January 15, 2004

2 Qutb 4b

Well, I've read all of the roughly 10,000 words of the fourth chapter of Sayyid Qutb's Milestones for the third or fourth time. Approaching it intelligently is difficult -- there are so many pieces of it worth mulling over that I fear this will end up being far too long of a blog entry. Previously, I'd noted that Qutb insists that Jihad is universal in application and obligation; here's another passage indicated what he regards as its extent. Attacking those Muslims who hold that war is only permissible for defensive purposes, Qutb writes

This group of thinkers, who are a product of the sorry state of the present Muslim generation, have nothing but the label of Islam and have laid down their spiritual and rational arms in defeat. They say, "Islam has prescribed only defensive war"! and think that they have done some good for their religion by depriving it of its method, which is to abolish all injustice from the earth, to bring people to the worship of God alone, and to bring them out of servitude to others into the servants of the Lord. Islam does not force people to accept its belief, but it wants to provide a free environment in which they will have the choice of beliefs. What it wants is to abolish those oppressive political systems under which people are prevented from expressing their freedom to choose whatever beliefs they want, and after that it gives them complete freedom to decide whether they will accept Islam or not.

Norwegians, Eskimoes, the Yanomamo, Japanese and Laplanders; Taoists, Dionysians, Calvinists, communists and Catholics -- all must see their political systems abolished so that they can freely choose whether or not to adopt Islam. Of course, some will fight back. Americans in particular are not particularly fond of those who attack us (eg., Japan, 1941-1946) or those who attempt to abolish our system of government (eg., the Confederate States, 1861-1865). I imagine the citizens of other countries might feel the same way. So Qutb is advocating war on a global scale (perhaps incrementally; perhaps total war). I can't help wondering whether, having written this in the 1950s, Qutb was influenced by what he saw in the years following World War II. Communism went from the Soviets to the People's Republics in Eastern Europe in short order, then on to China and North Korea. Perhaps Qutb saw in the spread of communism a way for his own Islamism to spread, absent the messy business of waging wars to topple governments. That might explain why a man who saw the relative military weakness of the Arab states in the 1948 attempt to strangle Israel in its crib to would go on about world domination. But I digress.

Qutb tells us,

It is not the intention of Islam to force its beliefs on people, but Islam is not merely 'belief'. As we have pointed out, Islam is a declaration of the freedom of man from servitude to other men. Thus it strives from the beginning to abolish all those systems and governments which are based on the rule of man over men and the servitude of one human being to another. When Islam releases people from this political pressure and presents to them its spiritual message, appealing to their reason, it gives them complete freedom to accept or not to accept its beliefs. However, this freedom does not mean that they can make their desires their gods, or that they can choose to remain in the servitude of other human beings, making some men lords over others. Whatever system is to be established in the world ought to be on the authority of God, deriving its laws from Him alone. Then every individual is free, under the protection of this universal system, to adopt any belief he wishes to adopt. This is the only way in which 'the religion' can be purified for God alone. The word 'religion' includes more than belief; 'religion' actually means a way of life, and in Islam this is based on belief. But in an Islamic system there is room for all kinds of people to follow their own beliefs, while obeying the laws of the country which are themselves based on the Divine authority.

Never mind that, say, Voltaire's writings would earn him the death penalty in that country; let's focus instead on the words that caught my eye -- "laws" and "country." The latter shouldn't figure in Qutb's neo-Caliphate; presumably, under the universal system, with its Muslim leadership, to which first the hardcore of followers and later everyone else would pledge absolute fealty, there would be no need for countries. Then there's the question of law -- which Qutb is quite clear in stating will be shariah. The New Encyclopedia of Islam notes, in its entry on Shariah, that,

Islam makes no distinction between religion and life, nothing being excluded from religion, or outside it and "secular". Islamic law covers not only ritual but every aspect of life. It is often said that in practice today Islamic law is limited in many Muslim countries to questions of family and religious practice, whereas civil administration and commerce are covered by separate legal systems. In fact, a similar situation prevailed from early times; the parallel system of law was the civil law of the prince, which, being also of indigenous origin, did not raise the kinds of objections which are being raised today by traditionalists against modern legal systems which represent modern times and are therefore borrowed from European models. Because Islamic law is extremely idealistic in its approach, assuming a natural desire to conform to the truth, and the existence of a "holy" society disposed to religious conformity, there has always existed a parallel system of justice administered by the state.

....[The] exercise of judicial authority by the civil authorities, the prince and his delegates down to the local level, was called siyasah shar'iyyah and accounted for as much administration of justice as did the religious courts. The Prince also promulgated qanun, or civil law (from the Greek, kanon, "canon"), and published edicts (az-zahir), prerogatives which are taken over by modern governments and legislatures.

So who will those princes be? Who will issue the qanun? Who will administer that parallel system of justice?

Incidentally, the encyclopedia, after noting that in moder society it is impossible to implement shari'ah without incorporating some alien, modern legal ideas, adds that,

This was foreseen by prophecy, for there is a saying attributed to the Prophet that: "In the beginning, if one omits a tenth of a law, one will be punished, but at the end of time, if one accomplishes a tenth of the law, one will be saved."

Posted by Ideofact at January 15, 2004 11:44 PM
Comments

itsintriguing to see how Qutb's arguments rae so disassociated from the reality of actual human politics.

He wants to abolish all existing systems of politics so that people can make a true decision. I dont see why the latter can only flow from the former, but he seems to believe that the obstacles to belief in Islam are universal. In truth, if he found belief, then surely anyone can without benefit of the abolition.

Im trying t ounderstand from where the doctrine of destroying all other systems comes from. Did heinvent it out of whole cloth? there isnt any foundation for his assertion that it snecessary , leaving it quite indefensible from the perspective of simple logic.

Posted by: Aziz at January 16, 2004 06:33 PM

Aziz--

It is bizarre. It would be as if Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation by attacking Buddhism. My suspicion is that Qutb was influenced by Marxist rhetoric, which talks about abolishing -- or smashing -- the bourgeois order worldwide. The problem for Qutb is in many ways the same problem for the Marxists -- an industrial proletariat with a class consciousness didn't exist in much of the world, the bulk of whose population was still engaged in agricultural pursuits (the idiocy of rural life). Similarly, it's hard to persuade the faithful to overthrow their corrupt rulers in, say, Iceland.

But that said, one of the intoxicating aspects of Marxism for the believer was its inevitability -- history was on their side. For Qutb, confronting Arab parties who espoused watered down versions of Marxism (socialist, for the most part), it may have been necessary to stress the universal applicability of Islam. Given the rhetoric of smashing the oppressors current at the time, it may well be that he appropriated that language.

This is just speculation on my part -- perhaps Qutb drew on other sources. But the parallels seem uncanny to me.

Posted by: Bill at January 16, 2004 11:40 PM

more evidenc of my ignorance - I need to really do some reading to figure out the difference between Marxism and Socialism. It seems that there are some differences that I haven't caught onto yet.

Posted by: Aziz at January 17, 2004 12:18 PM

That's the Trotskyite "smash the state" rhetoric, right Bill? If the genesis of this concept in Islamic extremist circles is Qutb, then one can clearly see bin Laden's debt to him in his most recent audiotape in which he basically calls upon Muslims to scrap the existing governments of the Gulf states in favor of a giant theocracy ruled by him and his lieutenants that would serve the nucleus for other such takeovers around the world.

Posted by: Dan Darling at January 19, 2004 12:07 AM

There is nothing so original in the concept; it sounds a lot like a fundamentalist Christian who would tell you that the unbeliever will go to hell because he "rejected the saviour." There is no exception for one who never heard of the saviour. The Yanomamo will be damned even if they never could possibly have been exposed to the guy. The same kind of thinking is present when Qutb says that there must be no freedom, so that one can freely choose. Discard the system that allows free thought, so that thought can be free.

I also hear echoes of a big lie here, where the statement is so outlandish that the naive mind is afraid to protest because his lack of understanding is so complete, that he thinks that he must have missed the truth, rather than realizing that the truth is absent. Who has the chutzpah to declare that the emperor has no clothes?

Remember that Qutb is preaching to the already converted, as well as the politically naive. A sophisticated reader will see right through it, but Qutb doesn't care.

Posted by: Michael Gersh at January 20, 2004 11:19 AM

Bill,

I hope to find time soon to respond to some of your points in more detail. It is tremendously difficult though because there is so much to say.

With all due respect, I do think you are way off on this communism angle. I won't say it is impossible that Qutb found some modern parallels between Communism's desire to be a universal governing system and his belief that Islaam should be one. Of course, you conveniently ignore what would have been the obvious third prong of that picture: western capitalism/democracy's desire to be a universal global ruling system as well.

Do you not believe that every country in the world should adopt a capitalist democracy of some sort? That this would free all the peoples of the world from tyranny and opression if they would just be more like us? Of course you assume that everyone wants this and therefore it would not really be forced on them, it would simply use force to remove the tyrant rulers like Castro or Saddam Hussein and then the people could freely choose to be like us.

I am not saying there is no truth in this, but you cannot say that there is no truth in the fact that many people would choose to live under Islaam, if defined a certain way, or to live under Socialism, if defined a certain way.

Of course, each person, the true believing socialist, or the true believing democrat or the true believing Islamist (and perhaps there are other systems which still seek universal application) truly believes that they are only seeking freedom. Of course each denies that the other believes that and accuses the other of only seeking domination. I do not say that there is no way out of this dilemma and no right answer, I clearly believe that Islaam is the truth and provides the true freedom as a ruling system. I know you really believe that capitalist democracy does so. My point is not that we can solve this dilemma on this blog but my point is that if you really do not see that you are part of the same dialogue and you hold a similar idea that you think perfectly rational (substituting capitalist democracy for Islaam) of world supremacy for your preferred ideology -- then the discussion is stalled at a low unproductive level.

Having said all that, which I hope you can think about and understand, the main point I wanted to get across is that the obvious main influence on Qutb's view of this issue were maybe a little of the above, a little of his personal experience under a nationalist/marxist tyranny in the Arab world, and mostly was based on the history of the Islamic community from the time of the Prophet(saw)'s hijrah to Madinah through the period of his (saw) first four successors (khulafaa') particularly the reigns of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and 'Umar ibn al-Khattab during which time the Muslims swept across much of the known world removing tyrannies and empires like the Persian and Byzantine and establishing justice through the a combination of the preaching of the Islaamic message and removal of tyranny and governmental opposition with the sword.

If you knew even a little about that history (and I would be surprised if you don't) then you would understand exactly what Qutb is talking about when he talks about Jihad.

Salaam,

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at January 20, 2004 01:25 PM

Abu Noor al-Irlandee,

What a pleasure to read your careful and reasoned critiques of Bill's posts.

I apologize for the obviousness of what follows, but it is worth stating in this conversation.

Liberals such as myself, and I will presume Bill and most of my fellow commenters, are profoundly suspicious of programs that restructure society to promote the Good. Suspicious for two related reasons:

--That there is not, and never has been, agreement by intelligent and wise people of what constitutes the Good. As any one polemecist better defines what s/he means, others necessarily object to it more forcefully.

--To the extent that promotion of the Good involves coercion of others, it is an evil in and of itself.

By these standards, Qutb's vision of Islamic ideals and their implementation rests comfortably among the more repellent ideologies of the last century.

"Marxism," too, as conceived and as practiced, was an evil system that attempted to force beliefs and practices on its subjects.

Perfection, as seen from my Liberal perspective, is not attainable. But in the West, there are other ideologies and other concepts of Religion and of Governance that do not do such violence to the liberties and consciences of citizens of our societies.

The chasm between Qutbism and the Enlightenment has yet to be bridged by people of good will. It may well be that this is not a case for Hegelian synthesis, but for--in line with Qutb's thoughts--the extinction of one of these ideas by the other. Of course, he and I bet on different horses.

Posted by: AMac at January 21, 2004 04:18 PM

Abu Noor al-Irlandee,

I know I am coming to this exchange a little late and after the fact.

I for one do not seek domination of western liberalism over anyone, nor do I think anyone who understands western liberalism would want it to. For all I care, most of the world can continue to rot in its festering excrement the way it has always done.

My ancestors did not fight and bleed to impose democracy on the world. They fought and bled to leave me the gift of liberty. In so doing, they created a society that poses no threat to any other peoples of the world.

Just as we have a responsibility to prevent our governors from threatening the world. The peoples of every country have a responsibility to prevent their governors from posing a threat to us.

If a society fails in that responsibility, we have the right to remove the threat and to remake that society so that it fulfills its obligations to us and to the world.

When one examines any system of governance closely, it is messy and ugly. When one steps back a little and examines the empirical evidence in the aggregate, democracy stands out for its justice and its beauty. I know you think your religious theocracy is beautiful, but only because you ignore the ugly details and deny the abhorrent and inevitable tyrrany.

Posted by: Bob Badour at January 25, 2004 03:46 PM

AMac,

You say that to the extent promotion of the good involves coercion of others, it is an evil in an of itself.

I don't think you mean this to be as general as it sounds.

Do you think that if a person is stopped from murdering or stealing or drunken driving in America because they are afraid of the legal punishments that may be attached to such actions rather than any belief that the action is evil, that an evil has occurred?

Has not a good occurred by this promotion of the good, even if it did not involve a sincere moral transformation?

As you seem to realize in your comments, there are other ways of promoting good that do not necessarily involve coercion, but even when coercion is involved to say that it is in and of itself an evil is surely not true in every case, is it?

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at January 26, 2004 01:04 PM

Bob Badour,

I have no problem with you coming to the discussion late. I do have a lot of problems with you coming to the discussion with ill informed and bigoted nonsense, however.

If you really believe that America's government (let alone its whole 'society') poses no threat to any other people in the world than I suggest you open up some history books or even a newspaper.

Just so you know, I do not call for a theocracy, although that part of your post is a common and understandable misunderstanding.

I, as well as Sayyid Qutb, call for a rule by Islaamic Law. This is a type of nomocracy or rule of law. A theocracy is a rule by a clerical class who rules in the name of God. There is no clerical class in Islaam.

There are religious scholars in Islaam and obviously they would play a bigger role in intrepreting Islaamic law than people who are not expert in the subject, but this is no different than the role lawyers play in any legal system. One does not say that America is a country ruled by lawyers. (While maybe one does, but probably only as a joke or a complaint that lawyers are corrupt).

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at January 26, 2004 01:12 PM

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

You say - “there are other ways of promoting good that do not necessarily involve coercion, but even when coercion is involved to say that it is in and of itself an evil is surely not true in every case, is it?”

In the Sudan, Northern Arabs have ‘coerced’ the Southern Sudanese into accepting Islamic law by slaughtering more than a million of them. They are also currently enslaving thousands. Slavery is very popular in Dar al-Islam (the abode of Islam) – at least according to this resource. Is this allowed under Islamic law?

Thousands of Nigerians have also been murdered in the process of being ‘coerced’ into accepting Islamic law.

Recently, in southern Thailand, two Buddhist monks on their way to receive alms were ‘coerced’ by Islamists. One was nearly beheaded and the other was slashed to death.

These acts of 'coercion' are being carried out by 'charities', (ie. organized paramilitary groups) in the name of establishing Islamic law. Are they encouraged by Islamic law? Are they considered to be ‘good’? If not, then why are they allowed, and even strongly encouraged (through generous funding), to continue?

Posted by: mary at January 27, 2004 01:08 PM

Mary --

I think it would be better to keep the conversation to Islamic law rather than to what you may have heard some Muslims are doing in some Muslim countries and what you think the reasons are.

This is not to say that it isn't important to me if Muslims are killing other Muslims or non-Muslims, it is. It's just that there's little benefit to going back and forth about topics that neither of us knows that much about. You can get your sources to say one thing, I can get my sources to say another.

In theory, the fact, that countries go to war to keep people from seceding and to force them to follow the law of the land is not unique to Muslims or to Sudan (I remember a little something called the Civil War). Now, I am not saying that the Sudanese government is completely in the right nor that the Southern rebels are completely in the wrong...I am just saying that that is a civil war -- with wrongs going on on both sides -- to simply say that it is a case of Muslims trying to force people to do anything is not the whole picture.

If there is any place where Muslims are killing someone for not being Muslim, it is completely and horribly wrong just as it is horribly wrong that the Muslims are being slaughtered and jailed in Gujarat, in Kashmir, in Chechnya and elsewhere.

Although I do not know what acts you are talking about specifically I would say that the acts are "allowed to continue" either because people don't understand them the way you do or because people lack the power to stop them.

Can you tell me why no one has stopped the U.S. from killing around 20,000 civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan to go with the tens of thousands killed as a result of santions and why the U.S. is spending billions to fund that killing? Or why the U.S. funds billions to the Israeli army to kill hundreds of Palestinian civilians and occupy their lands? Or why the U.S. government funds the oppressive regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, etc. etc. Are these Christian actions. Why are the Christians of this country, for the most part, not only not opposing these actions, but supporting them?

Let us all work to end violence against innocent civilians. If you want to do this for real, Mary I am willing to join in helping you. If you want to attribute violence only to Muslims and ignore the killing that people of your own country or own religion do, then I think your not being helpful just as I would not be helpful if I denied that Muslims engage in wrong and horrible actions as well.

Peace,

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at January 27, 2004 01:43 PM

Abu Noor al-Irlandee - You say:

"Although I do not know what acts you are talking about specifically I would say that the acts are "allowed to continue" either because people don't understand them the way you do or because people lack the power to stop them."

You don’t know what acts I’m talking about? Sorry, I provided a link, maybe it didn’t work. Here’s a clip from Culture of Hate: A racism which denies the history and sufferings of its victims. By Bat Yeor:

"This hate, which suppresses freedom of thought, and condemns difference, calls itself "Islamic jihad." It draws on religious texts whose interpretation other Muslims dispute. Moreover, because these moderate Muslims challenge this interpretation of jihad, wishing to live in peace with the non-Muslim peoples and nations of the world, their lives are threatened. There is constant bloodshed in Algeria. Jihad is disseminating death and terror in Israel. In Southern Sudan, jihad has caused the death of some two million people, generated an even larger number of refugees, lead to the enslavement of tens of thousands, and produced deadly famines.

In Indonesia, some 200,000 deaths resulted from jihad violence in East Timor. Christians have been pursued, and massacred, and their churches burned down by jihadists in the Moluccas and other Indonesian islands. The death toll in these violent attacks is over 10,000, while an additional 8,000 Christians have been forcibly converted to Islam, including many who were circumcised. Atrocities are also being committed by jihadists in both the Philippines, and some northern Nigerian states. Hundreds of innocent people died when jihad struck at the Jewish Community Center of Buenos Aires in Argentina, and the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In Egypt, jihadists have massacred Copts in their churches and villages, and murdered European tourists. Christians in Pakistan and in Iran live in terror of accusations of blasphemy, which, if "proven," can yield a death sentence. And a cataclysmic act of jihad terror resulted in the slaughter of nearly 3,000 innocent civilians of multiple faiths and nationalities in New York, on September 11, 2001. None of these victims were guilty of any crime. They were murdered and mutilated out of hate."

Those are just some of the acts I was referring to.

This is a conversation about Islamic Law. This jihad referred to in Culture of Hate is inspired by Islamists (or Salafists), described as an anti-democratic movement, bearing a holistic vision of Islam whose final aim is the restoration of the caliphate.

They are following Qtub’s direction, abolishing those “oppressive political systems under which people are prevented from expressing their freedom to choose whatever beliefs they want, and after that it gives them complete freedom to decide whether they will accept Islam or not.”

The wars and various murders committed by Islamists are part of this goal - to ‘abolish these oppressive political systems’. Paramilitary groups, funded by Arab states, use the tactic of terrorism, deliberately targeting innocent civilians as a way of waging this war.

This is all about Islamic law.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are a direct result of 9/11. This how a democracy responds to terrorism & oppressive fascist movements.
Islamists say that they want to abolish governments that don’t follow Islamic law and establish a new caliphate. Qtub's followers seem to mean what they say. We’re paying attention to them.

The US is planning to cut off support to Uzbekistan. We have also been slowly distancing ourselves from Saudi Arabia.

There is no such thing as US sanctions. There have been UN sanctions, and we all know now that thousands died because millions of dollars were stolen from the oil-for-food programs.

It’s interesting that you compare the carnage in the Sudan to the Civil War. The Civil War was fought to eliminate slavery. To all appearances, the Northern Arabs seem to be fighting to establish slavery. Is slavery permitted under Islamic law?

Christians in our country have spoken out about the oppression in the Sudan, and about the religious intolerance of countries like Saudi Arabia, where the practice of other religions is forbidden and apostasy is punishable by death.

If you have any interest in working to end violence against innocent civilians, calling for an end to this use of ‘coercion’ to establish Islamic law might be a good start.

Posted by: mary at January 27, 2004 03:24 PM

Mary,

You make some important points, so I'd like to listen to you but unfortuneately you make many points which make me wonder if there is any point in talking to you.

In any event, I do not think the acts you are talking about are really related to Sayyid Qutb. That is my sincere belief as a Muslim who has read the writings of Sayyid Qutb, generally agrees with them and has spent time reading and talking with a lot of other Muslims.

I don't claim that the phenomenon of Muslim violence does not exist but I think to claim that much of it has to do with Sayyid Qutb is just something I don't agree with.

I mean really, do you think that citing articles by people trying to justify Israeli actions would convince me???

I beg you to decide whether you are for violence against innocent civilians or against it. I repeat be against all of it and I can work with you to stop it. Be against violence only when Muslims do it and find excuses for it when Jews, Christians, or Animists do it and I cannot join with you in that. You also lose your moral highground.

To say that Iraq and Afghanistan are responses to 9/11 and think that solves the issue for you morally makes me cry at your loss of humanity. The 20,000 or more innocent civilians killed in Afghanistan and Iraq are no more guilty of 9/11 than anyone in the WTC or on those airlines was guilty of anything. You think just saying 9/11 makes it okay, then why wouldn't Osama bin Laden just saying it was in response for U.S. forces being in the holy lands and Israelis occupying Palestine make it okay.

Get out of this kind of thinking! Realize that every life in Afghanistan and Iraq and Palestine and Kashmir and Chechnya and Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan is worth just as much as a life here in America.

Don't come to me defending Israeli occupation and collective punishment and telling me you oppose terrorism. Don't tell me the U.S. is "planning on recommending" in April (it's January) that it stop aiding Uzbekistan's tyrant who boils Muslims for believing in Allah and practicing Islam.

If this discussion is about Islamic Law, then it is absolutely forbidden in Islamic Law to target innocent civilians or to kill someone for not becoming a Muslim. And Sayyid Qutb did not ever call for either of these actions. If a Muslim does this, it is wrong.

Peace,

Abu Noor al-Irlandee


Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at January 27, 2004 06:44 PM

Abu Noor from Ireland - The article I referenced was written by Bat Yeor, who is not Israeli. Like Qtub, she’s Egyptian.

Like your reference to the ‘US’ sanctions, I believe that your casualty count is inaccurate. Most likely, it mixes combatant deaths with noncombatant deaths, is multiplied threefold, and it is compiled by Marc Herold, an academic from New Hampshire who perpetually inflates his data, an academic who has been discredited by many sources, including Time Magazine and the Guardian.

About Qtub - according to this source,

“Sayyed Qutub called the revolt against God's authority in the world as jahiliyya. He explained that after examination of the roots of contemporaneous living styles it became obvious that the entire world was drained in jahiliyya, and all the fantastic material opulence and sophisticated gadgets do not reduce this ignorance. He declared that the degeneration of humanity in the collectivist governments, the inequity endured by the people ruled by capitalism and colonialism was the effect of this resistance to the command of God, the denial of the distinction that God bestowed upon humanity.

Qutub argued that the present ignorance was not found in the elementary and crude form of the early jahiliyya but took the fashion of declaring that the liberty to establish values, to prescribe precepts of collective conduct, and to embrace any lifestyle rests with the people themselves without any consideration of God's decrees.

The solution suggested by Qutub for jahiliyya problem was the establishment of a new elite, a saleh jamaat (righteo us group), among the Muslims that would struggle against the new jahiliyya as the Prophet had once did against the old jahiliyya. For him, Islam was not just theoretical discipline but was both aqida (belief) and a minhaj (program of action). The faith must be transformed into action.

The vanguard must aim at the destruction of the jahiliyya with all its values, rules, leaders and legacy. This group should not yield because the option was between faith and disbelief and between Islam and jahiliyya.

For Qutub nationalism, socialism, secularism, capitalism, democracy and communism make up one thing that has originated in the West in direct antagonism with Islam. Islamic societies have given up their religion and degenerated into a state of jahiliyya something similar to what thrived before Prophet in Arabia. Qutub used the term as a characterization of the modern civilization of Europe that he interpreted as having again triumphed worldwide ever since Islam lost its position of supremacy.”

...

The vanguard must aim at the destruction of the jahiliyya. 'Jahilyya' includes me, most of the people reading this and most of the world's population. It would be nice if you could explain how this is a peaceful philosophy.

Posted by: mary at January 27, 2004 09:33 PM

Mary,

I never said that Bat Yeor was Israeli, and I would never say that I didn't accept an argument of someone just because they are Israeli. I said I would not accept an argument of someone who was attempting to justify murder and occupation by the Israeli government, which was in the article if you read it.

My source is not Marc Herold, and I deliberately played down the numbers which I personally believe to be much higher. Of course, you have no estimate of your own to give me because to your friends in the U.S. government Afghani and Iraqis whom they kill are not even worth counting.

I called them US sanctions because essentially from the beginning and without doubt for the last several years they remained at place at the UN due to the United States. Regardless of that, the US supported them and has moral responsibility for them as do all the other security council nations that supported them.

Jahilliya does not include you, Mary. Jahilliya means ignorance and describes a way of thinking about the world and a way of governing the world. Qutb and I call for you to change the way you think about the world and the way you live your life, as I did. (I was not always a Muslim). IF you don't wish to, then that is your right, but we will do whatever we can to keep people like you from ruling over us or over other innocent people.

No where does Qutb call for killing innocent civilians just because they are not Muslims or because they don't agree with him. That is your own lie and slander against him.

Peace,

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at January 28, 2004 10:28 AM

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

Are you saying that the sanctions remained at place in UN due to the influence of the United States? If there’s anything that the war in Iraq proved, it’s that the US does not control the United Nations.

So how many Christian Sudanese animists were ‘ruling over’ people like you? And how many were killed? What is the exact body count? How many children are currently being enslaved by Muslim Arabs?

How many New York firemen were ‘ruling over’ the wealthy Saudis who sponsored the 9/11 attacks? How many Egyptian Copts were ‘ruling over’ Muslim supremacists? How many poor, unfortunate Muslim ‘separatists’ were those Thai monks ruling over?

You say you don’t approve of this Muslim-fundamentalist-sponsored mass slaughter of innocents. What have you done to stop it?

What exact methods should be used to call for kafir to change the way we think about the world and the way we live our lives? What methods does Qtub suggest?

By the way, you never answered this question - is slavery allowed under Qtub’s version of Islamic law? Is apostasy punishable by death under Qtub’s version of Islamic law? Is the violent overthrow of governments influenced by Jahilliya approved by Qtub?


Posted by: mary at January 28, 2004 12:13 PM

Mary,

Why do you always feel the need to make excuses for the killing of Muslim civilians by the U.S.?

Why is it so hard for you to admit that it is wrong?

The fact that the US supported sanctions against Iraq and has considerable influence on the UN security council is a fact which no serious person can doubt. Just because the US can't do anything it wants does not mean it does not have influence. Regardless as I mentioned in the last post, the US supported the sanctions, it was not forced by anyone else to support them. The sanctions were immoral and resulted in the death of tens of thousands of civilians. Those at the U.S. government who made those decisions are responsible.

I have said repeatedly that the killing of civilians is wrong and is forbidden by Islamic Law.

I will say it again, though it is clear that you don't care enough to listen or read.

Neither I nor Sayyid Qutb has ever killed anyone. Let me know if you have evidence otherwise. George W. Bush has ordered the killing of tens of thousands. Yet, of course, we as Muslims are the terrorists and we have to explain what we are doing to stop the killing of innocent civilians.

I have no influence over Muslims in other countries who may kill or commit any other act that I view as sinful and illegal. If I ever came across someone like that, or if I ever met a Muslim telling me we should kill all the non-Muslims, I would tell him he was wrong and I would show him from the Qur'aan and Sunnah why he was wrong. I have never came across a Muslim saying such things. I have heard many non-Muslims, such as yourself, celebrating or justfying the killing of Muslims in some kind of revenge for 9/11 even where those Muslims had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11.

There are more than 1 billion Muslims in the world. They include people who practice the religion and people who don't. They include people who do magnificent acts of charity and selfless service and people who steal and oppress at hard to fathom levels. I don't know what you want me to do about all of that. If you have something specific that you believe I am not doing that you think would be a great help towards ending violence against civilians, I have told you repeatedly I will work with anyone to end such violence as long as the person believes in ending all such violence and not just the violence that occurs against their own people while ignoring the violence against Muslims or that violence committed by governments and armies.

I will aid anyone in righteousness and charity, I will not aid in hypocrisy and oppression.

I do not know what Qutb's view of slavery was.
The history of slavery in early Islaam is something which is fascinating to study. It is not like chattel slavery as it was practiced in this continent in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

I do not know enough about any slavery that may exist today to comment on it.

As for the violent overthrow of governments -- Sayyid Qutb was not a pacifist and did not believe that violence was always immoral. If an oppressive government could be removed in a way which would bring about more net benefit than harm, I believe he would probably approve of it.

That may make him radical, but not more so than Thomas Jefferson or George Washington (or George W. Bush).

Peace,

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at January 28, 2004 01:39 PM

Mary,

I just wanted to give you a heads up not to bother posting any more questions since I'm done with this discussion. You can have the last word if you want.

I don't think that most of the issues you are talking about (slavery and violence by some Muslims against civilians) have anything to do with Sayyid Qutb or his writings.

Peace,

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at January 28, 2004 01:55 PM

Abu Noor al-Irlandee - Sayed Qtub wrote about the need for real-world applications of Islamic Law. Many Muslims are applying his theories, but you don’t want to discuss that? You don’t want to discuss the millions of innocent people who have been murdered in the name of Islamic law, you don’t want to discuss the issue of slavery, death for the crime of apostasy or other aspects of this pre-medieval system. What aspects of Islamic law do you talk about?

I guess I have to turn to the usual source, the online Fatwa department at Ask the Imam, where ordinary Muslims ask question, and the Mufti Desai answers them to the best of his abilities.

Here’s an interesting question:

Q: many muslims priase Hitler for killing jews, shoud they or are they wrong

A: Islam has ordered us Muslims to fight against the enemies of Islam and not be like the Jew and make other nations fight their wars. We as Muslims may share in Hitlers hatered for the Jews but we cannot praise him for the manner in which he went about killing the jews (if the history books are correct). But rather we as Muslims are governed by the Shariah which prohibit the killing the old and the weak etc.

..

I guess it's appropriate for Mufti Desai to have the last word.

...

and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
FATWA DEPT.

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2004 02:58 PM

Abu Noor al-Irlandee:

You've raised some serious charges here regarding the U.S. killing civilians. Can you cite an example in which the U.S. has purposefully targetted Muslim civilians?

From my now not-so-comfortable-as-it-was-before-the-home-renovations-started perch, I too can decry war and the accidental killing of civilians, but I won't because sometimes there is no other way. In the Balkans we killed Serbs to protect Croats and Bosnian Muslims and Kosovar Albanians; some of those Serbs were innocent civilians -- they might well have been horrified by Milosevic. Are you suggesting the greater good would have been served by allowing Milosevic free reign to continue his bloody crimes?

Similarly, I note that while you criticize U.S. actions in Iraq, particularly the embargo, you make little mention of Saddam's mass graves. I'd wager that worldwide, in its entire history, the U.S. has killed far fewer Muslims -- combatants or otherwise -- than Saddam killed innocents in one country in a few decades.

Your criticisms seem all too selective.

I'll add that generally speaking, I agree with you that the blame for a great deal of barbarity that stems from tribal custom is mischaracterized as being the fault of Islam. And I certainly don't find either Assad or Saddam to be paragons of Islamic practice. That said, I think it's a bit off to hold Americans to account for killing civilians accidentally when such monsters do so (or, thankfully, did so, in the case of Saddam) as a matter of state policy.

Posted by: Bill at January 29, 2004 01:39 AM

Bill,

I'm surprised we haven't been over this before, but just in case.

There is no one who is a bigger enemy of "Muslim" tyrants than so called Islamists. Not only that, but as a theological matter I agree that correcting our own so called leaders is more of a priority than worrying about non-Muslims. And theologically the Islamist position is that we have the incredibly horrible leaders we have because we are in such a horrible state of faith and practice of Islaam. It is because Muslims are largely ignorant of their religion and openly sin against it that Allaah has chosen to give us tyrannical leaders which kill and oppress "their own people" and ally with our enemies who kill us as well.

I didn't spend a lot of time talking about Saddam's mass graves because I didn't know it was a topic of conversation. I'd be happy to talk about it but I don't see it as justifying the evil actions of the American government. In fact, during most of Saddam's worst crimes, he was an ally of the U.S.

The enmity of Qutb towards Communism and Capitalist Democracy is largely theoretical but it becomes focused on the West (whether it be the US or the old USSR) when those countries decide to intervene in Muslim lands. They do so either because Muslims adopt their ideologies and attempt to impose them, seeking support from such governments. This is why you have people like Musharraf or Mubarak ruling in Muslim lands and enacting foreign policies dictated in substance (even if they're allowed a little rhetoric) dictated by the U.S. and NOT supported by the people of those countries.

To me, the purposefully targetted argument is a red herring. The U.S. engages in unjustified actions and has clearly demonstrated it cares less about innocent civilian life than it does its own soldiers. It knows that these actions will result in thousands of civilian deaths.

Would you care if the people who did 9/11 said they were just targetting the building and the people inside were hit accidentally? Do you think that the attack on the Pentagon was legitimate? Unless you are going to surprise me greatly, I'm going to assume you don't.

I have more but I have to go.

To be honest I don't see how actions like the sanctions are morally any different than targetting civilians. In fact, I know they are not morally different. They may be legally different but that's not the discussion I am engaging in.

Of course the backdrop of this discussion is the massive U.S. killing of civilians and support of such killing in other places all over the world from World War II on. I just can't ignore that when I hear these charges. It's like the Irish rebel song Joe McDonnell says:

"You dare call me a terrorist while you look down your gun, When I think of all the deeds that you have done"

Even if you don't buy any of the above, to say it is off for taking the U.S. to account for its actions just because you think Saddam has done worse, is like someone being carted off to jail for rape or carjacking, claiming that it is "off" to say that what he did was wrong when there are people in the world that commit cold blooded murder. There is no moral reason that the U.S. is less responsible for its own crimes just because there are other "monsters" in the world.

Peace,

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at January 29, 2004 10:53 AM

Abu from Ireland – I thought you had spoken ‘last words’

My grandfather fought in the Irish War of Independence. How dare you compare the Irish cause to Sayyed Qtub and the Islamists? Joe McDonnell died in a hunger strike, protesting British oppression. When he speaks of the ‘deeds’ that the British had done, he’s describing the genocidal massacre of more than a million Irish during the potato famine, and the constant economic deprivation that followed. Those were the deeds that McDonnell was protesting.

Violent terrorism turned the Irish people away from the cause for independence, and the Hunger Strikes brought them back. That’s because Hunger Strikes are a form of peaceful resistance. Violent terrorism is just another form of oppression. Terrorists like the Islamists don’t seek freedom, they only seek to oppress. How many mujahideen have used hunger strikes as a means of expressing themselves? None. They’re too busy blowing up babies and watching snuff videos.

Why do they deliberately target innocent people? Are they defending themselves against American aggression? - So they’re deliberately targeting the defenseless as a form of self-defense. Does this make sense to you?

You say ‘There is no one who is a bigger enemy of "Muslim" tyrants than so called Islamists’ Oh really? The Islamists are financed by billions of dollars of Saudi cash. Saudi Royals own the Islamist movement.

There is no comparison between the men who fought for Irish independence and this Islamist monarchy-sponsored army of oppression.

Posted by: mary at January 29, 2004 02:33 PM

Mary,

Sayyid Qutb never killed anyone.

I'm glad you have a positive view of the Irish freedom struggle, at least we can agree there.

You do know that Joe McDonnell was an IRA volunteer and participated in violent acts against British occupation, don't you?

I agree with you that the hunger strike helped win public support for the Irish freedom struggle. Don't forget what the hunger strike was about. It was about the British refusal to recognize that the members of the IRA and other Irish freedom strugglers were political prisoners of a political struggle. They wanted to just call them 'terrorists' and 'criminals' and say they didn't have to deal with the issues which motivated their actions.

Just like you and your government don't want to deal with the issues that motivate Islamists who oppose the U.S. government. And just like your government is imprisoning Muslims, deporting them, holding them without trial, interrogating them -- many of whom have nothing to do with any violence. I myself know Muslims in this county (U.S.) subject to having their house taken over, held overnight by federal law enforcement and subject to search for no reason other than that they were Muslims. It is actually similar in some ways (and of course different in others) to the British rule in the north of Ireland.

And just like in that case, although the Muslims do not approve of killing of innocent civilians, as I have repeatedly said...the U.S. unjust response to the acts that occurred on 9/11 are turning many of the Muslims to oppose the U.S. and to support those who would oppose them. This is a simple fact -- look around the Muslim world.

Ah, but there are all just crazy, irrational people who love violence right and can't get with the modern world. If most Muslims oppose the U.S. government it must be the Muslims who are wrong, not the government, huh?

From your posts, I can see you either know little or don't care about facts but since you asked:

although there are some questions about whether hunger strikes are permissible Islamically there have been several amonst Islamist political prisoners. Sami al-Arian in Florida, accused of being the head of Islamic Jihad in the U.S., AbdelWahab Boussa in Tunisia,

Just google Islamist hunger strike, Palestinian hunger strike Guantanomo hunger strike, INS hunger strike.

There are way too many for me to list here. C'mon, Mary you really don't know what is going on do you?

Of course, we don't really know since the Muslim prisoners in the U.S., in Cuba, and in many places in the Muslim world are often held without contact with anyone on the outside world, including even lawyers. They are given secret hearings at which they are convicted based on secret evidence, or they are held as enemy combatants indefinitely without any rights of a prisoner of war or a human being.

"imprisoned without crime or without trial"

But they are Muslims and we are all afraid of the terrorists right Mary. So let G.W. and Ashcroft do whatever they want. He's such a strong leader, wow! It takes a lot of guts to bomb the hell out of a country like Afghanistan, doesn't it?

Actually, if you know the song, Mary, it is in no way just the deeds of the Brits against the Irish that are meant. The chorus continues, "you have plundered many nations, divided many lands, you've terrorized their peoples, you've ruled with an iron hand." It was talking about all the actions of the British Empire, and I am talking about all the actions of the American Empire. The affinity between the Irish struggle and Muslims is well known. The IRA has long been allied with freedom strugglers all over the world, including in Palestine. The Iranians named the street in front of the British Embassy in Tehran Bobby Sands Street after he died on hunger strike.

Anyways, Mary, I am sorry that we disagree so much. I do get emotional sometimes, and I weep for the innocents on whatever side.

May God guide all of us to the truth and give us the strength to do what's right.

Tiocfaidh Ar La.

Allaahu Akbar.

Peace,

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at January 29, 2004 05:57 PM

When the IRA started targeting civilians, they became terrorists. Remember Bloody Friday? When I heard about that, my support for them evaporated. The cause became irrelevant. When they slaughtered grandmothers and children, the British had every right to call them terrorists.

With the hunger strikes, and the decision to use more peaceful methods, the organization, in a way, redeemed itself.

Why are those men in Guantanamo? They weren't fighting for freedom, they were fighting for the right to oppress. In Afghanistan, the bodies of Taliban fighters were left to rot in the sun. People passing by spat on them. Terror and oppression does not win the support of the people. Their hunger strikes are a minute portion of the larger Islamist war.

If Qtub’s followers were a quiet bunch of Luddites who wanted to follow a voluntary, pre-medieval lifestyle, there would be no problem. Americans like the Amish, they make nice pies.

But Qtub’s followers are aggressive, homicidal and oppressive. They kill people who try to leave their organization (ie. the death penalty for apostasy). How do you expect the US to respond to their homicidal aggression?

It takes a lot of guts to take billions from the Saudi royals. At least you’re being more honest now about who your enemy is – the American ‘empire’. Is this war some revenge for our genocide against the Saudis, and the economic deprivation we imposed on them? Or is it the “US” sanctions?

Posted by: mary at January 29, 2004 06:36 PM

Mary,

Who, exactly are you accusing of taking money from the Saudi royals?

I have never received a penny from them. There are some Islamists who have, who these are not the terrorists that you are talking about.

The Saudi rulers do not wish to fund people like Bin Ladin who have declared war on them. They stripped him of his Saudi citizenship.

The Saudis may provide some money to Palestinians whome you would see as terrorists, is that who you're talking about?

I am a little unclear on what you mean but I personally oppose the Saudi government. Don't you realize that the Saudi rulers are allies of the US? Whether you think it is true or not, most Islamists believe that the Saudi government is kept in place by the US and that the real reason they allowed US troops to come to the region and their country is not so much that they were afraid of Saddam Hussein but they were afraid of their own people.

I would never shy away from saying that I oppose the American Empire. However, I clearly said if not in this discussion than another here on Ideofact, my first priority is making the Muslims practice Islaam. Of course, self defense of Muslims in occupied lands like Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq, etc. is also a moral imperative.

If the U.S. chooses to occupy Iraq or invade Afghanistan or support Israeli occupation of Palestine than yes opposing its soldiers does become an act of legitimate resistance. I oppose any attacks targetting civilians, they are forbidden in Islaam, as far as I understand.

You should also, for the sake of intellectual honesty, be a little more careful about whom you call Qutb's followers. The man was executed almost 40 years ago. You should at least come up with some reason for attributing the actions of 20 year old kids somewhere to him, whether those actions are evil or not.

Your view of the Taliban is your one. I am certain it is based on the fair and accurate reporting of the Fox News Channel, but still let me reserve the right to disagree with you. No member of the Taliban participated in any attack on the United States until you invaded their country. I do not believe those who fought to defend their country from the U.S. or who fought against the U.S. allies Northern Alliance (talk about people who fought for the right to oppress) before the U.S. invaded are guilty of any moral crime on that basis. Of course as individuals I have no idea what else they have or have not done in their lifetime. Of course many of the detainees at Gitmo, including the children kept there until yesterday, claim they did not fight against anybody. But of course your government would never lie or be mistaken. There's no need for a trial or lawyers or anything.

Peace,

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at January 29, 2004 07:52 PM

Who, exactly is taking money from Saudi rulers? I already provided a link, at:

http://www.progress.org/2003/saudi01.htm

Here’s a clip:

“According to a recent UN report prepared for the Security Council, over the last 10 years Al Qaeda alone received 20% of Saudi GNP; stopping a few coins from being dropped at the entrance of a shopping mall will do very little to curb this kind of a figure. Again, the UN estimates that the Saudi Zakat, the obligatory religious almsgiving equivalent to 2.5% of Muslims' wealth, is about $10 billion per year. The bulk of this money is controlled by the Department of Zakat of the Saudi Ministry of Finance and National Economy. For example, the Zakat that Islamic banks levy on every single transaction is automatically forwarded to this department; the Ministry then channels the funds, at its own discretion, to the 241 Saudi charities. Naturally, the larger recipients are charities headed by members of the ruling elite. While no investigation into the past accounts of the Department of Zakat has taken place, or has even been considered, the recently implemented Saudi anti-terror measures have been limited, in this respect, to shutting down six charities and freezing $5.7 million held by them -- a figure equivalent to a mere one half of one percent of the total yearly Zakat!

Among the 236 charities still operational inside Saudi Arabia is the Committee for Support of the Intifada al Quds, whose charitable activities include financing Hamas suicide operations in Israel. The charity is headed by Saudi interior minister, Naif Ibn Adeb al Aziz, who, people may recollect, implied that September 11 attacks against the US were the work of 'Zionists'. Another prominent Saudi charity untouched by the crackdown is the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), which last year held a charitable fund-raising conference in Saudi Arabia where Hamas representatives had the chance to personally thank Crown Prince Abdullah for the Saudis' valuable financial help. Interestingly, while the US has put tremendous pressure on the Europeans to list Hamas' non-militant wing among the organizations regarded as terrorist, WAMY still operates freely inside the US. Among the tasks carried out by the US branch, which until September 11, 2001 was headed by Abdulah bin Laden, brother of Osama, is the spreading of hate literature against Americans. Recently, WAMY has promoted the ideas of one of its employees, Sheikh Saad al Buraik, the religious advisor of Prince Abdul Azziz bin Fahd, a son of King Fahd, who, in 2001, called for the enslavement of Jewish women and the death of all their children. So well-received was Buraik's anti-Jewish exhortation in his homeland that it got him a job as the host of a weekly TV show on the Middle East Broadcasting Company (MBC), owned by Azziz and his uncle, Waleed al Ibrahim. Is the Bush administration so naïve as to believe that firing a few young Mullahs here and there in Saudi Arabia will be enough to silence radical voices such as Buraik?”

...

Since 9/11, Saudi Arabia has decreased their contributions to these ‘charities’ by less than 4%. That number is small enough to be a statistical error.

I never watch the Fox News channel. My sources include a number of Afghani sites, including rawa.org. The Taliban murdered thousands of Afghans, and everyone knows about the horrific oppression of women in that country. All according to Islamic law, of course.

This oppression and mass murder is probably why the Afghans were spitting on the dead Taliban. Bin Laden called Afghanistan under the Taliban a perfect Islamic state.

You say: “my first priority is making the Muslims practice Islaam” Your first priority is MAKING the Muslims practice Islaam? That doesn’t sound very peaceful. How do you intend to do that?

Posted by: mary at January 29, 2004 08:17 PM
As we have pointed out, Islam is a declaration of the freedom of man from servitude to other men. Thus it strives from the beginning to abolish all those systems and governments which are based on the rule of man over men and the servitude of one human being to another. When Islam releases people from this political pressure and presents to them its spiritual message, appealing to their reason, it gives them complete freedom to accept or not to accept its beliefs.

This is simply a reworking of the Marxist concept of "false consciousness," part of the larger concept of "alienation" that also includes his idiosyncratic definition of "ideology" (anything non-Marxist meant to pull the wool over the eyes of the worker). Marxism, itself, wasn't an ideology. Nosiree!

There are literally dozens of belief systems that map more or less one for one into Marxism, and Qutbism appears to be another. The appeal of these ideologies must come from a deep human longing to cheat the limitations of rationality... to return to the segmented societies of our tribal past, but making the tribe writ-large and universal. Which in turn seems like a stroke of progressive genius. What an irony!

Of course, you conveniently ignore what would have been the obvious third prong of that picture: western capitalism/democracy's desire to be a universal global ruling system as well.

A universal system of governance, which isn't the same thing. It's like saying the practice of proctology is a plot to take over the world because everyone has a rectum.

Posted by: Scott at January 30, 2004 11:12 AM

Scott,

You may think it maps unto Marxism, but Qutb in the initial paragraph you quote is quoting the statement made by a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) more than one thousand years before Karl Marx was born.

I don't understand what you are saying in the last paragraph, maybe you could expand on that.

Peace,

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at February 2, 2004 10:23 AM

I just wanted to note for anyone who reads through this thread that, as a thinking person might expect, the claim promoted by Mary that 20 percent of Saudi GNP flowed to Al Qaedar for ten years is utterly ridiculous, false, and is a misreading of the report cited.

The UN report claims 300 to 500 million went to Al Qaeda, a number I believe to be inflated by the way in which it was determined but as you might expect 300 to 500 million in ten years is nowhere near 20 percent of Saudi GNP. That number of course would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

But hey, as long as it makes it look like all the Saudis support terrorism and makes people afraid of Muslims, I guess we should repeat it anyway.

Peace,

Abu Noor al-Irlandee

Posted by: Abu Noor al-Irlandee at February 2, 2004 04:05 PM

Abu - many separate and entirely verifiable sources acknowledge that the terrorist economy is worth close to a trillion dollars. It's a threat to our own capitalist economy.

The average Saudi home is 5,000 sq. feet. Saudi princes are worth billions. If they see a thousand-dollar bill on the sidewalk, it would barely be worth their time to bend down and pick it up.

If you're going to try to dispute UN reports, you should probably provide some reliable sources, links and facts.

Posted by: mary at February 10, 2004 05:54 PM