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Before and after Sept. 11, 2001, the most prominent television anchor, journalist and authority on Islam and the Islamic world was CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, who was born and grew up in an Islamic country, Iran.
Thus, as a native of an Islamic country and assisted by Moslem professors of Islam and Islamic clerics she hosted, she explained that the very word "Islam" means "Peace" in Arabic, and this is what the Koran is all about.
Hence the 19 terrorists of Sept. 11, 2001 –– or rather bin Laden and al-Qaeda, who allegedly control these terrorists as their "operatives" –– were the enemies of Islam –– Peace –– which distorted its meaning into its opposite: The worst kind of aggressive war –– terrorist attacks to kill innocent civilians.
That the word "Islam" means "Peace" was reiterated in unison by all American (and one Canadian) Moslem professors of Islam and Islamic clerics in the American mainstream media, following Sept. 11, 2001.
When Soviet Russia was viewed as a military threat, nearly all "sovietologists" were born Americans, since who could be sure that a former Soviet Russian was not a KGB agent? On the other hand, as of Sept. 11, 2001, nearly all "islamists" were born Moslems, since for an American it is far more difficult to learn Arabic than Russian, a foreign yet Indo-European language, just like French or German.
Naturally, after Sept. 11, 2001, the Moslems in the United States felt defensive and began to assure the Americans that the word "Islam" means "Peace." The result was the concerted Islamic propaganda of Islam as Peace versus its enemies like bin Laden.
Thus, when a Washington Times columnist quoted on Oct. 3, 2001, historian Paul Johnson to the effect that the "word ‘Islam' does not mean ‘peace,' but ‘submission,'" the "Moslem scholar" Saleh A. Mubarak declared in a letter published in the newspaper three days later, "I don't know historian Paul Johnson ..." and the moral: "Don't ask a historian, ask a Moslem scholar."
He also advised the columnist to "go to the nearest college and take a course in Islam 101." In short, an omniscient academic, for whom Arabic is his mother tongue, pulled to pieces the evil prejudices of a lay foreigner, an ignoramus, a savage.
The Moslem scholar's militant (rather than peaceful) demonstration that the word "Islam" means "Peace" was the same as Amanpour's Islamic academy on TV. The Arab greeting Salaam alaikem! means "Peace unto you!" Obviously "Islam" and "Salaam" have the same root. See? So Islam means Peace.
The demonstration must have seemed incontrovertible to many Americans who had encountered the world-famous greeting and its no less famous translation, "Peace unto you" in myriad books about Moslems.
So, Moslems do not hail one another by wishing health. The word
"hail" in the Germanic languages comes from the word "health," and the
Russian greeting Zdrastvui means "Be healthy," as does Sei
gesund in German and Yiddish. Now, Moslems, if we are to believe
all those translations from the Arabic, hail one another by wishing
peace as against war. No wonder Islam means Peace, and this is what
the Koran is all about.
THE ONLY FLAW in this demonstration is that the translation "Peace unto you!" has been a mistranslation, misleading Westerners and Russians for generations. Let us look at the word "peace" in An Arabic and English Literary Dictionary, published in Beirut for Moslems:
Peace, [the word sulh in Arabic], sulh. See Quiet, Content, Amity, Silence. (1)
That is, peace in the military and sociopolitical sense is sulh. The dictionary illustrates this meaning by examples: "To make peace," "to renew peace," "to sue for peace," "to infringe the peace," "to observe the articles of peace." In all of these examples, sulh or its derivative assulh is used.
But the English word "peace" also has other meanings: "quiet," "content," "amity," "silence," and, according to my Webster, "mental tranquility" ("his mind was at peace"), and here salaam comes into play. The English-Arabic Conversational Dictionary defines the word as "safety (from faults and defects of body and mind)." (2) That is, perfect bodily health and perfect mental tranquility or perfect peace of mind in the sense of perfect mental tranquility.
But since there is no word in the languages of Christendom that would combine the two notions (bodily health and mental tranquility), the translators have been mistranslating "Perfect-bodily-health-and-perfect-mental-tranquility unto you!" or "Perfect bodily and mental health unto you!" as "Peace unto you!" and readers in Christendom have been understanding the word "peace" in this mistranslation in the sense of peace as against war, and certainly not in the sense of perfect bodily and mental health wished in this famous Islamic greeting.
Besides, the English-Arabic Conversational Dictionary warns Christians: "This greeting is, however, used by Moslems only; towards and by Christians it is never employed." (3) That is, its strict meaning is "Our Islamic perfect bodily and mental health unto you, a Moslem, from me, a Moslem."
This is just how an Islamic terrorist can greet his comrade-in-arms without diminishing, doubting, or questioning in any way what they perceive as the supreme divine value of their terrorist attack on infidels in the name of Islam. Nor is it clear why the Islamic terrorists should not live and die in a state of Islamic perfect bodily and mental health, as wished in the traditional Islamic greeting.
It is true that the word "islam" is of the same root as the word "salaam" (bodily and mental health). But the English word "submission," for example, is of the same root as "mission," but it does not mean "mission," or "permission," or "admission."
My Oxford English Dictionary in 12 volumes, which is published and sold by the Oxford University Press in Moslem countries as well, explains that the word "islam" means in Arabic literally "resigning, surrendering." The verb "aslama" means "he resigned or surrendered (himself)" and specifically, "he became or was resigned or submissive to God." Hence the name of the religion founded by Muhammad.
Arabic dictionaries, published in Moslem countries, define the name of this religion as a person's resignation, submission, surrender (to the God as revealed to Muhammad). This gives that person salaam, perfect bodily and mental health, and hence Moslems, that is, those who have thus resigned, submitted, surrendered, wish one another salaam, perfect health of body and mind, mistranslated into the languages of Christendom as "peace" and hence misunderstood in Christendom as peace in the military sense, the antonym of war.
A Moslem on his knees and with his forehead on the floor expresses
islam, submission or surrender.
THOUGH MUHAMMAD PREACHED it in Mecca (the "religious capital" of 7th century Arabia) for nine years (613-622), few Arabs and no Jews of Mecca submitted or surrendered to the God revealed to him, and finally even pelted him –– no, not with stones, but with "verbal taunts and petty insults." (4) He was an illiterate, while the Jews assumed that a religion teacher must learn to read and write in childhood.
If nine years were not enough to persuade the Arabs and Jews of Mecca to submit or surrender to Muhammad's God, there was no hope that the results would be better in the next nine or 10 years. He was 52, and it was only for 10 more years that he lived. Yet there was a good old method that could make those insolent Arabs and Jews of Mecca submit or surrender to Muhammad's God: military power, war, conquest.
So, to prepare "the conquest of Mecca" (see below), he "migrated" with his followers (Moslems) from Mecca to a town he named Medina, where he became not only the infallible religious leader (like the Pope in the Catholic Church), but also the absolute ruler, the supreme judge, and the military commander. The submission to God thus came to mean the submission to him. That is, he made himself the military theocrat.
Christ was never a ruler, let alone a military commander. He preached kindness, meekness, pacifism, nonresistance to violence, nay, "whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." Neither Latin nor the post-Roman languages of Christendom have the word that would define this attitude. "Love your enemies. ..."
Perhaps, in the 21st century, psychology and social psychology will say that this is not as otherworldly as it seems. Violence breeds violence, and the determination to strike back, no matter on whose cheek, and to imagine that this is one of the cheeks of the hated enemy, is that self-destructive behavior that Christ taught his followers to avoid.
No matter how far Roman and post-Roman Christendom at times departed from Christ, and for all the horrors of the Inquisition, of wars of aggression like the insane Crusades, and of secular absolutism with its Star Chamber, Christendom never, except in Byzantium, completely merged spiritual and secular power.
It was in Soviet Russia that spiritual and secular power merged as
it had in Byzantium, and Germany soon followed suit. In 1979, Iran
established an Islamic theocracy from which Amanpour barely escaped
alive and out of which Iran will probably never extricate itself
unless it separates church and state as did Turkey, contrary to
Muhammad, Islam and the Koran.
MUHAMMAD'S GOAL WAS "The Conquest of Mecca" (as the event is officially designated and translated by orthodox Moslems into English) (5) and meanwhile he began what is translated as "military expeditions," of which there were "about ninety in all."
Thus his warriors attacked, at a time regarded by the Arabs as a holy month of peace, a caravan on the route between Mecca and Syria and carried off the spoils. Now, the Koran presented (23:217) an elaborate justification of this "expedition" in a holy month of peace, and summed up its justification in the following sentence: "Idolatry [that is, the religion of the Meccans (who have refused to submit to Muhammad) is worse than carnage [even in a holy month of peace]."
Next time the Meccans learned that the Moslems were going to attack a caravan at Badr, on its way to Mecca, and reinforced its military escort to nearly 1,000 men. But the Moslems, led by Muhammad, routed the escort, and when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in 1973, they called their attack "Operation Badr" in honor of Muhammad's glorious carnage and plunder of a caravan bound for Mecca.
A year later, the Meccans
routed the Moslems, and Muhammad was wounded in the
rout. But he did not
despair, and laid out regulations for the division of
the spoils in future engagements.
WHAT ABOUT THE internal affairs of Medina?
In Amanpour's glorification of Islam-Peace versus its worst enemy, bin Laden, some American Jews were no doubt overwhelmed by her contrast between bin Laden's hatred for Jews, attacked by Islamic suicidal terrorists in Israel, and the Koran's statement that it was to Jews (and Christians) that God had been revealed before Muhammad.
The statement is true, except that according to the Koran, the Jews (and the Christians) proved to be unworthy of God, revealed to them. Thus, the Jews "practice usury" (4:160). They are "the people of the book"? Well, they "are like a donkey laden with books" (62:5).
Two of the three Jewish tribes were expelled by Muhammad from Medina for their refusal to submit to his God, that is, to him. Now, the third tribe "intrigued" (6) with Mecca. Muhammad beheaded all the men of the tribe, sold all children and women into slavery, and declared all property of these Jews to be "spoils of war," to reward those Moslems who had participated in the operation. (7)
As for the Christians, the Moslem professors of Islam and Islamic clerics on Amanpour's and other television programs usually quoted earlier surahs of the Koran, such as surah 5:82, describing the Christians amicably. There were few Christians either in Medina or in Mecca,and so they did not give any trouble to Muhammad's theocracy. But Christian tribes opposed the Moslem warriors (or terrorists?) along the route from Mecca to Syria, and the benevolent attitude changed.
Some of the arguments against the Jews were now used in the Koran against the Christians. The Koran also asserted that it was impossible for God to have a son and attacked the Trinity (4:171). Fortunately, there were too few Christians in Medina and Mecca to provoke any reprisals against them.
Finally, in January 630, Muhammad assembled what was a huge army by local standards (10,000 men) and marched into Mecca, which thought resistance futile and virtually surrendered to Muhammad's overwhelming military power and hence to his God.
Moslem professors of Islam and Islamic clerics regard as his great magnanimity the fact that he executed in Mecca only "some persons guilty of treasonable acts" (8) instead of having a general massacre.
But the fiercest Mongol conquerors spared those towns that surrendered. Empire-building required that ruthlessness-lenience correspond to resistance-surrender to the empire-builder's power.
In his last "expedition" Muhammad led an army of 30,000 men, and it was clear that no one could resist him in Arabia, which surrendered or submitted to him, and within a century after his death, the Islamic armies were masters of a territory that stretched from the south of France to the Indus River and included North Africa, the Fertile Crescent of the Levant and Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, and much of central Asia.
The Koran teaches (5:36) how to conquer and keep those conquered in submission to Muhammad's God:
Those that make war against Allah and his Apostle and spread disorders in the land shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides or be banished from the country.
What finally stopped the Islamic conquests was the absence in the
Islamic world of machine production, necessary to produce machine
firearms. If not for this technological disadvantage, the entire world
might have become Islamic.
THE ABOVE DOES not mean that a Moslem cannot discard in the 21st century what he or she believes to be obsolete in Islam, contrary to the terrorists, determined to live in the 21st century as if in the 7th.
But what is the percentage of those Moslems who want to make Islam peaceful, humane, tolerant and, last but not least, separate from secular powers? According to Amanpour, Moslems are good guys (such as the Iranians in her documentary "Revolutionary Journey" about her native Iran), while the few bad guys like bin Laden will be captured or killed. But is this proportion correct?
Yes, President Khatami of Iran, promoted by Amanpour as a "reformer," her good guy at the head of good guys, expressed his regret that innocent civilians had been killed in the attack of Sept. 11, 2001. But bin Laden expressed such regret as well, right after the event.
According to Khatami, it was not the irrelevant bin Laden, whose involvement in the attack had not been proved, in Khatami's opinion, but the U.S. government that should be blamed for the attack, since its policy had produced uncontrollable Islamic hatred (wrath, ire). Hence the Iranian mass slogan, "Death to America!" meaning "Death to the U.S. government." (9)
In 1992 in Algeria such followers of Islam were expected to win at
the polls, and so they were denied by force their possible majority
rule. In reply, they staged a massacre of infidels (foreigners),
traitors (intellectuals), and all who were not "true followers of
Islam" and hence its enemies.
NEITHER CNN'S AMANPOUR, nor any professor of Islam or Islamic cleric on her or any other program following the attack of Sept. 11, 2001, tried to explain the fact that Islamic terrorists are ready to sacrifice their lives so calmly, resolutely, matter-of-factly as they are making preparations for the attack and then carrying it out.
The only reference to the attackers' self-destruction I heard was "cowardly." Again, "cowardice" was contrary to Islam, according to Amanpour, for Islam forbids suicide, as she proclaimed in triumph.
In Christendom, self-sacrifice in a cause that a government regards as noble has been called by the Greek word "heroism." The corresponding Arab word is translated not by the Greek word "heroism," but by the word "martyrdom." Amanpour's remark is ridiculous: Islam does not forbid "martyrdom."
The killing of oneself for one's own personal reasons and for one's own personal sake (suicide) is condemned in the Koran, and was once condemned in Christendom as a crime, not only as a sin. The publicly visible and audible mood in the United States is optimism (which Voltaire ridiculed), the un-Christian engrossment in wealth, and the fear of death –– as death sentence in court, for example. Yet about 35,000 Americans commit suicide each year, while the actual number may be as high as 100,000, because many accidents are suicides in disguise. (10)
Suicide in order to go to Paradise after death? In 1978, more than 900 members of the cult of Jim Jones committed suicide for that purpose in Jonestown. However, Christianity clashed with science centuries ago because the Bible contained scientific theories (like the creation of the world) that the science of the second millennium made obsolete. Universal school education in Christendom, including science, led to universal agnosticism and atheism.
On the other hand, Muhammad was illiterate, and that was perhaps one reason why the Koran merely asserted that God is God, or that there is no God except God, which science could not disprove even if high school education were universal in the Islamic world and science were part of it.
Hence, the Islamic world is like Christendom in the day of Dante, and the literal belief of members of the cult of Jim Jones in Paradise is not as unusual as it has become in Christendom.
Even in the United States, the suicide rate for males is five times higher than for females, one reason being that women are more closely connected with the family, children, procreation –– with the genus.
Now, Muhammad permitted a Moslem to have up to four wives if he can keep them, which means that ever since the 7th century a high percentage of Moslem males have had neither wives nor mistresses, due to a shortage of available women, and these involuntary celibates have been contributing to a high rate of "martyrdom," or self-sacrifice in the cause of Islam, destroying as many infidels as possible and going to Paradise.
Dante's "Paradiso" is spiritual, as befitting Christianity: It evolved from his love as a boy of nine. He saw her again briefly nine years later. The physical relationship was over. She duly married, disregarding his love, and soon died, when he was 25. But the spiritual romance continued in "Paradiso."
The Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran would not understand what this is all about. His Iran was super-puritanical with respect to females and super-lecherous with respect to those males who could afford wives and/or mistresses. From the age of nine, a female was, normally, a male's wife or one of his four wives. Cheating on him was a crime. When she sang to other men, revealed her face to them, or rode a bicycle, thus showing her thighs seductively, she criminally cheated on her husband. Such was Khomeini's super-puritanism.
At the same time, he publicly explained that a man "can have sexual pleasure" even from a girl under nine if she is not "one of his four permanent wives." But Khomeini's care for male sexual pleasures was combined with his theocratic care for the government's finances: "If the man penetrates and damages the child, then he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life." (11)
Khoumeini's public statements create the impression that no sexual pleasure is a vice for men, and while for a woman his Islamic society was, outside her husband's home, a nunnery, it was for a man a harem with an unlimited range of vices. Accordingly, the Islamic Paradise is not Dantesque, spiritual, Christian.
It is Pairidaeze (the Persian word from which the word 'paradise' came) of all sexual pleasures a male can imagine, but exaggerated, intensified, freed from all earthly limitations, and lasting eternally like a new hymen each of eight houris grows after they have been deflowered by a Pairiidaeze-dweller, ever young and ever immersed in never-ending sex.
It should be remembered that Arab culture, though not as ancient as Chinese culture, was nevertheless as rich, sophisticated and profound during its efflorescence not only in the exact sciences, but also in the humanities and arts. Its connection with Islam was as capricious as the connection of the Italian Renaissance or German music with Christianity as it existed at the time, or with the teaching of Christ as had been set down in the New Testament.
Suffice it to recall the richness of Arabic in which the word "lion" has about 400 synonyms, and the word "sword" twice as many. Those who have read an unexpurgated translation of "The Arabian Nights" may remember how a male or a female asks to explain what is that part of his or her anatomy which has in the languages of Christendom three or four names, one of them ascending to the ancient sexual fanum mysteries and having become a profanity.
Now, if that part of the anatomy has not four, but 400 or 800 names, the sex of "The Arabian Nights" becomes an experience that no translator of Christendom has been able to convey. The sexual richness of Pairidaeze cannot be expressed in the languages of Christendom.
The warriors sacrificing themselves and going to Pairidaeze contributed to Islamic conquests in the pre-machine age, and in the past two decades they have been awakening for terrorist war, an irregular war, as has been guerrilla warfare.
Recently, a Russian television anchorman hosted an Afghan who had been wounded in the anti-Soviet war, and asked him if he had any grudge against the Russians. "Of course I have!" the veteran said. "You didn't kill me! If you had killed me, I would be in Paradise, and where am I now?" He looked like an American who was to win $100 billion in a lottery, but found himself instead in a homeless shelter.
In 2000, Christiane Amanpour described her life to her television audience (seven pages on the Internet). (12) She skips her life in Iran and her escape from the Iranian Revolution, and begins with how she came to CNN with a suitcase, her bicycle, and about $100, to rise to superstardom in "television journalism," which she criticizes severely.
The secret of her own dizzying success is simple. Before and after Sept. 11, 2001, she was telling fairy tales at the level of a picture book for pre-school children about Islam and the Islamic world, and these fairy tales corresponded to each day's "political correctness," leading the West into yet another mortal danger, apart from the Chinese Superweapon No. 3.
1. Librairie du Liban, 1975, p. 858.
2. Hippocrene Books, 1987, p. 358.
4. The Encyclopedia of Religion, Macmillan, 1987, vol. 10, p. 139.
5. Muhammad: Man and Messenger, an eight-volume Islamic hagiography, The Muslim Schools Trust, London, 1985, vol. I, p. 33. 6. Ibid., vol. I, p. 34.
7.Ibid. See also Thomas W. Lippman, Understanding Islam, Meredian, 1985, p. 50.
8. Encyclopedia of Religion, vol. 10, p. 140.p> 9. CNN interview with Khatami on 11/10/01, 10:30 p.m. EST.
10. Laura Dolce, Suicide. Chelsea House, 1992, p. 13.
11.The Little Green Book: Sayings of Ayatollah Khomeini, Political, Philosophical, Social and Religious, with a special introduction by Clive Irving, ISBN number 0-553-14032-9, page 47. Source: Homa. See: http://www.truthbeknown.com/islamquotes.htm.
12. See http://www.unf.edu/jaxmedia/amanpour.htm This is an excerpt from Lev Navrozov's book that was then in progress, with the working title: "Out of Moscow and Into New York: A life in the Geostrategically Lobotomized West in the Age of Terrorism and Post-nuclear Superweapons." Lev Nsavrozov is a Russian author, translator and historian. He and his family emigrated to the U.S.A. in 1972. He is a prolific writer, and an expert in the threat posed by Chinese and Russian post-nuclear super-weapons.
This article appeared January 7, 2002 inNewsMax.com
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