Khizr Khan, Servant of the Global Umma
His son died in service of the U.S. military; now his father is using his memory to advance a different cause.
The mainstream media is wild with enthusiasm these days over Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim soldier, Humayun Khan, who was killed fighting in Iraq in 2004. Khizr Khan, brimming with self-righteous anger, spoke at the Democratic National Convention, where he delivered what the Washington Post dubbed a “brutal repudiation of Donald Trump.” Trump responded, elevating Khizr Khan to the status of full-fledged flavor-of-the-moment media celebrity. There’s just one catch: Khizr is using his son’s memory not to advance the cause of the United States, as his son apparently died trying to do, but to advance a quite different cause: that of the global umma.
The well-heeled and powerful backers of the global jihad – those who have enabled the Islamic State (ISIS), al-Qaeda, and other jihad groups to grow as powerful as they have today – are enraged at Donald Trump. They are deeply worried by his call for a temporary moratorium on Muslim immigration into the United States, as that will make it much more difficult for jihadis to get into this country. They are anxious to stigmatize any and all resistance to jihad terror – and so, happily enough for them, is the Democratic Party, which has eagerly signed on to the longtime strategy employed by Islamic supremacist advocacy groups in the U.S., to demonize all effective measures against jihad terror as “bigoted” and “Islamophobic.”
So it was that Khizr Khan, in the full fury of his indignation at the DNC, trotted out a straw man, falsely claiming that Trump wanted to “ban us from this country.” Trump has said nothing about banning Muslim citizens of the U.S. from the country, only about a temporary moratorium on immigration from terror states. Even worse, all the effusive praise being showered on Khizr Khan in the last few days overlooks one central point: he is one man. His family is one family. There are no doubt many others like his, but this fact does not mean that there is no jihad, or that all Muslims in the U.S. are loyal citizens.
Khizr Khan is enraged at Donald Trump, but is Trump really the cause of his problem? Jihad terrorists, not Donald Trump or “Islamophobes,” killed his son in Iraq. And if Donald Trump or anyone else looks upon Muslims in the U.S. military with suspicion, it is with good reason: does any other demographic have as high a rate of treason as Muslims in the U.S. military? In 2003, a convert to Islam, Sgt. Hasan Akbar, murdered two of his commanding officers in Kuwait. In 2009, Major Nidal Malik Hasan murdered 13 Americans at Fort Hood.
Other than those attacks, a Muslim in the U.S. Navy discussed sniper attacks on military personnel. A Muslim U.S. naval engineer allegedly gave an Egyptian agent information on how to sink a U.S. carrier. In 2015, a Muslim National Guard soldier in Illinois planned an Islamic State jihad attack against a U.S. military base. Last February, a U.S. Army enlistee who vowed to “bring the Islamic State straight to your doorstep” pleaded guilty to attempting to detonate a car bomb at Fort Riley military base in Kansas. Just days ago, a U.S. Air Force veteran was convicted of trying to join the Islamic State.
Then there is the U.S. Muslim who gave the Islamic State U.S. military uniforms, combat boots, tactical gear, firearms accessories, and thousands in cash. Where are those uniforms now?
It is good that there are Muslims in the U.S. military who are loyal. But can we have a discussion about those who aren’t, and why they aren’t, and what can be done about it? Such a discussion is vitally necessary, but it wouldn’t serve the classic objective of the global umma, to increase the dar al-Islam (house of Islam) at the dar al-harb (house of war). Nor would an open discussion of Khan’s Sunday morning assertion on Meet the Press that terrorists “have nothing to do with Islam.”
We constantly are told this, but the repetition doesn’t make it true. In the first place, jihadis repeatedly make clear that they think what they’re doing has everything to do with Islam:
“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.” — Abdullah Azzam, co-founder of al-Qaeda, Join the Caravan, p. 30
“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.” — Egyptian scholar Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd
“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.” — Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow 9⁄11 defendants
“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.” — Taliban terrorist Baitullah Mehsud
“Jihad, holy fighting in Allah’s course, with full force of numbers and weaponry, is given the utmost importance in Islam….By jihad, Islam is established….By abandoning jihad, may Allah protect us from that, Islam is destroyed, and Muslims go into inferior position, their honor is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanish. Jihad is an obligation and duty in Islam on every Muslim.” — Times Square car bomb terrorist Faisal Shahzad
“So step by step I became a religiously devout Muslim, Mujahid — meaning one who participates in jihad.” — Little Rock, Arkansas terrorist murderer Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad
“And now, after mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives, and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for Jihad.” — Texas terrorist bomber Khalid Aldawsari
All of these, of course, may be dismissed as “extremists,” although they were also all devout Muslims who were determined to follow their religion properly. And then there are the many passages of the Qur’an exhorting Muslims to commit acts of violence:
2:191-193: “And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is more grievous than slaying. But fight them not by the Holy Mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, slay them — such is the recompense of unbelievers, but if they give over, surely Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers.”
4:89: “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”
5:33: “This is the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: 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.”
5:38: “And the thief, male and female: cut off the hands of both, as a recompense for what they have earned, and a punishment exemplary from Allah; Allah is All-mighty, All-wise.”
8:12: “When thy Lord was revealing to the angels, ‘I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast into the unbelievers’ hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!”
8:39: “Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s entirely; then if they give over, surely Allah sees the things they do.”
8:60: “Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to terrify thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them that you know not; Allah knows them. And whatsoever you expend in the way of Allah shall be repaid you in full; you will not be wronged.”
9:5: “Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.”
9:29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book — until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.”
9:111: “Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon Allah in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran; and who fulfils his covenant truer than Allah? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph.”
9:123: “O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you; and let them find in you a harshness; and know that Allah is with the godfearing.”
47:4: “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads. So it shall be; and if Allah had willed, He would have avenged Himself upon them; but that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will not send their works astray.”
To be sure, there are some tolerant verses in the Qur’an as well — see, for example, sura 109. But then in Islamic tradition there are authorities who say that violent passages take precedence over these verses. Muhammad’s earliest biographer, an eighth-century Muslim named Ibn Ishaq, explains the progression of Qur’anic revelation about warfare. First, he explains, Allah allowed Muslims to wage defensive warfare. But that was not Allah’s last word on the circumstances in which Muslims should fight. Ibn Ishaq explains offensive jihad by invoking a Qur’anic verse: “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.”
The Qur’an verse Ibn Ishaq quotes here (2:193) commands much more than defensive warfare: Muslims must fight until “the religion is God’s” — that is, until Allah alone is worshipped. Ibn Ishaq gives no hint that that command died with the seventh century.
The great medieval scholar Ibn Qayyim (1292-1350) also outlines the stages of the Muhammad’s prophetic career: “For thirteen years after the beginning of his Messengership, he called people to God through preaching, without fighting or Jizyah, and was commanded to restrain himself and to practice patience and forbearance. Then he was commanded to migrate, and later permission was given to fight. Then he was commanded to fight those who fought him, and to restrain himself from those who did not make war with him. Later he was commanded to fight the polytheists until God’s religion was fully established.”
In other words, he initially could fight only defensively — only “those who fought him” — but later he could fight the polytheists until Islam was “fully established.” He could fight them even if they didn’t fight him first, and solely because they were not Muslim.
Nor do all contemporary Islamic thinkers believe that that command is a relic of history.
According to a 20th 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).” (The Roman numerals after the names of the chapters of the Qur’an are the numbers of the suras: Sheikh ‘Abdullah is referring to Qur’anic verses such as 2:216, 3:157-158, 9:5, and 9:29.)
How does Khizr Khan explain all that? He doesn’t — and he knows that no one in the mainstream media will ask him to. All this disinformation and obfuscation he is perpetrating serves the interests of the global umma – but not in any sense those of the United States.