By Robert Spencer
Barack Obama has said repeatedly that Islam is “a religion of peace.” His administration has accused those who do not agree with this proposition — or who dare mention Islamic violence against women and homicidal oppression of homosexuals — of “Islamophobia.”
These are fictions and the President has done the country a fundamental disservice by promulgating them. The truth? The true religious bigotry is the one that exists in the heart of Islamic orthodoxy. In Saudi Arabia, the existence of Christian churches is prohibited, along with the Bible itself; no Christian or Jew can enter Mecca or Medina lest their mere footsteps desecrate Islam’s holiest sites. In Pakistan and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world, conversion from Islam to Christianity is punishable by death. In Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and even the President’s beloved Indonesia, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and other “infidels” often face acts of religious genocide by fundamentalists who invoke core Islamic texts and teachings to justify their actions.
In short, as Robert Spencer shows in his alarming new pamphlet, Islam: Religion of Bigots, the creed of Muhammad, far from being a religion of peace, has revealed itself in the post-9/11 world to be a religion of bigotry.
“Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance,” proclaimed President Barack Obama during his appeal to the Muslim world from Cairo on June 4, 2009. “We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country.”1
Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Even during what is generally considered to have been the Golden Age of Islamic “tolerance,” it is more accurate to say that non-Muslims were tolerated as second-class subjects rather than respected as equals under Islamic regimes. They were regarded as dhimmis, whose residence was conditioned on their submission to humiliating regulations that ensured their subjugation to the Muslim population. They had to pay an onerous special tax (jizya) mandated by the Qur’an (9:29), for example, and wear special marks identifying their second-class status.
Moreover, unlike Christendom, whose leaders have issued apologies for past mistreatment of Jews and condemned the scriptural justifications for that mistreatment, authorities in the Muslim world from Muhammad’s day to this have never thought twice about referring to Jews as “apes and pigs” (cf. Qur’an 2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166), or regarding them as destined by God’s will for destruction. These are some of the salient facts that Obama’s charitable view obscures at a time when prominent Muslim leaders including Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the world’s most prominent Muslim cleric, are calling on the faithful to finish the extermination of the Jews that Hitler began.2
In countries where Muslims are a small minority, such as the United States, there is a surface plausibility to Obama’s claim. Muslim groups have so far accommodated themselves to a democracy whose secular faith is one of diversity and tolerance. But in countries and communities where Muslims constitute a national majority, the face of Islam looks quite different. In Saudi Arabia, the existence of Christian churches is prohibited, along with the possession of Christian Bibles; no Christian or Jew is allowed to enter the cities of Mecca and Medina lest their footprints defile Islam’s sacred sites. As the Kingdom of the Two Holy Places, Saudi Arabia has a unique status in the Islamic world. One aspect of this status is that Mecca and Medina are realizations of Muhammad’s command to remove all but Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula.3 Mecca and Medina represent the aspirations of the Muslim world, the vision of a quintessential Islamic society: one in which there are no non-Muslims.
In Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere, conversion from Islam to Christianity is already punishable by death, in accord with Muhammad’s command. In Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Nigeria, and even Obama’s beloved Indonesia, religious minorities — Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and non-believers –face harassment and often violent religious persecution. These persecutions are carried out by jihadist Muslims who invoke core Islamic texts and teachings to justify their actions. In short, in the Muslim world itself, which since 9/11 has been increasingly swept up in the tide of Islamic supremacism, the creed of Muhammad reveals itself to be a religion of bigots rather than, as President Obama would have it, a religion of peace.
There is a theological foundation for Islamic bigotry. The Qur’an calls the Jews and Christians who reject Muhammad “the most vile of created beings” (98:6). It says that the “polytheists are unclean” (9:28), and since it claims that Jews consider Ezra the Son of God the way Christians consider Jesus the Son of God (9:30), and that “it is not befitting for Allah to take a son” (19:35), in Islamic theology, Jews and Christians are as much polytheists as are Hindus and hence just as unclean.
In March 2013, the Egyptian Islamic scholar Abdullah Badr demonstrated how such a belief can work out in practice when he explained that Christians disgusted him, saying that it was “not a matter of piety, but disgust. I get grossed out. Get that? Disgust, I get grossed out, man, I cannot stand their smell or … I don’t like them, it’s my choice. And they gross me out; their smell, their look, everything. I feel disgusted, disgusted.”4
That disgust has combined with imperatives derived from Qur’anic injunctions to “slay the polytheists wherever you find them” (9:5) and to subjugate the People of the Book (9:29) to play out in Islamic history in the cleansing of entire regions of their non-Muslim populations. Eliminating other religions, as per Qur’an 8:39 (“fight…until religion is all for Allah”) and making sure that any non-Muslims who remain are conquered and submissive, is the overarching goal of jihad. As an Iranian Bahai observed to V. S. Naipaul in the course of his travels through the world of Islam, “These Muslims are a strange people. They have an old mentality. Very old mentality. They are very bad to minorities.”5
The transformation of Constantinople following its conquest in 1453 illustrates the effects of Muslim bigotry. Before the Muslim conquest, Constantinople had been the center of Eastern Christianity and the second city of all Christendom, as well as the chief rival to the splendor and authority of Rome. Its Hagia Sophia cathedral, built by the Emperor Justinian in the sixth century, was the grandest and most celebrated church in the Christian world until the construction of St. Peter’s in the Vatican. As recently as 1914, Constantinople still boasted a population nearly fifty percent Christian. Today, as a result of the religious persecution of Christians, the city is now 99.99% Muslim.6
After the 1453 Muslim conquest, the Hagia Sophia Cathedral, like so many other Christian churches before and after, was transformed into a mosque. After Turkey’s secularization, the mosque was converted into a museum by the secularists, and is now about to be transformed into a mosque again. While secular Turkey did not enforce Islamic law, it saw a depoliticized Islam as essential to the Turkish identity at the expense of the Christian population. In Tur-Abdin in southwest Turkey in 1960, there were 150,000 Christians; today, there are just over two thousand.7 The rest have fled in the face of Muslim hostility and harassment.
Occasionally, Muslim authorities found it politically expedient to draw explicitly on the genocidal passions Muhammad had inspired, and used them to arouse the fury of the populace against the dhimmis, who were bringing Allah’s disfavor upon the larger community. In a harbinger of the Armenian catastrophe that would take place in Turkey twenty years later, the Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid initiated a series of bloody strikes against the restive Christian Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1895. The Armenians had made the mistake of embracing Western notions of human rights, and of beginning to question their dhimmi status. According to Lord Kinross, historian of the Ottoman Empire, “at the point of a bayonet,” the Armenians were offered “the choice between death and forcible conversion to Islam.”8 The genocide that the Muslim Turks subsequently conducted during World War I was a manifestation of the same jihadist strain in Islam, and led to the murder of a million and a half Armenians.
In Turkey itself, the Christian population has declined from 15% in 1920 to 1% today. In Syria, the Christian population has declined from 33% to 10% in the same span. Since the Turks occupied northern Cyprus in 1974, churches have been despoiled of their icons, which have flooded the market in Greece. The Turks have taken over many churches for secular uses, and even tried to convert the fourth century Christian monastery of San Makar into a hotel. Christian Cypriots are forbidden to come near the building, much less enter it.9
Likewise in Tunisia, “in the early 1950s, half of the inhabitants of Tunis were Catholics, but with the declaration of independence some 280,000 Tunisian Catholics were expelled. Today there are no more than a tenth of this number and most of the churches are closed or no longer in use.”10
Before the Gulf War, the number of Christians in Iraq approached a million people, according to some estimates.11 But with Shi’ites and Sunnis vying for power in the war-torn country, over half, or roughly 500,000 Christians, have fled the country rather than risk the treatment in store for them from the majority Muslim population. This is not to suggest that the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein was particularly hospitable to Iraqi Christians. Even under his relatively secular regime, in which Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz was a Chaldean Catholic, the small Christian community faced random violence from the Muslim majority. Aside from outbreaks of actual persecution, including murder, Christians were routinely pressured to renounce their religion and to marry Muslims.12 But since Saddam’s removal and the institution of Iraq’s Islamic constitution, the situation has grown exponentially worse.
Since the Muslim Brotherhood’s ascendancy in Egypt, enabled by the Obama administration, Islamic bigotry has been directed with increasing violence toward the nation’s indigenous Coptic Christian population. Recently, Muslim mobs, with the acquiescence of the Islamic supremacist regime, conducted an armed attack on St. Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of the Coptic pope. Now Copts are fleeing the country in droves. NBC News reported in June 2013: “The number of Egyptians receiving asylum in the U.S. has jumped more than five-fold in recent years.”13
In Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ, the population was 85% Christian in 1948, but as of 2006, only 12% of those who hold to the faith of the town’s most celebrated native son remained, and even that minimal percentage is almost certainly smaller today.14
Islamic bigotry is driving Christians out of their ancient homelands all over the Middle East. “A century ago,” noted Simon Kent in the Toronto Sun, June 2013, “more than 20% of the region’s population was Christian and as recently as the 1980s, places like Lebanon had a Christian majority. Now, with Christian numbers fading, it’s split between brawling Hezbollah Shi’a and Sunni fanatics. Estimates put the Christian population in the Middle East at under 5% and sinking rapidly — and the figure only remains that high because of the Coptic Christians who have not yet left strife- torn Egypt.”15
The purging of Christians in the Middle East has taken place largely since Osama bin Laden launched the Islamic jihad in earnest. It represents the greatest population cleansing of modern times, dwarfing “ethnic” cleansings, and has taken place almost silently — while facile Western observers, including the occupant of the White House, rhapsodize about Muslim “tolerance.”
In a stark plaint that would sound paranoid if it were not so obviously true, Gregory III, the Patriarch of Antioch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, stated in 2006: “After September 11, there is a plot to eliminate all the Christian minorities from the Arabic world. Our simple existence ruins the equations whereby Arabs can’t be other than Moslems, and Christians but be westerners.”16
Nor is it just the Arab Middle East where the purge is taking place. Hindu activist Bharati Krishna declares: “When Pakistan came into existence in 1947, 24 per cent of the population were Hindus. And now look at the percentage of Hindus in Pakistan, just below 2 per cent. What happened to the rest? Majority of them have been mercilessly killed by the Islamic fanatics and the rest forcibly converted to Islam.” Krishna adds “the same happened in the case of Bangladeshi Hindus. The percentage of Hindu population in Bangladesh in 1947 (then East Pakistan) was numbered at 31. But with course of time it has been declined and stationed at nine per cent now. Massive religious conversion and ruthless murders of the Hindus were the reasons for this decline.”17
Traditional Islamic Submissions
Bigotry towards non-Muslim populations, along with religious cleansing, is as old as Islam itself. Islam originated in Arabia in the late seventh and early eighth centuries.18Before its advent, Egypt, Libya, and all of North Africa were Christian, and had been so for hundreds of years. So were Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Asia Minor. The churches addressed in the letters of Paul, collected in the New Testament, are located in Asia Minor and modern Turkey as well as modern Greece. Antioch, Constantinople (“Istanbul” in modern Turkey) and Alexandria in Egypt were three of the most important Christian centers of the first millennium. But then came the Arab armies, and ultimately these lands became Muslim — not because the compelling aspects of Islam induced large numbers of people to convert to the religion of the conquerors, but because the non-Muslims were forced to accept a humiliating second-class status. This was a bigotry enforced by the sword. Conversion to Islam became the only way to live a decent life or, in many cases, to live at all, and in this way the Christian populations of these areas steadily diminished.
There was no tolerance for the “other,” as numerous misleading commentators claim. For the invading Muslim armies, it wasn’t enough to conquer their rivals; the native population had to be subdued, and its religion humiliated. Historian Bat Ye’or recounts that when the Arab invaders conquered Egypt in the seventh century, “Sophronius [Bishop of Jerusalem], in his sermon on the Day of Epiphany 636, bewailed the destruction of churches and monasteries, the sacked towns, the fields laid waste, the villages burned down by the nomads who were overrunning the country. In a letter the same year to Sergius, patriarch of Constantinople, he mentions the ravages wrought by the Muslim Arabs. Thousands of people perished in 639, victims of the famine and plague that resulted from these destructions.”19
Once the Muslims were entrenched in power, they began to levy the jizya, or tax on non-Muslims, which were not small charges. A medieval chronicler writes of one of the towns subjected to Muslim rule: “It is impossible to describe the lamentable position of the inhabitants of this town, who came to the point of offering their children in exchange for the enormous sums that they had to pay each month, finding no one to help them because God had abandoned them and had delivered the Christians into the hands of their enemies.”20 In the fourteenth century, the pioneering sociologist Ibn Khaldun explained the options for Christians: “It is [for them to choose between] conversion to Islam, payment of the poll tax, or death.”21
As far as Islamic law was concerned, the Muslims who displayed such ruthless bigotry toward non-Muslims were not carrying their zeal too far, but were following the example of their Prophet, who expelled the three Jewish tribes of Medina: “It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that the Jews of Banu Nadir and Banu Quraiza fought against the Messenger of Allah, who expelled Banu Nadir, and allowed Quraiza to stay on, and granted favour to them until they too fought against him. Then he killed their men, and distributed their women, children and properties among the Muslims, except that some of them had joined the Messenger of Allah who granted them security. They embraced Islam. The Messenger of Allah turned out all the Jews of Medina, Banu Qainuqa… and the Jews of Banu Haritha and every other Jew who was in Medina.”22
In light of the violence with which Muhammad spread Islam, there is a distinct menace in his famous invitation to the Byzantine emperor Heraclius: “Embrace Islam and you will be safe.”23 Heraclius didn’t embrace Islam, and ultimately Byzantium fell to the jihadi sword.
These statements and actions of Islam’s prophet laid the foundations of a culture of bigotry and religious purges. The former realms of Christendom, now universally regarded as part of the Islamic world, only became so in the same way as these Arabian Jewish tribes became Muslim: by being bathed in blood and then subjugated by force.
The provisions governing the jizya and the subjection of non-Muslims in Islamic law have not been fully enforced since the mid-nineteenth century, but reinstituting them is a goal of today’s jihadists, who seek to restore the orthodoxy of the faith and are now in control of the two largest countries in the Middle East. In March 2007, Muslim gangs knocked on doors in Christian neighborhoods in Baghdad, demanding payment of the jizya.24 In December 2011, Yassir Al-Burhami, a leader of the Salafists, an Egyptian movement of rigorist Muslims, reiterated some of the classic Islamic laws regarding the dhimmis: “Appointing infidels to positions of authority over Muslims is prohibited. Allah said: ‘Never will Allah grant the infidels a way [to triumph] over the Believers’” (Qur’an 4:141). He also declared that the Muslims of Egypt should begin again to collect thejizya from the Christians.
Al-Burhami also cited Muhammad’s precedents as a guide to Muslims living in countries in which they were still minorities: “The Muslims can implement any form of conduct used by the Prophet Muhammad. When the Prophet Muhammad was still in Mecca, he dealt with the infidels in a certain way, and when the Muslims are weak, they should deal with the infidels this way. ‘Refrain from action, pray, and pay the zakkat.’ In many infidel countries, such as occupied Palestine, we instruct Muslims to do just that. We are not telling the Muslims in Gaza to launch rockets every day, which would lead to the destruction of the entire country. We tell them to adhere to the truce. When the Prophet Muhammad first arrived in Al-Medina, he signed a treaty with the Jews without forcing them to pay the jizya poll tax. This was necessary at the time, but when they breached the treaty, he fought them, and eventually, he imposed the jizya upon the People of the Book…. The Christians [of Egypt] can be dealt with like the Jews of Al-Medina. This is possible.”25
The idea that Christians must “feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29) in Islamic lands is also very much alive. When the first Catholic Church in Qatar opened in March 2008, it included no cross, no bell, no steeple, and no sign. “The idea,” explained the church’s pastor, Father Tom Veneracion, “is to be discreet because we don’t want to inflame any sensitivities.”26 In the Philippines, the church in the nation’s one Islamic city, Marawi, has also done away with the cross. A Catholic priest, Father Teresito Soganub, explains: “To avoid arguments and to avoid further misunderstandings we just plant the cross deep in our hearts.” Soganub, according to Reuters, “doesn’t wear a crucifix or a clerical collar and sports a beard out of respect for his Muslim neighbors.” He celebrates few weddings, since roast pork is a staple of wedding receptions for Filipino Catholics.27
It is easy to see the need for such discretion. Preaching in a mosque in Al-Damam, Saudi Arabia, the popular Saudi Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid recommended hatred of Christians and Jews as a proper course: “Muslims must,” he declared, “educate their children to jihad. This is the greatest benefit of the situation: educating the children to jihad and to hatred of the Jews, the Christians, and the infidels; educating the children to jihad and to revival of the embers of jihad in their souls. This is what is needed now.”28
The hatred of other religions, particularly of Christianity and Judaism, is manifest in the attitude towards religious conversion in countries with Islamic supremacist regimes. Converts from Islam to Christianity are often hunted in these countries, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia being the most prominent, while virtually all religious authorities in the Muslim world agree that such individuals deserve death. Muhammad himself commanded it: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”29 This is still the position of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, although there is some disagreement over whether the law applies only to men, or to women also.
At Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the most prestigious and influential institution in the Islamic world, an Islamic manual that the institution certifies as a reliable guide to Sunni Muslim orthodoxy states: “When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed.” Although the right to kill an apostate is reserved in Islamic law to the leader of the community and other Muslims can theoretically be punished for taking this duty upon themselves, in practice a Muslim who kills an apostate needs to pay no indemnity and perform no expiatory acts (as he must in other kinds of murder cases under classic Islamic law). This accommodation is made because killing an apostate “is killing someone who deserves to die.”30
Islamic Bigotry and Islamophobia
Given Islam’s long and shameful record of bigotry, it is perverse in the extreme that Islamic spokesmen routinely charge those who point out the foregoing facts about Islam with … bigotry. According to these spokesmen and their gullible sympathizers on the left, any observation about the harsher realities of the Islamic world is evidence of “Islamophobia” — irrational hatred of all Muslims, and not just those who are carrying out terrorism in the name of Allah, or brutalizing women as a religious obligation. Several widely publicized reports, including one by the Democratic Party- aligned Center for American Progress, single out prominent conservative figures who have publicly criticized the misogyny, bigotry and terrorism promoted by many Islamic institutions, and stigmatized them as “Islamophobes.”31
The term Islamophobia is one of the favored weapons of the Muslim Brotherhood and allied jihadist organizations in the West. Muslim Brotherhood groups such as the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) employ it to manufacture a modern-day thought crime out of legitimate concerns about Islamic bigotry, misogyny and support for terrorist entities like Hezbollah and Hamas. Voltaire said, “To learn who rules over you [or in this case intends to rule over you], simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”
The campaign to suppress all links of Islam to Islamic terrorism gained its greatest and most potentially damaging success in 2011, when Muslim Brotherhood groups and their left-wing allies prevailed on the Obama Administration to remove all mention of Islam and jihad from the counter-terror training materials used by the FBI and other agencies. This left agents in a state of woeful unpreparedness, rendering them incapable of evaluating intelligence regarding jihadist threats. This condition of purposeful ignorance bore bitter fruit in April 2013, when Islamic terrorists exploded a bomb at the Boston Marathon. The Russian and Saudi governments had warned the FBI in advance about the bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. But the FBI discounted the warnings because they were blind to Tsarnaev’s connection to the global Islamic jihad and perceived him only as a Chechen “nationalist,” engaged in a cause that was a Russian problem and had nothing to do with the United States.
The goal of the “Islamophobia” campaign is disarm the West in the face of the Islamic threat, and beyond that to establish in free societies the blasphemy provisions of Islamic law forbidding criticism of Islam. This prohibition would preclude, for example, recognition of the Jew-hatred that permeates Islamic sacred texts, as well as the pronouncements of Islamic leaders.32 It would also render the First Amendment to the U.S. Bill of Rights null and void. Adoption of laws criminalizing “Islamophobia” would also foreclose criticism of Islam’s institutionalized mistreatment of women and gays.
If such a possibility seems farfetched, consider that the student councils at four elite universities in California, including UCLA and UC Berkeley, have passed (by unanimous votes) “anti-Islamophobia” resolutions mandating “zero tolerance” for just those expressions of opinion. One of the chief advocates of these resolutions, and leader of two campus Muslim Brotherhood fronts, Sadia Saifuddin, was recently nominated by the regents of the UC system to sit on their board as the representative of all UC students.33
Blasphemy laws protecting Islam may not yet be adopted in the West, but Muslim mobs are ready to enforce them anyway. In the fall of 2005, violent Muslim riots resulting in over 100 deaths were triggered by the publication of cartoons in Denmark depicting Muhammad. In the wake of these Islam-inspired outrages, a group of writers issued a manifesto called, “Together Facing the New Totalitarianism.”34 This genuine anti-bigotry manifesto declared: “After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global totalitarian threat: Islamism…. We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of ‘Islamophobia,’ a wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatization of those who believe in it. We defend the universality of the freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit can exist in every continent, towards each and every maltreatment and dogma.”35
Canaries in the Mine of the Islamic Jihad
The foremost targets of Muslim bigotry and the canaries in the mine for all non-Muslims in the path of the jihad are, unsurprisingly, Jews and the state of Israel. Islamic leaders have repeatedly affirmed their desire that the Jewish State cease to exist — a genocidal agenda in itself, and one that could only be accomplished by a Holocaust in the Middle East. Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, the former president of Iran, has called for such a Holocaust (without notable dissent from the Muslim world), saying that “the annihilation of the Zionist regime will come,” and that it was predicted by the Ayatollah Khomeini: “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” — a declaration widely but not quite accurately translated in the West as “as the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map.”
On other occasions, Ahmadinejad has made the goal crystal clear: “The Islamic umma (community) will not allow its historic enemy [Israel] to live in its heartland,” and “the issue of Palestine is not one which we could compromise on …. This would mean the defeat of the Islamic world.” In Ahmadinejad’s mind, the destruction of Israel is near:
“There is no doubt that the new wave [of attacks] in Palestine will soon wipe this disgraceful blot [Israel] from the face of the Islamic world.” The Palestinians have made this genocidal goal equally clear. In the words of Mahmoud al-Zahar, a founder of Hamas: “There is no place for you Jews among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed to annihilation.”36
Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah (Party of Allah), has proclaimed the same goal:“[I]f they [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide,” while a 1992 Hezbollah statement declared “open war until the elimination of Israel and until the death of the last Jew on earth.”37
This hatred of the Jews and their existence emanates directly from Muhammad’s call to all Muslims to “fight the Jews and kill them” to the very last one. Thus Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood that the Obama administration has chaperoned to power in Egypt, proclaimed: “Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them — even though they exaggerated this issue — he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers….”38
For the jihadists, the Jews are only the first in line. In 1998, the World Islamic Front, led by Osama bin Laden, formally declared jihad against “the Jews and the Crusaders,” meaning the Christian nations (as the jihadis regarded them) of America and Europe. The fatwa declared: “The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it.”39
At the “World Without Zionism” conference held in Tehran in October 2005, the assembled delegates chanted “death to Israel, death to America, death to England,” while the host, Ahmadinejad, predicted to the cheers of the assembled that, “with the help of the Almighty, we shall soon experience a world without America and Zionism, notwithstanding those who doubt.”40
Like Ahmadinejad, Hasan Nasrallah also wants to see America destroyed: “Let the entire world hear me. Our hostility to the Great Satan [America] is absolute. … Regardless of how the world has changed after 11 September, ‘Death to America’ will remain our reverberating and powerful slogan: ‘Death to America.’”
This chilling command is the logical extension of Islamic bigotry, and its crowning manifestation.