Two weeks ago we posted about the march in Vienna in support of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Below is a subtitled video of a speech given by Christian Zeitz on that occasion, concerning the Koranic basis for the actions of ISIS and the nature of Islamic law. In addition to his translation of the video, Rembrandt Clancy has provided us with an explanatory introduction.
by Rembrandt Clancy
Below is a video of a demonstration against the “Islamic State” which took place in Vienna on 10 August 2014. The speaker is Christian Zeitz, Scientific Director of the Institute for Applied Political Economy in Austria. According to Internet portal unzensuriert.at, where he has published guest commentaries, Mr. Zeitz studies the theory of democracy, monetary theory, Islamology and the sociology of religion.
Mr. Zeitz raises two subjects in the video for which it is perhaps worthwhile to provide some background: the Ridda wars and the Austrian Islam Act of 1912.
The Ridda Wars
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the current IS leader and self-proclaimed Caliph, takes his name from Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, who according to tradition was an early friend of Mohammed’s. Upon the prophet’s death in 632, Abu Bakr became the prophet’s “rightly-guided” successor and the first Caliph. It was he who sponsored the Ridda or Apostasy Wars until his death in 634. The aim of the wars was to re-establish Muslim hegemony over Bedouin tribes on the Arabian Peninsula after they had fallen away from the faith. Raymond Ibrahim describes these first jihads this way:
Many Arab tribes were still willing to remain Muslim, but had second thoughts about paying zakat money to the first caliph, Abu Bakr. That was enough to declare jihad on them as apostates; tens of thousands of Arabs were burned, beheaded, dismembered, or crucified, according to Islamic history.
Indeed, Qaradawi himself, while discussing the importance of killing any Muslim who apostatizes from Islam on a live Al Jazeera program, correctly declared that “If the penalty for apostasy was ignored, there would not be an Islam today; Islam would have ended on the death of the prophet.”
The Austrian Islam Act of 1912
Christian Zeitz also refers briefly to the Islam Act (Islamgesetz) of 1912 (English, French and German versions), which the Emperor Franz Joseph (1830-1916) promulgated for the purpose of integrating Bosnia-Herzegovina into the Habsburg Monarchy. In a recent article for Gates of Vienna Mr. Zeitz details the background to the Act and outlines what is at stake:
Austria will soon have to decide whether it wants to establish in orderly fashion the primacy of the secular state versus the aspirations for an Islamic divine state, or intends to allow a further embedding of radical variants of Islam.
The Gatestone Institute has an article “Austria: Muslim Brotherhood’s New European Headquarters” (4 June 2014) which analyses why Austria’s Islam Act of 1912 provides attractive, external legal conditions for the Muslim Brotherhood that do not exist in any other European country.
Henrik Ræder Clausen did the technical work on the original footage. Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff supplied the German transcript, without which this project could not have gone ahead. She was also responsible for taking the video footage of the demonstration. Translation and subtitling are by Rembrandt Clancy.
Speech by Christian Zeitz:
… devote a significant part of their free time in the service of this solidarity.
An outward gesture is very important for Austrians and the people of this city.
But it is also very important to speak truthfully about what is behind these massacres occurring right now in Iraq and in Syria and in the entire Near East.
Dear friends, we know that not only Christians, but also Yazidi, Shiites, and Alevi are affected by it; but that does not change the fact that it is inaccurate to label, as so-called “Islamic terrorists”, those who are acting here with tremendous violence, with bloody violence. They are nothing less and nothing more than people very concretely guided by central passages in the Koran. And we should not forget that ladies and gentlemen.