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Joel Hayward Cordoba Foundation Best

Joel Hayward Cordoba Foundation Best

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S
erieS
N
o
.
2,
A
pril
2011 •
ISSN
2045-6603
Qur’anic Concepts of the Ethics of  Warfare: Challenging the Claims of Islamic Aggressiveness
DR JOEL HAYWARD
DEAN OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE COLLEGE, UNITED KINGDOMCO-DIRECTOR, ROYAL AIR FORCE CENTRE FOR AIR POWER STUDIESHEAD OF AIR POWER STUDIES, KING’S COLLEGE LONDON
 
QUR’ANIC CONCEPTS OF THE ETHICS OF WARFARE
2
 
OCCASIONAL PAPERS | SERIES TWO | APRIL
2011
 
OCCASIONAL PAPERS Series No. 2, April 2011British Library Cataloguing-in-Publications Data. A catalogue record orthis publication is available rom the British Library. ISSN 2045-6603
Qur’anic Concepts of the Ethics of Warfare:Challenging the Claims of Islamic Aggressiveness
by Dr Joel Hayward© The Cordoba Foundation 2011
Series Editors
Anas Altikriti — Chie ExecutiveAbdullah Faliq — Managing EditorAmjad Mohamed-SaleemH.D. Foreman 
Contributing editors
Dr Jasser al-AudaAhmet AlibašićDesign: RedAspect, LondonPrinted in London, United KingdomDisclaimer: Views and opinions in this publication do notnecessarily refect those o The Cordoba Foundation.
Occasional Papers is a publication of The Cordoba Foundation that providesa medium for diverse opinions, presenting a comprehensive view of themyriad perspectives pertaining to dialogue and cross-cultural exchange. Thisis done by publishing important contributions by experts and world leaders.
FOUNDED in 2005, The Cordoba Foundation (TCF)is an independent Public Relations, Research andTraining unit, which promotes dialogue and theculture o peaceul and positive coexistence amongcivilisations, ideas and people. We do this byworking with decision-making circles, researchers,religious leaders, the media, and a host o otherstakeholders o society or better understandingand clearer comprehension o inter-communal andinter-religious issues in Britain and beyond.
Our activities include:
• Face-to-face interaction with decision-makers and gures of authority• Workshops, seminars and debates onpertinent issues• Structured consultation andadvisory services• Training and capacity-building• Periodicals and journals• In-house research• Resourceful website
 
QUR’ANIC CONCEPTS OF THE ETHICS OF WARFARE
OCCASIONAL PAPERS | SERIES TWO | APRIL
2011
3
DR JOEL HAYWARD*
Qur’anic Concepts of the Ethics of Warfare:Challenging the Claims of Islamic Aggressiveness
A
 
frequeNtly
 
quoted
 
SAyiNg
, with slight variations, insiststhat, while not all Muslims are terrorists, all terroristsare Muslims. This is a great untruth. According tobe the American Federal Bureau of Investigation, Muslimshave not been responsible for the majority of terrorist attacksidentified and prevented or committed throughout the worldin the last twenty years.
1
Yet it is true that, even before the BushAdministration initiated a concentrated campaign against anti-American terrorists around the world in 2001 — a campaignwhich quickly came to be known as the War on Terror —several states including America and Israel had alreadyexperienced terrorism undertaken unmistakably by Muslims.For example, the bombings of American embassies in Nairobiand Dar es Salaam in 1998 brought Osama bin Laden andAyman al-Zawahiri to the focused attention of Americansecurity services for the first time. These terrorists and theirideological bedfellows embraced an extreme
minority
opinionwithin Islam. According to that opinion, militant opposition toany ostensibly oppressive political activity that weakens Islamicstates and their interests constitutes a righteous struggle
(jihad)
on God’s behalf (
 fi Sabi Lillah,
literally “in the path of Allah”). Yet these
“jihadists” 
(a phrase not widely used in thosepre-9/11 days) did not garner much public interest until thatdreadful day when nineteen of them hijacked four aircraft andcarried out history’s worst single terrorist attack.No-one can doubt that Western attitudes towards Islamchanged for the worse at that time and have not returned tothe way they were before 2001. Among widely held negativeviews of Islam is a perception (or at least a concern) that,while Western states adhere to the Just War tenets, otherstates and peoples, particularly Muslims in general and Arabsin particular, have no comparable philosophical frameworkfor guiding ethical behaviour during international disputesand during warfare itself. According to this perception, theWestern code of war is based on restraint, chivalry and respectfor civilian life, whereas the Islamic Faith contains ideas onwar that are more militant, aggressive and tolerant of violence.This paper analyses the Qur’an and attempts to explainits codes of conduct in order to determine what the Qur’anactually requires or permits Muslims to do in terms of the useof military force. It concludes that the Qur’an is unambiguous:Muslims are prohibited from undertaking offensive violenceand are compelled, if defensive warfare should becomeunavoidable, always to act within a code of ethical behaviour
…Muslims are prohibitedfrom undertaking offensiveviolence and are compelled,if defensive warfare shouldbecome unavoidable…

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