Tag Archives: Islam

Dear Muslim…

letter

Glad I caught you. If you can spare the time there are a few issues, misunderstandings perhaps, that I would like to raise with you. Can it hurt to bring them out into the open?

Firstly, there is your god Allah. He appears to hate me with a passion. Apparently he intends to torture me forever with fire and each time my skin burns away he will replace it “so I may feel the scourge”. Is this any way for a modern god to behave? In the days when desert tribes worshipped rocks it might have been acceptable but today I really think he has to consider his anger issues. It is not as though I have done him any harm that I know of, just declined to believe in him. You would think an omnipotent being would be too busy regulating the intricate arrangements of the quantum world or designing galaxies to worry about little old me. Frankly, and I’m sorry to say this, his excessive concern over what everyone thinks of him smacks of immaturity.

Then there’s the man who created him, Mohammed. Quite honestly he appears to have been a cruel and vindictive warlord. If he came back today he would surely be shipped off to The Hague to face charges of robbery, murder, rape, enslavement and genocide. Just to mention a couple of his victims, there’s Umm Qirfa the old woman he had tied by the legs to camels and pulled apart, and Kinana ibn al-Rabi the treasurer of a vanquished Jewish tribe. Mohammed ordered him to be tortured until he revealed where the treasure was hidden. A fire was lit on his chest until he was nearly dead then he was beheaded and Mohammed married his wife Safiyya. I hear people justifying some of Mohammed’s thirteen marriages as being motivated by charity towards widows and cannot help thinking “That’s chutzpah!”

Well, that’s all water under the bridge. What bothers me is that I’m told you regard Mohammed as “the perfect man and the example for all Muslims”. That seems like a problem to me.

So much for the pleasantries. Let’s get down to the key question. Is Islam inherently and implacably supremacist, by fair means or foul, or not? That’s what really concerns me. I have been asking around and I think it is. Who told me? Well firstly there is Allah himself:

Koran 8:39
“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]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do.”

I know it is the Hilali-Khan translation, the most incendiary of all, but it does only make explicit what is left implicit in the others and after all it is the version favoured by all those Saudi funded mosques. Wasn’t it in some of those that investigative reporters found Imams saying things like this:

“You cannot accept the rule of the kaffir…we have to rule ourselves and we have to rule the others”
and
“You are in a situation in which you have to live like a state within a state, until you take over”?

Then there is Mohammed, in a letter to Haudha bin Ali, governor of Yamama inviting him to convert or take the consequences:

“Peace be upon him who follows true guidance. Be informed that my religion shall prevail everywhere. You should accept Islam, and whatever under your command shall remain yours”. (The Sealed Nectar:Biography of the Noble Prophet)

And lastly, representative of a number of influential Islamic scholars, Ibn Khaldun, mediaeval historian:

“In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force”.

If these quotes accurately reflect Islamic beliefs then clearly Islam can never live as equals with another culture. It must either dominate or bide its time until it can, just as Mohammed did in Mecca and Medina. That is why, with continuing immigration from warring countries on the other side of the Mediterranean and greater Muslim fertility, I foresee increasing strife between Muslims and everyone else in Britain.

Do not think I hate Muslims but I do pity them and I have to accept that some of them are my enemy. I just do not know which ones. Many, probably yourself included, manage to live in peace with their neighbour but I believe this to be despite their religion which calls for the opposite. It seems clear to me that the bombers and the beheaders are simply following the instructions on the tin and that they would fit right in with Mohammed’s companions. It is Muslims who wish to live peacefully who are obliged to do back flips to avoid the militant aspect of their religion.

Our leaders try to reassure us that there are moderate Muslims and extremist Muslims (otherwise known as radical, Islamist, fundamentalist or militant Muslims). You will know as well as I do that this distinction is never used in Muslim countries, nor it seems even much among British Muslims as we found out when a TV company looked for moderate Imams and could find none who accepted the term.

Correct me if I am wrong, and I would dearly love to be wrong, but I think that there are just more or less observant Muslims, particularly when it comes to Mohammed’s call to Jihad. Some manage to convince themselves that Islam can be just a matter of private devotion like other religions, some spread Islamic practices like Halal into the public space and demand special dispensations for prayer facilities or the right not to be offended, and then there are those who actually heed the call to holy war in Syria or in Britain.

It seems to me that Islam is like a black hole around which believers orbit, more or less affected by its gravitational pull. There are those who maintain a stable orbit at a safe distance, observing prayer and Ramadan and so on, and there are those who venture too close and get sucked in, never to be seen again unless it is on the TV news screaming “Allahu akbar” over some atrocity. The ones I am really interested in though are those further out trying to live the sort of life which other religions and viewpoints would recognise as decent and moral, a life in which non-Muslims, ex-Muslims, women, children and homosexuals are seen as being of equal worth. I hope increasing numbers of those people will manage to escape the malign influence of Mohammed entirely and join the community of apostates, most of whom have to hide the fact for obvious reasons.

Sadly, I believe that Muslims and the rest of us are on a collision course unless something gives. Perhaps it will be the rest of us and that appears to be a possible outcome given the refusal of our leaders and the mainstream media to acknowledge the supremacism at the heart of Islam. They beguile us with idiotic terms like “Islamophobia” but the trouble is we all have eyes to see what is happening around the world and on our streets.

Naturally I hope for another more benign outcome, a large scale collapse of belief in Islam as young Muslims weigh “Islamic science” against real science, the 7th century against the 21st. So far the signs are not good. Weren’t we surprised when polls appeared to show that young Muslims are actually more devout than their parents? Faith schools are also hardly a promising development, allowing the teachings of Mohammed to go unchallenged in the classroom or the playground. Nevertheless, I put great hope in the internet which allows Muslims to bypass their local Imam and get independent information from the many Islam critical sites. For the first time in 1400 years the Mosque’s monopoly on information is being challenged. Who knows what the ramifications could be?

Go on, give it a go. After all, you are only a Muslim because you were indoctrinated at an age before you were able to critically assess what you were being told. You didn’t stand a chance. It’s all made up, honest. No virgins for you, no eternal torment for me. You can just step away from Mohammed and his demand for world domination. Isn’t it the best hope for us to get along?

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Fear

a-Crescent

Let’s be clear. Mohammed was a bloodthirsty megalomaniac and Allah, his imaginary enforcer, is a sadistic petty tyrant who promises to torture you and your children with fire and molten metal for eternity. Islam is not just a religion but also a cruel, domineering, totalitarian ideology which shares much with Nazism, including the demented hatred of Jews.

It only survives because people are indoctrinated at the entrance and threatened with death at the exit. It demands respect not only from its own adherents but from non-Muslims who it instructs believers to convert or subjugate. Anyone who demands respect instead deserves only contempt, as does any organisation which kills those who leave it. Offhand I can only think of Islam and the Mafia which do this.

Since the Aztec religion went out of business and Christians stopped burning each other there has been no other contender for the position of the world’s nastiest religion.

All of this seems obvious to me, and to many other people who have bothered to dip into the Koran and the Hadiths. I know this because they tell me so, having first looked around to check that no one is within earshot. Even then they whisper. You would be a fool not to, wouldn’t you? Everyone knows that bad things happen when you tell the truth about Islam.

The first consequence would be the shocked cries of “Racist”, “Hate Monger” and “Islamophobe”. All these are patently rubbish, and irritating in their idiocy. If you are reading this you probably know why but just in case you’ve strayed in here by mistake, let me explain:

1. Islam is not a race. The fact that most Muslims are several shades browner than I am is irrelevant except to people who are so obsessed with race that they see it everywhere. My enemies include Samantha Lewthwaite, Richard Dart and Terry Lee Loewen, all as white as a swan’s neck. My friends include Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, Nonie Darwish, Ali Sina and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, coming respectively from Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Iran and Somalia. I thank a God I don’t believe in for the help they give us kuffar in understanding the danger of Islam.

2. These people above are not hate mongers. Wafa Sultan correctly locates the primary source of hatred in Allah, “The God who Hates“. She ends her book hoping that in time her efforts “will be crowned with success and a new god will be born; a God who loves”. Nor am I a hate monger. I have hated one or two people in my time and I know what it feels like. I do not hate Muslims. I merely pity them in their benightedness and fear those of them who follow Mohammed’s teachings and example too closely.

3. It really is amazing that the weasel word “Islamophobia” has not yet died of embarrassment. Just look around the world, at the actions of the Taliban, Boko Haram and ISIS, all of which appear to be doing pretty much what Mohammed and his companions did, and tell me that fear of Islam is irrational. That would be taking delusion beyond the call of duty even for the most deluded among us, Guardian readers.

Anyone would be ostracised from polite society for pointing these things out. I know that if I ever breathed a word of this out loud I would never dine in Hampstead again, not that I ever have before but there’s always the possibility. It is just not polite to call a 7th century death cult a 7th century death cult. We all value politeness but is it possible that our civilization will be the first to actually die of it?

The second consequence would be legal, stemming from the ill-judged hate speech legislation which looks very much like a de facto blasphemy law to protect Muslims from being offended. The right of rude free speech which our parents took for granted has been curtailed because we all know that when Muslims are offended there will be a price to pay. Did you know that it is now possible to be arrested for quoting Winston Churchill on the subject of Islam, as was Paul Weston of the Liberty GB party on the steps of Winchester Guildhall? Would the same happen to Churchill if he came back today? What about Gladstone who famously called the Koran “an accursed book” and declared to the House of Commons “So long as there is this book there will be no peace in the world”?

As an example, a couple in Edinburgh were recently convicted of the heinous crime of wrapping pieces of bacon around the door handles of a mosque, then throwing them inside. No one was injured by the flying pig meat, nor was there any structural damage but a security guard said his feelings were hurt. The couple received sentences of 9 and 12 months respectively. Can you imagine anything so stupid, or to use a distinctively British expression, so “effing bloody stupid”?

The third consequence, of course, would be the death threats and possible actual death which automatically follow serious criticism of the religion of peace. We saw that when someone drew a cartoon of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban and the world erupted. What on earth could have prompted the cartoonist to depict the apostle thus, just because there are bombs being set off around the world in his name as we speak?

Who is brave enough to speak out in the face of all this?

Not Grayson Perry, for instance. In 2007 the anti-religious artist admitted that he did not address Islam in his work “…because I don’t want my throat cut”. Very sensible too; the only question is whether he suffers more from Islamophobia or simple decapitophobia.

Not the BBC which would not show a very innocuous “Jesus and Mo” cartoon because they feared for the safety of their staff in Pakistan. Nor Channel 4 which slipped over into absurdity by showing the cartoon with Mo covered by a black oval. If only they were being satirical, but they were not. Both organisations claimed they were practising “responsible journalism”.

And not me either, that’s for sure. Obviously, any movement needs the odd martyr but I’d rather it wasn’t me if at all possible. That’s why I cower behind throw away email addresses and proxy servers. Neverthess it really is incumbent on us somehow to try to challenge the lies we are told and to ridicule the ridiculous.

This is what I suggest, let’s all own up to our fear and stop calling our silence politeness. It could be empowering. Start small. Wear an “Islam sucks” T-shirt, obviously under your shirt, but you’ll know it’s there. Next, when challenged on what you really believe about Islam say “Unfortunately I cannot respond. I have a job to lose and a reputation to protect”. Wear a white feather backed by a green crescent on your lapel. When you see me with mine give me a wink. In time scores of us…hundreds…even thousands may become bold enough to march together bravely holding banners aloft declaring “Afraid and Proud” and “Embrace your Fear”. Who knows where it could lead?

Anyway, don’t worry about me. I’m safe enough tapping away here in my garret. I might be unconscionably rude about the perfect man but, apart from anything else, I know I am protected by my own obscurity. Fortunately no one reads this, and you won’t let on will you? Hang on a mo, there’s someone at the door. At one in the morning? That’s odd. Hold on, I’ll be right back………………………………………………………………………………………………

Islamism or Islam?

We all heard our leaders say after the Woolwich murder:

“There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act” (David Cameron)
“It is completely wrong to blame this killing on Islam” (Boris Johnson)
“…the distortion of a great salvation religion” (Nick Clegg).
Before them Tony Blair said “Anyone who knows anything about Islam, knows it is a religion of peace”.

Were you surprised that they all had the theological knowledge to make such definitive claims? Did you wonder what their justifications were? They never told us.

Boris Johnson’s case is particularly interesting because he appears to have had something of a Damascene conversion. After the 7/7 bombings in 2005 he said:

“To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia — fear of Islam — seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke. Judged purely on its scripture – to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques – it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers….That means disposing of the first taboo, and accepting that the problem is Islam. Islam is the problem”

In 2008, while campaigning in the London mayoral election, he said he now believed, after having researched the Koran more in depth, that it is “a religion of peace”.

What did he find in the Koran that changed his mind? Sadly, he did not share that with us. Until he gives us chapter and verse, that is sura and ayah, we may suspect that his epiphany came not so much from reading the Koran as from realising the importance of the Muslim vote in London.

After the Woolwich murder Johnson wrote that:

“There is no sense in blaming Islam, a religion that gives consolation and enrichment to the lives of hundreds of millions of peaceful people…we need to make a hard and sharp distinction between that religion – and the virus of “Islamism”.

So there we have it – Islam is the otherwise healthy organism afflicted by an illness, Islamism, which has to be treated. I am grateful to Boris for making the establishment view so clear with his image.

This division is also at the heart of government policy. In December 2013 Her Majesty’s Government produced a report called Tackling extremism in the UK.

It says “As the greatest risk to our security comes from Al Qa’ida and like-minded groups, and terrorist ideologies draw on and make use of extremist ideas, we believe it is also necessary to define the ideology of Islamist extremism. This is a distinct ideology which should not be confused with traditional religious practice. It is an ideology which is based on a distorted interpretation of Islam, which betrays Islam’s peaceful principles, and draws on the teachings of the likes of Sayyid Qutb.”

(As an aside, if Sayyid Qutb is the evil genius behind all this, why is the organisation which reflects his ideology like no other, the Muslim Brotherhood, welcome in Britain? The MB has a record of engaging in terrorist violence or political infiltration according to circumstance, as do its offshoots for instance Hamas in Gaza (the former) and CAIR in the US and myriad organisations in Britain (the latter) and yet it operates openly from an office in Cricklewood. Conversely, if the MB is acceptable why is their great ideologue held up as the inspiration of our enemies?)

One intriguing development is referred to in the report:

“Appropriately recruited Muslim Prison Chaplains are already employed to challenge the extremist views of prisoners and to provide religious direction for Muslim prisoners. Using their experience, they are developing the ‘Ibaana’ [ie “clarify”] programme designed to target the small number of prisoners with the most entrenched extremist views. One-to-one sessions over several hours with a trained chaplain will be used to challenge the theological arguments used by these prisoners to justify their extremist views.”

There is of course the possibility that state backed theologians will just be dismissed by Muslim prisoners as “Uncle Toms” trying to create suitably docile Muslims.

But let us take a more positive view. If our leaders cannot provide the theological justifications for a peaceful Islam perhaps these appropriately recruited chaplains can. Whatever they are telling their charges, let them write it down so we can all see it and have our minds put at rest. I for one would be massively grateful for such justifications because whenever I go looking for them I find either comically blatant deception as in Tahir-ul-Qadri’s famous fatwah against terrorism or what could charitably be called wishul thinking as in Quilliam’s arguments.

No such document being planned? No, I thought not, but if HMG really think their Muslim chaplains can provide sound arguments to counter jihadi attacks against us then surely it has a duty to get them out into the world.

If you want to explore the intellectual underpinnings of the government’s stance then Michael Gove’s excellent book Celcius 7/7 would be a good place to start. It is heartening to know there is someone in the government with such an understanding of the Islamist threat and who is (or was) willing to speak out about it. Nevertheless, it seems to me that his attempt to separate Islamism from Islam does not hold water. He asserts that:

“The distinction is the difference between Islam, the great historic faith which has brought spiritual nourishment to millions, and Islamism, the specifically twentieth-century ideology which twists the religious impulse into submission to a new totalitarianism.”

and

“Islamism is not Islam in arms; it is a political creed that perverts Islam…”

but look at some of his supporting statements (I hope not misrepresented by taking them out of their context):

“…Islamism is driven by a divine mission to ensure that the whole earth, in due course, learns to submit to Islamist rule.”

“For Hassan al-Banna and his followers in the Muslim Brotherhood the roots of decline lay in the abandonment of a pure and unpolluted Islam. Revival could only come through a return to a society ordered on the basis of the literal, and unalterable, truths of the Koran.”

“His [ie Abul ala Mawdudi’s] group, Jamaat-i-Islami [closely related to the MB], was dedicated to the fundamental Islamist proposition that Islam was not so much a religion for private devotion as the source of a complete political system capable of competing with rival totalitarianisms for the minds of men.”

“…Mawdudi’s belief that ultimate sovereignty rested with God alone. It was by his unalterable rules and in accordance with his perfect revelation that society was to be ordered. Down to the last detail.”

Where is the specifically twentieth-century ideology there? I see nothing that could not be described simply as a return to Mohammed’s original religio-political ideology. Surely we must agree that Mohammed’s Islam, as developed in Medina at least, was not just “a religion for private devotion” but absolutely a complete political system.

Then, along with the Muslim Brotherhood, there are the Salafis and the Khomeiniites and Al-Qaeda. Is that one ideology or four? Quite different from each other, they share only one thing – the intent to spread Islam using peaceful or violent means as necessary. It seems to me that these four groupings do not represent a new totalitarian ideology but are simply new varieties of an old one. That is why I would reverse Mr Gove’s statement:

“Islamism is not a political creed that perverts Islam, it is simply Islam in arms.”

I hesitate to challenge Mr Gove’s view but I do have some scholarship on my side. Here is the historian Mervyn Hiskett writing twenty years ago when the terms “Islamism” and “Islamic fundamentalism” were used interchangeably:

“But the truth is, Islamic “fundamentalism”, as the world has understood it…adds little, if anything, to what has always been inherent in Islam since the Koran was revealed. The collapse of [Western European] imperialism and the rise of the liberal ethic have simply removed the barriers that once so salubriously contained it.”

One problem is that the groups we call Islamist are not so obliging as to refer to themselves as such. They see themselves simply as Muslims carrying out instructions laid down in Mohammed’s teachings, and supported by all four of the Sunni schools of jurisprudence and the Shiite equivalent. Look at these expressed views of Muslim scholars among others.

Can you tell the Islamists from the mainstream? For instance, what about the modern Syrian scholar Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Bouti in his major work “Jurisprudence in Muhammad’s Biography”:

“The concept of Holy War (Jihad) in Islam does not take into consideration whether defensive or an offensive war. Its goal is the exaltation of the Word of Allah and the construction of Islamic society and the establishment of Allah’s Kingdom on Earth regardless of the means. The means would be offensive warfare. In this case, it is the apex, the noblest Holy War.”

In fact he would not be considered an Islamist, yet see how exactly he chimes with Osama bin Laden:

“It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah’s Word and religion reign Supreme.”

The views of al-Bouti, “the scholar’s scholar”, are particularly interesting, even ironic, since he reverses our current ideas about the distortion of Islam. Expanding on his theme of offensive jihad he writes:

“…This is the concept which professional experts of thought attempt to conceal from the eyes of Muslims by claiming that anything that is related to a holy war in Islamic law is only based on defensive warfare to repel an attack…It is no secret that the reason behind this deception is the great fear which dominates foreign countries (East and West alike) that the idea of Holy War for the cause of God would be revived in the hearts of Muslims, then certainly, the collapse of European culture will be accomplished.”

Perhaps our Muslim chaplains will hear him quoted in their conversations with the Islamist prisoners.

It is not that I deny that there is a distinction to be made between Islam and Islamism but I suggest that it is of very limited use. Islamism just refers to those strains of Islam whose adherents are willing to use violence to spread the influence of their religion. That sounds just like the Mohammed of Medina to me. I do not see any distortion of his teachings there at all. In fact I venture to suggest that if Mohammed came back today he would say “Well done boys, keep up the good work”. Presumably he meant it for all time (and this is how Islamic tradition has understood it down the ages) when he said:

“Not equal are those believers remaining [at home] – other than the disabled – and the mujahideen, [who strive and fight] in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred the mujahideen through their wealth and their lives over those who remain [behind], by degrees. And to both Allah has promised the best [reward]. But Allah has preferred the mujahideen over those who remain [behind] with a great reward” (sura 4:95).

So was Mohammed an Islamist or just a Muslim? The historian Daniel Pipes calls this the killer question of those who see Islam itself as the problem and answers it in a worryingly facile way. He says “Muhammad was a plain Muslim, not an Islamist, for the latter concept dates back only to the 1920s”.

Is this not just playing with words? If you put the question another way, “Who in the modern world most closely follow Mohammed’s Medina teachings and example?” surely the Islamists come out tops. Why shouldn’t they be murderous fanatics? That is exactly what Mohammed was. If they are Islamists then so was Mohammed. If Mohammed was just a Muslim then so are they.

Suppose there was an Islamic version of the rapture tomorrow and all those Muslims commonly referred to as Islamists were taken to paradise. Would that solve our problems? According to HMG it must. The ideology which is a distortion or a betrayal of Islam would have disappeared, leaving only peaceful Muslims to live harmoniously with non-believers according to their traditional religious practice. I suggest that before too long some Muslims would start to scratch their heads and say “Hey, look what it says here. Why aren’t we doing it?” Then new groups would spring up with sword in one hand and the Koran in the other, just as has always happened since the 7th century (apart from a relatively short spell of containment under European colonialism).

This is why I say that, while Islam and Islamism can be distinguished, the relationship between them is not that of an organism and an infection but more accurately that of a fire and the flames that it inevitably produces. If you doused the flames currently burning up so much of the world they would soon be replaced by others.

Is it not patronising and futile to imagine we can convince aspiring jihadis that they have misunderstood Mohammed’s demands? It appears obvious to most newcomers to Islam, as it does to so many learned scholars, Muslim and non-Muslim, that supremacism and jihad are utterly inherent in the Islam of Mohammed, not just of Sayyid Qutb. Instead of trying to convince jihadis that they have it all wrong should we not accord them the dignity of regarding them genuinely as our enemy?

Let us close with a quote, taken from a comments section of the Guardian, from an unknown Salafi with whom I would not try to argue:

“As for how I define myself, I am merely a Muslim. If I have to expand on that further then I am also a Sunni. If I need to expand on that even further then I am a Salafi too. I don’t give credence to labels that are thrown around by the infidels. I believe that as a Muslim one should understand the religion by the apparent (i.e. literal) meaning of the texts which would no doubt render me a ‘devout Fundamentalist’. Thus I also believe in the concept of jihad which would also render me a ‘Jihadist’. The usage of these titles is a major bugbear of mine because there is no such thing as a fundamentalist or moderate Islam. There is simply Islam and Muslims may choose to be sincere and accept it in its entirety or on the other hand pick and choose from it to please their desires and others.”

Who says Islam is supremacist?

Allah:
“He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), that He may make it (Islam) superior over all religions. And All-Sufficient is Allah as a Witness.” (Koran 48:28)

“Allah hath promised such of you as believe and do good work that He will surely make them to succeed (the present rulers) in the earth even as He caused those who were before them to succeed (others)…” (Koran 24:55)

Mohammed, in a letter to Haudha bin Ali, governor of Yamama inviting him to convert or take the consequences:
“Peace be upon him who follows true guidance. Be informed that my religion shall prevail everywhere. You should accept Islam, and whatever under your command shall remain yours”. (The Sealed Nectar:Biography of the Noble Prophet)

Likewise to Jaifer, King of Oman:
“Allah has sent me as a Prophet to all His creatures in order that I may instil fear of Allah in the hearts of His disobedient creatures so that there may be left no excuse for those who deny Allah”. (The Sealed Nectar:Biography of the Noble Prophet)

Also according to Sahih Muslim (41:6904):
“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….

And according to Sahih Bukhari (1:7:1331):
“The Prophet said, ‘I have been given five things which were not given to anyone else before me. 1. Allah made me victorious by awe by His terrorizing my enemies. 2. The earth has been made for me. 3. Booty has been made lawful for me yet it was not lawful for anyone else before me. 4. I have been given the right of intercession. 5. Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation only but I have been sent to all mankind‘ “

And according to Ibn Ishaq, Mohammed’s earliest biographer, on hitting a stone with his pickaxe during preparations for the Battle of the Trench:
“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.”

Ibn Taymiyyah, mediaeval theologian and the inspiration for Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, founder of Wahhabism:
“Since lawful warfare is essentially Jihad and since its aim is that religion is entirely for Allah and the word of Allah is uppermost, therefore, according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought”.

Ibn Kathir, mediaeval Koranic commentator:
“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.

Ibn Khaldun, mediaeval historian:
“In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.

The Reliance of the Traveller, the authoritative 14th century Shafi’i manual of Islamic Jurisprudence:
“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 Hedaya, the equally authoritative 12th century Hanafi manual of Islamic Jurisprudence:
War must be carried on against the infidels, at all times, by some party of the Mussulmans. The sacred injunction concerning war is sufficiently observed when it is carried on by any one party or tribe of the Mussulmans; and it is then no longer of any force with respect to the rest. It is established as a divine ordinance, by the word of God, who has said, in the Koran ‘SLAY THE INFIDELS’; and also by a saying of the prophet, ‘war is permanently established until the day of judgment’.”

Encyclopaedia of Islam, standard reference work:
“The spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general.… Jihad must continue to be done until the whole world is under the rule of Islam.… Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad [warfare to spread Islam] can be eliminated.”

Hassan Al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood:
“It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.

Sayyid Qutb, Muslim Brotherhood ideologue:
“We understand the true character of Islam, and that it is a universal proclamation of freedom of man from servitude to other men, the establishment of the sovereignty of God and His Lordship throughout the world, … and the implementation of the rule of the Divine shari’ah in human affairs.”

Abdul A’la Maududi, founder of Jamaat-i-Islami:
“… The purpose of the Holy Prophet’s appointment as a Prophet was not merely to preach this Religion, but to make it prevail over all others… so that it should be the dominant Religion of life and any other religion should survive, if at all it survives, only within the limits in which it allows it to survive”.

Ayatollah Khomeini:
“Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled and incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world. Those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world…Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless”.

Bernard Lewis, doyen of Islamic historians:
“The basis of the obligation of jihad is the universality of the Muslim revelation. God’s words and God’s message is for all mankind; it is the duty of those who have accepted them to strive (jihada) unceasingly to convert or at least subjugate those who have not. This obligation is without limit of time or space. It must continue until the whole world has either accepted the Islamic faith or submitted to the power of the Islamic state.”
(this is the same Bernard Lewis who said that by the end of this century “Europe will be part of the Arabic west, of the Maghreb.”)

Majid Khadduri, scholar of Islamic law:
“The Islamic state, whose principal function was to put God’s law into practice, sought to establish Islam as the dominant reigning ideology over the entire world…. The jihad was therefore employed as an instrument for both the universalization of religion and the establishment of an imperial world state.”

Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, Professor of Sharia:
“This leaves no doubt that the primary goal of the Muslim community, in the eyes of its jurists, is to spread the word of Allah through jihad, and the option of poll-tax [jizya, extortion tax] is to be exercised only after subjugation [of non-Muslims].”

Hilali-Khan translation (aka the Wahhabi Koran)
“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]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do.” (sura 8:39)

Omar M. Ahmad, co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR):
“If you choose to live here you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam… Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”

Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Bouti
, Al-Azhar University Islamic scholar (assassinated Damascus 2013):
“The concept of Holy War (Jihad) in Islam does not take into consideration whether defensive or an offensive war. Its goal is the exaltation of the Word of Allah and the construction of Islamic society and the establishment of Allah’s Kingdom on Earth regardless of the means. The means would be offensive warfare. In this case, it is the apex, the noblest Holy War. It is legal to carry on a Holy War.”

Taqiy al-Din al-Nabahan, founder of Hizb ut-Tahrir:
“The foreign policy of Islamic states must be to carry the Islamic mission to the world by way of holy war. This process has been established through the course of the ages from the time the apostle settled down until the end of the last Islamic state which was ruled by Islamic law. This process has never been changed at all. The apostle Muhammad, from the time he founded the state in the city Yathrib, prepared an army and began holy war to remove the physical barriers which hinder the spread of Islam.”

Osama bin Laden:
“It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah’s Word and religion reign Supreme.”

Samantha Lewthwaite, the “white widow”:
“Verily Allah has purchased the lives of the believers that theirs shall be paradise. They fight in Allah’s cause, so they kill and are killed… it will NEVER be over until the day that we see our lands governed by Allah the almighty, whose law is complete”. (quoting sura 9:111)

IS (Islamic State), from their magazine Dabiq issue 7:
“…the sword will continue to be drawn, raised, and swung until ‘Īsā (Jesus – ‘alayhis-salām) kills the Dajjāl (the Antichrist) and abolishes the jizyah. Thereafter, kufr and its tyranny will be destroyed; Islam and its justice will prevail on the entire Earth.”

Sam Harris, anti-religious author:
“While there are undoubtedly some moderate Muslims who have decided to overlook the irrescindable militancy of their religion, Islam is undeniably a religion of conquest. The only future devout Muslims can envisage—as Muslims—is one in which all infidels have been converted to Islam, politically subjugated, or killed. The tenets of Islam simply do not admit of anything but a temporary sharing of power with the ‘enemies of God’.”

WHO SAYS IT ISN’T?

George Bush, Tony Blair, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Theresa May (theological competence uncertain).

Quilliam

Everyone at the Guardian.

The entire interfaith dialogue industry.

CAIR (when talking to non-Muslims eg “My jihad is building new friendships. What’s yours?”).

Tariq “double talk” Ramadan (Oxford Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies and grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood).

Mehdi “the kuffar live like cattle” Hasan (Journalist and deceptive apologist).

John Esposito (Saudi funded academic, champion of the mythical higher jihad and author of “The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?”).

Your local smiley imam

Deceptiveness – Tahir-ul-Qadri

In 2010 Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri produced a 500 page fatwa condemning all terrorism as unIslamic, “no ifs or buts”. It was welcomed by anyone wishing to believe that Islam is a religion of peace and has been used by “moderate” Muslims such as Mo Ansar and Mehdi Hasan to back up their claim that it is so.

Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch wondered why there was no attempt in it to explain why the so called terror verses do not mean what they appear to mean.

It turned out that there was no need because Tahir-ul-Qadri was working from his own translation of the Koran in which he simply interpolated comments magically taking the sting out of the verses by making them always defensive, for instance this is the standard Pickthall translation of 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.

and here is Qadri’s version:

(O Muslims!) Wage (also a defensive) war against those of the People of the Book (who infringed the peace treaty signed with you, and despite being in exile, provided full support to the disbelieving Meccan invaders who imposed the battle of al-Ahzab [the Confederates] on Medina, and have continued every possible conspiracy against you even now). They do not have faith in Allah and the Last Day, and do not consider unlawful the things Allah and His Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) have declared unlawful, and do not adopt the true Din ([Religion] of Islam) until they give in and surrender (to the command of Islam), and pay the capitation tax with their own hands after having been subdued.

Who is this sleight of hand going to fool? Not the jihadis who know their Koran, that’s for sure, but possibly naive Westerners merely hearing Ansar’s and Hasan’s assertions. But what of those two themselves, are they in on the joke or are they themselves innocently deceived? Now that Tahir-ul-Qadri has been rumbled will they stop citing his fatwa? We’ll see.

Deceptiveness – Mehdi Hasan

I’ve never taken to Mehdi Hasan. He talks too fast, making one specious point after another and moving on before you can spot the flaw, relying on the tongue being quicker than the mind. Also the fact that I’ve heard him come out with everyone’s favourite doctored quote “…he who kills a soul… etc” doesn’t endear him to me. Nor that he can still use the wretched term “Islamophobia” with a straight face.

However, when someone used the clip of him at the Oxford Union debate in support of their positive view of Islam I thought I’d take the trouble to slow him down with the pause button in order to examine his claims:

1. “A Muslim mathemetician called Muḥammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi came up with algebra and algorithms”.

Irrelevant and overstated. Although the word “algebra” came from one of al-Khwarizmi’s innovative mathematical procedures and the word “algorithm” is taken from his name, he did not come up with them. In both cases he was working from pre-existing works by Indians or Greeks.

2. “Although I wrote about anti-semitic prejudice in the Muslim community modern anti-semitism comes from the Judaeo-Christian tradition”.

Well, a lot of it does but he does not mention that the intense, even demented, anti-semitism in the Muslim world today has been incubating quite independently from Christianity ever since the Jewish tribes rejected Mohammed as a prophet. He was cursing the Jews on his death bed and today Muslims refer to them five times a day in their prayers as “those who earned your anger”.

The following hadith has been incorporated as part of the Hamas charter:

“The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews”. (Sahih Muslim 41:6985)

3. “The journalist Tom Friedman told me if Islam were running Europe in the 1940’s there would be 6 million more Jews alive today”.

What a fantastically silly thing to say (if my aunt had….well, you know the rest), particularly since Muhammad Amin al-Husayni the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem spent most of the war in Berlin enthusiastically supporting the Nazis’ final solution and recruiting Muslims to fight in the Waffen SS.

In 1944, while speaking on Radio Berlin, al-Husseini said “Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion”.

4. “Atheists see all religions as evil, violent and threatening”.

Firstly, is it not comical when people who complain that Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc happily do the same to other religious or anti-religious groupings?

Secondly, how could anyone at all, atheist or religious, who knows about Jainism, Buddhism or the actual teachings of Jesus or Mohammed accept the equal malignancy of all religions? As a comparison Mohammed ordered stonings, Jesus said “He who is without sin cast the first stone”.

5. “Crusades, Inquisition, Lord’s Resistance Army, pogroms etc”.

Why do Muslims always hark back to the Crusades as an unforgivable aggression against Muslim lands and which the West is meant to feel guilty for? They were a pin prick compared to the Muslim crusade a few hundred years before which expropriated Christian lands from Palestine to Spain.

And, as for the LRA (and Leviticus, another favourite of Islamic apologists), is it not significant how far from the teachings of Jesus the practitioners of this particular false equivalence have to go to find anything resembling the actual words and deeds of Mohammed?

6. “113 out of the 114 suras of the Koran start by introducing Allah as a god of mercy and compassion”.

So what? I start all my letters “Dear…”, usually to people who are not dear to me at all. It’s the content that counts and we all know what is in most of the suras.

Just as an example, this is how one unremarkable sura (111) continues after introducing Allah as a god of mercy and compassion:
“May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he.
His wealth will not avail him or that which he gained.
He will [enter to] burn in a Fire of [blazing] flame
And his wife [as well] – the carrier of firewood.
Around her neck is a rope of [twisted] fiber…”.

7. “Islam is not pacifist but only allows military action in certain limited contexts”.

Unfortunately Mehdi does not detail these certain limited contexts or give scriptural justification, not surprisingly since it is a hotly contested area. Let us just say that:

a. There are suras which appear to require only that the neighbouring people are unbelievers to attract the Muslims’ violent attentions.

b. The renowned scholar Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Bouti (assassinated Damascus 2013) seems to have drawn a different conclusion from Mehdi:

“The concept of Holy War (Jihad) in Islam does not take into consideration whether defensive or an offensive war. Its goal is the exaltation of the Word of Allah and the construction of Islamic society and the establishment of Allah’s Kingdom on Earth regardless of the means. The means would be offensive warfare. In this case, it is the apex, the noblest Holy War. It is legal to carry on a Holy War.” (“Jurisprudence in Muhammad’s Biography”)

c. In the later part of his career when he had the military strength Mohammed certainly invaded neighbouring tribes and kingdoms simply to convert or subjugate them.

Here is Mohammed writing to the Christians of Aylah in Northern Arabia:
“I will not fight against you until I have written thus unto you. Believe, or else pay tribute. And be obedient unto the Lord and his Prophet….Come then, before trouble reach you. I commend my messengers to you. Give to Harmala three measures of barley; and indeed Harmala hath interceded for you. As for me, if it were not for the Lord and for this [intercession of Harmala], I would not have sent any message at all unto you, until ye had seen the army. But now, if ye obey my messengers, God will be your protector, and Mahomet, and whosoever belongeth unto him”.
(Sir William Muir “The Life of Mahomet”)

d. His successors did likewise, presumably under the impression that they were following Mohammed’s intentions, conquering every kingdom or empire from Spain to the borders of India within 120 years of Mohammed’s death. Either that or it was the most spectacular and sustained campaign of self defence in history.

8. “Suicide bombings and terrorist acts are done for political not religious reasons”.

Mehdi has half a point here but Islamic terrorism is conducted not for political or religious reasons alone but for political and religious reasons together. In Islam, unlike all other major religions, politics and religion are inextricably intertwined. That is why terrorists, such as the Woolwich butchers, quoted both Koranic verses and political grievances.

9. “Shaykh Tahir-ul-Qadri published a 600 page fatwa condemning the killing of all innocents and all suicide bombings unconditionally without any ifs or buts”.

Not even the odd if or but? You might wonder how he dealt with the so called terror verses of the Koran. It turns out that he did not have to because he was working from his own translation which renders every violent act defensive with the addition of helpful comments. Just like that….for instance:

Sura 9:123 “O believers! Fight against those of the disbelievers who are around you (i.e., who are directly involved in hostilities and terrorist activities against you). And (fight in a way and at a time that) they find in you toughness (of might, valour and defensive capability). And bear in mind that Allah is with those who guard themselves against evil.”

Helpful, no doubt, to those desperate to believe in the religion of peace or to those wishing to encourage them, but would it convince your everyday jihadi?

10. “Where is the book of Sharia law? It doesn’t exist. People argue over what Sharia law is.”

It is hard to know what point Mehdi is making here. Is it that because there is no one unchanging statute book that there is nothing to worry about? You might as well say that because Islam is fractured into many sects that it presents no problem to the non-Muslim world.

According to Robert Spencer “Sharia in reality is marked by a remarkable uniformity: the four Sunni schools of Islamic law agree on about 75% of all rulings. Whenever and wherever we see Sharia implemented, it looks essentially the same. Changes and variations come in when Sharia provisions are relaxed or dropped altogether, as in secular Turkey — but that is not some different version of Sharia, it is no Sharia at all”.

11. “If a tiny minority of Muslims are committing acts of terrorism why aren’t the rest of us doing it?”

a. Because there is no need. Jihad (the struggle to promote Islam) comes in many forms other than violence, such as contributing to charities which help terrorists or by spreading the influence of Islam through proselytising, lawfare and endless demanding and complaining (note the Arab saying “Show a victim’s face and you will take over”).

As Ibn Khaldun the mediaeval historian said:
“In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force“.

b. Not everyone follows their religion closely or is neccesarily aware of their obligations, especially as many Muslims merely recite the Koran in Arabic, a foreign language to the majority. Sadly, the more seriously a believer takes Islam the greater the likelihood of violent jihad. How often do we hear of a terrorist that he was becoming more devout in the preceding months, such as this British Jihadi fighting in Syria:

“It wasn’t taught to me that Islam is peace and there’s no fighting.
It is peace but it requires fighting.
The duty of a Muslim is to love jihad.
One of the sayings of the prophet peace be upon him whoever does not go jihad or doesn’t even talk about it dies with the characteristic of of hypocrisy.
I am actually a Muslim following the way I should be.”

What Allah has in mind for you

[Koran 3:131] And guard yourselves against the fire which has been prepared for the unbelievers.

[4:56] Indeed, those who disbelieve in Our verses – We will drive them into a Fire. Every time their skins are roasted through We will replace them with other skins so they may taste the punishment. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted in Might and Wise.

[7:50] And the inmates of the fire shall call out to the dwellers of the garden, saying: Pour on us some water or of that which Allah has given you. They shall say: Surely Allah has prohibited them both to the unbelievers.

[8:14] This– taste it, and (know) that for the unbelievers is the chastisement of fire.

[9:68] Allah has promised the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women and the unbelievers the fire of hell to abide therein; it is enough for them; and Allah has cursed them and they shall have lasting punishment.

[9:73] O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.

[13:35] A likeness of the garden which the righteous are promised; there now beneath it rivers, its food and shades are perpetual; this is the requital of those who guarded (against evil), and the requital of the unbelievers is the fire.

[14:49-50] And you will see the Mujrimun (criminals, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah, polytheists, disobedient to Allah, etc.) that Day bound together in fetters,
Their garments will be of pitch, and fire will cover their faces.

[18:102] What! do then those who disbelieve think that they can take My servants to be guardians besides Me? Surely We have prepared hell for the entertainment of the unbelievers.

[22:19-22] These are two adversaries who have disputed over their Lord. But those who disbelieved will have cut out for them garments of fire. Poured upon their heads will be scalding water
By which is melted that within their bellies and [their] skins.
And for [striking] them are maces of iron.
Every time they want to get out of Hellfire from anguish, they will be returned to it, and [it will be said], “Taste the punishment of the Burning Fire!”

[76:4] Surely We have prepared for the unbelievers chains and shackles and a burning fire.

[98:6] Indeed, they who disbelieved among the People of the Scripture and the polytheists will be in the fire of Hell, abiding eternally therein. Those are the worst of creatures.