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Jihad and Criminality: Inseparable

12/11/2019 by Raymond Ibrahim 3 Comments

It’s official: Islamic jihad and generic criminality are intimately connected.

According to an earlier UK study:

The lines between terrorism and criminality are becoming blurred as an increasing number of
former criminals join the Islamic State… Nearly 60 percent of European jihadists studied by
researchers had been jailed previously… Once recruited by ISIS, these people easily transition
to committing violence for a different cause… [T]he welcome from ISIS offers criminals a
perceived chance at “redemption” without requiring a change in behavior.
Even so, the establishment refuses to see any direct correlation between Islam and
criminality. As the director of the study himself explained, criminals “are the perfect fit”
because the “Islamic State doesn’t require any intellectual sophistication. It doesn’t ask you
to study religion. It makes it all like a computer game.” In other words, criminals are ideal
recruits because they don’t know — nor do they care to learn — the first thing about “true”
Or, as John Brennan memorably asserted of ISIS members when he was head of the
CIA, “they’re criminals. Most — many — of them are psychopathic thugs, murderers who
use a religious concept and masquerade and mask themselves in that religious construct.”

Here, again, we see how ignorance of history — willful or otherwise — undermines

Western security. The fact is, from the very beginnings of Islam and throughout the
centuries, the overwhelming majority of Muslims who participated in jihads had no
“intellectual sophistication,” did not “study religion,” and generally behaved like
“psychopathic thugs, murderers.” That’s because Islam’s “religious construct” was always
designed to entice and mobilize such men.

All this is evident in the career of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. After more than a decade of
peaceful preaching in Mecca, he had won over only some 100 followers, mostly relatives.
Once, however, he took to raiding and plundering all who rejected his Islam — and became
immensely successful at it — his followers grew exponentially.

Then and now, those who undertook jihad were never obligated to have sincere or pious
intentions. That’s because — and despite all Western projectionism and relativism — Allah
is not God; he is not interested in the “condition” of the jihadist’s “heart,” but rather in his
sword. The cold, businesslike language of the Koran makes this clear. Whoever commits to
the jihad makes a “fine loan to Allah,” which the latter guarantees to pay back “many times
over,” always commensurate with the jihadist’s efforts (Koran 2:245, 4:95).

Or as Koran 9:111 succinctly declares: “Allah has bought from the believers their lives and
worldly goods, and in return has promised them Paradise: they shall fight in the way of
Allah and shall kill and be killed… Rejoice then in the bargain you have struck, for that is
the supreme triumph.”

In short, any Muslim can join and reap the rewards of jihad — including by plundering,
raping, and enslaving non-Muslims — so long as their “efforts” (literally, jihad) are seen as
somehow empowering or benefitting Islam. Fighting in Islam’s service — with the risk of
dying — was and is all the proof of piety ever needed. Indeed, sometimes fighting has
precedence over piety: many dispensations, including not upholding the obligatory prayers
and fasting, are granted those who participate in jihad. Ottoman sultans were actually
forbidden from going on pilgrimage to Mecca — an otherwise individual obligation for all
Muslims — simply because doing so could jeopardize the annual jihad

Consider the Ottoman sultan Mehmet II. He was a notorious pedophile, homosexual, and
drunkard; he also had a sadistic side, and perfected the art of impalement. Regardless, he is
honored by Muslims around the world — virtually venerated in Turkey — because he was
also a successful jihadist and conqueror of Constantinople.
Similarly, Mecca’s tribal elites, Khalid bin al-Walid and Abu Sufyan had for years mocked,
mistreated, and eventually evicted Muhammad from Mecca. When he returned a decade
later as conqueror, they were among the first to proclaim the shahada, enter the fold of
Islam, and become among Muhammad’s closest companions. Otherwise, not much changed.

Khalid (now known as the “Sword of Allah”) continued to engage in the sorts of atrocities
that troubled even fellow Muslims — such as slaughtering a Muslim man on the false
accusation that he had apostatized, cooking his head, and raping his wife. As for Abu
Sufyan, he merely called on the Arabs to “jihad in the way of Allah” in Christian Syria, so
that, in his words, they might “seize their lands and cities, and enslave their children and

Whatever their backstories, both Khalid and Sufyan are revered within Islamic
historiography because, like Ottoman sultan Mehmet II, they were committed to the jihad,
which — even if they “exploited” it for their own gain — also helped expand Islam.

Such was the genius of Muhammad: in the Arabian tribalism of his day, members of one’s
extended tribe were as inviolable as non-members were violable. Muhammad took this
idea and infused it with a pious rationale. Henceforth there would only be two “tribes” in
the world: the umma — which consists of all Muslims, whose blood is vouchsafed — and
the “infidels,” who exist to be plundered, enslaved, or killed with impunity, for rejecting

This also explains why other tribal peoples — Turks and Tatars — also converted to and
found Islam compatible with their lives. “[I]f taking lives and ravaging the lands of the
infidel were the means by which the ends of expanding Islam were served, then the new
converts’ traditional pleasures were now happily endowed with a pious rationale,” writes
one historian on the Turks’ conversion to Islam. Similarly, “the Tartars had adopted Islam
because it was the easy religion, as Christianity was the hard one,” observed a fourteenth-
century European. Whereas Islam complemented the tribal way of life, Christianity only
challenged it.

Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) summarized the matter thusly: “He [Muhammad] seduced the
people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh urges us…
and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by
carnal men.”

Today, not much has changed. Characterizing modern-day jihadists as “criminals,”

“psychopathic thugs,” and “murderers” — as if “authentic” jihadists were ever anything
more noble — is at best redundant, at worst dangerously misleading.

For many more examples of criminal jihadists throughout history, see Ibrahim’s Sword
and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West