Tag Archives: Umm Qirfa

Alfred Guillaume’s Life of Muhammad

banu-qurayza

Since the Koran is incomprehensible without external references and the Hadiths are a massive jumble of often contradictory tales, the Sira (biographies of Mohammed) must be the best available source of information about Mohammed’s character and career.

The principal biography is that of Ibn Ishaq, which only exists in partial form in other Muslim histories but Alfred Guillaume brought the remnants together and translated them in The Life of Muhammad.

Apart from anything else it provides a damning counterview to the claims we often hear about Mohammed the benign ruler. For instance, Dr John Andrew Morrow promotes a fantasy version of Mohammed based on his book about the almost certainly fake Covenants of Mohammed. In an interview 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!”
However, if we have our Life of Muhammad handy and turn to pages 511 and 515-517 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 Safiyah (admittedly after marrying her but consent was clearly not an issue).

Similarly, it is instructive to compare those pages with the version in Karen Armstrong’s biography Muhammad. She tells us only that Safiyah had been widowed during the Khaybar campaign, which tells you everything you need to know about Armstrong’s approach to her subject.

If you have only an hour to spare here is an abridged version. If you have only ten minutes to spare here are edited highlights. But nothing gives the full flavour of the brutal times and Mohammed’s brutal actions like the full Life of Muhammed.

The book’s index gives only the briefest indication of particular events so here is an expanded guide to the contents which I hope may be helpful. The page number of the text is given plus the electronic page number (eg 99/432) for speed of locating sections:

p.82 (65/432)  Khadija
Mohammed marries Khadija, a wealthy merchant woman.

p.106 (77/432)  Gabriel
Archangel Gabriel appears to Mohammed in a dream. Mohammed thinks he has become an ecstatic poet or possessed, and decides to throw himself off the mountain but Gabriel stops him, telling him he is Allah’s apostle. Khadija convinces him that he is not possessed and hopes he will become a prophet.

p.165 (106/432)  The Context of Sura 109
A party of the Quraysh (Mohammed’s tribe in Mecca) propose merging his monotheistic religion with their polytheistic one. Mohammed rejects the proposal saying “I do not worship what you worship, and you do not worship what I worship…you have your religion and I have mine”.
This statement is often deceptively presented as an example of Mohammed’s religious tolerance rather than simply a rejection of syncretism. In fact later scholars regarded the crucial verse 6 as being abrogated by 9:5 the “Verse of the Sword”.

p.165-167 (106-107/432) The Satanic Verses affair
Mohammed agrees to venerate three goddesses of the Quraysh, then realising he has gone back on his strict monotheism, receives a revelation from Gabriel explaining that the message did not come from him but Satan who tricked Mohammed.

p.181-187 (114-117/432)  The Night Journey and the Ascent to Heaven
Mohammed flies to Jerusalem on a donkey and climbs a ladder to heaven where he meets the prophets and haggles with Allah over the number of daily prayers required. He is given a glimpse into hell where he sees women hanging by their breasts because they had “fathered bastards on their husbands”.

p.198-199 (123/432)  The First Pledge at Aqaba (near Mecca)
Mohammed forms a peaceful alliance (ie the pledge of women) with members of the Aus and Khazraj tribes of Medina. They become known as the Ansar (ie helpers).

p.201-204 (124-126/432)  The Second Pledge at Aqaba
Mohammed and the Aus and Khazraj enter into a military alliance. Mohammed says “I will war against them that war against you and be at peace with those at peace with you”.
One tribesman says “Oh men of Khazraj, do you realize to what you are committing yourselves in pledging your support to this man? It is to war against all and sundry”. They accept Mohammed on these conditions but ask what they will get in return. Mohammed promises them paradise.

p.212-213 (130/432)  The Order to Fight
Allah gives Mohammed permission to engage in retaliatory warfare against his enemies of the Quraysh in Mecca, and then permission to fight “Until God alone is worshipped” .

p.223-228 (134-137/432)  The Hijra
The Meccans plan to kill Mohammed but he escapes to Medina, followed by his followers in Mecca (the muhajirun).

p.231-233 (138-139/432)  The Charter of Medina
Mohammed draws up an agreement between the various tribal and religious groups in Medina.

p.250-251 (148/432)  The Jews do not accept Mohammed’s prophethood
In a commentary on Sura 2 Allah is quoted as telling the Jews “Do not conceal the knowledge which you have about My apostle”.
The claim that Jews know that Mohammed was prophesied in the Torah but they deny it is a theme which runs through the book, as detailed HERE.
Mohammed reminds Jews of the time when Allah transformed some of them into apes for their sins.

p.256 (151/432)  Letter to the Jews of Khaybar
Mohammed writes to the Jews of Khaybar calling them to Islam.
He says:
‘God says to you O scripture folk, and you will find it in your scripture “Muhammad is the apostle of God”…’
and:
‘Do you find in what He has sent down to you that you should believe in Muhammed? If you do not find that in your scripture then there is no compulsion on you, “The right path has become plainly distinguished from error” so I call you to God and his prophet’.
Therefore the famous “no compulsion in religion” statement in Koran 2:256 is only conditional here, and since that condition has not been met compulsion is not proscribed.

p.267 (156/432)  Mohammed has adulterers stoned
Mohammed revives the lapsed injunction in the Torah to stone adulterers. “And when the Jew felt the first stone he crouched over the woman to protect her from the stones until both of them were killed”.

p.286-289 (168-169/432)  The first caravan raid
Mohammed sends his men to attack a Meccan caravan, which they do but before the Sacred Month has elapsed. Everyone is unhappy but Allah obliges with a helpful revelation. Mohammed establishes the rule for dividing booty, four fifths for those who Allah allowed to take it and one fifth for Allah and his Apostle.

p.299-305 (174-177/432)  The Battle of Badr
Mohammed leads an expedition to attack a Meccan caravan, leading to a decisive victory for the Muslims, partly due to the assistance of an army of of angels.

p.363-364 (206-207/432)  The Banu Qaynuqa
Mohammed besieges the Qaynuqa, one of three Jewish tribes of Medina, until they surrender unconditionally. The leader of the Khazraj tribe prevails on Mohammed to spare them and Mohammed gives them to him. Other sources report that the Qaynuqa were then expelled from the region.

p.364-369 (207-209/432)  The killing of Ka’b b. al-Ashraf
Mohammed orders the assassination of Ka’b b. al-Ashraf for composing insulting verses about him. Members of the Aus tribe carry it out.

p.369 (209/432)  The killing of Ibn Sunayna
Mohammed orders “Kill any Jew that falls into your power”. Muhayyisa kills Ibn Sunayna and Muhayyisa’s brother Huwayyisa upbraids him for killing someone who had benefited him so much. Muhayyisa replies that if ordered by Mohammed he would have killed Huwayyisa who is so impressed that he converts.

p.370-391 (210-220/432)  The Battle of Uhud
An inconclusive victory for the Meccans.

p.437-438 (243-244/432)  The Banu Nadir
Mohammed defeats the Nadir, the second Jewish tribe of Medina, confiscates their property and expels them from the region.

p.450-460 (250-255/432)  The Battle of the Ditch (or Trench)
Mohammed orders a ditch to be dug as a defence against an alliance of Jews and Quraysh. Mohammed strikes a rock with a pick, producing three sparks. He explains “the first means that Allah has opened up to me the Yaman; the second Syria and the west; and the third the east”. The alliance eventually withdraws after the siege fails.

p.461-466 (255-258/432)  The Banu Qurayza
Mohammed lays siege to the Qurayza, the third Jewish tribe of Medina, addressing them thus “You brothers of monkeys, has God disgraced you and brought His vengeance upon you?”
They surrender after 25 nights. Mohammed has 600-900 men beheaded and the women and children sold into slavery, except Rayhana who he selects for himself.

p.482-483 (266/432)  The killing of Sallam Ibn Abu’l-Hayquq
The Khazraj, jealous that the Aus had killed Ka’b b. al-Ashraf, ask permission to assassinate Sallam Ibn Abu’l-Hayquq, an opponent of Mohammed in Khaybar. Mohammed grants permission and they carry out the murder.

p.504-507 (277-278/432)  The Treaty of Hudaybiya
Mohammed agrees a 10 year truce with the Meccans.

p.510-511 (280/432)  The Expedition to Khaybar
Mohammed marches against Khaybar, conquering forts and taking captives. He selects Safiya, the wife of Kinana b. al-Rabi for himself.
p.515 (282/432)
Mohammed has Kinana tortured with fire in order to find out where the Jews’ treasure is hidden then has him beheaded.
p.516 (283/432)
A captured woman attempts to poison Mohammed but does not succeed.

p.549-552 (299-301/432)  The Occupation of Mecca
Mohammed enters Mecca with no resistance and destroys 360 idols around the Ka’ba.

p.566-572 (308-311/432)  The Battle of Hunayn
Mohammed wins a decisive battle against the Hawazin tribe.

p.588 (319/432)  Poetry
Before the capture of Al-Ta’if, Ka’b b. Malik sums up the ethos of the Religion of War in these lines:
“Till you turn to Islam, humbly seeking refuge,
We will fight not caring whom we meet…
They came at us thinking they had no equal
And we cut off their noses and ears
With our fine polished Indian swords
Driving them violently before us
To the command of God and Islam…
And he who cannot protect himself must suffer disgrace”

p.609 (329/432)  A rival mosque
Mohammed orders an independently set up mosque to be burned, while people are worshipping in it

p.618 (334/432)  The Verse of the Sword
Mohammed revokes treaties held with polytheist tribes and pronounces Koran 9:5, giving permission to attack unbelievers solely for religious reasons…“And when the sacred months are passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them, and seize them and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush…”

p.650-652 (350-351/432)  The Final Sermon
Mohammed gives what has become known as the Final Sermon. If women defile men’s beds or act with open unseemliness…“God allows you to put them in separate rooms and beat them, though not with severity…Lay injunctions on women kindly for they are prisoners with you, having no control of their persons”.

p.652 (351/432)  Out of Arabia
Mohammed orders an expedition to Syria and Palestine, the first outside Arabia.

p.652 (351/432)  Neighbouring rulers called to Islam
Messengers are sent to neighbouring kings calling on them to accept Islam.
p.659 (354/432)
To Badhan, governor of Yaman, Mohammed makes the offer “If you submit I will give you what you already hold and appoint you king over your people in Yaman.”

p.659-660 (354-355/432)  A Summary of Mohammed’s battles
Mohammed took part in 27 raids and fought in 9 of them.

p.664-665 (357/432)  The killing of Umm Qirfa
Zayd, Mohammed’s adopted son, raids the Banu Fazara and has their leader, an old woman called Umm Qirfa, killed “cruelly by putting a rope to her two legs and to two camels and driving them until they rent her in two”.

p.669 (359/432)  Abu Bakr thinks there is compulsion in religion
Abu Bakr, later to become the first caliph, tells a convert “God sent Muhammed with this religion and he strove for it until men accepted it voluntarily or by force”.

p.672 (361/432)  “Kill those who disbelieve in God”
At the raid on Dumatu’l-Jandal Mohammed gives ‘Abdu’l-Rahman b. ‘Auf the standard and tells him “Fight everyone in the way of God and kill those who disbelieve in God”.

p.675-676 (362-363/432)  The killing of Asma d. Marwan
Mohammed orders the killing of mother of five, Asma d. Marwan of the Banu Khatma, for writing an insulting verse about him. Umayr carries it out. Mohammed says “You have helped God and his Apostle”. When Umayr asks if he will have to suffer any evil consequences, Mohammed replies “Two goats won’t butt their heads about her”.
“The day after Bint Marwan was killed the men of Banu Khatma became Muslims because they saw the power of Islam”.

p.677-678 (363-364/432)  Revenge for the Killing of Yasar
Mohammed allows some sick tribesmen to drink the milk and urine of his camels but they kill the shepherd Yasar and drive off the camels. They are captured and Mohammed orders their hands and feet to be cut off and their eyes to be gouged out.

p.682 (366/432)  The Death of Mohammed
Mohammed dies, nursed by A’isha. Umar, later to become the second caliph, declares Mohammed is not dead but has just gone to spend time with Allah and threatens to cut off the hands and feet of those who claim otherwise.

p.687 (368/432)  Abu Bakr makes his position clear
Abu Bakr is chosen as Mohammed’s successor, the first caliph. He tells the believers “If a people refrain from fighting in the way of God, God will smite them with disgrace”

p.689 (369/432)  Last words
It is reported that Mohammed’s last words were “Let not two religions be left in the Arabian Peninsula”.
It is later reported that A’isha used to say “When the apostle died the Arabs apostatized and Christianity and Judaism raised their heads and disaffection appeared. The Muslims became as sheep exposed to rain on a winter’s night through the loss of their prophet until God united them under Abu Bakr”.
This refers to the Brutal Ridda or Apostasy wars conducted by Abu Bakr against reneging tribes. The majority of the tribes were willing to regard Mohammed as their prophet but Abu Bakr insisted on them also paying the zakat tax.

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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)