It is the terrorists that are responsible for the death of this child.
Not the drowning, not the fleeing of this child’s homeland. Culpability lies on the blood-soaked hands of the Takfiri Salafist invaders- Daesh who set off the chain of evedove out the refugees leading to little Aylan Kurdi and hundreds of thousands of other displaced innocents, risking death by drowning, starvation, heat exposure, robbery and homicide along the dangerous routes to more peaceful destinations unknown.
“Do not kill women, children, the old, or the infirm…”
From your mouth to heaven’s door
من تمك لباب السما/”من فمك إلى باب السماء
‘Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the first Caliph, gave these instructions to his armies: “I instruct you in ten matters: Do not kill women, children, the old, or the infirm; do not cut down fruit-bearing trees; do not destroy any town . . . ” (Malik’s Muwatta’, “Kitab al-Jihad.”). The Jihadists ignore the Prophet’s (PBUH) Quranic verses denouncing any killing women and children; ISIS, and their ideological co-religionists, might well be defined by the face of a dead child. They have directly murdered children, and now they indirectly kill by forced exodus of innocents in the wake of their destruction in Iraq and Syria.
That said, though I contend that we must remember to hold Deash ultimately responsible, placing the countries that struggle with the refugees as secondary to the issues at hand, there is something else:
The chain of events that lead to this child’s death, could be framed accurately to include the history of Colonialism, Wahhabi-Arabs, Saddam Hussein, to the U.S. failed strategies of today. I am not alone in this assessment, as my opinions are shared with many a U.S. general and former CIA leaders, namely, and not limited to: General Zinni, special envoy to the Middle East, confirmed in his book, “Battle Ready,” (2004); including warnings from former General and NSA Brent Scowcroft, former Centcom Commander Schwarzkopf, former NATO Commander Wesley Clark, and former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki).
Putting aside the confusion of the war in Syria for now, ISIS began in Iraq and now complicates the region as Daesh moves in.
If this child’s image can be the face the war in the region, it started with the U.S. invasion of Iraq: Evil as Saddam was, Iraq was contained. There was a no-fly, no-drive zones, sanctions imposed. U.S. generals warned against the invasion. A contained dictator with scarce evidence of WMD (ultimately none), was followed by a U.S. conventional “Shock and Awe” invasion, followed by a decade of insufficient troop levels that endangered U.S. soldiers, as well as the Iraqi population; by failing to established security against looting and the escalating civil war; ineffective planning worsened the Iraqi standard of living to a lack of basic needs, shamefully worse than under Saddam. In this state of unrest, the U.S. ultimately abandoned the invaded country, with the dubious claim of Iraqi forces being sufficiently trained. It was no secret that sectarian loyalties were split into Sunni, Shia and Kurd self-interests, within a crumbling national vacuum that was filled by ISIS. Absent a dedicated U.S. Special Forces on the ground, it is no surprise that faced with Daesh, the Iraqi Armies split and flee, the rest of the population driven into refugee status.
Indeed, terrorists are responsible for the death of this child. The drowning, notwithstanding, it is from the necessity to escape terrorists operations in Syria and Iraq that led to so tragic a result. First cause: Daesh, but there was the failed processes noted above that also led to this.
The killing of innocent non-combatants is forbidden according to Sunni tradition.
“Nor take life — which Allah has made sacred — except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand retaliation or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life, for he is helped (by the Law).” [Quran 17:33]
This is three year-old Aylan Kurdi. A Kurdish boy washed up on Turkey’s Bodrum peninsula. One of many. As many others, the family was headed to the Greek island of Kos; in this case, the ultimate destination was Canada. There were more victims: five dead children, among them Aylan’s 5-year-old brother and a woman who was the boys’ mother, Rihan, 35. If there can be a bright light in the valley of the shadow of death, then, it is that seven were rescued, and two reached the shore in life jackets. Though the boy’s father, Abdullah, survived, and his sister, Teema Kurdi, lives in Vancouver. Their refugee application was rejected by Canadian authorities.
Some 15,000 refugees are in Lesbos still await passage to Athens before continuing their journey northwards to Macedonia and up through Serbia to Hungary and Germany. Sights such as this must be a siren to warn us of the horror of failed strategies and empty promises, and lack of commitment from our leaders, and a call to action against politico-religious, ideologue Jihadists.
Who are the terroists? They are Wahhabi-Deobandi-based Jihadist who that are in fact, cults of Islam. Similarly, and over the last few years, images are shown of the beheaded Shias, Sufis, and Christians at the swords and cowardly pistols of the same Islamic Takfiri cults: ISIS, Al Qaeda and off-shoots, and Taliban (TTP, Haqqani Network, SSP/ASWJ) and other mind-numbing acronyms of Jihadists competing with each other for uncompromising dar ul-Islam in their perceived world of dar ul-harb (Domain of enmity).
Viewing this, one who is paying attention, is reminded of the on-going genocidal of Shia, from Afghanistan and Pakistan Taliban; TTP and all Wahhabi and Deobandi ideology condemn its own Muslim Shias, Sufis, and moderate Sunnis alike to death. We should be mindful of the heartless Islamist Jihadists at the root cause: The violence does not come from orthodox Islam, it comes from a cult within the religion, condemned at the time of its origin by the prevailing Ummah. Heading this great leap backward, was the founder of the first Madrassah, of the Deobandi movement, Muhammad Qasim, and his first student, fifteen-year old Mahmood Ul-Hasan. In accordance with the teaching of Shah Waliullah and Shah Muhammad Ishaq a puritanical dogma was developed, the consequences of which, to this day survive in Wahhabi and Deobandi schools in the Middle East and South Asia.
Namely, Taliban that were allowed to take over Afghanistan prior to 9/11, to this day, where ISIS follow the same ideology of its original founders – WAHHABI IN Arabia and Deobandis in India: Wearing of the burqa for women, refusing education for girls, death for Blasphemy, honor-killings, banning of singing, dancing, sports, denunciation of the worship of saints, adorning of tombs, in some cases defiling of the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) name and sites, a ceaseless assault on Shias, Hindus, and Christian missionaries, to include Ahmadis, Sufis, and moderate Sunnis. Atheists do not get a pass, as all the aforementioned are Kafirs in the myopic vision of the Salafists.
Today, ISIS are Saudi-funded Wahhabi ideological Jihadists, yet feared by Saudi monarchy. Another Frankenstein such as the Taliban originally nurtured by Zia in Pakistan. Originally and today, the Deobandi muftis of India together with the Arab Wahhabis, rejected ijtihad, but allows its own unrelenting and violent interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah. Deobandis are uncompromising, puritanical and exclusive fundamentalism no less restrictive than Wahhabism. Interestingly, the India-based Deobandis actually condemned the Arab Wahhabis in the 14th Century fatwa, forbidding Sunnis to deal with them.
The Deobandis, together with Wahhabi ideology permits the insult of the saints, prophets and the Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) himself. The Wahhabis in the form of ISIS have shown their contempt for the Prophet and any religious sites by their destruction of them from Iraq to Syria; and Taliban’s destruction of the ancient and irreplaceable, historic Bamiyan Buddhas, and the annual suicide bombing of Shia processions.
Historically speaking, the narrative of sectarian conflict of Sunnis and Shia is counter-productive, as it is inaccurate and dismissive of the true genocidal nature of the Jihad waged by Wahhabi cults against Shia. That is, the issue is not Sunni vs Shia, it is the cult of Wahhabism, and later Deobandis from India, that condemn Shia (and other Sunnis) as Kafirs. The founder of Wahhabism saw himself as a reformer. He came from the tiny tribe in Nejd, Arabia, gathered adherents from the uneducated, and through threats and murder expanded his influence. From the Sunni Hanbali School, Ibn Taymiyya of Damascus, interpreted in his Book of Unity and the Book of Struggle a violent Jihad. Still, there is not a single example of the many verses in the Quran that refer to non-violent means of defending Islam or propagating the faith by force, or which place restrictions on fighting (eg. 2,109; 2,190; 2,194; 5,13; 6,106; 15, 94; 16,125; 22, 39-40; 29, 46; 42, 15; 50, 39; 2,194; 5,13; 6,106; 15, 94; 16,125; 22, 30-40; 29, 46; 42, 25; 50,39; and there are more).
A common way to win a debate against non-scholars and or the general public, is to cherry-pick facts out of context. This is often used against Christians quoting passages containing verses about slaves and oppression of women in the Bible; God’s orders to Moses resulting in the destruction of entire villages, nations and men, women and children cited in the Old Testament. Out of context of the times and stories, it falsely leads to the claim of a propensity towards a religion’s violent convictions.
Detractors turn for authority to those verses that suit them; as did Al-Wahhab, just four verses from the Quran, precisely those verses most frequently used by Ibn Taymiyya, al- Wahhab, Egyptian Jihadist, Muhammad Qutb, bin Laden’s mentor, to today’s ISIS. This includes the over-used and incomplete and out-of-context quotations from the “Verse of the Sword.” (the Chapter 9, verse 5), usually quoted in part. The full verse, reads,
“Then, when the sacred months are over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them, take them [as captives], besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every point of observation If they repent afterwards, perform the prayer and pay alms, then release them. God is All-Forgiving, Merciful.”
Scholars are aware that the context of this story is relating to the ending of a truce at the time, with non–believers the Prophet and followers had entered into. This, no different than passages in Deuteronomy, should not be quoted out of context, and as a stand–alone call to arms, or proof of divine calling of cruelty, war or mayhem.
What is relevant is that this out-of-context interpretation is used by Jihadists: al Qaeda, ISIS and other Salafist terrorist groups to recruit religiously fanatical warriors, and in the Madrassas to justify killing of Shia, Sufis, Ahmadis, Christians and Jews.
Ibn Taymiyya of Damascus (1263-1328) inspired a line of Imams, leading to Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab of Uyainah, (1702-92, Imam of Nejd, c. 1744-73). Contemporary to this Imam, was Muhammad ibn Saud of Dariya, an Emir of Nejd c. 1748-66, destined to combine their destinies as Wahhabi proponents of power-based high-jacking of Islam – one an Imam; the other an Emir, spreading the Wahhabi ideology, against the objections of the Sunni Ummah. Wahhabisim spread to India, and into Afghanistan and Pakistan, rebranding itself as “Salafi,” or, “following of the forefathers,” which I recognize as a misnomer given the objections of the Ummah of the times. Though the Wahhabis prefer the term Salafists.
This is the ideology of all the terrorism of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, Africa, the Maghreb and Levant, Malaysia, Indonesia, and even as it spreads into the Mosques of the United States. These terrorists are hardline self-described revivalists of Islam, without the permission of Islamic Ummah. It is no coincidence that in Saudi Arabia today Ibn Taymiyya occupies a place of honor second only to Al-Wahhab. The active Madrassas in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan churn out suicide bombers to this day. The Madrassas overwhelmingly have one purpose, to graduate Jihadists, that have memorized the Quran, are radicalized, and are essentially the production center for suicide bombers.
The Madaris, or in Pakistan, deeni madaris – schools of faith, prey upon the poor and disenfranchised and often orphans that spend all their life in the Madrassas, as they look to the local Imam as parents. The children themselves victims of adults that would kill them in the name of Islam, while they themselves live-on to promote more carnage.
Pakistan mourns the death of children in the Peshawar massacre of last year: A mere 8 months ago, innocent children were also lost from ruthless Islamist Jihadists- the TTP. On December 16, 2014 Pakistan authorities vowed, “never again,” when in Peshawar 132 school children were killed in their school, the carnage ultimately rose to 141. Following this tragic Peshawar attack carried out by Taliban insurgents, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declared special campaigns dedicated to elimination of terrorists, and that war on terror would continue until elimination of all terrorists had massive public support.
Until the outrage reaches proportions necessary to provide solidarity of purpose to rid these Islamist terrorists, children such as the photo of this article and the Peshawar children’s deaths will be in vain. The Peshawar children’s deaths drew global attention, outrage of the Pakistani public demanding campaigns into FATA, KP, Waziristan, the northern tribal regions long neglected, where known Madrassas and terrorists abide. The Prime Minister and Army Chief of Staff Sharif vowed to rid the homegrown terrorists once and for all.
On 6 January 2015, the “Constitution (Twenty-First Amendment) Act 2015” was passed, which providing a constitutional cover to the military courts that were established in the country for speedy trials of the terrorists. The Amendment contains a “sunset” clause and will cease to be part of the Constitution after two years on 7 January 2017. Hopefully their job will be done by then. At the current rate of slow-down, and the public’s short memory, things may not change.
Still, to be fair, this was optimistic for Pakistan. More has to be done there. But the refugees as in the case of the Kurdish little boy on the shore, tragically illustrates the futility of those innocents in the millions that are displaced. It is a true Humanitarian nightmare. In Syria and Iraq, ISIS gains the upper hand, and the same zeal as occurred from December to January in Pakistan needs to be applied to combined forces of U.S., Western coalition in concert with Iraqi forces to rid ISIS in Syria and Iraq. I wrote of allowing the countries of Syria and Iraq in a last case scenario of entropy, to split into regions of sectarian and cultural interests, mindful of oil disputes and desert versus farmable land, and sectarian disputes that would inevitably continue.
But, there is a certainty. One must fight evil. If the lack of an aggressive Iraq and Syria strategy continues, ISIS wins, and spreads. Yes, this war is now defined, at least this week, by the face of a dead child. Perhaps a concerted effort of Western and Middle Eastern forces might do better to form a coalition of combined will in light of this recent tragedy- Perhaps air, land and sea, drones in the air and boots on the ground, will be necessary if we are to stop daily terrorist massacres by ISIS, and the mass exodus of displaced innocents resulting in scenes such as the little boy above, and other innocents die in vain.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.