The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler is one of the dishonest clacque of leftwing propagandists who claim to be “Fact Checkers.” As far as anyone can determine, his driving force in life is to render tendentious judgments on anything a Republican says and award them “Pinocchios” based on some arbitrary criteria. In one memorable instance, Kessler judged a claim to be True but False. I swear to heaven I am not making this up.
In his latest foray into calumny vaguely posing as journalism, Kessler pulls on a turban and examines the nuances of Islam for us.
“Taqiyya is a component of Shia that allows, and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals.”–Dr. Ben Carson, interview with The Hill newspaper, Sept. 20, 2015Carson, a neurosurgeon seeking the GOP presidential nomination, caused a stir when he declared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he could not support a Muslim becoming president.
In a follow-up interview with The Hill, he asserted that he “did not believe Sharia [law] is consistent with the constitution of this country.” He said he could make an exception if the Muslim running for office “publicly rejected all the tenants of Sharia [Islamic law] and lived a life consistent with that.”
But then Carson added he was concerned about something called “taqiyya.” As he put it, “Taqiyya is a component of Shia that allows, and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals.” (This is how the quote appeared in the Hill newspaper, but “Shia” may be a typo for “Sharia.”)
In other words, he appeared to be saying that this tenet of Islam offered some kind of loophole that would allow the Muslim to lie about his or her religious beliefs in order to pursue other objectives. Is this the case?
See what he did there at the end? He’s insinuating that Dr. Ben Carson is so ignorant about Islam that he might have confused Sharia for Shia. One wonders at the latent racist in a white guy hinting that a very highly educated and accomplished black man who is running for president is incapable of knowing some of them there ‘ferrin’ words.
Making pronouncements on religion, even one that you are a part of, is a hazardous undertaking. It is confusing enough in Christianity, which most folks sorta-kinda understand. When you go outside the familiar and try to make global pronouncements on a religion that is foreign in both concept and development it will not turn out well.
“Yes, it is permissible to hide the fact you are Muslim” if a person is under threat, “as long as it does not involve hurting another person,” Abou El Fadl said. “But there is no concept that would encourage a Muslim to lie to pursue a goal. That is a complete invention. Any Muslim is raised on the idea that lying is a sin.”
“It is a dispensation within some aspects of Shia law, which was developed out of the experience of a persecuted religious minority,” said Omid Safi, director of the Duke University Islamic Studies Center. “In brief, it states to value human life over declaration of faith. It is the proverbial question: If a Shia is being persecuted, and someone holds a gun to your head asking ‘are you a Shia?’ you are allowed to say ‘no’ in order to save a human life.
”Another expert on Islamic law, Noah Feldman (ed. note, this apparently is a tradition Muslim name) of Harvard Law School, agreed that Carson’s comment was “very much oversimplified to the point of misrepresentation.” As Feldman put it, “taqiyya is dissimulation when one is being oppressed or tortured or having one’s views banned, a bit like Jesuit dispensation to lie under oath when your life is in danger.”
Hussein Ibish, senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute, said that the claim made little sense because Islam is a proselytizing religion, like Christianity. “You’re supposed to preach it from the rooftops and the minarets” in order to gain adherents, not keep the religion a secret, he said. Advocates of the alternative version of taqiyya have “dragged a rather obscure and marginal concept out of the corner” to make broad-brush accusations against Muslims,” he said.
Sometimes you wonder if Kessler even bothers to read his own crap:
“if a person is under threat”
“having one’s views banned”
These are exactly the circumstances Carson was talking about.
One also hopes that this Noah Feldman character knows more about Islam than he does about Catholicism. The doctrine of “mental reservation” was never a “dispensation” and it was condemned by Pope Innocent XI on March 2, 1679— he called it lying. So it isn’t like there are a lot of Jesuits creeping about who practice it.
The fact is that how true any of these statements are depends upon the belief on the person you are talking to because there is no authoritative version of Islam and within the sects various imams or mullahs or mahdis or whatever they are calling themselves this week have dissenting views. Shia (note to Kessler, if you had pulled your head out of your ass and done a modicum of research instead of a cheap hatchet job you’d have found this and your silly Shia/Sharia statement wouldn’t have been necessary), at least some of them, believe that lying to preserve life, property, freedom, etc. when faced with religious discrimination is completely permissible. On the other hand, Wahhabis seem to adhere to the idea that it only applies when life is in danger. Though Shia do not necessarily believe the Sunni actually believe that. And historically the use of the practice has not been restricted to saving one’s life.
While Hussein Ibish might be speaking authoritatively about his belief, it is not widely shared. According to The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought
The (admittedly hostile to radical Islam) Middle East Forum provides evidence that the views on taqqiya are both a) real and b) widely varied.
The primary Quranic verse sanctioning deception with respect to non-Muslims states: “Let believers not take for friends and allies infidels instead of believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with Allah – unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions.” (Quran 3:28; see also 2:173; 2:185; 4:29; 22:78; 40:28.)
Al-Tabari’s (838-923 AD) Tafsir, or Quranic exegeses, is essentially a standard reference in the entire Muslim world. Regarding 3:28, he wrote: “If you [Muslims] are under their [infidels’] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them, with your tongue, while harbouring inner animosity for them… Allah has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels in place of believers – except when infidels are above them [in authority]. In such a scenario, let them act friendly towards them.”
Regarding 3:28, the Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir (1301-1373) wrote: “Whoever at any time or place fears their [infidels’] evil, may protect himself through outward show.”
As proof of this, he quotes Muhammad’s companions. Abu Darda said: “Let us smile to the face of some people while our hearts curse them.” Al-Hassan said: “Doing taqiyya is acceptable till the day of judgment [in perpetuity].”
Other prominent ulema, such as al- Qurtubi , al-Razi, and al-Arabi have extended taqiyya to cover deeds. Muslims can behave like infidels – from bowing down and worshipping idols and crosses to even exposing fellow Muslims’ “weak spots” to the infidel enemy – anything short of actually killing a fellow Muslim.
All of this presents the interesting question or which Muslim should you trust the one who says “I’m going to behead you” or the one who says “I’m your friend.” And, of course, is the campaign to convince us all that taqqiya either doesn’t exist or can only be used in life and death circumstances (which is historically bogus) a well meaning effort to adapt Islam to a pluralistic society where it is a tiny minority? Or is it an exercise in taqqiya itself. I don’t know the answer and what is more important is that it is damned obvious Kessler doesn’t either.
An accurate discussion of Dr. Carson’s statement would acknowledge that the practice does exist as Dr. Carson described it but that there are different interpretations depending upon the particular variety of Islam you are talking about.
For this bit of agit-prop, RedState awards Kessler Four Headies.