The Paradox of “Allahu Akbar” (God is greater)

These inhumane beings who chant “Allahu Akbar” as they slay and burn people alive, who blow up churches and homes, who sell and buy the people God created, who destroy cultures and history believing that they are elevating the god whom they worship, are just a few, misled and misleading who will not escape the judgement of God. A day will come when they will drink of the same cup they have served their victims, and, with the same measure they used for their victims, it will be measured to them, and much more.

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By Mounir Bishay l January 9, 2017

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After the Russian ambassador dropped dead at the killer’s feet, the terrorist proudly jumped up and down, chanting over and over again, “Allahu Akbar” (God is greater).

Just as Muslims say “Allahu Akbar,” Christians say “Praise be to God.” In essence, the two terms are used to glorify the divine being. Both seek to express the same sentiment, acknowledging the greatness and power of God. In chanting “Allahu Akbar” one is supposed to be thanking God for all His blessings and recognizing His goodness. Unfortunately, some have succeeded in changing the beauty and magnificence of that expression to signify the very opposite.

Recently, I received a video of a public auction conducted by ISIS in a courtyard for trading in girls they had taken captive, with dozens of those girls waiting their turn on the platform. One terrorist would display his “merchandise” while others look on, some directing their guns towards the spot where the auction was being held. They would bring each girl forward by herself, and the traders would bid on her until one of them won the bid and led his “merchandise” off like a sheep as she wails and shrieks in fear of the horror which awaited her. It was quite noticeable that the auctioneer would from time to time chant, “Allahu Akbar,” whereupon the rest of the terrorists would repeat that cry after him. Their clamor was so loud that it almost shook the building. It seemed their intent was adding more terror to the scene, so that they could successfully complete their infamous undertaking.

I personally do not understand how they can be glorifying God and at the same time humiliating some human beings whom God had created in His own image!

Neither can I fathom how they are able to follow their wicked deed by performing the Muslim ritual of washing before prayers, and in phony modesty pray, using that same phrase, “Allahu Akbar!”

Have they absolutely lost all feelings and believe that they are serving God by humiliating those helpless girls? It’s also ironic that the faces of the captured girls were uncovered, while those of the coward terrorists were fully covered with something resembling the Muslim women’s “Nequabs” lest they be recognized and tracked down at some future date!

What is really shocking, however, is how the phrase “Allahu Akbar,” with its intended spiritual meaning, and which was originally used to express love of and submission to God, has now become the trademark of Islamic terrorism and blood thirstiness. We now hear these terrorists repeating the chant as they systematically slay people, blast the innocent to pieces, destroy schools and hospitals, and use babies as human bombs to be torn apart along with others who have never assaulted another human being.

The terrible incidents which follow the chanting of “Allahu Akbar” are beyond enumeration. For instance, the 2014 incident which took place in Dijon, France as a driver in his forties hit eleven pedestrians while he chanted “Allahu Akbar.” This driver had already targeted victims in several areas and when he was finally arrested, claimed that he did that “for the sake of Palestinian children!” Have any of these victims ever hurt a Palestinian child? And did his crime benefit any Palestinian children?

Furthermore, the use of this slogan to justify cold blooded murder is no longer limited to killing non-Muslims, but has now spread to include the slaughter of Muslims from differing doctrines or political parties. We’re told that reporters from the Al-Jazira TV channel chanted “Allahu Akbar” after joining in a terrorist attack on Egyptian army forces in Sinai in early January 2015. Some Facebook users posted a video that Al-Jazira TV aired showing those reporters chanting “Allahu Akbar” right after the missile attack and the explosions that targeted army encampments and sites in East Sinai.

The connection between this “slogan” and terrorism is troubling many moderate Muslims, like one media announcer, who expressed concerns over that issue in a tweet he posted saying, “Allahu Akbar” is not a symbol of terrorism but a phrase by which a believer calls on his god.”

In addition to calling on God and worshiping Him, the phrase also affords the weak a chance to seek the protection of the Almighty. Using it, the oppressed invokes God’s help against a persecutor.

“Allahu Akbar” was meant to be a call on God, a way of glorifying His name and seeking His help against oppressors. But this meaning has changed for some, even to the extent that if you’re attending a theatre performance or a ball game in a stadium and someone suddenly appears chanting “Allahu Akbar,” you would not think he’s up to any good, but will immediately fall to the ground and seek shelter in place, all the time praying, “Oh God, please protect me!” Well, which god would you be calling on to save you? And which god would they be calling upon to help them against you?

These inhumane beings who chant “Allahu Akbar” as they slay and burn people alive, who blow up churches and homes, who sell and buy the people God created, who destroy cultures and history believing that they are elevating the god whom they worship, are just a few, misled and misleading, who will not escape the judgement of God. A day will come when they will drink of the same cup they have served their victims, and, with the same measure they used for their victims, it will be measured to them, and much more.


Mounir Bishay, an Egyptian by birth, is a human rights activist and writer on Coptic (Christians of Egypt) issues. He is the head of the Los Angeles based Christian Copts of California. Mr. Bishay is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.

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