“Nothing to do with Islam”?

Gatestone Institute, by Judith Bergman, December 3, 2016:

  • “Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.” — The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
  • “The Islamic State is a byproduct of Al Azhar’s programs… Al Azhar says there must be a caliphate and that it is an obligation for the Muslim world. Al Azhar teaches the law of apostasy and killing the apostate. Al Azhar is hostile towards religious minorities, and teaches things like not building churches… Al Azhar teaches stoning people. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?” — Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Nasr, a scholar of Islamic law and graduate of Egypt’s Al Azhar University.
  • The jihadists who carry out terrorist attacks in the service of ISIS, for example, are merely following the commands in the Quran, both 9:5, “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them…” and Quran 8:39, “So fight them until there is no more fitna [strife] and all submit to the religion of Allah.”
  • Archbishop Welby — and Egypt’s extraordinary President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi — has finally had the courage to say in public that if one insists on remaining “religiously illiterate,” it is impossible to solve the problem of religiously motivated violence.

For the first time, a European establishment figure from the Church has spoken out against an argument exonerating ISIS and frequently peddled by Western political and cultural elites. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, speaking in France on November 17, said that dealing with the religiously-motivated violence in Europe

“requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that ISIS is ‘nothing to do with Islam’… Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.”

Archbishop Welby also said that, “It’s very difficult to understand the things that impel people to some of the dreadful actions that we have seen over the last few years unless you have some sense of religious literacy”.

“Religious literacy” has indeed been in short supply, especially on the European continent. Nevertheless, all over the West, people with little-to-no knowledge of Islam, including political leaders, journalists and opinion makers, have all suddenly become “experts” on Islam and the Quran, assuring everybody that ISIS and other similarly genocidal terrorist groups have nothing to do with the purported “religion of peace,” Islam.

It is therefore striking finally to hear a voice from the establishment, especially a man of the Church, oppose, however cautiously, this curiously uniform (and stupefyingly uninformed) view of Islam. Until now, establishment Churches, despite the atrocities committed against Christians by Muslims, have been exceedingly busy only with so-called “inter-faith dialogue.” Pope Francis has even castigated Europeans for not being even more accommodating towards the migrants who have overwhelmed the continent, asking Europeans:

“What has happened to you, the Europe of humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom?… the mother of great men and women who upheld, and even sacrificed their lives for, the dignity of their brothers and sisters?”

(Perhaps the Pope, before rhetorically asking Europeans to sacrifice their lives for their migrant “brothers and sisters” should ask himself whether many of the Muslim migrants in Europe consider Europeans their “brothers and sisters”?)

A statement on Islam is especially significant coming from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the senior bishop and principal leader of the Anglican Church and the symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, which stands at around 85 million members worldwide, the third-largest communion in the world.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby (left), recently said that dealing with the religiously-motivated violence in Europe “requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that ISIS is ‘nothing to do with Islam’… Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.” (Image source: Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Only a year ago, commenting on the Paris massacres, the Archbishop followed conventional politically correct orthodoxy, pontificating that, “The perversion of faith is one of the most desperate aspects of our world today.” He explained that Islamic State terrorists have distorted their faith to the extent that they believe they are glorifying their God. Since then, he has clearly changed his mind.

Can one expect other Church leaders and political figures to heed Archbishop Welby’s words, or will they be conveniently overlooked? Western leaders have noticeably practiced selective hearing for many years and ignored truths that did not fit the “narrative” politicians apparently wished to imagine, especially when spoken by actual experts on Islam. When, in November 2015, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Nasr, a scholar of Islamic law and graduate of Egypt’s Al Azhar University, explained why the prestigious institution, which educates mainstream Islamic scholars, refused to denounce ISIS as un-Islamic, none of them was listening:

“The Islamic State is a byproduct of Al Azhar’s programs. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic? Al Azhar says there must be a caliphate and that it is an obligation for the Muslim world. Al Azhar teaches the law of apostasy and killing the apostate. Al Azhar is hostile towards religious minorities, and teaches things like not building churches, etc. Al Azhar upholds the institution of jizya [extracting tribute from non-Muslims]. Al Azhar teaches stoning people. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?”

Nor did Western leaders listen when The Atlantic, hardly an anti-establishment periodical, published a study by Graeme Wood, who researched the Islamic State and its ideology in depth. He spoke to members of the Islamic State and Islamic State recruiters and concluded:

“The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam”.

In the United States, another establishment figure, Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Donald Trump’s incoming White House Chief of Staff, recently made statements to the same effect as the Archbishop of Canterbury. “Clearly there are some aspects of that faith that are problematic and we know them; we’ve seen it,” Priebus said when asked to comment on incoming National Security Adviser former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s view that Islam is a political ideology that hides behind being a religion.

In much of American society, Flynn’s view that Islam is a political ideology is considered controversial, despite the fact that the political and military doctrines of Islam, succinctly summarized in the concept of jihad, are codified in Islamic law, sharia, as found in the Quran and the hadiths. The jihadists who carry out terrorist attacks in the service of ISIS, for example, are merely following the commands in the Quran, both 9:5, “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them…” and Quran 8:39, “So fight them until there is no more fitna [strife] and all submit to the religion of Allah.”

The question becomes, then, whether other establishment figures will also acknowledge what someone like Archbishop Welby — and Egypt’s extraordinary President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi — has finally had the courage to say in public: that if one insists on remaining “religiously illiterate,” it is impossible to solve the problem of religiously motivated violence.

Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

***

Understanding the  Threat:

The oldest and most prestigious school of Islamic jurisprudence is Al Azhar University, founded in Egypt in approximately 970 AD.

Al Azhar and its leadership continue to affirm “Jihad,” which it defines as war-fighting against unbelievers (non-Muslims), is obligatory until the world is under Islamic rule.

Oddly enough, this is exactly what Al Qaeda, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, and all of the other jihadi organizations in the world teach, and what is taught in Islamic elementary schools around the world, including the United States.

***

The Doctrine of Cowards

Why are so many Muslim refugees coming to the US? Why do so few persecuted Christians come? The answer is the position of the churches. The biggest door into US society is the church door. The Christians and Jews love to attend interfaith gatherings where they sit and nod their heads yes to all that the Muslims say.

But the Christian and Jewish leaders are ignorant about Islam. They know nothing about the Islamic doctrine of Christian and Jew hatred. But what is worse is that they refuse to learn.

Christian leaders have developed a doctrine of the coward to justify their pious ignorance and fear. They are all about turning the other cheek, loving their enemies, and doing nothing while waiting for Jesus to return. They are incapable of boldness and courage. Wimps all (well, about 95% of them).

And if you are not a Christian, why aren’t you concerned with the greatest human rights tragedy happening today—the killing of religious minorities in Islamic lands? Why can’t persecuted Christians come as refugees to America? When will Christians care about the persecution of their own brothers and sisters?

What has happened to us (Christians, Jews, Buddhists, atheists and all others) that we are no longer able to have moral outrage? Righteous anger?

Political Islam

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Center for Security Policy, November 14, 2016:

DR. BILL WARNER, Founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Political Islam:

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

  • Teaching the average person about Islam
  • The trilogy of Islamic doctrine
  • Why the doctrine is purposely difficult to understand

(PART TWO): Podcast: Play in new window | Download

  • What political Islam deems a “good” Muslim
  • The anti-Constitutional nature of Sharia

(PART THREE): Podcast : Play in new window | Download

  • Civilization war as established by Muhammad
  • The Muslim Brotherhood’s curtailment of Freedom of Speech

(PART FOUR): Podcast : Play in new window | Download

  • Why the Muslim Brotherhood is more dangerous than violent jihadists
  • How Donald Trump can avoid repeating the mistakes of his predecessors
  • Declaration on Cairo Human Rights in Islam

The Psychopathic and Insincere Jihad

lp_1Front Page Magazine, by Raymond  Ibrahim, October 28, 2016:

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

Whenever Muslims engage in behavior that ostensibly contradicts Islam—from taking drugs and watching porn to killing fellow Muslims—Islam’s apologists loudly proclaim “Aha, see, they’re not true Muslims!”  Or, in the words of CIA head John Brennan on the Islamic State: “They are terrorists, they’re criminals.  Most—many—of them are psychopathic thugs, murderers who use a religious concept and masquerade and mask themselves in that religious construct.”

Overlooked is that many self-styled jihadis are indeed “psychopathic thugs, murderers”; some may not even believe in Allah at all.  Yet this does not exonerate Islam, for its “religious construct” was designed to entice such men.

As usual, this traces back to the prophet, Muhammad.  After telling his followers that Allah had permitted Muslims four wives and limitless concubines (Koran 4:3), he later claimed that Allah had delivered a new revelation (Koran 33.51) permitting him, Muhammad alone, to marry and sleep with as many women as he wanted.  In response, his young wife Aisha quipped: “I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires.”  (Apostates from Islam regularly cite this episode as especially disenchanting them with the prophet.)

But it is the concept of jihad that especially comports with those who seek to indulge their carnal appetites.  For whoever fights in the name of Allah and/or seeks to empower Islam—that is, jihadis/terrorists—is exonerated of all blame and, if he dies fighting, guaranteed the highest levels of paradise (where more sex awaits).

That’s because Allah made a “pact” with them.  According to Koran 9:111: “Allah has bought from the believers their lives and worldly goods, and in return has promised them Paradise: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain….  Rejoice then in the bargain you have struck, for that is the supreme triumph.”   Muhammad elaborated: “Lining up for battle in the path of Allah [jihad to empower Islam] is worthier than 60 years of worship.”  Moreover,

The martyr is special to Allah. He is forgiven from the first drop of blood [that he sheds]. He sees his throne in paradise…. He will wed the ‘aynhour [supernatural, celestial women designed exclusively for sexual purposes] and will not know the torments of the grave and safeguards against the greater horror [hell]. Fixed atop his head will be a crown of honor, a ruby that is greater than the world and all it contains. And he will copulate with seventy-two ‘aynhour.

As for those Muslims who reject jihad, Muhammad said “they will be tortured like no other sinful human.”  (For many more Islamic scriptures depicting jihad as the greatest undertaking, one that earns unconditional forgiveness and paradise, see here.)

There is no denying that the historic growth of Islam is related to its carnal incentives.  After more than a decade of preaching in Mecca, Muhammad had about 100 followers, mostly relatives.  It was only when he became a successful warlord and caravan raider that his followers grew and multiplied.  So long as such fighters helped spread the banner of Islam into infidel lands, they were deemed good and pious Muslims—regardless of their true intentions, priorities, or even faith.

Many of the original jihadis now revered in Islamic hagiography were by modern standards little more than mass killing psychotics.   Consider Khalid bin al-Walid: a Meccan pagan, he opposed Muhammad for years; but when the prophet seized Mecca, Khalid—like many of Muhammad’s foes, such as his archenemy, Abu Sufyan—expediently converted, proclaimed the shahada, joined the winning team, and then went a-jihading—mutilating, plundering, raping, enslaving, crucifying, and setting people on fire in the process.  But because he did so under the banner of jihad, this serial killer and rapist is today one of Islam’s most revered heroes.

The reason for this is that nowhere in Islam is there talk about the “condition” of the jihadis’ “heart,” or if he’s “right” with God.  Allah is not God: he is not interested in “hearts and minds” but in fighters and swords.  So long as his fighters proclaim the shahada—“There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger”—and fight under the banner of Islam, they can take, plunder, murder, and rape the infidels; and if they die doing so, they go to paradise.

Such was the genius of Muhammad: in the Arabian society he lived in, members of one’s tribe were as inviolable as non-members were free game, to be plundered, enslaved, or killed with impunity.  Muhammad took this idea and infused it with a pious rationale.  Henceforth there would be only two tribes in the world: the umma—which consists of all Muslims, regardless of race—and the “infidels,” who deserve to be plundered, enslaved, or killed with impunity for rejecting Allah.

This explains why other tribal/nomadic societies—Turks and Mongols/Tatars, whose way of life consisted of preying on everyone outside their tribe—also converted to Islam and, under the banner of jihad, continued preying on the other, the infidel, but now as venerated “champions of the faith.”

Christian Europe was aware of Islam’s true appeal from the very beginning.  Theophanes the Byzantine scholar (d. 818) wrote the following about Muhammad in his chronicles:

He taught those who gave ear to him that the one slaying the enemy—or being slain by the enemy—entered into paradise [see Koran 9:111].  And he said paradise was carnal and sensual—orgies of eating, drinking, and women. Also, there was a river of wine … and the women were of another sort, and the duration of sex greatly prolonged and its pleasure long-enduring [e.g., Koran 56: 7-40, 78:31, 55:70-77].  And all sorts of other nonsense.

Centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) made similar observations:

He [Muhamad] seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh urges us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected; he was obeyed by carnal men. As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine…. Muhammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms—which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants. What is more, no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning.  Those who believed in him were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Mohammed forced others to become his follower’s by the violence of his arms.

There is, finally, another group of Muslims who should not be overlooked.  These do not give a fig for Allah nor wish to be “martyred” in exchange for paradise, but they rely on Islam to justify robbing, enslaving, raping, and killing non-Muslims, as many Christian minorities in nations like Pakistan and Egypt will attest.  Because their victims are just “infidels”—and it’s a sin to aid a non-Muslim against a Muslim (that is, a non-tribal member against a tribal member)—Muslim criminals target non-Muslim minorities precisely because they know Muslim authorities will not do a thing on behalf of the victimized infidels.

In short, enough of these claims that this or that jihadi is, in the words of the CIA’s Brennan, “terrorists,” “criminals,” “psychopathic thugs,” and “murderers.”  Yes, they are.  But that doesn’t change the fact that one group of them is convinced that no matter how immoral or perverse their behavior is, as long as they continue fighting and dying in the name of jihad, paradise is assured them; and another group doesn’t care a bit about the afterlife, but knows that, as long as they only victimize “infidels,” no Muslim will hold them accountable.  In both cases, Islam aids and abets their behavior.

Former Muslim warns that if Islam continues as is, the West will not

 (AP Photo/Shiho Fukada)

(AP Photo/Shiho Fukada)

Family Security Matters, by Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.) October 26, 2016:

A 1986 television commercial punch line for makers of Vicks Formula 44 cough syrup proved very successful in marketing their product. The line, “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV” was delivered by actor Peter Bergman who played a doctor on daytime television.

Seeking accurate medical advice, one left to choose between a real doctor and an actor playing one, obviously would opt for the former as a knowledgeable duty expert.

Why then, seeking to understand Islam, do we accept what our non-Muslim leaders tell us about the religion being peaceful, ignoring what we are told by real duty experts-those once-practicing Muslims more intimately knowledgeable about it?

President Barack Obama has supposedly read the Koran. He assures us, although not a Muslim himself, the religion is peaceful. Having grown up in Muslim countries, he may have played the role of a Muslim but he was not one. Thus, his repeated pronouncements Islam is peaceful should carry no more weight than a diagnosis of a real illness by an actor playing a doctor on television.

Somali-born author, activist and former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a duty expert on Islam. Just like Christianity underwent a Protestant Reformation, she explains, Islam also needs reform. And, while she admits only Muslims can make it happen, “the West cannot remain on the sidelines as though the outcome of this struggle has nothing to do with us.”

Ali lived as a Muslim before experiencing its dark side. Forced into marriage with a man she never met, she experienced firsthand abuses directed at Muslim women. But, she warns, should the West remain on the sidelines concerning reform, terrorist attacks will continue.

Ali makes a connection Obama refuses to make. She warns [emphasis added]:

“I believe it is foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam, can somehow be divorced from the religion itself…Islam is not a religion of peace…There are many millions of peaceful Muslims in the world…The call to violence and justification for it are explicitly stated in the sacred text of Islam. Moreover, this theologically-sanctioned violence is there to be activated by any number of offences including, but not limited to, adultery, blasphemy, homosexuality and apostasy…Those who tolerate this intolerance do so at their peril.”

Clearly Ali, unlike Obama, sees the Koran as a spring-loaded trigger for violence-activated by numerous offenses-which, while viewed in the West as the exercise of individual rights, are viewed by Islam as crimes punishable by dismemberment or death.

Ali is dumbfounded Western liberals and progressives believing “so fervently in individual liberty and minority rights make common cause with the forces in the world that manifestly pose the greatest threat to that very freedom and those very minorities.”

As an example, Ali told of her experience, despite working for Muslim women’s rights and being invited to accept a degree from Brandeis University in 2014 for doing so, of then being disinvited by professors and students protesting her criticism of Islam.

“My disinvitation…was no favor to Muslims-just the opposite,” Ali explained. “By labeling critical examination of Islam as inherently racist, we make the chances of reformation far less likely.”

Ali points out, while other religions are fair game for criticism, we contort Western intellectual traditions, giving Islam a free pass-even ignoring Muslim activists who risk life and limb seeking Islam’s badly needed reform.

She notes Western hypocrisy in having supported Cold War activists seeking to reform the Soviet Union’s system, but ignoring today’s Muslim activists seeking to reform Islam.

“These are the Muslims we should be supporting for our sake as much as for the sake of Islam,” Ali says. Yet, “the West either ignores them or dismisses them as ‘not representative.’ This is a grave mistake…If we do, in fact, support political, social and religious freedom, then we cannot in good conscience give Islam a free pass on the grounds of multicultural sensitivity. We need to say to Muslims living in the West, if you want to live in our societies, to share in the material benefits, then you need to accept that our freedoms are not optional. Islam is at the crossroads of reformation or self-destruction-but so is the West.”

There is a frighteningly real declaration Islamic expert Ali makes that clearly is at odds with representations by non-expert Obama. Ali states, “The call to violence and justification for it are explicitly stated in the sacred text of Islam.”

Thus, Muslims answering the call need feel no remorse for their violence. This leaves non-Westerners to determine, among those invited into their countries as refugees and immigrants, who among them will heed the call. It is a near impossible task to screen out those who agree with this command now or, who may choose to obey it in the future.

The bottom line is this: every Muslim entering a non-Western nation does so with a license, issued by the Koran, to commit violence in Allah’s name. Just like one who obtains a fishing license, some will choose to use it and fish; some will not; but all have the right to do so.

Shockingly, while assuring us Islam is peaceful, Obama continues to embrace as such the Muslim Brotherhood. That Brotherhood’s basic tenet is a global caliphate-a tenet it cannot renounce and seeks to impose upon the world-violently if necessary. For that reason, even our U.K. ally has condemned Obama’s “peaceful” Brotherhood.

There is a basic misconception about Islam Obama perpetuates: It is not, as he claims, extremists who have hijacked Islam, trying to give it a violent spin; it is moderates who have hijacked the religion, trying to give it a peaceful one. The trigger for violence is written into the Koran for followers to obey.

It is time to heed the voice of a real expert on Islam and not that of he who plays one as our president.

Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of “Bare Feet, Iron Will–Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam’s Battlefields,” “Living the Juche Lie: North Korea’s Kim Dynasty” and “Doomsday: Iran–The Clock is Ticking.” He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.

Islam’s Will to Power

ds_1

An Interview with Shillman Fellow Raymond Ibrahim.

Front Page Magazine, by October 21, 2016

Reprinted from Linformale.eu.

Of Egyptian Coptic parents and fluent in Arabic, Raymond Ibrahim is among those scholars and commentators who, like Robert Spencer and David Horowitz, is not afraid of calling a spade a spade. In this times of ours poisoned by politically correctness it comes like a breath of fresh air.

He will not talk of Islam as “the religion of peace” pretending that it is something that it never was. On the contrary, he will emphasize that contemporary jihadists just follow a strict application of the Koran, much alike the Protestant Reformers with their concept of sola scriptura (scripture by itself). The main difference is that the latter usually do not make themselves explode, or behead “infidels” or are committed to a permanent strife with the West to subjugate it.

The reason for this is that in the Koran, jihad is prescriptive and Mohammed, the perfect example for every Muslim, was  a prophet but also a warlord.

A regular contributor to the David Horowitz Freedom Center and previously associate director of The Middle East Forum, Raymond Ibrahim is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians and editor of the seminal The Al Qaeda Reader: The Essential Texts of Osama Bin Laden’s Terrorist Organization.

He has kindly accepted to answer our questions.

The first issue I would like to address is the widespread notion that ISIS is the facto a product of the U.S.A intervention in Iraq. The implication is very clear. If the U.S.A wouldn’t have invaded Iraq there would be no ISIS around. How would you comment on this?

Facts are facts.  Before the US invaded, Saddam Hussein was renowned for suppressing Islamist movements.  Indeed, one of the reasons for his later human rights abusing reputation was that he was brutally stomping out the jihadis, a label Western media regular omit when talking about secular Arab dictators using brutal means, such as Assad and his efforts against jihadis.  A decade after Saddam was ousted, killed, and the U.S. proclaimed victory for having brought “freedom and democracy” to Iraq, all we have to show is the emergence of ISIS, which, when it comes to human rights abuses, makes Saddam look like Santa Claus.

I usually look to the situation of Christian minorities in Muslim countries to understand the nature of those who rule.  Under Saddam, they and their churches were protected; the year America brought “freedom and democracy” to Iraq, Christians were savagely persecuted and dozens of their churches bombed.   Incidentally, it’s not just in Iraq that American intervention gave rise to ISIS.  Libya and Syria are also part of ISIS’ caliphate, again, thanks to the U.S. paving the way by ousting Gaddafi and trying to oust Assad.  I don’t claim to know the reason behind this phenomenon, but the facts speak for themselves: where the U.S. ousts secular Arab strongmen—whose human rights abuses were often in the context of fighting even worse human rights abusing jihadis—ISIS follows.

Anti-Americanism is still strong among the left both in Europe and in the States. The likes of people like Noam Chomsky have spread the notion that the U.S.A is evil incarnate together with Israel viewed as its proxy in the Middle East. Which are the main factors, according to you, behind this attitude?

Ultimately, I believe these views are based less on objective facts and more on subjective distortions of history.  The mainstream view today is that, at least historically, white, Christian men are the source of all evil on planet earth;  therefore, the least they can do by way of reparations is to be passive while the Muslim and other third worlds experience their growing pangs—which manifest themselves as atrocities against non-Muslims, including Westerners.  So whenever the US or Israel do anything for their interest and security that would be deemed absolutely normal and standard for other, especially non-Western nations, the left cries foul, racism, etc.

The apologists of Islam tells us that Islam is very much part of the West as it helped shaping our culture with its innovations when it was still an empire. Here in Italy a renowned historian, Franco Cardini, recently said that “Islam is at the base of modernity”. What is your personal view?

This view is just another example of how the true history of Islam and Europe has been so thoroughly distorted and warped in a way to glorify Islam and humble formerly Christian Europe.  Reality and history—as recorded by Islam’s most renowned historians—has a very different tale to tell, one that was known by the average European child but which is now “taboo” to acknowledge: war—or jihad—on Europe is the true history of Islam and the West.  Consider some facts for a moment: A mere decade after the birth of Islam in the 7th century, the jihad burst out of Arabia.  Two-thirds of what was then Christendom was permanently conquered and much of its population put to the sword and/or pressured to convert, so that almost no one today realizes that Syria, Egypt, and all of North Africa were once the centers of Christianity.  Then it was Europe’s turn.  Among other nations and territories that were attacked and/or came under Muslim domination are, to give them their modern names in no particular order,: Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Sicily, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Lithuania, Romania, Albania, Serbia, Armenia, Georgia, Crete, Cyprus, Croatia, etc.

In 846 Rome was sacked and the Vatican defiled by Muslim Arab raiders; some 600 years later, in 1453, Christendom’s other great basilica, Holy Wisdom (or Hagia Sophia) was conquered by Muslim Turks, permanently.  The few European regions that escaped direct Islamic occupation due to their northwest remoteness include Great Britain, Scandinavia, and Germany.  That, of course, does not mean that they were not attacked by Islam. Indeed, in the furthest northwest of Europe, in Iceland, Christians used to pray that God save them from the “terror of the Turk.” As late as 1627 Muslim corsairs raided the Christian island seizing four hundred captives, selling them in the slave markets of Algiers.  Nor did America escape.  A few years after the formation of the United States, in 1800, American trading ships in the Mediterranean were plundered and their sailors enslaved by Muslim corsairs.  The ambassador of Tripoli explained to Thomas Jefferson that it was a Muslim’s “right and duty to make war upon them [non-Muslims] wherever they could be found, and to enslave as many as they could take as prisoners.”  In short, for roughly one millennium—punctuated by a Crusader-rebuttal that the modern West is obsessed with demonizing—Islam daily posed an existential threat to Christian Europe and by extension Western civilization.  In this context, what use is there in highlighting aberrations?   Even that one peripheral exception that so many Western academics tried to make the rule—Islamic Spain—has recently been debunked as a fraud in Darío Fernández-Morera’s The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise.

khalid_ibn_al-waleed_battle_warrior_islam_sword_of_allah

Islam presents itself as the true and definitive religion of humanity. Judaism and Christianity in the Islamic view are seen as deeply defective and corrupted. As a matter of fact for Islam, the Muslim prophet Jesus will come on Judgement Day to destroy all the crosses and expose the falsehood of Christianity itself. Notwithstanding this, the Pope keeps calling Islam a religion of peace and presents it only in a very favorable light. According to you it is just political prudence or something else?

This pope sees himself as a diplomat and politician, not a spiritual leader, and certainly not as a defender of Christians.  More’s the pity since of all Europeans, historically it was the Catholic popes who most understood the dangers of Islam—physical and spiritual—especially to fellow Christians. Yet he staunchly refuses to associate Islam with violence.  Even when a journalist asked him if the recently slaughtered 85-year-old French priest Fr. Jacques was “killed in the name of Islam,” Francis adamantly disagreed; he argued that he hears of Christians committing violence every day in Italy: “this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law… and these are baptized Catholics! There are violent Catholics!  If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence.”  Apparently for Pope Francis, violence done in accordance with Allah’s commandments is no more troubling than violence done in contradiction of the Judeo-Christian God’s commandments.

Papa Francesco in viaggio in Turchia

By this perverse logic, if we hold Islam accountable, so must we hold Christianity accountable—regardless of the fact that Islam does justify violence while Christianity condemns it.  And when he met with the grieving relatives and survivors of France’s Bastille Day attack—another Islamic attack that claimed the lives of 86 and injured hundreds—he told them: “We need to start a sincere dialogue and have fraternal relations between everybody, especially those who believe in a sole God who is merciful,” a reference to monotheistic Muslims.  He added that this was “an urgent priority….  We can only respond to the Devil’s attacks with God’s works which are forgiveness, love and respect for the other, even if they are different.” This is certainly a different approach than that of his courageous namesake.  Its also futile vis-a-vis Islam and will only be taken advantage of.  How does one have “fraternal relations” with adherents of a religion that calls on them to hate all non-Muslims, including  family members and wives?  Even Koran 60:4 calls on Muslims to have “eternal hate” for all non-Muslims.

Do you think that there is any chance that Islam can accommodate with Western values, and if this is possible on what grounds?

For Islam to accommodate Western values it would first have to cease being Islam.  Countless forms of behavior that directly contradict Western values are called for in the Koran and/or hadith, and the ulema, are agreed to them: death to apostates and blasphemers, subjugation of Muslim women, sexual enslavement of non-Muslim women, polygamy, child-marriage, ban on and destruction of non-Muslim places of worship and scriptures, and enmity for non-Muslims—are all no less Islamic than are prayer and fasting.

Even Islamic State atrocities—such as triumphing over the mutilated corpses of “infidels” and smiling while posing with their decapitated heads—find support in the Koran and stories of the prophet.  To fully appreciate how much of Islam directly contradicts Western values, consider the findings of one Arabic language article by Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Khadr.  It lists a number of things that mainstream Muslims support even though they directly contradict Western values.  These include (unsurprisingly): demands for a caliphate that rules according to Sharia and expands into “infidel” territory through jihad; death for anyone vocally critical of Islam or Muhammad; persecution of Muslims who try to leave Islam; rejection of equality for Christians and Jews in a Muslim state; rejection of equality for women with men; and so forth (read entire article).

Anyone who understands how Islam is actually articulated knows that the assertion that it is “possible to be a Western liberal and mainstream Muslim,” as London’s Muslim mayor recently said, is a grotesque oxymoron.  It’s akin to saying that it’s possible to fit a square peg through a round hole.  It’s not—unless, of course, one forcefully hammers it through, breaking portions of the peg,  that is to say, the Muslim and or cracking the surface of the hole, that is to say, Western society.

Islam is a political religious system from its inception. Would you subscribe to the notion that it is truly an ideology with a religious coating to it, or is there something really religious about it? I am thinking about Islamic mystics and the Sufis, for example.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter: even if it has a religious coating to it, it is most certainly a political ideology, especially its early origins.  This is simply clear looking at the life of its founder prophet Muhammad.  When he was merely a powerless preacher in Mecca, he only had a very small following; when he went to Medina and became a warlord and caravan bandit—and when his followers started to grow rich from plunder—his ranks began to swell.

Many are the worldly rewards, incentives, and privileges—to say nothing of the “worldly” rewards (sex with supernatural women) in the hereafter— that come with being Muslim:  if you fight for the empowerment of Islam against non-Muslims and you can lie, cheat, kill, steal, enslave and rape.  Countless are the Muslims, past and present, who joined the Islamic bandwagon precisely for these prerogatives.  That said, I do believe that some Muslims try to turn Islam into a more spiritual thing for their own sake.  But that doesn’t change the fact that others use it for its original purpose of conquest and plunder

One of the most repeated statements about Islamic terrorism is that it is the product of various groups of fanatics. Most Muslims are moderates and will never go around beheading people or having themselves exploded. Is this evidence conclusive?

Yes and no.  It may be true that many Muslims would not want to behead people or detonate themselves, but that is because they are not committed to or interested in Islam beyond the bare basics of survival.  However, it is wrong to think that “Islamic terrorism is … the product of various groups of fanatics.”  Terrorism is actually the product of the Koran and example of the prophet—the two things all Muslims are enjoined to follow.  And so long as these two pillars of Islam stand, so will they have adherents, even if a majority of nominal Muslims—who dare not apostatize due to Islam’s death penalty—do not literally follow them.

Islam has been deeply divided in itself from the death of Muhammad in 632. It seems that warfare and strife are inbreed in the Muslim world. Do you agree?

Yes.  Perhaps the most defining aspect of Islam is the search for absolute power—power over all others whether they be infidels, women, the wrong kinds of Muslims, ad infinitum.  Accordingly, and despite some of its injunctions against for example killing fellow Muslims, Muslims have been and continue to slaughter each other, in the name of Islam.

Can we say that Wahhabism is at the core of Islamic contemporary jihadism, or is this a reductionist point of view?

We can say this, but it would be much more accurate to say a literal reading of Islam’s core texts “is at the core of Islamic contemporary jihadism.”  After all, that is what “Wahhabism” is all about.  Incidentally, no Wahhabi calls or sees himself as a Wahhabi-—a word often used in the West to distance Islam from violence and intolerance—and see themselves simply as Muslims who literally pattern their lives after the teachings of Mohammed and Koran.

What is your opinion about the longtime alliance between the U.S.A and Saudi Arabia, which is among the strictest Wahhabi states. Does realpolitik justify everything?

I think it is a sickening and disgraceful alliance that turns everything that the US stands for into a joke.  Nor is realpolitik the root source. After all, the US and the entire free world could easily put Saudi Arabia on its knees and force it to reform or else.  Its oil could be seized—and actually should, since, with that revenue, Saudi Arabia spends 100 billion annually to radicalize Muslims around the world, such as their brainchild, ISIS.  Saudi Arabia knowledge of all this is one of the main reasons it gives many millions to Western politicians and others, who in exchange stand before Western people and speak of Saudi Arabia as a “ staunch ally,” whose help in “fighting terrorism” is “indispensable”.

Robert Spencer on Barack Obama’s Fantasy Islam

obama-fantasy-islamPublished on Oct 5, 2016 by JihadWatchVideo

Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer explains how Barack Obama’s public statements about Islam do not accord with Islamic teachings or the reality of current events.

Reading the Koran, a Guest Op Ed

an_abridged_koran-400x533-334x450Political Islam, October 3, 2016:

This is a guest post on Bill Warner’s site by a first-time reader of the Qur’an who comes from a Buddhist/Hindu background & writes how shocked he was by the aggressive hatred toward all that is not Muslim. H/T Clare Lopez

I have never read the Koran before despite having travelled extensively in Muslim countries and read on many Eastern religions.

It took me two days to read the ‘Abridged Koran’ of Dr. Warner, which as the author himself writes is more of a study guide before beginning to read the real Koran. Now I have the context of history and other Muslim scriptures in order make sense of the Koran.

The Abridged Koran is an easy read but a disturbing read. You have heard of Christian and Hindu monks take a bath before reading their scriptures? I had to take a shower *after* reading the Koran because I felt spiritually unclean. It was like sitting through a non-stop horror movie with no breaks. I kept waiting for the good parts, the positive sections to begin. They never did. I found a minority of moral teachings scattered here and there, and just a few poetic descriptions in a very hateful book. About 3/4 of the way through it became as if a blur of hurtfulness and arrogance. The task felt like counting the flies on a corpse, it was so grotesque. I kept wondering ‘how could any rational and kind person, any normal human being actually accept this book as scripture?’ and ‘If they do and can, do we want such people in our country?’ After I completed my read, all I could think of was: ‘We must take steps to see this religion far away from us, and if possible destroyed permanently, erased from the planet except in history. I don’t care if people become Bahai’s, atheists, agnostics, Baptists or worship trees and dance around the Maypole naked. *Anything* but Islam will be a vast improvement’ in individual and group consciousness.

I learned why Muslims do things, why some get very upset and even violent when certain things happen. There are scriptural precedents. For example, ‘preventing’ Muslims from going to pray. Abu Jahl is criticized in the Koran for holding back a Muslim, his servant, who wants to pray. Perhaps employers at companies that do not eagerly pay for and permit pray times are likewise considered evil. Why ISIL Muslims degrade and abuse their enemies by placing a foot on the head and then turn the heads backwards after decapitating. Again Koranic precedent.

I made notes by colour-coding five tabs and writing succinct words according to my needs…

Priority 1, essential: red – fascinating fact or dangerous alert Priority 2, very important: orange – very interesting, a warning or something unique about Islam Priority 3, not so important: yellow – curiosity, something I didn’t know, a lead to something else, or an unanswered yet question Priority 4, useful to know: green – Islamic trilogy facts (Koran, Hadith, Sira) Priority 5, extra: blue – detail about the method or structure of Warner’s book

I ended up with 86 red, 129 orange, 143 yellow, 16 green and 15 blue. I find this curious because when I use a similar system reading other books, concerning the top three priorities, the ratio is usually much more bottom heavy versus top heavy. For example reading the encyclopedic Siva Purana of medieval Hinduism, or the mixed mythic and philosophical Cicero’s On the Nature of the Gods, the ratio is closer to 20/120/400. Even the brutally caste-ridden Laws of Manu of Brahminism has some nobility. The war-themed Mahabharata of the epic period of Hinduism is replete with universal teachings. By comparison, Buddhist and Christian texts have much more humanistic themes than the Koran. The only thing I felt inspired to do after reading the entire Abridged Koran, was to get out in the fresh air and sunshine. So, be prepared with some drinking water and a place to take a break, otherwise you might feel sad and negative. Reading the Abridged Koran was a pivotal experience for me, unfortunately verifying my worst fears.

With The Abridged Koran, the tag ratio from my reading was skewed to the most alarming, a lot of ‘read this and weep.’ I made almost no notes of interest regarding Dr. Warner’s book itself, further reading or even the Trilogy of Islam. The content rests squarely on the malicious, envious and otherwise anti-civil society things that the Koran itself has to say.

While a considerable amount of Abridged Koran is contextual (i.e. explanation from author but more so information from other trilogy sources such as Hadith and Sira) herein I offer only Koranic verses. So, this is an assessment of the Koran itself not Dr. Warner’s study guide to it. My next step will be to read the Koran as it commonly presented, ordered according to length not chronological (real) history, and translated by a mainstream Islamic source which presumably has no anti-Islamic ‘axe to grind’. I am giving Islam the benefit of the doubt, even though it looks like an exercise in futility.

My list is not complete, it is just what I made notes on, and a conclusion based on the gist of it. For brevity, I have reduced my own tagged quotes to a fraction or what caught my attention. I suspect that the verse numbers I quote are inaccurate as I sometimes quote the entire group of verses and Dr. Warner does not itemize them but instead writes full thoughts. All of these assessments of categories I made after reading the Koran. Although I have read and heard of others repeat some of them as part of their arguments against the atrocity and obscenity of Islam these are taken directly from my reading, not from third party sources such as websites or other books. And if I made a tag on one section of verses I didn’t necessarily add other tags if another group of verses following saying similar followed. So, in other words, these are the *minimums*, there are more than I count herein.
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The following list is based on my own assessment, disregarding everybody else’s read (including the author’s), whether they agree with my own assessment or not.

Top seven themes of the Koran

1. All non-Muslims are bad just by virtue of not being Muslim. And for other reasons too 2. Non-Muslims deserve to be killed, taxed and forced to submit, simply because they are non-Muslim 3. Non-Muslims are going to hell 4. Christians are bad, Jews are really bad, Idolaters are the worst 5. Good Muslims finance holy war and if possible engage in it themselves 6. Heaven is a comfy and scenic banquet hall with beautiful women and boys, tasty drinks and lots of fountains.
7. Hell is fire with torture, and it goes on forever.

The Koran spends a lot of text space criticizing other religions and in particular the *followers* of other religions, especially Jews and Christians. The Koran doesn’t observe the nicety of distinguishing between Jews and Judaism, for example. Coming from a background of Hinduism and having a fascination for the many streams of Buddhist traditions all over the world, I find the Koran bizarre and appalling. This ‘our way or the highway’ (the ditch actually) is contrary to any Indian-origin Dharmic religion or Indian-influenced religions, which generally have a compassionate and accepting attitude to other religions, accommodating them even into their own systems (for example the historical Buddha being considered as the ninth incarnation of Vishnu). The Koran is the antithesis of Indian Islam – with its the saint worship, festivals and music . I have spent considerable time upcountry and in the cities of India (as well as lived in Buddhist regions of Southeast Asia) and pure Islam, not tempered by the modifications of Java and Cambodia etc is like something from another planet. I find Koranic Islam’s stated objections to other religions so severe as to be anti-religion. They make the Catholic Church’s ‘we know best’ perspective seem downright cosmopolitan. Bishops might disagree with my critique of their Church, even vociferously. But they are not going kill me. Probably not even mock me. Maybe ignore me. Basically, Islam as presented in its primary scripture, the Koran, is completely incompatible with diversity and human rights. After reading the Abridged Koran I do not see Islam as a religion at all.

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God vs. the Sociologists: the Role of Religion in Terrorism

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The civil war that is happening within Islam across the globe has much more to do with fault-lines within the religion than it does with economic or sociological factors.

Those fault lines originated with the death of Mohammed, and they come down to two key questions: Who is the successor to Mohammed, and what are the sources of authority in Islam?

Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, by Katharine Cornell Gorka, September 23, 2016:

Two of the predominant ways of looking at the problem of ISIS are either as a sociological problem or as a theological problem.  The Obama administration takes the first view; its critics take the second.

From the beginning of his presidency, President Obama has deflected blame for terrorism away from the religion of Islam. For him and his administration, the fault lies not with the religion but in ‘upstream factors’: economic, political, and sociological causes.

President Barack Obama speaks at Cairo University in Cairo, Thursday, June 4, 2009. In his speech, President Obama called for a 'new beginning between the United States and Muslims', declaring that 'this cycle of suspicion and discord must end'.  Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

President Barack Obama speaks at Cairo University in Cairo, Thursday, June 4, 2009. In his speech, President Obama called for a ‘new beginning between the United States and Muslims’, declaring that ‘this cycle of suspicion and discord must end’.
Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

In his seminal Cairo speech, delivered at Al-Azhar University in Egypt on June 4, 2009, President Obama identified three explanations for Muslim discontent and violence:

  • colonialism, by which the West denied rights and opportunities to Muslims;
  • the Cold War, which led the West to treat Muslims as proxies and to disregard their aspirations; and
  • modernization and globalization, which bred Western hostility toward Islam.

According to this view, Muslim extremism is driven by legitimate grievances and has nothing to do with factors that might lie within the religion itself. The policies that naturally follow from such a view gloss over the role of religion and focus instead on addressing those alleged grievances.

Thus has the administration proceeded. In numerous speeches President Obama has expressed his support for Islam and its importance to the United States. He provided verbal, financial and technical support for anti-government forces during the Arab Spring (which included support for both secular forces as well as Islamist parties). And he withdrew nearly all combat troops from Iraq in 2011 and from Afghanistan in 2014.

If U.S. “meddling” in the region as well as perceived Western hostility toward Islam were in fact the root causes of Islamist terrorism, then these new policies could reasonably have been expected to bring about the demise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, al Nusra Front, Boko Haram and other Islamist groups.

But they did not. Indeed, we have seen the very opposite.

When President Obama came into office, Osama bin Laden was in hiding and Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) had all but disappeared. Since that time,

  • AQI evolved into ISIS, declared the Caliphate, and took over a territory the size of Great Britain with fully functioning affiliates in 18 countries;
  • Syria erupted into a civil war that has now raged for more than 5 years, claiming the lives of more than 400,000 and setting off the largest refugee crisis the world has seen;
  • Osama bin Laden is dead, but Al Qaeda is resurgent under the leadership of Ayman al Zawahiri;
  • Libya is roiled by civil war and chaos;
  • Boko Haram continues its war against Christians and moderate Muslims in Nigeria;
  • the Taliban rules in much of Afghanistan; and
  • the jihadists have brought their violence to the West with deadly attacks throughout Europe and the United States.

There could be no clearer evidence that the current strategy against Islamist violence is failing.

REASSESSING THE THREAT

Where does the solution lie? First, it requires a revised assessment of the threat. The sociological assessment of the threat is wrong. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that grievances are not the key cause of extremism. Jihadists, as a rule, are not undereducated or underprivileged.

While upstream factors might be exacerbating, ideology is a far more important motivator. The problem is that the ideology of jihad is inextricably rooted in religion and this notion makes most Americans profoundly uncomfortable.

From 4th grade civics classes onwards, Americans are schooled in the notion that others should not be judged for their religion. It is far easier and more comfortable to blame poverty or tyrants or even ourselves for Islamist terrorism. But we must get over this squeamishness when it comes to talking about religion, because religion is central to the conflicts in the Middle East.

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi (Aljazeera)

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi (Aljazeera)

When Abu Bakr al Baghdadi declared the establishment of the Caliphate on June 29, 2014, his concern was not poverty or modern nation states or democracy; it was Islam. A word-cloud analysis of his speech makes that incontestably clear:

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All the evidence that has since emerged from the Islamic States only serves to reinforce that fact. Most recently, a defector from ISIS, Mohammed Imal Khweis, said, “Our daily life was prayer, eating and learning about the religion for 8 hours.”

FAULT LINES WITHIN ISLAM

The civil war that is happening within Islam across the globe has much more to do with fault-lines within the religion than it does with economic or sociological factors.

Those fault lines originated with the death of Mohammed, and they come down to two key questions: Who is the successor to Mohammed, and what are the sources of authority in Islam?

After Mohammed completed his last pilgrimage and shortly before he died, in 632 A.D., he is said to have preached for three hours in the blistering sun to more than 100,000 of his followers at Ghadir Khumm. There, he took the hand of Ali, his cousin and son-in-law, and said, “For whomever I am his Leader, Ali is his leader.”

Was Mohammad appointing Ali his successor, as the Shi’a believe? Or was he merely saying that Ali was deserving of esteem and affection, as the Sunni believe?

This lack of clarity over Mohammed’s successor led to the assassination of three of the first four caliphs and the eventual division of the Muslim community into Shi’a and Sunni.

Today, this debate over the rightful successor to Mohammed continues to fuel enmity between Sunni and Shi’a: it drives Turkey’s and Saudi Arabia’s support for Sunni Islamists in Syria against Iran’s support for the Shia in Syria and Iraq.

The second fault line within Islam today arises over the question of who has authority in Islam, particularly with regard to the law. During Muhammed’s lifetime, the putative revelations he received helped him to elaborate the faith. Some of the pre-Islamic tribal laws and practices remained in place, but in many instances Muhammad laid down new laws and new ways of conducting oneself.

Indeed a part of what makes this body of rules—Sharia, as it has come to be known—so distinctive from the Western concept of law is that it is not merely a set of laws but rather an all-encompassing way of life. Sharia includes laws on ownership, inheritance, divorce, and slavery, but it also includes guidelines on how to pray, how to wash, how to relate to others, even how to enter a room.

This was distinct from the Christian tradition. Jesus Christ had introduced a new set of rules for the spiritual life, to be practiced by his followers while living under Roman laws (the “Render unto Caesar” passage). Mohammad presented a comprehensive system which provided both spiritual guidelines as well as laws. Christians saw themselves as a subset that had to live within a broader society. Islam saw itself as the whole society.

Thus those Muslims who argue for theocracy have all the theological ammunition they need to justify it.

As long as Mohammad was alive, he was the arbiter of the law because he was both the leader of the community and the conduit to Allah. He delivered the word of Allah on what was right and wrong, allowed and forbidden. The Muslim community thus lost its direct access to divine revelation when Mohammed died.

Only a handful of crimes had been explicitly named in the Qu’ran: theft, fornication, false accusation, and the waging of war against Islam or “spreading disorder in the land.”

What happens when situations are encountered that had not been specifically addressed by Mohammad?

POST-MOHAMMAD DIVISION

Since the Qu’ran was the word of Allah, as conveyed by Mohammad, was the Qu’ran the only legitimate source of law? Or since Muhammad was the chosen messenger of Allah, were his words and deeds outside of the Qu’ran also an authoritative source?

And what about the Rightly Guided Caliphs, those companions of Muhammad who had lived and worked alongside the Prophet and after his death had been so favored by Allah with victory in expanding the empire of Islam? Were not their elaborations of the law in those first decades after the death of Muhammad also an authoritative source? Similarly, were not the scholars and inhabitants of Medina a source of authority by virtue of having preserved the practices of Mohammad?

And finally, what about the role of human reason? Could man use reason to draw analogies between circumstances encountered by Muhammad and the present day?

These are the contours of the debate that ensued in the centuries following the death of Mohammad.

Four principal schools of law emerged, all of which agreed on the most important sacred sources, albeit with differences of emphasis among them:

  • the Qu’ran,
  • the words and actions of Muhammad (as preserved in the hadith and the sunna),
  • the example of the Companions of the Prophet, and
  • tradition.

THE ROLE OF REASON

But passionate and murderous debate ensued over the role of reason.

A group of scholars who came to be known as the Mu’tazalites emerged around the 8th century. They argued that there is an objective moral order that man can know through reason, and therefore human reason must be considered a legitimate source of authority in Islam. (This is an argument very similar to theories of Natural Law that had been developed from Greek philosophy and later Christian theologians, and to which the Mu’tazilites were exposed through translations.)

For a brief time, the Mu’tazalites held sway, and those who argued that reason had no role to play were threatened, flogged, imprisoned, banished, even murdered—indeed this period is referred to as Islam’s Inquisition (Mihna). But then the tables turned and those who stood in favor of reason were themselves quashed.

One of the most contentious debates sparked by the Mu’tazalite movement concerned the nature of the Qu’ran.

Not dissimilar to debates in the early Church over the nature of Jesus Christ—is Christ human or is He divine?—for Muslims the question was whether the Qu’ran was uncreated, co-eternal with Allah, or created. According to the Mu’tazalites, logic dictated that the Qu’ran could not be co-eternal with Allah because Allah must have preceded his own speech.

Why does this seemingly obscure point matter so much today? Because if the Qu’ran was uncreated, co-eternal with Allah, then it must remain true for all time and its laws and proscriptions must be followed to the letter.

This is the foundation of the argument of groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS in establishing 7th century rules and punishments. If, on the other hand, the Qu’ran was created for a specific time and place, then it can be adapted and amended for a new time and place.

Here lies the greatest potential for Islam to adapt to the modern world, to live peacefully alongside other religions, to end Islamist violence. Unfortunately, the Mu’tazalites were thoroughly defeated by about the 10th century, and those who have tried to revive the Mu’tazalite argument have been equally plagued.

These are the very profound fault lines within Islam, of which ISIS and Al Qaeda are but one manifestation. Asserting that terrorism has nothing to do with religion, as President Obama has done, is to ignore the very real conflict within the Muslim world.

To think that the United States can have a constructive role in this process by merely taking out key leaders of terrorist groups with drone strikes is to miss the point entirely. This is not a conflict of our making, nor is it ours to solve, but without a doubt the United States has an important role to play. Understanding the religious dimension of the conflict is the starting point in ensuring that it is not an exacerbating one.

Katharine Cornell Gorka is the President of the Council on Global Security and co-editor of Fighting the Ideological War: Winning Strategies from Communism to Islamism. In her current position, Katharine focuses on the threat posed by Islamic terrorism and radical ideologies. She works closely with U.S. government agencies, law enforcement and the intelligence community. Katharine is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received a master’s degree in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics.

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Do Islam and the West Share the ‘Same Values?’

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The lies of Londonistan’s first Muslim mayor against Trump.

Front Page Magazine, by Raymond Ibrahim, Sept. 30, 2016:

Recently while touring the U.S. and Canada, London’s first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, “attacked anti-Muslim views and policies and argued that what is needed is to build ‘bridges rather than walls’—a reference to Mr. Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.”

He specifically and repeatedly criticized the notion “that it is not possible to hold Western values and to be a Muslim.”  This notion, which he attributed to Trump, plays “into the hands of Daesh and so-called ISIS because it implies it’s not possible to be a Western liberal and mainstream Muslim, said Khan”

Can Muslims hold to Western liberal values and still be true to mainstream Islam?

This pivotal question is easily answered by determining what is and is not Islamic.  Muslims have traditionally accomplished this by asking the following questions:

What do the core texts of Islam say about the thing in question, call it “X”?  Does the Koran, believed by Muslims to contain the literal commands of Allah, call for or justify X?  Do the hadith and sira texts—which purport to record the sayings and deeds of Allah’s prophet, whom the Koran (e.g., 33:21) exhorts Muslims to emulate in all ways—call for or justify X?

If any ambiguity still remains concerning X, the next question becomes: what is the consensus (ijma‘) of the Islamic world’s leading authorities concerning X?  Here one must often turn to the tafsirs, or exegeses of Islam’s most learned men—the ulema—and consider their conclusions.   Muhammad himself reportedly said that “My umma [Islamic nation] will never be in agreement over an error.”

For example, the Koran commands believers to uphold prayers; accordingly, all Muslims are agreed that Muslims need to pray.  Yet the Koran does not specify how many times.  In the hadith and sira, however, Muhammad makes clear believers should pray five times.  And the ulema, having considered all these texts, are agreed that Muslims are to pray five times a day.

Thus, it is most certainly Islamic for Muslims to pray five times a day.

While both Muslim and Western scholars of Islam readily accept the aforementioned methodology (in Arabic known as usul al-fiqh) as foundational to determining what is Islamic—prayer is in the Koran, Muhammad clarified its implementation in the hadith, and the ulema are agreed to it—whenever the thing in question goes against Western values, then this standard approach to ascertaining what is and is not Islamic is wholly ignored.

In reality, however, countless forms of behavior that directly contradict Western values are called for in the Koran and/or hadith, and the ulema, are agreed to them: death to apostates and blasphemers, subjugation of Muslim women, sexual enslavement of non-Muslim women, polygamy, child-marriage, ban on and destruction of non-Muslim places of worship and scriptures, and enmity for non-Muslims—are all no less Islamic than prayer is.

Even Islamic State atrocities—such as triumphing over the mutilated corpses of “infidels” and smiling while posing with their decapitated heads—find support in the Koran and stories of the prophet.

To fully appreciate how much of Islam directly contradicts Western values, consider the findings of one Arabic language article by Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim Khadr.  It lists a number of things that mainstream Muslims support even though they directly contradict Western values.  These include (unsurprisingly): demands for a caliphate that rules according to Sharia and expands into “infidel” territory through jihad; death for anyone vocally critical of Islam or Muhammad; persecution of Muslims who try to leave Islam; rejection of equality for Christians and Jews in a Muslim state; rejection of equality for women with men; and so forth (read entire article).

Anyone who understands how Islam is actually articulated—such as presumably London’s Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan—knows that the assertion that it is “possible to be a Western liberal and mainstream Muslim” is a grotesque oxymoron.  It’s akin to saying that it’s possible to fit a square peg through a round hole.  It’s not—unless, of course, one forcefully hammers it through, breaking portions of the peg (the Muslim) and/or cracking the surface of the hole (Western society).

It is disingenuous to accept the well-known methodology of Islamic jurisprudence—is X part of the Koran, hadithsira, and does it have consensus among the ulema?—but then to reject this same methodology whenever X is something that clearly contradicts Western values, as much of Islam is so wont to do.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. He is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). 

Also by Ibrahim:

Here is an in depth interview with Raymond Ibrahim:

Is Obama’s ‘Narrative Battle’ with ISIS or Reality?

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Front Page Magazine, by Raymond Ibrahim, Sept. 23, 2016:

According to White House press secretary Josh Earnest, “When it comes to ISIL, we are in a fight—a narrative fight with them. A narrative battle.”  Earnest said this the day after two separate bombings occurred in New York, and an ISIS-linked Muslim went on a stabbing spree in Minnesota.  Obama’ spokesman later elaborated:

What is important in the context of political debate is to remember ISIL is trying to assert a narrative, that they represent the religion of Islam in a war against the west and in a war against the United States. That is mythology. That is falsehood. That is not true. That is bankrupt ideology they are trying to wrap in the cloak of Islam.

This, of course, is a strawman argument: the real question isn’t whether ISIS “represents” Islam, but whether ISIS is a byproduct of Islam.  And this question can easily be answered by looking not to ISIS but Islam.  One can point to Islamic doctrines that unequivocally justify ISIS behavior; one can point to the whole of Islamic history, nearly 14 centuries of ISIS precedents.

Or, if these two options are deemed too abstract, one can simply point to the fact that everyday Muslims all around the world are behaving just like ISIS.

For example, Muslims—of all races, nationalities, languages, and socio-political and economic circumstances, in Arab, African, Central and East Asian nations—claim the lions’ share of Christian persecution; 41 of the 50 worst nations to be Christian in are Islamic.  In these countries, Muslim individuals, mobs, clerics, politicians, police, soldiers, judges, even family members—none of whom are affiliated with ISIS (other than by religion)—abuse and sometimes slaughter Christians, abduct, enslave and rape their women and children, ban or bomb churches, and kill blasphemers and apostates.

Anyone who doubts this can access my monthly “Muslim Persecution of Christians” reports and review the nonstop persecution and carnage committed by “everyday” Muslims—not ISIS—against Christians.  Each monthly report (there are currently 60, stretching back to July 2011) contains dozens of atrocities, most of which if committed by Christians against Muslims would receive nonstop media coverage in America.

Or consider a Pew poll which found that, in 11 countries alone, at least 63 million and as many as 287 million Muslims support ISIS.  Similarly, 81% of respondents to an Arabic language Al Jazeera poll supported the Islamic State.

Do all these hundreds of millions of Muslims support the Islamic State because they’ve been suckered into its “narrative”—or even more silly, because we have—or do they support ISIS because it reflects the same supremacist Islam that they know and practice, one that preaches hate and violence for all infidels, as America’s good friends and allies, the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar—not ISIS—are on record proclaiming?

It is this phenomenon, that Muslims the world over—and not just this or that terrorist group that “has nothing to do with Islam”—are exhibiting hostility for and terrorizing non-Muslims that the Obama administration and its mainstream media allies are committed to suppressing.  Otherwise the unthinkable could happen: people might connect the dots and understand that ISIS isn’t mangling Islam but rather Islam is mangling the minds of Muslims all over the world.

Hence why White House spokesman Josh Earnest can adamantly dismiss 14 centuries of Islamic history, doctrine, and behavior that mirrors ISIS: “That is mythology. That is falsehood. That is not true.” Hence why U.S. media coverage for one dead gorilla was six times greater than media coverage for 21 Christians whose heads were carved off for refusing to recant their faith.

The powers-that-be prefer that the debate—the “narrative”—be restricted to ISIS, so that the group appears as an aberration to Islam.  Acknowledging that untold millions of Muslims are engaged in similar behavior leads to a much more troubling narrative with vast implications.

Even so, until this ugly truth is accepted, countless more innocents—including born Muslims who seek to break free from Islam—will continue to suffer.

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Britain: August 2016

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Tanveer Ahmed (right), a Sunni Muslim, was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the murdering Asad Shah (left), who belonged to the Ahmadi branch of Islam. Ahmed confessed to killing Shah in Glasgow because he claimed Shah had “disrespected the Prophet Mohammed.”

Gatestone Institute, by Soeren Kern, September 19, 2016:

  • “To use the term ‘honor killing’ when describing the murder of a family member — overwhelmingly females — due to the perpetrators’ belief that they have brought ‘shame’ on a family normalizes murder for cultural reasons and sets it apart from other killings when there should be no distinction.” — Jane Collins, MEP, UK Independence Party.
  • Voter fraud has been deliberately overlooked in Muslim communities because of “political correctness,” according to Sir Eric Pickles, author of a government report on voter fraud.
  • “Not only should we raise the flag, but everybody in the Muslim community should have to pledge loyalty to Britain in schools. There is no conflict between being a Muslim and a Briton.” — Khalil Yousuf, spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
  • Only a tiny proportion — between five and ten percent — of the people whose asylum applications are denied are actually deported, according to a British asylum judge, quoted in the Daily Mail.
  • Police in Telford — dubbed the child sex capital of Britain — were accused of covering up allegations that hundreds of children in the town were sexually exploited by Pakistani sex gangs.

August 1. Nearly 900 Syrians in Britain were arrested in 2015 for crimes including rape and child abuse, police statistics revealed. The British government has pledged to resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK by the end of 2020. “The government seems not to have vetted those it has invited into the country,” said MEP Ray Finch. The disclosure came after Northumbria Police and the BBC were accused of covering up allegations that a gang of Syrians sexually assaulted two teenage girls in a park in Newcastle.

August 1. Male refugees settling in Britain must receive formal training on how to treat women, a senior Labour MP said. Thangam Debbonaire, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, called for a “refugee integration strategy” so that men “understand what is expected of them.” She said it could help prevent sexual harassment and issues “including genital mutilation.”

August 2. Jane Collins, MEP for the UK Independence Party (UKIP), launched a petition calling for the BBC to stop using the term “honor killing.” The petition says the term “cultural murder” should be used instead. It states:

“To use the term ‘honor killing’ when describing the murder of a family member — overwhelmingly females — due to the perpetrators’ belief that they have brought ‘shame’ on a family normalizes murder for cultural reasons and sets it apart from other killings when there should be no distinction.

“Murder is murder, whether it be for cultural excuses or others. The term ‘honor killing’ is a euphemism for a brutal murder based on cultural beliefs which have no place in Britain or anywhere else in the world.”

August 3. Zakaria Bulhan, a 19-year-old Norwegian man of Somali descent, stabbed to death an American woman in London’s Russell Square. He also wounded five others. Police dismissed terror as a possible motive for the attack, which they blamed on mental health problems. But HeatStreet, a news and opinion website, revealed that Bulhan had uploaded books advocating violent jihad on social media sites.

August 4. A public swimming pool in Luton announced gender-segregated sessions for “cultural reasons.” The move will give men exclusive access to the larger 50-meter pool, while women will have to use the smaller 20-meter pool. The gender-segregated sessions are named ‘Alhamdulillahswimming,’ an Arabic phrase which means “Praise be to Allah.” UKIP MEP Jane Collins said the decision to have segregated times for swimming was “a step backwards for community relations and gender equality.” She added:

“The leisure center said this is for cultural reasons and I think we all know that means for the Muslim community. This kind of behavior, pandering to one group, harms community relations and creates tension. Under English law we have equality between men and women. This is not the same in cultures that believe in Sharia Law.”

August 5. Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood may be allowed to seek asylum in Britain, according to new guidance from the Home Office. The document states that high profile or politically active members

“may be able to show that they are at risk of persecution, including of being held in detention, where they may be at risk of ill-treatment, trial also without due process and disproportionate punishment…. In such cases, a grant of asylum will be appropriate.”

The new guidance contradicts previous government policy. In December 2015, then Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain would “refuse visas to members and associates of the Muslim Brotherhood who are on record as having made extremist comments.”

August 5. Stephen Bennett, a 39-year-old father of seven from Manchester, was sentenced to 180 hours of community service for posting “grossly offensive” anti-Muslim comments on Facebook. One of the offending comments: “Don’t come over to this country and treat it like your own. Britain first.” He was arrested under the Malicious Communications Act. The judge said Bennett, whose mother-in-law and sister-in-law are Muslims, was guilty of “running the risk of stirring up racial hatred.” He described it as “conduct capable of playing into the hands of the enemies of this country.”

August 6. British MPs face a six-year alcohol ban when the Palace of Westminster, which has dozens of bars and restaurants, undergoes a multi-billion-pound refurbishment beginning in 2020. They will move to an office building operating under Islamic Sharia law. Their new home, Richmond House, is one of three government buildings which switched ownership from British taxpayers to Middle Eastern investors in 2014 to finance a £200 million Islamic bond scheme — as part of an effort to make the UK a global hub for Islamic finance. Critics say the scheme effectively imposes Sharia law onto government premises.

August 8. Lisa Duffy, a candidate to succeed Nigel Farage as leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), called for a ban on Muslim women wearing a veil in public buildings, shopping centers and on buses and trains. She also demanded that Islamic faith schools be closed to combat radicalization, as well as a “complete and comprehensive ban” on Sharia courts in the UK. She said the veil is “a symbol of aggressive separatism that can only foster extremism” and claimed that it is often “forced on women by men who view them as their property.”

August 8. Stanley Johnson, a former Conservative MEP and Chairman of the European Parliament’s Intergroup Group on Animal Welfare, called for all halal meat offered for sale in the UK to be clearly labeled as such. He wrote:

“The halal market is worth £2.6 billion in Britain alone, and the export market is also growing particularly in the Middle East. Most of us eat halal meat unwittingly on a daily basis, since it is sold in most major outlets, including big brand-name supermarkets, without being labelled as such.”

August 9. Tanveer Ahmed, a 32-year-old taxi driver from Bradford, was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the “barbaric, premeditated” murder of a shopkeeper in Glasgow. Ahmed admitted to repeatedly stabbing Asad Shah to death outside his shop in March 2016 in a sectarian attack motivated by hatred of Shah’s religious views.

Ahmed, a Sunni Muslim, confessed to attacking Shah, who belonged to the Ahmadi branch of Islam, which believes Mohammed was not the final Muslim prophet. As he was led from the dock, Ahmed raised a clenched fist and shouted in Arabic: “Praise for the Prophet Mohammed, there is only one Prophet.” His cry was repeated by supporters in the public gallery.

Read more

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

It’s Time We Faced the Facts about the Muslim World

Ahmad Khan Rahami seen on video surveillance. (Photo: New Jersey State Police/Handout/Reuters)

Ahmad Khan Rahami seen on video surveillance. (Photo: New Jersey State Police/Handout/Reuters)

Islam has a serious problem. America needs to start acting accordingly.

National Review, by David  French, Sept. 19, 2016:

Here is a plain, inarguable truth: A series of Muslim immigrants and “visitors” are responsible for killing more Americans on American soil than the combined militaries of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. Two more attacks over the weekend left 38 Americans wounded, and it appears that both were carried out by Muslim immigrants.

In Saint Cloud, Minn., Dahir Adan’s family identified him as the man who stabbed eight people in a mall before being shot and killed by an armed civilian, an off-duty police officer named Jason Falconer. Adan’s family said he was born in Kenya. In New York, police arrested an Afghan-American named Ahmad Khan Rahami after a shootout. He’s a “person of interest” in bombings in both New York and New Jersey that injured 29.

Despite making up a tiny fraction of the American population, Muslims are responsible for exponentially more terror deaths than any other meaningful American community. Even if you use the Left’s utterly ridiculous standard of “terror deaths since 9/11” (why exclude America’s worst terror attack when calculating the terror threat?), Muslim terrorists have killed almost twice as many people as every other American faction or demographic combined.

Yet when any politician or pundit suggests restrictions or even special scrutiny applied to Muslim immigrants — especially Muslim immigrants or visitors from jihadist conflict zones — entire sectors of the Left (and some on the right) recoil in shock and horror. Whenever there’s a terror attack, there’s an almost palpable desperation to determine that the attacker was not Muslim and the attack had “no connection” to international terror, in spite of the fact that it is now ISIS and al-Qaeda strategy to inspire lone wolves.

The simple explanation for this desperation is that there’s a fear that any terror attack helps Donald Trump win the presidency. But the desperation long predated Trump’s rise. It’s a desperation born out of the realization that facing actual facts about the Islamic world threatens an entire, absurd ideology of “diversity” that views different cultures (except of course for the hated Christian oppressor) as the equivalent of Neapolitan ice cream — each flavor and color has a distinct taste, but it’s all still sugary goodness.

The reality is different. The Muslim world has a severe problem with anti-Semitism, intolerance, and terrorism. As I’ve documented before, using data from Pew Foundation surveys, it’s plain that more than 100 million Muslims have expressed sympathy for terrorists such as Osama bin Laden or for barbaric jihadist groups such as ISIS. Hundreds of millions more express support for the most intolerant forms of sharia law. Telethons in Saudi Arabia have raised vast sums of money for terrorist causes, and jihadists have been able to recruit hundreds of thousands of fighters to deploy against Americans, Israelis, and our Muslim allies.

Given these facts, why is it bigoted to propose plainly constitutional ideological litmus tests? How is it bigoted to halt — absent compelling extenuating circumstances — immigration from jihadist conflict zones or jihadist-dominated regions? We have implemented ideological tests before, during the Cold War, when there was an active national-security threat. We should do so again.

However, as long as we’re facing facts, it’s also critical to remember that while the effective use of American military force and effective border controls can limit the jihadist threat, only Muslims can truly reduce the reach of jihadist ideology. American Christian rhetoric, secular religious arguments, and diversity-speak are largely irrelevant to the internal Muslim debate about the meaning and interpretation of the Koran and the various hadiths.

That makes it all the more important that we double down on our support for proven Muslim allies. The Kurds, for example, are perhaps our most stalwart allies (outside of Israel) in the entire Middle East. The current Egyptian regime is a declared enemy of the Muslim Brotherhood, and its president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has called for a “religious revolution” within Islam. If we don’t want extensive American ground forces engaged in permanent ground combat in the Middle East, we need local allies. It’s that simple.

And that means there are no easy answers. Politicians have to shed their illusions about the Muslim world and admit the sad fact that mass immigration from jihadist zones — even of refugees — carries with it profound risks. At the same time, entirely walling off the nation from Islam is neither feasible nor prudent. We must cultivate relationships with key allies under the principle of “no better friend, no worse enemy.”

Genuine alliance with America should be the path to true international engagement and access to international markets. But access cannot be unconditional. We must close our borders completely to those who embrace Islamic fundamentalism. Those who come from a jihadist-dominated region must be forced to provide a record of their alliance and affiliation with American values and interests before they are allowed in.

This isn’t invidious discrimination; it’s evidence-based policy-making. It’s not bigotry; it’s national defense. When “diversity” brings death, it’s time to shed fairy-tale ideologies and recognize grim truth. The Muslim world has a problem. It’s time our nation responded accordingly.

— David French is an attorney, and a staff writer at National Review.

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In Wake of Recent Terrorism, Rewatch This: Peaceful Muslims Irrelevant

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Flashback: Shapiro On The Myth Of The Tiny Radical Muslim Minority

Also see:

Bill Warner: Moderate Muslims Cannot Save Us

moderate_radical-islamPolitical Islam, by Bill Warner, Sept. 7, 2016:

It is frequently said that moderate Muslims can solve the problem of jihad and terror. Everyone has met nice Muslims, some of whom are willing to admit that Islam has problems and may even say that Islamic State is bad. Moderate Muslims are nice people who come to interfaith events, interviews and talks at schools and churches. Moderate Muslims even tell us that they are the real victim, not the Kafir.

Here is the problem—Islam cannot be changed by anybody, moderate or not. Islam is the civilizational doctrine found in the Koran, Sira and Hadith. Nobody can change the Sunna and the Koran. Their words are eternal, perfect and universal. Nobody can change Islam. It is fixed and frozen by its unalterable doctrine.

What we call moderation is simply ignoring the violence and hate. But the jihad cannot be removed, it can only be denied by ignoring it. A moderate has the same Allah and Mohammed that a jihadist has.

Moderate Islam is Islam light, Islam ignored. Islam changes Muslims; Muslims can only choose not to practice the dark side of Islam, but they cannot change it or get rid of it. Islamic doctrine is fixed, eternal, unchangeable and forever.

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CJR:

For reformist Muslims like Raheel Raza, who recently spoke at the Act for America 2016 conference, Islamic doctrine is interpreted by leaving all objectionable verses out as “only applicable in the 7th century”.  One current effort underway by the reform movement is to create a Quran only Islam. The problem is, how do you convince millions of Muslims and the authorities of Islam at Al Azhar University that this is legitimate? And how do you come up with a peaceful interpretation of Quran 9:29: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humiliated.”

For a discussion on why it is impossible to reform Islam without essentially creating a new religion read CounterJihad’s recent piece by Immanuel Al-Manteeqi:

A Woman Under Sharia: 8 Reasons Why Islamic Law Endangers Women

Here is the relevant excerpt:

Conclusion and a Possible Pathway for Reform.

…Now, the job of Western leaders and those in the intelligence community is to educate themselves about the underlying religious motivations of Islamists (and not censor talk about Islam in willful blindness). Muslim reformers, on the other hand, are tasked with the more difficult job of reforming Islam,and rejecting interpretations or Islamic source texts that are at odds with contemporary Western and egalitarian values.

Muslim reformers need to focus on cultivating a peaceful and tolerant Islam, one that bestows a much higher place to women than traditional Islam, and one which is not a prisoner to the above- interpretations or source texts.

However, as mentioned above, Muslim reformers should not just dismiss problematic stories like that of Ṣafiyya as ahistorical or unislamic whilst simultaneously accepting other material in the same earliest sources as being historical and Islamic. This is unlikely to convince any Muslim with a proclivity to the less palatable interpretations of Islam, and certainly not those who are intimately familiar with the source texts.

These Muslims, especially the non-Western ones, will immediately indict the Muslim reformer as succumbing to Westernizing influences in his/her understanding of Islam. They will challenge the reformer to explain why what he/she happens to find unpalatable in the sources is ahistorical or unislamic, and why what he/she finds palatable is historical or Islamic. The reformer will very likely be unable to provide a satisfactory answer here.

So Muslim reformers need a way to reform Islam without playing fast and loose with the source texts, an endeavor which is bound to fail (the proof of this is that so far it has failed miserably). Now, the reformation of Islam is a burden that moderate Muslims must carry themselves—reform cannot be imposed from outside the Muslim umma, but must arise naturally and organically within it. In a word, it is for Muslims themselves to go about the very difficult task of reforming Islam.

That being said, I suggest that one promising pathway of reform, at least one that is much more promising than cherry-picking what to believe in the early sources, is the methodology that is advocated by Ahmad Ṣubḥī Manṣūr, an Egyptian graduate of al-Azhar. Manṣūr is a prominent Muslim reformist who is a former Azharī PhD graduate and Azharī professor.

His reformist agenda is very simple: Islam should be based on the Qur’ān alone. To this end, he has written a whole book entitled al-Qur’ān wa Kafa (“the Qur’ān is Sufficient”) wherein he defends the Qur’ān-only view, of which he is currently and incontrovertibly the number-one proponent.

Manṣūr believes that the extra-Qur’ānic Islamic sources, written as they were many generations after Muhammad’s death, are historically unreliable, and are a byproduct of a later sectarian milieu with concerns that were alien to the time of Muhammad and the Qur’ān.[31] Indeed, he describes much of the unpalatable material found in the ahādīth as “garbage.”

An upshot of his view is that many of the unpalatable teachings in mainstream Islam are not found in the Qur’ān, but in the extra-Qur’ānic sources, and so will be eliminated from his version of Islam. Examples of unpalatable doctrines or events that are not found in the Qur’ān but are present in the extra-Qur’ānic sources are as follows: the view that women make up most of hellfire and are lacking in faith and intelligence; the view that apostates should be killed; the stories that Muhammad enslaved women and had (ostensibly non-consensual) sexual relations with some female captives; the view that Muhammad wanted Jews and Christians expelled from the Arabian peninsula; the view that people should be fought until they believe in Allah and Muhammad’s prophethood, etc.

It must be noted that the view that Islam should be based solely on the Qur’ān and not on the extra-Qur’ānic sources is not something that is completely without intellectual merit. The extra-Qur’ānic sources of Islam are in fact written long after Muhammad’s death and contradict each other on many important points. That a ḥadīthin Sahih al-Bukhari has Muhammad saying that whoever changes his (Islamic) religion should be killed is hardly good evidence that Muhammad said such a thing.

Furthermore, eminent Western (non-Muslim) scholars of Islam, like Gabriel Said Reynolds of the University of Notre Dame, consider the extra-Qur’ānic Islamic sources, viz., the sīyar (plural ofsīra), tafasīr (plural of tafsīr), and aḥadīth (plural of ḥadīth), to be historically unreliable for constructing the context of the Qur’ān, or giving us accurate information about Muhammad.[32] He views many of the extra-Qur’ānic stories as being Midrashic interpretations of enigmatic Qur’ānic verses that should be read as secondary literature rather than as historical accounts.

All this being said, the putative reformist pathway of Manṣūr is not without its demerits. First, the Sunna (or way of Muhammad) is firmly entrenched in early Islam and many Muslims would see a Qur’ān-only Islam as being very foreign from their understanding of the religion. And they would be correct. Qur’ān-only Islam is an alien form of Islam, after all, most of Islamic praxis today is based not on the Qur’ān but  on the extra-Qur’ānic sources (particularly the aḥadīth); for example, the obligation to pray five times a day is not something that is taught in the Qur’ān, but in the extra-Qur’ānic source materials.[33] So in one sense, a Qur’ān-only Islam is arguably a different religion than the mainstream Islam that is practiced today. [emphasis added]

Second, most scholars of Islam, whether Muslim scholars in Muslim countries, orientalist scholars, or otherwise, do believe that while the earliest extra-Qur’ānic Islamic sources are embellished, even to a high degree, they nevertheless retain a solid core of historical truth. Scholars like Reynolds are, as he himself notes, in the minority here. Orientalists still follow the methodology of the great Islamicist, Theodore Noldeke (1836 – 1930), which is different from the traditional Muslim approach to the sources only insofar as it utilizes a more critical approach.[34]

Third, while the Qur’ān-only approach does eliminate many things that are unpalatable to a Western audience, one is still left with apparently unpalatable verses in the Qur’ān. Some Qur’ānic verses, like the ones mentioned earlier in this article, will need to be explained by Muslim reformers. However, given that the Qur’ān is, as the Islamicist F.E., Peters notes, “a text without a context,”[35]there is much room for interpretive maneuvering.[36]

All things being equal, the less that is known about the context of an ancient text, the greater the plausible interpretations of the text. This gives Qur’ān-only Muslims much greater leeway in explaining the prima facie unpalatable verses than Christians and Jews have in explaining away the violent or unpalatable elements in the Old Testament (the context of which are quite clearly stated in the text itself).

This is just one of a few putative approaches that Muslim reformers can adopt in order to combat certain religious doctrines that are not compatible with an egalitarian and Western ethic. Whatever the path that Muslim reformers take, it will certainly be an uphill battle for them. Manṣūr himself was tried by an Azharī tribunal and expelled from the University in 1987. And after being on the receiving end of many death threats for his unorthodox views, he sought political asylum in the United States and was granted it in 2002.

More recently, a young reformist, Islam al-Buhayrī, was imprisoned by ʿAbd al-Fatah al-Sisi’s “secular” Egyptian government for his vociferous efforts to reject much of what is unpalatable in the mainstream Islamic tradition. Likewise, Sayyid Al-Qumni is currently being taken to court in Egypt for his allegedly blasphemous reformist views. These courageous reformers are leading the drive towards reforming Islam, but when it comes to women under sharia, Muslim women themselves should be more proactive and they should take the lead in demanding equal treatment.

As can be seen from the above, there is much in the Islamic source texts that is not compatible with contemporary Western conceptions of the equality of man and woman. However, there are possible pathways for reforming these elements of Islam. And reformists who apply an intellectually consistent methodology, people like Dr. Manṣūr, should be encouraged.

Islam Is Not a Civilization

quote-a-general-definition-of-civilization-a-civilized-society-is-exhibiting-the-five-qualities-of-alfred-north-whitehead-277903American Thinker, By Paul Eidelberg, September 4, 2016:

We need a politically incorrect and radically new multi-disciplinary and multinational understanding of Islam.

To speak of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as the “three Abrahamic faiths” or as the “three religions of the Book,” or, more significantly, as the “three monotheisms,” obscures rather than illuminates. These familiar tropes, says theologian George Weigel, ought to be retired.

The eminent French scholar Alain Besançon agrees. He writes, “The Abraham of Genesis is not the Ibrahim of the Qur’an; Moses is not Moussa. As for Jesus, he appears, as Issa, out of place and out of time, without reference to the landscape of Israel. His mother, Mary, or Mariam, identified as the sister of Aaron, gives birth to him under a palm tree. Then Issa performs several miracles, which seem to have been drawn from the apocryphal gospels, and announces the future coming of Muhammad.

Alain Besançon takes us deeper into the heart of the matter. He draws this theological distinction between Judaism and Christianity, on the one hand, and Islam, on the other:

Although Muslims like to enumerate the 99 names of God, missing from the list, but central to the Jewish and even more so to the Christian concept of God, is “Father” — i.e., a personal God capable of a reciprocal and loving relationship with men. The one God of the Qur’an, the God who demands submission, is a distant God; to call him “Father” would be an anthropomorphic sacrilege. The Muslim God is utterly impassive; to ascribe loving feeling to Him would be suspect.  If God is not “Father,” then it is difficult to imagine the human person as having been made “in the image of God.”

Now, let us admit that Islam has, over the centuries, given meaning and purpose to hundreds of millions of lives that have been decently lived. It is also true, however, that today, throughout the world, Islam finds itself in the midst of what Besançon aptly describes as “a long-delayed, wrenching, and still far from an accomplished encounter with modernity.”

Indeed, Islam continues to divide mankind into two groups, the faithful on the one hand, and creatures Islam calls “pigs” and “dogs” on the other, an attitude that fosters Islamic terrorism.

To clarify matters further, in 1985, note well that Iran’s delegate to the United Nations, Said Raja’i-Khorassani, declared that “the very concept of human rights was ‘a Judeo-Christian invention’ and inadmissible in Islam.”

The indiscriminate nature of Islamic terrorism can be explained by these words of Catholic theologian George Weigel: “The notion that there are ‘no innocents,’ that the enemy is ‘guilty’ simply by reason of drawing breath – logically entails a strategy of open-ended mayhem based on the radical dehumanization of the ‘other.’”

Dehumanization describes the terrorist acts of the Palestinian Authority.  This consortium of Muslim-led terrorist groups reduces Jewish children to body parts by exploding the busses in which they ride to school. There is no essential difference between these Muslim terrorists and those that perpetrated the bloodbath in Paris, in Nice, and in Orlando.

Alain Besancon, quoted by Dr. Weigel, exposes another obscure aspect of Islam: “Although Muslims like to enumerate the 99 names of God, missing among the list is ‘father’ – i.e., a personal God capable of a reciprocal and loving relationship with men. If God is not our ‘father,’ then it is difficult to imagine the human person as having been made ‘in the image of God.’”  Small wonder that Muslims liken “infidels” to “pigs” and “dogs,” and harbor no qualms about using their own children as human bombs to explode Jewish schools busses, thus reducing Jewish children to body parts.

The social philosopher Lou Harris offers a broader assessment of Islam in Civilization and Its Enemies. Contemptuous of the cultural relativism propagated by American colleges and universities, Harris means by civilization a standard of behavior that can be applied across cultures and across history.  He sees civilization as having four prerequisites: a stable social order, the co-operation of individuals pursuing their own interests, the ability to tolerate or socialize with one’s neighbors, and a hatred of violence.

Clearly, Islam lacks three of the four prerequisites of Harris’ definition of a civilization.  What is remarkable is that Syrian-born psychiatrist Wafa Sultan arrived at the same conclusion. She denied a clash between the West and Islamic civilization because, in her view, Islam is not a civilization!

Egyptian-born scholar Bat Ye’or agrees. She defines Islam as a culture of hate, and one can cite several former Muslims who renounced Islam for this very reason.

That said, I have collected several essays by renowned scholars and statesmen who, even though they represent different nations and even different periods of history, nonetheless agree about the egregious nature of Islam, which justifies the title of Harris’ book Civilization and Its Enemies.

Part I. Introduction
Part II. Identifying the Enemy
Part III. A Former Muslim Shows How to Combat the Enemy
Part IV. An Insider’s View of ‘Moderate’ Muslims
Part V. Beyond Multicultural Relativism
Part VI. The Theological Basis of Today’s Crisis
Part VII. Islamophobia: Facts and Fictions
Part VIII. Islamic Bellicosity and Blood Lust
Part IX. Blood Lust (cont’d)
Part X. Iran and Necrophelia
Part XI. Islamic Imperialism
Part XII. Islam: A Cult of Hatred, Especially of Jews

Prof. Paul Eidelberg is President, Israel-America Renaissance Institute

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