A Fatwah by any Other Name

December 8, 2002

by John F. Schmidt

One of the latest Muslim terms to find its way into our English lexicon is “Fatwah,” a religious edict issued by some Muslim authority. As the word is commonly used today, it is usually associated with a pronouncement calling for the death of some offender against Islam.

Just last week we observed an example of this when the deputy governor of a northeastern state in Nigeria called for the death of the writer of a Nigerian newspaper article who made a comment about Mohammed’s possible tastes in women. The Islamic furor over the reference to the Miss World pageant has resulted in the deaths of over 200 people and stirred civil unrest in the country.

Details of the fatwah have been widely reported under the ABC news.com article titled “Nigerian Calls for Death of Writer” dated November 26, datelined Lagos, Nigeria. “While state officials in Nigeria cannot issue fatwahs, the deputy governor, like all Muslims, considers the death sentence against Daniel as a reality based on the teachings of the Quran, Zamfara state Information Commissioner Tukur Umar Dangaladima said Tuesday.” Islam's holy book "states that whoever accuses or insults any prophet of Allah ... should be killed," Dangaladima told The Associated Press. "If she (Daniel, writer of the offending article) is Muslim, she has no option except to die. But if she is a non-Muslim, the only way out for her is to convert to Islam."

Perhaps it is the strange religious setting in which we find such statements, or maybe it is the fact that such utterances come to us from such a distance and are so culturally different than ours, but whatever the reason, most of us don’t really connect with the implications of these fatwahs. We have observed from afar the close-mindedness of Islam when it has charge of the government, as in Pakistan. We have experienced at close hand on 9-11, the Muslim hatred of Jews and the West. Unfortunately, many in the West still don’t accept the seriousness of Muslim hatred and genocidal intent against the Jews and any, especially Americans, who help them.

Muslims regularly articulate their evil intent against the Jews. But what will be the reaction when Muslims begin to do this in the United States in the form of fatwahs against specific American citizens for speaking out against Muslim atrocities?

To help you visualize that scene, imagine that Jerry Falwell has just publicly issued a fatwah in the name of Christianity, against an abortion doctor, calling for his death at the hands of every sincere Christian. Would anyone in law enforcement take action other than to issue a “ho-hum?” You can bet your life they would! The media would be all over the story. Everyone would demand his arrest for issuing the threats. We might even see the RICO act (Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations) invoked against him. It is being used against Pro-Life activists today.

There has been a stony silence in the West when Muslim religious leaders issue the equivalent of a gangster’s “hit contract” against those they consider enemies of Islam. Nor are such fatwahs issued only in non-Western countries. Britain’s London Finsbury Park Mosque leadership has promulgated fatwahs recently, but to my knowledge no repercussions have followed from British authorities. Up to this time, such tactics are allowed when Muslims use them.

When such activities begin in the U.S., will the Muslims also receive a free pass to intimidate opponents? It has already begun. An Arab-American congressman from California has demagogued the racial profiling issue on behalf of Arabs and Muslims so thoroughly that our public officials are terrified to be accused of discrimination against anyone fitting the profile of the majority of the terrorists of 9-11.

CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations – an organization dedicated to defending Islam against attacks in the U.S - is planning to issue a swarm of lawsuits aimed at silencing those who criticize Islam in America. Hoping to entangle opponents in lengthy and costly litigation, CAIR plans to launch hate crimes suits and make other frivolous charges to drive critics from the public debate.

Intimidation, threats, fear and outright violence are part and parcel of the Muslim method of operation. The time may already have arrived in some portions of the country – where articles such as this one will bring actual violence to bear on the author and his family. At the very least, writers will be harassed by baseless and Un-American lawsuits. That is not the America I know.

Americans interested in defending our liberty and our right to practice the truth according to our conscience must be especially vigilant to detect such Islamic terrorism in the U.S. Any behavior that smacks of intimidation should be put down firmly and permanently. Fatwahs must be illegal in Free America, or America won’t remain free for long. No one should be able to get away with making religious threats on a person’s life, or issue hit contracts, or sponsor lawsuits intended to silence opposition to what is plainly Constitutionally protected speech.

A Fatwah by any other name is just plain criminal racketeering under the guise of a religion. No religion is worthy of respect if its method of propagation includes threats and bullying and even killing of non-adherents. If that description fits Islam, then it should be declared to be a religion hostile to peace – not praised by American leaders as a “religion of peace.”


John F. Schmidt has written numerous articles over the last decade. Politically, he is an Alan Keyes-type Republican. Along with his wife, he has organized voter drives in Pennsylvania, and been active politically since the 1990 elections. His livelihood, until recently, was spent in automation engineering for a large global equipment manufacturing company, specializing in coal mining. WANB in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania hosted Schmidt's weekly talk radio program "Issues and Answers." His writing is intended to relate the headlines of today to the foundation of eternal truth - the Scriptures. He currently resides in Palm Beach County, Florida. Visit his website at: Inalienable-Rights.org

Send the author an E mail at Schmidt@ConservativeTruth.org.

For more of John's articles, visit his archives.

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