The American-born fugitive Muslim leader Anwar al-Awlaki says the costs of fighting jihad around the world are so high that Christians and Jews should be paying for it.
In an article in the Winter issue of al-Qaida’s Inspire magazine he says it’s permitted, even encouraged, for jihadis to steal from unbelievers – anyone not Muslim – to help finance jihad.
In his article “Dispossessing the Disbelievers,” al-Awlaki writes that because world-wide jihad is expensive, it’s too much of a burden to ask Muslim faithful to continue paying for spreading Islam and Islamic law around the globe.
Al-Awlaki’s remedy is simple: Steal from the wealthy kafirs (unbelievers) and give the money to imams who teach and promote jihad.
Center for the Study of Political Islam founder and director Bill Warner says al-Awlaki is interpreting correctly the teachings of Islam, adding that al-Awlaki is simply urging Muslims to follow in the footsteps of Muhammad.
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“He is imitating Muhammad. He (al-Awlaki) even talks about this. Muhammad was an honest businessman and then he became a prophet. After he became a prophet and moved to Medina, according to the Sira, every dollar he got was taken from the kafir, the unbeliever,” Warner explained.
“So when this man is talking like this, it may be shocking to some people, but to those who are familiar with Muhammad, they would go, ‘Yes, that is Sunna, the perfect example of Muhammad,’” he said.
British-based Sheik Anjem Choudary says al-Awlaki accurately represents the Islamic viewpoint.
“He is knowledgeable on the area of jihad, and therefore what he is positing is an Islamic viewpoint that there is no distinction between civilians and the army. Those people who are fighting against Muslims do not have sanctity over their lives or their wallets,” Choudary stated.
Choudary added a qualifier to his analysis of the Inspire article.
“Obviously as I am living amongst the British, for example, I have a covenant of security. In return for my life and what is protected, I cannot target the life and the wealth of the people with whom I live,” Choudary said.
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“But that is not the same as those people who are living abroad and who are looking at it from a different perspective,” he added.
However, Choudary said he cannot argue with al-Awlaki.
“That is an Islamic viewpoint, and that is based on the Quran and the traditions of the messenger Muhammad, that originally there is no sanctity for the life and the wealth of non-Muslims unless they embrace Islam or unless they covenant with them in a covenant of security,” he said.
“Otherwise there is a state of continual conflict and war, and this is what the messenger Muhammad said. They had been ordered to fight non-Muslims until they declare there is no one worthy of worship except for Allah. If they do their wealth would be protected,” said Choudary.
“They should be invited to Islam, and if they refuse, they go back to the original state which is conflict and their life and wealth not having sanctity,” he said.
Choudary added that he agrees with al-Awlaki that Muslims are not limited by borders and national boundaries.
“The prophet Muhammad said that the one who puts boundaries, frontiers and borders on land is cursed. So we don’t actually believe there is anything called boundaries or limitations to the rule of Islamic law,” Choudary asserted.
“That is why for example the name of the Islamic state in the past is called al-Mamlakah al-Zaahirah, the ever expanding kingdom, always expanding the frontiers until one day we have the complete domination of the world by Islam,” Choudary stated.
“Definitely we do not recognize the nation states and we do not recognize the United Nations. We recognize the world is divided into two camps, the camp of Islam and the camp of non-Islam … the disbelievers,” he explained.
The two realms of the world are in conflict, he said.
“What we have today is 55 so-called Muslim countries that are implementing non-Islamic law, and it is the obligation of the Muslims to remove those regimes and implement the Islamic law, annex them together and continue with the foreign policy of removing obstacles in the way of implementing the Shariah and the total domination of the world by Islam,” said Choudary.
Those ideas are covered in the Inspire article, but Warner said that even though the article will embolden Muslims, it will probably be ignored in the West.
“The kafirs will ignore this. Newspapers will ignore this; MSNBC will ignore this. Or, they will dismiss it as not real Islam. In short, the kafirs will be in a state of denial just like they are now,” Warner declared.
“This is a non-event to kafir leaders. They’re simply not going to recognize that this happened,” Warner said.
Warner added that the magazine article will be viewed differently in Muslim countries.
“I divide Muslims into those who follow the Islam of Medina, that is of jihad and war and politics. Those who are already following the Islam of Medina, this will just be confirmation of everything they know,” Warner observed.
“Then there are those Muslims that people call ‘Good Muslims.’ They practice the Islam of Mecca, which was pre-jihad. Those Muslims will be reminded by this that they’re supposed to move to Medinan Islam, and if what al-Alwaki has to say doesn’t impact them, they’re really not mature Muslims yet,” he said.
Warner said the West is in for a surprise when greater numbers of Muslims move in the direction of Medinan Islam.
“The response of the kafir, Homeland Security, FBI, is a complete denial that such a thing exists. They get by with this by creating a concept of ‘Good Muslims,’ the ‘Real Muslims.’ The jihadis they declare to be fake or false Muslims,” Warner explained.
“These are things that kafirs say about Islam. But Islam itself recognizes that there are stages in the process of being a Muslim,” Warner explained.
Center for Security Policy Senior Fellow Clare Lopez agrees. She calls those stages progressive revelation.
“Progressive revelation is a doctrine in Islam that says that Muhammad reportedly received his revelations for the verses in the Quran in a sequential order and gradually over a period of 23 years,” Lopez explained.
“That same process and sequential ordering of revelation if you will, is the process that converts should go through. It also exactly parallels what Sayyid Qutb, the ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was executed by the Egyptian government in 1966, wrote in his seminal work called ‘Milestones,’” Lopez observed.
She said Qutb’s book set the tone for present jihad movements.
“‘Milestones’ is basically the handbook of today’s jihadis. It is found literally in their pockets and backpacks when they are captured and killed in all the battlefields,” she continued.
“What Qutb says in ‘Milestones’ is precisely this: That the Muslim from childhood or from the point of conversion to maturity, follows a pathway that is marked by milestones along the roadway,” she said.
Lopez outlined the process.
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“In that sense you begin with the Mecca period revelations if you believe in this sequential order of the Quran, which are the mild ones. These are the, ‘You’re religion for you, my religion for me,’” Lopez said
“You progress onward in the Quran to the verse which are more warlike. You come eventually to the 9th Sura, the Sura of the Sword,” she added.
Sura 9.5 reads, “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every strategem of war.”
Lopez added that “people of the book” are also targets.
“The verses of the ninth Sura, the Sword sura, say fight and kill the infidels, whenever you may find them, even if they be People of the Book, which means Jews and Christians, until they pay the jizya, the tax, with willing submission. That is the penultimate Sura of the Quran,” Lopez stated.
“What this is, is mainstream, orthodox Islam, revealed, or taught, as al-Awlaki is doing in a sequential manner, first this, then that, then that,” she said.