“Can I criticize Islam without fearing for my life?”

“Can I criticize Islam without fearing for my life?”

The answer is, in fact, no. We may surmise this from how Islamic tradition records Muhammad himself dealing with criticism. Abu Afak was a poet who was over one hundred years old, and had mocked Muhammad in his verses. Muhammad asked the Sahaba: “Who will avenge me on this scoundrel?” One of the companions murdered Abu Afak in his sleep. Likewise with another poet who mocked him: the poetess Asma bint Marwan. Muhammad on another occasion cried out, “Will no one rid me of this daughter of Marwan?” One of Muhammad’s companions, Umayr ibn Adi, went to her house that night, where he found her sleeping next to her children. The youngest, a nursing babe, was in her arms. But that didn’t stop Umayr from murdering her and the baby as well. Muhammad commended him: “You have done a great service to Allah and His Messenger, Umayr!” (Ibn Ishaq, 674-676)

Then there was Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf. Muhammad again asked his companions: “Who is willing to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?” One of the Sahaba, Muhammad bin Maslama answered, “O Allah’s Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?” When Muhammad said that he would, Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab).” Muhammad responded: “You may say it.” Muhammad bin Maslama duly lied to Ka’b, luring him into his trap, and murdered him. (Bukhari 5.59.369)

Meanwhile, “a member of the mosque congregation said to Sandra that she is free to choose her faith emphasizing that her problem is not with Islam but with the Saudi regime.”

That is not true. In reality, the death penalty for apostasy is part of Islamic law. It’s based on the Qur’an: “They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.” (Qur’an 4:89)

A hadith depicts Muhammad saying: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57). The death penalty for apostasy is part of Islamic law according to all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence.

This is still the position of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, both Sunni and Shi’ite. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most renowned and prominent Muslim cleric in the world, has stated: “The Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished, yet they differ as to determining the kind of punishment to be inflicted upon them. The majority of them, including the four main schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali) as well as the other four schools of jurisprudence (the four Shiite schools of Az-Zaidiyyah, Al-Ithna-‘ashriyyah, Al-Ja’fariyyah, and Az-Zaheriyyah) agree that apostates must be executed.”

Qaradawi also once famously said: “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today.”

A week after she protested against the “Islamization” of Canada outside of Masjid Toronto Mosque, Sandra Solomon, an ex-Muslim who became a human rights activist, took advantage of the mosque’s open house on Saturday, February 25, 2017 to deliver a direct message to the Imam Ahmed Shihab and the Muslim community.

Police are investigating possible hate crimes by the protesters who called for banning Islam and an imam at the mosque who recited supplications for the annihilation of the enemies of Islam and purification of al-Aqsa Mosque from the “filth of Jews.”

The following is the message that Sandra Solomon read in Masjid Toronto Mosque (February 25, 2017):

My name is Sandra Solomon. I am an ex Muslim who lived in the Saudi Arabian society governed by 100% Sharia law.

I suffered a lot in Saudi Arabia from the teachings of Islam because of the lack of women rights.

I was neglected, ignored and forbidden to sharing my thoughts on Islam to the point where I was always under risk of being murdered by honor killing from my brother, who attempted to kill me just because I refused to wear thehijab [head scarf].

They forced me into a marriage. Islamic forced marriage is nothing less than institutionalized rape. Do not dare to think otherwise.

I took my child and escaped Saudi Arabia because of the imminent threat of my execution for not following Islamic Sharia [Islamic Law] without question and came to Canada for its freedom.

I came to Canada to live under secular and Constitution Democratic system of law. A law that respects me as a free human being that has the right to live and think and be critical of anyone and anything without living in fear for my life and my child’s life .That is why I am in Canada. I am a subject of Canadian law. Not Sharia [Islamic] law.

I am a victim of Islam and it is my duty to warn others of its true nature. But unfortunately Sharia law is not leaving me. I was surprised when I found that it has followed us here to Canada. There are three Canadian imams on Canadian soil calling for my execution. Their names are, Shahryar Shiakh [“Punishment for apostasy is death”], Ahmad Abdul Qader Kandil [who said that enemies of Islam to be killed, crucified or their limbs cut off] and SaidRageah [who said that person who insults Mohammad may face execution in Islamic State]. All three of them in Canada are openly calling for my execution. Relying solely on the teaching of Quran and Hadith plus the book called human right in Islam distributed at Dundas square [“Islamic Shari’ah decrees execution for the person who apostatizes”][For more information on “Quebec, Ontario imams say apostates to be executed by The Islamic State” click HERE].

Ladies and gentlemen, criticism of an ideology and political authority is the most important aspect of free democracy. And for this, the imams all call for my death they do so on the Islamic grounds that I speak truths about Islam, its founder, Mohammad, and that I no longer accept the Islamic ideology, all of which are death penalty crimes under Islamic law, and which Islamic States like Iran, Saudi Arabia, The Islamic State, Afghanistan, Pakistan and dozens of more convict and execute. We see it here in Canada when Muslim girls refuse the hijab like the Shafia girls.

I am standing here in your mosque today, asking for you to show me the tolerance you ask of all Canadians. To accept me for whom I am and the free choices I made to be something other than Muslim. My God, is a God of love and mercy. I offer it to you, and ask you for it in return .My criticism of Islam are [sic] of the ideology, the teachings and scriptures. Not any individual Muslim. Criticizing ideology is not just legal in Canada; it’s the foundation of democracy. Whether it is a religious authority, or political, no person, book, or ideas are above criticism and scrutiny….

I have concern about my life and I would love to get an answer from you Muslims to tell me: Am I going to be killed, or my child is going to be killed or harmed by anyway for me openly criticizing Islam? I want to be comforted.

A member of the mosque congregation said to Sandra that she is free to choose her faith emphasizing that her problem is not with Islam but with the Saudi regime.

Hugh Fitzgerald: “Learn Islam From Its Source” (Part I)

Hugh Fitzgerald: “Learn Islam From Its Source” (Part I)

 

 

Suddenly our country is full of all kinds of Interfaith Outreach Events, carefully staged by Muslims for unwary Infidels. There is Ask-A-Muslim!, there is Meet-Your-Muslim-Neighbors, there are Coffee, Cake, and Qur’an meetings. Whatever the name, they amount to essentially the same thing: a deeply sincere offer of friendship to any non-Muslims willing to take them up on the offer, and a just as sincere offer of candor on the subject of Islam, which the Muslims running these events are prepared to discuss from top to bottom, for those non-Muslims who want to understand what all the fuss and, alas, suspicion is all about. Usually these events come with a meal, provided by Muslim hosts for non-Muslim guests, designed to leave a feeling of contentment, physical as well as mental, from the evening, when Muslims open up fully — no holds barred — about Islam, and after their exposition, welcome any and all questions. These events can take place at a mosque, or at an Islamic Center, or sometimes even at the private home of a Muslim who has done well, living the American dream and therefore, it might be presumed from his financial success, fully integrated into American life. Never mind that Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri were both from the top socioeconomic strata of their respective societies, but did not feel at home in either Egypt or Saudi Arabia, respectively. Nor should we forget that among the first would-be terrorists arrested in this country was “Mike” Hawash, who as an Intel engineer earned $360,000 a year, had married an American with whom he had several children, and appeared to be completely assimilated.

The first movement of the evening is the Meet-and-Greet. You are introduced by the presiding Muslim dignitary (it could be an imam, or a doctor, or a professor) to all those “Muslim neighbors” with whom you will find you have so much in common. They are, especially the women, full of bustling friendliness. The men are sober and deeply sincere of mien, but also very welcoming to their non-Muslim visitors. “And how nice that at long last we can all meet, just as people,” says the head host, “and you don’t have to think of us as that strange, sometimes forbidding group the media often refers to as ‘the Muslims.’”

As the head host will say, as everyone has settled back in their seats, “the more of these evenings I conduct, the more I realize that we are all basically the same. Here’s my day, which I suspect is a lot like yours: I wake up, help my wife get the kids ready for school, have breakfast, leave for work, endure the commute, listen to National Public Radio while driving, grab a lunch at my desk at noon, put in a solid day, endure the same commute home as you do, try to be home in time to have supper with the kids and hear about their school day, then another half-hour of work-related emails have to be answered, and then I help do the dishes, help put the kids to bed, and usually watch a little soothing television, the Turner Movie Channel, or BBC Mysteries. And then to bed. Isn’t that a lot like your lives? The only real difference for me, as a Muslim, is that Friday, not Sunday, is our holy day, but other than that, aside from the hijab our women like to wear as a sign of modesty, there really are very few differences. Like you, we are monotheists, and like you we revere Jesus. That deserves to be more widely known. Of course I don’t want to minimize the big problem we all have: there is no denying that the criminal element — yes, some people who call themselves Muslims have criminal mentalities, just the way some Jews and Christians do — in Islam has wreaked havoc all over the world, killing non-Muslims and Muslims alike. I think the number of Muslim victims of Islamic terrorists is considerably greater than the non-Muslims, not that it matters, because terrorism is terrorism, but it would perhaps bring a little needed perspective to the issue if we recognized how much we Muslims suffer too from these madmen. And along with our own victims, we suffer in another way — the damage to the image of Islam, which means ‘peace’ and has nothing to do with this terrorism, and damage, too, to our image as law-abiding Muslims — that’s what we find so sad, so lamentable. And we wanted to invite you here to undo some of that damage, to allow you to see us just as we are. And to ask questions, on any aspect of Islam, and to hear what Islam means to us. Why shouldn’t Muslims, instead of your being told half-truths by FOX or CNN, tell you what Islam is all about? You would expect us to ask Christians, not Muslims, to find out about Christianity. Why should Islam be any different?”

The second essential component to the evening is the shared meal, prepared by the Muslim hosts for their non-Muslim guests. This ordinarily comes at the end of the evening, after the discussion about Islam, and is usually offered as a buffet. It’s a kind of reward for the guests who have sat through the presentations. To show the full reach of Islamic civilization and cuisine (“Islam is not monolithic”), there will usually be a variety of foods from Arab lands, Iran, Pakistan-India, Turkey, even Indonesia. Curried chicken, lamb kabobs, hummus and baba ghannoush, stuffed grape leaves, pita and naan, even possibly a rudimentary rijstaafl if East Indians are among those in attendance. The smells have wafted from the kitchen to the room where the ask-a-muslim main event is taking place. These are a powerful sensory reminder of the pleasure to come, and that puts the visitors in a good and expectant mood as they offer their earnest questions, and uncritically accept whatever answers they receive.

And as they share that buffet, sitting at tables with at least one Muslim assigned to each table, to continue the Interfaith conversation, not just to explain the dishes to them, but to encourage their guests, in the friendliest possible fashion, to continue over dinner to ask them any questions they may have about their own lives as Muslims, or anything else about Islam that might be on their minds. But it’s seldom about anything worrisome. The food, the friendliness, the warm sense of fellow feeling, will overcome even the most suspicious of souls. And when the Infidels leave that evening, it will inevitably be with a sense that they have learned a great deal about Muslims, who are just people like themselves, and about Islam, too, which apparently is more or less like Christianity — with the same rituals of prayer, and pilgrimage, and fasting, and charitable giving — only with a different day of worship and a few incidental differences, as the hijab, the fruit juices instead of alcohol, the ban on pork.

The evening comes to an end, and the well-fed guests promise their Muslim hosts that they will spread the word about what they have learned. Indeed, they are true to their promise, calling in to talk shows, or writing letters to the editor, or merely putting in their two-bits if the subject of Islam comes up at work, or at a social gathering, whenever they feel that Islam, or Muslims, have been unfairly maligned, always prefacing their self-assured remarks with “I’ve visited mosques, I’ve taken part in question-and-answer sessions about Islam, I’ve broken bread with my Muslim neighbors, and I’ve learned that the real Muslims, not the crazies who simply use Islam as an excuse, are just like us.”

In Chicago, still another variant on these meet-your-muslim-neighbor events has just been announced. It’s called “Learn Islam From Its Source,” and it’s a program by which Muslims, using only the Qur’an, try to explain Islam.

The Muslims behind this program claim that because the Qur’an is the most important source for Islam, only it needs to be consulted. This is disingenuous. The Sunnah, that is the customs and mores of 7th-century Muslims, which is derived from both the Hadith (the records of what Muhammad said and did) and the Sira (the biography of Muhammad), has always been regarded as an essential source of Muslim practice that acts as a kind of gloss on the Qur’an itself. The hadith that are regarded as most reliable are identified as “Sahih” and of the six collections so designated, two of them, by Bukhari and Muslim, are regarded as the most authentic.

The standard view of Muslims is that the Qur’an cannot be properly understood in a vacuum, without the Sunnah, that is, the practice of Muhammad, his words and deeds. One Muslim website offers this:

In our day, too, some people reject the Sunnah of the Prophet (saas). “We read the Quran,” they say, “and interpret it for ourselves without the need for any clarification by the Prophet (saas).” They turn their backs on the Sunnah, the practical application and implementation of the Quran.

The fact is that these people who have abandoned the Sunnah in fact ignore the Quran`s commandments. That is because the Sunnah is an explanation of the Quran and more importantly, the Quran orders Muslims to follow it. Allah (swt) has not only made obeying the Quran obligatory, but also obeying the Prophet (saas).

For this reason, Islam can only be practiced together with the Sunnah and Muslims can only apply the Quran into real life with its help. The Sunnah, on the other hand, is the belief of the Ahl al-Sunnah [“the people of the Sunnah”], which is the totality of our Prophet`s (saas) authentic hadiths and their subsequent interpretations by the great Islamic scholars.

Similar comments can be found all over the most important Muslim sites on the Internet. Apparently a great many Muslims do not agree that you can “Learn Islam From Its Source” (that is, the Qur’an alone). The Sunnah of the Prophet is essential for the practice of Islam.

But in jettisoning the Hadith and Sira, and sticking only to the Qur’an, the Muslims behind this “Learn It From the Source” campaign have achieved something important in their campaign to protect Islam. For it is in the Hadith, not the Qur’an, where we find so many of the most disturbing stories about Muhammad. His marriage to Aisha when she was six, and with whom he had sexual intercourse when she was nine, and he fifty-four, is found in the most authentic Hadith, such as Sahih Bukhari 5:58:234, and not the Qur’an. That is surely a story that non-Muslims might wish to learn about. And it is naturally one which Muslims prefer they never find out about. And they won’t, if they “learn Islam from its source,” meaning the Qur’an alone.

Then there are the many stories about Muhammad having those who criticized or mocked him murdered by his followers, who in some cases needed only a hint from Muhammad without an explicit command. There was the murder of Asma bint Marwan (following Muhammad’s exclamation “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?”), a poetess who mocked Muhammad, and criticized him, too, for killing a 120-year-old poet, Abu ‘Afak, and for her pains was murdered. Abu ‘Afak, too, was murdered by a follower of Muhammad who was fulfilling not a command but an express wish by Muhammad. And murdered too, was the Jewish poet Ka’b ibn Al-Ashraf, this time on the direct command of Muhammad. And there are another dozen accounts of similar assassinations of the perceived critics of Muhammad. But these stories are all to be found either in the hadith collections, especially those of Bukhari and Muslim, deemed the most trustworthy, or in the Sira of Ibn Ishaq, or both. But none of them are to be found in the Qur’an, to which these Chicago Muslims wish to limit the “education” of Infidels.

Those who will be taught only about the Qur’an will, similarly, learn nothing about the mass killing in Medina of the bound prisoners of the Banu Qurayza, a Jewish tribe who had surrendered to Muhammad. Muhammad is described as looking on as some 600-900 men were put to death in one long day of executions, but that information is to be found in the Sira (biography) of Muhammad, and not in the Qur’an.

As for the raid on the Khaybar Oasis, and the seizing by Muhammad of the beautiful Jewish girl Saafiya, whom he took as his sex slave on the very day he had had killed her husband, father, and brother, a story that non-Muslims might profit from learning, that story, too, is not to be found in the Qur’an, and so those who are going to learn about Islam, as they are told, only “from its source,” the Qur’an, will again be left bereft of any real understanding of the nature of Muhammad. And it’s not just his female sex slaves that will be kept from Infidel view if only the Qur’an is relied on, but also Muhammad’s dealing with male slaves, whom he bought, sold, and traded — as we know only from the Hadith and Sira.

That Muslim Group’s “‘Learn Islam From its Source” Campaign, is not, as it claims to be, in order “to Educate about True Islam.” It will do nothing of the sort. You cannot learn about Islam without studying the life of Muhammad. And much of that life, even most of it, can only be found in the Hadith and Sira, which will not be offered as part of the required reading.

The Muslims who claim that non-Muslims should learn from the Qur’an alone and “not from unreliable sources, social media, or fake news” are themselves an “unreliable source.” For only an “unreliable source” would claim that the Hadith, by which we mean those of the most reliable hadith-collectors, and the Sira are “unreliable sources.” The Hadith of Bukhari and Muslim, the biography by ibn Ishaq — from which all the information about Muhammad given above has been taken — are not considered by Muslims to be “unreliable sources,” but deemed nearly equal in reliability to the Qur’an. These Hadith, then, are not just reliable, but indispensable sources if we wish to have a comprehensive view of Muhammad.

The Muslims who thought up this “Learn Islam from its Source” campaign have stated that their desire is to “ease the fear of Islam, suspicion of Muslims and to clear up many misunderstandings of Islam.” They will certainly “ease that fear” by leaving out the Hadith and Sira, which means leaving out much of what makes Muhammad most terrifying. He will be the Muhammad of the Qur’an, the Messenger of God. He will not be the Muhammad who captures women and makes them his sex slaves, or buys and sells and trades male slaves; he will not be the Muhammad who has his followers kill those who have angered him; he will not be the Muhammad who watches with satisfaction as 600-900 bound prisoners of a defeated tribe are decapitated. What better way to “ease that fear” than simply make sure non-Muslims don’t find out about any of this. And what makes the gruesome details of Muhammad’s life still more disturbing is that despite them, Muhammad continues to be regarded by Believers as the Model of Conduct and the Perfect Man, and whatever he did was right. That’s the morality of Islam. Non-Muslims take quite a different view.

The main purpose of “Learn Islam From Its Source” is to keep information about Muhammad himself to a minimum. Hence no Hadith, no Sira.

But another aim is to present a skewed view of the Qur’an. It’s not hard to figure out what Muslims will choose to teach from that “source.” Undoubtedly they will focus first on the Five Pillars of Islam. These are duties that are comfortably familiar to Christians. The Five Pillars are: the shehada (the profession of faith), salat (the five canonical daily prayers), zakat (the giving of charity), sawm (the observance of the Ramadan fasting), and the Hajj. By focusing on these, reading out the Qur’anic verses where these rituals are commanded, the Muslims purporting to teach non-Muslims about Islam will be able to use up time and attention on rituals that are mostly inoffensive, and that appear to be similar to Christian duties (prayer, fasting, pilgrimages, giving of charity are also part of Christianity). What won’t be mentioned is this: that zakat, or charitable giving, is intended only for fellow Muslims or for those who, while not yet fully Muslim, are on the path of conversion and for whom the receipt of zakat might encourage them on this path. Zakat is thus given to further Islam and Muslims; it is quite different from the omnidirectional charity practiced by Christians. Nor will the non-Muslim “students” be told that the five daily prayers (salat) contain, within the Fatihah (the first verse of the Qur’an), a denunciation of Christians and Jews that is repeated, in the saying of those five prayers, seventeen times a day. (This is a point repeatedly made by Robert Spencer.) Neither the limitations on zakat, nor the kuffar-cursing in the five canonical prayers, are things of which any Infidel would normally have an inkling. So no questions about these matters will be asked, and no elucidation need be offered by the Muslims giving their “learn-Islam-from-its-source” lessons. Meanwhile, time is passing, and the more time that is devoted to the Five Pillars, and to a few seemingly innocuous Qur’anic verses (5:32, 2:256), the less time will be left to the last topic, those 109 Jihad verses, full of violence, that will somehow have to be explained away.

There are a handful of Qur’anic verses that apologists for Islam never fail to quote. Pride of place is given to Quran 5:32, which appears to condemn killing (in a verse lifted from the Jewish Mishnah) and, as a consequence, has been a favorite of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Taken by itself, 5:32 means one thing, but if you read 5:32 in context, that is as followed and modified by 5:33, quite a different meaning emerges:

5:32: “We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.”

This seems to be a denunciation of killing, save in the case of punishing someone for murder or “for spreading mischief in the land” — but we still need to understand that last phrase, which is defined only in the next verse, 5:33, which reads:

“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.”

Who are those who “wage war against Allah and His messenger” if not the non-Muslims, of every kind? And what is to happen to them? They are deserving of execution, or crucifixion, or having their hands and feet cut off. 5:33 is the gloss that gives 5:32 its real meaning, which is not peace but a sword, and quite different from what both Barack Obama and George Bush apparently think it means.

But still more egregious is the attempt to make non-Muslims believe that Qur’an 2:256 (“There is no compulsion in religion”) is to be taken literally. And that requires us, in the next article, to examine what freedom of religious choice, in a Sharia state, non-Muslims and, for that matter, Muslims themselves have.

 

Should We Blame Islam For Terrorism?

Should We Blame Islam For Terrorism?

This is the rhetorical question — “no” being the only conceivable response — that the Iranian-born David Shariatmadari, now living in the U.K., asked in a recent article in The Guardian.

He began his exercise in taqiyya by insisting that while in the late 20th and early 21st century, some Muslims have begun to resort to “jihadi terrorism,” such a weapon had never before been used in the 1400-year history of Islam. And since nothing had changed in the message of Islam – the texts have remained the same since Islam’s beginning – what could explain this sudden appearance, in the late 20th century, of “jihadi terrorism”?

Shariatmadari locates the cause in the “political economic, military, and social changes in the Middle East.” He deplores the fact that many non-Muslims are starting to seek in the Qur’an the explanation of Muslim violence. He quotes the philosopher Roger Scruton as saying “that we need to deal with these difficult suras,” and notes condescendingly of Scruton that “it’s not an unreasonable thought if you’re unfamiliar with Islam.” For Shariatmadari says that what’s in the Qur’an “provides an easy-to-grasp account of acts that otherwise seem inexplicable. Who knows (or can be bothered to find out) what those verses [really] say, and how they can be interpreted?” Yes, Infidels will misunderstand the Qur’anic verses – they can’t “be bothered to find out” what they really mean – that is, will take them literally, and in this manner, will explain the phenomenon of “jihadi terrorism.”

However, he doesn’t feel obliged to let his readers decide for themselves what Qur’anic verses may mean. He fails to quote a single verse or sentence or phrase from the Qur’an or Hadith. Shariatmadari wants you to stay well away from those texts, insisting that “a proper explanation [for Muslim terrorism and violence] isn’t to be found here [in the Islamic texts].” In fact, the Qur’an gets in the way of a meaningful inquiry: “all it [looking into the Qur’an] really does is stand in the way of a proper investigation. It’s like a sign that says ‘look here and no further,’ obscuring sometimes a little too conveniently, far more complex causes.” So let’s have no more talk about the Qur’an.

Shariatmadari says we have to “look beyond the [Islamic] texts.” Why? Is it because the texts are beyond an Infidel’s understanding, and would only confuse him, as he implies, or is it, rather, that the texts are all too clear – and have been for 1400 years – in commanding the use of violence and terror against the Infidels?

Few will agree with Mr. Shariatmadari that looking into the Qur’an “stand[s] in the way of a meaningful inquiry” into Islam. It is, in fact, the only way to find out what Islam teaches. And when he mocks those who claim that “Islam is especially predisposed towards violence,” this makes one even more eager to take a look at those texts. So let’s round up the usual Qur’anic suspects. Here are just four of the most telling:

Qur’an (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority

Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

Quran (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.

Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

There are more than one hundred other verses in the Qur’an that are all about violence and terror. Shariatmadari does not mention, not even in an attempt to explain away, by “contextualizing,” any of the 109 Jihad verses, and the violence that runs through the Qur’an and the Hadith. He keeps up his extended mockery of those who want to draw conclusions from what is in those texts: “Who knows (or can be bothered to find out) what those verses say, and how they have been interpreted?” Well, many Unbelievers have not been dissuaded from finding out “what those verses say”and “how they have been interpreted” is clear from the 1400-year behavior of Muslims. If 1.5 billion Muslims can find out “what those verses say” then so can I, and so can you, and so can any man. And we discover those commands to Believers, telling them to engage in violent Jihad against, and to terrorize the Infidels, the very verses cited by al-Awlaki and al-Baghdadi and Osama bin Laden and other leaders or members of terror groups, so scrupulous in adducing textual justification for their acts.

These verses are prescriptive, valid for all time, for Muslims everywhere. Can similar verses commanding violence and terror against an enemy, and prescriptive rather than descriptive, be found in the Jewish scriptures? In the New Testament? Robert Spencer notes the significance of this difference: “Indeed, throughout history, these texts[in the Bible] have never been taken as divine commands that either must be or may be put into practice by believers in a new age. All these passages, after all, are descriptive, not prescriptive. They nowhere command believers to imitate this behavior, or to believe under any circumstances that God wishes them to act as his instruments of judgment in any situation today.”

Do we find violence prescribed, or described, for Hindus in the Bhagavad Gita? And where does Christ speak of war and violence in the way that Muhammad does? Did we overlook something in the Sermon on the Mount? Where does Christ preach war against non-Christians? Where does the Buddha preach unending war against all non-Buddhists? Jews may lay claim to the Land of Israel, but Muslims lay claim to the entire world. There is a difference. Islam, claims Shariatmadari, “is not especially predisposed toward violence.” But no major religion’s foundational texts have anything like the violence that is to be found throughout the Qur’an and Hadith and Sira.

What about the Muslim wars of conquest? asks Shariatmadari. Yes,” they definitely happened” he admits, “but not in a way that marks Islam out from other cultures.” For “the dominant (often genocidal) military powers since the 17th century have been Christian.” Not for the first time, his Tu-Quoque is showing. Here’s the difference, and it’s a simple one: When Muslims conquered many different lands and subjugated many different peoples, they were acting according to what Allah had commanded, and following the example of Muhammad, the Model of Conduct and the Perfect Man, and the leader of many military campaigns, as recorded in the Hadith and Sira. When Christians conquered lands and subjugated non-Christian peoples (as the Spanish did, with such ferocity, in South America), they were acting not according to, but in defiance of, the teachings of Jesus. That’s what “marks Islam out from other cultures.” One might also note that the behavior of the Spanish conquistadores in South America does have something to do with Islam, for their violence reflected the effect of 770 years of the Reconquista, when the Spanish tactics and attitudes mirrored the brutality of the Muslims they were fighting.

Shariatmati mocks those who may have concluded that there is something “special” about Islam:

Since the Westminster attacks, many people seem to have been getting stuck on the following question, as they do after most acts of jihadi violence: “Is there something special about Islam? Something that lends itself to terrorism?”

There may be some people still “stuck on the question” of whether “there is something special about Islam,” but fewer with every attack by Muslim terrorists. That “something special” is to be found in the verses I’ve quoted above, and more than a hundred others in the same deadly vein. And it’s to be found, too, in the words and deeds of Muhammad, as recorded in the Hadith and Sira. People in the Western world have had their attention fixed on Muslim terrorists not, pace Shariatmadari, “ever since the Westminster attacks,” nor intermittently, “after most acts of jihadi violence,” but steadily, since 9/11/2001, when the attack by jihadi terrorists on the World Trade Center signaled the real beginning of their campaign of terror against Infidels in the West. That campaign has continued, with more than 30,000 attacks by Muslim terrorists world-wide recorded since that fatidic date. And terror has been used, along with the conventional warfare conducted in recent decades by Jihadis against the Unbelievers, in many places: in Afghanistan, against Russian soldiers; in Kashmir, against the Hindu Pandits; in the Philippines, against the Christian farmers in the Moro Islands; in both Thailand and in the Chittagong Hills of Bangladesh, against Buddhists; and in Nigeria, against the Christian Igbo.

In the West, many have come to understand what it is about Islam that has led so many Muslims either to participate in, or to give support to, or express agreement with, terrorism against Infidels. These people realized that they could not rely on what Muslims themselves said about Islam, for the practice of taqiyya – religiously-sanctioned deception to protect the faith of Islam, which originates in Shi’a Islam but has analogues in Sunni Islam – has become too frequent and too transparent. Nor could they trust the academic “experts” in Islam, given the intellectual corruption in universities (where Islamic studies are almost everywhere in the hands of apologists in the Esposito and Armstrong line). Instead, they have engaged in self-directed study, a kind of home-schooling, reading the Qur’an and significant portions of the Hadith, and Sira, to make sense of this faith that, they soon discovered, is also a political ideology. For Islam not only regulates almost every aspect of life for its adherents, but imposes a duty of conquest on them as well. Islam is based on an uncompromising division of the world between Muslims and Unbelievers, and prescribes war between the two, until the ultimate triumph of the Jihadis, when Islam will everywhere dominate, and Muslims rule, everywhere. This is something David Shariatmadari does not mention.

Many non-Muslims have not wanted to look too closely into Islam. It’s upsetting. They choose to believe that Islam is “peaceful” and “tolerant” (as Muslim apologists keep assuring them). That’s a comforting fiction, but also dangerous, as it minimizes the menace, and keeps too many in the imperiled West whistling in the dark. It is especially disturbing to see those in positions of power, who are supposed to instruct and protect us, choose rather to dismiss Islamic terrorism as “having nothing to do with Islam,” or as being carried out by “misunderstanders of Islam” (Barack Obama). Others declare that Muslim terrorists “defame” Islam (General Mattis), or insist that what those terrorists do constitutes a “perversion of the faith” (General McMaster, Theresa May). No matter how many times Muslim terrorists declare quite clearly the justification for their attacks by quoting from the Qur’an and Hadith, no matter how many learned clerics similarly justify these attacks by citing Islamic jurisconsults, many Infidels still refuse to connect Islam to Islamic terrorism, and further declare that anyone who does so is guilty of Islamophobia, an unpardonable offense in today’s topsy-turvy world.

David Shariatmadari insists that the people who connect terrorism by Muslims to what is in the Qur’an and Hadith are proving themselves “unable to deal with the complexities of a world in which politics…interacts with religion.”

Shariatmadari’s claims are absurd. Those who “connect terrorism” to the Qur’an and Hadith are not “unable to deal with the complexities of the world,” but on the contrary, they are the ones most able to squarely face the disturbing reality of what Islam teaches. It is those who deny that connection who cannot bear too much reality. Those who have taken the trouble to study the Qur’an and the Hadith (that is, a few hundred of the Hadith most relevant to Jihad and terrorism), the very people Shariatmadari repeatedly mocks, know there is indeed something “special” about Islam. They know that the Qur’an contains more than a hundred verses extolling and commanding violence, and verses telling Believers to “strike terror” in the hearts of the Infidels. They know that Muhammad was a military leader, who conducted many dozens of raids on the enemy, and that the Hadith and Sira are full of stories of his taking part in attacks, and even participating in mass decapitations of prisoners. They know, because they’ve read them, that the texts of Islam are suffused with violence.

Shariatmadari writes: “Let’s assume for a moment, then, that Islam is especially predisposed towards violence. If that’s your view, then you’ll need to show why the history of jihadi terrorism is so very short: this is emphatically a late 20th and early 21st century phenomenon, yet Islam has been around since the seventh century.”

This is the heart of Shariatmadari’s argument, and is flatly false. The history of jihad terrorism is as old as Islam itself. For the Islamic conquests were not merely a matter of armies clashing, but of terror deliberately inflicted by Muslims in order to subdue much more numerous populations. How was the conquest of North Africa, all the way across to the Iberian Peninsula, and then into France, where the Muslims were finally halted by Charles Martel at Tours, achieved? Was there no terrorizing of the conquered populations? What were the Muslim conquests of the Byzantine Empire, or of the Sasanian Empire, if not acts of sustained terror by mass killings? What was the conquest of India, if not one vast exercise in jihadi terrorism that constituted the greatest genocide in history, where rule by a tiny Muslim minority was maintained over centuries by terror, with many millions of Hindus killed in campaigns designed to keep them from any thought of revolt? Instead of today’s terrorism of suicide vests and trucks, it was, rather, that of “striking terror” into the hearts of Infidels by massacring not only enemy soldiers taken prisoner, but non-combatants, including women, children, the elderly.

Shariatmadari pays no attention to the history of Islamic conquest except to insist that while such “wars of conquest” did happen, it was “not in a way that marks Islam out from other cultures.” He is, after all, defending the faith, and lying in its defense is not just permissible, but laudable. It is true that the kind of terror we naturally think of today was not possible before the late 20th century. For the first thirteen hundred and fifty years of Islam, the deadliest weapons used by modern terrorists – the explosives, the suicide vests, the automatic weapons that could spray a nightclub or restaurant with gunfire, the planes to be commandeered or blown up, the trucks and cars to be stolen and rammed into crowds of Infidels, the pressure-cookers repurposed to explode in the middle of other crowds – simply did not exist. But jihadi terror was inflicted on civilians for 1400 years, with sword and scimitar and mangonel (a siege weapon to shoot projectiles over city or fortress walls), and, much later, with guns too. If you massacre helpless civilians, no matter how limited your means, that is not conventional warfare; that is sowing terror, as the Qur’an commands.

What Shariatmadari should have said is this: modern technology has done two things for Muslim terrorists: first, it has provided them with deadlier and more varied instruments of terror (though decapitation is still a mainstay) than were available to Muslim terrorists in the past; second, technology has now made possible the instant dissemination of news of those attacks all over the world, through the Internet, as was never possible in the past, and thereby makes such terrorism more vivid and frightening.

There is another change, not mentioned by Shariatmadari, that explains the greater use of terror by Muslims in the West, starting in the late 20th century. It’s because they can. It is only during the last few decades that Muslims have been allowed to enter and settle in that same West, among those who would then become victims of Islamic terror. The Muslims who committed the terror attacks in London, who put bombs in Underground trains, who butchered Drummer Rigby, who killed French cartoonists, Jewish shoppers, nightclubbers, and diners in Paris, and strollers on the promenade in Nice, who executed Pim Fortuyn (killed by a Leftist who said he “did it for Dutch Muslims”) and Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands, who murdered Americans in San Bernardino and Orlando and Fort Hood and Boston, would in an earlier day simply not have been living in Great Britain, or France, or the Netherlands, or the U.S. The great migration of Muslims to the West — there are now tens of millions of them in Europe — and the availability of new weapons, and new ways to weaponize what were never intended as weapons (planes, trucks, buses, cars), are what explain the flourishing of Islamic terrorism in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. We in the West take note of Muslim terror now because we are its well-publicized, and latest victims, and we tend to forget that in numbers far more people, millions of them, have been killed in Asia and Africa over the centuries in campaigns of Islamic terror.

Shariatmadari claims that in the late 20th century, certain “political, economic, military and social changes in the Middle East,” caused jihad terrorism to start up. So why doesn’t he describe even one of those changes? What does he have in mind? Surely the main change in the Middle East has been this: some Muslim countries, once poor, became fabulously rich from oil and gas. And how would all these carefully unspecified changes “in the Middle East” explain the jihad terrorists who are to be found outside the Middle East, in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, even China, and in many dozens of other countries? How do changes in the Middle East explain the jihad terrorism by converts to Islam in Europe? Could it be deprivation — poverty or lack of education — that explain why Muslims support or engage in sustained campaigns of war and terror against non-Muslims? No, all the studies agree that the Muslims who engage in terrorism are both better off and better educated than the average Muslim. Africans in wretched sowetos, impoverished Hindus in Calcutta, Christians in miserable favelas in Brazil, do not become terrorists, but rich Muslims – especially Saudis and other Gulf Arabs – do. The one constant among jihad terrorists, whether in the Middle East, or Asia, or in Europe, and whether they are converts or Muslim from birth, or rich or poor, is that they have read, and have taken to heart, the Qur’an and Sunnah. For Jihad terrorism, that is both necessary, and sufficient.

Yes, there is something “special” about Islam. It comes back to Muhammad as a military leader, bent on conquest and grabbing loot. The Qur’an is a manual of war. Shariatmadari hopes you won’t bother to read either it or the war stories that are included in the Hadith. He hopes you don’t know much about the history of Islamic conquest, but will assume it involved only a series of battles between regular armies, and not the campaigns of terror as well, that were so often the Muslim norm.

The weapons of jihadi terrorism have changed over time, the technology to broadcast bulletins of terror has become immeasurably more powerful, and the peoples against whom such terror is directed have also changed, as new venues (Paris! London! New York!) have presented themselves. Violent jihad is central to the ideology of Islam, and given the immutable nature of the Qur’an, will never fall from favor, or become anything else.

Hugh Fitzgerald: “Meet Your Muslim Neighbors”

Hugh Fitzgerald: “Meet Your Muslim Neighbors”

 

Ever since 9/11, mosques and “Islamic centers” have been conducting campaigns of determined “outreach” to non-Muslims. The point of this “outreach” is to present Islam as the least threatening of faiths, one which has been too often misunderstood and its adherents unfairly maligned, and those adherents are only too glad to clear up misconceptions about their faith. One such gathering was held on September 16 at the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland, Massachusetts, billed as “Meet Your Muslim Neighbors.”

The first “misconception” that the Muslim hosts thought needed to be cleared up had to do with how long Muslims have been in America. “People think that Muslims have just come here to this country,” said Shaheen Akhtar, who is an “interfaith liaison” and runs an “interfaith book club” at the Center. She told her audience that Jefferson and John Adams had both owned copies of the Qur’an. Her implication was clear: these men took a sympathetic interest in Islam. She even described Jefferson as “advocating for the rights of the practitioners of the faith.” This implies special pleading on his part for Islam. What Jefferson actually did was “advocate” for the principle of religious freedom in general, and famously quoted a line from John Locke’s 1698 A Letter Concerning Religious Toleration: “neither Pagan nor Mahamedan [Muslim] nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the Commonwealth because of his religion.”

However, there were those whom Locke expressly excluded from toleration, and applying his own criteria, Muslims might well have been among them.

At the website of Apologetics Press:

Dr. Dave Miller has noted that in a section of A Letter Concerning Toleration dealing with those whom a civil magistrate “cannot” tolerate, Locke lists the following (page numbers refer to the 1796 edition of Locke’s Letter):Those whose religious opinions are contrary to “those moral rules which are necessary to the preservation of civil society” (1796, p. 53);

  1. The religion that “teaches expressly and openly, that men are not obliged to keep their promise” (p. 54);
  2. “[T]hose that will not own and teach the duty of tolerating all men in matters of mere religion…and that they only ask leave to be tolerated by the magistrate so long, until they find themselves strong enough to [seize the government]” (p. 55);
  3. All those who see themselves as having allegiance to another civil authority (p. 56). Specifically, Locke gives the example of the Muslim who lives among Christians and would have difficulty submitting to the government of a “Christian nation” when he comes from a Muslim country where the civil magistrate was also the religious authority. Locke notes that such a person would have grave difficulty serving as a soldier in his adopted nation (cf. the 2009 Fort Hood shooting spree by a Muslim soldier who shouted, “Allahu Akbar” as he opened fire, killing 13 and wounding 32; see Stewart, 2010).
  4. “[T]hose are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being of a God” (p. 56).

#1-#4 would all seem to disqualify Islam from such toleration.

But what did those visitors to the Islamic Center know about Jefferson’s reliance on Locke, and Locke’s criteria, that would have excluded Islam from “toleration”? And what did they know about, what could they reasonably conclude, from the Qur’ans owned by Jefferson and Adams?

Both Jefferson and Adams were intellectually voracious; they were curious about Islam, as they were curious about so many things; curiosity is not endorsement. Jefferson purchased his Qur’an, translated by the English lawyer and Orientalist George Sale, in 1765. Later, dealing with the problem of the Barbary Pirates, the North African Muslims who attacked Christian shipping and Christian sailors (and enormous sums were being spent by the young Republic to buy off these Muslim marauders), Jefferson, along with John Adams, met with the Tripolitanian envoy Sidi Haji Abdrahaman in London in 1786. Perhaps reading the Qur’an helped Jefferson to understand the motivations of this unexpected enemy; certainly by the time he became President in 1801, he was determined not to negotiate with the Barbary Pirates, but to implacably oppose with force these Muslims whom, he knew, were permanently hostile to all non-Muslims.

In London, Jefferson and Adams had queried the Tripolitanian ambassador”concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury” for the Americans had done nothing to deserve being attacked, and the ambassador replied, as Jefferson reported:

It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise.

And later, Jefferson reported to Secretary of State John Jay and to Congress at greater length:

The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.

These reports do not sound as if they came from someone who thought well of Islam. The more dealings Jefferson had with the representatives of the Barbary states, and the more he studied the tenets of the faith, the more he began to grasp the aggressive nature of Islam, the centrality of Jihad, the inculcation of permanent hostility toward non-Muslims, and the heavenly reward for Jihadis slain in battle.

As for John Adams, his owning a Qur’an did not signify an endorsement of Islam. While Jefferson’s Qur’an was that translated by George Sale, the Qur’an that Adams owned was translated by the Sieur de Ryer in 1647 into French, and from that an English translation appeared in 1649, and then published in the United States in 1806. And that edition of the “Alcoran of Mahomet” is prefaced by this: “This book is a long conference of God, the angels, and Mahomet, which that false prophet very grossly invented; sometimes he introduceth God, who speaketh to him, and teacheth him his law, then an angel, among the prophets, and frequently maketh God to speak in the plural. … Thou wilt wonder that such absurdities have infected the best part of the world, and wilt avouch, that the knowledge of what is contained in this book, will render that law contemptible.”

On July 16, 1814, in a letter to Jefferson, John Adams described the Muslim prophet Muhammad as one of those (he listed others as well) who could rightly be considered a “military fanatic,” one who “denies that laws were made for him; he arrogates everything to himself by force of arms.” Adams is nowhere on record as praising any aspect of Islam, nor even “advocating” its toleration.

Visitors to the Islamic Center of Boston were told only that Adams and Jefferson both owned Qur’ans, and that Jefferson “advocated” for Islam. They were not told what Jefferson and John Adams themselves had concluded about Islam and Muhammad (see above), or what their experience of dealing with Muslim powers had been, for that might have given those visitors pause.

And they were certainly not told that another American president, the formidable scholar John Quincy Adams, had studied the Qur’an, and the history of Islamic conquest, more thoroughly than any of our presidents before or since, and even felt impelled, from his study of both Islamic texts and of the history of Islamic conquest, to write a longer work on Islam. Here is some of what he wrote:

He [Muhammad] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind…The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God.

In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar [i.e., Muhammad], the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle. Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE [Adam’s capital letters]….Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. The war is yet flagrant…While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men.

As the essential principle of his faith is the subjugation of others by the sword; it is only by force, that his false doctrines can be dispelled, and his power annihilated. They [The Russians — J. Q. Adams was here discussing the endless war of the Russians] have been from time immemorial, in a state of almost perpetual war with the Tatars, and with their successors, the Ottoman conquerors of Constantinople. It were an idle waste of time to trace the causes of each renewal of hostilities, during a succession of several centuries. The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force. Of Mahometan good faith, we have had memorable examples ourselves. When our gallant [Stephen] Decatur had chastised the pirate of Algiers, till he was ready to renounce his claim of tribute from the United States, he signed a treaty to that effect: but the treaty was drawn up in the Arabic language, as well as in our own; and our negotiators, unacquainted with the language of the Koran, signed the copies of the treaty, in both languages, not imagining that there was any difference between them. Within a year the Dey demands, under penalty of the renewal of the war, an indemnity in money for the frigate taken by Decatur; our Consul demands the foundation of this pretension; and the Arabic copy of the treaty, signed by himself is produced, with an article stipulating the indemnity, foisted into it, in direct opposition to the treaty as it had been concluded. The arrival of Chauncey, with a squadron before Algiers, silenced the fraudulent claim of the Dey, and he signed a new treaty in which it was abandoned; but he disdained to conceal his intentions; my power, said he, has been wrested from my hands; draw ye the treaty at your pleasure, and I will sign it; but beware of the moment, when I shall recover my power, for with that moment, your treaty shall be waste paper. He avowed what they always practised, and would without scruple have practised himself. Such is the spirit, which governs the hearts of men, to whom treachery and violence are taught as principles of religion.

Clearly, neither Jefferson, nor John Adams, nor his son John Quincy Adams had anything good to say about Islam. Indeed were they to utter such sentiments today they would most likely be declared “right-wing islamophobes” and consigned to the outer darkness. But the visitors to the Islamic Center were deliberately left with the impression that Jefferson and Adams were defenders, not detractors, of Islam.

The Islamic Center “has long prided itself on its interfaith services,” but what does that mean? Does it mean that non-Muslims can watch, or even participate in, the regular Muslim services? Or does it have to do with charity? Mention is made of “resources for homeless families.” Ordinarily, zakat (charitable giving), many Muslim websites insist, should be limited to fellow Muslims, but if it is given to non-Muslims, it can be justified as helping to “promote Islam” by burnishing its image. It is too bad that the “moderate voices” that Shaheed Akhtar says “need to be heard” did not openly discuss this matter with their guests. They might have said, for example, “you know, there are Muslims who believe that the recipients of zakat can only be other Muslims but we, the moderates, disagree.” That would have won points, but would also have required, however, the admission that many Muslims think otherwise.

Adil Najam, a Pakistani American, gave a presentation about “the experience of being a Muslim in America.” He has himself led a charmed academic life, and is now that appetizing thing, a full professor and Dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. How unfair it was, he smilingly implied, when he appeared on a TV news show after 9/11/2001 and was unpleasantly introduced as an “expert on hate” because he was a Muslim, at the very time when, Najam said, “everyone was talking about why they hate us.” Muslims should be seen as not experts on, but victims of hate, when they wish only, joked Najam, to someday become regarded as “experts on love.” Muslim love for non-Muslims, reciprocal non-Muslim love for Muslims, the promise of a Peaceable Kingdom if only the Islamophobes could be silenced, what a comforting prospect..

Along with attempts to enroll the Founding Fathers in the campaign to burnish Islam’s image, Muslims, and not just in CAIR, like both to backdate and exaggerate the Muslim presence in America. Broad claims have been made for an early Muslim presence. Najam did not disappoint, for he stated, almost offhandedly and, without reference to any supporting evidence, that “around 30 percent of the slaves brought over to the United States were Muslim.” No such certainty exists among those who have researched the question of slaves who were Muslim; figures range from 5% to 10% to 15% to the fantastic figure of 30%. Najam chose not to discuss the complexity of the issue, but plucked out of the air the highest figure that anyone has ever mentioned, 30%, and presented it as indisputable fact. He did not discuss another aspect of this matter, which is that even those slaves who came as Muslims found it impossible to keep up the observance of Islam and within a few generations, as Syviane Diouf has pointed out, the observance of Islam practically, and swiftly, died out: “Islam as brought by the African slaves has not survived….in the Americas and the Caribbean, not one community currently practices Islam as passed on by preceding African generations.” The absence of Qur’ans, madrasas, mosques, and the pressure to convert to Christianity, all contributed to this rapid disappearance of Islam.

Adil Najam wanted to convey to his non-Muslim audience the challenge of being a Muslim in America, and the “difficult conversations” so many of them had to have with their children. “How do you explain to your child that someone who has a name like his, someone who claims to be from the religion that he has grown up in, would do a horrible thing”? Notice how Najam suggests by sleight of word that anyone who “would do a horrible thing” (a terrorist attack) only “claims” to be a Muslim, but cannot really be one. And it is the good, kind, peaceful and therefore “authentic” Muslims who are also victims of Islamic terrorism, for it is they who suffer the consequences of the acts of bad (and therefore “false”) Muslims. Yet Najam passes over in silence – does not attempt to explain — the disturbing habit those “false” Muslims have of quoting passages from the Qur’an to justify their every act. Did they make those passages up?

Adil Najam isn’t sorry for Muslims alone. He emphasized that non-Muslims also had to have “difficult conversations” with their children, too. What kind of conversations? Perhaps, you are thinking, conversations about safety, because children have learned about Boston and San Bernardino and Fort Hood and Chattanooga and Orlando, and about dozens — or hundreds, or thousands — of other Muslim terrorist attacks, in London and Paris and Brussels and Amsterdam and Madrid and Moscow, in Nigeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Libya. There have been, after all, nearly 30,000 terrorist attacks by Muslims since 9/11/2001. This might naturally cause some anxiety, and not only among children. The heightened security at airports, railroad and bus stations, subways, sports events, concerts, political rallies, any place where large numbers of people gather – all this is in response to, and reminds us constantly of, the threat of Islamic terrorism.

But it’s not reassurances about safety that Adil Najam thinks non-Muslim parents must offer their children. He does not think that the “difficult conversation” non-Muslim parents need to have with their children should be about terrorism, even if it were in the context of an attempt to reassure them, by possibly minimizing the danger. No, the conversation that he thinks non-Muslim parents need to have with their children is not about terrorism at all but should be “about how to deal with Islamophobia, too.”

So the problem for all of us, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, is not the steady stillicide of Muslim attacks on non-Muslims (in this country, in Europe, around the world) but, rather, the attitudes such attacks give rise to among non-Muslims (fear, suspicion, hostility), attitudes that the adil-najams of this world insist on dismissing as the bigotry of “Islamophobia.” Adil Najam was in his element at this Meet Your Muslim Neighbors event, encouraging the belief that any suspicion or hostility felt by non-Muslims reflected a baseless and irrational fear, an “Islamophobia” that we are all supposed to reject as we learn to meet and trust Our Muslim Neighbors. Others might beg to differ, might even argue that it would be irrational, given the observable behavior and attitudes of so many Muslims, not to be exceedingly wary of Islam and its adherents.

The non-Muslim visitors to this “Meet Your Muslim Neighbors” farce were eager to signal their acceptance of Najam’s victimization narrative. “You can’t be a bystander,” said Elizabeth Jonczyk, who was visiting the center with her sister to learn about Islam. “You have a duty to stand up and say, ‘That’s just wrong,’ and that you don’t stand with the people who have this hateful rhetoric.” Music to the ears of CAIR.

One wonders what exactly Ms. Joczcyk learned about Islam during her visit. Whose “hateful rhetoric” was she deploring? Has she been made aware of any “hateful rhetoric” in the Qur’an? Has she glanced at even one of the thousands of Muslim websites spewing “hateful rhetoric”? Or is “hateful rhetoric” what comes only from “right-wing” Islamophobes? Was she made aware, in meeting her Muslim neighbors, of any of the more than 100 Jihad verses in the Qur’an? Did she learn anything about the life of Muhammad? Did she find out – and please pardon the repetition, but these things must be repeated again and again — about as his attack on the Jewish farmers of the Khaybar Oasis, or his marriage to little Aisha when she was six and consummation of that marriage when she was nine? Did she learn of the satisfaction he expressed at the murders of Asma bint Marwan and Abu ‘Afak for mocking him, or his viewing of the beheading of the 600-900 bound prisoners of the Banu Qurayza? Did anyone at the Islamic Center let her know that despite all this, Muhammad is considered by Muslims to be the Perfect Man (al-insan al-kamil), the Model of Conduct (uswa hasana)? Did she find out that Muslims are called the “best of peoples” and non-Muslims the “vilest of creatures” in the Qur’an?

I would bet my bottom dollar she learned none of that from her hosts at “Meet Your Muslim Neighbors.” All she heard was that it is hard for Muslims in this country, for they are so unfairly tarred with the brush of terrorism, when we all know, don’t we, that these attacks by people who “claim” to be Muslims have “nothing to do with Islam.” Yet Muslim parents have to have that “difficult conversation” with their children, in this climate of right-wing hate speech (add any other epithets you like) and Islamophobia, and non-Muslim parents have a similar duty, too, to make sure their own children become aware of this “Islamophobia” phenomenon and are properly immunized against it.

Adil Najam, who grew up in Pakistan, knows what is in the Qur’an and Hadith. He knows perfectly well the Qur’anic verses that call for Jihad, knows the description of non-Muslims in the Qur’an, knows about Aisha and Asma bint Marwan and the Khaybar Oasis and the Banu Qurayza. He knows the significance of the Hadith as a gloss on the Qur’an, perhaps even more disturbing than the Qur’an. But he does not wish to share that knowledge with his trusting non-Muslim guests. He would prefer that whatever they learn about Islam not be anything that might alarm or worry them. And he wants them to think that any anxiety about Islam is merely the result of motiveless malignity, irrational hatred, “Islamophobia.”

What might Adil Najam, Dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, and a Professor of More Than One Thing at Boston University, have done differently that Saturday morning at the Islamic Center? He might have said that yes, there are many passages in the Qur’an that call for Jihad against the Infidels. He might have admitted that these passages had proven dangerous to the well-being of all non-Muslims, as over the past 1400 years Muslims had repeatedly shown that they took the duty of Jihad to heart, and had conquered many lands and subjugated many peoples.

Professor Najam might have said that it was up to Muslims, like himself, to own up to the centrality of Jihad in Islam. It was imperative for Muslims, Dean Najam might have argued, “to put Islam back into history,” as Christians and Jews had learned to do with their holy books, instead of treating it as uncreated and immutable. It was up to Muslims, he might have continued, not to try to protect their faith from the prying eyes of Infidels, but to own up to the texts and teachings of Islam in the hope of finding ways to contextualize or re-interpret the offending passages in the Qur’an and Hadith.

Adil Najam might have said that many events in Muhammad’s life were deeply disturbing, and ought to be recognized as such by mainstream Muslims, rather than denied or explained away, and non-Muslims had a perfect right to be alarmed at those events, particularly since Muhammad was regarded by Muslims as “the Perfect Man.” Professor Najam might have said that Muslims should try always to enlighten, and never to mislead, their non-Muslim Neighbors.

Yes, he might have said any of these things, and by now in these paragraphs you have been asked to believe, if my aging abacus is accurate, Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast. But if Adil Najam, Professor and Dean of the Frederick S. Pardee Etc., were to say or do even one of the things just suggested, he would not be Adil Najam, but instead be Maajid Nawaz, or Pervez Hoodbhoy, or Ibn Warraq, or Wafa Sultan, or Ayaan Hirsi Ali. And he would then not only have, but would actually deserve, the trust of those who came to Meet Their Muslim Neighbors.

Islam 101

Islam 101

by Gregory M. Davis

author, Religion of Peace? Islam’s War Against the World
producer/director, Islam: What the West Needs to Know — An Examination of Islam, Violence, and the Fate of the Non-Muslim World

Available as a PDF document here http://www.jihadwatch.org/islam101.pdf

Islam 101 is meant to help people become better educated about the fundamentals of Islam and to help the more knowledgeable better convey the facts to others. Similarly, my book and documentary are meant to serve as concise explanations of the major moving parts of Islam and their implications for Western society. Islam 101 is a condensation of the book and documentary with the aim of lending clarity to the public understanding of Islam and of exposing the inadequacy of prevailing views. All should feel free to distribute and/or reproduce it.

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Unfit for duty: McMaster and Gorka

Unfit for duty: McMaster and Gorka

It is unfortunate and disquieting that this denial and willful ignorance continues in the Trump administration. One cannot defeat an enemy that one does not understand, much less one that one refuses to understand. President Trump continues to speak about “radical Islamic terrorism” while hiring people who remain in Obamoid fantasyland. This must be clarified.

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Muslim Persecution of Christians — Call it what it is: GENOCIDE

Muslim Persecution of Christians — Call it what it is: GENOCIDE

While I prefer to speak of our age as the New Era of Christian Martyrdom, by the secular definition, the global Muslim persecution of Christians, especially that perpetrated by the Islamic State in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, clearly should be classified as genocide.

Observers have been calling it genocide for years now, including the highly respected Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), head of the Department of External Church Relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, and Pope Francis I of Rome.

Now the issue is front and center in a unique way, as the U.S State Department is set to release its findings on whether ISIS is indeed committing genocide against minority groups in the Middle East. This report will influence U.S. policy on everything from refugee issues, to immigration, to the war against ISIS, to aid to Middle East and African nations, and so on.

Kirsten Powers, in an important article in USA Today, emphasizes the urgency of the genocide ruling:

Invoking the “g word” to recognize this fact is not just a matter of semantics. “Groups that have been designated as genocide victims are much more likely to receive military protection, including arming and training their militias for self-defense, which is always the best defense against genocide,” Gregory Stanton, the former president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, told me. “Members of such groups are also much more likely to receive preferential treatment as bona fide refugees under the U.N. convention and protocols on the status of refugees.”

An article in CRUX sets out the concerns many Christians have that the Obama administration is preparing to exclude Christians from its category of groups suffering genocide:

A group of 30 Christian leaders, including Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, has asked for a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry in advance of the State Department’s declaration of genocides taking place around the world.

The group believes Middle East Christians should be included in any listing of genocide victims based on their treatment by the Islamic State, commonly called ISIS.

“We recently learned that a State Department finding is imminent that ISIS is committing genocide against the Yazidis,” an Iraqi ethnic group that traces its origins to biblical times, said the Dec. 4 letter to Kerry. “We would wholeheartedly endorse that finding, but we are deeply troubled by the prospect that the department’s statement will either omit or reserve judgment on whether ISIS is committing genocide against Christians” in the Nineveh area since summer 2014.

The State Department seems to be paving the way for exclusion of Christians from its findings through a series of statements and press reports. The CRUX article continues:

One reason given for the State Department not counting Christians as genocide victims, according to the letter, is that it “lacks sufficient information about the experience of the Christian communities in Nineveh during that time to conclude that genocide took place.” […]

Another reason is a press report indicating that “unlike Yazidis, ISIS gives Christians a ‘choice’: They can convert to Islam, pay an Islamic tax, or be killed, enslaved, tortured, or held hostage. The implication is that ISIS abides by traditional Islamic sharia, under which other ‘people of the book’ — Christians and Jews — pay a tax in exchange for protection by their Muslim rulers,” the letter said. “We would like the opportunity to explain why this is emphatically not the case.”

Note the naked hypocrisy here. The Obama administration steadfastly refuses to acknowledge the Islamic State as “Islamic,” yet when it comes to the question of whether ISIS is committing genocide against Christians, the State Department presents ISIS’ application of the terms of the dhimma contract in offering Christians the classic three choices mandated by Islamic law, as evidence that ISIS is not committing genocide against Christians, but showing them tolerance.

Only the devil himself would make such an argument.

The letter from the Christian leaders goes on to say:

“The world recoiled when it learned that ISIS jihadis had stamped Christian homes in Mosul with the red letter ‘N’ for “Nazarene” in summer 2014, but the elimination of Christians in other towns and cities in Iraq and Syria began long beforehand. ISIS genocidal campaign against Christians continues today, with hundreds of Christians remaining in ISIS captivity, and with summary executions, including by beheadings and crucifixions, occurring as recently as only a few months ago.”

It added, “Pope Francis has called ISIS’ crimes against Christians by their proper name: ‘genocide.’ The US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Christian leaders in the Middle East have done so as well. We agree, and are hopeful that, once you have seen the evidence, you will, too.”

In arguing for a meeting, the letter said it was “critically important that the State Department consider the best available evidence before making any official pronouncement that rejects allegations that Christian are, along with Yazidis, targets of ongoing genocidal acts.”

In a similar effort reported on by the Daily Signal, a conference of academic, religious and media experts urged Secretary of State John Kerry to include Christians in the genocide ruling:

Last week, at a panel organized by The Heritage Foundation to discuss modern Christian martyrs, academic, religious, and media leaders discussed the persecution–as well as the inattention being paid to the issue by developed nations including the United States.

“I am always struck by how utterly abandoned the patriarchs and church leaders [in the Middle East] whose lives are on the line every day … how utterly abandoned they feel by the West, and particularly the United States,” said Kathryn Jean Lopez, a senior fellow with the National Review Institute and one of the event’s co-hosts.

According to recent estimates, the Christian population in Iraq has dropped to roughly 260,000, down from 1.5 million a decade ago.

The shift likely reflects continuing forced expulsions of Christians from northern Iraq and Syria, as well as abductions and murders by extremist leaders who, earlier this year, declared the coexistence of Muslims with Jews and Christians impossible according to the Quran.

“Forcing a population to leave [its homeland] is one of the five tests, and they don’t all need to be met, but it’s one of the tests for genocide,” said Patrick E. Kelly, executive director of the St. John Paul II National Shrine and a member of the Knights of Columbus. Kelly was referring to the five tenets of qualifying characteristics that constitute Article II of the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention definition of genocide.

Those qualifying characteristics include murder, causing serious harm, imposing conditions of life that attempt to destroy, preventing births, and forcibly transferring children outside a specific national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.

“I think we have a tendency to think governments always know what’s going on on the ground,” Kelly continued. “They don’t always have the best information. But churches often do, because of the grassroots, with-the-people nature of parishes and ministries. If governments say they don’t have the evidence, they can do more to get the evidence, but they should be listening to the faith communities as well.”

As of this week, according to sources, the State Department does not plan to include Christians in a statement to be released on the status of victims of ISIS-inflicted genocide in the region. The statement will include Yazidis, the Kurdish religious minority.

Carey Lodge, writing in Christianity Today, reports on the efforts of the European Syriac Union (ESU) to influence the Obama State Department’s findings:

“It is our moral and historical duty” to acknowledge that “Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people face another genocide in the Middle East and existential threat,” a statement from the ESU said.

“Commemoration of Victims of Genocides and Crimes against Humanity is [an] essential responsibility to the humanity and international community. Commemoration [of] past atrocities around the world is [a] strong sign of remembrance of the victims and solidarity with the current threatened groups, ethnic and religious communities.”

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom on Monday called for groups systematically persecuted by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — Christians, Yazidis, Shi’as, Turkmen and Shabaks — to be recognised as victims of genocide.

“The hallmark of genocide is the intent to destroy a national, racial, ethnic, or religious group, in whole or in part,” said USCIRF chairman Robert George.

“ISIL’s intent to destroy religious groups that do not subscribe to its extremist ideology in the areas in Iraq and Syria that it controls, or seeks to control, is evident in, not only its barbarous acts, but also its own propaganda.”

The population of Christians in the Middle East has fallen “in an incessant way” over recent years, the ESU said.

The fall of Mosul, once considered the heartland of Iraq’s Christian population, and the occupation of the Ninevah plains by ISIS has led to a mass exodus of Chaldean, Syriac and Assyrian people, the union added. They face “annihilation and destruction” under ISIS, it said…

In a statement to Christian Today, spokesman for the ESU David Vergili said:

“Christians face another genocide with a non state actor which aggravate and complex the situation. In this regards, the rapid action by the international community is vital in order to stop metastasising of the harm inflicted in these ancient communities.

Although the U.S. State Department has been seeding its reasons for probable exclusion of Christians from the genocide ruling through its various statements, they are not fooling anyone. Some Christian leaders, such as Chaldean Bishop Francis Kalabat of Michigan, sharply criticize the Obama administration for its persistent refusal to acknowledge Muslim genocide of Christians:

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church for Michigan and the eastern half of the U.S. sharply criticized the Obama administration Wednesday, saying it has largely ignored the suffering of Christians displaced by war in Syria and Iraq and should do more to protect and resettle them.

Testifying before a U.S. House subcommittee, Bishop Francis Kalabat of Southfield said while the State Department may soon declare that the Yazidi people, a religious minority in Iraq, face genocide at the hands of the Islamic State or ISIS, it leaves unaddressed problems faced by other religious minorities.

“There are more than 150,000 Iraqi Christians who are now displaced in northern Iraq or are refugees in other countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey,” Kalabat said. “There are countless Christian villages in Syria that have been taken over by ISIS and have encountered genocide, and the Obama administration refuses to recognize their plight. … I say, shame on you.”

Most likely, the Obama administration will not label Muslim persecution of Christians genocide, as it would be in direct conflict with Obama’s narrative, that there is nothing inherently Islamic about the Islamic State. Admit genocide against the Yazidis, by all means. Give up a few points there to provide the appearance of action and toughness. But to acknowledge that the Islamic State is committing genocide against Christians would be to admit that there is a specifically religious dimension to the persecution, thus immediately bringing Islam itself under even greater scrutiny.

Too late, Mr. President. More and more people are waking up and coming to realize that there is something very dark and sinister at the core of Islam.

Islam is the problem. It mandates jihad and persecution against Christians, Jews and all non-Muslims. The Koran says what it means and means what it says:

Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth [i.e. Islam] among the people of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Sura 9:29)

Why don’t you repent, Mr. President, Mr. Secretary, and join us? Call Muslim persecution of Christians by its name: Genocide. Your conscience will thank you for it. So will Christians the world over. The Islamic State will continue committing genocide regardless of what you do, unless Putin stops them.

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Ralph Sidway is an Orthodox Christian researcher and writer, and author of Facing Islam: What the Ancient Church has to say about the Religion of Muhammad. He operates the Facing Islam blog.

German Vice Chancellor: “Salafist mosques must be banned, communities dissolved, and preachers expelled”

German Vice Chancellor: “Salafist mosques must be banned, communities dissolved, and preachers expelled”

BY

This all sounds great, and is long overdue in view of the fact that such mosques teach hatred of unbelievers and the necessity ultimately to subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law, but how does Sigmar Gabriel propose to distinguish Salafist mosques from “moderate” ones? Will he monitor the teaching in all mosques? Will he require that mosques institute programs to teach against the jihadis’ understanding of Islam? What will he do if he discovers that a mosque previously deemed to be “moderate” is teaching an understanding of Islam he thought to be uniquely “Salafist”?

Gabriel, meanwhile, for all his tough talk about Salafist mosques, clearly has no clue about the nature of the problem. He called for making sure that “urban areas are not neglected, villages do not fall into disrepair and people do not become more and more radicalized,” indicating that he believes in the oft-discredited assumption that poverty causes terrorism. What will he do when he showers money on Muslim communities and then finds that they’re still preaching jihad and Islamic supremacism?

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