Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Muslim soldiers are killing their Christian comrades in arms—apparently because the latter, as “infidels,” are already the enemy. Most recently, in Nigeria, a Muslim colonel stole weapons from an armory and then blamed the 12 soldiers on duty for the theft. Six of those 12 soldiers—all Christians—were then executed. According to a lawyer acquainted with the case:
The [Nigerian] government of today detests Christianity… This administration is running on ethnic agenda against the Igbo [Christian] population…. This has never been a practice in the Army. Things got changed the moment this present administration [of Muhammadu Buhari] came to power. Things are happening before that didn’t happen. It’s not only about these six soldiers…. Even in the security forces, Christians are being targeted.
The Feb. 4 report elaborates:
Many Nigerians now believe the Army fights for Islam, not Nigeria… In the country’s predominately Christian south, people call it ‘Boko Haram’s Army.’ Muslims hold all the most important leadership positions. The Army’s lack of action to protect Christians comes directly from its leaders in government… When troops go into areas controlled by radical Islamists to defend Nigerian Christians, the government orders them to retreat. Then, Islamist rebels shoot them in the back.
The phenomenon of Muslim military men murdering their Christian counterparts—and getting away with it—is hardly limited to Nigeria. In 2018, for instance, Matthew Samir Habib, a 22-year-old Christian in Egypt’s military was killed simply for being Christian. He was the latest of about 10 Christian soldiers in Egypt to be killed in separate incidents over the years by Muslim soldiers on account of their faith.
In virtually all of these cases, a similar pattern follows: despite all the evidence otherwise (such as physical bruises all over the bodies of the slain), military officials insist that—due to some sudden and inexplicable bout of depression—all these Christians supposedly committed “suicide.” Meanwhile the dead Christian soldiers’ families and those closest to them insist their slain sons and brothers were happy and healthy, that they were observant Christians, and that there was evidence that they were being persecuted by their Muslim “brothers-in-arms” for their evident Christianity.
For example, in the aforementioned case of Matthew Habib, the murdered Christian was shot twice—and still authorities maintain it was suicide. (Click here for several more examples of military authorities offering bizarre reasons for the deaths, all rejected by the victims’ Christian families.)
Why these Christians are being killed is not difficult to comprehend. For many Muslims in Egypt, Nigeria, and elsewhere, war is synonymous with jihad—and it doesn’t do much for morale to have lowly infidels, who are themselves the prime targets of jihad, fighting alongside the practitioners of jihad.
These modern day killings shed further light on a more theoretical—or rather theological—point. One of the staples of the Islamic whitewashing industry is the claim that jizya—the extortion money subjugated Jews and Christians were/are required to pay (Koran 9:29)—actually “entitled them to Muslim protection from outside aggression and exempted them from military service,” to quote Georgetown University’s John Esposito.
By this widely held logic, Muslim invaders did not demand that the conquered non-Muslim populations ransom their lives with money—as virtually all Muslim jurists and historians explain it—but rather were kind enough to offer their infidel subjects “protection” and exemption from military service for a small fee.
However, and as the modern day killings of Christian soldiers makes clear, Christians and Jews were “exempt” from military service not because they paid jizya-tribute, but because, as conquered infidels, they themselves were the enemy and had to remain separate and subjugated—as Christian minorities in Muslim nations tend to till this day. (As one example, requests to open or renovate churches are always met with mass violence and upheavals, often enabled if not instigated by local Muslim authorities: as infidels, Christians are not allowed to build or renovate temples of worship that openly challenge the teachings of Muhammad.)
Apologists like Esposito twist the facts around in another important way: while payment of jizya did indeed purchase “protection” (of a sort) for the conquered infidels, that protection was not against an outside hostile force, but against inside hostile forces—that is, Muslims themselves: sharia manuals make clear that failure to pay jizya made the lives of dhimmis forfeit.
Finally, and as if all the above was not enough, that the Koran itself requires conquered non-Muslims “to give the jizya willingly while they are humbled” (9:29)—or else—puts to rest any claim that payment of jizya was a mere business transaction justifying exemption from military duty but rather a ritual show of Islamic dominance over infidels.
From here one may also begin to understand the roots of a related phenomenon: Muslim soldiers killing non-Muslim soldiers in the U.S. military, as a show of loyalty to Islam.