Allah's Sword of Terror

The first time I heard about Khalid bin al-Walid – the 7th-century Muslim jihadi affectionately known in Islamic history as “The Sword of Allah” – was when I was in college researching for my MA thesis on the Battle of Yarmuk, when the Muslims, under Khalid’s generalship, defeated the Byzantines in 636, opening the way for the historic Islamic conquests. Nearly a decade and a half later, Khalid, that jihadi par excellence, has come to personify a dichotomy for me – how the jihad is understood in the West and how it really is.  Officially, Western academia, media, and politicians portray it as defensive war to protect Muslim honor and territory; in reality, however, jihad seems little more than a byword to justify the most primitive and barbaric passions of its potential recruits. Based on the English-language sources I perused in college, Khalid was a heroic, no-nonsense kind of jihadi – fierce but fair, stern but just.  He was...(Read Full Post)