Taqiyya and Security Professionals

The last backgrounder ended with concerns about taqiyya, or lies approved or required by shariah in defense of Islam, as they apply to oaths of office or court testimony. These are of broad concern to the whole society.

In addition, there are special concerns for security professionals when dealing with shariah-adherent Islamic entities or individuals.

How Prominent is Taqiyya in Islamic Political Practice?

According to the authoritative Arabic text, Al-Taqiyya fi Al-Islam,

Taqiyya [deception] is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees with it and practices it. We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream. . . . Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.”

It is therefore wise for any security professionals dealing with organizations devoted to shariah-adherent Islam to expect to encounter the practice of taqiyya on a regular basis.

Treaties & Truces

When Muslims are powerful, they are commanded to mount offensive jihad without hesitation, relying on the Koranic verse 47:35 for authority: “So do not be fainthearted and call for peace, when it is you who are the uppermost.”

However, during times when victory is not assured by strength or numbers, Mohammed himself is thought to have set the example when he agreed to a ten-year truce with the pagan Qurashi tribe in Mecca.

Although he had set out to attack Mecca, realizing he was not strong enough he sought the truce instead. Two years later – not ten! – he had managed to gain enough force, and attacked and destroyed the Qurashi.

Mohammed said at the time that “War is deceit,” according to Sahih hadith from Bukhari. Likewise, he said, “By Allah, and Allah willing, if I take an oath and later find something else better, then I do what is better and expiate my oath.”

The Islamic authority for such practices could not be clearer.

In practice, truces are disfavored by shariah-adherent Muslims except as deceptions. As noted above, the Quran enjoins its followers, “So do not be fainthearted and call for peace, when it is you who are the uppermost.” (Q 47:35).

Consequently, under Islamic law, the maintenance of a peaceful status quo cannot serve as the basis for a truce when the milestones favor Islamic success in Jihad.

Dual Messages

Omar Ahmad, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist funding trial, discussed separating the information role of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood front, from the terrorist support operations role of the Holy Land Foundation. In evidence presented at the trial, Ahmad had this to say regarding an information campaign against the United States:

“I believe that our problem is that we stopped working underground…. [Y]ou send two messages, one to the Americans and one to the Muslims. If they found out who said that – even four years later – it will cause a discredit to the Foundation as far as the Muslims are concerned as they say ‘Look, he used to tell us about Islam and that there is a cause and stuff while he, at the same time, is shooting elsewhere.’”

Similarly, Yousuf al-Qaradawi, a spiritual leader in the Muslim Brotherhood, told Muslims in Qatar that he rejected democracy because “there are those who maintain that democracy is the rule of the people, but we want the rule of Allah.”

Yet several years later when it would be convenient to replace the government in Egypt with an elected Muslim Brotherhood government, he praised democracy in a January 2010 interview. IslamOnline.net, a messaging operation targeting the West, likewise carried in English remarks by al-Qardawi that “Islam calls for democracy and grants people the right to choose their governor.”

The messages pointed at English-speaking international audiences were not the same as the messages for the faithful, and Muslim Brotherhood support for democracy lasted only as long as it was useful.

Sacred Space

A final point in which security professionals may encounter deception may not seem important at first because it strikes us as symbolic.

This has to do with the replacement of religious buildings with Islamic religious buildings.

The most famous examples may be the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, which is built on the site of the Jewish temples, and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. These acts overtly are the building of houses of worship, but they also carry a second meaning of subjugation of the land around these holy sites.

These symbolic acts can be said to move the land from the House of War (Dar al-Harb) into the House of Islam. A similar move was attempted in New York on the site of the World Trade Center bombings, where the World Trade Center buildings would have been replaced by a 13-story mosque and Islamic center.

These sacred space areas also permit cultural colonization: female journalists may be required to don headscarves to enter these areas, for example. Demanding these acts allows shariah-adherent Muslims to demonstrate the submission of Westerners to Islamic law.

It sends one message to the West – ‘If you would be polite, you must wear this scarf.’ It sends another message when such images are transmitted in communities around the world where shariah-adherent imams are preaching submission to Islamic law.


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