Thursday, August 10, 2006

 

ISLAM: IS IT A RELIGION OF PEACE?

This posting was written by Andy Stunich, whose name has made onto several local blogs lately. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but he has put considerable time into this piece, and I find it very thoughtful and informative. This is posted in the interest of continued constructive dialogue and as an extension of an ongoing discussion my my radio show and in the Eureka Reporter. As previously mentioned, Mr. Stunich will be a guest on my show on September 21. I'll post reminders and links back to this one as "homework" for those who both listen to my show and read this blog. Please feel free to comment here as well - the more input the better prepared we can be for the show.

August 3, 2006

By Andrew J. Stunich

One of the enduring and seemingly impossible to resolve threats to World peace and safety is terrorism carried out by Muslims who claim that Islam authorizes their conduct. In response to that terrorism, a host of Islamic experts, celebrities, and politicians such as Dr. Aziz (HSU professor), Oprah Winfrey, and President Bush, have opined that Islam is a religion of peace and that the terrorists are distorting Islamic teachings to justify their conduct. Americans were inundated with this message post- 9/11/2001 to such an extent that it has become conventional wisdom and anyone who challenges that conventional wisdom is often labeled a racist or a bigot. This is true even though Muslims are hardly limited to any particular race. Arabs, for example, comprise less than twenty-five percent of the World's Muslims.

Given the consequences of rendering any opinion that challenges the proposition that Islam is a religion of peace, it is not pleasant to feel compelled to voice a different conclusion. This is especially true about a religious topic that engenders such an extreme emotional response in so many people. However, it is important that we all know the truth so that we can properly exercise our democratic rights. It is ultimately the will of the majority (at least the majority of those who vote) that determines the long-term direction of a democratic society and if we are misinformed our votes will be equally misinformed and misguided.

It is, therefore, crucial that we have an accurate understanding of Islamic terrorists and what motivates them. This is especially true given that Islam is not just a religion, but is a combined religious, political, and social system. Understanding the true nature of Islam is so important because there is a marked difference between a threat that is based on false religious teachings and a threat that truly derives from the actual doctrines of one of the World's most widespread religious faiths. The latter is more likely to cause the threat to endure and spread and to defy resistance.

After intensely studying the question of Islam, I have reached the inescapable conclusion that Islamic doctrine easily supports terrorist activity and offensive (not limited to defensive) warfare. It is patently an error to assert that Islam is universally a religion of peace. I reached my conclusions by, amongst other endeavors, simply reading the Koran and hadiths (Muhammad's recorded life and deeds), both of which are universally accepted as the basis for Islamic doctrine.

My opinion that Islam is not universally a religion of peace does not mean that I believe all Muslims are terrorists. Obviously, most Muslims are not terrorists. I further believe that most Muslims want peace; however, there is a marked difference between certain Muslims as individuals and Islamic doctrine. A writer named Theodore Dalyrymple, in a June 4, 2006, article writing for City Magazine, eloquently assessed the difference between moderate Muslims and Islamic doctrine as follows:
"It is important, of course, to distinguish between Islam as a doctrine and Muslims as people. Untold numbers of Muslims desire little more than a quiet life; they have the virtues and the vices of the rest of mankind. Their religion gives to their daily lives an ethical and ritual structure and provides the kind of boundaries that only modern Western intellectuals would have the temerity to belittle."
Despite the peaceful and sometimes beneficial application of some parts of Islam to some Muslims' lives, it is simply untenable to argue that peace is the main characteristic of the faith of Islam and that Islam offers no true support for some of the violence perpetrated in the name of Islam. The opposite is true. Muslims become moderate by either being unaware of the teachings that comprise Islamic doctrine, by ignoring those doctrines, or by attributing strained meanings or interpretations to the teachings of Islam and Islamic history. Because Islam does in fact support terrorism, many "moderate" Muslims respect the fundamentalists as true Muslims and are afraid to speak out against them. I also acknowledge that fear is often a factor. However, regardless as to the fear or other reasons for not speaking out, it is hard for moderate Muslims to speak out because the undeniable fact is that Islam alone among the World's religions commands the Muslim faithful to wage war against non-Muslims until they submit to Islam.

Consider the following verses from the Koran translated from Arabic by Yusuf Ali:
"But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans [Idolaters or polytheists] wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." (Koran chapter 9, verse 5)

"Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle [Muhammad], nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." (Koran chapter 9, verse 29)
To summarize the verses, collectively they mean that Pagans (some Koran translations say idolaters) must convert to Islam or be killed and Jews and Christians must, at a minimum, submit to Islam as the dominant religion, government and social order, and pay a tax, or convert to Islam or be killed. This doctrine comes from Islam's holiest book and, as shown below, there are other aspects of Islamic doctrine that command the same violent and intolerant approach.

These Sword Verses (some call verse 9:29 the "tribute" verse) quoted above speak strongly to Muslim fundamentalists. Because most people in the West are secular, it is often difficult for Westerners to appreciate how deeply religious belief can impact individuals and society. The impact of devout religious belief is magnified in the Islamic World because of the duel nature of Islam as a religious and political system that permeates nearly all aspects of life in most Islamic countries. Try to understand how the foregoing verses would affect you if you believed they were literally the word of God and you lived in a society wherein Islam dominated your religious, political, business and social pursuits. The Koran is the holiest book in Islam. Muslims believe that the Koran is not just inspired by God, but that it is literally the Word of God as revealed by God to Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (Islam's revered seventh century Prophet or Messenger); consequently, verses contained in the Koran impact Muslims' behavior in ways that Westerners have difficulty grasping. The Koran lists four seemingly contradictory ways in which God allegedly revealed his Word to Muhammad: Directly by God (Koran chapters 53 and 81); by God via the Archangel Gabriel (Koran chapter 2); by the Holy Spirit (Koran chapters 16 and 26); and by an Angel (Koran chapter 15).

Regardless as to how they believe the revelations were accomplished, Muslims universally revere the Koran as the literal word of God and they revere Muhammad as God's Prophet and his life and sayings, along with the Koran, complete the core of Islamic doctrine. The University of Southern California's Islamic web site teaches Muslims that Mohammad's deeds and words were literally inspired by God. When Muhammad's life history is studied, it is easy to see why Islamic fundamentalists can justifiably say that Islam supports their actions.

It follows that in order to understand Muslim fundamentalists, we must understand something about the Koran and the life of Muhammad and the roles both play in establishing Islamic doctrine. The Koran differs greatly in format from the Bible and the Koran tends to surprise Western readers because the Koran is not written in a narrative form, it is not in any chronological order, it has very little prophecy, no miracles, very little history, no geography, no parables, and no biography of anyone other than a limited insight into the character and life of Muhammad. The Koran is simply a relatively small book (smaller than the New Testament) of seemingly random verses of positive and negative commandments and dire warnings that Muhammad claimed were revealed to him over a twenty-two or twenty-three year period. One Islamic scholar, Reza Aslan the author of No god, but God, aptly calls the Koran a rule book for living.

Exactly what some of those Koranic rules for living are astonish or even offend most readers who adhere to the type of Western values set forth in the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The following paraphrased examples of the teachings in the Koran are some of the most difficult for Westerners to accept:

* There is no separation between Church and State. (Koran chapter 2, verse 193)
* Fighting is prescribed for Muslims. (Koran, chapter 2, verse 216)
* Wives are a field to be used by their husbands as they desire. (Koran, chapter 2, verse 223)
* Men are superior to women. (Koran, chapter 2, verse 228)
* Women have half the rights of men in court as a witness. (Koran, chapter 2, verse 282)
* A man may marry up to four wives at the same time. (Koran chapter 4, verse 3)
* Women have half the rights of men in inheritance rights. (Koran chapter 4, verse 11)
* A man may beat his wife. (Koran chapter 4, verse 34)
* No opposition parties are allowed. (Koran chapter 4, verse 59)
* Stealing is punished by the amputation of the hands. (Koran chapter 5, verse 38)
* A Muslim must not take a Jew or a Christian for a friend. (Chapter 5, verse 51)
* Muslims must fight until their opponents submit to Islam. (Koran chapter 9, verses 5, 29)
* A Muslim apostate (one who leaves the faith) must be killed. (Koran chapter 9, verse 12)
* Muslims must make war on non-Muslims. (Koran chapter 9, verse 73)
* Adultery is punished by public flogging. (Koran chapter 24, verse 2)
* The Koran attributes many negative characteristics to Jews, such as "falsehood" (3:71) and "distortion." (4:46)
* Among other things, the Koran teaches that the Jews have been cursed by Allah, David, and Jesus. (2:61; 5:78-82)
* Allah was so disgusted with Jews that he transformed them into apes and pigs. (5:60-65; 2:65; 7:166)

The life of Muhammad also has a major impact on Islamic doctrine as Muslims are taught that any ambiguity in the Koran is resolved by looking to Muhammad's words and deeds, which, as noted above, Muslims are taught were inspired by God. The Koran expressly admonishes Muslims in several verses to not only obey God, but to obey his Messenger or Prophet, Muhammad. (See, e.g., 3:32, 3:132, 4:59, 5:92, 8:1, 8:20, 24:47) Hence, following what Muhammad said and did is mandated by the Koran.

Accordingly, the Koran is just a part of Islamic doctrine. The hadiths are the reports of Muhammad's words and actions that complete the core of Islamic doctrine. The Koran and the hadiths are the foundations for later Islamic legal rulings known as Sharia Law. The role of the hadiths in Islam is properly explained in the University of Southern California's web site:
"In Islam, the Arabic word sunnah has come to denote the way Prophet Muhammad (saas), the Messenger of Allah, lived his life. The Sunnah is the second source of Islamic jurisprudence, the first being the Qur'an (another way Koran is spelled). Both sources are indispensable; one cannot practice Islam without consulting both of them. The Arabic word hadith (pl. ahadith) is very similar to Sunnah, but not identical. A hadith is a narration about the life of the Prophet (saas) or what he approved - as opposed to his life itself, which is the Sunnah as already mentioned."
The hadiths, which set forth much of the life and deeds of Muhammad, offer no refuge to those who would try to give Islam a softer image outside the Islamic World by labeling it a religion of peace. One of the most widely accepted hadith collectors and editors is Al Bukhari. According to Bukhari:

Mohammed said, "I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, None has the right to be worshiped but Allah, and whoever says, None has the right to be worshiped but Allah, his life and property will be saved by me." (Al Bukhari Vol. 4:196)

Mohammed's last words at his deathbed purportedly were: "Turn the pagans (non-Muslims as that was the practical application) out of the Arabian Peninsula." (Al Bukhari, Vol. 5:716)

Mohammed said, "The person who participates in (Holy battles) in Allah's cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostle, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to paradise (if he is killed). " (Al Bukhari, Vol. 1:35)

Mohammed once was asked: what was the best deed for the Muslim next to believing in Allah and His Apostle? His answer was: "To participate in Jihad in Allah's cause." (Al Bukhari Vol. 1: 25)

If anyone believes that I am simply taking a few negative portions of Islamic doctrine from a sea of more enlightened Koranic verses, consider the additional verses from the Koran set forth below. Once again, to try to best understand Islam, imagine as you read these verses that you believe they are not only commandments from God, but literally the word of God as revealed to Muhammad whose words and deeds you also believe to be inspired by God.

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But God knoweth, and ye know not." (2:216)

"Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, . . . And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith." (2:190-191)

"And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression." (2:193)
"Fight them, and God will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you (to victory) over them, heal the breasts of Believers." (9:14)

"The Jews call 'Uzair a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. God's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!" (9:30)

"O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell, - an evil refuge indeed.." (9:73)

"O ye who believe! fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you: and know that God is with those who fear Him." (9:123)

"The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;" (5:33)

"Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): ‘I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.' This because they contended against God and His Apostle: If any contend against God and His Apostle, God is strict in punishment." (8:12-13)

"In order that God may separate the impure (non-Muslims) from the pure, put the impure, one on another, heap them together, and cast them into Hell. They will be the ones to have lost." (8:37)

"Muster against them [i.e. non-Muslims] all the men and cavalry at your command, so that you may strike terror into the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them who are unknown to you but known to Allah." (8:60)

"Muhammad is the apostle of God; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. . ." (48:29)

"When We decide to destroy a population, We (first) send a definite order to those among them who are given the good things of this life and yet transgress; so that the word is proved true against them: then (it is) We destroy them utterly." (17:16)

"Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks [chop their heads off]; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been God's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of God, - He will never let their deeds be lost." (47:4)
Nicholas Berg was kidnaped in Iraq and later beheaded in May 2004 by Islamic militants. Remember all those so-called Islamic experts that, following the Nicholas Berg beheading, said there was no support within Islamic doctrine for the cutting off of heads? Apparently the experts forgot about chapter 47, verse 4, and chapter 8, verses 12-13 from the Koran.

With respect to the verses regarding Jihad, note that Jihad is an Arabic word which translates to English as "struggle." Jihad can mean striving to be a better Muslim (known as the greater Jihad). The most well known meaning, however, is fighting for Allah (also known as the lesser Jihad). In this sense, Jihad is the struggle for the cause of spreading Islam using all means available to Muslims, including force and deception (Islamic doctrine known as Al Takeyya). The lesser Jihad is what has become to be known as "Holy War." Some critics describe the greater Jihad as trying to find peace after engaging in violent Jihad.

Concerning Jihad, the Koran guarantees Paradise to those who fight for Allah. (4:74) The Koran promises instant Paradise for those who die fighting to advance Islam. (9:111 and 47:5-6) Dying for Allah is presented as preferable to living: "And if ye are slain, or die, in the way of God, forgiveness and mercy from God are far better than all they could amass." (3:157)

Martyrs are promised a secure, sensual (sensual is expanded to erotic in the hadiths) and luxurious life in paradise with beautiful women. (44:51-56; 52:17-29) For example, chapter 44, verse 54 promises: "So; and We shall join them to Companions with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes." Some disrupted homicide/suicide bombers have freely admitted that it was the Koranic and hadith promises of virgins in paradise that motivated them.

Based on the foregoing, one can begin to understand why Islamic homicide/suicide bombers are willing to sacrifice themselves. In a culture wherein women and men are largely kept separated, it is not difficult to see how young men might become highly motivated by the foregoing teachings. Muhammad Atta, for example, had a wedding suit packed in one of his carry-on suitcases when he boarded what he knew to be a suicide flight on 9/11 as he believed he would be marrying virgins in paradise. We know this because the carry-on bag was not allowed on the plane and it was subsequently searched by the FBI.

In the hadith, Mohammed also urges Muslims to practice Jihad. (See, Bukhari 4:196, 5:716, 1:35, 1:25)

It is the foregoing Koranic verses and others, as well as numerous hadith based on Muhammad's life and words, that have led to the Islamic world view that divides humanity into two opposing spheres: Dar al-Islam, House of Islam where Islam rules and Dar el Harb, the House of War against non-Muslims. This world view mandates that war will continue between these competing ideologies until the supremacy of Islam is fully established everywhere. Jihad in Islamic theology is one of the instruments to bring about the end of Dar el Harb. That is why we so often hear terrorist leaders stating their goals as follows:

1. Overthrow the secular or partial secular rulers of Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Pakistan, and Egypt. Note that Saudi Arabia and Iran are currently the only two nations that have imposed full Sharia Law. Saudi Arabia is nonetheless targeted because its rulers (Saudi Royal Family) are not religious leaders and even though their support of fundamentalist Islam is nearly as complete as the Caliphs of old, that is not considered good enough.

2. Exterminate Israel. (Drive the Infidels into the sea is a popular way to express the sentiment in the Islamic World.)

3. Force the rest of the world to submit to Islam.

The foregoing goals were articulated by the late Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, a Shiite religious leader. In 1998, Osama Bin Laden, a Sunni Muslim, stated the same goals. (Sheikh Usamah bin-Muhammad bin-Laden, "Text of Fatwah Urging Jihad Against Americans," published by Al-Quds al-Arabi on February 23, 1998. (Posted on the Internet at www.ict.org.il/articles/fatwah.htm.)

Osama Bin Laden also defiantly declared that the United States is the prime obstacle to the achievement of the foregoing goals and called on Muslims everywhere "to comply with Allah's order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it."

As can be seen, both Shiite and Sunni Islam have both incited some of the exact same beliefs and goals in Islamic fundamentalists. The reason is the Islamic doctrine set forth above.

So far I have made my case for the proposition that Islam is not a religion of peace by citing Islam's own doctrines and showing how even opposing branches of fundamentalist Islam adhere to and accept the Koran as God's rules for living. However, a more secular analysis supports the same conclusion. Consider the following:

1. Polls indicate that high percentages of our supposed allies in Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia support Osama Bin Laden and his terrorists acts. (The higher percentages are in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.) How could a religion of peace engender such support for random acts of murder and violence in two of the more Islamic fundamentalist countries of the World?

2. Post 9/11/2001, the name, "Osama" has attained a favored name status for newborn male children in several Muslim nations. Why would a religion of peace allow its adherents to honor such a man?

3. Numerous Mosques in Islamic states purportedly exhibit the photo of Bin Laden as a hero of the faith. While I was watching news about the Tsunami relief efforts, I personally saw Osama Bin Laden tee-shirts worn by children.

4. In many nations where Muslims constitute a large percentage of the population, the Islamic faithful gather in the streets yelling "Allah Akbar" (Allah is greater or God is great) every time America or Israel suffers from an Islamic terrorist attack. These street demonstration occur in the West Bank and Gaza strip in Israel, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Sudan, Nigeria, and the Philippines. In America, some Muslims have been observed doing the same. One translator of Iranian descent working at the FBI reported that even FBI translators celebrated 9/11 at work.

5. Some Muslim spokesmen who in public spoke against 9/11 were recorded in private supporting terrorism or terrorist acts. Some so-called moderate leaders say the right buzzwords in English and then express their true sentiments in Arabic when they think they will not be exposed. Yasser Arafat was famous for such deceptive tactics.

6. Polls in England show that at least half of the Muslim population would like to impose Sharia Law as the law of the land.

7. The leaders of the terrorists and or their religious advisers seem to invariably come from backgrounds wherein intense Islamic study was undertaken.

Islamic history also offers support and inspiration to Islamic terrorists. Muhammad, the revered Prophet of Islam and the man whose words and deeds are believed by Muslims to have been inspired by God and his life held out as the perfect example for living, raided caravans for booty and even asserted that one fifth of the booty was his with the rest to be shared by his warriors. (8:41) Chapter 8 of the Koran is actually titled "Booty."

Muhammad attacked Arabian tribes who would not voluntarily submit to Islam and slaughtered hundreds of captives. After one Jewish tribe surrendered and sought Muhammad's mercy, he ordered 600-900 of the men beheaded and the women and children sold into slavery except for the women he and his followers took as "wives." Muhammad's aggressive tactics continued after any significant resistance to Islam was eradicated on the Arabian peninsula. Jewish tribes fared the worst which, along with very negative verses about Jews in the Koran, is the genesis of the seemingly ubiquitous, extreme anti-Semitic Muslim view toward Jews.

Muhammad had critics and rivals alike assassinated. In fact, the word assassin derives from a Muslim sect that specialized in terrorizing the Muslim elite of their day with politically motivated assassinations. The assassins were renowned for their willingness to sacrifice their life for their cause. Sound familiar?

Muhammad ordered the execution of some people for nothing more than satirical statements about him. There are currently web sites that expressly advocate the killing of anyone that criticizes Muhammad. Is it really surprising then that a devout Muslim named Mohammad brutally murdered Theo van Gogh in 2004? (Theo van Gogh was a controversial and inappropriately cruel and harsh critic of Islam and Muslims who was killed by Mohammad Bouyeri who then left a five page note that threatened Western governments and Jews.)

The hadiths also show that Muhammad accepted one man's story that he murdered his own wife and gestating child because the man alleged his wife had blasphemed Muhammad. Muhammad ordered that the man should not be punished. (This incident was recorded in a hadith.)

Before he died, Muhammad made preparations to attack Syria. After his death, his followers, some of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (Caliphs means successors to Muhammad) as Islam calls them, spent ten years fighting to force all of the Arabian tribes to covert to Islam or to return to Islam when they tried to abandon Islam after Muhammad's death. Muhammad's followers eventually conquered the Holy Land and other parts of the Byzantine Empire (last of the Romans) and what remained of the Persian empire. Muslims eventually conquered Spain, parts of France, Constantinople, and, with some setbacks along the way such as the loss of Spain, continued to conquer and subdue until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

One of Muhammad's generals, Walid Khalid, who also served some of the successors to Muhammad known as the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, was known as the Sword of Allah and was renowned for his military prowess and his brutality. Even the highly regarded Saladin slaughtered captives at Hatin (the battle that preceded the Muslim re-conquest of Jerusalem) and motivated his warriors by having the Koranic verses set forth above read to them. The exploits of Saladin, Muhammad, and Walid Khalid are well known to Islamic fundamentalists and they draw inspiration from their recorded actions. Osama Bin Laden seems assured of eventually taking his place amongst these revered Islamic icons.

Critics of my position will argue that there are many verses in the Koran that advocate peace and tolerance. They are correct. However, the Koran was not presented as a complete book by Muhammad and to understand it one must realize how the verses came into existence.

Koran literally means "recite" or "recitation" in Arabic. Muhammad alleged that the angel Gabriel told him to recite. At no time did Muhammad say that he was ordered to write nor was he ever compelled to write down and collect his alleged revelations. He never presented his complete revelations at one time as a complete rule book for living. Rather, the Koran was created approximately twenty years after Muhammad's death. Arab society in the seventh century was an oral society with little writing. Most of the people, and perhaps Muhammad himself, were illiterate. Hence, Muhammad verbally revealed verses sporadically over a period of at least twenty-two years. The verses were revealed based on the circumstances of the time and what Muhammad hoped to accomplish.

The most famous peace verse in the Koran which states, "[t]here is no compulsion in religion," was revealed while Muhammad was in Mecca still trying to convince the people of Mecca (mostly polytheists) to voluntarily convert to Islam. He had very little success and he and his followers were eventually driven out of Mecca to Medina. When Muhammad came to power in Medina, his entire approach changed from trying to persuade others to convert solely by voluntary means and he began to reveal the harsher verses of the Koran. These subsequent verses were meant to replace early verses. "When We substitute one revelation for another, - and God knows best what He reveals (in stages), - they say, "Thou art but a forger": but most of them understand not." (Koran, chapter 16, verse 101) "None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that God Hath power over all things?" (Koran, chapter 2, verse 106)

It follows that what was happening within the Muslim community at the time verses were revealed plays an important role in interpreting the Koran. Sadly, that history, as briefly set forth above, overwhelmingly supports the fundamentalists' interpretation and leads to violence as terrorists mimic the life of Muhammad that they are taught was inspired by God and which constitutes the perfect example for living. The Sword Verses were some of the last verses revealed by Muhammad and it is difficult to convince fundamentalists that earlier verses revealed in Mecca before the Hijrah (transfer to Medina) should guide their behavior.

Regarding the interpretation of the Koran, to put the entire matter into perspective by way of analogy, imagine a student telling a teacher that, following a lecture, an order to take a test was ambiguous because earlier in the day the teacher had said to pay attention to the lecture. We would all agree such a position is strained at best. Those who advocate that the harsher verses of the Koran are unclear because of the earlier peaceful commands are simply ignoring how the Koran came into existence and their position is equally strained.

Based on the foregoing, notwithstanding the diversity of belief in the Islamic World, including those like Dr. Aziz that advocate a peaceful interpretation of Islam, there will always be fundamentalists who adhere to the "true faith" and advocate violence until the whole World submits to Islam. Can we then honestly claim that Islam is universally a religion of peace?

With so much Islamic terrorism in the World, and an entire nation such as Saudi Arabia with at least nineteen million inhabitants in which militant Wahabbi Islam (A Sunni branch of Islam) is the law of the land, does it not seem logical that something within the Islamic religion is inspiring terrorism? Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals wherein fundamentalist Islam is the only religion allowed. If the militancy and terror generated by Wahabbi Islam is an aberration with no relation to true Islam, then why is it that Shiite Islamic theology in Iran has produced the same militant type of Islam and terrorism even though the two sects are quite hostile to one another? Why were the Taliban so intolerant and militant even though their very name derives from them being students of Islamic theology? Why is there so much Islamic militancy in Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, Lebanon, and the Aceh province in Indonesia? Why did the Armenian genocide occur in which nearly one and a half million Christians were slaughtered or deported in 1915 under Turkish Ottoman rule (now Turkey) in the 20th century? How can Islamic militancy in such diverse parts of the World be explained if it does not, at least in part, derive from Islamic doctrine?

It seems, at least to me, simply too plain for argument that Islam promotes violence and cannot be said to be a religion of peace given that it inspires so much terror and intolerance. That Islamic terrorism threatens us daily. As technology and the capacity for terrorists to cause mass destruction increases, the stakes are going up and we must understand what the true root of the problem is if we are to have the best possible chance of defending ourselves.

Many diverse individuals have reached similar conclusions. Salman Rushdie, a renowned liberal, wrote the following in 2001:

"‘This isn't about Islam.' The world's leaders have been repeating this mantra for weeks, partly in the virtuous hope of deterring reprisal attacks on innocent Muslims living in the West, partly because if the United States is to maintain its coalition against terror it can't afford to suggest that Islam and terrorism are in any way related.

The trouble with this necessary disclaimer is that it isn't true. If this isn't about Islam, why the worldwide Muslim demonstrations in support of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda? Why did those 10,000 men armed with swords and axes mass on the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier, answering some mullah's call to jihad? Why are the war's first British casualties three Muslim men who died fighting on the Taliban side?

Why the routine anti-Semitism of the much-repeated Islamic slander that "the Jews" arranged the hits on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, with the oddly self-deprecating explanation offered by the Taliban leadership, among others, that Muslims could not have the technological know-how or organizational sophistication to pull off such a feat? Why does Imran Khan, the Pakistani ex-sports star turned politician, demand to be shown the evidence of Al Qaeda's guilt while apparently turning a deaf ear to the self-incriminating statements of Al Qaeda's own spokesmen (there will be a rain of aircraft from the skies, Muslims in the West are warned not to live or work in tall buildings)? Why all the talk about American military infidels desecrating the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia if some sort of definition of what is sacred is not at the heart of the present discontents?

Of course this is ‘about Islam.' The question is, what exactly does that mean? . . ."

Through the centuries, other independent thinkers have arrived at the same conclusion that Islam is not a religion of peace. Alexis de Tocqueville, a nineteenth century political thinker, commentator and historian, purportedly said:
"I studied the Kuran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. So far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself."
The following quote from the sixth American President, John Quincy Adams, (1825-1829) is revealing. Cited in The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) by Robert Spencer, page 83:
"In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab . . . [i.e., Muhammad], [.....] 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.... 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."
The foregoing is just a small sampling of the people who have all reached the same inescapable conclusion that Islam is not a religion of peace. So many educated people from highly diverse backgrounds who formed their opinions about Islam centuries apart have come to the same conclusion for a reason. The reason is that Islam is simply not a religion of peace and we must have the courage to say so and deal with the problem in the most effective, humanitarian way that we can.

In a World where Iran, a universally acknowledged terrorist state under Sharia Law, is on the cusp of developing nuclear weapons and has vowed to share those nuclear weapons with the Islamic World, we must ponder, as Mr. Rushdie did: "Of course this is ‘about Islam.' The question is, what exactly does that mean?"

Addendum: Andy's footnotes didn't make it into the post because I'm computer illiterate. Now my word processor is having a hard time with Andy's document. I'm going to have to bring it to my computer at work and see if I can bring the notes in from there. Meanwhile, I'm sure Andy will be happy to provide the sources for any of the facts stated herein.

Comments:
I'm stealing this article to use on my blog.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
Or we could just nuke 'em.
 
me too!
 
Sorry about the footnotes. I tried to transfer the whole document, but the blog wouldn't accept the formatting, so I had to C&P and reformat. I guess the footnotes didn't come up. Let me see what I can do.

I have some comments - just haven't had time to type them up. I linked to the post on some other forums (I can send you the links if you like), and I'm getting some of the comments I anticipated, which is that there is plenty of gore in the Bible, particularly the OT. I've argued that you have to distinquish between actions in a particular context ordered directly by God and generalized orders of violence against non-believers, but they've pointed out that Leviticus contains prescriptions of the death penalty for such acts as adultery, "whoring," etc. My response would be that these are horrifying principles by modern standards, but that they differ from the Koran at least in the fact that they imply some kind of due process however primitive.

Then there are passages like those in Deuteronomy chapter 17 which seem to be without narrative and context, as you describe the Koran. This portion and some others like it are problematic to your argument and suggest that perhaps the difference between Islam and Judaism and Christianity isn't a question of the text, but rather the differences in cultural developments of the past 800 years or so - namely that our text provides just as much material to support terrorism, but that even our fundamentalists mostly put the extremities into some sort of context because their cultural milieus (and secular law) require that some sort of reconciliation be made between the text and modernity even if they don't admit that's what they're doing.

So is the difference a matter of culture and secular influence? Or is there truly a qualitative difference in scripture?

Another issue which you might have to address to complete your argument is how the Koran is taught in the mosques. What passages are emphasized in Shia mosques? One argument you'd have is that the Deuteronomy and other OT passages are obscure precisely because they aren't emphasized on Sunday mornings so they don't have the opportunity to resonate with enough people to matter. I think you touch on this, but you may want to expand on it.

I'm going to post this at the blog. Others might have something to add.
 
See the essays in, "The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law
Treats Non-Muslims is a controversial collection of essays, including
17 by Bat Ye'or, edited by writer Robert Spencer, the director of
Jihad Watch."
http://jihadwatch.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Islamic_Tolerance
From the same publisher (Prometheus Books, they specialize in texts
debunking Christianity), by former socialist David Selbourne (when
still on the Left he wrote, "Critique of Socialist Illusion, " which
is a sharp polemic vs. New Left Review circa the 60's and 70's), "The
Losing Battle with Islam."
http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=0300106033
Islamic Imperialism: A History by Efraim Karsh.
 
I agree that Batt Ye'or's and Robert Spencer's work are invaluable. I have been heavily influenced by both writers and strongly recommend all of their writings to whoever has the time to read them. Note also that my analysis in my article is not dependent on a comparative analysis to the Bible. I am not a Biblical scholar and leave that definitive analysis to others. However, the argument that Islam is a religion of peace because it allegedly contains verses that are no more violent than Biblical passages is not persuasive to me as that is not a valid defense. Would we say that the Nightstalker was peaceful because Ted Bundy was just as violent? When large numbers of people worldwide start committing acts of terrorism that they claim are mandated by the Bible, I will address that issue. Until then, we should focus on the problem at hand. Besides, as noted above, while I am no Biblical scholar, I have read it and while there are passages in the Old Testament that are inconsitent with modern Western values, those passages seem limited to a certain time and place and are not open-ended commandments to make war until everyone submits to God. Moreover, the New Testament, and especially what is attributed to Jesus, is as peaceful as one could ever hope for. In fact, a strong argument can be made that Jesus was a pacifist and violence committed by Christians or Western societies is done in spite of Christian Doctrine, not because of it. The relative histories have also made both cultures very different. Islam from very near to its inception was a conquering and "state endorsed" religion. Conversely, Christianity spent its first 300 years as a persecuted religion and its followers were brutally murdered. Those very different beginnings have helped lead the two religions on very different paths. Moreover, Christianity does not threaten apostates with death and, hence, it has been easier to reform and that reformation has, in my view, led it closer to what Jesus intended. In any event, regardless as to one's opinion of Christianity, that opinion should not justify a failure to recognize the reality of Islam.
 
Islam will go through its needed Reformation and is in fact already started on it due in large part by the educated moderate Muslim reaction to Muslim extremist intolerance.

We all need to understand Islam has never gone through an Enlightenment period as Christianity and Judaism has done where non-Abrahamic values, mostly Greek, again re-asserted themselves in Western Civilization to counter the same type of religious intolerance, bloodshed, and social mayhem now seen in Islamic reaction to Western intervention in the Middle East.

This is not to pardon the current Islamic violence but to put it into historical perspective.

Also, it must be pointed out that Muslims have every right to counter the criticism of their religiously based acts of terrorism with the religiously based acts of Christian and Jewish terrorism that is disquised behind modern war weaponry. No, Christians and Jews aren't strapping bombs on themselves, they are dropping them in mass from planes on innocents, i.e., gross hypocrisy of the critics of one religion accusing other religionists out of control-- those who are without sin, let them cast the first stone..

That said I can agree that Muhammad's Islam is not a religion of peace. However it will become one after it undergoes its Reformation which, as I say, is quietly underway.
 
OR, we could just nuke 'em.
 
I hope Mr. Lewis is correct and that Islam will reform. My sympathies go to any Muslim in an Islamic state that tries to reform the faith as it is an inherently dangerous and difficult task.
 
I'm a practising muslim that condones violence against civilians especially 9/11.

Praise to Allah (God) who gave me the understanding and knowledge to interpret the verses in the Quran.

I don't have the space to show how ALL those verses are misinterpreted COMPLETELY. I now understand why would ppl think islam is an evil religion when its interpreted that way.

Little do people know...
 
The main problem with Islam is that Muhammad has created another idol, two in fact, himself and his book, the Quran. Muslims will have to overthrow their idolatry of Muhammad in order to make Islam into a real religion of peace. It may take the appearance of another prophet in order for Muslims to change in mass. This is the path that Abdul Aziz believes in with his Messianic Islamic sect.
 
For reference, this site about the Old Testament was dropped on another forum discussion on this topic.

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html
 
Anonymous, the "practising muslim," should try to explain his position to us. The beauty of the Internet, in part, is that space is not an issue. Please, whoever you are, I encourage you to try to explain your position to us. Besides, we have all heard Osama Bin Laden's views. If you concur with him, that would be a short way of communicating your position. Alternatively, explain how you depart from his views.
 
Thanks for the encouragement.

I'm not a supporter of Bin Laden because he plainly killed innocent victims which is strongly prohibited in Islam as the following verse in the Quran declares:

"Who so ever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and who so ever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind"
Al-Ma'dah:32

I can safely say that the bloggers interpretation of the verses are incorrect and taken out of context.

May Allah help me stand steadfast in His religion.
 
anon - This discussion should continue for a couple of months. If you are willing to work up a detailed response, taking whatever time you need, I will be happy to post in the interest of "equal time."

As somebody who has never read the Koran, I would be especially interested in explanations of the passages - particularly if you are of the Shiite tradition, but even if you aren't.
 
the correct spelling is Quran. not koran.
 
oh and....Praise be to Allah.
 
I agree that Koranic verses analyzed on their own can be read in many different ways. There is a popular saying in Islam that only God understands some of the verses. However, when the Koran is analyzed in the context of the history of Muhammad and the first three generations thereafter as Islam teaches, it is hard to render a peaceful interpretation of the Koran gtiven Islam's first 100 years of conquests. That is why, notwithstanding the fact that there have been many who have argued for a peaceful interpretation of the Koran, that fundamentalists interpret it as they do. For example, withholding treasure must qualify as corruption within the meaning of verse 5:32 given that Muhammad had Kianen, Rihana's husband and one of the slaughtered khaybar Jews, tortured and beheaded for not telling him where the hidden Jewish treasure was. Hence, what does corruption mean? Fundamentalists will simply point out that it means all of the things that Muhammad allowed people to kill for such as, for example, preaching a deviant (heretical) version of Islam. Muhammad once ordered a Mosque burned to the ground amd his followers did so with the people still inside. To my knowledge, Muhammad never objected to that act. Hence fundamentalists can easily justify their conduct as fundamentalists not only look to Muhammad's example, but that which he knew of and did not object to as an example for living. These incidents are set forth in the first biography ever written about Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq. The biography was written by a devout Muslim and it has been accepted as accurate by mainstream Islam for centuries. Islamic fundementalists believe in that history so citing verses such as 5:32 as anonymous has does not dissuade them. I have never said that one cannot interpret the Koran alone in a peaceful manner. One can always claim that this or that verse applied to that time and place only or that it was a metaphor or applied to internal spiritual battles. However, please help me as to how to convince fundamentalist Muslims to ignore the example of Muhammad when interpreting the Koran. How can we apply a peaceful interpretation when Muhammad himself killed for other reasons than those seemingly allowed in verse 5:32? As another example, look at Muhammd's letters to world leaders of his day wherein he bluntly said, in essence, submit to Islam or you will see my warriors. Did they commit manslaughter or does "corruption" have a very broad meaning in Islam? It is my understanding that fundamentalists interpret 5:32 as only applying to fellow Muslims and that the verses in chapter 9 apply to the non-Muslims. Please show me where I error. More importantly, however, abstract arguments of the true meaning is secondary to my main point which is that there will always be fundamentalists that literally interpret the Koran as a licnse to force non-Muslims to submit to Islam.
 
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, and to Him we shall all return. May Allah forgive me for any unintentional mistakes that i make in what i say. Wisdom belongs to Allah and He parts it to whom He wills.

First of all, there is no difference between the Shiite and Sunni in terms of fundamental beliefs.

Both sects are muslims meaning we believe in the Islamic faith which constitutes:

1) belief in Allah
2) His Angels
3) His Books - Including Quran ,Torat, Injeel
4) His Messengers - Including Muhammed, Jesus, Moses, David etc peace be upon them all
5) Day of Judgement
6) Qadr(destiny) - its good and evil

We both carry out the 5 pillars of Islam which are:

1) Testify there is no diety worthy of worship except Allah (God) and Muhammed pbuh is His messenger
2) Salat (Prayers)
3) Zakat (Alms giving)
4) Sawm (Fasting during Ramadan)
5) Pilgrimage to the House of Allah once in a lifetime to those who are able to do so.

Having said that, there are different opinions in certain matters but not exclusively down to the interpretation of the Quran.

I would also like to add that any verse of the Quran written in english is an interpretation rather than the translation.

The arabic literature used in the Quran is unsurpassed. It can never be fully translated into english.

Infact, theres an outright challenge in the Quran for people to match it in literature.

"And if you are in doubt of any part of what We have bestowed upon Our servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah(chapter) of similar merit, and call upon any other than God to bear witness for you, if what you say is true" Quran 2:23

"And if you cannot do it-and most certainly you cannot do it-then be conscious of the fire whose fuel is human beings and stones, which awaits all who deny the truth" Quran 2:24

Theres the challenge and theres the warning.

Bearing in mind that the arabs of the time when the Quran was revealed were well known for their command in the language and fluency in arabic poetry, they did not meet this challenge. No one has yet to meet the challenge and no one will. The challenge has always been there and it still is.

Praise to Allah who offers glad tidings to those who hold on firm to the truth, as mentioned in the following verse:

"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects Taghut (evil) and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trust worthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things" Quran 2:256

There is no compulsion in Islam. Allah has bestowed us with the gift of Reason Elhamdullilah (praise to God). Therefore Allah expects us humans to use it in search for the truth.

I am not an islamic scholar, I do not want to push my words down anybodies throats.

I'm Allahs slave and a Muslim passing on the message that I see very clearly as I hope you all will one day inshalla (Allah willing). This is the message of Islam:

"True piety does not consist in turning your faces toward the east or the west - but the truly pious is he who believes in God, and the Last Day, and the angels, and the revelations, and the prophets; and spends his substance - however much he himself may cherish it - upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage; and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and [truly pious are] they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they that have proved themselves true, and it is they, they who are conscious of God" Quran 2: 177

Inshalla (Allah willing) you all benefitted from what I had to say.

The bed looks really warm and cozy, time to go.

Peace to those who are righteous.
 
Andy i just read your response now.

Inshalla (God Willing) you will be hearing from me soon.
 
Fuck Allah! Let's nuke 'em all!
 
"Infact, theres an outright challenge in the Quran for people to match it in literature.

"And if you are in doubt of any part of what We have bestowed upon Our servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah(chapter) of similar merit, and call upon any other than God to bear witness for you, if what you say is true" Quran 2:23
"And if you cannot do it-and most certainly you cannot do it-then be conscious of the fire whose fuel is human beings and stones, which awaits all who deny the truth" Quran 2:24

Theres the challenge and theres the warning.

Bearing in mind that the arabs of the time when the Quran was revealed were well known for their command in the language and fluency in arabic poetry, they did not meet this challenge. No one has yet to meet the challenge and no one will. The challenge has always been there and it still is."

I don't get it. What exactly is the challenge? To produce a chapter like one of Muhammad's? Surely, there have been dozens of prophetic books written by others, e.g. Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, the Bahai founder, etc., and they have thousands of witnesses other than God.
 
I've got quite a discussion going on in a nebraska forum regarding the article.

http://heartlandforums.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3598
 
Thank you, Andy, and thank you, Eric, for printing this enlightening essay. I agree with Eric's caveats: one must read the Islamic texts in the context of history. Christianity itself contains passages that can lead to snake-handling cults, to forced conversion, and to torture. These practices arise when social conditions are favorable to them. What Islam needs is not a Reformation (do those who call for one know what happened in Europe in the 1500s? Have they read Luther?) but an Enlightenment. And humorists of the Mark Twain variety.
 
I appreciated the anonymous Muslim's comments and thank him or her for participating so congenially in our discussion regarding a matter that must be deeply personal. Having said that, however, I feeled compelled to address the allegation that "any verse of the Quran written in English is an interpretation rather than the translation." Classical Arabic in which the Koran was written had a limited vocabulary. So much so that, for example, the word for chapter (Surah) is the Arabic word for fence as that is the closest classical Islam could get. English has a vast vocabulary as the language was geographically diverse and willingly adopted words from multiple other languages. Consequently, there is nothing written in Classical Arabic that cannot be expressed in English. While the alleged poetic value or alleged artistic majesty of the original Classical Arabic may not translate to English, there can be no question that the underlying communication can be translated and it has been. Nine different versions of each verse can be seen at YAQUB's website (Yet Another Quran Browser).
 
I'll take a look at your discussion later Nick. In the meantime, here's another forum where it's being discussed.

http://p075.ezboard.com/fturnleftinteractivefrm8.showMessage?topicID=61.topic
 
the problem with the muslims claiming tht they do not advocate killing the innocent is that they determine who is innocent. I do not think that I as a non-believer would be considered innocent. this is the most innocuous comment I can make --all others I could make would be over the top.
 
damn I hate all religion.
 
I seek refuge in Satan the accursed.
In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious, the most Merciful.

Peace to those who are righteous

"History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated." -- De Lacy O'Leary, ISLAM AT THE CROSSROADS, London, 1923, p. 8

Praise Allah who started the revelation with a word of utmost importance to all of us as a humanity. It is the key to understanding and tolerance in times of confusion and ignorance.

"READ in the name of your Lord Who created. He created man from a clot.Read and your Lord is Most Honorable. Who taught (to write) with the pen. Taught man what he knew not." Quran 96 - 1 to 5

The honourable prophet Muhammed, praise and blessing upon him, said:
"Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave"

This is the key to success in life people. May Allah guides us all to His straight path.

Having said that, there should be manners and ethics involved in learning and seeking knowledge. One can not attain knowledge by listening or reading to a persons thoughts on any subject or 2 or 10 for that matter. How do you know which one is right? Which one will you believe? The one you want to believe, if you so then why?

Praise to Allah we humans have been equipped with the faculty of reason and ability to ponder and reflect upon ourselves and upon His signs in the world.


Therefore, i ask those of you who are mindful of what I have said to read the Quran rather than listen to me making points from it. Read it completely with an open mind. Come to your own conclusions, at least you will all be well informed.

If you would like to start with what the Quran has to say regarding The Sons of Israel (the jews in history) then read the Quran from verse 40, chapter 2 and going up. In it you will find the part where Andy says:

* Among other things, the Koran teaches that the Jews have been cursed by Allah, David, and Jesus.
* Allah was so disgusted with Jews that he transformed them into apes and pigs.

I also deleted the verse number from next to what Andy said. This is to encourage you to READ about what is revealed in the Quran regarding Bani Israel from the start. Context is everything.

Allah(God) is the Most Merciful and Compassionate and to Him we shall all return.

Infact Andy, a fact about the Quran is that it is a river of knowledge that will never stop flowing. No one has ever claimed that he/she has mastered the Quran completely. Therefore, ANY translation attempt of the Quran is more like an interpretation of the current understanding of the translator. This is one of the miracles of the Quran.
 
Al-Baqra chapter 2
verse 40 and onwards

This is a helpful link:

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/
 
I know it's not the topic of this blog, but I have a question and I'd like to hear your opinion. How anonymous are anonymous comments?

The reason I ask is that on his August 10 post "Don't Knock It Till You've Tried It" it sounds like Buhne is threatening to reveal the identities of anonymous commenters he or others find offensive.

Care to comment?
 
The Muslim poster shows the major problem with Muslim believers. They are true believers in the sense that by becoming Muslims they become clones of Muhammad's thinking and cannot think beyond his limitations. To cover for his limitations, they idolize Muhammad and his book, believing with all their true believer heart that the book truly is some sort of magical wonder.

But this impression falls flat for Westerners who read the book and discover for themselves the repetitious and very limited information contained in the book.

Muhammad's science reflects 7th century knowledge of the world and I have had numerous internet talkboard discussions with Muslims who have to wiggle all over the place in order to justify Muhammad's lack of knowledge, e.g. his acceptance of the ancient seven heavens concept of concentric shells above the earth and his lack of knowledge of human birth process which Muslims again have to bend all over the place in order to claim Muhammad knew modern science.

This they do but as I said, the attempts fall flat on their faces because Western science and general knowledge has far surpassed the 7th century mind of Muhammad regardless of Allah's imput.

In Muslims, we are dealing with closed minds that will only open through the tiny little doorways Muhammad has left open for change, the expectation of another Prophet type, the Mahdi, and the return of Jesus. In other words, Muslims probably won't change in mass until they accept Signs of Allah's intervention. Intellectual reason will not be sufficient for mass change.

Luckily, God has heard. Praise be to God. God is Great! and so are Post Toasties..just ask Tony..
 
Well yeah, but are anonymous comments truly anonymous?
 
To me, any religion that advocates violence against those who do not believe is not a religion. There is nothing spiritual about killing another human being or casting them out from the prevailing culture. Things change, shift happens and we evolve towards a better understanding of the world around us. Only the new and open minded will inherit the Earth, not those with their hearts and minds mired in the past. Arguing the merits of any religion is mental masterbation in my book and I'd rather use my hands.
 
This would be true if it weren't for the resurrection of Gnosis of God which is a spiritual movement also happening quietly today. Intellectual Christians cannot find solice in the traditional Christian beliefs which have been exposed as fraudulent documents pertaining to tell the historical truth of Jesus Christ. This process of exposing the fraudulent roots of the dominating Abrahamic religions is creating the need for real Knowledge of God, not these phony tribal political religions that have totalitarian social, psychological and territorial conquest as their main objective.

Jews want Jews only to own and control the Holy Land.

Pauline Christians want to make every place on earth Christian but are willing to let secular rule do the process now that the old R.C.C. totalitarians finally got stopped in Europe.

And Muslims want to make the whole world Muslim with limited conditional tolerance for other Abrahamic faiths, no tolerance at all for non-Abrahamics.

They all have to be overthrown in their control of society's ethical values, otherwise we will have continuing constant inter-religious warfare going on.

The resurrection of Gnosis, the finding of the Gospel of Thomas, more people discovering Carl Jung's Gnosticism, the joining of Native American spiritual practice with the Gnostic solitary spiritual practice as both of these share a common "law": No man can tell another how to believe in the Creator. The only authentic spiritual relationship one can have with the Creator is one-to-One. This is the spiritual path I follow.
 
Who the hell cares if some extremist Muslims want to take over the world? It's not as if they could really do it. Why do we concern ourselves wth this crappola?

All religions of the God of Abraham call for violence against the non-believer and world domination.

JMJ
 
No, Gnostic Christians never did. Not one of any Gnostic Christian gospel contains any instructions for any kind of territorial conquest and control. And Gnostic Christians paid the price for this practice--they became the very first targets of Pauline or traditional Christian persecution. The Gnostic Holocaust wiped out most all traces of Gnosticism until they started being resurrected literally from the ground in the Nag Hammadi Library find of a jar full of ancient Gnostic gospels. Now the genie is out of the bottle and can never be put inside again because only Gnosis of God is valid in the long run. Faith is far too easily swindled by charismatic men with religious Napoleonic ideas like Moses, Paul, and Muhammad..
 
The followers of Islam are cowards who hide behind women and children when they fight. They yap and yap and then fall down crying when you hit them once. They sodomize sheep because they are more attractive than their women.
 
I implore whoever is making the derogatory comments about Muslims to stop. While I understand the anger behind such sentiments given all that has been attributed to Islam in the last 30 years, it is unfair and cruel to tar all Muslims with the type of unbridled anger that should, at a minimum, be reserved for terrorists and those that suppoprt them.
 
Peace to those who are righteous,

"O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety and fear Allah, for Allah is well acquainted with all that you do" Quran 5:8

I know that a lot of people take the followers of islam to be a representative of the Quran. However no human is perfect and we are all prone to error. I encourage you all to once again understand Islam from its source, the Quran.

I also apologise to anyone who has received mistreatment from any of my fellow muslims. Take the above verse to them and remind them of their duties as Allahs slaves on this earth, if you wish.

Thanks Andy. The people insulting me, muslims and islam without background, without any intellectual reasoning, proof or evidence, they are no different to the terrorists perpetrating attacks on the US civilians for the result of the US governments injustice.

I'm a muslim that strives to live by the Quran down to the last letter. I will never think of reforming the words of Allah. Its a message to all humanity and all times. In it i find true peace and tranquility.

My struggle is not a physical one at the moment, and we are not free style rappers dissing each to see who wins.

My Jihad (english translation is "struggle") is an intellectual and ideological one. This struggle is against the ideology of irreligiousness in cases were ppl divert from the true essence of their religions(mainly muslims also jews and christians) and the case where people just plainly lost faith in religion and believe we are all here by chance through darwinism or whatever other way.

This is not to say that i do not believe in Jihad (struggle) in the way of Allah through fighting military battles. However, people in the state of fear, ignorace and confusion do not understand why and how this fighting takes place. This is done to such an extent that people, including a few muslims, translate the meaning of Jihad to "a Holy War". There is nothing Holy in war and its never been called Holy War in arabic. This is purely the misinterpretation of people who lack understanding of the basic concepts of Islam. Arabs back then never called it "7arb muqadasa" (holy war in arabic).

I hold no enmity whatsoever against christians or jews, but i stand against the jews who believe in zionism because they are fighting muslims due to their religion. Infact i feel closer to them than people who follow no religion and I have close chistian friends. We all believe in the existence of a God. These are the ethics and manners islam has taught me to hold as follows

"Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.
Allah only forbids you respecting those who made war upon you on account of (your) religion, and drove you forth from your homes and backed up (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends with them, and whoever makes friends with them, thes ae the unjust." Quran 60:8 to 9

I want to call to the people who see muslims as nasty and terrorists are an obstruction to the path of tolerance and justice in the world. Even if you think the worst about my religion, i call to a more tolerant and understanding approach. I'm not asking you to do it for me, I'm asking you to do it for yourselves. There is not less than 1 billion muslims in the world and the number is still growing, how you going to get rid of them?

"People who worry that nuclear weaponry will one day fall in the hands of the Arabs, fail to realize that the Islamic bomb has been dropped already, it fell the day MUHAMMED (pbuh) was born". Dr. Joseph Adam Pearson

Here is a start, its about 10 common misconceptions regarding Islam. Inshalla (Allah willing) you benefit from it.

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/notislam/misconceptions.html

Allah help guide the righteous to your true path, amen
 
anon 4:40, what are you going to do when scholarship catches up to Muhammad and shows intelligent Muslims that Muhammad didn't get it right and is not without major flaws in his understanding of God and Creation?

As most Muslims are now, they are stuck in fundamentalist interpretation of Muhammad's Quran which puts them squarely in the same camp as Christian fundamentalists when it comes to so-called innerancy of scriptures. Fundamentalists Christians condone violence when it furthers the ends of their government because they have been taught by Paul to obey government authority. Fundamentalist Muslims commit violence when it furthers the goals of Islam fighting all other religions and philosophies for totalitarian control of society.

The more people practice the so-called "true" faith in either Judaism, Pauline Christianity or Islam, the more they come to hate the religions of their neighbors which historically has often lead to committing violence against them. Intelligent Westerners who do read the Quran that I know all have come away with the same conclusions: that the Quran is a quite limited book of knowledge about God and society that has been sold to Muslims without much education through mainly peer pressure and fear. Like the other Abrahamic Napoleons, Moses and Paul, Mohammad too uses fear of God's wrath to frighten believers into belief. Hell awaits all those who do not follow the Quran's instructions. Hell awaits all those who do not claim Jesus is the Son of God.

In court, any testimony that is given under duress is not valid testimony. You can threaten people to make them say anything but take the threat away and they will change their minds. Belief obtained by coercion is invalid as well.
 
Blow it out your sorry ass Andy.

There are 2 kinds of muslims:

1. the cowardly muderers

2. the cowardly majority who will not condemn the cowardly murders

All the rest of this parlance is psuedo-intellectual bullshit.

Otherwsie, have a pleasant evening.
 
I'm leaving the bigotted comments intact because I believe they are educational in themselves.

To the poster who asks if anonymous posts are truly anonymous, I'm not the person to ask. It's possible for me to go into my visit counter to find the location of your server, but I don't know if I could do much more than that.

For those of you posting substance on topic, I'll have to respond later. I'm very tired. I'm going to post a couple of things then go to bed.
 
Andy, here are some thoughts from Wade Leschyn, a friend of mine.

Regarding:

http://redwoodreality.blogspot.com/2006/08/islam-is-it-religion-of-peace.html

I had trouble with some basic tenants of this piece by Andy Stunich. I
did find the quotes by Alexis de Tocqueville and John Quincy Adams
interesting, but I'll have to hold that till another day.

I disagree with Stunich's assertion that statements by Oprah and
President GW Bush that Islam is a peaceful religion constitute an
inundation of Americans with that message, to the point that the
peaceful Islam message is now ingrained in American conventional wisdom,
and that minorities who challenge that conventional wisdom are usually
labeled racists or bigots.

My take on the "pulse of America" is quite different. I'd say that
outside the UU and related circles it is quite generally acceptable and
part of the "common wisdom" to portray Islam as a religion of terror.
The fact that President GW Bush was forced to make a statement
contradicting this just goes to show. One can only imagine what he says
in private. Look at the comments following the piece on the articles own
web page for another example.

The idea that American's today adhere to the values set forth in
the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights is sadly, I think, almost laughable. If a
majority of Americans really believed in these three documents, the
debates and issues of today's day and age would be dramatically
different, and the GW Bush administration would not have been able to do
what it has done in so many areas at home and abroad.

Reading Wikipedia's entries on the Koran, I'm reminded that any English
language translation is an interpretation, and that the entire text is
dependent on the historical and contextual circumstances of the
community in which it was composed. I learn that some passages are
difficult to understand even in the original Arabic. (Reminds me of the
Bible!) Also I learn that many of the prominent translations of the
Koran are the work of a single individual, so they represent a personal
view and not a range of collective and opposing thoughts from a range of
scholars.

To get an online translation, I went to the Multilingual Qur'an Project:

http://al-islam.org/quran/

Here I chose a random verse that Andy Stunich cited, (47:4) and compared
it to other interpretations.

Here is the way that Andy cites it in his piece (from the Abdullah
Yusufali interpretation:

> "Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks
[chop their heads off]; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a
bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom:
Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been
God's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but
(He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are
slain in the Way of God, - He will never let their deeds be lost."

The same verse in the Shakir interpretation:
> So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until
when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either
set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war
terminates. That (shall be so); and if Allah had pleased He would certainly have
exacted what is due from them, but that He may try some of you by means of
others; and (as for) those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will by no
means allow their deeds to perish.

And in the Pickthal interpretation:
> Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the
necks until, when ye have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward
either grace or ransom till the war lay down its burdens. That (is the
ordinance). And if Allah willed He could have punished them (without you) but
(thus it is ordained) that He may try some of you by means of others. And those
who are slain in the way of Allah, He rendereth not their actions vain.

Now here is a commentary by Ali Pooya also from the Multilingual Qur'an
Project:

> This verse commands every believer to kill or be killed when he fights
disbelievers. If slain the rewards from Allah are many. According to Baqarah:
154 and Ali Imran: 169 to 171 the martyrs are not dead, they are alive, getting
sustenance from Allah, rejoicing in the grace and mercy of Allah; and Hajj: 58
and 59 say that they occupy the highest position near Allah. If the believer
prevails over the enemies of Allah, he destroys the power base of evil, disorder
and corruption.
>
> Those who deserted the Holy Prophet in the battles of Uhad and Hunayn (see
commentary of Bara-at: 25 to 27 and other references mentioned therein) and ran
away to save their lives must be identified and condemned in view of this verse.
>
> The ordinance to kill the disbelievers is applicable when they launch an
attack on the believers, not when they have surrendered. Islam prescribes
effective defence in the event of an unprovoked aggression. Refer to the
commentary of Baqarah 190 to 193.
>
> Aqa Mahdi Puya says:
>
> When once the enemy is brought under control, the release of prisoners with or
without ransom is recommended. The slaughter of captives was never allowed by
Islam. How a believer deals with the captives is a test. Some take ransom, some
let them go for the sake of Allah; and some take care of them, shelter them and
feed them with no strings attached.


So what these interpretations tell me is that not only has Andy picked
and chosen his verses to illustrate his point, he also has chosen the
harshest most violent English interpretation to illustrate his case.

He does tackle the criticism that he ignores the many verses in the
Koran that advocate peace and tolerance with the argument that Mohammad
meant the harsher subsequent verses to replace early verses. To me he is
acknowledging different interpretations, yet uses this as further
justification for his points.

His argument reminds me of our war on communism, which we justified in
our domestic propaganda because in some places in communist doctrine,
the overthrow of the west was called for. That we not only call for but
actively overthrow socialist regimes ourselves (against our own stated
value of self determination) we conveniently ignore.

Criticism of terrorism ignores what I see as a truism attributed to
Peter Ustinov: that terrorism is a poor mans war, while war is a rich
mans terrorism. We Americans frequently decry the loss of life by
terrorist acts, while generally ignoring the killing we do.

It seems self serving at best to justify our own actions with examples
quoted from the other side. When we come to respect all life, not just
the lives of our own side, and commit ourselves to using force as a
final resort only, only then can we expect the same from the other side.

Some thoughts to close on:

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Don't judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

People who fight fire with fire, generally end up as ashes.

Wade
 
Hey Bloggers, did you know Dave Berman represents you?

That's right, Dave has his very own forum on media accountability, only there's no independent media and no bloggers besides himself to be present to ask the really tough questions. Instead it's a collection of the usual suspects from Times-Standard, Clear Channel and KMUD to spin their webs of deceit.

Dave believes he represents local bloggers. Do you believe him? If not, now's the time to demand a seat at the table for a real local blogger. I nominate Fred.
 
Eric, in fairness to Muslims, shouldn't you also be putting forth criticisms of Judaism to balance these bashings of Islam?

After all, it's doubtful any of us would be discussing the problems of Islam if it weren't for the Middle East conflicts that revolve around the Jewish Zionist enterprise of forcing the establishment of Israel smack in the middle of Muslim majority nations?
 
Believe me Steven, I've plenty of criticisms of Christian and Jewish fundamentalisms. Islamic fundamentalism happens to be the topic of the moment.

And I'd have been all for forcing the establishment of Israel smack in the middle of Christian majority nations.
 
During the course of discussions elsewhere, an urban legend has popped up. This should put it to rest.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/allah.asp
 
Eric and Andy,

One of the enduring and seemingly impossible to resolve threats to World peace and safety is terrorism carried out by the Bush Administration (as well as most other previous administrations) who claim that Democracy authorizes their conduct.

Andy doesn't mind if I lifted a few of his words, does he?

Andy's truth is Islamic soldiers are terrorist, which is how they are defined by our (U.S.)government.

I do not find truth in that way of thinking. Just the high probability of more violence.

Why don't the Andy's of the world go fight the fight instead of talk the talk. My guess is he believes he is non-violent.

He is in fact a very lost man.

War is so easy to justify and so difficult to refuse.
 
Islam is NOT a relgion of peace.

Anyone that reads the paper, watchs cable news, goes to the library or books store, lives in the real world KNOWS this.

Anyone that thinks different is either lying or just foolig themselves.
 
Anon 9:50 - Andy hasn't yet said anything about the war in Iraq. And if you read his post more carefully you will note that he does not believe that all Muslims are violent. There's plenty to discuss without creating a straw man.

I'm certainly critical about how the government defines terrorists. I'm also critical about how they define vegetables. A tomato is officially a vegetable when it is biologically a berry. However, I do agree with the government that broccoli is a vegetable.
 
Hmmm. Let's try this again. First post attempt didn't take.

Okay, Andy here are some comments from a friend of mine named Gary.


"Personally, I think there is little to no "cultural differences" between our fundamentalists and theirs in terms of using their text to justify violence. I don't believe that our fundamentalists "put the extremities into..context."

I think this implies that our fundamentalists reached a sort of consensus on their own not to be terrorists.

My view is that our culture as a whole adopted the view that church and state should (to at least some extent) be separate and that religious tolerance should be protected by law. This forced our fundamentalists to take their intolerance more underground and to adapt to survive.

Because of that, our risk is not that the fundamentalists will change their mind--but simply that church and state will be mixed more and more to reawaken their intollerance. IF that happens, they will be just as vicious and extreme as muslim fundamentalists.

I guess my point is that our fundamentalists are only less violent (if they are--cause a case could be made the other way perhaps), because of their environment and not because they are just more gentle or tolerant by nature.

Another environmental factor is power and economics. Muslims live under the economic and military supremacy of "christian nations" so they have little other choice but terrorism IF they want to fight. If one believes that our fundamentalists and our government are aligned--then we exhibit terrorism by poisoning the world environmentally, taking resources and not giving back enough, and in actions that are "military" so we deem them not terrorist in nature.

Imagine what Christian fundamentalists would be like if the world were dominated by an economically and militarily stronger middle east and if we were third world poor."
 
What's up with this last posting.

"muslims live under economic and miltary supremacy of chirstian nations so they have little other choice but terrorism if they want to fight". So if I'm bigger and stronger than my neighbor, and he wants to fight for whatever reason) it's OK for him to break into my house while I'm sleeping and hit me with a frying pan ?

Well that sounds really compelling but it's the IF THEY WANT TO FIGHT portion. Why do they want to fight Eric ?? Is their desire to fight reasonable ? Is their desire to fight SANE ?

Maybe you're just trying to stimulate an exchange ?
 
Well, they're not my comments (hence the quotation marks), but let me ask you what it means to fight "reasonable" and "sane?" One characteristic of asymetric warfare is that the lesser power often has to engage tactis that seem less "honorable" to the stronger power. I'm sure the British felt the same way about colonial tactics 225 years ago. And if the cold war had turned out different and the Soviet Union occupied our country, do you think we'd be as choosey about our resistance tactics? Do you think the Soviet occupiers would have found our tactics "reasonable" and "sane?"

As to why they want to fight, well, that's what we're discussing and I don't think there are any pat answers. I think they have some genuine grievances against the west. Other motivations are less rational.

You know that we overthrew the first elected secular government back in 1953 right? We replaced it with the Shah, who became for awhile the most brutal regime on the planet according to Amnesty International. As we speak we're helping to prop up a brutal regime in Pakistan (which is ready to go to war against the only democracy in the area besides Israel) and to a lesser degree in Saudi Arabia, because our short term military and business needs are paramount in policy considerations, as I'm sure they were in 1953.
 
Ok Mr Big Stuff (eric)

What are the "genuine grievances".

Yes I know that the US put the Shah into power. And I'm aware of (at least some) the abuses of that regime. But that was 50 years ago. Many/most of the redicals we're born then and didn't experience any of the bad. Does it make it OK to kill or want to kill civilians you don't know ? Now in this day and age? Do you think it would be OK for Native Americans to bomb, shoot, and kill fellow Americans because of the wrongs done to their ancestors 100-150 years ago ?

Do you know anyone that lived in Iran after the Revolution (1978) ? Do you know of the randomly selected abuses in Iran after 1979-1980 ? How the islamic extremists treat women ? How they treated anyone who may have profited or progressed during the Shah (and their extended families). The Iranians imprisoned (re-education) people for doing well while the Shah was in power. And by doing well I mean having a job, sending their kids to college, that sort of thing. Well do you ? Do you have any first hand accounts of what is going on their today ? Or just the staged rallies you see on TV. Iran today is just as oppressive as the Shah's regime, the only difference is the radical islamics in power are the new Shah.

Eric sometimes I think you are so ignorant or maybe just such a wannabe hippie liberal that you'll beleive anything some leftist asshole says because you feel obliged to slam the government any chance you get. Maybe you just hate Republicans.

Do some research, with all the time on your hands that you obviosly have, into how much money the US and US citizens, via do-gooder organizations gives to and have given to these countries. Everyday Amercians ALWAYS donate, especially after a disaster. Why would these people want to kill Amercian citizens? Why would their government want to go to war or risk the lives of their citizens (even the moronic suicide fucks willint to die)when there country or freedom is not at stake?

And don't you dare compare the American Revolution you these islamic terrorists.

Fuck you Eric. What have you done to contribute anything ? Been a Jr Commie in highschool? Do legal wrangling for drug dealers ? You're soooo smart, such a good citizen.

have a nice day
 
Anon 2:12 is having a bad day. Would somebody give him/her a hug?
 
I would like to respond to the statement that I chose Yusuf Ali's translation for my article because it better proved my case. That is incorrect. One of my footnotes that did not suvive the electronic posting of my piece explained why I used Yusuf Ali's translation. I used it because CAIR (Council American Islamic relations) endorses it and I did not want to use other translations that I believe are more accurate and which I believe are harsher because I knew someone would criticize whatever translation I used and, therefore, using the versin endorsed by CAIR seemed the safest. I like to look up verses on YAQUB and read all nine translations of controversial verses to get, as much as possible, a good feel for the original Arabaic. For those who have fallen prey to the oft repeated falsehood that Islam did not spread to many areas by conquest, I susbmit to you that, from its origins, it was undisputeably a violent, conquering religion.

Consider what Islamic scholar Dr. D.S. Margoliouth said regarding the first and most trusted early history of Muhammad written by Ibn Ishaq:

"The character attributed to Muhammad in the biography of Ibn Ishaq is exceedingly unfavorable. In order to gain his ends Muhammad recoils from no expedient, and he approves of similar unscrupulousness on the part of his adherents, when exercised in his interest. He organizes assassinations and wholesale massacres. His career as the tyrant of Medina is that of a robber chief whose political economy consists of securing and dividing plunder. He is himself an unbridled libertine (ethically unrestrained) and encourages the same passion in his followers. For whatever he does he is prepared to plead the express authorization of his deity. It is, however, impossible to find any Islamic religious doctrine which he is not prepared to abandon in order to secure a political end. At different points in his career he abandons the unity of God and his claim to the title of Prophet. This is a disagreeable picture for the founder of a religion, and it cannot be pleaded that it is a picture drawn by an enemy." So true. Read Ibn Ishaq's work and you will see that he was a true believer. The only reason he recorded what he did is that, at the time (within 200 years of Muhammad), it did not offend Arabic values.
Ibn Ishaq' work can be read for free. Go to Wikipedia Ibn Ishaq and at the end of the article there will be a link to his highly regarded biography called Surat Rasul Allah (Life of the Prophet)
 
A guy goes in an adult book store and asks for an inflatable doll.
Guy behind the counter says, "Male or female?"
Customer says, "Female."
Counter guy asks, "Black or white?"
Customer says, "White."
Counter guy asks, "Christian or Muslim?"
Customer says, "What the hell does religion have to do with it?"
Counter guy says, "The Muslim one blows itself up"
 
hey Eric I got something you can hug
 
Yvonne Ridley has absolutely
different view....

Maybe the translation is not good...

:)
 
This from another friend:



We do have violent fundamentalists--such as the Lambs of God who have harassed and assaulted clinic staff. We also have the Knights of Phinehas, who advocate and practice violence against interracial couples, and point to specific passages in the Bible as saying that God commands this behavior on their part.

Fundamentalist Christians, taking the Bible literally, can and have justified all kinds of heinous and violent acts. Below is simply a smattering of passages:

"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."

"He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed."

"And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;
And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.

And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying

Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.

Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:

And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel."

"And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;

Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places. . . "

And if they don't, well-- "But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.

Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them."

"(For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth."

"And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them : neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee."

"If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage."

"If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,

Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;

Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;

Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. "

I could go on. . .
 
Is there no one who can defend Islam without trying to divert attention away from Islam? If you must defend Islam by comparing it to Christianity, let us tell it like it is.

The folllowing is from the Answering Islam website:

Jesus founded Christianity, Muhammad founded Islam. These are the two largest religions in the world with about 1.8 billion and 1.1 billion members respectively. Without a doubt, these men have affected humanity in a powerful way. As religious leaders they laid down many principles to live by.

Both religions have much in common, but differ strongly in other aspects. What were the founders' characters like? How do they compare with each other? What does the Bible and the Quran say about Jesus? What did their teachings and actions induce their followers to do? This article answers these questions by comparing and contrasting some of their actions and teachings.

NOTE: I will use the Bible, usually the New International Version (NIV)[1] as the source for Jesus' words and actions. I will quote from the Quran, usually N.J. Dawood's translation [2], and the Hadiths of Bukhari [3] and Muslim [4], the "Life of Muhammad" [5], which is a translation done by A. Guillaume of Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah", the "History" of Tabari [6], and the Sunan of Abu Dawud [7]. Generally, the Hadiths of Bukhari and Muslim are the sayings and deeds of Muhammad, and are recognized as the most authentic by Islamic scholarship. Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah" is recognized as the best extent biography of Muhammad, and Tabari's "History" is the best historical account of Muhammad and the early Islamic community available.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SOME OF THEIR LAST WORDS

JESUS: "Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34. (said while dying on the cross at Calvary after being betrayed and sentenced to die for no legitimate reason).

MUHAMMAD: "May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of the prophets." Bukhari, Vol. 1, #427 [Muhammad had been poisoned years earlier by a Jewish woman whose husband was killed by the Muslims and the poison had slowly worked its effect. He said this while dying in the arms of his wife Aisha].

COMMENT

As I've studied both of these men's lives, I find that the above comparison details some of the strongest character differences. Here are their dying words, words that will mark the end of their lives. Christ asks God to forgive His enemies, while Muhammad utters a bitter curse against those who rejected his assertion of prophethood. Wouldn't it have been more appropriate for Muhammad to ask Allah to guide the Christians and Jews while he was dying?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SLAVERY

JESUS: had no slaves. Jesus taught to do to others as you would have them do to you. Jesus had no slaves, and it is apparent from His teachings that He would not have slaves. He freed men, not enslaved them. No one wants to be enslaved against their will.

Further, Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:8-10,
"We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers..."

From these verses, we see that forcibly enslaving people, and trading in slaves, are against Christian teachings.

MUHAMMAD: was a slaver. He owned and sold many slaves, both male and female. He said Allah allowed him and his Muslim followers to have sex with their female slaves when the men wanted to. Reference the Quran, Sura (chapters) 33:50, 52, 23:5, and 70:30. Slaves are considered "booty" for Muslims when taken in raids, thus they are Muslim's property. Muhammad felt proud and conceited enough to enslave thousands of people.

The great Islamic historian Tabari wrote regarding Muhammad's sexual intercourse with his slave Mariyah; "he had intercourse with her by virtue of her being his property." [Tabari, Volume 39, page 194].

Muhammad made slaves out of the people he raided and fought against. Most notable were the women and children survivors of Muhammad's massacre of the 800 males (young teens and up) of the Jewish Banu Quraydhah, Sura 33:26. The Sirat Rasulallah - the earliest biography of Muhammad, gives much more detail on pages 461 and on. Shortly after massacring the Jewish males Ibn Ishaq wrote on page 466:

"Then the apostle divided the property, wives, and children of the Banu Qurayza among the Muslims, and he made known on that day the shares of horse and men, and took out the fifth", (Muhammad and his family got one fifth of all the spoils of war). . . Then the apostle sent Sa'd . . . with some of the captive women of Banu Qurayza to Najd and he sold them for horses and weapons."

Bukhari also documents Muhammad owning many slaves - vol. 5, # 541 & vol. 7, # 344. Muhammad had Negro, Arab, Egyptian, male, female, Jewish, Christian, and pagan Arab slaves.

Muhammad also allowed slaves to be harshly beaten. When his wife was being examined as to whether or not she committed adultery, Muhammad's son in law, Ali, brutally beat Aisha's slave in front of Muhammad, in order to insure that she tell the truth about Aisha. Here is the quote from Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah", translated as "The Life of Muhammad", by A. Guillaume, (page 496):

"So the apostle called Burayra (Aisha's slave) to ask her, and Ali got up and gave her a violent beating saying, "Tell the apostle the truth,"....

Muhammad did not stop Ali from beating the slave.
Muhammad also allowed newly captured female slaves to be used for sex. From the Hadith of Sahih Muslim vol. 2, #3371

Abu Sirma said to Abu Said al Khudri: "O Abu Said, did you hear Allah's messenger mentioning about al-azl (coitus interruptus)?" He said, "Yes", and added: "We went out with Allah's messenger on the expedition to the Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing azl" (withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception). But we said: "We are doing an act whereas Allah's messenger is amongst us; why not ask him?" So we asked Allah's messenger and he said: "It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born".

And vol. 3, #3432
Abu Said al-Khudri reported that at the Battle of Hunain Allah's messenger sent an army to Autas and encountered the enemy and fought with them. Having overcome them and taken them captives, the Companions of Allah's messenger seemed to refrain from having intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists. Then Allah, Most High, sent down regarding that: "And women already married, except those whom your right hands possess (Quran - 4:24), (i.e. they were lawful for them when their Idda (menstrual) period came to an end).

COMMENT
Jesus' teachings would preclude people from forcibly enslaving people. "Do to others as you would have them do to you" - Luke 6:31. On the other hand, Muhammad and his soldiers went out and attacked many people and forced them into slavery. Worse yet, Muhammad separated slave families by dividing them up between his soldiers and he allowed the men to rape the female slaves.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
SIN
JESUS: was born sinless; He lived a sinless life. Jesus asserted his sinlessness.

John 8:46 - "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth why don't you believe me?" Also note 2 Cor. 5:21, 1 John 3:5, Heb. 4:15

MUHAMMAD: was declared to be a sinner - Sura 40:55 - "Therefore have patience; God's promise is surely true. Implore forgiveness for your sins, and celebrate the praise of your Lord evening and morning."

Sura 48:1,2 - "We gave you a glorious victory so that God may forgive you your past and future sins ....."

Muhammad also prayed for forgiveness of his sins, Bukhari volume 9, #482:
"...O Allah! Forgive me the sins that I did in the past or will do in the future, and also the sins that I did in secret or in public.

Further, Muhammad even acknowledged harming or cursing people unjustly. From Sahih Muslim, volume 4, "The Book of Virtue and Good Manners, and Joining the Ties of Relationship, chapter MLXXV
"HE UPON WHOM ALLAH'S APOSTLE INVOKED CURSES WHEREAS HE IN FACT DID NOT DESERVE IT, IT WOULD BE A SOURCE OF REWARD AND MERCY FOR HIM".

Hadith #6287 - "Abu Juraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "O Allah, I am a human being and for any person amongst Muslims upon whom I hurl malediction or invoke curse or give him whipping make it a source of purity and mercy."

COMMENT
Jesus was a sinless man – the Son of God. Muhammad was a self proclaimed prophet – a man capable of sinning and making mistakes, having both good and bad traits. At times he was kind, at times he cursed and harmed many people. How much of their nature, or character, was inevitably translated into their respective religion? Jesus was pure and sinless, Muhammad stated that he prayed for forgiveness up to 70,000 times a day! Who would you rather follow?
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PUNISHING SINNERS WHO WERE WILLING TO REPENT
JESUS
From John 8:2-11
At dawn He (Jesus) appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap in order to have a basis to accuse Him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one sir", she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

MUHAMMAD
From the Hadith of Abu Dawud, #4428
"Buraidah said: "A woman of Ghamid came to the Prophet and said: "I have committed fornication", He said: "Go back". She returned and on the next day she came to him again, and said: "Perhaps you want to send me back as you did to Maiz b. Malik. I swear by Allah, I am pregnant." He said to her: "Go back". She then returned and came to him the next day. He said to her: "Go back until you give birth to the child." She then returned. When she gave birth to the child she brought the child to him, and said: "Here it is! I have given birth to it." He said: "Go back, and suckle him until you wean him." When she had weaned him, she brought him to him with something in his hand which he was eating. The boy was then given to a certain man of the Muslims and he (the prophet) commanded regarding her. So a pit was dug for her, and he gave orders about her and she was stoned to death. Khalid was one of those who were throwing stones at her. He threw a stone at her. When a drop of blood fell on his cheek, he abused her. The prophet said to him: "Gently, Khalid. By Him in Whose hand my soul is, she has repented to such an extent that if one who wrongfully takes an extra tax were to repent to a like extent, he would be forgiven". Then giving command regarding her, prayed over her and she was buried.""

COMMENT
Here is a stark contrast between the two men. When Jesus dealt with the adulterous woman, He did not condemn her. He commanded her to go and sin no more. He gave her a chance for redemption – the very model of mercy.
How many people have started out down the wrong street, but years later were able to turn their lives around? Not only in that, but they have been able to help others turn their lives around as well? Jesus offered this chance to the woman. Under the law, the Jews could have stoned the woman to death, but Christ's love and compassion was much greater.
Muhammad’s approach was much different. At first, he tried to dismiss the adulterous woman. She confessed her sin to him, but he refused to hear her and deal with it. Instead, he told her to go back. This occurred three times. Three times Muhammad ran from dealing with the situation. Finally, after the women's consistent confession, Muhammad was forced to confront her sin. He allowed her to give birth, suckle and then wean the child, which could have taken 1 to 3 years. Then she returned and Muhammad had her killed.
This woman not only confessed, but she repented. She was a good mother to her child and she was a responsible member of her community. Couldn't Muhammad have forgiven her as he had so many other types of sinners? Muhammad allowed many others off for the sins they committed. Even people who had killed his family members were forgiven if they confessed he was a prophet of God and there was only one God. But Muhammad was unable to deal compassionately with the woman. He couldn't see beyond his nose. He couldn't see that she had turned her life around, properly raised her child, and was doing the right thing. Muhammad's shortsightedness caused her death.
Muhammad did not even deal with it after Judaic law. In Moses' law, the adulterer was to be stoned to death. Muhammad did not do so, he gave the woman several years to live. Even if you take into account the respite to give birth to a child, Muhammad waited until the woman weaned the child. Surely there were other women who could have nursed the child. Muhammad simply dealt with the situation as best, (or not best) as he could; Muhammad made up his own rules as he went along.
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WAR - TREATMENT OF ADVERSARIES
JESUS: In Luke 9:54, 55 Jesus rebuked His disciples when they wanted to destroy a town that rejected Him. Also, in Luke 22:52, Jesus' disciples started to fight against those that came to arrest Jesus, He stopped them, and healed a man injured in the fight.

MUHAMMAD: told his followers to aggressively make war on non-Muslims: 9:5, 29. Sura 9 was one of the last Suras given by Muhammad. Initially, when Muhammad's group was weak, he ordered his followers to try to get along with other people. After the Muslims became powerful, he ordered them to spread Islam by force. Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman continued his wars of aggression. A few of Muhammad’s actions include:
The massacre of approximately 800 Jewish male captives: (noted in Sura 33:26).
He ordered the execution of 10 people when he took Mecca. Three of these people were slave girls who had previously made fun of Muhammad. Refer to "The Life of Muhammad", pages 551 and 552.
He attacked the Jewish city of Khaibar where he took one of the Jewish leaders and tortured him to force him to tell where some buried money was. After the man refused to talk, and was near death, Muhammad ordered that his head be cut off. Refer to "The Life of Muhammad", page 515.

COMMENT
No one would envision Jesus ordering the execution of slave girls for mocking him years earlier. He brought a better message and a better way of life. No one would imagine Jesus having a man tortured to reveal buried money. His life was free of greed.
Muhammad could be a very brutal man. Does killing a few slave girls for mocking him seem justified?. Is having them killed for that justified? Does it seem rational or sensible? Does torturing a man just to get money portray the type of man society should follow, obey, and emulate?
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WOMEN & MARRIAGE
JESUS: was not married. He healed women, forgave women, and encouraged women. The New Testament teaches that husbands should love their wives and not be harsh with them: Col. 3:19, Eph. 5:25, that men and women are equal in Christ - Gal 3:28, that they should be treated with respect - 1 Pet 3:7.

MUHAMMAD: commanded his male followers to beat their disobedient wives. He gave men the right to beat their wives who persistently disobeyed them.
Sura 4:34 "As those you fear may be rebellious admonish, banish them to their couches, and beat them."
The above verse was revealed in connection with a woman who complained to Muhammad that her husband slapped her on the face, which was still marked by the slap. At first Muhammad said to her "Get even with him", but then added 'Wait until I think about it". Later on the above verse was revealed, and Muhammad added, 'We (He and the woman) wanted one thing, Allah wanted another.

The Hadith also said much about women:
Muhammad said that women are generally so evil, that they will make up the majority of people in to hell. Continuing with Bukhari,
Vol. 1, #301: "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women). They [women] asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands."

Bukhari Vol. 1, #28: "The Prophet said, "I was shown the Hell-fire and the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful." It was asked, "Do they disbelieve in Allah?" (or are they ungrateful to Allah?), he replied, "They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good done to them...."
Sahih Muslim says they are the minority in Paradise:
Volume 4, #6600: "Imran Husain reported that Allah's messenger said: Amongst the inmates of Paradise the women would form a minority."
By putting these two Hadith together, we find that Muhammad said that women were the minority in Paradise, and the majority in hell. Therefore it is not a statistical ratio due to the possibility that there are more women than men. Muhammad viewed women as more sinful than men. And the reason more women are in hell is because the women were ungrateful to their husbands!
Muhammad also declared that women are less intelligent than men:
Bukhari, Volume 1, #301:
"...Then he (Muhammad) passed by the women and said, "O women, give alms as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." they asked, "Why is it so O Allah's messenger?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah's messenger, what is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence....."

COMMENT
Christ's teachings show that women and men are equal in God's sight. "There is neither male nor female in Christ". Socially, Christ dealt with them according to the Father's mercy.
Muhammad positioned females as in between slave and free. Even today in Islamic countries women are regulated to being second class and controlled by the males. This is because of where Muhammad placed them in his teachings.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CHRIST'S IDENTITY
JESUS: said He was the Son of God: John 5:18-27, 10:36, Matt 26:63, 64

[Jesus] asked, "Who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven."

Matthew 16: 15-17

. . .

These men were quite different. Both have left their marks upon the world. Christians follow Christ, Muslims follow Muhammad. Both claimed to have been from God, but their teachings and actions contradict each other. Only one could have truly been from God

Jesus said that false prophets would come: Matthew 24:11 - "And many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many". Is it possible that Muhammad falls into the false prophet category?

------------------------------------------------------------------------

BIBLIOGRAPHY

[1]The New International Study Bible, pub. by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.

[2]The Quran, translated by N.J. Dawood, pub. by Penguin Books, London, England.

[3]"Sahih Al-Bukhari" - "The Translation of the Meanings of Sahih Al-Bukhari", translated by Dr. M Khan, pub. by Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India.

[4]"Sahih Muslim", translated into English by A. Siddiqi, pub. by International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

[5]"Sirat Rasulallah" - "The Life of the Prophet of God", translated as "The Life of Muhammad" by A. Guillaume, pub. by Oxford University Press, London, England.

[6]"The History of Tabari", published by SUNY, Albany, New York, USA.

[7]"Sunan of Abu Dawud", published by Al-Madina Publications, New Delhi, India.
 
Islam cannot be redeemed by any legitimate comparison to Christianity.

Just look at the difference:

Mohammed was the prophet of war;
Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Mohammed's disciples killed for the faith;
Christ's disciples were killed for their faith (Acts 12:2; 2 Timothy 4:7).

Mohammed promoted persecution against the "infidels";
Christ forgave and converted the chief persecutor (1 Timothy 1:13-15).

Mohammed was the taker of life;
Christ was the giver of life (John 10:27-28).

Mohammed and his fellow warriors murdered thousands;
Christ murdered none but saved many (compare John 12:48).

Mohammed's method was COMPULSION;
Christ's aim was voluntary CONVERSION (Acts 3:19).

Mohammed practiced FORCE;
Christ preached FAITH (John 6:29,35).

Mohammed was a WARRIOR;
Christ is a DELIVERER (Col. 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Mohammed conquered his enemies with the sword;
Christ conquered his enemies with another kind of sword, the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12; Acts 2:37).

Mohammed said to the masses, "Convert or die!";
Christ said, "Believe and live!" (John 6:47; 11:25-26).

Mohammed was swift to shed blood (Romans 3:15-17);
Christ shed His own blood for the salvation of many (Ephesians 1:7).

Mohammed preached "Death to the infidels!";
Christ prayed "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

Mohammed declared a holy war (Jihad) against infidels;
Christ achieved a holy victory on Calvary's cross (Colossians 2:14-15) and His followers share in that victory (John 16:33).

Mohammed constrained people by conquest;
Christ constrained people by love (2 Corinthians 5:14).

Modern terrorists derive their inspiration from Mohammed and carry out their despicable atrocities in the name of his god;
Christians derive their inspiration from the One who said, "Blessed are the peacemakers" (Matthew 5:9).

Modern day disciples of Mohammed respond to the terrorist attacks by cheering in the streets;
Modern day disciples of Christ are deeply grieved at past atrocities carried out by those who were "Christians" in name only (the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, etc.).

Many Muslims are peaceful and peace-loving because they do not strictly follow the teachings of their founder;
Many Christians are peaceful and peace-loving because they do strictly follow the teachings of their Founder (Romans 12:17-21).

Muhammed said the Koran is authoritative only in Arabic, and only in his dialect;
The Bible is authoritative in many languages around the world, for God knows all things and can inspire His Word in more than one language.

Muhammed hated music;
Jesus and His disciples sang hymns, and the Apostle commanded the Lord's Church to sing. (Matthew 26:30, Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16)

Muhammed allowed that a Mullah, Imam, or Mufti of Islam can be a terrorist and moral animal like Osama bin Laden;
The Bible requires that a leader in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ must be above reproach, and when this is not true, Christians demand such a fallen leader be removed from leadership. (1 Timothy 3:1-7, 5:19-20)

Islam calls on its followers to observe Five Pillars, while all other aspects of life can be vulgar and not affect the Muslim's prospects in Paradise.
The Bible calls on the Christian to submit to the total change of his life by the Spirit of God-- NO area of life and thought is the choice of the follower. (Romans 12:1-2)

The Muslim looks forward to eternity in Paradise where there will be virgins who are used for eternal perpetual copulation.
The Bible believing Christian looks forward to being with Jesus Christ and is delighted with that. (2 Corinthians 5:8)

Muhammed said the witness of a woman was half the value of the witness of a man; and Muhammed said a women goes to Paradise because she satisfies her husband sexually;
The Bible teaches that a husband is to love his wife and be willing to die for her. (Ephesians 5:25)

Mohammed called upon his servants to fight;
Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world; if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight . . .but now is My kingdom not from here" (John 18:36)

Mohammed ordered death to the Jews (see A.Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press [1975], p. 369);
Christ ordered that the gospel be preached "to the Jew first" (Romans 1:16).

The Koran says, "Fight in the cause of Allah" (Qu'ran 2.244);
The Bible says, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood" and "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal" (Ephesians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 10:4).

The Koran says, "Fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them" (Qu'ran 9.5);
Christ said, "Preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).

The Koran says, "I will inspire terror into the hearts of unbelievers" (Qu'ran 8.12);
God inspires His terror into the hearts of believers (Isaiah 8:13).

The Koran (Qu'ran) is a terrorist manual which condones fighting, conflict, terror, slaughter, and genocide against those who do not accept Islam;
The Bible is a missionary manual to spread the gospel of peace to all the world (Romans 10:15).

Mohammed's Mission was to conquer the world for Allah;
Christ's mission was to conquer sin's penalty and power by substitutionary atonement (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18).

Mohammed considered Christ a good prophet;
Christ pronounced Mohammed to be a false prophet (John 10:10; Matthew 24:11).

Mohammed claimed that there was but one God, Allah;
Christ claimed that He was God (John 10:30-31; John 8:58-59; John 5:18; John 14:9).

Islam is geocentric, that is, the whole universe is centered on the Kaaba in the Grand mosque in Mecca in Arabia, and all Muslims pray facing that direction;
Jesus Christ is the center of all Christian worship and fellowship, for He is "in the midst" where his saints meet anywhere on earth. (Matthew 18:20, John 4:22-23)

Mohammed's Tomb: OCCUPIED!
Christ's tomb: EMPTY!

Islam must be received, or you can be killed for rejecting it:
The Faith offered by Jesus Christ is for "whosoever will" to receive, and all men are permitted to reject it. (Revelation 22:17, John 3:16)

Those who leave Islam are killed in most Islamic nations;
Those who leave the true Church of Jesus Christ are allowed to do so with no revenge.

Now, is a Muslim submitted to Allah and Islam because he loves Allah?
NO!
He dare not leave Islam, and he is loyal purely out of fear.

The true Bible believer is loyal to Jesus Christ purely out of love.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us.

This concept is 100% alien to Islam-- There is no love for anyone other than fellow believers in Islam that results from obeying the Quran-- Only fear and hate.
 
The point is that the fine and subtle theological differences between the OT material and the Koranic verses are probably lost on the Army of God types. What Andy proposes is that the very harshness of the Koran inspires the rage. But Christian fanatics have exhibited their own rage, and they have plenty of Biblical material to back them up - whether their use of the scripture is theologically proper from a mainstream Christian perspective. I'm sure there are Muslims who contextualize their scripture to accomodate a more civilized approach to religious belief, but it's the numbers of fundamentalists that make the difference. Fundamentalist Christians are contained by the secular culture in which they live, and they've been influenced by it. Otherwise, I'm sure they'd still be pushing Childrens Crusades and witch burnings.

The list above is the tip of the iceberg. Here's a whole site dedicated to the question of violence to a Christian who takes Biblical words literally.

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html
 
I dialogue with Abdul Aziz fairly frequently as we both share a common bond in that both of our religious beliefs are considered heretical by mainstream believers--Abdul follows the teachings of the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect that believes the Messiah has returned to correct Muslims in their following of the Quran and me with my modern Gnostic Christian beliefs that can find no home in any traditional Christian sect.

We are at an impass in our talks right now as I too must agree with just about every non-Muslim I've discussed Islam with who has done some research on Muhammad's Quran--there is just no getting away from the fact that the Quran advocates a very intolerant and aggressive religion that can easily slip into the promotion of violence against non-believers and apparently against Muslim believers of differing sects.

I tell Abdul that only an Islamic Reformation will "save" Islam because, as is, the religion just scares the hell out of non-Muslims with perfect reason. Only those who have dealt personally with Muslims know that whatever violence non-Muslims see in the Quran, ordinary Muslims are really nice and good people who respect your beliefs and only want to see peace. It forms a quandary for us all now, just as Zionism forms a moral quandary for Jews now with their cherished nation acting about as bad as any Gentile a-hole nation in history to those whose land they covet. Christianity too is divided over Islam, Zionism, Israel, with Christian America nearly all in support while Christians in Europe and elsewhere side with the victims of Israeli oppression.

From my p.o.v. the major problem facing the world these days has its roots in the domination of the traditional Abrahamic religions over world societies. Organized religions have done little to endure themselves to people of moral principles who oppose unnecessary violence in the world. A long topic to discuss sometime..
 
Does he know who the Messiah is?
 
You know, I've got several handouts from Abdul Aziz about his Ahmadiyya Muslim sect which theoretically revolves around a Muslim imam proclaiming himself the return of the Messiah in the late 1800's in Pakistan. But the lit says practically nothing about this guy or what his teachings are. It's Muhammad who's talked about and his Quran with this sect claiming most Muslims fail to obey the Quran's instruction of "no compulsion in religion". This makes them peaceniks and that's a no-no in most Islamic circles. Gotta fight "in the way of Allah" until all who worship God worship God as Allah and follow Allah's teachings found in the Quran. So Addul's sect gets picked on regularly in Pakistan. Actually, I don't really understand why Aziz's sect thinks their guy is the Messiah as there doesn't seem to be any sort of historical record of unusual "messianic" activity stemming from this Pakistani Muslim leader nor any special teachings. Just more Quran, Quran, Quran..

I'm just glad I'm dealing with Abdul and his Muslim beliefs when we talk because otherwise I'd have to clam up about talking about the return of the Messiah coming this time around as Christ Josephine..
 
h6o9tH The best blog you have!
 
UT3J8N Nice Article.
 
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Good job!
 
Nice Article.
 
Good job!
 
actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.
 
Magnific!
 
Nice Article.
 
Magnific!
 
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