On August 29, 2023, Sheikh Issam Amira, a prominent member of the Palestinian Hizb al-Tahrir party, argued that the "liberation" of Palestine is nothing compared to the potentially great conquests that Islam has in store for the rest of the non-Muslim world — including the United States. (Image source: MEMRI
On August 29, 2023, Sheikh Issam Amira, a prominent member of the Palestinian Hizb al-Tahrir party, argued that the "liberation" of Palestine is nothing compared to the potentially great conquests that Islam has in store for the rest of the non-Muslim world — including the United States:
"What is the Palestinian cause compared to the conquest of Rome, for example? Or the conquest of Latin America in its entirety? Or the conquest of North America?"
Amira went on to say that he personally knows that Australians are "dying of fear" from the nearby Muslim nations of Malaysia and Indonesia, "because they know that one of these days the Muslim armies will come from Indonesia and bring Islam to Australia, like it or not."
What crime did these non-Muslim cities, nations, and continents commit against Muslims to deserve being targeted for violent conquest?
As Amira explained in the same sermon, Islam commands Muslims to hate, fight, humiliate and, ideally, conquer any and all non-Muslims — including family members — simply because they are non-Muslims. He cited the Qur'an:
"You will not find a people who believe in Allāh and the Last Day having affection for those who oppose Allāh and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred." (Qur'an 58:22)
Amira said this was the proof text that Muslims must never befriend or ally with non-Muslims, as they are Satan's minions. "The Party of Satan," he stressed, "is America, Europe, Russia and all Western nations, and all infidel [non-Muslim] nations everywhere." He also quoted:
"They were stricken with disgrace and misery, and they invited the displeasure of Allah for rejecting Allah's signs and unjustly killing the prophets." (Qur'an 2:61)
After saying that this verse was about the Jews, he went on to broaden it to apply to all non-Muslims:
"Everyone who opposes Allah and his prophet is to be stricken with disgrace and misery. Not just that, they are to be broken in the here, and sent to the fire in the hereafter. Why? — because they are the party of Satan!"
Amira is certainly not the only Palestinian to harbor such hostility for the non-Muslim world. One need look no further than to his political party, Hizb al-Tahrir. Although its name means the "party of liberation," and although it pretends its sole interest is "liberating" Palestinians from Israel, when its members get together there seems to be an additional plan, not just for Jews.
Hizb al-Tahrir, for instance, in 2020, held a large, outdoor event near al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem to commemorate the anniversary of the Islamic conquest of Constantinople (May 29, 1453). There, as he had done before, Palestinian cleric Nidhal Siam made clear that, from an Islamic perspective, for Christians as well, liberation and conquest are one and the same.
After all the takbirs (chants of "Allahu Akbar" ["Allah is greatest"]) had subsided, Siam preached:
"Oh Muslims, the anniversary of the conquest [fath/فتح, literally, "opening"] of Constantinople brings tidings of things to come. It brings tidings that Rome will be conquered in the near future, Allah willing."
What did Rome do that it deserves to be conquered? Absolutely nothing — except that, since the conquest of Constantinople, Islam has seen Rome as the symbolic head of the Christian world, and therefore in urgent need of conquest. Or, in the words of the Islamic State:
"We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah... [We will cast] fear into the hearts of the cross-worshipers."
Like Amira, Siam went on to pray for the day when "Islam will throw its neighbors to the ground, and that its reach will span across the east and the west of this Earth. This is Allah's promise, and Allah does not renege on his promises."
Those assembled and he then chanted, "By means of the Caliphate and the consolidation of power, Muhammad the Conqueror vanquished Constantinople!" and "Your conquest, oh Rome, is a matter of certainty!"
Ironically, these kinds of assertions come from Palestinians, who often present themselves as a people whose land is supposedly occupied unjustly. They seek sympathy from the international community, despite the fact that until 1964, there reportedly were no Palestinians -- except twice, neither of which would apply to the current dispute. The first time was in antiquity; the second, after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire from 1922 until 1948, during the British Mandate for Palestine before Israel declared its independence. During the British Mandate, everyone born there then, Muslims, Christian and Jews, had a passport stamped "Palestine."
The first time, in 135 CE, the Roman Emperor Hadrian had renamed Judea to "Syria Palaestina" to try, after a failed Jewish rebellion against the Roman occupation, to rid Judea of any trace of Jews. Also in antiquity, a group with a similar name, the Philistines, arrived in the area, not from Arabia or the east, but from the west and from Crete.
It also might be helpful to recall that until the seventh century and the birth of Muhammad, there were no Muslims – anywhere – let alone Palestinians.
The Islamic conquest of Constantinople had been just that — a brutal and savage conquest the sole legitimacy of which was the might of arms. As other Muslims had done for centuries earlier in North Africa and the Middle East, the Turks invaded and conquered "New Rome" not because the people there had delivered some injustice, but because Islam is committed to spreading the supremacy of Allah, sometimes not too subtly:
"But once the Sacred Months have passed, kill the polytheists ˹who violated their treaties˺ wherever you find them, capture them, besiege them, and lie in wait for them on every way. But if they repent, perform prayers, and pay alms-tax, then set them free. Indeed, Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful."(Qur'an 9:5, Khattab translation)
"And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out...." (Qur'an 2:192, Shakir translation)
"They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allāh. But if they turn away [i.e., refuse], then seize them and kill them [for their betrayal] wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper." (Qur'an 4:89 Saheeh International translation)
The word Islam means "submission."
"Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day, nor comply with what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth from among those who were given the Scripture, until they pay the tax, willingly submitting, fully humbled." (Qur'an, 9:29 Khattab translation)
Those conquered are given three choices: to convert to Islam; to remain tolerated, second-class citizens, called dhimmis, pay a "protection" tax [jizya], and live according to humiliating rules to remind them of their inferiority, -- such as being allowed to ride a donkey but not a camel or horse. The third choice is to die.
It is also helpful to remember that the Qur'an is not made up of "suggestions; Muslims consider it the word of God, similar to the Ten Commandments. One cannot say, "Oh, Allah didn't really mean that." Yes, Allah did, and if you do not follow His word, you risk burning in hellfire forever:
"It is He Who has made the earth a resting-place for you, and the sky a canopy, and sent down water from above wherewith He brought forth fruits for your sustenance. Do not, then, set up rivals23 to Allah when you know (the Truth).... But if you fail to do this – and you will most certainly fail – then have fear of the Fire whose fuel is men and stones and which has been prepared for those who deny the Truth." (Qur'an, 2:22 and 2:24)
The reproval is not just for Jews; it is for any non-Muslim.
Even outside the Hizb al-Tahrir party, leading Palestinians continue to praise and find inspiration in Offensive Jihad, not to repulse or defend against an enemy, but to conquer non-Muslim territories. Speaking on the first day of Ramadan, April 1, 2022, Mahmoud al-Habbash, the Supreme Sharia Judge of the Palestinian Authority, extolled the jihads waged by Muhammad:
"How was this month [of Ramadan] in the life of Prophet [Muhammad]? ... Did the Prophet spend Ramadan in calmness, serenity, laziness, and sleepiness? Far be it from him... The Prophet entered the great Battle of Badr  during Ramadan... Also in the month of Ramadan, in the 8th year of the Hijra [629-630], the Prophet and the Muslims conquered Mecca.... Ramadan is ... a month of Jihad, conquest, and victory."
Similarly, on April 16, 2021, Al Jazeera published an article by Adnan Abu Amar, "head of the Political Science Department at the University of the Ummah in Gaza," explaining how Palestinians find "inspiration" in various jihads throughout Islamic history, "prominent among them the raid of Badr, the conquest of Mecca, the conquest of al-Andalus [Spain], and the battle of the pavement of martyrs [the Battle of Tours]."
In each of these military engagements, Muslims were the aggressors (here, here and here): they invaded non-Muslim territory and, apart from the Battle of Tours, which they lost, they butchered and enslaved the inhabitants, and appropriated their lands — for no other reason than that they were "infidels" — non-Muslims.
The battle of Badr was occasioned by Muhammad's raids on non-Muslim caravans; the conquest of Mecca was simply that, the conquest of a non-Muslim city; the conquest of al-Andalus is a reference to the years 711-716, when Muslims invaded and slaughtered countless thousands of Christians in Spain and torched their churches; and the Battle of Tours is, of course, where the Muslim invasions into Western Europe were finally halted in 732.
Wouldn't it seem, then, that Palestinians should be sympathizing with the Christians of Spain or Constantinople -- rather than identifying with Sultan Muhammad II, who invaded and conquered the ancient Christian city, while subjecting its indigenous inhabitants to all sorts of unspeakable atrocities?
Many Palestinians, seemingly without seeing the irony, present themselves as a conquered and oppressed people whose land was stolen, while, in the same breath, they praise former conquests and wish for future ones -- replete with oppression and land-grabbing from other peoples only because they are not Muslim.
True, the Palestinians are oppressed, but by their own leaders, whom the international community keeps funding and supporting; not by Israelis, who of necessity respond to violence against them, but do not initiate it.
Perhaps the lesson, when all is said and done, is that Islamic notions of "justice" are based on a simple dichotomy: Whenever Muslims conquer, slaughter, subjugate or steal land, that is "just;" whenever they encounter the authority of "infidels," that is "unjust."
Hence the hatred for Israel, Rome, Europe, or wherever "infidels" still govern.
Raymond Ibrahim, author of Defenders of the West, Sword and Scimitar, Crucified Again, and The Al Qaeda Reader, is the Distinguished Senior Shillman Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and the Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.