The history of Muslim hate is that of violence.
MUSLIM HATE REQUIRES GUNS AND THE QUR'AN FOR GUIDANCE
DEVOUT MUSLIMS WILL HAPPILY MURDER YOU FOR THEIR FAITH
9/11 Muslim murderers celebrating the planned murder of thousands of innocent people.
ISLAMIC FORCED CONVERSIONS—PAST AND PRESENT
May. 16, 2013
The lost history of Christians forced to convert to Islam—or die—is reemerging, figuratively and literally. According to the BBC: “Pope Francis has proclaimed the first saints of his pontificate in a ceremony [last Sunday] at the Vatican—a list which includes 800 victims of an atrocity carried out by Ottoman soldiers in 1480.They were beheaded in the southern Italian town of Otranto after refusing to convert to Islam.”
The BBC adds in a sidebar: “The ‘Martyrs of Otranto’ were 813 Italians beheaded for defying demands by Turkish invaders to renounce Christianity. The Turks had been sent by Mohammed II, who had already captured the ‘second Rome’ of Constantinople.”
Historical texts throughout the centuries are filled with similar anecdotes, including the “60 Martyrs of Gaza,” Christian soldiers who were executed for refusing Islam during the 7th century Islamic invasion of Jerusalem. Seven centuries later, during the Islamic invasion of Georgia, Christians refusing to convert were forced into their church and set on fire. Witnesses for Christ lists 200 anecdotes of Christians killed—including some burned at the stake, thrown on iron spikes, dismembered, stoned, stabbed, shot at, drowned, pummeled to death, impaled and crucified—for refusing to embrace Islam.
If history is shocking, the fact is, today, Christians—men, women, and children—are still being forced to convert to Islam. Pope Francis alluded to their sufferings during the same ceremony: “As we venerate the martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain those many Christians who, in these times and in many parts of the world, right now, still suffer violence, and give them the courage and fidelity to respond to evil with good.”
Consider some recent anecdotes:
In Pakistan, a “devoted Christian” was butchered by Muslim men “with multiple axe blows [24 per autopsy] for refusing to convert to Islam.” Another two Christian men returning from church were accosted by six Muslims who tried to force them to convert to Islam, but “the two refused to renounce Christianity.” Accordingly, the Muslims severely beat them, yelling they must either convert “or be prepared to die. . . . the two Christians fell unconscious, and the young Muslim men left assuming they had killed them.”
In Bangladesh some 300 Christian children were abducted in 2012 and sold to Islamic schools, where “imams force them to abjure Christianity.” The children are then instructed in Islam and beaten. After full indoctrination they are asked if they are “ready to give their lives for Islam,” presumably by becoming jihadi suicide-bombers. (Even here the historic patterns are undeniable: for centuries, Christian children were forcibly taken, converted to and indoctrinated in Islam, trained to be jihadis extraordinaire, and then unleashed on their former Christian families. Such were the Janissaries and Mamelukes.)
In Palestine in 2012, Christians in Gaza protested over the “kidnappings and forced conversions of some former believers to Islam.” The ever-dwindling Christian community banged on a church bell while chanting, “With our spirit, with our blood we will sacrifice ourselves for you, Jesus.”
Just as happened throughout history, Muslims today regularly “invite” Christians to Islam, often presenting it as the only cure to their sufferings—sufferings caused by Muslims in the first place.
In Pakistan, a Christian couple was arrested on a false charge and severely beaten by police. The pregnant wife was “punched, kicked and beat” as her interrogators threatened to kill her unborn baby. A policeman offered to drop the theft charge if the husband would only “renounce Christianity and convert to Islam,” but the man refused.
In Uzbekistan, a 26-year-old Christian woman, partially paralyzed from youth, and her elderly mother were violently attacked by invaders who ransacked their home, confiscating “icons, Bibles, religious calendars, and prayer books.” At the police department, the paralyzed woman was “offered to convert to Islam.” She refused, and the judge “decided that the women had resisted police and had stored the banned religious literature at home and conducted missionary activities. He fined them 20 minimum monthly wages each.”
In Sudan, Muslims kidnapped a 15-year-old Christian girl; they raped, beat and ordered her to convert to Islam. When her mother went to police to open a case, the Muslim officer of the so-called “Family and Child Protection Unit,” told her: “You must convert to Islam if you want your daughter back.”
Indeed, because Christian females are the most vulnerable segments of Islamic societies, they are especially targeted for forced conversions. In 2012, U.S. Congress heard testimony about the “escalating abduction, coerced conversion and forced marriage of Coptic Christian women and girls [550 cases in the last five years alone].Those women are being terrorized and, consequently, marginalized, in the formation of the new Egypt.”
my new book Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians
documents, wherever there are large numbers of Muslims—whether in the
Arab World, Africa, Asia, or even in the West—Christians are being
persecuted. Forced conversions are the tip of the iceberg, and
certainly not anomalies of history.
Muslim world awaits its great separation
Muslim violence a fact, not prejudice
The Sidney Morning Herald
March 25, 2011
Those who denounce critics of Islam should allow that, like all global faiths, Islam has its detractors and a religion will be judged on what its followers say and do.
There is a debate going on about Islam. The question being asked is: Does Islam itself - not just poverty or social exclusion - provide ideological fuel for extremism and violence?
It is all too tempting to promote one-dimensional explanations of religious violence. Monash University doctoral candidate Rachel Woodlock said on this page on Wednesday that social exclusion was the root of Islamic radicalism.
On one hand, there are those who, like Woodlock, demand that critics of Islam be stigmatised as ignorant, right-wing racists. On the other hand, Islam's problems cannot be simplistically reduced to social or economic factors.
Violence in the name of Islam is well-attested in nations in which Muslims are dominant, and it is non-Muslim minorities that suffer the exclusion. It does not do to argue that religion has no relevance to such events.
In Muslim-majority Pakistan on December 3, Pakistani imam Maulana Yousuf Qureshi, in his Friday sermon, offered a $6000 bounty to anyone who would murder Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who has also been accused of ''blaspheming Allah''. Pakistani minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and Punjab governor Salman Taseer were subsequently assassinated because of their opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy laws.
These laws are supported by Pakistan's Islamic elites. The killer of Salman Taseer, Mumtaz Qadri, was praised by religious leaders from mainstream schools of Pakistani Islam, and when he was being led to court on January 6, 400 Muslim lawyers showered him with rose petals, offering him their legal services free of charge.
There has also been a rush of recent assaults on Copts and their places of worship in Egypt, sparked by a wild tirade by a leading Egyptian cleric.
Closer to Australia, there have been well-publicised attacks on Ahmadiyah Muslims in Indonesia, including brutal murders. These were undoubtedly influenced by a theological belief that Ahmadiyah adherents are apostates from true Islam. Although prominent Indonesian leaders were quick to express abhorrence for the attacks, many Indonesian Muslims have called for Ahmadiyahs to be outlawed.
These events demonstrate the ugly effects of stigmatising minorities, and it would be deplorable to simple-mindedly extrapolate the religious views of Pakistani, Egyptian or Indonesian Muslims and apply them to Australia.
However, it is irrational to insist that any and everyone who seeks to expose the religious roots of such hatred must themselves be decried as haters.
All over the world, every religious belief is disliked by someone or other. Christianity has its prominent detractors, too, from Bertrand Russell to Richard Dawkins. A Google search for ''Evils of Christianity'' yields tens of thousands of hits.
Australians can be thankful for a culture of tolerance, which has been carefully nurtured over decades. Tolerance is strengthened when people are able to debate ideological issues freely - especially those which impact profoundly on human rights - without being shouted down.
Victorian Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Nettle, in his findings on the case of the Islamic Council of Victoria v Catch the Fire, pointed out that criticism - or even hatred - of a religion should not be conflated with the hatred of people who hold those beliefs. It is one thing to promote tolerance, quite another to mandate it.
Perhaps the most powerful evidence against Woodlock's thesis - that it is exclusion, and not religion, that drives some Muslims to terrorism - is the fact that across the globe the most diverse religious minorities do not resort to violence, even when persecuted.
There are no Falun Gong terrorists in China, despite all the bitter persecution. The same can be said for persecuted Christians in many nations.
Even in Australia, many ethnic and religious groups have been subjected to disadvantage and exclusion, but none have produced the level of terrorist convictions of our own home-grown Islamic radicals.
It is a bitter pill for the vast majority of Australian Muslims to swallow that their faith has been linked, globally and locally, to religious violence.
Unfortunately, this link cannot be dismissed as the product of media prejudice or ''Islamophobic'' propaganda. It is in part an issue of some Muslims behaving very badly, and their often strident claim is that they do this in the name of religion.
Taking such claims seriously and debating them publicly must not be equated with stigmatising law-abiding and peaceable Australian Muslims.
Mark Durie is a Melbourne Anglican vicar, human rights activist, and author of The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom.
The Truth about Islam and Violence
It was once a word unfamiliar to American
ears. But in recent years it has become all too familiar. The actions of Muslim
militants and terrorists have seared the word into American consciousness.
Yet even with thousands of innocent civilians killed on American soil by Islamic terrorists, the full significance of the Muslim concept of jihad has not been grasped by the American public.
In the days after September 11, 2001, American leaders rushed to portray Islam as a peaceful religion that had been "hijacked" by a fanatical band of terrorists. One hopes that these assurances were merely tactical—that nobody was meant to believe them and that they were meant to assure the Muslim world that the inevitable American reprisals were not directed at their religion as a whole.
If the world Muslim community perceived America as attacking Islam in general then the duty of every Muslim to fight for his religion—the duty of jihad—would have been invoked on a broad scale. The war against terrorism, instead of simmering with occasional flare-ups, like the Cold War, would have boiled over into a global conflagration, with the Muslim countries of the world—1.2 billion strong—mobilizing against America and the West.
Muslim apologists also rushed forward to assure the public that Islam was a peaceful religion. They disingenuously declared that the word Islam means "peace." And they tried to portray the terrorists as a fringe group outside the mainstream of Islam.
These were lies.
The usual meaning of Islam in Arabic is not "peace" but "submission." And if the terrorists were so far outside the mainstream, why did Muslims all over the world burst into joyful, spontaneous celebrations when the hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Why are Islamic governments afraid to show "too much" public support for the war against terrorism? Further, why are all the governments that covertly support terrorism centered in the Muslim world?
The truth is that Islam is not a religion of peace. This is not to say that every Muslim is violent at heart. Many are not. Muslims have the same aspirations for living peaceful lives that people have the world over. But they also have the same potential for violence as others, and Islam as a religion and an ideology seeks to exploit that potential.
Though there are millions of Muslims who want peaceful relations with the West, millions who aspire to live in free societies like America, there nevertheless remains a deep and powerful strain of violence within Islam, and it is important that Americans understand it.
They will have to face it in the future.
The Muslim Worldview
To understand the connection between Islam
and violence, one must understand certain facets of the Muslim worldview. One of
the most important is the fact that, according to the historic Muslim
understanding, there is no separation between religion and government—what in
Christianity would be called the separation of church and state.
We are not speaking here of the secularist idea that the state should marginalize religion and discourage people from voting their consciences as Christians. We are talking about the idea that church and state are not the same thing and that they have different spheres of activity.
This idea of a separation between religion and government is not characteristic of most peoples in world history. It is a contribution to the world of ideas that was made by Christians—indeed, by Christ himself. In his book Islam and the West, historian Bernard Lewis explains:
"The notion that religion and political authority, church and state, are different and that they can or should be separated is, in a profound sense, Christian. Its origins may be traced to the teachings of Christ, notably in the famous passage in Matthew 22:21, in which Christ is quoted as saying: ‘Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.’ This notion was confirmed by the experience of the first Christians; its later development was shaped and in a sense even imposed by the subsequent history of Christendom. The persecutions endured by the early Church made it clear that a separation between the two was possible."
During much of Christian history church and state were united in that each Christian state had an official church, whether it was the Catholic Church or one of the Orthodox or Protestant churches. In many countries that is still the case. Nevertheless, the awareness remained that the two institutions were distinct and had different functions and different spheres of legitimate authority. They could in principle disagree and go their separate ways when necessary.
Most peoples in world history have not shared this understanding. In most societies, religion and government have been inseparably linked. This is true in Muslim society as well. Lewis explains:
"In pagan Rome, Caesar was God. Christians were taught to differentiate between what is due to Caesar and what is due to God. For Muslims of the classical age, God was Caesar, and the sovereign—caliph or sultan—was merely his vice-regent on earth. This was more than a simple legal fiction. For Muslims the state was God’s state, the army God’s army, and, of course, the enemy was God’s enemy. Of more practical importance, the law was God’s law, and in principle there could be no other. The question of separating church and state did not arise, since there was no church, as an autonomous institution, to be separated. Church and state were one and the same."
This means that, in the historic Muslim understanding, Islamic society is or should be a theocracy—a society in which God himself is the monarch, reigning on earth through subordinates.
In the earliest days of Islam, the subordinate was the prophet Mohammed, who founded Islam and conquered the Arabian Peninsula. Thereafter the subordinate was the caliphs and in the centuries after Mohammed’s death they expanded Muslim society by conquering peoples as far west as Spain and as far east as India. In the process, they absorbed half of Christian civilization. Eventually, the power of the caliphs waned, and new leaders—such as the Ottoman sultans—were the subordinates. Throughout it all, God himself was regarded as the ruler of Islamic civilization.
Islam as Ideology
That Islam sees itself as a theocracy has
enormous ramifications for how it regards itself and for the behavior of
First, it means that Islam is not only a religion. It is also a political ideology. If the government of the Muslim community simply is God’s government, then no other governments can be legitimate. They are all at war with God. As a result, Muslims have typically divided the world into two spheres, known as the Dar al-Islam—the "house of Islam" or "house of submission" to God—and the Dar al-Harb, or "house of war"—those who are at war with God.
Second, it means that Muslims have believed themselves to have a "manifest destiny." Since God must win in the end, the Dar al-Harb must be brought under the control of Muslim government and made part of the Dar al-Islam.
Third, since the Dar al-Harb by its nature is at war with God, it is unlikely that it will submit to God without a fight. Individual groups might be convinced to lay down their arms and join the Muslim community by various forms of pressure—economic or military—that fall short of war. In history some groups have become Muslim in this way, either fearing Muslim conquest, desiring Muslim military aid against their own enemies, or aspiring to good trade relations with the Muslim world. But many peoples would rather fight than switch. This has been particularly true of Christians, who have put up more resistance to the Muslim advance than have pagan and animistic tribes.
Because of the need to expand God’s dominion by wars of conquest, Islam’s ideology imposes on Muslims the duty to fight for God’s community. This duty is known as jihad (Arabic, "struggle, fight"). Although it is binding on all Muslims, it has been particularly incumbent on those on the edges of the Muslim world, where there was room for expansion. Only by continual jihad could the manifest destiny of Islam to bring the world into submission to God be fulfilled.
As eminent French sociologist Jacques Ellul notes, "Jihad is a religious obligation. It forms part of the duties that the believer must fulfill; it is Islam’s normal
A fourth and final consequence of Islam’s view of itself as a theocracy is that in theory all Muslims should not only form one religious community but should be subject to one government as well—God’s government, a kind of Muslim superstate. Yet this has not happened. Muslims have been ruled by different governments since the early days of Islam.
path to expansion."
Ideology Meets History
The fact that Muslims are not united under
a single government is due to a variety of historical factors. As Muslim
territory expanded the problems with the idea of uniting all Muslim peoples
under a single government became all too obvious. Islam grew from a tribal base,
and tribal societies are not known for stability. The factions and rivalries
that are inherent in such societies manifested as Islam grew and made it
difficult to keep Muslims under a single head.
Another factor that kept a stable Muslim superstate from developing is the fact that—especially in a pre-technological world—local areas have to be governed locally. Large empires have had to cede large amounts of autonomy to local governments, and therein lay the seeds of their eventual dissolution. As local governments grew in power, they desired more and more autonomy, desiring eventually to throw off the yoke of their masters and to be truly independent.
As a result, even in the classical period of Islam the Muslim community was divided politically, with rivalries between various parties—for example, between the Ottomans and the Persians, who maintained a tense and sometimes violent rivalry for centuries. The conflicts within the Muslim community helped slow its expansion and helped lead to stagnation and decay.
A threat also was growing in the non-Muslim world.
Europe for centuries had been terrified by the Muslim advance, with continual warfare on its borders to the west and to the east as Christians struggled at first to check the Muslim advance and later to reclaim their homelands.
The fight was not easy for Europe and, for a long time, it did not go well. Lewis notes of medieval Christendom: "Split into squabbling, petty kingdoms, its churches divided by schism and heresy, with constant quarrels between the churches of Rome and the East, it was disputed between two emperors and for a while even two popes. After the loss of the Christian shores of the eastern and southern Mediterranean to the Muslim advance, Christendom seemed even more local, confided in effect to a small peninsula on the western edge of Asia which became—and was by this confinement defined as—Europe. For a time—indeed, for a very long time—it seemed that nothing could prevent the ultimate triumph of Islam and the extension of the Islamic faith and Muslim power to Europe."
As chronicler of Muslim expansion Paul Fregosi notes, "‘From the fury of the Mohammedan, spare us, O Lord’ was a prayer heard for centuries in all the churches of central and southern Europe. Fear of the jihad has not entirely vanished even now, particularly among peoples who have known Muslim domination." Muslims conducted raids to capture slaves as far west as England and Ireland. They attacked Iceland. And they plunged deep into Europe.
They captured Sicily and invaded the Italian mainland. "Naples, Genoa, Ravenna, Ostia, and even Rome itself were all for a time pillaged or occupied by the Saracens. Human beings became a cheap and abundant commodity. In Rome, in 846 . . . the Muslims even looted the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul, and the pope had to buy off the invaders with the promised tribute of 25,000 silver coins a year. Pope Leo IV then ordered the construction of the Leonine Wall around the city to protect St. Peter’s from further assault."
The threat continued for centuries, with Muslim forces laying siege in 1529 and 1683 to Vienna, the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the heart of Europe.
But as Islam stagnated, new doors opened to Europe, particularly through the discovery of the New World and the vast material resources it offered. As Europe grew economically, technologically, and militarily through its colonies and the rise of global trade, the balance of power shifted, and the Islamic world became vulnerable.
Even before the discovery of the New World, Christians in both western and eastern Europe had begun to reclaim their conquered homelands from Muslim dominion, and the tremendous new resources that Europe had at its disposal as a result of the Age of Exploration only made things worse for Muslim aspirations to world political supremacy. Their own governmental structures—particularly the Ottoman empire—began to lose power and disintegrate, with Europeans stepping in to take control as colonialization progressed.
For three centuries the Muslim world lost ground, and by the first half of the twentieth century almost all of it had been reduced to being colonies or protectorates of European powers.
Lewis notes, "By 1920 it seemed that the triumph of Europe over Islam was total and final. The vast territories and countless millions of the Muslim peoples of Asia and Africa were firmly under the control of the European empires—some of them under a variety of native princes, most under direct colonial administration. Only a few remote mountain and desert areas, too poor and too difficult to be worth the trouble of acquiring, retained some measure of sovereign independence."
What was the Muslim reaction to this alarming sequence of developments?
Shock and Awe
In the seventeenth century it had begun to
sink into Muslim consciousness that something was desperately wrong in the
world. Though Muslim society had previously been more advanced economically and
in some ways culturally than European society, it began to dawn on Muslim
leaders that the barbarian infidels of Europe were catching up and in certain
ways were ahead of Muslim society.
It is difficult for Westerners to realize just how crushing a realization this was, but it was devastating given Muslim self-perception.
The triumphal advance of Islam seemed to confirm to Muslim minds that they were the chosen of God and that civilization itself was identical with Islam, with only ignorant barbarians and infidels outside its borders.
In What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response, Bernard Lewis notes that Christian Europe was seen "as an outer darkness of barbarism and unbelief from which there was nothing to learn and little even to be imported, except slaves and raw materials. For both the northern [European] and southern [African] barbarians, their best hope was to be incorporated into the empire of the caliphs, and thus attain the benefits of religion and civilization."
Shock and awe thus were the responses of Muslims as they saw their civilization collapsing and their former enemies—Christian Europeans—seizing control of their homelands. How could this happen? How could God’s people suffer such a reversal of fortune? How could their former might be so completely outclassed by the overwhelming economic and military might of Christendom, whose religion was their only serious rival for the role of a world faith?
Angry about the present and fearful of the future, Muslims began a process of introspection, explains Lewis.
"When things go wrong in a society, in a way and to a degree that can no longer be denied or concealed, there are various questions that one can ask. A common one, particularly in continental Europe yesterday and today in the Middle East, is: ‘Who did this to us?’ The answer to a question thus formulated is usually to place the blame on external or domestic scapegoats—foreigners abroad or minorities at home. The Ottomans, faced with the major crisis in their history, asked a different question: ‘What did we do wrong?’"
A debate followed, with various Muslims trying to analyze and propose remedies for the developing situation. "The basic fault, according to most of these memoranda, was falling away from the good old ways, Islamic and Ottoman; the basic remedy was a return to them. This diagnosis and prescription still command wide acceptance in the Middle East."
These twin explanations for the recent misfortune of Islam—that it was caused by a failure to observe Islam in its pure form and by the malicious meddling of foreigners (first Europeans and now Americans)—bode ill for tomorrow.
The Clash of Civilizations
European domination of the Muslim world was
short-lived, ending in the 1960s with the close of the de-colonialization that
followed World War II. Yet it had an enormous effect on the Muslim psyche.
This effect was somewhat muffled by the Cold War and the tense balance of power between the Western and Soviet spheres. The new Muslim states—the borders of which had been largely and not always skillfully drawn by the withdrawing colonial powers—were too weak to be assertive and fell into the orbits of either of the United States or the Soviet Union. Nationalistic assertiveness was subsumed during the tense, global standoff.
But with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, matters changed. At first, some hailed the event as "the end of history," but other, wiser observers pointed to new dangers in the world, including Islamic militancy.
Samuel Huntington, director of Harvard University’s John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, presciently warned that the end of the Cold War would lead to a period he referred to as "the clash of civilizations." A major flash point he envisioned in this conflict, unsurprisingly, was between Islam and the West.
"After World War II, the West, in turn, began to retreat; the colonial empires disappeared; first Arab nationalism and then Islamic fundamentalism manifested themselves. . . . [The] centuries-old military interaction between the West and Islam is unlikely to decline. It could become more virulent. The Gulf War left some Arabs feeling proud that Saddam Hussein had attacked Israel and stood up to the West. It also left many feeling humiliated and resentful of the West’s military presence in the Persian Gulf, the West’s overwhelming military dominance, and their apparent inability to shape their own destiny."
Huntington noted a common consensus that an inevitable clash between Islam and the West, a clash initiated by the former, was soon to come: "On both sides the interaction between Islam and the West is seen as a clash of civilizations. The West’s ‘next confrontation,’ observes M. J. Akbar, an Indian Muslim author, ‘is definitely going to come from the Muslim world. It is in the sweep of the Islamic nations from the Maghreb to Pakistan that the struggle for a new world order will begin.’"
That confrontation came with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the inauguration of the war against terrorism.
What did the terrorists hope for?
They hoped for a conflict with the West that would end the long, dark winter that Islam has experienced. They hoped that the fortunes of their religion and civilization would be reversed. They hoped for a war that would smash the might of the West and allow a wave Islamic revolutions to sweep away the worldly tyrants ruling Muslim nations. They hoped for a return to purer, stricter Islam, free of Western corruption and values. They hoped that the blessings of God would descend upon their civilization, allowing it to return to its rightful place at the head of nations, with a resurgence of Muslim nationalism that would give birth to the Islamic superstate that long had eluded them.
And they hoped for a new wave of expansion that would allow Islam to establish its destiny of bringing the entire world under Muslim control. In the famous al-Qaeda "dinner conversation" found on videotape in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden expressed the view that the war he initiated would lead to a wave of Muslim expansion not seen since the religion’s first century, when it consumed half of Christian civilization.
These dreams of a renewed, purified Islam, of the overthrow of existing Muslim governments, of a triumphant smashing of the West, and of expansion through a new jihad are far from confined to bin Laden and his terrorists. They are the dreams that inspire the seething rage of "the Arab street," which so often breaks forth into violent demonstrations at political events beyond its control.
Taming the Dragon?
Within the Muslim world, government
officials have been trying to cling to power in the face of rising anger on
their streets. Trying to buy time, they have funded radical Islamic schools,
media establishments, and even the terrorists themselves, hoping to direct and
diffuse ineffectual Muslim rage toward the West as a scapegoat.
The West has responded with the war against terrorism, which Muslim governments would like to see succeed in ridding their society of its most radical elements, which seek their overthrow. Yet they hesitate to support the war too much lest they hasten their own demise through coup d’ etats.
Some in the West have suggested trying to cure the economic roots of the dissatisfaction and despair in Muslim society that contribute to radicalism and terrorism. The problem is not lack of wealth. Many Muslim countries are oil-rich and have had money in abundance for decades, yet the elites have refused to pursue policies leading to greater economic prosperity for their populaces. Instead, they have enriched themselves and shut their own people out of economic development.
Many in the West have proposed trying to spread freedom and democracy in the Muslim world, thinking that greater political involvement and opportunity would help dry up the roots of terrorism.
While democracies generally have done better helping secure economic development for their populations, it is unclear how freedom and democracy could be brought to the Muslim world. It would mean effective regime change in the countries in question, and it is unlikely that many countries would change their own regimes voluntarily, though some might be pressured into making reforms in this direction. To introduce any form of truly representative government in many countries would require armed intervention, as it did in Afghanistan.
There is then the question of how democracy could be sustained in the Muslim world. Muslims have no historical experience of Western freedom and democracy. Middle Eastern society is still largely dominated by tribalism, which has a tendency to subvert the democratic process, with one tribe coming into power and then brutally suppressing its rivals.
The only halfway democratic Muslim country is Turkey, which actually is a country where the military holds power but does not govern. It allows political parties to vie for and exercise governance within Turkey, but only on condition that they do not transgress limits set by the military.
If genuine democracy were achievable, what would the results be? Given the current state of the Arab street, the results would not be pretty. In his analysis, Samuel Huntington argued:
"Many Arab countries, in addition to the oil exporters, are reaching levels of economic and social development where autocratic forms of government become inappropriate and efforts to introduce democracy become stronger. Some openings in Arab political systems have already occurred. The principal beneficiaries of these openings have been Islamist movements. In the Arab world, in short, Western democracy strengthens anti-Western political forces."
The introduction of freedom and democracy to the Muslim world is thus fraught with problems and, in any event, is not a solution to problems in the short term.
One thing that can be done in the short term—as illustrated by the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq—is the use of military force. Could this help? It certainly has dealt a tremendous blow to the al-Qaeda terrorist network, even though that organization is not yet out of business.
Some have argued that the use of military force will inflame Muslim hatreds and produce a new crop of terrorists. Undoubtedly some Muslims will become terrorists on the pretext that the West has used force. But then some Muslims would become terrorists if the West didn’t use force. Indeed, to a significant degree the al-Qaeda terrorists of September 11 were the product of the view that the United States was a faltering, weak superpower that could be defeated just as the Soviet Union had been humiliated in Afghanistan.
Muslims respect strength. They cheer whoever displays it. Regardless of how many times their towns change hands during an armed conflict, the populace will turn out to cheer their newest liberators, whether they are genuinely on a mission of liberation or not.
Due to its effectiveness in dealing at least temporarily with problems in the Muslim world, the use of military force in finding a long-term solution is likely to be essential. It certainly must be wielded with discretion and in keeping with the Church’s just war doctrine, but its use is likely unavoidable. It also is certainly not sufficient. Military force will have to be used in conjunction with other initiatives, including diplomatic and economic ones.
But is a solution achievable?
Paradise and Power
Can the historic connection between Islam
and violence be broken?
Some would argue that it can. After all, our own forebears in Christendom were more violent than we are. Europe was riven by conflict between petty kingdoms for centuries, but eventually a society developed from it that is stable and not at constant war with either itself or its neighbors. Perhaps Muslim society could be led or forced down the same path.
Perhaps. But the proposition is not quick, easy, or certain.
The development of a stable Europe took centuries of bloody conflict that finally wore out the resolve of Europeans to keep killing each other and prompted them to try a different path. This was not achieved until, in the first half of the twentieth century, Europe underwent two massive convulsions of violence, the First and Second World Wars. Key to both of these was the intervention of the United States, which at the end of the Second World War pacified Europe and refused to let its states continue to pursue their bitter, historic rivalries in ways that could destabilize Europe and lead to another war.
Post-war Europe also was united by an outside threat: Soviet Communism, which dominated Eastern Europe. It was the continued presence of U.S. forces in Western Europe during the Cold War that helped protect it from Soviet invasion while new, more healthy political and economic ties were developing between its states as they sought to form a united front against the Soviet threat.
The sequence of events that led to the current state of affairs in Europe is unique and may not be repeatable. Trying to force the Muslim world down the same path is an uncertain proposition, and, even if it could succeed, it might well require the same dramatic military interventions and conflicts as the pacification of Europe. It might require world wars and cold wars.
And then there is a factor that makes the pacification of Islam less likely than the pacification of Europe.
The Roots of Muslim Violence
It is simplistic to characterize any of the
major religions as being strictly "of violence" or "of peace." As Solomon
pointed out, "For everything there is a season; a time to kill, and a time to
heal; a time for war, and a time for peace" (Eccles. 3:1, 3, 8). That’s the way
life works in a fallen world, and every religion capable of serving as the basis
of a culture has recognized both the need for peace and the need for the use of
force in certain circumstances.
Sects that are totally pacifistic have to rely on the good graces of others who are willing to use force to protect them, while sects that are totally given over to violence do not survive long since they kill themselves off or are broken up by their neighbors as a matter of self-protection. For a religion to serve as the basis of a culture, it must seek to preserve peace but also be willing to use force. All major religions tend toward this mean.
Yet some religions are far more prone to violence than others. Among the major religions, Islam is by far the most violent. This may be seen by comparing it to the religions most closely related to it, Judaism and Christianity.
Though belief in the true God goes back to the dawn of mankind, Judaism in its traditional form was founded by Moses, who, if evaluated politically, could be considered a warlord, leading the tribes of Israel toward the Promised Land and the conquest that would follow. The Old Testament contains numerous commands to use violence to protect and promote the nation of Israel. This potential for violence is reigned in, though, by the fact that Judaism is a religion for just one ethnic group confined to one territory.
Christianity, by contrast, is a universal religion, meant for all peoples in all countries. It has much greater breadth, and much lower intrinsic potential for violence. Its founder—Christ—was a martyr, who refused to fight to save his life. Though the New Testament acknowledges that the Old Testament revelation is from God, it does not contain new commands to use violence, as Christianity was not to be allied from its birth to a state in the way Judaism was.
The fact that in Christianity church and state are distinct means that as a religion Christianity has less potential for violence since it is not called upon to use force in the way a state is. This, coupled with Jesus’ own example and his "love thy enemy" teachings (e.g., Matt. 5:44), gives Christianity less innate potential for violence.
In contrast, Islam’s founder was a warlord who rose from nowhere and who by his death was the undisputed master of Arabia Peninsula. The holy book he produced is filled with commands to use violence in the service of its religion and nation. This potential for violence is similar to that possessed by Judaism except it is immensely augmented by the fact that Islam views itself, like Christianity, as a universal religion meant for all peoples in all countries. It also makes no distinction between church and state and is thus a political as well as religious ideology.
As a result, Islam has been willing to employ violence on a massive scale, as illustrated by the first century of its existence, when the Islamic Empire exploded outward and conquered much of the known world.
The attitude of Islam toward using violence against non-Muslims is clear. Regarding pagans, the Quran says, "Slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful" (Surah 9:5). This amounts to giving pagans a convert-or-die choice.
Regarding violence against Jews and Christians, the Quran says, "Fight against those to whom the Scriptures were given as believe in neither God nor the last day, who do not forbid what God and his messenger have forbidden, and who do not embrace the true faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued" (Surah 9:29). In other words, violence is to be used against Jews and Christians unless they are willing to pay a special tax and live in subjection to Muslims as second-class citizens. For them the choice is convert, die, or live in subjection.
The Quran also has stern words for Muslims who would be slow and reluctant to attack unbelievers: "Believers, why is it that when you are told: ‘March in the cause of God,’ you linger slothfully in the land? Are you content with this life in preference to the life to come? . . . If you do not go to war, he [God] will punish you sternly, and will replace you by other men" (Surah 9:38-39).
And, of course, there is the promise of reward in the afterlife for waging jihad in this one: "Believers! Shall I point out to you a profitable course that will save you from a woeful scourge? Have faith in God and his messenger, and fight for God’s cause with your wealth and with your persons. . . . He will forgive you your sins and admit you to gardens watered by running streams; he will lodge you in pleasant mansions in the gardens of Eden. This is the supreme triumph" (Surah 61:10-12).
It must be pointed out that there are people of peace and people of violence in all religions. There are violent Christians. There are peace-loving Muslims. Changing historical circumstances do much to bring out tendencies toward violence and peace among the followers of different religions. Yet, even when these qualifications are made, it is clear that Islam as a religion and an ideology has by far the greatest tendency to violence.
There are, indeed, many Muslims who desire peace, but, their views often do not count for much in Muslim society. Author Serge Trifkovic notes: "Some critics may object that this account of Islam in the modern world does not pay much attention to Islamic moderation, to the everyday wish of everyday Muslims for a quiet life. This is not because such moderates are rare, but because they are rarely important. Religions, like political ideologies, are pushed along by money, power, and tiny vocal minorities. Within Islam, the money and the power are all pushing the wrong way. So are the most active minorities. The urgent need is to recognize this. Our problem is not prejudice about Islam, but folly in the face of its violence and cruelty. And in any case, the willingness of moderates to be what are objectively bad Muslims, because they reject key teachings of historical Islam, may be laudable in human terms but does nothing to modify Islam as a doctrine."
The prospect of modifying Islam’s doctrine regarding violence is problematic. Although some Muslims in history have tried to "spiritualize" the Quran’s declarations regarding violence, there is always a countervailing fundamentalist push to return to the sources of Islam and take them literally.
Indeed, this reaction is what characterizes the Wahhabite movement that dominates Saudia Arabia and inspired Osama bin Laden’s ideology. Philosopher Roger Scruton notes that in the Wahhabite view, "whoever can read the Quran can judge for himself in matters of doctrine."
This attitude, which is tantamount to an Islamic version of sola scriptura, is likely to prove as durable in Muslim circles as it has been in Protestant Fundamentalist circles. As long as that is the case, there will be fresh waves of Muslim "martyrs" willing to take the Quran’s statements on killing literally, apply them to today, and then hurl themselves into combat with whomever they perceive as "the Great Satan."
We have seen the roots of Islamic violence
in the life and teachings of Mohammed. We have seen that world events have
conspired to place Islam and Christianity in a conflict of civilizations that
has stretched from the sixth to the twenty-first century.
What the future holds is unknown. What is known is that Islamic civilization has a strong tendency to violence that stretches back to the days of Mohammed and that has begun to flare up in resurgent terrorist and revolutionary movements.
The conflict with militant Islam may last a long time—centuries, potentially—since even if curing Muslim society of its violent tendencies is possible, it would involve ripping out or otherwise neutralizing a tendency that has dominated Muslim culture since the days of its founder.
This is not an easy task, for Muslims willing to make the change would be portrayed as traitors to their religion, amid renewed calls to practice Islam in its original, pure, and more violent form in order to regain the favor of God. The signs of the times suggest that we are, indeed, in for a "clash of civilizations" that will be neither brief nor bloodless.
But what also is known is that God has a plan for history and that his grace can work miracles. It is yet possible that—through one means or another—God will bring about a more peaceful world in which militant Islam either is not a threat or nowhere near the threat that it is today.
If this is to happen, our cooperation with God’s grace will require prayer, courage, resourcefulness, and a realistic understanding of the threat we are facing. Until then there can be no illusions about Islam and its endless jihad.
By Ali Sina
"Islam is a religion of peace". This is what our politically correct politicians keep telling us. But what is politically correct is not necessarily correct. The truth is that Islam is not a religion of peace. It is a religion of hate, of terror and of war.
A thorough study of the Quran and Hadith reveal an Islam that is not being presented honestly by the Muslim propagandists and is not known to the majority of the people of the world including Muslim themselves. Islam, as it is taught in the Quran (Koran) and lived by Muhammad, as is reported in the Hadith (Biography and sayings of the Prophet) is a religion of Injustice, Intolerance, Cruelty, Absurdities, discrimination, Contradictions, and blind faith. Islam advocates killing the non-Muslims and abuses the human rights of minorities and women. Islam expanded mostly by Jihad (holy war) and forced its way by killing the non-believers. In Islam apostasy is the biggest crime punishable by death. Muhammad was a terrorist himself therefore terrorism cannot be separated from the true Islam. Islam means submission and it demands from its followers to submit their wills and thoughts to Muhammad and his imaginary Allah. Allah is a deity that despises reason, democracy, freedom of thought and freedom of expression.
I reject Islam a) because of Muhammad’s lack of moral and ethical fortitude and b) because of the absurdities in the Quran.
a) Muhammad lived a less than holy life. His lust for sex, his affairs with his maids and slave girls, his pedophilic relationship at age 54 with Aisha, a 9-year-old child, his killing sprees, his massacre and the genocide of the Jews, his slave making and trading, his assassination of his opponents, his raids and lootings of the merchant caravans and unarmed villagers, his burning of trees, his destroying the water wells, his cursing and invoking evil on his enemies, his revenge on his captured prisoners of war, his torturing of his captives to for greed and his hallucinations such as believing of having sex with his wives when he actually did not, disqualify him as a sane person let alone a messenger of God
b) An unbiased study of the Quran shows that far from being a “miracle”, that book is a hoax. The Quran is replete with scientific heresies, historic blunders, mathematical mistakes, logical absurdities, grammatical errors and ethical fallacies. Could possibly the author of this Universe be as ignorant as it appears to be in the Quran?
Quran tells Muslims to kill the disbelievers wherever they find them (2:191), murder them and treat them harshly (9:123), slay them (9:5), fight with them (8:65 ), strive against them with great endeavor (25:52), be stern with them because they belong to hell (66:9) and strike off their heads; then after making a “wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives” for ransom ;47:4).
This is how the pagans are to be treated. As for the Christians and the Jews, the order is to subdue them and impose on them a penalty tax, after humiliating them (9:29) and if they resist, kill them.
The Quran is alien to freedom of belief and recognizes no other religion but Islam (3:85). It condemns those who do not believe to hellfire (5:10), calls them najis (filthy, untouchable, impure) (9:28), orders the Muslims to fight them until no other religion except Islam is left (2:193), slay or crucify or cut the hands and the feet of the unbelievers and to expel them from the land with disgrace.
It stresses that the disbelievers shall have a great punishment in the world hereafter (5:34) and figuratively depicts a horrendous chastisement for them stating that they will go to hell to drink boiling water (14:17), that they will be engulfed in smoke and flames like the wall and the roof of a tent and if they implore relief they will be granted water like melting brass that will scald their faces, (18:29) and that "garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods” (22:19).
It also prohibits Muslims to associate with their own brothers and fathers if they are non-believers (9:23), (3:28).
As for the women the book of Allah is emphatic that they are inferior to men and if they disobey their husbands the latter have the right to beat them (4:34). Their punishment for disobeying their husbands does not end there, because after they die they will go to hell (66:10). The Quran emphasizes the superiority of men by confirming that men have an advantage over the women (2:228). It not only denies women's equal right to their inheritance (4:11-12), it also regards them as imbeciles and decrees that their testimony is not admissible in the court of law unless it is accompanied with the testimony of a man (2:282). This means that a woman who is raped cannot accuse her rapist unless she can produce a male witness. Muhammad allowed the Muslim men to marry up to four wives (although he himself had a score of them) and gave them license to enjoy their "right-hand possessions" (women captured in wars), as many as they can capture or afford to buy (4:3), even if the woman is married before being captured (4:24).
The man who called himself the holy Prophet and a "mercy of God for all beings" did just that. Jawairiyah, Rayhanah and Safiyah were beautiful young girls who were captured when he raided the tribes of Banu al-Mustaliq, Qurayza and Nadir. The prophet slew their husbands, fathers and their male relatives and let his men rape them while he kept the prettiest for himself and raped her in the same day while they were still in the shock of the loss of their loved ones.
This book scrutinizes Islam with Rational Thinking. It rejects time-honored beliefs that cannot stand the probing of reason. It asks questions and encourages independent thinking. It promotes unity of humankind, equality between men and women, abolition of prejudices and freedom from dogmatism and blind faith.
In a world that has become technologically so advanced that even some poor nations that cannot feed themselves boast having nuclear and biological weapons, small misunderstandings can have catastrophic results. Religion has always been a major source of misunderstandings among mankind. For religion, many people are ready to die, kill and destroy everything. Islam encourages that aggressive spirit explicitly. Only a Muslim can believe that he would go to paradise if he kills other human beings. Only a Muslim has no regard for lives that he destroys because their faith is not right.
In the last few decades, and thanks to the newfound wealth of the oil rich Islamic countries and massive immigration to the West, Islamic fundamentalism has been on the rise and the dormant spirit of Jihadism has been rekindled once again. This fervor has been translated into terrorism, revolutions, and upheavals, and world peace has been put in jeopardy. Millions of lives are now in danger.
Quran tells Muslims to slay the unbelievers wherever they find them (2:191), do not befriend them (3:28), fight them and show them harshness (9:123), and smite their heads (47:4).
Let us pause for a moment and take a second look at Islam. Can these really be the words of God? Was Muhammad really a messenger of God or was he a crazy man, like Hitler, who used the religious sentiment of the gullible to conquer, to dominate and to have an endless supply for his narcissistic cravings?
Islam is a cult created by a psychopath. It cannot be reformed. It must be eradicated. Islam must be eradicated not because the Quran says Earth is flat or the shooting stars are missiles that Allah fires at the Jinns who climb the heaven to eavesdrop on the conversation of the exalted assembly. These stupid tales could even amuse us. Islam must go because it teaches hate, it orders killing of non-Muslims, it denigrates women and it violates the human rights. Islam must go not because it is false but because it is destructive, because it is dangerous; a threat to peace and security of humankind. With the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Islamic countries, Islam has become a serious and a real threat to the survival of our civilization.
In order for you to appreciate the evilness of Islam, let us choose a few verses of the Quran and switch the words "Muslim" and "non-Muslims" and see how they look:
We will cast terror into the hearts of
Muslims. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of
Let not the non-Muslims take for friends or helpers the Muslims. 3:28,
Rouse the non-Muslims to the fight against Muslims. 8:65,
Then fight and slay the Muslims wherever ye find them, 9:5,
Fight the Muslims, and God will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame. 9:14,
O ye the non-Muslims take not for protectors your fathers and your brothers if they love Islam.9:23,
O ye the non-Muslims! Truly the Muslims are unclean. 9:28,
O ye non-Muslims! fight the Muslims who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you. 9:123,
Therefore, when ye meet the Muslims, smite at their necks; At length. 47:4,
Can these satanic verses be from God?
We don't have to face another world war. We can stop this madness by eradicating Islam. We can love each other like members of one family and celebrate our diversity. We can build a better world for our children. We can sing the songs of unity together. We can make this world a paradise but we have to remove the false doctrines that divide mankind into “us” versus “them” and believers versus disbelievers first.
You and I are humans. We are part of the Humanity. We are members of one family: the family of Humankind. God created us all because he loved us all. Do not destroy what God has made. Muhammad was insane. Like Hitler he was a brilliant and manipulative psychopath. Please read the Quran and the original history of Muhammad. Not the history written by today's unscrupulous apologists of Islam but the history written by the early historians. Read the book of Al Waqidi, Ibn Ishaq and Al Tabari's. Read the Hadith and see for yourself that what I say is the truth. We are a billion or more people, following an insane man. This is a colossal tragedy. No wonder Islamic world is sunk in utter misery, abundant poverty and abject ignorance. Our forefathers were forced to convert to Islam and our fathers did not have the chance to question it. But now we have that chance. Isn't it time that we look into our faith to at least know what is it that we believe in?
This site reveals the bitter truth about Islam. It proves that it is not a religion of God. If you disagree with me, prove me wrong and I promise to remove this site. I challenge the apologists of Islam to prove me wrong or stop misleading the world with half truths and misinformation. But if no one can disprove me, as many Muslims have tried and failed, then I invite you to learn about the dark side of the Quran and the Hadith by reading the articles written by numerous authors (mostly ex-Muslims) and transcripts of debates that I have had with Muslim apologists who have tried to explain away the absurdities of Islam. I invite you to read the facts that I have quoted from the Quran and the Hadith that lead me to my conclusions. Above all, I invite you to put yourself in the position of the victims of Islam to appreciate the evilness of this so called religion. I want you to ask yourself whether you would like to be treated by non-Muslims as Islam and Muslims have treated and continue to treat the non-Muslims wherever they are the majority. Finally, I invite you to reject Islam and join us, the apostates, to save the world from “Islamic doom."
Let us save the world from its certain destruction. We don't have to face another world war. We can stop this madness now. We can love each other like members of one family and celebrate our diversity like flowers of one garden. We can build a better world for our children. We can sing the songs of joy together. We can make a difference. Let not a psychopath liar fool you. Do not become an instrument of hate. Muhammad lied. This site is the proof.
Website documenting Islamic hate faces death threats
Radicals send photo of headless body: 'We will kill you. Like this'
December 25, 2009
By Bob Unruh
A recent e-mail to a website launched after the 9/11 terror attacks to document the instances of Islamic violence said simply: "We will kill you. Like this ... "
The message included a photograph of a man who had been beheaded, his body resting chest down on grass and his lifeless head placed in the middle of his own back. Another photograph showed a bloody knife.
But the operator of The Religion of Peace website says those types of threats don't bother him much.
"I don't think anyone who is serious about killing me is going to announce it in advance," the operator, who uses the pseudonym Glen Reinsford, told WND. "Still, one more reason to stay anonymous."
Reinsford's website intends to demonstrate extreme violence is an integral part of fundamental Islam, not merely a means by which only radicals try to achieve "out-of-the-mainstream goals."
Its list of "offerings" from the "Religion of Peace" for a single day this week: In Iraq, a bomb was placed near an ancient Christian church and two were killed; three innocents were cut down by a Taliban bomb in Afghanistan, and in Baghdad Sunni bombers murdered five Shia pilgrims.
The site features a significant statistic: "Islamic Terrorists Have Carried Out more than 14,569 Deadly Terror Attacks since 9/11."
It also keeps readers updated on other statistics. For the week of Dec. 12-18, there were 42 jihad attacks, 182 people killed and 362 people critically injured. For the month of November, there were 139 attacks in 14 different nations involving five religions, with 529 fatalities and 1,075 critically injured.
Get the "Obsession" DVD that draws back the veil on radical Islam
The list is divided by years. Its many stark descriptions include a report from Nov. 24 in Afghanistan: "Four children are blown to bits when Islamic fundamentalists set off a roadside bomb next to a family vehicle."
Reinsford explained in his "About" page, his alarm came about because of the integration of Islam and violence, typified by the 9/11 attacks that killed almost 3,000 innocent bystanders.
"In fact, some Muslims actually celebrated the attacks, and not just overseas, but even in the offices of the U.S. State Department," he wrote. "There were a few passionless, self-serving denunciations, to be sure, but Muslims save their real outrage for times when a Western leader makes a public statement against veils and headscarves, or someone draws a Muhammad cartoon.
"By and large, most could hardly care less about the thousands of people who lose their lives in the name of this religion each year. It was not for three years, in fact, that there was even a fatwa issued against these attacks. To this day, major Muslim-American groups are reluctant to denounce Osama Bin Laden by name," he said.
Islam, he noted, has been called a "religion of peace" by many, including President George W. Bush, who said, "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam … Islam is peace."
But Reinsford believes Islam inspires not only "an enormous amount of violence, but an astonishing level of indifference and self-centeredness as well."
"We watched in the months following 9/11, as Muslim-American groups began to act as hindrances in the war on terror and the efforts of Americans to defend themselves. We saw them ignore nearly every act of daily Islamic terror and instead publicize obscure issues and personal slights against Muslims and 'insults to Islam' that are absolutely trivial by comparison.
"Finally, we came to realize that this extraordinary arrogance and self-absorption on the part of the Muslim community, along with an inability to empathize with people who are not like them or engage in the sort of self-critique that leads to moral progress is in no way incidental to the religion.
"There is something deeply, deeply wrong with Islam," Reinsford wrote.
He said the site originally was begun "in the naïve hope" that Muslims just didn't realize the extent of the violence done in the name of Islam.
"Perhaps," he wrote, "if they understood, then they might be motivated to turn the critical eye inward and resolve those far more important issues that leave so many lives in agony and force the consumption of so many billions of dollars in security resources."
However, "we never once heard" from a Muslim condemning the violence.
So the mission was refined to "present the truth about Islam and how it is so tragically different from other religions, including its incompatibility with secularism and Western liberal values," he said.
"The ridiculous level of violence committed in the name of this religion is staggering, despite the many billions of dollars that are spent each year to prevent attacks," he said. "Muslim apologists are constantly telling Westerners that the solution to the violence is greater understanding and tolerance for Islam. But isn't it the killers and their supporters who need lessons in tolerance and understanding … not their victims?"
The website notes the horrific toll from Islamic attacks, with more victims each year than there were in all 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition.
"Islamic terrorists murder more people very day than the Ku Klux Klan has in the last 50 years."
In the e-mail interview, Reinsford told WND his is a one-man operation that costs several thousands dollars a year to keep online. The website came about to make a point about the extent of violence; not necessarily a reaction to the terrorism "but rather to the apathy on the part of Muslims."
"While I would say that most Muslims probably don't agree with Islamic terror, the things that do seem to genuinely upset them instead (such as cartoons and hijab bans) seem relatively trivial to me. Early on I realized that there is something about Islam that really skews priorities."
His work essentially is to simply list the incidents of violence.
"The data for the list of attacks is compiled daily from Internet news sources. I try to stick with the more reliable reports – and I do strive for accuracy, although I'm sure the list is far from perfect," he told WND.
"For one thing, there is an awful lot that is missed, usually because it isn't reported. The genocide in Darfur is probably the best example. I don't have very many victims listed even though there have been plenty."
"Those committing the violence do so explicitly in the name of Islam, which Westerners should find alarming given the rising assertiveness on the part of a growing Muslim minority within our own borders," he said.
The sword and whip mentality in Islam also causes him concern.
"How can we expect Islam to be of benefit to the West when it can't even produce countries that attract Muslims?" he wondered.
His website notes attacks have been documented in Iraq, India, Sudan, Algeria, Afghanistan, New York, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, Chechnya, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria, England, Thailand, Spain, Egypt, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Pennsylvania, Denmark, Germany, Canada and a long list of additional nations totaling more than 60.
In a previous interview with Chadd de las Casas at Associated Content, Reinsford said he was prompted to start the work, which he does on a volunteer basis, after a Islamic attack on a Hindu temple in India about a year after 9/11.
The massacre generally was ignored by the Western media, "and it occurred to me how common Islamic terror is that such a brutal incident should receive only passing attention," he said.
He also credits the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an Islamic advocacy group that was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror funding case. He said he was "repulsed by their lack of moral perspective."
The website also honors a "Dhimwit" of the month, which for November was Gen. George Casey for emphasizing the military's "diversity" after a Muslim activist, Nidal Hasan, allegedly shot and killed 13 adults and an unborn baby at Fort Hood in Texas.
An earlier honoree was President Obama, for "reaching out" to the Taliban and Iran as well as a variety of other acts.
Reinsford said his work is based in factual reporting, and he tries to avoid editorializing.
"Not all of Islam is bad, and certainly not all Muslims (or even a majority, for that matter) are bad people. Don't put the agenda before the truth, and always be willing to recognize when your own worldview needs to be adjusted," he said.
But he said, "No other religion inspires the sort of terrorism that the 'religion of peace' produces.
"We hope that this list offers a dose of perspective against so-called 'Islamophobia' and other Muslim complaints that are petty by comparison. As the site Bare Naked Islam puts it, 'It isn't Islamophobia when they really are trying to kill you.'"
Conquering Islam…On the March Again
War on Terror/Lt. Col. Michael Burkert, US Army (ret.)
17, 2006 - Conquering Islam is once again marching forward. Islam, always at war
with all others since the days of Mohammed, the self-proclaimed prophet or
“messenger” of Allah, is now emboldened on all fronts. Billions of dollars in
oil money has enabled this hideous and sinister cult-based “religion” to
continue its sweep of illusionary greatness throughout most parts of the world.
For centuries, Islam was spread at the edge of a scimitar; a large curved sword favored by Muslim warriors. As Muslim armies rode hard and fast over the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, and Europe, they spread slaughter, slavery, cruelty by way of the most unspeakable tortures, wherever they rode. All in the name of Allah!
At one point during the 17th century, the Muslim conquerors were at the gates of Vienna. They had come a great distance from their Middle Eastern origins. Primarily Turkish armies stormed European lands, and overran such Balkan nations as modern day Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Bosnia, Romania and Hungary. We all know of the stories of “Count Dracula” said to be a vampire.
The origins of this story however, have nothing to do with biting anybody, or drinking human blood. The original “Dracula” was a Romanian Prince named Vlad Dracul. History also records his name as “Vlad the Impaler.” Before you cringe and think how nasty this guy was, you have to understand that Vlad was in actuality fighting against barbarous and brutal Muslims. The Turks, at the urging of the Mullahs and Imams and other Islamic “holy men,” imposed the most barbarous tortures and horrible executions on Christian Romania. The tortures and cruelties are beyond our imagination! In the name of Allah, there was no slack cut for any Christian or Jew in old Romania.
Vlad quickly learned that the only way to combat the barbarous and bloodthirsty Muslim conquerors was to be more cruel and vicious than they were! He used the very texts of the Koran to fight the hated Islamic invaders. By using instructions he found in the Koran, he defeated the Islamic menace! Using Islamic methods of cruelty, Romanians were able to force the beaten Islamic armies out of their country.
They saved themselves from ensuing centuries of illiteracy, squalor and Islamic idiocy. To this day, Vlad Dracul is a national hero in Romania. I saw for myself, his portrait adorning the ceilings at both the National Opera Houses in Bucharest as well as in Timisoara, the two most significant cities in Romania.
Since September 11, 2001, the American people have been subjected to many speeches and statements from our congress, which proclaimed that we are not at war with Islam. The President himself made repeated statements in the early days of the war. The bizarre reality of this issue is that Islam is at war with us. So how do you defeat an enemy that you don’t dare identify, or define?
How do we combat an enemy where vilification by our society and our military is forbidden? Due to the fact that “Political Correctness” has run amok in our nation and within our armed forces, we have become a nation where our army conducts “touchy-feely” training sessions. Our army leadership emphasizes “consideration of others,” or COO training as it’s known among the soldiers. Sensitivity training for the acceptance of homosexuals or whatever the “multicultural” group of the day is has made it impossible to define our enemies. Our senior Army leadership today is more concerned with observing the “human rights” of our enemies, than doing everything necessary to win against Islam! This is sadly, a result of the politicization of the military during the Clinton Administration, and a very partisan, anti-military big media.
Millions of Middle Eastern peoples have moved to the United States, most in just the past decade. They have proven to be the most violent of any ethnic minority to ever migrate to our shores. As Muslims in our country gain the upper hand, and they will, look for sexual assaults to rise astronomically. In Islam, it’s expected for Muslim men to rape infidel women. Mohammed himself set the example.
In Islam, it’s not a sin to murder an unbeliever. Actually, according to the Koran, it’s a duty. An unbeliever is any person who doesn’t embrace the religion of Mohammed. It’s no sin to steal from, enslave or humiliate a “kafir,” or unbeliever. This accounts for the Islamic Intifada that has only now begun in Europe. It accounts for the recent terrorizing of train passengers in France. It explains the sexual assaults, the robbery and beating of Infidels on a French train near Nice, just weeks ago. Sexual assault on Infidel women is a prime tool of terrorism in the west. Look for more of this form of “conquering Islam” to spread in our cities and towns.
Islamic immigrants to our nation have perpetrated countless acts of senseless violence. Muslims, “in the name of Allah” have carried out bombings, shootings, arsons, and rapes, batteries and other acts of violence. Muslim immigrants and converts have perpetrated treason and murder in our armed forces. More so than you know and more so than has been reported by big media.
Already, millions of Middle Eastern people, mostly Muslims, have immigrated to the hated lands of the United States, The Great Satan. They hate and despise us, yet still they come. Why do you suppose that they come to the land of the Great Satan? Is it to breathe the sweet air of freedom that our ancestors so yearned for?
There is a more sinister and diabolical reason that the Saudi “Wahhabis” are forking over MILLIONS of dollars to relocate Muslims to the United States. In Islam, there is no such thing as freedom. Islam regulates every aspect of a Muslims life. Islam completely negates individualism. Islam is mutually exclusive of free will. Islam cannot join the modern world. Islam and democracy will never peacefully co-exist.
World War III actually began on September 11, 2001. Already, Islamo-Facsists have attacked peaceful nations in North America, Europe, Austral-Asia, the Philippines, and the Middle East. Soon, no nation in the world will be safe from Islamic attacks. France, due to her program of appeasement, and safe haven policy for terrorists got a pass for awhile. No longer. The French in their arrogant smugness thought they were immune to the Islamics. They thought they had made an accommodation with the Islamics. How stupid are the French!
Giving Islamics a pass may work for a short time, yet look how France is faring now. Look at the Intifada that French arrogance and stupidity has allowed to manifest itself. The Islamics gave the French a pass for only so long.
Islam is dedicated to the complete destruction of the Infidel World. In this regard, the western world is its’ own worst enemy. The Mullahs, Imams and Ayatollahs have an easy sell. It’s not difficult to persuade a desperately poor, uneducated and disaffected young Muslim that the infidel world is sick. While Islam has always fed on human failure and continues to do so today, it’s not difficult to convince any believing Muslim that that the non-Islamic World is despicable and rotten.
Millions of corpses in tens of hundreds of thousands of graves throughout Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe are silent testimony to the deadly nature of Islam. Islam has no room for unbelievers. An unbeliever is to be converted if possible, even by the threat of death. If it’s convenient, and an infidel can be used for any purpose, then he’s to be enslaved, tortured and humilitated.
Before the war with Islam is finished, millions of people may well die early deaths. The continued struggle in Afghanistan and Iraq has degenerated into a campaign of murder, confusion and destruction. Civil war can still break out in Iraq.
The Islamics are bent on imposing their brutal and inhuman cult on the entire world. As long as they have a means of carrying out their plans, they won’t quit. The vast amounts of oil-money guaranteed them by a desperate for energy western world is a ready-made recipient for continued violence. Yet our congress refuses to allow tapping of KNOWN energy sources in the US, because of environmental wackoism!
The Vietnam War taught our enemies and potential enemies much about the character of our United States. One lesson well understood is that as long as big media is biased against anything American, whether it be the economy, our military or American culture, there will be no unity or bond between Americans. The national motto, E Pluribus Unum, or “out of many, one,” has become an international joke.
The “progressive liberal agenda, that of tearing down everything that America is all about, and establishing “Multi-Culturalism,” plays directly into the hands of our enemies. The most powerful enemy today, is Islam. The followers of this insidious cult want to destroy our country. They want to destroy democracy and capitalism. They want to destroy Israel and everything else that’s good in the world. They may well succeed, but only if we allow them to do so. We have a president today that is not going to allow an Islamic victory. Looking forward to the 2008 elections and the possibility of a Hillary victory is sobering. Time will tell.
Because They Hate
February 20, 2006
[Editor's Note: Below are selected excerpts from Brigitte Gabriel's speech delivered at the Intelligence Summit in Washington DC, Saturday February 18, 2006].
We gather here today to share information and knowledge. Intelligence is not merely cold hard data about numerical strength or armament or disposition of military forces. The most important element of intelligence has to be understanding the mindset and intention of the enemy. The West has been wallowing in a state of ignorance and denial for thirty years as Muslim extremist perpetrated evil against innocent victims in the name of Allah.
I was ten years old when my home exploded around me, burying me under the rubble and leaving me to drink my blood to survive, as the perpetrators shouted “Allah Akbar!” My only crime was that I was a Christian living in a Christian town. At 10 years old, I learned the meaning of the word "infidel."
I had a crash course in survival. Not in the Girl Scouts, but in a bomb shelter where I lived for seven years in pitch darkness, freezing cold, drinking stale water and eating grass to live. At the age of 13 I dressed in my burial clothes going to bed at night, waiting to be slaughtered. By the age of 20, I had buried most of my friends--killed by Muslims. We were not Americans living in New York, or Britons in London. We were Arab Christians living in Lebanon.
As a victim of Islamic terror, I was amazed when I saw Americans waking up on September 12, 2001, and asking themselves "Why do they hate us?" The psychoanalyst experts were coming up with all sort of excuses as to what did we do to offend the Muslim World. But if America and the West were paying attention to the Middle East they would not have had to ask the question. Simply put, they hate us because we are defined in their eyes by one simple word: "infidels."
Under the banner of Islam "la, ilaha illa allah, muhammad rasoulu allah," (None is god except Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) they murdered Jewish children in Israel, massacred Christians in Lebanon, killed Copts in Egypt, Assyrians in Syria, Hindus in India, and expelled almost 900,000 Jews from Muslim lands. We Middle Eastern infidels paid the price then. Now infidels worldwide are paying the price for indifference and shortsightedness.
Tolerating evil is a crime. Appeasing murderers doesn't buy protection. It earns one disrespect and loathing in the enemy's eyes. Yet apathy is the weapon by which the West is committing suicide. Political correctness forms the shackles around our ankles, by which Islamists are leading us to our demise.
America and the West are doomed to failure in this war unless they stand up and identify the real enemy: Islam. You hear about Wahabbi and Salafi Islam as the only extreme form of Islam. All the other Muslims, supposedly, are wonderful moderates. Closer to the truth are the pictures of the irrational eruption of violence in reaction to the cartoons of Mohammed printed by a Danish newspaper. From burning embassies, to calls to butcher those who mock Islam, to warnings that the West be prepared for another holocaust, those pictures have given us a glimpse into the real face of the enemy. News pictures and video of these events represent a canvas of hate decorated by different nationalities who share one common ideology of hate, bigotry and intolerance derived from one source: authentic Islam. An Islam that is awakening from centuries of slumber to re-ignite its wrath against the infidel and dominate the world. An Islam which has declared "Intifada" on the West.
America and the West can no longer afford to lay in their lazy state of overweight ignorance. The consequences of this mental disease are starting to attack the body, and if they don't take the necessary steps now to control it, death will be knocking soon. If you want to understand the nature of the enemy we face, visualize a tapestry of snakes. They slither and they hiss, and they would eat each other alive, but they will unite in a hideous mass to achieve their common goal of imposing Islam on the world.
This is the ugly face of the enemy we are fighting. We are fighting a powerful ideology that is capable of altering basic human instincts. An ideology that can turn a mother into a launching pad of death. A perfect example is a recently elected Hamas official in the Palestinian Territories who raves in heavenly joy about sending her three sons to death and offering the ones who are still alive for the cause. It is an ideology that is capable of offering highly educated individuals such as doctors and lawyers far more joy in attaining death than any respect and stature, life in society is ever capable of giving them.
The United States has been a prime target for radical Islamic hatred and terror. Every Friday, mosques in the Middle East ring with shrill prayers and monotonous chants calling death, destruction and damnation down on America and its people. The radical Islamists’ deeds have been as vile as their words. Since the Iran hostage crisis, more than three thousand Americans have died in a terror campaign almost unprecedented in its calculated cruelty along with thousands of other citizens worldwide. Even the Nazis did not turn their own children into human bombs, and then rejoice at their deaths as well the deaths of their victims. This intentional, indiscriminate and wholesale murder of innocent American citizens is justified and glorified in the name of Islam.
America cannot effectively defend itself in this war unless and until the American people understand the nature of the enemy that we face. Even after 9/11 there are those who say that we must “engage” our terrorist enemies, that we must “address their grievances”. Their grievance is our freedom of religion. Their grievance is our freedom of speech. Their grievance is our democratic process where the rule of law comes from the voices of many not that of just one prophet. It is the respect we instill in our children towards all religions. It is the equality we grant each other as human beings sharing a planet and striving to make the world a better place for all humanity. Their grievance is the kindness and respect a man shows a woman, the justice we practice as equals under the law, and the mercy we grant our enemy. Their grievance cannot be answered by an apology for who or what we are.
Our mediocre attitude of not confronting Islamic forces of bigotry and hatred wherever they raised their ugly head in the last 30 years, has empowered and strengthened our enemy to launch a full scale attack on the very freedoms we cherish in their effort to impose their values and way of life on our civilization.
If we don't wake up and challenge our Muslim community to take action against the terrorists within it, if we don't believe in ourselves as Americans and in the standards we should hold every patriotic American to, we are going to pay a price for our delusion. For the sake of our children and our country, we must wake up and take action. In the face of a torrent of hateful invective and terrorist murder, America’s learning curve since the Iran hostage crisis is so shallow that it is almost flat. The longer we lay supine, the more difficult it will be to stand erect.
RALEIGH — Winston S. Churchill III maintains that Islamic fundamentalism is as
destructive as the malevolent "isms" of the 20th century: Nazism, Communism and
Facism. In a speech on Feb. 10 at the John Locke Foundation's anniversary
dinner, the grandson of Winston Churchill urged the West to stay the course in
the fight against extremist Islam.
Here is the text of his speech:
It is both an honor and a pleasure to be your guest here tonight and to have the privilege of addressing the John Locke Foundation. First and foremost, may I congratulate you for honouring the memory of John Locke, who was very much involved in the establishment of the Governments of the Carolinas and who, most important of all, was one of the great philosophers of the English-speaking world.
Locke’s message — the vital importance of resisting authoritarianism — is as relevant to the strife-torn times of the world in which we live, as it was in the strife-torn times of the 17th Century. Authoritarianism constantly rears its ugly head, even within our own societies on both sides of the Atlantic, in so many guises and disguises, and in every field, be it religion, government or the military.
At its most extreme, authoritarianism is exemplified by the isms of the 20th Century — Communism, Fascism and Nazism. The Fascists and Nazis were responsible for the deaths of more than 30 million human beings, while more than 50 million are estimated to have been murdered by Stalin and the Russian Communists, while Mao-Tse-Tung and the Chinese Communists are believed to have accounted for some 80 million.
But today a new challenge — another ism — confronts us, and that is the challenge of Islamic fundamentalism. Extremist Islam has declared war on the rest of the world, as evidenced by their ruthless attacks across the globe — overwhelmingly targeted at innocent civilians. Beside the outrage of 9/11, the bombings in Madrid, in Bali, in London and, most recently, in Jordan come to mind.
Those who have declared jihad against the West, and Western values, such as freedom of speech, are doing all in their power to mobilize against us the large Muslim communities living in our midst. In North America, there are an estimated six million Muslims in the USA, plus a further three-quarter million in Canada; while in the European Union, they number an estimated 20 million, including nearly 2 million in Britain. Unlike most other categories of migrant, the Muslims are reluctant to assimilate and, all too often, wish to pursue their own agenda.
Unbelievably, Washington is urging Europe to admit Turkey to the EU. Were that to happen, the Muslim population of Europe would skyrocket to 100 million — an act, in my view, of consummate folly. Already Judeo-Christian Europe is under siege from a tidal wave of Islamic immigration. The admission of Turkey would hasten its demise. While I have a great regard for the Turks, the only democracy in the Muslim world and stalwart members of NATO, I am firmly opposed to their admission to the EU. I would accord them most-favoured nation status, but not the right to settle in Western Europe and become EU citizens.
The scale of the problem confronting Europe today is epitomized by France, which has a Muslim community of some 6 million, or 10 percent of its population. But, if you take the population aged 20 and below, the figure rockets to 30 percent, such is the birthrate of the immigrant communities. In other words, within one further generation, France will be a Muslim country — a truly horrifying prospect.
At the same time it is vital that,
in our pursuit of the men and women of terror — we do all we can, not to
alienate these large Muslim communities already established among us. For,
without the active support of the Muslim communities, we shall never excise this
deadly cancer in our midst.
Intriguingly, the dangers of extremist Islam were foreseen by Winston Churchill all of 85 years ago, as I discovered to my amazement, while compiling my most recent book NEVER GIVE IN! The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches.
Churchill is, of course, well-known for his gift of prescience and, specifically, for being the first to warn of the menace of Hitler and Nazism as early as 1932, and of the Soviet threat in his famous Iron Curtain speech in 1946 in Fulton, Mo. But how many know that he also warned the world of the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism? I certainly did not!
On 14 June 1921, hard on the heels of the Cairo Conference, at which he had presided over the re-shaping of the Middle East, including the creation of modern day Iraq, he warned the House of Commons:
A large number of [Saudi
Arabia’s King] Bin Saud’s followers belong to the Wahabi sect, a form of
Mohammedanism which bears, roughly speaking, the same relationship to orthodox
Islam as the most militant form of Calvinism would have borne to Rome in the
fiercest times of [Europe’s] religious wars.
The Wahabis profess a life of exceeding austerity, and what they practice themselves they rigorously enforce on others. They hold it as an article of duty, as well as of faith, to kill all who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children. Women have been put to death in Wahabi villages for simply appearing in the streets.
It is a penal offence to wear a silk garment. Men have been killed for smoking a cigarette and, as for the crime of alcohol, the most energetic supporter of the temperance cause in this country falls far behind them. Austere, intolerant, well-armed, and blood-thirsty, in their own regions the Wahabis are a distinct factor which must be taken into account, and they have been, and still are, very dangerous to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina…
In Churchill’s day, of course, the viciousness and cruelty of the Wahabis was confined to the Saudi Arabia peninsula, and their atrocities were directed exclusively against their fellow Muslims, whom they held to be heretics for not adhering to the Wahabi creed — but not anymore.
Today the combination of the oil wealth of Saudi Arabia and the supine weakness
of the Saudi royal family which — as the price for not having their own behavior
subjected to scrutiny and public criticism by these austere, extremist clerics —
has bank-rolled the Wahabi fundamentalist movement, and given these fanatical
zealots a global reach to their vicious creed of hatred and extremism.
The consequence has been that the Wahabis have been able to export their exceptionally intolerant brand of Islamic fundamentalism from Mauritania and Morocco on Africa’s Atlantic shores, through more than two dozen countries including Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East, to as far afield as the Philippines and East Timor in the Pacific. This is the stark challenge that today confronts the Western world and I fear it will be with us, not just for a matter of years, but perhaps even for generations.
Just in the past two weeks the temperature in the Middle East has risen markedly with three significant developments. First, we have seen the wild and furious reaction, whipped up by firebrand clerics throughout the Islamic world, to the publication some five months ago in a Danish newspaper of a cartoon depicting the prophet with a smoking bomb in his turban, as tattered suicide bombers were being greeted at the Muslim pearly gates by a gate-keeper shooing them away and shouting: “Get lost! We’ve run out of Virgins!” The fury that this mild piece of satire engendered, epitomizes the clash of civilizations that is the key factor confronting us today.
Secondly, the stunning election victory in the Palestinian elections of Hamas — a terrorist organization committed to the destruction of Israel — provided a rude shock to those in Washington who naively imagined that democracy would provide the answer to the problems of the Middle East. For many within the Beltway, free elections have been an article of faith, even though it was in a free election that Hitler first came to power, before establishing his Nazi dictatorship.
Such is the anger of the Moslem world against the West, inflamed by extremist clerics and fanned by the Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia television networks, that truly democratic and free elections would result in the election of fundamentalist governments throughout the Muslim world. It is a frightening fact, that in 50 Muslim countries countless millions of Muslims tell pollsters that they regard Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri as more trustworthy than President Bush.
The third and by far the most serious development, is the decision of the Iranian government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to remove the U.N. seals from its nuclear research facilities. He it is who not only denies the Holocaust ever happened, but who declares that Israel is a “tumor” that should be “wiped off the map”! Some Western analysts state that the Iranian president doesn’t really mean what he says. There were, of course, many who said just that of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and we saw the result.
Having reported events — including two wars — in the Middle East over the past 45 years, I think I know the Israelis well enough to say that Israel is not about to wait to find out whether or not the Iranian president means what he says. In 1981 Israel took decisive steps to take out Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear facility with a long-range air strike. I do not see how she can fail to do the same in the case of the even greater threat posed to Israel by a nuclear-armed Iran.
This time it will not be so easy, as the mullahs have dispersed their nuclear facilities across 16 sites and built them deep underground, making them far more difficult to attack. But with 500 ‘bunker-busting’ bombs from the U.S. and precision-guidance technology they will certainly make a mess of the place. The whole Muslim world will be enflamed with outrage and Iran’s reaction may well be to deploy 100,000 guerrilla fighters to Iraq to fight the Americans and British — not a happy thought.
But even before these developments, siren voices could already be heard on Capitol Hill, raising the cry: “Bring the Boys home.” I tell you: Nothing could be more disastrous than if, at this juncture, the United States were to cut and run. It would, at a stroke, undermine those forces of moderation we are seeking to establish in power, betray our troops as they fight a difficult, but necessary, battle, and break faith with those of our soldiers who have sacrificed their lives to establish a free Iraq.
Gravest of all, we should be handing a victory of gigantic proportions to our sworn enemies. Let no one imagine that by pulling out of Iraq, the threat will simply evaporate. On the contrary, it will redouble, it will come closer to home and our enemies will have established in Iraq the very base that, by our defeat of the Taliban, we have denied them in Afghanistan. We shall see a desperately weakened United States, with its armed forces undermined and demoralized, increasingly at the mercy of our terrorist enemies.
Precipitate withdrawal is the counsel of defeatism and cowardice, which, if it holds sway, will immeasurably increase the dangers that today confront, not just America, but the entire Western world. It is something for which we shall pay a terrible price in the years ahead. When great nations go to war — and they should do so only as a last resort — they must expect to suffer grievous losses and must commit to war with an unconquerable resolve to secure victory.
In Iraq the United States has lost some 2,200 men and women, Britain just over 100. Compare that to the first day of the Battle of the Somme — 1 July 1916 — when the British Army in a single day, nay, before breakfast, lost 55,000 men killed, wounded or missing in action. Did we talk of quitting?
What has happened to the mighty United States? Is it going soft? Are the elected representatives of the American people ready to surrender to those who threaten their homeland — indeed their civilian population — with death and destruction? I pray that they are not, and I call to mind the words of my grandfather, addressing the Canadian Parliament on New Year's Day 1941, in which — referring to the British nation dwelling around the globe, but it applies equally to our American cousins today — when he declared:
We are a tough and hardy people! We have not travelled across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains & across the prairies, because we're made of sugar candy!
In conclusion, I would remind you — and especially the legislators on Capitol Hill — of Winston Churchill’s words to the House of Commons on becoming prime minister in May 1940, which applies every bit as much to the situation that confronts us today.
You ask: What is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror. However long or hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.
Provided we have the courage to stay
the course, I am convinced that we can, in the end, prevail. Any alternative is
too terrible to contemplate. There are no quick, easy solutions; on the contrary
it will be a long, hard slog. But more leadership is needed from on high and,
above all, more guts and determination if we are to see this through to victory.
Let us fight the good fight — and let us fight it together! How pleased my grandfather would be to know that — 40 years on from his death — the Anglo-American alliance is still strong and that British and American soldiers stand shoulder-to-shoulder in Iraq and in Afghanistan, confronting the peril of the hour! Long may we stand together! God bless America!
By Ariel Cohen
August 18, 2006
Three pro-terror demonstrations held last Saturday -- at the White House in
Washington, D.C., in San Francisco and Los Angeles -- provided a rare insight
into the global networks that support jihadi Islamic fascists.
Only a few thousand showed up, according to D.C. police. After all, it is hard to bring out the masses when your poster boy is Sheik Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah. Sheik Nasrallah and his puppetmaster, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, repeatedly call for "Death to Israel, Death to America." Hezbollah is responsible for the deaths, kidnapping and torture of hundreds of Americans.
On the same day, pro-Hezbollah, anti-U.S. and anti-Israel demonstrations took place in the streets of Mombasa, Kenya; Madrid, Spain; Damascus, Syria; Islamist-controlled Mogadishu, Somalia; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Karachi, Pakistan; and Jakarta, Indonesia, to name just a few.
The U.S. demonstrations were organized by ANSWER -- which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism -- a coalition of leftists, "antiwar" and Hamas -- and Hezbollah-supporting Arab Muslim organizations, including the National Council of Arab Americans (NCA), the Muslim American Society and the Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
There are important lessons to be learned from the ANSWER demonstrations. With security services worldwide working to wrap up the aborted London attacks, policymakers need to recognize the public dimension of the terror war -- the battlefront of symbols, images and ideas and their influence on diplomacy and warfare. So far, jihadi supporters seem to have the upper hand.
During the Cold War, Soviet-funded front organizations tried to disarm the West, whether by supporting the North Vietnamese or trying to prevent deployment of U.S. Pershing missiles in Europe. Today's jihadi supporters work to delegitimize any effort to protect against terrorist networks. Tracking the leadership and funding of such networks is a counterterrorist policy imperative.
There is a lesson to be learned about moderate and radical Muslims. No doubt, the tip that led to the bust-up of the most recent terror attempt in London demonstrates the importance of high quality intelligence-gathering, for which it is vital to keep good relations in the Muslim community. It is crucial to boost moderate Muslims and learn to distinguish between terrorist organizers, their unwitting prey within the Muslim community, and alternative, moderate Muslim leaders that seek to practice and teach Islam as a religion rather than a tool for promoting hatred.
At the same time, it is crucial to recognize that some in the Muslim community and among leftist organizations such as ANSWER operate a global network that not only provides public support to the likes of Hezbollah but may provide a recruitment pool for suspected terrorists such as those apprehended in Great Britain and Michigan.
It is also important to understand precisely what causes ANSWER serves. The organizer of Saturday's outrage was Brian Beker, leader of the Liberation and Socialism Party, which recently split from the (Stalinist) World Workers' Party.
ANSWER supports and promotes jihadi terrorism and seeks to help defeat the U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its leaders also refuse to acknowledge Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism and advocacy of the destruction of the State of Israel.
As police in Britain, Italy, and Ohio were busy arresting suspected airliner bombers, money launderers, and untraceable detonator/cell phone providers, the ANSWER demonstrations demanded the U.S. lay off terrorists, close Guantanamo, and keep the country's borders open.
A recent ANSWER demonstration in San Francisco featured chants of "Palestine will be free from the river to the sea" and "Palestine is our country, the Jews are our dogs." An ANSWER spokesman refused to condemn such hate speech, according to a report by Mark Matthews of San Francisco's ABC7.
A key player in organizing this past weekend's hate fest was
Ramsey Clark, former attorney general under President Lyndon B. Johnson, who
never met a dictator he didn't like. Mr. Clark justified the Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini's hostage taking in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and hobnobbed with
Libya's Moammar Gadhafi. He is also connected with Lyndon LaRouche. According to
Wikipedia, Mr. LaRouche's critics have characterized him as a fascistic,
homophobic, anti-Jewish cult leader.
For more than 12 years, Mr. Clark has been connected to the Workers World Party (WWP), which splintered from the Trotskyite movement in the 1950s and became Orthodox Stalinist. The WWP supported China's repression of Tibet, the Tiananmen Square massacre and the communist coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
Mr. Clark represented Radovan Karadzic, an indicted Bosnian Serb war criminal and met with former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic when he was a wanted man in Belgrade, calling him "brave, objective and moral." In 1990, Mr. Clark led a WWP effort to prevent former President George H.W. Bush from going after Saddam. He has since never ceased advocating for the mustachioed dictator.
Other ANSWER members include extreme old and "new left" activists, from Stalinists to Maoists, and such "blasts from the past" as the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) and the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party. ANSWER's "big tent" also includes pro-Saddam mouthpieces; Palestinian propagandists; North Korean front organizations; and 1960s "flower children" who never grew up.
ANSWER founders also include the National Lawyers league, founded by the Communist Party USA (CPUSA); the Nicaragua Network and the Nicaragua Solidarity Committee, a leading pro-Sandinista organization. ANSWER's connections to North Korea are also quite pronounced, as the coalition includes the Pyongyang-inspired Korea Truth Commission and the Congress for Korean Reunification, among others.
In the past, such people were called a Fifth Column, after the pro-fascist forces in Republican Madrid during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. Today's Fifth Column glorifies the global jihad against the West. ANSWER and its co-sponsors hide behind slogans decrying civilian losses in Lebanon, while ignoring the murder of American soldiers and Israeli civilians (many of them Arab Israelis) committed by Hamas and Hezbollah.
Ariel Cohen is senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
The following speech was given to a meeting of Legatus, a membership association of American Catholic business owners by Cardinal George Pell of Australia on the theme of Islam and its challenge to the Christian Church and the world.
Islam and Western Democracies
Legatus Summit, Naples, Florida U.S.A
February 4, 2006
Cardinal George Pell
Archbishop of Sydney
September 11 was a wake-up call for me personally. I recognised that I had to know more about Islam.
In the aftermath of the attack one thing was perplexing. Many commentators and apparently the governments of the "Coalition of the Willing" were claiming that Islam was essentially peaceful, and that the terrorist attacks were an aberration. On the other hand one or two people I met, who had lived in Pakistan and suffered there, claimed to me that the Koran legitimised the killings of non-Muslims.
Although I had possessed a copy of the Koran for 30 years, I decided then to read this book for myself as a first step to adjudicating conflicting claims. And I recommend that you too read this sacred text of the Muslims, because the challenge of Islam will be with us for the remainder of our lives - at least.
Can Islam and the Western democracies live together peacefully? What of Islamic minorities in Western countries? Views on this question range from näive optimism to bleakest pessimism. Those tending to the optimistic side of the scale seize upon the assurance of specialists that jihad is primarily a matter of spiritual striving, and that the extension of this concept to terrorism is a distortion of koranic teaching. They emphasise Islam's self-understanding as a "religion of peace". They point to the roots Islam has in common with Judaism and Christianity and the worship the three great monotheistic religions offer to the one true God. There is also the common commitment that Muslims and Christians have to the family and to the defence of life, and the record of co-operation in recent decades between Muslim countries, the Holy See, and countries such as the United States in defending life and the family at the international level, particularly at the United Nations.
Many commentators draw attention to the diversity of Muslim life-sunni, shi'ite, sufi, and their myriad variations-and the different forms that Muslim devotion can take in places such as Indonesia and the Balkans on the one hand, and Iran and Nigeria on the other. Stress is laid, quite rightly, on the widely divergent interpretations of the Koran and the shari'a, and the capacity Islam has shown throughout its history for developing new interpretations. Given the contemporary situation, the wahhabist interpretation at the heart of Saudi Islamism offers probably the most important example of this, but Muslim history also offers more hopeful examples, such as the re-interpretation of the shari'a after the fall of the Ottoman empire, and particularly after the end of the Second World War, which permitted Muslims to emigrate to non-Muslim countries.
Optimists also take heart from the cultural achievements of Islam in the Middle Ages, and the accounts of toleration extended to Jewish and Christian subjects of Muslim rule as "people of the Book". Some deny or minimise the importance of Islam as a source of terrorism, or of the problems that more generally afflict Muslim countries, blaming factors such as tribalism and inter-ethnic enmity; the long-term legacy of colonialism and Western domination; the way that oil revenues distort economic development in the rich Muslim states and sustain oligarchic rule; the poverty and political oppression in Muslim countries in Africa; the situation of the Palestinians, and the alleged "problem" of the state of Israel; and the way that globalisation has undermined or destroyed traditional life and imposed alien values on Muslims and others.
Indonesia and Turkey are pointed to as examples of successful democratisation in Muslim societies, and the success of countries such as Australia and the United States as "melting pots", creating stable and successful societies while absorbing people from very different cultures and religions, is often invoked as a reason for trust and confidence in the growing Muslim populations in the West. The phenomenal capacity of modernity to weaken gradually the attachment of individuals to family, religion and traditional ways of life, and to commodify and assimilate developments that originate in hostility to it (think of the way the anti-capitalist counter-culture of the 1960s and 70s was absorbed into the economic and political mainstream-and into consumerism), is also relied upon to "normalise" Muslims in Western countries, or at least to normalise them in the minds of the non-Muslim majority.
Reasons for optimism are also sometimes drawn from the totalitarian nature of Islamist ideology, and the brutality and rigidity of Islamist rule, exemplified in Afghanistan under the Taliban. Just as the secular totalitarian-isms of the twentieth century (Nazism and Communism) ultimately proved unsustainable because of the enormous toll they exacted on human life and creativity, so too will the religious totalitarianism of radical Islam. This assessment draws on a more general underlying cause for optimism, or at least hope, for all of us, namely our common humanity, and the fruitfulness of dialogue when it is entered with good will on all sides. Most ordinary people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, share the desire for peace, stability and prosperity for themselves and their families.
On the pessimistic side of the equation, concern begins with the Koran itself. In my own reading of the Koran, I began to note down invocations to violence. There are so many of them, however, that I abandoned this exercise after 50 or 60 or 70 pages. I will return to the problems of Koranic interpretation later in this paper, but in coming to an appreciation of the true meaning of jihad, for example, it is important to bear in mind what the scholars tell us about the difference between the suras (or chapters) of the Koran written during Muhammad's thirteen years in Mecca, and those that were written after he had based himself at Medina. Irenic interpretations of the Koran typically draw heavily on the suras written in Mecca, when Muhammad was without military power and still hoped to win people, including Christians and Jews, to his revelation through preaching and religious activity. After emigrating to Medina, Muhammad formed an alliance with two Yemeni tribes and the spread of Islam through conquest and coercion began. One calculation is that Muhammad engaged in 78 battles, only one of which, the Battle of the Ditch, was defensive. The suras from the Medina period reflect this decisive change and are often held to abrogate suras from the Meccan period.
The predominant grammatical form in which jihad is used in the Koran carries the sense of fighting or waging war. A different form of the verb in Arabic means "striving" or "struggling", and English translations sometimes use this form as a way of euphemistically rendering the Koran's incitements to war against unbelievers. But in any case, the so-called "verses of the sword" (sura 95 and 936), coming as they do in what scholars generally believe to be one of the last suras revealed to Muhammad, are taken to abrogate a large number of earlier verses on the subject (over 140, according to one radical website). The suggestion that jihad is primarily a matter of spiritual striving is also contemptuously rejected by some Islamic writers on the subject. One writer warns that "the temptation to reinterpret both text and history to suit 'politically correct' requirements is the first trap to be avoided", before going on to complain that "there are some Muslims today, for instance, who will convert jihad into a holy bath rather than a holy war, as if it is nothing more than an injunction to cleanse yourself from within".
The abrogation of many of the Meccan suras by the later Medina suras affects Islam's relations with those of other faiths, particularly Christians and Jews. The Christian and Jewish sources underlying much of the Koran are an important basis for dialogue and mutual understanding, although there are difficulties. Perhaps foremost among them is the understanding of God. It is true that Christianity, Judaism and Islam claim Abraham as their Father and the God of Abraham as their God. I accept with reservations the claim that Jews, Christians and Muslims worship one god (Allah is simply the Arabic word for god) and there is only one true God available to be worshipped! That they worship the same god has been disputed, not only by Catholics stressing the triune nature of God, but also by some evangelical Christians and by some Muslims. It is difficult to recognise the God of the New Testament in the God of the Koran, and two very different concepts of the human person have emerged from the Christian and Muslim understandings of God. Think, for example, of the Christian understanding of the person as a unity of reason, freedom and love, and the way these attributes characterise a Christian's relationship with God. This has had significant consequences for the different cultures that Christianity and Islam have given rise to, and for the scope of what is possible within them. But these difficulties could be an impetus to dialogue, not a reason for giving up on it.
The history of relations between Muslims on the one hand and Christians and Jews on the other does not always offer reasons for optimism in the way that some people easily assume. The claims of Muslim tolerance of Christian and Jewish minorities are largely mythical, as the history of Islamic conquest and domination in the Middle East, the Iberian peninsula and the Balkans makes abundantly clear. In the territory of modern-day Spain and Portugal, which was ruled by Muslims from 716 and not finally cleared of Muslim rule until the surrender of Granada in 1491 (although over half the peninsula had been reclaimed by 1150, and all of the peninsula except the region surrounding Granada by 1300), Christians and Jews were tolerated only as dhimmis, subject to punitive taxation, legal discrimination, and a range of minor and major humiliations. If a dhimmi harmed a Muslim, his entire community would forfeit protection and be freely subject to pillage, enslavement and murder. Harsh reprisals, including mutilations, deportations and crucifixions, were imposed on Christians who appealed for help to the Christian kings or who were suspected of having converted to Islam opportunistically. Raiding parties were sent out several times every year against the Spanish kingdoms in the north, and also against France and Italy, for loot and slaves. The caliph in Andalusia maintained an army of tens of thousand of Christian slaves from all over Europe, and also kept a harem of captured Christian women. The Jewish community in the Iberian peninsula suffered similar sorts of discriminations and penalties, including restrictions on how they could dress. A pogrom in Granada in 1066 annihilated the Jewish population there and killed over 5000 people. Over the course of its history Muslim rule in the peninsula was characterised by outbreaks of violence and fanaticism as different factions assumed power, and as the Spanish gradually reclaimed territory.
Arab rule in Spain and Portugal was a disaster for Christians and Jews, as was Turkish rule in the Balkans. The Ottoman conquest of the Balkans commenced in the mid-fifteenth century, and was completed over the following two hundred years. Churches were destroyed or converted into mosques, and the Jewish and Christians populations became subject to forcible relocation and slavery. The extension or withdrawal of protection depended entirely on the disposition of the Ottoman ruler of the time. Christians who refused to apostatize were taxed and subject to conscript labour. Where the practice of the faith was not strictly prohibited, it was frustrated-for example, by making the only legal market day Sunday. But violent persecution was also a constant shadow. One scholar estimates that up to the Greek War of Independence in 1828, the Ottomans executed eleven Patriarchs of Constantinople, nearly one hundred bishops and several thousand priests, deacons and monks. Lay people were prohibited from practising certain professions and trades, even sometimes from riding a horse with a saddle, and right up until the early eighteenth century their adolescent sons lived under the threat of the military enslavement and forced conversion which provided possibly one million janissary soldiers to the Ottomans during their rule. Under Byzantine rule the peninsula enjoyed a high level of economic productivity and cultural development. This was swept away by the Ottoman conquest and replaced with a general and protracted decline in productivity.
The history of Islam's detrimental impact on economic and cultural development at certain times and in certain places returns us to the nature of Islam itself. For those of a pessimistic outlook this is probably the most intractable problem in considering Islam and democracy. What is the capacity for theological development within Islam?
In the Muslim understanding, the Koran comes directly from God, unmediated. Muhammad simply wrote down God's eternal and immutable words as they were dictated to him by the Archangel Gabriel. It cannot be changed, and to make the Koran the subject of critical analysis and reflection is either to assert human authority over divine revelation (a blasphemy), or question its divine character. The Bible, in contrast, is a product of human co-operation with divine inspiration. It arises from the encounter between God and man, an encounter characterised by reciprocity, which in Christianity is underscored by a Trinitarian understanding of God (an understanding Islam interprets as polytheism). This gives Christianity a logic or dynamic which not only favours the development of doctrine within strict limits, but also requires both critical analysis and the application of its principles to changed circumstances. It also requires a teaching authority.
Of course, none of this has prevented the Koran from being subjected to the sort of textual analysis that the Bible and the sacred texts of other religions have undergone for over a century, although by comparison the discipline is in its infancy. Errors of fact, inconsistencies, anachronisms and other defects in the Koran are not unknown to scholars, but it is difficult for Muslims to discuss these matters openly.
In 2004 a scholar who writes under the pseudonym Christoph Luxenberg published a book in German setting out detailed evidence that the original language of the Koran was a dialect of Aramaic known as Syriac. Syriac or Syro-Aramaic was the written language of the Near East during Muhammad's time, and Arabic did not assume written form until 150 years after his death. Luxenberg argues that the Koran that has come down to us in Arabic is partially a mistranscription of the original Syriac. A bizarre example he offers which received some attention at the time his book was published is the Koran's promise that those who enter heaven will be "espoused" to "maidens with eyes like gazelles"; eyes, that is, which are intensely white and black (suras 4454 and 5220). Luxenberg's meticulous analysis suggests that the Arabic word for maidens is in fact a mistranscription of the Syriac word for grapes. This does strain common sense. Valiant strivings to be consoled by beautiful women is one thing, but to be heroic for a packet of raisins seems a bit much!
Even more explosively, Luxenberg suggests that the Koran has its basis in the texts of the Syriac Christian liturgy, and in particular in the Syriac lectionary, which provides the origin for the Arabic word "koran". As one scholarly review observes, if Luxenberg is correct the writers who transcribed the Koran into Arabic from Syriac a century and a half after Muhammad's death transformed it from a text that was "more or less harmonious with the New Testament and Syriac Christian liturgy and literature to one that [was] distinct, of independent origin". This too is a large claim.
It is not surprising that much textual analysis is carried out pseudonymously. Death threats and violence are frequently directed against Islamic scholars who question the divine origin of the Koran. The call for critical consideration of the Koran, even simply of its seventh-century legislative injunctions, is rejected out of hand by hard-line Muslim leaders. Rejecting calls for the revision of school textbooks while preaching recently to those making the hajj pilgrimage to Mount Arafat, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia told pilgrims that "there is a war against our creed, against our culture under the pretext of fighting terrorism. We should stand firm and united in protecting our religion. Islam's enemies want to empty our religion [of] its content and meaning. But the soldiers of God will be victorious".
All these factors I have outlined are problems, for non-Muslims certainly, but first and foremost for Muslims themselves. In grappling with these problems we have to resist the temptation to reduce a complex and fluid situation to black and white photos. Much of the future remains radically unknown to us. It is hard work to keep the complexity of a particular phenomenon steadily in view and to refuse to accept easy answers, whether of an optimistic or pessimistic kind. Above all else we have to remember that like Christianity, Islam is a living religion, not just a set of theological or legislative propositions. It animates the lives of an estimated one billion people in very different political, social and cultural settings, in a wide range of devotional styles and doctrinal approaches. Human beings have an invincible genius for variation and innovation.
Considered strictly on its own terms, Islam is not a tolerant religion and its capacity for far-reaching renovation is severely limited. To stop at this proposition, however, is to neglect the way these facts are mitigated or exacerbated by the human factor. History has more than its share of surprises. Australia lives next door to Indonesia, the country with one of the largest Muslim populations in the world. Indonesia has been a successful democracy, with limitations, since independence after World War II. Islam in Indonesia has been tempered significantly both by indigenous animism and by earlier Hinduism and Buddhism, and also by the influence of sufism. As a consequence, in most of the country (except in particular Aceh) Islam is syncretistic, moderate and with a strong mystical leaning. The moderate Islam of Indonesia is sustained and fostered in particular by organisations like Nahdatul Ulama, once led by former president Abdurrahman Wahid, which runs schools across the country, and which with 30-40 million members is one of the largest Muslim organisations in the world.
The situation in Indonesia is quite different from that in Pakistan, the country with one of the largest Muslim populations in the world. 75 per cent of Pakistani Muslims are Sunni, and most of these adhere to the relatively more-liberal Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence (for example, Hanafi jurisprudence does not consider blasphemy should be punishable by the state). But religious belief in Pakistan is being radicalised because organisations, very different from Indonesia's Nahdatul Ulama, have stepped in to fill the void in education created by years of neglect by military rulers. Pakistan spends only 1.8 per cent of GDP on education. 71 per cent of government schools are without electricity, 40 per cent are without water, and 15 per cent are without a proper building. 42 per cent of the population is literate, and this proportion is falling. This sort of neglect makes it easy for radical Islamic groups with funding from foreign countries to gain ground. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of religious schools (or madrasas) opening in Pakistan, and it is estimated that they are now educating perhaps 800,000 students, still a small proportion of the total, but with a disproportionate impact.
These two examples show that there is a whole range of factors, some of them susceptible to influence or a change in direction, affecting the prospects for a successful Islamic engagement with democracy. Peace with respect for human rights are the most desirable end point, but the development of democracy will not necessarily achieve this or sustain it. This is an important question for the West as well as for the Muslim world. Adherence to what George Weigel has called "a thin, indeed anorexic, idea of procedural democracy" can be fatal here. It is not enough to assume that giving people the vote will automatically favour moderation, in the short term at least. Moderation and democracy have been regular partners in Western history, but have not entered permanent and exclusive matrimony and there is little reason for this to be better in the Muslim world, as the election results in Iran last June and the elections in Palestine in January reminded us. There are many ways in which President Bush's ambition to export democracy to the Middle East is a risky business. In its influence on both religion and politics, the culture is crucial.
There are some who resist this conclusion vehemently. In 2002, the Nobel Prize Economist Amartya Sen took issue with the importance of culture in understanding the radical Islamic challenge, arguing that religion is no more important than any other part or aspect of human endeavour or interest. He also challenged the idea that within culture religious faith typically plays a decisive part in the development of individual self-understanding. Against this, Sen argued for a characteristically secular understanding of the human person, constituted above all else by sovereign choice. Each of us has many interests, convictions, connections and affiliations, "but none of them has a unique and pre-ordained role in defining [the] person". Rather, "we must insist upon the liberty to see ourselves as we would choose to see ourselves, deciding on the relative importance that we would like to attach to our membership in the different groups to which we belong. The central issue, in sum, is freedom".
This does work for some, perhaps many, people in the rich, developed and highly urbanised Western world, particularly those without strong attachments to religion. Doubtless it has ideological appeal to many more among the elites. But as a basis for engagement with people of profound religious conviction, most of whom are not fanatics or fundamentalists, it is radically deficient. Sen's words demonstrate that the high secularism of our elites is handicapped in comprehending the challenge that Islam poses.
I suspect one example of the secular incomprehension of religion is the blithe encouragement of large scale Islamic migration into Western nations, particularly in Europe. Of course they were invited to meet the need for labour and in some cases to assuage guilt for a colonial past.
If religion rarely influences personal behaviour in a significant way then the religious identity of migrants is irrelevant. I suspect that some anti-Christians, for example, the Spanish Socialists, might have seen Muslims as a useful counterweight to Catholicism, another factor to bring religion into public disrepute. Probably too they had been very confident that Western advertising forces would be too strong for such a primitive religious viewpoint, which would melt down like much of European Christianity. This could prove to be a spectacular misjudgement.
So the current situation is very different from what the West confronted in the twentieth century Cold War, when secularists, especially those who were repentant communists, were well equipped to generate and sustain resistance to an anti-religious and totalitarian enemy. In the present challenge it is religious people who are better equipped, at least initially, to understand the situation with Islam. Radicalism, whether of religious or non-religious inspiration, has always had a way of filling emptiness. But if we are going to help the moderate forces within Islam defeat the extreme variants it has thrown up, we need to take seriously the personal consequences of religious faith. We also need to understand the secular sources of emptiness and despair and how to meet them, so that people will choose life over death. This is another place where religious people have an edge. Western secularists regularly have trouble understanding religious faith in their own societies, and are often at sea when it comes to addressing the meaninglessness that secularism spawns. An anorexic vision of democracy and the human person is no match for Islam.
It is easy for us to tell Muslims that they must look to themselves and find ways of reinterpreting their beliefs and remaking their societies. Exactly the same thing can and needs to be said to us. If democracy is a belief in procedures alone then the West is in deep trouble. The most telling sign that Western democracy suffers a crisis of confidence lies in the disastrous fall in fertility rates, a fact remarked on by more and more commentators. In 2000, Europe from Iceland to Russia west of the Ural Mountains recorded a fertility rate of only 1.37. This means that fertility is only at 65 per cent of the level needed to keep the population stable. In 17 European nations that year deaths outnumbered births. Some regions in Germany, Italy and Spain already have fertility rates below 1.0.
Faith ensures a future. As an illustration of the literal truth of this, consider Russia and Yemen. Look also at the different birth rates in the red and blue states in the last presidential election in the U.S.A. In 1950 Russia, which suffered one of the most extreme forms of forced secularisation under the Communists, had about 103 million people. Despite the devastation of wars and revolution the population was still young and growing. Yemen, a Muslim country, had only 4.3 million people. By 2000 fertility was in radical decline in Russia, but because of past momentum the population stood at 145 million. Yemen had maintained a fertility rate of 7.6 over the previous 50 years and now had 18.3 million people. Median level United Nations forecasts suggest that even with fertility rates increasing by 50 per cent in Russia over the next fifty years, its population will be about 104 million in 2050-a loss of 40 million people. It will also be an elderly population. The same forecasts suggest that even if Yemen's fertility rate falls 50 per cent to 3.35, by 2050 it will be about the same size as Russia - 102 million - and overwhelmingly young.
The situation of the United States and Australia is not as dire as this, although there is no cause for complacency. It is not just a question of having more children, but of rediscovering reasons to trust in the future. Some of the hysteric and extreme claims about global warming are also a symptom of pagan emptiness, of Western fear when confronted by the immense and basically uncontrollable forces of nature. Belief in a benign God who is master of the universe has a steadying psychological effect, although it is no guarantee of Utopia, no guarantee that the continuing climate and geographic changes will be benign. In the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Most of this is a preliminary clearing of the ground for dialogue and interaction with our Muslim brothers and sisters based on the conviction that it is always useful to know accurately where you are before you start to decide what you should be doing.
The war against terrorism is only one aspect of the challenge. Perhaps more important is the struggle in the Islamic world between moderate forces and extremists, especially when we set this against the enormous demographic shifts likely to occur across the world, the relative changes in population-size of the West, the Islamic and Asian worlds and the growth of Islam in a childless Europe.
Every great nation and religion has shadows and indeed crimes in their histories. This is certainly true of Catholicism and all Christian denominations. We should not airbrush these out of history, but confront them and then explain our present attitude to them.
These are also legitimate requests for our Islamic partners in dialogue. Do they believe that the peaceful suras of the Koran are abrogated by the verses of the sword? Is the programme of military expansion (100 years after Muhammad's death Muslim armies reached Spain and India) to be resumed when possible?
Do they believe that democratic majorities of Muslims in Europe would impose Sharia law? Can we discuss Islamic history and even the hermeneutical problems around the origins of the Koran without threats of violence?
Obviously some of these questions about the future cannot be answered, but the issues should be discussed. Useful dialogue means that participants grapple with the truth and in this issue of Islam and the West the stakes are too high for fundamental misunderstandings.
Both Muslims and Christians are helped by accurately identifying what are core and enduring doctrines, by identifying what issues can be discussed together usefully, by identifying those who are genuine friends, seekers after truth and cooperation and separating them from those who only appear to be friends.
. For some examples of this, see Daniel Pipes, "Jihad and the Professors", Commentary, November 2002.
. For an account of how some Muslim jurists dealt with large-scale emigration to non-Muslim countries, see Paul Stenhouse MSC, "Democracy, Dar al-Harb, and Dar al-Islam", unpublished manuscript, nd.
. Paul Stenhouse MSC, "Muhammad, Qur'anic Texts, the Shari'a and Incitement to Violence". Unpublished manuscript, 31 August 2002.
. Daniel Pipes "Jihad and the Professors" 19. Another source estimates that Muhammad engaged in 27 (out of 38) battles personally, fighting in 9 of them. See A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq (Oxford University Press, Karachi: 1955), 659.
. Stenhouse "Muhammad, Qur'anic Texts, the Shari'a and Incitement to Violence".
. Sura 95: "Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; for God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate."
Sura936: "And fight the unbelievers totally even as they fight you totally; and know that God is with the godfearing." (Arberry translation).
. Richard Bonney, Jihad: From Qur'an to bin Laden (Palgrave, Hampshire: 2004), 22-26.
."The Will of Abdullaah Yusuf Azzam", www.islamicawakening.com/viewarticle.php? articleID=532& (dated 20 April 1986).
. M. J. Akbar, The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the Conflict between Islam and Christianity (Routledge, London & New York: 2002), xv.
. Abraham I. Katsch, Judaism and the Koran (Barnes & Co., New York: 1962), passim.
. See for example Alain Besançon, "What Kind of Religion is Islam?" Commentary, May 2004.
. Daniel Pipes, "Is Allah God?" New York Sun, 28 June 2005.
. On the concept of "dhimmitude", see Bat Ye'or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude, trans. Miriam Kochman and David Littman (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Madison NJ: 1996).
. Andrew Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non Muslims (Prometheus Books, Amherst NY: 2005), 56-75.
. Robert R. Phenix Jr & Cornelia B. Horn, "Book Review of Christoph Luxenberg (ps.) Die syro-aramaeische Lesart des Koran: Ein Beitrag zur Entschlüsselung der Qur'ansprache", Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies, 6:1 (January 2003). See also the article on Luxenberg's book published in Newsweek, 28 July 2004.
. "Hajj Pilgrims Told of War on Islam", www.foxnews.com, 9 January 2006.
. The World Christian Database (http://worldchristian database.org) gives a considerably lower estimate of the Muslim proportion of the population (54 per cent, or 121.6 million), attributing 22 per cent of the population to adherents of Asian "New Religions". On the WCD's estimates, Pakistan has the world's largest Muslim population, with 154.5 million (or approximately 96 per cent of a total population of 161 million). The CIA's World Fact Book (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook) estimates 88 per cent of Indonesia's population of 242 million is Muslim, giving it a Muslim population of 213 million.
The Muslim proportion of the population in Indonesia may be as low as 37-40 per cent, owing to the way followers of traditional Javanese mysticism are classified as Muslim by government authorities. See Paul Stenhouse MSC, "Indonesia, Islam, Christians, and the Numbers Game", Annals Australia, October 1998.
. William Dalrymple, "Inside the Madrasas", New York Review of Books, 1 December 2005.
. George Weigel, The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America and Politics without God (Basic Books, New York: 2005), 136.
. For a sophisticated presentation of the argument of the case for the moderating effect of electoral democracy in the Islamic world, see the Pew Forum's interview with Professor Vali Nasr (Professor of National Security Studies at the US Naval Postgraduate School),"Islam and Democracy: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan", 4 November 2005, http://pewforum.org/events/index.php?EventID=91.
. Amartya Sen, "Civilizational Imprisonments", The New Republic, 10 June 2002.
. Allan Carlson, "Sweden and the Failure of European Family Policy", Society, September-October 2005.
WORD FAITH INDEX