Originally published under the title, ""Muslims Have the Right to Lie in a Good Cause"—Paki President to Reagan."
Ronald Reagan and Zia ul-Haq
Ben Carson recently created controversy by warning against the Muslim doctrine of taqiyya, which allows Muslims to deceive non-Muslims. I already addressed the accuracy of Carson's statements here, and the media's attempts to discredit him here.
Soon thereafter, Daniel Pipes, the president of the Middle East Forum, brought an interesting anecdote to my attention.
Back in the 1980s, Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the president of Pakistan, explained to Ronald Reagan how it was no problem for the Pakistanis to sign the Geneva agreements and yet continue supplying weapons to the Afghan jihadis ("freedom fighters") combating the Soviet Union.
Why wasn't it a problem? According to Zia, "We'll just lie about it. That's what we've been doing for eight years." He added, "Muslims have the right to lie in a good cause." (Don Oberdorfer, The Turn: From the Cold War to a New Era: The United States and the Soviet Union, 1983-1991, p.280.)
UCLA professor Khaled Abou El Fadl says that the permissibility of lying in Islam is a "complete invention."
Compare this casual statement from the president of a Muslim nation with the claims of UCLA's Khaled Abou El Fadl, whom the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler quoted at length in an effort to prove Carson wrong about taqiyya. According to the Muslim professor, "there is no concept that would encourage a Muslim to lie to pursue a goal. That is a complete invention."
So which Muslim do you believe? The strong and secure Muslim who said that "Muslims have the right to lie in a good cause" — in this case, jihad against "infidels." Or the Muslim minority surrounded by American "infidels" who claims that there is "no concept that would encourage a Muslim to lie to pursue a goal"?
Apparently it never occurred to Kessler that El Fadl himself may have been exercising, in Zia's words, his Muslim "right to lie in a good cause" — in this case, to prevent Americans from ever being suspicious of Muslim individuals and organizations in the U.S.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum