Saima Sheikh is media communications leader for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The Ahmadiyya, of course, are considered heretics by mainstream Muslims for their belief in “the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani” – the 19th century religious leader whom the Ahmadis consider a prophet, in defiance of the Koran’s claim that Muhammad is the “seal of the prophets” (33:40). Saima Sheikh doesn’t mention this all-important fact in her Thursday op-ed for FoxNews.com, “A Muslim-American Woman Reacts to Obama’s Ground Zero Visit and Bin Laden’s Death.” Instead, she gives the impression to unwary and uninformed non-Muslims that some eminent Muslim authority has declared violent jihad un-Islamic. In reality, it is in part for that declaration that Ahmadis are being ferociously persecuted today in Pakistan and Indonesia, and the governing authorities do not even consider them to be true Muslims.
Sheikh begins: “It has been four days since we learned that the infamous Usama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda and the most wanted man in the world has been killed. I would like to thank the brave United States Navy SEALS. As an American-Muslim woman, I am happy that justice has finally been served.”
So in the headline Saima Sheikh is a “Muslim-American,” and in her first paragraph she is an “American-Muslim.” Have you ever seen anyone refer to a “Christian-American” or a “Jewish-American”? Of course not. There are Americans who are Jews and Americans who are Christians, but neither group uses such terms, because there is nothing about either faith that precludes or qualifies one’s allegiance to the United States. These hyphenated terms, all of which are corrosive to national unity, as Theodore Roosevelt pointed out long ago, are usually combinations of some other nationality with “American,” not a religion with “American.” By using these terms, Saima Sheikh, as well as the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations, imply that Islam is a kind of nationality, calling for a type of national allegiance, and so one may be a hybrid of Muslim and American, but one cannot be a Muslim and simply an “American.”
“I applauded President Bush’s remarks after 9⁄11,” Sheikh informs us, “and President Obama’s remarks Sunday night that ‘America will never be at war with Islam. Our war is not with Islam. Osama was never a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer.’” She goes on to claim that “the word ‘Islam’ means peace and obedience.”
Actually, no. It means “submission.” And that is by no means the end of her deceptions. Sheikh continues:
As Muslims we are taught not to create disorder and to respect each other regardless of our faith. No true Muslim can do what Osama Bin Laden had done. There is no place for extremism of any kind in Islam. The Holy Quran clearly states “Whosoever killed a person…It shall be as if he had killed all mankind.” (5:33) and “when he is in authority, he runs about in the land to create disorder in it and destroy the crops and the progeny of man; and Allah loves not disorder.” (2:206)
Actually, Qur’an 5:32 (not 5:33, at least in most versions) doesn’t say that “whosoever killed a person…It shall be as if he had killed all mankind.” It says: “We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind.” “Corruption in the earth,” or the “disorder” that Saima Sheikh decries by invoking Qur’an 2:206, is punishable, according to the Qur’an, by crucifixion or amputation of the hands and feet on opposite sides (5:33). Osama made his case among Muslims by charging that the United States was spreading corruption in the earth, and thus was fair game. The jihadist movement rejects the charge that it is creating disorder by pointing out that warfare against unbelievers is mandated in the Qur’an (cf. 9:5, 9:29, 2:190-193; etc.), and thus to pursue that war is not to create disorder.
This is not to say that bin Laden is wrong and Saima Sheikh is right, but it is an indication of why the jihadists have been able to make recruits within the larger Muslim community, in which their position is much better established in Islamic texts and teachings and more mainstream than Saima Sheikh’s.
Sheikh’s piece reaches its deceptive height with this declaration:
I am an America Muslim woman who believes in the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, who declared emphatically over a century ago that an aggressive “Jihad by the Sword” has no place in Islam. In its place, he has taught his followers to wage a bloodless, intellectual “Jihad of the Pen” to defend Islam.
Highly misleading. Even aside from their status as heretics, the Ahmadiyya are a small minority among Muslims. Groups recognized as orthodox have by no means rejected “Jihad by the Sword.”
This is what I and others in my community are doing all across the United States. We want to tell our fellow Americans that there are moderate Muslims who are speaking up against extremism. I am a loyal American who is taught by my faith, “O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority among you…” (4:60) This is further reiterated by Prophet Muhammad, “Love of your homeland, your place of residence, is part of your faith.”
Muhammad also said, “I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah, and he who professed it was guaranteed the protection of his property and life on my behalf except for the right affairs rest with Allah” (Sahih Muslim 30). It would have been refreshing for Saima Sheikh to explain why she rejects this mandate, if she does, and on what grounds.
But instead, it’s the same old disingenuous presentation of half-truths (at best). And at Fox News, yet.