The Battle of Hearts and Minds
Sheikh Anwar Al Awlaki
Sheikh Anwar Al Awlaki
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful!
All praise is to Allah and peace and blessings on our Prophet Muhammad and his righteous companions and followers.
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
All praise is to Allah the Lord of the Worlds, we ask Allah Almighty to accept all our efforts. We ask Allah Almighty that he provides us with beneficial knowledge.
As was announced that the topic of this lecture is the "Battle of Hearts and Minds", and I started by, reading to you a quote from a report from Rand Institute in 2007 which states that:
"The struggle under way throughout much of the Muslim world is essentially a war of ideas, its outcome will determine the future direction of the Muslim world".
So there is the struggle of ideas going on, right now, in the Muslim world.
And according to the Defense department, the US Defense Department in its quadrennial defense review report:
"The United states is involved in a war that is both a battle of arms and a battle of ideas. A war in which, ultimate victory, will be achieved only when extremist ideologies are discredited in the eyes of their host populations and passive supporters".
So according to Rand and according to the Pentagon and truth fully so, there is a struggle of ideas going on in the Muslim world, but what is their position regarding this internal affair, this affair that concerns Muslims, this battle of ideas between those who want to follow Islam as it was reveled to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah on him), they want to follow Islam in its entirety and those who want to pick and chose from Islam, they want to follow Islam selectively. Now, this issue is not new with Muslims, In every age, there are Ahl-Haq (people on the Right Path - KC), and there are those who want to deviate from the true path, through out our history this was a struggle that Allah destined to remain and it even existed among the believing nations before us.
For example, with Banu Israel (Children of Israel - KC), there were those who held on to the truth and then there were those whom Allah Almighty said about in Quran:
"They change the meanings of the words".
(Surah 5. The Table, The Table Spread, 13).
So, they would take the words of the Bible and they would change it. And some of that was done to please the authorities of the time, because we know that Bani Israel lived under various nations. For example they lived under the Roman rule, and that time the Romans were pagan. And they lived under the rules of the kings of Babel, and they were pagans too. And according to a story mentioned in Tafseer (Explanation of the Quran - KC), that at a particular time some of the Rabbis of Bani Israel gave a Fatwa to the King of Babylon allowing him to have a forbidden relationship, but they gave him such a fatwa to please that king. So they changed the rule of Allah the Almighty, in order to please a human being!
So this conflict of ideas, that is going on in the Muslim world, what are these non-Muslims doing about it! According to the US news and World report:
"Today Washington is fighting back after repeated missteps since the 911 attacks, the US government has embarked on a campaign of political warfare unmatched, since the height of the cold war. From military psychological operations teams and CIA covert operatives to openly funded media and think tanks, Washington is plowing tens of millions of dollars into a campaign to influence not only Muslim societies but Islam itself."
Now hear this again "The US is trying to change Islam itself!!!". Without any shame, they are openly stating that we have a desire not only to influence the Muslim societies but we want to change the religion itself! Probably at the time of Bani Israel those Rabbis who were changing the book of Allah never dared to say so openly! These, without even hiding it, are saying that we want to change Islam, yes we do!
And then the article carries on to say that:
"In at least two dozen countries, Washington has quietly funded Islamic radio and TV shows, course work in Muslim schools, Muslim think tanks, political workshops or other programs that promote moderate Islam. Federal aid is going to restore Mosques, publish Quran and even build Islamic schools".
Well as we see here, they are trying to promote this modern Islam, modern according to their definition, and they are spending millions of dollars to do so.
Bothers and sisters, when a Muslim, a true Muslim, hears this, he hears that non-Muslims who have no knowledge about the religion, who do not believe in Allah Almighty who don't believe in Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and don't take Quran as the book of Allah, when a Muslim hears that such a people, are openly claiming that we want to change your religion, this should make any Muslim who has any love of Allah Almighty angry!
How dare you?! And who are you?! To tell us what Islam is and isn't. In fact we even find that President Bush is standing in front of the microphone, teaching us about Islam, giving us Khutbah (sermon - KC) about Islam. In an address he gave in 2002, he asserted, "Islam is a faith that brings comfort to a billion people round the world and has made brothers and sisters of every race it is a faith based upon love not hate".
Now his statement is true, I mean that Islam is a faith that brings comfort to people around the world and it has made brothers and sisters of every race and is a religion that is based upon love not hate. I mean that the statement to some extent is right. But who is Bush to tell us what Islam is and isn't? Who gave him the authority, to speak for Islam?
And, praise is to Allah we found that some Muslims at the time were happy and proud that Bush has spoken in this way about Islam. But the issue shows the arrogance and the condescending view that these Kuffar (unbelievers - KC) have, they think that we are in need of somebody to tell us what Islam is and what it isn't. In fact, this condescending view didn't go unnoticed even from some non-Muslim commentators.
One of them said, sarcastically that the
"Political leadership collectively appears to have acquired an instant post graduate degree in Islamic studies enabling them to lecture the population concerning the true nature of Islam".
In another report by Rand, and by the way, Rand is a sixteen hundred employee nonprofit organization that provides analysis to the US Department of Defense. So it is connected to the Pentagon and some how Rand Cooperation has taken in liking, lately, on this issue of "Battle of minds and hearts" and they have written more than one publication on this topic. And I will, during this talk, quote from some of their publications.
In this report titled "Civil democratic Islam" by Sheryl Bernard, she is a Jew married to an apostate, it can't get any worse! Her husband is Zalmai Khaleel Zad, the apostate if he ever was a Muslim, who held some very high posts as you know in the US administration. He was an ambassador to the UN at one point, ambassador to Afghanistan, ambassador to Iraq, so they are putting him in some pretty sensitive posts!
So this Sheryl Bernard is his wife, she published her report, for Rand titled "Civil Democratic Islam" so from the title you can see what kind of Islam they want! What kind of Islam they want to force upon us! And by the way, they are willing to go to the extent of sending their armies to enforce on us their particular version of Islam that we are supposed to follow. Brothers, praise is to Allah, Muslims should stand up and unite against such arrogance!
Some of her recommendations, she said that, she is talking about these moderate Muslims
"Publish and Distribute their works at subsidized costs",
Before I go any further, who is the moderate Muslim, according to them? Well, they have even provided a list to define, who is a moderate Muslim and who is not; you know they have pretty detailed work! Let's see here who is the moderate Muslim according to them.
"Characteristics of moderate Muslims" this is from Rand publication
So a moderate Muslim is who believes in democracy and believes in the democratic system.
Now, there are some Muslims who adopt democracy and they say thatShura (Islamic government system. The Shura Council is the council of elite Muslim scholars that are consulted by the Emir in the matters of the State - KC), the Islamic system of Shura, is similar to democracy, so we could use the term democracy as Muslims, in reality we believe in Shura, but they say it is more appealing for the West, when we talk about democracy, because they don't understand the Islamic concept of Shura. I am quoting to you what some Muslims believe and what some Muslims say. And they believe that they could get the aid and the assistance of the West to change the dictatorship that exists in the Muslim world if they mark themselves as people who want to bring in democracy and there is a serious problem with that, because
1) Democracy isn't Islamic, democracy is a system and Islam has brought us a completely different system. And a few in reality, believe in the system of the Islamic state and Shura, then say Shura call it what it is and don't call it democracy. That's number one.
2) This trick is not going to pass on these people at Rand because they have given a detailed definition of what democracy do they expect from a moderate Muslim!
3) So they say and I am quoting here "A commitment to democracy as understood in the liberal western tradition"
So don't tell me democracy, as I understand it from Islamic point of view. No! That is not satisfactory! What we want is a commitment to democracy as understood in the western liberal tradition!
And they went further to say "Support for democracy implies opposition to the concept of the Islamic state"
So a moderate Muslim, is a Muslim who believes in a democratic system that is opposed to the Islamic state!
And then they say
"It follows from the above that for a group to declare itself democratic, in the sense of favoring elections as the vehicle for establishing government as in the case of the present Egyptian Muslim brotherhood is not enough."
2) The second characteristic of this moderate Muslim is"acceptance of non-sectarian sources of law"
Meaning you follow man made law willingly and openly and they say here in the report "the dividing line between moderate Muslims and radical Islamist is whether Sharia should apply"
So to them any Muslim who wants Sharia (Laws revealed by Allah) to apply, is an extremist and a moderate Muslim is a Muslim willing to accept French law or the British law or International law or call it whatever, as long as it is manmade.
3) The third characteristic of a moderate Muslim is "respect for the rights of women and religious minorities"
Now we believe in rights of women and we believe in rights of religious minorities, but not according to their definition. According to their definition, if there is an Islamic state that enforces hijab, that is extremism. If it charges the Christians and Jews jizyah (tax) they are extremists!
4) And then the fourth characteristic of a moderate Muslim is"opposition to terrorism and illegitimate violence"
So a Muslim who defends his lands, a Muslim who refuses occupation, a Muslim who wants to live according to Islamic rule, is an extremist. And the moderate Muslim is a Muslim, who invites the US army to come and invade his land, and is happy to follow manmade laws and is a person who has no honor and dignity to defend himself against aggression. This is a moderate Muslim!
So from what you see, a moderate Muslim to them, is in reality a non-Muslim! Because according to these four definitions, the definitions that they gave, this is Kufr this is not Islam! So from now on, I am not going to call it a moderate Muslim but I think a more appropriate term would be a "Rand Muslim".
Then they have a questionnaire, to hand over to a Muslim for him to answer, and then they would categorize him as being a moderate or being an extremist, and praise be to Allah, you would not fail to see the arrogance in all of this and the condescending view they have of Muslims, here they are testing our Aqidah (Belief, Imaan, Faith), they are testing our faith and they are giving us the scores!
The questionnaire is:
"Does the group or individual support or condone violence, if it does not support or condone violence now, has it supported it or condoned it in the past"
So they are not going to even leave you alone if you speak against violence now. If you have a history of violence in the past then you are going to be held responsible about that.
"Does it support democracy, and if so does it define democracy broadly in terms of individual rights?"
"Does it support internationally recognized human rights?"
"Does it make any exceptions? For example, regarding freedom of religion"
So if you want to enforce the law of Riddah (apostasy) then that's extremism!
"Does it believe that changing religions is an individual right?"
So if a Muslim wants to become a Jew, if a Muslim wants to become a Christian, if a Muslim wants to worship a cow, or a monkey or a snake, they should have the right to do so! If a Muslim who was guided to the straight path and honored by becoming Muslim and he knew Allah the Almighty and he followed Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), if such a person whom Allah Almighty has blessed, wants to worship a cow after that, he should have the right to do so!
"Does it believe that the state should enforce the criminal law component of Sharia?"
So there should be no Hudood (Plural of Hadd, legal limits that have punishments in the Islamic law)!
"Does it believe that the state should believe the civil law component of Sharia?"
Regarding for example, marriage issues, polygamy.
"Or does it believe there should be non-Sharia options?"
Praise is to Allah! What are we talking about here? In a vegetable market buying potatoes and onions?! What are you talking about non-Sharia options? No country in the world, gives you options regarding law. There is one law, regarding every issue. Here they want us to have options, so you walk in to court and you are handed out a multiple-choice question ‘Which law do you want to follow'!!!
Allah Almighty says in this ayah
"But no, by thy Lord, they can have no real faith until they make you judge in all disputes between them and find in their souls no resistance against your decisions but accept them with the fullest conviction".
(Surah 4. The Women, 65).
No Muslim is a Muslim, if he does not accept the law of Allah Almighty. No Muslim, is a Muslim if he refuses to accept the Sunnah of the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
And then the questionnaire carries on
"Does it believe that numbers of religious minorities should be entitled to the same rights as Muslims? Does it believe that a member of religious minority could hold high political office in a Muslim majority country?"
And we answer no to that question; they cannot hold high office because Allah Almighty
"O you who believe, take not into your intimacy, those outside your ranks, they will not fail to corrupt you, they only desire your ruin. Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths and what their hearts conceal is far worse. We have made plain to you the signs if you have wisdom".
(Surah 3. The Family of Imran, 118).
So this ayah does not allow us to take the Jews and the Christians as bitanah, as advisors, or to put them in high office.
The questionnaire carries on to state
"Does it believe that members of religious minorities are entitled to build and run institutions of their faith in Muslim majority countries?"
Now the Islamic law regarding that is they are allowed to have their original Synagogues and Churches but they are not allowed to build any new ones as according to the codes regarding Ahl Az Zimmah (People of the Book living in the Lands of).
"Does it accept any legal system based on non-sectarian legal principles?"
So the whole thing is Kufr! That is what makes for them a moderate Muslim!
We go back to the recommendations of this Sheryl Bernard her first recommendation is,
Muslims under the Shariah "We should publish and distribute the works of Rand Muslims at subsidized costs"
This is to promote the falsehood!
Her next recommendation,
"Encourage them to write for mass audiences and for the youth"
Because they recognize that the mass, the masses in the Muslim world can discern the truth and they know who speaks for them and who doesn't.
And they understand that the danger comes from the youth because the youth are the ones who stand for al-Haq (The truth). Ibrahim (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was a youth, when he destroyed the idols. And we know from the story of the cave in Surah Kahf (Kahf meaning Cave, A chapter in the Quran), that those men who went in to the cave were youth. And we know from the Seerah (Life Story of the Prophet) that the early followers of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) were youth. So now she is encouraging the deviance of the youth!
Her next recommendation,
"Introduce their views into the curriculum of the Islamic education"
And they have already taken some concrete steps in that direction, they have ruined the curriculum in many Muslim countries, entire sections were wiped out and changed, any thing that talks about Jihad, talks about Hudood, talks about the rules of Allah have been taken out of the curriculum!
"Facilitate and encourage an awareness of their pre and non-Islamic culture, in the media and the curricula of relevant countries"
So for example lets revive the Pharoic civilization. Let us talk about the Pharaohs and lets present them in a positive light. And lets talk about their civilization and their achievements and the development that they achieved in those early days, let that take place, instead of talking about the Islamic civilization! And lets revive the local culture of the societies before Islam! So lets talk about pre-Islamic Arabia and Arabic nationalism! Lets talk about the history of the Berber people in the North Africa. And let us talk about the Raman and Greek history of al-Sham (Syria). That's why we see there is great attention given by archeologists to the pre-Islamic history of the Middle East. They talk a lot about Mesopotamia and about Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs.
We should be ware of this, and we should not have any pride in our pre-Islamic history! It is all Jahiliyyah (Ignorance) and it shouldn't even be called a civilization because it is not! It is the path to Jahannam (Hell fire) it is Zulumaat, darkness upon darkness! And pharaoh is a symbol of evil; he should not be presented in any positive light.
When Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed with his army next to Diyar Thamuud (A tribe from those that passed who were destroyed by a punishment from Allah), the dwellings of Thamuud, and some of the Sahabas (Companions) wanted to go in, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not allow them to. Why? So that they should not be impressed with what they see and he told them
"Do not enter into their dwellings except if you going to weep and cry (to the faith that befell them)".
It should be taken as a lesson. And when they drew water out of the well in Thamuud, and they used it for the dough for the bread, Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told them to feed this dough to their animals and not to eat from it themselves, and not to drink from the well of the people of Thamuud. This is to establish a barrier between us and these Kuffar.
Her next recommendation,
"Encourage the popularity and acceptance of Sufism"
So she wants to promote Tassawuf (Sufism) not because of her love of Tassawuf itself, but because of its position on Jihad (Fighting in the way of Allah) in the path of Allah, because of its non-violence, but would they promote for example the Tassawuf of Umar al Mukhtar, or some of the other movements that existed in North Africa or in the sub-continent?
And then under the title of Confront and oppose the Fundamentalists she has a few recommendations,
"Reveal their linkages to illegal groups and activities"
"Publicize the consequences of their violent acts"
Now, in war there are people who are gonna be killed and some of them are innocent, that is the nature of war, but Muslims, try their best, to avoid killing innocents and there are strict rules that were laid out by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) regarding Jihad in the path of Allah. For example, non-fighting women and elderly and the monks should not be killed, trees and plants should not be burnt and cut down etc.
What she is talking about here, is that we should take the unintentional accidents that happen with the Mujahideen (Holy Islamic fighters) in the path of Allah, for example some innocent people will be killed, and let us blow it out of proportion and make a big deal out of it. And when the US army kills and bombs entire residences and kills everybody inside it women, children and elderly, keep that aside and not talk about it, and forget about it, and if it becomes revealed to the world then we will find an excuse! However, if the Muslims in their fight in the path of Allah commit a mistake or an unintentional accident happened lets make a big deal out of it and blow it out of proportion. And we see this happening all the time, to the extent that now it is imprinted in the minds of people, that Muslims are violent people who have no regards what so ever, for the rights of innocent human beings. Why? Because this is a fallacy that has been spread by the Western media, this is the agenda of the West; it is to put the Muslim in such a light. But any descent human being, with the least amount of intelligence, would be able to see, that it is the US now who is killing innocents in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, and else where throwing bombs indiscriminately in areas of Muslim population.
In the embargo that was placed on Iraq prior to the war, more than one million have died, and now we have an entire generation, of Iraqis who is living the poverty caused by such an embargo, and the spread of diseases that was brought by that embargo.
Her next recommendation,
"Avoid showing respect, or admiration, for the violent feats of the fundamentalists, extremists and terrorists."
And then look at what she says,
"Caste them as disturbed, and cowardly not as evil heroes"
Some times you would show respect for your enemy because of a certain quality that he holds, for example, the west could not hide their admiration for Salahuddin, his chivalry his courage! Throughout history we find that war has erupted between different nations and peoples, nevertheless, the enemy would show the other side some respect and some admiration. In particular eras they would say, for example "Yes it is true that these are our enemies but we need to speak the word of truth, they are courageous". "Yes it is true that these are our enemies but nevertheless, they have a point" things like that.
According to Bernard, we are not supposed to show such an admiration, we should never even caste them as "evil heroes"! And then she specifically wanted them to be presented or caste as disturbed, and cowardly. And this "cowardly" thing, we have been hearing it again and again. And I am amazed to see that some Muslims, like parrots, are repeating this accusation, and praise is to Allah, I fail to understand how, the Israeli soldier wearing his bullet proof vest, and his steel helmet, cowering behind the pile of sand bags and still runs away from the stones thrown by Palestinian children is courageous! While the Palestinian children charging at the soldiers full speed, armed with nothing but rocks and wearing nothing but trousers and t-shirts are cowards! I fail to understand that!
And the American "heroic" soldiers, fighting from the comfort of their armored Bradlees and Strikers but nevertheless boiling inside layers of bullet proof gear in the boiling heat of the Iraqi summer, are "courageous" while the Iraqi Mujahideen armed with nothing but the light weapons of Guerilla war-fare are "cowards"!
And what I really fail to understand, is how can the martyr, the Shaheed, who willingly and happily, hands over his soul to Allah, who walks towards his faith, with pleasure, and faces death with a smile, what I fail to understand is how can you call such a person a "coward"!
But that is what they have been called. And that is what the parrots in the Muslim world have been repeating, that these peoples are cowards.
And then she goes on to say,
"Encourage journalists to investigate, issues of corruption, hypocrisy, and immorality, in fundamentalist and terrorist circles"
Well she could have also said, lets fake up such things against them, and take them to court and sentence them to ridiculous sentences in jail for such fake accusations! Imam Jameel Ameen in America was sentenced to life, because he was accused of killing a police officer!
Humeidan at Turki, the head of al-Basheer publications in Demver Colorado was sentenced to life, because he was accused of raping his servant!
And we could go on and on with a list of people whom the US government has faked against them false accusations just to liquidate them, and to get them out of the scene! Take for example, the story of Captain Yee, the Imam at Guantanamo. Allah knows what the reason was, even though he was a marine soldier, and is an employee and is with the US government, some how they didn't take a liking to him for one reason or another. So they accused him in the beginning, of espionage, of passing over classified information to Syria! When that didn't hold up, praise is to Allah, what they accused him with? Of pornographic material on his laptop! And the crime is, that this laptop is government owned property so how could he have pornography on it! And they accused him of adultery, and they tried to ruin his family, and then in the end nothing held up so all of the charges against them were dropped!
In this article by US news and world report, says
"but individual CIA stations overseas are making some gusty and innovative moves, among them pouring money in to neutralizing militant anta US preachers and recruiters" And then they say, "If you found out, that Mullah Omar, is on one street corner doing this, you set up Mullah Bradley on the other street corner to counter it".
Well, I wonder how many Mullah Bradlees they have in the Muslim world now!
And then she says
"Encourage divisions amongst fundamentalists"
Dear brothers and sisters we are not only victims, of US military and political aggression, but we are also victims of US lies!
They have been lying about our brothers, charging them with false accusations, until they put hatred of them in our hearts, and they have planted the seeds of disunity amongst us!
And now she is stating openly that we want to encourage divisions among fundamentalists!
Take for example, whenever an Islamic group tries to enforce the law of Allah Almighty, how they try to ruin their reputation! And unfortunately, this lie is believed by many Muslims! Because they are victims of this western media and US lies. We need to be aware! We need to be careful. And we shouldn't rely on their sources, when it comes to information about our Muslim brethren! Take the information from valid sources.
Allah Almighty says
If a Fasiq -a corrupt Muslim! - Brings you information fatabayyanu (Surah 49. The Dwellings, verse 26- "O ye who believe! If a sinner comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth...")-you need to check- if this information is correct, what if the source is not a Fasiq but a Kafir? So we need to be very careful on what we hear!
For example, when the Taliban were ruling over Afghanistan, you heard a lot of things about them, there was a lot of lies about them in the media, this is so the Ummah would hate them, it is to try to plant the seeds of disunity among us. And when the Islamic rule was applied in Somalia, what did they say about them too? So Muslims, we need to be very careful.
We talked about some of the recommendations that were in the Rand report and how to deal with this issue of separating between the modernists or the Rand Muslims, and the extremists or the real Muslims, true Muslims.
And these efforts have been going on since 9/11, not to say that there was nothing of this sort before, but 9/11 gave it some more importance, and as I mentioned to you from the US News and World report says
"after repeated missteps since the 9/11 attacks, the US government has embarked on a campaign of political warfare unmatched since the height of the cold war".
So the emphasis on this issue of "The Battle of Ideas" has been post 9/11.
So there is a good seven years now, of the US putting its intelligence resources, financial resources, human resources, into changing Islam, what are the results?
Brothers and sisters, if the British Empire, the greatest empire of its time, dominated the sea, the US military, in contrast, dominates at every level- land, sea, air and space!
The US spends more than the next 14 countries combined, accounting for almost 50 % of global defense spending. And the US also spends more on defense research and development than the rest of world put together!
So the US, the strongest force of our time, whose army is spanning the globe, is spending millions into this effort nevertheless it still cannot defeat the true Muslims and can still not win in this war of ideas!
In an article, in the Washington Post, Shibli Talhami, a member of a White house appointed advisory group and public diplomacy and Brookings institute scholar, said
"its worst than failure. Failing means you tried and didn't get better but at this point, three years after September 11 you can say that there wasn't even much of an attempt and today Arab and Muslim attitudes towards the US and the degree of distrust in the US are far worse than they were 3 years ago, Bin Laden is winning by default!"