Tuesday, 30 June 2009

"About two-thirds of Muslim marriages are not being registered under the Marriages Act, which is illegal"

More on British sharia courts.

"About two-thirds of Muslim marriages are not being registered under the Marriages Act, which is illegal," said Neil Addison, a barrister specialising in the law on religion. "A woman with such a marriage would have no choice but to go to a sharia tribunal … But it's not the way arbitration is supposed to work."

MacEoin said: "By demanding marriage under Muslim law, the divorce is determined by the man saying 'I divorce you' three times. Divorce under Islamic law also affects the wife's entitlement to alimony, custody of children, and who keeps the family house. These will all be decided by sharia law and will be discriminatory towards the woman in all cases."...

Many Muslim lawyers have compared the operation of sharia courts to the Jewish beth din, which also operate as arbitration tribunals under UK law, a comparison which is questioned by the report.

The report disputes the comparison. "These courts are not operating within the same disciplines as the beth din", said Addison. "The beth din acknowledge that 'the law of the land is the law.' and a rabbi cannot perform a synagogue marriage ceremony unless a registrar is present to simultaneously register the marriage under English law."

"Imams and mosques are performing marriage ceremonies that are not registered under English law," Addison added. "They are the only religion that are doing it … Hindus and Sikhs have registered their temples under the Marriages Act."

Monday, 29 June 2009

No Revolution For Iranian Women

Mrs. Mousavi's legacy

In the last week or so I've written a lot about the "Revolutionary Hero" Mir Hossein Mousavi, whose "revolution" in Iran would in fact entail not much in the way of change at all.

However, it seems that the problems do not end with Mousavi - his wife is just as bad. Zahra Rahnavard, according to University of Connecticut Professor Kazem Kazerounian, "was key in enforcing the strict Islamic dress code (Hejab) on women. She had a major role in forming 'Gasht-e Khaharan-e Zeinab', the female street police units that harass women to enforce 'Islamic behavior.'” You can see some footage of these fascist "police" in action here.

Rahnavard was also the author of a book entitled "The Beauty of Concealment and the Concealment of Beauty", which can be read online here. Below are a couple of highlights.

First of all, the insistence on the wearing of the hijab, presented as a "beautiful" act:

Today most of the young women and girls, who have adopted hejab in toto and have been completely enamoured by it, have reached the truth that concealment in entirety is beautiful.

Then there is the support for Khomeini and Islamic theocracy:

In fact, however, (under the illuminating and guiding leadership of Imam Khomeini), millions of common womenfolk have returned to their divine nature, to the dignity of their own Self, and under the loving patronage and protection of the Islamic Republic of Iran we are advancing towards preparing the ground for new legislation, so that on the basis of the Islamic laws and precepts suitable laws may be framed for this period of time for the rights and true worth of the womenfolk in order that all the oppressed women of the world may come to realize that the only way of their deliverance is the path of Islam and not the Capitalist, humanist or Communist ideologies, and that the only guarantee for materializing this objective is the Islamic revolution.

And then, of course, there is the anti-Western hate-preaching:

You, bloodsucking Oppressors...My hejab which is by itself now an Islam personified says that it will crush you. It tells you that it is an avowed enemy of you, the ruling regimes, you the corrupt politicians, you the chosen of the strong, you Pharoahs, Croesuses, imperialists, and (their) stooges. It warns you that in this world you shall be punished by the weak masses and on the Day of Judgement shall be subjected to eternal torture of Hell.

I picture Islam with my hejab, give it a positive form. I revolt against you. With my Islam, my hejab, and my struggle every day I bring closer the death of you, of your class and of your system...

Recently, some on the Right have stated a willingness to forgive the Mousavi family their past sins, accompanied by speculation that if he was to come to power now, he would jettison oppressive sharia laws and genuinely stand for "justice" and "equality". There have been some signs of hope from the "reformers" - for example, people shouting "Death to the Islamic Republic!" - but I still see no reason to accept that there is any kind of organised, Westernising reform in the offing right now.

Britain Has 85 Sharia Courts

Would YOU trust them with your wife?

It's even worse than we feared.

At least 85 Islamic sharia courts are operating in Britain, a study claimed yesterday.

The astonishing figure is 17 times higher than previously accepted...

However, they operate behind doors that are closed to independent observers and their decisions are likely to be unfair to women and backed by intimidation, a report by independent think-tank Civitas said.

How have we let it get to this point?

Mr [Denis] MacEoin said: 'Among the rulings we find some that advise illegal actions and others that transgress human rights standards as applied by British courts.'

Examples set out in his study include a ruling that no Muslim woman may marry a non-Muslim man unless he converts to Islam and that any children of a woman who does should be taken from her until she marries a Muslim.

Further rulings, according to the report, approve polygamous marriage and enforce a woman's duty to have sex with her husband on his demand.

All of this is, indeed, part of sharia, and is not disputed by any major school of thought, so all the while sharia courts remain in this country, these are the rulings that will be enforced.

The report added: 'The fact that so many sharia rulings in Britain relate to cases concerning divorce and custody of children is of particular concern, as women are not equal in sharia law, and sharia contains no specific commitment to the best interests of the child that is fundamental to family law in the UK.

'Under sharia, a male child belongs to the father after the age of seven, regardless of circumstances.'

It said: 'Sharia courts operating in Britain may be handing down rulings that are inappropriate to this country because they are linked to elements in Islamic law that are seriously out of step with trends in Western legislation.'

Very true. And I must say, it's excellent to hear someone in the mainstream referring to just sharia and Islamic law - not "extremists" or "a strict form of sharia law". This is sharia, and that must be recognised if we are to assert the superiority of our own values over it.

The sharia courts in the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal are recognised as courts under the Arbitration Act. This law, which covers Jewish Beth Din courts, gives legal powers to a tribunal if all parties involved accept its authority.

The comparison to Jewish Beth Din courts is deceitful because Jewish law is applied in a much more circumscribed manner, and at its height Jewish law only ever applies to Jews. Islamic law, on the other hand, applies to EVERYONE, and there is no easy separation of the parts which deal with "family" law from the parts that involve murdering apostates and other grizzly things. And the record shows that whenever sharia is implemented to any extent anywhere - such as in Swat Valley, Pakistan - this is always followed by calls for more. To allow ANY part of sharia law into Britain is to play into the hands of the significant minority of British Muslims who want ALL of it here, including, for example, Anjem Choudary and his gang of fanatics, as well as the 40% of British Muslims who want to replace the British legal system with sharia.

Jews are well-behaved in comparison.

Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, said: 'Everyone should be deeply concerned about the extent of these courts.

'They do entrench division in society, and do nothing to entrench integration or community cohesion. It leads to a segregated society.

'There should be one law, and that should be British law. We can't have a situation where people can choose which system of law they follow and which they do not.

'We can't have a situation where people choose the system of law which they feel gives them the best outcome. Everyone should equal under one law.'

I'm glad you think so, Mr. Davies.

But here comes the whining:

The Muslim Council in Britain condemned the study for ' stirring up hatred'.

A Muslim's favourite word: "hatred". Often it applies to an imaginary "Islamophobia" displayed on the part of infidels. But just as often it applies to Muslim attitudes towards those same infidels.

A spokesman said: 'Sharia councils are perfectly legitimate. There is no evidence they are intimidating or discriminatory against women. The system is purely voluntary so if people don't like it they can go elsewhere.'

I am sure the evidence to the contrary will be forthcoming.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Jihadist Website Discusses Eating the Flesh of Infidels


"If we are forced to eat Americans, let's make them into a gunpowder-flavored kabsa with some hors d'oeuvres made of apostates."

But of course, "the slaughtering needs to be according to the shari'a".

It's almost as if Islam is not a Religion of Peace.

More on Mousavi the "Reformer"

Mullah Lite

Here's a statement attributed to the "reformist" Iranian Presidential candidate Mousavi. Note in particular this admission: "We are not up against our sacred regime and its legal structures; this structure guards our Independence, Freedom, and Islamic Republic. We are up against the deviations and deceptions and we want to reform them; a reformation that returns us to the pure principles of the Islamic Revolution."

Reform! Change!

Next, here's an interview with Mousavi on al-Jazeera in which he is asked about the Iranian Mullahs' avowals to "wipe Israel off the map". He replies:

Right from the beginning, I objected to that phrase. We believe in the sovereignty of the people. Look at what happened in South Africa and Rhodesia. People voted and changed the system. The only way out is to refer to the true inhabitants of Palestine.

Note that he doesn't repudiate the Mullahs' intentions - he only objects to the way they phrased them. And he repeats the standard Islamic jihadist line that Muslims are the "true inhabitants of Palestine", despite the centuries of Jewish and pre-Jewish habitation of that land, and despite the fact that Islam has no direct religious claim to Jerusalem at all.

Allahu akbar!

Finally, here are the details on Mousavi's involvement in the 1983 Beirut massacre against the US embassy and Marine Corps.

Viva La Revolution!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

On Banning the Burqa

"The veil restricts women. It stops them achieving their full potential in all areas of their life, and it stops them communicating. It sends out a clear message: 'I do not want to be part of your society.'"

Saira Khan (a contestant on The Apprentice, apparently), a British Muslim woman herself, has written a piece in the Daily Mail today, endorsing French President Sarkozy's recent call for the burqa to be banned in Western countries. The following are extracts from the article, accompanied by my own comments and analysis.

In London, I see an increasing number of young girls, aged four and five, being made to wear the hijab to school.

Which, of course, explodes the myth that Muslim women only ever choose to wear the burqa, and are never coerced into it.

Shockingly, the Dickensian bone disease rickets has reemerged in the British Muslim community because women are not getting enough vital vitamin D from sunlight because they are being consigned to life under a shroud.

Indeed. Here is more information.

Thanks to fundamentalist Muslims and 'hate' preachers working in Britain, the veiling of women is suddenly all-pervasive and promoted as a basic religious right. We are led to believe that we must live with this in the name of 'tolerance'.

And yet, as a British Muslim woman, I abhor the practice and am calling on the Government to follow the lead of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and ban the burkha in our country.

The veil is simply a tool of oppression which is being used to alienate and control women under the guise of religious freedom.

It is telling that only a Muslim can get away with saying something like this is a British newspaper (although don't be surprised if the Muslim "outrage" comes pouring in soon). Such is the stultifying and damaging effect of political correctness and multiculturalism.

I have read the Koran. Nowhere in the Koran does it state that a woman's face and body must be covered in a layer of heavy black cloth. Instead, Muslim women should dress modestly, covering their arms and legs.

Actually, Qur'an 24:31 says: "And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands' fathers, or their sons or their husbands' sons, or their brothers or their brothers' sons or sisters' sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women's nakedness."

This verse is not very specific about what should be covered, but contrary to Ms. Khan's claim, nowhere does it rule out a full-body covering.

So what should be covered? Muhammad made this clear in a hadith: “Asma, daughter of Abu Bakr, entered upon the Apostle of Allah wearing thin clothes. The Apostle of Allah turned his attention from her. He said: O Asma, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands.” (Abu Dawud b.32, no.4092)

In another tradition, a woman with a veil over her face came to see Muhammad, looking for her son, who had been killed in battle. Muhammad asked her: “You have come here asking for your son while veiling your face?” She responded: “If I am afflicted with the loss of my son, I shall not suffer the loss of my modesty.” Pleased, Muhammad told her: “You will get the reward of two martyrs for your son,” because “the People of the Book have killed him.” (Abu Dawud b.14, no.2482)

The classic Qur'an comentary called the Tafsir al-Jalalayn agrees that verse 31 means that when in public women should cover “all that is other than the face and the hands.” The modern scholar Said Ramadan al-Buti also states confidently that “Muslim teachers unanimously agreed in every generation that the woman should cover all her body except her hands and face, that is without any make up, from strangers.”

So covering the entire head and body is a requirement for Muslim women. Then again, other scholars mandate full face covering, as well. The Hanbali jurist Ibn Taymiyya, often referred to by Muslims as the Sheikh al-Islam, or learned elder of Islam, says: "Allah commands women to let the jilbab come down (over their faces) so that they will be known (as respectable women) and not be annoyed or disturbed...‘Ubaydah al-Salmani and others stated that the women used to wear the jilbab coming down from the top of their heads in such a manner that nothing could be seen except their eyes, so that they could see where they were going. It was proven in [the hadith] that the woman in ihram [making the pilgrimage] is forbidden to wear the niqab and gloves. This is what proves that the niqab and gloves were known among women who were not in ihram. This implies that they covered their faces and hands.”

Finally, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the founder of the Hanbali school of jurisprudence, believed that "every part of a woman is awrah, even her nails. It was narrated in the hadith, ‘The woman is awrah,' This includes all of the woman." Awrah refers to the parts of the body that are not meant to be exposed in public.

The veil restricts women. It stops them achieving their full potential in all areas of their life, and it stops them communicating. It sends out a clear message: 'I do not want to be part of your society.'

Good point.

Every time the burkha is debated, Muslim fundamentalists bring out all these women who say: 'It's my choice to wear this.'

Perhaps so - but what pressures have been brought to bear on them? The reality, surely, is that a lot of women are not free to choose.

Another fair point, although it is difficult to gauge how many British women are truly forced into wearing the veil. But we do know that sometimes Muslims make even non-Muslim women wear the headscarf. That's out in the open, so imagine what goes on in private.

And behind the closed doors of some Muslim houses, countless young women are told to wear the hijab and the veil. These are the girls who are hidden away, they are not allowed to go to university or choose who they marry. In many cases, they are kept down by the threat of violence.

All of this is a product of Muslim cultural norms, derived from the Qur'an and Islamic law, and there is plenty of evidence that many Muslims are bringing such attitudes with them into Britain. The latter ("the threat of violence") derives directly from Qur'an 4:34: "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all). (Qur'an 4:34) The word "lightly" in there, by the way, is not in the original Arabic, but was added by the translator, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, to make the verse seem more palatable to Western eyes.

Precisely because it is impossible to distinguish between the woman who is choosing to wear a burkha and the girl who has been forced to cover herself and live behind a veil, I believe it should be banned.

I am in agreement.

Two years ago, I wore a burkha for the first time for a television programme. It was the most horrid experience. It restricted the way I walked, what I saw, and how I interacted with the world.

It took away my personality. I felt alienated and like a freak. It was hot and uncomfortable, and I was unable to see behind me, exchange a smile with people, or shake hands.

Does this mean that if Muslim women choose to wear this oppressive garb, they are masochistic? It would appear that way. They have certainly been indoctrinated by a culture that denies them the freedom to express their sexuality, and they have come to believe that they deserve to be denied this freedom.

My message to those Muslims who want to live in a Talibanised society, and turn their face against Britain, is this: 'If you don't like living here and don't want to integrate, then what the hell are you doing here? Why don't you just go and live in an Islamic country?'

Amen. I have come to suspect that part of the reason is because many (but by no means all) Muslims have come to Britain with the express intention not of assimilating, but of imposing Islamic laws and customs on their host country. Islam, after all, is not a religion that allows for compromise.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Obama's Feeble Grip On Iran and Reality

A couple of interesting opinion pieces in the media today on the Iran situation, particularly focusing on Borat Obama's feeble-handed and feeble-minded response to it.

First, Wes Pruden in the Washington Times:

So only a churl would rain on the parade of the brave and the bold, but a realist can see the limits of the romantic view of what's going on inside Iran. The most important of the losing candidates, Mir Hossein Mousavi, was no doubt cheated of many votes - maybe enough to have been cheated out of the presidency. But as sad as that is, the greater danger for America and the West is that the boiling rage in the streets will divert attention from what's most crucial, most urgent and most important. Stopping the Iranian bomb, not correcting theft of an election, is what counts most...

The rage in Tehran's streets suggests that time may be running out for a brutal regime, but that same clock is ticking for Barack Obama and what to do about the Iranian bomb. A reprise of the Cairo speech won't work; the Muslims are masters of endless, empty rhetoric themselves, and know how to figure the discount on words. The consequences of taking out the Iranian nuclear works, or enabling Israel to do it for him, would be awful, exceeded only by the consequences of allowing the mullahs in Tehran to get their bomb. Then everybody in Arabia would want one. The Saudis would buy one from Pakistan; certain intelligence sources say a deal is already in the works to deliver it once an Iranian bomb is in place. If the Shi'ites have a bomb, it's only logical, as logic is measured in that miserable corner of the world, for the Sunnis to get one. Every thuggish eighth-century theocracy must be fully armed.

The implications are frightening and easily measured, even by a timid White House. Mutually assured destruction kept the Cold War confrontation between Washington and Moscow in check, with one or two close calls, because both East and West had something to lose. The prospect of Sunnis and Shi'ites shooting it out with nuclear weapons, with nothing to lose but each other, is not a happy one. Dealing with it will require something with more firepower than a teleprompter.

And then Christopher Hitchens at Slate (via FrontPage):

Want to take a noninterventionist position? All right, then, take a noninterventionist position. This would mean not referring to Khamenei in fawning tones as the supreme leader and not calling Iran itself by the tyrannical title of "the Islamic republic." But be aware that nothing will stop the theocrats from slandering you for interfering anyway. Also try to bear in mind that one day you will have to face the young Iranian democrats who risked their all in the battle and explain to them just what you were doing when they were being beaten and gassed. (Hint: Don't make your sole reference to Iranian dictatorship an allusion to a British-organized coup in 1953; the mullahs think that it proves their main point, and this generation has more immediate enemies to confront.)...

Coexistence with a nuclearized, fascistic theocracy in Iran is impossible even in the short run. The mullahs understand this with perfect clarity. Why can't we?

Monday, 22 June 2009

Iran: "The argument on both sides has stayed narrowly within the bounds of Islam"

This New York Times analysis of the situation in Iran points out that both sides are grounding their values firmly within traditional Shi'ite Islam. This demonstrates once again that very little is likely to change in the country even if Ahmedinejad and Khameini end up being overthrown. And when the "reformist" Mousavi says that the Iranian miltary are "protectors of our revolution and our regime", it doesn't take a genius to join the dots.

Barring the Pahlavi period between 1925 and 1979, Iranian culture has remained essentially unchanged, in the form of a despotic Shi'ite Islamic theocracy, since the sixteenth century. And so it will remain for a while yet.

Mullah vs. Mullah Lite

Now with 25% extra jihad, free!

Amidst the chaos enveloping Iran at the moment, it bears remembering that neither side is worth supporting from a civilised Western point of view. Just take a look at this pre-election debate between the two Presidential candidates, Ahmedinejad and Mousavi. Not only does the latter show no signs of disagreement with the former's Holocaust-denial and genocidal statements towards Israel, but he actually condemns Ahmedinejad for not executing the British sailors who ventured into Iranian waters a while back. Some alternative.

Indeed, according to NewsMax, Mousavi was a founder of Hizballah, the Lebanese Islamic terror group that wants to destroy Israel. Some may dismiss NewsMax as a biased right-wing source (because we all know that news is only ever unreliable when it comes from one of the handful of conservative outlets), but the claim should not be dismissed out of hand based on the company Mousavi keeps, including former President Rafsanjani, who in 2001 suggested that nuclear weapons could solve the Israeli problem, saying this would be an effective tactic "because the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground".

Whatever happens in the coming days and weeks, don't expect too much to change.

Friday, 19 June 2009

6%? As many as that?

United in hate

Only 6 percent of Jewish Israelis consider the views of American President Barack Obama's administration pro-Israel, according to a new Jerusalem Post-sponsored Smith Research poll.

My first reaction would be to wonder about the sanity of that 6%. It is certainly clear that Obama hates Israel. The Post notes that "polls have consistently shown that Israelis believed the Arabs were at fault for the lack of Middle East peace and they reject perceived attempts by Obama to blame Israel or take an even-handed approach."

And they would be right. To understand the reason why this conflict has still never been resolved, just read the Hamas Charter.

It also seems that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's recent speech in response to Borat Obama's cretinous Cairo address was intended to serve a very specific purpose: uniting the Israeli people against an Obama administration whose insistence on the destruction of Israel is becoming increasingly lethal. As the Post again notes: "polls have shown that an overwhelming majority of Israelis agreed with Netanyahu's vision and believed he was speaking for a consensus of Israelis in his response to Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo." It will be interesting to see how this goes forward.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Taliban Jihadist Was A Villa Fan

How many more traitors are hiding in there?

A Taliban jihadist killed in Afghanistan was wearing an Aston Villa football club tattoo, it was claimed yesterday, raising fears British Muslims are being recruited to fight our troops.

A soldier injured in the ­fighting said: “It’s baffling. Why would these people leave ­Britain, where you have all the freedoms of a democracy, to stop Afghan ­people having the same benefits that are enjoyed in the UK?"

And that sums it all up. All the while half of British mosques are under the control of an Islamic sect that teaches hatred of Britain, and all the while UK government fails to understand or recognise (a) the traditional pedigree of the jihadists' ideology within orthodox Islam, and (b) the extent of popular Muslim support for jihadist ideology, it is guaranteed that more British Muslims will betray their country in this way.....or even worse ways.

Speaking of the recent discovery in Afghanistan, a Foreign Office spokesman said: "It is important that ­British Muslim communities make clear that they reject this kind of activity.”

Good luck with that.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Is Ahmedinejad's Re-Election A Good Thing?

As Mahmoud Ahmedinejad wins the Iranian elections, here are some sobre thoughts from Daniel Pipes on why this result might actually be the grudgingly preferred option from the standpoint of his Western opponents:

Therefore, while my heart goes out to the many Iranians who desperately want the vile Ahmadinejad out of power, my head tells me it's best that he remain in office. When Mohammed Khatami was president, his sweet words lulled many people into complacency, even as the nuclear weapons program developed on his watch. If the patterns remain unchanged, better to have a bellicose, apocalyptic, in-your-face Ahmadinejad who scares the world than a sweet-talking Mousavi who again lulls it to sleep, even as thousands of centrifuges whir away.

"No Compulsion In Religion" And Other Islamic Apologetics (Part 3)

Following on from Part 1 here and Part 2 here.



Another verse commonly quoted by Islamic apologists reads: “There is no compulsion in religion.” (2:256) Muslims often cite this verse to demonstrate that Islam forbids the spreading of the faith by the sword. And yet, verse 9:5, discussed in Part 1, commands Muslims to fight idolaters and pagans until they convert to Islam. The choice for them is either conversion or the sword. Ibn Kathir says of 9:5 that polytheists “have no choice, but to die or embrace Islam.”

How, then, can we reconcile this with the idea that there is “no compulsion in religion”? One common but not majority view is that the latter verse abrogated the former. Tabari, on the other hand, contends that this verse was not abrogated but was revealed specifically in relation to the People of the Book, Jews and Christians: “Arab society was compelled to enter Islam because they were an unlettered community, having no book which they knew. Thus nothing other than Islam was accepted from them. The People of the Book are not to be compelled to enter Islam if they submit to paying the jizya [poll tax] or kharaj [land tax].”

So this verse ultimately does not contradict the purpose of jihad outlined in Qur'anic verses such as 9:5 and 9:29, because its purpose, at least regarding Jews and Christians, is not to force them to accept Islam, but rather to force the Islamic legal system upon them, relegating them to second-class status and payment of the jizya if they refuse to convert. But if they do convert, they do so freely. Sayyid Qutb makes clear that Muslims can wage offensive jihad against unbelievers without forcing them to convert to Islam:

“As the only religion of truth that exists on earth today, Islam takes appropriate action to remove all physical and material obstacles that try to impede its efforts to liberate mankind from submission to anyone other than God...The practical way to ensure the removal of those physical obstacles while not forcing anyone to adopt Islam is to smash the power of those authorities based on false beliefs until they declare their submission and demonstrate this by paying the submission tax. When this happens, the process of liberating mankind is completed by giving every individual the freedom of choice based on conviction. Anyone who is not convinced may continue to follow his faith. However, he has to pay the submission tax to fulfill a number of objectives...by paying this tax, known as jizya, he declares that he will not stand in physical opposition to the efforts advocating the true Divine faith.”

In this context, the imperative to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers remains intact.


We should not allow ourselves to be deceived or distracted by the apologetics of some Muslims who ignore traditional understandings of the Qur'an in order to re-package Islamic doctrine and history to ill-informed non-Muslims. Not only does this result in a failure to address the root causes of Islamic jihad violence, it also hinders the progress of genuine Muslim reformers. Moderate Muslims will not succeed in formulating a new, peaceful understanding of Islam unless they acknowledge the problems inherent in its mainstream tradition and orthodoxy. Those who acknowledge these problems, then work to reform them, are to be commended and their efforts supported. Those who simply whitewash these basic realities should not be encouraged or supported, for their efforts do more harm than good in the important struggle for Islamic reform.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

"No Compulsion In Religion" And Other Islamic Apologetics (Part 2)

Following on from Part 1 here.



Even with the theory of abrogation firmly in place, there are other verses in the Qur'an which would seem to advise against warfare and killing.

One of these, often quoted by Islamic spokesmen in the West, reads in part: “whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.” (5:32)

These sentiments sound very noble, but unfortunately when analysed in their full context a number of less noble details become apparent. Firstly, this admonition comes within the context of a warning to the Jews not to oppose the Muslims, and is not presented as a universal principle. Secondly, it contains the important exception “for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth”, which will be examined in a moment. Here is the entire verse, accompanied by the immediately following verse, which provides much-needed context:

For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth.

The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom.” (5:32-33)

In its full context, we can see that this passage is actually a threat to the Jews not to oppose the Muslims or they will face crucifixion, mutilation or banishment. The classical commentary of Ibn Kathir and the twentieth-century commentary of Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi (d.1979) confirm the anti-Jewish attitudes present in this verse.

Ibn Kathir:

“This Ayah chastises and criticizes those who commit the prohibitions, after knowing that they are prohibited from indulging in them. [For example] [t]he Jews of Medina, such as Banu Qurayza, Banu Nadir and Qaynuqa [Jewish tribes attacked, expelled and even massacred by Muhammad]...”


“[R]ather than reflect on the causes of their rejection by God, and do something to overcome the failings which led to that rejection, the Israelites were seized by the same fit of arrogance and folly which had once seized the criminal son of Adam [Cain], and resolved to kill those whose good deeds had been accepted by God...Since the same qualities which had been displayed in the wrongdoing son of Adam were manifest in the Children of Israel, God strongly urged them not to kill human beings and couched his command in forceful terms.”

It is also important to understand what this Qur'anic verse means by spreading “corruption in the earth” and waging “war upon Allah and his messenger”. Ibn Kathir sums up the orthodox view of what this means: “oppose and contradict, and it includes disbelief, blocking roads and spreading fear in the fairways.” He also relates that three of Muhammad's close companions, al-Suddi, Ibn Abbas and Ibn Mas'ud, agree that it means “disbelief and acts of disobedience.” Maududi writes: “The 'land' (in verse 5:33) signifies either the country or territory wherein the responsibility of establishing law and order has been undertaken by an Islamic state. The expression 'to wage war against Allah and His Messenger' denotes war against the righteous order established by the Islamic state.”

Thus the Qur'an, according to mainstream interpretation, far from abjuring violence, is actually saying that contradicting the tenets of Islam and mere unbelief are sufficient crimes to merit brutal punishment.

It should be noted that Islam does forbid the killing of innocent people, but only so long as they are Muslims: “it is not for a believer to kill a believer unless it be by mistake” (4:92). The Qur'an doesn't make a similar statement regarding Muslims killing non-Muslims. The early Muslim commentator Sa‘id bin Jubayr explains 5:32 as follows: “He who allows himself to shed the blood of a Muslim, is like he who allows shedding the blood of all people. He who forbids shedding the blood of one Muslim, is like he who forbids shedding the blood of all people.”

This leads to inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims in Islamic law. The Islamic legal manual Umdat al-Salik, which was certified by Sunni Islam's highest spiritual authority, Cairo's Al-Azhar University, as conforming “to the practise and faith of the orthodox Sunni community” in 1991, says that “retaliation is obligatory...against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.” However, there are a number of situations in which this ruling does not apply, including the case of “a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim”.

This was part of Iranian legal policy during the Khomeini era. In 1970, the Iranian Sufi leader Sultanhussein Tabandeh wrote A Muslim Commentary on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In it, he states: “Since Islam regards non-Muslims as on a lower level of belief and conviction, if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim…then his punishment must not be the retaliatory death, since the faith and conviction he possesses is loftier than that of the man slain.” Tabandeh's views were instituted almost verbatim in Khomeini's Iran.

Stay tuned for the third and final part, coming soon...

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Book Review


"United in Hate" aims to answer one of the most perplexing questions in contemporary politics: why does the Left so often support and take the side of Islamic jihadists whose values are anathema to those that the same Leftists purport to uphold? Why do Leftists consistently pour scorn on their own societies while heaping praise upon totalitarian dictators and terrorists?

Jamie Glazov's new book is the most complete examination yet of the Left's informal alliance with radical Islam. It begins by providing a psycho-social explanation as to why the Leftist (who the author refers to as "the believer", in deference to Eric Hoffer's famous book The True Believer) ideology so often results in hatred for one's own society and support for dictators and murderers. Glazov provides the following formulation:

The believer's totalitarian journey begins with an acute sense of alienation from his own society - an alienation to which he is, himself, completely blind. In denial about the character flaws that prevent him from bonding with his own people, the believer has convinced himself that there is something profoundly wrong with his society - and that it can be fixed without any negative trade-offs. He fantasizes about building a perfect society where he will, finally, fit in. As Eric Hoffer noted in his classic The True Believer, 'people with a sense of fulfillment think it is a good world and would like to preserve it as it is, while the frustrated favor radical change.'...

In rejecting his own society, the believer spurns the values of democracy and individual freedom, which are anathema to him, since he has miserably failed to cope with both the challenges they pose and the possibilities they offer. Tortured by his personal alienation, which is accompanied by feelings of self-loathing, the believer craves a fairy-tale world where no individuality exists, and where human estrangement is thus impossible. The believer fantasizes about how his own individuality and self will be submerged within the collective whole...

As history has tragically recorded, this 'holy cause' follows a road that leads not to an earthly paradise, but rather to an earthly hell in all of its manifestations. The political faith rejects the basic reality of the human condition - that human beings are flawed and driven by self-interest - and rests on the erroneous assumption that humanity is malleable and can be shaped into a more perfect form...[O]ne hundred million human beings [have been] sacrified on the alter where a new man would ostensibly be created.

At first I was not totally convinced by Glazov's hypothesis, as it seemed too much like pretentious double-speak and/or mere speculation. However, in the next section, Glazov illustrates his formula by documenting how the Left, for exactly the reasons he describes in Chapter 2, above, revered and supported the communist tyrannies of Stalin, Mao, Castro and others. This whole section puts the above "theory" into observable and demonstrable practice and serves as a perfect background to the modern liberal love affair with Islamic jihad.

The next section examines the ideology of the jihadists themselves, and explores the psychological ramifications of Islam's violent, intolerant and misogynistic doctrines on those who take them seriously, and how these constructs mirror those of the Left.

Finally, Glazov documents Leftist support for radical Islam in the wake of the 9/11 atrocities, quoting abundantly from self-loathing left-wing bigots such as Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore. As Glazov writes: "[T]he new generation of believers found their own idols in the terror war. The romance with Islamism is just a logical continuation of the long leftist tradition of worshipping America’s foes."

Amidst a raft of documentation and examples, the author explains the liberals' tortured logic:

An added ingredient in this equation is the Left’s sacred cow of multiculturalism. The believer cannot accept the truth about Islamism or much of Islam, because he would then have to concede that not all cultures are equal, and that some cultures (e.g., America’s, with its striving for equality) are superior to others (e.g., Islam’s structure of gender apartheid). For the believer to retain his sense of purpose and to avoid the collapse of his identity and community, such thoughts must be suppressed at all cost. Because he seeks to nurture his self-identification as a victim and to lose himself inside a totalitarian collective whole, he must deny the truth about the object of his worship, as believers of previous generations denied the truth about Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, and other totalitarian societies.

Because of these factors, the believer clings to a rigid Marxist view of the terror war, no matter how much empirical evidence proves that Islamist violence has absolutely nothing to do with economic inequality, class oppression, or Western exploitation. This is why, when Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi justify their terror with references to the Koran, and when Zacarias Moussaoui casually explains in court that he was simply following the Koran’s directive that Muslims must make Islam the world’s superpower, the believer always turns a deaf ear.

This is a long tradition of the Left: progressives have always assumed that they understand the world much better than the people for whom they purport to speak. In terms of the terror war, there exists an obvious and profound racism in the believer’s disposition, since the implication is that Muslims and Arabs are not bright enough to understand their own circumstances, and therefore their explanations of their own actions cannot be taken seriously.

Thus while bin Laden, Zarqawi, and Moussaoui may insist that the holy jihad is motivated by the desire to spread sharia throughout the world, to erase individual freedom, and to kill, convert, or subjugate infidels, the Western leftist is constrained to rationalize that they are saying such things only because they have been hurt by capitalism and Western imperialism. As David Horowitz points out, the leftist holds the Marxist perspective that religion is nothing more than a thought structure rooted in suffering under capitalism. Once the oppression stops, the believer assumes, the Islamist conceptions of Allah and jihad (which the believer privately considers ridiculous but would never dare say so in public) will simply disappear. Believers, therefore, inevitably deny the Islamic dimension that the terrorists themselves insist is their impetus for terror.

Dealing in specifics, Glazov also covers the leftists' defense of Islamic gender apartheid and their hatred of Israel. Regarding the latter, he makes an unconvincing case that Leftist hatred for Israel is based primarily on antisemitism, an increasingly common right-wing position that I have always opposed because of its striking similarity to the equally imaginary phenomenon of "Islamophobia". Ultimately, some of the other explanations the author presents are far more accurate and persuasive than the "Jew-hate" line.

Overall, United in Hate does the best job of any currently published work of explaining why the Left frequently romances with tyrants and terrorists. It is recommended reading for all those who value Western freedoms and wish to defend them against the totalitarian ideology of jihad.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

"No Compulsion In Religion" And Other Islamic Apologetics (Part 1)


When confronted with the reality of Islam's violent doctrines and history, it is understandable that many Muslims may wish to downplay these truths or attempt refute the arguments of Westerners who subject the Qur'an and Islamic tradition to critical scrutiny. These Muslims' apologetics are, in turn, taken up even by non-Muslims who simply repeat calumnies and half-truths without question.

This three-part series of posts will deal with some of the most common Muslim apologetics, which lead to a dangerous whitewashing of Islamic doctrine and history, and demonstrate why they are insufficient to excuse Islam of the serious problems inherent in its traditional makeup and orthodoxy.


Perhaps the most common argument against the notion that traditional Islam sanctions violence against and the subjugation of unbelievers is the “cherry-picking” argument. This asserts that certain verses of the Qur'an have been taken “out of context” to make the Qur'an appear violent, while all the more peaceful and tolerant verses have been ignored.

At first glance, this would appear to be a valid point. As well as verses mandating violence and intolerance, the Qur'an also contains some passages towards which no one could have any reasonable objections. For example, a number of verses promote co-existence and dialogue with non-Muslims:

16:125 – “Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.”

29:46 – “And dispute ye not with the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, 'We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).'”

109:1-6 – “Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion.”

There are also passages which seem to say that Muslims should only wage war in self-defense:

22:39-40 – “Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed Able to give them victory; Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said: Our Lord is Allah - For had it not been for Allah's repelling some men by means of others, cloisters and churches and oratories and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft mentioned, would assuredly have been pulled down. Verily Allah helpeth one who helpeth Him. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty.”

2:190 – “Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors.”

However, failing to mention these and other such verses is not a matter of simply cherry-picking the worst parts of the Qur'an in order to make Islam look bad; rather, it is in line with mainstream Islamic theology, as enunciated by the greatest Muslim scholars and commentators.

It is a traditional Islamic belief that the Prophet Muhammad revealed verses about warfare in three stages over the course of his career: first non-violence, then defensive war, then offensive war to submit the entire world to Islam. The Prophet's earliest biographer, Ibn Ishaq (d.773), was the first to articulate this. At first, he says, Muhammad “had not been given permission to fight or allowed to shed blood. He had simply been ordered to call men to God and to endure insult and forgive the innocent.” But when Muhammad's circumstances changed, Allah “gave permission to His apostle to fight and to protect himself against those who wronged them and treated them badly.” Eventually, “God sent down to him: 'Fight them so that there be no more seduction', i.e. until no believer is seduced from his religion. 'And the religion is God's,' i.e. until God alone is worshiped.”

This view has been reaffirmed by many Muslim scholars throughout history. The prolific modern commentator Sayyid Qutb (d.1966) approvingly invokes an earlier authority, Ibn Qayyim (d.1350), to make the same point: “Muslims were first restrained from fighting...then they were commanded to fight against the aggressors; and finally they were commanded to fight against all the polytheists.” He also concludes that “[a]fter the period of the Prophet, only the final stages of the movement of jihad are to be followed; the initial or middle stages are not applicable”.

In other words, according to Ibn Ishaq, Qutb and many others, the Qur'anic verses which speak of tolerance, or of warfare only in self-defense, were applicable only in the particular stage of Muhammad's life during which they were revealed, while the final stage, of offensive warfare to submit unbelievers to the authority of Islam, is applicable now and for all time.

Related to this evolving concept of war in the Qur'an is the doctrine of naskh, or abrogation. This is the idea that Allah sometimes replaces a particular directive from the Qur'an with another one, which then becomes normative for Muslims following its revelation, canceling out the earlier prescriptions. It is based on the Qur'an itself: “Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?” (2:106)

The famous Muslim historian and exegete Tabari (d.923) defines abrogation as “what God abrogates regarding the precept of a verse which He changes, or for which He substitutes another, so that what is lawful may become unlawful and and what is unlawful may become lawful; what is permitted may become prohibited and what is prohibited may become permitted.” Sayyid Qutb maintains that “partial amendment of rulings in response to changing circumstances during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad could only be in the interest of mankind as a whole.” Another influential commentator, Qurtubi (d.1273), states bluntly that “no one can deny abrogation except the ignorant and the dull-headed.”

The doctrine of abrogation is of particular importance in understanding one of the Qur'an's most violent verses, known in Islamic theology as the Verse of the Sword: “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (9:5)

The prominent Qur'anic commentator Ibn Kathir (d.1373) quotes several authorities, including Muhammad's cousin Ibn Abbas (d.687), to assert that the Verse of the Sword “abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolater, every treaty and every term...No idolater had any more treaty or promise of safety ever since Surah Bara'ah [the ninth chapter of the Qur'an] was revealed.” Another scholar, Ibn Juzayy (d.1357), agrees – 9:5 abrogates “every peace treaty in the Qur’an”, and specifically abrogates 47:4’s directive to “set free or ransom” captive unbelievers. According to al-Suyuti (d.1505), “[t]his is an Ayat [verse] of the Sword which abrogates pardon, truce and overlooking”. The Spanish Muslim scholar Ibn al-Arabi (d.1148) stated that “[t]he Verse of the Sword, 9:5, has abrogated 124 verses of the Qur'an”.

None of this means that such understandings of the Qur'an are correct, or that Muslims who disagree with them are necessarily wrong. But it is nevertheless clear that these interpretations are not “radical” but mainstream and orthodox, and that modern jihadists therefore have a theologically legitimate strain of tradition to draw upon when trying to convince other Muslims that they represent “true” Islam.

Thus far, they have been successful in these efforts.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon...

Monday, 8 June 2009

The Idiocy of Barack Obama

For the past week, I have been on holiday in Spain (formerly known, but blessedly no longer, as Al-Andalus), and so have not been available to post. If I had been, I most certainly would have commented on President Obama's recent speech in Cairo to the Muslim world. Had I been around at the time, I almost certainly would have written a point by point analysis of the speech. However, in my absence, must-read analyses have been published by Robert Spencer and Andrew Bostom, and I recommend both of them be read...twice. Suffice it to say that, as these deconstructions adequately demonstrate, Obama's speech was full of factual errors, illogic, meaningless platitudes, unforgivable naivety, and downright stupidity. And what's sad is that he's really no worse than George W. Bush was when it came to confronting the harsh realities of Islam.

Also while I was away, Obama made one of the most stupid statements I have ever heard from a Western leader (exempting Dubya's tongue-tied inanities). Speaking about the then-upcoming speech in an interview on June 1st, he made the utterly ludicrous claim that "if you actually took the number of Muslims Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." How America, with its 2.4 million Muslims (or somewhere between 6 or 7 million at the most, if you listen to the inflated figures of American Muslim advocacy groups), can be one of the largest Muslim nations in the world, when there are numerous countries that have Muslim populations of over 100 million, eludes me, and what is telling is that no one in the left-wing media has picked up on this "Obamaism".