American Muslims Debate Loyalty to America

American Muslims are debating key questions of loyalty to America, a debate in which the stakes could not be higher. Alarmingly, "no fewer than four United States citizens and a permanent U.S. resident have risen to senior leadership posts within al-Qaeda," according to an Investors Business Daily editorial by Paul Sperry. Thus, "five English-speaking leaders are actively planning or facilitating attacks against their countrymen, while recruiting and radicalizing other American turncoats to carry them out."

The implications of this are frightening.  No longer is America at war with a foreign enemy. The enemy is here -- an enemy who understands how "America works, having lived here for decades." Thus, fellow Americans are recruited by the enemy. These traitors are "fed by a native Muslim population once believed [to be] ... nonthreatening." Is this an aberration, or does Islam condone and promote this disloyalty?

Special Dispatch No. 3162, published on August 12, 2010 by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), helps to shed light on this question. The Dispatch highlights the rulings posted on the website of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America. Included "under the category 'Matters Pertaining to Muslim Minorities [in Western Countries]' were answers to questions regarding the legitimacy of cooperating with United States security forces in the war on terror -- both on American soil and abroad -- as well as the legitimacy of enlisting in the ranks of these forces."

Ambivalence was reflected by the Muslim jurists as well as the fatwa committee.

Question: Is a Muslim who owns a moving company permitted to transport supplies from the distributor's warehouse to the port, knowing that the supplies are to be sent to soldiers operating in Islamic countries as part of NATO forces?

Response: Help one another in goodness and piety, and do not help another in sin and aggression...If somebody commits a crime and conspires against [Muslims] you must not abet him anywhere on earth, whether he is a civilian or belongs to the military. ..."

Question: Is it permissible [for] a Muslim, to enlist in the U.S. Navy, in light of the possibility that [one] might be sent to serve in a Muslim country. ... [Would] enlisting in the Navy be considered 'loyalty to the infidels and leaving the fold [of Islam].'

Response: One third of all Muslims today live as minorities in non-Islamic countries, and most of the remaining two-thirds live in the shadow of non-Islamic regimes, even if they live in Islamic lands.  The two groups are subject to man-made laws, which Islamic (sharia) does not recognize, either fully or in part. ...

While the Muslim jurist Al-Hajj does suggest that Muslims should be encouraged to work for the police in order to avoid the possibility that "residents of that country might think that Muslim citizens' loyalty to the country was flawed," he also explains the harmful aspects of Muslims serving on a police force in a Western country. At the forefront of this difficulty is that Muslim policemen might be obligated "to impose laws that are not the laws of Allah."

In essence, if a Muslim serves on the police force, is his service an example of subjugation to man-made laws, "which is tantamount to a sin, or is it permitted as the lesser evil"? Thus, "serving on the police force also constitutes 'aid to perpetrators of crimes and aggression,'" and "[Muslim] policemen [in Western countries] 'might participate in incriminating a Muslim who has been done an injustice.'" Furthermore, "a policeman is obliged to undergo violations of modesty, such as 'licentious mixing between the sexes, seclusion with someone of the opposite sex, and the like.'"

Therefore, if a Muslim does engage in police work despite the violations of sharia, then "it is based on the principle of preventing worse outcomes for Islam and Muslims."

Concerning Muslims joining U.S. security forces, there are conflicting views as well. On the one hand, jurisprudent Dr. Al-Qudah said that it is "permissible for a Muslim to serve in the U.S. military, providing he does not fight his coreligionists." Thus, "the only thing you must consider in this regard is to make sure not to be involved in fighting, harming, or even bothering Muslims at all. [Other than this], defending your country would be a noble job of which you could be proud."

At the site, an online discussion was held on May 19, 2010 under the title "Should American Muslims Be Loyal to America? There were pro and con arguments concerning Muslim loyalty to America.

By virtue of living in the U.S. and benefiting from freedom and opportunity in the U.S., American-born Muslims have given an implicit pledge to be loyal to America. ...

Being loyal to America does not require American Muslims to be less loyal to God. Neither God nor America demand[s] exclusive loyalty. ...

There is no conflict for American Muslims between being loyal to and caring for the worldwide Muslim community, and being loyal to and caring for our American neighbors of other faiths. ...

You can be both a good Muslim and a good American, because Islam and America are based on the same values, like justice and compassion.

... America is not dar-ul-harb (the land of war), because Muslims are free to practice and preach their faith here.

Arguments why American Muslims should not be loyal to America include:

American Muslims have no special relationship with (or obligation to) America. ... A Muslim's true covenant (or pledge) is with God.

American Muslims can be loyal to both God and country, but only if that country is an Islamic state, governed by Islamic law (shariah), not a country that rejects God's law and follows man-made laws.

American Muslims must be loyal to the worldwide Muslim community, not to Americans of other faiths who have rejected Islam and repeatedly elected political leaders who have caused great suffering in the Muslim world. ...

America and Islam have contradictory agendas and priorities, and they have different visions for the world.  American Muslims cannot simultaneously support both sets of agendas, priorities, and visions.

... America is dar-ul-kufr (the land of disbelief), because America has rejected Islam and actively opposes the establishment of a Caliphate in the Muslim world.

And so we return to the Americans now in senior leadership posts in al-Qaeda.

How do we battle the ongoing war from within? America finds itself "battling [its] own citizens. How do we deal with wartime traitors? Can the CIA assassinate them? Can it spy on them? What about their civil rights?" 

Anwar Awlaki, the American-born cleric, is al-Qaeda's top recruiter of Western suicide cells. Awlaki radicalized the Fort Hood shooter and the Times Square bomber. Awlaki has called "on American Muslims to turn against their government and has even justified killing American civilians." He has stated that "[j]ihad against America is binding on every other [American] Muslim," and he warns that terror attacks will come "from within" the United States. In addition to recruiting other Muslims, "African-American and white converts, who do not fit the Arab terrorist profile, have received al-Qaeda training in Yemen." Moreover, because of "free speech," currently "there are 15,000 jihad Web sites" -- the majority of which "operate off servers based inside the U.S."

The jihadists are intent upon the destruction of this country. If moderate Muslims do exist, then it behooves them to fight the American traitors among us. If American Muslims continue to reflect a conflicted relationship with their country of birth, putting Islam above all else, then other Americans will rightly conclude that a civil war is upon us -- one that al-Qaeda is steadfastly perpetrating.

Eileen can be reached at
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