: the Barbary Wars off the coast of North Africa (beginning 1801, exactly 200 years before September 11, 2001). Writing in the Middle East Quarterly a year before Somali piracy made headlines, U.S. sea captain Melvin E. Lee — who knows in theory what Captain Phillips may have learned in practice — writes:
Captain Lee goes on to reflect:
This last point is especially poignant. While U.S. leadership is capable of mouthing history, so too is it in the habit of distorting the past through such "moral relativism." Hillary Clinton, for example, in a press conference about the Somali kidnapping crisis, put an interesting spin on the Barbary Wars when she said — in between fits of hysterical and inexplicable laughter — that America and Morocco worked "together to end piracy off the coast of Morocco all those years ago, and, uh, we're going to work together to end, uh, this kind of, uh, criminal activity anywhere on the high seas."
Historical anecdotes aside, it needs to be acknowledged that, doctrinally speaking, the jihad has various manifestations; that it is not limited to bearded, "Allah Akbar"-screaming mujahidin fighting in Afghanistan and lurking in caves. Along with jihad al-lissan and jihad al-qalam (jihad of the tongue and pen, respectively, i.e., propaganda jihad), one of the most important forms of jihad is known as jihad al-mal — or "money jihad."
The money jihad is fulfilled whenever a Muslim financially supports the more familiar violent jihad. The Koran itself declares:
Several other verses (see 9:20, 9:60, 49:15, and 61:10-11) make the same assertion and, more importantly, in the same order: striving with one's wealth almost always precedes striving with one's life, thereby prioritizing the former over the latter, at least according to a number of jurists and mufasirin.
Muhammad himself, according to a canonical hadith (collected by al-Tirmidhi), said:
Moreover, the seafaring jihadist — or, in Western parlance, the "pirate" — is forgiven all sins upon setting foot in a boat to wage war upon infidels; he receives double the reward of his terrestrial counterpart — which is saying much, considering the martyred mujahid is, of all Muslims, guaranteed the highest celestial rewards (see Majid Khadduri's magisterial War and Peace in the Law of Islam, p. 113).
There's more. Islamic law (Sharia), what mainland Somali Islamists have been successfully waging a jihad to implement, has much to say about kidnapping, ransom demands, and slavery. U.S. leadership should keep this in mind, if and when they consider the plight of the other 200 hostages in Somalia. According to Sharia, there are only four ways to deal with infidel hostages: 1) execution, 2) enslavement, 3) exchange for Muslim prisoners, or 4) exchange for ransom. Those hostages who have not been executed are therefore currently living as slaves to their Somali overlords.
This is clearly the case of Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout, for whom the Somalis are demanding $2.5 million in ransom. Eight months ago, she was abducted, raped, and impregnated by Somali Islamists and is currently "owned" by them — or, in the words of the Koran (e.g., 4:3), she is ma malakat aymankum, i.e., human "property" conquered and possessed by jihadi force.
The term spoil (ghanima) is applied specifically to property acquired by force from non-Muslims. It includes, however, not only property (movable and immovable) but also persons, whether in the capacity of asra (prisoners of war) or sabi (women and children). If the slave were a woman, the master was permitted to have sexual connection with her as a concubine (Khadduri, p. 119, 131).
Finally, for those readers who refuse to interpret modern-day events in light of "antiquated" history or arcane religious doctrine, here's an August, 2008, Reuters report revealing that what top news analysts are now dismissing as a bunch of random pirates scouring the coast of Somalia may well be directly related to the mainland, if not international, jihad:
Al-Shabaab ("the youth"), of course, are the al-Qa'ida-affiliated Islamists currently taking over Somalia.
Thus, in the words of Krauthammer, whereas "these guys are interested not in martyrdom but in money," the facts remain: whatever their "true" motivation, a portion of this money funds the greater jihad; and those "pirates" slain by U.S. ("infidel") firearms are most likely being portrayed as martyrs by their companions.
Does this mean that all pirates who happen to be Muslim are funding the jihad and fervently seeking after "martyrdom"? Of course not. But it is a reminder that what may appear to Americans as "um, criminal activities" (in the memorable hilarities of Hillary) have a long pedigree and, within an Islamist context, may have method to their madness.
From Muhammad's Seventh Century caravan raids, to the Muslim conquests, to the Barbary wars, to modern-day Somali piracy — all of which were likely triggered by the desire for booty and plunder rather than religion per se — so long as jihadi doctrines continue providing the base proclivities of man with a veneer of respectability, indeed, piety, so long will such behavior be endemic to the lands, and waterways, of the jihad, irrespective of true motivation.
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Raymond Ibrahim is the Associate Director of the Middle East Forum and the author of The Al Qa'ida Reader, translations of religious texts and propaganda.
The foregoing article by Raymond Ibrahim was originally published in the Pajamas Media, April 17, 2009, and can be found on the Internet website maintained by the Middle East Forum, a foreign policy think tank which seeks to define and promote American interests in the Middle East, defining U.S. interests to include fighting radical Islam, working for Palestinian Arab acceptance of the State of Israel, improving the management of U.S. efforts to promote constitutional democracy in the Middle East, reducing America's energy dependence on the Middle East, more robustly asserting U.S. interests vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia, and countering the Iranian threat. (Article URL: http://www.meforum.org/article/2126/barbary-wars-somali-piracy-water-jihad)
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