In a speech at Hillsdale College, Andrew McCarthy told the story of leading the prosecution in 1993 of the terrorist cell that bombed the World Trade Center. At the time, other government officials told him that he “should read nothing into the fact that all the men in this terrorist cell were Muslims.” These officials explained that the terrorist actions weren’t representative of Islam, because it is religion that encourages peace.
The government also portrayed the leader of the terrorist cell (Omar Abdel Rahman) as a wanton killer and an unbalanced lunatic. Andrew McCarthy discovered he was anything but. He was a globally renowned scholar with a doctorate in Islamic jurisprudence from a major university in Egypt.
That presented a problem. Andrew McCarthy needed to know enough about Islamic interpretation to press the case. He hoped to find inconsistencies between what the Qur’an teaches and what the leader of the terrorist cell taught. What he found was alarming. Every time Omar Abdel Rahman quoted the Qur’an or other Islamic sources, he quoted them accurately.
“When he said the scriptures command Muslims to strike terror into the hearts of Islam’s enemies, the scriptures backed him up. When he said Allah enjoined all Muslims to wage war until Islamic law was established throughout the world, the scriptures backed him up.”
Andrew McCarthy discovered the flaw in the oft-repeated argument that Muslim terrorists are perverting the religion of Islam. They are accurately quotes verses from the Qur’an. That doesn’t mean that all Muslims will be terrorists. Many do not know of these passages or have been able to contextualize them. But it does illustrate why we cannot continually argue that radical Muslims who are calling for jihad are teaching something that is contrary to Islam.