by Paul Austin Murphy


Recently I posted a piece on someone called Iftikhar Ahmad and his fight for what he calls "bilingualism" in British non-Islamic schools. (That fight, actually, only amounts to him demanding that Muslims be allowed to learn Arabic in non-Islamic schools. He also demands that the English teachers of Muslims learn Arabic and Urdu; as well as become Muslims; or, if they don't do that, to stop teaching Muslims.)

I included this quote from Peter Watson's book Ideas: A History from Fire to Freud:

"Muslims believe that Arabic is the language of God and is the tongue spoken in Paradise. They believe that Adam originally spoke Arabic but forgot it and was punished by being made to learn other — inferior — languages... Muslims, even modern grammarians, philologists and literary critics, often insist that Arabic is superior to other tongues, and that the Arabic of the Qur'an is of surpassing beauty that cannot be improved. This is why Muslims the world over must read the Qur'an in the original Arabic and why only one translation (into Turkish) has ever been authorised."

I received a comment from someone called Amjad Lostboy. I'm not sure if the comment was a direct response to that quote from Peter Watson or to my piece on Iftikhar Ahmad . Anyway, this is what he said:

"The Quran is not translated because words are lost in translation (fact) - you can study it in any language but must be originally read in Arabic - I am of Pakistani decent but I had to learn Arabic to read it."

The Arabocentrism (or, alternatively, the Arab racism) of Islam goes way beyond the Koran "losing words in translation" when translated into a non-Arabic language. Way beyond that! For a start, no one would make that much of a fuss about a few lost words or mistranslations here and there. After all, Christians worldwide have survived off translations of the Old Testament and New Testament for over a thousand years. Even in the domain of poetry translations are often read without too many misgivings (but certainly some misgivings). And, of course, content or meaning can be divorced from expression — more so in religious or theological works but less so when it comes to poetry and perhaps prose literature.

Allah is a monoglot — he only speaks Arabic; according to Muslims. Now why would Allah speak only one language? More to the point. Why is it deemed so important, to Muslims, that Allah only speaks one language? Why does it matter which language He speaks?

In addition, Muslims always stress the tone and texture of the Arabic Koran and say that these things are vitally important. Why? Are they important in the sense of their being important to Arabs and their Arabocentric view of the Koran (as well as of Islam itself)? Many nationalities and ethnic groups have also stressed the superior nature of their own language. That's fine. However, Muslims also tell us that "Islam is a universal religion that applies equally to all colours and ethnic groups". So why, again, does Allah only speak Arabic and why is the Arabic Koran the only "completely acceptable" Koran to all Muslims?

Muslims also believe Adam, as in Adam and Eve, once only spoke Arabic but that latter he was corrupted by/into other languages.

Let's get some facts straight here about this superior Arabic language and how and why it seems intimately related to Islam.

Allah speaks only Arabic? That's strange because Arabic is a fairly new language; compared with many other more ancient languages. Allah is presumably meant to be an "eternal" being or a being "out of time". So what did He speak before some people starting speaking Arabic?

Arabic is a Semitic language. The Semitic language included and includes Akkadian, Hebrew, Phoenician, Aramaic (which Jesus spoke), Syriac and Ethiopic. Some of these languages date back to the third millennium BC. However, Arabic only dates back to the eighth century BC. More precisely, Arabic is derived from Aramaic.

Interestingly, even at Islam's beginning the Arabic language was still being created and formalised.

At the most basic level, Arabic was a dialect spoken in the north-western region of the Arabian peninsula. It was specifically spoken by the Quraysh tribe. Now we can see how everything fits into place. What I mean is that no other than the Prophet Muhammad belonged to that Arab tribe — the Quraysh! So not only is the Arabic language "the language of Islam". It's even more specific than that. The language of Islam, as well as the language of Allah Himself, just happens to be the language of Muhammad's tribe — the Quraysh. Does that mean, then, that Allah Himself was a member of the Quraysh Arab tribe or was it the case that this tribe was a member of Allah's eternal tribe? (Or do the two alternatives really amount to the same thing?)

Regardless of all that, Islam is still obsessed with all things Arabic. All Muslims have — or should have — Arabic names. All Muslims wear — or should wear — Arabic clothes. And we know the Arabs hate Pakistanis (such as Amjad Lostboy above) and all other non-Arab Muslims. Nonetheless, most Pakistani Muslims are still Arab-wannabes.

This racism, indeed, was part of the reason for the ancient Islamic slave trade; which both pre-dates British and American slavery and still exists today. In fact many Arabs, specifically Saudis, even treat Muslims (such as Pakistanis) as near-slaves. They treat black Africans as full-slaves.

There appears to be a Muslim exception to all this Arabocentrism in the Muslim world. The Malaysians, specifically, don't seem to like the Arabocentrism of Islam. (Or is it that they don't like the Arabocentrism of Muslims - not just Arab Muslims?)

In addition, Muslims often — very often — tell us that Muhammad "ended Arab tribalism and created a universal religion". Did he? Or did he really create the biggest and perhaps the most important tribe in history — the Tribe of all Arab (Sunni) Muslims? This is the tribe which all very many other Muslims would love to belong to - but they never will!

In the end, then, it can be safely said that Arab racism is perhaps the longest-lasting racism of all racisms. And this is primarily so because Arabic racism is intimately tied into Islam itself. The Arabocentrism of Islam has made that racism possible as well long-lasting and ubiquitous.

*) Note: If Allah just happens to speak the same language — and even dialect — as Muhammad, does that mean that the God of Christianity speaks Aramaic because Jesus spoke Aramaic? Of course not. No Christian has ever claimed that God only speaks Aramaic. And no Christian I know has even made a big deal over the fact that Jesus spoke Aramaic. That is, no Christian has made the Aramaic language a theological/religious part of Christianity; as Muslims have made the Arabic language a theological/religious part of Islam.

So much for the "universal religion" that is Islam.


A Just Jihad

Jihad, according to InterFaith (from now on, 'IF') Muslims, is only carried out for 'a just cause'. The problem is very many things can be counted as a just cause. Many things ARE counted as a just cause by Muslims. So it is not as if a Just Cause Theory of Jihad, as it were, should automatically give rise to calm and optimism on the non-Muslim's part.

For example, this particular IF Muslim lays out his own reasons for acceptable (violent) jihad. He writes:

"The main hot spots that Muslims currently want to see resolved are Kashmir (independence from India), Palestine (a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital), Chechnya (independence from Russia), the Sudan (an end to the foreign-backed southern rebellion), Azerbaijan (an end to the Armenian occupation), and Xinjiang in China (independence or at least meaningful autonomy)."

But this IF Muslim is being modest here. He also knows that many Muslims demand that US troops withdraw from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq and so on. Not only that. Many Muslims, perhaps also many IF Muslims, also want to reclaim Spain for Islam, as well as southern France, southern Philippines (or all of it), southern Thailand (or all of it), the Central Asian (Russian) republics, states and areas in south-eastern Europe and so on.

What now of the Muslim areas, ghettoes, or 'enclaves' of Europe and other areas? What about Malmo, Sparkbrook in Birmingham, large areas of Paris, Manningham in Bradford, Muslim ghettoes in Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and so on?

This IF Muslim himself casts the net of Islam far and wide. He says that "captive Muslim nations can still be found in parts of Russia, China, the Philippines, Africa, and Europe."

That's one hell of a list considering that this Muslim has left out many areas - for reasons of interfaith taqiyya and the affectation of controlled/limited demands.

In addition, is it the case that Muslims are automatically or really 'captive' if they live under non-Muslim rule or if they live in a non-Muslim nation? He is clearly speaking here of the 'captive Muslims' in the central Asian (former Soviet) republics. In that case, these Muslims live in states with very sizable non-Muslim populations, such as the Armenians in Azerbaijan. What about about the African Muslims in Nigeria — they are only around half of the population of that country. The Muslims in the southern Philippines and China are tiny populations in their native countries. Does that mean that in every place that there is a Muslim minority that this minority, being Muslim, must automatically have its own state?

One of the worst examples this IF Muslim gives of Muslim demands — otherwise it's jihad time! - is the Sudan. He said, before the southern state was created recently, that the animists and Christians of that region are indulging in a 'foreign-backed southern rebellion'. This clearly means that as a Muslim supporter of Islamic Sudan, he didn't believe that the southern Sudanese Christians and animists deserved their own state (which they got in 2011), which is precisely what he thinks 'captive Muslims' deserve when they suffer from the same fate as the southern Sudanese Christians and animists under Muslim control. There is clear Muslim bias and hypocrisy here. Or, if not, that must only be because he thinks that Muslims are superior to animists and Christians and thus they, unlike the latter, deserve their own state. Not only that. If you read between the lines of his prose, it is also clear that this IF Muslim is not critical of the obscene and terribly violent actions carried out by the Janjaweed and the Sudanese Islamic state against these Christians and animists. This has been a conflict which had resulted in over two millions deaths (at the IF Muslim's time of writing — 2005) and yet this IF Muslim is only critical of the 'foreign-backed southern rebellion'.

What Muslims Want

The same IF Muslim gives a four-point list of what Muslims are 'looking for' which does not mention specific countries or 'captive Muslims'. Instead these demands — for that's what they are! — are far more far-reaching, absolute and almost unconscionably demanding. He writes:

"In summary, Muslims are looking for

  1. Redress for all the wrongs done against [Muslims] by outsiders.
  2. The right to revive Islamic civilisation without interference from the West.
  3. The unification of all Muslim territories into one federally organised Islamic caliphate.
  4. The replacement of antireligious ruling elites with sincere Muslims who will rule according to the Shari'ah."

This is an unbelievable list. What it demands, in total, quite literally blows the mind! And yet this kind of Freudian slip on an IF Muslim's part really does let various cats out of the bag when it comes to the demands and desires of even drippy IF Muslims. This IF Muslim wants all 'wrongs' against Muslims righted. He wants an 'Islamic civilisation'. He wants an Islamic caliphate (which other IF Muslims often tell us is only demanded by 'extreme' Muslims or Islamists). In the end, he wants Islamic rule over all Muslim lands — he want Sharia law.

So let's take each demand individually.

The first demand: "Redress for all the wrongs done against [Muslims] by outsiders."

Does this mean that during centuries of vast Islamic power and mass Islamic slavery, the only wrongs which were done were done to Muslims? History teaches us otherwise.

In addition, were the 'outsiders' always in the wrong (by definition)? What if the outsiders were reacting to the Muslim invasions of their countries during the many Islamic empires? And could wrongs be done to Muslims by non-Muslim insiders too? Of course they could! The very fact that these insiders were dhimmis, or kuffar, or infidels, or unbelievers, guarantees that.

The second demand: "The right to revive Islamic civilisation without interference from the West."

Islamic civilisation? The problem is that Islamic civilisation always came along with Islamic empire and Islamic power. And you don't hear IF Muslims speak that openly about bringing about new Islamic empires do you? Not at interfaith meetings anyway.

What if a revived Islamic civilisation, or empire, by its very nature affects the West in a whole host of negative ways? Is the West still not allowed to 'interfere' in the Islamic empire? More to the point. What if this new Islamic 'civilisation', or empire, invades a part of the West, as past Islamic empires have often done? Do we still have no right of 'interference' when Muslim soldiers, jihadists, occupy our lands?

The third demand: "The unification of all Muslim territories into one federally organised Islamic caliphate."

What happens when various 'territories', or states, are 'unified'? They become part of an empire in many cases. Yet this IF Muslim consciously refrains from using the word 'empire' and sticks to 'civilisation' and 'federal organisation' instead. I mean, what would IF Christians and Jews say about all this?

As I said earlier, I thought that only Islamists and 'extreme Muslims' propagandised for an 'Islamic caliphate' encompassing states spread all over the world. Yet here this IF Muslim lets it all hang out even if he doesn't use the words 'Islamic empire' together. Still, he does talk about a (global?) caliphate. That will do for now but what do his Christian interfaith friends know — or think - about all this?

The fourth and final demand: "The replacement of antireligious ruling elites with sincere Muslims who will rule according to the Shari'ah."

You wonder if this IF Muslim also means non-religious elites by anti-religious elites. Do Muslims like this ever make such a distinction?

Why can't any Muslim elite rule without the imposition of Sharia law anyway? They can, I suppose, but as in Pakistan and elsewhere, this IF Muslim would not be happy with mere Muslim rule. He wants an Islamic state which will enforce Sharia law. Simple as that. Need we ask what will happen to non-Muslims in such a state? Will there still be interfaith meetings between IF Muslims, like this writer, and IF non-Muslims when the Muslims have the power and the demographics and non-Muslims are mere dhimmis (according to Sharia)? Or maybe all along interfaith was simply a means to further Islam and hoodwink the kuffar interfaithers.

The root motives seem clear: to replace all laws with sharia; to replace all religions with Islam; and to replace all governments with the Muslim Caliphate.

Paul Austin Murphy lives in Birmingham, England. He writes extensively about Islam. Many of his articles have appeared in Think-Israel. Contact him at and visit his website at The two parts of this article were written as separate essays. Part 1 was submitted April 26, 2013. Part 2 was submitted October 24, 2012.

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