By Andrew C. McCarthy, @AndrewMcCarthy
Various reports indicate that the death toll from the jihadist attack overnight at a popular gay club in Orlando may exceed 50 people, with more than 50 others wounded. The terrorist’s identity has been reported: He is Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old American citizen and devout Muslim from Fort Pierce, Fla., the son of immigrants from Afghanistan.
The FBI has indicated that Mateen, who was killed in a shootout with police at about 5 a.m., was an Islamic extremist. Representative Peter King (R., N.Y.), who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, says the shooter was “trained in the use of weapons.” As we have noted here many times, military training is generally the key that separates competent terrorists from wannabes. But whether actual or would-be jihadists, these Muslims are motivated by Islamic supremacism, the belief that sharia, Islam’s ancient, totalitarian law, must be imposed on society.
Based on all this, there is abundant Washington and media speculation that the attack is “ISIS-inspired.” This is consistent with the bipartisan, government-approved inanity we have been following for a quarter-century, what I often call the political class’s concoction of “An Islam of Their Very Own.” It goes something like this:
Islam is a religion of peace, period. End of discussion. “Violent extremist” outfits such as ISIS and al-Qaeda kill wantonly, with no real ideological motivation. ISIS and al-Qaeda are thus not Islamic, but actually anti-Islamic — and if they cite Islamic scripture to justify their atrocities, they are “hijacking” and “perverting” Islam. Because we must see these groups as “anti-Islam” rather than Islam, it is acceptable to call a mass-murder attack “terrorism” only if law-enforcement develops some plausible tie to these groups. Otherwise, if a Muslim is involved, stick with “workplace violence” and the like. Finally when an attack committed by a Muslim is too obviously terrorism to deny, call it “ISIS-inspired,” or “al-Qaeda-inspired,” or “Hamas political resistance,” etc. — but by all means do not, absolutely do not, ascribe it to Islam in any way shape or form.
This is idiocy. Will today’s event, the worst mass shooting in American history, help us see that?
We need to consider separately Islam and its sharia law.
There are various ways to interpret Islamic scripture in order to attempt to evolve it out of violence. This, of course, does not change the fact that supremacist, fundamentalist Islam is a legitimate, mainstream, virulently anti-Western interpretation of Islam; but it does at least mean that there can be other mainstream versions of Islam that reject violence and Islam’s politico-legal system.
Sharia, on the other hand, is basically set in stone. (Or should I say “stoning”?) Even most Islamic reformers acknowledge that it badly needs reform — not that it can be reinterpreted, but that it needs to be changed. Its provisions and especially its draconian punishments were largely fixed a millennium ago.
The mandate that homosexuals be killed is not from ISIS or al-Qaeda. It is from sharia — which draws on Muslim scripture.
As I’ve observed several times, an English version of the classic sharia manual Reliance of the Traveller has been endorsed by scholars of al-Azhar University, the seat of Sunni Islamic learning since the tenth century; by the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a Muslim Brotherhood think tank that is influential in Washington; and by other influential Islamic governments and commentators. Here is its teaching on homosexuality, found in the chapter on “Enormities” — the most grave offenses:
Sec. p17.0: SODOMY AND LESBIANISM
Sec. p17.1: In more than one place in the Holy Koran, Allah recounts to us the story of Lot’s people, and how He destroyed them for their wicked practice. There is consensus among both Muslims and the followers of all other religions that sodomy is an enormity. It is even viler and uglier than adultery [AM: which is punished brutally, including by death].
Sec. p17.2: Allah Most High says: “Do you approach the males of humanity, leaving the wives Allah has created for you? But you are a people who transgress” (Koran 26:165-66).
Sec. p17.3: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
- “Kill the one who sodomizes and the one who lets it be done to him.”
- “May Allah curse him who does what Lot’s people did.”
- “Lesbianism by women is adultery between them.”
As I noted many times, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi may be Sunni Islam’s most influential living sharia jurist. Here, as reported by the Middle East Forum, isQaradawi’s teaching on homosexuality:
We must be aware that in regulating the sexual drive Islam has prohibited not only illicit sexual relations and all what leads to them, but also the sexual deviation known as homosexuality. This perverted act is a reversal of the natural order, a corruption of man’s sexuality, and a crime against the rights of females. (The same applies equally to the case of lesbianism.)
The spread of this depraved practice in a society disrupts its natural life pattern and makes those who practice it slaves to their lusts, depriving them of decent taste, decent morals, and a decent manner of living. The story of the people of Prophet Lut (Lot), peace be upon him, as narrated in the Koran should be sufficient for us. Prophet Lut’s people were addicted to this shameless depravity, abandoning natural, pure, lawful relations with women in the pursuit of this unnatural, foul, and illicit practice. That is why their Prophet Lut, peace be on him, told them, “What! Of all creatures, do you approach males and leave the spouses whom your Lord has created for you? Indeed, you are people transgressing (all limits)!” (Koran, 26: 165–166)
The strangest expression of these peoples’ perversity of nature, lack of guidance, depravity of morals, and aberration of taste was their attitude toward the guests of Prophet Lut, peace be upon him. [Here follows a digression on the story of Lot as related in the Koran. —Eds.]
Muslim jurists have held differing opinions concerning the punishment for this abominable practice. Should it be the same as the punishment for fornication, or should both the active and passive participants be put to death? While such punishments may seem cruel, they have been suggested to maintain the purity of the Islamic society and to keep it clean of perverted elements.
Since the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, there has been no shortage of praise for Ayatollah Ali Sistani, whom the Bush administration frequently lauded as a “moderate” and a supporter of “democracy.” (We critics countered that Sistani is a fundamentalist sharia-supremacist who supported “democracy” — meaning popular vote — in a Muslim-majority society because that was the most direct, efficient way to impose sharia.)Sistani is as influential a Shiite sharia authority as there is. As I have previously recounted, when asked, “What is [Islam’s] judgment on sodomy and lesbianism?” Sistani replied: “Forbidden. Those involved in the act should be punished. In fact, sodomites should be killed in the worst manner possible.”
Yup, let it sink in: “killed in the worst manner possible.”
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The inspiration for Muslims to brutalize and mass murder gay people does not come from ISIS. It is deeply rooted in Islamic law, affirmed by many of Islam’s most renowned scholars. This is why, wherever sharia is the law, homosexuals are persecuted and killed. See, for instance, this 2014Washington Post report listing ten Muslim countries where homosexuality may be punished by death (Yemen, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Iraq — notwithstanding its new, U.S.-supported constitution).
Note, again, that Omar Mateen is the American-born son of immigrants from Afghanistan, where homosexuality may also be punished by death — notwithstanding American nation-building efforts there for the last 15 years.