Published June 16, 2014 by AlohaSnackbar01
By Mark Durie:
Today a report appeared in The Australian, a national daily newspaper, which discussed forced marriages in our nation. There were many good points made in this article, which was entitled It is the young flesh they want.
The offending paragraph was:
“It is critical that the whole community is educated,” says Jennifer Burn of Anti-Slavery Australia. “The Koran does not support child marriage and the Grand Mufti of Australia says that consent is vital. But there are over 60 different traditions within the Muslim community, with different interpretations of the religious scriptures. We need the religious leaders to take the message into the communities, because they will listen to their leaders rather than us.”
[Since The Australian appeared, I contacted Associate Professor Burn, and she reported to me that she had been misquoted. She has successfully requested the Australian to correct the quotation to: “It is critical that initiatives to address child marriage and forced marriage are developed in consultation with communities and with community leaders,” This is the version which is published on the Australian's website — as of 21 June 2014.]
It is true that the Koran does not refer specifically to child marriage. However in discussing divorce it does refer to conditions applying for a female who has not yet menstruated, i.e. for a pre-pubescent girl. The reference is found in Sura 65:4 in a list of regulations concerning the waiting period (the Iddah orIddat) for divorced women before they can remarry. The verse deals systematically with different cases of women who for some reason are not having regular periods. It reads:
“And of those of your women who have given up hope of menstruating, if you doubt, their (waiting) period is three months, as well as those who do not menstruate. And those who are pregnant, their period is until they deliver their burdens.” (Sura 65:4)
It might be thought that this verse is ambiguous in relation to young girls. However it is quite clear. It systematically covers the three main cases where a female is not menstruating: the old, the young, and those who are pregnant.
Ibn Kathir’s highly respected commentary on the Koran has this to say about this passage (see here).
Allah the Exalted clarifies the waiting period of the woman in menopause. And that is the one whose menstruation has stopped due to her older age. Her ‘Iddah [waiting period before marriage] is three months instead of the three monthly cycles for those who menstruate, which is based upon the Ayah in (Surat) Al-Baqarah. [see 2:228] The same for the young, who have not reached the years of menstruation. Their‘Iddah is three months like those in menopause.
The reference to ‘Surat Al-Baqarah’ is to Chapter 2 verse 228 of the Koran, which states that divorced women must wait through three mentrual periods before remarrying. Ibn Kathir also refers to two hadiths or traditions of Muhammad that Sura 65:4 was revealed when someone asked Muhammad about the young, the old and the pregnant, because their waiting period could not be determined from the principle of three menstrual periods, given in Sura 2: 228.
Furthermore, Islam is not just based upon the Koran. It is also based upon the example and teaching of Muhammad, and here there is very clear support for what today we would call ‘underage’ marriages, because Muhammad married Aisha when she was six and consumated this marriage when she was reported to have been nine years old (that is nine lunar years, which means she was aged somewhere between 8 years, nine months and 9 years, nine months). The revered Sahih al-Bukhari, a collection of sayings of Muhammad, includes a chapter with this heading:
Giving one’s young children in marriage (is permissible) by virtue of the Statement of Allah ‘… and for those who have no courses (i.e. they are still immature) (65:4). And the ‘Iddat for the girl before puberty is three months (in the above Verse).
This chapter consists of the following hadith:
64. Narrated ‘Ā’isha that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).
Collections of hadiths are arranged for legal purposes. The heading of each chapter indicates the relevance of the hadiths it contains for jurisprudence. In this case, referencing Sura 65:4, a hadith about the marriage of Aisha is taken as evidence that it is permissible for a father to marry off his young daughters, specifically if she has not yet reached puberty.
I have written in Quadrant (here) about the rule in Islamic law that a father or a grandfather is considered to be a wali mujbir, or ‘forcing guardian’, who has the right to marry a virgin daughter without her permission.
What Jennifer Burn seems to be trying to do is entirely laudable. She seems to be attempting to persuade Muslim communities to reject forced marriages of female children. However to do so she claims that this practice is not supported by the Koran, which is quite false.
Is it praiseworthy to make a false statement about a religion’s teachings in order to incite its followers to behave well? Whatever the answer to this question may be, this strategy is bound to fail, because anyone who is better informed about the religion will simply reject advice based upon ignorance.
A strategy which acknowledges the authorities in Islam for a practice, and then mounts a case against the practice, is far more likely to have enduring success than one based upon wishful thinking or misleading information.
Mark Durie is a theologian, human rights activist, pastor of an Anglican church, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle Eastern Forum, and director of the Institute for Spiritual Awareness. He has published many articles and books on the language and culture of the Acehnese, Christian-Muslim relations and religious freedom. A graduate of the Australian National University and the Australian College of Theology, he has held visiting appointments at the University of Leiden, MIT, UCLA and Stanford, and was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1992.
by Baron Bodissey:
In the comments on Geert Wilders’ open letter to Pope Francis, a reader named MH indicated that he was unfamiliar with — or was pretending to be unfamiliar with — the Islamic doctrine of abrogation as it applies to contradictory verses within the Koran.
In a nutshell, any earlier verse of the Koran is considered “abrogated” if a later verse contradicts it. The chronology of the suras of the Koran has been well-established by a consensus of Islamic scholars, so an observant Muslim can be in no doubt as to whether any particular verse of the Koran is binding upon him under Islamic law.
Retired U.S. Army Major Stephen Coughlin is one of the foremost experts on Islamic law in the Western world. Several years ago I had the privilege of helping with the editing of material that Steve was putting together, including the following section on the Koranic basis for the doctrine of abrogation. The text below is reproduced with his permission.
The Doctrine of Abrogation
By Maj. Stephen Coughlin
At the very pinnacle of Islamic law is the Koran, which is the uncreated word of God as revealed through his Prophet.
So what is abrogation?
This is what Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee has to say about abrogation in Islamic Jurisprudence:
The law was laid down in the period of the Prophet (peace be unto him) gradually and in stages. The aim was to bring a society steeped in immorality to observe the highest standards of morality. This could not be done abruptly. It was done in stages, and doing so necessitated repeal and abrogation of certain laws.
As you can see, Nyazee acknowledges that the Koran contradicts itself. Upon discovering this fact, someone who knows little about Islam might say, “The Koran contradicts itself. Doesn’t this mean it’s broken?” But anyone who takes the time to look into the scholarship will learn that is well understood in Islam that the Koran contradicts itself. This fact is explained, and taken into account. There are methods for dealing with it.
This becomes significant when non-Muslims approach a Muslim cultural expert or “moderate” to ask about certain verses of the Koran that are cited by radicals to justify their violent jihad. The cultural expert or “moderate” will respond with something like this: “You (infidel) must read from the entire body of the Koran to understand the true meaning. Those radicals cherry-pick from the back of the Koran.”
With this reply the cultural expert gives the impression that he does not agree with the radicals, but he never actually says that what they cherry-pick is wrong.
So what is the Koranic basis for the doctrine of abrogation?
It is a Qur’an which We have divided into parts from time to time, in order that thou mightest recite it to men at intervals: We have Revealed it by stages. (Qur’an 17:106)
Concerning this verse, the Qur’an commentator Yusuf Ali says:
The marvel is that these parts, revealed at different times and in different circumstances, should fit together so closely and consistently as they do. All revelation is progressive. The previous revelations were also progressive. Each of them marked a stage in the world’s spiritual history. Man’s mind does not take in more than his spiritual state will have prepared him for. Allah’s revelation comes as a light to illuminate our difficulties and show us the way in actual situations that arise.
I sometimes run into very committed Christians who say, “We have progressive revelation in Christianity, too.” And my answer is: “There’s a pillar, go run your head into it!” When talking about Islamic concepts of progressive revelation, it is totally unprofessional to refer to Christian notions of progressive revelation.
Read more at Gates of Vienna
by ANDREW G. BOSTOM:
As of Sunday December 8, 2013, there were at least 22,023 documented fatal terror attacks committed by Muslims since the cataclysmic acts of jihad terrorism on 9/11/2001. This is by nature a gross underestimate given the horrific level of jihad violence across the globe, which has gone underreported. [ref 1]
Dr. Tina Magaard-a Sorbonne-trained linguist specializing in textual analysis-published detailed research findings in 2005 [ref 1a] (summarized in 2007) [ref 2] comparing the foundational texts of ten major religions. Magaard concluded from her hard data-driven analyses:
The texts in Islam distinguish themselves from the texts of other religions by encouraging violence and aggression against people with other religious beliefs to a larger degree [emphasis added]. There are also straightforward calls for terror. This has long been a taboo in the research into Islam, but it is a fact that we need to deal with. [ref 3]
For example, in her 2007 essay “Fjendebilleder og voldsforestillinger i islamiske grundtekster” ["Images of enemies and conceptions of violence in Islamic core scriptures"], Magaard observed,
There are 36 references in the Koran to expressions derived from the root qa-ta-la, which indicates fighting, killing or being killed. The expressions derived from the root ja-ha-da, which the word jihad stems from, are more ambiguous since they mean “to struggle” or “to make an effort” rather than killing. Yet almost all of the references derived from this root are found in stories that leave no room for doubt regarding the violent nature of this struggle. Only a single ja-ha-da reference (29:6) explicitly presents the struggle as an inner, spiritual phenomenon, not as an outwardly (usually military) phenomenon. But this sole reference does not carry much weight against the more than 50 references to actual armed struggle in the Koran, and even more in the Hadith. [ref 4]
My own copiously documented The Legacy of Jihad describes the doctrinal rationale for Islam’s sacralized jihad violence, and its historical manifestations, across an uninterrupted continuum from the seventh-century advent of the Muslim creed through the present. Consistent with Magaard’s textual analysis, I cite the independent study of Australian linguist and renowned Arabic to English translator Paul Stenhouse, who maintained the root of the word jihad appears forty times in the Koran. With four exceptions, all the other thirty-six usages in the Koran and in subsequent Islamic understanding to both Muslim luminaries-the greatest jurists and scholars of classical Islam-and to ordinary people meant and means, as described by the seminal Arabic lexicographer E. W. Lane: “He fought, warred or waged war against unbelievers and the like.” [ref 5]
Muhammad himself waged a series of bloody, proto-jihad campaigns to subdue the Jews, Christians, and pagans of Arabia. Numerous modern-day pronouncements by leading Muslim theologians confirm (see for example, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi’s “The Prophet Muhammad as a Jihad Model” [ref 6]) that Muhammad has been the major inspiration for jihadism, past and present. Jihad was pursued century after century because it embodied an ideology and a jurisdiction. Both were formally conceived by Muslim jurisconsults and theologians from the eighth to ninth centuries onward, based on their interpretation of Koranic verses and long chapters in the canonical hadith, or acts and sayings of Muhammad. My own research also confirmed Magaard’s observation that the canonical hadith, whose significance to both Islam’s foundational jurists, and individual Muslims, as a permanent guide to pious behavior remains equivalent to the Koran, [ref 7] contains extensive, detailed discussions rationalizing jihad war, with a particular emphasis on jihad martyrdom. [ref 8]
Read more: Family Security Matters
With all that has been written recently on the progressive/Islamist assault on Western Civilization I thought it would be good to re-post this.
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Ibn Warraq, an Islamic scholar and a leading figure in Qur’anic criticism. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Westminster Institute, VA. He has addressed distinguished governing bodies all over the world, including the United Nations in Geneva, and Members of the Dutch Parliament, at The Hague.
In 2007, Mr. Warraq completed a critical study of the thought of Edward Said, Defending the West. Paul Berman, author of Terror and Liberalism, described the book as “a glorious work of scholarship, and it is going to contribute mightily to modernizing the way we think about Western civilization and the rest of the world”.
Mr. Warraq was goaded into writing his first book, Why I am Not a Muslim (1995), when he felt personally threatened by the infamous fatwa pronounced on Salman Rushdie for his book that satirized Islam, its founder Muhammad, and his family. He felt that only a ferocious polemic against Islam as a totalitarian system would wake up Western intellectuals to the dangers that the Iranian theocratic regime posed to our own freedoms in the West. Since this passionate attack on Islam, Mr. Warraq has edited, with long introductions, a series of more scholarly works on the origins of the Koran, and the rise of Islam, works such as The Origins of the Koran, 1998, The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, 2000, What the Koran Really Says, 2002, and the recent Which Koran?,2011.
Ibn Warraq’s new book, Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate’s Defense of Liberal Democracy (Encounter Books, December 2011) carries on the defense of the West started in Defending the West. He defines, describes, and defends Western values, strengths and freedoms far too often taken for granted. This book also tackles the taboo subjects of racism in Asian culture, Arab slavery, and Islamic Imperialism. It begins with a homage to New York City, as a metaphor for all we hold dear in Western culture — pluralism, individualism, freedom of expression and thought, the complete freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness unhampered by totalitarian regimes, and theocratic doctrines.
FP: Ibn Warraq, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Let’s start with this question:
What does this book do that is unprecedented?
Warraq: First, thank you for inviting me to Front Page; it has been a while since we talked.
I do not think there are many books on the market that are unashamedly pro-Western, defending, without apologies, Western values, and talk without reserve of the superiority of Western Civilization, and which take on such taboo subjects as Asian racism, Arab anti-Semitism, Islamic Imperialism, the role of Islam and the Arabs in the Slave Trade, the complicity of Black Africans in the enslavement, and later selling of fellow Africans to Arabs, Persians, Indians and Europeans. There also cannot be any books on the market that defend Western Civilization that begin with a walk down Tin Pan Alley in New York City.
FP: What qualities of Western societies make them superior to those societies that have not adopted Western values?
Warraq: The self-evident superiority of the West stems from certain principles inherited, and further developed and refined over two millennia, from Athens, Rome and Jerusalem. We can, perhaps, subsume these principles under the abstract terms rationalism, universalism, and self-criticism, and then unfurl them in the following more substantial manner. Under rationalism, one would include the notions of truth, objective knowledge, and intellectual curiosity. Under universalism, I would include the idea of the unity of mankind, openness to “the Other” (an unfortunate phrase borrowed from recent anti-Western polemics), other ideas, other customs, other people; and finally under self-criticism the willingness to submit all of the West’s traditions to rational scrutiny. Under curiosity, I include all those examples of disinterested study. Other great ideas of the West which further help define its character and explain its success are: the separation of church and state, the rule of law, equality before the law, freedom of conscience and expression, human rights — in short, liberty and individual dignity which must never be sacrificed for some spurious collective, totalitarian goal.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: this triptych succinctly defines the attractiveness and superiority of Western civilization. In the West we are free to think what we want, to read what we want, to practice our religion, to live as we choose. Liberty is codified in human rights, a magnificent Western creation but also, I believe, a universal good. Human rights transcend local or ethnocentric values, conferring equal dignity and value on all humanity regardless of sex, ethnicity, sexual preference, or religion. At the same time, it is in the West that human rights are most respected. It is the West that has liberated women, racial minorities, religious minorities, and gays and lesbians, recognizing and defending their rights. The notions of freedom and human rights were present at the dawn of Western civilization, as ideals at least, but have gradually come to fruition through supreme acts of self-criticism. Because of its exceptional capacity for self-criticism, the West took the initiative in abolishing slavery; the calls for abolition did not resonate even in black Africa, where rival African tribes took black prisoners to be sold as slaves in the West.
Today, many non-Western cultures follow customs and practices that are clear violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). In many countries, especially Islamic ones, you are not free to read what you want. Under Sharia, or Islamic law, women are not free to marry whom they wish, and their rights of inheritance are circumscribed. Sharia, derived from the Koran and the practice and sayings of Muhammad, prescribes barbaric punishments such as stoning to death for adultery. It calls for homosexuals and apostates to be executed. In Saudi Arabia, among other countries, Muslims are not free to convert to Christianity, and Christians are not free to practice their faith. The Koran is not a rights-respecting document.
FP: What in your mind are the greatest achievements of the West?
Warraq: Not only is the West so successful economically, but it leads the world scientifically, and culturally (one only has to look at the list of Nobel Prize winners in science, and literature to gauge the overwhelming triumph of the West in these domains; or at the influence of the Western arts on the rest of the world- both High Culture and Popular entertainment, from Classical music to cinema).
The great ideas of the West—rationalism, self-criticism, the disinterested search for truth, the separation of church and state, the rule of law, equality before the law, freedom of conscience, thought, and expression, human rights, and liberal democracy- quite an achievement, surely, for any civilization-—remain the best, and perhaps the only, means for all people, no matter of what race or creed, to reach their full potential and live in freedom.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: defines succinctly the attractiveness and superiority of Western civilization. We are free, in the West, to choose; we have real choice to pursue our own desires; we are free to set the goals and contents of our own lives; the West is made up of individuals who are free to decide what meaning to give to their lives-in short the glory of the West is that life is an open book, while under Islam, life is a closed book, everything has been decided for you: God and the Holy Law set limits on the possible agenda of your life. In many non-Western countries especially Islamic ones, we are not free to read what we want; in Saudi Arabia, Muslims are not free to convert to Christianity, and Christians are not free to practice their faith — all clear violations of article 18 of the Universal Declaration.
This desire for knowledge, no matter where it leads, inherited from the Greeks, has led to another institution that is unequalled-or very rarely equaled- outside the West: the University. Here the outside world recognizes this superiority; it comes to the West to learn not only about the sciences developed in the West in the last five hundred years — in all departments of Physics, Biology and Chemistry — but also of their own culture. They come to the West to learn of the Eastern civilizations and languages. Easterners come to Oxford, Cambridge, or Harvard and Yale, the Sorbonne or Heidelberg to receive their doctorates, because they confer prestige unrivalled by similar doctorates from Third World countries.
A culture that gave the world the spiritual creations of the Classical Music of Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner and Schubert, the paintings of Michelangelo, and Raphael, Da Vinci and Rembrandt, does not need lessons from societies whose idea of spirituality is a heaven peopled with female virgins for the use of men, whose idea of heaven resembles a cosmic brothel. The West has given the world the symphony, and the novel.
To paraphrase Alan Kors, instead of the rigid, inhuman caste system of India, we have unparalleled social mobility in the West. Western society is a society of ever richer, more varied, more productive, more self-defined, and more satisfying lives; it is a society of boundless private charity; it is a society that broke, on behalf of merit, the seemingly eternal chains of station by birth. The West has given us the liberal miracle of individual rights, individual responsibility, merit, and human satisfaction.
FP: How do you define the West in your book?
Warraq: I define the West through its values of liberty, and rationalism, and then look at their historical origins. The origins of the modern West are often seen in the Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, but the roots of the Enlightenment can be found in habits of mind cultivated in Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem, and the institutions that grew from them. The Greeks gave us the city and the notion of citizenship, the ideals of democracy and liberty, rationalism and science, philosophy and history. The Romans systematized the law, defined private property, and emphasized individual responsibility. Judeo-Christianity added a sense of conscience and charity, tempering justice with forgiveness, and the concept of linear rather than cyclical time, which allowed the possibility of progress. The Middle Ages brought a deeper synthesis of Athens and Rome with Jerusalem, laying the foundations for the scientific revolution, the industrial revolution, the Enlightenment, and pluralistic liberal democracy.
FP: How is New York City a metaphor for the greatness of the West?
Warraq: In New York, I show the principles of the United States Constitution being applied in a real, vibrant place. I give the term “Western civilization” a physical context in the very concrete of the city. The details of New York’s streets and structures create a believable, breathing image of Western civilization, just as Dickens created believable, breathing characters. See this building, I say—it’s an example of beautiful architecture, one of the glories of New York, and as integral to Western civilization as the works of Shakespeare. See that building—it’s the New York Public Library. Inside the Beaux Arts masterpiece is an institution that embodies key aspects of Western civilization: philanthropy, education, the love of knowledge, the preservation of all the best that has been written and published. Each time you admire the façade of the New York Public Library, you are paying homage to Western civilization. Each time you consult a book in the magnificent Main Reading Room, you are participating in the maintenance of Western civilization. By working and living in New York, you are breathing Western civilization, continuously reminded of its benefits and its values.
Describing a New York street that became known as Tin Pan Alley and the area known as Broadway led me into the Great American Songbook, created by composers and lyricists who were born and lived and worked in that great city. Discussions of Western civilization are too often confined to works of high art that reflect a relatively narrow element of public taste and experience. I maintain that Western popular culture at its best is worthy of respect and should be cherished as much as the operas of Wagner. The work of composers like George Gershwin, born and bred in New York, embodies Western ideals over and above the aesthetic principles of the music itself. I could have written at length about various artists associated with the metropolis—Fred Astaire, P. G. Wodehouse, George Kaufman, the Marx Brothers (born in the Yorkville section of the Upper East Side)—and their contributions to Western popular culture, with creations that are witty, graceful, inspired, and at times touched with genius.
New York, like life, is its own excuse. Nonetheless, no other city in the West—or indeed, in the world—so well exemplifies the inexhaustible possibilities of a modern metropolis, where the inventive and enterprising put into practice the many freedoms guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. The implausible, well-nigh-miraculous functioning anarchy that we know as New York is adorned with every excellence of Western art. It is a city of manifold suggestions, which ministers to every ambition, engenders a thousand talents, nurtures ingenuity and experimentation.
FP: What changed within Western societies that allowed them to so dramatically outperform other societies over the past 500 years, when that wasn’t the case beforehand?
Warraq: What has made the West successful economically while so many countries in other parts of the world fail to provide adequate food and shelter for their citizens? The short answer is the Scientific Revolution of the Seventeenth Century, and the Industrial Revolution of the Eighteenth Century, both depended on European Culture, Economic and Political Freedom, that is the institutions and habits of mind developed over two millennia.
Thus we can no longer defend the notion that Western prosperity is founded on the exploitation of poor people in the Third World. The rich countries are rich because of their practices at home, and because of their readiness to adopt and adapt new things, such as Chinese inventions or New World crops. Jared Diamond concluded that the “proximate factors” in Europe’s ascendance were “its development of a merchant class, capitalism, and patent protection for inventions, its failure to develop absolute despots and crushing taxation, and its Greco-Judeo-Christian tradition of empirical inquiry.” Ironically, given Diamond’s otherwise anti-Western animus, some readers disparaged this view as ethnocentric, or as “utterly conventional Eurocentric history,” in James M. Blaut’s words. But Diamond, in fact, was pointing to some key ingredients of Western success; and behind those proximate factors were culture, ideas, and attitudes.
Sharia is totally incompatible with Western liberal democracy and with human rights in general, because it is a totalitarian construct designed to control every aspect of the life of Muslims and even non-Muslims. It discriminates against women in many ways: their testimony in court is worth half of a man’s testimony (Surah II.282); they inherit half what men do (IV.11); they may be beaten by men (IV.34); they may not marry non-Muslims (II.221). Sharia prescribes amputation of hands for theft (V.38), crucifixion for spreading disorder (V.33), stoning to death for adultery (Reliance of the Traveler, p. 610), execution of homosexuals and apostates (XXVI.165–66; Reliance, pp. 109 and 665). In other words, Muslims want to reintroduce practices that we in the West long ago deemed barbaric.
Moreover, Islamic law is considered infallible and immutable. In contrast to the fixed edicts of Sharia, Western law is bound up with the realities of human life and conflict. It allows the flexibility of making new law to accommodate changing circumstances, within a framework of fundamental principles. The Western constitutions and systems of law are magnificent creations; are we really prepared to jettison them in the name of multiculturalism and globalization?
Most troubling are the efforts to enforce Islamic laws against “blasphemy” throughout the world. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation is taking steps toward outlawing “defamation of religion” (i.e. Islam) worldwide, and these efforts have, in effect, been abetted by Western governments under the guise of suppressing “hate speech.” As Islamic countries consolidate their hold on the UN Human Rights Council and demand national laws to suppress criticism of Islam, how long will it be before Western legislation forbids research into the origins of the Koran or early Islamic history?
FP: Why does the Left in the West not stand up against Sharia? And why do you think the West has lost all self-confidence in its own values and is unable and unwilling to defend its own civilization?
Warraq: I think these two questions, and their answers, are related. One of the reasons why Westerners feel so shy about defending Western civilization was well-described by James Burnham, “When the Western liberal’s feeing of guilt and his associated feeling of moral vulnerability before the sorrows and demands of the wretched become obsessive, he often develops a generalized hatred of Western civilization and his own country as a part of the West….The guilt of the liberal is insatiable. He deserves, by his own judgment, to be kicked, slapped and spat on for his infinite crimes”
First there has been the influence of intellectuals and academics who have undermined the confidence of the West in its own values and strengths. For more than sixty years schools and universities in the West have inculcated three generations of the young with moral relativism leaving them incapable of passing moral or cross-cultural judgments, and unwilling to defend those values. Post-modernism and multiculturalism have completed the destruction of the West’s self-assurance.
Another reason was the intellectual terrorism of left-wing ideologues such as Edward Said, and his highly influential book, Orientalism, that bludgeoned Western intellectuals into silence. Post–World War II Western intellectuals and leftists were consumed by guilt for the West’s colonial past and continuing colonialist present, and they wholeheartedly embraced any theory or ideology that voiced or at least seemed to voice the putatively thwarted aspirations of the peoples of the third world. Orientalism came at the precise time when anti-Western rhetoric was at its most shrill and was already being taught at Western universities, and when third-worldism was at its most popular. Jean-Paul Sartre preached that all white men were complicit in the exploitation of the third world, and that violence against Westerners was a legitimate means for colonized men to re-acquire their manhood. Said went further: “It is therefore correct that every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was consequently a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric” (p. 204). Not only, for Said, is every European a racist, but he must necessarily be so.
As I have argued, Western civilization has been more willing to criticize itself than any other major culture. These self-administered admonishments are a far cry from Said’s savage strictures, and yet they found a new generation ready to take them to heart. Berating and blaming the West, a fashionable game in the 1960s and 1970s that impressionable youth took seriously, had the results we now see when the same generation appears unwilling to defend the West against the greatest threat that it has faced since the Nazis.
When shown that Said is indeed a fraud, his friends and supporters in academia sidestep the criticisms and evidence, and pretend, as did several reviewers of Robert Irwin’s book on Said, that Said may indeed have got the “footling details” wrong but he was, nonetheless, onto a higher truth. Said’s influence, thus, was a result of a conjunction of several intellectual and political trends: post-French Algeria and post-Vietnam tiers mondisme (third-worldism); the politicization of increasingly postmodernist English departments that had argued away the very idea of truth, objective truth; and the influence of Foucault. In effect Said played on each of these confidence tricks to create a master fraud that bound American academics and Middle East tyrants in unstated bonds of anti- American complicity.
FP: This is a toxic combination with Islam’s supreme confidence and agenda to exploit the West’s moral weakness and cultural confusion. Your comment?
Warraq: The West must wake up to the nature of the enemy. Islam is supremely confident in its values, and, of course, convinced that these values are blessed by God, and it is the God-given duty of every Muslim to spread Islam, until it covers the entire world. This is not right-wing paranoia of Western extremists but self-confessed principles everywhere openly proclaimed by the Muslims themselves. Only the Left refuses to recognize it, and is scandalously complicit in helping Islam take over the Western world. It is no less than civilizational suicide. It is perhaps already too late as, on December 13, 2011, the White House invited the OIC within its doors to plan how best to destroy the West from within.
Read more at Front Page
By: Amber Pawlik
Ever since 9-11, Islam has been a topic of debate in many circles. President George Bush announced that Islam is a “religion of peace.” Leftists, though, in particular have convinced us that to criticize Islam is to be “intolerant.” This has created a culture unwilling to call Islam for what it is. Here is a list of common debate arguments in defense of Islam, usually given by leftists, and quick rebuttals to them, proving otherwise.
You are a racist if you condemn Islam.
As soon as you go to criticize Islam, the first response you always get hit with is “you are a racist.” This is not true. Islam is an ideology not a race. You can criticize Islam in the same way that you can criticize communism, liberalism, feminism, etc.
In fact, the biggest victims of Islam are Muslims themselves. Every Muslim I have ever met is bright and hard working. It is unfortunate that Muslims are under the spell of Islam, which prevents them from making the kind of scientific and technological progress they clearly could otherwise make.
Christianity can be just as violent as Islam.
When you point out the verses in the Koran which call for the murder of Christians and Jews, etc., or point out that Muslims are killing people in the name of Allah, the instant response you get is, “Christianity has violent passages too, and people have killed other people in the name of Christianity too.”
All I have to say is: and? If people are using Christianity as a reason to kill innocent people, guess what: they are wrong too. You can’t excuse one evil by pointing to another evil.
Besides that, there are no Christian nations right now that are responsible for killing 3000 Americans or 200 Spaniards. It is the Islamic nations and organizations that are.
It’s the wrong interpretation of Islam that is the problem.
Leftists insist that the Koran isn’t bad; it is the “wrong interpretation” of the Koran. I’m not sure how anyone can fail to correctly interpret statements like,
They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them, Surah4:89, Nobel Koran) but I guess that’s just me.
When leftists say it is the “wrong interpretation” of Islam that is wrong, really what they mean is “why can’t Muslims just ignore the bad parts of the Koran?” Leftists don’t understand the psyche of the person who takes things literally. To them, things are just suggestions not commandments – even the law, as evidenced by the San Francisco mess.
It’s not the wrong interpretation of the Koran that produces terrorists; it is an exact interpretation of the Koran that produces terrorists.
Most Muslims are nice people.
The more emotional appeal is that most Muslims are nice, hard working people and criticizing Islam is to criticize these nice people. Of course most Muslims are nice people. The problem is in the leadership, i.e. people who are responsible for taking the Koran seriously and literally, not the naïve followers.
It is not limited to leadership in the Middle East either. Representative Peter T. King said publicly while promoting his book Vale of Tears that he estimates 80-85% of the Muslim leadership in America supports “Islamic fundamentalism.”
Islam is not benign. To ignore this, being politically-correct, is to ignore a very large, deadly pink elephant in the room.
Islam has produced scientific achievements.
Lots of people insist that Muslim culture has produced various scientific achievements. The biggest “Muslim” achievement that they point to is that they supposedly discovered Algebra. This isn’t true. It wasn’t Muslims or even Arabs that invented Algebra: it was the Iranians. The Iranians have had a very enlightened culture – one that radical Muslims have waged a war against, in an effort to Islamicize them (which you will never hear leftists condemn). The Iranians also had their own religion, Zoroastrian, which was as opposite as you can get from Islam.
Something else Islam defenders might point to as proof that Islam can produce scientific progress is a man named Razi, who they say was Muslim. Razi made several findings in medicine. But Razi, again, was not Arab or Muslim but Iranian. In fact, he was so hostile to Islam that he wrote several books denouncing faith and upholding reason, and became a heretic. Razi, an enlightened Iranian, was to the Muslim world what Galileo or Copernicus was to ours. After treating these men of scientific achievement as heretics forced to live like gypsies, claiming them as proof that Islam can produce scientific achievement is a bit much.
There is my short list of common arguments regarding Islam. This brings me to what I believe is the biggest issue of our time and one of the largest hypocrisies.
Leftists try to claim they are enlightened, sophisticated people, supporting the mind not faith – therefore denounce religion, especially Christianity. Yet it is these very leftists that are most sympathetic to Islam: one of the most faith-based and anti-enlightened religions that has ever existed.
Despite their theatrics, announcing they are intellectual, leftists are not enlightened or intellectual. Genuine enlightenment came when men discovered reason and reality. It started with one man: Aristotle. Accepting that reality was firm and external to man and that men can use reason to understand and explore it allowed for an explosion of scientific progress, technology, and civilization, as we know it.
Read more at Faith Freedom
Political Islam, By Bill Warner:
[This newsletter is the continuation of a debate begun with a rabbi’s criticism of an earlier essay, Fundamental Errors. The set off text is the rabbi’s comments.]
Your response [referring to the newsletter Fundamental Errors] here is filled with errors of fact as is almost everything people like you publish about Islam.
This is an excellent starting point—facts. When it comes to Islam, I use the facts of the Koran, Sira and Hadith. Briefly, the Koran says over 90 times that Mohammed is the perfect life example. Where do we find Mohammed? We find him in the Sira (his biography) and the Hadith (his traditions). Since most people think that the Koran is the bible of Islam, it is interesting to see the relative sizes of the three texts:
Relative Sizes of Islamic Texts
Islam is 14% Allah and 86% Mohammed. Islam can be defined as the political/religious doctrine found in the Trilogy. If it is in the Trilogy it is Islam. To know Islam, know Allah and Mohammed, the only two Muslims you need to know. Said another way, if a claim is made about Islam that cannot be traced back to Mohammed and Allah, then it is not Islam. And Islam cannot be reformed, by its very structure. Reforming Islam means reforming Allah and Mohammed. One does not reform perfection.
The basic error is in trying to attribute to Islam in general what is only true of the kind of political Islamists who are trying to remove modern influences from the Muslim world.
Islam is not defined by Islamists or any other kind of Muslim. The attributes of Islam come from its source texts, influences that are 1400 years old—Mohammed and Allah. It is critical to understand that Muslims do not cause Islam. Islam causes Muslims. Islam is a doctrine that insists that every Muslim submit to a perfect, universal, eternal Koran, the exact words of the only god. A Koran that is perfect down to the smallest detail. Interpretation and context do not allow any escape from this boundary. A Muslim’s only practical way to temper Islam is by denying or ignoring the texts.
There is a confusion about Islam that comes from the Trilogy. There are two Korans and two Mohammeds, hence two Islams. The first Islam is found when Mohammed lived in Mecca and was a religious teacher. The second Islam is found in Medina and is political and mostly about jihad. His two careers are found in the Sira. He preached Islam for 13 years and garnered about 150 Muslims. He went to Medina, where be became a politician and jihadist. In three years he annihilated the Jews. In the last 9 years of his life he averaged a jihadic event of violence on the average of every 6 weeks. When he died every Arab was a Muslim. Politics is what made Mohammed successful. It is the politics that I care about. I don’t give a rip about the religion of Islam.
So here we have two very different Mohammeds. Both are pure Sunna and hence pure Islam. The logical problem this dualism causes is when people meet a nice Muslim, they think that Islam is nice and hence, jihad is not Islam. But both the religious Muslims and the jihadists are all good Muslims. They just follow two different Islams and can go back and forth as needed.
You plainly depend on most of your readings never having read the Koran or studied Islamic history, culture, philosophy, etc. Most of the Koran is about how to live a good life.
I have a library of about 250 books on Koran, Mohammed, Islamic history and culture and have studied Islam since 1970. For about 10 years after 9/11 I read the Koran every day, many days for hours. I publish 3 different Korans.
Actually, most of the Koran is not about how to lead a good life, or a least not a life that is not harmful to others. Here are three examples:
1. About 24% of the Koran written in Medina is about jihad
2. About 17% of the Medinan Koran is devoted to Jew hatred.
3. 71% of all mentions of women in the Koran subjugate women.
Your assertion that Islam has no version of the Golden Rule is patently false. Here are two examples from the Hadith.
“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”
“That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind.”
Those are two of several.
[I cannot locate the second reference about mankind, the first is from Bukhari, the primary hadith collector.] The word brother is used in two ways in Bukhari. The first meaning is an actual blood brother, sharing the same mother or father. The second meaning is another Muslim. There are a total of 209 hadiths that refer to the word “brother” and of these, 113 hadiths are about spiritual brotherhood. In every case a brother is a brother to another Muslim, not a Kafir.
Bukhari 3, 43, 622 Allah’s Apostle said, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection . “
Hadiths that say a Muslim is to love his brother do not apply to Kafirs. The Kafir is outside the Islamic pseudo-Golden Rule.
Let us go one step further with the Golden Rule. Mohammed is the perfect Muslim. Let us examine his status a good neighbor. When he was in Mecca, he argued with every Meccan. The reason that the Meccans drove him out of town was he was so divisive. When he moved to Medina, as soon as he consolidated his political power, he started jihad against the Meccans and after that all pagans. He destroyed the half of Medina that was Jewish. After his jihad against the pagans was successful, he turned north to attack the Christians in Syria. Mohammed attacked every single neighbor he had. Mohammed was a neighbor who caused every neighbor to suffer. So much for the Golden Rule.
This Golden Rule is so important that we need to drive the final nail in the casket. There are 13 verses in the Koran that refer to friendship. Each of them declares that a Muslim is not the friend of a Kafir. Here is one verse:
Koran 5:51 Oh, believers, do not take the Jews or Christians as friends. They are but one another’s friends. If any one of you take them for his friends, he surely is one of them. Allah will not guide the evildoers.
There is no Golden Rule in Islam.
In the usual passive aggressive manner you accuse me of “Christo-phobia.” In fact I have been actively involved with interfaith activities since I was a teenager. In my community I am very welcome as a teacher in local churches.
I am quite familiar with the dark side of Islamic history and also the dark side of Christian history, neither of which is over. The army of the Lord in east and central Africa. There are hundreds of Christian hate groups in our country. None of these is normative Christianity just as Al-Qaeda is not normative Islam.
I cannot comment on hundreds of Christian hate groups. Please name a few. Why is it that you cannot discuss Islam without bringing in Christianity? I hold that Islam is sui generis, a thing unto itself, without parallel. You seem to hold that Islam cannot be discussed without a comparison to Christianity. Why?
But I can deal with al Qaeda as being normative. In Islam normative can have only one meaning—adherence to Islamic doctrine as found in Koran, Sira and Hadith. To imitate Mohammed is Islamic normal and al Qaeda follows the example of Mohammed, the jihadist. Do you ever read their writings? They are constantly quoting the Medinan Koran and Sunna. Of course, the nice Muslim you meet at work is also normative Islam and quotes Meccan Koran. Dualism again. The nice Muslim and the jihadist are both true Muslims.
The concept of jihad is misused alike by today’s Jihadists and by Islamophobes. The term primarily refers to the personal struggle of the individual to overcome temptation and like a good life. The lesser jihad refers to holy wars in defense of Islam. Jihadis comfort themselves for their crimes by thinking that fighting against the West and modernity in general even as they violate the explicit rules of jihad against attacking noncombatants.
Jihad is NOT primarily about personal struggle. Bukhari contains 645,745 words and he devotes 132,315 words to jihad. Of these words devoted to jihad, 2347 words can be interpreted as spiritual jihad. Only1.7% of all jihad hadiths (2347 / 132,315 = 0.017, 1.7%) are devoted to spiritual jihad. According to Bukhari, 98.3% of all jihad hadiths are about killing Kafirs and 1.7% of them are about spiritual struggle. The jihadists and the “Islamophobes” (and I am an Islamo-critic) have it correct and you, sir, are wrong. So says Bukhari.
If you would read the Sira (Mohammed’s canonical biography) you will notice that 68% of the text is devoted to jihad and each and every event of jihad is about war against the Kafir. There is no jihad as spiritual struggle in the Sira.
And now let’s deal with “not harming non-combatants”. You are half right, but since Islamic doctrine is always dualistic, that means there are hadith which say the opposite. Here are two examples that determine the rules of jihad. They contradict each other, so the resolution is that either can be used as needed. (The M in the index number means abu Muslim, a canonical hadith collector)
M019,4319 in one of Mohammed’s battles, it was discovered that a woman had been killed by the Muslims; however, he did not approve of killing women and children.
M019,4321 Mohammed said, “they are from them,” when told of the killing of women and children by Muslims during a raid.
I am guessing that you are a fundamentalist Christian and an adherent of right-wing politics, because that is where most of this kind of literature comes from these days.
Actually, your guess is wrong. I am an apostate of liberal/progressive politics. I reject both political parties and consider them to be the Party of Evil and the Party of Stupid. I am probably more libertarian than anything else. I was raised a Christian, but practiced Buddhism up until 9/11. I claim no religion since that date.
I have been active in standing up to Islamic hatreds for decades including as an NGO delegate at UN meetings. I have done it on campus, in communal settings, and elsewhere.
I became active in interfaith work because I grew up in a community with a lot of Holocaust survivors. My rabbi, who was a survivor who had grown up in Nazi Germany, believed that it was poor relations among different faith groups that allowed the Nazis to sell the German people on demonizing Jews.
I know where teaching hate leads to and that is Auschwitz. Your response to me denies you are a hate group publishing hate literature. I have dealt with such things all of my life and I know it when I see it and I see it in you.
Since you claim to have the power to detect hate, give me your hate evaluation about this event taken from the Sira:
Ishaq554 The Apostle of Allah said, “Kill any Jew who falls into your power.” Hearing this Muhayyisa fell upon a Jewish merchant who was a business associate and killed him. Muhayyisa’s brother was not a Muslim and asked him how he could kill a man who had been his friend and partner in many business deals. The Muslim said that if Mohammed had asked him to kill his brother he would have done it immediately. His brother said, “You mean that if Mohammed said to cut off my head you would do it?” “Yes,” was the reply. The older brother then said, “By Allah, any religion which brings you to this is marvelous.” And he decided then and there to become a Muslim.
You see, I hate this kind of Jew hatred material. I also hate the Koranic subjugation of women. I hate jihad. I hate Islamic dualistic ethics. I hate the Islamic war against Christians. I hate the Islamic slave doctrine. I hate the persecution of pagans. I hate child brides. I hate the Sharia which says that I am a third class citizen. Where do you stand on these issues?
“I know it [hate] when I see it” Your standards of “hate” are subjective. No where do you advance a single objective rule to be used to determine whether something is hate or not. If you don’t like it, it is hate, but it is your personal subjective judgment. And on this issue we see the great divide between us. My statements are based on facts that can be verified by any third party. That is the basis of objectivity.
I am saddened and frightened by the promotion of hatred you represent. I know all too well how similar it is to accusations against Jews in the last century. You are no better than Fr. Coughlin and seem to me to be his spiritual brother.
The “hatred that I represent” is fact-based reasoning. Go back over what is here—extensive use of Islamic source doctrine. Why is that hate? Why is your righteous fantasy so virtuous and why is my fact-based reasoning called hatred? What is your moral basis?
I respect you and assume that our differences are about reason and logic. Even though I have studied Islam for over 40 years, you assert that I am ignorant and I am morally impaired. Facts are never hatred. Since your arguments fade in the light of Islamic doctrine, you turn to name calling. You shoot the messenger.
I look forward to your response.
We received the following question and thought it was worth sharing:
I know you advise all readers to commit to reading the Koran and earlier I agreed with you on this issue. But lately I have realized that no matter what I think the Koran says, the Muslim man or woman is going to interpret it in his/her own way. Even if I think it is terribly violent or it is super peaceful, what difference will that make to the thinking of the Muslim multitudes? They will still commit murders in the name of their religion.
If we — the Islamo-aware people — want to convince other non-Muslims of the horror of Islamic doctrine, then isn’t it better to do it by pointing out the violent acts committed by Muslims in the name of their religious doctrines rather than waste time reading a Koran ourselves? I would welcome your viewpoint on this issue.
I replied with this:
What a great question. I have no intention of changing the way Muslims think. It would be great, but I don’t see it happening. That’s really a job for ex-Muslims. My goal is to get non-Muslims to know what they’re dealing with. Once that happens, we will be able to do whatever needs to happen to curb the spread of orthodox Islam. Most of the people I know who are not already Islamo-aware believe that the bloodshed in the name of Islam is being done by a fringe group, similar to the KKK (who consider themselves Christian), and are not a significant threat. Most people are unaware of the scope and universality of Islamic violence and bigotry. So telling them about it might help. For some people it would be enough. But I’ve found most non-Muslims explain it away. But when I tell them what’s in the Koran because I have read it, and when I try to convince them toprove it to themselves by reading it, I gain an authority in their minds and I reach them better.
What I believe people need to understand is that the violence andintolerance is embedded in Islam’s fundamental doctrines. It is a sobering realization, but it changes the way people respond to actions motivated by Islamic doctrine. That solid information changes people. It gives them a resolve I don’t think anything else does.
That’s exactly what happened to Thomas Jefferson when he read the Koran.
By David Solway:
As I’ve written on several previous occasions, there exists a sect of reformist Muslims who believe that the Koran has been grievously misread by cavilers and doubters who are convinced that Islam is not a religion of peace, but a violent and imperialistic faith intent on world conquest. The passages in the Koran—and the environing literature as well—that give rise to the animosity of nit-pickers and quibblers, the enlightened Muslims claim, require to be re-interpreted so that their temperate and merciful essence can be made plain to all. Embarking on the process of re-interpretation can be a salutary and liberating task, one that we spurn at the peril of darkest ignorance and counter-productive rancor. Eventually the detractors of Islam may realize that they have failed to grasp the beauty, elegance and rhetoric of conciliation that animate the holy texts and be moved to make amends for their anti-Islamic vitriol and stubborn recidivism.
To consider only a few salient instances of controversial passages that have been consistently misapprehended.
Koran 2:191, speaking of infidels who do not accept the word of the Prophet, commands us to “kill them wherever you may find them.” Here we must be particularly alert, subtle and astute, for killing the unbelievers does not mean to slay them bodily, but to kill them with kindness, in other words, to shower the candy of life upon them, to reward them with prestigious appointments and lavish emoluments, to bow before them in the streets and welcome them into the homes of the devout, to address them with profound respect, to decorate them with titles and ply them with accolades—until, bedazzled by the nobility and magnanimity of Islam, they are ready to convert.
Similarly, in Koran 2:216, where we read that “fighting is prescribed” for the faithful, we are to understand that the battle is enjoined to vanquish the evil impulse in Muslim and non-Muslim alike, until universal harmony and jubilation dominate the world. This is the true meaning and purpose of the Caliphate.
When Allah warns in Koran 3:56, with regard to those who reject the faith, “I will punish them with terrible agony,” the supreme Lord does not propose insupportable physical torment but, rather, the moral suffering that comes from the recognition of apostasy or denial, which can only strengthen the fibre of a mortified conscience.
Koran 5:33 informs us that “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.” Admittedly, this is hard verse to fathom; however, as is often the Prophet’s wont, he is not targeting body parts but engaging in graphic allegory to impress upon both believers and unbelievers the self-torture they will feel, smitten by their higher selves, should they curse the Almighty.
In the same way, Koran 8:12, which reads: “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them,” is not meant to be taken literally. The true meaning is: browbeat them tactfully and lightly slap their wrists if they persist in their folly and continue to rebuff your acts of philanthropic munificence. This is the Islamic version of tough love.
Read more at Front Page
By Bill Warner, Director, Center for the Study of Political Islam:
Some people don’t want to learn about Islam from someone who was not a Muslim, a professor or some other “approved” source of information. How can someone without a degree in Islam be an expert on it?
The question is who can we trust to tell the truth about Islam? The answer you will get by going by talking to Muslims has the advantage that if you choose the right country and the right Muslim, you will get the “right” answer. But if you ask the “wrong” Muslim (usually called an extremist or radical Muslim) you will get the answer you won’t like. Is Saudi Arabia or Turkey the right country to go to? Is a Wahabbi imam or a Islamist scholar of Islam the right person to ask? Subjective Islam is a polling problem. Who you ask determines the answer you get. Apologists for Islam ask the “expert” who gives them the answer they want—Islam is wonderful.
But there is one source of knowledge about Islam that is not subjective. If you talk to Muslims, you will find that there is one thing that they all agree on: There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger. This statement is the beginning of Islamic objective knowledge, since 100% of all Muslims believe it.
Allah is found in the Koran. When you read and understand the Koran, you find that there are 91 verses that command all Muslims to imitate Mohammed, the divine human prototype. We find out what Mohammed did and said in order to imitate him in two places – Mohammed’s biography, the Sira, and his Traditions, the Hadith. And that is all there is to know about Islamic doctrine:
Objective truth: if it is in the Koran, Sira and Hadith, it is Islam. Islam is Allah and Mohammed, no exceptions. So skip asking a Muslim, going to a Muslim country or asking a professor. For objective answers, ask Mohammed and Allah. In other words, read the Koran, Sira and Hadith. The problem is that no one reads them is because they used to be difficult. Today are available because simple scientific methods have produced versions that anybody can read. For one example, see the Trilogy Project.
Statistical methods reveal that there are two Korans, Mecca and Medina, and that there are two Mohammeds. In Mecca the Koran is religious, but only a 150 people became Muslims in 13 years time. Later in Medina, Mohammed became a politician and a jihadist, and the Koran becomes jihadic and political.
There are two Islams, two sets of facts – Mecca and Medina. Preaching the religion in Mecca was a failure. But, Mohammed averaged an event of jihad every 6 weeks for the last 9 years of his life, and by the time he died, every Arab was a Muslim. So if you want peaceful Islam go to Mecca. If you want politics and violence, go to Medina. Islam is a dualistic system where peace and jihad exist side by side. Dualism allows “experts” to get what they want, a peaceful Islam in Mecca. See, there it is in the Meccan Koran—peace. Just don’t ever mention Medina and the news is good.
However, the only trustworthy experts are Mohammed and Allah, found in Islam’s texts. They will tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So, here is the rule to grade your experts: listen to those who quote Mohammed and Allah. And ask the expert: What else does Islam teach about this? Get the whole truth, the whole story.
Better yet, since the Koran, Sira and Hadith have been made readable by the average person, read the texts and become an expert yourself by quoting Allah and Mohammed. You will bring objective Islam to your world.
For more Bill Warner videos go to The Counterjihad Report’s Youtube Channel Playlist
By David Solway:
The debate over the nature of Islam continues to fester not only between liberals and conservatives, left and right, but among conservatives as well. It is one of those issues that remain divisively controversial, even among those who share a common or similar political orientation. There is no ultimate consensus on the horizon and there will probably not be a decisive verdict until civil disruption and social mayhem can no longer be ignored or dissembled—what we might designate, taking a page from Janet Napolitano, as “Muslim-caused disasters.” But for the time being, the discussion seems clearly to favor those who maintain that Islam is a “religion of peace” that has been “hijacked” by the extremists within its ranks, a conclusion promoted by politicians seeking votes, professional multiculturalists, brain-dead Hollywood celebrities and producers, and a vast and corrupt media conglomerate that lost its bearings back in the diversity-crazed Sixties when minority hiring and a concomitant “fractious ethnic politics”, as William McGowan put it in a 1993 article for City Journal, became the rules of the game.
Sometimes the pro-Islam argument is rendered a little more intricate to introduce distinctions that lend a scholarly patina to the dispute. Clare Lopez, Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy, writes of a member of the anti-Muslim Brotherhood community who nevertheless regards “Islamist ideology as a mere ‘Sharia Hypothesis’…that has no demonstrable connection to classical Islam” (personal communication). For this conflicted individual, as for so many of his likeminded counterparts, Islamic doctrine does not form the basis for Islamic terrorism. Frequently we are told that Islam does not constitute a solid bloc of theological conviction and practice but is many different things, a protean religion subject to myriad interpretations. The split between Shia and Sunni would seem to reinforce this notion, except for the lamentable fact that both wings of the faith are united in their desire to restore the Caliphate and to subdue the West to its hegemony.
Often a historical thesis is added to the mix, that is, Islam enjoyed its benign and enlightened periods over the long course of time and flourished as an emancipatory culture in Abbasid Baghdad, Umayyad Cordoba, and during portions of the reign of the Ottoman Empire. Unfortunately for this pleasant perspective, major historians of Islam like Ignaz Goldhizer, Robert Irwin, Serge Trifkovic, Ibn Warraq, Bat Ye’or and Andrew Bostom, among a constellation of others, have scuttled this urban myth so thoroughly in their painstakingly researched volumes—revealing the lapses and misconceptions that vitiate much of the work of such experts as Bernard Lewis and Malise Ruthven—that there is no longer any excuse for continuing to believe in Islam as a civilizing force.
At the outset, it should be obvious that one cannot begin to understand Islam, or at least come to some reasonable approximation of what Islam entails, unless one has read the Koran. Most of those interlocutors with whom I have discussed the question of Islam—Western liberals and conservatives, who twist themselves into knots to avert the accusation of “Islamophobia”—simply have not done so. They have read desultory commentaries by various ostensible pundits or perused newspaper editorials or watched the TV News, that is, they glean their information chiefly from tainted sources. Some have actually read books about Islam, usually presenting laundered versions of the faith, but when I ask them what they make of the pivotal ayah in Koran 2:193, for example, they are at a complete loss. Islam is a religion of imperial conquest, and the Prophet’s marching order is clear and inescapable: “Fight against them until there is no more fitnah (temptation, tumult, disbelief) and Allah’s religion reigns supreme.” There is no way to interpret this passage as anything other than a divinely inspired summons to perpetual war leading to the establishment of a universal Caliphate—a command devoutly adhered to by the so-called “extremists.”
Reading the Koran is only a start. Those who wish to enter the intellectual fray equipped with a modicum of credibility should also gain some familiarity with the ancillary literature, both canonical and exegetical. Reformist Muslims will already possess the requisite erudition, but unfortunately the tendency they evince is to cherry-pick mainly those earlier, generally superseded passages in the Koran that impart a rosy hue to their argumentation, or they set about assiduously re-interpreting and contextualizing whatever tropes and injunctions are manifestly indigestible, as I contended in a recent article for this site. Their efforts are understandable since they cannot surrender the faith that cradles their needs and susceptibilities, despite its dogmatic and ingrained resistance to beneficial change. Thus they must find ways to accommodate what they know to what they want.
Read more at Front Page
By David Solway:
Perhaps the major theological problem confronting the revisionist Muslim community today—i.e., those whom we call “moderates” or “secular-oriented intellectuals”—is the canonical scriptures which define their faith and without which Islam would cease to exist. The dilemma for these “enlightened Muslims” is the Koran itself, with its ubiquitous summons to warfare, conquest, enslavement and social and economic persecution of vanquished peoples, which is why they are preoccupied, to the brink of obsession, with the twin concepts of re-interpretation and contextualization.
These meliorists are convinced that Islam is diametrically opposed to something called “Islamism,” that Islam is essentially a “religion of peace” rather than a bellicose imperial movement and that its founding texts therefore invite reinterpretation. This belief can be readily demolished by anyone with a cursory acquaintance with the Islamic literature and a modicum of common sense. For once the incendiary and violent passages are expurgated from the Koran and the Hadith, and the philosophical and political curriculum appropriately bowdlerized, there is far too little left over on which to base a credible and authoritative, world-historical faith. Indeed, as I have argued before, the result would resemble a version of Baha’i’ and could no longer legitimately be called Islam. Re-interpretation is effectively a dead end, a theological placebo swallowed by the naïve or the willfully ignorant who find the strong medicine of reality unpalatable or even abhorrent.
The notion of contextualization fares no better. Here the thesis is that one must adopt a historical or dialectical perspective on the progressive evolution of belief systems. The repugnant portions of the scriptures are understood to apply only to the times in which they were conceived and written. Of course, there is some truth to this contention. The Bible also contains offensive passages which have been despumated with the passing of time. But the difference between the Bible and the Koran is categorical. The former is largely narrative and parabolic in structure and the parts we would regard as objectionable are comparatively few. The Koran, on the contrary—especially the longer, Medinan section—is almost unrelentingly belligerent and exhortative, commanding the believer to slay, conquer, oppress and impose draconian taxes on those who have been subjugated.
To say, as did reformer Salim Mansur, an apostle of contextualization, that Jesus should not be held responsible for the actions of his followers and therefore, by implication, neither should Mohammed is to miss the point entirely. Jesus commanded the faithful to turn the other cheek, not to “slay the unbelievers wherever you find them” (Koran 9:5). Jesus is in no need of contextualization. Judaism differs inasmuch as the messiah has not yet arrived and the fundamental commandments are both few and benign. In Christianity, as we have noted, Jesus is a harbinger of peace and love, and his exegetes, like Saint Paul, are fallible human beings whose utterances are seen to be open to debate. In Islam, however, the word of the Prophet, transmitted by Allah via the angel Gabriel, is set in theological stone; it cannot be reinterpreted or contextualized, only abrogated by Mohammed himself. Its directives are neither locally nor temporally specific. They are meant to be understood as having general and timeless application, constituting the default position of Islamic belief. Efforts to neuter such clearly unmistakable and bloody imperatives, which ramify throughout the Koran—as, for example, in the Muslim Access website which strenuously labors to sanitize the intractable—are embarrassingly disingenuous.
The abiding, if not insoluble, problem with the seductive hypothesis of contextualization is a kind of prolepsis, an anticipation of change before it happens—which in this case would then render the original event tolerable. Are we to assume, in other words, that the beheading of 600-900 Jewish males of the Banu Qurayza and the enslavement of their women and children at the Battle of the Trench is perfectly understandable because it occurred in 627? That theannihilation of 60-80 million Hindus during the conquest of India is historically unexceptionable because it occurred between the 11th and 16th centuries? Need we merely contextualize such atrocities—without apology—in order not to be unduly disturbed by them? Were Islamic warriors more primitive in the unenlightened past but are now well on the way toward civilized behavior and international standards of just conduct?
Read more at Front Page
By David Solway:
In an interesting and presumably comforting article recently posted on this site, titled Muslim Activism Done Right, Michael Volpe draws our attention to a new Canadian advocacy group, Progressive Muslims Institute Canada (PMIC). Anti-extremist, amenable to secular values and politically communal, PMIC seeks to counter the theological summons to jihad and the spirit of antisemitic hatred embraced by its majoritarian co-religionists, and to establish friendly working relations with the Jewish community. Volpe understands this new project as a welcoming sign and harbinger of the future, suggesting the hope for a gradual reconciliation between heretofore antagonistic groups and the restoration of both sanity and the desire for social peace within the Muslim collective.
According to the Director General of the PMIC, Tahir Gora, the Institute “strongly denounces all forms of extremism and terrorism in the name of Islam” and promotes “gender equality…liberal, progressive and secular values among Muslims, and believes in a clear separation between religion and state.” Jewish organizations like the The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), whose concern with interfaith outreach trumps Jewish security, and B’nai B’rith have enthusiastically applauded such initiatives. And of course, developments like PMIC are a far sight better than jihadist savagery and orthodox adherence to the basic Islamic texts.
But there is a real problem here that Volpe’s article refuses to acknowledge. What these “moderates” or enlightened Muslims are proposing, however laudable, has little to do with mainstream Islam, whose fundamental scriptures cannot be rewritten on pain of apostasy and execution. Any scrupulous reading of the Koran and the attendant canonical and jurisprudential literature should make it amply clear that injunctions to slaughter, conquest, oppression and domination are inscribed in the faith. No attempt at what is euphemistically called “re-interpretation” or “contextualizing” can be expected to gain even modest traction in the larger Muslim world.
Efforts like those advanced by PMIC are doomed to fail. They cling precariously to a comparatively few benign tropes in the earlier, Meccan portion of the Koran, which are in any case subject to the principle of abrogation (Nasikh/Mansukh) and replacement by the later, more ruthless and bloodthirsty passages in the Medinian Koran. The “activists” are incubating an entirely new religion, an ostensible form of Islam that is no longer Islam but something closer to, perhaps, the inoffensiveness of Bahá’i, which is vaguely related to Shi’a Islam but essentially independent of it and condemned by both Sunni and Shi’a asharaam (sinful, unclean, forbidden).
Scrub the propulsion toward imperial ferocity from the bedrock tenets of Islam, separate mosque from state, eliminate the doctrine of violent jihad and advocate for gender equality, and what you come up with is a fantasy exercise, that is, an Islam divorced from its historical and present reality. It would comprise a body of doctrine completely alien to the rules, beliefs, usages and commands associated with the legacy of Mohammed. Contrary to the pious and uninformed sentiments of the liberal intelligentsia, Islam is not a religion of peace. As Charlie Daniels writing for CSN News asks, “What kind of religion and what kind of god advocates the wholesale slaughter of ordinary citizens, what kind of clergy send young men to a gruesome death promising them a place in some male-dominated sensuous paradise where they will while away the eons in the arms of multiple virgins?” A few small activist groups stippling the vast Islamic landscape will not do much in the way of terraforming a world.
The fact is, unfortunately, that Islam cannot be reformed if it is to remain Islam. The apostles of secular values, interfaith communion, and reconciliation with the infidel are, as Muslims, in denial of the proscriptions and prescriptions of the faith they continue to profess. Their approach, writes Mark Durie at The Gatestone Institute, “must at the very least honestly acknowledge Islam’s traditions of commentary on the Koran, and explain how a large number of violent texts might be viewed in a more liberating light.” But as Durie goes on to show in meticulous and irrefutable detail, explicit calls for violence as the religious obligation of every believer simply cannot be explained away. Context is no “silver bullet against violent texts.”
Read more at Front Page
Robert Spencer was on the BBC Asian Public Radio this past Friday and at one point the host asked him to quote verses from the Koran or the Hadiths that he finds reprehensible. Robert quickly responded with several verses from the Koran and one from the Hadith. But what is hilarious about this is that when the host went to Imam to provide the proper ‘context’ for these verses, since he objected to them being out of context, he was unable to do so and when put on the spot he claimed that this is Robert Spencer’s field. What? The host quickly responded to the Imam telling him that Islam was his field, but the Imam was unable to provide any context.
Listen below to at least the first 6 minutes to hear the unprepared Imam. I let it run for a few more minutes so you could hear Robert smack down the Imam one more time after the Imam said there was nothing in the Koran that sanctioned wife beating.
If you want to listen to the full 44 minutes of Robert countering different callers with different accusations, you can do so here.
Recently, the journalist Paul Sheehan, reflecting on the Woolwich beheading of Drummer Lee Rigby, invited consideration of the view of Muslim violence in authoritative Islamic texts. In the Sydney Morning Herald of May 27, 2013, Sheehan observed that the Koran and the teachings of Muhammad seem to be a factor behind Muslim violence, and offered these critical observations:
- Many violent attacks on civilians are done in the name of Islam.
- The existence of violent Islamic sectarian conflict and the repression of religious dissent in Muslim nations give the lie to the “absurd claim” that Islam is “the religion of peace.”
- Many verses in the Koran call for violence against unbelievers, and these are invoked by Muslims who murder others: “So many Muslims have been encouraged to murder civilians by such exhortations that the rate of violent incidents perpetrated in the name of Islam is staggering, a toll that shows no sign of subsiding.”
A rejoinder was published the next day by Associate Professor Mohamad Abdalla, founding director of the Islamic Research Unit at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. Abdalla rejected the proposition that Islam supports killing innocent people: “A contextual reading of the Koran or Hadith leads to one conclusion only: there is no justification for killing of innocent people…”
Sheehan, while affirming that “Most Muslims are peaceful,” did not say that Islam is the only factor behind Muslim violence, and he did not claim that the killers’ interpretations of religious texts were the only valid interpretation. He also nowhere used the label “innocent” to characterize victims of Muslim violence; and he did not claim that Islam supports killing “innocent” people. His point was simply that, according to some Muslims, violent verses in the Koran contribute to Muslims behaving violently.
Why did Abdalla introduce the word “innocent,” and do his arguments have credibility?
Abdalla’s key point is that seemingly violent texts from Islam’s canon have to be read “in context.” He explains that to put the Koran “in context,” one must at least consider the following five factors:
- the context in which verses were “revealed” to Muhammad;
- the principle of “abrogation”;
- other passages which address the same subject;
- the life of Muhammad, and
- the way the verse has been applied [by Muslim scholars].
Abdalla claims that Sheehan is not competent to pass judgement on the Koran because he lacks such knowledge. He also states, but offers no evidence to support the allegation, that taking “context” into account will result in a more moderate interpretation of these sacred scriptures.
Taking context into account, however, can actually make a “peaceful” verse quite nasty, and a violent verse even worse. There is nothing about “context” that makes it a magic wand to render peaceful and harmless every text over which it is waved. Context is neither a silver bullet against violent texts, nor is it a disinfectant for theological unpleasantness.
It also needs to be understood that radical jihadis themselves use a contextual model to interpret the Koran: they do not simply rely on context-free interpretations or on proof-texts — quotes taken out of context to support an argument. The Bin Ladins of the world — and theologians such as Sayyid Qutb who paved the way for them — have been more than familiar with interpretive tools such as the “context” of revelation, “abrogation,” or the life of Muhammad. Such subjects are on the curriculum in the jihad factories.
What is disappointing about Abdalla’s article is that the very texts he refers to only get worse when their context is taken into account. For example, he criticizes Sheehan for citing a passage from the second chapter of the Koran: “And slay them wherever ye find them …” Abdalla writes:
Take, for example, this partial quote he cited, “And slay them wherever ye find them … ” Sheehan fails to state that this is part of five-long verses (2:190-195), which must be read together. When read in context the legal implication derived stipulates that fighting is permitted only under certain strict circumstances. Additionally, the same verses prohibit transgression of limits, and it (sic) does not promote killing of innocent people but allows self-defence. It further goes on to state “if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practise oppression.” Clearly, when the whole context is examined the verses do not promote killing of innocent people.
Let us take a closer look at these six verses, with the help of a great Muslim scholar, Ibn Kathir, whose commentary on the Koran has been translated into English, and is widely respected and read today by Muslims around the world. (The reader can examine the relevant part of the commentary here.)
First, here are the verses from the second chapter of the Koran:
190. And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors.
191. And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. And fight not with them at Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the sanctuary at Makkah), unless they (first) fight you there. But if they attack you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.
192. But if they cease, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
193. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and the religion (all and every kind of worship) is for Allah (Alone). But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimin (the polytheists and wrongdoers).
194. The sacred month is for the sacred month, and for the prohibited things, there is the Law of equality (Qisas). Then whoever transgresses against you, you transgress likewise against him. And fear Allah, and know that Allah is with Al-Muttaqin.
195. And spend in the cause of Allah and do not throw yourselves into destruction, and do good. Truly, Allah loves Al-Muhsinin (those who do good).[Parentheses in the text.]
What is the context of this passage? It dates from the early Medinan period, when Allah had given permission to Muslims to fight against those who fought them: “fight in the way of Allah those who fight you, but transgress not the limits.” (2:190) Abdalla is correct when he says that the phrase “slay them wherever you find them” (2:191) refers to fighting against those who fight Muslims: it is not a universal command to kill noncombatants or innocent people. Yet there is more to be said.
Ironically, verse 190 was one of the passages invoked by Michael Adebolajo, the killer of Drummer Lee Rigby, when he said: “we are forced by the Quran … through many, many ayah [verses] throughout the Koran that we must fight them as they fight us.” [Emphasis added.]
Adebolajo’s testimony was that he killed a British soldier because British soldiers have been fighting Muslims. He would most likely agree wholeheartedly with Abdalla’s interpretation of this passage, and assert with him that Islam prohibits killing “innocent people.” To Adbolajo, however, Rigby was not “innocent.”