Despite consensus to the contrary -- as exemplified by Chas. Krauthammer's crowing comment that "the good news is that these [pirates] are not jihadists"-- Josh London, author of the excellent Victory in Tripoli: How America's War With the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Shaped a Nation, lays out the case that Somali piracy is indeed ocean-going jihad.
Writing in the Washington Times, Josh takes the US government to task for "treating the matter as a criminal case," arguing that "these `criminals' are jihadist Muslim pirates and must be dealt with in the context of America's larger regional and international war against Islamist terror networks."
He goes on to explain:
For starters, the Somali pirates do not think of themselves as pirates, but instead consider themselves to be devout Muslims protecting Somalia against the infidel West. As one pirate put it to a Reuters news agency reporter, "We are Muslims. We are marines, coast guards - not pirates."
According to a recent report on Radio Garowe, the Puntland community radio station in northern Somalia, these Muslim pirates have been praised for "protecting the coast against the enemies of Allah" by Sheik Mukhtar Robow ("Abu Mansur"), a terrorist leader and spokesman for the radical Islamist and al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen group.
Sheik Hassan Abdullah Hersi al-Turki, leader of the al-Shabaab-linked Mu'askar Ras Kamboni (designated by the State Department as a terrorist group), said: "I can say the pirates are part of the mujahedeen [religious fighters], because they are in a war with Christian countries who want to misuse the Somali coast."
According to a Reuters interview last summer with Andrew Mwangura, head of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, "The entire Somali coastline is now under control of the Islamists. ... According to our information, the money they make from piracy and ransoms goes to support al Shabaab activities onshore." In other words, the actions of Muslim pirates off the coast of Somalia help support the larger jihad taking place in East Africa.
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in his March 19 audiotape to the people of Somalia praised the efforts of these insurgent Somali jihadist groups, saying they are engaged in "a war between Islam and the international crusade," and he described the Somali jihadists as "one of the important armies in the Mujahid Islamic battalion, and are the first line of defense for the Islamic world in its southwestern part."
When it comes to convincing signs of jihad, as the songwriter said, who could ask for anything more? Josh goes on:
Given the import of what is going on in and around Somalia, it is particularly troubling that the media blindly embrace the administration's "nothing to see here, folks" attitude and refuse to recognize the Islamic nature of this piracy. These thugs are jihadists who see their actions as religiously sanctioned.
Raymond Ibrahim, editor of the excellent Al Qaeda Reader, expands on the religious sanction for such piracy at Pajamas Media. Ray notes:
The jihad has various manifestations; it is not limited to bearded, “Allah Akbar”-screaming mujahidin fighting in Afghanistan and lurking in caves. Along with jihad al-lissan and jihad al-qalam (jihad of the tongue and pen, respectively, i.e., propaganda jihad), one of the most important forms of jihad is known as jihad al-mal — or “money jihad.”
The money jihad is fulfilled whenever a Muslim financially supports the more familiar violent jihad. The Koran itself declares: “Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if you but knew” (9:41).
Several other verses (see 9:20, 9:60, 49:15, and 61:10-11) make the same assertion and, more importantly, in the same order: striving with one’s wealthlife, thereby prioritizing the former over the latter, at least according to a number of jurists and mufasirin.
Muhammad himself, according to a canonical hadith (collected by al-Tirmidhi), said: “He who equips a raider [i.e., mujahid] so he can wage jihad in Allah’s path … is himself a raider [i.e., achieves the same status of mujahid].”
Moreover, the seafaring jihadist — or, in Western parlance, the “pirate” — is forgiven all sins upon setting foot in a boat to wage war upon infidels; he receives double the reward of his terrestrial counterpart — which is saying much considering the martyred mujahid is, of all Muslims, guaranteed the highest celestial rewards (see Majid Khadduri’s magisterial War and Peace in the Law of Islam, p. 113).
There’s more. Islamic law (Sharia), what mainland Somali Islamists have been successfully waging a jihad to implement, has much to say about kidnapping, ransom demands, and slavery. U.S. leadership should keep this in mind if and when they consider the plight of the other 200 hostages in Somalia. According to Sharia, there are only four ways to deal with infidel hostages: 1) execution, 2) enslavement, 3) exchange for Muslim prisoners, or 4) exchange for ransom. Those hostages who have not been executed are therefore currently living as slaves to their Somali overlords.
This is clearly the case of Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout, for whom the Somalis are demanding $2.5 million in ransom. Eight months ago, she was abducted, raped, and impregnated by Somali Islamists and is currently “owned” by them — or, in the words of the Koran (e.g., 4:3), she is ma malakat aymankum, i.e., human “property” conquered and possessed by jihadi force:
The term spoil (ghanima) is applied specifically to property acquired by force from non-Muslims. It includes, however, not only property (movable and immovable) but also persons, whether in the capacity of asra (prisoners of war) or sabi (women and children). … If the slave were a woman, the master was permitted to have sexual connection with her as a concubine (Khadduri, p. 119, 131).
Finally, for those readers who refuse to interpret modern-day events in light of “antiquated” history or religious doctrine, here’s an August 2008 Reuters report revealing that what top news analysts are now dismissing as a bunch of random pirates scouring the coast of Somalia are directly related to the mainland, if not international, jihad:
An explosion of piracy this month off the coast of Somalia is funding a growing insurgency onshore as the hijackers funnel hefty ransom payments to Islamist rebels. … According to our information, the money they make from piracy and ransoms goes to support al-Shabaab activities onshore.
Al-Shabaab (”the youth”), of course, are the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists currently taking over Somalia.
Thus, in the words of Krauthammer, whereas “these guys are interested not in martyrdom but in money,” the facts remain: this money funds the greater jihad; and those “pirates” slain by U.S. (”infidel”) firearms are indeed being portrayed as martyrs, as having achieved the highest pinnacle of paradise.
Does this mean that all pirates who happen to be Muslim are funding the jihad and fervently seeking after “martyrdom”? No. But it is a reminder that what may appear to Americans as “um, criminal activities” (in the memorable hilarities of Hillary) have a long pedigree and, within an Islamist context, have much method to their madness. From Muhammad’s 7th-century caravan raids (which were also motivated by plunder), to modern-day Somali piracy, so long as jihadi doctrines continue providing the base proclivities of man with a veneer of respectability -- indeed, piety -- so long will such behavior be endemic to the lands, and waterways, of the jihad, irrespective of true motivation.
And speaking of true motivation--what is the true motivation of our government and media in failing to assess the jihadist implications of Somali piracy?