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The following letter appeared in a newspaper in response to a previous letter-writer who criticized Islam. The letter is an excellent example of authoritarian thinking.
We find otherwise good people become bigots when they discuss Islam. They judge Islam by its extremists. Unfortunately, Islamophobia is the last remaining acceptable prejudice.
When they say that Islam abuses women, murders apostates and hates outsiders, they are talking about a counterfeit Islam. We find such hatred amongst both Jews and Christians as well.
One Muslim writer pointed out that there is enough in the Koran for global holy war. But there is also enough there for people of a peaceful mindset to discover a path to enlightenment and peace. There is bad material in the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament as well. But we can also find sublime uplifting passages.
Our spiritual work, as brothers of the Abrahamic faith, is to combat ugly anti-Muslim sentiments and make it socially intolerable.
Signed: Rabbi ...
First things first. There is not one single fact about Islam in the entire letter. We know this because anything that relates to the doctrine of Islam includes the words: Allah or Mohammed. Instead of facts, the writer substitutes his authoritarian reasoning and the opinion of "one Muslim writer", not Mohammed. He declares from his high moral ground the judgment that anyone who criticizes Islam is a bigot. Why? He decrees it. Evidence? Facts? No need for those when you have the authority to make decrees.
He uses the word "counterfeit". And what is the standard to determine counterfeit from the real deal? Simple, the one and only standard of Islam is the Koran and the Sunna. Let's use that standard. For those who enjoy fact-based logic: Does Islam abuse women? Let's start with the Koran:
Koran 4:34. Allah has made men superior to women because men spend their wealth to support them. Therefore, virtuous women are obedient, and they are to guard their unseen parts as Allah has guarded them. As for women whom you fear will rebel, admonish them first, and then send them to a separate bed, and then beat them. But if they are obedient after that, then do nothing further; surely Allah is exalted and great!
Now let us turn to Mohammed as found in the Hadith (Mohammed's traditions). Mohammed's words and actions (Sunna) are half of Islam. If Mohammed did it, then it not extremist, by definition.
Abu Dawud 11, 2142: Mohammed said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.
This hadith equates camels, slaves and women.
Abu Dawud 11, 2155: Mohammed said: If one of you marries a woman or buys a slave, he should say: "O Allah, I ask You for the good in her, and in the disposition You have given her; I take refuge in You from the evil in her, and in the disposition You have given her." When he buys a camel, he should take hold of the top of its hump and say the same kind of thing.
More advice about slaves and women:
Bukhari 7,62,132: The Prophet said, "None of you should flog his wife as he flogs a slave and then have sexual intercourse with her in the last part of the day."
A statistical summary is revealing. Here is a table that summarizes all of the sentences and verses about women that can be found in the Koran and the Hadith by Bukhari. Each sentence was judged as to whether the woman was superior to men, equal to men or inferior. All of the superior sentences were about women as mothers, the equality sentences were about being judged equally on Judgment Day. And what is one of the things a woman is judged on? How well she pleased her husband.
|Number of verses and hadiths||7||8||157||47|
|Percentage based on superior and inferior||4%||5%||91%||Not included in calculations|
Does Islam murder apostates (those who leave Islam)? Let us ask what the Sunna of Mohammed is.
Bukhari 9, 83, 37: [...] This news reached Allah's Apostle , so he sent (men) to follow their traces and they were captured and brought (to the Prophet). He then ordered to cut their hands and feet, and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron, and then he threw them in the sun till they died." I said, "What can be worse than what those people did? They deserted Islam, committed murder and theft."
Bukhari 9, 84, 57: [...] I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'"
Bukhari 9, 84, 58: [...] Behold: There was a fettered man beside Abu Muisa. Mu'adh asked, "Who is this (man)?" Abu Muisa said, "He was a Jew and became a Muslim and then reverted back to Judaism." Then Abu Muisa requested Mu'adh to sit down but Mu'adh said, "I will not sit down till he has been killed. This is the judgment of Allah and His Apostle (for such cases) and repeated it thrice. Then Abu Musa ordered that the man be killed, and he was killed. [...]
It is Sunna to kill apostates. Islamic doctrine says to kill apostates. As an aside, when Mohammed, died the next caliph, Abu Bakr, killed apostates for two years because many Muslims wanted to quit. Abu Bakr persuaded the survivors to be contented Muslims.
Does Islam hate outsiders? Let us turn to the Koran and consider a word introduced and defined by the Koran. The word is kafir (unbeliever), the ultimate outsider. More that half of the Koran is about kafirs. The only good verses about kafirs are "abrogated" later in the Koran. Allah hates kafirs and plots against them.
Koran 40:35 They who dispute the signs of Allah [kafirs] without authority having reached them are greatly hated by Allah and the believers. So Allah seals up every arrogant, disdainful heart.
Koran 86:15 They plot and scheme against you [Mohammed], and I plot and scheme against them. Therefore, deal calmly with the kafirs and leave them alone for a while.
Kafirs can be tortured, mocked, robbed, enslaved and raped. Kafir is the worst word in the human language.
The rabbi grapples with the duality of the Koran in his paragraph about the good and the bad in the Koran. He makes the usual argument about "it all depends on the interpretation." This drive for interpretation is an attempt to eliminate the contradictory nature of the Koran. The Koran is filled with contradictions at all levels, and this was pointed out to Mohammed by the Meccans of his day. The Koran uses the principle of abrogation to resolve these contradictions. The later verse is better than the earlier verse.
But since everything in the Koran is the exact word of Allah and Allah is perfect and cannot lie, then every verse of the Koran is true, even if it is contradictory. This violates our logic so we try to decide which side is the truth. But both sides are true in dualistic logic. The Koran is dualistic document and Islam is a dualistic ideology. The answer to the question: "which side is it?" is always -- all of the above. That is the genius of Islam. It can have it both ways, and this confuses the kafirs.
Now to the idea of: "brothers in the Abrahamic faith." Let us look to Mohammed for the relationship between Muslims and their Jewish brothers. At first, Mohammed proved his validity by the fact that his angel was Gabriel, the angel of the prophets of the Jews. Therefore, he was of the same prophetic linage. Since there were no Jews in Mecca to deny him, the idea worked.
When he went to Medina, which was half Jewish, the rabbis told him he was no prophet in the lineage of the Jews. No one contradicted Mohammed and as a result, three years later, there was not a single Jew left in Medina-they were annihilated. Then he attacked the Jews of Khaybar and made them dhimmis after he had killed, tortured, raped and robbed them. On his deathbed he condemned the Jews and Christians to be banished from Arabia. There are no Jews in Arabia today.
That is the Sunna. That is Islam. And that is the way Islam has treated the Jews and Christians ever since-as dhimmis. Dhimmis are kafirs who serve Islam by submitting and laboring for Islam. If the dhimmi is subservient enough, Islam will be kind. There are no brothers of Abraham. Just dhimmis to Mohammed! The root of the problem with Israel is that Israelis refuse to act like dhimmis.
We need to address one last bit of sophistry. He subtly shifts the argument about Islam to Muslims. Muslims are people and as such vary. There are 1.5 billion varieties of Muslims, but only one source of Islam. We need to stick to the study of Islam and leave Muslims out of it. You can prove anything about Islam if you use Muslim-ology; just find the Muslim who says what you want and quote him.
It would seem that before a spiritual leader (although this writer is a Jew, his arguments do not differ a whit from any pious dhimmi Christian pastor) takes on the task of calling those who use critical thought bigots, a better task would be to seek the truth of Islamic ideology. The truth of Islam is found in the Koran, the Sunna (Sira and Hadith) and Islam's political history. As a spiritual leader, once you have mastered those texts, you can speak to the issue. Until then, play the role of the student and stop referring to those with knowledge as bigots.
This has been an exercise in fact-based rational thought; compare it to his authoritarian thought and assertions.
Bill Warner is a scholar of Political Islam. He is with the Center of
Political Islam. He hosts the Political Islam website, whose mission
is "to educate the world about political Islam, its founder Mohammed,
his political doctrine and his god, Allah." See also his very
excellent foundational lectures on Political Islam, available at This article was submitted August 25, 2009. It is archived at
This article was submitted August 25, 2009. It is archived at
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