Tag Archives: Wafa Sultan

Algeria’s Sins of Origin

Here is an interesting article, Frantz Fanon and the crisis of mental health in the Arab world. The author Joelle M Abi-Rached, a Lebanese doctor and academic, recounts a visit to the psychiatric hospital of Blida-Joinville in Algeria. Today it is run down and desolate but in the 1950’s it was “the pride of the colonial Algerian school of psychiatry”. At that time there co-existed at the hospital two schools of thought explaining the violent pathologies presenting in Algerian patients.

The first was called Primitivism which found the source of the troubling behaviours in the supposedly deficient cortex of the Arab native. It was championed by psychiatrist Antoine Sutter and has long since been consigned to history.

The second was developed by Frantz Fanon, a French psychiatrist and revolutionary from Martinique. His theory put the blame squarely on colonialism, and is still influential today although looking somewhat threadbare sixty years after colonial emancipation.

This is the core part of Dr Abi-Rached’s article:

In his book The Wretched of the Earth (1961), Fanon locates the origins of Algerian violence in the ‘colonial situation’. Through a series of poignant case studies drawn from his clinical practice, he showed how the colonialist’s violence bred in the colonised a constellation of pathological behaviours. And perhaps because of that inextricable link, he argued that violence was an essential part of the anticolonial struggle. It was nothing more than an appropriation of the means with which the colonialist/settler rules, but turned towards the rise of national consciousness and the birth of the ‘new man’ – a revolutionary subject born out of decolonisation.”

Dr Abi-Rached then asks “What has become of the ‘new man’ and the morbid symptoms of colonialism almost six decades after Algeria and other colonised countries gained independence?”

She also approvingly quotes a psychoanalyst named Karima Lazali. In her book Colonial Trauma Dr Lazali writes of the protean symptoms of colonial trauma that persist until today, including fratricidal violence. This, she argues, is a natural consequence of the colonialist’s “sin of origin” and claims that colonialists pushed Algerians on a trajectory of perpetual loss and suspicion, of constant malaise and self-mutilation, and even of a collective ‘death drive’.

Two items here seem particularly to invite sceptical scrutiny: the new man and the colonialist’s sin of origin.

FRANTZ FANON

I must admit the more I read of Frantz Fanon the less sympathetic a character he appears to be. Like his counterpart in the New World, Che Guevara (also a believer in the revolutionary new man), he looks better from a distance. Fanon’s writing reminds me of the Marxist theology I remember being earnestly debated decades ago by fellow students who would demand to know “Which side will you be on in the Revolution?” Fortunately, the revolution has been delayed indefinitely but Fanon’s influence remains strong among our impressionable young. Sadly, in the absence today of actual colonies, they have to content themselves with decolonising statues and their university libraries.

I do not like Fanon’s enthusiastic encouragement of others to engage in horrific violence. The first section of The Wretched of the Earth, Concerning Violence, makes it plain that for Fanon decolonisation is, by definition, a violent process without exception. This is plain wrong. There are plenty of exceptions, the most obvious being that of India. The British realised the game was up after WWII and withdrew in an orderly fashion, something made possible by the non-violent ideals popularised in the country by Gandhi. It was certainly attended by much violence but that was almost entirely between two religious communities of the colonised not between colonised and colonisers.

Fanon thought that violence would be a necessary cleansing act, bringing forth a new national consciousness and the birth of the elusive new man. On the other hand there are those who think that violence merely begets more violence, a view encouraged by comparing the postcolonial histories of India and Algeria. India has rubbed along with no more than the usual internal frictions of any country, while 30 years after independence Algerians could not resist throwing themselves into another prolonged bloodletting, something that strains credulity when blamed on anyone other than Algerians.

And I do not like the fact that he said “Truth is whatever hastens the disintegration of the colonial regime”. That paints him as an ideologically committed propagandist more than an honest researcher.

But I really do not like that he “locates the origins of Algerian violence in the colonial situation” and only in the colonial situation. Dr Lazali concurs with him by blaming Algeria’s woes entirely on the colonialist’s “sin of origin”. I suggest that since Algeria did not in fact originate with French colonisation we should look further back in time for the origins of Algeria’s problems – much further back – where we may find other sins of origin.

HISTORY

Fanon claimed that colonisers attempt to write the precolonial history of a colonised people as one of barbarism and degradation “in order to justify the supremacy of Western civilization”.

Indeed they have done so but, unfortunately for Fanon’s thesis, in this case the people the French invaded and colonised really were barbaric and degraded….unless you regard piracy and slaving as civilised.

Before the coming of the French the region now called Algeria, but then known only as Algiers, formed part of the Barbary Coast, home to the Barbary Pirates, famed for their rapaciousness and cruelty. For hundreds of years piracy and slave-trading were the principal economic activities of the four main Barbary ports, Tripoli (in modern day Libya), Tunis, Algiers, and Sale (in modern day Morocco).

A Catholic religious order, the Trinitarians, was established as early as the late 12th century for the purpose of ransoming Christian captives. One famous example, Miguel de Cervantes, was released to them in 1580 after five years captivity in Algiers. He returned to the episode repeatedly in his later literary work, detailing the inhuman treatment visited upon him and his fellow captives, and warning Europe of the ever present danger from “the Turk” ie Muslims.

At any one time there would be thousands of Christian – and other – slaves in Algiers. Here is an illustration from the British naval captain Walter Croker’s account of his visit to Algiers in 1815:

The Barbary Pirates started to become a significant threat to European shipping under Ottoman rule (1525-1830) although for much of that time the Barbary regions were semi-autonomous, with the pirate captains wielding formal political power. The continued piracy on European, and later American, ships led to repeated naval attacks on Algiers by Spain, Denmark, France, Britain and the United States. And then came the French invasion.

It is clear that the Algerian people were deeply entrenched in a violent and predatory way of life long before French colonisation (1830-1962). But where exactly did that culture come from? A concise answer was provided in 1786 when future US presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to London to negotiate with Tripoli’s ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman. When they enquired:

concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury the ambassador replied that it was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise”.

This candid acknowledgement should not surprise anyone who has read the Islamic scriptures. The Koran and the Hadiths are bad enough but to get the full picture of Mohammed’s criminal beginnings in Medina as a “desert pirate” and enslaver of vanquished tribes one should go to Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Mohammed, Sirat Rasul Allah.

Clearly the Barbary Pirates were faithfully following Mohammed’s example as Muslims are enjoined to do:

“Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much.” (Koran 33:21)

PSYCHOLOGY

Could it be that a thousand years of being subject to various Islamic empires, and therefore the thorough inculcation of Islamic teachings, played some part in Algeria’s admitted pathologies? Did Islam breed in the faithful a constellation of pathological behaviours?

On an individual level, the Syrian born psychiatrist Wafa Sultan certainly thinks that Islam is bad for your mental health. She came to loathe the religion and secretly apostasised before escaping to the United States where she wrote a book called A God Who Hates. That is a very apt description of Allah, don’t you think? Throughout the Koran he does not hide his hatred for anyone who will not believe in him. He repeatedly commands the faithful to militarily dominate those unwise enough not to submit to him in this life, and gives lurid descriptions of the endless tortures he intends to inflict on them in the afterlife. Here is an example:

“Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment.” (Koran 4:56)

Indeed a god who hates. What would be the likely effect on a child forced to worship such a monstrous deity, and to revere his prophet Mohammed, an obvious criminal?

Dr Sultan has written “When I examined the Koran, the hadith, and the Islamic books under a microscope, I came to the absolute conviction that it is impossible – impossible! – for any human being to read the biography of Muhammad and believe in it, and yet emerge a psychologically and mentally healthy person”.

Surely she has a point. You do not find Hindus or Sikhs or Christians machine gunning or beheading unbelievers in the street on account of a cartoon.

On a societal level, which is Fanon’s chosen area of focus, we have to ask why did he look back only to the recent past of Algeria? Would he have been satisfied exploring only the last few years of a patient’s adult life to find the source of their problems or would he, following conventional psychiatric practice, have delved all the way back to their adolescence and childhood?

If he had examined Algeria’s pre-colonial history he would have found a people saturated in cruelty and violence. That was how they earned their living for hundreds of years. Could it have been that, denied an outlet directed toward the unbelievers, that predisposition turned inwards and was thus partly responsible for the “constant malaise and self-mutilation, and even of a collective ‘death drive’ which Dr Lazali identifies?

Perhaps the modern concept of Cognitive Dissonance can also shed some light on the colonial and post-colonial condition of Algerians and Muslims generally.

Allah assured the believers that they are “the best of nations” (Koran 3:110) while unbelievers are “the worst of creatures” (Koran 98:6) yet everywhere Muslims find themselves at the bottom of the pile in terms of prosperity, achievement and liberty. What wealth they have, and the source of their standing in the world, comes only from what happens to lay under their lands and which unbelievers have to pump out of the ground for them.

Today Muslims are truly the Wretched of the Earth. How far they have fallen! For hundreds of years the people of Algeria enjoyed licence to prey on the kuffar, provided by a religion which sacralised the worst of human behaviour. They terrorised shipping and coastal communities within their reach by use of force alone. They added nothing to civilisation but were entirely parasitical upon it.

And then came the French with greater force; bigger ships, better weapons and more advanced technology. They put an end to both the piracy and the slave-trading, allowing seagoing commerce to flourish safely in the region for the first time, something for which the civilised nations of Europe should be profoundly grateful.

How did the colonised Algerians, and other Muslim peoples, come to terms with their massive fall from power and prestige, then and now? Not by accepting that their culture was at fault, that’s for sure. That would mean admitting that the example of their prophet was fundamentally malign, which would of course undermine their religion.

Instead they comfort themselves with nostalgia for a largely illusory Golden Age and look for someone else to blame.

They are always the victims of the French or the British or the Americans. Or, most virulently, the Jews, a thorn in Mohammed’s side in 630 AD, and now, in the guise of Israel (population 10 million), the arch villains keeping 400 million Arabs down. Israel’s neighbours keep trying to wipe it off the face of the Earth but it would be a disaster for them if they succeeded. Who would they then blame when conditions in the region remained obdurately unimproved?

No one has done more than Fanon to position Arabs, and Muslims, as perpetual victims, something encouraged by the political left and successfully exploited by Muslims to the extent that any criticism of Islam is dismissed as a phobia by people who should know better. However throughout their history Muslims have consistently been the victimisers of non-Muslims whenever strong enough. Anyone taking at face value their current position in Western cultures as top victim, ahead of other clamouring identity groups, should bear in mind the Arabic saying “Show a victim’s face and you will take over”.

CONCLUSION

Dr Abi-Rached ends the article by claiming that “The thesis that Fanon posed decades ago remains relevant, but today the new man seems, alas, to be dead and in need of reinvention”.

I suggest that the new man was never born. The old man of Algeria had been too long in the making to be wished away overnight. Surely psychiatrists, of all people, should understand that for new psychological growth to occur, whether for individuals or for societies, it is first necessary to confront, and accept responsibility for, ones own “sins of origin”?

PS On the subject of taking, or not taking, responsibility for one’s own actions – shortly after finishing this blogpost I came across an item in the newspaper obituaries which I think needs no further comment from me. It concerned the recently deceased Saadi Yacef. He was the military chief in Algiers for the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) at the time of the Battle of Algiers. In an interview he said “We killed women, yes, and took foetuses out of their womb”, which he justified as part of the struggle for freedom. “This was our only means against a cruel enemy.”

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………………………………………………………………………………………………

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)