What’s Wrong With Being Sworn In On The Qur’an?

Shillman Fellow Robert Spencer delivers a new, hard-hitting and eye-opening monograph.

Introduction: It is now taken for granted that Muslim officials being sworn into office with their hand on the Qur’an is as American as apple pie, and only racist, bigoted Islamophobes oppose this practice. Leftists insist it is a manifestation of our multicultural mosaic, and that to deny Muslims this privilege would be to relegate them to second-class status in the U.S., unable to express publicly their reverence for their holy book in a way that Jews and Christians can.

However, there is a great deal more to this practice, left unexamined by an establishment media that is as superficial as it is Leftist. In this eye-opening monograph, Robert Spencer explains why this practice in unwise, both from the standpoint of America’s cultural cohesion and because of the contents of the Qur’an itself. The necessary national discussion on this issue has been drowned out, as in the case of so many other issues, by charges of “racism.” Spencer, by contrast, offers a sober, carefully considered argument that all people of good will should consider carefully.

Read Robert Spencer's new booklet below - or read the online PDF version: HERE.

And order your own personal copy today! Get one copy for $3 or buy 10 or more for our bulk special of $1.00 each: HERE.

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What’s Wrong With Being Sworn In On The Qur’an?

A commonplace action

On January 15, 2022, Abdullah Hammoud was sworn in as mayor of Dearborn, Michigan. Far-Left “journalist” Niraj Warikoo led off his report for the Detroit Free Press by noting in an offhand manner that Hammoud was sworn in on the holy book of Islam: “Placing his left hand on a family Quran, Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud was sworn in Saturday in a historic moment for the city.”[1]

Warikoo did not make much Hammoud being sworn in on a Qur’an because by the time Hammoud became mayor of Dearborn, the practice had become commonplace. Over in Minnesota, every time a Muslim is elected to office, he or she is sworn in on a massive 14 x 20 Qur’an that a local imam, Imad Zaman, obtained in 2016 for the swearing-in of Ilhan Omar to the United States House of Representatives. Zaman noted that “this one Qur’an has been used by more than a dozen Muslim elected officials. Each time they take their oath of office from the Qur’an, they get to sign it.”[2] The list of signers now includes Omar, Minnesota attorney general and former U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison, and numerous Minnesota state officials.

Many, if not most, Americans today would see this as a success story, a vivid illustration of the Leftist mantra “diversity is our strength.” Many don’t see any problem with it at all, as the custom of having elected officials be sworn in on the Bible is just a custom, not a matter of law, so why shouldn’t people who aren’t Jews or Christians be able to be sworn in on the holy book of their choice? Opposition to this idea is routinely dismissed as bigotry: aging white Christian Americans desperately trying to maintain their cultural and political hegemony, futilely fight against the inexorable, relentless march of history.

It’s understandable that people would have this view. Since the September 11, 2001 jihad terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York and Washington, the Left and the national media have worked hand in glove to stigmatize those who would question the official U.S. government position that Islam is a religion of peace.

If Islam is a religion of peace, what could possibly be wrong with having Muslim elected officials be sworn in the Qur’an. Since virtually all Muslim elected officials at all levels are Democrats, many believe it’s solely a partisan controversy. Barack Obama even lamented in March 2016 that “the Republican base had been fed this notion that Islam is inherently violent.”[3] If Islam is not inherently violent, it must be pure chauvinism that leads people to object to the Qur’an being used to swear in elected officials. Some see the use of the Qur’an in swearing-in ceremonies as a necessary antidote to the “Islamophobia” that allegedly swept the nation in the wake of 9/11.

Why is it done?

In order to understand the issue of Muslim officials swearing on the Qur’an fully, however, we must examine the reason why people are sworn in on holy books in the first place.

The most obvious reason why the Bible has been used to swear in American officials is to underscore the solemn responsibility that the official is undertaking, and his or her commitment to execute it honestly and responsibly. The idea is that the official is promising before God to discharge his or her duties faithfully.

The Bible was used for this as a matter of course in the early years of the republic because virtually all of the citizens were Christians. There were of differing Christian denominations, but they were united in respect and reverence for the Bible, and consequently there was no controversy over using it for swearing-in ceremonies.

George Washington began the precedent of having the president sworn in with his hand on a Bible. He may have done so because of a belief he enunciated eight years later, in his farewell address: “Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?”[4]

Washington’s sense of religious obligation led him to call for a Bible to be present for his swearing-in as president. “The president,” recounts historian Lorraine Boissoneault, “took his oath on a second floor balcony, in front of a cheering crowd. As Washington was a Freemason, it seems fitting that the Bible in use for the event was on loan from St. Johns Masonic Lodge No. 1, Ancient York Masons. He was sworn into office with his hand on the open pages displaying Chapters 49-50 of Genesis, a section chosen at random. While most presidents following Washington have continued the tradition of being sworn in on a Bible, several have deviated from that path. John Quincy Adams used a U.S. law book, and Theodore Roosevelt used nothing at all for his first inauguration.”[5]

Roosevelt’s action was likely more a matter of necessity than of conviction; he was sworn in as president on September 14, 1901 in Buffalo, New York, to which he had rushed when the death of President William McKinley, who had been shot on September 6, appeared imminent. It may have been that a Bible was not immediately available at the Ansley Wilcox House when Roosevelt was sworn in there. When he took the oath of office as president again on March 4, 1905, he placed his hand on a Bible.

Even with those exceptions, the use of the Bible in the swearing-in of the president was for the most part not questioned. This was because for most of its history, the United States of America was an overwhelmingly Christian nation. Neither John Quincy Adams and Theodore Roosevelt intended any statement of defiance or denial, or any rejection of the nation’s heritage. The use of the Bible to swear in officials was not only an affirmation of the officeholder’s acceptance of solemn duties, but of the Judeo-Christian character of the nation itself.

In recent years, several Jewish officials have been sworn in Hebrew, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida) and Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle. When Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin was sworn in back in 1985, she placed her hand on some old Jewish prayer books. Kunin explained her choice of books in a manner that demonstrated her respect for tradition: “The books had belonged to my mother, my grandparents and my great-grandfather. I wanted to place my hand on the weight of Jewish history and connect with the generations of men and women who helped bring me to this moment.”[6]

These swearings-in caused no controversy, likely because of the historical connection and close kinship between Judaism and Christianity, and the marginalization and near-disappearance of Christian anti-Semitism in recent decades.

Why swear on the Bible?

In recent years, however, as the Judeo-Christian cohesion of American society has begun to break down, the departures from using the Bible in swearing-in ceremonies have become more noteworthy. When she was sworn in as a United States Senator in 2019, Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), the only member of the Senate to have no religious affiliation, held a volume containing copies of the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions. And on August 13, 2019, Kelli Dunaway was sworn in as a county councilwoman for District 2 on the St. Louis County Council. She raised her right hand and placed her left hand on a copy of the children’s book Oh, The Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss.

Dunaway did this, she said, because she wanted to do something new. “I think we need to do so much of that in our politics and in our policy,” she explained. “Just because we’ve done things the way we’ve always done them is no reason to keep doing them that way.”[7] Many thought that Dunaway’s choice of books to be sworn in on made a mockery of the entire process, and they certainly had a point.

Some even thought that the first mockery in this regard came in January 2007, when former Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison became the first Muslim member of the House of Representatives, as well as the first high-profile official to be sworn in on a Qur’an. After Ellison announced his intentions in November 2006, radio host Dennis Prager wrote: “He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.”[8]

Prager explained that Ellison’s choice of book was a manifestation of the dissolution of national unity and atomization of American society, as unmistakably as Kelli Dunaway’s would be thirteen years later. “First,” Prager stated, “it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America’s culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.”[9]

Prager argued that our national heritage should take precedence over an individual official’s preference: “Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison’s favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.

Devotees of multiculturalism and political correctness who do not see how damaging to the fabric of American civilization it is to allow Ellison to choose his own book need only imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf,’ the Nazis’ bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison’s right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?”[10]

Indeed, why not? If Dr. Seuss is acceptable, why not Hitler? What if someone chose a book with values radically different from the Judeo-Christian principles on which American law has largely been based, at least up until recent decades? In all the controversy over Ellison’s decision to be sworn in on a Qur’an, Prager was among the very few people who were even daring to ask such questions.

Prager took up the common objections to his case: “Of course, Ellison’s defenders argue that Ellison is merely being honest; since he believes in the Koran and not in the Bible, he should be allowed, even encouraged, to put his hand on the book he believes in. But for all of American history, Jews elected to public office have taken their oath on the Bible, even though they do not believe in the New Testament, and the many secular elected officials have not believed in the Old Testament either.”[11] That remains true, with the exceptions of Wasserman Schultz, Lingle, and Kunin. “Yet those secular officials did not demand to take their oaths of office on, say, the collected works of Voltaire or on a volume of New York Times editorials, writings far more significant to some liberal members of Congress than the Bible.”[12] That is also still generally true today, with the notable exceptions of Kyrsten Sinema and Kelli Dunaway.

It is noteworthy, however, that these are contemporary examples. Prager is correct that while we have had many non-Christian officials, including Jewish officials other than Wasserman Schultz, Lingle, and Kunin, the tradition of swearing in on the Christian Bible had been maintained until Ellison challenged it directly. “Nor has one Mormon official,” Prager noted, “demanded to put his hand on the Book of Mormon.” That is largely true, although Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon was sworn in on a Book of Mormon. “And it is hard to imagine a scientologist being allowed to take his oath of office on a copy of ‘Dianetics’ by L. Ron Hubbard. So why are we allowing Keith Ellison to do what no other member of Congress has ever done -- choose his own most revered book for his oath?”[13]

Prager found the answer in the near-universal anxiety in America today to avoid offending Islam or Muslims: “The answer is obvious -- Ellison is a Muslim. And whoever decides these matters, not to mention virtually every editorial page in America, is not going to offend a Muslim. In fact, many of these people argue it will be a good thing because Muslims around the world will see what an open society America is and how much Americans honor Muslims and the Koran.

This argument appeals to all those who believe that one of the greatest goals of America is to be loved by the world, and especially by Muslims because then fewer Muslims will hate us (and therefore fewer will bomb us).”[14]

This was, Prager argued, naïve in the extreme: “But these naive people do not appreciate that America will not change the attitude of a single American-hating Muslim by allowing Ellison to substitute the Koran for the Bible. In fact, the opposite is more likely: Ellison’s doing so will embolden Islamic extremists and make new ones, as Islamists, rightly or wrongly, see the first sign of the realization of their greatest goal -- the Islamicization of America.”[15]

Meanwhile, Prager argued that swearing in on the Bible was an instrument of societal cohesion: “When all elected officials take their oaths of office with their hands on the very same book, they all affirm that some unifying value system underlies American civilization. If Keith Ellison is allowed to change that, he will be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11. It is hard to believe that this is the legacy most Muslim Americans want to bequeath to America. But if it is, it is not only Europe that is in trouble.”[16]

Wasserman Schultz was among those who objected to Prager’s arguments against Ellison being sworn in on the Qur’an. “Each of us,” she declared, “has every right to lay our hand on the Bible that we were raised with; that’s what America is all about, diversity, understanding and tolerance. It doesn’t appear that Dennis Prager has learned anything from his time on the Holocaust commission.”[17]

National Public Radio (NPR) political editor Ken Rudin caricatured opposition to Ellison’s Qur’an swearing-in by mocking Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode for being among that opposition: “Virgil Goode, first of all, he’s a very conservative Democrat turned independent turned Republican who's a very strong opponent of illegal immigration, and he says that unless we curb illegal immigration, more Muslims will be coming to the country, more Muslims will be elected to Congress, and thus more Muslims will be taking the oath of office on the Quran, not the Bible, and that has to be stopped.”[18] NPR’s Melissa Block then pointed out: “Okay, now of course Keith Ellison is not an immigrant,” to which Rudin responded: “Well, he’s an immigrant from Detroit. Actually, he traces his American roots back to the 1700s.”[19]

Block then asked Rudin: “And what kind of reaction has there been back in his district, in Minneapolis, to his decision to use the Quran?” Rudin answered: “Well of course, members of the - voters of the 5th District knew before the election that he was a Muslim, that the Jewish community was overwhelmingly in favor of him. He won overwhelmingly in this big, white district. He says he has received some death threats since he said he would, you know, use the Quran instead of the Bible, but the popular - the vote, the support back home is very positive.”[20] Those who objected, Rudin said, were just right-wing chauvinists and malcontents: “Well, the conservatives have been on this theme for some time, since a Los Angeles radio host several weeks ago said this is un-American. But you know, Keith Ellison has said over and over again, this is part of America, part of the diversity that America represents.”[21]

What the Qur’an says

At a cursory glance, swearing in on the Qur’an doesn’t seem to present any problems, and is akin to John Quincy Adams being sworn in on a book of American law rather than a Bible, or a Jewish official being sworn in on a Jewish prayer book. The Islamic scholar Badruddin Ayni has explained: “In my opinion, if a person swears by the Qur’an or puts his hand on the Qur’an or says ‘By the right of this,’ it is regarded an oath. Especially in an age when making false statements and perjury have increased and swearing on the Qur’an has become popular.”[22]

This sounds fine, but one primary reason why many people object to American officials being sworn in on the Qur’an is because the Islamic holy book teaches values that are vastly different from American and Judeo-Christian values, particularly the necessity for Muslims to wage war against non-Muslims and subjugate them under the hegemony of Islamic law. The Qur’an directs Muslims to “kill them wherever you find them” (2:191 and 4:89), and to “kill the idolaters wherever you find them.” (9:5) It quotes Allah saying “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve” (8:12) and tells Muslims to “make ready for them all that you can of force and of warhorses, so that by them you may strike terror in the enemy of Allah and your enemy.” (8:60) It tells Muslims to fight non-Muslims until “persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah.” (8:39)

The Qur’an tells Muslims to fight against “the People of the Book until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” (9:29). The “People of the Book” is the Qur’an’s designation for the two primary religious groups in the United States, Christians and Jews, as well as other monotheists such as Zoroastrians who have a book Muslims consider to be divine revelation in its original, unaltered form. In Islamic law, the People of the Book have a special status: while polytheists, atheists, and others who are not People of the Book must ultimately be compelled to convert to Islam or die, the People of the Book have a third option: submission to Islamic hegemony and acceptance of a second-class status marked by the payment of a tax (jizya) and various humiliating and discriminatory regulations designed to ensure that the People of the Book “feel themselves subdued.”

There is much more, including the justification for suicide bombing in the promise of Paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah (9:111) and for beheading: “When you meet the unbelievers, strike their necks” (47:4).

These and other verses give the clear impression that Muslims have an obligation to wage war against unbelievers. I’m frequently charged with cherry-picking violent passages out of the Qur’an and ignoring mitigating peaceful passages, but in reality, these verses of warfare have been interpreted by Islamic authorities throughout history as being normative for all time in a way that more peaceful passages are not.

Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, participated in battles and called upon his followers to wage war against unbelievers. In another hadith (reports of Muhammad’s words and deeds which, when deemed authentic, are normative for Islamic law), Muhammad says: “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…”[23] This means that one’s property and life is not guaranteed protection if one does not become Muslim: a prescription for endless warfare against unbelievers. According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad was the political leader of Medina, and claimed that even his political decrees were sanctioned by Allah — hence the Qur’an’s repeated calls to obey Allah and his messenger. The Qur’an at one point even goes so far as to say: “He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah” (4:80).[24]

Besides all that, there is the misogyny. The Qur’an calls for the beating of women “from whom you fear disobedience”: “Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that Allah has made one superior to the other, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for Allah’s guarding. And those from whom you fear disobedience, warn them, banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them; Allah is All-high, All-great.” (4:34)

Muhammad adds in a hadith that women are “deficient in religion and intellect,” and comprise the majority of those spending eternity in hellfire.[25] Women are essentially slaves of men; they will be curse by the angels for refusing their husbands sex: “If a husband calls his wife to his bed [i.e. to have sexual relation] and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” (Bukhari 4.54.460)

The Qur’an teaches that Infidel women can be lawfully taken for sexual use (cf. its allowance for a man to take “captives of the right hand,” 4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30). The Qur’an says: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:59) The implication there is that if women do not cover themselves adequately with their outer garments, they may be abused, and that such abuse would be justified.

There is much, much more, including the draconian punishments the Qur’an specifies for the vague crime of a spreading “corruption” upon the earth: “This is the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His Messenger, and strive upon the earth corruption: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off; or they shall be banished from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement.” (5:33)

Is the Bible just as bad?

When confronted with material from the Qur’an that calls upon Muslims to wage war against unbelievers, Islamic apologists and their non-Muslim allies frequently claim that such passages from have been “cherry-picked” from a holy book that teaches peace, and that they only seem to incite to violence when ripped out of context. Usually accompanying such claims is the assertion that the Bible is just as violent, if not more so, than the Qur’an. Late in 2021 I debated a Muslim, Javad T. Hashmi, who is in the Saudi-funded Islamic Studies program at Harvard; Hashmi actually contended that both the Bible and Christian history are more violent than the Qur’an and Islam’s bloody fourteen-century history of jihad.

This idea has been circulating for years. Just before the Ellison Qur’an controversy broke, the Lutheran theologian Martin E. Marty has written disdainfully of “people who selectively quote the Qur’an to show how it commits Muslims to killing ‘us’ infidels.” He then went on to enumerate numerous violent passages in the Bible, quipping: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor’s God or Book, nor witness at all until thou comest clean on what thy book portrays, a holy warrior God.”[26] Conservative commentator Ralph Peters, who appeared frequently on Fox News at that time, contended that  “as a believing Christian, I must acknowledge that there’s nothing in the Koran as merciless as God’s behavior in the Book of Joshua.”[27]

While not going as far as Peters’ assertion that the Bible is actually more violent than the Qur’an, renowned conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza suggested that the Qur’an and the Bible were at least equivalent in their capacity to incite violence: “the Koran, like the Old Testament, has a number of passages recommending peace and others celebrating the massacre of the enemies of God.”[28] The problem was that some people focused on the wrong ones: “I realize that you can fish out this passage or that passage and make it sound like the Muslims want to convert or kill everybody. But that would be like taking passages out of the Old Testament to make Moses sound like Hitler.”[29]

D’Souza even claimed that Moses would have pursued an aggressive policy of religious imperialism, a la Islamic jihad, if he had had the chance: “Moses wasn’t exactly a believer in religious freedom. When he came down from the mountain and discovered the Israelites worshipping the golden calf he basically ordered a massacre. Don’t you think that if Moses could he would have imposed the laws of Yahweh on the whole world? Of course he would.”[30]

But was all this really true? This is an important question, for it goes to the heart of whether or not the actual teachings of either religion has anything to do with the violence committed in its name, and illuminates the issue of whether or not taking an oath on the Bible or the Qur’an is essentially equivalent.

Joshua: God mandates ethnic cleansing?

Was Peters correct that “there’s nothing in the Koran as merciless as God’s behavior in the Book of Joshua”? It certainly seems so at a glance. Besieging Jericho, Joshua announces that the city is “devoted to the LORD for destruction” (Joshua 6:17). When it falls, Joshua and his men “utterly destroyed all in the city, both men and women, oxen, sheep, and asses, with the edge of the sword” (6:21). And Joshua warned: “Cursed before the LORD be the man that rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho” (6:26).

Later God tells Joshua: “You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king,” except that this time they shouldn’t kill all the animals: “its spoil and its cattle you shall take as booty for yourselves” (8:2). Joshua complied: “When Israel had finished slaughtering all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword. And all who fell that day, both men and women, were twelve thousand, all the people of Ai. For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the javelin, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.  Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took as their booty, according to the word of the LORD which he commanded Joshua” (8:24-27). Joshua similarly kills all the inhabitants of a number of other cities: Makkedah (10:28); Libnah (10:29-30); Lachish (10:31-2); Eglon (10:34-5); Hebron (10:36-7); and Debir (10:38-9); as well as Madon, Shimron, Achshaph, and Hazor (11:10-11).

Nowhere in all this is there a hint of any disapproval on the part of the writer or anyone in the book. Instead, we are told that in carrying out these massacres Joshua was just being obedient to God: “So Joshua defeated the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings; he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded” (10:40).

Not just Joshua

Nor is the Book of Joshua the only apparently morally problematic portion of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. Leftist journalist and Presbyterian minister Chris Hedges said that many Christians “often fail to acknowledge that there are hateful passages in the Bible that give sacred authority to the rage, self-aggrandizement and intolerance of the Christian Right.”[31] The behavior of Joshua himself was rooted in earlier behavior, and other commands of the Lord. The Book of Numbers recounts that after the Israelites defeated the Midianites, they presented the captives and spoils of war to Moses. But the prophet “was angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had come from service in the war. Moses said to them, ‘Have you let all the women live?’” He reminded them that these women had earlier caused the Israelites to “act treacherously against the LORD.” Consequently, Moses told his men: “Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves” (31:14-18).

Later this command was extended to other enemies of the Israelites: “When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than yourselves, and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them; then you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2). God also tells the Israelites: “When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace. If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you. However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. When the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword. Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God has given you. Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes” (Deuteronomy 20:10-17).

Besides passages apparently celebrating warfare and ethnic cleansing as sanctioned by almighty God, the books of Moses also contain other passages jarring to modern sensibilities. God commands, for example, that Sabbath-breakers be put to death: “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Say to the people of Israel, You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. You shall keep the sabbath, because it is holy for you; every one who profanes it shall be put to death; whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people’” (Exodus 31:12-14). So are idolaters. God tells Moses: “If there is found among you…a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing his covenant, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, and it is told you and you hear of it; then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abominable thing has been done in Israel, then you shall bring forth to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones” (Deuteronomy 17:2-5).

There is more. The Book of Exodus contains some brief guidelines for occasions in which “a man sells his daughter as a slave” (Exodus 21:7). And there is more, here and there, that has raised eyebrows not only in modern times but throughout history.

“Kill them all,” says the Lord?

But is the Bible really enjoining violence, both against nonbelievers and believers who commit sins deemed worthy of capital punishment? Biblical scholars have posited several ways in which passages such as those in the Book of Joshua that appear to depict God transgressing against his own goodness can be understood by people of faith who believe that this material is divinely inspired. Some Biblical scholars have suggested that the Bible depicts a process of moral evolution – a gradual advance out of barbarism to the precepts of the Gospel. Others have adopted a posture of cultural relativism, arguing that what was acceptable for, or even incumbent upon, the Israelites in their particular time and place only applied to that time and place, not to all believers for all time.[32]

There are weaknesses in those and other such interpretations, but they reflect the fact that throughout history, rather than celebrating such biblical passages, Jews and Christians have regarded them as a problem to be solved. While interpretations of these passages differ widely among Jews and Christians, from the beginnings of rabbinic Judaism and Christianity one understanding has remained dominant among virtually all believers: these passages are not commands for all generations to follow, and if they have any applicability at all, it is only in a spiritualized, parabolic sense.

In short, the consensus view among Jews and Christians for many centuries is that unless you happen to be a Hittite, Girgashite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, or Jebusite, these Biblical passages simply do not apply to you. The Scriptures records God’s commands to the Israelites to make war against particular people only. However this may be understood, and however jarring it may be to modern sensibilities, it does not amount to any kind of marching orders for believers. That’s one principal reason why Jews and Christians haven’t formed terror groups around the world that quote these Scriptures to justify killing civilian non-combatants.

In Islam, however, the situation is quite different.

How jihadis understand the Qur’an

Any Muslim counterparts to Bernard of Clairvaux, in exhorting Muslims to wage jihad warfare, need not content themselves with interpreting in connection with actual warfare passages that refer to spiritual warfare. For in contrast to the Bible, the Qur’an exhorts believers to fight unbelievers without specifying anywhere in the text that only certain unbelievers are to be fought, or only for a certain period of time, or some other distinction. Taking the texts at face value, the command to make war against unbelievers is open-ended and universal.

Osama bin Laden, who is only the most renowned and notorious exponent of a terror network that extends from Indonesia to Nigeria and into Western Europe and the Americas, quotes the Qur’an copiously in his communiqués. In his 1996, “Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places,” he quotes seven Qur’an verses: 3:145; 47:4-6; 2:154; 9:14; 47:19; 8:72; and the notorious “Verse of the Sword,” 9:5.[33] In 2003, on the first day of the Muslim holy day Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, he began a sermon: “Praise be to Allah who revealed the verse of the Sword to his servant and messenger [the Prophet Muhammad], in order to establish truth and abolish falsehood.”[34]

One pro-Osama website put it this way: “The truth is that a Muslim who reads the Qur’an with devotion is determined to reach the battlefield in order to attain the reality of Jihad. It is solely for this reason that the Kufaar [unbelievers] conspire to keep the Muslims far away from understanding the Qur’an, knowing that Muslims who understand the Qur’an will not distance themselves from Jihad.”[35]

Abdullah Azzam, co-founder of al-Qaeda, wrote: “Jihad was a way of life for the Pious Predecessors (Salaf-us-Salih), and the Prophet (SAWS) was a master of the Mujahideen and a model for fortunate inexperienced people. The total number of military excursions which he (SAWS) accompanied was 27. He himself fought in nine of these; namely Badr; Uhud, Al-Muraysi, The Trench, Qurayzah, Khaybar, The Conquest of Makkah, Hunayn and Taif . . . This means that the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) used to go out on military expeditions or send out an army at least every two months.”[36]

Taliban jihadi Baitullah Mehsud said in 2007: “Allah on 480 occasions in the Holy Koran extols Muslims to wage jihad. We only fulfil God’s orders. Only jihad can bring peace to the world.”[37]

In 2009, the 9/11 plotters wrote an extended defense of their actions that included this: “Many thanks to God, for his kind gesture, and choosing us to perform the act of Jihad for his cause and to defend Islam and Muslims. Therefore, killing you and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you, responding back to your attacks, are all considered to be great legitimate duty in our religion.”[38]

When an Islamic jihadist beheaded Drummer Lee Rigby on a London street in 2013, he stopped before a nearby camera, still holding his bloody cleaver, and explained: “By Allah if I saw your mother today with a buggy I would help her up the stairs. This is my nature. But we are forced by the Qur’an, in Sura At-Tawba, through many ayah in the Qu’ran, we must fight them as they fight us.” Sura at-Tawba is the Qur’an’s ninth chapter, which contains its exhortation to fight Christians and Jews. In September 2021, a Muslim threatened the French author and politician Éric Zemmour on a Paris street, saying: “By the Qur’an of Mecca, I will smoke you out.”[39]

Egyptian scholar Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd has declared: “If we follow the rules of interpretation developed from the classical science of Koranic interpretation, it is not possible to condemn terrorism in religious terms. It remains completely true to the classical rules in its evolution of sanctity for its own justification. This is where the secret of its theological strength lies.”[40]

Over the last few years, many Muslim rapists have also referred to the Qur’an as justification for their actions. In France in 2013, a Muslim quoted the Qur’an while raping his victim.[41] A survivor of a Muslim rape gang in the UK has said that her rapists would quote the Qur’an to her, and believed their actions justified by Islam.[42] Thus it came as no surprise when Muslim migrants in France in 2019 raped a girl and videoed the rape while praising Allah and invoking the Qur’an.[43]

In India in 2004, a Muslim gave a Qur’an and a prayer rug to the woman he was holding captive and repeatedly raping.[44] And the victim of an Islamic State jihadi rapist recalled: “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God…He said that raping me is his prayer to God.”[45] In 2020 in India, a Muslim kidnapped and raped a 14-year-old Hindu girl, and forced her to read the Qur’an and Islamic prayers.[46] In Pakistan, another Christian woman recounted that her rapist was also religious: “He threw me on the bed and started to rape me. He demanded I marry him and convert to Islam. I refused. I am not willing to deny Jesus and he said that if I would not agree he would kill me.”[47] Rapists demanded in 2021 that another girl’s family turn her over to them, claiming that she had recited the Islamic profession of faith during the rape and thus could not live among infidels.[48]

The devil can quote Scripture for his own purpose, but it is clear that there are all too many Muslims today who see the Qur’an’s exhortation to violence and more as valid for our time. By contrast, when Jews and Christians read their Bibles, they simply don’t understand the passages cited or others as exhorting them to violent actions against unbelievers. This is the result of the influence of interpretative traditions that have for centuries moved away from literalism regarding these passages. But in Islam there is no comparable interpretative tradition. The jihad passages in the Qur’an are anything but a dead letter.

How Muslims have understood the Qur’an’s violent passages

Muhammad’s earliest biographer, a pious Muslim named Muhammad Ibn Ishaq Ibn Yasar (Ibn Ishaq, 704-773), explains that originally Muhammad “had not been given permission to fight or allowed to shed blood.”[49] However, “when Quraysh [the pagan polytheists of Mecca] became insolent towards God and rejected His gracious purpose, accused His prophet of lying, and ill treated and exiled those who served Him and proclaimed His unity, believed in His prophet, and held fast to His religion, He gave permission to His apostle to fight and to protect himself against those who wronged them and treated them badly.[50] Finally came the command for offensive jihad against unbelievers: “Then God sent down to him: ‘Fight them so that there be no more seduction,’ i.e. until no believer is seduced from his religion. ‘And the religion is God’s’, i.e. Until God alone is worshipped.”[51]

Many believe this in modern timesAccording to a twentieth-century Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid, “at first ‘the fighting’ was forbidden, then it was permitted and after that it was made obligatory.” He also distinguishes two groups Muslims must fight: “(1) against them who start ‘the fighting’ against you (Muslims) . . . (2) and against all those who worship others along with Allah . . . as mentioned in Surat Al-Baqarah (II), Al-Imran (III) and At-Taubah (IX) . . . and other Surahs (Chapters of the Qur’an).”[52] (The Roman numerals after the names of the chapters of the Qur’an are the numbers of the suras: Sheikh ‘Abdullah is referring to verses quoted above such as 2:216, 3:157-158, 9:5, and 9:29.)

All this means that warfare against unbelievers until they either become Muslim or “pay the jizya” — the special tax on non-Muslims in Islamic law — “with willing submission” (Qur’an 9:29) is the Qur’an’s last word on jihad. Mainstream Islamic tradition has interpreted this as Allah’s enduring marching orders to the human race: the Islamic umma (community) must exist in a state of perpetual war, punctuated only by temporary truces, with the non-Muslim world.

All four principal Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree on the importance of jihad. Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d. 996), a Maliki jurist, declared:

Jihad is a precept of Divine institution. Its performance by certain individuals may dispense others from it. We Malikis maintain that it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah except where the enemy attacks first. They have the alternative of either converting to Islam or paying the poll tax (jizya), short of which war will be declared against them.”[53] 

Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328), a Hanbali jurist:

Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God’s entirely and God’s word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought. As for those who cannot offer resistance or cannot fight, such as women, children, monks, old people, the blind, handicapped and their likes, they shall not be killed unless they actually fight with words (e.g. by propaganda) and acts (e.g. by spying or otherwise assisting in the warfare).”[54]  

The Hanafi school sounds the same notes:

It is not lawful to make war upon any people who have never before been called to the faith, without previously requiring them to embrace it, because the Prophet so instructed his commanders, directing them to call the infidels to the faith, and also because the people will hence perceive that they are attacked for the sake of religion, and not for the sake of taking their property, or making slaves of their children, and on this consideration it is possible that they may be induced to agree to the call, in order to save themselves from the troubles of war… If the infidels, upon receiving the call, neither consent to it nor agree to pay capitation tax, it is then incumbent on the Muslims to call upon God for assistance, and to make war upon them, because God is the assistant of those who serve Him, and the destroyer of His enemies, the infidels, and it is necessary to implore His aid upon every occasion; the Prophet, moreover, commands us so to do.”[55]

And so does the Shafi’i scholar Abu’l Hasan al-Mawardi (d. 1058), who echoes Muhammad’s instructions to invite the unbelievers to accept Islam or fight them if they refuse:

The mushrikun [infidels] of Dar al-Harb (the arena of battle) are of two types: First, those whom the call of Islam has reached, but they have refused it and have taken up arms. The amir of the army has the option of fighting them…in accordance with what he judges to be in the best interest of the Muslims and most harmful to the mushrikun… Second, those whom the invitation to Islam has not reached, although such persons are few nowadays since Allah has made manifest the call of his Messenger…it is forbidden to…begin an attack before explaining the invitation to Islam to them, informing them of the miracles of the Prophet and making plain the proofs so as to encourage acceptance on their part; if they still refuse to accept after this, war is waged against them and they are treated as those whom the call has reached…[56]

While these are all extremely old authorities, these teachings have not changed. All Muslims do not live by them, but they are there for jihadis to invoke to justify their actions, and they do. Underscoring the fact that none of this is merely of historical interest is another Shafi’i manual of Islamic law that in 1991 was certified by the highest authority in Sunni Islam, Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, as conforming “to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community.”[57] This manual, ‘Umdat al-Salik (available in English as Reliance of the Traveller), spends a considerable amount of time explaining jihad as “war against non-Muslims.”[58] It spells out the nature of this warfare in quite specific terms: “the caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians . . . until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax.” It adds a comment by a Jordanian jurist that corresponds to Muhammad’s instructions to call the unbelievers to Islam before fighting them: the caliph wages this war only “provided that he has first invited [Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians] to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya) . . . while remaining in their ancestral religions.”[59]

Lying in the Qur’an

Even more important for the concept of taking an oath to serve faithfully and honestly is the fact that the Qur’an sanctions lying to unbelievers under certain circumstances. In the two decades of Islamic jihad that the United States has experienced since 9/11, several Islamic terms have become widely known among non-Muslims, particularly among those concerned about jihad terror and the encroachments of Sharia supremacists in the West. One of these is taqiyya (literally “fear” or “caution”), which is generally taken to mean a blanket Islamic permission for Muslims to lie to non-Muslims in order to further the goals of Islam.[60]

That definition is not actually all that far off from the truth. The concept of taqiyya as such is specifically Shi’ite, developed during the time of the sixth Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq, in middle of the eighth century, when the Shi’ites were being persecuted by the Sunni caliph al-Mansur. Taqiyya allowed Shi’ites to pretend to be Sunnis in order to protect themselves from Sunnis who were killing Shi’ites. Taqiyya was an important element of Shi’ite survival, for Sunnis, in the majority almost everywhere, would not infrequently take it upon themselves to cleanse the land of those whom they referred to as Rafidites, that is, rejecters—those who rejected the caliphates of Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman, the first four successors of Muhammad according to Islamic tradition, all of whom were chosen over Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali, whose supporters became known as the shiat Ali, party of Ali, or Shi’ites.

Some Shi’ite thinkers turned the secrecy that had become a necessity into a virtue. The medieval Shi’ite scholar Ali ibn Musa ibn Tawus, who died in 1266, taught that Allah had revealed Shi’ism secretly, and it was incumbent upon the believers to practice it in secret. At the end of days, Allah will admit them secretly into Paradise.[61] Some secrets were never to be revealed under any circumstances. The fifth imam, Muhammad al-Baqir, who died in 732, once gave a book to one of his disciples, telling him, “If you ever transmit any of it, my curse and the curse of my forefathers will fall upon you.”[62]

The sixth Imam, Jafar Al-Sadiq, who died in 765, had a servant who was suspected of having revealed some of the secrets of the faith. The Imam lectured, “Whoever propagates our tradition is like someone who denies it.…Conceal our doctrine and do not divulge it. God elevates in this world one who conceals our doctrine and does not divulge it and he turns it in the next world into a light between his eyes which will lead him to Paradise. God abases in this world one who divulges our tradition and our doctrine and does not conceal it, and in the next world he removes the light from between his eyes and turns it into darkness which will lead him to hell. Taqiyya is our religion and the religion of our fathers; he who has no taqiyya has no religion.”[63]

Other Imams also emphasized the cardinal importance of taqiyya, apparently not only because Shi’ites were under constant threat from Sunnis, but because Shi’ite Islam contained doctrines that must stay hidden from outsiders. Some sayings of the Imams include, “He who has no taqiyya has no faith”; “he who forsakes taqiyya is like him who forsakes prayer”; “he who does not adhere to taqiyya and does not protect us from the ignoble common people is not part of us”; “nine tenths of faith falls within taqiyya”; “taqiyya is the believer’s shield (junna), but for taqiyya, God would not have been worshipped.”[64]

Although they do not use the term taqiyya, Sunnis have doctrines of deception as well. The Qur’an teaches that deception is allowed, so this is not a solely Shi’ite concept: “Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever does that has nothing with Allah, except when taking precaution against them in prudence.” (Qur’an 3:28). A Muslim is not to take Muslims as friends unless he has “a fear of them” and is only feigning friendship to protect himself.

The Sunni commentator on the Qur’an Ibn Kathir says that the phrase “unless that you but guard yourselves against them” means that “believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers” may “show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said, ‘We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.’ Al-Bukhari said that Al-Hasan said, ‘The Tuqyah [taqiyya] is allowed until the Day of Resurrection.”[65] Abu Ad-Darda’ was a companion of Muhammad.

Does it matter what the Qur’an says?

It is forbidden, on pain of charges of “Islamophobia,” to discuss the actual contents of the Qur’an and their possible relevance to the question of officials being sworn in on the Qur’an. Still, it is jarring to think of American officials pledging to uphold the U.S. Constitution on a book that calls for warfare against non-Muslims and allows lying to them. Several years ago, however, I was interviewed by an extremely hostile podcast host who claimed to be an ex-Muslim, and who contended that my opposition to swearing in on the Qur’an was simple bigotry. She insisted that offering this option to Muslims in America was a simple matter of equality, and supported her claim by insisting that many nominal Muslims did not know or care what was in the Qur’an.

That may be, but it is clear that knowledgeable, devout Muslims including Keith Ellison, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib do know what’s in the Qur’an. Other Muslims, including Islamic jihadis, do as well. Consequently it is not only a blow against our cultural unity and spiritual heritage, as Prager points out, to allow oaths on the Qur’an; it’s also unwise in the extreme for a non-Muslim polity that is directly threatened by Qur’anic imperatives to pretend that those imperatives do not exist or that no Muslims in the U.S. take them seriously.

For while Americans may ignore these unpleasant passages of the Qur’an, Islamic jihadis are not ignoring them at all. To allow such a book to be used by American officeholders is to imply that loyalty to this nation and its principles is meaningless, or that Islamic scripture is meaningless, or both. A wiser path would be to respect what the Qur’an says, and take it seriously, and accordingly disallow the use of the book for swearing in American officials.

Notes:

[1] Niraj Warikoo, “Abdullah Hammoud sworn in as new mayor of Dearborn: ‘We're on a mission,’” Detroit Free Press, January 16, 2022.

[2] Hibah Ansari, “A special Qur’an holds the signature of almost every Minnesota Muslim elected to office. At a historic swearing-in ceremony, three Minneapolis City Council members added their names to the list.” Sahan Journal, January 3, 2022.

[3] Jeffrey Goldberg, “Obama on What Trump and Cruz Get Wrong About Islam,” The Atlantic, March 29, 2016.

[4] Transcript of President George Washington's Farewell Address (1796), https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=15&page=transcript

[5] Lorraine Boissoneault, “The Speech and Bible From George Washington’s First Inauguration Made History Many Times Over,” Smithsonian Magazine, January 11, 2017.

[6] “Keith Ellison: A Qur’anic Oath?,” BeliefNet, December 2006.

[7] Ella Torres, “Missouri councilwoman uses Dr. Seuss book to be sworn into office,” ABC News, August 21, 2019.

[8] Dennis Prager, “America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on,” Townhall, November 28, 2006.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] “Keith Ellison: A Qur’anic Oath?,” op. cit.

[18] Melissa Block, “Sworn In with a Quran?,” National Public Radio, December 21, 2006.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] “Can a person swear by putting his hand on the Qur'an? Is this oath valid?,” QuestionsonIslam.com. https://questionsonislam.com/article/can-person-swear-putting-his-hand-quran-oath-valid

[23] Imam Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, translator, Kitab Bhavan, revised edition 2000, no. 30.

[24] There are numerous exhortations in the Qur’an to obey not just Allah, but his messenger – Muhammad – as well: see Qur’an 3:32; 3:132; 4:13; 4:59; 4:69; 4:80; 5:92; 8:1; 8:20; 8:46; 9:71; 24:47; 24:51; 24:52; 24:54; 24:56; 33:33; 47:33; 49:14; 58:13; 64:12.

[25] Muhammed Ibn Ismaiel Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari: The Translation of the Meanings, translated by Muhammad M. Khan, Darussalam, 1997, vol. 1, book 6, no. 304.

[26] Martin E. Marty, “Them and us,” Christian Century, October 3, 2006.

[27] Ralph Peters, “Islam-Haters: An Enemy Within,” New York Post, September 8, 2006.

[28] Dinesh D’Souza. “The Closing of the Conservative Mind, Part I: Blindsided from the Right,” National Review, March 12, 2007.

[29] “Eyeing the Enemy: Dinesh D’Souza looks left,” National Review, January 16, 2007.

[30] Jamie Glazov, “Did the Cultural Left Cause 9/11?,” Interview with Dinesh D’Souza,

FrontPageMagazine.com, January 25, 2007.

[31] Chris Hedges, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America, Free Press, 2006, 6.

[32] These and other approaches are discussed in Eryl W. Davies, “The Morally Dubious Passages of the Hebrew Bible: An Examination of Some Proposed Solutions,” Currents in Biblical Research 2005; 3; 197.

[33] Osama Bin Laden, “Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places,” 1996. http://www.mideastweb.org/osamabinladen1.htm.

[34] Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), “Bin Laden’s Sermon for the Feast of the Sacrifice,” MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 476, March 5, 2003.

[35] “Jihad in the Qur’an and Ahadeeth,” www.waaqiah.com, 2002.

[36] Abdullah Azzam, Join the Caravan, Azzam Publications, 2001, 30.

[37] “Pakistan Taleban vow more violence,” BBC, January 29, 2007.

[38] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid bin ‘Attash, Ramzi bin As-Shibh, ‘Ali ‘Abd Al-’Aziz ‘Ali, and “Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hawsawi, “The Islamic Response to the Government’s Nine Accusations,” Jihad Watch, March 11, 2009.

[39] “Éric Zemmour menacé de mort en pleine rue à Paris, enquête ouverte,” Le Figaro, September 27, 2021.

[40] Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid, “Brutality and civilisation – violence and terrorism?”, in Jochen Hippler, War, Repression, Terrorism: Political Violence and Civilisation in Western and Muslim Societies (Stuttgart: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, 2006), 328.

[41] “Le “monstre” de Colombes,” Paris Match, August 22, 2013.

[42] Ella Hill, “As a Rotherham grooming gang survivor, I want people to know about the religious extremism which inspired my abusers,” Independent, March 18, 2018.

[43] Federico Giuliani, “La stuprano inneggiando Allah. Poi postano il video dell’abuso sui social,” Il Giornale, December 26, 2019.

[44] Nic White, “EXCLUSIVE: Australian surfer kidnapped and raped every night for two months on a squalid houseboat in India reveals how she escaped when her captor made one simple mistake – and why she fears there are other victims out there,” Daily Mail Australia, July 4, 2020.

[45] Rukmini Callimachi, “ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape,” New York Times, August 13, 2015.

[46] Swati Goel Sharma, “Forced To Read Namaz And Quran, Reveals Minor Hindu Girl Abducted By Married Muslim Man From Bengal,” Swarajya, November 16, 2020.

[47] John Pontifex, “PAKISTAN: Raped, punched, kicked and hit with a pistol – but undaunted,” Aid to the Church in Need, June 7, 2021.

[48] “Pakistan: Father of four abducts and marries 13-year-old Christian employee after forcefully converting her to Islam,” OpIndia, June 21, 2021.

[49] Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, translator, Oxford University Press, 1955, 212-213.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid.

[52] ‘Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid, “The Call to Jihad (Holy Fighting for Allah’s Cause) in the Qur’an,” Appendix III of Sahih Bukhari, vol. 9, 462.

[53] Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani, La Risala (Epitre sur les elements du dogme et de la loi de l'Islam selon le rite malikite.) Translated from Arabic by Leon Bercher. 5th ed. Algiers, 1960, 165.

[54] Ibn Taymiyya, “Jihad,” in Rudolph Peters, Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam, Markus Wiener Publishers, 1996. 49.

[55] From the Hidayah, vol. Ii. 140, quoted in Thomas P. Hughes, A Dictionary of Islam (W.H. Allen, 1895), “Jihad,” 243-248.

[56] Abu’l Hasan al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah (The Laws of Islamic Governance), Ta-Ha Publishers, 1996, 60.

[57] Ahmed ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller (‘Umdat al-Salik): A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller. Amana Publications, 1999, xx.

[58] Reliance of the Traveller, o9.0.

[59] Reliance of the Traveller, o9.8.

[60] Etan Kohlberg, “Taqiyya in Shi’i Theology and Religion,” in Hans Gerhard Kippenberg and Guy G. Stroumsa, eds., Secrecy and Concealment: Studies in the History of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Religions (Brill, 1995), 345.

[61] Ibid., 351.

[62] Ibid., 370.

[63] Ibid., 355–56.

[64] Ibid., 373.

[65] Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir (abridged) (Riyadh: Darussalam, 2000), II, 142.

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