In a telling commentary on the habits of the natives many travelers to the lands where the Religion of Peace peacefully reigns over burning cities, littered heaps and frightened refugees insist on learning to recite the Shahada, the Muslim profession of faith, in case of capture by peaceful Muslim terrorists.
But the devout beheaders have long since gotten wise to this particular infidel trick.
The Jihadists behind the Westgate mall attack in Kenya bypassed the obvious and instead killed hostages for being unable to answer such questions as “What was the name of Mohammed’s mother.” Not all Muslims might have been able to dodge a bullet by answering that question, but the terrorists were testing for religiosity as much as for ethnicity. A Muslim who couldn’t name the mother of the father of terror was deemed un-Islamic enough to be murdered by his monstrous children.
Most of the hostages held by ISIS could have answered that question and many others. They could and did recite verses from the Koran. The majority of them converted to Islam. That did not save them.
Instead the recent testimony of a hostage held by an ISIS ally indicates that his guards respected him more for remaining a Christian while despising his Western cellmate for readily converting to Islam. Despite their constant preaching about Islam, the Jihadists could not like or respect a traitor. They rightly judged that a man who would join a religion under duress had no religion, fealty or faith.
In the end ISIS executed those who converted and those who did not.
It is a mistake to think that converting to Islam can save your head. At best it earns the convert a place at the bottom of the pole. A woman marrying into an Islamic family can skip the line by subsuming her identity within theirs. A male convert is pressured to earn his place by committing various violent acts which is why we have seen a rash of vicious attacks committed by male converts in the West.
In Islam, violence is a status shortcut. Mohammed’s rise to power used a tribal cult to build a dynasty around his own family and those of his allies. The Caliph of ISIS is ultimately trying to do the same thing while the foreign fighters clustering around him are out to build harems and kingdoms of their own.
Under Stalin there were two Communisms. One was the real Communism practiced in Moscow in which a slave empire sought to expand its territory and power. The other was a set of ideas by their useful idiots in the West. Those Western Communists who moved to the Soviet Union eventually wound up in a Gulag whether or not they could name Lenin’s mother or recite chapter and verse from Das Kapital.
Western sympathizers of Communism or Islam did not understand that the actual implementation of the system was a machine of terror with no off switch. Stalin’s USSR and the Caliph’s Islamic State depended on grand promises and mass murder. Stalin promised to fully link up the entire country to the electric grid. ISIS installed a free phone booth. But the only thing they really did is kill a whole bunch of people.
Telling your friendly neighborhood Muslim terrorist the Shahada works about as well as telling an NKVD interrogator that you recant all your ideological errors. Aside from everything else, it misses the point. Most of the appeal of Islam, Nazism or Bolshevism was the ability to kill and torture a lot of people. Without a demographic base of homicidal sociopaths none of these movements would have ever shown up in the history books. And the sociopaths have to have their fun or the movement collapses.
Without enough countries to conquer, mass murders to arrange or sufficient tortures to oversee the Soviet Union collapsed like a wet paper bag. So did the Ottoman Empire. If Nazi Germany had ever outlived Hitler, Goebbels and the rest of its founding monsters, one day it too would have found itself ruled by bewildered bureaucrats surrounded by totems of another age and wondering how to go on.
ISIS revived the Caliphate by broadcasting severed heads across social media. It’s a recruitment ad for psychos that is paying huge dividends. If ISIS started releasing hostages instead of beheading them, it would be about as popular in the Muslim world as dogs, bacon and Jews. When your religion proves its sincerity through a willingness to kill, the failure to behead is the next best thing to atheism.
Going right back to the days when Mohammed enlisted some fun-loving family members to raid and pillage because an angel told him to, the ideology of Islam was an excuse for the abuses of its followers. When it comes to Islamic violence, the real distinction may not be the artificial one between moderates and radicals, but between those who are naturally inclined to kill and those who are compelled to it by their religion. And the religion of Islam was built to license the worst depravities of the former.
The various Jihadists in Syria are not killing each other over matters of faith. None of them are “extremists” or “moderates” no matter what our politicians say when they decide to arm them. They are killing each other over control of bakeries and profits from oil sales. Not to mention kidnappings.
That doesn’t make them hypocrites. They are following the grand example of Mohammed who lived off a percentage of the booty seized by his men, who profited from kidnappings and murders, who built a harem of sex slaves from abducted women and who sealed a political connection with his closest ally through the horrifying rape of his nine-year-old daughter.
Later Muslim chroniclers attempted to lend an air of nobility to Mohammed’s greedy atrocities. ISIS propagandists are doing the same thing for the Caliph and his merry murderers on Twitter. These myths have a useful function for Muslims, but only fools would assume that the Shahada could stand between them and a million dollar ransom or a really neat beheading video to show the folks back home.
This is what Islam is. This is what it’s always been.
Islam is not an abstract belief in a deity. Allah is not a thing that exists outside the Muslim. He is power and honor, greed and lust, he is a Christian man being beheaded in the dust of an Iraqi town and a Yazidi girl being raped inside a mosque, he is a black flag hanging limply over a dead city and a Caliph fingering his expensive watch while calculating his hostage payments.
To claim refuge in the Shahada is to assume that Jihadist cruelty is purely external, assuming wrongly, as many Westerners did of Communism, that the system is animated by faith in a better world.
Inside Islam is not a better world, but a darker one with many tiers of cruelty and with outsider status reserved for non-Muslims no matter how many verses of the Koran they may memorize. The African-Americans who moved to the USSR believing that it was a truly non-racist society ended up dead. Westerners who think that reciting the Koran can save them from the sword have discovered that the Koran can turn on the machinery of terror, but there is no off switch for the swinging sword.