Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Al-Liby on Jihad as Blood Sacrifice

Abu Yahya al-Libi
Al-Qaeda Member
(November 7, 2006)

As a preface leading into an observation that I intend to make about Abu Yahya al-Libi, I want to note that some of my older postings still get an occasional comment, such as my initial post on the Pope's Regensburg talk, which received this comment yesterday:

Anonymous said:

hi, i am a student at the american university in cairo and am doing a presentaion on the pope's speech and am a muslim. i have to admit that people might have misunderstood the pope's speech or even as u mentioned the translation wasnt accurate but in both ways it would probably still sound abit insulting because muslims look at the prophet mohammed as an ideal human being, so the pope should never have mentioned mohamed in his speech cuz its a sensitive isuee. like did u ever hear a shakh mention any prophet of any other religion in a speech with any negative words or anything like that ? no .and a pope should be fair and respectiable of other religions and not bias thats what i think a pope should be like. so i think the pope should have thought twice before bringing up this issue and i do admit that some muslims use violence but that is because they dont understand religion or islam well enough cuz islam should be representing peace and all good. but i still also think that the viloence is in the character not related to religion at all like there are violent christians, jews...etc... so islam doesnt have anything to do with it. and those people who claim to be muslims do nothing but harm islams repitation which used to be a good one among the countries long ago. plus i just wanted to clarify that my best friend is a christian and christains do not live in hell in egypt. if u ever visited egypt you would find the people very friendly and helpful and am seriously not being bias or anything. thanx.

I didn't address all of the points raised by Anonymous, for I don't know if he'll check back, but I did say this:

Anonymous, in the West, criticism of religious leaders has been allowed, more or less openly, since the Enlightenment, and I hope that this right to free speech remains uncurtailed.

As for the Pope's actual words, they were in German and show that the Pope expressed himself very carefully, far more carefully than the English translation.

If you haven't yet looked at my other posts on this issue, then you might want to look at the posts that follow this one that you've commented on.

As for violence and Islam, while I think that most Muslims are peaceful individuals, Islam does officially sanction violence in the cause of religion. I'm no expert, and limits to the acceptable kind of violence or to the degree of violence within the acceptable kind remain unclear to me.

My impression, however, is that the limits are rather broadly set.

To take one example, suicide bombing of Israelis seems to be widely accepted, both by religious leaders and by Muslims generally.

If suicide bombings of civilians is considered acceptable in Islam, then Islam has a very big problem with violence, one that Muslims themselves need to face up to and solve.

Okay, now that this long preface is finished, I'm ready for a brief observation on Abu Yahya al-Libi -- and, yes, I will make a connection to the comment by Anonymous and my reply.

In perusing words from the transcript of a statement by Al-Qaeda Member Al-Liby, I've come across another one of those jihadist remarks that seem to cast suicide jihadism in terms of human sacrifice, as indicated by this money quote:

"this form of worship [i.e. jihad] can only exist through the blood of those who sacrifice their souls for [Islam]..."
In effect, Al-Liby seems to be saying that the external, military jihad is a type of worship that takes the form of blood sacrifice through its martyrs.

Anonymous would perhaps argue that Al-Liby is not a scholarly spokesman for Islam, and I'd be willing to concede this point (if it's correct), but Al-Liby does appear to be a spokesman for a significant percentage of Muslims, and this is the central issue -- regardless of whether Islam is intrinsically peaceful or not -- that moderate Muslims such as Anonymous will have to deal with.

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At 10:23 AM, Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...

HJH, perhaps you can comment upon another point. I have read that Islam allows Muslims to lie to infidels (which I assume means the "wrong kind" of Muslim as well as non-Muslims). If this is true, then I don't see how non-Muslims and Muslims can ever understand one another.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

CIV, I've heard the claim made, but I don't know enough to say.

Often, people cite Taqiyya as an example. Taqiyya, or dissimulation, has been used as a Shi'ite strategy for survival as a persecuted minority among majority Sunnis.

I don't know that Sunnis have any similar stategy, for I'm no expert.

Dissimulation is allowed in many different traditions, even Christian ones, to protect innocent lives in a crisis.

But someone else will have to take up this query, for I don't know enough.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:26 AM, Blogger jj mollo said...

What matters, I think, is the reason for the lie. There is no clear cut proscription against lies in the Bible, but there are clear cut instructions to treat others as we would wish to be treated in analogous circumstances, as informed by intelligence.

If Islam places a priority of group expansion over honesty between individuals, then we have a problem. In Christianity, I think that using deception to convert an individual would be considered antinomian. I don't know about using deception to prevent someone from being exposed to dangerous religious teachings. There would be some free-will issues there that different churches might see differently. The whole subject of lies is very interesting.

Personal honesty might actually be more of a point of honor, passed down perhaps from Pagan to Chivalrous traditions. WWBD?

At 6:06 AM, Blogger jj mollo said...

Regarding the ancient comment issue. I am a little frustrated by your site because of the difficulty of finding old posts. There seems to be no archive links and the relative paucity of links to old material leaves me in the dark sometimes. I resort to googling your history.

You should take a look at FreeFrankWarner. He has a very helpful list of current comments, which often brings up old conversations in a satisfying way. I don't know if you can do it on Blogger, and, for myself, I don't get enough comments to make it worthwhile, but it might be perfect for your level of traffic. Maybe you wish some of the old conversations would go away, but I would love to have even a more extensive way to peruse the comment history.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JJ, what does WWBD mean ... "What Would Beowulf Do"?

The question as to where "personal honesty" comes from is one that I've reflected on but remain unsure about.

It does seem to have some link to honor and thus via chivalry to ancient Germanic paganism ... yet, the ancient Germanic tribes were tribal, and tribes generally don't place such a high value on truthfulness (though the reality principle would necessitate it to some degree) and usually do approve of lying to those outside of the tribe.

Perhaps as the Germanic tribes became Christianized, they extended the tribe to encompass all of mankind.

But I'm just speculating...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:21 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JJ, while I've seen that some bloggers have categories in their sidebar, I don't know how to set this up despite having looked around a bit in blogger.

If anyone knows how, please instruct me...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:31 PM, Blogger Hathor said...

I actually think I saw that in Blogger help.

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Hathor, I've just checked for it but haven't found it. I'll keep looking.

Blogger has been upgrading recently -- something called "Beta" -- but the system hasn't so far allowed me to upgrade.

I'd like to incorporate the various functions that you and others have suggested, but I haven't yet figured out how to do so.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't switch to beta just yet, I would wait as long as i could. I switched today and I am having problems with my previous post being able to link back past the main page. This happened after I had made the change and went back later. Fortunately, I have not lost the post, I can still access from archives.
Look for a third party addon for labels. Google it.
I can't even log in as blogger now.

At 6:39 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Hathor, thanks for the advice. Now, I understand why I couldn't reach your blog today.

Jeffery Hodges

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