portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article


We must again state that Islam is a religion of peace
Wednesday November 27, 1:21 AM
Nigerian state slaps "death sentence" on Miss World reporter

The government of a mainly Muslim state in northern Nigeria called for believers to kill a woman journalist who wrote an article on the Miss World pageant which was seen as insulting to the Prophet Mohammed.

Zamfara State's information commissioner, Umar Dangaladima, told AFP that the state government endorsed a "fatwa" -- an Islamic religious decree -- calling for the death of fashion writer Isioma Daniel, whose report triggered bloody riots.

There is no danger that the decree will be carried out -- Daniel lives far from Zamfara in Lagos and is said to have fled Nigeria -- but the statement marks another dispute between the leaders of the Muslim north and Nigeria's secular government.

Information Minister Jerry Gana, who acts as a spokesman for Nigeria's secular government, dismissed the decree as both "null and void" and unconstitutional and vowed it would not be enforced.

"The federal government under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will not allow such an order in any part of the federal republic," he told AFP.

Last week more than 220 people died in the northern city of Kaduna in rioting, which has been blamed on the report, and the Miss World organisation was been forced to abandon plans to stage the spectacle in Nigeria.

Dangaladima told AFP: "The state government did not on its own pass the fatwa. It's a fact that Islam prescribes the death penalty on anybody, no matter his faith, who insults the Prophet.

"Therefore the state government has retained this verdict as it applies to Isioma. This is our position," he said, explaining that Islamic youth organisations had come to the Zamfara government to ask for action against the offending journalist.

Zamfara's deputy governor Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi said late Monday in a speech to religious leaders in the Zamfara State capital Gusau which was rebroadcast on state radio: "Like Salman Rushdie, the blood of Isioma Daniel can be shed."

"It is binding on all Muslims wherever they are to consider the killing of the writer as a religious duty," he said.

But Lateef Adegbite, general secretary of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Nigeria, distanced his influential body from the fatwa, refusing to endorse it.

He told AFP that the council would study the ruling, but would also take into account that Daniel is a Christian, does not live or work in Zamfara and that her paper had apologised.

A "fatwa" is a legal statement in Islam, issued by a mufti or a religious lawyer after reference to precedents, to decide on an issue of jurisprudence.

In an interview with CNN late Monday Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo defended the right of Zamfara and 11 other states to reintroduce Islamic Sharia law.

"I have always maintained Sharia has been part of Nigeria since we have lived together as Christians and Muslims," he said.

"We are practicing a federal form of government in this land... because of our diversity. Anybody who tried to enforce a unity form of government in this land would destroy it overnight."

But Obasanjo also said that he opposes the death sentences handed down by some Sharia courts for offences such as adultery, and vowed that the federal courts will quash them on appeal.

Daniel resigned from the newspaper This Day after fury erupted over an article she authored on November 16 on the Miss World pageant, in which she suggested that the Prophet Mohammed might not have opposed its being held in Nigeria.

"The Muslims thought it was immoral to bring 92 women to Nigeria to ask them to revel in vanity. What would Mohammed think? In all honesty, he would probably have chosen a wife from one of them," she wrote.

Daniel is described by her paper as "a style writer who had only just joined This Day a few months back after a short journalism career in the UK".

Her mobile telephone was not accepting calls on Tuesday and a senior source at the paper said she had fled the country.

On Wednesday a group of Muslim youths burned down This Day's local offices in Kaduna, an attack that proved to be a prelude to three days of sectarian violence.

At the weekend the contestants and organisers of the Miss World pageant left Nigeria under a cloud of disastrous publicity surrounding the violence. The show has now been moved to London and its organisers have blamed This Day for the violence.
politically correct as red herring 26.Nov.2002 16:57

concerned historian

George W. Bush represents a reactionary, right-wing oligarchy with ideologically fanatical views of Christianity; George W. Bush is not a representation of all Christians, nor most Christians.

Practitioners of Islam are largely people with the common desire for qualities of life that most humans seek, such as peace, a good life for their family, and so forth. Religious fanatics represent a minority percentage of the population of adherents -- even in the most conflict intense sub-regions like Israel/Palestine.

If you want to be an agent provocateur, you need to elevate your technique while spamming the IMC community. The above would work on cable news talkshows but not here. Your idiocy is transparent to all those you target, and the irony of the PC claim you proffer is that the clothes fit you well.

concerned historian

Islam has tolerance for outsiders 27.Nov.2002 18:01

concerned historian=PC joke

Wow, concerned historian, I will elevate my techniques, because Indymedia is so tolerant of all viewpoints

In the History of al-Tabari (Ta'rikh al-rusul wa'l-muluk), (The History of al-Tabari (Ta'rikh al rusul wa'l-muluk), ed. by Ehsan Yar-Shater, vol. 12, transl. and ann. by Yohanan Friedman, State University of New York Press, 1992) in the volume describing the conquest of Iraq by the Arab-Muslim armies, we read the recommendation given by Umar b. al-Khattab to the commander of the troops he sent to al-Basrah (636 C.E.). Umar said:
"Summon the people to God; those who respond to your call, accept it from them, (This is to say, accept their conversion as genuine and refrain from fighting them) but those who refuse must pay the poll tax out of humiliation and lowliness. (Qur'an 9:29) If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency. Fear God with regard to what you have been entrusted."

This is the pattern of the jihad war. Tabari was a great Muslim scholar, author of a monumental historical work on the Arab-Muslim conquest, among other prestigious works. He died in 923, and by then the Muslim empire had expanded from Portugal to India. After Tabari's death, the Muslim conquests continued in Asia, as well as on Christian eastern European lands. The Christian kingdoms of Armenia, Byzantium, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Albania [and] parts of Poland and Hungary were conquered. The Muslim armies were stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683. The jihad lasted over a millennium.

Such tremendous military success gave rise to a triumphalist jihad literature. Muslim historians recorded in details the number of slain infidels, the enslavement of the populations, the booty in captives, cattle and movable goods, the cities which were destroyed, razed or spared and taken by treaty and the countryside pillaged or set on fire. There are countless descriptions by Muslim historians on the jihad wars. Battles and victories have been described from Portugal to India, from Budapest to Sudan.

This information is not only available in Muslim sources, but also in Christian sources, which complement the Muslim perspective by giving the evidence of the victims of jihad wars. Those Christian sources are Coptic, Armenian, Jacobite, Greek, Slave, Spanish, Italian, etc.

So one sees that the jihad wars, the war of conquest of infidel's territory, that had lasted for over a millennium and had expanded on three continents, is a very well documented historical field. Thus, it is astonishing when this well-characterized historiography is largely ignored, or even denied, in scholarly works. One is amazed to see that sometimes it is denied, even in scholarly books.

Jihad, therefore, was an ongoing historical process that brought vast Christian territories, with their population and civilization, under the rule of Islamic law, transforming them from a Christian civilization into an Islamic civilization, as we know them today in Turkey, the Middle East and in North Africa.

If jihad has been pursued century after century, it is because jihad, which means "to strive in the path of Allah," embodied an ideology and a jurisdiction. Both were conceived by Muslim jurists consults from the eighth to ninth centuries onward. Briefly presented, the ideology of jihad separates the world into two irreconcilable entities: dar al-Islam (the land of Islam) and dar al-Harb (the land of war), controlled by the infidels. The duty of the Muslims is to impose the Islamic law on the whole world, either by persuasion or by war, and those efforts which imply sacrifices represent the "fight in the path of Allah."

For Muslim theologians, jihad is a religious duty that unites the Muslim community together, imposing on individual different obligations, according to circumstances.

In his book The Laws of Islamic Governance, (Abu'l-Hasan al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, The Laws of Islamic Governance, transl. by Asadullah Yate, Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. London, 1996) Mawardi (d. 1058) a renowned jurist, examines in his chapter "The Amirate of Jihad" the characteristics of Islamic lands in relation to its tax assessment and to its population. Since all Islamic lands, except Arabia, were conquered by jihad, he examines several war situations. First he expounds the aim of jihad and the types of enemies of the dar al-harb. Who are the enemies, one may ask?

The enemies of the dar al-harb, he says, are of two sorts:

1. Those whom the call of Islam has reached, but they have refused it and have taken up arms:
"The amir of the army has the option of fighting them in one of two ways, that is in accordance with what he judges to be in the best interests of the Muslims and most harmful to the mushrikun (infidels, polytheists): the first, to harry them from their houses and to inflict damage on them day and night, by fighting and burning, or else to declare war and combat them in ranks." (Mawardi 60)
2. Those whom the invitation to Islam has not reached. If they still refuse to accept Islam after it has been explained to them, "war is waged against them and they are treated as those whom the call has reached." (Mawardi 60)

He distinguished three war situations:

1. The enemies accept to convert to Islam, in this case they and their land become part of dar al-Islam.
2. The enemies are vanquished but they refuse to convert, "in which case their women and children are taken prisoner, and their wealth is taken as booty and those who are not made captive are put to death. As for the captives, the amir has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first, to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale or manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them. Allah, may He be exalted, says, 'When you encounter those who deny [the Truth] then strike [their] necks'" (Mawardi 76, quotation and brackets in the text).
3. "The enemy make a payment in return for peace and reconciliation."

Mawardi here distinguishes two cases: 1. Payment is made immediately and is treated like booty, "it does, however, not prevent a jihad being carried out against them in the future." (Mawardi 76). 2. Payment is made yearly and will "constitute an ongoing tribute by which their security is established." Reconciliation and security last as long as the payment is made. If the payment ceased, the war resumes.

A treaty of reconciliation can only last for four months; it may be renewable but must not exceed 10 years. Islamic law prohibits the killing of children, women, the elderly and priests if they have not fought.

In another chapter "The Division of the Fay and the Ghaneemah" (booty), Mawardi examines the regulations pertaining to the land taken from the infidels. Those lands, he says, are of three sorts:

1. Land "seized by force and violence, when its inhabitants abandon it by their own deaths, or they are taken captive, or they emigrate."
2. Land acquired from them "without violence because they have abandon it out of fear."
3. Land taken through treaty. In this case he examines two possibilities: either the infidels convert or they pay the poll tax and their life and belongings are protected (Mawardi 200-01).

This is the origin of the system of dhimmitude. The native infidel population must recognize Islamic ownership on their land, submit to Islamic law and accept to pay the poll tax. In return, their fundamental rights to life and security are recognized by a treaty, the dhimma, a treaty of submission, which guarantees their rights.

We see therefore that dhimmitude is the outcome of a war that ends in three ways: conversion; tribute for peace; submission and poll tax. The basic element of dhimmitude is a land expropriation through a pact: land for peace. The vanquished populations were protected, providing they recognized the Islamic ownership on their lands and that they submit to Muslim authority. Protection is abolished if they refuse to pay the poll tax, if they blaspheme or if they rebel and ally themselves with the dar al-harb.

The characteristics of dhimmitude are numerous. Only a few will be mentioned here. They concern the prohibition of arms for the vanquished non-Muslims (dhimmis), of church bells, the restrictions concerning the building and restoration of churches and synagogues, the inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims in regard to taxes, offences and penal law, the refusal of dhimmi testimonies by Muslim courts, the obligation for Jews and Christians to wear special clothes, their humiliation and abasement. In practice, dhimmis suffered, at periods, from slavery (devshirme for Christians), abductions, deportations. In some regions the legislation was more severe, like for instance in Morocco, Persia, Yemen or in remote countries. In others, like certain European provinces of the Ottoman Empire, it was attenuated.

These are the classical interpretations of jihad and dhimmitude, as they were written down by Muslim theologians and jurists in the Middle Ages. Today most Muslims probably, do not know them.

The principle of toleration initiated by the system of dhimmitude is opposed to the values expressed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Those latter stress the equality of all human beings and the inalienability of their rights, whereas the principle of protection emerges from a war of conquest. It concedes limited rights to the vanquished, asserts conditions and can be revoked by the dominant group.

For its time, the system of dhimmitude had its positive and negative aspects, which cannot be discussed now. It main features were set in the eighth to ninth centuries. Dhimmitude was abolished during the 19th and 20th centuries under European pressure or by colonization. However we see now the return of the spirit of jihad, in the wars in Sudan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Algeria, Israel and in global terrorism. Non-Muslim minorities suffer also from grave discriminations in Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and in countries, which apply the shari'a law or whose constitution recognize that the shari'a is the main source of law.