The burning alive in a cage of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh, at the hands of ISIS, was yet another tragic example of how Muslim Brotherhood disciples in the various terrorist organizations around the world implement the idea of takfir (excommunication; declaring that someone is no longer a Muslim, but instead an infidel) in order to hurt millions of innocent Muslims around the world.
As far as the Muslim Brotherhood and the even more radical Salafist-jihadi movements are concerned, takfir means that every single Muslim who opposes their ideology, regardless of nationality, ethnic group or specific school of belief, is an "unbeliever" who should be put to death as rejecting Islam (murtad). Needless to say, the same is true for people of any other religious affiliation, such as Jews, Christians, Buddhists, etc.
Like many other Muslims, I was overjoyed when Sheikh Dr. Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the Mufti of Cairo's Al-Azhar University (the most important Sunni Muslim learning institution in the world), recently spoke out against Islamist terrorism.
As a devout Muslim, I know that Allah created us to live for him, not to die. I felt enormous empathy for the heroic way the Jordanian pilot faced his death. Unlike ISIS's other helpless victims who were slaughtered like sheep, the Jordanian pilot died in his cage like a hero. His executioners doubtless expected pleas for mercy, but the pilot bore his last minutes of suffering without giving them the satisfaction of showing fear.
However, there are indications that a historic change is slowly shifting the attitude of the Muslim world away from Islamist terrorism. In response to the murder of its pilot, the Jordanians executed Iraqi terrorist operative Sajida al-Rishawi, whose release ISIS had demanded, and Ziad al-Karbouli, an Iraqi Islamist who also had previously been sentenced to death, while more than 100 more terrorists await their death sentences in a Jordanian prison.
The fury of the Kasaesbeh's relatives over the delay in the negotiations for his release turned out to be misplaced; he was killed almost as soon as he was captured. They are Bedouins, known for their blood feuds and long memories. Although also known for their pride, they were willing to have Sajida al-Rishawi released if it meant saving their son. However, Jordanian security officials suspected he was already dead, and therefore demanded that ISIS prove he was alive before they released al-Rishawi. Unfortunately, their suspicions were correct.
By burning Kasaesbeh alive, ISIS was trying to ratchet up its campaign towards its next target, the takeover of Jordan, as a part of its plan to unite the Islamists in the Middle East with the Islamists in Africa, and destroy everything in their path. Iraqi and Syrian "refugees" are already in place in ISIS sleeper cells throughout Jordan. It is now clear to Jordanian security officials that because of religious and ideological ties, the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan is ISIS's fifth column. In the meantime, to avenge the death of its pilot, Jordan has deployed and begun to use its air and land forces to attack ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
King Abdullah II of Jordan (center) pays a condolence call to the family of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh, who was murdered by ISIS. (Image source: al Ghad video screenshot)
Before ISIS burned him alive him, Kasaesbeh was forced to appear in a video, accusing the Jordanian government of collaborating with the Jews who opposed Al-Qaeda, instead of attacking Bashar Assad for killing Muslims (as if ISIS did not kill Muslims). One of history's little ironies was that the video was posted around the time Jordan's King Abdullah decided to send back Jordan's ambassador to Israel (he had been recalled after recent tensions concerning Al-Aqsa mosque). The Ambassador was sent back to Israel because the Jordanians realized that Israel was not planning to change the status quo on Al-Aqsa mosque, and that the number of Muslims worshipping in Al-Aqsa had grown, without any Israeli interference.
As fate would have it, the same day the video of the pilot was posted, a number of Muslim women returning from Al-Aqsa mosque were killed in a traffic accident. It is notable that the victims of the accident, part of a group from the southern Israeli Bedouin town of Houra, had been bussed to Jerusalem and back by the Islamic Movement in Israel (a subversive Muslim Brotherhood branch organization, not yet outlawed) in what was clearly a provocation. In another little irony, these Muslims were taken by flown to hospitals by Israel Air Force pilots.
Public opinion polls in the West Bank show that if the Israeli security forces were to withdraw from it as a result of Palestinian elections or an arrangement with Israel, Hamas would immediately take over the West Bank the way it took over the Gaza Strip.
Within a short time rockets and mortar shells would be launched into Israel, and then ISIS-supporting terrorist operatives would swarm into the Palestinian Authority through Jordan, and from there work to subvert Jordan as well as Israel. They would do exactly what Hamas and the other Islamist organizations are currently doing in the Sinai Peninsula against Egypt.
If a wave of mujahideen [holy warriors, jihadis] engulfed the West Bank on the pretext that they were implementing the so-called "right of return" and started killing us as "takfirs" because we do not subscribe to their version of Islam, the result would be rockets and mortar shells, and moderate Palestinians would be captured, burned alive or have their throats slit in the West Bank.
It is also terrifying to think about what would happen if the Israelis withdrew from the Golan Heights as part of peace agreement with Syria. It would be seen as an invitation to come in for either ISIS or Iranian forces, which are already stationed on Israel's border in southern Syria.
Faced with an external enemy, Jordan is closing ranks around its courageous king to fight ISIS. King Abdullah II is not like U.S. President Barack Obama, the leader of the greatest power on earth today, who is afraid to fight Islamic terrorism and afraid of an Iran that aspires to be nuclear, even as it threatens all of us, including the U.S.
What does President Obama think Iran is building intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) for? Iran does not need them to strike Israel, or ISIS or the Sunni countries of the Middle East; it can already do that without ICBMs. Yet His Majesty King Abdullah ibn Hussein, who is the king of one of the smallest countries in the world, is ready to fight heroically to protect his people.
Unlike other Arab leaders, who are afraid to act openly against the Islamist terrorist organizations, and some of whom finance them, Jordan's King Abdullah, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.A.W.), has shown genuine leadership and courage, both in the air and on land, to halt the spread of ISIS toward other Arab states. He is also worthy of being in the small pantheon of Middle East heroes who give Arabs and Muslims real hope for historical change.
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.