Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
“My life is worth more than his life.” Such is the seemingly odd explanation that a Muslim man of African origins gave for mutilating and nearly killing a police officer with a machete, after the latter stopped him in a routine traffic stop in the UK. According to the January 15 report,
A hero police officer suffered multiple skull fractures when an uninsured white van man tried to murder him in a savage machete attack, a court heard.
PC Stuart Outten, 29, was severely injured and may have been killed had he not managed [to] bring down Muhammad Rodwan, 56, with his Taser, the Old Bailey was told.
After being arrested, Rodwan allegedly claimed he acted in self defence, and said: “My life is worth more than his life.”
Although the report cannot help but connect this strange remark with the act of self-defense—how else to make sense of it?—the assertion’s lineage in Islam is far less mundane. Indeed, a very similar precedent concerning African Muslims who slaughtered an American in Sudan sheds some light. According to a 2009 report:
The court had sentenced the men [originally four] to death in June for killing [American diplomat John] Granville and his driver in January 2008, but the sentence was cancelled in August after [the Muslim driver] Abbas’s father forgave the men.
Under Islamic law, the victim’s family has the right to forgive the murderer, ask for compensation (fedia) or demand execution.
Granville’s mother, Jane Granville, at the time had asked for the men’s execution, but her letter was rejected because it was not notarized.
The judge said the sentence was confirmed because Granville’s family, from Buffalo, in northern New York State, had requested it.
Suddenly, however, in 2010 the four men convicted of murder, “escaped from a maximum security prison” in Khartoum, to quote the U.S. State Department. One of the men, Abdul Ra’uf Abu Zaid Muhammad Hamza, was recaptured and placed on death row.
In response, several international Islamic organizations, including the London-based Islamic Media Observatory, tried to commute the death sentence, mostly by arguing for Abdul Ra’uf’s “human rights.” On October 31, 2009, the Legitimate League of Scholars and Preachers in Sudan (an influential body of Muslim clerics) issued a statement titled “Let no Muslim be killed on account of an infidel”—a verbatim quote, in fact, from Islam’s prophet Muhammad—revealing the true reason why many Muslims sought to overturn the death sentence.
The Arabic language statement begins by asserting that “Allah has honored human beings over creation and multiplied the Muslim’s honor over the infidel’s, because Islam elevates and nothing is elevated above it. The value of the blood of Muslims is equal, or should be, but not so the value of the blood of others.” (The Koran itself, e.g., 2:221, confirms this idea that even the lowliest Muslim is superior to any non-Muslim.)
Next, the statement quotes the clear words of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad (as recorded in Sahih Bukhari and other canonical collections): “Let no Muslim be killed on account of an infidel [or kafir, “non-Muslim”].”
The statement interprets this as meaning that, when judging between Muslims and non-Muslims, under no circumstances are Muslim rulers ever permitted to execute Muslims—even if they murder non-Muslims in cold blood, including those groups that are nominally “protected” by Islamic law, such as dhimmis (subjugated, tribute-paying non-Muslims) and foreign non-Muslims granted aman, or a pledge of security to enter Muslim lands. The “consensus of Islamic scholars”—or ijma, a legitimate source of Islamic jurisprudence—is further cited to confirm these views.
That there is widespread ijma cannot be denied. For example, according to one authoritative manual on Islamic jurisprudence, “the blood money for a Jew or for a Christian is one-third the blood money for a Muslim (‘Umdat al-Salik, o4.9; my translation). Similarly, in a 2018 Arabic language video, Egyptian cleric Samir Hashish said the following about the hadith “Let no Muslim be killed on account of an infidel”:
The hadith itself is of course authentic… However, the hadith does not mean that whoever, without cause, kills any of the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] has done rightly. Not at all—the hadith did not say this; it did not say those who do this are right. The hadith simply excludes the death penalty from among the possible punishments. In other words, the Muslim who kills a non-Muslim without cause—is he wrong or not? He’s wrong. Is he to be penalized or not? He is to be penalized—but without the death penalty. Let him be judged any which way, but do not kill him. Why? Because of what the hadith says. The prophet said, “Let no Muslim be killed on account of an infidel.” Why? Because their blood is not equal. The blood of the Muslim is superior. Call it racism or whatever you want, but of course the blood of the Muslim is superior. This is not open to debate. [Translation my own.]
Little wonder that the statement from the Legitimate League of Scholars and Preachers concludes by warning all Muslim rulers and judges “to fear Allah, to apply Allah’s law in every matter, whether big or small, to seek justice according to the consensus of Islamic scholars, not to seek to please the infidels, not to rush the verdict, and to know that Allah prefers the annihilation of the entire earth over the spilling of the blood of one innocent Muslim” (emphasis added).
Add, then, “racism” and notions of “superior blood” to Islam’s ever-growing list of “problematic” teachings.