But what should Mrs May do?

theresa-may-2

I recently tried to encourage an English friend to inform herself about Islam. She said “Never mind that. What should Mrs May do tomorrow morning?” It’s a fair question isn’t it? So here goes…

Unfortunately the very first thing Mrs May needs to do is to inform herself about Islam. Anyone who can say “The actions of ISIS have absolutely no basis in anything written in the Quran” has clearly never read it.

It should only take her a month or so to get a basic understanding, if she is a quick learner. Without it the measures proposed below will just appear senseless or worse.

So, first thing tomorrow morning Mrs May should order some books on Islam. I recommend anything by Robert Spencer who she banned from Britain for having said that “Islam has doctrines involving violence against unbelievers” (it has).

But she also needs to go to the source. That means studying the Koran (especially the first nine blood-curdling suras) and the Sira ie biographies of Mohammed (fortunately there is an abridged version of the earliest one by Ibn Ishaq). She should also sample the Hadiths (traditions about Mohammed), the mediaeval commentaries by Islamic scholars (such as the one by Ibn Kathir) and a manual of Sharia law (only a few sections really concern non-Muslims).

She should then acquaint herself with Islam’s history of relentless warfare against non-Muslims, only interrupted by an interlude of European colonisation, and look at a map and notice the current insurgencies on most of the borders of the Islamic heartlands.

She should come to understand Islam’s dual nature, on the one hand a religion and on the other a totalitarian political ideology. No one gives a damn about flying donkeys and parading round a meteorite in Mecca but the legal system which claims authority over non-Muslims and mandates jihad until the entire world is converted or subjugated is quite another matter.

In particular, she should come to a view on two questions:

“Is Islam inherently and unavoidably supremacist?”
and
“Are we already in a war, that of global jihad, whether we like it or not?”

If her answers are no and no, as they would be for the great majority of the population who have not studied Islam, then the following measures will make no sense. They will merely look like persecuting a particular minority which they would actually be if applied to Sikhs or Jews.

If her answers are yes and yes then these measures will follow naturally, to attempt to put a brake on the Islamisation of Britain. So, what should she do on the first day after her period of study?

Legal/Security

1. The most important single thing Mrs May should do, of course, is to press on with taking us out of Europe, which she appears to be doing. Britain will never be able to properly control its borders within it.

2. Mrs May should declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation and start investigations into its many offshoots in Britain, the two most prominent being the Muslim Association of Britain and the Muslim Council of Britain, with a view to banning them.

3. Mrs May should start the process of leaving the European Convention on Human Rights along with its European Court of Human Rights which consistently puts the rights of enemies of Britain before the protection of British citizens.

She should also set about replacing the Human Rights Act with the once promised British Bill of Rights.

4. Mrs May should sack the advisers who persuaded her that many people “benefit a great deal” from practices such as Sharia Law.

She should call a halt to the inquiry into Sharia courts which she set up as Home Secretary. It is led by an Islamic theologian and starts from the assumption that “Sharia ideas are being ‘misused or exploited’ ”. This could charitably be called naïve. She should reconstitute it, led by a representative of British law with the theologian balanced by someone from Sharia Watch or One Law for All who will be able to point out where problems are arising precisely from the correct application of Sharia.

Or perhaps there’s a simpler explanation for her attitude (1).

5. Mrs May should revisit the government’s anti-radicalisation Prevent Strategy and ask whether there is something missing from its causes of radicalisation. The answer is yes, Islamic theology itself. For instance the Prevent Strategy (section 5.25) states that one of the drivers of radicalisation is “an ideology that sets Muslim against non-Muslim, highlights the alleged oppression of the global Muslim community and which both obliges and legitimises violence in its defence”.

With her new understanding of Islamic scriptures Mrs May will realise that all of the above is to be found in the Koran except that the original (and supposedly oppressed) Muslim community was only local to the Mecca/Medina area. In fact the Koran goes further than legitimising violence in its defence and obliges and legitimises offensive violence for the expansion of Islam. It also depicts Mohammed as an excellent example to follow…and who could be more radicalised than Mohammed?

By focussing on secondary factors such as peer groups, internet propagandists, personal vulnerabilities and grievances the Prevent Strategy is avoiding the profoundly disturbing question of whether jihadi groups have authentic theological justification for their actions (they have).

6. Mrs May should set in train the scrapping of the ill-judged Hate Speech legislation. By suppressing free speech about Islam the government has effectively instituted a de facto Sharia blasphemy law.

Alternatively she should make religious texts also subject to that same legislation. We would soon find that there is so much hatred for non-Muslims in the Koran that any imam would be hard put to preach a sermon legally.

As a matter of fact, here is the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. I can see no exemption in it for religions themselves. Perhaps someone can explain why no test case has been yet been brought against any imam preaching any Friday sermon in any mosque in Britain.

7. Mrs May should reinstitute the sedition law. Mosques in which sedition is preached should be closed down.

Fighters for ISIS, and other designated hostile entities, should face a charge of treason if they return.

8. Mrs May should pass the word out through the Ministry of Justice that cultural differences are no longer to be considered as mitigating (or aggravating) factors in criminal cases, and all central and local government officials who turn a blind eye to crimes out of “cultural sensitivity” or fear of being called racist, will be prosecuted (think Police and Social Services of Rotherham).

9. Mrs May should allow the Royal Navy to take part in Frontex rescue operations in the Mediterranean only on condition that migrants are returned to Africa rather than transported to Italy.

Immigration

10. Mrs May should do what she can to move toward a rational response to illegal immigration from outside the EU. Illegal immigrants should be securely held, preferably offshore, until they can be returned to the last safe country they came through, their homeland or any other country willing to take them.

All benefits should be restricted to EU citizens and, after we have extricated ourselves from the EU, to British citizens.

Cultural

11. Mrs May should read Dame Louise Casey’s recent report about the woeful state of ethnic and religious integration in Britain. Along with the various social and cultural factors put forward by Prof. Casey to account for the isolation of Muslim communities, Mrs May will now be in a position to add a rather intractable scriptural one:

“O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them” (Koran 5:51)

Even Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has accepted that ‘Muslim communities are not like others in Britain and the country should accept they will never integrate”.

12. Mrs May should ban burqas and niqabs in public, and not just for security reasons. They are a studied affront to Western values and a declaration of permanent separation.

13. Mrs May should make it clear that all responsible for FGM, polygamy and forced or under-age marriage will be prosecuted, that is really, actually prosecuted, not just a noise made about it. All these years, all those girls, and not one successful prosecution for FGM!

14. Mrs May should ban all foreign funding for mosques and Islamic religious programmes. They are not set up for the purpose of promoting interfaith relations based on mutual respect and equality. When Saudi Arabia allows the building of churches in Riyadh it could be reconsidered.

15. Mrs May should ban any slaughter methods involving unnecessary suffering. That includes the Jewish Shechita (kosher) as well as Islamic Dhabihah (halal).

16. Mrs May should instruct the Dept for Education to conduct a thorough review of information about Islam in text books and curricula since it appears that children are being given a whitewashed version. For instance, Mohammed is routinely presented as a prophet and benign lawgiver but children are left unaware of his criminal beginnings in Medina and his rise to power using assassination, torture and genocide, not to mention his proclivity for child rape and sex-slavery of non-Muslim women.

There are plenty more proposed measures to be found on the internet intended to halt and reverse the process of Islamisation, but these are enough to keep her busy for one day.

The following day Mrs May should start thinking about how to prepare for the inevitable conflict, and struggle for dominance, which will arise when Muslims form a large enough percentage of the population. France, with a Muslim percentage of 10% as opposed to Britain’s 5%, is currently entering that phase. Britain could learn from the French experience and take preventive measures if it could develop the political will. If you think that is fanciful consider the thousands of French troops now permanently deployed on the streets defending one section of the population from another, and what the head of French Intelligence, Patrick Calvar, recently told a parliamentary inquiry, that France is just one sexual outrage like Cologne or one more mass atrocity away from civil war.

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(1) A wily politician called May
Was overheard one day to say
“I’ll whitewash Sharia
If it helps my career.
Your grandkids will just have to pay.”

Charles, Prince of Folly

prince-charles-1

A few days before Christmas Prince Charles gave a short broadcast about the persecution of Christians and others while managing to avoid naming the persecutors, and even including the persecutors among the persecuted. Here is the text along with some [comments] on the most relevant sentences:

“In London recently I met a Jesuit priest from Syria. He gave me a graphic account of what life is like for those Christians he was forced to leave behind. He told me of mass kidnappings in parts of Syria and Iraq and how he feared that Christians would be driven en masse out of lands described in the Bible. He thought it quite possible there will be no Christians in Iraq within five years. Clearly for such people religious freedom is a daily stark choice between life and death.

The scale of religious persecution around the world is not widely appreciated. Nor is it limited to Christians in the troubled regions of the Middle-East. A recent report suggests that attacks are increasing on Yazidis, Jews, Ahmaddis, Bahais and many other minority faiths.

[What do they have in common? That’s right, all persecuted by Muslims.]

And in some countries even more insidious forms of extremism have recently surfaced, which aim to eliminate all types of religious diversity.

[Muslims again, led by ISIS.]

We are also struggling to capture the immensity of the ripple effect of such persecution. According to the United Nations 5.8 million more people abandoned their homes in 2015 than the year before, bringing the annual total to a staggering 65.3 million. That is almost equivalent to the entire population of the United Kingdom. And the suffering doesn’t end when they arrive seeking refuge in a foreign land. We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive towards those who adhere to a minority faith.

[Aggressive? In what way? Do Marine Le Pen’s or Geert Wilders’ supporters rape or murder immigrants? No they do not. They merely oppose, legally and democratically, the invasion of their countries by military age males whose religious ideology and predatory behaviour pose a deadly threat to indigenous Europeans. The idea that populist groups (that’s the people, right?) oppose immigrants because of their minority faith is dishonest. They oppose the primarily Muslim immigrants because of their violently supremacist faith which happens to be minority…at the moment.]

All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930s.

[No it hasn’t. It is grotesque to equate Nazi persecution of peaceful, productive German citizens because they happened to be Jewish with resistance to the forced acceptance of young men who make women afraid to go out alone and people in general afraid to go to Christmas markets or rock concerts.]

I was born in 1948, just after the end of World War II in which my parents’ generation had fought and died in a battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and an inhuman attempt to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe. That nearly 70 years later, we should still be seeing such evil persecution is to me beyond all belief. We owe it to those who suffered and died so horribly not to repeat the horrors of the past.

[If Prince Charles was referring to the evil persecution of non-Muslims by Muslims in Europe and elsewhere then we would all understand. But he isn’t. He is referring to those ghastly populists again. This is the canard, adopted by Muslims and their dhimmi supporters, that Muslims are in danger of extermination by native Europeans. This is not just grotesque but obscene considering the troops now permanently needed in France to guard synagogues and Jewish schools. No…Muslims are not the new Jews. Jews are the new Jews and Muslims are the new Nazis.]

Normally at Christmas we think of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. I wonder though if this year we might remember how the story of the nativity unfolds with the fleeing of the holy family to escape violent persecution. And we might also remember that when the Prophet Mohammed migrated from Mecca to Medina he did so because he too was seeking the freedom for himself and his followers to worship.

[Yes, Mohammed and his followers migrated to Medina for the sake of freedom of worship, but only their own. Within five years he had slaughtered, exiled or sold into slavery all the Jews of the Medina area and within ten years his armies had imposed Islam on most of Arabia. On the other hand Jesus was taken to Egypt for temporary refuge from Herod. Eventually he returned to Judea and taught a message of peace. To equate these two migrations is to attempt a very ugly sleight of hand which I hope the majority of people will see through.]

Whichever religious path we follow, the destination is the same: to value and respect the other person, accepting their right to live out their peaceful response to the love of God.

[Charles has had state and interfaith connections with Muslims most of his life yet it seems hard to believe that he has ever opened a Koran. While other religions can usually be said to respect, or at least tolerate, non-believers Islam values and respects only Muslims. According to Islamic scriptures unbelievers are to be subjected to a vicious religious apartheid in this life and can expect to be tortured for eternity in the next.]

That’s what I saw when attending the consecration of a Syriac Orthodox cathedral in London recently. Here were a people persecuted for their religion in their own country but finding refuge in another land and freedom to practise their faith according to their conscience. It is an example to inspire us all this Christmas time.”

Why would Charles make such obvious factual errors and such perverse connections? It is a mystery to normal people how he can so obviously deny the reality of Islam which we see all around us. But he is not alone. The representatives of the CofE which he will one day head, along with prime ministers, our unelected overlords in Brussels and the Pope all sing the same tune. The entire elite, in fact, now increasingly being rejected by those appalling populists, the people.

Whatever his motives, to equate Mohammed with Jesus, and ordinary people who see the approaching danger with Nazis is a howling lie. Charles has clearly put himself on the side of the enemies of the British people. We can only hope that he will have to account for it one day, perhaps when the tide of populism reaches the gates of Buckingham Palace.

An innovative proposal

proposal

The Home Office has set up a funding competition through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) in order to “find innovative ways to prevent vulnerable people from becoming radicalised”. It behoves all of us to support this initiative and so I propose the following in the hope of making a contribution:

PREAMBLE

Since the aim of this competition is “to develop innovative solutions for understanding and preventing radicalisation and support for terrorism” I wish to offer the innovative view that HMG is looking for solutions in entirely the wrong places. At best, vulnerability, judgment skills, extremism, networks, propaganda and the internet are secondary or mediating factors.

There is one place, and one place alone, to look for the root cause of radicalisation, the Koran. I know because it radicalised me, only in the opposite direction.

We know that this approach of looking in the obvious place has not been tried at the Home Office because of statements made by the Home Secretary, now Prime Minister, Theresa May.

In September 2014 she said “The actions of ISIS have absolutely no basis in anything written in the Koran”.

To clarify, here are a few of ISIS’s activities along with their very clear basis in the Koran:

Jihad 9:111, terror 3:151, sex slavery 4:24, beheadings 47:4, crucifixions 5:33, jizya 9:29.

Likewise in January 2015 she said “I never thought I would see the day when members of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom would say they were fearful of remaining here.”

It is inconceivable that anyone could have read the Koran and made that statement. Here is a small selection of reasons why:

2:65, 4:46, 5:64, 5:70, 5:78, 5:82, 9:30.

It will be immediately obvious that the verses quoted above have one thing in common, they all come from Mohammed’s Medinan period. If the importance of that distinction is not apparent it is made clear in this presentation of the Koran.

In short, while the Meccan suras are not exactly all sweetness and light toward non-Muslims, any violence is the prerogative of Allah. In the Medinan suras Allah instructs Mohammed and his followers to take that violence into their own hands. Unfortunately many of Mohammed’s followers today see those instructions as being eternally valid until all non-Muslims are either converted or subjugated. This is not surprising since the later scriptures of the Sira and Hadiths as well as the mediaeval commentaries and the various schools of Islamic Law overwhelmingly support that view.

Therefore, leaving aside all predisposing factors and means of transmission, the only sure way to prevent the radicalisation of those who are referred to in the Government’s Prevent Strategy as “vulnerable” is to prevent them being exposed to the radicalising content in the Koran. This aim undeniably presents practical difficulties but fortunately there are only 28 Medinan suras out of 114, though they do tend to be rather longer.

PROPOSAL

My proposal, therefore, is to produce and disseminate Korans consisting solely of the Meccan suras. It can be called “The Moderate Koran”. I will set up ECAW Publications for the purpose, and the SBRI will give me £100,000 to kick start the project.

Moderate Muslim groups should be canvassed to work as partners in spreading copies among Muslim communities. There will be no takers of course but the Home Office will have learned the important lesson of just how central to Islam the violent, supremacist verses actually are.

I recommend that the Home Secretary’s advisers should study the Medinan verses for themselves, and perhaps distance themselves from their usual sources of information about Islam (including those who persuaded Theresa May that Sharia is good for Britain). They would then do well to investigate alternative authorities on the Koran, living or dead, such as Ibn Kathir, Ibn Warraq, IQ Al-Rassooli and Robert Spencer (to whom Theresa May still owes an apology for needlessly banning him from Britain).

Studying these and similar sources should make it clear that the Meccan verses are all of the Koran which is compatible with democratic, pluralistic societies. What must logically follow is the acceptance that an element of compulsion will be necessary. Copies of the Koran containing the Medinan suras will have to be banned from mosques and faith schools, in fact from the country, as incitements to terrorism.

There will be resistance of course but, sadly, these actions are the bare minimum offering even a chance of avoiding the otherwise inevitable civil strife. We can of course just wait and hope for the best as atrocities mount and the demographics move ever more against us, or we can take pre-emptive measures.

Think of the apocryphal sign in an undertaker’s window, “Eventually – why not now?”

Islamofools

My favourite Islamofool has produced a list of definitions of the term “Islamophobe”.

Well, two can play at that game.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks an “Islamophobe” is something other than a mythical creature used to deter proper scrutiny of a supremacist religious ideology.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who believes that the word “Islam” means “Peace”.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who cannot see the moral difference between a religion founded by a man who was crucified and one founded by a man who ordered crucifixions.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks Islam is no threat because they know some very nice Muslims.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who respects a religion whose god thinks the world is flat.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks the Westboro Baptist Church is as dangerous as ISIS.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks the almost certainly fake Covenants of Mohammed with Christians should be accorded equal weight to the Koran, Sira and Hadiths.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks that “The actions of ISIS have absolutely no basis in anything written in the Koran” (Theresa May).

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks “Taharrush” is Arabic for “Getting to know you”.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who repeats after each atrocity carried out to the cry of “Allahu Akbar” that “It has nothing to do with Islam” (David Cameron).

Islamofool (noun) – a person who can’t distinguish between Islam and Muslims (or slips from one to the other to suit their argument without even realising).

Islamofool (noun) – a person who believes leaving Islam will be as simple as joining it.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks there is a sect called “Moderate Islam”.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks the hijab is a fashion statement.

Islamofool (verb) – to persuade the dupe that there is no compulsion in religion.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks that a religion declared perfect by its god 1400 years ago can be reformed.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks the Muslim Brotherhood is the face of moderate Islamism.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks the mass importation of Europe’s historic enemy will lead to anything other than eventual civil war or subjugation.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s new Thought Police will target any but anti-Muslim hate speech.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who believes Islam wasn’t spread by the sword.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks exposing the hatred of Allah toward non-Muslims is hateful (see (35:39, 40:10, 60:4).

Islamofool (noun) – a person who takes the “Anyone who kills a soul…” quote at face value (see 5:32 and 33)

Islamofool (noun) – a person who thinks that Sharia claims authority only over Muslims.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who believes that CAIR is a human rights organisation.

Islamofool (noun) – a person who says “Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” (Pope Francis).

Have I missed any out?

Slay the idolaters….but which idolaters?

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In the counter-jihad world it is widely taken as unquestionable that the jihad verses of the Koran sanction eternal warfare against non-Muslims until the whole world is converted or subjugated. This is because they are open ended and therefore refer to you and me in London and New York in 2017 just as much as they do to Mohammed’s tribal enemies in Mecca in 630 AD. That is what I find when discussing it with counter-jihadists anyway, and it is what I believed until I had a long and bitter debate with someone making the case that mainstream Islam is not unavoidably supremacist because those verses should be interpreted contextually.

It was only some time after that I looked more closely at the jihad verses, and those surrounding them, and realised to my horror that she was right. Or half right anyway. Right that they can very plausibly be interpreted contextually but wrong that Islam is therefore not inherently and unavoidably supremacist. How come?

Imagine that Islam never spread out of Arabia, that perhaps the Persian and Byzantine empires rallied and squashed it, never to be heard of again. Then imagine coming across this strange old book in the loft of a church or synagogue in the one-camel town of Mecca 1400 years later. What would you make of it? I suggest that you would probably think it a collection of tales and motivational sermons from some cult leader to his followers in their bid to take over Mecca and the surrounding area. Would you see anything in it that suggests any ambitions beyond that, anything that clearly mandates eternal application over the whole world?

Take the infamous verse 9:5:

Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Which idolaters is it referring to? There is nothing which identifies all idolaters for all time. Looking at the previous verses:

In verse 1 and verse 3 Allah is giving Mohammed permission to annul the treaty he made with neighbouring idolaters. In verse 4 Allah makes an exception of those of the idolaters who have abided by the terms of the treaty. So who are the idolaters to be ambushed as instructed in verse 5? Presumably the idolaters who supposedly broke the treaty. Jihadis (and counter-jihadists) claim that the verse refers to all idolaters for all time but they have to derive that interpretation from elsewhere because it is clearly not in the text.

Moreover, the sacred months referred to were a specifically local custom, tying the verse even more firmly to its context. Mohammed got so much grief for carrying out his first caravan raid during that time that Allah was obliged to send down a special revelation to get him off the hook.

Likewise with 9:29:

Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

In verse 25 and verse 26 Allah is addressing those Muslims who took part in the Battle of Huneyn. In verse 28 he is referring to those idolaters, necessarily within reach of Mecca, who must not be allowed near the Inviolable Place of Worship, ie the Kaaba in Mecca.

But 9:29 means Jews and Christians everywhere and forever? Really? What would William of Occam (he of the razor) say?

Even with 8:39, one of the two most apparently supremacist verses in the Koran:

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah

the standard translations say nothing about everywhere and forever. The verse could plausibly be read as being fulfilled when Mohammed marched into the Kaaba and destroyed the 360 other gods.

Verse 34 talks of the Meccans who kept the Muslims from the Kaaba.
Verse 41 is about establishing Mohammed’s cut of the loot.
In verse 42 Allah reminisces about the Battle of Badr.

Who are the unbelievers who must be fought until religion is all for Allah, all unbelievers forever and everywhere or just the Meccans? I see nothing about holy war “without limit of time or space”, just a very specific campaign over control of the Kaaba and booty.

It took Hilali and Khan, the Saudi government’s own translators, to turn it into:

And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world]

Likewise, they turned 8:60 from the 7th century:

Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah…

into the decidedly 21st century:

And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery, etc.) to threaten the enemy of Allah…

Admittedly it is the Hilali-Khan translation which is to be found in all those Saudi funded mosques around the world, influencing generations of Salafis, but that adds nothing to its validity, only to its malign effect.

The other most apparently supremacist verse, 48:28, is much the same:

He it is Who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion. And Allah sufficeth as a Witness.

The previous verses are clearly about the Muslims’ campaign for control of Mecca and the Kaaba (verse 24, verse 25 and verse 27). That being so, is there any reason to suppose that “all religion” was intended to refer to all religion in the entire world rather than all the religion practised in the vicinity of Mecca?

We could go on but you get the point. I have been through all the 160 or so jihad verses, conveniently highlighted in mauve here, (and their surrounding verses) and can find none which explicitly (or even implicitly to my mind) point to a place or time beyond Mohammed’s military campaigns. If you can I would be grateful to hear of them. I can see only evidence for a local or regional ambition, and therefore if the Koran was the only canonical Islamic text then Allah’s call to jihad would be of no more concern to us in Europe 1400 years later than Moses’ genocidal campaigns against particular tribes 3000 years ago.

On the other hand there are two good pieces of contemporary evidence for Mohammed’s supremacism outside the Koran:

Firstly, there is the documentary evidence of his threatening letters to surrounding kings and even emperors. As far as I know they are undisputed, at least John Andrew Morrow who goes to heroic lengths to whitewash Mohammed in his book about the Covenants of Mohammed accepts them as genuine. The fact that Mohammed had the chutzpah to write to emperors in such terms is highly persuasive of his limitless ambitions but also, look how direct he is with the smaller fry in his neighbourhood:

“Be informed that my religion shall prevail everywhere (to Haudha bin Ali, governor of Yamama).

“Allah has sent me as a Prophet to all His creatures“ (to Jaifer, King of Oman).

Secondly, there is the circumstantial evidence of the actions of Mohammed’s immediate successors who, as his companions in life, presumably knew his intentions best. Did they settle down and turn Arabia into a model theocracy, happy to let the surrounding infidels get on with their thing? No they consolidated their power with the brutal Ridda Wars then took Islam from Spain to India (and not by knocking on doors). They stopped there not because they had spread the word of Allah far enough but because opposing armies halted them.

More than 100 years after Mohammed’s death Ibn Ishaq tells us in his biography, which is the foundation of the Sira, that it was Mohammed himself who sent jihad beyond Arabia by ordering an attack against Byzantine Syria from his deathbed.

Ibn Ishaq also tells us that after hitting a stone with his pickaxe during preparations for the Battle of the Trench Mohammed said:

“The first spark means that Allah has promised me the conquest of Yemen ; the second that Allah has granted me the conquest of Syria and the West ; and the third that Allah has bestowed upon me victory over the East.”

Another 100 years after that we see this sort of thing in the Hadiths:

“Allah drew the ends of the world near one another for my sake. And I have seen its eastern and western ends. And the dominion of my Ummah would reach those ends… Sahih Muslim (41:6904)

I would not want to be convicted on evidence passed down by word of mouth over 200 years but the point is that Mohammed’s supremacism becomes ever more entrenched in Islam. The process is augmented with the great mediaeval commentaries, for instance:

“Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said, while delivering the glad tidings to the believers that the Messenger will triumph over his enemies and the rest of the people of the earth. Tafsir of Ibn Kathir.

And by the various schools of Islamic Law, for instance:

“Among the things that entail apostasy from Islam are…to deny that Allah intended the Prophet’s message (Allah bless him and give him peace) to be the religion followed by the entire world. The Reliance of the Traveller.

What can we conclude then?

1. The jihad verses do not show that Mohammed was supremacist – ie globally and eternally supremacist.
2. There is good evidence elsewhere that he was (and this has been amplified over the centuries in Islamic scriptures).

I submitted my findings to some knowledgeable people and they said with one voice “So what? Try telling that to Muslims”.

But I do not want to persuade Muslims that Mohammed was not supremacist. I want to persuade non-Muslims that he was, and that Islam is, in order to alert them to the danger we face. As things stand it is too easy for people who know only the Koran to dismiss the jihad verses as merely contextual and to wrongly conclude that Mohammed wasn’t supremacist and therefore Islam isn’t.

They are of course encouraged in this mindset by the many deceptive Islamic apologists (Mehdi Hasan and Reza Aslan come to mind) and by Western (not Eastern) imams. Those people know that there is more to Islam than the Koran but why disturb the infidels’ comfortable illusions? Think beekeepers, smoke, bees.

No, the claim that Mohammed’s supremacism is demonstrated by the jihad verses is not a defensible position. By insisting on something which can be so easily debunked we are undermining our own credibility and reinforcing the preconceptions of a generation who have been told that only phobes and worse challenge the “Religion of Peace” story. Better to abandon it and concentrate on pointing out the evidence elsewhere for both Mohammed’s and Islam’s lust for dominion “without limit of time or space”. Who knows, perhaps the odd rejecter of the counter-jihad message may be persuaded…one less of them, one more of us.

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Islamopathy

praying-in-street

It has been announced that the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will include a new condition, Islamopathy, which displays elements both of sociopathy and of cult groups (1).

Classified as a personality disorder, Islamopathy is characterized by enduring antisocial behavior towards outgroups, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited behavior, often accompanied by free floating rage.

The following cultic style behaviours are also identified in the disorder:

1. Excessively zealous commitment to the leader (Mohammed, a 7th century warlord) and his belief system/ideology.

2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

3. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, what types of clothes to wear, who to marry, how to discipline children, which foot to enter the toilet with and so forth).

4. An elitist outlook, claiming a special, exalted status for the group, its leader and members (for example, the leader is considered a special being or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

5. A polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

6. Teachings that the group’s supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members participating in behaviours they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family, friends or potential converts, collecting money for bogus charities or decapitating outgroup members).

7. A belief that there can be no life outside the context of the group. Members believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals (including murder and eternal hellfire) to themselves or others if they leave, or even consider leaving, the group.

The disorder can surface at any time in long-standing nominal Muslims but often presents in its most virulent form in recent converts. Initial symptoms can include the wearing of pyjamas throughout the day and banging the head on the pavement (or the road, in groups, with the intention of holding up the traffic) accompanied by stereotypical chants. These symptoms occasionally progress to more disturbing levels, sometimes involving Kalashnikovs or blunt knives, followed by suicide otherwise called “martyrdom”.

The only current treatment is “de-programming”, however this is known to be ineffective and the condition has to be managed by denial on the part of the authorities and enforced acceptance by the victims, otherwise known as “the rest of us”.

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(1) Nah, only kidding. We all know that in these days of Big Pharma the pill comes first, followed by the disorder. We can only hope that in a laboratory somewhere in California or Switzerland work has commenced.

Through the academic looking glass

Always keen to learn new things, I enrolled on a short online course given by the University of Groningen entitled Religion and Conflict. My special interest was one particular religion and conflict and I put in my student profile that I was “hoping to be dissuaded of my expectation of a coming catastrophe in Europe due to religious fanaticism”.

This was true although I couldn’t say I was very hopeful. More realistically I hoped to gain an insight into why academics invariably give Islam such an easy ride. Even in that I was disappointed. The “why” must remain a subject of conjecture but I did come to understand something of the “how”. They minimise the content of the various religions and maximise the many extraneous influences affecting their believers then claim to have come up with a more nuanced understanding. Simple, really!

The course consisted of 6 weeks worth of short lectures, videos, interviews and assignments, each with the opportunity for discussion with fellow students. I had expected a bit of friction in the discussion forums and so it turned out, though no worse than a rough night in the Guardian comments sections. One fellow student was decent enough to say that I probably wasn’t a bad person, just having problems with my shadow (he was a Jungian).

A handful of people gave me a hearing when I challenged the arguments of our tutors and I took the opportunity to inject some real information about Islam into the debate, including a comprehensible presentation of the Koran, a manual of Sharia law, an abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Mohammed, an explanation of al wala wal bara, the Hamas charter (see article 7), a dynamic battle map of historic Jihad and the Crusades and a British government report on the Muslim Brotherhood.

We spent Week 1 defining our terms.

Firstly religion and the difference between substantive definitions (what it is) and functional definitions (what it does). The reassuringly basic “Religion is the belief in supernatural beings” was an example of the former and the charmingly silly “Religion is society worshipping itself” represented the latter.

Both approaches were discussed and backed up with academic pedigrees but then, out of the blue and with no explanation, we were told that we would be taking a third approach:

“In this course, we will mainly look at religion in a third sense, as something that can mean different things to different people in different contexts.”

Uh oh, I thought, that sounds suspiciously like non-essentialism, the fashionable and specious academic view that anything can be anything, or to put it more formally “for any given kind of entity, there are no specific traits which entities of that kind must possess”. By taking the view that things, even religions, have basic inherent characteristics, for instance that Allah will never be part of a trinity and God does not live on Mt Olympus, I consigned myself to the essentialist camp. If you think this merely a big end/little end distinction confined to the ivory towers of academia I invite you to consider the skirmish going on elsewhere on the cultural battlefield over whether people with penises should or should not be allowed to use female toilets.

Secondly violence, and here we continued to drift away from commonly understood meanings. Violence apparently can include non-physical violence. Examples of structural or symbolic violence, which is committed by no individual and which leaves no bruises, include the shorter life spans of lower class people, the lower incomes of women and the oppression of Muslim countries by the West. All of these have other possible explanations and the one-sided selection of some of the left’s favourite victims seemed to suggest a leftist bias. At any rate I felt a little cheated out my share of victimhood since the fact that men do not live as long as women failed to make the grade.

Week 2 was about the link between religion and conflict. We prepared the ground with items about framing a conflict as religious, the significance of definition and scholarly understandings of the link between religion and conflict.

Then we started to get down to business in an interview with external Professor Jose Casanova. Since I had been boring everyone with my dreary essentialist concern with what various religious texts actually say, it was encouraging to hear him say “we have to get the facts in a hermaneutic, relatively sensible interpretation of each particular conflict as a first step”.

Since hermaneutics is the interpretation of scriptures, I expected at least a superficial examination of Islamic sources. But no, it turned out that there was no need. He simply dismissed the idea that Islam has an authentic role in Boko Haram’s activities because in other places Muslims and non-Muslims live peacefully together.

In a later interview, citing state-formation as the underlying cause of some instances of violence usually attributed to religious differences, he said that “…Jews, Muslims and Christians could live together in Spain convivencia under Muslim and Christian kingdoms”. Professor Casanova, himself a Spaniard, is talking here about the Convivencia.

It is my understanding that the word refers only to the supposedly harmonious co-existence of the three groups in mediaeval Spain under Muslim rule. With regard to that the professor is wrong. The Convivencia has been officially declared a myth by historians who have found no evidence for it. But even if he was right he would still be wrong because the issue at the heart of the civilised world’s concern about Islam is not whether Muslims can be benign when in power but whether they can, with religious sanction, live as equals with the infidel when they are demographically powerful enough to do otherwise. After all, Allah tells them that they are “the best of peoples” and we are “the vilest of creatures”.

In Week 3 we learned of the many factors that can contribute to religious violence. They include:

State-formation, state-failure, the end of the cold war, the decline of secularism, globalisation, the need to reduce ambiguity, uncertainty and insecurity, Western-backed dictatorships, injustice, unemployment, teenage rebellion, alienation, identity problems, existential anxiety, ontological insecurity, othering and collective memories.

But nothing about what the various religions’ holy texts actually say. How strange. You might think that they could give us a clue as to why there are so many Islamic terrorist groups and so few Jainist ones.

Week 4 included a study of ISIS. Our tutors made it clear what they considered primary in the conflict currently being played out in Syria and Iraq:

“The historical background of present day clashes in Iraq and Syria indicates that rather than civilisational or religious clashes, what we are in fact witnessing are conflicts over economic and political hegemony….Earthly struggles are placed in a framework of cosmic warfare between truth and evil.”

and what they considered secondary:

“…there is no causal relation between the contents of authoritative religious texts on the one hand and specific religious views and practices of adherents to a specific religious tradition on the other. Actors choose from a rich body of transmitted texts those that most adequately answer their existential questions and provide them with concrete scripts for action.”

I disagree on both counts but particularly on the second (did you spot the non-essentialism?). There may be no 1 to 1 relation between religious texts and views and practices but it is absurd to suggest that there is no causal relationship at all. Religious texts are not Rorschach tests. There are limits to what you can pull out of them. You will find plenty about spreading the faith by fighting and killing in Islamic texts but precious little in Buddhist texts. Accordingly we find not just ISIS in Syria but jihadist groups fighting expansionary wars in most of the countries on the borders of Islamdom from Mali to the Philippines to the Caucasus, and now of course in Europe. By contrast if there are Buddhist groups doing something similar then they are keeping it very quiet.

I suggested in the discussions that we should make some attempt to ascertain whether the jihadis’ understanding of Islamic supremacism (the end) and jihad (the means) is actually consistent with the mainstream Islamic tradition or not. It seems to me to boil down to the question of whether the undisputed jihad verses in the Koran are to be understood only in the context of the battles Mohammed happened to be fighting at the time they were “revealed” or are valid for all time until the whole world is under the rule of Islam.

Those fellow students who had an opinion on the matter all took the contextual view for granted. I put forward in support of the timeless view:

a) The example of Mohammed and his immediate successors.

b) Mohammed’s threatening letters to surrounding kings and emperors.

c) The views of the great mediaeval commentators (eg “Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said, while delivering the glad tidings to the believers that the Messenger will triumph over his enemies and the rest of the people of the earth“ Tafsir of ibn Kathir).

d) The various schools of sharia (eg “It is apostasy to deny that Allah intended the Prophet’s message to be the religion followed by the entire world” Reliance of the Traveller).

I also pointed out that I had been unable to find any support for the contextual view in the Islamic tradition before the late 19th century (and that was from the Ahmadiyya, generally regarded as heretical) and asked for examples. None were forthcoming. If you could provide some I would be most grateful.

Nor was any attempt made by our tutors to consider whether ISIS’s beliefs and actions had any connection to those of Mohammed and his immediate successors as they claim. I pointed out that ISIS didn’t pluck robbery, ransoming, beheadings, crucifixion, sex slavery, forced conversion, stoning, immolation, throwing homosexuals off rooves, jizya and takfir out of the air and offered to give details but got no takers.

In fact the only time they ventured anywhere near the theology they got it wrong. In attempting to absolve Islam from some of ISIS’ more extreme brutalities they claimed that there is no justification in the Islamic tradition for beheadings and immolation. In fact, since Mohammed did both they are sacralised as part of the Sunnah, the example of Mohammed. If you doubt it check out chapters 18, 20 and 25 here.

Week 5 was about peace building, but focussed on attempting to bring about reconciliation after wars had already burned themselves out. What could have some effect on the currently warring parties in Syria?

Seminars about existential anxiety perhaps?

I suggest the only thing likely to make a difference would be the discovery of a new “world’s oldest Koran” with a previously unsuspected verse at the end of Sura 9 abrogating everything prior, something like:

“And remember boys, when all Arabia is under your control cut out the jihad stuff and make it up with the Jews and Christians…they’re not so bad after all”.

Week 6 involved a couple of assignments and finished with this message to students:

“It is now your job to share with your friends, your family and your colleagues through
social media and conversations in daily life, that religion, or a particular religious
tradition, is NOT either “good” or “bad”, violent or peaceful, but like other strong ideologies, the symbols, rituals and stories found in religion provide the tools for people to make sense of and respond to the world and the issues they have to deal with.”

There are a few things to note here:

1. Six weeks and not so much as a verse from any religious text. Would our tutors take such a hands off approach to the “other strong ideologies” which they equate with religious traditions? Would they say, for instance, that Nazism was “not either violent or peaceful” and would they look everywhere but in Mein Kampf to understand it? If so then they would be taking a very different approach to that of political scientists who analyse to death the texts of political ideologies.

2. How does our tutors’ message that particular religious traditions are not either good or bad, violent or peaceful translate when it filters out to the less rarified atmosphere of public discourse? Why, that no particular religion is more violent than any others of course. And, despite the daily evidence to the contrary with regard to one particular religion, that is what we continue to hear from our journalists, politicians and church leaders.

It is academia which has created the intellectual climate which allows such nonsense to be taken seriously, and which in turn stifles attempts to name our enemy and take realistic precautions. That is why I say that our tutors, along with so many other well meaning academics, were culpable in the slaughter in Brussels which took place during the course and will be culpable in the many more atrocities which we must look forward to in the coming months and years. Perhaps it will take a beheading in the canteen at Groningen University to burst their bubble. Probably even that would not be enough.

3. Nothing adduced in the course justified the claim that particular religious traditions are not either good or bad, violent or peaceful. A very superficial knowledge of different religious texts is enough to show that it is simply wrong. Most religions have both good and bad, violent and peaceful teachings, varying in their proportion.

One fellow student, in discussion, offered his own largely peaceful religion as one also containing some very violent content. He thought he was disagreeing with me but in fact he was agreeing with me and disagreeing with our tutors since “both…and…” is entirely different to “not either…or…”.

What a feat to convince people who disagree with you not only that they agree with you but to spread your message for you. It can only be done by ignoring the obvious and confusing the mark with irrelevancies which they won’t understand (ontological insecurity…ye gods!). Not that I am accusing our tutors of deliberately deceiving their students. They in turn have allowed themselves to be bamboozled by others or managed to bamboozle themselves. This is how the marketing of “the cloth so fine that only the most intelligent can see it” proceeds. The question is are we to side with the emperor or the little boy?