This is an article in the series A Look Into Islam.
There is a facet of Islam that isn’t discussed or understood in the West nearly as much as it should be — the religious practice of deception, or taqiyya. Since they were often a tiny minority in the larger Sunni population, Shi’a Muslims would use taqiyya to deceive others around them, concealing the nature of their true beliefs in order to survive. While it could be argued that the practice of taqiyya began with Shi’a Muslims, it is now widely accepted throughout all of Islam. And since Sharia law recognizes no difference between church and state in Islam, the practice of taqiyya has come to be used in all aspects of Muslim life, both religious and political. When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims that his country is doing nuclear research for purely peaceful applications, he is practicing taqiyya upon the world. When confronted with evidence of plutonium, he will likely continue practicing taqiyya. “What plutonium? Oh, you mean this plutonium. Gosh, how did that get there?”
In an earlier article, I referred to a news report of Sunnis being dragged into the streets and set afire by Shi’as. There is now some real doubt that this story really happened. The news services are all quoting Capt. Jamil Hussein in Iraq, but is this single source credible? It is quite possible that this story is yet another example of taqiyya being used to spread anti-Shi’a hatred — not that Iraq needs any more of that right now. And do you remember the infamous faked-up Reuters photo? Is it just an example of shoddy journalism, or is it taqiyya in action? What about the much-ballyhooed story of the Lebanese ambulance supposedly hit by Israeli munitions? Was this an example of faking the news just for the thrill of it, or was it taqiyya again?
This brings me to a classic example of taqiyya: Palestinian news reports. The people at Second Draft have done a great job of showing two examples of intentional deception in the news. Next time you hear about some atrocity committed by Israeli forces on innocent Palestinian bystanders, you should consider the level of taqiyya used in that area to produce “news.” Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are two videos produced by Second Draft about Palestinian taqiyya. If these YouTube links stop working, you can access the movies directly from the Second Draft site.
All this begs the question: how do you deal with a religious culture that sanctions lying and deception?