Monday, 29 August 2016

Why The Establishment Needs To Be Smashed

I have said here before that I am hardly the world's biggest fan of Donald Trump. And yet, for all his coarseness and lack of actual clear, defined policy, if I was an American citizen I would vote for him in a heartbeat under the current political climate (especially when the alternative is Hillary Clinton). Why? Because the establishment are terrified of him, and as the evidence demonstrates every day, that establishment needs to be smashed, for it is dragging the entire Western world to its needless doom. Trump winning the Presidential election in November would, I hope, bring about a wholesale cleansing of the rotten political elite that have sacrificed their respective countries for the sake of the new religions of multiculturalism and political correctness.

The sheer uselessness of this establishment when it comes to their analysis of Islam is exemplified in a recent short piece by Steven MacMillan of the Center for Research on Globalization. The piece is titled "How Islamic Is The So-Called Islamic State?", and before I had even read it I knew what the author's answer was going to be. That's how asinine and predictable the intellectual elites have become.

MacMillan writes:

Purely due to the name of the group, most people in the West believe that all ISIS fighters are pious individuals with a deep understanding of the Muslim faith. When you actually analyse many of the ‘religious’ extremists who are fighting for ISIS however, a different picture emerges. A recent analysis conducted by the Associated Press of thousands of leaked documents from ISIS pertaining to their recruits from 2013 and 2014, shows that most ISIS fighters have only a very limited knowledge of the religion they are supposed to be fighting in the name of.

He goes on to cite some stats showing that around 70% of Islamic State fighters only have basic knowledge of Islam and sharia law, and concludes from this that ISIS isn't really Islamic. He also points to the fact that some of those who went to Syria to join IS allegedly bought books like Islam for Dummies as further evidence that whatever motivated these people, it certainly wasn't Islam.

This is an extremely shallow analysis of the problem. First of all, as Robert Spencer has pointed out numerous times regarding the books, the jihadis may have bought them for any number of reasons. They may have bought them because they "wanted convenient guides that would help them explain Islam to others, or to explain clearly and simply to friends and family why they had chosen the path they had. They could have wanted these books to send to their hard-drinking, sinful, irreligious cousins, in an effort to recruit them to devout Islam and jihad." Steven MacMillan doesn't know why they bought the books, but he wants us to take his personal explanation at face value anyway.

(As a side-note, I find it interesting that the jihadis who bought Islam for Dummies apparently found nothing within it that dissuaded them from joining the Islamic State.)

But more importantly than this, even if the vast majority of these Muslims are ignorant of Islam, this still does not establish at all that their actions therefore have nothing to do with their religion. That's the entire point: They may well have little knowledge of the faith, but at some point a desire has come upon them to become more devout, and to guarantee themselves a place in Paradise by being more overtly Islamic and learning more about the faith in order to be better Muslims. So it actually has everything to do with their religious belief.

MacMillan also ignores the fact that the core ideology of Islamic State is profoundly Islamic, and derives entirely from the Qur'an and hadith. Once again, Robert Spencer provides a raft of examples to demonstrate this (multiple links in the original):

AP ignores, for example, the central importance that the Islamic State places upon the Qur’an. Its beheadings (47:4), sex slavery (4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30), subjugation of Christians (9:29), global imperative (8:39) and more are all based upon the Qur’an. In its communiques, it quotes it copiously: in threats to blow up the White House and conquer Rome and Spain; in explaining its priorities in the nations it is targeting in jihad; in preaching to Christians after collecting the jizya (a Qur’an-based tax, cf. Qur’an 9:29); in justifying the execution of accused spies; and in its various videos. 
It has also awarded $10,000 prizes and sex slaves in Qur’an memorization contests. One of its underground lairs was found littered with weapons and copies of the Qur’an. Children in the Islamic State study the Qur’an and get weapons training. 
As for misrepresenting the Qur’an, one Malaysian Muslim said that the Qur’an led him to join the Islamic State. A Muslima in the U.S. promoted the Islamic State by quoting the Qur’an. An Islamic State propagandist’s parents said of him: “Our son is a devout Muslim. He had learnt the Quran by heart.” A Muslim politician from Jordan said that the Islamic State’s “doctrine stems from the Qur’an and Sunnah.”

MacMillan will probably argue that all of these people are just misunderstanding or deliberately misusing the Qur'an. They aren't, but that's another issue altogether. If he is not going to at least, as a minimum, acknowledge the fact that ISIS does indeed quote the Qur'an extensively, and ground everything it does within the framework of Islamic theology and law, then he is advocating an analysis of the problem that spectacularly misses the most important point of the whole thing.

MacMillan next shows us how low the standards are today to be considered an "analyst" for a mainstream think tank, with this ridiculous straw man:

I’m not arguing that there is no such thing as radical Islam, but the idea that all Muslims are somehow inherently violent is nonsense. The vast majority of Muslims are peaceful people who have no desire to harm others, and just want to live in secure and stable countries like every other normal person in the world. 

Who, anywhere, ever, has been saying that all Muslims are inherently violent? This mischaracterisation of those who are concerned about jihadist terrorism and the compatibility of sharia with Western law would be funny if it wasn't so contemptible.

He next claims that "Christian-based countries (i.e. the West)...have killed millions of predominately Muslim people in incessant imperial wars in the Middle East and North Africa; with the body count of all the atrocities that are blamed on people claiming to represent Islam coming nowhere close to the West’s staggering amount of casualties." He doesn't provide any evidence for this, or any figures, and nor does he explain what time period he is even using. No Western country has waged an imperialist war in North Africa this century, so he must be going back as far as the nineteenth century at least. And if he's doing that, why not go back further and discuss the more than 270 million people killed in the name of Islam since the religion's inception?

You can see how ridiculous this could get if we want to play MacMillan's silly games forever, but ultimately the problem for us right now is not Western imperialism in Algeria, but jihadists acting in the name of Islam who have staged over 29,000 terror attacks since 9/11. What does he propose we do about this problem? Nothing. All he does is try to make facile historical comparisons. Utterly pointless.

MacMillan finishes with this:

What all the journalists, commentators and members of the public who spend the majority of their time denouncing all followers of Islam [which actually nobody does ~ Ed] fail to mention, is the two-pronged assault the West has waged on the Muslim world:  by ousting (and trying to oust) the secular leaders in the region on one hand, whilst facilitating the rise of the most extreme forces on the other.

He then provides some examples of the interventionist policies of the West which have helped to exacerbate the jihadist problem, such as supporting the jihadist "rebels" against Assad in Syria.

But here's the thing: Actually many counter-jihadist commentators, myself included, are well aware that these kinds of military interventions in the Islamic world are wrong-headed and unhelpful, and have been saying so for years. Here's some pieces I wrote about Libya, Syria and Afghanistan that were heavily critical of Western foreign policy in those countries. If you look at the writings of pretty much any major counter-jihad writer, you will find the same.

More importantly, none of this actually means that Islamic State is not Islamic. It is quite possible both for Western foreign policy to be hopelessly bad, and for ISIS to be fundamentally Islamic. Yes, our recent wars and interventions in the Middle East have been misguided in all sorts of ways. But despite that, ISIS still say in the latest issue of their magazine, Dabiq (extracted from p.33):

Does that sound to you like it has nothing to do with Islam?

Steve MacMillan's analysis here is wholly representative of the establishment position on Islam and ISIS. It is woefully ill-informed, counter-factual, naive, illogical, self-contradictory, and above all, dangerous and suicidal. It is a manifesto on how to let a civilisation fall to barbarism.

Because he stands against so much of this, that is why Donald Trump must win the Presidential election, despite the large number of flaws he may have.

And that is why the establishment must be smashed.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Rape and Sexual Slavery in Islam (Part 4)

The Islamic Rape of the West

On New Year’s Eve in 2015, hundreds of women in Cologne, Germany, reported being sexually assaulted all over the city by gangs of men who were “North African or Arab in appearance”. The mainstream media reported these events belatedly and in a limited fashion, but they were the first exposure for many in the West to the dangers of mass immigration from the Muslim world.

And yet, despite the large-scale nature of the Cologne attacks, they were merely the tip of the iceberg. Left mainly unreported by the English-speaking media was the fact that hundreds of similar sexual assaults occurred in Hamburg and Stuttgart on the same night. The wave of migrant rape in Germany has also continued well into 2016, with women, teenage girls and even young children being raped and attacked by Muslim immigrants and asylum seekers in numerous public places, including shopping centres, parks and train stations. There has also been a spate of migrant sex attacks on children at public swimming pools, leading to some pools banning male refugees or segregating men and women.

Sweden has also been heavily hit by the Muslim rape epidemic, being perhaps the second country behind Germany to take in a huge number of “refugees” during the 2015 migration crisis. In May 2016, the Swedish police released a report noting that Sweden is at the top of the EU's statistics on physical and sexual violence against women, sexual harassment and stalking. The report stated that the vast majority of the crimes are committed by “asylum-seeker boys” and “foreign men”. As in Germany, sexual assaults at public pools are widespread, and in 80% of cases, the perpetrators have been “unaccompanied refugee children”. The rapes are occurring everywhere, including within the asylum centres. In one case, an Afghan asylum seeker raped a 15-year-old girl on only his second day in Sweden.

These are not just a few isolated cases. This phenomenon is manifesting itself on a daily basis all across Europe, with examples also occurring in other countries including Finland, Austria and Switzerland. In 2011, a report by Norwegian police revealed that 100% of all violent rapes – literally every single one – that occurred in the city of Oslo during the previous year had been committed by immigrants, with up to two-thirds of overall rapes attributable to non-natives. The largest first- and second-generation migrant group in Oslo is Pakistanis, with thousands of Somalians, Iraqis, Turks, Moroccans and Iranians also present.

In the UK, this continuing “rape jihad” has manifested itself in the form of so-called “grooming gangs”, whereby large gangs of men draw in vulnerable underage girls, often plying them with alcohol, before raping and abusing them repeatedly, sometimes over a period of several years and often accompanied by severe intimidation and threats. There have been dozens of such crimes recorded over the past several years alone, with notable instances occurring in Rochdale, Rotherham, Ipswich, Oldham, Oxford and Halifax, among many others.

Of course, gang rape is sadly an evil that is found among all religious and ethnic groups. But although the media frequently refer to these gangs as “Asian” (an appellation which has angered some Hindu and Sikh groups, who do not want to be accused of an offense they are more often the victims of than the perpetrators), this is in fact an overwhelmingly Muslim problem. As of March 2016, Muslims are estimated to make up around 90% of gang grooming convictions in Britain, and statistically speaking, a Muslim is about 170 times more likely to be convicted of this crime than a non-Muslim – an especially disturbing fact given that Muslims are only around 5% of the UK population.

Up until now, mainstream analysts and political authorities have been woefully unable to explain why all of these phenomena keep occurring. And yet, for those who understand Islam, the explanation is simple, intellectually consistent, and tragically predictable. Consider the following established facts:

Islam teaches that non-Muslims are inferior to Muslims.
Islam promotes an image of women as sexual playthings for men (see link below).
Islam permits Muslim men to keep sex slaves.
Islam permits Muslim men to have sex with young children.

All of these facts have contributed towards the Muslim rape crisis in the West today: Hence women are targeted for sexual abuse and rape, who are predominantly non-Muslims, and are often under the legal age of consent.


As this recent set of posts has proven, the practice of sexual slavery by the Islamic State, and the widespread sexual assaults committed by Muslim immigrants to the West, are all justified by orthodox, traditional Islamic teachings that can no longer be denied. Speaking after the mass assaults on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, the local imam, Sami Abu Yusuf, said that the victims of the attacks were themselves responsible, by dressing inappropriately and wearing perfume, adding that “[i]t is not surprising the men wanted to attack them.” Events in recent years have proven that these attitudes are also pervasive among a large number of ordinary Muslims.

The response of European political authorities to this never-ending stream of rape and perversion has been supine at best, and dangerously negligent at worst. Whether it is German authorities putting up posters at swimming pools with pictures telling migrants not to grope women, or British authorities failing to deal with Muslim rape gangs for fear of being called “racist”, all of them have failed Europe’s female population. The surge of Muslim immigration initiated by Angela Merkel has only added fuel to the fire.

The only way to combat this problem is by recognition of its root causes. Our leaders and analysts, all across the political spectrum, have consistently failed to do this, and innocent Western women have paid the price for their spinelessness. It is time that defenders of freedom finally held them to account.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Rape and Sexual Slavery in Islam (Part 3)

Child Marriage

Under British law, sex with a child under the age of thirteen is automatically classified as rape, regardless of whether or not the child “consented” to the act. What are we to make, then, of Muhammad, who is reported in Islamic tradition to have married and had sex with a nine-year-old girl when he was in his fifties?

The most authoritative hadith collections record numerous variations of this straightforward statement: “[The Prophet] married 'Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consummated that marriage when she was nine years old.” (Bukhari v.5, b.58, no.234, and many others). Muslims today, understandably embarrassed and ashamed by this fact, attempt to deny that Aisha was nine when Muhammad had sex with her, but the textual evidence in the hadith and other Islamic literature is overwhelming. References to her being nine appear, multiple times, in five of the six hadith collections which are considered most reliable by Muslim theologians, as well as in the writings of numerous renowned scholars and historians, including Ibn Hisham (d.833), Tabari (d.923) and Ibn Kathir (d.1373).

Any lingering doubts about what Muhammad did with Aisha are quickly erased by other hadith, which recount the following revolting details:

Narrated 'Aisha: The Prophet and I used to take a bath from a single pot while we were Junub [ritually impure from recent sexual intercourse]. During the menses, he used to order me to put on an Izar (dress worn below the waist) and used to fondle me. (Bukhari v.1, b.6, no.298) 
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin [“Mother of the Believers”]: The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to kiss her and suck her tongue when he was fasting. (Sunan Abu Dawud b.13, no.2380)

Since Aisha was only eighteen when Muhammad died (Muslim b.8, no.3311, and others), we can be sure that at no point was she old enough by the standards of any decent person to be subjected to this sort of contact by an elderly man.

It is frequently countered that child marriage was common in seventh-century Arabia, and so Muhammad was not doing anything unusual for the time and place in which he lived. But even if this is true (and there is no evidence that it is), the most important point is not the cultural context of Muhammad's marriage to Aisha, but its impact on Muslims of all future times and places. Because Muhammad is held up as a “beautiful pattern of conduct” for Muslims to follow (Qur'an 33:21), child marriage became a fixed part of Islamic law, and Muslims ever since have sought to emulate their prophet’s example, even today. For example, Iranian law currently sets the legal marriageable age for girls at thirteen, although it allows parents to marry them off even younger with the permission of a judge. Islamic clerics in the country have made attempts in recent years to reduce the marriage age to nine in imitation of Muhammad. Meanwhile, it is estimated that despite laws against child marriage in Afghanistan, over half of girls there are married before the age of fifteen. In Pakistan, roughly a third of all registered marriages involve children. Even in Britain, it has been reported that girls as young as nine are being forced into marriage by Islamic clerics in the London Borough of Islington. In 2007, Dr. Bilal Phillips, the imam of a Birmingham mosque, was recorded saying: “The Prophet Muhammad practically outlined the rules regarding marriage prior to puberty. With his practice, he clarified what is permissible, and that is why we shouldn't have any issues about an older man marrying a younger woman.”

Coming soon: What Islamic attitudes towards rape mean for Western women

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

BBC Covers Up Motive For Islamic Blasphemy Killings

Asad Shah, who was murdered by his sharia-compliant co-religionist for blasphemy

Yesterday saw the sentencing of Tanveer Ahmed, a British Muslim who murdered another Muslim, Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah, for "disrespecting Islam" after he apparently claimed to be a prophet.

The BBC chose to cover this event, as is its wont, by covering up the real motive for the attack and spinning for Islam, revealing in the process the depths of totalitarian depravity nested within Britain's Muslim communities.

The prime focus of a new article published on the BBC website today is on the inspiration drawn by the killer from another jihadist murderer: Mumtaz Qadri, who murdered a Pakistani governor five years ago after he criticised Pakistan's draconian blasphemy laws. While this source of inspiration is important, and should be covered, in the hands of the BBC it merely serves as a way of distracting from the key ideological inspiration for both of the killers: sharia blasphemy law, which I have covered at length here, but is nowhere mentioned in the piece.

The article then devotes a lengthy section to discussing the views of Pirzada Muhammad Masood Qadiri, a Muslim scholar from Bolton who describes himself on his Facebook page as a "Teacher, Lecturer, Public Speaker. Arabic, English, Persian, Punjabi and Urdu Linguist." Qadiri openly supported the Pakistani murderer Mumtaz Qadri, and flew out to Pakistan for his funeral after he was executed by the government. Qadiri describes Qadri as a "martyr" and a "warrior", and says that he should have been freed on grounds of diminished responsibility, since he just "could not control his anger" after hearing his beloved prophet being blasphemed.

When questioned about whether he also supports the murderer of Asad Shah, Qadiri responds: "You cannot compare this country with Pakistan. Pakistan was created in the name of Islam. [The UK] was not created as a Muslim country and the Quran and Sunnah are not the law here." The interviewer presses him as to whether those like himself - who are supportive of Mumtaz Qadri - are actually also supportive of Tanveer Ahmed too, but just worried about getting in trouble with the authorities. He simply says "no".

Because not only is the killing of blasphemers part of Islam, but so is taqiyya.

The article then tries to make a bizarre connection between blasphemy killings and the Barelvi form of Islam - a train of the Hanafi school that is predominant in Pakistan and India:

Tanveer Ahmed and Mumtaz Qadri both come from the Barelwi sect of Islam - normally associated with peaceful and spiritual interpretations of Islam - although both claim to have acted as individuals rather than on behalf of any group. 
Many of those supportive of Mumtaz Qadri are also Barelwi. Masood Qadiri says the particular emphasis this school of thought places on the Prophet means they react more strongly to any perceived insult. 
"We preserve all the traditions of the Prophet - how he lived his life - and we try and present the perfect picture of him. Because of that when someone insults him anywhere in the world the emotional feeling it creates in us is more than in any other group."

No basic fact-checking seems to have been done here. First of all, to "preserve all the traditions of the Prophet - how he lived his life" is how all Muslims are taught to live Islam - certainly Sunni Muslims in any case. The Qur'an says that Muhammad presents a “beautiful pattern of conduct” for Muslims to follow (33:21), and displays an “exalted standard of character” (68:4). Muslims everywhere are instructed to abide by the sunna, or the traditions and example of Muhammad. So to claim that Barelvis have this special veneration for Muhammad, and then to use that to justify murder, is just wrong on so many levels by the BBC.

Finally, the article cites an anonymous spokesman for the Council of Mosques in Bradford - where Tanveer Ahmed lived - who says that while he completely condemns all acts of violence, "one solution would be to introduce a blasphemy law in Britain."

Got that? So we can't have people being killed for blasphemy against Islam in the UK...we ought to just lock them up instead. This argument is presented completely uncritically by the Beeb's Secunder Kermani.

Ultimately, the biggest flaw of the whole article - emblematic of the mainstream media in general - is that it comes completely without the context required to understand ghastly events like the murder of Asad Shah. No discussion of Muhammad's assassinations of blasphemers, and the sharia blasphemy law that sprang from it. No discussion of the fact that a hugely disproportionate number of Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa have - and enforce - sharia-based blasphemy laws (is the BBC going to claim that they are all dominated by Barelvis?). No discussion of the fact that numerous polls have shown that somewhere between one-fifth and one-quarter of British Muslims support the murder of those who mock Muhammad and Islam, while a significant majority reject such violence but still support imprisonment and legal sanctions against blasphemers. No questions raised about how many other imams and Islamic authorities around the country might agree with Pirzada Muhammad Masood Qadiri's fascist disdain for freedom of speech and support for a fanatical murderer.

And yet, none of this surprises me at all. It's par for the course. That alone should tell you how bad things have become in this country today.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Rape and Sexual Slavery In Islam (Part 2)

The “Four Witnesses” Clause

As well as directly sanctioning rape, the Qur’an also indirectly enables it, by means of a stipulation that allegations of adultery and fornication must have four witnesses to back them up, or the accuser will be liable to punishment themselves: “And those who accuse honourable women but bring not four witnesses, scourge them (with) eighty stripes and never (afterward) accept their testimony – They indeed are evil-doers.” (24:4) This requirement derives from a famous incident in Muhammad’s life, in which his favourite wife, Aisha, was accused of adultery, only to be exonerated by Allah Himself, much to Muhammad’s relief (Bukhari v.5, b.59, no.462). The Qur’an directly addresses the incident, berating Aisha’s accusers with the question: “Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they produce not witnesses, they verily are liars in the sight of Allah.” (24:13)

Importantly, subsequent Islamic legal authorities explained that the four witnesses must all be men. For example, the authoritative legal manual known as the Hedaya, which is widely consulted today in Pakistan and elsewhere, elaborates: “The evidence required in a case of whoredom is that of four men, as has been ordained in the Qur'an, and the testimony of a woman in such case is not admitted...because the testimony of women involves a degree of doubt, as it is merely a substitute for evidence, being accepted only where the testimony of men cannot be had; and therefore it is not permitted in any matter liable to drop from the existence of a doubt...”  This likely derives from another verse in the Qur’an, where a woman’s testimony is said to be worth half that of a man: “And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not (at hand) then a man and two women, of such as ye approve as witnesses, so that if the one erreth (through forgetfulness) the other will remember.” (2:282) When Muhammad was asked about this, he explained: “This is because of the deficiency of a woman's mind.” (Bukhari v.3, b.48, no.826)

Muslim apologists often claim that the “four witnesses” rule is a positive thing, as it makes the standards for proving guilt when it comes to adultery so high that it is much harder to convict, and so the infamous sharia punishment of stoning to death for adultery will therefore be applied quite rarely. This may be technically true, but it also has far more disturbing implications. Adultery in Islam falls into the general category of zina, or fornication, which encompasses any illicit sexual intercourse not prescribed by sharia.  If a man rapes a woman who is not his wife or his sex slave (both of whom, as we have already seen, can be legally raped under sharia law), then this would be a punishable zina offence, but if the woman cannot provide four male witnesses who say they saw the act, then she is liable to be punished instead.

This is not just a hypothetical problem. In Dubai in recent years, numerous Western women have reported being raped, only to find themselves being arrested and sentenced to lengthy prison terms on charges of extramarital sex. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the Muslim women’s rights organisation Sisters in Islam estimates that three-quarters of women in jail in the country are there because they were raped. Furthermore, when the Pakistani government considered reforming these rape laws in 2006, a group of furious Islamic clerics protested. They demanded that the amendments be withdrawn, since they would turn Pakistan into a “free-sex zone”. They insisted that these modernisation efforts were “against the teachings of Islam”, and that they had only been passed to appease the West.

Based on all that we have discussed so far, we can see that far from forbidding rape, Islam actually permits the rape of almost every woman on the planet. And yet, what we have covered to this point is not even the worst of it.

Coming soon: Islam's divinely-sanctioned form of statutory rape - child marriage.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Rape and Sexual Slavery In Islam (Part 1)


In May 2015, U.S. Special Operations Forces captured a number of documents during a raid on a high-ranking Islamic State official in Syria. Among the documents was a fatwa, or Islamic legal ruling, issued by Islamic State theologians, outlining the “rules” regarding who can have sex with women captured in battle by the jihadist organisation, and when the rape of these sex slaves is and is not permissible.

ISIS has been open and unashamed about its support for sexual slavery, justifying it in terms of Islamic theology on multiple occasions, and the harrowing testimony of the group’s victims – particularly those from the Yazidi minority in Iraq – serves as heartbreaking confirmation that the practice is taken very seriously.

But just how Islamic is this behaviour? A major manual of Islamic law which has been certified by Cairo’s Al-Azhar University makes only two mentions of rape in 1200 pages, and while it is forbidden on both occasions, it is important to note that it is only prohibited against those who are “unlawful” sexual partners for Muslims – suggesting that there are “lawful” women who could conceivably be raped without sanction under sharia.

This new set of blog posts will examine the phenomenon of Islamic sexual slavery, casting light on the legal authority Islam provides to its male adherents to justify rape, as well as elaborating on the implications of these doctrines regarding the increasingly common sexual abuse of women by Muslim immigrants in the West.

Sexual Slavery in the Qur’an and Hadith

On several occasions in the hadith, Muhammad is depicted as uncritically allowing his warriors to rape female captives of war:

We went out with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Banu al-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing 'azl (coitus interruptus). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah's Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born. (Sahih Muslim b.8, no.3371) 
Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) reported that a man came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: I have a slave-girl who is our servant and she carries water for us and I have intercourse with her, but I do not want her to conceive. He said: Practise 'azl, if you so like, but what is decreed for her will come to her. The person stayed back (for some time) and then came and said: The girl has become pregnant, whereupon he said: I told you what was decreed for her would come to her. (Sunan Abu Dawud b.8, no.3383)

Note that at no point does Muhammad tell his men not to have sex with their slaves. Instead, he merely tells them that they do not have to practise coitus interruptus (withdrawal of the penis before ejaculation, to avoid pregnancy), because Allah will ultimately decide whether to make the women pregnant or not.

We can justifiably assume that Muhammad allowed himself to engage in similar “pleasures” with captive non-Muslim women on occasions. Consider, for example, the case of Safiyya bint Huyyay, a Jewish woman from the Khaybar oasis. Khaybar was attacked by Muhammad in 629 AD. After the battle, when the Muslims had taken the Jewish women as spoils of war, they praised Safiyya’s beauty in front of Muhammad, proclaiming that they had “not seen the like of her among the captives of war.” (Muslim b.8, no.3329) Shortly afterward, the Prophet selected her for himself (Sahih Bukhari v.3, b.34, no.437), before having her “beautified” and marrying her. He then “passed the night with her” in his tent, according to his earliest biographer.  It is not explicitly stated what happened in the tent, but the implication seems obvious, and it goes without saying that this would qualify as rape, since most of Safiyya’s family, including her father and husband, had just been killed by the Muslims, so it is unlikely that she would have willingly consented to sexual intercourse with their killer.

Further support for the assumption that Muhammad’s marriage to Safiyya involved forced sexual intercourse comes from another hadith, in which he explains to his followers: “The stipulations most entitled to be abided by are those with which you are given the right to enjoy the (women's) private parts (i.e. the stipulations of the marriage contract).” (Bukhari v.7, b.62, no.81) Indeed, the Arabic word used multiple times in the Qur’an, and still used today, for an Islamic marriage – nikah – more literally means sexual intercourse. The prominent Egyptian Muslim jurist Khalil ibn Ishaq (d.1365), who was a renowned specialist in the Maliki school of Islamic law, wrote: “When a woman marries, she sells a part of her person. In the market one buys merchandise, in marriage the husband buys the genital [region].”

Moreover, Islamic law allows Muslim men to enforce this “right” to sexual intercourse against their wife’s will. Reliance of the Traveller, an Islamic legal manual certified by numerous international Muslim organisations, explains:

It is obligatory for a woman to let her husband have sex with her immediately when: 
(a) he asks her;
(b) at home (home meaning the place in which he is currently staying, even if being lent to him or rented);
(c) and she can physically endure it. 

In another section, the manual affirms that “[w]hen a husband notices signs of rebelliousness in his wife”, he is permitted to use physical violence in order to correct her. Crucially, one specific example of “rebelliousness” that it provides is when “he asks her to come to bed and she refuses”. This principle derives directly from the Qur’an: “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge [i.e. beat] them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.” (4:34)
Disturbingly, this kind of marital rape has been endorsed by Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed, president of the UK’s Islamic Sharia Council, who has stated on multiple occasions that there is no such thing as rape within marriage. The concept of wife-beating for disobedience has also been advocated by numerous high-profile Islamic clerics, including Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most influential and famous Muslim scholars in the world today.

Returning to the concept of female sex slaves or concubines, it is perhaps unsurprising to find it endorsed and promoted in numerous verses of the Qur’an (all emphasis mine):

If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess. (4:3)  
Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess... (4:24) 
[Those] Who abstain from sex, Except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (in their case) they are free from blame, (23:5-6) 
O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee... (33:50) 
Not so the worshippers, who are steadfast in prayer, who set aside a due portion of their wealth for the beggar and for the deprived, who truly believe in the Day of Reckoning and dread the punishment of their Lord (for none is secure from the punishment of their Lord); who restrain their carnal desire (save with their wives and their slave girls, for these are lawful to them: he that lusts after other than these is a transgressor... (70:22-30)
The phrase “those whom your right hands possess” is understood by Muslim scholars to refer to slaves, and is often used specifically to mean female concubines.

Unfortunately, it is not only the Islamic State that takes verses like these seriously. In 2011, the Egyptian Sheikh Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini argued that after Muslims invade and conquer a non-Muslim nation by jihad, the properties and persons of those who refuse to convert to Islam or become subjugated dhimmis should be seized as ghanima, or “spoils of war.” Quoting from the Qur'an and the hadith, Huwaini outlined an ideal scenario in which women and girls are taken captive as part of the war spoils and sold to Muslims in slave markets. He referred to these slave girls using the Qur'anic term “those your right hands possess”, and concluded: “In other words, when I want a sex-slave, I go to the market and pick whichever female I desire and buy her.”

The very next week, Salwa al-Mutairi – a female political activist and former Kuwaiti government official – also called for a revival of the institution of sex slavery, arguing that it would be an effective way to allow Muslim men to satiate their frustrated sexual desires and prevent them from committing illegal adultery. She also added that when she had previously spent time in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, she had spoken with various authoritative imams and muftis, and all of them had affirmed to her that sexual slavery was perfectly legal under sharia.

Coming soon: How Islamic law lets rapists get away with it

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Female Genital Mutilation: An Islamic Or "Cultural" Practice? (Part 3)

Extent and Persistence

According to the previously cited UNICEF report on the prevalence of FGM in Africa, there are four countries in which over 90% of girls are circumcised, all of which have a Muslim majority: Somalia (98%), Guinea (96%), Djibouti (93%) and Egypt (91%). In terms of raw numbers, Egypt is the worst offender, with over 27 million girls having undergone the procedure. Worldwide, it is estimated that female genital cutting affects up to 200 million girls in varying degrees of severity, with as many as 60 million of these victims found in Indonesia alone.

As disturbing as these figures are, they are unfortunately beginning to manifest themselves in the West as well, due to rising immigration from Muslim countries. In the UK, there were over one thousand cases of hospital attendances due to FGM recorded by the National Health Service in just three months between April and June 2015 – roughly eleven instances per day. The same amount were recorded in the first three months of this year, also. It had previously been estimated that up to 100,000 girls in the UK had been victims of genital cutting.

This problem is clearly exacerbated by mainstream clerical support for the practice among Muslim authorities in the West. For example, the imam Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad, a board member of the UK’s Islamic Sharia Council, has argued that there is a “proper” way of performing female cutting, stating that “it is consensus of all scholars that female circumcision is sunnah [i.e. in accord with the teachings of Muhammad]”.

Returning to FGM in the Muslim world, there may be a correlation between its prevalence in certain Islamic countries and adherence to the Shafi’i school of Sunni Islamic law. As we have already seen, Reliance of the Traveller – a sharia manual dealing primarily with the Shafi’i doctrine – says that “circumcision is obligatory for both men and women”, and the school’s eighth-century founder also declared it to be a religious necessity, in contrast to other jurists who saw it as merely recommended. The Shafi’i school is one of the largest schools of Islamic jurisprudence in terms of global adherents, and is predominant today in many of the world’s major hotspots for FGM, including Egypt, Indonesia, Somalia, and Kurdish regions of Iraq. It is also prevalent among the FGM-practising Muslim minorities in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Thailand, among others. In Africa, four of the five countries with the highest rates of FGM follow Shafi’ite Islam (Somalia, Djibouti, Egypt, and Eritrea - the latter being a significant Muslim minority, maybe as high as 48%, within a non-Muslim country).


We can no longer continue to deny the Islamic dimension of FGM, and its prevalence among Muslim communities worldwide. We must begin to have a more open, honest discussion about the nature and scope of the problem, just as we must also pressure Muslim organisations and leadership to forcefully condemn it and work transparently to bring this misogynistic barbarity to an end.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Female Genital Mutilation: An Islamic or "Cultural" Practice? (Part 2)

Theological Justification

Why is FGM so prevalent in Islamic societies? In this case, the answer cannot be found in the Qur’an, as circumcision is not mentioned in the Islamic holy book at all. Even in the hadith, there is very little mention of it, with only two major references that suggest that it was known in seventh-century Arabia, and that it was never condemned by Muhammad:

The Messenger of Allah said: When anyone sits amidst four parts (of the woman) and the circumcised parts touch each other a bath becomes obligatory. (Sahih Muslim b.3, no.684)
A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband. (Sunan Abu Dawud b.41, no.5251)

In the first hadith, it appears to be taken for granted by Muhammad that both Muslim men and women will have circumcised parts. In the second, Muhammad is aware of a woman performing circumcision on girls and does not condemn it, only warning her not to cut “severely” – an entirely subjective judgement. Islamic law permits Muslims to engage in any behaviour which Muhammad saw but did not forbid, and thereby gave “unspoken approval” to (for example, explained in this book, p.53), and so most Muslim scholars have traditionally either allowed or encouraged FGM. Referring to the second hadith, a note in the English translation of the Sunan Abu Dawud hadith collection summarises the views of the four main Sunni legal schools as follows:

The reference is to the circumcision of girls. It was practiced in Arabia when Islam came. It is disputed amongst the jurists. Some Shafi'i scholars hold that circumcision of girls is obligatory, but others think that it is recommended. Ata, Ahmad b. Hanbal, and some Maliki jurists also hold that it is obligatory. Abu Hanifah maintains that it is recommended and not obligatory. Malik also holds that it is recommended. 

FGM is also given explicit religious sanction in the important Islamic legal manual Reliance of the Traveller, which has been endorsed by Cairo's Al-Azhar University - Islam's highest centre of religious learning - as conforming “to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community.”  The manual states: “Circumcision is obligatory for both men and women [emphasis mine]. For men it consists of removing the prepuce [foreskin] from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (bazr) of the clitoris (not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert).” It is important to note that this English translation of the manual renders this passage in a dishonest way that does not accurately reflect the original Arabic text. In actual fact, the Arabic word Bazr means the entire clitoris, and not just the foreskin as the translation claims. (For example, see Hans Wehr, A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, p.64)

Coming soon: How widespread is Islamic FGM?

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Female Genital Mutilation: An Islamic Or "Cultural" Practice? (Part 1)

An African Problem?

It is frequently claimed by Islamic apologists that FGM is merely an “African problem” that has its roots in tribal customs that long predate Islam, and is practised by people of all faiths across the continent.

It is certainly true that Muslims are not the only community to practise FGM, and that it is prevalent among peoples across Africa that are not Muslim. But this does not mean that Islam should not be held at least partially responsible for its continued popularity in many countries. In 2013, UNICEF published a statistical analysis of genital cutting focusing predominantly on Africa. Of the thirteen countries in the study in which over 50% of the female population are subjected to FGM (see opening pages at the link above), ten of them have a Muslim majority. Additionally, in the remaining three countries that do not have a Muslim majority – Eritrea, Ethiopia and Liberia – a higher percentage of Muslim women and girls undergo cutting compared to the Christian population. Overall, there is a higher percentage of Muslims than Christians practising FGM in 20 out of 24 countries examined in the survey (see page 73).

There are other important points to consider, as well. For example, although FGM is practised by many Coptic Christians in Egypt today, the custom was entirely borrowed from Islam, and was not an accepted tradition in the country or among any sect of Christianity prior to the Islamic conquests of the seventh century. Female cutting is also increasingly widespread in Islamic countries outside of Africa, for example in Iraq, where a 2012 study found that in one region alone, 40.9% of Sunni Muslim women and 23.4% of Shi’ites suffer it, with no Christian women affected at all. Meanwhile, in Thailand, FGM is commonplace only in the provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani, where Muslims make up a majority.

But perhaps the most compelling evidence that FGM is not merely an “African problem” comes from the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia. Research conducted by anthropologists throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century concluded that female circumcision was not a native custom in the Indonesian archipelago, but was introduced to the region by Islam, and was generally not practised by any non-Islamic peoples there. More recently, a wide-ranging 2003 survey by the United States Agency for International Development found an average rate of female circumcision of 97.5% across eight study regions, all of which have Muslim majorities. Furthermore, Indonesia’s largest Muslim advisory organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), has issued a religious ruling supporting FGM on Islamic grounds.

All of this demonstrates that although FGM is undeniably a problem among certain non-Muslim communities and is not exclusive to Muslims, it nevertheless remains primarily and overwhelmingly an Islamic problem.

Coming soon: The Islamic theological basis for FGM.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Female Genital Mutilation: An Islamic Or "Cultural" Practice? (Introduction)

It has been revealed today that new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Birmingham have increased by nearly a third, according to new figures.

The number of incidents increased from 52 between October and December 2015 to 67 from January to March this year – a 28 per cent rise. The statistics were released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

In total 1,242 newly recorded cases of FGM were reported across the country in the same time period. Back in February, it was revealed that more than two cases of female genital mutilation were being reported in Birmingham and the West Midlands every day.

According to the 2011 census, Birmingham is over 20% Muslim. Does this have any bearing on the alarming figures reported today? Aside from a handful of blinkered cultural relativists, most people appear to agree that FGM is medically unnecessary, misogynistic, and barbaric. Reacting to today's news, an NSPCC spokesman said:

There are no medical reasons to carry out FGM. It doesn’t enhance fertility and it doesn’t make childbirth safer. It is used to control female sexuality and can cause severe and long-lasting damage to physical and emotional health. FGM or female circumcision is usually carried out for religious, cultural or social reasons. But let’s be clear – it is child abuse and it causes long-lasting physical and emotional damage. The practice must stop.

And yet despite the prevalence of this practice throughout the Islamic world, there have been persistent attempts to claim that it has nothing to do with Islam at all, and is merely a “cultural” practice that carries no sanction in the Qur’an and hadith.

A forthcoming series of posts here at Eye On Islam will explore this issue in depth, establishing whether or not Islam encourages FGM, and the extent to which it is practised in Muslim communities around the world. The first part will be published tomorrow, and will examine whether FGM is really just an "African problem", as characterised by the likes of Islamic apologist Reza Aslan.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

TIME's Anti-Trump Hit Piece Is Just More Terrible Counter-Terror Analysis

I am no Donald Trump fan, but I think he deserves credit when it's due. He also deserves defending when people lie about him or make flimsy arguments against him.

And we get both in a new piece in TIME, authored by Alyssa Sims, a policy analyst in New America's International Security Program. It deals with Trump's suggestion to form a "radical Islam commission", headed by Rudy Guiliani, to investigate...well, radical Islam.

Sims first cites Trump's Muslim immigration moratorium as evidence of his "Islamophobia" - although as I have argued previously, it is a perfectly sensible suggestion that its opponents have not come up with a remotely viable alternative to. She then claims he "also suggested a mandatory registry of American Muslims". Actually, he did not. Watch the video here: he was asked by a journalist about creating a database of Muslims in America (the journalist, apparently, came up with the idea), and he responded about the need for a registry of all immigrants entering the US (i.e. not just Muslims) to ensure that people aren't entering the country illegally. Despite the journalist repeatedly mentioning Muslims, Trump is clearly talking about illegal immigrants the entire time - and he even seems to have gone back on that as well, as evidenced by the Tweet he posted just after the controversy:

Trump does this all the time: he doesn't listen to the questions he's asked, and just answers his own question inside his head. A few weeks ago, during an interview on MSNBC, he was asked whether abortion should be made illegal in the US. He replied: “The answer is there has to be some form of punishment." When the interviewer asked, "For the woman?" he responded instantly in the affirmative. It was clear to me upon seeing the interview that he hadn't listened to the question properly, and just butted in with an answer without thinking. That became clear the following day when he completely retracted his answer and said: “If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed – like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.”

The message here is that Trump is incoherent and incapable of giving a solid answer or maintaining a strong position on almost anything. He proposed a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, but now seems to be softening on it, and even offered to make an exemption for the new extremist-linked Muslim Mayor of London, which would completely belie the point of his original proposal. Any "analyst" should be able to see this easily and so shouldn't be peddling the "Muslim registry" lie.

Sims then moves on to her criticism of Trump's "radical Islam commission" plan, by asserting that since there have been terror attacks in the US committed by American-born Muslims, such as the San Bernadino shooting and the Fort Hood attack, therefore a "commission on foreign-born Muslims would not have been relevant."

Which is true, except that Trump wasn't calling for a commission on foreign-born Muslims. Here's the quote from the CNN article Sims links to:

"It's a real problem, so we'll figure it out and we will get it going but we have to be extremely careful," Trump said Wednesday on Fox News, in response to a question about his proposed ban on allowing Muslims to enter the U.S., before switching to the subject of "radical Islamic terrorism." "In fact, I'm thinking about setting up a commission perhaps headed by Rudy Giuliani to take a very serious look at this problem. But this is a worldwide problem and we have to be smart."
So once again, we can see that Trump was asked a question, and responded by answering a different question - in this case, he was talking about dealing with Islamic jihad terrorism as a "worldwide problem", and not just investigating Muslim immigrants.

Sims next says that such a commission would be ineffective in dealing with terrorism, because it "dismisses tragedies such as the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting and the Charleston Church shooting, both which took place in 2015 and were carried out by individuals motivated by ideologies that are non-jihadist in character—specifically Christian conservatism and white supremacy." She also claims that "[s]ince 2001, right wing extremists have claimed more victims in terror attacks than jihadists."

This is a highly misleading and tendentious piece of analysis, based on an equally flawed study. Firstly, it leaves out 9/11 for some reason, which would drastically alter the balance of deaths between Islamic jihadis and "right-wing extremists". Secondly, it also ignores scores of foiled Islamic terror plots that would have killed thousands Americans if they had not been stopped by intelligence and law enforcement. Thirdly, the figures ignore a large number of actual Islamic terror attacks on American soil and do not count them in the analysis. Fourthly, it ignores the implications of the fact that even if the data is accurate, this means that Muslims account for about the same number of terror attacks in America as right-wing extremists, despite the fact that Muslims make up 1% of the US population, and right-wingers considerably more. Finally, the "right-wing extremists" being compared to Islamic jihadis are mostly paranoid loners who are not connected to any larger movement with a clearly articulated goal. In contrast, Islamic jihadists are members of or ideologically aligned with groups that have declared their intention to destroy the U.S. and the free world, and all draw their inspiration from a fourteen-century old belief system that has been the driving force behind over 28,000 terror attacks since 9/11. A scattered handful of individuals with incoherent opinions (note to Alyssa Sims: having opinions on certain issues such as race is not the same thing as an ideology) really cannot be equated to a global movement of loosely aligned groups and individuals acting in accord with a clearly defined established corpus of law and thought (i.e. Islamic law).

Finally Sims argues that "[c]reating an anti-terrorism program specifically targeting 'radical Islam' perpetuates an on-going narrative that the U.S. is at war with Islam, a religion practiced by more than a billion Muslims around the world," and that since ISIS themselves also perpetuate this myth, such a thing would therefore be counter-productive.

Firstly, it takes someone clearly interested in bending the truth to fit their argument to assert that setting up a panel on "radical Islam" somehow gives the impression of targeting all of Islam. Would my mission here to discredit Alyssa Sims' poor analysis really give off the impression that I am against all analysis? This line of reasoning is absolute nonsense.

But there is a deeper issue at play here. Sims' assumption is that any attempts to investigate the serious problem of Islamic terrorism just leads to more terrorism, and that ISIS and their ilk are just waiting around to see what Islamophobes say about Islam before determining their policy. It never occurs to her that the terrorists might have their own source of policy - i.e. the Qur'an - that will guide their behaviour regardless of what we say about them. An ISIS statement - loaded with Qur'an quotes - released a couple of years ago said:

And so we promise you by Allah’s permission that this campaign will be your final campaign. It will be broken and defeated, just as all your previous campaigns were broken and defeated, except that this time we will raid you thereafter, and you will never raid us. We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us; He is glorified and He does not fail in His promise. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.

It really does not sound to me from this as if there is anything we could say to them that would cause them to dispel their misconceptions about a war between Islam and the West. It is also worth mentioning that although Sims states that Trump's rhetoric is the reason for Islamic State's increased recruitment, ISIS propaganda videos actually frequently feature Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama more often than Donald Trump, demonstrating that their attempts at appeasement by calling Islam a Religion of Peace clearly are not working very well.

All in all, it's another piss-poor piece of analysis designed to weaken our attempts to defend ourselves against Islamic jihad terror. Donald Trump may be all over the place and self-contradictory, but a crude sort of common sense apparently causes him to get the right end of the stick on these issues quite often. But even that seems to be beyond the capabilities of Alyssa Sims.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

There Are None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See

Yesterday, the Independent - a hotbed of jihad denial - published an article about a journalist who infiltrated and secretly filmed an ISIS cell planning a terrorist attack in France.

The journalist - who uses a pseudonym to protect his identity - contacted the group on Facebook and spent six months with them while they plotted an attack on a nightclub.

His account of what he experienced contains some important details, reproduced below (emphasis mine):

The man, who is using the pseudonym Said Ramzi to protect his identity, said he “easily” contacted the group who called themselves the Soldiers of Allah on Facebook. 
“We must hit a military base,” Ossama says during the meeting at a park in Châteauroux. “When they are eating, they are all lined up...ta-ta-ta-ta-ta...or journalists.  
“BFM, iTélé [French broadcasters], they are at war against Islam
“Like they did to Charlie [Hebdo]. You must strike them at the heart. Take them by surprise. They aren't well protected. The French must die by the thousands.” 
He urges Mr Ramzi to join him on the “path to paradise” in a suicide attack, adding: “Our women are waiting for us there, with angels as servants. You will have a palace, a winged horse of gold and rubies.”

Having apparently spent these six months with his eyes closed, this insightful journalist proclaims as his conclusion:

"One of the main lessons was that I never saw any Islam in this affair. No will to improve the world. Only lost, frustrated, suicidal, easily manipulated youths."

Indeed, of all the content in the article, the Independent decided to make that bolded passage their headline for the article.

For those interested, that last part from the jihadi about the luxurious delights of Paradise is a truncated, adapted view of the afterlife as presented in the Qur'an, which says that the inhabitants of Paradise will be adorned “with bracelets of gold and pearls” (22:23) and “dressed in fine silk and in rich brocade” (44:53). They will recline on “green cushions and rich carpets of beauty” (55:76), sit on “thrones encrusted with gold and precious stones” (56:15), and share in “dishes and goblets of gold”, on which will be “all that the souls could desire, all that their eyes could delight in”, including an “abundance of fruit” (43:71, 73), such as “dates and pomegranates” (55:68). For the carnivorous, there will be “the flesh of fowls, any that they may desire” (56:21).
The "women" granted to Muslim men who reached Paradise are mentioned multiple times in the Qur'an, too: “voluptuous women of equal age” (78:31), “those of modest gaze, with lovely eyes” (37:48), “fair women with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes” (44:54), “like unto rubies and coral” (55:58), to whom men will be “joined” (52:20). These women will be “maidens, chaste, restraining their glances, whom no man or Jinn [spirit being] before them has touched” (55:56). Allah “made them virgins” (56:36), and according to Islamic tradition, they will remain virgins forever.

So the ideas this ISIS jihadist had about the reward he would receive for "slaying and being slain for Allah's cause" (Qur'an 9:111) came from the Qur'an. But apparently, the Qur'an is not Islam anymore.

No one can say modern journalism lacks informational value.

Monday, 18 April 2016

The Middle East Eye: Blind to the Truth About Jihad (Part 2)

The Middle East Eye's disingenuous recent article "When is it permissible to fight in Islam?" continues to conflate jihad as a method of establishing Islamic political rule around the world with the overly simplistic idea of forced conversion.

As I noted at the end of the last part of this rebuttal, the Qur'an does in fact allow for the forced conversion of pagans and polytheists (basically anyone apart from Jews and Christians, who as "People of the Book" get the special privilege of merely being subjugated instead of killed), in its notorious Verse of the Sword (9:5). It is remarkable, therefore, when the author of the MEE piece cites another Islamic apologist, Fazlur Rahman, who claims: "There is no single parallel in Islamic history to the forcible conversion to Christianity...en masse carried out by Charlemagne...although, of course, isolated cases of such conversions may have taken place."

What an outrageous falsehood this is! The entire history of Islamic conquest and rule in India is one long chronicle of mass forced conversion, with some 80 million Hindus having fallen victim to the Muslim sword between 1000 and 1525 AD. Constant similar outrages were perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, as one expert on the region notes:

The writings of the Turkish poet and prince Danishmend Ahmet Gazi, founder of one of the strongest Turkoman principalities in Eastern Turkey, indicate that conversion of Christians by the sword was common. In many instances prisoners as well as inhabitants of conquered territories were given the choice of either conversion or death. In the course of his campaign against the city of Comana, Malik Danishmend was determined either to convert the inhabitants or to massacre them. After the capture of Comana, the populace opted for conversion rather than extermination. The citizens of Euchaita faced the same dilemma. When Malik conquered the city, he offered its inhabitants the choice of death or Islamization. The same Turkish poet relates that in one city, nearly 5,000 people accepted Islam, while a similar number of its inhabitants were put to the sword.

The author of the MEE piece clearly doesn't know any of this - or at least doesn't want us to know it - and so he tries to beguile us with the fact that the Qur'an says "There is no compulsion in matters of faith" (2:256). Which is all well and good, but doesn't magically rule out the command to "slay the polytheists wherever you find them" (9:5), and also still allows the forceful spread and implementation of Islam as a POLITICAL SYSTEM as enunciated by the likes of Sayyid Qutb, without forcing anyone to convert.

We are then treated to a paragraph about the idea of jihad as a kind of "just war" to extirpate injustice and oppression:

Nevertheless, several modern authors hold that the idea of jihad as bellum justum can clearly be traced in classical Islamic texts. In this respect, those scholars refer to Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), who distinguishes between hurub jihad wa-adl (wars of jihad and justice) and hurub baghy va fitna (wars of sedition and persecution).

Left untouched in all of this is any discussion of what Ibn Khaldun actually said about jihad as an offensive institution. Here is what the great Muslim historian and social scientist wrote in his Muqaddimah, summarising centuries of pre-existing orthodox Islamic thought:

In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universality of the [Muslim] mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force...The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense...Islam is under obligation to gain power from other nations.

Kind of confirms everything I've been saying up until now, doesn't it?

Next the author quotes Qur'an 5:32, "Whoever kills a person [unjustly] is as though he has killed all mankind", which is such a tired argument, and was dealt with definitively by me recently enough, that I am not going to waste time debunking it yet again here. Anyone who finds this argument remotely compelling needs to go here and get a reality check.

Next up, this: "In addition, Muslims are also urged to avoid inflicting harm on animals, plants or generally the civilian infrastructure of those they are fighting."

It is true that many of these inhibitions have been incorporated into Islamic legal theory, but this is hardly universal. For example, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d.1111), a Muslim philosopher and legal theorist, and a renowned spiritual authority, wrote the following about jihad (emphasis mine):

One must go on jihad (i.e. warlike razzias or raids) at least once a may use catapults against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them...If a person of the ahl al-kitab [People of the Book] is enslaved, his marriage is automatically revoked...One may cut down their trees...One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide...they may steal as much food as they need... 

Similarly, the fourteenth-century Spanish Muslim jurist Ibn Hudayl wrote:

It is permissible to set fire to the lands of the well as to cut down his trees, to raze his cities, in a word, to do everything that might ruin and discourage him...[being] suited to hastening the Islamisation of that enemy or to weakening him. Indeed, all this contributes to a military triumph over him or to forcing him to capitulate.

The self-contradiction about wanton destruction among Islamic scholars most likely stems from the example of Muhammad, who was himself inconsistent on this matter. Although apologists frequently cite various hadiths in which Muhammad forbids wanton destruction in war, they rarely mention his own violation of this rule, and Allah's endorsement of this violation. The hadith record that during the Muslim siege of the Jewish Banu Nadir tribe, the Prophet of Islam ordered that the date palms of the Nadir be burned (Muslim b.19, no.4326). The Nadir Jews, surprised, asked him: “Muhammad, you have prohibited wanton destruction and blamed those guilty of it. Why then are you cutting down and burning our palm-trees?” Allah justified Muhammad’s action in a revelation that can be found in the Qur'an: "Whatsoever palm-trees ye cut down or left standing on their roots, it was by Allah's leave, in order that He might confound the evil-livers." (59:5). This incident, and accompanying verse, have been used ever after as a justification for similar behaviour by subsequent generations of jihadists.

It is clear from all of the above, and from the analysis provided in the previous part of this rebuttal, that the Muslim author of the Middle East Eye piece is either woefully unqualified to speak accurately about the subject on which he writing, or that he is being massively dishonest with the publication's readers about the real issues affecting Islamic jihad terrorism around the world today.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Middle East Eye: Blind to the Truth About Jihad (Part 1)

In his book Inside Jihad, Muslim reformer Dr. Tawfik Hamid argues that the best way for Muslims to re-interpret the Qur'an's most violent passages, in a way that will militate against their capacity to incite to violence, is to "preach the importance of 'al-' ('the')". Hamid's argument is that the use of the Arabic word "al" in the Qur'an changes the context of verses which appear to sanction violence against unbelievers.

For example, the Quran never employs the universal article “mn” in its verses about jihad against non-believers, but almost always employs “al", meaning "the". Mn kafar would mean “infidels” in the universal sense, while al-kafireen means “the infidels” – a more specific designation. Thus, there is a big difference between killing mn kafar and killing al-kafireen, in the same way that in English, "kill infidels" and "kill the infidels" can have different meanings: one signifies all infidels, the other - through the presence of the word "the" - signifies that the verse is talking about someone specific, namely the infidels that existed at the time of the verse's revelation, and not all infidels throughout space and time. Therefore, Muslims today should not fight and kill infidels, since only a specific group from the past is being referred to in this verse.

It's an interesting approach to the text, albeit one that is not shared by the vast majority of Muslims. And regardless of any concerns I may have about it as an argument, the thing that worries me most of all is that the vast majority of Islamic apologetics never even reach this level of sophistication.

An example of this can be seen in a piece published this weekend at the Middle East Eye, entitled "When is it permissible to fight in Islam?", which tries to appear like a balanced examination of a complex issue, but really just provides us with standard counter-factual baloney that anyone with any real acquaintance with the Islamic sources can see through immediately.

It starts off by pointing out that there are some verses in the Qur'an that appear to sanction offensive warfare against infidels, while others, such as the one below, appear to allow it only in self-defense:

Permission to take up arms is hereby given to those who are attacked because they have been oppressed – Allah indeed has power to grant them victory – those who have been unjustly driven from their homes, only because they said: "Our Lord is Allah" (22:39-40)

This is indeed true, but it then moves straight on to a discussion of offensive jihad, implying that any "extremist" who would argue that jihad should be an offensive struggle to propagate Islam is just disingenuously ignoring passages like the one above.

What the piece completely ignores is that Islam has always had a built-in mechanism to cope with contradictions like this: abrogation.

It is a traditional Islamic belief that there are three stages in the Qur’anic revelation concerning jihad: first non-violence, then defensive war, then offensive war to submit the entire world to Islam. Muhammad’s earliest biographer, Ibn Ishaq (d.773), was the first to articulate this. At first, he says, the Prophet “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.”

In other words, according to Ibn Ishaq, and many other prominent scholars of Islamic history, the Qur'anic verses which speak of tolerance, or of warfare only in self-defense, were only applicable at the time they were initially revealed, while the final stage, of offensive warfare to submit unbelievers to the authority of Islam, is applicable now and for all time.

This is where abrogation comes in. This is the idea that some directives in the Qur'an have been cancelled out by others. 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 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, 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.” The Spanish Muslim scholar Ibn al-Arabi (d.1148) taught that the Verse of the Sword abrogated 124 more peaceful verses of the Qur'an.

The failure to mention any of this throughout the article allows the author to pretend that those who claim that jihad is something more than just self-defense are simply ignoring inconvenient texts. In actual fact, they are just following the traditional Islamic exegetical method of contextualising the Qur'an's commands.

The piece then cites the influential Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood thinker Sayyid Qutb (d.1966) as an example of someone who believes the Qur'an sanctions offensive jihad. As it notes, Qutb cited the following Qur'anic verse in support of this idea:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizya [non-Muslim poll tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (9:29)

The author wants us to believe that Qutb just plucked this verse out of context and is therefore understanding it erroneously. But he makes no mention of the fact that Qutb himself invoked abrogation as part of his reasoning. In his book Milestones (the same book this piece is discussing), Qutb approvingly invokes an earlier authority, Ibn Qayyim (d.1350), to make the point that there was a gradual development in the conception of jihad in the Qur'an: “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”.

Since this article did not mention this, even to argue against it, it is clearly unsatisfactory and incompetent as an attempt to factually examine the evidence.

It gets worse when it cites Mahmud Shaltut, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar from the late 1950s, writing of this same verse: "If this verse had meant that they [non–believers] must be fought because of their unbelief and that unbelief had been the reason why they should be fought, then it would have been laid down that the aim of fighting consisted in their conversion to Islam. Collecting poll taxes from them would not have been allowed in that case and they would not have been allowed to abide by their own religion."

Despite Shaltut's prominence in Islamic circles at this time, this statement appears to be woefully ignorant of centuries of Islamic tradition explaining the purpose of jihad in Islam. In fact, we can turn once against to Shaltut's contemporary, Sayyid Qutb, for a clear explanation. The following comes from Qutb's widely-read multi-volume commentary on the Qur'an:

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 fulfil a number of objectives... 
[B]y paying this tax, known as jizya, he declares that he will not stand in physical opposition to the efforts advocating the true Divine faith.

So in Qutb's view - which did not originate with him, but which existed for centuries before him - the purpose of jihad as delineated in Qur'an 9:29, at least regarding Jews and Christians, is not to force them to accept Islam, but rather to force them to accept the Islamic legal system, relegating them to dhimmi status and payment of the jizya if they refuse to convert. But if they do convert, they do so freely. Believe it or not, Qutb actually believed that this set-up was the most wonderfully tolerant way of going about inter-faith relations that anyone could ever dream up, and gushes repeatedly in his commentary that this proves the greatness and beneficence of Allah.

Lastly, we are told that Mahmud Shaltut asserted that "no single verse in the Qur'an exists that affirms conversion as an aim of fighting non-believers". This is flagrantly false, since we have already discussed one - the Sword Verse, 9:5, which commands Muslims to fight idolaters and pagans until they "establish worship and pay the poor-due" - that is, begin worshipping Allah and pay zakat, a charitable tax that is one of the Five Pillars of 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.” As I will demonstrate later, that is clearly not just his opinion.

More to follow in response to the Middle East Eye tomorrow...

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

We Can See What British Muslims Really Think - And It Should Worry The Hell Out of Us

As we await the airing tomorrow of the Trevor Phillips documentary "What British Muslims Really Think", which has already gained a lot of publicity in the press, I have been perusing through the full survey produced by ICM, which can be read here, and thought I would just briefly share some results that stood out to me. Please note that I have tried to avoid stats that I have already seen discussed online elsewhere, and which I have already Tweeted about.

  • Page 91 – 47% of British Muslims disagree with gay teachers being allowed to teach in schools
  • Page 132 – 39% “don’t feel favourable or warm" towards Jewish people - the most unfavourable rating towards any religious group in the survey
  • Page 200 – Perversely / extremely tellingly, 44% also think antisemitism is not a problem in the UK!!!
  • Page 262 – 24% sympathise with those who commit violence to protect their religion / 18% support those who commit violence against people who mock Muhammad
  • Page 287 – 78% say that no publication should be allowed to publish pictures of Muhammad
  • Page 351 – Most Muslims get the majority of their news and current affairs information from television, of which 72% rely on the BBC (Page 353 adds the caveat that 53% of such Muslims implicitly trust the Beeb to give them a balanced view)
  • Page 378 – 53% of adult Muslims in this country do not have a job (granted, some are - or claim to be - disabled or retired)
  • Page 403 – 13% described themselves as "sympathetic to violence".
Overall, it is quite clear that that many of these statistics paint a very disturbing picture of attitudes in the British Muslim community - and one that is not at all surprising to anyone who actually knows anything about Islam. Trevor Phillips is on record as saying: “For a long time, I too thought that Europe’s Muslims would become like previous waves of migrants, gradually abandoning their ancestral ways, wearing their religious and cultural baggage lightly, and gradually blending into Britain’s diverse identity landscape. I should have known better.”

Indeed he should have, but at least he has the courage to admit that he "got almost everything wrong" about Islam in Britain.

One final thought: If this is what the situation is like in the UK now, do you think that after Britain has taken in thousands more Muslim immigrants over the next ten years, the situation will be better or worse?