Leaving Islam



Fighting Against a Phantom



By Ali Sina





We are being hit one blow after another and not only don’t we know how to defend ourselves we even don't know what is hitting us.  


The worst terrorist attack in Iraq took place in Feb. 28 by a man who loved America . Ra’ed al-Banna was born in Jordan in 1973 to a wealthy merchant family. He was a lawyer in his country. In 2001, sometime before 9/11, al-Banna moved to the United States , where he lived in California for nearly two years. He seemed to fit in well, growing his hair long, and taking up American popular music. In one photograph he sent to his family, he is seen standing in front of a military helicopter while holding an American flag. He even planned to marry a Christian woman until her parents demanded that the wedding take place in a church.


Al-Banna loved America ; he told his family back in Jordan about the honesty and kindness of Americans. "They respect anybody who is sincere," he told his father. Talal, a young man engaged to one of Ra’ed’s sisters, explained how Ra’ed “loved life in America , compared to Arab countries. He wanted to stay there.” His father, Mansour, recounted that, despite the September 11 attacks, Ra’ed “faced no problems with his American workmates, who liked him.


Al-Banna visited home in 2003 but on his return to the United States he was denied entry accused of falsifying details on a visa application.. He returned to Jordan and became withdrawn, holing up in a makeshift studio apartment, sleeping late, and displaying a new interest in religion. He began praying five times a day and listening to the Quran. In November 2004, he went on pilgrimage to Mecca .    


On Feb. 28 Banna blew himself up at a health clinic in Al-Hilla, killing 132 people and injuring 120, the worst such attack of the 136 suicide bombings that have taken place since May 2003. On March 3, the family received a call informing them of Ra’ed’s fate. “Congratulations, your brother has fallen a martyr.”


What made this easygoing, modernized, educated young man go from loving America to become a terrorist?  The answer in one word is Islam.       


Everyone has bad moments. Everyone goes through crisis in life and may want to seek comfort in religion. But when a Muslim goes through crisis and seeks comfort in his religion, he is likely to become a terrorist. 


The father noted that Ra’ed wore Western-style clothing, rarely went to mosque, and was ignorant of the names of local sheikhs. “I am shocked by all of this because my son was a very quiet man, not very religious and more interested in pursuing his law profession and building a future for himself.” He said.


Scott Macleod of Time Magazine wrote:  

Ra’ed apparently led a double life, professing affection for America while secretly preparing to join the holy war against the U.S. in Iraq. 

Daniel Pipes the director of the Middle East Forum and author of Miniatures wrote:

When it comes to Islamist terrorists, appearances often deceive. That Banna was said to “love life in America ,” be “not very religious,” and be interested in “building a future for himself” obviously indicated nothing about his real thinking and purposes. The same pattern recurs in the biographies of many other jihadis.    

Mr. Macleod and Dr. Pipes are mistaken. Ra’ed was not living any double life. He was not a terrorist when he came to America . He became a terrorist when he became interested in Islam, began praying five times a day and started listening to the Quran. As long as we fail to see the role that Islam plays in making Muslims terrorists, we won’t be able to fight it. The problem with us, our experts and our governments is that we have not yet recognized the cause of terrorism and are unwilling to see the role of Islam in it.  We are fighting the shadow of the enemy while sleeping with him, protecting him and trusting him. This is like proclaiming Hitler a man of peace, calling his Mein Kampf a sacred book and giving Nazism a prominent status while fighting the WWII.    

Denying that Islam has anything to do with Islamic terrorism is like denying germs have anything to do with contagious diseases and claiming the patient who up until yesterday was healthy, was sick from the start and was feigning health.   

A year earlier, Muhammad Ali al-Ayed a 23 year old Saudi millionaire's son who went from a freewheeling Houston college student to an observant Muslim, pleaded guilty to nearly decapitating his longtime Jewish friend. Al-Ayed who had severed his ties with his Jewish friend Ariel Sellouk for two years, called him one evening, invited him for a drink, took him to his apartment and stabbed him to death and almost decapitated him. Al-Ayed’s roommate told police the two were not arguing before Al-Ayed killed Sellouk. The blow came suddenly and unexpectedly. The reason for this crime was "religions differences" said al-Ayed's attorney.  

Ayed and Banna were normal people, educated and from well to do families. Ayed was amicable to his Jewish friend and Banna loved America . They became terrorists when they sought refuge in their religion and embraced Islam fully.


Ayed and Banna are not the exceptions. Every single Muslim is in danger of becoming a terrorist. All it takes is that he faces a crisis and seeks solace in his religion. Muslims are not born terrorists; they are good humans no different from the rest of us. They become terrorists when they seek their religion for spiritual guidance. 

Other examples are Mike Hawash (Former Intel Corp. engineer who conspired to fight against U.S. forces in Afghanistan ) and Mohammad Atta (The leader of the attacks of 9/11) who not only gave no outward and visible sign of being devout Muslims, but in fact were NOT devout. That came along with the crises that each experienced, which prompted returns to Islam. Islam is akin to a dormant virus.



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