MARK LEVINE AND A TRUCE WITH ISLAM
Im not often surprised by ignorant statements concerning Islam but occasionally the rare one pops up and dumbfounds me. After all, for years Ive been deeply involved in discussions and debates about Islam and there isnt too much that I havent heard. But recently I came across a statement that had to be the stupidest statement that Ive heard in years. I am astonished that anyone with even a basic knowledge of Islam could say such a thing.
If you are familiar with my writings you know that I usually dont use the word "stupid". But in this case I cannot think of a more appropriate adjective. And I want it understood clearly that I am not calling its author stupid for he is an intelligent man. I am saying that what he said is laughable, ridiculous, and dangerous.
The authors name is Mark LeVine. Hes an assistant professor at UC Irvine, teaching history or Islamic studies, or both. His article is found here. His article was pointed out to me on the weblog "Little Green Footballs". You can find it here.
Ive asked myself "Why would someone who has some understanding of Islam write this nonsense?" The only reasons I could come up with are:
Lets hope that in this case its reason #1.
I spent some time and took a deeper look at the author and his writings and I felt a sense of urgency to respond. This type of exceptional stupidity should not go unanswered.
I feel sorry for the students at Irvine having to eat the gruel of Islamic ignorance fed to them by LeVine. Surely that University has cheated its students of a real education concerning Islam.
To begin with, lets read some PR about LeVine. I feel this is warranted because of the claims made regarding his academic stature. He passes himself off as a fresh new Mideast scholar. Let me quote from his bio page, found at www.meaning.org/levinebio.htm:
Mark LeVine is an emerging leader of the new generation of historians and analysts of the modern Middle East and Islam.
... taught Qur'an to Muslim Brothers,
LeVine trusts no one, is suspicious of all sources and all authority. He is not afraid to tell the truth based on the facts and data he can personally confirm, and will challenge the actions and opinions of rulers and ruled, oppressed and oppressor alike.
His wide and deep knowledge of the politics and history of the entire region (from North Africa to Afghanhistan), its religions and its cultures, gives him unique insight into the broader dynamics that have produced the events that constantly dominate the news.
Well, Im impressed, arent you? After reading all that hype Id have thought that we have a modern day Ibn Sina (Avicenna) on our hands! If only that were the case. And dont you like the bold, brash avowal, "LeVine trusts no one, is suspicious of all sources and all authority." Makes ya hope that you got a real bonafide truth-seeker addressing the issues. Hardly. Exaggeration by any other name ...
After reading about him I thought that Mark sounds like a cool guy. He likes to rock, he has long hair, he felt the pulse of the cultures where hes hung out, and he probably plays a mean guitar. But in this day and age, where dedicated Arab Muslims are traveling thousands of miles to murder children (in Russia), where dedicated Muslims spend years planning to fly planes into buildings (9/11 NYC, with local Muslim populace providing logistical support), where dedicated Muslims spend months planning to blow up trains (in Spain), and where dedicated Algerian Muslims slit the throats of Muslim children and throw them down wells, we better have more than a few hot guitar licks to further our knowledge of Islam and understand the threat that it represents to all that is non-Islamic.
Lets begin and take a look at what he wrote and review it. Quoting from his article referenced above we find his argument in a nutshell:
It is time for the United States to declare a truce with the Muslim world, and radical Islam in particular.
Pause and think about his statement for a second. What does his statement imply? The first significant error LeVine makes is by implying that America is at war with the entire Muslim world. Is it true that America is making war upon the entire Muslim world? Yes or no? If yes, then the Muslims in the mosque that I hang out with arent aware of it. My Muslim friends in the Mideast werent aware of it. Yet this is what LeVine implies. So the first question is what is his real motive for saying something so untrue?
Yes, many Muslims do hate the West, but not all. Ill point out that many Muslims hated the West long before 9/11. I am now a citizen, al-humdulilah! So I can ask, "If America were at war with the Muslim world, would so many Muslims strive to immigrate here?" In fact many Muslims support our efforts to fight terrorism. As the French philosopher Renan said, "Muslims are the first victim of Islam." And many Muslims know and understand this well. Moderate and liberal Muslims fear fundamentalist Islam. Ask a young Iranian girl in Tehran about their religious police, ask the common people who lived under that Taliban in Kabul, ask the farmers in Algeria. Muslim fundamentalists have murdered many more fellow Muslims than they have murdered non-Muslims. America mourns the loss of 3000 lives on 9/11, the Russians, Spanish, Thais, Pilipinos, Australians, and others have lost hundreds to Muslim terrorists, but Algeria has lost 130,000 lives to the on-going war between its Islamic fundamentalists and government.
What else about LeVines statement do you notice? What is apparent to me is that it robs the "radical" Muslims of freewill and responsibility for their actions. LeVine implies that all we have to say is, "truce" and the Muslims will stop their terrorist attacks. All we have to do is say were "sorry, lets be friends", and theyll leave us alone. Do you believe this for a second? You might as well ask that cobra not to strike you as you walk by because you mean it no harm.
Oh, and Im sure that the Christian Indonesians, Christian Pilipinos, the Indian Hindus, the animist Sudanese, the Buddhist Thais, the Pakistani Hindus and Christians, all feel better knowing that all they have to do to live in peace and stop being murdered by the Muslims is to declare a truce with them.
Hardly. The people mentioned above have all been murdered by the Muslims, simply because they are non-Muslim. NO! No one should take Marks advice - it is bad advice. He is an example of yet another college professor uttering nonsense about a deadly enemy because of their political or religious bias, or simple stupidity.
EXAMINATION OF THE WORD FOR TRUCE
Lets start with a definition of the word "Hudna" which LeVine details and is often translated as "truce". This comes from the Encyclopedia of Islam:
HUDNA, abstract noun from the root h.d.n. with the sense of "calm", "peace". Other terms which have the same meaning are muwadaa, musalaha, musalama, and mutaraka, the general meaning of which in Islamic law is the abstention of the parties concerned from hostilities against each other. The process of entering into a peace agreement with the enemy is called muhadana or muwadaa, but the instrument of peace is hudna (peace agreement).
Also, here is what "The Reliance of the Traveller", page o9:12, says about Islamic "truce":
In Sacred Law truce means a peace treaty with those hostile to Islam, involving a cessation of fighting for a specified period, whether for payment or something else.
... Interests that justify making a truce are such things as Muslim weakness because of lack of numbers or materiel, or the hope of an enemy becoming Muslim ...
So we see that in Islam, a "truce" does not mean a state of peace as those in the West would understand it. Rather it means a cessation of hostilities that might lead to a longer lasting peace if it so suits both parties. In an Islamic truce both sides will be free to regroup and rearm for the next battle. When the truce expires the sides will be free to go back to killing each other. A "truce" in Islam is not a negotiated peace wherein both sides intend to live in peace from there on out and try to work out things non-violently. It is like more like the off-season in football; they arent battling on the field, but they are preparing for the next season of war.
Interestingly enough LeVines nonsense has been uttered by others before. Here is an article on the internet that also confronts this type of argument:: http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/critiques/Hudna_With_Hamas.asp
Below is a quote that discusses Yassir Arafats and the Muslim terrorist group Hamas proposed "truces" years earlier.
When Yassir Arafat infamously invoked Mohammad's hudna in 1994 to describe his own Oslo commitments "on the road to Jerusalem," the implication was clear. As Mideast expert Daniel Pipes explained, Arafat was asserting to his Islamic brethren that he will, "when his circumstances change for the better, take advantage of some technicality to tear up existing accords and launch a military assault on Israel." Indeed, this is precisely what occurred in Sept. 2000 when Arafat & Co. launched a terror assault upon Israeli citizens.
As for Hamas, they have proven time and again their commitment to a tactical hudna replenishing their strength during the quiet periods, then returning with increased deadliness. As recently documented by The Washington Institute, Hamas agreed to no less than ten ceasefires in the past ten years, and after every single one returned freshly armed for terror. Hundreds of Israeli citizens have paid for these hudnas with their lives.
A LOOK AT HISTORICAL TRUCES IN EARLY ISLAM
Lets examine some of Muhammads truces and his trustworthiness. Did Muhammad honor his truces? Did he keep his word? Or did he lie and break the truces he made?
Remember, Muhammad is Islam. If Muhammad proves to be a liar and truce breaker then todays Muslims will follow suit. Muhammad is their prime example and they endeavor to walk in his footsteps. If Muhammad could lie and break his word for any reason that suited him so will the Muslims of today. And if that is the case then LeVine is wrong, dead wrong, about concluding a truce with todays Muslim terrorists.
MUHAMMAD AND THE TREATY OF HUDAYBIYYA
Ive written a long article about this treaty, found here: http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/hudaybiyya.htm
Ill quote selectively from it concerning references for this discussion. Here is a short summary:
During 628 A.D. Muhammad attempted to make a pilgrimage to the Kaba in Mecca. As he neared Meccan troops opposed him and forbid him to proceed to Mecca. However, the Meccans entered into negotiations with him. About ten miles outside of Mecca, by the spring of Hudaybiyya, Muhammad and the Meccans concluded a treaty known as the Treaty of Hudaybiyya. This treaty humiliated the Muslims and Muhammad. Later as he journeyed home, Muhammad told his followers that the affair at Hudaybiyya was in fact a "victory". As proof of the victory Muhammad promised his followers that they would have the "booty" of the Jewish settlement of Khaibar. Weeks later Muhammad attacked and plundered Khaibar.
When Muhammad made the treaty of Hudaybiyya, he knew that with the threat of the Meccans checked (due to the treaty), he would be free to attack his other enemies and subject them. Just as Hitler knew that his treaty with Russia allowed him to attack weaker states, like Poland, with impunity, so Muhammad knew he could now attack the weaker tribes near Medina. W. M. Watt writes in "Muhammad in Medina", page 48,
The remaining clause was apparently one on which Muhammad set considerable store, for on his way to Mecca he is said to have told one of his messengers that he was ready to make peace with Quraysh if they would allow him a free hand with the nomadic tribes.
And faithful to his nature and the spirit that drove him, some 6 weeks after he concluded that treaty he attacked the Jews of Khaibar. He killed many of them, enslaved many of them, and tortured a man to get money. You can read about that here: http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/kinana.htm
Now part of this truces requirements is detailed in Guillaumes "The Life of Muhammad", which is a reconstitution of Ibn Ishaqs "Sirat Rasulallah", page 504. It is the oldest extant biography of Muhammad. Note one of the truces conditions in bold.
"Then the Apostle summoned Ali and told him to write "In the name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful." Suhayl said, "I do not recognize this; but write, "In thy name, O Allah"". The apostle told him to write the latter and he did so. Then he said: "Write "This is what Muhammad the apostle of God has agreed with Suhayl b. Amr." Suhayl said, "If I witnessed that you were God's apostle I would not have fought you. Write your own name and the name of your father." The apostle said: "Write "This is what Muhammad b. Abdullah has agreed with Suhayl v. Amr: they have agreed to lay aside war for ten years during which men can be safe and refrain from hostilities on condition that if anyone comes to Muhammad without the permission of his guardian he will return him to them; and if anyone of those with Muhammad comes to Quraysh they will not return him to him. We will not show enmity one to another and there shall be no secret reservation of bad faith. ...
The treaty stipulates that if anyone from Mecca goes to join the Muslims without the permission of their guardian then Muhammad must have them returned.
But not long after the treaty was concluded, the treaty, and Muhammads word, was tested. From "The Life of Muhammad", page 509:
"Umm Kulthum Uqba Muayt migrated to the apostle during this period. Her two brothers Umara and Walid sons of Uqba came and asked the apostle to return her to them in accordance with the agreement between him and Quraysh at Hudaybiyya, but he would not. God forbade it. ...
And detailed in the Hadith of the Sunan of Abu Dawud in volume 2, #2759:
Thereafter some believing women who were immigrants came. (Allah sent down: O ye who believe when believing women come to you as emigrants). Allah most high forbade them to send them back, but ordered them to restore the dower."
The Islamic sources themselves state that Muhammad lied and broke his word and broke the treaty of Hudaybiyya! Muhammad claimed that God allowed him to break the Treaty. Muhammad has a convenient "revelation" justifying his deceitful actions in breaking the truce (see Sura 60:10). Just as the American comedian, Flip Wilson, would say, "The Devil made me do it," so Muhammad said, "Allah made me do it" when he committed something detestable.
MUHAMMAD AND THE TREATIES WITH THE PAGANS
There were other treaties Muhammad made with various Arab tribes. Yet in the end Muhammad chose to break or end them.
After Muhammad conquered Mecca and established his power in his region of the Saudi Peninsula, he claimed to have received another "revelation" from Allah, telling him to break his word and some treaties. Here is the text from the Quran, Chapter 9:1-5
1) Freedom from obligation (is proclaimed) from Allah and His messenger toward those of the idolaters with whom ye made a treaty.
2) Travel freely in the land four months, and know that ye cannot escape Allah and that Allah will confound the disbelievers (in His Guidance).
3) And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to all men on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage that Allah is free from obligation to the idolaters, and (so is) His messenger. So, if ye repent, it will be better for you; but if ye are averse, then know that ye cannot escape Allah. Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve,
4) Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfill their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him).
5) Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
A detailed account of the actual event is given in "The Life of Muhammad" pages 617 - 620. (It is also detailed in "Tabaris History", volume 9, pages 76 - 79).
A discharge came down, permitting the breaking of the agreement between the apostle and the polytheists that none should be kept back from the temple when he came to it, and that none need fear during the sacred months. That there was a general agreement between him and the polytheists; meanwhile there were particular agreements between the apostle and the Arab tribes for specified terms. ...
He said  "A discharge from God and His apostle towards those polytheists with whom you made a treaty," i.e. those polytheists with whom you made a general agreement. "So travel through the land for four months and know that you cannot escape God and that God will put the unbelievers to shame. And a proclamation from God and His apostle to men on the day of the greater pilgrimage that God and His apostle are free from obligation to the polytheists," i.e., after this pilgrimage. So if you repent it will be better for you; and if you turn back know that you cannot escape God. Inform those who disbelieve, about a painful punishment except those polytheists with whom you have made a treaty," i.e. the special treaty for a specified term, "Since they have not come short in anything in regard to you and have not helped anyone against you. So fulfill your treaty with them to their allotted time. God loves the pious. And when the sacred months are passed, He means the four which he fixed as their time, "then kill the polytheists wherever you find them, and seize them and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush ...
What this is describing is that Muhammad claimed to have received a "revelation" from Allah telling him to break the various types of treaties he had with various tribes and people. Some were to be broken right away, a select few would be honored until their time was fulfilled, then the treaties’ provisions would no longer be honored and the guarantee of peace ended.
Muhammad lied again and justified his lie through Allah. After the "sacred months" ended the polytheists would be subject to attack as verse 9:5 commands. At this point in time Muhammad had gained enough strength that he could now make war upon people he once had a treaty of peace. So he broke the treaty and prepared to make war upon them.
MUHAMMAD THE TRUCE BREAKER
In both these cases we see that it was Muhammad who lied and broke the treaties. Would you trust a man like this? If Muhammad is a truce breaker why would we trust those that follow in his footsteps? In Iraq weve seen Muqtada al-Sadr break several truces in Najaf. He will continue to break his word when he feels he can gain an advantage. His purpose is to test the strength of his enemies. When he calls a truce he regroups. Hell be back. Likewise it will be with all other fundamentalist Muslims. They will lie and break their word when it suits them and sue for peace when they are losing.
These Muslims will do what Muhammad commanded them to do when they are strong and have the upper hand:
Therefore do not falter or sue for peace when you have gained the upper hand. God is on your side and will not grudge you the reward of your labors. (47:35)
But when they are weak the Muslims will follow a different command, recommending to cease hostilities:
"But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace" (8:61).
And this is exactly the game that Muqtada al-Sadr is playing with the Americans and other Iraqis in Iraq. He is playing them for fools.
As long as the Muslim terrorists believe they can make gains fighting their war against non-Muslims they will. If they think they cannot win, or the cost is too great, then they will sue for a "truce" to allow themselves time to regroup. Yet LeVine thinks that these are the people we should turn a blind eye to!
If America were to take LeVines advice we would one day hear him say, "Pardon me, is that my knife in your back?"
Mark LeVine is acting as a spokesman and advocate for the terrorists (whether he understands this or not). Hes asking America to back off and allow her enemies a chance to regroup. When they start bombing here in the States, perhaps LeVine will counsel all Americans to "Accept Islam and you will be safe."
This may sound like a naive, even defeatist statement in the context of the 9-11 Commission Report's reminder that the United States remains very much at war with "Islamist terrorism" and the ideas behind it. Yet a truce (Arabic hudna) rather than an increasingly dangerous "clash of civilizations" is the only way to avoid a long, ultimately catastrophic conflict. And it's up to Europe to be the good broker.
Yes Mark, it does sound like a na´ve, foolish, and defeatist statement. After what weve read about the historical Muslims, making a truce with the terrorists would allow them to regroup, rearm, and strike us again in a more horrible manner. Do you think Muslims who go to foreign lands to murder children can be trusted? Are these LeVines friends? These are the people he thinks we should trust?
And I got news for ya, the clash of civilizations started some 1400 hundred years ago. Islam is at war with everything that is non-Islamic. Sooner or later it intends to conquer that which is not subject to its domain. If you want to read an extensive examination into the relationship between Islam and violence, see this article: http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/jihad.htm.
Let me quote from another article I wrote recently that details Islams position towards the non-Islamic. The article is found here.
A second reference for this verse comes from the "Reliance of the Traveler", page 559 . This book is not just a commentary; rather it is "A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law." It is based upon the Shafii school of Islamic law. (There are four major schools of Islamic jurisprudence, the Shafii being the largest of them). The book represents not just the work of a single scholar, but rather "represents a large collectivity of scholars ." It is not just a simple Quranic commentary; rather it is a foundational theological textbook.
The Caliph makes war upon the Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax Jizya ... in accordance with the word of Allah Most High:
"Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled." 9:29
The Caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim ...
The quotes above are taken from a Manual of Islamic law (Shafii). It states Islams official position towards the non-Muslim: War and subjection.
And dont you find it comical that LeVine wants Europe to be the "broker"?! Europe was incapable of solving the problems in the Balkans without Americas help. Europe is divided. The various European countries are not the equivalent of the United States. They do not all agree or act in unison. Isnt LeVine able to figure this out for himself? Which European countries is he talking about acting as broker? Further, there is a growing backlash against Islam in Europe. Europe has not completely forgotten what Islam has done to it many years ago. In Spain they still celebrate driving the Muslims out after some 800 years of forced occupation. The Eastern Europeans have not forgotten the horrors perpetrated upon them by the Turks.
Muhammad was not a man of "peace"; rather, he was a conqueror. The bottom line is this: Islam is at war with all that is non-Islamic. The only way you will get real peace from the Muslims is if you either convert to Islam, or die, or defeat them. This is why Muslims often told non-Muslims, "Accept Islam and you will be safe". (Refer to Sahih Muslim, Book 019, numbers 4363, and 4380).
LeVines counsel is bad counsel. Taking his advice would be disastrous for Europe, America, Russia, i.e. all that is non-Islamic.
Just as it was na´ve, foolish, and eventually incredibly destructive for the good British citizens to have believed Neville Chamberlains statement, "I believe it is peace for our time ... Go home and get a nice quiet sleep", when he spoke about relations with Hitler, so too it would be equally stupid to take LeVines destructive advice:
It is time for the United States to declare a truce with the Muslim world, and radical Islam in particular.
Bad advice destroys those it is meant to serve.
Deceivers are the most dangerous members of our society. They trifle with the best affections of our nature, and violate the most sacred obligations. Crabbe
A fool may be known by six things: anger without cause; speech without profit; change without progress; inquiry without object; putting trust in a stranger, and mistaking foes for friends. Arabian Proverb.
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