“All Lives Matter?” Islam: Not so Fast!

‘Diversity Hire’ Muhammad Noor and his victim, Justine Damon

I’m slightly reluctant to enter the conversation around the protests following the death of George Floyd, since my writings mostly focus on Islam and the way in which the increasing Islamization of our societies threaten our freedoms. However, I recently came across an aspect of the protests that is directly relevant to this and that should not pass without comment. First, some context is needed.

On 15 July 2017 Australian-American woman Justine Damon called the Minneapolis Police (yes, the very same police department involved in the George Floyd killing!) to report what she believed was a domestic violence incident in the alley behind her home. Answering the call was one of the brightest stars of the Minneapolis police. Mohammad Noor’s appointment as a police officer was celebrated around the US as a victory for diversity in policing, as he was one the first Somali Americans to be appointed as a Minnesota police officer. Photos of him, smiling broadly, with his family (the women all in hijabs) were proudly distributed by the MPD.

However, the events of 15 July 2017 were nothing to smile about. Even as he was appointed some people in the MPD felt uneasy about Noor’s general jumpiness and his perceived lack of respect for women. He also had three pending complaints against him after just a few months on the force, one for allegedly assaulting a woman while on duty. Yet, remarkably, he was still on the beat. As Ms. Damon approached the squad car, with bare feet and in her pajamas, Officer Noor pulled his gun and shot her at virtually point-blank range without so much as a word of warning. The contrast with the Floyd incident could not be starker. No riots followed her death and the events of the day were quickly buried in the news cycle. Officer Derek Chauvin was charged with murdering George Floyd within a week. In the case of Officer Noor, it took eight months (you read that right) for him to be charged with second-degree murder. He spent that entire eight months on paid leave. Noor was eventually acquitted of second-degree murder, found guilty of the lesser charge of third-degree murder, and sent to prison for 12.5 years.

How (besides the obvious double standards) does this tie in the with Black Lives Matter protests? Well, a CNN reporter asked some Somali Minneapolis residents, participating in the George Floyd protests, what kind of justice they were looking for. One of came up with the following, rather startling, answer: “Free Muhmmad Noor!” His friend echoed this: “Free that man right now!” This is nothing short of jaw dropping. People supposedly protesting police brutality calling for the release of a policeman who brutally killed a defenseless woman.

It is easy to dismiss this reaction as the ravings of two cranks enjoying their 15 Minutes of Fame. I want to suggest, however, that there is something deeper going on here. You see, despite all the slogans flying around at the moment, Islam does not believe or teach that ‘All Lives Matter’. At least not equally so.

Shari’a (Islamic law) emphatically declares non-Muslim life to be worth less than that of Muslims. This is based on several hadiths that states that the life of a disbeliever is worth much less than of that of a Muslim. For example: “… no Muslim should be killed in Qisas (equality in punishment) for killing a Kafir (disbeliever).” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:83:50) So, it is a legal principle within Islam that a Muslim must never be executed for killing a non-Muslim since the Muslim life is more valuable. From this departure point a whole web of legal rulings were developed, assigning values to different lives.

According to the Hanbali legal school, the life of a Christian or Jew is worth half that of a Muslim, and thus the diya (blood money) awarded by modern-day Hanbali courts is half that awarded in case of Muslim’s death. The Hanafi and Maliki schools also consider the life of a Christian or Jew to be worth half a Muslim’s life, but Shafi’i schools of jurisprudence consider it to be worth a third that of a Muslim. When it comes to those who are not Christians or Jews the picture is even grimmer. The Hanafi, Maliki and Shafi’i legal schools of Sunni Islam, as well as those of Shia Islam, have considered the life of polytheists and atheists as one-fifteenth the value of a Muslim during sentencing.

Somali Muslims follow the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence. That means that our CNN interviewees would have thought that Ms. Damon’s life was worth only a third of that of a Muslim (assuming they believed she was a Christian). This worth would have been diminished even further by the fact that she was a woman, as shari’a mandates half the blood-money for the killing of a woman compared to a man. Thus, reducing her worth to one sixth of theirs. Such calculations potentially shed a rather interesting light on their calls for the release of Officer Noor. It is quite possible that they think that the punishment does not fit the crime, since Justine Damon’s death was not that big of a deal. Could it be that they believe that as a non-Muslim, and a non-Muslim woman at that, her murder should not see a Muslim languishing in jail for more than a decade?

The standard response to the statement that ‘All Lives Matter’ is to say that this is true but that there are certain lives that we should pay more attention to at this point in history. We can debate long and hard about this, but it is an incontrovertible fact that this is not a statement that devout followers of Islam can wholeheartedly endorse. Their faith teaches them that the value of lives depends on whether people follow the Muslim religion or not. There are more and more parts of Western world, including in Minneapolis, where this is fast becoming the majority opinion.

Might this be a moment to pause and think about what we are importing and allowing to flourish?

For a hard hitting look at the links between Islamic teaching and violence, please see my book ‘Nothing to do with Islam? Investigating the West’s Most Dangerous Blind Spot

Investigating the Red-Green Alliance

The 2017 celebration of the Islamic festival of Eid Al-Adha will probably long be remembered by worshippers at the Ottawa Islamic Association. On that day none other than the Prime Minister of Canada popped in for a visit. As he basked in the warm glow of appreciation from the assembled worshippers, Justin Trudeau could not be more open and appreciative in his remarks about how much he valued the contribution of Muslims to Canadian society.

Still, it is likely that some of those worshippers remember Mr. Trudeau’s visit better than others. Some could probably not even see him properly. You see, in line with Islamic teachings this was a segregated gathering. So, the women present had to observe from a gallery, far from the action. This fact was not remarked on by Mr. Trudeau despite his comments earlier in the week that a key part of his policy agenda was to: “…speak to inclusive growth, help for the middle class. I will talk about gender equality. I will talk about the rights of the LGBT community. We will continue to promote the values which bring us together.” 

Rather predictably neither ‘gender equality’ nor ‘the LGBT community’ got much of a look-in amidst the mutual backslapping of the day. There was also no mention of the fact that the Islamic community in Ottawa has been on the receiving end of millions of dollars from one of the most illiberal regimes on the planet.  Perhaps it would have been bad form to ask if all that Saudi money came with any strings attached? So in the absence of awkward questions, the polite fiction that the two sides, Canada’s uber-liberal Prime Minister and the members of the mosque funded by a nation that does not allow women to leave home without a male guardian, really had deep-seated values ‘which bring us together’. We would, at the very least, be entitled to wonder what exactly those shared values might be?

In the same year, that Ottawa’s Muslims pushed some of their most cherished convictions aside to dote upon a Prime Minister whose values they probably privately despised (if they wanted to remain true to their prophet’s teachings) another group, at the other end of the spectrum, chose to do the same in reverse. The ‘Woman’s March’ in Washington DC was intended to draw attention to some of the most cherished causes of a certain segment of the radical left. It was all there, ‘smashing the patriarchy’, transgender rights, radical abortion reform and much much more. Yet, right at the heart of it, as co-chair no less, was a follower of a religion whose prophet called women ‘deficient in intelligence and religion’ (Sahih Bukhari 1:6:301) and whose holy book commands men to beat disobedient wives (Qur’an 4:34). 

Linda Sarsour’s Muslim identity was not an embarrassment for the painfully woke leadership of the Woman’s March. Instead, she was celebrated precisely because of that identity. In fact, one of the most memorable images from the march was a picture, in the style of President Obama’s famous ‘Hope’ campaign poster, in which the most striking feature was a hijab. The message could not be clearer. The hijab should be celebrated as a symbol of female liberation, a strike against the patriarchy! This would surely come as news to the multitude of women in the Muslim world who served prison terms because they refused to wear one.  Had they been aware of this the radical leftist organisers of the march probably still would not care. They had to show that Muslims were right at the heart of their movement, even if this came at the cost of some serious cognitive dissonance.

What on earth is going on? Why do people who, on the basis of their ideology, should despise the other side appear so ready to ‘kiss and make up’. I call this phenomenon the Red-Green (or Leftist-Islamist) Alliance and coming to grips with how it came to be, and how it can be challenged for the sake of freedom, are the major themes of the book I am currently working on. I’ll be blogging some of the chapters as I go along, so watch this space!

PS. My Red-Green Alliance book is still a few months away from publication. In the meantime I’m sure you will enjoy my first novel, ‘The House Built on Sand’ with its penetrating look at the earliest years of Islam.

Islamic Supremacy Ringing out Over the Western World

In one example among many, media outlets in the USA are gushing in their praise for the move by the City of Minneapolis in granting a noise permit so that the Islamic ‘call to prayer’ can be broadcast five times a day in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood during the month of Ramadan. The move is widely heralded as ‘historic’, and some uncomfortable truths (like the fact that the terror-linked ‘Council on American Islamic Relations’ is funding the broadcasts) are quietly ignored. In fact, the move by Minneapolis is widely seen as a sign of bigger things to come, with some even expressing the hope that the adhan (call to prayer) will ring out permanently across this part of Minneapolis.
The last thing that those celebrating this ‘wonderful expression of diversity’ is ready to do is to enquire too deeply into what exactly the adhan signifies. At its most basic it is so much more than an invitation to prayer. Instead it forcefully proclaims the supremacy of Islam over all other faiths and ideologies. In Arabic, the word adhan means to listen, to be informed or enlightened — signifying that people previously in darkness and ignorance are now informed and enlightened about the true religion of Islam, to which they must submit. This is evident in the very words that are being used: “Allah is the greatest. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Come to prayer. Come to salvation.
One wonders whether the ’enlightened’ civic leaders of Minneapolis had quite this kind of enlightenment in mind when they voted to have the supremacy of Islam proclaimed over their city.
What is even more concerning is that the adhan has a definite territorial dimension. The presence of it within a community definitively marks it out as part of the ‘house of Islam’. A place, therefore, where Islam is seen to be dominant to the exclusion of all other competing faiths.
According to his biographer Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad himself used the adhan to determine which communities to attack and which to leave alone. Its absence at the village of Khaybar was ultimately what motivated Muhammad to visit carnage upon it. According to Ibn Ishaq: “When the apostle [Muhammad] raided a people he waited until the morning.  If he heard a call to prayer he held back; if he did not hear it he attacked.  We came to Khaybar by night, and the apostle passed the night there; and when morning came, he did not hear the call to prayer, so he rode (to attack it) and we rode with him.
It would be naive in the extreme to think that the Muslim people of Cedar-Riverside are entirely unaware of these deeper resonances of the adhan. Presumably this causes them to think of their neighborhood as a place where Islam dominates and where they can be at peace. One shudders to think, however, of what it tells them about the rest of their city where the adhan is not being heard.

For more on how the example and teachings of Muhammad play a significant role in inspiring violence in the name of Islam, please see my book:Nothing to do with Islam – Investigating the West’s Most Dangerous Blind Spot”.

#Ramadan: ‘Solidarity Fasting’, Compulsion and Dhimmitude

A study in contrasts: A clueless (non-halaal!) pre fasting meal to show ‘solidarity’ with Muslims and an elderly Hindu man beaten by Pakistani police for not observing the Ramadan fast (Sindh Province, 2016)

One of the strangest trends of recent times is the rush by virtue-signalling Westerners to keep the Ramadan fast in ‘solidarity’ with the Muslim community. It even seems that this is something close to an official policy of the UK’s Liberal Democrat Party, with many members posting photos of their morning meal before beginning the daily fast. One of them were even forced to hastily apologize after Tweeting a picture with a few delicious looking rashers of bacon! Hint, when you try to curry favor, at least make sure that you do so in a halaal-compliant manner!
Perhaps the biggest question that we have to ask when it comes to ‘solidarity fasting’ is why it is only done for Ramadan? Jewish people observe their fasts without demanding that the rest of the world join in. So do Hindus, Jains and Orthodox Christians. Why do we see no ‘solidarity fasts’ in these instances?
I suspect that the answer lies in the deep seated desire among some Islamic supremacists to let no opportunity pass to demonstrate the superiority of Islam over all other faiths and ideologies. This desire can be clearly seen in the so-called ‘Code of Umar’. A document from the early years of Islam that the residents of non-Muslim towns and cities supposedly had to sign, if they wanted to escape with their lives, before surrendering to Muslim armies. After their surrender they would be known as ‘dhimmis’ (literally ‘protected ones’). This may sound rather charming, until you realize that what is in view here is the ‘protection’ commonly offered by the Mafia. It came at the price of punitive taxes and constant reminders (in the form of ritual humiliation) of your second-class status.
What does ‘dhimmitude’ have to do with fasting? Simply this: Islamic law makes it clear that fasting should be universally observed (except by the pregnant or the sick) in the lands of Islam. If you live where shari’a holds sway, fasting is not something that you choose to do, it is the law of the land! In places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Pakistan and many others, even having a small cup of water in the heat of the day during Ramadan could land you with a heavy fine or even a prison sentence. For non-Muslims in these countries fasting has nothing to do with ‘solidarity’. It is more a matter of: ‘Do as you’re told, or else!’
In non-Muslim countries this kind of heavy handed enforcement of Islamic norms is thankfully not an option, at least not yet. So the second best option is for Muslim organizations to campaign for non-Muslim people to observe the fast voluntarily (and to make a big song and dance about it). This way the message about the glories of Islam can still be spread far and wide, without so much as a fine or whipping being needed. Of course, the time for more punitive measures may come, but in the meantime roping in some ‘useful idiots’ to adhere to Islamic law will have to do.
For the sake of balance, it would be nice to see the Lib Dems  and other ‘solidarity fasters’ launching a campaign on behalf of the thousands of people across the Muslim world who are being forced, on pain of severe punishments, to keep a fast that has nothing to do with them. Although somehow I’m not holding my breath.

Please check out my very latest book, a novel called The House Built on Sand. In it I embark on a narrative exploration of some of the major issues surrounding Islamic history and the relationship between Islamic teaching and violence. Get your copy today!