We have recently seen ISIS add new techniques to its repertoire on how to brutally execute victims. Apparently, beheadings and burning victims alive have lost their luster. Recent executions have been undertaken that provide further insights into the depth of this group’s depravity.
Neither a victim’s age nor sex serves as a barrier to ISIS savagery. After putting a father to death, ISIS executioners strapped explosives to his baby, detonating them to demonstrate to new recruits the devastating impact on the human body.
Last month a tank was used to execute a Syrian soldier by running over him. Another technique allowed ISIS the opportunity to combine an execution with its campaign to destroy non-Islamic related antiquities. Three prisoners were tied to columns of one of the world’s most important ancient sites-the Arch of Triumph in Palmyra, Syria. The Arch and the prisoners were then blown up.
ISIS proudly publishes videos and photos of these barbaric acts.
It is important to understand what prompts such diabolical behavior by Muslims who, obviously, remain totally unaffected by it. From where does it flow? What is it that has turned ISIS into a killing machine unimpeded by any sense of human compassion?
The analysis begins by scrutinizing the actions of Islam’s founder, Prophet Muhammad.
If a movie were to be made of Mohammad’s life in the West, it would receive a rating from the motion picture industry of “NC-17-No One 17 and Under Admitted.” Due to such a movie’s inherent violence, we would shield young, easily influenced minds from embracing a religious belief system sanctioning brutality against those unwilling to join Muhammad’s flock.
Of course, we need not worry such a film would make it to the silver screen due to the Charlie Hebdo experience. An actor today would fear portraying Muhammad as career-and life-ending, undoubtedly at the hands of Muslims distraught over any attempt to depict the Prophet.
Yet Muhammad’s violent life proves no bar for Muslims teaching their children about him. Their rating for Muhammad’s violence against non-believers is “General Audiences-All Ages Admitted.”
Present day Islam has evolved from a triad of sources: the Quran, hadiths and the sunnah. While most non-believers know the Quran as Islam’s holy book, few know about the hadiths or sunnah.
Hadiths are sayings focusing on Muhammad’s life. They are traditions, attributed to a “companion,” revealing a story about, or statement by, Muhammad.
A companion was a contemporary follower of Muhammad’s. One qualified as such for having met, seen or simply having desired to meet Muhammad during his lifetime. Such status was deemed hallowed, bestowing the companion with authority to represent the Prophet’s teachings for eternity.
Sunnah means “path.” It sets out a path of behavior by which one can become a good Muslim. It involves following Muhammad’s religious practices, first established among his companions, and passed down by the consensus of subsequent generations of Islamic legal scholars.
This triad of Islamic authority interrelates in a way so as to give believers Muhammad’s mandate to them.
Non-Muslims concerned about their fate among Muslims who look for guidance to the triad might wish to read Quranic verses that justify such concerns.
Quran 8:12: “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”
Quran 8:39: “And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disbelief) and religion should be only for Allah.”
Quran 3:56: “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”
Quran 5:33: “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger (qualifying as such an act of war is failure to submit to Islam) and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.”
From hadiths we learn Muhammad sanctioned extremely brutal forms of execution.
The Prophet captured an elderly woman, Umm Qirfa, from an enemy tribe and ordered her to be executed. Muhammad tasked a follower to do so who: “…killed her cruelly by putting a rope between her legs and to two camels and driving them until they rent her in two. (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 980)
Both through Quranic verses and hadiths, we learn of Muhammad’s call for the beheadings of as many as 900 members of the Median tribe of Banu Qurayza. Despite their having surrendered to him without a fight, he showed them no mercy. So numerous were the executions, they began early in the morning and continued under torchlight that same evening.
In a manner similar to the methodical execution of the Banu Qurayza tribe in 627 A.D., an ISIS video released in July 2015 showed its miscreants in June 2014 executing an estimated 1700 young, unarmed Shiite air force cadets at Camp Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq. Forced to lie in a mass grave, the victims were riddled with gunfire. Others, led to a river’s edge, were executed one-by-one.
Similar to Muhammad’s Banu Qurayza massacre not being interrupted by night fall, ISIS continued its massacre well into the night, even using a night vision camera attachment to enhance its documenting the atrocity as the sun set.
Collectively taken, the triad calls for Muslims to convert non-Muslims. But, should the latter refuse to convert, it then gives Muslims a license to kill non-believers.
Throughout Islam’s history there have been Muslims who chose to exercise this license, as ISIS has done, and those who chose not to-as the majority of Muslims do. The former are deemed extremists; the latter, moderates.
That the vast majority of Islam’s followers may be moderates should not be particularly comforting to non-believers. This is because the license given by the triad for Muslims to kill non-Muslims has no expiration date. It remains available in perpetuity for the taking.
The discomforting fact for non-believers is, as we have seen in domestic acts of violence by Muslims, today’s moderate can well prove to be tomorrow’s extremist.