Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The New York Times: Actually Kind of Honest About Islam For Once

This interesting piece by Mustafa Akyol in the New York Times yesterday is surprisingly honest about the roots of homophobia in the Islamic world.

Discussing the intolerant reaction of Turkish authorities to last month's gay pride march in Istanbul, Akyol notes that some - I would say all too many - Muslims in his homeland take seriously Muhammad's command in the hadith - which I discussed here - to kill "those carrying out the People of Lot’s dirty work".

Akyol's advocacy of a new approach towards homosexuality in Islam is admirable, but hampered by challenges. He notes that "the traditional mainstream Islamic view on homosexuality produces intolerance in Turkey toward gays and creates starker problems in Muslim nations that apply Shariah," and later that "the majority of Muslims are likely to keep seeing homosexuality as something sinful, if public opinion polls are any indication." (Just imagine if some greasy Islamophobe like, say, Pamela Geller, had said that - the NYT would be calling her a racist.)

Akyol also runs into trouble when he tries to deny the authenticity of the hadith - the main source for the idea of imposing the death penalty on homosexuals - which is unlikely to endear him to the majority of Muslims, who still base most of their ritual practice on the traditions (four of the five pillars of Islam, which all those who profess to be Muslims must practice, are found only in the hadith, and not the Qur'an). His discussion of a "reformist" view of the Qur'anic passages on Allah's destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah also seems to rely heavily on an outsider's opinion which is non-Qur'anic and appears to be based more on the Biblical account of these events - accounts which Muslims believe have been corrupted from the original version found in the Qur'an.

Akyol is correct when he later discusses the remarkable tolerance the Ottomans, and other Islamic leaders, seemed to have at various times for homosexuality, to an extent unimaginable in the Christian West, although it must be pointed out that this was often during times when members of the ruling elites happened to themselves be practicing homosexuals, and thus a sudden magical "tolerance" for it should hardly come as a surprise (in the same way that gay vicars are often the ones to conveniently discover that God actually loves sodomy after all, despite what the Bible says).

On the whole, though, the article is an interesting read, and it is refreshing to see a Muslim discuss - in a mainstream uber-leftist publication, to boot - the Islamic origins of Muslim homophobia, including the lethal kind, even if he may be much too optimistic about about how easy it will be to change those attitudes in a world full of devout Muslim believers.

As I sidenote, I must also recommend that you read this piece by a Turkish columnist who refers to Akyol as a caliphate-supporting "Islamist" who goes for a "literalist interpretation of the Koran when in question are commandments like abstinence from pork and alcohol and his apologetic inclination toward a figurative interpretation when he thinks ‘the cause’ needs to look pretty to western friends." Whatever Akyol's true inclinations, and however honest yesterday's piece was, it is still a refreshing thing to read in the mainstream media nonetheless.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Ireland: The Vast Majority of 50 Muslims Reject Islamic State

Well, things just line up so nicely sometimes, don't they?

When I wrote my short piece the other day noting that Muslim rallies against Muhammad cartoons often draw in thousands of people, little did I know that just days later, we would see a more welcome counter-protest take place in Ireland.

The rally was organised by the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council to protest over the actions of Islamic State. The demonstrators gathered on Dublin's O'Connell Street to "distance Islam from the group, and show that it is a peaceful religion".

We all know that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and moderate, so it must have been a good turn-out, right?

Well...50 people is pretty good by Muslim standards, actually.

IS has been in the international headlines for butchering people in the name of their religion for over two years now, and yet according to organisers, this is "believed to be the first protest of its kind held in Ireland." Why is that?

And why - despite the fact that this complete lack of interest among "moderates" has manifested over and over and over again - does everybody continue to assume, for no reason, that the vast majority of Muslims reject Islamic State and its ideological kin?

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Islam and Free Speech in the UK

A poll of British Muslims conducted jointly in 2007 by the Guardian newspaper and ICM Research found that almost 60% agreed that people in Britain who insult or criticise Islam should be subject to criminal prosecution.

More recently, following the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, the ComRes polling agency carried out a widely publicised survey of British Muslims and their attitudes towards blasphemy and extremism in the UK. Despite mainstream media attempts to present the results of the poll as somehow encouraging, what they actually showed was that 27% of British Muslims (over a quarter) said they have some sympathy for the motives behind the Paris attacks, while 24% felt that violence against those who publish images of Muhammad can sometimes be justified.

This would seem to explain why there have been a number of public Muslim demonstrations in the UK – often attended in the thousands or even tens of thousands – advocating the criminalisation of criticism of Islam, and not a single one in support of freedom of speech.

Monday, 20 July 2015

David Cameron's Counter-Terrorism Speech

Those who have read this blog over the last few weeks - or indeed, before that, during the "Golden Age" - will likely already have guessed my take on David Cameron's anti-terror speech in Birmingham today, but regardless, I feel it necessary to briefly share a few thoughts on what we heard. The speech can be read in full here.


Say what you will about Dave, but he does seem to have a firmer grasp than any other Western leader of the weaknesses of the term "moderate" when it comes to describing those in the Muslim community. It's something that I've come across regularly over the years. In short, there seems to be a very simplistic dichotomy in the minds of the political class, as well of those of many ordinary folk, between what is perceived to be an extremist, and what is perceived to be a moderate: those Muslims who are killing people, or calling for people to be killed, are the extremists; those who aren't killing people are the moderates.

The Prime Minster doesn't accept this, and neither do I. In his speech, he commented:

But you don’t have to support violence to subscribe to certain intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish. Ideas which are hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality. Ideas which actively promote discrimination, sectarianism and segregation. Ideas...which privilege one identity to the detriment of the rights and freedoms of others.

And ideas also based on conspiracy: that Jews exercise malevolent power; or that Western powers, in concert with Israel, are deliberately humiliating Muslims, because they aim to destroy Islam. In this warped worldview, such conclusions are reached, that 9/11 was actually inspired by Mossad to provoke the invasion of Afghanistan, that British security services knew about 7/7, but didn’t do anything about it because they wanted to provoke an anti-Muslim backlash.

And like so many ideologies that have existed before – whether fascist or communist – many people, especially young people, are being drawn to it.

To say that this ideology resembles fascism and communism is an especially impressive observation.

I also liked the section where Cameron discredits the various tired "explanations" given for Islamic violence, which hinge on blaming Western foreign policy or poverty, and denying the religious element:

Some argue it’s because of historic injustices and recent wars, or because of poverty and hardship. This argument, what I call the grievance justification, must be challenged.

So when people say “it’s because of the involvement in the Iraq War that people are attacking the West”, we should remind them: 9/11 – the biggest loss of life of British citizens in a terrorist attack – happened before the Iraq War.

When they say that these are wronged Muslims getting revenge on their Western wrongdoers, let’s remind them: from Kosovo to Somalia, countries like Britain have stepped in to save Muslim people from massacres...

Now others might say: it’s because terrorists are driven to their actions by poverty. But that ignores the fact that many of these terrorists have had the full advantages of prosperous families or a Western university education...

No – we must be clear: The root cause of the threat we face is the extremist ideology itself.

His defence - and delineation - of Western values, and why we must stand up for them, is also pretty good.


There is, of course, a big "but".

As he has done before, the PM is quick to affirm that "It cannot be said clearly enough: this extremist ideology is not true Islam. I have said it myself many, many times, and it’s absolutely right to do so. And I’ll say it again today." Thus, when he later calls on us to encourage Islamic reformers, it is more than likely that he will rely on alliances not with those few brave souls who genuinely admit that Islam has a problem, and that it needs to be resolved by going back to the foundational texts and moving away from Qur'anic literalism and the emulation of the example of Muhammad (a terrible role model for any human being), but with those Muslim "moderates" who deny that there is any problem within traditional Islamic thought, and call everyone who says otherwise an Islamophobe.

That cannot be conducive to real reform.

There is also a strange zeal in the speech to constantly harp on about the "far-right", who Cameron variously describes as "despicable" and "poisonous". Even in this speech about solutions to Islamic radicalism, he can't help bringing them up, and accusing them of wanting to blow up mosques. But who are they?

The Prime Minister defines them as those who "try to suggest that there is some kind of secret Muslim conspiracy to take over our Government, or that Islam and Britain are somehow incompatible."

Where are these people? Who is making these arguments (the first in particular)? What relevance do they have? For it seems to me that if anyone is actually saying these things, it is only because Muslims have articulated them time and again throughout Europe and America, and the "far-right" are just noticing that fact. Why "stand up" to these "false" views when, if we stood up more effectively against the Muslims who utter them in the first place, they would likely evanesce?

Then there is Dave's attempts to explain why Muslims are drawn to this ideology, which do not really explain anything at all.

For example:

There is also the question of identity.

For all our successes as multi-racial, multi-faith democracy, we have to confront a tragic truth that there are people born and raised in this country, who don’t really identify with Britain – and who feel little or no attachment to other people here. Indeed, there is a danger in some of our communities that you can go your whole life and have little to do with people from other faiths and backgrounds.

So when groups like ISIL seek to rally our young people to their poisonous cause, it can offer them a sense of belonging that they can lack here at home, leaving them more susceptible to radicalisation and even violence against other British people to whom they feel no real allegiance.

All well and good, but WHY don't these "people" (Methodists? Hindus? Hari Krishnas?) feel any sense of belonging with Britain? Islam teaches brotherhood with other faiths and adherence to the laws of the land in your host country, doesn't it? And all mosques in Britain teach that Muslims must integrate into the societies they call home, don't they?

Cameron doesn't have an answer to these questions precisely because he refuses to understand Islam, and its innate hostility to non-Muslims, and its refusal to accept any code of law other than its own. And so, he spins in circles trying to grasp at explanations that disipate in the wind between his fingers.


So as per usual with Dave, it's Some Good, Some Bad. But I think there is a deeper issue here.

Whatever he says that is good, and coherent, and valuable, I simply don't believe him.

David Cameron is a soundbite Prime Minister. He talks tough, but he does not follow through and deliver on his promises. He promised to reduce net migration to Britain to tens of thousands, but it surged under his leadership to over 300,000.

He claimed that his tough talking had pursuaded the EU not to force us to pay bailout money to Greece, but it looks like we're going to have to pay it anyway.

He used his speech today to blast "extremist" Islamic causes that he and his government have supported in the past.

He has criticised sharia law, while simultaneously championing those who support it in the Islamic world.

Some of what Cameron said today was impressive. But it was just a speech. He won't do many of the things he says he will, and most of the things he does carry through will fail at halting the Islamic terror threat.

Islamic jihad has plagued the world for over 1400 years. David Cameron is deluded if he thinks that - with his pretty words - he's going to defeat it in the next five.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Ramadan Flim-Flam

Well, it's "Fitr Friday", so what else should we expect but yet another laughable article about Islam from the BBC?

Today's piece, by the Beeb's religious affairs correspondent Caroline Wyatt, is titled "Ramadan offers chance to oppose extremism". Curiously, though, we are first serenaded with a load of gumph about charitable giving, and don't actually see anything about opposing extremism until paragraph 9, when we are told that "Some Islamic clerics around the world have used Ramadan as a chance to reflect publicly on how to reform the religious discourse within Islam to keep up with the challenges of 21st Century life, and to oppose extremism."

Before we get on to the examples Wyatt cites, it is worth noting that NOWHERE in her piece does she discuss the counterpoint to this - that "some Islamic clerics" use Ramadan not to "oppose extremism", but to do exactly the opposite. Incendiary calls by clerics to intensify the jihad during the month of Ramadan are not unknown, and the rate of jihad terrorism tends to spike during the period, as devout Muslims seek to prove just how devoted they are to Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Last year's Ramadan Bombathon scorecard is at the top of this post. I'll be posting this year's as soon as it becomes available from The Religion of Peace.

Anyway, the article goes on to cite a couple of examples of moderate Muslim reformers. The first is Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the President of Egypt, who Wyatt says "called for a revolution in Islam, saying that outdated interpretations had made the Muslim world a source of destruction."

In fact, as I documented here, Sisi's words were hollow and unsupported by concrete action, as the persecution of Christians and atheists in Egypt continues apace, and "blasphemers" are still arrested and imprisoned.

She also cites American Muslim professor Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, who she says has "urged a return to the core tenet of mercy in Islam, describing the religion as a house that had been neglected and was in need of renovation."

Hamza is quoted thusly: "The water taps aren't working, the plumbing's not working. The house is in disarray...You don't destroy it, you don't set it aside. You renovate it." He said Muslims should not oppose even strong reforms, nor feel that everything needed to be changed: "Because of the urgency of the situation, some people are waking up... and thinking we better do something," he said.

Nothing here, however, about what Hamza would actually do to bring about this much-needed reform, how he would go about it, what it would look like, what it would achieve, or whether it has any support in the Muslim world. Just empty flim-flam.

But as far as relevant flim-flam goes, that's it. After that, the piece descends into irrelevant nonsense about Muslims who blame the Western media for making Islam look bad, and think we should all just be more tolerant of them, and that will make everything better.

So after that promising headline about "opposing extremism", the article itself actually contains nothing whatsoever about opposing extremism.

Just flim-flam.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Why the Iran Nuclear Deal is FUCKING TERRIBLE

Laughing our way to the morgue

So, hot on the heels of Iran's leadership expressing their desire, once again, to wipe Israel off the map, we have the conclusion of the talks between Iran and the weak dregs that pass for leadership in the rest of the world, over the Khameini regime's nuclear program, which it says is for peaceful purposes, but quite obviously is not:

1) Iran insists on enriching its own uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, despite the fact that it could just buy it from abroad. The vast majority of countries that enrich their own uranium also have nuclear weapons.

2) Iran is developing intercontinental ballistic missile systems, which are used solely for delivering nuclear warheads, and not a few pounds of conventional explosive.

3) The mullahs insist on having secret underground bunkers to carry out their peaceful nuclear work, for some unexplained reason.

Anyway, here are some of the takeaway points from the disastrous new deal:

- Iran will be permitted to continue spinning centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium. Western powers will also work with Iran to help it install and operate more advanced centrifuges, according to those apprised of the deal. According to Iran's Fars News Agency, “none of the Iranian nuclear facilities will be dismantled or decommissioned” under the deal.

- Sanctions also will be lifted on Iran, including those on the country’s banks and financial sectors, which have long supported Iran’s nuclear program as well as its sponsorship of international terrorist groups.

- A United Nations embargo on arms will also be lifted within around five years as part of the deal, according to multiple reports. A similar embargo on the construction of ballistic missiles will also expire in around eight years under the deal.

- Initial readings of the deal also indicate that Iran will be given the right to veto so-called “anywhere, anytime” inspections of Iranian nuclear sites. This concession has caused concern that Tehran will be able to continue hiding its nuclear work and potentially continue in secret along the pathway to a bomb. Iran also will be permitted for a time to keep its military sites off limits to inspectors.

Florida Representive Ron Desantis of the Republican Party summed it all up:

“This Iran deal gives Ayatollah Khamenei exactly what he wants: billions of dollars in sanctions relief, validation of the Iranian nuclear program, and the ability to stymie inspections. It even lifts sanctions against Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani, who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers during the campaign in Iraq.

“The deal will further destabilize the Middle East, allow Iran to foment more terrorism, and aid Iran’s rise as the dominant power in the region.”


UPDATE: The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which can be read here, makes plain (p.43) that Iran has a total period of 14 days following an initial request of access from the IAEA, then 7 additional days of consultation, and then a further 3 days' grace period (i.e. over three weeks in total!) in order to hide any potential evidence of nuclear wrongdoing from the inspection process. Seriously, it beggars belief that this deal is being "celebrated" anywhere but in Iran itself.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

What You Can't Say in Britain...And What You Can

The sad decline and eventual suffocating death of our once-great country continues apace.

A regional newspaper in the Scottish Highlands has fired its founding editor Brian Wilson, along with the Free Church of Scotland Rev Professor of Theology Donald Macleod, after the latter discussed the spread of Islam in the UK.

Mr Wilson, who also writes a column for The Scotsman and was a minister in Tony Blair’s Labour government, was sacked for defending Professor Macleod.

And what did the Reverend say that was so horrible that he had to lose his job over it?

In his column on May 22nd, Prof Macleod wrote that all minorities prefer to keep a low profile.

He added: “Generations of British Muslims have done exactly that, many have made an invaluable contribution to British society, and many are perfectly prepared to listen quietly while Christians 'witness' to them.

"But when minorities become majorities, things change... in the event of Islamic dominance in Britain our friendly Muslim shopkeepers will have little option but to march behind the radicals."

Mr Wilson commented that the article was “leading on to wider questions about Islamic influence within Europe, including implications for democracy and freedom”. He added: “The precedent he quoted was what happened in Algeria between the fourth and seventh centuries, from Augustine to Mohammed, so in raising current issues he was - as ever - taking the long view of history.”

So there we have it: two journalists lose their jobs for discussing Islamic integration in a historical perspective, and defending freedom of speech.

Meanwhile, another victim of our country's rush towards accomodating the sensibilities of its new Muslim masters is Pastor James McConnell, a Christian preacher from Northern Ireland who faces the possibility of six months in jail for criticising Islam and calling it "Satanic".

Meanwhile the chief witness for the prosecution against Pastor McConnell, Dr Raied Al-Wazzan of the Belfast Islamic Centre, is on record praising Islamic State for making the Iraqi city of Mosul "the most peaceful city in the world" since it took over. ISIS has displaced 100,000 Christians from the city and abducted hundreds of innocent schoolchildren there.

Mr Al-Wazzan does not face any jail time.

So Mr. Cameron, what are you going to do about it? A minute's silence for Brian Wilson and Pastor McConnell?

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Rafsanjani: Israel Will Be Wiped Off The Map....With Nukes Or A Bucket?

Former Iranian President Rafsanjani

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is a former "centrist" Iranian president and is the current head of the country’s Expediency Discernment Council, the advisory body to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. He is known to be a longtime friend of current President Hassan Rouhani.

In an interview with a Hizballah-linked news website yesterday, Rafsanjani reiterated Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's infamous 2005 call (and yes, he DID say it) to "wipe Israel off the map". Rafsanjani said he believes that one day “the forged and temporary Israeli entity, which is an alien existence forged into the body of a nation and region,” will be “wiped off the map."

Rafsanjani went on, hilariously, to deny that Iran is after nuclear weapons, despite the fact that the entire world knows that they are.

The statements are also noteworthy because of Rafsanjani's previous statements and activities. In 2001, he delivered a sermon in which he explained that nuclear weapons could solve the Arab-Israeli conflict, since “[t]he use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam." Argentinian lawyer Alberto Nisman has also exposed Rafsanjani's culpability in numerous terrorist atrocities, including a bombing in 1994 which killed 85 people (see page 22 of the attached report), as well as multiple assassinations of his foreign political opponents (pp.172-73).

Nisman, incidentally, was himself assassinated - possibly by the Argentinian government - for making these revelations.

But hey, maybe Rafsanjani doesn't really want nuclear weapons. There are other ways to kill Jews, after all. His association with Hizballah is one clue that nukes aren't necessarily his only option when it comes to the "Israeli problem".

The Ayatollah Khomeini himself once said: "If Muslims got together and each poured one bucket of water on Israel, a flood would wash away Israel."

If such an eventually ever arises, I am sure Rafsanjani would be at the front of the queue on his way to the well.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Islam and Blasphemy

Writing in the tenth century, the Tunisian Muslim jurist Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d.996) issued the following sharia legal ruling about what to do with a person who initiates blasphemy against Islam and its Prophet Muhammad:

Whoever abuses the Messenger of God – peace and blessing of God be upon him – is to be executed, and his repentance is not accepted.

If any dhimmi (by 'dhimmi' is meant a non-Muslim subject living in a Muslim country) curses the Prophet – peace be upon him – or abuses him by saying something other than what already makes him an unbeliever, or abuses God Most High by saying something other than what already makes him an unbeliever, he is to be executed unless at that juncture he accepts Islam. (The Risala: A Treatise on Maliki Fiqh, p.359)

This is not simply one man’s opinion. According to Muhammad Hashim Kamali, a prominent Malaysian Muslim scholar, “Islamic law penalises both blasphemy and apostasy with death – the juristic manuals of fiqh [Islamic jurisprudence] across the madhahib [legal schools] leave one in little doubt that this is the stand of the law.”  Indeed, the two most detailed Islamic works on the subject of blasphemy – by Ibn Taymiyya (d.1328) and Qadi Iyad al-Yahsabi (d.1149) – both conclude that the only appropriate punishment for blasphemy against Islam and Muhammad is the death penalty.

At best, the death penalty has generally been considered a discretionary punishment by Islamic jurists, which can be applied if a sharia judge feels it is the best available option. Reliance of the Traveller, an important manual of Islamic law which carries an endorsement by Egypt’s prestigious Al Azhar University, says that if a subject of the Islamic state “mentions something impermissible about Allah, the Prophet, or Islam,” the Muslim leader has four options: “death, slavery, release without paying anything, or ransoming [the blasphemer] in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy.”

Such rulings stem from a pious desire to emulate the behaviour of a man the Qur’an describes as an “excellent example of conduct” for Muslims to follow (33:21) – Muhammad himself.

The Prophet of Islam is recorded to have had a number of people assassinated merely because they wrote poems that made fun of him and his followers. This included a Jewish poet called K'ab bin al-Ashraf, who, according to Muhammad’s earliest biographer Ibn Ishaq (d.773), “composed amatory [i.e. sexually suggestive] verses of an insulting nature about the Muslim women.”  Muhammad asked his followers: “Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?” A Muslim volunteered to be the assassin, adding, “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Ka’b).” Muhammad gave him permission to use deceit to achieve the murder, and the assassin duly obliged. (Sahih Bukhari v.5, b.59, no.369)

Towards the end of his life, after he had conquered Mecca, Muhammad also ordered the assassination of another Jewish poet, this time a pregnant woman who had written verses attacking Muslims for their blind obedience to the Prophet. She was swiftly killed, along with her unborn child. Before long the assassin began to feel guilty about what he had done. Muhammad reassured him by saying, “You have helped God and his Apostle”, and clearly without guilt or remorse, added, “Two goats won't butt their heads about her.”

In total, the early Muslim sources provide at least ten examples of people who were assassinated – or survived assassination attempts – on Muhammad’s order for writing verses which he considered offensive to the Islamic religion.  According to another hadith, he also had no objection to his followers killing those who criticised him personally: “A Jewess used to abuse the Prophet and disparage him. A man strangled her till she died. The Apostle of Allah declared that no recompense was payable for her blood.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, b.33, no.4349)

Historically, this has been the typical fate of those who publicly criticise, mock or insult Islam, its Prophet and its holy book. Even in supposedly “tolerant” Muslim Spain in the Middle Ages, Christians were regularly sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam. In fact, the problem grew to such an extent that a movement of Christians arose who would deliberately criticise Islam in order to defend their own religion, despite the knowledge that they would be executed as a result.

An early example of such a “martyr” is Isaac, a Christian of noble birth who actually rose to an unusually senior administrative position for a Christian under Muslim rule. One day, in front of a Muslim qadi, or judge, he launched into an attack on Islam, saying that Muhammad was burning in Hell for leading the Arabs astray. The qadi was so outraged that he initially slapped Isaac, and then sentenced him to death. For his part, Isaac insisted that the “zeal of righteousness” compelled him to speak out against Islam and that he was prepared to die for his indiscretion. He was eventually decapitated and his corpse hung upside-down for public viewing.

The same week in Cordoba, six more Christians were arrested for blasphemy, pronouncing just before their execution: “We abide by the same confession, O judge, that our most holy brothers Isaac and Sanctius [another martyr killed that week] professed. Now hand down the sentence, multiply your cruelty, be kindled with complete fury in vengeance for your prophet. We profess Christ to be truly God and your prophet to be a precursor of antichrist and an author of profane doctrine.” This brought the number of Christians executed for blasphemy in a single week in Cordoba to eight.

As horrific as such stories are, they unfortunately cannot be described as mere history, for the persecution of “blasphemers” against Islam continues into the modern day, with a disproportionate number of Muslim countries still having laws on the books that impose penalties on criticism of religion.

The West must stand up and rationally call upon Muslims to accept standards of free speech which allow for the criticism and even mocking of their sacred texts and persons. Failure to do so is an unacceptable affront to individual freedom and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.