OK, so we're not princesses....

The latest "threat" is starting to look old....

Is there some sort of misunderstanding going on? I'm having some trouble at the theoretical level, and I think I need to back up. Way up....

First of all, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (leader of al Qaida -- an organization said to be not terrorist, not in Iraq, and not representative of Muslims) has said that al Qaida will never stop doing what they're doing:

In the audiotape, the speaker thought to be al-Zarqawi told Allawi that "we will continue the game with you until the end." The speaker said "we will not get bored" until "we make you drink from the same glass" as Izzadine Saleem, the Iraqi Governing Council president killed last month in a car-bombing claimed by al-Zarqawi's group.

"We will carry on our jihad against the Western infidel and the Arab apostate until Islamic rule is back on Earth," the voice said.

Wait a minute! I thought that all they wanted was the U.S. out of everywhere. Now the demand is Islamic rule on earth?

Is the threat all that new?

According to Muhammad’s sacralized biography by Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad himself sanctioned the massacre of the Qurayza, a vanquished Jewish tribe. He appointed an "arbiter" who soon rendered this concise verdict: the men were to be put to death, the women and children sold into slavery, the spoils to be divided among the Muslims. Muhammad ratified this judgment stating that it was a decree of God pronounced from above the Seven Heavens. Thus some 600 to 900 men from the Qurayza were lead on Muhammad’s order to the Market of Medina. Trenches were dug and the men were beheaded, and their decapitated corpses buried in the trenches while Muhammad watched in attendance. Women and children were sold into slavery, a number of them being distributed as gifts among Muhammad’s companions, and Muhammad chose one of the Qurayza women (Rayhana) for himself. The Qurayza’s property and other possessions (including weapons) were also divided up as additional "booty" among the Muslims, to support further jihad campaigns.

The classical Muslim jurist al-Mawardi (a Shafi’ite jurist, d. 1058) from Baghdad was a seminal, prolific scholar who lived during the so-called Islamic "Golden Age" of the Abbasid-Baghdadian Caliphate. He wrote the following, based on widely accepted interpretations of the Qur'an and Sunna (i.e., the recorded words and deeds of Muhammad), regarding infidel prisoners of jihad campaigns:

“As for the captives, the amir [ruler] has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale and manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them. Allah, may he be exalted, says, 'When you encounter those [infidels] who deny [the Truth=Islam] then strike [their] necks' (Qur'an sura 47, verse 4)”....Abu’l-Hasan al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah." [The Laws of Islamic Governance, trans. by Dr. Asadullah Yate, (London), Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., 1996, p. 192. Emphasis added.]

Indeed such odious “rules” were iterated by all four classical schools of Islamic jurisprudence, across the vast Muslim empire.

For centuries, from the Iberian peninsula to the Indian subcontinent, jihad campaigns waged by Muslim armies against infidel Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and Hindus, were punctuated by massacres, including mass throat slittings and beheadings. During the period of “enlightened” Muslim rule, the Christians of Iberian Toledo, who had first submitted to their Arab Muslim invaders in 711 or 712, revolted in 713. In the harsh Muslim reprisal that ensued, Toledo was pillaged, and all the Christian notables had their throats cut. On the Indian subcontinent, Babur (1483-1530), the founder of the Mughal Empire, who is revered as a paragon of Muslim tolerance by modern revisionist historians, recorded the following in his autobiographical “Baburnama,” about infidel prisoners of a jihad campaign:

"Those who were brought in alive [having surrendered] were ordered beheaded, after which a tower of skulls was erected in the camp." [The Baburnama -Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor, translated and edited by Wheeler M. Thacktson, Oxford University Press,1996, p. 188. Emphasis added.]

Recent jihad-inspired decapitations of infidels by Muslims have occurred across the globe- Christians in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Nigeria; Hindu priests and "unveiled" Hindu women in Kashmir; Wall Street Journal reporter, and Jew, Daniel Pearl. We should not be surprised that these contemporary paroxysms of jihad violence are accompanied by ritualized beheadings. Such gruesome acts are in fact sanctioned by core Islamic sacred texts, and classical Muslim jurisprudence. Empty claims that jihad decapitations are somehow "alien to true Islam," however well-intentioned, undermine serious efforts to reform and desacralize Islamic doctrine. This process will only begin with frank discussion, both between non-Muslims and Muslims, and within the Muslim community.

Are the beheadings alien to Islam? I remember watching on TV many years ago a film called "Death of a Princess" in which a Saudi princess was publicly beheaded for having the wrong lover. (More here. ) Now, granted, this was years before any sort of public fatwa against all Americans, but still, I have to ask: if it's "Islamic" to behead a member of the Saudi royal family for illicit romance, how different are the beheadings of Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, Robert Jacobs, Paul Johnson, Kim sun-il (along with future others unfortunate enough to follow)?

Apparently, you don't have to be a princess....

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Much as I would like to offer a link to "Death of a Princess," it seems that the original has been thoroughly censored:

"Death of a Princess" is a 105 minute 1980 PBS documentary that secretly filmed the 1977 execution of an Arabian princess. Pressure from Saudi-Arabia and certain oil-companies protested the showing of this film on PBS. In spite of the protests, the film attracted one of PBS’s largest-ever audiences. It seems as though the Internet has been sanitized of this video. If anyone knows how to obtain a copy, please let us know.
I won't hold my breath! If anyone knows how to obtain a copy, please let me know.

Once again, I'm reminded of Stephen Green's words:

Looking for the Paul Johnson video? You'll find this one more informative. It shows how our enemies treat each other. Doesn't take much imagination to figure out what they'd do to us, given the chance.

UPDATE: Wretchard at the Belmont Club makes a good case that these beheadings are not aimed at the West, but constitute preaching to the choir:

This supports observations that Al Qaeda has given up on directly confronting the United States in favor of a new strategy of trying to gain influence and power in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The first would give them power over a large share of the world's oil reserves; the second would give them control of nuclear weapons.

Al Qaeda has three audiences: the Islamic world, non-Islamic U.S. allies and the United States. In the United States, as al Qaeda surely knows, the impact of the beheadings ... will reinforce the feeling that al Qaeda must be resisted at all costs ... It is also not working particularly well among U.S. allies. ... That leaves the third audience, the Islamic world. ... Beheadings are a demonstration of will and ongoing capability.

Al Qaeda may have come to the conclusion that if it hopes to win abroad, it must first of all win at home.

If Wretchard is right, and these acts of savagery are intended to help win over Muslims in the Mideast, well, that just begs the question of whether something is wrong with the "choir."

MORE: The resourceful VARIUS CRISPINUS has located the "Death of a Princess" video, and he emails as follows:

UPENN's Middle East Center lists it among "Available Films":

Apparently you can get the films pretty easily, and free of charge.
Information at this link:

UNC Chapel Hill has a copy on VHS, though theirs isn't available for rental:

Here's their description:

This docudrama of the alleged public execution of a Saudi princess and her lover for adultery caused a diplomatic furror in 1980 in the US and Europe. An earnest reporter, played by Christopher Ryder, attempts to find out the "truth" of many conflicting tales leading to the execution, which probably did take place. It is important to note that such an execution is legally based on tribal rather than Quranic law.

The Internet Movie Database lists a full cast packed with veteran actors.

How much was dramatized? Not even the 'journalist' is authentic. Is the footage of the beheading authentic, or is that dramatized as well?

My only concern here is that a docudrama could prove a weak piece of evidence.

The information is often conflicting. Some people discuss it as a dramatic reenactment of probable events, some treat it as a pure documentary, while Mobil and Exxon are variously invoked as pressuring PBS.

I'm just interested in getting the facts, and I'm leading toward believing it simply because the facts are so confused and hard to come by.

A jpeg which appears to be taken from the film can be accessed here:

With accompanying text here:

My thanks to VARIUS CRISPINUS for this excellent research, and logical analysis!!!

UPDATE (April 19, 2005): I see that "Death of a Princess" is being rebroadcast this week on PBS. In the Philadelphia area, the next broadcast is this Saturday, April 23, 1:00am, on CHANNEL 12 (WHYY). Welcome any new visitors who've reached this site because of renewed interest in the film! Hope you stay and check out the blog's main page.

posted by Eric on 06.23.04 at 03:14 PM



I finally watched that video for the first time, even though you've linked to it before.

And I'm now in total agreement that people should see these things. It's the world in that video, not the blindfolded vision of doves, that we're fighting.

Varius Crispinus   ·  June 23, 2004 5:43 PM

First, let me start by saying that I don't quite know how I found this website but I am thankful that I did.

You hit it head on! I appreciate that.

Second, I watched the video that Stephen Green recommended and all of my beliefs were confirmed. We are where we belong. If we turned our heads at the atrocities what is it that we would stand for both socially and spiritually? If we leave would we be better for it? Hardly. War = death. It's the way it is, will be and always has been.

I'm tired of the Bush sent our men to die to fight his daddy's war cop out. Find a better argument if you don't like it, such as an educated one.

Amen to this site for giving the facts as is and for not being blinded by the media's version of the truth.

Thank you!

Stacy Thompson   ·  June 24, 2004 3:42 AM

I remember both "Death of a Princess" and the Saudi-inspired campaign to suppress it very well. I think that was when I first began to hate Saudi Arabia and its sycophants. Our so-called "ally" -- that sent terrorists over here to destroy two of our highest skyscrapers, murdering 3000 people, in order to terrorize us into surrendering to Islam.

I'm for cutting off all diplomatic relations with that cesspool, all foreign aid, and all trade. Long before 9/11/2001, I was calling for an Energy Independence Mahattan Project to explore and make use of every possible source of energy _other than_ Saudi Arabian oil.

Unfortunately for the survival America and Western civilization, this corrupt Bush administration will never stop coddling our so-called "ally", the Nazi Germany of the Axis of Evil, and neither will Kerry.

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