An “Islamic Democracy” In Iraq?

By Garner Ted Armstrong

According to the White House, the US government is seeking an “Islamic Democracy” in Iraq. That is like saying it is seeking Christian Atheism, or Pacifistic Militancy. There is simply no way to mix Democracy with Islam, any more than there is a way to mix the Christian religion with Islam.

One need only review the history of the spread of Islam in comparison with the wars fought by the United States over the last 100 years in order to understand the vast difference between a democratic society and a militant Islamic one.

While the United States did maintain armed forces in Germany following World War II (as did France, Britain and Russia), and while it is true we still maintain a token contingent there as a contribution to NATO, this is largely a carry-over from the Cold War, and not dictated by current circumstances.

But when and where did the United States seek to establish the CHRISTIAN RELIGION in any defeated country? Troops, yes. Clerics, no. While it is true missionaries from all religions travel all over the world seeking to find converts, this is done through patient teaching, proselytizing, example, and, often as not, the setting up of humanitarian aid as a part of that example in an effort to win the hearts and minds of people through caring acts.

Not so with Islam.

From the time of the Prophet Muhammad himself, Islam has been spread at the edge of the sword. Muhammad (or Mahomet, as the Turks called him) was not a humble carpenter who sought to teach followers by example and reason. Instead, he gathered a force around him which from the beginning supported itself by coercion and armed robbery. The Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition says, “By force of personality and claims of divine authority, Mahomet had managed to deeply affect not only the Aus and the Yathribites, but was now seen, by the magnates of Mecca, as a bitter enemy.” The same authority says, “Although the transactions with the people of Yathrib [Medina, where Muhammad had fled from the Meccans] had been carried on with profound secrecy, the nature of Mahomet's contract with his new adherents was somewhat divulged to the Meccan magnates, and the danger of allowing an implacable enemy to establish himself on the high-road of their northbound caravans flashed upon them. The rule which forbade bloodshed in the sacred city [of Mecca] had at last to be suspended; but elaborate precautions were to be taken whereby every tribe [except Mahomet's own clan] should have their share of the guilt, which would thus be spread over the whole community fairly. When the committee appointed to perpetrate the crime [they intended putting him to death] reached Mahomet's house, they found that it was too late; Mahomet had already departed, leaving Ali in his bed” (ibid. Vol. 17, p. 404).

There is substantial literature available concerning Mahomet's raids on caravans, including the name of the very first person to be killed while fighting against a Moslem force. He was one Amr b. al-Hadrami, a member of a caravan attacked by the followers of Mahomet at the beginning of the sacred month of Rajab. Mahomet had decided to take advantage of his professed power to bind and to loose, and so had ordered the attack at a time when raiding was unknown, and the caravans felt safe. A few months later, Mahomet organized a raid against a caravan returning from Syria which had evaded him the previous year. A band of 300 were organized, including a large number of adherents who called themselves “Helpers.” The leader of the caravan somehow learned of the impending attack, and so hurried home by forced marches.

Later, a major battle was fought between Meccans and the followers of Mahomet on March 17, 624 A.D. in which Mahomet won a decisive victory which he attributed to divine intervention. He alleged that God had dispatched a regiment of angels to fight on his side, while the devil confused the Meccans.

The Encyclopedia Britannica (Eleventh Edition) says, “In the narratives which have come down and which seem to be authentic the result is amply accounted for by the excellence of the Moslem discipline and the complete absence of any on the Meccan side. Mahomet himself is said to have fainted at the first sight of blood, and to have remained during the battle in a hut built for him to which swift camels were tied, to be used in case of a defeat; yet these accounts make him responsible for the tactics, whilst assigning the credit for the strategy to one Hobab b. al-Mondhir. Several of Mahomet's old enemies and friends of Meccans perished on this occasion; notably one Abu Jahl, his uncle...another hostile uncle, Abu Lahab, who is cursed in the Koran, was not present but died shortly after the battle” (ibid. Vol. 17, p. 405).

This is an important date in Mohammedan tradition, called “the Day of Deliverance.” The story of supernatural aid for Mahomet soothed the feelings of the defeated Meccans; Mahomet gained in popularity and was able to strike at his enemies in Medina. The same authority says, “One of the sequels to the victory was a series of assassinations whereby critics of his actions were removed” (ibid. Vol. 17. p. 405). “Assassin” was originally the name for a secret murderer, and derives from the familiar “Hashish,” an opiate made from the juice of hemp leaves. The “Hashishin” became “Assassin,” which was originally the name of a branch of the Shi'ite Sect, known as “Isma’lites,” founded by Hassan (ibn) Sabah.

Mahomet eventually subdued Mecca, and some years later the entire Arabian Peninsula. This was not done by “missionaries,” but by armed force. His horizons continually expanded. “The conquest of Persia is said to have been contemplated by the prophet as early as A.H. 5, when the famous Trench was being dug, but it was not till the year A.H. 7, on the eve of the taking of Mecca, that the prophet conceived of sending missives to all known sovereigns and potentates, promising them safety if, but only if, they embraced Islam.” Thus it was that Mahomet envisioned eventual world conquest. The Britannica also says, “The prophet claimed throughout that his revelation confirmed the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, and this claim is on the whole reasonable, though his acquaintance with both was in the highest degree vague and inaccurate. Still he reproduced the Old Testament as faithfully as he could, and though he patriotically endeavors to shed some lustre on his supposed ancestor Ishmael, he does not appear to have questioned the Biblical theory according to which the founder of the north Arabian nations was the son of a slave girl...he even allows that Israel was the chosen people” (Ibid. p. 407).

Over the centuries, Islam spread over Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, and into Spain. It spread by force of arms, not patient missionary teaching or humanitarian means. The Islamic Arabs engaged in massive slavery; capturing countless thousands of blacks from Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and other east African regions. A French slaver named Jean-Vincent Morice, who traded at both Zanzibar and Kilwa, which was the most important slave port on the coast, in the 1770’s gave one of the first indications of Arabs engaged in the slave trade. It was on the 14th of September, 1776, that Morice made a treaty with the Sultan of Kilwa for the annual purchase of at the least 1,000 slaves. In three trips to Zanzibar and Kilwa before signing this treaty, he had bought 2,325 slaves for export. Morice does not tell us how many slaves the Arabs were taking away from the coast each year, but he clearly considered it to be a big business by French standards. It seems reasonable to suggest that at least 2,000 slaves a year were involved in the Arab trade at this time.

How ironic that many naive young African-Americans turn to Islam for their religion; assuming Arabic names, and professing Muhammad, when Islamic Arabs were among the most enterprising slave traders, as were the Portuguese, French, Spanish and others.

Eventually, Islam had conquered the entire Middle East, portions of east Africa, much of north, central, and west Africa. In about 1040, the Seljuks took control of most of Persia, and eventually defeated the Buwayhids (Shiite Persians) who had dominated the Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad for a century. By 1092 the death of Seljuk Sultan Malik Shah and his great vizier, Nizam al-Mulk resulted in dynastic strife which in turn resulted in the emergence of the Ottoman Turkish Empire.

The Islamic Ottomans conquered the Anatolian Peninsula (modern Turkey), crossed the Bosporus into European Turkey, and conquered much of the Balkans, all the way to the very gates of Vienna.

To this day, Albania, the poorest country in the Balkans, remains Islamic.

The point is that history demonstrates Islamic conquerors spread their 6th century religion by force of arms – at the edge of the sword – not by patient missionary work.

The United States has never, repeat never, attempted to force upon conquered peoples any particular religion. Though we defeated Mexico, Spain, Puerto Rico, Grenada and Panama, we did not send Baptist, Methodist, or Episcopal clerics to become involved in government! Catholic countries remained Catholic.

What do you suppose would be happening inside the US today had the situation been reversed, and hordes of Islamic soldiers were even now occupying our country? What does history tell you?

You know as well as I that instead of a sincere attempt at installing vast institutional freedoms such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right of peaceful public assembly, the right to own property, freedom of the press and the like, we would be mercilessly subjected to confiscation, looting, robbery, rape, pillaging, imprisonment, torture, and death!

People would be required to proclaim, “There is no God but Allah – and Muhammad is his prophet” at the point of a gun!

The coalition may have removed the regime of Saddam Hussein, but they have not, nor will they ever, change the hearts and minds of the Islamic people of Iraq!

Remember how thousands of Shiites demonstrated against America in Karbala a week ago? Their slogans had nothing to do with politics; nothing to do with the military. The slogans were religious! They read, “NO TO AMERICA, NO TO ISRAEL, YES TO ISLAM!”

The worshipers recited prayers in a fervent religious pilgrimage that dramatized the potential for Shiite power in Iraq, where about 60 per cent of the population is Shiite. 

The pilgrimage to mourn the Prophet Muhammad's grandson was organized by a center of Shiite learning known as the Hawza al-Ilmiya – the same organization that since Saddam's ouster has been sending out volunteers to guard banks, get power plants back on line and set up checkpoints.

Was this massive demonstration – the first allowed in over twenty years and therefore a huge emotional highlight for up to a million rejoicing Islamic Shiites – merely a wonderful example of how a free people are now exercising their right of assembly and religion – a gift from the “liberating coalition forces”?

Or is there something more sinister at work? Reports that Iran seeks to influence Iraqi Shiites are setting off alarms in Washington. “We have concerns about this matter, about Iranian agents in Iraq,” said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. There were reports that Iranian agents have descended upon southern Iraq to bolster Shiite clerics there, and that an “Imam” who boasts thousands of armed fighters is in Iran, waiting for the call.

Fleischer, in a bland acknowledgment of the problem said,  “We’ve made our points clear to the Iranians.”

Iraq's largest Shiite group, called “the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq,” has its headquarters in Iran. The name of the group is hardly a reassuring one. The leader, “Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim,” is still in Iran. However, it has been reported that his brother, Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, who is in charge of their armed fighters, has returned to Iraq to “pave the way for the ayatollah’s return.”

Clearly, the Iranians and the Shiites in Iraq want to see another Shiite fundamentalist clerical regime in Iraq. They are working feverishly to establish a carbon copy of the regime in Iran. Al-Hakim told al-Jazeera television recently that his group opposes any foreign presence in Iraq. Sound familiar? It is precisely why the US has now issued orders to its troops to vacate Saudi Arabia – tossing a sop to Osama bin Laden, who used the presence of “the great Satan’s armed forces” on “holy Islamic soil” as a rallying cry for his global Al Qaida organization.

Can you imagine the following headlines? “The Baptist Militia are even now present around Washington,” or “The Pentecostal troops are only awaiting orders to attack,” or “The Methodist armies are said to be gathering in Virginia?”


To be fair, ALL religions see as their ultimate goal the conversion of the entire world to THEIR “faith” or way of life. But MOST seek to advance their cause through patient missionary work. Whether their doctrines are right or wrong, at least their methods are benign.

Not so when one studies the history of the spread of Islam.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak claims America’s victory in Iraq may mean the creation of “a hundred Osama Bin Ladens.” One thing is sure; hundreds of millions of militant Islamic people HATE the US; HATE Britain; HATE Israel. We may have gained a respite for a time by defeating the brutal Iraqi regime. But how much of a respite? What will we face in Syria, Iran, Libya, and eventually Egypt?

Never forget that the Bible is a Middle Eastern book; that the prophecies of Christ focus on Jerusalem and its immediate environs! Read many of my earlier commentaries concerning the coming “King of the South” and what prophecy says about the Middle East.


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