If you only learn one thing regarding Islam, learn about Islamic ethics. Islamic ethics do not share anything with our ethics. Islamic ethics are profoundly and foundationally dualistic. They have one set of rules for themselves, and another set of rules for everyone else, the kafirs. The treatment of kafirs varies from their being treated well to being beheaded. Both treatments reflect pure Islam. In Islam, kafirs can also be deceived, robbed, murdered and raped. There is even a word for sacred deceit---taquiyya.
On an ethical basis, there is no such thing as Islamic pacifism. Islam is a civilization of war and violence. The Sira and Koran show that Islam was a failure until it adopted violence. It then became overwhelmingly powerful. The Hadith (Traditions of Mohammed) is filled with details of the ethics of Islam.
Ethics is the great divide between Islam and all other cultures, but before we look at Islamic ethics, let's look at ours. Our ethics are based upon the Golden Rule---treat others as you would be treated. Who are the 'others?' The 'others' are ALL others. There's no elimination of someone because of race, sex, ethnicity, or religion. In our politics, everyone is to be treated fairly and equally before the law, and the Golden Rule leads to the concepts of what we call fair and what we call equal. Some may jump up and say, "But we don't do that all the time, do we?" No, it is true that we do not do that all the time, because every person is pulled between two contradictory ideas. One is to treat others as they should be treated. The other idea is purely selfish and to only look to ourselves. When we dwell on our own personal needs too much and start hurting or harming others, we can be corrected and brought back by saying, 'That is not fair,' and such 'fairness' is based upon the Golden Rule.
So the Golden Rule lies behind our legal and ethical system.
Islam does not follow the Golden Rule. Indeed Islam explicitly denies the Golden Rule. The Koran never addresses humanity as a whole. Instead, humanity is always divided into the kafir (the unbeliever) and the believer (the Muslim). The Koran is very clear that the kafir is to be treated differently from the believer, and this treatment can be very violent. So this division into kafir and believer eliminates the possibility of having a Golden Rule.
Islam, therefore, is dualistic. It has one set of rules for itself, and another set of rules for the kafir. There is no 'one humanity.'
The other difference between Islamic ethics and ours is that, fundamentally, there is no concept of right and wrong in Islam. All ethics in Islam are based upon what Mohammed did and did not do; therefore, the concepts inside of Islamic ethics are not 'right' and 'wrong,' but what is permitted and what is forbidden. Mohammed is viewed as the perfect ethical pattern. Every Muslim is to follow him and do what he did and say what he said. The ethics of Islam are determined by what Mohammed did and said---his Sunna. The rest of the ethics are found in the Koran.
Let's examine Islamic ethics regarding deceit, by reading some ideas that have been given to us by Muslims. Let's look at a quote from Ali Al Timimi, an internationally-known Muslim scholar and imam who had government clearance, who even worked with a former White House Chief of Staff and was invited to speak to the military about Islam.
Publicly, the imam denounced Islamic violence and said: "My position against terrorism and Muslim-inspired violence against innocent people is well known by Muslims." But privately, another picture emerged. Five days after the attacks on September 11th, he called them legitimate, and rallied young Muslim men in his mosque to carry out more Holy war and violent Jihad.
Another Islamic leader in this country, Abdurahman Alamoudi, who developed the Pentagon's Muslim chaplain corps, and acted as a good will ambassador for our State Department, also, denounced terror. "We are against all forms of terrorism," he claimed. "Our religion is against terrorism." Privately, he raised major funds for Al-Qaeda, and was caught on tape grumbling that Osama bin Laden had not killed enough kafirs in the U.S. Embassy bombings.
In our culture, we would call these men liars. But this does not apply inside of Islamic ethics, because what these men were practicing was deceit. They were talking to kafirs when they said those things. Let's examine what Mohammed said about deceiving the kafir.
In Medina, there was a Jew named al-Ashraf. Al-Ashraf wrote a poem in which he condemned Mohammed, and Mohammed, at the mosque, asked, "Who will rid me of Ashraf, the enemy of Allah and his prophet?" One of the Muslims said he would, but a few days later, Mohammed noticed that the task of killing al-Ashraf had not been done, so he went to the man and asked, "What are you doing?" The man said, "Mohammed, in order to kill Ashraf, I will have to tell a lie". Then Mohammed said, "Say whatever you need to say."
The Muslim took a couple of his friends and went to al-Ashraf and told him they were getting sick and tired of Mohammed, but before they could leave, they needed to have a little money, and were wondering if al-Ashraf could help. They wanted to borrow some money. Al-Ashraf said he would need some collateral to loan them money. And so, they suggested that perhaps they could bring him their weapons - their swords and knives - and leave them in pawn. He agreed.
So, the next night, the three Muslims showed up, their weapons in hand. But al-Ashraf was not concerned: they had come to pawn the weapons. They chatted with him in a friendly way and said, "It is night---a pleasant night; let us go for a walk and discuss things". So they did. But, in the middle of the walk, after they had recited some poetry, one of them grabbed him by the hair of the head, said to the other, "Kill him", and they knifed him in the stomach and killed al-Ashraf.
When they came back to Mohammed, Mohammed was delighted at the death of the enemy of Allah and the prophet. He had given them permission to lie, because they were dealing with a kafir, and the lie advanced Islam. Here we have dualism. A Muslim is told not to lie to another Muslim, but with a kafir, there is an option. The Muslim can tell the kafir the truth, or he can tell him a lie, if it will advance Islam. And this was repeated many times in Mohammed's life. So much so that, at one point he said, 'Jihad is deceit.'
Now let's go back to the idea that Islam does not use terror. And let's take a look at another story. This one happened in Russia, in Beslan, where there was a school, and the school had roughly a thousand people in it, including the children and the personnel. Some Muslim Jihadists attacked the school and took it over, and held everyone in it. The Jihadists took all of the children and put them in the gymnasium. They were kept there for days without food or water. Finally, the Russian special forces decided that they needed to go in. There was chaos, and as the children jumped out the windows and ran for safety, the Jihadists shot them in the back.
The attack continued. Once it became clear that they were going to lose the building, the Jihadists fell back from their original plan. They had brought explosives, so they placed them in such a way that, when they detonated them, the roof fell in on the children. This was the way that most of the children were killed. This was a terrible attack, but what happened after the attack is what we want to point out.
Muslim scholars and Muslim imams all said the same thing: "That was not Islam. In Islam, we are forbidden to kill women and children." And that is true; there are Hadiths which state that women and children are not to be killed. However, there are other Hadiths in which they were getting ready to attack a tribe, and the simple reason they were attacking is that the people were kafirs---who had done nothing wrong. They decided to attack at night, and they asked Mohammed, 'What if they made a mistake in the dark and wound up killing women and children?'---and Mohammed said, "They are from them." ("them" = unbelievers)
Well, now we have a contradiction. We have Mohammed saying, 'Do not kill women and children,' and we have Mohammed saying, 'Kill them, they are from them.' This is dualism. We have contradictory facts, but both of them are true. The Jihadists can choose whichever they want. And what did the Jihadists in Beslan do? They chose to kill the children. Why? "They are from them." That is, they are kafirs.
In Mohammed's time, in which he developed the ethics of Jihad, he always had the kafirs confused. The Arabs, just like everyone else, had rules for warfare. Since Mohammed was an Arab, they kept expecting him to follow the rules, but Mohammed did not follow the rules. He made them up as he went.
As far as terror not being Islamic, Mohammed said, in one of the most famous Hadiths, "I have been given five things that have never been given to anyone before me." One of these things he was given was that Allah allowed him to spread Islam by awe and terror.
Jihad is terror. So when Muslim scholars say terror is not the way of Islam, they are practicing deceit. Indeed, the practice of deceit even has a special name in Arabic, which we mentioned earlier---taquiyya. It means 'sacred deception.' To even have the concept of 'sacred deceit' is an amazing ethical thought.
Here's another example of deceit in Jihad. In modern times, we have grown used to the fact that a Muslim Jihadist can strap on dynamite and walk into a room filled with people---kafirs---and kill himself and everyone else. Muslim clerics say that is not Islam, because suicide is forbidden in Islam. And this is true. Suicide is forbidden in Islam. But there is a very famous Hadith in which Mohammed said that killing yourself while trying to kill kafirs sends you straight to Heaven; therefore, the ethical expectation of the person who kills himself in the face of killing others, is that he will go straight to Heaven. He is a martyr.
In the very term 'martyr' in Islam, we see the difference between the West and Islam, because the word 'martyr' in Islam means someone who dies while killing kafirs; whereas, in our language, a martyr is one who is killed because of what he believes.
Here's another example of the ethical divide. Currently, in America, there is debate over whether waterboarding is torture. Indeed, the idea of what constitutes torture has been talked about in the media. There is, however, no debate inside the Islamic world about torturing kafirs, and the reason is, Mohammed tortured kafirs. There's a famous story about when he attacked a tribe of Jews. After the Jews had surrendered, they took the leader of the Jews and staked him out on the ground at Mohammed's orders. The reason they did this was that they knew that the Jews had a buried treasure. Mohammed had a small fire built on the old man's chest, but the old man refused to speak. He would not give up the secret of the treasure, so, finally, Mohammed said, 'Cut him loose,' and he took him over to a Jihadist who had lost a brother in the attack on the Jews, and he gave the brother the pleasure of killing the leader of the Jews. So, as a consequence, inside of Islam, there are no questions about whether torture can be used against kafirs. It is Sunna. It is the way of Mohammed to torture the kafir.
Islamic ethics are clearly laid out in the Hadith. Here are some statements about Islamic ethics found in various traditions: 'A Muslim is to never cheat another Muslim in business.' 'A Muslim does not lie to another Muslim.' 'A Muslim does not kill another Muslim.' 'A Muslim does not bother another Muslim's wife.' These statements are very dualistic, because this behavior is only reserved for other Muslims. A Muslim is a brother to other Muslims. Anyone who knows Muslims says, "Wait a minute; I know a lot of Muslims, and they don't lie to me, and they don't cheat me in business. They don't come to work with dynamite and kill themselves and other people." This is duality. The kafir has two ways of being treated. He can be treated as a human being. The Golden Rule can even be applied to him if it will advance Islam, but the truth does not need to be told; the truth can be shaded. The most common form of this deceit is for Muslims to only discuss the Koran of Mecca. Only talking about the Koran of Mecca is telling a half-truth, not telling the whole truth.
In our courts, we swear to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. 'Nothing but the truth' prohibits direct lies. But it's equally important to tell the whole truth, because telling half a truth is just another form of a lie. So, when a Muslim discusses with a kafir the Koran of Mecca---the 'good' Koran---this is a form of deceit. All Muslims obey an ethical code which is quite different from our ethical code.
Islamic ethics support how Muslims treat women. For instance, women can be beaten. Women are set apart in their own separate code. There is an ethical system for slavery. Mohammed was the perfect slave master. His Sunna laid out all the ways that slaves are to be treated. There is also an ethical system for the treatment of the dhimmi, that strange political creature who is not quite a slave, but certainly not a citizen.
So, Islamic ethics lie behind everything that a Muslim does---but it does bring up political questions: If a Muslim does not have to tell the kafir the truth, why would we use Muslim translators for Arabic documents inside of the FBI and the CIA? Muslim translators take an oath, but Islam has a very unique interpretation of oaths: that is, an oath can always be changed by a Muslim for something better, and there is a Hadith which explicitly states this. But the Hadith does not really say what is better. That is the choice of the Muslim. So if we have a Muslim policeman or a military man who takes an oath to serve and protect, he can change it anytime he wishes. And for that matter, this same changing of oaths is applied to treaties---political treaties. If the Muslim nation signs a treaty with a kafir, it can be abrogated at any time, as long as Islam comes out on top.
To deal with Islam, it is critical that we understand its ethics. We assume that they're the same as ours, but this assumption is based upon ignorance, because Islamic ethics are very different from ours. Ours are based on the unitary law of treating all people the same (which originally comes from the Bible). Islamic ethics are based upon the idea of kafirs and believers, and having a separate set of ethics for each one. One cannot understand Islam without understanding its ethical duality.
The above text is taken from the website Political Islam.