The Continual Failure To Address Jihad
This Monday Austria became the latest Western European country to suffer an Islamic terrorist attack. At least five people were killed, including an assailant and 17 others were injured in a shooting in the heart of the capital city of Vienna hours before a coronavirus lockdown was supposed to take effect at midnight.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz confirmed Monday’s tragedy “was clearly an Islamist terror attack…out of hatred — hatred for our fundamental values, hatred for our way of life, hatred for our democracy in which all people have equal rights and dignity.”
Thus far Viennese police arrested fourteen suspects in Monday’s attack. One suspect, identified as a 20-year-old ISIS sympathizer, was shot dead by police; a 20-year-old Austrian-North Macedonian dual national, who wanted travel to Syria to join the Islamic State (ISIS) — he was released early from jail in December 2019, under more lenient terms for young adults.
Notwithstanding the terror attacks of last week in France, Austrians were caught off guard, even though a jihadist attack was brewing in theft midst.
On the eve of All Saints, a Muslim shouted Islamic slogans inside the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Vienna. Just two days prior, 20 young people of Turkish origin met at Reumannplatz, and according to reports, they shouted “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest) and, armed with fireworks, entered the church on Antonsplatz in Vienna before police arrived on the scene to disperse them.
It goes without say that the leniency by Western politicians shown to Islamists and the pretension that their terrorist acts are in no way shape or form linked to their religious texts is part of the problem.
Just as it was with both the early community of believers and the later caliphate-state, jihad (or holy war) is used today by Islamists in order to herald in a new society of nations. The goal is universal governance according to the norms of the sharia, where non-Muslims are given the choice to convert to Islam or submit to a poll tax (jizya) or die:
- “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah and your enemies…” — Sura 8, 60
- “And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way.” — Sura 9, 5
Palestinian Islamic scholar Sheikh Ali Abu Ahmad said on October 25, 2020, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that the answer to French President Emmanuel Macron, whom he referred to as a lowlife, and to all the infidels who have acted with “insolence” against the Muslims is to don the garb of war. Sheikh Ahmad said that boycotts of French products do not a thing and that the only solution is the reestablishment of the caliphate. He added that the caliph would lead the Muslim armies to crush Paris completely.
The concept of jihad, as explained in the Encyclopedia of Islam (1960-1986), stems from the fundamental principle of Islam’s universality: “this religion, along with the temporal power which it implies, ought to embrace the whole universe, if necessary by force.” The Muslim’s religious and universal mission, therefore, as explained by Ibn Khaldun, is the “the obligation [to convert] everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.” According to the jurist Muhammad al-Ghazali (1058–1111), considered by some historians as the single most influential Muslim after the Prophet’s death:
“Everyone must go on jihad (i.e., warlike razzias or raids) at least once a year … one may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them.… If a person of the Ahl al-Kitab [People of the Book: Jews and Christians] is enslaved, his marriage is [automatically] revoked, and his wife becomes the rightful property of a Muslim. One may cut down their trees.… One must destroy their useless books. Jihadis may take as booty whatever they decide … the Jihadis may steal as much food as they need.”
The ultimate problem is how the Quranic texts are fundamentally applied by Islamists who even view “moderate Muslims” as infidels. As Raheel Raza, a Sunni Muslim, spokesperson for the Clarion Project and president of Muslims Facing Tomorrow recently stated, by refusing to acknowledge this, “we abandon human rights in favor of political correctness.”
Mario Alexis Portella is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He has a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; he also holds a M. A. in Medieval History from Fordham University, as well as a B.A. in Government & Politics from St. John’s University.
Sources not cited may be found in my book Islam: Religion of Peace? – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up.