FBI Memo re: Background Information on the Traditions and Beliefs of Muslims

Document discusses Islamic traditions and beliefs, providing detailed background information on the religion. The apparent purpose of the document is to provide interrogators with information they can use in yielding information from detainees.

Non-legal Memo
Sunday, February 5, 2006

Islam is first introduced to children in the family by both parents if they an both present in the home, However, Must= believe that children are born with the innate knowledge of Allah, Specifically, that tfltre exists only one true "God"and that as Allah. This knowledge is found within the soul of every human being This belief is supported by a passage n the Qur'an which states thr . Allah makes a covenant with his servants before they are tan Allah is seen L$ Just, so Muslims believe that if a person is never exposed to Islam they will not be judged badly but will be excused by Allah Arab Muslims believe that Westerners have been exposed to Islam but choose to reject Allah's true teachings
Muslims further believe that Jesus was a Prophet, whose mission was to return the Jewish people to "True Judaism " Mohammed too was a Prophet, whose mission was to return Christians to "True Chnstanity " They acknowledge that all Prophets come to us with miracles so that they can p rove who they an Moses, Jesus and Mohammed all had their miracles, which are divine interacuons with the physical world. Mohammed's greatest miracle was the revelation of the Qur'an The Qur'an wasrevealed to Mohammed directly from Allah The worth themselves arc sacred They sat out the Shana Law, which is a comprehensive set of rules governing Islamic living. Thus it is impossible to separate the Islamic faith from everyday life Shana Law does not separate right from wrong as much as it delineates, Permissible Conduct (Halal) from Impermissible Conduct (Hamm)
Shana law is updated and explained via Fatwas which arc specific rulings made by Islamic scholars through a process called Ijuhad Shana law is perpetual and infallible Fatwas are ti me and circumstance dependant They Rive clarification and perspective under circumstances at the tune they am made Some Fatwas are considered unnecessary, such as the Fatwa declaring cigarette snakkg harmful and thus against Sharia law. One who follows the Fatwa ofan Islamic Scholar who permits Harm and forbids Halal, has elevated that scholar to the positron of God. Ibis is kingly forbidden in the Islamic faith. Fatwas have been used at Pines by self-mterested scholars for political reasons. (This is a good argument for not blindly following an Islamic Scholar who issues a Fatwa that is clearly wrong i
Allah apparentlychanged his teaching on the consumption of alcohol over time, since Jesus drank wine and early followers of Mohammed drd too During Mohammed's lifetime, an absolute prohibition against alcohol was revealed in Shana law However, even this absolute is not absolute For if you are stranded in the desert and have nothing to dnak and come upon a jug of alcohol and there as nothing else to keep you alive, you may drink the alcohol to save your life and get yourself to safety. However, there are two restrictions: You must not desire the alcohol and you mat only drink the minimum amount necessary lo sustain your life (This may ben useful analogy to =pie), when confronted with a detainee who refuses to answer questions that might hurt his brothers on religious grounds. eg.; You need to cooperate to help yourself. As long as you don't
desire to hurt your fnends and you tell us only the minimum necessary to get you back
home to your family, it is the right thing to do.)
Muslims behove that all Jews and Christians are "Disbelievers " That is. they
reject the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed and continue cc a divergent path From
the Islamic perspective, Judawm is sun as promoting "an eye for and eye." Whereas
Christianity is seen as promoting "turn the other cheek" Muslims believe in the tenet of
"an eye for an eye, but it is better for you if you choose to forgive " Thus the Muslim has
the choice to seek retribution in kind or to forgive the transgressor.
9/11 bas causer a resurgence in the Islamic Faith in the Arab world Arab Mus tuns consider the embassy bombings in Africa, the Cole bombing in Yemen and the 9/11 hijackings tri the US , to be acts 01 reaction and self-defense and not acts of aggression or violence They believe that the people of the United States feel "Injured" by these attacks Liberal Islamic thinkers may believe these attacks were unjustified, but fundamentalists believe the at-tacks were akin to the US. Military dropping atomic barbs on Japan's civilian population during World War H That is, they were necessary to stop the U S. from killing Muslims. Arab Muslims believe that the U.S and Israel are engaged in the killing of Muslims as a matter of policy and fact
immediately after 9/11, the Government scholars In Saudi Arabia spoke out against the acts of the hijackers as aga . nq Islam This is because Islam preaches the protection of innocent women and children and non-combatants However, shortly thereafter, other scholars said these acts were consistent with the Shane They based this decision in pan on a 500 year old Fatwa which says if the enemy has taken Muslims captive and their is a threat from that enemy, then you can kill the enemy and all of the captives Under the concept of Wala, Muslims arc to love and protect all other Muslims Muslims hate lo see Muslims getting killed On the contrary, Be ra means that Muslims should n d take disbelievers on as mumaie &lends, however, they must be just and fair to them.
Muslims father believe that the Am olein public has a fundamental lack of understandmg of Its enemy That is, the) don't take tnto account that their enemy wants to die Jihad fighters want to become martyrs. Also, since Usama But Laden (UBL) works from cells, he does not need A/-Qiiida to wage his war against the US. So the
recent victory over Al-Qaida and the Tabban in Afghanistan is a hollow victory
It u obvious fmm UBL's actions that he wanted to reach the Muslim public He met with the Mujaludeen, he made video tapes and he was interviewed by the press all in an of orl to win pubhc approval. Many Saudi Arabians believe UBL was successful in this endeavor. The Saudi public is geneinlly behind' JBL. It is not only the extremists who cl-e4r UBL on Hc is well liked by middle of the road Muskas,
Saudi Arabia has the largest number of fundamentalist Muslims In the world, and b a% of in population is under the age of 22 It is very easy to manipulate youthful Muslims into fighting the jihad against the US. Although rt is illegal in Saudi Arabia to
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call for a jihad against the U S , one speech in a mosque could result in 2000 young
people joining (he Jihad. Many of those who went to fight jihad were not fundamentalist
Saudi Arabian Muslims believe that if the U.S continues its military response against Muslims the suicide acts will continue and the situation will evolve into an Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but on a much larger scale They fear eat the U S. will feel emboldened by the "victory" over the Teliban m Af.hanistanin only two months and say we should have done this before They believe that unlike the Russians who continue to throw soldier after soldier into the fray of a losing battle, the U.S. intelligently withdrew from Somalia and Lebanon They arc dinsatisfied with the presence of U.S troop in Saudi Arabia and blame the current economic problems they face on the presence of these troops They believe that the. U.S Nhould remove its troops from Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, and not invade Iraq In addition, thcy feel that the U.S should at least make it appear that they are no longer bae,.ing.in its w e of force against the Palestinians This may be accomplished by wing a Mushm middleman who knows the Religion and culture of Islam This, they feel, will be the way to end the U.S /Al Q-avia conflict
Muslims believe that Allah know:, all, including the future They speak about a book in which all things that happen to a man's life ai written They often speak of their fate being in Allah's hands The Muslim word for fate is "Kati& " They use the word in situations of misfortune, for example whim 3 child is struck by a car and killed U is said that even the faithful have no control over these things However, this concept does not wipe out man's free will That is, man must still take responsibility for his own actions He must do right instead of wrong and It must do the things necessary to insure cause and effect
Some Muslim people also want to rationalize away lbw own negligence as fate To illustrate this point they speak of a parable told by Mohammed himself in which he sees a man whose camel is wandering off int, the desert Mohammed asks the man if he had dad irp the camel and the cu la replies lb n he doesn't have to worry about tying up his camel because it is in the hands of Allah, Mohammed replied, no you must rust take care of your responsibilities by tying up your camel then you can put it in the had of Allah In other words Allah requires that your partntpate in life by using your God given skills and not simply sitting back and putting life in the hands of Allah It is only after a Muslim exhausts all of bis means, that he can legitimately leave it in the hands of Allah (Therefore, detainees who mvoke the Will oCAllah, should `cc reminded of this parable and encouraged to do what Allah requires, it , what is in their power to save themselves )
Some of the detainees will invariably say they don't have any control over what bappris to them. The concept of tawkui irte,ins their lives art in Allah's hands and they rely on Allah to take care of them. (These detainees should be reminded that the test
Allah gives them in this life is very difficult and this interview/intenog,ation process is part of that test They should participate in the process as Allah requires and take an active role in their lives This is what their families would expect of them as well )
After the death of the Prophet Mohammed, the islanuc world was ruled by four successive Khahfas (Islamic leaders who ruled over all Muslims) without division However, after the murder of the fourth Kheltfa, Mt, that was a split among Muslims, They divided into the Sunnis, who rerartined fartlaful to the Sham, and the Shiites, who began praying to IChaltfa Mi, and went their separate ways. Some Shutes even worship Khal tie Ali
Today Sunru Muslims outnumber Shiites and consider them a deviant sect. The Shiites instituted selfpunishment rites to express the guilt they felt for failing to protect theu fallen Khalifs, Ah. Ayatola Khomeni's followers are Shiites and are considered and fundamentalists Like most other Shiites, Khomeni's followers did not fight in the Jihad in Afghanistan
Like the liezbollah, most Muslims in Iran and Lebanon are Shiites These people have never been a direct threat to the U S On the other hand, M-Qaida is made up mainly of Sl111111,5, who are engaged in a iihad against the U S.
There are many Qv(' sale versa= regarding martyrdom These vases speak of the Heavenly incentives ofmarlyrdom These incentives arc meant to push follow= of Islam to resist the fear of death and die in the defense of their faith Most of the Qur'anic verses calling people to jihad and martyrdom wen revealed to Mohammed in the 8 years he spent in Medina In contrast, most 01 the verses revealed to Mohammed in the prior 13 years he spent in Mecca were peaceful, :ailing people to worship one God and spreading ethics
Mohammed led by example, fighting on the front lines of the first Islamic jihad and getting injured at times However, his followers did their best to protect him from injury Mohammed spent 13 years in Mecca, then 8 years in Medina where he established an Islamic army before returning to Mecca and going on to conquer most of the known world.
In 2000, a Saudi Arabian scholar issued a fstwa and a public statement that Palestinian suicide bombers a n not acts of Martyrdom They are simply acts of suicide, which are agatrist Islam This is believed to have been motivated by the Saudi government This attempt to quell suicide bombings stems to have backfired because many Islamic Scholars around t131 world then net* tele vised statements saying the suicide bombings arc acts of Martyrdom as long as they are not done out of despair After 9/1I, people in Saudi Arabia wen celebrating in the streets because they consider these great acts of Martyrdom
The Qur'an has mg verses which call believers to martyrdom and It apparently does not envision a time for peace. In fart it cal (s for Muslims to spread Islam until only one religion prevails, the one that praises the true God, Allah Each believer has the choice to martyr himself or to find another way to fulfill his faith At this point m time, however, almost all jihad movements are geared toward self-preservation and not toward spreading Islam
In Islam, Faith and Jihad cannot be separated, however, jihad can be a violent or a non-violent struggle If a jihad should bring Muslims in conffict wilt Muslims, the Qur'an says they should by to reconcile. Both sides should exhaust every means in their power before putting the conflict in the hands of Allah If the conflict is not resolved, the aggressor is seen as wrong and hue believers are called to join the side of the oppressed