In a recent interview that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) chose to give to Al Jazeera (a network that has many times, like Omar herself, disseminated anti-Semitic propaganda), the ever-controversial Congresswoman sounded a theme that is frequently repeated in the establishment media: that Muslims must not be blamed for the actions of jihad terrorists. This claim is predicated on the assumption, almost universally accepted today, that Islam and the genuine understanding of jihad have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism, and thus cannot be held responsible for the actions of terrorists.
If this is true, however, the question is inevitable: why do so many Muslims misunderstand the tenets of their faith? Why is Islam so hard to grasp?
Omar was defending herself against charges that she had trivialized the 9/11 jihad attacks: “Those are horrific attacks. There’s no question about it, that’s not a debatable thing. Innocent Americans lost their lives that day, we all mourn their deaths … And I think it’s quite disgusting that people even question that and want to debate that.”
However, there was something more important to Omar than the deaths of innocent Americans: the image of Islam. “What is important,” she explained, “is the larger point that I was speaking to, which is about making sure that blame isn’t placed on a whole faith, that we as Muslims are not collectively blamed for the actions of terrorists,” Omar added.
Of course. Everyone takes that for granted. We are constantly told that Islam and Muslims had nothing to do with 9/11, despite the devoutness of the perpetrators, their cries of “Allahu akbar,” and the rest. But Omar’s framing of this question as one of “making sure that blame isn’t placed on a whole faith, that we as Muslims are not collectively blamed for the actions of terrorists” actually sidesteps the real issue: what is in the texts and teachings of Islam that incites believers to violence, and what can be done about it? When has Ilhan Omar ever spoken about that?
The History of Jihad from Muhammad to ISIS makes it clear that jihad violence runs like a scarlet thread through the history of Islam, from its very beginnings to today, without any let-up, reconsideration, or reformation. During the era of the first four successors of Muhammad as leaders of the Muslim community, known in Islamic tradition as the age of the “Rightly-Guided Caliphs,” Muslim armies swept out of Arabia and swiftly conquered the Middle East, North Africa, and much of Persia. By one hundred years after the purported death of Muhammad in 632, the Islamic empire stretched from Spain to India.
These conquests were animated by Islam’s doctrines mandating warfare against and subjugation of unbelievers, the same doctrines that groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) invoke today to justify their actions and make recruits among peaceful Muslims. Should the “blame” be placed on “a whole faith” for those conquests, and many more in the fourteen hundred years of jihad activity, that were carried out in the name of Islam and in accord with Islamic texts and teachings? If Islamic teachings motivated those conquests, it motivates the jihad terrorists who are inspired by the same teachings now.
If it doesn’t, then apparently Muhammad himself, who led numerous jihad attacks against the pagan Arabs and Jews of Arabia, misunderstood Islam, as did the Rightly-Guided Caliphs and virtually every Muslim leader since then. For Islamic history, while containing an unbroken record of jihad violence, also reveals a glaring absence: never in the 1,400 years of Islam has there been a large-scale movement of Muslims against that jihad violence, preaching the necessity of peaceful coexistence as equals with infidels in a society not ruled by Islamic law.
Certainly no one should be held responsible for something with which he or she had nothing to do with. No one should blame innocent Muslims for the actions of terrorists. But Ilhan Omar’s words to Al Jazeera only obfuscate the fact that jihad terrorists are indeed galvanized by the teachings of Islam mandating everlasting war against the infidel. Unless those teachings are acknowledged and confronted, jihad terrorism is going to continue indefinitely. Is that what Ilhan Omar wants?