Saturday, 27 August 2011

Debunking The Nigerian Tribune

The paucity of reason and evidence Islamic apologists have in their favour is demonstrated again in this article today by Azeez Ishaq Oladimeji at the Nigerian Tribune.

Oladimeji opines that "The perception of an average non-muslim is that Islam is a violent religion, which mean that muslimas, therefore, are violent...However, all these perceptions are wrong. Islam is a religion of peace."

Aside from the fact that this is a straw man - believing that Islam is a violent religion does NOT mean that one also believes that all Muslims are violent; anyone who does believe such a thing is a fool - he then goes on to fill the rest of his article with falsehoods and ignorance.

Firstly, he quotes Qur'an 5:32 as follows: "Because of that, we ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone killed a person, not in relatiation of murder, or (and) be spread mischief in the hand [sic], it would be as if he killed all mankind. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind."

Notice that he does not quote the verse along with its surrounding context, which paints an entirely different picture:

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)

Thus, 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.

After this, he quotes the following: "And do not kill anyone whose killing Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause. And whoever is killed wrongfully (intentionally with hostility and oppression and not by mistake), we have given his heir the authority to demand the law of equality in punishment or to forgive, or to take blood-money. But let him not exceed the limits in the matter of taking life.” (17:33)

Oladimeji omits mention of the fact that according to revered Muslim Qur'an commentators such as Ibn Kathir, this verse only applies to "wrongfully" killing Muslims, not unbelievers.

He then cites an anonymous non-Muslim author who quoted two hadith in which Muhammad is recorded as having first of all tortured a Jewish leader in order to force him to reveal the location of hidden treasure, before having him killed, as well as praising the brutal murder of a non-Muslim shepherd by one of his followers. Oladimeji asserts that these stories are pure fabrications on the part of the infidel author, and that no source can be found for them.

Well, I'll tell you the source: Ibn Ishaq's The Life of Muhammad. As I'm sure Oladimeji knows, Ibn Ishaq was a pious Muslim, and Muhammad's earliest biographer. His work is the most important biographical material on Muhammad in existence, and is highly renowned among Muslims.

The Jewish leader who was tortured to death by Muhammad was Kinana b. al-Rabi, and the incident took place at the Khaybar oasis in approximately 629 AD. It is documented on page 515 of Alfred Guillaume's English translation of Ibn Ishaq's work. The second incident was not immediately familiar to me, but after a brief flick through The Life of Muhammad, I found it - it's on page 673.

I hope the author will take the time to condemn Ibn Ishaq for fabricating these stories in order "to tarnish the image of Islam and to condemn Muslims."

Oladimeji asserts that all the violent verses in the Qur'an "were revealed to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) at the time when non-believing were attacking Makkah’s muslims and threatening those that were in Medina. Thus, Allah allowed them to defend themselves. In other words, those verses are for special historical situation, concerning the beginning of Islam."

In fact, most of the Qur'an's most violent passages were revealed after Muhammad had already extinguished the Quraysh as a threat. Much of sura 9, for example, was revealed around the time Muhammad was launching offensive military operations against the Byzantine Empire, who had never heard of him until he started threatening their rulers and demanding that they convert to Islam. At around the same time, he was also sending his fiercest warriors, such as Khalid bin Walid, to fight the few remaining non-Muslim tribes of Arabia and convert them to Islam by force. One tribe in Yemen was told, "Break them (i.e. the arrows) and testify that None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, or else I will chop off your neck." (Bukhari v.5, b.59, no.643) Muhammad sent Khalid to the Banu Harith tribe, and "ordered him to invite them to Islam for three days before he fought them. If they were to respond and submit, he was to teach them the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His Prophet, and the requirements of Islam. If they should decline, then he was to fight them." (Tabari v.9, p82)

The main problem with the "You have to understand it in its historical context" argument is that it is entirely selective. The entire Qur'an was revealed in relation to specific events that occurred in Muhammad's life. How, then, does Oladimeji propose that we decide which verses are supposed to be applied only to a specific time period, and which are supposed to be taken as general, everlasting principles? Why must the violent verses be seen as historical relics, but the peaceful-sounding verses be seen as applying to everyone today, when both were revealed 1400 years ago in reaction to particular circumstances? And what's more, does Oladimeji believe, as do the vast majority of Muslims, that the Qur'an is eternal and uncreated? If so, what is the point of it containing reams of commandments which are now not to be applied and are no use to anybody?

Note: This article has been emailed directly to the Nigerian Tribune. If there is any response, it will be published here in full.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

What Now For Libya?

Celebrations in Tripoli...but who will take the cake?

As news filters through that the Libyan "rebels" have taken control of Colonel Gaddafi's compound, bringing that lunatic's reign of terror ever closer, our short-sighted media is exultant. Not very much thought is being given at all by either them or our policymakers as to what exactly is the nature of the "revolution" we've taken far too long and spent far too much money to help bring about.

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which has played a major role in the uprisings against Gaddafi, contains former members of al-Qaeda. As author John Bradley notes in a cogently argued new article today, a key commander of this group has praised al Qaeda as "good Muslims...fighting against the invader" in Iraq. A look back at a 2007 study shows that the Benghazi region of Libya, where the rebels are primarily based, was responsible for sending more Islamic jihadists to Iraq to fight Coalition troops than any other location on Earth.

And a draft Constitution penned by the Transitional National Council, which has been officially recognised by Western leaders as the government of Libya, contains the following worrying statement:

Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).

Of course, the authenticity of this document, which has found its way online, is not 100% verified, and there are reasons to take it with a pinch of salt. It could have potentially been written by anybody. But if it does turn out to be legitimate, this declaration would not be at all surprising. After all, Coalition-backed "revolutionary" governments in both Iraq and Afghanistan implemented identical provisions in their constitutions, rendering any overtures towards Western conceptions of "democracy", "human rights" and "freedom" utterly moot. Just ask Abdul Rahman. And given the jihadist connections which are deeply entrenched within the rebel movement, a push for a sharia-based government would not be difficult to envisage.

Once again we have seen our leaders all too eager to get involved in a war in the Middle East without knowing what we actually want to achieve long-term, and without knowing who our friends and enemies actually are. In the last decade, the sheer cost in terms of wealth and human lives has been astronomical, but the positive dividends most assuredly have not.

No one will be sad to see the back of Gaddafi when he's finally caught like a rat in a hole somewhere. But perhaps more importantly, I sincerely doubt that anyone will much like what comes after he's gone, either.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Exposing A Faux "Moderate"

"The Flying Imam" just ran out of fuel

In this pointless Op-Ed over at Digital Journal today, we are treated to the wisdom of Dr. Sahib Mustaqim Bleher, a German-born Muslim who now lives in Britain, and is convinced that becoming Islamic emirate is just what the UK needs. He and his "Holy Qur'an" (their words, not mine) are treated with the utmost reverence by the interviewers, who don't seem prepared to ask any probing questions whatsoever.

Take the first question. Dr. Bleher is asked:

We´ve recently seen reports of stickers going up in some areas of London which claim it is a Sharia controlled zone - that is Sharia with an H. A certain Anjem Choudary has claimed responsibility for them. I gather you regard this guy as a clown.

Bleher responds:

[I d]on’t understand the Sharia with an H comment, the correct transliteration of the Arabic word is Shariah. He is either misguided or mischievous. Or ignorant. You can’t have a Sharia-compliant zone as a separate enclave in a country as if the government of the country was suspended. Of course, a community may have its own “vigilantes” to ensure that their streets are free from drug dealers or prostitution, for example, but how are they going to get their local bank branch to abandon interest-based banking? None of us lives in a power vacuum, so any change has to be political, not symbolic. In my book Surrendering Islam I have shown how Islamic organisations and activism are often purposefully subverted and hijacked in order to bring about a confrontation. Genuine Islam is usually the loser. I imagine that Anjem Choudary took his inspiration for the Shariah-controlled zone from Jews who have their own districts in most major European towns classified as Eruvs, demarcated areas where a sufficient large number of Jews live to consider the place culturally Jewish, so the restrictions for the Sabbat can be relaxed. But Islam isn’t Judaism, and the same model doesn’t really work for us.

Notice that Bleher does not say that sharia should not be the law of the land, even in Britain. He simply says that Choudary and his cronies are going about it in the wrong way. He then deliberately tries to confuse his Western, secularised audience by making a facile comparison between Islamic enclaves and Jewish neighbourhoods, which both deflects away from and trivilises the anti-societal threat posed by Islamic supremacist self-segregation (Soeren Kern documents the latter extensively in a new article published today at Hudson NY).

The next question is:

When certain newspapers talk about Sharia they project this image of people having their hands chopped off for theft or stoned to death for adultery, curiously they don´t mention this sort of thing: or this

First of all, the two examples linked to above demonstrate absolutely nothing about sharia - they demonstrate nice people doing nice things. Neither of the "good" Muslims seen here ever invoked Islam or its teachings - let alone sharia - as their primary motivation for their actions, and even if they had, that would not mitigate the more unpleasant aspects of sharia, such as the aforementioned amputations and stonings.

Speaking of which, you will notice once again that in his answer, Bleher never denies that these brutal punishments are part of sharia; he just circumambulates around the issue with a lot of fluff:

The media love sound bites. They work on emotions rather than understanding. The Shariah means the “way” or “path” by which the Muslim community is governed, in other words, the legal code Muslims apply in their dealings with each other. It is made up of source law and case law and like any legal system it is detailed and complex and cannot be reduced to two items of punishment perceived to be cruel. You wouldn’t sum up the British legal system by saying: if you insult the monarch, they hang you, since high treason does carry the death penalty in the British legal code. A lot of media pundits would have been hanged otherwise.

When asked about sharia courts arbitrating in the UK, Bleher argues that "It is a myth that British and Islamic law are incompatible in every respect" - a nice little "sound bite" (to use his phrase) which of course does not rule out the possibility that British and Islamic law may be incompatible in some respects!

The good doctor defends his uncompromising attitude towards homosexuality, as would many Christians, but some research on his website turns up the fact that - unlike most Christians - the "progressive" Dr. Bleher advocates the execution of homosexuals if they engage in "a public display of lewdness witnessed by several people". He also supports the idea, pulled direct from the Qur'an (3:28), of disassociating from non-Muslims, although he equivocates that this would only be permitted if a Muslim was trying to befriend a non-Muslim "in preference to or against a Muslim" - a statement that belies his claim to be opposed to the "clash of civilizations" concept. Anyone who so fervently advocates the divine regulation of personal friendships based on religious alliances clearly does not hold to the equality of all people before God.

Oh, and to cap things off, Dr. Bleher likes polygamy as well, "so as to protect a wife from being abandoned in favour of another." However, "Whilst there is a conditional acceptance of polygamy in Islam, a woman may not have more than one husband, as this would make it extremely difficult for a child to know who his or her father is."

Just who appointed this slimy character as a spokesman for moderate British Muslims?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Mubarak: Zionist Puppet?

Do you remember the "revolution" that swept through Egypt earlier this year? The one that proved that Islam and liberal democracy are fully compatible?

The one where the majority of the "pro-democracy" reformers marching in the streets wanted to implement brual sharia punishments in the country?

The one where the most organised resistance to the oppressive regime was an Islamic organisation that seeks to implement sharia law?

The one where an American journalist covering the events was sexually assaulted by crowds of men screaming, "Jew! Jew!"?

The one where a known extremist speaker took the microphone in the centre of Cairo and called for Muslims to re-conquer Jerusalem, and hundreds of thousands of Muslims cheered him?

Remember that revolution? Of course you do.

Well, its fruits are still being felt. A show broadcast only two days ago on Egypt's religious channel, Al-Hekma TV, displayed malignant antisemitism in the form of a demented puppet show, in which children acted as prosecutors against the ousted President Mubarak.

In the show, Mubarak is accused of being an "enemy of Allah". Why, specifically? Because he is "Israel's best friend". The show puts the following words into the puppet Mubarak's mouth:

"As long as the Israelis occupy Palestine, we must treat them well. These Jews have always been good people. In the Jewish quarter here, we have always known that they keep their word."

Note the references not just to Israelis, but to Jews in general.

Most maliciously, Mubarak is accused of importing poisonous pesticides from - where else? - Israel, resulting in his bringing "cancer upon the Egyptian people". A reminder that while Muslim anti-Jewish conspiracy theories can sometimes venture into the comical, they also serve as a deadly serious inciting factor in a potentially genocidal hatred of Jews.

This is, of course, nothing new. During the "revolution", we saw protestors waving placards with Mubarak's image "defiled" with a Star of David. We also heard protestors say that a principle reason for demonstrating against him was his alleged support for Israel. Clearly, then, it was somewhat premature, if not entirely misinformed, to joyously proclaim that the displacement of Hosni Mubarak would result in a Westernised democracy untainted by radical Islamic prejudices.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Why Islam Is Not Confined to Personal Worship

One of the things that non-Muslim Westerners most consistently fail to understand about Islam is that it is not just a religion. It is also a political system - and a fascist one at that, which seeks to control every aspect of a person's life down to the smallest detail, including but not limited to dietary and toilet habits. It thus appears to such uninformed Westerners that Islam - which they see as merely a few rituals and quirky beliefs about the afterlife - could not possibly be a threat to the political order of non-Muslim societies. Frequently, those who do describe Islam as a totalitarian political system are decried as "Islamophobes" - but this ignores the fact that this understanding of Islam is a part of its mainstream culture.

This was brought home to me over the weekend while reading two English-language articles which both came out of the Muslim world. The first is from a letter by a female Muslim on this Malaysian news site. In it, the author irately notes the following:

A great misconception of Islam lies in the fact that it is nothing more than a theological reflection confined to the realm of personal worshiping. Far from truth, the very essence of Islam as taught by Prophet Muhammad SAW dictates that Islam encompasses all spheres of life, from etiquette to commerce to good governance of a country.

A little later on, the author refers to a recent controversy in the country, in which the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) was heavily criticised for raiding a church and arresting Christians who were allegedly seeking to preach the Gospel to Muslims. She passionately writes:

The more recent issue concerning Jais and Hassan Ali further underlined the effort to reduce Islam to merely ritual worship devoid of its 'syumul'/holistic concept. The fashionably 'human rights' and 'moral policing' terms quickly make their way to the fore condemning the authority, when Islam has outlined its principle clearly that apostasy is one of the biggest sin and any conduct that leads to this effect should be arrested immediately.

This rule has been held dearly for more than 1,400 years ago despite the effort to force Islam to embrace the stance opted by other religions in apostasy matters...

For the author, "
The distorted view that prevails is that in order for Muslims to fit in the multicultural society, he/she should remove their identity as much as possible, leaving behind the Islamic says [sic] in their day to day business, and only proceed with their five prayers in the mosques, wedding ceremonies and Raya celebration. For good Muslims, the tenets of their religion are embraced as a whole and not selectively chosen."

To sum up:

The multiracial components of Malaysian society have lived together in harmony for many years and they must accept the fact that for Muslims, Islam is not simply a theological scripture confined within the space of the mosque. It translates into their everyday life.

And to put it more succinctly, here is the first line from another recent article in the Pakistan Observer:

Islam offers a complete code of life in every aspect of human existence.

With this context in mind (and there are reams of further examples from Muslim writers, scholars and websites - not bigoted infidels - that I could adduce), it should become clearer why Islam does pose a not-intangible threat to Wetern societies: As it creeps further and further into our lives and neighbourhoods, it brings with it adherents who have a ready-made programme for societal governance = sharia law. This programme includes numerous rigourously codified strictures that are fundamentally in opposition to values and constructs upon which Western society was built. These laws violate human rights (e.g. denying freedom of speech when it comes to criticism of Islam, sanctioning death for those who leave the faith, confining women to household slaves and sex objects and condoning marital violence against them) and uproot cherised Western institutions (e.g. legal systems, education, etc).

Sharia is not a gimmicky "plug-in" for Islam that was invented by a few crazies. It is the very essence of Islam itself - without it, very little is left. One of its primary sources, the hadith, is full to bursting with Muhammad's wisdom and commandments on all manner of personal and societal issues, many of which govern the daily lives of almost every Muslim to this day. The five pillars of Islam are themselves a key component of sharia, and are legislated over meticulously, to the extent that many ordinary Muslims are confused and simply have no idea when they are supposed to pray, for how long, and what circumstances validate or invalidate their prayers, and must seek advice from a resident clerical "expert".

Once, while watching the Islam Channel on Sky, I saw an episode of its "Islam Q & A" programme, in which an imam takes viewers' calls and questions live on air. One particular woman had just come back from visiting family in Africa, and had brought back with her some souvenir figures of animals such as giraffes and zebras. She had called because she wanted to know if it was permissible for her as a Muslim to keep these figures in her home. The cleric answered that having models of animals in her home could be construed as idolatry and that she should get rid of them immediately.

What kind of "religion" makes it a sin to keep a toy giraffe in your living room? And more than that, what kind of "spiritual experience" makes a woman feel that it is necessary to contact a complete stranger and ask him if she is allowed to do so?

Need I remind you that this specific example does not come from some deeply tribal part of Africa or the Middle East - it comes from Muslim communities right here in the UK.

That is why non-Muslims in the West need to stop projecting their own understanding of what a religion is onto Islam, when its very nature is more complicated, and more political, than they give it credit for. When an ideology is political in nature, and when it demands forceful imposition of its rules on those currently outside of its influence by way of jihad, it must necessarily be seen as a problematic and potentially dangerous invading force, and dealt with accordingly.

To close this essay, I leave you with the words of Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi, one of the foremost Islamic thinkers of the twentieth century. His view of Islam as a complete way of life is not an "extremist" position, but one that has been read, digested and understood by millions of Muslims around the world. We ignore this fact at our own peril.

Maududi believed that “Islam is a revolutionary ideology and programme which seeks to alter the social order of the whole world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenets and ideals.” Specifically, “Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a State on the basis of its own ideology and programme”. Maududi taught that “Islam is not merely a religious creed or compound name for a few forms of worship, but a comprehensive system which envisages to annihilate all tyrannical and evil systems in the world and enforces its own programme of reform which it deems best for the well-being of mankind.” Muslims must wage jihad against unbelievers, the purpose of which “is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish in its stead an Islamic system of State rule.”

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

In Whom Do We Trust?

Naser Abdo - The moderate who wasn't

Last week, Naser Jason Abdo - a Muslim in the US military - appeared in court on charges of planning a terrorist attack against the Fort Hood army base in Texas.

Investigators say Abdo was found in a motel room three miles from Fort Hood's main gate with a handgun, an article titled "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom" and the ingredients for an explosive device, including gunpowder, shrapnel and pressure cookers. An article with that title appears in an al-Qaeda magazine.

Abdo is the second Muslim to attempt an attack against the base - the first being Nidal Malik Hasan, who killed dozens of people in 2009. Fortunately, Abdo's own plans were thwarted before any lives could be taken, but according to reports, he exuntantly chanted Hasan's name as he was led out of the court on Friday.
The most troubling - and at the same time instructive - aspect of this new case is not that the same base should be targeted twice for jihad terror attacks by Muslims, or that Abdo was also recently charged with possessing child pornography (does he share a bit of his Prophet's soft spot for young children, perhaps?). No, the most worrying part of this story is the way that Abdo was able to deceive everyone he came into contact with by way of the most simplistic form of taqiyya, or religiously mandated deception.

Last year, Abdo appealed for consciencious objector status because he did not believe he was Islamically permitted to fight against other Muslims in Afghanistan (something Nidal Hasan also believed). At that time, he said the following in an interview with ABC News:
"I want to use my experience to show Muslims how we can lead our lives," he said. "And to try and put a good positive spin out there that Islam is a good, peaceful religion. We're not all terrorists, you know?"

And while we now know that Abdo supported the murderous actions of Hasan, at the time, he wrote an essay to Associated Press saying that the original Fort Hood shootings "run counter to what I believe in as a Muslim."

This would not be the first time that an American Muslim has claimed publicly to be a moderate, when in reality they are a jihadist. Late last year, a San Diego cleric with the wonderfully inventive name of Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, who was "known for advocating nonviolence and tolerance", was arrested for funding the Somalian jihadist organisation al-Shabab. And let's not forget CAIR.

In light of all this - the fact that Islam contains within it a doctrine that sanctions the deliberate deception of non-Muslims in order to progress the cause of Islam, and the fact that there are many available examples of Muslims telling unbelievers one thing and then doing another - I have to ask a question I have asked here a couple of times before: Why should we trust any Muslim who tells Linkus that they are moderate?

I am not, of course, saying that all Muslims who profess to be moderate are lying. I am merely saying that we have no reliable way to tell the difference between a genuine moderate Muslim and a deceiver - until it is too late. This being the case, suspicion of Muslims is completely justified - and this is not a problem that I or any other "Islamophobes" have made for them. It is a problem that they - and in particular their jihadist co-religionists such as Naser Abdo - have made for themselves. Perhaps when they start to address that fact honestly, we'll all begin to trust them a little bit more.