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Anwar al Awlaki’s License to Kill

Al Qaeda’s law vs. Western law.

7:28 AM, Nov 11, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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At a time when American expenditure on its army is anything but decreasing, these scholars are asking us to give up any form of resistance and live as law – Western law that is – abiding citizens. They are asking us to live as sheep, as pleasantly as a flock of tame, peaceful, and obedient sheep. One billion and a quarter Muslims with no say on the world stage, stripped from their right to live as Muslims under the law of Islam, directly and indirectly occupied by the West, are asked to live as sheep. Is that the role of scholars?

For Awlaki, then, living under Western law is a form of occupation.

Awlaki goes further, arguing that Muslims have the right to wage jihad in order to spread Allah’s law. As evidence for this proposition, he writes (emphasis added):

The first Caliph Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) fought against the apostates and against the two superpowers of his time, the Roman and Persian Empires. The war against the apostates was to reestablish the acceptance and submission of the tribes of Arabia to the law of Allah. Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) said if they refuse to give even a bridle they used to give to the Messenger of Allah, he will fight them over it.

While the legal wrangling continues to play out, Judge Bates is clearly right to be skeptical that Anwar al Awlaki ever wanted the law suit filed on his behalf. And while the ACLU and CCR do not think the U.S. government has the legal authority to kill the al Qaeda cleric, Awlaki believes that Islamic law justifies the indiscriminate killing of Americans. He believes that this is so obvious that Muslims do not even need to consult “divine guidance.”

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.   

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