Are We in the Ninth Year of a Ten-Year Hudna?

September 11, 2001 started out a beautiful day, much like September 11, 2010. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. Only a handful of humans guessed the horrors that would soon unfold -- and most of them would be dead before the press could get their lens caps off.

But as years passed, memories dulled. Americans longed to return to their old Cold-War comfort zone, to be free from having to think of such atrocities being possible on our soil. So we elected leaders whose denial reflected our own. And together with their fawning media, they gave us just what we wanted: freedom to paint a glaring act of war as gang mischief that could be cured with a spanking and some deportment lessons. The illusion that we were safe and it could never happen again. The hope that maybe -- just maybe -- it never really happened in the first place, at least not quite the way we thought. And lies, lots of lies.

They started under the Bush administration and kicked into high gear in November 2008, when our denial achieved critical mass and we elected a man we knew nothing about to protect us from an enemy we did not understand. A mid-sized group armed with box cutters became responsible for all the world's terror. The "holy war" meant to annihilate us was redefined as a noble spiritual struggle, then by presidential decree was excised altogether from the national lexicon. If our enemy was too big to handle without alarming ourselves, we would win by downsizing him. Meanwhile, the Religion That Must Not Be Named was free on bail, safe from any significant scrutiny or ridicule, shielded by its oil money lawyers and cries of racism, and no doubt falling down laughing at our monumental stupidity.

But a chill ran through me this month when I realized that September 2010 might be more than just another anniversary of the 2001 savagery. According to Islamic law, 2010 could be the start of the ninth year of a ten-year hudna. So what is a "hudna," and what is so special about the ninth year of an Islamic terror standoff?

A "hudna" is a temporary peace entered into by an Islamic force when it is weaker than its enemy. Its purpose is to buy the Islamic side time to rearm and regroup. But don't think of it as a ceasefire as Westerners understand the concept, because there are fundamental differences.

First, according to Islamic thought, the Muslim side is entitled to break the hudna at any time without giving notice to its adversary. However, the non-Muslim side is entitled to no such change of mind.

"If I take an oath and later find something else better, I do what is better and break my oath," Muhammad said. "If you ever take an oath to do something and later on you find that something else is better, then you should expiate your oath and do what is better."

Second, ten years is the longest time authorized for a hudna before the Islamic side is obliged to resume making war. And since the last Islamic assault on Washington and New York -- our political and economic capitals, respectively -- we have now passed the nine-year mark.

Could this fact explain the sudden emergence of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf late in the eighth year, demanding to establish his Ground Zero trophy mosque before the ninth year elapses? Is this why the date for its completion has been set for September 11, 2011? Is this why Rauf has turned down whatever phenomenal amount of money Donald Trump offered him in a heroic and apparently sincere effort to make peace?

How many small businesses would Trump's generous offer have launched to bolster the struggling immigrant community? How many hardworking students would it have sent to college? If Rauf is so concerned about his people, why didn't he take Trump's offer and use it to improve their lives? Why didn't he give in and build his mosque somewhere else? And even if he is interested only in self-aggrandizement, why didn't he take the money anyway and use it to buy himself more power and influence? The answer must be that symbolism is more important than reality.

The problem is not that our leaders know nothing about Islamic imperialism, because the information is out there and everyone is educable. The problem is that most of our leaders don't want to know.

They don't want to know that Islamic imperialists don't see national sovereignty as Westerners do, but that they see only two nations in the world: Dar al Islam (themselves) and Dar al Harb (the rest of the world, which Muslims are instructed to conquer). They don't want to know that Islamic war goes on forever until one side or the other wins, and all our efforts at concession and reconciliation are regarded by the Muslims as weakness. Most of all, they don't want to know that the word "islam" itself means "surrender" in Arabic, not "peace," as has been widely misreported, and that our side is the one that is required to do the surrendering.

But sadly, unless things seriously turn around in this fall's election, we may all be finding these things out very soon.

Marylou writes a series of children's books available through Amazon. You can read them all online at
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