As American liberals and leftists continue to portray Donald Trump’s immigration ban on seven Muslim nations in the worst possible terms—from “racist” to “Islamophobic”—and as Muslim activists continue to claim “shock and trauma,” a lone Egyptian man has asked some relevant questions that few Muslims care to face.
The man in question is Dr. Ahmed Abu Maher, a researcher and political activist who regularly appears on Arabic language television and who has a long record of exposing Islamic institutions like Al Azhar University for using texts and curriculums that promote terrorism in the name of Islam. On Feb. 6, Maher posted a brief video of himself speaking in Arabic, relevant portions of which I translate below:
Friends, in regards to the presidential victory of Donald Trump, we wanted to ask our brothers—the fuqaha [jurists of Islamic law] and the ulema [scholars of Islam]—a question: If this man who has on more than one occasion announced that he doesn’t want Muslims … were to coerce, through the power of arms, the greater majority of Muslims living in America … to become Christians, or pay jizya, or else he takes over their homes, kills their men and enslaves their women and girls, and sells them on slave markets. If he were to do all this, would he be considered a racist and a terrorist or not? Of course, I’m just hypothesizing, and know that the Bible and its religion do not promote such things, but let’s just assume: Would he be a racist or not? Would he be a terrorist or not? How then [when one considers] that we have in our Islamic jurisprudence, which you teach us, and tell us that all the imams have agreed that the Islamic openings [i.e., conquests] are the way to disseminate Islam? This word “openings” [futuhat]—we must be sensitive to it! The Islamic openings mean swords and killing. The Islamic openings, through which homes, castles, and territories were devastated, these … [are part of] an Islam which you try to make us follow. So I wonder O sheikh, O leader of this or that Islamic center in [New York], would you like to see this done to your wife and daughter? Would you—this or that sheikh—accept that this be done to your children? That your daughter goes to this fighter [as a slave], your son to this fighter, a fifth [of booty] goes to the caliph and so forth? I mean, isn’t this what you refer to as the Sharia of Allah? … So let’s think about things in an effort to discern what’s right and what’s wrong.
To those unacquainted with the subject matter, Maher is referring to history’s Islamic conquests, which in Muslim tradition are referred to in glorious terms, as altruistic “openings” (futuhat) that enabled the light of Islam to shine through to mankind. For centuries, Muslim armies invaded non-Muslim territories, giving the inhabitants three choices: convert to Islam, or else pay jizya (tribute money) and accept third class status as a “humbled” dhimmi (see Koran 9:29), or else face the sword, death, and slavery.
Not only is this how Muslims behaved vis-à-vis non-Muslims for nearly 1,400 years—forging the bulk of what is today called “the Muslim world”—but Islamic law, believed to be based on the transcendent, unchanging will of Allah, still prescribes this approach to non-Muslims.
In this context, asks Maher, what are Muslims complaining about? All that Trump has done is ban immigration from Muslim nations closely associated with terrorism. What if he actually treated Muslims in America the way Muslims have always treated non-Muslims under their authority—the way Islamic law, Sharia, demands—that is, by making them convert, pay extortion money and live as third class subjects, or else killing and enslaving them.
It should be noted that if Maher is among the minority of Muslims who openly expose the hypocrisy and double standards of their coreligionists, most of the world’s Muslims—including if not especially those in America currently feigning trauma at Trump’s “hurtful” words—know precisely what he is talking about.