Leaving Islam





The Ingratitude of a Would Be Suicide Bomber

Paolo Bassi


The long and expensive trial of the French-Moroccan, Zacarias Moussaoui, the "20th hijacker" of the 9-11 attacks in the United States , finally ended on May 4, 2006, when he received a life sentence instead of the death penalty sought by the prosecution. Unless it was false bravado, Moussaoui had taunted the court during his trial, seeming not to care about the possibility of death. Leaving a legacy of martyrdom may have been on his mind.

Given the incredible emotional pressure generated by the 9-11 attacks, the death penalty would not have been a surprise. Yet the American criminal justice system, with all its imperfections and biases, worked as it should. All of the constitutional safeguards for the protection of criminal defendants were applied to Moussaoui’s trial. Above all, Moussaoui received the most fundamental of rights – the right to be heard and treated like a human being whose freedom and life could not be taken unless convicted under the strictest standard in American law – something far more than Moussaoui was prepared to give to those he had planned to kill. The very system Moussaoui sought to destroy ensured him the dignity and security of a public trial and in the end, even spared his life.

The Moussaoui trial naturally raises a troubling contradiction with the treatment of prisoners being held in legal limbo by the United States at Guantanamo Bay . Some of these prisoners may well have been involved in terrorism. If so, they must be charged and brought to trial, or otherwise released, in keeping with American law. This is the only resolution the international community should accept. 

It is profoundly ironic that this expensive Moussaoui trial was paid for by the American taxpayers, the very people Moussaoui had come to kill and whose suffering he reveled in during his courtroom outbursts. This irony reveals the intellectual and moral gap that exists between the Islamists’ world view and the secularism they seek to destroy – a gap that is perhaps unbridgeable.

Since Moussaoui, a Muslim who clearly came to kill "infidel" Americans, received the constitutional safeguards guaranteed under American law, it is reasonable to ask what rights a non-Muslim defendant, accused of the attempted murder of Muslims in a Muslim nation, could have expected under an Islamic legal system? For that matter, what rights in general does Islamic law, when unchallenged by secular law, offer non-Muslims under its jurisdiction?

Islamic Shariah law, based on the Koran and the words and deeds of Mohammad ("Hadith"), is a vast, complex and archaic legal system, with four main legal schools and countless jurists, often in significant disagreement. However, what is undisputed is that it is a status based system under which a person’s legal rights are determined by their gender and faith. This is not dissimilar to the treatment of the poor in Europe and America during capitalism’s early period or in the post- civil war American South, when class and race determined legal status. 

Regardless of Islamic law’s rich complexity, it is clear on one critical point – non-Muslims are not accorded the same legal status as Muslims. This fact is a cornerstone of Islamic law that no amount of political correctness or apologetics can get around.

Under Islamic law non-Muslims are forced into second class citizenship – inferior and subservient to Muslims and Islam. Much is made by western liberals of Islam’s tolerance and protection of Jews and Christians, the "peoples of the book". However, what is almost never clarified is that these minorities, when they find themselves under Islamic law, are treated as second-class citizens or "Dhimmi", with very inferior social, political and social rights. For example, whereas, a Muslim may freely marry a non-Muslim woman, a non-Muslim man cannot marry a Muslim woman. The "Dhimmi" are allowed to live provided they pay special taxes (not imposed on Muslims) but their inferiority and humiliation must be permanent, until and unless Islam is accepted. The Koran is quite clear on this point: "Fight them...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued" (Sura 9:29). The financial inducement to accept Islam is evident. The condition of other minorities who are not "of the book" is even worse, for they are merely pagans without even the "protection" offered to the Dhimmi. Hindu or Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia for example have virtually no legal status or protection and can be readily deported. 

Pursuant to Islamic law, non-Muslims, whether Dhimmis or otherwise, cannot testify against Muslims. They may only testify against other Dhimmis or other non-Muslims who are temporary visitors ("Musta'min"). The oaths of non-Muslims are not valid in Islamic courts. According to the jurist Muraghi, the testimony of a Dhimmi is not accepted because "God will not let the infidels (kafir) have an upper hand over the believers." This of course means that a non-Muslim who has been wronged by a Muslim better have friendly Muslim witnesses since non-Muslim testimony will be barred. This is easily remedied if the non-Muslim plaintiff is prepared to convert to Islam, for then Islamic law recognizes his new-found credibility at once.

Even more confusing is the law covering killings. The Hanafi School of Islamic law regards the killing of a non-Muslim by a Muslim, or vice-versa, as equal crimes, carrying the same penalty. Other schools are far more hostile and do not regard the killing of a non-Muslim by a Muslim as real murder but rather only as manslaughter invoking only the blood price penalty. 

In direct contrast to status-based Islamic law, Western secular law is based upon a political conception of justice whose foundation is the equal treatment before the law regardless of race, class, gender and faith. Moussaoui should have thanked his lucky stars that as he was a Muslim facing trial in a secular country and not a non-Muslim facing Islamic justice. His parting comments claiming he had won and America had lost, clearly showed he had not learnt the difference. Rather he now becomes another casualty of radical Islam, a loss, that the imams who radicalized him and sent him to kill others should be held responsible for. 






Articles Op-ed Authors Debates Leaving Islam FAQ
Comments Library Gallery Video Clips Books Sina's Challenge

  ©  copyright You may translate and publish the articles in this site only if you provide a link to the original page.