Why We Want to Kill You by Walid Shoebat
Walid Shoebat has a unique perspective on the War on Terror. Shoebat was born a Palestinian Arab under Israeli occupation. He grew up in Islamic schools and mosques, which preached that violence and radicalism were the way to God. He eventually became a terrorist and was tasked with carrying out bombings against Israeli civilians.
Shoebat’s life changed when he visited relatives in the United States. While there, he studied the Bible in order to convert his wife to Islam. Eventually became convinced that Mohammed was not a true prophet of God and that everything he had been taught about Jews was a lie. He became a Christian and has since worked to help people in the West understand the extent of the danger that we face in radical Islam. His book, Why We Want to Kill You, is an in depth study of the jihadist mindset.
Shoebat points out the differences between Islam and Judeo-Christian religious beliefs. Islam teaches that people can be saved only by doing good deeds. The problem is that the Muslim never knows exactly where he stands before Allah. He might do his best to please Allah, and then at judgment find that his bad works outweigh his good ones.
One way around this problem is to become a martyr. Muslims are taught that dying for Allah is the highest form of sacrifice. Becoming a martyr will guarantee the Muslim’s entry into Paradise and the reward of sexual pleasure with 72 black-eyed virgins. The martyr can even intercede for sinful members of his family as well.
Muslim parents often encourage their children to become suicide bombers and terrorists, both for spiritual reasons as well as the financial rewards that go along with terrorist martyrdom. Muslim children are taught from an early age that death in the cause of Allah is the highest ideal to which they can aspire. He notes that suicide bombers come from all walks of life, all levels of education, and all levels of wealth. The belief that most suicide bombers are poor and uneducated is false.
Shoebat draws parallels between the suicide bomber in Islam and Christianity. The suicide bomber is referred to as a shahid or “sacrificial lamb.” In this way, he becomes a living sacrifice to Allah on behalf of himself and his family. In contrast, in Christianity, God Himself, through Jesus, became the sacrificial lamb for all who choose to accept Him. In the same way, Jesus Christ intercedes with God on our behalf.
Shoebat also points out that Islam is inherently racist. All who do not believe in Allah are considered inferior kafirs (infidels). Throughout Muslim history, unbelievers have been relegated to second-class status.
When an Islamic empire took control over territory where Christians, Jews or others resided, the people were given a choice. First, they were invited to submit to Islam to obtain the rights of privileges of citizenship in the ummah, the greater Islamic nation. Islam actually means “submission.” If they refused, they were considered dhimmis, second-class citizens, and required to pay a tax called a jizya. Dhimmis are entitled to only limited rights and protection under the law.
This racism is also reflected by the Muslim reaction to Muslim-on-Muslim violence. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have been killed by Muslim dictators such as Saddam Hussein without facing widespread condemnation from the Islamic community. Similarly, when Islamic suicide bombers blow up Muslim civilians and police in Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere, the ummah is silent.
On the contrary, when an unbeliever kills a Muslim, even by accident, the result is often violence and rioting. For example, intifadas (uprisings) have been set off in the occupied territories when Israeli vehicles accidentally hit Arab children. Friendly fire accidents in Iraq and Afghanistan provide more examples. Often, more Muslims are killed as a result of the rioting than in the original incident. There is no consideration of intent. All that seems to matter is whether a Muslim or a kafir is at fault.
Unbelievers do receive preferential treatment over Muslims who renounce their faith. A Muslim has no right to reject Islam. Once someone accepts Islam, they take their life in their hands if they renounce Mohammed and his faith. The official penalty in many Islamic countries for converting from Islam is death. In many other cases, converts are ostracized by their friends and family. In Shoebat’s case, Islamic courts seized his property in Palestine after his conversion.
Further, he points out that the Islamic community is utterly incapable of receiving criticism. Shoebat has been called a racist and Islamophobe for pointing out inconsistencies in Islamic teaching. Few will debate him on principle, instead choosing to question his motives, his sincerity, and even the fact of his upbringing as a Muslim in Palestine.
There are other examples from around the world as well. In the 1980s, the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa (religious ruling) calling for the death of author Salman Rushdie after his novel, The Satanic Verses, was deemed to be insulting to Islam. More recently, editorial cartoons in Holland that depicted Mohammed unfavorably set off Islamic rioting around the world in 2005. Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered after making a documentary critical of Islam in 2004.
Shoebat makes the point that Muslims see themselves as victims and deny any reality that doesn’t fit that image. For example, they point to the Israeli occupation of Arab areas of the Middle East or American occupation of Iraq and use that to justify their terrorism. This ignores the fact that populations that are much more oppressed do not embrace the slaughter of innocent people as a tactic or religious ideal.
Conversely, they also deny that many terrorists are terrorists at all. After suicide bombings, terror attacks, or arrests of terror cells, it is not uncommon for acquaintances of the perpetrators to deny that their friends were capable of such actions. These denials can persist even in the face of incontrovertible evidence.
Shoebat also dispels the notion that the word jihad (holy war) refers to an internal struggle. In truth, there are several levels of jihad. One level does refer to an internal struggle against evil, but others include varying levels of cultural, political, and military conflict. The United States is the target of a cultural jihad in which Islamic groups such as CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) use lawsuits and other forms of pressure to assault areas of American life that are deemed offensive to Muslims.
Shoebat also points out how, throughout Muslim history, it has been acceptable for Muslims to declare a truce when they are at a disadvantage, then to unilaterally end the truce when they are stronger than their opponents. The Arabic term for this type of truce is hudna. This type of deception is allowed by the Koran. In fact, Shoebat points out that one of the many names of Allah is “the Great Deceiver.”
Finally, Shoebat rejects the idea that there is a moderate Islam. All forms of Islam teach that Islam is destined to control the world; the only real differences are in the timing. He does agree that there are moderate Muslims who have been secularized and assimilated into western cultures.
In this politically correct age, many will find Shoebat’s statements unpalatable. Yet his background as an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist who had an in-depth knowledge of the Koran and Islam is indisputable. Shoebat backs up his claims with references from the Koran, passages from the hadiths, and Muslim sermons. His view of Islam is one that needs to at least be considered by western leaders. If we discount the reality of Islamic teaching on Muslims around the world, then we leave ourselves open to misunderstanding their motives and reacting incorrectly.
Shoebat has also written a more recent book, God’s War on Terror: Islam, Prophecy, and the Bible. This book analyzes Biblical prophecy in light of present day politics in the Middle East. It promises to be a fascinating read.
In my opinion, Shoebat’s story represents the hope for peace in the Middle East and around the world. In rejecting a religious worldview that demanded the death of its enemies as well as its adherents and embracing a religion that is focused on equality and peace for all, Walid Shoebat and the many other terrorists reformed through Christianity are living examples of how bloodthirsty murderers can find inner change through God. Their example represents the best hope for true and lasting peace.
Shoebat, Walid. Why We Want to Kill You: the Jihadist Mindset and How to Defeat It. Top Executive Media, 2007.