Tag Archives: last sermon

Mohammed’s apocryphal Covenants

covenants

John Andrew Morrow is a Canadian academic and Muslim convert (aka Ilyas ‘Abd al-‘Alim Islam). His major work is The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World, 400 pages of densely argued scholarship and commentary attempting to establish the authenticity of six covenants purportedly granted by Mohammed to:

the Monks of Mount Sinai
the Christians of Persia
the Christians of Najran
the Christians of the World
the Assyrian Christians
the Armenian Christians of Jerusalem.

He certainly believes they are genuine, in fact he says in an interview regarding the Covenant with the Monks of Mount Sinai “It would take a dangerous combination of ignorance and arrogance for any scholar to dismiss this document as a forgery when faced with its illustrious lineage of transmission.”

Beyond the scholarly arena, Dr Morrow hopes that his efforts will lead Muslims and Christians to see Mohammed as a more benign figure than generally understood from the Koran and the Sunnah, delegitimising jihadists and leading to relations between Muslims and Christians characterised by the tolerance shown in the covenants.

He has a job on his hands since none of the original covenants still exist, only copies of copies. Plenty of scholars have dismissed them as mediaeval forgeries by the various Christian groups with an obvious motive in claiming protection from surrounding Muslims. It would be good to see other scholars’ reactions to Dr Morrow’s book but since the author’s intention is also to reach out to the general reader, I feel justified in making a few observations.

Regarding Dr Morrow’s approach:

As a devout Muslim Dr Morrow starts from a position of reverence for Mohammed which only Muslims will accept. For instance:

“He was not simply the leader of the Muslim community. He was, as he says so himself, the Rightful Ruler of the World, by the grace of God, and the guardian, not only of Islam, but of all Abrahamic religions. As such he was the Patron of the People of the Book.”
and
“If a man’s word is gold, the Prophet’s word was made of platinum and the most precious and priceless jewels.”

These sentiments pervade the book, leading to the benefit of any doubt to be given to Mohammed, for instance:

“The beauty of the Qu’ran, the wisdom of the Prophet’s sayings, and his sublime ethics were so alluring that, for many, Islamic rule became simply irresistible.”
and
“Ultimately, the Prophet was a man of peace. As such, he promoted peace everywhere. Now it may seem paradoxical and disingenuous to present the Prophet as a person of peace knowing full well that he declared battle and waged war”.

Indeed it does. For anyone like me who thinks the only difference between Mohammed and Genghis Khan is Mohammed’s inspired addition of religion to the motivation of his murderous hordes, Dr Morrow’s presentation of the “perfect man” is unlikely to cut much ice. Nevertheless I do not complain. Dr Morrow has submitted to the will of Allah and is obliged to take that position, nor does he hide it. Accordingly his book has to be seen as part scholarship, part devotion, part propaganda (one of his stated intentions is to present Muslims in a positive light). We just have to bear this in mind when reading it.

Apparent contradictions with Islamic scriptures and traditions:

1. Regarding the Covenant with the Christians of Persia, Dr Morrow writes:

“As far as the Prophet was concerned caring for the ahl al-dhimmah or People of Protection is part of the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. However this is taken up a notch by the Messenger of Allah who enjoins Muslims to care for Christians to the same extent that they would honour and respect the Prophet himself.”

What Golden Rule would that be? There is no golden rule in Islam other than a limited version between Muslims only. I have found few examples of any such benign reciprocity between Muslims and non-Muslims in the Koran or the hadiths, rather a relentless religious apartheid. If there was truly a universal golden rule in Islam then surely Muslims would have no objection to being placed in a situation of dhimmitude to Non-Muslims from time to time. But this has never been so. From its inception the adherents of Islam have followed Mohammed’s example in working to achieve dominance over whatever other religious groups they found themselves among.

This is the nearest Allah gets to a golden rule:

“Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves…” (48:29)

2. Along with the book goes a Covenants Initiative which Muslims are invited to sign. Among other things it says:

“…in the understanding that these covenants, if accepted as genuine, have the force of law in the shari’ah today and that nothing in the shari’ah, as traditionally and correctly interpreted, has ever contradicted them.”

That is quite a claim. Dr Morrow draws a distinction between “the true shari’ah as understood by traditional Muslim scholars” and “the Wahhabi/Salafi perversion of it that is in force in many places today”. This is surprising to hear since Salafis and other Sunnis work from the same books written by the various schools of jurisprudence in the middle ages. The major differences to be found in the legal codes of Muslim countries around the world today merely reflect how much or how little of shariah law is applied.

Regarding his central concerns of tolerance and interfaith relations I think he would have much to discuss with the distinguished professor of shariah Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee who wrote:

“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] is to be exercised only after subjugation [of non-Muslims].”

3. How do the Covenants compare to some of Mohammed’s other, undisputed, letters to neighbouring rulers? The following are quite uncompromising with Mohammed making offers which the recipients can hardly refuse:

To Haudha bin Ali, governor of Yamama:
“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”.

To Jaifer, King of Oman, and his brother ‘Abd Al-Jalandi:
“Peace be upon him who follows true guidance; thereafter I invite both of you to the Call of Islam. Embrace Islam. Allâh has sent me as a Prophet to all His creatures in order that I may instil fear of Allâh in the hearts of His disobedient creatures so that there may be left no excuse for those who deny Allâh. If you two accept Islam, you will remain in command of your country; but if you refuse my Call, you’ve got to remember that all your possessions are perishable. My horsemen will appropriate your land, and my Prophethood will assume preponderance over your kingship.”

To John ibn Rubah and the Chiefs of the Christians of Aylah:
“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…. Ye know the tribute. If ye desire to have security by sea and by land, obey the Lord and his Apostle, and he will defend you from every demand, whether by Arab or foreigner, saving the demand of the Lord and his Apostle. But if ye oppose and displease them, I will not accept from you a single thing, until I have fought against you and taken captive your little ones and slain the elder.… 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….”

Not that there is any compulsion in religion.

4. Dr Morrow is bitterly opposed to Wahhabis, Salafis and Takfiris (such as ISIS) who he calls essentialists and fundamentalists, as well as satanists, terrorists, apostates and infidels. He writes of them:

“They are truly those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and all of the values and ethics which true Islam teaches”

whereas true Islam is represented by his Covenants:

“The ‘Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad’ is about Islam; it is about true Islam; it presents Islam as it really is, in essence, in nature…”

“Essence” eh? That makes Dr Morrow an essentialist as well if I am not mistaken. He and his opponents just disagree about the details.

I wish I could buy his version but I cannot. I am not a scholar but I can read and am repeatedly assured by Allah that his revelations are clear, ie literal. I guess that makes me an essentialist too but it seems to me that the Salafis have it more or less right about Mohammed and Islam.

Dr Morrow starts from a position of idealising Mohammed and interprets his teachings and actions accordingly. My reading of the sources leads me to a very different version of Mohammed but at least I am not alone. An estimated 25,000 Western Muslims (or should that be Muslims with Western passports?) have flocked to join ISIS, noticing how exactly they seem to be following the example of Mohammed and his companions.

5. If the Mohammed of the Covenants regards Christians with respect and care he seems oddly out of kilter not only with the Mohammed of the Koran and the Sunnah but more importantly with Allah who thinks all unbelievers deserve to be tortured for ever. Here he is in full flow:

“…But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads, Whereby that which is in their bellies, and their skins too, will be melted; And for them are hooked rods of iron. Whenever, in their anguish, they would go forth from thence they are driven back therein and (it is said unto them): Taste the doom of burning.” (22:19-22)

Can anyone reconcile these markedly different outlooks? Dr Morrow certainly does not attempt to.

About the Covenant with the monks of Mt Sinai:

Why would Mohammed grant a covenant of protection in 623 AD to a group who would not come under Muslim control until at least 640 AD, several years after his death? Why would he release them from the obligation to pay the jizya tax which they were therefore not subject to?

You might say that Mohammed, a long term strategic thinker, was simply anticipating events (by 17 years). Well you might if you were already committed to Dr Morrow’s version of events but I think I’ll pass. In fact it seems to me conclusive proof that the Covenant had to be written after 640 AD by someone other than Mohammed and therefore fake. If Dr Morrow or any of his supporters can convincingly explain this anomaly I will gladly take down this blog post and wish him well, but I cannot get a response on the matter. Perhaps you could try.

Furthermore, the Covenant is written in a style (in grammatical terms the indicative mode) which gives the impression of referring to an already existing situation rather than one which will come about if and when the Monks come under Muslim control some time in the future.

It is not as though Mohammed did not otherwise use the conditonal mode when writing to leaders about events which were yet to be decided, for instance in the letter to the King of Oman and his brother quoted above:

“If you two accept Islam, you will remain in command of your country; but if you refuse my Call, you’ve got to remember that all your possessions are perishable. My horsemen will appropriate your land, and my Prophethood will assume preponderance over your kingship.”

No, for my money the Covenant was written after the monastery fell under Muslim control, possibly long after, by which time memories of who conquered who and when had become blurred. And who would have done such a thing – well, in whose interest was it?

What if Dr Morrow’s version is correct?

For me these covenants remain apocryphal until other, religiously uncommitted, scholars pick over Dr Morrow’s work and convincingly declare it sound.

But here’s the kicker – these covenants only refer to Christians under the protection (that’s subjugation to you and me) of Muslims. Even if Dr Morrow is right, and even if he could persuade all the world’s Muslims to see it his way, all the Covenants hold out is the possibility of a nicer kind of dhimmitude.

What will be the effect of the book?

One of the reviewers, and a signatory of the Covenants Initiative, writes “This book documents what is possibly the third foundational source of Islam”. The blurb on the back of the book says “It is nothing short of providential that these treaties have been re-discovered at this precise moment in history”.

Sounds like a momentous change is about to take place doesn’t it? Personally I find that view unsupported by Dr Morrow’s evidence, and believe it to be wishful thinking on the part of those who see the blood but cannot bring themselves to admit where it is coming from. I think we know what will happen, those wishing to push a benign vew of Mohammed and Islam will declare the Covenants genuine before we are in a position to do so, and use them for their own purposes.

We can expect to see the Covenants join The Golden Age and the Crusades in the ritual whataboutery exchanges in the Guardian comments columns (eg “Islam is an intolerant religion” “But what about Mohammed’s Covenants?” if you are unfamiliar with the routine).

But no doubt they will also find their way into the box of tricks employed by devious Islamic apologists with their own agenda. I am thinking of people like Mehdi Hasan who used the comically deceptive Fatwa against Terrorism by Tahir-ul-Qadri to prove that Islam is a Religion of Peace. I reckon it’s a toss up who seizes upon the Covenants first, Mehdi (1) or his transatlantic counterpart Reza Aslan.

What of Dr Morrow? Many will dismiss him as the good cop reasuring the kuffar with his “Peaceful Islam” fairy story while the Muslim Brotherhood type bad cops do their best to undermine us. I do believe it to be a fairy story but I don’t believe Dr Morrow is intentionally deceiving us. It is a mystery to me how he can read the Islamic scriptures, full of blood and casual cruelty, and believe in a saintly and benign Mohammed but I am sure that he does. In a recent interview Dr Morrow said:

“Traditional, true Islam is a religion of love, peace and understanding. We do not torture, kill, kidnap and, sure as hell, we do not rape. Those who do act against Allah!”

Just to take the story of Kinana ibn al-Rabi we see Mohammed do all four in the space of a few days. He had Kinana tortured and killed, and kidnapped and raped his wife (after marrying her first admittedly but the relevant entries in the Sira and the Hadiths make it clear that consent was not an issue).

But does it matter whether Dr Morrow believes his own minority version or not? Whatever his motives, or the motives of his supporters, Dr Morrow’s work will assuredly find its way into the misinformation about Islam being broadcast by a media outlet near you. I just hope that when we come across it, those of us still willing to make our own enquiries will be able to point out that it raises hopes which it cannot possibly fulfill.
——————————————————————————————————————————–

(1) Well done Mehdi! From a Guardian article published four weeks after this post:
“Muslims need to rediscover their own heritage of pluralism, tolerance and mutual respect – embodied in, say, the Prophet’s letter to the monks of St Catherine’s monastery, or the “convivencia” (or co-existence) of medieval Muslim Spain.”
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/17/islam-reformation-extremism-muslim-martin-luther-europe

 

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30 things I can’t help noticing about Islam

1. The Cruelty. The tortures that await unbelievers in Hell are lovingly detailed in the Koran and the Hadiths (traditions): boiling water, molten metal, garments of liquid pitch, beating with maces, noxious foods which boil the insides, hanging by the breasts (women form the majority in Hell because of their ingratitude to their husbands (Bukhari 1:2:29))….and always the fire, for eternity, plus replaceable skins as an imaginative refinement.

However, the least tormented of the inhabitants of Hell, lucky man, will merely have to wear shoes of fire which will cause his brain to boil (Muslim 1:412).

2. Mohammed achieved power first in Medina then throughout Arabia with a campaign of caravan raidng, tribal warfare, assassination, torture and genocide. He was a brutal warlord intent on converting, subjugating or killing all in his path. If you doubt it look here and reconsider the claims we often hear

a) That Mohammed only sanctioned defensive wars

b) That “there is no compulsion in religion” (Koran, Sura 2:256)

c) That Islam was not spread by the sword.

He motivated potential supporters with the crude carrot and stick of booty or death in this world and gardens of doe eyed virgins or eternal torture in the next.

Where does he stand with other charismatic figures of history? Not with Jesus and Buddha surely. The more closely you try to emulate them the nicer you are likely to become. The more closely you try to emulate Mohammed the more like a war criminal you will be. Surely he stands more comfortably with Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan with their predatory lust for domination…plus added supernatural trappings.

Alarmingly, he is also regarded as the perfect man and the ideal for all Muslim males.

3. Allah. While Mohammed was cruel Allah is positively sadistic. While not designing the DNA molecule or creating galaxies, his chief interest seems to be torturing forever those who do not believe in him, or even those who expect him to share his infinite power as part of a trinity. Nor is there any way out for those unfortunates, Allah makes it clear that he could have caused them to believe if he had wanted but prefers to keep them in the dark thereby providing “fuel for the fire” (Sura 32:13).

For an omniscient being Allah often displays a poor general knowledge. For instance he clearly believes that the Christian trinity consists of God, Jesus and Mary (Sura 5:116).

Islam means submission, we are told to Allah, but Allah generously shares his authority with Mohammed so that in practice it looks more like submission to Mohammed. For instance: (“Fight those…who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful…” (Sura 9:29))

He also provides Mohammed with suspiciously helpful revelations when needed:

to correct an unfortunate slip (the satanic verses) (Al-Tabari Vol.6 pp.107-112)
or
to excuse his forces fighting during the holy months (Sura 2:217)
or
to justify his marrying his adopted son’s wife against the custom of the time (Sura 33:4-5, 36-37).

Even Aisha, his favourite wife, is said to have remarked that “Allah hurries to your aid when it’s a question of your desires”.

All in all the relationship between Mohammed and Allah appears distinctly skewed to the benefit of Mohammed. One might even suspect that Mohammed created Allah rather than the other way round.

4. Islamic literary criticism. Mohammed ordered the killing of several poets in the Medina area who had written satirical verses about him (Ibn Ishaq The Life of Muhammad).

The tradition lives on today with the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the attempted murder of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and the actual murder of film maker Theo van Gogh.

5. The Death threats which follow, as night follows day, when someone is rash enough to criticize anything Islamic, as was found out by Michael Nazir-Ali the Bishop of Rochester when he suggested that some communities have become no go areas for non-Muslims….and by many, many others.

6. The Religion of Peace.

Jesus – “Love thine enemy”
Buddha – “Show compassion to all sentient beings”
Mahavira (Jainism) – “Non violence is the highest religion”
Mohammed – “Fight those adjacent to you of the disbelievers and let them find in you harshness” (Sura 9:123).
Spot the odd man out.

7. The Cruelty. For enemies of Allah in this life the punishment is crucifixion or amputation of opposing hands and feet (Sura 5:33)….and then the fire.

8. Islamophobia. In 1997 the Runnymede Trust defined Islamophobia as “an outlook or world-view involving an unfounded dread and dislike of Muslims, which results in practices of exclusion and discrimination”.

Well it would be, just as homilophobia is an unfounded dread of sermons. But wait – sermons are unlikely to hurt you whereas the same cannot be said of Islam. Perhaps we should ask the Christian populations to the south of the Sahara, currently being besieged by a variety of militant Islamic groups, whether their dread of Islam is unfounded or well founded. Or Copts in Egypt, or homosexuals in Iran, or Buddhists in Thailand, or women in Afghanistan or people going about their business in Woolwich.

Having created the category its creators and Islamic apologists proceed to put every criticism of Islam or Muslims into it whether justified or not. For instance here are some of the views which the Runnymede Trust defines as Islamophobic:

“It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist.
It is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism, and engaged in a clash of civilizations.
It is seen as a political ideology, used for political or military advantage”.

Surely the majority of those statements are entirely justified, and here’s another one they missed – that it is implacably supremacist.

Perhaps the Runnymede Trust could usefully inquire into why there is no need for words like Hinduphobia, Christophobia, Rastaphobia etc etc.

A final word from Antony Flew, the distinguished British philosopher: “I would never regard Islam with anything but horror and fear because it is fundamentally committed to conquering the world for Islam…”. Let’s hope the old gentleman died before he discovered what he was.

9. The Guardian, in which articles portraying Muslims as anything other than victims of wicked phobes are rarer than Rabbis in Riyadh. It regularly prints ludicrously one-sided pieces such as the one titled “I know Abu Qatada – he’s no terrorist”. The author made much of the fact that his home is full of books and he encouraged his children’s school work from prison but neglected to mention the blood curdling calls he has made for the killing of apostates, Egyptian police and army officers and Jews plus their wives and children.

Why does the Guardian (a known hotbed of atheists, homosexuals and, yes, even women) do this when Islamic attitudes on these groups are so diametrically opposed to its own? Perhaps it’s a case of masochistic fascination. It is interesting to note however that these articles invariably get slated by those who post comments on the website. Perhaps the entire membership of the EDL have signed up in order to conduct comment wars or is the Guardian actually starting to lose contact with its readership?

10. The Politeness
of Social Services, the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service who look the other way when Muslim girls (and girls from other African groups) are sexually mutilated, so as not to give offence. So far there has not been one prosecution in Britain for these domestic atrocities.

11. The Silence of feminists on the same subject and Islamic misogyny in general.

12. The Demographics. In 1990 there were 1.1million Muslims in Britain, representing 2% of the population. By 2010 it had risen to 2.8m (4%) and, according to the Pew Research Centre, is projected to reach 5.5m (8%) by 2030. This is accounted for by immigration and by the higher birth rate of Muslim women in Europe. See Mark Steyn for further details.

13. The Cruelty. Umm Qirfa was an old woman and a leader of the Banu Fazarah, one of the tribes vanquished by Mohammed’s forces led by his adopted son Zayd. Ropes were attached to her legs and she was pulled apart by camels (Al-Tabari Vol.8 p.96).

Wafa Sultan, the woman who scandalized the Muslim world by telling an Imam to shut up on Al-Jazeera TV, tells us that the moral taken from this story in her native Syria is of the admirable loyalty of Mohammed’s followers.

14. Ayatollah Khomeini who warned us:

“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.”

Likewise Muammar Gadaffi:

“We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe—without swords, without guns, without conquest—will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.”

Likewise the Muslim Brotherhood with their mission statement:

“Allah is our objective. The Quran is our law. The Prophet is our leader. Jihad is our way. Death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.”

15. Reformation. It is often said that Islam needs a reformation like that of the Christian church. Unfortunately it has already had one of sorts and the result was the Wahhabis/Salafis who believe they most closely follow the example of Mohammed and his early followers, and who make the Muslim Brotherhood look like the Liberal Democrat Party.

When moderates talk of a reformation of Islam they really mean a transformation to a version without Sharia, Jihad or the claim to be the one true religion destined to supplant all the others, an Islam lite which can truly rub along with its neighbours. A realistic hope or just wishful thinking? Place your bets now.

16. Slavery. Oddly enough it is our differing involvement in the slave trade which shows up most starkly the moral difference between the Judaeo-Christian and Islamic civilizations. After 300 years of the Atlantic slave trade the Western conscience stirred and the 19th century saw the colonial powers firstly ban it in their own empires then do their best to stamp it out everywhere, including the Muslim world. A great country fought a civil war over the issue and has been agonising over it ever since.

On the other hand, the Arabic slave trade lasted much longer and many more people suffered under it, black from Africa and white from Europe, just all kuffar. There is no breast beating over the issue in the Islamic world. Why would there be? Mohammed was a slave owner and slavery is treated as part of the natural order of things in the Koran. In fact in recent years some Wahhabis have called for its reinstatement. In 2003 Shaykh Saleh Al-Fawzan, a senior Saudi scholar, jurist and Imam issued a fatwa claiming that “Slavery is a part of Islam. Slavery is part of Jihad, and Jihad will remain as long as there is Islam”.

17. The $100bn plus which the Saudi government has spent since 1975 to promote Wahhabism throughout the world through mosques, Imams, Islamic centres, schools, literature, scholarships, academics, journalists and prison conversion programmes. Naturally this weight of money has had its effect, from the incidence of beards and veils on western streets to the increase of hard line teachings in many mosques. In 2007 the Channel 4 programme “Undercover Mosque” investigated various Saudi backed mosques and Islamic institutions and recorded Imams saying such things as the following:

“You cannot accept the rule of the kafir…we have to rule ourselves and we have to rule the others.”
Regarding the killer of a British soldier serving in Afghanistan, “The hero of Islam is the one who separated his head from his shoulders”.
“You have to bomb the Indian businesses, and as for the Jews you kill them physically”.
“You are in a situation in which you have to live like a state within a state, until you take over”.

18. Ex-Muslims who have bravely rejected Islam, risking death at the hands of family, community or state, and who enlighten the rest of us about attitudes and intentions in the Muslim world.

For instance Ayaan Hirsi Ali who warned us “Europe is sleepwalking to its downfall”.

19. Islamic Fashion. Ayaan Hirsi Ali says it best:

“The veil deliberately marks women as private and restricted property, nonpersons. The veil sets women apart from men and apart from the world; it restrains them, confines them, grooms them for docility. A mind can be cramped just as a body may be, and a Muslim veil blinkers both your vision and your destiny. It is the mark of a kind of apartheid, not the domination of a race but of a sex.”

20. The Cruelty. Kinana ibn al-Rabi had custody of the treasure of the Banu Nadir, a Jewish tribe raided by Mohammed’s forces. After Kinana refused to tell where it was hidden Mohammed gave the order “Torture him until you extract what he has”. A fire was burned on Kinana’s chest until he was nearly dead then his head was cut off and Mohammed took his widow (Al-Tabari Vol.8 p.122).

21. The Prudence of those who realize the best form of censorship is self censorship, for instance:

Grayson Perry the anti-religious artist who in 2007 admitted that he did not address Islam in his work “…because I don’t want my throat cut”.

Sebastian Faulks the novelist who in 2009 gave an interview to the Sunday Times in which he said the Koran was clearly the rantings of a schizophrenic. Within 24 hours he issued a very sensible reassessment of Mohammed’s mental state and a fulsome apology via the Guardian.

Channel 4 which in 2012 commissioned a documentary from Tom Holland titled “Islam: The Untold Story” querying the generally accepted history of early Islam. The author received threats of violence and a second screening at Channel 4’s London headquarters was cancelled because of security fears.

22. The Courage (or foolhardiness) of those who refuse to be cowed, such as:

Pat Condell (“I don’t respect your beliefs and I don’t care if you’re offended”)

Richard Dawkins (“Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today”)

Sam Harris (“The truth that we must finally confront is that Islam contains specific notions of martyrdom and jihad that fully explain the character of Muslim violence”).

23. Islamic Humour.

24. The Internet which allows Muslims, the first victims of Islam, to bypass their local Imam and get independent information from sites such as WikiIslam the critical but non-polemical site viewed more in Muslim countries than non-Muslim. For the first time in 1400 years the Mosque’s monopoly on information is being challenged. Who knows what the ramifications could be?

25. The Intellectuals who love to debate how essentialist and nuanced each others’ positions are. Meanwhile the security services try to monitor how many is it…2000? individuals whose views are very essentialist and not at all nuanced.

26. The Politicians in resolute denial after the Woolwich murder:

David Cameron said “There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act.”

Nick Clegg thanked community leaders for speaking out against the distortion of a “great salvation religion”.

Boris Johnson said “It is completely wrong to blame this killing on Islam”.

27. Tony Blair who some years ago, while allowing unprecedented numbers of Muslims to settle in Britain, assured us that Islam is a religion of peace with just a fringe of extremists.

More recently he told us that “there is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology which is a strain within Islam…..I am afraid this strain is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies. At the extreme end of the spectrum are terrorists, but the world view goes deeper and wider than is comfortable for us to admit. So by and large we don’t admit it.”

28. Islamic Wives. “If they abstain from [evil], they have the right to their food and clothing in accordance with the custom. Treat women well, for they are [like] domestic animals with you and do not possess anything for themselves” (from Mohammed’s “final sermon” (Al-Tabari Vol.9 pp.112-113)).

29. Hatred of Jews. Mohammed was originally well disposed towards Jewish tribes but started to show a particular animosity after they rejected him as a prophet. After defeating one Jewish tribe, the Banu Qurayza, he had 600 men beheaded and sold the women and children into slavery.

Today practising Muslims execrate Jews five times a day in their prayers as “those who earned Your Anger” (Sura 1:7).

A well known Hadith (now incorporated as part of Hamas’ charter) quotes Mohammed as saying “…the Final Hour will not come until Muslims slaughter Jews, and even the rocks and trees will betray the Jews hiding behind them” (Muslim 41:6985).

Yusuf al-Qaradawi is an influential Egyptian Islamic theologian who broadcasts on Al-Jazeera TV with an estimated audience of 60 million worldwide. In 2009 he said:

“Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption…The last punishment was carried out by Adolf Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them…Allah Willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.”

Little wonder that Mein Kampf is a best seller in the Muslim world.

30. The Cruelty. Did I mention the cruelty? Okay, one more:

A group of ‘Uraina tribesmen stole some of Mohammed’s camels and killed their shepherd. They were caught and “The Prophet ordered for some iron pieces to be made red hot, and their eyes were branded with them and their hands and feet were cut off and were not cauterized. Then they were put at a place called Al-Harra, and when they asked for water to drink they were not given till they died.” (Bukhari 8:82:796)