Robert Rabil: Beheadings Meant 'to Strike Fear and Terror'

Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 01:31 PM

By Courtney Coren

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The ideological purpose behind the Islamic State's (ISIS) beheading of its victims is "to strike fear and terror in those who don't agree with them," says Middle East expert Robert Rabil.

The "ideological view of beheading" is described on a jihadi website by Muslim religious scholar Sheikh Hussayn Bin Mahmud, who wrote that "'in respect to the decapitation of the infidel from Jews, Christians, Alawites, Shia and those Muslims who are apostates — these we should strike terror and fear in their hearts,'" Rabil told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV on Thursday. 

"'For we should cut their hearts, we should cut their heads with no dignity,'" the sheikh's statement continues. "'For decapitating them is sanctioned by the companion of the prophet. May God bless him.'"

Rabil, a Florida Atlantic University professor, explained that "this is part of their ideology" and this is how ISIS members "perceive decapitation."

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He said it is similar to something written in the Quran, which says, "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore, strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip." 

Some Muslim apologists, he said, explain the verse as a command that takes place during an actual battle but not a general call to behead all nonbelievers.

According to Rabil, Mahmud is a religious scholar from the Salafi jihadist ideology, which is an extreme Muslim theology that argues for the killing not only of unbelievers, but also of Muslims. ISIS is a Salafi jihadist force.

"Beheading is something that is sanctioned according to their faith," Rabil told Newsmax.

"Now, you don't have consensus," he explained. "I don't think the companions of the prophet said that, but this is their own view."

"This is very problematic," he added. "When they say the companions of the prophet — they constituted the golden age of Islam. They hark back to that golden age of Islam."

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