A recent incident once again pointed up the willful ignorance and wrongheadedness of our foreign policy establishment. “On February 9, 2022,” according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), “Channel 1 (Iran) aired a report about the IRGC Aerospace Force’s recent unveiling of the Khaybar Shekan (‘Khaybar Smasher’), a new surface-to-surface missile. According to the report, the missile is an ‘all-Iranian’ strategic long-range precision missile with a range of 1,450 km. The report showed footage of missile testing from a ‘secret testing site’ in Iran. IRGC General Mohammad Bagheri, Chief-of-Staff of Iran’s armed forces, told reporters that the enemies of Islam and Iran only understand the language of force. It is noteworthy that the missile’s name refers to the battle of Khaybar, in which the Muslims fought the Jews who inhabited the Khaybar oasis and defeated them.”
No one in the State or Defense Departments has any clue of even that much about Khaybar, and the reality is much more horrific than MEMRI indicates. As The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS explains, Muhammad led a Muslim force against the Khaybar oasis, which was inhabited by Jews — many of whom he had previously exiled from Medina. When he did so, he was not responding to any provocation. One of the Muslims later remembered: “When the apostle raided a people he waited until the morning. If he heard a call to prayer he held back; if he did not hear it he attacked. We came to Khaybar by night, and the apostle passed the night there; and when morning came he did not hear the call to prayer, so he rode and we rode with him….We met the workers of Khaybar coming out in the morning with their spades and baskets. When they saw the apostle and the army they cried, ‘Muhammad with his force,’ and turned tail and fled. The apostle said, ‘Allah Akbar! Khaybar is destroyed. When we arrive in a people’s square it is a bad morning for those who have been warned.’”
When they entered Khaybar, the Muslims immediately set out to locate the inhabitants’ wealth. A Jewish leader of Khaybar, Kinana bin al-Rabi, was brought before Muhammad; Kinana was supposed to have been entrusted with the treasure of on of the Jewish tribes of Arabia, the Banu Nadir. Kinana denied knowing where this treasure was, but Muhammad pressed him: “Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?” Kinana said yes, that he did know that.
Some of the treasure was found. To find the rest, Muhammad gave orders concerning Kinana: “Torture him until you extract what he has.” One of the Muslims built a fire on Kinana’s chest, but Kinana would not give up his secret. When he was at the point of death, one of the Muslims beheaded him. Kinana’s wife Safiyya bint Huyayy was taken as a war prize; Muhammad claimed her for himself and hastily arranged a wedding ceremony that night. He halted the Muslims’ caravan out of Khaybar later that night in order to consummate the marriage.
Muhammad agreed to let the people of Khaybar to go into exile, allowing them to keep as much of their property as they could carry. The Prophet of Islam, however, commanded them to leave behind all their gold and silver. He had intended to expel all of them, but some, who were farmers, begged him to allow them to let them stay if they gave him half their yield annually. Muhammad agreed: “I will allow you to continue here, so long as we would desire.” He warned them: “If we wish to expel you we will expel you.” They no longer had any rights that did not depend upon the good will and sufferance of Muhammad and the Muslims. And indeed, when the Muslims discovered some treasure that some of the Khaybar Jews had hidden, he ordered the women of the tribe enslaved and seized the perpetrators’ land. A hadith notes that “the Prophet had their warriors killed, their offspring and woman taken as captives.”
Thus when modern-day Muslims invoke Khaybar, they are recalling an aggressive, surprise raid by Muhammad which resulted in the final eradication of the once considerable Jewish presence in Arabia. To the jihadists, Khaybar means the destruction of the Jews and the seizure of their property by the Muslims. That’s what the Islamic Republic of Iran is all about. But Biden’s handlers, bent on appeasing the mullahs in Tehran, steadfastly ignore that.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.